Month: January 2013

Quick Slouchy Blouse

I was in need of a quick project before the Sew LA party for Gertie–I wanted to wear something me-made, but I didn’t have anything in the closet that seemed right (You know what I mean?  The closet full of clothes and nothing to wear syndrome.)  Of course, I don’t have that many me-made items yet.

I’ve had my eye on the BurdaStyle Slouchy Blouse for some time, and it seemed like the perfect quick project: no sleeves to set in, no collar, and easy fitting with it’s loose slouchy silhouette.  With only 3 pattern pieces, it was even quick to cutout.  The front facings are part of the blouse front which made the pattern piece very wide.  It didn’t quite fit on my fabric, so I actually cut off the end of the sleeves and made them a separate pattern piece.


The whole thing went together very quickly and without incident.  I kinda winged it with the sleeves, and I didn’t really pay much mind to the directions for the sleeve tabs.  As a result, I’m not sure they look quite right… I think they need to pull the sleeve up a little more.  It doesn’t bother me enough to fix them though.  Next time.


The pattern called for 12 buttons, but I only used 10.  I never went back to the pattern to see where I missed the last two buttons, but it wears comfortably, so no big deal.  I’m guessing they go at the bottom of the blouse front.  Oh well, nothing’s flying open.


I’m not quite sure how I feel about the fit.  It sure is comfortable, but it’s also pretty blocky.  I wonder if I could go down a size for a slightly slimmer look.  Maybe a little slimmer and with the sleeves pulled up a bit more it would have better proportions?  What do you think?  I used a rayon fabric that drapes really nicely, and it’s super soft.  I’ve already worn this blouse a few times to work, so it’s definitely a practical piece for my wardrobe.


We had gorgeous warm weather over the weekend (in the 70’s) so I took advantage!  My sister walked down to the beach with me and shot some photos.  Thank you Fanny.  It felt good to feel some sunshine and get outdoor shots.

A Sewist’s Trip to L.A.

At this time last Saturday, I was driving South to LA with Erin and my twin sister Jessi. I made my first (and surely not last) visit to Mood Fabrics.


I was completely overwhelmed when I first walked into Mood. Isles and isles of fabric from floor to ceiling–I wasn’t sure where to begin. I had made a list of specific projects I needed fabric for, so I set about touring the store to see what was on each isle.

I spent most of my time on the shirting fabric isle, trying to pick something out for my husband’s next shirt, as well as a shirt dress for myself. I finally picked a dark blue fabric and a light green fabric.


While touring the isles of silk, I came across this black silk with a dog print woven in. Loving dogs as I do, I thought it was rather special and expensive, so I splurged on two yards.

I’d like to make a blouse with it by the end of the year, but I definitely want to hold out for a TNT blouse pattern, so I need to get sewing more blouses.


We had a lovely afternoon eating food, walking to the garment district and back, and finally kicking back with our feet up after dinner.

Sunday morning we perused Little Tokyo, and I finally found something cute to hold my paperclips at work: a little rice bowl with kitties on it.



We made it to Sew L.A. for Gertie’s party, Sunday afternoon. What a blast! I got my makeup done by Dorit who was providing retro makeup for the partygoers. There was delicious party punch and snacks, and many friendly fellow seamstresses, including Miss Christine Haynes herself. And of course, Gertie!


Gertie was so sweet–she graciously signed everyone’s books and posed for pictures, and even talked fabric with us.



I didn’t think to take pictures of the clothes, but many of the items from Gertie’s book were on display. The clothes were so gorgeous and inspiring to see in person.

I was pretty tired after all the driving, so I’ve been laying low all week. But, the weekend is here, and I have some sewing to do.

Talk soon.



Purrfect Renfrew

I had my eye on this animal print sweater knit for several months, but who wants to buy sweater knit in the summer, right? Fast forward to winter, and after many rave reviews of the Renfrew pattern, I finally picked up the shirt pattern and sweater knit.

At this point, nobody needs to hear me say how great the Renfrew pattern is.  I’m pretty sure I’m the last one to get it.  But, in case you were wondering if there is a single person who does not like Renfrew, let me just say, it’s not me.  I LOVE it.  And as I type this, I have two more Renfrew tops already cut out and ready to be sewn up.

With Jungle January upon us, it is high time I write this post.  So here she is, my animal print contribution:

I thought for sure this was a sort of leopard print, but after sewing up the top and putting it on, I began to think the black spots were more like the hide of a Holstein cow.  I’m not saying I felt fat, but for some reason, I really didn’t like the print anymore.  Luckily, this top is so darn comfy to wear, I kept it on and the print grew on me over time.  Now I see coffee beans.

I guess I should call this the ink blot top…

To ensure this post had enough animal print, Lucy and Jay joined me for photos.  Check out the other Jungle January makes at Pretty Grievances.

Looking Back and Looking Forward

A year ago I hesitantly started this blog, unsure if I would keep with it for more than a month.

I wanted to improve my sewing, record projects, and interact with other people who sew.  From this standpoint, I feel the blog has been largely successful and well worth my time.  Looking over my projects from this past year, I see a lot of improvement (and room for more growth).  I have an incomplete record of projects, but it is really nice to look back at old posts and have something of a record to review.  It would be easy to forget that reversible skirt I made and never wear if it weren’t for my blog posts.  Yeah, some ideas seem better in my head.  I have greatly enjoyed getting to know other bloggers and have found more and more wonderful blogs to read.

Thank you so much for reading.  And thank you to everyone who has left an encouraging comment or offered tips or suggestions.  I probably would have given up blogging pretty quickly if it weren’t for knowing that people are actually reading.

This year I would like to blog more consistently and do a better job of recording projects.  Not every project is blog worthy, but I would like to have a more thorough record of my sewing progress.  I would venture to say that looking back at the “failures” or less than perfect projects are the most helpful posts.  I need to be reminded that red feather print fabric should be used in moderation.  And I need to find a satisfactory way to style a skirt or just quit making them!  Yes, the blog has been very useful in reflecting on past projects.

I’m very excited to be planning a trip to Europe this year, and right now all I can think about is sewing a great travel wardrobe.  I’m trying to do a better job of planning and coordinating garments in colors that can be mixed and matched.  My current wardrobe reflects a lack of planning and coordinating.

Blogs have been my primary resource in learning, and I will continue to utilize and enjoy reading blogs, but this year I’d also like to expand my resources with some books.  I am reading a travel guide and a photography guide.  And I’d like to read more through Gertie’s book to help improve my pattern altering and fitting skills.  And when I’m done with those, I hope to find some more in depth sewing books to add to the collection.

At some point in my future, I would like to be able to use my sewing to serve others.  The more time I spend sewing, the more selfish I feel.  Other than sewing for my husband or family and friends, I am looking for opportunities to sew for people who are truly in need, such as orphans in Uganda.  I don’t know if this is a goal that will be realized in the immediate future, but hopefully between this year and next I will be in a position to be able to make a solid contribution to helping those in need by sewing.

Thanks again for following my sewing adventures.  I am truly excited to see where another year will take me!