Monthly Archives: August 2011

Linky Thursday

This fabric clutch is so fabulous, no one would ever guess you didn’t buy it from a boutique! I’m also partial to this Union Jack one as well.

Speaking of purses, need to keep yours organized? This tutorial will teach you how to make one that’s almost too pretty to hide inside your bag!

It’s almost fall which means temperatures will start cooling off and we’ll start heating up our ovens! Keep from burning yourself after you make yourself your own potholder(s).

Printable fabric sheets are expensive. Cut down on costs and make your own. This, however, is my preferred method.

Pajama Eaters. What a fun way to store your pajamas – I must make one (or two)

Transform a T-shirt into a draped cardigan.

If you feel like “there’s no place like home,” then prove it by making yourself a pair of your own ruby slippers (earrings). I LOVE these!

Make counting fun by whipping up a set of these numbered bean bags.

Spruce up a room with a DIY felt zebra rug.

Draft a pattern to make a wrap dress – I like how the edges of this dress are rounded and feminine.

If you’re planning on saving money this year by creating your own gifts, why not try making some personalized, embossed candles and photo image transferred votives.

Create a pair of easy-to-sew lounge pants.

Turn a tablecloth into an easy to care for floor cloth!

An adorable ruffled, cinched, drawstring bag – every little girl that sees this will want one.


I finally had the opportunity to finish my Scientific Seamstress bowling shirt. Even though I wound up not following all the instructions, it was probably one of the easiest button down shirts I’ve ever put together (and definitely would have been even easier if I would have done everything outlined in her directions). Unfortunately, Easton likes the idea of wearing this shirt, but won’t keep this shirt on for more than 30 seconds (which it why you see a picture of it on the hanger and not my model) so I think I’ll have to chalk this one up as a wasted effort (although he did say that if we go bowling he will wear it) – what a shame because I think it turned out pretty cute.

Now this leaves me with one question – where’s the adult version of this top? I’d love to make a fun, retro style bowling shirt for myself!

Custom Couture + Giveaway

One thing I noticed about this season’s ready-to-wear garments is that everything is embellished. Simple shirts are dressed up with trims, dresses have large fabric flowers, and almost everything has a ruffle… or two! I was recently sent a copy of Custom Couture: 32 Easy Ways to Transform Your Wardrobe with Needle and Thread and think it’s on par with what’s trendy in today’s clothes.

The book itself is divided into 4 style sections: Boho, Jet Set, Retro and Diva. Each section has 8 different looks giving you a grand total of 32 different projects you can make. All the projects are designed for embellishing clothing already in your wardrobe (however it’s not to say that you can’t use these same techniques in your finished sewing projects) with a majority requiring hand sewing – although there are a few that you can stitch with a sewing machine. While not every design is something that I would wear myself, the different projects do get my creative juices flowing as to how I might incorporate some of these techniques to my clothing, just in a different way. With that said, there are a few things that I have to try out: “in the red” boundtrimmedembellished coat (I never thought to do this), the “Hong Kong girl” – transforming a sleeveless dress into a 3/4 top (with a bit of sparkle added, too), the “Montmarte tank” where additional, contrasting straps are added, and “Bead Bazarr” which repurposes a pullover top into a tank that is piped and hand beaded. But the real fan of this book? My 14 year old! She’s recently embraced the DIY movement and loves to alter ready-to-wear garments into something new and different.

Overall, Custom Couture: 32 Easy Ways to Transform Your Wardrobe with Needle and Thread is a great starting point to give your clothing new life. While the book is more on the youthful side, there are lots of fun ideas that can be incorporated into projects no matter what your age.

Now it’s time for a…. giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of Simplicity’s Fabric Guide (you can read the review here). Just leave a comment in this post by midnight, Saturday August 20th and I’ll randomly pick a winner on Sunday. Good luck!

Hello, Branson

For the first time in a very long time, I can honestly say I didn’t do anything sewing related over the weekend – I just didn’t have time. Why? Well we packed up the car, loaded up the kids, and took them on a long weekend to Branson.

This was sort of our last ‘hurrah’ before school starts tomorrow (for Taylor) and also gave Easton the chance to ride the roller coasters he’s been begging to do all summer long. Not only did we do two days of Silver Dollar City, we also rode the ducks, visited a dinosaur museum (if you intend on visiting you can skip this, we weren’t that impressed), and did some sightseeing. I can honestly say, I’m exhausted…. but I’m still energetic enough to make it into the sewing room tonight!


The one thing about people knowing you can sew is that sometimes they spring projects on you. My neighbor is a school nurse and really wanted a coordinated look to her room this year, so she asked me if I could whip up a couple of pillow cases and a coverdrape for storage. Their family has been so helpful in the past, I happily obliged. What shocked me the most is how fast everything came together – I’m fairly certain it was under an hour. This is a good reminder that making pillowcases would be a fun, quick gift (I’m thinking slumber party, party favor or make a pair of matching sleep pants for a birthday present) – no pattern is even needed!

Linky Thursday

Since so many kids are already headed back to school, I thought it would be appropriate to have a Back to School Linky Thursday edition. So without further ado:

Little one starting schoolpreschool? This toddler backpack is a perfect size for tiny tikes!

“Dress up” plain paper lunch bags with these fabulous vintage printables (and don’t forget the lunchbox jokes!).

Need a desk bag to put on the back of your school chair? This tutorial will show you how to make a fabulous one that will make even the teacher jealous!

Nothing shows school spirit like a pennant. Learn how to sew up one in time for back to school.

Around here, most girls seem to prefer totes to backpacks when headed back to school. Transform a few too small tanks into some adorable new bags!

Wondering what to wear on the first day back to school? How about a super stylish Boho Maxi? Of course if you’re looking for something dressier, how about some Everywear Tails?

Sometimes it’s the little details, like matching barrettes, that really pull together a cute outfit. Learn how to make your own fabric snap clips so that your little girl will always be coordinated.

Eventually the weather will turn cold. Look adorable at the bus stop with a pretty ruffle flower scarf.

It doesn’t matter if you make these notebook covers for taking notes or just to spruce up your organizer, either way, it’s going to look fantastic!

Need a bag for gym? This tutorial makes a perfect sized duffel bag.

Moral of the Story

When you first start sewing, you get a lot of advice. To this day, I still follow 90% of it, but one thing I often skip? Reading the directions before I start sewing. Yesterday I was reminded why I need to read them….. Apparently this bowling shirt is constructed like no other shirt I have ever made and is completely lined. This might not have been a huge issue if I would have read this before, but after cutting, I just didn’t have enough material to line the shirt (and after thinking about it, decided the shirt would be ‘too heavy’ if it was lined anyway) so I had to re-think the whole construction process.

After deciding how I should tackle sewing, I wound up with the shirt you see on the left. It still needs hems, button holesbuttons, and a shirt logo for the back, but the hardest parts are really finished at this point. Even though I didn’t really follow the instructions, after all, the pieces came together beautifully and easily. I think this would have been a great beginner button-down shirt design if you follow everything as outlined!

So what’s the moral of the story? Even though you may think you know what you’re doing, you may be surprised in the end. Always read your direction first – even before cutting you material!

Let’s Bowl

Whoops! With all the excitement going on here, I almost forgot to put up today’s post! Between my closest friend in the delivery room as we speak and Taylor off to freshman orientation (I can’t believe she’s almost ready for high school), lots of things have slipped my mind today! What else is making news? My new project! I finally decided on…..

The Scientific Seamstress Bowling Shirt! Actually, Easton decided that this would be the perfect project to work on so I started cutting the material last night. I had picked up this fun bowling print quite awhile ago from and (we) had decided to use a nice white Kona cotton to offset all the black. I’m hoping to find a good bowling themed image to put on the back of the shirt once it’s finished. I’ll put up all the patternfabric detail this evening – once I’m more organized and my thoughts are better collected! Pattern information is up!

Project Details:

Pattern: Scienfitic Seamstress‘ Bowling Shirt

Bowling themed cotton from

White cotton from Joann’s

Materials & Cost:

To Do

I haven’t touching my sewing machine in days. It’s not that I haven’t done anything sewing related: I’ve read some books (stay tuned for a new review and a giveaway), pattern shopped (Hancock Fabrics had the NEW fall Simplicity out and on sale), updated my Amazon (sewing book) wishlist (and even pre-ordered two), and even organized and purged my fabric stash (yes, purged…. all the ‘craft’ fabrics and a few others that I can’t see myself using anymore). My biggest issue? What do I make next? Here’s my current running list:

StyleArc’s Jessica Dress. I loved this dress’ styling and thought it might be a good introduction to this pattern line. I have several different ideas for fabrics (a solid blue jersey or a patterned top with a solid bottom), but no place to really wear it when I’m done.

More SisBoom Tommy Boxers. We (my mom, Taylor and I) loved these shorts so much, we practically live in them! I have plans for 3 more pairs of these lounging shorts (the fabric is all ready to go) and would like to make them before it gets cold…. although at the rate we’re going that will be never. It seems as if we’ll be in the 100s forever!

The Scientific Seamstress Bowling Shirt (for Easton). This one has been on my ‘to-do’ list since the beginning of the year and I had planned on making it in time for his birthday. Then the whole “Charlie Sheen” happened and I wasn’t as hot on making it (LOL) – actually, Easton just isn’t a huge fan of button-down shirts, but I think he’d make an exception for bowling. The fabric is wash, just waiting to be cut.

Hot Pattern’s Riviera Cote D’ Azur Knit Dress, Tunic & Top. I picked up this pattern with my last order and am excited to give it a try. I’m torn between making this a top or tunic, but either way plan on using something from my stash.

Lastly, I’m thinking ahead…. to Halloween! I finally decided what I want to be this year. Wonder Woman! While I was at Hancock Fabrics this weekend, I noticed they had the new fall catalog in the store and found a great base for the costume (unfortunately, it’s not up on the site yet). Since I just picked up this pattern I don’t have any fabrics yet, but I’ve already been looking for the perfect bluewhite star lycra!

Whole Lotta’ Patterns!

It’s probably a lesser known fact that I once ran (a long, long time ago) a website devoted to online contests. So it’s not too surprising that I enter a lot of contests – especially if they’re sewing related… and every once in awhile, I win one! Most recently, I won a $50 gift certificate to Pins & Needles Pattern Shop and I blew it all in one shopping trip (I was also amazed at how much you can get for $50). The best part? They’re all downloadable so I had them in my hands as soon as I clicked enter! What did I go for? First up, a women’s yogacaprilegging pattern – because I live in these things!

A baby puzzle ball. I’ve always been fascinated with those Amish Puzzle balls, so it only stands to reason that this pattern would catch my eye. My favorite part about this is that it’s designed as a baby toy. I thought it might be fun to make and a really interesting gift. Now when’s my next baby shower?

I also filled the bag junkie in me buy picking up several fun patterns:

(from left to right: The Buttermint Wallet, a cameralunchtravel bag, and Swirl Clutch Wallet)
I really had a hard time narrowing down which clutchwallets I liked because there really were several to chose from. I picked the ones that I did because of their shape, zippers, an lots of card pockets. The cameralunch bag? Well, I just couldn’t resist it’s shape. But hold the phone, I didn’t stop there! I also picked up the Go Mama! Diaper Bag. I may not be using diaper bags anymore, but I really liked the shape of this one – I thought it might be like a dressed up tote (not to mention another nice gift). I also thought this might be a great way to show off a large or novelty print…. hmmmm, maybe I’ll need to go fabric shopping!

Lastly, some cloth pads. I honestly can’t imagine using these myself, but I know they are a ‘hot’ item right now. I see lots of requests for them on swaps, a few tutorials, and even handmade, finished pads in specialty boutiques so I thought I would give this pattern a try… I think it’s really just one of those things I just have to say I’ve made. Maybe I’ll even get a future swap partner who will want some!

Whew! Now there’s enough patterns that should keep me busy for awhile!