Yeah, it’s a year end review- skip it if you want!



Yup, it’s a year end post. I know,  50% of you hate it and 50% of you think it’s a fishing for compliments experience. We shall see.

Blog truths: Often the makes I love the most and wear most are not  the stuff that gets the most blog endorsement. I don’t even blog some of my staples- cuz who wants to read about another top with 3/4 sleeves.  Often we post things that we want to love, we try to love, but we just know are wrong. What makes us do it? For me, it’s pushing the dream- I wanted my time to have been worthwhile, but sometimes it isn’t. Then I dream on and try to make the poses flattering enough to hide that parts I know didn’t work. I’m still making some clothes that don’t work for my body or my lifestyle. So for me, year end posts are about ripping off my personal sewing bandaids and planning for the next year based on what works for me and what I like to wear.

Ready for whiplash? Here’s the worst make of 2014:


Whew! Do I wear it? Yes. Do I think it’s the best use of fabric and pattern….no. Every body flaw gets it’s own focus in this one. I swear, I can see my belly button. I come home with bruised ribs and a woozy headache from sucking in all day.  Oh, mercy. Resolution: more attention to waist/hip detail and fabric choice!

This is so much better- still boxy, but the structure and fabric weight keep everything in there looking better! So a good combo of fun to sew, wearable and spiffy!

blue calhoun5

Back to the bad: Ok, I’m not petite, I’m not short waisted- I’m fat-waisted. I have minimal room at the waist for too much going on- this pattern is for the willowy and I made it anyway. Because….I don’t learn? Because it looked cute on the envelope. What a sucker! Spoken like the person who bought a ’99 VW bug! Also, those damn ties got stuck in doors, in the dog, under my desk chair wheels….do I wear it? No. I made a darling little unblogged top out the the excess and sent this one away!!!


Ok, so did I learn anything? Yes!  Simplicity 1431- curve friendly, waist defining- sleek, but swirly. Hmm….you deserve a remake!


Inching toward fit with a curvy retro vibe, but not hitting the mark- I throw on a cardigan with this at work- which takes all the cute away, and all you get is HUGE skirt being manoeuvred all  day. The sleek side panels of the Simplicity dress have a softer angle outward and give me the look I’m wanting with less ‘are you going square dancing in that?’ feels. It also suffers from ‘if it looks strange on the envelope, why would you think it won’t on you?’  syndrome.  I give it a 5- even the French judges didn’t like it.


Ok, we’re almost done. Here’s a favorite of my year that I think straddles the fit, fun and wearable best for me.  Mccalls 6739. God I love a sleevelet.  I bought this same upholstery print in another color family and it will see a summer make. I wish I had that latte right now…..


Ok, now here’s the 4 that made the people at Goodwill shiver with horror when  they opened the box:

PicMonkey Collage

Only Bruders gorgeous presence makes the collage palatable! So children, my lesson was: keep at it, but remember the shape I have and stop believing the envelope! Sometimes a bad ideas cannot be unbadded.


photo credits: meadhawg, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Simplicity 1543- gets foolishly Exotic

Now, just keep playing that in the background while you read- it will really enhance my stuff! I scooped up Simplicity 1543 during one of those $.99 sales where you are limited to 10 and its more of a challenge that you really need- you go from 3 you know you will really enjoy sewing to ‘well, I may need a toaster cover pattern shaped like Yoda, yeah, ok…..’ Well, that was a bad example, cuz if they sold that, oh hell, I’d make it.


I really enjoyed how the envelope tried to cool it up for us with this ‘perfect for at home, running errands & travel‘. Dang! Why don’t you just say, braless shut ins watching the View will totally rock this look! Well, since I do aspire to a lifestyle of never sucking my stomache in, I went for it. But then I cooled on it, because I got the notion that it was for knits and ugh- pocket placement……so while I was doing a little rearrangement of the bins and sending some undesirables away (I’m looking at you, most of my Suede Says purchases) and what happens? GAUDY EPIPHANY!!! Yes, the paisley and cheetah clad baby angels descended on bungies (like they do when I’ve had caffeine and cookies for breakfast…so often) and pointed to the fabric I got on a whim- wait, that isn’t really making it stand out- all my fabric purchases are whimmy…..ok, THIS whim purchase. A huge silk-ish panel with a familiarish face on it. Yes, I believe it’s Shanghai Lil!!!


Well, Here she is in all her glory! Now, 2 things changed with my version. Tastefulness The pockets and the side vent hem. Lil would have lost much of her garishness due to pocket placement. I considered matching the print (which would have taken too much of the fabric for a summer top out of this glorious beasty) but the top stitching still would have detracted from it for me. So what to do! I did an inseam pocket – since I always need a place for my phone and a steamed dumpling or two.


I am now a serious fan of this pattern and these sleeves! I used a braided cording to add a little pop of the turquoise and I’m quite pleased. Now a warning for the dainty: it runs big. BIG. BIG. I did mine XL and it isn’t fall off the shoulders huge, but it could definitely use some tapering on the sides.


Dear Simplicity: no more drawings! Show us a real body on the envelopes. Or was the model too busy being perfect at home, running errands and traveling? I mean really, we all love pastel drawings of a young Kate Beckinsale, but stop being so artilly deceptive. Mkay, Thanksandbye.

shanghai 6

photo credits: pattern review, youtube, meadhawg, . All images remain the property of their original owners.


From Wadders to Fabulous Fit!

As usual when I put out my gaudy Bat Signal in the sky above the sewists Bordello, I get great suggestions for help. My Simplicity 1277 has had its sleeves removed and a bias edging added. I also tapered in the princess seams to remove the armscye gap. Now I’m a lot more satisfied with it. So if my flanks can handle the uber-toasty flannel, this will be a between seasons frock. I thank everyone who stared intently at my armscyes and brought forth excellent help!
To get my mojo back to flowing, I visited an old favorite- Lisette 1878- the Diplomat dress. I love this shift shape and I’m always thinking I need to try a contrast fabric, but it’s just so comfy and pleasing on its own, I save it for fabrics that I want to fly solo! I know form pics are not as much fun as real wear shots, but I have a reason.


Check out my cleavage owls!!  ‘Hey, eyes up here, buddy!’


I like this Peter Pan forest camouflage from Fabricmart. Does anyone else find top stitching to be restful? I get in my little zone and pretty soon I’m walking toward Pemberly in an animal print pelisse and bonnet…..yes, Mr Darcy, you do need to dive into the lake…… 2 billion BBC viewers can’t be wrong!


Whoa, ok lets move on and look at my new project. Did you notice Ms Holloway looking a little different? Over the last few years, Ms Holloway has suffered several falls. If you’ve never seen a 4 dachshund run for the roses thru a house, let me just say it’s exhilarating and destructive. No surface is left unclimbed or raced thru during a spontaneous dog sprint. The last time my mannequin got in the way, her neck plate broke and now her shoulders do not stay in their positions properly. I’ve been stuffing foam pieces into her shell to hold her stable. Not the best permanent solution. I debated a new form, but I was reading The Curving Sewing Collectives post on forms and the Fabulous Fit system looked really interesting. So off to Amazon I went and it arrived Tuesday. I paid extra for the lumpy Plus version that comes with 14 pounds of instant oatmeal to smear on the butt portions for added realism. You know how I like my realism!

I spent several evenings perusing the instructions and online to prepare for this event. I didn’t find the printed instructions nearly as helpful as all the reviews online. This highlighted part of the instructions is my favorite- how did they know I like to stick pins directly into my real person?


Now today with the help of TCM, Bruderlein and I shall attempt to build a mannequin so close to my dainty bunches that Mr B will ooze with guilt for how attracted he is to it! Speaking of Mr B, he is unavailable this weekend to assist me, so I’m in for more help than usual- of the 4 paw’d kind. The kind that really help you sort your foam pads into edible piles under the sofa.
Now, I have gathered my supplies, started cooking the oatmeal- I added raisins to simulate my butt accurately; and selected the Bette Davis movie that will accompany this fiasco. Time to go!
1.One more view of some of the  many links to youtube videos to help- this link is to Penelope! Now I can avoid it no longer- it’s time to start measuring my chassy.
2. After hanging blackout drapes, turning off the phone, checking the entire house for surveillance equipment and blindfolding my judgemental cat, I have stripped down to my Wonder Woman underoos, and am poised in front of the mirror with my tape measure.
3. Basic measurements, hip, low hip, waist, high bust- alright, I can do this, I’m only tearing up a little bit.
4. I’m a good person. My size is not a reflection of my worth. I am a good person. God loves me and my Mother thought I was the smartest and the prettiest. Breathe in, breath out.
5. The rest of the measurements are to help you get the most accurate and personalized form possible. They are very technical and I shall try to be as meticulous as- CRAP!!!! HELMUTT GET YOUR ROTTEN SELF OUT OF THAT BOX!!! DROP IT! DROP IT!! DROP IT!!! BAD BOY! BRING IT BACK!


6. Ok, I’ve retrieved all the foam bits from the yard (I threw on a robe) and under the sofa and from his crate, I am ready to get back to the measuring.
7. Holding measuring tape end at tip of right collarbone and bring across to vernal apex of left shoulder blade. Record distance divided by measurement of both bust points. Um. Ok. Let me look at the pictures again. I can’t reach my apex. Ok, Bruder will hold the tape in his mouth and stay perfectly still while I circle him and drape the tape measure around myself, not twisting it. Whoa. I think I got it. Phew, I have a charley horse now.


Better sit down and watch the movie for a bit.


8. Must have dozed off- Liesl drank my chai tea and I missed the movie. Damn. I’ll go get more tea and check out the leftovers from last evening……OOH corned beef and cabbage!


9. Now, let’s just whip thru the rest of these measurements- I can skip the thigh business, and the upper arms, ok! Let’s get to the padding of the form.Mutty, you can keep that pad, but I need the rest! I’m serious!
10. I have covered  Ms Holloway with the sleeveless cover and it’s a lovely white stretchy material- durable and thick. I’m going to pin my lovely lady lumps directly to this cover, then slide the other over top of it when I’m done.
11. Now, I’m going to place my pads in each location based on my scientific findings and use the tips to make sure they suit me. I have forward sloping shoulders like a Bronte character, so I’ll pivot the shoulder pads forward and down.
12. I have a high waist and fuller hips and a slight swayback. Gees Louise, I’m a monster! I should be living in a belltower scaring the local children! I should ring a bell to alert unsuspecting mothers that I am walking amongst them- lest I curdle their offspring in the womb! Arrgh- this is too much. I’m going to build a pillow fort for Bruder and I and think about this for a while….with an éclair.
13. Now, I’m all cried out and ready to put the cover over her, easily securing the new dimensions.  Ok, I gently roll the top cover down over my padding. This honestly requires at least 4 hands. It’s like trying to put pantyhose on a greased squid that is having a stroke.  I’m glad I pinned the pads down, tho at one point I yanked one side too quickly and my left butt cheek flew across the room. Don’t think that happens every day. So go slowly on this part- don’t permanently harm your squid.

Alright, I am clear headed now, I knew this would be difficult, but it is worth the effort, Ms Holloway looks lovely and I am quite pleased with the results.

I present you with a musical tribute to my day:


Um, in case you are wondering- no one paid me to endorse the Fabulous Fit system- I’m sure if a company read one of my reviews, they’d reconsider any thought they might have had about my spokesperson-ability! I’m mean really, they’d definitely get what they paid for!

Photo credits: fabulous fit, google images, little me, pattern review, youtube. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Wearable Wednesday Hermes

I believe the cohesive theme to this collection is ‘things I have seen Jeremy Irons wear’


See!!! I told you!


This fabric- yes please.


The prototype was made of legos.


I can definitely do without the hip turban, but I love the jacket.


I’m sorry, I can’t walk 5 feet with a towel on- how is she keeping her boyfriends henley from falling off??


How is Grandpa supposed to fight off pneumonia if you keep stealing his happenin’ cardigans??


After the show, the caterers took this dress with them by mistake.


Photo credits: All images remain the property of their original owners.

The Writing Process Blog Hop- the method to my madness?

This is wild.


Sew Busy Lizzy asked me to join a blog hop and it’s about the writing. I was thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. I think most sewing bloggers want to have their work complimented- I consider it a good day when someone says they read my post and did a spit take. So asking me why my blog differs from others is like asking the Pope how he differs from Hugh Hefner. Only one of us wears a smoking jacket, of course. But all of us wear silk pajamas at home. So I must thank Lizzie- who was an early blog favorite for me- she has shown me a beautiful world across the globe and introduced me to some very good pattern friends! Well- buckle up- I’m ready to answer the 4 questions with great dignity and sobriety, as this demands.


What am I working on at the moment?
I’m trying to make a bit of a lifestyle change. I’ve worn uniforms forever and now I’m office casual, so my life of gaudy w/ jeans has changed a bit. I need more cohesion in my closet- but cohesion MY WAY! I have way too many things that match nothing in my closet. So I’ve started changing my fabric sorting plan- now I sort by ‘what works together’ and try to make things that coordinate with other fabric and will create loud and boisterous garment gangs to roam my closet and terrorize the cardigans. ‘SewBasics’ is just not a policy I can endorse! I’ve become very fixated on Stella Jean designs- the combinations are feminine, colorful and powerful:





How does your work differ from that of other writers in your genre?
Oh, boy- I’m not sure I have a genre! Basically, you get a steam of unconsciousness thrown at you all at once. My blog is that lonely girl you inadvertently stood next to at a party who once you said ‘Hi’ to, wouldn’t stop talking and only half of it made sense. Most people would walk away at the obvious craziness presented to them, but some people stay and while it may not change their lives or their voting habits, they get a giggle. I’m not a tutorial writer- I’m a cautionary tale. I bring no new education or ideas to the table. I’m about feeding my inner color-blind child and showing what the patterns and gaudy fabrics on a blind date can do! Add a ‘rounded perspective’ and you get what happens when the chubby meet the average pattern- the envelopes lie- but these hips do not and they only fib to spare my butts feelings. I also like to throw in a lot of foolish pictures. My husband even sends me files now from public library archives and such when he comes across the correct level of nonsense. As you may know- he is my best enabler. I wouldn’t feel free to be as silly as I am without his support.

Why do you write what you write?
I blog to save my co-workers and family from killing me. I don’t have a large local group to talk zippers and Mui Mui with. If I forced them to listen to me all day, I think eventually they’d load a leopard print sock with guest soaps and beat me to death. Last time I was in the local fabric store I became engaged in a deep conversation with a woman preparing her shi tzu’s holiday wardrobe. She didn’t have alot to say about the new Vogue collection- it was sadly lacking in pup visors. So I found a quiet corner of the internet and set up a little tea party/ranting nook. Now I can expound on The Swinton, embracing your flat butt, Betsey Johnson and the like, without seeing the deer trapped in the headlights look of my co-workers as they back toward the treeline looking for safety!
What’s your process and how does it work?
Well, my writing is very boom, boom, boom, done. I usually find myself in the sewing hut with Bruderlein when something ridiculous will just pop into my head- be it a name for the outfit, a personal struggle with the outfit or just how the whole thing makes me feel. My husband says my blog is the closest to the real me that anyone outside of my tiny circle ever gets to see. I’m really an introvert that has a much more vibrant inner monologue than real life- where everything at work is by the letter of the law and very mature.  I’m a little bit Walter Mitty-ish in this way.
Once I get my idea it all just rushes out and I just try to keep the train on course. I’ve often greeted my photo-hubs with ‘Ok, I need there to be trees, maybe a salad bar and this can of tuna needs to be in most of the shots. Is my facing tucked in?’ He just shrugs and starts driving.  I try not to over edit myself- it makes it feel like I’m not really having a conversation with the reader. I like it to feel like I’m just chatting over a magazine on Wednesdays with some friends and cookies.

Now, when I have my cookies, lap pup and coffee all set, who do I like to read? I have 2 blogs in mind. When I read these 2 gals I wish that they lived on my street and that I could just  pop in, plant myself in their lives and enjoy. Now this is a bit of a sneak attack- I didn’t warn them. Oops.

I giddily nominate:

Gjeometry! I love her soul and I love that while her blog features a good deal of prancing with an animal side kick, we are the opposites in writing style. Her posts are so meticulously planned, written and executed that I always leave it inspired and enthused. Nobody hosts a giveaway like she and Kitty!

Coco’s Loft!  Coco inspires my sewing with her casual elegance and her beautiful spirit. Her fabric choices are always enviable and she has made me want to grow in style and taste. Oh, I’d also love to live in her garden.

Now go visit these lovelies and feel their muse pull you in!




photo credits:google images, Pinterest, Sew Busy Lizzy, Coco’s Loft, Gjeometry. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Wearable Wednesday Rachel Comey

Today we will play “yes,Vogue’   ‘NOVOGUE!’ and try to hint to our pattern company which of these we’d prefer they hacked for us. Ok?



Yes, Vogue


Yes, Vogue- come on, it’s interesting and  gives you a gut grin!


No, Vogue- wait- does Vogue do window valances?


No Vogue- but you won’t listen to us, will you?


Yes, Vogue- come on, I want a new 80’s rock star duster!


It’s too late, isn’t it? This is already on the next catalog cover, isn’t it?



photo All images remain the property of their original owners.

fall 2014

Forward, March!

I haven’t posted a new sewing review in what feels like forever. Why? Oh, my thumbs aren’t broken, I just have been clearing out a lot of cut out and not very exciting things. Repeats and three-peats and such. My reviews would have replaced Ambien as a sleep aid.


‘Yeah, so I made these pants and then I liked them so I made them again to go with this top I’d already made twice and it’s in the fabric of that dress I made a couple of times….are you still with me? No, no, you go ahead and sleep. It’s cool…..’

But now I am liberated from my TO DO list. Now what? LIST UP!!!! Am I right?

pink panther

OK, so Fall. Yes, Fall. I like it. Seriously, I rock fall. I totally blend with Fall. I am old leaves. But, you know, endearingly. Check out Pantones 2014 Fall lineup, is it not little me?

fall 2014

I’m so thrilled with these colors!!! Now the scheming commences!! Scheming Fairy? Wave that wand!


This is going to be interactive! Let me know what you think of my fall/winter schemes- there is no prize other than the joy of knowing that you help gaudy the universe! That’s enough tho, right? Sure, sure. First up- a peek at my cluttered swatch folio. I’m looking for pattern ideas here.


*What Would Anna Sui Do?


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