Vacay Like a Sewist

Vacay Fabric Shopping

For the past few years I’ve been adding fabric shopping to our vacation itinerary. On this trip I only managed to hit two stores. In Madrid I browsed Ribes y Casals. I had scoped out a few other stores near our hotel but after a full day of touristy sites, hills and heat I was out of steam.  I didn’t get any pictures of the store. It was a fairly large store with a really wide array of fabrics. They had everyday fabrics, home dec and even flamenco fabrics. The fabrics I was eyeing was a bit too basic, which was the opposite of my London shopping experience where everything was too fancy. I just couldn’t justify hauling back a yard of rib knit when it looked like something I could have picked up anywhere.

In Portugal I hadn’t scoped out any shops. Fortunately I spotted Feira dos Tecidos walking down the street. I immediately stopped Mr. DH and jaywalked across the street.

Portugal feira dos tecidos

Feira Dos Tecidos had a great selection of fabrics. They have fabrics piled in bins and tables like a fancier Michael Levine’s Loft. The store also had a nice selection of notions, trims, zippers etc.

feira dos tecidos inside

I found a piece of fabric I just had to have. It was love at first sight. I can’t explain my joy because it’s so super touristy. Where else can I get Lisboa fabric than in Lisboa. Obrigada Fiera Dos Tecidos!

Lisboa Fabric

The scale is large because it’s a home dec fabric. I was thinking a bag/tote. I’m tempted to make a jacket but I don’t think I bought enough. Any suggestions for patterns?

Vacay Sewing Magazine Shopping

In Spain there are newsstands on every other corner. They carry a surprising number of sewing magazines. I picked up 3: Patrones, Modelos and Anna Moda.

Spanish Sewing Magazines

Modelos is my favorite of the 3 for their fabric choices and styling. Every page looks like a page out of a fashion magazine. I love the prints they used. My favorite is this sheer chevron print. Paired with a matching mustard solid collar, it’s just fab.

Modelos 1

Another great print is this one with nesting dolls. Who knew nesting dolls prints could be so fashionable.

Modelos 3

Their pattern sheet comes in 5 colors and in 4 sizes.

Modelos Pattern Sheet

If they don’t have your size they’ve included their grading rules!! So brilliant.

Modelos Grading Rules

Patrones is my second favorite. They have knock off patterns from RTW. The cape pattern below is a copy of the Spanish clothing company PULL&BEAR. What great details.

Patrones 1

Their patterns are also pretty fashionable but I don’t think as fashionable as Modelos. Plus they keep putting jackets on all of their outfits. Some of the jackets worked but some were just plain awkward. The Michael Kors jumper below is pretty great. When the jacket goes on it hides the details and all you see are saggy thighs.

Patrones 2

The pattern sheet also comes in 5 colors but only 3 sizes. I didn’t see any grading instructions but I might have missed it.

Patrones Pattern Sheet

My least favorite of the 3 sewing magazines was Anna Moda. It’s just not my style. I think I need to just look at the line drawings because I’m sure there are some great patterns.

Anna Moda 1

Their pattern sheet comes in 2 colors and 4-5 sizes.

Anna Moda Pattern Sheet

Bonus Tip: Google Translate Camera

If your Spanish is rusty like mine and you want to read your Spanish sewing magazine NOW, download the Google Translate app. It has a camera function that will translate the words for you instantly. For Android you can even batch the data so you can use it without using cellular data or WiFi which is perfect for reading signs and menus. The translation is a bit buggy when the text is not clear or when your hands are shaky. It’s still way faster than typing words into a translator.

Google Translate App

Happy Sewing Shopping,

Signature small

5 Responses to Vacay Like a Sewist

  1. Pingback: Japan Fabric Shopping - Detective Houndstooth

  2. Accordion3 says:

    What a find! Try the “Dog under my desk” bag patterns. Erin has terrific instructions.

  3. Caroline says:

    Darn, I LOVE that cape! I may need to trace that off, when / if I ever come back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vacay Sewing

Pre-Vacay Sewing

Early September Mr DH and I went on a whirlwind vacation to Spain and Portugal. Waffle went on his own vacation to his favorite kennel. I’m not being facetious, the hound loves this place. He also loves the vet and dogs that are try to kill him, so he’s just a lover boy.

Park Guell

A few days before our vacation I decided to sew new clothes. Yes, I can hear your wincing. I managed to cut out 5 tops and 1 pair of shorts. I only sewed up a slimmer version of circus tent tank top seen in the picture below. Talk about a gap in sewing dreams and sewing realities.

Simplicity 1107

Post-Vacay Sewing

When we came back I had a really difficult time getting back to local time. I was falling asleep very early in the evening and waking up at 4 am. Needless to say there isn’t much I could do at 4 am but sew, not that I’m complaining. I sewed up the other 4 tops which were all Kirsten Kimono Tees.  I picked this pattern because there are only 2 pattern pieces, 4 seams and my best chance of getting it completed before we left. The black background fabrics were border prints that I had bought to make maxi skirts/dresses. I don’t like wearing black tops but these are growing on me.

More Kirsten Kimono tees

Unfortunately in my pre-vacay rush two were cut with the stretch going up and down. The tops are a bit snug but they do fit.

Chevron Top and Blue Shorts

This top also had another snafu. I cut 2 front pieces and I didn’t have enough extra to match the chevron print to recut the back. I had to use a different part of the border print so the hem had a bit of extra “design” element.

Chevron Top and Blue Shorts Back

In the pictures are the shorts that I didn’t sew up pre-vacay. It’s made in a beautiful blue pont de roma knit. I had this fabric for a long time and I’ve forgotten how wonderful it sews up. The pattern is a modification of the Jalie jeans. The shorts fits really well. I swear the camera doesn’t add 10 lbs, it adds 10 fit wrinkles.

Happy sewing,

Signature small

8 Responses to Vacay Sewing

  1. Betsy says:

    Oh lucky Waffle that he loves the kennel. My dog is terrified after a bad experience so now we have to plan trips that include him. Your t-shirts are really cute. Such a basic shape that you can never have enough of. Trip sounds amazing!

  2. Mads says:

    Oh DH, I can always rely on you to make me LOL–love the fit wrinkles joke!! (And Waffle sounds like no basset I’ve ever met–glad he enjoyed his “retreat!”) I am loving these t-shirts; the border print ones are especially neat, and look so unique and fashionable. I do love those chevrons though–so precise! I have that pattern…why haven’t I made it yet?!?!?

    • It seems like sewists are in 2 camps: I sewed up 80 of these or I have this pattern and have spent more time wondering why I haven’t sewn it then it would have taken to actually sew it. You seem to fit into the latter. Don’t worry you have plenty of company.

  3. accordion3 says:

    Loving the “adds 10 fit wrinkles” comment too. I like your shorts and tops, so cheerful!

  4. Kyle says:

    Bwah ha ha “the camera add 10 fit wrinkles”. Yes! that is totally true!! The Kimono tops look great! LOVE love love how you used the border prints for them. I downloaded it and printed that pattern ages ago but still haven’t sewn it up yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

McCall’s 6083 Jumpsuit

My First Jumpsuit

Look at me! I’m on-trend. Jumpsuits are still on trend, right? Hopefully I didn’t miss it like whenever jumpsuits were in last. I really like the simplicity of getting dressed without having to match a top with a bottom. This is also why I love dresses. The jumpsuit is just more practical with the pants/shorts bottom. Though the bathroom situation is a little trickier.

McCalls 6083 Front


I made view A with an added sash. I vaguely remember all the tweaks I’ve made to the pattern. I do recall taking 4″ out of the waist.  The blousey, shirt tucked in look is really not great. On the pattern cover, the models in view A (left) and view E (middle top) look like they have super saggy side boobs.

Source: McCall's

Source: McCall’s

I also removed 1.5-2″ from length of the tube top. Instead of the skimpy, encased elastic across the top of the tube, I used a 1.5″ elastic and folded under.


I sewed the sash to the side seams and trimmed one of the ties shorter because I like to tie it sorta to the front instead of at the side.

  The Bra Situation

So the issue with the halter tie is the bra situation. Of course my friend Sandra came up with the most genius idea EVER. She suggested making a bra strap with the fashion fabric!! So I took a RTW bra that has a convertible bra strap and replaced the strap. Self Fabric Halter BraI made the strap a bit too thick but I think it’s passable.

McCalls 6083 Straps

The Back View

Not the most attractive picture of the back but I felt like I had include a back view.

McCalls 6083 Back

Link to my Pattern Review.

Happy sewing,

Signature small

12 Responses to McCall’s 6083 Jumpsuit

  1. Vanessa Thomas says:

    I absolutely love this jumper!! You did your thang!

  2. Raye Ann Clayton says:

    Yay! It looks so cute! I love how the bra strap came out. Literally best idea ever, Sandra! I may even start to wear halter and spaghetti strap tops again.

  3. Kyle says:

    Excuse me, but I don’t think this qualifies for Janky July. The bra strap idea is total genius!!

  4. Betsy says:

    Looks cute! I am starting to feel the jumpsuit trend, but probably by the time I convince myself it will be over.
    Is that your vineyard in the back?

    • You have to get on it before it’s too late. This jumpsuit was super quick to make.

      Yes, that is our vineyard in the background. Did you see the avocado tree in one of the pics? There’s a baby avocado hanging next to my head.

  5. The bra strap idea is genius! Now if only I had a convertible bra….
    I have no idea if playsuits are still in, but this one is super cute. I’m not gonna lie though, if I were to make one, I’d be slapping some snaps in the crotch–I’m too klutzy to undress myself every time I needed to use the bathroom!

    • Oh snaps in the crotch. This is an idea worth exploring. Even though I still have a bra on while doing my business I feel a bit naked and weird. Maybe I can use those snaps where it’s just a metal ring on the outside so it doesn’t look too baby onesie.

  6. Accordion3 says:

    Love the bra strap idea! So clever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Janky June Update

It’s So Janky

Did you hear that June is janky sewing month? What you didn’t receive the memo? Well that just shows you how janky this plan was. My friend Caroline over at 4-sisters came up with the concept on the heals of what she calls her janky jeans. I might or might not have volunteered to make a badge for Janky June. I can’t remember if I had volunteered but I know it was not done.



So let’s start from the beginning.  What is Janky June? Janky June is a month long sewing challenge to sew as jankily as possible.  Crooked topstitching? Great. Unfinished seams? 4 gold stars. Puckered stitches? A+. You get the idea. Janky sewing is not only ok, it’s encouraged.



Submission #1: Manhattan Shorts

My first submission for Janky June are my Manhattan trousers turned shorts. Cutting off the legs of a trouser pattern is a janky way to make shorts. These will cup under your butt too much and will cut into your tights when you sit. I doubled down on these so-so shorts and made two. Notice the “fine” (as in good enough) quality of the these photos and my “fine” pressing skills?

Manhattan Shorts

The red pair I screwed up in so many ways I ran out of fabric and had to use a filmsy cotton fabric for the pockets. I have to lose about 15 lbs to fit into these because I didn’t account for the less stretchy fabric. I’m hoping the stuffed sausage look comes into style.

Manhattan Shorts Pocket



Submission #2: Circus Tent Top

Simplicity 1107 Front

I call this top my circus tent top. It’s Simplicity 1107. There is 7″ is total ease in this top for the XXS size and grows to 9.5″ of ease in the XXL.  The fabric recommendation calls for light weight wovens and knits. So if you’re using a knit, the ease is EVEN MORE. I made a XS but my measurements would put me in S. My first attempt at the top had about EIGHT INCHES too much ease. I believe that’s a record for me. In the spirit of Janky June I’m going to have to give Simplicity A+ for the ginormal ease. The extra + for a pattern piece that is not nested with the other sizes and is not labeled with any size at all. A++ Simplicity!! My half-ass solution was to cut off the godet-ish side pieces and attached the back piece to the front.

Simplicity 1107 Side

Too lazy to Photoshop the dog out.

That meant I removed the excess in the godets and removed 8 seam allowances. The back is not as swingy but it’s better than looking like a circus tent.

Simplicity 1107 Back

There’s that dog again. Still too lazy to Photoshop him out.

Lastly check out this fantastic coverstitching. I can’t even blame this on wine or a small earthquake. It was all me. 🙂

Simplicity 1107 Coverstitch

Janky July?

 Since June is nearly over. I vote for Janky July. So who wants to join me in janky sewing?

Jankily yours,

Signature small

Link to my Pattern Review.

14 Responses to Janky June Update

  1. Jill says:

    Ha! I have to say though, I really like the contrast pocket on the red shorts!

  2. June says:

    OMG, I literally snorted when I saw the coverstitching. You are too funny! Thanks for the tip about cutoffs – I had no idea.

  3. Ms. McCall says:

    LOL I love the Janky June theme, but since you saved the top, and the contrast pocket is really cute, I don’t think these projects qualify!!

  4. accordion says:

    Liking this theme. I just did a janky pair of work pants. I cannot get the measurements right. I increased the size to accommodate the less stretchy fabric. Not enough.

  5. Kyle says:

    I’ve been thinking about rebranding my blog. How about “Just Janky”? Hmmmm….

  6. Oh hun, been here, done this. Especially the shorts thing, I think this is why cutoff jeans are always so darn short. But, don’t sell out next month yet! Things will get better soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Burda Swim Cover Up

Caftan Dress Turned Swim Cover Up

Burda Caftan Dress 06-2011 119B Front

This swim cover up is actually a caftan dress pattern from Burda’s June 2011 issue, pattern #119B. I really loved the billowy sleeves and the flowy side slits. I couldn’t imagine wearing this deep of a V neck as a dress. It was perfect for a swim cover-up which is maybe what they had intended as the model has a bikini top underneath.




I took up the dress bodice length by 5 3/4″ and 1″+ in the width. I also took the sleeves front and back in by 4″ in the length and the width each.  I like the 3/4 sleeve better on me and it works better as a swim cover up.  Even after making the pattern much smaller, this pattern is still a fabric hog or stash buster, however you want to view it. I left out the sleeve ties because I was too lazy to make them. I also took out the back center seam which will only work if you have enough fabric width to go from sleeve hem to sleeve hem.

Burda Caftan Dress 06-2011 119B Back

Photography in The Sun

I don’t usually take pictures in noontime sun but I didn’t think to take photos until after lunch. The sun cast all sorts of horrible shadows on my face and on the garment. And it was hot; so hot the hound couldn’t stand it and headed inside.

Waffle Gives Up

Happy Sewing,

Signature small

2 Responses to Burda Swim Cover Up

  1. accordion3 says:

    I love how the sunglasses and shadows make you look mysterious! Lovely cover up too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *