The Goldilocks Situation

It looks like I might be Goldilocks! My recent makes are too this or too that. And now I’m not sure what to do.


I had this great plan to work toward – wear a neutral knit cotton dress with a colorful short cardigan and then layer a longer jacket on top as needed for warmth. I’ve got the base layer dresses finished and am happy with them. Next I’ve been working on the longer jacket.

The first one (pictured above) was made from fabric that I thought was a a cotton/rayon double knit. It’s got an interesting sponge-y texture, sort of scuba-like.  When I wear it, I feel clammy. I wonder if it has a significant amount of Lycra or other synthetic content.

The second one was made from a thin cashmere-blend knit. I took a 25 minute walk, wearing it as a layer, and I was bothered by how itchy it was. Bummer! Now my plan is to drape any wool knit around my neck for 25 minutes before I try to make and wear it. If it bothers me during the trial wear, it needs to go. (I wonder if chemo left my skin super sensitive.)

A little more about the pic above – you can probably tell my goal was to determine the best length for a long jacket layer. I sent the image to a friend who said that I looked like a basketball center in the far right. Lol. I’m 5’ 6” on a good day.

Aside from needing a different plan to use the wool knits that itch me, now I wonder what I’m going to do to make a warm longer jacket. I thought merino wool knit was the answer. Synthetics are pretty much out because of the clammy nature of them.

Options that I can think of right now:

  • Go the Alabama Chanin route of two layers of cotton
  • Line the wool with a cotton knit at collars and other places it would touch skin (find coordinating fabrics)
  • Use woven wool that is finely twisted (crepe)
  • Get more wool ponte similar to what I used in the short cardigan project – that fabric is very comfortable.

In other news, I washed the velvet, so once I have a long cardigan, I will start on a velvet dress. Exciting!

Wanting, Needing, Doing

There’s a disconnect between what I want to sew, what I need to sew and what I am sewing. I’m sure this happens to other people, too. Please say I’m not the only one!

First, I have some wants; I want to figure out how to pre-treat and sew velvet for upcoming dinners out. I also have a piece of gorgeous animal print-inspired silk charmeuse that is calling to me (right side of the pic below). The first picture is all three pieces I want to sew.


One thing that is keeping me from cutting the middle fabric, a minky velvet, is a lack of a reliable jacket pattern. I thought that it would work to modify a previous pattern (from before surgery):

butterick 4732.jpg

I took out the FBA from before surgery and reduced the length to make a short version of the jacket on the left. The funnel neckline is a nice shape and I like the way it fits the model. (It used to fit me, too!)

I sewed up a toile, and my first problem was getting it on my body. The fabric I chose was a linen/silk blend which stuck to my dress. You can imagine me struggling to get it on and feeling hot and awkward after it was on my body. (This is far from the experience I hope for when I sew.) Then the jacket was excessively tight in the arm hole while simultaneously being 3″ too wide at the underarm. I’m still confused about why it can feel tight and loose at the same time. We’ll never know how to analyze that because it is long gone.  I’m hoping the Little Something Jacket will be a better choice and will make a toile in the near future.

I also want to sew something gorgeous from the animal print charmeuse.

charmeuse 1.jpg

It’s even prettier in person. I have a short-ish cut of 2 yards and am still thinking about the best use of it.

Oh! And I also want to sew this feather fabric!

feathers 1.jpg

Amazing! It’s a rayon knit from Marcy Tilton and was on the website for a nanosecond. I have two yards and want to make sure that when I use it, it will be a successful garment. I’m thinking of a Pamela’s Patterns Banded Front Cardigan.

What I need to be sewing is warmer jackets for the chilly weather that has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I have the knit jackets I wore in the summer and have been layering those over 3/4 sleeve knit dresses. It’s not enough warmth! I got a little stuck after the jacket debacle I described above, feeling like I couldn’t get a jacket to fit. After a challenge like that, it can take me a bit to move forward. So that leads to what I am sewing…

three dresses.jpg

I’m finishing up three long-sleeved knit dresses. They are my current project because I know they will fit. Additionally, it’s surprising, but long sleeves are much warmer than 3/4-sleeved clothing. I cut them out and took them on a short trip. While away, I basted all of the vertical seams. I can then do the sewing in a few sittings per dress. The green and burgundy ones are finished, and the grey one is half done.

What do you want to sew or need to sew?

Kimono Inspired Jacket for Evening

There are some advantages to being flat, and one of them is running. Another is wearing a kimono style jacket that will likely hang nicely in front! I’m working on a few pieces to wear out to dinner during the family birthday season (November, December, January). During this time, we have four birthdays and New Year’s Eve when we are often out to a nice restaurant together as a family for dinner. Many of these are dressier occasions.

I’ve recently fallen for silk/rayon velvet and plan to make a jacket. It seems like the kimono design jacket will be a very cute option, and I’ve highlighted a few pattern options in this post. I’m sticking with my short jacket concept, so I’ll imagine these with a 16″ length for my purposes. (However, no decisions have to be made until the scissors come out!)

little somthing jacket.jpg

A Little Something Jacket from CnT patterns. And Carolyn’s review. She encouraged me to try this, so I will. There’s a video about a potential error in the shoulder (includes other discussion; the host is not so focused the whole time).



Simplicity 1318 , a Sewing Pattern Review Best of 2015 pattern. Scroll down this page for reviews.


Sew Over It Kimono Jacket


Getting to the Point jacket  The front of this one is cut in a circle-ish shape so that the front points are on a bias. This would cover a lot of sins, if you had any. : )


New Look 6072 has both a water fall front and a plain band option.

dana marie.jpg The Dana Marie Kimono pattern has a more traditional front band.

There are many other options, but frankly, I got tired of fighting with sites that wouldn’t allow me to easily save a photo of the pattern. Do you have a favorite kimono pattern?




Short Cardigan (true love)

If I waited until I had pictures that I really liked, there would be not blog. So, I’ve overcome the challenge of posting images that are far from perfect. (I hope you bear with me.)

I’m in love with my new short cardigan! A couple of weeks ago, I posted about using tried and true patterns and showed an example of a wool/rayon jacket that was based on a woven dress pattern. The fabric was unbearably scratchy, but the jacket was super cute.  I took a deep breath and decided to use the same pattern for this cardigan/jacket.

The reason for the deep breath is that I love, love this fabric, which is a wool ponte. I bought it from The Sewing Workshop; they are sold out. But wait! Rhonda recently posted that she found wool ponte at Fabrications. (See, Mom, I share. lol)

collar detail

(Same jacket with weird color…) The pattern is a princess seam design and I made the collar a single layer. The neckline seam was sewn with the collar right side to the bodice wrong side.

teal cardi detail 2

The edges were bound with self-fabric. I cut a 2″ or so strip, pressed it in half and basted in place before sewing. My machine (a Singer 401) was a champ over all these layers, especially the five layers at a princess seam.

My vision for a fall wardrobe includes short cardi/jackets like this as a second layer and then a long cardigan on top. To achieve this, I think the cardi/jacket needs to have a minimal collar so it will layer nicely.

I’m totally inspired by Asiatica and specifically this design as a short cardi/jacket. I adore the slight funnel neckline.


What’s inspiring you these days?

Swim suits for a flattie – B5795

Why am I concerned about swim suits now that summer is over? A trip to Hawaii is planned! I had been working on a swim suit pattern before my double mastectomy, but I never got past a toile. (At that time, I was working on Jalie 3023, but I needed a significant FBA.) After my surgery, I still needed a swim suit, and I found the perfect pattern – Butterick 5795.


I adore tankinis with a skirt bottom. I feel covered when I’m walking to the water and secure when I’m swimming. Additionally, these are easy to maneuver when nature calls. Finally, they are easy to get off when they are wet.

I made a muslin of B5795 and just needed a “cheater” SBA. The pattern has cup sizes, and I used the A/B cup size which I modified by shaving off some of the cup area and adding a bit to the underarm.

AB cup.jpg

Then I realized that I don’t like putting in elastic. Like I really didn’t want to, so I asked my sewing teacher, Marla Kazell, if she had time. She did! I took my pattern and three pieces of fabric I had collected. She turned out three terrific suits that I am delighted with!

We found out that the elastic around the neckline and arm holes was too tight. (It’s probably just right if you have breasts that need some support and would pull down on the elastic.) So, Marla increased the length of the elastic and it is perfect.


Here are the tops for my other two suits.

two tops.jpg

Marla has sewn a few things for me over the years. I appreciate that I don’t have to sew everything myself and can have clothes I love and that fit.

Start of fall sewing – using T ‘n T patterns

I had developed a reasonable wardrobe for summer, and then fall arrived. The days are  cool and rainy, and cotton lawn is not cutting it. So, now it’s time for me to evaluate what’s working and adjust to creating a new, flat wardrobe for cooler temps.

My first step was to make knit dresses out of heavier weight fabric and wear my short cardigans (Vogue 9190) over the top. That worked out pretty well for a month.


I was paying attention to color combinations, too.


One book I read talked about having a lighter colored outer layer and a darker inner layer, like a flower.


But I also tested out the opposite contrast with a darker color on the outside layer. Anyway, it’s time to make some warmer jackets. I liked many of the color combinations, and decided to move forward with a similar approach in heavier fabrics.

For the next make, I used my woven dress pattern for the base and added the collar from KS 3796. The fabric is the ubiquitous wool/rayon boucle knit; I used the woven pattern because I anticipated that the pattern would have enough ease if it was made up in a  knit to make a nice cardigan. It worked!

The next photo is how I join the pattern pieces – matching center back and shoulder (the KS is cut on fold, and the dress has a back seam, so the center backs are matched); matching center front and shoulder – to cut out the right neck opening. Then I cut the collar directly from the pattern. Since the neck openings were from the KS pattern, the collar fit exactly right. IMG_9348.jpg

I cut the collar as a single layer and stitched the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the jacket. Note to self – this iteration has the 5/8 seam included, not trimmed off the center opening and around the collar. This was a very simple make since the edges and hems didn’t require finishing.

Here’s the result, which I wore today. Surprisingly, I was able to wear the little jacket all day – I wasn’t too bothered by the scratch-factor. But as I type, the jacket is getting irritating!

I can see the possibility of rounding off the collar points to make a rounded shawl collar from this pattern, too. image2.jpeg





This is the start of my fall “uniform” – a knee-length dress with a short jacket/cardigan. I’ll wear leggings, including fleece leggings, if it gets colder. Do you have a “uniform” approach to your wardrobe? If so, what is it?

Detour from stitching- Pink Lemonade Project Breast Cancer Survivor Retreat

If you are only here for the sewing, I’ll be back with more on Sunday. However, sewists are well-rounded people, too, and I just got back from a survivor retreat that I really want to tell about.


Pink Lemonade Project hosts several different kinds of retreats for Breast Cancer survivors, and I was able to attend one last weekend. The survivor retreats are small (limited to 10 participants) and are facilitated by two talented, dedicated professional oncology social workers. The venue (vista above) is beautiful and well-suited to the retreat (including that each woman had her own room and bathroom). And, they are currently free. (Really!)


I’m still processing everything that happened – building connections, feeling lots of emotions, being pampered, and envisioning my future – but I want to encourage you to attend a retreat if you haven’t. (Search the web for “breast cancer retreat” and a location to find opportunities near you.) Just being around people who know what it’s like to have a nasty treatment protocol, deal with the various parts of the medical system, and manage through social situations is really refreshing, affirming and powerful. I don’t think of myself as a big “group person”, but this was well worth my time!

Also of note – I’ll have my final Herceptin treatment on Wednesday. Then the port comes out next month! (Cue the confetti!)

Have you found any highly valuable resources for a survivor?