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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Keep calm and sew stuff

This image represents not only a good bit of my weekend sewing, but two of the most indispensable patterns in my stockpile. The t-shirt (embellished with "Born to cheer" for Gracie) is an Ottobre basic from 2004's summer issue. I've made this several times with embellishment from my embroidery machine. It's a classic.

The bags are Amy Butler's "Chelsea" tote. I love this pattern and have already made 6 of them previously for storing pattern magazines. I have one for Ottobre Woman issues, four for Ottobre (one for each season - I have every issue I could get my hands on), one for Burda, and now one for Sew Beautiful (the green one), one for my other European pattern mags (Patrones, La Mia Boutique, Knipmode, etc.), and the red bag for my Threads/Sew Stylish/Sew News issues. I still need to make one more for my Australian Smocking collection and I will have all of the magazines wrangled in an attractive and protected way. I had fun stitching on these. I especially like the "Be Calm and Sew Stuff" design from Urban Threads. It was kind of my mood this weekend. ;-)

I also managed to knock out the skirt I had in mind on Friday: McCall's 6327. I really like the way this went together. I think I might search the stash for some fabric to make view B with the contrast layer. This version is view C with essentially a square skirt layered over a 3/4 circle skirt. It has an elastic waist and went together quickly, so it is a great beginner project as well as a quickie for an advanced sewist.

Finally, here's the seashell/seahorse dress on Gracie. She looked really cute in it, but she was being a goofy model for me.

I don't know how much sewing will happen tomorrow since we have a number of projects around the house to complete (including that flooring), but I hope to at least do up a back for my Australian Smocking mags and maybe a couple for my scrapbook magazines. I still have some great Urban Threads crafty/sewing designs I want to use!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What to sew next?

This week has been suck-tastic thanks to end-of-grade testing (or as I fondly think of it, federally mandated child abuse). Combine that with a home improvement project that has eaten my sewing time, and you have a recipe for some serious frustration.

I did manage to knock out one pillowcase dress from a Simplicity pattern I got last summer (not that you really need a pattern for one, but this saves measuring.

 In the meantime, we are laying down Pergo upstairs and I had to make room for this awesome cabinet from Ikea (clearance corner!).

So now, I am plotting my stitches for Memorial Day (still need to finish the flooring and my grad school paper first).

I'm eyeing up a Suede Says (Simplicity pattern) or possibly a McCall's skirt pattern for some flowy white and blue floral poly charmeuse from Joann's. I'm also thinking about making a camera bag for my DSLR (Nikon D50). I got a nice booklet with instructions and some great embroidery designs from Urban Threads.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Addicted to ruffles - prt 2

 McCall's 6270...I love how girly and sweet this is. BTW - This is Gracie in modeling mode!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Addicted to ruffles

I already had hot pink thread in the machines, so I pulled out a roll of chiffon and got busy last night. This is the end result.

I made one of these last year, but I didn't achieve the desired level of gathered fluff and I wrestled with a so-so ruffler foot. This time, I took a simpler approach. I gathered by bunching the fabric as I pushed it under the presser foot. You know what? It worked pretty well!

I put the teddy bear in it late last night so I could get a picture from the top.

I use the instructions from Kari Mecca's Princess Pettiskirts pattern.

The satin for the yoke is crepe-backed satin from Joann's. I hate costume satin - too slippery.

The chiffon was purchased in rolls, and I had so much fun making this I just might order some more...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Ottobre Woman bathing suit

This is actually my second self-made swimsuit. I like the first one (made from a Kwik Sew/self-draft hybrid), but I wanted to do even better with the bra. I had two bras that had hook issues but were otherwise okay, and I'd been saving them for just such a purpose...

I had the fabric in my stash for awhile and had been waiting for the right pattern - thank you, Ottobre!

I did the bikini-style bottom and the lower portion of the top straight from the pattern, but I went renegade on the bra portion. This is what I did:

I cut off the hook sections and where the straps connected in the back. I also slit the front center. Since the fabric was very sturdy, I just reinforced the bottom of the slit with a few stitches. I attached plush back elastic to each strap end and to where I trimmed off the hooks. I lined the suit top with swimsuit fashion fabric (the lower part and bikini bottom are lined with nude swimsuit lining). Essentially, the bra is floating in the top of the suit, but it stays in place well since it is connected to the suit in four places and the back overlap and elastic provide a good fit.

I really like the shirring on the side - very forgiving. I need that after four kids!

I'm glad I engineered the bra in this - made it very comfortable and supportive for swimming and playing at Myrtle Beach this weekend!

Speaking of Myrtle Beach, have a peek at my other beach sewing:

All of the boys' shirts are Ottobre with embroidery designs by

Friday, May 6, 2011

SWAP progress - giraffes, and dragons, and sandcastles - oh my!

Benjamin's beach trip ensembles are complete...he just doesn't know that his beach dragon really will get to see the beach!

Next up, I'm going to make some more beach-inspired kids' outfits. My oldest son has given approval on several surf-themed designs. I just need to put the designs and fabric together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fabric P@rn

You may now drool...j/k.

All of these pretties came from the Patsy Aiken/Chez Ami Outlet in Raleigh, NC and they are so nice! They get the best quality stuff and sell what they no longer need at excellent prices ($3-$5 a yard, mostly in two yard pieces although sometimes I score smaller tidbits on the clearance shelf. I also got several zippers for 50 cents each. They have nice trim bags, too, but none that I wanted this time.

My oldest son requested the brown and royal blue stripe and the royal blue twill. ;-)

I also picked up this Moda twill at Elegant Stitches:

This is destined to be a skirt or maybe capris for Gracie - mostly likely a skirt.

On a more serious note, the reason I had a chance to hit my favorite fabric haunts on a Tuesday afternoon was that we were on our way to an education rally across from the NC Legislature. My kids are good little protesters (and got camera time behind the interviewer!): One Voice: Rally for Education

One of the reasons I sew is that I can have nicer things for my family than what my teacher salary buys if I make them myself. It's a shame that education has to fight for funding and teachers have to fight for basic dignity in our jobs. Children have no place in any fight, yet, my kids were not the only ones enthusiastically holding up signs and chanting with the crowd. Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day...kind of ironic.

Thank you for indulging my brief digression away from fabric. We will now return to our regularly scheduled fabric obsession. ;-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

SWAP for the beach!

Last weekend, I found an offer for my favorite place at Myrtle Beach, SC, and (easily) convinced the husband that we should go. Soon...while the deal was good, the weather is already beautiful, and it's right before the stressful season of End-of-Grade testing, something as a teacher I HATE. (Shhh! The kids don't know we are going the weekend after Mother's Day...)

So, using this as a motivator, I am Sewing With A Plan (SWAP). I already made Gracie a darling beach monkey dress several weeks ago. She also got the surfer girl t-shirt. She may get one more thing, but for now, I am focusing on the boys and me.

First up is Benjamin - he just turned six and he's cute as can be...and I want to enjoy "cute" on him as long as I can. He loves giraffes, so I bought this giraffe print fabric a few weeks ago with the purpose of a summer shirt. I'm doing matching shorts in a brown cotton-lycra twill and embellishing the pockets with applique giraffe heads.

The second giraffe, which I am stitching out as I blog, is mirror imaged so the little guys will be facing each other on the pockets. Both pieces of the outfit are designs from the newest Ottobre. (What the little guy on the left is wearing...fantastic issue, BTW!)

I also have a more beach-y outfit in the works for him. I stitched out the cutest dragon making a sandcastle (from The t-shirt is a raglan sleeve (which will be the green and white stripe) and a second layer peeking at the bottom (same stripe). The green rib knit will be used for the collar and sleeve bands. It will be paired with the plaid in a pair of shorts. Both of these pieces are also from Ottobre (different issues) since that's about the only exciting place to find nice things for boys.

For my two older boys, I also plan to make a shorts and t-shirt set for each of them. I spent time with the ten and half year old looking at some cool surf-inspired graphics (among other things) and now have a short list of tween-boy approved embroidery designs and a request to give some sewing lessons this summer.

I also plan to sew up that awesome bathing suit in the newest Ottobre Woman for myself. I have some pretty bathing suit fabric from Reesy's Co-op group that I have been holding onto for quite awhile - time to use it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Super Saturday Sewing - 4 complete pieces!

 Saturday was a very productive day! I cut and sewed V1224 (Tracy Reese knit dress), cut and sewed Ottobre 3/2011 #7 & 8 bloomers and Pineapple Whip dress for Gracie (with Designs by Juju kitty embroidery), and sewed a skirt, Burda 7384. After church and lunch, we had a little fun modeling in our backyard. You can see why Gracie needs bloomers!