Subversive Sewer

{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.

{March 20, 2011}   Simplicity 2451


Here’s another skirt…. this one is interesting because I bought this 1 yard remnant 6 years ago. I’ve been waiting for a pattern I liked that only required 1 yard.

Somehow I managed to match up the stripes on the pockets. Totally not planned.

Total cost:  $9

{September 27, 2010}   I am really behind on posting

Haven’t felt like blogging much lately.  But here are my latests:

Vogue 8628

They call these clutch bags.  I really should have looked at the bag’s measurements before I blindly assumed that clutch meant you could actually <i>clutch</i> it easily.  This mofo is huge!!  It’s 9×15″!!  This is why there’s a strap added to it.  I needed that just to comfortably carry the bag.  I used my last piece of leather to make it, so I skipped the recommended interfacing.  I think it’s fine without it.  The pattern calls for 2 magnetic zippers, but you only need one.  It’s what holds that tab in place that keeps the bag closed.

No costs on this one since I bought that leather so long ago that I don’t remember how much I paid.  The lining, thread and snap were stash, and the pattern was $4.

Here’s Simplicity 2998 again, now out of print.  My red one got a stain in the wash, but I like this one better because the fabric is thinner.  I like this pattern a lot; too bad it’s out of print.  I tried lining up the stripes to no avail.

Cost: pattern, used before so doesn’t count, thread- stash, fabric: $6

That’s all I have pics of for now.  I did buy a tripod, so once I figure out how to make it go taller, I’ll have some more and better pics to share.

{July 13, 2010}   Simplicity 2903, halter top

This is my third go-round with this pattern.  One was a wadder that I never posted (my fault, not the pattern’s), and the other is right here. I decided to go with a theme and make another top from this pattern with another Harajuku Lovers print from the Fabric Fairy.

Here’s the envelope:

This top only cost me $7 to make!  That’s good stuff!  This fabric is SO soft, and the print is just adorable.  The top looks a little short in the pic, but it’s long enough on me.  Really looking forward to wearing this tomorrow!

Hi there!  I’m a little behind on posting finished projects!  Here is what I finished last weekend:

I made this to wear with leggings, which are great when you’ve gained weight and your pants don’t fit.  The pattern is Simplicity 2365:

I made view C, the middle right one rendered in the red and white print.  I made mine from magenta stretch poplin, which I’d bought at Hancock Fabrics a year or 2 ago for another shirt that I quickly decided was too dowdy.  Since then, the fabric sat on the shelf, taunting me to find a use for it.  This turned out perfectly because it was just the right amount!  The hard part was finding matching thread and buttons.  Only Joann’s had the right shade of thread and buttons, which my daughter found for me!  They are a perfect match!

I don’t sew woven tops often due to the fit issues I have with them, but I was careful and tried it on as I sewed it.  It didn’t need a FBA, luckily.  It had tons of details, which are fun to do once in a while:

And I actually made the inside of a garment look nice!  I’m so envious of those bloggers who show off the insides of their garments.  Mine ain’t couture, but I’m proud nonetheless:

The only problem I had didn’t have anything to do with the pattern.  The top is a cotton, and my leggings are a cotton blend knit, so the top tends to “stick” to the leggings instead of hanging nicely.  I found myself tugging at it all day.  I made a miniskirt (Jalie 2920) from a shiny knit which I plan to wear over the leggings to see if that helps.  I’ll post more on that after I get a picture of it.

I also made a hanging organizer from the OOP Simplicity 5124:

It’s nothing special, so it’s not getting its own post.  I made it from scraps of stretch poplin and Amy Butler quilting cotton.  It’s going to go in my coat closet (in my future house) to hold all my gadgets and stuff that normally go on a tabletop and clutter things up.  It’s identical on both sides, so it’ll hold lots of junk.

{April 27, 2010}   2 Dresses

How is everyone in blogland?  I have a couple completed projects to show you!

First up is the navy knit dress, New Look 6922, that I made a week and a half ago (my 5-garment weekend).

Not sure if you can tell, but this is a disaster on many levels.  First, I apparently temporarily forgot what I’d learned about flat pattern measuring.  There is not enough room in the belly area, so it draws attention there.  Dealbreaker!  There’s also horizontal lines where it’s pulling across the bust… FBA needed there.  So since the fabric can’t skim over that area, I get this weird effect above  the bust.  I’m deciding whether to Goodwill it or hang onto it for summer PJs.  ETA: Costs: pattern: $4, fabric: $6.37

Next up is Simplicity 2377.  Once in a while I make my daughter a dress, which she is mildly interested in and happily wears.  We’d found some Wow Wow Wubbzy! fabric at Walmart before they got rid of their fabric, so we bought a yard and a half with the idea of eventually making it into something.  She didn’t have any ideas (not realistic ones anyway), so I made this dress last weekend.  She wore it to school with tights yesterday:

Cute, huh?  I measured her and was shocked… she’s all over the place, size-wise!  She’s only a 3 in chest, waist and hips, 6 in height, and an 8 (!!!) in the torso!  My mom makes her pajamas with a peasant style top, and I’d always noticed that the tops were really baggy.  Well, this would be why!  I’ve got a tiny supermodel! LOL

I still have to get pics of a couple projects: Jalie yoga pants (wearing them now!), McCall’s long skirt (forgot the number), Kwik Sew 3592, and a Burda wadder top.  Stay tuned!

{March 10, 2010}   Simplicity 2998

Sorry for the absence.  I’ve been busy choosing and making an offer on a house!  Actually, it’s a villa, but who’s keeping score?  It’s also a short sale.  Since I’ve encountered many people who don’t know what this means, I’ll explain:  a short sale means a home is being sold for less than what the owner owes the bank for it, hence the word short.  It does not refer to the amount of time it takes to close!  Owners will do this to avoid foreclosure.  It can result in a home that’s a great price.  It’s listed for $75,000, so if the bank accepts that price, I’ll be getting a huge deal!  It needs a facelift, but that’s what I wanted to do so I can put my own stamp on it.  I hate traditional anything, which is usually the style of homes around here.  So, in addition to the bank accepting my offer, I also have to hope there’s nothing major wrong with it.  I looked online and found that the roof is new, and the AC unit looked newer as well.  So let’s hope there’s no bad mold, termites, etc.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of the house, but I’ll post them when I find out I’m really getting the house.

Wow, I feel like an adult now!!! LOL

On to the tunic.  When I made this, I wasn’t sure if it would look right on me.  In fact, when I got to work the day I wore it, I sought out one of my honest friends for an opinion.  She confirmed that it was cute and did not look too Peg Bundy like I feared.  In fact, I was standing at the copier when another (female) coworker walked by and said it was sexy!  It took a second before I realized she was talking about me!

Here it is:

{February 13, 2010}   Soldiering On

Thank you all for the nice comments!  It’s nice to have comments on my posts, since it wasn’t always that way!

In non-sewing news, it seems I may be close to buying my very own house!  After cleaning up some credit issues from my mid 20s, being in a steady job, and finding a first time home buyer program, I think I’m finally able to make that dream happen for myself.  I’m not getting too excited until I get that pre-approval letter from the bank.  I have 6 houses I plan to look at, one of which is down the street from my current place.  I spoke to the school district, and it looks like I’ll be able to keep my daughter in the same elementary school even if I buy outside the attendance zone.  That opens up more options.  Stability is extremely important for children, and it’s bad enough she’s lived in 6 homes and she’s not even 6 years old yet.  Happily, she will be staying in whatever house I buy until she’s an adult!

This is an immense source of pride for me.  Buying a house to me is proof of responsibility, stability, and maturity.  It’s been the one goal I absolutely needed to achieve to feel like a successful adult.  And I’m doing it all my myself!  It will be paid for by me alone, and bought by me alone.  With money I earned myself.  No gifts, no grants.  Just me and my efforts.

Back to sewing.  I’ve been reading the blog Pins and Needles for awhile.  Although I seem to be the polar opposite of the author both in personality and sewing interests, I still find her blog fascinating.  It seems that she’s quite well-known in the sewing blog community, but in case you’re not familiar, Summerset lives in New England with her husband, 2 children, and cats.  She makes these elaborately detailed art garments and quilts, plus clothing from vintage patterns and items for her family.  She seems very reserved and proper- again, polar opposite of me! LOL  Anyway, point in bringing her up is that a few weeks ago she was discussing pajamas in this post. It was this statement that stuck with me: 

“If you think about it, pajamas get worn a lot more than other clothes than may only get worn once a week, so it makes sense to put time and effort into making them sturdy and with the extra features.”

She is so right!  I’ve worn the most drab pajamas for as long as I can remember… not even pajamas so much as loungewear… stained, oversize sweatshirts, big ol’ t-shirts, stretch pants, and sweatpants.  In fact, that what I’m wearing right now!  Well, I bought this pattern and some cherry print flannel yesterday:

So, thank you, Summerset!  I’m gonna go prewash the fabric right now!

{January 6, 2010}   Simplicity 2934

This past weekend I got quite a bit done.  I wanted to look back on my week and a half off of work and have something to show for it.  I think I was successful!

This is Simplicity 2934.  This is the one I intended to use silver rayon/Lycra with a turquoise yoke.  It was too thin, so I scrapped that idea.  I’d bought this knit at Wal Mart several weeks ago because it was 4 bucks a yard and sometimes people actually find good stuff there.  I threw it over a chair and forgot about it till last week, and here it is!


It snags easily, but otherwise I like it.  I’ll just have to stay away from sharp objects while wearing it. 🙂  Not bad for 10 bucks!  I’m not sold on the sleeves, but I can always cut off the ties if they don’t grow on me.

Cost: fabric: $8, pattern: $2

{November 1, 2009}   Simplicity 3680

Here’s the annual Halloween costume for my daughter.  For the last 3 years, she chose to be a different Disney Princess each year, but apparently she’s moved on.  I’m not a fan of the Princesses, and neither is she, so I didn’t mind that much.  However, they were very fun to make, and I really wanted to make Belle’s gown, but she didn’t pick it and I haven’t seen a pattern for it in a while.

Anyway, she changed her mind several times over the past year, and finally decided to be a cowgirl.  This was after choosing various animals and me explaining that we live in Florida and she would be really hot in a faux fur costume.

This is the pattern she chose:

She loves pink, so I bought pink gingham for the dress.  I got some of that shitty suedecloth Joann’s tries to pass off as garment fabric, and the same trim on the envelope.  Total cost, including a $4 cowgirl hat from Michaels: $32.

002 (3)

I’m just a little paranoid about posting pics of my daughter after I’ve read a couple blogs where folks have posted similar sentiments, but I don’t know how to blur her face, so here  you go.

The pattern itself is good, but I missed a major step due to following the pictures and not reading the text.  On step 16, it instructs you to attach the bodice to the skirt.  However, the picture doesn’t show the bodice, so I missed this step.  I didn’t notice until after I’d put the casing and elastic on the skirt and wondered how I was supposed to attach the bodice!  Ugh.  Actually, it’s not even that clear that it IS a dress, because in the drawings it’s shown with the belt over it, so it could just as easily be separates.  And that’s what we ended up with.  I attached some plush elastic to the bottom of the bodice and made a top.  Thankfully, the belt covers everything.  My daughter loved the costume and all was right in the world.  For about a minute…

{October 11, 2009}   Weekend update

Well, I’m trying to get my sewing mojo back.  Halloween is coming up soon and Sofia is anxiously awaiting her cowgirl costume.  I went to Joann’s on Saturday morning and picked up the supplies, threw the gingham in the wash, and by 7:30pm I was working on the costume.  I stopped at midnite because I was exhausted, but I got a lot of it done.  I finished the top and assembled the skirt; I just need to finish the waistband and fringe trim.  The belt also needs eyelets put in.  Then I’m done!  The whole thing cost $28, plus $4 for the hat at Michaels.  I still need to find some boots.  It figures- Target used to sell cowboy boots for the longest time, and now that I need ’em they’re gone!  Since it’s apparently impossible to post pics from Simplicity’s site, here’s an attempt to link to the pattern so you can see what I’m making.

I also cut 2 things: first up was the Hot Patterns’ free download, Cool, Calm and Cowl-necked top.  I got it from  I cut it from some orange bamboo/cotton jersey that I have grown to hate because it’s really flimsy and holes form at the seams where there is any form of stress.

Finally, I just cut out this apron in a cotton skull print I got for $1.50 a yard:

I also bought 3 new Simplicity patterns.  They were on sale for a buck at Joann’s, and I was surprised to find the brand new patterns in stock!  I got 2 Cynthia Rowley patterns and an embroidered Xmas stocking/ornament pattern, mostly for the Russian nesting doll ornament so I can trace an enlarged version to paint on a floorcloth for my living room.  I was reminded of their existence by a “Decorating Ideas Under $100” magazine I picked up this week.  I think this will solve my problem of needing a rug, but not being able to have one because some cats love to throw up on them.

{September 16, 2009}   Simplicity 2596

I’m a little behind on posting, but it’s OK because I haven’t sewn anything in a long time, so I’m not actually that far behind after all.


And here’s the back:


I decided to make this because at this point I need tops that are very loose.  I’m starting to get people asking me if I’m pregnant about every other week.  And I’m NOT.  I tell ya people, that is NEVER OK to ask!

I used some poly crepe from Joann’s that I’ve had forever and just wanted to get rid of.  The only change I made to the pattern was to make the facings really narrow.

And here’s the pattern:

{August 29, 2009}   Simplicity 2603

I jumped on the bandwagon and made a cardi-wrap after seeing Christina’s post.  She linked to a DKNY video with a dozen ways to wear it, and I was sold.  I went out and bought the pattern and 2 3/4 yards of matte jersey the next day, and made it later that evening.  It is the easiest thing in the world!  The only tricky part is cutting out- follow the layout!



I didn’t hem the edges because I didn’t want it to look bulky and/or “happy hands at home.”  I did find out after putting it on that the matte jersey I used does not have enough stretch- the sleeves are REALLY tight!    I never remember to use that “pick a knit” chart on the back of the pattern envelope!

{August 24, 2009}   Simplicity 2560

I had a very productive weekend- I made a total of 3 garments, and this is one of them.


And the back:


I decided to make this because I’ve had this piece of sweater knit for a couple of years and I was sick of looking at it all rolled onto a bolt, taking up half a cubby on my shelving unit!  Now it will take up a modest amount of space in my closet, which is much more useful.  I wore this today and I do like it.  However, I’d left the front and lower edge unhemmed and it bothered me when the front edge was visible.  I didn’t want to risk stretching it out, so I’ll either serge it or use the walking foot.  Otherwise, I made it as instructed.  It’s a reallly unique design and very simple to make.

Here’s the pattern envelope.  I made view A, in the upper left corner:

et cetera