Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two Years Six Months Later.....!

Wow!  Do you believe it!?  It's finally finished!!!!
After selecting all the fabric, making sure it was 100% cotton and pre-shrinking every fat quarter in hot water, I began the project to complete the childs quilt called Funny Babies, designed by Amy Bradley.  The quilt's background fabric would be blue (we knew the baby would be a boy) and I wanted to select at least one of each primary color a child would learn to identify during childhood.   Fabric selection was the most fun....

Red, Blue, Green, Red and Yellow

Beginning binding at bottom center of quilt
Binding attached and ready for final handwork

All Done!
The quilting was done by a Georgian quilt shop in light blue thread.  I allowed them to make the design selections and am very happy with their choices.  I wanted to share the detail they added visually to the back of the quilt where I used white muslin.  Can you see the many toys and baby items sewn into the design in the following four pictures?

See the teddy bear...?

And the keyring rattle....?

Can you make out the pacifier....?

There's the ducky...!

Sigh....So, this project has been completed.  I hope finishing three more quilts for my growing grandsons will not take me as long.  I did learn a lot....One....avoid appliques and stick with piece quilting from now on!  Two...being exact when measuring is critical.  Three....The love you stitch into the project will cover all errors.....(smile)

I just hope I will bring the smiles to my niece and her son you see below when they open the box.  I loved doing it.  The package will go in the mail Monday.....

You will be hearing more from me, soon.  Til then....keep stitch at a time!

On Washington DC's METRO over 2012 Labor Day Weekend

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wedding Attire

New Look 6124
M y youngest niece asked me to sew her a dress she could wear at an upcoming wedding she had been invited to attend.  Because I have been sewing for her since the day she was born, saying yes was no problem at all.  About a month ago I came to live with her and her mother, so I had the opportunity to fulfill her request with her new measurements.  I also wanted her to become more involved with the pattern and fabric selection this time around, and this was a prime opportunity. 
Young adults are so computer literate now, so she was easily able to look through the online patterns available, and selected a very simple style with the newest craze:  the peplum.  Her selection was New Look pattern 6124.  She asked my opinion for fabric options, and I quickly guided her away from the standard satin (too many wrinkles) worn too often by wedding guests and suggested the less-gaudy shantung.  She and I took a road trip to the local Hancock's where the fabric was on sale in her favorite color for only $2.99 per yard.  She was excited the cost was so low because (this time) she was paying for it.  lol...The entire ensemble was less than $25...including the pattern!
Pattern and the prepared fashion fabric and button
Now, the photo that follows was the result of all the recent classes I have taken on fitting and altering paper patterns.  This young lady is six feet two inches tall, size 6 pattern with a D-cup bustline.  I underlined the dress in a matching lightweight cotton, and she gave me her permission to post a finished picture of her in the dress on my blog.  Needless to say, she was delighted.  The two frosted buttons are an irridescent turquoise overlayed on a burgundy base that matched the suede shoes she wore.  A road trip to G Street Fabrics was coupled with a side trip to Rita's for a treat was the icing on the entire process. 

New Look 6124

What did I do differently?  Well, I decided to eliminate topstiching the tabs 3/8" from the edge as suggested in the instructions.  And, I hand finished the bottom of the peplum instead of topstitching it down.  I put in an invisible zipper (including the proper way to finish the facing on the inside) using one of the many instructions and hints posted by fellow bloggers on the internet.  I had almost forgotten the most important instruction:  that is, to begin the zipper installation after fusing interfacing in the back seam allowance....a critical step with this particular type of fabric, for sure!

New Look 6124

I lengthened the back waist to 17 1/2". and slimmed the skirt bottom to more of a pegged look.  Her mother (my sister)  didn''t have any hips until she gave birth to her, so I suspect this young lady has inherited the same physical trait.  Slim hips are perfect for this style of dress, and the kick pleat left her ample room to stride down the aisle with the bride's son. 

I told her to have fun, take pictures, and smile.  She was so happy when she bounced down the ramp, I couldn't help but feel happy I had been a part of her joy.

Thanks for checking out my blog....I haven't been posting a lot, but I have been sewing.  I don't want to be lost like the bloggers mentioned in MPB's blog.  Thanks for stopping by to check on me......

Keep stitch at a time!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finishing Vogue 1305

Vogue 1305
(courtesy of Vogue pattern site)
Since it was already cut out, I decided Vogue 1305 would be the last dress I will sew during the final days of my stay in northern California.  I know, I've been rather quiet for a while, but it was only because I was in transition from one residence to a different, temporary one.  I will be making my final drive cross country the last week of this month, back to my home and belongings stored in the metro Atlanta area of Georgia.

I am not looking forward to 33 hours on the road, but I am looking forward to seeing the accumulation of items I haven't seen in six or seven years....particularly the vintage pattern collection I had been dragging around the country for decades.  Many of them are Vogue Patterns and include the woven labels Vogue used to include with your purchase when you bought the 'designer' patterns (Are any of my readers as old as I am?)  lol.  I look forward to posting most of them for sale on etsy or ebay as soon as I'm settled.  My son's last couple of years in high school I worked in an independent fabric store (Fabricland in Fremont, CA), and still have many of the fabrics purchased with my discount from there.  I've learned so many new techniques in junior college classes since I returned here to care for my mother, I am no longer reluctant to create the garments I envisioned when I made the purchases.  No more adding to my stash 'til they're considerably reduced!

I began this particular sewing journey discovering an error on the cutting layout of the pattern.  It was the first time this has happened to any pattern I've sewn, but it reinforced my commitment to understanding all the steps and terms prior to beginning to sew any pattern I haven't drafted.  If you're interested, you can take a peek at the discussion in my previous blog.

Dress Sides are Different and Separated by Center Seam

The fabric is a drapey rayon knit I purchased for $1 per yard at a Joann's sale.  The dress takes about 3 yards of 60" fabric for a size 16, so any fabric commitment is quite an investment.  This brightly colored fabric will serve as my muslin.  In the picture above I am trying to show you the different directions of the fabric from the front center seam.  One side of the dress is straight-grain perpendicular to the floor, the other side fluid and drapey.  I knew the weight of the dress (and it is substantial) is carried along this seam, so I stabilized it by placing a strip of 3/4" bias iron-on interfacing along this seamline prior to sewing them.  I now realize it was a good move because the seamline is completely smooth and straight no matter how I move in the dress.

Dress Rear with Long Sleeve Opening

In the picture above I am showing the back of the dress with the opening and the slit along the longer sleeve on the right side.  I had not chosen the single button yet, but the small loop is there (at the neckline) waiting for its companion.

Side Slit and Hemline

The hemline photographed in the picture above is unique because it hangs from the shorter lining, so no handwork is required.  It was an easy way to not have to worry about pulling out your hem with an errant pointy shoe heel.  I have to remember how its done for future reference.  

I will make this pattern again; the next time I will use a less transparent lining fabric.  I don't have the type of bustline that allows me to run around without a bra, but within my own home it is a great around-the-house dress for an old lady who hasn't forgotten style.  lol


I will close with a picture of my extremely happy great nephew holding the two stuffed toys I made for him.  He called me on his mother's phone just to say thank you!  Then promptly ran off to feed the mouse some cheese and the dragon some grass!  He LOOOVES the dragon!  His goal is to teach the dragon to fly.  I didn't know they would be such a hit!....but it's worth it! In case you can't tell, in his right hand is the dragon, and in his left hand is the mouse.   

This little boy is the lucky one who received one of each stuffed animal....the other mouse went to my middle grandson and the latest dragon to his young brother whose middle name is Drake...a derivation of dragon (so my son has told me), now four months old and cuter than ever. I have made two of each of these stuffed animals, and I sleep at night swearing the light of their smiles brighten the stars above me. Those of you who pray to a higher power, include me as I leave this place and arrive safely at my new home.  I will certainly be back in touch as soon as my new laptop is reconnected.

'Til then....keep taking it one stitch at a time!......

Monday, May 7, 2012

Waiting for Vogue Patterns to Answer....

You haven't heard from me in a while, but that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing.

Let's see....

A new grandson arrived about 8 weeks ago, so I've been putting together little things for him.  His middle name is Drake, so his Dad has asked that I make him his own dragon (which is a derivation of 'Drake'). So, of course, it is in process.  (Isn't he a cutie-pie?)

Grandson #2

I am also in the midst of preparing for the upcoming June family birthdays (my only sister and my eldest niece).  I usually make gifts and stay away from trying to finance what I would really love to purchase for them.  So, that pressure is on, too.

Since my last post I have also completed a king-size quilt and have decided to send it off to be quilted by someone with a longarm quilting machine.  The quilt is to be raffled off by a social club I belong to.  Initially, the club members agreed to participate in its construction, but in the end no one pitched in (should I be surprised?).  I managed to get through it with the help of one member, and will now send it off to be professionally quilted before I put the binding around it.  I'll let you know how this new experience turns out.

The baby quilt for my eldest niece's baby is also completed, but I am still deciding whether to purchase a Flynn Multi-Frame quilter and suffer through the learning curve to finish the small quilt myself.

I have finished the Vogue coat I mentioned in my last post, but will show you pictures on the my dress form on my next post.  I really just wanted to post this entry to ask you a question....

I recently looked at the new Vogue patterns and fell in love with the white Lialia dress pattern by Julia Alarcon (Vogue 1305).  I was so excited about making the dress, I purchased the pattern at the very end of the previous pattern sale.  I have since purchased the fabric for the pattern and begun to cut it out.  This is only a problem because I have noticed an error (?) in the layout for the dresses lining.

This pattern has extra-long pieces that must be joined prior to cutting (in addition to requiring each piece be cut on single-layer fabric--but that's another topic).  The dress' lining layout shows different piece numbers joined together than the cutting layout for the fashion fabric.  Has anyone else run into a problem where the layout (or sewing instructions) have an error?  What did you do/what would you suggest I do?

I have sent an email to Vogue regarding this matter, but am unsure if I should wait to hear from them.  Has anyone else made this dress already or have a solution for my question?  If you have already purchased this pattern, would you take a look at the instructions and tell me if I am wrong?   The lining layout shows piece 1 (top) joined with piece 3A and piece 3 (top) joined with piece 1A.  Is there ever a logical reason for the pattern pieces to switch like this?

I certainly have a lot to do while I wait to hear from them.  In the meantime, I would certainly like to hear from you!

Great stitching....keep stitch at a time!...


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Final Four

For those that wondered what had become of me, I wanted to let you know I am still alive....reading and sewing to my hearts content.  I discovered how much the horrible mattress at my mother's had contributed to my back issues only after moving and sleeping on a really good mattress.  I have also discovered how much the dust (and possibly the mold) had contributed to my persistent allergies following the move, as well.

My mind has rested and I have made a concerted effort to complete all the sewing projects I organized into plastic bags during my days of preparation.  Some are simple toys for my great nephew, others are projects for my (very) soon-to-arrive third grandson.  Others are the patterns to be altered for new dresses, skirts and tops for myself.

First up?....the simple hand puppets for my great nephew.  These were made from Butterick 4209
 using fleece left over from previous pajama and robe projects.  I made four of them: the monkey, the kitty, and two bears.  They all came out so cute...nothing you would see in real life!

Spotted Monkey

Fiery Kitty with a gigantic bow tie

Bear with a self-drafted tie

Camouflage Bear with self-drafted fringed scarf

My favorite is the unusual-patterned monkey.  I put pipe cleaners inside the tails of both the cat and the monkey, and this small step added so much character to both puppets.  I hope he enjoys them!

Now...don't worry that I have suddenly shifted away from sewing clothing...I haven't.  The past year or so has been difficult because of my move.  These are the final quick projects I organized for completion in-between my 'serious' sewing.  I made this great-nephew the same mouse I made for my second grandson, and it will go in the same box these puppets are shipped in.  These are my final four projects for him, and now I will move forward with more classic clothing sewing projects.

Now, I am off to begin the Hong Kong seams on my next project:   Vogue 1129.  Most sewists know how long this pattern has been available, and since I am a fan of anything that has something draped over the shoulder, it has been cut out for a loooong time waiting to find the right fabric to turn into the bias tape required to complete an interesting feature on the seaming (the coat is unlined).

Stay tuned...and thanks for stopping by!....
Keep stitch at a time!....

PS:  My third grandson arrived in the world yesterday (March 19), and I have come to grips with the fact that I won't be sewing any pretty little dainty dresses or christening gowns for a little granddaughter.  {{{sigh....}}} :)

Welcome, Simon!!!!  Grandma loves you madly and am already planning things to create especially for you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As I Back Out the Door....

The last few weeks of clearing the belongings left in my childhood home have been really, really stressful.  The circumstances under which the ol' homestead is being sold brings to the surface all the childhood memories from 1961, the year our Buick deposited our clan from the Nebraska flatlands to grow up in the middle of a growing area soon to be identified as Silicon Valley.  I will be sad to leave, even though I have always felt 'mid-western' and have shed the 'California-girl' mindset and beach goddess figure pressures I felt as an adolescent transplant.  Why did we come?  My sister's fragile health issues and the better California school system (at that time) was what they told us kids.  It was hard leaving our neighborhood and childhood friends and grandparents.  Sorting through papers left behind, there were also other skeletons rattling the leaves of the family tree that clarify why that dramatic decision was made.  Secrets were buried when my father suddenly died within 3 years of our arrival.  My mother never moved from the house my Dad bought for us, and amassed an amazing pile of what I can only refer to as 'stuff' in the 50+ years she lived here in a further attempt to bury family secrets.  

"The Kids"(c)
...And I'm moving the 'stuff' left in her wake.  I am now so removed from considering the value of these tangible 'things' I feel quite free to donate and trash the stuff I previously planned to sell for a king's ransom.  At this late date I'm literally giving everything away and not giving it another thought.  That's a good thing, right?  I did decide to repair and store my grandmother's Domestic (converted) treadle machine, the family picture albums and documents to further investigate and document my family tree.

Because this house is where I began (machine) sewing, I suddenly felt I wanted to consciously complete one more garment before I left the familiar walls, sounds and lighting of this house.  Of course, my way of releasing tension is to immerse myself in some mind-numbing stitching, so I dug out Vogue 1199 and the fabric had cut out a while ago.

Vogue 1199 rear view (untucked)
Photo courtesy of 
Since no one has previously reviewed this blouse on, I will attempt to post my first review of this garment there later this week.  Someone did complete and review the skirt included in the pattern (with positive comments), so I will add it to my list to complete from a yet-to-be-found wool gabardine.

Vogue 1199 front (untucked)
Photo courtesy of
Vogue 1199 front
Photo courtesy of

So, here follows some visual views of my version....



Fringed Ruffle close-up
If you don't look closely, you could miss the pintucks on the front and back of the top.  I think there are approximately 20 on the front and a similar number on the back.  These tucks were my meditative touchstone for a couple of hours each night.  The most difficult part of the process was marking them.  This particular garment demands proper marking.  The sleeve swirl (what I call the ruffles within the sleeve), collar ruffles and sleeve hem are finished with fabric strips cut on the straight grain and frayed 1/4" at the edges.  

Stay-stitched Edging 

Front Pintucks
Be sure to pull the single thread cross grain to ensure this pattern piece is perfectly straight on grain (pattern piece #9).  There is a reason I know what can go wrong  Using 60" fabric, you would only need to purchase another 1/8th yard.  Using fabric 45" wide, this helpful hint will not help you...devising how to invisibly join the end will need to be created.  The shirt tail hem is a simple edgestitch.  A single button closes with a fabric loop at the neckline.  I moved the loop higher than it appears in the photograph.  I haven't picked the button yet (here I come Stone Mountain & Daughter!). The fabric was on sale for $1 yard at a JoAnn's sale and is a shrimp-colored lightweight polyester crepe.

Beside taking the time to complete each step to the best of your ability, I only have two construction suggestions:  

One.....cut the pattern piece for the ruffles at least 7"-8" longer in order to avoid piecing the strips.  None of the strips were long enough to completely cover the required edge without piecing them.  

Two...As you complete each tuck, take the time to tie off and trim the threads of each one at the top and bottom.  I didn't do this (sigh...) and now have to devote an evening to tying off these threads.  

I had a great time doing this blouse and plan to do another one.  I have a similar weight crepe in white and will dig it out of one of the bins I have packed and sew it for this spring/summer.  This blouse requires a lot of marking and basting.  If basting is not your thing, this may not be the project for you.  The next one will have an FBA adjustment and I won't be moving!

Thanks for dropping by and reading about my latest sewing project!  In preparation for my move I have many projects cut, marked and ready to sew.  I hope you continue to stop by to see what I'm doing and share your thoughts in the coming months.  Please excuse the picture quality....for some reason some of them are so fuzzy I  had to resort to including cell phone photos as replacements.

I will be seeking out new notions at a nearby quilt show next weekend (free!) with a sewing buddy of mine.  I hope to test run some new sewing machines, overlocks and blind stitchers.  The sewing blogosphere has shown me my beloved Singer 401 is not the only girl on the    Happy Valentine's Day!

What do you do to relieve stress?  Do you take it one stitch at a time or use another activity? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Dragon and a Giveaway!

I had hoped to blog more during December, but I've come to understand how time gets away from you and before you know're paying another mortgage payment.  I'd like to thank all those who have hung in with my erratic posting and continue to follow me.  I would love to hear from more of you, and hope to provide the environment where you will feel free to tell me more than how 'wonderful' my talent is or how 'wonderful' I look wearing my clothes.  I want it to be more than that when you drop by here to tell me something or see what I'm doing.

I managed to move through the 2011 holiday season while showing my childhood home to the many realtors and buyers making appointments.  It sold really quickly and I have been busy in the interim packing and selling the multitude of things my mother hoarded and stuffed in any open area available during her 55-year residence here.  I am exhausted and will be glad to pack the few things I brought with me while caring for her.  I am shocked how much I'll be dragging back to re-establish my own household, once more.  There are a lot of books, a lot of fabric, and a dog.  Much more than I thought I'd have at the end of a stay I thought would be a maximum of 6 months.

Anyway, I discovered sewing blogs about 2 years into my stay here, and I thank each and every one of you who labored over words and pictures communicating your love for something I love, as well.  In celebration of your efforts, I am hosting my first GIVEAWAY!  The pattern below is only one of the many finds uncovered while I sorted through dusty trunks and bins of long-forgotten sewing patterns, thread and fabric.  These patterns will be part of an ongoing list of what are now called 'vintage patterns'  will be giving away.

This one is from the 70s (not at all a vintage year to me), nevertheless, not a pattern I will use or wear (been there--did that), so this wardrobe pattern will be offered first.  It is unused and uncut, size 14 (bust 36") Simplicity 7813.  (Looks a little 'Tracey Reese,' no?)  I'm sure the pattern number has been used before, but this was back when patterns cost 75 cents!

Were you alive then?  Leave me a comment telling me what you were sewing in the '70s and you will qualify for one entry in the giveaway (one per person, please).    I would love to meet you and find out how alike/different our sewing experiences are!

Giveaway Pattern:
Simplicity 7813 - size 14

This pattern is a lined, mini-coat with empire waistline, a collar, front button closing, back pleats, long set-in sleeves, optional top-stitching, flaps and pockets.  The pants and A-line skirt have side zipper and waistband.   The random drawing for this giveaway will take place February 10, 2012 at 6pm PST.  I will open the giveaway up to everyone....including international reader/bloggers.   Let's get to know one another!  I love conversation, so my comment section is already set to begin threaded conversations.  As my grandsons say, "Hit me up!"

I will leave now, but not before showing you what I made for my grand-nephew last week.  I have packed most of my big clothing projects away, so I was ready for a quick crafty project to calm my mind and fill a need for a birthday present for a 2-year old.  It was so much fun to make and went together with no problems (for an immediate sewers).  I hope he likes it, too!

Yoki wishing to meet his little boy today...

The dragon is named "Yoki the Fat Dragon" and was purchased from a shop on Etsy.  It was the first time I've used a pattern that was from a downloaded .pdf file.  The download went well and any intermediate sewer should be able to sew it together using the instructions.  I think I spent about 3 hours start-to-finish.  He turned out really cute, didn't he?  I filled him with buckwheat hulls, so he has some heft like a beanbag.  I wish I had stuffed his neck more because his head should stand up straighter.  I sewed everything closed, so putting more in now is out of the question.

"Hi, Everybody!"

I traced the pattern onto the white packing paper I had lying around, then glued it to freezer paper for a bit more stability.  It worked so well, I may try it again when I make another mouse.  The pattern pieces and extra fabric (single pieces cut out automatically on doubled fabric) are what you see in front of Yoki in the zip-lock baggie.  Making him was really fun, and I'm glad I bought enough fleece to make another!  The embroidery thread used to shape his big belly (and underbelly) is what gives him his round shape and the ability to stand flat footed.   My only hint is to pull these threads tight around him to give him real form.

His arms are not hinged, nor are his wings.  I wish the pattern had some marking that shows where the arms and wings should be placed.  I eye-balled their position based on the rear view of the finished dragon on the instruction coversheet.  You will need to do this, as well.  On my second version, I may consider changing how both wings and arms are attached.  I also think I will embroider his eyes.  I've got a new grandson arriving early March, so I need do the second version soon....!

Gotta run...!  Posting takes me sooooo much time, and I've got so much more to complete here before the big move!  Thank you everyone for continuing to check in on me.  Consider trying for the giveaway!  It's FREE!!!!!!!  All you need to do is leave me a comment.

Until then..
Keep it stitch at a time!