Monday, December 8, 2014

A Long Time Coming

I made myself a bathrobe and yes, it was "a long time coming!" The last bathrobe I had was purchased at JCPenney 17 years ago. That's right...17 years. Of course I've had robes but they weren't bathrobes. You know, the kind that are warm and snuggly and perfect for the cold mornings we're currently having here in Michigan or when you're immediately out of the shower. I bought the fabric weeks ago and couldn't seem to muster the interest to sew. I think spying myself in the mirror in a robe that had long since seen better days was the push I needed. Can we bow our heads in a moment of silence for a robe that can now be put out of it's misery??

McCalls 2476

I chose fleece because I knew it would be warm and snuggly. Was I ever wrong. Operator error. Why did I cut and sew the XXL? An XL would have been pushing it. I'm actually swimming in this thing. While I initially told myself I could deal with it...I can't. There's just too much room for cold air to get in and I'm not happy. The quickest fix will be to remove the hem around the side seams, sew deeper side seams and then re-hem.

The sewing was a no brainer. The one thing I didn't like was the sleeve cuffs. The fleece is too heavy to even think about turning under 1/4" and because it doesn't ravel I didn't think it'd be a problem. Wrong again.

I wound up cutting off the cuff and reattaching it with the seam sewn on the right side. Now the cuff turns up nicely, stays in place and looks fabulous.

Gratuitous Photos 

Mostly sewn on my serger, it didn't like sewing over the belt loops and this is what I ended up with. Yep. A broken needle!

Two days later when my patience was at an all-time high, I got the needle changed and machine rethreaded!

Watch this short video on using the tube turner. I used it to turn the belt loops.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Exciting Announcement

I have an exciting announcement to make. I've been selected as a Creative Fabric designer for the new Love My Fabrics design team.

I'll be sharing garments with you made with fabrics available from Love My Fabrics.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Love Pincushions

There I've said it and I'll say again...I LOVE PINCUSHIONS! Whether they're magnetic, decorative, or just functional...I love them all. Here's my collection. They all sit in various spots around my sewing room. Nearly every time JoAnn's notions wall is on sale I buy more pins.

The one I've circled is my very favorite. I've had it more than 20 years. It's actually a paper clip holder but has served me well as a pin holder.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Super Easy Chicken Tortilla Dump Soup

I promised this recipe to Faye at Faye's Sewing Adventure a week ago! I'm such a terrible friend...sometimes. Better late than never!


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 32 oz chicken broth or 2 cans
  • 1 can diced chili seasoned tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can verde enchilada sauce
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 pack taco seasoning mix
  • 2 packs dry onion soup mix
Combine (dump) all ingredients into a large stockpot or slow cooker. I always make mine in my slow-cooker. Set on low for 8 hours. On stovetop, cook over low heat until chicken can be easily shredded. Remove thighs, shred, add back to pot. I like to add a dollop of Tex-Mex sour cream and crumbled Fritos on top! Enjoy.

Project Runway Inspired Tunic

Not a Project Runway pattern you say?? I didn't say pattern I said " inspired" tunic. I like to sew while watching Project Runway! I started with the Cynthia Rowley pattern above. I made my usual FBA and then had to do a bit of finagling to fit all the pieces on the fabric after I managed a huge snag in the fabric.

I added 1" to the side seams from the waist down for more of an A-line shape and shortened the hem 3". I drafted a "kangaroo" pocket for the front because I wanted an "artsy, fartsy" design. Finally I drafted a front and back facing and cut it from the faux leather I scored at the American Sewing Expo in 2013. What really drew me to this pattern is the slit elbow sleeves. This tunic stitched up very fast, came out exactly like I envisioned and is super comfortable. Although the neckline is a little wonky, it's not a deal breaker and will be in regular rotation with my new-to-me casual style. I plan to wear it with leggings and boots. There will be another rendition of this tunic. I do need to fine tune the elbow slita. It seems my slits aren't allowing my elbows to stick out as I envisioned but it's certainly bears repeating. The fabric is from JoAnns and was 60% it's original price.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just checking in

I've been a very lazy blogger lately. I haven't been sewing as much as I usually do but I'm still getting it in. I've been making tons of cards and you can check those out at my other blog at "I'm Black Martha."

Mostly I've been dealing with a health issue. I was told I had asthma but that just didn't sit right with me. Through research and perseverance I more or less diagnosed myself. Now the doctors have all agreed. I have been suffering from sarcoidosis for at least five years! WTH. I thought all my aches and pains and symptoms were a part of the aging process. That is until my blood pressure topped out at 191/104 and resting pulse rate was 94. I knew something was wrong! I'm currently on medication and a heart monitor while they try to figure out how much damage has been done to my lungs in particular and other organs.

Just image, I've had four surgeries in that five years which have more or less remained inflamed for just as long! The main treatment is steroids and before you say it "long-term use almost always guarantees an enormous weight gain." What a bummer. If the steroids can give me some relief I'm all for them. I started the steroid therapy on Wednesday. I can't believe I woke up Thursday morning with no joint aches! I mean not a single one. I am just thrilled. I'm still very tired but now that I'm getting some relief, maybe I'll be more in the mood to sew.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pattern Review 6841

Pattern Description: 
Loose-fitting, pullover tops have draped front and back collar.
Pattern Sizing:
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Exactly

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were easy albeit a little tricky to wrap your mind around.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the styling of the finished garment and that I didn't have to do my usual FBA. I don't necessarily like how low the front hangs and how low the neck opening is.. I made view C and it fits like a tunic.

Fabric Used: I used a very drapey ITY like knit that was gifted to me from Carolyn Norman of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. It feels absolutely fabulous against my skin. I sewed almost entirely on the serger in less than an hour. The picture on the dressform is more true to the actual color.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 1" to the side seams and I'm glad I did. I also sewed the center front an additional 3".
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'll certainly sew this again as soon as I find another suitable fabric.
Conclusion: This top would great for camouflaging your midsection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Devil Made Me Do It

Just dropping in to say I just visited Fabric Mart to get a single cut of fabric for a coat. Needless to say not only did I get the coat fabric but ITY knits are 40% off. I couldn't help myself...The devil made me do it!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pattern Review McCalls 7018

Keeping with my utilitarian sewing, I've made another top to wear. It's McCalls 7018. 

Try as I might I couldn't get a decent inside photo so I had to muster the ambition to drag my dressform to the backyard!

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting tops and tunic have front button closure, back yoke, sleeve, pocket and collar variations, and narrow hem. Designed for medium weight moderate stretch knit fabrics
Pattern Sizing: 8-22 I sewed the size 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think so

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't really use the instructions. The pattern is rated Easy. Easy doesn't necessarily mean easy, it mostly refers to the pattern not having many pieces. Translated that means there are not a lot of fit opportunities in the pattern. You must have the knowledge to go it alone
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the idea of collar, stand, and button-up sewn in a knit fabric

Fabric Used: ITY faux lace fabric along with faux leather
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I sewed View E with the collar from View B. I made an erect back adjustment on the back yoke and added a horizontal dart at the side seam. I also changed the sleeve to 3/4 length and added the cuff. The underside of my yoke, collar and stand are made from the fashion fabric and not the faux leather.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm sure I'll sew this pattern again and would highly recommend to others. Be warned that the front of View E is not as long as you might think. This top ends right at the top of my crotch. If not for the high-low profile I would have had to make it either longer or shorter
Conclusion: Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Has it been that long?

It's been over a month since I last posted. Wow! I've been slipping. Since we last "spoke" I celebrated my 57th birthday and my 5th wedding anniversary! Yippee! The golf season is basically over and the bowling season is in full bloom. The sewing I've been doing has been for Barbie of course and mostly utilitarian for myself. I'm working on bras, panties, knit tops and skirts for bowling. My most recent top is
McCalls 6963

I especially like the drape neck. I didn't read the instructions. The top went together very easily. I made my usual FBA sewing view B with sleeves from view C. I used Slinky from Fashion Fabrics. It's been in my stash for quite a while and was absolutely perfect for this top

I shortened if a couple of inches as it was quite long and not to my liking. 

On another note I've had something of a health scare. I was experiencing quite a bit of shortness of breath. I had to make a trip to Urgent Care and was ultimately diagnosed with asthma. WTH. Who gets asthma at 57? I guess I do. Unfortunately all of this happened last weekend and I was unable to attend the American Sewing Expo and my health is more important. There's always next year!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Risque Golf Dress

Although the golf season is fast coming to a close I've always wanted to try McCall's 6348 as a golf dress. It's a little bit risque but that will distract other golfers when I'm playing badly! I worked on the pattern alterations earlier this summer. They included enlarging the bust dart, adding 1" to the side seams, 3/4" to back princess seams, raising the armhole 1" and adding 3" to the length (should have been 5"). It was another major pattern hack.

Of course it needs pressing but this is where I am now. I omitted the back zipper. If this weren't going to be an athletic dress the fit would be fine. I'd put on some major shapewear and be on my way...but it's not. I should have cut it to be more A-line as athletic dresses usually are. So now what? All of my hard work will not be for naught.

The fabric is from FabricMart and is what men's athletic shorts are made of. I'm going to figure out some kind of gusset to add the extra width I need. Or maybe I should add a "tuxedo-like" stripe of contrasting color. What do you think?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Project Runway

Okay, is it just me or does anyone else thing that Char Glover is a man? It took me about 30 seconds to decide. In the weeks to come, I'd bet money that it'll be revealed! What do you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Good Reads

I stole the idea (and picture) for this post from Adrienne. I hope she doesn't mind. Since May I have been on a reading terror. I don't particularly like listening to music when I work out but listening to books gets a huge "thumbs up" from me. Borrowing via internet them from the local library means I can read and do other things like housework, sewing, driving etc without ever leaving the comfort of my home and no late fees! In my book (excuse the pun), it's a win-win situation. I've nearly given up television. So far I've "read":

The Racketeer - John Grisham
I, Alex Cross - James Patterson
Sycamore Row - John Grisham
"B" is for Burglar - Sue Grafton
The 8th Confession - James Patterson
Kill Alex Cross - James Patterson
"A" is for Alibi - Sue Grafton
9th Judgment - James Patterson
The Litigators - John Grisham
The Confession - James Patterson
Cross- James Patterson
Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich
Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich
Alex Cross, Run - James Patterson
Takedown Twenty - Janet Evanovich
Alex Cross's Trial - James Patterson
Seven Up - Janet Evanovich
Who Asked You? - Terry McMillan
Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich

I'm currently reading 12th of Never by James Patterson. There are several books that didn't make the cut either because I didn't like the readers voice or they just weren't interesting. I simply returned them early. They include:

Guilt - Jonathan Kellerman
Three to Get Deadly - Janet Evanovich (voice)
Bossypants - Tina Fey
The Edge of Normal - Carla Norton
Two for the Dough - Janet Evanovich (voice)
One for the Money - Janet Evanovich (voice)
The October List - Jeffery Deaver
Dr. J - Julius Irving