Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Sorrow in CT

It's been a minute since I've post, things have been so great, hectic, busy, sad, you name it. There was a hostile take-over of the spare room to turn into my personal sewing space, with a work center that will convert into a single size bed (pictures to follow). That took some planning and figuring out and some work to get done. There was hurricane Sandy and the mandatory evacuation of my neighborhood, staying at the emergency shelter, me and my daughter working in the kitchen through lunch and dinner shift. We fared well, we still pray for the people in New York and New Jersey who are still suffering.

And now this madness in Newtown. Complete and utter MADNESS. Why? My heart and prayers go out to those parents that kissed their children goodbye this morning not knowing that would be the last time. This is devastating. I don't think there has been a school shooting in New England, at least not in CT. As a parent of a child in a Connecticut school, how do we ease their fears in returning to classes in the coming weeks? 

I pray for those parents in Newtown. And I pray for the extended families and neighbors that will be helping them through in the coming days and months.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bag, Top and Dress

I haven’t done much sewing this past week. I’ve bought some new patterns (I can’t seem to help myself) and some on-sale fabric for my not so little one to start practicing on. She made a very nice handbag, something I never even thought of doing, much less trying. It was made from some vinyl I bought from Wal-Mart some time ago to re-cover my dining room chairs, a small piece of black and white silky rayon, and the red and white stripe is upholstery fabric from my stash. We figured it was heavy enough to help “firm up” the rayon part. It came out very nice for her first time out. Next she wants to make a shirt. We’ll see how that goes…

Not bad for her first time out

The lining matched up perfectly, but I think we would
have to work on hiding the seams

The zippered pocket installation was impressive, I don't 
think I would be able to do that in one try

The handles were purchased at Joann's Fabric. 
Nice, right?

As for me, I tried something I saw in Pinterest and it came out very nice. I got all kinds of compliments when I wore it. I think I will do a couple more, maybe some with long sleeve tees so I can wear them in cooler weather.

The up-cycled tee and tie.

The tie and the gold and pearl button were thrifted (thank
you Goodwill). The next time I will stabilize the 
neckling before adding the tie so it sits better.

The maxi dress was very easy to put together, the second and third time I did it. As with anything, the more you do it, the easier to gets. This was McCall’s 6559...

The stripes started out matching pretty good...

then this. I don't know what happened, the further down I
sewed, the more out of whack they got.

And my famously easy neckline (and sleeve facing) for 
knit fabric. Love it.

This was just a quick post… busy, busy wk-end. My baby is turning 18. It’s so hard to believe sometimes, it seems like just yesterday she was a toddler standing by my bed, holding my eyelashes to pull my eye open asking “mommy, you wake up? You wake up mommy”….

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Monday, September 10, 2012

September is Nation Sewing Month y'all...

I almost forgot, HAPPY NATIONAL SEWING MONTH folks. I just recently found out such a thing existed, and I’m glad. There’s something about sewing. The pride and feeling of accomplishment of finishing a piece, and having it fit nicely. I even like the hum of the sewing machine, maybe a little too much, since it doesn’t bother me to have to undo something and re-sew it.

Speaking of sewing machines, when I was 17 turning 18, my dad bought me my very own, very nice Necchi sewing machine and console. It was the best gift I had ever gotten. It was one of those that folded down into the table and had a leaf that folded out for an extra big sewing surface. The front little section flipped down and there were pegs for my threads and the one drawer was enough for the notions I had at the time. I remember making palazzo pants, with polka dots of course since they were very big at that time (yes, I’m dating myself). I made some tops and skirts, and even a couple pairs of M.C. Hammer pants- all of us over a certain age know exactly what I’m talking about...  :-)

Anyway, fast forward to the present. I won that nice Janome from Mimi G. and have been having a little bit of trouble with it. The closest dealer is a ways away, and I’m not sure they do repairs. Anyway, I am so in love with the brand in general that I am saving up for a brand spanking new one. In the meantime, my daughter has acquired the love of sewing- even if she prefers to do bags and other accessories. She is just now gravitating to clothing. And just as this happened, there was a surplus auction in town. Timing could not have been better. I went, and there was a sea of sewing machines with tables from a middle school they had just closed. PERFECT.

So for a VERY good price, I got my daughter a very sturdy Husqvarna sewing machine. The model wasn’t too old either. And when I got it home and tried it out, now I’m not an expert at these things, but it sounded very nice. I think it actually purred. The stitches are basic, but for someone just starting out, it’s perfect. So now she has a machine all of her own. And as I set it up and stood back and gazed upon it, something occurred to me. In exactly one week my little Ary will be 18 years old. Maybe this will become a sort of family tradition….it could happen…

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bad Blogger

So I’ve been slacking in my blogging, bad blogger. It’s been a crazy, wild, fun summer. Trips, visits, concerts…very busy to say the least. Last post I said would put up pics of my projects, those are still coming, but in the mean time I wanted to show the last piece I finished. This would be New Look 6936. It is a lovely kimono sleeve, empire waist, cross front dress. I would consider this a Spring, Summer or Fall dress, as the sleeves would make it difficult to fit a jacket or sweater.

Fabric Used? I used a T-Shirt type knit fabric I got off Joann’s clearance racks. I guess it’s bad I don’t remember this stuff, if I pay attention to it at all. I mostly go by touch and if the pattern envelope says I need one with stretch or not. It’s a lovely purple snake skin print, and the instant I saw it I knew I wanted to make a dress of it.
Were the instructions easy? Very easy. The directions were clear and concise and the pictures were not confusing to follow, which is mostly what I do. The pattern envelope promised a 2 hour dress, and that’s about what it took. The pattern was cut out one night, and the dress sewed the next while I watched parts of White Collar and Covert Affairs.
Pattern alterations? The only alteration I made to the pattern was to add 2 inches to the upper front pieces, to accommodate my ample boobage, and 1 inch to the back to make the transition easier. Also, instead of folding and stitching the neckline I did a binding technique I learned from Rachel over at designrefinebemine. It is so simple and easy, and now I do it on every single knit piece I make. It is so much easier than stay stitching or worrying about the fold over puckering. And with this technique you get a nice finish that will lay against your chest and neck.

Her technique, and my new technique
Sorry about the blurry-ness, if you can't make it out
you fold the binding in half
Attach it to the right side of the garment
At this point you want to stretch the binding just a 
little to ensure it lays flat
At the end, and only if your thread is a perfect match,
zig-zag the two pieces together where they meet. Otherwise
use a needle and closely matching thread to tac ends together

Likes/Dislikes and would I make it again? There weren’t any dislikes. The pattern was very straight forward and came together very quickly and easily. I don’t believe it took me more than 2 ½ hours total to cut it out and sew it, interrupted by me watching TV of course. I would definitely make this dress again, and will. I kinda want to make it out of every knit in my stash, but I think people at work would think me weirder if I started showing up in the same dress in different colours every day. 

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


It's been a crazy few weeks, preparing to send the kid away for vacation, preparing for my vacation, trying to get some sewing in.... 

Vacation in Virginia Beach is the bomb yawl. It is such a nice, not rushed place to visit. This time it was just me and the hubby with no planned excursions so there were no schedules. It was nice to get up when we wanted to, go out when we wanted to, without worrying about missing a bus, a trolley or whatever. The great and not so great thing about VA Beach, it’s a family oriented place, lots of little kids about, also lots or No Cursing signs, which normally wouldn’t be a problem for me…. but I seem to have developed, let’s just say somewhat of a potty mouth over the last couple of years.

Posted on the street every few meters, really

Let’s take a minute and explore this further……
Back story: It all started 3 years ago after my first surgery. I was in a car accident where I was hit from behind by a car that apparently didn’t see me stopped and waiting to turn (may have been because she was on her cell phone, but really, who cares about the statistics re cellphone use while driving) and pushed into an oncoming vehicle, also driving at full speed.  Needless to say I was hurt a little bit. But despite the wreckage that I had to be cut out of (the jaws of life crunching through metal is absolutely the worse sound anyone could possible hear), my only damage was a broke femur (it was a little bit disturbing to look down and see my thigh bent where no human thigh is supposed to be able to bend), a fractured hip, which surprisingly was the worse of the pain at the time (at which point I was actually pissed that I didn’t pass out from the pain-it was that bad), and a concussion. Miracle upon miracles, no whiplash, no seat belt bruising, no airbag burns, nothing. My damage was pretty much confined to between my right hip and knee. Oh, and both knees had pretty significant wounds from the dashboard.

Moving on to weeks later and physical therapy. I don’t think I need to say just how God-awful painful that was, which brings me around to the swearing. The physical therapist (PT), after seeing me clenching and holding my breath, told me to go ahead and curse. Apparently it’s some kind of magical pain reliever, but I think it probably meant I was breathing too, and I ran with it. RAN.

Now it’s almost a year later and I am back at work. I work at a police station, where as you can imagine, the guys outnumber the girls significantly. And being a civilian in an officers’ world….let’s just say we don’t always get the respect we’re due. But now that I was a whole year older, with the permission my PT gave me, I decided I was going to take the respect I deserve. And fortunately for me, having such a “young department” all it took was a little cursing and general attitude. (Don’t read angry Black Woman hear, that is soooo not me…lol)

So now, a couple of years later, those curses just to roll off my tongue like you wouldn’t believe, especially while driving. Sometimes I don’t even realize it, which is not ideally great in VA Beach. But other than catching myself those few times a curse was slipping out, it was an absolutely wonderful vacation, very restful. Which prepared me for my next adventure…..turning 40.

Yep, that’s right. The big 4 0ooh. So, I guess what this all breaks down to is Happy Birth Day to meeee....


Thanks for tuning in, please come again 

p.s…. and I will be posting pics of my creations at a later time, the 3 maxi dresses I completed, 2 completed tops, 1 completed skirt and 2  dresses still under construction.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Hi everyone, I know I've been absent for a minute. I've been busy trying to sew a whole bunch of simple stuff for my impending vacation. I've made 2 maxis, and made a short version as a night gown, a dress and I still haven't finished that jacket. I'm working on a skirt and another dress and top. Am I the only one that has a couple of projects going at the same time? It's like I have sewing ADD. I currently have 3 unfinished pieces, most to be cut for length and be hemmed. And in the middle of that, my friend gives me the 50 Shades trilogy. Needless to say all sewing ceased for about 8 days.

There was also a trip to the air show in Rhode Island. That was sooo much fun. There was a jet truck- yes, a pick up truck with a jet engine that tops out at about 300 mph. There was a feeling I got in my chest when it sped by, I can't even explain it. It was like the equivalent falling in love on your birthday if your birthday was christmas and you were opening the biggest best present you will ever get. Yes, all those feelings in one. Here are some pics (that is the infamous Aryelle with a pilot):

This sweet car was there, amongst others. I did say air show, but if you look closely...


yes, that is an air force insignia. I would join if I got to drive that...

And of course my clown

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Corner and The New Jacket

Soo, it was a wonderful long wk-end. Got a lot done, not as much as I would like, but enough. I finished carving out my sewing corner, it’s comfy and will do for now. Wanted to get so much done, but what is it they say about the best laid plans…

The little bouquet is from my garden, a left over from my Dad's visit.

       My pattern stash is growing, what was only two drawers full is quickly becoming three. ClubBMV is working well for me. I've more than recoup the $15 membership in savings, and for the umpteenth time JoAnns didn't have any of the patterns that interested me in the drawer. Pay no attention to the fabric, they came out of the dryer and just need to be folded.

Started a new project, a lil premature maybe- I started it before finishing the last one, but I am anxious. I cut out a jacket pattern that the envelope said would be done in thirty minutes, over an hour later....... After hand basting the panels together to see the fit, happy with that, the lapel/collar/back facing area is giving me a run for my money. It’s something I don’t think I’ve ever done before. 

Ok, partly hand based (or is it basted) and partly pinned. 

               A thing of beauty, if I say so myself. I used to stay away from patterns like this when I was younger, and only sewed tops with a center back seam or darts. But putting these pieces to together is not as hard as I thought it would be, and it does make for a better fit.

I figured I’d give it a rest for tonight and pick it up again tomorrow. DH made me a mango, pineapple, strawberry daiquiri and that’s more appealing than figuring out this collar right now, it be calling me man.…lol.

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Happy Memorial Day to all those men and women that walk the wall every day and night.  My heart breaks and my prayers are with the families that have lost a loved one, or loved ones, to this war, and for those that are caring for the wounded.

All my respect to the Veterans of this and previous wars and battles. 

God Bless You All 


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another Lesson

Still learning. This week’s lesson, make sure all the pattern pieces are on the right side when cutting your fabric, or the fabric on the wrong side for all of it. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough scrap fabric left over to correct the mistake, so I forged ahead anyway, figuring maybe I’ll start my own trend. An Ary’sMom original (or not):

       So I'm liking the way it looks, juxtaposed like that, but looking at it "from a distance" I'm questioning the "right side" piping I guess that's called. I thought it might highlight the faded pattern and create a sort of "panel" effect, but it's just looking messy to me.

This is my first attempt after the whole boob pocket jacket fiasco. On a side note, the Janome sews like a dream. I’ve never owned or sewed on something that fancy, the fact the sewing speed can be controlled by a switch and not the cramp inducing foot pedal is wonderful. I’m so grateful to have won it. I’m just waiting for it to impart some of Mimi G’s expertise and skill on me…. it could happen.

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lesson Learned

So I have learned some big lessons this week. Measure, measure, measure. Then measure some more. And for patterns that are a lil more complicated than just back, front and darts, a muslin is probably a great idea, until I become the expert I want to be.

I am sad at the loss of a beautiful piece of fabric. I don’t know what the content is, but it’s rayon-y, summer suit weight and the colour was great. I got it a kind of fabric outlet (Affordable Fabrics) some time ago (at least two yrs), so I can’t go back and try to get some more.

Hand based together to work out the curves (pinned at the shoulder)

             Those wonderfully, perfectly lined pockets (my first foray into lining) are supposed to be down around the hip area, not up under the boob where they currently sit.

Unlike some sewers, I don’t always buy a piece of fabric with a particular garment in mind. I buy fabric because it’s pretty or the texture is nice. This creates two problems, the more immediate being the stockpile of fabrics I now have. The bigger problem, which I am dealing with now (read overwhelming me), is some of the fabrics are sooo beautiful, I can’t decide what would the best use of it and I am VERY hesitant to cut – cause I don’t wanna mess them up (waste)  since I can’t easily replace most of it. It’s like that beautiful wrapping paper you buy from the kids’ school fundraiser that is too pretty to use (Am I the only one??

Anyway, I muster on. Passing through the stages of loss for that beautiful dark brown rayon-y fabric.

Thanks for tuning in, come again

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. Hope your day is peaceful and enjoyable.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Saturday yawl

Now, when I use to sew when I was younger I just cut out a pattern, cut the fabric and put the pieces together how they made sense to me, and came out with a fairly well fitting garment in the end. Maybe patterns have changed since then, but nothing is that simple anymore, especially since my body has changed over the years. I realize I now have to worry about alterations, because I have a fuller figure and fabric tends to pile on my ample derriere, and that's not attractive yawl.

So with this in mind, and knowing that my idols study their craft (and have even taken a class or 2), I ordered some books that was suggested by Threads Magazine (which I am now an avid reader of). They were delivered a couple days ago and I've been busy going through them, especially where proper fitting is concerned. These are the books I got, and as you can imagine, I attacked them like a person trying to master her craft...

The most interesting and useful thing I've learned so far is how the sizing on pattern envelopes work (and that European patterns are sized differently than American ones, wow!). I don't recall ever worrying about that when I was younger. But now trying to decide the correct size to cut out was a challenge. I always looked at the bust measurement and chose a size from there, but then the size it suggested was usually a size or 2 too big. I just learned that the bust measurement refers to the high bust measurement, taken up under the arm, above the fullest part of the breast, this helps with better fit through the shoulders. Let's just say I'm happy I got these books.

And this is a source of humor and amazement for the hubby. You see I never, NEVER read, browse, look or even glance at directions. I usually scan at the pictures, check out how the final product is supposed to look, and go from there. He ALWAYS comments on that, and wonders how things never fall apart or blow up, lol. 

So, I continue on my quest for sewing knowledge (and continue to pull my sewing corner together). 

Thanks for tuning in, and come again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Janome arrived at her new home yesterday, met the family and has settled into her new abode. It's so exciting. I've never sewn on anything so fancy, much less owned one. What I had before was a 15 + year old something like an 18 stitch Brother sewing machine that when I pulled it out of the attic and tried to use it was very rebellious and kept doing this frustrating thread knotting thing on me (crazy run on sentence). But Janome, she looks very sleek and a little formidable, I must admit. But I'm hoping some of Mimi's experience will rub off on me, through Janome.

Janome arrives (assisted by the infamous Aryelle)

She meets the family

A little tiff about who's her favorite

Everyone's getting along again 

On her way to her new room

Checking it out, a little hesitant

Getting settled in.

I am so excited to have this machine and to start sewing. So excited I'm hesitant - if that makes sense. I'm still buying the little necessities I think I'll need so once I start and can just go (like the wind).

Thanks for tuning in, and thank you again Mimi G.