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Friday, April 29, 2011

Crepe - made reversible!

For my second foray into Colette Patterns, I made "Crepe," a dress with a back wrap and sash, but no other closures. I don't mind zippers and buttons, but this was a fun change of pace.

I love the print - very sophisticated for Fabric Finders. I saw this recently made up in a little girl's dress and I didn't care for it. This one is for the big girls. I was concerned about an unlined white dress, so I decided to line it, which evolved into making it reversible.

I also chose to use black for the sash since it would provide contrast on either side of the dress. While I definitely prefer the print, it's fun to have options.

It wasn't too difficult to make this reversible. I applied the same technique I have used with things for Gracie. I constructed the floral and the lavender bodices, stitched them together along the entire wrap/neckline and the sleeves, then pulled everything through. The seams were then top-stitched.

The skirt sections were joined to the appropriate bodice before I sewed them, with right sides, sash, and bodice on the inside. Once right side out, It was easy to close the final seam during the process of top-stitching. Do this, I have a completely finished garment and didn't have to mess around with all those facings. The only downside is that this dress is TEN YARDS of fabric (when made reversible).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where the magic happens

This is where I sew and serge, a small desk between my living and dining rooms that was once in a school classroom and likely held a typewriter at one time. I have some miscellaneous items piled on the end table between it and my couch.
You can see I have some creative use of space here.

The tall cabinet came from the same used furniture place that my sewing desk did. It is chock full of patterns, books, and even a little overflow fabric - often fabric I plan to use in the near future. There are several baskets stuffed with patterns hidden in the lower cabinet. On the floor, my biggest pattern basket has taken up residence.

You may notice in the cabinet behind the pattern basket are scrapbooks. Well, yes, I have another dirty little secret: I scrapbook. I've been an avid (rabid!) scrapbooker for a long while, so let me introduce you to my other creative space: the Scraplab. This small room off the main entrance to my house is home to my desktop computer, my Bernina Deco 340, and my scrapbook stash. You'll notice I still have a baby gate. My kids are not allowed in this room. The baby gate will only come down when we get some French doors installed...

Immediately to the right in the Scraplab is a TV and the tower of paper. That's all cardstock. The white drawer units hold various embellishments.
Next we have the computer and the Deco. I used to scrapbook on this desktop, but when I redid the room last year, I made a new work surface for that. You can see I have loads of paper, ribbons, containers of small embellishments...

Moving left of the computer/Deco, I have a section of countertop and base cabinets that I use with craft projects - esp. hot or messy ones (like heat embossing), a collection of rubber stamps, paper flowers, pages waiting to go into an album or three, and my lovely wall rack of thread. I have an IKEA TV table under the window that houses two mammoth tubs of paper and various other scrapbook supplies.

This shelf/desk combo is from IKEA and holds my idea books, small tools and embellishments, and my main work surface. I keep a large rotary cutting mat as a desk blotter since I often use it for measuring when I create scrapbook pages (or use the surface to hoop embroidery designs). There are two Iris scrapbook carts holding 12x12 tubs underneath it. The cross stitch picture of a cat (along with others that may be visible in random pictures) comes from a previous hobby life before I discovered scrapbooking and sewing.

So where's the fabric stash? Come into my garage. There's a second huge set of these shelves right behind it with an equal amount of stash.

Then I have a little more on a third set...just the bottom two shelves (4 big tubs). Finally, I have a double set of plastic drawers for my small fabric scraps that may be useful in other projects but are too small for a project on their own.

So, that's where it all happens. It may not be the most attractive arrangement, but it's colorful, fun, and MINE!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Finished objects

It was my last day of Spring Break...screw the laundry; I sewed.

Laundry is overrated anyway...I still have one skirt cut and ready to go for me, but I did have to give in top the lesson plans awaiting me since school is in session tomorrow. Blech! 

We do have a trip to Myrtle Beach to look forward to in a little less than three weeks - time to start working on the Ottobre swimsuit from the 2/2011 issue.

Smokin' the embroidery machine

I spent my afternoon hanging out with my Deco, embellishing these three projects. I LOVE THAT MACHINE!

Here are some close-ups of what I am working on:
a basic tee from Ottobre with this cute Harajuku design (

This will be New Look 6041 with the "I believe in Fairytales" design from Embroidery Library.

and finally a Bonnie Blue top and bloomers playset embellished with giraffes by

I have one more day off before I have to be back at work, so I should get some of this stuff sewn up. None of these are complicated patterns. I also have a skirt for myself cut and ready to sew.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

McCall's summer patterns - a haiku & my picks

Let me sum up the new McCall's with a haiku...

McCall's new patterns
lots of interesting styles
not too bra friendly

Now, for my picks:
6356 looks interesting for the two-color top in the middle.
Palmer & Pletsch has a couple of nice basic patterns - this one (6361) and a tee/knit dress pattern as well.

How cute is this??? 6373 - aprons for children plus adorable bags, too

If I had a baby girl to sew for (sniff, baby is too big), I would love this:
I like the tote and cushion pattern by Tina Givens (6367).
The organizer, 6374, might be one of my favorites of the entire batch.
This is also a cute organizer pattern (6375): 

Isn't this pattern sweet?  It's 6371.
I have plenty of doll clothes patterns, but I do think this is a nice one - very boutique! (6370)

This is clever - 6369 is a playhouse that is essentially a cover for a card table - what a great, quick, portable idea!

Obviously, my fashion picks are limited since I like to keep the girls in place, but some of the craftier sewing options are fantastic - not a total loss.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter finery

It's the purple people! This represents half of my Easter sewing (shirt and two dresses). I'll get pics with the whole herd on Easter Sunday, but I wanted to share a few pictures since I am so thrilled to have Easter sewing accomplished.
Don't they look sweet (kind of belies the fact that the darling girl is currently whining at me as I type this...)?

This dress was officially a BEAST to put together, but I do like it. It's one of those dresses that looks like crap on the hanger and is barely recognizable during construction, but once you get it on a body, it looks good. And curvy girls, this style is not for the flat-chested. You need to be able to fill this out with womanly curves to make it look good. This is not the most flattering angle in the photo (what happens when you hand the camera off to a child), but you can tell that without appropriate "filling" from the girls, this dress would be weird.
BTW - gotta love the Target dollar spot which is where we found this sweet hat a few weeks ago. When she loved the purple one, my fabric selection was clinched!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter's on its way...

Shirts for the boys...from the summer 08 Ottobre, a classic dress shirt, all in Spechler-Vogel pincord

A shirt for my husband...Colette Patterns Negroni with a self-drafted collar stand added, also in the same pincord in a darker blue

A lovely dress for my girl...from Simplicity 2709 done in a Fabric Finders print

...and for me, to be cut tomorrow, this Donna Karan Vogue dress in a heathered lavender fabric from Hancock's (last year)

If my new Ottobre comes in tomorrow's mail, I should be ready for it very quickly since I am down to just my dress! Thank goodness for Spring Break.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Patterns I'm Getting Excited About

Modkid patterns by Patty Young has a new version of Kyoko for tweens and misses sizes. I do think I will be picking one of these up for myself.

I also got my first ever issue of Knipmode - good thing I'm building a vocabulary of foreign sewing terms. There are a lot of lovely things in this issue.

I should have my new Ottobre tomorrow, which is perfect since I have the next ten days off from both work and grad school.

I am currently working on Easter dress shirts for my boys - all from an Ottobre pattern. I'm hoping to get all of the Easter sewing done pretty quickly so I can play with these new patterns and some lovely new goodies that came in yesterday's mail.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this - the t-shirt is Ottobre and the embroidery design - "Hanging With My Peeps" is from It was just right for the preschool Easter party and an egg hunt coming up this weekend.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thank heaven for little girls!

Today is Gracie's 4th birthday. That means I have been sewing for a little over four years since my sewing began in the last trimester of my pregnancy with her. I had only sewn a couple of times (with my mom's help) making a baby bubble for two of my little guys. When I found out in November of 2006 that I was having a baby girl, I was so excited to look for little girl crib bedding. The more I looked, however, the more I realized that this stuff was too expensive and I was really picky. In early January of 2007, I ordered my Kenmore computerized sewing machine. I bought fabric for a crib set, but I decided to start by making flannel receiving blankets. I bought several yards of pretty flannel, cut them square and did a simple hem. Then I tackled the crib set (bumper and dust ruffle). I moved on to a bucket cover/storage basket project in addition to a baptism dress.

Once Gracie was born, I didn't take the sewing machine out for several months, but when she was about three or four months old, I made a couple of outfits. After all, she had a huge wardrobe I had purchased when I lost my mind found out I was finally having a girl. By the fall, I had discovered Elegant Stitches and gotten my first peek at Ottobre. By winter, I was buying fabric for decorating Gracie's room (we didn't finish converting the nursery to just her room until the boys were all fixed up with a double room for the three to share). Her first really fancy dress by mommy couture was for her first Easter, and my sewing really took off from there.

Now, I make more of her clothes than I buy and I also make a lot of my own clothing. I even sew for the guys, our home, and for lots of different projects. It is a true joy to be able to create wonderful things for my family.