Monthly Archives: February 2013

What to Do?

One of the best things about sewing is the ability to make something unique.  The possible fabric and pattern combinations are endless.  The reality for me is that I have a hard time finding apparel fabrics I like.  I really should say apparel fabrics I like that are affordable.  My sewing is too inconsistent to venture into the really luxurious fabrics yet. 

I could spend HOURS looking at fabric but sometimes I have trouble visualizing how a pattern will look in a given fabric.  Considering the time investment I don’t want to sew something and never wear it because it looks weird.  I have enough fit issues to worry about without the fabric being a poor match!

I want to make a few transitional blouses.  Pieces I can wear with jeans but nicer than a knit.  Pieces that can be layered now and worn on their own later – probably one or two long or 3/4 length sleeve tops.  Fabric Mart had all their rayon challis on sale last week so I stocked up on some prints. I’ve also collected some good blouse pattern options for winter into spring.  The big question – do any fit well together?

I have the patterns with the version I’m considering circled below.  Most are long sleeved since it’s still winter.  All the fabrics pictured are rayon challis so have a lot of drape.  I put a white sheet of paper next to them so you can see the color better.

blouse collage edit

blouse collage 2 edit


So this is where you come in!  What you would put together?  I really like the bigger green and black swirly rose print but not sure if it would be ridiculous on one of these blouses.  Is it matronly?  Any fabrics you particularly like?  I’m leaning toward the Simplicity and Sewaholic patterns.  

Even if you don’t sew, I’d be curious of your opinion.  Hopefully you can give me some ideas I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.



Outrageous Brownies


I made these brownies tonight and they are delicious. I highly recommend trying them.  The recipe was published in Ina Garten’s first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, but is also available here:

Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies

Now, to be honest, I’m also a fan of boxed brownies.  I love them.  These are nothing like those, however.  These are more like the dense extra-chocolatey brownies you buy from a bakery or gourmet shop. There are chocolate chips and walnuts in the  batter which adds some texture.   It’s hard to describe but they aren’t as sweet or light as boxed brownies.  My husband doesn’t agree with that description, by the way; I’m probably explaining it poorly. They are very rich. Maybe it’s just a different flavor due to the coffee (I may cut down next time) and the combination of semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate.    Whatever it is, it’s really, really good!

I probably undercooked them a bit as you can see (though the toothpick did come out clean).  But undercooked beats overcooked any day when you’re talking brownies.


If you cut these in large squares, they would be a complete, perfect dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Simplicity 2181


First, sorry about the awful pictures!  I lost my remote and was having a heck of a time trying to get the right exposure and focus.  They looked fine on the LCD; I guess the focus was way off.  It’s bad enough taking pictures of yourself, I wasn’t going to do it all over again!

I initially bought this pattern for version A, the one pictured on the model.  I still like it and may make it.  I couldn’t figure out what size to make (and questioned how it would look on someone not stick skinny).  I went a different direction entirely and tried version B with the twist overlay. You can see the overlay better on the yellow line drawing below.  They’re all flattering styles that can be versatile pieces.  I think the biggest challenge is finding nice looking knits.  I made mine in ITY from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It was my first time working with the fabric and I really liked it.


I think it turned out alright. I added about 3 inches in length. After wearing it all day, I realized it’s too big – particularly the overlay (it’s floppy and doesn’t cinch tightly at the waist as it should) and the chest (I end up flashing).  I had to wear a camisole underneath. It’s a shame because the overlay is the coolest part – it could be very flattering.   That it’s too big is a disappointment because I was torn on the sizing. I still have a hard time with that part. I know pattern sizes are usually 2-3 sizes bigger than what you wear in ready-to-wear but so many reviews say the big 4 have too much ease and recommend going down a size. Where do you end up then? That combined with the fact that knits don’t need much ease at all, it’s confusing to me. I went with a 14 as my measurements indicated which was a mistake. I was so nervous it would be skin tight I even sewed smaller than normal seam allowances. Guess I didn’t need to worry about that. Now I may try to figure out how to take it in.  And maybe shorten it a bit. Next time I sew one, I will likely use a 12 for the chest and overlay, maybe the whole top. I can’t win picking sizes. Rant over…


This top is a pretty easy one to put together.  Strangely, it was one of my most frustrating projects but only due to my own mistakes and my machine.  I broke three needles before finally taking off my walking foot. From then on I had no other issues.  But until I made the switch, I had all kinds of skipped stitches and jammed fabric.  This was all on the first few steps! There was a lot of inappropriate language coming from the sewing area! Then, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to do the overlay. Once I figured out I missed marking a dot, it made perfect sense.

Some times I wonder why I picked up a hobby that can frustrate me so much.  My real job doesn’t even do that!

In the end, I would recommend the pattern and I’m definitely going to make another – just need to find the right knit.

Burda 7866


This was my first time sewing a Burda pattern.  I wish I looked at them earlier. I always assumed you had to add the seam allowances but I was mistaken – that’s only the magazine patterns.  They have a lot of more modern styles so I’ll definitely make more.


Don’t mind the crappy mirror pictures.  I made this about 3 weeks ago right up until the hem.  I finished the hem today and since I doubt I’ll wear this much, I couldn’t be bothered to set up the tripod.


This is a super easy pattern that should go together quickly.  Even so, I totally flubbed the neck so it looks like crap – so much so that I probably won’t wear this blouse out and about too much.  It won’t lie flat and is all bumpy.  Totally homemade looking.  Also, I read a lot of reviews saying the neckline was really high and they were right.  I took an inch off the front and it’s still high.


Flowy arms! The pattern is interesting – there are no shoulder seams; it’s all one piece that you sew up the side.


I like this style in theory but I’m not sure (even if I sewed the neck properly) that it is flattering on me.  I think it would look better with someone that is larger in the bust than hips.  Proportionally, I’m the opposite. boo hoo.


I used a double needle for the arm and bottom hems.  I know they make a slight ridge on knits but this looks excessive.  Is there any way to correct that?

I’m not sure what’s up next.  I’d like to sew some colorful blouses that I can start wearing now and into spring.  Considering how long it takes me to finish a project, I need to plan ahead!