Tag Archives: autumn

decorating my hallowe’en hat!

It’s a summer straw that friends Karen & Tracy insisted was me and I had to have… but the colour’s perfect for Hallowe’en, isn’t it?  Just pretend it’s fleece or flannel!  Deciding to use this today instead of the green fleece, I literally grabbed scarves and jewellery and began draping.

(Tracy’s shop in Raleigh, NC, is having a going-out-of-business sale tomorrow and Saturday.  Do stop by if you’re in the area.  She has a lot of furniture, and all kinds of very well priced items.  Click on her Facebook page.)

The brim of this hat is wide enough and strong enough to support even the heavy multi-strand necklace I draped on it.  However, before wearing any of these combinations around town I’d want to make some discrete stitches anchoring both the jewellery and the scarf in place.

happy Hallowe'en!
happy Hallowe’en!

pumpkins & frosty nights & falling leaves…

had a similar costume once, made b me mum!
Jack-o-Lantern costume

Time for Hallowe’en!

Couldn’t resist this little piccie (freebie from Amy Barickman) and then got immersed in reading more about Mary Brooks Picken.   More on her another time …

Me mum made a jack-o-lantern costume for me once, without the pointy hat.  She did something with green felt instead.  I remember we couldn’t figure out what to stuff it with, and finally decided on newspaper, which sank after an hour or so.  Quite messy, and I couldn’t do a thing while it was on!

Hope all Northern Hemisphere folks are enjoying the vivid colours, and all Southern Hemisphere folks enjoying the heat… may it not get too hot for you Lovelies!

weekly photo challenge: infinite

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Who doesn’t like jewellery?!   Even 1 piece can give infinite variety, depending on what it’s used with.  Would you believe that when I first saw this piece, I wasn’t sure what I’d wear it with?  Now, it’s more like what doesn’t it look good with!

Truly infinite variety here, folks.  These were just fabrics I had out at the moment.  Oops! Forgot that stripe!

Here’s my favourite dictionary’s definition ~

IN”FINITE, a. [L. infinitus; in and finitus, terminated.] 1. Without limits; unbounded; boundless; not circumscribed; applied to time, space and qualities.  2. That will have no end.  3. That has a beginning in space, but is infinitely extended…  4. Infinite is used loosely and hyperbolically for indefinitely large, immense, of great size or extent.

Link to WordPress Challenge here.

whither the weather

Suddenly it’s become unseasonably cold and wet, and the prospect of making and wearing these pinstripes has gone South to warmer climes.  There’s a more permanent solution, but it has to wait until Monday holiday, when I can get to the fabric store sale.

What’s the solution?  Delightful Debi Fry, My Happy Sewing Place, just started up her ABC’s of vintage sewing series again, and the pinstripes needed her info on underlining.  Thank you once  again, Ms Debi!

You know what that means: the green fleece hat moves under the needle sooner!  In fact, it got cut out last weekend, thread chosen, and stitches tested.  Well, it is 3/8” thick per side.  The pattern is Folkwear #269, Metropolitan Hat. Have made it before, and it’s a treat, simple but so classy.  Have been dreaming about this make for a looong time.

Happy sewing, Dear Readers!

seeing stripes

Pinstripes, to be precise.  When I saw Vogue 1236 last season I remembered this black, aging in stash for a mere 4 years. I used the pattern a couple months ago, almost as a toile, and wound up wearing the dress a lot.  So I was looking for an excuse to get the pattern out again.

Saturday morning I dove into the boxes of fabric, but couldn’t find the pinstripe.  I remembered pondering whether to keep it or toss it when packing up for the last move, but couldn’t remember what I decided.

Giving up the search, I dragged out a large black bin liner with a wonderful green fleece, thinking to assuage disappointment by making a hat out of the green. Hats + green = perfect combination!

But guess what I found at the bottom of the bag.  Yep.  There was the black pinstripe!

front pleat detail
front pleat detail

After struggling for a day, the hat’s on hold briefly, and it’s forward with the pinstripes.  Will add about 6” to the length this time, as my summer sample is ok, but I wish it had a good 2 or 3 inches more in length, and a decent hem.

Reading through the directions last night I remembered my question from summer about those front pleats: to sew down or not to sew down.  Looking closely at the pattern detail, I think they should be sewn.

If nor,not, there’s always the seam ripper.  😉  (and editing!)

crossing delancey & bubby’s apron

When I saw the name of the pattern, I immediately remembered a great actress from the movie, Crossing Delancey. Her character’s name is Bubby, as in hubby.  Her character is the quintessential Lower East Side New York Jewish grandma, and brings life to the movie.  In the trailer above, there’s even a quick scene of her wearing an apron, although not quite this style.

It’s a good think I had more than a yard of each fabric, as the ties still had to be cut, and I’d already decided I wanted larger pockets, and they also had to be cut.  I wanted a bow for 1 closure, and that was extra, too, but I managed not to need to piece it.  Oh – just realized I might have tried a bow cut on the bias.  Wonder what that would have been like… next time!  Do see the photos in yesterday’s post so you can see.

My advice: if you’re making this, have at least 1.5 yards of 45” fabric on hand for each side, and don’t plan to make it any wider!

At this point, I disregarded the remainder of the instructions, but had read them through once to be certain it was a normal construction.

First, I sewed the shoulder seams together for both sides, instead of leaving them open.  That was a design choice of mine, as I wanted longer straps without any closures.  Being a reversible apron, I did some things in bits, such as sewing along the lower edges, across the bottom, and back up the sides, starting and stopping at the markings for where the ties were to be inserted.  That left the upper halves and necks still open, but shoulder seams done and holding things together somewhat.

I wanted to insert one of the bands and double-check the fitting, and once that was done, I went ahead with sewing up that side of the pinny’s outer edge on that side only.  That I did after ironing the 2 fabrics carefully, matching up the lower, already stitched and top stitched pieces. As I got up toward the shoulder area, I wanted to make certain everything would fit smoothly, so I took extra care by ironing those seams ahead. Also made the top stitching much faster.  😉

Once the bottoms of both sides were sewn on the inside and I’d turned them right side out, I did the top stitching.  More on that below.  I chose not to try doing anything more from the inside of the pinny when moving up to the shoulder areas.  Just too complicated for me, and the fabrics seemed to be matching up extremely well, so I ironed and top stitched, still with that little edge of the lighter fabric showing on the darker side.  Am not a fan of binding on every apron!

With 1 side completed, I got to play around with a bow.  Decided to use a 4” scrap piece of both fabrics (cutting the pattern out identically meant I had identical scraps, too – hehee!)   Don’t know how long they are, I just went with what looked right.  i really thought I’d line the bow, too, but once I had one cut and tied I realized double thickness  was too heavy and thick.

But I did like the concept of some sort of gather, so did the 2 pleats when inserting the bow ties into the apron, folding them from 4” down to 2” using 2 pleats, measured by eye.  Then I completed the top-stitching of that side of the pinny, measured and ironed before inserting the bow ties.

I really did have more fun than I’d thought rolling the lighter side of the fabric over to the darker side while top-stitching around everything, and it didn’t take nearly as long as I’d imagined.

That left the neck, which had to be re-cut, as I knew I’d drive meself crazy trying to get a V-neck to match on all 4 pieces of cloth.  It got rounded right quick, seams ironed first to be sure both sides fitted neatly together, then stop stitched.  Ironing took a bit of imaginative folding, to get each side flat up around the shoulder straps, but that fabric affinity worked in my favour and kept everything neatly in place for ironing.

Just realized that I could have reversed some of the pocket pieces, and lined each side with the other… another variation for next time!

Have pinny, can bake ~ weather’s about right for the first batch of Autumn scones, and Samantha’s just sent me her mum’s fav recipe… Anybody ready for tea & scones with jam?!

cutting 2 patterns once

pinny turned inside out, or outside in, depending on your choice of fabric!
pinny turned inside out, or outside in, depending on your choice of fabric!

There are only 3 pieces for this pinny: the body, a self-lined pocket, and side ties.  I had trouble figuring out the tie from what got printed from the downloaded PDF, so just used the 1 piece I had clearly marked, and made up another, longer tie for the bow. Thought long streamers on both sides would be too much frou-frou, and get in my way.

I started with what the directions said:

“1. Fold 45 inch fabric so that selvages meet in the center of the fabric.  2. Fold fabric again to bring left hand fold to meet the far right hand fold. This will give you two folded edges on the right hand side, which will become the center back for the pattern pieces. This will allow you to cut through multiple layers and not waste fabric.”

Here’s what I did, not being patient enough to faff about putting my two cottons together and doing this only once, and also knowing I needed a more fool-proof way to be certain my folds would have both sides equal ~

click any photo for slide show & captions

I cut off the white selvage from the one side of each fabric. Have you noticed – fabric used to be woven with selvages on both sides, and now only 1 side’s left plain, for manufacturing info?  Know I read somewhere about this, but only remember the bit about selvages now being woven differently with no need to be cut off.  Anybody else know about this?

Back to the pinny ~ I carefully folded the fabric in half and ironed the center firmly, with steam.  That gave me the center, ironed all the way down the fabric, as a marker.

Then I opened up the fabric to full width and folded each selvage to the center.  I remembered to measure – ta-da!  Just to be certain the 2 halves were equal. They were.  Then I ironed the fold on each side.

Once that was done, I folded one folded side over to the other. I now had both folds together. I ironed that, too.  Then I placed the pattern piece onto the fabric and found it only just fit.  No room to spare, and I hadn’t made any changes to it in width, but was thinking I might.  Uh-uh!  If you want to, you’ll have to either piece it, or use wider fabric!

I repeated this with the second fabric, then put them together. My relatively new pinking scissors wouldn’t cut through all the layers, but the fabrics had great affinity for each other.  In other words, they stuck together really well, even when I didn’t want them to.

Decided to just cut out each side separately, as the cottons are medium weight, not light summery voiles. For the second fabric, I simply laid down the first already-cut fabric and it stuck almost like glue whilst I cut out the second fabric.  Much easier than using the paper pattern, which didn’t stick at all!

Will have to continue this tomorrow, for final thoughts and more photos!

ennui pinny

I’ve been looking for the quintessential (for me) apron pattern for some time, having none in my pattern stash.  Unless you count the dim, distant memory of using a yard of 36” wide cotton that was my first sewing project in school home economics class a bazillion years ago.  Ugh.  Talk about uninteresting projects, all of which would make it a very unlikely project for this month’s  Vintage September on the Monthly Stitch.  Right?  Not necessarily…

“Vintage” allowed too much to choose from, and uncooperative weather left me totally undecided.  Until last week, when I stumbled upon some free patterns online at fabric.com.  One, from a man on staff, was a pattern for an apron his grandmother had made and he contributed it in her memory.  Hmm.  Remembering my apron need, I realized it might just do…..

However, I did make a few revisions, and the method for cutting it out deserves a post all it own.  Click back tomorrow for that once!


The neckline had to be lowered.  Notice in earlier photos it looks almost V-necked.  Once I started doing all the edge stitching I quickly decided the V wouldn’t work, so I modified it.  However, i did stick with rolling the lighter side of the fabric over to form a tiny edging on the floral side.

I also made the pockets wider, and repositioned them according to my own arms’ length.  Decided to get a bit frilly with one pocket on the floral side, giving it an eyelash trim, but decided that  really didn’t show against the eye-watering print, so didn’t add to the other side.  The beige side’s pockets I left widened but plain.  The pattern called for self-fabric lining for these patch pockets, and the cottons were heavy enough, so I didn’t both to use any interfacing anywhere on the pinny.

In addition to lowering the neckline, I lengthened the shoulder area slightly and cut it into more of a strap and omitted both button & popper closures.  I felt both might be a little wearing on my shoulders.  Also omitted them on the side closures, as I didn’t want to have to fiddle.

Bows are nice, and I do like them as long as they’re not tight around me middle, so I decided to cut my own generous width for the left side closure. I cut 4″ strips as long as the leftover fabric was, hemmed them all the way round, and angled the bottoms.  When placing them in between the 2 sides I made 2 pleats, pointing them downward so no flour could get into the folds.  That made them about 2″ wide.  At first I considered making the ties reversible, too, but decided the doubled fabric would be too thick and heavy for a perky bow.

Everything fits, I can get into & out of it easily, and now I have a pinny!  The cutting process will follow tomorrow – how to fold thrice and cut once!

something old, something new

click any piccie for slide show

remember this summer dress?
Well, had a little problem before I got to wear it.  See what happened to the elastic?  I washed & dried it in cold water, gentle cycles, cool tumble dry so it shouldn’t have stretched so out of shape. But it did. And so I never wore it.

Wanting to clear up this UFO I finally thought about just cutting off the offending elastic and making a long skirt.  Then I realized I should measure the fabric, as if elastic was cut off, and see how much actual fabric was left.  So I did.  Phew! Almost 2.5 yards of 38” fabric!  Enough to do something with.  The rayon is so soft and the colours so bright, I have no intention of tossing the whole piece away!  Maybe a blouse… more thinking…  😉

autumn skirt
Just realized this rayon skirt’s over 10 years old!  Rarely worn, it’s a colour group I’ve always wanted to use as a blouse, but with just a yard I couldn’t find a satisfactory pattern.  Sleeveless was the logical answer, but that wasn’t my wardrobe vision at the time.  Now it might work quite well, so am giving this another chance to get into the wearable pile.

Dear Readers, what are your thoughts?

fabric collection ~ update

click to see slide show & titles

No, I’ve not succeeded in getting the piles of stashed fabric down to nothing.  Not even close, Lovely Readers.

Just last week, as I cleaned up the fabric & patterns strewn from one end of the flat to the other, was mentally patting meself on the back for not having bought any fabric since April.  All the empty space got me thinking about Autumnal clothes that can segue into Winter.

After a rummage through the wardrobe, reality struck: the pile of under-jacket tees was about z-e-r-o.  Hmm.

The stash had 2 pieces of rayon (viscose) jersey; actually only 1.  The other’s firmly committed to a more substantial blouse.

Tough decision, right?  Hah!

A few clicks and the deed was done: 3 solid colours and 2 patterns, minimum 1 yard each.  Felt that was enough restraint.

Don’t you agree?!