Day of the Dead Party Costume Plans

My plan is a dark vest with a themed lining, long sleeve shirt, and dark
pants. To tie it all together, I found these great masks on ebay.

The first oneis fairly tradition, well made and very comfortable. Thanks seller ktn.cybermart for offering these. The second is just too fabulous! I haven’t decided
which to wear yet 🙂

Thanks to I found some nice
fabrics to work with.

I’ll post updates as I start working on the various pieces.


Hawaiian Classics Shirt in Green

I found a really cool green and white stripped seersucker fabric and had
to do something with it. So I made another shirt using the Hawaiian Classics pattern. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’m getting the hang
of collars finally.

I also went back and fixed the hems on the first Hawaiian shirt, and
now both are very wearable.

This learning to sew stuff is fun. Making a shirt is very much an
engineering project. It’s turning into a great way spend my spare time.


Hawaiian Classic Shirt #2

Time to start a new shirt. I purchased the Hawaiian Classics
220 shirt pattern from the Victoria Jones Collection. This is my first ‘non-beginner’
pattern. The instructions are great, and the construction is pretty
straight forward. I did end up making several learning mistakes on the
muslin, but the real shirt is going great. That’s the whole point, in my
opinion, of the muslin. Yes, check fit and adjust, of course, but I also
find it a great learning experience figuring out the nuances of the

Listen to me…I sound like an old hat, when in reality this is my
second major project.

I found a great all cotton pattern fabric for sale and purchased enough
yards for my first Hawaiian shirt.

This is also my first full project on the Singer 15-91. The first
project I did on my newer singer because I thought I was having issues
with thread tension. Turns out it was just crappy fabric. Not the shirt
fabric, the fabric I used to make `the first
shirt <{filename}/blog/learning-to-sew.rst>`__ is great, but the
fabric I was using to do a muslin wasn’t muslin. I thought I’d be clever
and try using a poly blend. Huge mistake! It bunches and puckers,
doesn’t press well, and just feels like plastic. I wont make that
mistake again.

I purchased a great wooden case for my 1952 Singer 15-91 sewing machine.
I purchased the case from a a seller on
eBay.  It’s perfect. Very nice construction, nice small details, and great fit.
Very happy about it.

Pattern Matching: Nope. Not a skill I have yet.

book cover

Speaking of learning, I’m reading David Coffin’s book, “Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing”

I purchased the kindle version and am reading it mostly on my iPad. The
iPad shows the color photo’s well. I have a nice paperwhite kindle
reader, and it’s great for text, but in this case, I want to see the
color images.

I managed to finish the shirt and am really please with how it turned
out. I didn’t get the front hems even, but I will need to take the shirt
in before too long and I’ll even up the fronts when I do that. 🙂 I’m
happy with how the weight loss is going…also part of my 10 year plan.
I’ve lost weight before, but this time I’m in charge of my diet and my
exercise. I feel much more confident that the changes I’m making will be
long lived.

For the buttons, I used some buttons off of an old Navy uniform. Notice
the anchors in the close-up.


Learning To Sew

Posted on Sun 29 March 2015 in 10 Year Plan

Part of the 10 year plan is learning some independence skills. For example, I want to be able to repair and create cushion covers and sail covers. This means learning some basic sewing skills and learning to work on a gear driven sewing machine.

Enter my beautiful Singer 15-91. What a wonderful machine! I bought it from a sewing machine expert, the-treasure-cellar on ebay, and couldn’t be more pleased. From 1952, this single-stitch machine is smooth and wonderful to work with.

I also have another Singer, a 4432, that I purchased on amazon.

It is a nice all purpose machine, but not terribly strong. I’ve easily sewn through half a dozen layers of denim with the 15-91, but the 4432 gets cranky much sooner.

The 15-91 will be my sailboat sewer. It easily handles layers of canvas and leather.

To learn, I’ve been doing some basic projects. First was a nice cozy for my sewing machine. It’s made of a nice oil cloth and has a bias binding.

I also made a couple of nice composition notebook covers, one using the oil cloth, and the other using a medium weight denim.

I figured it was time to try a shirt pattern. Using the Kwik Sew K3422 pattern for mens shirts, I started on shirt version 1.

Version 1 wasn’t a success. However, I learned a ton.

Version 2 actually turned out well. It’s a very wearable shirt. Well, it will be. I need to loose a few more pounds, but I’m getting there. 🙂

For no reason other than my entertainment, I’ve included a gallery of the steps along the way.