Monthly Archives: June 2011

Linky Thursday

I remember getting Greek lettered shirts when I was in college (I even got my mom a really cute one for mother’s day that just said “Mom”) – they were terribly expensive. Learn how to create your own so they look like they came out of store for sororities.

Ruffles are all the rage right now. Lear how to create (another) ruffled skirt.

Alright so there really is no sewing involved this this project (although I suspect you’ll want to hem the raw edges), but I love grommets and it’s a great way to add curtains to a room fast: DIY Grommet Drapes

Have some oilcloth, but don’t know what to do with it? This quick oilcloth tote tutorial is a great solution!

It’s a t-skirt! An easy tutorial that transforms a skirt into a tunic style shirt – I think there’s even a sewing pattern that looks quite a bit like this.

A really cute DIY fairy wand – great for princesses and parties (I can even see making this up in red, white and blue for the 4th).

I’m always stumped as to what I can make with things like quilter’s layer cakes. I never thought of making a wallet!

Repurpose old t-shirts into a 5-strand headband. I think I had better learn how to braid that much material because I’d love to make some! Not into headbands? How about dishcloths?

I am seriously in love with this pencil skirt with gathered waist darts.

Very easy and super cute t-shirt dresses for girls. Pair this up with one of these hair bows and you’ve got a rockin’ ensemble!

A great way for kids to store their rocks, bugs, pinecones, and flowers this summer: The Nature Bag.

Transform an old hula hoop and some sheets into a fun outdoor play tent.

A, B, C’s

I have a confession: I’m addicted to craft swaps (WARNING: If you are my swap partner turn back now). In fact I’ve joined two more – Spell My Name (a fairly low pressure swap that has you crafting items according to the letters in a person’s name) and the Over 30 Geezer Swap (which has an impressive list of crafty participants). Partners for the name swap were announced yesterday so I spent the evening coming up with ideas…. which is much harder than it sounds, especially when you have some ‘hard’ letters to work with.

I forged ahead with some of the easier letters and came up with two sewn items: a Key fob that matches her Amy Butler clutch. The clutch was something on her wishlist and is from Bend-the-Rules Sewing and just happens to be one of my favorite projects from the book. I love how simple it is, yet looks so adorable when finished – plus it’s a great way to show off a fantastic button.

I think while I brainstorm some more ideas, I’ll work on my Hot Patterns Cool, Calm, & Cowl-Neck top. I managed to find fabric and ribbing (which I just realized is the SAME color as the one on the envelope cover) this weekend should work perfectly with this design.

Taking The Plunge…. Shopping Online

I often get a lot of e-mails regarding shopping for fabrics online, so I thought this might be a good topic to bring up in a blog post. As you may have noticed, I do a lot of my fabric shopping through internet retailers and probably the #1 question I get is: “How do I know what kindqualityetc. material I’ll be getting if I can’t touch it?” I’ve found a majority of fabric sites do a great job describing the material (amount of stretch, weight, uses, and some even give the Pantone color and pattern suggestions), but it’s also important to become familiar with names of fabrics andor weights (for example when buying denim) so you get the right fabric for the project you’re looking for. If you’re unsure what a material is, invest in a good book such as Simplicity Fabric Guide (I’ll be reviewing it soon) or Sandra Betzina’s More Fabric Savvy which not only help with describing material (especially when you can’t touch them), but uses, and how to sew with them. You can also contact the retailer with any questions you may have, although beware – some sites sell out of some materials fast and may be gone before you get your answer (I’ve had this happen before) !

“How do I know this is a reliable storefront?” The best way to answer that is “word-of-mouth”. If you consistently see your favorite sites purchasing from specific retailers (including ebay or etsy sellers) or mentioned in discussion threads, then chances are you’ll have a great experience as well. Don’t be afraid to start a discussion thread yourself to get feedback from other people before you buy.

“What about coupons?” I’ll admit, Joann’s, Hancock Fabric, and even Hobby Lobby have spoiled me with coupons. With just a few exceptions, most online retailers do not run couponinternet code specials. They do, however, occasionally run sales on select items and sometimes the entire ‘store’. The best way to catch these is to sign up for their newsletter, Facebook, andor twitter page.

“If I don’t like what I get, can I return it?” All stores have different policies, be sure to check the FAQ section of their site to see if they handle returns andor have a restocking fee. I have found, however, a majority of retailers are willing to work with you and have excellent customer service.

“Have you ever had a bad online shopping experience?” I won’t lie, yes I have – it took a threat to call my credit card company to get the fabric I ordered, to be finally delivered. Fortunately, that particular retailer is no longer in operation.

Have other questions that I might not have answered? Leave them here in the comments and I’ll update the post!

LBD Apron Style

This weekend, Bret’s step-sister is having her wedding reception. I sort of racked my brains as to what to get her since after her bridal shower, she had already gotten a majority of items off her registry (and lots, and lots of wine glasses). Instead of going with something store bought, I decided to give her one of my favorite apron designs – The Little Black Dress. I opted for this one, not just because it’s fun, but because it is one of my better selling aprons (so I figured she would like it, too) and they don’t make Beatles fabric (she’s a big fan and it would have gone along with the rest of her gift nicely).

Aside for taking in a bit of sewing, I also managed to do a bit of (local) fabric shopping and…. wait for it….. they were all solids! After sifting through my closet, I noticed I’m missing a lot of solid colors in there so I forced myself to stay away from the prints (this time). I plan on putting them to good use soon as I just received a Hot Patterns order and need some new summer tops before I start moving onto fall sewing. Speaking of, has anyone noticed that both Simplicity and McCall have their fall previews up already (and I was told that Kwik Sew will start arriving in stores this week although they are not up on the site, yet). Which ones are your favorites?

Kwik Sew 3880

After a day of shopping with Taylor, I decided that I wanted one of those cut out shoulder style tops. Instead of paying the insane amount of money that a few stores were asking, I decided to find a pattern (or modify one) that would work to create this look. That’s when I found Kwik Sew 3880. It’s perfect: it’s easy to sew (and great for beginners, in my opinion), has a flattering shape (even though the sleeves are ‘big’ the shirt is fitted so you don’t look like you’re wearing a tent), and comes together very quickly. I used a ‘mystery knit’ from my stash (one side has a rayon-ish look, the other an extremely soft almost suede-like cotton on the other and it bleed all over my hands and machine – if anyone knows what it is, I’d love to know) for my first version, but I’m contemplating making my next one out of a fabulous and funky mesh that I recently purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics…. I can’t wait to try it again!

FYI: Since this post is so late going up, I’ll be putting the project info on the sidebar later on this evening.

Linky Thursday

Super-easy, no-sew “Wrap-Turned Scarf”. I think a similar technique could be used to recreate Style Arc’s Simply Sally Top.

Make a crib size duvet cover – perfect for a baby or toddler!

Amy Butler is holding a disaster relief fundraiser for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Read here to find out how you can purchase your raffle ticket for a chance to win one of 3 Sweet Life Bags full of goodies.

Not only are these Sweet Tooth Pouches ‘green’, but kids go nuts for them – even Easton has asked for one.

If you’re traveling and have limited space for a child’s chair harness, this tutorial is just for you – it looks like it’s great for keeping little ones from slipping out of their seats.

The Harry Potter series is about to come to a close. If you’re looking to take a bit of the story with you to the next movie, why not make a (Heromine) Little Bag of Secrets?

Learn how to transfer a black and white image to fabric.

Easton uses (cool) bandaids as body art (but refuses to wear them when he has an actual cut). Now you can let your child wear as many bandages as they want without breaking the bank with this DIY Fabric Bandaid tutorial.

A cute little stuffed dinosaur pattern.

Clever:’s tutorial for creating a wedding dress by using (all free patterns) The Nancy Dress and Hot Pattern’s Cupid Cami and Peachy Beachy Cover-up.

Store your hand sewing needles in a simple, yet pretty needle notebook.

Perfect for weekend shopping: A vintage inspired skirt tutorial.

Turn an unflattering dress into a cute top.

McCall 6359

For quite some time, I stayed away from a lot of the ‘Big 4’ patterns because I found so many of them were just ill fitting. I recently started sewing with a few of them again and have had some wonderful turnouts. That is until today. During a recent sale I decided to pick up McCall 6359 – a women’s tunic with several different looks. What caught my attention was the design with the lace strapback since this looked to be very current. I raided my stash and came up with a lightly printed floral, cotton jersey that was in a fabric bundle from Fabric Mart. I had never used this material before since it looked it should be made into pajamas, but I thought it might work since it looked ‘vintage’ and thus right off the cover of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Since the pattern says it’s ‘fitted’ across the bust, I went ahead and used my ‘appropriate’ size. Not only is this top rather large all over, but the underarms are GIGANTIC (the photos really don’t capture how big everything looks).

I didn’t even bother fixing the arm problem or even completing this top. It looks bad on and just doesn’t make me feel comfortable wearing it – I sort of feel like I’m wearing a small tent. I’m chalking this up as a wadder and getting rid of the entire pattern set completely because I think all the version are going to have some of the same issues. Instead, I think I’ll try an Ottobre, Jalie, or Burda pattern that I know I’ll like the fit of.

Project Details:

McCall’s 6359 (view C)

Floral cotton jersey from Fabric Mart

White lace from Joann’s

Materials & Cost:

Mission Maxi Version 2

With one dress under my belt, I went ahead and started a second – this one is all mine! For this dress, I used a fabulous polka dot, jersey print from Needle Nook Fabrics (I liked the way the black ‘dripped’ down into the white). The only alteration I made was taking this dress up 1 1/2 inches. As you might be able to see, it’s still too long – this particular fabric stretches more lengthwise and I’m thinking that between sewing and the weight of the material, the dress could really be taken up again (it’s not bad with heels, though). I’m thinking that I’ll let it hang on a hanger for a few days and see how much more it ‘grows’ before I take it up. Otherwise, this dress is a keeper!

Mission Maxi Version 1

Thanks to a very laid back and quiet Saturday morning, I managed to finish my first version of the Mission Maxi… and I don’t get to keep it. While test fitting the dress, Taylor walked in and liked it so much, she tried it on and we both thought it look better on her than me – so it’s hers. Now that I’ve noted what changes I’d like to make my second time around, I’m ready to start on my polka dot version. Since this is a (fairly) new pattern company and a highly ‘pinned’ pattern, I’m sure you all are ready for a review – so here it is:

Pattern Description: From the pattern: “A soft free flowing maxi dress sewing pattern with plenty of options to choose from: tank top maxi, halter top maxi, and godet back maxi. Views A and B can be made as tank tops too! The pattern booklet includes a glossary of terms, metric conversion chart, and illustrated instructions in color. Full size pattern pieces in sizes 2 to 18 accompany the booklet.”

Pattern Sizing: 2-18, I made a size 10. The finished dress is very fitted, so if you are looking for a looser fitting garment then I would recommend going up a size or two.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, definitely.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought so, although this is a fairly straightforward design. There are lots of illustrations that accompany the written directions as well as tips for working with knits on a home sewing machine so this is a good beginner pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: I think that this is a great basic pattern (wardrobe builder) than can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric or style you chose. It also sews up easily and quickly.
Dislikes: I’m not particularly fond of how the binding is appliedfinished around the neckline and arms (I’m guessing it’s designed this way so that it’s easier for the beginner to construct this dress and so that the binding works with all dress sizes). However, it doesn’t bother me enough to want to change it for future versions either.

Fabric Used: A stripe rayon jersey from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None, in fact, I didn’t even have to take up the hem on this one (in the photo, the dress hasn’t been hemmed yet).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes.

Conclusion: A wonderful basic, wardrobe builder pattern!

Mission Maxi

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to scrap the Vogue dress (and save it for a day when I have more time to fix all it’s ‘issues’). Instead, I’m forging ahead on the Mission Maxi pattern that I recently purchased. I’m using a great stripe fabric that I purchased from to start off with – that way I can gauge what changes I might want to make to the finished dress (I know that length will undoubtedly be an issue). My final dress will use the fun black and white polka dot fabric that I mentioned in this post.

Now it’s time to get tracing and start on that dress!

Project Details:

Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi (view A)

Stripe jersey from

Materials & Cost: