Peruvian Textiles and Machu Picchu!


10421491_10101555106630708_3560862391189673707_nMy daughter and I went on a short trip to Peru last week. Of course, the biggest attraction was the ancient Inca village high up in the Andes mountains. My daughter hiked 10 beautiful breathtaking miles to reach the Sun House at Machu Picchu. We met up in Aguas Calientes later that night and departed the next morning for a guided tour of Machu Picchu. It was very exciting to experience this magical place.


IMG_7176Another extraordinary experience was visiting a small town in the Sacred Valley where women have been taught the weaving techniques of their ancestors. Here’s a video clip from Planeterra.

The spokeswoman of the women’s weaving co-op took us step-by-step through the weaving process, from the fleece on the llamas and alpacas to the finished projects. The whole weaving community is sponsored by the non-profit organization, Planeterra. Our tour company, G Adventures, also supports this tourist opportunity for the locals.

IMG_7151One woman invited me to sit down at a bigger loom and guided me through several procedures. It was a very intricate design and I hoped that I wasn’t messing it up!

10850257_10101555108227508_8483233388097069596_nLater I purchased several gifts from her stall. She was so sweet, she even gave me a little knitted alpaca doll as a token of her friendship.






Using soap root to wash the dirty fleece






Fleece is dyed using natural dyes

IMG_7163I hope you have enjoyed their colorful outfits, their woven goods and the beautiful countryside in the photos that I’m sharing with you. I bought one of the traditional Inca outfits for a doll I have. I even made a Peruvian inspired outfit for the other toddler doll. They are a colorful reminder of my recent trip!

10411959_10205399134167239_5155764735555822471_nAnd for a grand finale! We were dressed up in traditional festival outfits by a sales clerk in a store in Cusco. She took several great photos of us in these beautiful costumes!



Posted in Art, crafting, DIY, Dyeing, Fashion, nature, Sewing, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Persimmon Baby Quilt

IMG_9586I had just a little over a week to make a baby shower gift for a dear family friend. Luckily, I had previously purchased a cute little Persimmon Charm Pack from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. and a matching Bella Solids peach fabric at the same time. I even had some cotton batting in my stash. With all the ingredients and some dedicated time, I put together this little quilt following a suggested quilt layout that I found on the internet.

IMG_9594I cut 40 squares from the solid peach fabric to go with the charm pack, so that I could make nine 9 patch squares. I cut each of these large squares in half – horizontally and vertically. Then I rearranged all the cut squares into a pleasing order and sewed them together creating nine large squares. I sewed rows of three, and then sewed the rows together.

IMG_9589To contrast nicely with the peach and make the quilt a little more masculine, I used a blue cotton with a subtle pattern for the back. I cut the  back bigger than the quilt so that I could turn the edges onto the front for a self-binding. After the quilt was pinned together using quilting pins, I topstitched with cotton quilting thread 1/4 inch around each rectangle. This took some time and my neck ached a bit from all of the concentrated work, but it turned out looking very nice!


I added my personal label to the back!

I thought I might stipple within each square, so I did my research and learned a lot about free-motion stitching. I even made a practice quilt-sandwich and had a fun time “drawing” with my sewing machine.

IMG_9585I decided not to attempt it on this quilt, however. Maybe on my next one! My friend, Hannah, who is expecting a baby boy, really loved it and appreciates the fact that it is handmade.

Here’s a link to another baby quilt I made using Civil War Era Fabric.

IMG_9588Wishing everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving a happy fun time with friends and family. I’ll be in Peru for the holiday! I’m going on a cultural trip starting in Lima, then Cusco, The Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and back to Lima. I can’t wait to see the sites and see all the textiles! (I’ll post pictures when I return!)

Happy Sewing!

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A Jacket a la Sherlock Holmes

IMG_9579Finally, I’m finished! I have been working on this jacket for a couple of weeks, between other sewing projects and teaching sewing lessons. I deliberately took my time, and made all the changes to the coat bit by bit. I’ve learned to stop sewing when I’m tired or the light is not good. It’s never a good idea to hurry and risk messing something up. I am very pleased with the final result. Yippy!


After I finished the jacket the first time. I realized that I didn’t like the style of the pointy fronts, even though that was what attracted me to the pattern in the first place.

photo 2

photo 1  I asked my Facebook friends and commenters on my blog for their opinions about what I should do. I got lots of good ideas, both to keep it like it was, and to change it. The one I liked the best was “Go with what makes you the happiest”.  I used the longer version so that I could have pockets, so I had to take into account the length of the pocket bag inside when I changed the length. Basically, I cut it the same length as the back and the pocket bag was fine. I had to unpick the lining that I added, entirely from the bottom, then measure everything carefully and cut a new line on both the jacket and the lining.

IMG_9573Before I sewed it back together, I decided to add shoulder pads which were upcycled from an existing jacket. I also made belt loops that were sewn to the sides.



 Fabric: mystery wool blend, plaid fabric from the flat-fold table at Beverly’s
Pattern: Vogue 9037 Very Easy Unlined Jacket
Year: 2014
Notions: interfacing, shoulder pads, two big snaps, silk lining
Time to complete: Enough time to do a nice job! (Several weeks, but who’s counting?)
First worn: November 14 on a lunch date with husband and mother-in-law
Wear again? I’ll be wearing it often! It’s the perfect weight, and really dresses up a pair of jeans.
Total price: Less than $20.oo in materials, free labor!


Added lining to the unlined jacket.



“Now that’s a good looking jacket!”


Posted in Blogging, DIY, Fashion, Sewing, Upcycle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

In the Middle of a Coat

Yes, I’m in the middle of a coat. I tried it on and felt like the hem was a little weird. Right now the trend is draping fronts, and angled hems, but I’m not liking how it looks on me. I’ve asked fellow sewers on the RTW Facebook page and the Monthly Stitch Facebook page for their opinions on the style. I’ve received all kinds of suggestions. Some like it how it is, some say to chop it off even with the back. I’ve been working on it, and taking my time so that I don’t waste all the time I’ve put in to it so far. I think I’ve made an improvement, but I’m not quite done. I’m not ready to post quite yet! In the mean time, here are the before shots. Do you have any suggestions?

photo 1 photo 2

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Flattering Your Figure!

Some sewing tips and procedures are never outdated. I just came across a Simplicity Sewing book copyright 1958. I found it at the local senior center thrift store and paid a whopping 25 cents for it. I’ll be sharing some of the highlights from it since I’m between sewing projects worthy of sharing. I have been very busy with sewing lessons and alterations. It’s not as fun as creative sewing, but the extra money goes into my travel fund so I appreciate the steady work.

How do you know what will look the most flattering on you? Read through this little quiz for a perspective on the most attractive styles for your figure….remember this is from 1958!


Posted in Blogging, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Fashion, Sewing, Vintage sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New York! New York!

Mood Fabrics in New York City!


Recently I visited New York City with a friend and we “really did the town” so to speak.


View from our apartment!

We enjoyed five full days of museums, Broadway shows, opera, improv at UCB , sketching in Central Park and Columbus Circle, walking the High Line, and while in the Garment District, we went to Mood Fabric Store.

IMG_9357 IMG_9354 IMG_9351 IMG_9349 IMG_9350 IMG_9346 IMG_9345We ran up and down the aisles just like all the contestants on Project Runway. It’s an awesome feeling to be browsing fabrics that famous designers also peruse. Swatch, the mascot dog, wasn’t there that day. I was told he was resting up after a busy weekend with tourists. Between destinations, we walked glamorous Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue, taking in all of the cutting edge window displays. We had so much fun!



Good-bye New York City!

Then I flew to Boston to visit old friends. We went sightseeing, hiking and ate yummy food, including lobster!


Putting the Lobster in the Pot!

IMG_9405In Massachusetts , we hiked through the woods and enjoyed the beginning of the leaves turning bright red, orange, yellow, and gold. Later we drove through New Hampshire and Vermont and took in even more fall beauty!


IMG_9422 IMG_9445In Boston, we went to a Farmer’s Market, where I saw quite a few Indie Fashion Designers/Sewers with their own creations for sale. I was really impressed.


A window display with vintage sewing machines in Boston

Later we went to Greys Fabric, where I was surprised to see a display of familiar indie sewing patterns, including Colette, Dear and Doe, and Sewholic.  I bought a few small items as souvenirs.




I had a fabulous time as you can see from the pictures, but unfortunately, I missed a meet up with Ebi of Making the Flame who kindly invited me to meet up in Boston. It would have been fun to meet a fellow sewer and blogger!

Happy Sewing!


New York, New York!

Posted in Blogging, DIY, Fashion, nature, quilting, Sewing, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Second Senna Dress

IMG_20140924_091615And here it is! Lindsay sent all of her pattern testers a final version of the Senna Dress, Skirt and Top. The testing process went quite well and I ended up with a wearable muslin that I posted earlier.

IMG_9166Lindsay really took into consideration all of the testers’ advise, resulting in an incredible pattern that is currently for sell right here. It is easy to sew and very flattering. I think it would look great on most body shapes.

IMG_20140924_091904I made my second Senna Dress out of black stretch cotton with lycra that I purchased from the Dharma Company. I also have the same fabric in white with plans to do a Shibori dye technique to it.

IMG_20140924_091632One of the improvements to the pattern was to use 1/4 inch elastic, instead of elastic thread, which doesn’t work well on thicker fabrics. This really made a big difference in the elasticity of the shirring technique on the sides. It really holds it’s shape well.

IMG_20140924_091710I cut my second Senna a size larger from the waist down. I thought my first one fit a little too snug. I sewed the whole thing together using my serger and coverstitch machines. It was quick and easy! I highly recommend the Senna and I can’t wait to see what else Lindsay comes up with.

IMG_20140924_091856Over at The Monthly Stitch, it’s a Frocktober Theme, which means sew and post dresses! I love making dresses, so I’ll be joining in on the fun over there.

IMG_20140924_091635When I look closely at the back neck, I can see that I stretched the neck binding a little too much, causing some ripples. Next time, I won’t stretch it so much. We’re always learning something as we sew, right?


Happy Sewing!

Posted in Blogging, DIY, Fashion, sale, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments