Aug 202011

Hi everyone, I’m back!  Didja miss me?

What?  You didn’t notice I was gone?

Well, that’s ok too, lol.

It’s been a crazy week around here, I was off working all day every day except Thursday.   I spent all day Thursday steam cleaning all the downstairs carpets, my upholstered recliner AND my car.  Phew.

Today I hope to get everything back to rights in my sewing room, and maybe even do some crafting.  In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this free pattern from Hot Patterns.


Aug 152011

Last week I mentioned I’d be revising a review for Simplicity 2364.

I was not at all happy with the fit of this top the first time around, but with a little bit of effort managed to make this :


…out of this:


Ah, much better.

Now that the fitting issues were solved, I made this:


(Yup, still MORE of that raspberry fabric.)

For the updated review and a quick tip on how to make easy alterations to your patterns, check out Pattern Review – Simplicity 2364.

Happy creating!

Aug 122011

Sometimes the easiest things to do are the trickiest to explain.  I was asked to show how I did the simple cutwork on this dress:


…From this pattern (McCall’s 6287):

It took no time at all when I made the dress, but when I tried to break it down for you, step-by-step?  That was another matter.

I suggest you find yourself a scrap of fabric and just follow along.  Once you’ve done it, you’ll say, “Oh!  That was easy.”

First you need to make parallel cuts in your fabric.  They can be any length and anywhere from 1″ to 1/2″ apart.  The pattern has them about 3/4″ apart.


Next you take two adjacent loops and twist them around one another.


Then you’ll wrap the second loop over the first and pull the next loop through .


Continue along, pulling the next loop through the loop you are holding.



Here’s what it will look like when you’re done:


You can take some time to arrange the loops to your liking.  Here I’ve scooched all the loops closer to the center.


And here are the pattern directions.  I’m not sure which are more clear, mine or theirs, lol.


Seriously, though, grab some scrap fabric and try it out.  You’ll see what I mean, hard to explain, but easy to do.

I think this would be a fun way to transform a t-shirt.

Have a happy, creative weekend, all!



Aug 102011

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll!  Today is the day we not only share what’s on our workdesks, but also travel the world (virtually speaking) checking out the desks of creative folks from all over.  Join us at Julia’s to get started, it’s fascinating.

My desk today shows a mish-mosh of stuff.  At the bottom left is another version of Simplicity 2364 that I finished last night, this time in raspberry with the three-quarter length sleeves.  I think I’ve resolved the fitting issues I mentioned in my review of the pattern, and am ready to take apart the turquiose version and redo it.

I’ll amend the review when I done and be sure to let you know the results.

2011-08-10-whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-more raspberry-fabric

Have you noticed that this raspberry fabric keeps popping up?  Last June a local, family-owned fabric store that had been in business since 1919 finally had to close their doors.  It made me so sad, it almost felt like a death.

However, on the up side, I got some amazing deals on fabric.  I’d bought four yards of this lovely knit jersey for $1 per yard.   When I got it home I said to myself, “What!  Are you nuts?” and went back and bought the rest of the bolt.

So far I’ve gotten a dress and two tops out of it.  I’ve got a little over three yards left and am thinking of making this:

(Click on the photo to get the free pattern for yourself.)

Other things on my desk includes a Tim Holtz configuration I picked up at Michael’s yesterday.  Ever since I took a class with Tim last year and made this Christmas Configuration, I’ve been wanting to make another, this time with a sewing theme.  I’ve been digging through stuff left to me by my grandmother and mother-in-law (like the old thimbles) for special little goodies to fill it with. (I suspect the search for treasures will be just as much fun as actually making this project.)

Finally, are not those little donut charms the yummiest things you ever saw?  They’re polymer clay.  Wish I had time to do polymer clay…

Happy creating!

Aug 092011

Oh my, I just came across these and can’t stop giggling.


I will definitely be Wonder Woman for my next cookout.


Which would you be?

If not Superheros,then how about Princess Peach?

Or Alice In Wonderland?

Now I know what Gary’s getting next year for Father’s Day.

Mr. Incredible, indeed.  Bwahahaha.

For more chuckles and inspiration, check Bethany’s awesome creations.

Aug 082011

I wasn’t too sure about all the ruffly little flowers on this top, but I’m so glad I went ahead and added them.  If the top is still worth wearing once all this frouffiness goes out of style, well, I can just snip them off.  ***grin*** simplicity-2409

Anyhow, I’m really happy how this one came out.


Here’s a close up of the flowers:


And here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Khaliah Ali collection
Misses top with 6 variations, front bodice has front neck yoke from shoulder to underbust, and bias cut cowl style collar at neckline, ruffled v-neck or 3d flower embellishment, side and sleeve front and back are cut as one with a back bodice, top is gathered onto a lower front and back bodice by means of elastic in casing within seam. Various sleeve options include long, long ruched with elastic, no sleeves, very short or short ruffled sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:10,12,14,16,18 (According to my measurements I should have made a 16. I made a 12 and it fits perfectly. This seems to be the way of things lately with Simplicity, McCall’s and Butterick patterns.  Rather annoying, I think.)

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? The ones I followed were fine. I made some changes and went in my own direction in some areas, though.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Overall I really like this top. I wouldn’t mind if the neckline were just a tad higher. I’d like the skirt to be a little less full (less of the potential pregnant look.)

Fabric Used: Cotton jersey

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made view E with the view C neck ruffle.

After reading several other reviewer’s comments about not liking the bias tape finish, I decided to fully line this top and skip the bias tape altogether. I think this is a nicer looking finish, and it’s easier! (Keep in mind you’ll need additional fabric.)

To do this you just need to cut twice as many pieces as called for out of pattern piece #’s 1, 2, 3 and 4. First sew all the shoulder seams, then sew the lining pieces to the outer garment pieces at the underarm and neckline seams. Open out the side seams to sew the fronts and back together. Then carry on with the pattern directions.

Adding the Ruffled Flowers: If you decide to go with the ruffled flowers, I highly recommend you first pin them onto the garment and then (carefully) try it on. I found I preferred them to be clustered more closely together than shown on the pattern front.

Before I gathered each circle I went around the edges with a distressing tool to get the fraying started.  (I did the same on the neck ruffle.) For just a little something extra I added three seed beads to the center of each small flower and five seed beads to the center of each large flower.

Conclusion: Another really cute top!

Aug 052011

I was poking around at Costco the other day and saw this fantastic ruffled pillow.  It made me think of something you’d find at Pier One or Pottery Barn.


After a moment studying it, I said, “Hmmm, I could make that.”  And so I have, it took just a couple of hours.


The Costco version was made out of a velour, I made mine out of polar fleece.  Whatever you use, you’ll want to choose a fabric that doesn’t ravel or fray.

This pillow doesn’t have any zippers or closures, but uses my favorite pillow technique of making overlapping flaps for the back.  Super quick and easy!

You will need:

  • 18″ pillow form
  • 1 3/8 yards 58″-60″ wide (or 2 yards 40″ wide) non-fraying fabric such as fleece
  • rotary cutter and ruler (helpful, but you can just use scissors)
  • sewing machine and matching thread

Step 1, Pillow Front and Back:

For your pillow front, cut a 16.5″ square. For the back, cut 2 pieces 16.5″ x 10.5″.


Step 2, Cut Squares for Ruffles:

Cut the remaining fabric into 80-100 4″ squares.  This is where a rotary cutter and ruler come in handy.

Btw, I was using a piece of fleece that I had on hand and only had enough fabric to make 65 squares.  I wouldn’t have minded my pillow being more full, but I’m still pleased with it, so if you have to, just go with what you’ve got.  🙂


Step 3, Sew the Ruffles To the Pillow Front:

Pick up a 4″ square and gather the center in your fingers.


Stitch this ruffle through the gathered center at the exact middle of your pillow front. Backstitch to secure.


Continue to stitch ruffles  in a row down the center of your pillow front.  I had rows of 8 ruffles, if you have 100 squares you can make rows of 10.  Just space them by eye, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Don’t stop to trim the thread tails between the ruffles until you are all done with each row.  This will save a lot of time and thread.

Here’s the first row:


Now go ahead and stitch a second row, with the ruffles facing in the opposite direction (Turned 90°.)  You’ll want this second row to be “crowding” the first row so that the cut edges of the ruffles are facing up, rather than lying flat.


Now continue sewing down rows of ruffles, alternating directions.  Leave about 1″ clear all around the edge of your pillow front so we can sew it to the back later.

Here are all the rows stitched:


Step 4, Sew On the Pillow Back:

First you’ll need to take some time to pin all the ruffles out of the way of the seam allowance.


Now you can pin on one of your 16.5″ x 10.5″ pillow back pieces.


Now pin the other 16.5″ x 10.5″ to the other side (there will be a 4″ overlap in the center) and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance around all four sides.


Turn right side out, insert your pillow form and voila, you are done!


Isn’t that fun?  It’s very squishy and comfy to use, too.

Next I think I’ll use several bits of leftover pink and purple fleece for a wonderfully “girly” pillow for my granddaughter.

More ideas for this pillow:

  • Use a variety of brightly colored fabrics for a baby or child’s pillow
  • Use several shades of the same color for a rich appearance
  • Cut the ruffles with pinking shears or a pinking rotary blade

Here’s to a fun and creative weekend!



Aug 042011

I tell ya, after having two boys, I am having so much fun sewing for a little girl!  My granddaughter’s third birthday is this week and I made her this dress.

Is it not the cutest thing?


Since this pattern goes up to size six, you will surely be seeing some of the other variations.  😉M5838

I can’t wait to see pics of her in it!


And here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Children’s and girls’ dresses with self-lined bodice variations, self lined midriff, gathered skirt and back zipper.

Pattern Sizing: Child’s 3,4,5,6

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the self-lined bodice and midriff. This saves on fiddly finishing of tiny pattern pieces.

Fabric Used: I used a very lightweight quilting cotton. (It was on the clearance rack and think it was there because it was really too light to use in a quilt, but perfect for a summer sundress.) I just managed to squeeze the contrast midriff and straps out of a fat quarter. (For size three.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Several other reviewers mentioned that they eliminated the back zipper. Since this is obviously a pull-over dress, and a zipper would only serve to frustrate an independent three-year-old who wants to dress herself, I decided to do the same.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan to sew many of the other variations over the next few years, as long as I know the dress fits her.

In order to preserve all the sizes in children’s patterns, it’s a good idea to trace the smaller sizes onto tracing or tissue paper. Make sure to label each piece well.

Conclusion: A sweet and adorable dress for a little girl!