My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Where Did We Leave Off?

I appear to have accomplished a lot last week. Since last we spoke, I made this:

Butterick 6689

I showed you this top in denim last week. I made some adjustments to the pattern because I really liked the shape of the top. I did not make the weird pleated collar (I didn’t on the first one either, but I made a better neck facing on this one), and I resized the pockets because I didn’t do the pleats on them either. I reworked the back pleats so they are symmetrical instead of al facing one direction:

Pleat symmetry!

That’s plain muslin, by the way (pre-shrunk). And I had enough to make this:

Butterick 5997

I confess: I do love pintucks!

Next up was this:

Simplicity R11065

I bought this pattern because it is similar in style to my favorite Gudrun Sjödén tops. The fabric is chambray. I am going to tweak this pattern a bit and make it again. I’d like to drop the waist slightly and possibly make one with a lower neckline. This one has a button and loop closure in the back because the neckline is quite high.

Then I hauled this out:

My old sewing box — 40+ years old

The legs were falling off and all the screws were loose. I emptied it, glued the legs back on with wood glue, tightened all the screws and gave it a good once-over with furniture polish. It’s looking pretty good for its age!

Then yesterday, I finally broke out the special fabric I mentioned on my first sewing post. I decided to use it for the first shirt pattern I made a couple of weeks ago:

Simplicity 9044

What is so special about the fabric? It is an antique French linen bedsheet that is 100+ years old. Modern linen does not compare to the linen of 100 years ago! The linen worked beautifully for this pattern and I am beyond delighted with the results.


I am also delighted that I had enough of the sheet left for another shirt. Stay tuned for that!

Now my Oregon Cardigan is calling to me:

Knit me, please

And Loki is helping me with the laundry.

Look Mommy, I’m helping!


  1. Your shirts look so much better than they do on the pattern envelope! My mom had a sewing box like that too – unfortunately, as a kid, I ruined the finish by putting a leaky plant pot on top of one of the sides.

  2. Your current sewing adventures have renewed my interest in sewing some clothes. I gave it up years ago- but now I find a need to create clothes that fit me well. Thanks for the stimulus.

  3. To go with my mom’s Necchi (which I gave away when she moved to assisted living) she had a large-ish oval metal box with swing handles for the accessories, and I gave it away with the machine. Now I wish I’d kept the box.

    About the antique linen – family heirloom or what was the source? Just wondering, I’m not undertaking anything like your venture.

    Love the shirts, and I’m sure Loki is ‘helping’! I had a bunch of balls of Rowan felted tweed on a table for about two days, that my guy was utterly disinterested in. Until the next night when I woke up to what I thought was the sound of him playing with his favorite stuffed mouse. Unfortunately not. I must have left one ball of the stuff (Bilberry color) too close to the table edge, and I know just where it was sitting (contemplating temperature scarf) so I know it was near the edge. Now I’ll have to decide if it is beyond hope or can be rescued. I wish I’d taken a picture of the mayhem – one strand looped around a chair leg, a long loop of it down the hall, and a large tangle in the middle of the floor.

  4. Elaine in NYC says:

    That linen shirt looks wonderful! I can’t sew for spit, although I do aspire to Oregon someday when my budget improves.

  5. All so lovely!

    The sewing machine must be smoking!

  6. To Iris – I’ve done that more times than is reasonable (you’d think I’d learn) and most of the time, most of it is savable.
    And love Loki in the basket – one of my cats sits and meows at me to hurry up when I fold clothes so she can jump in the basket.

  7. mary.osborne says:

    Wowie zowie Wendy. Fantastic shirts… and linen that is 100+ years old? Amazing. Just think if that fabric could talk!

  8. I’m jealous of anyone who can sew clothes. I actually failed beginners sewing at the local technical center and it was suggested I find a different hobby. LOL
    The colors in the cardigan are Gorgeous together!

  9. Dorothy in Kentucky says:

    Everything is gorgeous and i know what you mean about antigue linen. I have my christening gown. It is only 70 years old but there is nothing like old linen!! Loki you steal my heart every time!!

  10. Love all the sewing and that linen is amazing. It too great courage to cut in to it! The Oregon Cardigan is beautiful, going to look that one up, what’s one more project in the queue.

  11. I, too, love pin tucks. They lend just the right touch of elegance on certain shirt styles. I’m smitten with the shirt you made from the special fabric. Thanks for the close up picture. The shirt’s trifecta: beautiful linen fabric, pin tucks, and crisp stand-up collar.

    So that’s how it works, that’s life: As a newly retiree, you hauled out from your closet your 30 plus years-old sewing machine and old sewing box, and voila, you’re on an intriguing journey sewing up a storm of gorgeous shirts. We, the reader of your blog, are thrilled to go along for the ride.

    I’m staying tune with excitement for seeing and reading about the second shirt you’re sewing using the special fabric.

    Oregon cardigan: Wendy has not forgotten you.