Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sew, What’s New?

Seeing that I’m in between projects right now, I thought I’d share whats news around here:

On my nightstand: Pleating for Mercy: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
. I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of the book (it’s released in August) – and it may take me that long to get it finished this summer! It’s a fun little book that revolves around sewing, but I am slow as molasses getting it read. I’ve also been reading Simplicity Fabric Guide: The Ultimate Fiber Resource and plan on putting up a review about it on Monday.

What I’m Working On Now: I’m about ready to test sew two new tutorials I’ve written for The Sewing Republic… I love this process because I get to see if I’ve planned everything out the way I originally envisioned it. I also plan to work on Bret’s grandmother’s bag: Indygo Junction‘s Traveler’s Tote (which seems to be now out of print).

Did you see?: If you happen across a newsstand or subscribe yourself, be sure to check out this month’s issue of Sew News. My “It Takes Two” article deals with morphing two knit t-shirts into a completely new design – it’s great if you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe with some out of date tops.

What I’m excited about: Besides the Big 4 releasing their fall patterns (some of which I am in love with), I am also seriously contemplating ordering The Jessica dress from Style Arc – what a gorgeous dress! I am also anxiously waiting for Lila Tueller’s Little Satchels pattern to be released… I am seeing lots of art rolls and makeup bags in my future. I also see a book order being placed soon – I am really wanting to check out Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look, but no one locally seems to carry it. Anyone have it and want to give me a mini-review? I am also dying to try out Amy Butler‘s new rayon and corduroy fabrics! Today kicks off her blog tour to promote these new materials so I’m hoping, somewhere in there, is a chance to win some (today she’s over at True Up)!

What’s my current favorite pattern?: Sisboom’s Tommy Boxer. I swear I live in these things – especially now that the temperatures are 100+ degrees. I think my next ‘me’ project is going to be a new pair! Now I just need to find a fantastic sleep pant pattern for the fallwinter!

Linky Thursday

Hot Patterns has a new, free download available – The Cabriolet Skirt-Dress. This one is a definite must sew!

I love to see vintage suitcases used as home decor. What makes it better? Decorating them! I’m thinking these would be a perfect way to hide more stash.

If your summer wardrobe includes a sheer skirt, try making a half slip.

A pretty way to store your business cards.

Thinking about cloth diapering? Learn how to make your own.

Ruffles have now made their way to reusable grocery bags. This one is even reversible.

The J Crew inspired skirt. I love the tutorial’s skirt better than the original!

Recycle a shirt into an adorable stuffed bunny.

Perfect for a girls bedroom or use neutral fabrics for a living room: sew a pretty ruched throw pillow.

You can never have too many fabric flower tutorials.

Keep your baby’s pacifiers clean when they’re not using them with this great Paci Pocket tutorial.

Not only can you win a cool Eco Tote, but a copy of my hometown author’s (and Modern Quilt Guild organizer) new book, Deploy That Fabric!

There are so many ways to make this dress look different: The Gathered Dress Tutorial.

Turn a pillowcase into a cute summer toptank.

Doing The Math

I will now eat the words that I spoke as an 8th grader. I WILL be doing this sort of math later on in life. I realize this every time I wind up writing a tutorial, pattern, or article, but there are some projects, like the one I’m drafting for my Over 30 Geezer Swap, that I realize it even …more. What am I making? A corseted broomstick skirt like this. Not only is it fitted around the waist, but there’s layers of gathered patchwork to figure as well.

I’m fairly certain that my math is correct and I was all set to get to work last night since my fabric was due to arrive…. that is until I realized that I was short two pieces of material. Bummer. I contacted the online store and hope to have it resolved with my 2 missing fabrics in hand in a week. I’ll be keeping everyone posted on the progress and possibly posting a mini-tutorial for anyone that’s interested. In the mean time, what is everyone else working on?

The $5 Dress

The weekend before last, my sister-in-law held her wedding reception. I was set on wearing my polka dot Mission Maxi until the day before the party, when I saw an ad for a sequined, racerback dress by Michael Kors…. and I knew I had to make that dress. After searching my local fabric stores for a stretch sequin, I turned up empty handed so I settled for a ‘special occasion fabric’ from Hancock Fabric. While it wasn’t what I really wanted, I couldn’t beat the price: With a (competitor’s) coupon and the special 15% off they tacked onto it for the 4th of July, the grand total for this dress came to a little over $5!

As for the dress itself, the only change I made to the pattern itself was to shorten it up…. substantially. Overall, I’m happy with the end results, but it’s still no substitute to the fabulous Kor’s sequin inspiration. So the real question is, which dress won out for the evening? The polka dot maxi. I’ll save this one for a fun date night.

Sewing & Crafting Toys

It’s hot outside – like melt your skin hot. This weekend we had record breaking temperatures (111) so the only option was to stay inside. The good news about this is that it gave me the opportunity to work on some new tutorials for The Sewing Republic and play around with the stitch regulator again. I have to say, this is really a great tool – I’m by no means a great free-motion sewerquilter when it comes to design, but it sure is fun trying.

I also took in a bit of (very) early birthday shopping and bought a YUDU! I actually couldn’t resist – Michael’s had this as their item of the week ($99). I’m anxious to try it out and compare it to my Speedball Screenprinting kit experience. Beware: you may be seeing lots of silk screened items very, very soon.


I can put a fork in the Spell My Name Swap…. because I’m done! For the last letter, “N” I made a “Nesting Doll” (babushkamatryoshka doll). I had found this particular pattern in a past Homestyle Sewing Magazine which was an excerpt from the book, Sew Pretty HomestyleSewing Craft Books) (Even the fabric was also from that issue (although intended for a different project)!)

Overall this was a very easy project to sew up although I added some poly beads at the end to help her stand up and I found that difficult to do after she was already stuffed (which is what the directions have you do). I’ve decided that if I make one of these babushkas again, I won’t increase the size like I did with this one – I think I like them small.

Linky Thursday

This Peeping Peeps tutorial is designed for kids, but I like it for myself because you can see what you’ve stored inside.

Not that I need to tell anyone, but ruffles are so very trendy right now. Here’s yet another ruffle shirt makeover – this one may be my favorite. This tutorial (no ruffles) is pretty cute too.

Cute little softie patterns for a fox and raccoon (I’m sort of partial to the fox, myself), but something tells me that Easton might like this felt Mr. Potato head set better.

I’m a sucker for a kid with a ruffly behind. My neighbors just had a little girl, I may have to sew up one of these ruffle diaper covers very soon.

I adore a cute tote bag. This version is perfect for summer: it’s linen and a pretty fruity print in the perfect size for farmer’s market shopping.

No one will ever believe that your new dress was once a pillowcase.

It’s never too early to start thinking of Halloween… or sew a great dress-up outfit. Make your little girl into Tinkerbell.

A fabric covered journal that can be made for under $10

Win a copy of Kids Crafternoon – it looks like an absolutely adorable book!

I have always been fascinated by patchwork puzzleAmish balls.

An easy way to give new life to a cardigan… yes, it’s ruffles.

An apron that looks complicated, but promises to be made in a little over an hour.

Duct tape flip flops…. they sound uncomfortable.

This Post Is Brought To You By The Letter ‘E’

There’s nothing like cleaning up the sewing room to get me motivated to start up a new project! Instead of starting a ‘large’ project I thought I would tackle something for Spell My Name Swap – so I made “E” for “Environmentally Friendly Gift Bags.” These particular gift bags are made with one fat quarter and are fairly easy to put together…. it’s also a great excuse to use those decorative stitches on your machine! The key? Make sure your fabric is perfectly square (somehow my light blue version was slightly ‘off’) if you want your bag to lay flat when not in use (mine has one area that has a ‘bubble’ – I’m not sure anyone will notice it, but it’s glaring at me!).

What A Weekend!

This may have been the fastest 3 day weekend – ever: We celebrated Bret‘s birthday (not only is he a great husband, but he keeps this site up and running, and never complains when the UPS man brings new fabrics), we traveled to see all of his family, attended a wedding reception, then came back home and celebrated the 4th with lots of food and fireworks. I also brought back a new member of the ‘family’…. a Bernina Bernette Deco 600. This machine was Bret’s grandmothers – she embroidered and created some of the most beautiful quilts that I have ever seen with it. Her health is preventing her from being able to sew any more, so she generously offered me her machine and some of her stashed fabrics, patterns, kits, etc. I’m sure it was a difficult decision for her to make – notions were loving labeled, projects were wrapped together so the pattern wouldn’t be separated from the fabric and notions, and notes were made as to who received what designs and the colors she used in case she had to replace anything. I’m sure I can never thank her enough for thinking of me and sending so many fantastic items home with me, but I’ll try by making her a pursetote that she happened to mention she never got to make, but really wanted to. I may even throw in a bit of embroidery….. I tested out the machine last night and did a simple design on a kitchen towel and dishcloth set (this will work perfectly for my Spell My Name Swap…. “R” is for redwork!)

It’s All In The Fabrics

Recently, Hot Patterns put out a newsletter saying that due to an over-print, the Weekender Cool, Calm & Cowl-Necked Top was down to the super low price of $5 – I jumped at this offer since this pattern was one that has been on my wishlist for awhile. I immediately went out and purchased fabric: a lightweight and drapy cotton jersey and a matching rib. I should have known not to go with the rib I did because it is way too thick and was going to cause problems, but I didn’t listen to my inner voice and forged ahead. While the pattern itself is easy to construct, my material choices caused a large part of my issues with this top. The ribbing is WAY too thick, it not only looks bulky, but it just wanted to ‘lump up’ when attaching it to the fine cotton and pulls down the entire tunic – it just looks awful. And the cotton jersey? It’s lightweight and semi-drapey (it really does have a wonderful feel), but I’m thinking it’s just not enough for this pattern because the cowl just isn’t hanging right. So it’s back to the drawing board with this one – I’d love to make it work, I just need to find ‘just’ the right fabrics.