The Dress Contest; and Prizes Announced

Hello Sewing friends,

Are you ready? Have you picked out your Indie Dress Pattern? The first contest starts June 1st and all you have to do is make a dress using and Indie Pattern. If you are not in to sewing for contests, it’s still fun to watch. Lots of Indie Patterns will be made up, and you may discover several new designers to add to your collection. Join us over at The Monthly Stitch for an exciting four weeks of competitive sewing for lots of amazing sewing related prizes!

Competition Banner_DressesTo help you keep track of the contests and the announcement of the winners, here is an informative calendar to keep on your desktop. I sure hope you will join in the fun! See you in June!

IPM 2015 Calendar

Happy Sewing!


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It’s not just May, It’s Me-Made-May!

Just a quick post to share my Me-Made-May commitment with you all! Here I am wearing something made by me during the first 16 days of May.





Happy Sewing!

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Indie Patterns and Supplies!

The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Contest is just weeks away! Are you deciding what to  make and what Indie Pattern to use? I am! I’m so excited to join in the fun this year. I have a couple of favorites: Colette for style and design, and my favorite is the Hawthorn, blogged about here.


Hawthorn by Colette

I love GrayAllDayPatterns by Helena for their simplicity, and comfort. She’s an up-and-coming designer with two delightful blouse patterns. I helped test both of them and the resulting patterns are very cute! Here’s my Athena Top.


Athena Top by Gray All Day

Last but not least, is my go to Indie Pattern Company, Their unique systems of creating patterns to your exact measurements is a tremendous time saver for making perfectly fit garments. They have hundreds of styles that work for every body type. You can even save all of your clients, friends, and family measurements on the site and with one click, apply them to the pattern you desire. The price point is awesome too, around $3.00 each! If you sew for others, and you want a good fit, I highly recommend Lekala. Here’s one of my favorite makes, a coat for my daughter.

Coat with ruffle back

Coat by Lekala 4176


Do you have a favorite source for sewing notions? I do. I order everything and I mean EVERYTHING from They have the best prices, and the greatest selection of anything and everything related to sewing. Shipping is always less than $5.00 in the U.S. and it’s fast! I live in CA and they ship from Nevada, so I get my order the very next day. Oh, and I don’t have to pay any tax. It may be different for you if you are in another state.

I want to share the good deals on sewing supplies with you, so I have a coupon code that you can use for May and June. Let me know what you think?


Happy Sewing!

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Sewing Contests Coming Up In June!

2015_06_Badge_SPONSORHi sewing friends! The Monthly Stitch has just announced this year’s Indie Pattern Contests during the month of June 2015! There are tons of great prizes and discount codes from the sponsors. I want to encourage everyone to join in the fun! My friend Natalia, who is the head of pattern company, has donated a bundle of patterns for each contest, plus there is a discount code that you can use right now to help you get started with your personal and unique pattern selections. One of the best features that Lekala has to offer is the ability for the user to put in their personal measurements and receive a PDF pattern made to fit! You’ll have your pattern within minutes!

IMG_8980 - Version 2

Lekala 4368


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It’s Me-Made-May 2015 Time!



It’s Me-Made-May time again! Let’s do this, friends and neighbors!

Here’s my pledge:

‘I, Barbara of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least one item that is made by me, each day for the duration of May 2015.

W Clothes line 3

What is Me-Made-May? Zoey, of Sozowhatdoyouknow, the founder of “Me-Made-May” explains it best:

“Points to consider when creating your pledge:

  • This is YOUR challenge, write the pledge any way you want, just remember: IT IS A CHALLENGE and not meant to be easy or what you do usually. In the past I have received the odd comment saying ‘Oh, I already do this so I may as well sign up’, however those people had clearly missed the point which is to challenge yourself, and therefore they would be unlikely to learn very much or feel much satisfaction at the end of the month.
  • THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION. It is a personal attempt to achieve a better relationship with your handmade creations, which you may or may not choose to share with the creative online community. What I mean is, don’t set a pledge that you’ve seen other people make that sounds good but in reality is unobtainable for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you have to wear a uniform for work each day, you may prefer to pledge to wear self-stitched items at the weekends or days off only.
  • There’s no rush to sign up immediately, as long as you do so before 1st May. Have a think for a while about your current relationship with your creations, then think how you might want to improve that relationship.
  • If you have taken part before, or already wear a fair amount of self-made clothing and/or accessories, think how you can up the ante from the standard ‘one self-stitched garment a day’ pledge. How about wearing two or more self-made garments each day? Or pledge to try making a new type of garment by the end of the month to wear on the final day? Or pledge to finish all your UFO’s by 31st May? Pledge to focus on wearing your ‘meh’ garments to see if you can fall back in love with some of them? Pledge to only wear separates to force yourself to get creative with your mix-and-matching? Pledge to only wear each garment or garment-combo once? Pledge to wear an outfit including one sewn or knitted garment AND one refashion each day? There are near-infinite ways to amp things up for yourself.

If you have a blog, why not re-post your pledge there so your readers and followers can see what you are up to and be inspired by your endeavour? Please include a link to this post so others can also sign-up if they are interested. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from these challenges, the more people involved, the better the party!

I’ve signed up, what do I do now then?

Nothing in particular until 1st May 20145, except let an underlying sense of excitement brew! You may decide to finish up that UFO, but please people, NO PANIC-SEWING/MAKING NECESSARY OR CONDONED!!

If you would like to advertise your participation on your blog if you have one, why not treat yourself to the addition of the Me-Made-May’15 widget/gadget/button? The code can be found at the top of the right hand column of this blog’s home page. The widget/gadget/button not only looks cute, but it shows other participants/potential-participants at a glance that you are taking part this year. Plus when clicked on, it will ping you to this sign-up post so others can read what this whole damn thing is about without you needing to go into too much of an explanation yourself. If you aren’t sure how to apply/insert a widget/gadget/button code, check this post for explanations for Blogspot/Blogger and WordPress blogs.

How do I interact with other participants throughout the challenge?

If you would like to see what other participants are up to throughout the month and/or show others how you are getting on then there are several ways to do so.
  • Blogs. If you have a blog, then why not tell/show your readers what you are up to? Reading about others’ experiences of these challenges is always so interesting and often useful. If you’d like to discover some blogs of other participants, you will be able to find lots by looking through the comments section of this sign-up post. Some participants like to post their outfit photos on their blogs, and remember if you want to do that but don’t have the time or desire to post daily, you could post more manageable summaries once or twice a week, which I prefer to do, or even just at the end of the month.
  • Flickr. If you wish to be a part of the Me-Made-May’15 Flickr group, head over there and request membership. I’ll ‘let you in’ within two days so you can begin posting your outfits/garments from 1st May. If you wish to start a discussion over there before 1st May, please feel free to do so! If you choose not to sign up to the Flickr group, you will still be able to see all the photos added by other participants and read the discussions being had over there, however you will not be able to comment on the photos or add to the discussions. The Flickr groups are always heaps of fun and such a lovely way to see lots of participants all in one go participating in different countries and climates. Plus it can be a fabulous way to discover new inspirational bloggers and blogs to follow, and generally make some new e-friends!
  • Pinterest. After the popularity of last year’s, this year we have a Me-Made-May’15 Pinterest board. To pin your garment/outfit pictures on there, you will need to ‘follow’ the board. It’ll take up to two days for you to be allowed access, so don’t panic if you can’t pin on there immediately. Please add the #mmmay15 hashtag to your pins.
  • Twitter and Instagram. It would also be totally ace if Twitter and Instagram users posted about and discussed the challenge using the #mmmay15 hashtag.

Anything else I should know?

!!!! This challenge is meant to be explorative, illuminating and beneficial, but above that it’s meant to be fun! Getting dressed can often be fun, and if you haven’t felt any clothes-based fun for a while, why not see if this challenge can help inject some of that back? ‘Hanging out’ online with the other participants can be a big part of that fun by seeing what they are wearing (either by visiting their personal blogs or through the Flickr group, Pinterest board or via Twitter and Instagram) and by sharing your own unique take on this challenge.

If you are concerned or confused about any aspect of this challenge, please email me at sozoblog (at) g mail (dot) com.”

Happy Sewing!

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Hiking Trail Plaid and Lace Dress


On this sunny spring weekend, I went on a great hike and photoshoot with two friends. I was told by my friend who just got a brand new camera, to come all “dolled up” so that she could practice taking photos. So, in preparation for this great opportunity to model and have pics taken with a camera that’s much much better that my iPhone 4, I just had to make a new dress.

IMG_0126It had to be a quick and easy one, since I’m so busy with client work this week. I chose McCall’s 7118, a simple summer dress with several different back bodice variations. I chose version D. My pattern only went up to size 12, so I had to size up to a 14. I find it fairly easy to judge how much to enlarge a multi-sized pattern by how much they have enlarged the pattern between the sizes. When the pattern line goes inside the other lines, I trace a new line, so that I don’t spoil the pattern.


After studying the line drawings  and auditioning different laces and fabrics, I found the perfect combination. I used the back of a too small, thrifted top for the bodice back and a woven plaid for the front and lower back.

photo 2photo 1

I noticed that the back is cut lower than where your bra strap comes across, so I used the lining from the top to line it half way and cover the bra strap. I added some front darts to create some shaping and also to break up the plaid a bit. This pattern is rated EASY and indeed  it was really easy. I modified the bodice back by making it one piece instead of two with a closure.


It fit easily over my head, so no zipper or closure was necessary. I used a decorative stitch across the back and around the neck line. I also used my new blind stitch machine to quickly hem it. I tried the nylon blind stitch thread for the first time and had success! I’m still learning how to use it. So far I really like what it can do.

My other friend who also shared this wonderful day with me, she is a watercolor artist and is always practicing her quick sketches. Here are some thumbnail sketches that she did of the surrounding area, and one of me!

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 6.39.21 PM

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Put a Cuna Bird on It!


The sewing challenge for the month of April at “The Monthly Stitch” is to “Put a Bird on It”. What would I do? After thinking about it for a few weeks, I came up with an idea. I dug around until I found the white T-shirt with a beautiful hand-embroidered appliqué made by the Cuna (also Kuna) Native Americans who live on the San Blas Islands of Panama. I wore it a few times, but it’s on a white traditional T-shirt which is not really that flattering on me. I hung onto it because of it’s beauty and sentimental value. My oldest daughter lived in Panama for four years, and sent us beautiful Cuna Appliqués in the form of pot holders, T-shirts, and bags one Christmas. I also visited her one year, and brought back several molas and a few fabrics.

So,IMG_0404 with my tiny scissors in hand, I cut carefully around the appliqué, releasing it from the T-shirt. My vision was to attach it to a bodice and make a 50’s style summer dress. I chose two pieces from my stash that I thought would be interesting together, a sheer white floral, and a tiny checked rayon or blend of some kind. Both fabrics were purchased at the local senior center thrift for $1.00 a yard. It’s my favorite place to shop for fabric! I used Burda’s Modern Vintage Elizabeth dress bodice for the top. I changed the neckline to follow the curve of the applique  and then I used fabric glue spray to hold it to the outside bodice front. Next, I machine blanket-stitched it to the front. I attached the checked lining to the bodice and then I tackled the skirt.  I cut two rectangles of each fabric, layered them together, and gathered them as one. The side zipper is attached to both layers of bodice, but at the waist the sheer over-skirt is freed from the zipper. It is narrowly hemmed on each side and then joined at the side seam.


IMG_0452The overskirt  and underskirt have French seams. There were two bands of appliqué around each sleeve that I attached to a belt to bring the fabulous colors down toward the waist. Again, I was able to blanket-stitch the pieces to the belt using my sewing machine.



IMG_0418 IMG_0414 IMG_0401I’m very pleased with the outcome. The birds have flown off the T-shirt and onto a dress that will see the light of day after living in the dark cupboard for more than 20 years. Thank you, Monthly Stitch, for inspiring me and challenging me to be creative and inventive. This month I feel like a designer and not just a seamstress.


One of my passions when I travel is to admire the different textiles and styles of clothing and handicrafts made by native peoples. The Cuna Indians have a fascinating dress, from their intricate hand-stitched reverse appliquéd molas that they make into blouses using colorful fabrics, their bright colorful skirts and scarves, to their unique beaded adornments on their legs and arms.


Here is a typical mola, completely hand-sewn, and a piece of traditional fabric and scarve that I still have. I have several other pieces as well, and I plan to make some colorful pillows or tote bags with them in the next 20 years!


Here’s a little bit about the mola made by Cuna (Kuna) Native Americans of Panama:

“The mola forms part of the traditional costume of a Kuna woman, two mola panels being incorporated as front and back panels in a blouse. The full costume traditionally includes a patterned wrapped skirt (saburet), a red and yellow headscarf (musue), arm and leg beads (wini), a gold nose ring (olasu) and earrings in addition to the mola blouse (dulemor).[1]

In Dulegaya, the Kuna’s native language, “mola” means “shirt” or “clothing”. The mola originated with the tradition of Kuna women painting their bodies with geometrical designs, using available natural colours; in later years these same designs were woven in cotton, and later still, sewn using cloth bought from the European settlers of Panamá.[2]” from wikipedia.

Happy Sewing!



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