Jacket closeup

I sewed a denim jacket! I had never even considered the possibility until I saw one turn up at Pattern Review, and it got the wheels turning. “Wait a minute….I have that marvelous Liberty of London twill that I bought, and I have been wondering what to make with it. I’ll bet it would look great as a denim jacket!”

(NOTE: If you’d prefer to read the somewhat shorter review I did on Pattern Review, you can find it HERE.)

Marvelous Liberty of London twill?? Yes! In July 2014 we visited London, and I came across Shaukat as a place for Liberty of London fabric. I thought it would be a good place to look for some fabric for a shirt for my husband. I would say Shaukat is THE place for Liberty of London fabric! Wow. And just a few feet inside the door, I saw this brushed twill version of the “Tresco” print, and it took my breath away. Two meters of it was my big souvenir from the trip. 


Choosing and Testing the Pattern
I was pleased to find there were jeans jacket pattern options from both Kwik Sew and Jalie, two of my favorite pattern companies. Unfortunately, they were all out-of-print. But with all our fabulous online resources, the upside is that one can still hunt for out-of-print patterns on Etsy and Ebay…AND there are sometimes PDF versions still available for printing. 



Every year, I get motivated after the holidays to get my sewing room back into some sort of order so I can enjoy tackling new sewing projects. Things get a little hectic in there in late fall and early winter as I work on items for my Etsy shop (mainly the popular fleece Doctor Who scarves). Piles of fabric and other stuff form and grow….and grow. I’ve also recently moved from mostly quilting to sewing garments. This means different types of fabric and notions looking for homes in my sewing room – more piles. And several of the piles came to roost on an electronic keyboard and bench that was trying to make its home along one wall of the room. (In the photo, I’ve already done some initial straightening up – those piles of fabric are very neatly folded!)



I’ve gotten into sewing my own fitness clothing this past year, and my most recent make is the Fehr Trade Surf to Summit Top. I haven’t written up posts about most of my sewing projects because I’m usually fairly late to the party, and there are plenty of other people who’ve sewn and written about the patterns by the time I get there. But this time, I bought and sewed the pattern just a few days after it was released, and I figured I might be able to help out others who might be considering the pattern. (more…)

sewingroom.jpgAfter the holiday rush is a great time to hunker down and try to bring some semblance of order to my sewing room. One of my “rules,” which keeps me somewhat under control when it comes to buying fabric, is that I must physically handle each piece of my fabric at least once a year. And it is amazing that for quite a bit of the fabric in my stash, that ends up being only when I’m doing my annual cleaning! However, another good reason to do the cleaning at this time of year is to make room for any fabric I’ve been buying in the great year-end sales (I admit that I have seven more yards coming in the mail over the next several days and that I recently purchased many yards at my local fabric shop). (more…)

hayleecape2.jpgIt’s late fall, there’s not so much to do in the garden anymore, and a girl’s fancy turns to…sewing superhero capes?

Once upon a time many years ago, I looked out my front door in the afternoon as the kids from the school up the street were walking home. At that moment, a boy of about seven or eight years old strutted past my house looking extremely pleased with himself. He was pulling his pack on wheels behind him while his chest was puffed out and his superhero cape fluttered behind him. I was struck by how happy and confident this little guy looked, and a thought immediately popped into my head, “Every kid should have a superhero cape!” (more…)

I’ve been taking pilates classes for almost 5 years (and I still have a hard time holding a good plank for more than about 30 seconds!), and the past 3-and-a-half years those classes have been at my local YMCA with the same two instructors, Sandy and Pennie. These ladies are fantastic instructors, and I know they teach these classes out of the goodness of their hearts as well as out of their enthusiasm for pilates.

So for awhile now, I’ve wanted to give them a small token of my appreciation, but I really had no good ideas for a gift. I thought of gift certificates to iTunes or a music store so they could buy more music for their classes. I thought of gift cards to bookstores. But I realized, outside of the pilates classroom, I really didn’t know these ladies well enough to go with those gifts (who knows, maybe they aren’t readers! perish the thought…).

But one class time, as I was grunting through yet another set of pilates “hundreds” I heard Pennie jokingly call out her trademark “No crying! No tears!” and I suddenly had an idea. Both she and Sandy each has a favorite phrase, and I would make them each a very cute, friendly quilted sign with their phrase on it! Sandy’s said “No Whining” (we’re allowed to cry if we want), and here’s Pennie’s:

nocrying.jpgThey really liked them and hung them off the edge of a table at the front of the class. The signs really are pretty funny, showing off their bossy sentiments in the middle of such bright, cheerful, friendly colors and flowers. It still makes me giggle when I see them.

Now it occurs to me that I could make some cool placemats like this (this sign is too small for a placemat) with phrases such as “Clean your plate!” and “Yum! Yum!” on them for my Etsy shop. I still need to discover the secret of getting good photos of these though. They never look truly squared with straight edges in my photos. Weird.

Believe it or not, sometimes I stay indoors! And one of the things I do when I’m indoors is sew. When I got out of the Air Force in 1993, I signed up for my first sewing class from the city’s parks and recreation department offerings (they no longer do the classes :-( ). Would you believe my first project was a dark blue skirt?! I had to laugh when I realized I had basically made myself another “Air Force” skirt! But my inspiration to sign up for sewing classes was my desire to sew curtains for my house.

curtainbefore.jpgAfter my class, I made a practice set of curtains. I used peach fabric with cute little rosebuds all over and the shortcut of Wonder Under strips for the bottom hems and hung them in the bathroom. If they looked okay, I’d look for more exciting fabric and make the curtains again. Well my “practice” curtains remained there until today, nearly 16 years later! I took them down to wash them last week (I was a little worried about those Wonder Under hems!), and I decided I wanted to freshen up the bathroom with new curtains. (You’d be amazed how much dust can build up on the top of those curtains in 16 years….eww.) But what fabric to use….? (more…)