Fall sewing for the kiddos

I need to get organized, so I am going to post my ideas for getting some fall sewing done.

The girl is in need of pretty much everything.  She has grown several inches since last year, so of course, none of her pants fit.  I made most of her leggings long, so they kind of fit.

Re-measuring is in process.

One outfit I would like to make for her is a copy of this Diesel dress.  I have some chambray fabric and some patterns I can mash up together.  I will make some leggings to go with it, and probably line the body with a comfy and warm knit.  Mine won’t end up looking so “broken in”, but it will still be cute and trendy.

This is the fabric I will use for it.  The pink will be for leggings underneath.


I also like this little dress, only with some sleeves and in knit.  Again, some leggings for underneath.  I have some plaid knit, but not enough for the whole dress.  I think I will do the skirt and the neck flounce in that and the rest in a dark complementary knit.

I have some fabrics for the Cruise chinos and Star Top.  I will likely do the graphic on the solid color body and print for the sleeves, similar to the shorts and top I did last week.  I have a grey/white print of mine to use.



She will probably get a couple pairs of chinos, since they fit her well.  She wants “dark” colors right now, so I will be leaning more towards that section of my fabric stash.  I also have a few things to upcycle for her.

This will be a top of some sort and then black ponte leggings.  The leggings can go with the dress above and the chambray dress/top.


The dragon scales with either be leggins or maybe Domi pants.  The top is going to have the white and HTV in the middle and red for the arms.  Not sure what top to do yet.  If I go with leggings, then I will likely do a Hibernis top.


I will be buying her some jeans, most likely, and need to match a shirt to a pair of her Justice jeans I got on clearance that are green and white patterned.  She has nothing that matches right now.  She also wants a “black leather jacket”, so I will see if Zulily has something that will work.

As for the boy, well, he is basically hoodies and t-shirts.  I need to find some good solid hoodie fabric.  I have several t-shirts to make him out of Deadpool and Fallout fabric.  I have a Harry Potter one, too, and he said he would wear it.  I can use some of the busy prints on the inside of the pockets and hood for the hoodies.

He will be getting some purchased pants, but not sure what he wants yet.  He starts middle school, so I’m not sure if he is going to want all-athletic-pants all-the-time.  I think something with a zipper fly is more age appropriate, but what do I know??

My plan this week was to make up the t-shirts for the not-so-little-anymore dude, so that is still a plan since I actually have a free weekend day tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get to work!  I also have a test for a cardigan/vest to do.  That should be pretty quick and easy, and something I wanted for my fall capsule.  I have some fabrics planned for it, and it should look pretty nice and fit in well.

Hopefully, it will be a productive weekend!

Body shape and dressing for it

In one of my favorite groups on Facebook, we try to help ladies figure out their shape and how to dress for it. I think I have this mainly figured out at 42.  I know as I get older it will all change again, though.

The Admin, Becca, wanted us to post what we will be wearing for the next season as an inspiration for others of the same body type.  I kinda went nuts with this post and just pulled what I made in the past.  I will likely keep with the same options for Fall, but right now I haven’t gone far in my fall planning.  I do have several fabrics and ideas, though!

Here is me right now:

Body Shape: Rectangle (39-32-39, roughly) at 150 lbs and 5’ 7”.  I also have a large rib cage and shoulders.  When I am in shape, and more around my target weight of 135 I am a V-Shape, Inverted Triangle.  My shoulders are wider than my hips at that weight.

This is mostly my business casual work wardrobe.  On weekends when I am going nowhere you will find me in comfy pants and knit tops.  If I have a game to attend in the fall, I am all about leggings, boots, tunics, sweaters and scarves.  If I tend to look more put together than some, it is because I have a lot to choose from, but also because I try to keep in the same color schemes.  I have a few favorites and don’t really deviate from them.

My colors go in groups.

  • Black/grey – which work with the royal blues and reds where I have for my pops of color
  • Navy/grey – I have a few patterned tops that go in with this group
  • Browns/Oatmeal/Cream – A new venture for me this past year and I like the soothing nature and sophisticated look of this color palette.

For my accessories I buy a lot of my shoes from Zulily (credit link).  Especially leather boots where you can get a really good deal if you don’t mind waiting a month for them.  I don’t mind waiting a month if I can save $100 on a nice pair.  They always have a good amount of jewelry, too.  Clothes are iffy.  I have had plenty that didn’t fit and I just gave away, but I like getting sweaters from them since I don’t knit and they tend to have a lot of variety.  I do get a lot of my jewelry from Stella and Dot, since they have great quality.

What looks good:


I have found that wrap tops with ruching at the sides look good on me.

Tops that are fitted at the bust and hip, but skim over the waist:

The tuck, and tops that have some gathering in the middle that reach at about mid-hip.

Flared tops, where it is fitted and then skims over the waist and hips.  These first two tops are the Sneha Tunic/dress.  The third is one I drafted.

Skirts: Pencil skirts, A-line or drop waist skirts.  Nothing that sits at the natural waist and poofs out like gathered waists and pleats.  Those add a good 10 pounds. I have a ton of pencil skirts.

Dresses: Fitted or ones that are fitted until the smallest part and drop down.  Also straight dresses with bust darts.  Maxi dresses I have done the flared out like the tunics above, only longer, and then the loose top-fitted bottom like the striped one here.

I also like wearing fitted jackets, since that gives me more shape on top and it looks like I have a waist:

As for pants: Leggings with tunics, straight-leg, wide-leg…it all works as long as I don’t show off my natural waist.  A few inches below my belly button is where I like them to land.  High-waist is really unflattering.

Tips:  Lighter colors on the bottom and darker colors on top.  If it is reversed, then I tend to look too top heavy.


Not that I always follow this rule, but it is definitely noticeable to me when I don’t.  A lighter bottom accentuates the smaller hips and darker top de-accentuates no waist.  If I do go lighter on top, then a lighter bottom is good to offset it.

I made most of the clothes above (sans the jackets and few tops and pants), and sadly can’t share patterns since I drafted most of them.  I do have some tutorials, though.  If interested look on the left sidebar under the category “tutorials”.

Hope this helps for some advice!  I will hopefully have time to work on my fall clothes, soon.  When I get it all planned out I will post it.  I have a rough idea, so need to get on that!

Cruise around and be a Star with Blaverry

I absolutely love how this outfit turned out for my daughter.  These patterns are the Cruise and Star from Blaverry.  I received these for free as part of the promotions team, but all opinions are my own.


The Girl has been complaining that she didn’t have enough shorts for summer.  I tend not to make too much for summer here, since it is so brief.  It isn’t worth making a lot for 3 months.  I did want to make up a few things, though, and these turned out so nice for her.


The Star shirt is a white cotton/lycra knit and a modern jersey knit in one of my designs.  The HTV design is also one of my designs.


It was not adhering very well, and took FOREVER to get it to work.  My iron just was not set to a high enough temperature, so something to watch for next time.  It almost made me want to get a heat press.

Next time I make this up for her, I will do some different grading.  I made a 7W and 14L here, and as you can see the shoulders are too narrow.  She needs the wider shoulders for her age, but she is still plenty thin for the rest of it.


The Cruise shorts fit her so well.  I also made a 7W and 14L, but her shorts length ended up between the shortest length and the next length.  I had her try them on before hemming to get them to the length she specifically wanted.  Custom clothes makes that easy!    I didn’t add the elastic in, since they fit her in the waist pretty spot on.  I think I will add some in just to the back next time, since it did pop out a bit when she sat down.  The pattern comes with instructions on how to add buttonhole elastic.


The inside of the shorts.  How nice does this look??


These were drafted very professionally with no real shortcuts that you see in a lot of designs these days.  They aren’t a super fast sew, but you get a very nice product at the end.

She will definitely be getting more of these for her winter wardrobe in the longer length.


Note: Girlfriend just got back from horse camp and her legs took a beating.  There were a few things there that OSHA would most definitely disapprove of.

More lovely ladies are sewing these patterns this week:


Stylin’ Stacy * BLAVERRY * Élégantine * Sprouting JubeJube * Stuff I Make * Turtle Birdies

Two for gifts and one for me

I am a huge fan of these scarves during the fall and winter…and spring.  They are great to throw on to dress up an outfit and keep you nice and cozy warm.

These two I made for gifts for the Sewing Mamas retreat.

I did actually try to match the plaids. *sigh*

They were well received.  I told the Packer’s recepient that if she didn’t want it, I would wear the shit out of that.  I would have made her another.  I wasn’t sure how much of a fan she was, but she said it would never make it out of her house once she got it home.  We are a bit rabid. 😉

This one was mine.  I made it with flannel and a sweater knit.  All of them have leather on the edges and post snaps.


Here is my tutorial for the scarves

Now, I am thinking of making a fall capsule, similar to my spring one.  We shall see if I have time!  (pssst…I already know I don’t!) 😉

A CAbi hack

Every 6 months or so I am invited by a friend to her CAbi party.  I really do like the clothes, but in my opinion, they have gone down in quality over the years.  The last pair of overpriced pants I bought from them stretched out so very, very much and had poor recovery.  So…not sure how much longer I will be buying their clothes, but it is nice to go see my friend and get ideas.

One top that I liked a few years ago had a woven front and knit back.  I think it was a silk panel for the front, but it definitely was a scarf type of fabric.

I drafted this from a big boxy top pattern I made last year.  I decided to go short sleeved on this, because a long-sleeved top would be too cool for our winters here.


The back is a linen knit, and I think I made it a bit too long.  If I make another, I will definitely shorten up the back.

See…it is pretty wide.  It is supposed to be kind of “floaty”.  The linen knit is a very light knit fabric, and is kind of see through.  Using it in a non-fitted garment is a good idea so you don’t have to wear something underneath.

The bands around the arms and neck are a poly knit.


I wasn’t sure about it, but I wore it out and liked it.  It does tend to pull to the back, since the knit weighs more than the silk panel.  I think shortening up the back will help with it, though.  If I find another piece I like for the front I may make another.  It is a great top for a hot summer day.


Draped front top

Years ago I bought a jersey t-shirt at a fast fashion store, and it turns out that I loved the fit of it.  It was too casual to wear to work, but I wanted to make a pattern from it so I could make some shirts to wear for my business casual office.

They turned out just the way I wanted!  One didn’t drape as much, so I angled out the pattern piece more after that one.  If you want more drape on it, you just move the top of the front pattern piece out from the fold line, and keep the bottom of the pattern at the fold line.


Here is what the pattern pieces look like:


Here is a link to a pdf of the hand-drawn pattern that is my size (39B, 32W, 39H).

draped top layout

You can grade it to your own size by using a pattern that fits you already.  This can just give you some guidelines.  I estimated from my memory on the bands.  They should be correct, but my memory isn’t that great.  I have found bands also really depend on the stretch in your fabric.  These tops had a nice amount of lycra, so it worked for them.  Generally I go with 75-80% of the opening for the bands.

I also suggest a jersey for these tops.  If the fabric doesn’t have a drape to it, then it won’t work as well.

This pattern was really quick to make with a serger.


  • Fold the back neckline binding in half, long sides, wrong sides together.  Attach to the back neckline, stretching the binding a little as you go.  Press and topstitch.
  • Serge the front hemline.  You could leave it unserged, too, since it is a knit and shouldn’t fray.
  • Attach the front and back together at the shoulder.  You need to sandwich the back neckline in between the front neckline where it angles out.  Serge.
  • Bind the armholes.  Press and topstitch.
  • Sew up the side seams.
  • Sew the bottom band in a continuous circle and fold in half.
  • Attached the bottom band.
  • Done!

I made three tops with this, and I know I will be wearing them a lot this summer.

Cool mom points

Sewing for a tween boy can be a bit of a challenge.  This is especially true when he really doesn’t care at all what he wears, as long as it is comfortable.

Only recently has he cared enough to actually match his clothes.  A bit frustrating.

Luckily, he still wants me to make him things, as long as they hit the parameters of what he will wear.  He doesn’t wear long-sleeved shirts.  Only t-shirts and hoodies.  He will only occasionally wear jeans, and it is mostly athletic wear for bottoms.

When I saw this fabric go up on one of the custom fabric boards on Facebook, I knew I had to make a shirt for him with it.  This is from the game Fallout, and he was super pumped when I showed him the picture.


One of the issues with sewing with some of these prints is that they tend to look like pj’s if you go overboard.   I also only got a panel for the front, so the back of the shirt had to be something else.  I decided to just do the sleeves in the print and do black for the rest.

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I think it is just enough.

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Now, what to do with the rest of the yard!  I have another panel coming with a different print for him from this same game.  I think I can maybe do a hoodie with the inside of the hood and the pockets with the print.  I need to find a good source for sweatshirt fabric, though.  Any leads would be great!

A gift

One of the neighborhood “moms” that I grew up with was looking at my handbags I made recently, and was admiring them.  She is going through some tough times right now, as she has been dealing with a rare skin cancer.  At this point she is hoping for 4 years.

I wanted to make her something to lift her spirits.  I sent the bag off this week, so she has it now.


This is a nice dark brown leather with a cream leather for the reverse applique.  I think the brown is a cowhide based on the thickness.  It was another leather piece from the scrap leather bin at the fabric warehouse.


I made this one a little smaller than the regular bag pattern.  This is pretty similar to the one I made for my mom.  I used the same fabric for the interior.  It is so pretty, and goes so well with the leather.


There are two interior zipper pockets on either side, and a magnet to keep it closed.


I added some extra cuts of leather onto the handles.


Each side has a pocket that will fit sunglasses, a phone or keys.


I probably should have added some feet, too, but this is a pretty sturdy leather.


The interior of the purse is this foam, which works pretty well in giving it sturdy sides.  I got this in the interfacing section of the fabric store.


Her daughter said she cried and said it was absolutely beautiful. 🙂

Skirting the issue – some oldies but goodies

It is that time of year for Skirting the Issue. Simple Simon hosts a month of sewing tutorials and sewalongs to sew up some skirts for foster girls.

Over the years I have done a few tutorials for sewing up some skirts, as my girl used to wear them quite often.  Not so, now.  Ah, the tween years!

Here are the tutorials that I have made.  Skirts are such a quick and easy project to make, and even better, you can bring a smile to a little girl in foster care.

Twirly skort with a detachable pocket

2009 03 10_0192Double layered drop-waist skirt

double layered skirt

Scalloped hem skirt with side pockets

scalloped hem skirtNow, go forth and make some pretty skirts for girls.  I intend to make a few myself, and I will make sure to link up when I do.

Elegant little top

I just love how this top turned out!  As part of the Blaverry promotions team, I received this pattern, which is the Yves top/tunic/dress.  It is a reversible woven top with shirring and ruching with ribbon or bias at the shoulder.  I made a size 7W and 14L top.  It also come in tunic and dress length, in sizes 2T – 16Y.

In seeing that it was a reversible top, I knew the perfect fabric to use for it.  Mine is essentially a lace-like outer and satin inner fabric.


The ties are just some satin ribbon that I got at Michael’s craft store.  I heat sealed the ends.


The shirring is hard to see in the black, but it is a nice feature.  It brings the top in a bit and is a cute detail.  If you have never shirred before, it is pretty simple.


There are some caveats, however.  Some of the more computerized machines have a hard time shirring.  They try to compensate the tension and it ends up not getting it shirred correctly.

You can find elastic thread at any fabric store with a good notions supply. It can be found with the rest of the elastic, not the thread.

1. Hand wind the bobbin with the elastic thread and don’t pull it.

2. Use regular thread for your top thread.

3. Set your stitch length to the longest stitch.  I usually set the tension around 3-4.

4. Start sewing in straight lines. Trace your guidelines, and just go slowly.

5. When you are done sewing your lines, tie the two threads together. It is hard to use an anchoring stitch with the elastic thread, so tying them together is necessary.

6. Now if it didn’t shirr enough while you were sewing, you can use a steam iron to bring it out.


The leggings here are the Ellis leggings.  Christie is going to rework these a bit and re-release them.  I used my daughter’s waist measurement and they ended up being too narrow in the legs and hip.  I think if I did a straight 14 they would have been fine, so just check the width before you make them up.   The waist fit, but I should have graded it out from there.

I am bummed, because she loves the leggings.  They are just too tight.  I am hoping I have enough of the gray to redo them.  The don’t come with the color-blocking on the top, but I did it so I could use the gray.  I didn’t have much of the gray, since it was just a scrap that a friend at the sewing retreat gave me.

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I really love how this little outfit turned out.  It is really cute on her!  It was a pretty hot night last night to take the pictures, but she was a good sport…most of the time. 😉


Blaverry Blog – Stylin’ Stacy – Élégantine! – Sprouting JubeJube – Sew Sophie Lynn