Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2 + 2 blouse

Here it is! I love, love, LOVE the way this turned out. This is made from another oliver + s pattern, the 2 + 2 blouse and pleated skirt. I haven't made the skirt yet, so I can't speak for it, but this blouse is lovely. Super detailed instructions, just like all the oliver + s patterns. And adorable details, from the gathers and ties to the cute little patch on the front. I'm already looking forward to making the short-sleeve version for next summer.

This is the first piece of the baby's "winter wardrobe". I've chosen purple for her signature color, so you'll be seeing a lot of it. I mostly picked it to match her new shoes, an awesome pair of see kai runs that I bought on sale looooong before they fit her. Coming up in future posts are more pajamas and a winter coat that I'm so excited about, and definitely more blouses too. Possibly some big girl clothes, too!

eta: I've had this post in the pipe for a day and a half because I wanted to get a shot or two of the blouse being worn, but we've been felled by a sick kid and short school days, so I figure I better just post the damn thing before I forget about it. I'll try to add some model shots later if I remember.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sneak Peek!

It' a bloggy sneak-peek! Full loveliness tomorrow! I love this so much, it's just gorgeous. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bedtime Story Pajamas

I've been working on these on and off for awhile and I finally (finally!) finished them today. I made them out of cotton flannel for a friend's new twin boys. They're made from the oliver & s Bedtime Story Pajamas pattern. A really great, pretty easy pattern, great for someone just beginning to sew apparel.

P.S. Sorry for the blogging absence, I took a little hiatus from crafting. But now I'm back and full of plans for Berkeley's winter wardrobe (including a coat!), my first quilt that I'm already in the midst of, and lots of other things.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yeah....it's been awhile. Um. Well, let's see now. I've made a couple things...but I don't have any pictures. I have several projects in the works and in plans, but still no pictures. Hmm....huh. Guess I'll have to get back to you.

Soon! I promise, very soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another flower girl dress

Quick post, mostly just pictures. A different version of this dress. I used the Heather Ross unicorn print double-gauze that I featured here. As I mentioned in the last post, I made this with the size 4 bodice and the size 3 skirt (just shortened a little), and it worked well. I still put buttons in the back, for simplicity, but I think it would have worked without them, too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flower Girl Dress

This is made from a another pattern from Heather Ross' new book, Weekend Sewing. And it's another pattern from that book that I cannot heartily recommend, at least for a beginner. There is errata for this dress that gives advice on resizing the bodice pattern pieces, which is wholly necessary. After looking at the sizing criteria for the pattern and measuring and remeasuring the baby, I ended up making her a size 3, which still wouldn't have fit her if I hadn't halved the seam allowances on the bodice. I should have made her a size 4. Which is ridiculous, because in every other pattern she is an easy 24mo. or 2. The dress fits her snugly in the bodice, as the pattern calls for, but another glance at the errata reveals that they suggest NOT attaching the straps in the back, instead opting for buttons or snaps. Why? Because otherwise it would be next to impossible to get the dress on or off. I opted for buttons in the back, which can just as easily be buttons in the front, because the front and back of this dress are identical.

Now for the good: It works up fast and easy. I cut and sewed the whole thing in half a day. It's also adorable, and I love the longer than average length. It's versatile. It can be a casual everyday sundress as I've made it here, or with some dressier fabric it could make a darling Easter dress or, as the title states, a flower girl dress.

Knowing about the sizing issues, I'll probably make this again. It really is cute. The buttons in the back don't really bother me, but designing and publishing a pattern that requires alteration just to be wearable does bother me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My new, old toy

A Singer Featherweight 221. A super, vintage machine I got for heavy sewing needs, and also for quilting. And because it's cool. I'm happy with my regular machine for regular sewing, garments and such, but it just isn't up to sewing multiple layers or heavy fabrics.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fabric stash

I don't have any completed projects to post today, but I did want to show off some new fabrics that I got recently. The first is quite a bundle, a bunch of stuff from my Mom that she's had for awhile. Most of it is leftovers from the quilts she made for my kids for their first Christmases.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

These are some Mary Engelbreit fat quarters:

These are some wonderful old handkerchiefs that belonged to my grandmother. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, because I want to preserve all the great little details:

Some of the details:

And these were kind of expensive, but I just couldn't help myself. They're from Heather Ross' new line for Kokka, called 'Far, Far Away'. The unicorn print was my favorite by far, so I got three colors:

So gorgeous:

Even the selvages are cute!:

The only problem with the unicorn fabric is the place where I bought it. The dress I was planning to make needs two large skirt pieces, and they cut the fabric so wonky (all three colors!) that the pattern piece won't fit. So I'm planning to email the shop and see what they can do for me, but in the meantime, I can't cut the fabric in case they want to exchange it. So I'm left without my planned project. I have bunches of stuff I can start on, I just don't know what yet. But hopefully I'll have something done (and photographed!) before next weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend Away Travel Bag

Another zipper pouch, this time a little different. This is the Weekend Away Travel Bag, one of the projects featured in Heather Ross' new book, Weekend Sewing. The book has a lot of great tips and gorgeous pictures, but I have to say that I wouldn't recommend it for a novice stitcher. The directions seem to assume a certain amount of knowledge that a novice might not yet possess. On the pattern for this bag, for example: part of the directions tell you to press the top of a side panel and side panel lining down 1/4", then pin right side together and sew a 3/8" seam. Which completely leaves out the necessary detail of only sewing the three sides you didn't press, otherwise you can't attach the zipper panel. Some one who has experience and can anticipate the next step would know that, whereas a beginner might not. I've also read that there's extensive errata (corrections) for this book. But I will definitely keep you updated as I complete more projects, maybe I'll change my mind.

As for this pattern, I can't say I'm a fan. It turned out okay in the end, but it took longer than I would expect for what is basically a simple box pouch. It just seemed unnecessarily fussy and complicated for what it was. Part of the problem might have been that I already had an idea in my head of how to make a pouch like this, and this didn't match up, so it felt wrong. But I'm going to try to make one of these the way I see it in my head, so I'll find out which I like better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Open-top box

I'm really proud of myself for this one. The idea for this came about because I got a new purse. A lovely new Fossil purse. The only problem was there was no secure place in my lovely new purse to keep my camera, which I carry everywhere. I knew I didn't want a traditional camera case, because I wanted something with easy access, so I could grab my camera for a quick shot. So I came up with the idea for an open-top box with rigid sides and padded walls. And will wonders never cease, I was actually able to make one without too much trouble.

I used dishtowel fabric left over from my tote bag.

Sorry for the craptastic camera phone picture, but I wanted to show it with the camera inside.

If I were to make another one, I think I would add another layer of batting for extra padding, and I would use some kind of plastic (instead of cardboard) for the walls, because it would be nice to be able to wash it. But I'm happy because I don't have to worry anymore about my camera getting banged around in my purse. And because I made something cool.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Zipper pouches!

I've been feeling a little bored with patterns lately. I don't know why I decided to try zipper pouches. I certainly don't need any as I received several for Christmas last year. I guess I was feeling confident enough to try another zipper project after the success I had with the zipper pocket in the Day in the Park tote.

So rather than consult one of the thousands of zipper pouch tutorials that are sure to be found online, I decided to try to figure it out myself. My first attempt was a spectacular failure. I didn't even take pictures; it was that ugly. I had made the outer pouch and the lining pouch separately, and tried to add the zipper last...big mistake. It just not possible to do it that way and get a neat stitch-line. So I ripped it apart and tried it again, this time adding the zipper first, before the pouch took shape. And I ended up with this:

(as an aside, the fabric for this pouch came from pockets that I cut out of some pajama pants!)

I liked it, so of course, I kept going:

inside of the striped one:

And for tomorrow, a true original! An open-top, hard-side box pouch...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Day in the Park

Another new bag! Another oliver + s pattern! Well, it's actually Liesl and Co., but it's the same person. This is the A Day in the Park Backpack Tote. Super cute design, kind of complicated, but it turned out really well. This was the bag I had already begun when I got all my new fabrics and couldn't wait to start a dress instead. I was also kind of intimidated by this pattern, because there are a whole bunch of pieces and it looked complicated. But once I hunkered down and just did it, it came together pretty quickly. I accomplished several "firsts" with this pattern, namely first zipper pocket, first magnetic snap, first time using heavy interfacing, and first time using rivets.

There's also a flickr pool of just these bags, and it's pretty neat to see all the different ways people interpret the same pattern.

as a tote:

as a backpack:

the inside:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tote bags

Time for totes! These were made from dishtowels, the Orla Kiely for Target collection. Really great fun prints. If you're lucky, your Target might still have some left, but they're pretty much sold out at this point, I think. I really wanted to find the green pear print one, but no dice. My starting point for these was a tutorial from Ashley, over at Film in the Fridge. Definitely check out her blog, she does some amazing stuff. Then I tweaked the size a bit, added a couple pockets, and Bob's your uncle (actually, my cousin) you have a tote bag! Or if you're me, you have three!

Bag #1:

Which reverses to:

Bag #2:
(I did a little applique on the pocket here).

Which reverses to:

Bag #3:

Which reverses to:

I think I'm going to keep the brown one, and put the other two up in my Etsy store.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Busy, busy...

I'm still here! Well, to be more precise: I was gone on vacation, but now I'm back! No new dresses (yet...as my mom says, how many dresses does she need?), but I've been making tote bags. I found an awesome tutorial online, and I've been staying up too late working on them. I've got one finished, and two more about halfway done, so I'll post pictures and a link to the tutorial in the next day or two.

While on vacation, I picked up a little embroidery project at a craft store (Hobby Lobby, anyone? We don't have them here). I've never attempted it before, but I needed a portable project for the looooooo*gasp*oooooooonnnng car ride. (Hey, did I mention it was long?) Well, probably not the best pick for a bumpy car ride, but I got the hang of it eventually. I don't know when or if I'll ever finish it, probably not until my next roadtrip, but I'll be sure to get some pictures up if I do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Popover Sundress

This is made from an awesome vintage pillowcase I bought on etsy, from FineVintageLinens' shop. I bought it back in February, wanting to make it into a dress, but I hadn't found the right pattern for it, until now. Yet another oliver + s pattern, this one is called the popover sundress, and it's not available on their website. It was included in Issue 6 of Sew Hip, an absolutely gorgeous UK sewing magazine. So once I had the pattern, I just needed the accent fabric for the yoke and straps, and some coordinating rick-rack, and I was in business. [I have to say, this was probably the easiest fabric find I've ever had. I had an idea of what I wanted when I walked in the store, I saw this one, I liked the print, and the color was a spot-on match! Probably only took me sixty seconds! Which is unheard of for me, my kids flat-out refuse to go with me to the fabric store because I hem and haw (see what I did there?) and generally take forever.]

I can't get enough of the Irish crochet details on this, plus a dress is that much easier when the hem is done for you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bubble Dress

Finally, pictures of the dress I've been making. It's the bubble dress pattern from oliver + s. They give it a two out of four scissor difficulty rating, which I agree with. There are some challenging aspects to it, but I think any fair sew-er with experience following a pattern could do it. The fabric is a Japanese double gauze by Nani Iro, the Fuccra print in pale pink. I got it at Superbuzzy, and I think they're out of that color, but last I checked they still had it in blue.

and the back:

P.S. Gah, please excuse the wrinkles; I'm not much of an ironer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Good news: the new dress is finished, and looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. Bad news: I can't prove it, because I didn't get any pictures of it yet! Definitely, definitely tomorrow. But in the meantime, a couple of other things I've made fairly recently.

This is from a super easy pattern (a Butterick, I think) that I will dig out and find the number of if anyone is interested. It's a swing top with piping, and matching bloomers.

This next one is an oliver + s pattern, the tea party sundress. Pretty easy to put together, but the details look impressive. There are also bloomers that match the bodice fabric.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I have zero discipline or willpower...I started a new dress with my pretty, pretty new fabric! 'Started' is misleading; I'm nearly finished, actually. I would probably still be sewing right now, trying to finish it, but my back was crying for mercy. I hope to finish it tomorrow, but I'm going out of town until Friday afternoon, so I might run out of time between packing and everything else. But I will definitely finish it and get some pictures and details up before the weekend is out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


A sampling of some of things I've made in the past.