Friday, October 7, 2016

September Sewing Round-Up

In September I decided I needed to choose a designer each month and dedicate myself to sewing up patterns I hadn't ever made by that particular designer.  I have this tendency to see a new pattern and say, "I NEED this pattern in my life."  I buy it, download it, and file it away in Dropbox.  I may or may not actually make something with that pattern within the first few months of acquiring it.

I designated September as the month to sew up at least five patterns from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop that I hadn't made yet.

First up was the Violet.  This comes in dress and tunic lengths and has three sleeve length options.
Next, I made the Twist & Shout Dress.  This pattern can be made as a top or a dress, and has single and double skirt options, multiple back views.  My daughter chose the simple back, double-skirt version, so that it would be dress-code compliant.  She even wore it to her roller-skate birthday party.
After that, I sewed up the Tatum Twirl Dress.  I even blogged about it here.
Next up was a two-fer - I made this adorable outfit for MY NEW GRANDBABY (yeah, that happened in September, too!) using the Lullaby Line Bodysuit & Lap Tee pattern and the Lullaby Line Pants & Shorts pattern.  I hadn't made anything so tiny in a long time!  I used these same fabrics to make mama the Sun Kissed Tee with the maternity add-on.
Since the baby pants were such a quick sew, I decided to add a sixth pattern to my September goal.  I didn't quite finish it in September (due to above-mentioned baby's arrival, which trumps sewing for sure!), but since I'm not facing any deadlines, that's ok.  The last September sew was the dress version of the Poppy Polo.  I think my favorite part of making this dress was when my daughter said, "Mommy, the top part feels like a school girl dress, but the bottom part makes me feel like a princess."
And if sewing up six new patterns wasn't enough, I sewed up two old stand-bys when my daughter needed something green to wear on "Team Color Night" at church.  (How was there not a stitch of green clothing in her wardrobe?!)  Thankfully, I had some green fabric in my stash and knew that the Little Miss Sunshine Tee and the School's Out Shorts are both super quick sews.
Now I'm moving onto October, and am sewing up patterns by another designer before my daughter outgrows them all!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase.  It helps to fund my sewing habit.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tatum Twirl Dress - lining the hood with a woven

When I last posted, I mentioned that I enjoy learning new sewing techniques, and teased about what I would be writing about next.

"Back in the olden days" I would buy my patterns at a local store, and the pattern pieces would come printed on huge pieces of tissue paper.  I was perfectly happy with that style of pattern, as I had been using them for years.  But not everyone learns to sew in formal lessons like I did.  (Note to self: thank Mom again for dragging me to sewing lessons.)  And if you haven't learned to use that style of pattern, and read that type of instructions, they may as well be written in Greek.

Today's student learns from a plethora of YouTube videos, sewing communities on Facebook and from super-detailed PDF patterns available from hundreds of independent designers.  Those vibrant communities are made up of veterans and newbies alike, and they're not afraid to try things that - GASP! - aren't in the instructions.  They offer support, encouragement, and sewing tips, and the designers are available to answer questions.

A new technique that I've recently tried, is color-blocking.  It is a great way to use multiple fabrics on the same pattern creating a unique look.  I learned from this blog post by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and couldn't wait to try it.  I loved the look and have used it several times.

But I want to show you how learning to color-block made me get out of my "just follow the instructions" box gave me the confidence to try something different.

I am making the Tatum Twirl Dress right now.  The bodice is made from knit fabric and has a hood option, or a neck band.  The skirt has a multi-tier option (super twirly) and is made from wovens. Since I had chosen a solid color for the bodice, I wanted to jazz up the inside of the hood by lining it with one of the wovens I had chosen for the skirt.  But the directions are for an all-knit hood and lining.  I asked Amy Hindman, the designer behind Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, if the hood could be lined with a woven.  She answered that it could be done, but the neck opening would lose its stretch (and not go over the wearer's head) so I would need to adjust my seam allowance, and cut the hood longer.  My wheels started spinning - could I actually DO that?!

Instead of the suggested adjustments, I decided to try my newly acquired color-blocking skills!  I realized that if I cut the lower 2-3" of the hood (the part that attaches to the neck) in knit, the entire opening would now be stretchy.
After attaching the pieces, I pressed the seam allowance toward the woven and top-stitched.
For the rest of the hood, I followed the instructions provided in the pattern.  When attaching the hood to the lining, I used my walking foot to ensure that the hood wouldn't get stretched out of shape. (Don't worry I removed that pin right after taking the picture!)  TIP press the center seams of the hood and lining in opposite directions before stitching them together to reduce bulk.

After flipping the hood right-side out, I was ready to attach it to the bodice.  Here is what it looked like after it was finished.
And my goofy girl in her new "poses".  It went over my daughter's head without any trouble stretching.  She LOVES this dress and we're hoping for some cooler weather soon, so she can wear it.

All of the fabric used for this dress is from Peek-a-Boo Fabric Shop.  For the bodice, I used this dark teal cotton Lycra for the bodice, and the skirt (and hood lining!) are awesome Shimmer and Shine cotton wovens.  

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I just might be back!

I haven't written a post in a long time.  I'm not sure why, but I think now is the time for me to pick it back up.

I still sew, but just for family, now.  When I was sewing for my Etsy shop, I worried constantly about whether the buyer would like the item they purchased, whether I was pricing things right, and whether I was compliant and keeping adequate records.  It was just not fun.

I think what excites me most about sewing now is learning new techniques.  I've been sewing since 1983 (you do the math), and have always been confident in my abilities.  Give me the pattern and the fabric - regardless of skill level - and I will turn out a darn good [name item here].  But sewing has changed over the years, and I want to get with the times!

In my next post, I will tell you all about this:

It's nice to be learning again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Super heroes, the Super Bowl and diabetic cats...

Since my last post, the Ravens won the Super Bowl!  And my husband and I are such die hard fans that we will remind each other of this simple fact for weeks, months and even years to come.  I really only mention it here because I came up with such a clever title.

In my last post, I told you all about Zena a.k.a. "Beansie", one of my cats, who had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I have wonderful news to share - after just over two weeks on insulin injections, the vet declared the diabetes to be in remission and I was able to quit giving her shots. Praise the Lord! It wasn't as simple as just giving her shots and then - bam! - no more diabetes, she went back for all-day observation and blood tests twice. After the first blood glucose curve, the vet increased the insulin. Well, on the third day of the increased insulin, my husband called me worried sick (yes, crying) that she was dying. I freaked out and raced home. On the drive, I called my sister ("Why are you calling me?! Call the vet! Now!") and the vet. Low blood sugar. Get her some Karo syrup, and then feed her. Well, that did the trick, and then the vet reduced the insulin. It would have been nice if someone had warned me that could happen... After the second blood glucose curve, we were told that Beansie's numbers were good all day and we could quit the injections. The upshot of all of this is that she is at a healthier weight than she used to be and she is more affectionate than ever. To quote my four-year-old, "I love Beanser; she's my number one love cat."

That same four-year-old was recently invited to a birthday party for twin boys in her pre-school class. I always cringe a little when the invitations come home from school with the words, "Come dressed up." And no, they don't mean to wear your Sunday finery. Don't get me wrong, I am not daunted by the thought of making a costume, but the invitation said this party had an Avengers theme. I am pretty out of touch with pop culture, so I had a vague idea of the Avengers being super heroes, but did not know any details. Well, my daughter told me she wanted to be Firestar. I am 99% certain she has never seen said Firestar, but had learned of her from classmates. A quick Google search revealed some VERY adult images of Firestar and I feigned ignorance declaring, "I don't know how to make a Firestar costume. Let's invent our own super hero. How about Vegetarian Girl? She protects animals and makes them well if they're hurt or sick?" It didn't go over very well initially. But the day before the party, I told her again that I couldn't make a Firestar costume and she'd have to go without a costume. She reluctantly asked, "Well, what about that other one you said? Vegetarian Girl?" So I found this fabulous super hero cape tutorial.  I couldn't resist making a matching skirt. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bra alterations for cat medication

Did the title catch your eye?  I can imagine anyone just passing by might stop to see what that could possibly mean.

It's a new year and a lot of new things are on the horizon.  We'll start with my Etsy shop, EverSewSweet.  My "original" Etsy resolution was to create a new listing each week.  Well, so far I don't have any new listings in 2013, but I have a lot of things in the works.  I managed one new listing on New Year's Eve, these sweet American Girl pajamas

Tonight, while at my sewing machine, I discovered an easily fixable mistake, but it made me quit sewing in favor of a blog post.  And I've made a list of sewing projects that I need to work on, one of which popped up today.  I had a text from a recent customer who had me add straps to a strapless dress.  So she must have a strap "thing" because today she asked me to fix the straps on 13 bras.  Yes, 13.  She brought me a huge shopping bag full of bras!  Part of me says, "Bra alterations?  Did I really sign up for this?"  But the practical part of me says I need the dough.

Last Friday, one of my cat companions (I'm a cat lady, I admit it) was diagnosed with diabetes.  I am giving her insulin injections twice daily, which is going to get expensive.  But she's my love cat, my Beansie, and I will do what I have to do, including bra alterations!

Here she is, the fatty on the right.  She topped out around 16 pounds, and now weighs under 10.  On the left, is Fat Sera (yes, that's what I call her).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Big Reveal

You might have noticed the button on the right that I am a blessed member of the CAST Etsy team.  When I joined this team, I was looking for fellowship and encouragement.  I have found these and so much more.

We had the opportunity to exchange gifts in a Secret Santa exchange.  While I fretted over what to give to the stranger whose name I was given, a box arrived in the mail from LittleElfsToyshop.  What fun!  I opened the box, thinking I'd find a wrapped gift inside that I'd put under the tree.  Inside was a beautiful organza gift bag with a little treasure inside.  I saw it, but resisted the urge to take it out.  I returned it to the shipping box and put it under the tree.

What was it?!  Just be patient.  It wasn't what was inside that was the true gift.  I received an Etsy conversation from Julia of CardsbyJeweleighaB explaining that there was more to come, but that she (Julia) was not my Secret Santa.  Hmmm.  A mystery.

Well, Christmas Day came and went with nothing new from my Secret Santa.  I received another convo from Julia explaining that when names were drawn, the person who was supposed to give me my gift never responded to the convos, despite expressing interest in the exchange (we signed up for this, after all).  So Julia, out of the goodness of her heart, took it upon herself to make sure I had a gift, even though she had someone else to give to already.

To me, THAT, is the true gift.  But I won't be returning this little cutie any time soon! (Sorry, I'm trying to learn how to insert photos.  No luck.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be Still and Know

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is upon us.  We look so forward to Christmas that we find stores decorated in October, hear yuletide songs in November and start our Christmas shopping 364 days before Christmas at the after-Christmas sales.  We are in such a hurry for Christmas to get here - making cookies, writing cards, wrapping gifts, going on visits - that even though our intentions are good, we forget the meaning behind it all.  We fail to reflect on a baby - a baby! - born for us, so that we might find rest in the rush.

And so I've had a song lyric or two running through my head.  The first one, I don't even know the whole song, but remember the line straight from Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest."

And the other one is a favorite  - "Word of God speak" -you know the one.  It says:

Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see your majesty
Please let me stay and rest in your holiness

It wasn't all that long ago that I wasn't familiar with Psalm 46:10, but now, I feel it speaking to me.  "Be still and know I am God." 

So, this Christmas, while you're hurrying around and worried that you've forgotten something, please, just take a moment.  Be still and know.