Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, August 30, 2020

My first Vlog review!

I present to you our first Vlogger review and it is with Anita Morris of Anita by Design.  Until I get the knack of reviewing our vloggers I will follow the template I previously discussed. Let me know if I can do better. 


Anita's delivery is calm, articulate and what my mom would call "lady like". I think she has the makings of an anchor person and for all I know this may be her other job if she has one. Her smile is non stop, something I have found important in all the vlogs that I really enjoy. You not only end up with sewing knowledge from her videos, you finish watching them and you feel good. 

Anita is always dressed in lovely clothing she has made herself that fits well, something else I have found important in sewing videos. I have seen her make athleisure, jumpsuits, dresses, etc. You can't imagine how many vloggers are out there wearing awfully fitting clothing that they tell you they made, ugh. Not Anita. She walks the walk. Her skills show. I love her honesty. She will tell you right out she is not a fitting expert and does not try to teach you fit but she will let you see how she has worked through a fit issue for herself and even show the several tries and why they didn't work. That right there is informative, IMO. Her sewing skills are strong.

Something else I like about Anita is that she will show a technique and work it through with you and then she will back it up with a  quality sewing book, sometimes even telling you what page the technique is on. I like this reinforcement and the fact the she thinks it is a great idea to have a good reference book on hand and that she underscores that with her viewers.  

When Anita finishes a garment she models it and it is totally accessorized, bag, hat and shoes included! She loves hats! She often will then give you a different look to the same garment with all new accessories and you get the versatility of the look she just created.

Anita is full on digital with her own website where she does sell various sewing books, notions, etc. She is also on all the platforms, blogging, vlogging, insta, etc. I get the impression that she is very hardworking, focused and does not do anything unless she does it well.

 She has a special series called "Learn to sew" where she will take a beginner from zero through making six basic garments and learning to sew. I HIGHLY  recommend Anita for any new sewist. You will feel like she is holding your hand and has the patience of a saint and a voice made of velvet. Newbies, Anita is for you. She will inspire and teach you well. 

Technical issues:

At this point you think I am gushing but I've been watching a lot of these videos and I wanted to start with a really professional  quality vlogger for you. Anita's camera work is the best I have seen of any sewing vlog. I don't know how or who places her camera but she gets shots of sewing at the machine that are so much better than what I have seen on other vlogs. They are bright and so close up and open. She needs to give lessons on this. 

Another thing Anita has going for her that I am finding I really like in my vlogs for sewing is a bright white background punctuated with color. It just shows off the fabrics and garments so well. When the bright white is behind the machine it emphasizes the stitching even more and helps give the great camera work I just mentioned. 

Her programs are highly staged and don't miss a beat yet at the same time they feel genuine and real. She is just a warm, focused person. 

What did I learn?

From Anita I have learned that some people are natural born teachers and she is one of them. She has a genuine ability to relate to beginners and get her information across clearly. 

Recently Anita did a vlog called "Let's talk about it" in which she has a conversation about the current state of affairs and history of race relations in the U.S. I was curious and not quite sure what to expect.  It touched me deeply and enlightened me more than any other media presentations I have seen  on the subject. I highly recommend any of you click and watch.  It is deep and heartfelt. I learned much. 

Was it entertaining?

Anita by Design is definitely entertaining but in a soft, easy way, great to watch with your morning cup of coffee. For myself, I monitor her videos as many are beginner so those I don't particularly watch. She has great sew alongs and those are very well done but aren't my particular cup of tea either. She does take you through each and every step very clearly. So yes, her videos are entertaining and knowledgeable. For me the best ones are those that she makes for herself, discusses her fit issues and you then see all finished and accessorized. She models them well. The most important thing I can say about Anita Morris is that she is an excellent teacher for sewing beginners. Recommend her with confidence to anyone you know starting out to sew. I fit her into our Sewing Entrepreneur group. She is a pro!


I am finishing up a small vintage fabric project that I can't wait to show you! More to come with this gorgeous Pendleton Black Watch Plaid. This is the original price tag. If only it cost that much now!.....Bunny


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mimi G Style S8889 and pants

As soon as I saw Simplicity 8889, a MimiG Style pattern, there was something about it that said "petite" to me. I loved the detail, the high collar buttoned shut, the interesting hem band. I even liked the high low bottom edge, not my usual taste in hem finishes. It all just seemed a bit downsized for a petite shape. I also thought it would be the perfect foil for the rayon print pants I just made.  It would go well with some pale green I had in the stash. It would also allow the full length of the cropped pants to show. The sizing would  require a bit of adjustment for petiting but that was nothing new.  I will review the top first here and then the pants. 

The top


This is made with a fabric that someone, can't remember who, gave to me. It looks like Brussels Washer Linen, or so I thought. Once I started working with it I realized it had a fair amount of Spandex fiber and that was all on the crossgrain. I DO NOT LIKE Spandex but it was in there and I was emotionally vested in the project so went with it. It was a pain to iron and at the end drove me nuts on the last horizontal collar stand buttonhole. ugh. I found it behaved like a linen blend on the straight of grain but had a springy bounce to itself as well. So, in the end it was OK but I would not have bought it. I thank whoever gifted it to me. The hemband, collar and placket were interfaced with sf 101. I bought a bolt of this for bag making and it was handy. It worked fine enough. If I did it again I would interface just behind the specific buttonholes as the three layers of cloth for the hidden placket plus the interfacing made for a lot of thickness. Add in the spandex spring and it was a bit thicker than I would have liked but it came out OK. 


This is where it got very interesting. This pattern has no darts. It is what I call a box top or box jacket style. If you are anyone who has a C cup bust or more you know a dartless woven top does something special. It hangs straight down from the peak of the boob as you see above. This extends the bodice out into space as you can also see on the dress form. Do you want to show skin? Wear a light cami as I will ? Does it flatter? Did you forget this style does this? Did you notice how this was hidden on the pattern cover photo?

 Here's my version:

See that skin peeking out?  You can also see the top trying to make a bit of a dart, extending out, and hanging straight down from my boobs. Do you see my flesh at the side slit? I brought that slit down an inch or so. It is what it is. I have a white chiffon cami I will wear with this next time. Don't get me wrong. I still really like the  top. What get's me is that I didn't follow my own often spoken advice to really read the pattern photo on the cover. Guilty.  I'm not sure I would recommend this pattern for a newer  sewist. The directions are excellent, very clear, nothing missing. It is a bit challenging on the step where the hidden placket meets the hem band but it is all laid out. The good thing is MimiG has a youtube video sew along and you can follow the entire construction if you like.


I flat pattern measured and actually decided not to petite the upper chest of this pattern. It worked out fine. 

* I did an FBA adding  1 1/4  inches to the bust. I take a C cup. 

* I shortened the back length by 2 inches. Why? The hem it came with would have put the hem edge right at a full part of my hips and shortened my "leg look length". By raising it, it ends up in a more flattering spot for me.  Five footers fight for all the leg length they can get!  It is still very hi-lo.

Remember, if you shorten the length of the top, do it in the area above the hem band and below the armscye. 

* The last fit issue I dealt with was adding more room in the hips. I found I wanted just a bit more ease in the back so the easiest way was to just make the pleat deeper. I added one inch to the depth of the back pleat and to the hem band in back at the same spot.  


This is a pattern where you really need to follow the directions. There were 26 steps. I liked the challenge of all the detail. I chose to topstitch most edges with the heinous "stretch stitch" , aka, triple stitch. It is great for topstitching,  giving a thicker look to this seam finish. For the less experienced sewist, the curved hem band meetings at side seam can get a bit futzy and there is always the fun of a traditional collar with stand in this pattern as well. That is the one place I veered from the pattern and did the Nancy Zieman method which you can find in my tutorials. It gave a nice crisp finish as it always does.

Once again I did my buttonholes without a buttonhole foot and they came out beautifully, except for the one on the collar stand. That part of the stand is on the bias. That and the stretch spandex insisted on a wavy BH. I ironed it away but it was definitely  not as nice as the ones hiding in the placket. I would use a lighter interfacing or just behind the BHs, next time I do a hidden placket like this. I cut down the pocket a 1/4 inch all around, the petite scaling thing. I didn't do the collar as I liked it as it was. The construction went smoothly, just following directions. They were well written. 

The Pants


The pants fabric is Telio Kahlo slub rayon in "seaweed" coloration. I was inspired by a pair of loose, cropped pants I saw Linda Lee wear on a video. Matching this print was a near impossibility. It would have worked just fine if I went the no match route. but my inspiration pant had a soft large print match around the knees and I wanted that. I found in this fabric a couple of large motifs matched but there were tons of random splotches that defied any sort of repeat. I went with the large motif I wanted to match and didn't worry about anything else.  Results below. 

This fabric, 100% rayon,  is quite lightweight, I believe in the low 4 ounce range. It is near sheer. Lee suggested lining these near sheer rayons with polyester mesh. I'd never heard of such but gave it a try. It worked out great and I will do that again. The lining is a relatively heavy fabric so hangs nicely, doesn't ride or stick to anything and does it's lining job well. There is a lot more information on the fabrics I used HERE.


For the pants I used my Sure Fit pants sloper to start. I did a simple gathered waist and cropped leg with a 1 1/4 inch deep machine hem, no pockets. I rarely do pockets in pants as they add bulk and width to my already wide hips. I love this style and it's soft folds on the hips and legs help even out my proportions. I do think a short top makes it work. 


These pants were very very easy to construct. They were classic  drop one leg into the other pants sewing. I have seen people on youtube making pants in such difficult other ways. Most patterns tell you to do the leg in leg method. It is so fast and easy. I don't get it. Oh, well, to each his own. 

For these pants the toughest part  was establishing the print layout. Once I had that done it was pretty easy. I made the lining in the exact same method. I dropped the lining into the pant and basted them together at the waistline, not the seam.  I attached non roll waist elastic, cut 2 inches smaller than my waist, to the top edge of the pant with a triple zigzag stitch. I turned it to the inside,covering up the top raw edge of the lining. I stitched the bottom edge again with a triple zigzag. Done and so easy. 

The hem was serged , then folded to the inside 1 1/4 inches and stitched down at the top edge. I liked this deeper hem on such thin fabric. The extra weight of a deeper hem helps it hang better. Oh, I let this rayon hang out for several days before hemming.  The mesh lining was simply cut with a rotary cutter about an inch and a half shorter. 

I love this outfit. I like MimiG's  pattern and it's clear directions.  While I wouldn't recommend this normally for a newbie sewist, if they want to sew along with MimiG's video on youtube, I think they can pull this off. I'm not crazy about my top fabric of these coordinates but I do have a lovely and short sleeveless top in olive green linen that I made a couple years back. It  goes really well with these pants.  I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I liked this fabric so much that I went right out and bought another few yards of a different print but still Telio Kahlo slub rayon. it will become a tunic. I recommend this pattern with the caveat about the fit of the bustline that happens to box type tops. I will live with it and wear  a cami underneath. 


My husband and I have been devoting nearly every spare minute lately to painting our home. I'll post before and afters when we are done. This is a 1962 ranch house that was painted  mint green with maroon trim. I can honestly say I lived in a very ugly house.  You can see we've gone whole different route. We love how darker homes look in wooded settings and it worked out well here. This cedar sunburst was black with mold and had never been cleaned or treated since the day it went up. My husband got off all the years of crud and will be sealing it tomorrow.That will bring out the beautiful cedar even more. My job will be painting the last side of the house on the left, yay!  Almost done!........Bunny

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sewing and Youtube

Covid has had an effect on all of us in so many varied ways. I am generally not a TV watcher but it has made me one. I haven't worked since March. During that time we purchased a new TV for our family room and while our other TV was a smart TV this had the casting built in and what seems like a thousand apps. We have really enjoyed it, particularly a lot of British and Australian programming as well as Youtube. It is great fun to watch youtube in high definition on a big screen. I've always known about sewing youtubers and would watch them now and then on my i-pad or desktop but it just wasn't the same as sitting in my nice comfy leather recliner with my favorite beverage. I tend to get up an hour or so earlier than my husband in these days of mass infection and staying home. It has been my secret indulgence to sit and enjoy sewing videos early in the AM. Wow, there are a lot and I find new ones every day. They are as different as apples and oranges and I really enjoy watching them. Eventually I came around to the idea of reviewing them for the blog and I hope you enjoy my thoughts about it all. 

I gave a lot of thought to this project. I put up a post on Pattern Review asking for suggestions and that was really helpful. So thank you, to all who helped me there. Youtube also starts sending me new videos to view as I watch more. The more you click, the more they send.You can't lose! In presenting them on the blog the challenge was how to fairly differentiate the types and discuss them. Here is what I came up with. 

I decided to break down the videos into several types. 

* The Passionate Entrepreneurs

    These are the sewists who have loved sewing all of their lives. They often have pursued degrees in design, or textiles or pattern making. This is a sign of their passion, not a requirement to be in this group. They may have apprenticed a couple years with a tailor or master seamstress and came out of that experience with great knowledge and a continued love of the craft. They have turned their love into a career. It is not a kitchen table pastime while they are home with the kids. They are vested and love it and work VERY hard at it. It is their career and for many they have been at it for quite some time. They inspire and know what they  are doing. They may not always do things your way or mine but they will teach you new ways now and then. Now, these sewists started out on their own and because of their skill and popularity may have been picked up by some corporate entity at a later date. They were just lucky that way, but, they started out on their own, worked hard, and share their passion through businesses that have now been around for years. They never relied on any corporate entity to enable their career. Corporations sought them out, at least some. Many have their own pattern lines, have written books, sell DVDs, etc. We all know many of them. They are business people as well as divine sewists so expect to be sold products. I don't have a problem with most of the selling as it keeps me up on the latest patterns and fabrics. Remember, sales is an exchange. They will present their or other's product for your perusal and in exchange you will get some top notch technique tutorials and sewing advice. 

*  The Corporate Sewists

  These are sewists who are affiliated strongly with particular corporate entities and did not have a video presence prior to that. They may have been bloggers or touring teachers for a sewing machine company but they weren't professional youtubers. They love sewing, are quite creative and are mostly good presenters. Their spots on the corporate TV programs, often PBS. are then edited out and presented on youtube individually. They do not make their videos or have an active  role in their production or ownership. They produce the project and present it from corporate studios.  Some of these are very good. Others tend to be fast, pressurized and leave out a lot of details. They probably wouldn't be on youtube without the corporate affiliation. They can inspire but are clearly under a time deadline so I find a lot can get missed by some presenters. Then again, some are more calm and prepared and leave you knowing how to perform the sewing task at hand. There is selling here as well, but indirect. The programs may be underwritten by a magazine, sewing machine company, etc and then put on PBS or eventually the Creative Channel, the home for all pre HD craft and food videos. 

The Girl Friend You Tubers

Joy Bernhardt is always so happy and it's contagious. 

     I think we all love the Girl Friend youtubers. These are the people we  visit with on sewing forums, facebook, instagram, etc. They love to chat sewing. Most are self taught and most continue to take lessons to improve their skills. Some are very opinionated and that is fun to hear as well, just like dishing with friends. Some are quite skilled and some are just plain not but are so dang funny or nice that is is fun to make them a part of your day. I am not comparing people here and that is why I have these divisions. So if I am telling you about a Girl Friend youtuber I am not going to expect her sewing to be that of the Sewing Entrepreneur and that is fine. It is all apples and oranges. I like watching the Girl Friends too and we will review these as well. I admire anyone who gets up and spends money on equipment and sits in front of a camera  day after day and lets it rip. I just can't imagine.

I have also tried to have a plan about how to actually review the youtubers. I've come up with a strategy. 

*Presentation:  Pretty much what it says. This also applies to presentation of the sewing. Is it sloppily done, done too quickly to even figure out what the person is doing, etc? Can you get what is happening and easily get it?  What are they presenting? Sew alongs, coffee talk, skilled technique, bad technique? Do they roll out of bed and webcast or are they wearing clothes they have made and are totally and professionally put together? What's their sewing room like? We are all curious about those. No compares here either. I'll just report. I would certainly flunk the sewing ambiance test with my current digs, but it functions wonderfully. Observations like that will be shared. 

* Technical observations: Is there a lot of aggravating background noise? Is the lighting awful? The camera work, etc. Is the dog always running across the camera begging for master's attention? Those sorts of issues. How are those great garments displayed? 

* What did I learn?  I think those who know me realize I've been sewing a while and know a fair amount about the subject. I can honestly say I have learned some new techniques and great information from some of these youtubers. It is one of the things that keeps me watching. So I will share this info as well. . It is such a great resource. I'll share what they inspired in me if they did. 

* Last of all, was it entertaining? We don't have to learn anything from these videos but I do say we have to be entertained to some degree or we won't watch. So, did they entertain us? 

I hope to put a tab up on my home page for "videos" and you can link to each review which will have a link to their channel. Any other suggestions greatly appreciated. Can't promise I will use them but I will listen. I am trying to keep this simple but fun for us all. I am waiting to hear if I will go back to work in a month. Lots is up in the air. In the meantime, I watch sewing videos................Bunny

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Rayon Slubs and Stretch Mesh

All my youtubing found me falling in love with a pair of cropped pants made from drapey rayon in a very soft but assertive print. I went on the search. The youtuber, Linda Lee, no longer had it in stock and it was no longer available. Left to my own devices and disappointment, I went on the search and decided it would be ok to just be a soft and assertive light weight rayon to make my vision materialize. It took a while but I eventually found this Telio rayon from, aka, Amazon, and put in my order. 

Above you can see the fabric spread out. At the corner that is cut there are big starbursts. While I think the pants would be just as lovely if this  fabric was not matched at all, I was determined to match it. It was near impossible. I found that I could match the two largest elements, the cutout star and the large green kaleidoscope design you see above, one or the other.All the other  bits and blobs were randomly floating on the fabric and would never match, a really interesting design. Up close it is a lot like a Rorschach test. 

If you click on the photo and look closely you will see why  it is called "slub rayon". I remember this fabric from way, way back in the day, albeit a bit heavier weight. You can see that some of the threads are thicker and give a bit of texture to this already interesting fabric. I liked that. Those are the slubs.  I am in love with this fabric but you have to admit this definitely looks like an hallucinogenic experience. I guess I'm channeling the Sixties......sigh....

This fabric did not give me much grief to sew. Before I started cutting, I pulled threads to get the straight of grain. I then cut along the pull. Once the straight of grain was established I went to the ironing board and sprayed the crossgrain edges I just cut with Niagara spray starch. I sprayed, let it soak in for a few minutes, patted down the bubbles, and then pressed, up and down. Don't iron this back and forth while there is starch on it. It will pull and wrinkle. Just do and up and down motion.  Once my pieces were cut out I went back to the ironing board and did this starch treatment on every edge of the rayon, iron with a dry iron and organza press cloth. Now all my edges were ready to be sewn.  I went to the serger and serged every edge. Seams would simply be pressed open with serged edges. 

Back to Linda Lee, who really knows her sewing, she suggested lining these wispy rayons with stretch mesh. Now she called it "power mesh". She described it and I did some searching  before buying. This is not the mesh one uses for compression in lingerie and swimsuits. That is power mesh according to my research. What you see above is stretch mesh. It is used in bridal gowns, dance and skating costumes, etc, to give the illusion of skin where there really is this fine layer of fabric. It can make a bride or a ballerina look like lace appliques are glued to their perfect bodies. Stretch mesh to use for lining a thin rayon? What the heck - I'll try it. I'm always up for something new in my sewing. I knew I had seen this fabric at the chains  in the bridal department. THIS IS NOT NYLON TULLE. This is made of 100% polyester and stretches every which way possible. It has weight. It is not floaty. It is drapey, just like the rayon and doesn't pouf. It is decently priced for a lining, ending up at 5.99 a yard in the end. 

Got the rayon slub fabric. Got the lining, Good to go. For a pattern I used my Sure Fit sloper once again and did a straight leg pant with it that has a gathered waist and cropped length, easy peasy. Now when Linda suggested her lining she said to just make another pant out of the mesh and drop it in, no other info. Easy

I did some reading on the fabric and went straight to the machine and uses a zigzag. I ended up with very lettuce crotch seams. I pressed out a lot of that but it was not good.I then walked away, came back and tried to maneuver that into a French seam, using paper underneath, This was a bit better and you can see the crotch seam to the left and inseam going horizontal above. It's full of paper.I was scared  to play with it too much. It could do but this just was not nice. 

I walked away again. Upon returning I decided to just takes some long scraps and serge them, no paper.  Above you can see perfection. There was no waviness and the seams were strong and pretty. I went with simply serging the seams. 

They look really nice from the right side, too.  Now I can "just drop in the lining" and attach the pants and the lining and proceed. 

These pants are near done.Once again, I've decided on a coordinated outfit.(Yes, that is paint on my thumb.) This will make three in a row. I am enjoying the concept of having coordinates. I still don't see myself doing a swap, however, and that's another story for another day. I will share both pieces of the ensemble with you when  they are complete.I am using a Mimi G pattern for the top and excited about that. It may be from one of these fabrics. The pants are lookin' good. I would like to add that I LOVE the lining.It feels divine and just floats with the pants so nicely. More to come............Bunny

Who owned this pattern?

Recently I've had the opportunity to charge ahead on a long anticipated project, searching down some great thrift shops. This has not be...