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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ category

Pregnancy and a move have conspired to keep me from being able to do much sewing.

I prefer skirts over pants for the most part.

Combine those two facts with the fact that finding maternity skirts is almost impossible, and, well, I have a problem. Especially since I have a rather high standard of modesty.

So I found this really nice skirt at Deseret Industries for $5, but it had a back slit that went up to just above my knee. Which means that when I bend over, well, it goes up even higher. I wore it once or twice and didn’t feel the slit too much… but still, me not being able to see or feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It was much too nice of a skirt (stretchy jean) to only wear at home. Not to mention that it goes with almost every maternity top I own.

So I got creative and sewed an inset in the slit. Here is a video where I tell how I did it:

So there it is. It took me about 15 minutes. In case you can’t view the video, here is what I did in a nutshell:

  • Cut a rectangle a little longer than the slit out of stretchy fabric
  • Hem one of the narrow ends of the rectangle, stretching as you sew
  • Lay the rectangle over the slit, centering the top of the unhemmed edge over the top of the slit, and lining up the hemmed end with the bottom of the skirt; pin or baste in place
  • Sew inset in from the outside, stitching over existing stitches in matching thread (I used heavy jean thread), one side at a time
  • Trim thread; may trim excess of rectangle if desired (I didn’t bother)

It really is that easy. Here’s a picture of me in the skirt later on.

This technique could be used on most any fabric, and even done on the V neck of a blouse as a permanent inset. The trick is to follow the existing top stitching, and to match length and color as closely as possible. I think some skirts (especially those that have a large overlap in the slit, like some khaki skirts I’ve seen) could even have a kick pleat inserted; this is basically pleated fabric that fills in the slit.

Now this skirt is one of my favorites! I wear it 2-3 days per week, and would probably wear it more if it never got dirty!

So what do you do to make your clothing more modest? Please share!


Photobucket Tutorial Tuesday
Have you noticed how difficult it is to get modest maternity tops lately? I was at J.C. Penney’s the other day, and the only one I could find was this one. Needless to say, I bought it. But usually I don’t buy new clothes (I was using a gift card, which is why I even bothered looking). Usually I go to the thrift store. Sometimes I find really cute outfits that fit so nicely–but they are too low in the front. I don’t like showing cleavage to the world, thank you very much!

I knew that one solution was to wear an undershirt of some kind, but they are hard to find, and all the appropriate tank tops that I own are too small for me now–and would be too long for my growing belly. Besides, I don’t always want the extra layer that an undershirt will provide. So I though of getting a dickey.

My efforts were not very successful. I found one at the Goodwill, but it was pink. Not that I don’t like pink; on the contrary, it’s one of my favorite colors. But it won’t go with everything, and they wanted $3 for it. When my budget for clothes for the family for the month is $20, you can understand why I would hesitate to spend that much on something so small, especially when its usefulness would be limited.

So I decided to make my own. I figured that I could just buy a shirt at some thrift store, maybe for half off, and cut it down. Sure enough, after a recent orthodontist appointment, I found myself near Volunteers of America, which has a much nicer layout than the Goodwill. I mean, I rarely find sizes in the wrong place, and colors are grouped almost perfectly. They also tend to charge as little as half what the Goodwill charges, so even though there is only one of them in the Portland area, I find it worth my while to stop there whenever I can. I plan on doing it at least twice a month once we get moved back to Estacada, since it is on that side of Portland.

Anyhow, as I mentioned in a post last week, I found a really nice black turtleneck there for $2. It was so nice, in fact, that I decided to keep it and cut up my old one. Here are the two side by side:

The lighter one is my old one. Obviously, the newer, brighter Eddie Bauer one is going to stay in tact!

The first step was to mark the cutting lines. My nice white and red tailor chalk are in a storage unit somewhere, so I opted for a yellow highlighter. It made a line that was just barely visible, but good enough for me. By changing the exposure settings, I got a picture that actually shows the line:

Basically what I did was mark the shoulder points and the depth and then just free hand it from there. In hindsight, I could have made it wider, but this will work just fine for V-necks. Scoop necks would require a wider dickey. But I don’t own any scoop necks.

I pinned the front and back together, cut it out, then drew on the back side to make it shorter, then cut out the back. Here is the result:

Then I got out my sewing machine and stitched it with a stretchy zigzag. That was it. It was done. Couldn’t have been easier.

Here’s a close-up of the edge:

And here’s me wearing it with a very nice, not-too-thick sweater. Can you see the baby bump? My husband was too busy to take the picture, and I didn’t feel like getting out the tripod (it was almost bedtime), so I just took it in the bathroom with the mirror on the medicine cabinet. Sorry for the vertical lines, but the mirror has 3 sections.

To summarize, I just laid the shirt out flat, drew the lines, pinned it so the back wouldn’t slide around, and cut. Then I drew the back line and cut. Then I stitched the edge, and voila! It was done!

My goal is to do this with several more shirts (as I find them). It could work just as well on a button-up-the-front shirt as with a knit shirt, though with woven fabric I might use my rolled foot hem to hem the edge instead of relying on zigzag. In fact, I think this sweater would look best with a pointed collar shirt underneath, perhaps with vertical stripes (if the color is right). I would like to get one with a regular neck that I could use for summer, but I don’t want the t-shirt edge on it, so I’m biding my time. Spring hasn’t even started, and besides, I’ll be able to use these after the baby is born, so there’s no big rush to make more before my maternity clothes become useless again.

I think one could also achieve a similar result by simply cutting the bottom half of a tank top off, leaving sleeve holes in tact. Also, making the front wider could be helpful. I didn’t really have much problem, but for a deeper cut or a wider neck, it could have been problematic. I toyed with the idea of putting the dickey on before putting on my bra, so that the straps could hold it down a little, but by keeping an eye on it, I didn’t have any problems. For ordinary wear, it was fine; lying down for an ultrasound, it did get a little rumpled and had to be adjusted before I left the room. I don’t think a woven one would have this problem.

What projects have you been working on lately?

Just wanted you to know that I added a couple of pictures to my sewing portfolio. I have been doing a lot of sewing lately. Hopefully soon I’ll get around to getting some more pictures uploaded, but they’ll go in the store.

Here is a linen shirt someone gave me. It’s a size 14, and way too big for me. As you can see in the pictures, it is like a tent. It’s straight, which isn’t good for my figure. I need something to show that I have a waist, otherwise it makes me look, well, fat. Here are the pictures:

What do you think? Can I make this look flattering? Now, just so you know, I don’t wear sleeveless a lot. But sometimes it gets so hot, and it’s just me and the kids here at home, in which case I don’t have a problem with it.

My goals are to take in the sides enough that it fits comfortably—not too tight. This should bring up the arm hole, making it smaller. I’m happy with where the shoulders end on top, even though it was probably originally designed to be narrower. I’m going to put some vertical darts in the back, and maybe some in the front too. We’ll see. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them. I am interested in hearing tips from others who may have a degree in fashion.

Check back in a week or two to see if I’ve finished it (and got around to posting about it!).

Sorry I didn’t get an update posted last week. By the time I got done with everything I needed to do online (remember, I get on once a week), I didn’t have time.

I’m not even sure what week this is or where I should be. All I know is I tipped the scales at 140 even Sunday morning. Seems like that was up one pound from the week before. Sounds like I need to get focused!

Seriously, though, I spent the last two weeks furiously sewing 4 prairie dresses, complete with sun bonnets and pinafore or apron to go with them. It took me at least 30 hours of sewing, when you include set-up and take-down time and fixing mistake time. I actually set up the computer at home two weeks ago, and have been on it hardly at all, thanks to all the sewing I have done. Figuring out my tithe, savings, and such on my earnings from all that sewing is probably the better part of what I did on it during that time. Then I had to make a new swimsuit cover (because I REFUSE to wear a swimsuit in public without a modest cover over it) for the get-together at a church member’s house on the 4th, so after finishing the dresses, I did some sewing for me. So although here are a lot of things I would love to blog about, I just don’t have the time. Or at least I haven’t for the last two weeks!

But that should change. My next sewing project, sewing 5 pillowcase dresses, will be much quicker and easier. I could probably do all 5 in 1 day, so maybe two. I won’t have to spend every spare minute doing it! So I will try to get some of my thoughts down on paper–er, Word. And now that I have a new thumb drive, I can save my work and carry it to the library to post, which won’t take near as long as trying to write a post while time runs out, as I am now.

So expect that starting next week, I will be posting a few thought-provoking posts, as well as updates on my life, the house, and other things. Blessings to you!

Today Connie @ and I each demonstrate something for Tutorial Tuesday. Click the link above to see what she’s demonstrating.

When I was asked to shorten a skirt with three layers, I decided I absolutely had to get a rolled hemming foot. But I couldn’t figure out how to use it. The instructions that came with it were very obscure and useless.

So I went looking for a good video. I found this one. I thought I would post it, rather than reinventing the wheel, especially since my sewing machine is now packed for the upcoming move!

See how easy that is? I was able to get the job done in about 2 1/2 hours–and I probably could have gone faster if I hadn’t been learning. I’m glad I bought it, too. I was able to use it on two subsequent projects. It only cost me $15 and earned me nearly $100 in less than two weeks! Very, very worth it!

And sometime next month, after we are moved and settled and I have my sewing room set up and find the camera–if you’ve ever moved, you know what I mean!–I plan on doing a video demonstration of another use for the rolled hemming foot. And yes, I’ll be doing the video myself.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win one of the items in my store! Multiple entries allowed! Click here to find out more.

Video Page

Here are videos that I have made, grouped by category:


How to Make a Simple Child’s Dress, pt 1

How to Make a Simple Child’s Dress, pt 2


How to Cook Cream of _________ Cereal

Yes, that’s right. I now have an online store. Except I haven’t had time to get all the descriptions written. But the store should be functional. Some items have a quantity of more than one… not sure how I’m going to work that, since I don’t have drop-down boxes to allow you to select quantity when you add them to the cart. You can edit quantity after adding to card, and it won’t let you order more than is available in the store.

So… now I don’t have to pay for hosting my listings on And my listings won’t expire, either. Now maybe I can get rid of these items I’ve had laying around for several years!!!