Still into simple projects and repetition over here! And using fabric from my stash.

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 Yeah! I finally have a finished top. My previous attempts at the Willow Wrap top ended up not being successful. Both were due to operator error. I will successfully make this pattern in the future. Yet decided that I needed to move on to another pattern. I chose Simplicity 9275.

I decided to make the short sleeve version using the leftover fabric that I purchased from Sly Fox Fabric.

I decided to use Size 14 for shoulders and upper chest, tapering to size 16 for the bust to bottom. Given weight change and fitting issues with the previous make, I know that I can reduce the size if too large but not much can be done with fit adjustments when too small.

I made my usual 5/8 inch FSA, 5/8 inch swayback adjustment, and made bust adjustment using Sandra Betzina's princess seam FBA.

Simplicity patterns run a little large on me and I shaved off some of the shoulder... [read more]

It's May in the DMV and one weekend it's 85 degrees and we're wearing shorts and tube tops and then 3 days later, it's 59 degrees and I'm in a matching sweatsuit! The weather is so bipolar this time of year that it really helps to have some functional transitional pieces in your closet to look cute but still fit the environment. One Friday night, motivation and inspiration hit me at the same time and I came out a few hours later with this beauty!

This is Simplicity 8465 (OOP) in a size Medium.

This sweater is made from a Red Telio Topaz Hatchi Knit from I made a whole post about this fabric (that I bought in multiple colors) and how it is one of my favorite knits to wear. This fabric is super breathable but still adds a level of warmth to the body. It's very light ad has lots of body.

As I mentioned above, I made the Medium in... [read more]

Hello, Pants Wearing Humans of Earth! I rarely count myself among your membership—but was asked to jot down my thoughts on making & wearing pants. I almost never walk away from a chance to share my experiences—my ego won’t allow it—so here we are. Settle in for a short treatise on the pants making & wearing experiences of one Jenny Hassler.

I was photo shy from a young age, so there isn’t much evidence of my pants wearing, or lack thereof, from the Before Times (pre-pandemic). Please keep that in mind as you read ahead.

1978: A young, blonde in pigtails is wearing bell-bottoms with Holly Hobbie on the front bells. It’s accompanied by a Sean Cassidy scoop neck t-shirt in peach featuring the cover of his 1977 eponymous album. These are impractical pants—no skateboarding, no cycling can happen without risk as long as you’re wearing... [read more]

How to have a sugar shack meal at home tutorial by Plaid and Sugar

It's Spring which means it's Cabane à Sucre time here in Québec, the season in which maple syrup and maple-infused food abound. 

Due to the pandemic this year we could not go to the Sugar Shack last year, nor this year so I decided to make my own Cabane a Sucre event at home to recreate the experience! This post will tell you what foods you need but also how to get the perfect atmosphere right in your own dining room.

It's always fun to set sewing challenges for my local Garment Guild. This month our challenge was to make something we found on CreativeBug -- many of our local library systems now have CreativeBug available to patrons, and I wanted our members to find out about all the goodness in this option! 

I've already made the Shirt No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing, thanks to CreativeBug, and so this time I thought I'd try out the very popular Adrienne Blouse by Friday Pattern Company. I've always liked it, but worried that the close fit of the body was not for me. But onwards I went, and gave it a whirl anyhow. 

As it turns out, I really love it :) I used a rayon knit from my stash; I love the print but have never been able to figure out what to do with it, as the lightweight nature of it and low stretch were always a problem to match up with a good pattern. So I gave... [read more]

A few years ago I was commissioned to make some dressing up outfits for a museum, and one of my designs was a boiler suit. These were supposed to be proper overalls for working in, and I was asked to make them in red. I don’t know if any of you have seen the horror […]
I can’t quite believe how much the weather here in Worcestershire has changed in a month. These pictures were taken around four weeks ago, when I woke up to a snowy wonderland, and my husband, son and I hot-footed it up the Malvern Hills to see what they look like disguised as the Swiss alps. […]

 My brain can really only handle simple projects right now! 

Simple tops, simple pants... simple but satisfying.

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Over on everyone’s favorite Sewstagram, a heated difference of opinions has been brewing: to scoop the crotch, or to leave that little curve alone, you rascal! Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a wide ranging variety of answers, from people who use the term “scoop the crotch” as a catchall for any type of crotch adjustment, to purists who believe that a designer’s work should be trusted without fail, to others who approach with caution, and those (myself included) who have no shame messing around with just about any shape, designer be damned.

My approach to patternmaking in general tends to be more “let’s try it and see what works.” I feel the best way to learn is often experimenting, seeing how things react based on your changes, and adapting as you go. In addition, most patternmaking books readily available in my part of the world, as... [read more]

I’ve been on annual leave this week so caught up on with a few jobs outside, and played golf. Now lockdown restrictions are relaxed I’m not sure if I’m feeling like the old me any more. A lot of us talk about loosing our sewjo, but I’m feeling I’ve lost motivation for everything – not just sewing. It’s such a bit effort to do anything and often I get to the end of the day and feel like I’ve wasted it going round in a bloody daze. I do keep my self busy, as you can see from my Sunday Sevens, but I think this last 12+ months is taking its’ toll on me, like many of us out there. I think that this must be my first Sunday Seven post when I’ve not shown you a plate of food or cake! I did mention last week that I was going to put my S.S.’s on hold until after Me Made May. I’ve changed my mind! Cheerio for now. Stay safe, and keep smiling, Ali …

The Tres quilt was the second quilt kit I bought in a sale a couple of years ago in order to get my quilt journey going. The first was the Patchwork Quilt, which I finished as my first ever quilt and I wrote lots about how I found basting and quilting it myself at home. For this second, I thought it would be fun to try out a longarm machine. I want to make a large quilt for my parents and I know that it will be very difficult for me to quilt that one on my tiny domestic machine, so I wanted to know if it was even worth trying to do it myself on a longarm, or whether I should just send it to a professional for quilting. I know now that lots of people do send out their quilt tops, but there’s something about the fact that it’s a special gift that makes me feel like I want to do it myself. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Quilt... [read more]

Paper or PDF pattern?

Stack of paper sewing patterns

It’s easy to have a paper pattern buying addiction. I’m *far* from immune to the 2$ Joann’s pattern sale which has left me with a collection of over 1000 printed sewing patterns. 

But having so many paper patterns… from the same big companies is kind of a problem.

These printed patterns take up a lot of space. They also tend to all be designed from the same pattern block. Sometimes, they tend to not be so fresh (design-wise.) And, potentially worse, the designers may be hit or miss as to whether or not they align with your personal values. 

Enter PDF pattern companies.

This post features three PDF pattern designers I’m excited about right now and encourage you check out!

PLEASE NOTE! This is not a sponsored post. I’ve actually not worked with... [read more]


Sew Beautiful / Kennis Wong
Salem, MA: Page St Publishing, c2020.
152 p.

I bought this book when it was newly released because I like the Itch to Stitch patterns I've already made and knew I'd most likely use this book, too. I haven't yet made one of the patterns, but I have the Mornington Dress (on the cover) in my queue for this summer's wardrobe. 

The book contains 8 patterns, of a variety of shapes and types of clothing, in knit and woven. The instructions are done as thoroughly as her regular patterns are -- lots of step by step and illustrations. And there are lots of photo images for each pattern as well. Just as with her website and online presence, the photos are taken by her husband. What a team! 

This is a well produced, professional book that I think would work for the newer sewist who wants to go a bit beyond just tanks or boxy tops. All the... [read more]

The eternal question for sewists – or at least one of them – is this:  How do you get a nice sharp corner on collars and cuffs.  Include waistbands, lined pockets and jacket revers with notched collars.  Here’s the method I use, it involves no cutting of angles at the corner, which just makes a weaker point.  I learnt this technique at a tailoring course, many years ago, and it’s worked for me!  I’m going to demonstrate by using one of the cuffs made for the Olya Shirt.  Please excuse my fluffy ironing board, and un-edited photos!

  1. Once your seams are sewn, layer them by trimming the un-interfaced seam allowance down by half.
    step 1
  2. Using the point of the iron, press the seam allowance onto the interfaced piece, nudging and pushing but be careful not to stretch anything.  Give it a good press.  You should be able to see that you have some... [read more]


Today is already our final day of the Literary Sewing Circle focusing on Karin Tidbeck's Amatka!

I hope you've had the chance to read the book, and both the first and second inspiration posts, and are getting lots of ideas for a project of your own. If you haven't had a chance to read our interview with Karin Tidbeck, be sure to do that too, it adds a lot to the reading experience!

The project linkup will be added to the bottom of this post: as soon as you are done your project, just pop a link to your post into the linkup and we will all be able to visit your blog/instagram etc. and explore your creation -- remember, it can be sewn, or knitted, crocheted, embroidered... any textile art that you practice.

I shared a lot of my thoughts on the book in our earlier book talk post, and I reviewed this novel on my book blog when I first read it. You... [read more]

It can be daunting to work out which adjustments to make on patterns to best suit your body shape, especially if your shape is very different to the one for which the pattern was drafted. Making adjustments can also be super time consuming as you try things, work out whether they help or not, try something else, and so on. The advice is usually to try one adjustment a time, which can be super tedious – I don’t even like to make one muslin, let alone multiple!

A number of pattern companies have started to offer built-in adjustments. This has been more common for bodice patterns, with different cup sizes, or simple things like having a “tall” version and a regular height draft. I have recently come across a few patterns for the lower half which have similar adjustments built in and wanted to detail them here in case they... [read more]

Three minutes left of Wednesday – where did the time go!?  I thought I’d show you all my latest sewing project, as I seem to have been sewing in secret lately, and only showing off finished items.  Today, I’ve been making the Olya Shirt, pattern by Paper Theory.  I bought the pattern in October/November last year but only managed to get it toiled last week!

My measurements suggested I make the 16, but the finished measurements indicated a lot more ease than I’d usually be comfortable with.  Yes, I do know this is ssupposed to be an oversized shirt, but there’s baggy and there’s tent.  At frst, I thougth I’d toile the 12, but hedged my bets and went with the 14 as a middle ground instead.  Perfect choice!  I decided it needed no adjustments, sleeves are the right length, cuffs not tight, shirt length fine and just enough “oversize” in the circumference... [read more]

Things I cannot do:

 High heels



 I'm looking at this pattern and thinking the reason why it doesn't work for me is that I'm not a shawl or scarf wearer. If I were accomplished or even familiar with wearing a shawl, the one sleeved shawl would make sense and I could make it work. I could put it on and make it stay.

How do you people do that?
I have every sewing ambition there is or can be.
More aspirational than accomplished I think; the title slapdash sewist was already taken.
I spend a lot of time making little models and thinking about shapes.
And after seeing Julie's Jet Set Sewing version,

I wanted to play with this.

This is an issue. It is... [read more]
A person wearing a "HORROR BITCH" t-shirt is sitting next to an old Singer silver industrial sewing machine. They are looking at the camera and have their arm around the machine.
The author, with their beloved Singer 47W40; photo credit Kelly Hogaboom

For many years I have been (like most readers here) a Selfish Sewist – I sew for my own closet, my family, my friends, for fun.

I am also a professional designer and custom clothier. Going pro has involved not only continuously educating myself on every aspect of garment making – design, pattern drafting, construction planning, materials engineering, cutting and manufacture, fitting, alterations, styling – but also the deeper practice of business-building. I’ve had to teach myself accounting, marketing, social media, customer care, website building and client management systems, community-building and brand messaging, logo and branding.

You get the drift.

It’s a lot.

Sewing for my body was one discipline. Sewing for a lot of other bodies, is a whole... [read more]

I was drawn to the Coeli Blouse from Pauline Alice when it was first released last year. It was the sleeves which hooked me! I love the big balloon shape combined with the beautiful tuck detail. But two things delayed me from sewing this up. Firstly I wasn't sure about the high neck collar in combination with this voluminous style on me; it felt like it could potentially be a bit overwhelming and I might get a bit lost in it. Secondly I had a hard time deciding what fabric to use. You obviously don't want anything too thick and bulky with all that gathering but I wanted something with enough body to really amp up the drama of the sleeves. I didn't want to use a print and loose the tucks in it but I also felt like the fabric needed a bit of texture or something going on in it to break up the expanse of fabric. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Pauline Alice Coeli Blouse in Broderie Anglaise from Simply Fabrics

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 May is turning out to be a super busy sewing month! I have so many things I'd like to do this month...I'm going to note them all here and see how many I've tackled by the end of the month ;)

May of course brings #MeMadeMay, one of the longest standing and most-participated-in sewing community challenges out there. It's not a photo challenge, as host SoZo always reminds us. So I'm not really planning on taking daily photos, but I always enjoy the challenge to look at your me-made wardrobe and see how it's working for you. My 'pledge' is to see what I reach for most, and incorporate those findings into future makes so that my wardrobe will be based on things I actually wear. My recent MyBodyModel 3x3 sketch is helping me to test out ideas for my next few projects, and I'm working on another sketch now to test out some other summer pattern ideas. 

May also... [read more]

Brrrrr…. I’m feeling cold writing this. The April showers that came last week are continuing into May have made the lovely weather that we had in early April seem a distant memory! I did mention in my last Sunday Sevens that I’d be putting them on hold until after Me Made May has finished, but I won’t be posting MMMAY until next weekend so here I am! Cheerio for now. Stay safe, and keep smiling, Ali x Not sure what Sunday Sevens is about? It was a fab idea thought up a long time ago by the lovely Natalie of Threads & Bobbins – a fellow Yorkshire lass who lives in America. There’s no rules but the idea is to share 7 isn photos from your week. Read more about it on Natalie’s blog post – it actually took some finding – Sunday Sevens started way back in 2014!! Read her first post HERE.
Wonky pockets! No one noticed them when I posted a Reel on my insta. I think they were distracted by my groovy moves! If you’re not an insta fan and not sure what a Reel is I’ve attached a link to the bottom of this post. This dress incorporates a couple of challenges: The #frugalfrock21 organised by Sam at Frugalisma, and Ruan at the Yorkshire Sew Girl and #so50patternmixing organised by @sewover50 The idea behind frugal frocks is to make a dress using a free pattern and to use fabric from your stash to create Frugal Frock! As soon as I saw Alice & Co pattern for the Mary Quant style dress I was sold! HERE’s the link if you fancy downloading this free pattern. The dress is designed for a woven fabric, but my initial thought was to use this pattern to make a dress for golf, so I sized down and made it up in lycra. Most patterns given finished garment measurements which is really useful if you are changing from a woven …
A friend of mine brought two beautiful babies into the world in 2020. The various lockdowns and tiers and restrictions meant that, sadly, we didn’t get to see much of them, but I was able to at least crack out some mix and match twin-clothes for them for Christmas. The first set I want to […]
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