Cleo Skirt + Summer Showcase

I've had the pleasure of participating in the Summer Cleo Showcase by Rae of Made By Rae. Over the past week, a talented group of sewist have taken Rae's latest sewing pattern, the Cleo, and made it up in their choice of fabric. It's  been fun to see the different directions others have taken the pattern.

For my rendition, I chose a cotton lawn fabric -- a print by Lizzy House from her "Printmaking" collection.  I thought a lightweight lawn might give the skirt a breezy feel, perfect for summer. 

This pattern is a quick make which I'm all about. I chose the longer length with side seam pockets. It features a flat waistband in the front and an elastic waistband in the back which adds to the comfort factor of this skirt. 

Others have been posting their creations all week so if you'd like to take a look at the rest of the showcase, see the links below..

July 31:
vicky / @sewvee /
erin / @hungiegungie /
natalie / @sewhungryhippie / hungryhippie sews
teri / @teridodds1 / fa sew la

August 1:
tori / @thedoingthingsblog /
lindsay / @lindsayinstitches
meredith / @thefooshe /
kate / @kate.english

August 2:
melissa / @ahappystitch /
julie / @nursebean82 /
lauren / @laurenddesign /

August 3:
fleurine / @mariefleurine /
bettina / @stahlarbeit /
allie / @indie_sew /
darci / @darcialexis /
emily / @mycraftylittleself /

August 4:
whitney / @whitneydeal /
sienna  /@notaprimarycolor
amy nicole / @amynicolestudio /
kim / @pitykitty
kten / @jinxandgunner /

Latest Quilts

Here are a few of the latest quilts I've been working on...and actually finished!

I'm part of the Blue Ridge Modern Quilt Guild and each year we do a block of the month series. For my 2016 blocks, I decided to really frame each one out and build the blocks up into a pretty large quilt. I'm happy to have this one completed -- a year long block series plus a few months of finishing it up means this quilt has been in the making for some time!

My husband's cousin recently got married and so for her bridal shower gift, I decided to make her a throw-sized quilt. I've been interested in making this triangle quilt for sometime so this was a good opportunity to try it out. 

And lastly, when I saw the Alice in Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co., I knew I wanted to make something with it. Instead of buying yardage, I bought 10" square precuts of the entire collection. Inspired by the Mad Hatter's tea party in the story, I went with the "Broken Dishes" block and used up every precut in my pack!

This is the largest quilt I've ever made. I'm using it on a queen-size bed, however, I added length on all sides for shrinkage and ample drape. AND I also quilted this myself on the longarm quilting machine!

Glory Tee Hack x 2

I recently came across two opportunities to hack my Glory Tee pattern. First, I noticed a shirt of similar design that my mom was getting ready to toss because it didn't fit her quite right. It was a short-sleeved tee with a peplum bottom -- JUST like the Glory Tee. I asked her if I could have it to work a little magic on. 

I decided to use the size 5 pattern to make a shirt for my daughter. I started with the sleeves and used the existing sleeve (with hem included) to cut the size 5 sleeve out of. 

Moving on to the front and back bodice -- I folded the front of the shirt approximately on its center front then placed my pattern piece accordingly. I wanted to keep the already completed peplum so I budded the bottom of the pattern piece with the beginning of the peplum.

With the remaining fabric from the shirt, I cut the neckband out.

The steps to put the tee together were a little different considering the hems were already complete -- but it all worked up pretty quickly! And here's a little before and after..

For the second Glory Tee hack, I did a simple extension to the peplum. By adding around 11-12 inches to the already rectangular peplum pattern, the tee became a dress. Fabric found here

Road Trip Case

After finishing up my Maker's Tote, I decided to make my daughters matching "Road Trip Cases" (by Noodlehead) for our upcoming vacation. I'm very jealous of the results -- I want my own! I had to hide these cases while I was making them because my girls wanted them so badly. I successfully finished them up and stocked them full of crayons/papers/stickers before our first road trip.

This was my first time sewing with vinyl (for the clear pocket) and it was definitely a learning curve. I used tissue paper because it kept sticking to my sewing machine. But after a few times, I finally got the hang of it.

Fabric is a mix of Cotton & Steel, Cloud 9, and Art Gallery Fabrics.

Blueberry Dress

I'm calling this my blueberry dress because I experimented with using natural dye (blueberries) to get this nice light lavender color. I made a few stitches through the yardage hoping to get resist, but ultimately failed. However, I opted to screen print white shapes to add some extra interest to the fabric.

I had a couple of summer weddings to attend this summer and the initial idea for this dress was to draft a comfortable, cotton dress to wear to those events. It's fully lined with pockets. I'm very happy with how the pattern itself turned out. From the tank bodice, low-scoop back, and midi length -- it's perfect.

Mountain Gems Improv Quilt

We've lived in our current house for just over a year and while I love our new home, I have this problem in our master bedroom -- there's no window! The room was intended to be a "media" room so the previous owners boxed in the window to create that dark cinema feeling. Our goal is to eventually put a window back in; but until then, I decided to create a large, light-colored quilted wall hanging as a place holder.

This is an improv quilt -- I simply started sewing together a series of fabrics I enjoyed and let the quilt develop on its own. The fabric is a combination of quilting cotton, double gauze, and linen. I titled it "Mountain Gems" because of the shapes and composition. 

After my first trip to Quiltcon 2017, I was inspired to experiment with my quilting. I quilted certain sections really tight, used different color threads, and incorporated hand quilting.

Ryan Top Dress Hack

After a few others took the Ryan Top and lengthened it into a dress, I knew I needed to do the same. I'm in love. The Ryan Top is generally a super quick sew thanks to the lack of set-in sleeves and minimal pattern pieces  -- but now as a dress..I'm excited for the possibilities! 

My first experiment with the hack was with a cotton lawn by Liberty of London. By simply adding a few inches to the hem, I had a Ryan Dress!

Typically when you alter length in a sewing pattern, you see the pattern adjustment line somewhere around the waist line. But because this dress has a square and straight hem, I went the lazy route and just added around 12" straight down from the hem, following the line of the side seam. I found that 12" was a little long, BUT really liked the look of a deep 2-3" hem. 

After the success of the first hack, I quickly decided to do another. This time, I went with a gray double gauze fabric from my mom's shop. SO, so happy with this one. Sometimes a fabric is just made for a sewing pattern.

I'm thinking linen and maybe a chambray version next. I'm interested in adding in-seam pockets and maybe even patch pockets to the front. We'll see!

Baby Bloomers Tips & Tricks

The baby bloomers pattern has been one of my most popular sewing patterns. It is super quick to sew up and is a good project for beginners. I cannot begin to guess how many pairs I've made for my girls and for gifts. Over the years I've received questions from sewers and I thought I would compile answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions here...

1. Cutting - There is one pattern piece that you cut two pieces from. Make sure those pieces are mirror images. I prefer to take my fabric and place it wrong sides together and cut two at the same time. Don't forget your notches.

2. Pattern Adjustment -- The waistband for this pattern is straight across for the front and the back; however, I know that some babies have larger diapers causing the back to not cover completely. A simple pattern adjustment can fix this problem. Add approximately 1" to the back of the waistband, sloping it down toward the front

3. Elastic - While the pattern does have recommended elastic measurements, I think it is a best practice to measure the child's thighs and waist prior to inserting elastic. My rule is to take the waist measurement (or thigh) and subtract approximately 1" for a comfortable fit.

4. Waistband - For an added professional finish and to secure the elastic, I often add a row of stitching to the middle of the elastic waistband. I start by bringing the finished bloomers to the machine not stretched....

Now stretch the elastic so that the fabric is no longer crinkled along the waistband. This requires a steady hand and a little bit of practice. Stitch right down the middle of the elastic around the entire waistband. If this is not your cup to tea -- you could also secure the waistband at each side seam with a small stitch or you could opt for the stretch stitch function on your sewing machine.

Maker's Tote

I bought the Maker's Tote pattern from Anna of Noodlehead awhile ago but didn't get my things together to make it until recently. I wish I hadn't of waited so long because I love this little bag! I'll be honest and say that bags are typically not my specialty. That's probably because of the odd sewing angles and specialty notions that I don't keep on hand. But I'm happy to report that this bag sewed up nicely and I'm very pleased with the results -- enough so that I'm already eyeing my next bag project.

Fabric is a mix of Cotton & Steel, Carolyn Friedlander, and things I've had in my stash for ages.

Mercer Tunic in Navy Windowpane

When I spotted this navy windowpane fabric on Indiesew's website, I knew I needed to snatch it and make myself a garment. I went with the Mercer tunic because I thought the fabric (which is a rayon crepe) would drape well with this pattern and make a nice breezy, summer top. I'm very happy with how it turned out!

I'll be honest and say that I did not plan for my placket to line up. As much as I love to sew and try to take my time, matching plaids/side seams/etc... is not often on my radar. But looky-looky, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much that center front buttonhole placket ended up fitting right in.

I recommend checking out the fabric selection over at Indiesew. Allie does a great job of sourcing apparel fabrics and that can give you a sense of security when ordering fabric online.

This mercer tunic is pretty much following straight from the pattern. I left the bias binding visible on the armhole and neckline to break the print up (since it is cut on the diagonal). I'm excited to get this Mercer tunic into my wardrobe rotation!


Mini Quilts

When I started quilting close to three years ago, I pretty much had no clue what I was doing. My mom and her fabric store were a good jumping off point, but it took time just piecing fabric together to really get started. I stumbled across this mini quilt club and felt it would be a helpful way to learn to piece a variety of blocks. Fast forward to 2017 and I still had several of those mini quilt tops pieced but not quilted. So, I've been working my way through my stack and finishing each one...

Glea Dress - Variation

With all of these midi dresses popping up, I knew I needed to do a Glea variation with a lengthened hem line. I added close to 10" to the length of the dress which also increased the amount of buttons needed for the center front.

I altered the side seams to have a deep slit -- this helps with walking and gives the dress more movement. When I was sewing it all together I liked the idea of going sleeveless, so I omitted the sleeves, took about 1/2" off the armhole, and added bias binding. You'll notice a contrast binding tape, I already had some cut from a previous project -- so why not use it. 


An additional modification that I made was adding pockets to the side seams. They are not exceptionally large, but enough to carry keys or other small essentials. Then topped it all off with a matching waist tie.

Fabric is Euclid (linen/cotton blend) by Carolyn Friedlander.


I feel as though I am becoming reacquainted with an old friend, we're both a bit older and a tad bit wiser. I started blogging in 2007 under the name "Darling Dexter" and it was a good ride. I learned so much about myself, creative process, and life's adventures. I decided to take some time off from having an internet presence to clear my head and focus on my family. However, after some much needed time away, I missed being able to share an in-depth look at my design process and creations. So here we's nice to see you again.