Aunt Emily

Emily Bowyer Hammel was my father's older sister. She was the dearest person I've ever known. Over several adolescent summers, she patiently taught me how to sew and how to cook. I loved her. Sadly, she has been gone these few years and I miss her very much. However, I am carrying on her legacy of sewing and trying to carry on her legacy of caring.

Saturday, May 24

The Great Coat Sew Along

Marji ( has put together the Great Coat Sew Along for those who would like to make a winter coat. She has sent out invitations and has about 50-60 people who have joined. More to come apparently. I have been crazy enough to sign up! Some people are doing two or three, but I don't think I will have that much time. However, I love the idea of "sewing with the stars" - building a community of women working on the same projects. Marji has broken the various activities down by month so that the coats will be completed by the end of September.

Last winter, at the clearance sales, I finally bought a long, grey wool winter coat that is comfy and warm on really cold days (and for $25 on clearance, there was no way I could make it). But, here in southern Ohio, that is about six or eight weeks of wear at the most. There are a lot of other days in November, early December, February and March where a warm, but lighter coat would fit the bill. When I was in Vancouver I succumbed to the allure of a carnation pink wool shawl that I thought would be great for the transitional times, but a real coat would be nice. .

I am considering two Burda Plus coats and a Butterick and a for this sew along. I will probably have to get fabric after I decide on the pattern.

First, is this coat from the current BP magazine. It is described as having "witty poachers pockets, a large, sophisticated collar" - and I sure could use more wit and sophistication in my life. Plus if it will make me a foot taller and blonde like the model, I'm all for it!



The lighter color coat is a stretch satin and the dark a linen. I think it could be nice in a very lightweight wool or wool/silk mix. I would consider the pictured fabric from Fashion Fabric Club, described as "Solid Aqua Blue Jacket Weight Coating Fabric Suitable for Coats 80% Wool 20% Linen 60" Wide" of the teal "Solid Turquoise Jacket Weight Wool Coating Fabric Suitable for Jackets & Light Weight Coats 100% Wool 54" Wide"

Secondly, I'm thinking about this one from the Fall/Winter 07/08 Burda Plus. It has overcast seams and from the directions, I think they are talking about flat-felled seams. It is hard to tell, which may or may not cause difficulties. It is made from double-faced wool, which may be a bit warm for what I want. I suppose I could use the pattern and make a lining and not use double face. I did see some wool on Fabricmart that was double-faced black and aqua, which I thought would be nice, but . . . only 2 yards left! So that is out

Finally, I bought this pattern for a Butterick coat last winter, but haven't done anything with it. I quite like the long white view with the notch in the color. And the big portrait collar is lovely. I also like the assymetrical closing. A cream or pastel color wool would be nice, or either of the fabrics above in the first coat.

So my team of trusted advisors, what do you think? With which should I go ? All comments and ideas welcome.

Sunday, May 18

Beaded Buttons

I subscribe to a daily beading email. Sometimes they have free patterns for bead related items. On Friday, they send out a link to instructions on making beaded buttons. Go to to download a PDF that shows three methods. In the bar above the page this link takes you to, there is a link to the Free Project Library.

I haven't tried any of them, but if you have, I'd love to hear about it. COMMENT BELOW!

Burda Style


Have you tried anything from the Burda Style website?? (
The site has free patterns for clothing, some by the Burda Style group and others by readers. Most are not plus, but are "plus-able", since you are printing out the pattern on your printer and can easily scale up. They provide the technical drawing, as well as a pattern photo. And members can upload hotos of their creations.

I've been looking at it for several months now, and have downloaded some of the patterns. I am thinking I may give them a try.
Let me know if you had any success with these freebies!

Saturday, May 17

Pin Cushion Patterns - Collected by TipNut

I just love TipNut. A daily email with all sort of tips for all sort of things.

Today, TipNut has a list of instructions for a variety of Pin Cushions. Pin cushions are a simple pleasure - easy to make, fun to use and multipurpose!

Visit the link at:

Thursday, May 15

Sewing Mishaps and Injuries

Well despite my plan to sew this weekend, a little mishap delayed me.

Do you remember your mother or grandmother saying "Keep your fingers away from the needle?"

Well, she was right - it will sew your finger and it hurts like the devil!

I somehow sewed three stitches into my left index finger. The needle broke and I had to get my husband to fish it out with tweezers. Good thing I had a tetnus shot last year!

So I've been somewhat immobile, finger wise! But this is my first day really typing, so I'm doing better.

Friday, May 9

Vintage Fabric Finds


Last weekend we decided to go to one of the large Antique Malls in Springfield, Ohio. If you are driving across country on I-70, you might want to consider stopping. There are three, and all are good, but my favorite is the easternmost mall, Heart of Ohio.
Anyway, in looking through everything, I found a stash of vintage fabrics I grabbed. The light blue flowered sateen is only 36 wide and about 1.3 yards, but it will make a great panel for the Xceptional Shirt or something similar, matched with a plain or subtly patterned fabric.
The second is a polished cotton with great medallions in teal, dark blue, gold and purple. There is 4.5 yards of this great fabric from the late 60's/early 70's, so I can make a real retro top or dress.
Finally, some cotton/poly leno print in purple and lime. Again, more than 4 yards, so it will make a great summer dress.
I have to stop buying fabric and get going on making things!

I've Been Working Hard - Just Not Finished

I've been sewing away, but not finished anything as yet. The black floral is Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Cosmo dress. I love it, but I was a bit short of fabric and made the sash quite a bit shorter than the pattern. I will just tie in front. Well that tain't working - I ended up searching 3 Joanne stores before I found the same fabric, and have now purchased enough to make the appropriate sash.
The next two dresses are from the same Simplicity pattern. The light blue daisy pattern is a stretch cotton with a slit neckline. The second is another view with a contrasting yoke. The dress is a linen/rayon mix with the yoke and trim in a polished quilting cotton.
I also have two tops cut out and ready to sew - an Xceptional shirt and a Simplicity top. I hope to finish things up this weekend.