Angelia Sewalong, part 3 

This should have been out *last* Friday, I apologize. I think I’ve figured out what I did wrong though, so watch this space next Friday too!

For last week, and adding in this week (but I’m not sharing too many photos just yet), you’d have finished cutting all your pieces out out and done your zipper fly. 

I was amazed, and measured at least a half dozen times to get to this decision, at just how little adjustment I needed to make. 

Being slightly paranoid, I did still add 1/4″ to the back crotch seam. As my new online friend Crystal terms it, I have an “Awesome Ass”, LOL, that requires a bit of pattern adjustment. (Don’t you agree that sounds much more complimentary than “Fat Butt”?? Plus, if you sew and are larger than a B cup…. you’re used to FBA standing for Full Bust Adjustment, which means you can’t use it for Fat Butt Adjustment. So AAA it is! 😀 ) 

Since my Awesome Ass comes with a comparatively small waist, I graded one size between waist and hip. That’s it. Really. I haven’t decided yet if I’m freaked out or pleased, LOL. 

Since my linen blend is a bit on the thin side, I’m underlining the main body pieces with a very light cotton. Check it out; could be worse than crackage? 

bit sheer you might say


It’s not too terrible when there isn’t a strong lamp right behind it, but I did still prefer it with the added underlining. 

pile o’ tiny pieces

Next week, my first zipper fly will make an appearance! I’m excited that this possibly sets me up for actually conquering jeans this summer….

How are you doing?

Angelia Sewalong, part 2

Ok, so I planned to print out the pattern last weekend and cut everything out, and work ahead. Life got in the way a bit (friends needed help, so a worthwhile cause). 

Also, I think I mentioned that I’d never used a PDF pattern before. I worked it up in my head to be this huge onerous task, to print to scale and line everything up, so each chance I got, I felt like it wasn’t enough time at the moment…. I knew it was do or die, so I sucked it up, buttercup, and guess what?

Kennis is a rock star! The scale test printed to exactly 1″x1″…. I easily printed only what I needed, there’s a very clearly labeled with a map of what goes where…. The hardest part was figuring out how to tell my Mac to only print one sided, vs my default save-the-environment-double-sided. 

Now this is exciting! Fabrics are all washed, dried, and prep-folded; the linen I washed and dried twice just in case of excess shrinkage. From bottom to top in the picture:

  • Linen rayon blend, medium weight but still slightly sheer due to the loose-ish weave
  • Cotton daphne (a brand name for lawn, maybe? Very lightweight) for underlining
  • Star printed quilting cotton for pocket bags and facings, to go with the Fourth of July theme. I’ll decide later about sneaking a bird inside somewhere…


fabrics washed & prepped for cutting into

Tomorrow night, I’ll finish all the cutting and probably even a seam or two, although I confess – she starts with the zipper fly! Another technique I’ve never used. The instructions look really clear in reading them; I’ll let you know how it goes in the doing of them.

So how are you doing? Watch for more pictures later, and next week’s list of things to do will posted late Friday (but certainly feel free to work ahead if you like).

Announcing an Angelia Shorts Sewalong!

Do you have Itch-to-Stitch’s Angelia Shorts pattern, but want some company sewing it up? Or haven’t dared try them yet? 

Angelia Shorts pattern image courtesy Itch-to-Stitch


Either way – join me as we figure it out together, and have Angelia shorts for Independence  Day! (Yes, that means I’m making mine in red!)

The Angelia Sewalong runs from June 3 to July 3, and I’ll be posting at least once a week, on Fridays with next steps, and taking a look at what we did, and possibly other times during the week as well. 

Follow along so you can have your shorts ready to wear for barbecuing with your family, running around town, or just looking good hanging out at the park listening to music and waiting for the fireworks (well, that’s what I’m up to anyway).

 So this week – you’ll want to:

  • Get the pattern if you don’t have it.
  • Choose your size (Kennis includes both body measures and finished garment measures to make it easier for you to choose!).
  • Choose which view to sew – we’ll be doing View B here.
  • Print the size(s) you need and get the sheets taped together (again, Kennis has good instructions in the pattern for that – but holler if I can help figure anything out).
  • Choose, pre-wash-and-dry your fabric! For View B, we’ll need 1 3/8 yards.
  • Check that you have all your notions (get them if you don’t already have them). These are listed in the pattern, but for View B, we’ll need light to medium weight fusible interfacing, an ~ 7″ zipper, and eight 3/4″ buttons that look good with your fabric.
  • Cut out the pattern pieces you printed, then lay them out and cut them from the pre-laundered cloth.

The Angelia shorts are designed for a light to medium weight woven fabric, so skip the t-shirt jersey this time. 🙂 Since we’re making  them for the Fourth, I went with solid red, but really you could make them out of many varieties of woven fabrics – on the pattern product page there are photos of the shorts the pattern testers and others have made, so check that out for ideas as well.

One of my favorite fabrics is linen, and I found a reasonable linen/rayon blend at JoAnn Fabrics (with a coupon), and had buttons in my stash, so I’m using those. If I see fancier/prettier buttons I like I may switch out later, but for a first try at these shorts, matching red buttons seems pretty good to me! (Separately I’m also making a 40s style blouse using the blue & red fabric in the pic. Direct flattery/imitation of one I saw in a Facebook group that was just too fabulous to not make, and this is as good an excuse as any to get that done.) 

40s blouse fabric, and the red linen!


By the way, lest you accidentally mistake me for an expert, LOL, please be aware that I’ve never used a PDF pattern before, nor have I sewn a zipper fly, nor have I managed to sew any of my Itch-to-Stitch patterns yet. I almost forgot – I haven’t run a Sewalong before either! So I’ll be figuring it out as we go… but I’m game for an adventure; are you? Comment below! Even better, ask about the Facebook group, Sewalongs & Sewing Contests.

The Sew a Seasonal Wardrobe challenge is done…

And I finished!! The challenge started February 1st, but I didn’t find out about it until late March. I joined anyway, thinking the end of May was so far off…. but if I’d been honest, 8 weeks meant I’d have to average about 1 item a week, which is way faster than I usually sew.

Anyway, I learned a lot, tried new techniques and tools, and I think I’ve decided I’m actually officially past the beginner stage – there were several times during this where I thought to myself, “hey, why don’t you skip that part (pinning, pressing, stay stitching, whatever) and go straight to sewing”? … but I’ve enough experience now to know that skipping those things is false time savings. Without them, it’s a lot fussier/harder to do the actual sewing, and the finished items look a lot less nice.

In any case, the eight that made it to completion:


Vogue 8717 jacket & pants


Butterick 6021, ivy+blue dress, and made-up belt (I didn’t like the tie one in the pattern)


Vogue 8717 pants (the second iteration), and McCall’s 7357 tunic


Grainline Studios Scout tee


McCall’s 6604


McCall’s 7254, in a sweater knit




Hope springs

Remember these? 

cherokee purple & abe lincoln tomato sprouts

Look at them now, one month later! 🙂 

cherokee purple & abe lincoln tomato seedlings


They did great in the blocks, although the blocks are small enough that it wouldn’t be good to miss a day’s misting – they dried quickly, plus I found out well after I’d sown the blocks, that I should have soaked the growing medium first, prior to even making the blocks, so they ended up starting somewhat dry. Live and learn. 

In any case, tonight if I’d had the bigger blocker (4″), I’d have just plunked’em into the next size block. But this should be ok too, and I set the existing small block into the very bottom of the pot, so part of the seedling would be buried (if there’s one thing I know about growing tomatoes, it’s “bury the plant”… the rest I’m still learning/winging as I go).

April will be challenging

In more ways than one!

I’ve joined THREE challenges for April, because I must be crazy, and will keep public updates here. One is a sewing challenge, and two are fitness challenges.

ONE – The sewing challenge, basically, is 8 garments that go together as a spring wardrobe, to be completed by the end of May. It technically started February 1, but I just found out about it and joined on Friday night. Given my typical slow pace, this will definitely be challenging! I hope to have a good chunk done by the end of April though, as I could use the pieces for upcoming weekend in Chicago, followed by work trip to Oakland.

Sewalong info 

Lots of pulling out patterns and fabrics and swapping back and forth on Saturday, with a few texts to my sister for good measure, and I’ve finalized the patterns and the fabrics (and hello! since I was downstairs working on my pants anyway – which will be piece #1 – I kept the washer busy, and the fabric for the entire challenge is ready for use. Whew!).

 So I’ve chosen two pair of pants, one cardigan, four tops, and a dress. There’s another item I may possibly get to work into this challenge, which would delight me to no end, but it may be less than realistic. If it comes to pass, I’ll post it as a surprise bonus later.

most of the fabrics



Vogue 8717, the second round, that I’m currently working on

Style Arc Cassie pant – wish me luck here!



McCall’s 7254 that another reviewer mentioned went together nicely



McCall’s 7357 – I could use more tops in this shape


McCall’s 6564 – I’ll do a view with the belt buckle


Vogue 1387 – not sure which view I’ll but sis is voting for the white! 🙂


Style Arc Issy which I hope comes out as cool as it looks in the line drawing


Vogue 9167, which I think the cross-dyed linen will be perfect for!

TWO – So apparently that won’t keep me busy enough, that I had to join some other challenges too. With a colleague and my sister, we’re each doing 1000 body weight squats for the month. That averages to about 34 each day if I do some every day – so if you see me just stop randomly and do 8 or 10 or more… I’m stockpiling! 🙂

THREE – My sister also sent me a jump rope challenge that starts April 6. It specifies all levels, so hopefully I gain some jump rope skills out of it. I can go pretty well if I do this weird one-footed rocking/hopping/whatever jump that I did as a kid, but if I try to jump two-footed, properly, I usually trip over the rope after about three jumps. But this old dog is determined not to be too old to learn new tricks. Join me?!

V8717 pants, round two

For this pair, I was influenced by the fact that I have a purchased pair of grey pants that are in desperate need of replacing. 

I randomly visited G Street Fabrics over the weekend, and rummaged (as neatly as I could) through their $2.97/yard table. You can find some really great fabrics inexpensively, if it’s your lucky day – and it was! A lovely dense stretch poly viscose (even with a content & care label), in a versatile neutral charcoal. Perfect for pants that will see a lot of use, and there was enough for two pair, or pants and something else. 

For now, I’m just making the pants. As before, I’ve got a birdie quilting cotton for the pockets and facings:  

Remember the pockets? Check these hugely awesome things out: 

the pocket bag gets stitched up to about that pin by my pinky – stuff does not fall out!


I protected the inseam seams from wear with (what I think is) a Hong Kong finish. Single fold bias tape applied to each seam allowance – through trial, I’ve decided the easiest is to apply to the part of the seam allowance facing the other seam allowance first, then completely unfold the second side and stitch it down from inside (where it will be visible when the seam is flattened). This meant both times it was easier to keep the opposing seam allowance out of my way when passing it through the sewing machine.

apply inside the opposing seam allowances first


then unfold the underside all the way – less bulk


and stitch again from the visible side


To be continued…

First suit

A few weeks ago I planned to make a visit to one of my clients, for a training in some of their customizations. Looking in my closet, nothing really excited me, and even worse, nothing fit properly for an out-of-the-office professional occasion.
I started out planning a 1940s style skirt suit, but soon realized it would not be accomplished in the time I had available (look at that, I must be growing as a sewist – when you start there’s a huge gap between what you think you can accomplish in a set amount of time, and oh, I don’t know, REALITY). 

I poked through my pattern stash and my fabric stash for something simpler, and a suitable material.

I had a lovely wool blend tweed that had washed up well but had never been “promised” to a particular pattern, so when I found Vogue 8717 in my pattern drawer, I decided it would work. I didn’t have a silky lining material for the jacket, but a quick trip to Hancock’s (side note – I am very sad they are closing!!) netted me a lovely blush charmeuse with tiny stars on it. 

V8717, with fabric samples

The fabrics: 

I love how this tweed has hints of turquoise and pink, as well as the cream, tan, and brown


multicolored wool blend, blush charmeuse


I spent most of my time on the jacket. Fitting through the bust is always an issue as most standard fabric store patterns are drafted for a B cup, but luckily this was a newer pattern that provided separately-drafted pieces by cup size. This got me a lot closer to a good fit, with much less flat pattern work; this is good because I am still very much learning about adjusting flat pattern pieces for a non-flat body, and I am very slow at pondering the needed adjustments!

fitting the jacket bodice

The jacket was lined, so I basically made every part twice, once in wool and once in charmeuse.  

pretty proud of this lining


finished sleeves attached by the wool; next was slipstitching the charmeuse all the way around

This pattern had you completely finish the sleeves before you insert them, which was a bit different for me. If you follow their instructions, be sure to measure your sleeve pieces carefully – the bicep was just big enough, but the armscyes were quite snug. I was able to get away with using a 3/8″ seam allowance on the underarm instead of 5/8″, but only just.

The other assembly that was different for me, due to the sleeve being completely finished before insertion, was having to slipstitch the entire armscye by hand. It wasn’t especially difficult, but I definitely prayed a few times that I was lining it up correctly and not pulling the sleeve up too far from the inside.

For the pants, I knew that charmeuse would not cut it for pockets; it just wouldn’t be sturdy enough. For the pockets I fulfilled my quest to have “secret” birdies as a sort-of signature in clothes I’ve made for myself, by cutting the pockets from this printed cotton that was an amazing match for the colors of the wool!  

birdie pocket bags!

Since I used a lot of time finishing the jacket, I did the pants in a bit of rush. In spite of that, this third pair is my  best fitting. My very patient husband helped me take some awkward measurements, so these pants have room for my tush! As I got to the hem, which was marked as having 1 1/4″ allowed, I could only use 5/8″ – I’m slightly taller than average, and holding the pattern tissue up was apparently not accurate enough (lesson learned), because I didn’t think I needed to lengthen. They look fine, but would be better with the proper hem depth.


The finished suit, a little rumpled after a day or running around, and oddly riding up, which I didn’t notice til now. It didn’t do that in the mirror. Photo courtesy Michelle Matlack.

I do have to say, the pockets in these pants are some of the best I’ve seen in any women’s pants! Deep, with  a good bit of the side stitched so nothing falls out…. I liked them so much I’m hard at work on my next pair. This isn’t the first pattern I’ve wanted to make multiples of, but it is the first I have actually cut out a second of. I’m kind of enjoying making something where I’ve already worked out the fitting issues, and I can just take my time to finish all the insides well;  this new pair will be worn into the ground, LOL. 

Sneak peek: 

sneak peek at V8717 pant, version 2


Never ceases to amaze

5 days in with my lettuce and tomato seeds. Every.single.time it’s magic. Planted on Sunday.


peeking lettuce



getting taller; no tomatoes yet

Saturday (today, after just under a week): 

on the right you can see the first Abe Lincoln tomato seedling