5 Reasons I Lost My Sewjo (Hint: Sandwich Generation)

Life got in the way, and I lost my sewjo.

Here’s why:

  1. Ailing parent. Everyone who cares for an ailing or elderly parent knows it cuts into available time and mental space for creative work.
  2. Sandwich generation. When a parent is ill, and begins to rely upon you for critical care and support, the walls close in. With children and parents to care for, the person in the middle loses any formerly available time and ability to choose their own activities.
  3. Toxic boss. Throw a toxic boss into the mix for even more stress.
  4. Teenagers. They don’t drive and they need rides, everywhere!
  5. Laundry. The teenagers make so much laundry which is then stored in my sewing space, which make the space uninviting at best.

The Upside?

The upside to this is that I picked up knitting again! The Roku hat caught my attention, and I knit three while sitting in various rehab facilities and nursing homes with my parents, contemplating next steps. I learned to knit continental style via YouTube tutorials to better handle the rib knit. The knitting offered great comfort in stressful situations.

I also got up close and personal with elder care and what is available in this country and what that care costs families. I experienced hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living, memory care facilities, case managers, and home health aide agencies. Some exceptional, others horrifying. I consider this an upside only because knowledge is power. With my knowledge perhaps I can help others facing these often sudden situations of need and guidance.

I am looking forward to some changes and improvements to my routine in the coming months. Those changes will include a revamped job, a cleanup of my space, and maybe the return of my sewjo!

If I can help anyone navigate the elder care journey with their own loved ones, just ask!


My Top 5 Misses of 2016


  1. Alice Top by Tessuti in seersucker. I made the XS after the size small muslin came out a bit large. Looks like a tiny child’s dress on me, and is not slightly flattering.
  2. Basics Top by Cali Faye. I used a Cloud 9 double gauze. The problem was that I sized down to an XS, but must have printed the pattern at <100% because it was much smaller than the size small muslin I made first. Love this pattern and will return to it come spring.img_2029
  3. My two tries at Dress S in the Stylish Dress Book 2. I am drawn to little girly styles but could not pull this off.
  4. Washi Dress. Just. Could. Not. Finish. It. I realize now that this empire style does not work out well for me.
  5. Wiksten Tank. This was perfection, but my choice of an octopus printed quilting fabric keeps me from wearing it. Going to get better at choosing wearable fabrics.

My sixth months of sewing in 2016 were all about learning. My misses were lessons in printing and assembling pdf patterns, working with the confusing layered patterns of the Stylish Dress Books, selecting wearable fabrics, handling delicate fabrics, fraying, sewing with elastic thread, picking, flat neckbands, and much more. Happy sewing! Here’s to more misses in 2017!

Stylish Dress Book 2, Dress S – My Attempt

 I decided I better act quickly to make something summery with the summery fabric I purchased in July. This Merchant & Mills Bani Indigo is extremely lightweight, more so than I realized when I bought it. I decided on Dress S from the Stylish Dress Book 2 by Yoshiko Tsukiori based on the lovely versions made by Karyn Valino of the Workroom.

Tracing out the pattern was a challenge but once I learned what to look for, it got easier. There is “S” for dress S and then is “S” for size small. I made an extra small even though my measurements called for a small. I did not want to go to all the trouble and then have the dress be see-through so I decided to line it. Underlining is what I did, with navy imperial batiste. Other than the tracing and the extra step of lining, this was fairly easy and I love the effect of the gathers over the elastic on the shoulders and sleeves. The shirring around the waist was copied from Karyn’s amazing versions. I was really proud of this when I finished!

I put on the dress and thought I looked pretty cute. Alas, I could tell I didn’t look cute by my husband’s reaction. I saw what he saw when I had a few snaps taken. Not good! I look like a grown up wearing a child’s dress. All is not lost however because I think when I remove the shirring and cut this down to a top, it might be really fun. I love, love the fabric, but maybe it would make a better tablecloth? Or curtain?

Stylish Dress Book 2 Dress S

This is my biggest challenge in garment sewing. How to choose fabrics appropriate for garments. How to make something that doesn’t scream “quilt shop.”

Not to worry, I learned a ton from this project. And I completed it start to finish even if the end result is not stupendous. I’m also not ready to give up on this pattern. Maybe if it was tighter in the bust? Maybe skip the elastic on the sleeve? If I could figure out a good modification I would go for it in the Liberty tana lawn, like Karyn’s.

If anyone has any advice on smart fabric choices for garment sewing projects, I am all ears. What might this fabric be better suited for, because I have another three yards of very similar fabric to use up!

Obsessed with Sewing Once Again

I don’t know exactly what happened that restarted my obsession with sewing this summer.

Thinking back it must have been Instagram and a post by Purl Soho. I love Instagram. I followed Purl Soho when I started knitting again last December. I didn’t realize the store also carried fabrics. They posted a simple sleeveless tunic top made of linen with the shoulders gathered by a piece of cord, and instructions on how to make it. I immediately found an old bed sheet and made it up. It was awful, but I realized how much I still loved sewing!

Then I saw a post about Nani Iro double gauze. “What’s that?” I thought. I started googling around quickly became obsessed. I ordered a yard from Soho. I ordered a Japanese dress book from Amazon. I scanned the internet for other easy things to make. That’s when I found the Craft Sessions post on Simple Sewing 101, Part 1 – Tops. I did this. I got as far as the Alice top, making several of each pattern, all the while searching for more patterns and more fabric and more people with the same passion. I found makesomething.ca. Everything Karyn makes is exactly perfect! I visited my local quilt shop where I hadn’t been in (10?) years and they were now carrying a small selection of apparel fabrics and patterns from Grainline.

How did I miss this movement? In Maine this summer I was bowled over to find Clementine in Rockland and Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro right there under my nose. I’m completely obsessed. I am using every free moment, of which there are few, to continue my journey, hopeful I will have something wearable very soon. Maybe even this afternoon!

Thanks to the amazing people behind Craft Sessions, Make Something, Squam Art Workshops, Purl Soho, Alewives, Clementine, Grainline, While She Naps, Sewing Out Loud, Crafty Planner and more for the inspiration and reintroduction to a hobby that I had forgotten.