Salina: The Easy Romper I wished I had packed

easy romper

I named this easy romper Salina. In Spanish, the name means “salt pan”.  You’ll understand why in a minute and if you ever seen a salt pan, like the ones out in the desert in the western US.  Many years ago, I visited Etosha National Park in Namibia famous for its wide open views the salt pans and amazing wild animals. I vividly remember seeing the long, thin silhouettes of elegant giraffes.  They seemed like mirages, like they were almost not even there.  The lines and the shapes made them look narrower than they were.  The design of this easy romper does the same thing and makes me look narrower than I really am, and I like the optical illusion.  Believe me, at “5 feet nothing” I take all the help I can get. I wished I brought this romper with me while … Continue reading

Perfect Beach Dress for Summer Fun

perfect beach dress

The town where I grew up sits in a valley over a mile (1800 meters) above sea level and surrounded by mountains.  But if you found it on a map, you’d see we were not really too far from the sea.  From time to time, we went to the beach in the back of a big pickup truck.  It was the same one they used to move the cattle, horses and chickens to the abattoir, so it was pretty rustic. On the way from my small town to the beach, we would pick a few of my cousins on the way.  When I say “a few” cousins, I mean until the pickup truck was full.  It only really took 3 or 4 stops to fill the truck because as it happens, I have 68 cousins, if you can believe it, and filling almost … Continue reading

Boho Chic Tunic free pattern plus tutorial

Boho Chic Tunic

The first time I made this Boho Chic Tunic pattern, I had just turned 15 years old.  Originally a dress, I decided to remake and share it with you.  For me, it represents freedom which is why I wanted you to have it. Long a ago, one time when my parents were not getting along, my father worked far from home and would only come every 3 months.  My mother was in charge of a household and 5 kids and a very small business, so you can imagine her day.  I wanted to go to a school party and my sister wanted to come with me.  Needless to say money for new outfits to go to school parties was not in the budget.  My mother always happy to help said “I can only give you 5 dollars, see what you … Continue reading

Faviola, The “housewife” summer dress

summer dress

A couple of days ago, I went to a local store to buy a floor runner for a hallway.  After looking for a while, I finally decided on one and proceeded to bargain the price –a common practice here in Singapore before you agree on a price.  After much arguing, I actually decided not to buy the rug.  It wasn’t anything special and the price was indeed inflated.  When the salesman perceived I was backing away, he proceeded to use the old flattery tactic, but having grown up in Latin America I was immune to it. What did catch my attention though, and despite me wearing a rather obvious wedding band, he continued to use the word “miss”.  I corrected him and said “missus” –after all, I am married.  The man said but you do not look like a “housewife”.  I … Continue reading

Mens Pajama Shorts with Pockets – Father’s Day idea

Mens Pajama Shorts

For most men I know, nothing beats a sunny warm morning, a cup of coffee, and some good reading material by the porch, balcony or in the back yard –but hanging out there cool enough without scaring the neighbors sometimes can be a little challenging.  I’ve got two men living in my house and because it’s quite warm here, they always seem to be walking around the house in their underwear and as you can imagine, that causes problems from time to time. I wanted to give the guys an alternative, but it’s hard to find store bought mens pajama shorts that are both comfortable and stylish enough, so I decided to come with my own design that would be both.  Here are some mens pajama shorts that no one will know are pajamas and are good enough to go to the supermarket and grab … Continue reading

How to make an easy party dress for summer + VIDEO TUTORIAL

easy party dress

The other day I needed to make an Easy Party Dress for Summer in a hurry.  A long-forgotten invitation at the bottom of my daughter’s school backpack and just a few hours of warning led me to realize that she had nothing appropriate to wear.  I’m sure all those that have kids, especially teenagers, can relate to what was happening.  Suddenly, overnight it seems that my daughter went from a little kid to a female taller than I am, so I couldn’t even lend her something of mine to wear. Panic-stricken and  looking in my fabric stash, I spotted a print that looked fancy although if I recall, the price I had paid did not reflect that –I think I payed only something like $2 dollars a yard.  I got some elastic and some lace and sat at my sewing table … Continue reading

Culottes tutorial for summer time glamour

culottes tutorial

Culottes, one of the most trendy styles of the 50’s and 60’s, are back!  Culottes are flared pants or shorts that can often look like a skirt or a dress when you’re wearing them.  I have been trying to help you build a warm weather wardrobe that is both easy and practical  –and that is easy to make.  Here is another free pattern to add to your collection of projects for the summer. “Culotte” is a French word that means the lower part of a garment or knee breeches.  They have been fashionable since Henry III made them popular at court in France in the latter part of the 1500’s and were worn mostly by the upper class.  Later, in the time leading up to the French revolution in 18th century, the lower classes who wouldn’t have worn culottes became … Continue reading

Easy Tunic

easy tunic

This is a tunic that is so easy to make that you will want to make many in different colors.  This pattern would make a good project for those looking for their first garment. The only slightly tricky part is applying bias tape to the v-neck which is why we’ve created a separate tutorial on that to make sure anyone and everyone can succeed at this project. Last week we had the pleated blouse and many of you asked about elongating the sleeves so the arms will not show as much.  We’ve tried to address that request in this new design.  This tunic has a very loose fit, is very easy to make and easy to wear.  Dress it up or down to be perfect for any occasion. This tunic makes an awesome mini dress if you make it a couple sizes too … Continue reading

Eve: the any day, everywhere pleated blouse

pleated blouse

Many of you may remember the very popular project we published recently featuring Bali the Reversible Skirt.  When we were shooting the photos for this post, we chose to use a white pleated blouse to complement the skirt.  While the skirt was very well received and many of our members made the project, we ended up getting as many questions about the blouse the model was wearing as we did about the skirt! So this week I decided to make a pattern and project for this attractive pleated blouse. About the name: Eve, the any day blouse, why the name?  According to the Bible, Eve was the first mother.  As mothers go, once you are a mother, you will always be a mother.  So in the lead up to Mother’s Day, I wanted to share this blouse tutorial with you as … Continue reading

Tips For Sewing Denim

sewing denim

Denim is a very popular fabric these days and is synonymous with jeans. Today term “jeans” usually refers to a specific style of pants, called Blue Jeans.  These“rivet-reinforced” denim pants were invented by Jacob W. Davis, along with Levi Strauss & Co., in 1871.  We did a post a few months about highlighting this story of Levi Strauss, who perhaps more than any other individual or institution has done more to expand the role of denim in our society. Origins of Denim However, given this important American contribution to the success of denim, what most people don’t know today is that denim was actually invented in France.  In fact, the word “denim” comes from the French “de” which means from and “Nîmes” which is a wonderful town in the south of France where denim was invented during the Middle Ages.  So denim literally … Continue reading

Bali the Reversible Skirt

reversible skirt

I’ve had so much fun working with Batik fabric since my recent trip to Indonesia.  This is another in the series of projects featuring Batik.  If you missed any of the prior articles, please have a look at The Ancient Art of Batik Printing for an introduction to Batik as well as our first project, a Folded Shopping Bag from Batik Fabric for more background and a neat beginner project.  Given that spring is well and truly on the way now, I thought it would be good to make a tropical-themed skirt for those warm summer evenings out.  I’ve used Batik fabric for both sides of this reversible skirt.  You can, of course, use other fabrics of similar weight and texture, but I like the exotic look of Batik. This is a very pretty reversible skirt, made out of cotton and silk … Continue reading