Skip to content

Week 20, Let’s talk about sleeves

Statement sleeves are the current trend so here is my first attempt.  The Vogue Pattern VP931 and I had some great fun constructing this blouse.  I didn’t love my fabric choice, just because the fabric tends to exaggerate the seams.  Although the fabric wasn’t my fav to work with it was great practice and I really love the pattern.  I recommend the pattern and thought it was easy to follow.

Here are some construction pictures.

And here you have the final product.  I love the sleeves.  I’m planning on doing at least one other view from the pattern.

I did an invisible zipper instead of traditional because I prefer them and I added an inch to the length since I’m part amazon woman.

The sleeves were surprisingly not in my way when my little guy interrupted my photo shoot for a cuddle.  So momming is a possibility while sporting the latest fashion.  LOL!

Next week it’s the key hole dress blouses in the reveal!

Jumpsuit it is, week 19!

I posted a pic of three projects and let my Instagram followers vote on what they wanted to see next.  The options were a statement sleeve blouse, a keyhole halter style dressy top or a jumpsuit.  Overwhelmingly, people wanted to see the jumpsuit.  So without further ado, here is that project.


I took view B’s top and put it on view A’s bottom in size 14.  The fabric is a Nicole Miller scuba knit from Joann Fabrics.  The pattern itself was super easy and the project flew together.  I added one inch to the bottom hem and one inch to the crotch length (I’m 5’9″).  This is a great pattern for sewists that have some experience under their belt but are still in the beginning sewing stages.  The jumpsuit just slides up so there’s no buttons or zippers to deal with putting in!

The first time I put it on without the elastic in the waist, I pretty much died laughing on the floor.  It was horrendous.  The fabric choice at that point was a dire disaster.  Once the whole project was assembled I stood back and had to really think about if I liked it.  It’s a really unique piece and isn’t like anything I have or have worn.  It’s beyond comfy.  I’ve never worked with a scuba knit before and I’m sold on the fabric.  It’s comfy, has great structure and is easy to sew on.  Oh and scuba knit doesn’t wrinkle!

I’ve asked several people’s opinions on this one and they hesitate.  I think it’s outside of their comfort zone but I’ve decided I like it and am going to rock it.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next week it’s statement sleeves!  Jump back on next Sunday for that project!  Happy Sewing!

18! And it’s not a dress!

I’m really trying to branch out and get some more pieces made that aren’t dresses.  I walked by this fabric and it needed to be mine.  My first thought was it needed to be a  dress but knowing that I have tons of dresses and need more pieces to wear with jeans I took inspiration from a top made by hiedi_handmadefrenzy on instagam and made it into a casual top.


Burda 6602 View D Size 16 and my messy sewing room 😉

This was my first time using a Burda pattern and this velvety fabric was the worst fabric I’ve ever sewn on as far as ease of sewing on and slippage.  I used tons of pins and went so slow.  I had to rip out my second top stitch because going against the nape of the fabric was not a good plan and all the rest of the top stitching was done with the nape of the fabric and that worked so much better.


I’m happy with the outcome.  I didn’t love the fact that the Burda pattern didn’t have notches.  I like notches and meticulously cut them out.  I felt a little lost without them, but no issues arose from not having them.


I’m going to keep focusing on separates in the weeks to come and try to trend away from dresses.

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!

Week 17 – An experiment gone right

I’m so excited to tell you about this week’s project.

I order clothes from time to time from Wantable and Stitch Fix.  A couple of months ago a box from Wantable showed up with a top that was exactly like McCall’s M7199 View A.  The top/jacket was made of knit and it was cute but the fit wasn’t quite right.  They wanted almost $70 for the top, so for me it was a hard no.

I was walking through JoAnn Fabrics and I came upon this beautiful high end polar fleece that basically screamed, I need to be a coat.  Not being one that can argue with such logic I put it in my cart, but I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of coat it wanted to be.  I looked through patterns but nothing was really meeting the vision until I found this pattern.  The problem of course was that this pattern is drafted and fit to be made out of knits.  Knits and polar fleece aren’t exactly interchangeable so the problem then became, can I make this work?


McCall’s M7199 View A, Size 16 in the body and 22 in the arms

I normally wear a size 14 in all major pattern company patterns.  I decided I’d cut the body in a size 16 and I did a size 22 in the arms, I know that seems nuts.  The pattern didn’t have the arms getting larger by very large increments and I was very afraid it would be too tight in the arms if I wasn’t aggressive with them.  The result is to die for.


This was a very interesting pattern to assemble and I made some mistakes but even with those I forged forward and my mistakes worked out.  I’m actually really wanting to make it again because how I put the zipper on isn’t right but tearing stitches out on this fabric was near impossible.  The pattern wasn’t drafted or designed for fabric with this kind of structure, but the result of the neck line is amazing.

I’m so glad I went out on a limb and tried this.  It’s so exciting when something surpasses your expectations.

I’ve had several people say, “I want one!”  There are approximately 7-9 hours of labor in this coat from cutting out the pattern to completion.  I think I could whip it up a little faster next time but not by much.

The top stitching is amazing, it fits amazing, and it’s so cozy.  This project is a 10 out of 10 for me.  The best part was figuring out how to assemble the neckline and front.  It was so unique and fun.

Some photos during construction.

And the final product!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See you next week!

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.


Basic Black Dress – Week 16

I need to move on from making dresses, but I love making dresses.  Is there a 12 step program for dress making addicts?  I’m in love once again with this weeks project and how it came out.  It was not only a joy to make but the finished product has me jumping with joy.  I love it!

This halter was something I’ve never attempted before and I got more experience tailoring because I adjusted the bust seams and skirt side seams to curve to my figure.  I’m always a 14 in the patterns I’ve attempted but I’m beginning to learn that on the bottom for fitted items, I’m pushing a size sixteen through the thighs.

I recycled the lining in this bridesmaid dress and used it for the lining in the skirt.


I didn’t follow the instructions about using interfacing in the top because the fabric I chose already had structure and I lined it with the same fabric.  I assume that the interfacing would be absolutely necessary if you were using silky fabrics or challis type fabrics that lack any structure.

Here’s the midway point on sewing the dress before I added the lining and neckline.


Midway point, tailoring the seams


The first of three attempts to get the zipper right.









The entire top lining is hand sewn in except for three small sections at the neckline.  It took nearly three hours to complete the hand sewing, the Golden Globes kept me entertained as I stitch away and my ten year old delivered a poop emoji bandaid when I finally drew blood from pricking my finger.

The pattern I used was Simplicity 8330, view C, size 14.  The fabric is a black sportswear.  It’s woven but has a decent amount of stretch.  The pattern was easy to follow, no issues but I’d say this isn’t a beginner level project.


Thanks for following along on this journey.  I’m having so much fun and I love the weekly deadline to keep me on track.  Mostly, I’m impressed by how much my construction skills are improving.  See you next week!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friday Flop – It was good in theory


I did view D in Size 14

I saw this pattern and was perhaps fooled by the picture.  It felt dreamy and summery and I bought it.  Soon after I happened upon this ombre purple fabric, it was just a small rem.  I thought it would work great with this pattern.  I meticulously placed the pieces so that the ombre look wouldn’t be lost.  The construction went well and I felt really good about it until I put it on.



I am not impressed.  Obviously, it’s a shear and so I had planned on making a shell dress to go under it, but I was so underwhelmed that I’ve abandoned the project to the donation bin.

What can I say?  So many things can go wrong in sewing: the fit, the fabric, the construction . . . Sometimes the vision just doesn’t meet the result.  I have to remind myself that most good artists rarely display their flops.  Until next time!


Week 15! A Cozy Flannel


Simplicity 8014, View D, Size 14

Next up is this cozy flannel . . .

I was not excited to start this, and I’ve been staring at it cut out for a couple of weeks.  I haven’t done a collar or buttons in so long (the late 90s) I was definitely putting it off.

The other part was matching the plaid, that wasn’t getting me excited either.  This was a rem that I had picked up and I didn’t have a bunch of extra fabric, so I was worried that I’d totally bomb at the matching of plaids.  Being raised by a seamstress you learn that plaids are to meet.  I can’t tell you how many times we were clothes shopping while I was growing up that my mom uttered the phase, “They want $40 for that?  The stripes don’t even line up?!?!”

Clothing shopping is very interesting with a seamstress.  They will ask from time to time, “I wonder how they made that?”  “Oh that stitching is horrible, how can they sell that?”  Plaids and stripes were often topics of conversation and the point was driven home, THEY MUST MATCH UP.  So I braved the three aspects that weren’t lighting my fire this week.  Matching plaids, a collar and 10 button holes.

The fabric was not fun to work with, as a matter of fact I think it’s one of my least favorites ever.  It really shifted diagonally if you weren’t careful.  The pattern itself was easy to follow and I had no issues there.  This view, view D, actually had a casing for the hem, which I haven’t seen before and actually was one of the more difficult parts of this project because of the fabric.  If I could do it over I would have stay stitched the entire hem to start with.

The cuff sleeves were done in a way that was new to me.  The level of excitement I got over how they turned out isn’t normal and proves I’m meant to be a seamstress, no one should get that excited about sleeves.



Here are some early construction images.



And here it is all constructed waiting for the buttons.  I came up with a sewing hack for doing the buttons . . . read about that here.

And now here it is . . .



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I decided I like it better with my black belt.



I’m happy with the result and how all of the challenges turned out.  The collar is great, the buttons are perfect and the plaid, well, I think it’ll meet my mom’s approval!


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?