Getting Past the Doomsday Cult Look

So, the world still has not come to an end. The plain clothes I made from “Happy Homemade Sew Chic” are growing stale, as the book’s Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult look loses favor to prettier styles.

Bring on the frippery!

One nice thing about “Happy Homemade” is that the patterns are so simple, they’re blank canvases for creativity. Take this dress I made this weekend, based on “Tunic Dress with Lace”:

A far cry from this original, eh?

The dress is certainly in the thrifty spirit of Happy Homemade. I made it from an old cotton Indian-made border-print tablecloth. I love the print, but it no longer goes with my dining room decor.

I cut off the border to made the V neckline, belt, and ruffles at the hem and sleeves. I was able to cut the body of the dress out of the body of the tablecloth, strategically avoiding old stains (wine! coffee! back in our carefree days!).

I made several modifications for fit – I added shaping to the sides, added fish-eye darts in the back, and added shoulder darts in the back to control neckline gaping.

I am planning to play with a few of these Happy Homemade patterns to see how I can jazz them up. Now that the world’s going on, we need to look our best!


Another Bolero Jacket That’s Not Exactly a Bolero, Nor a Jacket

I sewed up another item from Happy Homemade Sew Chic yesterday – item N – the Jersey Bolero-Style Jacket.  It’s neither a bolero nor a jacket. Discuss.

img_20170128_182950647_topThis fabric is a viscose knit border print that looked like a good idea for a dress when I bought it at Elliott Berman fabrics. But when I draped it I realized it was too busy for a dress and the border print would tend to widen things that are wide enough already. So I made this cardi instead.

I made changes from the first version, mostly to make use of the border print:
* Lengthened the sleeves and the overall body 2 inches to take advantage of the deep black end of the border print.
* I also used the black end to make the neckline binding.
* Sewed the front tucks as directed – that is, sewn from the wrong side – instead of from the right side like a pintuck. This method worked better for the heavier, opaque quality of the fabric. A pintuck looks better on a sheer.
* Tucked but did not sew down the back tuck because I didn’t like how the sewn-down tuck worked with this crazy print.
* Sewed on a neckline clasp I got from the jewelry-making racks at Joann.

I made the whole thing on my new serger, except for the tucks. The hems were done using the coverstitch mode.

I really like this piece. It’s one of the best patterns in the book. I sewed it up easily in an evening.

Revenge of the Fugly Pants

I think my misbegotten pants must have heard I was trashing them on Thursday blog, because they got their revenge.

While I was zipping up the pants after a bathroom break, the zipper made a break for it:


Did I mention I was at work? I held up the pants, saying a thank you for the long blouse I was wearing, walked to my desk and fished out a safety pin.

The pin did its job and I got home without any further wardrobe malfunction. I ripped open the zip and threw the pants in the trash. Clearly, we were not meant to be together!

The Last of Me-Made May

Wow, May went by fast!

I met my goal to wear me-made clothes at least three times per week. In fact, I did 4 or 5 times some weeks. I could have done more if I had repeated outfits.

Today’s look is a recent me-made project that was a huge disappointment. They’re Sewaholic Thurlow trousers in a nice pique suiting.


Unfortunately, the fly front is weirdly crooked and ill fitting, so I can only wear these trousers with a long jacket or tunic to cover up the ugly.

I never intended to wear these in public. But in the spirit of Me-Made May, I decided to wrap up my month with these unfortunate trousers.

I bring this up in a desire to be honest about my sewing. Some projects are just dogs. No sense pretending otherwise.

A lot of sewing bloggers only put forth the pretty, photographed to perfection. That’s cool. I love their makes and drool over their looks.

But to be honest, to inspire the newcomer and give courage to the timid, I believe in putting it all out there.

I hope you had a great May. See you in June!

Saturday Long Weekend

Here’s today’s Me-Made look: the Mississippi Avenue blouse from Sew House Seven:


It’s very cool for hot days. The fit is not great – my fault, not the pattern’s – but it’s cute and was a quick made out of cotton lawn.

Casual Me-Made Friday

Another Friday, another work-at-home day, another installment of the Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult fashion show.


This is the Tunic Dress with Lace from Happy Homemade Sew Chic. Yeah there’s no lace. The pattern calls for a wide 3-inch lace for the neckline. But I could not find any lace that worked with my fabric. I made it out of a slate blue Japanese cotton double gauze with a gold bamboo motif. Any gold colored lace I found looked pretty tacky-ass.

To ramp up the bling factor, I sometimes belt the dress with a long necklace, as shown. Also, I shortened the sleeves after my original make last year.

I call this my Japanese house dress and I wore it frequently last summer. The cotton double gauze is very comfy in hot humid weather.

The Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult Goes to Work

So, I work in banking in New York City. Not exactly territory for the Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult look.

But here’s an exception: the Jacket with Back Tie from Happy Homemade Sew Chic, made swanky in cherry red silk dupioni.


The jacket is long and rather smocklike, with no lining and wrong-side-showing lapels. I cut it with tighter armholes and long short sleeves so it would look a bit more polished. Plus the silk is always a good thing.

This is one of the best patterns in the book and a fun one to dress up or down. A casual rendition in linen is on my to-do list.