Category Archives: shopping

New pattern goodness

Were you as excited as I was to hear that Colette was coming out with new patterns for fall (and a book too!)?

I just love how much care goes into the instructions and storage for the pieces…. each one is like a little work of art! With the big 5 constantly having sales where you can get their patterns for $2 or $4 a piece, I know it’s tough to plunk down money for an $18 pattern, but I think they are worth it, and I really want to support Sarai and the amazing work she does.

Here’s what we bought:







And I’ve already got fabric for many of these plus a few others. I need to stop shopping and start sewing 🙂


Posted by on October 14, 2011 in shopping


New (unnamed) Bernina

I hinted at this in my last post, but while we were at the Bernina Dealer, Mister and I decided to bite the bullet and buy our very first NEW sewing machine.

Over the years, we have had a plethora of sewing machines in our lives. I sadly don’t have photos of them all, but there were a lot!

Our first was a little Singer Featherweight on loan from Great Aunt by way of Grandmother. We loved that little machine, but eventually, Great Aunt wanted it back (and rightly so!), and we were forced to start looking for something we could call our own.

We trolled ebay for a while (this was nearly 8 years ago…goodness!) and just never got up the courage to enter into bidding on any of the featherweights there…they were all in the $250-350 range, which was too much for us college students.

The first thing we found was a little german sewing machine inside a cabinet. There were all sorts of interesting artifacts from the previous owner in little boxes — I think she might have even been German, because some of the notions (long lost, now) were in German. That machine had it’s little quirks, but it was a workhorse, and it’s what Mister first discovered sewing on.

Then we came across an old treadle style sewing machine tucked away in the back corner of one of the thrift stores we frequented. It had been reduced to something quite reasonable — $50 maybe? — so we pounced on it. Mister figured out how to get the strap hooked up again, and we had a treadle machine that worked! It was really beautiful — black with beautiful gold scarabs and Egyptian-inspired designs painted all over it. Not a singer, but definitely in the style of Singer. Don even made several pairs of pajamas using the treadle, after we let the little german machine go for lack of space, during a period when I thought I would never learn to make my own clothes.

Then we found an old bent-wood-cased Singer, and oh, she was a beaut. We had her a long time, because even though she wasn’t as light as a featherweight (let’s be honest, more like an anvil) she was beautiful and sewed beautifully.

We found Hilde, our 60s era bernina, at an estate sale here in town for about $50…what we typically pay for sewing machines I guess! I found her inside the UGLIEST little avocado green suitcase, which probably everyone else thought was just a suitcase, but I knew better 🙂

Now, we have a new member of our sewing machine family. She’s pretty much blown all the others out of the water in terms of strength, and she isn’t as hideous to look at as some modern machines… there’s a simple clean beauty to her lines, which I quite appreciate. And she’s a little easier on the back! I introduce…. the as-yet-unnamed-Bernina 330!


We rather enjoy calling our sewing machines by German names, now that we’re in the habit of it… any ideas for little 330?

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 9, 2011 in shopping


I’ve been too busy to blog!

Oh dear friends, it’s been a busy sewing month of September! I’ve had a rough time trying to stop and blog what I’ve been up to! A lot of the projects I’ve been working on have been in muslin, rather than finished fabrics, so I guess I wasn’t as excited to show you the results 🙂

All except this one…


I’ll be catching you up on all my projects over the next few days, but here’s a quickie preview!

During the month of September, I…

  • Visited a new sewing store in town, Common Thread
  • Dropped my vintage Bernina off at the store for a much-needed tune-up
  • Bought a bucketload of patterns, many from Colette!
  • Bit the bullet and bought my first silk charmeuse…and then washed it! A terrifying process that worked better than I could have dreamed!
  • Bought a new sewing machine… introductions will be made later
  • Learned how to grade a pattern
  • Learned how to modify a neckline
  • Started watching Project Runway… I’m not sure I’m happy about it, either. More on this to come.
  • Started working with voile for the first time
  • Made an adorable shirt out of lace + knit…on a whim! My first time working with either and it was so rewarding! (see above)
  • Modified my dress form so that it actually matches my own measurements…what a difference!

I’ll also confess that it’s been busy at work, and here at Maison du Chat… but October marks the beginning of fall here in Texas, and I’m so inspired by my successes that I can’t wait to finish some of my projects and share them with you!

1 Comment

Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Field Trip, new skills, planning, Rookie Mistakes, shopping


Pretty patterns

I got my very first Colette pattern in the mail today, and all I can say is “WOW!”

You can really tell that Sarai came from a Usability background.
I’ll be making a lot of Senchas…several for me, and one for my little sis for her graduation. I can’t wait to get started!


It’s a booklet!


Isn’t that amazing!?!



Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2011 in shopping


Final haul from the CWGS

My favorite reason to go to the city wide garage sale is the fabric tables.

These are dealers who sell fabric — all sorts — by the pound. It might be dresses, or quilts, or kitchen towels, or hankies, or vintage clothing… you never know what you’ll find.

But my favorite table has to be the scarves. I like to wear them in my hair, mostly. They’re all $2 a piece, and here’s my goodies from last weekend:

Blue and pink sheer loveliness:


A stately paisley:


Blue upon blue polka dots:

Royal blue with white flowers:


Army green with green prints:


Black with white polka dots and a solid border:


Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping


Other goodies from the CWGS

Here’s find number two from the City Wide Garage Sale.

I’ve never bought or worked with a vintage pattern before, but I have really wanted to take the plunge. All the ones I find on Etsy, though, are way too expensive for me to experiment with, especially considering all the modifications I’ll have to make because — really? — girls just didn’t come in my size back then (or so it seems!).

But these? These were $1 each. How could I resist?

These are so Audrey Hepburn I could just scream. Of course, I’m not build like Lady A, but I still think they might work on me…

I’m kind of a sucker for the bodice detailing here… and I love stripes, even though I don’t own anything striped!

The pants are just silly, and I don’t know that the top will work, logistically, with my tummy, but isn’t it adorable?

Best $3 I’ve ever spent at the CWGS!

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping


City Wide Garage Sale

I’ve been too busy sewing and stashing to blog! And there’s still the little matter of the summer rush at work, too.

Last weekend, I visited the City Wide Garage Sale. Which is a really misleading name. It’s more like the city wide dealers-who-think-their-stuff-is-worth-more-than-it-is type sale, but sometimes, you can find great stuff.

This go round, I found a woman who was de-stashing from a lifetime of fabric collecting. She’d overpriced everything, but hadn’t had luck selling it, so she said half off every tag. Which meant I got all of this for $80 (and before anyone asks, I’m wearing a tank top in these photos…photography can be so tricksy sometimes!

4 yards of red silk duponi… perhaps a sheath dress….

2 yards of military green wool for a military skirt…

3 1/2 yards of a red shirtweight silk and 2 yards of white with red polka dots cotton for two Colette Sorbetto tanks, styled differently!

And 3 yards of a flowered blue silk with white stripes, which is totally not my style, and I have no idea what to do with, but I loved it too much at $12 to pass it up:

I got a few other goodies, too, which I’ll share tomorrow!

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Field Trip, shopping