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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Methadone list, aka what to do when sewing time gets hijacked and you need a fix

You know about Methadone? They give it to heroin addicts suffering withdrawal symptoms to help bring them down. Sometimes I need a little sewing Methadone. Today was one of those days. My house is a wreck - DD's bed was delivered without the extenders to make it a loft, crazy uncle's apartment remains have overtaken things downstairs, and the kids have spread toys like a virus.

Here are the things I do when I really want to just dive into a big project but I can't:

1. Surf the web for inspiration of things I want to make.

2. Shop online (embroidery designs, fabric, patterns - any of it)

3. Make lists of future projects

4. Paw through fabric tubs just because I need to handle the material

5. Re-read pattern magazines

6. Stitch on towels/blanks on my embroidery machine

7. Blog ;-)

Number two can be pricey if I'm not careful, but often I fill a cart and dump it before committing. I try not to impulse buy too much.

What do you do? What's your favorite substitute sewing fix?

I actually stitched out a t-shirt for Benjamin today while cleaning up my home office.

If the Fed Ex people stop by tomorrow with the rest of Gracie's bed, that should precipitate a domino effect that might facilitate some sewing. Please let it be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Men’s Shirt Sew-Along

I am excited to sew along with Peter from Male Pattern Boldness (and quite a few others for the MPB sew-along. A lot of people are sewing from Colette's Negroni pattern. I don't have that one (not that I don't like it, I just have some others I can use). I will likely use McCall's 6044 which I have already successfully made for Chris. For the boys, I'll reach into the tried and true Ottobre collection. The fabrics for each are below – all Spechler-Vogel pincords purchased at Elegant Stitches.


Easter shirts for Chris



and Benjamin (who will accessorize with his Small Paul fedora we found at Target today).




Friday, January 28, 2011

Reminding myself why I create

not like I needed a reminder - I love it! However, just look at how happy having this cheerleader outfit makes my daughter - priceless:

The t-shirt is Ottobre 4/2004 design #36.

I think I might cut out a stack of these and embroidery different things when I need to spend time at my computer (babysitting the Deco).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finally in use - a quilt made 2.5 years ago

I made this pretty quilt in 2008, when the little girl whose bed it would cover was still an infant sleeping in a crib. She's now graduated out of a toddler bed. Her new bed came today (only missing the extender legs for it to be a mid-height loft. We should get those early next week.). It was so fun to take the quilt out of storage and put it in use. Even though she's cuddled up with her favorite Tinkerbell blankie (that I made), she's still under the quilt I made. I love it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Okay, proud Mommy moment - my kids are featured on today. I love that they deemed my custom-made children's fashion as cool as some of the brand name stuff other kiddos are sporting.

Tonight, my minihipster Benjamin and I made a snowman for a kindergarten project. We used a fake fur remnant my mom had and some buttons, rickrack, and a fabric remnant from my stash. I sewed the buttons after Benjamin selected and placed them. Benjamin helped me sew the hat and the brown rickrack for the arms - he stepped on the pedal while I guided the fabric. He loved helping Mommy sew.

After the kids went to bed, I finished up the cutest dress for Gracie. The pattern is Renee by Juvie Moon. It wasn't as complicated as it might seem. There are a lot of pieces, but with a serger, this is pretty easy.

This is the dress I cut first and then used the remnants to make all the dolly clothes shown here. I just love this fabric collection (Rose Cottage - purchased from Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Obsessed? And so what if I am?

My serger is back home - finally! Two weeks of withdrawal and fabric cutting left me with a shocking amount of fabric cut and ready to sew, a lot of said fabric embellished with my embroidery machine. I did one project with just my sewing machine:

Gracie had a chance to spend the morning with the high school cheerleaders and she was in little girl heaven! I made her this little navy skirt which the picture doesn't do justice to. See, it's actually made reversible thanks to cutting a second skirt in a bright gold knit similar to the navy knit (colors match both the HS and the MS where I teach). I also grabbed a pair of her undies and drafted a quick pattern for navy cheer bloomers to go under it. It worked out really well because when she was cheering with the big girls when I came to pick her up from the event, sure enough, her little skirt ended up flipped up.

I also had a different shirt in mind. I cut a basic white tee from Ottobre 4-2004 (which has the same patterns that ended up in the creative workshop pack) and chose a design from Stitch on Time that looked perfect for my girl:

Of course, there was a small glitch. I had to wait for the file to be emailed. It wasn't instant download. So, the morning of the event, I finally got the design in my inbox and transferred it to my USB. When I pulled it up in the machine, it said 76 minutes. I said, "oh crap!" because clearly I would not make this project happen in the hour I had before we had to go. Gracie was pretty cool about it since she had her skirt and a gold t-shirt that looked good with it.

After the cheer event, I took her with me to pick up the serger and do a little shopping. When we got home, I started into the pile of unsewn stuff. First up, I decided to clear an easy project, a dolly outfit. This poor dolly only came with a diaper and a bath towel and the diaper has sort of disappeared. I hate for her to land in the realm of nakie-babies, so I used some leftover fabric from cutting a dress for Gracie to make this:

Disclaimer: the doll's eyes aren't really that creepy; it's the flash.

Dolly's outfit will match Gracie's dress (that I will probably sew up today):

I got both of the appliques I used from Designs by Juju. I wouldn't normally applique for a doll, but it was a good practice piece. I love how the fish in the applique are such a terrific match for the Fabric Finders print I used.

Once I had dolly clothed, I stitched up a simple bag I had cut and ready to sew from this fabric:

I have a second one ready to sew from this:

Both the birdies and the alphabet are also Designs by Juju.

Of course, I didn't stop there, I stitched together a striped tee I had embroidered to match a new skirt for Gracie, and I sewed up a simple 70's-ish dress for  her too.

After church, I plan to spend the rest of the day having quality time with my machines...maybe I'll even get around to finishing this:

It's going to be a decorative pillow for my daughter's new big-girl bed which is being delivered on Thursday morning.

More reviews and pictures to come later today as I make up for lost sewing time...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spring Sewing

I am still without my serger, and it is driving me bananas!

In the meantime, I am planning and organizing projects. I have decided to participate in the men's shirt sew-along as well as the Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge (to create a mini-wardrobe around a color palette). I am already thinking about Easter clothes, and I have several home dec projects I want to accomplish. I've decided that the only way to make this happen is to plan and storyboard my sewing.

Next week is my "off" week for grad school - can I please have my serger back???

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kwik Sew - not too exciting

I like Kwik Sew, but I'm not excited about the new spring releases. You can see them at this link  (replace the 3854 in the link with 3843-3864). The only pattern I want is this cute shorts pattern. I like view B, but I find view A intriguing as well.

Spring Sewing Ideas


In the meantime, I'm plotting my sewing and deciding what I'd like to make. Here are some things inspiring me right now. I want some new sleepwear, and I love the things at Soma:
This is one piece - capri leggings and skirt together - very flattering and comfortable to wear. If I hadn't just snagged one for $15 tonight, I'd be looking into trying to make one of these.

So far, this pattern, M6074 looks like a good starting point:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sew what?

I am still in serger withdrawal - sure hope my blade comes in soon! In the meantime, I am doing some other projects. I embroidered some fabric to be made into pattern storage bags.

I also made up a set of seat cushions for my mom's rocking chair. It's an heirloom that had been in her mom's house. Of course, as soon as her cat Abby found out about the cushions, it instantly doubles as a cat bed.

I'm glad I used pink denim - this is going to see a lot of cat hair! It should at least clean up easily.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Vogues - the good ones

Why, oh why isn't my serger ready??? (They need a part, but I am seriously needing my machine!). In the meantime, I am enjoying the new Vogues.

First up, this Donna Karan (V1219) dress is stunning:

This dress (V1222) is cute, but I wonder about the odd insert across the bust:

If I were a teen, I would so want this dress by Rebecca Taylor. It's adorable, but it's not for a mom of four who's pushing 40.

V1221 is a good dress for me, however. I'm glad to see a nice selection of things that will flatter a larger bust.

If I had a fancy spring affair to attend, I'd like V1231, a Belville Sassoon design.

This wardrobe pattern looks pretty versatile:

I like the lines of this KAtheRine Tilton top:

I'm undecided about these pants by Marci Tilton. I think I like them, but I'm not sure...

Now, for a nice surprise - we have nice menswear! V8719 - pants and sportcoat - maybe DH will get lucky.

Of course, there are a few strange picks in the lot as well, but we'll leave those for another post. ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Serger withdrawal

We have tons of ice and my serger is sitting at Elegant Stitches (no idea whether it is done or not). In the meantime, I am giving my Deco a workout:

I found these sweet fishies at Designs by Juju. I did the dolly outfit first as a practice piece and the stitched out the bigger fish on the overlay for the dress. The cute fish print fabric is by Fabric Finders.

Then I pulled out my tub of Gracie's room fabrics. I bought these coordinates from April Cornell's "A Little Romance" line by Moda back in 2008 and made a twin size quilt, a small stuffed chair, and curtains for my daughter's room. The twin quilt hasn't been used yet. She is about to graduate from her toddler bed into a big girl bed we ordered right after Thanksgiving so I want to do a few more projects with the remaining fabric. There's still quite a bit of it because I bought extra when the fabric went on sale.

Crossing my fingers that my serger is ready soon (and the roads are clear enough that I can safely go get it)...I want to sew these projects up!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Projects on the table

Having just acquired some goodies from Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops and now having a nice, updated space to play with my stuff, I was all ready to cut fabric and start sewing. One small problem, though - my serger needed an emergency trip to the shop since the knife blade was simply chewing fabric and not actually cutting much of anything.

In the meantime, I am prepping stuff to sew. First up is the Renee dress by Juvie Moon - a cute twirly jumper with room to use several different fabrics. I'm using coordinates from Red Rose Farm:
I had enough fabric left over to cut several baby doll outfits. I think Gracie will enjoy that and it's good use of the fabric. Next up, I am planning on making a few more storage bags for my patterns/magazines. Amy Butler's Chelsea bag is my go-to pattern for that purpose. I already have four of them - one for each season of Ottobre since I have an extensive collection of those.

I'm also thinking about cutting out Children's Corner Isabella (277) and McCall's 6272, both of which would be cute to embroider on. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yet another reason I love my Deco!

There's nothing like being able to customize your work with matching embroidery! The pink stripe is a lovely interlock from Patsy Aiken. I have it cut into one of the new McCall's patterns: 6274 - long sleeve version.

The fabric on the right will be cut into a skirt, but I haven't decided what pattern I want to use for that.

I'm trying to make some things for my daughter that she can wear now and into warmer weather. I just finished the Pink Fig Stripwork skirt - used Michael Miller Fairy Frost that I had in my stash for awhile:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Home Dec Sewing

Home dec sewing is always rewarding, but not always the most exciting kind of sewing to me. I've done curtains at my house and my mom's:

My daughter's room:
My mom's laundry room

My mom's living room (she bought the lace panels and I made the rest)

My newly updated living room (made 3 of these)

I'm seeing a theme in my home dec choices - at least two fabrics need to be used! I also did some pillows to match the valances with some leftover fabric:

BTW - on both of the new living room projects, I used this gorgeous cording that was a BEAST to sew - even with an invisible zipper foot b/c the darn plastic piece of junk kept coming apart. One invaluable thing I learned was how to weave the cut ends of cording so it would all work together seamlessly (or at least seamlessly enough). I highly recommend Sewing Edges and Corners as a reference in a project like this.

If you want to see the entire transformation of my living room, check out these pictures: Living Room Transformation