Author Archives for sewmarymac

About sewmarymac

Hi, Im Mary Anne and I’m so exited to share my blog with all of you! I hope you find it inspiring no matter where you are on your sewing journey. I live on the East Coast of the US(at the beach in NJ). I’m a retired FACS teacher(Home Ec), where I taught sewing, foods and child development for 32 years. I started sewing when I was about 10- learning from my mom, grandmother and older sister. I studied Textiles in college and worked in NYC for a Big 4 pattern company for several years before I decided life at the beach was better and more conducive to raising a family. I have two grown daughters, 29 and 33 who now both work in NYC (actually still working from home since March 2020). One is a graphic designer and the other is a textile designer. I retired in 2017, and now I have all the time to sew! I found the online sewing community while recuperating from foot surgery. I am so glad I did! Since then I have been sewing up my casual retirement wardrobe. I like simple comfortable clothing that fits! As a full busted 5 foot tall woman in her late 50’s, it’s very hard to buy clothing that fits, is trendy and I love. I do sew mostly for myself but sometimes my oldest daughter “commissions” me to make a few things for her and she takes me fabric shopping in the city as my payment.

An Odds-On Favorite ~ The Love Notions Oakley Vest

I’m just gonna put this right out there. I bet that if you make a Love Notions Oakley Vest, you are going to LOVE it. I’ll also bet that you will immediately make another one! There, I said it! This is THE perfect make to add to your closet right now. I’ve been throwing mine on everyday since I made them, every time I get a tad chilly. And to top it off, the Oakley Vest and the Kid’s Acorn Vest are both just $5 today (1/13/2023) as the Love Notions Feature Friday patterns.

The Details

The Oakley Vest is the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe. It is the perfect layer to wear under your coat for added warm, without getting that extra bulkiness in your sleeves. With just one pattern you can get several different looks!

Oakley Vest Features:

  • Three distinct body views
  • Three pocket options
  • Curved hem
  • Hood Option
  • Full Bust Option
  • Sizes XS-5X
  • Skill level -Intermediate (but an adventurous beginner could easily make View A)

View A: Is an open front vest. It is fully lined with optional side seam pockets. It was designed for faux fabrics and milky-type fabrics.

View B: Front has a separating zipper, bias binding, bias bound patch pockets, can be made with a collar or hood. (This is the View that I have made)

View C: Front has a separating zipper, bias binding, princess seams with inseam pocket, can be made with a collar of hood.

Sizing And Alterations

The Oakley Vest for women is available in sizes XS – 5X. A full bust front is available if needed. Be sure to choose your size according to your high bust measurement. This is extremely important to get a good fit at the shoulder and neckline. If in-between sizes, size down.  Remember that all views have been drafted to be worn over layers. If you would like a closer fit you might want to size down.

My high bust measurement of 40″ puts me in the size XL. Since my full bust is more than 4″ larger, I have chosen to use the full bust front piece. (This is what I LOVE about Love Notions patterns!). My hips are currently just outside of the 2X. I graded out to the 2X hip only, since the full bust piece gives me the extra room that I might need. Remember that using the full bust piece adds 2″ to the waist and hips finished measurements.

I am just 5 feet tall, and I did NOT shorten this vest. If you look at the pattern listing photos, you will see that it is intended to hit at the hip. My high hip is the fullest part of my body, so I often choose not to have tops and such end there. I find that is most flattering for me,

Fabrics and Notions

The Oakley Vest is designed for medium to heavy-weight fabrics. View A is to be made from heavy fabrics such as faux fur, cuddle and minky. A lining fabric is also needed for View A, this should be lightweight fabrics such as satin. Views B and C are designed for medium to heavy weight fabrics such as fleece, double faced pre-quilted fabric, puffer vinyl and similar fabrics. You may use heavier weight knits as long as they are stable. If the knit has too much stretch, it will be very difficult to insert the heavier separating zipper without it rippling. I have used a quilted double knit for my cream version. It was stable enough for this pattern and sewed up nicely.

NOTIONS

For View A, you will find it easiest to cut the fur or minky with a craft/razor blade knife.

For Views B and C, you will need about 5 yards of 1/2″ double fold bias tape (you will need additional for the pockets and the hood) and a separating zipper. Typically I always prefer to make my own bias tape. For this pattern, I really do prefer the store bought bias tape. The store bought bias tape is rather stiff which normally I don’t like, but in this case it makes it much easier to insert the zipper. If you do choose to make your own bias tape, be sure to use a lot of starch on it! Your zipper length will depend on the size you are making. For my pink fleece version, I used a 24″ zipper, which was the suggested size. For my cream sweater knit version, I chose to modify the pattern and sew the collar without binding and to encase the zipper ends. I used a 22″ zipper for this version.

Pattern Modifications

Pockets

For both versions of my Oakley Vest, I chose not to use bias binding around the pockets. This was just a personal preference. I created fully lined pockets. To do this you must:

  • Add a 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides of the pocket main fabric and lining.
  • Pin and sew the pocket and pocket lining together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening at bottom.
  • Clip the corners and turn right side out.
  • Top-stitch along the diagonal edge.
  • Pin pocket in place and sew according to pattern directions.

For my pink fleece version, I used a scrap of Liberty of London floral that I’ve had in my scrap basket. I also love to use my beloved scraps for making tags for my handmades. The cream sweater knit pocket lining is a lightweight rayon/linen blend from my scrap basket as well.

Collar/Zipper

A modification I chose to do on my cream sweater knit was to finish the collar differently. I wanted a cleaner/dressier look for this version. My collar does not have binding on any edges and the ends of the zipper are encased.

  • Attach the bias tape and zipper to the front edges before attaching the collar.
  • Adjust collar piece by adding a 1/2″ seam allowance to the front edges(since you will be sewing a seam there).
  • Pin and stitch 1 collar piece to the vest RST making sure the front ends of the collar extend 3/8″ past the zipper.
  • Pin and stitch 2 collar pieces RST along top and front edges. You will be sewing across the top of the zipper and encasing it in between the 2 collar pieces.
  • Grade seam allowance and turn right side out.
  • Slip stitch the upper collar piece, encasing the seam.
  • Top-Stitch the collar.

Sew Mary Mac Tips for Sewing the Oakley Vest

  • Be creative! Everything doesn’t always need to match! I love how it turned out using the tan bias binding on my cream version rather than cream. It’s still a neutral wardrobe piece, but it’s got a bit more style.
  • I recommend using store purchased bias tape because it is nice and stiff. (not always a good thing, but in this case it is!)
  • To create a professional looking garment and a neat finish on the inside, I slip stitched the outer long edge of the zipper to the bias tape on the inside. Be careful not to go through to the outside of your vest.

Sew Mary Mac Tips for Purchasing Thread

  • Buy a variety of all purpose thread in grays- light and dark, neutrals like beige, off-white, navy and black. These colors blend into many other colors very easily. (Remember this for serger thread!)
  • Select a thread that is a shade darker than your fabric. Darker colors will blend in more easily than lighter colors. So if you are in-between two colors, always go darker.
  • Match your thread, in daylight to ensure a good match. Florescent lights often don’t show colors as they truly are. I always walk over to the big front doors at Joann Fabrics to match my threads.
  • If you have a few choices in your stash, sew one line of each and see which one blends in better.
  • When top-stitching, it is always fun to choose a contrasting color, just remember your stitches will also be more noticeable.
  • If top-stitching isn’t your forte~ be sure to select thread that blends in well.
  • For patterned fabrics you can select the background color of your print OR you can select a color that stands out the most.
  • Always pull the thread off the spool and lay it across your fabric. A single strand of thread will look very different than an entire spool of thread. (Yes, this is why the thread display at the store is always a mess with threads hanging everywhere!)
  • Someone once told me years ago when I worked in the city (at a Big 4) that you only really need navy, black, red, beige, white, gray and mauve thread. I have always remembered that and those are the only colors of serger thread I buy! I often mix and match my needle and looper threads so my threads blend in.

To learn more about the basic types of sewing threads available, be sure to visit my post over on the Love Notions Blog about thread basics. Visit HERE.


Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate all of you that visit!  If you enjoyed this blog post, consider subscribing to my blog to stay up to date with all my posts!  

Mary Anne 🙂

Remember to follow me over on Instagram to see all my latest makes!  @sewmarymac


You can purchase the Ladies Oakley Vest pattern HERE. You can purchase the Girl’s Acorn Vest pattern HERE.

These are an affiliate links. It costs you nothing to purchase from this link, it just helps fund my fabric addiction which allows me to test and review more patterns.

To receive an additional 10% off the pattern price, use this coupon code SEWMARY10. This coupon code can be used at anytime on any pattern….even a $5 Feature Friday pattern. It never expires!!

Fabric Resources

Quilted knit fabric is from Surge Fabrics. You can find it HERE. This color is still available along with black and gray. Surge has another type of quilted knit in many many colors that will also work for the Oakley Vest. You can find them HERE.

Pink fleece is from Joann Fabrics. Finally I found something I can make from the Lux Fleece, since that is practically the only fabric my Joann Fabrics sells!!

Sewing For My Post-Holiday “Fluffiness”

Love Notions New Year’s 30% Off Sale (New 10%off code is SEWMARY10)

The holiday season is my favorite for many reasons: Family get-togethers, decorating for the holidays, holiday baking, my daughters coming home and so many other activities. My home is always full of love, happiness and good food. And it’s the good food that “gets me in trouble”. I love to bake and cook, and I love to eat what I bake and cook. Inadvertently~ I always put on a few pounds during the holidays. I’m not going to stress about it~ I will walk it off over the next couple of weeks. The problem ~ I’m just not comfortable in some of my clothing.

I don’t want to sew or buy larger clothing. What sense does it make to sew clothes that will fit me now and then be too big in a few weeks? What I need is to do is sew a few items that will make me feel comfortable now, yet still fit once I walk away those extra pounds. So, I went through my closet and looked over my Love Notions patterns and selected a few that will work perfectly for this “transitional” phase. Below are the 5 patterns that I’ll be sewing right now.

Love Notions Patterns are on sale 30% off between Monday, Jan 2 through Friday Jan 6, 2023. In addition you may use my coupon code (SEWMARY10) for an additional 10% off. Be sure to read to the end of my post to learn how you can win a free Love Notions pattern from me! (GIVEAWAY OVER)

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The Perfect Gift~ The Compose Robe

Looking for a quick and easy gift idea? The Compose Robe to the rescue! I just love my Compose robe ~ it is definitely the most worn me-made garment in my closet.

Today, 11/25/22 the Compose Robe pattern (Adults and Kids) is on sale for just $5! So go shop your stash and whip up some great gifts that everyone will LOVE! (Sale is over, but you can always use my discount code at the bottom of this post)

Details

Why I love this pattern:

  • Makes THE perfect gift! (I made one for my sister for Christmas last year)
  • Quick and easy sew.
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Can be made in knit or woven fabrics.
  • Banded or hooded options
  • 2 different lengths available: Knee and Calf
  • Hanging loop included in pattern.
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It’s Sloane Season Again!

…A Pattern Hack Blog Post

Every Autumn I am always excited to add a few new Love Notions Sloanes to my wardrobe. I’ll be honest, I already have about 50!!! Yes, I have been called the “Sloane Queen”. Since the Sloane Sweater is the Feature Friday $5 pattern this week, there is no better time to grab this versatile pattern! ($5 sale is over, but you can always purchase it with 10% off using my code listed at the end of this post.)

Last Fall I hacked the Sloane to have a funnel neck and I found I wore that version all winter! Then Spring came and I hacked the Sloane again to have a split hem. So naturally I decided to combine both of these hacks into one awesome sweater! I know this is going to get worn a lot this Winter!

If I’m being honest here, I typically don’t find apparel fabric that I love at Joann Fabrics. But, a few weeks ago I spotted this ribbed sweater knit that I really liked! Then it went on sale 40% off and I had an additional 20% off coupon~ so it came home with me!

This blog post is going to be short and simple with directions on completing the funnel neck and split hem hacks, If you want more details about the Sloane such as sizing and alterations that I make to fit me, visit this blog post HERE. This post also includes a ton of information on the different options , fabric types to use and ways to color block this pattern. It’s worth a visit~ there is a ton of detailed information there.

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The 5 Love Notions Patterns I’m Sewing This Fall

If you’re here on my blog today~ then you must have heard that Love Notions is having a site-wide sale this week, 10/3-10/7 2022. All patterns are 40% off! Not sure which patterns to add to your collection? To help you out I’ve put together a list of the 5 patterns that I’m sewing this Fall.

Be sure to read to the end to learn how YOU can win a free Boyfriend Cardigan pattern from me and a serger sewing machine from Love Notions!!! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

1. Aria Button down

Why?

OPTIONS!!!!

  • 3 Length Options: Shirt, Tunic and Dress(knee length)
  • 3 Sleeve Options: Sleeveless, Short, Long
  • 2 Collar Options: Banded and Standard Collar
  • Dress Options: Tie Belt or Drawstring Waist
  • Great pattern for someone new to shirt making
  • Great construction details, such a yoke burrito method and the tower placket on the sleeve.
  • AMAZING ARIA Course! A step-by-step on demand video tutorial is available for purchase.
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One Can Never Have Too Many Boyfriends…..Cardigans That Is!!

I love the month of September. Where I live the crowds leave the beaches and it becomes what we call “local summer”. The days are warm enough to spend at the beach and in the ocean, but the nights turn cool and breezy. September is when I look forward to pulling out my cardigans! One of my most loved cardigans is the Boyfriend Cardigan from Love Notions.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of September than to grab the Boyfriend Cardigan pattern for just $5 today (9/02/2022)

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The La Bella Donna~ For “The Beautiful Women”

There are some patterns that are so good, you just sew them over and over. Imagine a top that makes you look great on your good days AND bad days. A top that is forgiving when you gain a few pounds here and there. A top that always makes you feel good about yourself. Sound too good to be true? Nope~ the Love Notions La Bella Donna or the LBD as we like to call it truly lives up to it’s name. “The Beautiful Woman” is exactly who you will be when wearing this top or tunic.

To see how I created one of my favorite Tee shirts, scroll down to see how I combine the LBD with the Classic Tee.

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Pick Your Own Feature Friday!!

Offer Expired!

If interested in future Love Notions pattern sale, subscribe to my blog. I will always announce sales on my blog!

$5 off One Love Notions Pattern Of Your Choice!

Have you ever missed a pattern when it was the $5 Feature Friday?

(For anyone new to Love Notions, every Friday one pattern is on sale for just $5 for 24 hours)

Don’t want to pay full price for it now?

Don’t want to wait for a site-wide sale?


Now is your chance!!! You can grab any ONE Love Notions pattern at a reduced price when you use my exclusive code!

Use the code: 5FFMARYMAC for $5 off any Love Notions pattern***

Go ahead and grab that pattern you missed on sale.

Snatch that pattern you’ve been looking at awhile.

Add to your pattern library (because if you’re like me you have a huge fabric AND pattern collection).

But, do it TODAY! This coupon code is good only today, Friday 7/29/2022.

***Remember it can only be used once, it will not work on the newly released Saltwhistle or any other reduced price pattern. This is the ONLY time you can not combine my 10% coupon code(MARYMAC10).


Need help deciding which pattern to grab? Check out my lists below.

These are the patterns I’ve used the most this summer:

These are the patterns I’m using for my Fall sewing plans:

Happy Sewing!!

MaryAnne 🙂

Please consider subscribing to my blog to stay up to date with all my posts!  

Remember to follow me over on Instagram to see all my latest makes!  @sewmarymac


For more info on the fabrics used, please visit the blog post for that particular pattern.

Sew Scallops For Summer

The New Saltwhistle from Love Notions

The newly released Saltwhistle peplum top and dress is such a cute and flirty sew! It’s just perfect for summer! I didn’t test this pattern, but as a Love Notions Ambassador I was able to get my hands on it a few days early so that I could whip one up. In just a couple hours, I had this cute little summer peplum top with an adorable scalloped hem!

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Sprinting Into Summer-with the Love Notions Sprint Muscle Shirt

I might be biased, but I think my little great nephew is just the coolest showing off his muscles in his first Sprint Muscle Shirt. Want to keep your kids(grandkids) cool and comfortable all summer? ~~ then sprint over to Love Notions today and grab your Sprint Muscle Shirt for just $5! (Sale is 7/8/22 only)

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