Jasper Sweater Review + A Giveaway!

Paprika Jasper Sweater - CollageThis is the recently released Jasper Sweater by Paprika Patterns. (Full disclosure: I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review.) I made it up in a rayon double knit from JoAnn’s. The pattern calls for a stable heavy weight knit (sweatshirt fabric, basically) but this is a little bit stretchier than recommended because of the high rayon content. I made View A – the pattern also has versions for a longer dress version and a turtleneck instead of the hood. Continue reading

A Little Applique Test with ScanNCut and Dream Machine


I’ve been meaning to do this little test for awhile. It’s simple: take a drawing of an applique shape and scan it on the ScanNCut for fabric cutting and scan it on the Dream Machine to create an applique embroidery file. Will the fabric piece and the embroidery design be the same size? If this experiment works, then I don’t need to use any additional software to create cut files and embroidery files for my applique. Continue reading

March Challenge Announcement

I_want_to_believe5After looking through all the half finished projects in my sewing space, the theme for the March challenge was clear to me… UFOs! (That’s Un-Finished Objects.) So, dust off something you’ve had lying around for way too long and make it work! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got WAY too many options for this one! Who else is in?

As always, anyone is welcome to participate and post their photos on our flickr page through March 16th. I’d especially love to see before and after photos so we can see the state your project was abandoned in. Just think how gratifying it will feel to move one to the win column!



Jill’s Show Your Sewing Room Challenge

Here it is, my sewing room with no apologies. Click on any image for a better look if you care too!

before collage

This is the one place in the whole universe that is all mine, or as Virginia Woolf would have said a room of my own. The day I took these photos I was finishing up a blitzkrieg of sewing. Working on bodices, sleeves, silkies and all kinds of things. To be honest I don’t like messes, I like being tidy and orderly.  But sometimes when I sew I sew wildly and just need to take advantage of the free time that I may have.

Also, when this photo was taken one kid was under the table his “special spot”, the cat is of course always hanging around and the other kid too has a “special spot” located between the file cabinet and the bookshelves. Once there he will take my fold out cardboard cutting mat and make himself a door or a roof depending on the weather. The room is always busy, but I rule it with an iron glove and kick my subjects out if needed or if they break a rule.

But, this room contains more than sewing stuff. It has the best parts of my childhood.
my image

My oldest friends

imagePlus, those I’ve lost.
imageI do my taxes here, I meditate and read. I have a glorious view of an old tree and rolling hills (driving range).

Sometimes I just lie on the floor and think sad things.

wall collage sewing room

It’s my museum, my art gallery, my library.

collage of sewing room

I count myself lucky just to have a room of my own, where I can sew and occasionally be by myself. It’s where I create and it’s a glorious room whatever the state.

Cleaned up a bit, my sewing room

February Challenge: My Tiny Sewing Corner

When the February challenge was announced as “show us your sewing room”, I snorted at the “room” bit. My sewing room is a 4×4 foot corner of my small apartment attached to the kitchen. I was trying to figure out how to take a panoramic picture to fit it all in, but… don’t need to, it all fit in one shot! Here’s a diagram I’m calling The Anatomy of a Tiny Sewing Space:
Tiny Sewing Corner - Labeled

Continue reading

February Challenge: Sewing Space Reveal


This month’s challenge was to show off our sewing spaces! For awhile, I was sewing in our unfinished master bath on a card table, but then my husband built me this cute 8′ x 12′ sewing hut in our backyard. What started out as a fairly empty sewing space has quickly become completely filled floor to ceiling with sewing stuff. Here’s a peek! Continue reading

Carolyn Pajamas and Shoddy JoAnn’s Flannel

Early this January, Heather of Closet Case Files sent out her latest pattern to a group of pattern testers along with a fabulous description of how she wanted to make a pajama pattern she could wear working from home and feel like a sophisticated business woman, or something you could make in silk and look like Katharine Hepburn… I mean, look:

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas

The pant + long sleeve view required 6 yards in my size for a 45″ wide fabric (most silks and flannels) which I just didn’t have in my stash, so I went to JoAnn’s with visions of fancy business lady pajamas dancing in my mind… and somewhere I went off track a bit…

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - CollageI mean, let’s be serious, there aren’t many sophisticated fabrics in the flannel section, so I just went totally goofy in the other direction with some kind of video game print. I’m not sure how I feel about them… I liked the pants when I tried them on by themselves, and the same for the shirt, but together… Instead of Katharine Hepburn I look like David Bowie’s chubby little sister at summer camp. Oh well!

I’ll start with a review of the pattern – loved it! I admit there are a lot of pajama patterns out there (and I have quite a few of them) but none of them quite check all the boxes for me. These have a slimmer fit (none of that unisex nonsense), cuffs, a notched collar, and POCKETS (a must!).

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Pockets

The piping instructions are great. A long time ago I tried to add piping around a sleeve and followed some crappy instructions on a blog that had you overlap the piping into the seam which turned out terrible and bulky and I never wanted to do piping again. These instructions give you the proper method (butting the piping ends together and overlapping the bias tape to cover the split) and it turned out great. The piping instructions for the notched collar also made something that looks difficult really easy.

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Notched collar with piping

I appreciated that the method for attaching the stand-less collar eliminated the need for a back neck facing. I hate having a back neck facing on a normal garment because it always gets bunched up and I’m sure it would be 10 times worse in pajamas when you’re sleeping. If you take a look at the photo below, you can see how the front facing stops at the should line and then the collar just encloses the raw edges of the back.

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Inside view of collar and front facing

The hem has a nice flattering curve to it. The instructions tell you to turn twice and stitch – I’ve been doing a bias binding on curved hems in tightly woven fabrics, but I found that on this loosely woven flannel the turn and stitch method worked just fine.

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Inside view of hem and front facing

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that it does NOT have a long baggy crotch length like many pajama patterns. I’ll submit a tiny photo for proof…

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Back view

Now that I’ve established that the pattern is GREAT, let me talk about the TERRIBLE qualities of this flannel I bought from JoAnn’s. First off, when I ripped it to find the grainline, I discovered that the crossgrain was really warped. (Take a look at that top edge in the photo below!) I was back at JoAnn’s yesterday and looked at some of the other flannels and they ALL have this nasty warping problem, I think from being loosely woven but wrapped around a bolt tightly. I could not shift it to get the grainline orthogonal so I just cut it as it wanted to lie.

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Warped grain on JoAnns flannel fabric

I wore the pants for two days before I took these photos and I could not believe how much they stretched. After an hour of wear they were baggy all over. When I washed them they snugged back up to the same width again… but they SHRUNK two inches in length! (I didn’t want to point it out in the full photos, but they look like flood pants now. They were hemmed to the floor.) And yes, I pre-washed the fabric in hot water and high heat in my dryer before sewing these. The second wash was in cold water and low heat in the dryer, and that’s what caused the two inch shrinkage!

In addition, I can really tell the difference in pilling between the pants (washed twice) and the top (prewashed once). I imagine after a few more washes they’ll either be shedding lint everywhere or shrunk down to child size.

Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas - Pilled JoAnns Flannel Fabric

The pajamas weren’t hard to sew, but they were a little time consuming with having to sew two pieces and add the piping. So, it’s really disappointing to have them ruined by bad fabric. I didn’t want to spend $60 on silk and have the test version not fit, but considering they fit great (I just shortened the pant legs and sleeves because I’m only 5’2″) I’m wishing I would have opted for a nicer fabric to match the time I put into them. Next time…

If you’re interested in the pattern, you can get them in the Closet Case Files shop here.