Sunday, January 21, 2018

A New Collaboration and a New TNT Shirt

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Elliott Berman's fabrics.  If you come to visit the NYC Garment District either with me or ask for my recommendations, Elliott Berman is ALWAYS on the list. 

So I was thrilled and honored when Eugenia of Elliott Berman asked me to collaborate with them. Over the course of this year, I will be making several garments from fabric that can be purchased either on their website or at their site in NYC.

During the last decade or so that I've been blogging, I've made a few garments with fabric purchased from Elliott Berman. My favorite being this Versace Inspired Dress that I made in 2011 using a wool knit.

Why do I love Elliott Berman fabrics?
One reason is the quality of their fabrics. They import a selection of unique fabrics, designer goods, the diversity of their inventory and the fair pricing for the goods. Also, they are a great friend to the sewing community - sponsoring events with PatternReview.

It also didn't hurt that my friend Shams is blogging for them and spoke so highly of how easy it was to work with Eugenia and the team at Elliott Berman.  Now you don't have to go to another blog to see my makes, all of them will be here alongwith some pics on Instagram.

So this is my first garment for them - a TNT shirt from my Crazy 8 Wardrobe. 

I chose a printed cotton sateen with a tribal inspired influence for my shirt. I asked Eugenia for a shirting fabric to use as my first make. We were walking the floor and she was pulling out various fabrics for me to look at. When we got to this one, it was love at first sight!

Now while I picked this one from the NYC store/warehouse, here are some on their website that you can order if you're looking for a high quality, interesting print for a shirt. 

This is my TNT shirt pattern so there are no new techniques with this shirt. However, for this version I chose to use a mandarin collar instead of a stand and separate collar. 

To make the shirt interesting I manipulated the fabric, cutting the stripes horizontally for the cuffs, the mandarin collar and the back yoke.

I also used some interesting yellow & black buttons I had from the collection. The challenge was that I needed eight buttons and only had six. So I made a covered button for the mandarin collar and the last buttonhole carefully matching the fabric so that the buttons would blend into the garment.

Buttons, fabric manipulation, a collar change and this amazing piece of fabric are the standouts in this shirt.

A few pics of the shirt ~

As I stated above I will be making a new garment using Elliott Berman fabric about every three months. If you're on Instagram, may I suggest you follow them at ebtfabrics. They offer some amazing discounts for their Instagram followers. Also, don't hesitate to check out the website. They do ship overseas. I've ordered from them in the past, their orders ship quickly and are well packed.

I finally spent some quality time with my daughter/photographer so there will be a few more posts after this one. If you've read this far, you should know that the same daughter is the family hairdresser, and she added the curly fall to my hair for these pictures. Since we shoot several garments at once, the photos in the next couple of blog posts will also feature this hairstyle. Just thought I would tell you before you asked! always more later!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sew Camp - March 23-25th

I'm planning on going to Carriage Corner Sew Camp March 23rd - 25th, this year.

I had a really good time last year so I'm going back. I made some great friendships, got to shop at Fabric Mart's brick and mortar store, and had some awesome conversations. The recap of last year's trip is here.

If you're interested in attending, here's the schedule for the weekend. Registration and cost information can be obtained from the website.

Friday, March 23rd:

  • Arrive at Carriage Corner by 10:00 am.
  • Fabric Shopping at Fabric Mart.  We will plan to leave by 11:00 am.
  • After getting your fabric fix, lunch will be at a charming little cafe called Crave, cost of lunch is not included.
  • Upon our return from FabricMart, we’ll get the sewing area set up and you can sew to your hearts content.  (If you're traveling and don't want to bring your sewing machine, there are 2 machines available for use, on a first come basis)
  • Friday Dinner will be a happy hour at the B&B with small bites available, we have both the gazebo and the fire pit to allow you to enjoy the outdoors.
  • The sewing space will be open through the night for the late night stitchers.

Saturday, March 24th:

  • Sew all day ~ start early, stay late, leave in the middle for a nap ~ it’s your choice and your pace.
  • Breakfast will be prepared by me and served at 8:30 am.
  • Lunch & Dinner will be catered.

Sunday, March 25th:

  • Sew all day ~ start early, stay late, leave in the middle for a nap ~ it’s your choice and your pace.
  • Breakfast will be prepared by me and served at 8:30 am.
  • Lunch will be catered in.
  • You need to be checked out of your room by 11:00 am, but can stay and sew until 5:00 pm.

There will be coffee, tea, water, sodas and snacks available all weekend.

How to Register:

Please send an email to, with “Carriage Corner Sewing Retreat” in the subject line indicating that you want to attend.  Please send a number that Gaylen can reach you at to call and get your details.  A return email will confirm the details of that conversation.

If you want to register with a friend or bring your significant other, please let Gaylen know in the initial email.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - 2018

In such discouraging times as these, I take solace in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

May I stress the need for courageous,
intelligent, and dedicated leadership...
Leaders of sound integrity.  Leaders not in 
love with publicity, but in love with justice.
Leaders not in love with money, but in love
with humanity. Leaders who can subject their
particular egos to the greatness of the cause.

Characteristics sorely lacking in the White House these days. always more later!

Friday, January 12, 2018

It's in the Air!

If you're on any form of social media, you may have seen sewists talking about wardrobe sewing...especially on Instagram the makenine2018 hashtag is least in my feed. Also quite a few sewists are talking about sewing from their fabric collections...c'mon y'all know I would never use that "S" word! *LOL*

Then MimiG started sewing 10 Must Have Me Made Garments that are based upon sewing every day wearable garments. I've started to think there must be something in the air cause you know I'm sewing my own "Crazy 8 Wardrobe."

So what is it about the beginning of this year, that has collectively caused the sewing community to look at what we've been sewing, and realize that we need to make more garments that reflect the lives we actually live. Or that maybe we should sew from some of that amazing fabric we spent 2017, 2016, 2015, etc. collecting.

I don't know about others but I am still trying to sew up a completely me-made wardrobe. I miss wearing something I've made everyday. Especially now that it's so cold here on the East Coast, I'm swathing myself in sweaters and cashmere to protect myself from the bitter chill.

To remind you here is what my Crazy 8 Wardrobe consists of:
1. A jacket - McCalls 7481
2. A cardigan - Heidi Cardigan by StyleArc Patterns
3. Two shirts that button down - TNT pattern
4. A blouse - Vogue 8772 
5. A topper - Vogue 9286 
6. A pair of jeans - Ames jeans by Cashmerette Patterns
7. A pair of pants - TNT pants pattern or the Eleanore Jeans by Jalie Patterns
8. A bonus piece - a vest from Vogue 9273

During my Christmas Sewcation I completed the jacket using McCalls 7481.

Jacket during construction with pants in the background

I also made a pair of trousers made from denim that need some alterations but I think I can make them work. I'm presently working on the Vogue 9286 topper and I hope to complete one of the two shirts from the list this weekend too. 

It's Martin Luther King Jr. weekend here in the USA and our offices are closed on me an extra day of sewing time so I hope to get all of the pieces mentioned above completed.

However, I won't make my self-imposed deadline of January 31st and I'm cool with that. I will have made four of the nine items on my list but there's no way I will get the next five outfits completed in 2 weeks. I still want to sew all of these items so I will be working on this list until they're completed. Especially since these items are all things that I want to incorporate into my every day wardrobe.

This is what I'm sewing/creating/working on now.  Blog posts of the finished garments soon. always more later!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The NYC Sewcialist Soiree...

...was held on one of the coldest days of the year! The coldest days of the year people! -13F degrees and I don't do cold!  If I wasn't involved in the planning of this, I might not have attended because it was that dayum COLD! However, I'm so glad I was there! 

First a few comments about my outfit. When we planned this I fully intended to make me a sparkly pretty new party dress. Then the first weather reports came in about how cold it was gonna be and I thought okay maybe I will make it, take it and change. Ummmm no! Since the tri-state area was on Day 11 of a 13 day arctic weather blast, that minus degree temperature just made me want to be warm and comfortable.

So I wore my Rivermont peplum top, some black leggings and my Steve Madden embroidered mules. I'm telling you, warm and comfortable were the key words of the day! LOL!

Picture stolen from Marcy Harriell (@oonaballoona)

A few pictures from the Event ~

The Event Space...

The Attendees...

The Pattern Swap Table...

The Food Spread...

The Sponsors...
I really want to thank all of the sponsors who donated gifts for the event. You were all amazing to work with and were so gracious and liberal with your donations. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! You can see all the gifts donated and the winners here.

photo credit:  Syreetabriana IG

If you're interested in learning about future events, and have an Instagram account, follow the NYSewcialHour to receive updates.

A final thank you to the three most amazing women who were on the committee with me.  Syreeta (IG: Syreetabriana) the most organized, creative, woman with the most amazing follow through. We wouldn't have done any of this without you because YOU were the driving force. Claire (IG: domesticcoquinette) the hostess with the mostest! The food was AMAZING all because of you. I'm still in awe of the spread you created and the cake was divine. 

Grace (IG: wzrdreams) there would have been no Soiree to have if you and Carol (IG:makeitanywear) hadn't thought up the NYSewcial Hour that meets the last Tuesday of every month at The Houndstooth Pub in the NYC Garment District. So thank you for wanting to spend time with other sewists and starting the ball rolling!

As far as sewing and my sewcation, I finished three pieces before the Christmas Crud claimed me and I went to bed.  Even though I didn't finish a lot of pieces, I'm glad that I did have the time to sew and get the piece of mind that sewing brings me.  My photographer will be available MLK weekend, so photos and blog posts then. always more later!   

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Last Post of Twenty Seventeen

I wanted to record all of my makes for twenty seventeen - so that's what this post is about. I'm spending the last day of twenty seventeen and the first day of twenty eighteen sewing.

Some stats:
I made 50 garments this year. A number that I'm a little surprised at because that pretty much works out to a garment a week!

5 Simplicity 8059 cardigans
5 Cashmerette Concord short sleeve tees
5 TNT long sleeve shirts
4 New Look 6340 dresses
4 Cashmerette Concord tee dresses
2 Cashmerette Turner dresses
2 Maxi skirts from my TNT pattern
2 pairs of pants from my TNT pattern - one wide legged pair & one regular pair
1 Cashmerette Turner Tunic
1 Vest from Butterick 6389
1 Top from McCalls 7095
1 Top from Simplicity 8094
1 Top from Butterick 6486
1 Cashmerette Concord long sleeve tee
1 New Look 6430 tunic
1 Cashmerette Rivermont Top
1 Shirtdress from TNT shirt pattern
1 Style Arc Marilyn Dress
1 Saldana Maxi Dress from MimiG pattern
1 McCalls 7542 dress
1 Cashmerette Lenox Dress
1 Vogue 7271 maxi dress
1 Simplicity 2894 denim dress
1 Cashmerette Rivermont dress
1 Cashmerette Concord Tee maxi dress
1 McCalls 7481 jacket
1 Lil Somethin' Jacket
1 Sweater Cardigan from Vogue 9980
1 Simplicity 8303 denim coat

Pattern companies used:
Cashmerette (17), Simplicity (7), New Look (5), McCalls (3), Butterick (2), Vogue (2), Indies - MimiG, StyleArc, Lil Sumthin (3), TNT (11)

Garment types made:
Dresses (15), Tops/Tees (13), Shirts (6), Cardigans/Vests (7), Jackets/Coats (3), Skirts (2), Pants (2), Maxidresses (2) 

I'm not surprised at the number of Cashmerette patterns used but I am at the number of Simplicity patterns since I have a harder time acquiring them. I don't visit the craft store often - okay I boycott it - but I've made 12 pieces from Simplicity & New Look patterns this year, pretty amazing.

Going into the New Year:
I do want to make a bunch of long sleeve Concord tees (fabric set aside for these) and an ambitious 12 versions of my TNT long sleeve shirt (fabric set aside for these too!). Other than trying my hands at jeans since I own the Cashmerette Ames Jeans kit...anything goes!

I'm going to finish up the selfish sewing for my daughters and maybe make a few pieces for the granddaughters but that's still up for grabs.  

I plan to sew from the fabric collection more this year - using my motto "Sewing Saving and Using what I got!" I have some amazing pieces of fabric that I've collected over the years and I really want to have them in my closet instead of on my fabric shelves. But I'm not giving myself a requirement that I'm not buying fabric cause please y'all know how that works out...LOL!

I want to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I want to thank you all for following my sewing journeys, for leaving comments, for encouraging me and for giving me helpful advice. I hope that we all have amazing sewing journeys in 2018!

Lastly, I wouldn't be me if I didn't say something about what's going on in the USA. I kept thinking that I wouldn't add anything but I have to be true to who I am.  So I hope that we as a country can come together and end our divisiveness, that we realize we are global citizens of the world and not just America first and that we as Americans all VOTE in the midterms so that we're ALL well represented in our government!

#Don't Normalize Hate!  #Love trumps hate  #Love thy neighbor as thyself 

...see you in 2018!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Top Misses and Reflections

Reflections ~
As I stated in my last post, 2017 was the year that I made garments that were more me, fit my lifestyle and allowed me to be creative (again) in my sewing. Cause c'mon I hacked my heart out in 2017 - shirts, dresses, and even my TNT pants pattern was hacked. So I made clothing that I loved and wear alot. I'm also getting to the place where I wear "me made" almost every day. Not top to bottom like before but I'm getting there...I'm getting there!

Because I "know" who I'm sewing for now, I only had three misses for the year.

I mentioned the first one in my last post. Of the five shirts I made this year, I don't love the one that got the most attention...the blue floral one ~

This one suffers from a bad fabric/embellishment choice. All of that piping is just too heavy for the rayon and causes it to droop by the end of the day. It just stretches and stretches and stretches...

So it's a miss. Much to my regret and even though I haven't added it to the donate pile yet...I'm sure I will in the future...especially after I get some more shirts made.

My second miss is ~

My second Turner Dress. I love the print of the fabric I chose but I don't like the ITY knit. This dress photographed well and really highlighted the print, however, I hated the way it hung on me. I never wore this dress out of the house. I just wasn't comfortable in it...and I love my other Turner Dress and wore it several times last summer.  As well as the Turner Tunic - I wore it last spring and I've worn it a couple of times this fall. So it was the fabric choice - not the pattern that didn't work.

My last miss is another dress - The Rivermont ~

For this one it's the silhouette. I thought I would like this shape but ultimately the dress isn't for me. There is nothing wrong with it and again it photographed well but I wasn't comfortable in it. So I gave it away to a fellow blogger. Now I loved the top and plan on making more of them but somehow me and the dress just didn't gel.

Highlights of 2017 ~
There were a couple of things I was especially proud of in 2017:

1. Working with my fellow sewists at SewCamp at Carriage Run B&B
Thanks Gaylen for letting me spend the weekend sharing my sewing knowledge with some fellow sewists.

2. Writing the "Ask Carolyn" column for SEWN Magazine.
This is one of the things I'm proudest of because I love sharing my sewing knowledge with fellow sewists. So thanks Michelle & Mori for letting me do my thing! And if you haven't subscribed to the magazine yet, what are you waiting for!?!

3. Several blog posts that I've written for Curvy Sewing Collective, FabricMart and the Sewcialist blogs.
I so appreciate it that you think my sewing is worthy of sharing with other sewists on your blogs!

Going Forward ~
My motto for 2018 is "Sewing, Saving and Using what I Got!" I have so many ideas floating around in my head now that I have a direction for my sewing and I have the fabric collection to get them made. So my primary goal for 2018 is to sew with what I've got. 

There are a few places I want to visit with fabric stores attached to them and I need to clear some space in the sewing cave for new acquisitions. So Imma try to be stingy with my fabric pennies so I can get there.

The NYC Sewcialist Soiree is the first weekend in January so I have my first party dress of the year to make...

...and I have a new collaboration to announce in the New Year that I'm pretty excited about.

Finally ~
I still love sharing my makes and talking about sewing on the blog so I will continue to do so into 2018. I know it's not a flashy blog or that I haven't made a lot of changes to it (okay I did update the header this year!) but I hope it is a comfortable place that you can come, see what I've made and talk about sewing with me and others.

To my fellow sewing bloggers - I appreciate you so much and hope that you continue to blog! It's wonderful to click in and not only see the pictures of your garments but to read why you chose and did what you did! I promise to be better at leaving comments in 2018!

A few pics from Christmas with the Grands!  Hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! always more later!

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Top 5 Hits of 2017...

The one thing I need to state about 2017 is I feel like I finally found my comfortable work style. I knew who I was sewing for again and not flailing around trying to make things work. I think my wardrobe choices were more cohesive, more reflective of my personality and allowed me to fit in with my work environment ~ yet be me.  Whew!  What a mouthful!

So without further Top Five!

Simplicity 8303

This started out as a duster and became soooooo much more. This is my favorite make of 2017 and it doesn't hurt that my daughter took some A-MAZ-ING pictures of this coat. It's the first coat I've made in years and now that I'm removed from the sewing of it, I'm really thrilled with it.

In the number two spot is ~ New Look 6340 in Denim

Version four of this TNT pattern is my favorite from the series of the dresses. It works so well for my lifestyle - either dressed up with heels or dressed down with my sneaks and a cardigan. It also cemented my love for denim and how it can work in my life.

The Cashmerette Concord Tees and Dresses earn the third spot for 2017

I wore some version of this pattern all summer long especially my white tee...and I'm carrying it into fall with long sleeve concord tees and tunics. This is the pattern that just keeps on giving.

Number Four would be my shirts

I made five different versions of my TNT pattern - a mash up of OOP Vogue 7700 and OOP Butterick 5978.

These are my favorites from the five I made. I like my original one too but the blue rayon one is going on my Top 5 Misses list. I also found out that I really like sewing shirts and all their fiddly bits! I have quite a few on my to sew list for winter and into spring.

My last garment in my top five is the new Cashmerette Rivermont Top

This top is everything and I plan on making more of them in 2018!

Finally ~
...if I had to list a favorite pattern company for 2017 it would be Cashmerette Patterns. Jenny has designed a pattern line for us plus, curvy, thick or big busted women that is just amazing!  If you haven't sewn a Cashmerette Pattern I'm here to encourage you to get on that! Don't waste anymore time! Buy just one pattern and sew with it and you will see why I love this pattern line so much. You will definitely see more of these patterns in 2018.

I will have my Top 5 Misses up next. always more later!


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