I’m taking a page from the Cup and Penny book of doing “just one thing today” that gets me closer to my goal of being a fashion sewer. I too vow  to do something each and everyday that gets me closer to my goal of being able to see a garment and design my own look and create it to suit my body. If I don’t work on my craft each day, I will never achieve the level of success I’m working towards.

I haven’t sewn much lately. Ever since my flat pattern making class ended, I hit a slump.

African Wax Print Maxi Skirt
Self-Drafted Maxi Skirt

I did draft a skirt for the Beyonce’ & Jay Z concert and mend a few things for my son and husband, but that’s it. As I type this, I’m realizing that I only haven’t been sewing much, but I have been working on something sewing or fashion related on a consistent basis. Reading my Threads magazine on techniques, watching YouTube videos, reading blog post, reading fashion magazines, working on things for my Facebook sewing group, reading something from of my sewing related books, or going to my class; Fashion Studies Foundation at Moore College of Art and Design, I’m doing SOMETHING each day to put me one step closer to my goal. I just had to realize that.

Thanks to Rebecca for her sage words. She doesn’t know what they meant to me.

So for today, I’ve pressed my fabric and laid out my pattern pieces for the Stitch Once, Rip Twice sewing group challenge. I will do a little bit each day to make sure it’s done on time. Tomorrow, I may even cut it out!

Laying out my romper pattern
Laying out my romper pattern
View D Romper Simplicity 1355
View D Romper Simplicity 1355

Remember, you must work toward your goals everyday. Write them down, study them, allow them to become as much a part of your life as brushing your teeth. If you’re not working toward them, then they are mere dreams.


“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

–Robert Collier



Michelle Obama’s Chic Floral Dress Is Inspiring Our Summer Wardrobes

My day has been made. FLOTUS in this beautiful frock by Tanya Taylor has given me an idea! Time to find a print that I can make into something similar.


Michelle Obama in blue and white summer dress
Michelle Obama in a floral number by Tanya Taylor

DIY Heat and Cold Packs

Allergy season is upon us. Depending on where you live, the grass, tree or weed pollen counts can fluctuate from day to day.

PollenCast from Weather.com

For some reason, this past Saturday, my face was so sore. Sinus pressure started under my eyes and as the day went on (and while I was at the On The Run concert), I got worse and worse. My head, my teeth even were giving me fits. I’d taken a OTC sinus pain reliever that day, but it only dulled the pain until it wore off. I didn’t have a back up. I suffered all night.

Kelly and Scooter at the On the Run Tour
Smiling through the pain
On The Run Tour
On The Run Tour


Fast- Forward to the next day, here comes the pain again. Annie Lennox, watch out! . Another OTC and warm wash cloths to ease the pain. I thought to myself, I wish I still had that microwave heat pack again. Not sure what happened to it it, but needless to say, I sure did miss it right now.

Then the juices started flowing. My orthopedic surgeon had suggested to me in the past to warm up a bowl of rice and use it to heat up my finger before doing my home physical therapy. Eureka! I have rice and I can just make a heat pack for my face.

Using some scrap fabric from a maxi skirt I’d made the day before (post coming soon), I made a heat/cold pack.

2014-07-07 00.36.32


  • (2) 10″ x 6″ pieces of scrap fabric (feel free to interface them)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of rice
  • Essential oil (6-10 drops)
  • Needle & Thread or sewing machine.
  • Ruler
  • Tailors chalk or pencil
  • Bowl & Funnel

With right sides together, using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew up your ‘pack’, around one side, across the bottom and up the other side. If on a machine, backtack for sure.

Sew the top closed about 2 inches in.

Turn right-side out. Use a chopstick or turner to push the corners out.

Fold the raw edges inside and press.

To keep the rice in place so it’s not falling all to one end or the other, measure the pack into thirds and stitch 2 lines starting and finishing 1 inch in from the seam. If hand sewing, the running or back stitch works.


Pour your rice into a bowl and drop some essential oil into the rice. I used lemongrass. Be careful, A little goes a long way.

Mix up the rice so the scent is infused throughout the bowl. Using your funnel, pour the rice into the open end of the pack and allow it to settle into the bottom and middle compartment. Fill the last compartment only 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. You’ll need room to tuck in the raw edges and close the pack.

Hand stitch or machine stitch the pack closed. If hand sewing, the slip stitch works.

When heating up the pack, 1 minute & 30-40 seconds is sufficient. Place a small bowl of water the microwave when you heat it to keep the pack moist and so the rice doesn’t burn.

Make several, some for the freezer, some larger for sprains and cramps or smaller ones for hand warmers in the winter.


2014-07-07 00.36.39


~sidenote~I hear flaxseed works as filler too

Challenge #7 A Simple Jumpsuit

Challenge #7: A Simple Jumpsuit

Welcome to Stitch Once, Rip Twice sewing challenge No. 7!  We had a close vote for this one, with three options to choose from.  A tunic, a jumpsuit/romper, and a beautiful piece of art for inspiration!



The Rules


  1. Your simple jumpsuit can be for yourself or someone else, and there’s no restriction to which pattern, fabric, or style!
  2. It can be made from scratch or refashioned, just as long as you use your sewing skills!
  3. Share anything you would like on your blog or on the group’s Facebook page along the way. That includes patterns, techniques, inspiration, project ideas, problems, and in-progress pictures.

Have your finished garment done and posted by August 10th September 1st either on your personal blog or on the Facebook page. The week after the deadline, I’ll put together a wrap-up post with everyone’s finished garments so we can all see!

Let’s get our machines fired up, and have fun!

Also, if you have a blog, post the badge above by grabbing the code here!


p.s. Val and I are just handling the details for Diane. This is still her baby, we’re just members that jumped in to help out this fantastic sewing group.



Flat Pattern Making I Class Completed

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve been learning flat pattern making. It was course number 2 of the fashion studies certificate program in the apparel construction track at Moore College of Art & Design. Having only been sewing since October, taking on pattern making was very challenging. The terms, the skills needed and even understanding the language was proving more than difficult in the beginning.  With hard work, one-on-one instruction, plenty reading, YouTube videos, Craftsy classes, patience and several days off from work, I’ve completed my class and my final project.

My 1/2 scale final project
My 1/2 scale final project


The design is basic but very classic, very Michelle Obama (IMO).

Mrs. Obama’s dress inspired my design.


After 2 unsuccessful attempts at a muslin, I purchased a 1/2 size dress from from PGM with a 20% student discount. With this little helper, I could see what I was doing much easier. I installed a zipper and fitted the dress pretty darn accurately IMO. After the final review (my teacher LOVED my work and the fit of the muslin), I was all in to make my dress in this lovely African wax print fashion fabric. I took a day off work and really took my time. Hand basing everything was key to pulling it together, not missing a single notch and feeling comfortable about the process. It took a little bit longer, but the results were the best I ever had with sewing a garment with clipped or chalked markings.


My Final Muslin


Colleen teaching dart manipulation
Colleen teaching dart manipulation


With this class behind me, I’m ready to move on. I want to take flat pattern making 2, but I’m missing a prerequisite that I really want to take before moving on. I’m going to miss my classmates who are moving on without me. We’ve learned so much and really have grown as designers. I can’t wait to share more of my journey with you all.  Until next time, keep sewing!

 An extra special THANK YOU to Colleen Moretz for a great class, Mina Dia-Stevens, adjunct professor at Moore who gave me one one one instruction on how to make a better garment and the ladies in class, Stephanie, Elle, Christina and Regina.  You ladies BALL so HARD!


The ladies of Flat Pattern Making 1
The ladies of Flat Pattern Making 1

Pattern Making Final





Patternmaking isn’t for the faint of heart

I’m in course number 2 of a  fashion studies certificate program in the apparel construction track at Moore College of Art & Design. The curriculum covers most of what I think I’ll need to become a part-time fashion designer and full time bad ass fashion creator.

  • Fundamental Sewing Technique (done)
  • Fashion Studies Foundations (next)
  • Photoshop & Illustrator for Fashion
  • Fashion Textiles
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking I (in progress)
  • Advanced Sewing Techniques
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking II
  • Fashion Studies: Advanced Projects

Flat Patternmaking  is NOTHING to play with. I skipped taking Advanced Sewing Techniques to take this and I really wish I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning so much it’s mind numbing. I had no idea what a croqui, sloper, block, half-scale, dart manipulation, slash & spread or pivot meant in relation to sewing, but trust and believe, I know what they mean now, but there are some techniques that I’m not 100% comfortable with and it can be very stressful when you don’t have a frame of reference to draw from.

One upside is that I’ve made more half-scale patterns, moved more darts and used more scotch tape than I’d ever thought possible. Yet, I feel a little unfulfilled. I want to SEW SOMETHING NOW!

7 Weeks of classes and not one stitch sewn, one patter cut, or one garment made. I’m jonzin’ to make and wear something new. I mean, it’s the only reason I got in to this, to design and make hot gear for myself!  (Vain, right!)  Well, I don’t plan on quitting my day job anytime soon and the impetus for learning to sew was to be able to see something (think FLOTUS)  and make it or think of something cool to wear and make it, for ME!

After 7 weeks, the patterns were all 1/2 scale.

1/2 scale pattern of final project dress
1/2 scale pattern of final project dress


I still don’t know how to size patterns up yet, but I guess that part is coming. However, this past week we were giving the task of starting our final project……. Drum Roll!


We are to design a dress (however we want), draft the pattern (facings and all), make a muslin, then make a finished garment for the dress form in class.


I’ve only been sewing since October and since I’m not Anya from season 9 on Project Runway with her luck and awesome haircut, I really struggle sometimes. I’m so slow (SLOW).

So, my final project is a dress. Nothing fancy, just a dress with pleats. As Michael Kors or Zac Posen would say, “It’s so banal!”

Here is an example of what the finished product should (might) look like:



Nice, huh?! Classy and elegant just like I like my dresses.

If I had more time and skill, I’d be making an Emily Blunt inspired design. I love her style to pieces! She loves flowers (I love flowers) she loves a classic silhouette (I love a classic silhouette). Although, my design choice is close, I wish I could find a similar pattern like the one on the left.  Perfect for this time of year.


2014-05-30 23.42.40

So where were we, oh yes, MY DESIGN! I have the muslin done, just issues with the bust darts and how they translated from the pattern. I pinned and made it work, but I’ll have my teacher give it  the once-over to be sure.

I’ve since added the facing and that turned out OK. After the instructor reviews the muslin and makes any edits, I’ll be well on my way to creating an actual garment. I’m going to add inseam pockets like Emily has in the the muslin before I move on to the real deal. The only down side is that’s it’s for the dress form and not for me, but this is such a wonderfully scary project, I’m just enjoying what I’ve learned with each and every mistake.

As I previously stated, pattern making is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of technical details that cannot be omitted and there has to be a firm understanding of many garment construction techniques. I’m learning as I go and I’m enjoying the journey.  I’ll be sure to post her critique as well as my journey to my 1st finished garment that I drafted from scratch.


Wish me LUCK!










Pattern Weights or Panini Press

I love a good grilled cheese. I don’t eat them often unless I have a taste for them, but they have to be super melted, with grill marks & at least 2 cheeses. Tonight I was making tomato basil soup for dinner so the grilled cheese had to be up to par. I grabbed some colby jack, sharp and American cheese from the market and was ready for the cheesy goodness.

But I don’t own a panini press and I had to blend the soup to make sure everything was done at the same time. I couldn’t mash the grilled cheese and blend the soup so what to do.

I ran (walked) upstairs to my office and grabbed 2 of my pattern weights. I washed and dried them, wrapped them in foil and did the thing!


They were perfect! So now we know those expensive pattern weights can be used for more that just sewing!


I sautéed some mustard greens from this weeks farm share delivery with onions & put them in my grilled cheese & it rocked! Everyone else had regular sandwiches.