Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fitting....Still a Struggle

Sometime in 2011 in this blog, I vowed to create a set of patterns or slopers that would fit me perfectly.  I am pleased to report that I have made some progress.  I purchased more books, videos, went to workshops with experts and practiced.  Well, sorry to say that I have not mastered the process.  You see, I'm lazy and always in a hurry to see the finished product that I tend not to want to make a muslin for everything.  Of course when I don't make the muslin, the fit is less perfect.  So as of today, my new pledge to myself and readers is that I will now add a 1" seam allowance to all seams that require some fit even after fitting adjustments.  I'm finding that I need to do this for the granddaughters as well.

I now understand what Cynthia Guffey ment when in her workshop on fit she told us that many women stopped sewing garments when they got older and their figures changed; they started making quilts and purses.  Yes I do understand, however I'm still determined to find a way to have less sewing drama and stress around the fit of garments.

Went a little crazy tonight and ordered $125. of fabric from the Fabric Mart's year end sale.  Some for as little as $1. p/yd.  Will let you know if I am pleased with my purchase.  Guess I'm a little tired of Hancock Fabric, since it is the only game in town.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cute Skirt

I made this for my younger granddaughter.  Very easy, but check waist measurement against actual pattern pieces.  I used a flocked taffeta with velvet as the contrast.  I've made a few other things for the holidays and I'll post as soon as I can retrieve them.

Hope everyone's Christmas was blessed and memorable.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Debutant Dress ^%*&##

I was relatively disappointed in this pattern as the collar is really misleading and the fullness of the dress is really much less that the picture depicts.  I eliminated the collar and redrafted the top.

It was a really nice affair and we were pleased.  And ya'll didn't have to come bail me out of jail for teen abuse!  lol

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Vogue Patterns *&#%@!

I know I haven't posted much this summer and early fall basically because of my obsession with Pinterest.  But now I have a serious vent!  Vogue Patterns...."What the______".  Each new issue of Vogue will usually have several patterns that I am dying to get, just waiting for Hancock to have them for $3.99 so I can buy all of the ones I like.  However, this season they have really disappointed me.  The patterns are either way too big with too much fabric (3-5 yds in a jacket) or way too costumey (thats probably not a word), you know looking like it should be in a period play or something.  Maybe its just me or my age showing, but I have only found one thing that I like and its the red dress under that gray jacket that has way too much fabric in it V8866.  Oh well, maybe the holiday issue or early spring will bring something I really like.

Is it just me ya'll?

Monday, September 24, 2012

ROAD TRIP.....The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo @ Birmingham

Hi Everyone:

I returned Saturday night around 10:30 p.m. from three days at The Original Sewing and Quilt Festival held at Birmingham, AL.  Let me tell you it was really a fabulously put together event.  I took five classes for a total of $119.  The average cost is about $20 per class, some more depending on the time over an hour.  I learned so much about fitting from some real experts like, Louise Cutting, Cynthia Guffey  and others.  I must admit that I knew nothing about some methods of pattern adjustment i.e., the seams and hinges method.  The class I had was hands on and we used 1/2 sized patterns for practice.  I was amazed at how easy it was and can't wait to try it on real patterns.  This method is now being taught at colleges and universities.  The textbook is "Fitting & Pattern Alteration" which can be purchased from Amazon for $89.  I purchased it from the vender at the show and it reads like a novel (not really,  I just like it).  Information on the seams and hinges method is also online, so you can just google it and see what you think.

Louise Cutting and Cynthia Guffey both were excellent.  Of course they had fabric for sale and I was very good and only purchased 3 pieces.  However, I did purchase five of Louise Cutting's patterns which are pricy as they are by an independent pattern maker.  I had tried her one seam pants several years ago and they just had too much fabric in them for my taste, but I noticed at one of the new designer fashion shows that they seemed less full.  I asked her about this and was told that yes they had been tweaked and instructions were online for the changes if you had already purchased the pattern.  So I'm planning to try it again.  I also purchased some of her elastic that  makes a wonderfully comfortable waste band.

This was the fourth Original Sewing and Quilt Expo I've attended and the first in Birmingham, the others were in Atlanta.  Because this was the first time in Birmingham, there were not as many vendors.  I especially missed Vogue Fabrics and the Wool House vendors, however, I saved me money because Vogue Fabrics has such a large selection and the Wool House has great quality linen as well as wool (you know down here in the really deep south, we wear linen year round:  We just darken the color selection and weight for winter).  I know the temptation to purchase would have been too great to pass up especially when you live in a town that only has a Hancock and a few upholstery fabric shops.

Overall a good time was had by all especially since my travel buddy agreed to drive as I now have  serious anxiety about driving outside of my area.  I guess its a senior thing.  I don't care as long as I can get someone else to do the driving.

This show travels to many cities, so if there is one near you; I highly recommend you go.  Check then out online at (I think thats the correct link).  If not google it.  It is well worth it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Independent Pattern Compant

If you are not familiar with independent pattern designer, Loes Hinse check her out. I really like her simple and classic designs. This will take you dto her site. Http://

Sunday, May 13, 2012


My garage has always been a place where I either hide stuff or find fabulous stuff for lack of a better word.  When I was married, I remember my husband asking why did I just throw things into the garage and end up with a mess that he had to clean up because he was meticulous with everything and of course he had to have enough space to 'fool-around-with' the corvette.  Yes, it was red.  I was relatively offended as I usually was and said he was mistaken as I hardly ever went into his precious  garage.  Later, of course, we were divorced and I tell you within three months, I could not get my car into the garage.  I would just stand there and say if only this house had more storage space, I would be able to put my car into the garage.  As usual, I had deceived myself.  There was no one else to add to the stuff in the garage but me.  Oh well, that's water under the bridge.

In 1999, I moved into a new house with a shiny, clean and roomy double garage.  I had shelves and cabinets installed and just stood back and admired all of the wonderful SPACE.  Well as time passed, and I continued to purchase things, furniture, lamps, rugs, Christmas decorations, power tools, tool boxes, storage boxes, comforter sets, drapes, shoes, clothes and of course patterns and fabrics.  Now I must interject here that the fabric and patterns were for many things; comforters, drapes, purses and handbags, clothing for the granddaughters school, summer and special occasions, drapes and bedspreads, pillows and place mats for my daughter's new home.  So now my garage is filled with some Christmas stuff, a few power tools and regular tools, storage boxes and bins but mostly, I'm embarrassed to say fabric.

Now mind you, over the years I had planned to whittle it down.  First there was charities and yes I did give some of it to the senior citizen center, friends who sewed, and church groups.  However, the following incident most clearly describes how I REALLY felt (and still do feel) about my fabric.  I had not sewn for a while and a dear friend suggested that I have a garage sale and include fabric.  I thought this was a nifty idea and surely there were large groups of people who loved fabric as I did who would be willing to take if off my hands a the bargain prices I was asking.  Needless to say, I had few customers who were interested in fabric.  Then it happened; my heart started to beat fast as I caught site of a little woman coming towards me with a stack of fabric almost as tall as she.  Apparently she did not speak a lot of English as she pointed to the stack and said "Two dolla?"  I asked incredulously,, "Each?"  She shook her head and again pointed towards the stack and said "Two dolla all!"  I wanted to snatch my wonderful fabric from her, but instead I reached for it and said very firmly "No".  My friend walked away and I could hear him laughing hysterically inside my house.  Immediately, I started to inform the customers as they were going through my things and bargaining that the sale was over and lowered the garage door.  How could someone offer two dollars for my beautiful, cottons, silks, wools, and various and sundry other fabrics such a psaltery price?  R U FREAKING KIDDING ME!  (Sorry, let me compose myself)

Consequently, in my garage are trunks, large plastic storage bins from Walmart, decorative sewing boxes, baskets,other boxes and yes even plastic bags all filled with fabric of all types, sewing books, videos, sewing machine manuals, notions of every type and various and sundry other sewing stuff.  Inside my guest bedroom are more sewing books, hope chests and dressers and chest of drawers all filled with fabric.

Now for the sewing room, it is organized, fabric neatly and exactly folded and color coordinated, thread on racks and drawers according to color and use and the patterns are all separated by type, for whom they were purchased and by pattern company.  The secret is that it has taken me 40 years to come up with a system that doesn't drive me crazy.  Now that I am happily retired, I get real pleasure in going into my sewing room and seeing every thing in order and in its place.  Yet with all of this organization, if I put something down, like glasses, scissors, marking pens I catch you know what finding it immediately.  I have now taken to saying out loud "That's why I have twenty of everything".  Oh well..........

All of that being said and confessions made, I ask you am I a hoarder?  I think NOT.  I'm just one of thousands of women who love to sew, purchase fabric, patterns and other sundries related to the creative art of sewing.  I know that I am happiest when I am creating and learning and doing etc........... all around the wonderful art of sewing.

Now for all of the "haters" suffering from "sewing room envy", here are a few photos of refuge.  lol.....Really, I'm kidding about the haters and envy, but here is my answer to those wonderful spaces we see in the magazines, catalogs and sewing videos.

You'll notice there are no pictures of the garage.  heh,heh,heh


Since I'm not the most talented blog aware technical user, please go over to and read my latest post, "Still On That Roll",  Granddiva readers, I think you'll enjoy the post and the site.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

For The Love of Gingher

How many pairs of scissors, snips, embroidery scissors, applique, pinking or dressmaker shears does one really need?  My love affair with scissors began over 40 years ago when I purchased my first pair of Gingher 8" shears.  I could hardly believe how smooth and fine they cut.  Within that year I was caught up in the telephone company's  (Bell South) divesture and chose to take severance instead of relocating to another city or commuting hundreds of miles a week.  Shortly thereafter, I lost my shears and assumed I had put them in the trash somehow.  By the time my husband came home, I was in tears.  He asked what was wrong and I blubbered that I had lost my best shears and he said well just buy another pair.  Then I had to confess to the husband that they cost $25 40 years ago and since I wasn't working I was upset to loose them.  He hugged me and said, just go buy another pair and stop the crying.  The next day I went right out and purchased another pair just like the ones I lost.  You guessed it, within days of the new purchase I found the misplaced scissors deep in the sofa cushions.  So now I had two pair of the beautiful shiny silver shears. When times were better I found myself purchasing yet another pair of Ginghers as they were on sale.  This has gone on for years, so now I have at lease 10 pairs.  Over the years, I've had them sharpened locally but they were never as good as when they were new.  To be honest they were hacked by some of the most untalented service people ever.  I always knew Gingher serviced their scissors but the idea of packing them up, mailing and insuring them just didn't seem like something I wanted to do.  So I just kept buying.

A few weeks ago I picked up several pair to use and had to put them away because they were dull, loose or in one case just would not cut. I decided to bite the bullet and send them to Gingher for reconditioning.  I mailed and insured five pair and enclosed a check for $37.50 ($7.50 each) and crossed my fingers. Two weeks later I found a heavy postal box in my mail box.  It was like Christmas each pair was enclosed in its own little plastic bag and they were JUST LIKE NEW no BETTER THAN NEW all shiny and no scratches. I m sooooooooooooo pleased.  They cut through the fabric like "butta".

Unfortunately, they only recondition Ginghers.  So if you have a pair or pairs it is soooooo worth it to send it to them for reconditioning.  I think I can stop buying them now.  Yes, I have three pair or the designer ones, red, leopard and purple.  lol

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I was on a ROLL!

It seems that I had gotten my mojo working again after a lay off from sewing.  I've made a lot of things in March.  I have indulged myself with way too much fabric, but life is short and it gives me such pleasure.  So to add to the things in my previous posts here are a few more that I completed yesterday.

Yes the OCD strikes again.  The salmon print top was designed by my old friend "Serger Error".  I was trying out the wave stitch on the bottom of the shirt and within 6 inches of finishing the needle thread snapped and I caught you know what trying to get it completed.  The serger was determined not to allow me to complete it and I kept going over and the knives kept cutting thus the point is gone.  I decided to add some elastic a few inches below the waist and it ended up like this.  I liked it.  This is one of Simplicity's new patterns 
#1806.  I really like the neckline so check this one out.  The one thing I didn't like was the facings.  If I should make it again, I'll do something else with the neckline finishing details.  The fabric is a poly charmeuse and of course the pants are linen.

Speaking of linen.....Why didn't I know l00% linen pants will stretch if they are not lined.  I wore my new white ones and the green top I made a couple of weeks ago to 8:00 services today and by the time I drove 15 minutes plus 90 minutes for services and 15 minutes returning home, the pants were big enough for at least another 1/2 of me.  Sew ANNOYED!  BTW this was not cheap linen.  The idea is to keep cool in our Hot Mississippi climate with temps in the summer ranging from 80 to 105.  Since I've made several pair I guess I'll make a pant liner out of cotton batiste and see what happens.   Any suggestions?

Last night was Junior Prom for the older granddaughter.  No I didn't make the gown.  The plan was that I would make it if she didn't find anything she really liked.  I think she looked beautiful.  sigh!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Colors....I Do Wear Colors!

About a year after a long absence from the health club (nice word for gym) I returned and met a lovely woman of a certain age (lol) in the water aerobics class.  She was originally from Los Angeles and had been living in Mississippi for the past five years.  We hit it off and became friends.  After knowing her for a few months one day she said to me in the dressing room, "Lillie, why is everything you wear such DARK colors?  You know I'm from California and we wear bright colors".  I was a little offended and replied, "What are you talking about I do wear colors, my gym clothes may be dark but I wear color most of the time".  A few days later as I went into my closet which is walk in and L shaped, my eyes scanned the closet and much to my horror the color scheme was black, navy, dark brown, gray, dark gray, more black with just a few pops of color.  I couldn't believe that somehow my wardrobe had turned dark.  I began to try to figure out how this happened.  The last five years of my employment I worked from home and work related travel, consequently, I had the usual business uniform dark suits and dresses with small splashes of color.  Additionally, when my hair turned silvery white, the dark colors and silver jewelry really made the silver hair pop.  So I figured I might as well use the lemon-aid theory and make the best of it.  So what about casual wear I thought.  Apparently the same thing applied.

I took the high road and related the story to my friend and apologized for being miffed by her on target observation.  We had a good laugh and I promised I would do better with my wardrobe.

So I am making a real effort this spring to only make colorful garments for myself.  I've made a good start and most of my recent purchases have been colorful turquoise, melon, and fushia.   I want to make more large prints even if I am not a thin person.  I'll just pretend that I just don't know that big bold prints are not good for my full mature figure. lol.  I will also make something i.e. shrugs, jackets, scarves in coordinating solid colors to go with the large, bright and bold prints.  lol

Friday, March 23, 2012


I have been on a real sewing frenzy inspired by my recent bargain purchases of 2 yard remnants of current fabrics from my local Hancock Fabrics store located just a block and a half from my home. Over the winter months I've been practicing various fitting techniques and decided to try them out on my bargains.  My first item was a little of my ocd as described in previous posts.  So I made the top again from a piece of cotton sateen purchased a couple of years ago.  Thought I would try a print for an interesting lining.  I liked it so well, I decided to make a simple dress to go under it.  Here's the top.

I loved the print fabric so well as I decided to use the print for the dress but didn't have enough to finish the lining so I got a little creative and pieced the back.  

So now I'm enjoying sewing prints so much that I decided to make my 11 year old granddaughter, Trinity a print dress for Sunday.  This fabric is a polished cotton and has to be at least 10 years old.  I had planned to make the older granddaughter, Bree, who is now 17 a dress many many years ago and never got around to it.  I used a Simplicity pattern as shown in the next photo.  I had to use a size 6 adult pattern as Trin is so tall for eleven, the children sizes are too short, shoulders too narrow and just doesn't look right.  I guess this is what is ment by the word "tween".  I had to add a little to the waist and shorten the bodice.  Hopefully,  I'll get a chance to get a picture of her wearing the dress.

Now comes the linen pieces:
The top is a very lightweight linen and cotton made from my pattern copied from an Eileen Fisher $158 tank I purchased on a drastic clearance sale last year at Dillards.  The pants are made from a lightweight cross hatch dark and light gray linen.

 This pant is made from a heavy weight linen all from the remnant stash.  Because I'm short 2 yards will make almost anything for me.
I'm still excited and plan to continue this frenzy until burn-out!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Last week I ordered interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply and  it arrived in only a few days.  I was so impressed with the quality of the Pro-Weft Supreme Lightweight Fusible Interfacing, 60" wide @7.59 per yard, I called to order more after my first use.  In this day of press 1 for this and press 2  for that and so on, it was a very nice to just leave your name and number and within a few minutes you get the return call.  I spoke with Pat and she and I really hit it off and ended up laughing and talking about various things for at least 15 minutes more or less. Not that she told me, but I believe she is the owner based on our discussion.  I am always amazed how people discover a niche market and do really well.  Who knew one could earn a living selling interfacing?  Hopefully I'll discover a distinctive niche and develop a business as well.  lol  (I'm the ultimate consumer).

I would like to commend this business for doing a very good job while maintaining a wonderful rapport with the public.  They are also on facebook as well as online, so if you haven't used them check them out. I can imagine it takes special people to do this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I went into Hancock Fabrics today just to browse as I live just around the corner from the store.  What luck, they were making remnants of bolts with only a few yards left to make room for a new shipment.  The remnants were priced at only $2 per yard and it was the really good stuff my favorite linen, batiks and a few sheers.  The original prices were $10-$20 per yard.  I ended up with 28 yards at $2. per yd.  Here is a picture of my good fortune.

I guess I should stop browsing at fabric shops, but this is the best part of sewing. lol  Just as I was starting to whittle down my stash this happens.  I think it was just about a year ago when I pigged out on fabric at the Atlanta Creative Sewing Festival.  Somewhere in this blog I have a photo of that spree as well.

Today I worked on the OCD Fushia top like the green one I made Saturday.  I should finish tomorrow and will probably put photos up late tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Sewing

We have had the warmest winter I can remember.  This week the temp went up to 78 degrees.  This warm pre-spring caused me to consider sewing in advance for a season probably for the first time ever in all my years of sewing.  After looking at my most current patterns, I decided to make this one because I had exactly the same fabric in my fabric stash and thought it would be fun to make it just as shown on the pattern envelope.

I used a medium weight green linen and lined it with a light weight green linen very close to the same color...maybe just a half shade difference.  I've had the fabric so long that I felt no guilt in using the relatively expensive handkerchief linen as lining.  Normally I would have thought "Not my good stuff for lining".  Additionally, I had a heavier weight white linen for the pants.  I really enjoyed making this one.  I'm glad I took time to think about this before I rushed in to do it.  I carefully took my measurements and compared them to the finished measurements by actually measuring seamline to seamline and factoring in comfort ease.  Since I spent all of my sewing time this winter on various knit projects, I was sure I needed to consider using this new pattern for the pants.  This rapidly changing figure is becoming a real challenge.  However, taking the time to measure and prepare muslins for new patterns is really worth the effort.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn as I was always, always in a hurry before I retired and discovered slow leisurely sewing and the success and satisfaction it brings.  I even marked "for woven fabric only" on the muslin, so not to get it confused with others. Well here is the finished product:
 This pattern actually called for snaps instead of buttons.  I thought I might want to wear it open someday and I hate they way metal snaps detract from the looks of clothing when open; sooooooo... my OCD (that I often discuss these days) set in and I remembered that I had some green spray paint left from my sewing room decorating foray last year so I just spray painted them.  It took about 2 seconds.  I don't believe I would have gone out to purchase spray paint if I didn't already have it.  I suppose I could have covered them with fabric but I really don't like tedious hand sewing if i just don't have to do it.  I'll probably never wear it open but I'll be ready if the opportunity presents itself.  lol
Since this was a very successful project, you know I'll more than likely do it a couple of more times, or until I mess it up.  That usually gets me to go on to another project.

Monday, February 27, 2012

OCD part deux

You can always tell when I really like something, whether it is a pair of shoes, a pattern, a type of fabric.....etc....  This means that I get started and make a second, a third, a get the idea!  On my last post I shared with you that I liked the pattern and fabrics that I had purchased recently on sale at Hancock fabric which is located just two short blocks from my house.  Welllllllllllllllllll:

I used this McCalls pattern 6288 view D for the color blocked tee.

and Burda 1234 for the fly away jacket

As you can see these photos were taken in my kitchen.  My only complaint about my home is that the lighting is not as good as I would like so I have to take shots where I can.

There was some movie I saw years ago where one of the male characters and his wife, I think, had on really funny outfits that matched and when questioned about his clothing he kept saying as he pointed to the clothing "co-ordrrrr-di-nate.  I'll have to ask my daughter what was the name of that movie.  Oh, I digress; I just loved the pattern, the thin knit fabric, how the colors seemed to go together, how comfortable and they looked nice so, I made many.  I got tired of it before I could make the gray jacket and tank.....maybe later or next year.  Who knows?

Now I'm off to see what else I can find to engage me in my pattern and fabric stash without going to Hancock's.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Semi-formal vs. Bad Weather

Here's something new for me.  A long time friend invites me every year to her sorority's annual semi-formal affair in North West Florida, about a three hour drive from Biloxi.  Since I did not attend last year, I was determined to go this year especially since I attend with her friend.  I guess you could say its my annual date.  LOL

This is what I made to wear this year:

I added some sequin trim for the knot and finally used this piece of lace that I've had for at least 15 years.  It was so beautiful I couldn't decide what to do with it and I'm so happy that I didn't get rid of it.  Its hard to see but the lace actually has the same color of jeweled plum in it.  The lighting in my house is really bad sometimes, however I've tried to give you some idea of it in the next photo.

And now for the rest of the story.

 I am such a wuss when it comes to driving.  Understand now, I've never been an expert driver but I always did what I had to do and it didn't seem like I really had a problem.  However, it seems that getting older has caused much more stress about driving in thunder storms, crossing bridges, driving through tunnels and driving at night on unfamiliar roads all of which would be required to get to my friend's house in Niceville, FL.  I drive under these conditions,  but I feel like I have taken additional months off my life expectancy when I do.  
The weatherman said that there would be rain all day with thunderstorms.  Well he was right:  It absolutely stormed as I got out on the Interstate.  I was determined to go because I didn't go last year and the gentleman had purchased my ticket.  As I was muttering under my breath about how idiotic it was to be driving in a thunderstorm to go to an affair, my phone rang and it was the gentleman that I was to go to the party with.  He said that he knew the weather was really bad and was moving in their direction, he knew how stressed I get driving in stormy weather and he would understand if I didn't come.  I was so relieved that he was nice enough to call me.  I drove about 30 minutes more and then the bottom fell out.  I pulled over and waited until that strong downpour was over, turned my car around and came back home.

I called my daughter to tell her she didn't need to pick up my boys, PJ, Toby and Petey (the dogs).  I'm so glad I came back, Petey is so afraid of bad weather.  It took me a little while to get him to calm down.  After the thunder and lightening subsided some, I decided that today would be a good day to start on my spring stuff.  In a short while I had completed this little set:

I used the pattern I copied from my Eileen Fisher tee that I got on extreme clearance last spring  (I still wonder who pays $158. for a tee). I also used this Burda pattern for the little jacket.
The fabric is the thinnest knit I have ever sewn.  You know those real expensive silky thin knits that are always more expensive than most; well this is basically the same only I got it at Hancock's special purchase bargain section for about $2. per yard.  I didn't wash it so I pray that it holds up.

Sewing this knit was not really a breeze.  It rolled an slipped a little.  Thank goodness for the serger.

Everything considered, I've had a good day and I am so grateful to be in my home dry and safe with my sewing toys and my boys.  Oh yeah, its still raining at 11:02 p.m.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Retro Coat

This is my version of the Retro Swing Jacket.  How about that lining!  Photo not doing it justice maybe in daylight you can see the sparkles.  I'll do it again in better light.

And then my OCD set in........

Somewhere in one of my posts last year I made a vow to find a dress pattern that fit this rather mature body.  You see friends, I've been wearing separates for years with very, very few dresses, mainly because I'm hard to fit.  I purchased this pattern when it first came out but didn't try it until now.  This is truly a good style for me.

I can wear it under many style jackets and sweaters.  It looks really nice with the jacket open and is an absolute snap to make in a very short time.  And then my OCD took over and I've made four so far.


B5716 | Misses' Coat | Retro | Butterick Patterns