Friday, February 10, 2017

McCalls 6920


Its been awhile. Life happens. Let me tell you that 2017 sucks for me and has sucked for me since the 4th of January. I'm getting through.... kind of. I'm putting all my energy on my hobbies and interests to keep from falling into depression. I swear they are keeping me from cracking up.

This dress is the beginning of a new trend for my wardrobe. I'm incorporating more African print patterns into my wardrobe. The reason I'm doing this is because of one of the interests I have is Ifa. Even though I swear I'm not a religious person, religions intrigue me. Not so much that I want to practice. But enough that I want to learn. I have been studying with an Ile. I really love certain aspects of the lifestyle. And as a person who is descended from people who practiced this lifestyle, it feels a bit like I've come home. One of the aspects of the culture (which falls with the definition of culture) I adore, is the clothing.

I've worked with enough African clients to understand that there are only a few traditional garments. And they are worn for ceremonial reasons. The clients who want African outfits of special events or just for social reasons, they just want clothing that is pretty ordinary. So I've made African clothes for African people, using regular patterns. So... why cant I do that for myself?

It brings up another point.... Africans feel some kind of way about African Americans wearing African fabrics. Which I find ironic because wax printed African fabrics are usually made in India. Their argument is AAs don't have the information on wearing the garments correctly. That we wear them at the wrong times. That we mix patterns that shouldn't be mixed. That we aren't really African anymore and AA wearing African prints is no different than white people wearing them. And I don't like to see white people in African print.

That puts AAs in a weird limbo. The Africans are correct in what they are saying. But we have a stronger link to Africa than white folks do. And it's not our fault that our heritage was erased during slavery and Jim Crow times. Even now, when we have our DNA analyzed, we find that we are from all over the continent and other places in the world. African Americans are TRULY swirled... more than any other collection of people in this world. I feel strongly that I can... should... and will wear whatever I want. Not only am I from 5 different African countries, there is European(Irish), Indian (from India) and Pacific Islander within me. I am making the concerted effort to learn more about African culture. So why can't I wear the clothes? I've made party dresses for clients. I party. I've made church dresses for clients. I occasionally go to Ifa services. I've made casual outfits. Who doesn't do casual?

The bottom line is Africans sell the fabric to anyone, and I'm waiting to meet that bad mf'er who's gonna make me stop.

I originally bought M6920 to make a denim dress. I decided to go with a different pattern for the dress and ended up with a wadder. I'm still trying to figure out how I can rectify the wadder. It was a really nice piece of denim. I wanted to make this dress for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to. I'm working now and have some other drama happening. Life... So I made it as soon as time freed up for me.

The way this dress is supposed to work is it is supposed to be a transitional garment. Something to wear in the spring and fall. It can hang in the closet year round. And a year round wardrobe is always a goal. Especially here in the south where winter is so short and mild. My original plan with this dress was to have one panel of the African print in the front and the rest be knit. I was also going to change the collar so that I can pull it over my head since most of it was going to be knit and omit the zipper and facings. And I was going to lengthen it 3" for refinement. Well.... That didn't happen. It was because of the direction of the stretch and the way the fabric was cut.

I've learned my lesson with regard to the direction of stretch. The fabric had only 1 direction of stretch. If you cut a garment in the wrong direction, then the garment is no longer stretchy. So I knew that the garment had to be cut in a particular way. The problem is the direction of the stretch didn't correspond with the yardage... if you get my meaning. The stretch went in the direction of the length not in the amount of yardage I purchased. I didn't know that when I bought the fabric. That has never happened to me before in the 30+ years I've been sewing. So the way I HAD to cut the dress wouldn't allow me to cut the entire dress and maintain the stretch. I had enough of the African print to use it in the back. But.... that means the I wouldn't be sure if I could pull it over my head since now half of the garment would have NO stretch. And since I had a lot of fabric left over, I used the facings and added a zipper. But I didn't use interfacing. Since I had to use more fabric than I intended, I didn't get to make the African print headwrap that I wanted.

Also.... the African fabric was short (36"). So I wasn't able to add the 3" to it like I planned. Initially I was going to try to piece 3" at the bottom. But I didn't like the way it looked. As Michael Kors would say, "It looked Becky home-ecy." So I just went with the length I could get. It comes slightly passed the knee. That is the bare minimum of my refinement. I can wear it with tights and boots. But I just got these new clogs and feel strongly like I want to wear the hell out of them. So I'm wearing them with footless tights. When the weather warms, i wear them with the clogs alone and when it really warms with sandals. See? Year round wardrobe!

Shall we?

Pattern Description: Misses'/Miss Petite/Women's/Women's Petite Dresses. Of course I cut the biggest size, as usual. I planned version C with the short sleeves and not the cap sleeves

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

Fabric used: African waxed fabric and ponte knit

Time? Took 2 hours from start to finish. Even with all the hiccups

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I was planning to make plenty. But in the end I made none

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

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I would on both questions

Conclusion: It's good to not have a wadder for a change. And sewing is keeping me sane.

I've kind of been on a diet. It's beginning of the year and I've decided to lose 25 lbs a year (and keep it off) for the next 4 years. The ultimate goal is losing 100 lbs. Apparently, I've been losing weight. the dress is really big on me. It's more like a tunic. I plan on making this dress in turquoise for the summer. I'll cut a smaller size then.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kwik Sew 3472


I just want to go on record and say that I HATE Jo-Annes. I am utterly distraught that Hancocks has gone out of business. I did everything I could to keep it going. I went every week! Jo-annes doesn’t have the sales on patterns that Hancocks did…. The customer service sucks…. Their fabric ain’t all that… And now that they are the only game in town, they are funny about honoring their own coupons. There are other fabric stores, but not one that is the one stop shop that Jo-annes is and Hancocks was. I really hate them. I’m a seek out other options. I really just need a place to purchase patterns on sale. I don’t pay full price…..

The reason I’m so super pissed with J’s is because I went there and bought 3 yards of ponte knit and it totaled out to $30. I could have bought a rtw dress for $30. A nice one at that. I don’t have to sew every garment I wear. I can still buy. Them jokers would not honor their coupon. They told me my interpretation was wrong. I should have walked out… but I didn’t. I purchased the fabric because it was in my hands and I wanted it. No more. J’s isn’t even close to my home. If I have to drive, I’ll drive somewhere else.

The God and I have a running joke. I say he buys me the best gifts. He does. I use his debit card to purchase gifts for myself. For my birthday, he gifted me with a box of feet!!!! My newer machine has a different set up than my older one and those feet don’t work on the new machine. I missed my rolled hem food, my ruffler and so forth. I got a box with 30 feet. Half of them I have no idea how they work. But I will….. I used the rolled hem to finish off the bottom of the dress. Sweet…

I was originally going to make M6886. I wanted to have a black dress to wear that I could dress up or down and a new black headwrap. My black headwraps get a LOT of use and need to be replaced frequently. But after I spent $30, I decided to make something a little more involved. Hence KS3472.

I’ve wanted to make this dress for a while. It still made a flexible black dress like I originally wanted. It used most of the 3 yards though. I had to creatively get the wrap…. I don’t think I ever sewed a Kwik Sew pattern before. My first surprise was the pattern is on REAL PAPER!!!! I couldn’t stop talking about how this pattern was on real paper. It cracked my husband up. I always cut patterns on bed while we are watching TV.

Shall we?

Pattern Description: Kwik Sew 3472
Dress with two variations for knit fabrics - must have at least 35% stretch. I think it might be out of print.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Didn’t follow them. Essentially the dress has 5 pieces. Not really rocket science

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the style of the dress. I used to have dresses like this when I was younger. I don’t know why I got out of wearing them. I guess trends changed.

Fabric Used:
Ponte Knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the “B” version. But I wanted the long skirt. But the long version was too long and the shorter version was too short. So I went midway with the skirt. Also… I’m not happy with how I cut the sleeves. Since the sleeve had so much ease, I decided to cut it against the stretch so I would have enough to make a headwrap. I’m not going back to J’s for more fabric and further abuse. I’m not quite loving it nor am I quite dying. I might take the sleeves off come spring. We’ll see.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes. I have plans for several. This is going to be one of my TNT dress patterns. Also I like the top as a top

Conclusion: I like when a plan comes together. And I'm done with black.... for awhile

Thursday, November 17, 2016

S1070: My Birthday suit!


I know it's been a minute. Life happened... My Husband and I bought a house for Easter... then a week later I got fired. I'm still not over it. since I wasn't expecting it, I had to hustle with my sewing machine to cover the small bills and learn to live in Georgia heat with no AC. I finally got another job, but it's part time. I like it.... I'm just not sure if I can survive on a part time gig. Since it's all I have right now...... Anywho......

My birthday!!!! And for my birthday I always make or buy a new outfit. I do the same for Easter. But this Easter I bought a house so that was my new Easter thing. This year I used 2 parts of S1070!

I bought S1070 during my last Hancock haul.... RIP Hancock. I soooooo like them better than Joanns... The top was super easy with only 3 main pieces. The top was supposed to be a midriff. But.... Not everybody can wear a midriff. I know I'm supposed to have body positivity. I'm certain I do. But more importantly... I'm a realist. I don't have a good midriff tummy. It's not flat. It has a ton of stretchmarks... And I don't even have children! So I made the shirt shorter than normal but longer than the pattern called for. I'm not going to wear something that doesn't flatter me just because society says I should.

Also.... I am REALLY bad at using the fabric that the pattern calls for. So I really need not to complain when I don't always get the result I was looking for... that's on me.

Pattern: Simplicity 1070

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn't really need to follow them because the bottom has 3 pieces not including the facings and the top had 3 pieces not including the collar. But I did glance at the instructions for the collar. I have a way that I put in collars that works for me. The same can be said about the way my sleeves work. But this time... i decided to see what the instructions said with regard to the collar. And I'm happy to say, that I was pleasantly surprised. I now have a new way to do collars. Bully for me!

How long did it take from start to finish?:
About an hour and a half for the skirt and a half hour for the top.

What did you like/dislike about the pattern?
If you follow the pattern suggestions, you will be fine

Fabric used?:

For the top I used a sweater material. I worked just as anticipated. But for the skirt..... I used really, really, really stretchy woven fabric. I am able to wear it... But in retrospect.... I should have used knits as suggested. Even with the facings not interfaced.... I was able to wear it as intended. But the waist feels like a tourniquet. By the end of my workday, I was in hell. I had to change out of the skirt to go to dinner.

Pattern alterations or design changes made?
I lengthened the midriff or shortened the top... depending on your perspective

Would you sew it again?
Oh absolutely! I made plans to.

Would you recommend it to others?
Do it!!!

This is a really nice pattern. Y'all should try it

Friday, July 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Mommie!!!!


I'm really grateful to have my mother. Really. We DON'T get along. And neither of us is about to change. My immediate family was mom dad and brother. I've lost daddy and brother. Mommie is all I have left. Yes I have a husband... But still my Cipher is tiny.

I made this basket for her. She absolutely hates any gift I get for her. And tends to regift. So I hope this makes it easy to pass on.

Love you Monmie!!!!


PS: she actually spells it Mommie...

Friday, May 20, 2016



I've been wanting one of these skirts for a minute. They are all over Pinterest. Why would I buy something I can make?

I made one a few months ago. But when I tried it on, I knew it wasn't my silhouette. The flowiness made me look extra big. I know some women don't care and wear just what they want, but I like to look good in my clothes. That's me.... Confidence is good, but confidence alone won't make you look amazing if the clothes don't flatter you.

A classmate needed a skirt made quickly. Her daughter is graduating today and there is an Agrican theme. Since I'm not working, (I lost my job of 13 years on April 6th. I haven't mentioned it because I was still a bit bitter...) I told her I could help her out. She gave me the fabric on Monday and I gave her this skirt Thursday. I actually had it ready on Wednesday. 

You like? I didn't use a pattern. I freeballed it. And my client seems very satisfied. 

The client actually wanted it shorter. Like a high-low with it really high in the front. So high, I had to shorten the pockets. I like it better longer.

The class I'm taking is in Ifa. I'm not going into an explanation of what it is or why I'm taking it. But I went to a bembe on Sunday, and I saw people in clothes I KNOW they didn't buy at Macy's. My client is deep in the culture and I'm hoping to get the word out that I, a member of their own community, can custom make their ritual clothing. Now that I'm out of work, I could use the money....



Monday, May 2, 2016



Now that Hancock Fabrics is closing, where am I supposed to purchase patterns and notions? I never liked Joanne's, plus there isn't one close to me. The closest one is 30 miles away.

Who has pattern sales? I'm not paying full price for them.... Where do you get notions?

I'd appreciate any comments...


Wednesday, April 6, 2016



I haven't been sewing... more on that later. But the last thing I have sewn was this.....

One of my dear friends is adopting a child. I wanted to make her a baby quilt. Baby quilts are all I have the patience for. Anything else will cause me to quit right in the middle of the job. I have a larger baby quilt on the UFO pile that I made for one of my line sisters... 2 years ago! I put her son's name on it and everything. That's what happens when quilts get too big on me. I don't enjoy the process. I plan to finish the UFO.... if I can find it... and pick the name out of it. Whoever has the next baby is going to get that quilt!