Cascading Cardigan

IMG_0039This week I finished up all of my customer alterations in a timely manner, and took some personal time to make this (1 hour cardigan). Ha ha! It takes more than an hour to cut, sew, and topstitch, etc. But it is easily finished in an afternoon.

IMG_0040I read quite a few reviews on this particular cardigan, most of which said that it runs quite large. I took that under consideration when I cut it out. I would normally wear a “large” according to the size chart, but I decided to cut between the small and the medium lines of the tiled pattern. I could have just cut the small. It does run big! You also have to take into account that this pattern allows for 5/8 inch seam, so if you are using a serger, you cut off quite a bit from the seam allowance.

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I ordered this kit with pattern and fabric from They sell sewing kits, as well as knitting, crochet and other craft kits. I like the fact that they have selected the fabric that works well with the particular pattern. That way, I don’t have to make a decision. :)


Don’t get me wrong, I love fabric shopping, but I usually buy fabric for the beauty of the fabric and patterns just because I like them. It’s down the road, that I choose a pattern from my stash and then try to find suitable fabric also from my stash. I think I do this because I live so far away from brick and mortar fabric stores.

IMG_0043Besides all those excuses, the kits are fun and reasonably priced, especially when they are on sale. I’ve found the fabrics to be top quality so far. This cardigan is a beautiful solid plum color (from the pink family) that suits Miss Bossy, I hope. My last name starts with C and C is for Pink! Yeah!

IMG_0046My granddaughter took several nice pictures of me in her backyard in front of the tulip tree. I’m also wearing a blouse I made a few years ago from an upcycled curtain. The fabric is some sort of synthetic, so I only wear it when the weather isn’t too warm. Today was the perfect day. Its been in the mid 70’s lately!

Thanks for looking and happy sewing!

See more of my sewing adventures at

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Perfectly Pink!

Happy V Day

Hello Sewing friends and Happy Valentines Day!

My most recent make is McCall’s 6850. Misses/Men’s Vest and Jackets.

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I used a pink sweatshirt knit fabric from my stash. I purchased it some time last year at my favorite thrift store. It was at least 54 inches wide and 3 yards long. I’m glad there was plenty of fabric because I had to cut around some faded parts which happened to be on the folded edges of the fabric. It probably sat folded somewhere and the sun or light affected the edges.


I knew that I would have to order the right color and length of zipper so I sewed everything together as much as I could while I waited for my zipper to arrive. I use for almost all of my sewing needs. If you don’t know about it, you should check it out. Their prices and variety of notions are incredible! They are located in Nevada and ship Fed Ex to CA where I live. That means I don’t have to pay tax and shipping is very low. What I like more than anything, is how fast it arrives – usually between 1 and 3 days!

IMG_0017When my pink zipper arrived, I finished jacket.

IMG_0016I thought the hood was a little big and floppy, so I unpicked the seam at the front edge just enough to squeeze a grommet in there. I have a little grommet kit that had a few grommets in the box, so I pounded those babies in with the special little tools. I haven’t found the right cord to go in the hood. I’m hoping I can upcycle one from the thrift store. I added cuffs to the jacket using the reverse side of the fabric which has a rib knit pattern.

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This solid pink jacket fits the February theme on The Monthly Stitch. This month it’s all about solids. The extra feature is to use a color that starts with your initial. My last name starts with C and pink was the selected color for that letter. I’m glad because the only other color that matched my initials was brown! I’m not into brown right now.

In just a few weeks I’ll be going to the Sewing Expo in Washington! I hope to meet up with some fellow sewers and bloggers. Will you be there?

Happy Sewing!

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More Rag Doll Adventures page 3 and 4

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After making two rag dolls from the Jess Brown book, I found that their skinny little legs and arms were very hard to turn right side out and stuff, not impossible, but time consuming. IMG_9929They are as cute as can be though. Even my husband says that they have an artistic look rather than a toy look.

That being said, I’m not much on making any one thing too many times. I like the variety and challenge of new projects. So, for my next doll, I decided to enlarge the Jess Brown Pattern 5/8 of an inch everywhere. This one was much easier to stuff!

I gave her a little up-do instead of the pigtails. She is made just like the little ones , but just a bit larger. I used upcycled and vintage cotton and wool fabrics, and polyfil. I really am please with how she turned out.

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I also tried the Maya the Mermaid pattern by Abby Glassenberg who is a professional toy pattern designer, among other things, and blogs at She is an artistic and knowledgeable  business woman who also hosts informative and interesting podcasts with guests that work in the field of textiles, sewing, blogging, business, crafts, etc. I never miss a podcast. I have learned so much from the different guests that she has hosted. I think you will too, and so I highly recommend checking out her blog, patterns, and podcasts.

On to Maya the Mermaid. For my version of the doll, I decreased the size of the pdf pattern to 80%. to make it just a little smaller. She recommends using fleece for the toy doll, so that it can be played with, and even washed. My version is made with cotton, wool, and organic cotton stuffing. I used a charm pack  60 5″ Luscious Freckles Tonals Charm Pack Sold by: Material Maven. I selected the pink to purple tones and used 4 squares of each for my version of the tail.

IMG_9959IMG_9960I cut the tail pattern in half and added seam allowance. Then I cut two fronts and two backs out of tissue paper.

IMG_9963The squares were cut into random widths except for two of the purple squares which I used for the fin.

IMG_9962IMG_9964I sewed the strips to the paper patterns, making sure that the pieces extended a little on each side so that when they were pressed down, they covered the pattern.

Towards the narrow bottom, I was able to cut off the extra, and use the pieces to finish the tail.IMG_9965



I followed Abby’s instructions exactly and the doll went together very easily. I even ordered the safety eyes from her too.


I’m glad I did because non of the local fabric/craft stores in my area had them. They were easy to apply too.

IMG_9987 I’m very happy with how she turned out. The only thing that I notice is that the felted wool hair, tends to shed a little and the tiny fibers cling to the muslin. However, she can be quickly cleaned up with a lint brush. I like the sticky kind that you get at the dollar store.

Happy Sewing!

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A Tour of my Sewing Studio

I cleaned and organized my sewing studio the other day.  It’s the perfect space to make a mess, and it usually is messy! So, I wanted to document how it looked after working on it all day.

I have three sewing machines set up and ready to go, a Pfaff regular/decorative machine, a Viking serger, and a Janome coverstitch machine. I also have an ironing board, and a small table for students to set up their machines.  This room also serves as a guest bedroom, so there is a bed, pushed up against the wall with big pillows, a basket of finished customer work, and an assortment of handmade dolls. It’s also a catch-all for anything and everything I’m working on.  In my next post I’ll share a simple way to organize your stash fabrics in a neat and tidy way.

If you are one of the 400 followers of this blog, thank you for the validation. Knowing that there are others who enjoy sewing, quilting, crafting, and blogging is very inspiring and motivating.

Until next time,
Happy Sewing!

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Rag Doll Adventures

IMG_9925What’s an adventure? According to “An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” In my Rag Doll Adventures, my first steps were to locate the exact pattern and wait patiently for it to arrive. Finally, “The Making of a Rag Doll” by Jess Brown was waiting in the mailbox.IMG_9890After reading it from cover to cover, I proceeded to copy the enclosed patterns and start on my bold and risky undertaking. The dolls that she makes and sells are 22 inches long, but the doll pattern that she shares in her book is 19 inches long. This reduced size makes turning and stuffing the arms and legs a challenge. I figured out an easier way to turn the second doll’s arms and legs using a spaghetti strap turner. It does take some time and quite a bit of finger, thumb, and chopstick work to stuff those tiny limbs!

IMG_9904I wanted to make the doll out of upcycled materials as much as possible so I did my fabric shopping at our local senior center thrift store. It was a great day to shop because I hit the jack pot! I found new and vintage cuts of the cutest cotton prints and heavy weight muslin for making the dolls’ bodies.

IMG_9907 I bought a men’s wool suit jacket for making hair. I deconstructed the whole jacket, saving only the wool. Then I threw it in the washing machine and washed it in hot water, rinsed it in cold, and then dried it in the dryer. It felted up a little, creating a soft fuzzy texture.  I attached the stuffed legs to the bottom with a couple of rows of stitching and then stuffed the rest of the body. After stitching up the back opening the doll was ready to be dressed. Jess Brown includes several garments for the dolls to wear. I chose the dress and bloomers for my girls. I added 1/8 inch elastic to the top of the bloomers, turned under the neck, sleeves, and hem edges and sewed up the seams. That was the easiest part of the adventure.IMG_9910Now to tackle the hair. There are suggestions in the book for adding the hair, but no real photos of just how to do it, especially on the back of the head. I cut 1 inch strips about 12 inches long from my felted wool. Then I sewed them to the head with embroidery thread of a coordinating color. It took four strips. I layered them starting with the one around the face and then layered the other ones one on top of the other and sewed them together with a whip stitch. I used my pinking shears to cut the strips in half. It was exciting to see how well it turned out!

IMG_9918I did the faces last. I lightly penciled in the Jess Brown “star eyes” and then embroidered them with black. I decided to change Jess Brown’s signature felt heart mouth to a small embroidered mouth sewn with 3 strands of coordinating embroidery thread.

IMG_9915To make the dolls gift ready for Valentines Day, I made red felt hearts, sewn together with pink embroidery thread. I stuffed a bit of polyfill inside, added a ribbon, and tied them around their little necks.

IMG_9929This is what I will do differently next time: enlarge the pattern so that stuffing is easier. I have ordered some organic cotton stuffing, so the next ones will be all cotton and wool.

IMG_9924Let’s see how far my adventure into doll making goes. So far I’m excited about the journey and curious to see what the future may bring, in the Rag Doll Adventure.

Thank you, friends, for following my blog! I may hit five hundred this year and I will certainly celebrate with some awesome handmade gifts for several lucky followers.

Happy Sewing!

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The Patriot Skirt!

IMG_9895Here is my second skirt using the skirt sloper that I made after taking Suzi Furrer’s Craftsy Class. This time I made a skirt that comes to my waist with a waistband. I noticed that the woven fabric that I scored at the local thrift, was perfect for designing a skirt with fringe.

IMG_9894With this in mind, I cut out my skirt, added 1/2 inch seam allowance, and carefully matched up the plaid at the side seams. I cut the waistband on the bias as a design element. I applied iron-on interfacing to it, which gave it body and kept it from stretching.

IMG_9893 I cut a lining from a thrifted slip (my new inexpensive, lining source) and attached it to the waistline of the skirt, making tucks at the location of the darts on the skirt. Suzi says that tucks allow for more ease and that you really shouldn’t put darts in the skirt lining. I sewed in an invisible zipper, and attached one side of the waistband, right sides together, to the waist of the skirt. I carefully pined the inside, then topstitched from the top, catching the folded edge on the inside of the waistband.

IMG_9900I sewed a zigzag stitch just above the point where I wanted the fringe to begin. Then I pulled the horizontal threads out, until I got to about 1/2 inch from the zigzag stitch. I made a buttonhole and sewed on a pretty red button.


Fabric: Woven red,white, and blue thrifted fabric
Pattern: Personal Skirt Sloper
Year: 2015
Notions: interfacing, zipper
Time to complete: One evening
First worn: January 18 for a surprise birthday party for hubbie, and the Patriot’s game.
Wear again? Yes! I love red and the fringe is fun and a little Western
Total price: Less than $5.00 in materials, free labor!


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Marcy Tilton Jeans

I made my first pair of stretch denim jeans using a Marcy Tilton pattern by Vogue. I found the fabric at Beverly’s on the flat fold tables. Every Friday all fabric on the tables is half off. You can get some great deals! I bought two yards each of two colors of stretch denim for less than three dollars a yard.

IMG_9866I cut a size 16 but added 1/2 inch extra to the side seams, just so that I could adjust the fit later if needed. I actually didn’t need to do that, even though according to the size chart I wear an 18. I ended up taking the side seams in for a snugger fit. Next time I’ll cut the 16 and cut the size 14 crotch.

IMG_9869I also will omit the seam detail at the knees. I didn’t find it that flattering.

IMG_9880I had a lot of fun decorating the pockets. I used a Sulky variegated metallic thread with a special needle for metallic thread, and used my stretch stitch setting to create a thick line and decorative stitch. I also used the same thread and stitch setting on the pant hems.


IMG_9871The elastic went in fine, but next time I’ll use a shorter length so that they are nice and snug around my waist. I have a pair of RTW Anna jeans that are stretch denim and I’d like to copy them. They have a faux pant zipper, faux pockets, and a waistband that buttons in the front. I think I could modify the Marcy Tilton pattern and add those features. We’ll see!


The colorful top-stitching goes well with my Peruvian flats

Happy Sewing!

Just happened upon Marcy Tilton’s blog post about these particular pants. Interesting!


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