Monday, August 31, 2009

thrift store finds

Yesterday my mom, who is here visiting, and I went to a local Goodwill to see if we could find some super cool bargains. Though I didn't go up and down each aisle looking for fantastic fabrics, I did get three things to repurpose into other things.
One was a pair of size 6 pj pants, I cut them down and used a pattern to make them fit a size 3 or 4 year old. $1.25 is much better than the $9 or so price tag that they would have at full retail.

The second thing I bought was a child's tunic, a size or two too big. I took it up in the shoulder seam and tucked it in under the arm. When I got finished (at half past midnight) I realized that the opening was now too small for wee one's head. So I cut the back of the neckline and added a continuous lap. It looks cute with leggings.

There is also a sleeveless, embroidered, oxford-cloth maternity top that I am going to make into a dress, but it was too late last night to get started on it. :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

classes begin

Not only was it the first day of MMO for my youngest, but it was the first night of my co-teaching a Mother's Night Out Group Sewing Lesson. I can tell we are going to have a blast. These ladies are super bright, very quick witted, and really catch on quickly (redundant?). Two are moms who have three children each, two are first time moms with one young toddler each, and one is a young newlywed wanting to conceive soon (please say a little prayer). Just plain wonderful, wonderful women. I can already tell I am going to cry on the last night.

Tonight's class was all about getting used to the machine: what each part is and why it is there, how to thread the machine, how to make a bobbin, what the different basic stitches are, stitch length, stitch width, etc. They even learned how to gather!

We made prayer cards with an image of St. Anne (Mary's mother, who was a seamstress and is the patron saint of seamstresses) on one side and a prayer for protection on the other (don't want any fingers getting caught under a needle!).

Next week's class will meet at the fabric store. Erm... my favorite place, what about you? I will just have to keep repeating to myself, "not about me, not about me."

Monday, August 24, 2009

another awesome giveaway, y'all

I always love a good giveaway, and this one is quite nice. Enter here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

thoooo ethited

Got an email from Hancock's of Paducah that said my fabric order has been shipped. Sooo exciting.

"thankyou soooooo much, mommy!"

.....that is the sweet little thank you I got from #5 when I showed her the backpack I made for her. I wanted to make this one, but it turned into a nightmare and put me in a bad mood. Plus, it is only 12" at most and she needs a bigger one for the papers and art she will be bringing home from Mother's Morning Out. So, even though King suggested I go and buy one for her, I was determined to make her one. (Seven Deadly Sin check: Pride - yep, I struggle with that one)

Now I just need to put her little monogram on the flap and it will be all ready to go to "coo".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

completing the voyage

Finally got to JoAnn's Fabrics and got the frog closures for the Bon Voyage dress. I must say, they do look nice. The perfect thing. And so much easier than a buttonhole.

Friday, August 21, 2009

men's dress shirt refashioned #2

I have a stash of men's dress shirts that I bought at thrift stores for $1 or so each. I turned one into a dress recently and it was so much fun that I wanted to do another. But I wanted to try another style. I grabbed one of my new patterns, Children's Corner # 230, and started cutting.

Since the dress is designed to button up the back ("Miss Mary Mack" has been going through my head all day) I decided to use the shirt's existing plackets. The pattern is supposed to be fully lined, however I just made bias tape and used them on the armholes. I did for a moment consider having the dress be reversible, but then got over it. Another day perhaps.

The cool thing about today's dress is that I reused the collar. It bugged me that it was just sitting there in the pile of cutaways. It just barely fit (I cut a size 4) but I think it turned out nicely, don't you?

After trying it on my youngest daughter, I decided it needed a belt for now and *tah dah* it's now a shirtwaist dress. Only one problem: I think the other girls are getting jealous.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

reversible apron and a lot more

A friend of mine (I may have mentioned her before) used to sell Kelly's Kids children's clothing. She kept all the 12 x 12 applique samples all this time because she just couldn't bear to get rid of them. She asked me to make a quilt from them.
So I did.

But I also had several left over. Here's what I did with the remaining blocks.

Halloween Bag

Christmas Pillows

Reversible apron
One side is made with a Christmas panel and the other is recycled materials (blue jeans, gingham baby bubble outfit).

generous giveaway

the fabric whisperer

I loved these two fabrics together when I went on my dreamy field trip to Farmhouse Fabrics. I knew they needed to go together when I bought them, but was thinking along the lines of a dress.
Well, y'know how something just speaks to you? Here is what the fabric whispered to me when I got quiet enough to listen. (Don't call the paddywagon yet, I don't really carry on conversations with fabric.)

I love the little bow and the sweetest ever little tag in back of the pants.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

simply an honor

My very first tutorial is being featured on Ucreate. Thank you, Kari! And, it's official, I am now spinning in orbit.

been thinkin'....

Even though I am co-teaching a beginner sewing class with a friend of mine on Tue and Thu evenings starting next week, not to mention, of course, the billion-and-one kid activities I run a taxi service for, I still think it would be cool to have a night once-a-month where anyone who wanted to could bring their sewing machine to my dining room and just work on something.
Of course it would be easiest if we were all working on the same thing, say, for example, this fun felt food, or a ridiculously easy quilt pattern. Or we could even leave the machines at home and have "scrap night" where we all brought a bag of scraps and made yo-yos. (To which, I just found out recently that there is a thing known as a yo-yo maker and you can pump them out by the dozens. I guess that is what the plastic things are in the picture.) Or notecards even.
I truly think that creative people feed off of each other. For me it is so much better than any therapist's couch or mood-altering drug (not that I know, of course, just sayin'). When I get time to create things with my hands, I am happier and have tons more energy.

a hint

Here are a couple of hints as to what I am working on today (my wings are clipped until I decide about how to close up the Bon Voyage dress - buttons or frogs - and then get to the store.
  • elastic thread

  • two pieces

  • yellow and black

  • a ribbon for her hair? or maybe it will go on the blouse?

Monday, August 17, 2009

currently working on: bon voyage

Using Children's Corner pattern 242 ("Charlotte") I am making an A-line swing dress with a travel Europe theme. It is fully lined in a lightweight, black, polyester fabric. I think it would be adorable either paired with black/red/white, or with a cream/brown/red palate.
It is going to be a perfect weight for either fall or winter here in the south, where it doesn't get too awfully cold. Bobby socks and red Mary Janes would go well during the Indian summer and would still be cool enough; black tights, shiny black MJs and a turtleneck or blouse with a peter pan collar would be just what our little well-dressed traveler needed to keep the cold wind at bay during the winter months.
The thing I can't decide on is whether to put the 5 buttons on or to use frog closures. I am so seeing the frogs. I actually have antique jet buttons, which would be the sweetest thing ever, but alas, I can't decide. I am not the world's best buttonhole maker and I would just pass out if I screwed them up.
Wanna weigh in on the decision?

repurposing a golf shirt: my very first tutorial

I bought it at a thrift store. He wore it with pride, as he loves golf and is partial to the Masters Tournament. Once I realized it, I never had the heart to tell him that it is actually a ladies shirt, because it looks so gender neutral. I even went so far as to cut out the tag. But, as sons tend to do, #2 grew out of one of his favorite golf shirts.
Rather than donating it, I decided to give it a new life as a toddler shirt to, perhaps, wear with shorts or capri pants I make out of some of my spiffy new fabric. OR, perhaps all of those are spoken for and I need to go back to Hobby Lobby! (insert evil laugh here)
In any case, I have so enjoyed reading other crafty tutorials that decided to make my own (very first!!) tutorial: repurposing a golf shirt.
If you ever want to try it, here's how:

Step 1: Grab a polo-style golf shirt.

Step 2: I used Children's Corner pattern #242, size 2 as a guide to cut the neck and arm curves and then just cut diagonally down from the underarm to the hem. Sadly, I did not use the "back" pattern piece as a template for the back of the shirt. I simply used the front of the shirt. Ah, well. This is how we learn, right? In any case, whether you use the pattern I used, another pattern you already have, or "eyeball" it, step two is to cut a front and a back. It is easiest to keep the original hem of the shirt to save a few steps.

Step 3: Next, though I could have used my serger to serge all the edges, the baby was asleep in "our sewing room" and I was too excited about getting it done didn't want to wake my sweet angel, so I used a type of stretchy zigzag stitch to keep the edges from fraying. There are many ways to overcast the edges.

Step 4: Sew shoulder seams. I used a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 5: Topstitch on either side of shoulder seam.

Step 6: This beautiful pleated grosgrain ribbon came from Farmhouse Fabrics and is $2.50/yd. I used less than 24". I sewed the ribbon with the open part of the pleats facing downward on the right side of the shirt. Then I flipped the ribbon up and topstitched, which makes it stand up so nicely and keeps the hem edge in place.

Step 7: Close up side seams (1/4" seam allowance) and hem arm holes (again about 1/4 ")

Step 8: Tah Dah! The finished product actually would fit a 4 or 5 year old. But, this is good, because in a couple of years, # 5 will be adorable in it.

***Credit where credit is due: Feel free to use this for yourself or pass it along, but I respectfully ask that if you do, please link back here. Thanks. Also, I would love to see your finished product if you decide to repurpose your own polo.

a recent gluttonous fabric-buying weekend

sew, what now?

My husband suggested that since my other blog, the ramblings of a stay-at-home Catholic mother of five, was starting to become more of a sewing log as of late that I should have two separate blogs.. one for family life and one for my alternate life as a seamstress. So here it is.