You give me Q's and I give you A's.


Hey there folks, it's monsoon season in Philly otherwise know as "Spring."  Mother nature hasn't seen fit to give me a gap in the rain to photograph any one of my new FO's, tricksy snitch. Luckily for me the lovely MaLora of Bird and Bicycle gave me something else to talk about when she nominated me for a Liebster award. Sweet, now I can be a smart ass and post pics of my pretend boyfriends.  Thanks MaLora, hopefully you won't regret doing this. ;)

1. What was the last movie you enjoyed watching?
Gonna reveal that I'm kind of a dude when it comes to movies and say that would have to be "Pacific Rim".  Giant robots punching giant monsters, yes please. Also Idris Elba yelling at people, I could go for a super cut of that. 
Do I look like a man who cares? Just get in the damn robot and go punch a monster.
I give that answer with the caveat that I've yet to break open "The Wolverine" which my husband gifted me for Christmas. I expect to enjoy looking at shirtless Hugh Jackman immensely. 
Awww Hugh, you bought me some snacks. That's why you're my favorite.
2. What was your most recent adventure?
Adventure? That would mean leaving the house and the sun hurts my vampire eyes. Hissssss.  I have Froggie do all the adventuring and report back.  Besides I don't have time to go out. Dresses need to be sewn for my dates with my imaginary boyfriends. Fassbender said he was gonna drop by this weekend, so I got to finish this hem.
I heard you baked cookies. I love cookies.
3. How do you improve your techniques or sewing knowledge?
Through the internet mostly.  There seems to be a real dearth of books for experienced sewers.  I don't know if it's because beginning sewing is a bigger market, easier to write, or if it's just sexier with it's bright young faces.  If the last point is the problem then I know just the man to solve it.
Yes, yes I am.
4. Why do you blog?
I blog because it makes my sewing addiction seem slightly less crazy and to perpetuate the lie that I'm funny. Oh and to freak out the neighbors with all my selfies. Though I'm not sure they know I'm their neighbor. This makes my constant use of their fence even funnier cause I'm like a neighbor hood pest. Little do they know I'm eating the peanuts they leave out for the squirrels.  Nom, nom. (Not really, but Des tried to once.)

5. Who do you enjoy sewing or making for the most?
Ummm MEEEEE!  Self professed selfish sewer over here. Even my own sister had to to wait a year for me to make her a coat. What can I say, I like clothing A Lot.  My husband once asked, "When are you gonna stop sewing cause you have enough clothing?" I stared at him blankly, stop sewing? Enough Clothing? Error, please retry command.

6. Where do you get your fabric and sewing supplies from?
All my crack, I mean fabric dealers are online.  I think most of you probably could recite them by now. "Yes yes Heather, we know you LOVE Get a grip already."  And there's,,,, all of Etsy and so forth.  Thank you internet for saving me from the fabric selection at JoAnn's!  "JoAnn's where sewing dreams go to die." - not their new slogan, but it should be.

7. What is a your dream vacation?
My dream vacation goes something like this...all the other people in my house go on a real vacation leaving me alone for a week. I ignore all house work and subsist on a diet of nothing but cake and cookies.  I get to sew, knit and watch period dramas which may or may not star Colin Firth. I sleep on my husband's side of the bed and drool on his pillow.  Basically I fully embrace my anti-social tendencies and become full on hermit. Ahhh bliss, now get off my lawn!!
There can only be one Mr Darcy.
8. Do you meet locally or have a local, in person sewing groups you like?
Sadly I live in a barren waste land when it comes to garment sewers.  I know Becky's over in my neighboring state of Delaware, Hi Becky!  People around here mostly quilt or wonder why anyone would sew their own clothes.  That's OK I wonder why they scrapbook.  I'll just talk to my internet friends until we find the financing for our sewicalist commune/cult. "I hear they worship fabric there."

9. What is your current favorite song or group you are listening to?
Right now I'm on an Arctic Monkeys kick, really enjoying their new album "AM".  Not sure if it's good music or just catchy music, but I've got it on repeat. Listen boys, I'd pour you one for the road if I had any alcohol left, but frog had a wild party last night. Fassbender left some cookies though.
Dude knows he looks like Danny Zuko, right?
10. What is your favorite fabric to wear?
This changes depending on the current temperature of my house. Sadly I can't talk anyone into buying me a giant heat rock to keep me warm in the winter months. How's a lizard lady supposed to self regulate? Huddle in front of the oven? Now you know why I bake so much.  But anyway let's back to the question.  Even in the winter months I do have a cottony underlayer, so let's say my favorite is a cotton/lycra in either knit or woven form. I retain to the right to change my mind when a fancy new piece of silk dances before my eyes.

11. What is your favorite pattern to sew?
I know you did not just ask me to pick a favorite from all my babies! I love them all soooo much. *Hugs pattern envelopes to chest* Honestly I can't pick one cause it's ever changing. My sewing favorites seems to depend on what I'm in the mood to sew. One day it might be simple knit tops, another summer dresses and there's always that recurring desire to sew a complicated jacket. I am "All The Patterns" Heather, hear me roar!   RAARRRR...oops, frog says keep it down and save my hulk impression for Ruffalo.
You're so adorable when your angry.

Spring Clean Swap Meet and Quarterly Stash Busting Totals


Here it is almost April and I'm having one of my old lady, "My stars, time sure is moving fast," moments.  Seems like a good time to take stock and see how those self proposed stash busting goals are going.  I've got a spread sheet and everything!

Quarter One Totals
Yardage sewn up - 46.5 yards.  Thanks to ye old spread sheet I've found that my monthly yardage average is about 15 yards.  Good thing to keep in mind when I start filling my virtual carts with yards and yards of fabric.

Given away or trashed - 38.25 yards.  The Stash Diet group helped me out a lot by finding new homes for fabric that I'd fallen out of love with.  I also fessed up to myself that a few UFOS laying around were actually wadders and could not be salvaged. Don't worry, I wouldn't throw away lovelies any of you could use.

Purchased - 30.5 yards.  My January and March acquisitions were modest (3 and 6 yards respectively) but I went a little crazy in February.  Waechters Fabrics retirement liquidation and the sneaky way Fat Quarters up your yardage where the main culprits.

Total yardage down........54.25!  Woot, Woot!  Now I've got to remember that fabric given away totals will be low next quarter and pray no more fabric stores go out of business.

Time for a Giveaway
The Stash Diet group announced that it's having a Spring Clean Swap Meet this weekend and I decided to go prune the pattern stash and offer a group of 6 as a giveaway. All of these patterns are uncut and some are still in their factory folds.
In row one - Colette Jasmine, Colette Ginger and Amy Butler Mini dress tunic and tops.
In row 2 - Simplicity 2925, Simplicity 2614 and New Look 6130.  The Simplicity patterns are in the 6-14 size range.  Comment with your email if you'd like to enter the giveaway.  I'll pick a winner on Wednesday April 2nd and mail you the goods.  Patterns precious, patterns.

My Ridiculous Dress Sewing List


OK guys, I'm posting this list for record keeping purposes and as a silent cry for help. It's still snowing around here and what I really need is pants. You know something that actually protects your lower limbs from the elements. But does my brain want to sew pants? Hell no! It wants to kick off the summer of dresses early, really early. Maybe writing all this out will bring me to my senses.....or maybe you all could enable me in my bad decisions. I'm OK with our dysfunctional relationship.

1. By Hand London Flora Dress
I bought this pattern on release day and through the oddities of international mail it still hasn't hit my mailbox yet.  Either that or my mailman is getting his giggles from seeing me lurk around the front window every afternoon. Don't toy with my emotions mail dude, I needs me some new patterns. Anyway, when it gets here it's getting traced immediately, snow be damned!  Right now I'm leaning towards the faux wrap bodice, but am undecided about the skirt. I'll be using this flora print pique purchased earlier this year to negate the whole buying on a stash busting kick.  It never even was.

2. Pushing Daises Knock Off Dress
First let's all shed a tear and pour one out for this show killed before it's time. Dresses, pies, a detective that knits and Lee Pace's magnificent eye brows. I'd also like to put out to the universe that if reincarnation is a thing than I want to come back looking like Anna Friel, second choice Zooey Deschanel.  But enough about that, let's talk about Chucks wardrobe.  Girl knows how to wear a dress and I pretty much want all of them. This one caught my eye with it's wrap bodice action, maybe I'm on a wrap bodice kick.  The seaming details aren't too good on the photo, but if I had to guess it's probably a princess line with a kimono sleeve.  I'm going to take the bodice from Burda 117 and put a full skirt on it. My version will be in this stashed blue polka dot because yellow makes me look like a walking dead extra....though technically Chuck is also a walking dead.  Mmm deep man, deep.

3. By Hand London Anna with the long skirt
I'd like an Anna dress with a tropical vibe to it so I can waft into the grocery store like I'm just stopping by to pick up Margarita fixings for my beach party. Preferably with some of these Miss L Fire sandals.  "Oh you all are all shopping for food? How quaint. Now can you tell me which aisle the mini pirate swords and tiki torches are?" Yeah, I'd bitch slap me too if I wasn't so fabulous.  My stash has only one tropical print that is mentally tagged for another project.  In a perfect world I'd be buying some of this print from Australia cause it's perfect. Damn those stash busting/saving for a new sewing machine goals. I want fabric!

4. Gertie Alfred Shaheen-equese Halter Dress
This is the pattern that the tropical print is tagged for, cause apparently I need multiple outfits for fictional tiki parties.  Frog says, "Hey get enough crushed ice and we can have all the tiki parties we want." Good point Frog and I really can't resist the vavoom of this dress.  It's been long enough since my last Gertie sewing project that I've forgotten all about the gratuitous hand sewing and want to drive right in.  Now someone pass me the boning...huh huh huh.

5. Anna/Pencil Skirt Mash up
Instead of having to go through the work of having to grade up this lovely vintage pattern, I'm gonna do a pattern mash-up.  Take Anna bodice, do a little slashing, add Billie Jean skirt and we're done. Then I can break out a bouffant and work on my "I'm so much more glamorous than you" fashion illustration look.  Maybe Joan Holloway can school me on delivering classy put downs.  I've got another polka dot cotton tagged for this baby.  You can never have too much polka dot right?
So that's all the things I have concert plans for.  There are plenty more dress patterns floating around my stash and oodles of printed cotton yardage.  I'm sure someone will release some new dress pattern to add to this list. God help me, I'm gonna need a bigger closet. 

Pay no attention to the women on your sidewalk


Well Hello there, were you all concerned that I'd finally been buried alive in my fabric stash? It's really just a question of when it's going to happen. Maybe we should set up some Vegas odds so someone can make a little extra pattern money.

Instead of death by fabric avalanche, I was conspired against by my cover stitch machine. It decided to spontaneously break cause I forgot to engage the lower looper before stomping on the pedal.  As frog is my witness I've done this before without negative affects. Me thinks the machine just wanted some extra spa time away from my sweat shop. Alright you little diva, go have your vacation. I'll just sit here and stew about my secret PJ plans being thwarted....and sew out of season dresses.

Old man winter was all, "Oh you're sewing summer dresses? Enjoy some more snow then. Muhaaaa!!" Dude is a real piece of work.  While I'm willing to totter around the snow drifts in 3" heels, I have to draw the line at open toed sandals. You understand I'm sure, unless you're a Nihilist looking for a toe. 

This is me looking pretty incredulous about Walter's claims that he can get a toe, "There are ways."  Bitch Please, what's mine is mine.
Beside I'm rocking a whole Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz look here and I'm pretty sure these shoes are a one way ticket back to Kansas.  Maybe with a layover cause I skimped on the glitter.

In case you've forgotten this is Simplicity 2444, my first #sewdollyclackett dress. In true Dolly style I'm going to christen it with a snappy name.  May I present my "Gingham is for the birds" dress.  Eh, eh, see what I did there?  The birds look like gingham from far away? OK, I'll stop explaining my "cleverness" to you. Enjoy some pics in front of my neighbors fence. Traaa laa laaa there's no place like your fence.
I've gone down a Simplicity dress size so the pattern needed to be retraced and altered again. All the same pattern adjustments were made as before with the addition of a 1/4" hollow chest adjustment. This took care of the slight gaping of the neckline my original dress had. Who hollowed out my chest while I wasn't looking!

To pick up the bit of pink on the birds and add to my "learning new techniques" goal, I stole an idea from Gertie and put pipping in at the neckline and sleeve hems.  I just want you all to know that I suck at piping and made frog finish it for me.  He does tidy sewing work for baked goods.
The neckline has a facing but the sleeves are finished with the piping as a facing technique Gertie recently blogged.  
See someone catch stitched with white when they should have used pink.  Frog points a paw squarely at me. He will not have his good name sullied. He also wants to know where his Toto costume is.

My love for Simplicity 2444 has not waned.  The pleated skirt, the pockets, the fun darts on the bodice, it's full of win! I might find myself with a closet full of them with matching shoes....and OMG have I turned into our sew-a-long muse Dolly Clackett? Wait am I... Ginger? Frog says, "No you're just sort of brown."  Awww I wanted to be ginger, I've never been ginger! Though I seem to have acquired a Scarecrow and Tin Man.  Get out of my frame you two! At least the Lion knows how to work a camera.  

Well I must be hitting the old yellow brick road, there is a dress with giant poppies on it waiting for a hem.  I'll leave you with this shot that adds nothing except that I'm being slightly goofy and the caption amuses me. Come on froggie, we got a date with a wizard.
Witch is sending a flock of flying monkeys for my shoes? Has she never heard of Amazon Prime?

The Trifecta Top - it's Raglanrific


My obsession with Kitschy Coo patterns is no secret.  I'm always planning more knit dresses or hacking up the patterns into new garments.  There is nothing as versatile as a well drafted basic, which is why my brain has a dedicated Kitschy Coo hacking area that churns away while I sleep. "Configuring new pattern cuts....loading...loading."

Well the pattern hacker area has some new data to configure because Kitschy Coo has released a new pattern. A sweet raglan T - Shirt Called the Trifecta Top.  I yonked this pic off of Amanda's blog so you could see all the neckline and sleeve combos.
Pretty nice huh?  For my testing garment I made the lower scoop neckline with long sleeves and shoulder insets.  The main knit is a cotton/spandex jersey originally from Marcy Tilton and the insets... Lillestoff baby. Oh yeah, check out my frogs.
The only fitting I did was to blend the size 4 and 5, which made an almost perfect T-shirt. The one other change I should have made was adding in a sway back adjustment.  Bad Past Heather, no cookie....especially since this was your second test garment.
That's OK, this shirt is super comfy and Froggie has given it his seal of approval. "Can I eat this bumble bee?"
Trifecta top
As a pattern addict it is my duty to inform you that Amanda is offering 20% of the pattern till Sunday with the code TRIFECTA at checkout. Go forth and increase your pattern stash.....or curse my name and stuff a few pins in a voodoo doll.  Ouch, my sewing hand!

Interviews and Skulls


If you're a fan of interviews and my half serious answers to them, then pop on over to Emily's blog. Our Stashbusting Sew-a-long co-hosting queen and I talk about seasonal change and how it relates to stash busting. I also might have admitted to being one of those "V" aliens. Don't worry I'm the token friendly one.

Speaking of seasonal change, it's a balmy 55 degrees today and I was able to sneak back to my neighbor's fence for pictures of a seasonal appropriate outfit.  That gentleman did not make an appearance, probably still being confused over our last exchange.
Or maybe he was intimidated by my tough girl Espresso Leggings.  "Me and my fashionable gang of frogs are going to steal your wallet and buy clothing with studs. Maybe some more booties and silver chains. Hand the cash over, see."

My original review of Espresso is over here.  I did make this pair a little longer and will probably give myself just an inch more in the back rise on my next pair. Think I like my leggings at "old man" waist height. That might hurt my street cred, but a girl's gotta keep her switch blade somewhere.  
Want a pair of skull leggings for yourself?  Well for once you can buy a fabric from my stash,  Fabricjunkeez Etsy site still has it in stock.  Don't say I never hooked you up. :)

P.S. My blog give way winner Elisa, you have until Friday to get in contact with me or I'm going to pull another name for the Built by Wendy Book and the fabric.  My email again is knit(dot)n(dot)

Mark your Calenders, it's Time to Cut the Precious.


Have you seen on the Gorgeous Fabric blog that March 22nd is "International cut into that fabric day?"
International Cut Into That Fabric Day
This topic hits close to home since my stash holds many a "precious" that I do nothing but hoard/pet while gloating over it.  Occasionally I try to pair a pattern with a "precious" but then decide that pattern not good enough for my baby. "Only the best nonexistent future patterns for you precious. Now get back into your bin where it's safe."  Most controlling fabric mom ever.

It's all well and good to stash some fabric for a rainy day, but saving certain fabrics for the future indefinitely is a waste of money.  You bought that fabric to wear after all, so how can you get up the courage to cut it up? Well here's a couple ways I've tricked myself into using "the precious."

- Educate yourself.  If you're holding off on sewing a difficult fabric until your skills improve, then improve those skills!  Google for techniques on the internet. So many people take the time to do beautiful tutorials to share their knowledge.  Ask a friend or even take a craftsy course if you got a couple bucks to spend.

- Make a muslin or use a TNT pattern.  We don't want to ruin that perfect fabric and the easiest way to do that is with bad fit.  Work out all your fitting problems in muslin or use a pattern that you've already ironed the kinks out of.  Knowing that the garment will fit you properly will ease your mind as your shears make that first cut.

-  Imagine your fabric's future. Think about what will happen to your precious fabric if you don't use it. Odds are that people who do not value your hobby will dispose of your stash.  It's precious to you, but to everyone else it's crap you've cluttered up the house with. Is my future grown son going to lovenly move 6 rubberneck tubs of fabric to a climate controlled location? No, no he's probably going to throw them in the back of a dump truck on the way to the local incinerator. It fills me with horror too.  So sew your good stuff up now before your future children can do horrible things to them.

- Get out the alcohol. Layout out your fabric, check to see if it has a directional pattern, and layout all the pattern pieces how you want to cut them.  Then take a nice stiff drink, sometimes you just need something it steel the nerves.  Just don't have two stiff drinks or your cutting might get questionable.

To show that I'm not all talk, I did put scissors to one of my precious fabrics this weekend.
When my son was an infant I bought this quilting cotton from Tessuti in Australia and had it shipped all the way to me. This happens to be one of my favorite bird prints and past Heather bought it in two colorways. It's been sitting in the stash for years now because I didn't want to waste it on something that would never get worn. Sewdollyclackett got me thinking about Simpicity 2444 again and how much I love that dress.  Hey wait, I can sew the birds into a 2444!  Sometimes it really is that simple....I say as I shake a bit knowing this is no longer yardage.  It's going to be fine, FINE!
Actually I'm pretty OK with this because it's all for Dolly Clackett and I'm pretty sure I've just earned a new show purchase. Guess I'd better go find something else to cut on Saturday. Gulp.

Pattern Hack - Lady Skater with Pleats


Hello everyone, today I'm pretty pleased with myself because operation "Secret Pajamas" is off to a great start. Soon we will rule the world in comfort.....oh no I've said too much.  Here stare into this animal print until you forget everything and find yourself dancing through the streets of London like the end of "The Prisoner" (Original version people) I give you the Lady Skater pattern with just a few tweaks, boat neck and pleats at the waist. Snowy fence not included.
Why yes I did wear 3" heels in the snow.  "It's all for you Damian, blog readers, It's all for you." Somewhere in the middle of taking these pictures, the neighbor who owns this fence came back from an errand. He got out of his car and asked me if I was "Alright".  Fine, fine, sir just taking pictures for my sewing blog.  Does that sound made up? I assure you that it's a "Thing." Then I almost fell over into the snow.  Really you can't make this shit up.

Anyway.... I mentioned earlier this week that this fabric is a jersey sweater knit.  So far as I can remember, it's a wool blend with a hint of Lycra in it.  The fabric has 2 way stretch in the width wise direction, pretty decent stretch recovery for this type of fabric, and is printed on one side. I did find that the stretch recovery was not great on the cut edges and some extra stabilization seemed in order. On the neckline I zigzagged some clear elastic on the wrong side to keep it from bagging out.
Zigzagged some clear elastic pulled taunt on there to snug it up. #ladyskater #patternhacking
The elastic was pulled taunt just a little bit as I sewed. Not so much that the fabric gathered, just enough to snug the neck edge back to it's original shape.  On the hems knit stay tape was fused to the edge before cover stitching them up.

Because the main fabric is a tad itchy and would catch on tights, I decided to put a full lining in this dress.  My lining is some cheap rayon jersey that I didn't mind sacrificing. A complete dress was made out of both the sweater knit and the rayon jersey.  After adding the clear elastic to the self fabric, the two were attached at the neckline, right sides together.  Lastly a line of cover stitch was added to the neck edge to keep the lining from popping out.
On the sleeve hems I serged the two layers wrong sides together.  Then turned the hem up 3/4" and cover stitched.
The skirt hems were left separate and cover stitched in place. Self fabric was hemmed up 3/4" and the lining 1 1/4".
Pretty cool right?  You get a nice warm dress without having to worry about wool itch or weird static cling.

OK it's time for me to drop some pattern drafting knowledge into your heads.  Open up your brain hatches right after inputting that very important number code....4, 8, 15, 16, 23....

Pleated Skater Hacking Instructions
1. Change neckline to a boat neck shape. This can be done the same way as in the Renfrew tutorial here.

2. Add extra length to the sleeves so they can be hemmed.  I added an extra 2" to the bottom of the sleeve.

3. To add pleats to the skirt trace the pattern and label the CF.
4. From the CF measure over to mark the placement for your first pleat.  I used the distance of 2 1/4".
5. From the first pleat placement mark, measure over another 2 1/4" and mark for the second pleat.
6. Use the pleat marks to draw two lines down through the length of the skirt.
7. Cut along these lines from the waist almost through to the hem.  Leave a little paper hinge at the hemline.
8. Place some scrap paper behind the skirt pattern and start spreading open the cut areas.  These will be your pleats.  I decided to make my pleats the width of 2 1/4" as well.
Measure at the waistline edge and tape down the skirt pattern when the cut areas are as wide as you want them.
9. In the pleat area measure down 2" from the waist edge and draw in a parallel line. This is the bottom of your pleat.
10. Mark the center of the pleat both at the top edge and at the bottom edge of the pleat. In my example the middle is 1 1/8".  Draw a line to connect them.
11. On the bottom edge of the pleat measure out from the center mark (1 1/8") to mark the outside edges of the pleat.  Connect these marks with the top cut edges of the pleat area.  Now you have a nice box pleat marking. The pleats will be folded to the center so you can draw arrows to remind yourself of this.
 12. Fold the pleats closed, like how you will sew them, pin in place.
Cut the excess paper off across the waistline. Remove the pins and flatten out your pattern again.
13. Down at the hem you'll need to "true" up the curve a bit because there will be small lumps from the adjustment.  Add a little extra paper and draw in a smooth hem curve.
 Trim off any excess paper and your pattern is done.
When sewing pleats in knits I usually secure them on the sewing machine first.  Make sure to switch to a stretch or ball point needle first.  Then set your sewing match for the largest zig-zag stitch and use this to baste the pleats down.  After the waist seam is sewn on the serger, the basting can be removed.
Alrighty, go make yourself some pleated Lady Skaters and then have an awkward conversation with your neighbor.  "I don't usually wear 3" heels in the snow, but I do for the blog. No I'm going to sue you or anything. I'm not going to fall over." *Almost falls over*
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi pixel perfect web designs