Blog Hop: Four Questions and Answers

Blog hop - four questions and answers - csews.com

I was recently nominated by the lovely Olgalyn Jolly of O! Jolly! Crafting Fashion, to participate in a blog hop in which each participant answers four questions. If you haven’t run across Olgalyn’s blog or on social media, she’s a knit textile designer and she writes about the wide range of fabrics she designs on her knitting machine as well as what she creates from her fabrics (sweaters, dresses, hats, cardigans, etc.) You can read Olgalyn’s answers on her blog here.

And here are my answers…

1. Why do I write?

I initially began this blog to learn a content management system (in this case WordPress) and to write about something I enjoyed doing. I thought a sewing blog would be a nice contrast to the third-person articles I edit for the legal magazine I work for. And it’s definitely a lot easier to write for my blog! I also thought it would be a good way to track my progress on various projects and see how my sewing skills have improved.

Bias tape for the Trench - csews.comAt first, I was more focused on developing a voice, learning WordPress, and getting better with taking photos using the timer on my camera. Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered that I like writing detailed posts on some of the clothes I’ve made, describing the steps I took to make something or the options I considered before I started sewing something. I like sharing information and hope that some of it is helpful to others.

Along the way, I’ve “met” via social media many other sewing bloggers who have offered me helpful advice when I’ve been stuck on a project. On Instagram, I’ve had help from @sewbrooke, @knitnbee, @kid_md, and many more. I really enjoy seeing what people are working on. My only regret these days is that I haven’t had as much time to visit other people’s blogs. So I’m mainly checking IG to see what folks are up to.

2. What am I working on?

At the moment, I’ve got a few things going on. I’ve just started making the 1952 Wrap Blouse by Decades of Style and I’m going to be sewing up a muslin for a vintage Vogue knit dress. You can read about them in this post: WIPs 1952 Wrap Blouse and Vintage Vogue Pattern.

I’m also working on a tutorial for a drawstring bag and I’m preparing to teach a class next Thursday, Nov. 13, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Makeshift Society: Learn to Make a Fabric Drawstring Gift Bag!

Drawstrings bag - csews.com

Oh, and this Saturday, I’ve coordinated a meetup to discuss slippery and fiddly fabrics at Britex Fabrics for the Bay Area Sewists meetup group. We’ll be getting a personal tour of the store and we’ll be meeting upstairs to discuss fabric. As the organizer, I arrange monthly meetups for the group. It’s been great to meet more sewing bloggers in person at our events. If you’re ever in the Bay Area, please let me know, and if there’s space, you can be our guest. 🙂

3. How does my blog differ from others in its genre?

When it comes to sewing, I don’t think my blog is unique from others in its genre but maybe the one area where it does differ is that you’ll see my hats in various photos. I have a big collection and you’ll see me wearing one in every photo of me on this blog. I wear hats everyday. I’ve also made a few hats on my sewing machine and I’ve taken a couple of millinery classes. Sometimes I write about hats on this blog. I went through a cap-making phase a while ago – drafting a six-section hat and making several versions before making one that looked good on my husband. 😉

Vintage black hat - csews.com

4. How does my writing process work?

I start with photos, which help me decide where to start. If I’m writing about a garment I’ve made, I may include several photos describing how or why I did something. The photos help me remember what I did. Though sometimes it takes me a looooong time to get to the writing!

Thanks for reading my answers!

Now I’m supposed to nominate two bloggers to answer these questions. I nominate Kirsty of Tea and Rainbows. I first met Kirsty via Twitter (@kirstyteacat) and then I met her in person when I became the next organizer for Bay Area Sewists. Kirsty helped me with the first meetup I organized – a pattern swap. She made labels for the various categories (dresses, skirts, pants, etc.). She also helped me check out and eliminate possible venues for the meetup. She was living in Berkeley at the time because her husband was in grad school but now she’s in Auckland. I also nominate Loran of Loran’s World. I first met Loran via social media and then in person at one of the Bay Area Sewists meetups I organized earlier this year. Loran makes many lovely clothes, often from vintage patterns or vintage fabric. She’s worked as a costumer and has plenty of fitting experience. We’ve both made Decades of Style’s 1940s Girl Friday Blouse. One of these days we’ll get together and wear our versions on the same day. I hope you can each answer the four questions!


Off topic – If you have adventurous musical tastes or just have a love of great music, check out my husband’s new blog Sound Projections. Actually, he hates the word “blog” so he calls it an online magazine. Here’s what he says in the intro:

This online magazine features the very best in contemporary creative music in this creative timezone NOW (the one we’re living in) as well as that of the historical past. The purpose is to openly explore, examine, investigate, reflect on, studiously critique, and take opulent pleasure in the sonic and aural dimensions of human experience known and identified to us as MUSIC. …

He’ll be writing and editing about a wide range of musicians and singers, everyone from jazz (Miles Davis) and rock (Jimi Hendrix) to pop (Janelle Monae) and blues (Gary Clark). Check it out!

Bay Area Sewists Meetup No. 3!

Bay Area Sewists - April Meetup

On April 19 Bay Area Sewists met at Lacis‘s classroom space in Berkeley for Meetup No. 3 this year! Not everyone who came is in the photo because I forgot to take the photo while everyone was still there.

Our topic was  Show & Tell, WIPs, Tour Lacis & Pattern Giveaway! I thought it would be a nice to talk about embellishing clothes because we were meeting at Lacis, where you can buy lace, ribbons, embroidery thread, and other notions.

We had a lot of fun seeing what everyone made. I took some photos – unfortunately, I didn’t capture everything because I was so busy looking at what folks made – but you can see a few of the things below.

Erin's purse - Bay Area Sewists - csews.com

Lindsay (@lindsaymarsh) (left) of Baking Making and Crafting is looking at an embellished and embroidered purse made by Erin (sitting next to Lindsay).  Veronica (right) is looking at a Christmas tree skirt made by Lynda (not pictured).

Erin's embellished purse - Bay Area Sewists meetup - csews.com

Pretty amazing details on Erin’s purse, eh? Erin’s philosophy is that if it doesn’t look right, just add more! She also brought a pirate jacket, which had all kinds of things going on – braid, ribbons, a tassel.

Beth of SunnyGal Studio - Vogue dress

Beth of SunnyGal Studio talked about the Vogue dress (8904) she is wearing and a black jacket (on table) that she embellished with fringe. You can read her post about this fun striped knit dress here. She said the dress was easy to make – you attach the panels to another piece of fabric. To her left is Lisa (@jlellis) who brought her Grainline Moss skirt, which she recently finished. She really liked the pattern and said it was easy to make. Lisa did a nice job on the top stitching. Oh, and I should mention that she’s wearing a knit dress she made from the Red Velvet Dress pattern by Cake Patterns.

Beth's Vogue jacket

The black jacket is from Vogue pattern 7975. The pattern didn’t look very exciting but the addition of fringe gave it a very nice touch. Beth added fringe to the edged and to the pockets. She used the jacket fabric to make the fringe.

fringe sample by Beth of SunnyGal Studio - csews.com

Here’s my out-of-focus photo of the jacket and the sample fringe, which Beth brought to the meeting. You sew the fringe fabric to a piece of silk organza. All of her fringe was along a straight edge but if you are going to put fringe along a curve, check out this post on bias fringe on the blog Communing with Fabric.

Renfrew cardigan - Bay Area Sewists meetup - csews.com

Here’s Lisa showing off the cardigan she made using Sewaholic’s Renfrew pattern. If you’re not familiar with it, the Renfrew is for a knit top with three different necklines to choose from, it’s not a cardigan pattern. So this is Lisa’s clever pattern hack. I have this pattern so I’ll definitely try making a cardigan once I get some tops done!

Allison  - Bay Area Sewists meetup

Allison (@allisoncole85) of i like candy talks about the things she made from the fabric she got at our fabric swap in March, including the top she’s wearing and a couple of the things in front of her. The embroidered and beaded fabric in front of her is a skirt that Veronica made. She’s often sitting around waiting for her kids at a practice or events so she spends her time doing some hand sewing like embroidery and beading. Her embroidery was very detailed and precise.

Pattern drawing - Bay Area Sewists

At the end of our discussion we held a drawing for Bluegingerdoll’s latest pattern, the Winifred Dress – and Lynda won the pattern! This indie pattern company, which launched just two years ago, is based in Australia. Lynda was excited to win because the pattern is drafted for larger busts. You can buy the pattern in paper or as a PDF download.

There are plenty of tutorials on the Winifred sewalong posts that were created for this pattern. The talented Heather (@knitnbee) of Handmade by Heather B, wrote up the various adjustments you can make, including one on full and small bust adjustments. I am in the middle of making my Winifred Dress and used the small bust adjustment instructions. [Full disclosure: Abby send me a copy of the pattern for me to try out.] Thank you Abby, Bluegingerdoll’s designer, for donating the pattern for our meetup!

After the pattern drawing some members continued to chat and others went on a tour of the smocking exhibit currently on display at Lacis and to check out the store. The smocking exhibit will be on display until October 4. There are docent tours on Saturdays – and if you go on a tour you can see the actual pink smocked dress Anne Hathaway wore in Les Miserables. It’s in a special room, separate from the rest of the exhibit. Only a few people at a time are allowed in to see the special items there. You can see a photo of it on this Jane Austen blog post Smocking: A Stitch in Time. But you can see it in person at Lacis! All I can say is that Anne Hathaway is very slender – such narrow shoulders!

Our next meetup will be a pattern swap and a discussion of indie patterns on Saturday, May 17, 10:45 am. If you’re in the area, I hope you can join us! I hope to finally meet Melizza (@Pincushiontreat) of Pincushion Treats. Our May pattern drawing will be for Lolita Patterns latest release. Thank you Amity for donating your pattern!

On another note, our June 7 meetup at Lacis will be on fitting. If you have any suggestions about how we should use our time, please let me know. We’ll have the space for four hours. Some folks will be bringing their sewing machines. I figure we could have an area where people can get accurate measurements, maybe an FBA/SBA area, or something like that.

People will bring their muslins, etc. and we’ll all muddle along. If Loran of Loran’s World comes (if she’s not too jet lagged after her trip to Australia!), she can really help folks. She’s had plenty of fitting experience. My experience is limited to SBAs, wide shoulder adjustments, and a little waist tweaking.

I’m excited about this meetup because I’ll finally get to meet Angela (@bonnechanceblog) of Bonne Chance! She just moved up to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. She had wanted to come to our meetup this month but had to go apartment hunting instead.

Anyway, feel free to offer any tips about holding a fitting session! Thanks for visiting!
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Winners of My Vintage Fabric Swatch Giveaway

Vintage Swiss dot cotton voile - late 1940s

I had a little vintage fabric leftover from my Fall for Cotton project so I decided to some of it away. This Swiss dot voile fabric dates back to the late 1940s, according to Maxie’s Daughter Fabrics, the Philadelphia store where I got the fabric. So I thought it would be nice to let other folks see what this fabric looked like in person. (Thanks to Trice of SewTell for telling me to visit Philly’s Fabric Row area when I was there in August!) My original intention was just to cut small swatches – a few inches square. But then I realized that I likely won’t do anything with my remnant so why not give larger pieces? I have three largish scraps, one about 1/4 yard and the other two are more triangular (30 inches on one side). I drew three names for the largish scraps and one will get a swatch. Not everyone who entered a comment wanted fabric so I didn’t have five winners. Here are the winners of my Vintage Fabric Swatch Giveaway:

1/4 yard – MaciNic of The Somnolent Dachshund who made a very lovely red and white striped Tiramisu, which you can read in her post I do like Tiramisu.

1 triangular piece – Catja of Gjeometry, who made two snzzy knit dresses for her Fall for Cotton project. Check our her post That 70s Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg.

1 triangular piece – Lyric of Sew and Cro, whose blog I recently discovered. Her tagline is intriguing: “Wardrobe transformation from modern to Regency, Edwardian, 1940s and 1950s.” Her blog covers vintage sewing and crochet.

1 swatch – Loran of Loran’s World, who made an amazing number of outfits for Fall for Cotton. You should definitely visit her site to see what she made! Here’s a link to her second of three (THREE!) posts on her completed outfits: Fall for Cotton – part two.

Congrats ladies! Send your mailing addresses to info [at] csews [dot] com!

And if any of the folks who commented by over the past week would like a swatch, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send you one!

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