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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sew much in 2011 (the year in review)

I have been looking back over my sewing for this past year and I decided I wanted to recap the year in stitches.

I started the year with some home dec sewing for my living room (which we re-did at the end of 2010).
I love how our living room turned out and these pieces still look brand new a year later. The leather couch you see behind the pillows is awesome, too - I would highly recommend such a piece of furniture if you have a bunch of kids and pets. Leather actually hides wear like crazy. Who knew?

My next home dec project has not held up so well. The boys have been destroying the bed curtains via rough behavior. They have torn a few of the ties. I just haven't been motivated to fix them either.

At least my daughter is a little kinder to her mama-made-mine projects. She adores her name pillow (actually a pillow sham). I often find it dragged downstairs so she can use it on the couch.

Of course, most of my sewing this year has been garment sewing. Gracie is still my dress-up doll. I love this beautiful print and have the yellow version of it waiting to be made into a dress for her next year!

One of my goals this year was to work in more embroidery to my sewing. I do love my embroidery machine (a Bernina Deco). This dress was so cute for the beach and will still fit her in 2012 since it was so big then.

I also tried to sew a little more for the men in my life. I made the Colette Negroni for my husband. This pattern is very likely to resurface in 2012. I could see this in a fun print for vacation...I may have to convince him for that though!

At Easter, I sewed for the entire family - shirts for all of the guys and dresses for myself and Gracie. I kept the palette pastel - lavender was predominate.

There are, of course, a few projects that stand out. Benjamin's favorite by far was the giraffe outfit (which I am confident he will also be able to wear in 2012).

I got a lot of use out of my new favorite purse (but it is too summery to be a year-round bag so it is currently on hiatus). I anticipate making a version of this to taking on vacation to Disney next summer. I will want to go slightly bigger though, but not as big as the previous bag I made from the Taylor Made Designs pattern.

I gave the boys a sewing lesson. They made pillowcases for themselves and their younger siblings.

This dress (Natalie pattern by Sew Beautiful) was actually considered for publication by the magazine. Alas, it didn't make the cut but they did say it was a beautiful dress.

My favorite dress might just be this one. I fell in love with Muse designs and made several different ones, but I always get compliments on it.

My boys love these Star Wars sweatshirts. They are constantly being worn.

I made the dress my daughter wore at the local fair's pageant. She didn't win, but it was fun to make and she loved it.

The best part of the fair was mine - I won a bunch of ribbons for my sewing! I also walked away with enough prize money to fund more...fabric!

Halloween brought Rapunzel to life.

For the last month or so, I've gotten into sewing with a plan for my own wardrobe. So far, I have added over a dozen new pieces to my fall/winter wardrobe and had a lot of fun doing that. I found another great color-blocking pattern in the process. Plus, I made my first really structured lined jacket and successful work-friendly tailored pants.

I ended up spending all night sewing up this nativity-themed Feliz dress, but she wore it 3 times so far and she loves it. I love it too. She's only little once, so why not?

As the year closes, I have 3 cut, ready to sew projects, but I doubt they will get touched until at least Sunday (1/1/12). So, that makes my final project of the year one I can enjoy looking at (and sitting on) daily at work (in my classroom).

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Excuse the view...

...but the pants are a success!!! I have conquered my fear of making nice pants. Now, I think I have enough nerve to try the Jalie jeans pattern...

V1200 made in a cotton-lycra twill...brilliant design on the front inside - the pocket piece goes all the way to the fly, effectively keeping everything a little smoother. After four kids, my tummy is a sad, sad thing so I will take any help I can get.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

(Fake) leather trimmed-skirt & the Anne Klein jacket

Here is the complete look: V1200 Anne Klein jacket + S2152 skirt (view A).
The waistband, as well as pocket trim, on the skirt is made from pleather. I picked up a yard and half of black pleather at G Street fabrics this summer and this was the perfect project for my first foray into sewing with this stuff. I learned a couple of things. One, it does NOT ease. Two, it will sew beautifully with a walking foot. Without a walking foot, you will be cussing...Three, don't pin it (already knew that) and don't plan to rip out stitches if you don't like weird stretching and/or holes.

Yes, I did learn a few things the hard way, but I did it on the pocket trim. Once I had it all figured out, I was able to get the waistband on like a dream. 
I tend to be bigger in the waist and smaller in the hips, so I often wrestle with getting the waistband to fit without the skirt being too huge through the butt. I have settled on what frequently works out as the easiest solution: cut the waistband one size bigger than the skirt. This way I don't have to ease the skirt and everything is a perfect fit.

I still have the pants from V1200 left to sew, but they will be from a charcoal grey/almost black stretch twill. I still have some of this boucle left, but it would have been too much pattern to make the pants from, hence I went with the Simplicity skirt. Since I did use boucle for the skirt, I piece the front and two back sections together and then used those pieces as a pattern to cut a lining. I also used the lining on the inside of the waistband. Since the pleather is so thick, I skipped any interfacing and it worked out well.

I really like how these pieces turned out - really cute together or as separates.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa brought Mommy a sewing project - storage bag for a Mobigo

Gracie got a V-Tech Mobigo for Christmas, which means Mommy got a sewing project! I knew she would need a place to keep it as well as store her games. Plus, like many four year olds, she doesn't have the art of organization perfected yet. She needs a little help. Enter Simplicity 3531! 

This pattern is for 3 sizes of drawstring bags and all of the ones on the pattern were embellished to a degree and made with cute fabrics so it was easy to envision this as a Gracie project. I chose pink and white dots and a floral contrast fabric and stitched out this cute design on the front. I took some of the bias tubing I used for the drawstrings and made a leash (long enough to be a weird necklace) for all 6 of the cartridges she got. The cartridges all have a small hole in the top that is perfect for this sort of purpose. (That girl got lucky that I hit a BOGO sale on those at Toys R Us last month.)

Gracie can wear this like a cross-body bag as well as use it to store the Mobigo, game cartridges, and anything else - like perhaps a pair of headphones...some of the game sounds are a bit annoying.
This was a really quick project - about two hours including a 45 minute stitch-out on my embroidery machine. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a kid's game system to wrangle. It could be made in a more masculine fabric for a boy if needed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last minute Christmas sewing

Unwrap this! I just made the jacket to Vogue 1200 - all 59 steps of it. I cut the fabric (and the lining, and the interfacing) on Thursday and did all of the fusing. Last night, I got through the basic construction of the outer jacket and the lining. Today, the two needed to be married together. There are really a lot of great details to how this is constructed, but I'm glad I was able to do it at a time when I was actually not super busy with a bunch of other stuff. This takes a lot of attention.

I have the pants from the same pattern cut and ready to sew, as well as a skirt (in more of the same fabric as the jacket) from a Simplicity pattern. I had considered being super ambitious and sewing the skirt also this afternoon, but instead I help Gracie clean up (for Santa) and played some Barbies with her. She keeps wanting to play "cheerleader" Barbie. She is going to flip when she gets a set of cheerleader Barbies tomorrow!

She and Benjamin will also be getting these:

They were so fun to make, except for the massive clean-up required after fake fur and bits of microfleece went everywhere! These are the only handsewn gifts I am giving this year.

Well, I will be wearing my new jacket to church this evening, and Gracie will be rocking the nativity scene Feliz dress again. I hope everyone reading this has a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unexpected benefits of a sewing oddity

When I sewed up this top, V8151, last night, I had an issue with the facing to the (very long) neckline - I interfaced it with fusible tricot which I really shouldn't have done. This caused the facing not to stretch as much as needed and hence the ruched look on the faced area. I actually like the way it looks though, so it's a happy accident.

I actually had a VERY productive evening and completed an Ottobre dress for my daughter as well. She was very excited when I showed it to her this morning and eager to go out and model for me. We matched 06-2011-18 with red leggings and the cutest red sparkly Keds! I have adorable scrapbook supplies that match. 

Then, I cut out fabric for pillows from Simplicity 2198. I am making a giraffe pillow for Benjamin and a pink monkey pillow for Gracie. These should go  together fairly quickly this evening. It'll just be a mess to clean up all of the lint generated from fake fur and microfleece! Yikes - I could have shaved my cat with less mess...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

McCall's new patterns - love!

I was excited about the Simplicity Early Spring, but I am REALLY excited about the new offerings from McCall's. I need a pattern sale soon...

I love this fit and flare dress in M6504. I've had a similar style Kwik Sew pattern that I haven't made because I knew I'd have to alter the straps to make it bra-friendly, but this I love! I can't decide which view I like best. I only know that large boobs and chest ruffles are usually not a good combo, but the other views are all adorable.

M6503 is really cute in a retro sort of way. Once again, I'll skip the view with the flouncy chest. I could do the little ruffle on the collar though.

M6507, a Tracy Reese design, is fantastic in the print on the left. My only concern would be bra exposure at the back. I think I would definitely make a muslin.

I love anything colorful and colorblocked, so this tank tunic (M6511) is so on my must-sew list! I would layer it with a solid tank, but this would be super cute to wear on vacation to Disney next August.

I'm not a fan of M6512's tie front view, but the short sleeve view is really nice. I love their version in the pink.

Anoraks are totally on trend for Spring 2012 and this one in M6531 is nice. I'd love to make up a bright version of view C.
M6519 is a really cute wardrobe. I'd be tempted to make everything here.

For Gracie, the boho chic looks in M6530 would be lovely.
I also adore this Chelsea Anderson (who also designs for Pink Fig) design (M6497). This is just adorable and I love, love, love anytime I can mix cute prints.

M6496 is quite cute, but I may need to check my pattern inventory for VERY similar looks before purchasing.

I have a huge stash of knits from Patsy Aiken's Raleigh, NC outlet that would be so cute made up in M6498.

I may need to buy both size ranges of M6502 and sew up a brother-sister look for Benjamin & Gracie. Everyone loves cargo pants!

I will admit that I need more bag patterns like a hole in the head, but the Laura Ashley bags in M6522 are really pretty and a nice size.

M6527 would make some cute projects for Gracie's room.

Palmer/Pletsch have a winner with M6513 - what a great crossover knit top pattern!

I'm usually not a fan of the Stitch N Save patterns, but M6489 looks like it would be quick to make and flattering.

These Kay Whitt bags in M6532 are seriously cute - I want that fabric on the top bag!

Okay, Joann's and Hancock - get my patterns, put 'em on sale, and let me dig into Spring...yes, I know the odds of completing my winter sewing plan go down by the minute.