Firehose

Hi everyone! My name is Tiffany and I’m so excited to be here for The Giving Challenge! I’ve been sewing for about five years now and truly love the joy it brings to not only me, but to those around me too. When I saw the Instagram post asking for writers for this month’s theme, I knew I wanted to jump in and write about a plan I had to give back to our small military community.

Tiffany, a woman with shoulder-length brown hair, and her daughter pose in front of a white picket fence that surrounds a pond. Tiffany holds her daughter on her left hip as they both smile into the camera. They are wearing matching off-the-shoulder sweaters made from gray fabric with a large-scale white and blue floral motif.

My husband, daughter and I live on-base in a pretty large military town. The neighborhood that we live in is a fairly small, tight-knit community which is incredibly important to us since we live so far away from our family. Military life can be stressful and unpredictable, so oftentimes small acts of kindness can make a huge impact on the families here. In an effort to constantly improve the quality of our neighborhood, each year our residents fill out a survey giving... [read more]

I decided this summer that the workout top situation was becoming sort of desperate. My stash of pre-sewing workout wear had been quite large, but it's been over 10 years since I stopped buying clothes, and even the best of workout wear wears out.

I primarily run and bike, so the natural choice seemed to be the Fehr Trade XYT which is marketed as a running and biking style top. I gave this a try about three years ago. I blogged it, and it's funny that I labeled that Fehr Trade XYT top a success... because making it was such a traumatic experience that I did not attempt any workout tops for another 3 years.

The fit was all wrong, and trying to get a binding that looked like my favorite RTW self-fabric bound tops was unpleasantly challenging with only a standard sewing machine. I think fold-over elastic is suggested, but I don't like the look or... [read more]

This dress was on my list of plans for November, and I am delighted that I managed to finish it! I love this black floral rayon twill that I picked up recently. It's fairly lightweight but I thought that with some tights and a sweater I might be able to wear it past fall into winter as well -- since we've had winter appear already quite decidedly. 

I have been going through my fabric and pattern stashes lately trying to match up possibilities. I have far too much fabric right now so am trying to make as much of it up into useful garments as possible! This one jumped out at me as a great match so I went with it. 


This is rated as an easy pattern, and it is. There are no bodice darts -- rather, it's gathered at centre front neckline and at the waistline as well. There are simple shapes and pieces, though the neck binding could be a little fiddly if you've... [read more]
Today I’m sharing a project that I completed nearly a year ago as a Christmas gift for my Mother-in-Law, Elaine. She’s a huge fan of all things Winnie the Pooh, so when I came across the McCall’s 8087 (1968) sewing pattern at a thrift store I knew I needed to[Read more]
Pleased to say that I saw this 1991 pattern online, and remembered I HAD one in the stash already (from Value Village (stifles sniffles))
I even knew where it was.


The sleeveless version looks a lot like the Sewing Workshop Veranda dress


Or vestments


This is a table runner. You don't fool me one bit.
This is for vestments.

Okay, so this dress probably isn't built for corduroy. In fact, I know it's not. All of the suggested fabrics have the word "lightweight" before them.
But when have I ever let that sort of nagging detail stop me?
Should I?
Probably
I did not take a lot of process photos, as it blew by. It has few parts, drafted precisely and goes together quickly.
Remember when pattern pieces always went together?

Because the cut on sleeves and the style made everything too big (if you make this, read those finished measurements: there's about 11... [read more]

Newish pattern company Fig + Needle debuted their first two patterns last winter–the Elwynn blouse and Faron Pinafore. Although I haven’t gotten around to making either up yet, I thought both designs were really cute, and I loved how their size range was inclusive from the start.  I jumped at the chance to test their new Crestwood skirt pattern when the opportunity came up. Carla, my fellow Same Pattern, Different Bodies participant, was also a pattern tester for the Crestwood.  As a result, we received free copies of this pattern in exchange for pattern testing. The opinions expressed in this blog post are our own.

As someone who avoids wearing pencil skirts, I’m always on the lookout for interesting A-line and fuller skirt patterns. The Crestwood grabbed me because while it’s a basic enough A-line skirt, the seaming and pocket... [read more]

Where do I start? Do I start with that this my greatest sewing achievement ever? That I, in secret, is happy that this is done and my sewing will not be covered in red lint, although I’m sure I will find it around for a long time to come?

Front view. It has side pockets (I should have made them a bit bigger).

I think I’ll go with awesome. I actually made me a coat! A real coat, with lining and toggles and all that shebang. It all began with that feeling that I wanted to make something a bit more challenging. Then I noticed that my winter jacket, bought in 2011, was ripping. Now surely, being a sewer I could have fixed that. I didn’t, I chose to do a new coat instead. Then the old jacket ripped even further as I was wearing it (it’s the sleeve to bodice seam).

Back view. I like the shape of the coat, but I have some issues controlling the collars.

One of the issues I... [read more]

I had the pleasure recently to be invited as a guest on the That Sewing Blab show! Well, technically Dawn asked me if I could be a guest on one of their live shows a few years ago, but with the time zones it would’ve been a really late night for me in the UK. I often get asked how I have the energy to do everything I do, and the answer is that I get a LOT of sleep – I’m nodding off at like 10:30 every night, so I knew I would be a horrible guest if it was past midnight!

So I’m very fortunate that they decided to do a few pre-recorded shows so we could pick a time when my brain would still be awake! And I’m so glad we were finally able to make it work, because I had so much fun! We talked about everything from how I got into sewing activewear, to living on a boat, running a pattern business, and my journey from death’s door to world record breaking... [read more]


Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book / Gretchen Hirsch
NY: Abrams, c2016.
236 p.
Another mix-n-match sewing book! These were really popular a few years ago -- all the titles I've reviewed this month are a couple of years old and seemed to appear around the same time.

This one is by Gretchen Hirsch and falls thoroughly into her aesthetic of vintage fashion. It's all dresses (right up my alley) and the mix and match aspect comes from the way that all 23 dresses are designed to work together. She explains that the shapes and the ease of the patterns are all drafted to be able to switch bits around and still have the patterns work together. Honestly, in this book, I like so many of the designs that I imagine switching things around would mean I would take forever over these patterns! 

The back cover provides a good overview of a strapless evening style, a... [read more]

Although I’ve been quiet with blogging on all my sites. I’ve still been knitting. I finally finished the blanket that I was knitting for my daughter and since my last post in August, I’ve knit at least three pairs of socks. Currently, I’m knitting two pairs of socks. Of course, I’m knitting them two at a time, toe-up, and I’m using magic loop.

In addition, I’m knitting my first sweater. I started knitting a simple sweater from Very Pink Knits a few weeks ago, however, I’ve stopped knitting on that because I’ve decided to use a machine washable wool instead of the handwash wool that I’d been knitting.

I started buying pdf patterns when they were print and tape, then stopped. The whole print-cut-tape-trace dance just did my head in. Too much hassle. Then the pattern companies started offering them as A0 files. A much better option.

Now whenever I buy a pdf pattern I immediately have it printed. I have several many LOTS of these A0 sheets. All rolled up and stored on top of my piano. Not really a good storage solution.

THIS is a storage solution:

I photographed it on my sewing chair. The fabric came from a swap meet. It is a medium weight printed canvas covered with bicycles. I love bicycles. I was saving this for a bicycle pannier, but a bag for my other hobby seemed to make sense.

This was a really simple make, a large tube with a square base and a foldover flap at the top.

 

 

 

 

 

My piano is now covered with music related stuff – mostly small percussion and... [read more]

Ooh, I loves me a bit of alliteration. Seattle Frocktails happened on November 9th and it was another exciting evening in the world of Seattle sewing. You might remember that last year I kicked off Seattle Frocktails, but I wasn’t able to organise it again this year due to other commitments and, luckily for me, a couple of the ladies from last year’s team were keen to take it over – and they did a grand job! I was working on a Vogue dress for the event, but it ended up being a “not feeling it” situation. I was feeling a bit bloated and I just didn’t think I could make it work (although I will finish it soon), so I had a bit of a last minute panic and started a new outfit the day before the event: this silver Sirocco jumpsuit! Woo!

20191116_143401

Now, I have made the Sirocco before – my original black version (with all the pattern details if... [read more]

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Nina Lee Mayfair Dress in Wine Red Jersey

I was incredibly excited about the Mayfair Dress when it was released by Nina Lee over a year ago and I snapped up a paper copy soon after release. For years I'd had this favourite style of French Connection dress that saw me through many summers; flattering, comfortable and seemingly suited for any occasion. I owned versions in various prints, colours and lengths but may favourite by far was a maxi length version. The previous summer I'd been wearing it with too many holes in to repair, hoping that the little purple, black and dusky pink print disguised them. It had been on its last legs for a while and sadly French Connection stopped making them a while before. I couldn't bear to throw it out so I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted the Mayfair and realised it was almost an exact match. I could make my own replacement!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Nina Lee Mayfair Dress in Wine Red Jersey

Why then has it taken me so... [read more]

A year or two ago, I made a pair of Stride pants from the Merchant and Mills Workbook.  I’d made the largest size and shortened them a bit, but I cannot remember just how much right now.  The pattern was fine and instructions did the job, but I never liked the finished trousers.  I was really disappointed because I’d used a beautiful piece of black and blue plaid wool from Fabworks.  I was annoyed that such a lovely piece of fabric was now a very unliked pair of trousers.  I never even took photos of those pants!

So why didn’t I like them?  They were too wide, too floppy and the pleated front with waistband on the natural waist just didn’t suit me.  And I love wide, floppy trousers!!  So I wore them around the house for the first year, last winter I didn’t wear them at all, and this winter I decided I’d put them in the adjust or remake pile.  I had 6 pairs of wool... [read more]



Today is the last day for posting your project in this round of the Literary Sewing Circle! I finished one more item that I'm including as a sewalong project, since the print reminds me so much of Japanese florals.

I'm repeating another pattern, the Burda Swing Top (115-11-18) that I recently tested out in a stretchy black polka dot knit. I really liked the outcome of my first test so remade it in this stretch lace. Of course, because it's a lace I also had to make a shell to go under it (the Sorbetto) in an appropriately rust-toned stash fabric.



I adjusted the pattern for this top slightly from my first attempt. I moved the shoulder gathers out toward the shoulder seam by about 1/2" on each side, as I found them too close to the neckline in the original version. I added 3" to the length of the pattern when I traced it, but this time I wanted... [read more]

When I saw a version of the Folkwear Tibetan Panel Coat this summer, I wanted to make one immediately. Unfortunately, my schedule, fabric options and the sweltering weather didn't allow me to get to it until now.


This pattern is for a traditional Tibetan garment that can be worn as a full-length, lined or unlined vest or sleeveless coat. Pieced panels serve as a wonderful canvas for combinations of fabrics in various colors, prints and textures. It is a creative playground with multiple options and it can be made reversible. 


Coutriere Parisienne from Riley Blake Designs, with its French garment images, and bold text, felt absolutely right for this coat.


I was spoiled for choices with this collection, but narrowed it down to these four prints and a solid black cotton from my stash. 

 
  

In terms of construction, this pattern is fairly easy to... [read more]

Hey CSC, Martha from @GariChild here to review the Hippolyta Dress by Sew Me Something.  I have a looooong sewing queue of projects but when Kristina from Plum Kitchen posted her version on the Curvy Sew Collective  Facebook Group, I literally stopped what I was doing, purchased the pattern and cleared my sewing table because I had to have this dress in my wardrobe.  I can’t be the only one guilty of such behavior #instantgratification So imagine my surprise to find out that this dress pattern was designed by a company unfamiliar to me.  How have I missed this one?!?!  Looks like they started out with UK size ranging from 8 to 22 and there are a couple pieces that have been expanded to include up to UK size 26 like the Hippolyta Dress.

The Hippolyta Dress has batwing sleeves designed for comfort and ease, but the strategically placed... [read more]

I’ve been asked a few times over the years, as a sewist and a mother, what advice I have for sewing Tween/Teen patterns for female-gendered bodies.

For many of us, the gateway to sewing was creating something simple. Making that pillowcase, simple elastic-waist skirt, doll dress, or baby shirt is such a satisfying win, we keep going. We slowly put more punches in our “sewing skill card.” The thing that the pillowcase, simple skirt, doll dress, or baby shirt all have in common? You’re basically fitting a tube.

Baby girl in the grass on a sunny day wearing a pink bonnet hat & floral dress sewn by author
Baby sewing: Hat + dress in basic tube shapes

Fitting a tube is pretty easy, right? There are no full-bust-adjustments, no forward shoulders, no crotch curves. Later we graduate to more complicated patterns for ourselves, such as princess seams and invisible zippers, but what do we do for those in the middle? Specifically, our tween/teen... [read more]

Alice & Co Patterns Mary Quant Georgie Dress

Pattern:  Georgie Dress (free) by Alice & Co Patterns

Time taken (excluding cutting out): 20 hours (including lots of alterations)

Fabric: Masson Mills cotton

Alice & Co Patterns Mary Quant Georgie Dress

When Alice & Co Patterns announced they would be releasing a free pattern based on Mary Quant’s Georgie Dress, to coincide with the recent Mary Quant exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, I got excited. I got even more excited to make my own version of the Georgie Dress when I realised that I had a fabric in my stash which was a reasonable approximation for the fabric used in the original dress held in the V&A’s collection.

Alice & Co Patterns Mary Quant Georgie Dress

My fabric is a cotton woven at Masson Mill in Matlock Bath. Mason Mill was a working cotton mill from 1783 until 1991 and now houses a museum (amongst other things) which produces a small quantity of fabric for demonstration and sale purposes. The... [read more]

I finished the Christmas Eve pajamas for the little guy early this year and I’ve added a coordinating pillow case that will double as a gift bag for the pajama set. Many thanks to Minerva.com for supplying me with fabrics for the project. Here’s a little preview, but you can see the full details over … Continue reading Christmas Polar Bears for Minerva

I’m making jeans!  I haven’t made a pair of jeans since 2016, when I made 5 pairs of Birkins!  I did some research on the current favourites, as well as patterns that have been around for a while, and, despite the fact that I already have the Ginger jeans pattern – and have yet to use it, I bought something else entirely!  I’m not that sold on the Gingers.  I traced them while on holiday in September, and the more I traced, the more I realised this was not the pattern for me.  The shapes weren’t right for me!

My choice for this year is the Ash Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen.  I dithered a bit over the Dawn, but realised I wanted jeans with stretch, so that meant the Ash.  I like that there is a choice of 4 leg types, and a very decent size range.  I toiled the 31 – which, according to my measurements should have been just about perfect, but they... [read more]

If you follow me on Instagram, then you will have been spammed by loads progress photos
of this coat.  It was an epic make, I have a lot to say about it and there are loads of photos.


 
 
 
 

The pattern is McCall's M7938, which is a Yaya Han costume pattern, but I laugh in the face of costume and will be wearing this all winter!  Also, I have to thank Sian from Kittenish Behaviour for tipping me off about this pattern.

There are two views, and the photo below is View B from the pattern envelope.  This is on M7938, which is sizes 6 - 22.

This photo is View A, and this from McCall's M7989 which is sizes 18W - 32W.


Here are the line drawings from both patterns.


Fabric and Interfacing

Before I get into the gory details, here are the fabrics and interfacings I used.  The main fabric is 100% wool from My Fabrics.  It's called Fulled Loden, and the... [read more]

I’ve been waiting to share this one with you since I tested it. I love the Cashmerette Alcott dress. Obviously, there are disclaimers aplenty in this post since I received the pattern for free in exchange for testing and I got fabric for free in exchange for promotion, but my enthusiasm and love of these two dresses is real. Also, my opinion can’t be bought with pattern and fabric. It helps, but I am too opinionated for that. LOL.

The Alcott has a fully lined wrap bodice, elastic waistband, and either a full skirt or an a-line skirt with ruffle options for hem and sleeves or flutter sleeves. The wrap bodice has elastic at the neckline so it stays put.

I made a mash up of the Dartmouth and Turner patterns, but this one is so much better.

This is my tester version made with cotton lycra. I made size 22 GH graded to size 28 at the waist. I... [read more]

I don’t remember what I received for Christmas last year or my birthday this year, which was only a few months ago. In fact, I don’t remember many of the gifts I have received over my lifetime. What I do remember clearly? Times that I have given something special to others. Why? Because it’s true that GIVING is BETTER than receiving!

While I do love to give, I find myself to be a selfish sewist. Really, I only like to make things for myself. (Please tell me some of you feel the same, so I don’t feel like a terrible person.) So, it turns out this “Giving Challenge” truly is a challenge for me.

I’ve decided to get my young son in on the challenge as well. He will be 6 later this month and has been asking me to show him how to use my sewing machine for a least a year now. I’m excited for us to do this fun thing together and to pass... [read more]

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