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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The stockings were hung

...on the stair rail with care! In hopes that Chris got me a little something special in addition to what I picked out at Elegant Stitches!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tree Skirt complete and a new Sewing Resource

There it is - my completed tree skirt. I can hear you now saying "Um, you're doing it wrong." The tree is crammed in a corner this year and we are about to re-do the living room (between Christmas and New Year's), so this has yet to land under the tree.

Once I had all the buildings and critters stitched, making my own piping for the skirt as well as making a ruffle from charm squares stitched together was pretty easy.

As you can see, the underside of the skirt is back with a lovely soft green corduroy ( a score at the Patsy Aiken outlet).

My other new addition to this blog is a sewing Livebinder. If you aren't familiar with Livebinders, they are a resource organizer that anyone can set up and share. Mine is full of some of my favorite sites (which are already linked here) and includes my favorite embroidery sites (which are NOT otherwise linked here). Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Almost stitched

Just a few more little characters and then I can stitch this baby together!

I haven't made any garments in the last few weeks...I think I'm having withdrawals, but I need to get the tree skirt (and six Christmas stockings) finished before Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls

The tree is finally up and with a new Bernina Deco340 to enjoy, I have set out to make a spectacular tree skirt (and the stockings). This is just a preview of my progress. It takes about an hour and a half to stitch out each building and about 20-30 minutes for the smaller things.

Once I get this done, I will post it in the meantime, I will be spending a lot of time with my friend Bernina.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


If you sew for kids, you must see this! SEW WOW Much eye candy here...

Lots of gorgeous ideas for the holidays...I think I want to make my own version of the Bananafana skirt. I already have the pattern, but I love the way they did it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

McCall's, what are you doing to me?

M6256 - yarn/knitting project organizer - very nice
M6257 - doll clothes - also nice

Every else - yuck...that's all I have to say about the McCall's holiday pattern selection.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Embroidery fun...I am obsessed

Ottobre 1/2005 - #17 pants embellished with mirror imaged floral designs
Another design from the same issue of Ottobre, monogrammed with Curlz font.
Here's Winston modeling Gracie's new "Happy Meow-oween!" shirt (Bunnycup embroidery - love them!) He is too big for a 3T...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Embroidery inspiration

I am really fortunate to live in central North Carolina. Why? Well, among many other fine reasons, I have easy access to the Patsy Aiken outlet. They have some of the most beautiful, high quality fabrics that are perfect for children's clothing (since that is mostly what their company sells). This was my haul from yesterday's outlet visit:

The stripes are all destined for my boys' clothing, and the rest I have already been cutting into with lightening speed for Gracie. The aqua and purple coordinates are all destined for a Daisy Kingdom dress, while the apples will be a Project Runway jumper. The brown and aqua and green print is another jumper pattern. The pink and white stripe will be leggings, matching with the pink with flowers and birds (beside the orange). The orange with flowers has been cut into a top, matching with the brown dot for a pair of pants. Yes, I was a cutting fool when I got home last night - just too much fabric goodness here!

Of course, now that I have an embroidery machine, I couldn't let these fabrics go unembellished. I got some inspiration for monogramming from Patsy Aiken designs. So many of the garments are classic styles with options for machine embroidery. The image to the left is from the catalog. I love how these clothes take the style up a notch with a simple monogram. I even have the same font (Curlz) which I am using on the orange shirt. I'm new to embroidery, so I have been experimenting with my machine and decided to cut a piece of fabric larger than I needed for my pattern piece, added the stabilizer and monogrammed it before cutting the design out. That was a lot easier than trying to hit the target on an already cut pattern piece.

I made my first attempt at machine embroidery on a garment with this top (Ottobre 4/2005):
For that I stabilized and hooped the cut pattern piece since it was so large, but I think next time I will do it the way I did this time, with a rougher cut piece, embroidery, and then a final cut of the pattern piece. I've also come to realize that technique is definitely necessary when placing embroidery on smaller pieces or near the edges of a garment you are sewing. I'm doing that with a pair of pants right now.

At some point soon, I plan to add a section on machine embroidery resources to my blog. I'm so excited about being able to do machine embroidery. It just takes things up a level and it's so beautiful on so many things. I've already done quite a few towels. I feel like I made a great investment.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Self-stitched September - the wrap-up

I know some bloggers posted pictures of their daily self-stitched items, but you are going to have to trust me. I did it - wore something I made every day. The best part is that it wasn't even difficult to do. It's been really fun to realize how much my sewing has taken over my wardrobe (in a good way!).

As we move into October, I have some fun projects on the horizon:

Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi plus a fancy princess will be in the works for Halloween.

I have a dupioni silk dress and silk velvet jacket planned for my 20th HS reunion outfit, plus I have a couple of other stylish pieces ready to sew.

Of course, there will be some more embroidery coming now that I have the Deco.

Happy sewing, y'all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Vogues!

There are some pretty offerings in the new Vogues!

This Kay Unger dress is very stylish:

I like the sleeve treatment on this, but I would have to raise the back or I'd have bra issues.
This Rachel Comey design is really cute and fresh.
Fun design here by Alice + Olivia, but I don't see myself wearing both pieces together. They are both really cute, though.
I like the shape of these knit dresses. I would like to wear these to work.

This is a nice basic structured shirt.

I like the princess seams on this top.

This pattern is by kAtheRine Tilton. I am assuming some relation to Marci Tilton. I like the hem. It's a nice change from the severe asymmetric hems I have seen on other designs.

I love the shape of the jacket and the dress on this pattern.
I like the shape on the coats - esp. the shorter one.

So many cute designs, but the one on the left here gets the WTF award for that hem.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My new baby

I have a new arrival...a Bernina Deco 340 embroidery machine. I got an awesome deal on one that was barely used (even has a brand new warranty). I am loving it.I haven't had a chance to do too much yet, but I was able to bring it home yesterday and almost immediately stitch out a design on a test piece of muslin that was in the hoop from the store. I've tried a couple of monograms, too, but I haven't started any major finished items.

I'll be adding machine embroidery resources as I discover which ones I like best.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fabric Serendipity

Don't you love it when you find the perfect fabric for a project? I found this adorable top for Gracie at a Carter's outlet - $6. I knew I had to get it because we have our sweet black kitty Winston (whom I have caught enjoying his new kitty bed!). Plus, I think it's Halloween-ish without being too Halloween.

Then, I found the perfect (or should I go there and say PURRfect) fabric to go with it; this Alexander Henry print. I picked up a yard intending to make a skirt, but not sure what pattern I want to use. It isn't hard to find a skirt pattern for a 3 year old that uses that yardage, but this one jumped out at me for the clever knit waistband. Plus, I had this gray and black Michael Miller striped knit that looks great with it. Add in mini pompom trim and it was complete in under an hour.
I think Gracie and Winston love it! Isn't she a sweetie pie giving that big fella a hug? He weighed more than her until about a year ago - he's 23 lbs of furry mayhem.

I like how this pattern came together so much that I think I want to do up another version of it.

Since this only took an hour, I had plenty of time to sew up a little something for me: This is Vogue 8650. A number of reviewers had problems with the neckline, but I just adjusted the pleats so it would end up the right size for me - easy! I like the style and I have a similar Butterick pattern sized for knits.

BTW - The white fluffball under my hand is Skippy. He's not as big as that butterball Winston, but he's a sweetheart, too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New New Look, but a lot of same old, same old

Am I just getting too picking? This was the only pattern out of the newly release autumn/winter New Look patterns that actually held my interest:

I like the hoodie dress. I think that would be super cute as a cover-up for the beach or  pool or just a casual hanging out at home outfit.

I want to see more stuff that is unique. I really love this Butterick dress I just sewed up last night:
I honestly think the dress looks better in person. My husband didn't get the most flattering angle of me, but I was in a hurry to get the picture before we all had to leave for work and school. How cool are those sleeves? I got a lot of compliments on this dress today. It rocks and I feel confident in it. I want more patterns like this - with great details; less repeats of everyone else and previous patterns.

I have a skirt ready to be hemmed and a knit top ready to sew. I stayed up too late finishing this dress yesterday, but I figure I have plenty of self-stitched goodies to wear to work tomorrow, anyway.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More SSS and a new project in the works

For Self-stitched Sept., I have been rocking the skirts (Ottobre on Weds., a Burda creation on Thursday) and this cute new Vogue skirt on Friday). The skirt in the picture is the Rachel Comey pattern I referenced a few posts ago. I made it from a lovely stretch denim and paired it with a Burda top I made last month.

As for SSS today, well, I sleep in a collection of  knit nighties that I have made from various patterns, so that will be today's item - bumming around in some old clothes while I sew and clean a little.

For my next project...kitty bed! I'm attempting view B for the Pet-sewing challenge on Pattern Review. The kitty on that bed even looks like my pretty Skippy! (He's the white one attacking the black one, Winston, and the tabby cat is Molly.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Self-stitched September

Like quite a few other bloggers, I've taken the Self-stitched September challenge. Today, I wore one of my favorite Ottobre skirts to work, and of course, I'm carrying that awesome new bag. Maybe this will be the impetus I need to get busy on some more personal clothing projects.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So you like my bag?

If you sew, and you've gotten to a point where you can turn out enviable projects, certainly you have heard, "Will you make me one?" This is one of those bags. I just made it, and I totally love it, but I keep getting requests for one just like it. It provides some interesting insight on what non-sewists think about sewing:

"I bet that cost you less than $20." Nope...

"You just whipped that up?" No, I actually thought and planned and problem-solved along the way.

"Seriously, I'll pay you." Seriously, you work the same place I do. You can't afford what my time is worth...

Still, I guess I do enjoy a little bit of sewing envy...but I'm still not making you a bag.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sewing has been interrupted by...

school! I teach 7th grade, so the start of the new school year is always pretty crazy, but this year has been exceptional. Miss Gracie started preschool last week, and today, little Mr. B is now a kinderg√§rtner. My other two (as well as my own students) started on Weds.

I think, though, I will finally get back to sewing tonight! I have a tote ready to go, and my Ottobre Woman came today. I need to sew!

On a side note, I got a new phone, a Samsung Vibrant. It's an Android phone and I'm looking for useful sewing-related apps. Any suggestions??

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Should be sleepin', but I'm checking out Ottobre

The preview of the Ottobre Woman fall issue is up!

I'm excited - I like just about everything. I'm so glad to see they have bypassed the weird hem trend that some other pattern companies have embraced.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Well, this is a fun dilemma...

My to-be-sewn pile is NON-EXISTENT...I got through about 20 little girl garments in the last two weeks and now I plan to sort out how to put together my entry for the wardrobe contest at Pattern Review. I now am pondering what my next project should be. I'm considering McCall's 5644, but I need to check the dimensions. I love the kitty cat, but I need to make it to fit the phone I'm getting next week (a Samsung Vibrant - android phone - can't wait!!!).

I also have some fabric prewashed that I am thinking about pairing with Vogue 1170. I don't care for the top, but the lines of the skirt are really cute.

I've also been thinking about a new bag, but which one?? McCall's 4851 would make a great teacher tote. Of course I also need to make a new sleeve for my netbook that I take to and from work.

I also like McCall's 5944 with the interchangeable lining, but Simplicity 2350 (Cynthia Rowley bags) are so cool - I like the duffle-shaped bag.

Of course, I'm really waiting for my Ottobre Woman fall issue at the end of next week. Come on, preview, please!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Nod to the Selfish Seamstress

Obviously, I have quite an extensive list of blogs that I follow on my sidebar, and one of my favorite is that of the Selfish Seamstress. I love her snark and witty little haikus as well as her fabulous garments. Today she posted a rave extolling the virtues of being selfish with your sewing, and I have to say, I agree with her.

I hate sewing for other people and I won't do it!!!

Okay, let me clarify this. I will on occasion, sew a gift for someone, and of course, I love sewing for my children, but I'm not fixing other people's stuff, altering what doesn't fit them, or custom making something that someone has drooled over.

Unless there's something in it for me.

My wonderful friend Beth knitted this adorable dress for Gracie:

and I made her this bag for her knitting:

I think it was a good barter as I do not knit and she does not sew. We bought each other's materials and consulted on the design and then traded goods.

So, if you want me to sew for you, you have to be able to make something I can't.

I have had people tell me I could sell some of my things - esp. some of the pieces of cuteness I have rendered for darling Gracie. But why? It's not worth my time because no one would pay me what I feel my sewing time is worth. It's priceless. I love the art of being creative. You can't put a price on that kind of fun. Plus, as my children often demonstrate, you just can't put a price on go hem your own pants!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ottobre Must-Haves

I've been thinking about doing this post for a few weeks, but the question was recently asked of me as to which issues are the "must-have" ones from Ottobre. So here are my picks and my rationales.

I should note that I discovered Ottobre in late 2007, but was too intimidated to try it until about February of 2008. It wasn't long before I was hooked.

The first English language version was published Spring 2003 and that one has some excellent basic tee-shirts.
Another issue with excellent basics, including underwear (no, I can't say I've made those - my kids like the character stuff) and another excellent tee-shirt pattern is the Winter 2004 issue:

I don't own the Creative Workshop 301 simply because I refer back to either of these issues when I need a basic tee.

The Autumn 2005 issue is the one where Ottobre does cloth diapers. Again, something I never got into and I am happy to say the "decade of diapers" is nearly finished at my house as Miss Gracie is on her very last package of Pull-ups for nighttime. There are also some really nice stylish clothes in here - one of my personal favorites:
Like some of the earlier Ottobre Design issues, the first Ottobre Woman is chock full of great basics - buy this one for the tee-shirts alone (and skip Creative Workshop 303):

I keep finding myself drawn to the clothes in the Autumn 2006 issue - such nice details:

Leggings, leotards, and lots of ruffles - the Spring 2007 issue has 'em. I love the skirt with the ruffles cascading down the back - so cute! I've made it several times. The lap shoulder tee and dress for infant/toddler girls is another good basic.
The second Ottobre Woman, Spring 2007, has more excellent tees and a really neat wave skirt:

The Ottobre Woman published Autumn 2007 has the BEST A-line skirt - no adjustments (for me at least):

Summer 2008 is another good t-shirt issue:
The Summer 2009 issue featured some nice swimsuits as well as summer pieces with cute details:

My current favorite issue is last fall's - I love the reversible skirt (so clever and easy to do) and some of the other cute outfits. The boys' jacket with color-blocking is also nice:

If you are looking to make winter jammies or a nice coat, I like the selections in the Winter 2009 issue:

So, there you have it - my favorites from Ottobre. Honestly, I love them all, and I have lost count of what all I have made from their patterns. It's a lot, suffice it to say. The subscription (I get it straight from their website and always get my magazine on the day they say it will come.) is a great deal and you can get back issues from them with free shipping if you are a subscriber.