Sunday, November 30, 2008
Oh, I know, I know. Some of you are done. Blah, blah, blah. You're probably hitting the sales looking for bargains for the 2009 Christmas season.
I am not like you. I have never been like you. I doubt I will ever be like you. In fact , Ive been known to sew the last stitch on a gift in the car on the way to the family Christmas celebration.
But not this year! Today I begin the Christmas gift sewing.
First up? A child's faux fur muff. I know a number of young girls that would be delighted to receive one of these.
It's a snap to make as it's basically two rectangles sewn together - one fur and one of whatever you choose for your lining fabric.
Instructions, with photos, are here in a PDF document that you can view and print at Scribd.
Let the sewing begin!
(I found the tutorial for the cute fabric flower here)
(This is the first time I've used Scribd so if you have any difficulties viewing the tutorial let me know okay?) Pin It
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Hardly need to say any more do I? But I will.
First of all, the skirt has princess seams which are great because you can easily adjust the fit.
As usual, I substituted an invisible zipper, which you know is pretty standard for items I sew. I can insert an invisible zipper much quicker than I can a regular one.
I don't think I've sewn anything this red in quite some time as the zipper in my zipper drawer had a 25 cent clearance sticker on it. Probably from my days of working part-time at Joann Fabrics. And that was about 20 years ago.
On this particular view, view D, there are pockets hidden behind the side front pleats.
I added a lining to the skirt, which is also pretty standard for skirts that I sew. To do so, I used the skirt panel pieces for view A and cut them so the bottom of the lining would fall just above the ruffle on the inside of the skirt. I sewed the bottom of the facing to the top of the lining and
tacked the inside of the facing to the skirt underneath the lining.
The bottom ruffle extends from the side fronts all the way across the back of the skirt.
The fabric is a bright red wool gabardine purchased in 1997 from Vogue Fabrics while attending a sewing expo. I know the date because it was the first sewing expo I had ever attended (by myself no less) and it was the last one that I had the opportunity to take classes by Sandra Betzina. The fall fashion 1997 handout is still tucked inside my autographed copy of Power Sewing. The lining's story isn't nearly as interesting. It was tucked inside a bag of fabric I picked up at a thrift store.
A shapely,simple to sew skirt with stunning results. When can I expect to see yours? Pin It
Friday, November 28, 2008
Don't believe me? I have proof.
See this ethnic-inspired pullover tunic shirt my big brother is holding? In 1977 I sewed it for him as a Christmas gift.
What's that you're saying? "Big deal, I already know you sewed all the time."
Ha! Not not only did I sew the shirt, but I found time to embroider the design on the front of the shirt. Not with a fancy-shmancy embroidery machine, but by hand.
See? I told you I used to have spare time.
Now if I could have found a way to keep some of that spare time bottled up for future use. I certainly could use some this year... Pin It
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So...it's the day before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow my house will be filled with family. That means there will be lots of laughter and loud conversations and, if I don't serve dinner within 30 minutes of my planned time, some good natured ribbing about my poor time management skills from my baby sister.
Even though I have Thanksgiving dinner on my mind today, I want to say thanks to each of you who take a few seconds out of your busy day to stop by my blog.
Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of my world with you and in return sharing your feedback, your compliments and parts of your world with me.
I'm grateful for the friendships I've already developed through the blogging community and look forward to the new ones I've yet to form.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, please keep in mind the many troops fighting for our country throughout the world.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy and be safe!
By the way, did you know you could bring your pies with your when you travel? Says so right here on this blog.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Whatever the reason I've been thinking food. Not just any food. Baked goodies.
There's something about the fall season that triggers a must-bake-cookies-and-breads response inside of me.
I especially like baking tea breads. Years ago I used to bake bread...the yeast, the kneading, the whole nine yards. However, after having carpel tunnel surgery on both wrists I found the kneading to be a bit uncomfortable. And I have yet to try out the bread maker that hubby bought me as a gift a few years ago. So now I just stick to tea breads. They're easy and make a delicious snack.
Last week, after baking a batch of pumpkin poppers , I tried a new pear bread recipe. We think it's a keeper. Try it yourself and see what you think.
Cinnamon Pear Tea Bread
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
(I didn't have sour cream on hand, so I substituted 1 cup of yogurt mixed with 1 tsp baking soda)
1 large pear, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch dice
(I used a Bartlett pear)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9-1/2 x 5-1/2 loaf pan.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until light. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with the sour cream, mixing after each addition just enough to blend. Stir in the diced pear. Pour into prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for ten minutes then turn onto a wire rack and finish cooling completely before cutting.
This is from an out of print cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas, Quick Breads - 65 recipies for bakers in a hurry. If you like baking tea breads I highly recommend purchasing this book. Pin It
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Just this morning I finished sewing my apron for the Holiday Hostess apron swap. Not being able to find fabric I envisioned combined with a serious lack of sewing time, resulted in a finished apron that looked quite differently than my original sketches. However, I'm still pleased with it and I certainly hope my secret swap partner will be too.
Originally I was going to do my own design. But as time began to rapidly slip away from me I choose to use a commercial pattern. It's Butterick 5302, a fairly new release, that includes four different apron designs.
- The front of the apron and the apron tie: quilting cottons from Treadle Yard Goods. Gotta keep those independent fabric stores in business you know.
- The white contrast band and waistband: stretch panne velvet. (Note: be sure to interface a knit fabric when sewing to a woven to prevent the slight sagging you see happening on my band.)
- The underskirt: a sparkly, sheer, polyester fabric embellished with tiny flowers and pearls.
- Trim: metallic turquoise rick-rack and a lace trim that had white seed beads and turquoise sequins.
I did make a few minor changes to the design.
- I added an additional band by cutting a 2-1/2" wide piece of fabric - following the curve of the apron. It was positioned it two" above the point of each scallop and basted in place.
- I added a second layer behind the apron for a touch of holiday sparkle. To do so, I cut a piece of sheer fabric the width of the apron, two inches longer than the apron, and squared the edges. My first version was rounded and I didn't like the way it looked. The underskirt adds a some volume to the apron also.
- The trims were added where I thought they worked rather than what the pattern directions called for. I sewed the trims over the raw edges of the fabric bands with a small zig-zag. This eliminated the need to turn under the band fabric edges, secured the bands to the apron front and will help prevent the raw edges from raveling.
- Eliminated the heart pocket
- Lengthened the tie ends, so they are now long enough to bring to the front and tie if the wearer so chooses.
As usual, this is an apron that I would like to keep for myself, so of course I'll sew another using this pattern as a base for the design.
A complete review can be read on PatternReview. Pin It
Friday, November 21, 2008
Firstborn darling daughter is 11 months old. Small for her age and behind in her development due to her premature birth. But an absolute little doll in her little blue knit pantsuit with attached white ruffled top.
Second born son is 2 months old. He had only recently come home from the hospital where he remained for six weeks after his premature birth. Darling son rarely slept for more than 30 minutes at a time for the first three months because the poor little guy suffered from colic.
He's probably sleeping in the crib next to the chair where mom and daughter are sitting. Mom, far from being WonderWoman, is exhausted but smiling bravely for the camera.
And I did indeed sew the top I'm wearing. It was Simplicity 7398 released in 1976. Even as an exhausted young mother I kept up on sewing the latest pattern releases!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well the other day we were both busy cleaning (me and hubby, not me and Abby ... she still hasn't learned to pick her toys up *LOL) and with the gate blocking her entrance into the sewing studio she did the next best thing - Ran into the living room and hid behind a curtain. Sheesh, nothing like a photo to show you how messy the dogs have left your windows.
Like any good mom, I immediately grabbed the camera and snapped a photo. Do you think she realizes I can see her?
More Dogs on Thursday posts here Pin It
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My swap partner choose to use crisp white organdy and embellished it with lovely embroidered designs using her embroidery machine .
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"It just needs a tune-up," I said. "Oh, and by the way, I have a lot of trouble getting it to sew decent buttonholes."
"This machine makes wonderful buttonholes!" the manager said. "You shouldn't be having any problems. We'll have the tech double check the buttonholes when he tunes it up."
"Okay," I said. "I suppose it could be operator error since I've never been able to get to one of the classes you offer. They've either been canceled or didn't fit my schedule."
"No problem," the manager said. "If you can't get into a class, when you pick up your machine I'll sit down with you and show you how to use your machine, especially the buttonholes."
"Fabulous!" I said.
"It's quite likely that the bad buttonholes are due to operator error," my husband added.
"We'll call you next week when it's down," the manager said.
"Sounds good," I said as I walked out the door, smiling with the knowledge that in a few days I'll have my baby back on tuned up and ready for some heavy duty Christmas sewing.
Today I received a message from the service department asking me to call them back.
Turns out the machine is going to be out of commission for quite some time as a motor needs to be ordered - that's why I haven't been able to sew buttonholes. And actually explains some other problems I've had over the past six months.
The tech explained that I could probably still sew with a straight stitch, and since he has no idea how long it will take to get a motor I might want to pick the machine up until the motor arrives.
Now everyone teases me about the machines I accumulate. But, look how they all came in handy - the White machine is on loan to a friend who wants to learn to sew and the Elna is on loan to Julie while she decides what machine she wants to purchase.
I have my trusty old 80s Kenmore set up in the sewing studio and can always fall back on the 70s Kenmore I purchased off of Craigslist this past summer.
Whew! I think I'll just leave the Pfaff in the shop and wait patiently for the motor to arrive. Pin It
Monday, November 17, 2008
Following the simple directions, I steamed the fabric for 30 minutes while I prepared dinner. When the timer when off, I removed it, tossed it in the dryer and crossed my fingers.
Voila! Crushed velvet stretch dress with nary a trace of ugly horizontal stripes. I'm going to do the entire process one more time and see if I can get a smaller, more random pattern for the backside.
So much easier than stamping or bleaching the fabric and definately quicker and cheaper than resewing the entire dress.
So there you have it. A near throw away saved by the generosity of fellow creative souls sharing thoughts, tips, encouragement and expertise. Pin It
As noted, I have nothing to lose since this dress is unwearable as is. If the fabric distressing doesn't work out this evening I'll stop at Joann's and see if they have a decent selection of knits and sew another one. As Sally noted, at some point trying to fix it will take more time than just sewing another one :-) Then I can use Lori's suggestion of cutting it off and wearing it as a top in the future.
I love the Internet! If I would have asked this question of my co-workers they all would have looked at me with blank stares. You all know what I mean don't you *LOL*
I'll keep you posted on the continuing adventure of the great knit dress and the cr*appy fabric. Pin It
Sunday, November 16, 2008
And right away I'm thinking "oh goodie, I can make myself a classy little 60s era cocktail dress". Until I mention it to hubby, who said "uh, no way. You don't know these guys. I don't want to have to hear about how my wife wore a costume". He didn't quite understand that I was planning a look that was reminiscent of the 60s, not one that could have placed me on the set of Mad Men.
We compromised. I wanted something dressy, after all, we rarely go anywhere that requires dressing up. He wanted me to look, well, hot. LOL, he's a guy after all. Glad to know that at my age he thinks I'm still capable of looking hot.
I decided on Butterick 5280, a muse mock-side wrap pattern. Only two yards of fabric and rated easy. See, I had about three hours free in my schedule to actually sew a dress for this event.
Was near a Hancock Fabric store recently so I picked up the pattern and some lovely royal blue stretch velvet that was on sale for only $6.49 a yard, which means the dress is only going to cost me 99 cents for the pattern and $12.99 for the fabric.
This afternoon I cut the dress out, being careful to have the nap running down on all pattern pieces and sewed it. Oh, about 2-1/2 hours of my time.
Only to realize that the fabric must have been stored on a bolt for quite some time as there are horizontal stripes on the dress spaced just about where the fabric would have been folded on the bolt.
Oh how I wish I would have noticed it when the fabric was being measured and cut. And oh how I wish the sales clerk would have noticed and it and pointed it out to me. I definitely wouldn't have wasted my money.
I'm guessing the fabric may have been old stock that was put into storage and pulled out again when in season. I noticed it when cutting out the dress, but kept hoping that perhaps it wouldn't be THAT noticeable when the dress was complete.
Um, wrong. See for yourself.
So now I have this great little dress (and it does look fabulous on!) that I can't wear because the stripes are tacky.
What to do, what to do. Try disguising the stripes by stamping on the velvet and making it appear it's part of the fabric design? Run to Joann's, which is only ten minutes away and hope they have some decent stretch velvet and resew? Or dig in my closet and look for something that would work and forget about sewing myself a new dress.
What would you do? Pin It
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
If you read this blog through Bloglines (or another reader) you may not have noticed the "Sew Craft Blog" button on the left side of the blog. (And if you're in Bloglines you'll want to click through so you can see the blogs that are part of this group ... listed on the left side also)
It's a new online community of creative and crafty (and talented) individuals that have been divided into groups of 15. The idea is to get to know others who share your interests and passions as well as to encourage one another. Want to learn more? Here's the background information.
I stumbled across the Sew Craft Blog almost right after it began and of course asked to join - I'm always up for meeting new people and reading new blogs - so I am in group number one. Group number two just closed with group number three currently being formed.
Why in the world would I want to add even more blogs to my reading list? One reason is that I've discovered that creativity has no age barriers. I love that a group of woman can bond together over a love of sewing or scrapbooking or knitting and that the ages can range from twenties to forties to sixties and beyond! I've met many people over the years, both older and younger, through sewing, crafting and other creative adventures. The Internet and blogging has only increased those opportunities for connecting.
Interested in joining a group yourself? Read how here. If you're not interested in joining, feel free to explore the blogs listed as you never know when you might discover your next bloggy friend. Pin It
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Vogue 8534 could possibly change this from a "very easy" rating to a "you won't believe how incredibly easy this is to sew" rating. At least for view A, which is the only one I sewed.
Seriously, if you have to alter the pattern it will take you more time to do your alterations than it will to sew this top.
For views A and B, there are only two pattern pieces. The front is cut on the fold and the back has a center back seam, which is nice to have for 1) shaping and 2) making a sway back adjustment.
The neckline has two pleats on each side that release the fullness to the side front, and one inverted pleat that almost meets in the center front. (see photo below).
What I didn't realize until I began sewing is that the top, as designed, has a unfinished neck edge. The stitching you see on the illustrations is decorative top stitching that must have been added to keep the neckline from stretching out of shape. If you like that raw edge look, well have at it. Personally, I don't like it, so I added a narrow band to the edge of the neck (see photo above.)
The illustrations would lead you to believe that this is just another boxy knit top, but that's not the case. The pleats at the neckline, combined with the very slight curve to the body, make this a comfy yet flattering top to wear. Pin It
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Work continues on the upstairs bathroom remodel. It's only been underway since last May. Hubby has such a hectic work schedule with so much mandatory overtime that he's only been able to work on it in small time chunks. But, it is looking really wonderful! I'm so luck to have such a talented husband. I'm tellin' ya, the man ought to be on one of those home improvement shows *LOL*
Today was spent doing to typical Sunday chores - bills, laundry - you know. The necessary, but not fun, stuff that needs to be done. Of course with the cold wet weather we've been having, Abby has been in doggie heaven with all the mud and yuck in the yard. With Posing Paws coming up on Tuesday, we decided she needed a good bath, so we took her off to Petco to use the self-service bath stations. If you've never used them before, they're well worth it. For only $15 I don't have to worry about cleaning up after bathing her.
I spend most of my yesterday preparing for this week's children's sermon. Did I ever mention that every other week I get to do the children's sermon? Not something I ever envisioned myself doing. However, a few months ago our pastor was asked to preach at the church service of the congregation that we rent space from. (We meet at their church building on Saturday nights and they meet on Sundays.)
Their pastor also invited someone from our church to give their children's sermon that week. Except that no one from our church volunteered. So the day before the service Pastor Mac called to see if I'd be willing to do it - and, well, what was I supposed to say? *LOL* Of course I said I would.
Actually I had wanted to volunteer but was afraid to because I have no formal training and had no idea what to do or say. So I just pulled out some books that I had used years ago for Sunday School, prayed for wisdom and choose a story. I guess I should have remembered something our pastor says frequently "God doesn't always call the equipped, but he always equips the called" because the children's sermon went well and Pastor Mac asked me to do it in our church. The neat thing about that service was that three of us from our church spoke and each one of our messages were the same - the pastor's sermon, my children's sermon and the testimony - and neither of us knew what the other was going to talk about. Cool huh?
Anyway, that's the story of how Sharon discovered that she loves creative Bible storytelling :-)
Now back to sewing. I also spent time today proofing my instructions for the One Yard Wonders book as everything is due this week. As far as actual sewing goes, well, I did I did manage to squeak out a wee bit of sewing. A super quick knit top from Vogue 8534, the non-bow version. I'll share that with you tomorrow.
Ta-ta! Gotta get that last load of laundry folded then I'm off to bed. Pin It
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I' participating once again in an apron swap - this time it's the Holiday Hostess Flirty Apron Swap - and posted this on that blog also.
This posting is for those of you who might not be aware of that blog. Let me know if any of you get around to sewing this one!
If you click on the photo you'll be taken to my Flickr account where you can download a larger image.
Happy Sewing! Pin It
Friday, November 07, 2008
Just the red dress.
But oh! what a dress it was.
This red dress spent many Saturday evenings out on the dance floor.
And many Saturday evenings enjoying dinner and drinks before the dancing began.
Isn't it just oh-so-eighties?
Look at that deep v-neckline.
And that fitted corset-look waist
And those long dolman sleeves gathered at both the top and the bottom seams.
Oh dear, all those horrible, uneven stitch lines
Well at least the thread was a good match!
The zipper is puckered along one side and wasn't hidden too well in the midriff section
There's the bottom of the dress.
The asymmetric pegged skirt is draped from the fitted midriff
...and it looked fabulous when a leg peeked through adorned
with sheer black hose and high strappy heels
Why, of all the clothing I've sewn over the years is this one of the few dresses that survived the dozens of moves? Who knows. As you can see, it certainly wasn't because of the exquisite sewing or attention to detail! It must have been the memories of the fun and laughter that accompanied the wearing of this dress that caused me to save it all these years.
By the way, the dress was sewn from Simplicity 6204 - a Diana Ross design - that I repurchased off of Etsy to go into my sewing scrapbook (along with the stories of fun-filled nights with my friends).
Thursday, November 06, 2008
This photo is the last Posing Paws photo of Brandi (the fox terrier-mix mutt in the front). She was such a wonderful, loving, gentle dog but oh! how she would get so nervous at this event!
If you've never participated before, and you live in the Twin Cities, MN area, I would highly recommend the event. It begins this weekend, Nov. 8 and 9 and continues the following weekend, Nov. 15 and 16.
You bring your pets (and family if you'd like) and they supply the photographers, Santa and three set designs to choose from. They usually have a table of festive attire that your pets can borrow for the photo shoot.
For only $50 you take home a CD with about ten professional quality high-resolution photographs of you and your pets. Because everyone volunteers their time it is a wonderful and easy way to donate to the MVHS.
If you see us there, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself.
(more dogs on Thursday posts here)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
As I mentioned in my previous post, I experienced some frustrations while sewing this dress, but it had nothing to do with the pattern itself. It was a combination of my fabric choice (a soft cotton/lycra knit with a lot of stretch) and the fact that I cut the bodice in a size 12 even a I was thinking perhaps I should cut a size 10. Turns out I should have begun with a 10.
The actual construction was a breeze. The pattern instructions are thorough, well-written and well illustrated. I didn't find mention of it in the instructions, but I stabilized the shoulder seams with stay tape. Sometimes I use clear elastic for this step, but the stay tape happened to be closer to the machine.
The bodice is self-lined, gathered with the right crossing over the left. All of those fabric layers are sewn to the midriff section, which also consists of two layers of fabric. See the photo below. Because of the bulk, I eliminated the inside stay facing.
By the way, the front midriff is nicely shaped with a gently curved seam. In the photo below, I lightened the bodice and skirt so you can see the seam.
The wide back waist inset is also gathered along each side seam giving a nice shape to the waist area.
I did not follow the order of construction as noted in the instructions. Instead, I sewed all of the front sections, than all of the back sections, set the sleeves in flat and then finished by sewing the side seams.
At this point I tried the dress on to make my side seam adjustments and discovered that it was way too large.
Not just take-in-the-side-seams-so-that-it-fits-snug big, but oh-drat-the-neck-shoulders-and-bodice-are-too-large big.
So I sighed a big sigh, set the dress aside and walked away from the machine for the evening. Normally this would have become a forgotten UFO tucked away inside a box only to be rediscovered years later. However, this time I decided I would persist to the very end. And I'm glad I did.
The next night I patiently ripped out all of the stitches, took apart the entire dress, recut the bodice to a size 10 and the midriff sections to a 10/12 and bravely began resewing the dress.
A much better fit, but I still needed to sew larger side seams at the midriff so that the fit was snug preventing the knit from sagging. I can't tell you for sure if it was the fit of the pattern or my knit choice so keep that in mind when you sew your dress.
I used a cotton/lycra knit purchased from Hancock Fabrics in February 2008. It is a very soft knit with a lot of stretch. I think I'll choose a different knit for the next version of this dress, perhaps an ITY knit.
So how do I know that I purchased it in February of 2008? Because I had attended a local ASG workshop featuring Pati Palmer and this was one of the knits I bought on break.
And speaking of Pati Palmer I have to share this because I found it to be such a nice gesture. When I first posted about this dress I was surprised to see an email from her in my inbox. She had sent a short note asking me to let her know how the dress turned out. I was amazed that someone with such a busy schedule would take time to send an email to just another sewer asking about a dress sewn from one of her designs. I think that was very kind of her to do so.
A full review on PatternReview can be read here.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
*** EDITED 11/3 **** added link to blog post with additional details on the construction as well as more photos of the dress including me wearing the dress.
The perfect knit dress
That being said, the frustration had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern. It was my choice of knit fabric combined with the fact that I originally cut and sewed this dress one size too large. The pattern itself was great - lots of fitting tips, clear instructions and pattern pieces that fit together properly.
I'll post a full review tomorrow as I still have lots of it's-Sunday-night-and-I-have-to-get-this-stuff-done-before-the-work-week-begins chores to finish before heading off to bed.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Of course as you continue to browse you'll notice that there are also plenty of patterns available in the bust 34 and 32 range as well as children's patterns.
I even recognized a few that I sent to them for the recycle section. My fear is that one day I'm going to request a recycled pattern that I actually sent to them *LOL*. Somehow they look so much more desirable on their website than they did sitting in storage boxes.
So go! Browse, request and don't forget to donate to they can continue to offer us this service. Pin It