Saturday, March 22, 2014

Silhouette Patterns 150 Dana's Top

I have seen Peggy (Owner of Silhouette Patterns) wear this top a few times on different webcasts.  I made it several years ago, but I never really liked it because it was too tight.  I had made a size 1 in the shoulders, 2 at the bust, and 3 at the hip.  The knit I used the first time didn't have much stretch either, so although it looked fine, it was not comfortable.
This is Silhouette Patterns' Dana's Top

If you have never made a Silhouettes pattern, I would highly recommend it for several reasons

  1. All Silhouette patterns come in B, C, and D cup sizing
  2. The patterns go together easily and quickly
  3. The instructions are always well-written and easy to follow.
  4. Peggy is super helpful if you ever have any questions about her patterns.

This time I made a straight size 3 - as Peggy is always recommending.  I'm pleased with the fit.  The only change I will make next time is to lower the angle/slope of the shoulders.  I might also do a sway back adjustment.  I actually traced the pattern to be 2" longer, but I did not have enough fabric, so this one is 1" longer than drafted.

Also, I somehow lost the directions out of this pattern, but it was not difficult to put together.  I already have pulled out some other fabric to make another one, but I want to make it long sleeved.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Camden Convertible Hat

One of the designers on Ravelry is Scattered Dahlias.  She designs slouchy hats and I really like her patterns.  She also opens up her patterns for testers a couple of times a week.  I have tried to get in on this several times, but never get in on time (The call is always when I am at work, so I usually miss out.)  Well, last Monday I was at a drs appt and just happened to pull up Ravelry on my ipad, and there was an open test!  I was excited that I was able to get in on it, even though I wasn't sure how much I liked the pattern.  So, I layed my knitting and broomstick lace projects aside to make this hat.  I'm actually pretty happy with it, and the cool thing is that you can wear it as a hat or a cowl!  You can read my review of the pattern on Ravelry.  or try this link
Here are some pictures:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"My First Sweater"

I decided to sign up for the My First Sweater class on Craftsy.  They had a great deal on the yarn "kit", so for less than $20, I ordered all the yarn I needed to make the sweater.  It's just Lion Brand Wool Ease, but it's working up very nicely.  I have other, nicer yarn, but for my first attempt at making a sweater, I didn't want to go all out.

I've known how to knit for years, but the problem is two fold.  1.  I attempt to make things that are much harder than I am ready to do, and 2) because of this, I make lots of mistakes, but have no idea how to fix them!  Maybe this will be what I need to improve my skills and get ready for the next level.  Plus, I think the pattern is pretty cute.
The class uses this free pattern from Lion Brand.  It also has options for a pullover (which I intend to make next) and a cardigan with longer sleeves and/or a collar.

On the sewing front, I'm planning on doing some cutting out after lunch.  Andy will be busy listening to the football games, and I'm not really a fan.  Since the home stereo system will be covered with football, I'll just turn off the speakers in the sewing room and turn on my audio book.  I have a 35 minute commute to work each way, so I listen to audiobooks and it really makes the time go by - plus I get to "read" books that I wouldn't have time to otherwise.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A little detour to Winter Wonderland

I took a little detour from my Rebel Broomstick Lace Cardi.  I saw this pattern in Love of Crochet magazine and had to make it for my grand daughter.  I just couldn't stop thinking about it, so I knew I had to make it!  But, I wanted to make it in blue, which I did.   I'm calling it "Emma's Winter Wonderland Cape and Hat."   I'm really happy with how it turned out.

 I think Emma likes it too, since she didn't tear it off like she usually does with her jackets and sweatshirts.  She even put the hat back on when it fell off after we were in the house!

We are blessed to be able to have Emma spend the afternoon and night with us every Wednesday and a couple of Sundays a month.  She really loves coming up here because she gets to run and play a lot outside.  She gets to play outside at her house too, but its not the same as being out in the country of course.  She's only 26 months, but she knows what she wants to do!

I have made some progress on the Broomstick lace cardi though.  I really am enjoying making that.

Now that the holidays are over, I'm hoping that things will settle down a bit.  I've been going to some Common Core Training at work, so that is taking some extra time.  I spent 3 hours in my classroom today making lesson plans for a substitute when I could have been home doing something else!  Oh well.

Emma stayed with us today, so while she took a nap I was able to trace one of my patterns for the swap.  I will be making the Silhouettes Patterns twinset out of a gray knit. i got the pattern traced and tissue cut, but didn't get to fabric yet.  I better get on the stick and make some clothes, because I'm finding that I don't have too many things to wear for colder weather.  Thinking about making them does not get them made!!

The nice thing about knitting and crochet is that I can sit in the living room with my husband and do it while he is there.  When I'm sewing, I'm kind of off in my own world (physically and mentally!)  I'm much better at crocheting than knitting.  I love the look of knits, but my problem is that I don't know how to fix my mistakes when I make them.  I find this pretty easy in crochet, but next to impossible in knitting.  Probably the issue is the fact that I choose things to make that are considerably above my skill set!  I think I may sign up to take the "MY First Sweater" class at Craftsy.  I do know the basics, but I have never knitted anything more than scarves, hats, and mittens.  I've attempted a few shawls, but have torn every single one of them out since I usually find mistakes several rows back and have no idea how to fix them.  If it's a simple knit or purl stitch, I can usually fix that, but sometimes I can't figure out what the mistake is.  Either I've twisted a stitch, messed up a YO or some other dumb thing.  I probably need to start with something more simple, so the Craftsy class might be the answer.

There are only 2 disadvantages of crocheting over knitting.  First and foremost is the fact that it really bothers the arthritis in my thumb.  Knitting does not.  The other thing is the fact that crochet projects usually take much more yarn than knitted projects, and I have a taste for expensive yarn.
Well, sewing doesn't bother my hands at all (well, hardly at all) so thats what I should be doing!  I'm ready to get started on the gray twinset, so I will post progress.  I have a great brocade type fabric that I want to make a skirt with.  It's not part of my swap, but it will go with the gray set.  I've had this fabric earmarked for a pencil skirt for years, and yet there it sits.  How long does it really take to make a skirt anyway?  I should have made a dozen.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Broomstick lace

I signed up for the Broomstick lace class on Craftsy.  I took the Tunisian Crochet class from Jennifer Hansen, and she is a wonderful teacher.  So, this was my Christmas present to myself.  I ordered the yarn(beet red), the extra large knitting needles, and now I am taking the time to learn the technique.  My first practice turned out pretty well and I love the look.

That was yesterday.  Today, I tried to make the swatch (which uses a different pattern) and mine came out too big.  This is easy to fix, but I hate taking the time to make another swatch when I am anxious to get started on the project LOL!  Well, I WILL do it, because I don't want to put all the work in and then have it not fit!  The finished project is the Rebel Lace Cardi and you can see some great pictures of it here

Here is the cover photo:

I think some of the examples on Ravelry are even better looking.  I'm (attempting to ) make mine in the same color as the sample above.  Tonight I will try to finish swatch # 2 and hope that will be the end of it!!

On another note, my son did something really cool and different for me for Christmas this year.  (I say "me" because my husband can't appreciate the photos since he is blind.)  He has a friend who has a GoPro camera and remote control helicopter that is made for it.  They came out to our place when I was not home and took all kinds )over 200) aerial shots of our house, the river, and the valley floor.  The resolution is so high that I can zoom in on things across the river and see what I never could with my eyes.  I had to reduce the resolution considerably in order to post on line, but here is an example of one of the shots that he did.

Monday, November 25, 2013

SWAP - I've got a plan

I've got a plan - but that doesn't mean I'll stick to it!  Years of experience tells me that the SWAP plan always changes by the time it is over!  Right now my plan is of all new made garments.  If I don't finish everything by the end I can substitute since this year we're allowed

  • one purchased garment
  • one previously made garment
  • one garment made between now and the start date of December 26
I do plan on making a pair of pants (or two) before the start date.  If I don't finish everything, I do have black skinny pants or a top that I can substitute.   I should be able to make everything by the end though since I do not have any major trips or moves proposed by the end date!

I originally wanted to make everything from stash, but I found a great coating for a great price at

Also, I have been wanting to make this Sandra Betzina skirt for a long time, but didn't have the right stripe.

Of course, once I found that stripe, I had to have the aqua too!  Everything else though, will be from stash.  I will keep you posted!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I guess I'll let him live (LOL)

OK, today I can laugh about it, but yesterday I was in tears.  All the time I had allocated to sewing was spent cleaning up soot and ashes.  It's amazing how much ash can fly out of a shop vac in just a split second!  Fortunately, my cabinet doors to the fabric cabinet were shut, but everything I had out (I'm still unpacking) had/has a fine layer of ash all over it.  I guess I'll continue to clean as I go.  Not much else I can do about it.

I did make a little progress yesterday.  I usually trace all of my patterns, but I probably won't mak this dress more than once, so I just cut it out.  I did trace the front bodice sine I wasn't sure how I wanted to do a FBA on this.  I knew I would want to rotate the dart into one of the pleats, so this is how I ended up doing it.

This pattern has the typical Vogue method of sewing in the lining, which I don't like.  It seems that the shoulder seam never looks quite right when I try to insert the lining and then join the shoulder seams last.  I prefer to use my standard method which joins the side seam last.

So, I've got the front completed and the back bodices sewn to the skirts.  The pleating in the front was more time consuming than I anticipated.  It's fairly simple, but then getting the top and bottom to line up is extremely difficult (Well, maybe not if you're a much more accurate sewist than I am.)  I think I ripped this out 4 times and this is the best I could do.  Fortunately, it will be covered with a belt, but I like to know that it looks good.  At least this is pretty close.

I like the way the pleats form the front of the bodice.

Today I would like to finish cutting out the lining and sew it together.

On another note, Stitcher's Guild is starting up for the next SWAP (Sewing with a plan)  This year it is 11 garments.  3 mini packs and 2 wildcard.  You can find the official rules here.  For the last several years, I have attempted SWAP and failed miserably.  In fact, last year, I don't think I even completed one garment from my proposed SWAP!!  So, looking at it that way, I can only succeed in improving my progress from last year!!  Plus you can use a few items that you already have made, so I am planning to use this dress and the pair of pants (that still need hemming) that I made last weekend.  Are any of you planning to SWAP this year?  It officially starts in December, but you can actually start sewing and planning now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Best Laid Plans (or How to Get Your Wife to Want to Kill You)

I had so much enthusiasm today - I knew I was going to finish that dress!  Well, unfortunately, my sewing room is also the home of the litter box.  There was some litter on the floor, so I asked my husband to bring in the shop vac so I could clean it up.  My husband has had the brilliant idea lately of cleaning out the fireplace with the shop vac.  You might guess where this is going.  Said husband comes into the sewing room and turns on the shop vac. Tragically, he has the hose in the WRONG hole and it is set to BLOW.  NO, he did NOT clean out the shop vac after the last time he cleaned the fireplace.  Well, he will not have to now since all of the soot and ash have shrouded my entire sewing room!!  I cannot believe this just happened!  I've spent the last hour and a half cleaning and mopping.  No, I'm not in the mood to sew anymore.  I'm just frustrated!

Hoping for a new dress

Next up, Vogue 1025

I looked on Pattern Review to see if there were any reviews, but couldn't find any.  It looks easy enough, but looks can be deceiving!  Andy and I have an event tonight, and I'd like to make this.   I don't think I will get it done in time, but at least it will be motivation to get started.  Last night I pulled out some "Lipstick" red wool which is almost a wine color, and some ambiance lining that will go with it.  I was surprised to find that I even had the right sized invisible zipper in the right color.  Since it is about a 45 minute drive to the nearest fabric store, I've got to make sure I have everything I need before I get started.

I don't think the dress will take long to make, but I still need to fit the pattern.  Of course, a muslin would probably be the best way to do this, but I think I am going to try to tissue fit to save time.  I'll post my progress later :-)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Emergency Sewing

I've actually been working on a pair of pants this weekend and have finished them except for the hem.  They are Loes Hinse Cruise pant.  It's an old pattern, but I like the narrower leg, but wanted something with an elastic waist for those days that I just want to be super comfortable.  I always wear longer tops, so you can't really tell what the waist is anyway.  So many fashion sites say you should NEVER wear elastic waist pants.  Why?  Granted, they arent going to give you that great butt like a good pair of jeans, but I'm not wearing jeans to work - and I'm not too worried about how great my butt looks with a class full of fourth graders!

I get to play the doting grandma every Wednesday night and every other Sunday afternoon.  Little Emma spends the night at my house on these days and we usually have a great time.  So, today I pick up Emma from her dad's house, and thankfully I asked him if there were any diapers in the bag.  There weren't.  So at least I snagged those before I left town.  Unfortunately, I neglected to check the clothing situation and not only was there not a change of clothes, but no pjs either.  Now, where I live now is a place that begs children to get in the dirt - and that's exactly what my granddaughter  loves to do.  So, I'm thinking, what is this poor child going to sleep in?  Thankfully, I had Simplicity 1567 on hand from the Halloween costume.
I took the long sleeved T and lengthened it for a night shirt.  This was fast and dirty sewing.  I found a piece of knit in my scrap tub and it was just enough.  The whole thing is serged, and I didn't hem anything.  I did add a neckband because I was afraid the neck would stretch out of shape.  It was faster to make the neckband than to turn under and stitch.  
Well, it's not the best made thing, but it took less than an hour and it serves the purpose.  It's moments like these that I'm really glad I can sew and basically make something out of nothing!  And, I think this is a great pattern that can make a lot of things.  Emmas wearing a 2 now and this goes from 1/2 to 4.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I shocked myself!

A couple of months ago my daughter asked me if I could make Wilma and Pebbles Flintstone costumes for her and my grand daughter.  At that time, I don’t even think we had moved yet.  I didn’t think I was ever going to get my sewing room in order (it’s still not, but at least somewhat functional) so I kind of held off on it.  So, a few weeks ago I asked her if she still wanted the costumes and she said that she did, but she wanted to be Betty instead. 

Well, getting together with my daughter is not the easiest feat in the world.  We both have busy schedules, and she lives 45 minutes away.  I kept trying to get together so I could at least measure her (she avoids this like the plague), but it never seemed to work out.  Her great suggestion was- “Just guess.”  Really?  Are you kidding me?  Obviously, this girl, much to my chagrin, has not the least clue about anything sewing related.  Just guess on a fitted dress with boning?  I tried to just ignore this comment and started on the Pebbles costume first.  That was easy enough.  Shorts and top in one evening.  I even painted the spots on the top.  Pebbles done! 

Now, for Betty.  I still didn’t have any measurements, but with Halloween only a week away, I had to get started.  I didn’t really have a choice, so I just guessed!!  I made a size 8 bodice out of muslin and took that to her house on Monday night before bible study.  It was too big in some places and too small in others.  I tried to guestimate my measurements from there, since I was lucky to wrap the bodice around her.  There was no way she was going to deal with me re-pinning, letting out and taking in seams.  The only reason I let myself into this in the first place is that she never asks me to make her anything, and I always like to. 

So, I had Tuesday night and Wednesday night to turn Simplicity 4070

                 into this.  

Now here’s the deal.  I’m a pattern girl.  I sew from patterns.  I do not draft my own patterns.  I do not drape.  I do not design.  I sew from patterns.  Well, I could not find a Betty Rubble pattern or anything close.  I decided to forge ahead anyway and I’m really glad I did.  I also shocked myself  First, that I actually did it. Next, I only had two nights to design, cut, and make the dress.  The dress was fully lined, had a boned bodice, pleated skirt and shaped hemline.  I also had to redraft the front and figure out how to do the neckline. Whew!  OH, and I was also watching my 2 year old grand daughter who didn’t want to go to bed on Wednesday night!  Well, it turned out really cute.  I’m still not sure how it fits her because I have not seen it in person.  Maybe someday I will. LOL
So here they are, Betty and Pebbles:

This really got me to thinking.  I was worried about this because I do not really know how to “take short-cuts”  and I’m not sure that I want to.  I like things to be just as  nice on the inside as they are on the outside.  Most projects will involve some kind of hand sewing.  I was really worried that I would not be able to finish this in time.  If I were making a dress like this, it would take me over a week.  I’m not sure how I got it done so fast.  I guess I was just really focused (something I’m usually not).  I’m always amazed at how other sewists get things done so quickly.  I think I’ve just been too slow with my sewing.  

Now that the sewing room is up and running (sort of) I hope I can get to some sewing for myself. There are still things I cannot find (Like, Where is all my seam binding?  I know I have a few rolls of Steam a Seam.  Why can’t I find a tape measure?)    I have tons of fabric and patterns.  Now I just need to find the rest of my sewing tools and get started!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted.  Yes, we finally moved.  We are still not completely unpacked, but I am determined not to do what most people say is true, which is "it can take years."  Basically, I just need to finish the TV room and the sewing room.  The sewing room is my nightmare.  Nothing seems to fit where I want it and all the shelves are either too narrow or too shallow.  I need to start thinking outside the box so that I can get that room ready to sew!  I'm going to try to post some pictures later today.  We have terrible internet here, so every time I try to upload pictures, my connection fails.