Sewing Vloggers

Monday, September 19, 2022

I made some joggers! McCalls 8099


These are so big and wrong. 

Not quite the greatest fit, is it???? Well, it does get better and it was a journey.  In the end I think I have a cute pair of pants/joggers. My sis inSISted they would look "cute" on me so I took up her dare. I do  admit, they are the last blast of summer and will get packed away soon but the first couple of wearings made it very clear that the fit was all wrong. It's not easy with joggers, really.....


The pattern is McCalls 8099. 


I felt some research was needed regarding the fit of joggers. Seems there are options out there and I wasn't quite sure what would work best with my short frame.  If you google images for "stylish joggers" you will see what I mean. On some women the look is one of a slender almost body hugging leg with a quite long, definitely hugging cuff. On other stylish women, the look  was voluminous, loose legs with cuffs grazing the instep and gathered and thick looking. Our pattern model had a bit of both, a nice slim looking leg and a deep, gathered cuff. But was she clamped in the back of the leg? Was the leg long for her and ridiculously long for me? Ay, yay, yay. I checked PR and that didn't help much either. I made a muslin. I actually got the muslin to fit quite well and wish I took pics. It is now in pieces. That is a good thing because it needs to be burned. 

Above is the bad fitting front. Back to that pattern:

My muslin fit like a dream, seriously. I cut my pants , except for the length which I expected to be an issue and would determine at the finish. I made my pants.  I wore my pants. Not so happy. The crotch was way to long which was NOT evident in my muslin. I have no idea why. Different fabric, maybe? My pants were full, but I think that was the style, coming up from those gathered cuffs. The crotch was way too long. In my eager disgust I folded out one inch with a tuck at the waist line seam and stitched it away happily. 

My joggers survived to be worn another day. That waistline seam is now thick as  carpet matting and my crotch is still too  low. I wore them all day and found that if I totally folded over my 1 1/2  waistband, that damn crotch rose!!!  I took them off and debated whether to wait until next summer and see if I grew taller over the winter, send them to the donation pile or just blame it all on my sister.  I stewed for a couple days. I mean this was gorgeous Danube Essex linen. 

Night before last I needed distraction. I grabbed them from their "heap-iness" and cut off the waistband, including the one inch extra tuck.  Do you see how thick that thing is in the pic below? So embarrassed.  I was going to be careful, use my head this time  and go about this in a professional way. I measured. I used my hip ruler. 

I carefully marked my waist,  front and back.  Including the original one inch tuck, I removed 2 1/2 inches at center front total, wedging down to a one and a half inch at the sides and around to center back. Again. How this happened I don't know. Maybe I was supposed to turn it under or something and didn't but it is now fixed!!! Yay!

 I made a new waistband completely. Instead of making a gathered waistband separate from the garment and then just serging the two together, I made a real waistband and stitched it to the pant.  I trimmed it with pinking shears on the inside and pressed that seam  away from the pant and into the waistband. Then the band  was folded over and topstitched on the very top edge.  The remaining edge was the selvedge. I folded the band over, filled it with an elastic circle and  then ditchstitched the selvedge edge down from the right side. There is NO bulk at all, smooth as can be and the gathers are minimal.  The selvedge faced down into the pant. The waistband seam faced up into the waistband, smoooooooth. 

New pants in front:

They fall more smoothly and the cuffs sit higher at my ankle which I like better. The waist sits at my natural waistline as well.

New pants back:

Yay, I am happy now. My sis is in Yellowstone at the moment. We will talk....

My fabric was Essex yarn dyed linen blend,  I think it is either Danube or Peacock. Hard to remember and I don't see it in current colors. This is one of my favorite fabrics to stitch. So comfortable and so cooperative. Just watch those ravels. 

The pattern has two patch pockets on the behind. Needless to say, they now start just shy of the waistband gathers but thats ok. I wore this tucked in top so you can see the structure but 99% of the time I will wear a top that will cover the top of these pants.  On the pants legs the pattern shows a cargo pocket on each outer leg seam. I love cargo pockets. Two adds mega width to my already wide hips and thighs. I decided to only put the cargo pocket on one leg and am really happy with that assymetry.  I think it is a great pattern, its only challenges being two: Pay attention to the waistband instructions. and second, watch that leg length/crotch depth. 

Will I make another pair? I truly doubt it. I caught the trend and will move on. Winter is coming and I have lots of needs there. I am making a list and making plans. Can't wait to sew and share. I will be having a bit of surgery in a couple weeks or so and not sure how that will effect things. I know will be able to "walk and hike", no lifting for 6 weeks over the weight of a bottle of milk so we shall see. I am not concerned. Just one of those obnoxious things. 

Have you made or worn joggers? I don't jog/bounce any more but love to walk.  I mean, really, we all wear active wear but how active are we?...........Bunny

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Inflationary Sewing

Inflation,  Yikes  !!!

Just finished a pile of mending. 

Why sew economically? Well, the inflation we are now living with is forcing many to seriously reconsider their budgets. That includes entire household budgets, not just sewing budgets. We go along sewing our merry way and whoa, pandemics hit, inflation soars, and here we are craving fabric and patterns. This month last year our electric bill was 110.00 for the month. This year, with a 10% decrease in usage for the same time period, our bill is 240.00 for the same month. Then there is food, gas, etc, etc. etc. You all know what is going on and have seen it in fabric prices and it is a real balance for many. It is also a big surprise to those just starting out sewing or those returning after a decade or two away from our our art. Most of us need to hone our skill at sewing more economically. Hopefully this post will help a bit. I also hope others will share their tips and tricks.

Another way to look at it, and one that has a bit of a more positive spin, is that sewing economically can actually give you more money for fabric. It's the ole "what I save here, I can spend there" story. Often I see fabrics, patterns, paints, etc that I just have to have right away to make the latest perfect creation. I really don't need them. I want them. I've learned that if I really am mindful over my sewing budget I can spend in a fashion that I have come to prefer but did not always do. I am finding in my dotage an appreciation for finer quality fabrics to employ the skills I've honed over decades. Will I bow to  a bargain? Sure, if its a true steal and I really will use it and fairly soon. Now though, I hold back on a lot of "wants" in my sewing universe.  I  then  enjoy  buying that occasional  expensive higher quality fabric, notion or paint and not just hoarding bargains that are just nice to haves.  I don't hoard any more. I don't build up a big stash intentionally either.  I do make an effort to buy wisely when I can and  not wantonly like I have at times. 

I will tell you something I shared once at a lunch with a group of creative friends. I have done some of my best work over the years when I was stuck for resources. It forced me to think out of the box and work with what I had on hand. In those situations, I managed to make some of my best bags, garments, gifts, etc. This creative group all piped in at once with the same words, expressing the same experience, all proof that we don't necessarily need the latest and greatest to make something lovely.  Sometimes all we have is that drab olive twill to make a dress for an important occasion. Ugh. But what about that great red print quilting cotton scrap? I can  pipe the olive green twill  with that vivid red print, a complimentary color and all, and it will be spectacular! That sort of thinking! We need to look clearly at our buying habits and really see what might work with what we have on hand.  It may become one of your epic makes! Sewing wisely and economically can bring about great results. 

But sewists like to shop, like to be prepared when they sew and like  not to have to leave the nest to go buy a notion or thread. Well, let's shop and fight Mother Inflation!
Here are some ways I max out my sewing dollars.

Just some of the many zippers I got for one dollar. I use them all the time. 

Notions: First, there are the coupon sales at the big box stores, Michaels, Joanns and Hobby Lobby. I implore you to never buy there without a coupon. Get the phone app and use it when checking out. Often there are further discounts on the app. My biggest scores have been at yard sales, estate sales and thrift shops. I scored a bag of a couple hundred zippers, over half brand new and still in their packaging, for a dollar, for just one example. I washed them and my grandaughter organized them all for me and I use that stash over and over all the time. 

More yard sale zips!

Savers, a big box thrift store,  has organized bags of sewing tools, trims and bric a brac for low low money. I've been known to buy a cheap garment with fabulous buttons for the buttons. You can save serious money on notions. Learn how to size a zipper and you can take your zip stash and cut it down to whatever you need.  At yard sales, look in boxes underneath piles of ugly fabric, lots of great surprises there. Haggle. Watch Facebook Marketplace. Craig's List, beware. Some have luck. There are also Free Cycle networks in most towns that are worth joining online. Items are free there. I have often seen fabric legacies and sewing machines given away on Free Cycle. 

Patterns: Big Four are on sale frequently on the Something Delightful website online. Get on their email list for notification. Check your phone apps for the Big Box stores and their pattern sales. Keep a list in your wallet of the patterns you want. NEVER pay anything over a few dollars for any Big Four pattern. Wait until its on sale to buy. JUST WAIT. 5.99 for Vogue or 22.99 30% off? No brainer if you wait!  Indie patterns run sales as well, often with new introductions. Listen to podcasts and vlogs for notifications of those or sign up for email and newsletters. My favorite way to get notification of any type of pattern sale is to go to Pattern and  into their forums. There is a forum there for "Patterns and Notions." Go into that and you will find what is on sale currently and in the future, easy to read and find.  Never pay full price for any pattern. Wait until it is discounted,always. Thrift shops can also be a great resource for patterns. I've found some great Vogue Designers and Issey Miyake patterns in thrift shops. These are often still in factory folds as they seemed to be more aspirational purchases.

These are my only woolens, although there are several Pendletons in here.  I don't have much fabric stash. 

Fabric: Don't completely diss the Big Boxes. Once in a blue moon, if you hunt and do your homework, you can find some really great fabric. You do have to sift thru a lot of fleece first, LOL! Kidding aside, the Sewing Workshop sells a Ponte knit for pants that I have read many rave about. It is 65% rayon/30% nylon/5% spandex.  I have been planning all summer to get some for pants for this winter and watching for a sale. It is 34.00 a yard. Two weeks ago, at JAs,  I was digging in the  black knits looking for  anything that would make a nice winter knit pant, pretty much all yuck then there it was!  Ponte, 65% rayon, 30% nylon and 5% spandex. It had a guaranteed not to pill tag and also said "great recovery". It was 24.00 a yard. It was gorgeous. I had a 50% coupon on my app and paid 12 and change a yard for it. Beautiful rayon ponte!  Same fiber content as Sewing Workshop. I'll grant you, there is a lot of flotsam and jetsam you have to swim thru when it comes to fabric in the big box retailers but if you know your fibers and search hard, you can occasionally find a gem.  This fabric, is simply called "knit solid" like all their knits. You have to look at the details and fiber content. 

Get on the mailing lists of vendors of quality fabrics for notification of sales. These are companies like Emmaonesock, Sewing Workshop, Sawyer Brook, and many more. Watch their catalogues regularly. Don't buy. Pick out that one fabric you will definitely make as soon as you get it . Watch your newsletter notifications. When the sale hits your dream fabric, BUY.  Learn to wait and let the fabric and the sale combine and come to you but always be watchful and ready with newsletters, emails and apps so you don't miss. But don't give in to every sale. Don't hoard. Stick to that one great fabric that you would normally not spend on and that you have a specific plan for, like your cousins wedding next March.  You've been saving money everywhere else by being a conscientious  sewing shopper. Wait and then strike, one piece at a time, one project at a time. Get yourself some dream fabric. You've held out for it!!!

Some real, some faux. Reals were given by a women who got her furs restyled. Somehow she heard I sewed and found me. I'll make hats eventually. 

My most enjoyable resource for fabric is the Thrift Store. There are two kinds out there. There are the big box stores like Good Will, Salvation Army and Savers. Then there are my favorites, the small , often church or temple affiliated thrift shops tucked in small towns. These you find out about by word of mouth so ask around. They often have FaceBook pages and follow them there as that is where they post special bargain days and clearouts . One of my favorites will randomly advertise every couple of months " everything in the store 50% off". Their wares are dirt cheap already. Another small church thrift that I love has Bag Fridays with all you can fit in a brown paper bag for a dollar! Search out and get to know these small thrifts and the women who volunteer there. I got to know the lovely women at my favorite thrift in NY and they got to know my style and what I bought. They started saving things ahead for me, unsolicited, and would bring them out from under the counter when I walked in. Got some great deals that way. 

As far as the big box thrifts, good luck. I don't know this factually but I suspect they are presorted before hitting the floor and not all donations hit the floor. Our GW NEVER has one thread of pure wool on the floor and it is a big store. Never! I live in a cold state, too.   No sweaters or jackets or suits or coats. I find them elsewhere but not at GW. I also find the big thrifts today are donated versions of Wal Mart for the most part. It is very rare I find anything at the big thrifts. 

How to shop the thrifts: So many ways to save money here.

* Silk charmeuse blouses are easy to find and in great shape. You will find these 80s leftovers in perfect condition as no one wanted to pay the dry cleaning bills or hand wash and they then just got relegated to the back of the closet until death did them part. I take them home, wash them and cut at the seams and press the pieces. They go into my lingerie stash to make silk undies and are also used for collaging, color blocking and scarves.

* Look for garments with yardage. This can be gathered full skirted dresses, maxi knit dresses with no waistlines. The more unsewn fabric the better. I go straight to the large sizes which some find objectionable but here is my philosophy. I will pull out of the big thrifts maybe 2 garments per year. I am shopping in a store that has next to nothing in a size four so my shopping for my size is just as difficult for me as it is for a larger sized woman. If I buy one or two garments per year and maybe one is in a large size I doubt I am effecting the inventory available to plus sized women. Where is the inventory for tiny sized women? So I shop for what I need to make clothing to fit my smaller body and everyone else in the store can shop all they want for their size body. It is what it is. My last purchase at GW was months ago and a size 10 with a very very full skirt of a beautiful border print. I have purchased no plus sized garments in the past two years. I do look however. 

Just a small amount of bag hardward harvested from old pocketbooks on dollar day. 

* If you make bags, the thrifts are your friend. Watch for those discount days, particularly the fill a bag days. I would fill my bags with old pocketbooks with still great hardware, go home, remove the hardware, wash and polish it up and use it in my bagmaking. You will save a fortune here and there is some very clever hardware out there you won't find retail. 

Don't belittle simple word of mouth. I have much in my resources that was handed to me by someone who simply asked " Would you be interested in.......I heard you sew a lot."  This is often followed by "These were my mom's, or wife's or fill in the blank."  I have some amazing resources recieved that way. It is always just kind to say yes, as your giver will feel good that you, a sewist, will appreciate their loved one's stash.  Take what you want and move along the rest for others to enjoy. Ask yourself, "Will I really sew this?" before putting it on your shelves. Always be gracious to those who offer and their good intentions.  Move along what you can't use to those who can and are dealing with inflation trauma as well. 

What to do once you get your stash home:

Moths are not the only enemy of fabric and other items. Disgusting critters like scabbies, lice, etc, can all come in these lots of stuff in the back room. You couldn't pay me to work there and God bless those who do. Many put their items in the freezer. I do after washing but there is more to it than just that.  A fairly recent Threads article recommended  freeze/heat combo for 2 or 3 rotations to really kill the critters. I will first wash and dry the garment, then do the freeze for 3 hours/hot dryer for 20 minutes routine. No critters yet! 

For my bag hardware I soaked them in a sink of Dawn for an hour or so, then scrubbed with a very soft brush. Some of that hardware is filthy. I then polished with Brasso and buffed with a dry cloth. Like new!!! I store them separately with silver and black hardware in one tote, gold and other in another. I keep them in small ziplocs so they won't scratch each other. 

Zippers get soaked in a sink of Dawn and dried flat in the sun. They are removed from their packages. The washing removes any waves that will and can ruin a garment once installed. 

Trims and laces get soaked in a bucket of Biz for 24 hours, rinsed till the water is clear and dried in the sun. Flat on the grass drying is good. They are then ironed. Never store textiles with starch or any kind of spray on them. Critters consider it an invitation to lunch.  Years back I watched a Martha Stewart program on storing antique clothing. Queen Martha and her expert said that storing in "frosty" totes was fine but using the perfectly clear, highly seductive type of crystal clear tote is bad, bad, bad for storage of textiles as they continue to emit nasty gases forever. Really fine textiles should be wrapped in archival tissue which you can get on Amazon.  Label your totes and/or keep a journal or spreadsheet program to track your goodies. 

Notions like machine feet, scissors, etc get dirty too. Clean them with alcohol, cotton balls and soft brushes. I couldn't believe how much yuk was on one of my machine feet last week and I cleaned it. I used alcohol and a soft toothbrush. Made me smile. Rotary cutters should be taken apart and cleaned with alcohol as well as scissors that let you. It will extend the life of their sharpness. 

Prices for the ingredients needed to fuel our passion are ever increasing right now. There is every excuse in the book, from the lack of computer chips to the lack of fuel as Exxon marks the biggest profit quarter in its history.  #$!&**$#  them and all the hogwash being fed to us.  Hope the info here will help those who are starting out and those returning and discovering that sewing does not save wardrobe money as it did at one time, but that you can save money sewing. It is a costly hobby, like golf and coin collecting but Sewists will always sew.  Creators will create.  We always have and always will. Creativity always finds a way................Bunny...see note

*Note: This post was inspired not just by this burst of inflation we are all being hit with. I watched a Vlog last week by a popular vlogger about "economic sewing." She proceeded in the first video, quite lengthy, to extoll all she bought on sale from vendors  who had sales over the previous year, most of whom she shills for. She pushed her affiliates. She  never mentioned anything that would really save you money sewing in the now that didn't require you to go online and just buy more. No mention of working from stash, etc, etc. The next economic vlog was about being organized and she somehow spun that into saving money. I am all about being organized and all about being economical but did not quite see the conflation. So maybe my last suggestion on sewing economically is to beware of on line vloggers and bloggers who are using our current state of inflation to get you to buy, buy, buy. I question the depth of their own pocketbooks, the history of their own budgetary lives, and the motivation to get you to honestly make the most of your sewing dollars. 

Also, some of us are blessed with major stashes. You've worked hard for them and they comfort you. I get that some need this type of comfort. You know I have my own issues and sewing has been my lifelong comfort. So let's be kind to those who feel the need of that stash like a big Charlie Brown blanket.  Lets also not forget about those who may be straddling this time in our crazy, post pandemic history with a thinner wallet, one where decisions between rent and food are taking away dollars for fabric. Donate, share and help them along. Kindness in sewing is so very wonderful and truly joyful to share. Ask around and see who you may help, teach, and maybe start out on this wonderful craft. Please share any ideas you may have to help others and/or to save money during our current state of risings costs. Thank you..................Bunny

Thursday, August 25, 2022

A little inspiration, a little fun!

Meet my new scarf. It is a summer scarf and is an upcycle project as well as a fabric painting adventure. When I have a garment in my closet that no longer works for me but the fabric is gorgeous and I really think I could re-use it one day I do not donate it. I donate a lot but occasionally keep the fabric treasures. I am saving myself from rebuying the same type of fabric and garment in the future and all of the ecological ramifications that entails. Besides, I loved the fabric and had a good amount worth keeping. In this case it was a blouse I made maybe 15 years or so ago out of the most lovely white, delicate handkerchief linen. I did a few heirloom stitches on it, wore it a fair amount and then it just, by design, look too out of style to work any more. Sleeves were too narrow, collar too pointy, justs lots of details whose time came and went. I put so much work into and just kept it in the closet for a long time. Then I started  a process that I keep up to this day with such treasures. When I decide they can no longer serve me but I can't give up the glorious fabric, I carefully take the garment apart, remove all the details. iron all the sections flat and keep them folded together. They will then go on the shelf with like minded fabric types to be pulled out for some upcycling. I do use these treasures and fairly often. I don't wait for the magic garment, instead if a small piece for perhaps a yoke is what I need, I grab it and cut away. No saving for garment greatness here as these treasures have seen their glory already.

The other day while look in my tote of white "play" scraps I came upon a group of pieces from the former hanky linen blouse, gorgeous fabric. What on earth could I do with it? How much was actually there? Well I had two big bodices, sleeves and other smaller pieces. I could do something. I have been wanting to do some fabric painting related to inspiration from my trip in the Azores. I was and still am so inspired by the colors and the landscape there and this fine linen would be perfect to play with. I decided I would piece it together into a long scarf and paint it. I would love to use the periwinkles, white, lavenders and even deep plums and blues of their amazing hydrangeas as they have been inspiring me ever since I laid eyes on their countless numbers. 

Above is some of my play. You are looking at heavier pant weight linen on the left and some vintage cotton laces on the right.  I used a simple technique where the textiles were wet, wrung out and placed in a ziploc bag. Acrylic ink was drizzled haphazardly into the bag, shut tight, and then mushed together for a minute or two. I then just left the bag out in the sun while I played with other paint biz. After about an hour I hung it out to dry in the sun. Yes, they are  mottled and what I wanted. 

Let's go back and look at the scarf, same technique. The products used were acrlic inks and something called Dyna Flow which is basically the same, I think. They are both the consistency of water. They are EXTREMELY saturated color so the pigments must be shaken as using. I love this product as it is so versatile. It can perform as a dye beautifully but also as a watercolor effect, fabric paint with all sorts of techniques. Really fun stuff, lots on you tube, Dick Blick and Dharma Trading for lessons. The hanky linen, white,  was still in pieces and was wet, wrung out to near dry, and in a double plastic grocery bag. It was spread out to about 9 inches but basically all scrunched up. I literally poured the Periwinkle and some of the Prussian Blue directly on to the mound of wet linen. I left about half still white. Then I took a jar of orange DynaFlow and poured bits of that on, not much, but enough to give things a kick. Orange and blue are complimentary so it should have worked and I think it did. I tied up the bag and then mushed it all up. Then I left the bag in the sun for about half an hour. After that I rinsed it out and was amazed at how the color stuck, very pleased. I then hung it out to dry i the sun. Once all was dry the pieces were heat set with an iron. The next day I washed them on delicate in a lingerie bag and there was no dye loss whatsoever. Did the happy dance and got ready to put it all together. 

If you are wondering how I went with the seaming, well, I just went with it. I tried a few options like french seams, etc, but decide on a simple double stitch and pinked edge for the underneath. I was hoping to wash it and that would  fluff the edges which it did and it looks fine to me as they are very narrow. There are few seams.  This pic below gives you a good idea of the complimentary orange color with that sky blue. So glad I did that. 

The scarf is  15 x 70 inches long, my favorite size. For the outside edges I did the Kenneth King hem on the long sides but didn't like the plain-ness of it all . I  decided to zigzag on top of that and I liked that much better. Above is the only busy intersection of seams on the scarf. For thread there was no winner, just too many colors to pick from. The dark actually looked best. Fringing took me 20 minutes TV time to fringe a half inch on each side. 

All in all, this was a great project. I got to work with some beautiful fabric. I got to fabric paint, which is so much fun. You never know what you will get and I got to do some recycling as well. Great project all around. I am going to a concert in Maine this weekend and hope to wear this with my periwinkle linen cocoon dress. 

I've started another vacation inspiration. I have to get these in before summer leaves along with my summery ideas. I am now painting birch trees on another Eureka top. It's been fun but I have to figure out a way to do it sitting down. I have lot more trees to do!....Bunny

ETA: Sewing is an ongoing education and in my continuing search for sewing information I found, of course after I made my scarf, that there is a specific art form, indigenous to Korea, and quite beautiful, for making wall hangings, scarves, curtains, etc that have the look of my scarve. A special hand technique called Jogakbo is used and quite lovely. If you do a search on youtube you can see a lot. Next time-I will try Jogakbo and look forward to it. Here is a link and photo to a basic lesson in how to do Jogakbo.   I love this sewing journey we are all on. I believe those who love to sew are always learning and open to new methods. There are no right or wrongs, just moving along in our journey....Bunny

courtesy book, "Such a Beautiful Color" by Heo Dong-Hwa , founder of the Museum of Korean Embroidery.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Butterick 6841 Work shirt, Big shirt, wha?


No belt

With belt, whose loop un looped!

The camera tells all. This top is too long. It is the same length as my original work shirt but with eyes adjusted by today's fashion it is 2-3 inches too long and I will definitely cut the hem by that much as soon as I am done here. Amazing the information cameras can feed back to you! Wearing my original shirt to do work in at this point, the hem length never bothered me. This shirt will get a bit more formal wear before being relegated to the garden and digging so I want the hem to be correct. 

Now that it is done, I like it. There was a bit of love/hate going on for silly reasons but in the end I have a wearable top that I know will give me lots of use. Here are the deets. 


This is Butterick 6841, a reprint of McCall's 6613, a classic unisex work shirt. It is drop shouldered, has no darts, a classic collar with band, and cuffs with bound plackets. A yoke in the back and a pleat beneath it are the remainder of the details. I laid this new version of the pattern on top of the original and they are the exact same pattern, no differences.  This is a Palmer Pletch fitting pattern. The only real difference in the patterns is that the Palmer Pletch logo is the masthead, top and center, prominent, on the original pattern. On the newer version it is smaller and tucked into the bottom corner. I found that interesting. Both patterns have lots of info on fitting this top. I would say most sewists would need little fitting adjustment if they flat pattern measure and get the right size for the ease they like.  The shirt and sleeves are very long. I forgot about the sleeves and had to adjust for that. In the original shirt I wear them cuffed up all the time so never noticed any length issues and proceeded to cut these sleeves full length. Mistake. 


This was made in one of my favorite fabrics, Essex Linen by Kaufman. It is a yarn dyed fabric of 55% linen and 45% cotton, very comfy to wear. It gives a nice rumpley appearance upon washing and I only press the details once I start washing and wearing it. I like the rumpley linen look.  The color is actually called denim and its pretty spot on. 

One of the issues I have found and forgot with this fabric is the challenge of topstitching. You are sewing on fabric made with two different colors of threads going  opposite each other. Do you go with the white or the blue? I have found that answer to be a definite no as one color disappears and the other stands out. It looks awful. I try to settle on a color of thread that contrasts a bit . I went with the blue with a bit of contrast but it still disappeared in some areas, mostly on the crossgrain. It was frustrating but I just went with it. The last two garments I made with Essex had no topstitching so I forgot about this issue. I need to write it down and put it up on my wall above the machine as I will definitely be sewing more of this fabric. 

My next project is pants made with a turquoise  Essex. Lesson learned. 

You can see my glass vintage buttons. I love them. I do believe the pockets each need a button in the center. Look at the front views and let me know what you think. They were part of the legacy from my dear friend Ima, the gift that keeps on giving. 


This was timeless shirt construction. In my previous blogpost I explained how I dealt with the challenge of the collar band and it came out nicely. I did the buttonhole but haven't put the button on yet. Not sure I will. I thought I might put on a small, flat, clear button but can't find one. I am leaving it alone for the moment. I will never close it, I do know that. 

After all was done I tried it on. Dang those sleeves were long. I consoled my thoughts with the idea of wearing them rolled up all the time but it still bothered me.  Later that day I saw some TV Diva with a darling shirt that had 3 big tucks on each sleeve. The light went on. I just tucked up the sleeves and I am happy with the results. 

In Conclusion:

I'm a 80%er on this one. My topstitching could look a lot nicer or better yet, be  never done. The hem could be shorter and will be and I could have paid closer attention to my sleeve length before cutting. But in the end what moved me on was the next project. I desperately need pants. I had that new sloper burning a hole in my cutting table and piles more Essex linen that could be made into lovely pants. I have one in process already and I am paying a LOT more attention and doing almost no topstitching. I'm shooting for 100%. We shall see what develops!!!....Bunny

Friday, July 29, 2022

It was about time!


I recently decided that I needed to make two lists to keep myself focused. I needed a "Need to Sew" list and a "Want to Sew" list and as you can imagine, they varied substantially. The above project is way overdue and was tops on my "Need to" list. I needed to redraft my pants sloper. I figured I have been working from my original pants sloper, derived from a Sure Fit Designs Pants Kit, since about 2015 or about.  My body has changed substantially since then. Three years ago I moved and left a job I held for seven wonderful years. One of the perks was working in a magnificent old library that looked like it came from a Harry Potter movie set. It required that I go up and down three flights of stairs all day long, countless times, with stacks of books in my arms. To say this kept me in shape is an understatement. We library employees ALL had great legs, no getting away from it. Our job kept us quite fit. Alas, the ADA caught up  with our building and when I was leaving the architects were in there figuring out how to install an elevator in this historical beauty. I moved to New Hampshire, retired, and despite walking and exercise, haven't found the equivalent  of hauling 30-40 pounds of books up and down stairs all day. While that felt like a pleasant break and gave me lots of time for creativity, my booty sagged and eventually disappeared. Also in that time, I started treatment, successful, thank heavens, for years of nerve pain and migraines but it made me lose weight. I am on a constant battle to keep my weight up to this day. I am getting better at it. When I took out my summer clothes this year, it was time to face that none of my pants or more snug clothing options fit. Top on my "Need to Sew" list was to redo my pants sloper and I finished that project today. 

In the kit were all my original measurements I had taken. Waist, down a half inch, high hip down a half inch,  full hip down two inches, yikes,  crotch measurements exactly the same despite booty going down. Interesting, huh? 

I decided to pull out my Sure Fit Designs Pants kit. It had been a long time but I was glad I did. 
Making the pattern is not hard at all once you have your measurements. You simply find the dot next to your measurement numbers and then connect them. The instructions are very clear. The red arrow in the picture above points to what looks like a bar on the paper under the tissue. It is actually all the dots for each different measurement possible. They are tiny but visible. 

Next was tracing it all on to tissue and there are no seam allowances. 

I then used the tissue to draw the pattern out on oaktag and add the seam allowances and details, all a pretty simple process. I started yesterday afternoon and finished early this morning. I was so intimidated when I first got this kit but that was really ridiculous as it is quite simple to use and it took far less time than expected. 

I put the kit away and now have my basic pants pattern with a fly extension and some notes attached and ready to go. I made a muslin already as well and must say, the booty fits great. I have been really pleased with this product and used it with many a pattern for fit as well as on its own the past few years, well worth the investment. I like that it is not a one time wonder and that as your body changes you can just make another sloper. 

I made a copy of this page from Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing. I don't know if you have ever put one of these pants stays into your pants but they are wonderful and feel great. Highly recommend. 

I've also tried numerous fly front installations over the years and prefer Betzina's fly front as well. It is so easy and so quick, so a copy of that is with my personal pants kit as well. I am ready to go! 

Next step is to sit and go thru my pants patterns. I am thinking maybe something cute like these joggers, McCalls 8099. We shall see!

Happy Sewing!.......Bunny

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Two tops and a hat!!

 Sounds like a title from Dr. Suess! Alas, it is just what I did during my blogging hiatus.  Sewing continued in that time and as it always has been, proved to be a great solace. Here is what you missed. There are two repeats and one new design so I won't get too deep into the weeds. 

 Here we go with another Eureka Tee from the Sewing Workshop. This one is made from yarn dyed Brussels Washer linen by Kaufman in the smallest size. It is, I believe, my fourth iteration. As far as fit, my sis says I need to make it narrower. I'm OK with the wider style of it all but will try a narrower fit next time around just to see what happens. I have a muslin and may just baste out some width.  What you see above has been worn and washed a couple of time as I am finding it a great summer top. 

 I decided to embellish this simple top by pulling the threads. I knew that the warp and weft were different colors and this could be interesting. The thread pulling was easy and I pulled five threads to get the effect of one row as you see directly above. If you look at the rows in the pic above this one, the smaller pic, you will see the thread pulling looks quite different. The washing had an effect on the look of the pulled threads and actually all the fabric. It didn't appear to shrink but it got "crepe-y". I'm ok with it but just be aware that if you want to keep the crisp look of the pulled threads you can either further hem stitch them  or hand wash this fabric.  Either way, I think it is a nice feature on a simple top that begs for detail. 

Construction on this was as suggested in the pattern: machine stitched, pressed to the side and serged for a finish.  Further details on my original Eureka tee can found here: The Eureka Top


Next is my attempt to jump on the ditsy print bandwagon with second make of a sixties sort of tunic. This busy print makes it very difficult to see the details of the design. This is Butterick 5861, OOP, a classic tunic.  The fabric is 100% rayon in a crepe type finish, what was called "crepon" back in the day. It is well starched  in these pictures as it was extremely slippery to work with and I had to give it a couple of coats to make it a pleasant sewing experience. It has not been washed out yet so it all looks a bit "puffy."

You can see there is detail on the shoulder yokes and on the bib type inset at center front. I decided to do my own thing there which in hindsight was great looking but a total waste of time. You just can't see it among the tiny, busy print. It was fun and challenging getting it done, however. 

 Instead of plain bias strips the pattern recommended, I chose to make little knots in the center of each strip. I made bias tubes, knotted them, and cut so the centers matched up when places on the garment section, which here are the shoulder yokes.  Here is the bib inset:

It was very tricky binding the opening of this. I veered off the reservation to figure it out but it came out ok. 

Tunics cut me in half but if I wear a sash or belt they can work and bring the eye to my waist. I made a small wrap type sash for this top. 

It is bias cut, wraps around obi style and has a couple beads on the end to weight it down. 

The cuffs easily fit over my hands but don't look big so I did not elasticate them. 

To see my original effort on this tunic click here. It is quite different. I feel on this one I put too much work into to it for the fabric that it is. It will look ok with some jeans. In the end, I did enjoy the study in embellishment. 


Last but not least, the one item made specifically for our vacation. In its short life it has already flown the friendly skies, covered my head as I avoided poisonous jelly fish in the North Atlantic, been mushed into a crowded knapsack and  protected the once cancerous skin on my skull. It has been a real work horse once home as well and I am wearing it everywhere.  I LOVE my bucket hat. 

No pattern here! Everything I looked at just wasn't quite right, whether a pattern or retail. Brim too wide, too narrow, etc etc etc.  Just when I gave up, a few days before leaving on vakay, I was in a local retailer and I saw this gaudy little number above. It has the shape I was looking for, one that fit my petite head. I tried it on, score! I bought. It might look cute with my periwinkle linen dress and I could use it to make my own bucket as well. 

I proceeded with a stash of oaktag, my padded smocking board and some heavy yelllow headed pins to copy each section of the hat. Pattern ready !

I inspected the guts of the original hat and after interfacing my khaki twill, tried to proceed in a logical order to duplicate its construction.  I self lined the hat with more twill. The original used a cotton lining. 

Row upon row of topstitching on the brim!

In the end, I think I got it. I plan to make more for winter, warmer fabrics instead, maybe with ear flaps! I will make a hat with a wider brim as well. 

This has been a long post. Thanks, if you have managed to work thru to the end. It is what I worked on while not blogging. I thought of you all during that time and knew I would eventually get back to you all and let you know what I was up to. I have lots of plans for future projects and the queue is long. More to come!

I made some joggers! McCalls 8099

  These are so big and wrong.  Not quite the greatest fit, is it???? Well, it does get better and it was a journey.  In the end I think I ha...