Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quilted purse

Worked on a quilted purse for a belated Christmas gift over the weekend.  The pattern is Simplicity 2551, but the instructions call for purchased pre-quilted fabric, which I did not have, so I made my own.  I simply layered a piece of muslin, cotton batting and my printed fabric cut larger than my pattern piece and machine quilted in a square pattern with copper metallic thread.  I don't think the quilting really stands out in the photos, but it blended in nicely with the metallic in the prints.  Once I quilted it, I pinned my pattern piece to the quilted fabric and cut everything out.  Everything I used was from my stash, so I didn't have to buy anything but the tassle I attached to the zipper pull.  Overall, I really like the purse, although next time I will definitely use a darker zipper, but off white was what I had so that's what I used.  This pattern did not call for lining the purse, but I really prefer a lined purse, so I lined with one of the same cotton prints and used some leftover hand dyed silk bias for the binding the edges.  Overall, I'm very pleased.  I really like fast quick projects and even more so when I can use up some of my stash.  And, after I finished I even cleaned out 2 drawers and one cabinet in my sewing room!  Impressed?  I am!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Butterick 5394

I used this Butterick Pattern not only as inspiration for this wrap, but also as the pattern for the top (shown in red on the pattern envelope.  Mine was made out of interlock jersey knit and I loved the blue color.  I love the way it turned out, although the neck did seem to stretch a bit, so next time I would probably use a lightweight interfacing that was not called for on the pattern. 

I love to wear it with either a turtleneck sweater underneath or a crisp white dress shirt.  I'm very pleased overall, but wish I had gone ahead and made 2 buttonholes instead of the one.  Was trying to rush my way through it!  ^&%$!!!!!!!!!!

The wrap was inspired by the gray wrap on the pattern envelope, but since I was using a reversible wool/cotton knit, I did not want to follow the pattern directions as they called for a seam across the back and I preferred to have one piece that would truly be reversible.  I decided to use a hand dyed silk bias binding to finish the edges, and simply stitched just as you would a quilt binding.  The binding was generously donated to me and I wanted to use it for something unique and this seemed to fit the bill.  I LOVE the blue and yellow tints that show up in the green binding.  If you've never tried dyeing silk, you MUST try it.  I will include instructions on that in another post. 

Normally I wouldn't wear this wrap with a belt, but instead criss-crossed under my arms.  It's like wearing a warm cozy blanket around your shoulders.  I love it, it was fast and fun to make and would make a great gift.  One side is a brown jersey wool and the green side is an ultra soft cotton jersey knit.  And basically it's a giant T shaped piece of fabric so no pattern is needed.  Another option would be to just make the shawl part of it and add a nice embroidered fabric for the piece along the back.  You could attach it with buttons and then be able to interchange fabric pieces.  Just an idea!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I really should blog more!

I've really been doing a very poor job of keeping my blog up to date.  I'm sorry.  I've been working on many small projects that I will try to photograph and get up soon.  Today I finished most of my shopping, got them all wrapped and Christmas cards signed, addressed, stamped and ready to go.  I'm so proud of myself!  I'm very jealous of my blogging friends on the east coast though.  Although I could do without the snow, it would be really nice to be snowed in and do nothing but work on sewing projects. Aahh well, I am going to do a better job of posting interesting information on sewing related things in the weeks ahead.  Don't give up on me yet! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sewing Projects - To Do List

Spent an enormous amount of money on fabric today to start some fall sewing projects. Here's what I'm planning:
The first is a ruffled blouse out of a white wavy textured silk.
The wrap dress is out of a maroon colored Bill Blass rayon/viscose knit. It is really heavy and will make a great fall/winter weight dress.
The cowl neck blouse is out of a lightweight pink cotton jersey knit.
The highwaist skirt is out of a black wool crepe to go with the jacket I have already made (picture below).
The short sleeve jacket is out of a white Ellen Tracy cotton jacquard.
And a corduroy jacket is in plum with an irridescent lining (not pictured). I will post pictures as soon as I start. It's a lovely corduroy though, the softest I have ever felt.
This is the jacket that got me started on all of this and for which I am making the black wool crepe skirt. The black fabric is a laser cut cotton and the underlining is a blue stretch linen. It was fun to make and the laser cut fabric does not really "chenille" like I was afraid it would after I washed it.

Here's my favorite fabric right now, but I don't know what to make out of it, so please send me your thoughts. ( I have 2 yards and it's 60" wide) It's a handpainted silk organza with silver metallic embroidery. It's divine, but I'm almost afraid to cut into it!
Planning on staying pretty busy! Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Presents in July!

I'm copying this directly from

Here's how it works. The first five people to leave a comment on this post will get something from me. But in return, you have to do the same thing on your blog and make something for five other people.

The details are as follows, and if you want to play, copy the following onto your blog and leave me a post:
1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It’ll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.It's easy, right? I mean, you can do just about anything.
I'm not opposed to shipping overseas.

I just LOVE presents!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Reading

Just picked up the new book The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My all time favorite book is The Shadow of the Wind by this same author. If you've never read it, you should! When I read that he has this new book out, I knew I had to get it. For once, I can't wait to sit out at baseball pratice for 2 hours so I can start reading! I'll let you know how I like it . . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Long Time No Blog

Wow! It's been a long time since I've last blogged. I've been busy! My husband retired from the Navy and my son graduated from high school - sniffle, sniffle! I was crazy busy planning these events but I did make some cool stuff - several tops and a dress.

This is a horrible picture of me in particular so I'm leaving it small - but the dress was from BWOF and my daughter's dress was a made from an embroidered cotton - pattern # to following since I can't seem to find it now!

For the graduation I made a top from a very pretty purple colored silk twill. I loved the color and the pattern is Simplicity #0508. Hard to tell in this picture, but it's a simple pullover top.

I've also recently made a sheer tunic from a previous BWOF that l like very much too! It's a lime green print with purple acorns and white branches - picture to follow!

And the most exciting news of all is that I got an iPhone for Mother's Day! Now normally I return whatever expensive gift they give me, but not this time! Darling husband was probably hoping I would, but nope, not this time. I LOVE THIS PHONE! It's amazing. I can read all the wonderful blogs I follow and check out pattern review any time I want - even when I'm waiting in the carpool line or sitting out at a baseball practice. I instantly get my e-mails, have my shopping list, calendar, and can even search recipes all while waiting on someone to finish something. My geographical location is recognized by the phone and then it tells me what restaurants, movie theaters, and gas stations are available. It can even tell me the healthiest options at the restaurant I chose and when I'm done, it figures out the tip! It tells me how fast I take my walks, how many calories I've burned and how far I've gone. The kids and I are going geocaching all with my phone! AND, it's an iPod too! Who's the cool techno mom, um that would be ME! I can even BLOG from my PHONE! I'll try that later!

Time to figure out my next project and hopefully document it a little easier as I go. Happy sewing!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Finished purse!

I finished the purse! Here it is in various stages. I used plastic canvas to give it shape and stability and sewed a strip of the zebra print to the handle. I added purse feet so it would stand nicely and voila - the finished purse. It does have a zippered closure as well as the magnetic flap and the lining has a zippered pocket too. It went together pretty quickly and although I used the BWOF 02-2009 issue as starting point, I did not follow their directions and made additions as I saw fit - like the pocket and the zippers and the feet, and I did not make the straps as long as theirs nor did I make them adjustable. My straps measure about 24 inches, which made for a comfortable hanging height on me. I like the shape, so I may end up making more - it was easier than I thought it would be and it was fun! Next I'm working on a dress from the same BWOF issue. Tomorrow I make a duct tape double in a class. Happy sewing!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Purse project

SEW I'm starting on a purse to use up some of my stash. I had bought some zebra and giraffe print wool last September thinking I would make purses for my nieces for Christmas and that never happened (shocker I know!) so now that I'm cleaning out my sewing room I am actually using the stuff I'm finding buried under other stuff. Here's a picture so far - I'm using the Feb. 2009 BWOF purse pattern as a starting point, but adding my own ideas as I go.

I used a celery ultrasuede instead of leather and a periwinkle blue silk for the piping. I'm adding a zipper to the top because I always spill the contents of my purse when I slam on my brakes (which hardly ever happens! - but I want to be prepared just in case). I'm lining it with a celery rayon and have added purse feet (I have no idea what they are actually called) but they look like little studs sticking out of the bottom. A girl should always have studs sticking out of her purse don't you think? I am also including a tab with a magnetic closure because most of the time I won't zip it closed but would like stuff to stay in anyway. More pictures to follow!

Monday, February 16, 2009


The fabric store I work in has mice! They've been there a couple of weeks now and come out every now and then to scare the living beejeezes out of me and then dart back off into the store room. It freaked me out at first, but I'm getting more used to it. I find it kind of funny that a fabric store has mice, the whole Cinderella thing comes to mind - what are they making a dress in the dark abyss of the store room? If so, just where's that damn fairy godmother when you need her?!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, happy Valentine's day one and all! Hope everyone is spending the day with the ones they love. Once again, this has nothing to do with sewing, but it is my blog so I guess anything goes! I spent most of the day in my pj's, which was truly delightful! My 17 year old son left for a weekend trip which has made it pretty quiet and lonely around here, but at least he did give me a hug and kiss and wish me a happy Valentine's day before he left. My darling husband politely suggested it to him though, so I'm feeling the blues as our oldest is quickly nearing the time when he will fly the coop. My mom always said I would never know how painful that is until it happens to me, and she was of course 100% right! I did fix a nice dinner and husband, 1o year old daughter, 9 year old son and I had a quiet candle lit dinner for four. Thought about going down to the dungeon and digging in some more on the sewing room, but energy level is low on this cold, dreary Colorado day. To make matters worse, the USA channel has shown non-stop love movies all day and I got started watching "The Breakup" with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. What a waste of 2 hours! The title sums it all up - no happy endings here. Geesh! Couldn't they have at least picked the sappy ones where everyone lives happily ever after? It's Valentine's Day for crying out loud!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cleaning out, cutting off and starting on. . .

Cleaning out . . . .

Yep, I told myself I could not start another project until I cleaned out my messy sewing room. The task is overwhelming, so I'm taking baby steps here. Tonight I sorted through a stack of magazines and tore out those articles/projects that I was interested. I've vowed to do this as I read them from now on!

Cutting off . . .

Congrats to my darling daughter who cut off 12 1/2 inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love! She was so afraid her hair would be too short and boyish, but she had enough to have it lay just below her shoulders! We're so proud and so very thankful we have a healthy child who can do this for someone else.

Starting on . . .
OK, so I put this last because even though I told myself I would not start on another project until my sewing space is organized, I just can't do it. In my hope the that damn groundhog is wrong, I'm starting on a spring linen jacket. I got the pattern from Favorite Things and am using a dusty blue linen with a pale lime print silk lining. It's a simple tailored mandarin jacket, but I did decide to add welt pockets to it. I'm still getting the hang of these, but they turned out ok. (picture to follow soon!)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cool Couture

Finally received my autographed copy of Cool Couture by Kenneth King. I really like this book and I will definitely try his technique for welt pockets. I am currently working on a linen mandarin jacket that does not call for pockets, but I love pockets on jackets that I will most often wear running errands and such, so I think I will alter this pattern to include the pockets. There are alot of chapters devoted to piping in this book, which probably would have come in handy when making the silk mandarin jacket, but oh well, too late for that! I think I probably could have found most the instructions for things like lapped zippers and perfect seam finishes on organza in old Threads articles, but nice to have in one place for reference. He includes some information on adding prairie points as finishes to garments which sounds kind of interesting since it's traditionally a quilting technique and a chapter on tassel making. The examples shown on passementerie "the art of making elaborate decorative trims and edgings from thin cord", are out of this world! Overall, it's a nice book to treat yourself to!

Friday, January 23, 2009

70 one day, snow the next!

I am sitting here looking out my window to flakes the size of quarters. One thing you gotta LOVE about Colorado is the weather! Yesterday it was almost 70 and the kids wore shorts to school - today it's snowing, but only at our house and not 3 miles down the road.

Sewing-wise I am not working on any garments but have started a quilt for my mother-in-law's February birthday, or perhaps Mother's Day, or maybe even Christmas depending on when it actually gets finished.

I am also about to clean out my sewing room as it was messier than my teenage son's room - and that's downright hazardous! I have no idea what I will do with myself when my house is in perfect order, but that is what I am striving for. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Finished Jacket!

I am finally finished with the jacket and am very pleased with the results. The piping turned out much better than I expected and the garment drapes nicely. The pattern was New Look #6519. I also added a bit of machine embroidery to the lining instead of a designer label. Overall it was a fun project and goes together rather quickly. The fabric was a bit expensive but I think I will keep this piece for a good long time. I loved the raglan sleeves and the slope of the shoulders actually matched mine! I like that this jacket will look equally good dressy or casually with jeans. As this jacket was made for a sample at Textile-O-phile, it will be a while before I actually get to wear it -but can't wait until I can!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mandarin Jacket

This is what I am currently working on. . . . . It is a New Look pattern that I have somewhat modified. I added piping to the princess seams and added embroidery to the lining (picture to soon follow!) In this photo I have not yet attached the collar or larger piping all around the outer edge and the contrasting sleeve band. I made a muslin prior to cutting my fabric and was happy with the fit with some minor tweaking (waist and shoulders). The lighting in this photo is very poor, but I chose a rusty coral randomly pleated dupioni with the contrast of an olive green embroidered dupioni. The piping is cut from a blue green cotton/silk blend. That is also what I chose for the lining. I was a little concerned about how all this would drape, but so far I have been very pleased with the result. I especially liked the curve of the raglan sleeve - it matched the slope of my shoulders very well. I had read some reviews that the shoulder slope created a somewhat armour looking poof, but I guess I just lucked out here. I'll keep you posted on my status! Happy sewing!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yep, it's a Monday!

This has absolutely nothing to do with sewing, but what a horrific day it's been. I broke the washer - yes, normally that would thrill me, but today I not only have loads to do, I have mountains to do! It did look like a scene from I Love Lucy, what with me trying to turn the shut off valve and water (hot water!) spraying me all over simultaneously! Oh well! I found the part I need to replace online - it's called a fill valve - and it costs $40! I could have bought fabric with that! Now do you see why I'm SEW bummed! Oh well, it can only get better from here - right?!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Faux fur jacket

I am very fortunate in that I work in an independent fabric shop. Yes, someone actually pays me to sit and sew samples and handle luxurious fabrics! Truth be told, I'd probably work for free! And I practically do - (I've never had such a low paying job), but I wouldn't trade it for anything! Anyway, my latest project was a jacket for my daughter. The body of the jacket is a wool/lycra blend with a faux fur collar and trim. The lining is a stretch polyester. The pattern was from the Dec. 08 Burda World of Fashion magazine. The pattern called for an imitation leather for the jacket, but I used the wool because I liked the color. I did fuse the wool with a fusible weft to keep it from stretching. I fused the lining with a lightweight tricot fusible interfacing as well. Sewing with the fur was really not bad at all. The Burda instructions were reasonably easy to understand - though I really didn't follow them for the sleeve vents - they were a little confusing there. I also eliminated the pockets for the same reason. I modified the pattern by adding the trim along the bottom and adding a belt - the pattern called for belt loops but no belt, which seemed odd to me, so I just made one. I did find the pattern to run a bit small overall, but I made allowances for this in my seam allowance. Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome and my 10 year old daughter loves it, so what more could I ask for? Coming soon . . . . duster length mandarin jacket from a rust colored pleated dupioni and an olive embroidered dupioni.