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McCall’s 7476


When I went on the Pattern Review Weekend 2017, I got to visit Elliot Berman Textiles. Holy, moly that place has GORGEOUS fabrics. They have a whole section of beautiful wool knits. I could have stayed there for hours and hours. When I was there in May, I saw the beautiful black, grey, white, and fuschia fabric that you see above. I wanted that fabric so badly, but I didn’t buy it because I was trying to pace myself and I was on a budget and bla bla bla. Bottom line–I didn’t buy it and I regretted it. Let that be a lesson to everyone–buy the fabric. Life is short. We should all buy the damn fabric.

A couple months later I was sitting in pajamas and wandering around, and low and behold, there was my fabric and it was on sale!!!! I honestly still think I may have hallucinated all of this (because honestly if I did hallucinate, I think it would be about fabric), but apparently I ordered it at a super sale price and then sent it to me.

Since it arrived, I’ve been trying to figure out what I was going to make. I’ve gone back and forth, but I kept coming back to a long cardigan. So this weekend I decided upon McCall’s 7476. I can’t believe that I didn’t make a muslin. I probably should have, but I just wanted to get to it. I made up  for the lack of muslin by studying all of the M7476 reviews on Pattern Review. Thank god for Pattern Review.

Since the fabric is so bulky, I cut size medium. I also went with View E–the full length version. I was shooting for an oversized, long cardigan. I omitted the patch pockets and added cuffs because cuffs feel like a nicer finish to me.

When I finished, I had a super-long cardigan. It was kind of what I wanted, but not exactly.




My husband said I looked like an emperor, and honestly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I also wasn’t sure what I was going to do about the closure. It seemed like it needed a button or snap, but I wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t crazy about the way each front side came to point–where the button would go.  The emperor sweater also felt too big–I probably could have cut a size small and been ok. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I slept on it.

On Sunday morning, I was ready to make some changes. I started by removing the facing. I didn’t like the facing–it felt somewhat unfinished to me. I then cut about 10 inches off the length.Then I scooped out the underarms and took the sides in about an inch on each side.


Then I decided to curve the opening where it met the hem–I used a cereal bowl as a guide. IMGP6260

Then, instead of adding a facing to finish the opening, I decided to add a long band a la the Jalie Cocoon Cardigan. I cut two very long strips that were five inches wide. I sewed them together and created the band which I then sewed onto the cardigan. I serged this seam, pressed it away from the opening, and topstitched on the sweater side of the seam.




Truth be told, I’m kind of digging this remix. I don’t feel like an emperor anymore and that’s a good think. I think the long cardigan shows off this cool fabric without getting too costumey.




I’m experimenting with adding video to the review–I’m not sure if this adds anything, but here’s a video clip:

I’ve also been trying to take my photos up to the next level–I really never know how to pose. Whenever Coca Rocha poses, she seems like she’s in motion. Her poses are so dynamic. I thought I should try to add a little movement to my photos. I’m not sure that these help show off the garment, but they do make me laugh.




Clearly, I am a natural. Coco Rocha, watch out!



Mad About Plaid

On Saturday morning, I was in still in my PJs wandering around Pinterest when I came across this picture of plaid sweatshirt made out of a woven fabric. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to make it.  Unfortunately I did not have the Linden Sweatshirt pattern and I did not have any flannel. I also live an hour away from the nearest JoAnn’s, so I decided to improvise. Enter Kwik Sew 3045:


I made this one before, but never out of a woven. For the plaid, I pulled out a small remnant of Pendleton wool that I have had in my stash for over three years. I loved it, but up until this point, it was way to small for any pattern. For the sleeves, neckband, waistband, and cuffs I used a brown double cotton poly I purchased from Mood.


I usually cut a size 12 in the big five, but since this is an unisex pattern, I went with the extra-small size. I ended up removing an inch from each side and six inches from the length. I also added a waistband and cuffs on the sleeves.

Here is what I removed from the sleeves:


Here’s what I removed from the front and back:


I love the way it turned out–more like an office-appropriate pullover than a sweatshirt.







After I made this version, I decided I needed another. I pulled out a remnant I bought at the Habitat ReStore in Hickory, NC. Do other Habitat ReStores have fabric, or is this just a Hickory thing????? In any case, I used this wool blend for the front and the back, and a charcoal double-knit for the sleeves, neckband, etc.







Since I’ve run out of weekend, I’ll have to stop making the plaid, woven sweatshirts for now, but no promises for next weekend.




Sewcation Days 5 & 6: T-shirts

I’ve been making t-shirts–three t-shirts to be precise. It all started with my husband’s birthday. He’s been asking for a t-shirt with Blackbeard’s flag–you know the pirate who was killed of the coast of North Carolina. He’s been asking for this since I bought my Bernina software, which has been about three years. So this year I decided to surprise him. I began by digitizing an image of Blackbeard’s flag. Once I got that accomplished, I cut a short-sleeve version of Jalie 2918. I then embroidered the flag on the front of the unsewn t-shirt. The only problem was that the design looked so small on the shirt-front. I used the largest hoop, but the maximum size is 8×5. So I decided to add something else. I came up with a quote and the dates of his birth and death. I was worried that the design could become a little too cute which could be then magnified by the embroidery itself, so I looked for the reasonably savage quote, and here’s what I settled on:


I gave him the shirt yesterday, and he loved it. That’s his pirate face.


After my Blackbeard achievement, I wanted to make a t-shirt for myself. Specifically, I wanted to make a short-sleeve raglan with Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the front.  Justice Ginsburg is badass, and I have long wanted one of those t-shirts that says “Notorious RBG.” I decided to try my hand at making my own using Jalie 3667. The first step was digitizing an image of RBG. This was much trickier than digitizing Blackbeard’s flag. The image itself was more involved, and I am still learning to use the software. Once I had the image embroidered, I added the words. Unfortunately, the words unintentionally ended up a little left of center, but then again, maybe that’s appropriate.


I finished the t-shirt by adding black short-sleeves and a black neckband. I wanted it to look like a short-sleeve baseball shirt.


Then I decided I wanted another black and white raglan t-shirt with embroidery. This time I went with an Urban Threads’ mandala.



I love Urban Threads. And I love Jalie 3667. Sometime soon I plan to make it with full-length sleeves and the hood. In the meantime, here’s my latest version:




Sewcation Days 2 & 3 & 4: Flower Power

Have you noticed that there seems to be a lot of 3-D flower embellishment on the runway lately???????

Like this skirt by Michael Kors:

michael kors

Or this clutch by Marc Jacobs:













This dress by Lela Rose:



Or this Coach purse:


Or this amazing dress and purse by Zac Posen:

I am completely smitten with these flower embellishments and this feeling does not seem to be decreasing over time. In fact, it’s turned in to a saga.

Chapter 1:

Last month I went to the Pattern Review Weekend in NYC, and TBH, it was completely awesome. In the lead-up to this weekend, we were told that there would be a travel accessory contest that would be judged during the weekend itself. I decided to enter–I wanted to make a fanny-pack with some left-over pleather and try to embellish it Zac Posen-style.

Kwik Sew 4165 Misses' Belly Bags Sewing Pattern Sewing

I used Kwik Sew 4165 for my pattern. It’s listed as a “belly bag”–why do I find that so much more disturbing than “fanny pack”? Anyway, I used some left-over black pleather for the base and the flowers and my handy-dandy Accuquilt Go with the Rose of Sharon die to cut a whole lot of flowers.


I fastened the dies to the pack with rivets.



Instead of using webbing for the belt, I used a leather belt band that I bought at JoAnn’s and a swivel clasp with a D ring that I bought on Amazon.


I lined the bag with some polka-dot cotton that I had in my stash. I felt like the polka-dots echoed the rivets. The size of this bag is perfect. It fits my 6-plus phone with room for keys and a small wallet.



Scout loved it and I WON FIFTH PLACE at the Pattern Review Weekend!! That was a big ol’ deal for me. I haven’t won a contest since I won third-place in my seventh grade science fair!


Now you might think that my fanny pack and my fifth-place victory might have sated my desire for the floral embellishment, but you would be wrong.

Chapter 2:

A few weeks ago Charleston Forge (a Boonetowne furniture maker with amazingly beautiful pieces) was having its annual factory sale. I went because I always do, and I came away with a big bag of leather scraps and a piece of brown upholstery fabric. I scored all those pieces for $10!!!

IMG_8585 (1)

After my fifth-place, fanny-pack victory, I set my sights on making a jacket with flower embellishments. Then, in the midst of my sewcation I realized that I might just have enough cream leather to make my flower-power jacket. The trick was that I had a lot of oddly-shaped scraps.


As I’ve said before, Jalie 2795 is perfect for scrap-busting. It has a ton of small pieces. I was able to cut Jalie 2795 out of my scraps. I omitted the hood and pockets and used some leftover pleather for the side panels and lower sleeve pieces.

I then used my Accuquilt Go to cut out a ton of black and white flowers. For the black flowers, I used a black leather skirt I bought at Goodwill.


Then I figured out my placement for the flowers on the front and back pieces. I drew horizontal and vertical lines two inches apart. I used this erasable pen for the marking–when ironed, the ink disappears. It’s crazy, but super handy. I made dots where the lines intersected and this is where I made the  rivet holes.

IMG_8900 (1)



I went outside to our picnic table and set all the rivets, all 90 of them.



Then I started assembling the jacket. I used these mini-sewing-clips and they are my new favorite thing. Seriously, these things are awesome.



I used ribbed trim (purchased at the Pattern Review Weekend) for the waistband and cuffs. I also changed out the 2795 collar for the 3675 collar. I used rib trim on that as well.






Sorry–not-sorry for all the pictures of this jacket. I seriously love it and can’t believe that it turned out!! If I did it again, I would go up a size or two. The leather doesn’t stretch, but the pleather does so that helps a little. I think I’ll wear this jacket as a work jacket not as an outside jacket–like a blazer, but with way more flower power.


There’s a dog in back of me, doing something semi-bad:







The other thing that I love about this jacket is the cost:

Cream leather: $10

Black leather for flowers: $5

Rib trim: $15

Zipper: $3???–I’m guessing; it was in my stash.

Total: $33

Sewcation Day 1: Jalie 3675


I’ve been coveting floral bombers for quite some time. It all started when Jalie released its Charlie Bomber pattern. They had such a cute black and white floral version on the pattern cover, that I had to have the pattern. Then Dawn from Two On, Two Off made this amazing version. After I saw her version, I knew I needed to make one for me. The only problem was that I could not find any floral scuba. Then I went to the Pattern Review Weekend and visited French Couture Fabrics, and found this beautiful neoprene:


I saw it and knew that my floral bomber dreams were going to come true!

Since this is the first day of my sewcation, I decided to start big and go for the bomber. I knew I was going to use the floral for the front and back bodice pieces and then black scuba on the sleeves. I wanted to use some striped rib trim on the waistband, cuffs, and neck band, but most of the trim that I have is really heavy, and this neoprene is not very heavy. I also wanted the trim to be black and red, and all I had was black and white…………..and a red sharpie.


So you know what I did! I used the lightest trim that I had, but it also happened to be the narrowest. It was actually too narrow for the pattern pieces, so I cut the pattern pieces using some black ribbed knit and then sewed the trim onto the knit. It actually worked.


Since the neoprene was not super heavy, I added a lining using black scuba.





The pattern went together very easily. The first time I made it, I used the YouTube tutorial. This time I relied mostly on the pictures, but I did revisit the tutorial for help on connecting the collar to the zipper. I love that tutorial. I’ve made this pattern twice and plan to make it again in wool–but that won’t be happening this week.





BTW, Sewcation rocks!!! If you asked me to choose between going to a tropical island and going on on Sewcation, I would choose Sewcation every.darn.time.





I’ve been cleaning out my sewing room. It seems that I’ve been taking more fabric in than sending out, and my closet is busting at the seams. So, it’s time for a mini-purge and some sewing down of the the stash. First up were some beloved scraps that I have been saving. Way back in 2014 I made a retro-bat-jacket from some gorgeous Polartec sweater-faced fleece. I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but I didn’t end up wearing the bat-jacket very much. There aren’t too many occasions in Boonetowne that require bat-jackets–if only I lived in Gotham. Although I have a strict “if you haven’t worn it in the past year, it needs to go” policy, I couldn’t part with the jacket because I loved that purple fleece toooo much. So I decided to cut it up and make something else.

jacket 5

As luck would have it the scraps left over from my Soduko Contest sweater coordinated perfectly with the fleece. I kind of think it was a sign–a clear sign that I needed something new out of purple wool and fleece.


I had less than a yard of each fabric, but I remembered that Jalie 2795 had lots of little pieces and some great options for color-blocking. I also had some newly acquired ribbed trim (thank you Pattern Review Weekend 2017) and a spare separating jacket zipper.


I did run out of fabric, so I took some scraps of black fleece and used them for some of the sleeve panels.



I do love how this one tuned out. The only problem is that it’s July and a little too warm for a fleece/wool jacket. But come November, I’ll be wearing this baby all the time. It’s cozy.




While I was scrap-busting, some new neighbors moved into the fern on my deck.




Aren’t they cute?


A quilt for Baby Cora…and the rest of us


I’ve made a few baby quilts in my day. When I started sewing with my own machine, in my own apartment, I made baby quilts…a lot of baby quilts. At that time, I liked not having to follow a pattern and making it up as I went along. And on those early ones, I did make it up as I went along. They were kinda rough. It was a time when I didn’t have a whole lot of sewing tools, and the tools that I did have were somewhat limited. I think my first sewing machine made three different stitches and a buttonhole, and that made sewing garments pretty darn challenging. Maybe that’s why I gravitated to quilts. These days I’ve acquired some better tools and I prefer sewing clothes, but when the situation presents itself, I can still get into sewing some straight lines and squaring a few edges.

Recently, the situation presented itself. A friend from work was/is having her first baby and her graduate students wanted to give her a present. I suggested a baby quilt. I told them that if they made the squares (with fabric markers), I would do the sewing.  We decided that each student would create a square with a two word piece of advice for Baby Cora–a verb followed by something else–and that each student would sign her square. After I got the colors of the nursery, I found some coordinating prints and fabric markers (fabric markers are key–sharpies bleed.) We gave out the fabric and markers and the students created their squares.


Now, I love words and I love fabric, and truth be told I adore these students, so I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to like the squares that the students created. But honestly, I had no idea that these squares would be so awesome. Their words, thoughts, and handwriting are just so beautiful. They kind of took my breath away. And the idea that these young women are giving advice to girl who is yet to be born–and their pieces of advice are full of such strength, compassion, tolerance, and beauty–well, it was just what my weary and scared heart needed.

When I was a child I had a security blanket that was crocheted for me by my great-aunt Ruth. It had a chevron design in pink, blue, and white. I couldn’t sleep without it, and I probably had it for a little too long. I remember having to hide it when my cousins came to spend the night. But any shame I felt was offset by how safe and secure that blanket made me feel. Maybe that’s why I started making baby quilts in the first place. Maybe it was an unconscious attempt to spread a little comfort in a world that is sometimes scary and confusing.

I am going to turn fifty in three months, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve held that beloved blanket of mine. The last year has been scary and confusing. It’s made me especially worried for all of the young women I hold dear. When I started sewing this blanket, I thought I was making something that could potentially comfort Baby Cora, but as I read the words that these strong young women have written, I realize that I am the one feeling comforted. We are going to be ok. These women are strong, fierce, and courageous. They will show Cora the way. We are going to be ok.










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