Apr 222011

Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the results of the lavender jacket alterations.  I’m here to tell you it has been a complete success.  (I’m actually kind of in shock about that, lol.)

Without further ado, here is my lavender jacket, formly known as the-jacket-that-was-loved-but-was three-sizes-too-big:


lavender moleskin jacket

If any of you are interested in trying this yourselves, here are the steps I took:

  • Take measurements from the garment.  I measured the front width – armpit to armpit, the back width, armpit to armpit, around the sleeve at the armpit, the widest point of the sleeve (just below the cap), around the armscye and the back neck length.
  • Then I took these same measurements from a garment that fits and calculated the difference.
  • Carefully take apart the garment, making notes about construction details that you may need when it’s time to put it back together.
  • Make a pattern from each of the garment pieces.  (I used a 19″ x 24″ pad of tracing paper.)
  • Figure the number of seams in each pattern piece and grade down the pattern using the numbers you calculated earlier.  For example, the sleeves have only one seam, so two seam allowances.  The difference between the two jackets around the sleeve was 3/4″, so I made each seam allowance half that measurement (3/8″) smaller.  I tapered this to the original measurement at the cuff.  The back has two darts and two side seams, so I divided the difference in the two jackets by four.
  • Cut out patterns to your new dimensions and trace these dimensions to your fabric pieces.  (Don’t cut your fabric just yet!)
  • Baste together your fabric pieces along the new seamlines and try on to check the fit.
  • Make any needed fitting adjustments on your patterns and fabric pieces, then sew your garment back together.
  • Now you not only have a favorite garment that fits, but you have a pattern to duplicate it any time you want!

I’m really quite thrilled with how this came out.  I guess many years of sewing experience has paid off.  ***grin***

Last week I posted this Maggy London twist top I’d made in the turquiose bamboo knit fabric.  I think I’m falling in love with this pattern, it works up so quickly and the top is flattering and easy to wear.


I decided to make another version in a fabric from my stash, a 4-way stretch swimsuit fabric, no less.  I love the border print and added the trim along the sleeves just because I had it.

black lycra twist front top-Butterick 4789

And, finally, YES the Easter dress is done and ready to go.  I don’t think I’ll make this pattern again, Empire waists really aren’t my thing.  I would have made it a bit longer, too.  But, all in all, I’m pleased with it.  I picked up a bunch of beads this week at Joann’s to make a necklace to go with it.  We’ll see if it gets done by Sunday . . .

empire waist floral print dress-Simplicity 2247

Apr 202011

Sorry this is so late, technically it’s still Wednesday, right?  I had a last-minute opportunity to go down the Cape and do a little work.  (For those of you not from Massachusetts, “go down the Cape” is THE correct way to say, “going to Cape Cod.”  Trust me on this.)

Anyhow, the lavender jacket alterations are done, the Easter dress is done and the Easter cards are done.  Phew!  Pics to follow of the clothing in the next couple of days.  I promise.

Right now I need to go address a bunch of envelopes and hope the post office is being super speedy this week.


Oh, and if you’re wondering why I posted a pic of my workdesk, go here to find a whole bunch of other people who have done so as well.  It’s interesting to see what everyone else is up to.

Apr 152011

I’ve been going through my photos from 1988, these are the baby pictures of my first son.  (Boy, I wish I knew then what I know about photography and what kinds of pics I’d want to have for keepsakes.  Ah, well.)

Here’s a great example of a photo that’s desperately in need of rescuing.  Cute baby, adorable smile, great pose . . . and awful photography:


What to do?  If you have Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can make lemonade from this lemon by using filters.


I used the artistic dry brush filter to make this photo look like a painted portrait.  Click on Filter>Artistic>Dry Brush.


As you can see, there are many other possibilities to choose from.  I recommend you try them all.  Different filters will work better with different types of photos.

Once you choose a filter, you can also play with the settings to get just the look you want.  I used a Brush Size of 2, Brush Detail of 8 and a Texture setting of 1.  It defaults to a preview at 100% and you can move the photo around in the little window to look at different areas.


And here’s my final result.  I think it looks like we had a portrait painted of our little guy, a vast improvement over the grainy pic I began with.


It looks even better printed out, in fact I think I might get it printed on canvas to make it look more like a painting.

I’d love to hear from all of you about your favorite ways to rescue bad photos.

Have a great weekend!


Apr 142011

My husband informed me this morning that my late night reading habit is keeping him from getting a good night’s sleep.

This was NOT good news, as sometimes the only way I get through a day is by looking forward to those nightly travels to fantasy worlds and distant places.

So today I made him this sleep mask.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Apr 132011

Today’s desk doesn’t look too much different from last week’s, mainly because I’m still waiting on my order of serger needles from my local fabric store.  (It’s been two weeks and I’m starting to get aggravated.  I like to support local, family owned shops, but I’m sure I would have had them by now if I’d ordered them online. )

I’m waiting on the serger needles because I’m down to my last one.  A single needle is good for rolled hems (like for the bamboo garments I finished yesterday), but I want two for clean-finishing the insides of my lavender jacket and Easter dress.  Hence, that pile of fabric is still on the table.  (I refuse to cut out anything else until I can finish those two garments.  Maybe I will place an online order for serger needles . . .)


Last night I decided to clear a spot and work on some Easter cards.  As a rough beginning I’m using this Assembly Line Scrapbooking technique from Club Scrap.  I doubt that I’ll follow it exactly, and I’m sure I’ll be adding lots of inking, stamping and embossing, but it’s a good place to get started.  (This link will take you too all of their free ALSB pdfs.)

And what in the world could that plastic tubing be for?  Something interesting, I’ll bet.  😉

To see just why I’m posting a photo of my workdesk, go here.  From there you can check out workdesks from all over the globe, it’s kinda fun.

Happy woyww!


Apr 122011

Finally I have some completed garments to show you.

First off is the jacket and top from this pattern:


What the pattern cover does not make clear is that the jacket can be made in two different lengths (as well as having two sleeve options) and it also includes the pattern for the tank top which goes underneath.

I was a little confused about how much fabric to purchase, so I got 4 yards, just to be safe.  My choice was a 70% rayon made from Bamboo/30% cotton jersey knit from Fabric.com.

One thing to note if you make this pattern is that there are only two wearing options for the shorter version.  If you want to try all the different interesting wraps, you’ll have to make the longer one.  I decided that I’m probably only going to wear it one way, so I made the shorter version.

turquiose bamboo jacket-Simplicity 2603

On most patterns I have to add 3″ to the sleeves to get the right length, but with the optional extension on these they were too long, so I cuffed them up.  I kind of like it.  🙂

Here’s the tank top by itself:


I like the style with the rounded, faced collar section, but I think if I made it again I’d add an inch or so to the shoulder seams.  This just seems to sit a little high on me.  I can see this as a great place to add some embellishments, like metal studs or rhinestones.

And here are the two tops together.  It’s funny, I wasn’t real impressed when I looked at this in the mirror, but after seeing the photo, it’s pretty good.  (Why is it then that my hair looks so much better in the mirror than it does in these photos?)

turquiose bamboo top with jacket wrapped-Simplicity 2603

I cut both garments out last week, and then went to Joann’s because their Butterick patterns were on sale for $1.99.  I picked up a couple I’d been planning to get, and found this cute little number while flipping through the catalog:


I didn’t have any fabric planned for it, but realized when I got home that the leftover piece of turquoise bamboo (since I’d bought for the longer version and made the shorter) might just do it.

While laying out the pattern, however, I realized I was just a “squidge” short.

Then I took another look at those tightly rolled up selvages that you always get in knits and wondered, “Just how much fabric is hiding in there?”

Here’s the selvage rolled up:


Here’s my tool of choice, along with my iron:







Here’s the result:


And here’s the difference, nearly 2 1/2″ of fabric on each edge!


That made it enough for me to make this:

turquiose bamboo twist top-Butterick 4789

I’m loving this top, but I did make a couple of changes to the pattern.  Instead of just clean finishing the neck edges, I added a 2″ strip of fabric than had been pressed in half as a kind of binding.  I didn’t have enough fabric to do it this time, but on any future version I will definitely eliminate the back “vee” neckline in favor of a more traditional scoop neckline.  This is entirely practical as (a) I don’t like the back of my neck being cold and, (b) the shoulders kept falling off my somewhat rounded shoulders.  I also tacked down the bottom of the twists on the inside of the garment to keep them from riding up and making it not very modest.  🙂

I can’t wait to find just the right fabric to make this in the dress version. (Only 1 3/4 yards!)

So THAT’S what you can do with four yards of bamboo.

Happy sewing & crafting,


Apr 062011

At least I think this will be my Easter dress, we’ll see how much I like it when it’s done.  🙂

My workspace today shows that I’ve been making this dress:


In this fabric:


So far I’ve been very pleased with the pattern.  It’s all about helping you get a perfect fit.  They incorporate 1″ seam allowances, tell you which seams to baste, which to sew permanently and what to look for in fitting.  They explain what to look for after you’ve tried it on, and how to correct any problems.  I also love that there are different pattern pieces for different cup sizes, very helpful!

So, without further ado, here’s today’s mess, I mean desk. 🙂


(Looking at this tailor’s ham makes me smile.  I’m always happy when I have a chance to use it because it was given to me by my mother-in-law, also a seamstress.  She gave me many of my nicer sewing tools.)

The large stack of fabric on the left, from the bottom up:

  • 10 yards of a mystery fabric (my local fabric store got a deal on it, and gave me quite a deal, but we have no idea of the fiber content), this will be for Roman shades and a swag for my living room
  • 4 yards of turquoise 70% bamboo/30% cotton jersey knit for Simplicity 2603 (pictured below)
  • 3 yards of black stretch cotton twill for a jeans jacket (I think I”m going to use Butterick 5402, also pictured below)
  • 4 yards black 95%wool/ 5% lycra woven Regency – Don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but this fabric has a lovely, drapey hand.  You can’t go wrong with a nice wool.
  • Pink fabric – An old quilt that I plan to practice machine quilting on so I can then quilt a very large wedding quilt.
  • The lavender jacket I was working on last week.  I have not quit, nor have I given up.  I’m simply waiting on my order of needles for the serger so the insides of the jacket can be finished nicely.



There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all!  But, I’ve found that not watching evening television frees up an amazing amount of time.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering why I posted a photo of my workspace, go here to find out and check out what others from all over the world are doing.)

Apr 042011

Here’s another page I did with the baby pics from 1988.  These photos of friends who stopped by to visit our newborn were all Polaroids which I scanned into my computer, edited and reprinted.

One thing I’ve learned since I did this page is how to remove the color cast which the scanner introduces.  If you can do that, editing your photos becomes 100 times easier.  (I could not believe how much blue the scanner was adding to my pics!)

In the next day or so, I’ll post a step by step on how to make a custom action for Photoshop which will fix this problem for you.  🙂

visitors scrapbook page left

Some of the supplies I used on this layout:

Title: Grungeboard Alphas (Tim Holtz), Stream Paint Dabber, Vintage Photo Distress Ink

Punches/Die Cuts: Scallops On The Edge Die, : Doily Lace Edge Craft Punch (Martha Stewart)

Distress inks: Spiced Marmalade, Broken China, Peeled Paint, Faded jeans

visitors two page scrapbook layout

I mentioned in another post that I wanted to incorporate my son’s original baby book into these scrapbook layouts.  I did that by cutting a ‘frame’ in a regular 12×12 page and mounted each page from his book into the opening so you can see both sides of the page of the original book.  I trimmed the edges of most of the frames with ribbon.  On this one I got kinda fancy and used the Martha Stewart Garden Trellis Punch.  It took forever to get those corners to come out “just so,” but I’m pleased with it.

visitors scrapbook page right

Mar 302011

I finally got all the pattern pieces drafted, basted the jacket back together along the new lines . . . and it fits.  I’m astounded, lol.   

Time now to run out and buy matching thread to do the topstitching and serger needles.  (Pics to come once it’s all back together.)