Goodbye Davis!


This is my last post from Davis CA before I head back to Israel after 3 years. I still need to sell my sewing machine and I am not happy about it.

I finished another pair of pants (McCall’s M9113) that I am happy about, with a super colorful flower prints. This time I added back pockets, based on the Granville ones. They are always fun to make.

I also made this light pink knit dress (McCall’s M9116). I cut a size 14 and 18, and it was huge! I eventually almost completely just modified it, which was easy, given it is knit…I tried to iron a hemming tape, but it ended up all wrong and I just wanted to be done with this dress. It was supposed to be simple, but due to errors I made and the sizing issue was a little too much work for such a simple project. The gathering in the back is cute, but I am not a fan of the shoulders gathering. Also, the collar  looks a little off, and I prefer the Renfrew collar.


Très facile pants


So I took time off from the Thurlow trousers and tried the ‘Très facile’ Simplicity M9113. It started from a visit to Walmart, that ended up with a few patterns and some interesting prints that I couldn’t resist. The result: comfortable and useful pants that I will probably use for work again and again, and a pattern that I will use forever.

I’ve cut a size 18, and then adjusted it a lot in the waist and side seam, and added darts in the back. It was much easier than trying to fit the tissue ahead of time. Already have the fabric for the next one, but will add pockets! I should make some Renfrew tops to go along with it!

The Dress(es).


I hardly wear Dresses. Sometimes going out, and back home while visiting my in-laws and going to synagogue, But still, I made about four lately. I bought two patterns: The Dahlia dress by Colette and Sandra dress by Salme. Basically, my main issue with any dress is that I usually need to merge two sizes together.

The Daliha first version was made with a beautiful fabric I found at Walmart, with a contrast green yoke from Walmart reduced priced section (how low can I get?). I put a lot of effort on fitting the yoke right, and it paid off, but I still had some problems. First, I cut a size too big, so I had to make it narrower here and there. It also had a few issues that many people complained about around the neck opening being too wide or doesn’t sit right. The second time I tried to do an SBA AND made it a size smaller. It ended up being even wider around the neck, and hard to get in it. I think I will try again once I find a suitable fabric that will scream “D-A-H-L-I-A” but by then I should fix the pattern to a regular size 6. One hesitation though. I suspect that this kind of pattern is not right for me. It hides my waists, which I shouldn’t hide and put emphasis on my small bust. I’ll see with next change…

The Sandra also started with some cheap but beautiful fabric, but I don’t remember where I got it. The pattern doesn’t include the seam allowance, and the first time I added 5mm everywhere, but some places asked for more. It fitted nicely, until I bent over for my shoe one day and heard it ripping in the center back… didn’t fix it just yet.


The second time I tried to make into a top, but it ended so poorly, that I rather no talk about it. It involved me making alterations and forgetting the seam allowance.

For the third time I made it, I prepared the pattern again adding the proper seam allowance everywhere it is needed. And viola, it was a much better fit. It was made out of more fabric from my Mom’s friend fabrics. It was very pale peach, and I would have never gotten it myself. I made the yoke from a light pink fabric to add some color next to my face. I considered not adding the sleeve as it looked good without them but chose to add them after all. Sleeves will make the dress more useful while visiting my in-laws on Shabbat and going to the synagogue with them. However, as I suspected, it looked nicer sleeveless. This pattern is more flattering to my body type as it put emphasis on my waist. I should try and eliminate the little “belly” it adds me, but overall it is a good pattern for an elegant and fitted dress that I am likely to make again someday.

As I wrote, I have my eyes set on those: Moneta Harwood,  and Anna. The last one is the type that I just love but will wear once a year at best…the first two I might wear to work so…

Let’s get to the button of this – the button down shirt: Granville


Oh, how I love the Granville. It fit great, no alteration needed.

The first one was a long sleeve version, with tons of errors around the collar stand and the cuffs. The second and forth are sleeveless, that fit the summer in Davis, (and in Israel) and I wear the, all the time. The second have mid length sleeves that end with simple cuffs. It also doesn’t have a collar, just the stand.

made the last 3 from simple and classic shirting fabric from Joann, which makes them suitable for the washer and dryer. However, it means that I should finish the seam better since it didn’t really survive. Since the pattern is so good, next time I will try a French seam. Also, it will be fun to try with floral prints. Finally, I need to practice the collar stand positioning to get it right.

“What? You sewed it?” – My first knit shirt


I wasn’t planning to sew with knit. I was very happy with woven fabrics. But then a friend brought me her moms’ leftovers. It included about 2 yards of viscose knit with small flowers. It was time. I got the Renfrew top and made a combination between the views, as I made it with the short sleeves and with the collar. I’m very happy of the collar, there is something comforting about it and it fits even for the summer.  It also gives it a unique look, though I plan to make this pattern as a simple T as well.

I first made it with fabric I got at the thrift shop here in Davis. Though it is a little too warm for the summer. However, the second version, from the viscose knit, is (almost) PERFECT. It is a little too big, but I’m not sure if changed after wearing and washing or was it too big to begin with. The best part: My husband is gone a lot for work. When he was home I wore the Renfrew in the morning and asked “what do you think of my new shirt”. I don’t know I did that, he usually doesn’t care much. But he was truly surprised and asked: “what? You sewed it?” It was so much easier to get it look “right” with a knit.

My never ending battle Part 1 with the Thurlow trousers. Part 1 – (part 2 is still in work)


So after a few shirts, a jacket, and some dresses, I figured, well, why not making pants? It is after all the one thing that I REALY need to make for myself, as it is painful to go shopping for them. I’m almost never happy with what I find, and when I do, it is expensive (and then I get bleach stains on them, never mind). I

couldn’t make up my mind between the Thurlow and the Juniper. I chose with my heart and got the Sewholic pattern.

As I’m a stubborn rookie, I didn’t make a muslin, I just used super cheap fabric I found at a thrift store. But I spend too much time on the back pockets (spending some quality time with LLadybird) but the pants were far from wearable. I looked online, and the solution seemed simple – the crouch is too low. I was happy to alter the pattern and start again. But still no good. And then again. And again. 5 times I made it. The fifth pattern was so remote from the original…and almost wearable, and from such a cute fabric combination, that also matched the jacket, that I planned to wear for a conference …. but then I realized:

  • I can’t wear it to the conference, it is not good enough.
  • I should have altered those front pockets.
  • I should make muslin; no more spending time on back pockets (but I got really good at it!)
  • I should buy that book that everyone recommend ‘pants for real people’.

So I got the Pants for Real People, and before I even started, I learned the most exciting thing: I can (and should) iron the original tissue pattern! Wow. I never did that before. I usually I don’t cut my tissue patterns, but instead I copy the right size to a wax paper. This time I used parchment paper instead since I had a wider toll wider, and I can iron it (love it, ironing the pattern is so much fun).  Also, I found it refreshing that this book uses actual REAL people. I wish pattern designers will do it more often (yes, Colette, even you can improve).

Real people rock!

Real people rock!

I also thought “I should probably check the sizing table again”. And guess what, I’m an idiot.  My first 5 attempts were all with the wrong size! I cut an 8 instead of a 12. The only reason some of them were close-to-wearable is that I altered them so much. OK. I am a 12 and I can deal with it! So I copied and cut the size 12 pattern carefully. But when I tried the “tissue fitting” method, using the back, right front, waistbands and front pockets, I wasn’t so sure anymore. My beautiful copy of the pattern is all wrinkly right now, and I think I will need to add some extra fabric to the side seam, that will probably change everything else. I’m panicking! it will never happen!Here is the plan right now is:

  • Practice pants alternation with two old pairs that need some work anyway. As we Israelis say, “hard training, easy battle“ (it have no real grammar in Hebrew as well!)
  • To get a helper! This will not work if I try to fit myself on my own. (I should have taken a video of myself trying the tissue fit, alone, amusing).
  • To get some cheap fabric to make a muslin. Preferably plaid. Preferably an actual grid.
  • Make THE most perfect Thurlow trousers ever. And then duplicate at least 10 times, before I even consider another pant pattern.
  • Copy the altered and proven pattern.
  • Document the whole process (I saved 3 out of my 5 attempts for your amusement).