Dream of the 90s

2 May

I don’t spend a lot of time looking for patterns at thrift stores because it drives me a little bit crazy. I think it’s something I could have done once in my lifetime, but as the mom of a young child, I just don’t have any time or patience for it. That said, somehow I came across this wonderful vintage (circa 1996) pattern at an enormous thrift shop on Whidbey Island early this year.


I adored the big pockets, the cut out in the back and the sweet inset that looks so great with stripes. It was 50% off, so I paid 25 cents for this mint condition pattern in sizes 3 to 8. I was a little bit excited.

Simplicity 7154(Simplicity 7154)

After digging through my fabric stash, I quickly settled on a purple shirting with thin white stripes. Purple is my daughter’s favorite color, and I’ve needed some sewing wins with her after a few “mehs” and a couple of “no ways”.


This dress is adorable in so many ways. I sewed up the size 4, but my newly 4 year old is on the wee side, so I could certainly have done with the size 3. She’s not particularly slim, but the 4 was quite roomy in the bodice just the same. I’d rather have that than something too small, and with a 4 inch hem, I could even lengthen it if she ever shoots up in height.



Very dance-able. Best quality in a dress ever.

Pattern: Simplicity 7154

Size: 4

Miriam’s Magic Numbers Quilt

2 May

Well, I’m not doing the best job documenting my finished projects, but I’m going to attempt to get some more stuff up here in the coming weeks. I have been sewing. Just not taking a lot of photos or writing about it. Sigh.


This quilt is one that took a little over a year to make from start to finish. I started it during a day long retreat with some girlfriends; we each brought fabric and started cutting out squares in 3 different sizes based on Katie Pedersen’s Magic Numbers Quilt.

I started with the backing fabric: a floral I never would have purchased for myself, but chosen by a lovely friend that I met 15 years ago. She lives in France, but the summer before last we met up in Boston, and I dragged her to a fabric store for her to select something she loved. I immediately made her a set up 8 napkins with the floral matched with a different solid color, but I had several yards left over, so I thought it had to be a quilt!


I didn’t have quite enough of the floral for the entire back, so I used the same pink fabric with white polka dots (formerly a bedsheet) that I used for the border. Thanks, Mom, for that great idea. Somehow, the rest of the fabrics were pulled from my stash. I was quite happy to use up several different pieces!

The quilting was done on my machine – I did a random chevron pattern in the middle boxed in by rectangles in the back border.


Photos were taken on a cool day here in Seattle. You can see that the quilt has already proven useful, and I haven’t even taken the time to send it to France yet!

A Wedding Quilt

17 Sep

It’s been a while since I posted…..I fell into the trap of a Seattle summer where we had lots of visitors and exhausted ourselves with the beautiful weather. I did create a few things, though, some of which may actually find themselves up on this blog now the skies are gray and there is a nice autumn chill in the air.

One such project is a quilt I made for my sweet niece and new nephew who were married in August. I was inspired by their wedding colors: gray and all shades of green. Here it is in its just-out-of-the-dryer-glory.


I had high hopes of finishing this in time to haul it to Iowa for their wedding, but my machine had some long term issues that needed to be resolved. I finished the piecing and used the few days before we flew to sew a dress for my daughter to wear while performing her flower girl duties.

While we spent a week in Iowa, my machine spent some time at the doctor – and for good reason! Its bobbin tire was replaced and I’m pleased to report that has solved all of my issues with bobbin thread not feeding properly. (See this post.) I can’t tell you how this has changed my sewing life and my feelings about this machine.

This quilt is enormous by my standards. At 74″ x 98″, it’s the biggest one I’ve ever made. I machine quilted it in diagonal straight lines with a light gray cotton thread. The quilt front is pieced using a variety of Kona cottons.


The quilting is fairly subtle but adds a nice texture to the solid charcoal gray back (a King sized flat sheet from Target).


I spent a few movie nights hand stitching the binding down after sewing it to the front (I like this tutorial), but not before I embroidered the couple’s monogram and wedding date on the back side of the binding edge.


Romper time!

18 Jun

I’m having a good time working my way through this Japanese sewing book, but am still working on sizing. This time I cut out a size 100 using a great orange and white textured cotton that I took from my mom’s stash (probably last used in a jacket/skirt set in the 80s). Despite the impracticality for potty trained 3 year olds, I love the idea of rompers and was looking forward to making this one. I mean, take a look at those pin tucks on the bodice!


Turns out it is a little short in the torso, and I had to bribe the kid to put it on for photos (popsicles work every time). Ah, well. It was still fun to make.


That said, it was still not without trouble and language barrier issues. From what I could tell in the pattern layout, it seemed like the waist and the chest bands were to be different lengths, but I am still not sure why as I had to add a pleat in the chest band to fit properly. You can’t tell because of the way the elastic gathers it, but I still wish I had followed my intuition.


The other thing I would change, and still might, is the length of the straps – they are crazy long, and I ended up tying them at the back to slow down the process of my model untying them. I still have a lot of patterns I want to try out of this book – just hoping to figure out sizing a little better.

Pattern: view F from this book

Size: 100; a bit short in the torso but otherwise seems perfect!

Fabric: a great orange and white slub cotton from mom’s stash.

A little (too little) top

31 May

I am procrastinating my way through a Very Big Project (VBP), which will eventually make its way to these pages. For now, though, I’ll share what I’ve been doing in between the VBP, to help me feel like I’m accomplishing things. (Do you do this, too? Work on little things that you know you can complete, even if it means adding them to your to-do list?)

Enter: 2nd Japanese pattern attempted and conquered! (From this book.)


This cute little shirt was a satisfying sew. Like, really, really satisfying because all of the little seams are covered by the trim pieces (hard to see in the pics, but made with a contrasting pink/white polka dot fabric). I love me a finished garment, that’s for sure. I also enjoy following a pattern with pictures – it’s a nice little challenge, at least when it works out!


This  wasn’t, however, a total win. I’m considering it a muslin, and good thing, because I should have cut out the larger size. Turns out Size 90 maybe translates more to a 2T size, and it’s a little on the small side for the small fry. I didn’t think I’d even get that neck over my kid’s head, so that was a nice surprise. It at least allowed for photos on a real live model as opposed to a hanger.

Here’s the proof that this is likely the last time this shirt will be worn:

IMG_0270 IMG_0277

This does make me excited about the pink and white seersucker I used; I thrifted it years ago and was tired of looking at it every time I went through my stash. I think I might actually use it to make something that will fit the kid now!


Pattern: Blouse from this book!

Size: 90 (too small)

Fabric: pink/white seersucker with pink/white polka dot trim, both thrifted long ago

Notes: Love the finished seams. I sewed the sides up using French seams to ensure no raw edges anywhere!

An old pattern and getting over a sewing block!

22 May

This is admittedly not my favorite outfit. However, it came together pretty quickly using things I had on hand, so that feels good. 

ImageThe top is the Sailboat Top by Oliver + S, using the thrifted fabric that I used to make the full skirt from my last post. I used this pattern only once before to make the pants in the 18 month size, which incidentally, still fit my 3 year old. Anyway, back to the shirt: I went ahead and sewed up the 3T size, and while the fit of the shirt is otherwise great, the sleeves are too long. Instead of rehemming, I’m just going save this shirt for a longer armed version of my kid (that should take a few months).Image

I also made a mistake with the placement of the buttonholes. They seemed a bit close to the seam after I sewed them, so I was going to account for that with a smaller seam allowance when I attached my sleeves; I forgot but just went with it since they still work.Image

I do like this pattern, especially the top stitching that is used to tack down the facings. 

The shorts, though simple, are very exciting for me as they represent moving into a new realm as far as sewing goes! I made them using a Japanese pattern from this book! Yay me! Image

I’ve been inspired by bloggers like Sanae and Cherie to delve into Japanese patterns since the styles are adorable and unique. I did look for pattern books during our late winter trip to Japan, but didn’t have luck (maybe I was distracted by a short time frame and 4 stories of fabric….). I purchased this book in late March at Kinokuniya Bookstore

The shorts came together very easily, and even taught me a new waistband technique using an opening in the casing’s seam through which to feed my elastic. The size 90 fits my kid perfectly. I did wish I had a serger with this project, however, because the fabric I used frays a lot! Not sure what they are going to do in the wash, even though I finished the raw edges with pinking shears and/or a zigzag stitch. 

ImageThe fabric from the shorts was cut from an old pair of trousers that my husband bought at Celio in Paris back in 2006. It took him a long time to admit they were looking shabby, but he is quite tickled that they can live on with our little squirt.


Next up….hard to say, but I’m looking forward to sewing my way through more Japanese patterns!


A Little Summer Skirt

20 May

I thrifted this pink and brown woven fabric years ago but have struggled to find inspiration for it. The other night, I was itching to complete an easy and brainless project, so I decided it should be a skirt for the little.IMG_0065

The fabric is about 48″ wide, and I cut approximately 15 inches of length times 2 to make a very full skirt. If you do the math,  accounting for the French seam allowance (I love to use that type of seam for this project as it keeps things so nice and finished, and eliminates any need to trim threads after the garment is washed), that’s 95 inches of twirl for a 3 footer. Not bad.IMG_0050

These pictures were taken after a morning of playing at school and an afternoon nap followed by a bike ride and gardening, so I think it’s going to hold up just fine.


I have another project for the kid in the works using this fabric. I’m tempted to make myself a long full skirt as well for the summer, and though I do have enough of this fabric to make myself a match, I’m going to show some restraint!