Athletic Wear: Jalie 3462, Cora Leggings

You guys.

You guys.

I made leggings that did not require a full seat, full/forward/muscular/fat thigh nor a sway back adjustment.

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Don’t adjust your phone screen. What I speak is the truth. Because, the Jalie Cora Leggings are the MOTHER LOVING BUSINESS. Or magic. But, probably just really well drafted if we’re being honest. Yet, still a strong possibility of magic.

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When it comes to workout clothes, I’m a big fan of leggings. As my thighs have touched since birth, shorts give me continual chub rub and I don’t like to chafe. Leggings are my friend. I made three pairs of these and I LOVE them. They are stylish and comfotable and I felt totally hawt and fit!

Now, one bit of advice I would give should you choose to make these.  Listen is to your inner voice and DO NOT put the lightest color as the inner thigh contrast. Holy stare at my butt Batman!

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Eggplant, grey, teal with an eyeful of me.

After making this mistake with my first pair, I was far more judicious in my color choices with my  second and third pair – making sure to put the darker color at the center. Most of the fabric is from Suzie Spandex in Montréal – which I bought in purple, grey, black, red and blue during PR Weekend there like six years ago. What’s funny is the Jalie women were on that trip and raved about the Suziplex. The accent colors of baby blue and mint green are Supplex from Stretch House, purchased about six years ago in NY

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Black, grey, baby blue w. reflective tape

On my second pair, I added stretchy sew-in reflective tape to the calf and pocket seams (above).  Speaking of the pocket… Do you see my iPod bulging a bit at the back below my waist? It’s a crazy great pocket. It fits my huge android phone, keys and ID too.

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Chocolate brown and mint green

Of the many many yards of athletic fabric I’ve bought including Under Armor, Nike, and general supplex this Suziplex is the best stuff I’ve ever used. And, it’s sadly no longer being made. Melissa from FehrTrade tipped me off that they weren’t selling it anymore last year and I called and placed an obscene order – tariffs and international shipping be dammed! This of course left me with some odd colors (brown, teal, burgundy, and violet). But, I do not care. I will hoard these until they are sold for a $1 a yard at my estate sale.

I sewed a size X at the waist grading to a Z at the thigh based on my measurements. That’s it. No alterations. No special tricks. No sizing down. No topstitching the seams. I sewed this mostly mostly on my serger and used my coverstitch for the hemming.  I did add some reflective tape on two pairs for some night visibility.

I do vacillate between feeling really good with how these look on my butt to feeling like they show a lot of my butt. It’s so hurrrd being a  woman.

That’s it. I love them. Please pardon me while I go work out. Or walk the dog. He clearly is ready to go out.



They Call Me The Duchess: Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt and Phillipa Peplum

I kind of went crazy when StyleArc put together several pieces from the 2014 Royal Tour to Australia. After two years, I finally sewed up the Phillipa Top, Gorgeous Gore skirt, and Kate dress from their Etsy shop as copy shop patterns (death to taping!). I would have bought the Catherine too, but it wasn’t available as a PDF.


I SWOONED over this pink wool jersey Alexander McQueen ensemble.

The Royals arrive into Adelaide

The royals, Kate and William, arrive into Adelaide without their son GeorgePictured: Prince William and Kate Ref: SPL743025 230414
Picture by: Splash News


Having the same lithe figure as the Duchess (HA!), I decided to whip up my own version using a polyester ponte knit I bought last year from Metro Textiles in the Garment District.


I wore it this weekend to Jordan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday dinner. And, that’s the only photo I have of it on me. It’s literally 100 degrees here (they are calling it a ‘Heat Dome’) and you’ll be shocked to know poly scuba does not breath. We snapped this on my cell phone for IG in the hotel and bolted for the restaurant.

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Any who, when I first sent the photo of this outfit on my dress form, my friend Liz said “I have to see it on. It looks potentially matronly”. I can see why. First, my dress form approximates but doesn’t mimic my figure. Second, I think we can all agree that perhaps Catherine dresses a little…. mumsy? That said, I’m actually pretty pleased with the silouhette overall on me.

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The Gorgeous Gore skirt is a really terrific beginner pattern and intro to StyleArc.  It’s just two pattern pieces and a really simple sew.  I purchased the 12-14-16 size range. For the skirt, I cut the 16 and ended up taking it in at the waist about three sizes and one size through the thighs. The instructions might be a bit  confusing if you read too fast. But, I sewed each panel with 1/4 inch seams and the side seams with 3/8 inch allowance. I ended up shortening the skirt by two inches and using 1/2 inch wide elastic at the waist rather that 1/4 inch.

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For the Philipa top, I found one online review and read a smattering of comments on other blogs about it being too low cut. Which, I did not find to be the case at all. Maybe because I’m a little busty it doesn’t come down as far as for others? I did also make an FBA and multiple muslins of the top. Why? Because it’s a new-to-me company and my fabric is precious.

Muslin 1:  I  started with a 16, raised the neckline by 1 inch and made a 1.25 inch FBA adding a side dart and shortening the front dart by 1 inch.

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Muslin 2: Dropped down to a 12, put the neckline back where it was and made a 1.25 inch FBA

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Muslin 3: Kept the size 12 (which is still a wee bit big) and reduced my FBA to 1 inch.  I also lowered the side darts 1/2 inch.  FYI, darts can end 1 to 2.5 inches from the apex. Mine still don’t. They are right up on me.

I also changed the 3/4 sleeves to a capped sleeve. Because, poly scuba in the dead of summer.

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And, here’s the back view. I can get the top on fine without unzipping. But, with a zip, it’s easier to get on without messing up my hair and makeup. So, I’m glad I kept it.

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StyleArc is AWESOME and I’m sorry it took me this long to discover them. I love, love, love this outfit. And, maybe someday I’ll actually get more photos of me in it! I hope to make this up in the fall in long sleeves using some of my stashed wool jersey — maybe a nice camel. Wouldn’t that look awesome with tall boots?


Cashmerette Patterns Concord Tee – Review

Hot time, summer in the city and all that, eh? In April, we went to Santa Fe for my 40th birthday. The night of my birthday dinner I did a wine pairing at a fancy Santa Fe restaurant. While I like my drink, I’m not a big drinker, but at the price point for the meal, I drank every last overpriced drop.

A few days after said dinner, the Concord Tee from Cashmerette patterns showed up in my mail box. Initially startled, I foggily remembered ordering it the night of said matched wine impaired dinner.  Apparently, you can drunk purchase.

I was drawn to the Cashmerette line for the lack of an FBA. I mean, I can make them. But, I don’t like it. For my muslin, I cut an E/F cup (I’m a 34G bra) with a 12 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the hip ( For reference, these days I’m sewing a 40 in Burda on top w. a 1.5 – 2 inch inch or so FBA and a 40 grading to a 46 on the bottom.) . My bust measurement is spot on for Cashmerette’s 12 E/F. But, my waist and hip fell between the 14 and 16.

While the bust generally fit, I found overall the shirt was bigger/ had more ease that I wanted. In addition, the front neckline was really wide on me so that my bra would show and a little low – just a sliver of cleavage. I also noticed that there’s a bit of extra fabric width between my bust and shoulders. Plus, the shoulders are a hair too wide for me as drafted.

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For my additional versions, I raised the neckline 1/4 inch and sewed 12; grading to just a 14 at the high hip.  Much better (didn’t make the shoulder adjustment yet).

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But, here in  these sitting photo, you can see what I mean about there being a little more length or width than I need between the upper bust and the shoulder.

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And, I can’t bend over in the v-neck version without exposing myself.

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I’ve made about four of these shirts in the scoop and v-neck, medium length and short sleeved. I’ve since altered the pattern for what I think will work best of taking out that 2 cm of gaposis but don’t have more fabric to test it in. I’ve also narrowed the shoulder 1/4 inch. Next time I get my hands on some cotton knits, I’ll make up a few more too.

Oh, I initially sewed the muslin as a tunic. Which I didn’t care for on me. But, I didn’t save a photo because I’m an idiot.

As for the instructions, I kind of just glanced at them. The pattern provides a lot of handholding which an intermediate to advanced seamstress might find unnecessary. The pattern has V-neck instructions I’ve not seen before. I used my TNT v-neck method from the Sewing Athleticwear from the Singer Sewing Reference Library.

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For my gray scoop neck version, I bound the neckline also using instruction from the Sewing Athleticwear volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I did them this way because cotton knits tend to stretch. And this is a way of having a nice, snug  yet still stretchy neckline. It’s a really pretty and very neat finish that I like doing.

Now, the $18 elephant in my room. Is this pattern worth it? For ease of use, absolutely. It’s nice to have a dartless tee that actually fits. And, while I need a few small alterations for it to be my ideal, that’s nothing compared to starting from scratch with a B or C cup pattern. Plus, it’s great when a pattern fits you out the envelope. But, in my view they really aren’t supposed to if you want the best fit possible🙂

Button Front Skirt: Burdastyle 9-2009 #125

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About 20+ years ago I had a thrifted a-line skirt made from denim with buttons up the front. I’m not sure whatever happened to that skirt. But, I have noticed these skirts are all the rage lately and it seemed like a perfect summer skirt.  Enter BurdaStyle 9-2009 #125

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A really lovely basic skirt. It’s made up a few ways in the magazine including leather with the front closures or with a side zip in three different lengths.

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For my first version (because of course I made two) I used some leftover orange and cream stretch twill from the creamscicle dress I made six years ago.

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I sewed a 40 at the waist grading out to a 46 at the lower thigh. I also made swayback adjustment but totally forgot to add the inch I took out from the waist back to the skirt hem. So, it rides up a little in the back:-/ Also, my fabric is stretch so it flares a bit more than the pattern draft calls for.

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When sewing a skirt without a waistband, it’s inherently going to stretch as it’s all bias. So, you’ll want to use twill tape in the waist seam allowances or be sure to double stitch the waistline. Since I was making mine from denim and not leather, I also interfaced the front fold extension.

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The insides are all serged. It would be very pretty if I’d bound the insides (or useful if I’d taken a photo of the insides…)  But, I didn’t. I paired this skirt with my summer sweater made from orange cotton. It’s slouchy and comfy with this more casual skirt.

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Blue Denim:

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I wanted a skirt reminiscent of a traditional denim skirt and mimicked my high school skirt.  And, I wanted it to be casual enough to wear with some of the graphic tees I have but never wear (because I don’t have anything to wear them with).  My only additional alteration with this version was to add an extra inch in length to the skirt overall, but of course not to the center back to make up for my swayback adjustment. Sigh.

Jordan thinks these skirts are shorter than I normally wear. He claims I like to cover my knees. But, I wanted something short for summer that subbed in for actual shorts🙂

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For this version, I used really cute donut jeans buttons. I used dark grey topstitching thread and it pulls the nickel of the buttons in nicely. All but two of these buttons popped off while wearing or putting on the first few times.

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Overall, a nice little summer skirt pattern. And, for once I am on trend!  Plus, you know I love anything even vaguely nautical🙂

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This is an embarrassingly bad salute. I am clearly out of practice.



Feeling Myself: Leopard Print Wrap Dress

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When I found this leopard print poly knit on a shopping trip with friends in August 2015, I knew it HAD to become a DVF style wrap dress using my previously made Burdastyle from October 2011.

That time we bought all the fabric #latergram @rollingincloth @cubanitacose @karen.heenan

A photo posted by Renee (@missceliespants) on

It’s funny I was drawn to this, because I tend to avoid animal prints (I read a study in college about how black models were more likely to be photographed in animal prints and said ‘F that noise’). That said, I also LOVE this leopard print dress I made in 2012.

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Give me *all* the 70s


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I had this Burdastyle pattern cut out by the end of September 2015. But, life happens, I became obsessed with machine knitting and I lost my sewing mojo when a very expensive fabric order from Mood was stolen off my front porch (Yeah. Seriously.) We’ve had a string of package thefts and this one made off with $200 in dove gray wool coating from Mood. And, I’m sure he just threw it away.

Video Evidence:

Luckily, because it was purchased on my Visa, they sent me a check for the fabric (which I didn’t bother replacing). And, now everything gets delivered to my office:-/

After some time, I finally picked this dress back up to get it off my sewing table in March. And, I love it. I feel like a total fox.

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You can tell I am just FEELING myself.

Rather than sew facings this time (which I despised) I used a narrow knit binding treatment. The binding is cut 1 inch wide on the bias. It is then sewn on doubled, along the 1/4 inch seam allowance, and folded again creating a strong binding that is the width of the seam allowance.   **technique well explained and photographed in Singer’s ‘Sewing Activewear’.

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The fabric was a little thin so I underlined throughout (except for the sleeves) with black tricot. I underlined rather than lined as I wanted it to be treated as one piece. And, it was a terrible, terrible mistake. I tried to hem the dress. But, the underlining and fashion fabric hung differently making it a lumpy saggy mess. So, I had to hack off several inches, trim the bottom evenly and go with no hem. Overall it’s shorter than I would like, but again: FEEL. ING. MY. SELF.

After my last project’s failure, I ended up wearing this out for my birthday dinner in Santa Fe with Jordan. Rawwrr.

Machine Knit Vest (or sleeveless pullover)

Today I present my very fist machine knit garment: a men’s sleeveless pullover.  Now, I know this is like the least exciting thing in the world to knit. But, I wanted to make something for Jordan as a thank you for turning our dining room into a knitting room. It came out so well! I. Can’t. Even.

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The inspiration for this pattern is from a 1969 machine knitting magazine. It was a good first project as I got to work increases and decreases, binding off for shaping, ribbing bands and seaming the garment on the knitting machine. Yes, you read that right: I can even seam the garment on a knitting machine.

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I can’t take all the credit for this, blog reader Jeannie hooked a sister up. Turns out she’s an avid machine knitter and lives just three miles from my house. When operator error prevented me from getting anywhere near gauge, she told me to come on over. Do you know how incredible it is to find a machine knitter in biking distance????  She showed me how to measure more accurately and how to use Design A Knit software to tweak the pattern.

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I told Jordan to pose like a 1960s dad. He clearly went the authoritarian route.

DAK is MAGIC.  While I loved DAK, it was too rich for my blood and isn’t native to Apple (that said, I did use VMware to create a Windows environment and run a demo version on my iMac). But, I also don’t have a laptop which would make the in screen knitting much more user friendly.  So, for a birthday gift to myself, I bought Garment Designer which also drafts for sewing patterns. More on that in an upcoming post (although, I seem to be a liar about things I’m going to blog about so please don’t commit this to memory).

I used a wonderful cashmere/merino/silk blend 4 ply yarn from Colourmart.  It’s an inky navy blue with flecks of baby blue and white. The color name is Galaxy. And, the resulting fabric really does look like a night sky full of stars.

The shoulders (as drafted) are a little wide for modern times and the V came out three inches longer than drafted too. Jordan’s also much broader at the shoulder/ back area than through the torso so I’ll have to accommodate for that the next time.

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End result, a not terrible vest for Jordan. I need to get better about my finishing and weaving in ends (I have a sewing mentality of just knotting things off. Doesn’t work the same…) I think I’m going to knit the same pattern in a 40 chest for my dad with my leftover yarn. This time, I’ll try some new techniques like short rows for the shoulder seams.

Boring, long and droning Ravely notes here.



Butterick 6244: In Which I Conquer My Fear of Plaid

I love plaid so hard. I have so much plaid in my stash I could open a kilt shop. But, I hardly ever sew plaid because I’m terrified of matching.

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Forgive my pigeon toes. Please.

I was inspired to make this waterfall coat for two reasons. I have too much coating fabric that’s not getting sewn (eight cuts and counting). And, I saw a very cool Burberry poncho that I couldn’t afford. I made my friend Sheryl go to Burberry with me to try this on. It was flawless. I also tried on a duffle coat and had small tears in my eyes when I put it back on the hanger.


Said poncho is $900

This fabric (ostensibly Burberry) was $5 or a yard during my ‘trench coat with wool liner’ phase about five years ago. I never made that warmer but the fabric remained. I in fact have it in a second camel color way (that will hopefully become a poncho next season).

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I sewed this coat in bits and pieces over two weekends. Which is really good for me. It allows me to not mind techniques taking a bit more time. I thread traced my darts instead of just marking (or eyeballing) them with chalk.

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I actually did all the flat fell seaming with my terrific Bernina foot.  And, for all these small touches, it made a big difference in my construction process.

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It was very windy

Because I don’t sew Butterick often I wasn’t quite sure what size to go with. Based on the finished measurements, I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 in the thighs. I did baste the side seams to make sure I had a fit I could live with. I also decided to forgo an FBA because the coat isn’t meant to closed and there’s a ton of drape / ease here at the front. Overall, it’s got a very modern blanket coat vibe and I could have probably gone down one size.

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I made only one alteration which was to shorten the shoulder seam. Of course, I shortened it after I’d sewn in the sleeve:-/

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One main sewing tip if I may. If you have a walking foot, use it. I think nothing will ruin the lines of this coat more than waves / wonkey narrow hems. Plenty of steam and a walking foot will keep the bias under  control.

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I’m feeling pretty accomplished that I sewed a revered plaid coating. I didn’t get the plaid quite right at the front (sad trombone). But, I figure in movement it’ll be hard to tell.

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