All posts by Henrietta

Another Angie Dress

I pretty much love this pattern. The bodice is so basic, you can work the fit and then change it 9 ways from Sunday. First here you can see the princess seam version I’m working up with a flared hem.
Angie - princess seam adaptation
Angie Pattern from Scientific Seamstress & Sis Boom Patterns

Angie - Livingston Dress

I love this dress. I bought the fabric because it reminded me of my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Livingson, the moment I saw it. Most random thing ever. Anyways. The bottom is a heavier twill, the waistband is like a black quilting cotton, and the top is light broadcloth.

Angie - Livingston Dress

I took the idea of the waist treatment on Sis Boom’s Jamie dress and applied it here, and continued the black around the back. It has pleats on the skirt, and gathers on the neckline. I cut this before I realized I could just take the excess at center front and add it into the dart. Oh well. I think this was the second version of this dress that I cut out so it has a reasonably good fit. I think that next time I’ll make the hem maybe an inch longer. I’m more comfortable with a touch more length.



Me Made May!

I, Henrietta, of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear at least one item of handmade or refashioned clothing, or handmade apron if worn for the majority of the day, each day for the duration of May 2014!

 It might be an interesting one, with a possible move and undoubtedly lots of travel. Oh well! Last one I did, Me Made May ’14 was filled with a trip across country by plane and car and painting the rooms in my house. I was so bummed to miss out last year, we’ll give it a go. Honestly, I’m going to do my best and not beat myself up if I don’t get something EVERY day or miss out on photos of everything worn. 

Here we go!

I can’t get no satisfaction

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the disaster that was Butterick 5261. I think I’ve imagined something that will salvage it, because I’m really quite proud of the work I did. Hate the shirt, but very proud of the construction.

My theory is that I can make short sleeves, crop the shirt, add a waistband, and skirt and have a retro summer shirtdress. Hopefully I can buy some more yardage. I’m sure it won’t exactly match because it certainly wouldn’t be the same dye lot, but Jo-Ann always has that fabric. Plus, I’m hoping for a cool, easy, summery, wear it around the house day dress, so I’m not going to get too hung up on the dye lot. You can see my inspiration pins here. Sorry for the lack of photos, I’m not sure how to blog pins. hmph. Might be worth looking into.
Speaking of inspiration, I’ve found a tool that has proven to be very useful. I got a tablet when we ditched our smart phones in September, and ordered a fine tip stylus to use with it. Then I found this silly app called sketch guru. It has turned out to be so useful! I’ll sit and sketch out some crazy sewing idea whenever the inspiration hits, most of which I’ll probably never sew. It gets it out of my head and onto “paper.” Here’s one example, Iwas lost in sewing blogland one day, ended up watching a video from Gertie, and quickly got lost day dreaming about making a shirt. It really has nothing in common with the shirt she’s wearing in the video, but that was the jumping off point.

sketch guru drawing

I’m not considering quitting my day job to become an illustrator, but it works for me.

I’ve become frustrated with my sewing and clothing. I’m writing a more detailed post about this, but the first step I have taken is to compile a list of sewing skills I wish I possessed.

sewing skills

Making that stupid B5261 has forced me to take a look at my actualy sewing skill level. I mean, buttonholes are NOT hard. I’ve known this for years, but had yet to actually make a series of them successfully. Plus there are so many skills that I’ve read a million times, I know how to do them if I ever have a need. Yet I haven’t found a need, so I don’t feel like I can own those skills. I suppose that’s really the second step I’ve taken, the first was to start a list on the bulletin board over my sewing table of projects sewn. Just to keep track.

Things Sewn list

Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate it.

Blue & White Seersucker blouse

Butterick B5261


Its a raglan sleeve blouse with strange cuffs and a convertible collar.  I’m a big fan of raglan, dolman, and kimono sleeves.  They’re easy to fit when you have narrow shoulders and a large bust, IMO.  That’s probably what drew me to this pattern in the first place. I’ve tried to buy it several times when Buttericks go on sale at Jo-Ann, and they never have it.  So I ordered it full price from Connie & paid shipping., which is not something I usually do.


I’m not sure what it is about this shirt, but it looks like something my grandmother would wear. Literally, I’m sitting here looking at a picture of her wearing something very similar. I really think its the convertible collar. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone in their twenties or thirties wearing a collar like this. Good news is that is a relatively easy fix on future versions.



I am very proud of my buttons and buttonholes! I realized I’ve never done a garment that needed multiple buttons & holes! I think it turned out pretty well.


I chose the shirttail version of the shirt. I’m NOT happy with how it looks in this shirt. I’m typically a big fan and I find it to be a slimming look. If there is a next time for this shirt, I’ll be adding an inch at the center front and tapering back to where the original hem is. As you can see below, it comes up in the center front, but with a 5/8″ hem allowance, there wasn’t much to do with it.


I do really like the back pleat, and I think the stripes look nice where the raglan sleeves meet the back.



The goofy cuffs… well they’re not your typical button down shirt cuffs. I HATE them. They make it completely impractical to wear in a normal day of my life. The sleeves are long enough to get in the way of doing dishes or cooking, and since they’re just a rectangular tube, you can’t roll them up. There is no stretch to the fabric so you can’t just scrunch up the sleeves either.



All in all, I’m not in love with this shirt.  I wore it one day.  It irritated me most of the day.  I don’t know if I’ll wear it much, but I am proud of the work that went into it. Its made well, and I’m sure it will hold up for a long time. All the interior seams are mock felled, and I love the durability that gives along with the fact that it just lays nicely.  I think I executed it well, and that it’s just not my style.  And really, I don’t think twenty somethings are Connie Crawford’s target demographic anyways.

If only I were working at my dream job, designing my own line of plus size sewing patterns for young people.  There is a tremendous hole in the market.  There are all kinds of super cute young pattern companies, like Colette, By Hand London, Wiksten, Sewaholic, and Tilly and the Buttons, just to name a few. None of which carry plus size patterns.  I get it, its a lot more work.  No blame on them from my little blog! On the flip side, plus size sewists like myself would love to just be able to pull a super cute pattern out of the envelope, cut and go. It often takes just as long for me to grade a pattern as it does to construct the garment.  If a plus size sewist wants the experience of just pulling the pattern out and having the correct sizes at her disposal, our options are few, and much more mature than I care to dress.

I don’t mean any of this to reflect poorly on any of those companies,  I love their work!  I just wish that there was even one company who got it, and made a plus size line.  And I wish that company was me. 🙂 Who knows where the future will take me.   If the last 14 months have proven anything to me, its that this life is wild ride and I have no idea where I’m going next.

I’ll end my rant/day dreaming now. Thanks for stopping by!!

A quick hello!

Lots of sewing going on here!  Just finished a rubber ducky hand towel. Yes, its terribly thrilling.  But, in the last week I’ve made two tops for myself!

Rubber Ducky Towel
Woohoo! Go me!

B5722 in,  what I’d call, a cream and crimson Lisette cotton sateen.  It is SO soft.  I love it! And then B5261 in a blue and white stripe seersucker. Its very springy and not at all springy here in Chicago.

Butterick B5722

I was very excited about both.  I’ve made the B5722 once before, also in a Lisette print. Oh! And I made a dress out of that pattern too.  Anyways, I added an elastic waist to this version, and the verdict is still out. I haven’t worn the B5261 yet, hopefully this week I’ll feel up to it.  I’m oscillating between  thinking its cute and summery, and thinking that its something my grandmother would wear.  I think its something about the convertible collar.

Butterick B5261

Not much to say for now, more pictures will hopefully come soon. I also drafted a skirt for myself and I love it. The Connie Crawford B5261 is one of three patterns I ordered from her website, in hopes of sewing some easy patterns that I don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole of grading. Maybe that way I can spend more of my limited sewing time focusing on quality construction and less on getting the pattern to fit.

Hello 2014

I’ve never done a year end recap, and I’m not sure that’s what I’ll do today.  2013 was a big year for our little family, and I managed to do a lot of sewing.  Not so much blog worthy sewing, but sewing none the less.

I’ve moved my sewing area to our dining room in the new house.  In the old house, my sewing occupied the largest bedroom, tucked upstairs, all away from noise and people walking by. I was pretty convinced that our too small dining room was going to be the worst thing to happen to my sewing.  I don’t think that’s been the case.  I find that I sew more often now, maybe for smaller bits of time, but certainly more often. I think that sewing in small bits of time is the only way a stay at home mom of a preschooler can probably ever sew.

Its funny, but its been a shift in my way of making. For example, Christmas day, while we’re getting ready to pack up and head to my in laws, I sat down and hemmed my pants.  They’ve needed hemmed since I bought them last winter, and never got worn because of it. But for some reason, that day, I decided to just sit and take the few minutes to hem them.  Things like this, I call them Make Do and Mend projects, are getting done much more quickly than they ever would have at the old house.

I’m revising projects more than I used to as well. Months ago I’d made this little fabric basket to keep make up in that nestles in our medicine cabinet. After using it, I decided that it really needed some interfacing, and something done with the raw edges that were fraying badly.  So as I type this, its sitting next to me, fray check drying, waiting to be taken apart and fixed.

fabric basket - before interfacing

It is certainly a lot harder to organize a sewing room that is also the dining room where we eat all of our meals.  Its actually making me a bit crazy. I think I have way too much fabric.  One of my new years resolutions is to sew through some of it.   I have so much sewing stuff that I just don’t know what to do with it all.  I’m trying out the rolling it up method for fabric storage.  I’m tagging it with how many yards, and tying it up. We’ll see how this goes. I borrowed my mom’s tagging gun that quilters use to baste sometimes, and that stores use to tag clothes with prices.  Should work better than nine million pins constantly stabbing me every time I try to get fabric.

dining room studio

I would love to say thats everything, but its not. There are three giant moving boxes left. One is filled with two space bags of shrunken fabric. The space is a work in progress.

dining room studio

I’d love to sit here and make plans for all the sewing I want to do this year. In real life though, I can’t imagine that I’ll do a lot of garment sewing. My body is changing pretty rapidly, and I get frustrated because I make something, and a month later it doesn’t fit right. Anything I make will have to be easily taken in, so that’s kind of a fun challenge, figuring out how to make something so it can easily be changed in a few months.

I got two really cool sewing gifts for Christmas that I’d like to share, plus various little projects I’d like to blog about.  Oh, and a skirt that I made that I drafted myself.  So expect more posts soon.

My biggest project right now is purging stuff.  We downsized by about half of our living space square footage when we moved up north. I got rid of 4 truck loads of stuff, plus at least 3 car loads before we moved.  And then a couple weeks before Christmas I got rid of two more car loads.  I don’t know how much more I need to get rid of just to be able to put things away. Its really ridiculous. There were boxes that were basically untouched from when I moved out from my last apartment with  a roommate in 2007. I’ve been doing some reading on minimalism, and its very appealing to me.  I stumbled upon The Minimalists right before Christmas, and have been reading their books.  I haven’t been into our consumerist culture for some time, but then there are times when the urge to buy something that I just have to have bites me in the butt.  My rejection of that part of our culture is one of many reasons why I began sewing. But perhaps that journey warrants its own post.  So point being, I’m decluttering on a massive scale, and aside from mothering, cooking, and cleaning, that’s the next big thing around here.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year, and thank you for reading.

Angie Dress V2.0

This is the second version of the Sis Boom Angie Dress – first one blogged here.
Angie Dress

I think my one big con of this pattern is that it requires bias binding.  (But really thats just a personal preference, lots of people don’t mind it at all.) I hate bias binding. I hate making it and sewing with it. If I can ever get my mom to teach me to line a bodice I may line these and make a lot more of them. For some reason, the whole idea of turning the lining and the bodice right side out through a shoulder seam just baffles me. Oh, and I guess there is one other small thing. They have you sew elastic to the back skirt/bodice seam. I have yet to do that technique on anything and have it look good.  I’m going with a casing for the elastic from here on out.

Angie Dress

Angie Dress

This one is a bit of a refashion I guess.  I took an old skirt that I thrifted years ago, cut off the waist band, and attached it to the bodice of the Angie.

Angie Dress

The top is a purple cotton bottomweight, the skirt was originally from Fashion Bug.  It was not a good look for me, but I loved the fabric.

Angie Dress
For this version, I added a second dart, this one in the neckline, and moved both the vertical dart and the new dart.  The vertical dart is now a horizontal bust dart, and the neckline dart is now in the armscye.  I had fun learning how to move darts around to do it. I’ve never done much with darts.

Some inside shots:

Angie Dress
(Please ignore the pup hair.)

I’m interested to see how different my current version of this pattern’s bodice is from the original. I think I may print one off to compare.  Initially I added quite a bit, and then I’ve been taking bits and pieces away since then.  I also did a broad upper back adjustment this time.

Angie Dress

Angie Dress

Bias binding EVERYWHERE!

Angie Dress

Angie Dress

And because you can’t have a twirly dress (as my daughter calls them) and not twirl:

Angie Dress

I have yet to actually wear it out in public. We will see how it goes. I think I might wear it tomorrow night when I go out to dinner with some girls. I also feel like its a super awkward length on me. Not sure how much shorter it should be. It is a fall/winter dress after all.

What have you been sewing?!

Angie Dress V1.0

I’m becoming a fan of Sis Boom Patterns.  First I made a Jamie,  I’ve now made 2 of their Angie dresses. Well actually almost a 3rd, but its a light floral, and the weather changed before I could finish it. The pattern is similar to the very first dress I ever made,  M5983, pictures below from the pre-blog days.

First dress I ever made!

The first one I really like.  Its the fabric I was going to use years ago to make a dress for my youngest sister-in-law’s high school graduation. (Blogged here.)

Angie Dress

That’s my “It has pockets!” face.

Angie Dress

I ended up cutting the bodice out twice. The first go ’round was way too big, thanks to my awesome flat pattern alteration skills. Fortunately I had plenty of fabric.

Angie Dress

Angie Dress

I meant to bind the edge to the inside of the dress, but I wasn’t paying enough attention and did it backwards. Oh well! I like it!

Angie Dress
I even made belt loops!

It absolutely needs a belt or a sash or something to break it up.  I was quite happy with my solution of using an old red t-shirt.  Its got some stretch so it’s comfy, but it serves its purpose.

Angie Dress

Just a tube, turned out & pressed. I folded over the ends.

Angie Dress

I finished edges with my favorite feature of my new sewing machine, a zig zag with it’s special overcast foot. By favorite feature, I mean the only thing I like about the machine. I need to write up a review.

Angie Dress

I really like the dress I think. I’ve only worn it once. I made it at the very tail end of summer, and it quickly became too cold/too autumnal to wear. I am looking forward to wearing it in the spring for sure!

Angie Dress

cold winter days

Howdy! It’s been a crazy few weeks around here. Lots of difficulties, but some really happy times too. We had a great time at my family’s Thanksgiving, and the little one got to see all four of her great grandparents. That’s always pretty cool.
The day before we left I started sewing her a special dress for the occasion. I had about a half hour’s work left and we really needed to leave.
So the plan was to finish it up at my mom’s, and of course we get there and neither of her sewing machines were usable. Such a bummer!
I finally finished it up today. Learned some new skills, or got to put some new skills into practice I guess.
I lined a bodice, under stitched it beautifully, and used a zipper. It needs a bow but I have managed to lose the ribbon I bought to go with it.
I saw these super cute little ornaments last year, and full of good intentions, bought the supplies. Finally found the time to start them this past week.
I never bothered to click the link, or I’d have known that she had templates available. (That’s the trouble with pinterest for you.)
The originals are way tidier than mine, and I’m just fine with that. These are turning out to be pretty relaxing to make.
Well, there have been countless other sewing projects getting worked on around here. Lots of curtains being made, I tried my hand at quilting, and I’m in the process of making a couple skirts. I’ve got boot fever, and skirts/tunics are the only way to go with leggings IMO.
More to come soon!

Ridiculous Dog Coat for a Ridiculous Dog

Yes. I made a dog coat.  Don’t judge.  My poor ridiculous dog just got a haircut that is just a wee bit short. And she is cold pretty much all the time.  Friday, I was at Jo-Ann’s they had McCall’s patterns for a buck a piece, and I stumbled upon this one.  Its M5776, then I hit the remnant bins, found some horrifyingly pink fleece, and off we went.  I sat down last night and cut it while we were watching The Big Green.  I had never heard of it, but my husband claimed it was equally as great and as reminiscent of our youth as Mighty Ducks.  (Side note: it was actually pretty good.  At one point a goat kicks a soccer ball, and my daughter thought it was HILARIOUS!)
McCalls M5776

It didn’t take too long to cut, but the pieces for “Sweatsuit G” were ridiculous. I think 3 of the like 6 were nested, but the lines were atrocious.  Super confusing.  And this coming from a woman who traces off Burda patterns like a pro.  Then I sat down to sew it up this afternoon. I maybe have a couple hours all in all.  Which, I suppose, is worth saving the $40+ it probably would have cost to buy such a thing ready made.


The only other con with this pattern is the sizing.  I have a 15 pound shih tzu, whose girth is like 18″ and length I think was somewhere around 15.” And yes, add that to the ridiculousness of this whole thing, I had to measure the dog.  It said she should wear a large or extra large. I looked at the pattern pieces and thought, “There is no way. That would swallow her whole.” I made a medium.  It fits her just fine. I might lengthen it a bit if I make it again, maybe an inch.


 It has you making one placket sort of thing for a velcro closure, but I accidentally cut 2, and sewed both on. And again, its fine. I got to use a snazzy stretch hem stitch on my new machine.  That was sort of cool, I guess.

McCalls M5776

It is keeping her cozy, and that’s what I wanted.  She hasn’t worn clothes since we’ve had her, so I wasn’t sure how she’d handle that, but she doesn’t seem to mind.


And I have to be a little proud of myself for the timeliness of it. Its really getting cold here. I bought the pattern and fabric on Friday, cut it on Saturday, sewed it up and blogged it on Sunday.  That NEVER happens! The pictures are yucky, but someone didn’t want to be still for her photo shoot.:-)

– because every dog needs a coat with set in sleeves…-