Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Favorites of 2017

Here are my favorite makes for this year!

Jalie ~ 2
Angela Wolf ~ 2
Pauline Alice ~ 1
Burda Young ~ 1

I noticed I haven't blogged as much this year as I have in previous years, but I believe this is a result of more focused sewing for me.  I've tried to approach my sewing with more realistic goals, combining what I want to make with what I will actually wear.  I love to sew, but I'm trying to resist those patterns that are just "eye candy."  I have so many patterns now, and as I look back through them, so many are not exactly my style.  I want a lot of those dresses, but darn it, they aren't exactly the kind of thing I want to be wearing to the grocery store!  I find myself reaching for those comfy leggings or yoga pants (Jalie your yoga pants are the BEST).

I LOVE this dress.  It's a wear-anywhere-kind-of-dress.  It feels comfortable, it's flirty and fun.

This was my first Pauline Alice pattern and I have made it 3 times and there will continue to be more.  With different bodice, skirt, neck, and sleeve options, you can make this pattern over and over and they will all be different.

I'm so proud of this outfit....these jeans!!  I find myself grabbing this top to wear often as well.  The whole outfit is totally my kind of style.

My daughter wanted a Cheetah print bomber jacket.  Ask and you shall receive, especially when you have a mother who sews!  Jalie never disappoints.

This makes the list too since I have made my son 3 and they are in constant weekly rotation.  My son is 16 and he continues to want me to sew for him--I am blessed.

I'm also very excited and proud to announce that I have been selected to be part of a Jalie Promo team!  I look forward to showcasing new Jalie pattern releases on my blog.

If you have been following me throughout the years, you may also know that I am a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at 45.  January 17, 2018, will be my 5th anniversary of having my cancerous tumors removed, followed by 6 months of chemo, several weeks of radiation, as well as an additional treatment of Herceptin for another 12 months.

Thank you for stopping by and continuing to follow my blog.  There are so many amazing sewing blogs out there and I'm thrilled to be one of the ones you visit!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Holiday Casual Outfit

Ottobre 2/2017-8
Hide Away Hoodie
Size 38

Alterations:  1/2" Swayback
Shortened 1" above waist
Omitted Rib Knit hem bands
Lengthened sleeves

Holiday Casual, that's what the invite says for a party my husband and I are invited to.  What to do but make something of course!  I purchased this fabric from SSE.  I wasn't sure what fabrics would match the plaid deer, so I purchased the red plaid and solid ivory french terry, not even thinking that I would combine all three.

These pockets are interesting, aren't they?  Honestly, I was a little perplexed at how to properly add the seam allowances to the lower pocket piece, let alone how to assemble them at the inner curved seam.  I had that light-bulb moment about 6 a.m. of the morning I planned to sew it together.  Does that happen to you?  I guess all my pondering went on the back burner and worked itself out through the night and presented itself in the morning.  I wish all things were resolved that way.

The pictures aren't the best, but it was a convenient moment to take some.  The direction of the sun was too bright in the backyard, and then somehow I ended up with poor light in the front. LOL  Oh well.

It's hard to see, but I used the top cover stitch on my machine.  I love being able to do this!  I kept all my thread gray except for the top cover stitch thread where I used red.

I am turning 50 this week!  It's a busy week for me, but I hope to carve out some time for more sewing.  I always like to make myself something special for my birthday.  However, I'm really pleased with my holiday casual outfit, so it could double as my birthday suit too!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Charlie Bomber Jacket For Me

Charlie Bomber Jacket
Size T

Fabrics:  White Quilted Knit & Black Ponte de Roma from SSE Fabrics

I finally got around to making this jacket for myself!  I made one for my daughter here.  She has already worn my jacket too.  When I sew something for myself, it sometimes results in giving my girls more to wear.  But hey, that's what I love about Jalie patterns, they make all of us happy.

I was really surprised with the Ponte fabric from SSE because it had a lot of stretch, which made it perfect for the collar, band, and cuffs.  I did a little browsing on the internet and saw some RTW white jackets trimmed in black and thought it looked pretty sharp, so that was my inspiration.

This time I bought the recommended zipper size unlike the one I used with my daughter's jacket, which was too big and had to be shortened.  Starting out with the correctly sized zipper made constructing the collar so much easier.  I really struggled with that last time since I didn't have large enough zipper stops to install.  If you aren't savvy at shortening this kind of zipper, I recommend buying the right size. LOL

Wearing with my Angel boot cut jeans.


I've also been busy making a few things for Christmas!  I'm really enjoying using my Silhouette Cameo and cutting vinyl for glass.  It's especially fun frosting the glass too!

I made this candy jar for my husband to have on his desk at work.

I decorated this glass block to take to a gift exchange at a wine tasting party.

And this one I made for my mother-in-law.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ottobre Jazzy Look Dress

Ottobre 5/2015-20
Jazzy Look Dress

This was the perfect dress to get to know my new Brother 3550 Cover Stitch machine!  Where the angles meet, I removed my fabric and then started stitching again in the other direction, overlapping stitches.

There is a whole lot of cover stitching going on, accomplished by first seaming with a straight stitch, trimming the s/a and then cover stitching.  The only place this gave me a problem was at the top of the raglan seams.  The angle created where the top of the neckline is seamed for some reason got me hung up with my machine at that point.  I'm sure this is due to my inexperience at cover stitching.  However, I'd like to add that it is very easy to pull this cover stitch seam out.  I did it twice ha ha.  I'm extremely impressed with this machine's ability to go over thick seams without skipping or uneven stitches.  The hemline cover stitch goes over the front and back dress seams, which in all is 4 layers of fabric--awesome!

Alterations:  1/2" swayback adjustment
Shortened 1" above the waist
Shortened 3" below the waist

I made this in a size 38.  The only mistake I made was to use a woven interfacing instead of a knit around the neckline.  It turned out okay, but it could have been better. An hem allowance is at the top of the front, back and raglan sleeves, all which are turned under and cover stitched. 

Nice big pockets! The pocket piece is basted onto the dress first.  I used this basting stitch to guide me as I cover stitched around.

I really like this dress!  It's different from my normal style, but I think it will be fun to wear this winter.  I'm wearing my Ottobre leggings made here.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Casual Outfit for Fall

Named Jamie Jeans
Get Moving Hoodie by Ottobre, 5/2015-15

I felt like sewing jeans again.  I go in waves of simple sewing to something that requires more skill and effort.  I decided on skinny jeans.  I considered taking other jean patterns that I've made before and altering them to a skinnier leg until I remembered the Jamie Jean.  I made them once before here.  Needless to say, those jeans fit a thinner me and have since been donated.  This time I made them in a size 38.  I could have gotten away with a size 36, but I wanted skinny jeans and not skin tight jeans!  

Alterations:  Shortened 1 inch above the knee
Took out a 5/8" dart on the back pant leg piece about the middle waist area
Adjusted back yoke
Removed 5/8 inch at the hemline
Shortened crotch at zipper area 1/2 inch

I really like how the front pant leg is seamed, something that sets it apart from other jean patterns.  The pocket opening panel piece is made using the reverse of the fabric.  I used a very light weight cotton for the pocket bags.  Looks like I need to still remove some length on the pattern since my pant leg is bunching up.

As per the pattern instructions, I did interface the outer waistband.  I used knit interfacing.

The back pocket is made by seaming an upper and lower pocket pattern piece, another cute detail.

This Ottobre hoodie, made once before here, is becoming a staple garment item for me.  I plan on making another out of some holiday FT that I ordered online from SSE.  So Sew English really has some nice FT.  This hoodie was made with one of their bundle deals.  I wasn't too sure if I would like the peach, but I couldn't resist the gray floral with gray stripes!

This time I brought my pockets up 2 inches higher.  They are definitely better placed now and no longer trying to hang down below my hemline.  To do this, I placed a ruler on the placement line on the pattern and just extended it up 2 inches.  I also made my drawstring from the striped FT.  I like it because it is the same light weight of the shirt, unlike cording which feels heavier.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, November 6, 2017

Christmas Portlanders

 New Horizon Designs
Portlander Pants

I made some Christmas lounge pants!  I'm not usually wearing Christmas print early November, but Joann's had this Nutcracker Doodle knit Christmas fabric and I took the last piece on the bolt.

I have been loving all the great Portlander pants everyone is making and finally decided to make a pair for myself.  I'm definitely not impulsive when it comes to buying a new pattern (unless on sale), but since the smallest size (XXS) will fit my girls, it was the final push I needed.  I'm glad I did--the fit is great!  The only alteration I needed was to shorten by 2 inches below the knee.

I used a rib knit for the waistband.  I think CL would have been better, but I couldn't find any at my local Joann's that would match.  I searched through my dwindling fabric stash and found this piece which matched close enough.  I am pleasantly surprised at how well the waistband fits since there isn't any need for elastic.  I like using the fabric for the drawstring and will probably do this for some hooded shirts in the future.

My shirt is a Jalie Dolman made from rayon jersey knit.  It really is my go-to-shirt when I need a simple top to match something.

I have something exciting to share....I got a new cover stitch machine!!  It is the Brother CV3550.  I haven't had a chance to sew with it yet.  Today I unpacked it from the box and watched the DVD that came with it.  I'm so excited just knowing it is in my sewing room waiting for me!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Burda Young 6718

Semi-fitted Sweatshirt
View B
Fabric:  Black/grey HEX Performance from SSE
Size 38

My son LOVES this shirt.  It is a very quick shirt to make, one of those immediate gratification sewing projects.  Basically it is a raglan with bands for sleeves and the body of the shirt, which means no hemming!  For this one, I used black rib knit.  I originally purchased DBP for the sleeves, but decided the weight difference between it and the HEX performance fabric was too great.  So, I ran up to Joann's for some micro fleece which was perfect.

The collar is very long, so keep that in mind if you make this.  I told my son I could shorten it a little, but he likes it the way it is.  I always use interfacing to reinforce the fabric before attaching the grommets.  The shirt is a little big, but for a growing teenage boy, I always tend to leave a some growing room to maximize the amount of time he can wear it.

The next one is made from French Terry that I purchased from  Since FT is so light weight, I used the same fabric for the bands.

For the collar, I press the fold and then put the drawstring in before sewing.  The fold is wide enough to accommodate the drawstring and be able to top stitch.

My son wears both over a t-shirt to layer for these cooler weather days we have started having.

I'm definitely going to make myself one of these shirts but in a nice and cuddly-soft fleece!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chelsea Pants

 Greenstyle Creations 
Chelsea Pants

I have to admit upfront that it took me 3 attempts to perfect my fit on these pants; however, it was time well spent!  I love these pants.  Note to self....don't use your most expensive knit fabric on your first try!

In my first attempt, I discovered that my waistband was too big and I would also need to include the optional elastic.  My pants felt as though they might pull down just a bit upon sitting.  I adjusted the back waistband by darting out a 1/2" at the top.  I also shortened by an inch above the knee.  I had already shortened the length by 2 inches below the knee, but that was apparently not enough because I had some fabric pooling behind the knee area.  I am 5'1 and it is common for me to have to shorten my pants.

In my second attempt, I realized that perhaps my thighs were a bit too big for the size small I was trying to squeeze them into!  I fell into the hip measurements of a size small, but my thighs needed more space.  I reprinted my pattern with size small and medium lines so I could grade out to a medium immediately after the waist.

The 3rd and final attempt made for a perfect fit.  I retraced my pattern so I could also have another version 2 inches longer in length to accommodate boots in the winter.

It is difficult to see because of the variation in color of my fabric, but there is a seam down the front of the pant legs.  If you look closely around my thigh area, you can see the seam a little clearer.  This is also top stitched.

I wish I could tell you where I purchased this really cool knit, but it was so long ago that I don't remember.  I'm glad I didn't find this to use first, because I like this even more than the ponte knit I had planned/purchased for my pants.

The back waistband dips to a V at the center back.  This is such a nice detail.  This is not hard at all to do.  You can't really tell by the picture, but I had to use another fabric just for the back waistband!  I barely squeezed these pants out of the fabric I had.  I'm so relieved that the color of the waistband blends so well.

My shirt is made by me too.  Originally it was a dress, but after only wearing one time since made, I decided to chop it off and make it into a blouse.  I needed something to match my pants and after rummaging through my closet, it was the only thing I could find.  

I also sewed up this cute t-shirt for one of my girls using Jalie 2805 pattern.  The fabric is Art Gallery from

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Get Moving Hoodie by Ottobre

5/2015, #15
Size 38

It's been a while since I have pulled out an Ottobre pattern.  I should do this more often; I forget how much I love the way Ottobre patterns fit.  Most times it equals a successful sew for me.

The fabric recommended for this pattern is a sweatshirt knit, but I used a DBP from Knitpop.  It feels so light and soft.  The hoodie is longer on me than what is pictured in the issue, but this is normal for me.  I am actually liking the longer length so I can wear it with my Ottobre Jeggings.

Instead of grommets on the hood, I made button holes so they would blend in better with the fabric.

I love how the raglan sleeves have a  curve.  I used a solid fabric so this design feature would be more obvious.  Ottobre's instructions on how to assemble the pockets worked flawlessly.  I definitely recommend tracing out the pocket opening on tissue paper as instructed for a stitching guide.  I was pleasantly surprised at how nice these came together.

It's hard to tell there are even pockets until you stick your hands in them.  One thing I did not anticipate and perhaps it was due to my fabric choice, but the pockets hung slightly lower than my hem.  If I make this again, I will either add length or just raise the pocket an inch.  The pockets would actually work better for me if I raised them.  To remedy this, I tacked the bottom of my pockets to the turned-up-hem stitching.

And the back view....

The pattern also comes with a sleeve cuff, but I didn't use it.  I slipped it on and discovered the sleeves were really long and just turning up a 1 inch hem would be sufficient.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jade Skirt with Ruched-T Knit Shirt

Paprika Jade Skirt &
Angela Wolf Ruched-T

It's not cold, I know!  However, I'm feeling done with this heat, so I'm sewing up some winter clothing in anticipation.

I made the Jade skirt once before here (it will be at the bottom of that blog post), but I didn't say much about it.  I loved wearing it last winter.  The folds make it look so unique and they aren't hard to do.  Paprika has a video demonstrating how to make them.  The trickiest part is probably getting your lining sewn to the skirt front and securing those folds by sewing underneath them, attaching it to the lining.  Somehow, and I did this the last time too, I ended up with about a 1/2 inch difference between my shell top and my lining top when all was done.  I am clearly doing something wrong, but it is still within the 5/8" seam allowance when attaching the waistband and no one is the wiser....except all who read this. ha ha

It's a mini, but the other length would most likely be too long for my liking with my short legs.  I wouldn't wear a mini this "mini" without my leggings though.  At 49, my bare-legged-mini-days are over.  LOL

There is a zipper option for this skirt, but so far I haven't tried it.  I tend to go first for the quick and easy sew.

Here is my Ruched-T again, but paired with jeans.  I bought the pattern about a month ago after sewing up Angela's Delila pattern, which I love.  The Ruched-T is another great pattern with 3 options for the sleeve length,  3 neckband options, and different areas of ruching.  You could also just sew it up as a plain T without any ruching, but you would need to trim the hem.  Angela has a video demonstrating how she ruches the top using twill tape.  It is simple to do.

It's really hard to see with my black fabric, but my neckband is "twisted."  You can also just make it without a twisted look if you prefer.  Also, my sleeves are ruched too! 

In these bottom pictures, I'm wearing my top with my Angel bootcut jeans.

Shirt made with black rayon/spandex knit.
Skirt made with red ponte knit.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hello Charlie!

Jalie Charlie Bomber Jacket
Size Q

It all started last week while shopping for back-to-school clothes.  The stores are full of bomber jackets right now.  My daughter wanted one, but specifically in cheetah print!  

Oh my, would we even find one and one that she would like?  

I immediately told her about Jalie's bomber jacket pattern and this way she could choose her own fabric!  Plus, I get to buy a new pattern.  I love any excuse to buy a new pattern of course.  I knew this would be a win/win situation for both of us.

Before I bought the pattern, I noticed that Jalie had a video tutorial.  It is so well done that you can follow along with it instead of referring to the instructions, which is pretty much what I did. 

Look at that pocket!!  It is genius how this goes together and so simple to do, really.  

I bought this cheetah quilted knit from, as well as the solid black ponte knit.  Joann's Fabric store had the black rib knit for the waistband, cuffs, and collar.

I lined it too...with cheetah print!  My daughter spotted this lining at Joann's before we even bought the other fabrics we would need.

This jacket is quick to make and the only difficulty I had with it was the top of the zipper where it meets the collar.  I bought some zipper stops, but they were too small to use with my zipper, so that was one snag I hit.  Then I decided to just sew a tight zig zag stitch at the top for my own stop which worked fine.  But I still seemed to have trouble lining up the collar at the right point on the zipper.  I think it's just a learning curve.  This was the first one for me, so hopefully the next time it will go much smoother.

We're both excited how this jacket turned out.  I can't wait to make myself one now.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley