Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I decided to try sewing leather on my Singer 328k. I used a leather needle, heavy-duty thread, and went slowly. It went really well! I do want to get a spare bobbin case. I think the only problems I had were all caused by the bobbin tension being a bit tight for the thicker thread. 

Now I have a new problem - how do I source affordable leather? SR Harris has bins of scraps you can buy by weight. Very affordable, but hard to find just the right thing. Maybe I'll get some $$ at Christmas and splurge on a whole hide from SR Harris. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Travel Bag

This little hanging bag is from Kwik Sew 3748. (I think it's out of print?)

A LOT of my patterns are out of print, and not just the vintage ones. I think this is because I get about 60% of my patterns at Goodwill and another 35% were grabbed up when the Hancock fabrics near my house was closing (as were they all). 

Anyway, for anyone out there who has this pattern - I like it! I only interfaced the outer fabric. The inner fabrics are quilting-weight cottons. If I ever make it, again, I'll interface everything. It feels a little wimpy, as it is. 

The hardware at the top was one of the more difficult things to find. I ended up buying a smaller, somewhat ripped-up bag at Goodwill and scavenging the hook from that. It was cheaper than anything else I could find, and had a swivel, which I hadn't seen in the two fabric stores I checked. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Padding Out My Dress Form

As a very early Christmas present, my wife bought me a dress form! It's an adjustable one from Dritz. 

I started by turning dials until the form was about 1 inch to 2 inches smaller than my measurements. 

Then, I took wide tape and covered all of the gaps.

I added a bra and padded it out a bit.

Then, it got a little weird. I made a booty for my dress form using layers of bonded quilt batting. Also, some back fluff, because, let's be honest, I have some.

Tummy fluff added.

I used plastic wrap to cinch the waist in. The angle between the bottom of my ribcage, the center of my waist, and the outward curve of my hip is very sharp, so this is actually a pretty good approximation.

Ta da! I thought about making an actual form cover, and I may, someday, but I decided that I'd rather spend my time sewing things that I will wear vs. things for my dress form to wear. T-shirt to the rescue! Bonus cat-themed skirt from semi-failed cami-sewing experiment.

It's not perfect, but it's better than just guessing. I added a pin to each bust apex, to make them easier to find.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vogue 8379 - Finished!

Sorry for the terrible photo! I don't know why it looks like I have my thumb in my eye. This is my version of Vogue 8379. It's very, very popular with people who sew and I can see why. It's comfy, easy, and fun to make!

The print on top reminded me of Monet. There was only a little over a yard of it on the bolt, so I thought I'd try using it as the top of a dress. I paired it with a simple, matte black knit fabric. 

I've seen a lot of wrap dresses where the top is a solid color and the bottom is a print, but I like it this way, better. 

Changes I made/ didn't make:

I didn't shorten the bodice at all, since I read online that a lot of people found it to be too short. It is perfect for me as-is. I usually have to shorten bodices by about 1/2 an inch, so it probably is short on lots of people! 

Instead of doing a full bicep adjustment, I just used the sleeves from the next size up. This worked ok but I did get a  little pleating at the top of the sleeve cap. 

I didn't have to shorten the skirt and it hit at exactly my knee. I'm only 5-foot, 4 inches tall, so on a taller woman, it might end up too short. 

I interfaced the waist ties, to make them more stable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gym/ Yoga Bag

Since the end of last year, I've been a member of a gym that's about two blocks from my job. On most days, a coworker and I walk down there and work out. It's really made adding a little workout to my days much easier. 

I didn't want to invest a lot when I started out, since I didn't know if I would stick to it. I bought a sort-of-crappy gym bag at Goodwill and called it OK. 

It's been bothering me that I couldn't get my yoga mat into my gym bag. I stumbled across about 30 inches of this home decor fabric at Goodwill, and thought it would make a good, general gym bag. (It's from Ikea in 2009, in case you're wondering.)

I designed the bag with a sling in front, so it can hold a yoga mat, but without the mat, it just looks like a regular tote bag. Inside, there's a slip pocket for my keys and a little belt that keeps my water bottle from tipping over and spilling. 

I made the bottom of the bag wide enough to hold my sneakers, flat. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine when I have to put them in toe-first, so why not make it fit? 

Dee suggested that I add a zipper across the top. Lo and behold, I had a white zipper that was JUST the right length, so I added it in with some extra topstitching. 

It's these little things I love about sewing. I can dream something up, decide what I want it to be like, and just make it. It feels like magic!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Roundup of 20 Dress Patterns - Without Zippers

A reader asked me about dresses to sew that don't have zippers and are easy to get in and out of. She's anticipating surgery in a few months and wants to be ready.

Notes on fabric use are for sizes with a 33 to 34" waist, since that's my size. :)

I haven't sewn any of these (except the Moneta, and I'm working on Vogue 8379), but here's a roundup:

Vogue 8379
features: knits, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, sleeve options, 3 yards to just over 3 yards on 60" fabric, wrap style, collar option

Pamela's Patterns Classic T-Shirt Dress
features: knits, printed pattern, 3 yards or less, slip on style, Silhouettes: Fitted and Tapered, A-line; Straight or Shaped Back; Sleeves: Short, Elbow, 3/4, Long; Necklines: Classic Boatneck, Modern Square(ish), Vintage Portrait Collar; Options: Color Blocking, Belted

Christine Haynes Marianne Dress
features: knits, PDF or printed pattern, 3 yards or less, slip on style, "casual knit dress with a figure skimming silhouette, above the knee length, round neckline with binding, and kimono cap sleeves", 3/4 sleeve option

Kwik Sew 4169
features: knits, printed pattern, sleeveless, 2 yards on 60" fabric for non-maxi option, 4 yards for maxi, mock wrap style, length options, slip on style

Butterick 6051
features: knits, printed pattern, 3 yards or just over 3 yards, slip on style, neckline variations, skirt variations, elastic waist (or attached ties)

Simplicity 8132
features: sleeveless (tank), wovens, PDF or printed pattern, 2 yards on 60" fabric if you choose the shorter dress, slip on style, bonus: "bralette" pattern for stretch knits included

Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen 
features: pockets, casual, hemline options, neckline options, sleeve options, knits or wovens, option to make as shirt, PDF or print, cut-on sleeves, 3 yards or less in 54" fabric

features: pockets, sleeve options, sleeveless, wovens, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less if you choose the slim skirt and sleeveless options, buttons, multiple cup sizes, bonus: includes bias slip pattern

features: sleeve options, hem options, sleeveless, wovens, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less if you choose the slim skirt and sleeveless options, buttons

Papercut Sway Dress
features: pockets, neckline options, sleeve options, sleeveless, wovens or knits, printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 3 yards or less, slip on style
"The classic sway dress every wardrobe needs. Loose fitting and gorgeously flowing, make it as the short variation or long variation with waist tie. It has a centre front and back seam with a scooped and V neck so you can mix up the look by wearing either neck options to the front or back. It also features side seam pockets."

Sew House Seven: The Tea House Top And Dress Pattern
features: pockets, wovens, PDF or printed pattern, cut-on sleeves, 3 yards or less (I think, their notes are a little confusing), slip on style

features: wovens, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, 4 yards on wide fabric, mock wrap dress

True Bias Southport Dress
features: pockets, sleeveless, wovens, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, buttons (but just on top), 3 yards or less on wide fabric

Vogue 8876
features: FRONT zipper or buttons, pockets, sleeve options, sleeveless, cap sleeve, wovens, printed pattern, 3 to 4 yards. This one kind of reminds me of an old-fashioned bed jacket, but in a way that's cute.

features: casual, knits or wovens, PDF only, cut-on sleeves,  less than 3 yards in 60" fabric

Hot Patterns Riviera Code D'Azur
features: knits, PDF or printed pattern, sleeve options, set-in sleeves, 3 yards in 60" fabric, option to make as a top, slip on style

Hot Patterns Mariposa
features: cut in one piece, knits or wovens, PDF or printed pattern, cut-on sleeves, 2.75 yards in 60" fabric, option to make as a top, slip on style

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress
features: knits, sleeve options, PDF pattern, set-in sleeves, 2.5 yards in 60" fabric, slip on style

features: pockets, wovens, PDF pattern, cut-on sleeves, 2.25 yards in 60" fabric for non-maxi option, slip on style

Colette Patterns Moneta
features: pockets, knits, PDF or printed pattern, set-in sleeves, less than 3 yards, slip on style

Any favorites out there that I missed? Can you tell that I love pockets?