Monthly Archives: August 2009

Candy Cauldron Tips & Tricks

Since the Candy Cauldron is a down loadable pattern on Sew New’s site, I’ve had several questions regarding supplies and the circle templates. Consequently, I thought I would post some handy “Tips & Tricks” when making this project:
I purchased my 5 quart paint bucket from Walmart. Home improvement stores have similar buckets, but I’ve found that they carry a much smaller supply and tend to run out faster.
While the instructions call for fleece on the exterior, I thought I should mention, just about any material will work. Fleece and felt tend to be bulkier, but they are durable, don’t fray, and retain their shape well. I’ve also used flannel (which is what the bucket on the magazine cover is made from) and burlap (which is what the buckets above are made with) with good results. Quilting cottons can be used, but they tend to produce ‘floppier’ buckets and don’t hold up as well – keep this in mind if you’re making one for a trick-or-treater.
The outer circle template is quite large and consequently, it’s not really something you’ll be able to print off from a home computer. Instead, you’ll want to make your own template with 1″ graph paper. Just to give you my dimensions – the radius of the exterior circle is 15 3/4″ (with the arc of the 1/4 circle being 23 3/4″) The smaller circle is the same size as the interior of the bucket plus 1/2″ seam allowances.
Probably the most difficult part of this project is sewing the panels to the inner circle. Sometimes either your cutting or sewing is off slightly or the stars just aren’t aligned properly and you’ll find that things just don’t quite ‘match up’. Instead of ripping out the stitches and saying a few curse words, I sometimes ‘tuck’ the excess material along the seam line so it blends in. Since this area lays in the bottom section of the bucket, it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re really looking for it.
The lining is ‘free’ from the bucket itself. If you don’t like this look or just don’t want it to pull up, you may want to glue the material to the bottom of the bucket.

Meet My Assistant

My assistant and I are busy finishing up a projects and putting together a “Tips & Tricks” list for tomorrow’s post. Actually, he spends most of his time digging though my notions drawer and in between sewing (when he lets me do it by myself), I’m picking up after him. I’m not sure if I’m giving Easton a love of sewing or not, but he sure does love the stuff that goes along with it!
Now back to work! By the way, what is everyone else working on?

Happy Saturday

After thinking about it for awhile and getting some advice, I’ve decided to forge ahead on making the drawstring pants. The fabric is washed and ready to go, now I just need to trace the pattern off.
Afterward, I plan on making the Square Gusset Tee – I’ve printed off the pages, but am dreading the taping process. The up side, however, is that I found a great fabric (it just happens to be gray like the model’s) in my stash – it’s a 1/4 yard short, but I’m hoping that I can play with the pattern placement enough that I can eek by.
Speaking of down loading patterns – if you’re planning on making the Candy Cauldron, I’m working on a “tips and tricks” post for my tutorial. I should have it up in the next couple of days.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and gets out and enjoys the day. I’m happy to say, our weather is finally cooled off and is absolutely gorgeous!

I Caved

Just a few days ago, I looked into my sewing closet and said, “Agh, I think I’m set. I’ve got solids, prints, boy and teen themed fabrics, denim, sweatshirt fleece, french terry, and even a bit of leather. I have no room for more!” But somehow, I managed to land onto the Fabric Fairy’s homepage and saw the return of the Cute Birds Waterproof Japanese import and that’s when I caved. I’ve had my eye on this material for awhile and told myself that if it ever came back into stock that I would go ahead and buy it. So what do I want to do with it? Make a cosmetic bag. For quite awhile, I’ve had a pattern in my mind on how I would like to make one and this particular print really called to screamed at me that it needed to be made into my first version.
Of course, my cart seemed very lonely with just that material in it, so I picked up a few other gems including this I Love Lucy knit print. I thought it might complement some of the Lucy Fabric I picked up earlier this year (I’m thinking pjs).
Alright, back to sewing up some stash!

Linky Thursday

There are still plenty of opportunities to win Crochet Adorned as Linda makes her way around the blog tours. Speaking of crochet, be sure to stop by Not Martha for a chance to win a copy of Creature Crochet.
Since Anne (of Needle Nook Fabrics fame) is a wonder at teaching and sewing everything bras, it should come to no surprise that her daughter has released her own bra pattern!
Last year I dabbled in making bath bombs. I have plenty of materials left over to make more, so this Bath Bomb Inspiration page will definitely come in handy!
A much cuter way to keep your schoolbooks neat than paper bags.
Sew yourself up a scalloped front skirt – gorgeous!
When Easton was younger he HAD to be swaddled in order for him to sleep. These swaddling blankets by The Purl Bee would have been a gorgeous way to do it – that is until he got too strong and would wiggle his way out. That’s when The Snuggler would have been an ideal option!
How to alter a sleeve pattern to puff the sleeves.
I love quick and easy ways to spruce up a purchased top, this Petal Ruffle Puff Sleeve Top is definitely one of the cutest! [link via Craft]
The Weekend Designer doesn’t limit themselves to fabulous clothing, this week the project is an elegant swag.
I’m always on the lookout for Christmas gift ideas. I’m keeping this purse organizer in mind for this year!

C&T Publishing is having a Simplicity Studios giveaway
How to sew a cute ruffled top for your little girl. [link via WhipUp]


First off, I wanted to say, “I think I’m caught up!” With school back in session for a week and a half, I’m getting some sort of ‘schedule’ in place and am starting to feel like I’m making a dent into my sewing list. One thing I’ve been meaning to accomplish? Posting a few reviews at Pattern Review… I also spent a great deal of time reading the boards – something that I missed doing frequently over the summer. So if you’ve wanted more in depth reviews of the Maxi Dress, Summer Blouse, and 3 Graces Top, be sure to check them out!
I’ve also started doing some Halloween sewing for my etsy shop. This particular project should be up in the next week or so and should give you an idea of what my next tutorial will be for the OctoberNovember issue of Sew News! is available for download on the Sew News site (as well as the OctoberNovember issue)
Now, here comes the hard part…. what to sew up next? The Wong-Singh-Jones Marrakesh Drawstring Pants, a second version of the 3 Graces T-Shirts (I saw a top in Victoria Secret that looked very similar to the ‘loop front’ version), the Square Gusset T-Shirt, or go back to the Field Bag? Sigh, so many fun projects out there to work on, so little time to sew them all up!

Square Gusset T-Shirt

There’s a new project up at The Sewing Republic – a fashion forward shirt from designer Bob Martin. While the front looks like your ‘typical’ tee, this top actually has some fantastic looking draping going in the back along with some fun gussets. I’m anxious to try this one out – it looks very fun to wear… now if I could just squeeze myself into a pair of skinny jeans like the model!

Can You Say FAST?

I started sewing up the 3 Graces Tee-Shirt yesterday – never thinking that I would have a finished top by the time Easton was done napping! (I should note, that the back does lay down and doesn’t poke up like how it is in the photo – I just threw this on quickly without ‘arranging’ myself before taking a picture).
Seriously, this is one of the best instant gratification projects that I’ve worked on recently – I love the design, it was so easy to sew (it’s a great project for a beginner), and the results are fabulous. The only snag that I hit was when I sewed the band onto the armhole. Instead of using a ribbing, I used the jersey fabric itself – I’m guessing that my material might not have as much stretch as what was intended because it came out extremely tight. Check out all those puckers I got!

I went back and cut the arm band one size larger (I might have been able to go up 2, but I didn’t want to risk it being too loose) and that seemed to fix my problem.
I’m now giddy to try the other styles – I’m thinking the crossover version will have to be next!


With all our Project Runway discussion the other day, I thought I would point out that last season’s winner, Leanne Marshall, has released her new collection on Bluefly! I love that she kept in trend and used ‘eco-friendly’ fabrics like bamboo jersey – and the colors are gorgeous. If this isn’t enough eye candy for you, be sure to watch is this video of Jay McCarroll (season 1’s winner) on Quilting Arts TV. Jay whips up a cute tote with his line of fabrics. By the way, does anyone know if he’s planning another set of fabric designs?
On a completely different note, if you live in or around the Wichita area and are interested in taking my Box Bag class, I’ve got my dates lined up: September 17; 1-3 at the west side Midwest Sewing location and September 25; 1-3 at the downtown location. For those of you who live too far away to attend, I’ll be posting the tutorial on the site in just a couple of weeks!

The Summer Blouse Complete

Looking for a pretty, feminine top that’s light enough to wear all summer? Weekend Sewing’s Summer Blouse definitely fits the bill! Honestly, this is not really the type of style that I would normally go for, but it looked so sweet and comfortable in the book’s photograph that I couldn’t resist giving it a try.
I honestly can’t comment too much on this style’s directions as I just ‘skimmed’ them – the blouse’s construction is pretty straightforward. One thing I did do that I thought made the construction process go faster is sewing the sleeve to the top, then sewing the arm and side seams all in one step (as opposed setting the sleeve into the armhole). I used a smaller hem than recommended – I really don’t think that extra inch or so will weight my material down enough to give it ‘a nice flow’.
So, with all that said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:
The Good: I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the Summer Blouse pattern, but I adore this fabric – it really was designed for a style like this. Overall, the top is comfortable and airy – great to wear with a tank during the summer.
The Bad: It’s probably because I don’t normally wear this style of top, but I feel like I’m wearing a mini mu-mu; it’s just very ‘roomy’. Since the Summer Blouse has a lot of ease, fabric selection is very important. Anything too heavy or stiff isn’t going to work. – all that extra fabric will make it look like you’ve put on a few pounds. Stick with sheer, lightweight fabrics and you’ll like the outcome better. You might also want to do some flat pattern measuring on the sleeve length (which I found was way too long) and overall top length (which is a bit on the short side, I think I would have preferred it to be 3 or 4 inches longer) before cutting. My last complaint is the placket – why in the world would you have someone make a deep placket when you ask them to sew 1/2 of it up before wearing it?
Don’t get me wrong, the top is great and I plan on wearing it today, but if I make it again, I’ll probably make a few design changes. One thing I won’t change? Using a fabulous gauze to sew this blouse up!