Aug 082011

I wasn’t too sure about all the ruffly little flowers on this top, but I’m so glad I went ahead and added them.  If the top is still worth wearing once all this frouffiness goes out of style, well, I can just snip them off.  ***grin*** simplicity-2409

Anyhow, I’m really happy how this one came out.


Here’s a close up of the flowers:


And here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Khaliah Ali collection
Misses top with 6 variations, front bodice has front neck yoke from shoulder to underbust, and bias cut cowl style collar at neckline, ruffled v-neck or 3d flower embellishment, side and sleeve front and back are cut as one with a back bodice, top is gathered onto a lower front and back bodice by means of elastic in casing within seam. Various sleeve options include long, long ruched with elastic, no sleeves, very short or short ruffled sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:10,12,14,16,18 (According to my measurements I should have made a 16. I made a 12 and it fits perfectly. This seems to be the way of things lately with Simplicity, McCall’s and Butterick patterns.  Rather annoying, I think.)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? The ones I followed were fine. I made some changes and went in my own direction in some areas, though.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Overall I really like this top. I wouldn’t mind if the neckline were just a tad higher. I’d like the skirt to be a little less full (less of the potential pregnant look.)

Fabric Used: Cotton jersey

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made view E with the view C neck ruffle.

After reading several other reviewer’s comments about not liking the bias tape finish, I decided to fully line this top and skip the bias tape altogether. I think this is a nicer looking finish, and it’s easier! (Keep in mind you’ll need additional fabric.)

To do this you just need to cut twice as many pieces as called for out of pattern piece #’s 1, 2, 3 and 4. First sew all the shoulder seams, then sew the lining pieces to the outer garment pieces at the underarm and neckline seams. Open out the side seams to sew the fronts and back together. Then carry on with the pattern directions.

Adding the Ruffled Flowers: If you decide to go with the ruffled flowers, I highly recommend you first pin them onto the garment and then (carefully) try it on. I found I preferred them to be clustered more closely together than shown on the pattern front.

Before I gathered each circle I went around the edges with a distressing tool to get the fraying started.  (I did the same on the neck ruffle.) For just a little something extra I added three seed beads to the center of each small flower and five seed beads to the center of each large flower.

Conclusion: Another really cute top!

Aug 052011

I was poking around at Costco the other day and saw this fantastic ruffled pillow.  It made me think of something you’d find at Pier One or Pottery Barn.


After a moment studying it, I said, “Hmmm, I could make that.”  And so I have, it took just a couple of hours.


The Costco version was made out of a velour, I made mine out of polar fleece.  Whatever you use, you’ll want to choose a fabric that doesn’t ravel or fray.

This pillow doesn’t have any zippers or closures, but uses my favorite pillow technique of making overlapping flaps for the back.  Super quick and easy!

You will need:

  • 18″ pillow form
  • 1 3/8 yards 58″-60″ wide (or 2 yards 40″ wide) non-fraying fabric such as fleece
  • rotary cutter and ruler (helpful, but you can just use scissors)
  • sewing machine and matching thread

Step 1, Pillow Front and Back:

For your pillow front, cut a 16.5″ square. For the back, cut 2 pieces 16.5″ x 10.5″.


Step 2, Cut Squares for Ruffles:

Cut the remaining fabric into 80-100 4″ squares.  This is where a rotary cutter and ruler come in handy.

Btw, I was using a piece of fleece that I had on hand and only had enough fabric to make 65 squares.  I wouldn’t have minded my pillow being more full, but I’m still pleased with it, so if you have to, just go with what you’ve got.  🙂


Step 3, Sew the Ruffles To the Pillow Front:

Pick up a 4″ square and gather the center in your fingers.


Stitch this ruffle through the gathered center at the exact middle of your pillow front. Backstitch to secure.


Continue to stitch ruffles  in a row down the center of your pillow front.  I had rows of 8 ruffles, if you have 100 squares you can make rows of 10.  Just space them by eye, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Don’t stop to trim the thread tails between the ruffles until you are all done with each row.  This will save a lot of time and thread.

Here’s the first row:


Now go ahead and stitch a second row, with the ruffles facing in the opposite direction (Turned 90°.)  You’ll want this second row to be “crowding” the first row so that the cut edges of the ruffles are facing up, rather than lying flat.


Now continue sewing down rows of ruffles, alternating directions.  Leave about 1″ clear all around the edge of your pillow front so we can sew it to the back later.

Here are all the rows stitched:


Step 4, Sew On the Pillow Back:

First you’ll need to take some time to pin all the ruffles out of the way of the seam allowance.


Now you can pin on one of your 16.5″ x 10.5″ pillow back pieces.


Now pin the other 16.5″ x 10.5″ to the other side (there will be a 4″ overlap in the center) and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance around all four sides.


Turn right side out, insert your pillow form and voila, you are done!


Isn’t that fun?  It’s very squishy and comfy to use, too.

Next I think I’ll use several bits of leftover pink and purple fleece for a wonderfully “girly” pillow for my granddaughter.

More ideas for this pillow:

  • Use a variety of brightly colored fabrics for a baby or child’s pillow
  • Use several shades of the same color for a rich appearance
  • Cut the ruffles with pinking shears or a pinking rotary blade

Here’s to a fun and creative weekend!



Aug 042011

I tell ya, after having two boys, I am having so much fun sewing for a little girl!  My granddaughter’s third birthday is this week and I made her this dress.

Is it not the cutest thing?


Since this pattern goes up to size six, you will surely be seeing some of the other variations.  😉M5838

I can’t wait to see pics of her in it!


And here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Children’s and girls’ dresses with self-lined bodice variations, self lined midriff, gathered skirt and back zipper.

Pattern Sizing: Child’s 3,4,5,6

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the self-lined bodice and midriff. This saves on fiddly finishing of tiny pattern pieces.

Fabric Used: I used a very lightweight quilting cotton. (It was on the clearance rack and think it was there because it was really too light to use in a quilt, but perfect for a summer sundress.) I just managed to squeeze the contrast midriff and straps out of a fat quarter. (For size three.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Several other reviewers mentioned that they eliminated the back zipper. Since this is obviously a pull-over dress, and a zipper would only serve to frustrate an independent three-year-old who wants to dress herself, I decided to do the same.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan to sew many of the other variations over the next few years, as long as I know the dress fits her.

In order to preserve all the sizes in children’s patterns, it’s a good idea to trace the smaller sizes onto tracing or tissue paper. Make sure to label each piece well.

Conclusion: A sweet and adorable dress for a little girl!

Aug 032011

You may have noticed that I have been sewing like crazy lately.  In fact I finished two more things last night, yet another garment and a home dec item I think you’ll love.  Tutorial coming soon.

It’s been fun, but I decided to take break and make a little paper gift box for a friend’s upcoming birthday.  The resulting mess is what you see here.2011-08-03-whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday

Below is my original plan, there definitely need to be some bits and bobs under the rose, and perhaps some trim around the box. The grunge paper roses are leftover from a Tim Holtz project.

The more I look, the more I’m thinking these  roses are just a tad too chunky for this little box, so I think I’ll try these sugarplum flowers instead. (I’ll post a pic when it’s all finished.) origami-gift-box

I used this kirigami box tutorial.  These boxes are super easy and too much fun to make, try just one and you’ll be hooked.  I cut a 6″ square for the lid and a 5.75″ square for the bottom.

I’ll bet she’s gonna like the box more than the gift, haha!

Oh, and just sent out this free totebag pattern.

Do I need yet another tote bag?


Will I make this one?


Happy creating!

P.S.  Why a photo of my workdesk, you ask?  Because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Join in the fun!



Aug 022011

These patterns were chosen for different details.  McCall’s 6199 was picked for the hemline.  (Honestly, if it wasn’t on sale at Joann’s for 99¢ I would have just drawn it up from a garment I already own.)


McCall’s 6287 was chosen for the cutwork edge.  Again, I knew it was probably something simple I could surely figure out on my own, but hey, 99¢ seemed worth not having to figure.


After reading reviews at, where one reviewer mentioned this top having shoulders so wide you got the Flashdance off-the-shoulder look , I decided to do some serious Frankenpatterning.

So the cutwork was transferred to the plain, but less wide neckline of 6199.

This resulted in a dress so casual and comfy I wear it all day feeling guilty because it seems like I’m still in my jammies.


I was going to wear it to church on Sunday, but it just felt too stinkin’ casual.  lol  When I lose a little more weight, I’ll wear it with a belt.

Here’s the review for 6287:
Pattern Description: Misses tunic, top and dress with cutwork embellishment. I did view B.

Pattern Sizing: xsm, sml, med

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Sort of, but I combined the cutwork detail with McCall’s 6199.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The cutwork detail looks complicated, but is really quite simple.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Other pattern reviewers stated that the shoulders were too wide for comfort, so I transferred the cutwork detail to a pattern with a less wide neckline.

Fabric Used: Cotton rib knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After making the cutwork detail the shoulders were rather wonky. I used needle and thread to gather the shoulders so they wouldn’t be quite so rippled.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is something unique, so I probably won’t make it again.

Conclusion: A fun and unusual look. I think the tunic as drafted would be great for layering.

And the review for 6199:

Pattern Description: Misses dresses with handkerchief hem in three sleeve and two neckline variations.

Pattern Sizing:6,8,10,12,14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The hem did, but I used the top from McCall’s 6287.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Super easy!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The hem detail is great.

Fabric Used: Cotton rib knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used the neckline detail from McCall’s 6287. Also, I took out the bust dart and just left in the tuck.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Love it! Quick, comfy and very, very easy.

Conclusion: If you want to whip up a dress, this is a terrific pattern. Your choice of fabric will determine whether it’s casual or more formal.

Happy creating, ya’ll!

Aug 012011

***Review revised 8/15/2011***

Here’s yet another cute knit top for the summer.


I made view B in turquiose, and then made the long sleeve version A in raspberry for the fall.  I’m not so sure about the one-shoulder versions only because I’ve yet to find a strapless bra I enjoy wearing for more than 20 seconds. simplicity-2364-aqua

The most annoying thing about this pattern is the sizing. Even after cutting a 12 I still found there was too much fabric across the front.  This made it difficult to bend forward at all without flashing the world!  Read on below for how I altered the pattern to remove 2″ across the front.simplicity-2364-raspberry

The blue top above is actually a redo in size 12.  I’d first made it in a 14 and found it was just too big.  Even though according to my measurements I should have made an 18. Grrrr….

Below, size 14 and without pattern alterations.  This top actually does NOT fit even as well as it looks here.  I’ve got quite a bit of fabric pinned out under the shrug section.  simplicity-2364-blue-shrug-top

Here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses tops with faux shrug in short or long sleeves. One-shoulder tops in sleeveless or single flutter sleeve variation.

Pattern Sizing:6,8,10,12,14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They’re fine except for attaching the shrug section to the sleeves and top. Then it can be confusing. The best thing to do is carefully make all markings on your fabric and then read the directions slowly and carefully. (I sewed it all wrong once, then got it right the second time around.)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the cute, trendy look, but not the incorrect sizing.  I like how quickly the pattern goes together, but think there’s too much fabric across the front for modesty.

Fabric Used:  A cotton jersey knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut a 12 instead of the 18 my measurements called for. I also removed 2″ from across the front.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Now that I’ve got the fitting issues settled, I’ve made it again in the long sleeve version.  Two of this pattern is probably enough for me.

Conclusion: A cute top, but runs very large.  Take your time with the directions and you’ll be fine!

Here’s how I altered the pattern to remove some of the width across the front.

First, fold down the facing section of pattern piece #1 (Front) and treat as one layer.  Around the center of the fold make two marks 1 inch apart.

Use a straight edge to mark a cut parallel to the center front along one of the marks.  Go about 3/4 of the way down the pattern.


Bring the cut edge to the 1 inch mark and adhere.  I like to use repositionable adhesive to do this, but you can just tape it in place.  Flip the pattern over to make the overlap on the facing section as well.


That’s it, you’ve taken 2″ out of the front of the top.  Hope you find this helpful.

Happy sewing!

Jul 302011

I originally bought this pattern because I thought the sleeveless version would make a nice nightgown.

Why is it all the nightgowns I see out there either, on one extreme, look like they’re made for somebody’s granny, or on the other, for ladies-of-the-evening?  Whatever happened to just a pretty, attractive, comfortable nightgown?  There doesn’t seem to be any happy medium, so I usually make my own.

Ok, rant over.

***sheepish grin***


Anyhow, after reading all the happy reviews at, I decided to make my first version in this raspberry stretch knit.



Immediately after finishing it I pulled out a leftover piece of tricot and squeezed out this nightie.


The dress fits perfectly, but the nightie is just a tad snug, which I attribute to the differences in crosswise stretch between the two fabrics.  This is okay, as I’m working on losing a bit more weight, anyhow.  😉  Call it incentive! (Sorry about the bra-strap in the photo.  Although I don’t generally wear a bra to bed, I wasn’t about to subject the public to pics without one! Nuh-uh.)

Annnnnyhow, here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses Empire waist dress with side bodice ruching, sleeveless or with flutter sleeves in two lengths.

Pattern Sizing: 6,8,10,12,14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Exactly!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were quite easy, as long as you follow them carefully. Although this garment goes together easily, its construction is a bit unusual. Don’t be like me and think you already know what to do, get ahead of the pattern and find yourself ripping out sections. Also, the sleeved and sleeveless versions are constructed quite differently, so pay attention to which directions you are reading.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that the bodice is fully lined. I love that it has a full back and doesn’t require a specialty bra. It’s very comfortable to wear and flattering to many figure types.

Fabric Used: The sleeved version is made of a cotton stretch knit. I also made a sleeveless nightgown out of a blue tricot knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After reading other pattern reviews stating that the sizing was way too big, I made a 12 instead of the 18 my measurements would direct. The raspberry dress fits perfectly, but the tricot is a bit snug. I can only attribute this to a difference in the crosswise stretch in the two fabrics.

Several reviewers mentioned that the dress was too low cut, but I have to wonder if that is only because they were cutting out a size that was too big. I went ahead and raised the neckline on the dress an inch, but it wasn’t really necessary. The neckline on the blue nightgown is as the pattern is drafted and seems fine to me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? If I were to make it again I might drop the waistline down a bit. I don’t know why I keep buying patterns with empire waists when that’s not my preference.

Conclusion: I really like this dress, with a fully lined bodice and no zippers or fastenings it’s easy to make and easy to wear.

P.S.  If you find a need to raise the neckline of a pattern, here’s how I do it.

  1. Continue the line of the center front up the amount you want to raise the neckline, (in this case 1″.)
  2. Use a french curve to draw in the new neckline edge, easing in to the existing edge.simplicity-2219-raise-the-neckline

Easy enough!

Happy creating, ya’ll.

Jul 292011

On the fourth of July I finished a review of Butterick 5402’s jeans jacket pattern.  You can find the original review here.

After looking at the photos I realized I had some redoing to do.  The button spacing wasn’t right, the waistband was just too long, and going the wrong way.   (This would be my usual left/right confusion setting in.  I’ve heard it said it’s only folks with strong right brain/left brain connections that have this problem, and I’m sticking with that explanation.  My husband does find it exasperating when trying to give me directions, though.)

butterick 5402 jeans jacket

After cutting out another waistband, I discovered that the length problem was not me, but yet another issue with the pattern.  If you sew on the waistband as marked you’ll have to do a fair amount of easing in of the jacket bottom edge and the flap will extend quite a bit over the center front. Instead, just ignore the markings and start sewing on the band from the left center front.  The pointed bit that is left extending past the right center front is just the amount shown on the pattern cover, about 1.25″.


I resewed the bottom few buttons to make more of a straight line and added the button that I’d missed.  If you choose to add buttons to the pockets you’ll need 11.  I’d purchased three cards of four buttons each, so I stitched the extra to the inside of the jacket as a spare.

My final step with this jacket was to take it down the basement and beat it up with a rubber mallet.  I pounded on all of the seamlines and edges as this will make them wear more quickly than the rest of the garment, giving it a nice, comfy, worn look and feel.  I plan to throw it into every load of laundry between now and next fall.  Hopefully by then it will be well-worn and broken-in.

Jul 282011

Since yesterday was my son’s last day in the Marines, it seems only fitting that today I share with you the last of the bootcamp scrapbook layouts.


Doncha just love that bottom left pic with my younger son?  “Yes, I’m in the photo, but I don’t know those people.”  He was 16 at the time and SO acting his age.  ===sigh===


When my husband and I were in DC a couple of years before this some how we missed seeing the actual Iwo Jima Memorial sculpture.  We were glad to get the opportunity to see Parris Island’s (smaller) replica.


There’s lots of stamping and inking on these papers to grunge them up.  The pocket on the right page is just a square of cardstock with pop dots on three sides.  The title on the left side is made up of grungy alpha stickers over vellum.  The helmet and dog tags are Jolee’s stickers.

Jul 272011

Today’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday photo catches me in the midst of sewing dresses.  Last night I finished my second version of Simplicity 2219.  I made the sleeveless version in blue tricot for a nightgown.  The magenta pile you see is the version with flutter sleeves that I cannot wait to wear to church on Sunday.

Although a more detailed review is forthcoming, I have to say that I LOVE this pattern.  (I was planning to write the review today, but got invited to hang out at a friend’s pool this afternoon.  Um, yeah… see ya tomorrow!)

2011 07 27 what's on your workdesk wednesday-sewing dresses

The next dress I make will be McCalls 5838 out of that sweet white fabric with the hearts for my granddaughter’s third birthday.  The light blue will be the sash and sleeves.  Can you say adorable?

Although I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been busy sewing.  I’ve got several reviews and crafty projects planned for ya’ll over the next few weeks, so keep watching this space!

If you’re wondering why in the world I’m posting a photo of my workdesk, go here to learn all about What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and travel the world via the desks of creative folks from all over.

Happy creating!