Monday, November 10, 2014


I had enough fabric left over from each of my Renfrews to make my kids their own tees too.
Logan's tee is made using the Vintage V-neck pattern from Blank Slate Patterns. These are pdf patterns for boys and girls. There aren't a lot of cool little boy patterns available buy Blank Slate has a good selection. I made a 4T based on his measurements. There isn't a lot of room for growth so I will go up a size the next time.
Next up is the baby's tee. She just turned 1 year old and is about 20 pounds. I used Simplicity 1566. This is a good pattern for basic separates- tops, pants, jackets, vest, and jumper. I made a size large (18 months). Again, there's not a ton of room for growing. This was also super easy. The most time consuming (and annoying) part was hand sewing snaps on each shoulder seam. These are necessary though so that the top can fit over baby's head.
Both tees came together quickly and they were a great way to use up the leftover fabric.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Pair of Renfrews

These are my third and fourth versions of the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern. My wardrobe is lacking in casual tops that are suitable for Fall/Winter. The Renfrew top is perfect for filling in that gap.
I made the long sleeve version with the V-neck (my favorite neckline). My original review is here. I've lost some weight since then so I went down one size. I left the length as is.
They went together quickly and easily, each taking less than two hours on a conventional machine.
Aren't the prints cool? They were both from Girl Charlee Fabrics. The fox print can be found here, and the bird print can be found here. They are each available in other color ways as well.
What basics will you be adding to your wardrobe for the cooler weather?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer's Last Hurrah: Bombshell Swimsuit

A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of going to Panama City, Florida for our annual visit to my in-laws. It was hot and humid, and daily swimming was a must.
What more can I say about the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern from Closet Case Files? It is well-drafted, easy to sew, and looks great on a variety of body types.
I used a matte black nylon-spandex from Spandex World. I also purchased a black swimsuit lining from them. I got the bra cups on Etsy.
I didn't make any changes to the fit or construction. And, as I am one of the last members of the online sewing community to sew this, I will let you refer to the multitude of reviews from others who have gone before me.
When we arrived back to New Mexico, the weather was already beginning to change. Fall is in the air and I am now planning my cool weather sewing plan.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fehr Trade XYT Top

No glamour shots here- you are in for some dirty and sweaty action shots today!
I consider myself a very amateur runner. Before completing the Couch-to-5k training program, I couldn't even run one minute without huffing and puffing. Now I can do a 5K!
For this year's first 5K, I needed a new top of course. And because I'm fasting, I had to make one.
I opted for the Fehr Trade XYT Workout Top. Check out this site for some great workout wear patterns.

I made the 'X' style. I love the back with the little peek-a-boo... too cute!
I used a nylon spandex from Spandex World with a "dia de los muertos", or "Day of the Dead" print... which is very popular in this neck of the woods. I had to wonder what the UPS man thought of my large package with "Spandex World" printed all over it.
The top went together very quickly on a conventional machine. I used a long, narrow zigzag stitch for the vertical seams. For the neckline, arm, and hem, I used a decorative serpentine stitch. It looks better than a zigzag on the outside but still allows the fabric to stretch without popping seams. I attempted to use my double needle but kept ending up with skipped stitches.
This was during the first mile- still smiling!
I originally was going to sew in the hidden bra. I used power-mesh and tested the stretch as instructed. I got to a point in the sewing where I could do a test fitting and eek! That hidden bra was so tight, I couldn't get the top over my shoulders. So I took it out.
I don't know that you can tell because of the dark print, but I ended up sewing a band to the bottom of the shirt to give it a bit more length. I felt like the top was riding up on me at it's original length. The band added about 2 inches and it is much more comfortable on me.
A high-five from my buddy at the finish line!
I am very pleased with how this came out and plan to make more. Two ladies came up to me after the run and told me how cute my top was!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter Ginger

Yep, I've turned into one of those moms. You know- the kind who match their outfits with their daughter's. At least it's only on special occasions.

For myself, I made the Colette Ginger skirt. This is a great pattern for a basic, A-line skirt. It went together super quickly. I like the high waist style. It is flattering and has a bit of a vintage vibe.

I used a cotton stretch sateen print from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's been in my stash for a while until I could figure out what to do with it. I originally intended on making a dress with it. I love the colors and large floral print. However, I thought it would be a bit overwhelming on me as a dress so I opted for a skirt. I think it turned out nicely.

One word of caution. I fell in-between sizes on the size chart so I opted for the larger of the two. I still had to let out the waist seam allowances by 1/4 inch on each side- 1 inch all the way around.

I am really happy with this skirt and received lots of compliments the first time I wore it. This is another one I could see making up in several prints for lots of options.

For the baby, I used Simplicity 3854 to make her dress from the same fabric. For such a little dress it was actually quite fussy! The instructions would have you finish the neckline and sleeves with bias tape. Despite the bias, I couldn't get the tape to stretch enough to lay flat after stitching. So after fighting with it, I ended up cutting a lining for the bodice and finishing it that way. I then preceded to sew the lining in incorrectly and having to rip it out- at least that one was my fault.

In the end, it did come out really cute. I love the poofy skirt! And, I made her the matching headband!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lovely Leaves Laurel

Eek it's been a while, hasn't it? I have recently made a big decision... to return to school! I am currently in the midst of graduate school, working toward becoming a family nurse practitioner. Needless to say, that has eaten up some of my sewing time. Although I will have to slow down, I still hope to finish 2 garments a month. I need me some sewing to keep my sanity!

I can't wait until it warms up a little more so that I can wear this dress! This is the Laurel dress from Colette Patterns. I love the basic shift style of this pattern. It is easy to wear but still has a feminine shape.
I used a beautiful eyelet with a leaf design from Gorgeous Fabrics. I really wanted the eyelet design to pop so I underlined the dress with a white cotton lining. The sleeve hem and neck are bound with black seam binding.
This went together quickly and easily. I sewed the size recommended by the pattern based off of my measurements and didn't need to make any alterations. The only change I would make next time is to make the dress just an inch or two just out of personal preference.
I really like how this turned out! The black and white contrast looks really chic! The Laurel might just turn into one of my go to patterns. I could see this worked up into many different fabrics and prints.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Little White Dress

Shove over boys- I've got a new love in town: my little white dress! I used Vogue 8787 to create this vampy little number. I was heavily influenced my the always fabulous Mimi G's version.
For the past three years I have attempted to make a little black dress to enter in the contest on Pattern Review. Without fail something would go wrong where it just didn't turn out right and I never was able to enter. I knew my luck was turning when Pattern Review announced a Little White Dress contest. This is my year! The idea is to show the versatility of your dress, illustrating how it can transition from day to night.
After some debate I landed on this Vogue Easy Options pattern. I initially was going to do the version with the drape neck. However, I recall when I attempted a Pippa knockoff and a certain someone asking me about the diaper on my dress. When I saw Mimi's version, I fell in love with the asymmetrical neckline instead.
I used a white double knit ponte roma from It was actually in my stash already... score! I used a lightweight white lining with just a touch of stretch from Gorgeous Fabrics. I inserted a invisible zipper in back.
I cut one size smaller than recommended by my measurements. I shortened the sleeves into a 3/4 length so that I could wear it in warmer seasons as well. As for the length, I ended up cutting about two inches off before doing the hem. I tapered the skirt slightly at the ends to peg it. I took the bottom of the skirt in about four inches all the way around to create the pegged look.
Although there are many steps, the dress is easy to sew.
Wearing a LWD can be quite tricky. You don't want any unmentionables peaking through. Although the dress is lined, there is still a bit of sheerness to the dress. I recommend nude, seamless underthings to minimize any show through.
For day, I accessorized with a denim jacket, animal print heels, hoop earrings, and a black leather clutch.
For night, I went simple with a silver clutch and heels. I opted for large stud earrings.
I love, love, love this dress and I can see wearing it on many occasions. Don't forget to head over to Pattern Review to vote for your favorites starting 02/18/14!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cowl Neck Renfrew

Here's a quick and easy basic for you. I've made the Sewaholic Renfrew before and have always wanted many more in my closet. It is such a great staple to have in several colors to work with multiple looks. I'm a big fan of the arm and hem bands. Here's the link to my first Renfrew with more of a review included in the post. That one is still a go to top especially in the warmer weather.  
 And in case you're wondering, yes- I think those are deodorant marks under my boob. Something I didn't notice until looking at the pictures. Damn you black shirts!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Sweetie

This dress is the first thing I've made my daughter. It was one of her Christmas presents but she didn't quite fit until this last week.

I used a quilting cotton from Now I'm in agreement with most of you- quilting cotton should not be used for garments. But it's a baby so I got over it! I trimmed the dress with some lace that I had in my stash. I was initially going to make the organza overlay. However, the cheap synthetic organza I got was not behaving and the dress looked better without it so I omitted it.
I converted the zipper closure to a button band instead. For someone who spends much of the day sleeping and rolling around on the ground, a zipper just didn't seem too comfortable. I couldn't find much info on converting to a zipper closure out there so I did my own thing. If any of you are interested, let me know and I will do a tutorial in the future.
My daughter is a little over 3 months now. I'm not sure how much she is weighing these days. I made the size small for 13-18 lbs and it seems to fit her well with a little room to grow. It's long on her- almost to her ankles but looks like that what the style is meant to be.
This was a quick and easy dress to make. The bodice is lined which gives it a nice finish. I may use the pattern for another view in the future.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Blog Look

You may have noticed that the old blog got a makeover! I've been wanting to do this for a long time but do not possess the skills to do anything close to what I envisioned. This was actually one of my Christmas presents. My lovely mother in law purchased this service for me after I had mentioned that I wanted to do something like this.
After reading a favorable review on Handmade Jane, I hooked up with Pish and Posh designs via Etsy. I went with the "Gold Package". For a small fee (compared to the amount of work put in), I received a whole new look for the blog including installation. Trina, the designer, and I emailed each other countless times back and forth. She took some very vague ideas of what I wanted (I'm no designer) and came up with a concept that I love. I'm particularly enamored with my custom social media icons to the right- aren't those adorbs? Trina was an absolute doll and never seemed to get annoyed with my questions or things that I wanted to change along the way. She has multiple packages available on Etsy so that you can get something for every need or price range. I highly recommend her service if, like me, you want to spruce things up but just don't know where to start!  
I'm totally a sewcialist now! So click on your favorite social sites on the right to hook up with me.
Another change worth mentioning is I've turned off comment moderation for posts less than 14 days old. I despise word verification so had turned that off a long time ago. However, I do get loads of spam comments that I need to screen out. I see that some of you double comment because you don't realize the moderation is on. Now that I've lifted moderation for the 14 day period, you will see your comment post right away and you won't need to deal with word verification. Double win!

Little Grey Dress

This is a project that's been in my to do pile for a while. I couldn't get excited about it because I was worried about being able to pull it off. It's more form fitting than I usually go for. In retrospect, my insecurities were very silly.
I made a mistake while sewing this but it turned out to be a happy mistake. I cut out view B which has the sleeves. However, the instructions for view A appear first. I was zoning out and totally followed the instructions for view A, making this into a sleeveless dress. I'm actually glad I did though. I think the sleeveless version has a more classy, sheath shape that I like.
I used a wool jersey for the shell and lined it with a tricot knit. I read many reviews before beginning and took note that many people omitted the lining and the zipper. I inserted both for a few reasons:
  • Although the wool content in the jersey is low, my sensitive skin still gets the itchies from it.
  • The jersey is on the thinner side so lining it gave the dress a more substantial weight.
  • In my opinion, lining a garment looks better than facing the edges, or hemming them.
  • Yes, it's a knit dress but if I didn't insert the zipper, I'm sure I would have popped the waistline stitches by trying to get it over my head and shoulders- especially since I ended up taking the sides in a bit.
I cut my typical one size smaller than the pattern recommends. The Big 4 always has too much ease in my opinion. As I sewed, I did some test fittings and ended up sewing a 7/8" seam allowance along the sides to eat up some more ease. I'm glad I did. It took the dress from being on the frumpy side, to body-con in no time.
The dress went together fast and easily! It's a great option if you need a new dress in a flash. The pleating along the waistline is great for camouflaging a bit of a tummy if you need.
My hubby's comment: "you look stunning"!  


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Albion

This was my husband's Christmas present and he finally agreed to model for the blog! We've been together for almost eleven years and I've sewn for him much less than that. The only other garment I've made for him to wear out is an ill fitting button down shirt. But he wore it and loved it! I've made him three pairs of pajama pants. And that's about it. I haven't sewn more for him for a couple of reasons. For one, he is a big and tall dude. He's about 6' 4" and it can be difficult to find clothes in the store to fit him, much less alter a pattern to fit. Secondly, there's only so many button down shirts and vests one can make a man if you look at what the Big 4 has to offer. Still, there is something special about sewing for the ones you love so I set out to make a jacket. I had planned to make Vogue 8842 a la Andrea's cameraman jacket. But I soon realized how much she had to change the pattern and was quickly discouraged.
Colette patterns then read my mind, knew exactly what I wanted, and released the Albion pattern just in enough time for me to make it for Christmas.
Although there are some harsh lows, the winter temperatures in this part of the world are on the milder side. I didn't think he would need a super insulated, heavy coat. So I went with a cotton twill shell and a flannel lining. It's just the right weight to cut the cool chill but not be too heavy. The cotton twill is not as formal as a wool coating but it better suits my husband's everyday style.
I was prepared to have to make several fitting changes but surprisingly, there wasn't much I had to do. Before he stumbled into the sewing studio one night and discovered what I was doing, I was trying to keep it a secret. I took one of his tall sized coats that I knew fit well and measured the pattern against the coat. The only place I was worried about fitting was the shoulder length. I lengthened the shoulder but later ended up cutting this back again after a fitting with my husband. I'm glad he discovered my secret because I was able to fit the jacket on him as I went. The one place I hadn't thought about being a problem was the arm circumference. My husband has large shoulders and biceps and the original armscye was a bit too small for him. I tapered out the seam allowance under the arm to almost nothing to give him a bit of extra room which at that point was about all I could do. He said it was enough to make it more comfortable. Other than that, the length and width of the pattern worked perfectly.
As for the construction, this went together relatively easy. The only part I think a beginner might have trouble with is sewing the inseam pockets. However, I know Colette Patterns is starting a sewalong which will be a great reference for tips and tricks and tutorials.
Speaking of the inseam pockets- they are huge! That is my husband's one complaint about the jacket. If he puts something in one of the side pockets, he has a difficult time finding it because they are so large and deep.
I have to admit, I was worried about my husband liking the end product. You never know if you are going to put in a lot of work into something, only to have the recipient not like what you have done. However, he truly loves his new jacket! He has worn it every day since receiving it. He has received several unsolicited compliments from people and is happy to show off my work.
I hope Colette Patterns continue to put out more patterns in their line for men. I am very happy that my husband has something made by me that suits him just right! I may later make him another version using a wool coating just so he has another style to go to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Graphic Archer

First finished garment of 2014! I will spare you a full review as this is my second go at the Grainline Archer pattern. My chambray Archer has already seen plenty of wear. Often times I am waiting for it to come out of the dryer so I can put it on!
This version was made using a crepe de chine print from I love this geometric print. It reminds me of the 80's... but in a cool, modern way. And I loved sewing with this fabric. It feels so light and silky but is very easy to work with.