November 30, 2015


...I first saw pattern weights similar to these listed on an Esty Store -list price about $25.00 for 6 of them.  Although I don't consider myself a very crafty person, I thought I could easily make a set for much less.  So back in 2011 I thought I'd give it a try and sure enough it was an easy project!  You can read my initial post as well as see a pictorial of how I made them HERE
Of course I had to add LOTS of Pink and was able to find plenty of colorful grosgrain ribbon for the project.

Works excellent for straight cutting...

November 29, 2015


...first of all, I cannot believe that it's the 29th of the month!  Time has flown, Thanksgiving is already past history - so that means that Christmas will be tomorrow - Right? (lol).

Today I decided to work on another waterfall cardigan since the pattern was already out. 
McCall's 7262
I had already planned on make one for my Darling Daughter using this light weight gray and black stripped sweater knit from Hancock's.
Numerous markings needed to be made (dots and other construction indicators) for the pattern.  I just did not feel like making tailor tacks today (lazzzy, I know), so I decided to use my colorful tiny adhesive dots to mark instead.  I find using them very helpful when marking knits.   
The adhesive dots stick just long enough for me to get the job done, and saves me a WHOLE lot of time with marking.  When I posted the tip on Instagram a commenter added that pieces of masking tape work for marking as well.  After she added masking tape I then though about using painter's tape. All of these are easily removable, won't cause any damage to the fabric at all and speed the marking time up..

Thought I'd post this just in case it would be helpful to someone else.

November 28, 2015


...some call this design cascading; some call it waterfall when referring to draping effect of the front panels.  I prefer waterfall because it sounds more romantic.

 My client chose this mid-weight gray and black sweater knit from Hancock's that raveled off in small chunks rather than in shedding strings - not her fault - neither of us knew it was going to be like that.  Sewing through 2 layers turned out to be quite bulky, however; and caused a little stress when sergering - but it had to be serged.

All went well during construction,  only 4 pattern pieces. The hardest part of the project was putting in the button holes - uggh, gave me a real FIT!, thank goodness there were only 3 of them.  After many practice runs I had to end up pulling out an older sewing machine to complete the buttonholes.

The front bands went on effortlessly compared to others of this type that I have made.  All in all this was a nice 2 day project for me, and I think I'll be making it again for my daughter while I still have the pattern out.


November 27, 2015


...in the midst of trying to keep up with my 30 day blog challenge, there is some sewing going on here at Casa Lewis.  I guess I'd call this a bit of stash busting - I've made two knit pencil skirts from remnants of other projects. You do know that a #2 pencil skirt is just my style - and I love wearing them with booties or boots during the fall/winter season.

#2 pencil skirts, essential pencil skirts call then whatever you like, but a good knit pencil skirt fits my style every day of the week. I got to thinking about all the possible outfits that I could compose from these two simple skirts.  I love mixing and matching outfits, as well as adding vibrant pops of color.  I pulled a few jackets and sweaters out of the closet to see what would work with my skirts and sort of pre-plan a few outfits for the upcoming weeks.  This is what I came up with thus far:

These sweaters and jackets will work equally as well with the stripped skirt  -  so there are endless possibilities from working with just a few pieces.


November 26, 2015



It is such a wonderful season of the year.  The time that we set aside time to give thanks for all that God has done for us and given us.  I try my best to remember to take a moment EVERYDAY to pause and give thanks for my family and friends, my home, my job and my health.

Wishing you and your family a safe and loving Thanksgiving Day!

November 25, 2015


 ...if you've been kind enough to tag along with me during my 30 Day #BLOGLIKECRAZY Challenge, you've notice that I've done several "FIRSTS":  my first series of INTERVIEWS, and now, the first of several GUEST POSTS.  It's been an adventure doing some of the things I've wanted to do for a long, long time; and finally stepping out on FAITH to ASK blogging friends to assist me.

On that note, I want to say a great big "THANK YOU" to the ladies who took time from their busy schedules to help me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart of hearts...

Sew Crafty Chemist - Nakisha Smith

Hello! I'm Nakisha and I blog over at sewcraftychemist.blogspot.com. I'm a 'self-taught' sewer who has become absolutely addicted to this craft since I got my first machine in January of 2013. I cannot believe it's been almost 3 years and I have enjoyed the journey immensely.

I almost exclusively sew garments for myself but can be persuaded to sew for my daughter. My absolute favorite items to sew are pants and jackets and I've started coming around to skirts and dresses. I have over 550 patterns in the stash and untold fabric yardage.  Some of my favorite patterns are Vogue 9032, McCall's 6886 and 6996, and Simplicity 2369. 

If you follow me on IG you know that I am almost always wearing something handmade. I sew a lot and have nearly 250 projects recorded on Pattern Review!  Whew! I also have three closets that are mine, all mine. My family doesn't know that that isn't normal. Shhhh. Don't tell them!!

I am really active in the sewing community mostly because - addicted!!! I have had so much fun participating in contests and challenges - 2nd place in the Fabric Mart challenge last year! 1st place for PRs fitted blouse contest last year! 2nd place in this year's Wardrobe contest on PR! And now a Top 50 blogger for BurdaStyle!  It really helps me stretch myself and go outside of my comfort zone. And really, I get a lot out of just participating. Any sort of a win is a bonus. 

For the next few months you can find me once per month or so on the Fabric Mart blog. In those posts, I will try to show any fitting and construction steps that I think may be interesting; vs just showing the finished garment. 

I am often asked if I do tutorials or anything on my blog. Unfortunately, I don't. I will try to help answer questions when I can but I am just not the teacher type! The technical aspect of sewing comes naturally to me and I have a tough time explaining things to others. I do have a list of tips that I tell newbies who want to get started sewing!

Here are my beginner tips:

*First, it's just fabric. Really. Try to not to let the wadders get to you because EVERYONE has them. Even the really accomplished sewers!

*Be confident.  Can you do this? OF COURSE! Will you do it perfectly the first time? Probably not. Is that ok? YES!!

*Read the pattern instructions BEFORE you start the project. You may need to research techniques and it'll be much simpler if you're prepared before you get stuck on something. YouTube is invaluable.

*Fit your tissue paper. It's quick and simple. Fit for Real People, while the photos are outdated, is easy to understand and covers many fitting issues!

*Be amazed by your iron! AMAZED!!!!! The pressing of a seam completely changes the look of the item. And please press your knits! 

*Use like-RTW items to help you! I have used many RTW garments to understand certain aspects of construction!

*Practice. I know. I know. But you'll be more confident when you tackle the real thing! This goes for everything from sewing straight seams to buttonholes to welt pockets!

*Lastly, recognize your own progress.

One thing I like to do is compare remakes of patterns. Butterick 5678 (now OOP) is one of my TNTs. When I began sewing, one of the things I wanted to make so badly was a buttonfront shirt. In 2013, just a couple months after learning to sew, I attempted the pattern. About a year later I sewed it again without the atrocious collar stitching :-p. This year, I sewed it again, feeling fully confident with my (expensive!) Italian cotton shirting. 

What you don't see in version 2 is that I have snaps inserted between the buttons at the bust because I had MAJOR gaping! :) 

Comparisons like this really boosts my confidence as I tackle more complicated garments! 

Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about myself and my sewing journey with you! I hope you find the 'sewing life' to be as fascinating as I do!

November 24, 2015


UPDATE: 2 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla instead of Tablespoons
...that's right, I certainly would NEVER throw shade at grand diva Patty LaBelle.  I am always a big supporter of business owning sisters, and have always LOVED me some Patty LaBelle.  By now everyone has heard all about the Patty pies that Walmart cannot keep on the shelves.  This sister has it going on in the pie marketing arena, the pies have even been highlighted on the national news.  I'm no marketing expert, of course, but releasing the pies right at the beginning of  the Thanksgiving Season was GENUS!

You go on now Ms. Patty!  But I had to laugh out loud when I first heard about Patty's pie because our Sweet Potato Pies are called Aunt Pat's Pies.  The pie recipe that we use was developed by my expert pie baking sister, Patricia (Patty) Clark.   
My favorite picture of my baby sister Pat from her junior high school days.

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
NOTE:  Thaw pie crusts ahead of time
5 TO 6 Medium to Large Sweet Potatoes
(You know, they say that North Carolina has the best sweet potatoes, and I agree)
1 Cup Sugar
2 sticks Margarine or Butter, at room temperature
3 Eggs, at room temperature
2- 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
½ Teaspoons Nutmeg, and ¼ Teaspoon Allspice OR use ¾ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 or 3 Regular Pie Crusts (I think Pet-Ritz are the best)
Scrub and wash then boil sweet potatoes whole in their skins in large pot of water until fork tender.
Pour off water, cool potatoes and then peel.

Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar.  Mix with electric mixer until mixture is a smooth consistency.  NOTE:  SOME POTATOES ARE STRINGY,  If potato strings get hooked around mixer beaters, remove them so they won’t get back into the pie mixture.  Beat until no strings appear around the beaters.

This is the time to taste the potato mixture for sweetness.  If the mixture is not sweet enough, add more sugar ¼ cup to ½ cup at a time until it is sweet enough for you.  If you manage to get the mixture  a little too sweet, don’t worry about it, because when you add the eggs some of the sweetness will be taken away.

Add 3 large room temperature eggs, 2 ½ teaspoons of Vanilla, Spices or Spice.  Continue beating the mixture until eggs and spices are well incorporated.  If you think the mixture is too soupie at this point, add 1 Tablespoon of Flour to the mixture to thicken.

Poke holes in bottom of pie crust.  Bake crusts just until lightly browned – DO NOT BURN!!!

Pour potato mixture into browned pie crusts. Place pies on a large cookie sheet.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow pies to cool thoroughly before slicing.    ENJOY!!!

Our Patty Pies hot out of the oven ready to enjoy!
We love them.  Wish we'd had the wherewithal to put these wonderful pies on the market!


  • Pants Sewing Guide
  • Denim Revolution
  • Pants for Real People
  • Jackets for Real Peopls
  • Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring - Palmer & Pletsch - Gifted
  • The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook
  • Ribbon Crafts
  • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers
  • Successful Serging
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women
  • Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Singer - Perfect Plus
  • Cool Couture
  • Couture, The Fine Art of Sewing
  • Singer Sewing Reference Library - Tailoring - GIFTED
  • The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns - Creative Publishing International
  • Fit for Real People
  • DK-The Complete Book of Sewing