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Retro...What's Old is New Again

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Kennis Wong and Itch To Stitch have done it again with the newly released, Chai Skirt and Dress, designed for woven fabrics. Chai Shirt/Dress   

I was recently fortunate to be chosen as a tester for this gorgeous retro blouse and dress from Itch To Stitch.  With it's slightly gathered sleeves and bodice, along with a waistband and flowing skirt, this dress and top are reminiscent of the seventies, but with a very modern vibe.

The shirt and dress include a collar on a proper collar stand, but don't let that scare you!  The instructions are very clear, with a step by step technique that will help to ensure success. Similarly, the waistband comes together very nicely and looks great in a contrasting fabric, too.  I chose to change the direction of the pattern for my waistband, but that is not necessary to do.

This style can be dressed up or down, depending on how you choose to pair it, and is flattering on all body types.  It is available from size 0-20, and in cup sizes rangin…

Denim - It's All in the Details!

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As a child of the 60's, I have always been a huge fan of anything denim: jeans, skirts, dresses, cut-offs, and even hats.  The Sandbridge Skirt by Hey June Handmade brought back my love for denim, as soon as I saw the line drawing for the tester call.

This is a great skirt!  It comes in two lengths (mini and knee length), and it has all the bells and whistles denim clothing should have, starting with a fly front, a coin pocket, optional rivets, contrasting bias for the inner waistband and topstitching details on the seams and pockets.


The Sandbridge is designed for medium weight fabrics such as denim, corduroy, or other similar weight fabrics.  It can be made with a fabric with some stretch or with none, but if you choose non-stretchy, you are advised to go up a size.  The step by step instructions are easy to follow and there will be a sew along on the website,  Hey June Handmade, starting on Monday, July 24. Join in the sew along if you want support in making this fabulous skirt…

The Perfect Top for Summer Days

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If you have never tried your hand at a pattern from Hey June Handmade, you are missing a treat.  The designer, Adrianna Appl, provides clear instructions for professionally finished garments that are a dream to sew.  Recently, I was fortunate to be chosen as a tester for the Key Largo, which is a great summer top for woven fabrics, with two different views.

One interesting aspect of the Key Largo is the front is cut on the bias.  This allows you to make an interesting chevron pattern with a striped fabric, but also provides a lovely drape for fabrics with a less obvious design.  I am still hunting for the perfect stripe to make my next Key Largo.

If you are new to sewing with woven fabrics, this would be a great pattern to begin with.  There are  five pattern pieces for View A, which has a bottom band with a self tie, and only four pieces for View B, which has a hemmed bottom and no tie This count includes pieces for the neckband and sleeve binding, and the construction method is very…

Sewing for men - a new trick.

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In all my years of sewing, I have only made garments for women (mainly myself), and children.  A few weeks ago, I happened upon a testing call for sweatpants for men, and I decided to apply.  Much to my surprise, I was chosen as one of the testers, and so, I embarked upon a new path.

Christina Albeck is the designer behind Wardrobe By Me, and has more than twenty years experience designing patterns for the fashion industry.  She has an extensive selection of PDF patterns on her site, and is a dream to work with.

The Rebel Sweatpants and Shorts pattern is a great fit, and an easy sew. There are two inseam pockets, a back, patch pocket, and an option to add a drawstring.  I chose to make the pants in a soft French Terry, but they would also be suitable for many types of fleece, as long as there was enough stretch.  I also decided to decorate the waistband with four rows of top stitching, to add an even more professional look to them.

Even better, there is a companion pattern for women c…

Sweet Dreams in a Sleep Sack

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Goober Peas Designs ( https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/GooberPeaDesigns) has just released two sleep sack patterns: Starlight, and Starbright. I was privileged to be one of the testers, and these are great, versatile patterns that are quick and easy to sew.

Starbright is a scoop neck sack, with snaps at the shoulders.  There is an option to add a snap opening in the bottom section to make it easier to get on and off.  Designed to be sewn in a knit fabric, it can also be made in a woven, simply by making a larger size.

Starlight has a crossover bodice, also with snaps, and the option for a bottom opening.  The other main difference is that starlight has a gathered bottom section, making it a bit roomier.

The sacks pictured are size large, and are a great fit for my 18 month old grandson.  The pattern is designed for sizes ranging from newborn to approximately 4-5 years. The amazing thing about these two patterns is that you can mix and match to suit your personal taste and style.  The i…

PDF Patterns, oh my.

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One of my discoveries since returning to sewing is the world of PDF patterns.  There are many indie pattern makers who design and sell PDF patterns online. The variety and scope of patterns is amazing.  A very important part of the process of developing these patterns is pattern testing.  The designer sends out a draft copy of a pattern to a number of people who proceed to print the pattern, then cut and sew the garment.

The testers have several important roles in the process: checking the pattern markings, checking how well the pattern assembles (which affects how accurately the garment will assemble), sewing the garment while ensuring the instructions are clear, then trying the garment on to check for how well it matches the size it is supposed to be.  After all of this, modeled pictures are taken of the completed garment, to help showcase the pattern designer's creation.

I find this process very interesting; perhaps enjoying the process of evaluation is an extension of my previ…

Hello and welcome to my blog.

Since retiring from teaching last June, I have rediscovered the joy of sewing.  In my teens and twenties, I used to make most of my clothes  This was mainly in self defense, as in the 60's and 70's, finding clothes that were both fashionable and long enough for a female who was 5'10" tall, was a daunting challenge.

Then life got in the way of this hobby.  Marriage, children, activities, pets and work left little time for sewing, except on rare occasions.  Returning to my hobby, I was amazed by the changes that had occurred during the barren years: Indie pattern makers selling online, custom fabric groups, facebook sewing groups, pattern testing, and more.

As I continue further exploration of the art of sewing in the 21st century, from time to time I will blog about patterns, fabrics, and the trials and tribulations of learning new tricks of the trade.