Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Simplicity A1738 and a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Gosh, I feel like I’ve been neglecting my poor little blog…I have so much to say every day and I never seem to be able to get the words here! In all of the eight + years that I've blogged, I suppose that will happen from time to time, right?

Did you have a nice weekend? We were up to our ears in painting, picnic-ing and celebrating JR’s birthday with a long road trip on Monday. The nicest surprise of all was that I got to spend almost a whole day sewing on Saturday, which meant I got some fun projects done.

Several months ago, I met a really nice lady in line at the fabric store and she asked me a question about a basic sewing project. As I recall, she wanted to make a maxi skirt and really didn’t have much experience. So, we stood in line and talked, and draped and came up with some yardage numbers. Well, Dacia has kept in touch via email ( and reading my blog) ever since. She keeps me posted on her search for a new sewing machine, and the projects she is trying. Earlier this month, I saw her at the fabric store again. And then, I got the invitation to the “Sewn-up” group on Facebook. What a great bunch of ladies! It’s a very active exchange of information, compliments, questions and answers, which I love. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, someone posted a picture of Simplicity A1738, which started a search for the patterns at Walmart Stores across the county. It's no longer available at the Simplicity It's So Easy Pattern site.

That was just one of my projects on Saturday. I have searched for exactly this type of jacket For. Ever. No buttons, a soft knit, push up the sleeves, wear it everywhere jacket.

I made NO modifications to this pattern. My fabric choice is the ever faithful ponte knit. Cut a size 16, and it took me about 3 hours start to finish. It’s a fabulously easy pattern. All of the seams were flat felled and trimmed close. It has a cute detail in the back:

It’s got a great little bit of drape and is a comfortable as anything. I wore it to a picnic on Sunday and got a request for the same jacket from my oldest daughter. I will add it to the project list, Meghan!

As I was trying it on while sewing, I realized pre-sleeves that this would make a really cute vest, too.
So, I also made a vest. Which I will share with you soon.

Really, really nice pattern.

 I have a brand new, uncut pattern for you! I will randomly select from your comments on Friday.
I hope you have the very best week ever. Show someone how much you love them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simplicity 2446...the floral blazer

When May comes around, I don't know if you're like me, but sewing can be put on the back burner for a few weeks. It’s simmering…not like there’s nothing going on, but the outdoors…gardens, sunshine, relaxation and maintenance seem to move up to the top of the list. That’s where I've been.

My floral blazer, Simplicity 2446 ( I’ve made this one before…great pattern!) is finally done and done.


I wore it today.

I’m really, really happy that most of the things that I sew, I end up loving and wearing. I believe it’s because I pay attention to fit and function, with a little trendy thrown in for fun. When I saw this floral print at Joann’s a few months back, I knew immediately that I wanted it. Not sure what it would become, but I ultimately decided on a jacket.

I had a few surprises along the way.

My TNT jacket needed more fit adjustments! By more than a whole size!!! That thrilled me to no end, since I've been slowly and methodically paying attention to my physical health, which includes increasing my activity and replacing some of the things I love to eat with healthier things that I love to eat. At first I wondered if the size difference could be attributed to this being a stretch denim, but I decided to give myself some credit for this discrepancy!

So after some pattern tweaks, I got a good fit all the way around. That included the tweak of adding a center back seam for some additional shaping.

Since I wanted to get this jacket made quickly ( and it ended up taking me three weeks!) I made an executive decision not to line it.

Well then. The reason this jacket took so long to make is that I ended up finishing all the inside seams, facings and hems with bias binding. I could have lined it more quickly.

But I do like that this jacket doesn't have that extra layer of fabric, which adds an extra layer of warmth for a woman my age!

I made no other modifications. The sleeve seams are flat felled. They can be pushed up comfortably.

I love this jacket. I. LOVE. This Jacket.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

living in the garden

I love my outdoor spaces. The gardens, the porch, the deck, the patio. Every since I have made a home, a good outdoor spot was priority. From our first house on Fletcher Chapel Road we built the girls a “plug house” up in the tree and I dressed out a cute front stoop. From there, in our larger family home, across the entire back of the house was a series of patio, decks, screened porch and outdoor shower so that we could enjoy every bit of warm weather morning, noon and night. There were campouts on the screen porch and late night stargazing from the hot tub. We coaxed raccoons onto the decks and I couldn’t get enough of my gardens.

When we moved to the 1920 bungalow six years ago, it was our desire to downsize land mass and maintenance so that we could enjoy our outdoor spaces even more. I finally realized my dream of a big front porch, and with some hard work, the back deck and patio were transformed.

I have to know that my outdoor spaces are good for any number of circumstances. Morning coffee privacy, morning neighbor chatting. Afternoon sunning, afternoon napping. Late day glass of wine and magazines, Evening dinner in the shade, talking around the fire pit. I have to fuss and decorate and make these spaces just as welcoming as any inside space…the right pillows, furniture, lighting.

I was missing a sense of “room,” however. The coziness that comes from having a roof over your head. So I had a vision, and I finally convinced JR to buy and set up a canopy over our deck. We built it last night, and I was busy fussing and decorating , and dreaming up a funky chandelier and wondering what color to paint some of the chairs. I couldn’t wait to get out there this morning to have coffee before I went to work. I can’t wait to get home tonight to make it “just so.” We'll spend a lot of time under that canopy, no doubt. And then one day, maybe I’ll convince JR that we need a more permanent sense of “room” by building a framework, roof and screens. Maybe one day.

But for now, I like it. I like it a lot. Next mini project?
Some outdoor pillows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

should you wear a garden on your body?

Last night, I came straight home from work and went to my closet to attack the Seasonal Transfer Project. I’ve been putting it off for weeks, picking clothes to wear out of bins as the weather has been transforming the past few weeks. It always gets me thinking about what’s in my closet, what I like to wear and what I should donate or sell. It gets me thinking about the trends versus the classics and what’s appropriate for my age and wisdom.

Can you wear florals if you're over fifty?

Fabulous over Forty recently had an article that addresses whether or not we should wear our gardens on our bodies.
Florals are trending BIG this Spring, and I gotta admit, I am loving it. I am such a print girl, and if it’s floral, I love it even more. But what I’m really loving lately is the way florals are being done. Big, bold, abstract, on pants and jackets and in the most unexpected ways. So of course, it prompted me to take a look at my fabric stash to see what florals were there and what I could do with them.
Some of my thoughts about florals for someone my age?
1. I am thinking that I need to ground these floral prints of mine a little further by adding more solids to my wardrobe…solid jackets, tops, cardigans, etc.

2. I also think it’s key not to over-accessorize. A floral print on a lady shouts enough “hey look at me” without blinging it up too much. Let the focus be the floral.

3. I’m currently working on my fav jacket pattern in a stretch denim floral. What I like about this floral is that it’s placed with lots of background between the print. I think this is a nice way to work the floral if you are a woman of wisdom. It’s not babyish, it’s not too distracting, and it has that negative space to ground it.

4. Oh, and another thing? We can always do florals on accessories in a very appropriate way. I’ve been wanting to make a foldover clutch and was playing around with the idea of doing one in a floral. That would be fun.
photo courtesy http://bestsoylatte.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-love.html

J Crew

5. And finally, if it will be floral or ANYTHING we wear, let it fit well and stick to a classic shape. There is nothing that can make a floral garment go from fabulous to frumpy more than ill fit….no mumus allowed!

Are you sewing florals this Spring? And how?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

a lady named Bernice

On Saturday, I had the good pleasure of meeting a lady named Bernice. She is 95 years old and I was able to visit for over an hour while JR checked on some concerns she had with her house. Her little house was built by her husband 72 years ago. It’s chock full of wonderful collectables and family heirlooms...and has not changed in 72 years other than some electrical and plumbing conversions. She lives there with her cat.

Bernice was a stay at home mom to her two sons, who regretfully have passed on. She shared how much she delighted in being their mother and making a home for her family. They had a good life, even though they didn't have everything. They had what they needed and more, which was enough. She was and is frugal, wise, creative and resourceful. She had to be. At her kitchen table which she received as a gift in 1940, when “they made things really well,” she shared many stories which demonstrated pride in her family and the role that she played. And yet she was humble. She said she could claim no credit since God designed her to do exactly what she did.

Bernice, at 95, lost both of her sons within the last 5 years and it was with tears in her eyes that she told me how much she missed her boys. To her, they were not aging men in their sixties with health complications. They had successful careers and wonderful families, but they were her boys. Imagine being 95 years old and outliving your children! To Bernice, she said, “it’s just not natural.” No doubt she always saw them through maternal eyes, even though at some point, they were taking care of her.

I was so happy to spend time with her. It was confirmation to me that a mother’s role is significant….through time and age and death. And that love, care and protection of our children transcends time, age and death.

There has been no greater blessing in my life than to be given the role of mother. It’s been the easiest and hardest, the most complicated and most simple thing I’ve done.

Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Are you getting your sewing groove on?

   Thanks from my blog buddy Elizabeth...what a fun surprise in my email today!  (source unknown)

Friday, May 3, 2013

sewing to the extremes

One of the ways that I manage to get a little extra something to feed my sewing beast is to do alterations and sewing for others. I am always astounded by the number of people that have not learned how to shorten a hem, take in a seam or mend a split . I thought these were pretty basic skills that we all learned at home or at least in home ec.!  Ah, but it is easier to throw things away and buy fast fashion, isn’t it? Even when I’m thrifting, I find some of the most wonderful garments that simply need the buttons replaced or a lining repaired.

So, just this week, I had three jobs to do. And I was a little amused by the extremes.

I started the week by finishing a prom dress alteration. This dress needed some additional room in the bodice, and of course, there were absolutely no seam allowances with which to fiddle. Again, fast fashion, serged seams. I love a challenge.

I removed the zipper from the waist up, re-shaped the back opening while adding satin cord loops.
The loops were sandwiched between layers of twill tape and then sewn in the seam as one piece.
Some extra stabilizing in the way of heavy interfacing was added to the back opening as well.

And what we have is a re-styled gown, and a happy, happy girl.

I finished my week with another job that required sewing patches on a leather vest. Yes, the second in command at my Agency is a Harley ridin' itty bitty blonde who put her trust in me to get the patches on right so that she doesn’t get kicked out of her motorcycle club.

I got some heavy duty thread, leather needles and put my vintage Kenmore to work.

And what we have is a happy motorcycle mama boss.

So, leather and patches, frilly and girly. It’s been a fun sewing week!
I think that means that this weekend I get to sew for myself!

Please remember to vote for your favorite Pantone Color Contest entry over at Pattern Review. There are lots and lots of beautiful garments !