Malachite Garden Cafe Curtain

A quick, easy and much-needed home decor project.


Neighbors moved in next door, so it was time to put up  a curtain in the kitchen.  My sister, Emilie, asked me to hem curtains for her daughter, Phoebe, when they moved into their new home last  year.  This was the remnant.  All I needed to do was trim down the length and attach the tabs.  Viola!  A pretty curtain that gives us privacy without blocking too much light, and reminds me of Emilie and Phoebe every time I see it.

I made jeans!

Do you have something that you’ve been daydreaming about making/building/cooking but you haven’t done it yet because of that voice in your head saying “You can’t do that”, “You don’t have the skills”, “You’ll waste time and money”…? Well, my “something” has been jeans.  I bought the pattern and supplies last October, then started doubting myself and passing them over for other less intimidating projects. Well, I finally kicked my self-doubting, risk-averse ass to the curb and got on with it and here they are. They’re far from perfect, but *I MADE THEM*! The added bonus – they weren’t nearly as hard to make as my brain made me think they’d be.

So if you have a thing you’ve been thinking about creating but haven’t gotten started because of a fear of failure, I propose you stop dilly-dallying and go ahead and do it already.


Pattern: Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans, View A (low rise)
Fabric: Cone Mills 10 oz indigo S-gene denim
Alterations: I raised & contoured the waistband to avoid gaping in the back and peek-a-booty and shortened the leg length by 2”.

Simplicity 3559: Holey hot mess

Holey (not to be confused with holy): defined as having holes.

Hot mess: defined as a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, but maintains an attractiveness.

This holey hot mess of green Irish linen is my second version of Simplicity 3559. It could have been a simple and quick make if I’d: (1) kept notes on fitting the first time around and (2) paid attention when overlocking the edges so as to not cut a hole in the fabric.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some.  It’ll definitely get worn this summer regardless.

Pattern: Simplicity 3559
Modifications: Removed sleeves, turned under fabric on armholes to finish, shortened for length (as always)
Fabric: Vintage pure Irish linen in emerald green

My first version of this dress is below.  Thankfully this new one fits a bit better.


Vogue 7642: Looks can be deceiving

I was tempted to spend 2016 making only pajamas, but I have a wedding to attend later this month that requires a semi-formal dress. While I’m sure I have something suitable to wear in my closet, I wanted to use one of my fancier vintage patterns. Then, almost as if on cue, my lovely and generous friend, Jane, gave me this stunning dupioni silk in deep iridescent turquoise.

It turns out that Vogue 7642 was not the best pattern for this fabric (the gathers along the entire waist would be best with a drapier fabric) but I made some adjustments and am pretty happy with how this turned out.


It looks like a pretty straight-forward and simple make. This is a classic case of looks being deceiving. I used 5 different fabrics when making this dress.


I eliminated the gathers along the hips and back and replaced them with large box pleats. Not ideal, nor perfectly executed, but a huge improvement.


I inserted bra cups since this is very very low cut.


Fully-lined in grass-green Si Bonne lining. Silky smooth against my skin. Stitched in mostly by hand.


Satin-lined pockets hidden in the front seams.


I’ll likely wear it with this pin since I am not a huge fan of necklaces.

Pattern: Vintage Vogue 7642
Modifications: Took up by 1″ at shoulders, shortened waist band height, shortened skirt length, replaced gathers along waist/skirt seams on sides and back with large box pleats
Fabrics: Dupioni silk gifted to e by my friend, Jane, the upper bodice and skirt are underlined with organza, the waist band is underlined with cotton organdy for additional stiffness, pockets are in satin

Project #1 in my Introduction to Sewing class

My first zippered bag with boxed corners.


Before I agreed to move to Richmond, I made sure I’d be able to take sewing classes nearby.  Well, this Introduction to Sewing class at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond isn’t ideal (note the title), but it is a great facility, I like my instructor, and I get to spend three hours per week surrounded by people learning to sew.  Yes, please!


More Carolyn pajamas

Well, I’ll probably never be accused of being afraid to use color!


Long sleeves, just in time for the warmer temps…


This isn’t true piping. It’s flat cotton bias tape cut 1/8″ wider than my seam allowance.

Pattern: Closet Case Files’ Carolyn Pajamas, long-sleeve
Fabric: Bright watermelon pink stretch cotton that’s been in the ‘toss’ pile at least once
Buttons: white plastic from my growing button stash

Confession: I’m not done making pajamas yet despite having a brand-new-to-me beautiful vintage cocktail dress up next in my queue.

Carolyn pajamas: Take that, Target

I am not a fan of fast, cheap, it’ll-last-for-a-year-before-getting-tossed fashion for a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with here (or at least not right now). One of the hardest items of said clothing for me to stop buying has been PJs from Target. They’re normally surprisingly well designed and *so* cheap. They keep sucking me in. Well, never again.


I had originally planned to do the collar & pocket top in solid orange, but it looked a bit like a bowling shirt.


My first notched collar with piping, a fairly well-hidden pocket, and perfectly matched buttons!


I can’t believe I found vintage buttons that match so perfectly online.

Pattern: Closet Case Files’ Carolyn Pajamas
Fabric: 100% cotton ‘Metro Tile in Orange’ by Robert Kaufman (which I purchased 10+ yards of for a long-forgotten home project years ago) with scraps of orange Kettle Cloth gifted to me by my mum for the cuffs and piping.
Buttons: Vintage, glass, and hand-painted in the perfect color

Confession: Despite a large pile of different sewing projects in my queue, I’m almost finished cutting my second pair of these and have my fabric prepped for a third.

McCall’s 7279: Post Camp Workroom Social work

Just an ordinary dress for work on the outside; not so much on the inside.


Perfect for a job in financial services…


My first dress collar, I think.


A close to perfectly inserted invisible zipper. I’m loving my Bernina foot 25.


A burst of color

McCall’s 7279 (by Palmer/Pletsch) in grey herringbone wool with a black cotton collar. I have no idea what the lining fabric is made of. And frankly, with colors and a pattern like that, I don’t care.

I spent a weekend earlier this month at Workroom Social sewing camp learning a new-to-me fitting method. (You modify the tissue pattern to fit your body and then skip the muslin phase.)  It worked quite well for this dress, which fits better than many other dresses I’ve made. Added bonus, I was fitted by the lovely Melissa Watson, one of the women who designed the pattern.