Monthly Archives: January 2016

Prototypes & Pattern Testing

01-skullsIntermixed between new projects, I’m attempting to write a few tutorials. This means one thing, it’s time to test out pattern(s), check my math, and make a few prototypes. Bleh. Some days things work swimmingly, others I find myself retooling the project until I can’t stand looking at it any more.

In the mean time, in the back of my head, I’m plotting new spring\summer projects. This year, I’ve decided I’m making a ‘geeky swimsuit’ and just purchased a blue Star Wars Sugar Skull print to accomplish that. I only bought 1 yard so I’m crossing my fingers I don’t change my mind on the pattern style(s) and wish I had ordered more (by the way, if you’re interested in ordering, there are only 3 days left to buy this and a few other designs).

And now…. it’s back to the drawing board.

Harley Quinn Tee

01-harleyshirtIt isn’t often that I work with fabric panels – I have a ton of tees already so the image on the fabric really has to really ‘call to me’. Such is the case of Harley Quinn. Not only do I love the character, the panel was stinkin’ cute so I knew I had to make something very “Harley-esque” (i.e. nothing you could ever find in a store). I opted to make a faux-layered tee using stripes for the long sleeves, remnant fabric from my Aires tights for the short sleeves\neckband, and Jalie 2805 for the pattern. I’m pretty sure Harley would approve of the end result.

Now the down side(s): I didn’t have enough material left over for short sleeves and had to go with a cap sleeve instead (I just think a short sleeve would have looked better). Also, the stripe doesn’t have a lot of stretch and is more snug than what I normally care to wear. Otherwise, this shirt is perfect… I’m keeping the (faux) layered look in mind for future shirts for myself.

The Aires

01-ariesSometimes it’s best when plans don’t work out the way we envision because what happens next turns out even better…

My latest project is a great example. After discovering that I didn’t have enough material to make my original project, I opted to ‘go back to the drawing board’ and try something different. This time, using Seamwork’s Aires…. and I think that the fabric combination(s) and pattern work perfectly together.

Once again, Seamwork has put together a wonderful pattern. Not only are there inserts that make these tights different than others, but there is also a crotch gusset for seam strength and a waistband pocket so you can easily store your keys, etc. while you’re working out. Construction went well: all the pieces came together easily and the fit is good. Although I will admit, the waistband is a bit too high for my taste (and a smidge too loose, although I suspect that is because I was in between sizes and opted to sew the larger because I was afraid my thighs would be too big for anything smaller). The next time around, I will probably lengthen these as well to make them full sized and not cropped.

Now the downside. I’m left with tiny, tiny pieces that I want to work into the fabric panel that I mentioned last week. I should have enough for 2 cap sleeves and a neckband if I am extremely careful with cutting…. I’ll be crossing my fingers I’m right!


Joking Matter

01-harleyOne of the downsides to ordering custom fabric is that you have to wait on your material to arrive for several months (alright the price can be a bit shocking at times too). Then, by the time it does arrive, you’ve gone through several ideas of how you’ll use it and then you’re totally confused as to how it will be put to use…. Such is the case of my latest custom print: Joking Matter. Not only did I order yardage, but a matching panel (for shirts) as well.

My idea was to make a pair of funky leggings with a matching t-shirt. However, upon washing everything and getting it ready to cut, I discovered I didn’t have nearly enough fabric to do what I wanted (in my mind, I thought 1 yard would cut it, but clearly I needed two)… so it’s back to the drawing board I go. I’m thinking the Aries from Seamwork’s latest issue might be a good compromise since it’s a cropped version that is cut into segments (so it won’t use as much material) and just using the leftover yardage for (capped) sleeves to a shirt and a solid black for the back of the shirt (I’m still up in the air as to what shirt pattern I want to use).

Linky Thursday

Quirky and novel purses are a hot accessory this year. Even though this faux puppy purse is meant for girls, it could definitely be worn to add a bit of funky fun to your outfit.

Learn how to create an owl with a neat stained glass look.

Star Wars is the highest grossing movie of all time. If you have a fan at your house you can share the love of the series by sewing up a fabulous Boba Fett pillow.

Hard on wallets? This Kraft Tex version is not only durable, but has a zipper pocket and several card slots.

Decided to take up quilting this year? Be sure to check out some of Amy Butler’s newest free patterns – so many beautiful throws and coverlets. Looking for something smaller and geared more towards kids? Be sure to check out Fat Quarter Shop’s latest video, Monkey Business.\

If you’re making gifts for Valentine’s Day this year, be sure to check out this adorable Children’s Carrying Case. This would also be fabulous for birthday gifts, too! Looking for something wearable? Check out this tutorial for a BOYS (yes, something for the guys even) Skull Heart embellished shirt or an easy bleach heart tee for the gals.

Show everyone your love of crafting by sporting one of these fun (temporary) Maker Tattoos.

If one of your resolutions this year was to find more ways to repurpose items, then start off your sewing with one of these Sweet Tooth pouches or a tablet cover made from recycled jeans!

Sew up an over-sized high-low sweater that isn’t just comfy, but will keep you cozy this winter.

Learn how to make a headband in 10 minutes. Then read how you can change up the design to add fun embellishments.

Feeling the urge to do some patchwork, but don’t want the commitment of a quilt? Make a speedy patchwork tote instead!

First Project of 2016

01-chictopThe first project of 2016 is… (another) City Chic Top!

This time around I used a (very stretchy) solid rayon-cotton type black jersey and a cheetah print remnant from my favorite leggings project (from almost two years ago!). The fit on this one is much nicer than my original top since the black fabric had considerable stretch.

Unfortunately, while I love the neckline on this, I’m not wild about my decision to use a contrast sleeves and hem band. I think it ‘dresses down’ this top quite a bit and that I would get more use out of it if I would have just left them off. I guess we’ll see what happens when I finally wear this one out.

Sewing in 2015 Review

Several years ago I started keeping a notebook by my sewing machine and recorded the projects (and other information) that I worked on throughout the year. It’s always fun to go back through and see what I’ve accomplished and how many yards I’ve sewn up (the yardage sewing is new this year)! Here is a brief breakdown of what 2015 looked like:

  • I sewed 94 projects and 200 rice bags (yes, I was crazy) in 2015
  • I tend to sew “independent designers” more than “Big 4” patterns.
    • I used 4 “Big 4” patterns in 2015
    • The most used independent designer I use continues to be Jalie (15 patterns sewn). Although, this year I used Peek-a-Boo patterns just as often (15 patterns sewn as well).
    • Betz White (6 patterns) and Seamwork Magazine designs (5 patterns) also dominated my worktable as well. While I had a respectable 8 for self-drafted creations.
  • I sewed approximately 110 1/2 yards during the year.

In comparison, 2015 didn’t have as many completed projects as past years largely because my mom had spent so much of the year involved with surgeries (3) and I spent most of that time taking care of her needs. The thing that surprised me was the number of yards sewn…. I’m not sure what the average yardage is, but 110 1/2 seems smaller than what I expected.

So, there you have it! 2015 is officially wound up and I’m ready to see what 2016 has in store!

Backgammon Bag

bag1Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you much happiness, joy, and fabric!

I am excited to kick off the first day of 2016 by showing off my latest creation, the Backgammon Bag! I tested out this pattern for Betz White (which is currently only available through the Bag of the Month Club) and absolutely loved working on this one. Because of my love for crazy prints, I went with a colorful sugar skull print for the body of the bag, but since it was so ‘busy’, I wound using a bit of black to break it up some – resulting in a very different bag than some of the other testers.

The bag has two exterior pockets, an adjustable strap, a flap with lock closure, and just the ‘right’ about of interfacing that the bag holds it’s shape well, but isn’t difficult to work with. My favorite part, though, is the ‘backgammon stripes’ which allowed me to fussy cut my prints and do a bit of piecing without the commitment of a quilt. I think I will eventually make a more traditional version, but in the mean time I’m getting quite a few compliments on the skulls so I’ll keep this style for awhile.

Edited to add: If you’re wondering how your fabrics might look when put together, Betz has designed a great coloring page so that your can easily plan out your design!