Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Holiday McCalls patterns, retreating... and other stuff

I've been preparing to attend Design Outside the Lines with Diane Ericson and Kathryn Brenne in Ashland, Oregon. I last attended two years ago when Carol Lee Shanks was the guest teacher, and I'm very much looking forward to it! My prep included taking two loads to Goodwill last weekend—I had to clear out my car for the road trip!

(And, shhhh, Margy is keeping me company on the ride!)

I have several items to talk about in this post.


Holiday McCalls 2017

The Holiday McCalls patterns came out yesterday. I wrote up a mini review on Stitcher's Guild, so I thought I'd post a slightly edited version here.

This release had some patterns I quite liked!

This would make an adorable bed jacket, and a great holiday gift! I wouldn't use this floral, though. I'd use something lush and snuggly. I might leave off the ruffle, depending on the fabric:

McCalls 7696

I like this long-line moto jacket/vest with ease in the back, by Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch:

McCalls 7694

I like how this top appears to be layered, and not like the bottom was just stuck on. I would make the bottom out of chiffon or something equally flow-y, and use a more everyday fabric for the top (rather than a brocade), because I'd wear this to work AND the grocery store!

McCalls 7689

I love the lines of this jacket, with the fold back collar sewn into the bottom panel. For me, this ticks the box of something new, design wise. Instead of side-seam pockets, I'd add in-seam pockets to the horizontal seam:

McCalls 7693

It was an interesting choice to release this Kathryn Brenne pattern with McCalls, rather than Vogue. But I can see that these would be popular with the cosplay crowd, so it makes sense. What fun spats, though I'd never wear them over heels. I could see these catch on as regular wear, especially in fall/winter, over leggings. VERY FUN and a chance to play with my hardware stash:

McCalls 7706

I can't be the only one to see this vest ALL over Pinterest. I, myself, have pinned it. The original was by J.Crew. How smart of McCalls to make a pattern for it:

McCalls 7695

How cute is this hoodie with the ruched sleeves? I'd wear the dress as a tunic, made with a shorter drawstring so it wouldn't run into my boobs.

McCalls 7688

This design is not the most exciting or new, but I can rock this one (short and over leggings, of course). I prefer view B—much less likely for those sleeves to fall into my cereal or soup:

McCalls 7681

I quite like View F (and ONLY view F) of this top pattern. Though, come to think of it, this single girl doesn't do buttons/zippers up the back. I'd figure out an alternate closure, most likely up the front.

McCalls 7687

FabMo's Textile Art Boutique

I have talked about FabMo before. This organization saves tons of fabric samples and related materials from the landfill, by making it available to artists (or anyone interested in repurposing it). Once a year they have a sale featuring the work of those artists. Each item sold at their sale is made using at least 50% of the reclaimed materials.

One of my gifted artist friends, Luanne Seymour, has been making gorgeous pillows and bags using the rich fabrics donated to FabMo. This post highlights some of her beautiful work.

The sale is this Sunday, October 29th, at the Elks Club in Palo Alto. If you can attend, say "Hi!" to Luanne for me! (Sadly, I have conflicting plans.) It's a great opportunity to pick up some wonderful gifts for yourself, friends, and family. If you can't attend, check out Luanne's Etsy store.

Read more about the sale on the FabMo blog.

Business Cards

I've been meaning to order business cards for years, and I finally ordered some last September! Many times I've been asked for a card, but didn't have one.

I decided to order from They've been around a long time, had an easy-to-navigate website, and offered good choices. I didn't order many because I don't expect to use them often, and I like the idea of creating a different design each time I order.

Since I've had them, I've given one away. I often forget!

Ah well... Maybe I'll get into the habit.

Halloween Prep

Usually, I'm pretty good at saying no, but sometimes I thwart myself. DD1 was showing me her Halloween costume plans and I volunteered... volunteered... to make her a giant pussy bow. Sheesh, I have enough to do. But she tricked me by NOT ASKING ME TO MAKE IT.

She's clever and tricksy.

She bought half a yard of fabric from Britex.

I whipped up a quick pattern. The bow itself was made from an 8" by 45", interfaced strip of fabric. The ties were made from a 4" wide strip, also 45" long, or thereabouts, but not interfaced. This was one of those seat-of-my-pants operations squeezed into an already-overstuffed weekend.

At Britex, I looked for the findings I needed. I bought the clear hook, but they didn't have the figure 8 metal finding I wanted to use to make an adjustable neckband. Instead, I cut up an old black bra. I also bought a length of velvet ribbon for the neckband. (I didn't use those metal circles, also from the bra, but I saved them anyway.)

I'll share pictures of her completed costume after the Halloween parties.

Crazy Lace Stone Buttons

Last weekend I saw some gorgeous buttons on Facebook! Lucas Winter makes buttons from stones. I bought these beautiful crazy lace buttons.

Lucas seems to mostly sell his wares via Facebook, but you can also message him via Instagram.

Britex Update

And speaking of Britex...

I was walking from work to Britex today, using a different route than normal, when I stumbled upon their new location, which I only noticed because of the sign in the window.

I grabbed my camera to take a quick pic and, I kid you not, that very second the door opened and out walked Sharman (Britex owner), Dina (Britex manager), and some other folk. We all cracked up.

I'm not a stalker, really.

The great news is that their new store is next door to Gumps!

I was also in Britex last week selecting my next fabric—it's gorgeous—I plan to work on it while at DOL. While I was there, Kirby escaped the office, the little rascal... Here he is in the elevator, looking a bit chagrined at being caught.


Northern California Fires

You've probably heard of the devastating fires north of San Francisco, in and near wine country. The town of Santa Rosa, where I grew up, was particularly devastated. It appears that the home I grew up in, built by my grandfather and father, is gone, as well as my father's post-divorce house. My mother's post-divorce house seems to have escaped. These houses were no longer owned by my family (my father passed 2 years ago, and my mother many decades ago) but the devastation is very sobering. Here's an article, if you want to get an idea of the extent of the Tubbs fire.

The air quality in San Francisco and nearby areas was quite bad for several days. People were encouraged to stay inside and to avoid exercise due to the high level of toxins released by the fires. Many wore masks when out and about. I didn't have a mask, but I ordered a VogMask, which has the recommended N99 filter. I'll put it in my emergency kit for next time.

Vogmask in houndstooth.
It serves a serious purpose, but why not inject a little fashion?
(I'm blogging at night, forgive the picture quality.)

Oh, last week I published a page on how to write Hero animations for mobile. (These are also called shared element transitions.) This is hard to do on some mobile platforms so, if you are a mobile programmer (or know one), check it out. :)


  1. LOVE the patchwork pillow---and that vest from McCall's is so interesting. Britex next to Gumps? Jeff and I are planning a trip to SF in 2018.

    1. Luanne is SO talented--many of the squares in her work are from expensive silk decorator sample books. Yay, let's meet up when you're in SF!!!

  2. Your posts are always fun to read. I was sad to hear about your childhood home. Some things you just never want to change.

  3. Thanks for sharing the sad news of California fires as you've been in my thoughts and wondering if you are okay. Living in Houston I've learned that houses lost, though quite sad, can be replaced. The memories you have of childhood homes will always be with you. The pillows are gorgeous and giving me ideas to turn my kimono scraps into gifts. Karen

  4. coming upon the new Britex location was quite a coincidence....or not. Anyway what a good location :) And I've decide to make that McCalls 7693 vest as well, in a faux fur/leather remnant that I just found at Stone Mountain. Watching the news on the fires has been devastating - and I find myself shocked that so many houses could be lost so near to "civilization" however I shouldn't be considering I also recall the Oakland hills fire with similar loss of so many houses. Love those stone buttons, so pretty.

    1. It really was a coincidence. I thought they were going to be closer to my dentist, on the other side of Union Square, and hadn't really paid attention to the address. But this gives me an excuse to check out Gumps more often. ;)

  5. I pinned all the vests. Great sewing details! Plus the autumn leaf pillow.
    Thank you for the inspiration.
    Have fun at your sewing retreat.

  6. I always like your take on the new pattern releases. It allows me to see some of the patterns with a different eye/take. Not that I'm that sold on much in this new release but I can see you making some amazing new garments.

    Loved, loved, loved the pillows. They are total works of arts! And can't wait to hear all about should be amazing!

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I like this release more than many. I know that people often complain about the holiday release since it always has lots of fancy wear (pfffft), and sleepwear (pfffft), and gifts. I think most of us want more wearable clothing. :) And, yes, Luanne is an amazing artist.

  7. thanks for the blogging - been missing your wit and your insight! Rats! I'm going to miss Fabmo once again because of conflicting stuff. Hope you totally enjoy DOL and I understand there's going to be a few of our mutual friends involved - you ladies behave! (or not!) Wishing you a creative wonderful time!

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! Yes, it's going to be fun, I think. ;)

  8. Great post- jealous of those lovely buttons! None of the new pattern releases have really tugged my chain [unusual for Autumn designs] but you never know. PS don't bother buying the spats pattern, this is a much better way to get a decent fit:

    1. Thanks, dementedfairy! My youngest daughter might be interested in that technique.

  9. I really like MC7689 - can't wait to see what you make with it.

    1. Tracy, that's the pattern I'm most excited about!

  10. I am glad to hear you and Margy are Ok . I was wondering if you were near the fires.Fires are starting here in Victoria. I think we have a pretty similar climate to California . I kept checking Margy's blog to see if she had posted becasue the news from California was so awful. Have a great trip and lots of fun creativity.

    1. Thanks, mem, for your concern! Margy lives hundreds of miles south of these fires, though her area (outside of Santa Barbara) can experience awful fires, but not this time. We are OK and enjoying DOL in Oregon. :)

  11. Hi Shams: I liked all content however, mostly Kirby! So cute!

    1. He's such a cutie! He sometimes appears on the Britex Instagram feed:

  12. I have many of the same McCalls patterns on my list. However they are not in stock at my Joanns- of course because the patterns are on sale! The stone buttons are pretty. I need to ask- are they heavy? Would you need to sew them on something substantial?

    1. Hi Patricia! The stone buttons (which are only a half inch) are very light!