Category Archives: Sewing

Patience is a four letter word

When I was born I was gifted with a voice and pretty much nothing else.  I can be heard far and wide and I can sing.  That’s about it.  I don’t know who handed out the virtues, but I received not one of them.  Patience?  I don’t even know the meaning of the word. 

I am done with the first batch of my super secret surprise (do you guys hate me yet with all this secret stuff?) and will find out tomorrow how it is received.  And I am soooooo ready to start on my next project, the double-knit dress.  I haven’t had a chance yet to raid my pattern stash to see if I already have a suitable pattern yet.  I’m sure I do, but I haven’t had a moment to spare (because of the super secret surprise, bwah hahahaha.  I am truly evil now.). 

Right now, I am waiting.  Not patiently waiting mind you, but impatiently waiting.  I’m tapping my foot.  I am beside myself with wondering if my patterns will arrive soon from ButtMcVogue.  Will my stretch tricot lining arrive early next week from  Will I be able to work on the double-knit dress at all this weekend?

My only solace right now is the knowledge that I am taking a young sewing acolyte friend to the garment district this weekend.  A co-worker of mine is dipping her toes into the world of sewing and needs some notions for her current project.  I am slowly trying to convert all those around me into sewing.  So far, I’ve only ensnared two people.  But I am working on it.  Oh yes, I surely am. 

So as I wait for the postman, what are you working on?

Which reminds me, did you ever see the old movie, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”? 

Did you know that there’s an opera based on it (by Stephen Paulus)?  I sang one of the scenes from the opera once during my masters program.  Very cool stuff.


This Saturday is the start of my evil plan to take over the world sewing one stitch at a time.  After that I am taking a much deserved break from the secret super surprise and before I start making my kids pj’s for Xmas.  I am going to make something for me, Me, MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


As I mentioned before, I am jonesing to make something from my small doubleknit collection.  Maybe the grey with some black accents.  Or black and red.  I haven’t had a chance to look through my hefty pattern collection yet, but I perused the selection at ButtMcVogue.  I would have liked to search by fabric type, but that kind of search option is not available on their sites.  Um, ButtMcVogue, it would be great if your search mechanism was a bit more robust please.  I settled, instead to look at all the dress offerings and then looking at what fabrics were suggested for each.  I wanted a slightly fitted dress to take advantage of the stretch of the doubleknit, but nothing too skin tight.  I don’t want to be asked again when my baby is due like I was asked this past weekend.  Can you believe it????  I was so pissed and then so depressed about it.  Where’s a white chocolate bar when you most need it?  Needless to say, I have been back to running.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing like someone saying you look so fat you might be pregnant to motivate you.

There was a sale at ButtMcVogue this past week, so I picked up a few patterns…

Butterick 5559

Remember how I saw someone at work wearing this exact dress???? 

Vogue 8409

Love this dress but may be a little low cut for work. 

Vogue 8666

I love how with this one you can use two different colors.  I wonder how I would color block if I use the view with the sleeves.  Keep the sleeves the main color or the accent color.  What do you think?

I have to look at what I already own too that would work well for double knits.  I’m sure I have at least 5 or 6 patterns from which to choose.

I can’t wait to sew for me!

Do you have any favorite patterns for doubleknits?


I have been sewing and sewing my friends.  Sewing my little heart out on my super secret surprise.  It’s taking a surprisingly long time to finish my little surprises.  There have been unanticipated hiccups, longer than anticipated processes and constant tinkerings.  The old adage to test your stitches on each new fabric has proven itself over and over again. 

While I am pleased to be working on my super secret surprise, I am missing my dressmaking.  I am missing working on something for me to wear.  After my recent realization that I am getting fat and crabby sassy, I thought I would be thankful for the break from sewing for myself and my TNT resistant body. 

But I must be more “selfish” than I thought because I miss sewing something for myself.  Although I love the holiday season, I almost can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to making dresses and skirts. 


Jack and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our family and my best friend Cayce.  Yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree.  Jack was extremely helpful; I loved seeing him have a strong opinion as to where each ornament should be placed.  He seemed to favor the cluster style…

Happy sewing everyone!

Learning Curve

Lately I’ve been thinking about my sewing learning curve.  In some ways I feel I’ve come far and fast (I’ve sewn two coats, sewn a little boy’s shirt complete with collar and stand, and have found and fitted one TNT to name a few of the things).  But in others I feel so dreadfully behind, like fabric selection. 

There are a few fabric pieces in my stash that I just have no idea what I would make with them.  They’re beautiful, but just completely overwhelming because of their individual characteristics that either make them hard to sew and or just plain hard to figure out what I would sew them into.  They came into my stash based purely on their beauty with no other consideration going into the purchase decision.  See the lovely lavendar silk below?  I bought it at the PR weekend in Philly this past May.  It’s the most unique weave that ravels at the slightest touch.  I have no idea what to make with it or how to sew it so it will stay together.  It’s like a silk linen with a stiff hand.  It seems like it’s silk yarns woven with cotton threads.  That’s the only way I can describe.  I can’t imagine that just stitching it together would hold up at all.  but it is beautiful….

PS Fabric Outlet silk linen and matching trim

Recently, I bought a collection of doubleknits in a wide array of colors, but I am hesitant to use them.  I don’t know if I will look good in a double knit as I have such a lumpy body now.  Doubleknit fabrics might show off all my lumps and be to0 figure hugging for my comfort level. 

T to B: RL Wool, silk charmeuse lining, red d-knit, black d-knit, interfacing

And then there’s the moving target that is my body, constantly changing on me.  I don’t understand how anyone can have a dress form when our bodies change so much all the time.  I’d probably spend more time changing the padding on the dressform than actually sewing.  *sigh*

Nancy K wrote an interesting post about learning to sew recently and how she likes to help out on PatternReview answering newbie questions.  I was once like those people.  Wanting all the knowledge right away, not having the patience to learn from my own mistakes which is how most people learn.  I remember pestering Carolyn and Karen with questions all the time until I found my teacher Thea.  They were very patient with me but still managed to show me that I would have to learn through trial and error,  that being the best method to learn anything.  Not because they were withholding information, but for the very practical reason that they weren’t in the room with me handling the fabric.  Each fabric is unique.  Even if it’s 100% cotton, the weave, the weight of the fabric is different from bolt to bolt.  Every fabric handles differently and requires different sewing techniques.  There’s no way to teach fabric hand over the phone or in an email.  It’s a skill and hard-earned knowledge learned over time (a lot of it) and with many different fabrics passing through your hands and under the needle. 

Sometimes I feel sad that I came to sewing so late in life and despair of ever accumulating the fabric knowledge which I so covet.  But that doesn’t deter me from continuing on the learning curve. 

I think the best advice I can give to a beginning sewist who’s just starting out is this, practice, practice, practice.  It is only through doing the act of sewing that one learns how to sew.  There is a knowledge gained through doing, that no amount of reading or asking advice can give you.  There is no substitute for manipulating the fabric yourself.  The pattern instructions that flummoxed me when I first started sewing two years ago seem so simple now.  Yes, it’s confusing in the beginning, but it gets better.  It gets easier.  The really hard thing to learn and most valuable to have is fabric knowledge.   But that, I think, takes a lifetime and you probably never stop learning. 

I wish you much fabric knowledge and joy in the learning process.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. friends!

Flushed with pride

Last night my friends I received an unsolicitation.  You know, an unsolicited compliment. 

I had an appointment at a tony 5th Avenue hair salon.  When I stopped at the front desk to check in, the girl behind the desk said, “I love your coat!  That color looks great on you!”

You know which coat she was talking about right?  My Simplicity 2311 of course.

Needless to say I was pretty happy to hear that.  I graciously thanked her and flushed with pride.  I did not find it necessary to say that I made it myself.  It was enough to know that a fashionable and gorgeous twenty-something thought my coat was stylish and beautiful. 

How awesome is that?  I think I can ride the wave of that compliment for at least a few days, don’t you think?  😉  

Happy sewing everyone!

Sneak Peek: Super secret project

I know, I know.  I’m being very mean to keep teasing you, but I just can’t help myself!  😉 

Here’s a sneak peek at my latest project.  I received my fabric last night from and it was just perfect.  Super soft and cozy.  I pre-treated the fabric and started the production line, my own personal sweat shop, last night. 

I am pretty excited!!!!  More details soon, I promise.

Wish me luck!

Quick and easy they said

So after my last wadder and an unsuccessful experiment (I’ll tell you about this one later), I decided to do something for me that was quick and easy.  Everyone one who commented on my tweed travesty suggested that I cleanse my palate with a quick and easy project.  I thought, “Elizabeth, why don’t you make that Burda turtleneck everyone has been raving about on the interwebs!” 


Burda 9-2010-121

I traced it out on Sunday night and would have sewn it too, but for two obstacles. 

  1. It took me forever to trace it out because I couldn’t see the pattern lines on the new Burda pattern sheet.  I even put on my big girl panties and my reading glasses and still could barely make out my three pattern pieces, much less their markings/notches.  Sheesh!  You guys weren’t lying.  I don’t know if I want to put myself through that again.  What if I want to make a more complicated project with lots of markings?  I would for sure miss most of them.  It’s darn near impossible to see all of them.  I have been considering giving up my subscription since I don’t make up a lot of Burda patterns (oh, let’s face it, I’m so slow, I don’t make up a lot of patterns.  Period.), but now I”m definitely not re-upping.  Burda has entered crazy town.  But I digress…
  2. The new show Walking Dead was on and I was too distracted by zombies to sew that night.  Word.

However, last night was a new night and I did several things that ensured this top would end up a wadder. 

  1. I just picked a random vanity size, sz 38.  Because that’s what Karen made, so that’s what I made.  Must. remind. myself. that. I. am. a. Burda. sz. 40. Repeat.
  2. I did not wear my reading glasses and therefore did not realize I was sewing the shirt with the wrong side facing out.
  3. I forgot to stabilize the shoulders.
  4. I tapered the sleeves at the wrist like Eugenia, forgetting that my wrists aren’t fairy-like.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  5. I forgot that I don’t like turtlenecks.  To be fair to myself, I didn’t actually forget as much as ignore.  Karen had mentioned that this top wasn’t a true turtleneck since the neck is cut on and not separate.  I thought that meant I would like it better than a turtleneck.  But combine a quasi-turtleneck neck with too tight of a fit and it’s the perfect storm for Elizabeth to hate it.  I hate having my neck covered and don’t like any fabric to rest on my clavicles ever.  Which is why all my t-shirts have misshapen necklines now, because I tug and pull at them to get them off my neckline and clavicles.

The good news though, is now my sister has a brand new brown bamboo knit turtleneck!  I’m sure she’ll like it because she has none of the neck issues I have and she’s a lot thinner than I am.  And hopefully she won’t read this post and find out the fabric’s inside out.  😉  

I’m not going to bother with a review since my viewpoint is all personal about the pattern rather than objective.  In general, it’s a good pattern.  It’s drafted as well as it can be with a cut on collar (i.e., it’s not going to look fantastic because that causes wrinkling at the neck no matter how perfect the fit for you).  Just know that the sleeves are incredibly long while also being extremely slim fitting.  If I were to make this again, I would widen the sleeves in the bicep area and shorten the sleeves by 2 inches.  Oh what the heck, I guess I will review it on PatternReview anyway later tonight.

What’s next on the plate?  Well, I am expecting a shipment from today with, hopefully, better and softer fabric for my surprise.  Sorry to keep you in the dark still; I am not ready to talk about it yet.  And by the time I can, it will probably be a major let down for you all (it not being a book deal and all).  😉 

We’ll see….   Here’s to wadder-free sewing for you all!