Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vogue 1245

This is an Alice + Olivia pattern, a variation on the traditional peasant top.  I've done a review on it at Pattern Review, so you can read my thoughts on it there.  

The blue is much more vibrant than what you see here.  I did this in a soft rayon (60% off at Hancock's) but next time I think I'll use a crepe-de-chine.  I just wanted it lighter and "floatier."  It does drape beautifully, and feels wonderful!

I am disappointed that the fit is off for me.  I kind of roughly fit it with the tissue to check for the waistline measurement, and it seemed fine.  But in the finished product, it just sits way too high on my waist.  I wanted it down more toward my hips -- so live and learn!  It will fit Rose nicely, and the weight of it will be perfect for winter.  I hope she'll love it!

It's been so nice to get back in the sewing room again!  Next up is Vogue 1255, and I'll be interested to see just how much work all the ruffles are.  This patter (1245) taught me that I definitely need to get a package of those metal bias tape makers.  That would have made it SO much easier!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Project Who-Knows-What-Way

If you're anything like me, you're a huge fan of Project Runway.  I have a love/hate relationship with it, I must admit.  But I love to see what the designers do creatively, within those ridiculous time limits, and how they stay on-trend with the fashions they create.

I follow a blog called "Made by Lex."  Talk about beautiful fashion!  She remakes thrifted garments, sews for her little girls, and creates new fashions all to sell in her Etsy shop.  I especially love her scarves, which are hand-dyed.  Beautiful!

Lately Lex has been participating in a contest called "Project Run and Play."  It's a blogging version of Project Runway, except all the fashions are made for little girls.  They're given a pattern, or a theme, and eight designers then create magic!  There are 3 regular judges and one guest judge each week.  And viewers can also vote for their favourites, although the judges have the final decision.

So even if you're not into kids clothing, this blog is worth a look.  I think it is flat-out AMAZING to see what these designers are doing!  Project Runway has nothing on them!

Speaking of which (and I'll try not to rant here) -- Project Runway is supposed to be about great design with some good tv mixed in.  Thursday, September 8, 2011's show was just nothing but drama, drama, drama.  We wanted someone "out" because of their attitude and ability to play well with others, not because of their designs.  This show irritates me regularly for this very reason - they "auf" the nice ones and let the evil geniuses stay.  But the show also usually amazes me, so there you go.

I also had a look at the new Spring 2012 collection from last season's winner, Gretchen Jones.  Let me just say this:  her main cheerleader, Nina Garcia, is probably denying she ever knew Gretchen.  That is all.

So have a look at Project Run and Play and feast your eyes on great design for kids.  It will brighten your day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Since I have a ton of aprons, I thought I'd give away the one I made in the YouTube tutorial!

To enter the giveaway, just go to the YouTube Giveaway Video and leave a comment.  You can enter as many times as you like, live anywhere in the world, and the giveaway will end September 30.


Apron Tutorial

I've been meaning to do a "Sew-Along" tutorial for awhile.  Some of my YouTube subscribers had requested it, so here it is!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Here's a refashion I'd like to try.  I was looking for school clothes on Old Navy.com, and found this sweater:

I bet this wouldn't be that hard to do if you found the sweaters to combine.  I'm heading to my local Goodwill today.  Maybe I'll find something similar.  I think it would also work with varying sizes of stripes, or using long-sleeved t-shirts.  Whatcha think? 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Angela Kane

My newest obsession on YouTube:  Angela Kane

I've already learned 4-5 things from her -- mainly about basting and reducing bulk in seams.  I find this amazing as I've been sewing for 40+ years.

You'll also love the way she speaks and instructs.  She's very concise.



Saturday, August 13, 2011


Oh no no no, not to this blog!  But to my sewing room - my studio - it's been wonderful, but now it's time to dismantle and temporarily say goodbye to the big table and the big setup.

Operative word in that sentence:  TEMPORARILY. 

We are moving, but we don't know where.  In the interim, my youngest daughter and I will be in a much smaller house.  It's slightly bigger than the one we owned when my husband and I married (that one was 900 square feet!).  But I have always managed to have some sort of a sewing room, and I will continue to do so.

The small house has a spare bedroom, so I'll just set up my machine in there.  It's amazing how much you can accomplish in a small space.  So many folks have just a machine and a kitchen table, and everything has to be put away when you're done.   You have to be really determined to do projects in a setup like that, and I have the utmost respect for those that can do it.  It's really difficult to stop and start and have to reconstruct your workspace as well as your project.  Those of you who work that way are committed!  You deserve medals to pin on your beautiful projects!

I'm going to continue to work on projects until the absolute last minute.  School is starting, kids are leaving, and I'm in my last semester of an associate degree in Interior Design.  It will be busy. 

Yeah, like it's ever not busy.

And yet amid all that, I am quite sure someone will need a new dress, or top, or at the very least will need something hemmed or repaired.  And I will be right there with my machine, at the ready. 

So on to new projects!  Right now I'm working on a slouchy t-shirt dress, similar to this one:

How cute is that?  I've done a couple of muslins now, and can't seem to get the sleeves right.  I'm about ready to resort to a pattern.  Old habits die hard!  Any suggestions - please let me know.  They are solicited and appreciated!

I will keep you posted - this is such an adorable dress that I will probably make one for Emma as well (who has been LOUDLY requesting one).  They're perfect for a college girl who wants to look a little more "done" than just jeans, or even pajama pants!

(I do not EVEN want to know if my kid wears pajama pants to school.  I would die of embarrassment.  And especially if they happened to mention that their mom could sew. . . ai yi yi. . . )

I'm also TRYING -- gah this is so hard it is akin to impossible! -- to edit a video tutorial on how to make an apron.  My iMovie stops and starts, I'm a perfectionist, yada yada yada.  I WILL get it done.  If people can sew without an entire studio, surely I can accomplish this! 

More to come soon!


p.s.  Project Runway - seriously, Fallene went home?  What the heck!  I thought she deserved much more of a second chance than that other guy.  Can't even remember his name, that's how much he impressed me!

Monday, July 18, 2011


I think I might just try this.  Not sewing -- but definitely a cool craft:

These are so cute and the tutorial looks super easy.

They adapted the tutorial from this site:

Let me know if you try this.  They are so cute, I might talk one of the girls into doing them.  I think Makaela Babydoll would love them.


New Blog Site

I found this site recently and subscribed via email - I've been thoroughly enjoying the ideas and projects they post.  Have a look at their blog --


And their website -- FaveCrafts

And here's an example of one of their cute projects - a reusable coupon envelope!  I am what many would call an "extreme couponer," and I just made one of these for myself.  It's much handier than using endless paper envelopes to store receipts and a few coupons in my purse:

And here's the full tutorial if you'd like to make one:  Reusable Coupon Envelope

Fave Crafts doesn't just have endless craft and sewing tutorials, they also have e-books that are free!  They are definitely worth checking out.  You can also subscribe via email or RSS feed.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh So Much Better.

I have been busy.

I am working through the UFO pile. 

Emma made herself a purse, made her own pattern, and hijacked my machine.  So I went back to the little Pfaff 262 and remembered just how much I love it!  It purrs, there is a lot more control, and the stitch is beautiful.  I finished a refashion and now have a new dress (success)!

I'm working on a tutorial video; it has become clear to me that I am decidedly not a video editor.  This is hard!  I just want to sew!

So I'm sewing.  But right now I have to edit video.  Seeya.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fail Part Deux.

I thought I'd give you some evidence of the fails.

1.  FAIL.  The "I'll Just Throw This Together" sundress:

2.  The Vintage Vogue that doesn't fit:

3.  The 20-Hour Sundress That Looks Like Crap:

4.  A shift dress that I really like, but needs revamping - help me with ideas, my sewing sisters!

All these failures!  But I am resolved to put on my faithful sewing sweatshirt (about 20 years old, created and given to me by my sister):

Roll up my sleeves,

And get going on some successes like this one!
Thrifted Liz Claiborne skirt, shorted and bias hem added:

Any suggestions, especially on that shift dress, are welcomed!  Bring it on!



OK, I hate to admit this.  But I hate it even more when it happens.

Fail.  Fail, fail, fail.  The last 3 things I've made were failures.  They were all dresses.  One was a simple tubular maxi-dress for Mia that is too full and too short -- and the fabric was a NIGHTMARE with which to work.  It was one of those "I'll just throw this together" things that should have easily worked.  It did not.

The second was a vintage Vogue that has pintucks, which I had to tear out and redo, and then it didn't fit because I didn't try it on before I got into it (I did check the measurement on the pattern, but there you go -- always make a muslin!).  It may end up fitting one of the girls, possibly Emma.  It remains a question as to whether she'd wear it.  It's not really her style.

The last dress had gaping armholes, which I fixed after taking the entire bodice apart, lining and all and taking it in.  I compared it to the armholes on a sundress I already have and copied that.  But the thing just looks (if you'll excuse the expression) like crap!  And after probably 20 hours of sewing!  It's the pattern.  I just can't pull off box pleats under an empire waistline.

Sigh.  Sometimes it just goes in waves like this.  My body has changed dramatically from the days when I'd just make a size 10 and it always fit.  I don't have the patience to make a muslin -- except why not when it takes me at least that long when it doesn't fit?  Arghhh!  Ack!  The frustration of it all!

I say to myself often, "I don't want to fight the world today."  I don't want to fight my sewing room either, since it's supposed to be fun.  I just want to make a simple sundress for myself THAT FITS.

I'm going to give it another try today.  Here is why:  there was one success amid the failures.  It was shortening a thrifted denim skirt.  I made a bias binding out of the leftovers, and sewed that onto the hem.  It turned out nicely.  I am wearing it right now.

I don't know if I can salvage the last sundress, on which I worked until about 2AM, but I am going to try and keep the skirt.  If not, well, we all know what Scarlett said --

"Tomorrow is another day."


Friday, June 17, 2011

Dip-Dyed Shorts

Yet another cute find!  These shorts are just what I'd like to be wearing this summer, especially since I constantly wear denim, white, and khaki.  Great tutorial -- and be sure to bookmark the site, because it has some terrific ideas and tutorials.


From p.s. I made this:

Petal Skirt Tutorial

What an adorable skirt!  SO cute!

I just found this by accident -- such a great idea, and unbelievably cheap.  You use a bag of artificial rose petals from the Dollar Store, as well as a thrifted t-shirt (or one you already own).

I've linked the photo to the instruction page -- but in case that doesn't work, try this:  Petal Skirt

If you try it, let me know what you think!  Enjoy!