Subversive Sewer

{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 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 19, 2010}   I’m back!

Sorry about the long absence.  Life handed me a little bit of the unexpected.  If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve been trying to buy one house or another for months.  Well, yet another one didn’t work out, but I took it as a sign to wait till next year and buy in a neighboring county that I like a lot better than the one I live in now.  I’ve also given up some of my available sewing time (weekends) because, after 2 1/2 years of singledom, I met a really great guy.  It’s still pretty new- about 5 weeks- but it’s going surprisingly well.  He lives an hour away, so I’ve been staying at his apartment all weekend while our respective kids are with their other parents.

Now it’s time to show you what I’ve sewn during my absence:

New Look 6969, view D:

Here’s the envelope pic:

I finished this one today, and boy did I need a skirt!  I’m between the 2 sizes in my closet, so not much is fitting right now.  This is cotton twill, which I bought to make a trench coat, but since I still haven’t solved my fitting problems, I decided to use this fabric for stuff I can wear now instead.  (I’m not a stasher.)  Despite my nervousness, putting in an invisible zipper is apparently like riding a bike; you don’t forget how.  I used that Waist-Former waistband interfacing stuff for the first time, and I love the results.  This thing actually looks professional!  I didn’t feel like setting up my camera and the timer, so you get a crappy camera phone in the mirror pic.  🙂  Cost: $9

Next up is Butterick 5495.  I think I picked the wrong fabric.  It sticks out like a maternity top, but I think it’d lay flat just fine if it was a drapier fabric.  I like it enough that I’ll try it again.  Cost: $10   Any ideas on how to salvage this?

And here’s the envelope pic:

Last month, I decided to make another swimsuit!  This one I didn’t morph into something completely different like last time.  This time I used Kwik Sew, 3696:

I’m probably going to wear this this weekend, so if I do, I’ll get a pic of me wearing it, since this isn’t the best pic.  Once again, it was insanely easy to make.  After I finished it and tried it on, I became convinced that the swimwear industry is just one big racket.  This thing cost about $10 to make, people!  And I’m thinking it was about 2 hours to make, start to finish.  And it actually fits me!  I cut a small on top and the bottom was a medium and back to small at the hips, if I remember correctly.  One warning- if you’re busty, the girls are gonna be a focal point when you’re wearing this!!  cost: $15

And the envelope pic:

Finally, here’s a dress I made awhile ago, just never got around to getting a picture of.  This pic is horrible, so hopefully next time I wear this I’ll remember to get a decent picture for you.  This is McCall’s 6118:

Cost: $11.  I also made the zipper flower pin that you can barely see.  Here’s the pattern pic:

Well, that’s it for now!  Not sure what I’ll be making up next.  I ordered several cuts of that rayon/Lycra that was on sale recently at, so I might make something from that.

{May 18, 2010}   Swimsuit Odyssey, Part 3

I’m still on my mission to get a flattering swimsuit for the office beach party on June 4!  Today I stopped at Hancock Fabrics to buy Kwik Sew 2690:

As I mentioned yesterday, I would never wear this suit as is.  But I felt that it was a good base to start with.  I never would’ve figured out how to have a skirt attached to a one-piece on my own.  And the bodice seemed to be what I was looking for.

I managed to get quite a bit done tonight.  I traced the pattern and cut the lining pieces.  I sewed them together to try on the suit and check the fit.  I traced a large at the waist and a medium everywhere else.  This seems to be right.  (I can’t bring myself to post a pic of me wearing a swimsuit lining muslin; I’m sure you understand why!)  I decided I didn’t like the look of the straps as is.  I borrowed an idea I saw in several of the suits I liked and cut a long band which was attached to the back upper edge and side front and extended into halter ties.   I like this look quite a bit.   Here’s a picture of the suit with the practice band/tie:

Not my best photography work; sorry about that.

Hopefully I’ll be able to work on the suit tomorrow.  In preparation, I measured the front and cut a piece of powernet in an attempt to compact my belly fat.  I’ll add that and see how it works.  I will also cut the bottom pieces (they get sewn to the bottom of the lining and treated as one piece, so I have to rip out the crotch seam and part of the side seams), the bust, tie and band/tie in my fashion fabric.  I will also need to draft the ruched “skirt” piece.  I think I know how I’m going to execute that.

If you have any suggestions or observations, I’d love to hear them!  This is pretty new for me, but it is as easy as I’d heard it was!

{March 20, 2010}   Fitting shell and a swimsuit

Well, I’ve been pretty busy this afternoon.  First, I’ll show you the swimsuit I made for Sofia:

This is Kwik Sew 2605.  I cut different sizes for the length and width so it should fit her very well.  She’ll wear it to swimming lessons this week.  It was just as easy as I’ve read about!  This post on Dawn’s blog really inspired me to go ahead and give it a try.  If Sofia likes it, I’ll make more of them.  I also have a suit in mind for myself, but I have to modify a pattern to achieve what I have in mind.

Then there’s this fabric.  I bought it in Miami last month.  I was going to make the maxi dress in my last post, but as you can see, the print is a little weird.  I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a border print or what.  Anyhow, I don’t know what to make with it.  I really wanted to make a maxi dress.  Maybe if it’s wide enough after cutting off that brown (black?) part, I can draft something myself.

Now for the big event.  I finally took on the (boring) task of sewing up the fitting shell.  I took a bunch of pictures, so hopefully one of you nice folks can see something in them that can point me in the right direction.

First, a few observations.  I had to rip out the waist darts, but left a bit of them at the top.  This belly fat is really cramping my style.  There is definitely no ease in this thing.  I could barely move, and the neckline was choking me.  I also don’t see any indication of sloping shoulders.  Maybe this is because I’ve been improving my posture?  Well, here they are.

{March 1, 2010}   Miami and Kwik Sew sale

If you’re anywhere near a Hancock Fabrics, you have GOT to go!!!  For the first time ever (and they point that out!) the Kwik Sew patterns are 20% off!!  Since I’m saving money for the out of pocket expenses associated with closing on a house, I used some restraint and bought just 3:

My apologies for not being able to format this right.  Anyway, Since we live in Florida and my daughter loves to swim, I thought the swimsuit pattern would be a good investment.  The strapless top I thought would be good for summer and if I actually go out.  And the bra- self explanatory!  SO sick of RTW bras not fitting right, or trying to find a large size that doesn’t have padding!  Back in the day when I  barely weighed 105 pounds, I needed that padding, but now I’ve got enough of my own!  I’ve got a few bra notions, so I’ll see how it goes.  I’ve gotta find some sources.  I really like the bra kits that Summerset makes.  I find Sew Sassy’s website so user-unfriendly that I avoid it.

This past Saturday, my cousin and her best friend, who were visiting from chilly Wisconsin, and I all went to Miami to do some shopping and sightseeing.  I stood in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time (too cold to swim!), bought some underwear at American Apparel to clone, and bought a few cuts at Fabrics for Less.  It was a tiny shop and didn’t have much beyond special occasion and suiting fabrics, but I did find some knits, a remnant of stretch lace, and some pink shirting.  It was all $2/yd, so it was worth a trip.

In house news, I think I’m going to put in an offer on a villa I looked at.  It’s much smaller than my current home, but I am inspired by people who happily live in small, urban spaces, and saving money on utilities is also great.

Gross.  One of my cats just barfed, which reminds me how much I liked the laminate and tile floors the place had.

{February 9, 2010}   Kwik Sew 3718

I am so proud of myself.  I’ve ridding myself of my habit to do things sloppily in order to get done faster.  It took 5 hours to sew this, and it was worth it!

I think you’ll have to click on it to see it better.

Everything turned out great, and since it’s loose-fitting, no fit issues!  The cargo pockets turned out well.  I just measured a couple times to make sure they were straight and even.  The last time I made something with cargo pockets was about 10 years ago, and I do remember they were uneven!

I made this from a rayon challis, which wrinkles and frays when you look at it wrong.  It also attracts cat hair big time.  Other than that, it’s easy to work with and comfortable to wear.  I serged all seam allowances, and it looks very nice on the inside.

I wore this dress to work yesterday and got several compliments.

This was a great pattern to sew, very simple and fun to make.  Kwik Sew’s patterns really are great!

{June 27, 2009}   Kwik Sew 2589- slip

I don’t think I’ve ever owned a slip, which is pretty sad.  And I finally got around to making this today, and am glad I did.  It’s a good pattern.  Here it is:


Since it’s a Kwik Sew pattern, it was very easy to make and was drafted very well.  But you knew that.  Here’s the pattern:

et cetera