Vogue 8819 Boucle Sweater

IMG_2629This was an impulse fabric purchase (not unlike many of mine) but this was a little different. I was walking out of my local mill end fabric store and spotted this on the top of a pile. I had not seen it the day before (yes, I am on a first name basis with the staff). It measured just shy of 2 yards and I knew I could squeeze some kind of outer garment piece from it. Because of the subtle stripe in it, I thought of Vogue 8819, which I had not sewn up yet.IMG_2639The black and white striped sweater in the Vogue pattern book really shows off the interesting use of stripes creating chevrons to give this cardigan more punch.V8819IMG_2626The subtle striping in this sweater knit didn’t require alot of time consuming stripe-matching, which made this sew up quickly. I also like how the neck piece conforms to the neck slightly.IMG_2628I made the Meduim 12/14 size and the only complaint I have is that the sleeves were a little too tight. I have a turquoise long sleeve knit tee cut out and ready to make, but I will have to make it a 3/4 sleeve or short sleeves to be able to slide on underneath this sweater. Other than that, I love the design and the length.IMG_2627IMG_2631There are no closures on this jacket, but a hook and eye could be added to the facing if desired.

I will now take a break from my black ensembles and feature some color in the next posts. I could not put you through another black pant offering. For someone who should be wearing browns and navy as my basic neutrals, I have been such a rebel with all of these black projects lately. Stay tuned for more color. Did you find this helpful? Feel free to comment and/or share.

Vogue 8952 Tops

Vogue 8952, View A

Vogue 8952, View A

Well, I’m back posting after the holidays. Hosting family, being sick, shopping, working pooped me out and all I could do to get back on track was to sew! Here are two tops from the same pattern that I made quickly to satisfy my instant gratification craving. The first top is View A from Vogue 8952.

Views A and C

Views A and C

The crazy print and black knit were remnants from my stash and I thought it would be a way to try out this pattern. I like the way the ‘baseball sleeves” tone down the print. It was also a great way for me to get some more practice on the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX machine on the neck band and hems.IMG_2564IMG_2566IMG_2567
The next top is View C made out of a great sweater knit from JoAnn’s. I bought it recently with Christmas money and I couldn’t be happier with the fabric. It has a faint copper animal-like print woven through it and it was a dream to sew on.

Vogue 8952, View C

Vogue 8952, View C

Minimal jewelry so far; tortoise shell earrings and a tortoise shell cuff watch. I may come up with something else to fill in the neck in the future…beaded necklace?IMG_2598The only problem is the boob-shelf issue. It falls straight down providing casual comfort, but without seeing the fabric move, it looks a little big. I made the medium, which is the combo size of 12/14.IMG_2595It also has a bat wing sleeve, which takes a little getting used to. I prefer the tidy look of a set in sleeve, but I loved the picture in the Vogue Pattern Book showing the chevron stripe on the arm. Sooo, that means the next project will have to be a striped knit!V8952 Chevron sleeve
The only change I made to this top was to add a neck band for stability. This sweater knit was heavy and I dreaded a distorted neckline, so I measured the neckline circumference, subtracted 3″, and cut a 2.5″ strip. I used the CoverPro stitch treatment again for further stabilization.

While I’m on the subject of stabilizing knits, I just watched my Craftsy class on Sewing Fashion Knits by Linda Lee. Click here if you want to know more about Linda’s patterns, classes and bio. I have been sewing on knits for a long time, but I’m always interested in learning new techniques. The class is very thorough and Linda’s delivery is professional and smooth. I also admire the way she understands color. Seeing the clothing samples from her pattern line may have been my favorite part.  If you have an interest in learning more about working with knits, I definitely recommend this class.

Santa’s Words To Sewists

Merry Christmas to all of you who may be celebrating in the next few days. I have a little sewing poem to share that came from Judy Kessinger of FitNice Sew Slim, a personalized pattern system. I was able to attend one of Judy’s 2-day seminars when she visited the American Sewing Guild Tucson Chapter a couple of years ago.

Twas the night before Christmas, I’m decorating the tree.
I’m wondering what Santa will bring just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I said, with a simple smile on my face.
And that’s when I heard him, “Hi Santa” I said.
“You know, good old broads should be in their beds.”
“I know I should Santa, and now I’ve been caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought.”
“Well, let’s take a look in this room where you work.”
He shook his head quickly, and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear,
‘You’ve got enough crap, I’ll see you next year!”
-Author Unkown

Please feel free to pass it on!

Santa Pillow Cover

IMG_2437There is no snow here in the desert, at least not yet, but the holiday season is upon us and I am busy making things, as I always do during this time of year. As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much since before Thanksgiving. It would be smarter to plan all year for Christmas projects, but I just don’t seem to work that way. I get inspired when the Christmas items show up in the retail stores. So, December brings out the Santa Elf in me and I get busy! If you still have time to whip up a last minute project for your decor or give them as gifts, I’ll walk you through the details.

I came up with this idea in my sleep. Well, kind of. I saw an example of a Santa pillow online with a white furry strap across the center like a belt, but thought that was not the correct way to represent Santa so I changed it up to have a black belt and a pom pom instead.

As I was going through my closets, I noticed I had some pillow forms unopened and thought this would be a great way to get them out and be used for the holidays. With the zipper installed at the bottom of the pillow, I can take the cover off and store after the holidays and get started on Valentine’s Day cover, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. I designed the pattern, which you can draft yourself, and make your own with materials of your choice. I made two pillows, so adjust accordingly.

Here are the supplies needed:
1.) 18″ pillow form(s)
2.) Red fabric of your choice, 1/2 yd of either 45″ or 60″ makes one pillow. Purchase 1 yard if making two pillows.
3.) Pattern paper of your choice. Tissue, newspaper, etc. I use medical paper.
4.) Marker or pencil to draw pattern.
5.) Buckle(s)
6.) Black fabric, felt, belting for Santa’s belt. I used felt strips cut to fit width of buckle and approximately 11″ long.
7.) Scissors
8.) Hand needle to sew on pom pom.
9.) White and red thread
10.) Two 18″ zippers.
11.) Package of 2 1/2″ pom poms (Hobby Lobby)
12.) Fusible 1/4″ tape (optional)

Step 1.) Using your pattern paper of choice, draw out two 19″ squares. Then, free hand some doggy ear shape as I did up in one corner.IMG_2403
Step 2.) Once the pattern is traced, cut out the pattern piece and pin to red fabric. Cut out fabric.IMG_2406
Step 3.) Serge (or zig zag) the lower edge of pillow. This will be where the zipper is installed. IMG_2407Step 4.) Prepare Santa’s belt by cutting your black fabric to fit buckle center. I used felt for the speedy factor, but you can use any black option of your choice. I just cut two strips the 11″ length of felt squares by the width of the belt. The excess gets cut off soon. IMG_2408 Once the belting is ready, cut a hole and insert buckle prong.
Step 5.) Positioning the belt and buckle: Find the center of the pillow and mark with a pin. The buckle’s center should be placed in the center of the pillow. This will help locate where the belt should be sewn and where the buckle will be placed.IMG_2409IMG_2412

Slide buckle back on to black fabric and insert buckle tongue. Sew the belting on, both edges, until you reach about one inch from buckle.
Step 6.) Noticing where the center of the buckle should be, flip buckle back on itself in order to sew the belting down. If possible, sew down the belting where the buckle will cover the stitching. Trim off excess.
Step 7.) Prepare other half of belt by measuring to the center, keeping the buckle placement in mind. Insert the other half of belting, turn back and mark the hole for belt tongue, Snip a hole and insert belting, I left mine loose, but you can stitch it down if desired. Keeping the buckle out of the way, stitch both sides of the belting down to the red fabric getting as close as possible to the buckle.
Step 8.) Prepare to insert zipper by machine basting with a 1/2″ seam allowance on the lower half of pillow covering. Right sides together.
Step 9.) Press open.
Step 10.) Optional: Iron on the fusible tape to the seam allowance. This will help hold zipper in place.
Step 11.) With zipper face down, press with iron along seam allowance, fusing the tape to the zipper.
Step 12.) With a zipper foot, stitch the zipper on to the pillow along both sides of the zipper on the right side. Open up basting stitches carefully with a seam ripper.
Step 13.) With right sides together, pin remaining three sides together, unzipping the zipper enough to insert your hand. If not, you will not be able to turn the cover right side out. Stitch all three sides in a regular stitch length. (2.5m-3.0m) Clip corners. Turn right side out, pressing out corners.
Step 14.) Prepare Santa’s pom pom by taking white thread and a needle and sewing through the center with a few whip stitches to the doggy eared corner of the cover. Insert pillow form and zip up. You are done!!
IMG_2433Enjoy your cover for the holidays, unzip and remove the pillow form (for the next cover you make), and store for next year. Enjoy!

Braided Beads

IMG_2231Mixing beads and then braiding them may not seam like a difficult approach to making a necklace, and it’s not, but I thought I would show you a few color combinations. Every necklace includes nine strands divided into three separate groups. Braid as usual, bringing the ends toward the middle until all nine strands are loosely draped. Add beads to ends if needed using spring clips on your wire because the braiding will draw up the length. When you are pleased with the drape, length and look, attach strands to the eye pin and prepare it for the cone and toggle closure.

Necklace length is 24 inches

Necklace length is 24 inches

I envisioned this being worn a turtleneck or deep v neckline so I thought the longer length would be a better choice. Plus, when the beads are braided, they seem to lay in the round a little better in a wider arc shape. All of the braids create a cord that doesn’t exactly drape or droop, so as I was making it, I would keep using the necklace form to see how it was progressing. The collection of beads includes chips, seed beads, Czech glass, any strand that catches my eye at bead stores! The strands can be strung in a repeating pattern or in a random to way. It is up to you.

Up close view of braided strands

Up close view of braided strands

Notice that all of the strands are different, yet related. This project is great fun because you get to use up so many beads from the stash. I call it “Bead Soup” because leftover beads can be used and incorporated.

Cones and Toggle

Cones and Toggle

All of the strands are attached to an eye loop of 20 guage wire and put up inside the cones. I then attach the toggle ends and finish with a wire wrap.
IMG_2246The next color combination used up some of my deep purple and green beads as well as iridescent blends of both colors. If possible, I blend both matte and shiny finishes to add interest.
IMG_2248As you may be able to see, the thickness of these necklaces is determined by the thickness of the beads used. It also affects the drape. I have found that the smaller seed beads keep the necklace more pliable.

IMG_2247The same technique is used to finish this purple and green 21 inch version.
IMG_2237This is the dressiest of the three necklaces. I haven’t worn this as often in the past, but now that fancy, statement necklaces are more popular, it will get more use.
IMG_2255If you love the look of pearls with casual outfits, you could make this with various size pearls and make the necklace more substantial. It would also sit higher on the neck with thicker beads or pearls.

Rose Toggle

Rose Toggle

I’m afraid my resources aren’t easy to track. I frequent the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when it comes to Tucson every February. Purchasing findings are my goal every year, and I don’t always record all vendors and respective purchases. My routine involves coming home and putting newly purchased items with older like-items as an effort to stay organized. I make jewelry for myself and not to sell so it has never been too important.

I am particularly fond of the new pewter findings because they don’t tarnish. There are plenty of sterling components in my collection in the way of closures, spacer beads, end caps which just take more polish maintenance because they sit and don’t get worn as often. However, there is nothing like the beauty of shiny sterling silver. I am lucky to not have any metal allergies which would, of course, change everything.

What is your preferred closure choice and metal preference?

McCalls 5890 Coordinates

IMG_2349If you are looking for a coordinates pattern that has casual and a bit dressy,this may be it. There will be more about this pattern to come but for now, this post is about the dress because it features princess seams resulting in a great fit. This must be a successful pattern for McCalls because I have seen it in the books for quite a while. (Something I use to determine successful patterns).IMG_2357IMG_2384I’ve added a picture of my doggy-eared pattern for a quick look and a link to check it out from the pattern book. The newest pattern book features this pattern made up in a geometric fabric in addition to the leopard print and it made me take a second look. Talk about great components for a travelling capsule! I have also made the sweater from the pattern (blog post coming soon) but chose to wear a shrug from Old Navy (old) instead to see if I liked it better. I think the proportions are better with flat boots. But back to the dress…
IMG_2351The sleeves are cut outward toward the shoulder which helps with the hour glass shape of the dress. The neckline is scooped just right. I cut the size 14 and took it in a little through the waist. No zipper, just pull it over the head. I serged the hem and did a blind hem to give it some weight.
IMG_2354Okay, so the back view is not too complimentary, but you get the idea of the dress silhouette. I prefer wearing heels with most dresses, but since winter is approaching, my flat black Target boots (also old) are just too comfortable for all-day-on-my-feet activities.
IMG_2378I purchased this fabric at my local mill end store in two remnant pieces. The all over knit print of the dress has pink, aqua, white, fuchsia dots in various sizes. Notice they are not the colors of my palette? Oh well. I was drawn to the simple print because it would not be interrupted by the princess seams. Hemming it at the knee gives me more options for year round wear. Too short would mean only leggings and I wanted to be able to wear this with booties and tights, flat or heeled boots, pumps and a structured blazer, etc.

As you follow my blog, you will notice I gravitate to quick and successful sewing projects that can be worn year round. I live in a hot climate and need separates that are great for layering. Like most women, squeezing in sewing time is a challenge. Sewing projects need to be fun and rewarding. I have a short attention span for each project and I am always tempted to start something new. There is too much fabric and not enough time!

ReStyled Oval Faceted Iridescent Necklace and Earrings

I bought three strands of the large oval iridescent faceted beads so that I would have enough to do two rows to mimic a bib-style necklace. I could have just strung these horizontally on beading wire as I normally do but I thought I would design this hanging the beads vertically to resemble the current bib styles.  On the blue background, I see the aurora borealis (iridescent) finish bringing out the purples and the golds, but to your eyes, you may see other colors.

Some of my most rewarding jewelry restyles are taking odds-and-end jewelry pieces from stores and various beads and then take them apart and make something new. Here is a clearance bracelet from Chico’s, beads from JoAnn’s that measure about 3/4″ long, E6000 adhesive and findings from JoAnn’s, and chain from Hobby Lobby.  Some of my inspiration comes from fabric, colors in nature, internet photos, window shopping and people watching.

The following is a brief description of how to make something like this.  If you are not sure of some of the supplies or terminology, there are some great YouTube videos on how to do basic beading techniques.  You can also contact me with questions for more information or ideas for future posts.


To make the necklace and earrings, here are some of the items I used:
1.) Gold Chain approximately 30″ for the bib style from Hobby Lobby like this.
2.) Closure like a toggle, lobster claw or magnetic.
4.) Jewelry tools: wire cutters, round nose pliers, flat surface pliers to open links when needed.
5.) Bracelet from a store to be reworked. (I removed two round hammered gold decorative discs with pre-drilled holes off the bracelet for the earring posts to glue to. They aren’t even missed on the bracelet!) How about using two pretty buttons?
6.) Earring Posts like these or sterling silver options like these
7.) Dremel tool or sand paper
8.) Head pins in gold or silver to attach bead to earring back
10.) E-6000 adhesive
11.) Toothpick
12.) Napkin or paper towel
I want to make a comment on the E6000 adhesive. I normally buy the large tube, use it a couple of times and then store it away. My jewelry making can be sporadic, and by the time I get back to using the big 2 oz. tube, it has dried up and I throw it away. I was thrilled to pay the same price for 4 small tubes because I think I will actually get more value out of less product!

Before gluing the posts to the back of your earring piece, I recommend sanding the back with the Dremel or sandpaper so that the surface is given some ‘tooth’.   The roughed up surface will help the glue to better adhere to the metal posts. Put a little dab of the glue on the napkin, scoop a little glue with the toothpick onto the earring backs. Allow to get tacky and then stick to earring decorative disc piece. You can wipe off excess now or later. That is why I love E6000 for this application: strong hold and easy clean up.


Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to design something like this necklace or earring for yourself.


  • Determine how long you want the necklace.  My longest chain measures 18.5, which allows for the beads to hang down right where I want them to.
  • Aim for an odd number of beads.  It seems to be the universal rule for ‘pleasing the eye’  or you can do whatever you like.
  • Evenly space the beads by counting the links between each bead.
  • Be willing to play around with placement.  It takes some time to get the beads and layout just right.




  • The earrings were made just like the necklace beads.  Although these are meant to be a set, the earrings will be usable by themselves with other gold jewelry. I know it’s matchy-matchy, but I don’t care.
  • Feel free to do a wire wrap instead of a loop to attach the bead to the earring post portion.
  • Allow the glue to dry at least overnight.
  • The earring loops were made the same way as the necklace.   Insert the headpin up through the bead and form a loop.   Cut wire allowing enough remaining to form an attractive loop but don’t close completely because you still have to insert into hole of the disc. (Or whatever you are using for the decorative earring post).  Close hole.

The necklace/beads move around, so if you want something that lays perfectly every time, this design may not be for you. I don’t mind the shifting because I love the way the light catches the facets of the beads.
Here, you can see the green coming out in the beads but that is not the only color.

The necklace looks more pink-ish against the black.   Because I am easily amused, what’s even more fun is seeing how different fabrics bring out the colors of the beads.   This makes the necklace/earrings so much more versatile in my wardrobe.


I hope you have fun coming up with your own restyled/refashioned/remade design. I would love to know how your’s turns out.

BOOtiful in Black

Halloween-Pumpkin-booI think this is a great use for those old, plain black buttons.

I will be sewing tonight. No great costumes to share with you this year. On prior Halloweens, I have been Raggedy Ann (my husband as Raggedy Andy much to his chagrin and NEVER to be repeated), a mermaid, a cat, but not a sexy one. It was more like a onsie that happened to be orange and black material and puurrfect for a cold night of ghoulish festivities. I even had animal-claw-ish slippers which completed the ensemble. One year I was the Statue of Liberty, using a discarded serger cone and a Cool Whip dish to help form my torch, completed by spray painting it all silver with tissue paper flames.

The first place winner was the year when my husband and I went as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. We went out to a local high end resort where they were having a Halloween costume contest/Dance and we won an overnight stay in one of the nice suites. It was definitely our best. I made my entire costume, but my husband was the most convincing by gluing white/gray/black yarn pieces to his face and throat, up from the neck to his ears and then on the tops of his hands. He had rubber pointy ears and a animal nose. It was perfect and creepy.

Maybe next year we will be motivated to come up with something new. What was your costume this year?

Garnet Colored Coin Pearl and Rondelle Multi-Strand Necklace

IMG_2222What I’m wearing today…..This is a garnet colored coin pearl necklace I made a few years ago using up some of my gray colored faceted rondelles for a little sparkle. The coin pearl diameter is about 3/8″ or 8mm, and the rondelles are probably 6mm. There are 4 strands total, but I would have preferred to string an odd number but I didn’t purchase enough pearls. It does the job anyway. Earrings are sterling silver posts given as a gift too long ago.
IMG_2227I like to string the rondelles in the mix at different intervals on each strand. One one strand, I may put them every 6 pearls, and on another I may put one every 8 or 10 pearls just to keep it from looking too boring. The rondelles provide that little sparkle as well as add that gray/black element I wanted in the necklace.
IMG_2226I finished it off with a pewter toggle (no tarnishing) and cones from JoAnns. I did a wire wrap and added some rondelles for a bit more sparkle just because!
IMG_2223So I hope this inspired you to make a little something for yourself or a gift for the holidays. Have a great day!

Crazy Shoes From Fashion Week

These examples of shoes are just too wild. Thought you might enjoy a smile.
774F759CD8728E7BD580AF2F1E2BE6_h376_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cTwwGmDWSColor Blocked Wingtip-ish. The socks and tights are a nice touch.
8D66B4CCB4DB893C60B595884AF3_h376_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cERQHpqrqRuffles hide a bad pedicure.
D031D148A11BE432B587DB7144BE1_h376_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_ciJsqRZzSThat’s a lotta’ boot going on.
5860DA4612FD4829312CD264A653D_h400_w266_m2_bblack_q99_p99_coYEMqJGk (1)
4DD1BCDA233ED0AED21D9DAF9847_h400_w266_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cycwbcRJQHot, sweaty foot?
26812AE7919B66BCA42AAB0769255_h376_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cZLGbBNEsAllow a little more time to get out the door with all that lacing up to do.
477546D064EDDAB85542824A865217_h376_w526_m2_bblack_q99_p99_cUdrmexPRA great summer shoe…..

So there you have it. This is just a sampling of the shoes to give you and idea. I love to see shoe designers with imaginations running wild. My classic pumps seem so boring after seeing this collection.
Do you have some crazy shoes in your closet?

Loes Hinse Sewing Seminar

005I debated back and forth with myself about writing this post because although I had a great time with my mom at this seminar, my little point-and-shoot camera was new to me and I wasn’t in the habit of taking commemorative photos of the event.   I hope the photos are enough to give you an overview.   We attending about three years ago, but the seminars are still taking place and I (we) would recommend checking this out for yourself.

My mom and I had been contemplating which sewing seminar we wanted to attend together and this one came out on top as a way to spend time together sharing our sewing, lunching, shopping.  The format of the seminar appealed to us.   Five days of open sewing with Loes’ (pronounced ‘Loose’) supervision and instruction in Carmel, California, and Sharon providing fabrics for purchase from Casual Elegance Fabrics.  Their partnership also was intriguing…how does that work?   Loes in Carmel, Sharon in Chico, CA?

I had been introduced to Loes Hinse (pronounced ‘Hin-sah’) years before when she came to Tucson to do a trunk show at a little fabric store called Buttons & Bolts (great name) now-defunct-fabric store.   I started with a few of her patterns and got hooked.   I wanted to learn more from her.  Mom was game.   The seminar lodging was within walking distance to shopping, dining, and the beach.   Beautiful surrounding area accompanied by gathering with ladies who sew..what could be better?  To top it off,  it was more affordable than other seminars….let’s try it.

Since the time we attended, both websites have undergone big changes and Loes’ prior website had a little more information on it about the lodging and seminar details.   Now, the information is on the new Casual Elegance Fabrics  website directing you to call either Loes or Sharon for most details.

Anyway, all questions were answered by Sharon, who was warm and friendly.   The recommended lodging was a local and quaint Dutch-inspired motel,  where the seminar would be held.   We packed our sewing machines up and shipped them to the hotel, where the staff were more than happy to store them until our arrival.

We landed in a small airport in Carmel and took a taxi to the motel. We arrived a day before in order to get checked in and walk around a little.   After settling into our rooms, we ventured by foot to the local deli for snack foods for our room and then lunch.

The seminar room was a conference room overlooking the pool with large tables set up for machines and all the accompanying sewing paraphernalia.  I think there were 8 women total?   Not sure, but we all squeezed in with enough room for Loes to do demos and for Sharon to set up her portable fabric store.
Hinse class copy orig

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures.   I hope you get the idea anyway.   This is the conference room with a professional iron, cutting tables, and a few of us getting set up.   It was quite messy by the last day after we had been working feverishly on our projects.
Hinse class  2  orig size
Talk about time flying!   The objective for everyone was different.   For a few ladies, completing as many garments as possible was the goal, some wanted to have one-on-one fitting assistance, some wanted to be in the company of other sewers and so a little sewing, and others wanted to be there to get as much out of the whole experience as possible. There were a few women who were ‘returners’–this was their third or fourth trip back for more.

One of the many exclusive benefits for attending the seminar is the access to Loes’ newest pattern(s) recently drafted.   These may be designs that may or may not ever make it to press, but we could get to trace it anyway (for free).  She had the pattern pieces prepared out of the manila pattern paper there to trace onto whatever paper you brought with you and then sew it up right there with her verbal instructions.   The collection of all patterns were there for sale and she offered ‘tweaks’ to change up some of the design details to some of the patterns.   Because Loes’ training is in European pattern design, fitting and construction, you can help but be inspired by her quick approach to building a timeless, classic wardrobe in limited time.   She also shares so many tips on how to care for the fabrics, the reasons for not using interfacings, wardrobe planning concepts with her patterns, and new ways to approach sewing in general.

I learned of a simple pattern weight idea using huge washers.   When I arrived home, I showed my husband these and we purchased some from  an industrial supply store to pick a few up. When not in use, they hang on a peg hook in my sewing room.
There were so many tips and product ideas to take away from the experience.   We found the environment cozy and intimate with enough time for everyone to get a little of Loes’ personal advice, coaching and humor.   The interplay between Sharon and Loes was great-an example of opposites attracting and complimenting one another.

On our off time, we walked down to Loes’ store front shop where she sells the garments for retail.   Most, if not all, of the garments she sells come from her patterns. She also sells coordinating jewelry.   We had to take a peak.

Binny taking a photo of shop

Binny taking a photo of shop

Dana in front of Loes Hinse shop

Dana in front of Loes Hinse shop on arrival day

My suggestion would be to try a Loes pattern out and get a sense of how her drafting, fit and instructions work.   Although I have almost all of her patterns, my favorites are The Gore Skirt Group, The Tango Skirt, The Tank Dress Group (which includes tank tops), The Sweater Set, The Oxford Pant, The Perfect Tee, and The Kimono Jacket. Many of these styles are in my wardrobe.   Whenever I want to whip something up quickly to get that immediate satisfaction, I sew up one of these favorites.

I really enjoyed going with my mom and having someone with whom to pal around, although it isn’t necessary to go with a companion.   Going alone suited many of the ladies because it was a creative get-away.   If you are interested, check out the sites and learn more about Loes Hinse and Sharon at Casual Elegance and also by signing up for the newsletter, “The Look”.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A New Haircut

Well, I can’t think of the last time I had a new style. It was probably when my kids were young and I had just moved to Arizona, which would have been in the early 1990’s. It was a short wedge cut and the hair hugged my neck. It was cute, but I got bored with it and grew it out. I’ve had my hair long for so many years and held on to it because I could style it in so many ways. You can still get some updo tips from my tutorial here if you have longer hair and want to try something new. Hair Boredom is my issue, so I have known that a new cut would have to offer at least two styling options, but hopefully more.

This summer, my boredom and laziness showed up because I found myself wearing it in a pony tail or up in one of those donut/top knot-wirey-mesh-things due to the fact that my hair down made me hot and dewy. My part time job does not require fancy hair, so I haven’t been able to bring myself to put the time in for a job that is so casual. In the past when I worked in a salon, ponytails were discouraged because they don’t exactly require much creativity. Some women look fantastic in them, but for me, they have been used for exercise or housecleaning. But here I was, doing the very thing I don’t like. Enough is enough. That’s when I realized it was time to either muster up the energy to style it in new ways or get a haircut that is cute, flattering, and suits my lifestyle.

Over the years, I have changed my hair color to dark, but eventually went back to blonde. As a licensed hairstylist, I have been pretty boring and unadventurous. No pink hair during beauty school or broken hair due to over-bleaching. I also have enjoyed seeing jewelry and scarves on people with shorter hair. I was now intrigued with the fun-factor. No wonder I don’t think to wear my scarves when my hair is down. Too Hot! Silly stuff like this was adding up and moving me in a new direction. And what about all of the new infinity scarves I’ve been making? Gotta wear them, right?

You probably take more chances with your hair than I do, which means that you are better with the thinking that ‘hair grows’ and nothing has to be permanent. That being said, not every haircut is a winner or that more questions could be asked so that you are thrilled with the next cut and style.

Are you ready for a change, or just thinking about it? Here are some things I can share that may help:

1.) Keep looking around to decide what you like and don’t like in a haircut/style. Use magazines, people-watching, internet photos to help narrow the choices. Maybe there are aspects of a cut and style you have had in the past that worked. Live with the idea and see if you keep going back to a particular style. Make a checklist and compile pictures. Here is an example of my list.
-Shorter than the shoulders. Check.
-Volume on top. Check
-Styling options; Curly or straight. Check.
-Flattering to head shape, features. Check.

2.) Don’t be shy. Compliment someone you see who’s hair you admire and ask for their stylist’s name and salon. Most will take this as a compliment. This word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to feel comfortable about getting a new resource. Make sure to get their first name to use as a referral when you make your appointment. The stylist will be thrilled the referral got you to their chair.
(FYI–My stylist is a great friend and former co-worker).

3.) Compare your hair type and texture (fine, course, curly, wavy, straight, etc.) to the styles you like. If there are no similarities, it may not be realistic, will be a struggle and won’t be satisfying. The best haircut compliments your hair type. Accept any cowlicks and recognize hair growth direction. Ultimately, considering these certainties will make for a lower maintenance style.
-Fine hair, but volumizing mousse and a blow dryer has worked before to provide volume. Check.
-No known cowlicks or hair direction issues, but be careful to use a mirror to check back views before leaving the house! Check.

4.) Be honest about the time you are willing to put into maintaining the new style. Wouldn’t it me nice to jump out of bed and have your hair look fantastic? Maybe men get to do this, but there are few women who can pull this off successfully. If you are one of those, good for you! I know I am a futz-er with my hair; some are NOT. Either they don’t don’t know how or don’t care enough to put the time in. This is why these questions are even more important to ask. Are you willing to get it cut every 6 weeks? How about color retouches every 3-4 weeks? How about the cost? Does it suit your lifestyle?
-Shorter hair requires more frequent cuts. I’m okay with it. Check.
-I can afford the color maintenance, both time and money. Check.
-Less hair = quicker drying time = faster out the door. Check.

5.) Are you ready for the backlash? Change is difficult for many and the loved-ones may not be ready for a big one. Are you confident and self-assured to take the plunge and withstand the disapproval, should there be any? Compliments are great, but ultimately, you have to be happy with all of the above considerations and ready to present yourself every day as your best self. If a new haircut gets you there, then great. If not, wait. It isn’t the right time. When the time is right, you will know.
-Am I still liking the idea of a new cut days after considering it? Yes. Check.
-Have I wavered? No. Check.
-Will my friends/family/employer still have me around? Hope so. Check.

Oh, and by the way, I DO NOT push the theory that when you turn a certain age, you must cut your hair to be ‘age appropriate’. In fact, I hate that. If long hair is well maintained and flattering on you, go for it. I just turned 50 and I may grow my hair long again, but only if I am willing to put the time and energy to have it look it’s best.

My philosophy is to put a little time in to look your best more often than not because it feels better, and has multiple pay-offs. You may not like that appearances matter so much, but they do. Studies show that we are all guilty, to some degree, of making snap assumptions about others due to their presentation….but that is for another post.
A new style after 10+ years!