Monthly Archives: November 2015

Varsity Cowl

11-varsityOh, the holidays – they always bring an interesting mix of unexpectedness. I had great intentions of keeping up with the blog over Thanksgiving. However, (terrible) weather, drama, and a whole lot of turkey got in the way. Thankfully, I had one afternoon that I was able to retreat into my sewing room and work on a project – another item for Easton (I’m on a roll with this boy).

Since I am planning ahead for the holidays, I decided to make something for Easton to wear on Christmas. I used the rest of the (solid) material from my Layer Me Up Sweater and Peek-a-boo Pattern’s Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover (I’ve actually had this pattern for quite some time, I just never had the ‘perfect’ material to sew with) to make a Ralph Lauren-style sweater.

The sizing on this one is evens only. Typically Easton wears about a 7, but I am guessing since this is an older pattern, the designer didn’t do as much grading on her designs back then…. Since the size 7 in her patterns can run snug on Easton, I figured an 8 might give the best fit (especially since I would be putting another shirt under it)…. as you can see and 8 is HUGE on him (just check out those sleeves!).  He doesn’t care, though – Easton is in love with this sweater. In fact, he wore it all day after we took this picture and insisted on wearing it to school today. Putting this together was pretty easy so if I decide to try this again (in a smaller size), it shouldn’t take terribly long to sew a new one. As a side note, I’d also go with a slightly thinner material to reduce some of the bulk in future tops.

Clearly I’m not excited about the fit on this one, but Easton adores it so it’s definitely a winner in that respect. It’s also very easy to sew, which makes this a friendly beginner project!


Sewing Socks

11-socks2Well, you can add “Sock-Maker” to the list of unusual things that I have sewn, because yesterday I made my first pair (for those that missed the post from the other day, I used this pattern).

Let me start off by saying that I really thought that this was going to be a very quick sew…. and in a way it was. However, putting the pattern together\cutting fabric seemed to take forever. It might have helped if I wasn’t watching tv at the same time, but in reality, I think it was the fact that there are too many choices for this pattern. In addition to the variety of lengths (ranging from mini-crew to thigh high), you have feet size (4-13 for women AND 8-17 for men), petite and plus sizing (this is especially important if you’re going to for thigh highs and over the knee lengths), cuff\elastic finishing, wide widths, petite\regular\tall lengths, and an optional ‘gusset’.

11-socks3I opted to make the ‘regular width’ size 9 (I really fell into the 8 size range, but I wanted to be sure that I had some ‘give’ – I really hate tight socks) in the crew length with the elastic finish.  Sewing was beyond simple – one seam. Upon testing the ‘fit’ I noticed that my socks were pretty snug on my calf so I opted to skip the elastic (because I hate tight socks). The end result is really a tube with a rounded, closed end – there is no shaping like commercial socks (and from what I read on the instructions, the pattern’s gusset really doesn’t do anything to give the sock shape, it seems more ‘decorative’).

So what about fit? Actually, it’s pretty good. In the end I probably should have gone with the size 8 (although I have very narrow feet so any extra width could be attributed to that), but the 9s work just fine. The seam on the sock (which runs across the toes and along one side) didn’t bother me as much as what I thought it might, but I didn’t wear them with shoes to see if they would ‘rub’ either. They also held up pretty well without elastic, too – they did start sliding some by the end of the day, but not too badly. I imagine that skipping the elastic will probably depend on lots of factors (calf size, material, etc.) so I may not be able to do that again.

The Bottom Line: I’m just kind of ‘meh’ over this pattern. I like the premise, but I wish the execution was different (sock having some shaping and a seam that didn’t run across the toes, but across the top of toes instead). With that said, I do love all the options and I may finally just break down and make myself a pair of boot socks that I want instead for searching stores for a pair I want. I’ll probably be using this pattern again, but don’t expect me to become the sock making fool that I had envisioned.


Crazy Socks

11-socksSince I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving this year, I know my sewing time this week will be very limited. Consequently, I’ve decided to try a pattern that looks like it will sew up fast and potentially make a great handmade stocking stuffer item (if it works out well). That’s right, I bought a pattern for…. socks. (The photo on the right is from the pattern designer, not my own).

This pattern not only has a variety of lengths, but foot sizes (and widths) and 2 & 4 way stretch sizing as well. I have to admit, I’m kind of excited to give this a whirl. Not only do I adore crazy socks, but I have lots of scraps to use up, too!

On a completely unrelated note, don’t forget to enter to win a copy of the Japanese Sewing Book, Cuter Stuff – just a few hours left!

Layer Me Up

11-lmuI was recently on a Facebook group and saw the cutest tunic that used a ‘sweater knit fabric’ from Joann’s (I’m using that term loosely, more on that in a minute). I decided that this particular project was a great excuse to buy this fabric and try my hand at one more Patterns for Pirates design (you may remember that I tried one this summer with some unsuccessful results). The result? The cute top on the left.

This time around I purchased the Layer Me Up Shirt (which was on sale) and opted to make the tunic with hem band and long sleeves (with cuffs). The fabric is a sweater knit style material that looks as if it is bonded to a fleece – it has plenty of stretch (over 50%), but is so-so on recovery. Everything came together well, but the fit is…. snug. Not uncomfortably tight, but close (and I feel like I might need to wear Spanx with it). Plus this tunic is so very HOT (I had this on for under 5 minutes and felt as if I could break a sweat).

So my verdict? First off, no more Patterns for Pirates patterns for me. While this one (sort of) works, it’s once again way too tight (even though my measurements fall within the size range). A lot of people have great success with their designs, but they are clearly not styled for my body type. Secondly, I can only wear this tunic when it’s cold out because it is hot! This fabric would be perfect to use as a cardigan or maybe a jacket (something that can be worn in layers and removed if you get too warm), but as a top it might be a bit too warm. With that said, I have a family gathering to wear this too and it’s supposed to snow on that day…. so it looks like this tunic (and some Spanx) might be a perfect top to wear after all!

Linky Thursday

Keep yourself organized. Make yourself these cute, vinyl zip pouches to stash your goodies.

Skipping wrapping paper this year? Whip up reusable fabric gift bags instead!

If you’re going Black Friday shopping you’ll probably want to carry a purse and still be able to shop ‘hands free’. This crossbody bag is a great solution! Not shopping but still want a new bag? Try this beautiful Leather Tote  or Boxy Tote instead.

Bring a bit of winter into your living room with this fun “snowman” pillow set.

Looking for a way to decorate your table this holiday? Stitch up a pretty table runner and matching napkins! Or try your hand at something smaller like this turkey potholder (mix things up and try this turkey hotpad, too!).

If you’ve always wanted to try KraftTex, this wallet pattern is a great way to try this material – plus it makes a great stocking stuffer for the guys!

The perfect way to stash your phone on your morning run: this running belt with touch screen access.

Even if you don’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving, you’ll definitely want to make one to decorate your tabletop.

Giving an adult coloring book as a gift this year? Whip up a cute pencil roll to go along with it!

Learn how to make a pretty photo frame with bias tape. Not sure how to make your own? Here’s a great tutorial to show you how.

City Chic

When Peek-a-boo Patterns announced their City Chic Top pattern, I was pretty excited. This top was inspired by a photo floating around on their Facebook Page of a ready-to-wear design and it looked like it was totally ‘my style’. So, once this design was released, I snagged it (what made it even better? I had earned a $5 off shopping reward, making this pattern a $3.50 purchase!).


Aside from the fact that I omitted the hem and sleeve cuffs (I figured since I was going for a ‘dressier’ looking top, I would skip them), I think this pattern is a pretty close match to the “Inspiration Design”, don’t you think? Unfortunately, my top is just plain boring. I don’t wear a lot of solids and this gray just screams ‘drab’ when I put it on. It’s not that I won’t wear it, I just think a splash of color or a print might perk this top up some…. so guess what’s next on my list? Yep, you guessed it, another version. This time I’m skipping the solids and going for something fun (and adding the hem and cuff bands as well)!

Aranzi Aronzo’s Cuter Stuff

11-cuterstuffJust in time for holiday crafting, the Kawaii crafting duo Aranzi Aronzo are releasing a new title, Cuter Stuff! Unlike some of their other plush books, Cuter Stuff does not rely on a sewing machine, but instead uses low\no sew techniques or hand sewing to create adorable projects for everyone in the family.

Inside you’ll find a vast array of projects including appliqued tote bags, pen\pencil “toppers” (or more cleverly named, “disguises”) and cases, coasters, tiny toys (that would also make cute ornaments), pincushions, and more! All the creations inside are crafted with felt, the included patterns, and purchased googly eyes (some, but not all projects use them). Best of all, most projects can easily be made by even some of the youngest members of your household (they will probably need some help with cutting since some of the pattern pieces are tiny) so they can make their own gifts for friends and family, too!

Cuter Stuff will be released next Tuesday, November 24 but you don’t have to wait until then to get a copy – enter to win your own, now! Contest runs until November 24th, 2015 and you can enter daily to increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Bristol Button-Up Completed Project

11-bristoldoneJust in time for the chilly temperatures, my Bristol Button-Up is finally complete! And, I’ve managed to make several changes since I’ve last showed you this project.

First off, I substantially shortened this shirt. While I love the idea of a tunic length design, my beefy flannel just wasn’t working with this pattern (it’s just too stiff and you’ll definitely want some drape in the tunic length to make it more ‘figure flattering’). So, I took up the length 3 inches which is still 1″ longer than the shirt hem – I like where it falls on me this way. Once I shortened up the top, I decided that I needed to add the pocket (initially, I didn’t like the pocket on the top, it looked weird and falls on the bust dart, but it seems to work now).  I also wound up nixing the idea that I was going to use snaps and went with buttons – once again, my flannel was just too thick. Lastly, I took in sides…. a lot. While the medium was ideal for fitting in the shoulders, the rest of the shirt was just big and boxy on me. In the end I wound up taking in 1 1/2 around the waistline on each side (and probably about 5/8-1″ under the arms and hip areas on each side) so that it is more fitted on me. That is a lot of inches to take off, but it definitely makes for a more feminine top (especially paired up with the pretty curved hem).

11-bristolcuffWhile I love the end result, I’m not sure that I’ll make this pattern again. There was a lot of fitting going on to make this one work for me (3″ is a lot to take off in my opinion) and I really hate buttons (I should mention that there is not a button placement guide on the pattern which made me dislike it more). Plus, the sleeve is too long  for me… I didn’t realize this was an issue until after I added the placket and cuff. Speaking of the placket – that was the only area of the pattern instructions that I had a difficult time understanding. I’m not sure if it was just me (it was late in the day when I tackled that) or if it was just the way it was constructed\written…. I will say that I loved the end result, though – can you say CamCuffs?

The bottom line? I would definitely rate this pattern an intermediate – there’s lots of fitting that needs to be dealt with, a difficult to understand placket construction, curved hems, and buttons that you’ll need to measure yourself. I would also highly recommend using a thin flannel (finally a use for the cheap(er) stuff!) so that it has more drape (for a flattering end result), is easier to sew, and allows you to make modifications like snaps!


Linky Thursday

The perfect gift for a Star Wars fan: An R2D2 apron!

Need a last minute gift? This adorable coin purse will only take you 30 minutes to make.

A great way to coordinate your living room or just use your favorite prints: Fabric Frames! It’s easier than you think!

Wide sport headbands can be expensive. Learn how you can make your own.

Keep warm and looks stylish when you make your own Cozy Flannel Scarf or this Double Sided Plaid version.

Who needs Spanx when you sew and can add your own ‘tummy control panel’ in your garments?

Loved Little House on the Prairie as a child? Now you can win an Andover Fabrics themed prize pack that included the complete DVD collection and fabric!

This adorable dove stuffy would make a beautiful pincushion or ornament of your Christmas tree. Plush not your thing? Be sure to check out this beautiful applique dove instead.

Learn how to sew a diaper bag that is stroller friendly.

No pockets? No problem. Carry your keys and your id\money\credit card in this Badge Style Secret Pocket tutorial.

Have too many scarves and don’t know what to do with them once you’re finished wearing them? Transform them into a throw blanket.

Hanging your child’s artwork on the fridge is “so last year”. Preserve their creations forever by turning them into fabric.

Soy Tu Padre

11-swdarthactionSometimes I stash fabric until I find the perfect pattern – on in this case the perfect “coordinate”. Quite some time ago, I had purchased several yards of a Star Wars Sugar Skull print – thinking that at some point I may make a hoodie or shirt. However while strolling through the isles of Target recently, I discovered this Soy Tu Padre sugar skull Darth shirt for men… and immediately snagged it (then went to two other Targets to find one more shirt because I may want to use it for myself too). I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this too – Jalie 2918, the ‘layered tee’.

This men’s shirt pattern is easily one of my most used\loved designs – it’s taken me from toddler tee’s to this stylish 7 1/2 year old wardrobe staple (and I imagine I have many, many more years to use this one too). As always, I got great results and the perfect fit from this pattern – and Easton immediately had to wear this tee as soon as it was finished (this is why we didn’t get better photos, this is E getting ready to catch the bus for school). You can see the transformation from oversized shirt to awesome kid’s tee here: