Monday, August 19, 2013

Cross body bag

A few weeks ago I agreed to be a pattern tester for a girl's cross-body bag.  I was really excited because I love making bags and the opportunity to test a pattern out for someone else was something I had been looking forward too.

I must say, I love it, I love everything about it, the size, all the pockets and the fact that it's a cross-body bag and you have free hands!  It's the perfect bag to take when shopping, on vacation, or when you don't want anything weighing you down.  The hardest part about making this bag was choosing the fabric, but now that I've made my first one, I can see me making a few in different colors.

If you want to buy the pattern head over to Anna's shop

Monday, July 29, 2013

Burlap covered project

I've been MIA from the blogging world for  awhile.  I took a short vacation, (they're never long enough) and and I've been busy trying to talk my husband into helping me with a project I wanted done.  Finally, I got him to do it.  After replacing our mattress, we found ourselves with an extra mattress that could still be used.  Instead of buying a box spring and frame, I wanted to try something  I'd seen on several blogs lately.  I took down all the instructions for building a bed frame and off to the lumbar yard we went.

 He used 4 x 4's for the corner posts and cut them  to size and painted them black,, he then added wheels, so I could easily move it around by myself  ( I know how he thinks, he doesn't want to be bothered).

                                          He cut the 2 x 6's to fit a queen size mattress

                            He secured the corners with a corner bracket and attached the posts

I didn't take a picture of  him attaching the corner posts because I actually had to help him with the process,  but he basically drilled a hole through 2x6 and counter sunk the screw.

I also had to help him attach the brackets for the 2x4's that we used as slats, then you lay OSB over the 2x4 (this is optional), and you're done.

Well... almost.  I covered the 2 x 6's with burlap, then I added the mattress and matching comforter.
I'm still debating what to do for a headboard, I'm thinking of covering something in pleather or micro suede and hanging it or attaching it to the bed frame.

                                               But for now this is will have to do!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

J. Crew inspired skirt

I was browsing the internet, looking for inspiration for summer apparel  when I came across this tutorial for a J. Crew inspired skirt (, I thought it was a cute skirt and really simple, it didn't require a lot of fabric or time.  I happened to have just enough fabric in my stash to make this skirt.  

I don't know if you can tell by the picture, but the elastic doesn't go all the around the skirt, the elastic is attached about 1 1/2" from the edge of the skirt.  I was skeptical about this, but went ahead and followed the directions.  After trying on the skirt, I think it was a  great idea, it keeps the fabric from bunching up on the sides, making you look like you have wider hips than you actually have and who wants that, right? One thing I would change though, is the pockets, I would either alter them or get rid of them altogether, I found the square pockets kinda useless. All in all I really love the skirt and I can see making a couple more for the summer!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

1950's sleeveless top

When I first saw this top over at Handmade Jane, I knew I had to make one for myself.  Being a vintage pattern I thought I would never find it in my size, I've never graded a pattern, so that was out of the question.  The pattern is Simplicity 4238, it took awhile, but I finally found it and had it in my hands a few weeks later.  I must admit the instructions through me for a loop, I didn't understand how the front band facing went together, so I just fudged my way through it. I think it turned out ok.  I plan on making more of these for the summer, maybe it'll become clearer to me after a couple more.  Other than that, I really love the top, I love the way it fits, its very casual, but I think  the darts, give it a more fitted look, therefore dresses it up a bit.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Split back top

In anticipation for summer, I started working on summer tops.  I had a pattern for an split back top, years ago, but when moving I decided to clean house and  donated all my "outdated" patterns.  Little did I know, I would give anything for them now.  But I figured, how hard could it be to split  a tee shirt in the back.  So I took Butterick 5493 view C and split the back open, I added a little flare and omitted the ruffle in the front.
As usual,  I did a rolled hem, I love this feature on my serger, it's so easy to do  and looks nice and neat.  I can't wait for a hot day to wear this top!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Peplum top flop!

Two days ago it was 40 something degrees, rainy, but you could see the green grass.  Yesterday morning I woke up to this.....

So what do you do when you're snowed in?  Work on projects.  I've been wanting to make a peplum top, but I have no pattern, so I searched the internet for free patterns.  I found a few tutorials, but they weren't very clear, as least not to me.  So, I did what I always do, I winged it (wung it?, wanat it?), whatever!  I made it up as I went along.

This is the result:

I didn't have enough fabric to cut the peplum on the bias, so I tried to match up the plaid, as you can see, that didn't turn out to good.  I also I used the pattern for the blank canvas tee and made my own peplum, but I couldn't figure out how big to make it, so I just made it as big around at the natural waist line and flair out like an A-line skirt.  I think I should've made it a tad bigger around the waist, but then I didn't want gathers.    I think I'll look for better instructions on how to do that and if the snow doesn't clear soon, guess what I'll be doing?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Aprons, potholders and pinchers!

Lately, I've been watching a lot of cooking shows and although I'm not a cook, (anyone that knows me  can attest to that!)  I do think putting on a cute apron and having matching potholders is definitely going to make me more motivated in the kitchen, it's kinda like excercising, you don't feel like going to the gym if you don't cute gym clothes to exercise in, and once  you get the cute clothes, you have to go, if nothing else, but to show them off!!  Well, I suppose I have no excuse now, I made two aprons so far, and one potholder and one pincher.   Since I didn't have a pattern for pinchers, I had to make my own.  I had to draw them out first.... well, take a look.....

The first one I drew looked more like a maxi pad!   I didn't even cut that out, the second one wasn't big enough, the third one was better, but  I really didn't enjoy making pinchers, I don't think I'll be making many more.  I made a potholder/trivet, that was better, but I found it to be too tedious and binding the corners really put me over the edge, enough of that! I may make more potholders, but not so detailed.

I also made a potholder/trivet.  I really like the colors, I wanted to add red to the apron, but got talked out of it by my husband, I should have stuck to my instincts.

Next is the apron, I enjoyed making this apron and plan to make more.

The last apron, I changed things up a bit, I changed the pockets and added a ruffle, I also plan on making a potholder/trivet and maybe an oven mitt, but I have to recover from the first set!

Monday, April 8, 2013

What do you do with left over scraps?

I tend to have lots of scraps left over from my sewing projects....not enough to make a top or anything like that, but in the past I made coin purses, wristlets, anything small that didn't require a lot of fabric.  Since I started sewing with knits, I have lots of it left over.  Now, I must admit, I don't know a lot of small projects you can make with knit.  I've been reading posts about making your own underwear, but  I haven't been able to find a pattern that I like, so I thought I would just take apart a pair of underwear that I know fits, so I did just that.  I was pretty surprised with the outcome.   I tried regular elastic, lingerie elastic, but my favorite and easiest by far is foldover elastic

This was left over from the very first top I made, before I got a serger and before I figured out what size I needed to cut out, it actually turned out to big.  But the panties turned out great!

You might recognize this fabric, I made a self drafted tee from this fabric, the panties fit a lot better than the tee did!
 I actually haven't made a top from this fabric, but if you notice the crotch is a  blue cotton knit which I made a self drafted tee.

I was really surprised with the outcome, I love my panties, and they cost next to nothing to make, I think I love that more than anything.  Do you have any left over fabric?   I would love to hear what projects you make with your scraps.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blank Tee

I think I may have another favorite pattern!  It's simple, fast to make and best of's free, yes, I said free.  I've come across this pattern several times, but always overlooked it, mostly because it's so much like another free pattern I downloaded a few months back.  But I decided I should give it a chance and take a closer look.  I'm so glad I did.  It may look like a t-shirt I've made in the past, but it differs in that it has neck and sleeve bindings that give it a more finished look.  I really like it and can be finished in an hour or so, if you don't have many distractions (tv, phone, etc)

I like that it has a more fitted look.

I'd like to say I did a pretty good job matching up the wavy lines on the side seam, but it just luck!  I wasn't even thinking of it at the time!

I used my serger to hem the bottom.  Have I mentioned how much I love my serger?!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Simplicity 1757

I don't usually buy Simplicity patterns, no special reason, I just belong to a pattern club that doesn't includes Simplicity patterns.  I also find their sizing is a little off, compared to McCall, Butterick and Vogue.  I happened to come across a sale on Simplicity patterns and bought a couple of them, the first one was a total flop, so I won't be posting that one, it actually turned out ok, just doesn't suite me, maybe I'll pass it on to my kids.  Anyway, I just finished a top I made using the other Simplicity pattern and guess what..... I love it!  It's flowy, comfortable and looks great with jeans!  I think I'll make a couple more for myself and probably my daughters.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birthday present

My mother-in-law's birthday is Saturday and my husband and I couldn't think of anything to give her for her birthday, other than the usual dinner and flowers.  I thought I would make her another purse, it's been years since I've made her a purse and I know she really enjoyed the last one I made for her, she got  lots of compliments on it.  I also thought I would try  something I'd seen on Sewing with Nancy, she suggested using headliner in place of interfacing, it makes the purse sturdier so it stands up by itself.
I found a good color fabric for a spring purse and coincidentally I found the headliner in the right color, all on  sale, how often does that happen?!
After looking over all my purse patterns, I settled on the "Phoebe Bag" by Rebeka Lambert of Artsy Craftsy Babe.  I've made this purse before, for myself and I love the size of it, not too big, not too small, I thought it would be a good size purse for my mother-in-law.
I had difficulties sewing the headliner right sides together, I don't know how many of you have tried using headliner for sewing purposes, but the back side is foam, it kept getting stuck on the foot, so I did the next best thing, I sewed it right side out and let the seams show.  I know it doesn't make a nice, neat looking purse, but I don't think my mother-in-law will mind.  I have seen purses  made like this before, it just isn't the best quality, you mostly find them in the less expensive retail stores.
All in all I think it turned out pretty good, and it looks nice from the outside.  I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make liquid soap from bar soap

While I know this doesn't have anything to do with sewing I wanted to share with everyone my experiment.
  I know everyone has seen blogs about making liquid soap from a bar of soap, and I know there's  good tutorials out there, but this not a tutorial.  
I tried this once before using an inexpensive bar soap, I read, that they work best when making liquid soap.  Unfortunately it turned out snotty and I didn't know how to fix it.  Well since then I have been doing a lot of reading and decided to try it again.
This time I thought I would try using Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap.  Since I suffer from eczema, I found this is the best soap for me.

I started out with Dr. Bronner's Rose scent soap:

I used my cheese grater and started grating:

I started out with 6 cups of water and turned up the heat and stirred until the soap slivers dissolved, it looked foamy, but I took it off the burner and let it set:

It set for about 4 - 5 hours, when I mixed it, I found it was snotty.  So I but it back on the burner to dissolve it and poured in 4 cups of water.  It set over night.

In the morning, I stirred it and to my surprise, it was still snotty.  I poured 4 more cups of water, this time I didn't put it on the burner, I took out my blender, and blended the soap mixture.  It was a little more runny than store bought liquid soap, but it's not snotty.  I ended up with 4  1 qt jars and 1 8oz jar of liquid soap.

I have read about people adding glycerin to their soap, I didn't add any to mine because Dr. Bronner's is already made with oils and doesn't contain any of the harsh ingredients other soaps do, I didn't think it was necessary to add anything else to retain moisture.
I think the amount of water you add to your soap, whether you have hard/soft water and maybe altitude, has a lot to do with how your soap turns out, some soaps require more water, some less, and others may need glycerin.  It's all trial and error.

So there, out of a  $4 bar of soap, I ended up with roughly a little over a gallon of liquid soap.  You can use this liquid hand soap or body wash.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tweed Cape

This has been a project that was set aside last year, mostly because I screwed up cutting out the pattern and I didn't have enough fabric to correct my mistake.  This year I decided I would just make the best of it and try to salvage what I had.  I think it turned out pretty good considering my screwing it up.  The pattern didn't call for it to be lined, but I decided to line it because it would make it warmer and I thought the tweed would be to itchy on the skin.  I lined it with a black fleece and I'm so glad I did, it's so warm.  I contemplated several options for closures since I  decided not to go with buttons, because my buttonhole making skills are not the best and I wanted this to look nice, I settled on Chinese frog closures, I may change this and go with large toggles, they seem pretty easy to sew on.  All in all I'm pretty satisfied with the way it turned out, I just wish I hadn't waited  a year to finish.