Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sizing! weee!

A friend of mine who lives in another state has asked me for help learning how to sew. Since it is hard for me to get to California (being the broke girl) I will be posting tutorials and making videos prompted by her questions in the hopes that they will help her and any other happy seamstresses out there! So here is the first in what is hopefully a very helpful series! (side note: I can't get the video to upload so to make this interesting, you get to look at funny pictures of me.)

So here goes! This was the most alarming of her many questions:

Are the sizes on a pattern really the size you think it is? How can you be sure w/ out cutting everything out and ruining your material?


The first you need to have is a measuring tape.

If you don't, you can use string and a ruler.

Measure yourself over your undergarments. Take measurements at three places: Bust (around the fullest part of your breast), Waist (the smallest part of your waist), and Hips (around the fullest part of your hips) Mine are 33, 27.5 and 36 (how is that for honesty?) I know this can be a little scary, but honesty is the ONLY policy in sewing your own clothes.

Ok so write this down

and run off to the pattern store and go wild!

Look through the catalogues and find yourself a wonderful pattern. When you go to find it in the drawer, flip to the back and pull out your little scrap of paper with you numbers on it. Look on the pattern where it says "Body Measurements" there you will find those 3 measurements; bust, waist, hips. It will look something like this:

Now, the measurements on the back will most likely not be exactly the same as yours, so pick the closest ones. I usually go with the bust size. For instance a size 6 (in a sewing pattern) measures 30.5, 23, 32.5. (not even close to my real measurements even though I wear a 6 in store bought clothes) So my real measurements give me a size 12 (34, 26.5, 34.5) almost twice the number you look for at the Macy's lol! So don't get scared!

Ok once you have found your size according to the pattern you chose, flip that envelope back to the front and see if at the top where it says SIZE, your size is listed. This is important because patterns are not returnable!

If you are making a shirt the hip measurement won't be as important as the bust and if you are making a skirt the bust won't even be listed, so get as close as possible to the measurements that matter.

Underneath the measurements and size you will find the yardage you will need to make your size.

If you aren't sure or if you are two very different sizes, go for the bigger size. It is easier to take away than add fabric!

If you have any questions of your own that you would like to pose to me, or if this is totally confusing,

Please feel free to email them to me!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't let it pass you by...

I was thinking the other day I'm getting close to being 25. Very close. And while I know this is not very old, I feel like I am getting to the age where I should be acting like an adult. Scary I know, but I think that 25 will hold many good things for me. I love lists and this is going to be my "Five years" list. I borrowed this idea from BitCat blog. 25 things I want to do in the next five years. I don't want to be thirty and feeling like my life is lacking and I should have done more in my twenties. So here goes!

1. get a career.
2. grow my hair long.
3. get rid of all the extra stuff I have and don't want or need.
4. wear only clothes that make me feel good.
5. learn to cook more than two things.
6. stay smoke free.
7. sew the majority of my clothes.
8. pay all my bills myself.
9. take a vacation.
10. get tattooed, a lot.
11. finish my college program.
12. move to another state.
13. enjoy my marriage.
14. be good at my job.
15. enjoy my home.
16. love my cat.
17. take care of my husband.
18. take care of myself.
19. spend time with my friends.
20. continue blogging.
21. illustrate and co-write a children's book.
22. forgive more.
23. let what doesn't matter truly slide.
24. paint.
25. encourage those around me.

I can't wait for the rest of my life. I think about the future and I get excited.

Pattern of the week 12.7.2009

This week's pattern is a pattern I borrowed from a friend a while ago… more like last year. Eeep..

See and Sew 4902

I started this way back in July, knowing that it would take me six months to complete. I'm a five-minutes-at- a-time-project-er. I've actually completed this and am very pleased and impressed with the ease and quality of how it turned out. I used a purple corduroy that my sister sent me as a birthday present for the shell and a snake skin print gray sheer I bought in high school for the lining . The only thing I had to buy were the buttons which I think are absolutely the best buttons in the world (for this coat). I am very proud and as the pattern packaged claimed, "Yes! It's Easy!" I was surprised that indeed it was. I had been intimidated by the tailoring books and all the involved stuff, but none of that was really necessary. I love it! I will post pictures of the completed project once I get them. Promise.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Internet Junkie

I have become so addicted to the internet since I got my laptop it has been torture to be at work (subbing at a middle school) all day with no access to the internet. But have no fear readers! The Broke Girl always finds a way!

I figured most computers were all the same, right? Generally, anyway. And since all the computers here (not unlike my own) are password protected... I figured if I brought my own, I could unhook the teacher's computer from the wall jack and hook mine up to the network with out being detected(hopefully) ;). Since there really isn't much difference between their computer and my own.

So here it is Friday afternoon and I am bloggin' away at work while thirty something seventh graders read silently under my watch. So here's to Friday and victimless crime!

Ah... I love the blackboard behind me... Mrs. Madden. How old fashioned does that make me sound? haha Oh and the cirlce scarf has become permanently attached to my neck. I checked.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pattern of the week 1.11.10

This is the first pattern of the New Year! I had to save it because I made one, but I gave it as a gift for Christmas, so I couldn't post it until after I gave it to my friend.

This week's pattern is Simplicity 5510.

This top pattern uses one yard or less of any knit and FLIES together. It is so cute I made one of the View 4 for my friend for Christmas. I plan on making myself one of each view! I have a lot of knit stuff that isn't suitable for many of the patterns I have, so this one is great!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

11.24.09 Outfit

This is a recreation of a cute outfit I wore the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I got terribly sick that day and felt that my outfit had been wasted and I had to spend the rest of the day in hoodie and sweat pants. I was just angry about being sick...

Dress: altered Anna Sui thrifted. Tights: forever 21. Shoes: hand painted. Sweater: Target Belt: thrifted.

(I found a perfect place to take my pictures, if you hadn't noticed it's the shower ;D)

Circle Scarf

I bought some yarn hoping it would match my half finished short sleeve sweater I started last year and then ran out of yarn when all I had left was one piece left. Arggg… But alas, it did not. So, I made this purple circular scarf in the matter of a few hours of broken up crocheting at work and waiting at doctors' offices and such. Here are a few shots with outfits.

Completed Pattern of the Week!

Hello blog world, it's me Sarah. I've missed you. :) I've been gone for so long it seems with school and holidays and being sick… ugh. So here goes.

I've completed a number of projects and started some new ones over the break. This one is the pattern of the week Very Easy Vogue 8544. I posted some progress shots a while ago and here is the finished product!

A little causal with a tee and flats

Dressed up with a blouse and heels!

I did have to hem it twice because the length was all wrong for my shortness, but I really love the way it turned out. Hope you do to!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New shoes... sort of.

So I have been loooonging for new shoes and just haven't had the scratch to buy them. I have been trying to be more inventive with my existing wardrobe and since I can't find in my expansive craft stash a way to MAKE shoes I started looking at my old shoes in a new way.

All of my shoes I bought because at one time or another I loved them and HAD to have them :) but I had either worn them out or they had fallen out of my regular rotation at some point or another for some reason or another…

So what's a savvy girl to do? Why, take your old pair of gently "loved" shoes and make them new again with a quick coat of paint, of course!

And so all you poor, I mean crafty, girls can do the same, I thought I would post a how to!

Here goes!

First things first…


- Acrylic paint in the color you desire. If you can't find the right one mix it up!
- A small paint brush. I used a flat one to get a better edge.
- Sand paper. I used 220 grit
- Masking tape or a very steady hand
- Mod Podge
- And shoes of course!

These are all things every girl should keep on hand.

First you need to scuff up your shoes a little just so the paint will stick. If you don't (like I did) the paint will rub off on your tights (or toes) in the places you missed. Don't over do it though. You just want to change the color, not the texture. That's why you should use a really fine grit sand paper.

Next put masking tape around the parts you don’t want to be painted. Like the heel or a buckle. Or, if you have a very steady hand just skip to the next step. I recommend tape though.

Paint! Allow to dry and then do a second coat if necessary. No need to sand between coats.

Apply one very thin coat of Mod Podge and allow to dry and then another. A third for good measure and ultra shiny protection. Please, I know it's really tempting once you get to this point to stick your little tootsies in your shiny new shoes, but try to resist until they're dry. :D

Now you have a wonderful new pair of shoes that no one else on the planet has! I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pattern of the week progress 11.9.2009

Instead of another pattern that I "plan" to make ;) this week I will show the progress I have made on the first pattern of the week.
Vogue 8544.

I made this in the crepe back satin I had planned, using the crepe side.

I'm trying out seam binding( although I don't think I'm doing it correctly) because the fabric ravels so easily.

I put in a purple zipper to match the seams.

I'm going to have to adjust the darts because I'm a little thicker around the middle than the pattern ideals…

I think once I throw the waist band on it'll be perfect. Modeled pictures of the finished project next week, Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Recipe for a lazy Sunday

For today, I am going to relax with a friend and maybe do some holiday crafting. But for the most part I will be doing not much of anything. After a large scale rearranging of the living space last night I am just a little... tired, so I will sit back and relax with a cup of motivation (coffee) and a warm little slice of pumpkin bread. And so all of you may do the same...

Pumpkin Bread

I cup Brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
I cup Pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. each of salt, nutmeg, cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger (optional)
1/4 cup water (if at low altitude)

Combine brown and granulated sugar, pumpkin, oil and eggs together in a large bowl, blending well. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix well. Add water, mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes.

You can use fresh or canned pumpkin.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pattern of the week 11.2.2009

Happy November! And to think it the year is almost over! I haven't done nearly enough of anything really! Well, in the spirit of doing what I said I would do… Here is this week's pattern.

Simplicity 5878. (circa 1965)

I absolutely love this little dress what with its little sash and pockets! I might just make one of each view. I will most definitely make at least one. Once I can finish the multitude of projects that are already laying about… This weekend was a strange one some what, in that is was four days long:) and that I wasn't even in town. I've been gallivanting about the state with the husband visiting family. And the best part about this weekend? Besides Halloween, that is? My mother took me to the Goodwill and bought me everything I wanted! I almost died with happiness. So I hope to be doing some wardrobe remixing, a la the Clothes Horse. So be looking for those in the coming days.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No fuss Darts!

How to sew a dart This is so easy I can't even believe I hadn't thought of it myself!!!! No need for chalk or to tie off at the end! Thanks for the link Casey!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pattern of the Week 10.26.2009

Sorry, I know I said tomorrow, but I've been in and out of cold medicine induced comas for a week, so this one is early for next week.

This weeks' pattern is one I acquired from my mother's collection: McCall's 5135.

I have no idea how I ended up with this pattern, but I still remember my mother in a floor length pink version of this dress as a house coat. I don't clearly remember if it was even this pattern specifically, but in my time clouded childhood memory, I remember this was her house coat.

I love how this pattern is from a "Pounds Thinner" collection and is only a size 12. I am definitely my mothers' daughter, we are the same size, we have the exact same body type. I can only hope I look as good as she does in thirty years.

I don't know if I'll attempt this one. I feel like it may ruin my memory...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

When I'm Sick...

I had the misfortune of falling ill on a Friday. Which leaves me to be absolutely miserable all weekend when I should be out having fun with my husband. Although, there is something oddly comforting about being sick. The excuse to stay in bed all day and have my husband take care of me instead of the other way around is a nice one. I think a truer self comes out when one is ill. I am a creature of habits; I always want the same comforting things when I'm sick…

I want my dad to wash my hair. I know this may sound really strange, but my dad owned a barber shop the entire time I was growing up and he would always wash my hair in the sink. There is nothing more relaxing than to have someone else wash your hair…

I want bread with real butter, hot tea and chicken noodle soup.

I want to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

I want to lay on this little chaise lounge with a hot water bottle on my head.

I want fluffy slippers and the comfiest pajamas in the world…

But most of all I just want to feel better.

Pattern of the week tomorrow...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sewing away happily

Last night I started the pattern of the week! I just wanted to pop in and give a quick cost break down.

• Fabric- $0 (My sister gave me the remnant of a lovely black crepe-back satin she used for her bridesmaid's dress for my wedding)
• Pattern- $5 (Vintage)
• Zipper- $1.5 (Hobby Lobby)
• Bias Tape- $0.10 (thrift store)
• My time- Priceless ( I couldn't resist :D)

So in all I've spent just under 7$ on this skirt and have had a lovely time toiling away at my sewing machine, happily avoiding my homework and saving myself hundreds over these skirts.
A well made black skirt will last a girl a lifetime. Her waist line will not, however...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pattern of the week 10.12.2009

This week marks the debut of my new "pattern of the week." This week I start with my most recent find: Vogue 8544. A wonderfully easy skirt pattern that I will be starting shortly (hopefully). I found this among other little treasures in a lovely little antique shop in Roswell. I could spend my life in there! (the shop, not Roswell particularly…)

It has only two or three main pattern pieces and is my perfect measurements, so I had to buy it! Judging by the big lapels on shirts and jackets, as well as the square toe and chunky heel on the models, this pattern is from the early 70's. (I'm really no expert though).

I plan on making all but view C (I just plain don't like A-line skirts and I don't know why) I plan on starting with View A. I love a basic pencil skirt that falls right below the knee. It's a timeless look really.

As for the pattern itself, it really is in great shape. I think it has only been used once to make View B, which would be adorable in the cute pale pink and blue striped fabric I also found in Roswell.

So concludes the first Pattern of the Week! I had fun, I hope you did too!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Style Inspiration 10-10-09

Saturdays are going to be my "style inspiration" days. Today’s outfit is inspired by Mary-Kate Olsen.

Click to enlarge any pics

I know I am missing the awesome scarf and Ozzy sunglasses and my hand bag cost me two dollars instead of two thousand... but I got some looks in the grocery store today, lol! :)

Sweater, shirt, watch and ring: Target (various sale merch. Remember; never buy anything full price)
Pants: left behind by my old room mate. Altered by me :)
Boots: Nadora
Purse: Thrifted
Rosary: my creation

Now I know that Mary-Kate is one of those love-her or hate-her type style icons, but I am in the love-her category. I will admit that she does have her “I’m a crazy bag lady!” moments:

But in general I think she is genius.

I love how goth and imp-like she is. I only aspire to be so tiny. Alas, I won’t be shrinking unless I get osteoporosis sometime in the near future. As for her fondness for layers, I share in her affinity, especially since it has gotten so chilly in the evenings and early mornings here. In NM layering is essential because by mid-afternoon you’ll be shucking yourself like an oyster.

And I simply love the Olsens' line Elizabeth and James. (Named for their siblings, how sweet is that?)
I love the shoes and the cocoon shrug. I'm also a sucker for most of their baggy shirts and structured blazers. Too bad I am the Broke Girl... But hey, I can dream, right?

For the love of hubby.

My fuzzy hubby had been pining for a new Raiders sweater since I bought him some new jerseys a while back, but since they are somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty bucks, I was inclined to find a creative way around that and still get my man his football gear. So…. This is what we came up with:

He found a ten dollar hoodie at our favorite store (Target) and I sewed the words and logo from a t-shirt that no longer fit to it. He has worn it every day since. Look how happy he is! :D

Friday, October 9, 2009

A day off....

Today was my first do-nothing-I-don’t-want-to-do day off in a very long time. I wanted to sleep in so I did. I wanted to light scented candles and have a quiet cup of coffee so I did. I wanted to get dressed up and do fancy makeup so I did. I wanted to go to lunch with my hubby and go look at a second hand store so we did. In all today was not a very productive day and it isn’t quite over but I feel so much better than I have in months. As I write this I remember that I have class tonight, but I don’t want to go, so I won’t. Here are the trappings of my day.

Make up inspired by this: DIY 1960 makeup

My outfit:
Black Peasant Blouse: gift from my mother
Full Olive Skirt: Hand made by me! (no pattern)
Alligator Belt: vintage from my grandmother
Tights: Target
Giraffe Shoes: Target
Necklace: Thrifted

We went to a place in the north valley on 4th street that's called Ren's to look at this vanity that had caught my eye and I thought I could perhaps use as a desk.

As it turns out it was missing a knob and wasn't in very good condition and the lady wanted forty dollars. I found my sewing desk in better condition and much more attractive for twenty five. I haggled with her a little and then left. I think I'll keep looking.... After all, rummaging through dusty little shops is most of the fun!

Forecast for this month: Vintage pattern of the week. I've been frequenting a little thrift shop in Roswell a lot lately and I've found some really good patterns.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I've been following some lovely and amazing blogs with the time that being The Broke Girl has afforded me and I must say that it is almost like following a path through the woods or an unknown park. There is wonder around ever corner! I am particularly fascinated with all the lovely women that have amazing blogs about vintage clothing and such. I watched a youtube video about how to spot vintage clothing by AYA from strawberrykoi And she got me thinking about my previous post and more specifically zippers! So being the curious little devil I am... I had to do some research on the history of zippers.

The 'zipper' as we know and love it today was first used for boots and tobacco products and wasn't introduced into clothing until the late 1930's. It was first introduced to help children dress themselves and then expanded to men's trousers. It's distribution did not become widespread until much later because of the rationing of material's during the Depression though. So a zipper is a great indication of vintage. Vintage zippers will be metal. Nylon and plastic zippers were introduced later on which is what is in the majority of modern clothing.

So! when you are out garage sailing or in a vintage store and you find something with a metal zipper, you're golden! Happy hunting!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bargain hunting for sewing bits!

A great way to save when sewing is to shop thrift stores and garage and estate sales. These are great places to salvage the dying art of sewing. Its always interesting what one can find in the zip lock bags full of notions marked 1$ at a thrift shop or what is going out in Grandma's estate sale. Usually these things are a steal because no one else really knows what they are... I've found some great and funky fabrics at thrift stores. I bought some wonderfully awful red and brown and blue small plaid like print fabric that is screaming winter coat at me for about 75 cents a yard!

Another thing to remember is that many things are made out of wonderful fabrics but weren't necessarily made into wonderful things. Take for instance sheets and comforters... large men's shirts... frumpy dresses... bath robes and my personal favorite; curtains. These things all scream at me to be reworked into something magical and one of a kind. Reworking and recycling a thrift store or garage sale find is somewhat easier than starting from scratch because the pattern has already been put together, just a few things need to be rearranged.

The trick to recycled fashion is to have an eye, not just for a good find but to see beyond what is there and seeing what could be there. Its like sculpting. You have to chip away what is there to get to the beauty inside.