Month: March 2013


Wow, it is hard to believe that March is over already!  I knew that I hadn’t been posting much, but I didn’t realize just how badly I’d been neglecting my blog.  Yikes.  ^ ^;;  I did get some sewing done this month, but only one thing that I consider to be really fun.

One of the makes was actually a refashion, turning an oversized man’s t-shirt that I found in a thrift store in Austin in January into a shirt that better fit me.  I had to get the shirt, as it featured a dungeon from the game nethack.  (This is some seriously old-school computer gaming here.)  Anyway, while I like black and I like white, I don’t like black and white together on me.  So I hacked the body of the shirt off and used some grey waffle knit that pazzia, one of the kind stashbusters, had sent me.  Thank you, pazzia!!

Before (top) and after (bottom)774643_596051177077691_1080424658_o IMG_3352

The second make was a modified Renfrew.  I saw an oversized knit top with differing length bands in one of the Burda magazines from last fall (sorry, I don’t recall which right now) and thought it looked super comfy.  While we are having some lovely days this March, we are still firmly in the long-sleeved top wearing season.

IMG_3353 IMG_3354

Silly me, though, I just went ahead and added the bands onto my existing Renfrew pattern, again using the waffle knit that pazzia sent me.  I did all of the nice faux twin needle look top-stitching before trying the thing on, just assuming that everything would be fine.  Everything wasn’t fine.  I usually cut my Renfrews a little longer, as I don’t like to have bottom band on them.  This, plus the fact that the waffle knit didn’t stretch as much as I presumed, meant that I ended up with the bands hitting perfectly on the widest section of my hips.  Barely hitting.  *sigh*  I ended up cutting the bands off and hemming into another comfy Renfrew.  Lesson learned: beware the side seam allowance when elongating the Renfrew.

There was another v-neck Renfrew that I made out of some stash fabric; some sort of nubbly, mushroom grey knit.  That catches on anything and everything.  (I had to repair one hole even before I’d sewn the side seams.  I don’t expect this make to last too many seasons.)  Anyway, it’s nothing special, so I’ll save you seeing yet another Renfew hanging on my photo door.

The real fun make of the month was another New Look 6415 A-line skirt, but out of a macaroon printed grey linen from my friend.  She was the one who first made me aware of macaroons, and we ate them together in Tokyo over the summer.  When she got some of this Japanese linen in her shop, I knew I had to have some.  I lined it with scrap green satin that I had from years ago.  And I used a small little bit of Japanese cotton from my stash to line the waistband.  Not only is the skirt nice and simple, it’s so much fun to wear.  I love the splash of color of the lining and the whimsy of the waistband.

IMG_3348 IMG_3351 macaroons

So, pieces of fabric stash busted in these makes: 4.

I have another make on the cutting table and at least one more planned before I head off to Prague later in April.  I didn’t get as much done in March as I planned, but there’s a reason for that.  I’m having a good, hard think about just what I want to make next.  That’s slowing the making process.


How do you store your thread?

Since my sewing room is our guest room, I keep mine in a handy little plastic briefcase that locks closed. The top half has divided sections in which I keep my thread separated by color family. The bottom is more shallow, where I keep my books of needles, hooks and eyes, snaps, etc. All of those pesky little notions that I don’t know where else to put. My serger cones live in plastic gallon zip bags in a red IKEA rolling cart in the room.


I took a photo of my thread because I liked the colors. Only now, while really looking at it, do I realize that I have a lot of red and pink thread! I have at least nine spools of red/pink thread. And exactly zero articles of red/pink clothing in my closet/drawers. Hmmm…

Well, time to extend the stashbusting to some of this thread. New cache of basting thread found!

Sewing for the summer that never comes

Or, my end of February stashbusting round-up.  (Only a few days late.)

And really, summer does come to Portland.  It just takes its sweet time getting here.  We often joke about June-uary here.  Joke, as in, we have to laugh or we’ll go crazy because we haven’t seen the sun since October.  No, summer usually arrives right after the Rose Parade.

Anyway, after my Rio girls make, I was totally in the summer knits, blue & white sewing zone.  And since my machine was threaded with navy thread and a knit needle, why not whip out a few more things that I won’t be able to wear for at least 3 more months.  Right?  (Does anyone else do this?  Please tell me I’m not alone in my crazy out-of-season sewing fits.) I think I now have more summer tops than days of summer to wear them in. Well, maybe not really, but close.

I subscribe to the Burda Style magazine, and had seen a knit top (#136A) in the November 2012 issue that I wanted to try. Luckily, I had just enough of the Rio girls fabric left to test it out. With Burda patterns, it’s always a bit of a challenge, as my measurements straddle the normal and plus size range. I took a gamble while tracing the pattern and just added a 1″ seam allowance to the largest normal size. (I’m well within bust clearance, but waist/hips are iffy.) I figured it was a knit, so it would probably be pretty forgiving.

It turned out to be just fine. (And will be even better when the exercise program I’ve been on starts showing some results.) I sewed the shoulder and side seams on my serger, then tried it on to check the fit. Hubby’s first reaction was, “The sleeves are too big.” Yes, the sleeves on this pattern are generous, to say the least. It is definitely one to wear with a camisole underneath. (Or just a really nice bra, if that’s the way you like to roll.)

(And, yeah, I’m having body image issues this week, so no on a live model photos this time. Boring hanger photos will have to do.)

So, rummaging in the stash I found a couple of pieces of thin, super stretchy jersey; neither one more than 7/8 yard. I cut the Burda pattern out of one, then cut the other into a Butterick 4737 that I’ve had success with. With both of these pieces, I was driven crazy by their ability to find little imperfections in my hands that I didn’t know I had. This stuff would catch on thoughts of hangnails. Anyway…

Top, the Burda 11/2012 #136A; bottom, the Butterick 4737

And yes, you’ll notice that the navy and white theme has continued. I do joke that pattern is going to be my mid-life crisis. I think it’s really no longer a joke. I have more patterned (and I include stripes in the pattern category) garments in my closet now than I have had my entire life. Well, maybe since I was 10. I don’t really remember much of my wardrobe before then.

And lastly, a New Look 6415 skirt.


I think this has become my TNT short A-line skirt pattern. I have another one on my cutting table as I type: a grey linen with colorful macaron print. (Given to me by my dear friend from her fabulous store of Japanese fabrics.) Lined in lime green, of course. 🙂 Anyway, the black cotton pinstripe fabric has been in my stash since before I moved from Texas, so at least 6 years old. And it is actually one of the pieces I posted on my list of fabrics to stashbust. I LOVE this fabric! Besides the pinstripes in a grey, there is brown embroidery and grey flannel flowers stitched on. Thanks to the 9 months of not-summer that we do have in Portland, I foresee getting a lot of use out of this skirt.

Stashbusting goal: use 16 pieces of stash fabric in 2013
Stashbusting progress: 9 pieces stashbusted! (Although one of those pieces produced two tops, I’m only counting it once.)

Now, back to the sewing room to whip out some curtains for our basement. Sadly, not from the stash.

Happy sewing and stashbusting everyone!