Monday, May 24, 2010

Summary - Week Ending 5/23/2010

So another week has passed and I thought I would note what I bought and what I have accomplished sewing-wise this week.

First I was re-bitten by the cross stitch bug last weekend while on vacation.  I took a WIP I dug up with us and worked on it in the truck on the way and on the way back plus some in the hotel.  And now that we are back home, Mitch (hubby), Logan (oldest son) and I have been watching Lost Season 1 through Netflix so I often stitch at night while watching that.  I  made great progress on my Federal Duck Stamp (Canvasbacks) this week and we have finished Season 1 of Lost and started Season 2.  No pictures at the moment.

I also did some sewing this week.  I spent a couple of hours working on baby items for sale in my etsy shop on Thursday afternoon and worked some more on Friday and Saturday.  I still need to get started on the teacher gifts and work on my sister-in-law's baby shower gift as well.

The big news is I got a new sewing machine on Saturday - I got it for $10 at a yard sale.  It's in a cabinet and it's older and metal and has a knee pedal like my mom's beloved Kenmore I sewed with years ago before someone tossed it into the yard after our house was flooded (that is another rant entirely).  I tried it out on Saturday and really like it.  It seems to do a lot and I will post pictures later in the week - haven't had time to download them yet.  It is a Dial Sew and I can't remember the model number now.  But I feel it was a steal for $10.  I won't get rid of my Brother or my serger, but it's nice to have my own sewing table in the dining room and it folds out to plenty of room for my cutting mat and other necessities.  I figure I can close it and set my Brother or my serger on it when I need to use them.

I spent a lot of time blog-hopping this week for the Sew, Mama, Sew's giveaway day.  What fun it was to enter giveaway and even more fun to find more wonderful blogs to read and be inspired by.  It's you, other bloggers that keep me inspired and wanting to sew more.

I bought some fabric from an etsy seller I found while blog hopping this week - hopefully it will come before I leave work today and I'll post pictures and more information next week.

On the children front:  School is winding down and that meant EOG's for oldest son.  He did fine, I'm sure, we talked to him about not stressing about it and it turns out he did a little the first day, then when he started the tests he said they were easy.  Whew - that was a load off of my mind.  Youngest spent most of the week wearing his rain boots to school - he's 5 and wearing these adorable green boots with eyes and mouth on them with shorts -  yes he's his own person and amazingly enough they didn't wear blisters on his legs like I thought they would.  T-Ball has also finished as of Saturday - Jacob seemed to enjoy it and he did great - by the end of the season he was really in to it, he loved hitting the most but fielding was fun too.

So that's my weekly summary.  I'm leaving work in just a little while to head out-of-town for DH's pre-op for Lasik or PRK (or RPK, I can't remember the initials).  We're hoping he gets scheduled for surgery tomorrow and then we can just stay up there tonight.  I have to work from the motel some (deadlines) but I'm thinking of dragging my sewing machine and some projects to work on, but I'm not sure I'll fool with it - cross stitch would be a lot easier to bring.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Latest baby items

After making my mom's Miche bag cover for Mother's Day, I found I had most of the 2 yards of cute black and white watermelon fabric left.  So I thought it would be fun fabric for the baby items I make for my etsy shop.

I cut everything out a few weekends ago and have been sewing a few things at a time when I had time.  So Thursday afternoon when I got off of work early, I got busy finishing up one set of the baby items so I could post them in my etsy store.

So here is what I made, first an overview of the whole set:
Next some close ups, the set contains a burp cloth, a bib (ribbon for the ties), a tissue pack holder, a diaper and wipe case and a changing pad:

Forgive the pictures - I thought there was enough light, but I guess not - I'm going to retake them tomorrow before listing it.  I think it came out really cute and makes a great summertime baby set.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

I figure if I commit to this then I will actually go home and sew tonight instead of planning on it and then doing something else.  So I will join in on the fun with Heidi of Handmade by Heidi and Bobbi of Crafty Vegas Mom and everyone else (over 100 at this time) and sew tonight.  Tomorrow I will hopefully display something that I have done and go and peruse the other blogs to see what is going on.

So if you can, make it a point and join in tonight - a virtual sew-in - it's sure to be a lot of fun!

What I'm Planning Next

Okay, my son, Logan (the 9-year-old) and I worked together yesterday afternoon for a few minutes to decide what I am making for end-of-the-year teacher gifts.  I showed him a recent pattern purchase from Keyka Lou of a zippered pouch and he agreed that was a good gift (he has told me that several of his teachers look forward to their gifts from me because they always know it will be handmade - that makes me feel so good).  He has had the same art teacher and afterschool teacher for several years now that I have to keep coming up with new ideas/patterns.

So we chose this pattern and I am making the medium one.  Luckily I picked up this great flip-flop fabric in the remnant bin at last weekend's foray into Hancock's Fabrics and I keep a stash of remnant cottons so I grabbed several colors that go with the flip flop fabric and put them together.  Logan likes the lavendar the best so I will make as many as I can using that. I bought a bunch of zippers from ebay recently (no local stores) for a great price so I showed those to Logan as well and he helped me pick out the ones to use.  So I have the fabric and notions ready to go to make six of these babies in the next two weeks.  I'll start on them tomorrow after I knock a few more baby things out.  Here's a picture of my basket for this project - colors are much more vibrant than my camera captured inside.

I have made several of Keykalou's patterns and the patterns and instructions are great so I look forward to trying this one out.  I am also hoping to make me one of these to throw in my beach bag for the little things.

So what do you think - cool fabric choices or not?  Good teacher gift?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back from vacation

I just spent three wonderful days with my three favorite boys in Williamsburg, Virginia.  We finally got to take a family vacation with our tax return this year and my hubby and I enjoy the Williamsburg area and the fact that it's only about 4 hours away from home (well with 2 adults it is, add in the two boys that have to go to the bathroom at random times and it's a little longer).

We all had a blast, we went to the Jamestown Settlement, played miniature golf, went back to Jamestown, shopped some, went to Bass Pro Shops, played in the indoor pool at the hotel and went to the Maritime Museum.  Add to that lots and lots of great food.  Mitch and I couldn't wait to eat at Red, Hot and Blue again but weren't sure if the kids would like it.  Turns out it is now both of the boys (one is 5 and the other is 9) all-time favorite restaurant (beating out our local mexican place and McDonalds).  They have a great kids meal and the kicker is they give a pack of Oreos for dessert - nothing pleases my boys' more than Oreos. 

So it all went well - there were ups and downs and the fast food we went to get wasn't exactly fast, but all-in-all a wonderful time. 

I even got to sneak away for about 30 minutes to the Hancocks in Williamsburg (only about 1 mile from the hotel) and bought a bunch of remnants which are great for the various small things I like to make and a couple of packs of magnetic snaps and a hemming tool - it's one of those ruler like things that you can press over and helps make the hems more even and I really need that.  I spent my mother's day money there and enjoyed it.  I never did check if there were other fabric shops in the area, but the vacation wasn't about me - it was about the kids so I was glad to have the 30 minutes I did have and I got some really cute fabrics.  I'll post some pictures later this week.

For now I will leave you with my absolute favorite picture from the whole trip, and no this was not posed.  We were leaving Jamestown when it closed on Friday night and the boys were walking in front of us and Jacob (the youngest) just walked up to Logan and put his arm around  him and instead of pushing him away, Logan put his arm around Jacob too.  Thankfully I had  my camera on my wrist and was able to quickly snap a picture before they started pushing each other again.  But is this not the most precious picture (all mom's of more than one child or anyone that has a sibling will understand - I was an only child so I never understood until I had two kids).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Sewing Book Wishlist

As I was perusing Amazon recently and reading blogs I have come up with a few books that have made it on my wishlist.  I have some Mother's Day money and I may be buying some of these with it because goodness knows after filling my new shelving unit - I really don't need any fabric at the moment.  The family is going on a trip this weekend, however, and I did find out there is a Hancocks about 1 mile from the hotel - can you say quick run over there while the kids and daddy are resting one evening?  I'm also going to check out the internet and see what fabric stores are in the area, but shopping will be minimal because we plan to do a lot of sightseeing and just having family fun.

So back to the wishlist.  First up is the one book I have wanted forever and will be the first one I purchase:

Vogue Sewing, Revised and Updated
Vogue Sewing Revised and Updated

A trusted classic since 1975, Vogue® Sewing has remained a consistent bestseller and sewer’s favorite. Now it’s been fully revised and updated, with the latest information and all-new photographs and illustrations, introduction, and page layout.  From choosing a machine to mastering couture techniques, it covers everything stitchers need to know to make professional and fashionable garments. It’s certain to remain the premier sourcebook for sewers everywhere.

This technique-rich Vogue’® manual contains comprehensive instructions for understanding pattern markings, selecting fabrics and notions, hand-stitching and mending, pressing, and measuring to fit.  Everything’s beautifully laid out, with charts and detailed explanations. And as it teaches, it also steers you to the right project for your sewing level, with a plethora of photos that showcase different options for both beginners and those more expert with a needle. 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips: Top-Rated Favorites from Sewing Fans and Master Teachers 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips
Saw this on this morning and I want it - trying to decide whether to preorder it or now.

This book contains the best hands-on insider sewing tips from the popular sewing website, a community of more than 170,000 members. The entries are collected from the website’s enormous database of members’ shared comments and advice, rated by hits and reviews. Also included are five special how-to features by's master teachers and pattern designers, who regularly conduct online chats and workshops (including Kenneth King, Susan Khalje, Sarah Veblen, Shannon Gifford, and Anna Mazur).

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence

How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan
This one looks good to me - has anyone read it or heard more about it - it has one 5-star review on
Making clothes is fun, fashionable, and thrifty but how can you find a pattern that fits you just right? And how can you adjust it if it doesn't?

This book shows you how to get the most from sewing patterns—from choosing the right size to understanding all the different markings and translating flat shapes into wearable garments. You will learn how to change the shaping, length, and detailing to suit your own body shape, taste, and style.

Once you understand how to adapt a store-bought pattern you are well on your way to designing your own clothes. You'll understand how to make a new pattern out of a ready-made store-bought one, or draft your own from scratch.

Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People series) 

Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern by Pati Palmer, Marta Alto
Presented in a new edition that adds updated pattern industry news and revised rules for selecting pattern size, this easy and practical fitting system requires no measuring, no drafting skills, no muslin mock-ups—and it works with all brands of tissue paper patterns. Real people of all ages are featured in photographs that explain the steps of cutting out pattern pieces, pinning them together, and adjusting the fit. Special attention is paid to tricky challenges such as accommodating a full bustline, adjusting sleeves, or reworking a garment to make it more flattering, as well as alternative fitting methods such as draping and computer design. Metric conversion charts, charts for comparing pattern company bodice measurements, and a history of American dress design (Just where did size 10 come from?) make this book a versatile reference.
One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects by Rebecca yaker, Patricia Hoskins

One-Yard Wonders will delight anyone who has ever fallen for fabric - from the novice sewing enthusiast to the lifelong seamstress. The book presents a delightful array of simple, stylish projects that can be made with just a single yard of fabric - from apparel to accessories, from plush toys to pet beds, from baby items to bags, and from home decor to "Happy Birthday" banners. Projects have a hip,contemporary flair, and most can be completed in a few hours. For each project, the book provides a full-color photograph, easy step-by-step instructions, and simple illustrations. Templates and pattern pieces are also included wherever needed, making this collection of 101 projects the best sewing deal ever.

Great fabric demands to be purchased, even if it's just a  yard or two at a time. But such tantalizing textiles should never hide in a closet; One-Yard Wonders promises gift-worthy solutions for that stash of irresistible fabric-store buys. At last, it's time to stop storing and start sewing!
Okay - that's just a few, but those are the ones that headline my wishlist at the moment.  What's on your wishlist and what's your favorite sewing book of the moment.  I would love to know so I can add to my wishlist.  I'll spotlight some of the books I have in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Shelves are Done!

My wonderful sweetie husband finished up my shelves last night.  Even though he had been on a class field trip with our oldest and seems to be getting the cold/sinus infection I had last week, he put the finishing touches on it and I helped him move it into our laundry room, which doubles as my sewing storage.

I was really tired last night but I still started going through my fabric.

What fun - I found things I forgot about.  I emptied 4 storage totes onto my shelf and still have some room.  I also need to do some straightening and told Mitch that what it looked like is not final, that I want to clean it up and make it organized, because right now it's an organized mess.  I kept storage totes for quilting projects and scraps and larger scraps to be used for gifty items.  So I didn't quite get as much on the shelves as I hoped. 

I have a shelf for fleece/outdoors fabrics (meaning hunting items for DH and boys), a shelf for knits (even though I have yet to sew knits), a shelf for wovens and the top shelf is obvious fall/winter fabrics.  I'm thinking about getting out my larger pieces of crafting/quilting cottons and storing them on the shelf instead of the fall/winter fabrics, but then again, fall/winter sewing is just around the corner and having them out will inspire me,

First thing first though - the laundry room needs curtains for the window and I also want to put a curtain down the front of my shelves too, just for the extra protection.  I think I found a piece of fabric last night that will be perfect for the front of the shelf.  I received a bunch of fabric from my husband's step-mother's mom when she cleaned out her sewing room.  I think it was a sheet sewn into a curtain and it will be perfect to cover the shelves and protect from the sun.  So that's first and I need to finish sewing up all the baby items I cut out on Friday to put in my etsy shop.  And it's time to sew some clothing again too, so I will have to decide what to do, but it's easier now, I just walk into the room, look on my shelves and see what inspires me.  I guess I need to organize my patterns too, but I'll get to that eventually.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Wondering . . .

Why is it that all during the day at work I dream about what I want to work on sewing-wise that evening?  I read blogs during breaks and get all this inspiration and ideas and add to my google documents with your wonderful tutorials and patterns I buy from etsy and then when I get home, I sit on my butt and play computer games after all the evening necessities are done (supper, kids prepped for next day, baths, clean up, etc.).  I can't blame my kids.  They are 5 and 9 and pretty easy going.  The 5-year-old needs something every once and awhile, but the 9-year-old gladly helps me out with that.  Hubby is easy-going too - he often cooks supper or we work together on it and will help with the kids gladly.  In fact he and the older son have taken to watching movies (and the youngest, Jacob is invited with appropriate movies) in the evening so I am really free for whatever.

But I just don't.  I sit in the living room with my laptop, playing a game and listening to whatever movie the boys are watching (currently on a western kick, but we all watched Back to the Future the other night - funny to think that movie is 25-years-old).

So what can I do.  I work full-time and have just a few hours a night free before I have to get some sleep to start it all over the next day.  I guess the best thing is, don't sit down in my chair - set up my sewing machine right after supper (I sew on the dining room table) and get to work.  I'll have to try it, but sometimes the motivation I had at noon is not still around at 8pm.

Something that may help is Hubby built me a wonderful shelf for Mother's Day to put my fabric out on.  First off I need to make a curtain for the front and fill it full of my fabric that is now in storage totes.  Hopefully just having the fabric out and organized where I can see it will inspire me in the evenings.

We'll see.

The Miche Purse covers I made for my mom were a big success but I forgot to take pictures of them.  I was going to post them for Made By Me Monday, and I forgot.  I think I have a picture of mom holding her purse with one of them on it, but I'll have to check and see.  She loves them and wants more :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My very own messenger bag

Back in March I became the very lucky recipient of a new-to-me laptop.  My dad bought himself a new one and gave me his old one (which was less than a year old).  I was one very happy girl.  I had been using a laptop at home, but it was a small old one I borrowed from work when I had surgery last year.  So to have a very nice big laptop was a wonderful thing for me.

Of course since I now had a laptop, I needed a bag for it.  So I went back through my purchased from etsy patterns and found the Aivilio Charlotte Messenger Bag.  I think this was one of the first batch of patterns I bought from etsy over a year ago.

This pattern is very well done - essentially it's just directions as the pattern pieces are all rectangles that she gives dimensions for.  This pattern offers a small, medium and large version.  I made the large.

The first thing I fell in love with is the fact that you do all the prep work in the early steps and then when you sit down to sew, you sit down for awhile.  No up-and-down with this pattern.  You cut it all out, interface and pin all you can before sitting down.

I did get confused a few times, but after reading it through once or twice more it made sense (this is more on me than on the pattern).

I think it came together very easy and well.  I love the finished product and think the fabrics I chose (cottons from wal-mart) made a nice bag.  The bag is sturdy with the DecorBond interfacing and it fit my laptop perfectly and has lots of pockets for various things.  I started this one around 5pm on Saturday and finished around 8pm - I fixed a simple supper during that time too, so it goes quick.  I did my cutting and prep work while watching some more of the first season of Glee.

I carried it to my parents on Sunday and they ooohed and ahhed appropriately and my husband said "that is a really nice bag" very sincerely so I think they all like it.  I know I do and can't wait to carry it around more.
front view

inside of bag - lots of pockets

back of the bag - more pockets

I have a bunch of Aivilo Charlotte Designs patterns and I believe this is the second I have made up.  The patterns are wonderful and I look forward to making more of them in the future.

You can find the Aivilo Charlotte etsy store here.
Check out her facebook page here.
The messenger bag pattern can also be found here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Made By You Monday: Hobo Slouch Bag by Ali Foster

I'm participating in my first Made By You Monday.  Made By You Monday is hosted by Skip to My Lou and I have gotten so much inspiration by looking at all of the posts over the last few weeks that I wanted to join in as well.

I cut this out a few weeks ago so when I sat down to sew on Thursday afternoon I was able to sew it up in an hour (I timed it because I knew I had a little over an hour from when I started to when I needed to leave to take my youngest son, Jacob to t-ball practice).  It goes together easy and I love this pattern as a purse.

I bought the fabric almost two years ago when I decided to start sewing again.  I have no clue who it was made by, I was new to all of that.  I do know I bought it in a great quilt shop in Wilmington, NC where DH and I were taking a weekend getaway.  I bought it because my mom is a breast cancer survivor (14 years in April) and I love all things with the pink ribbon.  I think it made a cute purse don't you?  I wish I had a little more of it to make some purse accessories (sunglass case, cell phone case), but I don't.  If I ever see it again I will buy more though.

The pattern is by Ali Foster who I first found on etsy and bought a lot of her patterns.  I have made one other purse, but have most of her patterns.  I can't say enough about how great these patterns are.  Ali Foster also has a shop separate from Etsy along with a blog.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Buying Summary - Week ending 5/1/2010

I think I'll start out my new blog with a sewing week summary.  I think I will have a buying summary on Saturday.  Sunday will be the sewing summary (because I do most of my sewing on Saturday) and on Monday I will post a summary of anything new and noteworthy I have seen around, patterns, fabric, blogs, etc.  Of course I will do other posts in between, but I like setting up a schedule that I will never follow :)

So here's my first-ever Buying-Summary, please don't let my husband read this :):

First off my husband did some buying on ebay earlier this week and this reminded me I haven't looked on ebay in quite awhile.  So on Monday off I went and I found some interesting things.  I ordered 3 half-yards of fabric and two patterns from sewnice1957.  I think I finished up my auctions on Tuesday and paid on Tuesday or Wednesday and what was waiting for me in my mail on Friday - but my order and the fabrics are lovely and the patterns are great too (like I need more patterns).  Check out what I bid on below and I will definitely be going back to sewnice1957's shop in the future!

Wednesday also found me on the McCall's/Butterick/Vogue website taking advantage of the big sale.  I am a club BMV member so that meant additional savings.  I ordered 8 patterns (again, like I need more), but they shipped on Friday. I expect them Monday so I'll post next week what I received.

Friday found me at Walmart, I wanted some fabric for a messenger bag I wanted to make this weekend and I needed some fusible fleece to finish a project.  So I came out of there with several pieces of fabric, some medium-weight interfacing, some DecorBond interfacing, a piece of canvas and some velcro.  Lots of projects planned for the future.  My WalMart ladies are so nice that I love shopping in the fabric department and dread the day we lose ours (though I hear it's inevitable).  The Pink and black design I'm making the messenger bag with.  The pink polka dot is actually on a bright green and it's for baby items.  The bottom piece is the canvas fabric for use in bags.

 So that's my week, now it's time to sew.

Using my serger for the first time

I bought a Juno serger after Christmas this year with money I received for Christmas.  I have been wanting to sew knits and other things and truthfully I just wanted a serger.  Well I played with it a little bit after I got it in January then I lost my sewing mojo and didn't use it again until now.

This morning I pulled it out and after fiddling with it awhile I finally got the hang of it.  I think I mis-threaded it the first time and that was the problem I was having.  After solving that, the serging went smooth and I made my first serging project also my first recycle/refashion experiment.

I started with this old dress (does anything scream 90s more than this).

Add to the dated look of the dress is the fact that it's a size 18.  In 2006-07 I went from a size 18 to a size 6 by doing Weight Watchers.  I have since put back on some weight (I'm a 8-10 RTW).  I'm not sure why I was holding on to it, but now I'm glad I did.

First I removed the buttons - I may can use them.

Then I cut off the skirt and cut it into 12.5"x12.5" squares. I serged the edges and there you have it - quick fabric napkins.  We try to use fabric napkins as much as possible and ours are starting to wear out, so this is perfect timing.

But the fun didn't end there.  I bought some green and tan check fabric from the remnant bin yesterday at Walmart for the purpose of making napkins, so why not serge them up too.  So from 7/8 yard I made 6 12.5 x 12.5 napkins and then 6 6 x 6 and 4 5.5x5.5.  The smaller ones work great for the kids. 

Now I'm off to start my messenger bag and back to the sewing machine.