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

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. 😀



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 ( 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