Tag Archives: PA Fabric Outlet

OWOP: El Original

Here we go, people, One Week, One Pattern. Let’s make it happen, shall we?

For everyone’s information, I chose to make the Colette Pattern’s Clover Pants for my drug of choice. There are actually a ton of patterns that I have made more then once. I’m a multiple maker, personally, once I find something I like I tend to make it at least twice. Part of it is that I’m fairly cheap, honestly, so when I pay for a pattern I want to get my money’s worth. But part of it is that I really enjoy having a kind of a uniform, so making more then one of something I like just makes sense.

Also, I must admit, my father always said, when I liked an item in a store, okay, good, buy two! So now I make two. What are you going to do, childhood scars us all differently.

Onto the pants!

I do not adore this photos, but when you ask strangers to shoot you you kind of have to take what you can get, right?

People who have been avid readers of this blog, i.e. my mother, will recognize these as the first pair of pants I ever made, The Rear View Pants. I had to fix the front tire of my bike this morning, so I had the extremely nice people at Trophy Bikes take my photo. I wanted to take photos through the day, so I asked a girl at my beloved PA Fabric Outlet, where I went to buy a zipper this afternoon, to take my photo. I asked her three times if the pants were in the photo. She was like, of course!

Yeah. You can’t trust nobody in this life. I swear.

Day one, down. Just 6 to go. I got this, people. Get excited.


Filed under Challenge, Colette Patterns

The Cat’s Pajamas

Not everyone enjoys sewing for other people. I know this, and I respect it. After all, it’s a hell of a lot of work. I think that Oonaballoona (who I deeply adore, from afar, for her daring and her mad skillz, and for her cameo on Royal Pains) summed it up best in this blog post, and if you click on that, read the comments, because they are all insightful and amazing. I must say that more and more as I’ve been sewing for longer and, of course, my garments look a hell of a lot better, when I mention that I sew (I’m just kidding, I never mention, I scream it to the rooftops) people have started asking, do you take commissions? To which I just grin. Because in my mind I’m thinking, honey, do you know the time and effort it takes to make a garment? And fit it? And finish the seams and make sure the design is right and hem and baste and blah blah sewing blah? And you want it in chiffon? That’s cute.

But it’s just like anything else, isn’t it? Like, someone sees an actor perform in a role. And they think, hey, I’m attractive and I can talk and I have feelings, I should be an actor! But what they don’t think about is that that’s an art form, and it requires work and skill and effort. Sewing takes a lot of work, and the longer you do it the more you realize that you don’t know, and still need to learn. So when people ask you to make something for them, “real quick”, it demeans you, in a sense, because they think that what you do is easy and quick, whereas we know that sewing is labor and time intensive, not to mention the cost of materials.  It’s one of the reasons learning to sew will put you off, as the British say, buying RTW, because you know that the labor isn’t being compensated fairly if you only need to pay 10 dollars for a blouse.

That being said, I am someone who does make things for other people. Not when they ask, necessarily, though I do like to know what they want before I spend timing making something, but because I love certain humans and want to show that love with hand-made items. And that is why, among the many things I made for people this holiday season, I made my mother and father pajamas. And you know what? They turned out pretty baller, if I do say so myself.

I think my parents make excellent models, don’t you? The pajamas my mom is wearing come from vintage pattern Simplicity 4006, which is one I have also made for myself. I made it for myself first because A. I’m selfish and B. I wanted to check the fit on my mom before I made her a pair in this lovely flannel that is more her color palette (she’s an Autumn). I scored the fabric from a fabric.com flannel sale and I got the pattern from this lovely etsy seller. I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet, because that’s all I ever do. I think it turned out really well, and my mom certainly likes her new pajamas!

Oh, I think I love the collar best of all, it’s inside edge bound with lime bias tape:

As for my father’s pair, I got that vintage pattern from this other lovely etsy seller, and it’s Advance 8217. I loved the style, but I ALSO love the fact that three out of the three cover sketches are smoking. Thank you, 1960’s.

My dad's head looks enormous here, but I can assure you that's fairly normal for him, he has a very large head.

I got the fabric from the same fabric.com order (come on, I had to make it to the free shipping! Anyone would have done the same!) and I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet. My father wanted a collarless style, and a fabric shortage led me to cut the exposed front non-collar thing (it’s hard to explain) on horizontal stripes, when everything else had been cut on vertical. I think it looks kind of cool, what do you think?

Sorry about the wrinkles, but these are pajamas, after all.

I also really enjoy the cuffs:


So there you have it. Two cool cats in very cool pajamas, looking comfortably vintage in their flannel glory.

But just because I made this for my folks, don’t get any funny ideas, okay, people?


Filed under Butterick Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Sleep No More Skirt and the I Don’t Believe In UFOs Blouse

What we have here, folks, is a double header.

First of all, I hope you had a merry christmas/awesome 6th day of hanukkah/day just like any other. I myself celebrated in the traditional way of my people, gorging on popcorn during Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (it was awesome. AWESOME.) and then feasting on Chinese takeout in the company of my family. It was quite a day, I must tell you.

Second of all, quick, to the sewing project! Or projects, as the case may be. Because I recently completed an extremely frustrating little blouse that I decided to pair with a skirt I made the other evening and wear out to a neighborhood Christmas Eve party. Of course, no holiday is complete without me forcing my mother to take photos of me and yelling at her while she does so, so here we go:

As you can see from my charming expressing, I was being a bit of a jerk about these photos. I’m sorry, Mom.

Let’s break it down, shall we? First, the easy part. The skirt:

I love this skirt. Love. LOVE. It’s unbearably simple, but I believe it to be extremely flattering. It’s a basic six gored navy skirt made from Simplicity 3688, a reproduction 1940’s pattern. I love it. It’s full at the bottom but because of the gores it’s really nice from the side and the rear:

Glides right over, right? I think the key is, when you have a bit of junk back there in the trunk, which I do, and you like full skirts, which I do, you have to make sure that the skirt only fills out past the hips. Which is sad, because I love me a gathered skirt. It just doesn’t love me back….

Pleats are okay, though, right? RIGHT?

Whatever. Look at the pretty simple skirt:

It’s hard to see the gores, which are topstitched, but I love the 40’s flare of this skirt. I call it my Sleep No More Skirt (find out more about the show here and read my review here) because I was inspired by the event (on so many levels) and just adored the severe but elegant skirts of the female performers. So 40’s, so sleek and easy to move in but flattering and lovely. I whipped this skirt up over two evenings, and that includes hand stitching the hem and the zipper. I love 40’s style bottoms, they all use exactly one button which is a great way to get rid of those beautiful but seemingly useless one-offs you may or may not have haunting your button box.

I used a gold one. It felt right.

Now, to the blouse, which is more exciting, but also more ANNOYING. I call it my “I Don’t Believe In UFOs” Blouse, because really, I don’t. I don’t like, nay, I can’t physically start one project, one big garment, before I have finished the one I’ve started. I just can’t do it. I have to finish what I start, I just have to. And that determination is pretty much all that kept me going, I must tell you.

zI got this blouse pattern from a lovely Etsy seller, SewUniqueClassique, and I was extremely excited about it. I waffled for a week or two after I found it online and then finally bit the bullet. I imagined that this would be my new go-to-blouse pattern, I would make every variation and use it all the time. I love this style of blouse, and this one seemed to have the shaping and details I’ve been looking for in a pattern. It looks perfect on paper, right?

Quick and easy, eh, Butterick 8097? Oh, sure. SURE you are. So I guess I’m just slow and frigid, because I had a hard time getting this one into bed. First of all, for such a short blouse (you can’t see in any photos but it only reaches a few inches below the waist) it ate up almost three yards of fabric. Second of all, it’s fussy. Really fussy. Lots of hand sewing (on shirting poplin? Really? That’s not happening), lots of silly steps, general struggle, but who would expect anything less? And while the fit is nice, it’s actually kind of baggy around the waist, despite the diamond darts and oddles of shaping, and it’s got a lot of fabric bunching in the back:

I suppose I should have done a swayback adjustment, but I’ve never done one of those before. Sigh.

I should say that now that I’ve finished the thing I do really like it and will probably get a lot of wear out of it. That being said, I don’t know if I would make another of these.  I might, because I like a challenge, and because I like a lot about this style, but my hopes for the blouse I make seven of and wear daily have been dashed. Sigh. I like the collar, though:

And the gathered sleeves:

I like the color, too. It’s a stretch poplin I got from Fabric Mart for 1.99 a yard. Bam. And the buttons are from my beloved PA Fabric Outlet, real shell, too! Fancy dancy.

And there it is.

See? Happy Face. I guess it’s my own fault, really. I’m always looking for patterns I would make more then once, rather then something I would just do once but do really carefully. What about you? Do you look for patterns that will make one unique statement in your closet, or ones you can make over and over again?

I used picnik to make some 40’s style shots.

I’m reading Macbeth, because it’s the primary source material for Sleep No More. SO CLEVER.

Can you just see me keeping the home-fires warm?

Glamor Shot!

And there you have it.


Filed under Butterick Patterns, Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Not Everyone Can Be You Dress

You know how in your mind you may be one person but in reality you are in fact someone completely different? So, for example, in my own mind I’m thoughtful and contemplative, a bit shy, wryly funny, and rather ironic. To others, I think the irony and wryness shines through, but I doubt the other things take center stage, if I’m being honest. So just like I would love to be, long to be, crave being Joan Holloway (or Harris, take your pick) from Mad Men (like you don’t get the reference) , I know that in my heart of hearts, I’m Peggy.

And you know what? That’s really okay. After all, Peggy, despite her few enormous missteps, is actually doing quite well for herself. Girl has a job and an apartment and a cute radical boyfriend. She asserted herself with her boss, and she does something that makes her wildly happy. She even seems squared away with job and the Catholic Church, which is cool, if you’re into that kind of thing. She’s actually getting her life together. Joan, on the other hand, has her crappy sexual-assault prone-husband away in ‘Nam, she’s keeping Roger’s baby (spoiler alert), she gets no respect for her considerable talents at work, I mean, come ON. Still. She’s awesome. And I would love to be a Joan. But sometimes you just have to face the music, and dance. I’m a Peggy.

Still, a girl can dream. Or even be a Peggy with Joan flare, every once in a while. Just like Peggy herself did when she was trying to impress Playtex/assert herself as a woman. As Joan said, “stop dressing like a little girl”. And so she did:

And it was awesome. Peggy looks great in this shade of blue. But Joan, well, she rocks royal like it’s her job. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

Heh. This is from Nixon vs. Kennedy and they TOTALLY read Paul's one act play and it's amazing. This show. Always zigs when you think it's going to zag.

Or here:

But most of all, best of all, here:

I wouldn’t dye my hair red. I don’t really smoke, and I would feel a bit odd with that pen necklace, I think. But a royal blue dress? That I could do. And so I did. I used this pattern, McCall’s 7362, a vintage 1960’s darling from this etsy seller (thank you!)

And I used some royal blue wool purchased at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet, bought at the PRINCELY sum of 14 dollars a yard (insane, for me, but WORTH it) to create this:

I took these photos with a mix of flash, which obliterates detail, and no-flash, which achieves an odd pink hue. I color corrected in picnik, but still. Sigh. First world problems.

The color is more like this:

And I love it. LOVE. IT.

The pleat detail is pretty cool, but it doesn’t really photograph all that well. But it looks a bit like this:

Cute, right? I like it. It’s less dramatic then on the pattern envelope (isn’t it ALWAYS?) but I like it. And the fit is lovely. It’s a touch big, but very comfortable and the sleeves fit really well, which has been a problem for me in the past. And with a belt the room in the waist is in now way noticable. Score.

I really like the slash neckline. It’s not lined, just faced, and I ended up hand stitching portions of the facing to the inside of the dress, just to make it lie flat and not re-assert itself.

This photo was altered using a setting in Picnik called Orton-ish. I don’t know what that really means, but I love it.

Yes, I’m feeling like a pimp, so I go ahead and brush my shoulders off. I made this dress over a month ago, but circumstances conspired to make me unable to photograph it until tonight. So there you have it, my blue wool “I want to be Joan but am Peggy but maybe just while I wear this I can be Joan” dress. I have to say, I should really make more of these. You are never going to be from Peggy to Joan on dreams alone. It takes really cute clothing. And accessories. Which I think I did well:

Which match:

This set belonged to my grandmother. I’m trying to wear more brooches. Don’t ask me why.

And there you are. Most of the time I may be a Peggy, but in this dress, I’m a Joan. Powerful. Sexy. Ready for anything, and wearing the shoes to match. How did I get so tied to a fictional character? Something to ponder, while I look AMAZING


Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Filed under Clothing, Fabric, McCalls Patterns, Sewing

The Because of the Buttons Skirt

You know how something you loathe, even fear it, perhaps, and then, once you learn how to do it or more about, it becomes your absolute favorite thing? Well, I can’t honestly say that I adore making buttonholes, but with my new sewing machine and it’s glorious button hole foot and easy buttonholes, at the very least they are far less of a struggle these days. And though I’m not in love with making them, I do really feel like you need to practice the things you don’t like so you can improve and not live in fear of the buttons. Or the invisible zippers. Or the tailoring. Or whatever.

So when I approached BurdaStyle’s FREE PATTERN Helena Skirt, complete with it’s buttons down the center, I gritted my teeth, shored up my courage, and jumped right in. And the truth is, other then the buttonholes, this skirt is easy peasy. I literally made it in one evening, which is so not my style. I mean, I see these people who can make things in three hours or less and I think, dude, are you on speed? And can I have some? Because I could be so much more efficient on speed. Sigh. They never respond, those bastards, too busy making one hour outfits.


I started taking photos of this skirt more then a week ago, and then I got deathly ill. I’m talking completely useless, congested, delirious, and with a voice like a three pack a day smoker. It was insanely sexy, honestly. I’m sorry you missed it.

I took said photos outside on a bitterly cold day, and then got really sick. Cause and effect? Of course not, but it couldn’t have helped…

I love this skirt. It’s a little funky, I suppose, with the stripes, but I find it adorable and surprisingly easy to pair with things.I used a wool blend (I think?) that I bought for 3 dollars from a yard sale about 2 months ago. It has a tendency to wrinkle a bit, which makes me think it’s not pure wool, but it’s warm enough and perfect for fall.

And it has pockets! Which I added, they were not in the original pattern. But hey, what doesn’t improve with pockets? This fabric may be a touch too heavy for this pattern, I must say. I’ve seen a lot of versions of this skirt on Burda Style, and they seem to hang just a bit better then mine. So if I made it again I would use something else. But I do love this skirt, so I can’t be too hard on it.  And a lot of that love has to do with the buttons:

Aren’t they adorable? Wooden buttons from Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet. FTW.

Jump shot! I’m just going to always include a jump shot. I clearly look best when in motion.


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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, Sewing

The So Close But So Far Away Pinafore

In theory it’s springtime in Philadelphia. In practice I just endured three miserable days of pouring rain and sad lonely low temperatures while biking around, which isn’t a lovely combination. And while I desperately wait for warm weather I, foolishly enough, keep making warm weather appropriate clothing, which is as useful as a chocolate kettle (to borrow a phrase from Terry Prachett) and a real tease. Oh, well. These things happen. But the truth is that I’m just done with wool for the season, I’m over it, I can’t think about sweaters and tights and coats. I know as soon as the weather really does warm up and become humid and sticky I will be longing for cool crisp breezes and cute winter weight wear, but as it is I want gauze and bare legs and sunshine, none of which the city of Philadelphia seems to want to provide me. Struggle.

But I made the Angela Kane Pinafore ANYWAY, because the rain can’t keep my hopes from blooming anew. The Angela Kane Pinafore is a FREE PATTERN and the best part is that it comes with these really charming and helpful videos explaining each step of making the garment. I’m assuming it’s Angela herself who is explaining, in her lovely british voice, about darts and hemming and why you should personalize the back pockets (which I omitted, sorry AK!) because when else will you have a chance to practice your embroidery? I mean, no one makes samplers anymore, which is sad, because when I was a child I was addicted to these “Young American” books describing the childhoods of future leaders or inventors etc. and I adored the Young Martha Washington book and read it over and over again and SHE made a sampler and cried and had a pet bear….I think I’ve gotten away from the point here. The POINT is that Angela Kane made her pinafore in denim, but I made it in this amazing fabric that I adore and had not quite enough of to make something, or SO I THOUGHT. Because one of the many things that is great about the Angela Kane Pinafore is how fabric efficient it is. I made a cute wearable dress with POCKETS out of less than a yard and a half of fabric. You go, Angela. And here it is:

I’ll be honest with you, it was nowhere near warm enough to wear this garment without tights and a sweater, but I did it, because I am that vain. I made a medium, as the pattern only comes in three sizes, and the fit was fine, though you do have to add your own seam allowance if you are doing this project, so be warned. I just adore this fabric, I got it at my beloved PA Fabric outlet and it’s modeled after Victorian Wallpaper, which I happen to find awesome. Mr. Malevolent liked the fabric too:

PS If you haven’t been to this website about cats where they DO NOT BELONG, please go there now. It’s amazing. The photos are courtesy of the lovely Selin who put up with me and helped me pose:

I…look like Carmen Sandiago. Which is okay, because I love her. The hat was my grandmother’s and I thought it would give the shoot a little something, a panache, if you will. I don’t know if that worked….The shoes were also my grandmother’s, as were the earrings. Of course. I love love love the pockets:

And I applied bias tape to the neck and shoulders, which was my first time with bias tape! Which I now love! Angela recommends clipping and sewing the edges, which I feel like works better with denim then this lightweight cotton. Thoughts?

I also hand picked the zipper because A. I have no zipper foot and B. I actually find hand sewing rather soothing. Plus I think it looks awesome, and will forever be grateful to Sewaholic for Tasia’s tutorial.

And now a photo of me taunting my cats because I can go outside but they CAN’T.

Oh, you want a close up? But of course!

All this modeling is very hard work. I can see why those America’s Next Top Model girls cry all the time. Me, I prefer to laugh it out instead:

Oh, springtime, please come so I can put all these outfits to good use!

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Filed under Angela Kane, Clothing, Sewing

Happy Trails by Two Friends Blouse

So, on my last post I was talking about buying fabric, which is something I think about WAY too much, honestly. But sometimes swatches of cloth will catch your eye and then I get a little obsessed with them, looking at the raw material, wondering what it will be like when you stitch it and shape it into a garment. It’s the magical aspect of this activity, really, to be able to see from fabric to fitting and to predict how a material will look as a finished garment. It’s a little bit like trying to predict the weather tomorrow from last week’s temperatures, it’s possible, but difficult, and sometimes you can be completely wrong. All the seamstresses I really admire have this ability to look at a piece of fabric and envision it’s future as something amazing, and I don’t know if that can be taught or not.  Is that innate, or is it learned? Does that come with experience, or are some people just really good at that kind of design and thought process? What you think? I honestly don’t know.

So a while ago I bought a length of fabric that I absolutely adored. It’s this red background with tiny cowboys riding tiny horses and colored dots, and I loved it. It’s a little cutesy, but it’s also fairly abstracted and I thought it would make a cute shirt. And the name of the fabric is amazing. Not all of the fabric I have found at the PA Fabric outlet have names, but this fabric is called Happy Trails by Two Friends. A-freaking-dorable.

And I was thinking and thinking about what shirt would work with this fabric (which was clearly from the children’s section of PA Fabric outlet, damn those children and their awesome fabric options). And then I thought about the Ute blouse, and how it has two collar variations, the peter pan collar, which I love, and the tie collar, which I also adore. But tie collars can be a little tricky. First of all, they reference the 70’s hopelessly. You  doubt me? Check out this little number. Or this lovely business that Sunni made (how beautiful is Sunni? When I become a brave human being and attempt pants for the first time her trouser sew along will be my bible. Or the pattern will be my bible and she will be my Babylonian Talmud. I haven’t decided yet, but I know it’s going to be epic) . And second of all, if the bow is too high you risk looking like a schoolgirl or a strangling victim, and I’m sort of trying to veer away from those references in my sewing style.

So I looked at the Ute and a couple of JJ variations on Burda Style and I decided that yes, Ute was my girl. Because the trick is the lowered neckline, so that the bow doesn’t hit at the neck, a la Japanese Lolitas, but around the sternum. And besides, I have already made this pattern once, and it’s much easier for me to replicate a project I’ve already struggled through in the past. Why this continually surprises me I have no idea, but in this one respect I have the memory of a goldfish. And the shirt of a cowgirl!:

I had my mother take these photos on the same day as the photos for the Fecund by Thrifty blouse. You can tell by the shoes, even though I cleverly tried to change my hairstyle to deceive you. It was cold. Really cold. But as that great sage Tyra of America’s Next Top Model tells us, we must suffer for beauty. Why, when TYRA was a model they didn’t even HAVE heat. ANYWHERE. And she USED that and she SMILED WITH HER EYES. BOW TO THE JUMPSUIT!

Or to the bow. Whatever. I used snaps as opposed to buttons because, sigh, no button hole paraphernalia for my machine and also, I have a ton of snaps.

I look so coy. Possibly because I have no top of my head. Possibly because of the huge bow. Who can say?

No bow!


No Bow!

Check out the back!

Cute little pleated sleeves! And look at the cowboys! They are magnificent!

I thought the fabric name, printed on the selvedge, was so cute that I had to cut it out with my new pinking shears (which I LOVE) and hand sew it into the collar. I just had to. No way around it.


Glamor Shot!

There you have it! Happy trails, folks!


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing