Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Sign of the Devil? No...

6 spools of embroidery thread (BOGO free),

6 patterns (99 cents each),

6 yards of fabric...
Cotton polka dots and hearts for the Princess, purple lining for me!

Certainly, not evil, right??? Especially not when the total bill was under $50!  Considering all the "temptations" and sale prices in there today, it's a "miracle" that I didn't buy more!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some sewing to do!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

35 Shirts, and Counting...

It's official... the embroidered Vera Bradley shirts are a hit! (And I'm saving up for my next NYC trip...)
 Students are ordering them with their college of choice, or sorority name...
Teachers are ordering them with our school name and with their favorite college (as Christmas gifts).

I'm a very busy girl, but actually enjoying designing the combinations of fabric, threads, and shirt colors!

 If you're interested, there are a few fabrics still available for sale.  Email me at to make payment and shipping arrangements.  $10 for 36"x45", with shipping.

In other news, I have 2 garment construction jobs, too.  While the machine is stitching those borders, I'll actually have time to put those together, so I'll update the blog when those are done: a silk blouse and a sweater vest.

Hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, don't eat too much turkey and pie!  As I count my blessings of my loving family and our good health, the food on our table and the roof over our heads... I'll also be thankful for  my wonderful and supportive friends (you)!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fabric for Sale!

It's a long story, so I'll spare you and just say this:  TOO MUCH VB FABRIC!!!

I ordered a bunch, there was a shipping mistake, I re-ordered from a different seller, and now there's just too much! I'm using a bunch for the embroidery designs in the last post (I have a Brother PR-600II, Ang!), and if you'd like one custom-made by Your's Truly (with the letters and fabric of your choice), just let me know!  Hoodie's (with or without zippers) are $45, Crewnecks are $40.  I also have the same applique in Greek letters if you have a special sorority girl on your Christmas list...

The fabric pieces are 18"x18", and are $4 (plus shipping), or 45"x 36" for $8.  I did my best to label them (numbers 1 - 12) in the photos above.

Email me at , and we'll make all the necessary arrangements!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Little Embroidery...

Ok, so it's a lot of embroidery! But isn't it cute?
The alphabet came from "Planet Applique", and is called the "Sweet Varsity Alphabet".
The background fabric is adhesive sport twill from Twill USA, and the top fabric is a Vera Bradley print.
It was a HUGE hit at school today, so I think I'm gonna be a busy girl soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bridesmaid Dress --> Anniversary Gift!

First, I have to say, THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA.  It's a great idea, wonderful actually... but so, NOT MINE.  All props go to Cousin B., who stood up in a wedding last summer, and came up with a great use for her bridesmaid dress after-the-fact!  Cousin B is also a reader of this blog, so leave your compliments/questions in the comments for her to see!
Here is the dress: a lovely, tea-length, sea foam shantung with navy ruched cumberbund.  I carefully cut into the dress, using nearly all of the skirt, to make 4 rectangles approx. 14"x18" (enough for 2 pillows).  I used the navy cumberbund from the just the front, since the back was seamed.  I cut it lengthwise into 2 equal strips, to re-gather, and decorate the pillow front.  Here's what I had left after cutting.  (Sorry, Cousin B, I hope that isn't too painful of a picture to look at.  But, it sure was fun tearing into and inspecting the construction!)

I hooped the shantung (along with tear-away stabilizer), and embroidered the happy couple's initial's and wedding date in navy thread.  I hemmed the long edges of the navy strips, then gathered and reattached the strips next to the embroidery.  I stitched the front and back (plain) together, slid the pillow form inside, and hand-stitched it closed.
This one will be given as an anniversary gift, and the other will decorate Cousin B's couch and be a wonderful keepsake of a memorable day.  Great idea, Cousin B, I hope your friends love it!

I have another "important dress" reconstruction to do, but will leave you guessing until I reveal more details soon!  I love to keep you guys guessing...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Supergirl... in a Super Dress!

This is a brand new release from Simplicity, which I just picked up last week for $1.  It's a "Hannah Montana" set of coordinates, with dress/tunic, pants, jacket, and vest.  LMP (Little Miss Princess) chose the dress version.  Of course, she's already submitted her request for the coordinating vest, too.  Maybe next week...
Girl's & Girl's Plus Sportswear
The pattern includes sizes 8 - 16, but she needs about a 6, so I graded the 8 down, using the difference to the size 10, but going smaller.  I'm pretty proud of myself, as it fits perfectly!  I cut on the 8 lines, figuring that I'll probably be making another in the future.
I used about 1.5 yds (60" wide) of some really cute pink/grey/lavendar flannel I got from Ressy's co-op not too long ago.  LMP is very happy with how cozy and warm it is, so it's a great garment with tights or leggings for this coming winter.  Our 60 degree temps have disappeared, and snow is in the forecast by the end of the week!
My favorite features of this dress are the little touches that make it look so RTW.  The front cutton placket and the button tabs for shortening the sleeves weren't difficult to do at all, and really make the dress more current.  Although... can I tell you that I made 3 major mistakes during construction!?  I accidentally caught the facing and stitched in flipped open when I did  the little box at the bottom of the collar opening. Rip, rip...  I stitched the side seams with the wrong sides together WITH THE SERGER.  Rip, rip, rip...
That's what happens when you let your mind wander late at night, huh?  A sure sign to close up shop for the night and get some zzzzz's!
We bought the coordinating belt at Meijer, and stopped at the bead store to make matching bracelets.  LMP did all the stringing, and I did the knotting.  Obviously, this girl (along with all little girls) loves a little bling, bling!
This dress (and pattern) is a win-win, so I'm happy.  The instructions and sizing are spot on, and construction wasn't tedious (except for my mistakes).  I worked on it here and there, over the course of the week, and she was happy to wear it to church this morning.  I'm planning on making the vest she wants, along with a pair of leggings to put underneath.  I highly recommend this pattern for any little girl in your life, whether they are a Hannah fan, or not!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A New Top & Tapering a Pantleg

I must be on a Threads kick lately, with 3 new garments from the Simplicity Threads Collection, and a linky-link (below) to their website! Weird... but, maybe not.  After all, I do think that their patterns are a step above the others, with special attention paid to details that make for good construction techniques and for better fitting garments.  In this new top (which I've made before), there are separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes.  I know I've got another one in the line-up (2424, isn't jacket A cute?) so, you know there must be something there I like!
 So, the top... it's Simplicity 2614.

The top right corner... yup, that's the one!
  The back and bottom of the front are bias cut, which helps make it a "pull-on".  I hate zippers closures in blouses, just so you know...  I cut the front top using the piece for a C-cup, and also placed the CF on a fold, and eliminated that seam in the picture.  The fabric was in the stash, from Joann's last spring.  It's got the texture of a shantung, and I absolutely love the colors (navy, purple, teal, periwinkle).  The v-neck is perfect for work, definitely not revealing, even when I lean over.  The sleeve length (on me) falls just under my elbow, so it's a love-hate length.  Good length for fall/winter, but I hate when the cuff catches under my elbow and I raise my arms and it pulls on the shoulders and makes me mad.  Not a deal-breaker, just slightly annoying. No biggie.  I made the size 14, and it fits great all-around, even in the length.  It works perfectly with the new navy pants, and makes me think that I should make a navy pencil skirt with the left over wool.  Another great wardrobe staple, so why not?!  Oh, and I found short cut on the sleeve cuffs using my serger! I folded the cuff in half lengthwise, and attached the gathering to both edges at the same time.  The serger cleans up the seam allowance, and I don't have to stitch the seam closed by hand.

Many thanks on all the compliments with the pants! I'm wearing the navy ones today at work, and I'm really happy with them.  I started thinking about the best way to taper the leg, and found this wonderfully illustrated article online from Threads Magazine, and thought I should share!  I also found a tapered pant pattern in my pattern drawer, and I might use that as a guide, too.  I'll keep you posted, as always!

Next up... that Hannah Montana pattern for Little Miss Princess.  I've got a super cute pink flannel plaid, and feel a little greedy doing all this sewing for myself this week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My (Newfound) TNT Pants!

Simplicity 4135
I've had this pattern for a very long time, which is why I reached for it this time.  My work pants are all too big now, and with the weather cooling off, I needed some new ones.  The pattern I got from the pants class isn't that impressive, seeing as how it doesn't even have pockets, a waistband, or parts for a fly front.  The last time I made this Simplicity pattern, I was smaller (and I wore those pants A LOT), so I figured they would be a good place to start.  I didn't expect them to fit perfectly right out of the envelope, and have so many of the features I like the best.
The pants sit about 1" below the waist, and have a wonderful curved waistband.  The waistband is cut to hug your curves, so there is no gaping open at the center back, which is usually my main problem with other pants patterns.  There is a pattern piece to interface the edge of the pocket front, which stabilizes it from gaping open, along with the pocket bag that extends into the center front.  I re-adjusted the fly to open on the other side (like RTW), and am playing with the idea of narrowing the leg on the next pair.  They are wide (fit at the thigh perfectly, then drop straight down), but I like them.  The only other thing I would like to change/add is a back pocket, just to break up the real estate (if ya know what I mean...) even if it was a fake welt opening.

Like I said yesterday, the fabrics were both from the stash.  The beige pin-stripe is from Joann's and has tones of camel, ivory, pink and dark brown.  Please forgive the wrinkles, they sat through mass yesterday! There is a subtle herringbone, and slight stretch in the wool suiting.  I think the combination of the stripes and wide leg leaves me looking a little bit... squat and short (maybe it's the dark shoes?).  So, I am glad that I did the second pair in a solid.  The navy, on the other hand, has absolutely no stretch, but pressed gorgeously, and I feel like I am wearing very well tailored and expensive pants with these! On the second pair, I was smart and serged all the edges of the front and back pieces before starting construction.  I simply pressed the side and inseam allowances open, and they are perfect and flattened out beautifully.
If you have 4 hours (that's exactly how long the navy blue pair took yesterday!), I highly recommend this pattern.  Pants are hard to recommend though, since IMHO they are the hardest to fit perfectly.  Like I said, I think a narrowing of the leg will happen in the next pair... I'll either measure my favorite RTW's in the closet, or dig through my old issues of Threads (I remember seeing an article about this awhile back).

5 for $5!? Woo-hoo!!! Stopped at Joann's today (the cutting line was ridiculously long, so I'll have to get my lining elsewhere!), and Simplicity patterns were on sale, so I grabbed these 5:

Girl's & Girl's Plus Sportswear
 (Yeah... that last one? Not for me. Just in case you were wonderin'... )

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sewing Bliss = Free Babysitter!

After a rough start (thank you, Daylight Saving Time... NOT) I had the most wonderful surprise.  My in-laws offered to take the kids for a few hours after church this morning, so I could enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house.  In those 4 hours, I cranked up the iPod, and stitched up a pair of pants.  Actually, the 2nd pair of pants this week! I can't remember the last time I had 4 uninterrupted hours of sewing?!  I felt like I was a teenager again, holed up in my bedroom with the radio blaring... and it was so rejuvenating! No stress of "late night", poor lighting, yawning, "just one more step" working.  No kids yelling, "MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!, I want a _______ (drink, movie, snack, toy, friend to come over)".  No pinning upstairs, running downstairs to sew, running upstairs to trim, running downstairs to press, running upstairs to answer said hollering kid...

Do I feel guilty about enjoying the absence of my kids for a few hours today? Yes.  Did I truly enjoy myself today, be-bopping between the ironing board and the sewing machine? Yes.  Did I end up with the most wonderfully tailored wool pants?  Yes!  Did the kids enjoy being spoiled rotten, eating too many Dorito's at Grandma's house? Yes!  Do I have pictures to show you? No.  Sorry... I was on a roll there, wasn't I?

It's dark now (thanks again, Daylight Saving Time), so I'll need to have a photo shoot tomorrow with my wonderful personal photographer.  But I'll leave you with a couple little sneaky peeks...
 The beige stripes is a stretch wool I bought at Joann's about... 4 years ago. No kidding.  The navy suiting is from the Expo last year, and being 60" wide, I only needed a tad over a yard, so I've got enough left about a yard and a half left over!  The colorful cotton are quilting cotton scraps left over from dresses I made for Little Miss Princess. I used it to line the pockets and waistband, reducing the bulk, and adding some "inside interest".  Also, they are great memories of my little girl twirling around and grinning from ear to ear.  Kind of like me in my sewing space today...