Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Christmas Day Dress

This girl of mine, she is my muse. . .
I could not stop sewing for her if I tried.

Therefore, she has more Christmas dresses this year than any little girl needs.
You may remember the apron dress? Technically, that was last year but I made it big enough that she could wear it again this year and she did.
Then there would be the silver "test" model dress.  You know, the one with the too small neck? Yeah, I fixed it.
But all along this little purple number was the one I intended.
This time the neck fits. Thankful I made a muslin.
The pattern is the Sara dress by littledresspattern on Etsy. The fabric is a beautiful satin that I found at JoAnn's.

My cell phone photo doesn't do it justice but I don't carry my big camera to church--even on Christmas day.
I used the wrong side of the satin for the bow around the neck and for a band around the bottom. I think it's just the right amount of sophisticated detail.

She has lovely purple shoes that are just perfect for this dress.
However, when you are four there is no pair of shoes more perfect than the one that glitters.
My beautiful girl was thrilled.
She said, "Mommy, everything I am wearing today sparkles! It's like I'm going to a wedding. I look like a princess!"
Yes dear girl, you are my little princess.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sewing Gifts for Me!

I got a BUNCH of sewing related gifts this Christmas.
It's so exciting.
You know I MUST be thrilled if I am posting a photo of myself. I never do that.

The quilting book and Gingher pinking shears are just two of the things. I got a new 1/4" foot for my machine that I can't wait to test out and a new (larger) thread rack, a point turner, some marking pencils, some quilt basting pins and some binding clips.
All things that will make sewing. . . and quilting in particular. . . more efficient.
The most exciting thing for me was this quilt frame. I love to hand quilt but I have been using a large embroidery hoop to hold the quilt as I work and it's just not the easiest method.

This frame is light weight. It sets up and tears down easily and it isn't so huge that I need to devote a whole room to my current project.
Now that I can stretch my quilt all out and work on larger sections at once I feel like I'm getting so much more done! It's really exciting. I have been working on this quilt forever and I'm just dying to see it finished!
More than anything, I'm excited to give it to it's owner!

I also got a tripod for our camera so I am hopeful that my photography will improve a bit. I'm thinking about building a light box for photographing smaller projects, but at the very least, it will help avoid the inevitable wiggle of my hand when trying to take project shots.

It was a good Christmas for sewing.
Did you get anything exciting and crafty?  Does your family support and encourage your habit like mine does?  I am blessed, for sure. So very thankful.


Christmas nightgown. . . err. . . dress. . .

I am hopeless.
Really. . . how many Christmas dresses does one girl need?
In my defense, however, this one started out with the intention of being a Christmas nightgown made of the scraps of Christmas fabric I had laying around.
As I worked on it, it became clear to me that this was way too cute to be slept in.
Plus, the quilters cotton is just too stiff to be comfortable for snoozing.
Or so I thought.
It didn't stop the Bug from falling asleep halfway through Christmas Eve service.
The pattern is the Little Lizard King's Elizabeth Claire dress with the long sleeve option.
I love the bell effect created with the elastic halfway down the sleeve.
The skirt is less full because I was working with small amounts of fabric.  I should have pieced more in because it did not meet the Bug's twirl requirement.

In my defense, I thought I was sewing a nightgown and it just morphed into a dress. Twirling is less important in a nightgown.

I hope you all had a very blessed Christmas.
I'll be playing catch up here this week, posting gifts that were made and couldn't be shared, plus the real Christmas Day dress. . . yes there is another one. . .


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AMH Artist Tote

I suppose you are wondering where we've been?
Making Christmas gifts, of course!
It's ironic, isn't it, that the two most productive sewing weeks of the year are the least productive blogging weeks?  But secrets must be kept.

Thank goodness for family Christmas gatherings the week before Christmas! I can spill the beans on this gift now and not have to worry about spoiling the surprise!
This ah-mazing bag was my gift to my sister. The pattern is the Art Student Tote from Anna Maria Horner.
When I pinned it on my "Project Inspiration" board she commented that she loved it and I knew this is what I wanted to make for her. She and her husband travel a fair amount and I thought it might make a nice, roomy carry on bag.

The fabric is from the Modern Meadow collection from Joel Dewberry. I knew the color combination was perfect for Michelle. And how gorgeous is that Dogwood print? I just love it.
While the front of the bag has two zippered pockets, the back is fairly simple and shows off the fabric quite nicely I think.
It was also a great spot for one of our 402 tags. Man I love those.
I need to get in the habit of using them. . . most of the time I forget. But it adds such a nice touch I think.
It was hard to get a picture, but this beast of a ginormous bag has an extension panel inside that can be pulled out in case you need to carry more "stuff".  It is amazingly roomy. Almost over the top roomy.

I am so happy with the finished result.
The process? Well, that was a little rough.  I found the pattern slightly difficult to follow. It was more like a traditional paper pattern than the very detailed, photo heavy PDF patterns that are so prevalent and I have been accustomed to.

And for some reason, I just had a lot of construction "issues".  I realized late in the game that I had two different colors of D-rings. I decided to just go with it, not knowing when I'd get up to JoAnn's to get more but then I hated it. So I made a special trip up to JoAnn's. As I was replacing the mismatched rings I stuck myself HARD with a straight pin that I had some how sewn in between the outside fabric and the lining. Ugh. So I opened up the lining seam and fished around until I found it and could pull it out.

But it was worth the drama to see the end result and the look on my sister's face when she opened it.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving dress

I may have been on the ball with the Christmas dress, but the Thanksgiving outfit was an 11th hour decision.

I wasn't going to make anything, but then I saw this orange and brown floral knit in my stash and it just seemed so darn Thanksgiving-y
. . . and then I tore a hole in one of my favorite orange striped shirts (it was an accident, I promise!)
. . . and then I spotted another orange stripey knit in my upcycle pile that just went well enough to be funky.

You see how it all snowballed, ultimately leaving me with no choice, right?

I used a shirt pattern from my favorite kids clothing book and made some pretty significant alterations to make this little dress. The leggings were made by tracing an existing pair of her leggings onto my fabric. It came together pretty quickly and easily even with the pattern adjustments.
Unfortunately, photographing the Bug in it was no where near as easy.
She was in a goofy mood.
What is this? The monkey pose?? Who knows.
When I asked her to act normal she got all offended.
So I let her wander and took pictures of her from behind, when she wasn't looking and I cut her pouty little head off.  That'll teach ya!
You can see I took some details from the two original shirts I was upcycling and re-used them on the dress.
First, the button placket from the polo. . . I just cut it off of the polo and sewed it right onto the neckline of the dress. It's just decorative, not functional. But it doesn't need to be functional since the neckline is nice and stretchy.

I also took a small pocket off of my favorite shirt and sewed it onto the short sleeve of her dress.
The long sleeves were cut from the original shirt sleeves so I just used the existing hem.  Hooray for short cuts!

The cute yellow rick rack was a super lucky find at my favorite thrift store.
It is straight out of the 70's I think. It's a real nice stretchy double knit sort of thing. I've never seen anything quite like it.  
I didn't have much so I conserved by adding it only to the front panel of the skirt. 
And then just to be fun and funky and unexpected, I added it around the hem of just one leg of her leggings.
Can we talk about the leggings for a minute?
They fit perfectly.
I have never made a pair of leggings that fit her the way I like them to.
And I didn't make a paper pattern, so I probably never will again.

This is the lone "good" photo I got that shows the entire ensemble.
And I only got this because I informed her her posing was not up to par for receiving the promised candy reward.
Hey, I do what I can and I take what I can get.

Ultimately, it's a cute and comfy little outfit that the Bug loves which is a huge accomplishment considering there isn't a lick of pink or purple or sparkle.
I think she will actually wear it again!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Stockings Updated

Last year Michelle made these awesome stockings for our family out of Grandpa's old over-alls.
They are such a treasure. Really, I think they may be my favorite new family Christmas tradition.
We ran out of time last Christmas season, but we always had intended to embroider names on the wool cuff.
So a few weeks ago, realizing the Christmas was sneaking up on me, and that my Mom would need these to begin filling them soon, I dug into this little project. . . . the whole time thanking God for our small family! ha! I only had seven names.
I love the stockings at the Purl Bee. That font rocks. Slick and modern.
But in the end, I decided to just use my own handwriting as our "font".
That and a simple split back stich just felt down right homey to me and I think ultimately, that fits us well.
We are not so much a "slick and modern" group of folk.

This was a quick, fun little project. Just the right size to take along to work on in the waiting room while those little Princess Ballerina's do their thing.
I super duper love these all together like this and I am so excited for the holidays!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Dress

I finished the Bug's Christmas dress.
Oh yes I did.
One and a half months early. Not that I'm counting. Or bragging.
But, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. . . (patting self on back)

O.k.. . . well. . . truth:  I sort of finished the Bug's Christmas dress.  This wasn't technically even supposed to work out to be something wearable. I had this free fabric that was mis-sent by a while back and I thought, what the heck, I'm going to test this new pattern I bought.
My "muslin" so to speak.

So I did.
And I'm kind of smitten with it.
I didn't love the fabric when it came. I kind of thought it was horrible. Stiff and gaudy and just pure yuckiness.
But in a shiny, sparkley holiday dress I think it's sort of perfect.

What ISN'T perfect is the neck.
Even when the bow is untied it does not fit over the Bugs head.
I'm pretty sure this is my fault and not the fault of the pattern. And it's an easy enough fix, pick off the bow and let out some neck gathers, I just haven't done it yet.

I lined the whole deal with this crazy red polyester old lady fabric (grandma's fabric, the gift that keeps on giving) and I think that pop of Christmas red in there is my very favorite part.  The pattern didn't call for any lining but this silver fabric was so stiff and uncomfortable I knew the Bug wouldn't ever wear it without a soft lining added.

This is such a sweet pattern and a quick sew that I'm going to give it another go in some fabric that's a bit nicer and in a color (purple) that I'm pretty much garunteed the Bug will wear.  Stay tuned!


Thank you!!

Chalk this post up as Looong over due!
Blame it on me being sick to varying degrees for the majority of the first half of this month.

But. . .
We WON the label contest!
I know, it was ages ago and it's a bit anti climatic at this point, eh? 
Do you even remember?
My high hopes were to have finished something and sewn one of these lovelies into it to show you.
But my sinuses had other plans.

So here you are, a picture of these lovely labels.
It's true, I want to hold them and pet them and make them my best friend.
I might be exhibiting a bit of hoarding behavior.
I'm finding it hard to find a garment worthy of sewing one into.

I did send a yard of them to my sister.
That was nice, right???
See, I'm not a hoarder.

Really though, I am so thankful to all who voted.
And very, very thankful to Crafterhours for hosting the competition and to the Twill Tape Guy for putting out such an awesome product.

I have to say, I was impressed with how easy he was to work with AND how speedy!!
Seriously, I have patience issues when it comes to this sort of thing and I didn't even get a chance to get antsy about them before they showed up.

So thanks again to everyone!
And sorry for the extended blogging absence.  I have a few small projects to show you when I get a chance and I know Michelle has some things in the works too!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Bag

I've had this fabric sitting on my sewing room floor with the intent to make a new purse for over a month.
It finally happened last night.

I pinned the inspiration bag 8 weeks ago. . . so maybe the fabric has been on my floor for (gasp!) two months.

The lovely mustard colored wool is from my Grandma. This photo doesn't do the depth of the color justice. It really is so pretty.
I was just telling some friends how I am trying to be more intentional about taking quality pictures and now today I give you this. . . cell phone pictures taken from at my desk at work.
The green carpet and grey file cabinet really sets it off, right?  Right??

O.k., no, I know. . . but I was excited to show you.
The lace is lovely. From a bunch I bought while thrifting. I adore it. I am so NOT a lace girl but for some reason I am drawn to this. And I think the wide brown stripe down the front breaks up the "frill" a bit and brings a little modern to a whole lot of vintage.

I kind of like the new shape of this bag. It's a bit taller than it is wide.  A new design for me. . . I sort of just cut it out and let it happen with no real plan.
It's how I roll. . . at least in the sewing room.
I'm still debating if I would have liked it better with one more pleat at the top. I don't know, I'm kind of a "do things in odd numbers" kind of a girl.
What do you think? Is the negative space above the pleats interesting or awkward?
And I love, love, love the lining fabric. Alexander Henry Dagmar Plaid, scored for $5 a yard at Lolly's in Shipshewana.  The pockets are a coordinating print I bought at the same time but the name escapes me.

You'll notice I still need to press and top stitch around the top of the purse. I had to watch Survivor last night (priorities, right?? How about that Cochran folks?? Wow.) and just ran out of time. But I'll get to it eventually.

And yes, I am giving you a glimpse into my messy purse. Keeping it real folks.  
You know I love my pens. And my Tide pen.  And I've got to have my phone charger.  And yes, there's fruit snacks and a Tootsie Roll in there, I am such a mom.
And of course, there is a small zipper pocket in turquoise. . . love that unexpected pop of color. No one else may ever see it but it makes me smile.

Can you believe how disorganized my new purse already is? I know, it's terrible. The papers there are things I need to keep tabs on though. . . the most recent JoAnn's flier, which I've yet to clip the coupons from, and my jury summons. . . yeah, you know you're jealous.

So there you have it. . .
My Pinterest inspired Fall purse and a quick glimpse into the mess that resides therein.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Literally not more than 24 hrs after posting about Dorothy I had two wonderfully artsy friends e-mail me edited yellow brick road photos!
So cool.
The Bug's eyes got so wide when she saw these.
She is fully convinced that she is Dorothy when she wears that dress, and no wonder.

I am always so amazed at my talented friends! 
Speaking of which. . . Little Red Riding Hood's momma, a photographer, took some photos in the woods and they are amazing.  Just like a vintage storybook.
Prepare for photo overload.
Aren't they just the cutest, sweetest things?
I hope these two get to trick or treat a bit tonight. They live out East and are currently without power.
I think Little Red and her sweet wolf of a big brother would still be cute in snow boots!

Thanks to Catherine, Ally and Staci for your awesomeness in sharing your amazing talent with me!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our little princess. . . well, maybe not this year

For MONTHS the Bug has been telling me she wanted to be Princess Ariel for Trick or Treat.
Which is great because she already has a Princess Ariel dress. . . no last minute costume making stress this year!! Woo hoo!!

Until last weekend, when she informed me she was going to be Dorothy.
Sigh. . .
And she knows me so well that she knows I will almost never turn down a sewing challenge.
Had I a clue about PhotoShop I would have made that road yellow.
You'll just have to use your imagination.
Perhaps a yellow brick wall will do??
I'm not sure what's up with the pose. I think maybe she's calling Glenda or something.
I used the Elizabeth Claire pattern from Little Lizard King as my starting point for the dress since it's a quick, easy sew.
I added the rectangular apron top and straps on my own.  I also added the bias cut band around the waist as a cute little accent.  Just 'cause I was getting cocky with my pattern ad libbing self.
This dress is super roomy and should be a good addition to the dress up bin for years to come.
It's nice, too, because we can add a long sleeved shirt underneath for warmth.
And please note the bias cut band around the hem. It's all in the little details.
I think she likes it.
Hopefully, she likes it enough to actually go door to door this year.
Time will tell if we get the shy Bug or the outgoing Bug Monday night.
And if you've been around a while, you might notice. . . Dorothy is actually a repeat costume for the Bug.
Aunt Michelle made her this supremely adorable dress when she was two.
Hello squishy baby cheeks!! I love you!
That year, she followed the yellow leaf road.
Too cute for words really. 

I love it. And I"m a tiny bit glad our little princess opted out of a princess dress this year because their was no way I was going to top Cinderella.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Chair upgrade

 Fabric is not the only thing I inherited from my grandma.
Grandma and Grandpa were collectors of "stuff".  This kitchen stool is one such item.
I have memories of my little sister sitting on this for Sunday lunch when she was yet to small for a regular chair.  
Such fond memories. . .
She's a bit worse for the wear, yes?
Years on a farm will do that.
But I loved her enough to save her.
I didn't love her grimy upholstery or chipped paint.  It wasn't the good sort of chippy, you know?
So I grabbed a couple cans of chrome spray paint and went at it.
I am too impatient to dig out a tarp.
Our grass will probably be silver there until next spring. I don't imagine there is much growing and mowing left for this season.
Before spraying, I removed the upholstered seat and seat back and the rubber pads from the steps.
I also rubbed the whole thing down with steel wool to take care of as much of the rust as I could.
I pulled the nasty plastic fabric and rotting foam off of the base of the seat and back and cut quilt batting and this cute laminated cotton to size.

Hello Lindsay's foot!  
You cannot deny my photography skills are impeccable.
Or not.
The fabric is Amy Butler, purchased at when they were having one of their super daily sales.
I wrapped it tightly and used my glue gun to secure it to the metal seat base. Both the seat and back fasten onto the chair pretty securely so the glue was really only needed to hold things temporarily until I could screw it all back together.
And here she is finished!
I bought a foot of rubber matting from the hardware store and cut new skids for the steps. Who knew they sold that kind of stuff? It was a very precise measurement too. The kid had my husband hold his shoe up to the roll in order to measure off a foot.
I wish I was kidding.

But it worked well enough and I have more mat should I ever need it for anything.

I absolutely love this chair now. It is the bright spot in my very bland (for now) kitchen. And I love that it has a history and such wonderful memories along with it.

I don't tackle non-sewing projects very often but this one was fun and I can already feel myself developing a spray paint addiction.
Good thing I don't have more free time to go thrifting, I'd have to invest in cases of spray paint. . . although a rainbow colored lawn could be pretty come the first snow melt, right?

O.k., o.k.. . I'll dig out the tarp.