Hello all, yes I have been MIA as usual but to be honest I really haven’t been doing much sewing lately. I refuse to sew any garments until after the baby is born (gotta get this big belly under control first!) and as far as sewing baby clothes we have received soooo many in our showers and from our family that the motivation is just not there. As a teacher my time is already stretched thin, and with baby preparation, baby classes, baby showers, thank you notes, doctor appointments, etc.. its all I can do to just kick my feet up and relax at the end of the day while I can. I will save my baby sewing for Halloween, which I am super excited for! Imagine the possibilities..
I have however made a couple of stuffed animals for the baby’s room. We are doing sort of a sock monkey/sock animal theme so I wanted to make a sock animal addition. I found this adorable pattern online for a sock lion and I had to give it a go. Mine isn’t quite as cute as the one in the tutorial, in fact I’d say he is bordering on the line of slightly ghetto, but that’s okay. It is the first sock animal I have attempted and I found him to be a little challenging, mostly in all the hand sewing and hiding seams, particularly the stuffing seam at the crotch. I tried to use a slip stitch for this part but the hole was just gaping as this point (that’s what she said) and the sock was wearing thin so I had to just make it work. I also chose to use safety eyes since I had a bag of them from previous projects and I wish I had just stitched some eyes on instead, as they are a bit too big for his head.
The most fun part was obviously the mane, this involved wrapping yarn around a piece of card board and sewing it together in a string and attaching around his face. It is the final touch to making him an actual lion instead of a skinny cat! Despite his short comings, he fits in nicely with the other sock animals in our baby’s collection. I may or may not attempt another, there are so many great sock patterns out there!
The second animal I made was a big crocodile from an old pattern found at a yard sale Simplicity 5778. I have previously made the hippo for another friend for her baby which turned out pretty cute so I thought we’d give the croc a go.
There were a lot of pieces to cut out for this gal (I made a lady crocodile) but I found that it all pieced together nicely with no major issues. The only trouble I ran into was inserting the mouth piece, somehow it ended up a bit too small so I had to alter it and add some length to fit in the head.
I made a few changes along the way, mostly just to give the croc some more personally. I gave her eyelashes and again used the safety eyes I had on hand. I put a tongue in her mouth, and for some reason the pattern only had the gator with two teeth which I thought would look strange. I made a bunch of other teeth but still fell a bit short, she has a “big bubba” grin, at least its a bit comical. I used soft minky fabric in bright green and hot pink, and pink rick rack for her back scales. She is pretty large, almost three feet long. Since she is so big I am planning on using her for monthly baby photos to use for a scale of how big the baby gets.
The nursery is just about ready and stocked with plenty of diapers and wipes and supplies, I will post some nursery pictures soon! We only have three more weeks until her arrival, it is pretty surreal to imagine having a daughter in such little time. We are getting both nervous and excited! Getting sleep while I can…zzz..
Happy Halloweeeeeen! No I have not fallen off the face of the Earth, yes I have been slacking off in the sewing department! But I have a good reason! Before we get to that I just wanted to share our costumes from this weekend. Of course I always have to pick some sort of ridiculous character, and although my we did a muppets/ sesame street theme a few years ago I stumbled upon this tutorial for the Yip Yip martians! They were/are my husband’s favorite characters from the television show and they are just so darn funny!
The tutorial is pretty great and they provide a free pattern to use for cutting. When I say pattern, it is basically a lay out with measurements to use to make the appropriate cuts in length (no pattern pieces to cut out or trace). This may be confusing for someone not too familiar with sewing and having to somewhat freehand your design, but the pictures make it easy to follow the steps. I found these really easy to make, I finished both costumes in one afternoon.
Here we are with our belly dancer friend Rosemary! To make the Yip Yips I started with 2.5 yards of fleece for each, a bag of quilting batting (for the mouths), styrofoam balls and felt for the eyes, pipe cleaners and pom-poms for the antennas, and some black tulle to cover the mouth opening. It looks very sheer in the photos, and it was sheer, however it served the purpose. I ended up adding some velcro at the top of the head piece and tulle so that we could have an opening to stick our heads through for eating and drinking. I also cut some slits in the sides for our arms, although the real Yip Yips didn’t actually have arms. It ended up being a very cold night, it snowed! So these fleece snuggy-like costumes were perfect to stay warm.
So as to the reason you have not seen much sewing or general communication from me for the past few months, we found out in July that we are expecting our first baby! We are so excited to be parents, and feel very blessed to have such great family and friends to support us during this special time. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling too hot for a little while (feeling MUCH better now on the morning sickness front), so sewing kind of took a back seat. My school year also started which has obvious kept me very busy, plus I am taking two classes this semester to start working on my ESL teaching endorsement. So with all the excitement, and a growing belly, I have been working on some more craft type projects instead of my usual dresses and fashion projects. A lot of people have asked why I am not sewing some maternity clothes, but I guess I would rather put my effort (and fabric) into pieces that I know will be useful for longer than the next several months. However, I do plan to share some of my craft and sewing projects with you along the way, and I promise I will do my best not to turn this into a baby sewing blog!
I hope you all had a great Halloween and please share your fabulous costumes, I love to see all of them!
So apparently the theme of my summer is making two of everything! This is my second version of the Colette Moneta, and I limey this one! I made this from a striped knit I found at a store in Phoenix while visiting my sister in law, as well as a heavier weight eggplant knit from Joanns. This is a nice simple little pattern, I really like how the sleeves on this come together, you adjust the width of the sleeve after attaching them to the bodice. This is nice if you want them a little more roomy/less roomy, etc..
This pattern is clearly meant for knits! (As is they didn’t advertise the hell out of it as a knit dress, along with a book on how to work with knits!) I love knits, and the fact that this dress requires no fuss or battle with darts and boob placement, zippers, buttonholes, etc.. It really appeals to the lazy sewer in me!
The knit fabric on the bottom is a bit bulky, but I really don’t mind it with the gathers too much. It helps hide a rounder tummy if you know what I mean. I certainly see more Monetas in my future, but I do have other projects on my agenda including an entry for the state fair. Ohhh what to make?? This is the first year I have entered a garment and I am really thinking about a shirt dress as I love making them and I think the difficulty level is right on par for State Fair standards 😉 Will report back soon!!
Okay, so I know I am on a pattern ban but since I actually got the Colette Moneta pattern earlier in the year when it first came out it doesn’t count right? Besides, a pattern made for knits- sign me up! I made this one of fabric already in my stash so it isn’t entirely made of knits. The skirt is a navy blue heavy knit material from…. I don’t know? Probably Joanns or Hancock fabrics. The top portion is a cotton red and white stripe cotton that was a remnant from a past Christmas project. Now since this is intended for knits, I made the top a bit bigger (so that I could pull it over the girls without a zipper) and I had to pinch out a couple of darts. Truth be told I should have just bit the bullet and put in a zipper, but this is technically a wearable muslin so oh well. It does need a belt so that it pulls in the bagginess but for a Fourth of July celebration I think it will work out nicely!
The rest of this dress is super simple. I included the pockets because I just like having somewhere to put my hands, pockets are so fun! The dress comes in many different variations, I just made this one simple and sleeveless and I left off the collar they include. I honestly am not too crazy about the collared version, it looks very nautical to me. And though I admit I do like nautical things, i.e. anchors, navy and white, pirates, etc… this collar just looks kind of kitschy to me. The skirt is gathered and attached directly to the bodice with clear elastic to prevent stretching out.
Please ignore my wonky hem, I need to iron this into submission… or at least try to! I am really liking this pattern, but yes it is indeed meant for knits! I a working on a second version right now that is made of all knit material and I am adding the short sleeves. I will report back soon with Moneta round two! Until then I hope you all enjoy a day of fireworks, hotdogs, hamburgers, BBQ, and stars and stripes! ‘MERICA!!!
I am aliiiiiiiive!!! I am so sorry it has literally been about 6 months since I last posted, that is crazy! This past school year was one of the busiest and most stressful ever as I had to complete a teacher intern program (passed thank you JC!!) and had after school commitments just about everyday. Not to mention due to some crazy winter weather we were stuck in school (us teachers that is) until June 12th. I was just too exhausted to even think about sewing! How sad is that? We have also managed to squeeze in quite a bit of traveling during this time to visit my family in New York, a trip west to visit my sister in law, and an incredible traditional Hindu wedding in Nashville. The good news is I am officially on summer break and I am rocking the machine!
To start out my summer sewing, I decided that I need to focus on items that are simple and wearable so that they will be really worth my while. I find that my most comfortable and easy to wear items are the ones I gravitate towards most, and I get the most compliments on. While it is fun to try out different patterns, I want to be more smart about what I m investing my time in. I am sure you busy folks can understand! Since I made Sewaholic’s Salt Spring dress last year, I have worn the thing a bajillion times and I just love it! Clearly I needed more of these in my life. Soooo I made two of them! I decided to stop at two, but don’t judge me if more show up.
The first Salt spring I made was with a bright Barbie pink linen blend. Yes it is PINK and I love it! I don’t have any pink in my closet and this linen material is so soft and wonderful that it had to happen. It is a bit heavy for a linen so I didn’t want the top to be too billowy or bulky so I took out a lot of the length in the bodice. This pattern has a longer bodice piece than the lining behind it in order to create that billow effect. I just made the bodice piece the same length as the lining. I also opted to made single thick straps instead of the ties because again, I thought it would add too much bulk to the material. I found that this dress definitely needs a belt to break up the monotony of the solid color.
The second Salt spring I made is closer to the original version of the pattern. I used this bright floral, flowy, soft, rayon challis. I LOVE this material, it was like wearing pj’s! On this one I wanted to keep some of the billowy effect in the bodice as it agreed with the material much more, however I have a short torso and I didn’t want to be swimming in the fabric. I ended up removing about two inches of length in the bodice and it still was pretty billowy and floppy, but it works! I also opted for the tie straps on this one since the material is so light and unstructured.
I wore this dress to a ladies dinner last night and it was a hit! I see this one getting broken out quite a bit this summer. I am loving this throw back 90’s floral trend that is huge right now, that is my decade after all!
Before I wrap up for the day, I wanted to share my second goal- buy NO MORE PATTERNS! My mother in law recently went to an estate sale and bought two gigantic boxes full of old and new patterns and I went through all of them and took the ones that I liked, which was essentially another box of patterns in my closet. These, plus the huge hoard of patterns I already own need to be loved! So my goal is to try out the patterns that have been waiting sadly forever, and additionally to start remaking items that I love and really work on mastering these. I appreciate a TNT pattern more than anyone, and this need to be a focus! For now I am off, but I will be back soon! Much less than 6 months- whew!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a great night and a festive New Years day. We decided to keep things a little more low key this year so we invited friends over to our house for champagne and snacks, and then we headed to the neighborhood watering hole to ring in 2014. It was a fun time and we had a pretty big turn out! Since our neighborhood bar the Air Devils Inn (or ADI as we affectionately call it) is not <ahem> the highest caliber of places, I decided to make a fun but not too over the top New Years dress. Bring in Vogue 1337, this is a very 1980’s style dress with a blouson bodice and fitted skirt.
I kind of threw this together last minute so the bodice is a bit more blousy than I intended, I would probably scale the top down a size if I decide to make this again. I made this in a forest green heavy jersey knit, it was a chilly night so I wanted it to be warm! I love the pleating on the shoulders, however the pattern called for clear elastic inserted in the seam of the sleeves. This boggled me as the elastic really didn’t seem to serve any purpose, there was no elastic sizing guide for the sleeves (only the waist) and it did not indicate any sort of tension or stretching the elastic while sewing it in. I would assume the elastic would be used to give a gathered effect, however this didn’t seem to be the case so I just omitted it. For the elastic in the waist I just used some elastic I had in my stash instead of clear plastic, it works just fine!
Unfortunately my hem wouldn’t lay flat, it just refused to be ironed into submission. Oh well! It was certainly comfy dress and I did plenty of running around and dancing to the juke box in it. I would make it again, nothing like having easy knit dresses to throw on!
In other news, check out my new sewing toys I got for Christmas from my In Laws! While yard sailing they found this amazing rolling fold out table that fits perfectly in my sewing room. No more scooting around the kitchen floor and crawling around while I cut my fabric! It has already made a world of difference in my sewing experience. In addition to the table they also found a huge cutting mat that fits exactly on my sewing table. Now I can actually use my rotary cutter! I think if I had used it on the hardwood kitchen floor Chris may have crucified me.
But wait, I am not finished! They also found me a sleeve ironing board which is something I have been dying for! Its the little things, am I right? Oh and my sister and law and her boyfriend bought me an Ott-lite for a high definition sewing view. How spoiled am I? Maddie decided to check it out too 🙂
I hope that the holiday season treated you all well, and I am looking forward to seeing all of your creations and inspiration for 2014! Cheers blogosphere!
Hello friends! Sorry I have been so quiet the last month, the first semester has just wrapped up at school and I am officially on Christmas break. Thank you Lord! For the holiday season I really have been wanting to make a reindeer dress, and I found this reindeer knit at Girl Charlee, (also comes in red and green). It was love at first sight! This is cotton jersey, and is pretty light, but not too sheer. We are having unseasonably high temperatures right now so this is just right, I hate getting all bundled up in the winter and then sweating my ass off inside.
There is nothing super fancy about this dress, I used the Colette Laurel pattern because this print needed something simple without too much detail breaking it up. I eliminated the darts in the front and back by folding down over the front darts and cutting the back piece smaller than my regular sizing. Since this is knit fabric it really didn’t need the darts and shaping anyhow because it is so stretchy and form fitting. I matched up the print on the sides and made it a bit shorter than I normally would cut my dresses because I wanted to wear it over leggings.
I was so excited for this fabric that as soon as it arrived today I immediately started cutting and sewing it up so that I could wear this dress to dinner tonight with my In Law family. I finished this dress in about an hour, that might be a new record! A lot of it I just serged together which definitely saved some time. Here is my Christmas tree, I am so happy to finally get some time off and take a break!
Oh and speaking of Christmas, I have one last share- check out the amazing Bumble hat my mom crocheted for me! I wore this fantastic piece to an ugly Christmas sweater party last night with my Bumble sweatshirt, he was quite the hit! I found a free pattern for him here in case you want to make your own. She used special yard that looks like fur flying everywhere, I am kind of obsessed with this one! (Clearly my Bumble obsession is reaching new heights)
Have a wonderful holiday season!
My dear friends Johanna and Dave just had their adorable (and tiny!) baby boy Denver, and he is just too cute for words! He was due November 23, but he just couldn’t wait to come join the world and he arrived on November 4th. Luckily we threw a baby shower a month before, and I had time to make him a minky baby blanket and a stuffed octopus to match. A while ago I went to the quilting and sewing convention here in Louisville, and I found two adorable panels of under the sea creatures, mermaids, and pirates. I really don’t make blankets or quilts so this was new territory for me. I found this tutorial for making a minky backed blanket. I made sure to wash both the quilting panels and the minky for to reduce any weird shrinking, hopefully it won’t get too warped after another washing. On the same note- its a baby blanket and meant to take a beating!
I added batting in the center to give it more weight as it is about to get cold real quick! I laid my layers completely flat and pinned the crap out of it so it wouldn’t shift while I sewed my edges together. After trimming the edges, I turned it out and ironed the living hell out of this thing to get it to lay just right. Then I top stitched around the edges. I considered doing some quilting stitches around the panels but it looked cute enough at this point and I really didn’t want to mess it up. I’ll try my hand at quilting some other time, like say in another 20 years? Ynuk ynuk!
I really loved the orange octopus on the panels so I figured that this blanket needed an orange minky stuffed octopus to go with it! Duh! So once again I scoured the internet and I found this free stuffed octopus pattern by Melly and Me. I did alter it a bit, I wanted it to be much bigger so that Denver could grow into him. And what is cooler than a big stuffed octopus? Not much! I cut a wider radius around the head pattern pieces, about 2-3 inches bigger and longer. I also made the legs much longer and curly at the ends. I stuffed him with polyfil as I went, and used white cotton patches with embroidery stitching around the edges and plastic safety eyes.
And now without further ado… Mr. Denver James himself!!
I don’t think that it can get any cuter than this little guy! He is so beautiful and we are so happy and excited for our friends. You all are wonderful parents!
Before we part I want to share one last thing, this is a video from the baby shower of the “Having a baby Relay”. It starts out a little slow but gets hilarious at the end. A great baby shower relay game if you are looking to throw a good one!
It s time again for my favorite holiday and ridiculous costume making! Even though it is Halloween, Chris and I decided to borrow a couple Christmas characters this year. My all time favorite Christmas movie is Rudolph the red nosed reindeer (the stop motion animation, not the cartoon) and the Bumble is by far the coolest character, Yukon Cornelius is a close second 😉 I figured we could double up and make some fun Christmas cards with the photos in a couple months.
See the resemblance? These were actually pretty easy costumes to make. I made pajama pants with an elastic waist out of white furry fleece from joanns. I just used an old pj pant pattern I have had forever, pj pants are so easy and comfy I really should make some flannel ones for the winter. For the top, I just used a long sleeved shirt in my drawer as a pattern and sewed it up super quick. I serged all the seams inside so that it wouldn’t be itchy from the fur edges.
Obviously the Bumble head was the challenging part, but I got him put together in just a day. I started with a cheapo hat that had a brim, and I glued blue felt around the mouth area. Then I cut two pieces of the furry fleece, each big enough to stuff with polyfil and stand up, I glued these on the brim as well. Then I stuffed them full (well, not TOO full- it was kind of heavy!) and sewed the head closed. His face is a piece of foam with blue felt glued on and white felt for the eyes. His nose is another smaller piece of foam with blue felt t give it dimension. I sewed this piece on the head, and glued on white felt teeth. Voila! The Bumble was born!
Yukon Cornelius was much easier, mostly because i didn’t have to make most of it. We just found an old blue jacket in Chris’s closet, and I had a black elastic belt. I made his ice pick out of cardboard and duct tape (very fancy) and found a toy gun at the dollar store. His beard is actually crocheted, I found this free pattern online and my mom crocheted it up. She modified it by making his mustache longer with some wire to make it stand up, and she made a red hat with ear muffs to attach to the beard. I think it turned out great, it was pretty hilarious!
We wore our costumes to a party at glassworks, and we had a total blast! Now that Halloween is over, I am hoping to get in some regular sewing time, my school schedule has been very time consuming so far this year and sewing has been put on hold out of pure exhaustion. Who’s ready for Thanksgiving break? This gal!
These first few weeks of school have been crazy busy, so in effect my sewing time has dropped to only the weekends. Now with football season and yard sales and other various events going on even my weekends are pretty filled up! What’s a sewer to do to satisfy the sewing itch? Well, whip out quick and easy dresses, that’s what! This is just good old tried and true Simplicity 2059, easy and fast to make, but very functional and comfortable for daily life. This is a great stash buster dress, which is something I really need to start doing. The growth rate of my stash is far high than my sewing rate. #Sewistproblems
This is a super light weight and sheer feather print knit that I have had in my sash for well over a year now. Its such a cool print, I felt it was time to do SOMETHING with it. Since it is so sheer I have been holding out for the right project, but it really never came along. I decided I would just make this simple dress because it doesn’t break up the print at all. Instead of making a neck binding, I just lined the entire dress with a white knit underneath. Its a good weight now, especially for the fall transition. I wore this to school with a blue cardigan and flats this week, I can see this going well with boots and tights too.
Next on my project list is the minoru jacket. I’m pretty excited about it, I am ready to try my hand at a hooded jacket- new territory for me! I have a black twill and a cheetah print waiting to be cut… who’s ready for the cool weather? This gal!