Friday, December 31, 2010

My Last Swap of 2010

I have been so busy since I started my new job I haven't had time to post on my Blog. The last swap I participated in on Craftster was The Chocolate Swap. For this swap we were required to craft one medium and two small projects and send at least $10 worth of chocolate. I think it is fun to get chocolate from another country. And while not mandatory it was encouraged to be open to sending to another country. Since I was unemployed when I joined this swap I thought I would have plenty of time to craft. I got my job shortly after partners were posted and I actually had to send a few days late. I was in such a rush to get my package in the mail that I forgot to take any pictures. This is the picture my partner posted in the gallery.

I sewed her a pair of flannel lounge pants. They are the turquoise with the cookies and milk. I trimmed them with brown flannel and white ric-rac. I made her a scarf that is the sort of stripey thing on top. I crocheted two washcloths and rolled them up to look like a jelly roll. And I wish I had taken some pictures of the Hershey Kiss shopping bag I made. I was really proud of this. My daughter gave me the idea for it and I patterned it after a purchased shopping bag I had that resembled a strawberry. The brown shopping bag folds up inside the Hershey Kiss. I used a silver sequined fabric for the kiss and a piece of white twill tape for the little paper label. I do plan to make another so maybe I can show some better pictures. I also put together a kit for making chocolate pretzels. And I send her some chocolate from a local candy store. Since my partner lived in Canada I thought she probably had access to many of the same chocolates that I do. So I tried to find some that she may not have tried before. She said she had never heard of any of the ones I sent.

For this swap I happened to be in a round robin with three partners. So I sent to a different person that who I received from. However I did receive a great package too. I got a really adorable chocolate cake box that is crocheted. A cute and well made cupcake pot holder and a cute cupcake tote bag. I can always use another tote bag. And inside the cake box was a delightful assortment of chocolate candy and cookies.

I Hope I will have time to join some more swaps in 2011. I have participated in almost 40 swaps since I learned about them on a blog I was reading. They are so much fun and they challenge me to craft things that I wouldn't normally make. I love coming up with ideas to fit my partners personality and the theme of the swap. I have had a chance to be creative in the mediums I am skilled at and I have even tried a few new crafts. And the best thing is I have met many new crafting friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Swap Dress

My partner for the Craft Book Swap posted an action shot of the dress I sewed for her. I think it looks great on her and it even looks like it fits well. I am so glad she likes it. I love the style too and will probably make myself a dress from the same pattern.

Once the Craft Book Swap was complete I decided to join another swap. The Chocolate Swap is in process now. I have had my partner for a few weeks now. I have decided what I am going to make but I haven't had a chance to work on anything yet. Send date is Dec 1 so I still have time. I may be able to finish something tomorrow.

A trio of chickens

My good friend Mary gave me this Crochet Pot Holder book for my birthday. It has a copyright from 1939. And it is just full of adorable pot holders. Each one has very simple instructions. When I spotted the chicken pot holders I knew I had to make some for Mary. She likes to collect whimsical chickens to decorate her kitchen. Maybe that was her motive in gifting me the book. LOL I don't mind as I love vintage crochet books and I plan to make myself some too.

I went through my yarn stash and found some red, yellow and orange Sugar and Cream cotton yarn. Perfect for some chickens. I also needed some felt for the combs and beaks as well as the underside of the chicken body. I had been holding on to this hideous orange wool coat for a while. I knew it would come in handy at some point. I had already felted it by throwing it into the washing machine in hot water. So now it is a nice heavy felt. I must have used some of it for another project because parts of it had already been used. I just don't remember what project. After adding some turquoise button eyes my chickens were complete. I love things that are practical as well as cute. Next maybe I will try the Three Little Maids pot holders on page 8. They are three multicultural faces with a holder. I am not sure if I feel right about putting a hot pot on a face. But they sure are cute.
I am sharing at this Link party Sunday Showcase

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Claire Cami Dress

My partner for the Craft Book Swap that I recently participated in admired my sewing projects and requested a dress or a skirt as the crafted part of of the swap. I was glad to make her a dress. I was a bit worried about making a garment for someone I had never met who couldn't come for fittings. I felt a bit more confident when I found we had similar measurements. I have a thicker waist and am shorter but I thought I could work with that. I decided on the Claire Cami Dress from Serindipity Studios. I had just purchased this pattern a few weeks before and hadn't sewed it up yet. But I liked the simple pullover styling and it has a high waist with a drawstring. Mainly the drawstring waist is what sold me on this dress, because she could adjust it to her liking.

I looked through her Wist and she had a lot of dresses on there so I got a good sense of her style. I wanted to use what I had on hand. I had this black linen rayon blend enough to make a dress and Trees liked black. I had some small scraps of this yellow, grey and black floral linen left over from a dress I made myself last year. Now I needed one more coordinating fabric to bring it all together. So I used this black and grey dotted fabric from the Authentic collection from Moda.

The pattern was easy to follow and has several design options for you to mix and match. Sometimes pullover dresses without buttons or zippers are a loose fit because you need to be able to pull it on and off easily. All the pictures on Trees Wist showed very fitted styles. This dress fit very well with no gaposis under the arms. And you can adjust the waist drawstring to put the gathers where you need them. I loved the way it fit me. I plan to make more for myself.

I wanted one last thing to tie it all together. As I was looking at the yellow floral scraps I noticed that one of the salvage edges had the print going all the way to the edge and the edge was fringe. Perfect for making a flower broach to pin to the shoulder. That completed the look and I loved it. I really wanted to keep it for myself but it was destined for China. Trees likes the dress too but she hasn't had time to post pictures wearing it. I will share her pictures as soon as she does. In the meantime this is me trying on her dress.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Silk Jacket

I made up my new silk jacket yesterday from the Sew Serindipity Book. I sewed this to wear with my Ruffled Skirt from the same book. I followed the directions for the Silk and Linen Jacket from page 123. My jacket is made with all silk. I had the raw silk in my stash for a few years waiting for the right project. This silk does look like linen because it has a linen weave to it. And the cream colored silk dupioni is salvaged from a drapery workroom. The silk dupioni ravels like crazy when you cut it. I tried to serge the edges as soon as possible. The raw silk doesn't ravel much. I thought these two fabrics looked nice together. They are similar to the ones in the book. I think it makes a dressy looking jacket.

The jacket itself was easy to construct and went together quickly. It is a raglan sleeve style and I made the hip length. The pattern has three length options. I will wear this jacket but it is not my favorite. I prefer a set in sleeve on a jacket because you can get a better fit. I probably will use the ideas in the book for the other jackets but I don't think I will use this pattern again. I will use the ideas with another pattern with set in sleeves.

As I was sewing the jacket I thought that the neck looked quite small but I just followed the pattern and I didn't have the facing on yet. So the seam would open up the neckline some. While the neck is not really to tight I don't like how high it comes up. With the high neck and the collar I think it looks a bit like a Pilgrim's garb. I was going to wear it for Thanksgiving so maybe the Pilgrim look would work.

The other thing that bothers me about this jacket is the upper sleeves. I don't like the way they wrinkle and bag in the upper arm. This is partially a result of the Raglan sleeve style. I can't really take the sleeves in as that would make it hard to move my arms with this jacket on. Both the neck problem and the sleeve problem could be changed at the cutting stage but not much to do about it at the end stage. I think I would like the neckline if it was about an inch lower. And the sleeves would hang better if the seam didn't taper to the wrist but was a straighter seam. But that would make for a loose bottom edge.

So next jacket I make will have set in sleeves or it will be a very loose swing style jacket. I have several patterns in my stash with set in sleeves. I am still going to try the dress or tunic from the book. I think I will like the dress even though it has raglan sleeves too. I am definitely going to make more of the skirts from the book.

Friday, November 5, 2010

inspire co.: Inspired Ideas, The Christmas Issue...

inspire co.: Inspired Ideas, The Christmas Issue... Take a look at this beautiful Christmas Craft magazine on Inspire Co. There is a lot of work and talent put into this online magazine. I would like to try the embroidered Christmas trees and a few of the garlands. I better get started.

Serindipity Skirt

I picked up a copy of Sew Serindipity several weeks ago at the Sewing Expo. I was delighted to find that it was signed by the author Kay Whitt. I love the styles in this book and the way she mixes prints. The book comes with three patterns in an envelope in the back of the book. There is a pattern for a tunic-dress, a jacket and a skirt. I have plans to make at least one of everything. The book shows many variations of the three basic patterns. Even though you use the same pattern every project has a different look.

I decided to make the Ruffled Skirt from page 58. I was able to find three coordinating fabrics in my stash to get started. I thought this brown floral looked like fall. It is actually a decorator fabric but I am always drawn to decorator fabrics for clothing. I love the feel of this fabric. It has a soft feel and a linen weave and the colors are lovely. The silk dupioni I used for the ruffles was a piece I salvaged from a drapery workroom. One side was cut on the bias and it was not a very big piece but just big enough for this project. And it was free which is always a plus. The brown I used for the bottom panel I have had in my stash for a few years. I don't think I had anything in mind when I bought it on the clearance rack. But I loved the satin and velvet ribbons sewn down the length. There is a tiny strip of bias plaid fabric sewn down one of the velvet strips and I liked the way that tied in with the colors of the floral fabric.

I am quite happy with the way this skirt turned out and maybe I will have time to make a jacket to wear with it before Thanksgiving. I think I may have to take in the waist a bit because while it feels fine when just trying it on I fear it will do one of those twisting dances when I wear it. That happens to me when my skirt is just a bit to loose and I look down and discover that my skirt is about 6" off center. I always wonder how long I have been walking around like that. Tightening it up a bit should solve that problem.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Knit Dress

My good friend Mary took me to this great fabric store near her home called A Fabric Place. I don't think they have a web site. They have all kinds of beautiful fabrics from silks and wools that I never see at my chain fabric stores. While I was there I only bought one piece of fabric. It was this lovely slinky jersey knit. I got it with thoughts of making this dress from Butterick 5484. The pattern has three views with the only changes being the length. There is a short top length, a tunic length and a below the knee dress. The dress has a cross over top that passes through a buckle. I had a bit of a challenge finding the right kind of buckle, but I found one in the perfect color at Hancock Fabric.

The dress is a pretty easy and quick project to sew. There are only two pattern pieces. I have made crossover tops before and I always get confused about which seam to sew first and how to make the crossover in the front. I usually do it wrong at least one time before I get it right. This dress was no exception. I had to take one seam out because I sewed the wrong seam before putting the buckle on. The dress was easy to sew but the fabric was very soft and slinky so that made it trickier to sew. Because the fabric was so thin and stretchy it wanted to get sucked down into the throat plate. This happened several times during construction but I was able to catch it before it made a hole in the fabric. Also I think because of how stretchy the fabric was it was quite large under the arms but it was easy to take in before I sewed the hem on the sleeves.

The fabric is very clingy so it shows every figure flaw. I decided I need to wear one of those suck it in slips with this dress. I do like the finished dress though and I think I will make another in the tunic length. But I will probably use a sturdier knit next time.

I am not really very good at taking pictures and I have this photographic disorder. It manifest itself when a camera flash goes off I get a weird expression on my face. It happens nearly every time anyone takes my picture. So I decided to cut my head off in this picture to take care of that problem. I would prefer to sew than spending all afternoon taking pictures of myself. Even if I spent all day there is no guarantee that any of the pictures would have a decent expression on my face.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review

I love sewing and craft books and I am always getting a new one. My newest book is SEW U Home Stretch The Built By Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics. This is a great book for a beginner sewer who wants to start sewing knits or an advanced sewest who just wants to expand a bit on designs. The first part of the book is a guide to choosing knit fabrics patterns and equipment for sewing knits. And then a guide to various techniques for finishing a knit garment. After that is a very detailed guide to sewing a basic crew neck t-shirt.

The book comes with three patterns for basic knit garments. A crew neck t-shirt, a raglan shirt and basic knit dress patterns are found in an envelope at the back of the book. The patterns come in XS to L. There is a chapter covering construction for each of the three looks. But my favorite feature of the book is that each chapter expands on the basic garment to show how you can change the basic look by altering the pattern. It first shows construction and cutting for the basic garment and then shows six variations that you can achieve by changing the neckline, length or other parts of the basic look.

The last chapter covers recycling or using old t-shirts to make new garments with. I love sewing with knits. And as Wendy comments in the book sewing with knits is easy and most of the time easier that sewing a garment with woven fabrics. This is because knit lend themselves well to basic styles with few seams. And most of the time you don't need zippers or buttons because of the stretch of knits. You can make a fitted top without a zipper and still be able to get it on and off.

I can usually sew a t-shirt in an hour or so and I love that kind of quick results. I have several knits in my stash and I could use some new shirts. I think I will be making some up in the next week or so. And I am going to try getting a bit creative and changing the basic pattern. I like to wear tank tops layered under jackets or sweaters in the winter. I could use some of those in every color. And a new knit dress to wear with tights or leggings when the weather gets cold. I can't wait to get started.

Friday, October 15, 2010

One Dozen Pumpkins

I have been seeing a lot of fabric pumpkins around blog land lately. After viewing several tutorials I came up with my own version. I didn't really have any clear rules I just sort of made them up as I went along. For fabric I used decorator samples in shades of orange and tan. A friend gave me a huge pile of samples. I went through them looking for anything that would make a good pumpkin. My favorites are the none traditional colors. I love the tan dotted one and the tapestry pumpkin. Some of them are a red orange and they look more like apples to me. But apples are a good fall decoration too.

I further up cycled by using my collection of plastic grocery bags waiting for the recycle bin in my garage. It took a lot of plastic bags to fill up a pumpkin even though the largest one are only about 10 inches tall. I also used marbles to give some weight to the bottoms so they would stand up. Each pumpkin is a bit different because I just cut the curves as I went along and used whatever shape fabric I had. Some are short and squat, some are tall and thin, and some are just nice and round. I did keep them fairly symmetrical by cutting both side curves at the same time. I didn't want my pumpkins to be lopsided. I like them all grouped together. I think I will use them to decorate my mantle. Sunday Showcase UndertheTableandDreaming

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black Cat Greeter

This is from the same pattern as my ghost McCall's 3313. And this was oh so easy to make too. He is made of black felt with felt applique eyes and mouth and button teeth. There is a loop formed in his tail that you hang him up with. In the same pattern there is a standing witch and a pumpkin draft dodger. All quick and easy projects.

Holloween Ghost

I have been wanting to make these ghost for about six years now. I picked up McCall's 3313 because I thought the ghost were so cute. I wanted to make a display for my front porch. Every year time just got away from me before Holloween. And I just don't feel right about making Holloween decorations after the fact. Anyhow by then I am getting ready for Christmas. Last year I even purchased the felt I needed for this project.

This year I was determined to get these things made. They were actually a very simple project to sew. Just the shapes pancaked together. The faces are appliqued with fusible web. And they have button teeth and eyes. I even sewed the buttons on by machine. My machine has a built in stitch and a special presser foot for that purpose. I never tried it before but it worked great and it even ties the stitch off at the end.

The pattern called for using tomato cages for the inside form. But I didn't have any tomato cages and it was the wrong time of year to find them anywhere. So I improvised and used what I had on hand. I made a sort of tee-pee with three wooden garden stakes held together with duct tape. And then I padded out the top with plastic grocery bags. Wrapped the lights around and pulled the ghost over. I used upside down pots as a sort of stand to keep them from falling over. I am glad I finally got these done even though I don't get any trick-or-treaters at my house. I will enjoy my ghost.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Under The Table and Dreaming: The Anniversary Rose WINNER and Sunday Showcases

Under The Table and Dreaming: The Anniversary Rose WINNER and Sunday Showcases I got featured on Under The Table And Dreaming Sunday Showcase. UndertheTableandDreaming

My Strip Skirt got a lot of attention. Even Kay Whitt the creator of the Strip Skirt Pattern commented on my post. She has many more adorable patterns available at I picked up a signed copy of her new book Sew Serendipity. I want to make one of everything in the book. I have plans to make the skirt on the cover first. Of course I am using different fabric but I love the scrappy look of that skirt. There is a jacket that I want to try and I think I have the perfect fabric already in my stash. I also purchased a The Claire Cami Dress Pattern while I was at the Sewing Expo. I am thinking about making something for my latest swap partner from either the book or the dress pattern. I am looking through my stash to see if I have any fabric I could use. I am looking forward to using these patterns a lot.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A New Top

I needed a new top to wear with my Strip Skirt I shared a few post ago. My inspiration was a white knit top I had in my closet. It had a ruffled band around the neckline in the same knit as the shirt. I had this brown jersey knit fabric in my stash. And I used New Look 6735. I have had this pattern in my stash for quite a while so I am not sure if it is still available. There is a short sleeve and a three quarter sleeve t-shirt, a skirt, pants and a cardigan in the envelope. All are sized for stretch knits. I have sewed the t-shirt many times before. I like the way it fits and it is a good basic style.

This is the first time I have sewed this style with embellishment. I decided to use some of the scrap strips I had left over from my Strip Skirt. I cut them into five or six inch pieces and sewed them together to make a long strip. I wanted a variety at my neckline. I gathered both edges and arranged them around the neckline. Then I used strips of the knit to cover the raw edges.

I did run into a bit of a problem on the top neck edge. Even though I tried it on after sewing the ruffle on to make sure it was laying flat. Everything looked good. But it looked horrible after I sewed the knit neckband on. I think this was because the knit was very soft and stretchy and the gathered band was quite bulky compared to the weight of the knit. I was able to fix this by running a piece of narrow elastic through the neckband.

This knit was very stretchy and lightweight so I suspected that I would have trouble with the hems. I could have used my serger cover stitch but I didn't feel like setting it up for that. And I wasn't sure I had enough thread either. I tested a scrap of the knit using a knit stitch on my regular sewing matching and it looked like it would work without a lot of stretching. Well after sewing a few inches on the real hem my soft stretchy fabric got sucked down into the throat plate and I couldn't pull it out. I had to remove the throat plate and cut the ball of thread that formed and caused it to lodge in there. Now I had a hole in my hem. I didn't want to make my hem three inches shorter which would have been one way to fix it. I just sewed the hole up with a straight stitch and finished the hem. First I put some tear away stabilizer under it to prevent the fabric from being sucked down again. I should have thought of that in the first place. In the end the hems turned out nice. I don't think I have ever used that stitch on my machine but it is really nice for knits. It is a slight zig-zag that goes back on itself every stitch. On the top it looks like a straight stitch and underneath you can see a small zig-zag. And the hems are stretchy without looking stretched out. If this worked on this very slinky hard to handle knit I think it should be great for a more stable knit. I see myself using this stitch more in the future. That is if I remember. UndertheTableandDreaming The Girl Creative

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Craft Book Swap

I joined a Craft Book Swap and we got our partners the other day. My partner lives in Taiwan so I am excited about getting something from Taiwan. For the swap we are required to send a craft book that our partner is interested in along with supplies to complete at least one project from the book. We also need to send one medium or two small crafted items of our own choosing. I am excited to be getting a Chinese craft book. I can't wait to see what she sends me.

Right now I am deciding what I should send monkey_girl. She likes wearing dresses and I like to sew dresses. But I'm not sure about getting a dress to fit someone I have never seen. And she has no way of coming over for a fitting. I may think about making a dress that has some adjustments build into it like a drawstring waist or something so she could adjust it to her liking. I am still in the early stages of this swap and I don't have any solid ideas yet. I have until November first to send and I am sure I will come up with something by then. She has several things on her wist that I could make for her. I will ask her some more questions and usually once I come up with one good idea my mind keeps going with more ideas than I can use. I don't think finding the right book will be a problem. I think this will be a fun swap.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Strip Skirt

Some of the things I picked up at The Sewing Expo this past Saturday were this Jelly Roll and The Stella Strip Skirt Pattern. The skirt is made entirely of 2 1/2 inch strips making it a real time saver if you use Jelly Rolls. The skirt can be made with any fabric that you cut into 2 1/2 inch strips. The pattern is from Serendipity Studios. I picked out this Marcus Brothers Fabrics Jelly Roll because I thought I had some olive cotton satin fabric in my stash at home. At first I thought the olive was a bit off from the colors in the strips. But when I put them out together I liked the look and to me everything blended well.

The pattern said it was a quick and easy design. I thought it did look easy but I was sceptical about the quick part. To me a quick project is less than 2 hour to finish and this skirt took much longer than that. I didn't really time myself but I worked on it the better part of two days. And I didn't run into any of my usual snags. The pattern was easy to follow and there are several options for finishing the hem edge. I decided to make a ruffle hem edge using four of the strips that were the same fabric. My original idea was to piece together random sizes of the leftover strips I used in the skirt to make the ruffle. But at this point I was so close to being done I didn't want to spend the time piecing and arranging. I love the finished skirt. I am not usually attracted to greens so I don't have any tops in my wardrobe that match this skirt. I did have a light brown jersey knit in my stash I could make a t-shirt out of. I am trying to decide how I could embellish the t-shirt to bring the look all together. I am thinking of making some of those fabric rosettes I have been seeing all over blog land. Or maybe some ruffles out of the leftover strips. Perhaps I should just leave it plain least it look to frumpy and home made.

I will be sharing this at Amylouwho Sew-n-Tell Friday. Check out all the great projects there.
UndertheTableandDreaming The Girl Creative

Monday, October 4, 2010

Petite Purse

This past Saturday I attended Original Sewing & Quilt Expo. I had a great time and was able to pick up some lovely fabrics and new patterns. I was attracted to this booth that had adorable bag patterns and unique purse hardware. I got leather handles, cute zippers with charms on them and the pattern for the Petite Purse. They have and online store Quilt Plus.
The Japanese fabrics on the left are from a booth called Some Art Fabric
. I used the patchwork looking fabric for my little purse. The gold handles and the brown zipper I got to go with the Eiffel Tower fabric. I fell in love with just about every fabric they had in Some Art Fabric. I did purchase a few other pieces. I will save those for another post.

So today I made up my little Petite Purse. This pattern was super easy. It took me longer to hand sew the handles on than it did to cut out and sew up the entire purse. The handle could only be sewed by hand. They were not difficult to sew but they did take a bit of time. I plan to make another purse with a few changes to the directions. The pattern does have three size options and I made the smallest one. I am happy with the results although I am not sure if I can use it myself. I think the purse may be better suited for someone younger. My daughter may get this one. Also the fabric looks very summery and the fall season is upon us. But there is always next summer.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Monogram Napkins

My daughter has a few friends who have been getting married lately. She is a recent college graduate who hasn't found a real job yet, so she is on a tight budget. She still wants to give her friend a nice gift. She wasn't able to attend the wedding so she needs to mail the gift. She picked out this set of four Melamine Plates and a set of four matching Cocktail Spreaders at a Tuesday Morning. These would not break during shipping and even though they were not the dishes on her registry they matched nicely. We felt like it needed something else.

I had these nice restaurant style white napkins in my stash. I had picked several packages of twelve a few years ago when I first bought my sewing embroidery machine. I knew they would make great gifts. We picked out a monogram that was close to the one on the plates and a close embroidery thread color. The napkins still needed something to make them more modern. So I added the black jumbo Ric-Rack around the edge. I sewed the Ric-Rack on in a zig-zag that I had to turn manually at every point. I could have just sewed right down the middle but the points of the Ric-Rack would have curled up every time they were washed. They would have to be carefully pressed each time they were used. I know I would hate doing that so I sewed from point to point to keep all the Ric-Rack from curling. This took a lot more time to sew that way but I think it is worth saving much frustration in the future. I wanted the bride to be able to use these napkins. I know I would never use them if I had to press all those points. I think they turned out nice I hope the bride and groom like them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Poodle Skirt

I attended a Relay For Life event On Friday night. These are held all over the country as a fund raising effort for The American Cancer Society. Teams are formed and team members walk a course throughout the night. I went to support my good friend Patti who lost her husband to cancer just three weeks ago. I can relate to her so much because I too lost my husband to cancer twelve years ago. I have been a team leader in the past for my local Relay For Life event.

The theme for Patti's team was 50's and she ask me to make her a Poodle skirt. Since I am still in the Stashbusting September I had to find everything I needed in my stash. I knew I had everything I needed I just had to find it. I have been in a sort of putting away mode for a while now. And for some strange reason I can't remember where I put things. When everything was in a mess I seemed to know where everything was.

I had a pattern for the poodle skirt but it was a child's size 8 and while Patti is tiny that size was way to small. However this is a pretty basic pattern for a circle skirt with only two seams and elastic waistband. It would be easy to enlarge. I added six inches to it by cutting the sides 1 1/2 inches larger. When this is multiplied by the four edges it gives the size I needed. I also added 6 inches to the waistband piece. I used a heavy polyester satin that I had in my stash for several years. My original idea for the poodle was to use an applique from a dance costume my daughter wore when she was little. I started to remove the poodle and thought it would probably be faster to just make the poodle out of some pink fur I had in my stash. But now I had to find the pink fur. The skirt itself only took about an hour and a half to make but I spent way more time than that looking for the fabrics. As I was sewing I spotted some pink scalloped trim in my sewing room. I decided to use it in the hem. I think it added just the right touch and it also made it easier to finish the hem as quickly as possible. I was in kind of a time crunch for this project. I finished it at 2:30 and left the house at 3:00 to meet Patti and go to the Relay. The skirt fit her nice and she looked cute in it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A new top.

I made this top a few weeks ago from fabric in my stash. I joined Stashbusting September and I am supposed to be using up my stash and not buying new. I have done well at not buying anything to add to my already large stash. But I have been so busy with other things that I haven't had much time to spend in my sewing room. So far I have only sewed two items from my stash. One was the pink dress from a few post ago. The other is this top. And actually both fabrics are relatively new to my stash. The pink fabric I bought last year at the Sewing Expo. This dotted jersey I got at Jo-Ann Fabric at the beginning of the summer. The pattern I used was Simplicity 2345 view A. I was about 2 inches short on my fabric. But I was able to make it work by shortening the front facing a bit. This is not noticeable at all in the finished top. All in all I like this top.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Swap Apron Arrived

It has been a while since I have been able to post a blog. I received my apron from The Super Simple Apron Swap. My partner sent an adorable apron with one of my favorite themes (cupcakes). She also sent a couple of extras, some dish scrubbies and a bar of lovely homemade soap. I have participated in several apron swaps and all were such fun and I received some nice aprons. I have really started wearing aprons around the house for cooking and cleaning and sometimes for just eating. I tend to be a messy eater too. I want to wear an apron to protect my clothes but at the same time I don't want to mess up my pretty apron. I guess I need to make some out of leather or something practical. I wore one of my older aprons the other month for making funnel cakes at a local fair and it got really yucky from all the oil splatters. My clothes stayed nice but my apron wouldn't come clean. Oh well I guess that is what aprons are for.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Wrap Dress

When I received my package from Goodwill Online a few weeks ago this New Look Pattern 6861 was among the goodies inside. Wrap dresses seem to be in style right now. Even though this pattern is probably out of print (I think it may be from somewhere in the 90's) I decided if I shortened the length it would be just about right. I purchased this pink rayon circle fabric at the Sewing Expo I went to last year. I love the feel and drape of this fabric as well as the colors. This pattern seemed like it would be a good use of this fabric. I spent yesterday putting it together.

This was actually a very easy to make dress. But of course I seem to complicate things by discovering fitting problems when the dress is almost complete. I plan to adjust my pattern now just in case I ever make this one again. As I mentioned I knew that the length was way to long for the look of today's wrap dresses. So I shortened the length of the pattern by 10 inches. Also the pattern was one size to small so I added a bit to the sides as well. There is nothing worse than going to all the trouble of making a dress to discover that you can't get your big toe into it. And normally in the big four pattern companies you wear a few sizes larger than ready to wear. You just need to go by your body measurements for the size you wear and ignore the size you wear in ready to wear. I know for most of us women we don't want to admit to wearing several sizes larger. But it is just a number and no one is going to know what size you made unless you tell them. When you make it yourself you don't even need to put a size anywhere on the garment. Enough said about that.

Well since I joined Stashbusting September over at T-Shirt Diaries I am not supposed to buy any new stash and just use what I already have. I had everything I needed except for the perfect color of thread. Even though there are many shades of pink in my fabric the two shades of pink thread I had were a bit off. I had one that was to light a shade and the other was a smokey pink while all the pinks in my fabric were bright. The smokey pink blended well enough and I even had enough matching serger thread to go with it.

All was going well and I was trying the dress on as I sewed to make sure it was fitting as I wanted. My main concern was the neckline. Those crossover necklines can be fitting problems by being to gaping and floppy. And they tend to be very low cut. Since I am fairly short this seems to be something I run into quite often. At every stage of trying on I thought the neckline was lying smooth and covering well. But when I tried it on after sewing the facing on it turned out to fit terribly floppy and ill fitting. I am also a bit short waisted and this flaw showed up after I had the dress all finished except for the hem. And for some unknown reason I decided to sew the sleeves on before sewing the front facing on. I knew I could get the dress to fit me but it was going to take some time.

I have worked in clothing alterations most of my life so I was determined to get this dress right. I had to reduce the front neck edge by about 2 inches. To do this I had to remove the sleeves and take the shoulders apart and remove enough of the facing to make room for the new seam. When I had that all done every thing fit smooth and even the waist line was brought up to where it belonged. Now I felt like I could wear this dress in public. Now I need to work on altering my waist line as these wrap dresses would look so much better on a thinner frame. But that is something that will take much more work than making this dress.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The T-Shirt Diaries: Stashbusting September Blogs - Link Up Time

The T-Shirt Diaries: Stashbusting September Blogs - Link Up Time
I joined The T-Shirt Diaries Stashbusting September. This means that I have promissed to craft only from my stash for the whole month. I am not allowed to buy any new supplies or even any old supplies from a thrift store. I realized that I have enough stash to last me for several years but suddenly I feel the urge to go to JoAnn's and use my latest coupon. It is sort of like being on a diet and craving cheesecake.

Last night while watching TV I cut out several patterns and looked through some of my stash in an effort to actually use the stash I have. I have several garments in mind to stitch up. I also have several projects that I have started so this may be a good opportunity to finish what I have started. I have been wanting to crochet a rug for my kitchen using all my ugly fabrics. You know the ones you look at and think why in the world did I ever buy that. I knitted a huge rug last year from many of my uglies and it turned out quite cute. The fabrics get muted and you can no longer see the patterns and it seems like everything blends together even though some of the fabrics would look horrible together in a quilt or garment. I want a long runner for my kitchen.

OK now that I have this plan in writing I may be able to stick with it. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I got featured.

I am so excited that I got featured on Creative Itch. I have never been featured before and I don't know what the proper etiquette is. She featured my upcycled denim apron. I really enjoyed making this project and it is something I plan to keep for myself. But I am keeping an eye out for more denim jumpers I can turn into aprons.

Apron Swap Complete

I am participating in The Super Simple Apron Swap and I finished every thing and I am ready to send it off. My partners favorite color was green so I started by looking through my stash to see if I had anything in green. Green is not my favorite color so I don't usually buy green. I have many small fat quarters because I often need a small piece of green for details in an applique or something. But nothing big enough to make an apron with. I have a huge stash and lately I have been trying to use up some of it. Like I said in an earlier post friends often give me fabrics when they are cleaning out their closets. I had just received a bag of free fabric shortly after I joined this swap. The purple and pink flowered fabric was in that bag and there was about 5 yards of it. More than enough to make an apron. The green fabric I used came from a bag of free gift fabric someone gave me last year. It coordinated perfectly with the flowered fabric.

I decided to make Butterick 5474 view E. The lower skirt is made up of two aprons layered. The green one is slightly smaller than the flowered one so the flowered fabric peeks out all around. The top is lined in the same fabric making for easy construction. There is a round collar and three buttons down the center front. I like the way the collar makes the apron easy to put on because you don't have to mess with tying the neck. You can just slip it over your head. I would love to make myself this style. I already had the vintage style buttons in my stash that matched the fabrics nicely.

We decided to send small extras, (the swap only required one apron). I trimmed a hand towel with a ruffle and green band. And I made some micro oven mitts. These micro oven mitts are great for taking thing out of the microwave. I had made some several years ago and had almost forgot about them. I think I need to make myself some more of these too. I love joining swaps because it challenges me to make things I would not normally make. Even though I have found a new love for making and wearing aprons in the last few years, it wasn't until I joined my first apron swap that I really discovered my love for aprons.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Quick Top

I whipped up another top from Butterick 5216. This time I made view B however I made mine a bit shorter. I used some free fabric that a friend had given me. It is sort of a novelty satin in white. This is a super easy top to sew up. There are only three pattern pieces, the front, the back and the shoulder strap tie. I made the large according to my measurements but it turned out huge on me. But it was very easy to take in the sides to fit better. I think I will make another one in a more drapey fabric. It is a good thing this top is so easy to sew because summer is almost over. I still have a month or so that it will be hot where I live.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A quick top

I made a quick and easy top the other day, Butterick 5216. There were four views on the pattern. Really slightly different versions of two tops. I made view C. View D is the same except it has sleeves. This top would have been a very quick project except I had to complicate it by using this creased fabric. The fabric made it difficult to cut out because I had to try and stretch out the fabric on the crosswise grain to get the right size. The lengthwise grain had no creases so that could be cut as it was. There are tiny sequins and rows of decorative stitching on the fabric too. The decorations were not a problem when cutting or sewing.

I must not have flattened the crosswise grain enough because when I tried on the top one armhole was about two inches bigger than the other. It was easy enough to alter. I still think I need to make one more adjustment to the back neck. After wearing the top for a few hours I don't like how floppy the neck edge is. I think this will be an easy fix of putting a pleat at the center back neck. Because of the texture of this fabric the pleat will barely be noticeable. This will make the neck fit more closely. I was also thinking about shortening the length a bit. I haven't decided yet if this length is a bit to long for my short stature. I will probably wear it a few times and then decide how I like it. The top is very low cut but I plan to wear a cami under it always. With the fabric being a bit shear and the neckline ending below the bust it must be worn with something under, even though the pattern envelope shows the top being worn alone.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Apron Swap

I joined an Apron Swap on Craftster. I finished an adorable apron for my partner today. I am not sure if she reads my blog or not. I don't want to post a picture yet just in case. However I made another apron using the same pattern different view. I used Butterick 5474. For fabric I upcycled a couple of denim jumpers I purchased at the thrift shop for $2.00 each. I adapted the pattern from view A.

Since one of the jumpers had this cute birdhouse applique I knew I wanted to use it for the bib of my apron. The fringe fabric around the applique inspired the fringed binding. So instead of binding the edge with bias tape as the pattern suggested I cut 2 inch wide fabric strips and attached them around the unfinished edge of the apron. Then I sewed the jumbo chenille Ric-rac down the middle. Then I clipped the both edges of the strip at intervals about 1/2 inch apart. After attaching the pockets which came from the lower band on the jumper I threw the apron into the washing machine. The washing and drying helped to make the fabric fringe and ravel which was the look I was going for.

When I saw these jumpers in the thrift store I knew I was going to use them for another project. The birdhouse jumper said apron to me. Once I decided what I wanted to make I had to finish it right away because I was anxious to see the results. It was a quick project and I love the results. Even though I was in the apron swap on Craftster I didn't think this apron was my partners style. I wanted to make her one with new fabric. Actually her apron is made from free fabric that friends had given me. When people know that sew I they often clean out their closets and offer fabric to me. I usually take whatever is offered and give away what I don't want. It is all good.