Category Archives: School

Japanese Robe



Fabric: Silk Habotai 8mm- 45″ wide-  3 yards.
Pattern: Short Dressing Gown – Sewing Pattern #5247
Year: contemporary
Notions: thread, fabric dye, resist, string, paintbrushes
Time to complete:  About 3 days.
First worn: March 23, 2014
Wear again? Yes! During the hot summer months
Total price: Silk was about $6.50 a yard,  Jacquard acid dyes: Sky Blue and Burgundy $10.00. Pattern $2.24


This was an excellent pattern to use for my midterm project at the local college. has the option of printing out your entire pattern on a large scale printer. I selected the large PDF format and transferred the file to a usb drive. I took it to the local printer and using their 36 in. printer, I received my entire pattern on one piece of paper! The best part was the cost. It was only $5.00! That saved me printer paper, ink, and taping together all of the sheets at home.

IMG_7872I cut out the pieces on the cutting line, so that I could use my rotary cutter around the edges of the pattern. I knew if I tried to use my scissors to cut silk, it wouldn’t turn out nice and straight. I also used my homemade pattern weights instead of pins. I have a DIY here, if you  are interested.

IMG_7873First, I sewed the shoulder seams of the fronts to the back using French seams, attached the sleeves, and sewed, then serged the side seams and bottom edge.  Next, I choose a Shibori technique to design the top part. I wanted to hand-paint a wide boarder on the bottom so I masked that section off with tape and a plastic bag. This part was easy to keep out of the dye bath by clothes-pinning it to the side of the dye pot. I wrapped and bound the top section tightly with jute cord (sorry no picture).

IMG_7874For the boarder, I decided that I needed big plain shapes to coordinate with the business of the top section. I had to do the boarder in 4 sections, using my stretcher bars. First I drew the shapes with disappearing ink, traced them with the resist, let it dry, and then painted the blobs burgundy and the outside blue. I sprinkled salt on the wet dye, to give it texture. After I completed all the sections, I steam pressed the boarder between paper, using my steam iron and paper on the top and bottom of the boarder. This helps set the color.


I was hoping for brighter colors, but the dye mixed for painting and then steam set, resulted in lighter colors. I dyed the rest of the fabric burgundy, according to stovetop instructions. This I cut into strips using my ruler and rotary cutter for the robe front edging, sleeve edges, belt and ties. I folded it in half, pressed it and serged the raw edge side to the robe. You could fold it over and try topstitching it, but it can be tricky to get silk to behalf like you want it to. The silk liked my serger better than my regular machine.






Filed under Art, crafting, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, School, Sewing, Tutorial

Refashion Workshop Coming Soon!


One of my favorite bloggers and sewers, Beth Huntington, of the RenegadeSeamstress, is sharing her talents, tips, and tricks in an upcoming Burda Style web-seminar!  One of her specialties is refashioning. She’s very creative and talented and has many wonderful ideas for refashioning. I encourage all my sewing friends to take advantage of this great opportunity! See you there!

Beth talks about the web-seminar in a blog post here and the registration form is here. Stop by and check it out. It will be well worth your while. :)

(from the application)
Live Web Seminar Date: March 31st
Start Time: 11am EST (4pm GMT)

Length: 60 minutes

At a Glance:

  • If you’ve ever wanted to try refashioning, but didn’t know where to start, this web seminar will give you the confidence and tools you need to begin.
  • You will be inspired to reinvent your wardrobe to create original and unique clothing.
  • When you finish this web seminar, you will want to grab your wallet, race to the nearest thrift store, and come home ready to create several refashion projects of your own.About the Web Seminar:
    Would you like to join in the fun of one of the most exciting movements in sewing today? Do you have a closet full of ill-fitting, outdated clothing? Have you ever thought of recreating thrift shop clothes into somethingnew, but you didn’t know where to start?Then this is the webinar for you. Refashioning really is for everyone. You don’t have to be an accomplished seweror even a fashion designer to create your own unique wardrobe for very little money. All you need is the basic knowledge of how to use a sewing machine. You will be ready to look at a piece of unfashionable clothing, see it’s potential to create something new and modern for yourself.You will never look at thrift store clothes the same way again. You will beinspired by many examples of how you can transform even the ugliest clothes into something fresh and stylish that you can wear everyday. You will learn what to look for and how to find potential garments to refashion. You will be empowered with the tools and knowledge to confidently bring new life to secondhand clothes. In addition, Beth will lead you through a step by step quick andeasy refashion project that you will be able to do on your own as soon as you finish this webinar.What You’ll Learn:

    • Reasons why refashioning is one of the most exciting movements in sewing today
    • Where to find inspiration
    • How to find great pieces at the thrift store
    • How to organize your stash
    • How to get over the fear of making that first cut
    • How to bring new life to second hand clothes
    • How to refashion a too small dress into a dress made just for you

    Who Should Attend?

    • Sewers who want to try something new and different
    • Sewers who want to create unique and original garments for very little money
    • Sewers who want to have perfectly fitting clothes

    Difficulty Level:
    This web seminar is for sewers with a basic knowledge of their sewing machine and are familiar with how to take their body measurements.
    About the Instructor
    Beth Huntington is the creator and founder of the popular blog, The RenegadeSeamstress, best known for her friendly style and her straightforward, step by step, photo refashion tutorials. Thousands of visitors stop by The RenegadeSeamstress each day to get the inspiration and knowledge they need to create their own unique and original designs from second hand clothing. Craftsy awarded The Renegade Seamstress blog “Best Tutorials in Sewing” of 2013. You can visit The Renegade Seamstress at

    Beth was recruited to help eHow launch their new Crafts Channel last fall. She is nowone of eHow’s Sewing Experts and creates weekly refashion tutorials on their site as well.

    Beth is currently writing a book for C&T Publishing/StashBooks titled,“The Refashion Handbook: Refit, Redesign, Remake for EveryBody,” which is due to be released in September 2014.

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Filed under DIY, School, Sewing, Tutorial, Upcycle

Post Number 350!!!

IMG_7607Hello Friends! This is celebratory post number 350! Wow! And amazingly, I have 362 followers (so far) that take an interest in what I do.  I am very happy that I have kept track of  my achievements, be they large or small.  I started blogging in  October 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I started focusing more on my creative endeavors, especially sewing. Blogging is a great way to record your makes and mistakes, your trials and errors, and share those with like minded people from all over the world. Thank you for letting me be a part of your world. What a great sewing community I have been able to enjoy through so many interesting and creative sewing blogs.

For Blog # 350, I have something new to share.  I’m taking a class at the local community college on Fabric Printing and Dying. I couldn’t wait to get started so at home this weekend, I dug right in. The top you see in the pictures was hand dyed by me, I used one of the Japanese Shibori techniques of stitches gathered tight to form a resist. I’ll explain the process that I used. Now, I’ve only taken one class so far, so I assume that I’ll learn how to do everything ten times better.


I used a cotton jersey knit that had been washed and dried. After the stitching, I presoaked the 1/2 lb of fabric in warm water and soda ash. I went by Dhrama Trading Company directions for how-to’s and ingredients.


Next, I made up the dye bath: hot water (bath temp), salt, soda ash, and the Porcion Dye. I dipped the fabric in, and agitated it frequently for about an hour. This pretty color is called Coral Pink. I left in about an hour.


I had to be very careful with the water that I used for rinsing because we are in a severe drought and water use is restricted. I was a good girl and used the rinse water on my rose bushes. The dye adhered to the fabric so well that very little rinsing was needed. I then washed it by hand with a little soapy hot water and  set it out to dry.

IMG_7572 IMG_7573

Removing all the stitching from the top half of the blouse to be, was very surprising. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined, but  I was very pleased!

IMG_7574I cut one back and one front out of the solid and used the Shibori dyed piece for the bodice front, back and sleeves. You may recognize this pattern from previous posts. I’ve made several, one for Christmas out of  sparkly fabric and two more for my granddaughters .  It’s  Lekala Blouson With Decorative Back Sewing Pattern #4284. It’s so darn cute!


After I found the right color of thread, I sewed it together using my serger and the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine. I actually preferred sewing all the seams with the regular machine and just did the finishing with the serger.

IMG_7582IMG_7585IMG_7587IMG_7599IMG_7613Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!


Filed under Art, crafting, DIY, Dyeing, School, Sewing

Fabric Printing and Dying


This is one of the pieces made by my teacher, Tari Kerss, a very talented textile artist. Here’s her website. It’s never too late to learn new things so off to school I go!  I know I will love the new skills and knowledge that Tari will be sharing with us. We will be exploring tie-dye, batik, and painting and printing of fabric using dyes and pigments. In our next class we will be using the following Shibori Folding Techniques: twist and coil, pleated diagonally, marbling, knots or Arashi, banding, folded square, binding with slip knots, and clamping. We’ll do each technique on a 12 x 12 in. square of cotton and use several dye colors. I can’t wait! I’ll post some pics of my completed samples when I finish. I’m looking forward to applying these new techniques in the designing of fabric for apparel. I probably can count this as my newly learned skill on the Monthly Stitch for January :)

Today we did the burn test on mystery fabrics and my partner and I identified 3 out of 4!

Who can name the four oldest fabrics in order?


Filed under Art, DIY, Dyeing, School, Sewing

Week 4 Me Made May and then some

This was an awesome week! My husband and I celebrated our retirement with our friends and  colleagues from school, we had a lovely and long overdue dinner together with some of our dearest friends, and my youngest came to visit on Memorial Day weekend. Hubbie went ocean fishing and brought back rock fish and ling cod. Leah and I did the DIY macrame t-shirt project together (inspired by a blog post by Trash to Couture), and I whipped up a cute striped t-shirt dress for her, while she baked zucchini muffins. Besides wearing only Me Made this week, I finished my new lavender floral shirt dress and made pillow cases for my bed.

Her is the Round Up!

It’s back to work tomorrow for 4 days and then there will be only two weeks to go until eternal vacation happens. I’m looking forward to it! I’ve got to start my bucket list. Got any suggestions?

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Filed under DIY, Family, School, Sewing, Upcycle, vintage

Lavender Floral Shirt Dress


Retirement Celebration Dress

Mccall's 6696Fabric: 100% cotton from Beverly’s half off table (5.00 @ yd.) Lavender Floral Print
Pattern: McCalls 6696
Year: contemporary
Notions: thread, buttons
Time to complete: off and on for the last 3 weeks
First worn: May 23 for our Retirement Dinner hosted by our local school union!
Total price: $15.00 I have a teacher discount card that gives me an extra 15%. Will I still be eligible when I retire?

Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve been working on this special dress to wear to my husband’s  and my retirement. I’ve taught for almost 20 years, and then before that I worked as a teaching assistant for 10 years. I’m ready to move on to other more enjoyable activities such as traveling, gardening, sewing, reading, camping, cooking, walking, more sewing, blogging, and spending time with family and friends.


You can tell I’m a happy girl!

This was a great pattern to put together, I love the fit and the look. It’s so flattering. I’d also like to try the full skirt version. The reviews have been good on that one. It lays flat around the hips because the fullness is pleated. However, I really like the more fitted look and it takes less material.


The yellow centers of the flowers match my door.

We had a lovely time together with our dear friends and colleagues at the local steakhouse. My hubby has MC’d the program for many years and it was fun to see him up there telling jokes and being such an entertaining guy. We all toasted the seven retirees and shared what we would be doing during the next phase of our lives. I know I’ll be having a great time in the company of my husband and all of my daughters and granddaughters. A fellow retiree is now a new neighbor of mine, so we’ll have a lot in common.


I’ve already found a fellow sewer and quilter who is also retiring, and we’re starting a group! How cool is that? Although I will miss the kids and all of the fun technological know-how that I used at school and shared with colleagues, I won’t miss all the changes to the new Common Core Standards. I’m impressed and happy about the new changes, but I’m not up to doing all the work it takes to do it justice. I’ll let someone younger and with more energy have a go.


Thanks for visiting, liking, and commenting on my site.

Here’s to a summer vacation that won’t end in August. Oh, the possibilities!


Filed under DIY, Family, gardening, School, Sewing

Last Day

Friday was the last day of school for me this year. I’m out early because I’m having surgery on Monday. It was hard saying good-bye to the kids. They have been a very enjoyable group of students. One student planned a going away party for me, with food, cards, games and fun. One game was pin the hip on Ms. Carlon.
I got flowers, posters, and even a special pencil from India.
Earlier in the week, we wrote poetry and colored outlines of our faces to make a unique display of our creativity.


All brought tears to my eyes.


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Filed under School, Uncategorized

Pink Friday Cake

Tomorrow I’ll wear pink along with my fellow teachers. I also made a cake to add to our pot luck lunch. I guess we’ll all commiserate

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Willits Unified Scool District staff, parents, and students are encouraged to wear pink to show support for teachers who will be pink slipped due to drastic budget cuts this year and next. We’ll have fewer staff, fewer programs, and activities for our students. 




California’s public schools, colleges and universities are facing more than $11 billion in state budget cuts. These cuts are going to impact an entire generation of kids and alter public education for years to come.

March 13 is the deadline for school districts to issue preliminary pink slips to California’s teachers. Last year, more than 10,000 teachers got pink slips and nearly 5,000 lost their jobs. And this year could be much worse.

Please join us on Friday, March 13 and Stand Up for Schools. (Pink Friday March 13, 2009)

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were voicing our dismay on cuts for education with our governor. May 2008

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Filed under Politics, School, Uncategorized

Homecoming 2008

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Filed under Family, School