Rust and Navy Knit Tunic

Front Long View 618WIMG_4356[1]In the spirit of early fall and pumpkin season, I whipped up this Butterick 5925, a Katherine Tilton tunic.  Have I mentioned how I love it when the end of October rolls around and brings a little chill to the air?   This is the consistent time of year in Tucson when sweaters and coats are realistic to wear.  I happen to love it (I probably should be living in a cooler climate).   I also love this top because it is easy to make, uses up some small knit remnants for the accents and is very comfortable.

FrontMid ShotIMG_4348[1]
The long necklace is thrifted from a local bookstore Рa little unexpected find from an unusual place.  It is jasper and hand knotted.  I think I paid $12.
As you can see from the line drawing, there are many ways to combine fabrics. ¬†I chose View B but left off the pocket. ¬†I didn’t want to add any bulk at the hip and have the stripe fabric be more visible. ¬†The contrast I chose was simpler than Katherine had designed for View B, where you can incorporate 3 fabrics. ¬†I shortened the sleeves to a 3/4 length which is a year round length for me AND allows for a little visible arm candy.

Back view of pattern

This style shirt and the use of different knit fabrics allow for so many options. I had no fitting issues, except for the neck band which is always tricky so that it lays flat. You know, a neck band that is not too tight, not too loose = SAGGY. Yuck. ¬†In the words of Michael Kors, “Becky Home-Ecky”. ¬† ¬†No preventable saggy necks. ¬†So what to do? ¬†¬†I haven’t figured out the perfect formula for the knit neck bands. ¬†Online classes and various teachers have suggested three-quarters of the neck circumference should be the neck band length, but that doesn’t always work due to the amount of stretch the fabric may have. ¬†If it is a low stretch, like Ponte knit or matte jersey, the neck strip will need to be longer in order to stretch around the neckline and still lay flat. ¬†Super stretchy fabric will be shorter in length for the neckband. ¬†I find pinning it and distributing it as evenly as possible around the neckline works best. ¬† Basically, I have to experiment every time. ¬†I like to jot down the length on my instruction sheet to a have reference info for the future.

Up Close Agate NecklaceIMG_4380[1]

Here is another jewelry option.  Earrings are from Payless Shoe Source!! Can you believe it? Never underestimate the gems that can be found in unlikely places.  The necklace is self made with agate tubes and spacer beads.

Necklace VerticalIMG_4407[1]Below, the side view shows how a triangle piece adds great interest (often called a gore).

Here is the Google definition pertaining to fabric:
noun: gore; plural noun: gores
1. a triangular or tapering piece of material used in making a garment, sail, or umbrella.
verb: gore; 3rd person present: gores; past tense: gored; past participle: gored; gerund or present participle: goring
1. make with a gore-shaped piece of material.
“a gored skirt”

Side ViewIMG_4364[1]



This is the cover stitch hem I did using 4 different threads with my Janome CoverPro machine. As you can see, the three threads show on top.  The fourth thread color is on the underneath side.

I even had enough fabric left over to make a tank and infinity scarf.  I have a post about infinity scarves here.

Cowl InfinityIMG_4402[1]
Long Infinity ScarfIMG_4403[1]

The tank is from the Ann’s Cardigan post. I lengthened it a bit from the waist down so that it can be worn as a vest over a button down shirt or under a cardigan or jacket. The scarf can be worn with the rust boots, and a completely different outfit.
Here is the 8 inch slit on the side of the tank.

Side SlitIMG_4404[1]

So there you have it. Another completed sewing project and some jewelry to match.   I hope you will grab this pattern while it is still in the Butterick book and make one up.

On to the next project!

Gray and Beige Equals Greige

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Greige Outfit and Necklace

Is there a neutral color that gets your attention every time? ¬†It may be certain shades of gray, tan or camel or a interesting combination of shades you can’t even describe. ¬†Well this is mine. ¬†I love this boring and funky color of brown/gray/beige. ¬†I bet many of you would call it something entirely different. ¬†It is another alternative to black, and a bit more complimentary to my coloring.
I scored the necklace at a local art fair and loved the combination of colored stones set in sterling silver.  Earrings are self made by adding a bead to a post finding from my stash.
Back to the outfit. ¬†I found the fabric at Jo Ann’s in the Famous Maker are which means it retails for $9.99 but eligible for coupons. ¬†I bought what was left on the bolt.

The skirt is a column skirt Рnothing special.  Just measure the length, add seam allowances for elastic waist and hem.  Measure around hips when sitting down and add 1-2 inches for ease.  I added a tricot stretchy lining since the fabric is see-through.  I copied the measurements of the skirt and made the lining just a bit smaller.

Tricot Lining

Tricot Lining

The pattern is from Sewing Workshop / Ann’s Cardigan and Tank. ¬†I noticed this pattern on Linda Lee on the Craftsy Sewing Fashion Knits online course in my personal Craftsy library. ¬†I think I have gushed over Linda before about her eye for color (and fabric) and the course if a great advertisement for some of her fabric and pattern choices as she describes some great techniques for working for knits.

Pattern Front 618WIMG_2729

Pattern Front and Line Drawing

Pattern Back618WIMG_2730

Quick back view to help you prepare

A quick look at the pattern shown here gives you and idea of what fabric type and yardage you’ll need.


Pumps from Kohl’s (old)

Godet Featured618WIMG_2707

Back comes forward forming a godet (a triangle shape)

The magic of the drape of the cardigan happens at the hip line.

Hipline 618WIMG_2718

Side slit of tank top

Above photo shows the side slit of the tank.  Notice I left the hem edges raw.
Changes in the future I would make:The tank has a modern silhouette with the points but the length is a little short on me. I like the length with this ensemble because there is so much of this color and the proportions work out, but in the future, I will lengthen the tank by cutting the tank pattern at the waist and adding length there instead of the hem. That way, it won’t add more bulk at the hips. ¬†DON’T NEED THAT.

Here is an up close view of the tank neckline and necklace. ¬†The neckline is turned under and sewn with two rows of top stitching. ¬†I love using two fusible tapes for the neckline: ¬†Design Plus Bias Fusible from LJ Designs This is used to stabilize and serge. Then I apply Dritz Wash Away Wonder Tape¬†in the 1/4 inch width to help fuse the edge to the underside. ¬†Then, carefully top stitch. Don’t do this late at night or too hopped up on caffeine!

PS NecklaceIMG_2720[1]

Doorway2 618WIMG_2705

Happy with the results

The pattern is a bit pricey, but if you are a cardigan girl like me, the plan is to make many of these pieces to get my money’s worth. The fit is flattering no matter your size or shape. Just remember to purchase a drapey knit that highlights the cascading front. Do you have a favorite cardigan (or tank) pattern?

My Dressing Your Truth Experience

Dressing Your Truth Type 2 Accessories

Dressing Your Truth Type 2 Accessories

Right after I explained in my last post how I would be making an effort to post more often and regularly, I promptly discovered Dressing Your Truth by Carol Tuttle and disappeared again. ¬† The information was fascinating to me because it was such a different approach to one’s style and how we present ourselves every day. ¬† I discovered it while reading other blogs and blew if off as too far out for me. But I kept seeing it referred to as a way to better understand yourself.¬† I signed up for the course and have enjoyed the information and yet I continue to be challenged by the complete overhaul of my closet…..and fabric stash. ¬†My previous posts on black accessories are best suited for the Type 4 Energy Types, according to Carol. ¬†I’m not sure I can accurately describe it any better than a few bloggers have in their posts, especially A Colorful Canvas and Forty Plus Style.

Of course, Carol Tuttle does a thorough job explaining what it is all about in the free online assessment course. ¬† I also read the book It’s Just my Nature by Carol Tuttle to gain a better understanding. If you are at all curious, I encourage you to take the course and see if you can identify your Energy Type. ¬†Unlike other personality assessments and/or having your colors done, this is based on the energy you possess and how you move through the world. ¬†It is DEFINITELY a different approach and one that challenges the existing fashion standards and rules. ¬†You may sail through it knowing exactly what type you are. ¬† Or like me, it may take a while longer to decide.

What type am I?
After reading and reviewing the course info, I assessed myself as a Type 2, a soft and subtle woman. ¬†I had mixed emotions about it. ¬†On the one hand, it fit me because I related to more of the Type 2 personality traits of being softer, more subtle, sensitive, ¬†quiet and needing alone time to regroup and recharge. ¬†T2’s need to ask ALOT of questions, gather information and focus on details. We move at our own pace and don’t like to be rushed. I have been this way since I was a child.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to identify with these qualities as I saw them as wimpy, weak and docile. ¬† In the facial profiling examples, my facial features are more Type 2 than the others, and comparing to other systems, my coloring is low contrast which was complimented by the Type 2 grayed and subtle tones. ¬†I guess I have known this for years but did not want to commit to it. ¬†I find myself flip flopping on dressing this way 100 percent because I still love the broader range of colors and metals found in the other types. Oddly though, I find it helpful and challenging because it gives me direction and focus that ends up with items that all blend nicely together. ¬†Some of the other aspects that keep me on track are:

1.) Design line – Elongated s curves, softened rectangles, elongated ovals
2.) Texture – Plush, soft, comfortable
3.) Fabrication – Medium weight, relaxed, draping, soft, and feeling comfortable to the body.
4.) Pattern – Blended and flowing patterns, muted and subtle designs, low contrast color combinations, diffused backgrounds
5.) Color – Pure colors plus gray, dusty, muted

I identified with all of the types, and originally thought I was a Type 1, but I lack the buoyant, high energy movement. ¬†Type 1’s are often seen as the ‘life of the party’, bubbly and childlike. I did relate to the desire for many choices, random behavior (switching topics and projects), and wanting my clothing, sewing projects in full view resulting in a messy sewing room! ¬† Type 1 outfits and accessories are light, bright and sparkly, with animation and fun details. Sounds good to me!

I also related to the Type 3 Rich and Dynamic Energy, but do not have that PUSH that is described that provokes a response in people….it can be confrontation and a bit bold. ¬†NOT my nature. Some other traits of the Type 3 energy are being active and needing to physically move. They have a more dramatic style, edgy hair color and styles, liking bold statement clothing and jewelry. ¬†I like this style the most, and find myself shopping in the Dressing Your Truth store in the Type 3 area because I love the colors, texture, jewelry and statement.

As for Type 4, I have aspects of this type, but not enough of this Type to have it be my primary. ¬†Type 4 is Bold and Striking. ¬†It is a still and reflective energy, but again my facial features don’t really fit this profile and I don’t have the high contrast. ¬†Type 4’s are analytical, thorough, need time alone and can reflect back what they see in an effort to perfect and improve things. The fashion industry promotes more of this style and coloring to the world, even though few of us look great in bright, bold and black colors. ¬†Thye Type 4 energy does not resonate with me so it was the easiest to remove from my list of possibilities.

If you have followed my blog, you know I LOVE color in my wardrobe and accessories, so as I attempt to follow some of these Type 2 suggestions, here are some recent finds that are being incorporated due to their color, design lines, fabrication, texture and pattern. If you want to read more about my prior color consultation experiences, you can read about it here. My views have changed since then after learning about the energy portion. Black and White have never been recommended for my coloring as they are too harsh. I have, like many, filled my closet (and stash) with the black/white/black&white fabrics!! As for now, I have set them aside. The idea here is to present an entire package that is cohesive, unique and reflective of your entire being, not just hair, skin and eyes.

Thrifted open crochet waterfall cardigan

Thrifted open crochet waterfall cardigan

Bugle Bead Necklace from Charlotte Russe

Bugle Bead Necklace from Charlotte Russe

I decided that visiting thrift stores would be a great way to start the process of adding Type 2 clothing into my wardrobe. Here is one of the sweaters I found at the Goodwill as the temperature soared outside. I’m grabbing items that no one wants right now before our temps drop in the Fall. The necklace was purchased at Charlotte Russe. ¬†These two sweaters look like the same color, but the waterfall cardigan has a metallic thread running through it as well as gray/white yarns. ¬†The shawl sweater is more of a grayed down brown. Both have soft features, fabrics and textures.

Thrifted H&M Grayed Brown Shawl Sweater

Thrifted H&M Grayed Brown Shawl Sweater

This sweater is a bit thicker and I’ll have to wait until it is pretty chilly out to wear it, but the fit and color were great, so into the cart it went. ¬†Necklace is self made with mixed beads and shell oval drop. ¬†See? ¬†I made this YEARS ago and haven’t worn it much. ¬†Subtle, soft colors are bringing this back in to the forefront.

Thrifted Charcoal Hillard and Hanson Cotton Cardigan

Thrifted Charcoal Hillard and Hanson Cotton Cardigan

This dark gray is my new substitute for black, so it will be a staple in the wardrobe. The scarf was also thrifted for $3 and I threw it in with some things I was dyeing and changed it’s overall white background to blue which also toned down the other colors. Love it now. I will be covering more about my dyeing fabrics in a future post.

Thrifted light blue ruffled vest

Thrifted BCBG light blue ruffled vest

Okay, so this may be a bit much on the ruffles, but I liked it for its design lines and s curves. As long as there isn’t too much else going on, it will be the star player of the outfit. Belt is a pewter color, thrifted.

Type 2 Handbags

Type 2 Handbags

My handbag collection expanded a bit with these two beauties. The dusty peach satchel was a find at Macy’s on sale, and the cross body is from Nine West from Burlington Coat Factory.

In addition to all of this, I have separated my sewing patterns into Type 2 styles, sorted through my fabric stash, made beaded jewelry and dyed fabrics. There will be more posts on the dyeing of fabrics, how the five elements have changed my creative outlook on dressing and sewing, thrifting successes and what I am doing with the fabrics in my stash. Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear what you think about Dressing your Truth and what your thoughts are on the subject.

Small Black Capsule

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

I know that black is not one of my best colors, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help myself. It is just too easy to work with and sew into great go-to pieces for reliable, pulled-together looks. With my fascination with capsule wardrobes, I have a Pinterest board filled with many variations of what constitutes a ‘capsule’. I’ve noticed some pins that claim ‘9 pieces, 9 outfits’. This doesn’t seem like a winning formula. I prefer the 12 items creating 96 outfits or some kind of math equation like that, ¬†stemming from my reading of Nancy Nix-Rice”s book, Looking Good Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women..

From my daily stalking of Pinterest and book reading, I have learned that a ‘capsule’ begins with core pieces in one or two neutral colors consisting of interchangeable tops and bottoms such as pants, skirt, tank, jacket. Next, add in some coordinating prints in the way of tops or scarves, colorful linking jewelry connecting the colors together and Viola! Easy Breezy dressing. Another great source for capsules is the website Vivienne Files. covering clothing and color combinations galore.

I spend a lot of time planning out the right fabric with the right pattern and I when I am thinking about wearing pieces multiple times, I want them to go the distance and last from season to season.  Trendy pieces are downright fun to make and wear, moving in and out of the wardrobe. This was an effort to make some practical pieces that fit my lifestyle making it easier to mix with my wardrobe.

Here are three pieces I recently finagled out of 4 and 1/2 yards of 60″ wide fabric. The pants = 1 and 1/2 yards, top = 1 yard, shirt = 2 and 1/8 yards making for a small capsule with many possibilities. ¬†Due to careful pattern placement, I was able to squeeze more pattern pieces onto the 4 and 1/2 yards, when technically I was short an eighth of a yard. If I have a large expansive piece of fabric, I can usually be a bit more conservative about pattern placement and conserve fabric.

Here are the three patterns I chose: McCalls 6613, Loes Hinse Cruise Pants – similar, and Burda 8987 out of print (OOP). (A favorite tank pattern can be cut on the bias to recreate this idea.)
The fabric is from my stash, pre-serger, because when I pulled out the 4.5 yards from my cabinet, I noticed that I had not serged the raw edges. I religiously do that now as I find it reduces the wadded up fabric disasters in the dryer. The fabric content must be a linen blend with a white slub thread running through it in a cross hatch pattern. It has great drape, is 60″ wide, resists wrinkling, and comfortable to wear. ¬†I can’t even remember where I bought it, but my tip is to buy the fabrics that feel great to your hand.

A few tips I can pass along when shopping for the easy care fabrics: Do they wrinkle when you do the squeeze and release test? How does it hang vertically or on the bias? Since buying fabric can often be a gamble, I look at content, care, drape (hand) of the fabric and it’s future versatility with other garments in the wardrobe. Will it go with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe when finished?

McCalls 6613 Palmer Pletch

McCalls 6613, View C, Palmer Pletch

The reason I picked this shirt was that I wanted a yoke and back pleat resembling a man’s shirt. ¬† I wanted it roomy and able to be worked as an outer piece (shirt + jacket = shacket? or jirt?). ¬†Anyway, I knew I would be giving up the bust darts, which are a favorite for me to get the right fit. I sacrificed that for the other features like those of View C which offers bias pockets and a bias front band. With a camera flash, this shirt looks like a charcoal gray, but it is black. Can you see the bias detail?
The sleeves are rolled up with a tab buttoned to the outside which is how I will wear the sleeves most of the time.

The tank is a V neck, seams to be more forgiving than the tanks I have cut on the lengthwise grain, and the armholes are drafted just right. Have I mentioned how much I love bias cut garments??

The pants are pull on with the addition of self drafted pockets placed on the outside, not in the side seam, and more toward the front of the pant. This kind of pocket adds NO bulk to the hips.

Now for some accessories. After reading Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style blog post on getting more mileage from beauty bundles, I realized that I have plenty of black/white/gold accessories that could be grouped together to make for easy selection based on what the day’s activities hold. The inspiration for Imogen’s post came from the book by Brenda Kinsel, Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style. ¬† I provided the link to Amazon because it is available at a reasonable cost, has great tips and wonderful illustrations. ¬† It is just a jumping off point. ¬†Take from it what you can.
Here is a grouping that blends with my yellow hair a bit better….

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy's clearance table

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy’s clearance table

This mixed pearl cluster necklace has a gold chain and is a larger scale piece, so I would choose smaller gold accessories.
I might put a white cardigan, or a black jacket with this combo…..

To see more about the accessories, click here to see the slideshow.

A warm red, gray, white scarf

A warm red, gray, white scarf

 Simplicity  short jacket with drawstring neckline

Simplicity short jacket with drawstring neckline

This Simplicity 1621 jacket has no hanger appeal, but is actually pretty cute as a shrug/jacket.   I will post about this in the future as I have plans to alter the pattern a bit.  I want to leave the front the same but lengthen it to a cardigan length or duster.  The fabric is a linen look, which is a rayon/linen blend.  The front hangs a bit on the bias.  I finished the edges with a rolled hem.  The sleeves are simple;  rolled up thereby keeping the look casual.

For more ideas about accessorizing, see more on my post Accessories: Black/White/Gold/Silver.

Do you have some patterns in your stash or in the recent pattern books that could be made up into great capsule pieces?

Green Apples and Green Peas

IMG_4050 Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….

There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….

Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat. ¬† It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.


3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets

I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.

Back View, Midtown Trench

Back View, Midtown Trench

The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too. ¬†I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee. ¬†I wear it with dark denim and a tank.

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Back view of the Midtown Trench

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons

Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute.   There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!

Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try.
IMG_4050Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp.
Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.

Green Jasper, 8mm

Green Jasper, 8mm


18″ Five Strand Necklace

Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?

Winter 2014 Pattern Peek

I wish my local Joann’s store was a little quicker on putting the latest pattern catalogs and pattern magazines out on display. ¬†I get all excited only to find the store hasn’t gotten around to putting any of the patterns in the drawers. ¬†What to do? ¬† Visit Hancock’s instead!! ¬† Pour over these pages and get your list ready!

The reality is that I have so many projects in the Que, that there really is no rush.  I will be plenty busy with life, work, chores in the coming days that I need to just breathe and wait a bit longer.

I won’t be reviewing patterns in this post but rather assisting in the planning for your winter sewing.
Check out the latest VOGUE WINTER 2014 Patterns from some of the major companies.  I think I live in the wrong part of the country sometimes because I look forward to the wonderful coats and layering pieces for the colder months.  We have had such a long, hot summer in Tucson that I am ready for a change!!  No need to get in the car and drive to the fabric store just yet.  Due to the wonders of technology, feel free to flip through the pages of the mini catalogs and select your favorites.

Here is a quick peek at the McCALLS WINTER 2014 patterns for the chilly winter. There are holiday fashions, some for little people, and great outer wear and separates for my favorite topic–core wardrobe capsules.

How about KWIK SEW  I have a few winners from Kwik Sew over the years that I sew over and over. Since being purchased, they now offer tissue pattern paper instead of the old butcher paper. Also, the envelopes allow the instructions to be read before purchasing. Before, the old envelopes were sealed. They are priced somewhere between the Big 4 (on sale) and independent patterns.

There are some great Fall/Winter options in Butterick so here is a link to the BUTTERICK FALL 2014 patterns. I already possess the newest of these and can’t wait to get started. I think I will run out of cool temperatures before I finish my projects.

Let’s not forget our independent patterns. ¬† Here are a few lovelies for the colder months. ¬†LOES HINSE has designed a new jacket/cardigan called the Barcelona Jacket and can be found on the Casual Elegance website (shich is on my blogroll). It features a deep V neck and longer length and can be made up in a variety of fabrics.

There is also SERENDIPITY STUDIO Dakota Jacket that offers a great outer layer with a slightly vintage feel. I have ordered this and am making it up in teal velveteen. Can’t wait to see if it will work out. If you haven’t seen the array of Kay Whitt’s clothes, you are in for a surprise. She has a great eye for color and fabric combinations. She has a specific style that she pulls off beautifully.

Another great resource for a more ‘artsy’ or angular styled clothes is THE SEWING WORKSHOP. Linda Lee has a unique design style and these outer wear jackets can be made up in a number of ways. ¬†I am particularly curious about the new Chicago Jacket because it has a big shirt look and could be made out of light weight or heavier fabrics.

How about some Style Arc Jackets and Vests?  Talk about a great selection.  I have not used these patterns yet, but have read about some success stories on other sewing blogs.

If you are interested in a comprehensive list of independent pattern companies, click here.

Happy browsing and sewing!


Fall Brings Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Although this will post in November, I worked on this jacket for a good part of October. This time of year brings about the prolific use of orange everywhere-mostly for Halloween, but also for fall decorations.   The above picture is a bright geranium from my yard, blooming like it is the prime season for this flower.  Nature provides great inspiration by offering wonderful color combinations, so here is my interpretation of these two.

Using Simplicity 2153, I used some heavy duty green duck fabric in olive and combined it with a cotton tee from Walmart. ¬†I’m not sure this borderline fluorescent-y orange is the best color for me, so I normally lean toward the coral and peach versions. ¬†It combined with olive, so here it is. ¬†This jacket took a while because I did a lot of unpicking!
IMG_3958The reason it took a while ¬†was because I originally envisioned the coat having flaps on the four pockets with either buttons and buttonholes, or hook and loop tape. ¬†The flaps didn’t sit right and the buttonholes sewn with upholstery thread didn’t look right either. ¬† So I decided to use the buttons as only decoration and put them on the edges of the pockets anyway. ¬†I like the simplicity of it now and there is less fuss getting in and out of the pockets.

I was motivated to make a olive green utility jacket for three reasons: 1.) I love olive drab and it happens to be the color of my eyes 2.) I needed a single layer outer casual jacket 3.) It is BIG in fashion and I can sew it my way. 4.) It has a great history here.

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

The necklace was purchased at DSW, the olive duck/bottomweight fabric was purchased at SAS Fabrics, my local mill end store. The fabric is a little stiff right now, so I hope with a few tosses in the washer and dryer, it will soften up.IMG_3975
Here are the items I collected before starting the project:
Simplicity 2153

Simplicity 2153

My local fabric stores did not have the olive colored brass zipper, so I ordered online from Zipper Shipper. All you do it look for the type of zipper you want and enter in the desired color and length. It is my new go-to for zipper needs because the cost was great, shipping was fast, and the quality of the zipper is very good. The contrast thread was Coats and Clark Upholstery thread in gold, antique brass buttons are from Hobby Lobby. Seam tape in olive, and the best find was parachute cord at Joann’s in the beading section–who knew?? Oh, and Simplicity 2153, view C with D collar.IMG_3963
Back View relaxed

Back View relaxed

Here is a the back view without cinching the waist tie.
Back view cinched

Back view cinched

Here, I pulled the waist cord and cinched it to give more waist definition. I will probably make this jacket again in a lighter weight fabric. I like the length, and the pockets are in the right place. One change I would make after finishing the jacket would be to change the bias tape from olive to a gold color. It would have been a better match to the gold top stitching and buttons. It is only visible from the inside, so as with many projects, YOU will know it’s there. Lesson I learned: Make a note and pay closer attention next time.
Optional sleeve detail

Optional sleeve detail

I love the sleeve detail because rolled up sleeves are more practical for me, and I could still unbutton and unfold them and cuff them at the wrist if I want. The strap and button are attached to the sleeve first, then sewn in the flat method before the side seams are sewn.

Some other changes I made were the parachute cord was attached to 1/2″ elastic in the collar and the waist. ¬†I like the way elastic keeps a gathered look instead of messing with a pull tie or cord to help evenly distribute the fabric. ¬†It always stays scrunched and the ties hang out just enough to be cinched up if needed.

Ready to make another version!

Ready to make another version!

I’m very happy now that it is done, because I was starting to lose interest. Pushing beyond my ‘sewing ADD’, I am happy to report cooler temperatures (finally!!) and I am better prepared with one more outer jacket…Yah! I think I will try either a vest or jacket in a windbreaker weight next time with black buttons, ties, and zipper to wear with yoga pants to run errands or take walks.
What are you sewing in preparation for cooler temperatures?

DeedleandThread in Boston Part 1

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding areas

Curvy SewingCollective logo
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!

In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area ¬†sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.

Flour Bakery, Boston

Flour Bakery, Boston

More about Jenny…..
light good
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for. ¬†I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible. ¬†Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about ¬†in her blog.

Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.

We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.

Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!

Now, on to the fabric. ¬†When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Day 2: ¬†Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of ¬†silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns. ¬†It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson. ¬†Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here. ¬†I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck. ¬†That was my experience, so take it for what it is.

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard. ¬†Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.


The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

Day 3/Last Day: Off to Grey’s Fabrics and Bead and Fiber

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy.  Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber items for sale

Bead and Fiber items for sale

There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest???  Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce.  They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.

Craft Table in the middle of the store

Craft Table in the middle of the store


I SPY: It doesn't get any better than this

I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this

Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have. ¬†You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below. ¬†Don’t they look professionally made?

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey's

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s

The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber.   After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own.   I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy.   I purchased the black for $10.00.  It looked easy to use.  Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza. ¬†Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.

Grey's Fabrics, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Inside Grey's--Hey, it's grey in here!

Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!

What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer. ¬†I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric. ¬†In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear. ¬†I’m a sucker for it every time. ¬†Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement. ¬†Butterflies!!

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric,

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”

With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston! ¬†It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.

A Shout Out for SewRED-y…A New Blog

Sewing With Cats_0002
I am thrilled to share a link to a new sewing blog on the scene. It is SewRed-y from my student, Rachel. I’m so glad she has taken on the sewing obsession and wow, is she a natural! She took a class from me when I taught at Jo Ann’s and with a little guidance from me, some love and support from the hubby, and some fierce determination, off she went! Read up on the details, like how she fits in sewing with many furry creatures at her house here.

Here she is at one of our Sit and Sew sessions cutting out a pattern: (pre-short hair cut)
Loving the idea of me taking her picture…
Now I get to stalk another blog and add it to my blog roll. Way to go, Rachel!

Shades of Olive Jacket Kit

Dana's Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

Dana’s Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with my mom at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington last year at about this time (Feb/Mar), and I’m a little sad I didn’t go this year. It was my first sewing expo out of Arizona and I wanted to share one aspect in more detail with you.

One of the big highlights was meeting Linda MacPhee, a patterns designer, teacher, sewing enthusiast, vendor, among other talents. Here is a jacket kit I purchased from her after seeing the kit and the finished product. From the list of presenters for 2014, I don’t think Linda attended this year, but she still offers the pattern in two color choices on her website here. If you have a moment, check out the website for the Expo for 2015. It is fun to look at the sight to get a taste of all that is available. I highly recommend attending if you want to be surrounded by sewing enthusiasts, great instructors and an ‘seamingly’-never-ending supply of vendors and supplies. It’s exhausting!

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013

The catchy title of ‘Shades of Gray’ was a deliberate attempt to get the attention of customers and cause them to stop by the booth and ask questions about this art-to-wear jacket. Here we are at her booth and advertising her gray jacket kit. She was such a delight to meet in person. I have been a member of the American Sewing Guild, Tucson Chapter in years past and had heard that she had come to our city of offer classes and demos, but for some reason, I never attended. It was my loss. She is so friendly and warm. ¬†My mom and I must have said the right things because we were asked to be models in Linda’s fashion show on the main stage!

After getting to talk to her, Linda conveyed that sewing needs to be to simplified, making it as easy as possible to open up to new and different ways to be creative. Sometimes, we get in our own way and complicate a pattern’s process, or get intimidated before even starting something and as a result, never get it off the ground and finished. So…….this jacket has taken a year to complete! ¬†More about why later in the post.

Linda prepares the kits herself by providing various remnant squares of fabrics from her suppliers.  The kit fabrics have the weight and feel of home decorator and stretch woven fabrics.   The additional fabric needed is the sleeve fabric of your choice.   Linda chose a heavy sweater knit for her sleeves because she lives in Canada and wanted extra warmth. I selected a black cotton/poly knit remnant from my stash.  This kit requires some planning and prep to make this jacket come alive.

Somehow, she knows how much fabric to provide as well as a zipper, pattern, and creative suggestions in the instructions. The idea is to come up with your own configuration. Basically, you are creating the fabric for the jacket like a puzzle. The placement of all fabrics need to look right and balanced and pleasing to the eye. It can also be a great way to use up some laces and trims as well as any other fabric remnants from the stash.

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

As you can see, she added lace, stitching, a rhinestone encrusted zipper, and a creative assortment of related and coordinating fabrics
'Shades of Gray' Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

‘Shades of Gray’ Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA

Below is Linda’s sample of the olive jacket to help customers see how the pieces can come together. In the background, you can see all of the MacPhee Workshop patterns stacked and ready for sale. ¬† There is so much to take in! ¬†There are great garment samples from her various patterns made up for the sole purpose to try them on for size and fit. ¬† She offers guidance with pattern selection to suit your lifestyle needs. ¬† Some garments hang on racks for sale made up out of fabrics available at her booth. ¬† She is so generous with her techniques and tips it is hard to not get so excited and grab the next available sewing machine in sight and get started.
'Shades of Olive' Sample Jacket

‘Shades of Olive’ Sample Jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket

Selvage and lace used on back

Selvage and lace used on back

Here, Linda used the selvage and lace to add interest and texture to the back. It can also be a way to hide the butting of a seam or blend two fabrics together.
Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back

These two fabrics were very different and yet coordinated nicely. One is a flocked printed denim and the other is a scrolled design with a reversible side.
Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides

The pattern Linda chose to include in the kit features the two pieced sleeve and princess seams to not only allow a better fit, but another opportunity to combine more fabrics in small doses to add interest.

So here is my jacket. At a glance, they look alike, but they are very different.  My mom provided a scrap of fabric that I used throughout, like on the right pocket. I also added laces of different widths at seam joints.  I suppose no two jackets could be the same because the fabric in the kits may vary and the arrangement of them will be different for every person.IMG_2651
IMG_2654You can see the back side pieces are from the same scrap fabric from my mom, only reversed. It has a slight gold fleck in it and looked great on both sides so I had to find a way to show both sides. Plus, it blended well with all of the other fabrics.
IMG_2655So why did it take me a whole year to complete? Well, I was moving right along without a hitch with the fabric piecing, but had difficulty getting the sleeves to set properly. ¬†I’m not sure if I didn’t mark the reference points right or what, but I didn’t notice they weren’t in correctly until they had been sewn and serged. ¬†They didn’t hang properly and had to be ripped out. I got discouraged, and frankly, allowed myself to get distracted by other sewing projects. It sat until I forced myself to tackle some of my UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).
I hope this post inspires you to look at your patterns and fabrics in a new way. Maybe there is the possibility of a hidden jacket ‘kit’ in your stash.

Now, for the lariat necklace. If you want to know more about it, click here to get the details.

Sewing Bee Coming to the U.S.!

Casting Flier US Sewing Bee
If you are not familiar with the Great British Sewing Bee, it is time to go onto YouTube and check it out to get ready for the U.S. version.   I wrote about it in a previous post here.

Those I know in the garment sewing world, are thrilled we are now going to have a version in the United States. This is a flyer requesting contestants to inquire, but you must be living in the Connecticut/New Jersey/New York areas.  I hope it becomes popular and sweeps across the country.  The format should be welcoming to the beginning level sewist up to advanced level, but we will have to wait and see how they pick the contestants.  Spread the word!

Are you, or anyone you know interested in entering?

5 Tips For Wearing Stripes

I saw this Valentine card and thought is was provocative, but in a good way. The zebras caught my eye and I had to look inside. The caption made me smile but it also conjured up all of the fashion back-and-forth we read and hear about stripes.IMG_2640

Inside Caption

Inside Caption

(Card is from a series called “Party Animals” by Recycled Paper Greetings.) But back to our topic….

How DO we feel about the stripe issue? Poor thing has her widest stripes running across her rump region. It’s just the way she was made. And now that brings me to the question of stripe width such as thick or thin. Or how about the direction of the stripe layout and whether it should be horizontal, vertical or diagonal…? How about color(s) of stripes together. Does the garment look like a rugby shirt or kids clothes? And then the stripes’ ability to play well with others. Let’s explore.

I love stripes, so I disagree with the card caption, but I also understand the reason why horizontal stripes may not be the most flattering. It seems to be common sense that in dressing our bodies, long and lean is preferred over short and wide. So from a visual perspective, eyes moving from left to right create width. I get it. But I still like horizontal stripes. Here are some suggestions using stripes in our outfits to best flatter our figures and bring out our best features.

1.) Wear them under a blazer. The horizontal lines are somewhat covered and yet still bring interest to your outfit. This also goes for busy prints. The jacket tones down anything that might feel too edgy or distracting while giving a sharp, pulled together
2.) Mix them with a prints that shares some of the same colors. This helps unify the look without it looking like a mistake. There is nothing like a clean striped shirt, but sometimes a statement necklace or striking scarf can add the finishing touch to a rather classic and traditional look. It will add some fun and bring more color toward your
3.) Look for clothes with diagonal stripes and chevrons. There is a fine line between stripes that make you step back to focus, and those that intrigue your eye. These are busier designs for sure, but also work to camouflage bumps and bulges (if you have any). They also keep the eye moving and are a little more interesting and unexpected. You will probably have an immediate reaction to size and use of stripes and will know whether or not you like it or dislike it.Striped topStriped bias knit topdiagonal stripe dress
chevron skirtdiagonal maxi

For the sewist, I wrote a post showing Vogue 8819, which is a great pattern for using stripes in an eye catching way. My favorite use of stripes is to place the pattern pieces on the diagonal (bias) and use them on neckbands, cuffs, sleeves, skirts, dresses and maybe more. Often, the diagonal or bias drape of the fabric is spectacular. A little practice is needed matching stripes or handling the wiggly seam allowances, but the results are worth it.V8819
4.) Don’t be afraid of mixing thick with thin stripes. Again, be on the lookout for ways the two stripes compliment each other. Is is color? Theme? It needs to look intentional and not like you got dressed in the dark.stripes thick thin

Above, the vest adds some interest to the outfit using a neutral grey vest with a ‘stripe’ created with a contrasting fabric while working well with the cobalt pieces. The outfit might look a little simple without the vest, and the varying stripes add some interest. If the vest had been cobalt, it might run into the problem of Miss Matchy Matcherson. Can’t have that.strip with stripescarf

Stripe thin thick

5.) Use vertical stripes when possible to lengthen the look of the body. It is not as common to find the stripes running vertically because many fabrics are woven with the stripes running from selvage to selvage(crosswise), especially knits. If you are lucky enough to find fabric with the stripes running the lengthwise of the fabric (parallel to the selvages), it will probably be a woven fabric and suitable for pants, skirts or shirts. Men’s shirt fabric is a good example of stripes running lengthwise.verticalsThere is also something called princess seaming that runs from the shoulder vertically down the length of the dress creating a vertical line. This dress is an interpretation of this kind of design line in pattern making that has been used in color blocking, creating a very slimming silhouette. You can read more about princess seaming in my previous posts on the coordinates pattern by McCalls #5890 pattern and the Simplicity #4032 Jackets.
vertical striped dressHere is the question: What is your stripe preference?stripe comparisonsketch comparisonLooking at all of the images in this post, do you have a favorite or do you like them all?