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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.










Jalie 3675

IMGP5673I’ve had my eye on the Charlie Bomber since this pattern was released!! After I got my pattern (paper not download) I started working on procuring some fabric. Although I desperately want to make a floral bomber, I couldn’t find any floral scuba that was jacket-weight. So I decided to try neoprene.


I ordered some black/white reversible neoprene from Mood. It’s heavy duty fabric with a LOT of body. I also ordered some striped, ribbed trim. I’ve had all of these items stashed away in my sewing room for about a month or two, and then Jalie put out  this tutorial. I took it as a sign and set to work on my bomber without delay.



I cut a size S and it fits perfectly. Although I’m sure the written instructions for this pattern are great (they always are), I did not use them at all! Instead, I opened up the YouTube tutorial, watched a little, pushed pause, and sewed a few seams. I did this all the way through and it was awesome! I wish all patterns had a set of video instructions.


This was my first time sewing neoprene. It wasn’t too bad, but it was a little bit of a learning curve. The trickiest part was learning that neoprene does not forgive and forget. Ripped seams and needle holes do not disappear–it’s like leather in that way. Even so, I do like this fabric.



I do love this pattern and if I can find some heavy-weight floral scuba, I’m making another one. I also think a wool bomber could be pretty cool! Louise wants a bomber too!


BTW, the striped dress is also a recent make–McCall’s 7122 with short sleeves. I made it using some knit from CaliFabrics. This was the first time I ordered from them and really like the quick turn-around and fabrics themselves.



I’ve made this pattern A LOT, but this was the first time with short sleeves.


Kwik Sew 4175


For the past two months I haven’t been much of a seamsta. Spring finally showed up and so I’ve been spending my weekends in the garden. However the Pattern Review Weekend is in less than a week, so I decided I better turn in my shovel and turn on the Bernina. I’m not sure what the weather is going to be–could be warm or cool–but I thought Kwik Sew 4175 could work for both if I had a cardigan.

Based on the finished measurements, I decided to make the extra small. Let me say that I never cut the extra small option–my bust is 35 inches and I’m usually a 12 in the big 4–but I was worried about how drapey the finished top would be. I’m not the tallest woman in the world and big, flowy tops don’t always work on me.


I used a rayon challis that I bought from and stretch pleather for the contrast pieces. The top went together lickety split–the only tricky part was the pleather. I used my teflon foot, but the pleather was still stretching and buckling. I finally reduced the pressure on my presser foot and that fixed the problem.




I think I’m going to wear it with these white-denim, Jalie Eleonores:


And then I’ll take this new Jalie cocoon in case it’s chilly:


What do you think? I also made a new Jalie raglan with a raised neckline:


I might take it for back-up. This might be just the kind of comfy shirt I’ll need to wear so that I can carry  yards and yards of new fabric.

The Sudoku Wardrobe Contest

Purple Pleather Tweed

I am calling my collection: “Who doesn’t need more purple, pleather, and tweed?!” I chose this name because:

(a) It’s true. Do people really have enough purple, pleather, and tweed in their closets?? I don’t–although I now have more than I did before.

(b) It’s catchy and it rhymes, and for that I need to give props to my husband. He is the author of this title. After too many weird and failing attempts–including one that included Grape Ape (remember that cartoon??), another with “Purple People Eater,” and then one with Tweather (a combination of tweed and pleather), I jumped at his rhyming, yet comprehensive suggestion. Genious!

Here’s the final grid for the contest:

4X4 collage with patterns

By the contest rules, the grid needed to include: 4 shoes, 4 tops, 4 bottoms, and 4 accessories. All of these need to combine to make outfits on the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. I tried to photoshop a grid that included the original grid plus the full outfits, but I couldn’t find a way to get both diagonals in. Here’s an image with everything but the top-right to bottom-left diagonal:

5X5 collage

The rules state that you must make at least 10 out of 12 of the garments (tops, bottoms, and accessories.) The rules also say that accessories can include “sweaters, cardigans, jackets, blazers, scarf, wrap, purse, or glove.” Here’s what I actually made:


  1. Jalie 2805–purple, long-sleeve crewneck
  2. Kwik Sew 4069–grey turtleneck
  3. Kwik Sew 4069–lavender turtleneck
  4. Butterick 5526–purple & white striped dress shirt


  1. Jalie 3461–black, faux suede Eleonores
  2. McCall’s 7392–purple, button-front skirt
  3. Butterick 6326–black pleather skirt
  4. New Look 6312–pleather & tweed skirt with contrasting panels


  1. Simplicity 2309–tweed jacket
  2. Butterick 6328–pleather & tweed jacket with contrasting sleeves
  3. Jalie 3353–oversized, cocoon cardigan
  4. Kwik Sew 3764–pleather, moto jacket

Although, I had a few failures and ended up back at the drawing board a few times, I ended up sewing 12 garments that go together to make at least 10 outfits. Here they are:

rows 1-4



How about those electric-purple tights?????? I need new tights–maybe more of a muted purple.



Now here are the outfits that result from combining the garments in each Soduko column:

columns 1-4



The picture-taking took so long, that I started losing light. The pic above is my desperate attempt to find places that were not in shadows. It cracks me up.



Here are the two outfits that result from combining the diagonals:




This is a kooky outfit, but I gotta admit, I do love the way the sweaterknit looks with the tweed. I know it’s a lot of pattern, but I like it when different patterns kind of hurt your eyes, but kind of don’t.

These are actually my favorite outfits from this contest:

my favorites

So two months, twelve garments, and lots of pleather later, I am done!! This was really a fun contest. I liked the challenge of coordinating these garments in very specific ways. And, it turns out, I really like sewing with pleather!!!

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