Lark Tee #2

Owl top 4

Another Grainline Studios Lark Tee iteration using fabric from Needle in a Fabric Stash. I believe this fabric is from Birch Fabrics but I’m not 100% on that.  The owls sold me on the fabric and the colors remind me of hot chocolate.

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I cannot gush about this pattern enough!  I do not have to make any alterations in length or fit.  It’s just easy-peasy, right out of the envelope.

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I have a lot more knits in my stash that I need to use up.  Before too long, I will have a rainbow of t-shirts.  Just call me the t-shirt maven!

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As always, my darling Casey wants to be with mom.  Great picture taking from the husband.  Took this shot just as I was looking up.  Don’t you love it when that happens?

Happy sewing!

Wadder City

Wadder: a technical term in sewing which means “to sew a garment and then discover it is truly horrendous, thereby resulting in the wadding of said garment and disposal into nearest refuse receptacle or relegation of wadder to dark corner or drawer”.

Yes, it has happened to me.  Case in point:




A closer look…


And another:


This was not was I was expecting to happen.  Needless to say, the collar/lapel isn’t being my friend.  I have plucked it apart with seam rippers over and over again but to no avail.  I just struggled with this stupid lapel and collar.  Believe or not, this is the best it got after all the fuss.  As a reminder, this is what the jacket was supposed to look like:



I still have the jodhpurs to sew.  I’m good at making pants so I don’t suppose that these will give me much difficulty but I also didn’t think the collar would be so tough, either.  On the other hand, it was my first attempt at this type of collar/lapel and I did not fully understand the steps.  I googled the best I could to get some sort of direction but those tutorials were different from the pattern instructions and the construction finally eluded me.

So, what do you do with a pattern that you no longer want to work on?  I simply do something else!  Sewing is a hobby and once it becomes a frustration, I lose interest.  After a couple of days thinking about what to do, I came up with a different outfit. 

Plan B was put into place.  I went to Goodwill and picked out a man’s button up top (because I figured it would be cheaper to buy one second-hand than to try to make one and at $6, I was right) and change the outfit to Meryl Streep in Out of Africa…


Instead of making the pants, I could make a long skirt with the same fabric that I was going to use for the jodhpurs.  I like the little pocket on the skirt.  Something along these lines…


A skirt would certainly be easier (and quicker) to make than pants. Now all I have to do is find the right pattern for the skirt and/or modify one I already have.

Wish me luck!

Happy Sewing!



Lark Tee

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The Lark Tee by Grainline Studios is, in my humble opinion, the best t-shirt pattern out there. It is such a great fit that you can’t mess it up no matter how hard you try. This is my second make with this pattern. If you recall, I made the boatneck version in a wonderful striped fabric from Mood. I shamelessly copied Salioleta because I fell in love with her make.

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I got the fabric at a local shop called Needle in a Fabric Stash. They feature mostly quilting cotton but had this fabric along with some other really cute knit fabrics that are high quality and have great recovery. I am all about knit fabric recovery because I absolutely hate it when my t-shirts get all stretched out of shape. The colors in this knit are so vibrant and lovely and match with just about everything in my closet. Win-win!

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My old girl, Casey, wanted to be in the pictures with me and here I am trying to get her to sit so that I could get a good shot. No such luck.

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That’s it for now. Happy sewing, Everyone!

Simplicity 1106

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is something I decided to whip up while I wait for my lining fabric for the riding jacket. It was a very quick and simple pattern and took me about an hour to finish up.

I got the fabric at JoAnns last year while I was buying something else. Isn’t that always how it happens? I saw it and fell in love! It is a very light and drapey rayon/cotton blend and it will be perfect for spring and summer.

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The back opening is something I don’t normally do. I am pretty modest and worry about my bra strap showing through, heheheh. The top yoke lays flat but looks a little wonky in this picture because of the way I’m standing. Regardless, I am very happy with the way it turned out and I know I will be wearing this a lot.

In addition, this top looks like it will do well as a casual top or dressed up with white slacks or skirt. I, of course, do not typically wear skirts or dresses but I might make a bit of an exception.

Pink top 1

So, that’s all for now.

Happy sewing!

Olive Riding Jacket/Butterick B6433

January had me working on Butterick B6433.  My first iteration of the jacket just did not do well.  The twill fabric I had in my stash was far too thick and stiff so when I tried it on, it just didn’t hang well.  In addition, I used a lightweight cotton for the lining which did the garment no favors and I found it difficult to put on and take off.  Again, not a good choice.

So, I had to order new fabric and am now waiting for my lining fabric to arrive before I continue.


Much better fit and drape and I am quite happy with it.  I have added the sleeves and belt since I took these pictures.


I was happy that I did not have to lengthen this as I typically have to do with tops and jackets. I am also quite please with the way it is turning out (except I did not see the handprints my son left on the mirror until after I had posted the picture, lol).

While I wait for the lining, I have been making other things, too.  I found out that I am going to be a grandmother for the first time so I have gone nuts with all the things I can make for baby.  Case in point:

Burp cloths coming up!  Perfect use for some of the fabric stash I had on hand.

That’s it for now.  Happy sewing!


First Things First

This is a post about sewing.

In my last post, I noted that I wanted to focus on sewing some of these great historic dresses.  This will, no doubt, challenge my sewing skills considerably but I think that is a good thing.  I don’t want to turn away from challenges and that’s what I typically do where my sewing is concerned.

I have decided, therefore, to commit to only 3 projects this year.  Yes, that’s right, 3 projects.  They are big projects that will not only require a lot of time but will be a bit on the pricey side, considering that 2 of them will require more fabric and expensive fabric. (I’ve done this so that I can resist the temptation to buy more fabric that will sit in my stash for too long!) I also think they will challenge me considerably but I think they will be a lot of fun and certainly force me to slow down on my sewing.  I tend to be an instant gratification type of person and these projects will certainly make me slow down.

So, without further adieu, here we go.

My first project of the year will be this outfit:


I’m making this for Dapper Days at Disneyland in April.  I thought a Jungle Cruise theme would be cool.  I just pulled out the pattern and made my adjustments on the pattern today.  I am making this in cotton twill because I think it will be far too hot in Southern California for anything else.  As I read through the instructions, I realized that this project will be teaching me many new skills.  Funny, because the pattern says that it is for a person of average skills.  Welp, um, yeah.  Average skills are about what I am but I still haven’t done many of the things required for this jacket – welt pockets, shoulder pads, and things like that.  I will most likely need to make a top to go underneath the jacket and I have a great idea for a scarf that I will make through Spoonflower.

Second up, is this gown:




This will be my first foray into 18th Century dressmaking.  Not only will I be making the gown but I will be making the undergarments as well.   Corsetry is new to me so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.  This will also be quite expensive because I plan on using some pretty spectacular fabric for the gown.  I haven’t even shopped for the fabric yet but it’s on the list.

Third, and final, just in time for Christmas, is something I saw just today that I had to have:M7732_aThis one is so lovely, I just couldn’t resist!  I’m not sure if it’s 18th Century (maybe late 18th Edwardian) but I don’t care – I love it!  Those who are into this type of sewing seem to be very specific on eras.  I’m not there yet and just doing it because I love it so much!  I’m not sure if the corset I will make, above, will work with this (I don’t think it will).  If not, I will have to buy the accompanying pattern for the correct era.  We will see.

So, there you have it.  Three projects, lots of fabric, and lots of challenge.  We’ll see what happens.  Wish me luck.  I’ll need it.


Back to Normal

Ah, the end of the holidays.  I can get the house back in order, get back on a schedule, say goodbye to the flu.  It’s raining outside for the first time this season and it’s nice to have a quiet house with just me, my dog, and my cats. The Christmas decorations have been taken down, school and work started back up, and all is right with the world again.

January has been anything but quiet.  I’ve been very busy with my own job and gearing up for 2018.  As I said in my last post, I haven’t made any particular goals and, truth be told, I wrote that post when I was knee-deep in flu and not feeling very well at all.  But, I do have somewhat of a list of things I want to do.


Sewing is, of course, back on my plate.  But, instead of sewing everyday clothing, I plan on focusing more on costuming.  I’ve always been enraptured with historic dresses and so I’ve decided to try to make one. I bought the book above and it’s the best book I have seen on the subject.  I have the patterns all set up for the dresses below, and I’m sure the thing will take me all year to finish but I think it will be a fun venture.

van cortlandt meredith barnes dec2017 W-50

Second, I have gained far too much weight in 2017.  I went to the doctor when I had the flu and I was shocked that my weight had gone up higher than I have ever been.  So, yeah, I’m back on my Cookinglight diet and counting my calories.  I’m also exercising regularly and have joined a really great Facebook fitness page.  I know it sounds cliché at the beginning of the year but I would have started sooner had I not been so sick.


I should also be able to go live with my own business, Wag the Pet.  I am making all natural dog treats and will be adding dog beds, collars and leashes, among other things.  I’m very excited for this to begin as it has been in the works for some time. More on that when the time comes.

So, there it is. I hope the beginning of your year is off to a good start.


Not A Year In Review

Hi, everyone.  Merry Christmas.


I end that Merry Christmas with a period rather than an exclamation point quite intentionally. Frankly, it’s all I can muster after the past week.

The entire household has been very sick with the flu this past week and we have all been trying to nurse each other back to health as best we can. Luckily, this morning we were feeling better and had a quiet Christmas morning, thankful to still be alive after the hell we have all experienced. We are still quarantined and bedridden, but able to finally reach out via social media at the very least.

So, to reconnect with the outside world,  I began to read all the posts in my bloglovin’ feed and saw that, rather than Merry Christmas posts, everyone is doing their end of the year reviews and plans for 2018. I can’t help but ask myself how these bloggers do it!?  How are they so on top of their lives that they can already be planning for next year?


I don’t know about you but I haven’t planned a damn thing for next year.  Not one.  Oh, sure, I have some general ideas of things that I know are coming down the pipeline but other than that, I’m just along for the ride.

And just as I write this, my eyes fall on the really cool life planner I bought mid-year that I started to keep but like writing, let fall by the wayside.

Then, I realize that blogs aren’t real life. They are just little slips of fantasy that someone has written –  mini novels, as it were, with really great pictures. Blogs are not reality and the bloggers are all writing the same things at the same time – like the end-of-year reviews and plans for the next year posts. And I find myself flipping through them like a magazine because there is little of anything of interest there for me.

And so write my own blog post. A little more down to earth.  A little less perfect.  And all me.


Hollywood is Late to the Game

film-2233661_1920I have been following the Harvey Weinstein story very closely.  I will not reiterate what he did.  Everyone knows.  I have something to say on this and it’s a bit long but I hope it is not too boring.  Let me preface this by saying I completely sympathize with the women involved in this.  Every one of us women (and some men) have been in a similar situation – more than once, I’d wager.  Please understand that I am not bringing the victims into question.  I totally understand why they did not speak up.  It’s a common thing to keep it to yourself and just warn others to caution.  I also know that I sound a bit heartless in trying to make my point and that is not my intention but given my proclivity to deride the media, it’s understandable.

But, I get ahead of myself.  Here it goes.

This morning while watching Emma Thompson’s interview on the subject (it went viral yesterday), it occurred to me that Hollywood is late to the game.

Go with me on this.  Ever since the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill incident (1991 – Thomas, as a supreme court nominee, was accused of sexually harassing Hill), the term sexual harassment has been at the forefront of workplace behavior.  Corporate America stepped up its game and put everyone through sensitivity training, clearly detailing what to do if you felt you were a victim, what to do if a victim told you, what steps to take, and the consequences of such action. Managers went through specialized training, letting them know the legal consequences to themselves and the company.  Everyone knew, everyone was informed.  Granted, Corporate America did this to cover it’s own ass, not for any feeling about employees, but I believe it created a safer work environment for everyone.

Now, here comes Hollywood almost 30 years after the Thomas/Hill incident.

30 years of casting couch behavior!  What the hell took them so long?

Hollywood has always been at the forefront of everything.  They are the very narrators of our society. They set the trends, the fashion, the politics.  They are the most supportive and vociferous of Gay Rights and Women’s Rights.  They are the most active about Climate Change.  They lend their voices and faces to good causes around the world and use their celebrity in the best ways they know how.

Why didn’t the laws of the United States seep into Hollywood as it made an impact into the rest of Corporate America? The laws apply to them, too.  Or, didn’t they get the memo? How can the very group that sets the standards of our society be so far behind on the implementation?

I guess the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely is point on in this case.  Those with absolute power (Hollywood) exist in a bubble where people are paid to protect them and are given anything and everything they desire.  It would seem that they even believe they are untouchable at that point.  It’s no wonder that they didn’t get the memo or think it didn’t apply to them.  Nothing exists outside that bubble so why worry about it?

But, what I found most interesting about Emma Thompson’s interview is that, to her, this reveal is a new phenomenon. She speaks of it as if she speaks for all women – the self-appointed feminine mouthpiece, if you will, and as if the Thomas/Hill had never happened.  But for many of us, this is just history repeating itself.  We have already had our revelations and younger women in the workforce typically have no qualms about calling out sexual harassment.  Trust me, we all work with them. They are, for the most part, unafraid of speaking out.  So, I couldn’t help but ask about Hollywood, ‘Where have you all been?’

This is not new news.  This is actually old news that Hollywood is only recognizing almost 30 years after the fact.  Is it perhaps that we need reminding every 20-30 years or we slip back into our old ways?  If history repeats itself, maybe so. Or, did Hollywood really miss things the first time around?

This really just solidifies what I have known all along: that celebrities are completely disconnected from the real world.  Why else would they be so shocked and saddened?  Or, is it that it’s just because they are celebrities and trend-setters, that we need to care about it more.  They have their free, open mic with which to pontificate to us lowly and unwashed masses living outside their bubbles so we had best listen up thus, perpetuating the us vs. them mentality.

Why, then, do we allow them to set trends, fashion, politics, if they are so far removed from reality?

Feel free to discuss to your heart’s content.  This is a total safe space for those wishing respectful conversation.


It is so easy to place high expectations and pressures on ourselves.  It’s any wonder we aren’t bent and stooped with the weight.  We self-complicate our lives so much so that when we are unable to live up to our expectations and the world denies us our vision,  we fall a little harder. We choose to beat ourselves up over something that we likely had no control over in the first place.

Here I sit at my desk on a Saturday morning before my son’s soccer game.  I am not particularly happy with the way the last few weeks have gone in my professional life.  My personal life is awesome but my work life could be going better.


It comes right down to the fact that I’m not very good at my current job.  When I took the position 3 months ago, I thought it would be good job for me.  And, it is.  It’s easy, close to home, with good hours. As a result, it’s fairly stress-free.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort or brain power. Knowledge, perhaps, which I have, but nothing any clerk couldn’t do.  Certainly below my pay grade of an MBA.  Yet, I got written up this week for poor performance.

I knew it was coming.  It was no surprise.  I had not been doing a good job of my job.  Too many mistakes and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get it right. Like quicksand, the harder I struggled, the deeper I sank. It was really no one’s fault but my own and it’s hard to admit that you failed but, admit it I did. Instead of firing me, they demoted me.


I came to terms with a hard truth that I just can’t do it all. Well, let me rephrase that: sure, I could do it all but it didn’t necessarily follow that I would be good at it all. This was the glaring truth of it.  I had failed.

As I turned the information over and over in my head, trying to mentally lick my wounds of embarrassment, wondering how I could have slipped at such an easy job, I was reminded of all the advice that says failure is a lesson in disguise.


This hit me harder than it should have. I am experienced enough to do this job and do it well.  Perhaps I was too arrogant in thinking that this job would be cake. Perhaps I am not transitioning into the workplace with the most grace.  Perhaps the workplace has changed and I haven’t.

But, what I know for sure is that my priorities have shifted.   I’m different, now. Things like promotions and raises just don’t mean as much to me anymore. I still want to do a good job and work very hard.  I am reliable, honest, responsible, productive, and creative.  But, my job isn’t life to me.  My family is life to me. I am life to me.



My weekends and evenings are dear to me. It’s the time I sit with my family around the dinner table and share our days.  It’s the time I cheer on my son at his soccer game. It’s the time I read my books or watch my favorite TV shows.  It’s the time I spend with my husband at Disneyland.  It’s the time I have Sunday brunch with friends.

I hear my co-workers discussing work on their breaks, saying how they had to work over the weekend, answering emails, etc., and I marvel that they make no time for their lives.  They work 12 hours per day.  They have no time for family. They have no time to even get out to walk their dog.  They eat prepackaged food and complain about their weight. They have no time to even get a decent night’s sleep.  They get promotions and praise at work but they have no life outside of it.

Perhaps I haven’t really failed after all.