Well I finally got a good picture wearing my new cardigan with the matching pants and original wrap top I made last year.  Admittedly, this is the second time wearing this ensemble since I finished the cardigan two weeks ago.   I first wore it to the movies and then again to a volunteer working meeting at the community center. It turned out to be very appropriate for each occasion, considering I actually thought it was too casual for the volunteer meeting and way to dressy for the movies.  Not to mention, I thought it would be too hot each time.  I wore it with the sleeves drawn up for the indoor activity, and for the movies it actually kept me warm.  Of course, when I got back outside, I had to remove the cardigan all together.  Turns out it handled pretty well since the fabric didn’t wrinkle like I thought it would.

The cardigan is part of a wardrobe pattern ensemble that I worked on during a recent wardrobe challenge with my online and IRL sewing groups.  I don’t know why I took so long to make the right topper for this outfit.  I knew I wanted to use this strip as compliment for these pants, I just couldn’t figure the right look.  I originally sketched up a look and sewed up a top that went south really fast….a sheer DUD!!!  PLEASE…LAUGH your head off.  I’m good with that, it looks good on the skinny super tall model.  Another reason to understand how your body relates to different looks.

I am totally in love now.  Now I need to work on the fit of the cardigan just a tad bit more.  

I started with my basic alterations:  (The tissue fitting video is here.)

  • 3/4″ Swayback
  • 1.5″ FBA using the pivot and slide on the front and also on the side seam.
  • 1.5″ large bicep for the sleeve using the pivot and slide method again.  (I just love some pivot and sliding.)
  • For the hip if increased in the center back as well as the sides and front.  I also lengthened the entire thing to balance. 
  • The shoulders were lowered by 1/4″ at the shoulder point and the sleeve cap ease was shimmied off about 3/8″.  I like the roomy sleeves and the fact there is not to much cap.
A note on the back folks…. After seeing the back and noticing that I am now “Curving” a little more than I used to…I went back and gave myself an “untested” change for the shoulder blades.  I will keep you posted on this new change.  I also changed to give it a center back seam, and thus, added a grain line based on the upper section of the back pattern piece so that my HBL (horizontal balance line) will hang correctly.  
Construction points:
I chose not to make the tie belt. Initially, I was going to add a third button, since that is what was called for in the pattern.  Instead, I settled for two buttons, because when I went to find another pack at Joanns, I couldn’t find a match.  The seaming was done using my Bernina 1300mdc serger set for the combination overlock and chainstitch.  The thread used was the Bulky nylon from Guttermann in both the serger loopers. 

The shoulders and side seams were done with the chainstitch and overlock combined in order to limit any over stretching for those seams.  Also, on the shoulders and sleeves I used the process that I demonstrate on my video here:

Youtube Video Tutorial:  How to sew in knit sleeves.

After my last cardigan, which I haven’t worn much since I made it, except on a cruise…I felt I would consider this length and see if it was something I would wear before making anymore.  The jury is in!!!  I WILL definitely be making more cardigans.  Will it be this version, I’m not really sure.  Although, I do like this style, I am more interested in having one with pockets.  I may redesign this one to add some of the details I would like.  That makes sense, especially after making all these adjustments.  What say you to other ideas for designing cardigans or “toppers?’  

No actual fruit here. Just that flavor, the color of Koolaid and watermelon on a summer day. Cool indeed because it is a rayon knit that feels cool in any weather.   I just wanted to make this dress because I had a feeling for something wild and fun.  The colors of the fabric spoke to me and I just went with the design.  This t-shirt dress look was made back in February, but I just hadn’t remembered to blog about it until now that I am doing another “Wardrobe Fit-Along” The Knit Tee-Shirt.  I added the fun flirty “bell” sleeves as another way to show off the double sided qualities that got me to fall in love with this fabric in the first place.

I couldn’t decide which side of the fabric to use since it’s a reversible double sided rayon/lycra. It was a dream to sew and even more so a dream to wear. It’s not hot nor heavy.  I bought it from “Sew Much Fabric, sold out, but here are a few others that are in cue for me to sew during my Sew-To-Fit Along that I am participating in with my “IRL” and Online sewing groups.

The pattern was a Bootstrap pattern basic….a jersey dress sloper.  I changed the hem and the sleeves to get the bottom flounce and the bell sleeves.  Such a fun look.  The neckline wasn’t included in the pattern layout since it was just a sloper.  I cut the neckline to my desired size and shape based on my own measurements, and finished it off with a 5/8″ neckband.  For the hems, I just folded the fabric over twice and stitched in place.  Since it is a two-sided fabric, that created the bias bound contrast I wanted.

So, in the case only, being two-faced is a good thing.  Have you ever sewn with two sided fabric, how did you maximize its beauty?

Two weeks ago my “IRL” (in real life) sewing group, the Sewing Fashionistas, kicked off another “Wardrobe Sew-To-Fit Along” with the knit top and t-shirt as the topic of this months focus.  Alongside the IRL group, I participated in another Wardrobe building challenge/Sew-To-Fit Along with my online sewing group, the Pericrafters.  I taught class for my group here in Houston, called “Fit Diagnosis: The Knit Top” as well as created a few videos to help demonstrate how I sew my tops.  This video and blog post is the first of a series of post and tutorials you will be seeing over the next couple of weeks on how I fit and sew my knit tops and t-shirts.  
In preparations for teaching the classes, I made a host of tutorials on knit tops and t-shirts, as well as all the possible pattern alterations necessary to make it easier to help the folks in my groups.  The above photo is just a couple of the tops I have made.  You will be seeing those in some of the upcoming videos or upcoming blog post.   I have demonstrated how I make alterations for myself and my daughter using a good selection of patterns.  I hope you enjoy.
For now, here is the video on how to sew-in the sleeve using the flat insertion method I use for sewing a sleeve with a high cap.  Click on the picture above if you can not see the video here.  

Thanks for following along.  

The sheath dress fit-along has come to a close.  If you are on my YouTube channel and are part of my IRL fashion sewing group, you are well aware of all the work and fun that has been had in completing this dress. I did a complete fitting tutorial and multiple instructional videos on changing the necklines, adjusting the pattern and working your way through fitting the dress.  This all began last summer (2015) with the white shirt, then the pencil skirt, then the denim jacket.  I wanted to thank all of you for continuing to follow along with this “one-woman” shop.  I have been through a few ups and downs on the road to bring you these tutorials, and have tripped up a few times.  But each time I have reached out to you via social media, you have not let me down.  My list of to-dos, and in-completes is really long, as long as my heart is big, for sharing.  My husband is probably the most patient man in the world.  He knows how passionate I am about sewing and doesn’t complain.  Am I a “Stedford” wife?  I would say not! Because if I were, you all would not see very much of me at all….here’s to my husband for his kindness, love and unwavering patience!!

Now, for the goods-  “This lovely dress!!

The fabric was provided by Sew Much Fabric in support of my idea to bring to you this Sew-To-Fit Along.”   Of course we all need a great fitting basic sheath dress. I sure needed a new one in my wardrobe, but breaking down and making one took some work from me, and of course some prodding and direction from my great Wardrobe Consultant, Roz Ghaither, the owner and operator of Sew Much Fabric.  I’m not all sappy about her y’all, I just love working with people who put customer service at the top of the list.  I’m a sucker for good customer service.  I named this post “I Am Not a Stedford Wife!!” because that is the mold I felt I was being forced into when told to “stick to the basics”.  EWWWW!!!

sew much fabric smfabric.com, fit-along, wardrobe fit-along, wendybydesign

A great deal of participation, help and support came from my fun loving loyal fans and followers over on periscope for this endeavor.  I know YOU ALL are very loyal and very supportive of every single thing I do.  However, I must admit these ladies help me with my to-do list, and are constant reminder “bells” to keep me focused and on track.  That live connection is just so gratifying for me and really motivates the creative genius that I am.  As I prepared for this photo session, I asked myself:  “Can I vamp this dress up a little.” …it just reminded me so much of my “corporate” days.  I almost felt like I should have splashed a little paint on the front.  Then I decided to do a little Peri-photoshoot and get help from my live viewers.  They encouraged the pie plate and bowl ensemble.  I loved every thing about this shoot.  Even the relation to the elusive “Stepford Wife” icon.

My granddaughter was the stylist in all this to make sure I had to right shoes and jewelry for the shoot.  You know how it is when you prepare to go somewhere…it is easy to get dressed and prepped. However, doing a photoshoot takes practice and skill.  This area is not my strong suit, so I seek help wherever I can find it, even if it means trusting my “Mini-Me.”

The apron will be reviewed more in a later post.  It has its own story to tell.  WendybyDesign was the one to host an apron Sew-Along back in December that got me to sew this one.  I love it.  Thanks Wendy.

wendybydesign apron sew-along
Sheath Dress Construction Details:
This dress has been detailed so exhaustingly in videos on my youtube channel, that it is hard for me to honestly talk about its construction any further.  Please just enjoy the pictures and know that any questions you could possibly have regarding this dress is already documented in the videos on my channel.  If there are any questions you have directly please leave a comment and let me know so I can make public any content that hasn’t been release.  Trust me, it has all been filmed or broadcast on Periscope.  I only did Tissue Fitting, which is detailed extensively in my Youtube videos.  
  1. Pattern is Vogue 9025, size 14
  2. Alterations: FBA, Broad back, waist lengthened, Armhole made smaller, hips adjusted for larger rear end.
  3. Zipper excluded because fabric stretches so well.
  4. Lined completely
  5. Lowered and reshaped the neckline- video here.
  6. many more…..

  •  I don’t mean to send you on a wild goose chase.  It’s just easier at this point to direct you if you have questions, rather than go into trying to determine what might be a good topic to discuss with the dress fitting and pattern work. 

 Thanks for understanding.  Much appreciation to you all!!!!  Please enjoy the pictures!!

If I wanted to take this dress apart and knit-pic every single wrinkle, it would be ridiculous.  I could have worn a body slimmer to take care of the back rolls….yeah right!!??  Whatever, you just hold that thought.  In the mean time, lets be real, this is a ponte knit, very nice I might add.  Beefy with wonderful recovery.  The fit is wonderful, considering I did not do a muslin.   Now, I’m gonna go eat some pie. 
stepford wife

Unless you regularly read my blog, subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me live on Pericope, you wouldn’t know that I have been consistently working on a Wardrobe Fit-Along since July of last year 2015 in collaboration with Sew Much Fabric, an online fabric store based out of Texas.  We began with the White Shirt, then the Sheath dress, then I took a holiday break and did a holiday sequin skirt tutorial.  Currently we have been working on the denim jacket.  This Wardrobe Fit-Along is an ongoing process that I have been making regular videos for in order to discuss and tackle particular fitting issues found with each particular garment type and style in relation to different body compositions.  

Vogue 9037....Wardrobe Fit-Along









As for this jacket, I was not going to make it….I complained the collar was too big for my bust, then I complained that I didn’t like the way the back hikes up, and the front draped…. I bet I am one of the most stubborn person this wardrobe consultant has probably ever provided services for.  I have given her more grief and dismay along the way, than I care to admit, over her suggestions and recommendations for what items I should make for myself.  Yet every single time, I am giddy about the make, and it looks just as nice as she had said it would.  

Vogue 9037

So, why then, do I complain so much along the way.  Well, lets see, I’m just that kind of person, and it takes a special person to work with me.  Yeah, that’s the answer and I’m sticking with that story.  I don’t particularly like the little tie belt, however, I didn’t realize it would be a problem until I wore it to my function.  So next time, I may make a regular “belt” with this fabric.  I left the snaps out for no reason except, I just couldn’t find them…and I wanted to wear the jacket NOW.  You know right?

Vogue 9037

The jacket was extremely easy to construct…I mean easy, like my granddaughter could do it minus the hong kong treatment I did to the seams.  That part wasn’t necessary with this unlined faced jacket.  I just couldn’t stand the thought of seeing a lot of bare seams meandering about inside my clothes.  I just could not have that, it just isn’t pretty right?

So, if you want to continue keeping up with my shenanigans and wardrobe building, while learning something along the way, just stay tuned and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.  I have plenty more fun, basics to fight about, fitting lessons to teach, and sewing tips and techniques to share.  Because that is what I do….I love to teach you what I learn along the way.  

As for helping you know exactly “what” looks good on your body, check-in with Roz each week, because “that is” what she does, a fantastic well educated textiles professional who is well trained in the art of wardrobe building.  Together, we are a powerful force. Now, all I need to do is find a dependable carpenter to get my sewing studio in order, and I’ll be able to sew more wardrobe staples faster.


Construstions Details:

I did a preliminary tissue fitting of the pattern to determine any major adjustment that may have been needed.  Usually, that is what I do to determine if I need to make a muslin.  I try not to always go right into an muslin fitting, because there are so many major adjustments that can be revealed by just holding the pattern up to your body or pinning it in place to check for issues.  In this case I checked the position of the tucks and whether I needed to lengthen the waist, etc.

Pattern Alterations:
This is Vogue 9037.  I cut a size 14. You can take a look at the video here for a thorough explanation of the changes I made and why. In this video I did not mention that I removed 2 inches from the bottom length of the front towards the end of construction.  I just did not like that sloppy, floppy look for my taste.  (1″FBA, Shifted the tucks for balance, sway back adj., and took out a little on the back neck, and did a wedge tuck in the lapel.)

Fabric: Linen/Cotton blend I purchased from Sew Much Fabric…this one is sold out, but her is the link for the black. http://stores.smfabric.com/linen-blend-denim-black/

Have you been following along with my Wardrobe Fit-Along for the last few months?  I would like to know if what I have been venturing on for all to see has been helping you or anyone you know.

Sheath dress!! I have lots of dresses, most of them have multiple design lines, lots of them, and I live for prints, any type of print. Again I say, as with the basic white shirt, here, I don’t like sewing plain solid garments. Unless, of course you can see them from a few miles away, not the old “where’s Waldo” thing either.  This cute number was made during August this year, when I first started thinking about wardrobe planning. I was originally told to make it plain….but, of course I didn’t listen.  Almost 4 months later, and I have yet to find any occasion to wear it.

With that….you might think I forgot about focusing on my basic wardrobe essentials. Yes, I am a hard head, and yes, I generally steer clear of anything remotely related to “following the crowd”. However, as I said before, I am gaining a new understanding of why I need to have a really, true, solid fundamental wardrobe.

My Sewing Fashionistas Sewing group “Wardrobe Fit-Along” is still going strong. So many of our ladies have made awesome shirts and now begun preparations for sewing up a sheath dress as we continue working to build a great basic wardrobe. Many have already received their related pattern suggestions for their body type, began fitting their patterns, and are well on their way to procuring and prepping fabric choices.

As for me, well, I have been prepping new YouTube videos for all to join in our journey. Oh, yes in indeed, it is a journey. At least for me it is a long journey, one I could not do alone. So, please come along for the ride, if you haven’t already done so with the white shirt fit-along. You could play catch up by checking out my videos, or you can just dive in where we are now with the sheath dress. If you need help choosing a pattern for your body type, just hop over to my “partner in crime’s” blog and favorite wardrobe consultant, here, to see which pattern works best for your body.

In the meantime, I will be working just a tad harder this time to get test subjects who are willing to show their fabulous bodies on YouTube to help you learn how to sew-to-fit your body, your taste, and your style!!!

This week we have started out with our voluptuous, fine and foxy, plus size model, my daughter. She doesn’t sew, but because she loves having me sew for her, she had no choice but to participate as payment for the beautiful dress she will have after its all said and done.

Myself and fellow Houston Sewing Fashionistas group members are going full steam ahead working to fit and sew our Iconic White shirts with guidance and instruction on how body types matter, from our very own wardrobe consultant, Roz at See Much Fabric.  As we continue to build a great fitting wardrobe, I continue to welcome you to follow along via my YouTube channel as I fit students and group members’ different body types.

 Vogue 8772: Part 1: Fitting for Petites
Vogue 8772: Part 1- Fitting for Petites

This series of videos is of me teaching, fitting and making all the petite-able pattern alterations for Vogue 8772 for our resident Fashionista Ann, with Youtique Bridal.   We have some really talented folks in our group.  Since we don’t meet every month, these videos are meant to help members along their journey, and so that I can enjoy visiting and not just teaching during meeting times.

 Vogue 8772: Part 2- Making Pattern Alterations
Vogue 8772: Part 2- Making Pattern Alterations

The videos are of my students, friends, and members who have graciously agreed to videotape their learning experience so you can gain personal knowledge for your body type.  Thus, all areas of alterations may not be covered completely for each body type.  I will try to answer simple general questions here on the blog or in future videos.

Vogue 8772: Part 3- Final Fabric Fitting

Be sure to stay tuned, subscribe, and share, and share again.  “Pretty please.”  Click on either of the pictures to watch its related video or here to watch the entire playlist.

– Posted from my iPhone

Wardrobe planning and sewing with a plan (SWAP) has been on my mind for quite a while.  As I continue to assess my wardrobe with the help of a wardrobe consultant, we are trying to get me to the point of actually having something to wear when I stand at the door of my closet.  The big question for me has been: “How do you “plan” for a “teaching–flexible–be ready at a moments notice” lifestyle and still remain “stylish” not “overdressed” or “stuffy.”

 The Wardrobe Fit-Along on YouTube with SewToFit

I love anything outdoors, I love the theatre, the ballet, camping, and even frequent the local home repair store for DIY home projects.  But, I have suits galore and pencil skirts out the kazoo, with a few date night digs to boot.  However, when I go to the closet, I look at that stuff, and think of funerals, board meetings, and “look at me” parties.  Even church doesn’t require that type of dressing anymore.  I want to feel comfortable and still maintain my laid back, classic since of style, without working too hard.

No matter how hard I try to stick to a sewing plan on my own, I continue to make vacation wear and one of a kind outfits, that just don’t go much further than the function originally intended.  Thus, in an effort to stay focused this time,  I have sought the services of Wardrobe Consultant and owner of Sew Much Fabric online fabric store, Rosalind Gathier.   For the last few months her services have been providing me with some much needed focus to forge a wardrobe suitable for my taste, my body, and my lifestyle.

I figured since I’m working through this wardrobing project, it might be fun to also include you all in on the things I learn.  Since, IRL (in real life) I teach pattern fitting and sewing, I will use my talents as a fitting instructor and sewing teacher to share with you my journey, and bring you in on the task of fitting a better wardrobe.  We can call it the “Wardrobe Fit-along,” to make sure our new threads fit our style, our taste and especially our body.  I have created a series of Sew-To-Fit: YouTube videos to share with you what I teach to my students and to help you see areas that might help you long the way.

You can go over to Roz’s blog and sign up for her monthly “Mini Wardrobe Plan” newsletter updates, and also subscribe to my YouTube channel in order to keep current with new pattern fitting information and discussions.

For the month of August, Roz recommended we focus on the “ICONIC White Shirt.”  Thus, for the month of September, my YouTube Videos will show a few of my IRL students, and sewing group members fitting the white shirts.  Something, I so desperately need in my closet.  How I let all my white shirts go, I have no clue.  I think I went too casual at some point along the way.

I am so glad to have this guidance to help me get my act together!  You get to enjoy the benefits of my learning, because I will be presenting fitting tips and pattern alterations assistance via my Youtube channel for the patterns suggested by Roz.  Some of my IRL Sewing Fashionistas group members will even be joining to show y’all the different body types and recommended styles for each person’s style and taste.

I hope you join the fun.

I made this skirt almost 3 years and ago!  Where has it been?  I had all but forgotten about it until I saw RedPants Designs make her version, now I need a fancy jacket to wear with it in cold weather.  It was all the way back in my closet folded over a pant hanger behind a few other items I just wasn’t interested in wearing.  Also, since I have been parsing my closet and checking for “holes” in my wardrobe, with the help of my trusty styling and wardrobe planning blogs, a few fun outfits I made in the past have been resurfacing.   A goldmine to my surprise.   I was so happy to adorn this fun skirt that I had to take a twirl or few.

I was having so much fun twirling, I felt like a kid.  This skirt is from the McCall’s 6608- Misses’ Skirts.  I made it from the lightest and most difficult of rayon jersey knits out there, at least I think.  It required 4 yards of fabric and I wanted every bit of that fabric in this skirt.  The drape is sublime and you would never notice it has so much volume.  Hence, the reason for all these twirling pictures y’all.

Oh, here are a couple with the skirt just hanging gracefully to the floor.   Doesn’t it make me look taller?  At least I feel taller wearing it…and with this top I made at the same time McCall’s 6400 creates a really fancy monochromatic look that I like.

I did try this top, just recently, in a heavier knit to go with my palazzo pants…but it was an epic failure.

The skirt has 4 godets, and is voluminous to say the least.  I would say it is much wider and fuller than the average circle skirt given that the godet insets add so much.  Be very careful of your fabric choices, this skirt will grow longer and longer and longer over time from the weight of the fabric and the bias cut of the parts.  I have mine pulled up to my ribcage since my heels aren’t very high.

For the waistband, I used 1.5″ elastic, and could have gone down quite a bit on the length of the elastic.  I got the elastic from Peggy Sagers with Silhouette Patterns.  I have since found a pretty good one from Lyla Messinger as well.  It helps to keep the waist area extremely smooth and is used in yoga pants.  I styled it with a simple t-shirt here…which maybe, I will add another type of shirt to see how versatile I can make this maxi.  Of course I will be making another one but somewhat shorter to wear with boots.  We shall see.

Until next time….keep sewing.

Most of the time when I want to grab a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt I end up with over stretchy, graphic and just blah-zay.  I need some basics so that when I want to dress basic, I’ll have something to wear. 


It was extremely hard to make this one plain and simple t-shirt.  No color, no patterns, no prints, stripes or fancy seams, just your plain ole’ t-shirt.  That is what this is at first glance.  But all the stylist and wardrobe planners who I consult, in books, online or InRealLife, tell you to make sure to have “the basics” and you will “always” have something to wear no matter the occasion.  

Thus, I have set out to make some basics, and I started with this T-shirt.  I’m told the next on my list of makes should be a White button down dress shirt/blouse, a good “day dress”, a black jacket with pencil skirt, a dressy jacket (this is where the Chanel-like jacket fits into the plan.) a Little Black Dress, a pair of nice black dress slacks, and well fitted jeans.  From this arsenal, I should be able to run to the closet and mix-n-match a manner of outfits just by adding choice accessories and colored pieces to match any season, spring, summer, fall, or holiday.

I’ll be calling this my tailored “T” since it has set-in sleeves.  I commonly wear RTW t-shirts which have raglan sleeves that fit pretty close to the arms and body.  The Renfrew Tee by Grainline Studios has been my go to for the last year.  It fits really well for my purposes, however, I wanted to try this one because it has the darts at the side bust and also at the waist back and front.  I only used the bust darts for the look I was after with this one.  Of course I could have just done that same thing to the Renfrew, but you know how it is—  “Why think when you can just cut.” 

Pairing it with shorts or a nice skirt changes the entire ensemble from casual to business.  So, there, is it really just another ole’ t-shirt?  I think not.  I just need to wrap my head around the idea of making the simple pieces needed to build a versatile wardrobe.  

Pattern details:  
McCalls 6355: view C,  I cut a size 16 based on the finished bust and graded the shoulders, neckline, and sleeve cap back to my normal size 14, including added 1/2″ at the shoulder/neckline to narrow the opening, it was way too wide even for the size 14.  The short sleeves were lengthened 1.5 inches from the pattern.  I lowered the front neckline by 1.5” and lowered the bust dart by 1” and angle it up a tad to taste.  The fabric is ponte knit from Hancock, so it only has 25% stretch.  Next one I will lengthen at the hem another 1.5” or so, it falls just a teeny bit to high on the hip or maybe just take in the side seams.  We shall see what happens with a different fabric.

I follow a lot of “idea” cites and get wardrobe planning tips from various sources all the time.  What are some of the special places you all check to help you sew with a plan or purpose?