Know when to fold ’em: taking a sewing break to save the project

So I brought up some projects to work on to my mom’s house. She has excellent sewing machines. But for some reason the humidity, and the ironing board and the iron, and the fact that I have 3 fans going, the silk wants to ‘stick’ to the ironing board and when I quilt-basted my couture jacket sleeves to the silk, I got puckers along the quilting lines. Not good. I’ll have to try to re-press and if not, remove the basting and try again. I’m nervous enough about these two pattern pieces (sleeves are big) to give them a pass til I get home. Or find a less humid day (?! We’re at the beach, there are no less humid days!)

Sometimes you have to give a project the pass. An easier one is to finish a swimsuit I started two years ago. Or the new light gray embroidered canvas Hot Patterns Metropolitan Homage Tote I cut out yesterday (on the floor! indeed, spread it all out before me and cut it out like I was a teenager in my high school bedroom.)

For those that want to make their own couture jacket, I’m taking the video class at by Angela Wolf, the Contemporary Couture Jacket. It’s great, these video classes, you see exactly what she does (and how fast! holy moly, that woman can baste 19x as fast as I can!)

Sewing on vacation is a blast though. I’m in wide leg linen pants, a mint green draped tube top and bare feet as I stand at the ironing board, trying to coax that silk lining into behaving. This entire vacation has been a mix of reliving my youth (cutting sewing patterns on the floor, sailing my teenage boat, in my teenage lifejacket, on the same lake off the same beach) and feeling my age (mother of two, thank-goodness-they-are-asleep tired kids who have had one big day after another since we got here.)

The sewing room is a bit more crowded with the guest bed in there, but I don’t mind.

Getting healthy at the beach

handbags, Sew Paradise | March 10, 2013 | By


I rented a bicycle on my vacation. It’s a couple of miles from my friend’s house to the beach (and downtown Delray Beach) so it’s an easy ride.

I wore a maxi dress to the beach today (tip, to wear a maxi dress or skirt, simply hike up the skirt a bit near your hips til it’s knee length, and tuck the excess in your underwear at the leg openings. It’s called kirtling a skirt, although women used to have ties in their underskirts to do this.) I had my bike helmet on, my towel rolled up in the basket, my insulated lunch sack and off I went!

Despite outward appearances, however – all that running, biking and such – I’m not in optimum health. I came down here suffering from an autoimmune issue as yet undiagnosed (though my dermatologist – who evaluated my alopecia areata, or bald patches – thinks it’s pernicious anemia.) I’m hoping some of it reverses with the stress lifted, a big dose of Vitamin D and a chance to recharge. But I’m a realist, this thing is not going to turn itself around on a 4-day weekend in the sun.

So next week I do a drop in appointment to see the PA at the doc’s office to have them set up an immune blood panel. I would prefer the alopecia resolve on it’s own – without getting worse – because the treatment is icky (I’ve had it done, before, about 20+ years ago.)

But you know this is fashion, thrifting and sewing here at SewParadise, and I have been snoop shopping. Tomorrow I do some try-on snoop shopping at a few local beachy eclectic boutiques. I’m into dresses and skirts right now – spring is just around the corner – and so that’ll be my focus for the snoop shopping. I’ll post images and ideas later!

Sewparadise is on vacation! Fun and fashion in Delray Beach, Florida.


It is a beautiful morning in Delray Beach. Cool especially by Florida standards. Even Michigan me is wearing white jeans, black cardI sweater and an aqua pashmina. Today I pick up my bicycle transportation for the long weekend. Delray is a fairly bike friendly community but like all of south Florida,  the roads are busy, wide and mainly devoid of bike lanes. Today I plan to hit a secondhand store, a bead store, some beachy thing for the kids and wander art galleries. It is
a bit cool for sunbathing. But imagine me riding a beach bike with my new Hot Patterns Palladium backpack (pics coming today) in my white jeans and sunglasses and you see why sunbathing maybe is not needed.

I went to work with a clutch…

handbags, Sew Paradise | April 4, 2011 | By

This morning, it took us seven bags, two kids, a carseat and a dog to get to work. But by the time I walked in my office door, I came in with just a clutch purse and a breastpump. I felt at once both free in a Wheeeeee! kind of way, and sad. My 9 month old son is going to day care. And I’m a working mother.

But this also underscored the fact that I don’t love the clutch I carried, and I need to make myself one that I do love. I design handbags, but I’ve yet to design a clutch that is big enough for myself (silly, I know).

And I toted way too much baby gear (two bags’ worth) for a 4-hour day care and a 4-hour office trip for the babe. Are you a ‘bag lady’ too? You know what I mean, you suffer from ‘if I have it with me, I can handle any emergency’. I’m going to have to learn to be more of a minimalist. And sew a new clutch!

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