Saturday, June 29, 2013


I used this pattern to make dresses for my Mother and two sisters that live in upstate New York.  I usually visit them this time of year, but this time couldn't make it.  I won't be there but my dresses will.

Yes, all three are alike - which made it easier to make three of them in less than a week.  I'm hoping my peeps won't mind the look alike styles.  Maybe they can wear them on an outing - maybe a little afternoon trip up to lake country - mmmmm that would be nice.

I decided that making three maxi's would be a great way to help me do a little stash busting - 3 dresses = six yards used.  The two lively prints on the left are jersey knits purchased at Metro Textiles on one of my New York trips, and the ITY knit for the dress on the left was from Fabric.Com several years ago.    I still have enough of the ITY knit for another dress.

The Mission Maxi is a super easy dress to pull together, consisting of just two main pattern pieces and 3 bands to finish the neckline and armholes.  All three dress were machine hemmed using my longest zig-zag stitch to create lettuce hems.  I know my folks already have plenty of cute sandals  to pair with these dresses.

New Skirt

Hello everyone,

I've just finished a new skirt :
It is a straight skirt made in baby wale corduroy- there is a godet pleat insert in the back.

Pattern and picture of back on my blog:

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Needle threading...

You may already know this, but just in case you don't...

Although I wear prescription glasses I sometimes still have trouble threading my machine and hand needles.  I use these two little tricks that you might find helpful too:

1)  you know how we always wet the thread?, well it also helps to wet the needle too.  With both the thread and the needle being wet - the needle acts a little like a magnet drawing the thread to it.  I once shared this bit of information with a friend and she said YUK!!!  What can I say, it works.

2) when threading machine needles try the white paper trick.  I cut little strips of white index cards (use the solid lineless side (strips cut 1/2" wide and 2 1/2" long just to make it easy to handle).  Wet the thread (holding in left hand) and direct it toward the needle while holding the white paper in your right hand behind the needle.  The white paper just makes it SOOOOO EASY to actually see the needle hole. I promise this will help.  I keep a little stack of  the paper strips them on my sewing table within easy reach because can you imagine just how many needles I thread...

Pointer Sisters Dress!

As the song goes 'I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It' (what on earth is she on about, I hear you say?)  Well, I have been wanting to make a simple shift dress that suits my plus figure, and after some great advice from blogland, I have a great wearable muslin. 

It is not perfect, but I am really pleased with it and I thought that this would be a great first post!  I stopped buying RTW clothing as part of Goodbye Valentino's challenge, on October 11th, 2012, and I have not looked back (or been remotely tempted). 

As far as the pattern is concerned, I started with Simplicity 7740.  It is (was) a simple style with bust darts and then I added all my 'normal' adjustments and a few extra darts!

So what do you think?  What has been your recent sewing achievement?

More photos and details on my blog!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


when I saw this vinatge curtain panel I knew there was an apron hiding in it lol!, more info on how I tranformed this curtain panel into an apron on my blog


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Little Vest

I made this jacket out of part of a trial muslin, and some leftover polar fleece from another project.  You can find more details at:

Sarah Liz 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time to post . .. .

I've been recovering from foot surgery, and am realizing how much I am missing wearing my heels!  You don't realize how much you miss something till you have to go without it.  Anyway it hasn't stopped my desire to sew; so I had to start posting pictures of my completed projects rather than wait to do the photos once my foot is completely healed.  (The doc says that will be another month!)

Here is one of the outfits that I finished recently:  McCall's Peplum top and a skirt (from Mimi's Pencil skirt tutorial).  I discovered I had a button front sweater in my closet that was the exact color as my skirt; so I get two outfits instead of just one.

Happy Sewing Everyone!

VOGUE 1282

... I'm calling this one my "Better Late than Never" top because I've been wanting to make this top since it first came out last summer.  Well the time to make it finally came.

VOGUE 1282
Alterations made to the pattern:
  • raised the weirdly shaped armhole, 
  • eliminated gaping at the back center seam,
  • raised the elongated neckline,

What a Weirdly shaped pattern!  Two gigantic pattern pieces that are taped together to make one piece that actually turns out to be the back and front of the top and a armhole facing that's all.  I used a seriously mysteryfied WalMart fabric from le good old STASH - 1 1/2 yards, don't know what in the world it is.  Just knew it was a two way stretch knit and nothing that I would ever consider using for an actual garment so it fit the practice category.   I like the top.  And will be making another one as soon as I make a fabric choice.

Commencing with this top I'm using my high bust measurement for pattern sizing.  I know, should have been using that measurement all along, I've read it, but it was so hard to make that change for some reason.  I'll be able to get a much better fit through the shoulders and bust area.  This sewing thing is ever evolving... 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Zig Zag Dress

My second clothing item finished!  McCall's 6433

My 7 major problems with this project are detailed on my blog.
In summary:  fabric choice issues, serging error, plunging neckline.

But it did give me the opportunity to coin the phrase Boobie Dickey.

What I like about this pattern:  The shoulder pleats and fit of the upper bodice.  I have broad shoulders and this works well for me.   I also like the lined bodice and sleeves in place of facings or hems.

What I'd change: neckline - both shape and depth.  More volume in the skirt.  Views A&B have a pleated skirt feature that I think would look good in the suggested crepe or challis fabrics.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Skirt Length

I haven't actually finished anything to share.  Rather, I'd like to start a conversation to help me make some decisions about ideal skirt length.
I recently posted about this skirt which I think is perfect length for a "short" skirt that is still professionally appropriate.  I need to make several more pencil skirts, and am needing to decide how many, based upon how many of my existing skirts I can keep for work.

I have VERY long legs (33" inseam...before allowance on pants for shoes which explains why I learned to sew).  This skirt sits below the waist line, is 22" long, and hits just above my knee caps.  From my inseam to the hem line is 13".

Part of my process for sorting out my wardrobe and deciding what to sew is that I organized my closet with the goal to wear everything (seasonally appropriate) or let it go.  Today I put this favorite (that I bought in a thrift store in 1985).  I still love it and think that it isn't inappropriate in style, print or length for a 47 year old who's best physical feature is great legs.  I have half a dozen cotton summer skirts in similar lengths.

HOWEVER, I am in a new job.  My co-workers are extremely conservative dressers (earth tones, pants, polo shirts) so I have difficulty judging "appropriate" vs "personal preference".  (We taunted my boss about what a bad influence I am as this week she wore not only print top one day but then really shocked us all with a new magenta blouse.)  I am a health care professional in an outpatient clinic.  I sit behind a desk while I educate (ie, no bending, lifting, squatting, etc).

The facts:  The skirts in question are 19-20" side length (2-3" shorter than my personal perceived "perfect").  They hit about 4" above my knee cap (which is about 9" from my crotch).  When I am sitting, they ride up to 5.5-6" from knee cap...still a good 7" from the naughty bits.

The question: Are they too short for work? If I were your doctor, social worker, psychologist, diabetes educator or registered dietitian, would my skirt length distract you from what I'm trying to teach you?  Or am I just being my mother....who taught me that "women of a certain age" don't have long hair and wear certain clothing?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Newest Pants for Winter

Here are my latest pants for winter.

(those wrinkles are from the way I'm standing on the staircase - they're not there in real life)

It's so good having items ready to go before the season is finished.

If anyone's interested, there's more info on my blog .

A Jacket Completed

This is my new Polar Fleece Jacket - full details about the pattern and making of this jacket can be found here:

I do hope your sewing projects are going well :)

Sarah Liz

Sunday, June 9, 2013


..but the fit is great!  So as I continue working on my idea of a perfect Summer Breezes Wardrobe, I've had visions of adding a simple stripped garment to the collection.    Just so happened that I do have a small collection of stripped knits stashed.  So I reached WAY back into my pattern collection and pulled out an old but goody

for a good fitting basic tee shirt.  One of the reasons I like this simple pattern is that it has no bust dart.  I detest making darts in knit fabrics because they just never press well - IMO.  This pattern is dartless.  I have also often wondered why some knit patterns have center back seams.  I use to think that it was senseless.   Little did I know that the center back seam lends itself to better fitting options - found this out during the Essential Tops Sew-A-Long several months go.  Thus my motto:  you live and learn, or so it should be.

I plan to wear my blue and white 3/4 length sleeved stripped t-shirt with a pair of traditional navy bell bottom pants that I made during my Pant's Marathon last month but never posted. 

I used a twin needle for the hems after deciding on hemming with white rather than blue.

It's just a  plain and simple tee shirt, but just what I needed to go with my bells bottoms.

Friday, June 7, 2013

So, sew, so......

... what have I been up to??? Well, with work, not much. But I did squeeze in the chance to make an evening dress to wear to my son's Formal Ball a few weekends back.  Held at the brand spanking new Royal Convention Centre in Brisbane, the event was spectacular. Never having made a dress of this calibre before I spent many a day thinking, do I? Don't I?  Well I made up my mind quick enough after visiting a few more 'upmarket-stores' in Brisbane, the popping beads, and faded fabric soon made up my mind that I was to make this dress myself.

In my little stash of goodness I had both Vogue 1182 and Butterick 5542, lines I have admired, and wished to whip up. But with the scares on my back the Butterick number wasn't to be. So what was I to do, but merge the two together - so this is the Vogue top on the Butterick bottom. Morphing at its best. 
Not sure why Butterick is blurry!!!
The fabric is from Sckaf's, Indooropilly. A beautiful midnight navy satin sateen with cotton lining (we are talking Brisbane here!) And may I take the time to thank the staff at Sckaf's! I have never met more obliging women. They tried many trim combinations with different colour fabrics, purely so that I would be happy. Little did they know after being in the dress stores of designers where I was up for many $$$, I was keen for just about anything. 
Like most reviews online, I narrowed down the collar on the Vogue, just like the picture. Really, the picture on the cover and the pattern piece are not the same.  To 'enhance' the collar section, and to give a bit of age appropriate bling (well, we are all girls at heart) I sewed a little silver bead in the middle of each rose on the collar, and this was just enough 'lift' for the evening. And from this I matched a pair of delicate silver earrings, necklace and evening bag to carry the look off.
All in all a great night, a great dress and great memories. That is what sewing is all about. So another addition to Sew My Own Wardrobe for a year - this time last year I would have picked up a dress from the shops, and been half happy with it. Instead, thanks to Vita and Natalea from Join the Challenge, I am 110% happy with my dress - huge hugs, ladies!
Now whilst I made a full length dress for this formal occasion, wearing it again will be a rarity in my world. And when I do need another long formal dress I won't want to wear the same one twice! After all, I am a sewer. So the big plan is to chop the bottom off, whizz the sides back in, and add a vent up the back to create a cocktail length dress that I will wear a  little more often. And I have one spare little feature flower that I was thinking of attaching to the top of the back vent.

Hiding away inside my little sewing cave are a few more 1/2 started, or 1/2 finished garments that I must complete. Will post them up soon...J

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Patterned Pants

Hello everyone - just to let you know I've finally succumbed to the patterned pants trend - I've just completed these...

You can find out more about these pants and the pattern I used at:
Sarah Liz :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Floral Skirt - First Finish!

After driving myself crazy trying to fit a knit t-shirt, I have returned to my comfort zone and sewed up a skirt.   I have to admit that I feel more like the experience sewist that I really am than I have for weeks.

I made a muslin of Simplicity 2475 which only needed a couple adjustments at the waist and upper back seams to better fit my narrower waist.

  My years of fussy cutting for quilts paid off for the placement of the stems at the hem, some green leaves in the kick pleats (sorry, not visible in the photos) and my favorite: the clever placement of the butterfly on the front waistband.

The fabric was a 3-panel linen (or linen-like) fabric I found at a thrift store for about $5, probably intended as curtains or throw pillows.  It is fully lined with scraps that are probably white cotton sheets.   Pink metal zip at the left hip (the only 7" light colored zip in my vast stash).

It is 100% stash for the Style the Stash Challenge.  More details on my blog. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


...For my next project I chose McCall's 6751 because I really needed an easy to make success story to build my confidence back up.

McCall's 6751
 I am really attracted to all four views of this pattern, but decided to start with view D.  I made it from a  crinkled gauze jungle print fabric pulled from the top of my stash.  Lots of colors involved in this top so it won't be hard to find a bottom to wear with it.  It's an easy, breezy simple top; another one with the hi-lo detail.


Back with pleated detail
Plenty of room in this one - I made a large but if I were to make it again I'd definitely opt for the medium.  I only made minor changes, i.e. omitted the pocket and bias tape facings for the armhole and neckline.  Nothing difficult about this one.  I think I'd love wearing it with shorts.  Just right for a lovely Saturday summer outing - mmmm note to self:  need to plan one of those (haha).  I think I need a couple  more simple projects just to keep momentum up. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Shades of Blue with a Dash of Grey and Jade

May was a good sewing month for me!

Don't think I'm always this productive, 'cos I'm definitely not. Our sewing Guild group had a session where we took a basic T-Shirt, used some simple patternmaking and came up with a different top. Since I was leading the group for May, I needed some samples to demonstrate and the above photo is the result.

Lucky me, I now have new tops for the coming season, ahead of time even ;-) and all from stash fabric .... 20metres bit the dust. Woo! Hoo!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


It was such a cute little summer top that I couldn't wait to get it made.
But I should have made a doggone muslin - yes a muslin of this simple looking top.    So what's the problem with the pattern?
  • Well, on me the armhole is  2 1/4" too low - causing major underarm bra exposure
  • I decreased the center front neckline and center back 1".  Needed to decrease 1 1/2" to 2" instead.
  • Increased back strap seam allowance to 1 3/8" to remove excess slackness
Don't know if it would be worth it to give this pattern another try after making the needed adjustments.   After running into these problems the top isn't all that cute to me anymore.  I think I'll cut my loss and just move on...