Monthly Archives: January 2011

Whew! Finished!

There’s nothing like finishing up a big project to make you celebrate. This weekend I put the finishing touches on numerous ‘Little Black Dress Aprons’ and made an extra to put up in my etsy shop, just to see how it does there. Before I start on my next time-consuming project, I decided to ‘reward’ myself with some ‘me sewing’ – a Jalie 2805 shirt in a white burnout I picked up several months ago from I also broke down and purchased Bettsy Kingston’s Acton Pants which I’m hoping to try out soon. Now to find some material worthy of such a (potentially) cute pattern!

What did everyone else work on this weekend?

On The Cutting Table

Bret has always called my sewing room a ‘sweat shop’ and this weekend he would be correct. On the cutting table at the moment are all the pieces to numerous “Little Black Dress Aprons” that will be sold to a local shop. While it’s always more fun to sew for myself, I like sewing these aprons up since it can be relaxing (I’ve done them so many times that I no longer have to ‘think’ so much about what I’m doing and can just sew) and it also helps fund some frivolous sewing purchases.

Speaking of frivolous purchases, has anyone tried Bettsy Kingston‘s e-pattern, Action Pants? I stumbled across them the other day and they look fun to make, but they call for a woven material for the panty itself – which I’ve never done. I’m curious as to how they look and how well they fit after they are finished.

Now it’s time to head into the sewing room and do some work before it’s time to take the kids to… Monster Trucks!

Scarf Arrival

It figures, my Scarf swap package arrives and the temperatures decide to turn warm (today it’s going to be 70, yes 70!) so I can’t put my goodies to good use. Of course, I can still show them off! My favorite item had to be the most beautiful pair of fingerless gloves. She used an alpaca yarn in variegated yellowbluegreen tones – truly gorgeous. The next was a set of scarves:

The first was a cupcake scarf (ala Twinkie Chan) that I’ve wanted for ages. Taylor ‘claimed’ that as her own and wore it the next day to school (needless to say she loves when I do craft swaps) and the second was a chunky-yarn scarf embellished with ‘flowers’ – I think Easton felt left out because he wore this around (along with the gloves) for the rest of the evening after the package arrived. Maybe next time enter a winter-ish swap I should ‘wishlist’ a cool toddler set!

Linky Thursday

Personalize your plastic coupon organizer by sewing on a fabric cover.

Chances are you have a stack of vintage hankies that you’ve acquired that is just sitting in a drawer (at least that’s where mine is at). Instead of hiding them, show them off and create some beautiful Vintage Pillow Covers.

The latest issue of Stitch magazine is out. The one project that stood out for me was this adorable Babydoll dress (I love that neckline). Instructions can be found in the magazine, but my guess is a lot of you can figure out how to construct it without them.

Lila Tueller has a new giveaway up with a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of her latest fabrics, Isabella. Hurry, this one ends tomorrow!

An adorable Valentine Bunting (if you read the next entry, you can find out more about the cool fabric paint she used to create it).

Download the Reversible Bucket Bag and while you’re there, enter to win a copy of The Bag Making Bible. I have this book (I’ll be writing a review soon) and HIGHLY recommend it.

Learn how to save on interfacing yardage, but still fuse it to your fabric before you cut.

Coraline is a HUGE favorite at our house… if we had a pair of these gloves, a fight might break out as to who gets to wear them first.

Stitch up a case for you Kindle.

There’s no sewing involved, but these recycled t-shirt bags are too cute (and quick to make) not to share. Of course, if you’re itching to sew up a bag, these super quick drawstring bag instructions show you how to exclusively use your serger to create one, but also has instructions for a standard machine.

Learn how to create a pretty, decorative felt heart.

Who said log caddies had to just be functional? This one is beautiful too.

Sew Tina

I love Tina Givens work. She has one of those distinctive styles that you can always point out – whether it’s a fabric or a pattern. I was originally a little hesitant getting her book, Sew Tina! because I was afraid it would lean too much toward girl’s only patterns, but when I would told I won the book, I certainly couldn’t turn it down!

While a majority of the clothing items in this book are geared toward girls, I was pleasantly surprised that there were a few just for the boys (tunic & shorts, button down shirt, and a baby lounge suit… although I suspect that you could make this for a girl as well). A majority of the accessories can easily be adapted for either sex and some would be downright fun to make for an adult as well – because the playdate tote, lion applique cushion, and flying pig are too cute to keep just for the kids. The instructions seem clear and are accompanied by illustrations for each step and the book itself is spiral bound – a ‘must’ in my opinion when dealing with a project book this large (Sew Tina contains 30 items). I only had two drawbacks with this book: 1) Although there are some full size-patterns included in this book, some (along with all the templates) will need enlarging – something to look out for before cutting out your pattern, 2) While I understnad that part of Tina’s style is producing ‘free-flowing’, loose fitting garments, I was dissappointed to see that there wasn’t any fitted garments included… sometimes I just like to see that there’s a kid underneath all that fabric. With that said, Sew Tina! is pure eye-candy – everything about it is eye-catching: the photography, the fabrics, and the projects. It just inspires you to make something – in fact, I’m itching to sew up a Chef Hat and a Moses Basket (after I find out if my best friend is having a boy or a girl)!

The Bottom Line: A book true to Tina’s style and design, Sew Tina! is fun and whimsical although probably geared more towards those with little girls.

Simplicity For Blythe

As some of you may know, I am a recent Blythe owner. Even though my doll came with some wonderful stock, every Blythe doll deserves an awesome wardrobe. This, of course, means that you must occasionally suffer through a review of a doll pattern (or two). Today is one of those days. Today, it’s Simplicity 2353.

To be honest, this pattern is part of the reason I decided to ‘go for’ buying one of these dolls. While I’ve longed for a Blythe for several years now, I never took the plunge because I was intimidated by small sewing. However, I figured that if Simplicity came out with a pattern (the only US company so far to do so), then their instructions would be good enough to work me though my ‘miniature phobia’. I decided on View A – the hoodie and long socks. That, is where the happy story ends. This particular view is a hot mess. Let’s start with the socks – they are unbelievably simple yet there’s no finishing. I know this is a doll – chances are no children will be playing with it and it’s made from a knit so it won’t fray, but still – put a hem on the edge to make it look clean! The same goes for the hoodie – all the edges are raw (the exception to this is the hood area) and to top it off, they have you using a zipper for a closure…. on a knit…. unstabilized. That’s just bad technique.

I have no idea what the rest of the patterns are like – after this disaster (it looks fine in the photos, but if you could see it in person….) I just packed it all back inside the envelope and put it aside. I think I’ll give my Doll Coordinate Book a try before I decide to come back to this one – it looks as if this pattern needs some tweaking.

Sewn With Love

I love sewing for kids. In fact, it was the idea of sewing clothing for my daughter that really got me interested in taking up the hobby in the first place. Now that she’s grown and I have a boy, I sometimes find it difficult to find kids projects. There’s been a lot books published as of late that focus in on the younger set. However, so many of them are designed for little girls, that it was nice to finally come across a few that had some great projects for boys. Fiona Bell, owner of the childrens boutique Their Nibs, penned Sewn With Love, a book that focuses in on ‘classic sewing techniques with contemporary results.’ I have to say, I love it. Not only are there beautiful dresses for little and big girls alike there are practical and cute items for boys as well (and by that I mean, clothing that you can put on your little boy that they won’t argue about wearing). To top it off, there are a number of unisex items included… a little something for everyone!
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Butterick 5217

If you open the pages of the latest Sew News, you’ll see one of my favorite projects of 2010… Butterick 5217 (modified). Because reviewing this pattern (and the modifications I made) would have ‘given away’ the article, I decided not to put up a post about it. However, since the issue is out, let me at it!

Let me start off by saying that I didn’t follow the directions entirely – I made several changes to the pattern: modifying the fabric and cutting, using french seams, binding the neckline, etc. (the article goes more into detail as to the modifications and how to replicate them yourself). However, from what I did read, they were easy to follow. The fit on this pattern is loose and very tunic-y, so watch your fabric choice: pick material that is fluid and lighter-weight, using something that is too stiff or thick will give you a maternity top appearance. If you’re hoping for a more ‘tailored’ (slimmer?) tunic look, make sure you take in the sides of the bodice instead of going down a size or two in the pattern itself. I found that the yoke fits perfectly and ‘flares’ out from there.

With that said, I can’t wait to see everyone’s versions of this pattern and how it worked for you!

Linky Thursday

A fun guessing game at Fat Quarter shop that could land you a $50 gift card just for answering!

I’m usually not one for quilted pillows, but this Starburst Floor pillow is absolutely gorgeous – and I love that it has a zipper so that you can easily remove the pillow form.

What word describes your year? Betz White wants to know and if you’re the winner, could win your word on a necklace.

If you’re like me, you never know what to do with those fabric charm packs. Craft Apple has an idea using them to make an easy ‘homespun’ floor cloth.

Win a box of craft supplies.

Shirt too small? Learn how to breathe new life into a shrunken tee.

I found this post really interesting: A group of six, turning Van Gogh’s painting into a quilt. I hope they continue to post a bit of ‘progress’ updates to get an idea of how it’ll all be put together.

Don’t forget Fido – he’ll love this squeaky, handmade dog bone.

A child-sized (although I’m pretty sure that you could make an adult version and have it turn out just as well) military hat tutorial (three part series).

A great way to try out quilting without committing to an entire quilt – Patchwork Potholders.

I know this has nothing to do with sewing, but I am a gaming geek and I do love Skip To My Lou: Play Your Way Gamestop Giveaway.

Dolly Coordinate Recipe

I’m not going to lie, I had envisioned a much different post going up on the site today, but after pouring over my new book (and magazines, was anyone else underwhelmed by this month’s Burda?) last night, I thought I would share a brief book review while the thoughts were still fresh in my head. You may have caught the post earlier in the year that Bret is buying me a Blythe for Valentine’s day (hopefully she will be here within the next two weeks). Thanks to a Christmas giftcard, I was able to buy my first book devoted to sewing for these (among others) Japanese dolls, Dolly Coordinate Recipe Book #10.
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