Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goal Rundown

I think the biggest statement I made regarding sewing goals for 2013 was to just sew what I wanted rather then participating in a lot of challenges and what not.  In that I was quite successful and plan to stick with that for 2014 and beyond.  Not that I won't be doing a few sewalongs or contests but don't expect me to do all of the challenges for any one blog. 

On that note here were the goals I listed at the start of 2013
  • Sew all of the projects for my sewing with knits craftsy class. All really as in all?  Oh wait I thought that said for all my craftsy classes just the knits one I did.  Honestly though I've only kept one of the pieces I made from this class in my wardrobe so I really don't think the class was worth the money.  Oh well live and learn.
  • Use the jeans craftsy class to recreate my beloved grey cords and hopefully develop a TNT pants pattern. Um does that say watch a few of the videos.  No well then nope didn't do this one.  I do still want to and hopefully I will in 2014 though if I'm being honest finding 2 styles of jeans that fit me well at Old Navy has really decreased my motivation on this one.
  • Sew all 5 unused Oliver and S patterns in my stash two of which I got from Santa this year.  They are badminton, book report, croquet, apple -picking, and school photoMostly done.  School Photo will be my sewalong contribution for the first Project Run and Play Challenge.  That just leaves Apple Picking and while I do love the pattern Emily currently does not so its on the back burning hoping that she changes her mind.
  • Make some summer separates for Emily similar to the winter SWAP. Sort of.  She was really into graphic tees this summer so I made a lot of bottoms that could work with any of these tops.  Truth be told though now that she is in school I prefer hanging her clothes as complete outfits to eliminate some of the morning arguments.
  • Find or develop TNT patterns for shorts, tee shirt, and pants. Effort was made on this front but we are not there yet.  I do still have hope though.
  • Sew the Colette Parfait for myself.  I made it to the muslin stage several years ago but didn't know how to alter it to fit.  Now I think I could figure it out but it will be a bit of a project. I unfolded the pattern and looked at it does that count.  As much as I like a lot of the Colette patterns they just don't fit me without a lot of effort.  I do like this one though so maybe this summer.  I'm thinking of doing the top part of the dress but with a gathered skirt.
  • Use some of my fun woven dress patterns with some of my fabric stash even if I don't need them.  Including the vintage dress pattern that I simply had to buy last year. I made the one I had to have and don't really like the way it looks on me.  The others not so much.  Oh well.
  • Make Emily's Easter dress.  Yes but as it turns out she still loves her heirloom one the best.
  • Make at least one complete project from the Alabama Studio Design book that my husband got me for Christmas.  I looked through the book a lot.  I also used the skirt pattern to make a print maxi but I didn't actually do the full on project.  I still want to though so maybe next year.
  • Sew the Manhattan Frock from Sewing Clothes Kids Love. No excuse just didn't get to this.
  • Have fun sewing and creating things that I enjoy.  Yes without a doubt.  I think I've come to terms with the fact that I sew for fun so it should be fun.  If I don't feel likes sewing one day I don't sew.  I've been really busy lately and that doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon but I'm sure I'll still find time to sew in 2014.  On that note I will post some 2014 goals at the beginning of January.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Um Awesome

So when the Kitchy Coo Lady Skater Dress started its blog tour I was a bit unimpressed with the pattern.  I mean its just  knit top with an aline skirt right?  Right?  But then why did everyone look so great in the ones they made?  I started to believe there was just something special about the pattern.  Something about the proportions, maybe the way it hits, maybe the neckline, maybe well who knows but everyone looked great but still I waited.  I mean couldn't I draft a skirt to go with my TNT tee pattern?  Oh wait just a second I don't even have a TNT tee pattern.  Then she put it on sale and I ordered the PDF.  All I can say is WOW I'm so glad I did!  I still can't explain exactly why this pattern works but boy does it work for me.
I mean it even works without my hands on my hips.  But wait this gets better.
Its even looks good when photographed from behind.  Now I'm pretty sure we all know that lots of projects do not get a rear view on the internet right ladies?
Now for the details.  I don't remember what size I made but i do remember that I made one in the shoulders and chest but went up a size for the waist and skirt.  I probably could have gotten by without this as the waist is a smidgen loose but I really didn't want negative ease in the waist.  The fabric is one of the fabrics that I bought in Paris.  It is super soft and drapes beautifully but I also knew it would leave nothing to the imagination if used alone so I lined the bodice and skirt with the weird cheap I don't really remember if its nylon or poly knit that Joann's carries.  Honestly, while I would never make a dress out of this fabric it makes a great lining.  My tights don't stick to it and it added some much needed thickness and stability to the bodice.  The only change I made to the pattern other then lining it was finishing the hem with a rolled hem from my serger.  This was done out of laziness but it looks nice as well.

So with that I give you my whole heated recommendation for the Lady Skater Dress.  I'm even considering adding the Penny Pinafore to my stash.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Sweater

I've been itching to make a sweater since I got back to my knitting this fall so I decided it was time to bite the bullet and give it a try.  Well sort of at least.  I made Emily a sweater.  I felt like for my first attempt something a bit smaller might be nice.  I showed  her 4 different sweaters on Ravelry and she picked the tiny tealeaves cardi. 
Before I went yarn shopping I asked her what color she wanted and she picked pink.  I ended up selecting a pink from the Lion Brand Heartland collection.  I really wasn't sure what she would wear it with until she came down stairs wearing her first day of school tunic with nothing else.  Um little girl its winter and we always wear bottoms with tunics.  We ended up agreeing on adding the pink jeggings I made earlier this season and this little sweater matched  perfectly.  Yeah its an outfit.
The pattern was nice and straightforward.  I felt like I knew what to do at each step which was a big win for me.  The only part that doesn't look great is the front band.  I need to practice my technique when it comes to picking up stitches.

I'm calling this one a win.  Now on to making a grown up sweater.  Neil got me a whole bunch of purple yarn for Christmas and a set of circular needles so I have no excuses left.  I'll be starting a sweater for me today but I would imagine you will not be seeing it here as a finished product for some time.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holly Jolly Dress

First off Merry Christmas to all.  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying time with your family.  I just got back from visiting my in laws and am looking forward to spending Christmas morning here with my husband and kids.  Now onto the dress.

My friend Meredith gave me a huge bag of Christmas fabric this summer.  Huge as in this dress didn't even make a dent in it huge.  My plan was to make all 3 girls (my 1 plus her 2) skirts but Christmas kept getting closer and I ended up deciding to push that project to 2014.  Instead I let Emily pick her favorite fabric out of the bag figuring I would work whatever she picked into a Christmas version of the Oliver and S Library Dress.  Not shockingly she picked the wildest print in the bag.
She picked the large scale holly print and then I paired it with the stripped holly fabric as well as some red and green solids.  I figured a dress out of the print she picked would be loud so I should go ahead and push it over the edge instead of trying to calm it down.

  If your still with me the patter was pretty great.  The construction seems a little weird but I stuck with it and it all worked out quite well.  The fabric was thin I'm guessing poly cotton blend vintage quilters cotton so it wasn't bad to deal with but isn't exactly lovely either.  Thankfully this style dress can handle being made out of a fabric that doesn't really drape well though it would be lovely out of one that did.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Maybe its just the fashion blogs I read but I've been noticing more and more sponsored reviews as of late.  You know the type.  The blogger gets something for free and then mostly raves about how great the product happens to be.  Now I am totally fine with this.  Truth be told I do the same thing in a heartbeat if given the opportunity but sometimes I wounder how genuine the raves are.  Its not that I think anyone is being dishonest on purpose but I think its hard for anyone to say less then nice things about a product that they got as a gift.

 So in a round about way that lead me to this post.  You see a few weeks ago one of the blogs I read was raving about fabkids.  Usually I would not have paid much attention to a post about buying kids clothes but Elijah seems to have outgrown 90% of his winter clothing and I just haven't been getting as much sewing done in general this season so I was caught at a weak moment.  It also helped that they were doing a buy one outfit for $39.95 get a second free deal meaning I could get each kid one outfit if I signed up.  I decided to go ahead and give it a go and figured while I was at it I'd write an unsponsered review here on my blog.

The site has creates a profile for each kid and then recommends a few  3 piece outfits that they think you will like.  Sounds nice and it is except that the recommended outfits didn't really suit my kids style as well as some of the other outfits on the sight.  Not a problem as you can pick from any outfits not just the recommended ones and I may not have done the best job on the survey being as many of the brands it references are far out of my kids clothes price range.  So here's what I picked.
Elijah's outfit consisted of a pair of knit pants, a striped shirt that says "Awesome all day every day", and bright green socks.  I was a bit worried about size since he is in the largest size they sell but everything seems to fit well.  The pants are actually not way to big around on him which is a win for us but could be a problem for someone who was a bit larger.  The shirt is amazingly soft and are the pants so he's sold and while I was worried about kids socks on a kid with feet bigger then mine they work too.

Emily's outfit consisted of a pair of leopard print pants, a cute shirt, and headband.  The pants are a little loose at the waist but stay up and have elastic cuffs.  The shirt has shoulder ruffles, sequins, and a lining under the applique so its not itchy.  I really didn't think a headband would work with her glasses but this one does.

I feel like I got a pretty good deal since I get everything for less the 40 dollars.  It seems like not all outfits are created equal though.  Some boys outfits come with 2 shirts and a pair of pants.  Some girls outfits have a top, leggings, and a skirt.  Others just have socks or a hair accessory.  The quality on everything we got was good though.
I also really like that the outfits come as sets being as I'm not nearly as good at putting together cute sort of matched outfits as I would like to be.  I think the site would be worth visiting for inspiration even if you never bought a thing.  As for me I plan on keeping my account for the moment but probably will only but things some months when they are running sales.  I like the clothes but at full price they are a bit more then I tend to spend on everyday kids clothes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hats, hats, hats

Lately I'm really loving knitting.  I think its because of the "I'm not sitting around watching bad daytime TV I'm knitting" factor.  I also like that it can be done in tiny bits of time which see to be what I've had the most of lately.  I'm working on a sweater at the moment but before I got the confidence to give that I go I made several hats.
This one is the Lucky 7 hat from Ravelry.  It was fun to play with the tighter twisted cables on this one.  It was only my second time working with cables and I have to say they are way easier then I ever thought they would be.  At least with the help of youtube.

This one was supposed to be for Emily but I got off a bit on the lace pattern and I think that is what made it bigger then intended.  It works for me though.  Its the Foliage pattern originally from knitty but the link takes you to ravelry.

This is Hermione's Cable and Eyelet Hat it was my first attempt at using a cable needle and it went together beautifully.  I actually made one for myself too using a size larger needle and adding a bit of length but sadly it has gone missing.  Emily is pleased with this one though.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Grovy Mama Skirt

Sometime in the 70s my mom made herself a leopard print wide wale cord maxi skirt.  I wore it a few times in college but the truth is my mom and I are very different body types so while we sometimes wear the same size in ready to wear clothing the same can not be said post alterations on a handmade item.  Add to that the problem that the zipper was broken when I first got in from her and you can see why it spent the last few years sitting in my sewing room awaiting the perfect project. 
I was thrilled to realize that with some creative pattern placement I was able to squeeze my altered to fit Vogue 1247 out of the skirt.  Well almost squeeze.  I had to use wide double fold bias tape for the waist band.
I also had to use fun pocket fabric again. 
This is my 3rd version of this pattern and I still like it very much.  Making a skirt from another skirt provided some new challenges.  There are a few strangely places seams from the original skirt but they blend in pretty well with the print.  I actually broke my serger on one of the side seams that was just to thick.  I also decided to use a regular zipper instead of an invisible one.  The other challenge with the cord is that my shirt sticks to it so quite a few of the photos made me look like I had quite the muffin top.  I real life this is less of a problem though since you can see that the top is just a bit baggy. 

All in all I'm very pleased with the skirt.  I got quite a few compliments on it the day we took the pictures.  I also think it will be fun to style this winter with brown or black leggings and some sort of long sleeve top.  Speaking of which I need to make a top to go with it one of these days. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Like I said yesterday the big challange for me at least when it came to making Emily's Wahoo dress was cutting out the pieces.  I took a few pictures of the process.
I cut all 4 gores using the same pattern piece.  Well actually I cut one with the pattern piece and then used that one to cut the other 3 but that is beside the point.  Even in Emil's size I could only get one gore per shirt because the gores are large enough at the bottom that they wrap around to the front of the shirt.  If you look closely at the picture you can see that the shirt is folded mostly in half with the front part pulled out.  Depending on the shirt size this can get too hard to position.  When that happens I cut right down the front of the shirt and remove the sleeves so that everything can lay flat.
For the front and the back I just positioned the pattern piece over the image that I wanted to use.  The shirts I was using were larger then Emily's size so this worked well.
I used one tee for both sleeves.  I cut from the back since the picture I wanted was on the back.  The only trick is to make sure you position the sleeve piece low enough to avoid the front neck band.
That's all for now.  Hopefully, I will get this one sewn up in the next few days so I can share some pictures of the process.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wahoo Dress

Our swim team is in the process of renovating a new facility and moving.  One of the things we did recently was clean out and move out of our old office space.  Just like a house it was full of years of stuff most of which was trash but some of which was good.   Among the good things were several years of leftover tee shirts that we ended up selling to members for $1 each.  While I was sorting them I had the great idea to make Emily a dress.
I decided to use the farbenmix Henrika pattern.  I knew the gores would allow me to use several images plus the front, back, and sleeves.  I'm working on making another one and a tutorial so pictures of the cutting layout should be up tomorrow.
 I've made the pattern several times now and its a great little dress pattern.  Construction wise it was no harder then sewing a regular knit dress.  The real challenge was fitting the pieces on to the tee shirts in such a way that the images looked good.

Friday, November 29, 2013


As I mentioned I've been bitten by the knitting bug lately.  On a recent shopping trip with Emily we stumbled upon the bargain yarn bin and she picked out a super soft pink, white, and purple variegated yarn.  Of course being the bargain bin there was only one skein but she really liked it and I figured I'd make a cute hat or maybe some legwarmers.  To my surprise when I asked my little daughter who is always bare foot she said she wanted socks. 

me "Why?"
her "I want something you can make fast."
me "What about a hat?"
her "No socks"
me "What about legwarmers? Do you know what legwarmers are?"
her "No socks"
me "I could make those things faster then socks."
her "socks"

Then I gave up and made socks.
Here are the socks on here feet.
I'm pretty sure this is the last time she had them on her feet.  By the time I got back from putting the camera up she had taken them off.  Oh well at least they were fun to make and if you look in the background there is a little preview of an almost finished project.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Printed maxi

I have two of the three Alabama Chanin the first and the third.  One of my goals for this year was to really make a project out of the third.  Really as in not just use the pattern but also do the applique and beading.  I have not done that yet and at this point its looking like one of the many things that will be waiting till next year.  I actually made the reverse applique skirt from the first book several years ago and wear it regularly though somehow it has never been photographed and blogged about.  maybe soon but that is not what this post is about.  This post is about the maxi skirt I made using the pattern from Studio Style. 
I made a large and truth be told the midsection is tighter then I would want in the dress which is good to know since they are the same pattern.  It does stay up well though and I like it a lot.  It was too long even for me.  I ended up taking about an inch off the top since I prefer a lower rise and shortened the back since a train would not really work well with my day to day life.
I only bought 2 yards of this fabric so I had to do some creative seaming on the back.  This skirt takes a lot of fabric.  I also eliminated the seam in the front to keep from breaking up the print.  The fabric is double knit from Girl Charlie and I like it so much.  Its nice and thick but still has a good bit of stretch which is great for a fall winter skirt.

So in person I like this skirt a lot.  In photos I'm not so sure about the shirt which is two bad since I have 3 of them.  I'll keep wearing them but I so should have gotten a size smaller.  Oh well. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Trying Some Lace

I've knitted or at least tried to knit on and off for years.  I think I was most prolific when I was pregnant with Emily and wanted nothing more then cute little baby pants with matching hats.  I've been enjoying knitting quite a lot again lately.  I think there are a few reasons for this.  As Emily is getting older she is less into frilly smocked dresses for everyday, she also seems to like for me to be in the room with her if she is home even though she seems to want to play on her own after school, and lets face it some of the sewing bloggers out there knit beautiful sweater.  So taking all of that I decided it was time for a craftsy course to make sure I was doing things correctly.  I selected the knit lab class and made the scarf.
The class was pretty basic but I knew that going in and while it didn't cover anything I couldn't have found on youtube I like the scarf and learned some now things.
Mostly I'm glad I made this because it was a great intro to lacework which as it turns out I love.  Not sure if I'll buy anymore craftsy knitting classes for a bit though.  I've been doing just fine with Ravelry and youtube but I do have my eye on a few so we will see.  As for the scarf it turned out well and keeps my neck warm now that I cut my hair off.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mama Needs a new Shirt.

My love affair with Jalie 3245 lives on.  If I'm being honest this pattern does not always photograph well since it is loose at the bottom but I love wearing it so here is another version.
My initial plan for this one was to paint gray fabric to create matallic fabric with plain arms but this just did not look good.  I ended up saving the arms since I hadn't painted them and picking up some gray on gray high quality chevron knit.  The grays don't match perfectly but I think that adds a bit to its charm so I went ahead and used pink fold over elastic for the neck.
My husband wanted a picture with the leaves in the background so here I am laying in wet leaves.  Oh well.  The skirt is the Vogue 1247 from the pattern that I put all the fitting effort into.  Boy was that worth the effort.  I've got another one almost finished so stay tuned.

 As for the fit of the shirt I may bring it in a bit more at the waist next time but I'm torn.  I think its a bit loose but I tend to prefer body skimming to body hugging so we shall see.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Something Little

This post hardly seems worth writing but then sometimes we all make things that are less exciting but needed. 
This is yet another pair of the Lil Blue Boo leggings made from pink jegging knit from JoAnns.  I even did the little fluffy bits on the bottom.  Its not so much that I think this is the best legging pattern ever as it is that I have it traced and tweaked so I can't imagine I will be using another one for her any time soon.  I've added some length and lowered the rise a bit other then that it is straight from the pattern.  Hope you like.  I'll show you something a bit more exciting next time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lollypop Dress

You know those projects that seem simple enough, by all mean should be easy to complete, but for some reason turn into a comedy of errors.  That is exactly the experience I had with this little dress.  First I messed up a bit pleating the insert and didn't want to fix undo the whole thing.  Guess what this is always a bad idea!  That lead to the insert not being big enough bc I only smocked the good part.  Then I needed to add it to the dress the same way I add them to tee shirts except that I couldn't find my fabric glue and decided to press on anyways.  That leaves the back a bit rough though and so I wanted to add a bit of minky to cover the messy bit and sewed it in crookedly twice.  I should have just lined the whole front.  Oh and by that point I was so fed up that I didn't bother to change my serger thread so you can see the gray showing through a bit at all the seams.  If your still here you've made it to the pictures of the finished product.
This is the best picture I have of the smocking.  Emily picked the plate out of a few that I bought a while back and never quite got around to making.  I know she is going to out grow some of these cute little things soon so I'm trying to use them while I still can.
I used my Fabenmix Olivia pattern for the dress.  I've made it a bunch of times over the years and its still my go to for a super plain knit dress.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kitty, Minion, with a side of Dragonasaurs

I know this flies in the face of much of the sewing community but I don't love making Halloween costumes.  I'd so much rather make actual clothes any day of the week and with my sewing time somehow dwindling these days my feelings regarding this have only gotten stronger.  I did end up making one costume this year though.  Emily decided she wanted to be a kitty and all it took was a google search for me to realize that any kitty costume I was going to be willing to put my daughter in would have to be made by me.
Yeah that's right I wanted something nice and old school that zipped up the front.  I had Simplicity 2885 uncut in my stash.  My mom and I are not sure which one of us is responsible for this copy but we do know that she made it twice previously.  Once for my and once for my brother.  This was a new uncut copy though so who knows where it came from.  I made her a small bc that was the smallest size on the piece I opened first.  The xs probably would have been better but oh well.  I didn't make the head piece or tail since we found the ears, nose, tail, and bow tie combo kit on sale for 5 dollars.  Emily picked the lovely pink and black fabric.  Its even better in person bc it is soft and has shiny dots all over.
Elijah wanted to be a Minion.  I had every intention of just buying his but I couldn't find one in stock anywhere so we ended up putting it together.  The hoodie is from a consignment shop, the overalls are from amazon (and be still my heart they are a adult small), the goggles are welder's goggles also from amazon, and the black gloves are the super cheap ones.  He only dressed up to go to trunk or treat at my husbands office.
Since her big brother was passing out candy on Halloween Emily decided to go trick or treating with her little neighbor friend.  We all decided he was a dragonasaurus since he was sure he was a dino but his costume had dragon wings.

So there you have it another year down.  They are already planning for next year but I won't be taking anyone seriously until about October 1st.  With any luck they will both want something that can be purchased or maybe not this one was pretty fun to make.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ramona wears slacks.

Emily and I have been reading the Ramona books.  Some days I'm not sure if this is the best idea as Emily identifies a little too well with Ramona but I loved them as a kid and am enjoying sharing them with her.  An interesting side effect of reading Ramona is that Ramona mostly wears slacks or as we would say these days pants.  This combined with my unwavering rule that people who go to school must wear leggings or playground shorts under skirts and Emily has really warmed up to wearing pants.  Once or twice she has even chosen to skip the skirt and just wear a shirt and leggings.  That meant these cute little monkey pants were finished just in time.
These are the Dorje pants from Sewing Clothes Kids Love and yes they two were conceived during September, started in October, and finished in November.  I made a few of these way back when I got the book and had forgotten how much effort these little pants take.  I'm pleased with the results though.
The fabric is a cord with hearts and monkeys that I picked up on clearance this summer.  The trim is from the apparently soon to be closed Patsy Aiken outlet (sob).
They are a bit big but we all know she is going to be taller by the end of winter.  They are also looser then she is used to but I think that is just the style of the pants.  We are so used to skinny jeans these days that wider boot cut pants stand out.  She seems to like them though so I'm calling it a win with the added bonus that they match a shirt she already had.