On the Good Ship

10-originalEver since my oldest was little, she had perfect little ringlet curls – so much so everyone called her Shirley Temple. So when it came to “Celebrity Day” at her school for spirit week, Taylor decided she would dress up just like her. After searching the web, she found a photo of Shirley in a cute plaid dress, over-sized collar, and bow… this was the look she was after.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of dresses out there that fit this look for adults (I decided that if I would have had the time, I would have looked around for some 1980′s patterns because I’m pretty sure these were in style at some point back then) so I settled on something that had a similar collar and enough of a ‘feel’ that we could pull this off (and a good price point because when I went to buy patterns, nothing was on sale…. isn’t that always the way?). Consequently, I settled on New Look 6299 and a “Homespun” cotton plaid.

10-shirleySince I was pressed for time (I had 2-3 days to have this one completed), I pretty much sewed this one as is, except for elongating the collar about 1″ (so that it was more pronounced like the inspiration photo) and adding the bow. To speed up sewing I took several shortcuts: First off, I did not shoot for pattern matching (I just went with ‘close enough’) and since working with this pattern, would never suggest using a plaid with this design because there are too many seams to attempt to line up. Secondly, I didn’t finish the seams. This was actually a huge mistake because the homespun cotton seems to fray more than a standard cotton. Thank goodness this is a costume and won’t be worn a lot. Lastly, I slapped that invisible zipper in without much thought. It’s actually not bad for the amount of time I spent on it, but it certainly is not my best work either. Once I was finished we decided to shorten the dress by 6″….. we discovered 6″ may have been too much in the back (after the fact, of course) so I added a bit of lace trim to the bottom (a great cover, plus added an additional 1″ to the bottom edge).  Once I was done, I quickly whipped up a bow and tacked it under the collar.

Finding ruffled socks was difficult (even in the costume sections), so I wound up making my own. I found ankle length, nylon socks (on clearance!) and tacked the same lace that is on the bottom edge of the skirt around the top edge. Paired up with a set of ‘character’ dance shoes, I think they complete the look!

Pattern: New Look 6299, View A

Fabric: Homespun cotton plaid from Joann’s

Total Cost:

Pattern….. $3.99
Fabric……. $11.88
Notions…. $5.49

Total Cost $21.36

Present Perfect: Falling Leaves Placemats

10-presentSometimes, coming up with hand-made gift ideas for the special people in your life can be a difficult task. Take the mystery out of what you can sew for graduations, weddings, Father’s\Mother’s Day, baby showers, and more with Betz White’s latest title, Present Perfect. This collection of sewing projects include something for everyone: cuddly toys for the little ones, beautiful and functional home decor, stylish accessories (think aprons, hats, and scarves), and her fabulously designed bags and pouches for both women and men. No matter what your skill level, beginner to expert, you’ll easily find a project inside to create.

As I gear up for autumn, I had the fantastic opportunity to sew up one of my favorite projects from the book: Falling Leaves Appliques Placemats.


I loved this project on so many levels. First off, it gave the opportunity to work with a wide variety of beautiful fabrics. It also allowed me to do something I don’t often have an excuse for – quilting. While I am generally a garment\bag sewer, I have been know to whip up a quilt or two. These placemats allowed me to do some fun stitching on a much smaller scale – not to mention the fact that my finished placemats brights up my table this fall.

10-leafThe sewing on this one is actually quite easy – I definitely think a beginner with some experience could stitch this one up without difficulty….. you don’t even have to know how to free motion quilt to do it. In fact, I didn’t even free motion quilt it! Yes, you heard me right, I ‘cheated’ and used a decorative stitch on my machine (a ‘faux hand stitching’ design) when I appliqued my designs. Then I went over my original stitching, creating a wavy, meandering line to give it that ‘free motion’ look. Other options would be to use a ‘blanket stitch’ or even a straight stitch to tack down you leaves. Easy!

10-coastersOf course, I couldn’t stop at creating just the placemats, I used the same design elements to make matching coasters, too! In fact, I liked this idea so much, I’m thinking that these would make great teacher gifts (paired with a mug, cider\cocoa\tea, stirring spoons, etc.) this Christmas or even teacher appreciation week.

Want to know more about the projects inside Present Perfect? Be sure to watch the video below and check out all the blog links for more projects, excerpts (don’t forget to grab your free apron pattern from Sew Mama Sew yesterday), and giveaways! Or you can buy your copy now directly from Interweave – now on sale for $19.88!

Happy Home
10/6: Sew Mama Sew – Make & Bake Apron
10/7: Stacy Sews – Falling Leaves Appliquéd Placemats
10/8: House on Hill Road – Hot Mitt House & Tea Towel Set
10/9: A Happy Stitch – Sweet Life Pillow

Memorable Moments
10/10: Sew Sweetness – Wool Courier Bag
10/13: Raspberry Sunshine – Gentlemen’s Travel Case
10/14: Pink Chalk Fabrics – Pasha Pleated Clutch
10/15: The Long Thread – Eye Candy Glasses Case
10/16: Made with Moxie – Cargo Tablet Sleeve
10/17: Bijou Lovely – Coffee Cash Coin Pouch

New + Little
10/20: Flax and Twine – Forest Friends Finger Puppets
10/21: Imagine Gnats – Bib, Rattle & Burp Baby Set

Mostly Circle Skirt

10-minnieThis Friday is my daughter’s Homecoming and that means one thing – Spirit Week! This year she knew each day’s theme well enough in advance to gather ideas as to what she wanted to do… including several projects for me to whip up.

One of the days is “Disney” themed. Because she doesn’t have a favorite character, she browsed Pinterest and came up with the idea to be a simple Minnie Mouse (skirt, black shirt and tights, ears) – with me ‘whipping up’ a skirt. Come to find out she wanted a circle skirt….. I found this out after I had purchased only 1 yard of 45″ fabric.  Determined to not go out and buy more material (we’ve already socked quite a bit of money into this week’s outfits), I set out to make a circle skirt with only 1 yard. Impossible? Not really. Perfect? Not really. Passable? Yes.

To create this skirt: I folded the material in half, and drew an arc from each end of the 36″ cut (I just winged it) – this is not going to be a perfect circle, it’s more of an egg shape…. it is, however, really close so that no one can tell. Next, I created an inner circle large enough for her to comfortable slip over her hips. I cut the 3″ elastic to a comfortable length, sewed the seam, and attached the skirt (and then hemmed). Overall, super easy – in fact, the planning (of how I was going to make 1 yard work) took longer than the actual sewing.  Whew! One day down, 4 to go!

Inspira Studio

10-threadGenerally, when we talk sewing furniture we’re usually discussing sewing machine tables or how we converted a cabinet into something more functional. Finally, someone has made pieces that are designed by sewists for sewists! The new line called, Inspira Studio, has been in the works for several years and is beginning to arrived at retailers now (you can find your local retailer here). I had the opportunity to chat with  Tammy Graham Nixon who helped design this product line:

Can you tell me a little bit about the Inspira Studio collection that’s in the brochures?
We didn’t just come up with these products out of thin air. They have been in the works for 2 years. We met with stores, internal staff that sew, and quilters to pick their brains – lots of research that went into it. Every piece answered a problem. Our goal to to help them get organized so they can get to their sewing quicker.

10-compartmentIf you had to buy one piece to start out with, what would you recommend?
I would start with the compartment cabinet – it’s a catch all cabinet. You could buy fabric totes to store threads and stabilizer. Plus there is a large door at the bottom to store items. It’s an overall good starter piece. The others are very specific to needs.

If you could pick one item for yourself, what would you select?
Probably the thread cabinet. Right now they (thread) are in big plastic totes. They aren’t color coordinated they get tangled. Not only could I organized my thread, but with the cubbies on the side and the big drawer on the bottom I could store my accessories.
The thread cabinet is patent pending – there nothing else like it on the market. It helps organize thread and helps keep it out of the sunlight. This piece also works for jewelry crafters, scrap bookers, etc.
(As a side note, I asked how many spools the thread cabinet can hold – up to 300! Each shelf takes up to 10 spools, but they can pop out and are adjustable for larger spools.)

Where can we find Inspira Studio cabinetry and how hard are they to assemble?
These are available will primarily sold at Viking dealers and stores. You can go into the dealer to purchase, but it will be shipped to the consumers home. (so you don’t have to worry how you’re going to put it inside your car!)
All the products come fully assembled – even the hardware is on (but found on the inside of the doors)! You will have to put the legs on the activity table, but they are easy to attach. All cabinets have a soft close hinge system so it closes very gently and slowly.  All the pieces are designed so they can be stacked together with cam locks (there are wall straps). You can find videos on line how to strap and connect them.

10-3drawerThe cabinets look very sturdy and made to last. What is the heaviest piece in the collection?
Everything is about quality and weight. The heaviest piece is the 3 Drawer Supply Cabinet at 180 lbs. If you plan on stacking this piece, we recommend that it is placed at the bottom and stack one of the others on top.

Now, if someone would like to petition to the company, I’d love for them to send me some of these pieces to do a product review…. I need all of them in my life right now. Have you had a chance to see these in person or already ordered a piece or two for your sewing area? I’d love to know what you think of this collection designed just for us!

Linky Thursday

Not only is this Darth Vader quilt totally awesome, but it’s a free pattern too. I need to quilt more often!

Several weeks ago I asked on Twitter what I should do with numerous pair of jeans that Easton had outgrown. I think I now have an answer: Bean Bag Poof.

Emmaline Bags is doing 5 days of giveaways (fabrics, notions, gift certificates, and more). Here is today’s entry, but be sure to check out the others that are still available!

My son would probably never go to sleep if I gave him a Name That Tune Boombox Pillow, but this project is so cool, I really want to make one anyway.

This bag will hold just about anything you desire – and you’ll look good carrying it too (I love the wool plaid).

Personalize your next tote in a different way – use this Texty Typewriter applique to send out your own message!

Ever have problems finding a tissue or that tire pressure gauge when you’re on the road? Now you can keep your glove box as organized and find all you necessities when you whip up an essentials caddy!

It’s finally October which means that it’s officially time to start those Halloween projects. Why not stitch up a fun treat bag (or mini size for party favors)?

I normally love WobiSobi’s t-shirt refashion projects, but this time she’s focusing on adding a bit of bling to her jeans (and adding a bit of Halloween spirit).

Waxed canvas is a hot new fabric – it’s waterproof, durable, and great for bag projects. Learn how you can save money by making your own fabric, then use your new material to make a cute tote!

Legwarmers\boot socks are still a hot accessory this year. Learn how you can recycle a sweater to make your own pair.

Guys need aprons too. Keep them mess free with a manly version they can call their own.



Faking It

10-leafI don’t know what happened yesterday, but somehow I got immersed in running errands\etc. and totally forgot to blog (I didn’t even get to fabric shop!).

With my machine in the shop, I’ve been a bit behind on my sewing, but have managed to catch up the past few days by completing several new projects for WeAllSew (just in time for holiday gift giving), and a very fun project that I’ll be discussing next week. This particular project called for some free motion quilting - it was a great excuse to whip out the BSR! Unfortunately it’s been ages since I’ve used the stitch regulator and am extremely out of practice. So, I faked it. Yes, that’s right, I faked free motion quilting. I used a decorative stitch (#44 on the Bernina 440) and a ‘regular’ presser foot to create design elements. Then I went over it again, this time stitching close to\overlapping\wavy my original lines to give it the appearance that I might have ‘freehanded’ the whole thing (it also made the stitching stand out over the prints of my material. I think it turned out pretty good – definitely something to keep in mind for future projects that call for a free motion-look!

Go To Knit Pants

20140814_101335~2Picking up where we left off last week… today’s post is all about the final pattern in the 8 Days a Week collection:  The Go To Knit Pants. This versatile pattern has not one, not two, but three different looks included – A legging, cropped lounge pants (with pockets), and pair of straight legged pants. I started off by making a pair of leggings and as you can see, I’m jumping for joy at how comfy (and fun – it’s a funky cat print) they feel. Leggings have become a new wardrobe staple.

I also stitched up a pair of the straight legged pants (not shown) in a slinky knit that I’ve been hording in my stash. It’s currently hanging in my closet  awaiting hemming (you should always allow your slinky to hang a few days after sewing to make sure that it doesn’t ‘grow’ – the only downside to slinky, IMHO), but I have to admit, they are very flattering to the backside. I love the look so much, I purchased a bunch of solid colored knits to make more. I’ll be sure to post my progress on all my new pants very soon!

Be sure to check out my posts from last week that cover the rest of the 8 Days a Week grouping. What a fun collection!:

The Neptune Tee
The Marigold
The McCartney Jacket

The Marigold

09-libraryToday I continue my posts for the latest Pattern Anthology collection, 8 Days a Week, by showing you my version of the Marigold.

Since I tend not to wear a lot of dresses, I opted to make my Marigold into a straight hemmed, peplum top with short sleeves (so that I could easily wear this into fall without getting too hot).  I used a stretch, pinstriped cotton for the body of the shirt and white along the collar and placket to add a bit of interest.

Sewing this pattern up was fun – in my opinion, there is something satisfying about sewing up a buttoned shirt (or shirt dress). And I loved working on the details (like the finishing on the inside of the shirt and the gathers along the yoke) that this top has to offer. 

Now, I just need to try out that dress…. with the sash…. I’m loving that sash. I’m thinking a denim shirt dress may be in my future!

Linky Thursday

This is THE CUTEST sewing machine cover. Ever.

Get ready for Halloween – whip up a sugar skull wall hanging to show your spirit.

Summer may be officially over, but this Summer in the City look still works great for fall.

Sew a simple skirt.

Bring the fall inside by making a few, quick and easy leaf-shaped coasters.

Even though I don’t go to a lot of potlucks, I’m a sucker for a good casserole carrier.

Ditch the square and bucket shaped bags and carry around a fun, round Canteen Bag instead.

Perfect for a simple Halloween style or just for a fun fall day: The Dinosaur Hoodie.

Stop using boring heat packs and go for something novel instead. These Cozy Critters are the perfect solution.

Where was this free stacking ring tutorial this summer when I made mine?

Dress up your pillowcase with a wedged border.

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Swoon bag patterns. Now you can get the Ethel Tote for free!

Add interest to your next garment by sewing up a feminine, scalloped top.

I am pretty sure that I need an adult-sized version of the Lizzy Peplum (sized 12 months – 5 years). Looking for something for the boys instead? Why not try this Hooded Sweatshirt?

Even your dog can head out in style with a new leash.


The McCartney Jacket

09-jacketI get very excited as the weather turns cooler. That means that jacket season is right around the corner. Not only do I love wearing a variety of coats, I love making them too! The McCartney Jacket is no exception – it’s a fun to sew zip-up (almost bomber style) jacket with two sleeve variations, optional contrast shoulder details, and the easiest welt pocket you’ll ever make. Plus it’s a great companion jacket to the Imagine Jacket released a few months ago.

For my version I used a bright, animal print, bottom-weight material from Joann‘s and a matching lighter weight cotton for the lining. I opted to go with the contrast bands (in black) to break up the print and used a black ribbed knit for the sleeve cuffs and waistband. My original intent was to sew the gathered sleeve, but since my print is so busy, I figured that detail would get lost, so I went with the standard 3-piece design.

09-jacket2For those that have never sewn a jacket before or have shied away from trying a welt pocket, this is a great pattern to start with. The instructions are detailed and have lots of color photos to help you through the construction process. Plus, the welt pocket is the same method that I mentioned in my Imagine Jacket post and couldn’t be easier!

The fit on this jacket is perfect for fall – it’s styled for a woman’s curves, but not too tight or bulky. The finished length hits about mid-hip so you can easily move around without finding that it’s riding up on you. I can see a few more of these in my closet (especially because this one gets borrowed by my oldest daughter).

For more great looks from the new Pattern Anthology collection, be sure to check out the blogs below. Plus stay tuned the rest of this week and see what else I have created from this line up (and be sure to check out my Neptute Tee from yesterday’s post):

Sabra from sew a straight line
Rachel from House of Pinheiro
Melissa from Melly Sews
Stacy from Stacy Sews
Trinh from Sweet Cheeks Designs
Kate from see kate sew
Dixie from Dixie DIY
Abbey from Sew Charleston

8 Days a Week sewing patterns


8 Days a Week Collection is a new collection of women’s sewing patterns by Pattern Anthology. This collection includes:

  1. The Neptune Tee: A casual tee with optional triangle cutouts at the front and back neckline as well as the sleeves.
  2. The Marigold Dress: A button down dress with elastic waist, long or cap sleeve options and even a peplum option.
  3. Go To Knit Pants: 3 styles of knit pants including leggings, straight leg pants and relaxed fit pants options.
  4. McCartney Jacket: A zip up jacket with fun options and lots of style.

Pattern Anthology sells their collections for a limited time at a 40%+ discount. You can purchase this collection now through October 6th. Get more details HERE.