Simplicity 2311 – A Winter Coat for “Real” Winters


I live on the Central Coast of California but grew up in Quebec where my family and many of my friends still live. My fashion photographer and I travel to Quebec every summer. This February my Mom was celebrating a landmark birthday so we decided to make our way up North. I have a parka that I would normally take for this type of trip but I wanted to see if I could make a coat that would be warm enough for cold and windy (read: FREEZING) weather. I succeeded.


I’ve had this wool fabric in my stash for a while. The fabric is loosely woven so I underlined it with Kona cotton. I do this to most of my light to medium weight coat fabrics. I find it adds stability. I lined the coat with Kasha lining (flannel backed satin) quilted with Thinsulate. I’ve quilted coat linings with Thinsulate in the past. It adds a little more bulk to a coat but it adds a lot of warmth and is lightweight. I also added a back-stay and sleeve heads. My go-to book when making jackets or coats is Jackets for Real People by Marta Alto, Susan Neal, and Pati Palmer.


We plan on moving to Canada in the next few years. My goal is to have an assortment of warm coats to get through the winter as comfortably and fashionably as possible.


No trip home is complete without at least one visit to Tissus Mode de l’Orme in Granby, QC.


One more picture just because I’m so pleased with my coat.


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Naughty Bobbin Patterns – Presto! Popover Top

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I made 3 Presto Popover tops a couple of years ago and wear them regularly. I decided to whip up a couple more to start off the new sewing year. I like to start the New Year with a sewing project that I know will yield good results. I feel it sets the tone for the year and encourages me to keep sewing. The Presto! Popover top is a wonderful wardrobe staple and I feel that you can’t have too many of them. I would tell Marie Kondo that they bring me joy 🙂

The pattern is designed with ITY or similar knits in mind. I purchased this brown ITY knit last summer with the intention of making this top.


For the black version I used a fairly sheer lightweight knit leftover from this project. I chose the Presto Popover pattern because the front has a double layer of fabric. This was perfect for my sheer knit. I wanted to add some interest to the sleeves for this version so I added a flounce using McCall’s 7681. I bought the pattern after seeing my sewing neighbor’s version of the dress. How lucky am I to have a great neighbor who is also a talented sewist?!!!


These two tops officially launch my sewing adventures for 2019. Here’s hoping there are many more pictures of me smiling wearing my me-mades.

Vogue 1596 -Knit Tunic


As soon as Vogue introduced this tunic pattern I knew I had to make it for the Holidays.


I omitted the front pockets because my fabric was a fairly sheer lightweight knit. I felt the pockets would be a distraction as they would be visible.


This top was not complicated as far as sewing goes BUT I still managed to mess up on the tucks. They are supposed to be pressed toward the center. I pressed them all toward the side seams. At least I was consistent with the front and back.


I loved everything about this pattern except the sleeves. I wanted a sleeve with a little more volume. I chose to add a slip-on cuff. The cuff for this pattern has 3 loops/buttons as closures.


The pattern calls for a tiny chain to link the front together. I thought this was an interesting detail and a modification I’ll probably make on future projects. Instead of purchasing a chain, I chose to string some silver beads from JoAnn’s jewelry findings section.


One more year is coming to an end and another one is about to begin. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate your comments very much.  Sewing is mostly a solitary activity. Connecting with other sewists and sharing my successes and goofs make it a lot more interesting.

I wish you all a year of good health and much happiness. May you have success in all of your projects, whether they be sewing or something else that brings you joy. Happy 2019!

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Burda Style 12-2017-107 – Knit Dress


Sewing has taken a back burner to Holiday preparations but I still managed to sew up a few projects. This pattern caught my eye in last December’s Burda Style magazine. I’ve always been attracted to this style of dress.


The description of the dress mentions a 3/4 sleeve. I didn’t check before cutting out the sleeve but as you can tell it is longer than a 3/4 sleeve. I omitted the zipper because it was not necessary with my fabric. I found the pattern to be well drafted. One thing to watch for is the deep v-neckline on this dress. I’m not one to run for cover with a camisole but there was no way I could wear this dress without one.

BS 12-2017-117

I like the silhouette of this dress very much.


I chose to line the dress because my fabric is a lightweight jersey. The pattern offers directions for an optional lining.


At this point you wouldn’t think that this dress was problematic in any way.  The pattern was fine, I was the one trying to do too many things at once. I would wait until later in the evening to sew and proceed make the most ridiculous mistakes. Sewing the front bodice was the worst. I don’t know what I did but I had an armscye in the middle front for one of the fronts and the other one was sewn with the wrong side of the fabric showing. I didn’t think I could recover from that because I had used a tiny zigzag stitch and could not tell the black thread from the black fabric. Enter my fashion photographer who has an enormous amount of patience as well as perseverance. He brought his inspection scope into the dining room and proceeded to unpick one stitch at a time.


Once that was done I continued on my way making sure I was in the mood to sew and not too tired. I’m glad the dress was saved because I’m very happy with it.


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Helen’s Closet – Blackwood Cardigan


I just added my name to the LONG list of sewist who have made (and will continue to make) the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet. The are many reviews out there that describe how wonderful this pattern is. I concur and have nothing to add. The cardigan has been on my list to sew for quite a while but somehow always got bumped when it was its turn.

The pattern is well drafted and was a cinch to sew. I used a wonderful wool/lycra jersey from Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley, California.

I paired the cardigan with my latest version of Butterick 5526.


For this version I drafted a separate piece for the left front band. I wanted to make a contrast band for the buttons to match the contrast of the collar stand. For additional details about the changes I made to this pattern, please visit my original blogpost for Butterick 5526. I like the relaxed fit of this style.


I love the pairing of the Blackwood Cardigan with a classic shirt.


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Vogue 8952 – Sweater Knit Tunic


For me this time of the year requires easy sewing projects. I like to always have a project going but my time is limited, so I opt to sew patterns that will yield good results without too much time or effort. Though I enjoy a sewing challenge, now is not the time to tackle them.



I’ve seen some cute versions of this tunic online and decided the timing was right to sew one up. I made View A. I like the fit of this top very much.


This lightweight sweater knit was a good weight for this pattern. I bought the fabric 1.5 years ago at Tissus Mode de l’Orme in Granby, QC.


I found the neckline a little higher than what was pictured on the pattern. I would lower it a nudge if I make it again.


A few years ago I made View B from this pattern. I had to hand-stitch the cowl to neck seam because it kept wanting to pop out.


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Style Arc Danni Dolman – Knit Dress


I’ve had this Style Arc pattern in my stash for quite a few years. It never seemed to rise to the top of my to-sew pile. I wanted a new dress for Thanksgiving and because of the lack of time it had to be an easy project. This pattern came to mind.

SA Danni Dolman

The pattern illustration is deceptive. The dress is pictured with full length sleeves but you can see that they clearly are not. That was fine with me because my plan was to shorten the sleeves. I wound up taking 2.5 inches off the length of the dress to get the hemline to hit above the knee. Once again the illustration didn’t quite match up to reality. I’m 5’7″ and, based on the pattern drawing, thought I might have to lengthen the dress.


I purchased this ITY knit at Tissus mode de l’Orme in Granby, QC a couple of years ago on one of our trips to visit family and friends. I enjoy working with border prints and finding the best way to showcase the print within the constraints of the pattern.

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This dress reminds me of a style of dress I wore quite a bit in the 80’s except they always had sizable shoulder pads. The silhouette was perfect for our Thanksgiving dinner. I was comfortable throughout the meal and didn’t hesitate when the pumpkin pie came around 🙂


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