Thursday, April 3, 2014

Last night a Muslin saved my life....


This is a difficult time for me. It is not summer, but not winter anymore. It’s really cold and then it’s really hot. It’s crazy. All this week the temps have been in the 80’s, but next week the highs will be in the 60’s. That means possibly freezing low temps.I keep saying I want a seasonless wardrobe, but that hasn’t materialized. I think that is a hard thing to accomplish if your region experiences more than 1 season.

I’m still old school with my clothes. I have summer clothes right now in the trunks and winter clothes in the closet (though sweaters are on the floor). April and October are the swap months but it will be potentially too cold for all summer clothes to be the only thing in the closet. What is a girl to do?

She makes the clothes she needs! Meet New Look 6025!

This is supposed to be an easy pattern. And it is… if it fits you right out of the bag. This one did not fit me right out of the bag. It took only 20 minutes to cut and sew up the muslin. In order to make the patter fit me, it required adjustments. Thank goodness I did a muslin! Normally I wouldn’t, but I have lost some weight recently… thank you… and wasn’t sure what size to cut. That is the only reason I did a muslin. This is a tunic. It is SUPPOSED to be loose fitting.

This pattern, right out of the package, smooshed my boobs 3 inches! How disrespectful! I was salty... and sausage looking. The way this pattern is made (Essentially 2 pieces) I was confused on how to do a FBA since it would involve the sleeve. the internet wasn't truly helpful. I liked how it was sitting on my neck and I didn’t want to change that at all. But we don’t always get what we want. The neck got bigger but not in an obscene way. It just didn’t fall exactly the way I wanted.

Pattern Description:
New Look 6025. Misses top or tunic with sleeve variations and tie belt.

Pattern Sizing:
8-18 I cut an 18…..

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I was expecting more boob room. I like wide neck lines that stay on my shoulder and this fit the bill

Fabric Used:
A woven cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did a jackleg FBA with a breast dart. It came out decent but I’m not super satisfied. Had I paid a lot for this fabric I would be angry. I would appreciate some direction on how to do a proper FBA on this type of pattern

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I had plans to, but I’m not so sure. I think if I was going to use a knit then everything would be fine.

I’ll wear the shirt… this year

Look at my shoes I snagged for $7! These are not wear to work shoes. I hadn’t realized that when I put them on. They are going out shoes. The heels are too high for me to be on my feet half the day. Sigh….. I remember when heel height was NEVER a deterrent for me. I’d wear stilettos to Walmart and church picnics! But those days have passed. I have transformed from stiletto girl to middle aged pump woman. It happens….


Tuesday, April 1, 2014



I know I have been doing crickets over here, but there is nothing to share… really. Every time I went to my closet, I was fighting to close the door or the drawers. I haven’t added anything new to my wardrobe in a minute. But that is a changing…. Spring is here!!!! And spring clothes take up less space than sweaters!

I have made plans…. But I won’t share them. I get bummed out when I don’t complete them for whatever reason. Sewing is supposed to be fun and relaxing and having to keep my word to make xyz or feel like a loser, is the antithesis of fun.

The only things I have made… and it wasn’t really making… were 2 crop tops. I didn’t really make them as I just bought 2 $4 t-shirts from Wal-mart and shortened them. It was way cheaper than buying fabric, patterns and thread and such. BUT… I did learn how to use a twin needle! And on my 30 year old machine!!! The edges of the shirts look real professional….

Every year I buy a piece of jewelry that serves as my inspiration for what I sew for the spring/summer season. Isn’t that what summer is about? Skin and pretty jewelry? For the last few years I have been wanting to do something with the theme of “…ocean…” I like the idea of water in all it’s colors. So… that is what these pieces exemplify. Most of the fabric I have purchased has watery undertones.

So….? What do you think about my inspiration?


PS: The lipstick is that new spring pinky pink. I have been trying to make it work on my skin tone. The God said it doesn’t look natural… I’m thinking he doesn’t Understand how makeup works.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



I almost didn’t post this… Damn this pic is unflattering. I look like an old fat woman. But I’m smiling (told you I could do it) at my spoiled cat. My photographer really needs to stand when he takes my pic. It makes a big difference. And I know it’s the dress….. And that is what you are suppose to think as well.

I won this pattern from a giveaway a few months ago. It’s OOP. But there are other patterns that are similar. I haven’t really been sewing a lot these days. I started taking classes to become a midwife. It is very distracting… And once I become a practicing midwife, my need for non-uniform clothes will go way down. So I haven’t been making a lot of clothes. Also, its winter and I hate winter clothes. I have excema and the cold, the artificial heat and the layers required to keep warm all exacerbate my condition. It’s bad every year somewhere…..

So behold my Christmas dress. To be worn to work on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day. And no, I don’t celebrate xmas, but I will go to Mommie’s house and hang out with the peeps. This is really funny… I’m an AKA. We are taught to dislike and not wear red. I don’t wear red. This is the only red dress I own! I decided to break out of my pattern.

Shall we?

Pattern Description:
Princess Seam dress with attractive neck drape. I made it with sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 24 but it was really very loose on me. I probably could leave it 24 on the top and grade down to a 20 everywhere else

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were. I had no problems. It was a bit murky with regard to the collar but not so bad

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the style of this dress. I have come to learn that when using a pattern with bells and whistles, use a solid color. Plain patterns can handle fancier prints.

Fabric Used:
Ponte knit! I really love this stuff. It is the knit that I will want to use over and over.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

My biggest concern was whether the pattern was long enough to cover my knees. I’m righteous and display 3/4ths. I really would have preferred that this dress be a midi. But the reviews I read said nothing about lengthening this dress for it to be at least passed the knee. One particular blogger who reviewed the pattern had said in passing that she was my height and she didn’t mention needing to lengthen the dress so I figured a little length would work. (I know I needed to do a muslin, but I had no time….) So I added an inch to the length of the pattern. I knew that my boobs and hips would cause it ride up a bit. The thing is… I lengthened the dress 2” but when it came time to hem it, I needed to cut off about an inch to make it even. SMH… I can’t win. So it comes to about my knee. And I HATE my knees.

Would you sew it again?

Would you recommend it to others? I would. Next time, I would like to use black ponte knit and I will do the sleeveless version and it will be a LOT longer. That will be my LBD

My new years sewing resolution is to follow the pattern recommendations on the back of the envelope!

Whatever holiday you celebrate make sure it’s a safe one.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin


It’s Halloween!!!! I’m excited. It is one of my favorite holidays and I treat it just like a holiday. BUT…. This year I didn’t make myself a costume. I know…. The neighborhood I live in doesn’t see any trick-or-treaters and my boss pissed me off so I decided not to dress while at work anymore…. (hopefully this is my last Halloween at this job). But the God needed a costume for his job’s celebration. So that’s where my machine worked this year.

Meet my Shaolin Monk….

Isn’t he a cutie pie? That is his tortured happy smile. Neither of us know how to smile for pictures. The costume was his idea. I wanted to do Despicable me and he be Gru and I could be a minion. But…. He is a big martial arts buff. He actually practiced some version of it because he had the pants and boots. He made me watch some movie so I could see the outfits in action. I fell asleep and he paused it until I woke up. It was something about 36 chambers of something. IDK…

Here is the inspiration...

This costume was ridiculously easy to make. Simplicity 5152. I got this at a thrift store for like a dime. It was already cut to a medium. And I had already made the 7 a tunic from this pattern before so I knew we were good.

Changes I made included opening the sleeve to make it wide at the end and adding 10” to the length. The 7 has freakishly long arms but he wanted it to be open like that. I added 22” to length of the garment but kept the side splits at 16” from the sleeve. I didn’t add the front or neck facings. I wasn’t sure I had enough fabric to do that. I just cut both pieces on the fold and added a collar an inch thick. I changed the front a bit to. It called for a deeper opening than he wanted.

I used a yellow linen looking fabric that was in my stash. I intended to make a dress from the fabric. But…. Yellow on darkskinned people is a bit off putting. I know. I’m working through that. It was easy to work with and it has some stretch to it. The red scarf is 3 yards of uncut red cotton. He was supposed to draw lines on it like were in the movie but he chickened out last minute. I’m not sure if you can see it but on his legs there are like these white cuffs? It was part of the uniform and I have no clue what they are for. A yard of fabric cut in half with about and inch folded over and a bootleg drawstring. By bootleg, I crocheted a strand and ran it through. It’s dark and no one will be able to see it. And I even strung those beads.

When making costumes…. I don’t put a lot of thought into finishing or making sure seams are secure. Especially if it’s loose. My personal requirements are that everything is neat and doesn’t explode at some odd moment. It’s going to be worn 1 day and forgotten afterward. I put a bit more effort into this garment because the people who see this may become potential clients. So…..

All in all he’s thrilled. He claims that this is going to be his costume for all his costume needs for years to come. Now I wish I had finished better. LOL. there is always next year. And I am happy that I could play a role in seeing him so happy


Monday, October 21, 2013

Cultural Appropriation?


It’s been awhile has it not? I made another skirt version of B5760. I have come to some serious acceptances…. Pencil skirts and A-line skirts look best on me. So I’m not doing the full skirt trend. I just don’t want to look big as a house. B5760 is my TNT pencil skirt pattern. I have made this pattern so much that I can get it up and running in an hour from start to finish with completely satisfying and predictable results. So I’m not going to review this skirt I’m showing you. But it does bring out questions…..

An African patient came into the office and she had on an “African print” garment that I admired. I will freely admit that I don’t know what to call them. Everyone seems to call them “African Print” so I will too. I admired it because it was beautiful. The next time she came in the office, she gave me an entire outfit; top, shirt to wrap and head wrap. I adore it. Here is the print.

I don’t really have an occasion where “African Print” is the required dress code. When I used to go to church and we would rock these prints on a Sunday in February. But I don’t do church anymore. I suppose I could wear it to a parliament but I don’t like to get that dressed up for them. I tend to wear this outfit for a special occasion (a wedding, presentation, for when I don’t know what to wear but feel like I need to dress up) and sometimes to work.

Another African patient saw me in my AP outfit and she got mad at me. Her exact words were, “I want to fight you. You don’t wear that to work. You wear it to a party or special event!” Well I didn’t know that. And now that I know that, I realize it doesn’t make much difference. I would not wear it to a party because at parties I dance. I’d be worried that the safety pin that was holding the skirt together would fail at the most inopportune time. I’m no longer a Christian so church is out (I see Ghanaian people wearing this type of print to a church in my neighborhood). I suppose I should throw it out?

No I’m not.

I was in African store that sells fabric. I found the fabric that I made this B5760 skirt from on sale. I have wanted to make the skirt I made, and out of this particular print. I have been waiting for it to go on sale. The African woman who was ringing me up asked me if I was from an African country. I said no (just because I’m Black doesn’t make me African). She asked me what I was going to do with the fabric. I said make a skirt. She asked where I was going to wear said skirt. That’s where it stopped for me. I asked her if she was willing to sell me the fabric. She did. We were done.

Here is my question…. Am I appropriating another’s culture by wearing their fabric? I LOOOOOOOVE saris and would love to wear one as Indian women do. But I don’t because I’m not Indian. I see how that is disrespectful. BUT... I would wear a garment made out of sari fabric without thinking about whether it was appropriate or not. I would never wear a Native American headdress, but I would wear their jewelry. I might have worn a burqua before. It wasn’t because I was trying to be modest but because I was trying to prove a point to someone. I like to think I’m culturally sensitive.

My see is it’s about the garment and not the fabric. Fabric is objective where the display is subjective.

How do y’all see that?


Monday, September 9, 2013



It's been a while since I posted. I have nothing to report. I'm a be super honest.... I don't like my sewing room. This house that I have been living in for 2 years, is a step down/ half the square footage from/of the house I lived in previously. So I have to share my space with the 7. I think he keeps his area a mess and he feels the same about me. Coupled with the fact that there is refrigerator, his microwave and other foolishness in there... I just don't feel super comfortable in there. It's hard for me to get in sew mode. But these questions have been all over my news feed so I thought I'd build on them for the post. LOL!!!!

1. Do you cut with your fabric RS out or WS out?
Took me a minute to figure out what WS and RS was. I think it means right and wrong side. If it does, I always cut the fabric on the right side. BUT... I don't always cut with the pattern on the right side. I use whatever is convenient.

2. How do you make your pattern markings?
Another question I don't quite understand. If it means how do I transfer marking from the pattern to the fabric.... I use a pen or a pencil. For real. If your gonna sew and fold it after sewing your not going to see it anyway. So...... I have occasionally used a sharpie. And everything has always come out fine. Don't judge me!

3. Do you follow the cutting layout in patterns?
Until this very post... I never even considered that those pictures were suggestions on how to cut out the pattern. I don't know what I thought they were. Maybe just artwork? And I have been sewing for over 30 years!

4. Are you obsessed with re-folding your pattern tissue on or very close to the original fold lines?

YES!!! Absolutely. And I'm good at it. Even after I iron a pattern down I can refold it back to the factory fold. I'm proud of this ability

5. Do you make all the markings?

Another Question I don't get. I make all the marking that I'm supposed to make. Now as far as those things on the pattern that stick out or in... I don't make those. They are ridiculous to cut. Again... Everything always comes out fine.



Monday, July 22, 2013



The God and I went out with 2 of my friends. He doesn't have friends here without me, yet. We don't really have a lot of couple friends. We both have these social yet anti-social tendencies. Plus for some reason, in our Culture functional relationships are not the norm. Who knows.... But we had a double date with married friends of mine. These friends are really important to me. We became friends when I 1st moved to GA. They had been friends with me and my late husband. Then they were church friends. I had a lot of those. But when I left that particular church and started to attend another... I lost all the friends I had there. You know those friends who claimed to be ride or die friends... This couple remained close. When I left the church all together, they still remained my friends. I adore these people. But... I guess I found their limits. Since the God and I have been together they have become distant... Oh well. They invited us to attend something and we went.

The biggest thing that keeps me from going out, is I don't have a lot of going out clothes. the clothes I acquire are work clothes. Now my job is very casual, and there is very little I cannot wear so my limitations usually have to do with 3/4ths. I don't club. So when I "go out" it's usually to some function. See? this is getting more and more convoluted. Every summer I get a going out dress. Since when I do go somewhere it will always be with different people. I can wear the dress over and over again. My idea of a perfect "going out" dress is one that will shift from day to evening. Since I will get the most use out of something I can also wear to work. M6553 fit the bill.

I have had the pattern for some time now. I bought it when it 1st came out. It's a loose fitting dress and on big girls loose fitting is synonymous to sloppy. I don't do sloppy. I bought the fabric 2 years ago to make a shirt dress. Where shirt dresses have their place... that place is not on my back. My clothes need to be just a tad edgy. But I have seen so many versions of M6553 that I had to give it a shot. I'm glad I did.

Pattern Description: Misses Dress and belt

Pattern Sizing: 14-22 (I cut 22)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes and no. Essentially they were but the instructions about where to place the belt vent was not there. I read them and re-read them. Folk have pics with them put in so I had to guess. I wish I had put it in higher. I still can but I wish to have done it the way I wanted up front.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I was surprised that something so loose fitting would work for me
I didn't like the lack of vent instructions

Fabric Used: Blue rayon. I don't like fabric that frays like this. Enough said

Yardage: 3 yards

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I lengthened it an inch. I need for my knees to be covered. It kind of worked and kind of didn't. Everything lined up except the front piece. I am certain that I lengthened it an inch like I did the other pieces but it was exactly an inch short. That's why my knees are out. I don't know if it was supposed to be like that. ALSO.... I lost a pattern piece for the back yoke. I re-drew based on the directions and the pattern pieces that were there. I don't know what to say about that.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and Yes. I applied and interviewed for a ptj. And if I get it, i will be required to wear black. I found 3 yards of black fabric in my stash, I will use that to make another one but this time in a smaller size.

But my question is how many of this dress can one have in one's wardrobe?

I really like it.