Ruffly bits

After making the ruffle-licious tank, I had some bits of that fabric left over, and for $10 a yard, I wanted to make sure I use every last little bit of it that I possibly can. So, I made these:

Practical? Probably not, but I think they’ll be cute and fun anyway. I’ve possibly got just enough left to squeeze out the top portion of a cami which I thought might be cute too, especially with like a knit chiffon for the bottom half? We’ll just have to see when I get to that point. The others are scrap busters too, (there’s 2 more purple pairs, but I didn’t get them washed, so they aren’t in the picture) so that makes me pretty happy. Less small pieces of fabric taking up valuable shelf space this way! Plus, as a bonus, I don’t have to buy underwear 2 sizes too big to get the leg openings so that they don’t cut in! Hoorah! And no riding up! Isn’t that worth like 10x its weight in gold or something?

Unfortunately, now I’m completely out of elastic, which means that sometime here in the near future I’m going to have to replenish my stock. It’s amazing how much elastic these little suckers use up!

Anyway, these were made with KS 2908 view B. I’ve made these before, but this time I got smart…I traced it off so that it’s the whole piece instead of cut on a fold–this makes it so much easier to work with on scraps, because you know immediately whether the pieces will fit or not. I also took Debbie’s advice and made it so that I could use the burrito method that they have you do on the back for the front too–makes the whole thing look cleaner and nicer on the inside. If you don’t have the book, I put the diagram up on pinterest, under Useful Tips. 🙂 And yeah, sewing these is pretty addictive, plus it clears out those scraps so you don’t hoard them or feel guilty about throwing them away. 😉

Ruffle-licious Racerback

OK, for the first time ever, WordPress ate my post. I sure hope it was tasty. 😡 😦 Hopefully this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. So, I’ll do my best to recreate the tasty snack of a post.

So when does a pattern become your own design? At what point could I say that I essentially drafted it myself? Here’s my finished garment, front and back:

But I used View C of this pattern to make it:

My version is a far cry from the original after all the changes I made to it.

  • Added significant FBA
  • Chevroned (is that a word?) the center front
  • Loosened the overall fit
  • Added a bottom band
  • V neckline
  • Racerback
  • Facings made of interfacing using this tutorial for front & back to make a clean finish.

If someone were to ask me where I bought the pattern, what would I tell them? I can’t say “oh it’s just view C of KS 3497”, because it doesn’t even look like that anymore. So anyway, that’s just something I was pondering this morning.

If you decide to work with ruffled fabric, I even have some handy tips for you courtesy of the lovely Janet from Needle Nook Fabrics. I seem to have misplaced the actual sheet she gave me, so I’ll just go by memory and hope that I don’t leave out something important.

  • Do NOT put you ruffle fabric in the dryer–apparently the tumbling action is hard on it.
  • Use WASHABLE SCHOOL GLUE (I had excellent luck with the liquid school glue vs. a glue stick) to glue down each ruffle. Don’t use the “glue-all” type, it’s NOT the same thing!
  • Do NOT iron the fabric after it’s been glued–you’ll have to wash the glue out first (got that from Elmer’s website, I’m taking their word as gospel truth.)
  • Use a cool iron setting, silk or wool is your best bet, but test it on a scrap first, just in case.
  • Soak it when you’re done to get the glue out, then wash it (I’m planning to do gentle cycle inside a sweater bag–I don’t hand wash).
  • I found it was easier to use a rotary cutter instead of scissors, but I wouldn’t buy one just to use it for this one project.

I’m actually planning to do another version in a normal fabric that’s a bit outside my comfort zone color-wise. We’ll see how quickly I get that done, since I have to clean the sewing room first.

I hope ya’ll have a great weekend!

Choosing an FBA method

You know, when I started sewing, I had no idea that such a thing even existed. I assumed (obviously incorrectly) that if you chose a pattern based on your measurements, you would end up with a garment that fits. Which was such an incredibly naive assumption, and I always thought that it was something I did wrong that made it so that I had so many fails to start with. Turns out it was something I did wrong–blindly trusting the pattern companies to know what would fit me best.

Most pattern companies draft for a B cup, but seeing as I’m an E cup (that’s DDD in American brands), there was a pretty significant discrepancy, especially when you figure in my narrow shoulders and petite frame.

The hardest part of an FBA is finding out how much you need to add and how. Lots of FBA tutorials out there simply say to add however much you need to the pattern, but they don’t tell you how to determine how much you need to add. I really like the SewLA method of FBA for the slash/spread method (which tells you how much to add), but I also like the pivot/slide method too. But how do you know which one to choose? Sometimes a pattern piece is too complicated for the slash/spread method, but sometimes the pivot/slide method just doesn’t do the job like it needs to.

You could, of course, make a test run both ways and see which turns out best, but who in their right mind wants to do that?! It seems to me that there are a couple of considerations. I’m not a pro, and I don’t guarantee that this is a foolproof method, but maybe it’ll help you reach a decision.

1) If there is already a dart at the bust, you shouldn’t have any problem with the pivot/slide method. Case in point? The Christmas Dress, it has a series of tucks and also darts, and took to the pivot/slide method beautifully.

2) If it is something you don’t want darts in, you could use the pivot/slide method, however, depending on how much you are adding, it might make more sense to just slash it and put in the dart, or try to “ease” the dart in (which I’ve never tried, but seen mentioned).

3) If your total added in the FBA is going to be greater than 1″/per side, it’s probably better to go with the slash/spread method. Nancy Zieman says that you can add extensions, if it’s going to be more than 1″ (and you’ll have to alter the sleeve as well), but for me it just seems like asking for trouble, not to mention even more tedious. I don’t know about you, but fiddling with the pattern isn’t nearly as much fun to me as actual sewing. 😉

4) If you don’t want/need the added length, the pivot/slide method (in my experience anyway) doesn’t significantly alter the length. This is especially important if you are attempting to match up tucks/seamlines.

Anyway, remember to take all of that with a grain of salt, since I’m not a professional or even anywhere close. But hopefully, it will give you some ideas on which method to use and when, because sometimes all these alterations can get confusing and overwhelming.

Money Saving Tip: Clorox Anywhere

I had recently run out of Clorox Anywhere (love that stuff!), and decided that though I love it, I wasn’t willing to shell out the rather exorbitant price for it. So, I turned to my friend “Google”, and searched for it.

Lo and behold, I found a recipe for it. 🙂


1 & 1/2 Teaspoons of bleach
22 oz. of water

I reused the bottle that my storebought version was in, and it looks as though the “recipe” author did as well. Way cheaper than buying a new bottle since you likely have a $2 bottle of bleach around anyway. 🙂 Hope that helps you!


I’ve had all the pieces for Jalie 2908 cut out for a few days now–I’ve even basted them together once–but I only serged the edged of them yesterday. I didn’t have a lot of time to work on them this evening, but I decided to tackle the pockets, since that’s one of the first things you do anyway.

Since I didn’t really want to do the generic, even for this pair (which will probably end up in the “work jeans” pile since the denim is less than desirable) I decided to try something different. So I stuck my pocket piece in the scanner bed, scanned and saved it and thought I’d use Paint to work on it. Wrong. It was way too big with no way to zoom out without changing the size of the image. This is where Gimp came in. I downloaded it, opened my file, and about 10 minutes later, I had this:

Nothing fancy, but serviceable and simple. I printed it off (thankfully it maintained it’s size when it printed!) and used the image to trace the design with the little tracing wheel. Here’s what it looks like stitched out:

I’m not in love with my not-so-great topstitching skills on the “B”, but it may be cut off by the seam allowances and I’ll have to rip it out anyway, which won’t hurt my feelings. *Sniff, sniff* Or at least not too much. 😛 (Note to self: press seam allowances under before scanning next time!) That pocket is the right pocket (if you were to be looking at my butt), and the left is a mirror image without the “B”.

BTW, I totally love the scanning idea to make a template (I’m so glad I’m such a freakin’ genius! ;-)) but be aware that it takes forever to upload to your web album. I’m going to see if there’s a way to change that next time, but if you just use the defaults it’s super slow.

What size am I?

I was looking at some patterns today for a bra-making company (Merckwaerdigh) and I realized that there was a pretty significant difference in bra sizing around the world. It’s funny how ignorant you can be about things that happen outside your country, isn’t it? Anyway, I found this nifty bra size converter, so now I’ll always be able to figure out that if I’m shopping in Europe my bra size is 85F, or if I’m in Australia I’m a 16DD, and a 38E in the UK–and they have some REALLY awesome lingerie sites in the UK, so that’s REALLY handy to know! 😉

Vogue 8251

I had mentioned the other day that I tried to make Vogue 8251 out of some slinky and had major garment fail. I decided to give it another shot, with a more appropriate fabric choice, and I think it turned out pretty cool. I will try to get a better picture of it later, but for now, I’ve got this one:


If you can see the little red arrow, it’s pointing to an area where I need to put in a couple of hand stitches to hold the small hole closed. It’s probably not a big deal, and it’s doubtful anyone else will notice it, but I’ll know it’s there, and I’ll be annoyed with it until I fix it. Also, if you can see them, ignore the purple spots–those are from my marking pen–and they have since been washed out, so they aren’t visible anymore. 🙂

I really like it, the fabric is pretty cute, and hubby likes the way it looks on me, so I guess he approves of me wearing outside the house. I consider that to be a success. 🙂 Here’s some things about the pattern that I didn’t care for though…

*The back needs something to help support it. You could probably put in some clear elastic across the back to give it some body–because all they have you do is overlock the edge and fold it under…I just don’t think that’s a great idea in hindsight, but it’s not something you can easily go back and fix later.

*The directions fail to mention that the back piece ends up being around 4″ shorter than the front piece–you can ease it in with no major difficulties, but I definitely freaked out thinking I’d cut a size 4 instead of a 14 for the back piece there for a bit!

*It’s hard to pull the elastic down the sides, I HIGHLY recommend making sure that you pull the elastic down the casing on the front side first because it’s the one with all the seams and such making it a bit harder to work with when the back side is already done…ask me how I know. 🙄

*I’m not completely happy with the knot detail in the front, I think if I were to make it again I’d maybe fuse some lightweight knit interfacing to give the knot more substance so that it looks prettier in the finished product. Maybe someone else has a better idea though?

*Interface the straps!! The directions leave this out, but I think it makes the finished straps so much nicer looking, as well as preventing some of the stretch that may occur during wear. Just be sure to keep the interfacing out of the seam allowances to save yourself some headache when you are pressing them. I also graded the seams on the straps to help them lay more flat, and would recommend doing that.

Other than that, it’s a nice simple pattern that goes together relatively quickly and looks cute. 🙂 You don’t even need a serger to complete it, since there’s so few opportunities where you could use one anyway.

BTW, Vogue, if you see this, enough with the stupid dots already! It’s kind of hard to place them accurately on a squirmy knit, and some of them didn’t even serve a purpose!

Next up: Simplicity 2403 for a wedding in a couple of weeks. 🙂

Things that tick me off Thursday

Yesterday I decided that my floors absolutely couldn’t wait another day to be scrubbed. I’ve been using commercial cleaners for my floors pretty much since I started cleaning them, but yesterday for some reason I was just getting annoyed with all the foam that the cleaners make, not to mention the film that is left behind. I don’t know why, but this just really bugs me, and finally I decided that I’d had enough and wanted an alternative.

So I did what everyone does when they decide they need information–I “googled” it. 🙂 There’s this site out there called TipNut, which is pretty awesome when it comes to pretty much any kinds of tips/ideas. I found a recipe on there for making my own floor cleaner using vinegar, water, and a squirt of dish soap. It seemed to work like a charm–I didn’t need to do much scrubbing to get rid of the dried on spaghetti stains (or any other spots), it doesn’t smell like vinegar once it dries, no film or foam, and it was really easy to mix up. Plus, it was ridiculously cheap.

I’m off to finish up those shirts for my hubby, hope ya’ll have a wonderful and productive day! 🙂

Interfacing window treatments

I’m so going to do it. Gigi had been talking about window treatments for her newly remodeled bathroom and it reminded me that we still have these horrible miniblinds on the HUGE picture window. When we replaced it late last year, we had intended to replace the miniblinds and the curtains with roman shades or something, but after looking for something in our budget, (which didn’t exist, ha ha) we decided to just tough it out until we’d gotten the money together to buy something nice.

Anyway, in response to Gigi’s post, a comment was posted about using interfacing. The lady had promised to post pictures of it on her blog, and you can see that post here. I’m so going to do it–maybe not on the picture window….well, maybe on the picture window…we’ll see. I love how it lets in the light without everyone being able to see your business. Apparently it has some “staying power” as well. Can’t beat that!

Permanent crease solution

My MIL had told me after reading this blog post that she used to use a solution of vinegar and water to make permanent creases on pantlegs, but couldn’t remember the exact ratio. Well, if she reads this, she is welcome to comment/correct me on it, but I think I found it.

From the ThriftyFun website:

Vinegar Spray
Simply mix 1/3rd of a cup of vinegar to 2/3rds of a cup of water. Using a spray bottle dampen the fabric in the area that you require the permanent crease. Cover with some brown paper or similar and iron.