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Where Are All the Cordovas?

June 18, 2016

In my head I’m singing “Where are all the Cordovas” to the tune of “Where have all the Cowboys Gone.” I’ve always thought the Cordova Jacket from Sewaholic was a really cool looking pattern, it’s surprising that it hasn’t been more popular. I guess jacket’s are more intimidating to some people… but this one doesn’t even have a collar! I finally bought it and made it though and I think it’s a winner, with a few personal preference tweaks anyways.

Cordova (1)

Pattern: Sewaholic 1205 Cordova Jacket

Fabric: Cream faux suede, polyester bird print lining, and tan plastic separating zipper. The suede has a really cool texture, almost like miniature elephant skin, except white and softer.

Cordova (2)

Design Likes/Dislikes: I was really unsure about the second hip flounce layer at first, but I’m glad I went for it because it’s well balanced and not too extreme. The sleeves, however, are pretty horrible (to my taste). The sleeves that come with the pattern are so loose and the shoulders are huge. I don’t remember if the pattern called for padding, but I’m not sure how else you’d get the shoulders to stay nice and poofy without some padding. I inserted one sleeve per the pattern, hated it, unpicked the seam and recut the sleeves using the sleeve peices from Burda 03/2012 #102 (which is a really good pattern, I made it here in purple suede… apparently I have a thing for faux suede jackets).

Cordova (7)

Since I didn’t make any adjustments to either the sleeve or body pattern pieces, they don’t fit perfectly together. But with the help of a bazillion pins, I got the sleeves in 99% pucker free, so I don’t care. If I make this jacket again, I’ll modify the armscye of the jacket to fit these sleeves better.

Cordova (6)

I like it so much better without the 1980s shoulder pleats.

Cordova (3)

I like the exposed zipper and collarless neckline a lot too, makes it feel slightly futuristic to me (I imagine collars and lapels will be pretty useless in the future. We’ll probably all just wear jumpsuits like in Star Trek though).

Cordova (4)

Sizing and Fit: I cut a size 4. I am not good at choosing my size with “indie” patterns. In this case the shoulders are tight, but the hips feel great. Which probably makes sense since Sewaholic drafts for pear shaped figures which I am not. It’s wearable though, and all I do is sit at a desk all day. It would be a bigger problem if I had to raise my arms up over my head all the time.

Cordova (5)

Changes: The only change was swapping out the sleeves really, everything else is per the pattern I think. I actually finished and photographed this jacket a month ago, I’ve just been too tired after work recently to do anything.

For Next Time: I do really like this jacket, and it would look pretty different with just one hip flounce. But I will have to grade between sizes for the shoulder area and modify the armscye area to fit better.


Ink Blot Suede

May 3, 2016

I’ve had this fabric forever, I didn’t even buy it, my Grandma did when she made a skirt for me probably 15+ years ago. But I love it and it’s very sentimental at this point. I still keep the skirt in my dresser because I just can’t get rid of it… and now I have a matching top… not sure I’d go so far as to wear them together though, might be a bit much.


Truthfully, the skirt never fit very well (the waistband is weird, but you can’t see it here) and it’s too short to wear to the office. Maybe with tights in the winter.

Pattern: BurdaStyle #115 04/2014 “Wrap Blouse”

Personally, I would not call this a wrap blouse

The skirt was from Simplicity 9473 view D, one of their junior patterns from 2000. I loved all the patterns in their “grooves” collection. I feel like I remember Simplicity being really on trend in the late 90s/early 00s.

image linked to etsy… I wonder if my mom still has these patterns…

Fabric: Printed faux suede and cotton lycra jersey. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough to make the sleeves in the same fabric so I experimented a bit by using jersey. It worked out ok but I narrowed the sleeves and now the arm hole feels a little funny.


Design Likes/Dislikes: I loved the whole outfit this top was part of in the magazine, I have the pants traced out too that I want to make… someday. I have not seen many shirts with this sort of overlap before and it makes a potentially boring shirt much more interesting. The two layers are only connected at the shoulder seams so it feels a little weird, like the layers are just going to fly open at any moment (I wore a tank top underneath). But it’s shorter than I’d like, and I am not normally a person that has problems with patterns being short (meaning, I am short). I am definitely adding 1 or 2 inches in length next time.



Sizing and Fit: Size 36. The fit is supposed to be boxy but it’s also odd because the layers are free to move so I felt like I had to reposition everything when I stood up from sitting. That might have been just my imagination though. Anyways, because of the movement, I think the bust darts don’t stay in the right place always. And the shirt is short, like I mentioned above… I think I need to wear it with different pants. And I messed up the sleeve to shoulder fit because of the knit fabric, but I can live with that – I have no idea if it is a good sleeve with wovens since I didn’t try that.


Changes: Making the sleeves in jersey was the only change. I used rayon bias tape to bind all the seams and to make the hem deeper because I forgot to add extra for the hem. Rayon bias tape is amazing, I just had some in my stash of tapes because I inherited all my sewing stuff from my Grandma (today’s theme apparently) but I so wish this stuff was still common in stores. Might have to search for it more often.


For Next Time: Add length, use one fabric for the whole thing. I do really like this style and want to make it again, but because of the shortness on this particular shirt I’m not sure how much I’ll wear it. Maybe it would look better with a skirt.


Inside Molly’s Head, April 2016

April 27, 2016

Must be the spring warm up, it feels like the pace of interesting things happening has picked up.

  • I started listening to the podcast Conscious Chatter and while I don’t consider myself extremely consumeristic/wasteful, I think I could do better. And it must be trickling into the main stream because NPR has picked it up a bit.
  • Will clothing subscription services end fast fashion? It’s not something I personally would do, but for people that shop a lot this seems like a really cool idea.
  • A history of DMC, the embroidery thread company, parts I and II. Of all the embroidery threads/flosses I’ve tried so far, DMC is my favorite, which I guess makes sense since they’ve had a little while to perfect what they’re doing. On a tangent thought, my fascination with this reminds me that apparently it’s a thing for millennials (me) to like companies more when they have a perceived legacy. But DMC has both history and quality, so it doesn’t bother me too much if I’m falling into stereotypes of my generation.
  • Don’t glue anything without this handy reference chart.
  • Who and what gets printed on money has been making headlines in the US recently, mainly because our money changes very slowly. The Smithsonian wrote recently about the depiction of ordinary women on money and the ancient empresses on Byzantium coins. I am very happy to hear that Harriet Tubman will be on our $20 someday, but it’s kindof funny to me that, because of a Broadway musical, people were lobbying the Treasury Dept not to get rid of Hamilton. Maybe he was an awesome guy, from what I know off the top of my head he did turn into an American hero, I haven’t seen or heard the musical though.
  • If you’re into historical clothing or costuming at all, the FIDM Museum blog is really cool.
  • And on a related note, The Costume Vault blog does really great, in depth reviews of movie costumes with discussions of inspirations and historical accuracy, where applicable.
  • Street style isn’t really street style anymore. This and a few other articles (on Man Repeller, the Cut, and Tom & Lorenzo) make me think that current fashion styles are going to shift soon, like everyone is getting bored with normal. At least in the fashion world, which means it will take 2-3 years for those ideas to hit my part of the world. This could also mesh in the with the slow realization that the fashion industry needs to change in general.
  • Side note: are hem lines dropping? And is it related to the global recession like it was in the 1930s? I don’t think middie skirts look so great, but maybe it’ll be common place in 5 years. I didn’t think skinny pants looked good 5-7 years ago either, so what do I know.
  • An interview with Marimekko’s creative director.
  • Why aren’t designers trying harder to update and appeal to (actually) powerful women – i.e. HRC not Kardashian. Although, personally, I think HRC is doing great in the wardrobe department.
  • This isn’t much of an article, but I love scifi fashion so the slideshow is worth a look. If only the met’s fashion exhibits traveled, that would be awesome to see.


This was 4 weeks ago:

Just a little bit of snow #tundralife

A post shared by Molly Pruess (@mtoferet) on


This is last week:

Trouble in the making #spotthecat #catsonleashes

A post shared by Molly Pruess (@mtoferet) on


Don’t you just love spring*


Let’s Do the Twist

April 13, 2016

I think there’s only about 2 designs in each Drape Drape book that are wearable in my everyday life, but they’re so cool and interesting and different. This is kindof a test garment to see if the size I picked fit and because I have a more cherished knit I want to try next.


Pattern: Drape Drape 2 by Hisako Sato, No. 4 One-piece scoop neck asymmetrical top

Fabric: Polyester ITY(?), my mom bought this as the SR Harris warehouse store and gave me the leftovers after she made a top because it’s so wide. I still have a good chunk of it left too. Not my favorite colors, but I like the cityscape-ish print that ends up looking even more abstract on this shirt.



Design Likes/Dislikes: It’s a little weird that the sleeves are slightly different lengths and the right sleeve not being straight across feels odd. But the side drape is so interesting and the whole thing is very comfortable.

Sizing and Fit: Size L, sizing is probably the biggest downfall for the Drape Drape series because it really limits who can easily make these patterns. If I’m a size large and there’s only one size bigger being offered, that’s going to deter a ton of people, I know I wouldn’t bother. And the flat pattern shapes are so weird it might be difficult to modify.



Changes: I shortened the neck binding and the left sleeve to try to match the right sleeve better.

For Next Time: Definitely going to make the neckline higher, not only am I forced to wear a tank top with it right now but it kept shifting throughout the day because the neck just felt too big.


Molly of Many Hobbies

April 6, 2016

The main point of this post is I’m just showing off a recent painting I made, it has nothing to do with sewing, I just felt the urge to paint (I decided my living room didn’t have enough on the walls too).


But first I want to talk about how I got so many hobbies. My sister’s and I were always doing creative activities when we were little, it was probably my mom’s way to distract us for a couple hours before smart phones and tablets existed. We painted, drew, built lego cities, made tiny clay sculptures (often off food to go in our doll houses), made barbie clothes, etc. I think in general we’re a pretty creative family (although I’ve recently realized I am extremely uncreative when it comes to cooking, it just doesn’t click for me). I kept painting and sewing all through high school and college, but the painting slowed down over time. My mom and sister’s houses have plenty of Molly paintings hung up, but I actually don’t have too many in my house.

We got a new couch in January and our living room is feeling extremely “adult”, but now I’m noticing that it still feels empty because there isn’t too much on the walls. Getting to the point, here is my first addition to the walls this year:


This is the actual room, with a few chairs in different places

This is the actual room, with a few chairs in different places

I’m currently in an archival mood because I’ve been collecting old family photos for a slideshow for an upcoming family reunion. I think I’m going to try to paint my grandma’s sewing room because I always loved that room.


Goodbye, Hancock, we will miss you

April 2, 2016

Those of you outside the U.S. probably don’t know what Hancock Fabric is but it has gone bankrupt for a second time in a decade and this time it’s closing down for good. This will leave so many more small communities with no fabric store at all. Sewing might be having a resurgence in your neck of the woods, but in the central U.S. it’s looking a little sad right now.

Not a very good picture, but I snapped it while walking up to one of the first stores to close this year

Not a very good picture, but I snapped it while walking up to one of the first stores to close this year

Hancock is a fabric and craft chain that originated in 1957 in Tulepo, Mississippi. I think they might have only existed in the midwest and central U.S., but I’m not sure. In many cases, these closings cut access to fabric (in person) by at least half because Joann and Hobby Lobby will be the only chain stores left (and I don’t like either of them for various reasons).

The people who worked at Hancock actually new how to sew and they could give advice on nearly anything. Unfortunately their fabric selection has been hit or miss the last 10 years, only very recently did it seem to get better. And they probably had too many sales, so it was almost silly to go if you didn’t have the current coupon (because there always was one).

Having lived in smaller towns before, I just know how hard this is going to make it to buy patterns and apparel fabric. Even quilting stores can be far and few between. I live in a large city now, but I can count the number of fabric stores on my fingers. I’m going to do my best from now on to support those smaller, independent stores – in person and online – even if it means I have to drive 30 minutes up to St. Paul or pay shipping costs. Here’s a list of the local MN stores that I am aware of, if anyone knows more (quilting stores included) please add them in the comments:

  • SR Harris, warehouse store at 8865 Zealand Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
    • This is very short notice but the MinneSEWta group is going there today – here’s the link to the event details
  • SR Harris, smaller non-warehouse store at 3715 MN-13, Burnsville, MN 55337
    • Both SRH locations are definitely the place to go for great priced but good quality fabric
  • Treadle Yard Goods at 1338 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
    • Super knowledgeable, but they changed ownership recently so I hope everything’s going OK
  • Crafty Planet at 2833 Johnson St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
    • Very fun, mostly quilting/crafting/kid clothes oriented fabric
  • Always Mod at 905 Decatur Ave N, Golden Valley, MN 55427
    • More of a modern/Scandinavian interior decor store, but I’m pretty sure they still sell Marimekko fabric
  • Ginny’s Fine Fabrics & Support Group at 211 S Broadway, Rochester, MN 55904
    • I’ve never been here but I hear good things

I know there must be more quilt stores at least, but I don’t know them (I’m kindof surprised there aren’t more quilt stores in the Twin Cities metro area). Maybe our next sewing meet up should be at a local store.

I’ll miss having Hancock around, it was kindof a safety net in a way. I’ll miss the pattern sales the most though, that will be the only thing I’ll go to Joann for probably.

Do you have a favorite local store? Will the closing of Hancock affect you?


Inside Molly’s Head, March 2016

March 27, 2016

Some random interesting things I’ve read in the last couple months:

  • A look at the use of crafts in activism part 1 and 2
  • And on a similar note, from the Smithsonian, a look at crafts in war and political participation
  • You cannot help but smile at this awesome gymnastics routine
  • Designer spacesuits, ’cause you gotta look good in the vast emptiness of outer space
  • This is probably only funny to a very specific group of people… who like star trek and sewing…
  • I don’t really keep up with current music much, it just moves too fast and there’s too much of it – I’d rather other people just show me what’s good. But I really don’t get Kanye and his “clothing line.” I just don’t think you can call everything you do art just because you feel like it
  • I don’t post about my dolls anymore (just got bored with posting, I still like toys plenty), but I do follow a lot of doll/action figure blogs. There is a really awesome looking Barbie exhibit going on right now in Paris that I’m pretty bummed isn’t near me. Here are a few more images.
  • Could Google’s conductive fabric be the future of clothing and tech? Looks pretty neat at least
  • I don’t have kids yet, so I can’t say what toys I’d buy for a daughter or son, but I liked the points made in this essay. And frankly, since I just love toys, I’ll probably end up buying a bit of everything for whoever my future kid is.
  • The current status of cotton growers in the U.S. doesn’t look too good right now