Threading Lightly

Adventures in amateur sewing



Turtle Power! My summer blockbuster

Simplicity Pattern Pattern: Simplicity 1100

Even though I am writing this post the beginning of autumn, I actually did finish this project in the height of summer.  My summer sewing productivity was a bust. As I noticed the days getting shorter, I realized I did not have enough time to make the shorts I wanted in the time I would be able to enjoy them.  I needed a quick win, and this bathing suit cover up was just the thing.  I bought this pink turtle-print rayon a while back with the intention of making a bathing suit cover up.  Rayon is just such a cool, lightweight fabric and the turtles gave it a slightly tropical look.  The problem was finding the right pattern – one that was simple enough to sew quickly but also stylish enough to be unique.

Some simple google searches did not help me, so I went onto a site I have been an inactive member on called  I was able to find and purchase the perfect pattern – it was a simple dress-like cover-up that is sewn in two pieces, with no buttons or notions.  You simply tie it around the neck, but it still has the shape of a dress so I don’t have to figure out some complicated folding structure when putting it on.

Turtle Rayon This pattern is perfect for beginners and worked great for this fabric.  I couldn’t be happier with the result.  There are only two pieces to cut out, they get sewn together at the back seam and the rest is a double fold hem.  All around the front.  There is a lot of hemming though, so if you are not a fan, it may be a bit tedious.  This project can also be completed in a few hours, which was good news for my limited summer schedule.

Turtle cover up

It’s all about finding the right pattern that fits your vision of what the fabric should become.  This is something I sometimes struggle with.


There are so many places to find patterns – especially with all the new indie companies popping up all the time.  It’s a great time right now with all the variety we have, but it can be overwhelming.  What are you tips for searching patterns?


Phone in arm band pocket


The running band: Trying to get back to it

Pattern: Fehr Trade Running Armband Pocket (free pattern!)Fehr Trade Running Arm Band pattern

It’s no surprise that I haven’t been sewing lately.  Summer is in full force, I just started a new job where my commute is longer and I’ve been taking some online courses to brush up on my skills – you know all the usual.  Oh and I’ve been running more.  After the success of my last half marathon in May, I decided to sign up for another one in October…and then another one later in October.  I also have some smaller races and relay races coming up that I’m trying to stay prepared for.  I’ve been running as long as I’ve been sewing, but it seemed that most of my energy that I reserved for sewing has transferred to running and running related activities.  I started track workouts with my running club once a week.  I’m also a bit more consistent with my long runs on the weekends.  I have been working a bit harder at it and I think I’m finally starting to show some improvement.

But I miss sewing. Every time I look over at my machines, I feel sad they are collecting dust.  I had downloaded this free Fehr Trade pattern a while back and had been meaning to try it out with some of my leftover spandex.  It seemed like a quick make, plus it’s something I actually need with all the running I’ve been doing.

I cut two out – one for me and a bigger one for my boyfriend.  This pattern is really simple and making it with spandex is great because it ensures your stuff will stay put in the pocket.  Any knit will do though.  You basically cut out two rectangles – one has the pocket flap and the other one doesn’t.  One is sewn with hole, so that when you sew the two together (one inside the other) you can pull the pocket flap piece through and the seams are finished nicely.

Pocket hole

I tried to use a serger to sew together the piece that had the hole and I wouldn’t recommend it.  As you can see, it is hard to stitch it straight across (although it could be my lack of skills).  Then when I had to hand sew the hole back up, I had some trouble keeping this seam straight.  On the other band, I stitched this section on my regular machine using a stretch stitch.  Using a serger on the rest of the seams worked really well though.

Even though this could be cleaner, I’m happy with the result:


I was able to test my arm band out on my weekly 5K with my phone securely stowed and it worked really well.  Unfortunately I forgot to get an action shot of this, but here is a regular picture in my kitchen.

Arm band

My phone fits quite well into it as you can see:

Phone in arm band pocket

The summer is not over yet, so hopefully I will be able to get some more summer projects completed.  It’s hard though, as the desire to be outside is strong.  Maybe next year is the year I get better at planning ahead.  I’m not holding my breath…


Tie Bow close up


The networking blouse: or how to succeed in business by really really trying!

Pattern: Simplicity 1779 (view c)Simplicity 1779

They say that job searching is all about the networking.  Let me tell you from a diagnosed introvert, networking really sucks.  You really have to put yourself out there, totally out of your comfort zone and start conversations with complete strangers.  You have no idea if they want to talk to you or not.  Sometimes these conversations go well, sometimes they feel as painful as falling down a flight of stairs.  Making that perfect connection that furthers your career can feel like a needle in a haystack.  It’s also extremely exhausting, being “on” all the time.  When I come home after a few hours of networking, I feel almost as if I ran a marathon.  But it is important – applying for open jobs the old fashion way definitely doesn’t get the maximum result.  And getting a job can be more “who you know” than “what you know” in general.

I feel it helps to have some sort of ice breaker prepared.  Which is why last week, Continue reading

crossing the finish line


Run for it! A reflection on running as I sew with spandex

Pattern: Fehr Trade Duathlon Shorts (3-quarter length)Fehr Trade Duathlon Shorts pattern

Skills acquired:

  • PDF patterns

I’ve never considered myself a runner.  When I was in middle school, we were forced to run a mile and a half in gym class and it was always a day I dreaded.  The gym teacher made fun of the way I swung my arms when I ran.  “You look like this,” she said, while she made some exaggerated movements.  She called me a retard.  She said I was un-athletic.  This would turn anyone off from running.

I didn’t really pick up running, except for the odd jog around the neighborhood, until I started having some real life problems.  Lack of control in my life situations created major anxiety.  I was not myself, I was just a walking bundle of nerves and hurt feelings.  I wasn’t sleeping properly and so I slowly introduced a running routine to “tire me out” during the day.  It also relieved some of those anxious feelings:

Oh you have to move – run 5 miles to feel better
Grad school is getting to you – see if you can make it to 6 miles
You didn’t get that job – run 3 miles faster than you have before

Everything would play through my head during these runs, and I started to add more Continue reading

Bicycle pants

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An update on loungewear

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3793

We interrupt this blog to bring you the picture I was hoping to include on my previous entry about lounge-wear.  Back when I was on my pajama pant kick, I made my guy some nice ones out of bicycle flannel.  I used this kwik sew pattern because it includes a fly, but I also added pockets using an online tutorial.  There is a little bit about the pocket install on my other blog post.

Pockets on pj pants

I wanted to share the final result, although these pictures are only from the waist down Continue reading



See my vest…in textured fleece

Kwik Sew 3813Pattern: Kwik Sew K3813

Some key takeaways:

  • Wait to buy your separating zipper until you confirm the final length
  • Make sure your fabric works for the arm binding, if not you can use spandex or knit

Just as spring made its way in New England, so did the cold weather.  For a winter which saw 70 degree temperatures on Christmas Eve and only 2 snow storms, this spring sure is cold!  We had more snow storms in April than in March, and now that it is May, I can’t walk around my house without a sweatshirt.  Or a fleece….which brings me to….

I decided to make a fleece vest!  I started this a bit on the late side – as in after winter was technically over.  Glad this cold weather started up, or I would have felt completely foolish!

This was a pretty ambitious project.  I have never made anything like this before, and half-way through making the vest, I was worried I may be in over my head.  However, the results of this one are very positive!

When I first decided to make this pattern, Continue reading

hooded overshirt


Southwestern Over-shirt: Joys in the hood

Pattern: McCalls stitch n’ save 6681M6681

Skills acquired:

  • Homemade bias tape
  • Hoods!

There comes a time in every sewist’s life when they realize they are still learning.  I’ve been killin’ it on so many projects lately (with some minor complications), I really thought I was heading up to the big leagues.  Then I had to make a hood.  I don’t know why this baffled me so much, but looking back on it, it all seems rather stupid.

First of all this pattern is labeled “easy” right on the front.  This should not have been as much of a challenge as it was.  I think some unclear writing and my own inexperience with making a hood contributed to this lesson.

Let me step back a minute on this one.  I chose this pattern because I wanted to make something else besides pajama pants with this cotton flannel I had bought when on vacation in New Mexico.  I specifically searched for patterns for flannel fabric and figured for this type of native-american-like print some sort of over-shirt would be nice.  I thought this pattern looked cute with the hood and everything so I decided to go for it.   Continue reading