Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sewing with (and for) Kids- Make it Better Yourself

My daughter has been pining after a headpiece with a veil for play (she loves dress up), so she and I made up a fascinator a couple of days ago during our crafty time.

We began with a round cut out of felt. She chose pink, and I stitched a couple small darts in it to make a dome shape, then I trimmed the edge in bias. Rooting through my drawers stuffed full of notions, the wee one selected the trimmings- a purple fruit net veil, some gold ribbon fringe, a bow, and a little bling. The veil and ribbon were attached by machine, while the bow and rhinestone were simply hot glued on.

We had a nice time making it together- there is just so much she cannot yet do in the sewing room, but she sees me sewing and wants to be a part of it. This was great, because she got to choose the trims and act as designer, and when she wore her fascinator in the coffee shop later that afternoon, my daughter received several compliments on it. I hope she, too, will learn to feel a deep satisfaction in "making it better" herself.
But, until she gains the skills herself, I will be sure to keep her well outfitted in cute, home sewn clothes...
Autumn Dress made from Butterick 2194
even when she's sleeping...
Slippers scaled up to a toddler 9 from the Norman pattern by I Think Sew,
Sleep mask sized down from
and know that she feels the love that I put into each pint-sized garment.

But, I've also got to do some unselfish sewing to keep myself happy....
My slippers made from the Amber Pattern at
and my feet warm! The kid was stylin', and my old slippers actually had holes in them! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HI! And Simplicity 2898

Hi! I'm still here! And I've got a sewing project to share....

A couple months back I took a class on Craftsy called Sew Better, Sew Faster. The class was excellent, and I decided to use some to the techniques I learned about on a project that I have been planning forever- Simplicity 2898 (available here on Etsy in a 32 for $7).

When I first found this pattern in a pile I purchased for my Etsy shop, I knew it was destined to be a "hold-back." You've gotta keep some of the things you love for yourself, right? I wanted to use it to make a modern denim jacket with retro details, so altered the pattern to a cropped length, I lengthened the sleeves, and I added bands at the hems of the jacket and sleeves.

For my fabric, I tried out a method I saw while browsing bleach techniques online. I used a medium weight denim and a lace curtain fabric, both thrifted, and simply placed the lace on top of the denim (in the driveway) and misted over them with bleach.

 Here are the results:

From there, I cut the pattern paying attention to where the lace had turned out best, although perhaps not enough attention to how the pattern would line up at center front. I also ended up with some larger bleach drips/spots that I left as hallmarks of the process.

I wanted to do some top stitching, as I have not done much in the past, and it gives a denim jacket a modern look. After I tested a few samples with different colors from pink to black, I appealed to my husband for his opinion on the best combo. He instead suggested the gold hue often associated with the top stitching on denim, and I really liked how it looked when I tested it. It turned out great on the jacket- it stands out while still being somewhat understated. I mean, who wants to do all of that top stitching and have it be invisible? And who knew husbands could give such handy sewing reccomendations?
Top stitching. Button markings courtesy of my Chalkoner. Best marking tool EVER.
In fitting, I found that this jacket, despite being a 34" bust, would be significantly roomier than the silhouette I had envisioned. I ended up taking the side seams and sleeve seams in about 3" on each side. I tapered the sleeve seam reduction from the underarm to the elbow.
Fitting "action shot."

A couple other little notes- I used cotton muslin to interface the collar and cuffs as well as the facings used to finish the inside of the jacket. I bound the armscyes for a somewhat tidy finish after my serger tried to eat them. I used my Singer buttonholer to stitch the buttonholes after several samples, as the denim thread proved difficult to work with for this purpose. I also used vintage bakelite buttons I salvaged from a thrifted jumble of buttons blogged about here.

Overall, I love the finished version, and it has been getting a lot of wear in this chilly weather! So now, for too many pics of the finished jacket....

My favorite photobomber!
Now I'm on to a blouse. Thank you, ladies of my region for constantly donating silk yardage to the thrift shops. And thank you ladies of the thrift shops for marking stained poly curtain lace far too high and gorgeous blue crinkle silk far too low.

 How is your fall sewing coming along? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Sewing Big & Little

I needed some high waisted shorts to go with that 40s Fun-Shus blouse, so I threw this green denim pair together on Saturday. I used McCall's 8331 again.
I added a ribbon waistband using a fun lipstick print instead of a facing, and I hand picked the zipper. I think since the first several zips I sewed were hand picked, I just don't like the way a machine sewn zip looks most of the time. We all have our hang ups.
I also made the tank up from a thrifted tee. I did a little embroidery on top of the screen print just for fun.
It's been raining A LOT, and I didn't get any good pics, but you get the idea. 
I did some pattern work on the shorts after this to replace the darts with seams, and the next pair I make will have piping in the seams. I'd like to incorporate this piping, which I made by covering white store bought piping with white lace. I think it would look really pretty using contrasting colors of piping and lace too. I originally made this corded piping for my bridesmaid's dress, but didn't end up using it then. I did use some on an Itty Bitty project I whipped up the other night though.
My little bunny got a 24 hour stomach bug a few days back. She projectile vomited in the hall, and finished the day with a fever of 103.9. Yikes! As she slept a lot being sick, I took the opportunity to sew her a pretty dress to help her feel better. I used the Itty Bitty Toddler Dress Pattern from Made by Rae after seeing a sweet baby version on the blog Tilly and the Buttons. I seriously love sewing things while my daughter is sleeping and hanging them up in her room for her to find in the morning. She gets excited and always wants to wear them right away!

 Totally unrelated to anything- in counting some patterns for my Etsy shop recently, I discovered that, sadly, Simplicity 3315 was missing the dress pieces, and contained only the pattern for the coat.
Image courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Wiki
It is a size 14 1/2 or 35 inch bust, and anyone who would like to try sewing up the coat can have it. Leave me a comment with your email address, and I'll contact you to get your mailing address. Is it just me or does anyone else think this would make a particularly classy and glamorous raincoat? Search laminated cotton to find inspiration for some lovely rain wear. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Heart the 40s / Sewing up the Fun-Shus Fabric

I have been sewing steadily along as I always do- tank tops, a bathrobe for the little one, a halter top pdf pattern that I am testing, etc. I enjoy it, but sometimes sewing practical items really starts to grate on my nerves. Yes, I probably need more knit tops, but what do I want? I want Fun-Shus.

A few days ago, upon receipt of the final part I needed to get my lovely 221-1 Centennial Featherweight actually sewing, I decided to do something a little bit frivolous and to bust out some of my prized stash fabric. I chose the Fun-Shus fabric I found at a thrift store January of 2012 (what? over a year ago?).

 I chose this pattern, thrifted within the last few months.
And, I made it up on this pretty, thrifted long distance, which hums like a bee.
And I came up with this...

Don't fear the shoulder pad, my dears. And can I just say it? I love a wing-y collar. I do. 

I love the blouse-y effect of the tucks. No, you can't see it here. My arm is totally in the way.  

It's so stinking gorgeous here right now, and I love my deck! I love lots of things! Love is good!

Innards. Collar and button placket interfaced with an old cotton bed sheet.
Edges serged. A fair amount of hand-stitching. Me-made shoulder pads using Casey's tutorial.  

Here's another close up of that FAB-ric, and the vintage yellow buttons I chose to go with it. 
This was so fun to make- it has me feeling all jazzed up about sewing again. That's right. Jazzed up. You thought "jazzed up" was just for little old ladies with cat applique sweatshirts? Well, it's for Fun-Shus too. How about you? What are you jazzed up about right now?

Edited 5/25/13 to add: This project was featured on Sew Country Chick's Sew and Tell Saturday! Thanks Justine!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mommy and Me Sewing Fun

My little one has been around me sewing since she was born, and she has always had some interest in what I was doing. She even has her own little sewing machine toy to play with in my sewing room. She gets fabric from the scrap drawer, decides "I'm going to make you a dress mommy," and goes to work "stitching." While she is good at and has fun pretending, I thought it might be fun for her to do the real thing and have something to show off when she was done.

So, I cut her the pieces for a simple fold over purse from a bit of felt. I punched holes in the edges where the stitches would go, and I threaded a blunt tapestry needle with yarn.

 I sat with her and reminded her on which side to put the needle in and to be careful when pulling it out. I also knotted off her threads for her. I love watching those little hands work!

And look how proud she is of her finished purse! This is a nice and simple project to do with the kiddo that is interested in sewing like a big kid. I'd like to prep an easy hat for her to sew up next! 

Did you learn to sew when very young? Or, have you taught a little one to sew? What are some other good starter projects? 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

It was great to read so many comments from people who are interested in trying out lingerie sewing! But, sadly, the Random Number Generator could only choose one winner.

It came up number 2! Congratulations, Foster! She said "I've never really dared to venture into lingerie sewing, but perhaps the Bambi Bra will change all that!"

Perhaps it will Foster! I look forward to seeing your version of this lovely bra! 
Well, that was fun! Thanks again to all of you who commented, and many thanks to Sarah of Ohhh Lulu! Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Roadside Botany- Spring Spectacular

This evening I took a walk around the yard and neighborhood with the fam documenting the latest stage of the spectacular spring bloom we have enjoyed in this most beautiful place in which we live.

I have never seen so many trilliums in one place. In fact, I can't imagine that there is a place where there is a higher concentration of this lovely flower than what I saw on our street today. They were mostly white and light pink, but I also spotted some delicate burgundy flowers.

This property down the street from our house is carpeted in trillium flowers. Literally. 

 We also have azaleas beginning to show and spotted scores of fiddle head ferns, wild strawberries, and other dainty blooms unfamiliar to me.

 Then, as we were headed back up to the house, I spotted these purple flowers over near the fire pit my husband has been working on. Pardon the blurry pics- it was getting dark.

It looked orchid-like to me, so I promptly came inside and browsed some photos on the NC Native Plants Society website, and lo and behold, it is in fact a Showy Orchis!

Shucks, y'all. I just can't even find the words to describe how much I love it here and how perfect the mountains of North Carolina are! I can't wait to see what beauty is in store for us as the season progresses!