Halloween Skater Dress

  • Pattern: Lady Skater, 3/4 sleeve, Kitschy Coo
  • Fabric: Cotton jersey from Joann
  • Modifications: Added pockets
  • Comments:  Can’t resist these Halloween prints. Accessorizes well with black cats!

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Green Velvet Top

  • Pattern: Kwik Sew K4026, view B (sort of)
  • Fabric: Green stretch velvet from Spandex House
  • Modifications: 
    • Omitted the skirt and extended the bodice (adding more waist shaping) to turn it into a top
    • Added a center back seam to give it a bit more shape
  • Comments:  I love the stretch velvet from Spandex House! The color doesn’t come through very well on my phone’s camera (and it clashes wit my teal dress form), but this is a beautiful pure, deep green. Kind of Christmassy.

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Minoru Raincoat

  • Pattern: Sewaholic Minoru, view A
  • Fabric: 2-ply Ultrex in black (main); Silkara in burgundy (lining), both from Seattle Fabrics
  • Modifications:
    • Added 6 pockets: 2 outer flap pockets + 4 inner zipper pockets
    • Converted the hood to a 3-piece hood (from these instructions)
    • Added a lining and facing to the hood
    • Shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches and made the cuffs flat
    • Made cuffs 2-piece–inner one interfaced and outer one not; understitching around the cuff opening helps it lie flat without topstitching that area (otherwise I attached the cuffs per the pattern instructions)
      • Side note: I don’t think interfacing is necessary for this fabric–I didn’t use it in the zipper plackets and they seem fine without it!
    • Finished the inner collar seams with my serger (otherwise the raw seams would have been exposed when the hood zipper is open)
    • Sealed all the shell seams with iron-on seam tape (I needed 10 yards for this jacket)
  • Comments:  I also wanted to add a facing under the zipper, but I had SUCH a tough time sewing through the Ultrex that I didn’t think either of my machines could make it through all those layers. Yes, my machines hated sewing the Ultrex! What a pain. I didn’t have wavy seams or slippage like other people reported, but as soon as more than 2 layers were being sewn (like in topstitching or where seams intersected or at the gathers around the collar) they would insist on skipping stitches. Argh! I tried a bunch of different needles and settings, yet still the problem happened; eventually I just gave up and accepted that my topstitching was going to look wonky. For the record, I had the most success with Microtex 60/8 needles.

The Silkara, on the other hand, was dead simple to sew and looks soooo nice. I may need to make something else with that as the main fabric!

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While I found the Minoru pattern generally pretty easy (the sewalong is also full of helpful hints) and fitting it is simple (ragalan sleeves! fitted at the waist with easily-adjustable elastic!), I wouldn’t use it for a raincoat again. This is mainly because of the gathers at the collar; they were very hard to handle with the waterproof fabric and now that I’ve had to go over that seam several times I’m a bit concerned with how waterproof it will be. The pattern would make a nice medium-weight jacket in canvas or light wool, though!

I do think it’s a bit silly that the only pockets included in the pattern are little velcro patch pockets on the inside. I guess the designer was probably trying to keep the jacket as simple as possible? In that vein, if you’re thinking of making your own version, there are lots of ways to jazz it up that many people have already done–for example:

  • Three-piece hood
  • Hood lining and/or facing
  • Storm flaps
  • Drawstring for hood
  • Drawstring in place of elastic for waist
  • And of course lots of options for pockets (I really wanted to do cargo pockets on the outside, but once I realized my fabric wouldn’t press and I was having so much trouble with topstitching, I decided to do flat patch pockets. Zipper welt pockets probably would’ve been better, but by the time I got to that step I didn’t want to wait for specially ordered zippers so I just forged ahead, haha)

I read a lot of other people’s project details before starting mine, and a lot of advice on sewing with waterproof fabric. Thanks to all the bloggers who detailed their modifications; that made it easy to adapt them to my own.

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Someone posted that if you’re embarking on making a raincoat, you just need to accept that it’ll probably cost more than something off-the-rack AND it won’t be perfect. While I’m overall happy with this jacket, there are two ways it’s not ideal: it’s a little snugger than I’d like (especially in the upper arms–not usually an issue for me) and the topstitching is frankly awful. But I can still get it on over my fleece jacket, and luckily the topstitching is nearly invisible unless you get up way too close. 🙂 Plus, it fits much better than anything off-the-rack that I’ve tried! So I’m at peace with it.

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Halloween Pillowcase

  • Pattern: Magic Pillowcase (video tutorial here)
  • Fabric: quilting cotton (3 fabrics from the Patrick Lose Happy Halloween line)
  • Modifications: N/A
  • Comments:  Very satisfying to make, though the spiders in this fabric are giving me pause. I may need to make something else for actual use! (And it would be really nice to have a matching duvet cover . . . hmm. . . .)

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Hidden Pocket Skirt

A zipper pocket on the inside! It’s at an angle because I anchored it to one of the side seams in addition to the waistband (originally it was loose, but that felt a little weird–I can only imagine it would be worse with something actually in the pocket). Just a convenient spot to stash your mad money/backup ID/credit cards/lightweight stolen goods/etc.!

Swiss Dot Gibson Girl Blouse

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  • Pattern: 205 Gibson Girl Blouse (Folkwear Patterns)
  • Fabric: Black Swiss dot cotton lawn (I think it came from Fashion Fabrics Club 5 years ago!); a very good choice for this pattern
  • Modifications: I cut out the pieces for View A (with lace insets), but then ended up with no insets and doing the ruffle and collar like in View B (using a black cotton eyelet trim). It’s unclear to me if there are any other differences between the two views. The cuffs are cut on the bias and the length is the “modern” length. I sewed down the placket in the back to the middle of my shoulder blades (since I was never going to unbutton it below there anyway) and just added snaps to close the top. This works well for putting it on and taking it off by myself! I also made the sleeve cuffs bigger since I mistakenly thought they’d end up around my elbows; I probably could’ve used the original size, though I don’t think they look outrageously loose.
  • Comments:  I might still some day add decorative buttons up the back; I like the look, but it’s very impractical for dressing yourself, haha. Would definitely make again!

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Halloween Yoga Mat Bag

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  • Pattern: DIY Yoga Mat Bag from Spoonflower
  • Fabric: Assorted quilting cottons (the striped one is part of the Tim Holtz Materialize line, but I don’t know about the other two, sorry!).
  • Modifications: Made the pocket a larger zipper pocket; used webbing for the strap and made it adjustable.
  • Comments: Fits my mat–nothing else to say, really! 😛

Black Leggings

  • Pattern: Jalie Clara leggings, view A, long
  • Fabric: interloc wicking (I think–it’s been in my stash for a while)
  • Modifications: Adjusted for size: I graded the waistband down 2 sizes from the hips. I also didn’t bother to hem them–just cut them off at the length I wanted.
  • Comments: Easy and comfy! I only wish there was an easy way to add pockets.

Wizard Library Bag

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  • Pattern: Date Night Purse, Dog Under My Desk
  • Fabric: Quilting Treasures Spellbound Library (outer); Tim Holtz Foundations Dictionary (lining)
  • Modifications: Instead of an attached strap, used tabs with D rings so the strap is removable (I just used the strap from my old bag). Converted the outer pocket to a zipper. Added an inner zip pocket.
  • Comments: Second Date Night bag! These are great patterns that yield very nice, professional results, but oof, my machine does not like trying to sew through all those layers. I adoooore the fabric and I’m kind of tempted to buy up some more yardage for future projects in case it disappears (right not it’s not too difficult to find on Etsy, but I don’t think it’s being produced anymore).