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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Computer sleeve

I recently got a MacBook Pro for work. I love how small and light-weight it is! I choose the smallest, lightest model. For months, I’ve been planning making a padded sleeve for it.


First, I drew around it on a piece of paper and made a pattern.


Second, I made a test sleeve out of three layers of felt and tested the fit.


Finally, I made the sleeve out of left-over navy boiled wool and black velvet. The velvet is nice and slippery and makes it easy to get my computer in and out.


I originally put a layer of batting in it, but it was too floppy, so I added a layer of felt as well. It has enough room for the power cord and adapters.

It closes with velcro (the button is just decoration). I really, really wanted to use a magnetic closure, but I reminded myself about a hundred times that magnets are not good for computer hard drives.

It looks great in my lovely Everlane backpack!


Well, at least it’s original!


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A tale of two skirts

I recently made two skirts from the same pattern. It’s a narrow skirt that I’ve made before. I actually created the pattern myself, based on a couple skirts that I bought and some patterns I already had. But this time I added a pocket, for my cell phone, of course!

Even though the pattern is the same, these skirts are quite different, because the fabrics are so different.

This skirt is made of Japanese cotton fabric that I bought at a quilt store.


I love the wavy lines! Plus, the fabric is a little thicker than regular cotton. And it’s nubby! Yes, I made the pocket fabric go the other way on purpose.

I lined it with gray lining fabric.


This skirt is made from navy boiled wool. It’s really marvelous fabric, very soft, and thick without being stiff. I found some fun trim to put on the bottom and on the pocket.


I lined it with a rayon fabric.


Here’s what it looks like. My dog needed to be included…

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