While I was writing the earbud post, I realized I never wrote about the headphone covers. I think I put them up on IG, it was a super quick thing that held up a lot better than I expected it would. And they are still rocking, 8 months later. I never knew I needed leopard headphone covers; they always make me smile when I see them. They make other people smile, too. 

But how much stress do you put on the covers of your earphones? The original foam covers were getting shredded around the edges but not falling off. I did use the originals for a pattern, but they were so stretched out, they were little use.

The key is to cut that center hole a little smaller than the thing it's going around. The second is to test your zig zag stitch on a sample before you commit to the actual piece. You will blow a couple of these testing this out. It is just part... [read more]

Two things, well three really, came together into today's project. First, the Sewcialists are hosting a mini-challenge right now focusing on easy tees, the #SewcialistsTNTee. Second, I checked out CreativeBug via a local library, and found that the 100 Acts of Sewing Shirt No. 1 was a featured class and pattern. Lastly, I had a small piece of wool blend suiting that I thrifted ages ago that jumped out at me as the perfect fit for this pattern -- I've been wanting to use it for ages but could never find the right small yardage pattern, until now.

This is a simple boxy top, but I've always liked the way it fits on the versions I've seen people make, so when I saw it on CreativeBug I knew I'd have to give it a try. I traced off size M, grading to L at the hips. It is just one piece, the same for front and back. I laid it out on my small 1 metre of fabric, and... [read more]

All too often, textiles of the world are something we see only in pictures, they are not physical things forming part of our daily lives. For a long time, that was the case with me and the textiles of India: even as I studied textile history, even as I married an Indian, I rarely encountered the textile output of that nation’s rich cultural heritage outside occasional museum exhibits or peeks inside sari shops. It remained something only read about in books, something that perhaps only existed in the past tense.

Dress made of white jamdani cotton fabric with black abstract design down the front

All this changed when I first visited India. What I had previously seen only in books sprang vividly to life. In India, textile traditions are still a living thing and a part of daily life for the millions of people producing and purchasing handicrafts of all kinds. I also found a kindred spirit there: Manisha, my sister-in-law.... [read more]

I’ve noticed some businesses and retailers advocating for a greener lifestyle, not all of them, and perhaps not even enough, but many are interested in passing on a greener earth to the next generation.  It is also up to us as individuals to bring about this change. For a start, this Black Friday why not… Continue reading Make your Black Friday a GREEN FRIDAY!
 Happy 😊 day and blessings in your language. This video message is for all of you!!I am so very appreciative of all the “why’s” you fill for me. I am thankful for all the support, the trust and the fun you bring to my world.Have a great day and tell somebody you love them!!Andrea.#thanksgiving2020

We’re halfway through our midi challenge, but it’s not too late to join in. The beauty of a knit tee shirt is how quickly they come together.

Perhaps you want more ease in your life. Perhaps a basic tee isn’t for you. Today, we’re showing you some inspiration from the dropped shoulder, dolman, and boxy tee side.

Gallery image of six T-shirt patterns: A woman with long, brow curly hair wears a red T-shirt with above-the-elbow sleeves; a mannequin wears a loose T-shirt with oversized sleeves in black-and-white stripes; a woman with mid-length brown curly hair wears a long-sleeved crop top in pink and black capri pants; a woman with long blond hair wears a blue and white polka-dotted T-shirt and black leggings; image of a pattern package with variations on a T-shirt; two women stand in front of the camera, one wears a brown and white striped three-quarter sleeve T-shirt and black pants; the other wears a long-sleeved white T-shirt and jeans.

L to Right:

First Row

The Dream Tee, Amelia Lane Designs. This dolman tee runs from size 00 to 34. This is a T-shirt offering from a BIPOC designer. The pattern has two necklines and three sleeve options for versatility.

Tyra Tee, Just Patterns. Size range 34 to 46 was developed for a B/C cup size, and size range 46 to 56 for a DD cup size.

Inari Tee, Named Clothing. This boxy cropped top is available in a wider range of sizes EUR 32 to 56 | US 0 to 24. Details include a sporty neckband, long... [read more]

Exercising during a pandemic continues to be a challenge for me. 

My gym is now open, but has such limited hours, you have to sign up in advance, and you must wear a mask and social distance. I just can't see doing an intense HIIT workout on a spin bike wearing a mask... I'm breathless just thinking about it. Further, the thought of being indoors in AC with potential symptomless virus carriers exchanging molecules of air... icky. 

I am eternally jealous of everyone who has the funds and space for a home gym! I have managed to secure a few random dumbells by watching Dick's Sporting Goods websites and driving hours out of my way, but it is a far cry from satisfying my workout needs. 

So... back to running. Theoretically, one can run in any weather, at any time. I happen to live right across the street from a lovely asphalt paved 2.5 mile loop (with... [read more]

I've been busy with some holiday sewing so no projects to share this week -- that would spoil the surprise for any of my gift recipients reading this! 

So I thought I'd share some fun links to interesting things I've been watching lately. 

My local Garment Guild is meeting virtually this year, and this month we were really honoured to have the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, join us on our Zoom meeting. She's not only an amazingly accomplished woman and a government official, she loves to sew. It was great talking to her and hearing some of her stories, and seeing some of her favourite fabrics! 

There was a news spot on her a couple of years ago, and I think it shows her passion for sewing clearly. Hope you enjoy it too. 

And just this morning I saw that The Queen's Gambit is now the most watched Netflix scripted show ever. I can... [read more]

This dress was born from a desire for more dresses which would work worn with dark tights and boots. I've got a good number of summery dresses which get a lot of wear during bare legs season but so often throughout winter feel a bit of a mess just through need to be warm and comfortable. Sometimes I feel like I've focused so hard on sewing practical garments I need and will get a lot of wear out of that my wardrobe has become rather boring, particularly in winter! Does anyone else feel the same?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Victory Patterns shirred Sofia Dress in Hana Viscose Twill from Fabric Godmother

The Sofia Dress from Victory Patterns grabbed my attention on Instagram as soon as it was released. I loved the shape of it, particularly those gorgeous sleeves and was also lured in by the challenge of trying a new sewing technique - shirring. I must admit I almost didn't buy this pattern and instead used the By Hand London tutorial for creating a shirred dress... [read more]

After the success of James’s pandemic trousers (he’s barely taken them off since I gave them to him!), I decided that I needed some elastic-waisted joys of my own to wear while working from home (and relaxing from home, and eating from home, and socialising from home, and everything else from home!). And then I realised that I actually already had a casual woven trouser pattern (complete with separate drawstring waistband!) that I had printed onto A0 a few years back and never sewn – Seamwork Moji!

Moji has been a popular pattern as far as I can tell, but Seamwork recently released a near-identical pattern in the form of Witt, which is frankly really shady as far as I can tell since they’re basically admitting there were fit errors in Moji but without allowing folks who purchased it to get the fix for free… Since I have a membership I could download... [read more]

My family enjoyed watching the NBC show Making it. We watched Amber Kemp-Grestel  and enjoyed her progression through the series. Little Miss loved her hair and loved seeing someone who looks like her. When I saw that Amber had a new fabric collection with Riley Blake Designs, I was excited to be a part for the blog tour hoping to surprise Little Miss with Mama and Me outfits.

I chose: Girl Power Put Your Hands Up, Multi

and Girl Power Put Your Hands Up, Pink

When the fabric arrived, I excitedly shared the prints with Little Miss and we began to plan our outfits. Little Man entered the room and was immediately drawn to the Hands Up, Multi fabric. He is usually indifferent and stunned me when he asked for a project for himself. Little Miss sweetly smiled and told him he may want to reconsider because the collection is called "Girl Power".... [read more]
Black and white photo of a thin, bare-chested man sitting on the ground and spinning
Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn on a charka. Image from public domain.

Hi Sewcialists!

This is a post written as part of the series “Textiles of the World”, which aims to explore some of the history and stories of textiles worldwide so we can learn more about them together and increase our appreciation for the places and hands they come from.

Today, I’d like to tell you about Khadi. Khadi, which simply refers to a handspun and handwoven textile from a natural fiber, is one of the many Indian textiles. While khadi often refers to cotton, you’ll also find khadi wool and khadi silk. Traditionally, it makes NO USE of any external power for the machinery that creates it—definitely eco friendly! 

Process of creating khadi from spinning to woven cloth at a weaving cooperative in Kala Dera, Rajasthan.
Video by the Victoria & Albert Museum

Growing up in an... [read more]

 I finally completed the Sinclair Nova Ragland Sweatshirt!!! This normally would not take so long. Too many things have been going on recently and sewjo comes and goes. I only needed to add the bottom bands and sleeve cuffs; I just finished this about 1/2 hour ago.

Here are two pics of the completed top hanging.  I hope to wear this Tuesday when DH has another doctor's appointment. I will take pics of me wearing and provide more details.  I had quite a few adjustments to make and realized that the best fit for me with Sinclair petite patterns are size 12/14.

I do love that I was finally able to use the printed fabric as it has been in the stash for a while.

More later!

The Rarest Blue / Baruch Sterman & Judy Taubes Sterman
Guildford, CT: Lyons Press, c2012
305 p.

This book is a mix of ancient history tracing the path of Murex dyes across the centuries, a scientific treatise of dye and colour perception, and specific tiny points of Jewish law and history. It works, to a point.

It looks at the search for tekhelet, a specific sky blue dye that is required in Jewish law to dye threads to attach to one's prayer shawl. Sterman goes into what the dye was, why it was important to Hasidic Jews, how it was made in ancient days (discovered by the Minoans, traded by Phoenicians, worn by Roman elites, used in Jewish religious tradition), and the effort by Hasidic rabbis over the last two centuries to recover the secrets of how this dye was made. 

The search for how Murex dyeing works was fascinating, even though it's also... [read more]

Yes! A cape! I know, I know. When I told my husband I was making a cape, the first thing he said was, “like a superhero cape?”. Understandably, I suppose. I didn’t really know what to come back with apart from, “well, it’s called the…umm… “Harry” cape – like, umm, well… the boy wizard Harry Potter, …I guess?” To which he rolled his eyes and sniggered. “Or”, I followed up, “maybe it’s what Prince Harry wears when he ventures out amongst the civilians in LA. You know… more of a regal thing?”. Frankly, I have no idea, but since it’s from the “I AM Magic collection” along with my floaty Irma dress, I guess the former is more likely.

I’m not a cosplayer, nor a vintage gal, and so, although I often admire capes on other people, I always fear they’ll turn out a bit Robin Hood on me, if I’m honest. I’ve almost bit the bullet a few times... [read more]


#Cindybratake2 The Challenge was to find a leopard print that was not the brown tones we know it to be, after all I had that in my stash already. I wanted to mix it up and find  leopard print that was bolder in color and not the usual. I searched high and low online for a knit in a fun color. I then when back to all my containers of fabric and struck gold! I had just about 2 yards of the green blue leopard print in a knit. Don't even ask me where I got it from or how long I've had it, your guess is as good as mine. I rarely use knits so I must have bought this because of the odd color.

I knew I wanted to use the bra pattern from my previous post to create a dress for Mori and I just picked the first simple skirt pattern to use for he bottom. This skirt pattern is a little on the short side so if you have it in your pattern stash be mindful of... [read more]

Trousers – those most important of items in my wardrobe, all year round! I have two pairs of linen Teddy Designer Pants (Style Arc) and wear them constantly in the summer – so it makes sense to have a winter pair as well, right? When we were in London last month, I bought 3m of black cotton twill from a little fabric shop on the Seven Sister’s Road in Holloway. I could have bought so much more, but we squeezed in 2 minutes before closing time and I had to make a quick decision!! I must remember to go back there when we visit the girls again, I know I will buy more, he had lovely linen for the summer!

teddy 1

I went with 3m, because my late mother in law always said “If in doubt, and you can afford it, always buy 3m!” Wise words, people, wise words. I knew I wanted trousers, just wasn’t 100% sure which patterns I’d use, but I did already have an idea that the Teddy... [read more]

All cut out and ready to get sewn a month ago. I just finished the last one yesterday.
Things got busy!

 I make a lot of tshirts off the same pattern. I traced it off a t shirt that fit me, and have refined it from there.
And I cut out a batch of them on one evening.
Trying to grain up the fabric and get the biggest leftover piece for the collar (upper left corner of fabric here), meant I cut the sleeves on the fold (bottoms folded up equally) and let the leftover space between them determine their length (at bottom of photo). I had to piece the collar, which didn't really show.

Cutting down an XXL shirt for myself, here estimating where the logo will go. 
I am short, and I love logo shirts, so I do a lot of this.

Another tshirt, this one in black bamboo, same layout as first shirt.

This shirt was not touched. Yes, we date back to when Excel was... [read more]

I've made two versions of this dress (so far), and it's based on the Cotton and Chalk Rosie dress pattern, which I got free with Simply Sewing magazine a few years ago.  



I really liked View A (View B is sleeveless), and you can see from the line drawing below that it has a centre front seam (the buttons on the blue dress are not functioning), and the bust is shaped with gathers at the shoulder and under the bust.  On the pattern envelope the neckline looks like it's slightly curved, similar to a sweetheart neckline, but it is a V neckline on the line drawing.  The midriff yoke is only on the front,  the back is shaped with darts, and it closes with a centre back zip.


I wanted to change a few details, so drafted the bodice from my block.  I added a functioning button placket at the centre front, did a slightly curved sweetheart neckline, and extended the... [read more]

Today is the final day of the "official" Literary Sewing Circle for the fall of 2020. However, I know that quite a few people had delays in getting their hands on the book this time around, so please know that you can still read the book, check out all the posts in this series and comment on them anytime, and if you do make a project, feel free to leave a link in the comments of the wrap-up post. If you are reading this far in the future, sharing your thoughts on the book is still very welcome! 

On to my own project for this round, inspired by The Night Watchman. I read this book first in the spring when it was newly released, and then again for the blog series, and I also listened to the audio version (read by the author, Louise Erdrich) while sewing. So I feel like I am really familiar with this novel and all the many characters who I came to... [read more]

Today, November 20th, people around the world pause to bear witness to Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to honoring the memory of those murdered because of anti-transgender prejudice. Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds us to fight against forces that devalue transgender lives every day. To bring awareness to this important day, we want to pause to share a few stories of transgender people who have found their voice on We posed a question: “What does Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?” Below, we’ve shared a few responses from creators on our platform.

We welcome you to share your own response on your site. In the meantime, read slowly and soak in the hard-fought words of the brave voices who are willing to share their experiences. 

Dr. SA Smythe (They/Them) of

Some of us have been counted,... [read more]

It’s been a rough time for me from my last post in August. My migraines got way way worse causing me to take medical leave from work at the beginning of October. October was probably the toughest month for me because my symptoms got worse. My physiotherapist described some of the cognitive effects of this as concussion like, which makes a lot of sense to me. I haven’t been able to retain much or concentrate for several months. Screens in particular have been really awful. Hence, no blog posts. But then earlier this month, things started turning around. I am still not doing a 100% but well enough to write blogs and sew a bit more than before. From August to October, I wasn’t able to sew and mainly focused on recovery. A few posts will be catching up on posts from things I made before I started my medical leave. This is one.

My mental health was not in a good state... [read more]

It’s Friday here in the U.S., and I am checking in on you! How are those shirts coming along? If you missed it on Monday, we announced our mini (really more of a midi) challenge! You can catch the deets here. Normally our mini challenges are only a weekend long, but with all this *gestures vaguely around* going on, we decided on almost two full weeks of fun ending on Sunday, November 29.

We’ve had a couple inspo posts so far: Gillian outlined a bunch of ways to hack a t-shirt pattern, and Renee helped us out with a post about woven t-shirts, as well as another covering the many classic set-in sleeve t-shirt patterns. On Wednesday, Christopher gave us a wonderful history about my very favorite type of shirt:. the crop top.

Now time to share what some of you have been up to! I glanced through Insta for the tag (#SewcialistsTNTee) and boy, howdy... [read more]

The seasons are changing in Auckland, Spring is finally here. So rain, wind, sunshine…often all on the same day! For me, it means changing up my much loved winter woolies for something lighter, but not too much (It’s 7 C tonight and I have the heat pump on full…) 

Tank tops may seem a strange choice, to cold to wear alone now (& not something I would wear on its own in high summer with my pale skin) but I REALLY like a tank under cardigans. It’s fun matching up fabric & patterns , and unlike a tee, no bunching around my generous biceps, and NO Full Bicep Adjustment, yay! I’ve made many woven tanks, but none in a knit, strange since its all the comfort benefits of a  tee with no sleeves to worry about.

Enter the Cashmerette Saybrook tank. From the pattern: “Choose from a high scoop neck with a high back or a low scoop neck... [read more]

Helloooooo! Check out my latest make on the Minerva site – an Allie Olson Monarch Jacket!

I used a beautiful scuba and ponte fabric. Click here to get the rest of the details on Minerva!

This post was written as part of the Minerva Blogger Team and I was provided the fabric  for the Monarch Jacket free of charge.  However, all opinions are my own. 

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