Category Archives: Sewing

Sewing Adventures: Backpack pattern

All right…

I’ve finally taken the plunge and purchased the backpack pattern for my daughter.  I wrote about it in August, in the flurry of back to school activity, my brother and nephew dropping by for the weekend, I completely forgot to place that order. Whoops!

In my initial post, I’d planned on starting this in September, but that didn’t happen. I guess I should have added it to my sewing “to do” list, right?

Backpack pattern by Cindy Taylor Oates

Backpack pattern by Cindy Taylor Oates

The pattern has been ordered. The backpack pattern was created by Cindy Taylor Oates and can be found at Amazon and so the next task will be choosing a sturdy fabric for my daughter’s bag. Judging by the backpacks, I think I’ll be making my daughters a bit larger than the largest one featured here. Yes… she carries that many books to school.

I still need to order a few sturdy metal zippers for the bookbag, but I’ll believe I’ll wait and purchase that after we decide on the fabric.


Wawak Basting Thread

Basting Thread

I have thread that I use for basting, but I never purchased “basting thread.” The above cone is 1250 yards and cost a little under $4.00. That’s a great price. I believe it will last me for a long time, don’t you?

Wawak assorted cone thread

Also, I needed colorful thread and so I purchased about 11 cones of sewing thread. The total for all the cone threads, including shipping, cost me $23.05. What a great deal!  Where did I receive these fabulous deals on cone thread? From Wawak, of course. They are based in New York and have been in business for many years.

spool of purple thread


I don’t purchase spools of thread…

I used to purchase spools of thread, but swapped over to cones shortly after buying my embroidery machines. I haven’t looked back. The cones hold so much more than the little spools of thread that I used to purchase.


Sewing my capsule wardrobe

With all the “side sewing” that I’m doing, it would appear that I have strayed away from my goal of sewing a capsule wardrobe, but I promise you that isn’t the case. Currently, I’m trying to decide what project I want to make next. I still have the ruffled shirt. It’s crazy, because I’m almost there… but I’m stumped at what else I want to add to the shirt. It seems to be missing something.  Sighs… Instead of mulling over that, I think it’s simply best to move on to the next thing, don’t you? Currently, I’m trying to decide whether I should make a pair of pants or a long skirt. Decisions, decisions, decisions…




Sewing adventures: Monster High; Sleeping bags and cloaks

This past weekend, I had a chance to sew! No… it wasn’t that ruffled shirt, it was a few items for my daughter.

Elissabat in her Sleeping Bag

Elissabat in her Sleeping Bag

On Saturday,I purchased Elissabat, her new Monster High doll. I decided to gift her doll with a few things. This quarter, just like every other quarter at school. She’s done very well in school, 10 A’s and 2 B’s. She made honor roll. I don’t always reward her with gifts for doing well. She’s expected to do her best, but I get her something this time.


Loom woven cloth sleeping bag_1

Loom woven cloth sleeping bag

First, I made a sleeping bag that was completely lined. I wasn’t planning on adding a zipper, but my daughter asked me if I would.

Scarf on rigid heddle loom 32 Krmoski Harp_1

Take a closer look at the fabric. It’s the same fabric that I wove on my 32″ Kromski Harp back in January 2014!


Monster High Cloak

Monster High Cloak


After the sleeping bag, I started working on a cloak. This work in progress cloak is being made from silk scraps. 

In haute couture, you’ll see reference to lightly wetting fabric so that it can easily be manipulated into a desired shape. I decided to create a small cloak for one of my daughter’s dolls where I could manipulate the fabric.


Monster High Cloak _1

Work in progress cloak. I’ll be adding horizontal panels to the side seams. This was made from scraps so I did not have enough fabric to match up the designs.


Since I didn’t have enough fabric to properly match the pattern shown in the above picture, I’ll be adding narrow strips of the gold fabric to act as a color block for the side panels of this cloak. Look closely at the two side seams and you’ll see what I mean. The pattern doesn’t line properly. That’s one of the downsides of working with patterned scraps. 😉 I had to be careful as I shrunk some of the fabric.

A draw string will be added to the hood, so it can be tied around the body. The draw string will will be either crocheted or a knitted i-cord.

There’s still much more to be done with this, but I’m having a lot of fun. I played around with shrinking and stretching fabric into the different shapes. This can’t be done with all fabrics but I’ve I found wool to be the easiest fabric to manipulate.

Embroidery will be added to the gold side, and some small glass seed beads will be added to the hood. The hem will be manually blind hem stitched into place, so regardless of the side you won’t be able to see the hem.

 My daughter didn’t help with the sewing, she was much too busy creating a doll house out of cardboard.  Some of her inspiration for the dollhouse comes from My Froggy Stuff. I know she’ll be posting pictures on her website.

Video: Rory Duffy – The Making of a Coat

I’ve watched Rory Duffy’s, The Making of a Coat series many times. I keep coming back to it because I always pick up something new.

Take for example using a paint brush to apply water to a garment. I was using a spray bottle. I really dislike steam irons, your control is limited and I don’t have to worry about erratic steam. So even though I do have a steam iron, I don’t use water in its reservoir since manually applying the water, exactly where needed eliminates that issue.

Because of his videos, I’m checking out the paint brush technique to see how I like that. It seems that would give me even more control.

But what has impressed me the most about his Coat series was the amount of hand sewing he does with the garments that he creates. I love hand sewing and do it often. In couture, you’ll find many creations are manipulated/molded to create shape when there is no shape. The results are beautifully sculpted item.

The amount of time that goes into one of his suits is about 60 hours and the price will be about $5,000. That includes the fabric. While some might be shocked at that price, I’m not. This isn’t off the rack/ready to wear outfit. This is an haute couture suit, customized for one person. The amount of detail, multiple fittings and the level of hand sewing (which produces a much more stable seam in some cases) justifies the price.

Sewing Adventures: Keep it simple silly…

4x5 originalFor the past several months, I’ve been searching for a high quality tailors pressing iron. Unfortunately, I kept coming up empty.

It wasn’t due to lack of searching on my part. I did that also I was willing to spend up to $250 for a good quality iron. Why so pricey? I sew.  Seams need to be pressed as you create them. You need a good quality iron to accomplish a seam that is properly set. I was looking for a workhorse, so I don’t mind spending extra to receive that.  Simple enough, right? The problem is I wasn’t finding any that met my criteria.

Although I’d saved one or two pressing irons to my Wishlist on Amazon. I wasn’t impressed with them. Each one of those irons cost a little under $200.  But I wasn’t sold on either one and so I continued my search.




My quest landed me on a few tailoring forums that I frequent, and it confirmed what I already knew, my purchase would be a vintage iron. The only question was, finding the right fit for me.


I stumbled upon Rory Duffy’s tailoring series titled, The Making of a Coat and I discovered that he was using a similar iron that I wantedI’ve included one of the videos in the series. Shortly after the 1:00 mark, Rory explains why he uses a heavy (no steam) clothing iron and the importance of following the heat with a cool sadiron. If you don’t have one of those, you could always use a clapper.

American Beauty Iron

American Beauty dry pressing iron


Several weeks later, I’m happy to say, that I’ve finally scored the iron that I want! It’s a vintage American Beauty dry pressing iron. It weighs 16 pounds and was made in the early 1900s. I can’t wait to receive it!

I definitely prefer old irons. The ones I’ve used have been extremely durable, metal and all of them were heavy.  The first iron I used was an old 1940s General Electric iron. It was heavy, produced steam and was a workhorse. It belonged to my father. My complaint with many of the irons made today is that several don’t seem to have the same quality (or heft) of the irons made in the past.


  1. Explore the Magical World of Electric Irons
  2. History of Ironing

Sewing Adventures: Machine embroidering a lunch bag with the Brother Designi0 DZ820E

Although I still haven’t got my mojo back for completing my ruffled shirt, I’m going full steam ahead with the machine embroidery. Last evening, I decided to start making an updated lunch bag for my daughter’s Zojurishi lunch jar.

Embroidery.Creepy Doll_2 10.30.14

Machine embroidering with Brother Designio


And so I sat behind my Brother Designi0 DZ820E and let the machine take over…

Embroidery.Creepy Doll_1 10.30.14

Machine embroidered creepy doll

It feels strange watching a machine do all the embroidery. The only thing I need to do is swap colors and make sure nothing went wrong. I still have another panel to embroider, perhaps I’ll take care of that later today.

Sewing Adventures: Machine Embroidery – Book love…

You know… I still haven’t finished that top that I started sewing. I feel that there’s something lacking and so I’ve set aside that project until I know what else I want to add to the shirt.


Embroidery Book Lover_1

This past weekend, in hopes of getting my sewing mojo back… I created this lovely embroidered shirt for my daughter. Being that she loves books as much as myself, I think it’s appropriate, don’t you?

Embroidery Book Lover_2

Machine Embroidery – Book love


I most likely will add some additional embroidery to this shirt, perhaps a saying on the other side? We’ll see! While I was embroidery the above shirt, my daughter was working on her drawing. She finished her drawing about an hour before I finished her shirt. In total, it took her nine hours to complete her picture and I must say it’s lovely! It didn’t take me nearly as long to finish embroidering her shirt. Perhaps a few hours…

Should I purchase or wait…

Reliable blind hemmer machine

Reliable – Blind hemming machine

I’m torn about the blind hemming machine. I’ve been watching the Reliable Blind Hemming machine for quite some time and I’ve found a really good deal on that.

However, I’m torn… I’m unsure if I should purchase it now or wait and see if it comes down a bit more after the Thanksgiving holidays? The thing is, I do have articles of clothing/sheets that would definitely benefit from this machine now. The clothing I could do by hand and it would take me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However some of the draperies would take several hours to do by hand.

I’m starting to do more commissioned work so this would definitely come in handy. Decisions, decisions…