Sunday, January 27, 2008

Something Old Into Something New

My new skirt.
I used an old, old, old pattern with fairly new fabric to create one fun skirt. I've already paired it with a red wrap sweater and a brown t-shirt to see where I can go with this look.

Get this, the pattern was McCall's 3056 Evening Elegance from year 2000. So scary. I'm not sure why I have it, but there's a big orange 75% off sticker, so I think that might have something to do with it. The gown the pattern is intended to make is quite prom-ish, includes instructions for a beaded and bangled bustier, and -- wait for it -- a lace shrug bolero. So scary.

But, the full length skirt was perfect for altering into a modest short skirt for me, as I'm a bit on the longish side. The only drawback that I can see to using a pattern this old is that in 2000 we were still wearing our skirts and our jeans at our natural waist (which I have learned is a lot closer to my belly button that I knew) and now we wear skirts and jeans about 3 inches below our belly buttons.

Once you get past the whole, oh my goodness something is touching my waist feeling, the skirt is actually very flattering on the whole and can reign in a muffin top. It's zippered with an invisible zipper and a lined it in unbleached muslin (because I hate when cotton skirts go between my cheekies) and has a few darts.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

For Baby: Truck Pillow

My baby's room has been a true struggle for me to decorate. I waited so long with my first baby that when I got around to picking colors and themes he was old enough (almost 2) to start telling me what he wanted. Well, this baby, doesn't talk as much even though he's only a few months behind where his brother was when his brother picked... drum roll, please... John Deere.
But this baby is obsessed with cars. And I was smitten by a line in the Cars movie by Mater, "What's wrong with rusty old cars." So, that's what happened, I found some rusty looking cars stuff and painted the room the same color as rust. But the bedding has been a challenge.

Finally I just decided to draw a truck, cut it out of "wool" flannel, and stitch it together. I'm glad I did. I was attempting to kinda match the pillowcases I had found on clearance at Pottery Barn for Kids (seen in the background), but I wanted to make it look even older. I say "wool" because that is what it was called at the fabric store in Indiana, but when I touched it with a hot iron it immediately melted onto my iron. Wow, that was a joyful moment. Anyone know who to clean melted acrylic off iron?
I opted for raw edge applique because I love it. But I find now that it's finished that the boys might like playing with this pillow so I probably should have picked something a bit more sturdy. Oh well. I can always make another.
In addition to the truck pillow I also painted this dumb little initial. I'm not a great distress painter or anything. But I like that it adds to the charm of the room. Now to find some old license plates. I have an idea for the valance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Am I Doing?

I have been wanting something I can do with my hands while I watch TV with my husband and boys. You can't very well lug the machine up... so I tried knitting. That went over like a fart in church. Then crocheting. That's a little like knitting, but even more confusing.
So, I fell into embroidery this week. This might work. Granted, I need a lesson. It reminds me of crisp clean pillow cases lined up in my mother's linen closet. I don't know if she embroidered them or if my grandmothers and great-grandmothers did, but they were so pretty I felt like I was sinning when I touched them. Well, I didn't actually feel like that, but I did think I would get in trouble. If you know what I mean.
Anyway... thought I'd give it a spin. I don't know what I'm doing. And it looks like a 3rd grader did it. But, I can do it in front of the TV. So, there you have it... something new I'm going to try to do.


I was so humiliated by my performance on the PJ pants that I quickly whipped out this little tote.
I started with the pattern in Last Minute Patchwork and Quilt Gifts, but then had to put my own spin on it. For some reason I love putting twill tape under bias tape, and then of course I added some big 'ol pockets inside. Other than that, dimensions and everything were great as laid out in the pattern. Oh wait, I also added some details that I thought made it look more expensive, triple stitching around the top, and some top stitching at the seams, etc.

Now, just need to decide who will get this cute little tote. As charming as it is, I wish that I had a blue fabric to go with it. I'm ready to breakup with green.

PS -- All the materials were left-overs. The twill tape was a left over from the harvest/log tote I made my grandparents. The fabric is Laurie Smith fabric that I've used in just about everything I've made since July 07. It's called Freer, or something like that. I picked it up at a Hancock Fabrics in Idaho for about $2/yard. Great deal.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Patterns Hate Me

I made these pants for myself.
OK, I'm just going to say it. Patterns hate me. I followed this pattern to a T. The problem, I think, is measurements. Needless to say, they fit my husband. But BLAST! They were for me.

So, it's back to the Vogue sewing guide for another review of how to take measurements. (PS -- this means that SO is a ladies' size 14.) (Also, why did I think I was a ladies' size 14?!?!?!)

Book Review: Romantic Home Sewing, Cottage-Style Projects to Stitch for the Home, by Christina Strutt

Beautiful book. But it is the exact opposite of my style. I like the projects, but just can't see myself taking on any of them. The patterns are simple to follow and the projects are geared for a beginner. I actually have a friend who would love this book. Her entire home has that country-cottage flair. There is a gardener's apron pattern that could be adapted to any style that makes this book worth checking out. If you have a passion for linen, florals, floofy, and vintage french-y whimsy, you'll love this book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Love Bird, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts

This is intended to be a Christmas ornamnet, but I opted to fill it with lavender and lentils and make it a sweet smelling closet ornament. Takes very, very, very little fabric and will be my new go-to craft to use up scraps. It's in the Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts book. It was described as needing about 45 minutes to complete. Actually takes only about 30 minutes (and that's if you put up with the nightmare business of getting lavendar into a tiny bird). I can see that this could be a very nice gift for Christmas and if I start now I might actually be able to make a lot of them before December 2008. Seriously, very good for scrap busting.

PS -- Will probably tackle just about every project in this book. Not because I love them all, but because I love most and the rest look fun. Good gifting in there.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Memory Lane Game: Laurie Smith Fabrics

Here's the board game I made for my husband's sister's family. I'm worried as I still don't think it's made it to its destination, London. I might be starting over and making it all over, again. This time with hand delivery in February.
The idea came from a magazine. But then, of course, I had to put my own spin on it. Changed up the board (by sewing it) and making the game pieces relevant to their lives. It has trivia questions and list building tools so that everyone can get to know each other better.
The winner gets a coupon for something really great like... control of the TV for a night. For the most part I used Laurie Smith fabrics, but the box was a purchase from Container Store. For my version of the rules, just send me an e-mail.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winter Goddess: Four Seasons Quilt Swap

This is my winter installment for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. I can't speak too much about why I came to this design, yet. But it has a lot to do with the swap partner. The pattern is original, and so is the fabric. It measures about 17" by 20". Which might be a little outside the swaps guidelines but the fabric was speaking to me
The trees were first snipped out of black fabric. A little like cutting a paper snowflake -- nightmare. Then I satin stitched them down. The quilting pattern is meant to resemble winds and the way in which they blow new seasons, spirits, fairies, whatever, into our lives.
I've yet to finish the label. The swap label requirements are HUGE. So, I'm working on making it as small as possible while still meeting all the requirements. I'll place it directly over the blue stripe on back. The title of the quilt is Winter Goddess, I think. If something else strikes my fancy, might change it. Must sew all night to get that label done, want to get it in the mail tomorrow.
PS -- if anyone out there from the swap is lurking... I'm including a note with the quilt explaining the inspirations. So, if it's yours, you'll know why. Or perhaps you already do...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Great Stocking Pattern, Gotta Try It Next Year