McCall’s 7532

Halloween has come and gone, but I did something I haven’t done in ages and made myself a costume using this pattern…brace yourself, I was trying to re-visit the 60’s:


well, I found this knit at Joanne’s and I had the go-go boots, so…

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trust me, it was scary…

What’s old is new again, right?  On to the pattern.

I cut view B in size 12 with no alterations.  First of all, the front pattern piece is not marked to cut on the fold.  Without paying attention, I cut out 2 fronts; only then did I notice the line drawing that it was one piece.  No worries, I sewed the two fronts together and kept going.  The pattern comes with facing patterns and instructions, but I didn’t use them.  All raw edges just got turned under and stitched, including the neck, shoulder, and cold shoulder detail.

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Not much else to say about this, it’s a very simple pattern, that runs a bit large.  Use a flowy fabric for best effect.


Butterick 6370


I have several pictures of linen dusters tucked away on my pinterest boards.  This one is my favorite:

New Edy Jacket in linen £260 (over Ibiza Dress £260).  Nice stylish designs for…

It’s a single layer, loose-fitting beauty with a raw edge-type finish.  I chose Butterick 6370 and modified for single layer.



The pattern calls for 4 front pieces sewn so that the front and neck edges are clean finished.  That calls for a LOT of fabric and makes up a heavier coat than I wanted.  I modified the pattern for one piece fronts and finished the edges and seams differently.  It’s an easy pattern, no fitting required; just inseam pockets.  The sleeves were just narrow-hemmed and turned up for cuffs.


I finished the neck and front edges with 3 inch wide bias strips, mitering at the corners.  All the edges are “public” on these types collars, so clean finishing is necessary.  All inside seams are french seams.



Happy Labor Day in the USA!!

Alabama Chanin Love

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I bought 3 of the Alabama Chanin books this Summer.  They come with patterns for a basic wardrobe, and I made up a few of them.  The top here is the Corset Pattern, and the Skirt is the Swing Skirt pattern.  They’re very simple, designed for stretch knits.  The hard part is the time-consuming hand embroidery.


The skirt took most of the Summer to stitch up, but it’s finally done. 


Progress photos!


I used the stencil called Anna’s Garden, from the book.  I enlarged it on my printer and then cut the stencil from plastic with an exacto knife (it’s a LOT of cutting…time-consuming and hand-cramping).  After cutting out the skirt pattern using jersey from my stash, I transferred the stencil to my fabric.  I used a can of fabric spray paint from Michaels.  This is my first attempt at spray-painting on fabric; it’s not perfect, but not really noticeable.  Once the paint dried, I did my hand-quilting.


You can see more progress here.  I just did running quilt stitches around each shape on the pattern piece; easy to do, just follow directions in the Alabama Stitch Book.  This is two layers of fabric, but you could use one layer if you like.  I liked the look of the fabric at this point, so I assembled the skirt after this step (by hand, of course).


Here you can see the wrong side.  You can also see that each skirt panel consists of two layers that are hand-quilted together, then the seams are hand-sewn.  The seams and hems are unfinished.  I did machine stitch wide elastic to the waist but everything else was done by hand.  The instructions in the book are very easy to follow.


I love this skirt!  The top will need some tweaking, this was just a mockup with the remaining skirt scraps, so I need to adjust the fit at bit more.  I raised the front neckline from the original, but I need to adjust for all the wrinkles in the bust area.  The book has all the patterns for a basic wardrobe, i.e. dress, top, tank, skirt, etc.  After I made these two pieces, I completed a long sleeve tee shirt with hand-stitched neck binding.



Again, all seams were hand-stitched with no hem finishing.

I really like the look and style of Alabama Chanin garments, I’m a huge fan.  Their factory is a half-day drive away, I’d love to visit someday!

Quick Summer…

It ended way too soon, but there you have it, Summer’s over and it’s back to school.


Beautiful sunset on Lake Martin, Alabama, July 4th


For those of you following me on Instagram @sewellen1, I participated in #100days100blocks2017.  That’s pretty much been my sewing this summer.  I’m happy to say, though, that I completed the top and it’s already off to the quilter.


Started in May, finished up in August, I can’t believe I did 100 blocks in 100 days!!

The only other Summer sewing was on my Alabama Chanin style skirt


From the “Alabama Studio Sewing and Design” book, I printed out a stencil pattern.  I then cut it into a piece of stencil plastic with an exacto knife.  I used spray fabric paint from Michaels to apply paint to some jersey from my stash.  Here, you can see my coverage is a little “smudgy”.  Stencil painting is definitely something that improves with practice!


This is the skirt front with center seam hand sewn together and the quilt stitching is in progress.  I’m learning as I’m going for sure; it made more sense to me to partially construct the pieces before embroidering, so I sewed the center seams first as you can see in the picture.  I was afraid of too much shifting of layers, so I basted together with silk thread.  As of today, the front is completed (all the shapes have been outlined with a running hand stitch).  I kind of like the look of it simply quilted, so I don’t think I’ll cut out the shapes.

As I look forward to Fall, I’ve picked up my knitting project, Wake.

The back is finished, front is almost complete, then on to the sleeves.

Thanks for looking!!

What’s new with you??


Hello!  I haven’t cleaned my sewing room in a long while!

This was taken a few weeks ago; you should see it now, it’s even worse!!

I find myself blogging less here and posting more on Instagram. 


If you follow me on Instagram, @sewellen1, you’ll know that I’m deep into the quilt challenge known as #100days100blocks2017.  I’m having fun with it; currently, I’ve completed block #80, so there’s an end in sight.  The messy picture you see above is actually my staging area for pairing my fabrics.  I know it’s not the best system, but it’s working for me at the moment. 

Back in May, I made a few baby gifts:


I finished a decade old quilt (yes, you read that right):




This was a flannel block swap I participated in ages ago.  Glad to have it done finally.

I always have garment sewing in the back of my mind, and up next I’ve got my sights set on finally tackling an Alabama Chanin outfit.  Today, I worked on copying the design from which I’ll make my stencil.


It’s slow going, Summer’s busy, and there a quite a few distractions that take me away from the messy sewing room.

Happy Summer!!

Vogue 1537

It’s been ages since I made myself an Easter outfit, but when I saw the new Kay Unger pattern, I thought “why not”?  I found some pretty brocade at Fine Fabrics in Atlanta and got a great result!



What possessed me to do an Easter dress with so little time?  I spent so much time on the coat that I had no time left for the dress…like sewn in 24 hours.



I love the dress…a simple sheath in the front, party in the back.

So, first the coat.  This is a very cute, very simple princess seam 3/4 length sleeve lined coat with cute details.


Bound button holes


Pocket and sleeve tab details as well as topstitching.  These details  come straight from the instructions.

For the dress, I cut a 12 arm/upper chest, but a 14 side seam.  I liked the fit better

Construction for the dress was a hack job due to time constraints, but you can get the idea.


Probably the hardest thing about construction is sewing these curves and sharp corners.  I was in quite a hurry so you can see my piecing is not perfect, but oh well.


There are some really lovely details underneath…again, piecing wasn’t perfect.  And, yes, it’ll bug me until I fix itSmile


I really do love the fit, very comfortable.


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Yes, it was a windy day!

I recommend you at least tissue-fit the dress (if you’re like me and don’t enjoy making muslins).  The pattern photo shows the hem of both coat and dress to be very similar in length.  This was not the case on me.  Here, I added 2 inches to the hem of the DRESS.  It’s still really short for me (I’m 5’4”). 

I can see me making this again and again.  A lovely linen, or even a wool would be beautiful!

Scrappy Baby Quilt


Hi everyone!  I’m taking a break from garment sewing and completing some long overdue unfinished quilts.  These blocks have been sitting idle for umpty years, so I put them together and added a scrappy border.  I re-acquainted myself with machine quilting on this, and it’s far from perfect, and please excuse the shadowy photo.  But, it’s done and ready for gifting to a family member about to have a baby.  A few years ago, I had made this one below for his first baby.  I never got a good shot of it, but I love the doggie fabric.


I’m done with machine quilting for now (not fun!) and recently completed another top that I sent off to a long-arm quilter that I found on-line.  Like I said, many long, overdue unfinished quilts to get completed!!

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

Enjoying a RTW FAST since 2015! Creator of "DESIGNIN' DECEMBER!" Addicted to sewing since the 70's! In a few words, I want to try everything, learn everything and talk about it with you!

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