Free People-esque for $6

fp front closeupLove the Free People look.  Boho and comfortable!

Don’t really love the prices.

I came across a long ecru slub-knit top for $6.  It fit like a bag and the V-neck reached a point below my ribcage.

But, it was $6!!

Contrary to the “Hand Wash” and “Line Dry” indicated on the care tag, I subjected the top to the washing machine and dryer.

It did shrink, but not as much as I had hoped.

fp front wholeTo reduce the cavernous neckline, a pleat was sewn at the “V.”

I wanted to add some color and decided on a very basic cross stitch design.

To get a even stitch, I used an even weave sheer fabric (also from the Stash) to embroider through.

The even weave waste canvas used on this top would have been too heavy for the thin knit of this top.

Cross stitch was also used on the back.

To add a bit more color, Stash Buttons, that matched one of the colors of embroidery thread, were sewn over the front pleat.

fp backOf interest to those of us that strive to keep everything even and “just-so.”  T-shirt remakes have taught me that T-shirts are not symmetrical.

The distance from the “V” to the shoulder seam on the right side was more than an inch longer than the left side.  The design on the right has ten “legs.”  The left side only nine.

A fun top to make.  The embellishments only required about an hour.

When the weather improves… it will be a fun top to wear!










Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Sewing, Stash Couture, T-shirt remake, Waste Canvas | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Statuesque Shirtdress

SimplicityStatuesque women deserve clothing that fits and flatters.

Curved hem

Have Sewing Machine, will sew to fit!

The Statuesque Shift Dress served as a wearable muslin.  With one minor adjustment to waist length, a shirt dress was requested.

After visiting a few stores to verify shirt dress details, Simplicity 8014 and a light blue cotton stripe were selected.  We opted for the curved hem (View D) and long sleeves.

Pattern modification

Proportional statuesque women are best fit by lengthening the patterns in several locations.

Cutting out the pattern on a narrow stripe required careful painstaking attention to straight grain markings!

Topstitching and buttonholeThe pattern went together easily.  Interfacings, collar band, cuffs and button plackets … I remember these!!!

Based on the shirtdresses in stores, top-stitching was required.  And not just regular top-stitching.  Top-stitching with contrast color thread.

Completed shirtdress

So, no coffee.

New needle and white thread in the machine, top-stitching it was.  Miles, of it (only had to redo a small portion!)

Note to all sewers and recipients of sewn garments – take a close look at topstitching and other details on ready made clothes – they are far FAR from perfect!!!

After adjusting the buttonhole placements, I realized this dress required 15 buttons (and buttonholes!)

I prefer buttonholes made with the Singer buttonhole attachment. It produces uniform buttonholes with a nice finish.

Singer buttonhole attachment at the ready!Oddly, the Button Stash did not contain 15 appropriately sized and colored buttons.

It is an inexplicable mystery.  I hope there is a investigation soon.  Buttons seem to have suffered from a bizarre price mismarking – on a national level.

To avoid taking out a second mortgage, simple buttons were selected.

Note to self:  Press dress prior to photographing – and stop with the dry cleaning hangers! Tie belt around dress for photo to give illusion of waist shaping.

I hope to have a photo of the beautiful statuesque women wearing the dress to post soon!  A second shirtdress has already been requested!






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Stash Couture Boho Top

Silk Embellished Top

Is it possible to be stylish in 110+ degrees?

A question asked in Phoenix every summer, where I believe “melted” is a style.

The stash included two yards of an opaque green silk that must hail from the 1980’s when olive green (cranberry and purple) were wardrobe staples!

Some boho tops have a maternity look (been there, done that – not a preferred style).  Simplicity 1461 has more tailored Boho lines and includes cup sizes. I used it for an earlier top. 

The pattern was modified to add a long button placket and bias binding at the sleeve and neck edges.

Waste canvas was used to embellish this top.  The cross stitch pattern was derived from some of the patterns here.

Waste canvas embroidery

Note to self:  Pre-wash.  Don’t justify your being impatient with “It is silk” 

Just pre-wash.

Once the embroidery is complete,  waste canvas is loosened by dipping in water.  So silk or not, the lack of pre-washing caused the top to shrink.

The original colors for the embroidery were coral and pinks.  They clashed with the olive green.  The colors selected were based on a Pinterest color pallate.

Stash Couture Boho Top

Because I did not pre-wash the fabric, the dipping caused it to shrink. In both directions.

Again.  Just Pre-wash.

Love the colors!  Love the embroidery!

Wish I had pre-washed so it fit better!







Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Sewing, Stash Couture, Waste Canvas | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Do you want me to make you a dress?

lydias dress 1 on her



That is the word to describe the beautiful tall women in our family.

Another term might be “difficult to fit.”  Current sizing, talls included, rarely flatter statuesque women over 6 feet tall.

Have patterns, will sew to fit!!!

Sewing to fit is complicated by the 2,000 miles that separate us.  Good thing I travel with a tape measure!

Screenshot (144)


The wearable muslin was a simple shift in a cotton stripe.  Butterick 5706 was selected, most likely because it was on sale, but also because it had front and back darts for shaping.

The proof may be in the pudding (I can’t even guess as to the origins of that statement!) but the fit is in the pattern adjustments.

lydias dress 1Tall sizes tend to add inches only to leg and sleeve length.

Statuesque persons also need length added throughout the entire torso.

Use of graph paper kept the alterations straight.  Per the recipients request, the neckline was raised and the sleeves lengthened.

lydias dress 1 zipperShift dresses go together fairly simply.  I would recommend them for any beginning sewer.

Stripes added a bit of a challenge.

Even with extreme care during pattern cutting, putting an invisible zipper in stripes can sometimes create a “wavy” seam.

I was very pleased with the straightness of the final zipper seam!  (One of those odds things sewers take pride in!!!)

I marked waist, hips and bust with embroidery thread to see how the fit adjustments worked – and it was mailed.

lydias dress 1 AShe was very pleased with the fit!  She took out the marking threads and wore it right away!

Note to self:  Stripes do not photograph well.


When taking photographs, use of a dry cleaning hanger can detract from the dress!

If I were to make the dress again, I would reduce the sleeve head just a bit.  The sleeves had a slight gather to them.

Posted in Beginner Sewing Projects, Clothing, Sewing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Lace Layered Top from a 60’s Wedding Dress

1960’s Wedding Dress

I was gifted a 1960s lace wedding dress.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of the dress.  It was allover horizontally-oriented lace, had a gathered waist, high neck and short puffy sleeves, much like that in the picture to the right.

Like most vintage wedding dresses, it was a tiny size (didn’t women eat then?) and had yellowed in a number of places.  Some of the lace had disintegrated.

The only usable fabric was in the skirt.

It was lined in a plain white batiste, some of which had suffered the same fate as the lace.

I unpicked all the seams, both lace and batiste.  Then broke all the rules.

Vintage white lace after washingI washed it in the washing machine and added bleach – but I did set the machine for delicate!

And it came out beautifully!  No more yellow.

The skirt pieces were not large.  But turning them sideways gave a vertically-oriented placement to the lace.

The lining pieces were slightly larger than the lace due to their hems.

Vogue 9032Using Vogue 9062 I thought I might be able to cut a sleeveless layered lace top from the pieces.

The front had to be pieced at the shoulders.  Small pieces were cut from the original sleeves.

Dart sewn double-layered.

The lining made a beautiful longer layer under the lace.  Dart and piecing was done double-layered (lace and lining) as the lace was quite delicate.

The resulting top will be a summer top full of memories as I plan on re-gifting it to the original owner!

Layered Top from a Vintage Wedding Dress


I just realized these photos do not include the finished sleeve edges!  They were narrow hemmed with bias tape.

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More Huck Towels

Huck Sampler TowelHuck Embroidery is fun to do and creates beautiful towels for gifting.

Different colors of embroidery threads are fed under “floats” in the toweling in geometric patterns.

Red, yellow, orange and purple were used to stitch this sampler towel for a wonderful friend.

huck 4Detail photos show how the individual threads create an optical illusion of flowing colors.

huck w

Mid-century Modern for a Bride

Colors for the towels can be selected to coordinate with the recipients kitchen decor or simply because they are pleasing to the eye!

These were stitched for a new bride as a housewarming gift.  The colors were selected to match her wedding china.  Her decor is mid-century modern… so the Huck Pattern stitch was selected from that era!

The cotton toweling is very absorbent – and all these towels are gifted with the understanding that THEY WILL BE USED!

huck 2 (2)

Pine Trees

There are always beautiful Huck Towels on Ebay that were saved for that special occasion – only to be never used.

So these are designed to be both beautiful and useful!

Pine Trees are a common Huck Towel motif.  They were often stitched in Christmas green (and rarely used) for the Holidays. These were stitched with greens ranging from light olive to teal to dark forest.  Love the color flow of these colors.

huck 2 (3)

Blues and Browns

A variety of blues and browns from the Embroidery Thread Stash highlight the diamonds in this pattern.

Enough of the darker colors, though. I think the next set will be stitched with lighter colors.  Maybe yellows!







Posted in Accessories, Home Decor, Huck Towel, Sewing, Stash Couture | 7 Comments

Katniss Wrap

“Wait!  You can make that?  I want one!”katnis wrap 1 (2)

Words any sewer or knitter wants to hear from her adult children.

She attends college in the cold northwest, so scarves and hats have already been knit and (hopefully) worn.

This is a design taken from the Hunger Games trilogy based on the knitting pattern by Camilia Matrache called Easy Knit Katniss Wrap (Ravelry link).

people-katniss2_zpsf54a57e7The movie original is a bit more rustic.

As it is knit on large needles with Woolease Thick and Quick Yarn, the original thought was that it would be done and under the tree on Christmas morning.

Two unsuccessful starts later…. the box under the tree contained the collar and rewound yarn so that it would be “knit to fit.”

katnis wrap 3 (2)Not sure why, but the first two attempts were humongous.  My daughter is 6 feet tall, but so was the original drape section.  The collar portion extended to her waist.

Simplified by knitting to fit, it only took one day of football game watching to complete.

katniss wrap 2Rather than knit in two sections and sewing together. The collar section was completed and then the drape section knit into its lower edge both front and back.  Doing so maintains the stretch of the wrap.

The failed attempts illustrated that the ribbed sections could easily be stretched too far.  To ensure elasticity, the first two rows of the underarm ribbing and the last two rows (just prior to binding off) were knit on one size smaller needles.

katniss at the border (2)And joy of joys!   She has asked for another one!!




Posted in Accessories, Beginner Knitting Project, Knitting | Tagged , | 3 Comments