Monday, December 30, 2013

Last of the Christmas Gifts

I managed to recover from all the hacking and coughing, shivers and aches in time to finish up the last few Christmas gifts...

I took a photograph which I traced for this special little embroidery for a
friend who started our local sewing group, Tubs Anonymous (cause we all have
tubs of fabric at home and the local quilting guild had already taken the name,
Prairie Strippers).  I glued it into the frame on Christmas Eve and covered the
mess with some ribbon glued to the back.

My brother hates hugs and touching of any kind so of course
I had to make him this fabulous design from Sublime Stitching.

I love all the felt birds designed by Susan of Downeast Thunder Farm
 and was very happy to get my
Grandma's favorite bird made up for her tree.

The not nieces and nephew have started playing imaginary games like "King"
so I thought I'd make some dress up clothes! I hacked the Tumble Tee pattern for
the make the princess dresses. I used this tutorial for the gathered skirts and cut the front of the Pink
Princess's skirt in thirds to add the lace panel while leaving the back in one piece. I just sewed some
costume necklaces right on so they wouldn't loose them.
The knight/king/warrior costume came from the dollar store and a large piece of purple velvet I cut
into a cape shape and sewed onto the shoulders of the breastplate.

Welp that's about all I've gotten done for the rest of 2013... Stay tuned this week for the wrap up of the Stashbusting Sewalong 2013. We actually have some neat little prizes for those who have participated.... And hopefully we'll have all our ducks in a row and we'll be announcing the details for STASHBUSTING 2014!! Watch out fabric we are coming for you!!

PS. The Fabric Elf chose a winner for my Christmas fabric giveaway! Thanks to all those that participated. The Fabric Elf and I loved hearing your special Christmas memories!
Congrats Sandra! Your package will be in the mail soon.
Hope you all have a great time celebrating and I'll see you in the New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Hello Friends,
  Here's to a belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a lovely time celebrating with family and friends and these last days of the year go well with you. I'm trying to recover from all the germs floating around and prepare things for a great new year. Oh, and relax with friends and family...
  I'm so thankful for all the new sewing friends I've made through blogland and sewalongs and look forward to another great year of sewing with everyone.
  I'm especially thankful for Jesus, that he came to earth and gave us a reason to have Christmas. That at the end of the year we celebrate the beginning of something so mindblowingly huge that our world rocks from His impact to this day. Selfishly I'm most thankful for the strength and guidance he has given me and all the wonderful places I have ended up because of him.
  So, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
               Happy Sewing,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 5 Hits and Misses and Reflections of 2013

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

My Hits, those "favorite creations, most worn or most loved" seemed to match with my misses, those "sewing fails, UFOs, worn once or complete disasters".  So I decided to collage them together.
Hit: Maxi Red Velvet A neutral color allows it to be accessorized and it's simplicity means I can were it anywhere.
Miss: Maxi Tiramisu I only wore it a few times because it was big, heavy and too odd of a design.

Hits! I've got a basic straight leg trouser pattern that I love.
Five pairs of Espresso leggings that are seeing tons of wear.
 Lastly, an almost wearable muslin for a bootcut jean. I just have to make two alterations to the pattern for a perfect fit.
From there I can use it for some skinny jeans.
Misses: The green pants are very wearable as pajamas or lounge wear not the elegant trouser I was going for.
Pink was a vintage pattern that I played and played with. I think they'll be cut up into something else this year.
Half Miss: Navy cords were very wearable but I copped out of a fly front for a side zipper and it has given me nothing but trouble. Next time I'll knuckle down and insert my fly front and if I use that heavy of a corduroy, I'll narrow the leg width.
I'm going to interject here and say, "Nanner nanner, Mistress of the Jar! I tried one leggings and four different trouser patterns this year. One of which is now a TNT and another is two alterations from being perfect as well. No trousers were bought by me!"

Hit: the striped knitted sweater was finished the end of last year but I've worn it TONS and always get compliments. So far the wool has shown little sign of wear.
Miss: This sparkle knit sweater was never blogged. I experimented with a vintage pattern and I just feel like the results are messy. I wear it very infrequently.

Hits: Lots of fabulous tops this year! If I had to choose just five of them it would be these: Cabarita,  Beauty, Camo Fluff, Vibrant Tunic, and Nautical Stripe.  Two were made with my TNT knit top pattern and the other three were patterns made with my measurements.
Miss: My Sew Weekly Top started out as a vintage pattern was cut down and still didn't fit me correctly. I already passed this baby on.
Without any scientific study my top patterns for the year were:
  • Cake's Hummingbird Top (I made 3 and am loving the camo print one now that the cold weather has come)
  • Cake's Red Velvet Dress (I've made 4 dresses 2 for me and 2 for Mom, and one more is planned.)
  • Cake's Espresso Leggings (I've made 7 pair and they're in constant rotation.)
  • Built By Wendy Sew U Home Stretch knit top pattern (This is my TNT set in sleeve pattern and I've used it at least 6 times for myself and twice for others this year)
  • Lastly There have been two children's patterns that I've used quite a bit and have many more plans for. The Parsley Pants and the Tumble Tee. Both simple, both gender neutral, both easy to customize and alter.

Blogging has been so beneficial in helping keep a record of my projects; to helping me think through my choices and discover more about myself. After doing this round up my Top 5 Reflections are:
  • When I start with an idea and follow it through I can come up with some beautiful things. My gut leads me well.
  • I'm a real baby when it comes to putting in fly fronts........
  • Making a list of projects helps me keep from getting overwhelmed by fabric and patterns and allows me to pick up something quickly when I find a few moments to sew.
  • A warm turquoise is my magic color! 
  • I need to let my time online inspire me and not let myself get sucked into Happiness and Creativity Killing Comparison. I also need to get off the computer and go create more.
Inspirations post here.
So what have you learned this year? Do you have a magic color? Do you ever get HCKC? I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and has a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Top 5 of 2013: Inspirations and Goals

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

Ooh I'm so excited to take part in this! What a great way to think back over your year of creating. Crafting a Rainbow has been one of my favorite reads this year and I've really enjoyed her thoughts on color. I decided to start with these categories since they took the least photo collaging this late at night. :)
  • Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?
    • Steph of Sewing Cake  Seeing her build a sewing business from the ground up and developing her own better system of pattern making has been truly an inspiration.
    • Those Who Make  I love relaxing to these videos and if I'm feeling a slump they're sure to reenergize me. The photos are pretty amazing too.
    • Handmade by Carolyn  Beautiful work, beautiful photos. They challenge me to do better without discouraging me with their perfection.
    • Cation Designs, Heather B, These ladies posts always bring me a smile if not a great belly laugh. 
    • The Japanese Sewing Books blog and Japanese style. I really, really like it... or I just really really like moo moos. The jury's still out on this.... :)
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year
    • make some menswear, preferable one of Thread Theory's  ( I have skinny brothers)
    • get a better handle on my colors and understand/find my style
    • (more of a wish) sew myself something from a Japanese sewing magazine or book
    • work on building a cohesive wardrobe. I know this is something that will not happen overnight but I'd like to head that direction.
    • use up the stash so it ALL fits on the shelving I already own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Christmas Elf Gets Merry Giveaway!

Merry Christmas all you sewing fanatics! 
This is the Fabric Elf speaking! I’ve hijacked Em’s blog today because she’s busy finishing up Christmas gifts now that she’s finally quit being sick. Lame, I wish elves got sick days. How come there’s no rest for us poor old elves? All the work we do, sneaking in fabric, 

sorting shelves, 

deciding which projects should be next, bring fabric cheer… Oh yeah! That’s what I’m doing right now!! 

I had a good rummage through Em’s stash while she was coughing in bed and came up with some beautiful bits of vintage fabric that she’ll never miss. 

Some are bigger chunks some are smaller. I dare ya to find them anywhere else! Oh yeah, some buttons too… cause I know you all are suckers for buttons! Muhaahahahahahaha, (cough) I mean, Peace and Love to All! So anyone anywhere in the world can have these delightful goodies by entering this swanky giveaway dealieo below cause us fabric elves are up on our technology! Yeah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 16, 2013

Red Velvet Take Two

Hey Guys, I've finally recovered enough to feel coherent enough to write the next installment of my own personal Red Velvet Saga. This is the serious model edition with no bells or whistles.

Pattern: Sewing Cake's Red Velvet

Size: Mom
Mom's Measurements
High Bust: 34.5
Full Bust: 36
Bust Length: 13
Waist: 32
Her Shape: Short (5' 4") Mother of three in her fifties.

My pattern adjustments before cutting my fabric 

Bodice – According to her measurements I cut a 30 B Bodice front and back which I lengthened 1 inch to get the correct under bust fit.

Dress 1: the muslin 
Fabric: This was an upcycle from two brand new poly/spandex velvet dresses I had been given.

Large sad cowl neck dresses...
  Since I was up cycling I cut the bodice and midriff pieces out of the smaller dress. There wasn't enough fabric to cut the full skirt so I just cut the correct length from the body of the second skirt keeping the pre made hem. I folded some regular pleats in to ease the skirt onto the midriff. Not that you can see any of this since the dress is black.
Because the velvet was heavyweight I used a lighter weight fabric for the neck facing.
She didn't want any pockets.

Final Thoughts: Because of the spandex this dress is a tighter fit. We're waiting for Cocoa and Carmine to finish this outfit off because it definitely needs some color added.

Fabric: This is a Stretch Hatchi Knit in Purple from It is also a soft medium weight poly/spandex blend. Otherwise known as the "Blood Clot Dress" "The Modern Take on Tie Dye Dress" or "The, I like this fabric Dress"

I used her same measurements as the first dress, just lengthened the sleeves to elbow length. I did the scissor pleat skirt. No pockets again.

Final Thoughts: She chose this fabric and I don't think she looks too bad in it! Contrary to what my Father, brother and Aunt think. The guys just think it's wild but my Aunt thinks "old" ladies should wear solids not prints.
What do you guys think? Is this not an age appropriate print? I think she looks pretty great for her age! And why can't she wear a "wild" print if she thinks it's pretty.

On a totally separate note, I got a Facebook page. You should come like me so we can giggle over all the cool stuff I find all over the interwebs. Hope you're all staying healthy and getting to spend lots of time with loved ones as we quickly approach Christmas......

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'm Dreaming of All Bows!

Ever since Erin announced her bow blouse sew along I've been seeing bows everywhere. Even though the sew along is over let the Bows Continue!

I wish I had taken screen shots of this Ajumma from the beginning.
She's head of a housekeeping agency in the drama
My Suspicious Housekeeper.
EVERY SINGLE TIME she's on camera she's wearing a bow blouse or
a ruffled blouse, but most often something with a bow. Solids, prints,
she doesn't care if it has a bow she's gonna wear it.
She's hilarious and I love her! 
Feeling dramatic! Found HERE

FF Blouse 1930s New York 168 Bust 34 Vintage Sewing Pattern
A lovely blouse for average day wear from the 30s!
On Sale Here
The Paradise a BBC drama has all the shop girls wearing bows on their
bums as you can see in this overexposed screenshot. I find this amusing.

Now this blouse I've had saved for awhile. She was a minor character in the
background of the shot but that didn't keep me from noticing her blouse.
This is something I'd love to figure out how to recreate! Isn't it stunning!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Hills Are Alive... With Red Velvet

The hills are alive, with the sound of ...
Sewing machines... or sergers (we're not picky)... 

With songs Cake, (wait, not this cake)
With THIS Cake that will last for a thousand years...
(and is also completely gluten free) 
This dress fills me up with warmth and beauty
and My heart wants to wear every scarf it sees.

So, um just in case you haven't figured it out yet, Sewing Cake's Red Velvet Sewalong just ended and since it was also a contest I was compelled to make as many items as I could. You are now warned! Lots of Cake is going to be happening around here. To simplify things a bit I'm doing separate posts on my dresses, my Mom's dresses and the leggings. To try to keep things coherent I stole some of my template from C Sews who made a fabulous chevron Red Velvet and some from The Quirky Peach.

Pattern: Sewing Cake's Red Velvet

Size: ME
My Measurements
High Bust 35
Full Bust 37
Waist 29 1/4
My Shape: Tall (5'10")

Fabric: bridesmaid dress fabric of medium/heavyweight. Lovely soft probably synthetic stuff that was easy to work with.

My pattern adjustments before cutting my fabric 

Bodice – According to my measurements I cut a 35 C Bodice front and back which I lengthened 3 inches to get the correct under bust look. My second bodice I took the recommended amount out of the front side seam which I think helped with the wrinkles but I'm not sure cause I went crazy and drafted neckline pleats in...

Skirt- 3 inches added at the lengthen line so it would hit me right below the knee hemmed normally. For the maxi skirt I measured from the bottom of the midriff band to the floor (about 42 inches). I placed the pattern on the fabric and cut the top and side seam about 3/4 of the way down. I then measured down the center fold to the length I wanted and pulled the pattern down until the hem rested there and cut the curved hemline. I laid this cut piece out on the fabric to cut my second skirt. It made a nice full skirt without a bunch of billowy fabric everywhere.

Navy Bodice- Besides completely hacking the bodice so it would have neckline pleats, I sewed the pleats before I basted and stitched the neck facing. I stitched the facing down in the shoulder seams but it kept flipping out from the weight of the dress so I tacked it down in front under the pleats.

Lace Bodice- I marked chalk lines measured off the center front and zigzag stitched the lace down before attaching the facing. I stitched the facing down in the shoulder seams and sewed the buttons on front when dress was completed.

Pockets- No pockets in Lace dress. Tiramisu pockets in Navy Maxi Dress.

Otherwise I followed the directions as written! Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, MORE PHOTOS!!
Details and action shots!
So I'm not sure about the pleats, I probably shouldn't
have rushed them and I'm not sure even properly
drafted them... but I love the dress and since I don't stare
at my chest all the time it doesn't bother me.

Second dress for me out of some ugly fabric I dyed a prettier color. It was a nice cotton blend from the deep stash.
Quick photo before I went back to sewing.
Once spring arrives I'm looking forward to wearing
this little gem.
The more I played with this pattern the more I liked it. I wore my Navy dress non stop over the Thanksgiving holidays and even on the plane ride home. I've been trying to make a comfy, nice winter maxi dress and in this case the 4th time's the charm.

When I first began sewing with knits I bought Built By Wendy's book because it had the basic pattern blocks for most knit designs. I feel like Steph is giving us the knit technique building blocks with her patterns as well as giving us an arsenal of pattern pieces we can custom size and mix and match. I had never interfaced knits before and thanks to her tips it turned out beautifully. I can't wait to sew some more cake! How about you?

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Stashbusting Theme

Hello Stashbusters!
  Here we are, facing our last month of the Stashbusting sew along. It seems like just a few weeks ago  Cindy and I were sending emails back and forth getting ready to set this up and now we're discussing it's future.
  November was a crazy month for me and I'll admit I failed to fulfill the Charity challenge. Cindy, on the other hand, made up some adorable plushies and a free pattern! How did November sewing go for you? Link up here and show off your work!

But back to December! Our theme for this month is real simple, Gifts for You and Gifts for ME! Whether you're an unselfish sewist frantically creating for others or lavishing the sewing love on yourself this Christmas, the holidays are a great time to break out the sewing machine and make something special.
Here's my unmade Christmas list in no particular order with the names left off in case some of the receivers would happen to stumble across it.

  1. Large Red Velvet Clutch faux leather, for me. 
  2. Vintage housecoat/bathrobe
  3. THIS DRESS!!! I've been planning it the whole year and it's time to get it done!
  4. Three princess dresses. (already cut)
  5. A prince cape
  6. Tiny felt Chihuahua or chiweenie
  7. Japanese bag (already cut somewhere)
  8. Stargate ornament
  9. Bird ornament
  10. A couple other ornaments
  11. Frame 2 Completed Embroidery pieces
What are your plans as we prepare to wrap up this year of Stashbusting? Is this something you would want to do again?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pink Travel Tunic

Thrift stores are my downfall. How could I resist this vibrant hot pink in a warm woolish fabric? I’m flying to West Virginia with my Mother to visit her side of the family for Thanksgiving and was hoping it would make a nice tunic. Since I’m a diabetic wearing an insulin pump I have to pat myself/my pod down. So, easy yet private access is needed and tunics fit the bill perfectly!

I used my TNT knit top pattern flaring out from the waist line down to the edge of the fabric. Might as well use all of the fabric that you can and us tall girls have to eke out all the length we can. I decided to make the side seams pointy for a fun twist.

My dumb move was ignoring the writing on my pattern and cutting my sleeves too short. I should really trace off a new altered copy. I could have added cuffs but decided to go a bit classier and call it bracelet sleeve length or something…
My fabulous overzealous photography helpers.

I’m pretty happy that I got this done because it is also my contribution to the Bow Blouse Sew-a-long. I went back and forth between a big bow or something a little less in your face and decided to go with a Dior style bow (at least I think that’s what it’s called)  on a slightly scooped neckline. (sorry I don't have a better closeup)

I’ll have to wear an undershirt since it is slightly itchy but it should be warm without bulk and comfy yet cute for traveling. With everything going on this month I was super happy to get something done for the Sewalong. To see more amazing bowness check out Erin’s blog for bows in all their incarnations from the 20's to modern day.
In the second airport. Bow's looking a bit floppy.
I'll have to tack it down.