Happy New Year 2014!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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 🙂

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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!

 

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Stuffed octopus and minky blanket

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!

 

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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.

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And now without further ado… Mr. Denver James himself!!

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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!


Gobble gobble!

One of my pet peeves is how people try to just skip over Thanksgiving and jump right into Christmas. I love me some Thanksgiving, I mean its a holiday of just doing one of my favorite things- eating lots of delicious food! What’s not to love?Even though the window for Thanksgiving is pretty short after Halloween I still wanted to put up some turkey cheer in my house, so I made a big stuffed turkey- no pun intended. My Mother in Law has this old school pattern that was printed straight from hand written directions and I am a sucker for cheesy decorations so I had to try it. My sewing time is limited these days with my teaching job so I figured this was a priority project.

This is a great project to get rid of scraps and ugly “theme” material that you don’t know what to do with. I scavenged the big buckets of fabric that we found at the yard sale and found some pretty good Fall material. The construction was easy, it is a time consuming project however, there is a lot of stuffing and top stitching, and the god awful hand stitching at the end to get his wings sewn on.

He turned out pretty cute! My friend Katie who is a crazy University of Kentucky fan has a birthday at the beginning of November so I decided that she needed a UK turkey for her house.

Good times! My friends had their annual friends Thanksgiving party last night which was a blast, and to keep the theme Chris and I wore crocheted turkey hats that my mom made for us. She has been making tons of these sily hats to donate to charity for the holidays so I decided to be selfish and have her make us a pair.Mine was a happy turkey, and Chris’s was a cooked turkey 🙂  My friends who hosted the party coincidentally had matching hats as well so we did a gobble gobble photo op. I plan to have her teach me to crochet over Christmas- imagine the possibilities!

Happy turkey day to all of you!

 


Bugging out!

My very dear friend Johanna just turned the big 3-0 and I had to miss her big birthday party which was a big bummer, it sounded like quote the hoo-rah. To make up for missing out on the fun I wanted to make her a fun dress, and I remember her mentioning a while back that she wanted to make a bug dress, as in a dress with insect print all over it. I thought that actually sounded really cool! I found the perfect cotton bug print, its black on a cream background, from far away you can’t tell they are bugs so in my mind that tones it down a bit and makes it less hokey. After making my plaid Lisette dress I decided that would be a great dress for the print, its simple and fairly straight forward and its an easy dress to wear.

The bug were printed on an angle so I had to be precise about the way I cut the pieces so that they would line up straight. It wasn’t too big of a task but I can see that this would be taxing on a complicated garment. Luckily this one only had about 5 pieces.

I followed the same steps as I did with my plaid version, I made a zipper down the back as opposed to the side zipper, and I eliminated the facings and just used bias tape. She and I are more or less the same size so I based the measurements and fittings to myself, and in the end it fit her like a glove!


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!