Subversive Sewer

{January 19, 2012}   A New Blog

After a lot of thinking, I realized that I don’t dislike blogging. I dislike blogging about sewing.  And let’s be honest, this blog didn’t exactly develop a big following like others have.  So, I’ve decided to end this blog and start one with a broader focus so I can write about all of my interests.  So, please follow me at The Crafty Citizen.

{November 22, 2011}   Continue or not?

Being someone who has always enjoyed writing, you’d think I’d be a prolific blogger. But nope. Maybe its because other things in life have taken priority. Yep, that’s it.

I’ll try to post some recent projects, but if you enjoy seeing what I make, I’d recommend following me on Twitter. Really, its a fun place, and its perfect for people with ADHD tendencies like me. So here you go, retweeted off color humor and all:

{October 28, 2011}   My new endeavor

My website was launched this morning! Please visit and share:

It’s mostly hair accessories, but I plan to add more as I go. I really enjoy making these!

I haven’t felt like sewing much lately, but my stepdaughters needed Halloween costumes, so that’s what I did this weekend. However, when I started by trying to wind a bobbin, it was a no go. The winder on my elna wouldn’t spin. After a few minutes of panicking, I remembered the simplicity sidewinder and decided it’d be a good fix till I could afford to have my machine looked at. I sent my fiance to joanns with a 50% off coupon and wrote the name of the product on it. While waiting in the check-out line, he asked the cashier about my bobbin problem. She suggested that the bobbin itself may be the cause. I put on a different bobbin and wouldn’t you know, it worked! So, no sidewinder review here… its getting returned!

{October 13, 2011}   Checking in


I just haven’t felt like blogging – or sewing – lately. I’ve started an accessory business called Orange Blossom Accessories, which has been taking all my free time. The website will be up soon. I’m doing mostly hair bows to start with.
But there will be a lot of sewing on the horizon. I’m very happy to announce that I am getting married late next year! Since I have a small budget and a lot if time, I’ll be DIY-ing everything, including my dress, the maid of honor dress, and 3 flower girl dresses! Wish me luck!

{August 27, 2011}   Kwik Sew 3900

This pattern might be easy for some to overlook, but it really is very useful!  I made 4 of them for my newly organized sewing area, and they suit my needs perfectly!

This is Kwik Sew 3900, dubbed “Olivia’s Organizers.”  I don’t know who Olivia is, but she’s on to something.  These organizers come in 4 sizes: extra small is 4″ x 4″, small is 6″ x 4″, medium is 6″ x 7″, and large is 8″ x 9 1/2″.  All can be made with fat quarters or 1/4 yard for the XS or 3/8 yard for the others of fabric, lining, and interfacing.  I used a thick, heavy interfacing as called for.  It works well, but it made for some difficult construction at times.

Here are the finished organizers.  I made 2 large, 1 small and 1 extra small:

I use them to hold pattern envelopes, press cloths, serger accessories and zippers for upcoming projects.

The envelope shows these hanging from a cafe curtain rod, but I wanted to use the fabulous $3, 39″ Bygel wall rails from Ikea.  This meant I needed to modify the casing piece to detach in the back so the pockets could be attached and removed as needed:

Attaching all those sew-on snaps reminded me of how much I hate those things!  It took longer to sew all 8 of them on than to sew the actual pockets!  Anyway, the pattern calls for the casing to be cut from just the outer fabric.  then the short ends are folded in along the fold line and both long ends are enclosed in the upper back seam.  As you can see, I cut a second casing piece from the lining fabric, sewed them RS together on the short ends, serged the top edge of the long end that is not enclosed in the seam, and sewed on the snaps.  Very simple modification!

{August 27, 2011}   My Newly Organized Sewing Area!

I finally made it to IKEA to get the last things I needed to organize my sewing area, and it is a million times more functional now!  Here is the main photo:

Hopefully you can click on it to make it bigger.  I even labeled everything so you can do the same in your sewing area if you like it.

Here are some close-ups:

I saw this recycling bin and immediately knew it would be perfect for storing my ham.  I then had to explain to SO what a pressing ham was.

The wall pockets I made.  I just winged this based on what I wanted to store in it.  It’s mostly for my needles so I could see them without having to dig through a box to find the size and type I need.  I also got over my fear of double fold bias tape and edged the tops of the pockets and the outside edges. I used handbag interfacing as the backing.   The SO helped me with the grommets.  He also hung everything up for me so it’ll actually stay.

My spice jars that I keep my buttons, hooks, snaps, and other tiny notions in:

My obligatory “history of Death Row Records” shot glasses that I put notions for upcoming projects in.  The 2 pac one, not shown:

Here is Kwik Sew 3900 in action, which I’ll do a separate post on.  I changed the casing to snap on and off in back so they could go on these rails.

Would you believe that I used less than a yard of the cream and black print fabric to do all this?  And other than buying the red cotton from Ikea for $4/yard to line the pockets and the Ikea items labeled in the first photo, I used supplies I already had.  So, I got rid of some clutter too!

What I like the most, and SO agrees with me on this, is that even though so much is stored in plain view, it looks neat and cohesive.  This is very important because this is right in our living/dining/kitchen area.  It just shows what you can get with a little planning and a trip to Ikea!

{August 16, 2011}   Jalie 3024, part 1

I bought this Jalie knit dress pattern last year for 2 reasons:  1 I love knit dresses, and 2 I’ve had great success with Jalie patterns, along with seemingly everyone else who’s tried them.

I finally got around to making this the other day.  I’ve seen a couple tank style maxi dresses on blogs (Stacy and Erica B in particular) and thought I might like one too.  I have a shorter tank dress that is really flattering, so I set out to make a longer version of it using this pattern as a starting point.  However, my skills are not that great, so I decided to first make an unaltered version for my daughter first.  She needs more clothes anyway.  I added the optional flounce because she’s 7 and 7 year olds love that stuff.

One weird thing about this pattern is that the front and back bodice are the exact same piece, making the front and back of the dress one in the same.  This is perfect for her, because she is always putting her clothes on backwards.  However, I won’t be doing that on mine.  I also realized after making this that the waist inset really needs to be in a contrasting fabric, otherwise it just gets lost.

So, I am in the midst of altering the pattern for my dress, so stay tuned.

{August 16, 2011}   Kwik Sew 3136

I was browsing the Kwik Sew catalog the other day and came across this jean jacket pattern.  I don’t know why, but I suddenly had this urge to make one.  Forget making me one since my fit issues would render it unwearable.  But I’ve got 3 girls who can get plenty of wear out of one, especially since it’s a classic style.  But wouldn’t you know, my local Hancock Fabrics was out of stock.  So, I ended up ordering it from  I had just enough jean buttons in my stash and just enough denim as well, so I justified the $11.50 for the pattern as a means to get rid of some stashed supplies, i.e. otherwise wasted money.

The uninspired line drawing makes it easy to overlook, but as I said before, jean jackets are a classic.  As soon as the pattern arrived, I got to tracing.  This time, I remembered to track the time it took to make it, which I always mean to do when making stuff but always forget.  From start to finish, it took about 10 hours to complete, and I loved almost every minute of it.  Everything but the collar and buttonholes.  My machine seems to enjoy making shitty buttonholes.  And I just suck at collars.  I always make those snips on the upper collar in the wrong spot and it looks like crap.

Hopefully you can click on it to make the photo bigger, so you can see how I barely messed up all that topstitching!  All those little pieces that made up the jacket, boy were they fun to put together.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out my fit issues and make one for myself.

{August 16, 2011}   Kwik Sew 3797

I hesitated to even post about this project, because it’s a bunch of drawstring bags.  But why the hell not?  Actually, I bought this pattern for the cool jewelry organizer that I will someday make, but what I really needed for our first family trip were bags for shoes and toiletries.  And they were hella useful.  I hate having the bottom of shoes touching my clean clothes, so these were perfect.  Everyone had a bag of shoes for our trip, and our toiletries were in a second bag.  And they were super cute!  Look!


Everybody got to pick a bag.  Twas fun.

{August 16, 2011}   Kwik Sew 3854

I was really excited to find this pattern because, like many women around my age, I am far too old and have far too much self respect to wear Daisy Duke shorts, but also have far too much self respect to wear Mom Shorts.  This one has a perfect length.  I was so excited, in fact, that I was initially blinded to the fact that these things fit like crap. Perhaps I measured myself wrong, but I doubt that because I’m that size in other pattern brands.  First off, here’s the pattern for reference:

Not bad, right?  Cute enough to justify spending $11.50 on?  Well…

It’s even kinda hard to tell in the photos, but the crotch is so low on these things that they could qualify as harem shorts.  So, at the very least, make a muslin.  I’ll be selling my copy of this pattern and will continue my search for cute shorts.

{August 16, 2011}   McCall’s 3417

I made the blouse and pants from this pattern for a 4 year old girl I know.  It was her birthday, and I decided to make her an outfit in an attempt to make her something that fit her proportions, which are not the norm due to her having spina bifida.  The pattern is out of print, so I had to take a picture of it:

I’d made the same plaid dress but with short sleeves for Sofia a couple years ago.  Anyway, I improvised a little.  I made the pants capris because we live in Florida, plus I added a ruffle to the bottom from the cotton print I used to make the top to tie the outfit together.  I don’t have a pic of her wearing it, so here it is lying flat:


{August 16, 2011}   Simplicity 4997

I got my happy ending in that my boyfriend and I decided to blend our families together when I bought my house in May.  Prior to this, his daughters did not have any bedroom decor, so I set out to change that.  My daughter has always had a nicely decorated bedroom, and I wanted them to have the same thing.  I made some decorations, but the only one that used a pattern was this valance, using Simplicity 4997, a Sewing Patterns for Dummies pattern:

I’d made view D 3-ish years ago for a kitchen we once had, but this time I decided to try view A.  It’s reversible, but to save fabric I used a solid poly/cotton for the sides that faced the window.  The main fabric is a cotton from Hobby Lobby, one of 6 coordinating fabrics.

You can kinda see the matching paint colors separated by chair rail and the embroidery hoop wall art.  Here is also a memo board I made from 2 sheets of foam core glued together and coordinating ribbon:

{August 16, 2011}   Simplicity 2371

Here starts the mass posting of projects completed over the summer…. let’s start with this dress, Simplicity 2371:

I figured I needed more simple dresses, so here it is.  I liked that it didn’t have any darts or gathering, which I often tire of doing.  Instead it has stitched pleats at the front up by the shoulder, plus a belt.  It looks like a hospital gown without the belt.  I used a pink cotton with metallic gold pinstripes I found in Miami for 2 bucks a yard last year.  I’ll show you the pictures before I discuss further:


I know people hate headless shots, but I wasn’t having a good face day.  Anyway, these pics made me even more aware of my jacked up posture and obvious swayback.  Other than that, I like the dress.

So yeah, I’ve had back problems since I strained it working in a factory in 1995. That convinced me to go to college, but I’ve been living with pain about 50% of my waking hours.  I’ve tried a variety of things, but doesn’t really help. The most effective seems to be improving my posture.

Anyway, I end up with horrible back pain after less than an hour at the cutting table or sewing machine. I think I’m going to try having my machines at counter height and see if that helps.

Anyone else have this problem?

et cetera