The Motor City Express Jacket

Hi Everyone!

I have recently taken the “Sew Better, Sew Faster: Smart Construction” class on Craftsy with Janet Pray.


I usually only buy the classes when they were on sale and I think I got this one for $19.99.  However, I just purchased the Craftsy unlimited on sale for $105.00 for year, and I must say I love it so much better than purchasing individual classes.  I think by purchasing for the year, I am definitely getting more value out of it.


I love Janet’s attitude and tips that she gives.  She gives a lot of instutry techniques that makes your sewing faster.

I love her tips and find her techniques very useful.

I really like the design of her Jacket.  The class came with Janet’s pattern called “The Motor City Express Jacket”.  I paid for this class about a year ago, but just got around to making the jacket.


I liked the look and style of it, even though I tend to not wear jackets.

I thought that I would like it in wool felt.  Last summer my family went to the Detroit Zoo in Michigan.  Just a couple miles from the zoo was a fabric store in Royal Oak MI, called Haberman Fabrics.  I had seen their name advertised in a Threads magazine, so my family accompanied me to the fabric store (great support!).

They did have some great fabrics and too many to choose from.  Well I found some wool felt and asked for it to be cut.  The sales lady said that it was $89 a yard!!!  Wow, I don’t think I am ready to cut into $89 a yard fabric just yet!!  For that, I know I would have to make something couture and something I would wear a lot, like a nice winter coat for years.  But truthfully, I don’t have that budget for that either, not with a 2 year old in daycare!

Anyways, I did end up purchasing this purple denim fabric for $11 a yard.  I love purple.  I initially thought jeans, but then I thought how about a jacket!

I did end up making a muslin to determine the fit.




It turned out pretty well, I liked how the seams lined up and the arm fit good.  I did have to do a sway back adjustment and pinch out some excess fabric in the back and a little in the front.  I am glad that I made the muslin.

I believe I cut out a size 12 at neck and shoulders and graded to 14 at hips.  I did shorten it a little as I wanted it to come up and hit my hips at the right spot.

The class guided me through all the construction aspects of making the jacket.


Here you can see my full bust adjustment on the front.



Here I had to put the zipper on the gusset for the sleeve.  The book instructions were great, but I was really glad I had the class to follow.  This is the first jacket I have made like this and with all the zippers.

Here is my finished jacket:



I used black duponi for the contrast to add some style to the jacket.  I also used fashion zippers to add more style to it.

I had purple lining I used for the inside.


Here it is on me:


Pattern used:  Motor City Express Jacket by Islander Sewing Patterns

Size cut:  size 12 at neck graded to size 14

Adjustments:  did full bust adjustment, sway back, make a 1/2″ shorter.  I have a pear shaped so I ten to always have to do the smaller shoulders with larger hips.  My measurements are 40-33-44.

Pros’:  glad I had the class, easy to follow instructions were clear.

Cons’:  not sure I love the fabric.  It does feel too stiff even though I washed it and it feels rough to wear.  I love the purple, but it has not stretch and just doesn’t move well.  Maybe jeans would have been better.

I all, I love the way it looks, turned out great, but I don’t love the way it feels.  I must admit I have only worn it once.

However, I am not really into jackets right now, as with a 2 year old, I mostly do knits and easy to move clothes.  At work it is very casually and I tend throw on leggings, knit dress and sweater, again for ease and comfortable.

But I hope as he gets older I will get back into being into style and can wear this jacket!

Until next time!

What’s Going On???

Well not a whole lot of nothing is going on!!!  Life has gotten ahold of me and things have been so busy.  I came down with the flu and haven’t been doing too much.

Also my boss retired at work and we are still in transition (meaning, I got a bunch more work for no extra pay or rewar).  Thus meaning working through lunch instead of sewing 😦

But I have been thinking about sewing a lot, I mean a lot.

One perk is that depending upon the project I am working on, I can sometimes listen to some sewing podcasts or listen to my favorite you tube videos.  I can’t watch the you tube, but I listen.

Soooooo what have I been listening to, you ask??

Love to Sew Podcast:


This podcast is great!  It is Helen Wilkinson from Helen’s Closet (which I love my Blackwood Caridigan, and Caroline Somos.  I love this podcast.  I think I have listened to each one.  My favorite is when they talk about their sewing summer camp experience.  But I think I found a new favorite.  Mimi G.  They just interviewed Mimi G (who is great!).  If you haven’t heard it you need to check it out over at Love To Sew.

My favorite on You Tube right now:


That Sewing Blab hosted by Dawn from Duelling Designs and Myra who has instragram and blog at One Sew Sweet.  They just had their interview with Elizabeth from Elizabeth Makes This regarding the Day and Night Challenge.  I have watched almost all of their interviews.  I think my favorite so far has been Kenneth King!

What am I Reading? The last


I am reading Sewing Activewar by Johanna Lu.  I got my copy off of Amazon.  She wrote this book herself and it is great.  If you work with knits, it is so helpful.  I believe I am about half way through the book and am finding it so helpful.  Johanna also has some great You Tube videos and was also recently on both Love to Sew Podcast and That Sewing Blab.

Whats up next?

Well I am trying to participate in the Sew My Style 2018.  I purchased that Kalle dress from Closet Case Patterns.  Taped the PDF pattern, made adjustments and cut it out.  That is as far as I got.

Hopefully nextweek I will have a better update for you!!

Toddler Pirate of the Caribbean Coat

Hi Everyone!

This time I have actually done some unselfish sewing.  A few posts back, I had bought some fabric for my little guy to make some sleepers with.  Three of the fabrics were superhero’s, but one fabric in particular was Pirate of the Caribbean fabric.


This fabric was more like quilting fabric and said specifically not to be used for sleepwear.

I had some great idea’s, pillowcases, curtains, blanket, etc.  I know those would last longer, but I really wanted to do something that he could wear, like a spring coat. (Who knows what he will be into in the fall, lol) Kids!!

I looked everywhere for a coat pattern that I liked.  From Indie patterns to the Big 4 patterns.  I finally decided to settle upon McCall’s 7619.  Let me tell you, most patterns are for girls!!


I really liked view D and decided to make a size 4 for him.  As a reminder, my little guy will be 3 in April.  I seen that I would need some Ribbing and Lining.  For the Lining here, they recommended ‘Lining Fabric’ and also recommended thicker fabric for the main fabric.

Since my fabric was very thin, I decided to switch the two around.  I used the cotton Pirate print for the main fabric and a snuggle flannel print for the lining.  (I just used what I had on hand for this.  The flannel was supposed to be pajama pants for my husband, but oh well!!!).


I think it took an hour to cut out, as I was trying really hard to match all the seam lines with the corresponding prints.

The jacket itself only took 4 hours to make (2 nap times, one Saturday, one Sunday!).


It turned out just as I imagined.  I used black rib knit for the bands, cuffs, and collar.  I also used black thread for all top stitching.

Here you can see the flannel I used for the lining.


Here is the back of the coat.


Here is the band of the coat


Here is a close up of the pockets on the front of the coat.


Here is one of the side seams that did match up perfectly.  Not such great luck with some of the other seams.


In all, he loves it!!!  He was only able to wear it Monday, because here in Michigan we are dealing with snow again:(

But Spring is on the way.  I have about 2 more yards left and am now thinking about making a pair of shorts for him for the summer!

But, that will have to wait.  I am going to participate in the sew my style challenge for March and make the Kalle shirt/dress next from Closet Case Patterns.  I’ll do a post on that once I get that done.  Still deciding on what fabric I want to use from my stash!

Simplicity 8511 Dress

Hi Everyone!

Well I finished my first goal of 2018!  At the top of my list was Simplicity 8511


I had decided to do view A.  To me working in an office, I thought the sleeves would work best for me.  I am sitting most of the day working with numbers, I know fun, right!


The fabric suggestions were:

Cotton Type, Crepe, Back Satin, Dupioni, Jacquards, lightweight Linen, or Taffeta.

I have recently ordered this great color CobaltBlue cotton yarn fabric from Fabric Mart.


I thought this dress would be so cute in the cobolt blue, with the sleeves and neckline being in the lighter turquoise color.  I really don’t know where the turquoise color fabric came from and I only had 1/2 yard of the turquoise.

Off to work!

Pattern Cutting:

I cut out a size 14 for my neck and graded to a 16 for waist and an 18 for hips.  This dress looked like it had more ease than it did: hint to self – next time check the final garment measurements instead of assuming.   So much to check.

I did lengthen the dress by 2″, I am 5’6″ tall and wanted it to come to my knee.  As you can see the darts are different then normal darts, but I really liked how these darts shaped my side bust area.  The back has a fish eye dart.

Surprisingly I did not have to do an FBA (Full Bust Adj), which I am currently running a D size right now.  I did do some flat pattern measurements and all seemed ok.


Fabric Cutting:

Well cutting out the fabric after washing, drying and ironing, I noticed that the fabric tended to wrinkle a lot.  So instead of lining the dress, I decided to take the lining and actually underling the dress.  I cut the same pieces out of the lining and sewed them to my fashion fabric at 3/8″ (simplicity uses 5/8″ seam allowances).  This made the lining and the fashion fabric act as one piece of fabric.

By doing that, it drastically cut out a lot of the wrinkling.

While cutting, I realized that I did not have enough fabric for the sleeve in either color.  So time to create my own sleeve band.

I drafted just a basic band for the sleeve instead of using the pattern sleeve (truthfully, I like mine better!, just saying).

I then pinned the dress together on my sized to me mannequin to make sure it would fit and look right with the new sleeve.

I like it, time to sew.


This was really simple to sew and came together fairly quickly.  The instructions were clear, except for the skirt vent.  I had to watch the wonderful Colleen G. Lea with FSBTV You Tube video on Sewing a Vent that she published in 2012.

It worked like a charm, thank you Colleen!!!!

The dress called for an invisible zipper and thanks to the Craftsy class “Mastering Construction: Zippers & Waistbands” with Sara Alm, I have finally found the best way to put zippers in.  I love putting in zippers.  She finally made video’s that explained everything.  She had you work with small samples and let me tell you, I find them so easy to put in now.  Thanks Sara!

Just a note, this is my own personal opinion, I did pay for the class.  I have about 65 classes, not watched them all.  I do have ones I don’t like, but this one was worth the money I paid in my opinion for me.  Her teaching on this best suited my style.

I did not line the dress since I underlined the dress.  To tight on the mannequin, I should have known then that there was an issue.  I did use my Serger for all the seam finishing.

I also stitched in the ditch for the collar and neckline.  I did not like the facing flapping all over and securing it at the shoulder seams did not help keep it down.  You can’t even tell with the stitch in the ditch method.


I love this dress and it is so my style, simple and easy.  But it is too tight in the hips.  Darn you Ben & Jerry Ice Cream!!!!!

But with my weight fluctuations, I know that will eventually get in this dress and when I do — watch out!!

I do like the front darts and I think they help shape the body nicely.

Don’t mind the little head at the bottom of some pictures, No that is not your imagination, that is my little one trying to see himself on the tablet too!!!!

In all, this dress will definitely be worn a lot when I am in that size range.  Good fit on shoulders, chest and neckline.  Since I did serge I cut off excess fabric so I can’t add more room in hips.

I hate making muslins and with my weight fluctuating so much, I really don’t feel the need to most of the time.

Well, until next time!



The 10-20-30 Mintues to Sew with Nancy Zieman Book Review

Hi Everyone!

I was looking online for finding faster ways to sew in my little allotted time frames and came across this book on Amazon.

Since it was published in 1992, it was only $1.99 used.  It came to me pretty quick and let me tell you, I do think it has a lot of good useful tips!


It’s hardcover and the pages are nice and thick with lots of pictures and examples.  I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

I must say I really like the Contents pages.

They have everything listed in categories and under each subject they have the topic and about how long each one will take.  For instance, under “Streamlined Sleeves”, they have the “Easiest Sleeve Easing” is 10 Minutes.  So if I am trying to insert a sleeve that needs easing, I know that I could do this in a 10 minute time frame.  That’s awesome, if I just set aside 10 minutes I could ease a sleeve in that time!


I really liked the tips on the sides of the pages.  A lot of the pages have a “Note from Nancy” that gives you a tip such as use wax paper and felt tip pens for altering patterns.  My favorite is that on most pages, Nancy gives you a “Timesaving Notion” tip.


Here Nancy gives quick tips on hot to do a Peter Pan Collar in 20 minutes, again with the note and timesaving notion. I like how everything is broken up into minutes.  This really helps you better organize your sewing time.


For instance, again you can see how you can sew a mistake proof center zipper in just 20 minutes.


Here is a great example how Nancy even goes into helping you with your preparation steps.  She also has a section on your Serger and working with knits!



Nancy also has a section on Sewing Feet and on patterns and helping you pick the right size for beginners.


In all, I find this book very valuable.  Does it address everything??? Well no, it would be huge.  It is small, but it does give you a lot of great ideas of how to break up your sewing into smaller segments, so  you can find more time to sew.

This book was just what I needed, what a great tool for my library!

I hope you enjoy it too!

Burda Island Placket Dress from BurdaStyle Academy Online

This week has been crazy!!! I have been so sick and useless just can’t do anything.  Needless to say it was a week of ice cream and popsicles as my chest was on fire with a nasty head cold.

Today is the first day that I actually have energy to write.

Soooooo with that said, my sewing room is a disaster!! I have so many projects started and my son that everything is all over the place.  This was before my son threw all his toys everywhere, lol.  NOW I can’t even walk in there!! Oh my!  But that’s life.


So I thought I would talk about my experience with a Burda University Class that I had paid for online at the Burda Style Academy website.

I purchased this sew along I believe in the Spring of 2017 from Burda University online.  I believe they were having a half off sale and I got it for $10.00.  This is under their on demand Sew along tab.


This course was taught by Meg Healy was 87 min. long.  The dress is a maxi dress that I tend to wear in the summer and the best part is that it has no zipper.

The class came with the downloaded pdf pattern and instructions.

I felt that Meg was really great.  She went through each step and didn’t miss a beat.  I must say that I did not struggle with any of the instructions (as sometimes I do on the Craftsy classes).

Meg went in order and explained everything.

I used a light sheer chiffon island print (thought would fit well with class, LOL I believe I got this fabric from JoAnn’s back in 2012 when I first started sewing.

I paired it with this lavender purple bemberg lining from JoAnns as well.

This dress turned out perfect!!!


I actually wore it quite a bit last summer.  Sorry no pic’s of me in it.

But I am really glad I took this course.

I purchased a few other sew alongs, but I haven’t started them yet.  I believe I have the bomber jacket and jean jacket.

So many project wishes, so little time!!!!!!!!!!

Change in Sewing Plans and Weight/Healthy Eating Update

So we have just ended the 1st week of February 2018 and last week was the first week of my challenge of trying to work on sewing goals and eating better.

Welllll, so things never work out as plan, lol.

So there were a lot of things happening last week.

Monday – we had tons of snow on Sunday so school was closed.  Had to hire a babysitter and work through lunch to pick up son early.  This meant no time to work out as goal is to workout on lunch in my office using dvds.  But ate very healthy!

Tuesday – I cut out my Simplicity 8511 dress pattern! And did a 45 min workout on lunch and stayed within calorie limit.



Wednesday – hmmm son had a bad cough, kept him home from daycare and called into work.  But did do 1/2 run on treadmill when he took nap.  I also was able to do pattern adjustments to S8511 and cut out all the fabric.  I did pin pattern together to ensure fit and looks great.  Ate only 1200 calories.


Thursday – son up all night with flu, didn’t get no sleep.  Need I say more!!! Nothing done.  Did great on eating!

Okay, also changed mind on sewing projects, stopped S8511 and decided to make son some more sleepers.

My almost 3 year old is obsessed with Batman and Pirates of the Caribbean the 5th one.  He has all the characters and loves to play with them everyday.


He loves wearing sleepers with feet.  His favorite is Batman with a fleece batman hat that was poorly made in China.  His Batman sleeper and hat are completely falling apart.

Onto Joann’s.  I found the greatest material.  I found superhero fleece, Justice League Snuggle Flannel, and Batman cotton knit. Along with some plain fleece to make all sorts of hats:



I also found this quilting like cotton of Pirates of the Caribbean (his favorite movie) fabric at Joann’s:


It is only 44″ wide so I bought 4 yards of it.  It is not intended for sleepwear so I am still debating about what to make.

I am kind of thinking a lined spring hoodie?


Blanket?  Quilt?  Some type of Poster?

What do you think?

Friday:  Finally went to work, but had so much work that I worked through lunch, no workout, but still ate pretty good.  No sewing either.

Saturday:  I felt horrible.  Chest cold and yet more dreary snow.  No sewing and ate ice cream, oh well what can you do:)))

Sunday: Finally naptime sewing, oh yeah!!  Doing the superhero fleece sleeper.  But the pattern I have has button down the front and no feet.  So I changed it to be a 24″ zipper down front and adding feet.  I am about halfway done.  Had ice cream again, but still stayed good with calorie range.

End Results:  Good week, not weighing self, but eating better.  No time for book reading, or much else, but so happy to be making stuff for the little guy.  I did do a template of the hat. Now, all I need is time.  Stay tune for fun hats coming up.  I hope to finish my dress too!!

That’s it for now!  Let me know what I should make on out of the pirate fabric, I am open to anything.  He wears a 3T right now.