Monthly Archives: November 2013


11-stripe About 3 months ago, I “Pinned” this top and was determined to re-create it. Now that I have all my fabrics together, I’m ready to settle on a pattern. Initially, I thought that I would use Jalie’s Raglan tee. However, after making this design several times, I think that the neckline is much larger that what I want this finished garment to be (even after increasing the width of the neckband, the neckline is still too big, IMHO). I also contemplated on Burda 6990 and Vogue 8670. I finally decided on the latter after seeing Erica’s version several weeks ago. Before cutting into my ‘good’ fabric, I decided to do a ‘test run’ of this pattern. I used View B (with long sleeves) and a stripe that I had picked up from Girl Charlee several months ago.

I really anticipated that this particular top would really be a muslin – I just didn’t expect that I would like it so much, but I really love my finished shirt. With that said, I’m not in love with this pattern and have several ‘issues’ that I need to work out before I make my knock-off leather ‘sweatshirt’. First off, this is not a sweatshirt pattern, it really is a fitted top. While it looks great in the stripe fabric, I need a bit more ease to give it the styling I’m after. I also suspect that the materials I’ll be using will not have the same level of stretch and recovery that this fabric does – consequently, I’ve decided to use the same sizing, but reduce the seam allowances to 1/4″. Secondly, the top is too long – it’s almost tunic length, but it doesn’t look like a tunic at all. I wound up shaving off several inches on my stripe top (it still has some length to it, but it’s a more ‘modern’ sizing) so I know I’ll have to do the same with my pleather and French terry. It also lacks the banding at the bottom hem that I like so I’ll have to work with that later on to re-create that look. The sleeves are two pieces and I hate it. I haven’t decided if I’ll redraft the sleeve to make it all one piece or work with it and just do some decorative top stitching in the end to make it trendier looking. Lastly, the neckband is too small. I’m not sure if this is an issue of my sewing (there are lots of pieces to this top and I serged them together – I have a tendency to make my seam allowances smaller than the 5/8″ that some patterns use when I serge them together), the fabric, or the pattern. Irregardless, I’m going to redraft this area before I work on my top. Whew! It looks like I have my weekend cut out for me!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that this pattern also has bust darts. I wound up ‘taking them out’ of the pattern because I can’t imagine a dart working withlooking good with the stretch pleather I’ve selected for the front panel (the darts are also eliminated on the stripe top as well, I wanted to know how the finished top would ‘behave’ if I made this alteration). With all the dislikesissues I have with Vogue 8670, I should probably just go for a different pattern, but at this point, I feel that if I dilly-dally too much, this top will never be completed!

Linky Thursday

This holiday season skip the paper gift bags and sew your own in all shapes and sizes with this free pattern! Giving a gift card this year instead? There’s a tutorial for creating a fabric envelope, too!

It may be getting a little too chilly for summery clothing right now, but these skater shorts are still awesome enough to at least wear around the house.

If you’re lucky enough that you don’t have to cook this Thanksgiving, bring your hostess a bottle of wine and make a pretty little wine bag to slip it into.

Keep your hair neat and tidy and a little bit whimsical with this ‘bunny ear’ headband (and no wires with this one either!).

Do your jeans make you uncomfortable in the waist? Learn how to whip up a new waistband for them.

Don’t leave home without it! This handy Doorknob Caddy can hold all your essentials so you don’t walk out the door without them. Of course, I’m partial to the this tutorial I wrote awhile ago.

If you’re looking for gifts to make this season, be sure to check out this stripe tote tutorial. It would definitely be well received.

Need a new brooch that will stand out of the crowd? Try this one for a fabric toadstool (works for gnome lovers, Mario gamers, and those who just love cute little trinkets).

My favorite t-shirt refashion artist WobiSobi has teamed up with ILoveToCreate to come up with a trendy, off the shoulder sweatshirt look.

Every guy needs a tool belt. Even the little ones.

Who said office chairs had to be boring (I believe I am using this exact model to sew in)? Recover it and give it new life!

I never knew washcloths could be so snuggly.

Bath Fizz Disaster

Remember about a month ago when Martha Stewart made the comment that “bloggers were not experts”? I’ve got news for Martha, neither are you. Yesterday I decided to make bath fizzies for my Christmas stocking swap partner and wound up with this:


I went against my better judgement and tried a different ‘formula’ this time for my bath bombs (I have used this one in the past with great results) and realized I should have just stayed with my tried and true recipe. To salvage this pile, I decided to add dead sea salts (Martha’s recipe omits adding any salts to her and instead uses sugar, why sugar?), olive oil (to make sure that it stays moist), and packaged it up in a pretty jar and called it Sugar Cookie Bath Fizz (the essential oil is sugar cookie). It’s not exactly what I had it mind, but it still fizzes nicely and smells wonderful. Boo Martha.

The Metro Hipster

11-metro Have you visited Betz White’s blog this morning? If not, you need to hop on over and check out her latest pattern, The Metro Hipster! I had a wonderful opportunity to test this pattern out and LOVED it (I wasn’t the only one either, my teen-aged daughter liked the finished bag so much she snagged it from me)! This purse features a spacious front pocket, a padded interior pocket (large enough to put a readertablet inside), recessed zipper, opportunities to use great hardware and contrast fabrics that’s all wrapped up in a trendy shape.

For my version I used a mid-weight cotton for the exterior, a faux leather for the accents (the pattern calls for a waxed canvas, but I didn’t have this material available in my area), and a fun Japanese mini Matryoshka doll print for the interior. I easily found all the hardware in my local brick-and-mortar stores (I found that my larger Joann’s had the best selection) as well as a rainbow assortment of webbing for the strap. Putting this pattern together was a lot of fun – I love trying out new techniques and the recessed zipper was a first for me. I will admit that I had to re-read the directions several times to make sure that I was doing it correctly (I tend to do to this a lot when I learn something new – I like to make sure I got it the first time and don’t have to rip out stitches, LOL), but the illustrations guaranteed me that I was (by the way, I found that the illustrations were very helpful and clear, especially in this section!) and I was thrilled with the end results! I think this is one of the features that really sets this bag apart from others and definitely makes it look ‘ready-to-wear’. As far as construction time: from start to finish I made this in a weekend, but now that I have one under my belt, I’m thinking I could whip this up in a (long) afternoon…. which is a good thing because now I have to make myself one since my daughter took mine away!

Bench Seating

11-bench One of the things I love about my house is it’s spacious, covered front porch. Unfortunately, we we first moved in it wasn’t just winter, but I was very pregnant with our youngest so my motivation to tackle outdoor decorating was low. While I love decorating the inside of the house, landscaping, etc. I realized that I have long neglected my lovely front porch… that is until a few days ago. The transformation is fairly minor, but it’s a start:

11-porch While a lot of the decor is purchased (wreath on the door, table, ‘birdcage candle holder’), I did get to do a bit of sewing by creating a seat cushion that ties down to the bench to prevent shifting and two coordinating pillows that make the whole porch look cozier. I have to admit, I just ‘winged’ the bench seat. Initially I had planned on using a thicker foam so that I could do a contrast band around the edges, but I discovered that the thicker variety isn’t just tough to find, but it’s darn expensive too! Instead, I compromised and bought 1″ diameter foam and did a simple ‘wrap’ with the fabric (much like how you would gift wrap a present, but sewing everything down instead of using tape!) so that the seam is on the underside of the seating. The pillows are 18″ squares and are stuffed with fiberfill instead of pillow inserts.

Overall I’m pleased with the transformation, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement – although I can’t foresee me sewing anything else for it right now. Anyone else sew for their front porch?

Velvet Embroidery

11-naughtyThis week I spent some time with my embroidery machine, beautiful velvet, and a few holiday designs. I discovered that I am not only ready to get started decorating for Christmas, but that one of my new favorite materials to embroider on is velvet – it just looks so lush when you’re finished. I’ve now decided that the next thing I need to stitch on is leather – although the design I selected (for my brother-in-law) is fairly dense so I’m not quite sure how that will stitch out… plus I’m not sure what exactly I want to do with the material once I am done stitching it (pillow? stocking? something else?). Either way, I’m crackin’ out a glass of egg nog and setting to work!

What are you all working on for holiday gift giving? I’d love to get more ideas for handmade this season!

Linky Thursday

Don’t feel bad if you missed yesterday’s deep, deep discounts at yesterday (see yesterday’s post about the $5 dress form) – it appears that orders are being cancelled.

Help keep the artist in your life more organized with this handy paintbrush roll-up.

I am a firm believer that one can never have too many bags in their life. This quilted barrel pouch may have to make it’s way to my sewing machine soon.

If you’re a long-time reader of this site, you may remember those name pillows I made for Christmas & birthday gifts (they are a huge hit even with teens)… This tutorial is very close to what I made, plus it’s free!

Getting ready to start those Christmas pjs? This pant tutorial is a great place to start.

Turn your playmat (mini quilt) into learning numbers and lesson in Pi!

Leftover quilt blocks get turned into a pretty fabric basket.

It may be another maxi skirt, but this one promises to be quick and easy to sew up.

Keep warm this winter, make your own leggings.

A great project for a beginner with great end results: a neon twirl skirt for girls.

Have a pretty printed shirt you no longer know what to do with? Transform it into a beautiful skirt.

This ruffled scarf takes a bit more work than my version, but it’s still pretty.

The $5 Dress Form

Normally, I’d be putting up a project post, but today I stumbled across a deal too good not to share instead! How about a $5 dress form? You heard me right – $5 (with free shipping to a local Walmart or $5 more to your home)! I’m not sure how long it will last, or if they will discover their err (I’m guessing this has to be an error because these forms normally run $99 on a ‘good sale’) later in the day, but for $5 it’s worth a shot! Enjoy!

Edited to add: There is only one size available for this offer, it is the larger form with the bust size 39″ – 45″, waist size 30″ – 36.5″, hip size 40″ – 46″

Edit #2 Walmart’s announcement of site glitch. No mention if orders placed during the website error will be honored.

It’s The Small Things

Interspersed with all the other projects I want to accomplish is my Christmas Stocking Swap package. I haven’t made a ton of progress working on it largely because I haven’t been really ‘inspired’ by my partner’s Pinterest board. While her interests are a lot like mine, nothing is really standing out at the moment. I have, however, come up with just a few small items:


The first is a Grumpy Cat necklace. I think she would have preferred a stuffie, but I figure she can keep him close to her heart at all times as a pendant (LOL, but seriously, who doesn’t love Grumpy Cat). This is another project that used a washer, printed image, and Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (my favorite new medium). The second item is lanyard key ring – they are so easy to make (not to mention I have a ton of mustache ribbon left over from the first round) and I think are pretty well received by everyone (in fact, I’m thinking that when my daughter needs a quick gift exchange gift this may be an item she can hand out)!

Easy Scarf

Image1 If you’ve been to a brick-and-mortar fabric store recently, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of ruffle knit fabric out there. Besides your basic tops, skirts and dresses what can you do with this material? How about a super easy-to-sew scarf?

I had purchased this material several years ago at Needle Nook after I realized it was the same material used in a skirt at a retail store. When I brought it home, Taylor decided that the ruffled look wasn’t really for her, so it sat… for ages. I recently whipped it out of my stash and decided that if I didn’t use this fabric, I was either going to have to donate it – so I decided to find another use for it other than clothing. After draping it around my dress form, I discovered that it makes a pretty good scarf. Plus, it look like you put a lot more effort into it because of the ruffles! I made a wide, 10″ finished scarf: for this look I cut the entire length of the fabric (it was 1 3/4 yards long) 21″ long. I sewed a 1/2″ seam and turned it right side out. Easy!