Monthly Archives: April 2012

Happy Home

I’m torn. I really want to like Happy Home: Twenty Sewing and Craft Projects to Pretty Up Your Home – it’s beautiful to look at, the fabrics are vibrant and are beautifully photographed, but once I looked past all this, I realized, a majority of the projects in this book really aren’t my style. While I love decorations, I can never see myself making giant Pom Pom Party Poofs & Garland, vintage banners, baskets covered in faux flowers, or hanging a canopy over my bed. The rest of the projects may be something I might contemplate making as a gift, but a bulk of them are not so unusual that you couldn’t find a free tutorial somewhere on the internet.

With that said, I think I’m ‘shelving’ this one. I may pull it out in a pinch, but I can’t see myself using this as a ‘go-to’ book for future projects. I’m not giving up on Jennifer Paganelli – I love her patterns (in fact, I’m seriously considering making the Lucy Halter), but I think I’ll hold out on a book just for women (dresses, bags, etc.).

Sick Day

Ahhh, illness. It’s been running through our house like a madman since Easter. It seems as if everyone has been getting a nasty viral infection that as resulted in visits to the doctor for one reason or another and apparently, it’s my turn. Consequently, I’ve got nothing ready for today. I will say that I did manage to make my way to Needle Nook Fabrics earlier in the week for new wick-away material (for those that are interested, she has several colors: hot pink, purple, and several shades of blue) so that I can start on Jalie 2796 with a matching zippered top (incidentally, the colors are very similar to the skort model on the pattern envelope) once my medicine starts kicking in. I’ll be posting more information on this project along with my swimsuit progress and a book review early next week – I’ve got some catching up to do!

Linky Thursday

It’s not just an iPhone case, it’s also a stand.

Have a few extra scraps laying around? Turn them into a mini wallet.

Turn a shirt into a comfy pair of yoga pants.

Looking for a new bag? You might want to try out this linen satchel.

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with sewing, but I know everyone loves Thin Mints. Now you can tide over your cravings once the boxes are all gone: Homemade Thin Mints!

Transform an outdated stretch skirt into a sexy draped dress – it’s so easy!

There is something about tap pants that I just adore. Learn how to make a pair of your own.

Not just a cute swimsuit cover-up tutorial, but nice photos (and a link) on using elastic thread to shirr you own bodice.

Summer is almost here and chances are you’ll be making freezer pops. Keep your little one’s hands warm while they eat one by making one of these super easy freezer pop holders.

My son loved to be swaddled so I always notice where there’s a good wrapped blanket tutorial out there. This one looks nice and is free!

Swimsuit Season

When the temperature rises, I get the urge to sew something summery. Record setting temperatures today have started me planning ahead to days lounging at the pool…. so it only stands to reason that it’s swimsuit sewing time! This year, I’ve decided on McCall 6569, which is a dead-ringer for a popular Juicy Couture design. I also picked a really gorgeous copperyslatebrown material for this look – unfortunately it’s hard to capture the true color with a camera. I started cutting the pattern yesterday and almost put it back into the envelope after seeing all the pieces! While there are a number that I need to cut out for the fabric, I have quite a few left over because this pattern has several looks as well as a variation in bust sizes that I’ll never use.

After talking to Ann at Needle Nook, I decided against buying the polylaminate foam for the bra cups and decided to try some large, preformed ones that she carries in her store instead. After cutting out the pattern pieces, I’m not sure if this is going to work because even though these cups are much larger than most, I’m still not sure that they provide enough material to fill the lining. I’ll keep everyone posted as to how this plays out!

Project Details:

Pattern: McCall’s 6569, View C

Coppery brown swim fabric from Needle Nook Fabrics

Materials & Cost:


My daughter offered up my sewing services to her friend who was in need of some dress alterations for their upcoming musical production. While I don’t mind making a dress from scratch, I really don’t like making alterations to ready-to-wear clothing…. I even dread having to sew buttons back on! Instead of having to make some substantial changes to the bodice, I came up with an easy solution: straps. Not only did this pull up the bodice so it wasn’t sliding down, but it solved her having to find a cardigan to cover up the strapless design (they wanted 1″ or larger straps to all dresses for this number). Fortunately she had a matching sash to the dress that was the perfect width for straps, plus there was plenty left over for a pretty ribbon rosette (you can find instructions for making your own here). Now I’m wondering, what’s Taylor going to have me do for her costume?

Zippered V-Neck

I just can’t work on a project if I’m not ‘feeling it’. As much as I want a fabulous new purse, I just couldn’t get into the mindset of working on a bag this weekend. So instead, I scoured my patterns and decided on a new top: Jalie 2682. Not only did I want to make this perfect for summer, but I wanted it to look and feel sporty – so I decided to use some wicking material that I picked up from Needle Nook last year. I think the ‘details’ of this top are lost in the photo because it’s so dark, but I have to say – I LOVE this shirt. Even though I’ve made this style before, I think this particular one is the most comfortable (probably because of the material) and I think it will look perfect with a pair of athletic shorts. In fact, I love it so much, I’m thinking buying more interspanwicking material and making a two-tone version with a matching skort sometime soon!

Project Details:

Pattern: Jalie 2682, View A

Black Interspan from Needle Nook Fabrics

Materials & Cost:

The Big 4

I’ve seen a lot of kids wearing personalized shirts for their birthday lately. Since Monday is Easton’s, I thought it might be fun to make my own version for him. I used an Applique Collegiate Number from Embroidery Library and 8 Claws and a Paw’s Charm font for the name to create the embellishment for this (purchased) T.

Overall, it turned out o.k. Somehow I misjudged where I wanted the “4” placed and wound up centering it much lower than what I anticipated. I also learned that when working with Embroidery Library appliques you have to cut VERY, VERY close. I thought I had trimmed the excess material down pretty far, but discovered that several spots had excess material hanging over the satin stitching after I was all done. The font, while it looks nice, did give me some trouble – for some reason it caused my machine to register a bobbin error… several times on every letter. I’m guessing it’s got to do with the company that made the design because I’ve never experienced anything like this – I may think twice about using more of their designs in the future.

Linky Thursday

Want to look great on the beach, but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the sewing room? Then you’ll definitely want to check out this 20 minute cover up.

Looking to keep a little one entertained? Stitch up this sleepy fish toy – not only is it colorful, but it’s got lots of scales to play with… plus it rattles!

Win a copy of ModKid Style (with links for more opportunities to win).

If your daughtergranddaughter has an American Girl, then you know how expensive the clothes can be (almost as much as a real girl!). This is a great tutorial for making a doll swimsuit (and while you’re at it, you can make a matching one for your little girl).

Love hats? Then you’ll definitely want to enter to win a copy of Hat Shop.

No one will ever believe that this dress started out as a tank top and a few yards of fabric.

Who said sewing a (women’s) wallet had to be hard or time consuming? This one promises to sew up in 30 minutes!

A super casual dress perfect for summer nights: Drop Waist Blouson Beach Dress

Are you looking for a skirt that will make a statement? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out this Pieced Circle Skirt – wow!

Another good excuse to try pre-ruffled fabric – the Coastal Curtsy Skirt.

They may be t-shirt refashions, but this crop top has some great details and I am in love with the back of this tank is adorable.

Famous Frocks

I’ve had my eye on Famous Frocks: Patterns and Instructions for Recreating Fabulous Iconic Dresses–10 Patterns for 20 Dresses in All! for quite some time, but never wound up buying it because of some mixed reviews it received when it was first released. While out shopping this weekend, I stumbled across this book, thumbed through it and immediately decided to buy it (with a coupon, of course) – how’s that for impulse shopping? I can understand reviewers had some negative things to say about this title, but overall, I have to say, I like the book. The first thing I should point out is that the title is very misleading. In general, you will not be recreating iconic dresses, but rather, you’re creating garments that are inspired by iconic dresses. This has to be very disappointing for someone buying this book (especially sight unseen) who is thinking that they’ll finally have the perfect Breakfast at Tiffany’s style dress by the end of the week. Secondly, there really aren’t 20 different styles in this book, more like 10 with a variation of each design (I found that a majority of them had minor changes so they really didn’t look that much different from the original drawing). Lastly, there is the sizing – it appears to run very small (the largest size is a 37-30.5-40.5) which means that if you’re plus size or very busty you’ll need to make a lot of modifications to make these patterns work.

Even with all the negatives, why do I still like this book? There are some really cute designs in between it’s pages – I’m not one for vintage sewing so these modern takes on an icon dress is right up my alley. And while these dresses aren’t a replica of what the stars are known for, I can definitely see what the frock was inspired by. Still looking for a replica dress book? Another title coming out this summer called Sew Iconic promises to deliver dress designs worn by Marylin Monroe, Grace Kelly, Kate Winslet and more.

Simple Boxy Bowling Bag

I am in need of a fun purse. I went to dinner with a friend recently and I admired her silver handbag – that’s when I decided I needed a purse like that. The other day when I went to the store, I stumbled across the ‘perfect looking’ purse – the problem? It’s designed for clothing. Consequently, it’s very flimsy so I’m intending on interfacing the heck out of it so that it retains it’s shape (I’m thinking a woven and Peltex combination). The HotPatterns Boxy Bowling Bag pattern that I intend on using calls for a lining like ripstop. Since I wanted the inside of the bag to be a lighter color, I just didn’t feel that ripstop would work (it’s very see-through) so I went with a heavier nylon sport. All the details for this project are listed below – I can’t wait to get started!

Project Details:

Pattern: HotPatterns’ Handbag Heaven Plain & Simple Boxy Bowling Bag

Silver Crocodile Pleather from Joann

Sport nylon in white from Joann

Materials & Cost: