Archive: Sep 2014

Pattern Anthology: DIY Mermaid Leggings

Hey guys! Happy October! I’m pretty excited to show you my brand new leggings!You know I love leggings, I live in leggings, I get excited over leggings, they’re my thing! A few weeks ago I was trying to make something cute to wear to go see You Me at S…

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TSA Episode 6: Lladybird

There’s a whole part of me that wishes I lived in a part of the world where it’s sunnier and warmer year round.  Well, all of me pretty much wishes that but since that’s not in the cards (right now, anyway), instead of focusing on the negatives and what I wish I had, I’m concentrating […]

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Shelly Figueroa of Figgy’s: Designer Interview

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What is your greatest fear?
“losing my children”

What is your favorite color?
“orange. not to wear but to look at”

What trait do you most deplore in yourself?
“self talk”

What trait do you most deplore in others?
“judgement ”

What is your greatest extravagance?
“shoes, but wish it could be traveling :)”

Shelly Figueroa of Figgy’s: Designer Interview
My favorite photo of myself: It is not a great photo of myself but it represents me at a very happy time. Laughing is my most favorite thing to do.

What is your favorite journey?
“Italy 1993”

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

On what occasion do you lie?
“when my husband accuses me of eating the last cookie”

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
“pore size”

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“No Way!, totally, trim your threads”

What is your greatest regret?
“not finishing college ”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
“my family as a whole”

What talent would you most like to have?
“ukelele “

What is your current state of mind?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“a fast metabolism would be awesome”

Shelly Figueroa of Figgy’s: Designer Interview My most favorite thing I’ve ever made comes in 2:

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
“myself, if it means I get to spend another lifetime with my husband and sons, if I can’t have the whole package then I choose nothing”

Where would you like to live?
“exactly where I am but with a vacation home someplace warm to escape to during February”

What is your favorite occupation?
“Fabric Buyer ”

What is the quality you most like in a man?
“The ability to just let it go”

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite artists?
“Franco & Julian”

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
“Harry Hole”

Who are your heroes in real life?
“My parents”

What are your favorite motto?
“Learn from yesterday; live for today; hope for tomorrow.”

How would you like to die?
“In my Sleep”

During each Parcel sale we ask the designers to answer the Proust Questionnaire for us and to share some images of their favorite things. You can read past interviews Right Here.

Looking for the Parcel #5 Inspiration? Head on over Right Here.
Still haven’t purchased Parcel #5? You can Get It Here until Friday, October 3rd.

Buy Pattern Parcel #5

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Miss Maureen Loots and Plunders: Butterick 5997

Contain your shock, friends. For the second post in a row, I am wearing jeans. Don’t blame me, blame the swingy blouses! A shirtdress (and a fun related announcement) will be up later this week, but in the meantime I’m still reveling in roomy, artsy tops.
This one, a silk cotton version of Butterick 5997, was my Mood Sewing Network project for September and actually predates my Zsalya blouse. I made it a couple weeks back, tried it on, and had a dreadful realization. It was so bad that, until late last week, the shirt lay unfinished on the bed in my sewing room, taunting me. I finally mustered up the wherewithal to fix it, if only to stop the pangs of guilt. Unfinished objects drive me crazy.
Let’s begin the melodramatic tale of 5997, shall we? The blouse came about, because there really aren’t enough blouses in my wardrobe. I have dresses aplenty, tons of skirts, piles of sweaters, but very few non-knit tops. In the wintertime, that’s fine, because when I’m wearing jeans I’m also usually wearing a cashmere sweater. (Aside: Cashmere is my one great ready-to-wear indulgence. Last year, in the what I will forever call The Best Christmas Ever, all my parents gave me were cashmere sweaters and you have never seen a happier Mary. Soft things forever.) In the warmer months, though, I’m at a loss for what to wear with jeans. Sure, I mostly reach for dresses anyway, but sometimes I just want something easy! Knit tops are great with skirts, but I hate pairing clinging knits with tight denim. Damn it, I want to wear skinny jeans and I don’t want to be self-conscious while doing so!
Enter the swingy blouse. Loose, interesting blouses in fancy fabrics are the key to this wardrobe conundrum. My love of these garments is directly caused by watching too many classic movies and TV shows, while growing up. There was a period in the late fifties to early sixties, when women would casually throw on smocks with their cigarette pants, for chic home attire. Admittedly, this was often in order to disguise a pregnancy, but whatever. This style has always stuck in my head as the epitome of casual chic. 
So, swingy blouses were going to be made. Initially, I bought McCall’s 6991, the wrap blouse currently making the rounds through the Sewing Blog Community, with an eye on making View C. After Manju’s gorgeous pink version, I had to have it! Just as I was about to cut into my Mood fabric, however, I spied Butterick 5997 on the internet and fell head-over-heels with View D. 6991 was thrown over, in favor of a shoulder pintucks and a stand collar. Plus, it had those dishy gathered sleeves. How could I resist a shirt with so many gorgeous details? 
Well, I couldn’t! After making a couple of flat pattern adjustments–a very small FBA and narrowing the shoulder seam–I cut into this gorgeous silk cotton poplin from Mood. The color, a steely Wedgwood blue, is one of my all time favorites. So much so that, last summer, I insisted we paint half of our rooms the exact same hue. In my defense, Sam also likes the color and I was the one doing all the painting, because it’s his least favorite home maintenance task ever. My lovely younger sister came up and we painted and painted and painted blue for days. That I still like this color after that is a testament to its beauty, don’t you think? So, yeah, this fabric was awesome and the shirt was going to be even more awesome, because pintucks are the most awesome. The end.
Or so I thought. After finishing most of the shirt, including doing a hand-rolled hem, I set in the sleeves. Joyful at the prospect of my almost-finished shirt, I trotted out to our hall mirror. 
And shrieked. 
This is what I saw:
Well, approximately. I swear I took a picture of the horrid sleeves in questions, but my phone seems to have (rightly) rejected the evidence. Trust me, I looked like a bloody pirate. I was one jaunty hat away from tearing through our neighborhood, looting and plundering the houses for rum and vintage fabric. Yoho
What looked like a perfectly reasonable, if billowy, sleeve on the pattern model, translated to a great, gathered monstrosity on my own blouse. I can only assume this is one of those things where they kept logically grading the sleeves up, along with the rest of the pattern, but PEOPLE REALLY SHOULDN’T WEAR TWO FOOT CIRCUMFERENCE SLEEVES, NO MATTER THEIR BODY SIZE
So, I stewed about it for a few weeks. Finally, I worked up the gumption to take both sleeves off, completely take apart their seams, and reduce their width by over six inches each. I then, just for good measure, chopped off three inches from the hemline and didn’t gather there at all. The result is the blouse you see now, moderate bell sleeves and all. 
Reasonably sized sleeves!
Apologies for the wrinkles–we drove around for half an hour, trying to find a good photo location. We, as happens, ended up at the schoolyard down the block that I always go to anyway and I ended up with sleeve and back wrinkles. My mother was always adamant that seatbelts are a must, even if they ruin one’s outfit!

I like it! The sleeves need some shape tweaking still, but the actual base of the blouse is pretty fantastic. I love the pintucks (so easy with an edge-stitching foot) paired with that mandarin collar. Even better, the blouse is saved from being a tent by clever side darting and that dishy deep V. Some people may not be a fan of cleavage baring shirts, but this is a totally tasteful hint of cleavage shadow. I like my bosoms and don’t mind giving them some air, so it works. 
If you’re thinking of trying this pattern yourself, I do have some suggestions. First off, check the sleeves before you cut them out. Maybe you like feeling a bit piratey on your day off, but if you don’t, those suckers may be way too big. Also, staystitch and understitch every part of the neckline you possibly can. I make a policy of always doing these things anyway, but they’re pretty glossed over in the instructions here. You don’t want that V to distort! Staystitch as soon as you can! Additionally, if you’re going to use a silk or rayon, I highly recommend using French seam where possible and hand-rolling the hem and sleeves, to prevent unraveling over time. It took some extra effort, but I’m so happy to have finished it properly.
Otherwise…this is a super easy, super straight-forward blouse pattern. I love its swingy hemline and all those fabulous details. I also, wonder of wonders, love wearing it with jeans. That’s a win! Even better, this fabric is so, so soft and has a faint silvery sheen in sunlight. How wonderfully fancy. 
Now, I’m off to plunder some booty. Ahem, I mean I’m off to sew a shirtdress. Yoho!  
Incidentally, the title of this post was inspired by one of my dear writing friends, New York Times Bestselling Author* Maureen O. Betita, who writes a rollicking series of pirate romances. If ever there was a woman who could pull off a pirate hat and sleeves, it’s the lovely Maureen.
*When one of your friends hits the NYT List, you’re contractually obligated by The Rules of Writer Friendships to always mention it with her name. It’s a very well deserved, very big deal.

Note: This fabric was provided to me, free of charge, as part of the Mood Sewing Network. 

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NYC Day Trip

Hey guys!  Guess who’s going to NYC this Saturday for a shopping trip???   About a month back, Michelle of Tres Bien Ensemble mentioned she had a free flight to use and was thinking about going to NYC for a fabric trip.  Envious as I was, I was excited for her. Then… she mentioned it… Read More »

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Blog Hop-On Hop-Off

Hello to Dublin, where the lovely Inna decided to pass on the blog hopping baton to me. You have to check out her blog – not only she shares the love for couture, but also has a great eye for prints.

Now, the questions…


to connect to the sewing community, share… Of course! But blogging for me is also an educational process, when, after researching and making, you sit

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Mel Henry of Filles a Maman: Designer Interview

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
“Seeing my daughters growing and have a great life..”

What is your greatest fear?
“Losing my family.”

What is your favorite color?
“White ”

Mel Henry of Filles a Maman: Designer Interview
My favorite photo of myself.

What trait do you most deplore in yourself?
“I would like to live the moment.”

What trait do you most deplore in others?

What is your greatest extravagance?
“My last visit to the photo shop. $$$. I was unemployed at this time. “

What is your favorite journey?
“The one I am living right now.”

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
“I don’t like to talk about it. I’ll change the question. What I like the most are my legs :)”

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Awesome! Perfect! I am sincere when I am using them…I just have a serious lack of vocabulary”.

What is your greatest regret?
“To not starting this journey earlier.”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
“My man and my daughters”

What talent would you most like to have?
“I would like to be perfectly bilingual…I have so much thing to say, but often I am stopped because it doesn’t turn like I would.”

Mel Henry of Filles a Maman: Designer Interview My favorite thing I made myself.

What is your current state of mind?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I don’t like to talk about this, I rather say that I have wonderful legs.”

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
“A bird.”

Where would you like to live?
“I like my town. But, if I had the choice, I would like to be somewhere with a shorter winter, In Quebec, we have snow for about 5 months. That’s too much.”

What is your favorite occupation?
“I like my new job. I work in research and development for a food company. I never thought I could be paid for experimenting in the kitchen :)”

What is the quality you most like in a man?
“My man loves me, that is the most important.”

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
“Being unhibited”

What do you most value in your friends?
“Loyalty. Being there in the good and the bad moments.”

Mel Henry of Filles a Maman: Designer Interview

Who are your favorite artists?
“Milky chance”

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
“I don’t have one”

Who are your heroes in real life?
“My parents.”

How would you like to die?

During each Parcel sale we ask the designers to answer the Proust Questionnaire for us and to share some images of their favorite things. You can read past interviews Right Here.

Looking for the Parcel #5 Inspiration? Head on over Right Here.
Still haven’t purchased Parcel #5? You can Get It Here until Friday, October 3rd.

Buy Pattern Parcel #5

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New baby!!

Last week my sweet hubby and I had an hour to kill between dropping off one kid and picking up the others, so we decided to check out the local Antique Mall.We didn’t have a whole lot of time, and I honestly wasn’t looking particularly closely at anyth…

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Sandbox Love

We’ve all got that one pattern that we love to sew and for me that is the Oliver + S Sandbox Pants.  I’ve sewn it up countless times over the years.  It’s a great basic pants pattern all on it’s own but with a little imagination you can make pretty much any kind of pants/shorts with it.  This time around, I made a pair of shorts for BK.  If you want to see my other renditions of the Sandbox pattern over the years, check out the Oliver + S blog HERE.

pattern:  Oliver + S Sandbox Pants
size:  8
fabric:  Sew Classic Bottomweight Twill from Jo-Ann Fabrics (army green)
mods:  shortened the pants to shorts, curved the bottom of the front pockets, contrast topstitching, used gray ribknit fabric for the waistband

For a slightly more feminine look, I rounded the bottom of the front patch pockets.  My inspiration was this pair from Mel.

I double stitched the pockets and topstitched the side/crotch seams with light gray thread for interest.  Added bonus is those pockets and seams are very sturdy now!  Always a plus since BK is hard on her clothes.  I also used a ribknit for the waistband as I thought the twill was a little too stiff to be comfortable. 

sandbox shorts full

The shorts are perfect for our warm (so far) Fall!  I’m sure I’ll be using the pattern again to make a pair of long pants once the weather turns cooler.  Perhaps a pair of convertible Sandbox pants like Brittney made?

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Five and Ten Designs Volume Two

Five and Ten Designs is back with a whole new set of designs and this time, it’s all about outerwear for girls AND boys!  With the Volume Two ebook, you get the same clear instructions with step by step high resolution photos to guide you thr…

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New Blog Design!

Hello again!So I just got a virtual facelift! How do you guys like the new style :)I have been wanting to spruce up my little spot for a while now, but Blogger wouldn’t even let me change my colour – nevermind anything else.I was in the process of gett…

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Former UFO: Burda Cowl Dress

This medium weight cotton blend fabric was ordered from from Mood Fabrics last December (the fabric is no longer available but there are other cotton blend options). The glossy threads and pebble texture sold me on the fabric and Mood descried the fabr…

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WIP: Georgia, maxi dress.

Hello, hello!!Guess who caught the maxi dress sewing bug again? ME!! Melbourne is warming up and the thought of wearing jeans is making me sweat! Was crying at the gym on Saturday cos I wore tights and was wishing I was in shorts instead. It’s cer…

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Sewtionary Give-away Winner

3Thanks for entering! And sharing your sewing fears. It seems our common sewing nemisis’s are button holes, zippers and welt pockets! My least favourite is button holes I have to say, because even though my machine should handle them just fine, sometimes it chooses not to. So yes, destroying something in pretty much the final step […]

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Frogging Socks and Bowing to the Blog Hop…

Well hello there!!

How are things with everyone?? I’ve had a lovely relaxing weekend 🙂 

I was trying to decide what I wanted to start working on this weekend, but to be honest my weight has spiked slightly over the past few weeks (one too many chocolate-orange bars). Unfortunately as that all goes on my waist, I don’t want to make something that’s going to be too big again in a few weeks when I’ve copped on and put down the biscuits. 

Therefore, I decided as I was on my own today, I would finally sit down and finally try out the Craftsy class ‘Knit Sock Workshop’ that I had intending on getting stuck into for a while.

I’m not that far in to be honest, but I’m slightly disappointed at the moment. My reasoning is, I had previously bought ‘Knit Original Toe Up Socks’, but that class was aimed at people who already knew how to knit socks – but who wanted to branch into creating original sock patterns, so I went back and bought the class for people learning how to knit socks.
But the two sock patterns that are covered in the class aren’t exactly basic! One is a colourwork pattern and the other is a lacework pattern with a figure of 8 cast on and toe work up that she admits is tricky. SO apparently you need to know how to knit well first?? Granted I have very basic knitting skills, but seriously, can we not have a class where you are eased in?? I found one of the toe work ups in the second class easier than the first (I remember trying it out when I watched it first).

Anyway, I’m going to look at the second class again, and see if I can use a different toe to begin with so I can at least get into making a flaming sock. Or maybe I’ll just watch the class the whole way through so I know the process, and then figure it out after that.
Sorry for the bulk of text, but I’ve just spent the afternoon frogging sock toes.
But let’s move on!
Nicole Needles kindly nominated me in the Blog Hop that’s making the rounds, so I’m going to do my best to answer the questions. I like getting to know more about my favourite people, so this is actually a blog hop I like!

What are you currently working on?

See above! Sewing-wise, I have a few things that are floating around. One of the thing’s high up on my list is this vintage Blackmore pattern that I have fallen in love with (on the left) :
I’ve also been inspired by Clare and Heather to sew up McCall’s 6696 soon, so I need to get that traced up pronto! I’m going with the pencil skirt option, as I’m moving into slimmer skirts.

Lastly, I want to make a coat. Whether that is going to be a simple coat or a full on tailored affair I have yet to decide, but I need more coats. Unfortunately I can’t find/decide on a pattern at the moment. I have some navy blue boiled wool and a turquoise bouclé that are precious to me and I need to wear them soon!

How does your work differ from others in its genre?
This question is a bit self indulgent isn’t it?!  very difficult to answer!
I don’t think it differ’s too much from your standard sewing blog – I make things and I show them to you!
I guess everything I make and wear has some some sort of a vintage flavour to it – not entirely original in this day and age but I do commit to it as fully as possible with hair and make-up etc. Some people can look awesome in a variety of modern styles and vintage era’s but I doubt you will see me sewing up anything very modern any time soon. I just feel super uncomfortable in it. Tying in with that, I don’t really take part in sewalongs, sewing months or challenges. I have realised that there is nothing worse to me than forced creativity.
 Why do you write/create what you do?

I sew because being able to say ‘I made it’ is a great feeling! I like the process of picking up the puzzle pieces and putting them together to make something beautiful. I feel like a sponge when it comes to sewing, I feel like I’m always learning something – whether it be in blogs, books, pattern instructions. I love that I’m really understanding clothes. Everywhere I walk, I’m picking up on the different fitting problems of all the people walking past me.
I write because it makes me happy to just communicate with you all! I’m very talkative, empathetic, and a very inquisitive person. I just love getting to know people – Like KNOW them. One of my favourite things to do is just sit and talk to someone for like six hours. Whether we’re talking shite or having a full on DMC, I’m happy out 🙂 
Writing this blog used to be nerve wracking for me, putting myself and my words out there. I’m far more nervous about people not liking my writing than my sewing. For that reason, although they now know it exists, I’ve still not shown my friends or family my writing, or the blog. Apart from the pictures of course!
How does your writing/creative process work?
Mostly, it’s the regular – make something, write about it – type of process. I take my photos and sort all them out first, and then just put my hands to the keyboard and see what comes out. Maybe I should plan them out a bit more, but prefer to read a more organic style of writing myself so I’m sticking to it.
I have been trying to take a few sets of photo’s at the same time, but I try to space the posts out a bit. Otherwise there would be 3 blog posts in one day, and then nothing for 2 months! I rarely schedule posts, I tend to write them as and when I have a chance.
I’ve been trying to do some blog series’s – like my Mr. Tailor Man series (although I never wrote up the final haul from that!) and my newer Vintage Guts series where I show the interesting details from the vintage pieces I’ve picked up.

I’m quite self deprecating – I think it must be the Irish in me. As an Irish person, you can’t accept anything without refusing it a minimum of three times. Compliments… a cup of tea… everything. I don’t know if everyone realises that the infamous Mrs. Doyle character is every Irish mother I’ve ever known.
In terms of my general creative process. I think and plan about sewing far far more than I actually sew! I’ve always been a planner (except for holidays, hate planning holidays). Love a list though. The constant planning over seeing is therefore why I have the size of stash I currently have (and seriously need to downsize somehow). I like to be alone in the flat when I sew, and usually either have some TV series or a music channel on in the background. For some reason, having football on in the background isn’t the same – hence the being alone!

Ok, I think I’ve rambled on for far to long now!

I hear I have to make three nominations? Difficult when this hop has been hopping for so long!

I’ve had a scope around for people who haven’t popped up yet, and I nominate three of the people who put a smile on my face every time their name pops up in my blog reader!
Clare at Sew Dixie Lou , Rehanon at Miss Demeanour is on the Make and Sally at Charity Shop Chic


Emmie xx

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Week in photos

photos from my instagram                                      Top to bottom,left to right:                  &nbs…

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What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Episode 10, Season 13

My apologies for the much-delayed post, but if you knew how glorious the weather in NYC has been this week, you wouldn’t blame me for choosing to spend the day yesterday romping around with my family instead of writing. Friday, which is usually when I write my Project Runway posts, was Rosh Hashanah and a public school holiday here, so that’s the other half of my rock-solid excuse. Thanks for reading and let’s get to it!
Near the beginning of this week’s episode of Project Runway, my friend Lizzi texted me to comment on how crazy were all the people who turned down the designers seeking makeover models in Washington Square Park. 
But by the end of the episode we both agreed: we wouldn’t say yes either. After all, would you want to be on national TV in a get-up like this:
Or have your semi-private parts exposed when a zipper bursts open pre-runway:
Also, if you’re a Project Runway fan, then you know the winning designer of the “real person” challenge never has a short, stumpy model. And often (though it didn’t happen this time) someone plus-size ends up in tears because there’s a good reason why some of these designers are not yet a success: they can’t fit clothes on non-model bodies — and their people skills suck. What if, I asked Lizzi via text, someone ignored my bottom-line and put me in a miniskirt and my cellulite was on national TV? 
“Oh damn,” she replied. “What if they put me in COLOR?” (She only wears black, gray and blue, bless her heart).
Thankfully for the designers of Season 13, Washington Square Park is the kind of place where you can find tall, thin actress/ballerina/yoga teachers with time to spare and low expectations. Did the producers of Project Runway seed the park with the results of a “regular lady” casting call? Or are there truly that many attractive women with no prior obligations just lounging around the West Village on a sunny summer day? You and I will never know.   
Moving on to our lessons:
Lesson 1: Tough love from Tim Gunn will only get you so far
One minute, Tim Gunn is holding your hand and telling you that you are the most talented person he’s ever met — and in the next he’s doing the gentleman’s equivalent of smacking the stupid straight out of you. 
This week Alexander nearly sent this cropped-top-and-high-waisted skirt ensemble down the runway. 
Tim intervened, calling it the “most hideous garment he has ever seen IN HIS ENTIRE EXISTENCE.” Those are strong words from a man who mentored Timothy from Season 12:
Ah, memories
Sure, it may have resembled an oozing pizza monster costume, but “hideous”? Really? (I bet if Sandyha had designed it — and came up with a good justification, the judges would have eaten it up.) And did Alexander deserve to go home for his final toned-down cropped top and skirt look? How was that look (see the first picture above) any worse than Amanda’s dress?

 No lie, I saw a better version of this dress on an extra in a Payless Shoes commercial yesterday (but my phone was out of battery so I couldn’t snap a pic). If you are going to do chevron stripes, you gotta match everywhere (even Forever 21 can manage that much)….though even if she had nailed that, I think this dress would have been a clunker. It’s too short and chevron…well, it’s kind of dated now, isn’t it? This belongs on a Pinterest fail board. SO WHERE WAS TIM WITH THE TOUGH LOVE ON THIS ONE?

Lesson 2: Side zips and short shorts are not a match made in fashion heaven

It was an apparent Project Runway first when Char was given a few extra minutes to resew a busted zipper into the flaming red booty shorts she made for a preschool teacher. Everyone else conceded she should get a break lest her model be mortified on the runway with her hip hanging out. (But of course they complained behind her back after the fact.)

I don’t know. I hate wearing shorts and avoid them as much as possible, but a side zip? To me, that seems weird. I know an actual fly would take longer to sew…and a center back zip on shorts is tacky and gross (like the one sewn last week by Alexander, may he rest in peace). Maybe if they had more than a day for each challenge this season’s designers could sew real-world closures for their real-world women.

 The lesson here: zippers are hard to sew and falliable too — even when you’re a skilled seamstress like Char.

Lesson 3: Maybe Project Runway should be called “Project Would I Wear That?”
Too often, the most important measure for Heidi, Nina and the guest judge is “Would I wear that?” — which shouldn’t be the only test for fashion supremacy. Zac is the one judge who cares more for creativity and vision than whether something would show off enough of Heidi’s legs. 
How else to explain the fact that Emily’s interesting look…

…lost to Korina’s motorcycle jacket. 

Kini’s look, meanwhile, did a great job of answering the challenge; he channelled his model’s personal style into something cooler than she would have chosen on her own. Heidi would never wear this though, so sorry, Kini:

Meanwhile in real NYC this week I took my daughter to Mood in search of some Halloween costume fabrics. Guess what we spotted while we were there:

That’s right! Char’s fabric from last week. It’s $18/yard and Oscar de la Renta. You can find it with the printed cottons. You’re welcome.

Also: Did anyone see the commercial for “Project Runway Threads” — the kids Project Runway? After Master Chef Junior I knew it was only a matter of time before someone developed a Junior Project Runway. Anyway, can’t wait to watch it with my kid!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Were any of these outfits a game-changer for you?
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Hey there beautiful people! How have you been?We’ve been having some mightily good weather and my garden has gone bananas! Nasturtiums, snapdragons, daisies, jasmine and more to come! Hopefully we can have a night stretch of this weather befo…

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Selfish Sewing! Lola Dress Meets Lane Raglan Meets Cosplay

Morning everyone!  Today I am really happy to be a part of Rachael’s Selfish Sewingweek!  These days, I have tried to keep the focus on my family what with tiny Akira and all, so that means less blogging.  That’s me being selfish.  That being said I wouldn’t dare pass up joining in for Selfish Sewing!  I just had to join in!  Rachael is my GIRL!  

I knew what I made had to incorporate Halloween, more specifically, my Halloween outfit!  I am planning to be Mizore from Rosario Vampire because she is super cool.  She’s an ice witch (yes long before Elsa) and she has to eat antifreeze lollipops to stay cold lol.,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNEak5Sc-L_nZb1lgFMcTzVk8y9AeQ&ust=1411975248842858
So, I was so graciously offered the Lane Raglan Pattern by Adrianna of Hey June Patterns and it was perfect for the sweatshirt that Mizore wears!  And then I got the email of the list of patterns to sign up for and I saw the Lola pattern by Victory Patterns was on it.
I have been wanting this pattern since I was pregnant with Akira.  But come on, I couldn’t get it with that massive belly.

 To be perfectly honest, I’m still dealing with body issues after her but ISSUES BE DAMNED!  I couldn’t pass up on a chance to work with the Lola.

 So, I figured I hadto combine the two to create my look.  It seems simple enough at face value perhaps, but I really wanted to make it balanced between the two patterns.  I redrafted the look of the Lola sans princess seams.  It was tempting to keep them because that is my favorite part of the pattern, but they were impractical to Mizore’s look.  

Then I had to incorporate the Lane into the Lola while still looking like Mizore’s sweater.  I took the length and width and waistband of the Lane with the sleeve length the same as well, and I kept the neckline of the Lola, just widening it a bit to fit off the shoulders.

 I took pictures then decided I wanted it to be more fitted to I took in the sides a bit.  I also added a kangaroo pouch and made the sleeves belled out.

I had some fun taking pics with Akira in her Calcifer outfitfrom the other day!

I am really looking forward to making the rest of the outfit!  Stay tuned for the reveal of the full outfit for Sew Geeky’s Halloween GEEK SPECTACULAIRE!  And thank you to Rachael, Adrianna, and Kristiann for everything!  ^_^!!!!
And here’s a list of all the other people involved!!

featured stitchers:

many of them will be sewing up patterns donated by these amazing indie pattern designers,

indie pattern designers:

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A Summery Coco

Ta da! Yes, folks…what we have here is ANOTHER Coco! And I think I really love it…thought it’s still growing on me…like a slow burn kinda thing. I actually thought I’d finish this dress and then chuck it in the charity bag…but it’s a keeper for…

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My First Two Blocks Quilted!

It is pretty exciting to finally start quilting the blocks.  Seeing the vision I had of how I wanted it to look to be actually  taking shape.  You really start feeling a sense of accomplishment.Here are my first two blocks I just finishe…

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Fall sewing plans

It’s all about fall sewing plans around here lately! I’m already in the process of planning and sewing my fall wardrobe. The things that I’m sewing are not necessarily fall garments, but garments I believe will get a lot of wear all year around. With t…

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Notionally Speaking

I was thrilled when the lovely Claire from I Want To Be A Turtle contacted me to ask me if I wanted to take part in her great series Notionally Speaking, where various bloggers are given one sewing related word, and asked to write a post on it.  O…

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The Trouser. The Sequel.

Thanks for your input on my last trouser post – it was really fascinating hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions. I don’t think I’ve had a pattern disaster quite this bad before! In the aftermath I’m left wondering if indeed my perception of fit has been overly influenced by a lifetime of badly fitting RTW clothing. Case […]

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Shorts for Joe and Wil

As mentioned in my last blog, I purchased an enormous amount of cabernet-red colored material at the thrift-store,  It is soft, comfortable, and the right thickness for shorts and shirts.I decided to make some “lounge-shorts”.  Perfect for we…

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Selfish Sewing Week: Kate & Rose Zsalya Top

 It’s that time of year again, my dear goslings. Not autumn, which has yet to reach us here in Texas, but something just as exciting. Happy Selfish Sewing Week! Twice a year, the lovely Rachael hosts a week long celebration of that most …

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Cole’s Creations Neverland Shirt, the first

You’ve seen the final version of the Neverland Shirt. This was my first.Myra likes this one, too.One of the things that the tester group really worked hard on was getting the collar just right. You can see that this version isn’t perfect. I overlapped …

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Sewtionary Tour + Giveaway – closed

3The second last stop on the Sewtionary tour is here today! Which means another chance to win your very own hardcopy of this beautiful new sewing book on the block. For nearly the whole month, Tasia from Sewaholic, has been celebrating the release of the Sewtionary. The name of the book gives it all away really: inside you […]

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Sew Geeky Studio Ghibli! Nausicaä! Calcifer! Forest Spirit!

Hello Hello Hello!  
It’s the 25th, so that means only one thing:  It’s Sew Geeky time!  This month is a theme that is dear to me.,d.cGU
Studio Ghibliis the cornerstone of our movie collection at home.  For those of you wondering what the heck I’m talking about, Studio Ghibli is basically Japanese Disney, and the creator of most of the movies is a man by the name of Hayao Miyazaki.  A virtuoso of animation and storytelling, Miyazaki’s movies are, in a word, e n c h a n t i n g.  The focus of the movies are scarcely about a good guy versus a bad guy.  Even the antagonists have either a good side too or they have relatable motives.  The imagery is a feast for the eyes.  The characters have profound struggles.  Take for instance Ponyo.  Ponyo is based off of the Little Mermaid.  Analyzing the two side by side, the Little Mermaid movie has a young woman who is hell-bent on being with a human.  King Triton has such strong, destructive feelings about this. Then there’s Ursula, the evil witch octopus.  Ponyo is about a little fish that comes from magical parents that washes up to a little boy and they form a friendship.  The focus is on that; not on the idea of finding your one true love.  And her father is just worried about her safety.  The plot mostly focuses on the imbalance between the land and the sea because of her transformation.  In Disney, there’s always good versus evil; it’s black and white, with very little gray.  With Miyazaki films, there’s a constant ebb and flow between the characters and sometimes there isn’t even a bad guy!  How about that!  You don’t need to have a bad guy to make your film good!  Totoro in particular: super popular; no bad guy.  Just saying, for kids movies, I’m a Miyazaki girl all the way.  Yes, of course I still love the Disney films, I grew up on them!  But I prefer Studio Ghibli.  And I love that my children will have a choice in brilliant animated features that I didn’t really have.  Solid, wholesome and breathtaking; what more could you want for your kiddos? 
In my collection at home, we have:
·       My Neighbor Totoro
·       Ponyo
·       Princess Mononoke
·       Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
·       Castle in the Sky
·       The Secret World of Arrietty
·       Up on Poppy Hill
·       Howl’s Moving Castle
·       The Cat Returns
·       Whisper of the Heart
·       Grave of the Fireflies (although we don’t watch it much because it’s really sad)
I really want to get Porco Rosso and Tales of Earthsea, maybe for Christmas this year!  But for now, let’s talk about some clothes!  
 I told myself that I wouldn’t go over the top; that I want to keep Sew Geeky a little more casual so that I don’t burn myself out trying to outdo myself every month.  I mean, it’s exhausting.  It also makes me struggle to make other things; the essential things.  BUT STUDIO GHIBLI?!  I could not go small.  I just couldn’t!  Ugh, I am my own worst enemy, I know! 
Narrowing it down was incredibly hard.  I have the urge to STUDIO GHIBLI ALL THE THINGS!  I mean for Halloween the past two years, Sephira was Ponyo and Totoro.  Jon was Fujimoto to her Ponyo and I made her a soot sprite for Project Run and Play years ago too! Making this month Studio Ghibli month was not just on a whim.  Azriella, when asked what she wanted her birthday dress to be this year, proclaimed proudly and without hesitation:  “Nausicaä!” She wanted to be her so bad that when I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween she said Nausicaä!
Let’s start with the birthday girl shall we?!  Azriella’s outfit had to be made immediately following the Marvel vs DC episode because her birthday was the next week.  Usually I take a break from sewing so that I can focus on family for a couple weeks but this month couldn’t be helped!  
Patterns used:
·       Tunic: Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo in size 18month/2t
·       Aviator hat: Trapper Hat by See Kate Sew
·       Tetu:  My Little Pony  Beanbag plushie by Voodoo Tiki
·       Belt bag:  Reversible Messenger Bag Tutorial by Crazy Little Projects
·       Spats: self-drafted
·       Leggings: self-drafted

To modify the looks I added a v-neck Nehru to the Skater Dress with tab details.  I flared out the sleeves to gather them at the bottom.  The length worked out well because I made it according to the 18m/2t sizing so it looks more tunic length and it still fits in the chest because she’s tiny.  I also set in some unorthodox “epaulettes” to the shoulders so that I could add a buttonhole to them to hold Tetu in place.

The leggings are straight-forward white leggings and so are the spats.  For the aviator hat, I eliminated the front flap and I elongated the sides, making them overlap so as to look like Nausicaä’s hat.  I also added copper vinyl in brown to resemble the goggle feature of her hat.  

 Tetu was a bit tricky to find the right eyes but I came pretty close.  The markings I drew on using a brown fabric marker and I added a little button to the belly so he could be buttoned on to stay in place.

 The belt bag was hardly modified other than I bought a length of webbing and then I put in a buckle.  Even though Nausicaä’s bag doesn’t have the emblem on it like I appliqued, it was requested that I add it because Azriella chose the outfit that didn’t have the little details as such.

 And that’s it!  I can’t believe my baby is 7 years old!  I just wish she could stay small forever sometimes!

Patterns used:
·       Flame hat:  Pixie hat by Sew Liberated size 6-12m
·       Flame dress:  Sweater dress size 9-12m by brindille and twig

Immediately I knew I had to make Akira Calcifer. 

 For those who don’t know, Calcifer is the flame spirit that powers Howl’s MovingCastle.

 The story behind the outfit idea?  Well, I bought this fabric for Halloween this year, not expecting it to be neon orange.  I was looking for auburn, but that’s a story for another time.  I was staring at it and it dawned on me that, if the nap was turned up towards her face, it would resemble the licks of a flame!  It was no question what pattern I wanted to use for this:  my favorite baby sweater pattern that is by brindille and twig.  I’ve made at least five of these for Akira.  It’s straightforward and adorable.  And guess what?!  We’re having a giveaway for a copy of the pattern which ranges in size from 0-6m to 6 years old!  

 We had a silly time trying to photograph a baby that can’t really sit up on her own so I made Jon put on his Kodama shirt (cuz Studio Ghibli) and made him my baby holder prop!  

 He’s a good prop.

 Their faces are hysterical!

 I kept telling Akira to say, “SHE LIKES MY SPARK!” just the way Billy Crystal does in the movie but she couldn’t because she’s six months old.  SHEESH, AKIRA?!
I had her sit in a big pot that we had, in front of one of our fireplaces because at one point in the movie, Sophie (the main character) cleans out the fireplace and puts him in a bucket with a stick to hold his flame to while she cleans.  

 Akira really loved the stick part, hahahhah.

 A little too much at times.

Modeling, like. a. boss.

 She is such a little cutie in this outfit!!!!

Patterns used:
ForestSpirit Face and Body/Dress: The Sunki Dress by Figgy’s as part of the PerfectPattern Parcel
Forest Spirit Legs/Pants: Hosh Pants by EmmyLouBee Patterns
Nightwalker Cape:  Elm Poncho by Petit á Petit for Willow & Co.

So this one took some thought.  I knew Azriella had chosen her character already, Akira needed something simple, and Sephira had already been a couple of characters already, so I needed to really bring it for Sephira’s outfit.  After a while, the ideas started to transform and I felt like a mad scientist concocting my vision. 
Princess Mononoke is very dear to me.  When I was planning my tattoo in honor of Sephira for my back, I choose a scene from the movie where San (princess Mononoke) is riding on the back of her wolf-god mother, Moro, with all the little kodama in the trees and the wolf siblings and I even snuck in the Forest Spirit in there as well!  It’s not finished yet since I got pregnant with Akira right after I got started on the tattoo.

 I was asked to be a part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel by Jill of Made with Moxie (which I’ll be posting about on the 3rd).  When I learned that the Sunki dress was a part of it I was set on using it for my Forest Spirit.  It was kismet.  I made it in the 18m/2T sizing, modifying it to have a tapered fur panel like the neck of the Forest Spirit and then pieced together broadcloths for the pocket backs, adding in piping around the pocket edge.  The dress is otherwise made in a taupe linen which if you know me is pretty unheard of.  BUT, I feel justified in the colors and textures that I incorporated to create the dress.  Sephira wanted to wear it first thing in the morning after taking pictures so I consider that a win!  

 The pants are my most go-to pattern of all time, the Hosh pants. 

What I did to them this time was I made them in a copper vinyl for two reasons:  One, the legs are a different color than the body.  And two, well, because copper vinyl!  I mean it even has stretch to it!  Soon after finding the copper fabric, I found this floral bottomweight fabric that looks just like the part when the Forest Spirit is walking through the woods and the ferns and flowers bud and bloom from his hooves with each step.  I pieced it together to mimic that scene which is so beautiful to me.  

Her cape was a bit of a challenge.  My original idea was to use this navy broadcloth I have gads of, bleach design it, and then dye the whole thing in aqua.  While it was coming out well, I found myself at the fabric store, getting lining fabric for Akira’s sweater dress so that it was comfy, and I found the most perfect blue silk that reminded me exactly of the Nightwalker (which is what the Forest Spirit turns into during the night).  I decided the tools needed to create the faux Batik look I was going to attempt making was going to be about the same as this silk fabric.  I bought some yardage of clear vinyl (which I used a heavier gauge than I maybe should have but I can live with that) and I basted every piece of the Elm pattern together, vinyl to silk.  Then I lined it in a cozy aqua flannel. 

The wearable nod to the Nightwalker really pleases me and Sephira is stoked to have a rain poncho!

 It even started raining, just a little during the shoot!  

 I found this beautiful pond that is right next to our house that was so magical.  We will be coming back here a lot for photo taking!  

So there you have it!  My heart, my Studio Ghibli.
We have a great line up of guests that joined in with us that are posting with us throughout the week!  Here’s a list of today’s guest posts and I’ll update this page and the Sew Geeky page as new guests reveal their creations! As always, following us on Facebook is the best way to know what is going on in the world of Sew Geeky!  

Click each picture below to check out the stars of this episode of Sew Geeky!

coming soon: 


Giveaway time!!!  Max has a giveaway for a pattern used for her adorable outfit and I am doing a giveaway for a copy of the Sweater Dress PDF Pattern that I used for my Calcifer look thanks to Melissa of brindille and twig!  Her shop is one of the BEST for baby and young kiddo patterns.  
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
As always thank you so very much for following my little blog and Sew Geeky!  If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram!  It’s where I post most of my daily antics and my creative process pics!!!

 Next Month is Halloween!!!!  So get ready to plan for SEW GEEKY’S GEEK SPECTACULAIRE!   It’s a theme which means make whatever you want, in any capacity or level of geekiness! All ideas about creating things inspired by the things you love the most welcome!  Made something for a theme that has long since passed?  Share it with us for the GEEK SPECTACULAIRE!  Perfect for all that Halloween sewing! 

And be sure to stop by our new Sew Geeky website and follow us, add your handmades to our linky parties and see all the goings on going on in our little world!  
 Take care all!!!


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DIY Leggings + Wrap-front Blouse

Sophie-32-682x1024 There’s nothing, I’ve decided, quite so annoying as being restricted in some way by the clothes you are wearing. Whether they be too tight, too short, too good or too silky, it’s all bad. Now, if you’ve been here for the ride thus far you may have noticed I have a small penchant for silky things, specifically, silks. But here’s the […]

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