Category Archives: misc.

McCall’s 5860 – Part I

Today I am working on this Palmer/Pletsch jean jacket. Yes, I have a long list of things to sew but this is a store sample for my friend’s shop and I want to bring it with me on Monday evening (my last Beginning Sewing class). I’m using a TDF laminated cotton/linen from Elliot Berman Textiles which is in the washer as we speak.


Look at this unexpected surprise I received yesterday! I am so excited about this because I’ve been wanting one for a year and a half. I know what you’re thinking: meh, it’s a commercial straight stitch foot, big deal.


Actually, it is a big deal – it’s a paperweight! My friend received one just like it from one of the sewing machine suppliers in 2008 and I’ve been threatening to lift it since. Now I have my own!



Filed under McCall's, misc., Year of the Jacket

Bird Blouse

I finished up my voile “bird blouse” today. I just love it, it is going to be so cool to wear this summer. Again, the pattern is Simplicity 3786, which I have made several times before. This was a Summer 2009 favorite! The fabric came from Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics.


My favorite part of the pattern is the tucked front. I press-mark these tucks, making sure to measure carefully, because they are difficult to mark well on these lightweight fabrics.


As to the Wax Incident, I was able to get the wax out but not the remaining ring and stain so the dress is history. No worries, I’m over it now and will make it again after the 4th.

Last Sunday, I removed the drill cover from my pressing board and discovered that the wax had not only bled through both layers of drill but also through my padding so I was forced to start from scratch. Once I get the padding on the board I staple the first layer of drill on. The 2nd layer is then duct-taped on. When it gets dirty, I don’t have the tedious task of removing staples and can easily pull the cover off. I bought my drill at JoAnn’s and it is about the worst quality I have ever used. Get it somewhere else if you can.


Parting shot: A little unemployment humor from today’s Miami Herald. I’ve had a lot of experience with the latter in my personal life so it made me LOL! 😉



Filed under misc., Simplicity

Pique Simplicity 2443 – Final

Woohoo, I am back on track now! I have eight jackets left and, counting May, eight months to make them. I was going to make the HP Wrapture jacket next but it’s so blistering hot that I may work on something else instead. But, first, I have to finish up the Princess shirt tutorial for my Etsy shop (which I hope will be this week!).

I had a tough time deciding on a closure for this jacket. Finally, last night – after a tall gin and tonic – I pulled the trigger!




Love, love, love the d-rings on the sleeves!


The directions instruct you to turn under the raw edges of the loop and topstitch it down. Binding the end with bias is much neater and less bulky, don’t you think?


Parting shot: I’ve got orchids galore! Here are just a few of my lovelies (the oncidium plants blessed me with hundreds and hundreds of little “dancing ladies” this year!):





Filed under misc., Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Window treatments – Final

I dragged myself out to Home Depot in a monsoon this morning to buy a decorative rod for the bathroom. I did manage to finish the valance – what took the most time was deciding on a design – with the polyester fabrics fighting me the entire way! (Please note that JoAnn’s still has this fabric in other colorways – do not be seduced by it’s beauty, walk on by!)


I use a lot of polyester knits and find them very easy to sew but poly wovens, argh. Give me natural fibers any day! Ultrasuede is generally very easy to sew but this is Facile (I think the new name is Ultrasuede Light) and it’s a tad too drapey for this type of treatment. Not it’s fault, it just happened to be the right color for this project! The embroidered poly really pushed the limits of my new boiler iron and still there are puckers. Oh well, it’s up and the rest of the fabric is in the trash.


My neighbor gave me this air plant mounted on a cedar slab. How nice is that? Air plants live on just that – air. It appears to have some sort of flower stalk so I can’t wait to see how that develops. The cedar was from the wall unit I demo’d in my living room awhile ago. I gave some of it to my neighbor and the rest to a friend’s dad. Woodworkers don’t turn down good wood anymore than we’d turn down good fabric!



Filed under misc., Sewing for the Home

Simplicity 2443 – Part VI

I mentioned what I like to call the “Magic Placket” a couple of days ago. I learned it from Nancy Zieman eons ago and I think it’s been around for some time. It is super easy but works best with lightweight fabrics (like fine shirtings). My linen was borderline too heavy for this technique but it wasn’t anything a couple of whacks from the clapper couldn’t fix. I apologize in advance for all the little threads – I don’t know why I didn’t notice them before I started taking pictures (maybe because I’m too vain to wear glasses…).

Here’s my sleeve pattern. Notice that the placket area is a box. If your pattern is different, just draw your own box. The stitching line would be the finished width (I like 3/4″ to 1″ but you can make it narrower if you like) and then you just add on 1/4″ seam allowance.


How wide to cut the placket piece? You will cut a strip twice the width of your finished placket plus two seam allowances. For instance, if your placket is going to be 3/4″ wide you would cut a piece 2″ wide (3/4 + 3/4 + 1/4 + 1/4). I like to cut the piece longer than what I need and trim off the excess when I’m finished.

Before you begin, turn under 1/4″ on one of the long edges of your placket.


And staystitch the top of the placket box and clip into the corners. I confess that I only staystitch on loosely woven fabrics and don’t usually bother on tightly-woven shirtings.


Now you can straighten out the seam and stitch. I like to sew the right side of the placket to the wrong side of the sleeve so that I can do my final edgestitching from the right side. If you prefer to do it the opposite way, that’s fine too.


Once the placket has been attached, press the seam allowances towards the placket.


Turn the sleeve over and just cover your stitching with the folded edge. Edgestitch and press.


Now for the magic part:


Finally, you can topstitch the placket any way you wish.


Isn’t this so much easier than this?


And, to prove that good things come to those who patiently wait, my friends Jim and Tom found this gorgeous slab (oops, it’s a little wet from the sprinklers) for my bathroom vanity for practically nothing! I had originally chosen a brown granite but I decided that a light countertop would look better on the dark vanity. With sinks and labor, this will cost a fraction of what I was quoted. I just love it when a plan comes together!


Parting shot:

My bottlebrush tree is blooming! This one’s still a baby. I lost my old one during hurricane Wilma (some of you may remember that it crashed into my car) and it took two years to find another one. Every time I look at it, it makes me happy.



Filed under House, misc., Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Bathroom curtain

I’m so sick of looking at the naked window in my WC. I’ve decided that I’d like a bamboo Roman shade in a nice deep color. Unfortunately, none of the ready-made sizes even come close so mine will have to be custom ordered. Since I still need sinks and a countertop, the shade will have to wait until I find a job!

While rummaging through the dresser where I keep my home dec fabrics, I found these two beauties (very wrinkled, sorry!). I know they look the same color as the wall but they aren’t. I just had trouble capturing the colors as the overhead light casts a golden glow onto everything. The main fabric is a very crisp and sheer silk stripe. I think it would work well as a Roman shade. The other fabric is beautifully embroidered and the colors work very well but I only have two small pieces. I could possibly make a valance or trim the shade with it, I don’t know. I always find these little bathroom windows tough so if you have any ideas, please feel free to share them!


I finally hung the “sewing art” I made in February. I thought the shears looked nice hanging with some vintage shoe lasts at the entrance to my closet.


I have made some progress on the Cynthia Rowley jacket (remember that?). I disregarded the pattern’s instruction for the sleeve placket and used what I call the Magic Placket instead. However, that means I’ll have to make a couple of changes to the sleeve band. It’s fun to just wing it sometimes! I’ll try to post photos tomorrow, time permitting. I probably don’t even have two hours left on this jacket and I’m pretty anxious to finish it and start on Jacket #4.


Filed under misc., Simplicity

Snap Redo – McCalls 5984

As I mentioned yesterday, I sewed the snaps too far away from the edge so I took them off and resewed them. Ideally, a button’s location from the edge should be equal to half it’s width. I guess my mind must have been on something else – no big deal.


Here’s my first attempt – just a wee bit too far in.


Daily progress:

My closet has a wall! No door (so no squeeling) but there’s a wall. 🙂


And, as is my perogative, I have changed my mind on the tile. I decided to go all the way and install Travertine. My friend Jim is going to do the job for me – he’s really, really good.


Here’s the tile along with my vanity and granite selections. I still have so many things to pick but none of them as pressing as these. I’m a very visual person and don’t do well making my selections all at once because I can’t imagine how it will all fit together. I kind of have to see how things are coming along before I can move on to the next thing. I do the same thing when sewing.


Filed under McCall's, misc., Year of the Jacket

BMV it is!

Thank you all for weighing in on this subject. After reading all of your comments, I have decided to go ahead and join. The JoAnn’s near my house is very slow to get the new patterns out and then they are often out of my size so I have to drive to the store across town and hope they have what I want. Saving time and aggravation is certainly worth $1 more per pattern!

Daily bathroom progress:

I have walls!!!! I love my double niches. I made a small (Jim approved) one on the other wall for my soap. The electrician came yesterday so the power in that part of the house is back on. I have had long extension cords going to the living room.


There is a problem with the alarm wiring on the bathroom window. I’ll have to open up the wall and see – probably a broken wire. No worries, though, this is impact glass. Even a sledgehammer wouldn’t break it.


The plumber is here now doing his thing and the closet walls are going up today. I’ve picked out my new closet door – if it’s in when I get home tonight I will squeel with delight. They should be done with most of the dusty work by the weekend so I can give my house a thorough cleaning.

No sewing last night but I did resew the snaps on my red jacket. After looking at the photos I realized I’d sewed them too far away from the edge. They looked funny to me so I took them off and redid them.


Filed under misc., Patterns

McCall’s 5984 – Closures!

I didn’t get any sewing done today, much to my dismay. I found out yesterday that the plumber would be here tomorrow to rough in the shower fixture. Eh, no big deal (I thought), I’ll go to The Depot in the morning and pick something up. Well, three Home Depots and a Lowe’s later I hadn’t found any fixture that I could live with, let alone really liked. I finally called the plumbing supply shop in Ft. Lauderdale around 2:30 and found out they were open until 4:00. I arrived at 3:00 and left a half-hour later with the necessary diverters and valves. Everything else I’ll pick up on Friday. I spent the same amount of money and received much better service and a superior product. The only thing that could have made my shopping experience any better is if they’d handed me a cold beer after I signed the bill. Yes, that’s how stressed I was by this time!

I did sew the closures onto my red boucle jacket – just so the weekend wouldn’t be a total bust. After going through my entire button collection, I still liked the snaps the best. I think they are funky and add interest to the large collar. It was pretty warm today but I hope to wear it next weekend when the temps dip again.



Filed under McCall's, misc., Year of the Jacket

Saturday Update

The Simplicity jacket is all cut out and interfaced – ready to sew. I hope to get started on it this weekend. I probably won’t get much done because I do have to give my bedroom a good cleaning. It’s amazing how much dust manages to get through even with the doorway sealed off. I think that may be why I’ve been coughing so much all week.

We are down to the studs in most of the bathroom.


The WC still looks really bad. I guess the walls were yellow when I moved in 22 years ago. I had blocked that out forgotten.

My friend Tom is coming over this afternoon to help me with the niches in the shower. Right now I have this arched one and want to replace it with two rectangles for more storage. I’m sure the tile installer will appreciate not having to make all of those cuts. My friend Jim – who does high-end bathrooms in multi-million dollar homes – says my soap dish is very lame. I think he should come shopping with me.


The exterior plastering is done!


On the agenda for the weekend: buying new faucets, building niches and deciding on a tile layout. Oh, and a soap dish of some sort.


Filed under misc., Uncategorized