Summer Stitches

As the mercury rises, it’s time to pull out my summer clothes.  Looking in my closet, I realize, “I don’t have anything to wear.”  I use to spend more time at the shopping mall, but now I’m embracing “slow fashion for the home sewist.”  For a definition and interesting article about slow fashion, read this article by Kate Fletcher.

Well, time to set up my sewing machine and re-discover the many hidden gems in my stash of fabric.  I do recall purchasing a few yards of cotton canvas fabric designed by Yoko Saito a couple of years ago at, A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA. After purchasing the fabric, I discovered Ms. Saito is an internationally known quilt artist, and I also own one of her books.  What a coincidence!

Across the store,  a bolt of fabric caught my eye.  I noticed the fabric because of the color, but most of all the modern look with a vintage appeal of vases on fabric and the simple intersection of lines drawn on the vases. The sales person mentioned, “perhaps the fabric would suit kitchen curtains.”  I had another idea…

Summer Sewing 2017_1
McCall’s Pattern M6739


Now I have something to wear with my green purse.





My Studio Space

It’s been a few days since my last post, but for the last nine months, in between my sewing and knitting projects, I’ve been  involved in a DIY project.  I decided to  convert our spare bedroom into my studio space.  I pulled up old carpet, filled plaster cracks, sanded molding and painted.  The floors also needed to be professionally refinished.





It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint and determination can accomplish.


Newly refinished floors.

My Studio

Deciding to convert our spare bedroom was not an easy decision, but after being vacant for five years, I decided it was time to create a space for me.  A positive enriching environment filled with my favorite things…yarn, books, fabric and ideas.

You’ve Come Along Way Baby

Recently, I took the plunge and purchased a new Baby Lock Ovation serger.  The Baby Lock Ovation has an exclusive “Thread Delivery System” which eliminates the daunting task of manually threading the upper and lower loopers and eliminates the inconvenience of tension adjustments.

Sewing With Knits #4

Sewing With Knits #5

Sewing With Knits #3

For the last thirty plus years, I’ve been using a Bernette  for Bernina Funlock.  Over the years, I’ve grown quite attached to my first serger because together we have enjoyed the pleasure of constructing Halloween and dance recital costumes along with child and adult clothes.  But, I’ve decided it’s time to charge ahead, in order to create and construct new garments using current technology.

At first, I was intimidated by the size of the Ovation.  I removed it from the box, sat it on the dining room table and just stared at it. “What was I thinking?”  I decided to take a Sewing With Knits class at Eddie’s Quilting Bee with Sally-Ann Flak.

Sewing With Knits #2
Kwik Sew K3766


Using a Nicole Miller graphic print fabric, I constructed the complete top with my Baby Lock Ovation serger.  The fit is amazing and the fabric is beautiful.





Growing up wearing clothes designed for the chubby girl was so heart wrenching.  It was difficult to find clothes that didn’t make me look matronly.  I loved school, but I despised shopping for new school clothes each year.  My mother would take my sister and I clothes shopping together (who was by the way, THIN).  While trying on my chubbie size and her 6X (for thin little girls) in the same dressing room, I  was reminded of the comparison.  Of course, I didn’t resent my sister, I envied her.

002 (2) - jpg

I’ve kept these feelings hidden throughout the years, until now…

The NYU Costume Studies M.A. Program proudly presents their annual exhibition, Beyond Measure: – Fashion and the Plus Size* Woman, beginning January 13-February 3, 2016.  “The fashion industry as played an undeniable role in enabling the stigmatization of larger women’s bodies.”

chubbie pattern

4088 Chubbie Pattern, Printed 1961 Simplicity Pattern Company, Inc., (founded 1927)

You’ll notice the model was not a “chubbie” girl.  Though the merger between academia and the museum is interesting, will this have a “real” effect on our overall culture?








In My Happy Place

This week I needed to get a way for a day.  I decided to return to the stacks at the University of California, Berkeley’s Anthropology library.  During my stay as a student, I spent many hours focusing on Art History, with little regard or time for anything else. Now I have the time to explore other disciplines.  I was looking forward to picking up a book I had on hold at Doe Library, Decorative Patterns Of The Ancient World, by Flinders Petrie. On my way, I captured a picture of the infamous Campanile.


Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

Such a relief to relax and take in the atmosphere without worrying about the next paper or test.  I headed over to the Anthropology library and ventured into the world of prehistoric textiles.  Three books, Women’s Work: The First 20,000 years,  Making Textiles In Pre-Roman And Roman Times, and Textile Production In Pre-Roman Italy,  I was excited to discover because they support my area of interest.

My interest in textile arts began at the age of eight.  Through the guidance of a 4-H leader, I walked the runway in my first sewn dress. I continued to sew through the years and decided to purchase my first weaving loom.  Toting my infant daughter on my hip, I warped my loom for the first time.  From weaving, I moved on to knitting, felting and dyeing yarn.  Throughout the many years of developing my expertise in the textile arts, I didn’t give much thought to the people, places and identities of the individuals that came before me, until now.

On my way across campus to the parking garage, I captured a few more pictures.


Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall


Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall


Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

Back To The Drawing Board

After completing pattern drafting for Skirts,  I decided to move forward with Moulage.   With pencil and eraser nearby, I began translating my measurements onto paper, the end result would be a “mold” of my body to assist in garment construction.

First, I needed to draft a Foundation Block front and back in order to draft a custom moulage of my upper torso.  Once completed, I drafted a bodice sloper of my front and back, and mounted the two on oak tag.

Moulage_1 Moulage #2_1The text book used for class, Building Patterns, The Architecture of Women’s Clothing, written by Suzy Ferrer can be a bit overwhelming given the amount of technical information.  A semester of instruction would definitely explain, in detail, the technical aspects of this informative book.

Here is my moulage.  A few minor adjustments to the shoulders and hips were made (as pinned in the photo.)


It was an intense experience, but also rewarding.  I am proud of my accomplishment.





My favorite fabric store in Berkeley, CA, Stonemountain and Daughter posted an interesting idea about sewing with Ikat fabric


I’ll be trekking up to the East Bay next week and can’t wait to stop by and check it out! Perhaps you’ll find the post interesting.

Ikat #2