Sewing & Dieting

The Pattern is Butterick 5159 from 1997 (Pic down at bottom of post). It’s a Mother & Daughter pattern. I like Mother & Daughter patterns because they are usually very easy to sew and have a modest, wholesome quality to them. I plan to make the blouse too, but not for a while yet. The jumpers are more necessary as I already have t-shirts to go under them. I’d like to make the blouse though, several of them in fact, because I like wearing an entire outfit that’s homemade. It makes me feel like I’m “ornamenting myself with a meek and quiet spirit”

1 Peter 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

I almost always wear empire waisted dresses and jumpers and this jumper is not empire waisted. I made up the first one to see how it looked and decided I liked it. The waist falls right above the curve of my hip so it makes my torso look longer. As one commenter pointed out, I noticed how it looked a little bit like a vest over a skirt and sort of liked that look too.

The sizes of this pattern are from 6 through 18. I made the size 18, not sure if it would fit or not, but it did. Yay! I’ve had to make a size 22 for the past several years, so it’s sort of wonderful to be sewing in the teens again. Many, many patterns go up to size 18, but no larger. It’s like a whole new world of patterns has opened up for me and I feel a little giddy about it. 🙂

This week my Mom is helping me clean out the boys room and get it ready for the warm weather. Going through all their clothes and all their toys and sports stuff and Jimminey Cricket it’s a lot of work! She’s talking about helping me paint which would be lovely, but would make the project take longer. Still, new paint is good. My Granny (85) has decided to buy the boys new beds. I’m not sure why. She takes notions sometimes and has decided this is something she is determined to do. So I gave their old bunk beds to Mom for her new house, for the guy’s bedroom there. For this week and next, the boys are sleeping on couches while Mom and I get the bedroom done. And then we’ll let Granny buy the beds (she wants to do it right now, but there’s no room to store them in the meantime). Since I’ve got my next couple of weeks busy with this project I doubt I’ll have much time to sew, but when I do I’ll blog about it.

ON the diet front, I am doing Low-Carb. I really enjoyed the comments from the last diet post. Well, some of them made me feel defensive, but most were very kind and I want to say thank-you. I’m going to try Atkins, I mean really give it my all, and see what happens. If things go like my fantasy imagination–I’ll loose 50 more pounds and then reconsider my options. I think of the weight loss phase of Atkins as a temporary measure. I’m hoping a more liberal diet made up of   moderate carb or smart carb or good carb or slow carb or glycemic index based carbs will allow me to maintain the weight loss. Not exactly sure yet. I do better when I just think about today. Today I’m on track. Today I lost 3 pounds of water weight overnight. Today I am planning fried cabbage and kielbasa for lunch. I still don’t know what to make for dinner, but am thinking of ground beef and zucchini.

Low-Carb has a few advantages that other diets don’t have. I’m trying to focus on the bright side, to make it easier on myself. These advantages are . . .

  1. Zero Hunger. Absolutely none. Nada. Zip. Zero. I love this especially because when I do low calorie I have to go so low that I find myself fighting off hunger every few hours, several times a day. With LowCarb there is no hunger. The food is especially filling and if you want a snack you just have one. How cool is that?!
  2. The food is luxurious. Real heavy cream. Real cream cheese. Mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought. Full Fat cheese of every shape and form. Brie, Swiss, Cheddar, Colby, all of them, and in large amounts. Fish with butter sauce. Chicken with genuine Alfredo sauce. Broccoli with Hollandaise sauce. I love Hollandaise sauce. Mmmm, maybe I’ll make fish with hollandaise for dinner. That would be delish! Desserts are rich, filling and decadent. I’m a little bit of a hedonist when it comes to good food, even cheap food should taste good. Peanut butter, chocolate, pound cake (made with almond meal instead of flour), coconut, pecans, walnuts. And as long as carbs are kept low, desserts do not stall weight loss. Amazing!
  3. Rapid, genuine weight loss. This is probably the best part. I usually lose about 3 pounds a week, the first couple of weeks I lose faster. But when I settle into it 3 pounds a week is my average. For a woman who has to exercise like a fiend and starve herself like a fashion model to lose even 1 pound a week, this is astonishing to be sure.

I wanted to mention that I had a mild case of bulimia and anorexia when I was a teenager. The bulimia was brought on by a case of Hepatitis I didn’t even knew I had until I was about over it. Anyway I was bulimic for about 5 years. I didn’t throw up every day and I didn’t make myself throw up. I did throw up at least once a week though and I was terribly ashamed of myself. Did everything I could to make myself not do it, but it happened anyway. If I overate in the least I would vomit, so I developed a mild form of anorexia to keep myself from vomiting. If I didn’t eat too much, then I wouldn’t vomit. My lowest weight was right over 100 pounds at 5 ft 4″ with small bone structure. I can honestly say I was too thin. My ideal weight is between 115 and 135. To be honest, that weight seems like a fairy tale to me right now, but hopefully, the Good Lord willing, I’ll see it again before too long.

Anyway, when I finally was diagnosed with hepatitis it was a relief to know that it wasn’t memaking myself vomit so much, it was a symptom of the disease. I had a similar experience with PCOS. It made me gain weight, even when I tried so hard to prevent it. Turned out it was the disease making me gain so much so fast. That was a relief too. In both cased I blamed myself and believed that there was something intrinsically flawed in me, Maggie. When in reality both were symptoms of health conditions. There’s a lesson for me in there somewhere.

Anyway, I’m not worried about becoming anorexic or bulimic again. If those things pop up I’ll see the doc about hepatitis and I won’t blame myself. Additionally, if I eat a lot of carbs and gain weight, I know it’s from the carbs interacting with the PCOS and the only blame I’ll take is for eating the carbs when I know better.

I’ll let everyone know when I hit Onderland. That’s when the scale starts registering in 100’s instead of 200’s. Hee, I’m anxious to be there. If anyone has questions, I’m willing to answer. I’m feeling stable and secure about my decision now, so my skin has thickened considerably and I’m not feeling so tender hearted as I was. 🙂



Filed under Headcovering & Modesty, Low-Carb, PCOS, Sewing

22 responses to “Sewing & Dieting

  1. Dandelion

    I love Onederland. That’s a great way to put it. Last year, on the fourth of July, I stepped on the scale to see it read 235 lbs, the most I’d ever weighed. The previous high had been 225, which had been a pretty stable weight for me for about ten years. In the summer of ’06 I got down to 205 for awhile, but somehow it bounced back up and added 10 extra pounds for good measure. I’ve lost some weight since last year’s fourth. These days the scale is hovering around 190. It was a real accomplishment for me to get under 200. In addition to losing pounds, I feel like I’ve lost years. My energy levels haven’t been this high since childhood, probably because while I wasn’t overweight as a teen and early twenty-something, I was a heavy smoker, which steals your very breath away.

    I bought new pants last month and wound up in in size sixteen Levis — bought from the regular section at Mervyn’s, not “Women’s Wear”. The jeans in Women’s Wear were $38.00. The jeans in the regular section were on sale for $18.00. Double accomplishment! As I release some of my extra mass back into the universe, my clothing costs are going down! I’ve even seen things in thrift shops that would fit me now, but I don’t really need any other clothes at the moment. I have always had a difficult time thrifting my clothes while being so overweight. Not too many big sizes seem to show up in thrift stores around here. Based on my own experience, that might be because a lot of big people don’t really enjoy clothes shopping and so hang onto their old stuff until it just wears out.

  2. cbrunette

    You’ve inspired me, Maggie! I’m in the “whatever works for you” camp of diet modification. If you feel great, the Dr. thinks you are great, then GREAT!

    I’m embarrassed to say that I do not have such a such a need to lose weight (probably 10-15 pounds to make me and my Dr. happy.) For me, it is sugar and portions. My family has a history of hypoglycemia/type 2 diabetes, so I know what the triggers are. If I watch the sugar and not eat the same amounts as hubby at meals (!), then I lose the extra padding.

    Way to GO! And any diet that allows for real cheese has to be good! 😉


  3. Congratulations Dandelion! That’s magnificent. My high is 239. That’s what I was when I learned I had PCOS about 7 or 8 years ago. With meds I eventually dropped to a low of 207, but then went back up to 239 around Thanksgiving of 2006. During 2007 I really worked at losing weight and eventually got to a low of 200.5. I’ve fluctuated between 200 & 210 ever since. Right now I’m 204 and hope to be with you in Onederland in the next 10 to 14 days. I haven’t been under 200 in a decade. It would be so nice to see it again.

    I totally agree with you about thrift shopping. I see sizes from 3 up to 14 in abundance and then there is a big lack of options. I think that a lot of the really nice clothes at thrift stores end up there because the owners have grown out of them. I know I’ve donated plenty for that very reason. I’m looking forward to being a smaller size so I can buy dresses and jumpers at thrift stores again. There are so many lovely options in the smaller sizes. Lots with beautiful lace collars plus jumpers of every shape and even vest-dresses from the 90’s. Just the thought of all the pretty and cheap clothes is enough to motivate me to stay on plan.

  4. Aww, thank-you Anna. :). My honey eats big portions too and I’ve had to remind myself that little people eat little portions more than once. thank you for your supportive attitude 🙂 It really does help a lot. 🙂

  5. Lynn Marie

    Thank you for being so honest with all of us about your struggle with weight. You are not alone and go with what works for you best. One day at a time, not one pound at a time. I know that some days I do real good but step on the scale to find that nothing went down. On other days I feel like I did really bad and the scale says something different. Go Figure!!Hang in there – you’ll get there.

  6. You are helping me desire to loose weight.

  7. Thank you for sharing the pattern name. I am going to see if I can find it.

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  8. My pleasure Laura, happy to oblige 🙂

  9. Terrie

    Thanks for sharing with us Maggie. I wish you the best!

  10. Lori G.

    Beautiful jumpers! Oh, how I wish I could sew, almost everything I try is a flop and a waste of $$. For a beginer how hard do you think the pattern is?

    Congrats to you Miss Maggie =)

    I am also eating low carb, but am a vegetarian. So, I eat mostly veggies and fruit, nuts and have juiced carrots every day. I have health issues and the carrot juice seems to help the most.
    I just love reading your blog!

  11. Hi Lori, this jumper wouldn’t be my first pick. The button holes are challenging. As for current catalog choices (like the kind they have at Wal-Mart) the easiest jumper patterns that I see are Simplicity 5917; Simplicity 9830 & Simplicity 9294. The last one comes in plus sizes up to to 32. All of these look very simple (read hard to mess up), and relatively quick.

    When I was learning to sew I started off with doll clothes. I learned more about clothes construction from doll clothes than anything else I ever tried. I recommend starting with doll clothes and then moving up to people clothes. Construction technques between doll clothes and people clothes are often similar.

    If you want to skip the doll clothes then here are a few tips. First, take your measurments before choosing your pattern size. Patterns list measurements for each size on the back of the envelope. Read the envelope to make sure you are getting the right size. Pattern sizes and off-the-rack sizes are often quite different.

    Only buy patterns labeled “Easy,” especially when you’re perfecting your techniques. Look for items without buttons or zippers, these can get in the way at first. If you find a blouse pattern with a single button in the back, you can replace it with a hook and eye, but for the most part simply avoid buttons all together until you get a little skill under your belt. zx

    Next, when you cut out your fabric be fanatical about accuracy. The difference of 1/4-inch here and 1/8-inch there really does add up to an ill fitting garment and one that’s hard to put together. Also, always use the little arrow guides on the pattern to help you pin the pieces together before sewing.

    Also, follow the directions. There is a reason for sewing certain seams first and for “stay-stiching” a neckline so it won’t stretch out when you sew.

    Make sure your seam allowance is accurate. Most American Patterns call for 5/8 of a seam allowance. You can vary it by 1/8-inch, but no more.

    If the pattern calls for interfacing or something like that, then use it. Ask the lady at the sewing store if you don’t know what something is. Or look it up on the internet to see what it is.

    Finally, go slowly. Take your time. Don’t get into a rush. Read the instructions. Pin before sewing. Rip seams when necessary, and try again. As long as you keep trying, you keep learning. You only stop learning when you stop trying. Every failed outfit or project brings you one step closer to a wearable creation.

  12. For anyone else looking for this pattern I thought I’d mention that Kwik Sew has one-2671. It’s not empire waisted and it has a gathered skirt. You can find it by going to and typing the pattern number into the search box.

  13. I have never done the official atkins diet but when i used to go to OA they put us on an eating plan that was very low carb and it was the best thing i ever did. It was very limited for the first 30 days but it really did work. It made me really take a look at what i was eating and why. Dropped 20lbs in the first month and after that it was about 2 a week. Best of luck to you.

  14. Hi Lisa, the OA “GreySheet” is very similar to Atkins, and it has worked for thousands of people for 4 decades. I’ve never done Grey-Sheet exactly, but I hear great things about it.

  15. Hi Maggie,

    What cool sewing tips! I’m new to sewing too and those will be helpful. But now to the heart of the matter…you have me practically drooling thinking about “pound cake made with almond meal instead of flour”. Mmmmmm….

    One thing came across recently that you might enjoy is this cassarole making page, it seems very high protein (and fun!):

    Peaceful week : ) Wendy

  16. I’ve visited Vegan Lunchbox before. Her ideas are good. Novel, pretty to look at, innovative and practial. In all the time I’ve visited her site though, I’ve never seen the Loaf Studio. That is an absolute riot! I’ll share the Almond Pound Cake recipe soon. 🙂 🙂 Hugs–M

  17. Almond Pound Cake

    1 cup butter
    1 cup granular sucralose
    6 medium eggs or 4 jumbo eggs
    1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups almond flour (finely ground almonds)
    1 teaspoon baking powder

    Cream butter and sucralose. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and baking powder. Turn into a well-oiled 7 by 11-inch or 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350* for 55 to 60 minutes.

  18. Thank you so much Maggie, that looks SO good!

    Hugs right back : ) Wendy

  19. Dandelion

    Thanks for the woo-hoo, Maggie, and congrats back to you! And here’s to keeping our downward trends trending downward!

  20. Maggie,

    Thank you for the KwikSew link. I’m not good at adjusting patterns and that one only goes up to an XL.

    I’m am disproportioned so if I buy a jumper to fit my top, it’s huge me elsewhere. I wear 24 on top and a size 18 on bottom (depending on how things are made).

    I have all but given up sewing for myself because I can’t adjust the patterns correctly. Hince why I’ve gone to wearing skirts and blouses instead of jumpers.. also at the request of my husband because he says the two pieces look better on me. I just don’t feel as comfortable. I know it’s still modest, but I like the extra protection of the jumper holding my blouses in (meaning holding them down too).

    Any suggestions or tips you could give on how to alter patterns easily and correctly would be greatly appreciated.

    And on a side note… are you the Maggies that used to run “Hillbilly Housewife”? If so, I remember you from a time ago when I posted on the frugal moms and frugal families boards as LWMSAVON. I think we chatted a few times. You probably don’t remember me. It’s ok… I don’t remember usernames, etc. either much but your graciousness stuck out to me then and still does.

    I pray you have a wonderful weekend!


  21. Hi Laura, yes, I’m the Maggie that used to own HBHW. I’m not the best person to help you with pattern adjusting. I know how to adjust for narrow shoulder and wide hips. I cut about an inch off of the shoulder seam of most patterns and then taper it down, following the curve of the arm, down to the deepest curve of the pattern underarm. For my hips I choose patterns that have pleats or gathers so my hips will be accomodated.

    In the 90’s there was a popular jumper shape that was straight, almost boxy, from shoulders to hem. They were usually knee length and often had buttons on the shoulders. That shape would be perfect for you because it would accomodate your torso without adding width to your hips. If you did a search for plus-size jumper patterns on ebay you might find some that would work for you. is a plus size clothing store with inexpensive jumpers of this shape. Only they’re not knee length, they’ll longer, like mid calf, well, nearly ankle length on me cause I’m short. There are style books available at the library that would help you figure out how to dress your body most attractively. I’m pear shaped or triangle shaped and I know how to dress my shape, but am woefully lacking in knowledge to show other shapes to their best advantage.

  22. Thank you Maggie for the link. I will check into that. I wear long skirts… almost to my ankle so I don’t have a problem with the length or adding to the length as needed. It’s just the top and bottom. lol

    Thanks again. I hope you are having a beautiful Sunday!


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