Category Archives: Question of the Day

Barely treading water

With my blog reading that is…  I can’t believe how the sewing blogosphere has exploded over the past year.  Every time I turn around, there’s a new sewing blogger that I want to check out.  I think my google reader has over 250 subscriptions.  I am so behind in reading and making comments, it’s scary.  And to put salt on the wound, I am blocked from commenting on blogs at my day job, so I am forced to choose between blog commenting or sewing in the evenings.  I think you know which one I’m choosing, right?

How do you handle all of your blog reading?



image from

Simple title, simple question.

How do you buy thread?  That’s the question on my mind today.  Do you buy it for each project as you go?  Do you stock up on common colors when a sale comes your way?  Or do you buy a bunch of them in a whole range of colors just in case?

As I mentioned recently when working on my wadder, the problem with having a stash of patterns, fabric, notions, etc., you just assume you have all the makings to make a dress or a skirt at a moment’s notice without needing to run to the fabric store for a zipper or matching thread.  I did. 

As I gather all the stuff I need for my super secret surprise (haha, still can’t resist to torment you guys), I am considering just buying a whole rainbow of thread just so I have it on hand. 

What do you think?  What is the best method for having a thread stash for life’s little spur of the moment sewing needs?


image from

or intimidation?

I can’t tell which it is that I am experiencing right now.  It’s been a week since I finished my coat and I still haven’t started my next project.  Or any project for that matter. 

My first excuse was social engagements, but then the weekend came and I couldn’t get motivated to start anything.  Was I resting after a long project or was I just plain intimidated?  I think I am always most intimidated by a project right before starting it which leads to major procrastination on my part. 

But mama needs some fall/winter clothes and stat!  I really want to make more sheath dresses as I now know that I love wearing dresses and always have apparently.  My quandary with the sheath dress though is: do I make B5147 again since I’ve worked out the fitting issues?  Or do I start the TNT process all over again with a princess seam sheath dress which I suspect will be more flattering?  *sigh*

I also want to make some turtlenecks to wear underneath them.  And let’s not forget that work wardrobe staple, the pencil skirt. 

So, what do you find is the most intimidating part of the sewing process?  Just starting?  Certain difficult design details/skills like welt pockets?  Finishing it up so it doesn’t become a UFO?

Tell me!

Retro Jacket

Once upon a time my dad had a corduroy jacket.  He bought it when he was stationed in Germany in 1967.  It was a dark navy blue, with a mandarin collar, and while  not too fitted, it was slim fitting.  It had front pockets at hips level and it was lined.  At one time, my mom appropriated it from him.  Then I wore it all the time in high school and then my sister wore it too.  It was worn to shreds. 

I loved that jacket.  I would like to recreate it.  The last year and a half, I have looked off and on for a pattern that fit the style details of this jacket but have been fruitless in my searches. First I looked at images on Google images to find something that looked similar.  Never found it.  Then I looked at men’s patterns in all the usual places, the big pattern companies, Simplicity, and New Look.  Couldn’t find anything that worked.  I even called upon the esteemed Peter.  I thought, “Surely he must have a pattern that fits the bill in his stash.”  Actually, it is Peter’s most recent project, the cranberry corduroy suit, that reminded me of my dad’s jacket.  Although Peter had some good ideas how to work around a regular blazer pattern, he did not have a pattern with that mandarin collar I so craved.

And then I remembered Kwik Sew.  The Kwik Sew of the famed Xmas pj’s I made last year.  So I took a gander at both their men’s and women’s jackets.  And lo and behold, there it was.  THE. PATTERN.

Enter Kwik Sew 3438 my friends.  It’s not fitted, yet is still slim fitting.  It’s simple, has the mandarin collar.  My father’s jacket didn’t have rounded jacket corners, but that’s an easy fix.  The pockets had flaps and I think were on the interior, not patch, but again, a simple enough change.  Obviously, I won’t be binding the edges, but I think this may be it!!!

It really closely resembles the jacket in my memory.  Right, Mom???

Question of the day: Do any of you have clothing from your past that you miss and want to recreate some day?  This is one of those projects for me.  Tell me about yours!

Sewing mojo lost — Knitting mojo found

As you all are aware by now, I have no sewing mojo of which to speak.  But my knitting mojo has taken me by storm.  I made the charity hat recently which I strongly suspect as the catalyst for my renewed knitting interest.  Then Robin and I discussed possibilities for my next knitting project.  And while waiting for my yarn to arrive in the mail, I picked up a UFO from last Fall, the Mohair Lace Scarf.

I had just a small portion completed on the scarf when I left it to languish on my sewing notions box for many a month.  I picked it up this weekend when I should have been sewing and am now about 1/3 of the way done.  It would be nice to wear this scarf this winter with my brown winter coat.  I have to admit though that my progress on it has been spotty.  There has been a lot of frogging.  Here’s how it went this weekend: I would knit 8 rows and then have to frog 6 over and over again, making incremental 2 row progress for every hour of knitting.  Sound like fun?  Very frustrating, but I still managed to make noticeable progress. 

Despite my frustrations, I have to admit it is much easier to watch TV while knitting.  I couldn’t possibly sew while watching TV.  In fact, my preferred “background noise” while sewing is my favorite TV show, “La Femme Nikita“, which aired on the USA network in the 90’s.  I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW.  I have the entire series on DVD and have watched it from beginning to end so many times I have lost count how many.  I want to marry Michael.

Roy Dupuis, who plays Michael on LFN

But looking at that picture…  Who wouldn’t?  Ohhh, here’s a picture of him as he looked in the series.

As Michael in LFN

Gets the blood flowing, doesn’t it?

Tell me, do you watch or listen to anything while you sew/knit?  If so, do you have any requirements?  The reason I ask is that I can’t watch new TV shows or movies while I sew because I get too distracted, don’t make any progress and/0r make lots of mistakes.  Watching a show that I know very well and love allows me to have the background noise company without the potential distraction.  I can pick and choose when I pay attention to it and mostly concentrate on my sewing.

If I choose to listen to music, I really don’t have requirements beyond that it can’t be opera.  Don’t get me wrong — I love opera.  I used to sing opera professionally.  But because of my history with it, opera demands my full attention.  It would be like watching a show I haven’t seen before — too much of a distraction.  My favorite music to listen to is Kurt Elling (Jazz), Jeff Buckley (Rock), Jump, Little Children (Rock) and David Sylvian (can’t be categorized).

So tell me all about what media companions (music, tv shows, or movies) you choose to keep company with while sewing, if any.


That’s what I’m now calling unsolicited compliments.  I received one today on my stretch cotton chambray B5147 dress as I was walking home for lunch.  A woman was walking the opposite direction as me and told me, “Great dress!” 

Wow!  I am so pleased right now sitting in my office.  It’s absolutely delightful to get a compliment from a complete stranger.  To date, this is my second unsolicitation.  The first happened a month or two ago as I was walking out of my office.  I was wearing my Christian La Croix skirt and a woman (not the same one) said, “Beautiful skirt!”

So the question of the day is: Have you received any unsolicitations lately?  Tell me all about them!

Is fabric like a boyfriend?

I hope the subject line of this post did not get anyone’s hopes up, because there has been no dating in my world.  As soon as I said that was sticking my toes in the water, I was sidetracked by my sewing.  The charismatic pull of fabric far outstripped the allure of needless drama and anxiety that dating would no doubt induce. 

But back to the topic at hand and the question of the day…

I have put most of the clothes I have made so far into heavy rotation in my work and casual wear wardrobe.  Remember when I wrote about and asked you how our garments wore?  Since that post, I have made a bunch of skirts, and one dress (as you probably suspect, I have not yet finished my second B5147 due to birthday week outings and having a houseguest).  And now I feel I have a little experience under my belt in terms of having used different fabrics.  I’ve worked with various knits, stretch wovens, brocade, cotton pique, chiffon, cotton voile, cotton interlock and ribbing, and am now working with silk twill. 

Which fabric type is my favorite now?  Despite my professed love for knit dresses, it’s not knits.  Can you guess?

My new love is for natural fibers, like cotton, or silk (except for cotton pique, explanation later).  Why?  Because natural fibers don’t lie or cheat on you like some men.   Natural fibers don’t grow larger on you while handling them like middle-aged man.  They don’t get saggy butt syndrome like, you guessed it, a middle-aged man (unless they are cotton pique – more on that later). 

 Remember my first sheath dress (B5147)?  That was made with a stretch cotton chambray.  I’ve worn it twice and it’s stretched out from being a sheath dress to becoming a shift dress.  Ugh!

Remember my black & white zebra I mean bamboo pencil skirt made of cotton pique?  Yeah, well, it’s a little a-line ish now and completely stretched out after 3 or 4 wearings.  Coulda shoulda underlined this puppy!

How about my brown pencil skirt in a stretch suiting fabric?  It has such weird hand that it defies description.  I do not like wearing it that much. 

Now, natural fibers…  They don’t grow larger on you when you’re least expecting it.  They love to be pressed and take a crease like no one’s business.  They may get wrinkled, but you can iron those wrinkles right out.  In short, natural fibers never cheat on you.  They’re the keepers in boyfriend lingo.  Like a good boyfriend or even husband, they’ll go the distance with you and make you look good, even at the end of a long day. 

I don’t want you to think I am turning my back on knits or knit dresses.  They will always have a special place in my heart, being some of my first and most worn garments in my closet.  They’re my first love.  It’s more that my tastes have widened and matured and I recognize the value of a good man, I mean a solid and upstanding fabric.  — A fabric that tells it like it is and doesn’t hide the truth.  — A fabric that makes good on the promise it made to you in the fabric store.  A natural fiber keeper with nary a hint of lycra.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

So what do you think?  What are your favorite fabrics with which to sew?