Author Archives: lorene

WIP Wednesday: Navy Pants

I’m nearly done with sewing these Simplicity 1696 pants, but I’m having fit issues with the rear rise. My favorite part so far is these slash pockets!


I might not be done with sewing these pants but Magi seems to like them just fine.




My Coco

The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!

Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog,  I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.

My Polka Dot Coco

My Polka Dot Coco

I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs.  Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a  test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.

My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.

Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide,  but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover.  I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.

My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches.  I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!

The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!


I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.

March Sister Challenge: Lorene

March was our first Sister Challenge. When Natalie and I came up the idea for this blog, I thought it would be fun to do some sort of month challenge where we both make something using the same pattern, fabric, theme, etc.  SInce we live 2800 miles apart, it would be interesting to see what we come up with when we have no idea what the other person is doing!

For this first challenge I bought 3 fat quarters of St Patrick’s Day fabric from Fabric Depot. I sent it to Natalie with the challenge to make something awesome by March 17.

My inspiration for this challenge,  were the fabric decorations my mom used to make. She has them for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day…even my hometown Parsippany Day!  I think many were from fabric panels but I know she made some from scratch too.  I can’t really hang anything from my door,  so I decided to make a table topper.

Quilt Sketch

My original concept for my abstract clover mini quilt

I was rather time crunched making this quilt, as I had recently had surgery and then had a snowboarding trip. However I was determined to complete this on time! So as I was cutting my strips I realized that putting my stripes on the diagonal would be much more complex. I decided to simplify this by doing stripes that ran parallel to the edges instead.

Lorene's Modern 4 Leaf Clover Mini Quilt

Lorene’s Modern 4 Leaf Clover Mini Quilt

Other than the stripes, I wanted everything to be very random and freeform. So I just eyeballed it when I cut the angle slices off the stripe blocks. This formed the negative space between each clover leaf. When it came time to quilt I used my walking foot and put some randomly spaced lines radiating from the center of the quilt. This came together very quickly for me. I guess I’m getting better at quilting! My only hiccup was that I used metallic thread and my walking foot to finish my machine binding and it definitely didn’t turn out straight. Oh well!

The final quilt measured around 18″ x 18″ and I finished it right before work on St Patrick’s Day.  In addition to the 3 prints, I used gold and black Kona cottons.

I hope you enjoyed the March Sister Challenge! Be sure to check out Natalie’s awesome Boyle’s Law Mini Quilt!

WIP Wednesday – Mom’s Pants

My current project os these grey slacks I’m making for my mom. She was complaining about how she can’t find pants that fit so while she was visiting we fitted a muslin and I sewed up these pants for her. I’m not sure I’ve ever made pants before!  So I am super proud of making my zipper placket!  They are actually 90% done.  They just need a hem and the button/buttonhole added, which my Mom will do since she took them back to NJ with her.


How to Hem Jeans

Hemming jeans sounded really complicated to me so I never tried it.  When I finally had to hem a pair of jeans I looked up some videos and found out its really easy and it looks really good! The key here is that you need to keep the original hem of the jean. Nothing looks more home sewn than a pair of jeans where the original hem was removed! I can spot that 20 feet away.

Looks good this close, looks even better fror 5 feet away.

Looks good this close, looks even better fror 5 feet away.

Step 1 – Determine how long you want your jeans by pinning up the hem. It can be good to have friend help with this so you aren’t constantly taking off your jeans to get a straight hem.  Measure the length you have pinned up. In this case I had pinned 2.5″ up meaning I would be removing that amount from the hem.

I totally forgot to take a photo of this before I started Step 2. Oops!

Step 2 – Divide the number you got in Step 1 (2.5″) by 2 = 1.25″.  With your jeans inside out fold up the hem – measuring that you have the length of fabric we just calculated between the inside edge of the hem and your fold.


Step 3 – Using a similar thread color to your jeans and an edge stitching foot, if you have one, sew as close to the in side edge of the hem as possible. If the hem is wider than the leg at the place your are stitching, gently stretch the fabric to ease the hem in. These jeans are flared and I had no issues doing this.

The needle is positioned right next to the hem. You don't want to sew on the hem, so an edge stitching foot is useful.

The needle is positioned right next to the hem. You don’t want to sew on the hem, so an edge stitching foot is useful. Also note that the length of fabric to the right of the needle is the 1.25″ calculated in Step 2.

Step 4 – This step is OPTIONAL for serger owners.  You may want to remove some of the fabric we are hemming up because it’s bulky.  To do this I use my serger leaving about 1/2″ of fabric to the right of the new hem seam.  If you think you may want to adjust this hem in the future do not do this. If I didn’t have a serger I would not attempt this with my regular machine.

Step 5 – Flip the hem inside and press well. Pull down on the hem as you press to get a neat seam line.


Step 6 – Secure the inside fabric by stitching in the ditch on your outside seam lines. Particularly if you skipped Step 4, this will prevent your excess fabric from falling down and being visible past your hem.

Look closely to see the lighter stitches to the right of the side seam. This securing the extra fabric.

Look closely to see the lighter stitches to the right of the side seam. This securing the extra fabric.

One warning – be prepared to press your hems every time you wash your jeans. One key to success is pressing your seams so the new seam line blends in with the original hemline. On freshly laundered jeans, the old hem tends to flip up along the new seam line.