Sewing for your needs, including robes

As I sit here typing this, it is mid-September. For us here in Florida, it is still warm and sunny. Out west in Denver, my daughter has already put her children in long sleeves and wondered if it might snow. The fall colors are beginning their annual performance. What has this got to do with sewing and the pictures? Everything. It's learning to judge your needs according to what you will wear the most. These shirts above came from three Simplicity patterns, yet each is unique because of the fabric. Design #'s are: 3893, 4552, and 7236 and can be purchased at Yes, they're Plus Sized. I'm not a shrimp. I've learned to ignore the pictures and go straight to the sidebar on the left to look at "Front and Back View" which are line drawings without the distraction of someone else's taste in materials. Here in Florida, I invariably choose the versatility of a fabric known as broadcloth, a cotton blend that comes in a vast rainbow of colors as shown in the pictures. Broadcloth is lightweight, machine washable, and your choices of color and print are so vast most people can find something they like. However, the lightweight aspect can be a problem if you life in a climate that is mostly wintery and chill. Fortunately, many of these patterns also allow for jersey, stretch velvet, and knits for those who live where the cold winds blow. Think what this means, girls. Let's say for example you made one lightweight broadcloth version of #3893, view C. This little bugger is versatile, fits you perfectly, and kept you cool and comfy all summer. However, now it's fall and you've got to think about the holiday parties coming up. You take that same pattern and view and make yourself an elegant stretch velvet version and matching pair of pants from #4789 and maybe a brocade jacket from #4789, and you are set for the holidays! Now let's assume you are a long term reader of this blog and remember my suggestion to make muslin copies of your patterns and save those delicate tissue patterns. (It's 7/8/08 for those who need to burrow in the archives a bit.) Don't forget this is your permanent pattern, and it's your right and privilege to alter your pattern to suit your unique shape. I had to alter the bottom portion of the shirts in #3893 and #7236 to be just a couple of inches wider at the bottom because my bottom is wider. LOL! Now listen to Mama Lena carefully. Look at the picture of the green shirt above. Notice the glass bead charms used to enhance a plain old shell top? Take your time and wander around with your chosen material before you buy. Go look at ribbons and buttons. There are goodies there to satisfy every taste from the frou-frou ribbon roses to outrageous buttons and iron-on appliques full of bling. There are cross stitch patterns and fabric paints galore. I once ironed on a bright bling butterfly and then enhanced the design with glow in the dark fabric paint. Can you say show-stopper in a dark night spot? In this time of tween girls clamoring for expensive names like Hannah Montana and the Cheetah Girls, what's a mother to do? Go to Wal-Mart to get ideas, and then shop at Simplicity, that's what. I can make a hot pink tee shirt with lots of iron-on bling that says Rock Star. I could take Designs #2833 and #2879 and create the $30 shirt in Wal-Mart for under $20 with more quality materials. Puh-leeze. Don't you think it's about time we took back control of what our kids wear? Sure, I don't mind if they see another tween wearing a new fashion. Let them. I just get to save money by making better quality stuff myself at home where love goes into every stitch.


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