Monthly Archives: January 2012

That Was Fast

If I had known that this Vogue top was going to sew up so quickly, I would have gotten up early on Saturday morning (before all the hustle and bustle of the day) so that I could wear it later on that evening. It really was easy to put together and I’ve got to say, looks great on. I do think that it is a bit too large (just a bit too much ease for my taste) in the midsection of the top, right under the bust – but since the fabric is so light and drapey, it works. If I make it again with a beefier material, I think I’ll trim this area down some – I think it would just make me look ‘bulky’ otherwise. I highly recommend this one – even for beginners!

Vogue 8634: Cowl

Back in September, I purchased a very fun and unusual ‘photo-realistic’ cable sweater knit fabric. As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly how I wanted to use it… I wanted to make a cowl-neck top. It wasn’t until last week that I finally decided on a pattern to use: Vogue 8634. I got the final push to make this top after finding a great pair of boots (on sale, no less) so I’ve opted to make the tunic length version and pair it up with black leggings.

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 8634

“Photo-realistic” sweater knit print from Gorgeous Fabrics

Materials & Cost:


You know how you work on a project and it just seems ‘jinxed’ from the get-go? That would be this striped top. While the final outcome looks alright, I had lots of ‘hidden’ issues with this version of the Jalie hoodie top…. all because of those darn stripes. Somehow my fabric got wonky so one sleeve is ‘off’. Something also happened to the back of the top when I cut it and it’s slightly off too which make the hem look slightly lopsided if you look very closely. And then, of course, you have the pocket facing issue. The moral of the story? Don’t use a stripe.

With all that said, I do like this top. It’s fun, comfortable, and different than anything I currently have in my wardrobe… I just might not admit that I made this one considering how many errors I made!

Linky Thursday

Valentine’s day is just around the corner. What a better way to spend the holiday than sewing up one of these Loveable Retro Playsuits.

If you’re looking for a challenging, but gorgeous handbag to sew up this weekend, you definitely need to check out Urban Jungle. It’s hard to believe this is a free tutorial.

Finding a handmade project for men can sometimes be difficult. This wallet not only recycles a leather skirt, but is just for the guys. Of course, while you’re at it, why not whip up something for yourself like this organizer wallet?

This project for recycled paper baskets makes me wish I had a lot of scraps laying around – it’s adorable!

It’s not a party until there’s a cat in a party hat. Seriously, though, this is one cute project.

Sometimes an ‘ordinary’ project can look ‘extraordinary’ when it’s made in just the right fabric. Sew4Home’s cedar sachet is a great example – turning a simple scented pouch into something that would look beautiful hanging in your closet.

If your winter is anything like ours, it’s feeling almost spring-like some days – so it’s never to early to think ahead to those warm summer nights sitting outside. Now’s a great time to start making a few Pipe Sling Chairs for the kids!

Recycle a pair of jeans into a ruffled project bag.

Two skirts in one. Learn how to sew a reversible scalloped hem skirt.


I’m sure everyone who sews does it. They see a particular material and it just calls to them. Alright, I admit, I do that a lot, but over the years I’ve realized that there are a few fabrics that I’m really attracted to: anything with faces, writing, or newsprint…. and this one from TheFabricFariy had all three. How could I resist? (I also got the Tokidoki Stylish Girls print too… again, faces) But this entry really isn’t about my fabric purchase, so much as it is asking for some pattern brainstorming ideas. You see, I’m stuck. This print reminds me so much of the fabric I got a long time ago (2006) and used to make a Jalie Crossover top (which is probably one of my all time favorite shirts, unfortunately it doesn’t fit anymore) that this is the only pattern I can envision using.

So, does anyone have any favorite patterns or seen anything that would work to create a funky, fresh top?

Chalkboard Bag

Apparently, working on something less stressful means making my own pattern? Several weeks ago, I stumbled across this Trendy Chalkboard Tote tutorial and have been thinking about it ever since. Instead of using the instructions, I used her finished bag as an inspiration for my own design.

The fabrics for this tote are a heavyweight, home decor fabric (it’s almost canvas-like), chalkboard material, and a cotton print from my stash (it was originally a skirt panel that had a beautiful print, but seeing that it’s been sitting in my stash for years, I decided to sacrifice it for this project)… I skipped the interfacing since the exterior fabric was so heavy and I just didn’t want to wrestle around with something stiff. After deciding on a finished size (14″x20″), I pieced together the front panel (since chalkboard fabric doesn’t fray, you could easily skip this part and just applique it) and added wide, 4″ sides. Before attaching the back of the bag, I added one more ‘fun’ element – a back pocket to hold chalk and a pen.

So, who’s the lucky recipient of this bag? Easton’s pre-school teacher this Valentine’s Day! I am always seeing her carrying several totes into her classroom in the morning and I figure teachers get enough candytreats around the holidays so why not make her something useful? Hmmm, now what can I stitch up for “Teacher Appreciation Week”?

Stripe Frustration

I spent a lot of time pattern matching my latest Jalie hoodie: making sure the front and back worked together, assuring the sleeves were the same, and the pocket lined up. Apparently, I didn’t think that much about how I cut the pocket facing because after I sewed it on, I realized I had this (photo on left). I debated ripping the whole thing out and starting over, but the fabric is thin and I was afraid what I might do to it and decided to leave it…. I figure I can just stick my hand on one side of the pocket all the time.

Honestly, though, this caused just enough frustration that I’ve decided to put it away for a little bit, I really don’t want to have to tackle the rest of stripe matching at the moment and would rather do something less stressful.


Alright, before I put up a post saying, “I’m hoping that I’m not sewing this one up late” (the night before it needs to be worn), I’m going to read the directions first. McCalls really wasn’t kidding when they called this pattern “2 Hours” – it really is… from start to finish. In fact, there’s very little sewing involved (so long as you use a faux suede). While this is fine for a dress up outfit or a 2.5 hour “Cowboy Day” at school, I don’t think I would recommend this pattern as a Halloween costume. Because the edges aren’t finished, they are eventually going to start to fray (even with a faux suede) and may not survive as a costume that has to be taken to school, trick-or-treating, a party, andor weekend holiday activity…. in fact, I can see it looking very ratty at the end of the night. So here’s a breakdown of the proscons of working with this particular pattern:

Pros: It’s a very low-sew type of project… there’s even a section included that tells you how to create the chaps without a sewing machine so this costume is perfect for a beginner. It’s also very fast to create – it really does take 2 hours from start to finish!

Cons: The edges of this project are raw (so long as you use a faux suede) so expect some fraying from even the faux suede material. This also means that you’ll need to carefully cut your material to make them look smooth (I highly recommend using a rotary cutter for the ties andor fringe). You’ll also need to measure your child before creating the chaps so that you can get ‘the perfect fit’. I found that they ran very long and had to take the pattern up several inches to make them fit correctly (this may also mean that you need to adjust or eliminate a set of ties to make them ‘look right’).

Linky Thursday

Who says monsters have to be scary? This monster pillow is definitely on the adorable side!

Ever wondered what you could do with large covered buttons besides make a button? Why not try stitching up a cute, tiny coin purse!

This is probably one of cleanest looking designs (perfect for guys) for an iPad Sleeve I’ve seen. Plus it comes with a removable strap so it’s easy to carry around.

Machine coverscozies don’t’ just look great, but keep dust off your valuable equipment. This one does both, perfectly.

Is anyone else’s lips getting chapped this winter? Keep your lip balm on hand with this handy Chapstick Cozy Keychain.

Every year, right around Valentine’s Day, I tell myself, I’m going to make one of these Hot Lips Pillows. This may be the year.

Who doesn’t love a penguin?

After sewing up a lot of leather this holiday season, I have to say, I’m hooked! Here’s an easy project to get you started sewing with real hides: DIY Yellow Clutch.

I’m not sure that I envision this ottoman in a living room, but could definitely see it working for a little girl (and I love the storage pockets).

These little chicks are simply adorable (and would be perfect for Easter), but something tells me my 3 year old would just use it like a ball.

If you have a special occasion coming up, you’ll want to dress your little one up for the occasion. Stitch up a clip on or bow tie version.

I Want To Be A Cowboy

Next week, Easton’s school is having a “Cowboy Day”. All the kids have the opportunity to dress up like a cowboycowgirl – this, of course, gives me the perfect chance to make something for ‘dress up’! We settled on a black cowboy hat, McCall 2851, and a couple of faux suede fabrics for a vest and chaps. Yes folks, I said chaps.

Needless to say, I’m putting my striped hoodie aside to work on this – I’m hoping that I’m not sewing this one up late (next) Monday night just to get it finished! Here’s all the details for this project:

Project Details:

Pattern: McCall 3132

Faux cow skin suede from Hobby Lobby

Faux brown suede from Hobby Lobby

Materials & Cost: