Saturday, August 13, 2016


I can't believe it, a fabric store that has been around for six years and I didn't even know about it! I'm in a hurry so will just say I wrote details about this on PR and am sharing my pictures here. Love BOLT & SPOOL in Cleveland!

View of the sewing area, store entrance to the left

Every possible nook has sewing goodies.
Bolts of Liberty of London fabric - be still my heart.

These trims! Beautiful (enlarge this to get a better look...and maybe drool a little).

Grosgrain ribbon (another one you must enlarge to truly appreciate).

Merchant and Mills products.
Guess I didn't take a picture of the indy pattern display. Trust me, they're there. Here's my haul from my first visit. Second visit coming soon as the fabrics are on sale through the month of August.
Love the packaging

Sew on...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's So Random

So much for blogging with a vengeance! Random thoughts somehow connected to sewing to follow.

Look what I just found!!,1370167473
I will probably need to purchase this in the near future.

Today Ann from Gorgeous Things...showed some patterns she held onto that are just too good to purge. It reminded me of my good ole' days working at Northwest Fabrics. When the pattern companies discontinued their patterns, the retailers only needed to return the envelope. There would be piles of pattern guts that were dumped. At my store, employees got to dig through the guts and take what we wanted. This is my all-time favorite pattern rescue. I call it my "Barbie-doll" pattern. It just reminds me of something Barbie would pink with white evening gloves, just like the picture. I've never made it and  probably never will. I don't care. It will stay with me forever because it makes me happy.

Here are some of the other lifetime members of my pattern collection.

Wait! I was just trolling through my patterns and realized I've got current patterns and vintage patterns. I also have patterns from 10 years ago, patterns from 20 years ago, and pictures of my favorite patterns from 40 (yikes!) years ago...when I was a mere child. Guess I actually have a lot more than this in my lifetime collection. Well, these are some of the faves.

More random sewing stuff to starts Wednesday...this will be a tear-filled year...I just want to be a real band director....oops, sorry to get off the subject....happy sewing to all.........

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's A Dress!

In my quest to blog with a vengeance, I found this post on my draft list. It includes some detailed sewing information that I didn't even remember until I read the post (like The Cool Stuff), so I'm going to share it with you. Here you are from in the late summer of 2015...

When my school year started on August 13th, I had my next post here all planned out..."No Sewing Again This Year...." because I have an unbelievable school schedule...AGAIN. But then it happened, the stars all aligned, the new house was finally "clean enough", and the sewing mojo kicked in on a kid-less weekend. The pattern/fabric was already cut with pleats hand-basted, and so I MADE A DRESS! Not just any dress either, it's a vintage dress that fits nicely and makes me feel good. Yippeeeee! After no sewing for an eternity, I'm going to share all my sewing joy with you.

My sewing process usually means I cut my patterns out long before I sew them and sometimes I don't remember all the adjustments I made during the cutting session. Also, my sewing time now is usually spread out in 2-4 month increments. That's a long time for this ole' girl to remember all the adjustments I made. For this dress, here's what i DO remember...

Before the cutting session I completed Joi Maron's Fast-Track Fitting class on (highly recommend). I made fitting adjustments to this dress based on my Vogue Basic Pattern from the class. I am guilty of mixing the pattern companies (the idea is that once you make adjustments on the Vogue basic pattern, the same adjustments will work with every VOGUE pattern, no necessarily the others) with this fitting system, but it worked okay for me.

I realized early on that I would have to shorten the length because I didn't have enough fabric. The fabric is a Waverly cotton print purchased on a whim at this store that (is anti-union, takes advantage of it's employees, and I try really hard not to shop there) starts with W. They had several Waverly prints that made my head spin with possible future dresses, especially vintage summery dresses, but I held back and only purchased one. Anyway, the lack of planning forced me to shorten the original pattern by about four inches. Even if I had those extra four inches, I'm not sure I would have kept them. I'm happy with the finished length.

The Good
It's fitted without restricting movement. I love the armhole even though I might make adjustments if I sew it again. There's never a "free-show, see-more" moment that exposes my undergarments. The back armscye has no gap to get a peek of what's underneath. Same with the front although, it may cut into my arm after extended wear. That's the place I will adjust next time.

This skirt is a great twirler!! There is MUCH fabric in the skirt.

The Ooops!
I don't remember how I measured for the skirt and pleats (I used the pattern as a guide), but when I attached the skirt to the bodice, it fit but the side seams didn't line up. I was not in a mood to figure this out so I just sewed the bodice to the skirt and decided I'd have to go without the side pockets this time. (Because, the skirt side seams are about two inches toward the back of the bodice side seams.) Everything else went together well.

The Cool Stuff
Did you notice this dress has a buttonhole band and a flat collar? Well, the band is a fake! It is all put together like a typical flat collar pattern but there is an extra band attached to the right front only to create the illusion of a band. There is also an extension band for the skirt buttonholes. Clever, vintage pattern makers, very clever.

And that's it, a dress that makes me feel pretty.

Sew on my friends.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewing...actual sewing stuff

Despite the lack of posts on this blog I have actually managed to about 1/50th my usual pace. I apologize for the disorganized post, but I need to show you, and prove to me, that I have actually done some sewing.

Toward the end of last summer I made this lovely dress from one of my vintage patterns. Shortly after I cut it out, I hand basted the the pleated skirt because sometimes hand sewing is like therapy. Then, I put it all together as soon as I had some quality sewing time (probably a month later). Because it was the end of summer it hasn't been out in public much. I'm sure that will change as soon as our average daily temperature is in the upper 70's.

I sure thought I had the whole center front pattern-match thing worked out during my cutting session but turns out I was matching "fold lines" instead of "CF" lines. Made me sad but most people will never know and it's just a fun comfortable dress for the summer. I'm sure my soon-to-be 14-year old son will love having mom cheer him on at his baseball games wearing a vintage floral dress. (The last time I put on a vintage dress to watch his game about five years ago, he asked me to change clothes.) Too bad. This is my favorite kind of summer outfit - comfortable, cool, and fun.

This winter I made these fun culottes and was shocked at how nice they turned out. I LOVE this fabric and used some of it to make a top that I haven't worn yet because the neckline slit sits weird. But these culottes are great! Really fun to wear and several compliments from my high school students.

I realized that once again in January that I'd put on weight . Stupid stress. Stupid teacher-bashing. Stupid putting 300 students on my roster instead of 130. Last year I made a secret pact to wear jeans everyday because of my work stress (I didn't want to take the time to think about clothes, too many lesson plans and student interventions on my mind). This year I didn't have a choice because nothing else fit. Realistically this has happened the last three years, putting on winter weight that is. So, I'm confident it will come off this summer but what to do in the mean time? I decided to take a deep breath, cut a larger size, and embrace the elastic waistband. The first project was a plain tan linen skirt from this pattern.

The second project was an orange, VERY scratchy but beautifully sewn linen blouse. Happy with both of them but the blouse is seeing more action than the skirt.

I've also made a slouchy black cardigan (cut off about 6" of length that in hindsight was probably a mistake),

a skirt, a supposed-to-be classic b/w striped boat neck t-shirt,

 a rayon challis midi skirt,

and kooky-cool 60's cocoon dress (cut about 3" off original length).

For me, teaching ended Friday. In my entire life I have never been so exhausted. At this point I don't know where (which school in my district) or what I will teach next year and may not know until 10 days before school starts. This summer I will do every activity possible to relax and I will do it with a vengeance! That includes sewing and blogging about it. :)

Remember this girl?

She's all grown up and spending the next school year in...FRANCE!! AHHH!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

There Are Tears On My Silk

Crying big fat silky crocodile tears over here. Just sat down to work on two different dark blue tops in my I-can-do-this-and-wear-one-tomorrow mood. With my pieces pinned and ready to rev up the machine, I started counting, 2 sleeves, 2 backs, 1 front. !!!?????!!! ONE FRONT?? It's a crossover top that definitely needs another side. Booohooo.

The silk/lycra fabric is probably older than my son (13yr). I think I cut it out over a year ago. There are definitely no scraps. It is a sad day.

Oh well, on to the other top. It may not be silk but it does have all it's pieces.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rock Hall Eye Candy

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an absolute must-see if you are ever in the Cleveland area. Of course since I live in the area I hardly ever go! But, I went on Saturday (since I had family visiting from out of town). Among all the other fascinating items there was a display of Beyoncé outfits. I took the best pictures I could to share with my fellow seamsters.

 "All the single ladies, all the single ladies...

 And a little Jimi Hendrix... I thought this was interesting because I'm sure I've seen videos of him performing in this outfit but had no idea this is what it actually looked like.

That's all - someday I'll be posting sewing again. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Sanctuary

Best sewing room EVER.

As soon as our family settled into this now century home (1914), the attic became My Sanctuary.
I didn't care that the previous owner's teenage daughter's had left their mark with holes in the walls and ceiling tiles, and handwritten memories ("this window is possessed") in a few select places. This room was beautiful and it was home to the kid's toys, the computer, and my sewing space.

Four years ago our family changed and the one member of the family that never enjoyed this space was gone. I was ready to leave the whole house and start over except for two things, Mr. X didn't want to sell before the split and my realtor said it wouldn't sell until the attic was presentable.

Last summer the attic was finally presentable. And so, our family has had one entire year to enjoy My Sanctuary as I always envisioned it. A great room for pizza and a movie on Friday nights, a great room for family game night, and a fantastic room for sewing.

Three weeks ago the house went on the market for four whole days before it sold. And two weeks later I purchased an equally unique but smaller (soon to be century) home. Our new house has three bedrooms for three people. There is no finished attic and no finished basement = no dedicated sewing area. Since this is the only criteria that the house didn't meet, I need to say goodbye to My Sanctuary.

While I am excited to move, this attic has been the best sewing area I've ever had. I'm going to miss more than anything else in this old house. Bittersweet.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Time to Sew a Set

Got time to sew but my head is in this SWAP SWAP SWAP frame of mind. Last night I pulled out all my PIP's (Projects In Process - Ha! I just made that up. Sounds much better than UFO's, right?) These are garments that are planned and/or cut out and they all match. Navy and white and all patterns are suitable for summer. That sounds like the start of a SWAP to me.

I went to bed thinking about a complementary color. I want it to be orange because I have lots of orange solids, but I probably won't wear any orange and navy together because I don't have any jewelry or scarves to pull it together.

So, tonight I'm planning. I really want to just pull out all my fabrics and throw them on the floor with pattern ideas. But, I've spent most of the day cleaning and do not want to pick up one more thing. So I'm on the computer where there is no tactile sensation, just my imagination. I loaded all the fabric pix and then threw some patterns that will work with some of it. What do you think?

Hmmm, seems to be a sad lack of bottoms for these fabrics. All except the top orange fabric and the floral (linen) are rayon.

The other resources I'm using are this from Pinterest and these pages from Marie Claire - Marie Claire from a long, long time ago when they first came out and were the opposite of most fashion magazines. You know, real-clothing-for-real-women and we're-not-going-to-push-designers-in-your-face and we're the magazine with a conscience. Yup, a long time ago. I always get stuck when it comes to selecting patterns (shapes) that go together. Hopefully this will help.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vintage Love

Back story: My mom contacts me and says a friend of hers is cleaning out her grandmother and great grandmother's homes. Both women sewed, she found some 1920's patterns and wanted to know if my mom was interested. AHHHHH! Yes, mom, yes, yes, yes I'm interested, really interested. This friend also found a McCall's pattern catalog from 1925! She's keeping the catalog, which I think is a really nice way to save the memories, but let my mom borrow it so I can have a chance to drool look at it and capture some pictures. I spent 1-1/2 hours today with my mom soaking up every page, every look, every funny description in the catalog. Apparently McCall's was one of the first companies to produce printed patterns. An item that is posted on almost every page of the catalog.

Starts out in color. I'm assuming that like today these are the new patterns.

Here are some of my faves.
If you just look at the line drawings the dresses are so simple. But, when you see drawing in fabric - wow! 4196 is my really favorite on this page. The "necklace" on 4208 is a embroidery transfer - sold separately.

The coats...I die. 4280 is totally me.

Notice "For Corsetless Figure"! 4177 could totally be worked into a 2015 wardrobe.
These undergarments - yikes!
Special Occasion
See the American Red Cross Layette?

Gorgeous hats right next to the Dentist's and Operating Gowns right next to the butcher's apron.

Doll clothes (measurements given on the inside catalog cover) and bathing suits.

Mom and I both thought the maternity clothes weren't any different from the non-maternity clothes.
My mission now is to determine how I can make my 1950's hourglass figure look good in a 1920's rectangle figure and still work in a 2015 lifestyle! Will be dreaming about this tonight.

BONUS: a tin of buttons!

Mom loved the tin I'm still drooling over the buttons. LOVE the card see those big ivory buttons near the bottom? There are 5 of them - coat, coat, coat! In the second picture take a look at the card that has white buttons (sitting on the catalog cover). We're trying to figure this one out because it has four plain buttons and four fancy and they were all on the same card, originally on the same card. I thought maybe the plain ones were for a functional area and the fancies were for decorative. What do you think?