Dress It Up & Strut My Stuff!

58373893_10219638257206923_8132208841954689024_oDressing up isn’t just for children, and shouldn’t be kept for going on a special date! 15 months ago I decided to learn to dance. No mean feat for an inactive, chronically unwell 55 year old. With very little knowledge (apart from watching the movie) I decided to join the local Burlesque troupe and signed up for Burlesque lessons. Fun times began as I learned to dance, made new friends and started sewing costumes for performances.

The Toon Town Boyz; Fred, Pepe, Milhouse, Mickey and Prince Arthur

Our latest show’s theme was Toon Town, and I was part of a Boy Band, ‘The Toon Town Boyz’. I chose to be the ‘old guy’ in the band and my alter ego as Fred Flintstone was born. Our act had two parts, a farewell tour and a comeback tour. Due to my health I was given the opportunity to be in a seated walker for the second part.

Act 2: With our MC, The Queen of Tarts

Burlesque is the art of the tease; it’s about suggestion rather than getting your kit off quickly. No public photos are allowed during performances, and as such I don’t have many of me in costume. Dance is hard work and a lot of practice with a few or so mistakes along the way! Removing clothes is part of the routine, and as such I needed to make some dress-up (or is that dress down) clothes that are easily removable. I had 4 reveals (items you remove) – a personal item (my club), a small item (my tie), a top (my dress) and shorts. I like to maintain a tad of modesty, so keep a bra and underwear on – in this case a smaller pair of shorts.Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 20.14.06

My All Dressed Up wardrobe was to comprise of a modified Magnolia as my dress – I promise this will be the last time I make one for a blog tour! My over-shorts and undershorts are both variations of the Endless Summer Shorts. I free hand drew my tie, and the club came from the dollar (pound) store! 

Getting old sucks!

I bought some (almost) cave man fabric; it is stretchy and has sparkly sequins on it. My dress needed to be big enough to have the other layers underneath it, plus a diaper for the second act – did I say we had to have a revival tour because I couldn’t pay my nursing home fees? As such, I made the Magnolia in my usual size but narrowed the skirt to make it more A-Line. I scooped out the neck, made it sleeveless, and finally cut a large zigzag across the bottom to just below knee length. All show dresses must come off though, so I added some snap tape at the shoulders to allow for a quick pull and shimmy!

Snap tape is my friend

My shorts are both based on the Endless Summer Shorts. My over-shorts needed to be removable, and the undershorts had to be snug enough to stay on when I ripped the other ones off! Snap tape is now one of my best friends; it’s much easier to sew on than individual snaps and one good pull and they’re off! I had to practice a lot – if you’ve ever seen The Full Monty you’ll know what the trouser removal scene looks like. Apparently our version was hilarious! To create the over-shorts I chose a lovely cotton dinosaur fabric that I’d been hoarding. I lengthened the shorts to knee length, though if I make them this length again I’ll narrow the leg. I sewed snap tape down each side and secured the waistband with aptly named “stripper clips”. With a little practice I managed to undo the clips without looking; then one good pull and off they came! Phew!

Underneath I wore my Wookiee shorts – after all I was a Cave Man! I made my usual size in a furry fabric that shedded everywhere. I added a knitted waistband in the dress fabric for cuteness. They were a quick sew and while a bit itchy to wear, looked fab.

This hasn’t been much a ‘how to sew this’ blog post so much as a little peek into my world of dance. I hope it hasn’t shocked you too much and if it has, well …  don’t give up on me! 

Do follow the rest of the tour. You  might find something you like and the creations are fantastic.  

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the All Dressed Up Blog Tour:
Monday 4/22
Tuesday 4/23
Wednesday 4/24
Patricia of Sew Far North
Thursday 4/25
Rachel of  Violets and Jewels
Friday 4/26
Aurelie of Maglice and So

Layers … It’s that time of year!

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Once again I am back with some Winter Wear Designs (WWD) creativity. Last month I made the Magnolia Fit and Flare Top & Dress. It was cold here and I made 2; a long sleeve tunic and a full length (keep the body warm) dress. This month I am using the same pattern to create a semi-swing cardigan. The weather has warmed up and we are suddenly in spring (or summer if you are used to cooler climates). Currently, I can wear the tunic until about 11am then change into shorts. Roll on summer! 

Magnolia – How do I hack thee? Let me count the ways … I can see why the pattern has so many followers; it is easy to play with and adapt to create several different looks. So much so, I now have quite a lot of pattern pieces cut from my tracing paper!! For those not aware Magnolia has a gazillion options (most of them documented on the WWD FaceBook group, or in the pattern itself. If you can sew with a knit fabric then it’s a great place to start sewing.

I didn’t want to recreate the Twin Peaks Cardigan, as it has it’s own attractions. I also didn’t want to print off another pattern – yes, my laziness kicked in. Hence, I made a swing cardigan. I cut the pattern to slightly below my hips, and the sleeves to 3″ below the elbow. I graded the side seams to have less of a curve between the waist and hip. After all, I wanted it loose enough to swing and not pull across my back. I added 1″ extra to the centre front then graded the V neck to meet the new edge. I sewed a little button as a closure; I have a larger bust didn’t want it to fall open all the time. I reinforced with  fusible interfacing behind my buttonhole – which still looks wonky, and across the shoulder seams to stop stretching. I serged all the fabric edges to stabilize it as much as anything, then attached a 1″ width of stretch knit as a narrow border. By the time I’d folded it to the inside it was the perfect width. My happiness factor was complete when I compared it to the Twin Peaks Cardigan and it is TOTALLY different! SCORE!!

I recently bought some lovely lightweight bamboo lycra fabric from a Canadian company, Water Tower Textiles. It is super soft, drapy, and wonderfully light. The perfect transition fabric – even if it was a real pain to sew. It is, however, wonderful to cut out with my trusty rotary cutter (and new blade!). The fabric is quite sheer and I can’t see me wearing it as a top without an under layer. I like paler fabrics for summer, but when I paired it with my WWD Omega top and an (old and) trusty skirt I felt the pale combination didn’t show off the cardigan. A quick change into a darker tank made all the difference.

Bloopers? Well, my twin needle sewing still isn’t very straight; I actually get a better result when sewing two single lines of stitching.  I ran out of my main fabric and used a very stretchy fabric for the border. I must have pulled this a bit as my seams are a tad wonky. A couple of pressings and they look heaps better but they aren’t what I’d like them to be. Why am I confessing to the oopsies? Well, recently someone commented that it’s good to read that we all make mistakes – and how we fix them. So expect to see this confessional section in the future.

Do check out the other stops on the tour and remember that all layering patterns will be on sale for 20% off all week (jackets/sweaters/vest)

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the tour!
Patricia of Sew Far North
Kristen Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
Florence Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
Livia of Liviality
Aurelie of Maglice and So


Sewing Myself Some Love …

This month being February the challenge was to sew ourselves some LOVE! I chose to make a Winter Wear Design Magnolia Fit & Flare Dress and Top (now referred to as the dress). I need some feel good dresses to lighten my load and brighten my smile. I think that fits the challenge? I wanted some swingy dresses that flattered without hugging the wrong bits, so made 2; one is a long tunic / mini and the other a maxi dress. The dress is fitted to the waist then flares out, there are 2 neck lines, different sleeve lengths, plus a myriad of other options, my favourite being the back insert. Added to which, there are now several add-ons including a cowl neck, cold shoulder, bell sleeve and lace hem. Honestly, stop making these all inclusive patterns! They offer way too much choice.

It was a time of firsts for me, as I haven’t done a full bust adjustment (FBA) in years. Frankly, it was long overdue (sigh); the FBA was recommended if you were over a B/C cup, and I’m a handful more than that – no choking on your coffee Marsha! I like Professor Pincushion’s You Tube Channel and so followed her FBA tutorial, utilizing the pivot method. It was surprisingly easy to do, and I thank my roll of tracing paper for making it easier. Adding it to the myriad of other alterations I make to any new pattern meant a few hours at the design table. I’d made so many adjustments I hadn’t enough confidence at that stage to go to final fabric immediately, so made a muslin, which turned out so well it became the mini.

Lots of notes on my pattern piece make for easy memories

Stretch factor – you’d think with knit patterns that are loose and flows it wouldn’t really matter. Well, you’re wrong! It does, especially if you have a large bust! That’s why the FBA was all important. This pattern calls for fabric with 30% stretch. My mini fabric has 30%, but the maxi’s insert has 25% – Ho Hum, not as bad as it might be.

I made the the mini in a lovely soft brown knit, which sewed as well as it felt – Yee Hah! I cut the back on the fold (accidentally), but it didn’t end up roomy. I’m 5’9’/174cm tall and overall, I added 3″ from shoulder to bust, an extra 1.5″ bust to waist and then just lengthened the bottom to the longest shirt tail (I’m a WWD pattern size 12, I cut to a 22 length). It all worked out, which goes to show that trusting the pattern pieces and your math can pay off on occasion.

For the maxi I decided to go all out and make a glamorous just above ankle high low navy ponte dress with a turquoise ponte blocked insert overlaid with navy lace. Oh, and long bishop sleeves from a free pattern (if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group). I cut the size 14 insert to allow for the 25% stretch and a size 12 dress. The size 14 insert didn’t fit in the size 12 dress; there is a 1″ difference. I did some nifty grading, which went well after cocking it up once or twice. Thank heavens for oodles of tracing paper and a designer who doesn’t mind helping on those blonde (or senior) moments.

Some canny grading ensues

Eventually I had all the pieces cut out and the sewing was a breeze. At least it was until I attempted to attach my neckband. I think the imps were messing with me as it took three attempts to sew the neckband on successfully. now it is sewn in place it is NOT going anywhere – ever! I decided to not hem the bottom. Call it laziness or the worry that the lace would spring up a little – which it did. In the final photos I saw I will need to trim the ponte just 1/4″ to have it sit above the lace again. I also found out the hard way that ponte likes either a damp cloth to press it or a silk heat. Parts of the sewing look like my brothers’ school trousers – somewhat pressed too much! I hope they’ll wash out.

All in all it is a lovely pattern and has a lot of options to allow my imagination to run riot. I think I will make the colour block option next for a 70’s feel … and some high low tunics. I’m actually so enamoured with this pattern if I get 20 comments on my blog by March 2nd 2019, I will personally buy a lucky winner the pattern. If you already own the Magnolia it can be exchanged for a different WWD pattern of equal or lesser value.


This week all the WWD patterns are 20% off (February 25 – March 2nd), so grab a bargain!

Don’t miss any of the inspiring stops along the tour:
Patricia of Sew Far North
Meriel of  Ellie and Nels
Aurelie of Maglice and So (guest posting at WWD)
Livia of Liviality
Diane of Sewing with D


Changing up the Pattern to Follow the Fashion …

Hackedy, Hack, Hack, Hack! It could be a song but its a sewing saying. By using parts of different patterns, I can recreate a look that I like without spending a lot of money on a new item of clothing. It also means I get the perfect fit!

WWD HackaThon

I’ve seen some lovely tunics coming out for fall. Papillon, a clothing company has several for sale locally. Being slightly not ‘normal’ shape or height they never fit me well, plus I gasp at the prices. Onwards and upwards. Winter Wear Designs has me rushing to make my version of this! I particularly love the pocket detail. Please excuse the partial (secret) photos. Most stores don’t really like people taking photos to hack patterns. Thought I am so pleased with my results I might just wear it in and show them!

Nice cowl feature


It’s a plain boxy tunic, but the cowl neck, accent buttons and funky pockets make it a bit special. I like short sleeves: I can add a thermal layer underneath as the weather cools off, or a 3/4 length for more coverage. I’ve been hoarding this purple plaid fabric. It is super soft and sumptuous and I was reluctant to cut straight into it. Then I remembered I’d bought it in a thrift store. All 3m for Can$8!! Yes, time to use this bulk of fabric up so I can unpack some more!

55 year old eyes and black thread on dark fabric make finding all the loose threads really hard. So if you see any, just let it ride! I also found matching the plaid quite difficult. Like the Little Engine That Could I tried and tried – well, I like it, so it will have to do!

The Refined Raglan is a pattern I was never sure about; I own one raglan tee – from a Metallica Concert. I don’t like round necks because I feel they accentuate my bust. This pattern is made for woven fabrics and I was sure it wouldn’t work for me. So why make it, eh? … That answer being you make it because the designer made it work with woven fabrics and it is a pretty versatile top. The raglan also gives a little extra space for the burgeoning bust! My pattern ‘hacks’ or alterations included:

Straightening off the bottom curve, then adding about 5-6″ to the length. I want to wear this baby with tights if I can, yet be modest enough for my age – getting older sucks!

Attaching an asymmetrical cowl with a feature button. I really like how this hangs and the fabric weight is brilliant for it.

Adding pockets with those feature buttons. It took a while to work out how to make the pin tucks so they fitted. I failed dismally in plaid matching, but then if they were perfect you wouldn’t see them, would you?

I made a template from paper and then kept adding pleats until it made sense (and looked ok). They’re just big enough for an inhaler or tissue.

Its currently 20c here (at 5pm) but the time will come for me to live in this tunic and be super comfortable.

If you are in doubt when wanting to change up a pattern just experiment. It might turn out brilliantly. If it doesn’t then you have learned a lesson. Ask questions and learn from those with more experience. Most of all have fun and keep sewing (or have someone else sew for you!).

This is the last day but check out what others have sewn up this week.

Jess of Jot Designs
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North


Not Quite Back to School – But Back to Sewing with Winter Wear Designs

Jeepers, is it already the end of August? Here in BC one of the  stores, Staples plays a Christmas tune “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” , in anticipation of students returning to school. I always laugh at the sentiment, then breathe a sigh of relief that my son is grown and independent. 40237848_10217626743560339_2790982315738660864_o

Regardless of the reason to sew, it seems the autumnal weather will soon be upon us, so I cut up some lovely brushed poly I had been hoarding to be a maxi dress. It somehow craved to be a tunic for the transitional weather.

I haven’t made the Cross Hem Tee before, though it’s another one of those easily sewn wardrobe staples. It comes with varying length sleeves; mine are 2″ longer than short, then I added a contrast band for a little extra weight. I added 2″ to the body length, resulting in a bum hugging tunic (winter warmth!). The cross hem is in a coordinating white fabric, which in retrospect could have been heavier as it tends to roll a little. I did debate double top-stitching but my needle had a divorce and believe me, unpicking burgundy thread from white knit fabric isn’t all fun and games – hence the wine – pardon the pun!IMG_1255

I really like that I didn’t need a full bust adjustment and there isn’t any  overt stretching over my bust. The pattern is made with negative ease (meaning the final measurements are smaller than mine), and I call this fabric ‘good day’ fabric. It is likely there will be days when all my lumps and bumps will show; not a good day nor a pretty thought. As such I will pick and choose when I wear this top. It is so supremely comfortable though that I’m tempted to cut the “huggly” bits a size larger to enable it for bad days as well. I’ve see it made it as a nightshirt paired with the Parisian Night Pants. Both patterns are free with codes found in the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook Group.

IMG_1263I can see several of them making it into my suitcase next month when we go on holidays. Let’s hope they all manage to come home with me!

While I am at the end of the Tour here are the links if you’d like to read back about the lovely things that have been featured this week.

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the
Back 2 School Blog Tour 2018
Monday 8/27
Tuesday 8/28
Wednesday 8/29
Carrie of BeriBee Designs
Livia of  Liviality
Thursday 8/30
Diane of Sewing With D
Friday 8/31
Jessica of Jot Designs
Patricia of Sew Far North


Just Lounging Around Poolside …

Summer here in the BC Interior can be hot. Maybe not as hot as Southern California but hot nonetheless. We live at the top tip of the Mohavi desert and for this transplanted English Rose, it’s as hot as I want to get. It’s nice that summer patterns are, on the whole, simple and easy to make. This helps as I am sure my brain (along with the rest of me) swells in the heat! Talking of swelling, looser summer styles can be flattering if correctly cut to skim the curves other than cling to them. I’d rather look stylish and comfortable than like the back of a bus. IMG_0701

For this Winter Wear Designs blog tour I have made some of my essential summer clothes. I pretty much live in shorts, little tops and loose flowing dresses. There are some good prizes on the tour;  visit Winter Wear Designs Fun FaceBook page to find out more.

Most of my tops cover ‘my tail’, enabling me to wear them with leggings. As such I’ve been looking for a little top to wear with shorts and short skirts. Bring on the Trendy Tank. A bonus is that if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group it is a freebie. Even better! I had to adapt mine to exclude a side boob gap that seems to keep occurring on all my knitted tops. I have a bust (really!?) and unless a dart or full bust adjustment is included in my sewing I get gaps. It wasn’t a hard fix at all. I pinned it where I wanted the dart and then basted it in. When it was in the right place I transferred the markings to my pattern; then proceeded to alter a few other tops to boot. I kept this top short and am pleased at how it looks with my shorts.

Rolling on, these are the Essential Summer Shorts. Essential as they are easy to make, you can play with the pattern to your little heart’s contentment, and they come together really quickly. I recently performed in a Burlesque routine and wanted to make some Rocky Horror-esque gold lycra shorties. I simply sized down all over and Hey Presto! I actually attached them to a body stocking (read modesty stocking) for the show. I chose not to hem them as I didn’t want the stitching to show. Plus, let’s face it, sewing a tiny stitch with metallic thread is tedious and encourages me to reach for the wine bottle!! I think they’d make great swim shorts with a side ruche or drawstring. Time will tell.


I also made the shorts in a lovely knit fabric that I have been hoarding for a long time. I only have a metre of it and making anything with that little fabric can be challenging when you’re 5’9″ tall. Not anymore. I made the shorts and might have enough for a little top too if I am careful.  For this pair I added a 3″ wide knitted waist band and some lace to the bottom. It gives me a little more coverage and they are so very comfortable. I need more as I keep washing and wearing them. Here they are with my Trendy Tank.

Finally I decided to add the Boho Breeze as a maxi dress to my collection. I actually had intended making it into a coverup but there are other patterns that lend themselves better to that (watch this space!). Instead I chose to combine a soft lightweight crinkle cotton with a lush soft bamboo print. I’ve been wondering how to use the bamboo without ruining its lovely design. Well here goes.  Himself, (the Man of the House), is my personal design and sewing critic. He bounds into my sewing room when he comes home from work to see what I have been up to. He will stand there, get ‘that look’ on his face, and totally unnerve me. I have been known to say, “be nice now, it’s come from my head”. Then he will make a good comment about fit, if it’s flattering, length and what might suit me better. I trust his style. After all, one of his chat up lines was “do you wear Valentino? He designs for women with curves” Yes, I married him soon after!IMG_0702.jpg

But back to the Boho! Summer swelling and being ill recently meant I’ve gone up a size; I am really glad I made a muslin! I sized up knowing that the top has an elasticated shoulder / neck band, meaning it won’t slip causing any boob exposures when I shrink again. I decided to use all of the bamboo fabric in my maxi skirt and didn’t measure it; it is rather voluminous. I made the pockets from the cotton but reinforced them with a lightweight interfacing. I also added a side slit to just below knee level. Today the wind was blowing while taking photos, resulting in the windswept ‘skirt wrapped around the legs look’.

One of Himself’s suggestions was to make the neck band from the bamboo; as a contrast but also as it is heavier than the cotton, it is more stable when elasticated. The man is once again correct. It looks lovely. The Boho Breeze can also be made as a romper or top and I expect I will get to those as well. I think it would make a good swim top too …

Pull up a lounge chair and a cold drink, and don’t miss a single stop on the Poolside Blog Tour:

Jackie Burney for Winter Wear Designs
Meriel of Elli and Nels
Diane of Sewing With D
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North


It’s a bit of a Romp(er)

I’m not a romper person, ask anyone. It’s too fiddly trying to get out of your kit to go for a pee. Plus, I don’t want to have my clothes drape on the floor in a public washroom. Let’s face it, as we get older our urge to empty our bladders gets greater. Don’t ask me to wear something that takes more than a nano-second to take off – please! IMG_0216

Or so I thought. This months stop on the “let’s revisit all the Winter Wear Design’s patterns” are showcasing the Riviera Romper and the Boho Breeze. Both patterns have the usual range of sizes and are advanced intermediate (mainly) knit patterns. ‘Intermediate’ and ‘mainly’ are used as there are options to change the patterns by mixing styles, and using knits with woven fabrics; if you use a flimsy fabric with a lot of drape it’s a bit more of a challenge to sew.IMG_0212.jpg

I chose the Riviera Romper. I liked how it sounded and love how Suzanne Winter, the Designer, names her patterns after her French influences. Both patterns have benefits and I really like the off the shoulder aspect of the Boho Breeze, but The Riviera Romper has an interesting back to it. So Romper it was! I chose to make it in an interesting lightweight floral knit from my stash. The top came together beautifully, then I discovered I didn’t have enough fabric for the shorts. Oops! I fortunately found some matt black fabric and put together the two seemed to work.

The pattern is designed to skim the bust, be loose at the waist, and have the enclosed elasticated join sit on the high hip. I felt a bit uncomfortable with that so made mine longer then sat it between hip and waist. I also added pockets (I do love pockets) using the same fabric I’d used for the top. I didn’t make my binding, but used a purchased 1.5″ wide elasticated binding for a quick cheat and time saver. It worked so well I made about 20′ of it while chatting with friends. The shorts are voluminous, but that’s a good feature here where it’s already 30c+ in the daytime. I like any breeze I can get!

The back tie is a nice feature but not an essential one. My husband tied me into the romper for photos. I wondered why the arm syces felt so tight until I looked in the mirror and saw the back tie was pretty snug. It wasn’t as tight as my corseted ballgown but you get the idea. Once loosened it was very comfortable. I wore it out to dinner tonight and had to show my friends the ‘low waist’ join as they didn’t believe it was a romper. Plus by looping the tie over my head I was able to drop it gracefully onto my thighs for the essential bathroom break. IMG_0215


All in all a success. I do hope you consider making it and if you do, you will enjoy wearing it as much as I do.

Don’t miss any of the spectacular rompers
 on the Romp On Tour!!!


Springing into my Jeans

I tested Winter Wear Designs (WWD) original Real Deal Jeans AKA RDJs and they are supremely comfortable. As part of her pattern updates the RDJs now have some minor alterations, including an A0 file (easy printing), and an unique waistband construction. Nice one! My original jeans shown here with the WWD Button Up Shirt

The RDJs come in a large range of sizes, have body and leg lengthen lines, which makes a difference if you need to add length in the rise, like I do. Since I made my original pair I have developed a slight sway back. This didn’t matter until I attached the waistband and saw it. Now I know I shall take the waistband off to adjust it . It’s not a hard adjustment and I use this YouTube video for it. After all, we sew to get a better fit – don’t we?

I chose a summer weight stretch cotton. It only has 10% stretch, which is the minimum but the fabric is so pretty! I used a jersey needle as my test sewing left horrid pull marks using an Universal needle. I sewed with a size 12-14 needle throughout; quite a difference from my usual denim sewing needle. I made the legs 1/2″ wider each side as I like them looser – especially when sitting. Shorts here with my Omega blouse.

Someone remarked recently that they thought Winter Wear Designs instructions can be confusing. Well, let’s face it, any good designer will ensure there is appropriate instruction for the pattern level. If you buy an intermediate pattern don’t expect beginner instructions. That’s what Google, YouTube and Pinterest are for. I think this pattern has more than sufficient instruction. As a visual learner I like pictures, whether line drawings or photographs. I also follow the instructions at the beginning of any pattern that states “read all the way through before starting”. Enough said.

I’d intended making capri pants, but made shorts as a muslin (tester). The pattern actually tells you which pieces to use for the muslin, making this process easy. My shorts came together quickly, and looked so pretty I thought I’d unpick them and make them my final garment. This is when I realized I’d used an Universal needle. My final shorts are a tad tighter as I needed to sew inside the original ‘holey’ sewing line. I could have cut out another pair but …

Jeans and pants always look so complicated, but really, they aren’t. If you have wanted to make your own this is a great pattern to start with (and build confidence).IMG_3334.jpg

It doesn’t match but I made the latest WWD ‘wardrobe builder’ pattern The Outer Banks Boat Neck Tee & Tunic to pair with my capris that turned into shorts. This latest pattern is pretty and feminine. It suits mid weights better as I found to my error when I used a lovely light, drapey rayon spandex. Lighter fabrics just don’t want to hold that classic boat neck shape  for long. It is a lovely pattern to make but I still recommend a muslin first.IMG_3329.jpg

Follow the links for the other bloggers this week. I hope you enjoyed the read.

Don’t miss any stops on the Just Jeans Blog Tour
Monday 4/23
Tuesday 4/24
Wednesday 4/25
Thursday 4/26
Friday 4/27
Lisa Dawson for Winter Wear Design

All Things Small & Beautiful…

“All things small and beautiful, All quilts both great and small” … Not quite the correct words to the hymn, but the sentiments are there. This blog tour is also celebrating Tibeca (the blog tour organizer’s) birthday – so Happy Birthday Ti!!!30742404_10213173798634250_7586149616224043008_o

With birthdays in mind, this month’s blog is about gifts to sew. I have chosen baby quilts and quilting. Talking of which, I had better mail the latest baby girl quilt, or her mum will read about it here.

Quilting is about precision. If you can sew, you can quilt and vice versa. It took me a while to realize that where 1/16″ or a few mm doesn’t make much difference to a garment, it makes a huge amount in quilting. It is very satisfying when my corners are squared and line up nicely. I am quite a free spirit and love to free motion quilt. Once I settle into the rhythm of remembering to breathe, I slide my hands and fabric around under (what I call) the ‘jumpy’ or darning foot. Who darns still? Not me, that foot is for quilting! The secret is moving at a consistent speed and tension. That way the stitches remain the same size. I also put my feed dogs down for less surface tension, and reduce the pressure foot weight to 1-2. I don’t quilt as much as I would like too, but it is a bit of an addiction and leads to many UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Modern sewing machines have a plethora of pretty decorative stitches and I take full advantage when quilting.

I like making baby quilts. Actually I’d love it if queen or king size quilts came together as easily. It’s like making bread or baking; you get an end result really fast. I used to make baby quilts for my friends. Now it seems I am making them for my friends’ children and the women I have met on various sewing groups. I’m also currently hand quilting my ‘marriage quilt’. We have been married 16 years and the quilt has been in progress for almost 4 years. Ho hum, I digress. It will be a blog post on its own but here is a sneak peak.

On the frame and quilting in progress

Sometimes I succumb to a pattern in a quilting magazine but there are so many free patterns out there that I try not to buy them, and Craftsy is great for them. When I have used a good free pattern I am much more inclined to buy one from the Indie designer. I quilt weekly with a group of lovely ladies and don’t think I’ll need to buy any patterns for a long time.

Quilts should look as good on the backs the front. This means they need careful placement when ‘sandwiching’ the layers together before you quilt them. Or a big mess can result with lots of pleats. Don’t ask me how I know this so well.

I sent a quilt to my newest littlest great-niece in England. I hope her mum, Sophie, likes it. Its the Easy Fat Quarter Quilt by Kate Henderson Quilts trading as Two Little Banshees. I didn’t use fat quarters as I have a lot of small pieces of fabric. It is very soft and girly though. Her sister, Katie, is having another baby in early summer. I already have plans for quilts and things to send. England doesn’t have baby showers like Canada does, so I shall have to show her with gifts from afar.

This is the Star Bright Free Quilt Pattern by SwimBikeQuilt Patterns. I think the lady who owns this website and blog is my kind of woman. This pattern was free, but might be a purchased item now. This pattern is one of my favourites; I think it would be great as a larger quilt (but I must finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt first)! Once again it is for a little girl. This little lady’s grandma sent me a photo of the bedroom decor, so I chose colours to compliment it. I hope she likes it. What I love is how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics and colours used.

Learning new techniques is always fun. Recently I learned the McTavishing method of Free Motion Quilting. It totally appealed to me due to the fluid way of quilting that results in almost a dreamlike quilt. The nice thing is that you set your needle in place and then go from there. I suspect each result will be different and as such, it is open to a lot of interpretation. My small piece has been claimed by one of my soft toys as a duvet. If you look closely I have incorporated my name, my husband’s name, a butterfly, fiddle head, snail and umpty ump hearts. My girlfriend, Harmony has heavily hinted it would be well used to make her little ‘Puffin’ a jacket. Maybe … it would be fun.

That’s about it from me. I hope you enjoyed the rambling dialogue. Do read the other bloggers posts about gifts you can sew. You might be inspired to sew something yourself.
Sunday, April 22nd: Sewing By Ti (intro), With Love In Every Stitch, Sewing With D

23rd: Stitched By Jennie, Tales from a Southern Mom, Aurora Design Fabrics

24th: Sewjourns, Big Fly Notions, Sewing Blue, JOT Designs USA

25th: Sewing By Ti, Auschick Sews, Hazelnut Handmade

26th: Sewing With D, EYMM, Middle River Studio, Aurora Design Fabrics

27th: Our Play Palace, My Sewing Roots, Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea, Seams Sew Lo

Crossing into Spring with La Croix

Seasons change rapidly where I live and it is useful to have layering and versatile pieces in my wardrobe. Welcome into your wardrobe La Croix Cross back (or front) top from Winter Wear Designs.  It’s a pretty top and it’s options include two lengths, sleeveless or varying sleeve lengths, and the opportunity to wear it frontwards or backwards. That all makes it a multi season pattern, meaning there are no complaints from me!


The top has been around for a while but Suzanne Winter, the designer of Winter Wear Designs has revamped it. I like her new format of simple visual explanations. It makes the information visible at a glance for those times when internet access is spotty.

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I like to play with patterns and this one was no exception. Except I cocked up a few times and, as such, had to delay my post publication date. Oops! Its just as well Suzanne is fond of me – I think! Here come my comedy of errors. Take a seat and learn, or is that laugh

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You’d think I’d know better not to mix knit fabric types and weights – yup, well, what can I say? I chose a soft drapy dusky rose knitted cotton with amazing stretch from Sincerely Rylee fabrics. I paired it with some amazing geometric cotton lycra from Whimsical Fabrics.  The dusky rose picked out the pale grey triangles, so I decided to take a risk – much to my chagrin. Unfortunately the stretch was different, meaning I had a very visible pleat in the rose fabric despite having cut the two fabrics for the cross over together. I ended up adding 5″ to the cotton lycra! I should have used similar fabrics for the contrast. To say the stretch was quite a lot less is an understatement. I’d intended the geometric fabric to be in front, but am so glad I mistakenly put it behind – or you’d be able to see the seam where I added to it.

Still with me? I also decided the neckline was too low and added a wide seam. Not such a bad idea except it was with a curved neck. I also cut the pattern with the neck band and didn’t realize until I was sewing it together … ho hum … more creative sewing to the rescue. I will spare you the rest of my shenanigans but the end result is a very comfortable and flattering top. I think it is hugely versatile and I’d like more. Perhaps I will pay more attention next time and not have to make quite so many corrections?

Follow this link for the opportunity to win $20 of lovely fabric from Simply by Ti, and two of Winter Wear Designs patterns. I love Ti’s fabrics; I’d spend a lot more if I lived States side!

The more demure side

Lovely drape

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Super comfy

Disclaimer – A considerable amount of wine was consumed while creating this top. It might be why it took me so long. I am taking the 5th on that one.

I was given the pattern. If I didn’t have it my participation would have been even more sketchy, to say the least. I’d like to publicly thank Suzanne Winter for her tolerance and support – and lovely patterns.

Do have a read of what the other bloggers made. I am sure they were better behaved than me. Not difficult I hear you say! The La Croix pattern is on sale for US$6 until the end of the week – so if you want it you had best get cracking and snap it up.

Check out all the Stops on the Blog Tour:

Jessica of Jot Designs USA
Ilse of Sew Sew Ilse
Patricia of Sew Far North
Livia of Liviality
Mari of MNW Sews
Lisa Dawson guest posting at Winter Wear Designs


Thanks for stopping by and I hope to back soon!