I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Victoria's Secret Versus Albert's

We all figure Queen Victoria went to bed wearing frothy, delectable muslin night gowns.
But what about her consort Albert?
I'm pretty sure it was something like this charmer I made my husband for the festive season. He has been wearing out flannel nightshirts year after year since we first got married. 
Not glamorous, but warm and cosy. He wears them over regular pajama bottoms. 
We couldn't have him modeling the look anymore than you ever see Prince Albert dressed in his night gear!

McCalls 8379

Friday, December 23, 2016

EnchBySew-50: Tote’in for the Festive Season - Holiday Postcard

Click on this link in iTunes   to download the 50'th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  produced in December of 2016.

Or listen directly on the web by clicking on http://traffic.libsyn.com/enchantedbysewing/FINALHolidayBagLaurelShimer.mp3

This December I’ve put more time into sewing, than blogging about sewing. So though I’ve actually sewn five items – I’ve only blogged about two of them - so far. I’m hoping I'll find some time to post about what I’ve made, next week, because I really enjoy having a sewing journal.

I love looking back through my blog and remembering – oh that’s right Back in December of 2016 I made
* Queen Cordelia – a printed courderoy princess seamed shirt with ¾ len sleeves, fun buttons and some collar embellishment
* A pair of front-pleated denim trousers
* A  night shirt for my husband,
* A simple flannel baby blanket
* A flat bottomed tote bag

This Month’s Show is a holiday postcard, focusing on the basic technicos/techniques of sewing a flat-bottomed bag that can serve the combined purpose of being both a tote and gift bag.

Five reasons to know how to sew a tote

1 - Save money or just  be Green: I don’t know about where you live, but around here, we get chargd 10 cents for store bags -it’s really worth remembering your tote bag!

2) Be Arty as well as green and clean up your sewing resource inventory : A tote bag is a handy way to use up fabric scraps and remnents. I serves as a  vehicle for trying out favorite or new embellishment techniques like embroidery, craft button designs, beading, quilting or a collage made of scraps of  lace and trims

 3) A tote bag is a basic sewing project . It’s  a good  way to stare learning to sew, or get back into sewing . It doesn’t take very long and you can practice basic seaming and other sewing techniques.

4) Unlike garment sewing - A tote bag does not require fitting!

5) A tote bag makes a great packable and reusable gift. If you have the resources on hand - You could even decide to make one an hour or so before it’s needed!

I blogged about, a tote I made earlier this month for visitng family members as a holiday gift. That posting includes four photos intended to show basic steps of tote bag sewing.

BTW I included a pound and a half box of biscotti from a wonderful local Italian deli – Diandras in San Mateo at Crystal Springs shopping center . If they ate , or shared, all the cookies during the conference they came for, they could use the tote to carry home their dirty laundry. Back home They can use it for grocery shopping or They can pass it on to somebody else as a gift bag. The bag itself was small and light weight , so it wasn’t going to make trouble when it came to taking their bags back on the airplane.

Technicos/Techniques: How to sew a flat-bottomed tote

Photo Collage and brief summary of basic steps for sewing the tote http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2016/12/green-sewing-tote-bag-for-reusable.html

Monday, December 12, 2016

Queen Cordelia: My Latest Princess-Seamed Shirt M6076

My sixth Palmer and Pletsch Princess-Seamed shirt. I'm definitely on a roll with this pattern!

Been wearing Cordy (excuse me - I mean Queen Cordelia) a lot since I finished her a few days back. I lengthened her sleeve from the quarter length I did for Princess Periwinkle and Marigold, into a three-quarters length. Perfect for a warmer weight fabric.

Cordy thinks she's royal because she's made from corduroy (cord-du-roi /cloth of the king), but according to wikipedia, that was something folks used to just say. Apparently corduroy is just as everyday as I am.

Don't tell Cordy, OK?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Green Sewing: Tote Bag for Reusable Grocery or Gift Bag

I figure it's green sewing because the fabric was a small remnant I had in my inventory for three or four years.

Pinking shears on all the edges makes for easy seam finishing.

1) After seaming side and bottom seams I cut out a 1 inch by 1 inch square from both the left and right hand corners
2) Pulled across to make a flat box corner and seamed
3)Used a decorative blanket-type stitch to add strength to the corner/box seam
4) I used this same stitching on the top edge of the bag

Wide black gros-grain ribbon (glad to find in my trim inventory) made handles. I stitched an 'X' shape to hold those in place.

The bag is all ready to hold a present of biscotti from Diandras Bakery in San Mateo. Diandra's was started by a gentleman who came over after WWII on a boat from Italy. I know that because a wonderful Italian teacher I had one summer came over on the same boat! Diandras makes great baked goods. The giftees might then use the bag as a grocery tote, a dog toy bag, a dirty clothes bag or ????

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pattern Work: Disneyland with Princess Periwinkle de Nîmes (M6076)

Another M6076, Palmer and Pletsch princess-seamed shirt. I've been altering the pattern (off and on) for a year now, working to get the perfect fit for me.
I think the original sleeve-into-torso seam was somewhat more dropped than what I've ended up with. I'm quite happy with the fit of this shirt - it really conforms to me, and the long curved princess-seams are flattering. Below is a photo of me wearing the Princess, recently,  at Disneyland.

Note that this denim is the very, very light weight variety, it looks more like chambray. Princess Periwinkle comes, of course, from Nîmes, the origin of our modern denim fabric.

A trip to see the holiday decorations at Disneyland with Cousin Martha, motivated me to get the Princess finished!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denim Discusses source of denim in Nîmes 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periwinkle_(color) - Periwinkles seem to be related to vinca - a rather invasive European flower a lot of people plant around here, and are then often sorry to have done so! I love the blue color though, much like the one in this shirt. It's also referred to as 'lavender blue' - I wonder if that's where the Burl Ives  song (it's really an old folk song but he popularized it in the 1960's) comes from? I always wondered about that, because all the lavender I know is purple 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

EnchBySew-49: Fall Color Sewing

~ ~ ~

Click on this link in iTunes   to download the 49'th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  produced in November of 2016. Or listen directly on the web by clicking on this link.

~ ~ ~ This Month’s Show ~ ~ ~

Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts: Impact of Color on My Sewing Choices

Technicos/Techniques: Patterning and Sewing Color

Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts:Searching for Color in San Diego County 

~ ~ ~ Web Resources ~ ~ ~
Recently I've created several postings related to the fall colors mentioned in this months 'cast,  in my Postcard from California blog http://postcardfromcalifornia.blogspot.com

My regular sewing blog  - includes postings about the princess-seamed shirt Marigold are in the Me Encanta Coser/Enchanted by Sewing blog http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com

Friday, November 18, 2016

Marigold's Machine Button Hole Sewing

Yup - Even with care,  this buttonhole is a little crooked at the bottom edge. This doesn't show because the button covers it, but it's more proof that buttonholes are tricky. Frankly if I want perfect openings, I sew them by hand. Also, I don't stress about perfection!
1) I used a contrasting thread on Marigold's buttons holes, so I sure didn't want crooked threaded openings! Yes, modern machines are programmable to sew buttonholes neatly and repetively, but I'm often challenged by accurate placement. So I draw my buttonholes on medical supply tissue paper and sew them one at a time.

I make test sewing samples first 
Fabric Test Package - I make sure to include a piece of the same interfacing between two pieces of the shirt's fabric, so that I'm testing the same situation as my shirt

2) First I laid the buttons down on tissue. In theory you add maybe 1/8" over the width of the button. I try by theory and I try my gut reaction. Then I sew, cut and try the button in each hole

3) I make sure to put a wide pencil line at top and bottom - this is where a programmed buttonhole knows how far to go - but I  making the decision in each case to stop or turn. 
That's because of experience. Sometimes the fabric or interfacing gets stuck in the machine (even though I always use the right presser foot), and the programmed stitches aren't even on both sides. I use my buttonhole machine setting, but I make the choices each time as though I'm sewing the first, and I no longer use the programmed setting.
4) When I cut the button hole, of course I put a pin across the top so the seam ripper I'm using to open the buttonhole,  doesn't slice past the top of the opening. Again... experience!
5) When test sewing these buttonholes, I found I needed a piece of tissue underneath, as well as on top, in order to make the interfaced fabric test package (in preparation for the actual shirt) move unstickily along. I don't usually need the underneath tissue, but this fabric is a kind of loose, rough weave, and I found this quite helpful to keep my machine sewing smoothly.
~ ~ ~
Marigold - A Princess-Seamed Shirt - Terminado - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2016/11/fall-colors-marigold-princess-seamed.html

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thinking Ahead - Jacket - British Wool - Questioning at Crafster

Today I posted my questions to Crafster.org http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=450696.0

Working on not keeping materials in my fabric inventory for too long. I have a couple of other sewing projects going on, but preparing and thinking through how to work with this lovely wool, makes it more likely that it will get sewn once it gets chilly 'round here.  I also need to think about Seam Fnishes - I'm thinking either flat-felled or bound. This article has a lot of info and ideas for working with reversible garments

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Colors: Marigold - A Princess-Seamed Shirt with Sleeves (M6076)

M6076 - Doll is  covering up the phone/camera for selfie mirror shot!

I'm so happy I got this marigold yellow princess-seamed shirt done! Wore it twice on a trip to visit with my cousin in San Diego, and another two times since I got back from that visit.

I cut the original shirt out to be sleeveless (like Western Winds, Floribunda Bouquet, and Pinto shirts), but just a touch of fall rain got me interested in moving away from the no-sleeve look. So...
- I had to drop,  then piece the front and back at the bottom of the armscye, to extend
- I managed to cut sleeves out of a miniscule remnent
- I had to piece MORE scrap onto the sleeve, because I didn't gauge  the armscye changes right
- By the way.... I did not have a working sleeve piece for this pattern so I was finagling with the pattern piece the whole time!

And I still love it
It's all about color

I would never recommend doing this! I have cut out another version of this shirt (using a remnant that needed a home) - to fully test the pattern with the sleeve piece I think..... works.

Had I not loved the marigold fabric, I would have tossed this shirt, or just not bothered to work on the whole sleeve deal.

The artistry of piecing and testing... those are the kind of things that keep me....
Enchanted by Sewing

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lace for Everyday - Add A Motif - New York Sewing Inspiration

A lace motif would be fun to add to a plain woven or knit top or dress. Front, back or both? I never saw the front of this dress, so I don't actually know! This piece coordinates with the white tee worn underneath.
I found quite a lot of this type of pieces by searching on ...Victorian Trim Bodice Applique Motif Sew On

Saturday, October 22, 2016

EnchBySew-48:Garment Copycatting

Click on this link in iTunes   to download the 48'th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  produced in October of 2016. Or listen directly on the web by clicking on this link.

This Month’s Show 
TechnicosI'm learning to copycat a favorite knit top, without cutting the garment apart. 

Blog Posts from this Project
Part 1: Getting Started http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2016/10/copycat-pattern-work-sleeveless-tee.html

Part 2: Continuing up through Basted Garment http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2016/10/copycat-pattern-test-garment-basted.html

~ ~ ~ Other Resources
I have a number of Sewing Pinterest Boards: https://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/
I meant to refer to Lynda Maynard, not Lynda Myers!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lace for Everyday - Flared Skirt Enhanced - New York Sewing Inspiration

I saw several appealing everyday style, lace enhanced garments on a recent trip to see my daughter in New York. I have a number of projects on my sewing table, and I just don't want to forgot this outfit I saw on the streets of Manhattan (next spring perhaps?)  A simple dark flared skirt with a lace overlay, paired with the kind of sleeveless tee that I often wear. This would be a great project for testing lace sewing skills.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources: 15 basic skirt styles http://www.ebay.com/gds/15-Essential-Skirt-Styles-You-Should-Have-in-Your-Wardrobe-/10000000177628604/g.html

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Lace For Everyday - Simple Top Enhanced - New York Sewing Inspiration

So many great things I'm inspired to sew - thought I have plenty on my sewing plate right now.... Here's another simple everyday garment that could well inspire my future sewing - spotted on the subway on my recent trip to New York. A simple sleeveless top - fitted or unfitted. This young woman's top is cut higher than her waistline, but I think I'd cut it right at the waistline, with a beautiful scallop-edged lace band. This very simple style would look good over any basic shorts, skirt, or pants. Note the armscye is also trimmed with a thin lace trim.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Copycat Pattern Test Garment Basted - Sleeveless Tee

A few days back, I blogged about some of the techniques I used for learning to copy a garment pattern I'm creating my first test garment for this pattern using a plaid remnant, which is lighter weight and more fluid fabric than the original garment - a Pima cottonWell.... I have the remnant - that's a good reason to test in this, though the fabric has a different kind of drape! Also it gives me a chance to simply make and wear a test garment and see if the basic idea work. 
Notice, after all my talk about not sewing pockets any more, that I've basted one up and pinned it on!  Well..... they are handy for slipping dog treats into - at least Jasper-the-pooch thinks so. He likes to put his furry feet on me for a cuddle and then try to slip his nose in my shirt pockets just in case I left some in there on the walk. I thought I would just try the pocket out while basting, figure out where I like possible pocket placement to be, and then decide if I actually want a pocket on this shirt. If I use the pocket I need to add some fusible interfacing.

I'm also fooling around with a sleeve pattern for this shirt at the same time. In theory, the first time through, I think I should just make up a sleeveless version to wear, but it's actually feeling a little fall 'like in our part of CA lately, and a sleeve seems like a good idea.

For the sleeve, I have a blue remnant that looks OK with this plaid (I can add a little plaid trim on the bottom edge). If the sleeve doesn't work out, then I'll just forget about it. No big deal as I'm not sure what else I would use that small amount of blue knit for.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Copycat Pattern Work - Sleeveless Tee

Why do we talk about copy CAT's?
Izzie the Kitty is unique!
I have a favorite sleeveless tee shirt, in fact I have more than one of this tee - in yellow, orange, dark and light pinks, black..... You get the idea. Though I might not find the high quality Pima Cotton the original is made from, I would love to be able to try making a similar shirt in knits I run across. Also I have a piece of Spoonflower cotton interlock knit printed with one of my Mama's designs - I would love to get this pattern going, in that fabric.

The original tee is sleeveless. The hem hits at the high hip. The shirt is a little bit boxy, but not really loose. There are no darts. The neckline is high with a minimal scoop. In the past I've copied simpler things like aprons and tote bags. This is a good shirt for my first pass at a more complex pattern copy project.

1) First, I pinned along the side seams and the hem. Then I laid the pinned side seam along a 'fold' line, and traced around the hem, after pinning the hem down.

2) I used one of those cardboard cutting out boards (the kind with a grid line on it) underneath, and pinned through that after I released the hem, and pinned the shoulder seams together. I connected the dots the pins made from the shoulder seams. The armscye I traced. You can also buy cork board in rolls instead of the cutting out boards. I had several of these cardboard cutting out boards, and they seem to work OK for pinning into.

I found I had to do the tracing and pinning in stages. You pin, trace, and release, then lay other parts down. I tried out push pins, but they made kind of large holes if I wanted to wear the original garment again. I think large regular pins can work just as well.

Why do we talk about copyCAT's?
Nothing more unique than my kitty!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ench By Sew-47: Oscar de La Renta Field Trip

Click on this link in iTunes  to download the 47'th episode of the Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast,  produced in September of 2016. Or listen directly on the web by clicking on this link.

This Month’s Show 
Come along on a field trip to the Oscar De La Renta Exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco

Bolero Jacket was style I couldn't think of  in regards to the gold lame outfit

Alluring Spanish dances I was trying to think of might be a tango or flamenco.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Terminado/Finished Sewing Baby Lounger- Changing/Playing/Napping Pad

Cousin Martha Loving up my dog Jasper
on our recent camping trip
at Pismo Beach

My cousin is going to be a grandmama!

I thought about buying some beautiful Kona cotton and making a finely pieced and quilted baby quilt. 
Would I get it done? I hate to admit that I have found bits and pieces related to unrealized baby quilts in my sewing collection, where the baby involved is in high school..... That's what happens when you decide to focus on garment sewing!

"Whiskers and Tails" - Robert Kaufman fabric
I was looking through my fabric inventory and found this doggie print, very thick batting and a blue and white striped home dec remnent. Golly what a thought - to use up what I have!

Considered various piecing ideas with the print and decided some things are more darling just as they are.

Here is baby pad tucked into it's matching laundry bag
Extra laundry bags for babies are handy
Note - Jasper appears to approve
I have just completed the baby-to-be, a changing/napping/playing pad. It's not intended as a blanket, because the home-dec side would be rough on tender skin. I remember it’s handy to have items you can throw down on the grass or a less than clean zone

Babies lounge around a lot.

Reminder of doggy print  became laundry bag - and will serve as gift bag for the baby shower. Horray! nothing remains but minimal scrap!

Also ordered  a baby’s-first type toy to attach to top of laundry bag

I also plan to make several of those bunnies you fold out of washclothes* to attach to the top - there never being sufficient quantities of washclothes in house when a kid is born

I will save the fine piecing and lovely quilting for another day


I did basic round shaped quilting - kind of snail like. Paper worked  well - I hand basted a big circle of it down, then stitched it in place with machine stitching and ripped it off. I also used round chalk lines with pins as guide lines. Quilted enough across surface to attach top to back.

Tried the walking foot - but teflon foot floated better. Maybe because of  very thick batting?

Making the bias strips from home dec fabric, and dealing with fussy corners actually took the most time - that thick home dec fabric is not very fun on the mitred corners.

* For washcloth bunnies I rubber band (instead of tying ribbon) and add faces with sharpie pen (instead of gluing on eyes) to attach to top. The ones in the link below have attachments that would cause choking (that link is not intended for newborn babies but has a handy folding diagram). But once the rubber band is removed and the cloth washed - it just becomes a washcloth. In addition to following link, there are a variety of youtube videos showing how to fold these bunnies origami-like.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Pismo Beach - When I wasn't sewing

Stella Camping Pismo Beach North Campground
I did get some sewing in this month that I haven't blogged about. But also,  more importantly, I went camping with Cousin Martha and Jasper the Wonderful Pooch at Pismo Beach North Beach Campground.

Own Sewing came in handy - packed and wore two of my sleeveless princess-seamed shirts, my front tucked denim shorts, and a warm fleece jacket I made perhaps six years ago!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Summer New York Travel Essential: Poppy Top adds California Spirit to a New York Trip (Altered M6078)

Yes, another trip to see my daughter. She is working on a graduate degree at NYU and living in Manhattan. It's only 6.5 blocks to walk from her apartment to Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). As I have on the other several trips I took this year, I went to the Met numerous times. I also spent a day at my favorite-all-time-anywhere Cloisters museum and enjoyed a lovely day at the wonderful Bronx Zoo with my daughter - but those are too much to squeeze into this collage!

In addition to packing my new princess-seamed top - Floribunda Bouquet- and Floribunda's new black linen ankle-length pants, I squeezed in sewing up another new top, a  cowl necked California poppies bedecked cowl neck in challis. I used a favorite knit pattern (M6078) for this woven, so I made a muslin first to check side and shoulder seams. I did add some more length to the shoulder seams. It was lovely having this along, as it made me feel just a tad dressier when I went to museums and shopping with my daughter.  Also those poppies showed off my California style!  Floribunda's new pants went great with it as well. In addition to this top, cottony princess-seamed Floribunda, I packed two light tee shirts for this 8 day trip. As I rinse tops out at night and hung them to dry, I could have left one of them at home - must remember that...

Images in this collage include: street scenes, Central Park arches, Natural History Museum, a Saturday Farmers Market two doors from my daughters apartment, and The Metropolitan Museum. Oh I have so many more photos!
Countryside scenes are from Natural History Museum exhibit on Dutchess County - A place I've long wanted to go during apple picking season.

Natural History Museum, New York City - Wouldn't it be great to have walls like this in my own home?!

I love the sense of how big a blue whale would actually be - What a challenge getting a full-sized photo!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer Essentials: Floribunda's Black Linen Pants (M6403)

This pattern is out of print
But you can find many new/unused for sale on the web
I talked about how I altered this pattern in last month's audio Enchanted by Sewing Podcast - Also I discussed perceived differences between ankle-length and cropped.

An essential summer outfit - recently sewn princess-seamed Floribunda Bouquet and her new pants