Polka Dots

A Newer, Bigger, More Fun Purse

purse-cutToday’s project was a new, bigger, more fun purse. Weeks ago I had decided to make myself a new purse. I wanted a bigger purse, and I also wanted to add some zipper pockets to the inside. I had modified my purse pattern I have made several of already for myself to be larger, and but hadn’t worked it out yet so wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I had estimated the fabric usage to be about 50% more than what it takes for my original design, but it actually ended up taking almost double that. I barely had enough fabric to cut everything from using the two one-yard cuts I had chosen for this design.

My exterior fabric, pictured at left, was chosen after I had already picked my lining fabric- a cut of fabric that my friend Jami gave me two years ago. I had to hand draw some of my pattern pieces as our printer wouldn’t print half of the pieces, and gave me duplicates of others.

The actual construction went really smoothly, except for the part where I forgot to put the interfacing in. I actually had to partially disassemble it afterwards to put it in because to just wasn’t stable enough without it.

I added a zipper to the inside of both sides in the center panels, and was really pleased with my zipper skills- both went in perfectly the first time, and I don’t think I’ve ever put a zipper in so well the first time, and especially not two of them.



One of the biggest design changes I made besides making the purse bigger and adding the zipper pockets was to make the strap longer so it could be worn cross-body, though it doesn’t sit incredible low and it at about hip level.



The lining fabric is a cute grey and yellow polka dot flannel, and its a perfect match for my outer fabric.

After stitching it up, I did find a few things I wanted to adjust in the final pattern, such as making the purse body about 2″ taller, and I found the pocket pieces needed to be lengthened by about 1″ to fit better into the design and sewing methods. When I sew this purse, the pockets on the ends are held in place entirely by stitching them into the other seams- the only thing I have to do with the pocket pieces is hem the upper edges before inserting them into the seams.

Am I happy with the outcome, despite thinking it should be about 2″ taller? Yes. Hopefully I’ll be making an official pattern download with instructions for this version and adding it to my shop soon.

Simplicity New Look 6816 View B

Simplicity’s New Look 6816 View B was one of the quickest patterns I’ve sewn recently, even with me making some changes to the construction methods. The top is literally made out of  pieces- front, two backs, arm bands, and neck band. I think McCall’s 6400 was the only one I’ve put together faster, and that’s because it literally has 2 pieces.



The fit of this top is kind of blousey, with full sleeves brought in a bit by armbands, and while I do wish it were a few inches longer overall I am very happy with it. My fabric choice was a good one, and the fit is super comfortable. I can definitely see myself making this top again in a different fabric.


The instructions called for the neckband to be attached folded in half and stitched down, and then pressed outward, which would result in a raw edge on the inside. I opted instead to make more work for myself and attach the neck band like it was an edge binding, and did the same with the arm bands. Of course that made me have to practice my stitch in the ditch, which went fairly well, but not as good as it could have. I believe there was a similar treatment given to the arm bands but I honestly didn’t read that far into the directions.With the mods I made and also taking the actual directions into consideration, I can give this pattern a solid five stars in all aspects. This is a great pattern for the beginning sewer to start with, with very little special knowledge needed to put it together and would be even easier if the directions were followed instead of being modified as I did.

What I’ve Been Doing & Some New Mock-Ups

capeletI did a lot of sewing the last few days, but unfortunately, I can’t share the most exciting parts of it with you yet and that’s driving me crazy. I stitched up my prom dress for Joann’s party in November with only a few weeks to spare, plus I whipped up a really quick capelet using my leftover dress fabric, plus some other stuff in my stash to line it. I will show you the capelet though, as it doesn’t give away anything about my dress except color and fabric.

I based the capelet off of McCall’s 5006, view G or H, but I only went as far as cutting out the fronts and back piece using the pattern and ignored the rest. I had a few small pieces of black velvet ribbon in my stash which I used for the ties, and I used some gold satin that I have no memory of buying from my stash to line it. Its one of those fabrics I want to use up to get rid of it, but can’t think of many applications where I’d actually want to wear it. I also made a small gold clutch, and am going to go with gold sandals.

I also cut the pieces of the pattern out for the polka dotted top I showed you a mock-up of in this post on Sunday, and put it together on Tuesday. It turned out really cute, and I love it- its exactly what I expected, even though I altered some of the construction methods to finish off the neckband and armbands in a way that would be nicer than what was called for. This shirt was super easy to put together, and it took me about an hour and 40 minutes from start to finish. Part of that time was me ripping out a seam because the upper shoulder edges and center back edges on the back of the shirt are almost identical, and I stitched them together wrong and had to rip it out. I also had to restitch my sleeve cuffs on one sleeve twice as I completely missed snagging the cuff’s fabric on the inside of the sleeve when I stitched it in place.

I finally remembered to check and see if I have a matching zipper for the maroon dress I made months ago because after trying the dress on after I made it, I discovered the zipper sticks really bad, if you can zip it up at all- obviously that is not conductive to wearing it. Unfortunately, despite the fact I have literally 200 zippers of varying sizes and colors, I do not have one in a wine or maroon in the right length so will have to actually go out and buy one for it some time.

Anyway, here’s the top I did today, in a horrible dimly lit mirror shot. I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but my camera took a crap on me, so right now its pretty much cell phone pics (sadly mostly in the mirror) unless I can get Mattie to take them for me. The fabric is actually navy blue with light blue dots, though its hard to tell in this awful photo.

I also did some new mock-ups this evening for a new pattern I recently picked up- I love leggings, and while I have two pair, I feel like I could use a few more. The pairs I have are black and grey, wit the black ones having huge metal grommets all over them and the grey ones are studded up the side seams. The grey ones are more versatile of the two, but the black ones can be hard to wear because of the grommets.

The new leggings I will be making fall into two places- calm and quiet, and crazy and wild. View A from McCall’s 6173 features a waistband and zipper, as well as zippers at the ankles. I chose two crazy fabrics for that view, with black and purple zebra stripes, and bold leopard print that channels my inner Peg Bundy.

The other view I like has an elastic waist, and no additional detailing. I’ve chosen a plain black rib knit for one pair, and a tan and brown houndstooth pattern for the other pair. There is a third view in the envelope, which features extra length so they are bunched up around the ankles. I don’t really care or that view.

4I also did a mockup of a mini-dress I have in my stash that I initially purchased for the top variations. But I’m thinking the mini-dress will be a great with leggings (its too short for me to wear otherwise- I’m not comfortable showing that much leg) and the teal colored rib knit I found will be great for it. I could wear it with either of the tamer leggings I’ll be making, as well as the two pairs I already own. Really trying to give myself some wearable Winter options that are still cute and fun while hopefully not freezing to death.

Tomorrow I will see about working on another of the tops I have had fabric for for a while and maybe knock something else out of my stash.I’m thinking of working on one of these variations of Simplicity 2365 View D as I really like the shirt I’ve already made form this pattern, though I did a different view- the one with the short sleeves. I’m not sure which fabric I want to dive into first though I do know the next time I do this pattern it will turn out better then before as I have a better understanding now of some of the finishing techniques used in it after making Mattie’s dress shirt.

I’d also like to see what I have in the way of bigger knit scraps that might be usable for other small projects and see about maybe listing them on eBay. Figure if I sell off some of them, I can make a few bucks and clear some room out in my fabric drawers. I need to pick up a few Priority mailers from the post office when I mail out patterns I sold tomorrow and see how much I can fit into one of them.




Remember This Circle Skirt?

Way back in September of last year, I whipped up this circle skirt. Right away I loved it, and I wore it quite a bit. It was fun, flirty, and if I spun around really fast, it flared straight out and made me feel like a little girl. I adored it. But as time went on, I lost weight, about 25 pounds. And as I lost weight, the skirt got looser and looser. Eventually I could literally slip it off without unzipping it, which leads to the worry that it might casually fall off of my body at some randomly decided moment. This was a problem, as I loved this skirt and wanted to keep wearing it.

Tonight I ripped out the waistband and added a few pleats to take up the slack. I actually ended up taking 6 inches out of the waist of it, and putting it back together. I feel like I did a somewhat sloppy job of it because I had previously used a French seam for the waistband attachment, but didn’t do that when I put it back on tonight, because each time I attach it with a French seam, I run the risk of losing a bit of fabric if I need to trim the edges up. Since I’m going to have to do this again in another 25 pounds, I’d rather save that for when I do it the final time.

No photos tonight, as you’ve already seen the skirt before. I do have a question for you. I am dying to stitch up a new dress, but I hesitate because I know I am going to be losing quite a bit more weight- about 35 pounds, and I don’t want to have to tear it apart in a few months and essentially sew it all over again. What I am pondering is sewing a knit dress, and cutting it a size smaller so I will “grow” into it. Thoughts?

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday, (Yay! Happy birthday!) and while I don’t have any new sewing to share with you, I do have some adorable fabrics! Saturday evening, Mattie surprised me with dinner with friends, and there was some gifting. My friend Tracy gave me some lovely beads, and Jami gave me these cute fabrics!


The skulls and paw prints are fleece, the polka dots are flannel, and the puppies are cotton. She had doggie coats in mind for these, but the more I look at the puppies one, the more I want to make a new purse for myself. Its just plain cute, and I’ve been carrying around my pink purse for a couple years now I think, and I’ve been thinking of changing it up again. And of course, if I use a matching fabric inside, maybe a chocolate brown broadcloth, I could still make doggie coats with the other 1/2 yard. LOL So many things to think about!

I’m going to sit on it for a few days I think and then decide.

Full Circle Skirt

Yesterday after finishing the halter top, I decided I wanted to tackle a full circle skirt. I had about 3 yards of red fabric with white polka dots, and Butterick’s 4790 has a circle skirt as part of the dress. I cut just the skirt pieces, making them a few inches shorter as I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make them the same length as they are on the dress, and stitched the halves together.
After that I cut a waistband, making it a few inches longer then needed, and started stitching it into place. I ended up ripping out quite a few stitches trying to decide how I wanted to finish off the waistband before deciding to make a button tab to overlap the top above the zipper.
Still the whole thing only took me about 2 hours from start to finish and I’m so pleased with it! I absolutely love it and never want to take it off! I also want to twirl and make it spin out like a little girl… lol. 😛 I did forget to add pockets though, which makes me a little sad, but I can always add them later. Its not hard to do.


This was my first attempt at using a part of anything pattern to make something different and it was so easy! Maybe I should see what I can Frankenstein together from my other patterns!