Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

I received my copy of Gertie’s book on Saturday and I haven’t been able to put it down!  Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing is an extension of the blog of nearly the same name.  I have been a fan of Gertie for years, finding her blog shortly after she began it and I must say, I’m as enamored of her book as I have been of her blog.

The book is well-written and the sewing instructions are easy to follow.  The illustrations and pictures are to die for – all featuring Gertie.  I love the marriage of the modern, animated Gertie to the real-life modern Gertie. 



Doesn’t she look great?

The book comes with pattern pieces and I already have a list of which ones I want to make; the wiggle dress, of course, and the blouse with the Peter Pan collar.  These two are my favs.

This is easily one of the best sewing books I’ve come across.  Gertie really did a good job and it shows.  If you are a sewing enthusiast, this is definitely a great addition to your library.



Friends, I’m sitting here enjoying my iced Earl Grey black tea from Tazo Teas and I’m reflecting on how my tastes have changed over the years. You see, I’ve been a tea totaller all my life. Never much cared for coffee. It was tea. Always tea. Unsweetened, unflavored black tea. I literally grew up drinking copious amounts of unsweetend iced tea. We always had a jug in the refrigerator and tea bags were a staple in our cupboards and I’ve blissfully developed my tea-tooth over the years.

When I moved away from home and began buying my own tea, I stuck to the basics – Lipton black tea bags. I never bough instant tea – never a fan of it. I always brewed my own. I could tolerate tea in restaurants and fast food joints without issue althought, I could always tell if the tea was stale because it would taste like olives.

As such, I find I’ve become quite a snob about tea. Over the years I’ve graduated from Lipton teas to Luzianne (slightly better) then onto the Twinings teas – preferrablly the English and Irish Breakfast Teas. I’ve enjoyed green teas, mostly with mint and not lemon. If I want lemon, I will drink lemonade. I’ve tried the organic teas and specialty teas, never flavored because I love the strong, bitter taste of black tea. It is what I’ve found most refreshing. I drink my chamomile teas flavored with orange and roses on nights when I need to relax. It works better than wine! I drink my teas out of plastic cups, glasses, fancy tea cups that I purchased at Disneyland. Lately however, I’ve really fallen in love with Earl Gray tea and I can say that it only really began to appeal to me within this past year or so. I never really cared for it before then, strangely.

I find it interesting that so many tea houses have sprung up. Teavana is the Starbucks of the tea craze right now. I’ve gone in and sampled some of their teas and as usual, I’m not a fan of all the sweetening and flavors. Tea is the one bitter thing I enjoy.

I do like their tea pots and cups. They are nice, if a little pricey. I haven;t gone the way of loose tea just yet. I think it might be because of time restraints. That, and the fact that I prefer iced tea to hot tea so I’m far happier with a glass jug and some sunshine to make my tea.

One of the funnest things I’ve done with tea however, was having a high tea for my family complete with cucumber sandwiches, devonshire cream, shortbread and strawberries. I served mint tea, black tea, Earl Gray and English Breakfast teas. I pulled out my good china plates and cups and silver. It was a fun time and something I would very much like to do again.

So, tell me, how do you enjoy your tea?

Am I insane to want to wear these??

Ok, folks. I’m going to be letting my hair down a little here. It’s time to talk bluntly and opening about leggings and skinny jeans. Yes, I’m old enough to remember wearing these in high school and the fashion rule of thumb that I’ve heard is that if you’ve worn it in the past, you are too old to wear it again.

WTF!!!! Leggings were some of the most comfortable things I can possibly remember. Unfortunately, instead of looking like this

I would look more like this

Muffin top central! Believe it or not, I used to be skinny like the girl in the top picture and could wear anything and look great. I think we can all say that we looked great when we were younger. But, I really did! However, old age and sitting at a desk five days a week have taken their toll on my figure and I’ve – er, um – filled out over the years.

I’ve been a fan of the British version of What Not To Wear. Those ladies really know their stuff and I’ve tried to keep in mind their tips for fuller figured women. So, I’ve kept to wearing boot cut pants to give me a better silhouette, used v-necks to lengthen my torso so I don’t look too dumpy, etc. But, I see these skinny jeans and leggings and I’m so tempted to try them to see if I can get away with it.

My biggest fear is not the muffin top. Oh, no. My biggest fear is that I would be trying to look younger than my years. Personally, I think that is a fate worse than death and I pity women my age who work out and tan and get their nails done and get facials everyday in a desperate attempt to look younger. They would look fantastic if they just dressed appropriately for their ages but mostly, they wear these younger fashions and think they look good. I’m happy with my age and comfortable with getting older. I don’t want to look 20 years old again because I’m not the same person I was at 20.

Ok, I think I just answered my own question. I would look like a desperate older woman trying to hold onto her youth.


The Colette Clover Pants

One of my favorite things is the Clover pant pattern from Colette Patterns.  They are really easy to sew and there is even a sew-along on the Colette website to help if you get stuck with the pockets and waistband.

I love these pants.  Except for one thing – the fabric.  The pattern calls for stretch fabric such as poplin, gabardine, pique or wool blend with 3% lycra.  Since I live in the warm climate of the southwest,  I choose a navy blue stretch poplin.


They turned out really lovely but every time I wear them, within minutes, the pants are all stretched out and hang on me.  I’m very unhappy with the fabric and wish I had used a non-stretch denim or some other, hardier fabric.  I purchased the fabric online some time ago and I thought it was a better quality fabric.  Perhaps it wasn’t because it stays stretched out. 

In the past when buying stretch jeans, I was told that you should buy the next size smaller to allow for stretching.  That way, the pants don’t appear to hang on you.  Perhaps I should have done this with the Clover pants – sewn the smaller size.  I’ll have to go on to see what those wise women have to say.  I’m just not sure if it is a fabric issue or a fitting issue.

In the meantime, I’ve cut another pair, this time in red stretch poplin in the same size.  I love the color and want to wear them before summer is over, especially since bright pants are so in now.  But, before I go any further, I will have to do my homework.  I might have to cut these smaller.  Heheheh, drat the luck!


The Boy’s Jacket

I’m using Simplicity 2292 for my son’s jacket.  It’s a very easy pattern but I can’t say that the directions are very good.  Things were going along swimmingly until I hit the sleeves.



The directions for the sleeves must be incorrect.  Stay with me here.  I followed the pattern to the letter.  I stitched up the sleeve seam, prepared the cuff, and just as I was going to attach the cuff, I realized that the sleeve opening was too small to fit in my machine.  I then realized that I should have attached the cuff prior to stitching the sleeve.  It would have made far more sense to do it this way as children’s clothing generally will not fit over the sewing machine.

Sorry, some of the pictures are upside down.  For some reason I can’t get them to stay right side up.  It doesn’t really matter, though.  You get the general idea no matter which way is up.






 Needless to say, I was frustrated because I attached twill tape to the outside of the sleeve which took some time and then spent more time trying to fix my serger that had decided to make trouble once again.  As a result, I made no progress on the jacket last night.  Tonight, I will be recutting the sleeves and attaching the twill tape once again.  Before I stitch up the seams, I will attach the cuffs, then the seams and then attach the sleeves to the body.


What I’m working on

My latest quilt.  I’m a little disappointed with the white fabric.  It’s extremely thin – thinner that I would have liked and I fear that it might end up wearing out long before the rest of the quilt.  I’ll being getting some better quality fabric for the backing so it will last a little longer.  I made this without a pattern and I’m truly happy with the way it’s looking.  Of course, it’s a simple design but I’ve never really used a pattern with quilting.  Strange, I always use one when I sew clothing.  Anyway, I’m also thinking of quilting this on my own rather than sending it out and having someone else quilt it for me.  I love the look of a professionally quilted piece but I really don’t want to fork out the money to do it.




Quilt Show

Wow! I was absolutely flabergasted with the artistry of the quilts I saw at the show. These quilters are true artists and I cannot say anything to add to the beauty I saw in Long Beach. 

The quilts on show ranged from traditional to modern, machine to hand quilted, abstract to picturesque – there was truly no limite to what these artists made.  One of the things I found most interesting is that many quilters are using tulle to alter the images of the quilt.  For example, black tulle brings the colors out and makes them pop whereas white tulle, softens all effects.  I saw a quilt that used white tulle to mimick a spotlight in a theater.  It was the most amazing effect!

The show itself was certainly inspiring.  So much so that I went home and worked more on my own quilt.  But, I digress. 

With no further adieu,  I will just let the pictures do the talking.  Sorry I didn’t have more but my camera just didn’t like me that day.