Friday, April 30, 2010

Sew Divalicious!

McCall's MP336
As you can see, I've been working on the dress at right. I picked up the McCall's pattern and fabric last weekend at Walmart. Yes, Walmart! The fabric is brill. The pattern directions were fairly simple...I didn't have really any trouble...can you believe it? The gathers were a bit tricky and time consuming, but not too hard to handle. The only difference I made to the pattern is that I added another strip to the bottom in order to make the dress longer. I did not gather this part. What do you think? Oh, the model is my five year old daughter...she's a diva.

Today, of course, was Flea Market Friday. That in mind, I scored big time! I got a hodge podge of fabrics, including at least 2 yards of white eyelet and two "grab bags" of trims and lace! I also found a bag within one of the grab bags full of "old school" pearl-like snaps and snap setter. This has to be really old. I have no idea how to use this, but I do know it involves a hammer. What could go wrong?
Old School Snaps and Setter
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sergers...what the heck are they?

I've been thinking a lot about sergers today. A friend has "inherited" one and doesn't know what to do with it. She said she'll probably try to sell it, but admittedly has no idea how much it is worth or how much, generally, sergers cost. I certainly have limited - very limited - knowledge of sergers, I am not much help to her. However, I have an idea that they probably range in price from as low as $150.00 to as much as $1,000.00. I am almost certain that my friend's "new" serger is probably worth somewhere in between these prices. Why? Why are sergers so expensive? Are they worth it? To me they look very complex. I almost had to obtain a pHd to thread my basic sewing on earth do you thread a serger? Still, when you see an example of the seam they can finish, it is tempting to try one isn't it? I wonder if my friend would let me borrow her machine....maybe do some experimenting? I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sew In Love

I'm sew in love...with my Abbey Bag!  My grand prize package arrived today from Cyndi at Bluebirdswing and I love it all!  Cyndi sent the bag, a fantastic wallet, a key strap, a matching journal, and a little notebook!  I cannot even begin to describe how great this stuff is; I wish you could see this in person!  The fabric is awesome!  Cyndi's work is supurb!

You have to check out Cyndi's blog and the next time she has a giveaway, which, I think will be in May, you have to enter! 

Thanks again Cyndi!  Please tell me where you got this fabric!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sew, No More Halters!

Okay, I've decided I'm done with halters!  I've finished the Craftstylish "Super Easy" Triangle halter and, while it was pretty easy, I ended up altering the back so much that it is no longer a triangle!  I put elastic around the back after cutting a big chunk out of it.  Anyway, it turned out pretty cute, and I love the cheap fabric I used ($3.00 yd), but it's definitely not for me.  Even though I believe I am a pretty hip and happening hot mama even at 40 (grrr), and I did contemplate cougarness during my birthday last week, I am not leaving my house without a bra!  No, not even to make the Walmart run wearing house shoes and curlers...(kidding).  So, no more halters.  Well, at least the kind that you can't wear a bra with!  If you are brave, and under 40, go ahead and make this top, but I'd suggest cutting the excess fabric off and inserting elastic in the back.  

Am I wise now and accept the fashion rules for women my age or am I just chicken? 

I'm not sure I want an answer to that.  Night night.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sewing Box Find

I found this, we'll call it 'vintage,' sewing box during my Flea Market Friday! I'm not sure what sort of wood it is made from, but considering it was only $5.00, I'm sure it isn't mahogany. But, I think it is cool and it is a great addition to my sewing/studio/lair!

This evening I started working on the "super easy triangle halter." I'm sure I measured properly the 36" square from which I cut the triangle, but the bottom of the shirt seems super large. The directions state that in order to secure the bottom around you while you are wearing the halter, you tie the two ends together at your back. At this stage, I've tried to tie the two bottom ends of my triangle together and it seems too big and bulky. I'll see what I can sort out with this tomorrow. For now, I'm off to bed. I've been going on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep in that last two days..this is definitely catching up with me. Hmmm, maybe this might have something to do with my triangle measurements???

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sew...Another Halter?

Craftstylish Triangle Halter
Thanks to everyone for sending me birthday wishes!  I had a pretty great weekend with my shopping finds on Friday, a great meal out that night, a terrific play Saturday night, and then a surprise birthday party Sunday evening!  Yes, my hubby threw me a surprise party complete with candles, cake, and friends!  Of course there were also plenty of gag gifts including a cane accessorized with a horn, hair dye, and Geritol tablets!  Luckily,  there wasn't a "Lordy, Lordy Look Who's 40" sign anywhere in sight!  I probably would have drawn the line with that.  Anyway, I've accepted that I'm the one who is 40.  It's better than the alternative right?  Think about it.

Sew, what's next?  I've actually started making some graduation presents, but I realized that I can't blog about them since the graduates may be looking.  While I work on those projects in secret, I decided to try making another halter top.  Instead of another one of the Butterick patterns, I am going to try a pattern I found online at Craftstylish. Check out the Super Easy Triangle Halter. "Super easy" hmm?    All I need is 1 yard of fabric, which is cut into a triangle, 1/4 yard of knit fabric for binding, and 1 1/2 yards of ribbon.  The directions seem easy enough.  Of course they all seem easy at first right?  Sew, we'll see.  I'll keep you posted!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sew Excited!

I'm sew excited!  I won the grand prize from Bluebird Swing!  Cyndi emailed me this morning and told me I was the lucky winner of her Abby Bag!  She gave me the option to take the bag as shown or choose different fabric for a custom bag!  I opted for the great fabric shown in the picture 'cause it is sew pretty!Cyndi designs and makes great looking bags and her blog is beautiful.  Check it out and see!

This prize tops off a great weekend already.  Last night we got "gussied" up and went out for fantastic meal with an awesome view of the big city.  Today I went shopping and scored two great McCall's patterns for $1.99 price match at Walmart.  And tonight....a high school play!  Pretty great birthday weekend huh?  Oh yeah, this superhero turns 40 (eek) tomorrow!

Until next time,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flea Market Fridays!

 Spring is in the air (and 3,000 pollen count)!  This means a plethora of flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales every weekend in and around the big city!  With this in mind, and the fact that I have Fridays off from my "real" job, I have decided to check out one or two of these shopping destinations each Friday to see what great stuff I can find to use in my sewing lair.  If you think about it, you can potentially find super cheap purses that you can deconstruct and then use the hardware.  Another great find are linens.  Lots of people donate old curtains, sheets, pillow cases, etc.  Why not use them for a "new" purse, pillow cover, or jammie pants?  Come to think of it, why not use some funky fabric from vintage tea towels, curtains or even shirts for quilt patches?  Check out three pieces I found today.  I bought a skirt, a LINEN dress, and a skort for less that $10.00!  Cool huh?  What should I make?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lost in Translation (& Cyberspace!)

Back story:
I nearly experienced a Level 12 Meltdown last night as Blogger completely deleted my Pattern Translation Post just as I was about to publish it to my Blog!  I have no idea what happened, but I soon discovered that even though this has happened to a lot of bloggers' posts, I could find no one with an answer about how to "fix it."  Anyway, I've written it again.  Read this translation and if you try this project, please let me know.  I'd also love to see some pics!
I've completed the Butterick 4685 Fast & Easy (she said facetiously) top. I posted some photos on a separate page of the blue top. If you've followed me on my journey to completion, you'll know that, out of necessity, I made some changes to my top. In order to try to write a better review, or translation, I felt I needed to do the project again, following the pattern more closely. So, I made another shirt. I feel like I had a pretty good handle on the instructions, especially since I had already completed the blue top. Side note: I am secretly sick of this top and everything about the pattern. But, I promised a translation, sew here goes:

Pattern: Butterick Fast and Easy B4685 (view B)
Size: 14 (c'mon I have broad shoulders)
Materials I used: 1 7/8 yds. pink cotton, 1 1/4 yds 1/4" elastic, *61 1/2 inches 1 1/2" single edge scalloped lace trim*
Changes I made: For the ruffled sleeve bands, I made two self faced ruffles from two 28 1/2" X 4 1/2" pieces of the shirt fabric.  I also shortened the lengths of the sleeves
Recommend for beginner?  Yes, it is a good starter shirt, but make sure you have enough materials!
NOTE:  The pattern notes to buy 1 3/8 yds of the lace trim.  THIS WILL NOT BE ENOUGH.  The neckline (includes the tops of the sleeves/shoulders) on both my tops was about 60 inches around.  Obviously this is before the elastic is inserted.  For the second shirt, I bought 3 yds of lace in case I decided to use this on the ends of the sleeves instead of the fabric ruffles.

Step 1:  Cut out pattern pieces from the tissue paper pattern.  I used pieces 1, 2, 3.  I didn't use 4 because I made the self faced ruffles.  More on that later.
Step 2:  Lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric  (make it easier and use 45" wide fabric).  Sometimes this is confusing, but remember, the straight of grain (indicated by the arrow) should be parallel to the selvages and or fold.  Transfer the markings (the big circles) from the pattern to the fabric.   
Step 3:  Cut out the fabric pieces.  Oh, and NEVER cut the fold. You will be placing #1 and #2 on the fold.
Step 4:  Stitch the front (1) to the back (2).  Start stitching (right sides together) just below the armholes.  Stop stitching when you get to the large circles at the bottom. 
Step 5:  Stitch sleeve seams.  Fold in half (lengthwise) each sleeve right sides together.  Stitch the seam below the "armpit."  Leave the upper part open as this will be sewn to the body piece.
Step 6:  Make the ruffle.  I determined that since each sleeve was 14" around the bottom, I would need 2 28" lengths of fabric.  I actually made them 28 1/2" to be safe.  In order for the ruffles to be 2" wide.  I cut each 4 1/2".  The self faced ruffles are nicer (even though you use more fabric) because they are finished on both edges and "underneath."  They just make the shirt much "cleaner" on the inside. 
Step 7:  On the inside, or wrong side, of the shirt, attach each ruffle to each sleeve end by basting around.  I then stitched bias tape around the inside to cover the seams.  See photo:

single fold bias tape stitched inside sleeve band
Step 8:  On the right side of the shirt, pin the lace to the upper edge.  Make sure the straight edge of the lace is even with the upper edge of the shirt.  Turn under the end of the lace in order to sew it to the other end of the lace.  Stitch along this vertical seam.  Baste around close to the upper edge. 
Step 9:  Instead of now turning the upper edge to the inside in order to make the casing for the elastic, I stitched the bias tape along the top edge and lower edge (on the wrong side of the shirt).  I made sure to leave an opening in the end for the elastic.  NOTE:  This is similar to how I finished the sleeves, but on the neck, I didn't fold the bias tape.  I kept it "open" and used the "channel" down the middle to encase the elastic.
Step 10:  Insert one end of the elastic after attaching a safety pin to it.  Scrunch it around and pin the elastic to the other end.  Try on the shirt and make sure the lace lays how you like it.  Adjust if necessary.  Remove the pin and stitch together.
Step 11:  Hem the bottom of the shirt.  The pattern advises to use a Narrow Hem.   Basically I did a double fold hem.

That's it.  Why not give this a try?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Almost Finished!

Wow...super busy day today!  I didn't get much time to work on my Butterick top, but did sneak away long enough to finish the neck.  Sorry about the picture quality, but hey, it's almost 11:30 pm.  I'm hoping to finish the bottom hem and clean up some of the seams tomorrow.  Oh, and write my "review."  Until then, goodnight.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ye of Little Faith...

I want to give a big shout out to Deb, my sewing guru. I took my top into her today and she confirmed that I HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG! That's right...even lacking the math gene, I did not mess up the measurements for the top or the lace! Deb said that 1 3/8 yards of lace trim is definitely not enough to go around the top of the top. In other words, Butterick messed up when writing the pattern! I feel vindicated. Now, I just need to finish the top. I had made a long ruffle out of the top fabric and sewed that around the top. This ruffle matches the ruffle I made to go around the bottoms of both sleeves. I need to clean up my edges and then finish the top by adding the elastic. Deb shared a cool trick for making the casing for the elastic at the same time making a clean edge...use bias tape! This is such a great idea. I can't wait to finish this top!
I do feel obligated to complete the top as indicated in the pattern, however. I mean if I am going to write a "review" for the pattern, I better actually make the top shown. With this in mind, I purchased more fabric today as well as more (a lot more) lace trim. Once I complete the original top, I will try the pattern again with this new fabric. Sew, stay tuned.
Check out the purse I completed last night. I changed up the Simplicity pattern a little for my bag. The pattern "called for" prequilted fabric, however I used some great home dec fabric. I also made the handles longer. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Measure Twice, Cut Once..or twice or more...

Have I mentioned that in capacity of superhero, I haven't exactly had to use math frequently to fight the bad guys and stand up for justice? Okay, I am mentioning this now because I am pretty sure I probably messed up on my Butterick top due to my lack of the math gene.  I haven't totally figured out where I went wrong (besides cutting the front half in half), but I came up short when I pinned the lace around the top edge.  The pattern advised I would need 1 3/8 yards of single edged lace trim.  I relied on the cutting lady at Joann's to supply me this amount.  I trust that she measured correctly.  I just cannot sort out where I went wrong to have this trim not fit all the way around the top.  If anyone has any ideas of what happened, please let me know.  I am going to try to contact someone at there a helpline there or "phone a friend?"  If I cannot reach anyone telephonically, I will have to take my pattern pieces, etc. to Joann's and request help from my sewing instructor.  Embarrassing!
If this debacle didn't quash my dream of quitting my day job for a new sewing career, my next project only added to my frustration.  Although I completed the iTouch case using the tutorial from  A Dog Named Banjo, it turned out too small for my iTouch.  I'm not sure why as I used the measurements indicated in the tutorial.  The upside is that my old iPod fits in my new case!  Have a look at the pictures.
New Case

iTouch Case iPod
Maybe I should re-read Sewing for Dummies??  Well, at least I can check this off my to-do list right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cutting on the Fold

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter!  I enjoyed a three day weekend with family and friends from out of town.  I also began working on the Butterick top.  I picked up my supplies Friday and on Saturday began cutting out my pattern pieces.  Herein the problems started.  First, I bought fabric 60" inches wide.  I didn't realize this might be an issue until I tried to follow the layout diagram in order to cut my fabric pieces.  I really don't think the width of the fabric had to do with what happened next, but I'd rather lay the blame there than on sewer error.  The truth is...well, when it says in the directions to "NEVER cut on this line" they mean it.  The specifics on what happened and how I fixed (she said loosely) it will all be revealed when I post the actual pattern review, which, by the way, will most likely be more of a pattern translation than a proper review.  I am hoping to complete this project tomorrow evening.  When and if this actually happens, I will post a picture.  In the meantime, I have added a "to-do" list on my blog.  Have a look at my list and if you have any suggestions for ideas, patterns, specific fabrics, etc, please give me a shout! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

iTouch Cover added to the "To Do List"

First, let me again say thanks to all who followed the links from Totally Tutorials and Craft Gossip to Sew Loquacious to check out my adjustable fabric slide tutorial!  Also, thanks for the emails and great feedback!  It really means a lot to me to get everyone's input!  I am so (SEW) excited to do another tutorial!
Speaking of tutes, I found a one for making an iTouch (or iPhone) cover at Dog Named Banjo that I am going to try.  Last weekend, after filling my 2 GB iPod to capacity, I got a brand new 32 GB iPod Touch.  It is so has WiFi!  I guess I figured now that I have joined the 21st Century (according to my daughter), I decided I needed this cool gadget.  I love it.  I don't love the case I bought for it, however.  Hence, I began searching for patterns in order to make my own.  I really like the fabric Robyn used for her iTouch, too.  Check out her web page for the tutorial at:
Here is a photo from her site:

My to do list now includes getting the rest of my supplies I need to start on the Butterick top, starting on this top, and making this cover for my iTouch.  BTW, I cut out the pattern pieces for the top earlier this evening and began reading the pattern.  At first glance, it appears "doable" and fairly tres facile, but we'll see...
Until next, let's be careful with those sewing machines!