Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Christmas sewing wish list

Did you have a nice holiday?

I did! Family time, some friend time, a little decorating and lots of eating.

Not much sewing, I'm sad to report. I have a super long list of items to make for Christmas, and I think the amount of work ahead of me is mentally holding me back. Where to start... where to start.


Maybe with making my own Christmas sewing wish list?

Yes, why not?

I'd love to get a few new sewing books. Last year, I received the Martha Stewart Sewing and Craft Encyclopedia. It was awesome. And it was mine... for like two days. I somehow lost it, in my own home, immediately after Christmas. So sad! I've searched high and low, and nothing. I can't find it. So maybe one of these could take its place this year?

Dana from Made wrote a book all about fabric. It'd be a nice resource for a sewing library.

As would the Burda Style Sewing Handbook. I haven't made many articles of clothing for myself yet, but I want to learn how to do more. 

Speaking of clothing.... I'd love to try a few patterns, but hate paying for them. (I'm cheap.) I like the Anna Tunic from Amy Butler. 

And I still love the Collette Macaron dress pattern. Still afraid of it, too!

Of course, for all these projects, I'll need new fabric. I'd love the full Echo collection. Who wouldn't, right?

And I love so many of the prints in the Amy Butler Lark collection, too.

I really need some basic tools. It might seem silly. But I don't have things like.... a loop turner. Or more bobbins! I have two bobbins. Silly, right?

Really, I think almost any gift that includes something that supports my sewing obsession would be delightful. Anything that says.... "Sure honey, go ahead and sew the day away." That'd be all right with me.

What would you love to get under the Christmas tree for your sewing habit?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


If you need a Thanskgiving-y dessert for anytime soon.... try this one. Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. Oh boooooooy. So good!

I am so thankful today, For online recipe Web sites. And Paula Deen.

Oh, and for online fabric stores. Those too! Look what came in the mail yesterday.

New fabric! Mostly for Christmas presents.Yay!

Thankful for all the pretty fabric, and all the awesome inspiration in the online sewing community.

Oh and for these two snotty-nosed friends of mine, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby blanket for Rhonda

I made my cousin this blanket and gave it to her at her baby shower last weekend. She's due to have a baby on Jan. 31 -- the day JJ was born last year! I'm hoping the second cousins can share a birthday. Wouldn't that be fun?

I used a tutorial from the book Simple Sewing for Baby as my inspiration, but didn't make the pocket. It's meant to be a play quilt for the floor, and it could be used as that for sure. But look how perfectly it fits in a crib, too! (And although I use sleep sacks for six months or so, here's my dirty little secret -- we're totally using a blanket in the crib these days. Shhhh. I think it is OK.) The front fabrics mostly came from an Erin McMorris fat quarter bundle, from the line Summersault. Aren't they happy? I mixed in a solid green from a sheet I thrifted as well as that green-and-pink dot fabric, which I had in my stash and matched really well.

The back is minky.

I thought it turned out well, but the next baby shower, I won't gift a blanket again. I think my cousin literally received 20 blankets from a shower with 23 people at it. There were at least four other handmade blankets. Ug! And mine was opened last. So that was it for me and baby blankets, unless someone asks for one. There are so many cute ideas out there for baby gifts, for really practical things... Changing pad, diaper and wipe holders, bibs, snugglers, etc. I'm sticking to those from now on!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Announcements and what have yous

I was really excited to see how many others are loving the vintage sheet trend. Always nice to know you're not alone. I'm definitely going to be sewing with my sheets in the near future. So stay tuned for that!

OK, two quick announcements. I joined Google+ yesterday. Is anyone actually using this social network? Seems like, mostly, no. But I had training at work and was encouraged (ahem) to join, so I'm there. If you're on there, leave me a note and I'll add you to my circles. Or whatever the lingo is. :)

And finally! Guess what? I'm taking part in a fun event in December. Katie from the blog Sew Woodsy is having a 12 Days of Christmas handmade ornament event and asked me to participate. Today she announced the event and the full line up of bloggers. I'd really honored to be included and will be checking out all the other participants' blogs soon! Look for all the handmade ornament goodness starting on Dec. 1. Yeehaw!


And because every post needs a good photo or two.... Check out these finds from an antique store I was in last week or so. I didn't get anything -- not the fabric or the vintage buttons. Mistake?!?

I seriously might go back for the fabric. If only the antique store wasn't a good 45 minutes away....

Monday, November 14, 2011

My newest obsession: Vintage sheets

I'm becoming a bit obsessed. With what you see above. Fun, colorful vintage sheets. I first bought one in the spring, to make the spring wreath from In Color Order.  I made the wreath, loved it, and then used some of the remaining sheet to make a spring skirt. 

Jen's blog, by the way, is almost solely to blame for my obsession. Every week or so, Jeni will post a photo of the new sheets she has rounded up to sell in her etsy shop. Every week, I marvel at how awesome her finds are. I started to wonder whether the same awesome sheets lurked in thrift stores near me. Huge pieces of cute fabric for one or two dollars? Then I read her guide to finding the sheets. The desire to conduct a hunt of my own grew. Even though I have no real reason for it. She's got a shop to stock. I have nothing so practical. But I was a goner. I wanted those sheets.

So my hunt has begun. It's really not very hard to find them. And they make me so happy. It's absurd, really. This one above is my favorite find so far. Scroll back to the very top and you can see a bunch I found this week in one Salvation Army.

I've been rounded up projects on Pinterest that use vintage sheets. I get that you can replace any standard fabric in whatever project you want with a vintage sheet. But I like seeing the projects that are made with these gems in mind. It's my favorite pin board right now. Here are some of the standouts.

Are you feeling inspired yet? Have you crafted with vintage sheets? And how much luck do you have when hunting for them in your local thrift shops?

Linking at...

Sew Happy Geek

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Simplicity 2226, all done!

Here's my Simplicity skirt, all done!

So glad to have the Sew Along for this. It helped me have the confidence to tackle a "real" pattern pattern. Thanks, Anna!

And the finished result makes me so proud. It really is a garment. And I made it. Hard to believe!

Still need to insert the hook and eye closure. Other than that, she's all done!

Next time.... I'll make a smaller size. According to the package, I should have been a size 16. I made a size 14. In real life, I wear a 6 or 8. The skirt isn't falling off, but it isn't sitting as high as it should. Not as flattering as it could be. Next time, I'll try a 12.

That's it. Have a great weekend!

Linked up at...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skirt update and a fabric question

 What do you think of this fabric? It was in the remnant bin at Haberman's and I snatched it up for less than $10 for a 1 2/3 yards. I thought at the store that it might also make a good Simplicity 2666 skirt.  Now that I have the fabric home, I'm not so sure. I'm even thinking.... is this fugly and I'm just really tired? I keep squinting and cocking my head. I don't know. What do you think? Cute skirt? Or would be better as maybe some sort of scarf?

I fought my way through the zipper today. Well, actually first I undid some stitching from yesterday where I'd made a mistake. Then I bumbled my way through the zipper instructions. This photo above is actually when I thought I was done. I was not. I stitched up the wrong side, on the right of the zipper. I figured this out later and re-did it. Now it's looking better. It's a zipper -- that zips! Magical! Can't wait to finish the skirt up tomorrow! My only worry: thinking it's just a tad too big. Bummer, right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Simplicity Sew Along progress

I am on a sewing high at the moment. Just finished Day 3 of the Simplicity 2226 Sew Along, hosted over on Noodlehead. My skirt is looking, dare I say, pretty polished so far. Did my first ever French seam, and I'm sold. That's a really nice seam. I love how professional it looks without all the dang threads everywhere inside the garment. I can't wait to have it all finished. I'll be wearing it to work next week, I hope.

Here's a sneak peak (from my camera phone, not the best):

Just wanted to pop in with that!

Oh and: Also to say thank you to those who left comments on my question about whether you like reading the personal bits on the blogs you follow. I've thought about it some more and my conclusion is this: a blog belongs to its author and it's a reflection of that author, and I'm not into absolute formulas that say "yes" it's OK to do this on your blog or "no" it's not OK to do that. This place has to be what I want it to be. It's got to be authentically "me." The blogs I really love do give me a glimpse of the writer's life beyond their craftiness. I like a nice mix. Anyway, whatever moment of insecurity I was having seems to have passed. I'm just going to do what feels right here from now on and not worry too much about it. Sound good?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday ramblings and more sew alongs

I'm been so focused here on the Henry Shirt sew along that I feel a backlog of things I want to share. So prepare for a very random post!

I'll at least start on topic. There are a few more sew alongs happening in the next few weeks that I want to take part in. And maybe you do, too!

Over at Noode-head, the lovely Anna is hosting a sew along for Simplicity pattern 2226. It's a basic skirt, with a zipper. I am really excited to give it a whirl. Her sew along series begins Monday!

I've been watching from afar the sew along for the book Little Things to Sew over on A Little Gray. I want to jump into the fray this month! The pick for November is this adorable puppet theatre. I want to make it for Luke for Christmas. This is a month-long sew-along, so it's leisurely. Isn't that theatre adorable?

Finally, Marigold over on Hideous, Dreadful, Stinky is doing a sew along this month for colorful coats or cardigans. No specific pattern. The idea is to sew along together but interpret that theme however you choose. Basically, make something to keep you warn this winter that isn't boring grey or black or brown. You can refashion something, too, which is what I think I might do.

All fun ideas, right? I already have my fabric and pattern for Anna's. I'll show you on Monday!

What else have I been up to?

JJ turned 9 months old on Halloween. This is such a wonderful age. Love him.

We went to the cider mill two weeks ago. Old news, I know. But it is one of my favorite things about the fall. I must share. We went to Yates Cider Mill, which we also hit up when Luke was a baby. I am finding it astonishing that three years have passed between those two photos.

The other big thing happening around here is I'm starting my new work schedule tomorrow. I'll be working Sundays from now on. It will be an adjustment, but there are a lot of pros to my new schedule and my new job. Things are looking up.

Other than that.... I miss my friend Kim.

I thought about doing a whole posts about some of this personal stuff, but it's tough. This is a sewing blog, right? I've read some posts recently about what people hate about other people's blogs, and it makes me second guess myself. I don't like it because the truth is this is my space, my creative outlet, and my virtual scrapbook of my sewing life -- but also the rest of it. I shoudln't second guess myself. If you blog, do you struggle with this? How much do you deviate from whatever the "thing' your blog is about and into your personal life? And if you're just a reader, how much do you want to know about my personal life or other bloggers you follow? Do you get annoyed at personal posts and think, can we just talk about sewing/crafting/whatever? Be honest.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One more Henry Shirt post: Pictures and resources

There it is! My Henry Shirt in action. Isn't it cute? I really do love it. I'm so thankful for this Sew Along because I don't know I would have tackled this project without it.

Two notes about those photos: isn't that dogwood a wonderful red? I love it in the fall. And yes, my kid is wearing his pants backward. You're not crazy. 

Back to the Sew Along wrap-up: I learned so much. I know next time the results will be even better. I want to jot down a quick list, for my reference and anyone else's. Here are some things I would do differently next time:
  • Take more time cutting. I think my cutting was not 100% as accurate as it could be. 
  • Use 3/8 inch -- or maybe even 1/2 inch -- seams. This is because I make such skinny little children. (Like, my 3-year-old weighs less than 30 pounds.) The shirt doesn't fit too badly honestly, but a slimmer cut would work well, too. 
  • Try a fabric besides cotton. I love cotton for the ease in sewing and the fabulous patterns and for being the fabric I'm most comfortable working with. But I think it might be good to try a different textile for this shirt, especially for the main body pieces. 
  • I'd follow Leila's lead and cut the shirt a little longer. I believe she did that by adding two inches or so to the main front panels, the side panels and the back. This would help not just to lengthen the shirt but to make my hemming issue a non-issue. 
  • I'd add some top-stitching to the pockets and the collar. 
  • I'd like to try buttons next time, if only because these snaps just aren't working for me! (And I realize the issue there is probably me.) After I took these photos, they all basically popped off. 
  • My collar skills need work. This one is a little messy. 
If you want to make your own shirt and follow along with this Sew Along at some later point, here are all the posts you need.
Also, here are a few links to some other relevant Web sites and resources.

Sewing for Boys: Official Web site
One Girl Circus: Blog of book author Karen LePage
Patterns by Figgy
Sewing for Boys Flickr Group

That's it! Thanks to anyone who followed along. :) I can't wait to try something else from this book. What should we do next?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Henry Shirt Sew-Along - Day Seven, We're done!

There it is! My finished Henry Shirt!

I'm quite proud of myself, and very happy to see this bright little shirt. It is far from perfect. The hem doesn't match in the front, and the collar can be a little wonky. The snaps keep popping off. But you know what? It's the most advanced garment I have ever sewn by far, and I think it turned out pretty well considering that. What a cute little pattern.

I have more to say about this, but this morning has been packed and busy and I don't have time now. I'll try to get some pictures of the kid wearing it and share more tomorrow, officially wrapping up the Sew Along. Thanks for much if you followed along here or on Leila's blog. See her finished shirt here!   It looks so professional! Thanks, Leila, for pushing to get this sew along started! I would not have a finished shirt today without it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Henry Shirt Sew-Along, Day Six

Little known fact about me: I am terrible at finishing projects. Like, I very jazzed about the idea and the starting and say jazzed all the way up until I am about 90 percent of the way in. Then those last few steps somehow feel like torture. Tomorrow will be brutal. How will I ever possibly hem a shirt and put on some snaps without melting into a puddle on my floor?

But that's tomorrow. Today, we're still good. We're in the 90 percent. Occupy the Henry Shirt!

OK, I'm off my rocker right now. Let's get to it.

Today we form and attach the collar.

Start with a simple 3/8 inch press on the bottom of your outer collar piece. Make sure you've got the right bottom! I referred back to the pattern paper just to make sure.

When you line up the under collar to the main collar, you'll notice something. It's smaller! This was a scary moment for me, because I often cut things a little wonky. But in this case, the pieces are meant to be different, because you cut the under collar on the bias. Which is a fancy way of saying, this piece of fabric will stretch, and so it is OK that it is a tad smaller.

Here they are with one side sewn together. See? Stretchy! 

I should have said this earlier in this process, but a good iron and a lot of pressing is so helpful. You've got to iron the hell out of all your seams after each step of the process to make things really lay properly. It's a life-saver! I especially went wild with my iron after this step above, where I sewed the two short ends together.

Then you attach the collar to lining to the shirt, leaving the main piece floating free. That gets sewn together first.

And that's the last good photo I have of the process!

You'll flip the collar over and line that folded edge up, covering the unsightly seam bits on the inside of the shirt. Then you edge-stitch it down.

And then look at that....

Your shirt is really now a shirt!

Check out my Sew-Along partner Leila's nearly finished project on her blog, Bilingual Baby. We're almost done, which means I must summon all my will-power to not rest happy with what I've done so far. Cause I'm really happy with that. Like, I just want to put the shirt under my pillow for safe-keeping. But I won't. I'll finish it, I promise. Check back tomorrow to see!