Jun 302011

This top was finished just in time to wear it to church on Sunday and I was amazed at how many compliments I got.



Here’s my review:

Pattern Description:  An empire waist top with bias skirt and three sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing: 4, 6, 8, 10 ,12

 Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  I made the view C skirt with view A flutter sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were fine.  Just keep in mind that you’ll be jumping around between the sleeve and skirt variations, so don’t get confused. 

Also, I wish patterns that call for a particular kind of fabric or seam finish would take that into account in their directions.  I’ve been sewing for many years, so I know when to use french seams, but it could be helpful to beginners for the pattern to have said, “You’ll want to use a french seam here.”

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was concerned that the style might make me look pregnant, but the bias cut kept my lightweight fabrics nice and drapey.  I would be careful about using any fabric that’s too heavy or stiff.

It’s difficult to get the back zipper to look nice on the bias skirt.  Next time I’d definitely use an invisible zipper and shorten it a bit. 

Fabric Used:  For the underskirt and lining I used a loosely woven, semitransparent fabric that I think might be rayon.  For the overskirt and sleeves I used a 4-way sheer stretch knit.  I didn’t bother to cut the knit on the bias, only the woven.

 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  According to my measurements I needed a size 18, but it only went up to 12, so I cut all vertical seams with an extra 3/8″.  This worked out just right.  I also moved the bust gathers so they would be under the fullest part of the breast.  Seems kinda silly to have the gathers off to the side!

Instead of narrowing hemming I serged a rolled hem on the skirt and sleeve edges.

If I had it to do over I would cut out the bias skirts in advance and let them hang for a day or so to stretch out.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would make it again, and am looking for more sheer fabrics to use. 

Conclusion:  This is a really cute top and I can see it becoming a wardrobe staple.  You just have to make sure to choose appropriate fabrics for the style.


Jun 292011

Happy What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday, all!

If you’d like to see what other folks around the world are up to on this Wednesday, go here.

My desk today shows I’m in the midst of making this jacket out of black denim:


Nearly half of the pieces require fusible interfacing, so I hauled out my press to do the job.


I inherited this press from my mother-in-law and just love it.  I wish I had a place to keep this amazing tool set up all the time, it would certainly get more use.  The lovely thing about using a press to apply fusible interfacing is that you get a complete fuse, no bubbles, no ripples and no missed spots.

This is one project that makes me very thankful for patternreview.com, as there have been several problems noted with this pattern.  Reviewers have said that the shoulders are actually far more dropped than in the sketch on the pattern cover, the sleeves are too narrow at the cuffs and the pocket placement is weird.

You can kind of see these things in the below photo of the finished garment.  (I have to wonder if it was deliberately made of a busy fabric so these problem wouldn’t be apparent?)


Anyhow, I decided to carry on with this particular pattern and make my own corrections because I couldn’t find another jeans jacket pattern with all the interesting style lines.

I hope to finish it today and then I’ll be sure to post a review, including how all the changes can be made and pitfalls to avoid.

Jun 272011

This is a fun scrapbook layout for a road trip, all the circles really give the feeling of motion.

parris island road trip scrapbook page left

Yes, those are printed maps. We didn’t have a GPS at the time, but still managed to get there.  Imagine that. 🙂

To make the map pocket on the page I cut a rectangle of cardstock about 1″ wider and 1/2″ taller than I wanted for maps and added Dimensional Adhesive squares to the sides and bottom.  When the page was added to the album I cut a slit in the page protector so the maps could be removed.  Make sure to punch little circles at each end of the slit; this keeps it from splitting further along that line.

The font I used on the capitals in the journaling is called Times Old Attic.

parris island road trip scrapbook page right

I used my Coluzzle to cut all the circles, but would definitely prefer to use the Spellbinders Large Standard Circles Dies.

parris island road trip scrapbook two page layout

The letters I used for the “Road Trip” title began their lives looking like this:


Kinda girly for the Marines, eh?

But after an application of  crackle paint, they were perfect for this page.


Don’t be afraid to take what you’ve got and alter it to suit your needs.

Happy crafting!

Jun 232011

Today is time for a few quick projects.  After spending the last several weeks working on machine quilting a queen size quilt, as well as making Roman shades for my living room, I was quite ready for something far less epic, ya know?

Cases for my new sunglasses and camcorder seemed to fit the bill.  You’re gonna love this tutorial, all it takes is one piece of fabric and two seams.  These took about 10 minutes each, and much of that was time spent choosing fabric.  🙂

First off, you need to measure the item you want to make a case for.  Use a flexible tape measure to decide how wide around the case needs to be.  Add 1″ to this measurement.


I want this to be 7″ around, so my first dimension is 8″.

Next measure how tall your case should be.  Take this measurement, double it and add 1″.  Since I want my case to be 6″ tall, my other dimension is 13″.  (6×2) +1=13

Now cut a rectangle of fabric with those dimensions, in this case 8″x13″.  (Add fusible interfacing to the back if you wish.)


Sew the longer edges together, making a tube.


Press this seam open.


Now meet the remaining raw edges.  You have to pull the tube up over itself to do this.  Make sure the right side of the fabric is on the outside.


Here I’ve started pulling the tube up.


Here the raw edges are meeting.  At this point you’ll want to meet the seams together as well, this will make sure your tube isn’t twisted.


Now flatten out your tube and stitch together the raw edges. Finish the seam by pinking, zigzagging or serging.


Now turn this inside out, using a point turner to poke out the bottom points.  You’re done!


And here it is completed, the sunglasses fit perfectly.

Of course I couldn’t stop there, but went digging through my stash of orphan quilt blocks to make this fancier case for my sunglasses:


And this for my camcorder:


To use the heart block, I first pieced on extra fabric, then cut it to the needed size. Keep in mind that half of the fabric will be on the inside for the lining.  (I recommend you first make a case with just a rectangle of fabric, then you’ll see how it goes together.)


For the camcorder case I made little pockets on the back for spare batteries.


This was done by folding pieces of mesh in half (the fold is the top edge of the pocket.)


Zigzag or straight stitch to make the bottom of the pocket.


Add the second pocket and baste along sides and bottom.  This was then stitched to my star block.  After that I added more black fabric to the top and bottom of the star to make it 8″x13″.

When sewing the final seam (bottom edges) make sure to position your block where you want it.  This part is a little fiddly.  Like I said, if you sew one first with just plain fabric, you’ll see how it all goes together.


Have fun.  🙂

If you make your own custom cases, make sure to upload your pics to the gallery!


Jun 222011

Welcome to another edition of What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  What the heck is that, you ask?  It’s just a chance for a bunch of us to see what’s happening on the desks of other creative people around the world.  For more info and lots of links to workdesks, go here.

My desk today shows two sets of Roman shade hardware, ready for the shades to be mounted.  Off on the bottom left you can see a corner of one of the shades.  I just have to press them, defur them (my cat thinks they are the perfect place for a nap) and insert the ribs and weight rods.  The final steps will be to string the cords and mount them in the window.

what's on your workdesk wednesday-roman shades

I’m really excited to get these done, as my living room faces the south and the blinds I made many moons ago are quite a mess from the sun.  This time around I used a lining with UV protection, so they should last quite a bit longer.

I could post a tutorial on how to make Roman shades, but honestly, I don’t think I could do a better job than they do over at make-roman-shades  You can get a pattern made up in minutes, save it on their site for a year, be able to print it for $2.99 or get it free with a $25 purchase.

The pattern really is a set of step-by-step directions with all the measurements personalized to your requirements.  Follow all her tips to the letter, she’s truly got all the kinks worked out!

Once you enter your dimensions (there are tips for how to take all the measurements correctly) you’ll get a customized supply list, with explanations of what everything is used for.  I’ve shopped at this site several times for my own personal shades and for clients and can’t recommend them highly enough.

So happy Woyww, ya’ll!  I’m off to get those shades finished.

*********Update June 23, 2011**********

Several of you asked to see the completed shades.  These are not the most exciting photos, as I made them out of a solid fabric.  But, it’s the clean, crisp look I was going for.

roman shades two windows

The color on the walls is one of those I call “chameleon paints.”  It looks completely different at different times, depending on the light.  In these pics it looks brown, but in other light it looks like a lighter shade of the green I used in the shades.

roman shade

Btw, there is one itty bitty change I would make regarding to the make-roman-shades website.  Don’t bother to order the screws for mounting the boards.  The ones they send are slotted, not phillips, and they nearly drove me out of my mind.

My woodworking hubby recommends you buy your own 3″ phillips head wood screws and drill a pilot hole first.  This was at least a million and one times easier, in my opinion.  🙂

Jun 202011

Here’s a scrapbook page that incorporates a large piece of memorabilia.  Sometimes these kinds of things are tucked away in pockets and hidden, and sometimes they’re embraced as part of the design of the page.

marine graduation scrapbook page

I wanted the program from Josh’s boot camp graduation to not only be visible, but accessible.  This was accomplished by stapling the green and blue paper strips near the bottom of the page, leaving a little space to accommodate the thickness of the program.

What isn’t pictured here is a slit in the page protector across the width of the program, near the top (centered on the top button.)  The slit and the strip of paper are just enough to hold the program in place, but you can easily pull it out.

This is a trick I use often to be able to access items within scrapbook pages.  You make the cuts by putting the page into the protector, then inserting a clear glass mat between the page and the plastic protector.  Because the glass is clear you can see exactly where to make the cuts using a craft knife and a ruler.

Whenever you cut your page protector, make sure to add a small round punch to each end of the cut.  This keeps it from continuing to split along the same line.

The date was done using my favorite date Clear Stamp – Messy Dates (Autumn Leaves by Rhonna Farrer).  It was stamped on twill tape with Black StazOn Permanent Ink, then the tape was inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

The background paper began its life as a solid Bazzil Basics cardstock, which I rubbed, dabbed and spritzed with Vintage Photo, Peeled PaintFaded jeans and Walnut Stain Distress inks.  I LOVE how you can completely change the look of papers with a few swipes of an ink pad!

Well, I’m nearly done showing you Marine Corps boot camp pics.  This is good, as he’s nearly done with the Marine Corps, lol. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five years since we saw him off to boot camp.

Happy crafting!

Jun 172011

Every so often Fabric.com sends out a free pattern from HotPatterns.  This cute little number came along a couple months ago and I finally got it made last weekend.

Sporty Sarong Short HotPatterns Pattern Review

(I promise I did blow dry my hair this morning.  In this humidity this is the best one can expect, lol.)

You can find the free pattern here.

Here’s my review on Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: The sweetest little sporty-femme shorts, designed for medium-to-lightweight fluid or drapey fabrics like crinkled gauze, hammered satin, washed linen or voile, crepe, or rayon. Pull-on, slightly flared shorts have a narrow elastic waistband, and a flared, tie-front sarong-style skirt attached through the back waist seam. Shorts and sarong overlay finish at mid-thigh with a narrow hem. This is the perfect piece for all your summer sports and pastimes…jogging, biking, sailing, tennis, hiking or yoga. You’ll also love these worn with a simple tank or T-shirt as an easy beach or pool-side cover-up.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 6-26 included

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, adorable!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were easy to follow, but make sure to pay close attention when attaching the back of the sarong to the back of the shorts and when attaching the elastic band. You don’t want to catch the front of the sarong in the band.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that it was free! I didn’t care for having to print out all the pages and assemble them. But, hey, that’s the price for free! 🙂 What I suggest is that after you get your pattern all assembled, trace your size in the pattern pieces you need onto pattern tissue or tracing paper. This makes handling while cutting out and sewing much easier, rather than trying to deal with the computer paper.

Fabric Used: I used a nice drapey rayon challis. You definitely want whatever fabric you use to be drapey, not stiff.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I serged the edges of the sarong. Also, I left an opening in the waistband casing seam to insert the elastic. Then you only have this little bit to sew up by hand.

waistband opening casing for elastic

Another thing I like to do with an elastic waistband is to stitch through the casing and elastic at the sides to keep the elastic from twisting.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew it again, in fact, I plan to make several! It’s so comfortable and cute.

Conclusion: This project works up quickly and it great to wear. It does take a fair amount of fabric, about 2.75 yards of 60″ wide. You might be able to reduce that if you piece the sarong tie to the front.

By the way, this pattern uses ready-to-wear sizing. Here’s HotPattern’s measurement chart.

Oh, and the necklace and bracelet?  I’d made those to sell on Etsy, but when I saw how well that went with this outfit I decided to keep them.

Actually, I’ve decided to keep, um, five of the six necklaces I made to sell. Gonna need some new jewelry storage…

Jun 162011

This is an album I made a while back, but I’m taking another look because I’m thinking of updating it and adding more photos.

Back in 2004 our boys were 14 and 16.  There was lots of teenage angst flyin’ around and my husband was feeling like a really terrible father.  So I put together this little album for him as a Father’s Day gift, hoping it would be an encouragement.

Remember way back when AOL was sending out all those cds in tins?  Well, that’s where this started.


I used Mod Podge to decoupage scraps of papers on the outside of the tin.  The center of the twine with beads was glued to the back of the tin.  I honestly don’t remember what I used to antique it, as this was before I was aware of all the distress inks.  It’s probably thinned down brown acrylic paint.

Then I cut papers from a 4″x6″ paper pad to fit the inside, leaving an extra 1/4″ on the width of each page to make an overlap to glue them together.

Here’s how the album opens out.  This one has 10 pages, plus the ones inside the covers, for a total of 12.


And here you can see how the pages overlap on the back:


Here’s a close up of the inside cover and the first page:


When collecting the photos I realized there were so many different colors, I couldn’t possibly make them all work together, so everything got printed in sepia.


The printing on the twill tape is one of my favorite parts.  All you have to do is print your wording onto regular computer paper  in the appropriate size with plenty of space around each line.  Then just use repositionable adhesive to glue your twill tape over the printed lines and run it through the printer again.

Happy crafting!

Jun 152011

What's on your workdesk Wednesday

Today I’ve been working on making a necklace inspired by one I found in a catalog.  I love to collect fashion catalogs and use the colors, styles and details as jumping off points for my own projects.

Although I set out to just copy to necklace, I think you’ll agree that not being able to find all the exact same components forces us to use what we’ve got, be creative and really make it our own.

Also on the desk, in the upper middle-leftish, is the label for the wedding quilt, it’s nearly done, yay!

The pattern in the lower right corner is one I made and wore this weekend.  I’ll be reviewing it soon; it’s a really cute sarong shorts by Hot Patterns and got loads of compliments.  🙂

And that big purple thing?  That’s just my chocolate for the week – Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with peanuts, mmmmm…

To travel the desks of the world and see what other people are up on this Wednesday, go here.  Have fun!

Jun 132011

I receive an amazing package over the weekend.  I was so excited when I saw it on my doorstep, but I was utterly stunned when I opened it.

You see, Julia over at Stamping Ground has been hosting What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday for the past two years.  To celebrate the second anniversary, since nobody appreciates handcrafts like another handcrafter, many of us participated in a PIF.

My package came from Sam over at hettiecraftcz.blogspot.com.  Oh my, she just went above and beyond. Everything is so lovely!

I was thrilled and amazed at all the work she’d went to when I opened the package and found the album. It is gorgeous and as I’m a scrapbooker, you can be assured it will be put to good use.

green floral album made by Sam at http://hettiecraftcz.blogspot.com

But then I opened it and, wait, there’s more! Inside the album was another wrapped package, this time a canvas with flowers, a sparkle-arkily fairy dress and a butterfly.  It. Is. Beautiful. I LOVE it! It’s already hanging right next to my computer monitor so I will be sure to often think of my new friend from Wales.

fairy dress canvas butterflymade by Sam at http://hettiecraftcz.blogspot.com

fairy dress canvas butterfly close up made by Sam at http://hettiecraftcz.blogspot.com

And then I peeked into the envelope and there was still a card waiting to open. It’s terrific, love those flowers and the scalloped edges.

black and white floral card made by Sam at http://hettiecraftcz.blogspot.com

I just hope the gal who gets the package I sent along will be just as happy as I am!

Happy, happy crafting, all.