Mother’s Little Helper: Not-So-Secret Pyjamas

Pssst! Over here. Need something to take the edge off? Something that’ll make you feel great? I got what you need. I’m your pusher…


And I’m pushin’ TERRY CLOTH. Lawdamercy, why didn’t anyone TELL me that terry cloth is heaven on earth? These pants caress my legs all day with millions of tiny soft loops that swish around in buttery-soft drapiness. Siiiiighhhhhh….


As soon as I made these addictive narcotic pants I rushed back to my pusher (The Work Room) to get more. I had experienced nirvana, and needed more, More, MORE! But when I got there I didn’t see any left.

Sweat broke out on my brow.

“Excuse me,” I said, concealing my panic, “I bought some terry cloth here last year, I think it was rayon or bamboo terry…do you have any left?”

“Sorry, none left.”

“Will you be getting any more in?” I choked out in a high pitched voice.

“Maybe. I don’t know. It might be a seasonal thing.”

I waited for a few awkward moments, expecting maybe a “I’ll find out for you if we can get more.” But only silence. (Folks in this place seem to have skipped over a few chapters in the Good Customer Service/Principles of Pushing Handbook.)

Damn, I’ve got to find me another pusher. I’ve got a need for terry cloth that any pusher worth their salt would be more than happy to exploit. Regardless of season. Extreme comfort and happiness know no season! My wallet is wide open here, people! I’ll sell my soul for terry loops in all the colours!


These pants are New Look 6461, a simple elasticized-waist pant that’s meant to fall a couple inches above the ankle. On my 5’4″ frame they’re a bit neither-here-nor-there in terms of length…I probably should have shortened them another inch or two. But they drape like a dream and I ADORE wearing them. In fact, I’m not even embarrassed to tell you that I wore them for two consecutive days, including to bed! [Spot the person who’s been working from home a lot lately.]

New Look 6461

I’m also working on my own version of the top pictured on the model in purple and grey stripes.


Good news: I think I found myself a new pusher. L’oiseau Fabrics is a Canadian online fabric shop based in Calgary that has a great selection of knits. And like any good pusher, they threw in something they thought I might like for free on my first order to get me hooked. Actually, it was by accident. I ordered some black bamboo terry cloth and when the package arrived…no loops. NO LOOPS! Another cold sweat. Am I mistaken, I wondered? Is there such a thing as terry cloth with no loops? But it turns out they had just made a mistake on the order and had sent along regular old black jersey. They sent the terry cloth right away and told me to keep the jersey. Nice, huh? Although the terry I got from them is a heavier weight than what I made the pants with, so it hasn’t quite got the same luscious drapiness. But it will be good for a winter cardigan or sweatshirt.


Pssst! Me again. I’m also pushing podcasts. Have you heard the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast yet? It’s freeeeeeeee…….just try it, see if you like it. Come back and tell me later if you need more. 😉

clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion - episode 1 available now -

Announcing the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast!

Hey friends! This is a really big deal for me, and for Helena, the amazingly talented sewist and blogger at….we have just launched the very first episode of our new podcast!

clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion - episode 1 available now -

Please go check out our new website at and have a listen! Don’t forget while you’re there to let us know what you think, and what you’d like to hear about on future Clothes Making Mavens episodes. We would love your feedback. And please feel free to share the news with other sewing enthusiasts in your network.

Thanks so much for checking it out!

As for me, I’ll be lying awake all night from sheer excitement that this is really a thing. A thing that is happening. Actually happening. Wheeeeeeeee!


Shoe Making at the Make Den

leather sandals - all the parts ready to be put together

I’ve been taking a leather sandal making class at The Make Den here in Toronto for the past few weeks. Every once in a while, as I was concentrating on cutting or bevelling or skiving or some other task that was causing major repetitive strain (my right middle finger has been numb for two days), I’d suddenly think:

I’m making SHOES.
I’m MAKING shoes!
I’M making shoes.

I don’t think it even occurred to me for most of my life that shoes are things that actually get made by people. Thought they just showed up in stores like everything else, y’know? 😉

The course was one 2-hour class per week for 4 weeks. Not enough time to finish the shoes — nobody in the class was able to finish in that timeframe. We’re all heading back in July for a make-up class to try to get them done.

The Make Den is mostly known for sewing; they do sewing workshops and they carry a good selection of quilting-type fabrics. While not usually my bag (show me the knits!), I couldn’t walk away without taking these lovely yardages home with me. I mean, look at that guy with the glasses! These are cotton canvas by Echino, and are rather pricey but there’s a sale on so they were 40% off. The sale ends tomorrow, June 24 — sorry for not telling you sooner! Also, if you’re in the area, they’re having a party tomorrow evening to celebrate the launch of their new website, The Woven Wolf, which features online sewing classes & tutorials. The party is from 7 to 11 pm at The Make Den’s 1244 Bloor Street West location. The lovely Irene Stickney, who taught the sandal making class and owns the place, tells me there’s goody bags for the first bunch of people who arrive. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Echino cotton canvas

Full disclosure: while I paid for the sandal making course and the fabric mentioned in this post, I was offered a free class at the Make Den in future to tell you all about the launch of The Woven Wolf and their launch party. We’ll see if my numb finger comes back to life before I decide to take another class! 😉

Also, did you hear the news? Helena from Gray All Day and I are launching a sewing podcast!

Exciting News! And Your Most Embarrassing Make

You know what’s so amazing about sewing podcasts? That you get to listen to people discuss your favourite pastime while you’re doing your favourite pastime! It’s like having a sewing party at your place but you didn’t have to vacuum or bake banana bread ahead of time!

If you’re a fan of sewing podcasts like I am, then I hope you’ll be happy to hear this news…

Clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion

Helena from Gray All Day and I are producing a podcast! We’re looking forward to sharing our first episode with you very soon!

[Lori jumps around room with excitement, shouting yahoo yaHOOOO YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO…a box of pins goes flying; the microphone gets knocked on the floor. Helena, on the other side of the continent, is still extracting pins from the rug after her last excited outburst.]

We want to include your stories in our podcast, too. So we’ll be asking you a specific question for each episode in hopes that you’ll share some interesting stories with us and with other sewists who will be listening (we hope).

Our first question is: What is the most embarrassing thing you ever sewed that you actually wore out in public? Why did you wear it, and where? How did you feel? Was it embarrassing at the time or only now that you think back on it? Perhaps it was a fashion crime? Or a bad fit? Or likely it was just something that was fashionable in the 80s that you’re horrified by now. (Many of us are horrified by what we wore in the 80s, aren’t we?) I know you’ve got some good stories, so dish, my friends! All the gory details, please! 😀

There are several ways you can share your story with us:

  1. Call us at 401-64MAVEN and leave your story on our voicemail. (Long distance charges may apply.)
  2. Visit and record your message using your computer’s built-in or external microphone.
  3. Leave your story in the comments below.
  4. Send your story telepathically directly to my or Helena’s brain. (Results not guaranteed.)

We’d love for you to record your message using one of the first two methods so we can play it back on our podcast. But we’ll also be happy to read some of your written stories aloud, too.

Hope to hear from you very soon! And I’ll keep you posted about when you can listen to our first episode.





Picasso and Monet Together in my Closet


I know you totally clicked on this post to see that SKIRT! And I don’t blame you. Just LOOK at those colours! Doesn’t it remind you of a Monet painting? And then there’s that great jacquard texture to die for.


I gasped when I saw it on the rack at H&M and practically ran to the checkout counter to buy it.

That’s right — I didn’t make it. But I did make that boring ol’ white top to go with it. 😉 Talk about reeling you in! Do accept my apologies…lol


I’ve dubbed this my Picasso top, because the lines on it are all skee-wiff if you look at it straight-on. The square neckline slopes slightly downward on one side while the hemline slopes slightly downward on the other side. If this shirt were a portrait, the eyeballs would both definitely be on one side! I obviously wasn’t being too careful when I put this together…but let’s just call that “artistic liberty”. If Picasso can do it, I can do it….er, um, something like that.

Skipper Tunic crop top

This is Variation 2 of the Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns. The pattern calls for woven fabric but I made it using a textured polyester stretch fabric, so I had to downsize the pattern a bit. I used two layers of fabric for the front and back pieces instead of just doing a neck facing, and the result is a top with good body that retains its boxy structure. The fabric isn’t scuba but two layers together makes it seem a lot like it.

Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns - Variations

Skipper Tunic by Papercut Patterns

I didn’t think a crop top would ever be part of my repertoire — I remember their hey-day in the mid-90s and wasn’t a fan even then — but this was just the thing for this high-waisted skirt. I even wore this outfit to our annual convocation ceremony.


But that skirt, though. Right? Whenever I look at an article of clothing in a store I always ask myself if I could make it instead, but sometimes the best option is to buy. In this case, I figured because I adored the skirt so much just as it was, and because I didn’t think there was ever any way I would find fabric similar to this, it was a good choice to buy it. Sometimes knowing you *could* make something you see on the racks is quite a bit different from *actually* getting around to making it. One winter not too long ago I almost froze because I refused to buy sweaters, figuring I *could* make them myself. Didn’t factor in that it takes me a good four months to knit one sweater, not to mention that I was (and still am, and will forever be) working out fitting issues with knitting.

How about you? I know some sewists want to have an exclusively hand-made wardrobe, while others are fine with mixing in some or a lot of ready-to-wear. What are your personal guidelines around that?

Thanks for stopping by.



Let Me Introduce Poison Betty, the Deadly Romper

Ha, I bet you haven’t heard the words ‘deadly’ and ‘romper’ in the same sentence lately. 😉

I don’t make a habit of naming my clothes, but this one was born with a name: Poison Betty. Poison because the fabric has images of irresistible little potion/poison bottles on it, and Betty because the romper has a bit of a retro-play-suit flavour to it. (Other retro names I like that come up a lot in my family’s history are Cordelia and Minerva, but Poison Cordelia and Poison Minnie just didn’t seem to have the same ring.)

New Look 6446 Romper

The fabric is quilting cotton called Apothecary in Evening Shade from FreeSpirit Fabrics. Love these potion jars, especially the ones with skull & crossbones on them. I got about 1.7 yards from the end of the bolt more than a year ago and hesitated to use it because, well, I think it’s more suited to clothing for an adolescent girl. But when I received the New Look 6446 pattern, I just figured it would be fun to sew a romper with this fabric. I mean, a romper is also more suited to an adolescent girl, no? So what the hell! I actually like sewing things I may never wear if it’s something fun or weird or just inspiring. Someone will find it in an second-hand shop one day and be delighted, I’m sure.

I’m assuming this fabric is no longer available anywhere as I just found it for sale on Etsy for over $100 per yard! I’m sure I didn’t pay much more than $10 per yard. The Etsy listing claims it’s “RARE”– so supply and demand, I guess! Anyway, now I can pretend I’m wearing a high end designer piece made from really expensive fabric. 😉

New Look 6446 Romper

I sewed this obi-wrap-style belt to go with it from the same black broadcloth I used to line the bodice. I loosely used Mimi G’s free obi belt pattern/tutorial, but did it two-sided and encased the seams on the inside. In the photo I’ve tucked the curved top edge of the belt in so that it’s narrower, which looked better with this particular garment. Have a look at Mimi’s red pleather version which she’s wearing with a gorgeous white and black striped sheath dress. I’m very tempted to copy her look to a tee, as it just looks stunning!

New Look 6446 Romper

The pattern includes variations for a dress with two lengths as well as a jumpsuit with legs that end mid-calf. I think I might try the jumpsuit (view C) at some point.

New Look 6446 Dress & Jumpsuit Line Drawing

New Look 6446 Romper

I got the placement of that right strap a little off in the back…ah well. Hello bra strap. And I made no attempt at pattern matching at the seams as I only just barely had enough fabric to eke this romper out of.

New Look 6446 Romper

Overall I had fun sewing this…the pattern is straightforward and the garment is super-cute. If I do wear it, I’ll be sure to use the bathroom before I leave the house because getting off this belt and one-piece suit is definitely a big production…could be deadly, in fact. 😉

New Look 6446 Romper

I’ve added this romper to Allie J’s Social Sew for June. The theme this month is Sun Dressing. Go add your sunny makes, too!


Thanks for stopping by!


Seamwork Aurora Tank Top: Betcha I can’t sew just one


This is the Aurora Tank Top by Seamwork (Colette). This is the first time I tried one of their patterns and I’m quite happy with it!


I bought the pattern while Colette was having a sale and loved making the first one so much that I went a bit crazy and made three. This green and purple one is made of cotton jersey that I purchased online from Mood Fabrics. It is so soft and drapey and I just love it. This is by far my favourite of the three tanks because the fabric feels so luxurious. I have no affiliation with Mood, but seriously, go buy some — you’ll love it. 🙂AuroraTank_Green_back

I love the curving hemline as well as the pleat at the back yoke. These design features plus the gathered straps at the front make this much more interesting than just a basic tank.

I finally found a use for my husband’s old T-shirt I had been hanging onto for a refashion.




Funny story about this one: as I was attaching the black yoke, I noticed my fingers were picking up dye from the fabric. I’d had this fabric in my stash forever and I couldn’t remember whether I’d pre washed it or not. (I wasn’t automatically pre washing everything as soon as I got it home when I first got back into sewing a few years ago, but I do now.) Rather than detaching the yoke and rinsing it separately with vinegar to try to remove and set the running dye — I mean, that’s what a REASONABLE person would do, right? — I tried to rinse out the black fabric while it was still attached to the cream fabric! Notice the purplish dye that seeped onto the front straps in this next pic? What a goof I am. Anyway, most of the purplish dye came out when I hand washed the whole thing a few days later, so crisis averted. I don’t know why the universe is so good to me. 😛AuroraTank_Refashion_CU

Two new Aurora Tanks? Still not enough! Must make another! You know, it’s funny, Helena from Gray All Day made a bunch of Aurora tanks one after another last summer and I remember seeing them and thinking they were cute, but not thinking they’d be something I’d sew. It wasn’t until after I bought the pattern and started sewing that I rediscovered Helena’s posts about them. Seems we are kindred spirits on the Must-Keep-Sewing-Aurora-Tanks issue. I’m betting we may have similar problems with potato chips or chocolate. 😉


This third one is made of a fairly icky polyester knit. It’s not terrible but it feels like driving a Soviet-era Lada while the green cotton jersey one is like driving a Ferrari (neither of which I have driven, I might add, so I actually have no idea if that analogy is appropriate or not. Let’s assume so, though, k?). This one seems to have turned into a pyjama top in the meantime which seems like a good use for it.


Construction Notes:

  • I cut the neckline a centimetre or two lower on the green and cream versions. Other bloggers mentioned the fairly high neckline so I just went ahead and did it. I forgot to do it on the pink version and I do find the neckline too high.
  • I cut away about 1.5 cm around the bottom of the armholes as well. If you’re planning to make this I think you’ll find this a necessary adjustment as the armholes will be quite small otherwise.
  • I added about 2 cm extra length to the hemlines.
  • I followed Helena from Gray All Day’s advice on how to attach the front straps to the yoke so that the seam is entirely enclosed inside and out. Well worth doing — no seam allowances showing on the inside or possibly peeking out the sides of the straps.
  • On the cream and pink tanks, I also enclosed the back yoke seam on the inside. I should’ve done this on the green version, but didn’t think of it. You can see the difference it makes below:

Overall I am very pleased with this pattern. It is a quick and satisfying make, and I’m delighted to have been able to repurpose an old T-shirt for one of them. Highly recommended!

Have you ever made multiple versions of a pattern one after the other? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by for a read. 😀