Back To School Clothes!


Up here in New England we have had one heat wave after another this summer. So this week, to beat the scorching heat and increasing humidity, I hunkered down in my studio and went on a bit of a sewing binge! My focus was to whip up a few things to wear for back to school, which is is only a couple weeks away! This fall I will be both teacher and student! I will continue teaching afternoons and weekends with private sewing lessons and group workshops in my home studio and offsite to kids of all ages. I am also so excited to return to my positions (assistant and support) mornings at beloved St Pauls Nursery School. And I will begin the first of four college courses in Early Childhood Development for state certification. With this packed schedule, I decided to make a few things to take me through those hot, sticky first days of school!.

Pictured above is a box pleated skirt made from an indigo cotton batik fabric with elastic casing at the waist and inseam pockets, Simplicity 1970. Easy and cool to wear all day into night!


I picked up this gorgeous printed, double knit fabric from Mood NYC to make a shift dress for our daughter’s college graduation. My layout for the dress left me a nice sized remnant, enough for this simple pull on skirt. I modified New Look 6384, by giving the shape a bit more of a flare and adding pockets.IMG_4587.jpgThis last look is a split skirt that I modified from New Look S0871 by eliminating the overskirt and tie and adding pockets. The fabric, from Joann’s, is a stretch knit. It features a high waist that will look and feel cool with a loose tee shirt type top.

This should round my back to school transition wardrobe. Next will be some pieces for cool, crisp days and nights of autumn!

Bags & Totes, Oh my!


Every few months I have the pleasure of teaching a full day sewing workshop to a great group of creatives in New York. “Bags & Totes” was the theme for our session yesterday. The gals were interested in learning how to make lined bags and totes with zippers and pockets. For this workshop, I prepared kits that included some necessary and fun notions as well as a plethora of notes and step by step directions as support materials for their at home use.


Cheryl worked on a raw edge demin tote that featured patches and pockets from her son’s childhood clothing, how on trend and yet personal …what a keepsake! She was thrilled with the finished piece!


Using her gorgeous hand printed fabrics, Brenna made two lined zipper pouches to hold her art supplies! Funky and functional, go Brenna!


Eileen used coordinating fabrics for the outside pocket for her lined zipped bag! She went right at it and finished it in a wink! Looking good!

IMG_4566.JPGYou would never know that this was our newbie’s first attempt at installing a zipper and lining a make up bag…well done!


And Cheryl’s beloved Bentley is always a charming host!

Great job ladies! I’m so proud of all your hard work and creative efforts!

Looking forward to our next workshop!



A Garland of Well Wishes


A very, very dear friend has been going through a rough time and when considering how I could best bring some cheer while she recovers from procedure and treatment I decided on making her a special garland.  My vision was to fashion a variety of lovely calming blue printed cotton fabric strips into a garland where she could attach some of the tons of well wishes she would receive. This is one very special woman, we are talking about, whose kindness and optimism knows no bounds. Her bounty of cards and messages could probably fill several garlands (don’t worry friend, I will be sending you more Blue clothespins!).

The process…First I enjoyed shopping through my huge stash of printed quilting weight cottons to assemble a group of calming blue prints (our girl loves the ocean!). Next I rotary cut several 3″ wide strips of varying lengths of each fabric and tied them onto a sturdy, nylon cording I picked up at Home Depot. I cord was about 10-11′ in length.


I found that lovely gold toned painted sea star at Michaels. Using an awl I pierced a hole in the top of said sea star and used lightweight gold wire to attach it to the cording.



On each end I tied on some natural raffia, a small shell and my own note of well wishes. Medium sized blue clothespins from Michaels will hold her cards in place. I am thrilled that she and her hubs hung the garland from their balcony…what a peaceful backdrop (thanks D for taking the photo!!). Enjoy and heal my friend!!

Shibori on the 4th!


There’s something pretty exciting about having free time to dye fabric! And that’s just what I did this July 4th weekend. What a treat! The weather was absolutely perfect: sunny, warm, dry with a constant sweet breeze. So I set up my work station outside.

The plan was to Shibori dye tablecloths for summer entertaining, although I also threw in a bunch of scarves and summer cotton tops! My love affair with all things navy and indigo continues, so all three dye baths were of that color. I used Procion MX Reactive Dyes from Prochemical.

Shown above is a cotton/linen cloth with handkerchief style hemming that is quite long, about 100+ inches, perfect for my farmable. Rectangular wood shapes were placed inside accordion folds and bound with hemp. Here is a detail shot..


Tablecloth #2 pictured below, also a rectangle and just a bit shorter in length, was also cotton but with a woven texture. I purchased it a while ago from Target. I accordion folded and then bound it crosswise with cotton cording.


If you look closely in the detail shot, you can see the crosshatching design, which is was not only pretty but also added a nice heft to the cloth.


This last tablecloth was actually gifted to me. Originally an midweight, ivory colored cotton canvas cloth, I bound it using the Japanese”Kumo” technique with cotton cording, thus creating a spiderweb design.


A close up…


I’m over the moon with the results from this dyeing session. Now I’m thinking that I need some cloth napkins to go with?!!

Me-Made-May 2016 Post #10


Well here we are with my last post for the global sewing challenge, Me-Made-May 2016! The photos from my last couple posts were taken during our daughter’s college commencement weekend up in Ithaca, NY. So many beautiful settings! The weather was less than ideal for most of the time but the sun did make a couple appearances and when it did…we were ready!  Graduation night we dined at a very special restaurant, John Thomas Steakhouse. Located right behind JTS is the La Tourelle Resort & Spa. There was this sweet little garden shed on the property with a vibrant floral mural, perfect for the shot. Wow!  While posing in front this joyous art I imagined there was a mini sewing/art studio inside!

This is the dress I had made to wear to the graduation ceremony that morning. (However due to the damp wet weather, I ended up wearing a different “me Made” midi length maxi knit dress.) This fabric is a printed, double knit from Mood NYC. Although bit heavier in weight and less stretchy than the knits I have been working with lately, it worked great with this pullover shift style dress. I used commercial pattern McCalls 6886 and was able to keep pretty true to the silhouette, except I changed the sleeveless sleeve to a cap sleeve.

Thanks everyone for following me through my first Me-Made-May challenge. Posting twice a week was definitely manageable. I so appreciate all your very kind comments! I hope you found inspiration to create some of your own “me-mades”! Thanks again to SoZo for creating and maintaining #MMM. There’s nothing like a good challenge to get the creative juices going and sewing machine revved up! I am thrilled to report I have acquired new followers and new-to-me bloggers to follow as a result of participating! Expanding my handmade world! Yay! See ya’ll next spring for #MMM17!


Me-Made-May 2106 Post #9


Hello again! It’s Post #9 for the #MMM16 challenge…coming down the home stretch! In my previous post, I featured a dress I had made for our daughter’s college commencement weekend recently. The weather was chilly with occasional rain showers…not what we were hoping. But we were determined not to let the threatening skies dampen our fun and plans. Up in the Ithaca, NY area there are two large lakes, Cayuga and Seneca. Both lakes are surrounded by many of NY State’s fine wineries. My daughter snapped this pic outside one of the tasting rooms, just before it started raining again!.

It’s that cute little black with white polka dot skirt that I want to tell you about. The moderate stretch knit fabric was a leftover piece from a large cut from Joann Fabrics.  The commercial pattern is Simplicity 1163. It was almost too easy to make! It has only two side seams and a wide elastic casing waistband. LOOOOVE it! And I do plan on making more of these in different weight knits for all year round! Last summer, I made a pullover shift dress using the same fabric for a trip out to LA. Can’t get enough of a good thing, right! The pattern is Tily and The Buttons, Coco!.

IMG_3642.JPGFor more on Me-Made-May 2016, check out SoZo.

Me-Made-May 2016 Post #8


This month, I am participating in a global challenge called “Me-Made-May 2016” sponsored by SoZo. I have posted twice weekly: once on the weekend and once during the week. I did fall off the posting bus this past week as we were busy, out of state, celebrating our daughter’s college graduation. I did not totally blow things off, however, as I asked a few very kind souls take pics of me in clothes I made for this special weekend. This photo was taken in a wonderful restaurant in Ithaca, NY called Agava.

This look, a pullover shift dress, features a drapey, paisley, 4-way, printed stretch knit, Nicole Miller for Joann’s (FAB!). The dress is based on the commercial sewing pattern McCalls #6886. I dropped the neck line a bit and changed the sleeve to a cap style sleeve. Love this shift dress!

For more info on Me Made May 2016, check out SoZo’s site here.

Me-Made-May 2016 Post #7



I have been participating in a global sewing challenge this month called,                  “Me-Made-May 2016”.  My previous posts have featured garments I made for this spring and summer. Today’s post features something different: make up bags!

Our daughter is graduating college this month and to celebrate her and her BFFs, I designed these bags. Back when she was in high school I also made cosmetic bags for her friends and they were such a hit!  I received thank you cards and emails from them saying how they loved their bags and had them perched on desks and dressers in their dorms. They said their bags which were a sweet reminder of home and their friendship. SO, naturally I wanted to create a fresh, new look for this limited edition, college version!

I decided to Shibori dye three yards of snowy white, canvas fabric a dark navy/indigo color, T’s school colors!  Wooden blocks, clamps and hemp were used to bind the cloth. All the bags have a zipper closure with a bit of vintage ribbon as a zipper stop. I lined the bags with a purchased indigo, paisley gradated printed quilting weight cotton (Joann’s). For embellishment, my very dear, talented friend Lisa spent the greater part of a day helping me design a zipper pull. We used pewter “2016” and “Handmade” charms (Oriental Trading) and an assortment of glass beads including Lampwork “Wise Ol’ Owl” Beads (from Michaels), adorable! I tied a Sashiko inspired printed ribbon (from Joann’s) through the wire loop. For the finishing touch, I hand stamped “2016” and a mini Peace sign, using a blend of Gold and Brass Jacquard Fabric paints.



Looks like we are ready for the commencement festivities to begin!

Congrats and best wishes to all this year’s Grads!

For  more info on #Me-Made-May2016, click here.


Me-Made-May 2016 Post #5


Good Sunday fellow sewists and makers! I continue to post as a participant of the global Me-Made-Made 2016 Challenge. Today’s feature is an absolute fave of mine! The dress pattern is from Tily & The Buttons (UK). I love all the possibilities that come with this knit pullover shift dress.


In this version, I went with long sleeves and front patch pockets. The soft rose pink fabric is from my stash. I changed up the neckline just a bit to make it more of a bateau. I’m sporting grey and white striped leggings from Uniqlo and my white Superga sneaks. This is such a cute comfy outfit! I wore it yesterday when I taught an offsite all day sewing workshop. Thanks Eileen for taking this pic!

For more info on Me-Make-May2016, click here.

Check out Tily & The Buttons at their website.

Me-Made-May Post 4


Hi friends! I have been participating in this global sewing challenge where we post pics of some of our latest and greatest (!) creations to share our love of making and sewing garments and other stitching creations.


Spring has finally sprung and here are two pieces I am looking forward to mixing in to my wardrobe rotation! The top is based on McCalls 7194. I opened up the neck a bit and added to the length. It’s made from a great 2 way stretch knit from Joann’s. The skirt is simple, slightly flared with an elastic waist based on New Look 6384. I added a little length so that its a go-to for work at the nursery school! The fabric is a cotton jersey, also from Joann’s.


I paired the shirt and tunic top with a denim jacket and ballet flats but it will also work with a cardie and white sneaks!

For more on Me-Made-May 2016, check out “SoZo”, click here.

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