Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick Knit Christmas Gift

Need a quick gift idea for someone on your list? These little dish cloths are so much fun to knit and so easy. They are made from Peaches and Cream cotton yarn that I purchased at WalMart.  I must warn you, however, that once you give these to someone, they will want more.

cotton knit dishcloth
Ravelry link

There are several variations of this pattern. The one that I like can be found on Ravelry or here.  They also make a great bathtime gift if you add a pretty bar of soap or bath salts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Community Service Blanket Project

Wow! It's getting to be that busy time of the year. My sewing machine misses me. I did get in a little sewing earlier this month for a very worthwhile cause. My American Sewing Guild group met to make blankets for Hotel, Inc, a local organization whose goal is to break the cycle of poverty. We made twin and full size blankets from fleece fabric. They were quick to hem either with the regular machine or a coverstitch machine.

American Sewing Guild Community Service

Each year, the American Sewing Guild chooses a community service project for all the local chapters to participate in. This year, each guild was encouraged to donate the blankets locally.

With temperatures dropping, I hope our blankets help to keep someone warm this winter!

Monday, October 29, 2012

And the winner of the SA Curve ruler is......

I had a very scientific drawing by putting all the comments in a basket and asking my daughter to draw one out. Congratulations to Lisa Laree who made the following comment.

"Wow, I might actually start sewing from my 5 years accumulation of Burda Style. I've thought how useful such a thing would be; so glad someone had the resources to do it!"

Send me your address, Lisa Laree, and I'll get your SA Curve ruler in the mail to you so that you can have fun with all those Burda patterns!

SA Curve Ruler

 Thanks to Claire for designing this great ruler and making the giveaway possible!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Minute Halloween Costume

It's been a few years since I had a request for a Halloween costume. I got a very last minute request this year from my 21 year old for a Captain America costume, female version. She loves Marvel movies and especially Captain America. The Halloween Express tent that comes into town every year had a few poorly constructed, and very revealing costumes for $39.99 and up. We decided to challenge ourselves to come up with something more tasteful.

Captain America costume

We found a royal blue dress at Forever 21 for $9.99, a shield in the toy department at WalMart for $9.99, and a mask for $2 at Target. I bought red sparkly lame type fabric at Hancock Fabrics from their costume selection for the belt and gauntlets. I used a heavy decor bond interfacing for both, lined them and fastened with Velcro. To add the stripes to the belt, I used a wide ribbon from my stash.

A little tip for sewing with the lame which ravels faster than you can sew it! I sprayed the heavy interfacing with my machine embroidery adhesive spray and then laid the red pieces on top. This lightly fused them together. I serged around the edges just to make sure there were no ravels when I stitched and turned the pieces.

Captain America costume
My daughter really wanted a white star on the front bodice. I stitched out a star with my embroidery machine on the heavy decor bond interfacing, carefully trimmed around the edges, and hand sewed it to the front.  

Captain America costume

With the black boots that she already had, it all came together and she had a great time at the party!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SA Curve Ruler Giveaway!

I've always wanted to host a giveaway and, thanks to Claire at SA Curve, it's happening this week! Claire designs these great rulers for adding seam allowances to patterns. They are perfect for tracing from multisized patterns and adding the seam allowance at the same time. Claire was kind enough to share a couple of her 5/8" rulers with me - one to keep and one to give away. Tracing from multisized, overlapping patterns is not my favorite part of sewing but this ruler should make the process so much easier! The ruler is also available in 3/8". Check out the video links on Claire's blog to learn more about how to use this seam allowance curved ruler.

sa curve ruler

The ruler is great for pattern drafting, tracing European patterns, making adjustments, adding seam allowances after altering patterns, pattern grading, etc. This is going to be one of those sewing notions that I wonder how I ever lived without! I've already traced a pattern from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross that I had been putting off because I thought it would take forever. It didn't with this ruler!

Leave a comment below and tell me how you would use this ruler to speed up your sewing!  I will draw a name randomly at midnight CST on Sunday, October 28. This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sorbetto Top #5

Guess what I made! I just can't help myself. Every time I run across a "blousy" type fabric, I think, "Oh, that would make a nice Sorbetto". I'll be able to wear this woven poly top through the fall and winter with a sweater over it. I found the fabric at Hancock Fabrics and got a great deal on the end of the bolt. Hancock's has a policy that if you buy the remainder of the bolt (less than a yard, I think) you get it at 1/2 price. I ended up with a generous 1 5/8 yards for $6.50, enough to make a Sorbetto for myself and my daughter if I cut carefully.

sorbetto top

sorbetto top

My first three Sorbettos were cotton and linen fabrics with darts added to the back and button fronts. For the polyester type fabrics, I really like the front tuck. The top is actually pretty easy to slip over the head even without a front opening or back slit.

Sorbetto #1 - Poly/cotton remnant from an underwear company
Sorbetto #2 - Linen with Venetian hemstitch
Sorbetto #3 - Double cloth reversible fabric from Wal-Mart
Sorbetto #4 - Poly woven fabric
Sorbetto #5 - Poly woven fabric

I never put this favorite pattern away.  It's pinned to the bulletin board behind my sewing machine waiting for Sorbetto #6!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sew4Home Roll-up Case

If you haven't visited, you should check out all the great projects featured there. All projects include very clear, well-written tutorials. At my monthly American Sewing Guild meeting, we made the roll-up makeup brush case.

Sew4Home roll-up case

I forgot to bring along the clear vinyl which would make the inside of the case easy to wipe off so I adjusted the size of the pockets, making them about 1 inch. I filled my case with colored pencils, turning it into a storage case for art supplies. It's great to keep kids organized and also great for long trips.

Sew4Home roll up case

I decided that I needed a little sketch pad to complete the art set. I made the cover for the sketch pad using the same construction method as the roll-up case, customizing the size to fit the sketch pad. This would make a great gift set for a little artist.

Sew4Home roll-up case

Sew4Home roll up case

Here are a couple of the other fun projects that my ASG group has made this year from Sew4Home.

Fleece Neck Pillow

Fabric Basket

And this cute towel is on the schedule for December - a great last minute gift idea!

Kitchen towel with rick-rack

Don't forget that September is National Sewing Month! What have you sewn this month?

National Sewing Month

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Look 6901

I've had this New Look 6901 pattern for a while now and decided to try it out with a yard of rayon/lycra knit that I purchased at Joann Fabrics. I thought the pattern might be a little too fitted for my taste so I made the mistake of cutting a size larger. I almost threw it in the garbage after the first try-on. It was too low cut and too large in the neckline. I decided I would go ahead and sew it up and give it away. After fiddling with it a bit and cutting down to the size I should have used in the first place, it actually turned out okay. It's a very quick top to sew up. I made most of it with the serger and coverstitch machines.

New Look 6901

It goes great with my $11 knit skirt that I bought off the WalMart clearance rack. I will definitely use this pattern again if I can remember what I did to make it fit!

National Sewing Month

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Cafe au Lait Mitts

I finally finished my alpaca Cafe au Lait Mitts! I love the pattern and love the yarn. Alpaca is a very warm fiber so these mitts will keep my hands toasty this winter and leave my fingers free for keys, phone, etc.

Cafe au Lait Mitts
Ravelry link

Since I love this pattern so much, I decided to go ahead and knit another pair of mitts with my brown alpaca yarn. I usually knit items for gifts so this is quite a treat for me. My sisters gave me the yarn a few years ago for Christmas and I've been waiting for the right pattern. If you're a knitter, check out this free pattern on Ravelry and let me know how your mitts turn out!

Cafe au Lait Mitts
Ravelry link

September is National Sewing Month so I need to put away my knitting needles and get back to my sewing projects! I have a stack of fabric calling my name. I just can't decide what to make first!

National Sewing Month

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Simplicity 2004

It's good to be back to sewing and blogging after a little time off to deal with an appendicitis attack. I'm so glad that's all over with and I can get back into my routine, especially the sewing part of my routine!

Simplicity 2004 is one their Sew Simple line of patterns. The price is around 99 cents at WalMart. The picture on the pattern envelope doesn't show the lines of the pattern very well but it is actually a great basic pattern which could also be used as a top. I had pinned a dress from Anthropologie on Pinterest several months ago to use as inspiration for this dress which can be seen here.

Simplicity 2004

The fabric is a medium weight cotton blend and the yoke is linen. I graded the yoke down to an XXS and it is still just a tiny bit wide across the shoulders so I'll cut it down a bit more next time.

Simplicity 2004

I need to start sewing for fall now even though the temps are still in the 80's and 90's. What are your favorite trends for fall?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cafe au Lait Mitts

I like to squeeze in a little knitting between sewing projects so that I can keep the fiber stash under control and not get buried underneath. This little project isn't making a huge dent in my stash but the pattern called for just the right amount of yarn (130 yards) for this skein of alpaca from Alpacas of Cedar Ridge. The pattern is very easy to follow and it will definitely be a quick knit. The free pattern for the Cafe au Lait Mitts can be found on Ravelry.

Cafe au Lait Mitts
Ravelry link
The stitch markers are from Ruth at She had a giveaway recently for these lovely stitch markers that she created and I was the lucky recipient! I immediately added them to my mitt project. Thank you Ruth!

What are your favorite one-skein knitting projects? 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sorbetto Top #4

Believe it or not, I do sometimes make something other than a Sorbetto top! It just so happens that it was on the July schedule for my American Sewing Guild group. I decided to actually make one like the pattern this time with only a few minor changes for better fit. The fabric is a polyester woven floral print from Hancock Fabrics. After using my 40% off coupon, I made this top for only $3.71!

Sorbetto top

I made self-fabric bindings, added to the length, and took about 1/2 inch off each back side seam. I didn't add side back darts to this top as I did for Sorbetto #1, Sorbetto #2, and Sorbetto #3. I was a little worried about getting this on easily over my head without the button front, but it is not a problem. I always fold and press my binding before adding it as an edge finish. I encase the raw edges with it and baste, working it around the curves in a manner than encourages it to lie flat.

Sorbetto top

I can't believe it took me so long to try out this free pattern from Collette. It's great alone or with a sweater/jacket. I never put this pattern away because I know I will be needing it again soon!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sorbetto Top #3

What do you do when it is over 100 degrees outside and there is a stack of fabric in the air conditioned sewing room? Make another Sorbetto! My third Sorbetto is made from a yard of fabric I bought at WalMart for $2. It caught my eye because it is a double cloth fabric. It has two warps and two fillings forming two separate fabrics. About every 1/4 inch a warp from the front and a weft from the back interlock and this holds the two fabric layers together. Individually, these two fabrics are very lightweight, almost like a cotton voile. When woven as a double cloth fabric, the result is a very soft, lightweight, comfortable cotton fabric. I decided to use the stripe for the outside of the Sorbetto and the more solid side for the contrasting front bands and bias bindings.

Sorbetto top

I made the same changes to this Sorbetto that I did for the Sorbetto #1 and Sorbetto #2. I used the extra tuck fabric in the front to fold to the right side for the button bands. This worked great for double cloth fabric, bringing the contrast to the front. I cut 1/2 inch off each side back and added vertical back darts.

Sorbetto top

Have you tried the Sorbetto yet? I must warn you that it is a little addicting!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fleece Neck Pillow from Sew4Home

Well, it has been a rough week. My serger is out for repairs. It's 23 years old so I'm not sure if it can even be repaired anymore. I bought it when my oldest daughter was 9 months old because I thought it would speed up my sewing. And it did!! So maybe it is just time to buy a new one. Any suggestions?

I went to my monthly ASG meeting today and we made these cute little neck pillows - no serger required! This is one of the many free projects from Sew4Home, one of my favorite websites for easy projects with clearly written instructions. The fleece is left over from a pajama pant project that I made for some of the U of L fans in my family. The ribbons on the ends came on a purchased blanket. I saved them because I save everything related to sewing that I can use again. What a fun project this is!

Sew4Home neck pillow

I'm off to find more projects that I can make without a serger.  Any ideas???

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sorbetto Top #2

I can't get this Sorbetto top off of my mind. I have worn my first one several times in the last week or so. It's a great top pattern to use when you only have about a yard of fabric. I've had this linen remnant for several years. I didn't store it properly and there was a little fading on the fold. No problem since I planned to cut open the front and make a button band instead of the front tuck.

Sorbetto top

I used the Venetian hemstitch on my Bernina to stitch along each side of the button band. I added 1/2 inch shell buttons from my stash. I love this look on linen! I didn't use a wing needle because I didn't want the holes large enough to see through.

I made the same adjustments to the back as I did to my first Sorbetto top. I cut off 1/2 inch from the back side seams and added vertical darts to make the back a more flattering fit.

Sorbetto top

I'm already digging through my stash to find another yard of fabric for another Sorbetto. I love this top!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sorbetto Top #1

I think I may be the only sewer/blogger who had not tried the free Sorbetto top pattern, one of PatternReview's Best Patterns of 2011. I was feeling a little left out so I finally pulled out the pattern, which I printed months ago, and got busy on it. To test the pattern, I used a one yard remnant of fabric which I bought for about $1. It is a poly/cotton boxer short fabric from an underwear company. The pattern is designed to be loose enough to slip on over your head but I didn't think I would want my top quite that loose, at least not with this fabric. Rather than cut the front on the fold and make the wide tuck down the front, I cut open the front and used the extra tuck fabric to fold to the right side. It makes a nice front band for buttonholes.

I wasn't all that excited when I first tried on the Sorbetto. I almost decided that it was not for me. However, after realizing how well the neckline and armholes fit, I decided to carry on. The lower back was really full so I cut off 1/2 inch from the back side seams (1 inch total from the back width).  I suppose this extra allowed for getting off and on but it wasn't very flattering on me. It would also work well for someone who tucks in their blouses but I'm way beyond tucking in a blouse anymore. I go for comfort.  I also added two vertical darts to the back  to reduce fullness. Maybe I have a bit of a sway back that I hadn't really noticed before. Anyway, after making these adjustments and adding length, I really like the pattern and will definitely use it again. For me, it is basically a woven tank top.

I used self-fabric bias binding on the neck and armholes. I also added a lightweight tricot interfacing to the front band area.
Sorbetto top

I'm already thinking about my next Sorbetto. The options are endless once you get the pattern adjusted to your figure type. I think it would look nice with a shaped hem or side vents, depending on the fabric. What are your favorite Sorbetto adaptations? Sleeves? Collar? Ruffles?

Sorbetto top
A little bit closer

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

I took a little road trip with a friend to the Third Annual Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival last weekend in Lexington, Ky. This was my second trip to the festival and it just keeps getting better! I really didn't need any more fiber to spin but that has never stopped me before from buying more. There were lots of booths with all kinds of fiber related products and activities - spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, etc. I was especially interested in the natural dyeing. There were yarns dyed with marigolds, walnuts, cochineal, queen anne's lace, onion skins, and lots more. I moved natural dyeing up pretty high on my to-do list.

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

There were more fiber producing animals there this year such as alpaca, llama, sheep, bunnies, goats. 

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

My friend bought this French angora bunny at the festival. She is 7 weeks old and loves to be held. She rode the entire 2 1/2 hour trip home in my lap. She will produce lots of fiber for spinning in addition to being a sweet, gentle pet.

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

I almost got away without buying fiber until I walked through the last vendor tent. This bluefaced leicester wool from was calling my name. I couldn't resist. I've already started spinning it into a fairly fine yarn which I will 2-ply and make into I don't know what but I'll figure that out later.

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

I just happened to be in the livestock pavilion when the sheep shearing demonstration started. As much as I love to spin wool, I didn't watch this demo very long. I know the wool has to come off but that poor sheep didn't enjoy it very much!

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

Great festival. Great vendors. Can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ruby's Bloomers

A few months ago, I checked out Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross from the library and traced a few patterns. One of my favorites is Ruby's Bloomers, a cute little bloomer pattern which comes in 6-12 months and 18-24 months. I cut the pattern down to about 3 months. I sewed up the bloomers and put them away. My mother recently asked  if I had an idea for a baby gift for her new neighbor. I pulled out the bloomers and the leftover fabric and had fun putting together a set of personalized baby items for the new baby.

Ruby's Bloomers

I picked up a few onesies at WalMart when they were on clearance for $2. I had purchased a soft, white bath towel a while ago to make burp cloths. The bib is from The Sewphisticated Stitcher. I always have baby embroidery blanks in my stash to make personalized baby gifts.

Ruby's Bloomers

The "B" applique and the flower patch for the bib are from Planet Applique, one of my favorite machine embroidery websites. May is Customer Appreciation month and Planet Applique is giving away a few great gifts.
Ruby's Bloomers

I'm taking the baby ensemble to my mother this weekend so that she can give it to Brooklyn, her new little neighbor.

By the way, I ran across Weekend Sewing at Tuesday Morning last week for $9.99! Now I don't have to go to the library when I need to trace more patterns!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vogue 8469

Now this was a very satisfying sewing project! My daughter told me on a Saturday that she needed a new dress to wear to a banquet at her college on the following Wednesday. She wanted a white dress to wear with a red jacket she bought at Forever 21. Her school colors are red and white. It's always a little difficult to find a pattern that works for her because she is very petite. Hancock Fabrics had several pretty summer white fabrics and Vogue patterns were on sale. I have always liked this pattern and luckily it came in a size 6 which I only had to take up slightly to make it fit.

Vogue 8469

The midriff section has an interesting curve to it, higher in the front and dipping down in the back. I was a little concerned that she wouldn't be able to wear the brown belt that she wanted to wear but it worked out okay. I made thread loops at the side seams to keep the belt in place.

Vogue 8469

The gathers are on the sides of the front and back sections. This turned out to be a very flattering detail. Leave it to Vogue to get all the little details right.

Vogue 8469

My daughter loves this pattern and I loved making it for her. I'm on the lookout for another great fabric. By the way, it only took about 2 1/4 yards of 45 inch fabric for her size 6 dress!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Simplicity 2599

Here we go again! I've lost count of how many times I've made this Simplicity pattern. My daughter loves it as a quick, versatile top that she can dress up with slacks or dress down with jeans. I finally got around to tweaking the fit a bit and used this Burda tutorial to move the dart up since she is very petite.

Simplicity 2599

I closed the short opening in the back with one of my favorite closures -  a button and thread loop.

buttonhole stitch loop Simplicity 2599

I have been sewing a lot for my daughter lately. It thrills me that she wants to wear clothes that I make for her so, when she asks, I jump right on it. I do, however, have a couple of projects lined up for me next. Who do you enjoy sewing for?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sew4Home Fabric Basket

This week, my American Sewing Guild group meets to make this cute little fabric basket from Sew4Home. I decided to make one ahead of time to familiarize myself with the project. There are two sizes included in the free instructions. This is the small size. It's a sturdy little basket for holding sewing supplies, knitting projects, patterns, etc.

Sew4Home Fabric Basket

Sew4Home has many creative, tasteful projects for the home. The instructions are very clear with lots of pictures. They are also free! These are just a few of my favorites.

Kitchen Towels with Rick-Rack

30 Minute Neck Pillows

Vintage Shoulder Dust Covers

Cheater Quilt

Did you check out Sew4Home? What are your favorite projects?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Look 6104

I finally found time to get back to a little sewing and blogging after catching up on spring chores. I bought this pretty eyelet fabric at Hancock Fabrics to make my very petite daughter a blouse.

New Look 6104

We both really liked New Look 6104 for this fabric, however, the smallest size is a size 10. She probably needs a size 6 and that would still have plenty of ease but since she doesn't wear blouses snug, we went with one size down. I should have tried two sizes down (size 6) since I still had to take up all the seams. I wanted to learn more about pattern grading so I did a little research and found these extremely helpful sources for grading up or down sizes.

Patternreview -  I used this method to grade my pattern down a size.

Megan Neilsen Design Diary - I didn't think this method was the best choice for this blouse but I think it could be extremely useful as a quick fix for a simple design.

I should have moved the dart up about 1/2 inch. After I finished this blouse, I found this method for moving darts, not pivoting but actually moving them. I have already tried it on another project and it works great!

Hopefully, I'm back in the sewing groove now. I had a few spring projects that I needed to get done quickly. One of them was to make a walking path through the "meadow" behind my house so that I can get a little exercise. I just don't think sitting at the sewing machine burns very many calories!

Walking path

What is on your to-do list for spring?