1954 Mail Order Pattern- A Pretty Dress and a History Lesson


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In my quest to write this post I wanted to learn about vintage mail order patterns and along the way I learned quite a bit and thought I would share some highlights.

William Jennings Demorest and Ellen Louise Demorest began the home sewing pattern industry in 1860. They held fashion shows in their homes and sold the patterns. Sounds  just like some of the “in home party businesses” we have today like Tupperware, Pampered Chef and Scentsy! This turned out to be the beginning of the Mme. Demorests’ Emporium of Fashion and an fashion empire!


The Demorests published a magazine called “The Mirror of Fashion.” It listed hundreds of different patterns, most available in only one size. One size ladies and gents! The knowledge those sewists must have had to grade the patterns to their bodies! You also had to have some skills- NO directions were included!

Some other little tidbits I learned about William and Louisa… They launched FIVE magazines and started a cosmetics company. They built a fashion manufacturing and merchandising empire from Louisa’s paper pattern business. William ran for Mayor of New York City and was a Prohibition Activist. (I guess he would not approve of my “Drink and Sew” nights!

Drink and Sew

Ebenezer Butterick was a few years behind the Demorests with their pattern company and in 1870, a Scottish tailor names James McCall started his pattern company. Throughout the years many other pattern companies came and went- and we are left with the Big 4- Butterick, McCalls, Vogue and Simplicity. And several others like Kwik Sew and Lekala… and LOTS in Indie pattern companies. YAY! Wow, we have a LOT of choices when it comes to patterns.

Mail order patterns are just that! you would spot a pattern in a magazine or in a Book of Fashion and order it sent right to your home. Unlike most of the patterns of today your pattern came in one size. The vintage ones I own have no lines… no notches and no markings. Well, they do have large and small circles cut out so you are not completely flying blind!

Now, I am not really here today to give you a history of mail order patterns but I found it really interesting- especially since I love the fashions of certain eras and if I can get my hands on a pattern I am thrilled. I am even more thrilled when I can make it up and wear it, although in this case, I made it up for my eldest daughter.

This is not my first foray into vintage pattern sewing. I made myself this green dress a few years ago for “Fall for Cotton.” The girls thought I looked like Mrs. Teapot. I have also made my middle daughter quite a few of the same dress. My favorite is this floral one here.

Mail Order Sewing Pattern 1954

What I really enjoy doing is taking a vintage pattern and making it relevant enough to wear today. I really feel like I succeeded with this 1954 Mail Order dress pattern. I find something so special about handling something that was owned by someone long ago. This pattern came from The Baltimore Sun which looks to be a Newspaper. It still has the address of the lovely lady that ordered it and the postmark is pristine. Apr 29, 1954.  Tell me that is not the coolest thing ever!

vintage Pattern page

The pattern had never been used or at least that was what it looked like to me so I was VERY careful. No pins. I just weighted the pieces down and cut out the dress and then promptly put the pieces away. The directions are all contained on one page. One side for directions and one side is basically a sewing lesson.

Vintage Sewing 1954

The dress went together amazingly easy. And it was a near perfect fit! I took it in slightly at the waist and the shoulder neckline area had to be taken in about 1/2″ on each side. Other than that- it was a dream to make.

I used fabric I ordered from Fabric.com. The only issue was it was listed as a challis but I swear this thing is cotton! It is beautiful anyway so I am not disappointed. The birds and colors are perfect for Kadi since she loves little chirpy things and looks great in these colors. (I consider this melon and bright pink!)

Vintage Sewing Pattern

I made the dress so it fell right above the knee. Length is important in keeping it young and current in my opinion. The neckline is so very feminine. When I am perusing patterns from this era I see quite a bit of the notched neckline.

Notched Collar

I serged the inside- I know I should probably have french seamed it all but I had bright pink thread in my machine and went for it. Challis I would have french seamed- the cotton was thicker than a challis so serging seemed like a better option anyway- and again- bright pink thread was in my machine!

Serged Insides

The invisible zipper was SUPPOSED to be on the side but I forgot and put it in the back of the dress. It is a PERFECT zipper if I do say so myself! :)

Invisible Zip

All in all I am SO very pleased with this dress. Kadi is as well! She wore it to her friends wedding the day after completion and has assured me she will get a ton of wear from it. She wants another one soon!

Vintage Sewing Pattern

Sew Exhausted V__4380

Laurie xo

Mustard, Rick Springfield, Jet Black Hair, Sewing Dreams and an Award!


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The inspiring blogger award is an award for bloggers given by bloggers and I have been given one by H. over at H’s Handcrafts. :)

About___Hs_Handcrafts First off… thank you thank you thank you! I took quite a break from my blog and came back quite embarrassed by the absence. I would THINK about blogging every day but I wouldn’t do it. And then as more time passed, well, as I said I was embarrassed to come back. But one day I just decided to DO it and renew my commitment, which I have so far succeeded in. :)

That said, I noticed quite a change. Less posts in my OWN feed (some of my favorite bloggers had moved elsewhere or stopped blogging), less activity on my own blog (my own fault for disappearing), and I found myself a little discouraged. But because I am writing for my own pleasure, and just want this to be my little corner where I share what I am up to and spend time seeing what other like minded people are up to I decided to persevere. :)

And then, I get an award! I am so honored to realize something I made (Holly’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dress to be exact) inspired someone. :) Because my feed was less crowded upon my return I started looking around for some other blogs to add to my blogroll… and I discovered H.  You should check her out if you have not visited. She makes STUFF! She knits, and sews, and I even see some ceramic work on her blog. FUN stuff!

There are a few rules for receiving the award, and here they are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Display the award logo in a blog entry.
  3. List the award guidelines so your nominees will know what to do.
  4. State 7 hidden facts about yourself OR 3 things that inspire you.
  5. Nominate other blogger friends for the award.

Sooo… THANK YOU H! You made my day, week, month! :) It is quite an honor to be able to add this to my sidebar! Which I will! :)

inspiring-bloggerAnd now for the boring stuff… 7 hidden things about me:

  1. I love mustard. Cheap yellow mustard. (Were they supposed to be interesting things??!!) But really, to me mustard is the BEST condiment in the whole wide world. And I have passed my love of mustard on to my kids. Seriously, people get upset around here if there is no mustard. And Catsup? Well, I have some but one little bottle lasts a few years at my house! frenchs-yellow-mustard
  2. I was born in Hawaii… land of coconuts and luau’s and palm trees. But aside from a few years as a child in Australia, and a year in Texas, I have always lived in California. All over California since my family seemed to move quite a bit!
  3. I want to learn to knit. When I was a teen my grandma taught me a few stitches and I made half a blanket. But I never finished. And I have definitely forgotten how but it is a secret desire. I just don’t know where you people find the time to knit AND sew!
  4. I have a crush on Rick Springfield, Johnny Depp, Greg Evigan, Robert Wagner (that voice!), Pierce Brosnan, Keanu Reeves, Batman and The Doctor. Just can’t help myself… Need I say more? (sigh)Rick Springfield Collage
  5. Top of my travel list is a trip to Ireland via London (so I can hang out with some sewing peeps!) Within the next 1-2 years this WILL happen!
  6. I dream about fabric, and outfits, and sewing. And I have BIG dreams!
  7. I just dyed my hair black. Jet black. And I LOVE it! :) Black Hair

Now I get the FUN part… Nominations. It is so hard- I am inspired by SO many but I will just have to choose a few.

Tanya from Mrs. Hughes. I follow her on IG too- because she is ALWAYS making something COOL. She is a prolific sewist and she sews the BEST stuff. I am always anxious to see what she is working on. And she WEARS what she makes too!

Hila of Saturday Night Stitch. This lady has FIVE kids and still puts out an amazing array of gorgeous clothes. I would love to spend a day sewing with her- I am sure I would be wowed by her creative process because, dang, she IS creative!

Michelle of Tres Bien Michelle. I have been reading her blog for 3 years now… She is a knitter and a sewer and boy does she have a stellar me made (her made) wardrobe! She is another one I get to follow on IG. I LOVE to see what people are up to! And then I don’t always have to wait for a blog post. :) Michelle also sews a lot of Vintage and I love vintage!!

Be sure to check them all out! You too will be inspired… and thanks again H! :)

Laurie xo

EP:1 Free Sewing Pattern Review: Ellie Travel Case x 2


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Last month I decided to do a 12 month series where I actually DO some Pinterest sewing vs just PIN all the things! I have a Free Sewing Pattern board but have NEVER made anything from it. I know, you are shocked and appalled. But I had to confess: I have never made anything from my Pinterest Sewing boards. (Although I DO admit to making a few cocktails from my cocktail board! :D

Now, isn’t that what a bulletin board is supposed to be all about? You put things on your board you want to try! So, by committing to a pattern a month I figured I would change that- and blogging about it would show off the Success (or Pinterest Fail if that is the case!) and share with my readers great free patterns/ tutorials out on the interwebs! :) Next I need to challenge myself to actually take one of my Sewing Inspiration pins and being inspired!! That board had 202 pins and is steadily growing! Ach! But I can’t go crazy all at once so for now I am focusing on my Free Sewing Pattern board pins!

The Ellie Travel Case Tutorial

For my first free pattern I thought I would make the Downton Abbey inspired nightgown, which turned out to no longer be free (I downloaded it last year) but that is a different story you can read about here. Instead I decided to make these adorable Travel Cases.  I love purses and bags and totes but rarely ever take time away from sewing clothing to focus on one. I had a yard of this Paris Couture fabric and what better thing to make than a bag? I bought it with my middle daughter in mind. She LOVES Paris and wants to visit some day. Half her room is Paris inspired. Now when she goes to Paris she will have her little Ellie Travel Case!

Ellie Travel Case

I made two because, well I wanted one for ME too and had plenty of fabric, so why not? :)

This tutorial can be found on The Fabric Mutt Blog. When you visit be sure to check out some of her other posts. Last month Heidi made the sweetest little pillow for her new loveseat- I recognized several of the fabrics she used as I have some lingering in my stash!

The materials are pretty simple. I had everything but the zippers. I hate that I have well over 50 zippers in my stash but whenever I make anything I don’t have the right one. :/ Here is what you need:

Cotton print for the exterior main panel
Linen for the exterior accent and handles and tabs!
Cotton print for the bag lining
Fusible interfacing to reinforce the lining (she suggests Pellon Craft Fuse and I had some on hand! Bingo!)
Batting to reinforce the exterior – Fusible batting is suggested but as a quilter (who has not quilted in a few years) with quite a bit of cotton batting in my garage I used non-fusible batting with my can of spray adhesive)
Zipper– 16″

Seriously, I could make a dozen of these little bags with stuff I have in my stash. (Other than those darn zippers!)


The inside of my bag coordinated nicely! I thought I could actually add a little pouch pocket on the side of future ones if I wanted. It would be an easy add.

Ellie Travel CaseI just threw some random items in there, but if I was really taking a little trip somewhere I would put my toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, soap, mini shampoo and conditioner and some lotion. These items would all fit nicely in there and would be exactly what I need for a weekend getaway! (Ok, I may add some mascara too!)

WP_20150814_11_52_32_ProI noticed after I made my square to attach the handles that it should actually be  rectangle. But this works.

Ellie Travel CaseAnd look! Pull tabs- or whatever you wanna call them!

The directions are clear and concise. I used my rotary cutter and mat to cut the pieces precisely as called for and followed the directions to a tee… well almost. I did not have any clamps so used lots of pins. And I only stabbed myself a few times!! Clamps would be nice for future makes.

I am very pleased with these little Travel Cases. I think they would make most excellent gifts, and are fairly simple to sew together. I highly recommend the Ellie Travel Case and in my opinion it is a Pinterest Success! 

Ellie Travel Case

In other sewing news…I just finished the most beautiful dress for my eldest daughter using a 1954 mail order pattern. It was still in it’s addressed mailing envelope, never used, and was practically made for her size and fit wise. It must have been score week for Daughter #1 because I also finished a sunflower print circle skirt and am working on the 2 tops she requested to go with that circle skirt … and then I better get back to making middle daughter her dresses. OH, and Baby wants a swimsuit cover up and maybe I could finally make her the swimsuit she bought fabric for last year? (her words)… I really want to sew for me too… I have my Sallie jumpsuit by Closet Case Files all ready to go!

Take Care! I better get back to sewing!

Laurie xox

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown x 2


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I love pajamas. Nightgowns, robes, shorts sets, flannel jammies etc, yet I own hardly any. So I decided to spruce up the sleeping garment situation at my house with a little Downton Abbey inspired sewing. Now, the intention was to make myself a better night time wardrobe, but as usual I was waylaid by some pretty cotton’s in my stash that I felt would look SWEEEEET on my girls. So these nightgowns were for them.


Last year you could get the Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews Magazine from the Sew Daily Shop. It is actually still available and if you are a fan of the show or the time period there are some pretty nice patterns in there.  When I spotted the nightgown it reminded me of the summery cotton nighties my mom would buy me and I knew I HAD to make a few. 2 of my girls agreed they would wear them so I decided to make one for each of them.

Downtown Abbey Inspired Nightgown

The pattern has 3 pieces- a front, back and a sleeve. I traced it long but made these first two short. Mostly because I used STASH fabric and had the exact amount for short ones. As a matter of fact I can proudly say I bought NOTHING for these two nighties. (OK. Technically I bought it over a decade ago but that doesn’t count, right?)

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

The fabric in this one is a quilting cotton I bought at Joanns well over 15 years ago. I made a little girl dress out of it and this was the leftovers. I know I know. That is a lot of leftover but hey! It has come to some good use now!

The lace is a crocheted cotton lace I found in my collection  of lace, ribbons and trims box. I could not even tell you how long I have had it- I do not even remember buying it! It was pure white and this pretty floral fabric was not white. But after pouting on instagram, Sewbrooke and a few other ladies told me to tea dye it! So, tea dye it I did!

Tea Dyeing Lace

I used a variety of teas since I did not have any good old lipton lying around. At first I thought it was going to be pinkish- That Good Earth Spice Tea is delicious but had a decidedly red undertone, but I added in some green tea and feel like the result was pretty darn good!

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

The sleeve is a a short flutter sleeve, although mine is not as fluttery as the one in the picture. I figure because I used a fabric that was not as light as the one they used. But I love the result anyway.

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

The back is pretty sweet too. The nightgown has a nice relaxed fit. Perfect for summer nights!

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

All in all it is a pretty sweet nightie and Kadi asked me to make her another. You know you have a winner when you are asked to make another!

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Holly’s is also made from a random piece of cotton I found in my stash. Except I have no idea where it came from or why I bought it! But I loved the pretty floral and the shade of blue was perfect for her.

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Now I have to confess I only have 3 pictures of this nightgown, mostly because pinning these kids down for pictures is agony. Sometimes I feel like I should hold a garment hostage until they are ready to smile and say “cheese.” The only pic I have of her wearing it is the one I forced her to take after she had slept in it 2 nights in a row.

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Holly’s is a little fuller than Kadi’s. I cut hers out second and realized I wanted to try it with the same amount of fullness that was at the bottom of the long nightie pattern so folded the pattern pieces strategically to get that extra fullness. I like it!

I used the un-tea-dyed half of the pure white lace to trim this one. You will notice the lace is set up higher than the other one I made. My mistake and I did not want to take it out. But it works right?

WP_20150728_23_15_18_Pro All in all I think it is a great pattern. Simple, and perfect for a pretty summer nightie. I think I need to make myself one next! Maybe in a soft cotton batiste/ voile/ lawn. :D



Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

PS. Originally I wanted to do this pattern as #1 in my monthly “Free Pattern” series. But it is no longer FREE! (Which is A-OK because I think just having the magazine to look at is worth it!) I do have a free pattern I finished up today I want to share and I will blog about it in a few days. I found it on Pinterest so it was lingering on my Pinterest Free Patterns Board waiting for me to give it some attention. Can’t wait to share it with you!


PPS. Nightgown vs Nightie. I started out calling this a nightgown, which it is, but as I was writing I was brought back to my childhood when all I wore were nightgowns, and I remembered that my mom called them nighties. I looked it up and learned that nightie was short for nightgown and it came in to use in about 1871. It was shortened for children and used in Britain. Interesting!! Does anyone still use the word nightie? I had to say it like 30 times cuz I really like the word! Guess I am a kid at heart.;)




I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing… Star Wars Dress and Shirt… FINALLY!


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A Long Time Ago
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, a young Jedi Princess-in-Training wanted a dress. A Star Wars dress. So her Jedi mother bought the fabric. Enough fabric for a dress for her and a shirt for her handsome Jedi brother who was off battling the Evil Galactic Empire. And the fabric sat. And sat. Waiting for the moment her mother’s Jedi skills would awaken and create the vision of loveliness she imagined.

And the fabric sat. And sat. Then, a date loomed ahead. The 4th of May. “May the 4th be with you.” The young Jedi Princess-in-Training wanted to wear her dress on that special date. But, that date passed. The fabric sat. And sat. And the conversation started:

Jedi Princess-in-Training: “Search your feelings, oh most wise Jedi Mother of Mine. Are you going to make this dress?”
Jedi Mother: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
Jedi Princess-in-Training: “I feel like it will be all too easy.”
Jedi Mother: “I will try.”
Jedi Princess-in-Training: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Jedi Mother: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
Jedi Princess-in-Training: “Use the Force, Mom”
Jedi Mother: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

And the moons rose. And the sun set. And the moons rose again.. And the Jedi mother chanted to herself, “STAY ON TARGET.” She stayed up late into the night remembering the skills of those who had walked before her.


The young Jedi Princess-in-Training arrived home from her own Jedi training and saw her mother, finally, skillfully maneuvering the tools of her trade.

Jedi Princess-in-Training: Said while rolling her eyes…“You don’t have to do this to impress me.
Jedi Mother: “The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.”

Casey Kadi Star wars

It took the Jedi mother months of staring at the fabric on her cutting table. But finally the long awaited moment arrived! One Star Wars button down shirt and a dress awaited the lucky young Jedi Princess-in-Training and her handsome Jedi brother! They would now be garbed in the skillfully crafted garment their all powerful Jedi mother made after battling the Sith, thousands of Storm Troopers and even the most evil Darth Vader and his Galactic Empire. (Ok… she battled Tiredness at the End of the Day, and the most evil Lack of Motivation.)

Jedi Princess-in-Training: “I never doubted you! Wonderful!” –

And it was good.

Hope you liked that little bedtime story. :) I DID complete a lovely little Star Wars sundress for Kadi and a button down shirt for my son Casey. And it DID take me a LONG time to get to. Here is the rundown!

Star Wars Dress

Kadi’s dress is made from the Vintage Simplicity pattern 4432 that I can’t seem to get enough of right now. The bodice is fully lined and I added pockets to the skirt. This pattern is sized perfectly for her except the upper back needed taking in. I am not sure why that is? As a dancer she has great posture but for some reason I needed to take two big “chunks” out of the back neckline area. I actually put darts in to get rid of the excess and now it is a perfect fit. Whew…

Star Wars Dress

The fabric is one of the Star Wars cotton prints readily available from JoAnns and probably quite a few other fabric stores. I think with the new Star Wars movie on the horizon we will see some more prints heading our way. I am anxious to get some Yoda fabric. For me!

Star Wars Dress

Here is a close up of the fabric and dress. You can see it is a pretty simple design. 4 darts in the front and 2 in the back and a gathered skirt with pockets. And you can see some craft beer I was gathering together in the background!)

Star Wars McCalls 6044 Shirt

For Casey’s shirt I used McCalls 6044. I have made  three shirts from this pattern for Casey now. A Green Bay Packers shirt, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt, and Star Wars. I have been making shirts for that boy since he was a toddler. Here is one I made for his Kindergarten pictures!

Casey Hull Kindergarten

OMG- I remember those days!

I love making shirts for him because- well, I sew for the girls all the time and this is the one thing I am pretty successful at making for men. AND he wears them!

McCalls 6044 Star Wars Shirt

We had a fun day- and I wouldn’t have these pics if it wasn’t for my youngest. So photo creds go to Juliette!

The Jedi siblings battle it out:

Kadi Hull Casey Hull Star Wars

Star Wars Collage

Laurie xox

Quotes I used from Star Wars

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

“Use the Force…”

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

“I never doubted you! Wonderful!”

“Search your feelings.”

“All too easy.”


“You don’t have to do this to impress me.”

“The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.”

A Bitchin’, Bodacious, Radical, Totally Tubular Sundress


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I have done it before and I will do it again. Vintage Simplicity 4432. The perfectly simple sundress. My first go at this pattern turned out one of my favorite dresses for Holly and we had such a fun photoshoot at the Classic Car Show that runs in our town every Friday night on Grand. Then I made a Super Hero Comic Book Dress and a Star Wars Dress (unblogged until later this week.) All in all- its a perfect little sundress pattern!)

Simplicity Pattern 4432.

Holly was born in 95 so she was pretty young in the 90’s but all my kids enjoyed watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” When we saw the fabric online at Michael Levine (www.Lowpricefabric.com) I knew I needed to buy some. I actually bought quite a bit- and made my grown son a button down shirt, which he wears all the time and gets SO MANY compliments on I thought I should go into TMNT shirt business!

Holly’s dress is cute and simple and gets just as much attention as her Marvel dress and Pac Man dress.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dress

We went to a company picnic on Saturday and Holly wore her dress. It is my son’s company picnic and they put on a GREAT party. Olympic games, surfing, trampolines, jumpy castles, fantastic food and an “who can make the biggest splash” contest. Fun times and because we are his family we have attended three years in a row! I guess he will get married some day and then we will be nixed from the guest list but for now we all attend! This picture was taken in front of the house. A big gorgeous house!

Ooops- I got side tracked. Because honestly, there is not much to say about the process of making this dress because I have made several! The bodice has been fitted and as long as she doesn’t eat too many pizzas I can just use the same pattern pieces I used the first time round!

Holly Turtle Dress Close Up

I do cheat a bit on the skirt. I just cut two pieces the width of the fabric and the length she requested and add pockets. Ya gotta have pockets!

Holly Turtle Dress Sitting

Do you see the pizza slices on the dress? The Turtles were ALWAYS eating pizza!

Holly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Dress Back

The back of the dress is pretty much self explanatory too. I used an 18″ zipper. A white one because I have over 50 zippers in my stash and if I have a zipper I can use, I am going to take from the stash first!

Holly Turtle Dress Surf Collage

Holly tried her hand at “surfing.” She was pretty good. Stayed up for longer than I would have! “Cowabunga Dude!”

And there you have it. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dress worn by a college student! She has a line up right now- A Cowboy boot dress, a Dr. Who dress and a pair of flannel Dr. Who pajama bottoms. AND a cherry dress. I better get busy! Thankfully she wears her dresses all the time so I don’t mind adding to her wardrobe!

Fabric Collage

What’s in YOUR Sewing Basket


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For Mothers day this year D2- (middle daughter) got me a sewing basket. A PERFECT sewing basket. :) One that made me smile since it has dress forms on it. I mean, what could be better than that?!

Sewing Basket

And yes, I found it necessary to take my basket outside and set it on the fence so I could take a glorious picture! ;)

I love my basket. I struggle with organization. I mean I LIKE to be organized, and try to stay organized but inevitably I allow a mess to build up in my sewing space and spend half my time LOOKING for things I know I just had. If I was able to spend my time SEWING instead of looking for the seam ripper or tape measure, well, I would have twice the wardrobe! To that end, I have been really good about keeping the basket right next to me on the floor, and replacing the items I use. And so far so good!

Basket Inside View

Here is the inside view of my sewing basket- Note, the seam ripper, tape measure, bobbins and marking pencil. (I even hide my sharpie in here- Sharpies have a way of disappearing at my house- but no longer!)


I have a thing for sewing needles. So I bought a “truckload” off Amazon last year. (Slight exaggeration) but you know what I mean right? There is nothing worse then buying a few needles at a time and then always having to hit JoAnns for more. I actually need to buy some more Ballpoint needles now BUT seriously, I have over 100 Size 12 sharpie needles. Im’a thinking they will last me a little while! I also have 14’s 11’s and some denim needles. Gotta keep myself stocked! And hand sewing needles? I cannot even express how many times I was almost finished with a project and could not find my packet of hand sewing needles. I’d be crawling around on the floor at 2 AM hoping I had dropped it and would stumble on it so I could finish my project. NOW, here they are in my trusty sewing basket!

Bobbins and Tags

I have bobbins and tags. “Made by Me” and “Made by Mom.” :) I like my tags. They make me happy! I also keep bobbins in my sewing machine compartment as well. The colors I use most often like black and white so I keep several ready to go.


Not the best picture but in the bottom part I have scissors, my magnetic pin cushion, several rotary cutters and a few more random items. Like my tracing wheel and papers.

Tracing Wheel

Life is much better when you have an organized sewing basket! I have also started my organization project on other parts of my space. I am using the photo boxes from JoAnns to house “stuff.” Like buttons and zippers and notions like piping and lace. I love these because they stack nicely, and look good on my shelves!

Photo Boxes in the Sewing room

I even have an empty one I use on my sewing desk for my latest project! Keeps everything tidy! On a side note- that zipper one? Is STUFFED full of zippers- And it seems like I never have the right size/ color/ style and still have to buy zippers :( Sigh…

I am about ready to embark on organizing my fabric. I literally have about ** tubs of fabric. (I think like 11??!) I am debating on organizing by type- as in knits, cottons, challis etc… OR I have been thinking of organizing by colors! That way if I am working on a blue themed “capsule” I don’t have to dig through everything. I definitely think I want ALL my blacks together. Saves time digging through every time when I need something!

I have to say some of the sewing rooms I have seen are so organized!! And I don’t know HOW you sewists who have to sew on the kitchen table do it! Do you pick up every night?

On Aug 1st I am going to start a series. I have never had a series on anything but have had plenty of ideas. I like to challenge myself and so yesterday as I was looking at my “Free Patterns” Pinterest board I realized I had quite a few free patterns- and had NEVER made one.  Not a single one! So, I have challenged myself to make one free pattern project a month. First up? This sweet nightgown reminiscent of Downtown Abbey.


I know it is the “maids nightdress” but seriously, I am pretty much the maid around here!

See you soon friends!


The Holly-Anna- A By Hand London Mash Up


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Yes- I disappeared for a while. I have a tendency to do that and have been thinking a lot about why. And I think I have it figured out.

1. Picture taking- Most of my pictures are just plain crappy. I want a beautiful location and someone that will be patient enough to take several hundred pictures so I can throw most of them out looking for those few gems!

2. Picture taking- I make lots of things for my kids. But rounding them up and getting pictures is impossible. I SWEAR it was easier when they were little. NOw they have lives. :(

3. Picture taking- HEY- I see a pattern here. To take pictures you have to brush your hair and slap makeup on and make sure the lighting is good and you know what? That just takes time I rarely have. PLUS, you have to have someone available to take those pics. Sigh….

So, lets get to the reason I am here today- to blog about my Holly-Anna as I have dubbed it. I LOVE it. I LOVE it. I LOVE it.

First off- I have made THREE By Hand London Anna Dresses.

Three Anna Dresses By Hand LondonBecause I can be somewhat of a lazy sewist I decided to avoid LOTS of fitting by using a knit for my first one. (You can read about it here) I loved it so much I made the Black and White Anna from knit for my class reunion and the all black Anna to wear with cowboy boots to a Country Fest.  Knit all around- comfortable… easy to fit… and knit just works for me and my lifestyle. PLUS- size wise I have a little extra movement when using a knit so I appreciate that!

When Laura Loves Pugs announced she was having an International Anna Party to celebrate her birthday I decided to join in. I LOVE the Anna dress and had been wanting a new one. As I was planning my dress I realized I wanted to do a Mash Up. I have never done one and it sounded intriguing. I have been wanting a jumpsuit so in a moment of genius (if I do say so myself) I grabbed my Holly jumpsuit pattern and traced the trouser portion. And boom- my Holly-Anna was born.

By Hand London Holly Anna Mash Up
Hey guys! It is raining in California!

Initially I was going to use a different fabric for the bodice. As a matter of fact I made the WHOLE thing with this pink fabric but as I was ruminating over the result ( I do a lot of “sewing thinking” as I try to fall asleep at night) I realized I really did not like to wear pink. And I really did not like this fabric on me.

InstagramCapture_4b241fd9-fb3a-4af6-8352-41a0c9e013e3See? Pink. Not me. And I loved the look of the jumpsuit so much I needed to find a bodice fabric I would be happy with.  I dug through every piece of fabric I owned unable to find something I wanted until on top of my washer I found my leftover Easter Dress fabric. What a happy result!

HollyAnna 1Pardon the wrinkles. Guess I have to learn to stand up straight! I do not look very thrilled to be taking the picture either. (SIGH)

This was not a difficult mash up. My bodice pieces had already been cut to accommodate using a knit so that part was done. I took my measurements (waist and hips) and traced the appropriate pant size. I also measured my thigh because unfortunately I am a “spoon” shape- small up top and a very round spoon bottom. (OK- pear shaped and VERY pear shaped!) I widened the trouser leg to fit my hip measurement.

I used a ponte knit – a lighter weight Maggy London one I picked up at Fabric Mart (Oh how I love Fabric Mart!) and it worked well. I shortened my bodice a touch because I knew the weight of the bottom would pull it down a bit. You know what? It worked!

WP_20150718_12_23_03_ProI am either celebrating here…trying to beat off a big lizard… or doing a rain dance! (serious drought here in CALIFORNIA)

For the bodice I used binding for the sleeves and the neckline because facings and trying to hem knits are not really my favorite things to do either. I think it looks quite nice and finished!

Knit Anna Bodice with Facings

When I attached the bodice to the trouser portion it was a perfect fit. Possibly because they were both BHL patterns? I am not sure but the two pieces went together beautifully. Another plus? Using the knit meant I could eliminate inserting a zipper. WIN! :)

Holly- Anna. I highly recommend it! Quick and easy sew and jumpsuits are in right now!


Maybe I will see you again soon? I made an adorable Star Wars dress for D1 and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dress for D2. Now if I could just rope them down for some pics!

xoxox ~Laurie






April- a ME ME ME Sewing month! :D

I sew. I sew a LOT. Many of the things I sew never make it to my blog. Frankly I am better at short and sweet so Instagram is my favorite venue for social media. I LOVE seeing what everyone else is making. And frankly I love to see what you are eating and drinking and doing! I am not sure why- I suppose a psychologist would have quite a bit to say about that. :) But if you want to follow me I am LaurieSue– San Diego girl that loves craft beer, sewing and my kiddos!

A few months ago I was chatting with my cuzzy (yes, I call her that) and we decided that we were always sewing for everyone else, and it was time to devote a whole month to sewing up some things for ourselves. My cousin has 6 kids! Five rambunctious boys and one sweet little princess. She sews constantly for those boys and her daughter. She makes a few things for herself but not many! I sew for my girls too. Basically because they are cute and young and a think they are so much more fun to sew for! But I WANT to wear things I have made too. I am not saying I DON’T make things- I am just saying I don’t make much and have so much on my list I would like to do.

So, for Spring.. it’s all about me. :) Heck- this is perfect timing too because Me Made May is right around the corner and dang I am definitely participating! (there IS a Me Made May 2015 right??)

Spring Sewing

I went through all my fabrics and here is what I came up with. Some of them I don’t even know what I am going to make into yet! But maybe you will have some ideas! And yes, that is my mini trampoline. It’s for holding fabric right??!

Patterns For Pirates Every Day Eleegance Tunic

First up is this. Funny enough it is a fabric I just bought, because, well, I had to have it. You know how that is right? I am trying to be realistic with myself and make things I can wear all Spring and Summer and feel comfortable but nice in. This is kind of a sheer flowy cotton so I will put a cami under it.  I have been wanting to try this pattern for a while. It is The Everyday Elegance Tunic by Patterns for Pirates. I think this will be a quick make! I also bought some black lightweight cotton denim with a bit of stretch. I am going to make either a crop pant or a “legging” style pant to go with it. THIS is something I will wear a lot! So I am pretty stoked to be making it first. (Even though it is the “youngest” fabric in my stash!)

Granville Fabrics

I LOVE Sewaholic patterns. Initially I was going to do all Sewaholic patterns for the month of April but I am also trying to use stash- and I would have had to do some major fabric shopping. (Not that I would mind buying new fabrics but I need to be good… right?) I am going to be adding 3 new Granville shirts to my life this month. The white is a beautiful embroidered cotton and is slated to be a long sleeve. The pretty print is a voile and I am going to make a sleeveless variation. The butterfly is also a cotton voile. I am TORN. Do you think it would make a good Granviille? Or is it too much butterfly?

Vintage Silk Grey

I am very short on tops so knew I needed to focus on making several this month. I have some silk in my stash. SILK! I have never used it because it is expensive and I am afraid. But I am gonna do it. Because I have already made this top I know it is going to work for me. That makes me a little more confident that it will be a success! It is grey, which isn’t the best color on me, but with the right lip color I think I can pull it off!


I have over three yards of this really nice cotton jersey knit in royal blue. I have enough to make the sleeveless top in the left and the Simplicity dress in the upper right corner. I like solids… and I love blue. This top will go with my black pants I am making as well. I KNOW the top will get a lot of wear. Knit top? Solid color? Perfect!

Knit Maxi

You know I LOVE maxi’s if you have been a long time reader. So you know I have to have a few new ones to wear this season. I bought this black and white print jersey knit a long while ago. (Hurray for using stash so I can shop for more!) I made myself this maxi last year- so I know it is another winner. Maybe I will blog BOTH when I get this finished. :)

3 fabrics

I have more… But I don’t want to exhaust you all. The rest can be SURPRISES! In the meantime… tell me your thoughts on the butterfly voile Granville. Too much? And HELP me decide what to do with these oh so pretty florals as I am stumped! Ideas anyone? The tough part of sewing for me is that I am not slim and trim, nor am I a spring chicken* any longer. I love florals for Spring and want to add some to my wardrobe. The 2 on the outer edges are rayon challis and the center one is a nice cotton jersey. I have 3- 3.5 yards of each. Plenty for almost anything! (Except a pair of Carolyn jammies :( )

My initial thought on the challis with the white background is that I should NOT do a full dress. Maybe just a bodice with a solid darker blue skirt? Of course that is contingent upon me finding one and you know how that is! Another thought was making the Sewaholic Oakridge blouse and wearing it with blue jeans! This one:


Decisions decisions! That black and blue floral challis has been 3 different things already! And now I can’t remember any of the ideas I had!


I have some more aqua and black in my fabric collection for April. I would also like to make a black Hollyburn and Gabriola. And I have a few aqua knits for some drapey tops. My biggest challenge is going to be to get these things done! I guess as it is the 31st I can get cracking.

I have some “daughter sewing” blog posts just waiting for pictures. I will be sharing those soon!

Take care and happy sewing!

Laurie xoxo

* Speaking of Spring Chickens I had a debate with my eldest daughter on whether this pattern was too young for me. I don’t think we resolved it so maybe I can put it to a vote. Be honest! I don’t mind if it IS too young. I just can’t decide! Lets put it too a vote! I can take it! Really I can! (BTW- I have a 26 year old son! I am 40++)

Cynthia Rowley Pattern

Holiday Finery- The Emery Dress


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Hellooo friends and fellow sewists! I made an Emery Dress and I LOVE it! And so does the receiver of the Emery dress. :)

Making dresses for #2 is EASY as pie. She loves everything and wears it all. I can say, “HEY, Holly, look at this dress. Would you like one?” And she says YES! But Kadi is choosy. And picky. And likes things just so. She had a dress in her mind for Christmas and I searched high and low to find a very similar pattern as I did not want to make a ton of adjustments. And lo and behold I found it! The Emery Dress by Christine Haynes. And the only adjustment I would need to make was in the neckline. She wanted a boat neck!

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

I used a linen rayon I got from JoAnns. Kadi loves linen. I ordered a beautiful berry color from fabric.com but they were so swamped with orders I knew I was not going to get it before we left on our trip to Oregon. So, I canceled the order and trekked over to JoAnns, NOT expecting to find anything decent but HOPING. And there is was! A beautiful deep red linen. So home it went!

Emery Dress

I made a muslin. YES- ME! (I was quite impressed with myself.) I did not want to cut in to that linen until I knew the fit was right. I cut out a size 4 with a wider neckline and then adjusted the boat neck a little more and the dress was a perfect fit! Kadi always wanted a dress with  buttons down the back so we decided to go that venue as well. Heck… why not?!

Emery Dress with Button Back


Ah yes… linen wrinkles. But it is still a marvelous dress! I fully lined the inside so she would not need to bother with a slip. I wish I had inside pictures but I do not! (sorry!) But trust me- it is as beautiful inside as it is out. And it has pockets! All my girls LOVE pockets in their dresses.

I made a matching bow but Kadi decided to forgo the final touch. Sigh… I really liked the bow!

Emery DressI highly recommend this pattern. It is sweet and stylish and goes together beautifully. I can’t wait to make another! I will probably not do buttons down the back on the next one but I am sure it will be just as sweet!

I did a TON of sewing in December- Lots of gifts, sewing for my mama, button down shirts for my son (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!) and even made myself something I wear all the time! I have lots of sewing planned over the next few months including a “Selfish Spring.” I am going to make myself some mix and match separates out of mostly Sewaholic Patterns. I have them all and they fit me well. Although I will work in a few others – just because! I have already started planning and setting aside some fabrics I think will fit in with what I want to do. Currently I am planning black (I know- NOT a spring color but it will always be MY basic no matter what season!), white, grey and I think aqua if I am able to find some fabrics I like. It is an ever evolving plan but I will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by and I will see you soon! I need to blog Holly’s 70’s dress. I love how it turned out!

Take care and happy sewing!

Laurie xox



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