Here’s to new beginnings

A very happy 2018 to all readers!

It’s a good day to begin again with this old blog. It has been a very long time since I have posted, and there are plenty of reasons for that. For one thing, since the last post we have moved twice. It seemed like the entire year was filled with downsizing (again and again), packing, and preparing three houses to move into or out of. It has taken me a long time to feel somewhat settled in what we intend to be our permanent home, even though I am very happy to be here.

Meantime, my old blog theme is no longer supported and there is no telling what this post will look like, but I really wanted to get back in touch with the sewing world out there. This is a first step in that direction.

So, enough with the background and excuses! I have some sewing projects to share. They are unimpressive, but show that my heart is in the right place.

The last two days of the old year I sewed two much needed tops. They are both loose pullover tunics in stable knits. The fabrics were purchased from back in the fall, both manufactured by Telio. I have much better luck with when I buy fabrics with brand names. It’s not fun to open the box and be disappointed with fabric quality.

go_to_aCutting Lines Designs fans might have heard of the “Go-To” top. This is not a printed pattern, but a set of instructions for changing up the top from the Anything But Ordinary pattern. Basically, the body is widened, the sleeves lengthened, and the details are omitted. A link to the directions is at the end of this post. I extended the bottom to tunic length, easy to do because it’s perfectly squared off and you just add as many inches as you want.


CLD patterns are designed for woven fabrics, but this one worked up just fine in a stable knit. I even used the neck facing, topstitching both the edge and near the seam, rather than binding the edge. Looks OK to me.

Top number two is from Ottobre 2/2017. It’s style number 2, called All Day Long.


It has binding on the curved hem as well as the neckline, and is supposed to have ribbing for the cuffs. My fabric had a horizontal rib which made a nice little detail when vertical strips were used for the binding and to replace the ribbing.  (Heads up – if you want to do this, make your own pattern piece for the cuff. The one in the magazine is sized for genuine ribbing fabric and won’t work unless your fabric has significant vertical stretch.)

Pics of this top:



These were both really quick sewing, and both will work with black leggings. Nice comfy basics that I really need.

What’s ahead in 2018

No long list of sewing resolutions, but there are two things ahead that I will be working on and blogging about.

  1. New sewing blocks and basics. In the last few years, the projects where I adapted a basic block (already fitted to me) to copy an admired design have been my most fun and rewarding garments. Those old blocks don’t fit any more. Good news, it’s because I lost weight about two years ago. So a project I really need to get to work on is picking some new patterns to be my starting blocks, or re-fitting some old favorites.
  2. Downsizing means I need to say goodbye to most of my old sewing machines. I used to have the space to collect…and the spouse knew that whenever he needed a present, he could do well by going to a second-hand shop or antique mall and buy the weirdest-looking machine for me. My plan is to buy a new basic machine with a good automatic buttonhole, and let the other machines (except the Featherweight) go. They will either get traded in or go on something like Craigslist.

Thanks for visiting! I will be trying to get the blog refurbished, better organized and whatnot, so that the next post will look better.


directions for the “Go To” top can be found in the first post on this forum thread: artisanssquare

Browse or purchase the Ottobre Woman 2/2017 issue here: Ottobre




31 thoughts on “Here’s to new beginnings

  1. So glad to see you posting again! I enjoy your writing, sewing, and garment aesthetic.

    (I am sympathetic regarding your hiatus, especially now that I am almost done with the first of two downsizing moves, also scheduled to happen in the same twelve month period. Seeing my stash packed up in more banker boxes than I will ever be willing to count was a singularly stunning – in both a good and bad way – moment.)

    • Oh, Judith, you have my best wishes for your downsizing and moves. You are right that going through absolutely everything you have teaches you a lot about yourself. I’m trying to make some changes in myself and my habits based on what I learned. Good luck to you!

  2. Good to “see” you again. I didn’t realize you’d moved twice. I did a major move just a year ago tomorrow. Moved in with my daughter. Talk about down sizing! I did buy a POD to store extra items. Enjoy your new home.

    • Good to see you, too, Marcia! I missed that you had moved in with your daughter. Hope you have what you really need with you, and don’t have to get into that POD very often.

    • Hi, Linda! We are now in Dallas proper. We were driving into town 4 or 5 times a week and decided to move and cut out all the drive time. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Get yourself a Geiger buttonhole attachment for your featherweight via eBay and don’t worry about the buttonhole on your new machine. I have a featherweight and the most basic Bernina and that combo serves my needs well.

    • That’s a good suggestion, thanks! I have a buttonholer for my old rotary and one for the rocketeer. They are a little inconvenient but do make really good buttonholes.

  4. Happy new year! It’s so great to hear from you. It sounds like you’ve been so busy, I can’t imagine downsizing like that. I can’t wait to see how you do that resizing.

    • Hi, Becki! Best wishes for 2018 to you! I think I saw your picture in SF this morning?? And you went to Britex at the new location? Sounds like fun.

  5. Glad you are back posting sewing wisdom.  I haven’t sewed for myself for ages and I’m usually unhappy with the results.  Any advice about measuring really accurately and choosing patterns.  I’d like to make a hip length vest of some sort.  Happy New Year, Becky

    From: Unzipped To: Sent: Monday, January 1, 2018 6:05 PM Subject: [New post] Here’s to new beginnings #yiv7725414672 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7725414672 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7725414672 a.yiv7725414672primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7725414672 a.yiv7725414672primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7725414672 a.yiv7725414672primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7725414672 a.yiv7725414672primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7725414672 | Robyn posted: “A very happy 2018 to all readers!It’s a good day to begin again with this old blog. It has been a very long time since I have posted, and there are plenty of reasons for that. For one thing, since the last post we have moved twice. It seemed like the en” | |

  6. Welcome back!
    You have my sympathy for all of the upheaval of downsizing. We are just starting to consider this and the very thought brings me out in hives. I hope you are very happy in your new home.

  7. It is so good to have you back, you have been missed!
    Your tops are beautiful, especially the first one. I like the way you did the facing, I think it looks great and will try it on my next top. The fabric is gorgeous and the colour one of my favourites.
    I look forward to seeing what you have next…

    • Thanks very much, Sandy! That fabric is mostly poly but feels pretty darn nice. I think polyesters have gotten better while I was ignoring them.

  8. Great to have you back on. You are one of several bloggers that have returned to the scene and it’s great to read your blog again! I can totally sympathize with the move. We have done the same and it will be a year in April since I blogged as well, same reasons. We have also moved twice and are now wedged in a tiny apartment but the good news is we do have a new home signed, sealed and delivered a couple of states away. My that distance confounded things. Like you, we are anxious to get settled. The good news, and one I never planned on is that I will have a Very large sewing space. Good luck with your new space and it’s challenges. If those two tops are any indication we have great things to look forward too!

    • Bunny, if anyone deserves a nice big sewing space, it is you. I still have a dedicated sewing corner, but miss my great big room. Best of luck with your move – two states away, yikes! It must feel good to at least know where you will be landing, after spending time in temporary quarters.

  9. What a nice surprise to see your post. You’ve been missed and I look forward to seeing more posts soon. Your comments on downsizing struck a chord with me…I have a three-story barn/garage that has sort of just filled up in the 18 years since I moved here and it’s been weighing on my mind that I need “a plan” to have at it. Soon. Right now I have no plan to move, but clearing out the barn would just be a nice gift to myself for whatever time I stay at this location.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Kathie! Oh, my, three stories is what we just left. I do miss all that space, but don’t miss vaccuuming the stairs even a little bit.

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