Friday, June 17, 2016

Hanging up my blogging hat.....

Summer is here and my sewing has slowed to spend more time with my children.  This has lead me to contemplate whether or not to continue blogging.  I think that I have finally grown tired of the sewing/blogging cycle.   I will keep my blog online though.  While going through breast cancer, I created a tab where I journaled my thoughts, feelings, treatments, surgeries, etc.  I want to keep this available just in case anyone finds my experience helpful to them.  I will continue leaving reviews on Pattern, so look for me there!  I'm still a ways away from finishing my son's American Ships Quilt, but when I do, I will definitely post a picture of it here.  I have been working on it for years and looking forward to its completion.

Thank you for all your comments and following me on my sewing and breast cancer journey.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Linen Drawstring Pants

New Look 6055 (Pants/Shorts)
Version A, Size 12
Alterations:  Several

Where to start with these pants?!  First off, I purchased this coral linen at Hancock Fabrics for less than $3 a yard.  I think the original price was close to $16 a yard.  I grabbed 3 yards for my stash.  I purchased the fabric for maybe a dress, but after prewashing it, I thought it might be a little too heavy and stiff.  So, pants were the next thought.  I looked through my pattern stash and came up with New Look 6055.  Looking at the model, I knew there would be more fabric at the waist than I would want.  I should have considered sizing down, down, and down again!  Seriously!  I was a little afraid to make changes initially without seeing exactly what I would be dealing with.  I looked online and linen pants are very roomy, so I didn't want to cut away and do something wrong.  Plus, I didn't want to make a muslin.  Sometimes that just seems like way too much work.

What I like--I love the side cargo pocket.  It is nice and big with a buttoned flap!

Changes I made--I created 2 darts at the back waist.  These pants were a series of sewing, putting on, pinning fabric out, resewing, etc.  I dismissed any thoughts of altering the pattern at this point because of the way I made the alterations.  There was so much fabric to eliminate and I had to do it a little at a time.  I took in the front and  back crotch seams, probably a good inch in addition to sewing my 5/8" seam.  Six inches were removed at the waist alone.  I also shorted the front crotch depth.   Then, I took the center leg seam in by an inch!  I know, my alterations are all over the place, but I think that covers what I had to do.

My shirt is covering up the darts here.  I got the idea of darts from looking online at other linen pants.  I liked that feature and wanted to include it for mine as well.  I did not make the tabs at the bottom of my pants because I didn't want them tight around my ankles.

I used eyelets instead of button holes at the waist.  I got them a little high.  I pulled my drawstring cord out of a romper I made a while back that no longer fits me.  There is also 1 inch elastic in the waist.

I also like the nice and big front pockets!

I put vinyl on my shirt using my Silhouette Cameo--love that machine!!

I tossed out my pattern but kept the pocket pieces to use again with a different pattern.  I'm happy with my pants, but I think the same pants could be more easily accomplished with an elastic waist trouser pattern that doesn't have as much ease built into it.  However, I did get the pattern to work for me and New Look patterns are very reasonably priced.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Jalie Jean (Shorts) with Sleeveless Top

Jalie Jeans Pattern 2908
Size S
Fabric:  Kaufman 6oz Stretch Denim Indigo from


Ottobre 2/2013, #3 Buttondown Sleeveless Blouse
Size 38
Alterations:  1/2 inch swayback, removed 2 inches from length
Fabric:  Magenta/Navy Lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club

Oh my gosh....this is going to be my go-to outfit for summer!  I love it!

My fabric for the top is fairly sheer, so I am wearing a black camisole top underneath.  The fabric also frays terribly, so I made French seams.  This was a little tricky since I only added 3/8 inch seam allowances!  Had I examined my fabric a little more closely, I would have definitely traced a larger seam allowance.


I did consider cutting an inch off after it was already hemmed to bring it up a little, but hemming this fabric took time and I decided it isn't "too" long to deal with.  I made this top a couple of years ago, shortening it by 5".  This time I chose to shorten it by 2" since I had to retrace my pattern in a larger size.

I'm always keeping an eye out for a good shorts pattern.  Then it occurred to me that I can use the awesome Jalie jean pattern and just make them into shorts!

 For the length, I used the top portion of the pattern only.  I brought out the inner leg seam by 1/2" at the bottom, tapering up and rejoining the the original pattern line about 5 or so inches up.  I also darted out 1/4" on the back yoke piece to adjust for my swayback, also taking in 1/2" on the CB waistband.

This fabric is 96% cotton with 4% spandex, giving it plenty of stretch and the denim is very soft.  I added a piece of stay tape in the top of the waist band.  I should have added a piece of interfacing at the section of the buttonhole since my fabric isn't very thick.  I turned up the cuff on the bottom twice, tacking it at the seams only.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, May 6, 2016

Shirtzie Dress

SUAT Shirtzie Dress
Size Small with Size 3 Band
Fabric:  ITY Knit & Kaufman Laguna Stretch from
Alteration:  I used the skirt from the Brazi Pattern

I think this dress may be the most comfortable dress I have ever worn.  I opted to skip the lining for the bodice.  My fabric is thick enough with one layer.  If you do this, you will also have to cut a neckband.  I measured the neckline and cut my band 3" less, which seemed to work well for me with the amount of stretch in the Kaufman Laguna jersey. 

One of my favorite details of this dress is the shape of the neckline.  

I chose to combine the bodice with SUAT's Brazi skirt since it is only gathered in the center front and back.  The Shirtzie skirt looks to be gathered more and I prefer fewer gathers. 

I like how bands are used instead of hems at the sleeve edge.  Elastic is also sewn onto the waistband seam allowance.  Two bands are sewn together with the elastic sandwiched in between. 

So far this is my second SUAT pattern and I'm very impressed!  The fit is perfect!  

I was able to make one of my girls an outfit with the fabric I had left over from my dress!  I started with Jalie 2805 shirt pattern and then used an Ottobre tank pattern to narrow the shoulders and make the right-sized armholes.  For the skirt, I used Simplicity #1675.

It is definitely a wearable muslin.  Next time I need to lengthen the armholes and definitely make the skirt longer.  I threw this together while my daughter was at school, hoping that she would like it--she does!  I added the white band to make it look even more different from my dress.  No "mommy and me" outfits for this girl.  That's a deal breaker! ha ha

I left it unhemmed.

When she lifted her arm, the armhole wasn't too high, but in a relaxed pose, it looks like it is.  I used a size 158 to base the armhole on, but my kids are growing like sunflowers and just straight up!  I can't keep up with their growth spurts.

For my son, I made him a lounging outfit, although he has worn the tank top to school.  I figured he would.  I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the HTV vinyl.  I wish I could have made the graphics bigger, but I'm low on supplies.  I'm still learning how to use my machine, so sadly not all vinyl has made it to fabric.  A lot has ended up in my trash.  However, a lot of my sewing received the same fate in earlier years.

How cool is the Walking Dead fabric for the shorts?  I bought this on  Did I really think I could cut out a men's XS size (Simplicity 1021) in just one yard of fabric?  Sigh.  No pockets here and I also had to cut the waistband from some white knit fabric.  Actually, that made for comfy shorts to lounge in though since the other fabric is 100% cotton.  His tank top is made from Laguna jersey knit.

You can see here where I used knit for the waistband.  I didn't alter the waistband size since elastic is used for a secure fit.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brazi Dress

Stitch Upon a Time's Brazi Bra & Dress
Size S top, Size 3 skirt
Alterations:  Added 1/2" to bodice length and shortened skirt by 6 inches.  I also slimmed the width down on this maxi.  I pulled out my New Look pattern that I used before and referenced it's dimensions.
Fabric:  Teal Blue Elephant Striped Knit from Fashion Fabrics Club
Coral knit from Joann's

I love how the Brazi is constructed with bra cups sewn into the bodice!  This is my first time sewing with SUAT patterns and I'm hooked with just the first one.  It is a PDF pattern with extremely detailed instructions and pictures from how to measure, print, and assemble.  You could be a beginner seamstress and start with a SUAT pattern.

The bodice is lined and also has a length of elastic sewn to the under bust seam allowance.  The pattern calls for 1/4 inch elastic, but I tried 1/2 inch for this dress and I like it a little better having more width.

The skirt is gathered at the center front and back only.

I love the back detail of this dress!

Dressy and comfortable!

This one was my first go at the pattern, so I kept the skirt length at the short version and did not slim down the sides like I did on the maxi version.

It is so much fun to mix and match with a different colored band to compliment both top and bottom fabrics.  I purchased my bodice fabric, a knit, from Joann's.  I had the skirt fabric in my stash from last year.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Maxi Skirt with Scarf-collar Top

Jalie 2921
Size T
Alterations: 1/2 inch swayback
Fabric:  Teal blue jersey knit

New Look 6288
Size 12
Alterations:  Shortened by 3 inches
Fabric:  Teal Blue Multi Chevron Jersey Knit

This outfit is so quick and easy that I made it all in the same day!
I should have been making these scarf-collar tops all along for myself.  I have made a few for my girls and just love seeing them wear it.  I never realized how much I would enjoy wearing one myself.  The blouse has the comfort and feel of a t-shirt but dressier due to the scarf piece. 

I like how slim-fitting this knit maxi skirt is (version A).  There are only 2 pattern pieces--the skirt, which is cut on the fold for both front and back, and the waistband.  There is also elastic in the waistband.

This outfit cost me less than $14 to make!  I still have enough fabric left over to probably squeeze another blouse and skirt out of it for one of my girls.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Maxi Dress!

McCalls 6559
Size 10 bodice, graded out to 12 at waist
Alterations:  Shortened 4.5 inches, 1/2" swayback adjustment & forward shoulder adjustment
Added neck and shoulder bindings
Fabric:  ITY Knit

I can't remember when I bought this pattern, but it was a while ago.  I pulled it out, cut out the pattern pieces and then stuck them right back into the envelope.  I even pulled them out a couple times afterwards and would just put it away and sew something else up instead.  I'm so glad I finally made this dress!  I think what was holding me back is I'm 5'1 and never wear long dresses.  This summer I decided to take that step and give it a try--I'm so glad I did!  I LOVE this dress!

Two pattern pieces, yes, only two!  The pattern instructions state to turn the neck and shoulder seam allowance under 5/8" and stitch.  I prefer binding my neck and armholes, so I cut a strip of fabric 1.5".  I folded the strips wrong sides together and then stitched them to the WRONG side of my dress fabric (on the inside).  Then I folded my binding over to the front side, encasing my seam allowance.  I tacked the binding down using a narrow zig zag stitch.

There really isn't much more to say about this dress other than it is very easy and quick to make.  To ensure getting my seams matched, I basted first and then serged them.

One thing to note about the neckline, it might be borderline too low if you turn it down 5/8".  When I attached my binding, I sewed 1/4" seam allowance.  I did this as well with the armholes, but now wish I had made that seam a little deeper.  I think they are just a tad bit too wide.  I will adjust my pattern before making this again.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley