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...