Sunday, March 30, 2008

for the relatives

If you've stopped by today looking for a sewing project or some sort of craft, I apologize. Since several relatives who live in other states visit me here on a regular basis, I've decided to take advantage of the space I have here. On the weekends I'll be posting pictures of the kids to keep them up-to-date. Please stop back on a weekday when regular programming will resume.

Ellie asks me on a daily basis when spring will be here. Not soon enough for either of us. In the meantime, she's been drawing her heart out with sidewalk chalk. This work of art was dubbed "Mama and baby chickie". Yesterday she drew a race course for her remote control jeep. At first it just looks like a picture of Trixie playing in her kitchen. Check out the footwear. She rolled over to me during the week yelling "I skating, I skating!" There's more than one way to play with fisher price buses.
Glenn starts lacrosse next Saturday. He's pretty geared up - literally. I never wanted any child of mine to play football or hockey because of how rough it was. I obviously had no idea how much protection was required for this sport before I agreed to it. I may need to use meditation during the games. If that doesn't work - medication.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

twin robot tees

These were an overdue gift for my hair stylist's twin boys.

I love the fabric in the appliques. They were sold as a fat quater bundle and I bought three of them. They've been great for applique, bibs and softies.

I wish Glenn was still young enough to wear stuff like this.

ellie's tote

Look who's been sewing. Santa brought her a Learn to Sew kit* from Moda. In it were an apron that needed pockets and a tote bag that needed side seams and pockets.

We lined the pockets before putting them on the bag. A great deal of thought went into which pocket would go on each side.

She's ripped out her first seam. (And she didn't like it one bit.) Next week we'll work on squaring the bottom of the tote and adding a lining so it lasts a little bit longer.

*It's a really cute kit that requires just a bit of sewing to finish the projects because they do a lot of it for you. The handles and top edges of the tote were already finished. The apron in the kit is completely finished except for the addition of the pockets. The amount of sewing needed pretty much matches her attention span right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Trixie loves dogs as much as Ellie loves cats. so this pattern was a perfect fit for her. It's from Indygo Junction's Scrapworks applique pattern book.

I used a lot of the same fabrics as I did for Ellie's jacket, but changed the technique slightly on this one to save time. On Ellie's I turned under 1/4" allowances on all of the pieces(it was not a fun process). This time I used fusible web to just iron them into place and secure the edges, then did a running stitch with buttonhole thread.

The jean jacket used to be Glenn's. Looks cute on the new owner too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

decoupage eggs

Inspireco has a wonderful tutorial on making these paper covered eggs.

Instead of old books, I tore up bits up old pattern instruction sheets. (I tried the pattern tissue too, but it looked awful over brightly colored plastic eggs - even yellow.) A few have some vintage millinery flowers.

I dipped into the vintage button stash for others.

They look darling in the china cabinet. I'd love to make more to have a whole bowl of these for next year. So far, I have eight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

easter dresses

The girls' dresses were finished in time.

I used a basic jumper pattern by New Look that's about 10 years old. The petticoats were purchased when I worked for April Cornell. The fabric used to be a Shabby Chic duvet cover that I thrifted a year ago.

My challenge with these was to try a scalloped hem. It wasn't really hard, just time consuming to clip the curves on all 30+ of them. A stencil from my scrapbooking supplies came in handy for determining the size. In the future I'll make the scallops more shallow and a bit wider when used on a hem.

The pattern is extremely loose, but has side ties to adjust the fit. Perfect for my skinny girls - an easy detail to add to future dresses.

Hope you had a lovely Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Edited to add: I should have put an explanation after that title - I'm trying to figure out if I can delete photos I've saved to my desktop to publish here without losing them on the blog. It appears that I can. I had meant to take this down after testing it out and forgot. Now I feel bad removing it with a comment on it.

As much fun as Trixie had in the snow - the photo was taken in MARCH! I'm so done with winter.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Fleur was made from a free pattern at Wee Wonderfuls. She lives in TX now and at this momentI'm wishing we had their weather. (I'll change my tune when the real heat hits them.)

These pictures were taken before Trixie joined us. (Which makes this project nearly two years old.) If I look outside now, all I see is a layer of snow coating anything that was trying to turn green.

The fabric in back is reproduction feedsack. Fleur's front and ears are scraps from a duvet I made for our bedroom. The pompom tail and button eyes are thrift finds.

Perhaps if I post enough spring projects the weather will take the hint.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

sign of spring

It definitely feels like spring has arrived outside. Not quite warm enough to wear this just yet, but soon, I hope.

The pattern is from Built by You(Simplicity). This view is supposed to be a minidress, but those days are long gone for me. I cut it much shorter and have deemed it a tunic length. The fabric is from Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy collection.

I loved the ties on the sleeves. They hit just above the elbow. Note to self: Next time you sew with a pattern marketed to juniors - leave a little extra room in the sleeve to avoid the sausage casing effect.

I also loved the gathering at the neckline. I'm hoping the shaping darts in the back prevent anyone asking me when I'm due.

And the new skill I tackled on this one: the lapped zipper. It took several readings of the pattern and repressing the folds after I did it backwards the first time, but I'm happy with the results.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

easy garment bag

It's getting near the time to put away winter clothes. I made a couple garment bags last year out of some thrifted pillowcases to store my fall and winter jackets. Standard pillowcases work fine for kids' coats and shorter jackets. King sized cases are great for longer jackets.

They're incredibly easy to make:
1. Turn the pillowcase inside out and lay a hanger at the short, closed end. The hook portion should extend just beyond the fabric.
2. Trace along the top of the hanger directly onto the fabric. Be sure to extend your lines from the short seamed side to the long sides. Sew on those lines.
3. Open up a few stitches of the seam on the short end right in the middle where the hanger's hook needs to go through the fabric.
4. I didn't bother to cut the excess fabric off the corners in case I ever wanted to use the case for something else. They fold down just fine over the the hanger when the bag is in use.
5. Turn the case right side out. Slip over your jacket. Done.
See? Easy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

sewing room accessories

Problem: I have a tendency to buy novelty fabric and then not know what to do with it. I couldn't resist the vintage needlecase design on this yardage (I even have a few of the designs in their original form), but it's not like I'm going to walk around with a skirt or handbag made from it.

Solution: Make stuff for my sewing room. Both items are patterns I made up as I went along.

The machine needle organizer has some timtex in the middle to give it structure. The clear pockets are vinyl, edged with thrifted bias tape.* Once I had the center part done, it was bound just like a quilt with binding strips.

The pouch is a little trash basket that hangs from a hook underneath my sewing table. I'm trying to break myself of the habit I have of throwing snipped threads and fabric on the floor. So far, this bag has only helped mildly. The top portion has a channel through which I threaded a wooden embroidery hoop to keep it open when it hangs.

I couldn't resist making a an actual needlecase out of one of the motifs. The fabric is appliqued to wool felt with a blanket stitch.

*I learned all about dry rot when doing this project. In all the time I've bought vintage trims I never had a problem until I opened a package of old bias tape for this. It literally turned to black dust in my hands.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

jie jie and mei mei mao

(big sister and little sister kitties)

More goodness from my Wee Wonderful patterns.

These girls were made the summer before Trixie came home as a way to help ease Ellie into the idea of having a little sister. Her cat obsession was in full swing at the time, so this pattern was perfect. I used the full size pattern for the older sister and reduced the pattern to 80%(I think) to make the little sister.

The bodies are black twill with felt details. Their dresses are fabric I cut from an old Laura Ashley dress. (Parts of that dress made an appearance in Alaina's quilt too.) The felt shoes, as they appear in the picture, are removable, but after picking them up off of the floor and finding them stuffed under various pieces of furniture for the hundredth time, I sewed them on permanently. Buttons are from my stash. All the details were sewn on with a blanket stitch.

She liked them.

Whether they eased the blow of a younger sister's arrival, that's still to be determined.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

tea time apron

I can't believe how little Ellie looks in this picture. It was taken the summer of '06.

I'd found a tea towel with a printed pattern for cross stitch while thrifting. Had to take that home. I stitched it up and then wondered what to do with it. Too small for a kitchen towel and we don't really take tea with all the fancy trappings around here.

The width was just right for a child's apron. I cut it in half using the stitched portion for the skirt with two small pleats tucked in at the waist. The other half was cut shorter for the bib and hemmed on the sides to make it narrower. Buttonholes were put in so the neck strap could be short enough to hold the apron up high. Both that strap and the ties are just lengths of cotton twill tape.

Now I need to go figure out what she's done with it. I haven't seen it in a long time. I think the dress up bin should be the first place I search.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This little one was from a free pattern over at turkey feathers. She was a vacation project two summers ago in South Carolina. Hoping to get stuff done before our trip to China, I stitched a lot of handwork projects then. Once Trixie came home, there'd be precious little time for all this hand sewing - at least for a bit.

The flowers are some vintage goodies I found thrifting.

The fabric is 100% wool felt that I washed and dried before cutting the pattern out. It shrinks up considerably, but also gives it a thick, nubby texture. The details are all done with embroidery floss.

I cropped out the size marker, but she's about the height of a soup can.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mr. Roboto

Bear with me while I post some crafty blasts from the past over the next few weeks. I'm trying to catch up with documenting stuff I've made from the last couple of years.

Glenn designed this guy when he was in the 4th grade after I showed him a robot that was posted on Wee Wonderfuls(but before she made the pattern available). He spent an afternoon sketching it out and doing a few changes at my request (no, I cannot fashion a working claw hand on the sewing machine). Once we had the basic design agreed upon, Glenn went through my stash and chose his fabrics and other bits. The last step for him was to cut out the actual picture he drew(I did all the sewing on this one). We used the pieces for our pattern adding seam allowances all around.

Decorative and utility stitches helped make up the robot's control panel. The placement of all the buttons was a collaboration (and a negotiation over which ones I was willing to part with).

His favorite part - the hands. I hope never to have to turn something that small and with that many turns right side to every again.