Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rosie Crossbody Bag

 One of my most favorite things is to make bags.  Love, love, love making them.  As a result, I often give away bags for presents.  This bag is one I made for my niece. 

The pattern is the Rosie Crossbody bag by Swoon (affiliate link) .  Alicia at Swoon patterns is great!  She comes up with new designs often and they are always reasonably priced.

The hardware on this bag comes from one of those hefty, vintage, soft-body, overnight type bags.  The hardware was glorious.  I love re-purposing and the vintage bag that had this hardware was no longer in usable condition.  Seriously, you can't find hardware that amazing anymore. 
 The fabric on the flap and the interior is by Alexander Henry.  I took my breath away when I first laid eyes on it.

I was terrified to cut into the fabric.  Almost paralyzed that I would make a mistake.  So I let it sit on my table for weeks before I was brave enough to try.  I finally decided that what would help was to cut out the flap pattern out of parchment paper so I could see through it and then place the parchment pattern piece on the fabric, moving it around until I found the placement that was just right.  I still second guessed myself several times.

 I kinda think I need to take time to make one for me.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jamie Dress

I've recently discovered the pdf pattern world. 

I learned to sew in a cool, upstairs room of my high school with Mrs. Lewis our wonderfully patient home ec teacher.  We all gathered together to giggle, gossip and try to sew sweatshirts as a first project (I made mine this HUGE, gray thing because the style at the time must have been to wear ginormous shirts and see how poofy your hair could get),  and then we were able to pick projects of our own.  Mrs. Lewis carefully taught us what the elusive instructions meant, and if you came to her with tears in your eyes, she would even help unpick your mistakes. 

If you don't have a Mrs. Lewis in your life, learning to sew can be frustrating.  Enter the  pdf designer.  Many pdf designers give tutorial-like instructions and many, many pictures so that a beginning seamstress can follow along and learn new skills.

Not all pdf pattern designers are equal, but I have fallen in love with the designs and expert instructions of Carla Crim, the Scientific Seamstress who also designs patterns for Sis Boom.  You seriously can not go wrong with her patterns.  I have been sewing for at least 25 years and I learn some new construction technique every time I have sewn one of her patterns. 

This dress was supposed to be my Easter dress, but I didn't have time to finish it in time for Easter after working diligently on my girls dresses that week and I had been busy procrastinating the weeks before that.  I decided to sew the Jamie dress for me. 

On thing that makes Carla's patterns so great is that the sizes aren't nested together.  She gives you the pages you need to print for your size.  So while the pattern may have an enormous amount of pages with fantastic instructions, you only need to print the pattern pieces for your size and then just read the instructions right off the screen.  Saves a ton on ink which is one of the downfalls of a pdf pattern.   

I bought fabric, thinking I would go with a different length of skirt, but then spontaneously decided to go with the maxi length.  I wasn't able to follow her hemming instructions as I was trying to squeeze as much length out of of the fabric as I could and I kind of wish it was maybe just a touch longer.

I did add one pocket.  The side zip goes down too far to add pockets to both sides, but I love a pocket in a dress so I added it.  I used the pocket pattern piece from another of her patterns, the Angie.  A mom needs a pocket for taking snotty Kleenex or for  hiding the matchbox car all the kids decided to fight over right in the middle of church.

Another change I will most likely make when I made another one for me, is making the skirt a little less full.  That is just personal preference.  My daughter is already begging me for a dress of her own like this and I think the fuller skirt will be perfect for her. 

I'm loving this dress this summer because it is very wearable and easy. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Rae Skirt

My poor, neglected blog.  I've been busy.  And tired.  And really, really, busy.  Some of my favorite things just got put on hold for a long time.  Life is like that.  Slowly, I'm trying to find my way back out of the busyness and back into the things I love: sewing and blogging being two things I want back in my life. 

Several months ago, I applied to be a tester for one of my favorite pattern designers, Tasia at Sewaholic .  You can not imagine the screams of excitement when I received the email that I was accepted as a tester for the Rae skirt. 

No, I'm so not kidding.  There may have been shouting.  And some texting.  And possibly some more screaming.   My kids just rolled their eyes at me.  That's all right.  I was too excited to care. 

 The Rae skirt is really perfect.  Just perfect.  It is absolutely wonderful for a complete beginner seamstress, but if you are more advanced just choose a trickier fabric that you were previously scared of trying. 

(pictures were taken by my 10 year old son)
Lightweight fabrics really seem to be key.  I tried a heavier fabric and it didn't work well for me.  My daughter is smaller than I am, and the heavier skirt worked fine on her so I pretended like I was excited that it worked for her.  But for me the heavier fabric just got too bunchy around the hips.  Ain't no mama of five kiddos need that!  I  sewed this skirt with a lightweight, sheer polyester that I found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics and then lined it with some soft, lightweight, navy blue lining. 

The waist is elastic, which can look frumpy if not done right.  Tasia did it right.  She put in details into this simple skirt that elevated it.  For example, the side seams are graded in just a bit where the hem will fall so that you don't have to ease in the hem.  Total genius and a design detail I so appreciated.  Easing in a hem and never getting it smooth irritates me.  The whole time I was cutting and sewing, I kept saying, "wow!  she just thought of everything!" 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Elephant Skirt

 We were shopping at Walmart when we spied this elephant printed corduroy.  We fell in love with the elephants so it had to come home with us.
My husband said that it looked like a Republican skirt. 
Why do men have to make everything political? 
It is so much more important that the elephants were bright and cheerfully cute and that the skirt twirls properly.  Like it should.

Ah yes. . . she's a cheeky one isn't she?

Have a great weekend ♥


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