Sunday, December 31, 2017

Signature Color of the Month Series - #sigcotm

After the success of #OWOP17, I became intrigued by the concept of restrictions as a way to force creativity. Sounds backwards, right? But sometimes the more freedom I have on a project, the more I suffer from analysis paralysis. I've found that if I give myself boundaries in terms of color, pattern type, fabric type, etc, then the creativity begins to flow.

That's part of the reason SWAP 2018 is so appealing. I've spent a lot of the past few years in a grey mood. In an effort to move away from black as my go-to neutral, I parked instead in the grey zone. A lot of my clothing choices are in a myriad of grey tones.

I love grey, it's a perfect neutral. But I need more color in my life. My favorite color is red, but I actually own sadly little of it (unless you count our living room furniture: red micro suede, mmm). My second favorite color is purple, but I also have very little in that color either.

So in an effort to shine a rainbow into my life, I hit upon birthstones as inspiration.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018 #MenswearMakeNine Plans

Allow me to introduce you to El Husbando.

Having a husband is nice. Having one that willing wears everything his wife makes for him is even better.

He's such a willing guinea pig!

When I found out about Allie's #menswearmakenine pledge, I asked him what he wanted. He's a software developer, and lives in the typical programmer uniform of jeans, t-shirts, and the occasional hoodie. But he also has a whole closet full of nice button downs he rarely wears. So we talked about supplementing what's already there and updating some of the older items.

To that end, he is getting more of what he likes: henley, polo shirts, and cargo shorts. I know many people hate cargo shorts but I don't. All those pockets are fully functional! And he wears ones that fit, not the oversized diaper look like some men. And if him wearing that means I don't need to carry a purse, we both win!

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 Make Nine Plans & Ideas

I did not participate in #makenine in 2017 because I didn't really know what it was. Now discovered that it's "a gentle challenge for makers," I can totally get on board with that!

Like I mentioned in my big ol' 2018 Plans post, there are some special-to-me makes I want to tackle this year. These are either holes in my closets or projects that will feel like "leveling up" my sewing.

Last week when the frigid weather finally hit Los Angeles, I realized I only own one turtleneck sweater. So that is definitely a priority. I've asked around for patterns that are curvy friendly and am exploring a few options. If I can't find what I really want, then I'll make another Toaster sweater in a black chunky sweater knit that's just sitting in my stash. I have so much of it, and it's so heavy, it's like a blanket. But what I really want is a fitted turtleneck, so we'll see what I hit upon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Top 5 of 2017

I just learned about the Top 5 recap post that Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow hosts annually. It's a chance to go through your hits, misses, highlights, reflections, and goals.

I was trying to think of a way to write a 2017 recap and this came along at just the right time! I've covered the goals portion already, but I definitely have some hits and misses.

In 2017 I completed 62 projects. That seems like a lot but by comparison, in 2016 I managed to eek out 60 and I also worked a demanding job that had me traveling nearly 3 entire months out of the year. In 2017 I was a full time homemaker for 9 whole months with very few distractions, so 62 seems low to me.

I'll do better in 2018.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The #LittleRedDressProject - Simplicity 8332

The moment I saw Simplicity 8332, I knew it would be in velvet.

The pattern calls for all kinds of light woven fabrics, but I swear that the drawing for View B looks like light blue velvet. So I went on a hunt for crushed red velvet, because I also wanted this to be my make for the #LittleRedDressProject.

Now in its second year, this was created by Renata of Running in Style. This year it is co-hosted by Rosa from the YouTube channel Sewn (as well as Suzy Magazine). The challenge this year was to create a red dress and post it on Instagram this week, or if you really wanted to stretch yourself, recreate a famous red dress or one from a movie. I opted for the easier challenge.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gateway to Pants - Sew Caroline Boardwalk Shorts

Colder temperatures are finally making their way to the Los Angeles area so I can now start looking at transitional pieces.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to something called the California uniform. It’s comprised of a hoodie, shorts, and flip flops. I fully admit that it makes no sense whatsoever to wear a sweatshirt with shorts, but it’s what we do. Apparently Californians only get cold on top.

I didn’t even realize this was a thing until I went to college on the east coast. When you grow up dressing a certain way, I guess you don’t give it much thought. But in college someone pointed out that we Californians all dressed this way, and so it became known as the uniform.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Planning for SWAP 2018 - Classy Casual Capsule Wardrobe

I mentioned Sewing with a Plan 2018  in my Plans for 2018 post. But what is this SWAP and why would you want to participate?

SWAP is the brainchild of the gifted and talented folks over at the Stitcher's Guild. You have to be a member to participate, which is free and easy to do. Now in its 16th year, the 2018 theme is Seasonal Designer Collection.

The whole description is pasted below in case you want to check it out before signing up, but the gist is that one creates 11 garments from a limited palette: 2 neutrals and either 1 accent color/2 prints, or 2 accent colors/1 print. All garments must work in at least 2 outfits together, and there are a specific number of garments that must be made from each color:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Planning for 2018

There is so much going on next year. First and foremost, I have a big milestone birthday in May and I'm SO EXCITED!!

But as far as sewing challenges and contests go, THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON!

Where to start?
RTW FAST-001 2.jpg
One of the more ambitious sewing adventures will be the 2018 Ready-to-Wear Fast that Sarah Gunn of Goodbye Valentino created. The point is to avoid buying any RTW clothes (except for underwear, socks, accessories, and a wedding dress if you need one) and create your own.

I think I was able to do this in 2017 without realizing it, except for 2 pairs of jeans and workout bras I had to buy because I don't know how to make either of those things—yet! I actually need more sports bras, so I might have to make a run before the end of the year so that I'm completely stocked. I go to the gym five times a week, so I need a good assortment!

You can sign up for the 2018 RTW Fast on Sarah's blog. The deadline is December 31, 2017.

Other challenges include:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Peach "Flashdance" Sweater - Simplicity 8089

Even if you weren't yet born in 1983, you're probably well aware of the iconic grey off-shoulder sweater that Jennifer Beals sported in Flashdance. Even my millennial husband, not born until later in the decade, called this my Flashdance sweater when I first showed it to him.

Honestly, it's like El Husbando read my mind when I showed it to him. My first thought when I put it on was the exact same thing.

Yes, it has a wide-ish neck. No, it's not meant to be worn off the shoulder. It isn't even a raglan sleeve like the original. So why does it have that vibe?


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Striped Berry Fail - The Made It Drop Top

Have you ever fallen in love with the idea of something, only to have the reality not quite measure up? Have you ever actually visualized yourself in a garment one way, spent the time to create it, then it just doesn't wow you?

I've had a few too many of these lately.

I should have known from the picture on the pattern envelope that I'm not built for wearing this type of garment. I'm too short, and short waisted at that, and stocky for this.

"This" being the Made It Patterns Drop Dress and Top. It was part of my November, then December, plans and I finally got around to making it. I opted for the top version, since I had bought only 2 yards of fabric. It's an assymetric tunic/dress with a slash neck that looked really cool on the envelope.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mom's Seamwork Loretta

In October I mentioned how I wanted to finish a Loretta for my very patient and very kind mom. I finally did get that to her before Halloween, but didn't get pictures of it until Thanksgiving, when she wore it for the holiday.


The late fall/early winter in Los Angeles can be a little chilly or it can be stinking hot. This year it's mostly been hot, like a fireball. So when the end of November rolled around, it was perfectly acceptable to still wear lightweight, flowy linen. Which is what mom opted for in donning her Loretta for Thanksgiving dinner.

We're close enough in size that I'd had her try on my Spanish Loretta for reference. She liked the fit but asked for both the neckline and armholes to be a little higher. So I made her a size 12 as well and raised the armholes another 1/2". This is the max that can be raised without adding length at the neckline because the arm seams start pulling up into your armpits unless the shirt is worn off shoulder.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pink V-Neck Sweater - McCall's 7660

I first learned about this pattern from an Inside the Hem video. I really liked the idea of a v-neck sweater and I really wanted it in pink, just like the picture for view D.

I imagined this in a boucle knit, but had a devil of a time finding any boucle, much less one in pink. I was able to find a cool open weave in a dusty lavender/pink so that was good enough.

This fabric is more like netting. You can catch fish with this, out in the ocean. Also the color? Is it lavender or pink? Plavender?

For modesty purposes it absolutely requires a camisole underneath, but luckily I have one in a matching-ish color. Plavender.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hey, It Fits! - Blank Slate Blanc Tee in a Woven

I mentioned in my post about my Seamwork Loretta that I had used that same fabric once before to make a Blanc Tee, and how idiotic it was to use a woven fabric for a knit pattern.

It obviously didn't fit at the time, but I actually took my time with it so I was really disappointed. I used French seams inside, and bound the neck and cap sleeves with skinny bias binding. I even managed to pattern match the shifty fabric (on one side).

It looked nice, at least.

This week I decided to transition my closet from summer to winter, which means pulling out all the tank tops and taking my sweaters out of their hidey hole. In the same box as the sweaters was this top. On a whim I decided to try it on, as one does when they want to torture themselves.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cataloging My Stash - Vogue & Butterick Patterns

Continuing on my quest to tackle the organization process for all my patterns, I have a much more modest list of the other Big 4 companies' patterns. In fact, I don't even own any Kwik Sew patterns. They feel very much like they're aimed at mid-Western PTA moms, which I am most definitely not.

That being said, I have been looking for both K3484 and K3504 to add to my menswear collection. K3484 was part of a men's sew along group I'm a member of on Facebook, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm sure it will go on sale at some point online.

As before, I'll continue to update as I acquire, make, and blog patterns.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Dec17 Plans

Guise!!! It's DECEMBER! The year is almost over. I have a credit card that expires in January 2018 and I thought that was forever away. It isn't. It's almost NOW.

Oh geez. This is where I start thinking, "where the hell did the year go?" I'm kind of glad to see this year end, but also kind of sad. I really like the number 7, and enjoyed writing the year out whenever possible. And El Husbando and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this year. You only get one of those, right?

Actually we get two since we got married twice! But that's a different story.

It was also a year of many personal firsts. I quit my job, started a YouTube channel, actually achieved my annual New Year's resolution to lose weight AND keep it off, and generally focused on my creative needs. In fact, my main goal for 2017 was to FOCUS. And I did. Ha, I did a thing!

So what's on tap sewing-wise for the last month of the year?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Nov17 Recap

Well, aren't we glad that's finally over?

And by "that," I mean the waiting on Thanksgiving so that Christmas decorations don't seem so obscene.

I'm a firm believer in all holidays having their scheduled time, so I refuse to decorate for the December holidays until after Thanksgiving. Plus, we live in a desert, so getting a tree and keeping it alive until the end of December is merely an exercise in frustration. So we got a tree on November 30th and it's all of 21" tall. It's so tiny that we can't hang any of our usual ornaments on it. I had to get teeny tiny ornaments to avoid breaking all the branches. But it's a living tree, so hopefully we can keep it alive for another trip around the sun.

But this is mostly a sewing blog, not a decorating recap blog, so what did I make this November?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Recapping #OWOP17

I did it! 7 days, 7 different looks from the same pattern. I do admit I repurposed one item for two different days, but that's okay.

I took the very basic One Hour Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts and used it as the template for all seven days. Even though I didn't wear the outfits in the order of their creation, all of them except the original that I already had were made expressly for this week and were given the following alterations:
  • 5/8" high round back adjustment, creating a center back seam
  • 1" full bust adjustment
  • shortened the sleeves by 1"
The challenge ran Saturday, November 26 through Friday, December 1. Here are my outfits by day:

Friday, November 24, 2017

All the Ogden Camis

It was a damn hot summer in Los Angeles (and now it's leaking into fall--no wonder people think we don't have "seasons" here). Like triple-digits hot. Even though this is technically an urban desert, it's not very common to go over 100 out here by the ocean. But it happened this year.

To cope I made the True Bias Ogden camisole tank top. I made four, to be exact, but only three are wearable. (The first one was a tester out of a leopard printed bed sheet but I sewed it very quickly without a lining or matching thread, so it's not really for public consumption.)

This pattern is beloved by the online sewing community. Everyone raves about how the low back doesn't show a bra! I did not have this experience, even after shortening the straps, so I brought up the back about 1.5 inches.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cataloging My Pattern Stash - McCall's Patterns

I might have a problem.

I like patterns. A lot. Especially when I was first starting out and saw all the shiny things, I wanted them all!

The problem is that our tiny condo has zero storage, so organizing my stash is a bit of a nightmare.

That still doesn't stop me from buying more...

I could move into a warehouse dedicated solely to my pattern collection and would probably outgrow that pretty quickly too. BUT WHEN WILL I GET TO MAKING ALL OF THEM?

You see my conundrum?

It's silly, really. But here we are. And I need a better tracking system.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Menswear TNT Pattern - McCall's 6044 or 9234

First, can we talk about the confusing pattern numbering systems sometimes employed by these companies? There's one pattern number on the package, depending on where it is sold, and then another on the actual pattern itself, which is the one that corresponds to the company's website.

This isn't limited to just one company either. I've found this in both McCall's and New Look patterns. It's frustrating and annoying. WHY IS THIS DONE?!!!


Second, can a pattern be considered "tried and true" if it's only been used once? Twice? I think at twice, the answer is yes. And so I present these two similar shirts I made for my husband from M6044 (or is it M9234????):

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My First TNT Pattern - McCall's 6754

The month of  #SewcialistsTNT patterns is in full swing! I actually had to think about what patterns are "tried and true" to me. Usually I make something once and move on to my next project. I always mean to come back to a successful make and reimagine it anew, but struggle with all the new patterns I have at my disposal.

And then I remembered my wedding reception dress! AND HOW MUCH I LOVE A FULL, TWIRLY SKIRT!

Back in September of last year, I still hadn't gotten the hang of different fabric types and decided that McCall's 6754 was the perfect party dress—in satin. M6754 is made for knits, which means that the fit is a bit tighter because of something called "negative ease." Because knits stretch, the final product can be a bit smaller than your measurements as the fabric will stretch to accommodate. Think of leggings, and how they seem small but will stretch to fit. Same premise.

Friday, November 10, 2017

All the Saunios

Throughout the year, the ongoing #sewmystyle Instagram project has brought the online sewing community a monthly challenge to all make the same project. Planned by Alex Bartholomew of Bluebird Fabrics, the challenge curated 12 patterns from indie designers available at a discount for anyone participating (sign-ups were required).

A post shared by Paulette Font-Erato (@pfont) on

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Committed to ALL THE HASHTAGS!

November is a crazy month for sewing enthusiasts! There's #OWOP, #SewcialistsTNT, and #BPsewvember.

I finally committed to One Week One Pattern and even stuck to the pattern I originally blogged about. There are likely over 100 participants thus far, and I spent a good hour or so following everyone on Instagram. I can't wait to see everyone's makes! I need the sewjo inspiration.

Before committing, though, I made another batwing kimono-style top from Simplicity Patterns. I'd expected that maybe I would use that pattern instead, but it turns out it needs more fixes than I have the patience for at the moment. I'm treating it as a wearable muslin and even wore it out on date night, where someone who wasn't El Husbando complimented me on it. So despite all the fitting problems, I still consider that a win! But it won't work for THIS month.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Self-Drafted Off-Shoulder Men's Button Down Upcycle

Look at me, still enjoying this NEVER ENDING SUMMER pretending it's still summer.

My husband bought that hat in Mexico, while were there celebrating our first wedding anniversary back in June. He wears it nearly all the time now. This photo shoot was done while he was out of the house. Stolen. Ha ha.

Back to this shirt. I got the idea for it from Mimi G. She has a sew along on her YouTube channel. Video tutorials are really the best!

I snagged this beautiful twill weave cotton men's shirt at the local thrift shop for about $6, brought it home, and followed her tutorial almost to the letter. The only part I struggled with was her instructions for the shoulder pleat. I kept running into the pleat when trying to thread the elastic through. So I finally gave up on the pleat and just folded over. It works fine.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nov17 Sewing Plans

It's FINALLY getting chilly in LA. Temps will remain in the mid- to low-60s down here in the South Bay for at least the next week. This is about as cold as it gets, but the summer dragged on and on and on, so it's nice to get down to "sweater weather."

I know, mid-60s is veritable summer temps for some of you. I recognize how spoiled I am. I accept this burden.

That being said though, there are some nights when a good chunky sweater is needed. I've been working on a thick black Saunio Cardigan since last March...shelved in May because the weather finally turned hot, after a few false starts. But the material is prone to stretching, so I'm not even sure it's worth finishing it. All I have left to do is sew the facing and hem. But I just tried it on and the sleeves are strangely tight. But the weight is just right for the slight chill in my house, so we'll see how long this remains a work-in-progress (WIP).

I already have three of these, but none of them are particularly warm and cozy.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oct17 Recap

I never actually believed I’d be able to power through all of my want-to-makes for October, but the act of making my plans public did actually help me accomplish three of them. Plus, it’s good to have smart goals.

  1. I finally finished my mom’s floral Loretta. Pictures will be fortcoming. 

  2. My husband is now the proud owner of a pair of Jalie men’s underwear (Jalie 3242). This is the only picture I’m likely to get out of it, though. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Volume, Volume, Volume! Simplicity 8091

Ready to fly!

That's what this dress screams to me. I'm a colorful, rainbow bat.

At least it's seasonally appropriate!

Speaking of which: what did you dress up as for Halloween? My husband and I were murderjacks, which is an inside joke from our beer-centric Youtube channel. Check it out!

Back to this funky dress. It's Simplicity 8091 view A. Simplicity describes this as a "cocoon shaped kimono that pulls over head." That means the hem is a bit narrower and constricting, like a cocoon might be.

What that description fails to fully explain is that this dress has so much volume, you could safely use it as a parachute.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Zebra Cowl Neck Shirt - McCall's 6841

This is the shirt I affectionately refer to as my zebra shirt. Based on the black and white striping, I could just have easily called it my jail bird shirt too, I suppose. But zebra it was deemed.

I made this shirt in early August 2016. That means I had been sewing all of 2 months, so I really had no idea what I was doing. Truly, none. I don't even remember how I got my hands on this pattern M6841 since it's now out of print. But it says EASY right there on the envelope, so I believed it! I made view B, which is the sleeveless version without lining.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Garment Labels & Beginner Resources

Sometimes when you've finished a project—or even in the middle of making it!—it can be hard to tell which is the front from the back. You rarely have to worry about this when you buy clothes at the store, so it wasn't really something I thought about at first.

Once I started getting more serious about garment sewing, I ordered these labels from the Dutch Label Company. A lot of bloggers and Instagrammers had raved about their quality and pricing, so I jumped on board.

They are super easy to design, with a bunch of templates and font options. (Admittedly mine are a little boring, but maybe next time I'll add a cute graphic or logo.) And shipping was quick, too!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

One Pattern, One Week???

I wish I’d watched Lindsey’s October plans video before I published my own. I’m a huge fan of Inside the Hem and have scuttled my plans before based on Lindsey’s videos. She reminded me of One Week, One Pattern and now I want to do that, too!

What is #OWOP17? From Sewisfaction:
One Week, One Pattern is a photo challenge to try and get as many sewists as possible making the most out of their sewing patterns, by wearing garments made from ONE pattern for ONE week. This might be your favourite pattern you’ve made in lots of different fabrics, it might be one or two garments from the same pattern that you want to style in different ways, or you could be a pattern hacker who’s used the same pattern to make lots of different versions. The beauty of the challenge is that it’s totally up to you to choose which pattern and how you interpret it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spanish Loretta

Sometime over the summer I decided that what my wardrobe needed most was tops. Easy ones. I'd had a run of projects that didn't work out, stuff that was fitted and needed special attention in the boobs, in the short waistness, in the everywhere. I was out of patience and really just wanted a "win."

I've been a Seamwork subscriber for a while but never cashed in credits for a pattern. However when the Loretta came out, I instantly loved it. I also loved that they used an older woman as a model. Diversity, yay!

Plus it was flowy, had only 4 pieces (plus the bias binding on the neck), and probably didn't require mathing through an FBA (spoiler alert: uh, it did).

I had a mystery fabric that reminds me of Spain (don't know why, as I've never been there), so I started calling it my Spanish Loretta. It some sort of poly chiffon something—I'd picked it up at the Michael Levine Loft store where orphan fabrics are sold by the pound, so there was no info on it at all. I had actually used this once before to make a Blank Slate Blanc Tee but that was back before I knew the difference between knits and wovens and what negative ease means. Oops!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oct17 Sewing Plans

It's nearly the middle of October and so far I have done zero sewing. This is pretty unusual for me because I normally power through at least a few or seven things a month. But it's also been a bit unusual 'round Petite Font HQ.

At the end of September, the husband and I went to Boston and LOVED it. OMG Boston is great! But the moment I got home I got sick. And not just a few sniffles-and-carry-on sick, but the I'm-going-to-sleep-allllllllll-day-while-my-husband-makes-chicken-soup-and-Flea-Market-Flip-plays-in-the-background kind of sick. That lasted more than a week. Then I had to drop everything and head to Florida for a funeral. That turned into a wonderful if bittersweet family reunion. And now here we are at the almost-mid-October mark and my machine is wondering if I'm about to chuck it.

I'm not! (Though I kind of do want to trade it in for an upgrade...)