Work in Progress…

And my on-going saga of fitting woes.

One thing that sewing has taught me is that sewists must have a keen sense of their actual body and style. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of excitement and frenzy over the new prints, patterns, and fabrics out there.  One has to really step back and think about – “would I actually wear that?”

As a woman, I also find that knowing ones body shape and size feels like a double edged sword.  On one hand, its healthy because you have to evaluate your body without judgement – sway back adjustments, shoulder adjustments, FBAs, SBAs – are that – adjustments in fitting.  On the blog-o-sphere, we post pictures and get help.  It’s amazing.  

Lately though, I’ve been feeling a bit lumpy.  Middle age starts to shift stuff around.  My sway back needs to be balanced by a belly front adjustment.  I feel out of shape.  (Keep in mind – I run and train others for half marathons and marathons).  It’s stupid that I feel this way, right?  

I have noticed that it’s affecting my sewing.  The last several makes have been too big.  I think that subconsciously I’m making clothing for the size I think I am vs. the size I actually am.  And it’s creating fit issues.

Example #1  

The booty looks ok – but the legs and the front are baggy.  I keep having to pull the waist up.  Clearly, I have some work to do.

Example #2  In the photos above, you can see I need to take in a lot around the bust line.  What you can’t tell us that I have already taken it in about 2″ on the sides.  

So, what’s the lesson to be learned in all this?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is:

  • Measure without judgement. 
  • Pick the right size and fitting will be easier.
  • Fit the body you have and your clothes will look amazing.  

And for me?  Stop whining and do some sit ups if it bothers me so.  Right?

Fall in…

Love!  I think I mentioned that fall has rolled into Richmond.  The leaves are turning colors and dropping, the temperatures have lowered, and we’ve been getting a lot of rain.  It’s awesome.  It makes me want to snuggle right up to my sewing machine and sew.  Which I have been doing – and I have lots to show you!

I recently moved offices and I am back downtown.  This requires a three block walk from my parking lot to my building.  I don’t mind it, but when it rains – it can be a pain.  I’ve been wearing my Northface rain jacket – but it’s super casual for my work clothes.  So – what’s a girl to do right?  I *had* to make one right?

I purchased some quilted green fabric from Joanns.  The pattern reminds me of a peacock.  The fabric wasn’t water proof, so I bought some Nik-wax and went to town.  Nik-wax is a product that many outdoors people use to waterproof Gortex.  This fabric was a polyester – so I decided to give it a go.  The application is pretty simple.  Spray thoroughly and wait. Viola!  

I cut all of the pieces out and did two rounds of spray.  Make sure you lay something down – or you may end up with a mess.  Don’t ask! 

Other than that, the jacket itself was pretty straightforward.  The pattern is the #tamarackjacket from Grainline.  Since i purchased a pre-quilted fabric, I saved a lot of time.  But, I know I’m going to want to make a version where I do the quilting.  I cut a size 6.  Per my normal experience with Grainline patterns, I probably should have sized down.  I was swimming in it!  I took a ton out of the sleeve cap, sides, and sleeve as well.  Looking back – instead of a 6, I could have probably cut the size zero.  I also wanted a zipper – so I worked that in between the bias tape.

I also turned the bias tape to the inside because I wanted to keep the lines clean.  The welt pocket has been omitted, but I may go back and add it.

I cannot tell a lie – I hate using bias tape because I suck at using it!   It looks a little wobbly up close.  : (

And, here it is!

 I think the back is a bit bumpy.  That may be from the fact that the fabric is stiff or the size is too big. (That’s what she said! – sorry!  Couldn’t resist!). 

Below you can see the front.  I also made the infinity scarf – SO easy – I need more!!!  

All in all, I LOVE this jacket.  I’ve worn it almost every day and have gotten a ton of compliments on it.  Win!  Plus, it’s warm for those cool fall days & waterproof!




I’m a little late – but I can’t resist posting about the kids costumes this year.  I love Halloween.  My mother used to make me the most fantastic costumes – Angels, Devils, mice, clowns, punk rock – always unique and exactly what I wanted.  So, since the girls were born, I’ve always looked forward to making their costumes.  

Of course, for the first several years of their lives, my mom made them – and from 3,000 miles away – she always got the size and fit perfect.  She loves making costumes too!  Then, as the girls got bigger, we split the work.  She would make one and I would make the other.  It was a fun ritual for us to share on opposite sides of the country – sewing for the girls we both love and adore.  Last year was the first year I was on my own.  Mom had rotator cup surgery and wasn’t able to sew.  This year, she’s slowed down a bit – and sewing doesn’t happen as much for her. But, I think she would be proud of how I represented!


  May I present the Mad Hatter and Totoro?

The Mad Hatter jacket is from an old BurdaStyle magazine.  I cut a size 140 and it worked perfectly!  The Totoro costume is McCalls 6106.  I shortened the legs quite a bit and omitted the leg and arm cuffs.  She loved it!!

So, there you have it!  On to Thanksgiving!

Me – in a witch hat my mom made a few years ago.  Love you mom!  Halloween will always be our thing.

Ladies who lunch…

Took the day off last week and talked my hubby into having lunch with me.  It was a rare and much needed break in the day.  We are always running – so it’s nice to have some one on one time together without the kiddos.  If you are ever in Richmond, VA, you must eat at Lunch/Supper.  Soooooo good!  I had the braised short rib, macaroni, onion ring and bacon sandwich.  Wrong, but so right.  Yum!

Here’s a pic of the hubs!  

How cute is that boot glass?  I need some!

The weather has been slowly turning cooler here.  I have to say – I love the fall.  Sweaters, layers, cozy wraps – yay for fall fashion.  I have been jonesing on wraps – they seem to be all the rage on that blasted site Pinterest.  Honestly, I’ve been single tracked on the notion of owning a gazillion.

They are incredibly easy to make.  It’s stupid how easy.  And the result? Perfection!  I thought I would try to explain how I did it..but I neglected to take a ton of pictures – sorry!

  I purchased some sweater knit – very lightweight.  About 1 1/2 yards, but you can do less or more, depending on the amount of deal you want.  I left the fabric doubled on the fold.  Sew both short ends.   Fold in half lengthwise.  Basically you should have a square or a smaller rectangle.

Decide how big you want your head hole to be.  You will use the unsewen long end for this.  The head hole will be on the folded edge corner.  I think my head hole is about 7 inches.  

Now, this is the tricky part.  Sew the right sides together in a loop around the head hole.  Then, turn right side out.  You’ll have a big triangle with a section seen together in the middle.  Fold back in half and pull the right sides through and sew opposite sides together – like bagging a lining.  Do both sides- leaving a little slot to pull everything back through to the right side & slip stitch!  Viola!!

Some not so elegant and fashionable pictures.  I love it – but I’m not as cool as those Pinterest models!  Lol!   

For the birds

I gotta say, it’s been a rough few weeks.  Sometimes I wonder why people are so mean and ugly.  It gets me down.  The easy part would be to keep those people out of your life, but it’s hard when you have to interact with them because you have to.  Sigh.  I found a quote recently from Steve Jobs – and I’ve been trying to keep it in my mind:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

I’m trying to remember this and be true to myself.  To not let the opinions of others become my truth.  It’s hard.  I digress though….You came here to read about sewing, didn’t you?  There’s a point in here…I promise, stay with me.

People ask me all the time why I sew and how I find time to fit it into my schedule.  The same goes for running.  The reality is, I need to do these things.  When you are in a competitive environment where people judge you constantly, it’s important to keep parts of life for yourself.  Things you do to define who you are in absence of others opinions.  I never worry about what people think @ my running or my sewing.  Those are mine.  Something I created.  They make me feel good.  Like when my kids are laughing or giving me a hug.  That’s how and why I find time to sew.

So – this shirt makes me happy.  When I wear it, I can say those haters are for the birds! 

The pattern is the  Sew it Over Pussy Bow Blouse.  Super simple, but great results. I also LOVE this fabric!!!  I mean, how awesome are those birdies?

A close up of the cuff/placket.

I finished everything with French seams.  No other modifications were made.  Attaching the bow was a little weird.  I made it work though.  In the end, it was label worthy!!

There you have it.  In the words of Taylor Swift – haters gonna hate, hate, hate.  I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake – shake it off!


I just need to say, every person in my family did NOT like this make.  I REALLY like it.  So, be forewarned- mixed opinions may follow.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?  I bought this fabric at JoAnns – in my quest to replace my work shirts.  No ironing, fun print, check!  I bought enough to make an Archer or Granville.  It languished on my sewing table.  Something kept telling me, “Dress.  Dress.”  I asked my husband – “Dress or shirt?”  He agreed – dress.

So – to the pattern archive I went!  I wanted something simple that did not complicate the print.  After several days, I landed on Simplicity 2472.  I have a serious love of all patterns Cynthia Rowley!

 I used this pattern to make one of my first tops…before I knew better about measuring, sewing needles, and all other things sewing.  Needless to say, I chopped the bottom of the dress off & I still wear that top!

I made a size 4 (there is a TON of ease on this dress!!).  The only modification I made was to grade out to an a-line – about an inch from waist to hem.  I also shortened the length approximately 2 inches. Otherwise, no other changes.  Takes about an hour to make!? Score!  I LOVED it.  And then…

I walked downstairs.  Everyone was on their electronics.  Eventually, the husband looked up.  No response.  “You don’t like it?”  “It’s not my favorite.”

Youngest daughter: “Its not your style.”

Me to Oldest Daughter: “And what do you think?”

Peeling her eyes away reluctantly: “it’s kinda crazy.”

And, there you have it.  No family love.  But I like it – and wore it today.  So there!!   


It’s lightweight and will be great in the spring, summer and fall.  I can definitely layer it with tights!  Oh, yeah – label worthy!



I have been sewing my little heart out, but I definitely haven’t been blogging as much as I have been sewing!  One of my recent projects was not attire, but trying to refreshen my couch and chair in my living room.

We’ve had the couch for about 15 years. It’s a high quality down couch that has survived (mostly) my kids jumping, bouncing, and playing on it.  Oh, and let’s not get started on the fort pillows. In addition, my hubby and I claim our corners and it’s done a fine job of molding our booties.  I get my best sleep on this couch.  Seriously. Someone once told me, “you need a good nap couch or how will you know you’re napping.”  Total, perfect, wonderful advice.  This is my nap couch.  But lately, it’s looking a little sad.  Like a bird missing half its feathers sad.

I went on line (ahem, Pinterest) and did a little research.  I found a tute, bought some stuffing and fixed my saggy pillows!  And it really wasn’t too hard!!!  

Those back cushions used to sag so much!  I didn’t take a before photo & I’m kicking myself!!  I also recovered the throw pillows too – recycling the zippers.  The fabric is a scrap from Joann’s – love it!!!  I still need to work on the seat cushions, but this will allow me to wait another year or so before getting a new couch!

I also had a very comfy, but super raggedy reading chair.  It’s 10 years old – but good quality from Ethan Allen.  The fabric had worn through on the arms, the piping was coming out of the cushion.  It was S.A.D.  Luckily, I happened to have about 6 yards of two different upholstery fabrics in my stash (over 6-7 years old – don’t ask).  It was a rainy weekend, I asked the girls which one they liked, and I went to town.  Basically, I draped the fabric, pinned, cut, sewed, pinned, cut, sewed until I got it right.  Below is a work in progress.

I can’t lie.  There is a little blood on the inside of the cover from my finger being pricked by a needle!  I didn’t feel my finger tips for over a week!

The sewing and fit aren’t perfect – and, to my eye- a little janky, but non-sewing perfectionists won’t notice.  The fabric was nubby and hides a lot of imperfection.  Thank goodness!!!  Again, saving myself from having to buy a new chair – so it will do!

I recycled the piping and zipper from the old cushion.  I keep yelling at the girls – “it’s not a jumping chair!!!!!”

The fabric is cozy – and the family approves – so that imperfection on the left only bugs me!  And, who am I kidding?  It bugs the shit outta me! I’ll fix it eventually!

Overall, a total challenge for me, but helped me to refresh and improve without spending a ton!!!

Flock of Seagulls

Yup, totally dating myself with the hella cool 80s reference!  Did I also mention that I am from NorCal?  My CA friends get the reference and know what I’m talkin about!

I think I gushed earlier that I have been seriously fixated on loose, flowy, tunic patterns.  Not sure why – but I like how floaty fabric feels.  And let’s be honest, I’m feeling bad about my weight right now – so tunics hide a multitude of issues for me.   

Let me start by saying that I LOVE the Internet.  Seriously – wth did I do before its invention? (Again, aging myself here).  Like I said, tunics have taken over my brain.  So one afternoon, I started googling terms and stumbled upon Liola Designs.  This is a new to me indie company and the pattern is the Natalie top.  There is also a cute Peter Pan pattern hack – I may try that soon.

The pattern is beautifully drafted and I am totally and completely in love with this shirt.

Can we start with the fabric?  I absolutely had to have this fabric.  The bird motif has a Japanese vibe – peaceful but a little hectic all at once.  It’s a light weight chiffon.   You can see my bust dart in this photo.

I finished everything with French seams.  The only change made was to shorten the sleeves and omit the button bands on the sleeves.  I will add those in a future make.  Here’s a photo:

Close your eyes to the messy back yard!!!  

I think I need to narrow the shoulders as the top of the sleeve cap is drooping slightly.  Other than that, I’m really pleased.  I’ve worn this to work a lot!

Overall, great pattern and another shirt in the operation replace pit stain pile!  🙈

Shiny fish scales….

ok.  Not a great title for my post, but I’m lacking title creativity!  We’ve been busy in these parts!  End of summer means vacation.  We recently got back from visiting my family in California.  It was a great trip and the girls had a wonderful time with their grandparents and aunties.  So spoiled!  DH and I got the chance to drink lots of wine, take a wine blending class, eat lots, and see a lot.  I really wanted to get to Britex fabrics in SF – but unfortunately, there was not a lot of time.  I did however get to the Japanese Tea Gardens in GG Park.  It’s a shame I’ve never been before – especially when I used to live two blocks from the park.

Some pictures from the trip:

   We had a great time!!!!

On the sewing front, I’ve been a busy bee.  I  purchased the fabric as part of operation “replace pit stain shirt”.  It’s a shiny, silk like polyester – wash and wear – which makes it both a great option for travel and a busy life.  I also like that it has a little Japanese vibe – which is a nod to my heritage.  The scales remind me of the coy fish that we saw in the Japanese Tea Gardens.  I have to say, when I brought the fabric home – I was like “WTF were you thinking?  That’s a lot of shiny fish scale fabric.”  There is nothing like fabric buying remorse – am I right?

Determined not to let it sit in my stash, I plunged ahead.  Recently, I blogged about the free pattern I got from Spit Up and Stiletto.  I had such great success, I decided to try the Atalie Top.  The pattern calls for a stiff, structured fabric.  But, it reminded me of the flowy tunic tops that are all the rage right now, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to use a soft, unstructured fabric. But, I am glad I did – while not my usual style – I really love this top – shiny fish scales and all.

On the construction front, I used French seams throughout.  Everything is neat and tidy.    

There is a front placket which I love.  It was a bit of a Beyotch to put it!!!  Grr.  But the end product was worth it!!  The buttons where a tough choice.  I went back and forth between little pearl buttons or tortoise shell buttons.  In the end, I opted for very simple, very tiny white buttons.  I think they work well and don’t compete with the fabric too much.  Overall, a success.  I have already worn it several times – traveled to the west coast with it twice.  It can be dressed up or down.  A nice staple for my wardrobe.  (The skirt is another made me piece – more about that one soon!!!)

This is my mama. and proof that I have been wearing this a lot!! She my sewing inspiration by the way!!!  She’s amazing – can you believe she’s almost 80????  Thank goodness I have her genes – I may have a fighting chance against wrinkles!!!! 

Sometimes it pays to go outside of one’s fashion comfort zone – but you may find you take to it – like a fish in a pond.

Craziness – or surviving my job

I started a new job at my company about three months ago.  It was a job I sort of pitched, and my leadership created it, and I got the job.  I have to say that I really love it, but it frustrates me too.  I get to be creative, influence change and be visionary – which is awesome.  But, there are politics to navigate, the team is small, resources are limited, tools are hampering and there is a ton of pressure to deliver.  So, needless to say, I’m stressed out.  I don’t know about you, but I handle massive amounts of stress well – until I don’t – and then I am really stressed out.  So.  I’m at that point and I need to get de-stressed in order to keep a calm corporate image in place.  Grrr.  

What’s a girl to do?  Go for a run?  Check.  Drink lots of wine?  Check. Recreational bitching?  Check (sorry).  Sew?  Check.  Yeah.  Sewing really helps me to process the day.  People always ask me how I find time to sew.  Usually, I fit it in when the girls are taking their showers at night. I usually get a good 15-30 minutes in.  And, now that the girls are older and hanging with their friends, I can squeeze an hour or so in on the weekends.  My hubby will work in the office sometimes and we’ll spin some vinyl and hang out.  It’s nice.

Needless to say, I’ve made a few things recently!!  Last weekend I finished this Swiss dot cotton shirt.  I’m in love.  Soft, girly, great color.  I’ve made this pattern before.  It came out cute, but the fabric was all wrong.  I knew I wanted to make it again in the right fabric.

It’s a BurdaStyle pdf pattern.  I omitted the sleeve cuffs and opted for a rolled hem.  Be warned, the neckline is a little low – I raised mine based off the first make.  And – the collar instructions totally SUCK.  But other than that – it’s a quick make.  I opted not to French seam – everything is surged inside.


A close up of the gathered yoke detail.


How I wore it to work.

Dork.  I think it will look better with an a-line skirt – I’m such a square – no hips at all.

I don’t know about you – but I’m so glad to have my sewing.  What’s your process for de-stressing and squeezing in sewing?