Just “Another” Pinch

JAP Front

I completed another Just A Pinch vest. This one made from a lightweight cotton/linen blend fabric purchased at Hancock’s (Boo Hoo to the loss of Hancocks – we are all still in mourning).

No changes to this from the previous vest.  I had added a bust dart, along with center back seam for my round back adjustment.

JAP 1Indoor picture because it has been too hot and humid here to be posing outside.  I also made the t-shirt underneath.  I used V1363 again, and did an experiment.  I removed the bust and back shoulder darts.  Because the knit is so lightweight, I thought darts would be too noticeable.  I am happy with the result.



This fabric for this vest is a very neutral beige color and needed something to amp it up.  The t-shirt fabric is a rayon spandex I picked up at Joann on sale.  It is very soft and I like the print and soft colors.  The knit was easy to sew too – it doesn’t curl on the cut edges.
JAP stitchingClose-up of the top-stitching I did.  This is on the collar; I used a rayon embroidery thread and the built-in Sashiko stitch on my sewing machine.  It is very subtle, but since topstitching was needed, might as well let it stand out a little more than matching thread would.


Side view:

JAP side

Next post will be for another Cutting Line Designs pattern…stay tuned.


Vogue 1504 – Done with wool for now

My latest garment is another Today’s Fit by Sandra Betzina pattern.  I have been enjoying making and wearing vests lately.  The pattern envelope:


I made the longer version from a basketweave, lightweight wool suiting.  This fabric was purchased from FabricMart Fabrics in July 2017.  I lined the vest with a beige Bemberg rayon, my go-to lining fabric.  It is lightweight and breathes.

I made my usual changes to the pattern – rounded back adjustment, smaller size in shoulders and moving out 1 size in bust and hips.  This does seem to run a little big.  I made a muslin, which fit fine.  But somehow the wool may have stretched from handling and the vest is ‘roomy’.  But that is ok – I can wear a sweater under it if I want to.

I wanted a piping around the collar and front edge, so I stole one of my husband’s neck ties.  He rarely wears a tie and has a lot of them left over from when he wore a tie to work every day.  I took the tie apart, cut it into 2″ strips and made piping.  Why use a tie for piping?  Because it is already cut on the bias, is made of silk and is colorful.  Very little of the piping shows, so it is a subtle accent.  And when you have taken the tie apart, you have tie interfacing (also cut on the bias) to use for easing sleeves into jackets.  The filling for the piping is rattail cord, which is what I usually use.  Here is a left-over piece of the tie fabric.

Tie fabric for piping

A close-up of the piping on the vest:

Piping close-up

And the completed vest:

Vest Front

There are pockets in the front; the bottom front is a separate piece from the upper front, so the pockets are incorporated into the seam.

The back is quite interesting – although I am not sure how I will like wearing it.  Unfortunately I just finished the vest and it was 90 degrees today.  So not sure it will get much wear until the fall.  The temperature may cool down next week, though and I will test-drive the vest.

The back:

Vest back

Hmm – I did press this – looks like it needs a bit more pressing.

Sandra Betzina’s website is powersewing.com.  She has over 250 videos available to watch and there is one that walks through how to make this vest.  It wasn’t hard, and the instructions are very good because they are written by Sandra.  But watching the video helps give perspective on how the pieces go together, particularly if you are a more visual person.

Moving on to spring/summer sewing…I am working on a yellow and white striped shirt.  I am doing a franken-pattern of two shirt patterns.  I have been searching the web for shirts with stripes and embroidery and have stored them on this page.

Sneak preview of what is coming up:




Catching up

I have a few things I made last year but never blogged.  So this will be a catch-up post and hopefully I will stay on track better this year.  Warning – this is a bit long so grab a snack and enjoy!

One task that took up my sewing time throughout last year was making glitter vests for a group of senior dancers.  The group is called “Encore Dancers” and a friend is in the group.  The group dances at assisted living locations in the area and they have a different theme every month.  Therefore they need multiple vests.  The leader of the group made “one size fits nobody” vests for everyone sometime ago.  The vest my friend showed me was not lined, pretty tired and falling apart.  So my friend asked if I would make her a new vest.  A new vest for her led to multiple vests for her and 5 of the dancers.  Now they each have their own pattern and I can make one of those vests in my sleep.  Here is a sample of the “March” green.  It reverses to silver.  They wear white button-down cotton blouses under the vests, with jeans or black pants, depending on the month.

Dancing Ladies Vest

I enjoyed doing the vests for them, and watched one of their performances.  The leader is 81 and moves like someone half her age.  The rest are mostly in their 70’s.  They are a great inspiration to stay healthy and keep moving!


My Talbots Knock-off using Vogue 1451.

When I do buy RTW, generally I shop at Talbots.  I wait for sales, can find items that fit and their clothes last.  Their pants fit me well and are comfortable (unlike almost all the pant patterns I have tried).  I saw this shirt, was not willing to pay full price nor wait for it to be on sale.  The fabric was a little thin for my taste and the fabric I had was a nice cotton.  Of course I wanted to play with embroidery on clothing.  Here is the top I wanted to knock off.

Talbots catalog

I had the blue striped seersucker in my resource center from Hancock’s (remember them?).  I was looking at my patterns and this one from Sandra Betzina was fairly new.


I decided to make the shirt, with sleeves and without the banded bottom.  On my version, I used a chambray for the contrast.  I made a few other changes as well.  My version:

V1541 full

I shortened the shirt a few inches, and shortened the front placket about 6 inches.  I thought the placement of the end of the placket was ‘odd’ on the pattern envelope.  And on me, it would end up in an awkward spot.  I also gathered the sleeves like the Talbots version.  One note:  The neckline in the pattern picture is misleading.  It looks like an open Vee, but in fact it is not.  I would like to make this again, but will make a few more changes.  I will shorten it even more, and removed some of the volume in the hips.  Also will open the neckline a bit, more like the pattern photo looks like it should be.  (That is why we sew, right?).

And for the embroidery; I spent a lot of time looking on line and through my library of designs for something similar to the inspiration picture. I didn’t necessarily want a design inside a box like the inspiration, but needed one that was a bit rectangular.  So, I made a muslin of the shirt, and on that muslin tried out the embroidery design.  It is actually two designs combined from the Amazing Designs embroidery disk called Sweetheart Scrolls.

Emb design

I did put a design on both sides of the muslin and it just seemed like too much.  So I chose to only embroider one side.  Besides, if you do both sides they have to match exactly!  More stress!

A close-up of the embroidery:

V1541 Close

Next up:  A scarf for the ASG Annual meeting challenge.  The challenge was to take 1 yd of white cotton fabric and make something.  You could do anything to the fabric that you wanted, but could not add any other fabric to it.  Trims, embellishments, dyeing, embroidery, beads, etc were all OK.  Since there is no way I can get an entire garment out of 1 yard of fabric, I decided to make a scarf.  This is the “Spiral Scarf” from the Sewing with Nancy Sensational Scarves booklet by Nancy Zieman.  I have made a few of these scarves; they are good for me because I have a short neck and scarves with a lot of fabric are not good for me.  This is basically a straight grain piece of fabric sewn into a spiral.  I often take a RTW scarf and cut it up to make a couple of scarves just to reduce the amount of fabric that would end up around my neck.

Image of the book.

Spiral Scarf 09_2018

I dyed the white fabric & cut the strip for the scarf (there is a formula in the book depending on the length you want your scarf).  My first experience with dyeing fabric.  Then used fabric paint and a flower & leaf stencil to add the painted designs.  The final touch was a few embroidered leaves using variegated thread.  I didn’t win a prize, but enjoyed the process.  The cotton fabric makes this scarf a little stiff – lighter weight and fabrics with drape are better for the spiral scarf, but it is wearable in a color that suits me.

Stenciled scarf 1

A close-up of the stencil and embroidered leaf.  The seams of the scarf that make the spiral are less noticeable in a soft print fabric.

Stenciled scarf 2

On the Home Dec front, there were a few things going on as well.  Most of my house is decorated in a pretty neutral manner.  Lots of earth tones, few bright colors.  I accessorize with color in holiday/seasonal decorating.  I feel that the powder room (guest bathroom) is a place to be a little wild with the decorating.  You don’t spend a lot of time in there generally and it gives you something to look at when you are in there.  So, in my powder room I have a black, white and red décor, with zebra wall paper on all 4 walls.  I wanted some sort of art piece on the wall that grabs your eye when you walk in.  I couldn’t find anything I liked and I don’t have the time nor patience to go 100 places to find the right thing.

Enter my sewing skills.  I made a wall-hanging in a crazy quilt pattern using fabrics in guess what?  Black, red and white, along with gold because I always need some bling!  In my embarrassingly large Craftsy class library I have Crazy Quilts with Allie Aller.  I used the simple straight edges pattern for the blocks.  After I put them together, I added some embroidery of roses in the corners.  After that I was paralyzed.  I didn’t want it to have stitching in every seam like more vintage crazy quilts.  I wanted to keep it simple.  I agonized over it for a year; then finally just decided to do a little stitching, add some bling and call it done.  (During 2017 I was trying to finish UFOs and not create new ones). I bought a plan black frame, put it together and hung it on the wall.

View from the doorway.



Close-up of 1 block.


That’s it for now.  I have a few more items, but I have to gather the photos and info so that will be another post.



Just A Pinch

It has been a while since I posted, but I have been sewing a number of items.  I have been working on UFOs (Unfinished Objects).  UFOs exist because I have a great idea, start to execute it and then the next shiny idea comes along, so I start that too.  Before long I have several UFOs.  During the process of working on some of them I have learned a few things.  Take better notes, save all the scraps until you finish the project and store everything together in a “project box”.  For me, a project box is a plastic 12×12 inch box normally used to save scrapbooking paper.  Or a plastic zippered pouch that I have saved from purchasing sheet sets.  So let’s move on to a completed project.

This project really wasn’t a UFO for long.  I have been thinking about changing the styles I wear.  Even though I work full time from home, I was still hanging onto the old ‘professional style’ clothes and mindset.  So this item starts getting me out of that box.

Cutting Line Designs is a pattern line by Louise Cutting.  She is an icon in the sewing world and provides fabulous instructions in her patterns.  She and her partner Sandra Miller (who writes the instructions) test everything and provide great drawings for what you need to do.  Her techniques can be used on garments from any pattern company.

I have made a few of her patterns before but struggled with the fit in certain areas.  I really wanted this one to work because it is a style I really like.  And I wanted to wear it to Pattern Review weekend in June.  I love vests and this one has unique style lines.  It is called Just a Pinch and has both a shirt and vest view.  The collars on each are different, but are interchangeable.  Louise does all her own pattern envelope drawings and stories – she is extremely talented.

Just a Pinch pattern cover

I made the vest with the double collar.

I was planning to use a linen for the vest and knew I needed to make a mock-up.  Since I have a huge stash of fabric, which contains a number of fabrics that are not the right color for me, I selected a linen from my stash for the mock-up.  I added a bust dart based on issues experienced in other dartless garments (the front hiked up meaning more length was needed for my bust).  I followed Louise’s instructions for adding a bust dart to a dartless garment.

Those instructions are in her Industry Insider Techniques Vol 3 video.  There are 8 videos with techniques.  I have several of them.  They are available for purchase on Louise’s website and on the Taunton website (Taunton owns Threads Magazine – Louise is a contributing editor to Threads).

I also did a round back adjustment and added a center back seam.  I have a very short neck so I narrowed the collar slightly.  The mock-up fit very well, so I moved forward to the good fabric.

Fabric was purchased from JoAnn Fabrics in 2012 (yes, I keep track of fabric,  purchase location and date).  This was a linen with slight stretch.  The bit of lycra keeps the linen from wrinkling.  The buttons were a lucky find in my resource center.  They match perfectly and have a slight design on them that almost looks like the leaves on the fabric.

Just a Pinch Vest 1

I am very happy with the fit and wearability of this vest.  And I have worn it several times.  I think part of the success of this fit is that the shoulder seam is at the shoulder.  When there is a ‘dropped’ shoulder (meaning there is no seam at the shoulder and the sleeve is connected farther down the arm) I have not been as successful with the patterns.  I plan to make at least one more for the upcoming fall/winter season.  I styled this with a brown t-shirt and narrow ponte pants.  It is a comfortable and stylish outfit.  I even have a green necklace that goes well with the look.