04 August 2016

Vogue 9014; Misses' Top with Bias Collar

Just finished this top, probably one of my favorites to date. The fabric is an opaque, lightweight, smoke gray linen with white pinstripes. Design features include a lined, sleeveless top, with buttoned back, and bias collar. The bias collar folds softly around the neckline and is very flattering. I used the same fabric to line the garment, which created the perfect weight and feel to my surprise. This Very Easy Vogue pattern is now out of print, but if you have it in your stash, it's worth a try.

02 August 2016

New Look 6895; Poufy Sleeves

New Look 6895. I thought poufy sleeves might be too youthful on me, but I so admired the feminine styling of these tops, that I went ahead and gave it a go. Choosing seersucker in a conservative color palette, soft gray and white, worked out well and gives this top a classic appeal.

01 August 2016

Sewing with Jaden

Meet my granddaughter. Here she is in the sewing room. This summer I vowed that she'd have her first sewing lesson from me and she'd love the experience, I was so certain, but little did I know. Texting friends; shopping at the mall for school clothes; watching movies with grandma, chatting all the while; this is what we happily did on this very special weekend. Happily pinning, cutting, and laboring over straight seams? Not so much. Once we got to sewing, pinning fabric? Ouch! The sewing machine intrigued her at first; she would start with a  straight 1/4" inch seam, but that seam would grow wider and wider down the line. Over and over again, as many times as we'd rip the seam to start over again, that seam would grow and grow; the line was straight, but she'd veer off course. I wondered, "hmmm..." What was the problem here? She seems proficient for a first timer. Did she not get a good night's rest at grandma's overnight? Does she need glasses? Was this possibly 13-year-old sabotage? I began to suspect all negatives. If she could not sew an even seam, we'd have problems completing this very simple, pillowcase project. The lurking suspicions swirled in my head. She might not be interested, no kindred spirit, oi vey! How would I cope??? We got that darned pillowcase finished, with me pushing hard from behind. I looked for a gleaming sense of accomplishment in her eye, but instead I detected...zero, nada. Instead, "Hurray, I'm off the hook!" She was surprised when I told her there would be a next time; we'd try again, she would learn to sew. Maybe one more project will bring her onboard but if not, at least she'll be able to sew a straight seam. Do you think?

"Are you kidding me?" Henry says. 

All finished! Hurray! 

26 July 2016

Butterick 5954 - Knit Top

"Fast and Easy" knit top pattern, Butterick 5954. This is a neoprene-type knit fabric, soft and spongy with a nice drape. I made minor alterations to the pattern, reducing the dramatic flare of the skirt, plus I created a closer fit by sewing an additional 5/8" past the original back seam line. I may have to tighten it up just a little more next time for a more flattering fit.

22 July 2016

What's a girl to do???

I sew; I think about sewing; I think about sewing fabulous wardrobe pieces; however...here I am. This is how I run around, from garden to kitchen, to sewing/craft room, to sitting at fabulous computer (courtesy of savior husband), where I blog thoughts to no one in particular that I know of, except myself. Thus, to myself I shout, "What's a girl to do?!" The need for a fabulous, trendy wardrobe is an infrequent necessity, but still I want to sew one. Additionally, I think I have become the incredible shrinking woman...that is, I should say, in and around the shoulder area where patterns are concerned. Bigger tummy, wider waist, shrinking shoulders, or something like that; which has tempted me to dabble in the dark world of pattern adjustment. I used to fit in a Size 10, then a 12, then a 14...get it? Holding that line at Size 16 (12 off the rack); it's not so fun as it once was, to watch measurements shift and change. I am the blob, herself. Truth be told, my patterns require very little adjustment, lucky me, but in my mind...

19 July 2016

Sew, sew, sew...3 tops all done!

Black/Gray plaid, cut on bias: Butterick 5786
Charcoal/White Stripe: Tessuti "Fave" Top
Black/Gray Animal Print: New Look A6420

Two knit tops shown, both with dolman sleeves; quick and easy to sew.  As for dolman sleeve styling, not my favorite.  The sleeveless plaid shirt, cut on the bias, is made from a good cotton fabric. I'm hooked on fine fabric to sew with; it makes such a difference.

03 July 2016

Christine in the garden, in pants that she made

Christine in the garden in pants that she made
NOTE TO MYSELF:  During this past winter, spring and early summer, you have floated between quilting, gardening and, added to that now, watercolor painting. Now that we are back to garment sewing, Ms. Calico Quilter, don't forget how much you enjoy making clothes. Let's keep with it  and get through some of those piles of fabric and patterns that have been stacking up, waiting for you to come around again. All things are cyclical (is that a word?), I must admit. There is a strong urge building in me-self, to get some knitting done; however, sewing is so enjoyable, that I am that happy to be doing so in this moment.

02 July 2016

Fabrics of choice; next up

Here are two cottons and two knits, in shades of black, white and gray prints, plaid and stripes. I wonder if I can make these into an assortment of wearable tops that I can travel with. A cohesive wardrobe; that's my goal.

Vogue 9171; Marcy Tilton Design

Most recent top completed.  Vogue 9171, a Marcy Tilton design. This was quick and easy to sew. Love this top for casual wear.

23 June 2016

The Liverpool Shirt; Amy Butler Pattern

Amy Butler's "The Liverpool" shirt, tunic, short & long dress pattern.  This is a pattern I've had to make adjustments to, in and around the shoulder/bust area.  It's still a little loose in the bust area and could be tweaked a bit more; however, since this was my "muslin" and it's comfortable enough, I'll save further adjustments for next time.  I'll be wearing this in and around the garden.

This tunic is all done. Hope the bees don't come after me!

Testing, testing

There's a shirt pattern that I knew I would have to make fitting adjustments to.  I chose a cotton print fabric rather than just plain muslin for my test piece.  Maybe I'd get lucky and have a nice finished shirt when all was said and done.  I don't typically wear busy prints, but this turned out nicely, especially with the contrasting collar.

23 November 2015

My Thanksgiving Shirt

Butterick 5526 - View C
Collar detail
In four hours, guests will begin arriving from different parts of the country to spend a long week with us at Paz Casita in Temecula, in celebration of Thanksgiving.  The house is near ready; however...I have worked on this shirt from cut to finish, off and on for the past three days, whereas I should have been focused on detail prepping for company.

What's done is done (the shirt) and I still have four hours to do EVERYTHING ELSE!  At least I have already managed grocery shopping. That's been my frenzied dedication to mastering shirts. I'm going to wear this one as soon as I wash the dog and hop in the shower, after I do everything else of course.

This shirt, Butterick 5526 - View C, is sewn from a fine cotton, pale lavendar pinwale corduroy, with a polka dotty cotton inner collar for accent.  As I worked on this shirt, I realized why we have moved toward knits and other more forgiving fabrics, ones don't require special attention or fussing.  It's from the same pattern as my last shirt, different fabric and detail.  Next, I'll move on to making a shirt for hubby.  He's been very forgiving of me spending so much time to finish this shirt.  I can see in his eyes a longing for a cozy, warm flannel shirt of his own.

Doubt I'll be posting (or sewing) any time soon this holiday week.  Wishing all of us a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and God bless each of you!!!

18 November 2015

Butterick 5526 - Shirt View C

Still sewing shirts...here's #3 in a row, this time Butterick 5526 (View C), with pleated pockets added to front of shirt.  Must note that I purchased an online class, Pam Howard's "The Classic Tailored Shirt," from Craftsy.com.  This gave me confidence, especially in the areas of collar application, finishing sleeve seams, and topstitch/edge stitch application, things I had struggled with.  I'm happy with the result.  Probably should have ironed that shirt before posting; the fabric is a cotton oxford cloth and actually presses out very nicely.

07 November 2015

The Blouse Perfected - Cutting Line Designs #11226

Here's my second shirt, all finished.  After this shirt, I have become such a fan of designer Louise Cutting and her pattern line, Cutting Line Designs.  Some of her recommended sewing techniques for this shirt, such as how to apply the collar to the collar stand, as well as how to join the sleeve to the body of the shirt at the underarm, were different from the norm, or at least what I am used to. Otherwise, this shirt was surprisingly easy to put together.  I love the asymetric fold in the front.  A good fit!  Onward to shirt #3.

30 October 2015

Butterick 5786...Shirt all done

Butterick 5786 - View C
It's a good fit.  Buttons and buttonholes?  Not a problem. My challenge continues to be the finishing of collar and cuffs; this smooth cotton poplin was especially not forgiving when slip stitching the collar and cuffs over the seams, even though fabric has a slight stretch (I have had better luck with other fabrics, e.g., linen and knits).  Bottom line: all done.

Now on to the next shirt.  I want to keep making shirts until I can sew stand up collars with perfectly crisp and precise corners, with my eyes closed of course.  That's my goal.  

24 October 2015


I have looked and looked at shirt patterns and finally selected ones that I like and think will sew up nicely.  I need shirts to wear with skinny jeans/jeggings.  I recently took stock of my fabric stash and noted...oh my!...that I have bunches of fabric suitable for shirts.  Often, I refer to my sewn garments (shirts/blouses/tops) as house blouses.  If it wrinkles too much, if the design has too many nips, tucks, flouces in odd places, one that does not wear well behind a seat belt, those kinds of things, I think of that garment as a house blouse, something to wear casually at home. I like linen, chambray, cotton, lightweight poplin, lightweight denim, easy care fabrics that breathe, all reflective of the fabrics in my stash.

BUTTERICK 5786 - View C
I like the drape of this shirt; it will go nicely over skinny jeans/jegging, in fact, I've made it before with a black handkerchief linen fabric, so I know it will turn out well.  Here it is, in the making, using a lightweight stretchy poplin.