Grease Is The Word Inspiration – The Bad Girls!

Hi Sewcialists!

Did you see Rachel’s great post on Grease good Girl sewing inspiration?  If not, you can read it here.  I love it!  I was 100% decided on a bad girl inspired look but she’s swaying me to the land of circle skirts and peter pan collars!

In my opinion, all the best clothes in Grease are worn by the Bad Girls – who doesn’t love Rizzo and Marty in a pencil skirt?  And Frenchie with the pink hair?  Jan maybe not so much!

The essential make is the Pink Ladies jacket.  It’s a simple collared jacket with a zip in the front.

It’s suprisingly hard to find a pattern match for this – maybe as the winter patterns have hit so everything has switched to coats (sorry, southern hemisphere!)

How about Butterick 5683, Kwik Sew 3890?  Or if you prefer an indie pattern, the Papercut Rigel bomber (very Grease 2!)?

jacket collage

I didn’t know until I was researching this post that the Pink Ladies had certain colour palettes – Frenchie always wore spring colours, Marty wore more blues and greens, Rizzo wore bright colours and lots of black and Jan, well, I’m not entirely sure – brown tartan?

The bad girls wore much more grown up clothes that definitely harked more towards the sleeker lines of the 60s rather than the full skirts of the 50s.  For me the styles that stand out are the capri pants and pencil skirts.  Here’s some ideas of patterns you might use:

capris inspiration

pencil skirt inspiration

And no round up of Grease bad girls would be complete without Bad Sandy:

sandy inspiration

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for your bad girl look.  Have you decided what you are making yet?  I’m leaning towards this look of Rizzo’s personally!

rizzo in black

Jenny Burda Jersey Dress

Sewcializing with a Sewcialist – October Edition

Hi Everyone, it’s Nisha from Blue Sunday and I’m so excited to introduce to you our featured sewer for the month of October.  If you’re seeing Sewcializing with a Sewcialist for the first time … these articles are all about getting to know those friendly faces featured in the Sewcialist Flickr Pool.   Every month a Sewcialist gives us a little peak inside their world to inspire and share their knowledge.

This month we’ll be hanging out with Jenny from Cashmerette & Curvy Sewing Collective.  This sewcialist is going to be fun and inspiring!  She’s already inspired me to get out of my sewing comfort zone, buy a Burda pattern & add making a coat to my sewing list!  Grab your favorite beverage and let’s hang with Jenny.

Jenny Cashmerette Featured photo

Jenny – how did you get your start sewing?

A colleague came to the office one day in a fabulous skirt and when I asked her where she’d bought it, she said she’s sewed it with fabric from IKEA! I was stunned at the idea of being able to make my own clothes. It took me another year, but I took a simple introduction class and then jumped straight in, using lots of online tutorials and following blogs. I’ve been sewing for about 4 years now, and I’m constantly learning.

What is your best sewing organizational  tip and how has it helped keep you organized?

I hang all my pattern pieces on clothes hangers, which I keep on a rail in my sewing room. Everything’s easy to access, and there’s no need to fold the pieces.

Jenny Cashmerette Swim Suit

What sewing tool can you absolutely not live without and why?

My rotary cutter and mat – I’m so much more accurate using them, and an awful lot faster!

What is your favorite online shopping retailer?

For fabric, I absolutely adore Emma One Sock - she buys fabric directly from designers, and the variety and quality are fantastic.

Jenny Casmerette Wrap Dress

Where do you find inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration from plus size fashion bloggers, like Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason. They show how curvy women can wear the latest fashions – thanks to Gabi, I even recently made a crop top and wore it out in public!

How do you sewcialize?

I set up the Curvy Sewing Collective with some of my other plus size sewing blogger friends, and it’s been a fantastic way to come together and help the whole community of curvy sewists. We have a forum and lots of guest contributors, and it’s been a  lovely way to meet other women just like me. In addition, I go to the Crafty Foxes sewing group every Wednesday night at Grey’s Fabrics - it’s such a fun group, including Katy and Laney, Ping, and many others.

Jenny Cashmerette Dress

Speaking of the Curvy Sewing Collective what’s your best advice for curvy sewists?

While everyone can enjoy the fun of sewing, I think it’s curvy women who can get the most out of it! It’s so hard to find well fitting and modern RTW clothes, but once you learn how to sew, you can create your own wardrobe that flatters and fits. If you’re starting, great options are making things like a simple wrap skirt or the Colette Moneta dress which is really drafted well for plus sizes. Then, you’re going to need to learn the basic adjustments, like a Full Bust Adjustment and widening waists – they’re actually pretty simple, and once you have them down it will make a huge difference to your fitting.

In terms of pattern companies, unfortunately I don’t think there’s a single company that really meets all our needs right now. However, Colette’s new knit patterns go up to 3XL (the Moneta and Myrtle are particularly great), Style Arc has all their patterns up to a size 30 (although unfortunately the instructions are really bad, so they’re not good for beginners), and I’ve heard good things about Hot Patterns, too. And of course the Big 4 often (though not always) goes into plus sizes – if you do go the Big 4 route though, make sure you choose your size based on finished garment measurement and not the body measurement as they assume enormous amounts of ease. I often “size down” 2 – 3 sizes from the suggested size.

What’s your proudest sewing moment to date?

Making my winter coat last year! It took me a very long time and I painstakingly researched and executed every step. I ended up wearing it all winter, and felt fantastic every time I put it on. I’m planning an emerald green version this year!

Jenny Cashmerette Coat

What’s on your sewing table right now?

I’m making my second winter coat! I’m using an amazing emerald green 100% cashmere coating from Mood, lined with a flamingo poly crepe de chine from EmmaOne Sock. Last year I made Simplicity 1759 and fit it for my chest, so I’m going to use that pattern again, but use view B which is a narrow collar which stands up. I’m hoping to make a medium weight coat that will work for Fall and Spring, so I need to get going quickly!


You have got to love these makes and by the way that super hot black jersey dress at the top of the post that is EVERYTHING … is Jenny’s first Burda pattern. And if you want know more about Jenny and the Curvy Sewing Collective, definitely check our her blog, Cashmerette.  Jenny – big thanks for allowing me access to you and your pictures.

Don’t forget to post those makes to the Sewcialist Flickr Pool!  See ya next month.


Annnnd that’s a scrap: the Scraptember round-up

Scraptember has come and gone, but what a month it was! Thanks to everyone who shared their creations in the Sewcialists flickr pool. I’m excited to share them in today’s round-up!


A print and solid Polly top from Claire

A pieced blouse from Sophie, who made this awesome schematic of her scrap sources.

Heather’s floral and solid Scout

Lily Sage & Co.

Debbie’s neoprene top

Sara’s sweatshirt made from wool knits

Skirts & Pants:

Gillian’s Hudson pants with a floral scrap detail

HoffiCoffi’s cars skirt


Becky’s patchwork skirt in progress. What an undertaking!


Lily Sage & Co.

Debbie’s leather-embellished tunic

Katie’s patchwork dress

My dress

Accessories & Unmentionables:

Gillian’s colorful undies

Shannon’s back to school pouches


Marilla’s leather bag, made from inter-generational scraps!


And from Sarah, a sewing accessory! She made a pincushion from scraps, stuffed with – guess what – more scraps!

For the kiddos:

Shannon’s bear sleepover

Lily Sage & Co

Debbie’s self-drafted tunic

Lily Sage & Co Lily Sage & Co

Debbie’s Hide and Seek dresses

Meg’s Figgy’s rainb0w-winged Stellar tunic

Shannon’s scooter skirt

Gillian’s super stylish toddler leggings

Big thanks to everyone who shared their projects this month; I was thoroughly inspired by all of them and I hope you were, too. If you made something for Scraptember that I somehow missed, please let me know and I’ll do a follow-up post.

And!! If you still feel like you have an excess of scraps – who doesn’t? – please carry on the festivities of Scraptember into the rest of the year!


Theme for October – Grease is the Word!



Hi Sewcialists!  I’m Joanne and I blog over at Sew Little Time .  After much discussion on Twitter about the theme for October, we decided to resurrect an idea we all got excited about some time ago – the Grease sewalong!

Hosting with me are the lovely Claire from Sew Incidentally  and equally lovely Rachel from The Hollywood Sew.  Throughout the month, we’ll be posting pattern and fabric inspiration to get you going on choosing what to make, whether that is a recreation of an outfit from the film, or a look inspired by it.

The film was made in 1978, based on a 1971 musical, but set in 1959.  So you can take your inspiration from a wide range of styles from the 1950s and early 60s, from poodle to pencil skirts and sweaters to shirts.  There are even dance dresses to consider.

And the best part?  Minerva Crafts have kindly agreed to offer a fabric bundle to the maker of the best garment or outfit!  To be eligible for the prize, please post a pic to the Flickr group ( – to avoid Flickr weirdos, you have to request to join but we’ll approve asap!  To give you time to sew and photograph, the closing date will be 15th November, with the winner chosen shortly after.  Garments should be made between now and then, no previous makes to be entered please!

I’ll leave you with a song that’s been stuck in my head pretty much since we started planning this sewalong – you’re welcome for the earworm!

So what do you think?  Are you in?


Tips for sewing with scraps

With a full weekend (plus a few days!) left in September, I thought I’d share a few ideas in case you’re planning a little scrap fun this weekend!

1. Sort your scraps
If you’re anything like me, your scraps are stored in an undignified, dusty heap of a bin. I may or may not cross my fingers that said bin will close as I stuff yet more scraps in. Doing a scrap project is entirely unpalatable until I lay my scraps out and actually see what I’m working with. This helps me identify larger pieces, favorite scraps, etc – which brings me to my next idea.

2. Look for similarities
One of my favorite things in scrap sewing, nay, in life, is to sort things according to similarities. I find that this is an especially fun technique for scrap fabrics. Look for one or two characteristics that you like, such as color, fiber, texture, print, or weight. (Given the monochromatic nature of my recent sewing projects, I was able to amass a pile of grey, white and silver linens for my Scraptember project.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.44.49 AM


3. Or, go crazy and look for contrast!
Bright colors! Light and dark! Thin and thick! Textured and smooth! You can make some stunning combinations with contrasting fabric scraps. Using contrast can highlight your seams and design lines in a great way.



4. Consider dye
If you want a cohesive look, you can stitch some scraps together and dye them! If you want all of your scraps to pick up the dye, check first and see what fibers your dye will work with. I use Procion MX for plant-based fibers like cotton and linen and Jacquard for animal fibers like silk and wool, but there are many types of dyes.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.46.47 AM

Boro from Jen Kao

5. Consider using your scraps as embellishment
Making your own applique or trim would be  a great way to use up scraps without sewing an entire garment with them. Check out how Debbie used leather scraps on a dress she made!

This list is by no means exhaustive as I’m an enthusiastic amateur scrap sewer, not an expert. Please share if you have any tips on sewing with scraps! And if you’d like your Scraptember projects to included in the round-up next week, please add your photos into the flickr pool.

Meg Profile

Sewcializing with a Sewcialist – Meet Meg!

Hello fellow makers!  I’m Nisha Williams and from time to time I’ll be taking a break from my blog, Blue Sunday, to hang out with you all over here!  I’ve been sewing for a little over 3 years, but the last year my sewing has improved greatly (meaning … I can wear what I sew in public!).

What changed?  I added people into the mix.  While I struggled to learn to sew on my own with online classes and You Tube videos … it wasn’t until I discovered this world of bloggers who so openly share their knowledge, techniques, and resources that my sewing skills have taken on new heights!

When Gillian asked if people would like to write for this blog, I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could really get to know the people we see on the Flickr page.  We see what they make … but what inspires them?  How did they get their start?  How do they continue to grow?

Every Sewist has a story, and every month I’ll bring you a new sewist from the Flickr pool.  Grab your favorite beverage.  Make yourself comfy while we “sewcialize” for a bit.  Let’s hang out with Meg McCarthy or on Flickr …  McCarthy_Meg 1979.

Meg Profile

Hello Sewcialists! Thank you so much for choosing me to interview, Nisha! I am honored and a bit surprised. I still feel like a sewing newbie, so the idea of sharing my knowledge and resources is funny to me… I have knowledge to share?!

 How did you get your start sewing?

My mother is an extremely accomplished sewist: garments, quilts… pretty much anything you can think of, she’s sewn it. She was always sewing (and knitting and crafting) when we were growing up, so I was always steeped in it. Despite her best efforts to teach me, I only had a fleeting interest in sewing as a child, making a project here and there. She bought me a beginner sewing machine when I was in my 20’s and I expressed an interest, but even then I really hadn’t been fully bitten by the sewing bug. It wasn’t until I moved abroad a few years ago, struggled to find a job, and was quite lonely that I began sewing more intensely, spurred on by the active, inspiring, and super supportive online sewing community. I used a lot of online resources, mainly, to answer sewing questions: tutorials, YouTube videos, blogs. Now I’ve learned so much that I can share tips with my mom! She’s trying her hand at sewing with knits after my recent knit sewing successes… fun!

Meg McCarthy 2

What are a few of the ways you learn new skills and challenge yourself?

I like to challenge myself with increasingly more difficult patterns or techniques. But I try to take them one at a time to keep it manageable. I finally feel, after months of trepidation and several wonky installations, more confident with zippers. But zip flys? Slippery fabrics? Sleeve plackets? Any serious pattern alterations? OMG, terrifying. Baby steps…

What is your best sewing organizational tip you can share and how has it helped keep you organized?

Ha ha ha… organized? I don’t think I am very organized. I go in spurts: massive clean-ups and organizational overhauls of my sewing stuff followed by months of messing up said organization by pulling fabric and patterns out for inspiration and then not returning them to their proper location for weeks and weeks.

What is your favorite online shopping retailer (for sewing fabric, notions, supplies) and why?

I live abroad (Bangkok, Thailand and previously in Jakarta, Indonesia) and only recently have a reliable means of receiving packages, so I actually haven’t done all that much online fabric shopping. I’ve had decent although occasionally mixed experiences with and Girl Charlee, but am excited to try a couple shops I’ve learned about via other bloggers (Michael Levine, Cali Fabrics, Fashion Fabrics Club). Also, over at Imagine Gnats, Rachael is seriously the world’s fastest shipper (she ships same day most of the time!!) and has some amazing fabrics in her curated collection.

Meg McCarthy 3

What sewing tool can you absolutely not live without and why?

Seam ripper, for sure. Cures all sewing ills: pieces sewn wrong sides together, wonky stitching… all common occurrences in my sewing!

Where do you find inspiration?

A combination: other sewing bloggers (so many creative folks out there!), ready-to-wear browsing (Anthropologie, etc.), people-watching. Bangkok has some amazing people-watching, clothes-wise. People are not afraid of outside-the-box fashion here… funky fabrics, pattern mixing, super bright colors, crazy details. Jakarta people-watching was also fun: gorgeous batik and ikat fabrics in all sorts of fun combinations. Highly inspiring!

Meg McCarthy 4

How do you sewcialize?

When I first started sewing I was immediately posting my stuff on my blog, but otherwise I was a bit shy about “sewcializing.” I did a lot of lurking. Recently I started getting more into it, realizing how lovely and supportive everyone in the sewing world is and how fun it is to share this fabric/sewing/garment-making obsession with others who “get” it. So now I’m sewcializing all over the place, including on my blog, Twitter, Instagram, Kollabora, Flickr, participating in sewalongs, commenting on blogs, participating in Me Made May, etc. Sewcializing more has brought me some awesome opportunities to contribute to other blogs, participate in blog tours and even do a little bit of pattern testing, which has been really fun. I might even have a sewing meet-up soon, even though I live so far away in Bangkok, and I couldn’t be more excited!

What’s your proudest sewing moment to date?

Hmmm… I can’t decide! Maybe my ikat By Hand London Victoria blazer? Love that thing! At the time I made it, it was by far my most complicated make.

 Meg McCarthy Ikat

In that same vein, I was quite proud of my plaid Negroni for my husband… it’s not quite his style, but I think I did a great job putting it together, pattern matching and sewing the bias yoke and pockets! But perhaps one of my more recent sewing adventures makes me the most proud: I am super proud of my successful invisible zip and (almost) pattern matching on my Southwestern Emery dress (first picture in this post). I worked really hard on it and think it came out pretty great. Plus, I drafted neckline facings for the Emery, which was a first for me.

Meg McCarthy Emery Back


Seriously, don’t you  just want to hop on a plane, fly to Bangkok and have a beer with Meg?!?  Meg thanks for taking the time to provide all of the detail and providing access to your pictures.  We appreciate your willingness to Sewcialize with us and providing a peak us into your sewing & crafting world.  Want more Meg?  Check out her blog.

Do you have any burning questions you would like to add to the interview list?  Leave them in comments below or email me at nishawilliams [at] msn [dot] com.  And don’t forget, scrappy September has just started.  What will you be making?  We’ll be following the Flickr page for your amazing Sraptember makes.  Happy Sewing!


Scrappy inspiration seen ’round blogland

Some of the most creative projects I’ve seen in my years of sewing and blogging have been made from scraps. I’m super excited to share a few of them with you today!

Carolyn, sewer extraordinaire who blogs at Handmade by Carolyn, has made quite a few scrappy projects since I’ve been following her blog. Recently, she sewed a linen dress and added a band of her own piece work and bias-bound neckline made of cotton scraps.

Devra of Puu’s Door of Time was inspired by a modern patchwork book. She raided her silk scraps to piece together the front of Datura blouse and the results are just incredible!

This next project is a scrappy sewing with an infusion of refashioning. Yoshimi used 4 unwanted pairs to create a new pair, and they’re just the coolest. She made them in 2010 and I still think about them.

Katherine from Bloom’s Endless Summer recently mixed prints, texture and color like a pro in her tank from scraps. She was inspired by the desire to minimize her scrap stash before a move.

Have you seen any other fantastic scrap projects in the sewing blog community lately?