Monthly Archives: October 2013

Linky Thursday

Now that Halloween is here, the countdown to holiday sewing is here! Need a quick gift set? Why not recycle a t-shirt into a wine tote, then whip up some wine glass slippers to go along with it?

If you’re looking for a new bag, look no further than the Kennedy.

Another great gift giving idea: A manicure kit! Guys and gals will both appreciate it!

Apparently this week, I’m attracted to feathers and fluff because I think this scrappy boa and Hunger Games inspired top are pretty awesome.

Traveling in your future? Don’t let your necklaces get all tangled up, store them in a travel jewelry case instead.

Stuck not knowing what to do with those laminated cottons? Whip up some clean mats to help keep your kids germ free while eating! What a great idea!

Another pretty pieced pincushion to stash your pins.

Revamp a room with a fun lamp skirt!

A great way to recon a tee into a trendy new top – add a zipper at the neckline!

Instead of a cumbersome bike basket, modify a makeup bag and strap on a zippered pouch instead. I like it!

Chicken sweaters. Sweaters for chickens. Thoughts?

The Laurie Completed

10-laurie1I’m going to start off this post by saying I had high hopes for my Laurie tee – I even went as far as buying A4 paper to make sure that I accurately printed the pattern pieces and managed to find the ‘perfect’ material (IMHO) to sew it up. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

My biggest issue is the fit: While I knew to expect a looser style top, I had no idea it would be so HUGE…. even the shoulder area is too big and that’s saying a lot because I have fairly broad shoulders. Just see for yourself the amount of ease that this top has:


I will say that if you stand just right so that the material falls close to your body and don’t move, the tee looks fine. However, the moment you start moving around (and Heaven forbid, raise your arm), the shirt explodes in size and you suddenly look like a Victoria Secret striped gift box. I will admit, the photo on the left was not finished when I took the photo – I was so disappointed in how it looked that I contemplated not hemming it at all. However, after mulling it over for awhile, I decided I would attempt to taper in the sides some (I took in the seam an additional 1″ on each side, shaving off 4″ around the entire midsection) which didn’t seem to make a lick of difference in the end – it’s still enormous everywhere and doesn’t tackle the gigantic upper bodyshoulder area, but I finished it anyway. I may attempt to wear this one time, but I can’t see myself falling in love with it.

Candy Corn Toss

10-corn Now that Easton is in Kindergarten, I’m reprising my role as room mom. The first party of the year is Thursday and I’ve come up with several games (the ever popular ‘mummy wrap’, witch hat ring toss) including a bean bag toss… with (faux) candy corn. I made these little guys yesterday and they are frightfully (pun intended) simple to sew: Just cut 2 1/2″ wide strips of (yellow, orange, and white) felt lengthwise, sew together in strips, cut in a rounded triangular shape and stitch! I found that I could get 4 bean bags out of 3 sheets of felt if I stuck to this size… and best of all it only cost me $1 to make!

Laurie Beginnings

10-laurie1After finally getting the printing issues settled with my Laurie t-shirt and tracing off the pattern (yes, you still have to trace off the pattern after you tape the the PDF together, but it’s nothing like Burda and it really saves on paper and tape), I set to work on my new top. What I love most about this top is that the front is all one piece. When I originally looked at the design, I had assumed that you would be sewing bands of material to the front, but instead you’re folding the material to make neat little bands. I wish my sewing was a neat as the bands…. I really struggled with my machinematerial on this one. You see, I had originally opted to use the ‘triple stretch stitch’ to stitch the bands in place – while my test fabric looked beautiful, when I actually moved to the ‘real top’, my machine made a bird’s nest, chewed up the material, and made a very small hole (isn’t that the way it always worked). Consequently, I decided the best option was to just use a small zig-zag for the bands which doesn’t look nearly as pretty, IMHO (my machine also didn’t like this very much either and had several places that decided to turn itself underpucker oddly that I had to go back and fix. I am also very certain that this top will eventually make tiny holes where I had to go back and fix it). Overall, I think it looks fine in the photos (and probably to people who don’t sew), but I don’t think this is the best example of my sewing.

While I love the fabric, I have determined that my machine does not – so sewing is going way slower than what I anticipated. Right now the front is the only thing I’ve worked on… hopefully before the week is out, I’ll have a completed top! For now, here’s the breakdown of this project:

Project Details:

Pattern: Named‘s Laurie Striped T-Shirt

Fabric: Featherweight Italian Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics

Total Cost:


BurdaStyle US

You may have already seen comments floating around the web that BurdaStyle has finally produced a magazine just for the US. I thought that this was very timely – I’ve subscribed to the translated version for years and have considered not renewing. Why? Mostly because I find that I haven’t been using the patterns as much as what I should (and when you spend that much money, you should make what you buy, right?) – there are a lot of times the designs just don’t appeal to me andor the techniques and finishing just aren’t right (I keep thinking of their beach cover up). But, enough about the translated version, how about the new one?

Pros: It’s slick: It has a nice layout, great fashion style photography, and some nice articles thrown in there as well. The instructions have improved so that they are easier to read and references to those hard-to-find European notions have been removed. The patterns are modern and trendy, but they are nothing we haven’t seen before (see below on cons).

Cons: If you’ve subscribed to the translated version of BurdaStyle for awhile, save your money. This issue has no new content and is a rehash of older issues which I found very disappointing. From what I have read, there will be no new US patterns for quite some time so you may want to wait to purchase a subscription initially (this version will be quarterly). However, if you’re new to the magazine (or let your subscription lapse for awhile), I think you’ll enjoy the designs featured in this issue. One thing missing from this magazine that is ‘standard’ for the translated versions is a ‘at a glance’ page (with all the line drawings in one place, generally right before the instructions) – not an huge deal, but if you rely on it to easily see what you might want to make, you’ll be disappointed that it’s not there.

Just as in the translated versions, you’ll still have to trace off the ‘road map’ of pattern pieces for each design. When they release the digital version of the magazine, it will be in the same style, however, you’ll also have to tape the pages together (ugh). All in all, it’s a good effort and a great magazine to have it you don’t currently subscribe, but otherwise I’d suggest holding off unless you have a particular pattern that you wanted to sew up, but found the directions in the translated version too daunting.

Linky Thursday

If you loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries as a child, you’ll be happy to know she’s made it to fabric now! Enter to win a charm pack and book kit.

One of the easiest ways to dress up a table with with pretty napkins. Learn how to make your own with pretty fat quarters. Then add a bit of Halloween whimsy with personalized napkin rings.

As the days get cooler, chances are you’ll put a pair of leggings on your little girl. Change up the look by adding a skirt with it!

Is your little guy still struggling to figure out what to be for Halloween? Is his costume idea breaking your budget? This Frankenstein hat isn’t just awesome, it won’t break the bank either!

Chances are the cooler weather means it will soon be time to crack out the jeans over the weekend. If you’re like me, everything is too long. Don’t forget you can hem your denim without losing the original hem!

This year I’ll be reprising my roll as room mom which means I’ve got to get my thinking cap on for games. If yours include a game or two like mine, here’s a few ideas and a tutorial how to stitch up cute bean bags.

It’s not sewing related, but I couldn’t resist. Chances are you’ve cleaned out drawers, toy chests, etc. only to find lone, tiny toys. Put them to good use with this fun Deco Picture Frame!

A new way to upcycle jeans? Just kidding! But it was too ‘interesting’shockinghorrifying not to share.

Scrappy baskets are a great way to use up small bits of fabric leftover from projects AND spruce up your house at the same time (plus they make great gifts)!

Looking for a comfy cardigan you can make in a flash? This one fits the bill!

Not a very detailed tutorial on how to make this cute top, but there’s also not very much to sewing it up either (just think rectangles).

PDF Woes

10-paper I finally broke down and purchased the Named’s Laurie pattern… I also decided that it was time to invest in A4 paper. While A4 paper is an international standard (it’s slightly wider than legal and shorter), it’s hard to come by here in the United States – all paper stores carry it, but you’ll have to order and have it delivered (I found that Sam’s Club is the least expensive right now as well). With the proper paper in hand, I set to work and discovered something very important – your PDF viewer is just as important.

Since my computer is shot, I’ve been working on Bret’s new laptop. Surprisingly, Adobe (your standard PDF viewer) isn’t installed, but is running Nuance PDF Converter instead. I thought everything was working fine until I noticed one page wasn’t looking quite right. You can see the difference (the photo on the right): Not only did Nuance print the pattern in double (and off center from each other), the watermark is also missing. The rest of the pages appear to have printed normally, but I wound up reprinting in Adobe and throwing the Nuance versions away. By the way, some people have found that the latest upgrade to Adobe causes a few problems in printing. If you find this is the case, check out this post.

The moral of the story? Stick with Abode. And if you decide to use PDF patterns that require A4 paper, go ahead and invest in a ream – it makes printing (with the right viewer) a breeze!

Marbled Ornaments

20131022_073252 If you’re a long time reader of the site, you know that I have a slight problem with craft swaps. While I haven’t participated in as many the past year (in part because of time constraints, but there also seems to be a smaller number of ‘quick’, themed swaps), I couldn’t resist one of my favorites…. The Christmas Stocking Swap. After browsing my partner’s ‘wishlist’ and preferences, I made a list of what I’ll be making and set to work. My first project? Marbled ornaments. These are wonderfully easy to make, but take a while to dry (I like to rotate mine around a lot so they are really ‘swirly’) and best of all, look really impressive on a tree. I like to package them up in 3’s because they fit nicely inside a (decorated) Pringles canister. Hmmmm, guess I had better work on eating a can of chips next!


10-spiderdone Have you ever had a project so messy that you have to vacuum immediately after you’re finished? This spider costume was one of them…. but at least it’s done! I had a lot of fun making this little guy – despite my issues with the cuddle fleece. I wound up omitting the contrast insert on the stomach of the costume. I had originally added it, but it looked terrible (it was also cuddle fleece) – the applique stitch matted the ‘fuzz’ in weird directions and it still continued to shed. I had tried ripping the stitches out, but wound up making a hole in it instead (see last week’s post on never making a mistake on cuddle fleece) and had to re-cut the front body section. Otherwise, this pattern went together without a hitch and Easton is super pleased with the end result.

I am now contemplating stringing some fishing wire though the ends of the arm and attaching them to Easton’s Under Armor so when he moves his arms the rest of the arms move too. I wonder what size needle I’d need for that?


10-head I spent some time with the spider costume yesterday… I started with the headpiece since I was still pondering how to tackle the ‘eyes’ and I figured that this was the more difficult part of the costume as well. Besides the fact that I punished myself with one of the messiest fabrics ever (ultra cuddle ‘fleece’), I forgot that it’s a temperamental one as well – Note to self: Never make a mistake sewing with this material, you will never be able to find your stitches and will wind up ‘ripping’ the material instead. Thankfully, it was just the inside of the headpiece (I forgot to leave an opening for stuffing) and after I whipstitched it closed, you couldn’t tell the difference (the plus side on working with ultra cuddle is that it hides mistakes beautifully)! If it wasn’t for the fabric, this headpiece came together nicely and I love the shape of the head, it’s definitely bug-like!

I also figured out a solution to the eyes… bouncy balls! I found small little balls with eyes already printed on them in the Halloween toy section of Target.


I’m using E6000 glue to adhere them together in rows (they are drying in the photo) then plan on stacking a few more on top to give them a creepy spider look. Paired up with a set of fangs to wear, I think Easton should make a scarier spider (we’re attempting to stay away from the cutsie look on the package).