Star Wars Emery Dress


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There are a few things pretty obvious based on my sewing choices and blogged posts.

#1- I love sewing for others… namely my kids. Mostly because they look really cute in the clothes I like to make! Way cuter than I would look!

#2- I love sewing vintage… and the challenge of making a vintage pattern wearable today.

#3- I love sewing with character fabric…

I have made a Pac Man dress… Walking Dead and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle button downs… Marvel comic dresses… Pikachu PJs (not blogged yet) and more. I LOVE themed fabric and enjoy using it in my garment making. And the choices we have! At this moment I have Batman, Batgirl, Dr. Who, Marvel, BB-8, Superman, Wonder Woman and more lurking around in my stash waiting to be made in to something cool.

The biggest challenge is taking that fabric and turning it into something wearable. I don’t want to make a crazy Dr. Who dress that gets worn once (COULD be fun though?) which means I pick wearable patterns when I sew!

Star Wars Dress Star Wars Shirt

Last year I made my eldest daughter a Star Wars dress and my son a button down. They both get worn a lot! But my middle daughter truly wanted a Star Wars dress too so in January I finally got busy making one for her.


Holly is a size 2. I do NOT enjoy using the Big 4 Patterns (McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue) when I make her clothes because there is too much to alter. If you look at the B ig 4 patterns many of them don’t have anything smaller than an 8. Why? Indie patterns on the other hand usually go to a 0… YAY! This means I have the general measurements at least and just need to make some minor changes (like a sway back adjustment.)

I made an Emery dress by Christine Haynes for Kadi several years back in red linen. She wanted a dress with buttons up the back and it worked beautifully. (You can see it here.) I love the simplicity of the dress and knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind. PLUS, the sizing fit my needs with very little changes!

Emery Dress

As you can see the Star Wars fabric I chose this time around was the Millennium Falcon fabric. It was a tough decision since there is Star Wars fabric galore to choose from but I liked this one because the color would look great on Holly AND it was old school Star Wars. 😀

I widened the neckline slightly on this version. I like the neckline to be a little more “boat like.” I also wanted to make her something with sleeves. She has quite a few sleeveless dresses now.


Unfortunately I only have mediocre pictures of the dress- Candids taken with a phone by my friend… Which I appreciate since they are better than nothing! If only I could fly to California with every dress I make and do a photo shoot. Sigh…

The Emery dress is a simple make. Bodice with darts and a gathered skirt with added pockets. I made very few changes- the wider neckline, a sway back adjustment, and I always line the bodice versus facings. I prefer it that way! My biggest challenge is making a dress without the “body” being present! I like to be able to try it on through out the process. But I think I managed a pretty good dress without having Holly near by.

Emery Dress


While I was at it I made Holly’s BF a matching shirt… There is nothing better than matchy matchy right? 😀

Holly Earl

He was pleased to get a new shirt! I used McCalls 6044. I have made 15 men’s shirts with this pattern and feel like a pro now. 😉

Lots of sewing going on at my house. And Craft Beer drinking. A new brewery opened here in town and since my brother is an investor and his best friend is one of the owners it is becoming a good place to hang out and finally meet people here! I even got to pour beer one day right after opening since they needed help. That was a fun experience!

Hope you all had a nice Spring Break… And maybe you are well into your Spring sewing? I have my LIST all prepared! I will have to share what I am up to next time.



~Listening to Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

All Things Kadi…



Today my daughter Kadi turns 24. I have to say it isn’t just a celebration for her… it is also a celebration for me. I mean I deserve to take SOME credit for the wonderful young lady she has turned into, right??

To celebrate I thought I would post some of the things I have made for her. I wish her albums weren’t in storage because I have actually been sewing for her since she was a baby. Confession- my first baby dresses I was afraid to do button holes so I used VELCRO… And I still have them as proof. Another confession- the 90’s were the heyday of Daisy Kingdom dresses… and my daughters had quite a few- fluffy skirts and all!

Warning…Picture heavy!!

I have made Kadi more than three costumes over the years but here are the ones I have access to!

Spanish Guitar

Spanish Guitar Solo

Your Idea

Another solo costume. This one was very modern and danced on stage to NO music. She told the story with the “word scarves.”

2 beds

Two Beds and a Coffee Machine… Earned many awards and 1st places on the competition circuit. NOT because of the costume but because of the choreography (Thanks Heather Dale) and dancer.


Hip Hop Pants

I made Kadi at least a half dozen of these “Hip Hop Hammer Pants.” Animal print pants outta control…


Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Hudson Pants by True Bias

Hudson Pants by True Bias

Sew Exhausted

Vintage Mail Order Pattern

Sunflower Skirt

Sunflower Skirt and Burda Top

Simplicity 1200 and Cynthia Rowley top

Skirt Simplicity 1200 and Cynthia Rowley top

Star Wars Dress

Star Wars Dress

Emery Dress

Emery Dress by Christine Haynes

McCalls 6834

McCalls 6834


Vintage Simplicity 7895

I do enjoy sewing for Kadi… however now that we are 1600 plus miles away I don’t get to do fun photo shoots. 😥

Pokemon Closet Case Files Carolyn PJ's WP_20160221_16_50_09_Pro

I made her a pair of Carolyn PJS for her birthday… she should be opening it in a few hours! Here is a sneaky peek! She is a child of the 90’s hence the Pokemon theme!

Happy Birthday sweet daughter of mine! ❤

If you are interested here are some of the items I made that have a corresponding post…


Links to POSTS:

Animal Print Pants Outta Control

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Hudson Pants by True Bias

Vintage Mail Order Pattern

Simplicity Sunflower Skirt and Burda Top

Star Wars Dress

Emery Dress by Christine Haynes

McCalls 6834

Vintage Simplicity 7895

Batman Sunglass Case-Free Sewing Pattern EP. 2

Last August I started something that I decided to pick back up now that I am settled in to my new state and blogging again. I have a Pinterest board where I pin FREE sewing patterns and instead of just pinning I decided to MAKE one every month. Well, as you know life got away from me and I ended up moving which sidetracked me a bit, but never fear… Episode 2 is here!

If you missed “Episode 1” you can go here– I made 2 super cute Travel Cases for me and my middle daughter. They were fun to make and I love how they turned out. And when Holly traveled to Texas to see me at Christmas time she brought hers with her- so useful!!

This month I decided to make a sunglass case. I had a pair of sunglasses and they were all scratched up from being tossed in the glove box of my car, thrown into my purse, and all the other places my sunglasses inevitably end up. I bought two new pairs and when I didn’t find a sunglass case I liked I figured I would make my own!

Of course I went to Pinterest to find a free pattern. It’s a sunglass case and I didn’t feel like spending money on one! I found two, but one needed plastic canvas and I had already decided I was using what I had so I went with the 2nd one. (Here is a link to the first one in case you are interested- It has nice shaping due to the canvas. It would make a good looking case!)

I used this pattern for mine. Simple and quick! I had this made up in less than an hour!

The nice thing about this pattern is it all fits on one sheet of paper. The not so nice thing was no matter how hard I looked I could not find the directions and had to wing it!

Sunglass case layout

I cut one of each piece from my main fabric (which happens to be Batman!), lining and fusible batting. After ironing on the batting I was ready to sew!


I sewed the bottom seams, right sides together, on both the lining and the main fabric.


I sewed the flap to the base piece (right sides together) on both the main piece and the lining. After that I just put the main sunglass case piece to the lining piece (right sides together!) and sewed them up leaving about a 2 inch opening so I could turn it right side out. 🙂

I hand stitched up the “hole” and then added a button and button hole. Boom! Completed. Simple, easy and useful! I have 2 pairs of sunglasses so I am going to make a second one with my Dr. Who fabric. And while I am at it I will probably make a few extras for gifts.


I have used it every day this week now that I am working away from home. I am pretty darn sure I have the BEST sunglass case ever! 🙂 Thanks Pattern Pile and Diane’s Vintage Zest!


In other sewing news, I did not have much time to sew this week. I am adjusting to my new job and being away from home for close to 12 hours! I am sewing today though! I’m working on my Jungle January Cardigan. I have a Pinterest board where I pin sewing inspirations and always loved this sweater from Chicos. I decided to take my animal print sweater knit (from my stash YAY!) and try to make one similar. Hopefully I will be able to blog about it next week!

Phototastic-1_20_2016_e8b9bd28-c357-4a78-8175-0ddfac49f8d5I am using the Lark pattern but obviously I have had to make changes to it. Fingers crossed I succeed!

I also finished a Star Wars dress for Holly and a matching button down for her BF. They are winging their way to California and those kids better take some good photos so I can tell you all about them! Here is a sneaky peek!


Hope you all are sewing up great stuff in 2016! Have a stellar week and let me know what you are working on right now!

~Laurie xox

~Watching The Mysteries of Laura

Sunflower Skirts and Stash


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We are just about 2 weeks into 2016 and I hope they have been productive weeks for you. I have 5 1/2 things made already, and 3 all cut out waiting in the wings. 😀 I decided to cut out 5 things at a time this week and see how it went. I am well into 2016 but the outfit I am about to show you was made in 2015. I never really had the chance to write about it but it is one of my favorite makes from last year. (As evidenced by my banner!)

Simplicity 1200

I made this outfit for my eldest daughter Kadi for Easter.  I never got any other pictures but here is the skirt (shown with Cynthia Rowley’s 0574).

Simplicity 1200 and Cynthia Rowley top

Originally  I was supposed to make a sunflower skirt but when I went to lay out the pieces on the fabric I realized I did not order enough fabric and had to put it aside. Kadi waited not so patiently – and I eventually got to it! (I am sure you know how that is!)

Simplicity 1200 Sunflower Skirt

The skirt is super simple. 2 pieces and a waistband. The trick is in ensuring you have the correct size waistband and cut the skirt based on that. I tried to go by the sizing but you know how that is with the Big 4. I ended up measuring her waist and the waistband piece and allowed for seam allowances and went from there.

SF Side Zipper

On the first skirt I put in the zipper and overlapped the waistband with hooks and eyes. Kadi did not like that feature so in the sunflower version I put in an invisible zipper. As you can see I had a tiny bit of trouble at the top but she likes it much better.

Burda 6795

For the top I used Burda 6795 and a polyester knit. If you ever make this pattern watch the armholes! They were quite large and I had to make some changes to avoid the dreaded underarm bra visibility. Other than that, this pattern is another simple make!

Simplicity 1200

Simple and wearable! Kadi has asked for a few more of these skirts. I guess I can work them in to the rotation!

I had a job interview on Monday. I am 99.9% sure I will get it. The job itself is going to be great but I am very depressed about the drive and it keeps me from being excited about it. I will be spending an hour on the road to get to work and an hour to get home. I know LOTS of people do this, but I have not had to ever drive that far for work. I wonder what it is going to do to my sewing life because I will be working, driving and sleeping during the week! Does anyone here drive that far? I am afraid I will hate my job because I dread spending 2 hours in the car!!
Stash Step 1

Anyway, because I figured I would be going back to work soon I needed to get organized. My brother was out of town and my youngest is back in CA right now so I had the house to myself! Woohoo!! I pulled all my stash out of the garage and took over the family room.

Step 1- bring stash inside. 

Stash Step 2

Step 2- dump it all out and organize by fabric type.

Step 3- Count the pieces. I am so impressed by everyone that actually measures all their yardage but that bored me before I had even reached 17 yards and decided to just count the pieces. I have 231 pieces of fabric. Ooops.

Irish Quilt

I also found I had several quilts in progress I never finished. Like this “Lucky Quilt” I started a long while back!

Star Quilt 90s

And this Star Quilt I started in the 90’s!! I was not sure if I should keep it but decided some day I may want to finish it!

Challis Pile

I learned I must have a thing for Rayon Challis…

Knit Pile

And I have PILES of knits. Two containers are filled- one with solids and one with prints.

Stash Organized

I am not sure what kind of a “stash goal” I want to make this year. I think I better wait to see how much sewing time I am going to have once I start my new job. But it is all organized and I am ready to “rock and sew!” The unmarked container at the top is the fabric I pulled out that I will keep in my sewing room and hope to use sooner rather than later. The rest went back to the garage.

Do you have any stash busting goals for this year?


~Listening to Brothers Osborne




Cherry Bomb for Christmas


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For the week of Christmas my 3 California kids came to visit. (Youngest was here in Texas.) It almost didn’t happen! Between them they have ONE safe car that would make it 1600 miles. The day before they were set to leave my eldest daughter was stopped behind a lot of traffic trying to get off the freeway at the mall. (Who goes to the mall at Christmas time?) Anyway, an SUV did not see the stopped traffic soon enough and slammed into her which pushed her into the car ahead of her. Thankfully she was ok- sore muscles and back and shocky but the hospital checked her out and said she would be ok. The car though- totaled. I was relieved she was wasn’t hurt but heartbroken because there was no way we could afford airfare the week of Christmas for three people. But my brother, who travels weekly for work, very kindly used his points and flew them out here last minute so Christmas was back on! (Without the stress of me worrying as my kidlets drove those 1600 miles!)

Christmas was GREAT and I was able to get a little sewing done for them while they were here. I have found it is much harder without their bodies for fittings but while they visited I took measurements and made a good fitting bodice for each to use. My son is easy- I just use the same shirt pattern! (Guess I should get a little more creative!)

That was a long intro! Now for the fun! I made middle daughter a cherry dress while she was here using the Violette Fields Ginger Dress. I love the vintage feel and Holly can totally carry off these styles. Plus, she wears every dress I make her! Heck, she loves every dress I make her and wants a closet full! Easy to sew for, easy to please. I am down with that! I named this dress Cherry Bomb… Yep, after the John Mellencamp song and well, it’s covered in cherries!

Cherry Dress2

Violette Fields Ginger Dress

I actually got this cherry fabric at Walmart. It is a fun cotton print and fairly decent quality. Initially I was going to use solid red as the accent but found the green mini polka dot on a Joanns visit and changed my mind.


Seam in skirt

The dress was simple to make and I completed the sewing part in one day. The skirt is a circle skirt in 2 pieces. My fabric was not wide enough so I actually sewed two pieces together. I did my best to match up those cherries but it is slightly off. On a positive note I doubt very much ANYONE will notice. 🙂

Cherry Dress Insides

The bodice is fully lined and I used my trusty serger to finish all of the inside seams. I debated on the zipper, but decided to go with a regular zip vs. invisible because I had one in my stash that would work. I have a shoe box crammed full of zippers and need to use one when I can instead of buy. Does anyone else have zipper stash?

Cherry Dress pockets


I put pockets into everything now because Holly loves them. Sometimes I think she is more excited about the pockets then the dress! 😉 The pattern comes with pockets so it wasn’t any extra work really.

Cherry Dress Side2

One of the things I love about Indie patterns is the sizing. Holly is a tiny girl and whenever I make her a Big 4 pattern I have to do quite a lot of fitting. They don’t even make her size it seems! Many of them start at an 8, some at 4. She is a 0-2. This bodice fit her PERFECT right out of the envelope.

Cherry Dress Back1

I did change one thing on the dress. The actual pattern is halter style with the straps tied behind the neck. When she tried it on I decided to make them into straps for 2 reasons. #1- Stability- this bodice isn’t going anywhere! #2- I could place them exactly to hide her bra straps.

Cherry Dress Main

All in all I would say this is a highly successful dress. I can’t wait to make her another! Too bad it is rainy and cold in CA right now though. It will be a while before she can wear it!

I also made her a quick pair of PJ bottoms while she was here. And I added pockets! Holly is a girl after my own heart- we both love Dr. Who so I used Tardis flannel.


I did not tell her but I have JUST enough left to make a pair of jammie shorts too. I am going to make a knit top to go with them and mail them to her for her bday. Shhhhh….

PicMonkey Baby Dress Collage

McCalls 5791 with a few changes

I have completed 4 items in 2016 already. All baby dresses for family members. I miss making baby dresses so these were pretty fun! I used McCalls 5791 but added the ruffles and waistbands.

By the way, I have added a little “scorecard” on the left side of my blog so I can keep track of how many items I sew, how much stash I use, and how many miles I run for 2016. I am actually not sure yet if I am going to count yards or pieces on the stash count though. I started to measure my stash fabrics but got tired after 17 yards so I may just go by piece!

Hope your first week of 2016 has been good! Now I think I will get back to sewing!


~Listening to Big Star #1 Record- (Thanks Leila!)

9 Things for 2016- #2016makenine

I am way better at keeping up with things on Instagram and about a week ago I saw quite a lot of people posting their top nine photos for the year. I jumped right on that and enjoyed seeing what my top 9 photos were and seeing what other Sewists shared. Mine consisted of family, sewing and me! (Oh, and my messy stash pile- guess I got a lot of likes on that one!)


My nine most like IG photos for 2015

Then Rochelle from Lucky Lucille started the #2016makenine hashtag and well, I had to join in on that too! It gave me a chance to mull over some of the items I would like to make for myself during the year and am quite pleased with what I came up with!

As you know most of my sewing usually tends to be for my girls. I have also spent the last month making men’s shirts for my son and brother and a few friends (2 Walking Dead, One Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1 StarWars and 1 Minions shirt,) but I would really like to add to my own wardrobe and here is what I came up with!


The Closet Case Files Carolyn Pj’s… These are a MUST for me this year. I made my cousin a pair for her birthday last year and loved making them. I used bright pink minnie mouse  cotton with black piping. They turned out perfect if I do say so myself and I intended to make myself a pair or two but did not get to them. This year- I will. I already have a creamy pink striped stain charmuese fabric for one pair and some Dr. Who fabric for a second pair. Can I just say I am thrilled I can find Dr Who fabric now? A year ago there was nothing out there! Now I have enough to make Holly a dress, myself a pair of PJ’s and Holly and I both a quilt. Tardis Jammies? Need I say more?


Minnie Mouse Carolyn Pjs

The Sewaholic Thurlows– I have had these on my list for a few years but have not felt up to the pants challenge. I saw these were on quite a few Sewists #2016makenine list so maybe we can all get together virtually and struggle through it together? I am all up for a Thurlow-Thon. 😉

For some odd reason I have a thing for outerwear. I have many jacket and coat patterns I want to make! But I don’t live where there is snow so how many jackets do I need? I thought this would fit the bill though so I plan to make the George and Ginger Keeping it Classy cape. A cape! I have wanted a cape for years. I once had a long grey wool one half finished- way back in the mid 90’s. I wish I still had that UFO (for the grey wool) but ah well. I will have to choose my fabric and timing wisely. Living in Texas means at least half the year is hot and humid so I will have no use for a cape more during those months. Right now we are in the 40’s and 50’s though and I sure could use a little warmth!

The McCalls pattern in the middle row is one of my favorite new patterns from the Big 4. I love everything about it! I figure one in a lighter weight Khaki or Chambray with those 3/4 sleeves will be a perfect addition to my wardrobe and one I can wear more often thanks to those shorter sleeves and the use of a cotton fabric. Take a look- there is also a gorgeous one in lace! Pretty cool how you can make two totally different garments just by using a different fabric!

The Jasper sweatshirt by Paprika Patterns. Love this sweatshirt/ sweater/ sweater dress! I tested one when it was released but failed on the pockets. Despite that failure I wear my pocketless one all the time. It is SO comfy and since it is already traced and fitted I feel like I need a second ASAP. I have fabric for a new one and this time I WILL succeed on those welt pockets!

The Burda suit in silver– There is something about this suit that calls to me. Do I have use for a suit? Well, I do not know yet! Possibly? I just know I love the lines of the jacket and the slacks. I guess when the time comes I will decide on the type of fabric and whether or not the jacket is necessary!


Greenstyle Sundance Jacket


The Greenstyle Sundance jacket. OMG… I LOVE this jacket. If you have never seen it the lines are amazing and it is definitely worth checking out. I have a purple Scuba knit I bought a long while back because I wanted to see what all the excitement was about! I got it on a super sale at Fabric Mart Fabrics not really knowing what I was going to do with it. Well, now I know!

The Megan Nielsen Culottes is another pattern I have had for a while. I like the idea of culottes! I will probably go super simple and make myself a black pair from a nice challis. I love the flow of challis!

Last but not least (and these are in NO specific order) is the Sewaholic Cordova jacket. Yeah- another jacket. But I really do not have ANY in my closet and every girl needs a few right? I will hopefully be able to find something in my stash for this. I am trying not to buy any fabric for two reasons. One- I have 7 containers of fabric and I would like to narrow it down to 3 by the end of the year (I am well aware this is a HUGE goal!) and Two- well I AM unemployed at the moment!

That concludes my Nine for 2016. And in between all these great makes I will be making myself a few more Renfrews (I have 7 so far), my daughters some dresses and PJ’s, my son a shirt or two (pacman and craft beer shirts) and a few quilts. Oh, and whatever else I fall in love with during 2016! I can pretty much guarantee that will happen!

What kind of sewing plans do you have for the coming year? Do you like to make plans or just wing it as the year goes along?! I have to confess I like to do both. Plans are good- and I will  be interested to see how many of these I complete during the year. But the one thing I DO know is… “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray…” (Robert Burns) and I am no exception to that!

Cheers to a productive year. Let’s sew like the wind!!


~Watching Murdoch Mysteries

PS. Just completed my first make of 2016… A SWEET baby dress for one of my fave cousins and his baby. He is a Seahawks fan. I am NOT… but for him I allowed some Seahawk fabric in my home!



Ch Ch Ch Changes…


2015 is almost over. I am not going to say it was the worst year ever (because it wasn’t) and I can’t say it was my best year ever either. What I WILL say is it is a year that encompassed a lot of changes in my life and whether they are good or bad remains to be seen!

First off- I was a terrible blogger. I thought about apologizing but I decided that it was nothing to be sorry for! Not blogging much just happened… And my “sewist” friends are also on Instagram and can pretty much keep up with me there. That said, I like to blog and now that my Year of Many Changes is coming to a close, I hope I can manage to do a bit better! We shall see!


I turned 50 this year. I don’t feel 50. But I AM 50. I do not really like that number. Half a century. Sheesh. How did that happen? I confess I am not really happy about it. Youth has a lot to be said for it! Of course I wish I knew then what I know now. But life does not work that way.


One of the biggest changes in my life is a move. I moved from sunny California to Texas. It was a BIG move for a variety of reasons. The hardest part of my move was leaving 3 of my children behind. It does not matter that they are 27,23 and 20. I miss them dreadfully. I love being a mom and needed and now, well I am a long distance mom and not needed so much any more. I moved because I AM 50, and living in CA on your own was tough. I lived paycheck to paycheck and started getting concerned about MY future. I spent the last 28 years worried about my kids and forgot to plan for me. The opportunity arose to come and live with my big brother and damn I took it. The move will give me an opportunity to start saving towards retirement. I do not want to work at Walmart when I am 75. I want to be sewing, drinking martinis with my friends, volunteering, and doing other cool things! So I packed up a 4 x 8 trailer and headed to a new state.

Things have been pretty good in Texas. I have been here 2 months. (I have to confess it feels like longer!) My youngest came with me. I was able to bring my job with me. 9 years at the same job although we were bought last year by a new company! Which brings me to my next change. 4 days before Christmas I got laid off. 😦 Boy was that a slap in the face. I guess I should be happy I made it through 15 months with the new company. But I am not…What I AM is realistic and should have known it was coming. But Christmas?? Well, that kinda sucked. (Although it has given me some extra time off to visit with my kids while they were here, sew lots and take up running.)

So, I go into 2016 50 years old, in a new state, and jobless. I also go into 2016 thankful! I am living in a brand new house with my own bedroom AND a 2nd bedroom I use as an office/ sewing room. My youngest is here with me in HER own room. My kids just left today for CA after spending the holidays with me. And I have the opportunity to start a brand new adventure. New state. New career. New challenges.

I never imagined I would leave California. I never imagined I would be laid off. Life can be a challenge sometimes when things don’t necessarily go the way you planned but I am viewing this as an opportunity to go forth and do lots of great stuff in 2016!

I would like to end this post with a picture of my super cool brother. Ya- that is his car… and yeah… I made him that shirt! #minions


Happy New Year! May you have many adventures in 2016!


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 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! 😀

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