Over the course this year so far, you’ve seen my adoration for a certain button up sewing pattern (McCall’s 6649) and then a couple of hacks of things I’ve made from it (here and here). I thought I would take a sec, stop down and say a little more about it. It’s exciting. Well, at least I think so.

Hopefully this post will help clear up some questions I’ve been getting and hopefully it will show you that you can take a pattern and hack it up and not have to re-invent the fitting wheel. This is a skill I’ve cultivated over several years and one that is well worth the time invested and when you get to the pattern drafting part, it’s really quite fun to learn (in like a scrapbooking sort of way!). In my recent hack of my beloved McCall’s 6649, I mentioned a Craftsy class I had taken. One Pattern, Many Looks with Sarah Holden. I enrolled in the class last year sometime and then it sat in my Craftsy cue for many months. One night, I was really tired and decided to watch this Craftsy class as I was sitting in bed. I watched all the episodes right there and then. I was riveted and I was so excited to get up and get started in the morning. Dreamt of pattern hacks all night! Yessssss!

sloper-1

The class takes you through this pretty fascinating process. First you’re supposed to fit the pattern. This process actually took a few weeks (the longest part of this whole business) because I wanted something that truly, was perfect and that usually means, for me, that I work out any and all kinks in a pattern by making it up at least 3 times. Seriously, 3 times is the charm. I have some more thoughts about the fitting process in my next post, but yeah, I made this shirt up a good 3 times (and then one more time, making that 4 times!!) before I moved on to the rest of the content of the class. Update: Just so you are aware, this Craftsy class does not cover anything about fitting! It’s only about pattern drafting and manipulation.

After a perfect fit, then it was time to reverse engineer the pattern back to sloper form. What is a sloper? In the most basic terms, a sloper is a base pattern, without seam allowances, from which other patterns can be created or hacked from. You can have different types of slopers. For example, you can have bodice, sleeve, dress, pants, etc. From there you can even have varying types of those basic patterns like a button-up shirt sloper or a raglan sleeve sloper. The idea is that you’ll start forming an entire collection of base patterns that are closer in idea to what you want an end pattern to be. More colors in a crayon box if you will.

sloper-2

Anyway, back to McCall’s 6649. I created a sloper from this pattern and transferred all of the pertinent markings to posterboard. All of the seam allowances have been cut off here and there are holes and notches in specific places. Putting a pattern like this on posterboard is fantastic because then when I’m ready to create a new top from this pattern, I can just trace it off  in a matter of seconds. The posterboard is stiff so you can just trace around it really easily.

In the Craftsy class, Sarah shows you some really great hacks. And these are just starting points. I mean you really do have the entire world at your feet when you start creating your own patterns – from patterns that already fit you! Since you’ve already addressed the fit, that tends to not be a problem anymore. You might run into some issues here and there, but they are minimal by comparison.

All in all, I’m very very pleased with how my hacks have turned out from this process. It took a lot of time, but was well worth the investment. Onward and upward from here. Have you gone through this process before? What kinds of slopers do you have? If you haven’t, I can’t recommend something like this enough. You learn a ton about fitting and about your body and what things you should be looking out for when you go to try a new sewing pattern. Plus then there’s the creative gratification that comes from creating a pattern of your very own. Fun, fun!

  • Aline - Thank you so much for posting this. That particular Craftsy class is in my cue as well – I really feel the urge to do something with it now. I love what you managed to do with the pattern, and I particularly like the cream version, with the beautiful fabric. (And yes, I also need three versions before getting there, where patterns are concerned, so a good sloper would be more than welcome! I think I should just start and get on with it.)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think you would be glad you did once you were done. I’ve been taking my sloper out a TON and playing around with different ideas for different blouses from it – even dresses! It’s getting a ton of play and use from me.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Thank you! I’ve had that class in my Crafty listing for ages and never “found” the time to watch it. I am watching one class each morning this week. This is exactly what I want to do!Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Crimson Needle - I’ve been interested in learning the sloper approach to sewing/pattern making and have been looking at books on slopers I could buy, but reviews seems to often be mixed on their quality, so I’ve been eyeing the bodice sloper class on Craftsy and the one you’ve mentionned (amongst so many others, I want to get them all..). It’s good to know I’ll get my moneys worth for the Many Shirts class when I buy it. I made some shirts in the past, but I see much room for emprouvement and would love to get (or make) a TNT shirt pattern.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I have to weigh in because I’ve purchased several patternmaking books over the course of several years. While they are all good and they have wonderful information, drafting a sloper from your measurements is well, just as hard as getting a pattern to fit you. It’s about a ton easier if you have a teacher there to help and hold your hand a bit, but if you’re doing it on your own, I definitely say, take the Craftsy classes. It’s so much easier to be guided by someone than try to decipher how to do it on your own! You’ll go through about 1000 iterations of just the drafting trying to get it right – at least I did. I tried many, many different methods and books and found the same for all of them. Almost easier to just fit a sewing pattern from scratch.

      Once you have the base pattern though, pattern manipulation is easy peasy. And fun! You can do many many things and it gets really exciting the more you play around with your sloper. fReplyCancel

  • melissa - I’ve taken the sloper class on Craftsy, but this one seemed really interesting as well. The theory behind it sounds pretty fascinating!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think the sloper class would be well worth the time – also have that one in my cue. I found this class really approachable. I like that she used a regular sewing pattern and then took that pattern and created a bunch of different blouses from it. It’s really creative and fun! So many possibilities.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - I like the concept of a sloper, but I just don’t wear too many shirts, so I overlooked this class. I will take another look. Thanks, Sunni!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think there’s one for pants too if I’m not mistaken. A Craftsy class I mean. Same idea. You take a pair of pants and create all the different pants patterns that you want from a single pattern. Makes it so you don’t have to deal with fitting a new pattern. It’s quite liberating and fun!ReplyCancel

  • mary - I have a pants and a skirt sloper. I have really worked on the ginger jeans and archer shirt patterns into my idea of perfect jeans and button up patterns. They aren’t slopers but now I am curious about doing that. I really believe in taking the time to fine tune patterns , it has been totally worth it for me. I got really tired of reinventing the wheel each go around with mixed results.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Amen! I hear ya sister! Trying to fit new sewing patterns gets so old. Gosh, I got so sick of starting at square zero everytime I wanted to make something a little different and so, it really was finally time to get some slopers done. They are a lot of work, but in the end, I’m so much happier with how these work instead of trying to fit a new sewing pattern.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Perfect timing on this topic! I was just doing some fitting through a new craftsy class (not the one you’ve mentioned but I will be checking it out now) and wondering if I could apply my new form fitting pattern as a sloper of sorts. Thanks for the insight.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’m sure you can. Fitting is the #1 reason people don’t sew their own clothes. When you start taking the fit out of the equation, it makes you want to sew more and believe me, you do! You can start cranking out patterns and projects left and right.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - I truly miss wearing shirts with buttons. Or even a shirtdress as the retro look is coming back. But my bust has a fuller shape from the sides so all RTW blouses get the gappies on me. Honestly, why sew a shirt I have to keep closed with safety pins? This class is in my Crafty wish list but haven’t taken the plunge yet. You’ve convinced me now that I may find my answer here. The idea of perfecting a pattern sloper has been brewing so I think on their next sale I’ll get it.

    On a side note, I mentioned you and your Crafty class on zippers in my latest blog post. I reference that class ALL the time. Can you do a post about a dress with a lining and an invisible zipper? One that has that nice machine finish?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’m sure I could come up with something! Give me a bit and I’ll see if I can’t put this together!

      As for the Craftsy class I’m talking about here, I do want to state that it’s not a fitting class by any means. Sarah Holden only talks and goes into depth about pattern drafting. But I still think the class would be worth everyone’s while. The pattern drafting alone is great and it really does get you to think outside the box. I know exactly what you mean about wearing button-up shirts. I never did for a long time either because they never fit across the back. Couldn’t put my arms in front of me! Now I can that I make my own. It’s marvelous!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Since I drafted my bodice, skirt and pant sloper from the book European Cut by Elizabeth Allemong, they have been invaluable to achieving fit that is 95% right the first time. The other 5% is the vagaries of the pattern and fabric I’m using which can be dealt with, with a muslin and then I’m good to go to make multiples :) I also use RTW items in my wardrobe to compare then tweak the patterns.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Yes, I’m completely on board with you here! I feel the same way about the fit and I usually tend to make a muslin, if only just to check things like the neckline and such. Otherwise, the fit is so much easier and all I have to worry about is the design. Fun!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - great post – and good mention of making up 3 times to work out kinks. i can draft patterns but i am so impatient working thru the testing. the coat i just finished took 3 drafts and toiles – and i still have to fine tune the pattern but at least its 90% there. i learned pattern drafting and cutting years ago, and must look up those classes (and hopefully they do centimetres as training was in cm….) to review my own work practicesReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I don’t remember her using a lot of measurements, but sadly they are in inches. So sorry! We definitely need to convert over to the metric system! ugh!ReplyCancel

  • Ani - Someday I’ll get to only 3 tries before fitting! It took me 8 Sorbettos before I got one that fit. Three sounds like a lovely goal!

    I am honestly still a little scared of the idea of a blank slate. I’m not familiar enough with my body and how clothes fit it yet to be able to envision something. I do look forward to that time, though, because frankly, I also find it hard to envision something from a pattern fitting me. It helps to troll the internet for someone similar to my body shape who has made the pattern, but it’s still a wee bit exhausting.ReplyCancel

  • Fitting Thoughts on McCall’s 6649 | A Fashionable Stitch - […] all excited about creating your own patterns – from a pattern that already fits you – in my last post, I thought I would give you some fitting thoughts of what I went through with my versions of […]ReplyCancel

  • Haze Hammett - I have just finished fitting and putting together a dress sloper.
    But I don’t know what to do with it now. Take it apart and trace it? Keep the darts closed? I used Vogue dress sloper pattern and really all it does is tell you to keep fitting it, but how do I use it against other patterns so that I will know they fit? This thing was a lot of work and I don’t know how to use it now.

    Let me know if you have information on where to go from here.

    Thank you,

    Haze HammettReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi Haze! Some great questions here. Hopefully I can answer them and give you some insight. The concept of using your sloper up against another sewing pattern to diagnose the fit before you make it is, well, a hard one. Additionally, I personally feel – since this is a method that I have tried – that it is full of holes and you end up still have to make a muslin and work out some fitting issues. If you are hell-bent on this method, I recommend Lynda Maynard’s book Demystifying Fit. I would say that if you do want to do this method then you do need to take your muslin apart and copy it onto paper. You’ll need to do this if you want to create sewing patterns from it, so I recommend that you do that step.
      If you want to create your own sewing patterns – which I find to be a much superior method to trying to use it to fit other sewing patterns – then I would recommend the Craftsy class above to give you a taste of how this works. You could still use your bodice section for most of the designs in the class or take the ideas and apply them to your sloper. There’s also a book called, Design Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele Margolis that is excellent and can take you through how to hack up your pattern to be something different.
      Hopefully this gives you a little direction!ReplyCancel

  • Kat Skinner - I loved Sarah’s class, though I stopped part way through to focus on Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice by Suzy Furrer. I have drafted and redrafted my bodice sloper so many times now that I’ve lost count! I’m trying to get a perfect fit (I’d like to say couture but my skills aren’t that good).
    It’s really nice to see other sewers who are working on the same things as me.ReplyCancel

Last week, the mister and I had some reality checks and we made some pretty big decisions and well, here goes. We have decided to close the Sewing Room. There are oh, so many reasons, but the biggest one right now is that touchy subject – money. There’s just not enough of it in our lives right now. It was kind of a hard week for me. Moping about and wondering what in the world I’m going to do with the rest of my life. What am I going to do about retirement? What am I going to do when I actually grow up? Will we ever have kids? Will we ever own a home? That kind of stuff. I mean, I’m 32 (almost 33 in just a few weeks) and well, what am I going to do with the rest of my life??? Sometimes when reality slaps you right in the face, it feels like you need to start all over with a whole new dream, meet new people, go back to school, la la la. It can also feel like everything you’ve done up to this point was a mistake, should never have happened and didn’t turn out right. While I don’t feel that way per se, these thoughts have run through my head a lot lately.

It’s not all sad or bad and hopefully I’m not putting a bad vibe out there. I do actually feel great and positive. We were able to get out of the lease on the brick and mortar building we’ve been in for the past year and a half and wow – that elephant on my chest is finally gone. And I’m truly looking forward to picking up the pieces of what I have left and making something of it. I’ve dealt with a lot of bad juju for the past year and a half and I’m excited to recede back from the limelight of being a brick and mortar owner of anything. We might try something similar in the future again, but for now, I’m good with being done.

It’s been one of those times when I’ve thought long and hard about a lot of things and I’m looking forward to picking back up where I left off before I became a brick and mortar shop owner. The online shop is still open and will remain so, and we have some ideas for the future, though I’ll not say anything about those as they’re not even close to materializing or being a thing. We’ve still got lots and lots of kinks to work through.

So that’s my big bad news. A little crummy, but hopefully you can understand where I’m at. Feels good to be discovering new things about myself through new experiences. Don’t feel like it’s been a mistake, just a big learning experience that seriously, I’ve learned so much from. I’ll keep you updated on future stuff. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support, encouragement and well, kindness. I’ve needed that!

  • lo - This is sad, but it also can be exciting for you to have a new journey. Good luck! Just from your website I know you’re talented and hardworking, so I’m sure anywhere you direct your energy you’ll do well in.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lou - Oh sweetheart! I’m glad you guys figured it out and I hope you are not too heartsick about it. Leases are HARD. There was a big, glorious sewing workshop in Montreal that closed a year or two back and I’m blaming the extremely high rates of B&M rent. Whatever happens, I’m sure you will be okay, but the transition phase is always a little scary. Is it wrong I’m just sad I won’t be able to come to SLC to teach a workshop now and hang out with you? Ah well. On to the next thing Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - I have enjoyed following your journey over the past couple of years. The highs and the lows. I am happy that you have realized your dream and gone for it and even happier that when the timing just did not feel right that you are able to comfortably turn things around. You are a very talented person and I admire your courage to do what you feel is right for you. Congratulations on your new path and opening a new door. (I hope you will continue to blog and I will continue to browse your online shop)ReplyCancel

  • Jan Macleod - I have just recently discovered your site. LOVE your look and ideas. I’m sorry you are having to make a tough financial decision, but you are brave to do so and smart to take stress of your plate. As a financial advisor, I have seen too many people put their heads in the sand and ignore the elephant on their chest until its too late. Kudos to you! I am also reminded of the phrase when one door closes another opens. You are very talented. Best to you!ReplyCancel

  • Virginia at A Sewing Life - Sunni, I am really sorry for the tough times and decisions you’ve had to deal with. I want you to know how much I admire you and your courage, and also how helpful your sharing your journey has been to me.

    Like you, I had/have an opportunity to buy a B&M fabric store. In my case, it is a business that has definitely seen better days. I have been so tempted to imagine that the shop in my town could return to its former glory days, but your story has been one factor helping me to be realistic and not to see just what I want to see.

    In the sixties and seventies, this shop flourished because there were more home sewers, home sewing was financially a better investment than it is now and the shop was the only dealer for a popular European sewing machine brand in our area. Working there was lovely and I felt a real pull to preserve this heritage institution, but the business reality just didn’t support it.

    Anyway, I really have benefited from reading about your journey. I wish it had taken a more lucrative track, but there can be no doubt about all the hard work and passion you have put into it. All the best to you!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I can hardly imagine how difficult this has been for you, though I can relate because I’m asking myself pretty much every question you listed up there and it’s hellish. I know it sounds funny coming from a stranger on the internet, but I’m so proud of you for making this difficult decision! It’s inspiring to me that you followed your dream and made an honest effort, but maybe even more so that you’ve also had the courage to ask these hard questions and do what works best for your life as it is now. It’s a really big deal.ReplyCancel

  • sallie - Oh Sunni, what a tough decision to make! I so admire you for having the clarity to take stock of your life and be able to say, “you know what, this isn’t working”. In the long run it’s the ability to make those hard decisions that make up a life, you know? But this isn’t the end of something, it’s the beginning of something! I’m excited for you! And I also want you to know that I can relate to your worries so SO much. I don’t own a store, but other than that I felt like I was reading my own thoughts up there. Just know we’re all rooting for you! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Mary Berry - Just started the website and is not up going yet. I am retired & do not like it. Wanted to get something going part time, miss the socialization, love to sew & crochet.

    Was thinking about opening a studio & have classes once in awhile. I already have a building, so that would not be a problem but did not want to get involved with materialistic things to sell. Maybe some items handmade just for fun, & enjoyment.

    What are the feelings about these ideals and pointers you guys could give me.

    All help appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • MarilynSweet - You’ve done a lot for the sewing community and advanced us all just a little bit forward. I enjoy your posts and wish you the very best. Thank you for all your hard work.ReplyCancel

  • Julie R. - Oh this is sad! I was never able to sign up for a class. The seeing scene in Salt Lake is really going to miss you. Good luck in your new adventures!ReplyCancel

  • vicki gainous - Sunni… you’re young and it’s great you took the risk. After you and your husband reassessed the situation, you two made an awesome decision. I’m looking forward to your blog post because I’ve learned a lot from you. I have changed careers three times in my forty plus years. Every decade gets better with time. You will discover your mojo and soar…… I hope to see when you two start posting pictures of babies. Take care and keep your head up.ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - I’m 56, and I’ve been there a couple of times, expect to be there a few more. I would like to hold your hand and reassure you, this is hard. This is very hard.
    You will emerge, it will be even better, you will look back at this and say “And that’s when I knew who I was going to be, and it all changed right there”. But it hurts like…well, whatever is the worst.
    Honor that. Mourn.
    But please don’t pile all the other stuff (home, kids, climate change) on top of it. That stuff is separate. Yes, it’s related, but it’s not all happening right now. It’s “Just put one foot in front of the other time”.
    And if you haven’t closed yet, have a wake at the store. Your clients will be sad, too. Having been to a few of these, we need to mourn, too.ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - It’s sad news to move on from something so huge in your life! But if you’re feeling like a weight has been lifted, then you know it’s the right move. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey from the beginning to the end of this chapter and hope that good things are in store for you in the future! It’s never a mistake if you learned something from it.
    Those life questions are something I think we all face – what are we doing, is it the right thing, are we missing out by taking a different path, it’s all normal things to think. Or at least, I think them too. Whenever you do something that’s off the beaten path, it’s easy to question whether it’s the right choice. Whatever you decide to do next, follow your heart and when it feels right, you’ll know!ReplyCancel

  • June Lovell - hey kid: i started over at 31 with two kids. i took a civil service job with upward mobility. i relegated my sewing, embroidery, gardening and other fun pursuits to off duty hours and, of course, there weren’t many of them and i missed them a lot.

    i watched my friend who was crazy about photography wait for 10 years to get a full time teaching position at the local community college (there was only one photo instructor). another friend had her own fabric store in the lovely little town of Ojai, California (rich people and the idle poor, no in between).she finally went broke even with all the great classes she gave and services she provided (scissor sharpening!). my horse loving friends, my dog loving friends, etc, etc.

    so, now i’ll be 70 on my next birthday, my great civil service job let me retire at 51! i was able to contribute to a 401k and i have one of those fabulous defined benefit retirements. i’ve been pursuing all of my loves and enjoying life.

    as Suze Orman says: you’re in your prime ‘compounding’ years, so now is the time to shove money in the Roth IRA and create your long term plan.

    very best wishesReplyCancel

  • Kaoru Marie - Totally bummed to hear the news as I was hoping The Sewing Room would turn into a great venture. I’m glad to hear you’re keeping the online shop open as you do have such lovely fabric. (I still don’t know what to do with that amazing purple plaid wool challis…it’s so precious I don’t want to ruin it!). I’m sure you’ll end up doing fantastic and can’t wait to hear about it. I really appreciate the honesty and openness you’ve shown on your blog and wish you the best of luck!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - All of life is a journey, and even if this particular leg of your personal journey didn’t lead to where you expected it to go, it surely wasn’t a mistake or a waste of time, for if you hadn’t followed that path you’d always wonder what was down it :) Still, I know what you mean about wondering what you’re going to do with your life, and frankly I’m older than you and I’m always questioning that too – I am hoping when it’s the right time, I’ll just know! LOL

    On a personal note, I’m so very grateful you are keeping the online store open – it has been and will continue to be a very important and trusted resource for me and I look forward to seeing where you take it in the future! :)ReplyCancel

  • Elisabeth - These decisions are tough but it sounds like the best choice. Sometimes stuff just doesn’t work quite as we hope…And reality is that money is important and we can’t drive ourselves into the ground for a dream. Because then it isn’t fun anymore! So I applaud you for coming to the conclusion before you got totally burned out. And being also 32 (just in Jan) I hear you on the hello need to get on this life thing! I have the job part but while I love my career (I am an Occupational Therapist) I don’t love my setting (hospital) and have been having some major I need to do something different thoughts lately…Good luck to you on this next phase!ReplyCancel

  • Elle - Bricks and mortar or no, store or no store, you’ve contributed a great deal to the sewing community. You’ve got great talent, drive and imagination, so on to the next chapter with a light heart.ReplyCancel

  • Delois jennings - Do what you need to do for yourself and be happy. I love you for sharing but you did have to you. I am happy for you.
    You got a plan and this time you are including you.

    I will keep you in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie - Seems like such a great decision for you and your family! Do you listen to podcasts? You might love Jess Lively (The Lively Show)… I have kept up with her for a few years and this sounds exactly like you listened to your gut and made the best and hardest decision. So excited to see what your new direction is.ReplyCancel

  • Joen - As they say when one door closes another one opens….I truly believe that someone as talented as you will no doubt have many new doors open. Stay positive!ReplyCancel

  • Carole - Bless you been there got the t-shirt and yes it was incredible hard making those decisions,but onwards and upwards sweetheart things will get better different yes,but with all the love and support you have you will soon look back and think wow look how far I have come and remember life is a journey not a destination and you are embarking on a new journey
    God bless you all love ‘n’ hugs
    CaroleReplyCancel

  • Christine - Hugs to you Sunni and your big decision to close up. Having taught and worked at many sewing spots, I know how hard they are to maintain and keep open. So props to you for even trying it at all. We are all faced with these life questions, and at 44, I still ask myself these all the time. Will I ever be able to retire? Was choosing an artist’s life a good choice? No one can answer these kinds of questions for you but you, so accept no judgement from anyone that wants to pass it onto you. That’s their crap, not yours. Go forward and learn from the past! Best of luck!ReplyCancel

  • Debera Massahos - I remember several years back, taking my annual walk through the Pacific International Quilt Festival. For a couple of hours, I followed a group who constantly criticized every quilt hanging at the festival. They found no shortage of things to criticize (color, scale, stitch length, stitch consistency, subject matter). One of the most vocal critics tried to engage me in the conversation and asked me what I thought of one of the pieces. I politely told her that “I like to think I make nice things but the biggest difference between the quilt I planned to enter and this quilt is that she FINISHED hers and put and on display for everyone to admire.” You’ve done something that we can see and admire. That’s brave! We all have moments of mourning, moping and wondering. But, from what I can see, you also have more bravery than most. And bravery, my dear, sets you apart. Best wishes!ReplyCancel

    • Judi - Debera – I love what you said!!!ReplyCancel

      • Jane - I second that! Very wise words. Now, Sunni, if you want to have a baby… GO! NOW! You can get back to lots of other things later on and babies don’t need anywhere near as much material stuff as many people think.ReplyCancel

  • Lacey - I am sure this was a very tough experience to come through. I admire your perseverance and willingness to go out on a limb, and also your humility in being able to admit when it’s time to change course. Very best of luck in your upcoming chapter!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Whitchurch - You are wonderful Sunni! So sorry for the hard decision and tough times. You have done amazing things and I’m sure you have amazing times in the future. You are one of the hardest working people I know and I’ve always admired your strengths. Best of luck and you are in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • Stephani - Oh, Sunni, what a bummer! But as others have said, if your prime feeling is relief, then it’s the right choice. You’ve been so brave charging after your dreams, even if they didn’t pan out. That is what life is all about. And from this experience you may find the direction you’ve been searching for that you’ll travel the rest of your days. We all wonder if we’re on the right path–sometimes, often, frequently–throughout life. But I’ve found the most important things, no matter what else, are to be true to yourself and to be adaptable. Those who can’t adapt may never spring back from failures; but you will. (Not to say that the enterprise’s failure is a life failure–it’s a learning experience.)
    Best of luck in whatever comes next for you. And keep up the amazing work with your shop–it’s so good to have someone out there sourcing the hard-to-find things.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Ann Mathewson - Very brave decision on your part. You are very lucky to have a understanding hubby! I will abide by your choice, and hopefully will continue to receive my email.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Don’t feel bad! I don’t know how people can afford to run brick and mortar stores unless they bought the real estate decades ago when it was cheap (I dream of one day having some sort of shop myself, but it will never be financially feasible). At the same time, don’t let this stop you from trying new adventures!ReplyCancel

  • Miss J - Try again at a later time when your fortunes have changed. You’re so talented and a great tutor, more so than others doing the same thing. it would be a shame not to have “The Sewing Room” revived!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Oh Sunni, what a tough announcement! All these things are a part of the journey and I’m sure you’ve learned so much through each experience, so nothing wasted. I so look forward to what is coming next for you! Good luck with everything!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Hi Sunni! I’m so sorry to hear about your store closing, but I’m glad you sound so positive about the future. I look forward to hearing what’s next for you!!ReplyCancel

  • Uta - Sunni, I’m so sorry it didn’t work out. I admired your courage and energy in this enterprise and loved following your adventures. You have a unique and authentic blogging voice and sewing style, and I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to make it work for you. All the best!ReplyCancel

  • candie tancred - I hope when one door closes, another opens. You are very open and brave. Best wishes from Australia.ReplyCancel

  • Mary J - Once the hard decision is made, you can step back and breathe. I know that it feels like a failure, but it isn’t. It is actually a success that you could make the decision that is right for you and the hubby.
    I am glad that you will keep the online store open.
    Much success to you in the future.
    MaryReplyCancel

  • Chris Griffin - (HUGS)
    I’m turning 33 next month, and sometimes I worry about the whole direction of my life. You are NOT alone. I wish I had more to help you, but I love your blog and I think you have great taste :)ReplyCancel

  • Ann T. - I started law school on the eve of my 30th birthday. That was a long time ago, but I remember very well thinking about how I was older than my classmates, and getting a very late start in life. I graduated, worked as an attorney, made partner, worked as a judge, and retired. Looking back, I see that, although many people find their direction in their twenties, many never find it at all, and many change their minds and careers later in life. I urge you to consider what you want to do, and then make a realistic plan to get there, without giving a thought to your age or the passage of time, because both are irrelevant. Regardless of what you decide to do, you have plenty of time to get there. Making a living associated with your passion for sewing is a little tricky. Probably, it is only slightly more realistic than being a professional artist. However, if it is what you feel compelled to do, then you must consider which avenues to follow. Perhaps you could work for someone else, and learn the ropes, before embarking on your own business. Perhaps you could make a living out of your blog. I read interior design blogs before I got into sewing, and noticed that those blogs make a lot of money from affiliate advertising. For some reason, sewing blogs are sensitive about that, but I don’t understand why. It could be a good solution for you, because it is something that would allow you to stay home, and raise children, while working. Please forgive me for getting caught up in details. I only want to reassure you that you have enough time to do whatever you decide to do.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - ive been following your blog for a long time now and was so hoping this would all work out for you. I follow way to many sewing blogs but you’ve always been one of my top 5 favourites. I think the retail landscape has changed so much it makes things so hard now for small business owners. I try and shop as much as I can at my local small sewing store and the larger local sewing stores because I would be so sad if they closed. All the best Sunni, and I’m off to browse your online store!ReplyCancel

    • Holly - Also I’m on my way to 38 and not even remotely doing what I thought I would be at this age so don’t worry, you are not alone and at 33 you have the life experience to make better decisions and learn from your experiences. All the best!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I don’t think this whole adventure was a mistake. I’ve never owned a shop, but I’ve worked for a small one, and did enough behind-the-scenes work to know that the retail business is tough, and so, so demanding. Especially when you’re the one running the shop. Just take some time for yourself, enjoy the down time with your husband, and regroup. I’m glad to know the online shop will still stay open, and I’m wishing you all the best in figuring out your next move!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Hedges - I am so inspired by your willingness to try and follow your dreams. It is hard when what you try doesn’t work out, especially when it comes down to money and you have poured your heart and soul into it. But you should be so proud of what you have accomplished and continue to do with your blog. I look forward to hearing about your next adventure.

    Just know that you have a large following of supporters rooting for you!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Hillhouse - “To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

    “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - Oh Sunni, Sounds like a midlife crisis girl! Birthdays have a way of doing that to you. Sorry about the store but glad you are thinking about children. I know it’s fashionable to wait until your 30’s for kids, but Mother Nature has never heard of “fashionable”. Waiting longer can become unhealthy for you and your baby. My friend is having her first on/near her 35th birthday so her doctor told her she’s high risk. Don’t want that for you. Been following you for years and love your blog. I learned a ton from you. Ask God for guidance and He will show you the way. Best wishes.ReplyCancel

    • BeckyLeeSews - Another thought… Who knows? Your exploration of pattern hacks may lead you to design your own pattern line – AFS Kids. Or put those yards of excess lace into christening gowns and Easter dresses. The job of being a mommy can inspire an entirely new (and profitable) path for your sewing passion!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - I am so sorry that you had to make that decision, and it cannot have been easy. I really like your blog and the affectionate way you can write about fabric – which is a gift in more ways than one. Years ago – i used teach kids art and do printmaking workshops, and i called a halt to it (money was a key decider) but i also had a lack of vision with it so it was always going to be finite, and looking back it was also limiting me. I cannot give you any advice, nor would I want to presume , but I do wish you the very best of luck and I so hope you keep posting as I really enjoy your writings, and admire your style.ReplyCancel

  • Kay - A special thanks to you for the fun things you’ve brought back into my life! I had gotten away from apperal sewing and didn’t relalise how I’ve missed it. But now I have a little more time and it’s been great . Sorry about how life happens.
    Also thanks for the online shop ! Be Happy you still have lots to share in your life !ReplyCancel

  • Jet Set Sewing - Those kind of changes are always a kick in the seat, but the one thing you’ll take from this experience is KNOWLEDGE, and it will always be useful. As someone reinventing herself (again) in my mid-50s, all of that knowledge, good and bad, really helps with decision-making. In the meantime, telling people in job interviews that you created and ran a business shows that you’re a self-starter, and that’s a good selling point.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I’m sorry that this venture didn’t work out for you. I speak from experience when I say it is difficult to feel like you have failed at a creative endeavor. I currently am creative only for fun, and while it is freeing to not have the pressure of making a living from it, I do wish that my day job was creative as well. I wish you luck and can’t wait to hear about what the future holds for you.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Sorry to hear you’ve had to close up shop. Remember that sometimes good things come out of bad experiences. You are talented and saavy – success is on its way!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - I am so sorry to hear that this didn’t work out for you! You have so much knowledge to offer, I’m sure you’ll find a new path. I know exactly how you feel about the whole “what to do with my life” question. I feel like I’m asking myself the same things, for very different reasons. All the best as you work out where to go from here!ReplyCancel

  • sarah - It’s so hard to keep doing something if it just weighs you down and drains your energy. I’m glad that you feel relieved now and I know we’ll see so much more fun stuff from you in the future!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - Oh Sunni, I’m so selfishly heartbroken to hear this news. But I admire your courage for sharing the news so openly and honestly. Every time I reach a “crisis” in my life I find comfort in the fact that I have always tried to live with intention and therefore I am living the life that I have chosen and not someone else’s version of my life. Good luck in your new endeavors.ReplyCancel

  • Reana Louise - Big, huge news – but you are so strong to make such a big, huge decision! So much love to you both xReplyCancel

  • Tracey - So Sorry to hear this Sunni! There is plenty of time for you two to start your family- the hard part was finding that someone who can make those hard decisions with you!! I am sure you are going to be on to bigger and better things! Best of luck to you both!xxooReplyCancel

  • a Brand New Something for 2015 | A Fashionable Stitch - […] 2015, the Sewing Room is now officially closed. If you are interested you can read more about it here. Thanks so much for the memories and for all of your support. Means the world to me! xx, […]ReplyCancel

  • Sanni - What hard news. I’m so sorry. It’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of something. Why shouldn’t you mourn that? I don’t subscribe to the “everything happens for a reason” theory. No. Sometimes painful things happen to the least deserving people and it totally, completely stinks.

    What you’ve done now is listen to your partner (who is both your supporter and reality checker.) You agreed to stop a business model that wasn’t going to work for your family in the long run, for whatever reason. You do need health care and a retirement, however modest, and if the numbers weren’t there — which you could only find out by doing everything you did so far — then it’s just smart to call time. A very reasonable step. You gave this every chance, and ultimately just discovered that the math was just stacked against you. That’s OK. Business is like that. Stop, regroup, restart.

    If it helps you at all, I had to make a similar decision about my successful (sold everything I made x 8 years of gradually rising prices) but financially untenable art career. The decision to let go of all the hard-won client lists, studio lease and gallery relationships was painful. Although in the end, also freeing. I found other work, and my family benefited.

    You’re young. You’ve done so much at only 32. You have lots of time to make two more careers, plus have a family if that’s what you want. You might not even realize yet, just how much you’ve learned. Nothing you learned is wasted; neither the good nor the bad. All your experiences made you the person, the expert, and the entrepreneur that you are. All that will pay off somewhere else. Best of luck. Please keep blogging if it gives you pleasure, because it sure does do that for us, your readers.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - It’s really strange everything you have said I feel completely the opposite! I’m 31 have been to University have a really good job, own a house about to buy a bigger house but I really miss my parents old shop (it was a needlework, knitting, craft shop) and lately I have been feeling like if I did the right thing by going into science and not taking on the shop. So I guess what I’m saying is even across the pond in the UK what you have been thinking might not have been the right choices for a career if you had done it differently perhaps how you think you should have done it you would have the regrets for not having the brick and mortar shop 😉 I’m trying to work out a way to make both my creative, business and science work!!!ReplyCancel

A number of things have started happening around here. We are getting ready to break some sad news. Ugh, so not looking forward to that, but sometimes this is the way things go. I’ll be talking more about this in my next post. I’ve been sewing like a crazy person and just making, making, making. Feels good. So while I have bad news to break, I’ve also been productive and feeling positive.

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This is another McCall’s 6649 pattern hack. Don’t believe me? Let’s start from the neck down and I’ll give you the play by play here.

  • got rid of the collar and changed the neckline
  • made a forward shoulder yoke
  • got rid of the bust dart in the front and didn’t sew in the waist dart
  • turned the back darts into princess seams
  • retained the hemline in the back and straightened the hemline in the front
  • the sleeve was shortened and cut on the bias and then I added tabs for visual interest

If you’re wondering what you can do with a basic pattern – like McCall’s 6649 – well, I’ll be here showing you what I do. If you’re interested, I took this class on Craftsy – One Pattern, Many Looks with Sarah Holden. Highly, highly recommend. It’s about pattern drafting, and getting the most from a TNT (tried and true sewing pattern). It’s a class that I would definitely recommend for anyone. It’s just really good and it helps you think outside the box instead of thinking that a shiny new sewing pattern is the answer. Not saying that it wouldn’t be the answer, I’m just saying that before you go fit-fighting with yet another sewing pattern, you might be able to create something similar by using a pattern that already fits you! Soapbox officially ended.

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So, some more things you should know. I have a ton of lace leftover from my brick and mortar shop and I thought to myself, just cuz it’s ivory and white does not mean that you can’t use it for something that is not a wedding. And I made this top especially to go with jeans. No joke. The hemline length and style were meant to be worn with my jeans. I didn’t want it too over the top, but I’m into bling if I can get away with it and this is one of those times where I’m pretty sure I did. What do you think?

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That said, while I’m loving the style and beauty of this blouse, I don’t know that I feel this color does me any favors. Looks very much like my skin tone – but I’m still going to wear it! With pride!

If you’re curious, this is the art deco lace from the shop. I paired it with a silk charmeuse that I had, and then also made the sleeve from the double georgette that is in the shop. Fancy, huh? To be honest, this is one of those types of blouses that I tell everyone else to make all the time and then never do it myself. I’ve seen this sort of trend a lot – having the blouse front be a different fabric (or lace overlay) from the back – and since I have a bit of lace myself, I thought it would be great to try.

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I made my jeans too. They are a rub-off from the jeans you’ve seen me in in a few of my lasts posts. I pilfered the back pocket from Closet Case Files awesome Ginger jeans and then I followed several of Heather’s tutorials and insights into jeans via her Ginger sewalong. She did such an amazing job with that which is no surprise. I have plans to try the Gingers in the not too distant future. They look pretty awesome on everyone I’ve seen make them so far.

Well, that’s it for today. Have you ever worked with lace?

  • Lori - This is a gorgeous blouse and I have been following along on your Instagram and have been loving the look of this blouse. Also, I cannot believe it is from the McCall’s pattern.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Looks beautiful! I definitely want to try lace on a top sometime in the not too distant future.ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - I made a raglan tee (S1317) for my daughter with a lace overlay in front. I want to make lace shorts for summer. Think they’ll transition nicely from casual to dressy!

    Love your top! It looks so delicate but not “hard” to wear. Very nice jeans.ReplyCancel

  • Judi - You did beautiful job on this blouse, Sunni!! Makes me want to be more “think outside the box” and modify existing patterns to make something dreamy. I’ve not done much with lace (always feel like it has to be worn to an “occasion” and don’t have too many of those) but you nailed it. I love jeans that can be dressed up or down depending on the mood, the day, the party, whatever.

    And darn you with your bad news………ReplyCancel

  • Angie - Beautiful blouse! I think the color looks very nice on you. I took that same Craftsy class a while back and loved it as well. I’m looking forward to making lots of different blouses when I have more time. Funny you should mention lace…right now I’m knee-deep in bridal fabrics, lace included, as I sew my daughter’s wedding gown and all of the bridesmaid’s dresses. Yikes. Thanks for sharing your projects!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I saw your Instagram pics of this in progress and thought it was so lovely, and it looks even more beautiful on you :) The colour is soft and subtle, and a good shade for your skin and hair – and the details are really amazing – I totally love it with jeans!!

    Great shoes too 😉ReplyCancel

  • Renee - Wow. Just. Wow. This is really beautiful. I liked what I was seeing on Instagram but now I am besotted right along with you. Really stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Janice - Love the top AND the jeans. The Craftsy shirt class has been in my wish list forever and your hack made me just move it into my cart. Would you be able to share where you got the denim for your jeans? It looks nice and dark and just perfect! Hard to find denim that looks RTW like this does! Thanks for all you do. You are such an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - This blouse is beautiful! I love tops like this paired with jeans. I keep wanting to incorporate lace into a blouse, but I always shy away from it… Oh, and great jeans too!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine - This is such a lovely blouse. The colour actually looks to me like your perfect neutral. It matches your skin tone but it doesn’t drain you or leave you looking tired…just highlights your peaches ‘n cream complexion.ReplyCancel

  • joelyne - Looks fantastic!!!ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - Your blouse is really beautiful and you have inspired me so much, I have enrolled in the Craftsy class. The lace combination is very ‘in’ and I personally love the mix of ‘delicate with denim’ – could be a new fashion term! Thank you for your posts.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - That blouse is absolutely gorgeous! I would buy that in an instant (like elbow other ladies away from the rack) and then wear it to death. I pair lace & denim ALL the time – but we do that here in Texas. Sewing lace? Not so much. When I see sheers, I go down the other aisle.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Love. I have a piece of blue lace and matching silk. I was planing a sheer top and Cami but I may try your way instead. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • French Toast Tasha - The top is cool, but I’m digging those jeans even more! Weird since I don’t even do jeans … but I love the denim you chose and the fit is great on you! Sorry about your bad news, but I’m glad you’re finding your way through it. Making, making, making always helps me get through the tough times.ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - I’m sorry you had to close the shops down. However I’m glad you are still sewing and blogging! I’ve been a quiet blog reader for years because I feel so inept but I like seeing your incredible skill set. I hope to get better so I keep trying. Then I give up. Then I try again. And back and forth I go. =)
    Hugs!
    LaurieReplyCancel

  • Ginger - What a gorgeous top! It’s so beautiful! And your jeans look perfect! Also… THOSE SHOES!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - Such a beautiful top! I almost can’t believe it’s the same button down shirt pattern! Very impressive. I’m bookmarking that class because now that I’ve finally worked out some fitting issues, I really just want to keep sewing that ONE thing that fits me. But that can get really boring (really fast) so knowing how to make some changes like that would be invaluable for me. Also, I just read your newsletter and I’m sorry to hear about that change. I wish you all the best for the future and I’m looking forward to seeing your sewing projects here on the blog. Maybe a line of patterns is in your future? Everyone else seems to be doing it! 😉 <3ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I love your top. I’ve just finished this course online and it is highly recommended.ReplyCancel

  • DeAnn @ Payneless Photography - I absolutely LOVE this top! It looks great on you! Thanks for the inspiration I have been wanting to make a shirt with one fabr ice on front and a different one on back, but I love the lace and sleeves you did ♡ReplyCancel

  • bootcut jeans - Your jeans looks awesome i loved it.ReplyCancel

  • bootcut jeans - Your jeans looks awesome i love this color.ReplyCancel

  • Working with a Sloper | A Fashionable Stitch - […] (McCall’s 6649) and then a couple of hacks of things I’ve made from it (here and here). I thought I would take a sec, stop down and say a little more about it. It’s exciting. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Alderman - I can see why you are besotted! It’s beauftiful. By the way the color of the blouse in these photos make your skin look a lovely and delicate pink. I think it’s perfect.
    SharonReplyCancel

  • Fabric Friday: Re-embroidered Lace | A Fashionable Stitch - […] today’s Fabric Friday, I thought I would delve into the world of lace. Since finishing up my besotted blouse last week, I thought it would be great to highlight laces. Today’s lace: Re-embroidered lace! […]ReplyCancel

  • How to: Remove a Dart | A Fashionable Stitch - […] feel like I’m talking about my besotted blouse a lot lately. Ok, ok. I am. It’s been exciting to show you my process of how I went from […]ReplyCancel

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What are we on here? Numero 7? Yup, you guessed it. This is another Hollyburn skirt. (And for those of you just joining me, the Hollyburn is a most beloved skirt sewing pattern put out by Sewaholic).

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I’ll not sport too much with your intelligence about this make. It’s wool crepe – one of our lovely springy colors, which have been marked down in the sale section and of which there is only a bit more left! Who knew the bright aqua would be so exciting? Yowza. This one is shorter and as per, fully lined.

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I had to do a polka dot top again. Who knew that my rapidly growing button-up collection looked so cute tied at the waist with this skirt? Loving this look, which I’ll have you know, I’ve never sported before.

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Now for some meat and potatoes. I had plans to make this skirt in this wool crepe anyway, but after a fairly harrowing button-up shirt for Mr. AFS, this got pushed directly to the top. It’s one of my TNT’s (tried and true pattern) and it’s a definite sew-jo inducer. I cut this out one day and sewed it up the next – well, all except the hem. I let that hang for a few days. From there I jumped right back on the sew-jo wagon and got to work on another button-up for myself and then cut out a tweed dress, which has been reduced to a pencil skirt, but more on that another time.

I decided a few things after this make. First, all projects must be finished – I am no longer going to do UFOs. Second, when a pretty hard sewjo killing project is over, it’s time to whip out a sewjo inducing TNT. At first I thought, well, that’s not going to be very fun, I don’t have that many TNTs. When I started looking around, surprisingly, I have MANY TNTs. I have 3 skirt patterns, a button-up shirt, a pair of slacks, jeans, a jacket, a sheath dress and a t-shirt. That’s a wardrobe right there, if I’m not mistaken. Third, after every sewing project is completed, my personal sewing room must be cleaned up and made ready for another project. I don’t know about you, but when I sew in a really, really messy room, I tend to get nothing done because I keep looking forlornly at the mess and wondering what to do!

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Last, but not least on my efforts to keep my sew-jo alive, I’ve decided to start creating lists of projects to complete and get ready for. I love the scheming part of sewing, but more often than not, the scheming is where it ends because I forget. So I’ve decided to employ a list of inspirations and also a list of my next sewing project plans. This helps me plan better and from there, I create more outfits instead of white elephants.

What do you do to keep your sew-jo around? Tips and tricks?

  • Crimson Needle - I also force myself to finish my project or else I get stuck at the “oh I just need to do the hem” stage. As long as something isn’t 100% finish, I’m not allowed to take out anything else.. so my stitch itch kicks in and tells me to just finish it.

    I don’t have TNTs yet (except maybe a shirt pattern) but since I’ve sewn so little so far, and have a good variety of patterns, I get back into it pretty quick since everything feels like a completely new experience. I clean off my table between each project, but unfortunately not the fourniture I keep all my stuff… I am oh so very due.ReplyCancel

    • sarah - Oh, that “just need to do the hem” phase gets me every time!ReplyCancel

    • Annette - I have to agree with you, you have to forge ahead to the finish line on one project before picking up the next. Or else, my room indeed my house, would be filled with UFO’SReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Just received a luvverley parcel of wool crepe from you yesterday – thank you – the colours are very yummy. At the end of every project I mend something. I figure it takes less time to mend a detail than to cut a whole new garment and that means things are returned to our wardrobes quick smart. Sometimes the mending is to fix a detail in something I’ve made that is sub par – if you know what I mean! I always clean up my sewing room after the cyclone of sewing strikes. I have never been able to work in a messy room. I’m sewing mundane things for others at the moment, but after this I reckon I’ve done the unselfish sewing for this year – then it’s back to clothes for meeeeee!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I love your skirt and completely agree with your sew-jo principles. I’ve been following those same “rules” for a while now, and it definitely keeps me on track. Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - Am I the only person in the world that doesn’t know what “sew-jo” means?ReplyCancel

  • lisa g. - I’m just the same way! I find it so hard to accomplish anything when my sewing room is a mess. Love the skirt, what a great color!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I just keep sewing and sewing. If I stop, it is hard to start again. Also, I try to do an easy project after a hard one. Love the skirt and blouse.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Ooh, that aqua hollyburn is gorgeous! I’ve been using Trello to keep my sew-jo alive. It’s great! I can add pics of inspiration garments AND keep my to-do list at hand (so I don’t get too distracted by shiny new patterns). :-)ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - How stinking cute are you?! I love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Carole - Love your skirt,great colour on you. Just wanted to thank you for your recent tutorial on curved wristbands. It was like one of those lightbulb moments for me. I could never quite understand why skirts (me made or RTW) were never fit quite right around the waist. I have used it to make myself a Hollyburn and adapt a trouser pattern. Love your blog and your makes. Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - I love the color! You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - Love it! Have to make a hollyburn. I have the Lonsdale dress, probably that is in the TNT category? (Pattern sitting around, nothing made from it?) No idea what you mean by TNT but it is in the realm of a dream, with fabric and a pattern but not cut out, sewn, or finished? Tri Nitro Toluene?

    I love the turquoise! And the polka dotted tights to match the shirt, wow!

    And great blurb about you in the recent Vogue Magazine. Time for you to do another Craftsy Class.ReplyCancel

    • Crystal - TNT is short for Tried N True. Something you turn to over and over. So if you have a pattern that you know you can just pull out and make up successfully because all the pattern alterations are done and you know it will fit just right, you have a TNT pattern. For me, I’d call my Hudson Pants a TNT. I’ve made 5 of them. I also have a princess seamed sheath dress that I think I can call TNT.ReplyCancel

  • Kaitlyn - This skirt is such a brilliant colour. I am about to start sewing again after a few months hiatus, thinking of which TNT dress pattern to use first before diving into the new patterns I want to sew. And yes about tidying up. Just moved to a much smaller place, will not be able to take over entire room with sewing anymoreReplyCancel

  • Liza Jane - The color is so, so pretty. I’ve never made a sewaholic pattern but I’ve always admired this one. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Griffin - I’m also a big fan of no UFOs, clean the mess and do an easy project when I’m tired!! Even just a quick set of pjs helps me get back into the mood!

    I hang my skirt parts once they are cut, then I sew from the top of the skirt down on all seams. Since I rarely have time to cut and sew in a day, most of the hem hangs out wonky *before* it’s sewn. Lazy bum that I am, I just even out the skirt to my normal 1+1/2+ to the back vs. front and call it good. Just makes it easier!ReplyCancel

  • Alison Esther - Finishing a garment for a specific event is the trick to finishing UFOs, I’ve learned. I had a dress three quarters of the way done for a whole year. I finally finished it so I could wear it to my engagement party. I finally finished a shift dress that had been sitting around for two years so I could wear to my bridal shower.ReplyCancel

    • Alison Esther - Ok, so I look like I was just going on a whole bragging spree about getting married. What I mean is that, “Hey, I could totally wear this dress to that event next month” = motivation to finish. I’m telling ya, it works.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - I love this skirt and your button up! Your TNT list sounds perfect to me. I find button up shirts and jeans to boost my sewjo – I don’t know why, but they are both super satisfying to me. TNTs always help too.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Great skirt design, but what I really love is the quirky styling. Bright blue, leopard print and polka dots – sound insane but it works!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - love the sew-jo title, (and your boots look so well with that skirt). i am currently doing a ‘pet project’ where i am making an item a week, I got a bit overwhelmed last december as I could not keep up with all i wanted to make, so i listed what i wanted to do, and divided into colour and now working in 4 week blocks to keep my focus. i also make myself finish an item or get to near finished if its a lost cause and i will still try to rescue or fix it later (fully tacked hem and waistband is near-finished btw ) as its far too easy to get into a habit of moving onto the next thingReplyCancel

  • Janey D - I am so glad to read that other people have to have a tidy sewing room. I hate having to spend time looking for things I need. Sewing is a new hobby so as yet I don’t have any TNT patterns, I am hoping making simple things for the sewing room will restore any lost sewjo. I’m sure i’ll need it after binding the whole of my wrap around dress in satin bias tape. I completely agree with Alison’s comments that an occaision gives you motivation. I have been putting off making the bias tape (all 7 yards of it) but after signing up for an Australian Sewing Guild industry day where everyone wears their own creations I had the extra incentive to get on with it.ReplyCancel

  • Kriston - love your whole outfit! And I think I need to follow some of your sew Jo boosting activities!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - Usually, I can leave my current project on my dress form next to my desk and feel motivated to complete it, but lately I’ve been moving on to something else before things get done. I’m trying to correct that this week and knock out two “current” items before moving on.

    Blog reading helps kick start the sew-jo, but you have to be careful, or like you say, you never get past the planning (and often purchasing) stage.

    Much of my stash fabric is in my office closet. As it has no doors, I can sit at my desk while working during the day gazing at all the pretties and daydreaming. After joining the Stashbusting group in January, I logged all my fabric and patterns into Evernote Notebooks so that I can browse them like my very own personal FREE online shop. It’s working because…well, see my first paragraph for proof!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Thanks for sharing! Since My husband and I downsized, I no longer have a sewing room. Now I sew in a guest bedroom and all my sewing “stuff” (pattern, instructions, sewing machine booklet, fabric, etc) end up on the bed and on my sewing table (loose pins, measuring tape, scissors, pin cushions, thread). So I walk in and tell myself to put away 10 things. I do and it relieves some of the unneeded stress I feel when I walk into a messy room. I enjoy reading everybody’s ideas and thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Petite Josette - I love this outfit, so colorful!
    I can’t afford to make a mess, I sew on my dining room table, so whatever comes out must be put away when the seing is done – that’s another kind of sew-jo kill as sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to get everything out again.
    I’m a total list nerd. I have no less than 4 lis apps on my phone. One is for sewing. I have categories like “next projects” “next season”, “shopping list” (an important one!!), “mending”… I use Trello for this, it’s great cause you can add images, etc…kind of like a private pinterest…
    When I don’t have time to sew, I look at my lists and dream about what I could be sewing… like I said, list nerd, but it certainly does keep the sew-jo going!ReplyCancel

  • Nathalie - My sew-jo is always high at the end of het winter. When it is still cold outside but it makes sense to sew clothes for spring. When the weather is nice enough to wear the clothes I have made it is nicer to spend time outside.ReplyCancel

  • Em - Mr. Bennet reference, hurrah!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I would never have thought to pair navy and white polka dots with turquoise and leopard, but it looks awesome! You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Cleaning up the sewing area is a must-do! I get so confused if everything is messy and I’m still in the middle of some project that I’m having a hard time finishing. When I am losing sew-jo I work on a pattern drafting project because drafting really stimulates me. Anyway, I love your Hollyburn skirts. It’s so great to find something that just works, ya know?ReplyCancel

  • Reana Louise - Oh man, that colour! All of it is just delicious!ReplyCancel

  • joen - Finishing a hard sewing project is tough to rebound after. I do usually try a craft project or a TNT pattern. I did organize my patterns by category during our last snow storm – and put all my TNT patterns together labeled. I do need to get a few more TNT’s – you have a great collection of TNTs! I need to get better at cleaning up before jumping into my next project too.ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - love the skirt and pics! Did you line the skirt? Thanks for reminding me I should clean up;)ReplyCancel

  • denim jeans - I love your skirt and completely agree with your sew-jo principles.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - OK, I now have my Hollyburn pattern and am excited to try it. And I like the idea of the contoured waistband, but I notice on Sunni’s body, it looks like the waistband is about 1.5″ below what I would consider my “waist”. And, I am more round than Sunni, so while the hips will fit, the waist is too small. So, I might make my #1 Hollyburn like the pattern shows, with a regular waistline and straight band, just so I can get the waist/hip sizing figured out before I try to be creative with the curved band. Skirts are cooler in the summer, so I need to get sewing!

    How about a GLOSSARY on this blog? Sewjo? TNT? UFO (UnFinished Objects)

    And, it’s the weekend, a good time to sew!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think this is a great idea! When I did the contoured waistband tutorial, it was meant as a solution for those who might find that the straight waistband didn’t flatter them as much as they would like. Sometimes it’s not for everyone, it’s just a trick if you find you could use a little contouring in that area.

      Awesome idea for the glossary! I will get right on that! Thanks for the tip Judi!ReplyCancel

Cands-1

This is one of my first pattern hacks for my beloved McCall’s 6649 (sadly out of print now, boo hoo, but you could achieve the same look with the Sewaholic Granville!). Nothing really major here. I extended the back yoke into a front yoke and then took the bust dart and turned them into shoulder gathers. If you’re interested, I’m posting these pattern hacks and several other mini tutorials on my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I love tips and so I thought you might like some of my tips here and there for various things that I’m working on at the moment.

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Anyway, this shirt. For the next round, I’m thinking that I would increase the shoulder gathers a bit. There’s just not enough gathering for my taste, but outside of that, I love this shirt. It’s made from that new Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze. Sheesh, these guys are doing some really really really fun and exciting things.

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This fabric is fairly interesting. If you love linen for its soft wrinkles then you’ll love cotton double gauze for the very same reason. I happen to adore this feature in linen and so double gauze is a natural for me. When Cotton & Steel announced that they were going to do double gauze (and then later announced that they were going to do rayon challis!!!!) I was all sorts of excited. Quickly bought up a stitch and decided that this couldn’t sit in the stash for an age. Feels good to be using fabric – and wearing it! Ha ha!

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Long ago, I brought up this fun topic. What do you think of sewing clothing from quilting cotton? While this double gauze is technically not a typical quilting cotton, it is manufactured by a quilting cotton company. I have to admit that I feel that if you confine yourself to only using quilting cottons for garments you are seriously missing out on a whole world of fabric that’s available to you – even for quilting! Like seriously. Wools, silks, rayons, linens, different types of cotton – besides quilting – and then there’s a whole world of knits, not to mention all the different weaves and such from all of the different fabrics.

I’m really, really glad to see many of the quilting cotton manufacturers venturing beyond the plain weave quilting cotton, getting into voiles, lawns and even rayon challis. Very exciting. I’m hoping we see more exciting things come from them in the future. Wouldn’t you agree?

Well, if you’re already sick of seeing my McCall’s 6649, well, that’s just too bad. I’ve already made 2 more that I haven’t blogged and then I’m planning on more and more and more! Ha ha! I’ll try to keep it interesting by showing you all my future pattern hacks. I’ve got SOOOOOOOOO many for this pattern. Now, off to cut more button-ups. Hurrah for the button-up TNT (tried and true pattern).

  • Alethia - Great top! I love your modifications to this pattern. and, that fabric is gorgeous, never would have thought it was a double gauze! As a matter of fact, I think this is the first time that I’ve heard of “double” gauze. You look great!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Not a fan of quilting cotton for garments. I love double gaze though, so comfy to wear.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I will admit to occasionally using a quilting-type cotton for a garment, as long as the style is right for it. They just have such fun colors and prints! So I for one am quite happy that the manufacturers are branching out into different types of fashion fabrics. I’m also looking forward to seeing what other ways you modify a button-down. I recently purchased the Granville, since I actually didn’t have a classic button-down shirt pattern on hand, and I have a feeling I’m going to be sewing that type of shirt for awhile since I’m going to need easy nursing access! So variations on a basic pattern are good. :)ReplyCancel

  • sallie - This is fantastic! I love the pattern hack – a forward yoke with shoulder gathers is one of my favorite details in shirts. And it works beautifully in this fun, feminine, and bright print. I love double gauze, it’s so comfy and soft! I can only imagine that this shirt is a delight to wear!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - It’s one of my favorite details too – alas, I’ve never actually had a shirt with these details! Here I come silk shirts! Ha ha! Finally!ReplyCancel

  • Juliana @ Urban Simplicity - That is really cute!

    As for quilting cotton, I use it and vintage feedsack almost exclusively, because every time I try a different type of cotton fabric, I have a massive sewing fail. I’ve found that premium quilting cotton has a decent drape and nice hand to it. My main complaint about nearly every other type of plain woven cotton I’ve tried is that it is just tissue thin or it has terrible drape. I wish the fabric companies would make something similar to percale (but I’ve not found it, at least not in a 100% cotton) or feedsack. I have some vintage percale from the 1950s that I’ve sewn with and it is quite nice. I like wools and have sewn a bit with corduroy (which did work out well) but the expense of wool is a little off-putting, given my budget for these sorts of things. I’m all for spending money on quality garments that will last, but I’m still learning a lot about fitting and so forth, and I can never be sure that a garment is going to come out properly even if I make a muslin. I feel less devastated by a $30 wadder than I would be by a $75 wadder.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh yes. When you start venturing away from quiliting cottons, the expense of fabric is astonishing. I completely understand! Cotton is so versatile too. It’s a classic!ReplyCancel

  • Joen - I just ordered the Sewaholic Granville and am hoping to sew up my first attempt this weekend. I really would love to have a TNT button-up. I am seeing some beautiful cotton lawn fabric’s out there that I would love to use once I perfect my TNT!! Button holes and button ups was on my 2015 list of things to conquer – so any tips on this subject is greatly appreciate (i.e. best interfacing to use when making buttonholes, etc)! Keep those button ups coming!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’m really beginning to feel that the best interfacing for button-up shirts is David Coffin’s suggestion for bleached muslin. Really. It works beautifully with so many different fabrics and when you use the gluestick trick to baste it on, it doesn’t leave you with a big mess after the first wash.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - I love you patter hack. My first encounter with sewing started with quilter cotton then into other fabrics. I am glad I did. Keep those shirts coming I learn so much thank you. To bad I don’t live near by to take a class. I would totally take the shirt one.ReplyCancel

  • Stephani - I’ve used some quilting cotton for simple dresses in the past. But that was when I was just getting back into sewing and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things that might not work out. I LOOOOVE that some quilting cotton companies are branching out into different fibers and weights. Rayon challis is my all-time favorite fabric for summer, but sometimes the prints available are just too childish or plain or just blah. I love Amy Butler’s line. Can’t wait to see what Cotton + Steel release! And Art Gallery Fabrics’ quilting cottons are actually poplin, which makes them really great for some garments.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Really? I had no idea the Art Gallery quilting cottons were poplins. Now that I might just have to try!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I adore this shirt!! That print is fantastic and I love the modifications you made. Cotton&Steel can do no wrong in my eyes. The quilting industry is surprisingly versatile and has A TON of different substrates besides plain old quilting cotton. Linen, rayon, knits, voile, lawn, denims, stretch denim, corduroy, faux suede, flannel, double gauze, canvas, twill, silk blends, etc etc etc. For the type of sewing I like to do, and the types of prints I love, there’s no reason for me to look outside the quilt industry so I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This is crazy! Several of the substrates you mention here I haven’t yet seen! Where are they? I agree that they are becoming more versatile and the quilting industry is doing some really fun things. It’s great to see! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more!ReplyCancel

  • Helen Peemoeller - I have made garments from quilting fabric, although I use all sorts of fibers. But I do understand that some people will never use quilting cotton. But why? Of course some people live far from any fabric store except one dedicated to quilting, so they may feel that they have little choice except to use quilting cotton. But the reverse seems odd to me; even if you have good garment fabric available, why not use quilting fabric for some garments?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - It’s a good question. I personally have found that quilting cotton eases very poorly – like in the case of setting in a sleeve. Just has so many puckers, akin to muslin. And then I’ve also found that while the prints can be amazingly awesome, I can get too carried away and pick the print that makes me look like a looney-toon. I usually tend to steer clear from the quilting cotton shops or sections because I know I’ll pick a bad print. But then again, sometimes that won’t even stop me. These lovely new Art Gallery and Cotton and Steel prints are so awesome! I just can’t resist!ReplyCancel

  • Lady ID - Double gauze sounds right up my alley. This is a very cute top – I need some button ups. And the shoulder gathers are a lovely detail.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I love this blouse and the look of the gauze. I have some Art Gallery to try in a blouse and it feels great.ReplyCancel

  • ewa - Lovely top. The pattern’s great itself but done in this fabric looks really gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Great pattern changes, and great timing, I have been thinking about making a shirt with gathers from the shoulder so thanks!ReplyCancel

  • True Bias - I love it. I am also a big fan of double gauze. i generally stay clear of quilting cottons for garment sewing, but like you said double gauze has the illusion of linen and has a decent drape. yay for tnt patterns too!ReplyCancel

  • eimear - stunning colour – it looks so well on you, and i totally get when a pattern works for you it works – i have just finished 2 versions of same skirt…………ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - What a beautiful shirt Sunni! I adore the color and shoulder gathers. I tend to shy away from button-up shirts because I get the gappies. I wear a full C-D cup and I’m fuller on the sides…to the point that bandeau swim tops are an absolute must because I fall out of every other style in the center or underneath. It seems that if I make a shirt big enough not to gap, then the sides or back of the shirt are like a tent. Heaven forbid the pattern has sleeves to alter an armseye as well. I really struggle with this fitting issue.

    Quilting cottons for clothing? Not so much. 1. They wrinkle HORRIBLY in the wash; and 2. They are dense and don’t breathe well in this humid southern heat I live in (most of the year but not lately!)ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - This is a beautiful shirt, and the color looks amazing on you! Double gauze is such a great fabric, but it’s been ages since I’ve used it. Itching to try it again!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - This looks great on you! I love the color, too. I’ve used many a quilting cotton in the basic fit-and-flare vintage style dresses I love, as they’re quite well suited for that. But not so much for other things I want to sew, usually. This year I’m more interested in sewing separates, and trying to come up with fabrics I want to sew blouses in and will wear is frustrating. I’m finishing up a simple top on C+S lawn which is a lovely fabric. I’m really excited that some of these companies are trying out other fabrics. What I’ve always wished was that there was some magical equivalent of the weight of cotton used on the majority of my cotton vintage dresses/blouses/etc. A bit heavier than lawn (with no chances of being sheer), but nowhere near a quilting weight. Just perfect for garments. Sigh.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I hear you Tasha! I just picked up a vintage piece of gingham and am shocked that it’s soft, a little flowy and also the perfect weight for a shirt or dress.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - How could we be sick of seeing lovely fabric combinations? You’ve reminded me that I prefer a mandarin stand collar on blouses.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Parrott - I love everything about your top! Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - This is super cute! I love the little detail with the floral fabric. I love when you get a pattern perfect and you can keep making new looks with it!
    I love your blog by the way. I have visited it for years and don’t ever leave a comment. I have learned a lot and enjoy seeing what you create. Felt like I should finally thank you for the time you take for this!ReplyCancel