Wide leg pants!

I was so inspired by the success of the shorts I made, that I took the plunge on pants. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pair of wide leg pants that fit properly, so I am very pleased with the results of these!


I used the Juniper pattern from Colette. As always, I was very happy with the instructions and the accompanying diagrams. I need those pictures! And, after 25 years of technical writing, I can recognize a well-written procedure. The only thing I stumbled over were the instructions to clip the curved seam and then finish the raw edges. How are you supposed to finish clipped, curved edges?! With the pinking shears, that’s how!


I can’t say that I’m super satisfied with the fly, but it works. The waistband was supposed to overlap more and have hooks instead of button, but I didn’t like that as much. Maybe I went a bit wild with the fancy buttons, but hey, they’re grey pants, they need something!


Of course, I had to adjust the rise to achieve the right amount of bagginess. The fabric is a very light-weight denim. I love the subtle variation in color.


Nice deep pockets!


These are the perfect pants for summer, so light and airy. Maybe this winter I’ll try some wool pants…


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Bias-cut top and shorts

Although I’ve made garments on the bias before, I wasn’t very successful, because I didn’t do the proper prep work.

I recently tried on a camisole and shorts sleep set at Anthropologie and thought they were really cute, but the price was ridiculous. So I decided to make a set myself. I really liked the way the bias cut camisole draped.

I bought some very thin cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. I had a knit camisole that was similar to the one I wanted to make, so I made a pattern from it and tried it out in muslin.

Then I did some research! I found a great blog post:  A guide to working on the bias. I followed their directions, mostly.

First, I put thin strips of interfacing along the edges, instead of stay stitching.


I did French seams on the sides, made bias tape for the top edge, and left the bottom raw, except for a stretch stitch a half an inch from the bottom so that the fraying won’t get out of hand. And I made thin straps that I had to turn inside out: the worst part of the whole process!


I added a bit to trim to top of the front.


I’m happy with the side seams–no puckering!


The back is structured so that the straps won’t fall off my shoulders.

And of course, I made shorts, but not on the bias. I put elastic in the waistband; the drawstring is just sewn on for decoration.


These will be perfect when I go down to the desert later this July!

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I made shorts!

Although I have made pants before, they never fit right. I tried again with the Colette’s Iris pattern. Here is my practice pair of shorts that I made with some left-over fabric.

I had to adjust the pattern a bit to add more room in the rise. And look what I did: I printed the pattern out and cut it out in my size, instead of tracing over my size! I felt very daring, but then, I printed it on paper that had been printed on the other side, so it didn’t seem like wasting paper. And I kept the parts of the pattern that I cut off.


Then I bought some nice mid-weight rayon blend fabric from Britex Fabrics.

They are very comfortable! It’s hard to see, but they have pockets in the front seams and an invisible zipper on the side. I’m so happy with them that I bought a pants pattern!


My photographer is very funny!

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Tutorial: Embroidered fabric brooch

I’ve been seeing a lot of appliquéd and embroidered clothes in the stores recently. While I love the idea, I thought it would be easier to create portable embroidery that I could add to whatever top I wanted to!


How to create an embroidered fabric brooch

What you need:

2-sided fusible interfacing
Safety pin or brooch back
Embroider thread

How to do it:

  1. Cut out a shape in whatever fabric you want. I used scraps from a lovely heavy wool that I bought at Britex Fabrics for the flower. (Here’s what else I made with that wool: A tale of two skirts and Computer sleeve.) If you use pinking shears, you don’t have to worry about fraying.
  2. Cut a slightly smaller version of the shape in the same fabric and in 2-sided fusible interfacing. You can use a heavier fabric for the backing, like felt.IMG_3889
  3. Embroider the top fabric. I used embroider floss and beads I had in my stash.IMG_3890
  4. Cut two small holes in the backing fabric and stick the safety pin through. You could use a proper brooch backing, but I like the safety pin because it lets the brooch lie flat. Make sure to test your safety pin so you don’t find out when you’re all done that the pin makes a huge hole in your clothes.IMG_3891
  5. Fuse the interfacing to the top fabric.IMG_3892
  6. Fuse the front and the back together.IMG_3893

That’s it! IMG_3894

You can even overlap your brooches.


They are very light-weight and don’t drag on your clothes.

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Embellishing embroidery

Somebody gave me a couple pieces of embroidery and cross stitch and I didn’t do anything with them for a long time, but I found them back recently and decided to get creative.

Here’s my puppy pillow:


Here’s what it looks like next to my dog: I swear it’s a coincidence that the embroidered puppies look like the real one!


I really didn’t like these birds at first, but with the right fabric and trim, I’m really happy with them.


I obviously haven’t taken any quilting classes, because you can see that there are no actual right angles around this bird!



I actually did the cross stitch of these birds:


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Denim dress

With the left-over fabric from my denim blouse, I made a dress.


I used the same pattern as this dress. Because the denim is so thin, I added a muslin lining. I couldn’t find the right color blue muslin, so I bought white, cut out the pattern (7 pieces!), zigzagged all the edges, and then dyed it.


After zigzagging all 14 pieces for the dress, I ordered a pair of pinking shears.

Sewing the dress was super easy, even putting in the invisible zipper. I just love invisible zippers!


The hard part of this dress was the binding. I bought silk bias tape, which is beautiful, but not easy to sew on curves. First I tried sewing the silk tape around an armhole by machine. That did not look nice: very rumpled. It took several tries of sewing the tape on by hand before I got a result that looks okay.



The lining color didn’t come out the color I intended, but it’s good enough. After this lining, I got serious and bought Dharma dye. So I’ve learned a lot, even though I made this dress the second time!

The binding on the bottom was easy, because it was straight.


Of course, I didn’t forget the cell phone pocket.


The dress could have been a bit longer, but I didn’t have any more fabric left.


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Denim blouse with trim

I saw a denim dress at Anthropologie with several rows of navy trim around the neck and sleeves. I said to my daughter, “I can make that!” But instead of a tunic dress, which doesn’t look that good on me, I made a blouse.


I used a pattern that I’ve used before and customized.


The denim is very thin, which is perfect for a blouse.


I used rickrack for the scallops around the neck and sleeves. I actually bought the flower trim from Amazon!


I have enough left-over fabric to make a sleeveless dress: my next project!


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