Category Archives: Other garments

Happy Mardi Gras!!!


Trying something a little different and going the microblogging route, since I have so little to bring to the table in terms of sewing technique. I learned that word “microblog” when I decided to Google what the heck Tumblr is. I still don’t know, even though I have a Tumblr account.

Anyway here’s my Mardi Gras skirt, made a year or two ago out of some mega-fun Mardi mask fabric. There’s a full post about it here somewhere (here it is). I finished off the ensemble with some killer Naughty Monkey shoes and my favorite new socks. And beads of course.


Hope everyone is celebrating your Carnival, etc., celebrations today, or at least surviving winter. I actually have a new item or two to macro-blog. Will do so when the inspiration strikes. In the meantime, keep making and posting pretty things, you lovelies.

Happy Stitching,


Can’t be sad when you’re wearing mad rad plaid


This winter has been relentless, as we all know, so I really needed more leg coverage, and was dying to cheer myself up with the plaid in my stash. Time for some MORE Colette Clovers, since clearly I’d rather make pants than lose weight and actually fit into the perfectly decent trousers already in my wardrobe. One pair was made out of this brilliantly loud pink on black, shown here during the first fitting after being painstakingly cut and matched


I have worn these bad boys shamelessly all winter. Here they are in action captured with my new tripod against the snowy Lake Quinn, PA background.




The other print is more subtle but I love the colors.


DSC_0975LOVE these paired with my nummy Renfrew top.

Bum fit is good.

Warmin’ up by the fire.

After all this fun and frivolity, it’s time for Honesty Corner. I almost wanted to title this post “It’s The Fabric, Stupid”, because realistically these trousers have sort of been nothing but trouble. Both fabrics are super cheap and flimsy, and stick viciously to tights and socks, so they’re always bunched around the calf. Plus they stretch out in the course of the day so only look decent in the morning. I also didn’t finish the edges very well so the pink and black ones are falling apart (I had to Photoshop out one of the rips!) It’s definitely not the pattern because my first two Clovers are a dream and have none of these issues.

Even with these issues, I’m WAY glad I made these. I can always use the experience with Clover construction, and having them in my pant rotation got me through this shitty winter, even with the bagginess and other quirks. Plus, I plaid-matched like a pro, if I do say so myself!

In other plaid heaven, check out these lovelies:

The goddess Goodbye Valentino and her brilliant refashion AND a fab peplum top

Scads of plaids and other goodies from Meg

Aleksandra’s brilliant Archers

And this amazing guy I spotted while on vacation in Rouen, France.

Happy Happy Sewing. Hope for Spring!!

Hey Look, Free Outfit


If you’re a Fabric Mart addict like me, you know that they occasionally have a free fabric bundle promotion, X number of yards for spending X amount of money (There’s one going on right now!). So when I say Free Outfit, I really mean Hey Look, a $3000 outfit, because that’s probably what I’ve spent at FM. I refuse to add it all up.

Obviously these fabric bundles are hit and miss, but at some point last year I got some major numminess. One was about 1.5 yards of rich purple super silky charmeuse, of a way finer quality than something I would pay for. I’m still amazed at how lovely it is, and how well it holds up. The other is about 1 yard of stripey jersey. Not the softest material in the world, but a fun piece of fabric nonetheless, and it matches the charmeuse. I decided to finally crack open my Burda Style Sewing Handbook 20130515-112147.jpg
to try their blouse pattern, and it was a positive experience. I typically shy away from Burda because it seems to get mixed reviews overall, but the book is lovely. So many fabric and embellishment options, straightforward directions, really nice details inside and out. Even having to add the seam allowance wasn’t annoying. I am crap at taking photos mid-construction, but this pattern is so clean that I felt compelled to take photos of the inside.

A bit difficult to see, but pretend it’s clear

This is the inside! Look at that yoke.

Here’s a view that includes the casing and tie. Again, really straightforward directions. As always, pardon the wrinkles. This was taken after work and grocery shopping.
I’m not sure when I finished the blouse, but I know I wore this outfit at Christmas, so it’s definitely a 2012 vintage. I haven’t actually made anything with the stripey jersey yet. I just safety pin it into a skirt and it usually stays up. Here I am when the daffodils decided to come out last month.
I could stand to lengthen the bodice, but other than that I’m happy with the fit.

Feelin peplumy20130515-105949.jpg

So this is my mini-review of the Burda Style Sewing Handbook. I would definitely make the blouse again, especially since it’s good for sheer fabrics or just about anything, and since I already bothered to trace and cut those pattern pieces. Has anyone made another garment from the Handbook? What was your experience?

Happy Sewing
Happy Mid-Me-Made-May!

My Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Made, Ever


How’s Me-Made-May going, everyone? I for one am exhausted checking out the Flickr group constantly, but it’s SO amazing.

Down to business. I loved the first pair of Colette Clovers I made in January. Got the fit down pretty well. It was wonderful having a reliable pair of black slacks to wear this winter, and I’ve been dying to jazz things up and make more. I found this fabulous cotton/lycra floral in Mood at the meetup in March, and that stuff was destined to be my new pants.

By the way, this is how I fit Clovers. I cut them big enough for my waist size and then keep chopping the side seams in until they fit my hips (which are non-existent but that’s fine with me). I doubt this works for every pant pattern, but with Clovers it’s a dream. The butt fits wonderfully and the crotch doesn’t do anything absurd or uncooperative.

And speaking of crotch, I was really concerned that this insane print would lead to pattern placement nightmare, but it miraculously worked out. No crotch flower here.

Pics! Totally silliness ahead. The pants are a bit wrinkly after a long day’s work but these shots will have to do.

These pants make me want to dance! 20130514-180137.jpg
And jump. (This was taken either before or after the jump. It obviously wasn’t timed well, but is too funny not to post.)
I tried to take this with the timer app I just downloaded, for moments when my babe is too busy. It’s a little fuzzy, but I like the pic anyway.
Finally pried my baby away from the Miata engine for more pics. 20130514-180830.jpg

Here I am on an educational mission. Yesterday was the birthday of the inventor of the Pap smear and savior of your cervix, Dr. George Papanicolaou. I’ve been a cytotechnologist for almost 19 years, so I appreciate the man not only for saving lives, but for the great profession his research has given me. It turns out that he passed away in New Jersey about 25 minutes from here, so off we went in the Miata and new Clovers to investigate.


Even more business, almost as exciting as a pair of floral Clovers–My giveaway. Here’s my lovely assistant, Lenny, pulling the winners out of his Morris County Police Pipes and Drums cup.

And the winner of the Steam-A-Seam is

The winner of the regular Wonder Clips is Vicki Kate, and the Jumbo Clips go to Kristin!!! 20130514-195633.jpg
Congrats all!! I think I have your direct contact info, but if you read this and haven’t heard from me yet, feel free to shout here in comments or shelley57 at Yahoo. Thanks!!



Hello lovelies,

I finally finished my poor neglected Colette Anise jacket just in time for (I HOPE) the last cold day of the year yesterday, and I must celebrate! Also, I want to continue blogiversary celebrations, AND I’m just plain giddy that I’m working on my favorite thing I’ve ever made ever. It’s so silly and simple, but it makes me dance, and I hope to finish it soon. I’m saving it for Me-Made-May though.

Anise is a gorgeous jacket and, although time-consuming, not a difficult pattern to follow, especially when you refer to Sarai’s sewalong posts and/or buy the Anise Companion, which has tons of photos and tips. She warns in the instructions that a jacket isn’t an instant gratification garment, and man, she wasn’t kidding.

I think I cut the (million) pieces back in October or so. Here is documentation of the carnage.


Then I had kind of a sewing and blogging slump over the autumn, then the weather just wasn’t right, plus I always seem to have a sewalong project due. At one point I got as far as the sleeves and that didn’t go so well. I thought I had lost my normally-intact setting mojo, but it turns out that I was putting the sleeves on the wrong sides, so I quit again for a while in disgust. The almost-jacket just hung there looking at me for another while. Then we didn’t have a March or April that acted like March or April. Et freakin’ cetera. I love the fabric (velveteen from beloved Fabric Mart), I love the pattern, but it simply didn’t get made for a long time.

I finally got the lining fully constructed and wanted to wear it for the perfect low-40s/high-50s day on Tuesday, but then the dreaded hand-sewing was called upon. Guess what? Inspired by Sunni’s love of fusible web, I pretty much just used Steam-A-Seam to finish the hem and all of the lining attachments and hems (except the sleeve hems, so right now the sleeves are eating my hands). This thing is fused within an inch of its life. It will get hand-sewn when I bloody well feel like it, but for now it looks really neat and clean and no one needs to be the wiser. Except all of y’all.

These pics are crappy because it was approaching evening and iPhone pics in low light aren’t necessarily stellar.


Just a peek

Just a peek–And yes, I’m blocking the garage

This is like the fifth thing in which I've used blue lining.

This is like the fifth thing in which I’ve used blue lining.


I WILL eventually put the buttons on

I WILL eventually put the buttons on

With a little attitude...So it's NOT totally finished.  Deal with it! :)

With a little attitude…So it’s NOT totally finished. Deal with it! 🙂

Anyone else have a similar experience with a WIP/UFO that there wasn’t anything incredibly wrong with, but it just kept falling down the queue? We fickle sewists.

Okay, on to the official celebration. A Giveaway!!! Gotta pass along some of the fun tools that have been helping me lately.

I meant to mention the wonder of Wonder Clips in my Mad Men post, because they are HEAVEN when working with picky stuff like charmeuse (and I assume silks, satins, etc) that you don’t want to stick too many pins in. I just got them a few weeks ago, but I use them a ton. In many cases, you don’t have to use pins to hold your seam-in-progress together at all, no matter what fabric you’re sewing.

As I was doing my Wonder Clip shopping, I noticed that there are also jumbo Wonder Clips, that have some kind of seam gauge marking on them. Don’t ask me how that works. Look it up.


If you already have Wonder Clips or just aren’t bothered, how about a roll of Steam-A-Seam so you can be a hem and zipper wizard like Sunni?

So if you want to win, please specify in the comments whether you want the 50 regular Wonder Clips, the 24 jumbo Wonder Clips, or the Steam-A-Seam. Let’s make the deadline Cinco de Mayo, which is a week from Sunday I believe, when we’ll all be well into our Me-Made-May routines.
I have no idea how I’m going to pick the winners. You’re just going to have to trust me. Please have a website or email address clickable or otherwise available in your comment.

Gotta go. Computer is dying!! Be well!

The Flying Alma


As the temps here on the east coast continue to almost ease up to normal, and there are more than four hours of daylight per day, I can start to wear and photograph the blouses I made back in the fall. The other day was Renfrew, and today is my beloved Alma, which I finished back in October. It is made out of some kind of polyester crepe from Fabric Mart, and the collar and cuffs are in a similar crepey material that came in a mystery bundle. This blouse is a combination of views B and C, so it has long sleeves and cuffs plus the Peter Pan collar. I cut the biggest size (16 or 18) and didn’t have to make any adjustments. Amen. Darts sit perfectly, length is awesome, side zip is nice. The only hiccup I had during actual construction was the cuffs, but I think that’s only because I’d never done them before. For some reason I just could not figure out how to fold them–or something. It’s been so long I don’t remember the exact problem, but if you’re a beginner, just take your time with this step. The only other problem is that the collar doesn’t want to lie flat on one side, but I pressed it a bit last night after just hiding it with my hair for all of these months, and it actually did okay today. That crispy crepe is totally picky, and you have to cut those collar pieces perfectly. Plus using a white contrast really shows every flaw. This blouse in one fabric, maybe a nice voile or challis (April Challis month anyone?) or anything but what I used would be a SNAP. But I’m really happy I made it in this exact fabric combination, because I adore it
even if it does make me look a bit like Sister Bertrille from the Flying Nun.
All I need is that funky hat, and you know I love hats.

Few more shots …
Sa-weet semi-visible side zip
Making sure the collar is minding
Awkward pose #73
Happy Sewing, and happy flying!
Love, Shel 20130404-181313.jpg



Happy April, everyone! How are you? I’m several garments behind on blogging. Here’s my take on the cowlly view of the notorious Renfrew, which I completed sometime in January. I can’t seem to get a good photo of me in this, so I give up. I’m hoping that this is one of the last days that it’s cold enough to necessitate this warm of a top, so I’m capturing it while it’s on my body.

Renfrew is as awesome as everyone says. Zero construction problems, and it’s cool how the cowl comes together so easily. Don’t let the pics fool you–it’s a lovely top. I chose this light pink out of my knit stash because it goes with quite a few of my skirts, including this one, the first garment I ever made, back when my only goal was to make faux Lilly stuff. Looks good with jeans too. Will definitely be making the other views soon. I like the idea of making my own tshirts in whatever colors/prints grab me.



The weird shadows aren’t doing me any favors.

Here I am in the ol’ cubicle, with my trusty maps and Crewe Alexandra Football Club bear in the background. Any Crewe fans out there?

In other news, I’m psyched about all things Tilly. Finally downloaded Mathilde the other day, and downloaded Miette as soon as it came out yesterday. Also, her appearance on the Great British Sewing Bee starts this very eve. I’m a sucker for British TV and, admittedly, reality competition shows, so there couldn’t be a more perfect program for me. Go, Tilly!

In social news, there is a Google+ community forming as a central location for NYC area sewists to arrange meetups. We formed the group basically using the email list from the recent Mood meetup, but by no means is that list inclusive. If you live within reasonable distance of New York and would like to be kept up on events, the site is:

Fleur Hoare was kind enough to set this up and even kinder still to make me a moderator, so if you would like to join, either of us could help you. I’m brand-brand new to this, so I’m not 100% sure how joining works, but I will definitely send you an invite if you’re interested (please have a Google+ account). Also feel free to pass the info along to any Tri-Staters that you know. We literally just started this yesterday, so I’m sure it will evolve and hopefully grow into a wonderful social resource, for locals and for visitors.

So much to chat about–How about Me-Made-May 2013!! The lovely and talented Zoe is hosting again, and I can’t wait. My photographer has a day job now so I don’t know how I’m going to document the duds, but I had such a blast with it last year that I simply must. And I want to see your bright and shining faces on your blogs and Flickr as well. If anyone thinks she can’t do this, forget that attitude right now. I had been sewing less than three months when I did Me-Made-May ’12, and I think the experience really helped inspire me to create, plus it’s a great way to make new friends. Jump on in–the water’s fine.

My imaginary sewing queue is out of control. Anyone else going through this? If I actually listed all of the garments I would like to make in the near future, I think it would scare me. One thing at a time…

Still waiting for spring,