My Laurel Story…

A short and sweet story about a lovely pattern “Laurel” from Sarai Mitnick, the genius behind Colette Patterns.  “Laurel” is Sarai’s newest pattern and it also promises to be her  most versatile of all!  The pattern comes with 4 versions already included, but if you need more ideas, you can head on over to Colette Patterns for the “Laurel Extras”  and add 9 more!  Still not inspired?  Then hop like a bunny over to Flickr, where you will find Colette’s Sewing Group , with so  SEW many options it will BLOW YOUR MIND!!!!!!


Colette Patterns was/is running a contest.  I would sure HATE to be one of those judges!  There are some really lovely garments posted on the Flickr Pool, some truly stiff competition and some very hard decisions to be made by those judging folks.

This is what I entered…..

My version of the Laurel Dress.





Here is a close-up shot of the collar detail:


As you can see, I 86ed the sleeves, (those Cape Cod summers are hot and humid), I added a box pleat and a split front bodice, drawing attention to the “lines” of the fabric, I also added a decorative accent to the collar AND did an outside zipper in the back of the dress, instead of an invisible zipper…. Whew!  I packed a ton of elements into this usually simple dress to make it ALL MY OWN.  AND I have to say that of all the dresses I have sewn, I am mostly happy with this dress and I will wear it again.  The fabric is Jennifer Paganelli’s Happyland!  It is so darn comfy that it would be fitting for a huge Thanksgiving feast.  No buttons or belts to undo here- just fill ‘er up!!!

The inside is pretty also!Laurel


Before I go I would like to remind/tell you about Coletterie and Snippets.  Coletterie is Colette Patterns blog and Snippets are Colette Patterns weekly sewing tips.  You can subscribe to both of these and add even more sewing knowledge to your daily life.


I love Sarai’s Snippets, they are a quick read and truly helpful.

Something to think about!


The Sewing Summit, My Highlights!

I started writing this post several days ago, and it has stumped me. I found myself writing NOT  about what I got out of the Sewing Summit, but instead I was writing a play by play of when I arrived and what classes I took.  That really isn’t what the Sewing Summit means to me, it is so much more.  Here are some important highlights.

First of all, Salt Lake City is a beautiful place.  I wish I would have taken more pictures to show you more of what was happening outside of the Summit.

Second, the Sewing Summit is full of great people.  We come from all over.  There were some ladies that came from as far away as the UK!!! We all united for one thing, the love of fabric and the art of manipulating it in all different shapes and forms.

Here are some of the awesome ladies I met at the Sewing Summit.  Clockwise starting in the lower left – Tsoniki, Leigh, Fi, Jessie, Kristin, Sharon (I think that is her name), Elena, Janice and Karen.

Thirdly, the SS offers some amazing classes.  There wasn’t a bad one in the bunch.  The hard part was deciding which ones to take.  I took 8 classes in all.  I would say that my favorite class was “special occasion sewing” with Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns.  It is no surprise that Sarai is one of my favorite “sewing celebrities”.  And as an extra treat I and about 11 others joined Sarai, Ken (Sarai’s husband) and the ultra amazing Sunni Standing – author of the blog “A Fashionable Stitch” – for coffee and a chat. Every one of the 250 women and men attending the SS were invited, but only a handful of us showed up.  Wow, lucky for me,  I was able to ask Sarai and Sunni questions first hand!  I was star struck, Sarai even remembered my name from her Fall Pattern Release Party at A Verb for Keeping Warm.  Well, I was wearing a name tag, but she still said she remembered my name!!!

“Special Occasion Sewing” was a highlight for me, because of all the care Sarai took to prepare her presentation.  She put together samplings of special occasion fabric swatches with details such as how to care for the fabric and what kind of needle to sew with.

One particular moving part of Sarai’s presentation was when she spoke about her late Grandmother Ruth.  Sarai told us that at the very end of her Gma’s life, while in the hospital she couldn’t remember all the people around her, that loved her.  How painful this must be.  Ruth was an avid sewer, and even though she may not have remembered Sarai, she told Sarai about a particular pant suit she had sewn for Sarai’s mom.  Until the very end, Gma Ruth was talking about sewing!  We, the audience cried with Sarai, when she described how much Grandma Ruth meant to her and we laughed when Sarai talked about the pant suit.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

Fourthly, keynote speakers.  The SS Folks put together a few really great keynote speakers.  The first, was Joel Dewberry!!! Can you believe it?  He is as talented as he is lovely.  A surface designer and pattern maker, it was really great to hear what inspires him.  Joel stated that he was inspired by his family and his home life.  His wife is a big part of his inspiration, and he stated that speaking to large groups of people wasn’t his thing and that his wife was better at it.  How cool for me to listen to a successful designer talk about his journey.  Look where he is now!  I want to also say a special thanks to Courtenay from for this picture I snagged from her Instagram.  All the pictures I took of Joel Dewberry were awful.  Thanks Coutenay.

Here I am with Courtenay.  Courtenay is one of those people who just makes you happy when you are around her.  She’s cute, isn’t she?

The closing dinner was awesome.  Those Sewing Summit gals surprised us with a Mollie Makes magazine and another incredible keynote speaker Nancy Soriano,  another person who inspired me with her incredible journey. Nancy was the editor in chief of Country Living magazine for 10 years, just to name one of many accomplishments that she achieved during her ongoing journey.  I felt as though she was speaking directly to me.  The truth is, I believe ALL women need to hear the words that she spoke:  “Don’t compare yourselves to others, always be kind and gracious no matter who you are,” and once again, “family is very important.”  This seemed to be an ongoing theme!

Towards the end of the SS, I was exhausted.  I read other blogs of SS attendees and they stated that they went home feeling refreshed and inspired.  I am inspired, yes, but too darn tired to do anything about it.  Unfortunately I came home with a couple of UFO’s, and since I bought so much on the shop hop and the SS folks were so generous with all their giveaways, I had to find extra room in my sewing room.  So…. I spent the last few days cleaning and tidying up my sewing space.  A really big job.  I am nearly done.  I will show pictures in my next post.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and sew on!

Blood, Sweat and Tears….

Well, blood and sweat anyway.  In a couple of weeks I will be heading to Utah for the second annual Sewing Summit.  It is a meeting of crafting minds.  Crafting, sewing, creating minds that also blog.  Last year I went and it was a blast.  I thought I was going to be the youngest person there and I ended up being one of the oldest.  That wasn’t cool, kind of like when you go to see your doctor and you realize that you are actually also older than your doctor.  This just started happening in my life.  When you add in, failing eyesight, morning aches and pains- you really start feeling older than dirt!!  Tip, for any of you that work as servers for restaurants, if you want a bigger tip, call me “Miss” NOT “Ma’am”.  You will put a smile on my face, a swagger in my step and a huge tip in your pocket!!! Okay- getting back on topic……

In preparation for the Sewing Summit, someone smart working for the Sewing Summit established “Travel Handmade” or #Travelhandmade on twitter and instagram.  It gives folks that are heading out to Utah an excuse to sew all kinds of travel bags.  Everything gets a bag now, right?  Your cosmetics, computer, toiletries, jewelry, camera, cosmetic brushes, sewing supplies-you name it, it should get a bag!   Heck, why not make a bag for all your bags?  Just to keep them all nice and tidy!  I guess that I did do that.  I have completed the Amy Butler Weekender Bag, a cosmetic bag, and a computer bag (I call it a computer cozy).

The blood and sweat comes in to this story with the sewing and assembly of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag.  There are all kinds of interfacing and peltex that is used in this bag, creating many, many layers of sewing pleasure.  NOT!  I broke a sum of 14 needles with this little project.  I read Amy’s directions thoroughly, easing all the pieces together slowly.  I still broke a ton of needles.  I love Amy and this pattern though…

I poked myself many times also, this explains the blood.

My DNA on the inside of the bag thank goodness!

There was a lot of wrestling involved in the sewing of this bag.  After completion, I noticed that my body was sore.  From the clenching of my teeth to the pushing of many, many layers of interfacing with the feed dogs.  Good thing I wear glasses while sewing, cuz of all those pins that were flying  all over my sewing room.

So here are a few pictures of the  Amy Butler Weekender Bag that I will be using for my trip to the Sewing Summit.

I added feet to this bag so the gunky floor on the airplane wouldn’t yuck it up!

I also added a tag to the front of my bag to insert my business card.  The pattern didn’t call for these two things, but I really thought they were necessary.

This was probably the easiest and best zipper I have ever done.  Looking back it would have been great if I would have lined the zig zags up.  Oh well, live and learn.

The interior:

For me, the interior didn’t fit into place as easily as I would have liked.  I made it so much harder than it had to be.  Live and learn – right?

The final picture.

Here also is my computer cozy that I constructed from Denyse Schmidt fabrics purchased from Joann Fabrics.  These 2.5″x 2.5″ squares were sewn together and then quilted. It took a whole day to do this and it was very fun to do.

One more thing before I say farewell for today, I joined Creativebug.  If you don’t know about this yet, YOU SHOULD.  I think it is about $24.99 a month to join and you can end your membership at anytime ( I joined for 6 months and it was a little less).  You are able to  learn from as many artists as you want, by viewing their lessons on your computer as many times as you wish.

I recently completed the “one skein scarf” by Debbie Stoller (she has written many books on knitting and crocheting).  She’s a wonderful teacher.  I completed this scarf in one evening with my prior experience of only crocheting a straight stitch.  Here it is.

I am pretty happy with it.  It’s wearable anyway.  🙂

In other news…

   A verb for keeping Warm located in Oakland, California hosted a little shindig for Colette Patterns featuring The Fall Launch of their newest patterns the Anise and the Juniper.

I was able to meet one of the many “sewing celebrities” that I learn from, the very talented and lovely Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns.

Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns and me

I immediately recognized faces like Meg from Made By Meg , Amy from Sew Well  and Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace in the colorful shop of yarn and fabric!  What a kick to see those that I stalk follow and learn from on their blogs!  I also met some new ladies like       Miss Daiyami who can be found on twitter, Elisabeth from e- Beth Knits, and the cute Leah in her Sorbetto blouse (sorry Leah, I couldn’t find any information on your blog).

Daiyami, Laura Mae, Leah and Amy

So, I meant for this to be a short post, but there was so much I wanted to include! My husband and I are headed into San Francisco tonight for a little Creativebug Cocktail Party featuring the ladies from  Hello! Lucky.  Sounds fun, huh?  I am keeping myself busy!

  Although I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like lately, I am still around, and now it is looking like I may have a little carpal tunnel going on – oh joy, right!

Well, you all have a wonderful day!

Bye for now.

Lily, Oh How I Love Thee!

I finally completed one item from my very long list of garments that I had HIGH hopes of sewing up over this vacation.  This was the Lily Dress Pattern, from Colette Patterns, of course.  I am constantly pulled toward Sarai’s patterns.  They are a joy to sew, they fit together like a puzzle and the directions are a dream to follow.  They may be on the more expensive side when you are considering a pattern purchase, but as many times as I use them I totally get my money’s worth out of them.  Besides that, the Colette Pattern collection has a vintage, classic feel and are far worth it!  Really, Colette patterns are worth the investment!

Lily had many pieces.  16 pieces to be exact.  I find that to be a lot, but it was manageable.  I had a deadline with this one too.  The gang of us vacationing on the Cape decided to do an “adults only” dinner on Thursday night and these plans were made just two days prior.  Huh!  I needed something to wear, so why not sew it, right?  I followed “garment sewing rules”, and sewed a muslin first.  The size 8 was good, a little too much ease, but I could fix this during the sewing process.

Months back I put aside Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy Daisy Bouquet in Turquoise for this exact dress.  I really adore this print and I thought that using a red and white polka dot print would be the perfect fun compliment to the D.S. print.  Well, you tell me – what do you think?

 Pocket Detail

The one REAL issue I had with this dress was the polka dot trim around the top portion of the dress, I am pretty sure that I attached it upside down or something and the back didn’t come together as it should have.  This kind of thing usually happens when I skate through the directions, thinking I know exactly how pieces should be sewn together.  Ha!  Not usually the case.  Luckily for me, I am in desperate need of a haircut, so my hair covered the troubled spot on this dress.

I also wanted to share with you all the “sewing nook” I created for myself here in Cape Cod.  The before and after.

I really need to get some better lighting for this area!!! Anyway, one more thing before I leave.  Don’t forget to enter for The Giveaway! Go to the link for The Giveaway and enter by commenting.  Sunday is the last day, results will be given on Monday!

This could be yours if you are the lucky winner!

Have a better than Swell Day!

Ready, Set, Go!

So, the Me-Made-May 2012 is off and going.  Zoe from So Zo… What Do You Know?” set up a Me-Made-May 2012 Flickr Page.   Today I wore my Sencha Blouse (by Colette Patterns) and my Clover Trousers, also by Colette Patterns.  I felt great and am realizing after stopping into my favorite store, Anthropologie, that  I  am sewing my own clothes not only because I can pick and choose fabrics that I look good in, but also because I can customize the fit.  Let’s face it, most things I buy off the rack don’t fit me properly anyway!  So at least this way if there is a fitting issue, I only have myself to blame!

My Husband  photographer (hustographer) took this picture on my way out the door to get all that gray “washed” out of my hair.  Translation:  I went to the salon to have my hair colored red.  Getting older stinks!  And it is very expensive too!  I used this really cool App on my phone to make this grouping of photos, It’s called “PicFrame”.  I am still in the throws of learning Illustrator, so until I do this App is how I am going to get by!

Well I am off to do some more sewing.  I need to have something to wear for tomorrow!

Oh, before I go, hop on over to “So Zo…. What Do You Know?”  Zoe has a coupon code over there for 20% off Simplicity Patterns at!


Colette Spring/Summer Palette Challenge

The Colette Pattern Blog Site Coletterie is heading up a sewing challenge.  The idea is to create a moodboard, which is what I have done here….

Colette Spring/Summer Palette Challenge

and then sew a mini Spring/Summer wardrobe.
I chose a palette of white, yellow, gray and navy and periwinkle blues.  I am also incorporating the new Colette Pattern, Iris (shorts), a sundress (sunny day sundress) by Jamie Christina, another pair of Summer Clovers (Colette Patterns) and a few other surprises using the blue and white polka dot fabric from my moodboard.  You can never go wrong with polka dots!
If you would also like to join, hop on over to Coletterie and grab a button.
Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge
Happy Friday the 13th!

Third Time’s The Charm?

This is my third attempt at sewing the Colette Pattern Rooibos.  I wasn’t sure what a Rooibos is /was so I looked it up.  Rooibos is a plant/bush grown in South Africa used to make an herbal tea.  It is pronounced Roy- Boss.  I love Colette Patterns, they name their patterns after something “sweet” and edible or in this case drinkable.  I feel all the smarter for it.  You learn something new everyday, right?

So in the spirit of learning something new, it took me three times to get it through my noggin of how I should approach the construction of the Rooibos.

The first time I sewed this disaster,

from a brown linen fabric with a silk ballet pink trim- somehow I got all the pieces mixed up on the skirt part of the dress and it ended up in the “circular file” (trash can).

The second attempt was this disaster.

The black corduroy was too heavy and I ran very low on the black and white polka dot.  It ended up being too big and slipped off my shoulders.  It really was a disaster.  It is hanging in my closet, never, ever, to be worn.  NEVER!  Sometimes it’s hard to part with a garment you spent so much time on.

Here are details of the collar and the pockets.

I love the colors black and white and I wear it often.  I will be making this dress again in these colors, just not in a wide wale corduroy.

Here is my third attempt.

 Rooibos in a mustard yellow with pink polka dot accents and pink rick rack.

Here is the inside.

Another photo.
I carried the rick rack from the front to the back.

Flipping the hem up you can also see that I used the pink polka dot fabric to extend the skirt of my dress.  It hemmed up nicely on the inside.

Here is the inside of the hem and the pocket detail with the rick rack outlining the pockets.
The invisible zipper.  Can you see it?  Nope!  You can’t!  And so it really is invisible!  The only evidence is the pull tab!
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a lovely day!

The shirt that hasn’t been on my back!

So we all have them.  Fat clothes, skinny clothes and those clothes that you purchased for a “really good deal” and even though the style isn’t completely “YOU”, you just couldn’t pass it up on the Anthropologie sale rack.  Well this blouse is just that, not my style, not attractive on me and really cheap!  It is the Shirt that hasn’t been on my back! I don’t wear it.  I have a hard time with silk.   I feel like it clings to all the wrong places and accentuates the negative.

I didn’t try this bIouse on and in hindsight that was a mistake.   If I had tried it on I am sure that I wouldn’t have brought it home.


The fit of this blouse was way too boxy for me, my arms got lost in the sleeves and it did cling.  My solution to this problem, you ask?  The Colette pattern: Sorbetto Tank.  This is a 2 piece free downloadable pattern.  It is easy to assemble with a nice clean silhouette.

Sorbetto Pattern

I chose to keep a sleeve, but shorten it, reduce the fullness by adding a dart in the bust area and taking out 2 inches on either side of the blouse.  I added the box pleat down the front, like the Sorbetto pattern called for and I kept the original length of the blouse to give me more options for styling.  The result is a blouse that may spend time on my back. I really do like it now and I think I will wear it!

Thanks to Colette Patterns for my finished product.