A Lizard, Newspaper, Craftsy and Silk


04 Jun A Lizard, Newspaper, Craftsy and Silk

Maybe you read Pamela Druckerman’s New York Times Op Ed on Sunday. It’s a synopsis of the commencement speech she gave to students graduating from the Paris College of Art, an American art and design school in France. By the time I reached the end of the column I felt it was written just for sewists and sewing bloggers – especially the paragraph that states it’s ok to be obsessive.

Druckerman quotes comedian Louis C.K. who says “Anything you do should be better than anything you did before.” That statement might have been a joke, but …… um……. when it comes to sewing I’m always expecting a better result that the previous project.


My last project blogged here left room for improvement. Vogue 9109 is a wonderfully easy pattern, but sewing with silk is a different story. I was long overdue to watch my Craftsy class Sewing with Silks: The Liberty Shirt purchased earlier in the year. Taught by Linda Lee, the instructions revolve primarily around sewing the pattern provided with the purchase of the class.

I decided to apply her instructions to the Very Easy Vogue 9109 pattern. I wanted to remake the pattern and I wanted it to be better than the one before 😉 . Because the Liberty Shirt is far more involved than my pattern I did not watch the entire class, however Linda provides many practical tips for sewing with silk.


For starters, she suggests washing your silk before sewing, primarily because it makes it much easier to spot clean. Had I only known that helpful fact when I made the pink silk top which I ruined before wearing while trying to spot clean!

She teaches how to straighten the grain by pulling a cross thread. The pics below show the process and the result.

IMG_0001       IMG_0003

Linda teaches how to cut with a rotary, mark with tailor tacs, the best stitch length for different silks, hem finishes, pressing methods, plus much more…… and my new garment is better indeed.

It’s true – another blue garment, but I took the little porch lizard’s bright blue tail as a signal to go ahead and sew the Italian ‘Surf the Web’ Blue Crepe de Chine from Mood Fabrics.


This time I sewed the pattern as it was originally designed and made a top.


I do not have my serger at the beach, and sewed the top using French Seams which is also covered in the Craftsy class. I chose to hem the top with a narrow machine hem which I find works very well on silk.  Since  this was my second time to sew the pattern, fitting was not an issue allowing me to concentrate on technique.


As someone who is partial to patterned fabric, I find sewing with solids tricky and rather unforgiving! I basted every seam and sewed  s l o w l y. I love the result of this well-cut pattern! It’s full enough to catch a breeze as seen below, but otherwise drapes into a flattering fit. The cut of the shoulders is just right 🙂

IMG_0010I never imagined the New York Times, Linda Lee, Mood Fabrics and a lizard appearing in one post, but as Pamela Druckerman mentions, everything is potential inspiration………..  “One of the great joys of a creative life is that your observations and loose moments aren’t lost forever; they live in your work.”

Until soon.

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  • CarolinasCallin
    Posted at 19:35h, 04 June Reply

    I love this one, Sarah! Very pretty – and that color is wonderful on you! The cut in shoulders style is very flattering, too. Thanks for showing us another version of this simple pattern. It’s on my list!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:28h, 06 June Reply

      Thanks, Cheryl! I think you’ll love sewing this one 🙂

  • Carol Stoner
    Posted at 20:10h, 04 June Reply

    What a gorgeous color! I’m sure it is perfectly luscious in silk. You are showcasing it beautifully.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:29h, 06 June Reply

      Many thanks, Carol! Luscious is a good choice of words 🙂

  • Linda Galante
    Posted at 20:11h, 04 June Reply

    Gorgeous! I’m obsessed with blue this season. I’ve been struggling with sewing silk…Thanks for the great tips! Maybe it’s time to invest in a crafty class or two. It sounds like you learned a lot from it…..

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:30h, 06 June Reply

      LOL – I’m glad to know someone else is obsessed with blue, Linda! Many thanks for the comment 😉

  • Gayle
    Posted at 20:14h, 04 June Reply

    Love the color and the fit! Another perfect 10!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:31h, 06 June Reply

      Ah….. how sweet! Many thanks for the comment, Gayle 🙂

  • Alicia @ Pandora Sews
    Posted at 20:23h, 04 June Reply

    Love this color! When I use French seams, I always have a hard time with the machine narrow hem. Have you had this problem?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:32h, 06 June Reply

      Thank you, Alicia. Sewing French seams has never given me problems. Linda’s class also gives good instruction. Good luck 🙂

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 20:37h, 04 June Reply

    Beautiful! I read through your post first because I love the new shirt. Now to go back and read the Op Ed piece. Thanks for linking to it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:33h, 06 June Reply

      Thank you, Carolyn! It’s a nicely written article 😉

  • Andrea
    Posted at 20:53h, 04 June Reply

    Love the color! Great top.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:34h, 06 June Reply

      Thank you, Andrea!

  • Claire
    Posted at 21:03h, 04 June Reply

    Thank you for linking to the NYT article, Sarah–this was just what I needed to read about BOTH sewing and life. The top is quite chic and looks like it will go well with everything. I can’t think of a better place to be than a Carolina beach in the summertime. Enjoy every minute of it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:37h, 06 June Reply

      Hi Claire! This article was quite inspiring to me too. The weather at the beach has been divine but it’s almost time to go home 😉

  • Linda L
    Posted at 21:23h, 04 June Reply

    What a lovely shade of blue! Nice looking top. Though I have been sewing many years I always learn something new from Craftsy classes.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:14h, 08 June Reply

      Thank you, , Linda! Craftsy is one of the greatest things to ever happen to sewing. 🙂

  • Karen
    Posted at 21:27h, 04 June Reply

    Love your beautiful new top which is definitely your color! I’ve pre-washed all my silk fabrics for many years. Of course I use the gentle cycle and dry on low,air dryer. That way I can wash my finished silk garments ( if I choose) again on gentle and line dry.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:16h, 08 June Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I’ve been enlightened by this method of preparing silk for sure 🙂

  • Ardy Wolynec
    Posted at 22:12h, 04 June Reply

    Again what a beautiful top. The color is stunning. One of the amazing and wonderful things about sewing is the different appearances given to a simple pattern by different fabrics. I’ve enjoyed your top, dress, and Cissie’s top-each the same pattern or adaptation but with a different fabric-color, pattern, etc. Off to the op ed as I think the paper is still here. Thank you for all of your inspiration.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:07h, 12 June Reply

      .and thank you, Ardy for the nice comment! 🙂

  • Jeannie Crockett
    Posted at 22:27h, 04 June Reply

    Gorgeous, Sarah. I had read the article—loved some of her comments about the French; she’s right on in many ways. And yes, the juxtaposition of the lizard, newpaper, Craftsy and silk seems like divine inspiration. And it certainly worked for you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:07h, 12 June Reply

      LOL – funny how how things come together at times 😉 Many thanks, Jeannie!

  • Cissie Wellons
    Posted at 22:45h, 04 June Reply

    You are like me, like a dog with a sock. I’ve made V 9109 4 times this summer and will make it again. I may have to look into this Craftsy class for improvements. You are lovely in blue!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:08h, 12 June Reply

      That’s one way to look at it, Cissie! I really, really like the cut of this pattern – not to mention its simplicity 🙂

  • Becky Bagwell
    Posted at 22:50h, 04 June Reply

    I learn so much from you ! Thanks, again!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:09h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Becky!

  • Mary Carroll
    Posted at 23:33h, 04 June Reply

    What a lovely top, and inspiring post.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:09h, 12 June Reply

      Many thanks, Mary!

  • Heather Myers
    Posted at 23:33h, 04 June Reply

    Very nice! Thank you for the interesting post.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:09h, 12 June Reply

      ….. and thank you for your comment, Heather 🙂

  • barbara
    Posted at 23:54h, 04 June Reply

    Your top is very lovely and thanks for the link to the NYT article, so interesting.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:10h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Barbara! The article certainly applies to anyone with a creative spirit 🙂

  • Melwyk
    Posted at 00:15h, 05 June Reply

    Thank you for linking to the NYT article; I hadn’t seen it. Quite wonderful.

    Is that lizard a blue-tailed skink? Adorable, whatever it is. And a lovely blue inspiration

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:11h, 12 June Reply

      Hi Melwyk –
      I’m not sure what type of lizard it is – just happy he/she let me take its picture! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Sew, Jean Margaret
    Posted at 03:51h, 05 June Reply

    Such a gorgeous shade of blue and it looks so fresh with your white shorts. I enjoyed reading about your inspiration in this post, and I agree that everything we make should be better than the one we made before.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:12h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Jean! That’s so hard to do in my opinion but I keep on trying 😉

  • Joan
    Posted at 07:35h, 05 June Reply

    Great top Sarah! A similar top/dress is the Tessuti Ruby Top. I am LOVING Tessuti patterns. The Ruby is perhaps cut in more at the shoulder, and has more volume in the body as there are no darts. Also, it has no back seam but still has a keyhole–that was a first for me. It’s a great pattern; I’ve made it twice, in soft linen.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:13h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Joan for introducing me to the Tessuti Ruby top – I can see why you like it 🙂

  • Miriam Pflug
    Posted at 07:57h, 05 June Reply

    Wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing all of your talents!! Love the graduation post and the link to sewing. Had to share with my daughter. You are an inspiration to many.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:14h, 12 June Reply

      Hi Miriam! So nice to hear from you and thank you for your lovely comment. Wait…….. has Katherine (sp?) already graduated from college????????????

  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 08:42h, 05 June Reply

    You look fabulous. The color is divine. Thank you for incorporating information about the different Craftsy classes you have taken. With their wide variety of offerings, it helps me determine what course to take next.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:15h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Bernadette! Craftsy has revolutionized sewing hasn’t it? 🙂 🙂

  • Mary Funt
    Posted at 10:16h, 05 June Reply

    Looks wonderful on you and I love the vibrant blue. I also love working with silks and the tip about prewashing is great. What about washing bright silk prints; are the colors more likely to run? Having washable silk garments would save a ton on dry cleaning.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:16h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Mary! I don’t know the answer to your question as I just learned about washing silk with this class. I guess a test piece would be in order 😉

  • Cindy Aymes
    Posted at 10:22h, 05 June Reply

    Love the colour, the cut-in shoulders and the fit! I signed up for the Craftsy course as well and have been using it for advice in sewing silk too, rather than for the top they offer. But I forgot about washing it first! Thanks for the reminder to check out the course before sewing anymore silk. You look fab in this!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:17h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Cindy! I really like Linda Lee as a teacher 🙂

  • Peace Thyme
    Posted at 12:58h, 05 June Reply

    I love the color and the fit. Good job! I just don’t think a girl can have too many tops to go with white shorts and slacks for the summer. Yummy color.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:17h, 12 June Reply

      Amen, Peace Thyme! Comfortable tops and white shorts are the summer staple here 😉 Many thanks for the comment.

  • Myra
    Posted at 18:44h, 05 June Reply

    Very, very nice Sarah! Blue is my favorite color! BTW…I was able to get my hands on some of the blue neoprene print you made your last dress out of. I love your work and your little lizard too!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:18h, 12 June Reply

      Thank you, Myra! Have you sewn the neoprene yet?

  • Genevieve
    Posted at 07:42h, 06 June Reply

    Your style aesthetic is truly beautiful, both classic and contemporary. This top AND the dress you created are gorgeous! You are one of my inspiring garment makers:). I linked to the commencement speech article, thanks for that! You’re right, she was speaking to all of us sewists.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:18h, 12 June Reply

      What a lovely comment 🙂 Thank you so much, Genevieve!

  • Ginger
    Posted at 11:36h, 18 June Reply

    Wow! This looks amazing! I’ve got to pick up this pattern… the cut is just so lovely! I’m not so sure about that lizard, though… it’s very beautiful, but I’d only ever want to admire it from a distance! 🙂

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