Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homecoming Dance 2012

The mission:  find a killer dress for the Homecoming dance.

The budget:  not much

The result:

From this

To this!

The dress is a poly taffeta that I found at Goodwill for $5.99.

After a bit of shortening and a neckline re-do, it was perfect.

Mission accomplished.  For really cheap.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Losing Weight

I am working through my UFO's.  It is killing me!  I want to sew something new.  This is like being on a sewing diet and I do not like it, Sam I Am.

The latest thing is this skirt:

Which came from this pattern:

Please note that it's a little girls pattern in a size 7-10.  Since I'm also on a food diet, it is imperative that the fact that I can fit into a little girls size 10 is loudly proclaimed from every rooftop.

I had already cut the 10.

Here's the backstory -- when Emma was in 4th or 5th grade, I told her I would make her some things.  One of them was this skirt.  She and I traced off the pattern, and she cut it out.  Then I set it aside -- 


It seemed big for a size 10 little girl, but I decided to put it together anyway.  She hadn't wanted the large ruffle at the bottom, and it was just a little elastic waist skirt.  I decided to go ahead and see if she wanted it, and give it away if she didn't.

So I put most of it together just as it was.  Emma, now 21, said she'd never wear it.  So I looked at it, decided that I do love the print, and I'd just finish it up for me.  I couldn't get over how big it was.  I guess it's because it's just a little elastic-waist skirt . . . anyway, I added pockets, cut off the long hem and made a little ruffle, and then turned down the top and made it a drawstring/paper bag waist.  I can't get over how cute it is!  Who knew?

I'm also finishing up another little girl's dress from -- GASP! -- 17 years ago!  Holy cow!  Makenna and Mia affectionately called it "The Doll Dress," because the print on it is paper dolls.  

I know now why I never did finish it.  It has MILES of gathering.  See?

It's a tiered skirt.  These are the last two tiers.  And that's probably 15 feet of ruffle.  As of this moment, I have the longer piece gathered into the blue one, and I'm trying to get the blue one gathered into the other two endless ruffled layers I did a few days ago.  Then I just need to attach it to the bodice.  

At least I found it with the bodice done and sleeves attached.  I may have given up altogether had those not been done.

It really is such a darling dress -- and I know this because I already made one all those years ago!  I always made 2 of each dress because I had twins.  But this one . . . well, it was a lot of work, and I had a lot of little kids at the time.  I'm pretty sure I still have the other dress, so maybe I'll just give it one to the twins to give to their own kids.  Which may not be that far off in the future at this point, although they'll probably all have boys. Murphy's law.  We'll see.

I will post photos when it's done.  After that, it's just a black sundress and then I'm home free.  I have a pair of shorts to do for Makaela, and then I want a robe, and Jenna wants more sundresses, and Makenna wants dresses, and I have a couple of YouTube tutorials in the works . . . 

The moral of this story?  FINISH YOUR UFO'S.  They will come back to haunt you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Easy Fix

Today, I pulled a skirt out of my closet that I hadn't worn in awhile.  I like it a lot - I got it thrifted and it's a departure from my standard blue/white/denim/flowered-little-skirt.

I also got the belt thrifted, and when I put it on, I didn't really like it.  So I tried some other belts in my closet, and nothing looked just right.

I decided the original belt would look fine - it just needed a bit of detail.  I remembered Judy from YouTube saying that she occasionally attached charms to her necklaces and belts.  Hmmmm.  I didn't have any charms, really . . .

So I took a couple of earrings I had and attached those.  What a difference!  Much better, and just what it needed.  Thanks, Judy!

Angela Kane Again

I just got this in my YouTube subscription to Angela Kane's channel.  Although I don't represent her in any way, and I'm not even a paid member of her site, I think this is worth noting.

I'm not a paid member for 2 reasons:  I have a pattern collection of 800+ patterns, and I'm on a very tight budget right now.  But if I were not on such a strict budget, I'd subscribe for the tutorials.  Her tutorials are absolutely fabulous.  And being able to download a basic pattern any time is a wonderful option.  I think this would be a good investment for any sewer.

Just another option for your sewing:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Tour

Want a look at my new sewing room?  Want to hear me confess how I'm somewhat of a FAILURE when it comes to UFO's?  Well, here you go:

I promise, I promise, I promise I will finish those projects and put up photos just to prove it.

Yeah, well, we'll see . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Butterick 6072

I am literally sewing through my stash of unfinished projects right now.  Last night I picked up something I'd cut out for Mia.  I'd originally done it in another fabric, but that just didn't work.  The previous fabric had been a rayon challis -- this fabric is a lightweight crepe du chine.  I didn't hold out much hope that it would fit or be wanted by any of the girls.  Mia had turned up her nose at the previous rayon version and said it didn't fit quite right.  Fail.

So I finished this one up regardless and brought it out to Makaela.  I couldn't believe it.  She loved it!  It looks great on her, too!  Pleasant surprises all around -- so here's the pattern and the finished dress on her.  Yet another reason to finish a project.

I actually made this pattern for myself to wear to a wedding in 1978.  
But I am quite certain I never looked this good in it -- 

Groan . . .

Just when I thought I was finished with this endless collection of patterns that I have . . . I see this hiding under the iron.


I need to go to Patternaholics Anonymous.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Butterick 4790, The Walkaway Dress

After a quick look through Google images, I was surprised to see just how popular this dress is!  Makaela saw the pattern and immediately loved it.  She and I thought initially it would be a good first project for her -- but that went by the wayside pretty quickly.

So I finished it for her.  I will say this -- the closures are a pain to get lined up properly and hand sewn.  I used 3 oversized snaps and 3 hooks & eyes in the front, and another hook & eye in the back.  But the rest is a breeze.  I lined the whole thing, and bound the hem in bias tape as well as the sides (which the pattern calls for).  We also flared the skirt of the sheath, and were pleasantly surprised when it gave the skirt some oomph without having to have a petticoat.

It turned out beautifully.  She is much happier about it than she appears in these photos!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And Speaking of Vintage . . .

I ran across this video from 1948.  Very entertaining!  I have to say, though, my home-ec class was never this detailed -- I mean, I learned to sew, but it was more like the peasant top she's wearing!  Thank God for modern patterns and new techniques!


I'm currently working on a Vogue Vintage pattern.  Almost done -- except that I want covered buttons and I only have 3 (need 6).  There's some hand sewing with this, and I do hate hand sewing!  But I think it will be worth it.  It's part of working through my UFO's -- things I've had in my stash and just haven't taken time to finish.  I'm committed on this one, though.  I've heard Angela Kane say "always finish a project."  Good advice.

This particular pattern says "average" for the sewing skills, but I think it's a little more advanced.  If I make it again, I think I'll use a very light cotton, like a Liberty, with a soft hand.  There are so many gathers in the skirt that even a quilting cotton is a bit heavy.

This is from the 1956-57 Original Design, and I believe Vogue still has it, although it's a clearance pattern at this point:

Speaking of patterns, I'm still organizing.  Just when I thought I was done -- I ran across the 40+ that I got at our local Salvation Army.  Sign.

Back to it!  I have sewing to do!  : ) 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Organizing Patterns Video

Me, organizing my patterns, live and in person:

Working with Chiffon and Sheer Fabrics

Best tutorial I've seen on working with chiffon, especially when it comes to rolled hems.  It's in Spanish, but there's a translation.  It's worth a look.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Speaking of Organizing Patterns . . .

Gah, this is taking for-EVER!

Apparently I am obsessed with sewing patterns.  I mean, I knew I had a lot of patterns, but good grief!  I've been through 425 manila envelopes so far.  I just got 200 more, which hopefully will be enough.  I have 7 fat binders full of pattern envelopes and 3 big file drawers full.

I like this method (even though it's taking forever!)   I have seen it a couple of times on blogs and videos.  This is Mimi Goodwin's preferred method, and I think I saw Whitney do it as well.  You take the actual pattern tissue and instruction sheets, and file them in a 6.5 x 9.5 manila envelope.  Label it with the pattern company and the number, and then file it.  Place the actual pattern envelope (the one with the pictures) into a page protector and put it in a binder.  This way you can easily flip through the binder and find what you want, and then go to the file drawer and grab your pattern.

I did this sort of thing years ago, but a bit differently.  I copied the front of each pattern and put it in a binder, then filed the actual pattern in a box.  You could do the same thing these days by scanning the pattern and then printing.  You'd use less space in the binder and probably wouldn't need a page protector for each one.  You could also scan/copy both sides of the envelope -- but that's a lot of paper.   I think I like the method I'm using better simply because I can pull the pattern envelope out and look at the back.  This gives me yardage, recommended fabrics, etc.

If you don't have a billion patterns, you can always do what Whitney did and file the entire pattern, tissue and all, in a page protector in an envelope.

Anyway, here are some photos of the process.  Wish me luck on the rest.  I think I need another cup of coffee --

                                      The binders                                    Stragglers

The box I have yet to do

                                                    The amazing file cabinet built by my father-in-law

Four drawers full!  Time to stop buying patterns already!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back at it.

OK, all graduated, sewing room is finally set up, and I've already been in there stitching away!  It is wonderful to get back to the thing that keeps me sane.  I've been disappearing for days on end, coming out for only another glass of water or Diet Root Beer (my new obsession).

I'm also organising my patterns, and it is taking awhile.  I've already been through almost 200 small manila envelopes, and I'm probably only half done.  It's ok, though -- some people collect coins, others figurines, some fine china, and me, well, I collect patterns.  I love going through and seeing them all.  I have a dream of sewing through the lot of them, and either giving away what I make or selling each one on Etsy along with the pattern.  We'll see if that ever happens -- it would likely take me the rest of my life to do it!

I've finished a simple shirt, a very cute sundress I had in my "to do" pile (from about 4 years ago), and I've cut out a pair of shorts for Makaela.  I've hemmed a couple of skirts and currently I'm working on a Butterick pattern that Makaela was going to make . . .

How is it that I'm such an avid sewer and yet none of my girls have picked this up?  You'd think out of five, I'd at least have one.  I suppose it's easier these days when you can get Mama to do it.  And I'm glad to -- I do love to sew!

Here is a wonderful, basic tutorial I found some time ago.  I can't remember if I've posted it before.  Even if I have, it's still great information about the way a sewing machine works.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maxi Dress Tutorial - Love This One!

Today is my first day of --
     1.  No school.  I graduate in 10 days!
     2.  No traveling.  I spent the previous 10 days with my two sets kids, who are 3 hours and 10 hours away.  Now I'm back home with the youngest and my Hunk O Man.
     3.  No deadlines!
     4.  No phone calls to make!
     5.  No worries!

So I'm catching up on all my YouTube subscriptions.  I found this adorable maxi-dress and thought I'd share it.  Let me know if you try it.  I think I might.  I also have another tutorial coming for a sheet --

Trudy Does It Again

I love Trudy from HotPatterns.  They have some great stuff, a nice selection of patterns and often a free one you can download from Fabric.com.

Here's her latest tutorial, and I think it's invaluable.  She has some refinements on lengthening a t-shirt pattern into a dress, and also some tips on going from sleeves to sleeveless.

Also, check out the very cool dress she's wearing.  I told her I think it would also look fabulous chopped up even more, maybe twice more down the front.  And you know, Trudy is all about fabulous.

Enjoy -- hope you learn as much as I did!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Handy Little Thingy

I happened to click on one of the ads that run along the side of my facebook page, and found this!  Incredibly helpful resource that you can just print off and keep handy:

Thanks, Fabrics-Store.com!  


We cleaned out the garage yesterday, and I sat down and made a plan.  I find it's really useful to do this when you're space planning.

Use graph paper, assign a value to a foot (like one square of the grid), and then draw the room.  Then, draw the rough shapes of your furniture the same way.  Cut out the furniture pieces, and then arrange them in the room.

This works so well when you aren't sure if something will fit or look good in a spot.  For example, initially I thought my fabric cubbies would be the base for my table.  But it turns out that I liked them much better on the walls.

I couldn't readily find my graph paper, so I just used my architect's scale and drew it out.  I cut the furniture out of the little green pieces of card stock I have for labeling boxes, and then put double-stick tape (another find from my design supplies) on the back.  Then I arranged them:

This is so easy -- and you think it's going to take a lot of time, but it doesn't.  And it's way easier than moving all the furniture around.

Here's the room so far.  Lots of work to go, but it is starting to come together!

Hopefully I'll be in there sewing soon!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Novel Idea

Here's someone I recently found on YouTube -- with the cutest project!  The channel is Stitchless TV.  This lady is so inventive!  Enjoy --

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Pattern Shop

I'm re-blogging this from Quality Time -- it's a pattern shop on Etsy called Salme.  There are some really cute things, like these:

The shop is in England.  They have some very cute designs -- do visit them and have a look.http://www.etsy.com/shop/Salmepatterns

And This One's About Crafting

Such great ideas!  I love Pepperminty Milk.  This would be great with thrift store jewelry:

Let me know if you give this a try!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This One's About Decorating

Well, I have to admit that I adore Pinterest even though I avoided it for some time.  I knew it would eat up all the time that it is decidedly eating up.

However, it is certainly not a waste of time to be inspired!  After perusing today, I ran across several websites with revamped or "upcycled" furniture.

And I have a daughter who is getting married in October -- did I mention that I have a daughter getting married in October?  Cause I HAVE A DAUGHTER GETTING MARRIED.  IN OCTOBER.  Good grief.  I still can't believe it.  How can I have a daughter old enough to do such a wonderful thing?

Anyway.  I need a big deal wedding gift for her.

As you are aware, I am living in MIL's house, disposing of her furniture bit by bit.  She has this dining room table, four chairs, and a china cabinet.

After all that perusing this morning, I think I may be able to transform it into something amazing, using paint and some new hardware on the china cabinet.

School finishes later this month, and I have no plans for the summer other than helping with the wedding.  Maybe I can do this!  It would be a fun project . . .

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Love Mimi

Mimi Goodwin is someone I've been following for awhile.  She is an amazing sewer who puts up tutorials from time to time.  She's also a very good teacher.

If you don't follow her, you should!  Here's her latest tutorial for a maxi skirt.  Enjoy!

New Designers to Look For

I absolutely adore the way I can go online and experience new designers who do beautiful work.  It can be information overload -- but finding a few YouTube-rs and a couple of blogs will expose you to some wonderful things.

Here is Maevana Sylvia Mitchell, creator of Peppermint Milk, with some delightful finds:

Enjoy!  Be inspired!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friendly Suggestion

When I was in high school, my mom would often say "You should clean up your room.  Just a friendly suggestion."  Or "Don't be late tonight.  Friendly suggestion."  Or "Just a friendly suggestion -- don't play the piano so loud."

Of course what she meant was do-this-or-you'll-be-in-big-trouble.  I laugh about that now.  My mother was never overbearing, and yet always to the point.  She still is.  She's one of my most favourite people in the world.  I've tried the same thing with my own daughters (repeatedly!) and they just roll their eyes. 

I guess it doesn't translate to this younger generation.  : )

Anyway -- all this to say if you're not following The Frugal Fashionista, you should be.  I've probably said it before, but this blog is the best for highlighting what's hot right now in fashion.  Even if I can't wear or afford most of it, I do appreciate staying abreast of the trends. 

So just a friendly suggestion, Missy: go subscribe to Frugal Fashionista.  You'll thank me when you're older.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

HOLY. COW. Holycow! Holycowholycow!


Today, my bedroom closet was such a mess that I could no longer deal with it.  I took it on.  I won.

I got a pretty hook thingy from Hobby Lobby on which to hang my nightgowns.  I wanted to hang it, so I headed out to the garage to find screws and anchors and a screwdriver, etc.

(remember, this is the garage that it is going to take me probably a year to get through)

I kept asking my father-in-law Ellis, who passed away in 2003, "Where did you put this stuff, Ellis?  Where would you have stashed screws and nails and small bits of hardware?"  I finally gave up when I couldn't find anything and knew our stuff like that is in storage in my parents' barn.

I went to put away the screwdriver, when a plastic bag sitting beside the furnace caught my eye.  Inside it looked something vaguely like fabric.

Turns out it WAS fabric.  Pink pincord.

And under the pincord, I found this, wrapped in tissue paper:

There was a small box under the bag, so I grabbed it and went back into the house.
And here's what I found:
Treasures!  Treasures!
Vintage Patterns
Vintage Notions
Ancient interfacing & tracing paper
Needle book and the cutest ruler
Look at the prices!
Anne Adams mail-order

Here are my favs:

Wow.  Sometimes God just surprises you with these little gifts.

By the way, did I mention my mother-in-law gave me this for Christmas?
Singer Featherweight

This sure does make having to move a little sweeter.  I guess God decided I needed a spoonful of sugar in my life.  I think I'll go lay down and die now.

I hope your day is as good as mine, wall hardware nonwithstanding!