Thursday, December 28, 2006
A closeup of the area that needs adjustment. About 1-1/2" in the front chest area, and about 2" in the shoulder.
A faux fur coat from Donna Sayler's swing coat pattern and Donna Sayler's faux fur fabric. I'm not even certain if they sell faux fur yardage anymore. This just needs the lining added and final hand stitching. The style is a bit dated, but with the weather we have in Minnesota I could certainly find placed to wear it. This is one heavy coat! And not as difficult to make as you might imagine.
Vogue DKNY 2833. I began the jacket last winter and put it aside when I realized it wouldn't be completed in time for the winter season. When I pulled it out this year it became apparent that it is too large in the bust - thanks to my hubby who quilts me into going to the gym for a workout three days a week. I need to take it apart and see if I can redo the front princess seam and then complete the jacket. I have fabric put aside to make the Hot Patterns Miss Moneypenny skirt to go along with this.
Burda 8133 jacket that I put it aside when I needed to adjust the flounce. I had done an FBA on the jacket, but forgot to add length to the flounce (which goes around the entire jacket) so I needed to piece in an addition to the flounce. The flounce has been basted on so the jacket only needs the lining added, and final hand stitching.
Simplicity 4698 jacket. This one lacks body - look how the weight of fabric pulls at the sleeve hems and jacket hem. I need to remove the hems, add some interfacing and re hem. If that takes care of the problem, then I will add the trim and the jacket with be done. (And only two years after this style became popular.)
Do muslins count as UFOs? This is a muslin from a Vogue pattern that I can't seem to locate at the moment. It is designed to have an elastic waist. I'm not sure about the design of the blouse which is why I put it aside. I know I'm promising to complete my UFOs this year, but this might actually become a wadder.
Simplicity 4699 coat that just needs to be hemmed. The fabric is a stretch cotton that arrived in a mystery bundle purchase from Fabric Mart Fabrics. This one I'll be moving closer to the top of my UFO completion file as I think it will make a cute spring jacket - white pants, lace trimmed white tee with a great beaded necklace in shades of blue.
This oddly colored silk shirt is the beginnings of the Sewing Workshop Elle shirt. The silk feels wonderful, I'm just not too sure about the print any longer. I do remember purchasing it in the early 1990's, even though I didn't cut it out until a year or so ago. I'll finish the shirt, but whether or not I actually wear it remains to be seen.
A summer dress made from a Vogue pattern that is long gone. I began the dress with the intention of packing it when we married in Vegas in April of 1998. That was one the years that weather patterns across the US were not normal and it was downright chilly in Vegas. So, I put the dress aside knowing I wouldn't need it. And guess what? All that needs to be completed is to sew the hem! (Of course, you knew that didn't you?)
Simplicity 4074 - love the fabric and the pattern. However, I inadvertently cut out the wrong view. I intended to make the faux wrap dress and cut out the other view, which looks terrible on me. I even tried a black belt thinking it would help, but blah! Yucky dress. Fortunately, I had not hemmed it yet (because, as you may have figured out by now, I seem to have a problem actually completing many of my sewn garments!) So, the plan is to cut it off and make it a two piece - knit top and shorter skirt. Perhaps then I'll be able to wear it.
Lined shell from some Big 4 pattern company - I think it was a McCall's pattern. It needs the side zipper sewn in, the lining added, the shoulder seams sewn and to be hemmed. I'm sure I can figure out how to complete this without the instructions. It's pretty straight forward.
Well, that's it (I hope). My goal is to complete these in 2007, AND to not create any new UFOs. Pin It
“I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?”- Unknown
Since today is National Chocolate Day, sewing has been interrupted while I take a few moments to share some thoughts on another passion of mine – chocolate.
Subconsciously I must have known today was a special chocolate day. When I got ready for work this morning I dressed head to toe in rich chocolate browns – a milk chocolate sweater paired with dark chocolate slacks and shoes, complimented with a creamy mixed chocolate beaded necklace.
Say the word chocolate to me and my mouth begins to water while visions of rich milk chocolate bars, creamy white chocolate pieces, steaming cups of hot chocolate, and gooey dark chocolate truffles run through my head. Mmmmmm.
What kind of chocolate do you like? Personally? I like it all – but I must admit dark chocolate is my least favorite. That works well in my household as my husband loves dark chocolate. He justifies eating dark chocolate by saying that it is good for you because it contains chemicals called favanols.
Indeed, research has shown that favanols reduce blood pressure and are good for blood flow.
“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect
food.” - Michael Levine, nutrition researcher, as quoted in The
Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and
(By the way, if you haven’t read this book yet, check out a copy at your local library. It is a fascinating inside look at the world of chocolate producers.)
I tease my husband that he eats dark chocolate because of the FLAB-anols. I say that because if we don’t keep on a regular workout schedule our chocolate eating habits result in additional flab. (Ask me how I know!)
It’s a good thing he doesn’t tease me when he sees me indulging in this mouthwatering delight or I’d have to sneak chocolate into my sewing room to eat while he’s busy in another part of the house. (Not that I’ve ever done that mind you.)
Chocolate has even been featured in the movies - Chocolat. Who didn’t have visions of opening a chocolate store after seeing this movie? I know I did.
If you’re interested in whipping up a little chocolate delicacy to celebrate the day, try making a chocolate lava cake from chocoholic.com.
Or if that’s not to your liking, you’ll be sure to find the perfect chocolate recipe on this site, appropriately named Chocolate-Recipes.
Now if only there was a way you could virtually share your chocolate creations with me...
Happy Chocolate Day! Pin It
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The busy Christmas season is behind us and, as usual, I am in a "must get organized" frame of mind. Happens every year right after Christmas and this year is no exception. I think by now it could be considered a tradition!
Another annual tradition is to take an inventory of how many UFOs are in my sewing room. You know the type of UFO I'm referring to. Not the type that was a popular movie topic in the 1950s (complete with little green men), but the kind that most sewers are familiar with. UnFinished Objects - well at least that's what I think UFO stands for. Please drop me a note if I'm incorrect.
Last year I pulled a number of UFOs out of hiding that I decided I would never, ever finish. I planned to donate them to the
I promise not to do that this year. I will finish them. I figure by sharing all of them with you, along with my goal to complete them in 2007, I will feel guilty if I attempt to toss them - uncompleted - into the trash. I even photographed them to help me keep on track.
To begin the process, I removed UFOs that were neatly hung on hangers in the closet. Whew, doesn't look so bad does it? Only about six awaiting completion. I can handle that.
But wait! There's more! They're stored in the dreaded storage bin. The one that is conveniently non-transparent. The one where I can tuck a UFO inside and forget about it. The one that resides in a corner of my closet with pretty piles of fabric on top of it. Hmmm, I'm not feeling so smug anymore as there are quite a few UFOs hidden in that bin. Well that's okay, I can handle them also. I have a whole year, right?
Oh shoot, wait a minute. I forgot about the UFOs I placed in small storage bins. That was when I was trying to get organized last year. I figured I would place my ongoing sewing projects into small plastic storage bins (complete with the pattern and all required notions) so that everything would be ready to go when I was in the mood for sewing (which is always to be honest). Well that system didn't work so well, since all I did was stack the storage bins on top of one another. More UFOs to add to the list.
This is getting a bit overwhelming, not to mention embarrassing.
Okay, here we go. Here's my (partial) list of UFOs that I pledge to complete in 2007. The rest will be posted tomorrow.
A Miss Moneypenny trumpet skirt from Hotpatterns. I never even completed the muslin!
The muslin just needs the waistband added before I decide what I want to make the actual skirt out of.
It really is a great looking skirt. I think I'll pull this one close to the top of my UFO finishing pile.
A white poly blouse from a Vogue Attitudes pattern by designer Bryon Lars. The fabric really isn't the best choice for this top and that's why I stopped work on it. I think I'll finish the UFO and consider it a wearable muslin. I have a nice menswear stripe in my stash that I purchased years ago to use with this pattern.
A black/white suit with red piping from Simplicity 3962 - a Threads Collection pattern. This is a recent UFO. I put it aside before Christmas to work on gifts and baking and other necessities in preparing for the Christmas season.
A skirt from Vogue 7643 that has been cut out for a few years - right when the "bo-ho" look was emerging. I guess I could finish it and perhaps by changing the trim I was going to add make it wearable for this spring season.
Sewing Workshop's Tahoe Pant from a yummy chocolate brown rayon with a hint of stretch. Sewing stopped on this one when I decided I didn't like the back of the skirt/pant. I need to do some tweaking to fix the way the pleats lay in the back, sew on the waist band and hem it. Better get busy on this one as it looks awesome with boots and a sweater!
A black polyester print skirt from a New Look pattern. This only needs the waistline completed and the hem. This was made to go with the white lace eyelet jacket I made last summer from the same pattern. See how unimaginative I can be? The pattern show a white jacket with a black print skirt and I sewed a white jacket with a black print skirt! Sheesh, you think I could show a little creativity on my own.
A purple lined jacket from Simplicity 4698. This is partially sewn together and I put it aside to look for the "perfect" trim.
Sewing Workshop's Thai Coat from a mystery blend fabric. Again, this is cut and just awaiting time at the sewing machine. I put this one aside as I wasn't positive I liked my fabric choice after I cut it out. I think it will be too bland so I'm going to search for something to spice this up a bit before I complete it.
A fleece pullover from a McCall's Sewing with Nancy pattern - 4312. This could be worn right now as I bundle up in the house while we try and keep our thermostat turned down to save on energy.
This one is cut and because I've already made one from this pattern I know that it won't take more than two hours to complete.
A bright tropical print swimsuit from McCall's 2221. This was cut out with plans to sew it for our trip to the Mexican Riviera. The trip was two years ago and it was fun! Even without this swimsuit. This will be my lowest priority UFO as I don't need another swimsuit at the moment.
A navy blue and pink flowered challis Print skirt from Butterick 4026. The skirt just needs the lining sewn in, the waist finished, and a hem.
Vogue 8089 jacket - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina. The fabric is a lightweight silk twill from FabricMartFabrics. Everything is cut and ready to go.
A tapestry cape from Folkwear Kinsdale Cloak pattern. All I've done on this one is sew the collar and serge the fabric edges to prevent the fabric from ravelling.
This cloak has been a UFO for about 15 years. I began it when I was attending the Ren Faire on a regular basis. Now it is pretty common place for people to attend wearing "costumes" but 15 years ago it was still a bit of a novelty. This would have come in handy many Septembers when the weather was cold and rainy.
That's it for today. There are still quite a few UFOs that I will be sharing with you so stay tuned. Pin It
Sunday, December 24, 2006
a snowman we did see.
He sparkled white like diamonds
and smiled happily.
We should have that smile
that is on the snowman's face,
For God has taken all our sins
and cleansed us by His grace.
He sent our loving Saviour,
born so long ago,
Who paid our debt and made us clean
as freshly fallen snow.
(This poem was on a Christmas card I received - I don't know the author)
May you be blessed as you spend time this season joyfully celebrating our Savior's birth.
Merry Christmas! Pin It
Friday, December 22, 2006
On Wednesday evening I decided I needed just one more scarf and I had the perfect piece of fabric. I had already tried the sash from cotton (the suggested fabric), polyester, knit, and velvet and I was ready to try it in silk chiffon. The silk version took a bit longer than the others just because it is a littler trickier to work with. I choose a very light weight beaded trim so as not to distort the edge of the scarf. I was so pleased with the results that I plan on making an identical one for myself.
A closeup of the black beads on the silver/black scarf.
A close up of the beaded trim on the blue scarf.
I chose fabrics and trims based on their personalities and clothing colors they like to wear. These gifts were given to most of my co-workers yesterday and they had very kind and complimentary remarks about them. I'm not sure who was more excited - me giving these as gifts or them receiving them.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I was very excited when she gave this handmade nativity set to me as a Christmas gift last year. She recently graduated from college and has been working in the medium for many years already. I think she is a one talented young lady. Pin It
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I heard this poem on the radio as I was driving to work this morning. It brought tears to my eyes. The words are published on the KTIS radio website. I'm posting it here with the link to the website and the copyright notice. If I find out that I should not be reprinting this, I will end up removing this post.
It is so powerful and moving that I want to share it with all of you. As you read it please pause to pray for our troops that are willing to serve to protect us.
A Soldier’s Early Christmas Poem by Michael Marks
Posted by thehendricksreport on November 20th, 2006
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.
It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,I
’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.”
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.“
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
©Copyright December 7, 2000 by Michael Marks
Note by Author: A Soldier’s Christmas was the first in this series of patriotic writings, drafted on Pearl Harbor Day 2000 when in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election our nation saw the right of US Armed Forces personnel openly questioned and debated. I felt it unconscionable that at the onset of the Christmas season, those serving to defend our nation would hear anything but our love and support. It is our challenge to stand for their rights at home while they stand for our lives and safety overseas. This poem went out and quickly spread around the world in emails, letters, magazines. I received letters from Marines in Bosnia, soldiers in Okinawa, from a submariner who xeroxed a copy for everyone on his sub. Moms wrote, dads, brothers and sisters. I have saved and cherish every letter and set out to continue writing throughout the year. Pin It
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Every December, we spend one Saturday afternoon in my kitchen baking Christmas cookies. We make the usuals - sugar cut-outs, peanut butter blossoms, Russian teacakes (with cherries rather than nuts), Snickerdoodles, and spritz. We've tried different recipes through out the years, but we keep coming back to these. New this year was the addition of my son's girlfriend and her favorite cookie - coconut macaroons. Yummy! This recipe is a keeper (as is the girlfriend - she's a sweetheart.)
Cookie Bake Day starts with lunch - sandwiches and chips - and then we begin the baking. The first few years we mixed up all of the dough as we were preparing to make the cookies. We discovered we could get much more baking done if everyone brought two batches of cookie dough with them. So now most of the cookie dough has been prepared before we begin baking. We only need to spend time mixing up a few batches of cookie dough in my kitchen, which means we can get to it much faster! We bake, bake, bake and decorate, decorate, decorate fpr hours, all the while chatting and laughing and enjoying each other's company.
As you can imagine, all of this baking can be messy. All that flour and sugar and butter and frosting flying around. That's why we need aprons. Ten years ago, part of the tradition of Cookie Bake Day (for the nieces) was to visit aunt Sharon's house before the big day and sew an apron. They brought that apron to Cookie Bake Day where it was worn with pride.Since my son's girlfriend was joining us for the first time this year I wanted to make her an apron that she can now wear at the annual Cookie Bake Day. As I didn't have much time, or much fabric, I choose to make the apron from Amy Butler's book In Stitches. (By the way, buy this book! I'll write my thoughts on my book in another post.) The apron only requires 3/4 yard of two coordinating fabrics and can be put together in just over an hour. I think it is such a cute apron. I did find it interesting that she choose to wear it tied below her waist rather than at her waist. Oh, and what a surprise that she wore a gold sweater and the apron has gold snowflakes scattered though out - what a well-coordinated cook!
I had so much fun sewing the Christmas apron for my son's girlfriend that I decided to whip one up for my daughter also. She gets a kick out of Hello Kitty stuff so when I saw this Hello Kitty Christmas print I knew that was the fabric for her apron.
I sandwiched red rick-rack between the pocket and the pocket band and between the apron and the lower hem band and the waistband. It adds a little extra to the apron.
After five hours of baking and decorating, talking and laughing, this year's Cookie Bake Day came to an end. Pin It
Simplicity 3906 - I'd like to make the fold down "ramp" for our Maltese, Sophia. We don't know why but she has never figured out that she has the ability to jump up on furniture. Perhaps because she never saw Brandi jump up onto the furniture. Brandi, a wonderful rescued "mutt", was so old by the time Sophia came into the household that she no longer wanted to jump up onto anything. Most of the time its great that she doesn't jump, but it can get annoying when she barks and barks and barks until you pick her up. This could solve that problem.
Simplicity 4434 for a baby top, pants, capelet, bib and blanket wrap. I am in need of a couple of quick baby gifts and I have some fleece remnants in the stash - so voila! This little capelet could be the ticket - I think its cute and it looks quick to sew....I could add a few purchased toys to the package and I'm all set. It will be fun to sew for an infant again.
Simplicity 3877 - a Threads pattern with the B,C,D cup separate bodice pieces. Although this is very similar to Vogue 8315, (which I'm still working on...some difficulties with the bodice/shoulder/sleeve that I'm still fixing). I purchased it so that I don't have to do an FBA when I decide to make another version of the dress.
Hopefully in another week there'll be time to concentrate on sewing rather than pattern collecting. Pin It
In between sending Christmas greetings, baking treats, wrapping presents, and (my favorite part) working with the kids at church preparing for their annual Christmas program, I have managed to get a few projects sewn. More about those later.
The fun part - we received our annual chocolate bar from my husband's employer. Isn't that a beauty! Did you notice the little hammer that is included? That's to break it apart so you can eat it. It is some of the best chocolate we've ever eaten. We are such chocolate freaks that we look forward to the day the UPS driver drops this off at our house. Now the hard part....waiting until Christmas to begin hammering away at it with family and friends.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
This pattern is quite simple to make. It has princess seams in the front (which always provide a good opportunity for fine-tuning the fit of the skirt) and darts in the back. The upper portion of the skirt is slightly curved at the edge where the flounce is attached. This not only adds a nice line to the skirt, but it provides a lot of movement to the flounce when walking.
I liked the look of the double flounce on the skirt but I didn't have any fabric that coordinated with this brown so I added a lightweight trim to the hemline mimicking the double flounce without the weight of the additional fabric.
To achieve that look, I first pressed 1/4" of the hem to the wrong side of the skirt.
Next, press the rest of the hem up. In my case, I pressed the hem up an additional 1/2". I then laid my trim, right side facing down, matching the edge of the trim to the top of my hem.
I then sewed the hem in place catching both the hem and the trim. When this is completed, you'll see that the trim hangs from the inside of the skirt from the top edge of the hem which allows the trim to hang freely.
This is the completed hemline and trim from the right side of the fabric.
The full review can be read at Patternreview. A note of caution - beaded trim on a skirt worn with fishnet hosiery doesn't work very well! Pin It