Friday, May 29, 2015



This is my 2nd mourning dress.

I really thought that this was a cute dress on the pattern envelope. Really I did. But.... the envelope is drawn and not an actual picture. I know pictures can be airbrushed and reconfigured but drawn???? No. I don't trust drawn pictures. Have you looked at all them vintage patterns with them chicks with them snatched waists? No normal woman has dimensions like that. If you can't find a model/hanger to make the pattern look good, then I don't want to waste my time and resources. But.... it's so cute!

I love this fabric. It's a heavy, almost denim cotton with 2 way stretch. It has a tribal look that I was planning to rock this summer. I really love tribal and FF has a great selection of fabrics with a tribal theme. I was planning to make a bunch of African outfits for the summer. I'm really into Ankara. But my plans have changed. I put the fabric that I had originally purchased for the summer in the cabinet. Is that how y'all get a stash? I definitely have one now. I love this fabric so much... that I inadvertently bought it twice! Last time I went to FF, they had this fabric wrapped up on clearance. I bought 1.5 yards then. LOL! Its heavy enough to use when the weather turns cold to make a top. I can wait.

I did make a bobo.... I cut it wrong. Instead of cutting it with east/west stretch, I cut it north/south. I think I'll be okay because I assume this fabric will give anyway. Grieving is distracting... My late father taught me to sew in the 1980's. His mother had been a seamstress and taught all her children. He didn't even know that my mother had bought me a sewing machine. Daddy came to visit in the middle of some drama I was having in my primitive sewing room/bedroom and helped me. We were both surprised for different reasons. My brother walked in in the middle of the crises and Daddy taught him to sew too. He made a killing sewing permanent creases in everybody's pants that summer. LOL! Yes we are/were old. But he told folks I did the alteration because he didn't want folks to know he was sewing. He didn't give me a cut though.... Wasn't unusual to find him at my machine when I'd come in form outside.

Pattern: V9021
Fitted dress has front and back extending into sleeves, low armholes, back zipper and hemline slit.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope?
Yeah. The fabric looks damn similar to the long version on the envelope which is the version I made

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Look through them a bit

How long did it take from cut to finish?
3 hours

What did you like/dislike about the pattern?
OK.... why did the skirt have so many darts? 4 in the front and back? Really? Why does a skirt need 8 darts? Good thing you can't see them....

And the sleeve, the way it's designed, gapes. Shows your bra if you lift your arm. I'm sure I can close that off, but it takes away the fullness of the wings.

The back bodice doesn't exactly match the front in length. It's off about an inch. I worked on it a bit and it is accurately off an inch.

This is MY issue but my boobs pulled the front bodice an inch. Maybe that's what that back inch was for?

Fabric used?

Pattern alterations or design changes made?
I added 2 inches to the bodice and not 3. Since I only needed 2" on my last dress, I thought, WTH?

Would you sew it again?
I suppose. Just not immediately. I still feel some kind of way about all them darts!

Would you recommend it to others?
Yes with a bunch of modifications

Not sure.... I'm not one to discard a garment, since I learned to sew because of alterations. I'm just not completely 100% satisfied with it. Maybe 76.2%. It looks nice on the hanger. In the future, I might separate the top from the bottom. If I did that, I'd have to add fabric to the bottom of the bodice. I'm a wear it a few times and see how I feel.

The God said the dress looked nice. Nice and not his usual I look comfortable. Reason enough to keep it


Wednesday, May 27, 2015



This is the 1st of my mourning trousseau. When I saw this knit at FF I had to have it. I've been wanting something floral for a minute now.

M5042 is out of print I think. I bought it years ago when I started back sewing with patterns. So it's been sitting in my pattern stash... since I had a stash.

M5042, A sundress with princess seamed bodice and a flared skirt. I made version C: high necked with no belt. I have a belt should a want it belted. Why are princess seams called that? Anybody?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope?
Yes it did

Were the instructions easy to follow?:
I didn't use them

How long did it take from cut to finish?:
About 3 hours

What did you like/dislike about the pattern?
I sewed it straight out of the bag

Fabric used?:
Cotton knit

Pattern alterations or design changes made?:
Because it's knit, I didn't add a zipper. I added 3" to the length of the bodice. I always add 3" to bodices because my breasts take up a lot of space. But... I only needed about 2". I like for the waist to sit at my waist. It's about an inch too long. I can always take it in if it bothers me too much. Won't kill me. I also added binding to the neck and arms to finish it off. The pattern didn't call for anything like that but it looked shabby without it.

Would you sew it again?
I was thinking about it. I have some polka dot fabric to make a sundress. It's a toss up if I use one of the other versions or another pattern all together. I like the fullness of the skirt

Would you recommend it to others?

I like this dress. It's perfectly simple but dressy enough to wear to work or to some party. I can see myself wearing this deep into fall with a blazer or sweater and some tights. And the daisies are too damn cute.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015



This is my brother....

He died Tuesday May 12th. He was my hero.

Many of you with brothers may think that you have/had the best brother. You are wrong. Mine was the best.

This is a sewing blog and I'm not going to get into the whats and hows... But I miss him and plan to mourn him; publicly and privately.

Unfortunately... I have mourning experience. I lost my 1st husband in 2003. My mother, always aware of appearances, told me that I should mourn Michael in dress. I didn't quite know what that entailed. So I researched it. Mommie told me that it was a family tradition to mourn a spouse for 1.5 years. I asked her where she got that from. she said it was just what they did. Mommie is in her 70's. I've come to learn half answers is all I'm getting from her. But there are African traditions (many of which match a lot of family traditions) that say that one mourns a blood relative for 18 months. There is fanfare month 1 and month 18. But the best record of mourning etiquette comes from the Victorian era. That queen mourned her husband for more than 40 years. She must have loved him.... So I combined the family, African and Victorian traditions to make "Serenity Mourning Traditions."

Included in my external mourning is the way I dress. When Michael died in 2003, I wore black for 18 months. Solid black the first year and then a mix of black and other patterns/colors for the last 6 months. After 18 months I was disgusted with black and did everything to not wear it again. I even got rid of a lot of the clothes that reminded me of mourning. It was such a dark time in my life. When my Daddy died in 2008, I mourned for 1 year. 6 months of solid black and 6 months of broken black. I discarded the black after that too. Now.... I'm starting from scratch again. I plan to mourn Clarence, for at least 6 solid months. I will probably be the only one mourning him. Our family was small to start with my parents and just the 2 of us. My mother is cracking up, as you can imagine. Clarence was her favorite... her words, not mine. His wife is a "special" person. It's doubtful that she will mourn him at all. And what she does, my nephew follows suit... as he should. I would mourn him even if my SIL did, but I will make sure that he is remembered as an honored ancestor (as if he didn't have a wife).

So my sewing will take on a different hue... literally. I didn't have a lot of black or even broken black. I wore the dress that I made earlier in the year for mourning to the funeral. Who knew? I went to Fine Fabrics and bought some things.... I went to Charming Charlies and bought jewelry and accessories to match. I'm going to do this right and make this look good...

I actually have Michael's death to attribute to me getting back into sewing. I have been sewing since I was 13, but not everything I own. That's why my previous sewing machine lasted 30 years. I made a few things here and there, but mostly did alterations, costumes, quilts and home stuff. I could make garments.... I just didn't all that often. Michael died on Good Friday. Do you know how hard it is to find black for spring and summer??? Even the suit I wore to his services was hard to find. Nordstrom found one in a distant store, ordered it and altered it in 3 days. Go Nordstrom! But what was I to wear all the other days? I was wandering in a fabric store and they has bolts of black cotton on sale for $10/bolt. I bought 3 full bolts and proceeded to make my mourning trousseau. That's what got me into sewing all my clothes. The more successes I had the more confident I became. And here I am.

I am going to not discard my black clothes anymore. Apparently it doesn't keep folks from dying.

This is us as children...


Monday, April 20, 2015

Call Me Cassandra


I have been super busy y'all. I managed to get all my Easter sewing completed. But dig this.... A so-called friend.... who up to this point has never really valued my ability to sew decided that I could make her a few outfits. 3 exactly. And these “outfits” are not dresses or something small like that. They are suits of clothes involving a jacket, top and pants. S1167. She fell in love with Mimi's website and thinks that this is easy for me to just whip up 9 garments on 2 weeks. Nevermind I have a non-sewing full time job!

She bought the pattern (at full price), the notions and some really cheap and flammable polyester and has given me 2 weeks to make 9 garments. I gave it back to her. There is no way that a person who is addicted to RTW going to be satisfied with what she gave me to work with. And I will be the blame for it. Not that nasty thick polyester that will cause her to sweat and smell like a fat girl in the already 80*+ weather we are having. And that that nasty fabric will coat my rotary cutter and gum up my machine... Since she couldn't return anything that she bought, she returned to my home with a different take on it.... and 4 pairs of pants she wants hemmed... By next week. I've done some work for her college aged daughter and I never charge her anything. I guess she is expecting the same treatment. B.U.T.... she has a job! This is why I won't sew for family or close friends, just strangers and of course Precise. But this chick is a dear friend so.... I just hope our friendship survives.

Another “friend” asked me to crochet her a sweater dress for a doll. Ok. I charged her $15 to make it and she had to supply they yarn which I gave back. Now was the doll for her child? No. it was for a doll that she was selling. She thought I charged her too much. She paid it but for her next job, she hired someone else. Guess what? They charged her twice as much as I did. She only told me because she was mad. I had nothing.

I have yet another person in my life who is getting prepared for her sister's wedding. Apparently, the attendants can wear whatever dress they want as long as it falls into a specific color scheme. She showed me a dress she was planning to order from China. I suggested that she needs to order it in as large as a size that it comes in, because special occasion dresses ALWAYS run super small. And that it's easy to take in but harder to let out especially when you don't have the fabric to let it out. she ordered it only 1 size bigger than she wears. Guess what? You already know. I don't have to tell you do I? Now she wants me to do something. What can I do at this point? And everything I suggest does not sit well with her.

As a seamstress, I find it annoying that people who don't sew think they are a better know than I am about sewing. My friend for example.... couldn't wait on a sale for the pattern that was to happen this week. She had to own it last week. She couldn't be bothered to go to the fabric store with me... you know the experienced person... but went with her BF. She didn't take my advice and purchase fabric based not on her rtw measurement, but on the finished garment measurement. She want pants and a jacket from the polyester but there isn't enough. And I'm not going to the store to buy it.

All that to say.... My clients are irritating me. And I'm really reconsidering whether I'm cut out to take on clients. But it is shark week so maybe I'm in the midst of a hormone imbalance...

Saturday, April 11, 2015



I've been to Fine Fabrics 3 times since I 1st said I was going.

I have an official stash.

That is all....


Thursday, April 9, 2015

M6920 - My Easter Dress


Well! I must have spoken this into existence.... I had last Thursday off. Some Jehovah's Witnesses were knocking very aggressively on my front door (I assume they were JD's they ran off before we could catch them) and knocked the glass loose from the door. No matter how we rigged the door, the glass would become dislodged with pressure. We cannot live in a house that opens like that. Our landlord said he could ONLY come on Thursday to fix it... so... BOOM! I got my Easter dress finished amid all the other stuff I had to do. On a side note... I beg to win the Mega Millions all the time, but me mentioning that I needed an extra day to get isht done causes my door to fall in. It just doesn't seem fair....

Behold.... M6920

Pattern: Misses'/Miss Petite/Women's/Women's Petite Dresses Version B

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope?:Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?: Yes

How long did it take from start to finish?: about 3 hours

What did you like/dislike about the pattern? Cup sized options

Fabric used?: Floral rayon

Pattern alterations or design changes made?:
I lengthened it about 4 inches. I am concerned with how gaping the front is. But it is not quite obscene... unless you are seated and folks are looking down at you.

Would you sew it again?: Yes. Sleeveless in denim

Would you recommend it to others?:Do it

Conclusion: I like this dress. It's not my absolute favorite. But it does everything I asked it to do.

Here is the thing... I look old. And old in this dress. This dress looked old ladyish hanging from the door. It is the fabric I think. But I'm 44 not 24. I'm supposed to look 44 (maybe 34?... please!!!). And it it happening to everybody. Taraji P. Henson looks amazing but she also doesn't look young. Jada Pinkett-Smith is another beautiful woman. Woman, not a young lady. Halle Berry still has men falling at her feet... but she looks maybe not exactly her age, but you can tell she's older than Beyonce'. Even J.Lo with her amazing attributes is old. These women are all my contemporaries. There is nothing wrong with age... that is the standard answer.... but I do mourn the loss, albeit slow loss, but loss nonetheless, of my youth. I'm Just Saying....

Yet another reason I don't smile in pics.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lace Skirt and Self Hate


Last year, I ordered the prettiest Kelly green lace form an online supplier. I've been scared to cut it. I even asked y'all for advice. For 1 year that lace has been sitting in my sewing room punking me and talking trash to my face. This weekend I got even.

Behold.... B5760! My TNT skirt pattern. (It's funny because Carolyn uses this pattern for the cardigan. I made a wadder when I tried it. Go figure. Different strokes)

This skirt brought up some stuff for me....I was telling a “friend” that I had made a kelly green lace skirt. (I cannot stop looking at because it is so pretty!!!!) She asked me if I lined it. Of course I lined it. I work in a dentist office and not a strip club. She asked what color the lining was. That's a weird question. I still don't understand her motivation for asking. But I said, “brown.” She asked, “Why did you choose brown?” I said, “Because I'm brown.” She then told me.... that I should have lined it in beige and that my skirt would look dirty. Woooooooow!!!!!!That's a level of self hate I'm not used to. But maybe I should be...

I don't wear white bras. At this junction, I don't even own white bras anymore. Ever since I started buying my own bras, I have made the conscious choice to purchase bras that couldn't be detected under my clothes. I'm dark skinned. So I own mostly black, but some navy, some emerald green, etc. but all dark. When I know that I'm purchasing bras and will have to try them on, I wear a white shirt just to make sure you can't see it. My mother and I were bra shopping and she wanted to buy bras for me. My boobs are not ordinary, so I have to shop at specialty stores. At this particular store on this particular day, they only had white bras in my size. I didn't want them. My mother says, “But they fit.” I said, “I don't wear white bras.” She said, “Everyone wears white bras.” I said, “I don't.” Even the dark skinned sales lady said that she preferred the darker colors. My mother refused to understand. But I refused to bras. And that reminded me of.....

When I got married, I had a bra made. (yes you can to that). I had a black bra made. When I brought it home, my mother bitched because I had it made in black and not white. I countered that you would be able to see a white bra though my dress. And she said not if I wore a slip. That interaction brought back to mind this one....

I used to usher. On the 1st Sunday all the ushers wore their “usher whites.” I always wore Black underthings so that you couldn't see them underneath my whites. The head usher took me aside and asked why I didn't wear white under my whites. I said because you'd see them. She said not if you wore a white slip. She then said my whites looked dingy. I asked what about these white tights. She told me there was nothing I could do about them. And she made us wear these thick assed tights too. Not plain white hose, but tights. She said it would look better. What she meant is the color of our legs wouldn't seep through.

What's with this self hate dark people???? I know in this culture white people are seen as the default, so I expect foolishness from them... but not from us. We are supposed to know that everything that's for them doesn't always apply to us. I don't wear “nude” pantyhose. They are too light. I wear coffee. I don't wear nude shoes, because on me, they are beige. I will wear bronze or copper shoes with everything, though. I don't wash my hair everyday. I know to try on makeup before I purchase it because it may just disappear into my skin. I should own stock in Palmers cocoa butter because I use it like that. I know that “ashy” is a real thing. And guess what... I... Don't... Look.... Dingy! When I wear dark foundation garments. I don't see white as the pinnacle of any damn thing.

But if you do.... stay the hell away from me. I'm having a good time. I own all of this.