This is certainly one of those seasons that enjoys messin' with our emotions, isn't it?

Hot... cold... rain... more rain... frigid... then a sunburn the very next day!

Well, on the warm days, I have certainly enjoyed pulling out these hippy-dippy shorts. I actually made them last year and never got around to photographing them.

Simplicity 1373 is, unfortunately, now out of print. But if you have it in your stash, you'll want to jump on it as soon as you can. It includes an adorable top, shorts, and pants options.

The shorts came together without a hitch. What I love best are the darts that help to elevate this simple design. And they work up very quickly! You can have these ready to go in an hour or two.

One word of caution: be sure you know how to tell the front from the back. Use a garment label or something. I don't know why I find this so confusing. To make matters worse, I installed the zipper on the wrong side of one of the pairs. Gah!

Maybe it doesn't matter if I wear them backwards? Hmmm...

This particular pair seems to fit a little more snuggly than I remember them... I'm going to blame that on all of the "muscle" that I've built from running over the winter.


Also, this particular woven fabric is not ideal for form-fitting garments. It has little memory so I'm expecting to see a little "droop" over time.

Or, maybe they'll fit a little better. Ha-ha!

First a bit of personal news... I finished all of my academic requirements to apply for the CPA exam!!!! This came as a surprise to me because I thought I had 2 more semesters left. I was so surprised that I emailed the evaluation agency to ask, "Are you sure?!" They confirmed that it was true.


So, after sitting around like a bump-on-a-log, decompressing, for a week after my last classes, I unpacked my sewing supplies and got back into the swing of things. McCall's 7313 came just at the right time. I needed a quick, gratifying make to reignite my enthusiasm.

Following my recent trend, I made this dress out of a Girl Charlee cotton/spandex blend and - holy cow - it feels amazing! I have another yard of this yummy goodness and I might make pajamas out of it. It is that soft!

I wish I had a sewing disaster to share with you because they always make great stories, but I don't! This came off without a hitch.

I did alter the pattern a bit. It called for an elastic waistband. After consulting my community of makers, we all agreed it wasn't necessary. I decided to take in the top and skirt about an inch on both sides and eliminate the elastic. I think it gives the dress a cleaner look (and it's certainly more comfortable!).

A few people have asked about how I managed such a great finish on the neckline. I honestly think that dumb luck has a lot to do with it, but here's my process: I serge the raw edge, turn under 1/2" with Wonder Clips, and finish with a twin needle. Using this process, I've never had any issues with puckering.

I absolutely love this dress. Even my husband, who never has much to say about my sewing habit, says that this is the "most beautiful dress" that I've made. That is a high compliment coming from him. I think I need at least two more...

I'm assuming you sew - or have an interesting sewing - if you're here. I often think about WHY I sew as I'm working through these projects. Here are three hard truths:
  • Clothing is never perfect. Even ready-to-wear (RTW), designer garments have flaws - seams that are a little wonky... hems that might wave a bit... slight differences in fit. It's just the human influence of the process. If you've never sewn, I challenge you to pull out a few of your favorite items and closely examine them - you'll see what I mean.
  • Custom sewing is a slow process. If you want it to be right, it takes time. Many talented makers create a test garment, called a muslin, before even cutting into their "real" fabric. Yes - they make the pattern twice. There is nothing worse than working hard on a garment, only to find that it doesn't fit when it's complete. I once considered myself a lazy maker, but I've come to realize that sewing is only worth doing if the end result is something you can be proud of (and wear!).
  • Sewing is expensive! No one sews to "save" money. Even time carries a value. With the exception of a few recent projects, I'd say the average make takes me 4-5 hours from start to finish - longer if there is handwork required. I'm slow and careful. If I assign a minimal value on my time - say $10 an hour - and I have $20-$40 (or more!) invested in fabric, I have a finished garment that costs $60-$100. Depending on the project, it could be more or less.
So, why-the-heck do I do it?! It it truly for the love of the craft.

Here's what else I know to be true - custom garments fit in ways that RTW can't, giving them an expensive look and feel. People take notice of what you're wearing when it's well-made. Even strangers approach me on days that I'm wearing "me-made." They want to know where they can purchase or how they can steal it from me. There are a lot of reasons to feel good about wearing clothing you've made, including avoiding some of the fashion industry's ethical issues.

I'd love to hear from you - why do you sew? If you don't sew and are interested in starting, what do you find appealing about the process?

Y'all... I am sewing like a mad woman over here. Two large storms are brewing - my last semester of accounting classes (fingers crossed) and tax season! Once they arrive, I'll be too tired to even shop for fabric.

Well, maybe not that tired...

It's so great to feel inspired to sew, though. I've mentioned that it's been one heck of a year. In addition to the personal challenges we've faced, I just haven't had the proper space to encourage regular sewing. Whenever I'm ready to make something, I have to lug all of my machines and materials up from the (still unfinished) basement and set up on my dining room table. I haven't had the chance to unpack all of my studio boxes so I often find I'm missing tools that I need. Too much trouble!!

I'll tell you what has really inspired me to keep it going - the various Facebook groups for sewing that I've joined. My favorite is the McCall Pattern Company Group. I absolutely love to see what others are making. There are so many talented designers!

So before the ball dropped on 2016, I was able to squeeze in a few more makes. My obsession with knit continues with Burda 6667 in a Hacci sweater stripe. It's just so dang easy to sew with and wear. Admittedly, most knit patterns are relatively easy and that appeals to me, too.

(And, it was totally coincidental that my fabric is really similar to the photo!)

I've never made a Burda garment before so this was a great one to start with. I love, love, love long and flowy cardigans that I can wear with leggings. This one fit the bill!

Essentially, this is one huge rectangle with sleeves. Two pattern pieces, a few seams, and voila! You've got a fabulously easy cardigan.

The only challenge with this garment was the sleeves. There is a curve to the top of any sleeve. This pattern requires you to fit the curve into a straight slit cut into the rectangle.

I'm not saying that this is a hard task. It's not! It was just a bit frustrating to set the sleeves appropriately. But, I managed to make it work. In retrospect, I wish I'd added an extra inch to the sleeves. I have very long arms, which is why I usually stick to 3/4 length sleeves as a rule. I tried this on a few times before hemming, but the sleeves still wound up a tad too short for my comfort.

I don't often sew for other people. I still lack the confidence in my abilities to fit garments for others. I can't imagine anything worse than creating something that didn't fit! However, I am definitely making another one of these for my mother. I plan to make a few more for me, too, when I find the right fabric. It really is a perfect layering piece!

Have you made any long cardigans lately? What patterns would you recommend?