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Sewing Birthday Gifts December 2014

21 Nov Sew20Something

Every year as October approaches I start to plan out my gift ideas for my nieces’ and nephew’s birthdays.

I also plan Christmas at the same time, because they all fall very close together. I have to plan ahead if I want to be prepared, and I try to be as frugal as possible. I always try to use fabrics I have, and this year I was successful in not even having to buy any notions! I patted myself on the back.

Anyway, I am completely done with birthdays and really, almost done with Christmas! This year I even have enough time to sew my own kid’s P.J.s for Christmas! I’m so excited.

Ok, here’s where I warn the family members, if you have a child that I know and love and their birthday is coming up in late November or early December, I am spoiling things for you. If they are puttering behind you as you read this and you want them to be surprised on their birthday, close the window NOW!

If you want to be surprised on their birthdays, close the window NOW!

If you are a completely random visitor to my site and I do not know you personally, welcome, I’m glad your here, continue reading if you’d like, but don’t tell my nieces’ and nephew what they’re getting unless you want to break their hearts. (Don’t do that, I love them, and I do not want their hearts broken)

So here goes:

Birthday #1 is for my niece who is turning 2 (WHAT?!? that’s not possible, I still call her a baby). I used this free pattern from PiePie Designs. It’s called the Izzy top and I love the price tag on this top pattern. The instructions were simple and well done, but not printed with the pattern, she has them as a sew along on her blog. I ended up making a few of these in varying sizes for assorted birthday and Christmas gifts. This one is a size 2T


I used an old sweater that I accidentally washed and shrunk for the front bodice and a really springy, GLITTERY, knit for the skirt. I nixed the button closure in the back and made it all one piece all the way across because I was using knits. I also altered the pattern a bit and lowered the neckline in the back, that way her adorable noggin won’t have any trouble getting into it.

This little one’s birthday is in late November, but she celebrates with her brother and sister in the beginning of December, so she’ll receive this just in time to wear to all of her happening Christmas parties, and she’ll happily spread glitter everywhere she goes. Don’t worry, I asked her mom first if this amount of glitter was ok. She said yes.

I also made this one at the same time and with some of the same fabric, along with the same pattern.Sew20Something

This one was for Olive, to wear to Christmas events (her birthday is in March). She has been eyeing this fabric for a year or so, hanging in my stash, and she loves all things glitter. She is very excited, to say the least 🙂 I used a pink cotton for the top here, and completed it as the pattern prints, with a button closure. She just loves it!

Next up are the twinnies. One boy and one girl, turning 4! They have early December birthdays and their mom put an idea in my head that they don’t have big kid hooded towels. I just happened to have inherited some half finished towel projects from one of the grandma fabric stashes, which means I didn’t even have to buy terry cloth! I was beyond thrilled, but I had a challenge, What can I make with these random towel colors? I laid them out and played around.  This is what I came up with.


The clouds are from an old fleece robe I cut up ages ago that had fake lambswool around the cuffs and collar. Just enough for a grouping of clouds on each towel. I love how they turned out, so sunshiney. And the personalized monograms int he middle of each sun makes it all theirs (except that their initials are both M, haha).


Last but certainly not least is my niece who is turning 5. Goodness, these kids are growing fast. For my sweet, soon to be 5, niece I made a blinged out purse. She loves pink and all things sparkly. I actually made this sequined name applique last year, but failed to finish my hand sewn birthday/Christmas gifts (oops), so it got turned into a new thing for this year. I had a lot of fun sewing the sequins on, and I know I got the idea from Pinterest…. somewhere…. but it was a year ago and I honestly don’t remember. I do, however, remember where I got the bag design! I read through this whole “course” on ikatbag, and followed her instructions. What a great resource! I’ll be heading back there again, to get more practice making different kinds of bags!

Sew20Seomthing Sew20Seomthing

That’s it! I finished early this year, and I think they all turned out pretty well. I’m excited to party party party!

Next post will be the handmade Christmas gifts for the kiddos (which might actually include my own children this year, yay!)


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


Pattern: $17.98 +Shipping

Fabric: Free (Stash busting!)

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

Total: About $30


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.


  • 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!


See you when it’s finished!

Finished Halloween Costume

24 Oct

An old friend contacted me and asked me if I could follow this tutorial for her for a Carrie Bradshaw {Sex and the City} Halloween costume. It looked simple enough and I was ahead of the game on my Christmas gifts sewing, so I took it on.

She found her own thrifted slip to sew the tulle onto, and away we went.

The tutorial was not too bad, although she wasn’t clear on the closure. My friend din’t want the big bow, so we used clips to make a belt for the satin band. The very top layer of tulle is actually attached to the satin band. About half way through, i realized that the tutorial skirt was actually more like an apron. She tired the whole thing together and didn’t slip it on using the elastic of a slip. So I improvised. I kept the elastic in tact and used my handy new sewing on jersey techniques, so it’s still functional {hence the satin belt instead of permanent attachment}. Because of the elastic already being in place, I also had a hard time getting even layers all the way down, although it’s not noticeable when someone is wearing it, it’s one of those perfectionist things that bothers me. If I had to do it over, I would just make the skirt from scratch instead of using a thrifted slip, or make it apron style instead.

After I snapped these photos, I realized the bottom layer was a bit too low, so I took it up an inch. It now sits underneath the middle layer nicely! Overall I am really happy with the end product, and hopefully my friend is as well!

Pajama pants. An introduction to the basic pant.

17 Sep

A while back I bought the sewaholic pants pattern and was boldly excited to sew myself up some trousers. I made muslin and omitted pattern pieces that didn’t matter to fit and tried to do a muslin. I got lost. It was backwards from what I had learned before and having to skip over sections to only sew the fit of the pant wasn’t working. So I took a break to start the many holiday and birthday projects instead. I’m so glad I did!
My sister in law requested some pj pants. {She’s a pregnant stay home mom of twenty-month old twins} So I found a pattern that I thought would work for her now and post baby.


I used a thinner soft flannel that I had in my stash {thanks mom!}. It’s white, so I figured we could dye it if she cares enough to, but really she just wants to be comfortable while at home.
I learned some things with this project. I put in side pockets for the first time!


I constructed a back pocket and sewed that on as well, using techniques at the top to strength the seam attaching it.


I learned when I need to finish my edges in advance when it comes to pockets as well. I also learned that I don’t have a single safety pin in my house and it’s hard to thread elastic into clinging without one!


I’m not sure if she wants a cord as well as the elastic {like the pattern calls for}, but I didn’t want to put one in without a safety pin, so it’s just elastic for now. I don’t have a buttonhole foot for my machine, so I wasn’t sure exactly the process. There seemed to be a diagram showing me which side of the buttonhole I was currently on, but then I couldn’t make it go to the next side without just doing it manually. *mental note, look that up for my machine*

It’s funny how a simple and fast project like this can teach me so much! That’s the joy of sewing, truly.

I also got some beautiful knit fabric to sew with in the future, it’s looking like a winter full of sewing projects, and I am pumped!

What season do you sew the most in?

The Beginning

4 Aug

I am on a mission of large proportions. I have an end goal, of teaching myself how to build a wardrobe by hand. I want to learn the art of pattern adjustment, tweaking, and ultimately, pattern making. Call it a life goal, because it may take me a lifetime.

I, like many women, have a drastically positioned body. Large hips, rear, and thighs. Large calves {like, can’t wear boots large} and I’m short, of course. 5′ 3″, to be exact. I have a slim waist compared to my large bottom, but it’s only slim from front to back, so I always get that very large gap in the small of my back when wearing pants. If you look at me from the side, my waist is small, if you look at me front on, however, my waist is wide. I’m pretty average on top, not too large and not too small. My belly and chest have changed drastically since bearing and nursing 2 children. Buying ready to wear {RTW} is practically impossible for me if I want a straight off the hanger good fit. And you know what? I am not as hard to fit as MOST women!

The good news, I have basic sewing knowledge and the willingness to learn. I majored in textiles and clothing, and have a good understanding of fabric and how it moves and feels, and reacts. I have a beautiful sewing machine, and a serger… that’s more than most to get started! What I don’t have is the time for a course, or the funds to go all out and buy everything I need. So my solution? The LIBRARY. Gosh darn it, I love that place. Oh, and a little thing called the internet.

I think I checked out every pattern related book from my local library they had on their shelves. Sew U, Built by Wendy Dresses, Make Your Own Clothes, etc. etc. There are a billion more that I could have reserved first, and picked up, and I might still, but for now this is getting me started. I am really enjoying Sew U. So much I might buy it.

Sew U gives basic patterns and gives examples of how to alter them to make your own clothing. This is a great place to start, so I have decided to go this route. Here is a list of the basic patterns I will collect in order to learn off of:

  1. Pants
  2. Blouse
  3. Skirt
  4. Dress

I have made dresses, skirts, and shirts before, but never a pair of pants. So that’s where I’m diving in! My plan of attack is to use the basic pattern to make a muslin of some of my scrap busting fabric I have laying around, photograph the fit, asses, adjust, remake and remake until i have a pattern that works well on my body. I am also going to use this guide to adjust fit as I go along. And I’ll take ya’ll along for the ride!

The Colette Patterns Pants Fitting Cheat Sheet


This may take me a long time, with 2 little ones running around, and all that goes along with real life. But I imagine it’s the same for everyone else. So follow along, shout out suggestions, and comment on mistakes {there will be plenty}! Billy Madison said it best “I’m here to learn, everybody, not to make out with you!”

Any book suggestions? 

We All Sew Challenge

18 May

I am so excited to share my We All Sew Challenge entry with you guys!

I missed the first one, but I finished the second one and submitted it today, so cross your fingers! Mama could use $1000 in Bernina money, or heck that fancy pants embroidery machine at the end as a grand prize! I got to mess around with my grandmother’s Bernina embroidery machine a couple months ago, and let’s just say I haven’t stopped thinking about it since! That thing is NICE!

Today, though, the challenge was to upcycle something into home decor.

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May Pattern Review

4 May

May Pattern Review

Cost: $10.15 online  {I got it from Joann’s in-store and paid around $4, so awesome!}

Size: N/A

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