Threading Lightly

Adventures in amateur sewing

Happy romper


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Ready to romp! My summer one-piece that almost didn’t happen

Pattern: McCalls 6969 (view c)McCalls 6969

Well that is a very interesting pattern number.  I only just realized this as I am writing it out.  I assure you I didn’t purchase this pattern based on that!

What can I say. It is well into November and in New England, the air definitely has a chill.  Every morning I have to scrape a layer of frost off my windshield.  Leaves have pretty much fallen off all the trees and Thanksgiving is next week.  Yikes!  What happened?

This summer brought many changes – the biggest one being a new job and a new commute to work.  I’ve also started getting more involved in my running club and have been racing and training, despite suffering from a nasty sprained ankle injury.  Somewhere in the midst of all these changes, I started a summer romper.  This was a project I have wanted to try for awhile, having bought the pattern years ago.  This summer I saw someone in an arcade wearing a romper and it rekindled my desire to make one.  Never mind the fact I probably wouldn’t wear it that often and one-pieces don’t always flatter me.  Luckily I had some rayon to burn!  As summer drew to a close and the September obligations piled up, I started to cut into my fabric and piece the body together.  Things were going okay…..

Under the collar

Here is where the directions stopped making sense – when I had to install the collar.  I re-read it several times and I still couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do, so I actually Continue reading

hooded overshirt


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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


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A tribute to lounge wear – a few variations

Patterns: Sewaholic Tofino pants, McCalls M6681 & free-form pantsSewaholic Tofino

Skills acquired:

  • Adding pockets
  • Piping 

I’ve made some PJ pants in my time, in fact I’ve made a lot recently.  I decided to consolidate them all in one post, for more efficiency (another one of my job skills – companies take note!).

Pajama pants are probably the most basic garment there is.  It’s the perfect thing to make when you are first learning to sew.  You don’t really need a pattern, there are no zippers and they are made from basic cotton fabric.  There are ways to dress them up and build off the simple design, but for the most part there is nothing easier.  The most basic patterns have two pieces for the front and two for the back.  These all get sewn up pretty much how you would imagine (even the order doesn’t matter too much) and you end up with two legs.  The waistband gets folded down, an elastic is added, the pant legs are hemmed…and voila!  Something you can lounge around in that you made all your own.

Put it in your pocket

I wanted to make my boyfriend a new pair of lounge pants since I felt like I could improve upon the pants I had made him a while back.  He said to me, “If you do make another pair, could you add pockets?”  Hmmm…this was something I never thought of.  There aren’t too many patterns out there that include pockets on such a garment and I didn’t really trust myself to figure this out on my own.  I found this handy tutorial online and decided to experiment with some pants I was going to make myself, just so I could get it right.  I had a remnant of flannel which I really liked, although I did not have enough to make full length, which is why these are cropped.

PJ Pocket pants

It was all pretty straightforward, however I kept messing up because I had a hard time Continue reading


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The end of an era jumper

Pattern: McCalls 2075 (vintage 1969)McCalls2075

Oh!  Wouldn’t it have been great if I could have finished this right when Mad Men was ending!  Of course that was last May, almost a year ago.  As I watched the final season, I really wanted to make one of those vintage jumpers from the ’60’s.  I think I even had this pattern already.  But work ramped up and I never got around to it.  My mom gave me some royal blue corduroy last fall and I thought, “This will be perfect for this.”  But again things were busy at work and I only managed to cut it out.  As the year ended I started buying the buttons and some of the other notions I would need.  I started making the darts, but had to set it down as the holidays approached.  Obligations and lack of time again.  In January I began to chip away at it, step by step.  But I couldn’t quite finish it until mid-February, especially with all that hand sewing.

But this is called the “End of an Era” jumper for another reason.  A few weeks ago, I lost my job.  I have gone through this a few times, but it’s still never an easy thing.  Especially when it’s just due to some business deal that has nothing to do with you – some company buys another one and wants to clean house.  And suddenly I went from being busy every Continue reading


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Another day, another knit skirt

Pattern: McCall’s M6966McCalls M6966

I’ve seen so many cute long knit skirts lately worn by people at work.  So I thought, why not make my own!  I had just bought myself a serger – exciting news.  So this was the perfect project to test out my skills.

Not much to say about this one.  I had used this pattern before, but this time I decided to try view C, but with the yoke I had constructed for view D.  It’s pretty basic, with just a back panel and a front panel, and the yoke pieces to form a waistband.

IMG_3010

I did start to sew up the waist incorrectly, sewing where the elastic is supposed to fit in the wrong place.   Continue reading

Back pockets


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Striking a new corduroy: part 2

Click here for part 1…

Pattern: McCalls M6610IMG_1028

Yikes!  This project fell of a cliff fast.  Okay I’m being a bit dramatic – it’s not a total disaster.  These just didn’t end up being the fabulous everyday pants I imagined.  I tested these pants out using an inexpensive purple corduroy I bought in preparation for this nice green corduroy that I want to use for the real deal .  After making a few jeans with this pattern, I think I’ve decided I don’t like it too much. This is unfortunate because it means I will probably have to start all over again – more test fabric, more fitting adjustments.  Well maybe the practice will do me good.

Where the whole thing falls apart is the waistband.   Continue reading

Back yoke


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Striking a new corduroy: part 1

Pattern: McCalls M6610IMG_1028

New skills acquired:

  • Flat-Felled Seams
  • Double Needle Action

I’ve been kind of down on my sewing lately.  Things are just not coming out as nice as I want them and it’s been a frustrating few weeks.  This could be why I haven’t been writing in my blog  – I have been working on projects, but have no feelings of satisfaction.  Also, it seems most visitors are getting to my blog by searching for “amateur in bikini” but that is another issue.

For the past few months I have been piecing together some corduroy pants, which I am affectionately naming Grape-Cord.  I am using a blue jean pattern that I have actually made a muslin of way back in the early days of my blog.  My biggest accomplishment to date is the fact that I can now spell corduroy without looking it up.  No, just kidding, I’m having some wins on these.

What is working…

Drafting a new pattern for a better fit

1. Adjusting the pattern for size

I have big hips and big thighs.  There, I said it.  It makes jean shopping a frustrating task that usually ends in tears and typical sewing patterns for bottoms don’t work so well.  I end up making the size for my measurements and the crotch ends up around my knees.  So I decided to try to adjust the pattern on this one.  I added a good Continue reading