Best Christmas gift ever!!

My husband and I had our own little Christmas tonight before all our family celebrations the next two days and he got me the bestest gift ever…. drum roll…

My own adjustable dressform!!!

Ta-Da!!

Her name is Evangeline. Oh my.. what project to pin on her first…

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

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Christmas Crafts: McCalls 5205, McCalls 6219, and McCalls 3777

As I was putting up my Christmas tree this year I noticed that I really don’t have many other Christmas decorations for our house.  We don’t even have a wreath for our door anymore, it somehow disappeared over the years. This made me a little excited however, because McCalls had a $0.99 pattern sale a few weeks ago and they have so many cute Christmas crafts! Our house isn’t very big so I picked out decorations that would fit into specific spots in our house and I really wanted to make a wreath for the front door. The Santa wreath on the McCall’s pattern 5205 was sooo cute, I had to make it (even though it looked pretty complicated). He ended up being fairly step by step easy to follow, but very time consuming and used all sorts of different fabric, remnants and other craft materials.

And here’s my version hanging on our yellow door:

Besides the pure time alone I spent cutting out all the tiny pieces to sew and glue, the patchwork hat probably took the longest amount of time to sew. The pattern called for decorative stitching to sew the pieces together. Although I could have omitted this step and just sewed them on with straight stitches and called it a day, I thought the decorative stitches gave it much more depth and character. The beard also took a fair amount of time, it was made of 32 round circular curlicues that each had to be sewed into loops and hot glued individually. I ended up cutting a few extras to fill in bald spots and in the process I think I have third degree burns on my fingers. That part really sucked!

His eyes were blue buttons that I had, they were smaller than the ones the pattern called for but oh well. I thought it was strange how the instructions said to sew the button eyes on but then you turn around and glue his wooden ball nose on… it would be much quicker to just glue them all on at once, but hey what do I know? I substituted the little star ornament and just cut up a fake branch of pine needles and holly which were at the craft store for under a $1.

I couldn’t find little glasses anywhere so for now this Santa has 20/20 vision. My favorite part of this Santa was putting real blush on his cheeks to make them rosy.

Despite how much time this project took, I totally had a blast making it, and I would definitely make it again as a gift for someone worth the time, like my Mom. There is a witch version for Halloween included in the pattern which I plan to make next year for sure (she looks much less time consuming too).

For my next project I wanted to make something for the kitchen, and I noticed the little gingerbreadman and santa chef dolls on McCalls 6219. These seemed like they would be much quicker to make since they were much smaller, however these little guys also had many little pieces and steps that soaked up some time. The gingerbread man went quicker than the santa doll since he was more or less one big piece and the apron and hat were the extra separates to make. Santa had the boots, the pants, the shirt, head and hands that all had to be pieced together. Plus he had much more stuff to be glued on with his beard and hair, and the fur around his sleeves and boots.

One thing that was odd about this pattern was that it said to draw on the mouth and eyes for both dolls, but I thought this would look kind of crappy and unfinished so I stitched these on.

This pattern was also easy and fun to make, the only gripe I have is that there was a lot of hand stitching involved, the legs, arms and hats all had to be hand stitched on to the dolls.

Finally, I wanted something to put up on our breakfast bar that would be more of  bigger centerpiece, and I saw a review on this Christmas tree on McCalls 3777 so I gave it a shot. This pattern also came with a tree skirt, ornaments and a stocking so I think I got more bang for my buck (literally, a buck). This was a super duper easy pattern, just cut out 6 trees from your fabric, 3 each contrasting and then you just sew them all together straight down the center and stuff them. I used red and green velvet material. I omitted the lace on the edges and added jingle bells on the branches instead. This was such an easy and cheap decoration to make that I made one for my friend Katie as a Christmas gift. She is a University of Kentucky fanatic so hers is of course UK themed.

I think that the cotton or more sturdy fabrics are better suited for this project since they don’t stretch out when you stuff the tree and they maintain their shape.

I had so much fun doing these Christmas crafts but at this point I am all crafted out for a while! I am looking forward to some new projects I have lined up, one of which is a coat. I have never made one before so this should be a new adventure for me!


Stitch-N-Bitch Night with my ladies!

Last night I had a bunch of my girlfriends over to bring their sewing machines, wine and snacks and we had a fabulous Stitch-N-Bitch evening! There was some good projects and sewing instruction, as well as some good ole gal bitching time 😉

Check out all our machines! This is minus my Babylock and my serger since they didn’t fit on the table. It was like a sweatshop in my crib!

Two of my friends Sarah and Rachel are rookies and came over to learn the basic mechanics of how to load the bobbin and how the machine works with tension and stitch lengths, how to feed the fabric through, etc… One of the projects they tried out was a scrunchie “10 minute scarf” that Rachel found on Hope Studios blog. This was an interesting project for them to start with since it required for handrolling elastic thread on the bobbin and taking the tension to zero, and using a baste stitch in order to create the gathers. The scarves ended up turning out pretty well in the end though! Here they are in action:

Purple knit fabric, pre-cut:

Instructional methods

and… the final product!

My friend Jackie is probably the most experienced sewer of all of us, she went to SCAD and knows al sorts of techniques and has her own industrial sewing machine at home. She wanted to try out one of our fancy schmancy elctronic commercial machines, so she brought over some projects to test out. One of them was a bright pink bridesmaids dress that her sister asked her to make into something wearable (AKA make it super short for the clubs)

And here she is taking in a sweater, something I have never tried to do before

My friend Jo who I’d say probably has the most comparable skill set in sewing to myself. She brought over her Mom’s Husqvana Serger that she is borrowing, this is new territory she’s trying to conquer! Her Mom’s machine was crazy complicated, I felt silly ever thinking my serger was confusing because compared to this beast my machine is like the hooked on phonics version. She had to sit down with the manual and get out the tweezers and thread through all sorts of hooks and holes, it was like a logic puzzle. She got a little frusterated to say the least, this is where less “stitching” and more “bitching” came into play-

Reading the instructions…

Serger Rage!

On a happier note, Sarah completed her first placemat- check it out!

Finally my friend Anne who doesn’t do too much sewing, but does do a whole lot of crafting brought over some coatsers shewas making for her mother for Christmas. She just used white tiles (like you would use in the bathroom) from the hardware store, and decoupaged them withdesigned paper. That is she glued them onand added another glue coat on top to give them a protective seal and add some shine.

The coasters looked super cute!

I didn’t get too much of my own Christmas craft projects done since I was helping out with the others, but that’s ok because it was a blast! I highly recommend getting together with your sewing friends and having a sewing night, its the perfect way to trade tips and knowledge base as well as ideas- sewing CAN be a fun social event!


Groovy tunic man… Simplicity 3532

I bought the Simplicity 3532 pattern a while ago and I’ve been waiting for the right fabric to make it up with. I saw this blue and purple tie dye print on gorgeous fabrics and I thought it looked so pretty, kind of bohemium but with a definite pattern so that it is more put together. When it arrived I thought it was a pretty intense print but I figured with this wide sleeved dress pattern I could make it work…. well …. maybe not so much

Yeah… I look like I just stepped out of the mystery machine. I think maybe I should have opted to do more of a color blocking and used the tie dye fabric on the yolk and a solid piece on the skirt portion so that the print wouldn’ be so overwhelming… bummer man.

The pattern itself was super simple, not many pieces to sew together. I didn’t bother doing the self lining on the yolk ( I didn’t feel like doing the extra work especially since I could see this top taking a turn towards Woodstock real quick). There was gathering under the bodice and on the upper sleeves, and elastic was inserted into the bell sleeves to gather them around the wrist. This material was a rayon stretchy knit and doesn’t look good with a hem so I just cut it to the appropriate length and called it a day.

Ultimately in the right print I think this dress could be really cute, I love the sleeve detail and the overall style, but unfortunately in this case it ended up being too hippie dippie for my taste.

check ya later dude


Santa Dog is coming to town! McCalls 6259

Ho ho ho!!! Give me some bacon!

Ok I know the dog costumes are getting out of hand especially since I have an 80 lb labrador retriever that most people probably wouldn’t dress up like a Paris Hilton dog, but this Santa costume was too cute to pass up. Our local JoAnns had a $.99 McCalls pattern sale the other week and I wanted to stock up on some craft patterns, especially Christmas decor since we don’t have much other than our tree and some nutcrackers. So while looking through the Holiday patterns online, I stumbled onto McCalls 6259. This pattern is obviously for a much smaller dog so I had to make “big” some adjustments.

For the body I referenced her jaildog costume to scale it up. The fabric I used was a stretchy red velvet so it had much more give that just a plain cotton. For whatever reason I have had a huge stash of this white fur material in my sewing closet, so it was time to be put to good use! The belt was black bias tape that I doubled up, and the buckle was off an old belt that I was planning on giving away. 

The construction of this costume was very straight forward. I didn’t even bother hemming parts of it because the material doesn’t fray or curl, and let’s be honest.. its a dog costume. I don’t think Harper will be too critical about it. I used velcrow for the enclosureunder her belly and the hat. I think she may need some help from safety pins on Christmas day though since it pulls open when she sits or rolls around.

I think she looks like one festive doggie and I anticipate many treats in this Santa Dog’s future!

 


McCalls 6167 comfy tunic shirt and leggings

Now that winter has rolled in I am really trying to avoid the jeans and sweater rut that tends to happen with cold weather and laziness. I really love to wear leggings and boots because they are so comfy and always look cute and stylish, but I don’t have too many tunics. I have a weird complex with the length of items I wear with leggings, they aren’t tights so I don’t feel like I can wear anything too long or too fitted because I feel like I am wearing pants with a dress. On the other hand, leggings are more or less spandex pants, and if you wear something too short then it looks like your ass is hanging out or you just forgot to put on your bottoms. This is where the tunics come in, not too long, not too short. They are the goldie locks to leggings! I recently saw The StitchyWitch’s post on McCalls 6167 and I was totally inspired. I love how her version turned out, its cute, casual and comfy, but its a nice variation from jeans. I wanted to make this in a more lightweight material, so I found this white shirting material on fabric.com. It is real airy and has textured purple, blue and white dots, and it was on sale for like $3 a yard- booyah! I think it is still available right now too if anyone is interested.

I actually really enjoyed making this tunic. Lately I’ve been making super easy projects so it was nice to have something a little more challenging. I have made the Simplicity Lisette shirt dress 2246 previously, which btw I LOVE- I have worn the crap out of that thing! So having one shirt contruction under my belt, this one wasn’t too bad. The collar instructions looked a bit boggling upon first examination, but luckily they included a good picture guide. I actually think that the method they provided to piece together this collar is way easier and less hair pulling than the Lisette dress. I’ve been wanting to make another version of the Lisette shirt dress and I may reference these instructions once I get to the collar.

The cuffs were something new for me, they had the slit opening on the sleeve like a men’s shirt and had to have a “continuous lap” binding- maybe this is a common sewing term but it was my first encounter. The cuff was easy enough, it had to be folded in half, sewn and inverted. I can see how this instruction would be confusing but I brought my patience to the sewing table and got it workedout quickly. Unfortunately when I cut the slits on my sleeves I forgot to flip the pattern piece over so the slits would match up with my right and left hands- woopsies! Oh well, I like the look of the shirt with the sleeves rolled and tabbed better anyways. Live and learn…

And speaking of the tabs, I loved this feature on the tunic! As you can see, as usual I substituted pearl snaps for buttons. I am obsessed with these western style snaps, I just think they add so much more pizazz to a piece and are much easier to deal with for easy wear.

I am looking forward to breaking out my tunic in public, I am really pleased with the way it turned out. The beauty of these shirt based pieces is that you can remake them over and over again and make them look completely different each time. I am already planning on finding a cute bright plaid to try out on this pattern, I may add the pockets next time too…  Here is one last shot in front of our very fake and very vintage Christmas tree, it has seen much santa action over the years. My upcoming planned projects will be very Christmas themed and (poor) Harper might be getting a new doggy christmas outfit! Stay tuned…