Category Archives: Sewing

Frolicking Skirt

This is another of my Phoenix fabric finds. I immediately fell in love with this fabric. The colours are wonderful and the dancing-girls along the bottom make me smile. I knew immediately which skirt I wanted to make with the fabric. I love when fabric and pattern inspiration hit simultaneously.

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Sew What Club had just begun and one of the bonus patterns was the taking notes skirt. I had been in love with the skirt for some time and was excited to finally make the skirt. The skirt was fairly simple to make. I only used the pattern pieces for the waistband. The skirt itself is a rectangle, so I just used my own dimensions.

I had added a little extra length to the waistband because according to the pattern directions, I needed a little more length. In the end, I ended up not needing the extra length. Rather than pull out all of the seams, I folded the excess into extra pleats under the zipper. The skirt has a cute little kick pleat of sorts.

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I will admit I’m not completely happy with the skirt. The waistband fits funny. No matter where I adjusted the skirt to rest, the waistband would just stand around my torso leaving a gap between me and the skirt.  Though I think that has to do more with my measurements than the pattern. I don’t think this skirt works well with those that don’t have flat stomachs (I guess that’s my motivation to work on my abs a bit). Since I couldn’t get the fit just right, I didn’t go back to add the ties. I compromised on the fit by folding down the waistband to expose my awesome lime green lining.

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I have plenty of this fabric left. I will probably attempt another skirt in the near future. As soon as I decide which one.

The top modeled is a button down top that I altered to be sleeveless. I removed the collar. I also added tuxedo pleats down the front.

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Flower Power Maxi

While I haven’t had the opportunity to hit the fabric districts of LA or New York, I’ve discovered a couple of shops in Phoenix that fit the bill. Sadly, I don’t live in Phoenix, so I tend to go a little crazy when I get the opportunity to visit.

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I dug this marvelous fabric from one of the many piles of fabrics on my last visit. It’s a crinkly gauzey fabric. It is very lightweight. And quite soft.

It also reminds me of a sheet my mom had while I was growing up. It was ginormous! We used it for making tents in our bedrooms. I swear, our tent creations would put any Harry Potter tent to shame.

It took some time to find the perfect pattern for the fabric. I choose the fabric with some idea in mind and then change my plan about 800 times before making the final decision. For this particular fabric, I used Simplicity pattern 1800. It is one of their Amazing Fit patterns. This means, there are alternate pattern pieces to use based on your measurements. In theory, you shouldn’t have to make a bust adjustment, they already have. Since I conveniently fall into the average category, I don’t know how well that theory works.

My one alteration to the pattern was to change the straps from a halter that tied behind the neck to straps that crossed in the back.

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I think the best part of the dress are the pockets. I firmly believe all dresses should have pockets.

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Despite the dark colours of the fabric, it is quite thin and nearly see through. I decided to add a lining skirt for a bit of modesty. My initial plan was a navy lining, but could not find a suitable navy fabric. I went with white instead. Which I think turned out for the better since a navy lining would have shown through the white flowers.

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I have already had the opportunity to wear this dress a few times. Despite its length, the dress is cool to wear in the oppressive summer heat of Florida. Yet, it also manages to keep me warm in the arctic of movie theaters.

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T.S.N.E.M – Paper Piecing

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No lie, when I first hear about paper piecing or English Paper piecing, I thought it was putting paper together to make a picture, like a puzzle. Which sounds neat in itself (and I may still try that out as an idea), but when I learned that it was actually a quilting method, I was intrigued and put off a little.

This month’s challenge was a heavy craft. However, I wasn’t really inspired by anything I found. And, I didn’t really have the proper supplies on hand and I’m still sticking with my resolution to use supplies I already have on hand. I opted to try out a project I’ve been researching for a couple of summers now: paper piecing.

Paper piecing is a method of quilting where small or complex pieces of paper are used to form a quilt block. You take a printed copy of the design you are making and working in numerical order, sew each piece together. This post is in no way going to be a tutorial, I have much more to learn about the process.

Most people print out the pattern with a printer, however, we don’t have a home printer. I used my Silhouette to draw out the pattern for me!

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The best part of paper piecing is that you use up all those fabric scraps saved from previous projects. I’m sure I used more fabric that necessary when sewing my block together. As I learn, I’m sure I’ll become a better judge of what sized fabric pieces to use.

I chose the easiest pattern (that was still cute) to make for this project. I found a spool of thread. This block also happened to be all one square rather than done in sections (I’ll try one of those next). I’m also quite proud that I only had to rip out one seam!

Once you finish sewing all the pieces together, they will be sewn to your pattern paper. This means you get to start the best part, pulling the paper off. It was very satisfying to pull all those pieces off.

While I enjoyed that paper piecing, I think I need some practice on the actual quilting of the block. I certainly need to work on the binding. Overall, I am pleased with the project and can’t wait to try out more paper pieced blocks.

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To check out other projects submitted for this month, check here: TSNEM June

To join in for July, check out the suggested project here: TSNEM Projects

 

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A Study of Elephants and Dots

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I’ve avoided MINKY fabric thinking it was similar to fleece (which I can’t stand). However, this summer I was at a fabric warehouse and came across some grey elephant fabric that I knew would be perfect for a particular couple’s new baby.

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While they are having a girl, she wasn’t keen on going all pink. When I found the coordinating grey and yellow dots, I knew I had to try using MINKY fabric.

I have discovered that while fleece and MINKY fabric are similar in appearance, their textures are quite different. MINKY stays soft and silky after washing. There is also a lack of static electricity. Yay! It also didn’t dry out my hands while working with the fabric.

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After a quick bit of research, I decided to use a tutorial from Make It & Love It for a self-binding MINKY blanket. Ashley does a marvelous job of explaining each step with very helpful photos. Now that I have made one, I want to make many more.

The blanket came together quickly. Other than me cutting the fabric pieces the opposite of my original intention (I wanted the dots to be the back so I wouldn’t have upside down elephants), it was a quick project.

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After realising I cut the dot fabric to the small size, I cut the elephant fabric a little larger to prevent the elephants from folding around the top and bottom edges. This strategy would have worked had I also cut the dot fabric a bit larger as well.

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Other than a wonky corner, I’m quite pleased with how this blanket turned out. I may need more MINKY fabric.

I’ve completed another stash project (though this fabric was bought for this particular project). I get to go shopping! Or just stay on my roll of using up currently owned supplies it is still only February.

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Look Out! Elephants!

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I swore after making this diaper bag pattern the first time, I was never going to make it again. It took me days to complete. That was 6 diaper bags ago. I’m comfortable enough making them, that I’m considering offering them for sale.

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I’ve liked each bag I’ve created, but I’m quite proud of this bag. This is the first one I’ve made where I have needed deliberate pattern placement. I wanted to make certain that the elephants were centered on the front and back of the bag. Oh, and the bottom too!

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I modified the pattern a bit. While cutting out the pieces, I forgot that the side panels fold to create the ends of the bags. To keep the design centered, I shifted everything a few inches. Rather than having corner seams, there are now seams down the center of the ends. This small change didn’t seem to effect the rest of the bag construction.

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I am quite proud of how well I matched the design of the pocket with the main bag piece. If it weren’t for the gathers from the elastic, it may not even be noticeable.

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My favourite detail on this bag is the strap. I love how it ties rather than being a continuous strap.

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I used the Pretty Bird Quick Trip Diaper Bag pattern from Sew4Home. I now love this pattern. I found the elephant fabric at fabric.com. The lining fabric was found on the quilting cotton wall at Joann’s Fabric.

Who wants a diaper bag?

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Pattern Club

My crafting is still on hold while I’m out enjoying my family in Arizona, so I thought I would take a moment to share a new pattern club I just joined. It is brand new, as in the first pattern will be sent out Wednesday. I can’t wait! I think I already have my fabric chosen for the pattern. I’m waiting on more details before committing to the decision.

The Sew What Club is being formed by Kelly Crawford from Sewing in No Man’s Land. If you haven’t heard of her or her blog, you should check it out. She has a beautiful family, makes them marvelous clothing, and lives all over the world. I’m a little envious.

July’s Pattern, I can’t wait!

The club has two options, women’s patterns or children’s patterns. I joined the women’s pattern club. On the 15th of every month, I’ll have a new pattern to use. The children’s membership includes 2 monthly patterns.  The line-up of designers are ladies I already own patterns from or have their patterns on my wish-list. You have the option to sign-up for an entire year, or monthly. Upon signing up, you are given a bonus pattern.

Bonus Pattern; Taking Notes Skirt

The only drawback is that these are digital patterns, so I’m going to have to spend a few hours cutting and taping the pieces together.

Photos are borrowed from Kelly Crawford. Also, I’m not being paid to promote the Sew What Club, I’m just really excited and wanted to share it.

 

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Pink Ava Dress

At some point last year, I stumbled across a project called Perfect Pattern Parcel. They were offering a themed groups of patterns from independent designers. There were 5 patterns in the bundle. The awesome premise was that you could name your own price for the parcel. There was also a bonus 6th pattern of you paid over a certain amount. The proceeds were then donated to various projects on Donors Choose (which I appreciated being a teacher). There were a handful of parcels offered throughout the year, but I only snagged one. The theme I bought was women’s clothing.

The first dress I’m sharing is the Ava by Victory Patterns. I did make this dress almost immediately after purchasing the pattern last summer and have had opportunity to wear this dress many times. For the most part with success. There was one morning I managed to put the dress on backwards and had a very uncomfortable day thinking something was wrong with the dress. Please pay attention when getting dressed in the morning so this doesn’t happen to you!

Since taking these photos, I have added a belt to help break up the continuous pink of the dress. When I make this dress again, I’m going to lengthen the bodice. It hits just a little to high for my comfort. I think I’ll also change out the skirt to a dirndl skirt rather than the almost circle skirt of the pattern. Though I may have to just make a top for the next go.

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Summer Sewing Flashback

I really wanted to title this “Summer Dress Covered in Tits,” but I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the traffic that would come with such wording. The fabric I used to make this dress is covered in bicycle wheels (or wagon wheels) and little birds that my husband deemed tits (Google search). He likes nature things like birds, bugs, and spiders, so I’m going to trust him on this. I just like the colours in the fabric.

For this fabric, I turned to my trusted Simplicity 2587. Have I mentioned that I like this pattern? It’s a simple, unlined top or dress with bias trim to finish the edges. The previous times I used this pattern, I made the sleeveless. I love these, but they don’t provide enough coverage to wear to work.

 

Since I live in Florida, there was no way I wanted to make a long-sleeved dress. I decided to make the sleeved version without the sleeves. I would just use bias strips to finish the edges of the arm holes.

 

The pattern comes with pieces that you use to cut the bias strips for the neck, arm, and waist. This lets you choose whatever fabric you would like to finish edges. Or you can use bias tape instead. This is the first time I cut my own strips from coordinating fabric. This little bit of extra time was well worth it.

I like this dress even more now that I’ve switched to the other top. It gives more coverage and the strap are wide enough to wear to work. I do put a tank on when wearing this to work. The only part I don’t like is the zipper. I have a hard time getting it all the way to the top in the back.

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Marker Challenge

It is week 4 of the Summer Challenge hosted by Punk Projects. This week’s challenge was to use markers or ink of some sort. Imagine all the possibilities. I couldn’t think of any. First off, I’m not a huge fan of markers. I don’t like the lines they leave when you color with them. I’m a crayon kind of girl. To help my inspiration, I checked my saved pins on Pinterest.

The only pin I have involving markers was how to turn old markers into water-colour paint. (Which I may do next week.) Since that wasn’t helpful, I turned to Google’s search engine. That is where I came across this skirt. (Follow Link for photos)

To start my project, I decided to make a circle skirt with a yoga waist band. I didn’t want to sew zippers this week. I have a delightful purple knit fabric that I was able to use for the waist band. I picked up a light purple cotton fabric from the store along with Tulip Fabric Markers.

To make the waist band, I followed this tutorial over at makeit-loveit.com.  Then I used this tutorial over at Simple Simon to make the skirt.  I realise they are both tutorials for children, but each piece is easily made into an adult size with your personal measurements. I did find that my knit was stretchier than used in the tutorial.  To test this, I tried on the waist band after sewing it into a tube. I then resewed the seam to make the band smaller.

Center Front Design

Now that the skirt was complete, it was time to start drawing. I was inspired by this colouring page released by Craftsy.com a bit ago. I like the idea of a craft supply garden. I did have to add a few other objects to my garden since my skirt is much larger than an average piece of paper.

Thimble, Dress Form, and Pattern

I’m not the best sketcher, so my plan had been to cut out and trace objects onto the skirt before colouring them in with the markers. I quickly scrapped that plan and just used a pencil to lightly draw out the pictures before colouring them in.

Ruler, Cupcake, Paint Brush, Thread Vine

If you could see the continuous design, you would find that for the most part, each object is its own plant. There are a couple of larger object, like the patters, that are wrapped in stems. The spools of thread are a continuous vine that weaves in and out of the other “flowers.”

Cake and Apron

I still can’t say I’m sold on using markers, though I would like to try another project like this only get it closer to my inspiration skirt. The Tulip markers worked well for drawing lines, but they weren’t the best for colouring in spaces. This week I was also reminded of Swoodson Says year challenge for trying something new every month. Since I’ve never used fabric markers to decorate before, I believe this qualifies.

A few extra details.

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Dress Reveal

As part of our photography package, we got an engagement photo session. We weren’t really interested in engagement photos. Our photographer was kind enough to switch it out for a wedding dress session. Scheduling this was the motivation I needed to complete the dress! Enjoy!

I even was organised enough to schedule my practice hair day before going to the shoot. I was so proud of myself!

She wouldn’t let me wear my sunglasses!

I was really glad I wasn’t wearing a larger or heavier dress. It was hot and humid. Because July in Florida is like that.

Then I decided to run away, or something.

In case you want to try this dress on your own, here is where I found everything.

I’ll be showing off more of Candi’s photos with my other wedding posts. If you are in need of a photographer in the Winter Haven area, I highly recommend Candi. She is easy-going and professional. She was great fun to work with. Check out her website, Holden Memories, for more details and to see her other work. She also has a facebook page.

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