Monday, July 25, 2011

Pintuck Clutch

Saturday was our project/techniques sewing day at Whipstitch and we made the Pintuck clutch from 1,2,3 Sew. I LOVE how neat these little pleats look and I'm planning on making more of these for sure. I will say that the directions didn't make sense to me (I needed more pictures or a diagram for creating the pleat) but once the talented Theresa actually put her hands on my fabric and showed me how to do it I caught on. They really are super easy to do and I'm thinking my next post might be one showing some pictures in case others are visual learners like myself and so I can remember how I did it when I want to sew another one two months from now. I figure if I make one more AND take pictures along the way, surely that will cement in my brain...right? Hopefully! This was some lovely home dec weight Anna Maria Horner fabric and instead of using the same fabric for the lining I chose a Kona solid that matches the orange leaves on the front. I also added fusible fleece to the lining panels - I know some find it too padded but I like the structure it gave this bag. I might try canvas on the next one just to see what the difference would be.

This was the other project I made from the book - the easy-peasy Change Your Mind reversible skirt for my child who has a thing for hedgehog fabrics. This went together so quickly, if you had a child who would actually wear a skirt you could easily crank them out for school. I think it would work just as well in cooler weather with some tights, it's a little heavier since it has two layers of fabric and I LOVE the rick-rack detail between the two layers. Oh and when I put it on her, did she love it or did she yell "NO NO NO" and rip it right off and return to running around in her diaper? I'll let you wonder... ;-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

AMSG at Whipstitch tomorrow!

No, we're not making cute patchwork zipper pouches - the tutorial can be found here and it's a different way of assembling the pouch with the zipper and I LOVE it - you can do it without a zipper foot! That's a little going away gift for one of our favorite Whipstitch girls - we'll miss you Clare!

Tomorrow we're working on the Pintuck Clutch from Ellen Baker's 1,2,3 Sew book and I am excited. It looks like a great skill to learn (pintuck pleats) and a serious contender for holiday gift giving this year. Hope to see you there any time between 8AM and Noon! Oh and Happy Weekend everyone :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For the Love of Solids Swap

Just a *few* of my favorites put into a mosaic on Flickr - it was tough to pick just 16 since I have literally hundreds in my faves. Elizabeth from Don't Call me Betsy and Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations have come up with a swap for all us solids lovers and I am SO excited!

I've been hesitant to join so many of the great swaps going on over at Flickr because I want to make sure I have the time and resources to really do it right but I just couldn't resist this one! My solids stash is quite fat and I'm inspired to make something great! Looking forward to seeing who my partner is and getting to work :-)

Happy Thursday!

PS - I'm on Flickr as darcydivine if you want to check out all my faves that I couldn't fit in the mosaic ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shearwater Kaftan - finally!

First - it is really not that easy to get a good picture of yourself while standing in the mirror, trying to show what you've made without looking ridiculous. Oh well! You can see the shirt, right? So I know this pattern for Toni Coward's Shearwater Kaftan was making the rounds in the blogs last year but I just got around to making mine this year - better late than never right?

I've learned to not use my favorite (or most expensive) fabric to make the first of anything. Got to get through that learning curve first! So when I saw this fabric at IKEA (I know, go ahead and laugh) for $6 a yard and it seemed reminiscent of VERY expensive Japanese gauze I thought it would be perfect to try this pattern with. It also seemed summery and fun, not my normal colors or patterns but good for this time of year.

So it went like this - one nap to make the bias tape, one to cut everything out and two to sew - not bad for my current work-during-nap schedule! I like it except it's kind of tight through the shoulders, which I hate in any shirt. So on the next one I'll use the XL for the shoulders and the L for the body of the shirt (it fit fine through the hips). It also could have been affected by the lack of stretch this fabric had but I'm going to size it up anyway. The other thing I didn't get was how Toni used the bias tape to finish the neckline - it just seemed too complicated for me (sorry Toni - it's really a lovely pattern!) so I did it the way that made sense to me and also finished the sleeve edges and bottom hem the same way. Oh and did I mention that I shortened the sleeves to be 3/4 length? Yup, sure did. Measured 18" down from the top middle of the sleeve and drew a straight line across. Worked out fine!

So for my bias tape finishing I cut my strips 1 1/2" to start and then folded them in half and ironed them to make 3/4" single fold bias tape.

Then I pinned and sewed the tape to the RIGHT side of the shirt fabric - this shows one of the sleeves. I tucked one end back inside itself and then inserted the unfinished end of the tape into the folded end and sewed the whole thing down with a scant 1/4" hem.

Next I fold the bias tape INSIDE the shirt, so that it's flat against the wrong side of the shirt fabric. Then I iron it all nice and flat.

Then I sew around the edge of the bias tape (sewing on the inside so you can see the bias tape) just catching the outer edge of the folded bias tape. You can see the stitch line on the sleeve here - I did use to 2 different color threads so that the white wouldn't show up on that nice dark bias tape.

So used this method to finish my neckline, sleeves and the bottom hem - it's easy and makes a nice clean finished edge - nothing to fray in the wash. Nice if you don't have a serger.

I also like the design element it adds! This is a great way to hem skirts too - way easier than trying to turn and fold and iron AND keep the hem the same size all the way around.

Next one a little bigger on top and nicer fabric - but I'm definitely planning on wearing this one by the pool in the very near future :-)

Now maybe something for my poor, neglected (HA!) child...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter Bags

It was the end of an era, so naturally we needed new bags. My BFF and I have seen every movie together in the theater, since the first one was released 10 years ago. How can it possibly have been TEN years? And on the other hand it seems like truly a lifetime ago. There have been weddings, divorces, new homes, babies, illness and health, joy and despair. Change on every level of our lives. Just as you would expect in 10 years. And through it all has been Harry, the books first and then the movies as an added bonus. I never, ever like the movie as well as the book and I've been known to skip the movie altogether if I truly loved the book but these movies were a delightful exception. True to the books so unerringly that I, we, couldn't help but love them. I remember tearing up at seeing Hogwarts for the first time on the screen, so perfect. I teared up today watching it for the last time. But if I've learned anything from Jo Rowling, it's that the people we love are always with us in our hearts. Plus those books will always be just an arm's length away and there's real comfort for me in that. It was a bittersweet showing and I loved every minute of it.

So, the bags. I woke up thinking "we need Harry Potter bags". Just something fun to mark the occasion. I used Kaffe Fassett fabrics from my stash, the print is called "Targets" and the lining is a gorgeous shot cotton. The pattern is Ali Foster's Pleated Shoulder bag. It was a little smaller than I expected but a nice shape. These bags went together super quick - as evidenced by my sewing two of them in one day while my toddler was at home! I lined them with canvas instead of fusible interfacing and I really like how they turned out. The only thing I would do differently next time is add something to the strap - some interfacing or a layer of canvas - I didn't on these and the strap just felt a little flimsy to me. I could fix it or I could just remember to change that next time :-)

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Thanks to a gracious invitation from the Hill people to come and share their mountain retreat for the day, we took a mini-vaca to the mountains with Nana on Wednesday. We had a GREAT day! My child took to the lovely salt-water pool like the proverbial fish to water and we all enjoyed the swimming, playing, snacking and just generally relaxing. Thanks for the invitation Hill people - I'm seriously looking into how much a rental of our own would be next summer.

Oh and those decadent brownies I made can be found here - I did sub pecans for the chocolate chips though - I like the crunch! And then of course I forgot the leftovers - DANG!

Today, back to the real world and waiting for Shane, our friendly A/C repair man to come. The fact that we're on a first name basis should tell you something.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Skirts! Yay!

It was tough to get a good photo of these while they were flat (not on my body) but I am SO thrilled that they are done and with how cute they turned out! I'm still trying to work my way through my *many* UFO's but what a fantastic feeling to get a couple done - yay me! Teehee...anyway, I won't tell you how embarrassingly long ago I cut these out but I will tell you that I used the Versatile Wrap Skirt Pattern from Toni Coward over at Make It Perfect (love love love her, sad sad sad she lives so far away). I love how easy this pattern is - except for turning the waist band ties but I get why that's the way to do it. The only change I made was this - I attached the bottom band on the assembled skirt pieces and then folded over and topstitched the skirt and bottom band all together (on the short ends of the skirt). If you read through the pattern this will make more sense - Toni has you finishing them separately and I tried it that way but I didn't like how the stitching didn't match up once they were joined. Doing it my way makes for one continuous line of stitching, which makes my OCD sew-er oh so happy!

We're off to Big Canoe today to visit some friends for the day and enjoy some time away from our sweltering courtyard - kiddie pool here we come! Hope you fine something sweet and cool in your day too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New fun

This was a joint Mom and Dad project (with also a little help from Uncle Paul - what can I say, sometimes even a simple project takes a village!). This little tent was actually pretty easy to make with wood from our local Lowe's and a fabric panel from IKEA - found in the children's section flat-folded for about $8 - a steal! I saw this on Grosgrain's 30 Days of Free Patterns (I think it was day 11) and knew my little munchkin would love it and she does! It's a great place for hiding, rolling balls through and just general hanging out. I like that we can fold it flat when we're done playing with it and slide it under the bed or lean it again a wall.

Oh and see that blur in the left of the photo? That's no super hero, faster than a speeding train, that's just my kid's normal speed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nothing cuter!

Than your own little cutie wearing something you made just for her!

This is the elastic shirred top/dress (it's almost long enough to be a dress but she'll wear some little knit shorts or bloomers under it) that I made at the last AMSG meeting. When I got it home I added some rick rack on the inside at the bottom and white straps that I made from some some white Kona cotton.

I know I'm biased but come on, SO cute!

And this is the bribe it took to get her to put said dress on and sit for a photo.

Just keepin it real folks!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pattern Review: Market Bag

I'm thrilled to report that I actually got some sewing done over the long weekend! This bag is the Market Bag pattern from Rebeka Lambert over at Artsy-Crafty Babe. I had been saving this piece of AMH's sketchbook fabric for a long time, just looking for a bag pattern that was big enough to showcase the large print. When Beki did her sample make-over post I realized that this was the bag! This bag is fantastic because it's BIG, I mean big enough for a magazine and your lunch and your planner OR your towel and sunscreen and water and book OR (as is usually the case around these parts) your blankie, snacks, sippy cup and a few hundred matchbox cars. The size is just so practical and great! And yes, it would make a wonderful bag for the farmer's market (not that a dirty vegetable will ever touch that AMH fabric). The lining is a print from City Weekend and I added a layer of canvas between the lining and exterior fabric as Beki suggests in her post - the only thing I would do differently is that I made the canvas lining the exact same as the front and back fabric panels and next time I would leave the pleats off the canvas. It just made doing the top stitching around those pleated areas super hard because all those layers were so bulky. No biggie - just a little change for next time. I also added a pocket on the inside because otherwise I'd never see my phone again :-) I loved this bag and I can see myself making more of them! It's available in pdf form from Beki's etsy shop and it is one of the easiest pdf files I've ever printed and taped together - this girl knows her stuff when it comes to pattern design. It's also an easy enough bag for a beginning sew-er to make and feel successful!

And here's a little tip I picked up at one of our AMSG meetings: cut out the piece that shows where the dart goes, then you can trace around it exactly with your marking pen or chalk. I laid mine on the pattern to trace the outside edge too so I got the shape right when cutting around the edge of the bag. This made getting the shape for the darts incredibly easy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

well, hello again!

Hey there! June passed in a blur but I'm thrilled to report that we made progress in some of our, ahem, problem areas. Our other house is finally really and truly cleaned out and listed for rent - whoo hoo! Then I used a chunk of the almost two weeks that my husband was gone for work to attack our garage that has looked like a Hoarder's episode since we moved in and it looks WAY better! So I was able to go our Atlanta Modern Sewing Guild feeling great about taking a few hours for myself. The lovely Theresa from Whipstitch taught us all how to use elastic thread and folks, it was just as easy as everyone said it would be! In fact, it's my new favorite thing! The tips I can share are 1) don't pull your thread while you are winding your bobbin and 2) make sure you keep your stitch lengths short, around 2, longer stitches just don't give you enough elastic for the stretch you'll need. I printed out the pattern from Heather Ross and then just made my first version with just a large rectangle. I'm going to make the next one with her pattern to compare. I got a little top made for H which she of course took one look at and said "NO, NO, NO!" in perfect almost-two-year old fashion :-) But I'm sure she'll come around sooner or later.

Here's my finished dress, with straps and everything - LOVE it! So comfy and I like the fact that I won't see 12 other people wearing it! The fabric is Momo's Freebird from Whipstitch, and I know they don't have anymore (because I bought the last of it) but you could probably find some on etsy. The colors were so perfect for me, I just couldn't resist!

Our next sewing days for AMSG at Whipstitch are July 9th, 8AM - noon (open sewing, bring whatever project you like) and July 23rd, also 8AM - noon. We picked our project for the 23rd which is going to be the Pintuck Clutch from Ellen Luckett Baker's Sew 1,2,3 book. Several of the girls have already made one and it is adorable - think possible holiday or birthday gifts. You will need a copy of Ellen's book which you can find at Whipstitch or amazon or where ever you like to buy books. I can tell you it has a ton of great projects that will help you build your sewing skills and give you adorable finished products. Plus I like supporting our local sewing peeps! If you haven't made it to a meeting yet we would love to have you come join us! We're on facebook now as well (thanks to Melissa) or you can contact me to be added to our email list if you'd like to be added to our email list.

Hope everyone has a great Fourth of July!

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