Happy Surprise!

8 Oct

I could not be happier to figure out that my sewing machine does little tiny letters!

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I never paid attention to that section of buttons because it’s all about memory functions, which I don’t use.

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Here I am trying to figure out how to make size tags and all of the sudden I find this little gem hiding in the corner of my machine. This is a game changer! I’m so very excited.

This leads me to realize I really need to take a class on my machine. I would love some more decorative stitches and I have this plate:

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Does this mean I can find more stitches sonewhere? I really need to figure that out! Anyone out there have this machine and know the answer?

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Pattern Review: Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket

4 Oct

I completed the Minoru Jacket! Of course the minute I finished it, Ohio weather went from nice crisp fall air, to a steaming 80 degrees in a matter of 24 hours. I knew it wouldn’t last long, though. Alas, today it’s back down to 50, and it’s even sleeting. So I get to test drive this baby today, woohoo!

The fabric I used was from my hand-me-down stash (thanks grandmas), so I am not 100% sure what these fabrics are, but I have a pretty good guess.

The outer fabric is a wool; black and grey, speckled with red, blue, and yellow. It’s a beautiful fabric with a hint of detail and the red top-stitching really makes it pop, but it is way itchy.

Most of the lining I used is a cotton with a printed on plaid design. I would have used a true flannel if I wanted to spend the money on new fabric, but I was committed to not spending any money on this project past what I absolutely needed to. I also used a tan lining fabric (also from my stash) for the sleeves, to help glide my arms in and out. I used a small amount of thermal cotton knit in the side seam pockets that I added, as well.


Minoru - Sew20Something

There are so many things I super love about this pattern. The first is that there is a sewalong to go along with it, tucked in the archives of Sewaholic’s blog. This was so handy during several steps, as I could check it out before I completed that part and had a better grasp of what I was doing.  It also helped me determine what I should change beforehand, such as lining the hood, adding side-seam pockets, and putting the lining fabric in the parts of the jacket that would come in contact with my skin.

I love the use of elastic to give this jacket a bit of a curve, and I even love it in the cuff, even though it’s not completely necessary.

I love how this coat looks on me. The versatile collar with optional hood is perfect for Ohio’s unpredictable weather, and the huge collar will cover my face on windy days. The raglan sleeve was fun to sew up and I love the way it looks on a jacket. I feel feminine while wearing it, whereas most jackets make me feel rigid.

I saw some reviews about the hood being too big, but this ended up being one of my favorite features. I have big hair, end especially when my hair is in a bun, most hoods don’t fit around my head, and guess what? This one does. I love it.

Hidden pockets are fun, and I actually love them in the mid section. I see these coming in handy from time to time, when I want to keep things safe and not run the risk of anything falling out as I put my hands in to keep them warm. That brings me to the lack of sideseam pockets. I did add side seam pockets in, and I can actually see why they aren’t there in the original pattern. The side seams are a bit too far back for a comfortable hand in pocket position. I’m glad I ended up adding them, because I know I use side seam pockets a lot! However, in future versions, I might try adding a front pocket instead.

Minoru - Sew20Something

Minoru - Sew20Something

Inside View.

The instructions were clearly worded, and with the help of the sewalong, I had no problem following along, for the most part. I did find the collar zipper step to be a bit confusing. Actually, I thought I wasn’t confused, I sewed the big long rectangle, snipped the zipper line, snipped the comers, and just folded it in before attaching the zipper. It wasn’t until the jacket was completely finished, and I was sewing another top, that I realized she actually wanted you to flip the liner through the zipper hole to the other side. I’ll make sure to correct that the next time I sew up a Minoru (which will 100% happen).

I only had to rip out one seam to do over (the stitch in the ditch)!

Minoru - Sew20SomethingMinoru - Sew20Something

My least favorite parts of sewing this jacket came few and far between, but there were a few. I really wish I had realized the inside of the hood pocket was completely exposed. I would have finished those seams, and I also would have lined the liner (does that makes sense?). I used the liner for the inside of my collar, due to the fact that I didn’t want itchy fabric rubbing the back of my neck, and my liner fabric happens to be obviously one sided. When my hood is out, you can see the exposed inside fabric, and if you really peak down in there you can see lots of layers of exposed seams.

The only other thing that bothered me was the stitching in the ditch along the bottom of the collar. I totally get the purpose of it (to keep the hood in, and to help line everything up), but I did it twice, and it still doesn’t look pretty. The first time, it was way off, so I ripped it out and really took my time pinning everything well. It was better the second time, but as you can see in the picture with the tag, it still isn’t great looking. It’s completely unnoticeable from the outside, which is awesome.

Minoru - Sew20Something

Cost

Pattern: $17.98 +Shipping

Fabric: Free (Stash busting!)

Notions: $9.36 (Elastic, Front Zipper, Thread)

Total: About $30

Time:

I competed this from start to finish in 6 sewing sessions, spread out over about 2 weeks. Most of my sewing sessions are 2-4 hours in a sitting, with lots of child responsibilities/breaks thrown in.  It felt like it went together quickly.

Special Notes:

  • I love the way the top-stitching turned out and the edge-stitch foot was vital.
  • This was my first time (I think ever) sewing with plaids. I think I did a decent job minus the inside collar. In fact I have a lot to work on for my next one in regard to the collar.
  • With a wool outer layer and a cotton lining, I think I can get away with wearing this coat decently far into the winter. We hit negative temperatures last year, and if that happens again, then I’ll most likely need a warmer coat. I think my next Minoru will be a lighter weight trench type coat for the spring.
  • If I want to take better pictures (meaning not with my phone camera) in my tiny sewing room, I’m going to need something different than a 50mm lens.
  • Last but not least, I learned diffusing essential oils is my favorite new addition to my sewing tools. There’s nothing like needing to rip out a seam and not wanting to rage quit because your sewing room smells like lavender. Lavender makes everything suddenly seems awesome, even seam ripping.

I had a blast sewing this jacket up! It was a great way to jump back into the craft. Sewing is such an awesome hobby because you can take a year long break and jump right back in feet first, and barely feel like anything was amiss. I am already back into the swing of things and sewing up Christmas/birthday gifts! Oh, and Halloween, too.

Happy sewing! And if you have sewn a Minoru, I’d love to see it!

Minoru Sneak Peek (P.S. I’m Back!)

19 Sep

I’m back in the sewing room. and it feels gooood. Seriously, why, how, did I wait so long?!

I decided to get back in the game with a pretty big project. I decided I needed a jacket. and sewing a jacket has been on my list of things to sew for about 10 years. Speaking of which, I am squeaking in the last half a year before I turn 30 to stay true to my blog name :) I’ve still got time, so I’m running with it.

Anyway, back to the jacket. I’m loving it so far, but I’m not yet half way through. I’m using fabric I already had in my stash from grandmother’s donations. A black speckled wool for the self fabric, and a cotton printed plaid for the lining. I have a slick synthetic of some kind cut out for the arm lining, but it might be a bit too thick, I haven’t decided yet.

I’m not finished yet, or even close! But, I wanted to go ahead and talk about the things I am doing this time around that are different. I’m taking my time and changing things up a bit. So, In no particular order:

  • I actually cut into the pattern this time. I have traced my fare share of patterns and it is pretty much the worst. I have yet to try the freezer paper method, and I do plan on trying that one, but this time I decided to cut out the biggest size and fold in to my size. That way I can unfold when I need to make another size and I don’t have to buy another pattern. That makes me happy. It worked out well, I thought. It’s not the easiest thing to move the pattern around with all the folds and snips, but it got the job done and I don’t feel like I ruined my pattern. Plus, double plus.

Sew20Something Sew20Something

  • When I cut out my fabric from the patterns, I used hand stitching  and tailor tacks to show the pattern details. Typically, I try everything possible not to hand stitch anything, but my other methods were not working on this fabric, and this pattern has so many important markers {elastic casings, mainly} that it was very important for me to mark everything and actually be able to find it later. I’m kinda terrible at hand sewing, I despise trying knots, and I’m usually not very good at creating a strong stitch. Those things don’t matter one bit when you’re transferring markings onto your fabric, though. And even though it took a bit of time, it was really easy! It even inspired me to hand sew the gathering at the collar later on, and that might have just changed my life.
  • I’m not racing to the finish. When I sew something up, I generally try to get to the end as fast as possible. And don’t get me wrong, I really can’t wait for this to be finished, as the weather is a bit chilly already. But, this time, I am taking my time, making sure to add personal touches along the way. One major way is that I am adding a red topstitch in every chance I can, and I am loving the end result. I’m using a thicker thread so the topstich is popping out and it’s really tying the lining in with the wool. It takes time to switch the thread every time, but it is so worth it.

Sew20Something

  • I’m adding to the pattern! I decided to add a lining to the hood because I wanted the plaid to pop when I had the hood out, and I am so excited about the result! I am also going to add in some sideseam pockets {hopefully with a nice warm fabric to keep my hands warm}. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think I might also make the cuff with half self fabric for the outside, and half lining for the inside. The pattern calls for the self fabric to wrap all the way around, but this wool is as itchy as itchy can be. I’m going to experiment a bit and hopefully the results work out like they look in my head.

So there you have it, the sneak peek of my Sewaholic Minoru Jacket!

Sew20Something

See you when it’s finished!

Birthday Tank

18 Jun

After a major break in sewing, I gave myself a birthday present and made myself a shirt! I used this lovely tutorial I found on pinterest: http://cottonandcurls.blogspot.com/2013/01/side-split-top-tutorial.html?m=1

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I am thrilled with how this top turned out, I used some stretch cotton polly blend I had in my stash and I was able to whip it up in a couple hours. I am currently obsessed with the petal look, and this shirt is no exception. I love it paired with a skinny jean. Nothing fancy, just comfortable and a quick project!

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I Drew a Line, I Drew a Line for You

5 Mar

And it was all yellow:)

I have been absent from documenting, but certainly not absent from the sewing machine! There are so many things I sew for gifts and secrets that I would ruin a surprise if I blogged about it right away! I also have a commissioned project that’s going on right now that is taking up most of my time, and I am loving ever second of it!

In little spurts I have been sewing little things here and there, like a baby shower gift, and Love’s yellow dress to wear for her yellow themed 2nd (what?!?!?!) birthday party next weekend. It was such an easy, simple design, and I am thrilled with the result! Once again, I was able to use fabrics I had in my stash. The neon yellow skirt bottom came from my sister in law who actually got it from her grandmother (my sister in law had this hanging up as make-shift curtains in her master bedroom right after they built there house, and it turned their whole room neon, lol)

The bust and bow fabric is from my great grandmother in a box of unfinished quilting she had.

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I just love using these fabrics. I love knowing where they came from, and how many hands have touched this fabric, contemplating what to make with it. I love knowing that my mother’s mother’s mother had UFOs (unfinished Objects) just like me. Maybe she would prefer WIP (work in progress), maybe she wouldn’t, she was pretty feisty:)

Simple Yellow Dress

She used to watch me when I was 3 or 4 and I always loved sneaking into her sewing room. It was a tiny little room that had a mini door leading to it (she was under 5 ft, and her husband was over 6 ft, so I imagine this was quite an escape for her, as he physically wouldn’t be able to fit in this sewing room). I often wonder if these UFOs were sitting there while a secretly glanced around, allowing me to experience this fabric in two different ways within one lifetime. 24 years later I am helping Granny make use of this yellow fabric that she probably lost interest in finishing after chasing after me:)

Simple Yellow Dress

I find it lovely to have these connections with people through fabric, and I pray that someday my children will find unique connections to me and my mother, and her mother and so forth. It may not be fabric, or even something physical, and that’s ok. But for the record, there will probably be a basement full of fabric for them to inherit:)

Fabric Organization

24 Jan

I sat down to finish a project tonight {and I finished it! YAY… pictures to come!} and I realized that my fabric is a giant mound of craziness. CRAZINESS. I have gotten a few hand me down boxes from grandmothers and mothers, and each time I have just thrown it in the sewing area. Then I’m excited to get started on something random, and I rummage through such boxes, spilling them, throwing the random pieces about. There are so many tiny pre-cut quilt squares all over my sewing area, I just simply felt overwhelmed every time I thought about organizing it.

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Anyway, tonight, I thought of it, and decided I should get started. I did! I started it, but about half way through I realized I really just realized I don’t know the best way to organize fabric as a clothing sewer. Quilters organize their beautiful quilting cottons (perfectly squarely cut) into color stories. Just like The Cottage Home, she makes children’s clothing, but uses mainly cottons.

But what does great fabric organization look like when it’s not just cotton. When it’s jersey knits, poly blends, cottons, cotton blends, and the mysterious fabrics that come along with inheriting other people’s fabric stashes?

I would love to know how people organize their fashion fabrics! Please give me some pointers, links etc to help me get the ideas flowing! I need inspiration!

Under Pants

11 Jan

Love has eczema. Severe eczema. And you know what? It’s awful. Awful for her mostly, but for us as well {her parents}. She itches something mean 24 hours a day and if she can ever barely see the skin on her legs, she scratches down to the bone. It’s heart breaking to watch her go through this, and I am always looking for an answer. A way out. A way for her to experience life without the constant irritation of painful, itchy skin, or scabby legs.

We are trying two things right now {we’ve been trying things her whole life, so this is actually normal around here}.

1. only 100% cotton clothing {but mainly on her legs, because that’s where her skin is effected the most}

2. no wheat {I can’t even begin to explain the crazy links I have read about, linking everything to the cause of eczema, so we give each one a try}

So far the wheat is working ok, it’s not been long enough for me to tell if she is itchy or not. But Keith and I both noticed she had been in a better mood since we stopped buying grocery bread. We haven’t officially transitioned fully to no gluten, she still has some snacks. So time will tell with that one.

What is working is the 100% cotton. She is still itchy, but the cotton doesn’t irritate her skin, and as long as she doesn’t have access to scratch, her legs look close to normal {!!!} However, it’s actually difficult to find clothing for kids that is 100% cotton, especially pants! And top that off with it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE to find socks that doesn’t have a “filler” we were running into a problem with her being able to get at her legs to scratch them to pieces. So, mama, the sewer came up with these bad boys:

Under Pants! Made from 100% cotton :)

They are working like a charm, and I couldn’t be happier. Now if only I could figure out the root of the eczema so she doesn’t have to feel the urge to scratch, we’d all breathe a little easier!

P.S. I drafted the pattern myself. And I’m proud of it. Woo!

2012 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

How to Dress myself {Basics: Navy Blue Skirt}

19 Dec

Phew! I’m finally finished with the pjs, and I got to sew something for myself! A while back I started to realize I need to revamp my wardrobe. I have a lot of clothes that simply don’t fit. partly because I have had them since high school, and partly because my body has changed in the last 4 years. I also took a pledge not to buy ready-to-wear clothing along with a bunch of other fantastic ladies!

So I started with a simple cotton, very light weight fabric that my husband bought a long time ago as a photo backdrop in high school. It’s still on the bolt. It’s a beautiful navy blue and the perfect color and texture for a staple A-line skirt. I didn’t use a pattern at all. It’s a square front panel and a square back panel. the top is gathered over the elastic. the only measurement I took was the elastic around my waist, and I used the actual elastic, not a measuring tape! Then I eyeballed the hem as the last step.

I used some no twist elastic for the waistband, and some hemming lace to make a wide hem just below the knee. I’m really excited about the versetility of this skirt, as I can wear it with boot ans tights for winter, or just a slip in the summer. I cardigan in the fall and just a tank if it’s warm. I can wear it with a simple tee, or a light sweater, and if I add a sparkly top, I feel it would transition nicely to a semi dress up.

Cost: 100% free, thanks to my stash.

ALSO, I am sooo sorry the mirror I used was gross. When you have toddlers running around, you tend to sneak in photo opportunities, and that sneak didn’t include walking past them watching Veggie Tales, increasing my chances of the distraction not working, just to get windex. Please look past the fingerprints.

Makes a beautiful wide hem. And a touch of surprise underneath.

Makes a beautiful wide hem. And a touch of surprise underneath.

Hemming Lace

basic staple, in navy

basic staple, in navy

My serger broke a thread, and I got annoyed, so I took a different approach.

My serger broke a thread, and I got annoyed, so I took a different approach.

Christmas Gifts Finished, Finally.

12 Dec

My family is no longer allowed to have children. Seriously, that’s a lot of pajamas!I’m not joking! {OK, I’m joking, I love all these kiddos and I want more more more!}
2 boys and a thousand girls {6 girls} Christmas pajamas have been sewn. I started planning this in September. And I will do it again next year:) I am hoping they will wear them Christmas eve!

Hand dyed flannel fabrics: Purple/Pink/Blue

Jersey fabrics: Green and Dark Purple old jersey sheet sets.

Florals: Already in my stash from grandma’s and such.

DIY ombre dye! Had fun dip dying the skirt fabric before I cut out the pattern.

DIY ombre dye! Had fun dip dying the skirt fabric before I cut out the pattern.

Vintage floral pattern was used to supplement my lack of purple fabric. I simply love the way this one turned out.

Vintage floral pattern was used to supplement my lack of purple fabric. I simply love the way this one turned out.

This is not my favorite style, but I was so happy to learn how to sew this!

This is not my favorite style, but I was so happy to learn how to sew this!

Oldest cousin's dress. I couldn't decide if she would like pink or purple better, so i did both.

Oldest cousin’s dress. I couldn’t decide if she would like pink or purple better, so i did both.

The Green accent in this dress actually pulls in the rest of the collection. {accidental, but I love it}

The Green accent in this dress actually pulls in the rest of the collection. {accidental, but I love it}

The simplest of the bunch for Eli.

The simplest of the bunch for Eli.

Special hem!

Special hem!

Fleece Pajamas

Each child that is receiving a separates set has a special stitch design.

Each child that is receiving a separates set has a special stitch design.

Olive's didn't get a bow, because when mommy is the seamstress, she skimps on yours! Promise I won't do this next year!

Olive’s didn’t get a bow, because when mommy is the seamstress, she skimps on yours! Promise I won’t do this next year!

Fleece Pajamas

Bow on the back of the booty, to match her newborn sister.

Bow on the back of the booty, to match her newborn sister.

Since this set is for a newborn, I add a bow on the bottom of one of the pant legs.

Since this set is for a newborn, I add a bow on the bottom of one of the pant legs.

This collar didn't exactly turn out perfectly, but I ended up liking the look.

This collar didn’t exactly turn out perfectly, but I ended up liking the look.

Fleece Pajamas

And ruffles:)

And ruffles:)

This very special girl loves the color green, so she got the green jersey instead of the purple!

This very special girl loves the color green, so she got the green jersey instead of the purple!

Lessons learned:

  • ask for waist measurements of all the kids {some of them might be too big}
  • This pattern’s torso length is insanely short. {Ruffles, and special hems were added to extend the length for the kiddos because I could feel it in my bones that they are going to be belly shirts)
  • Ironing freshly RIT dyed fabric results in discoloration.
  • Sewing the armseye on a size 5 or smaller is difficult unless you sew it flat}.
  • Sometimes I hem one pant leg in the rong direction, which means technically one pant is sewn on backwards. Thank goodness this pattern has a similar front and back.
  • I will not put in as much effort for my own clothing {or my own children} as I do for sewing gifts for other people. I hope to improve this.

So what do you think?

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