Monthly Archives: May 2014

Material In…

Although I don’t have a finished project to show yet, yesterday was fairly productive on the sewing front. I managed to tape together a PDF pattern, size it, cut out the material, and go fabric shopping for some future projects. I came home with enough material to make several t-shirts, a ‘fishnet’ dolman top, a pair of ‘dressy’ sweatpants, and two half circleflared skirts. That should keep me busy for a few weeks, at least! I’ve also purchased (and will join the upcoming sew-along) the Fast & Fabulous Blouse Back Tee, but wasn’t able to find a material for the backside that I was in love with, but will keep looking so I have everything ready when the sew-along begins.  With that said, it’s probably time to stop sitting in front of the computer and get busy – I have lots (and lots) of sewing ahead of me!

Keep Calm

05-calmUrban Threads perfectly captured a great sewing motto: “Keep Calm and Sew Stuff“…. because we all know that sewing is probably cheaper than therapy!

I had purchased this design quite some time ago – without a plan in mind. I figured that I would probably embellish a tote or make a wall hanging at some point, but while fabric shopping recently, I stumbled across aLondon Crowns print and knew that I had to combine it with my new embroidery design. I knew that it had to be…. a pillow!

I finally had the opportunity to put them together and I think the end result (although it still needs a bit more stuffing for my liking) looks rather cute in my sewing room.

Sewing On A Time Crunch

With a weekend full of activities (and very little time at my sewing machine) I am reminded that summer is right around the corner and that time to work on sewing projects might be limited. So how do you fit your favorite hobby (or even a work-at-home business) into a busy schedule full of work, kids, events, etc.? Here’s some helpful tips to help you survive the coming months (or even the busiest times in your life) and still sneak in a bit of sewing now and again:

  • Sewing isn’t just sitting at your machine. Of course it’s the most fun part, but don’t discredit the times you’re reading sewing books, watching online classes, reading magazinesblogs, taking in your favorite sewing program, cutting patterns, and fabric, tracing, etc. It’s all part of sewing too!
  • Multi-task. If you’re like us, we like to catch up with our favorite programs in the evening. This is a great opportunity to work on cutting, tracing, taping PDF patterns together as well so that you’re ready to sew on your machine when the opportunity rises.
  • Give yourself at least 15 minutes to sit in front of your machine to work on a project.  It may not seem like much, but squeezing in 15 minutes a day is enough to set in a sleeve, put in a hem, or sew on a few buttons. Within a week’s time you’ll might even have a new garment to wear for the weekend!
  • Think ‘small’. When pressed for time, skip the “advanced” or difficult projects (those that may require lots of fitting, have many pieces, etc.) and go for the “instant gratification projects” (those that can be completed in a few hoursafternoon) instead…. because there’s nothing like having a completed item in your hands after a few hours of work!
  • Join a sew-along. Not only is this a great way to get tips and tricks on working with the project you’ve selected (garment, bag, etc.) it’s structured to keep you on a schedule that you’re more likely to keep. Many times these sew-alongs are wrapped up within a month or two and you have a fabulous item to show off in the end.
  • Take some personal time and don’t feel guilty about it. There is nothing wrong with occasionally taking some time off of work, hiring a baby sitter, or shutting yourself in a sewing room for a few hours…. everyone needs some ‘mental health’ time and doing something you enjoy for a few hours can make you more productive and happy in the rest of your life.

Dolman, Round 2

05-dolman2As much as I loved my first dolman, I couldn’t resist making a second one. This time around, I went down one size, used the contrasting neckband, and added 3/4 sleeves. It also gave me the excuse to use a beautiful Italian jersey that I picked up from Gorgeous Fabrics two years ago (and have been hanging onto for ‘just the right pattern’) – the results, awesome.

Once again this top came together quickly, although I spent more time ‘fussy cutting’ the material so that I didn’t wind up with the faces in an ‘unfortunate spot’ along the bust line. I would eventually like to wear this up with a ‘dressy’ pair of sweatpants.

I have one more dolman planned using a fantastic boarder knit. Let’s hope I can sneak in some Mother’s Day sewing and get that one done over the weekend!

Linky Thursday

Bring in some summer style (for little ones) with this adorable girl’s ruffled halter.

Keep baby neat and tidy with pretty burp cloths and bibs that only take a fat quarter to make. Looking for a fun upcycled bib, instead? Then be sure to give my favorite bib (shameless plug) a try – a super absorbent style made from a hand towel (or larger for adults with special needs).

Tired of boring t-shirts? Check out the On A Roll tee – this neckline will give new life to a comfy style.

Speaking of t-shirts, don’t forget about the guys! They need new shirts too!

I’m not sure if I’m ready to unleash my child out in the neighborhood with boxing gloves, but they sure do look fun to make.

I love to start off a new season with new bags. This hobo seems to fit a summer vibe.

Pretty, big floor pillows always sucker me in. Here’s a fussy cut version that can create a beautiful visual effect when the right fabrics are used.

Who said rectangles can’t be sexy? Turn 4 rectangles into a pretty maxi with this ever popular tutorial.

Get ready for the beachpool with a pretty and absorbent cover up.

This dress requires a bit more work (you’ll need to have a sloper), but the end result will be show stopping!

Transform a circle into a beautiful top.

Turn a t-shirt into an empire waist top in 5 easy steps.


05-boxersWhen I realized that Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching (this weekend!), I hurried to start my next project – a pair of ‘lounging shorts’ for my mom (which is also perfect since we’ve already reached the 100+ degree mark this week). The Tommy Boxer pattern by Sis Boom is one of our favorite summertime pj patterns – they’re easy & quick to sew up and they don’t take a ton of fabric either. For this version I used a fun “Big Bang Theory” cotton (one of my mom’s favorite shows) and eliminated the applique on the back (or as my husband like to call it, ‘butt graffiti’) – although a Bazinga! would have been funny on these…. I think my mom will love them!

Dolman Stripe

04-jaliestripeIf I had to pick a favorite pattern company, it would have to be Jalie – I love their basics! When I saw that they had new pattern releases coming out, I grabbed a few the first chance I got and started sewing almost immediately. My first garment? A dolman top.This pattern features short or 3/4 length sleeves , a highlow hem, and an optional fold over neckline or banding. There is also a great ‘formula’ included on the pattern so you know how much you may need to lengthen or shorten the frontback so that the hem ‘hits you in the right spot’.

For my first version, I went with a FABULOUS gradient stripe that I had picked up from Needle Nook Fabrics several months ago. I was in between two sizes – I opted to go with the larger one and did not lengthenshorten it. Putting this top together was FAST – I didn’t time myself, but I’m pretty sure that from cutting to photography took under an hour… I had a new top to wear just in time to go out to dinner! Best of all, the end result is beautiful, although I could have easily worn the smaller size (next time I’ll do that). I see several more of these tops in my future (in fact, I purchased this exact fabric because I loved it so much) including a 3/4 sleeve version for when it cools back down next week!

The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a trendy top that sews up fast, look no further than the Dolman Tops. Not only is beginner friendly, but would look great on almost any body type.

Doin’ The Math

One of the projects that I’ve been working on for the past several weeks is for an upcoming article. When I first was pitched the idea, I had lots of ideas how to carry it out – the difficult part was narrowing them down and selecting the one I liked best …. of course I pick the project that I have to do the most mathprototypes for! After several fabricstyle changes, I finally put the project on the machine and finished it up over the weekend.



With this project (almost) wrapped up, this means I can get back to some selfish sewing – just in time to sew up my new Jalie patterns!

Getting Carded, Again

About 2 months ago I made a really cute wallet…. and my daughter ‘took over’ on it. After carrying it around for a day, she not only got lots of compliments on the wristlet, but somehow, I got ‘orders’ to make some as birthday presents as well. One of her longtime friends birthday has come up so I couldn’t resist filling her request so I made another Get Carded Wallet:



It is almost identical to the original wristlet except the hardware is slightly different and I added a cute zipper pull. This wallet came together even faster the second time around – which is a good thing because I have several more of these to eventually make sometime this summer (although I’m changing up the fabric the next go around).

Linky Thursday

I’ve always been a huge fan of Nicole Millalieu’s (of You Sew Girl) bag patterns and was very excited to see she has a book out! Want to win it? Just leave a comment in this thread to be entered (you must have a photo linked to your account to be considered).

Keep baby (as well as your floors) neat and tidy with this adorable Catch-All bib.

I’m usually not one to swoon over tissue box covers, but this one is definitely the nicest I’ve seen – and I love the grommet opening!

Remember that campfire set that I made Easton for Christmas and I said that I should have taken notes so I could write up a tutorial? Well someone did and here’s their version!

I’m not just excited to see the word ‘summer’ in the title of something (because it feels like summer is never coming here), but also because this shift dress is so darn cute!

Going to class? Waiting on kids during practice? Just need another bag? This Crafty Traveler (with several handy pockets) is just for you! Need a few more pockets to hold your goodies? This diaper tote would be awesome.

I love the mix of stripes and floral in this Anthropology shirt knockoff tutorial.

It’s (almost?) time to crack out those flip flops! Give inexpensive sandals new life by adding a bit of ribbon and embellishment.

Keeping kids busy while you’re out can always be a challenge. Try whipping up one of these art packets – perfect for whipping out of your purse when wait times are long!

Shirts with interesting details, especially from the back always capture my eye – like this Pleated Knot Tunic.

Pretty palazzo pants (size 38, must be altered according to your measurements)

Most kid’s mask tutorials are fairly plain. These are far from it and totally awesome!

Ditch the ziplock baggies and go re-useable. The best thing about this version is that it stands upright!