Friday, November 30, 2012


ok so maybe that was more of a 70's thing, I don't really know.  Then again, maybe this is more of a 70's bodice with a 50's skirt... but that averages out to be 60 so either way I'ma call it good for this week's sew weekly challenge.

This dress has been 90 % done for months.  All it lacked was neckline elastic and (dramatic dum dum dum) a hem.  The original pattern (vintage from the thrift, I think it's dated 1969) had a dirndl skirt but I thought I'd rather test drive this circle skirt thing I've been hearing so much about.

It needs to hang before hemming for... oh, I think one month probably would've done it.  But I like to be thorough so I let it hang for three.  I should've gotten a picture of it before I hemmed it; it was craaaazy uneven.  I couldn't figure out how to hem it without a dummy or a buddy.  My mom agreed to be my buddy but she didn't even wanna touch it it was so uneven so in stepped my dad, the former seamstress assistant.

I think it turned out pretty even.  I actually really like the way it came out, but it looks totally cray-cray without a belt.  It might as well be a separate blouse and skirt.  The top is jersey from a thrifted tee shirt and the skirt is a super soft sheet with lovely drape with a pale yellow, white, and brown geometric print (it's very subtle though so it doesn't quite show up in these pics).

I think this dress deserves a coordinating belt.  I'm on it!  Although I'm kinda likin' the contrast of the green...  I'm surprised but I really like this silhouette and I think there may be more circle skirts in the future.

The Facts:

Pattern: Simplicity 9164

Fabric: tee shirt and sheet, total cost $3.50

Notions: 1/4 inch elastic

Time to Complete: three months

First Worn: To the store

Wear again: Yes!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

christmas robe

His new clothes modelling face?

Technically this is supposed to be a Christmas present, but I had to get a post up before the end of the month and I just wasn't feeling the empty robe pics.  On the bright side he seems to like it which rather surprised me.

Just give me the cookie!

Despite all the holiday madness which has overtaken my house I'm trying to keep up with the Sewing for Boys sew-along as well as Sew Weekly challenges (why I decided to join the Sew Weekly right before the holidays I can't remember but I am enjoying it so far).

mmm... cookie

This is installation 1 of coordinating Christmas PJs for the whole family (omg I'm so excited to make everyone wear their PJs on Christmas!)  Hopefully I can piece together enough fabric for some matching pants.

that's right, I'm a professional model

This pattern is divine!  Much better than the pattern I used for my robe with well written instructions.  Of course that's exactly what I've come to expect from Sewing for Boys.  If you're at all on the fence about buying this book just do it it's worth it!

I get paid in cookies
The fabric is some sort of flannel I got at the thrift.  It was wonderfully cheap (about 5 yards for $2.50) so I feel like I've already gotten my money's worth.  I'll be even happier if I can eek out those PJ pants though.  I already made a pair of PJ pants for hubby out of this fabric so I really didn't have enough to do the full lining nor did I have any flannel in the stash so I just cut the two front pieces to do a facing.

Umm.. yeah.  I'm really short on fabric at this point so I used that fleece for the bottom front lining pieces.

I machine sewed the side seams of the lining down by stitching in the ditch and they hand sewed it down around the sleeve and collar.  I love the clean finish of the hand stitching.  All in all this robe is a win and I'll make this pattern again whenever I have the occasion.

see my beautiful hand stitching?  that's right: you don't cuz it's invisible!

always reading mitts

pattern: suzie's reading mitts

yarn: alpaca upcycled from an unwanted sweater

a christmas present for my mom.  by request...  although she so casually asked for both fingerless mitts and a ruffly apron that i wonder if she'll even remember.  

this is the third time i've made this pattern and it never fails to please.  these gloves are so simple and elegant but quick to knit.  a perfect last minute gift (not that christmas is that imminent but it is officially looming!)  these gloves are officially wrapped and under our christmas tree!  it's a regular santa's lil sweatshop around here.  the boy and i have been making christmas ornaments and wreaths, decorating, making christmas cookies, breaking ornaments, and all sorts of other holiday stuff =)

i've been soo busy doing all this christmas prep stuff as well as making christmas presents that i've got quite a little backlog of projects to photograph and blog.  if only the sun were ever to grace our seattle november...  i love christmas, i live for it i really do.... but all i want to do right now is knit myself a sweater.  i imagine it will be cast on before christmas; i don't have many more christmassy items to knit =)

everybody else getting amped up for christmas?  or foiled in their blogging attempts by the wintry weather?

Monday, November 26, 2012

what's black & white

and not terribly interesting?  this week's meager offering to the sewing gods.  it's a pretty simple a line skirt in a 
very heavy synthetic floral print.  i got this fabric second hand.  it's so heavy i would assume it's upholstery fabric if it was a greater width.  it may be...
this skirt gave me an inordinate amount of trouble.  i had an a line skirt pattern cut out... somewhere.  and i have several skirt patterns still in factory folds.  why didn't i cut one out?  because i'm out of tracing paper and good little seamsters trace their patters.
so i tried to copy a rtw skirt in my closet.  everything was fine until the waistband... and then the zipper.  eventually some darts were made and one pocket sacrificed but it all came out ok.
i can't say i'm fully satisfied with this skirt but it seems wearable enough.  now to see if i actually wear it.  i used to wear skirts and dresses all the time but since baby #1 it's been tough learning to dress my new (oft changing) body.
the facts:'
pattern: self drafted nightmare
fabric: second hand mystery fiber
notions: one of the many zippers i picked up at the thrift recently.  99 cents for 11 - 12 zippers?  yes please.
time to complete: for the first time i actually tried to keep an eye on the clock and i was pleasantly surprised; i only spent about 2 hours sewing... so let's say 2.5 including cutting
total price: about $4 for fabric and 10 cents for a zip... let's round to $5
first worn: just for pics
wear again? hopefully
final thoughts: i feel like i got a pretty decent return on investment... but i think next time i'll just cut into that tissue paper and save myself a headache 

on a completely unrelated note: i wanna love these boots and i just can't do it.  i just can't seem to style them right.  no matter what i feel like a wicked pointy toed witch.

do you do the pointy toed heels? yes? no?

i think maybe tights would save this outfit, but i'm not convinced.  i think only time will tell... or my husband.  he's usually the one who stops me from leaving the house in questionable garments.  although to be honesty the longer he knows me the laxer his standards get.  (and they say you can't change a man, hah!)

but back to the question at hand:
what's black and white and black and white and black and white?

a nun rolling down a hill

i went to catholic school and that's my favorite joke. ever.  that's for you sister helen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

horse of a different color.

Another tee much like the first.  Except, as is usually the case...

different.  This one is purple with a black geometric print.  I couldn't get any half decent photos (when you see that hat it's cuz my hair is a hot mess) but I had fun playing with the special effects in Picasa.

This time the source fabric was a very large shirt donated by my mom.  As a matter of fact here's the before pic so you can see it in all its sloppy, oversized, turtlenecked glory.

crappy iphone before pic
It's better now, no?  The fabric is a poly cotton blend.  I both love and hate poly cotton blends.  It drapes beautifully and doesn't wrinkle, but I keep melting that shit with my iron!  Seriously.  Hopefully one day I'll be grown up enough for a nice iron.
I love the fit of this new tee shirt block (is that what you'd call it?) and I foresee lots of new tees for me.  Especially now that I know it's possible to make one from a larger tee shirt.  I did have some trouble cutting the sleeves (turns out the sleeves on the RTW shirt were quite different which led to some fancy cutting on my part) and I ended up cutting the original neckline ribbing in half horizontally and piecing the new neckline from the resulting pieces.  It was a bit messy but I think it came out ok.

myspace caliber self portrait
This is just about the only shot in which you can see the print (and my super messy living room floor).  I think the print is kinda (hella) 90s but hopefully the new shape gives it a modern feel (can anyone believe the 90s are no longer modern or current?!)

BTW if you'll forgive a little bit of shameless self promotion that scarf is for sale here in my Etsy shop.  C'mon, you know you want it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

look look look what i did!

that's right.  it's a quilt.  it didn't even fall apart in the wash

now i can say "oh yeah, i've made a quilt... no big deal"

but secretly i'll be like that's right bitches, i made a quilt.  ha ha!

it's unapolagetically imperfect but i love it anyway.  hopefully it will be loved in it's new home.  it's a gift for my best buddy from high school's new baby (due in december).

now i just see quilt potential in everything: fabric, scraps, my family's clothes...

somebody stop me!

Friday, November 16, 2012

wipdown # 4: cupcake rattle

attempt #2 (no joke)

for baby girl

inspired by this

not a renfrew

i spent my morning making this shirt, not doing my hair obviously

this isn't really meant to be a renfrew knock off (if that is indeed what it looks like).  i merely wished to make a copy of an old worn out tee shirt that i loved to death (quite literally!) and you know how the best laid plans work out... 

it's got some wrinkles since it's not skintight: here i am smoothing

i'm getting ahead of myself: this shirt was made for the sew weekly challenge (shirts).  i wanted to join the sew weekly because i didn't think i'd every end up making myself any clothes if i didn't have a push.  i've had the pattern drafted for 3 months now and i'm just now committing the 3 hours it takes to make (be gentle, i'm still learning).  i think that just about proves my point.

this was meant to be a sort of muslin, hopefully of the wearable sort.  i don't really think this sweet candy pink (cotton candy perhaps?) is a great color for me.  as colder weather approaches the availability and location of acceptable sunlight has gone from limited to nonexistent.  the shirt color is a little bit darker than in these pictures; more along the lines of this:

ugh, horrible bathroom artificial light shot
 i sewed all the major seams and then tried it on: the shirt was just the right length or maybe even a wee bit short...  meaning: if i hemmed it, it was gonna be too short.  uh oh.  so when i cut the neckband i cut a wide band for the bottom and thin bands for the arms.  if the seam allowances start migrating when washed i'll go ahead and topstitch them down, but for now i didn't bother

ice princess! wtf is with the weird blue light?
i'm not gonna lie, maybe it's the newness, the honeymoon period, but i seriously love this shirt.  this will be my favorite shirt until i make another one.  i don't know if i'll do the band again or just lengthen the pattern pieces to be the right length.   is it perfect?  nope.  it's asymmetrical, imperfect, and there are a couple of puckered spots but nothing that bothers me today!

the nitty gritty

fabric: a small portion of a sweet pink jersey sheet from the op shop. approixmately $2.50

notions: none

pattern: my new tee pattern (for my own reference: the brown pitaya shirt pattern)

first worn: all day today, chalk marks and all (if you can see them in the pics, consider them temporary please)

time to make: only 2 or 3 hours, which i'm pretty happy with.  i'm sure the next will be quicker

final thoughts: i wish i had a few days to just whip up more of these.  i'm really a jeans and tee kinda gal (or at least my lifestyle as stay at home mommy makes me one) so i never have enough cute flattering tees.  when christmas is over!

aww shucks, i'm pretty proud of this little thing

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do you ever get the feeling

That you're the worst thing to ever happen to sewing?

That's kind of the day I've had today.

This is not right.  But dammit I'm done quilting and it's good enough.  Now I just need to bind it.

This on the other hand...

Umm, yeah...  That's no bueno.  This thing is  pretty much going in the garbage, there's just naught to be done.  As a matter of fact. foot. I just can't even wrap my head around how awful it is.

Now I'm going to go knit until I feel better about myself.

Friday, November 9, 2012

wip-down #2 & 3 or if my mom was a kitchen

i'm pretty sure if my mom was a kitchen she'd be a down home country kitchen done in bright cheerful colors and lots of ruffles

hopefully she thinks so too.  wip-down item #2 is a christmas present for my mom; by request extra ruffly.

everything is from the stash, including the age old spool of orange thread so, you know, go me.  the pattern is from here (tutorial actually) but i made it a bit bigger and added the ruffle at the neck.

this is actually my first sew weekly challenge, so i suppose i'll be posting about it over there, too.  the theme this week is aprons conveniently enough.  i'm wondering if i should post this one or all three aprons i've made in the past week!

dad: if you're reading this please stop now

item # 3 are these big fish.  this is the second time i've done these in a larger size and i will write up how i did it as soon as i have a spare moment.   these are also a christmas present, this time for my dad.

note they don't fit me because, well, they're big

up next?  you'll never guess in a million years

overall i've finished 4 of the 15 items (i found another wip so the total count went up to 15 and i finished one more item tonight too late to take photos).  i also went and bought batting and got my quilt sandwich pin basted so i should finish that in the next couple of days.  my embarrassing admission is that to celebrate i cast on a pair of fingerless mitts.  in my defense, though, they're a christmas present for my mom and i'm trying to just focus on finishing everything i wanna make for christmas.  besides, they should be super quick

i hope y'all are doing well with your christmas crafting.  slow and steady!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

wip-down #1: the boy's mitts

well there's no use denying it: winter is upon us.  the days are short, wet, and cold.  of course that doesn't stop us from going out to play, which means we need lots of warm woolies to protect us. 

i'm rather fond of summer, but i love pulling out all the knit goods when the weather turns cool.

of course new wooly stuff is half the fun right?

that being said, the first thing i can cross off my inordinately long list of wips is (drumroll please)

a pretty unimpressive pair of fingerless mitts for the boy.  they're made of lamb's pride superwash.  they're quite tight and long.

 i think i'll whip up another pair and see if he keeps them on for more than 2 minutes

removes gloves faster than a camera shutter!

i am quite pleased that his sweater is going to see another year of wear.  especially considering how long it took me to spin the yarn!

one wip down, 13 to go!

wip wednesday

of (let's get real here) apocalyptic proportions.

i made a list.  not a list of things to make, but one of things that i am currently making.  there were 14 items on the list, and those are just the ones i could remember.  6 of the items on the list are blankets of various sizes, intentions, and crafts.

holy frijoles.  it's too much.  i can't even take it.  i have to finish some of this stuff so i can move on with my life and get to my (overoptimistic) list of christmas pressies.

aaaand here's a collage of messed up pics (hope my camera isn't broken) of just the most pressing wips

my goal is to cross at least 3 things off of the list by next wednesday... hopefully more.

this weeks goals:
the boy's mitts
chevron mitts (#2)
big fish
grammy's apron?

i'll be psyched if i finish all that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

and then?

I just finished sewing and pressing my first ever quilt top.
This is one of those moments where I thought I knew what comes next but I'm actually not sure what to do.  Go buy batting I guess?  

Oh, and apparently my camera is effed WTF?!  Please ignore those lines.

But look: quilt pretty!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Squee! Twee: apron for me

Way back when I first started blogging Karen hosted her pyjama (how cute is that, sometimes she makes me wish I was British) sew-a-long.  For reasons I no longer remember (I think I found out about it two days before it ended; that seems like a pretty legit reason) I didn't partake.  I just remember being sooo jealous as everyone's cute PJs appeared across the blogosphere.

Well, now I follow her (in the most non-creepy stalker way possible, I swear) and this time I jumped on the bandwagon for her apron-a-long.  Do I need a new apron?  Well, let's just say the only apron I own is from when I worked at IHOP as a freshman in college (oh you wanted that back did you?  I thought it was like a souvenir...) and while it's a great conversation starter (excuse me, waitress!) I decided something more, well, pink was in order.  Or as Karen might say: twee!

My apron inspiration is from I Love Lucy and the Dick van Dyke Show.  Now I just need an A-line dress to wear while I make dinner.

The lace atop the pocket is vintage (if you can call something 20 years old vintage).  It was a short piece I stole from my Nanny's ribbon drawer when I was little.  She was my model knitter/sewer/do it all lady and she was always good about enabling my crafty inclinations.  The piece is so short I can't imagine it being used for much, but it was more than enough for this big pocket.  I wanted something functional (it is an apron after all) but the lace and the pink floral/gingham make it rather twee (there's that word again!  I hope I'm using it right) at the same time.

I lurve me a great big pocket.  I don't know why I keep sticking my hand in it for pictures; I never do in real life.  It's more than big enough for my Iphone, a few bobby pins, safety pins, toy cars (everywhere, they're everywhere I tell you!) and even a soda (which I would never put in with my Iphone, in case you're reading this, Dad).

This picture was not staged I assure you, the olives could not wait

It was so simple to make: I just cut a 1/4 circle, a thick waistband, a big pocket, and some bias strips.  I turned under the edges on the circle twice, folded the waistband in half and sewed it on, sewed on the pocket and hemmed with the bias tape.  Admittedly there was quite a bit of ironing and a little bit of fusible interfacing thrown in there but that's basically the jist of it.

Bias tape on the hem

And should you think that this apron won't ever see any action here's a picture of me making dinner. 

Making dinner in my new apron

We had pizza and it was awesome.

And here I am trying to show you how twirly it is. 

Believe it or not that's the best I could get out of several tries.  Just trust me.  It's twirly.

And that's not the only apron I've made.  Here's a sneak peek of apron #2: a Christmas present for my son who loves to help Mommy in the kitchen.

I promised to make my mom one as well, so there'll be more aprons to come.