Sunday, June 22, 2008


I'm not actually going to post a tutorial on how to make a tote. But I just had a lot of fun making totes with some friends. We all had different machines, so it was fun watching and learning how the various models worked. We all had different ideas and fabrics and it was amazing to see what everyone did. I forgot to take a photo with all three in the picture. But here's mine.

It already has a home... a Thank You Tote for one of the summer babysitters who has done a great job with my kiddies.

PS -- That duck cloth is navy blue (even though it looks black in the picture) and the yellow fabric is a scrap from some drapes I made for the office. The lining is made from a scrap of "skin" also from the drape project. It was a cool lining because it was kinda rubbery.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer Swap: Lone Tree

I'm returning to the tree theme this season for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. Sadly, this might be my last quilt in this swap. I'm just getting so busy. I don't know if I can continue.

This quilt is not quite done. Still needs the hard stuff, quilting, binding, washing, mailing, etc. But I should make the deadline. In fact, I've got to get it in the mail this week as we are traveling a great deal of July. Wish me luck.

I'll talk more about the choices when I send it off and I know the partner has it. Otherwise, might give away too much. (The label is blurred to conceal her identity -- well, there you go, I'm not sewing for the one guy in the group.) I did hand embroider the label and learned that I loathe embroidery on black fabric. Maybe if I could find a better way to mark the fabric I'd try it again. I do like the contrast.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sew Along: Wrap Skirt

I've been plunking along trying to sew along with a group I found online, the Finny & Donk's Sew Along, and the recent assignment was a skirt. The book that we are following along in is Simple Gifts to Stitch and this project had me rethinking the title. I think there is a misnomer out there that if you don't have a pattern and you make something, that it's simple. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes a pattern makes things more simple. That being said, patterns hate me.

I needed another skirt like ... well, like I need another pair of shoes. But at least I wear shoes. I never wear skirts. I LOVE them and I COVET them and I always cave in and MAKE them and BUY them as if I'm never going to see another skirt again. But truthfully I have no business owning a single one. But, I made it anyway thinking that I might just throw it on over the swimsuit -- thus hiding my super white, almost blue they are so white, thighs when I have to take my kids to the pool this summer.
Turns out, I kinda like it and I might wear it other places than the pool. That is, if I ever wear a skirt.
Now, let's see... I have some opinions about sewing this skirt that might impart some level of helpfullness to you if you try to make this skirt.

1. I messed this thing up from the beginning so I didn't follow the book that closely. This book is not easy to follow and I have really fumbled through all the patterns that I've tried thus far. So if you're looking for a new skirt, you should just go find a great pattern and sew it. If you're looking to try another project in this book -- either as part of the sew along or because you've already invested in the book -- keep reading.

2. Go read Finny's suggestions on ribbon. I loved her idea, but I didn't try it. The waistband I selected was actually a drapery tape (for roman shades) and wouldn't iron a crease without melting. But, it is really durable and if I ever need to fashion a tourniquet with it, I'm set.

3. I made mine a full two inches longer than the pattern and I'm pleased with the length (I'm 5'8"-ish). One thing I thought of afterward is that perhaps I should have lengthened the darts (because I am a longer person).

4. I heeded Finny's notes that the skirt itself can feel a little high-waisted. I loathe a really high waist so I folded my waistband in half. This helped a little, but it's still a pretty tall feeling skirt.

5. The no. 1 change I would make if I made this again is that I would make two skirts and then sew the two skirts into the waistband together (wrong sides together) to make it lined/reversible.

6. If you don't have ribbon, don't worry. I personally think that the waistband could be made from fabric. Much the same way the band for Amy Butler's pleated apron is made.

OK... That's just about it for suggestions/thoughts. Oh, and one other thing. This only takes about an hour to sew.