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2009 - How'd I Do?

I wrote down these sewing goals for myself at the beginning of 2009, but never published them as I started this blog later in January.  Here they are...

1.  Less yardage in than yardage out. Ideally, sew two pieces from stash for every one purchased.

Well, I wrote that before I knew I was going to NYC.  Purchasing nearly 50 yards of fabric there made it pretty hard to accomplish this goal!  But, after checking my totals, I was surprised that the in/out numbers weren't farther from each other.  I should note that I do a lot of rounding with my tracking, so these can't be considered much more than estimates.  For 2009 - Fabric In:  90 yards; Fabric out:  84 yards.

2.  Make a great white shirt.

I didn't do this.  I bought fabric in NYC and used a pattern candidate for a different shirt, but never got around to actually making the white one.  I do have a white button-down shirt in my closet, but it isn't a great fit.  I'm not sure I would wear it a lot even if it were, s…

Little Wallets

I've mentioned before about the gift card fundraising program that my daughter's school uses.  I like to participate in this program, but I don't like the gift cards to make my wallet fat and cluttered.  I came across this tutorial for a credit card wallet and thought it might be the solution to my problem.

I made two, one for me and one as a gift for my mom since she also participates in this type of program.


The top one (brown/green - with the cracked snap!) is for me and the bottom (blue) for her.


The inside has two pockets that can easily fit six cards in each.



I thought the tutorial was pretty good, but I did change a couple of things.  I was uncertain about the seam allowances used, so I modified the size based on what size I wanted it finished and then added 1/4" seam allowances.  So, I cut the outer fabric and lining 4.5" x 7.5" and each of the pockets 2.875" x 4.5".  The pockets have a 0.5" hem at the top and 0.25" hem at the bott…

Simple Gifts

These little zippered bags are gifts for friends.

This one is for a young teen.  It's made from decorator fabric that someone gave me recently.  I sandwiched a layer of felt between the outside and lining to add a little body.



This one is for a woman who loves purple.  Her Christmas decorations are purple, her garage door is purple.  Loves, loves, loves purple.  The fabric is leftover from a bridesmaid dress I made for my sister-in-law.



The fabric is actually quite lightweight, so I quilted it with a lighter purple thread.  I'm a little rusty with the stippling, but I find it's an all-or-nothing sort of thing.  I have a hard time ripping some out and re-doing parts to make it look good, so I just keep going.  It is what it is.



I have some other gift items to post about yet.  A couple of days ago I went back to sewing for me.  I got a little work done on my jeans.  Unfortunately, I think they are too tight now.  That might have something to do with all the goodies the gener…

Simplicity 5638 - Christmas dress

I like to make a Christmas-y dress for my daughters. In an attempt to be reasonable about how much time and money I have to spend, I decided not to make my younger daughter a new dress this year as the Christmas dress I made for my older daughter three years ago fits her now and looks quite nice. (I am well aware that I probably seem to be begging for comments full of bitterness and resentment from younger sister types that suffered through years of hand-me-downs).  So, this saga involves my older daugher only...

The Fabric

I didn’t have enough time to order something online and wait for it to be shipped to me, so I was at the mercy of my local Fabricland. A few weeks ago I saw some taffetas that would have been nice for a Christmas dress, but I was thinking that it would be wise to make something not too dressy and not too holiday-ish so that it could be worn longer into the winter. When I got around to shopping for the fabric, not only were the taffetas were gone but I had a really h…

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

This specially requested basket for a friend.



I really love the lining print.  I think you'll be seeing a lot more of that one.

Bah Humbug

Yesterday was just one of those days.  I started the day with a healthy to-do list, but ran stuck on nearly every single task.  No paper for the printer, couldn't find any tape for wrapping gifts, excessively needy kids, etc.  The only thing I managed to get done without hang-up was clean the bathrooms.  Yee-ha.

Then I somehow managed to do this to my beloved Kitchen Aid blender:



Shortly after that, the handle on the microwave broke.



I left to run some errands in hopes of being able to make more progress on my list.  My first stop was Fabricland where I learned that the store was going to be closing March 31, 2010.  Whhhhaaaaaat?!?!?!  I do have a love/hate relationship with Fabricland, but this is really bad news.  It sent me into such a tailspin that I was largely unsuccessful at finishing the rest of my errands.

Now, I know people that are experiencing real and legitimate crises, so I'm trying to keep this in perspective, but it does make me very sad.  I did sign a petition…

Is This Wierd?

I like to empty the garbage can from my sewing room.


I'm not entirely sure why this gives me a bit of pleasure.  Some possibilities....

The fact that it is full and needs to be emptied means that I've been busy creating.As I dump out the contents, I see the scraps of all my recent projects and usually the quick "review" is nice.I have a bit of guilt about my stash, so I feel good when fabric is used up and moved out of the sewing room closet to somewhere else.  I don't hoard tiny scraps as some super-thrifty and resourceful folks do and seeing the little scraps in the trash helps me feel like I may have made a tiny dent in the stash.
The striped fabric on the top in the picture is a sneak peek at my daughter's new dress (which is finished, but not photographed).

Now there is mostly gift sewing happening, so not much to post about or time to post it, anyway.

Christmas Stitching

Thanks for the compliments on the make-up bag.  I did draft the pattern myself, just using the measurements from the original bag and adjusting them for the requested change.  I find that I really kind of like the process of trying to copy something as closely as possible.

Awhile ago I saw someone (on a blog) wrap a tea towel and dish cloth around a wooden spoon and tie it up with a ribbon.  Viola!  A great gift.  I liked this idea and decided to use it this Christmas.  Unfortunately, I can't find the blog where I saw it.  And I've really searched because I can't get mine to look very good tied around the spoon.

Anyway, these will be gifts for school and Sunday school teachers, babysitters, etc.


Dish cloth pattern: Garter Stitch Lace Facecloth


Dish cloth pattern: Lacy Picot Swirl Cloth


Dish cloth pattern: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Dish Cloth


Dish cloth pattern: Diagonal Knit Dish Cloth


Dish cloth pattern: Lace Zig Zag Dishcloth Pattern

All of the embroidery designs are from Needle…

Custom-ordered Make-up Bags

Even though this project wasn't for me, I still enjoyed it.  :)  A woman from church brought me a store-bought make-up bag and asked me to make one like it, but deeper.  She also wanted a flat, pencil case-type bag in the same fabric.


The bodies of both bags are interfaced and there is layer of batting in the boxy one.  I used a thicker cord than I usually do for the piping.  I think this helps the bag keep it's shape but the combination of the batting and heavier cord made it hard to get the piping to look good.  I had to stitch around the bag more than a couple times before I was satisfied. 


The bag on the left is the one I was copying.  I put the zipper in the center along the top rather than on the edge.  The pieces bordering the zipper do not have a layer of batting.  The zipper color isn't a great match for the bags.  I probably should have gone with pink, yellow, or off-white to compliment the dots in the fabric.


My daughter noted that the one I made would look much n…

Restocking

There was only one basket left at the shop in town, so I made five more and dropped them off this morning.



Next up: a custom ordered make-up bag.

Lack of Progress

Since it's been awhile since I've posted anything, I would love to be able to say I have lots to show you, but I don't.  Really all I've been working on are these:


They're someone else's drapes that needed hemming along the sides and bottom of the drapes and the lining.  There were five big, heavy panels and it was a rather long and tedious job.  However, it gives me great pleasure to say that I am now finished with them and right after I post this I'm going to call for them to be picked up and I will be happy to have that corner of my sewing space back.

Since that project is finished, it would be nice if I could get back to my jeans, but there is actually more sewing for other people that has jumped in line.  It's good to make some money from sewing, but wasn't I just saying that I wanted to make something for ME?!  I'm a selfish sewist.  I won't deny it.

Making Progress

I worked on my jeans a little more today.  Yesterday I got the fit to a place where I think I can be happy with it.  Then I took apart the "muslin" and decided to sew it for real to practice all the other parts of making jeans: topstitching, rivets, placement and design of back pockets, etc.  Ideally, I'll be able to wear them a bit, re-evaluate the fit, and then make another pair out of another cut of denim that I like better than this one.

Muslin pictures:

I'm happy with the fit in the front.  The rise is a little higher than most of my jeans, but I'm going to leave it as it is with this pair.



I'm not as pleased about the back.  After looking at these pictures, I went back and worked at getting rid of the wrinkles pointing to my high hip.  I will put pockets on the back, but wanted to work on the fit without them in the way. 





I tried pinning out the wrinkles under my seat, but when I did, I couldn't sit.  Well, I could, but it was rather inappropriate. …

Decided

I'm not going to pursue the gift card bag idea.  Again, I'm really grateful for your feedback.  You had lots of good ideas about how to improve them, but for the following reasons, I'm not going ahead:

1.  The question of what to make the bags out of is a big one.  The white felt I used didn't look that great.  I think it looks better in person than in the pictures, but not different enough to go ahead.  If I had some quality wool felt, that would be a major improvement.  It would have a nicer texture and appearance and it also wouldn't be such a stark white.  The appeal of using felt is that the edges don't need to be finished.  No seam finishing, lining, etc, and it is substantial enough to support embellishment.

2.  My thought was to make them and give them to the school to sell.  They are not a big ticket item and I can't reasonably make piles of them, so they wouldn't really bring in that much money.  Not enough to make it worth my time.  There wou…

Liturgical Sewing

This past Sunday was the start of a new sermon series at church.  It will run until Christmas, covering different aspects of prayer with the theme of "Come, Lord Jesus."  The Preacher asked me to make a small banner to hang on the front of the pulpit to go along with the theme.

This sort of sewing makes me nervous.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm not an artist.  I don't have great ideas for interpreting themes or symbols or combining them and I feel pretty inexperienced and uncreative in what media and skills I am able to use.  Church banners are a little like theatrical makeup - it has to be a bit over-the-top up close so that it looks okay from a distance.  Anything too subtle just gets lost.  Size and scale are much different, too.  I don't have much confidence in my ability to judge these things in the design/construction phase.  And then knowing that the thing is just going to hang there week after week for a couple hundred people to…

More Wine Sleeves

Thanks so much for the feedback on the gift card bags.  All of your comments were very helpful.  I haven't decided for sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Three more wine sleeves, ready to go:









Now that I've made a few of these and have all the gliches worked out, they come together pretty quickly.

Two of these are going to my MIL who wants to give them as a gift.  The other will go to the shop for sale.

Next up:  Something for ME!  I don't know what yet, but it doesn't matter.  As long as it's for ME!  :)

Soliciting Opinions

When I was looking for inspiration for the stockings I made, I saw these little bags and they kind of stuck with me.  With a little modification, I thought they would make good gift card "holders".  My daughter's school sells gift cards as a fundraiser.  Many of you are probably familiar with this sort of program.  If you aren't, I'm sorry, but I can't really explain it since I'm not sure I understand it myself.  Anyway, understanding the program isn't important. 

I was thinking that maybe I could make some of these and give them to the school for them to sell with the gift cards for the Christmas season.  I haven't run this idea by anyone at the school yet, but I thought I would make some samples so that they would know what I was talking about.



I was thinking that they were pretty cute.  Then I asked the Preacher what he thought.  His response went something like this:
"Honestly, I really don't like them.  I don't think they are cut…

Draft Busters

A woman I know asked me to make these for her son who lives alone in a large, old, drafty farmhouse.  It sounds like the heating bills can be a little tough to swallow.  These will sit on the floor in front of the closed door to block any drafts that normally would come under the door.



They're just a tube of fabric, sewn closed at both ends.  I wouldn't have picked this fabric, but that's what she gave me.  It is some sort of knit fleece, with a fair bit of stretch.  It was smooth on one side, but very fuzzy on the other.  I wouldn't have picked white for something that sits on the floor, either, but it wasn't my call.  I wanted to get rid of the stretch, so I underlined (that seems like a much too sophisticated word for this application, but I guess that is what I did) it with bleached muslin.



I haven't made this sort of thing before, so I did a little online research about them.  My biggest question was what to fill it with.  Some were just stuffed with polyf…

I Forgot to Mention...

Someone (anonymous) asked where I got the embroidery designs for the tea towels.  I meant to include this info with the initial post, but forgot.  The Christmas ornaments are from a purchased piece of clipart.  The Christmas candle is available here as a coloring page.  The other two designs are from needlecrafter.com.  There are a lot of other designs on this site that I would like to do someday.  For all of the designs, I printed off the design and then traced the back side of it with an iron transfer pencil (against the window to be able to see it better).  Then I ironed it on the towels.  I found this worked well because it reversed the design, making it the right direction on the towel and I also could easily see the placement of the design.

The 500th birthday party for John Calvin was a fun evening.  The hat was a hit.  Here it is in action (with "Calvin's" permission):



In my previous post, I mentioned an art show that I went to.  The woman that hosts the show aske…

Fur Mitts

On Friday evening the Preacher and I stopped at an art show.  A woman that we know hosts it annually in her pottery studio.  Most of the art was her pottery, but she invites some other area artists to exhibit their work too.  One of the artists this year was a woman that makes things out of reclaimed fur.  The most common things were hats, mitts, and muffs, but there were also other things like slippers and fur-trimmed objects like purses.  The Preacher bought a pair of the mittens.




They are rather unique.  The cuffs and the palms are soft leather and the fur is Alaskan Seal.  The inside is fur, too.  They are really warm.  They are also really big.  They don't stay on my hands (but they're not for me, so that's okay).



Unfortunately, the artist wasn't there when we were, so I didn't get to talk to her.  The construction of the mitten looks pretty simple, but I would have had lots of questions for her about sewing fur.

I don't have much experience with fur, but …