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Posts from the ‘Adventures in Sewing’ Category

My Work Space

In the next few weeks our home will go up on the market, and we will move about 1200 miles from here.  My current sewing room offers a view I’ll likely never have again so I thought I’d post a few picture of this space before it’s gone.  Enjoy!



Nothing like staring at mountains while you sew!

What if we only buy what we can sew?

There’s this super funny meme going around that says something to the effect, “Apparently buying fabric and sewing it up are two different hobbies”.   I died laughing and had to call my mom.  “YES!”, she replied loudly when I read her the meme.

When my parents moved houses in my early 20’s I watched my mom purge her fabric storage and it left an impression.  So many beautiful fabrics were given away because she realized that she just couldn’t sew it all.  There was a huge bolt of decorator that had once been purchased to recover her antique couch and chair.  Sadly, 10 years had passed and although it was a beautiful piece my mom had to admit it wasn’t what she’d choose today.

I follow a sewing room idea page on Facebook and have watched in awe as people post pictures of their fabric stashes.  Rooms full of fabric and I of course flash back to my mom realizing there was no way to sew it all, so she passed it on to others that could, and it reaffirms how I’m approaching my sewing hobby, carefully.

I rarely buy a fabric without a plan in mind.  I’m very determined to sew it all up and soon.  Styles and preferences change at such a fast pace, things I liked a year ago aren’t what I want to spend my time sewing today.

Now, I currently live somewhere where clothing fabric isn’t super easy to source so I understand the inclination of stocking up when you find something, but I think you get the spirit of what I’m saying.  Let’s be careful that we don’t acquire more than we can sew or if we have let’s pass it on to someone that will sew it.  My mom passes on a lot of her supplies that she knows she can’t get through to her sister-in-law and I think it’s a good habit to adopt.

What do you think?  Big storage of fabric or minimalist approach?  Where do you land on the spectrum?

This is pretty much my entire fabric storage.  I have a bin of scraps in the basement to pass on to my mom and aunt for American Girl doll clothes.  I currently have three pieces of fabric without a defined plan, I keep changing my mind about their purpose.  Otherwise, all of this has a plan and a intention.

An extra project . . .

Two of my three young sons was home sick from school on Monday and since they mostly wanted to veg out I used my time wisely and whipped up this shirt from this dress’s scraps (you can read about this dress here  I’ve made this shirt pattern once before ( so I decided it wouldn’t be one of my official projects but rather a little bonus.  I love this pattern, and I love both tops I’ve made from it.   The best part is, it’s an easy pattern.  It doesn’t take long to make and is pretty simplistic.  Enjoy this mini mid-week make!


Dress I made for week 6


Here is the original shirt I made from the pattern.

This week’s project reveal is my first pair of shorts.  Can’t wait to show that to you on Sunday!


Make sure you follow Sewsanity on Instagram.  I try to post a few times a week.  Sneak peeks, current projects, and updates on projects get posted there.  Follow along for more Sew Sanity!



Why Sew?

About a year ago I flew to Georgia to visit my oldest child at college.  As we bummed around her college town sipping coffee, eating fun foods and soaking in the charm of her college town we hopped in and out of cute clothing shops.  We tried on some pieces for laughs and others because they truly interested us.


I saw a seersucker dress, empire waste, fitted bust, adorable sleeves and I put it on and it fit like a glove.  The whole thing was adorable except for it’s length.  I’m 5’9″ tall and I have curves.  Even at my skinniest my thighs are a throwback to 50s pinup, not today’s thigh gap generation.  So seeing my “chubby” knees peaking out under this adorable dress made me sadly hang it back up and say goodbye.  But that moment started something.  It was another moment in 35 years of encountering clothes that just don’t quite fit right.

I snapped a picture of the dress and thought, “I can make this!”


Another moment that has pushed me down the path of sewing was the movie, The Dressmaker.  It’s stars Kate Winslet and the premise is that she is a dressmaker who moves back to her childhood home.  The town is filled with drab looking women and although Winslet’s character has no reason to be kind to these women she begins to use her skills to transform them with amazing dresses that highlight their unique beauty.

The concept of a perfect body is a fleeting thing but clothes are the ultimate tool of expression.  They can tell people exactly what to think of you and they can highlight and hide the good and the bad of each of our figures.

In 2014, our family grew by two teenagers.  Their mother had died and left them to us in her will.  There are no real guidebooks to parenthood but this was a new level without instructions.

The younger daughter was starting 9th grade.  Her wardrobe was barely a step above homeless, and no, I’m not exaggerating.  Her underwear was years old and not big enough.  Many of her clothes were stained with holes.  I cringed every time she wandered down from her room “dressed”.

She was starting Freshman year of high school at a new school.  I unloaded my three small sons on my husband and went off to the shopping mall with our soon to be freshman.  She sulked and whined and was rude every time I suggested any clothing.  Things were crawling along at a snails pace and my patience was running thin.

I’m 5’9″ like I said, she on the other hand is petite and just over 5′.  When she finally submitted to trying on some clothes I was frantically googling How to dress a petite figure.  All the rules that apply to dressing my hour glass 5’9″ frame weren’t helping me when picking clothes for a square petite frame.  I was lost.

After a renewed fussing session from her I finally lost it.  Here is what I said to her.  “I’m here today to bless you.  I’m willing to spend a lot of money to give you a unique opportunity.  You are starting somewhere new.  They know nothing about you.  You get to decide what your first impression is going to be and you get to create a new experience.  You can take that opportunity or not but I’m not spending another moment in this mall being mistreated.  Clothes tell your story, what story are you going to tell?”

The attitude melted away and for the first time that day engagement happened.  The thought took root and she started to realize the truth.  She was telling a story.  Right now her story screamed of her lack of self care, deep grief and a desire to drive others away.  No one had ever been brave enough to point out the story she told.  When I did I saw the spark of recognition, it wasn’t the story she really wanted to tell.

The more I lean into fashion and sew the more I realize we have such power in how we dress our frame.  It communicates so much and although you hear spouted often that people should except us as we are and we shouldn’t conform, that thought negates our responsibility to own the story we tell with our dress.

Ultimately, I’d love to develop the skill to dress each woman’s figure in the best possible way.  To highlight and hide things, to bring out and display her figure in a way that makes her feel beautiful and tells the story to the world that not only is she beautiful, she knows it.


First Sewing Class!

I hosted and taught my very first sewing class.  This was not something I envisioned doing when I started this challenge #oneprojectaweekforayear, but it seems to be inspiring a lot of people in my immediate circle to try sewing or pick it up again.

After the 20th person said, “I want to learn!”  I thought, let’s give it a whirl.

I picked what I thought was a supper easy first time project and set it up to host 5 interested people.  The class filled within an hour, with several people open to nabbing a spot if one became available.

I think the class went great and I figured out a few things I’d do differently next time.  I’m super excited to teach another one again soon!


Don’t they look awesome in their #memadewraps?  They all finished and for some it was their first garment!

Nostalgia, sewing is woven into my whole childhood

The other night I was flipping through a sewing book my mom left at my house for me.  It’s a whole book of project ideas that take one yard or less of fabric.  Near the end of the book one of the projects made me stop flipping and floods of childhood memories came back.

This was the project.


I haven’t kept much from childhood or throughout the years.  I make a huge effort to purge things and keep passing things along to others that can use it, but this reminded me of one of the few things I’ve clung to.


The dollhouse, mice and furniture my mom made for me when I was 5-7 years old.  That means they are around 30 years old.

My mother is a gifted seamstress.  She made us clothes, cabbage patch kids, doll clothes and she made me this.

It’s been in a box for years so it’s starting to crumple.  But as I pulled it out of the box the flood of memories came back.  I loved this.  And now it means so much more.  I sit and analyze the amazing hand sewing and can’t believe the hours that were poured into this toy.  Our cats growing up would steal the mice and pillows and the cat fur still dotting it should make me feel annoyed that it’s not cleaner but those cats are long gone and all of it just makes me feel loved.


Our kitten that we have now immediately started messing with it, my cat use to steal the pieces when I was playing with it.

At times, I’ve wished I had held onto more of what she made us but I’m glad these three remain.  They were the three I loved best and they symbolize hours of time, pricked fingers and love.


30 year old, handmade CareBears

She’s a great mom and an incredibly gifted seamstress who’s likely sewing away as I type this.

The more I start looking at sewing blogs and hearing from other seamstresses I realize how many of us come from a line of sewers.  We watched someone else spend hours at the sewing machine, working and shaping piles of fabric into clothes, dolls, toys, and quilts.

There really aren’t words for how grateful I am that I was raised by people that had hobbies and pursued them.  My mom made beautiful clothes and my dad even built a car from a kit, as in a real life size car.  I learned to drive in that car, a 1927 Bugatti kit car.


Sewing Hack – Button it up!

On the way to the store this morning to buy buttons for my project, my mom and I had a phone conference on buttons and button holes.  The decade in which I last attempted button holes was the late nineties, so to say my skills are not award winning is putting it mildly.  I needed her sage advice.

We discussed marking options, but when I marked the fabric for my darts, on this project, it was next to impossible to see the marks.  The fabric moved everywhere and it didn’t take the mark.  So we pondered and then it popped in my head, freezer paper!

Back in Minnesota, I’ve got a friend that makes amazing crafts utilizing the magical powers of freezer paper.  Once I finally tried it, I was stunned.  You can iron the shiny side down on fabric and it just peels off when you are done with it!  So it makes the perfect template for button holes and button placement.


Assemble the tools : Freezer Paper, Rotary cutter, pattern piece and mat


First I did it with a scrap piece to test the theory.

Once I saw that it worked like a charm, I attempted it with my actual project of 10 button holes and buttons.


I created a template.

I ironed it on the spot and starting sewing . . .

Once I sewed the button hole, the paper peeled off easily.

And then I repeated the same process on the side with the buttons.  I taped the buttons on with scotch tape and buzzed them on with the sewing machine.

And . . . it turned out perfect!  I’m so happy with the result and every button hole and button is exactly where I wanted it!


So what do you think?  Have you seen this hack before?  What are you button tricks?

Sewing Hack

So perhaps I’m late to the party and this sewing hack is already out there, but I can not believe I’ve never seen it before or thought of it before.  It involves darts and I do them in most of my projects.

When I started sewing again, after many many years of not, I purchased transfer paper and one of these wheel gizmos because it’s what I used back in the day in my mom’s sewing room.  It didn’t work as well as I remembered it and I mentioned that to my mom.  She said the paper I picked was too waxy and that was my issue.


We went fabric shopping in my area, (SLC, Utah).  We visited a store called Tissu Fine Fabrics and Design Gallery (  My mom asked the ladies there if they carried the transfer paper we were searching for and they mentioned these pens.

They disappear with heat.  I immediately ordered them from Amazon and have been using them instead of the wheel/transfer system but getting the darts transferred onto my fabric was still hard.  I was working on it the other day and it occurred to me to copy the patter and cut out the dart.  I just traced around my make shift dart and it was the easiest and most accurate transfer I’ve ever done.


I just traced around the dart with the pens on the inside of the fabric.  Sometimes the pen leaves a shadow mark after I iron it away but it doesn’t show.

This is going to be a huge time saver, increase my accuracy and make the whole process so much less aggravating.

So what do you think . . . Is this hack new to you or am I late to the party?  Happy Sewing!

Side note:  Be careful with the pens on areas where the fabric shows.  Always test a scrap.  I use the pens mostly on the inside of fabrics and they can leave light marks.

Vintage Obsession: Apron Addition

IMG_5981When we moved to Utah in July 2016 one of the first faces that greated me was my new next door neighbor.  She showed up with a smile and baked goods in hand to welcome us.  Over the course of the next few months baked goods worked their way over from her kitchen to my house because she LOVES baking.  A true foodie at heart she loves to create and share.  All of it has been amazing.

I do not bake.  The reason of course is because I have ZERO self control.  If there is cake or cookies laying around I can talk myself into how that sounds like a healthy breakfast because pairing it with coffee creates that great sweet and bitter pairing, yes I know this is nonsensical but it always works.  My former roommates can attest to hiding halloween candy because I seem to be at peace with downing twelve fun size Twix bars instead of dinner and also felt not having candy for Trick or Treaters was a result the kids would survive.  So I don’t bake.

My sweet neighbor went to Paris, France for vacation with her family and as the pictures popped up on my instagram feed of their adventures in Paris, and food experiences I felt like I was living vicariously through her.  They sampled some very fine foods and desserts.  A couple of days later I browsed the fabric store and this fabric basically screamed, she NEEDS me.  I grabbed the bolt and kinda giggled as I bought it.  It’s so bright but it made me think of her.  Since no baked goods will flow from my kitchen in return as thanks to her countless shares, this is my contribution.

So I whipped it up for her.  As I cut the pattern my four year old demanded a bite.  The vivid print was so realistic it seriously makes you hungry sewing it!