Frumpsville: pajama fail



The next place on my wardrobe needing a replacement is pajamas and since we’re still in the midst of winter,  I made up some winter pajamas despite my overall plan to be working on spring pieces. I choose two patterns from my stash (as a continuing goal to test out my existing patterns) Butterick 5150, a hand me down pattern and SBCC’s Tonic 2 Tee which I’ve used before here and here.

As I was finishing up these pajama pants, so many funny thoughts came to mind for a project title: Frumpsville, Don’t wear THIS, Shame Sewing, Giant Plum Bum, I’m bringing frumpy back. The overall theme is FITTING FAIL.

100_3840But I’m still going to share about it in all its purple horror.

First Butterick 5150  view F. Well the construction is simple enough. I did shorten the rise and took off about 3in in length. While this pattern may work with more fitting and in a different fabric, the overall fit plus the bulky fleece equals a FAIL.

100_3844Now for the top, SBCC Tonic 2 Tee. I made a size up, medium, to account for minimal stretch in the fleece. The medium worked out pretty well, though I like my sleeves a little longer. I simply folded over the neckline and top stitched instead of inserting a neckband.


After my first photos of the pants I decided to slim down the inseam by serging a new seam about 1 inch over. I think this has helped a bit. But still.

I bought a light gray fleece at the same time with the plan to make two sets and mix and match them. I’m so glad I decided to do a test run first. I’ll figure something out for the gray fleece and hatch a new plan for more warm pajamas next fall.

Well I did get a decent top out of the project and I’ll be honest, I’ll probably pull these pants out on the cold days. I also met my Sew Your Pattern Stash goal for this month a few times over, see here, here and here.


If you should chose to make the pants, it should take about 1.25 hours

The SBCC Tonic 2 tee should take about 1.25 hours

Rose Tshirt from Blank Slate Patterns; pattern review

Rose t-Shirt

Theres nothing like purple to make me happy and to help break out of the basic colors I’ve been using to build my Core Wardrobe. The first of much more color to come for Spring and Summer, is my version of the Rose Tshirt from Blank Slate Patterns.

Rose Tshirt mahlicadesigns
Body is more of a plum color like the accent pieces



  • The gathering at the front adds some nice ease through the body without making it baggy and I did not need to size up at the hips like usual.
  • Great pattern for a little stash busting of those quilting cottons I haven’t touched in a while.
  • The contrast options at the neckline draw the eye up and away from the tummy and hips.
  • I like inserting sleeves flat.
  • Theres a full facing on the front to cover up all those seams.
  • The pattern can easily be made into a dress with just a little grading for the hip/thigh. (The pattern has been re-released to include a dress option)

Rose Tshirt mahlicadesigns


  • The seams at the front of the arm scythe are pretty bulky with three layers there. I’d recommend using a lighter weight fabric for the front facing to reduce the bulk.
  • The arm scythe at the front curves in toward the center front a bit and causes some pulling. I’m not going to spend time to adjust the pattern as I’m only planning to use this pattern again for a sleeveless version.
  • I determined that the triangle shape marking on pattern piece#6 needs to be moved by 1in down toward the center front to make the two front pieces #6 and #5  line up correctly. I purchased my pattern from a store, perhaps the PDF versions in the Blank Slate Patterns webstore have been corrected.

    Corrected marking in Red
    Corrected marking in Red

Rose Tshirt mahlicadesigns


  • Go down a size if you’re between sizes. I’m a 35.5in bust and the small sized for up to a 35in bust has enough ease for me.
  • Understitch the facing around the neckline to prevent rolling, before top-stitching the front facing below the front yoke.
  • Use a lighter weight fabric for the front facing if possible, this will decrease bulk at the arm seams. Alternately, grade the seam allowances if you’re not using a serger.
  • Check your pattern pieces.
  • Lay out your front yoke pieces as demonstrated in the instructions to help keep track of what goes where.
  • I use stay tape at my shoulder seams when sewing with knits.

The Rose Tshirt takes about 3.25 hours to complete.

Bucket Hat and Rohan Hoody, a taste of warm and cool weather

This month I planned ahead to participate in Kid’s Clothes Week and Sew Your Pattern Stash. That planning was worth the effort, but I still missed the KCW deadline by a mile. Oh well.

KCW challenges you to sew one hour a day for one week as an encouragement to sew up clothing for kids. This season’s theme was upcycling. Awesome, I have two sacks of items waiting for a purpose.

First up, the reversible bucket hat, a free pattern from Oliver + S; utilizing an old tee and a button down from daddy. We’re taking a sunny vacation soon, so a brimmed hat with an absorbent lining was just the ticket. It came out well except that my little one whips it off his head immediately.


Second project in line was the Rohan Hoody from Crafty Kitty. I upcycled a purple tee and used some remnant sweatshirt fleece from my stash. I modified the pattern to include a zipper front. I simply added 1/2in to the CF to be the seam allowances for the zipper and cut out as two pieces (instead of one piece on the fold). I also used a seam finish (pictured later) to give the neckline seam a neat look.

Even though I planned ahead pretty well, I came to a stop midweek when I decided the hoody needed a purple zipper to go with the lining of the hood.


Since I had a little extra time to work on this before I could get out for a matching zipper, I used more of that purple tee to cover the seam at the neckline.


I also added an edge finish to the hems on the sleeves to peak out when the cuffs are rolled up. I made this hoody a couple of sizes too big so the little one can wear it more than one season, so I’m sure that detail will make an appearance.


So, here I am all finished well past the official KCW, but so what. I have two items my little guy needs, I used up fabric from my stash and used patterns I already owned for the Sew Your Pattern Stash challenge.


The bucket hat should take you about an hour to make.

The Rohan Hoody took about three hours to make.

McCalls 6559 Summer Stripes dress; Core Wardrobe part 5


Come on warm weather, I’d like to see you.


The warmth is still a ways off for us, but that’s why we take vacations right? In honor of warm vacations to come and because I just need/want to focus on spring and summer Core Wardrobe pieces I’m trying a pattern out of my stash. McCalls 6559.


I found this striped knit, in my Core colors, in the Joanns red tag section. It was pretty stiff feeling, but at $2.5/yd I thought it would make a good beach cover up and give me some practice matching stripes. To my surprise, it softened up nicely after washing. Now I have a nice striped dress for summer, bonus!


I sewed up view D in a size 12. I went with the maxi length after I realized I had bought more yardage than I remembered and what the hey, why not test out how maxi length looks on me using a bargain fabric. I can always shorten it.

I made a few simple modifications to the pattern and instructions.  I used a 1/4in seam allowance at the sides because I was concerned about having enough width at my hips and thighs, this turned out to be unnecessary. Instead of turning and topstitching, I used self fabric as neck and armhole binding, I just think this looks better. I removed 3in from the length, I’m 5’4, and sewed the hem at 5/8in.

100_3802It took extra time of course, but I’m pretty pleased with the pattern matching at the side seams.

I can see this pattern being pretty useful in a lightweight knit as pajamas, as a beach coverup in the shorter length as I originally planned, and to show off some awesome prints.

McCalls 6559 took 3 hours, including the extra time needed to match stripes and add neck and armhole bindings.

Fabric Bins tutorial

Fabric Bin Tutorial

This week I needed a quick and easy project, so I tried out a crafty idea that I saw in Nai Nai’s kitchen. I’d like to share with you how I quickly made a few fabric bins to help wrangle the loosey goosey stuff that lives in the drawers at my house. I’m sure there are plenty of templates and tutorials out there, but I just wanted to dive in and do it my way. Mine are 7x2x2.


You’ll Need:

 Some basic sewing gear, heavy weight fusible stabilizer, two 12×7 inch pieces of coordinating fabric.


Tip: Making multiples is efficient and easy. Stack multiple layers of fabric when cutting and chain stitch your corners.

Step 1: Cut a 12in X 7in rectangle in each fabric (2total) and one 12in X 7in interfacing.

Step 2: Apply the fusible to the wrong side of the outside fabric.

Step 3: Mark a 2.25in square at each corner. Stack your layers and cut out the corners.


Step 4: Sew each corner, right sides together, using a 1/4in seam allowance. Sew from the raw edges down all the way past the cut edge. See below. Do this for all eight corners.


Step 5: Nest the two pieces right sides together, pin if needed. Sew the top edge using 1/4in seam allowance and leaving a 2in opening along one of the longer edges. Turn right side out.

Step 6: Fold under raw edges of the 2in opening and pin as needed. Topstitch along the entire top edge closing the opening.

All Done

Optional Step 7: For some added shaping, pinch together each upper corner and topstich for about 1/2in from the upper edge. See below.

Topstitch the top 1/2 inch
Topstitch the top 1/2 inch
Topstitched corners for more structure

Ann T Top from Style Arc; Core Wardrobe part 4

Ann T Top


Today I’m working on building my Core Wardrobe and participating in Sew Your Pattern Stash 2015. I’m hoping to work through more of my unused patterns this year.


The Ann T Top pattern is from Style Arc. Their size chart suggested I should make a size 10, but after flat measuring the pattern I used an 8 instead and a 3/8in seam allowance instead of the 1/4in allotted. I was drawn to this pattern because of the draping across the tummy area, while still appearing to be a fitted tee.


The pattern instructions would be too sparse if you’re a novice, for example there is no instruction on how to use the clear elastic to create the gathers on the front or how to insert a neck binding. If you’ve sewn knit tees before, there is nothing here to challenge you, other than using the clear elastic to make the gathers.


Perhaps the fabric I used, a rayon jersey knit, affected the draping, perhaps I need to go down a size through the waist and arms, but I found the overall fit still needs some work for me. I was wanting more draped folds across the tummy, instead it just bags out a little and the arms are too baggy, but these fit problems are easy fixes. I  think I’ll adjust the arm width and remove the front gathers to make this a TNT pattern.100_3793

This project took 2.75 hours.

This is the last fall/winter Core Wardrobe piece for now. I’m turning my focus to spring/summer in hopes that I can get a few items done to wear when the warmth returns.

And, so I can feel a sense of accomplishment here’s what I made for my fall/winter Core Wardrobe:

I’m counting the Kirsten Kimono Tee as a head start on my spring/summer Core.

Kirsten Kimono Tee
Kirsten Kimono Tee

I’m feeling the itch to take a break from making the basics I need and these basic colors. I have a couple projects lined up that I think will lift my spirits with some color.

Jasper Sweater by Paprika Patterns; Core Wardrobe building part 3


I was pleased as spiked punch to participate in pattern testing for Lisa over at Paprika Patterns for her second pattern release, the Jasper Sweater. Check out her first offering, the Jade skirt.

And Ta Da my two work ups of the Jasper.


I love how it looks. It’s not too boxy and slouchy as some sweatshirts can be and the welt pockets keep it looking trim at the waist. I also like that the collar isn’t too big. I like a cowl, but not a big fan of them draping all down the front of my shirt.

The epaulet is attached by sewing on the button through the layers. I may remove it or reposition it down a bit.

Ah, you just have to love what a princess seam can do for your shape.


This was my second go at the Jasper, following the pattern without modifications. For the cowl version above, I sized up to a 4, but should have stayed at a 3 from waist up.  I used a French terry with about 15% stretch that I found on RaspberryCreekFabric. I just love this fabric.

Bonus! This fits perfectly into my core wardrobe needs.

The Jasper pattern calls for sweater weight fabrics with minimal stretch. I worked up the hooded version below first, in a size 3, in a sweatshirt cotton poly blend with no stretch. In this fabric, it takes just a little wiggling to get it over my shoulders when taking it off. This one may go into my etsy shop. (So, I sized up on the second version. Shouldn’t have though, since the second version used a knit with stretch. whoops)

I followed the instructions as is and did use the suggestion to topstitch down the interior seams around the neckline and within the hood.

Jasper Sweater

Look at the asymmetry and buttons at the collar, that’s always a big draw for me. The hood is pretty big compared to most, think: no terribly messed up hair.

Jasper Sweater

Jasper Sweater

Lisa made modifications the pattern after I made my hooded version and again after the cowl neck version. So the final pattern may be slightly different from what you see here.

I’ve used a variety of pattern downloads (PDFs) from indie pattern designers to the one offs that other bloggers kindly share and Paprika Patterns are by far the best I’ve seen. It’s like they took a little peep into my mind and addressed all the things that annoy me about pattern downloads. I appreciated the efficient layout and a printing guide so you only print the pages you need. Paprika Patterns also has links for help on construction steps and tutorials for pattern alterations.

Jasper Sweater

I’m thinking I need to make the Jade skirt from Paprika Patterns too.