2014 Winter 6PAC: Vest

I have become a “vest” person. Especially during winter.  With pockets, a vest provides a convenient way to carry toys and Kleenex (when needed). During winter, the extra layer is often all I need while indoors.  So a vest was a “no brainer” for my Winter 6PAC.

I had planned to use Loes Hinse Venetian Vest. It was already traced and fitted. It is a simple sew which rewards with a beautiful garment. But while at Walmart I found this interesting New Look Pattern #6249

It too should be a simple sew. A front piece, back piece, collar band and optional pocket.  I liked the extended shoulder and that the band  was even with the hem.  This is a cheap, trendy pattern. While the Venetian Vest will always be a classic piece, there have been periods of time when the extended shoulder is considered dated and unfashionable. I decided to make this now, while it was fresh, with the thought of possibly restyling a few years down the road.  I did my standard 1″ NSA and BWL alterations. I do not tissue fit, but I did pull out the tape measure and check a few places.

The main fabric is a beautiful, soft woven natural fiber. Burn test indicate animal hair of some type. It does not smell like wool. Nor does it feel like wool. It is so soft and so smooth, I’d guess cashmere except I’ve never seen cashmere woven. It’s always been a cashmere knitted sweater in my experience. So I’m guessing mohair, except this is softer and smoother than any mohair I’ve previously experienced.  It was in the box given to me by a local farmer when she discovered I was a dress-maker.  The box contained small cuts between 1 and 2 yards of luxury fabrics. My farmer had no idea the quality of fabric she freely gave me. Only that she had been impressed upon that the fabric must not just be given away nilly willy.It had to be given to someone who could appreciate the gift, me.

This cut was 52″ wide and 1-1/3 yards long. Enough for the body of the vest, but not the band. I do have a couple of patterns that would easily make a vest from this amount of yardage. Perhaps I should have chosen one of them. Instead I purchased a second fabric to make the band and trim the pockets. My 2nd fabric is a polyester knit. An odd and maybe distasteful combination of fibers but it is embossed like suede leather.  You have to get up close and see the knit ribs to realize that it is a knit.

Front Band Close Up

I purchased this beautiful fabric at JoAnns, Sioux Falls SD. Yes I’m visiting JoAnns again. They moved the store and apparently changed management. I say apparently because there is more staff and they’ve been schooled to be helpful, polite and friendly. The new store is half crafts. The other half is divided into  1/3 fleece, 1/3 quilting cottons,  with notions, Home Dec and fashion fabrics all competing for the final 1/3 of the 1/2. The dress making selection is and most likely will remain small but at least there are some good fashion fabrics.

My pocket trim is a rectangular piece. Interfaced. Folded in half length-wise and serged to the top of the pocket.  I then folded it down and exposed 1/4″ of the main fabric at the top creating  “faux” piping and top stitched in place.

In retrospect, I wish I’d interfaced the entire pocket instead of the trim. Due to its size, the pocket tends to gape. Too late for a button, I may be adding a velcro spot.

I was concerned about the thickness when attaching the front band. The knit is beefy. Thick. The band is entirely interfaced and folded in half. The ends are sewn, right sides together and then turned.  At the hem and shoulder seams there are 7 layers of fabric.  Instead of serging the band to the garment, I serge finished the edges, stitched the ends and then stitched the band to the garment.  I carefully pressed into place and then top stitched. Even Ruby (my SM) protested over a few stitches.

This really should have been a quick and easy garment. I complicated things. First I decided the fabric deserved to be lined. Couldn’t find a lining I liked in my stash. I wanted something plain. Black or charcoal colored. This is to be a basic piece. I wanted plain, plain plain, but luxurious. I finally settled upon using the remnants from Top #1. After cutting, and having to piece together for the shoulders, I decided that sequined fabric was a bad choice and discarded the lining idea.  I’m too far away for a quick trip to a fabric store. If ordering online, I would need to delay this project for at least a week. Besides the pattern doesn’t call for a lining.   Another time-consuming activity not called for in the instructions, I serge finished all the edges before stitching together. Serging the edges ensured that my fabric did not ravel during handling and turned out to be the right choice when I stitched the band and finished the armscye. The armscye facing is formed by stitching a 1/2″ wide side- seam allowance  and then folding to the inside,  1/2″ around the armscye. Finished by top stitching in place. It’s an easy neat finish made better by the fact that I serged the seam allowance first.

Oh and I’m happy with this addition to my closet.


  1. Top -DONE
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants DONE
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest  DONE
    1. Fabric Mohair/Cashmere Remnant, trimmed with Embossed Knit
    2. Pattern NL 6249 Vest
  6. Coat DONE
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart

4 done 2 to go. Yipee 2/3 finished!!! I think that’s called “Moving Right Along”.

2014 Winter 6PAC: Top 1

Finally, I’ve been able to sew. My first finished sewn garment for my 2014 Winter 6PAC :

In my 6PAC, I’m aiming for basic black pieces that have a range of winter-uses.  This fits that bill. I’m using an ITY sequined knit with Loes Hinse V Neck Tunic pattern #5213. The fabric is not covered with sequins. Rather small 1/8″ sequins are sewn in partial arcs all over. It can be dressy. I certainly wouldn’t wear it while scrubbing the shower shall, but I also see it as a basic piece with casual possibilities.

It was time to refit this pattern. In fact except for the Venetian Vest, all my Loes Hines patterns need to be refit. For months, I’ve tweaked here and tweaked there until the previous version fit like cr@p.  It’s similar to the “too many cooks” syndrome. Too many changes and a perfectly good pattern has morphed into something rather hideous.  I expected issues. Was stunned that fitting was so easy.  I traced the next larger size. Because this is a modified raglan, I didn’t apply a NSA. I made a 1″ BWL and took a hard look at the pieces.  It has been longer than I thought since I last worked with the original pattern pieces.  I don’t remember the arms and body being so long.  I folded up the pattern along the shorter length line.  Then, because past experience reminded me that the V-neck is too deep for my liking, I raised it 1.5″. That’s it. Raising the neckline took the most time; about 5 minutes.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve sewn this pattern.  I forgot to do some things.  I didn’t tape the shoulders — something I always do with knits. I was in the middle of sewing the long underarm/sleeve seam when I remembered I should press the other serged-seams first. Too bad I didn’t think to hem the sleeve at that time.  I had planned to use my coverstitch for hemming.  The wrist was very difficult to get in under the foot. Finally I decided upon hemming at the SM.  I set my Ruby Sewing Advisor for fine knit fabrics and inserted a new 10-ball point needle (replacing the 12 universal).  No problems with hemming.  I love my Ruby. I did remember to sew the center front seam after finishing the neckline.  I once again tried Loes Turn-N-Stitch and I once again hate this method.  It just finishes unprofessionally.  It’s the finish for a new sewist.  Someone who hasn’t developed a discerning eye.  Well it’s done. I cut this blouse 2 nights ago. Today I finished it in about an hour and that includes stops to keep the laundry going. This is a wonderful pattern especially when I need instant gratification.

The picture above is lovely, but doesn’t tell me the fitting story. So after composing it, I lightened the exposure 100% to get:

I think I will lengthen the center front because I see the hem distinctly rising in front.

I see the drag lines from the bust. That’s typical in any undarted top. For me, that’s typical. I’m not a terribly busty person so I’m convinced that even when the envelope says B cup it really means double-A. I’m not worrying about the bust drag lines.  I am concerned about the back.  I did not add shoulder pads. I think that would take care of the back draping. I keep 1/4″ shoulder pads on hand (I buy them by the dozen).  It will be a quick fix.

Love this pattern. Why don’t I have a dozen versions right now?

6PAC Update

  1. Top -DONE
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants DONE
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest
    1. Fabric Chenile Loose Weave
    2. Pattern LH 5104 Venetian Vest, Simplified, i.e. no hem flaps or closure.
  6. Coat DONE
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart

!!!Officially HALF WAY THROUGH!!!

2014 Winter 6PAC

This weekend I swapped the summer clothes for winter. I pulled the winter clothes out of containers and inspected their condition.  I’m pretty good at culling clothing throughout the season and always discard a few at season’s end. As expected, there were 2 that should have been discarded last spring but managed to make it into the boxes.  I shook out folds and hung the garments on hangers. I allow gravity to work before a quick press.  Then I looked over the lot from to see what was needed to complete a 6PAC.  I’m the one who likes to keep 6PAC’s in 3 basic colors: black, chocolate-brown  and navy blue. Once the basic 6PAC’s are done, I feel free to add accents, embellishments and fun garments; work on techniques or struggle with fitting.  To my horror, my winter wardrobe is deplorable. I have 3 very heavy sweaters seldom worn because they are too warm and a few pair of pants that are faded or have less than acceptable fit. Usually, I have clothes from the previous year with which to start the current season. That’s not the case this year. I need to get sewing.

For a few weeks I’ve been thinking of a black winter 6PAC with bright blue accents. I thought I had most of the individual items and would need only accents and a replacement or two. Having now pulled out the winter clothes, I know a full 6PAC is needed. I’ve pulled fabrics. In fact, I’ve reorganized the black section of my fabric stash.  I even made a separate stack of fabrics for winter pants. Grey colors are included in black section. I found that most of the black and grey are the same hue just different values. But oddly I have a small selection of blued grays and another of taupe-grays.  They are more appropriate for spring and fall so I’ve separated them for future use. (Spring will come again.)

  1. Top
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest
    1. Fabric Chenile Loose Weave
    2. Pattern LH 5104 Venetian Vest, Simplified, i.e. no hem flaps or closure.
  6. Coat
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart
  7. Accessories
    1. Shoes
      1. Black Boots, on hand
      2. Black flats, on hand
    2. Purse
      1. Every day: Black purse, on hand
      2. Evening:
    3. Scarf
      1. I like to wear a scarf over my shoulder and beneath my coat.  I learned this years ago from some well-to-do but thrifty woman.  A scarf worn against the body will aborb any oils and cosmetics. It can be easily laundered in the sink. A coat cannot. A scarf IMO is a necessity for each coat. I hang my coat and put the scarf on top.
    4. Hat
      1. Charcoal hat on hand (I love this hat.
    5. Gloves
      1. Charcoal – buy to match hat.
    6. Watch
    7. Wedding Ring
    8. Earrings and necklace as desired

I know I’ve kinda of cheated because I’m using 2 purchased items. But I have them. In the right color and I need them n-o-w. With vest and a top, I have one basic black outfit.

I need to refit the V-neck Tunic and Boat neck top. I’ve used these patterns over and over. I think refitting will be a matter of tracing the size for the current girth of my hips, making a 1″ BWL and 1″NSA before cutting. Oh, yeah, if I remember correctly I need to raise the V-neck.  I’m not really a cleavage baring person.

A lot of people, including myself forget to plan accessories. Accessories take you from day to night. Accessories are the final touch that make you look put together rather than thrown together. Yet we treat accessories as after thoughts.  This winter, I’m doing it differently.  This winter I’m including my accessories as items needed to make my 6PAC work.

TJ906 Experiment

Altering the 2-piece back leg into 1 piece here.

Modification to a Favorite

The Ebb Blouse is one of my absolute favorites.

This time I made it with a fabric purchased from Loes Hinse (another favorite designer). A soft 100% rayon in a crepe weave.  Had I not seen the description in a reliable place, I would have said this was polyester.  The trip through the washer confirmed LH had correctly described this fabric.  Out of the washer, it felt like split wood.  It shrank lengthwise slightly (about 1″ in 2.5 yards) but did not shrink width-wise. It was wonderfully drapey and crawly. I mean it would not stay in the stash.  It wound it’s way downward to the floor and was traveling out the door accompanied by the 2 other pieces also purchased from LH.  I just knew it would be perfect in the Ebb.

Having made a dozen versions of the Ebb straight from the pattern, I desired a slight change. Just something a bit different.  I check my inspiration files and came up with a dress from Burda Issue May 2010 #138.



I didn’t want the short pleated sleeve, paneled front or the dress length.  I wanted the center tucks. I started by tracing the Burda front-bodice, then trying to figure out how it needed to be altered to replace the Ebb front-bodice.  It took about an hour for me to think “wouldn’t this be easier if I just worked from the Ebb pattern?”.  I pulled out a piece of tracing paper. Put the Ebb on top and rotary cut a new piece. Slid the Ebb beneath the copy and transferred needed markings.  Sliced-off vertically the excess (the placket) beyond the center front and then sliced 3 times horizontally from CF up to the side seam. Then I slipped a bit of tissue under my new bodice; spread the horizontal slashes and taped into place.  I folded the horizontal slashes the way I wanted the tucks to form and then slashed the excess 1/4″ past the CF (effectively adding a 1/4″ SA at the same time as truing the new CF).  When opened, the tucks are easily marked and have the angled shape necessary to form the a nice even seam.  Lots of words, but less than 5 minutes todo.  I threw away everything I’d copied from Burda and was ready to cut fabric.

Well not quite.  Remember I said these fabrics were trying to crawl away?  I’ve given up on all methods to stabilize creepy crawly fabrics other than starch. Starch works. Starch takes the flimsiest fabric and turns it board stiff.  Thereby making it handle easily.  Downside is that this is a liquid experience that must be allowed to dry.  So I stopped to starch the fabric and allow to dry while I occupied myself elsewhere.  Even though I know I’m going to starch these types of fabrics, I don’t do it until I’m ready to sew.  I don’t have a bad pest problem.  Every few years a mouse tries to move after the first freeze.  Several types of bugs do the same thing –every year (mice are only an occasional problem).  When we replaced the house’s, siding we also sealed every crack.  The person working with us said we used twice as much caulking as he’d every used anywhere else. Yet, the bugs get in every fall (and a few baby snakes every summer).  Since critters love to eat starch, I protect my fabrics by not starching until I’m ready to cut.

I forgot to mention that I lengthened the sleeve at cutting time.  I like the 3/4″ but I wanted this to be different.  I used MarciaE’s method.  I slipped a piece of tissue underneath my pattern and extended the grain line to the length desired (for me that 20″ plus hem allowance, 1/2″ this version). I crossed my new grain line with a horizontal line and then measured out from the grain (which happened to be in the very center of the sleeve) the width I wanted at the wrist.  I extended the side seams down to the new hem level and trimmed away all excess tissue before cutting the fabric. What I desired was a lightly gathered-at-the wrist, long sleeve. I attached elastic at the wrist hem  using a 3 step Zigzag while the sleeve was still flat.  The stitched the side seams before turning the wrist up twice and top stitching. It’s an easy sleeve which I think looks nicely feminine.

As far as sewing, I changed the routine by folding in the CF tucks and tacking them into place before stitching the CF seam line.  At the cutting table I added 1/4″ to the side seams of the skirt portion (not the bodice).  Then made the hem line even instead of the mitered flaps that make this blouse so unique.  Without the extra 1/4″ when making the straight bottom hem, the blouse is too tight across my hips.  Probably I could have added the 1/4″ to the CF and CB but I didn’t.  Either way, I did need to slightly ease the skirt portion to the upper bodice portion. But I don’t think you can tell.


I’ve had this blouse done for about 2 weeks. It needed to be washed to remove the starch.  I think it needs to be washed one more time. The first trip through the laundry didn’t remove all the starch. The fabric is still visibly stiff and not draping as it did when first arriving at my house.  I don’t think this is the best look for me.  Adding the tucks added volume to the front where I have no volume.  But it is still feminine and even though still stiff from the starch, was comfortable to wear.

Would I do this again?

  •  The sleeve yes. It will be easier than before because now I have a pattern.
  • The bodice no. I’m onto something different. But I will cut a copy of the bodice pattern and make changes to it instead of trying to morph Burda’s bodice into something I want that works with the Ebb pattern.  BTW the issue which killed my Burda modified version?  The neckline.  I couldn’t figure out how to raise that thing from cleavage depths. Everything I did either removed the tucks or distorted the neckline.  I’m not a pattern cutter and that proves it.

Sofft Tools, Brushes and Water

I should be posting more.  I have  new toysaccesories I’m playing with and want to share my fun.  Today I’m excited about my recent purchase of the Pan Pastel Sofft Tools


Yeah, I bought the big pack. I have had none of these and no idea if they were worth my time or $$. But I do like to experiment and having all at once meant having lots to play with.  My sample is cotton/polyester loose weave with a 60′s print but 2012 colors:

Actually, I like the fabric, color and print.  I made a sleeveless blouse for summer and had this scrap left over.

I tested 1 of each the tools above.  Because contolled application  is my issue, I didn’t spent much time with the large sponges. Just kinda of swipe pan with color; swipe fabric with sponge. As expected, they lay down large swathes of color quite nicely.  More importantly, the sponge tissue lived up to its reputation.  Each of the tools (large and small) easily pick up color from the pan and spread onto the surface.  Finally, the promise of no dust was fulfilled.  I’ve been using brushes. While not as messy a chalk sticks, there was still appreciable dust on top of each pan.  No matter how gently I touched the top of the pan. No matter whether I stroked or dabbed. By the end of a session, there was considerable dust not on my work but in the pan. With the Sofft Tools NO DUST is left behind.

Onto the Samples.  #1 is the printed fabric without any pastel application. Flower #2 has pan pastel gold and Ox Blood Tint, applied using the soft tools.  #3 was painted with the  1/8″ flat brush and a 3/8″ angled brushes I picked up with this order.  I dipped the brushes into water. Shook them off. Stroked the Pan Pastel and then the fabric. I still want more control but I’d be happy to use this in place of acrylic paint. My only objection being that I’m sure to spill an open container of water — it’s just a matter of time.

I’m already working on a project. But this is something that takes time. Lots of time.

A lovely ponte

Read the rest of my post here.

Don’t want to sew a wardrobe?

Yesterday, I shared my Autumn 6PAC and ranted about one of my favorite soap box topics:  People who join wardrobe sewing but don’t want to plan and  sew a wardrobe.

I see this all the time, not just on the 6PAC topics.  Every SWAP someone wants to deviate from the format or not do any planning. Hey it is sewing WITH a plan. Planning is a good mental exercise. Planning your wardrobe could get you out of the Monday morning “I don’t have anything to wear” blues.  I’ll also read “why does everything have to work with everything?”.  Do you want to look good? Do you want to look put together? Then your clothes need to look put together.  They need to look good together. At the end of nearly every SWAP there is someone who confesses that the whole experience, (including the detested planning, including making sure the garments worked together and the proportions are good)  was one of the best experiences of their life. One issue that doesn’t always crop up until well after SWAP is “I didn’t sew for the life I have”.  But that’s another subject.

What I really want to do in this post is offer alternatives to mindless, boring wardrobe sewing.

  • Sew what you want and don’t worry about us. It’s OK. Sewing isn’t likely to save that much money. Not really. Not if you include the costs of your machine, thread, patterns, fabric and the endless notions we buy.  I do believe that sewing should first and foremost be a creative experience that is enjoyed. IMO, you should sew what rewards your psyche and not worry about us. Plus, once you accept that this is a creative endeavor, you won’t worry about the costs.  You buy the machine(s) that you want. The fabric that makes your heart sing.  The patterns that make you drool. Let yourself go. Do you want to share whatever it is you did sew.  As of Oct 2014 SG has 32 Sharing and Inspiration topics.  Let me tell you, there is some real eye-candy in these topics.  We’d love to see what you’ve done, too!
  • Do you really need 6 blouses?  Join the Shirt A Month group. You won’t be exiled if you can’t make a shirt every month or if you make all 6 blouses in the first month. You will get lots of help, moral support and compliments
  • There are also threads for Pants (if that’s what you want to sew)
  • Want to explore a particular pattern line?  Like Marfy, Burda, Ottobre or Style Arc.  Each has their own following and thread at SG and these aren’t all.
  • I can’t think of a sewing topic not to be found at SG. Do an Advanced Search with a key word.  ( I usually select “Search in Topics Only”) Find what you are interest in, read and share your own experience and ideas.


I don’t mean to be obnoxious. Truthfully, I don’t think this post will change people wanting to join a wardrobe sewing top but not sew a wardrobe. I think what happens is that SWAP draws people into SG. They get fired up and want to join but they want to sew what they want to sew. That’s OK. I hope I’ve offered at least a little encouragement and some topics you can use to share your particular sewing interest. You don’t have to sew a wardrobe. We’d love to see anything you are sewing or have completed.

My Autumn 2014 6PAC

My wardrobe planning was greatly simplified about 25 years ago when I discovered my colors.  I am a Spring and I’m happiest when I clothe myself in Spring colors. So when Pantone  announced the Fall 2014 colors which includes Royal Blue, Cognac and Bright Cobalt, I immediately settled upon a color scheme of warm browns and bright blues.  Because I’ve been collecting my colors for years, it didn’t take long to sort through the stash and decide upon fabrics and patterns.  Without further ado, here is my 6PAC

3rd layer, Coat:

Two plain tops:

Two pairs of pants:

Dang those jeans need serious pressing!

Yes that’s only 5 but I also have

a 2nd coat:

2 patterned blouses:


Are you wondering if I’ve totally cheated on the sewing?


Sort of. Added to the fact that I know my colors and pretty much stick to using my colors, I’ve also been participating in Elizabeth’s 6PAC sewing since the very first. And I’m faithful to the formula of building a basic wardrobe in neutral colors. My neutrals are black, navy blue and brown.  Color derivatives like warm brown mix really well with plain dark brown so I don’t feel like I’ve strayed from my brown neutral.  Same goes for grey and black or the various shades of blue. So back to the warm brown/bright blue fall color scheme….. Turns out, I’ve been sewing and shopping with these colors for quite some times.  The two plain tops are purchased long-sleeve T’s. One is cotton, the other polyester. The bog coat was sewn several years ago.  It’s not heavily used but I also did a good job when sewing.  It is fully lined; and even though the Bog Coat is a simplistic design, I added shoulder pads and some interfacing to support the jacket during it’s long-life.  Those jeans that need pressing? Were sewn last spring along with the 3/4 sleeve, polyester, geometric-patterned top.  The polyester, cowl-neck, extended shoulder was sewn at least 6 years ago. Again it doesn’t get a lot of wear. It says dressy to me; and while most poly’s don’t bother me, this crepe-weave feels a bit warm. Not a good trait for a garment that is intended for warm temps.  The 2nd jacket is a fake suede made before I’d even heard of ejvc or her 6PACs.  It gets a lot of wear.  That jacket is perfect for a windy day or cool but not freezing weather.  The pockets are stuffed with mittens because my hands  object to any cooling. The jacket is still in nearly new shape because I added the interfacing, shoulder pads and lining while carefully constructing this garment nearly 10 years ago.  That leaves only the pants on the left of the pants picture. I made them 3 days ago.  I found a lovely, beefy, heavenly Ponte in Ft Collins Co last spring. I knew it would make great pants. I use PP118 adapted for a knit fabric.

I like to share my 6PAC’s as an example of what happens when you stick with the 6PAC plan.  So often we have people join-in the sewing and they want to sew *6 dresses or blouses. Or they don’t want to make the 3rd layers. Most notably, they don’t want to make boring garments which wardrobe building often turns out to be. It’s the boring garments that make your other garments look delicious. It’s the boring garments that get you through the work week and into the weekend. Boring garments can take you from day to night activities with a change of accessories. Plus if every garment you wear is stellar in its own right, you look disorganized; NOT put together.

Eventually, if you keep plugging away at creating the basic pieces,  6PAC sewing stops being endless boring sewing. I’m now at the point that I decided upon my colors and then check my closet for existing garments . I note what I have, check it’s condition (and discard if needed). Once I know what’s missing from the 6 piece formula (2 bottoms, 2 tops, a dress and 3rd layer ), I check my fabric stash and pull fabrics in the colors I want to use. Then I match them with patterns.  This 6PAC, I pulled only 1 piece of fabric for the pants I knew I needed.  1 piece and my Autumn 6PAC is done!


*I’m not a fan of dresses. I do wear a few in the summer but the rest of the year, dresses and skirts hang in my closet never touched from the time they come out of the season’s box until they go back in. I’ve also seen times when I needed 6 blouses. (A work environment that required white tops and blue bottoms) So I do understand why someone might not stick with the 6PAC formula. I do agree you should sew what you need. Also for sewing to be really rewarding, you need to sew what you want to sew. But if you want to build a wardrobe, don’t kid yourself. If you needs tops, bottoms and layers but only sew tops….. Well Monday morning you’ll look into your closet and whine “I don’t have anything to wear” because you can’t put together a complete outfit.

Up to this point, I haven’t mentioned accessories.  I’m disappointed with the shoes in the photos.  I thought they would work well with this color scheme but that color is too red.  I have one pair of pants that they might work well with. Too bad, because they are comfortable. Those shoes can easily be worn around the house but are spiffy enough for shopping or a trip to the doctor’s office.  I may try painting them because I don’t like shoes that can only be worn with 1 garment.  My purse, however, is a winner.  It’s about 18 months old. I used the Clover Templates Nancy Zieman is always pushing. I chose 2 threads to couch onto the fabric hoping that would make it more versatile. Along with the slight padding and multiple pockets, this purse has become a favorite year-round.


Ready for Fall!

PanPastels: Dabbling

One of the downsides of small communities (it’s an upside too) is that everyone knows everyone. The Fedex Driver is a friend of DH and generally arranges his schedule to accommodate a short chat. While they were chatting, I snuck up behind DH and snagged my package.

I cut index-card sized pieces from my chosen fabric, a cotton decorator fabric in a rose woven-jacquard design.My fabrics are all pre-washed. No stabilizers to hide the true characteristics of the fabric or, in this case, keep the decorative element from adhering. To apply the pastels, I selected both round and flat brushes all under 1/2″ and added a 1″ foam brush for playing.  Thought I had some makeup sponges, the wand kind, but I hate those so much that I have managed to discard all of them. So I hunted until I found the very small – and usually worthless stencil daubers.  These are about 3/8′ and 5/8″ in diameter.  (I’m sure some creative person would find them wonderful, but me  not-so-much.

I specifically wanted the PanPastels because of my experience and final thoughts about my Inktense Pencil project.  At the end of that project I lamented the ache and soreness which my wrist and arms were feeling. I felt that the pencils would best be used to add details and something else should be used to cover large areas before detail work commenced.  My hope is that PanPastels will be a superior experience to the Inktense blocks. IOW I want to work in my easy chair without spilling water or color all over me, my chair and living room.

My first experience was SHOCK! I looked at the top of the first pan and assumed there was a printed label beneath the lid and I would find the color beneath slightly different (just due to media).  To my surprise the lid was clear and the color I was seeing would be the color I would be using.

I planned 3 samples or tests. One would be a control. Nothing would be done to this test other than playing with the various brushes and the 4 purchased colors (Red Oxide, Red Oxide Dark, Red Oxide Tint and Titanium White).

Not surprising, my 1″ foam brush spread colors nice and fast. Wonderfully, there’s not a lot of dust. I did not get dirty (a pastel stick experience). My clothing, chair, work all stayed wonderfully clean. But it was hard to develop detail. I went down to a size 2 flat and used the corner to develop any detail at all.

Test 02

Truth is pastels, even these PanPastels, are soft and spread slightly. Crisp lines, at least using a brush, are difficult to achieve. In the sample above, I started layering details using Inktense Pencils.  It is a wonderful mix. The PanPastel covers quickly. Titanium white not only mixes easily with the basic hue to form tints, but it can be opaque and cover up previous layers.

The much touted eraser did not work on fabric.  It smudges and lightens but does not completely remove PanPastels from fabric.

I’m working dry-into-dry i.e. my fabric is dry and so are my paints. No water added. No water needed and none spilled at my chair.  While there wasn’t much dust during my “painting”, I knew that an unfixed work will eventually smudge — and no telling how much.  I did one sample in which I simply brushed the PanPastels in a line and then sprayed with Krylon, Clear, Satin Finish.  I am pleased to say that the colors were unaffected by the fixative:

Test 03

You might not realize it but that is one of the big concerns of “real” artists.  They’ve spent their time carefully crafting and don’t want it spoiled today or 500 years from today by a fixative.  Fixatives should stabilize and project not add or change color.  So I’m really happy that my colors were unchanged by the application of the Krylon Fixative.

But that’s not the end for me.  I know that I will be making items of apparel either garments or accessories. Now for a purse or something similar, the Krylon might be sufficient for the life of the item. For clothing,  I’ve found Delta Textile Medium is my salvation. So far DTM has worked with acrylic paints, Inktense pencils and blocks but I wasn’t 100% sure it would be equally effective with PanPastels.  I tend to think of pastels – any pastels- as a fugitive medium. So I took the Test 2, added some details with the Inktense Pencils and coated it with DTM.  I let that dry overnight and then into the wash it went. The result?

I slopped DTM over and beyond the edges of each design. The DTM moved color slightly and by itself discolored the plain fabrics.  The Inktense pencil colors were, of course, made much more brilliant. anticipated and OK, as far as I’m concerned.  I do like the final Inktense penciled details.

As an experiment (because how do you know if you don’t try) I colored with PanPastels, coated with DTM and allowed the DTM to dry. Then I added details with Inktense pencils and coated them with DTM.

I like the end result but I don’t think it is necessary to make 2 coats of DTM; one carefully applied to only the added color is good…. and enough.


So there will be a sewing project coming up.  I need more colors and have decided to invest in the tools. There could be a chance of the tools creating the detail for which  I needed Inktense Pencils to achieve.  However the project is weeks if not months away.  I wrote these posts now because I wanted to record my experience immediately while I could remember it.   Sigh, getting old is not for sissies.