Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Funday Mystery Gift Card Winner

It's time to find out who the winner of the Friday Funday Mystery gift card winner is.  

Were you able to tell from my hints that it would be a $50 giftcard for Mood?

Drumroll please.  badabadabadabadabadabada!

Congratulations to Brittany!  Unfortunately, your profile is not linked to an email address, so please contact me at pandorasews at gmail dot com so you can claim your prize!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Little Gangster - Halloween 2014

From a $2 Salvation Army women's pinstripe suit to a 1920s gangster costume a la Al Capone.  

No child was allowed to smoke an actual cigar during this photo shoot.  

Public Enemy Number 1!

The ladies love me!

Keep the change you filthy animal!!!

Lord, please let there be lots of cash in the vault!

I think that he is just a little too comfortable with a cigar!  This last one is definitely channeling the feel we were going for!

Is this kid the cutest or what?

Happy Halloween to you and all your little ghosts, goblins, and gangsters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Curvy Girl Boots - What a Girl Wants

Friends, this post has nothing at all to do with sewing.  Well except that I am sewing heavy knits and sweater knits, and of course my thoughts naturally trail off to, "Which boots do I wear with this lovely frock?"

So friends do you have as hard of a time as I do finding boots that fit over your calves?  There was a particularly devastating Christmas morning a few years back where my sweet hubby thought he had solved the problem by buying me a pair of "wide calf" boots made by Naturalizer.  I was stoked when I opened them.  Surely they were the answer to my meaty calf prayers.  Unfortunately, they didn't fit over my calves.  Or should I say that they didn't zip anymore once they met the bottom of my calf.  The bottom of my calf people.

Then one day I discovered a great site called WideWidths.  I am in no way affiliated with this company, other than having bought boots from them in the past.  I have a pair of black Ros Hommerson boots that I purchased from WideWidths that get a ton of wear.  Currently I am lusting after a few more pair of boots on their site.

Julia Boot Pic from

Jordana Boot Pic from

I need brown boots ya'll!  I need them bad.  What I love about WideWidths is that no matter what size your calf is, they most likely have a boot or two that will fit it.  What I don't love is that a lot of the boots come in a wide width imagine that.  I don't have wide feet, I just have really large calves.  Is it too much to ask for a girl to have a boot that their foot doesn't slide around in like crazy?

Sure there are ankle boots, and you don't need me to show you pictures of those, but there is one other sector of boots that I think I should mention here.  We will call them the comfy utilitarian type boots.  The ones that you can hike 5 miles back to a pumpkin field and kick leaves til your heart's content and have feet that are as happy as they are at home in your warm fuzzy slippers.

For this category my pick is any boot in the FitFlop brand.  A few years back when I was suffering with severe plantar fasciitis, I got some FitFlop flip flops and later that year some FitFlop chukka style boots.  FitFlop shoes much like the one's at WideWidths are for sure investment shoes.  But if you suffer from low back issues or have fascist feet, give them a try, your feet will thank you for it.  Again, I have no affiliation with this company save for owning some of their shoes.

I am digging this pair, but they even offer tall MukLuk Style boots.  MukLuks can be a curvy gal with curvy calves best friend...assuming that they have a nice wide tongue, and when all else fails I will fall back on MukLuks for great Fall boots.
MukLuk Moc 2 pic from

So tell me friends, what sources do you have for wide calf boots?  Are you craving brown boots like I am?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Green Style Creations Laurel Tunic - Plus Size Pattern

If you aren't familiar with Green Style Creations patterns you should check them out.  I have no affiliation with them, though I would happily pattern test for them if they asked me to she says as she bats her eyes.  Green Style's patterns go XXS to 3XL and then some of their patterns also go from 1X to 3X in addition to that.  The raglan tee that I made went to a full on 3X which is different sizing than the 3XL.  I know that it is a little confusing, but they do offer a broad range of sizes on some of their patterns.  I am hoping that if some more of us Curvy Divas start sewing and blogging about their patterns they will continue to grade up to 3X.  It is a very generous 3X BTW.  I am normally a 3X size 24 to 26 in RTW, and their 3X was flat out too big for me.  That is good news for us curvier gals though who generally have the exact opposite issue.

Back to the Laurel Tunic.  This pattern goes up to a 3XL (the smaller of the X sizing).  Based on how large the the raglan tee was, I decided to give it a try and cut it in the 3XL that is supposed to fit a 46 to 47 inch full bust.  For full disclosure I am 5'6", and my measurements are as follows:

HB- 47 inches
FB- 52 inches
W- 50 inches (this includes my current steroid bloat)
H- 64 inches

Here is the finished product!

Yes, I apologize for no makeup.

And the greasy Granny hair!

It appears to be pulling at the armscye across the bust, but it really wasn't.  I just forgot to pull it down, and didn't even look in the mirror after putting the shirt on.  Per my usual I left the sleeves a little long to account for further shrinkage.  I cut the knee length dress, but knew that it would be perfect tunic length for me.  I ended up serging about 7/8 of an inch off the length, but that was it.  A curvy girl's body takes up more length than her less curvy counterparts!

I really like it and this pattern is for sure a keeper.  My hubby is just gonzo over this shirt and wants me to make it in every color imaginable.  It will be perfect paired with leggings or jeggings and tall black boots.

Now for the fiddly bits...

As mentioned earlier I cut the 3XL in this shirt.  I followed most of the pattern directions except I serged the pleats instead of basting them on my regular machine, and I ironed the pleats in prior to serging.  For the back of the tunic you have the choice of cutting a smaller piece and having a flat seam at the bodice or cutting it the same as the front and putting pleats in the back as well.  I opted to cut the piece to be pleated, because I needed the extra inches for hip space.  If you had a smaller waist to hip ratio you could easily cut the straight piece instead.  Next time I make this I may gather the center back instead of pleating it, just for a change in design element.

The pattern directions call for set in sleeves, but I decided to sew them flat, because that is just my preferred method.  My order of sewing was 1.  Sew shoulder seams, 2. Serge pleats, 3. Serge pleated bottom of shirt to bodice, 4. Serge sleeves in the flat, 5. Serge side seams from hem bottom to sleeve cuff edge 6. Serge raw edges of hem and sleeves, 7. Serge in the cowl neck, and 8. Twin needle the hem and cuffs.  It was pretty straight forward and went together in less than an hour.

Would I recommend this pattern to a friend?  Absolutely.  It went together like a dream.

Will I be making this pattern again?  Certainly.  I see this getting a lot of wear over the cooler months and there are many colors that I need this in.  It has all the comfort of a snuggly t-shirt but with a much more sophisticated profile.

Have any of you made this pattern?  If so what were your results?

Two last bits of business...Thank you so much to everyone who has been voting for me on the CSC Wrapalong.  It is going well, and at this moment I am very hopeful that I might be one of the top dresses, but there are still 3 agonizing days of voting left, and a lot can change in three days.

Also, Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes.  I wound up back at the doc today and I now have pneumonia...or walking pneumonia.  Funny thing is I feel better now than I did back when I only had bronchitis, but the steroids and breathing treatments are making me swell and bloat like a dead carp!  Oy!  Point is, I am actually feeling better, and Thank You all so very much for your well wishes!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Funday - Great Giftcard Giveaway

Ladies, I feel like I have been drug through the murky depths of Hell over the last few days.  What started out as a classic cold turned in to a really awful case of bronchitis.  I won't go too much in to details, but I do have some steroids and an inhaler that are helping me along and some awesome cough syrup that makes me a little bit loopy loco.

Since I missed last week's giveaway due to said illness, I thought that I would make this week's giveaway extra special.  What could be more special than a mystery gift card for a great online fabric retailer.  I am not going to say exactly which retailer it is, but I will tell you that if I won a $50 gift card for this retailer it would make me very happy!  I wouldn't be sad.  I wouldn't be mad.  I would just be very happy!

So ladies, to enter just leave a comment about how you will feel if you had a $50 fabric retailer gift certificate, and the winner will be chosen next Friday, Oct. 31st using a random number generator.  As always this is open to anyone anywhere, even past winners.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vogue 8784 Wrap Dress - Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong

Sorry that it has been like crickets around here lately!  I have a pretty nasty case of bronchitis, and were it not for the deadline of needing to get this posted for the Curvy Sewing Collective's Wrapalong, I would not be posting right now.

I will start with the end result:

If my cheeks are a little red, it is not because I have blush on.  We were doing this shoot between coughing spells and wheezing fits.

All in all I like the dress.  Any dress that I can wear patent heels with makes me happy.  The ponte that I used for this dress is actually heavier than I realized but with 50 degree days setting in here in Indy, it just isn't a problem.  I think the dress will be great for Holiday parties and gatherings.

I love the length of the dress.  Normally I find that dresses that aren't really cut for plus size gals tend to be shorter than I would like, but this one covers just enough knee.

Obviously it makes me happy!  And even leaning forward there was no gaping neckline.  What's not to love?  

I will be posting this on the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong page, so make sure you go give me a vote when voting opens.

Now for the pattern.  Vogue 8784 only goes up to a size 22 so there was a bit of grading to be done.  For the bodice I added an inch at each of the side seams, resulting in 4 extra inches.  I also added an extra inch at each of the side seams of the skirt for a total of 4 inches there as well.  The back of the bodice of the dress is actually three pieces and I like the way it added to the shaping of the dress.  

I was able to sew most of the dress on the serger which made it come together very quickly.  I decided to hand sew the hem and sleeve cuffs because this textured fabric would not have been happy to have topstitching.  I hand picked both so there is no seam showing on the exterior of the dress.  I did not line the dress as called for in the pattern and instead finished the edges with a contrast black band that I decided to run all the way to the hem.  Were I making it again, I think I would consider going with a thicker band for more contrast, but ya'll I just love the richness of this fabric.

I was surprised at how well the pattern ended up working for me, and would surely make it again.  Next time I will tie the tie on the correct side and just blame this faux pas on the cough syrup.

So tell me friends, what do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Funday Winner

Congratulations to


you are the winner of the great vintage fabric giveaway this week.  

I am actually not feeling too hot right now, so I will not be posting my Friday Funday giveaway today.  It took all of my energy just to get a random number for the giveaway.

Check back on Monday for this week's giveaway, and I promise I will make it extra special since I will be late putting it up.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Purple and Grey..Gray...Green Style Creations Centerfield Raglan T-shirt

Over the weekend, I whipped up this great little number from Green Style.  I have been in search of a good raglan style t-shirt and after someone suggested this one to me in the comments over at Lladybird, I decided to give it a try.

All photos were taken by my seven year old, which helps to explain why I may not look the most relaxed and why there is a considerable amount of blur.  All that said, I am very thankful to have a little helper, because it has been raining a ton lately when my husband is home in the evenings and on the weekends.

First I must say that I truly detest pdf patterns.  All that taping and lining up drives me nutty.  I must say though that both Green Styles patterns went together really easily.  I was able to tape two patterns together (this one and the tunic) and cut the patterns out in less than an hour, which I thought was great.  I won't even go in to how long it took me to put my first Cake pattern together.

I went against my own best judgment and cut the 3X according to my measurements with the extra long sleeves.  The only change I made initially was to add 3 inches to the length of the shirt because I know that I like my shirts on the longer side.  The 3X ended up being so large that I could have worn it as a night gown.  Rather than starting over, I ended up taking 5/8 inch out of each seam (sleeve to bodice seams and bodice to bodice seams).  This made the shirt both shorter and more fitted.  Next time I would cut a 1X and grade out to a 2X in the hips, because there is still a bit of ease in the shirt.  My one real complaint about the pattern is that the neck is huge.  I ended up making a wider neck band to help cover my bra straps.  In truth, when sewn as drafted both of my bra straps were on full display and I had a hard time keeping the shirt even up on my shoulders.  I will be modifying the pattern so that the neck isn't so wide boatneck like.

The fabrics used were both medium weight knit blends from Joann.  These particular knits have a really soft hand, but drape nicely without clinging.  I would buy bolts of this stuff for knit projects because it is great.

All in all, I feel like it is a good start that I can modify to be the perfect raglan t-shirt for me.  It was an easy enough sew, mostly sewn on the serger.  I would worry that a beginner might get frustrated with the fit and not know how to modify the pattern and make it work.

Does anyone look good sitting in a picture?

Would I recommend this pattern to a friend?  Sure, but only a friend who is an experienced sewist.

Will I be making this pattern again?  Yes, with the above mentioned modifications.  

Will I try another Green Style pattern?  Absolutely, as a matter of fact I am working on that tunic tonight.  I also give Green Style major kudos because this pattern fell right along with RTW sizing if not a little larger than RTW, which is great for us truly plus size gals.

So friends, tell me...have you ever sewn a Green Style pattern?  If so, what were your results?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Final Sews Before the Wrist Injury - McCalls M6885 and a Self Drafted Tunic

Full disclosure...these pictures may or may not frighten you.  The lack of makeup and hair piled on top of my head are enough to make anyone cringe.  These photos were taken with my cell phone and I need you all to know that this will not be the quality of pictures that I will be posting, but since I haven't had a chance to get any real photos taken because of the rain that keeps pouring down, these will have to do, because people are starting to question if I really exist, and if I even know how to sew.

First up is McCall's M6885 in view B.

I enjoyed sewing this pattern.  I cut the size 22 in the bust and graded out to the 24 in the waist and hips.  This pattern has a lot of extra room, and next time I would cut a straight 22.  The fabric is a grey polka dot on navy blue background that I purchased from Hancock.  It has a real collar stand, and the front placket went together like a dream.  I added 4 inches of length to the dress, because I knew I was going to belt it and it seemed short to start with.  It has a hi lo hem that comes up at the side seams.  Had I not added the 4 extra inches, I believe that my netheryea may have easily been playing peek-a-boo when I was walking around in this dress because of that high side seam.  I like this pattern, but I will not make the hi lo version again.  I will be using this pattern to make multiple tunics this season though.

Next up is my Self Drafted Tunic.

I had this piece of red and white light weight sweater knit in my stash.  Every time I walked down the stairs it was peeking out at me, begging to be made in to something.  It haunted me in my dreams.  It needed to be made in to something beautiful to be worn.  I only had 2 yards of this fabric and most of my shirts call for at least 2.5 yards, because my arse requires extra fabric, and then there is the issue of stripes and pattern matching (what was I thinking only getting 2 yards???).  So, I laid it on the floor and self drafted a boatneck tunic with dolman style sleeves directly on to the fabric.  Do you see how well those stripes match up at the side seam?  Yeah, go me!

I love Love LOVE it!  Just as a side note, I also made that white belt, but that is another story for another time.

I promise this will be the last post with no make up and bunned up hair.  Well, at least I promise I will try not to do it again.  I had to defend my sewing honor, afterall!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Friday Funday - Vintage Fabric Giveaway

Hello Ladies!  We are gonna stir things up a bit and offer some beautiful vintage fabric today that also includes matching vintage trim and a matching vintage 24 inch zipper.

Another difference is that our giveaway is going to start running a full 7 days to enter.  So next Friday, October 17th, I will announce the winner and put up the next contest.  I was getting emails asking why I was only running the contests for a short time, so I hope this will please you!

Now, back to this fabric.  I purchased this fabric from an elderly lady last Summer.  I would call it a textured ponte knit, but I am no fabric expert.  It seems to be a blend, but I didn't do a burn test because I don't want to waste even a tiny bit.  The fabric is medium to heavy weight.

There are so many cute things you could make with this lot.  The fabric is a deep turquoise blue and bright white with a funky diamond pattern.  According to the lady I bought it from (she had the trim and zipper folded inside the fabric), she had planned to make herself a sleeveless dress way back in the 1960s out of this fabric.  You wouldn't believe all the great fabric she had from various decades.

So here is what we are working with...the fabric is 55 inches wide and there is 2 yards of it.

So, if you want to put your name in the hat for this great giveaway, just leave a comment below letting me know what you would make if this was to end up in your mailbox.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What I am Sewing Now...and What I am Not

I am headed down to my sewing haven here in a few to sew some patterns from a company that is totally new to me...Green Style Creations.  When I commented a while back on not being able to find a raglan t-shirt pattern in my size, someone (sorry I couldn't find the posting) replied that I should try the Green Style Raglan.  I downloaded it and while I was there perusing, I also decided to download their tunic as well.  In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am a tunic wearing kind of gal.

Photo from

Photo from

I would like to honest in that I don't really like downloadable patterns as a whole.  All that taping can be a real pain, but I sat down last weekend and in less than an hour had both of these patterns taped together and cut out.  I tend to not trace off downloadable patterns until after I have the fit the way I like.  It is just too easy to reprint a corner or a couple of pages, and I HATE tracing patterns.  Seems too much like work and not enough like play to me.

What I am not sewing now is the beloved tunic that I was so looking forward to.  When my fabric arrived from Mood, it was the wrong fabric.  I am waiting patiently as they try to locate the correct fabric.  It is a real bummer, because I was really really REALLY looking forward to remaking that tunic.  I hope that Qiana and the rest of the team at mood are able to locate that bolt and get me the fabric.

I also am not sewing my wrap dress for the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrapalong.  I just can't get in the mood for it.  It isn't exciting to me at all.  I want to do it, I just can't get enthused about it.  Hopefully whipping up these two patterns will get me back in the mood.

Also, in case you are wondering my St. John wrap copycat is finished and has been for quite a while.  I am just having problems styling it because there is a pair of shoes that I need to go with it and can't bring myself to buy.

I have taken myself off the disabled sewers list, hopefully it won't come back to bite me in the end.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Going Against Doctors Orders - Unselfish Sewing

This weekend brought in some really cool weather.  I love it!  Fall is absolutely my favorite season.  I love to hear the leaves rustle in the wind, and wake up with a cold nose.  Plenty of people here in Indy have already turned their furnaces on.  Truth be known I like the cold obviously I have forgotten the pain of last Winter much like the pain of child birth.

With this cold snap, I realized that I needed to do some unselfish sewing and I needed to do it quick.  Every year I make my son's Winter pajamas.  It starts in the Fall with flannel "comfy pants" as he likes to call them, and then as it gets colder I will sew matching fleece raglan tops to go with the pants. See, my little guy has about 2% body fat (maybe a slight exaggeration) which means that as soon as it gets cold out the poor little fella is freezing.

So this weekend there was sewing to be be damned.  His pajama bottoms are a fairly easy sew from a self drafted pattern.  Two pieces of fabric are serged together at the legs and then through the crotch curve.  Next a waistband is turned down and sewn with a nice elastic through it to hold things up.  Finally the legs are hemmed, but this time I went fancy and made bands for the hem instead of turning them under because I could use the serger it was a nicer finish.  Each pair of pants requires a half yard of flannel which is always purchased in the Spring at it's cheapest.  I end up having about $2 in each pair of pants, and so far my son still thinks I am the coolest mom ever because I make things like this for him.  I make the pants assembly line style.  I usually average about 20 minutes per pair including ironing and everything.

Another bit of unselfish sewing that I will be doing for my son is his Halloween costume.  He decided that he wanted to be an old school gangster for Halloween this year.  I always make his can see some past costumes here and here on my old blog.  The Elvis costume has been the most memorable by far.  Today I picked up a women's pinstriped suit to upcycle into the costume at Salvation Army.  It was $3.98, but because it was the color of the week, I only paid $1.99 plus tax.

Last but not least, my order from Mood came in for the cotton silk voile mentioned in this post.  Unfortunately, they sent the wrong fabric, so I am afraid that my tunic will have to wait.  But, I have some other great sews on the horizon including a few patterns from Green Style Creations.

So here is to hoping that my wrist holds out because I am bursting with the need to sew.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Friday Funday Winner

Hello Ladies!

This week's winner of the Friday Funday pattern giveaway is:


I have already contacted her to let her know that she is a winner.

Check back Friday for the next Giveaway!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Funday...I love the 50s and 60s and 70s.

Hello Ladies (and know who you are)!!!  It's time for another Friday Funday giveaway!  This week I am giving away three vintage plus size patterns.  One from the 1950s, one from the 1960s, and one from the 1970s.  From the 1950s, we have Simplicity 3742 in a size 18, bust 38.  From the 1960s, we have Simplicity 3780 also in a size 18, 38 bust.  From the 1970s we have McCalls 5547 in a size 20, bust 42.  All of these patterns are factory folded and you can look at the pictures to see that there is some damage to the corners of the pattern envelopes.

This week all three patterns will go to one lucky winner.  Entries are welcome from anywhere in the world.  To enter comment below with which vintage era is your favorite to sew from, or that you dream about sewing from.  Please make sure that if your profile isn't attached to an email that you leave a way for me to contact you, or you check back on Monday to see if you won!

Contest will be open until Monday, October 6th at 9:00 am EST and I will try to post the winner shortly thereafter.  Past winners are welcome to enter, so good luck to you all!

From the 1950s.

From the 1960s.

And from the 1970s.

Also don't forget to check back next Friday as well will be doing a vintage fabric giveaway for a change!!!