Monthly Archives: April 2010


In fact I am so frustrated that I am forced to eat my son’s easter basket candy to alleviate some of the negative feelings I am experiencing at this moment. 

So fresh off the euphoria of my recent border print dress and basking in the glow of Thor’s urbanized camp shirt, I thought I had this sewing thing in the bag!  I was getting all proud of myself and a little cocky to boot.

Well folks, I have plummeted down to earth.  My wax wings melted.  I am confounded with this mysterious ritual of which you more experienced sewists speak of with such nonchalance and ease, PATTERN ALTERATIONS. You all bandy about terms like “lengthen the bodice”, “slash and spread”, and “FBAs” like they’re just slicing up a pie and serving it.  Well, I’m here to tell you I am absolutely gob-smacked and mystified. 

I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I am not “an out of the envelope” kind of gal.  Not because I am being difficult and think I”m special.  No, no, no!  I’m just a little lumpy and when you’re lumpy like me, you need to adjust for the occasional lump.  I’ve started to work out more lately, but let’s be honest here — we all know how long it takes to lose weight.  I want to sew now.  I want to wear clothes now.  I have to figure out this whole fitting and adjusting the pattern thing.  PRONTO.

I was going to cut out my good fabric tonight.  But what am I doing instead?  I am spending hours searching the interwebs for tutorials.  Oh, I’ve found tons of tutorials, but none of them answer my specific questions.  Liesl has a great one, but her tute didn’t quite address my particular problem.  I asked my question on and got a quick response and link to this very dress and the very change I want to make from Michelle, but of course, I still have questions.  As a matter of fact, I am hoping she’ll answer my questions real soon.   😉

Ok, I just got off the phone with Thea.  She talked me off the roof.  Oh and Michelle replied to me again at PatternReview, so I am done ranting this evening.  It’s late and I have to get to bed now.  It took me 3 hours to find what I needed to know (don’t worry, I will share later), and now I have to put it aside for another evening. 

Tomorrow is another day. 

I bid you happy pattern alterations.


Kwik Sew 3146 Pattern Review

It’s finally finished!!!  Thor’s camp shirt.  I just posted the review at  Here it is with a few more pictures… 

Thor, God of Thunder, in his new camp shirt


Pattern Description:  Toddlers’ shirts have collar with collar stand, yoke, front placket with button closure, and shirt-tail hemline.  View A has long sleeves with buttoned cuffs and breast pocket.  View B has short sleeves and breast pocket.  View C has western-style yokes, long sleeves with buttoned cuffs, and front pockets with buttoned flaps.  I made view B. 

Pattern Sizing:  T1-T4 — I made a T2 for my nephew Thor; he just turned two.  It’s a little big on him, but I think that’s fine for this kind of shirt and he’s got room to grow. 

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 instructions were very easy to follow. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?   

LIKES: I thought the collar/stand instructions were great and made for a great looking collar.  I am really proud of my first collar and stand!!!  

my FIRST collar with stand!


Even David Coffin thought so.  Really!  We’re FB friends and when I posted a picture of the collar and stand he commented, “Nice collar.”  I was blown away!  In my shirtmaking research I did read David Coffin’s book on shirtmaking from cover to cover.  I thought it was fantastic and it definitely helped me with this project.  The Kwik Sew method for making a clean finish on the yoke was also great.  

DISLIKES: I didn’t like the tiny seam allowances which did not allow for flat felled seams at all.  1/4 inch SA’s???  You can’t even serge them to finish them off.  I accidentally serged off part of one of the sleeves.  It was minor and I was able to fix it, but it could have been a disaster.  I ended up overcasting with my sewing machine to patch some sections. 

Fabric Used:  I bought what I thought was a plain cotton gingham fabric, but when I got it home, I noticed it had some stretch.  I just assumed it was 100% cotton because why would anyone add lycra to gingham shirting?  I just don’t understand it.  However, it didn’t really affect anything with the making of the shirt.  Because of the regularity of the print/weave of the fabric, I cut all the pattern pieces in a single layer to match up the print as much as possible.  While they were cut precisely to match, it was a little difficult to maintain the matching of the gingham at the machine.  I think it will take much more practice and maybe the use of my walking foot, but I’ll get there.  This was my first time really trying to match such a pattern. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I didn’t make any real alterations, but I did change construction order and used some different techniques.  

I did not interface the pocket as I didn’t think it was necessary.  The instructions would have you hem the shirt before you sew the side seams, but I think that’s crazy.  I waited until after I had sewn them.  I guess I’m no longer a beginner now if I am disagreeing with pattern instructions!  On the other hand, the instructions also have you sew up the sleeves before you hem them, but it’s really hard to hem tiny little sleeves.  I didn’t think of this before I sewed them up, so I was forced to hem them after they were sewn.  But if I had sewn up the T1 size, I don’t think I could have hemmed the sleeves on the machine; I would have had to sew them by hand.  Another change I made to the pattern was to use pearl snaps instead of buttons.  I just thought it was a neater look and more child friendly.  I loved it.  And an embellishment I added was to use freezer paper stencil (tutorial here) to create a red thunderbolt on the back of the shirt for a more urban feel.  Thor’s name means God of Thunder, so it was very a propos and he loved it. 

painting over the freezer paper stencil I cut


finished thunderbolt (three paint layers)


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely make it again, but next time, I will add more to the seam allowances so I can make flat felled seams.  Why not?  You’ve already gone to the trouble to make a real collar and stand.  Why wouldn’t you also want flat felled seams as well?  Also next time, I will only interface half the placket as I felt it was too stiff after all the layers are sewn together.  It could have been that my interfacing was too stiff, but I still think halving the interfacing would be better.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even beginners, as long as they take their time and really understand the directions. 

Conclusion:  I love this pattern.  I think it makes a great and professional looking shirt due to the great collar/stand and yoke instructions.  


In other sewing news, I just muslined the bodice for Vogue’s DVF wrap dress knockoff, 8379.  I will start cutting out the real fabric tomorrow.  Wish me luck please.

Happy sewing everyone!

When do you sew?

That’s the question of the day folks.  When do you sew?  I have arranged my life so that I could, if I wanted to, sew every evening after my son goes to bed.  I am very lucky now that I live so close to work, only 2 blocks away.  So I can grocery shop at lunch and be home cooking dinner by 5:45pm.  I can spend time with Jack before we start the bed time wind down and he’s in bed by 8pm the latest.  So the entire evening stretches in front of me.  That’s how I was able to sew my last dress in one evening (prepping the pattern and cutting the fabric aside).  I’ve also, since having a child, changed what kind of sleep person I am.  I used to be a morning person, waking up naturally around 6am every day, even on the weekends, and barely able to keep my eyes open past 10pm.  But now I am a night person, rarely going to bed before 11pm, and more often later than that.  Jack used to wake up at 4:30am every day, so I was a zombie and very cranky for a long time, but (knock on wood) now he regularly sleeps until 7am.  So even if I don’t get to bed until midnight or 1am, I am still getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night.  Truth be told, I go to sleep earlier on the weekend since it’s important for me to be well rested when I am home with Jack.  I don’t want him growing up thinking I’m grumpy all the time.   😉

So, now that I have described my awesome potential sewing schedule, have I sewn since last Thursday night?  Not really.  Although I did hem Thor’s shirt sleeves and the bottom of the shirt on Tuesday night.  I still have to pound the snaps on and do the extra thingy that I can’t tell you about yet (sorry, can’t spoil the surprise).  Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow as I am off from work.  And then I can give the shirt to Thor at Easter!  Sounds like a plan.

Now back to incorporating sewing into your life.  I know Cidell is finding a hard time of late fitting it into her life and is chafing at the bit.  Carolyn has always been a weekend sewer since her commute is so hellacious.  But why don’t I sew every night when I can sew every night.  After my sewing marathon on Thursday night, I was so tired, that I needed a few nights to recover.  And then the few nights turned into a week (not including hemming Thor’s shirt).  Maybe your sewing mojo needs to recharge.  I thought that it would catch on fire, but maybe it just fizzled out. 

Whatever the case was, I have not much to show this week.  But I am proud that after a year dedicated to learning to sew, I have worked out a successful schedule that includes all the different yet equally important parts of me: Mother, Worker Bee, and Creative Person.  I am really happy right now.  I just realized it the other day.  I had been thinking about my schedule and how it really works for me and Jack.  — that I am starting to make some really great stuff, and I came to the conclusion that I am happy and satisfied.  How often can one say that?

Anyway, sewing is my hobby, not my job, so if I feel like it, I can sew.  If I don’t feel like it, I can do something else.  And I have the time to do both.  I am a very lucky person.

So, now it’s your turn.  How do you manage to incorporate sewing into your life?

Happy sewing everyone.