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.