Spots Before My Eyes – Sewing Reboot

Hello friends, it’s me, Jen, from Let the Sewing Begin. I’m still around … and dare I say it … sewing. The Sewing has BegunTra la!

What has changed, pray tell, to create this new status?  I don’t know what it is exactly, but since retirement it’s been a struggle to keep myself going in any direction for any length of time. Yoga – still going, but sporadically. Sewing – mostly pondering and considering and  worrying about making mistakes. The smart me has always known how to make such decisions, but a dimmer version of me has been getting in the way recently. So now – up in the morning and dressed! Catch up on coffee and news (although the news would make anyone crazy these days). Yoga on yoga days, and sewing as soon as possible, whenever possible. And, this might be the key — a little spritz of Mama’s perfume cheers me and makes a good beginning to every day! Recently I’ve been buying patterns and fabrics – and I’m itching to cut into them.

First up, a muslin for the Grainline Farrow Dress in my lovely dotty material. This time, I set right to work. My first ever attempt at pattern tracing delivered a sturdy, reusable pattern! I laid out my muslin and cut the top, sleeve, and facing pieces. Shortage of muslin meant a second fabric was necessary for cutting out the bottom half. Color blocking! And it looks deliberate, doesn’t it?What have I learned through all this eager project undertaking? First of all, I love this pattern. It’s architectural and dramatic, and for my toile, the combination of yellow linen(ish) and plain muslin are so cool! Alas, the fit is somehow off. The pattern is designed to be very loose, but this seems so bulky and wide. I believe the problem lies in the differing fabrics for top and bottom. The yellow is quite heavy (3 layers) where the front pockets lie, which may be throwing off the fluidity. And by-the-way, can we talk about those pockets? The layout was confusing at first glance, but once the light bulb went off, they were easy to create. They just look so darn good, and are perfectly placed for me. The neckline is still unfaced and hem unhemmed, but it was enough to decide that the neckline and shoulders fit well and I’ll probably add an inch or so to the hem. The mismatched sleeves of course, were just to compare which length looks better. I’m leaning toward the short sleeve, as it seemed rather heavy and too-covered-up with the long one. What do you think? The decision might ultimately rest with the season when it’s completed. (And why such a glum face in these photos, for goodness sake)










I am planning to make a “real” Farrow using this color scheme or a similar one, most likely in linen. And creating the back side of pockets in a lighter weight cotton might be helpful. Another option would be a bold graphic print. (This pattern does remind me of the Eiffel Tower; I’m rather tempted to find an Eiffel Tower print….)

What all this is leading up to is that my soft, flowy fabric just did not feel right for this pattern. The Farrow deserves a nice bold substantial fabric, and the soft dots will be better with a more fluid pattern. So, my research has produced numerous results, and these are the two finalists: Simplicity 6340 or the Style Arc Lara Dress. Of those, I’ll probably choose the Lara. Any thoughts?

In the meantime, Jasmine watches snowy cat tv, and fabric waits patiently for the new pattern to come. It could all begin as early as tomorrow morning.

Keep watching this space for updates, and stitch on everyone!


Sewing along, singing a song……

Sewing is happening here, and the following is a little progress report. A little report on a little bit of progress. But, even small progress is progress, right? And I may or may not be singing along, and there just may be a curse now and again.

I’m excited to be working toward my #2017makenine goal, see post here. I’m combining four elements of my plan to create my first make; pajamas, tee shirt, pants and some fun printed knit fabric. The knit fabric was destined to be pjs – but I was unsettled on the pattern, and apprehensive about sewing with knits. On the advice of dear Ali, I’m using the printed fabric to make a muslin of my Shannon tee pattern. This will be the new pj’s top. I’ve purchased a solid black double knit for a muslin of the Hudson pant, which will be the pj’s bottom. Very soon I’ll have a great pair of comfy pj’s (or lounging about outfit), and know that two of my new pieces will fit! (Not certain where the jams will fit into the original plan……..perhaps they will be Number 10!)


How is it going? Well, the top fits! I’ve added 5 inches to the sleeves, and the sleeve bands are just right. The neckband? Not so perfect. I believe there is nearly an inch of extra fabric around the neckline than on the band. Good thing I elected to use the same fabric to make the bands instead of the black, as it has far less stretch.


After doing a little research, I tried steaming the neckline to shrink it, and that didn’t work. So as I see it, these are my options; stretch the band to fit the neckline, attach it as is and try to smooth out any gathers or bunches, or recut the neckband to fit (there is plenty of leftover fabric). Any advice?

Hoping to finish the top (a super simple pattern, that should have taken about an hour to sew) and cut out the pants this afternoon, if all goes as planned.

Stitch on, everyone!

Sunday Sevens – 8.28.16

Hi all, and welcome to today’s installation of Sunday Sevens, created by the lovely Natalie over at Threads and Bobbins. It’s a loosely-ruled challenge: just choose 7 (or so) pictures from your week, and post them on Sunday (or any other day). Check out her site, and think about joining in.

In no order whatsoever, here are a few snippets of my week.

New toy


Some people are easily excited by the most mundane things. I must be among that group of people, because I’m unnaturally thrilled with my new salad spinner.

Painting continues


My contribution will be the window facings and baseboards, when all the “messy” stuff is finished and cleaned up. I got off easy, wouldn’t you say?

So pretty


Haven’t had a cloud shot in some time, so here is dandy one for you.



So, why would anyone be lining up their needles and photographing them? Perhaps because one’s glasses prescription is outdated and one cannot read the fine print on the needles, thereby being unable to determine which is the proper choice for a particularly fine fabric without enlarging the picture. I’ve heard that can happen to someone….

A new hamburger joint in town


We tried a new place, and we were quite pleased. These three stooges gentlemen were apparently happy customers, too. (We did not eat any one-pounders.)



One of my nearly new tires was slashed. I don’t know where, or when, or how, but it went nearly to the cord. Spent an afternoon getting a new one. Grrrrrrr.

Cutting out


Oh look, progress! The muslin is finished, and the real fabric is now cut out and ready for stitching up.

More to come


And look, some new cloth bits.

That’s it for now, everyone. Hope your upcoming week is outstanding!





Social Media Caterpillar in the Sewing World

Well folks, I’ve been dipping ever-so-slowly into the world of social media, but I’ve not arrived at the butterfly stage just yet.

Facebook – check
Twitter – check
Instagram – check

Mastery of same – check, no check, no check. Curses.

Regarding Twitter [@jen_davismiller] and Instagram [ffynant], I’m still a caterpillar. So for those of you who have joined my sites, thank you, and my apologies for sporadic posts and unanswered (and unseen!) comments. I’m still working on it, and I’ve noticed something. It appears one has to use them regularly to learn them.

Did you see the light bulb moment coming? Learning anything is a little like mastering sewing, isn’t it? I’ve been hesitant with my sewing, in part because of reluctance to sew for my uncooperative waistline, and in part perhaps because of a reluctance to fail. But I must soldier on!

So I have begun two sewing projects;

What do you see in these swatches?

What can you see in these swatches?

they’re not garments but something simple, fun and guaranteed to give me a needed kick in the pants boost. I think you’ll like them.

And I’ll be posting them all throughout CyberVille! Surely my butterfly status is just around the corner.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden…

However, I did promise to start with a muslin for every new garment. And I’m following through. And, whew, am I a happy sewist for that!

Would you care to know why that makes me so happy? Well, it certainly isn’t because of this fabulous new top I have made from a navy blue twin bed sheet.



No, this version of Simplicity 8523 will never be worn, because …. well, it’s a sheet, and it is too small and too short. So obviously that isn’t what made me happy.

Let me set the stage for you. The intended fabric is a small piece, and requires some tricky maneuvering to accommodate all the pieces. And here is where my muslin comes into play, and the tiniest confession is in order. It was getting quite late, and after hand basting the darts, shoulder and side seams (more on that in next paragraph), I nearly opted to just turn the neckline under at the seamline instead of making the facings. It’s just a muslin after all – just to confirm the fit, after all. Common sense prevailed however, thank goodness, because I discovered a problem with the facings. Before sewing them together, I laid them out on the front and back pieces. Ack! Where are my front notches? Why is this back piece so round?? Yes, I had cut out the back facing from the wrong view! What if that had been my real fabric? Saints preserve!

~Why the hand sewn muslin? Well, there is so much construction dust floating around that Stella is tucked into her case, and will remain there until it’s safe to come out. (Soon!) And I could just sit anywhere out of the way to put it together. Hence the puckered stitching lines and loopy threads.~

In addition to the facing mishap, I discovered fit issues. Now, I’m sure the pattern in my size could be cut from the fabric by making the sleeveless version, using narrower seams, and possibly making facings from another fabric. Had I proceeded without the practice garment however, I would have a top that is too short and a little snug, with sleeves that are too short and too tight. So, my muslin saved my bacon. Or least my blouse!

Lest you think I’m prattling on about just any old cloth, this is my gorgeous Praline Honey Voile received from my StitchingSanta, Michelle, of Sewnhenge.

IMG_5665So I’m revising my plans, and here are the alternatives:  A) cut the larger size, and make it sleeveless, or B) hold on to it until the extra bagels and holiday treats have been eradicated so I can fit into the smaller size, which fits perfectly on the fabric.

What would you do?





Sunday Sevens – Week 61

Hello everyone! Today’s Sunday Sevens, created by Natalie of Threads and Bobbins, offers a few glimpses of my last week. These are bits of random fun that are not quite ready for their own post. Why not pop on over to Natalie’s site to see what Sunday Sevens is all about; it’s fun and anyone can join in.



Back at home for mama

My mom’s visit wrapped up with me spending a week with her in Sacramento, CA. We enjoyed lovely weather, including a very rainy day and night. Due to a long drought, Californians welcome any and all precipitation! My sister and many of her neighbors have converted their water guzzling lawns into drought resistant sanctuaries for birds, butterflies and bees.

The new California yard

Back at home for me

While the peak color show for fall foliage is waning, there are still many bright yellow leaves around the neighborhood. The sun shines through the tree outside my living room window bathing the entire room in gold, like a brilliant jeweled diorama created just for me.



Back at my sewing machine

Tried on my WIP again, and even with all the nice meals and treats of late, my skirt slides on (and immediately slides right off) even with the zipper closed. That’s a good thing, but necessitated two extra darts. I basted them in and voila – skirt stays up! Will just take a few minutes to sew the darts, then the waistband and hem are all that remain. Skirt is due for completion tonight! Finally.

Five darts!

Five darts!

Back to the blogs

No new books for me just at the moment, I have blogs to read! Spent a good deal of time reading the blogs I’ve missed over the past month. And Sheila of Sewchet has sent me a wonderful Secret Santa partner; the ideas are rolling…

Can you keep a secret?

Can you keep a secret?

Back to my mailbox

Barbara, of Zibergirl Sews had a giveaway…..and I was one of the recipients! What she calls a “token” arrived in my mailbox while I was away. I opened up the envelope to find an inner (very fancy) envelope, and this! An adorable little business card wallet. Black floral print on the outside, two different polka dots inside, lime green button loop, and a snazzy black button with green tint positioned right next to a big green flower. So cleverly done. Thank you, Barbara!


Sweet little purse

Back to the music stand

Some time back (probably a year or more) I mentioned to Mr. LTSB that I love the cello (I once was a flutist) and if I were to learn a new instrument, a cello it would be. Upon my return from CA, he ushered me into the living room where my birthday gift was waiting! What a thoughtful husband. My first lesson is tomorrow. Watch out YoYo Ma, here I come!

Yo Yo Jen?

Yo Yo Jen?

Back to the fabric store

We wandered into Joanne Fabrics and discovered a sale in progress…..Simplicity Patterns for $1.00; these were each originally $17.00! How could I pass it up? Found three that offered some possibilities…

Super sales are good....

Super sales are good….

So that was my week. Hope your last week was lovely and the next one will be even better!

Stitch on, everyone!