Friday, November 16, 2012

McCalls 6435 Blue & Grey

After completing the grey Vogue knit top I had a conundrum. Too much fabric to throw away guilt-free but what to do with it? I'm trying very hard to use up my stash and I don't want to exchange yardage for scraps. So? Then I remembered McCall's #6435 I picked up for a buck at a recent sale. "No problem," I thought. There would be more than enough fabric to cut view D. That didn't work out. I was short for the second sleeve so I switched to view C. I had enough fabric, barely.  I ended up cutting both upper sections on the crosswise grain. The fabric is very stretchy so I don't think it made any difference.

For the body and second sleeve I used some navy cotton knit I had in the stash. Woo-hoo! Stash reduction x2.
This picture was taken to showcase the necklace but it shows the top also.
This pattern is very shapely at the waist. I straightened the side seams since I am more straight up & down. But I think I will go back and create a bit of waist shaping. I think I will do the same with the solid grey top. Both look a little bag-like right now.

Samo-Samo for Christmas

Pajama pants for Christmas - again! Jeni tells me that the kids love the pajama pants I make them. So, again, this year I am making pajama pants for Hannah, Mason, & Austin. Riley will get a nightgown. She prefers gowns to pajamas. A girly-girl after my own heart! Here is a picture of the fabric I used for Hannah's pj's. 

Hannah's Pajama Pants 2012
I also knitted Hannah a purple slouchy hat. I hope she likes it!

I boys' fabric is a black & white plaid. I haven't decided on Riley's fabric yet. I don't think I have anything in the stash.

Brown, Brown, Brown

In a moment of desperation I bought some brown knit at Jo-Ann's to make a simple skirt and pair of pants. They were supposed to be basics for a brown column of clothes. In my desperation I failed to realize the fabric was too thin to be used successfully for winter clothes. Thank goodness the fabric was on sale or I would feel even worse.

I used a Loes Hinse skirt pattern, #5002. I made the short version without the ruffle at the hem. I wanted a plain simple straight skirt. And that's what I got. I think I need to taper it a bit at the hem to create a more pleasing line.

The pants were from Vogue 2448. This pattern is out of print. It is a Vogue Wardrobe pattern that includes a dress, top, pants, skirt, coat & cape. The dress & top are for moderate stretch knits only. The coat & cape call for double sided fleece or similar fabric. I bought this pattern because it has that long, drapey look. I never used it till now. Even though I'm not long & lean like the model, I am learning to adapt that look to my body. Yeah!

So I haven't worn the pants yet. I still have some handwork to do on them. But I think the will look good. The problem is that the fabric is too thin for winter, as I said earlier. But I can put tights under them and I think they'll be o.k.

Pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Wreath

Somewhere on the Internet I saw this wreath and fell in love with it. Only problem is I don't do paper crafts, such as scrap booking and I don't really want to start. So I puzzled on how to adapt the idea to fabric. I finally decided that yo-yo's would be the way to go. So-o-o-o after years of deriding yo-yo's and people who made them, I purchased the Clover yo-yo makers and got to work. 
 So here is a look at my new collection of yo-yo makers AND the Olfa circle cutter that really made this craft easy to do. I don't know if I would have had the patience to cut all the circles if I hadn't had this awesome tool!                      

And here is my interpretation!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

In Anticipation of the Stash Bash

Our ASG chapter is having a stash bash in conjunction with our Annual Meeting in October. I'm planning on (hopefully) selling off a bunch of my stash (like 50%, I hope!). I've gone through all my fabric, pulling out what I want to sell, and reorganizing what's left. I have about 80 pieces of fabric to sell. When I look at the boxes and boxes of fabric that I acquired during that really dark time of my life, I am truly saddened. That fabric brings me no joy. I will be so glad to get it out of my life. It's almost like chains holding me down. I told my friend, Aline, that I didn't want any of the fabric back. If it didn't sell, I just didn't want to bring it back into my life. She gave me the name of a charity I could donate it to. I really hope I sell a lot of it. Ninety per cent of it is really quality stuff. I know that there are people who would love to have it. I just hope they come to the stash bash and buy it. 

Here are pictures of the mess created while sorting, culling, and reorganizing the sewing studio.
Tubs & tubs of fabric. Aagh!

Now what happened to the inventory cards on these?

The paperwork to organize it all!

The mess before the calm.

Lavender Lovely

Here is the kit for my latest Creative Sweatshirt Jacket. It goes on a beautiful lavender sweatshirt. Oh my gosh the color is fabulous! The lightest silk in the picture is a beautiful shade of light mint green. I have actually started on the jacket. But haven't taken any construction pictures yet. I probably will have a finished picture in a couple of days. I'm pretty excited about this project.

Round Bobbin St. Charles

The weekend of Sept. 14th & 15th was the Round Bobbin quilting and sewing expo in St. Charles. Londa was here with her booth so I was able to work for her. It was quite an experience. 

Setup - Londa received information that set up wouldn't be available until noon on Thursday. When she checked with show management they told her to arrive around 10 a.m. and get in line to unload. Because there was only 1 dock, unloading was the issue. So we arrived around 9:30, found ourselves next in line unload and were able to start unloading within about 15 minutes. We finished up about 5 p.m., headed back to my house to clean up a bit before meeting Ron for dinner.

The Show Opens - Doors open Friday morning at 10 a.m. Londa & I arrived about 8:30 to take care of some last minute work. Ready to start the day, and on the first transaction the credit card machine decides not to work. She calls the bank and gets put on hold. She hands me the phone and says, in essence, "here, you fix it." (She was off to teach a class.) Which was o.k. After the credit card machine fiasco in Houston one year, I was not really panicked. However, when the cash register wouldn't work properly, I did swallow hard. So now the credit card machine is working o.k. (It had dust in the card reading slot?), but I can't ring up any sales. 

I found the manual for the register and called the manufacturer. After describing the problem, the tech guy proceeds to tell me the batteries need to be replaced. "Batteries?", I ask incredulously. "The register is plugged into electricity." Who knew there were internal batteries! So know I've identified the problem, but I can't leave the booth to locate batteries. So I start hand writing sales tickets on yellow legal pad paper. I use the calculator to compute tax. "Please God,"  I pray silently, "Let me not make too big of a mistake." I send a text to Londa's phone, "Plz come back to the booth between classes." 

So I keep hand writing sales tickets. Londa reports back to the booth between classes and I hurriedly tell her the problem. What else could possibly go wrong? Thankfully, nothing did. God heard my pray and provided batteries. The show management lady came by the booth and said she had heard I needed batteries, would these work. In her hand were 4 A batteries. Just what I needed.  I inserted the batteries and said a quick prayer of thanks. Unfortunately all the pre-programmed pricing was lost, but I knew the prices well enough to enter the manually. Londa and Charlie are very understanding about cash register goofs. Thank goodness. 

So I was back in business. The afternoon was a blockbuster sale day and Saturday was o.k. So we ended up o.k. Life is good. I was able to spend time with Londa, talk to a wide variety of interesting women, and also see some of my sewing guild friends. Yes, God is good to me. 

Chicago in Early September

The first week of September I spent 5 days with Jeni at her house. Kevin had rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery. Jeni asked me to come for a few days to help out with the kids while she nursed Kevin back to health. Well, as it turned out, my SIL is very independent and didn't "need" the tender loving care of his wife. But I still was able to play taxi-driver-grandma. I had a blast. My grandkids are the best!

While I was there I had free time during the day and did some sewing. I finished this apron which I hate and have in the Goodwill bag. The photo doesn't show the colors well. The colors have this dirty look to them. I loved the coffee cup pattern, but the colors left me feeling drab. Also the design was not to my liking. There isn't enough coverage on the bodice. I use my aprons when I'm cooking and food splatters on my tops frequently. I need an apron that covers my front side. The other reason I didn't care for the design is the skirt is really full. Like I need to add more fluff to my already fluffy mid-section. So I put the apron in the bag to go Goodwill. I'm sure someone somewhere will love it. 

While in Chicago I was able to start on my Friendship Triangle book cover. I have the squares cut and matched up. I even have the layout designed. Now I just need time to start the sewing. 

I've started on Christmas gifts. Jeni & I discussed items for the grandkids. I will be knitting H a hat & making PJ pants. The boys will both get pj pants as well. Riley & her AG doll will receive matching nightgowns. Good stuff. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Something Soft for Sprout

My son, Scott, called this afternoon and invited The Love and me for dinner tomorrow night. Yummy! I have the stack of burp cloths & receiving blankets to take to Scott & Sara and I figured I might as well whip up the Minkee blanket I was planning to make. 

Sara is planning a jungle theme for the nursery. When I saw this fabric at Jackman's Fabrics a couple of weeks ago, I just had to buy it. The fabric is so-o-o soft. What baby wouldn't want to be wrapped up in so much softness? I hope S&S like it. 

One of Two -- Aprons, That Is

I love aprons! My husband just stuck his head in my sewing studio and asked what I was sewing. "An apron," I said. "Oh, who's it for? he asked. "Why me, of course!" I replied with a note of astonishment. "It's just that you already have quite a few aprons, right? he said tentatively, clearly unsure of the territory he was treading. "I know," I said. "But I love aprons. And, besides I need a lot because I'm a really messy cook." "But, everything you make is delicious!" he responded quickly. Great save, Honey! That's just one of the reasons I love you so much.

Here is my apron from this afternoon. And really, it's the first one I've made this year so I'm not feeling guilty, even though I have another one cut out and ready for the sewing machine. Hopefully, that's tomorrow's project. 

Butterick See&Sew 5125
The fabric is from Hancock's. I bought it last year (2011) on the spur of the moment. I was standing at the cutting table with some other fabric and saw this bolt of fabric laying off to the side. There was only 1-1/2 yds. left and I bought it all. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I kept it front and center in the sewing studio because I just really liked the colors and the design. Poppies are a favorite flower of mine. I saw this Butteri k pattern a couple of months ago and knew immediately that my poppy flowered fabric was destined to be an apron. The fabric is a bit heavier than quilting cotton so I decided I didn't need to make it reversible, like I do most of my aprons. I did add a pocket on the right side. I occasionally actually use the pockets in my aprons, mostly for non-food related items. 

I'm really please with how this turned out. And, did I mention I love the fabric?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Refined, Too

Here is another Creative Sweatshirt Jacket I made from the Refined, Too pattern from Londa's Creative Sewing

I have to confess that I copied the sample Londa shows in the expo booth. I loved the colors and fabrics. When she first introduced this sample I quickly bought the fabric to make my own. The brown fabric is a Japanese cotton and it is all from the same piece of fabric. It had these random stripes as well as the columns of multi-colored dots. Londa's sample had these very nice wood buttons. The kind where each one is different, but still a set. I couldn't find anything even remotely similar so I bought these wood-look buttons. 

I started this jacket a year ago last May--at the first retreat Londa hosted. It was again, a project I abandoned when it was almost finished. It's taken me about 4 hours to finish it this week. I'm embarrassed by how many projects I have that were/are in this state of almost, but not quite finished. I've finished several but still have others to finish up. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This Calls For Doll Clothes

Next week I will be visiting Jeni to help out while Kevin has shoulder surgery. Just call me Grandma Carpool and Nana Mealmaker. And I just couldn't visit Miss Riley and not take her some clothes for her American Girl doll. Here are the 2 outfits I will be giving her. 
I hope she likes them. And, if not, I'll be sure to get some ideas from her about what she would like. I have plans to make her a red velvet Christmas dress or coat for her AG doll. It might even be the next item up in the doll clothes category.

On another note, I just picked up my Bernina sewing machine from the dealer after having it cleaned, oiled and serviced. I a pretty unhappy. When I run it, it sounds like something is rattling around inside it. It's so loud that I recorded about 20 secs. of the sound so I could play it back for the dealer. I will take it back in tomorrow. Part of the aggravation is that they had it for 7-8 weeks already. Vicky told me she was waiting on a new thread spool holder. Really? That long for a part? And she still didn't have it. I picked it up without that being replaced. I'm really sad that I'm unhappy with the service at Make It Sew. Eunice Farmer Fabrics used to be the premier fabric store and Bernina dealer in St. Louis. But since Vicky combined EFF with Make It Sew, it's just not the same. I may check out some other place to get my machine serviced in the future. 

The Dark Side of Me

My husband put his hand to my forehead. "Are you o.k.?" he asks. "That looks like a, a quilt block." "Yes it is," I replied. "But you don't quilt," he states in a firm, matter-of-fact voice. 

I didn't think I would every want to quilt. My one experience with making a quilt (16+ years ago) was successful only because my MIL actually did 99% of the work. I absolutely appreciate the artistry of quilting. But, I don't really understand the concept of cutting large pieces of fabric into tiny pieces and then sewing it all back together to make another large piece of fabric. Unless it is going to tell a story. And I think that is what I am drawn to. Quilting that tells a story. That's what I love about the Calendar Quilts project I have started and that is what I love about the First Ladies of America Quilt blocks I want to make. 

But I had a huge insight recently. There is a skill involved in quilting and if I wanted my Calendar Quilts and my First Ladies to look fabulous, I needed to learn and practice the skills. Which leads me to Craftsy's Block of the Month class. I love the Craftsy website. I have signed up for several classes and purchased a couple workshops and downloaded multiple patterns. There is always something new and fun popping up. 

The Block of the Month (BOM) class is geared for beginners which totally describes me. And, I think the class was free, or least very low cost. What did I have to lose? So I signed up. Of course, Craftsy offers a fat quarter bundle for purchase to use in the class. But I didn't really like the patterns of the fabric. For the past 2-3 weeks there has been a near-constant conversation in my head that goes like this. "Don't buy the Craftsy bundle because I don't really like it. But what will I use? I guess I could go to a local fabric store and pick out 35 fat quarters that coordinate. But, man that will be way more expensive than the Craftsy bundle. Maybe I should get the Craftsy bundle to save money. No, I don't really like the fabric. Maybe I could find something online that will do but still be reasonable in price." (So I spend several hours online looking at fabric to no avail. The head talk resumes.) "So maybe I should just get the Craftsy bundle. No, I really don't like the fabric. Besides do I really want to spend big bucks for a beginner project? Not really. I am investing money in the Calendar Quilts project. Really, I'd rather just use fabric I have. But I don't have a stash of quilting cotton. Maybe I should just go ahead, suck it up, and get the Craftsy bundle. No, seriously, I really don't like the fabric. Wait a minute. I have cotton scraps from aprons, and other projects. Maybe I could use those scraps." Oh man! That was it! What a revelation! I could proceed using fabric scraps and leftovers from my stash. So here are my first 2 quilt blocks. 

First, let me say, I know I need to square up my blocks. I have to purchase the 12" ruler-thingy to do that. But ta-da--here they are. 

If you look closely you will see that not all my strips line up at the crossings. I worked and worked to get them perfect, but, um, yeah, these are, after all, my first ever quilt blocks. I figure lining up the corners is a skill I need to work on. And, that is why I'm using scraps from stash! I don't know if these blocks will ever be part of an actual quilt. And, if not, that's o.k. But after only 2 blocks, I realize what great learning/teaching  tools these blocks will be. 

I'm pretty excited about learning to quilt. But I don't think I will ever call myself a "Quilter".

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blue Rayon Slacks, Finally

Woo-hoo! The blue rayon slacks are finished! I really mean to finish them a couple of weeks ago, but life got ugly and today was the first day I have sewed in about a month. 
It is so hard to photograph navy blue. Consequently no details are visible. I just wanted to show that they are finished! I'm really happy with the fit. And so I'm really glad I took the time to rescue this almost-a-wadder project. 

Next project is to finish a Creative Sweatshirt Jacket that needs a cuff and a collar to be wearable. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sprout Announcement

I am so excited to finally be able to say it out loud. The Son & DIL are expecting a baby in February 2013. I've known for a while but Scott & Sara asked that I not tell any friends, announce it on Facebook or in my blog until they had told all their friends and made a Facebook announcement. So the word is out. I've been busy sewing some baby stuff. S&S will not know the baby's sex until Sprout is born, so everything must be gender neutral. Here is what I have made so far. 
Flannel Receiving Blankets

Burp Cloths for the Future STL Cards Fan
I believe that Sara wants to decorate the nursery in a jungle theme. That will give me an opportunity to make more things for her. I have purchased some Minkee fabric to make a blanket. One side will be baby green, the other side is blue with white elephants. It will be really cute and oh so soft! 

I've also started knitting a blanket. It is from the Bernat website and is called Duck Blanket. The version of the pattern I have is blue with white stripes and one yellow duck in each corner. I emailed the picture to S&S and asked them if it would be ok to make it. They asked me to change it from blue to green or yellow, and could I please change the duck to a jungle animal. Umm, yes, I guess I could do that. The yarn didn't have a green or yellow option, but they did have aqua, so I'm using that. I also searched and found a knit hat with elephants on it. I was able to adapt that elephant chart to the blanket. And I am making the elephants grey. So I hope they like it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Projects Update

Just a little update on the projects I'm working on and getting ready to work on. 

Blue Rayon Pants-I have these pants to the try-on stage and they fit! I need to tweak the side seams just a bit, but at this point the whole take-them-apart-&-recut-them-in-a-smaller-size seems to be working out. I should have these finished by the end of the weekend. 

Dahlia Knit Cardigan-I'm just knitting away on this cardi. I'm almost finished with the 2nd sleeve. After that, I sew the sides of the lace panel to the body of the sweater, weave in the ends, block it and I'm finished. This should be completed in the next week. 

Calendar Quilts-I'm pretty excited about the Calendar Quilt project coming up. I have almost everything I need for the first month. 
Ready for September
I have all the fabric except the backing for September. I also purchased Steam-A-Seam2. When I bought the fabric last week I found a 6-1/2" square ruler and bought it to use for cutting all the 4-1/2" squares that make up the background and border of each quilt. Today I was at Hobby Lobby and found a 4-1/2" square ruler! Woo-hoo! So I'm thinking I'm about ready to start this project. I don't think there is any way I can complete one quilt every month but it sure would be nice. 

Friendship Triangle Book Cover-I haven't started this yet. In fact, I'm so excited about the Calendar Quilts that I've moved this project down on the priority list, right behind the Calendar Quilts. 

Secret Project(s)-I have several secret projects I'm working on also. Two are knitted items and 3 are sewing projects. None of them are very complicated and all are coming right along. And that's all I can say about those projects.  

I'm heading back to my sewing studio to spend time among all my fabric, yarn and patterns. I have a little saying that fits me to a "T". It is, "My soul is fed by needle and thread." It is so true!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Snapshot of Times Past

Bias Tape from the 70's
Last Thursday I had a hair cut appointment and about 2 hours before I needed to leave I realized I needed a baby gift for my hairdresser's new twin grandbabies. I quickly made a couple bibs and burp cloths. I was rooting through my tub of bias tape to use on the bibs and came across this package. It caught my attention because of the price-25 cents! I am fairly certain I purchased this back in the 1970's when I was in high school. The Talon brand was carried at my favorite fabric store back then. I think this caught my attention because I just purchased green bias tape to make those 3 hot pads last week. That package cost $1.90! And, it has only 3 yards of tape. This package has 5 yards. Oh, the good old days!

Sunday Afternoon Sewing

I've had a very 'sewing' afternoon. I am in love with Craftsy. I've signed up for a couple of classes and a couple workshops and I've bought a couple of patterns. This is a high quality site that provides instruction for a variety of crafts, not all of them thread (sewing, knitting, quilting) related. I saw a class today that is all about making great buttercream frosting! I also love that once you purchase a class it is available at all times, at your own pace. The files are not taken down after a set number of days. The video doesn't disappear. You can take notes, leave questions for the instructor or other participants. And the projects appear to be awesome. Most classes cost 39.99 although Craftsy features a couple classes on sale periodically. The workshops are run the same way. Some classes are offered free of charge. I signed up for a Block of the Month quilting class. (I am still surprised at my sudden interest in quilting.) The class is free and from what I've viewed, it's a good intro into quilting in a fun presentation. So that is how I spent part of my afternoon. 

I also worked on the blue rayon pants. I'm almost back to where I started. The pockets are reassembled, the back darts re-sewn. I'm ready to start the waistband. The waistbands are attached to the front & back separately, then sewn at the side seams. That will be the point where I will find out if all this effort, energy and time has been worth it. I sure hope so. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

UFO's To The Rescue

I was so bored at work yesterday that I was motivated to finish 3 knitting UFO's. What's a UFO, you ask? UnFinished Object. I bet every crafter, regardless of medium, has them. In the knitting and sewing world, UFO's abound. I've been reorganizing my sewing studio and found way more sewing UFO's than I care to reveal. I'm working on finishing up many of them. It is puzzling to me why some projects get set aside with so little left to do to finish. A thought for another day. I want to write about what I finished. 

I finished these 2 sock projects. 
The colorful red sock on the left is the dreaded "2nd sock" from a pair I started last summer in the Purl Hunter KAL. The mate has been in my sock drawer for 9 months. Here is the perfect example of "Why didn't I finish this?" I had 10 stitches to bind off. That was it! Bind off 10 stitches and it was completed. It took me about 10 minutes. Now why didn't I finish it? Why did I lay it aside with only 10 stitches to bind off? No clue, but it's finished now and happily united with its mate. 

The odd looking socks on the right are yoga socks. They have neither a heel nor toe to provide grip when doing yoga poses. I only started these in June so they've not been laying around long. Still I'm glad to have them off the needles and available for my weekly yoga session. 

I also finished this cardigan. This was a KAL at my LYS last early fall. I actually had finished this and worn it a couple of times. Then I realized that the sleeve seams were finished on the right side. Oops! It was a pain to take out the seams. The yarn is thick/thin and because the fabric is so open, the seams had been crocheted, not just regular-style seaming. So the cardi sat around for several months before I tackled taking out the seams. Then it sat around a couple more months before I resewed the seams. Again, it took me all of about 30 minutes to accomplish the seaming. And now I can wear it again. 
I know this doesn't look very exciting, but the yarn is interesting and the cardigan was knit and constructed in an interesting manner. Instead of a back, 2 fronts and 2 sleeves, this is knit in rectangles that are then seamed together to create the garment. It can actually be turned upside down and worn that way, but I think it creates too much fabric around my neck, not a good look for me. I wasn't that crazy about the color, but I was matching it up with tops I have and it looks great with a navy or dark brown knit top underneath. 

So I'm really pleased with what I accomplished yesterday. With these 3 projects complete I'm pretty sure I have only 4 projects left on my needles. 
  • My Dahlia cardi which is coming along nicely. I'm about halfway finished with the 1st sleeve. 
  • My Bayarri cardi. This is a challenging entrelac cardigan. It's another knitting project way above my skill level so it's slow going. It will move up in priority once I finish Dahlia.
  • A simple fuzzy scarf for Miss Riley's Christmas present
  • A simple g-string project to match a knitted nightgown I made a couple years ago. This is going to be one of those projects I finish up in 30 minutes and wonder why it took me so long. 
So I celebrated my accomplishments by ordering yarn for a project I'm planning. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Sewing

I've had a hard time focusing today so rather than work on the blue rayon slacks, I finished another UFO this afternoon. Yeah!

I made these hot pad holders to match an apron I made last summer. 

When I made the apron I didn't have any heat-resistant batting so I laid the squares aside until "later". I have no idea why I even remembered these little things, but a week or so ago, they popped in my head. I made a trip to Jo-Ann's and bought what I needed and here they are. 

Here is the apron I made last year. It is reversible, which is a technique I first used with this apron, but now utilize any time I work with quilting weight fabrics. 

It makes the apron beefier and provides a much nicer edge finish. 

A Friday Fabric Field Trip

I don't know where this week went, but I didn't accomplish much in the sewing studio. I did go fabric shopping though. 

A friend emailed me Thursday and invited me to go to Jackman's Fabrics on Friday. Big sale! We went to the location in Fairview Heights IL. I had never been there and fell in love. The store is laid out differently than the Missouri store I usually shop at. I don't understand why simply arranging the store differently would make such a big difference, but it did. So with the help of my friend, Aline, here is what I came home with. 

I am going to use these fabrics to make the book cover shown below. I had the 3 fabrics on the left in my stash. No clue where I got them or when. I didn't really care for the brown piece at the bottom. I know that it "goes" with the blue and the oriental print, but it just didn't sit right with me. So I found the brown (upper right) and the "light" fabric (lower right). With the 2 additional fabrics, I liked the original brown better and will use it in the book cover. 

So this project is pretty "quilty" for me, the die-hard I-don't-quilt seamstress. But, we made some of these Friendship Triangles at a recent ASG neighborhood meeting. I was really taken with them--to the point that I purchased the book. I want to make a cover for my Bible. So now that I have a good mix of fabrics I will be starting this after I finish my blue rayon slacks. 

I also purchased these 2 coordinating fabrics for a future project. 
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

And my final purchase opens up a real can of worms. 

 I saw these Calendar Quilts hanging on the wall and fell in love with them. I asked my friend, Aline, if she thought I could do these. She was so realistic. She told me that, yes, I could do them, but I would need to learn to machine quilt, whether it was free form or follow a pattern. The designs are appliqued and most of them are fairly simple. A couple are more complex, but they are all so lovely I couldn't resist. This long-range project will teach me new skills and I'm excited about that. 

So that's my shopping trip. It was wonderful!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Next Up

My next sewing project is already in process. Like the Dahlia Cardi this project was started last year. It is a pair of blue rayon dress slacks. I'm using Simplicity pattern 2700.
This is an Amazing Fit Collection pattern. I really like the slacks and have actually used this pattern a couple of times. Here's the back story:

Having used the pattern a couple of times and liking the fit, I cut the slacks out of this gorgeous blue rayon I found at a local fabric store, Make It Sew. I stitched the slacks together and tried them on for the first time. Uh oh! They were too big! I took in both side seams and the back seam an additional 5/8" on each seam. I tried them on again and they were still too big. As I recall I was doing this one night. (Operative word there is night.) I was discouraged and wadded them up and threw them in a tub with a bunch of other fabric in it. Over the last several months I've felt guilty that I spent so much on the fabric and never finished the slacks. I dug them out and worked out a plan to salvage them.

I think what happened to the fit is that between the last time I made something from the pattern and these slacks, I lost weight and having been working out and running very consistently. I've lost about 20 pounds, really toned up and gone down 2 pattern sizes. Simply continuing to take the seams in won't work here. There is just too big a difference in size. So I've taken the slacks apart except for the zipper. This means that the pockets are still attached at the front, but I have them loose at the side seams. I think I can recut the pockets as they are now, then go on from there. Here is how the project looks tonight. Just a bunch of fabric right now.

Dahlia Cardi Part 1

Last Fall I started knitting the Dahlia cardi from Interweave Knits Fall 2011.  (You can purchase the pattern here.)  The description is: Uniquely constructed cardigan with wrapped front and an eye-catching back lace panel. Fun to knit and wear.

The knitting is not really difficult once the lace motif is completed on the back. It's a lot of stockinette stitch. Perhaps that is why I lost interest. But I couldn't sleep a couple of nights ago so I picked it up and started knitting on it again. I just completed the body of the sweater and am now ready to knit the sleeves.

A couple of really neat things about this sweater is that the only seaming to be done is attaching the sides to the back lace motif. The sleeves are called 'after thought' sleeves. I've never done these but while knitting the body of the sweater (it's all one piece) you knit waste yarn into the body. Then go back, remove the waste yarn, pick up those stitches and knit the sleeves. In the round no less! How cool is that. The front falls open into soft folds, so there isn't any button band, buttonholes or any type of knit-on closure. You can close the front using a sweater pin.

So here's a picture of my sweater body. The lace back isn't real clear, but the 'holes' on either side of it are the spots where I will go back and do the seaming. The white lines are the 'after thought' sleeve markers.

So I'm kind of excited about this cardi again. Since it is designed for fall, I'll have it finished and ready to wear when the weather turns cool in October. 

1/2 Yard Purse

Michelle mentioned to me recently that all her purses were wearing out. She has a remarkable knack for making shoes & purses last longer than any person I know. I once spent $80 on a pair of dress shoes for her for a high school dance. She loved them and assured me she would wear them $80 worth. She did. Ten years later she was still wearing them. What a girl!

So I made her this purse. I had the fabric in my stash--materials I had purchased for a class I never attended. The fabric is very soft, kinda suede-y feeling. Very soft. The lining is some kind of black soft, slightly nappy fabric. I added 3 suede stripes on the front. The purse closes with a handmade button from my friend Londa's shop. The directions for the purse came from Judy Kessinger. I was on her mailing list for a while and the purse pattern was a free pattern from her. It takes only 1/2 yard of fabric (add'l 1/2 yd. for the lining.) It was pretty simple to construct. The only issue I had was stitching through all the layers at the top. Part of that problem could have been my fabric. I also lengthened the straps since Michelle likes a shoulder bag.

The bag looked pretty good and she loved it! Happy Momma!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Chef in a Sundress

My youngest daughter, Michelle, is a chef and spends most of her time in chef's attire, white jacket and black & white check chef pants. I love making her something soft and feminine to wear.

Michelle & I were shopping at our local Jo-Ann's on July 4th and she saw this fabric. The colors are perfect for her. She wrapped the fabric around herself and it was so cute, how could I resist? I bought what was left on the bolt, about 2-1/2 yds. At 50% off it was very affordable. The fabric is 100% polyester-easy care for my busy chef!

I sewed rows & rows of elastic thread at the top of the dress. Then I sewed the fabric in a tube, hemmed it and added a halter neck tie. Oh so easy! And it will look beautiful on my beautiful daughter.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lemons On My Table

Here are the place mats I just finished. I bought this fabric at the Puyallup sewing expo back in 2001. Whew! Well aged! It took me a total of about 2 hours to create these. I could kick myself for not doing this project some time in the last 10 years.

(Can't figure out how to  turn this sideways)
The fabric is a heavy cotton. I think the lemons are screened printed on the blue fabric. I made 4 place mats and have fabric leftover. I don't know if I should make more place mats (I could make another 8.) or something else. I have 54" in length and the fabric is 68" wide. I could cut 20" crosswise and make a table runner, then make another 4 place mats. I promise not to think about this for another 10 years!

Sewing My Fingers To The Bone

It has been so hot here that pretty much all I've done is stay inside and sew. It is amazing how much I accomplish when I turn off the TV.

In the past month I've made me a pair of shorts, a summer t-shirt, a winter t-shirt, a pair of pajamas, dolls clothes for Riley's American Girl dolls, and I also altered several pairs of capris and shorts to fit just a bit better. I'm working on a sundress for Michelle and a set of placemats for the kitchen. Those 2 items will be finished tonight.

It's such a great feeling when I actually finish things I start.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's Been a While

Until this week, I had not sewn 1 stitch in 2012. Nope, not a one. I don't think I even mended anything. My sewing mojo was in serious hiding. That is until I worked at the Original Quilt and Sewing Expo in Chicago last week. (OK, technically it is held in Schaumburg but to me anything in the Chicago metro area is Chicago.) I came home re-energized about sewing and I have committed to sewing a minimum of 10 min. per day 6 days a week. So far I've sewn more than the 10 mins. every day but 1. Pretty good so far, if I do say so myself.

So what have I accomplished? I have quite a few UFO's and planned garments so I started there. I finished a Thia T I cut out last summer and a Margherita tank top. Both of these tops were cut from the leftover fabric I used to make the Vogue 1250 I wore last August to my son's wedding rehearsal dinner. It is a gorgeous dark denimy color knit. I love the fabric! It is very close to what Vogue Fabrics is selling as Sophia. I'll try and find a picture of the dress to post. Both tops were quick and easy to finish. The Thia T is short-sleeved and the sleeve openings are a teensy bit tight. I don't know if it is the twin needle hem drawing it up, but I think I will make it a bigger next time. I love this pattern and consider it to be a TNT.

I also finished sewing a Christmas apron I had planned to wear on Christmas Day (2011). Before I finished it I reached the point of collapse. Yep, I just couldn't sew another stitch. It took me less than hour to finish it up this week. Now I have to pack it away until this Christmas.

This week I plan to finish a Creative Sweatshirt Jacket I've been working on since this time last year. I also have a pair of beautiful blue rayon pants I need to finish.

Ten minutes a day, ten minutes a day, ten minutes a day.