Sunday, March 26, 2017

DIY Spring Wreath

Spring is finally here!  So this weekend, my kids and I went to our local craft store and bought supplies to make a pretty wreath for our door.  

I already knew I wanted a purple and white color theme, but my son thought to add a splash of some turquoise flowers to the mix.

If you haven't ever made a wreath before, here is how it all came together for us.  Hopefully you can get your flowers on sale. It doesn't look like a lot flowers purchased, but once you begin cutting the stems free of the bunches, it starts to accumulate into a nice pile quickly.  I did have another picture of a additional 2 bunches, but there was an error with that picture and I couldn't post it for some reason.  It was a bunch of small white flowers and a little more of the turquoise flowers, as well as a tiny sprig of pink.  I just want to let you know to give you an idea of how many flowers we used.

Some of the stems are thick and hard to cut through, so it helps to have a pair of wire cutters on hand.

My daughter and I each took a side of the wreath and randomly started sticking the flowers into the wood.  It helps to take a few steps back and look at it from a distance as you go.  If it doesn't look right, just pull it out and start over.

Next, secure most everything with a hot glue gun.  

 I searched for a You Tube video on how to tie a bow for a wreath.  You definitely want to use wired ribbon for this.

My daughter used one of the stems to fasten an area to glue our bird to.

Happy Spring!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, March 13, 2017

Making Chokers & Missing the Mark on My Sewing

One of my girls is really into wearing chokers.  I can remember wearing them myself, many, many years ago. Allowance money can only take you so far when you want to start buying jewelry, and when you are crafty, why buy when you can make it!  Thank you Sew4home blog for the awesome post on making your own chokers.

The most challenging part is finding the ribbon you want.  We still need to find a good source, so more shopping to come.

However, we found enough to get started and they turned out awesome!  This was much easier and quicker than we thought it would be.


I have been sewing for myself, but I'm having a bad run of things not fitting!  It's so frustrating.  Times like these, if I wasn't already an experienced seamstress, I might throw in the towel...yes, that frustrating.

I once had my fit perfected, but I'm a little older now (49) and after a couple extra pounds, things just aren't coming together as easily.  Plus, I have been on a mission to make myself a woven skirt, so that is another hurdle as well.

Simplicity 8300

This is such a cute skirt!  Cute details with darts, back zipper, overlay, etc.  By the way, Chambray frays so nicely too.  I had high hopes of making a cute red striped knit shirt to wear with this.  I made it in a 14, and although my hips fall within this size range, I clearly need a little extra room on the backside.  The back doesn't fall level to the front, and after some blog reading, I now understand why you can be within the size range and still not fit.  I have more on the backside than I do on the front, so I need to compensate for that.

It's a basic skirt pattern with the cute overlay making it look like a wrap.  This pattern is definitely a winner, but I have to learn how to make the needed adjustment for fitting myself.


Simplicity 8343

Such a cute pattern!  Elastic waist shorts with an over skirt that ties in the front.  I made this in a size 14; however, there is so much ease that I had to really tighten up on the elastic, throwing off the tie/wrap pieces and since I can't tie them as tight as I need to, they hang lower than where the shorts hit my waist.  I still think this pattern is a winner, but I have to make them in a 12 next time.

I really thought this fabric was navy blue on the computer, so a surprise when I saw that it was purple.  Not being sold on the color didn't help when I was sewing it up.  I found that I really have to love my fabric or I just want to fly through my project to get it done.

New Look 6407

I was so excited that this was turning out!  I originally planned on View D with the tie sleeves, but quickly realized that they were going to be way too tight around my fuller arms.  I pulled out the sleeve for View E and compared the two pattern sleeves and discovered that there is much more room in E.  Oh my, much more ease to contend with and the way the sleeves looked on me just made me disappointed.  It could be the result of using cotton lawn.  Maybe.  

There are actually a couple of other makes that are long gone in the trash, so as you can see, I have been in a long sewing slump.

To recover from my sewing blues, I sewed up a couple of Jalie knit shirts...

Jalie 2805

Jalie 3352

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Bell Bottom Baby dressed with Jalie

Jalie 2908 Jeans
with 2805 Knit Top
Size P

I asked my children the other day what they wanted me to make them next.  One of my girls excitedly said, "bell bottom jeans!"  Since Jalie jeans already have a nice flared bottom, I took that and extended the flare out by 1/2 inch at each side.  I gradually took this line up, blending in at the knee area notch.

If you are wearing bell bottom jeans, you definitely want to complete the look with a flower top, right?  She couldn't be more thrilled.  I did make a swayback adjustment for her and lowered the neckline a little.

The fabric is Art Gallery Jersey Knit Pop Art Spring Blossom, purchased from
The denim is also purchased from

For years, this one wouldn't even put on a pair of jeans.  Everything was too stiff or too scratchy.  I would have to resort to knit yoga pants for her every year.  Finally, finally, I got the okay to make her jeans.  I didn't think they would be bell bottoms though.  Now she is in love with her new jeans and already wants more.

Getting a great fit took time and I didn't want to fuss with a muslin.  I had my daughter try them on all along the assembly process.  I had to take an inch out of the center back yoke, which is a quick fix to eliminate the gap.  Before I make another pair, I will take a 1/2" dart out of the pattern piece.  Since the waistband has a CB seam, I immediately removed a 1/2" before I sewed it together.  After basting the waistband on, I discovered yet another gap at the top of the band!  I had to remove the waistband and take in 1/2" at the center point of the seam, tapering back out to 3/8 at the top and the bottom.  This way when you fold the band over, you get a little V shape, bringing it closer into the waist. Perfect!

I'm overjoyed that this outfit turned out perfectly for her.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Aldaia Dress

Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress
View C
Size 38 Bodice, Size 40 Skirt

Alterations:  I used a neckband in place of the bodice facings.

This is another Aldaia dress.  I love this one just as much as the first one I made.  They look so different from each other that you might not even think that it was from the same pattern!

My fabric is so busy, making it really hard to see the 6 gores in the skirt, so I am holding them out to show the lovely fullness you achieve with this version.

I really was intrigued by the pattern's use of a facing for the neckline, which would make for a nice clean finish.  Unfortunately, my very stretchy fabric made this difficult for me to achieve.  The front side of my bodice kind of rolled forward exposing my understitching.  I ended up cutting off the facing and attaching a band as you would for a t-shirt.  Sometimes you have to make a quick fix in order to salvage your project from the recycle bin!  I have no doubt that with the right fabric choice, this would have had better results.

I purchased my fabric from Joann's.


Next are a couple of shirts I made using Jalie's 2805 t-shirt pattern.  Pure love!!  If you don't have this pattern, I highly recommend it.  

Alterations:  Lowered neckline, 1/2 inch swayback adjustment, and forward shoulder adjustment.

Fabric purchased from Knitpop.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Aldaia Dress

Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress

View B with longer sleeves
Size 38 Bodice with 40 Skirt
Fabric:  Nicole Miller

I have found a new pattern that I love!  There are 3 dress versions, all equally as beautiful.  I am not a big fan of PDF patterns; however, this one went together pretty easy.  I love how each bodice, sleeve, and skirt is a separate file so you can pick and choose what to print.  To me, this makes it so much easier to assemble the pattern since the entire dress isn't printed and taped together in one massive sheet.  Smaller sections helped my sanity and saved me some paper and tape.  Also, being able to pick and choose between 3 bodices, 3 sleeves, and 3 skirts, you can create many different looks.

I like the side slits.  Since I shorted the skirt pattern by 3.25 inches, I just picked a spot to take the split up to, not even measuring to see what the actual pattern placed it at.  I found the slits to be a little pesky to hem since my fabric is stretchy.  To make it easier on myself, I cut a thin strip of knit interfacing to stabilize them.  The bottom hem I was able to use my covers stitch machine without any problem.

The back skirt and back bodice pieces both have two darts at the waistline.  It's nearly impossible to see them because of my fabric print.  The darts allow for some nice shaping at the waistline and a swayback adjustment wasn't needed.

I love the modest wrap of the front bodice!  It is so hard to find a wrap top or dress that is high enough or won't gap open dare you move or bend over.  The last thing I want to have to do after I have made something is to add a pin or a snap to keep it closed.

For my next make, I'll be making View C of this pattern!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, January 1, 2017

McCall's 7079

McCall's 7079
Size 12
Fabric: Jersey Knit

What a well drafted little pattern this is!  I didn't have to make any alterations--everything fit perfectly.  My daughter loves it and immediately asked if I could make her another one.  She actually wants a third, but we decided to postpone that make until closer to summer since the other fabric is a tropical floral-type print.

The pattern instructions have you turn under the fabric for the neck. I prefer an actual neckband, so I cut a strip of fabric 2 inches in width, folding wrong sides together, and attaching to the wrong side of the neckline.  Then I folded it over onto itself and attached with a tiny zig zag stitch.  Lighter knit fabrics are a little trickier for me to handle and I have found that doing it this way makes the neck more stable.  I don't end up with a floppy, stretched out neckband.

I used my serger and cover stitch machine for the entire assembly of this dress, making it so quick! I do use my sewing machine to baste the neckband on, prior to serging, to ensure everything looks right.

This version is made in a ponte knit.  I also made a neckband here, but since it is a thicker fabric, I attached it as you would for any t-shirt.  I cut the neckband at 1 and 3/4 inch width, attaching with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  I cut the length long and slightly pull on it as I sew it to the neck, cutting off the excess once I reach the end.

As you can see above in the pattern illustration, there are other versions that can be made with options to the bodice back, as well as a gathered skirt with elastic insertion.  Since we are still having cool temperatures, I opted for no open back designs and I'd much rather not have to gather the skirt if I don't have to.  With this dress version, the skirt top matches perfectly to the bodice bottom and no elastic is used.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kelly Anorak

Closet Case Files
Kelly Anorak Jacket
Size 8
Fabric:  Twill

I made a jacket!  I'm so thrilled with how it turned out.  Initially I thought it might be beyond my skill level to make, but I decided to give it a try anyway.  I'm glad I did because I love everything about it!  It is very RTW looking.

It does take time to sew the Kelly up, especially if you make the flat fell seams.  It is worth it though because of the nice clean finish you have inside.  I didn't make my own bias tape.  I would have had to purchase more fabric, and at 3.5 yards to make it (45"), I was okay with purchasing a package.  Actually, I rather like the little bit of contrast at the hemline.

I hit a snag with the zipper installation.  I was following Closet Case files blog tutorial so closely that I did not realize that my zipper pull was located on the opposite side of their zipper pull.  Had I been paying attention, I would have realized that my first part of my zipper wasn't lining up against the edge before I sewed it.  Since I put in the zipper side that didn't have the pull, I put it in right side up (both sides kind of look the same if the pull isn't on it).  Unfortunately I didn't realize what I had done until I was ready to sew in the left side!  I really wanted to cry.  I thought I was done at that point, but I decided to unpick all my placket stitches and put it in the right way.  I'm so glad I did!  Anyway, I never knew that zipper pulls could vary from one side to the other, so I wanted to share that.

I love the length.  I didn't make any alteration to it.  I cut everything out on a size 8 and just sewed it up.

Look at these wonderful big pockets!  I think it would be fun to make smaller pockets at the top too should I make this again.  I imagine I will.  This is the first time I have worked with snaps.  Wawak has a snap kit which I highly recommend.  The tool that comes with it makes it pretty simple and I found a Prym video tutorial online.  I had a little trouble with the topside of the snap since it has to be lined up perfectly with the piece that goes on the underside of the fabric.  I managed to bend a few before I realized what I was doing wrong.  

I considered lining the jacket but decided it might make it too warm for me.  I want to be able to wear this a lot and I have other warm coats in my closet.  However, I did line the hood with black flannel.  I thought bringing in a little more black would look nice since my drawstring and zipper are both black.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley