38 Trips Around the Sun

Instead of being like a thousand other bloggers, I decided to write my New Years Blog Post for my Birthday! Yep, today I am 38. I am not usually one who gets crazy about turning a year older, except when I turned 25…”It was dark times Harry, Dark Times…” That was a rough one! When I think about the things I have done in the last year, I am pretty happy. I switched positions at my job, I bought my first brand new car, I realized it is ok to do fun things alone, upgraded to a new DSLR camera, took my first photography class and I even had time to sew some awesome clothes. I rediscovered my love for geocaching and hiking as well. Overall it was a good year, but I want to make this year even better.
I have spent several weeks/months really thinking of the direction I want to take my blog. I am just like every other blogger, I want to grow my audience and reach more people. I have noticed a lot of new faces following my social media accounts and for that, I am so grateful. It feels good to be noticed. I don’t know if the average person realizes how much work goes into being a sewing blogger. Pick a pattern, sew it up at least once (typically more), photos, photo edits, write blog posts, then share. 🙂 I do enjoy it though. I like knowing there is a record of my progress. I often look back at blog posts to remind myself of the changes I made to a garment and if I liked the fit or not. I love that other people will randomly find a blog post and leave me a message or pick up a pattern I haven’t mentioned in months. It makes me feel good knowing someone saw the joy in my blog. It also makes makes me feel good when I see kind comments from someone I don’t know.
Being a sewing blogger isn’t all sunshine and flowers though. Every single post is a risk. That seems a little odd, but it is true. Every post we make, every share we do, puts us up for being judged. Readers, I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel good to me. The comments people make shock me sometimes. For the dozens of good comments, there are always some bad ones. “Your shirt is too tight.” “You would look better with heels.” “You would look slimmer if…” “That color was a bold choice.” “Prints make you look bigger.” “Plus size can’t wear stripes.” and the list goes on…it is a long list. Note to crabby readers…your comments about me will never be harsher than my own thoughts. Why do people do this? Golden Rule, Folks. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. As a sewing blogger, I have gained some confidence though. Sometime,s I even dare to say my outfit looks cute or nice. Baby Steps.
So let’s talk about goals for the next 365 days.
*Do more quality sewing. I do a lot of quick sews, well in the past I did a lot. I have greatly reduced the number of tests I am doing. I want to sew things on my schedule for what I want to sew.
*Learn new things. Master my fit issues ehm… pants, bras, etc. Somethings scare me to sew…Bras…tried it once and quit! Pants are a work in progress. For me, I need to realize my body isn’t a normal feminine shape. Most patterns account for hips and booty and I lack in both. But I am making huge strides in preparing to sew my own jeans!!
*Write at least 5 blog posts for designers or for blog tours. Always on the look out for blog tours!! Tag me if you start one. I want in!
*Test less, Upcycle more. I have seen several mentions lately that plus size upcycling isn’t as popular as smaller sizes. I do agree with this in a way, but I have been upcycling for YEARS! When I began sewing, I started by thrifting for anything with great fabrics! I made some cool stuff, now I have more sewing skills I should be putting to use! As a bonus, we are saving a little space in the landfills!
*Continue to be a positive influence online. I shouldn’t need to explain this one.
*Learn to say No!
If I haven’t lost ya yet, thanks for sticking around! This is going to be an awesome year and I can’t wait to update this post on my next Birthday.  Don’t forget to give my blog a follow and leave me a comment! 🙂
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 As always this blog contains affiliate links, which is a small commission I earn when you make a purchase from my blog links. Thank you for helping to support my sewing.

Dotty Mini Purse – Last Day!

World’s Longest Sew Along!

Holy Cow, Gang! I have been sick. Day after day in bed, A few doctor visits, a couple medications, an allergic reaction to said medication, Ugg The cycle is never ending! Before this post was even posted I was blind sided by an awesome migraine in the middle of grocery shopping.

Anyhow, enough whining and back to our regularly scheduled sewing!

Video number 3. Let’s learn how to shorten a zipper, create and install the zipper placket and race towards a finish!


 I did figure out how to merge the two videos into one video and after doing so, the program wanted to charge me 50 bucks… ummm not today buddy!

Let’s bind those raw edges for a finish!

Be sure to check out my last two posts for info on picking up the pattern.


Marie Biswell



I will be emailing all three of our winner’s and getting them set up with their free pattern!! Thank you so much for everyone who hung in there while I was unable to sit up and sew. I will be back soon with another sew along in the not too distant future!

I hope you are all in great health and sewing along. Please share your makes with me!

Dotty Mini Purse Day 3

How are your purses coming along? They are pretty fun aren’t there?

Today’s video will show you how to finish up your outer bag assemble and basting in your lining! It is finally taking shape!

I have our third video up and running and you will want to check it out!


Have you picked up the pattern yet?

Here are those links. You can use either one.

Etsy Shop Link

Website Link

Did you know You can also follow along with the Sew Along and enter the raffles for a chance to win a free copy of the pattern! Just read to the bottom of this page and enter the rafflecopter. I have 3 PDF patterns to give away to my readers.

Now sign up to win a free pattern by clicking below!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
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Dotty Mini Purse Sew Along Day 2

Welcome Back!

Today is the second day of sewing along with me. I will show you how to quilt your outer panels for your bag and attach the side panels. I also assembled the bag lining and cut bias binding for the finished top edge. Here is the video of today’s progress.


Here are those links. You can use either one.

Etsy Shop Link

Website Link

If you still need the day one video… Here is a link!

And the RAFFLE— Keep Reading!

Did you know You can also follow along with the Sew Along and enter the raffles for a chance to win a free copy of the pattern! Just read to the bottom of this page and enter the rafflecopter. I have 3 PDF patterns to give away to my readers. If you already own the pattern and you become the winner, You can select any pattern from the Chezvies shop!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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A little bit of Luna… Mambo Style!

Surprise! Did you think we were finished with Mambo No. 5 out of 4 style? Nope, we have one more to go! The Luna… I know. I know. Luna wasn’t one of Mambo’s girls, but she plays nice with the Mambo girls! Also she is free and fast! Momma Mia got in on the Luna action and got her very first full circle skirt!
5oo4 Luna 2x (3) - Copy
Since I have just made Momma Mia a Royal Blue double brushed poly Jessie dress, I knew we were about to take advantage of it! The DBP is a perfect match for the blue in the Chevron Liverpool I had on hand. Both fabrics are from Stitchin’ Pretties. The amazing Black and Blue Chevron isn’t in stock right now, but they have tons of other great things! Plus, today is new release day, so who knows what will stock! Stitchin’ Pretties has a one day turn around time and you will have your amazing fabric in no time flat! I love the quality of the fabric I have always gotten there!
I sewed the knee length skirt for Momma Mia and cut on the double fold so there are no side seams. I used the Liverpool fabric to make her waistband as well. For the edge finish…miles of hemming. That is how it is with circle skirts. I don’t mind hemming Liverpool fabric though as it has a nice weight and doesn’t fight me! Here is the full info on the options.
The included options:
  • 2 lengths – “mini” (mid-thigh) and knee length
  • Fabric waistband that can be made with or without elastic.
  • Option for exposed elastic waistband
  • 3 cutting options – double fold, single fold (give two side seams), single layer (perfect for colorblocking!)
  • Finishing options – hem, bias tape, or FOE
5oo4 Luna 2x (1) - Copy
But WAIT!!
You may be confused as to why I am sharing the Luna during Mambo week, but it is for good reason! Luna fits all the mix and match options from the Mambo skirts. The pockets, the waistbands, and the suspenders! Yes, You have endless possibilities in the skirt world!
5oo4 Luna 2x (2) - Copy

Are you ready to shop now? Don’t forget the epic skirt bundle deal for major savings and 20% off site wide! It is almost over, so don’t miss out!!

Here is the link to buy the pattern for only $25 bucks for the entire collection! 

Download the FREE Luna Circle Skirt Here

A little Bit of Rita is all I need…

Mambo No. 5 out of 4 style is back and today is RITA!
Rita was the first skirt in the Mambo Collection that I was able to sew up! Pencil skirts are hard for my shape and I had high hopes that Rachelle was going to get my fit right! If this happens to be your first time finding my blog, you may not know that I complain endlessly about my  lack of hips and booty and that my stomach has been my fit nemesis forever. My body makes zero hints at having an hourglass shape! These issues tend to make pencil skirts fit oddly, but it worked out in the end. Upon printing my pattern, I knew there was a bit more “hip curve” drafted into the pattern than I would need. My “hip curve” is straight.  I sewed up the skirt as is. As I expected, this pattern had a little extra fabric which was very easy to ‘pinch out’ to get a perfect fit. I am happy to report that by simply smoothing the curve of the hip, my fit is great! I love the fit and look of Rita. I love that it isn’t body con fitted, and that there is an optional walking vent.
5oo4 Rita 5x (5)
Options for Rita

The Women’s Rita Fitted Skirt pattern includes the following:

  • Three Hem Lengths: Mini, Knee and Midi
  • Solid or Seamed Color Block Skirt (solid version has an optional back seam)
  • Three Waistbands: Seamed, Encased Elastic, Basic Knit
  • Tutorial includes an extensive Skirt Fitting Guide to get your best fit!
  • Women’s Sizes XXS-5XL (see the last image for yardage and size chart)

5oo4 Rita 5x (2)


Rita comes with 3 length options and I choose to make the knee length with the walking vent. I suggest that if making either the knee or midi length skirts, you add the walking vent. Otherwise, you will have trouble walking…think penguin shuffling down the sidewalk.  I choose to do the basic elastic encased waist band for Rita. My fabric is a semi structured knit with a texture similar to Liverpool, but not exactly. It also has less stretch. It is slightly slippery and a mid weight. I am pretty sure it either came from a yard sale or a give away table. I love the pretty pops of purple in these tulips!
5oo4 Rita 5x (1)
Speaking up those “pretty pops of purple,” I did not have a single solid purple shirt in my stash. Actually, I have very few solid colored garments at all in my closet. I decided to sew up an Easy Tee top just to wear with my new Pencil skirt!
5oo4 Rita 5x (3)
I have made the Easy Tee several times. I always sew a 4X bust graded to a 5x waist and hip. This time I did a FBA as I didn’t want my fit to be too snug. I also did a 1 inch bicep adjustment on the sleeves. I don’t feel super confident wearing solid colors. I feel like it draws attention to my curvier parts. I opted to make the tunic length top with a curved hem. My sleeves are a little closer to 3/4 length which I did specifically because it is fall here and it will be cold soon.
If you are familiar with the Easy Tee pattern,  you will know that it doesn’t come with a center back seam. I had to add one in because I was short on fabric! I had used this pretty Double Brushed Poly for another 5oo4 top, Rosanna, so it was shy of the 2 yards I needed. By adding a center back seam, I was able to use 2 larger pieces of fabric that would have been added to my scrap pile. Just cut them as a mirrored set. I was careful to cut the front bodice first so I wouldn’t need to have a seam here. Before cutting my back bodice pieces, I added a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I chose this amount because I planned to serge the two back bodices together at the center back seam and pretend it was actually one bodice piece. If I had changed the bodice width, I would have needed to also slightly adjust the neckband. Once the bodice halves became one whole, I continued with assembly as usual! This tunic sews up quickly and easily. I am happy with my Easy Tee and the way it looks with my new Rita Skirt! It will looks awesome with jeans as well!
5oo4 Rita 5x (6)
If you want to bundle and save, here is your link! Only $25 bucks for the entire collection!

You can follow all of my sewing adventures through the links below!

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Aspen – $5 weekend!

Fall has arrived in Ohio! The thermometer just hasn’t accepted that yet! I hate to burst your bubble thinking these are lovely fall photos, but just between us, it was 91* as I was climbing this tree. I donned my newly sewn Aspen Vest and knee high boots for all of you, my readers. Risking heat stroke for the love of sewing!

5oo4 Aspen 5x (5)

Let’s start with… It is $5 weekend at 5 out of 4 and this round, I was lucky enough to be one of the sewists! This is my first time making the Aspen Vest and was very happy with the outcome. I chose the most basic version of the vest as I wasn’t sure if my skin would tolerate the feel of this fabric. Ugg, It didn’t! This is a wool fabric from my stash, but I can’t remember where I got it. I actually think it may have been at a my quilting groups yard sale. It is wool or wool blend, I don’t know. It is like the itchy sweater your mom made you wear when you were too young to protest. My fabric has zero stretch (the pattern calls for 10%) so I went up to the 5x in the bust even though I typically wear a 4x at 5oo4. This gave me a little wiggle room and room for an extra layer or two of skin protection. I have ultra sensitive skin so I am just a wimp!

5oo4 Aspen 5x (1)

The Aspen was a fairly easy sew even with the zipper. If you are new to zippers, don’t worry, 5oo4 really does have great directions. Between the written directions and the photos, you will not have any trouble. You are given the choice to sew in the zipper the regular way or bind the edges for a neat clean finish. MY next one, I will definitely do the end binding for the cleanest finish possible. Also zippers are scratchy and also annoy my skin so I LOVED the addition of the “Zipper Guard.” It honestly took about 3 minutes and saved my skin a little bit more. Why doesn’t every company do this? I am also seeing that my hair covers the zipper guard in every photo I took so let me explain it. It is basically a half circle of fabric that wraps around the top of the zipper so that the zip doesn’t touch your skin. 🙂

5oo4 Aspen 5x (6)

If you like to all the options 5 out of 4 is known for, here is what is included with this vest-

-Solid or Colorblocking,

-Zippered Chest Pocket with optional flap,

-Zippered Hand Pockets,

-Lined front panels

-Zipper Shield

-Fully finished interior to really help take your sewing to the next level.

-Quick and easy method (without binding) for zipper installation or a more advanced fully bound zipper

-Available in sizes XXS-5XL.

5oo4 Aspen 5x (2)

I think I forgot to mention there are matching men’s and child’s matching vests as well! Have I convinced you to add this vest to your fall wardrobe?  Yes? Here are your links

Women’s Vest     ONLY 5 BUCKS TODAY!!

Men’s Redwood Fleece Vest

Kids’ Willow Fleece Vest

5oo4 Aspen 5x (3)

As always, I thank you for using my affiliate links. If you purchase this pattern using my link, I will receive a small thank you commission from the designer. This helps me to purchase sewing supplies and keep my blog going. Thank you.

You can follow all of my sewing adventures through the links below!

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
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Reagan Raglan

It has been awhile since I sewed up a Reagan Raglan for myself. This pattern was actually one of my very first sewing pattern tests. I had no idea what I was doing, but thankfully, the BSD team didn’t kick me out. They really helped me along. I have really learned so much since then. I love going back to my roots, so to speak, and sewing up some Bella Sunshine Designs. I love that their clothing always fits, the size range is consistent and all newer patterns include an FBA.

BSD Reagan Raglan 24 FBA, 28 (1)

Bella Sunshine Designs has a pattern range from kiddos to almost a 60 inch hip and bust. I am wearing a 24 bust with the included Full Bust Adjustment. My shirt is graded to a 28 at the waist and hip. I decided to make the tunic length shortened by one inch. I did a bicep adjustment of 1.5 inches for this pattern and this is a pretty standard adjustment for me. I used the scoop neckline, mostly because I stink at V necks, but I do like the scoop best.

BSD Reagan Raglan 24 FBA, 28 (4)

Let’s talk fabric. How fun is this black and white squiggle stripe? It is called Tabitha. I think it is fun and playful, but it is also slippery like swim wear….because it is SWIM FABRIC!! Yep, a super fun and squiggly printed swim fabric! Summer is winding down here in Ohio and really, I don’t do much swimming. This print was too fun to pass up though. I ordered it up from Stitchin’ Pretties and they still have some in stock! I only ordered 1 yard of it because I was actually going to make some fun underwear. I loved this fabric too much to hide it under my clothing though.

BSD Reagan Raglan 24 FBA, 28 (5)

If you sew many things for a plus size body, you will know it is hard to make anything bigger than a tank top and underwear with a single yard cut. I decided I would dig in my scrap bin (Yes, Again!) and see if I could find some scraps. I ended up finding this dark green which happens to also be from Stitchin’ Pretties. Remember when I used it to make a Jessie top? You can view that post here. I was happy to have a scrap large enough to cut some decent length raglan sleeves. In case you never thought about it, they take a lot more fabric than normal sleeves.

BSD Reagan Raglan 24 FBA, 28 (2)

I was able to just barely cut my front and back bodices from my 1 yard piece of fabric. I even had to dip into the selvage just a bit to make it work. I was mostly able to stay on track with my stripe matching although my stripes may be a little tilted. I didn’t even notice until I was sewing the bottom hem. Although when I was eeking by, I was willing to forego stripe matching if need be. I was going to get a raglan cut from this print if I had to do some kind of Harry Potter sorcery on it.

BSD Reagan Raglan 24 FBA, 28 (3)

Did I mention the Reagan Raglan is actually a FREE pattern? SCORE!!! You can pick this one up for free with the code available at the Bella Sunshine Designs Facebook group!

  • There is also a ton of stuff on sale at Stitchin’ Pretties!!!

You can follow all of my sewing adventures through the links below!

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
  • You can follow me on Instagram by clicking here.
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This blog contains affiliate links.

RP Sew Free For Summer Tour – Pet Travel Bed Hack

The Sew Free For Summer Blog tour is winding down, but I am sharing one more pattern hack with you. I used the FREE Pillow Bed Sewing Pattern to create a Pocketed Travel Pet Bed. I am also going to walk you through inserting a zipper to create a pocket. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom to find out how you can WIN so prizes!! 

RP Doggy Bed Hack (3)

I used the same size pieces that were give in the original directions, but only cut 4 backs instead of the 8 as directed. I also cut one additional piece which becomes the zipper placket. I cut it 4 inches by the 28.5 inches. I used a heavy quilting cotton for my project. Warning there are a lot of photos coming at ya! I often need a lot of pictures to help me when I am sewing something so I tried taking them step by step.

Step 1

Stitch front pieces together at the long edges to create one long piece. You can also finish the outer edges if you like. I wish I would have just for ease of not doing it later.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (4)

Step 2

You will need the extra placket piece you cut. I serged the edge to finish one side. This can 100% be done on a sewing machine with an overcast stitch or a zig zag. You can also double turn it and hem if you prefer not to see a stitched edge. I was lucky enough to find a 28 inch zipper in my stash and the color sort of matched so I went with it! Pin the zipper WRONG SIDE down to your unfinished fabric edge. This is a large zipper. With smaller zippers (on other projects) I recommend using wash away wonder tape to hold it down. Attach your zipper foot. My foot is double sided, but most are just one skinny foot. Stitch the zipper in place with a straight stitch. I butt the edge of my foot up against the actual zipper to keep my straight line. Sew slowly and it will be even. Also notice here, I have sewn over my pin. DON’T do it! It is dangerous and I have broken pins. I wanted to show you that I pinned it in place. Sew the entire length of the zipper down.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (5)

Step 3

Next flip your zipper over the fold, press and pin, then topstitch in place using a regular foot. I like to use this open toed foot when top stitching because I can run the outside edge along the zipper teeth or the inside of the ‘toe’ along the folded edge to give me something to use as my guide for straight lines. I often increase my stitch length to 3.0 when doing this. Also I usually use a thread that either blends in or complements the colors in the project. This is the same process I use for top stitching on garments also.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (6)

Step 4

Now we will attach the zipper placket into our pillow bed. I folded my placket in half along the length of it and pressed to create a memory hem to use as my reference line. I then used that pressed line and pinned it in place along the seam line where the middle two front panels are sewn together. Your pieces will be laying right side of the placket to the wrong side of the front pieces. Pin in place then stitch along the memory line and middle seam line. I stitched from the outside, so I could stitch in the ditch.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (10) RP Doggy Bed Hack (11)

Step 5

Time to attached the second side of our zipper. Lay your project out so that the zipper placket is folded over as you will see it from the right side of your project. This will ‘point’ you to the side where you will attach the second side of the zipper. Fold that front panel piece over to your zipper half that is installed. You will now have two front panels laying right sides together. You should now see how the pocket is coming together. Lay your zipper right sides together along the edge of the front piece. Pin in place and use the zipper foot to stitch. When sewing zippers with a larger pull you may have to raise your presser foot and zip the zipper out of the way to finish stitching in place.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (8)

Step 6

Flip and top stitch in place using regular open toed foot.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (9)

You should now have a project that resembles this… Pocket (with open edges still) on the right with two unfinished pillows on the left.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (12)

Step 7

I folded under my edges and top stitched. You could also open the zipper and fold it inside out and stitch around the edges. Then turn out again. Your choice. Be aware of your zipper. You CAN’T sew through a metal zipper! Sew up to it and stop. Then jump over the zipper and begin sewing again.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (13)


Ok, Let’s sew the pillow backs. You basically follow the original directions here with the exception of I just top stitched my finished edges along the seam where the pocket is. I also sewed in one of my handles at this step. The other handle goes in the original place at the opposite side of the pillows. You pocket will hang freely on the front of your travel pet.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (14)


You can now return to the original directions and finish your bed. TA-DA!!

RP Doggy Bed Hack (15)RP Doggy Bed Hack (16)RP Doggy Bed Hack (17)


When traveling, the pocket will hold toys, leashes, and treats. When laid out, it becomes a mat to set her food bowl on.

RP Doggy Bed Hack (1)

At this point, Millie was 100% over me making her ‘stay’ and ‘sit.’ She promptly took a nap on her new bed!

RP Doggy Bed Hack (2)

Don’t forget to pick up your free pattern here

Thanks for joining me on the on the Sew Free For Summer Blog Tour!  

More Inspiration

Please visit all the stops on the Rebecca Page Sew Free for Summer Blog Tour for more great inspiration:


We will be giving away a pattern bundle of choice each day PLUS an overall grand prize of a $50 pattern credit. To stand a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on each blog, each day so stay tuned to the Rebecca Page Sewing group for updates from our bloggers!

Unicorn Pillow

Today, I am sharing a little change of pace for my blog. Nothing to wear in the post, but an adorable pillow. This pattern is a free pattern courtesy of Rebecca Page.


This pattern is a fun scrap buster. I used a variety of scrap prints, trims, and lace pieces. I used puffy fabric paint for the eye. A mini button from my scrapbooking days makes up the nose and heart accent necklace.


I tacked the fringe of bangs down as they tended to stand up a bit more than I liked. I love how quickly this sewed together and how you can literally use ANYTHING to decorate it.


This pillow measures 10 by 15 inches when finished and did I mention it is a free pattern!

Here is the link: Unicorn Pillow