The reason I started this blog in the first place

In my first post, I wrote about how my goal was to build a skill set that would make it possible for me to tackle a project like B5832. That was a little over a year ago. This year for Halloween, I managed to finish that Butterick pattern! It took me about a week. It would have taken longer, but I left some design elements out for reasons I’ll explain later.

The project was fun and I’m definitely hooked on period costuming. I  have decided that next year I’ll make a robe a la francaise and go as Marie Antoinette for Halloween. I realize now I need to make friends that are also into this hobby because I will have nowhere to wear these things. They will just be sitting in my closet gathering up dust 🙁



I left out the piping because the piping cord I ordered was too thick, and I left out the tabs on the shoulders because 1) I think they are a weird design touch, and 2) I couldn’t understand the instructions. Ha.


The pleating details ended up being pretty easy to work with. It was all about careful ironing. sewing it in place was admittedly tricky.

b8 b10

The skirt was the most ridiculous aspect of this project. It took forever to ruche the top and pull the threads through. And they kept breaking! Never again.


Detail of the ruching follows. Yes, I had to that by hand for the entire length of the skirt.

b6 b4 b2 b1 b3

Craftsy Review: Sewing Machine 911

In my long absence, I procrastinated from doing work for my graduate classes by taking Craftsy classes. I am obsessed with them. I have signed up for way more than I realistically have time to take.

I have taken advantage of the mini classes in order to motivate myself to go through the more in depth ones. All told I have finished 3  classes and am in the middle of two others. I’ll start of by reviewing Sewing Machine 911 (w/ Claudia Miller) because my mind was blown at how useful it was.

I began this class with the intention of skipping around to the stuff I didn’t know. Little did I know that I’m a total noob and was threading my sewing machine wrong every time! No wonder my tension was always wonky. How I managed to make two dresses in this manner is beyond me. I used some generic YouTube video when I needed a refresher on how to thread a machine and I missed the subtleties like passing the thread through the tension hook on top of the needle.

Anyway, I thought I knew how to use my machine and it turns out I didn’t, haha. At the moment I’m taking an embroidery class on Craftsy. When I’m done with that one I’ll post a review, as well.

My WIP: Simplicity 1607





60s Dress

The Simplicity I finished recently has to be one of the easiest patterns out there. I managed to make it the wrong size though. Or, it’s just not meant for my shape. I don’t feel comfortable in it, so I have not worn it out. It is also a bit see through, which doesn’t help matters. I’m not quite sure what to do with the rest of the fabric.

I like the way it looks in the pictures, but in person it does not feel right. Has anyone else had that issue?


Simplicity 1607: Striped Jiffy Dress

  • Size: 8
  • Fabric: White and marigold striped fabric
  • Lining: None
  • Notions: Invisible zipper, crocheted collar
  • Adjustments: No adjustments to the pattern
  • Would I recommend it to other sewers: Absolutely. The construction is super simple. I hardly looked at the instructions (except for the facings which are always confusing for me). The shape is flattering, as well.

Long Hiatus, Still Crafting

You know when you’re at a restaurant and everyone is Instagramming their meal, but you’re already three spoonfuls in? That’s how it’s been lately with my projects.  I have made a dress, learned to embroider, and crocheted a hat since I last posted, but I just moved on to each new thing and neglected to update Thread and Butter.  And grad school got in the way…

But I’m back, with a little more time on my hands.  For this quick post I’d like to share this clutch that I made from So Sew Easy. It was a simple pattern,  but of course I read the directions incorrectly and I messed up a couple of times. I had to rip it apart and restitch twice (which is inadvisable when working with vinyl, the perforations from previous sewing attempts are noticeable).



I have vinyl left over, and since I have no other purpose for it, I’d like to re-do the clutch and make the workmanship neater.

Btw, vinyl is super easy to work with. All I needed to do was get leather needles for my sewing machine.


Anyway, stay tuned because I’m posting the dress I made, plus reviews of the three(!) Craftsy classes I managed to complete.




Pie Crust Tutorial

A while ago, I drafted a pie crust tutorial. I have since changed my methods a bit. You see, I always make my crusts from scratch. Completely. No machinery. But recently, I tried using a food processor for combining the butter and flour mixture. I was surprised to find the dough springier, for lack of a better word. And the marbling that I prize was still present, so the crust came out flaky.

Anyway, homemade is definitely the way to go, and it’s not difficult or particularly time-consuming. It really does make a world of difference. Store bought crusts usually have shortening and I can stand that stuff. It just tastes awful to me. I have read many times that the perfect crust is made of a mixture of lard and butter, but since I don’t usually have lard lying around, I make do with all-butter crusts.

Pie Crust Tutorial
Crust 1 1/4 C of all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup to 1/2 Cup of ice-cold water
It is very important that both the water and butter are super cold. If the butter is all melty, your crust won’t be as flaky in the end.
Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. So far, so good, right?

Step 2: Cut the butter into chunks and plop them into the flour mixture. At this point you can use a food processor to mix these ingredients until you get a cornmeal-like texture. I usually do this by hand. One could say that this makes it taste better (because of love, or whatever). Actually, the real reason is that, by hand, I am more likely to leave larger chunks of butter. Towards the end, when you are rolling the dough, this butter will “marble” with the rest of the dough, making the result MORE FLAKY.

Step 3: Add water, in increments, and form a ball. The ball should be a little sticky, just a little. Refrigerate this for about half an hour.

Just a tad sticky
Flour the surface to prevent sticking

Step 4: Remove from the fridge and roll out with a rolling-pin, or any long, cylindrical object (I have used a wine bottle in the past).Make sure to flour the rolling-pin, dough, and counter surface liberally, or else you’ll have a heck of a time getting that dough off the counter. And, not to insult your intelligence, but make sure to roll out the dough so it covers the pie dish, with some hanging over.

Roll out slowly, turning dough as needed
Check out the marbling

Step 5: Place the dough on the dish. Tuck in the edges for a neat look and style them for effect. My favorite technique is to crimp the edges using a pinching method with the pointer and thumb of my left hand, and the thumb of my right hand. Braids are also very nice, but time-consuming. Maybe I’ll do a post on that later.

Some will be leftover
Pinching method

Step 6: Poke the bottom of dish with a fork several times and put in the freezer for AT LEAST a half hour, preferably an hour. Crusts will keep for a few weeks if you want to make them ahead of time.

The traditional rim
Et voilà!

Step 7: Ta da! Now fill the inside!

Meringue makes for a pretty picture


Blueberry Pie

I made a blueberry pie a few days ago. Nothing special, but the crust came out amazing and I want to show it off. I also want to announce the crust tutorial I’m planning to post in the coming week. It took me a while to get this level of flaky crust perfection, and I’m ready to share!

Just the crust

Just the crust

I used the Pioneer Woman’s blueberry pie recipe and tweaked it to my taste. Not many changes really. I added half a teaspoon of cinnamon and was liberal with the lemon juice.

Egg wash

Egg wash

Raw sugar to add some delicious texture

Raw sugar to add some delicious texture

Finished product

Finished product


Fingerless Gloves

It’s been a little while since I last posted. I got busy in the last two months and neglected to update this little blog. The good news is that I managed to get some projects done!  And now that I have settled in to a new place (0ne of the many things that has been keeping me from posting) I’m hoping that will mean greater productivity.

I’m going to start off by posting these fingerless gloves:


I am pretty pleased with the results. They are made with an alpaca and silk blend that is super soft. These are going to be my last fingerless gloves for a while because I realized that all I own are fingerless gloves. Not really practical in the “polar vortex.”


I wanted to try a daintier pattern for these gloves, since I used such a a nice yarn. The scalloped edges on this one caught my eye and so far have gotten plenty of compliments. They were supposed to be shorter, but I’m fine with this length since it provides a little extra warmth. The button detail was also a nice touch the designer put in.



Hot Cross “Wrist Warmers”

  • Pattern: ravelry
  • Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran (which is apparently discontinued)
  • Notions: Brass colored buttons
  • Adjustments: None.
  • Would I recommend it to other crocheters: Yes. It’s a really nice looking pattern. However, I clearly made some sort of mistake because they came out much longer than in the ravelry example. My guess is that the yarn I used was too thick. You can also see from the picture that I didn’t do such a neat job where the edges meet in the round. I have since done another project in the round with the same issue. I may be miscounting the stitches.

Vintage Blouse

This month, I decided to join a sew-along. I thought it would be a good way to stretch my new skills. Over at Seamstress Erin‘s, a bow blouse challenge is taking place and I gave a try. I chose a reproduction 60’s pattern from Simplicity. The only other pattern I had ever tried from that pattern company was the disastrous sheet dress I made as my first garment project. It all went surprisingly well this time. I chose to go a size up from the usual– 6 to 8–in order to get a looser fit. Cutting and pinning took an absurd amount of time, as usual, but sewing it was a piece of cake. It took the better part of an afternoon. And to be fair, it only took that long because Bright Star and Jane Eyre both happened to be on TV while I was sewing.

IMG_0403The most tedious part of sewing: cutting out the pattern.


The point at which I realized I had not bought the zipper…


Simplicity 2154: Secretary Blouse

  • Size: 8
  • Fabric: Flower print light cotton(?) with metallic detail
  • Lining: No, this project used facings.
  • Notions: Tiny black rosebud for neck detail, grey zipper
  • Adjustments: None.
  • Would I recommend it to other sewers: Absolutely. It was super easy to put together. I’m planning on making another one in a lighter fabric.
  • Techniques used/learned: rectangular facings, attaching a collar, invisible zipper.

Passionfruit Meringue Pie

Passionfruit is my absolute favorite of all flavors. You don’t usually see it in pies, but I am determined to make it a thing. A friend and I came up with this recipe and “tested” it three times. You know, for science.  It’s a special twist on the traditional lemon meringue pie . A little tart, a little sweet, and the buttery, flaky crust balances it all out.


Passionfruit Meringue Pie + crust tutorial


  • 1 1/4 C of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 Cup of ice-cold water

It is very important that both the water and butter are super cold. If the butter is all melt-y, your crust will not be as flaky in the end.



  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp cornstarch (thickener)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Cup passionfruit pulp ( I used the Goya brand, found in the frozen food section of supermarket in a Hispanic neighborhood)
  • 1/2 lemon

First things first. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pre-bake the crust using some kind of blind weight, like beans, over some foil for about 15 minutes, until golden edges appear. We used a pot as a weight. Don’t knock it till you try it.

Lower the temp to 350 for baking the pie.

In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly mix in the milk until the cornstarch dissolves. Mix the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Let the milk mixture come to a boil gradually.

Being careful not to cook the eggs, mix about a cup of the milk mixture into the eggs, then pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Add passionfruit pulp. Let simmer while whisking for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Whisk with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up.


  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Cup sugar


The meringue was hand-whisked. You pretty much whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar over a pot of boiling water (no direct heat!) and add the sugar gradually until you get this marshmallow-y and delicious white goop.

Take the pre-baked pie shell and fill it with the thickened passionfruit mixture. It should set pretty nicely. Smooth the meringue over the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until the meringue has a nice tan.


For the Night is Dark and Full of (T)errors

I am proud to say that I went all out for Halloween this year. After more than a year of planning and postponing and sewing on and off, I finally finished my Melisandre costume. I have to say, I went through a lot of drama along the way. The sheer number of hurdles that this project presented should have put me off of costume making, but now that the finished product is in front of me I’m determined to make a costume every year. I posted earlier that my goal for next year is to be skilled enough to make a civil war era dress. I feel a lot more confident about that goal now!

image (2)


You might notice there is some bunching where the bodice and skirt meet in the front. One of the many issues that plagued me as I was making this costume.

Continue reading