Friday, December 23, 2011

Handmade Holiday Happiness

In this post, I mentioned that I've been enjoying more simple handmade things this year. This post is a bit of a round-up of some of those things.

Potato Stamping


I saw this on Made by Rae and wanted to put some extra packing paper we had to good use. I used paint from a dollar store. I would not recommend it. It worked poorly and smelled like formaldehyde. Scary.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Applesauce ornaments

Nothing new or novel here, but it was a fun project to do with the kids. Ours didn't turn out that fabulous. I think I rolled the dough out too thin and then they stayed in the oven 40 minutes too long (it was The Preacher's responsibility to take them out. He's been forgiven). Hence, they have a bit of a curl. Next time I'll be more patient and just let them dry on the counter.

Felt Christmas Ornament

Felt ornament

I'd love to have a Christmas tree full of handmade ornaments. For this one I used some lovely wool felt that my MIL gave me and followed this tutorial.


Handknit mittens

I've been working on these mittens for awhile and just finally finished them up this week. These are as plain as can be, but there's still something very satisfying about handknit mittens. They went into my son's hat and mitts bin, but they're a wee bit big for him yet.

Quilted Wallhanging

Finished wallhanging

I also finished up this wallhanging. The binding does add a lot and I'm happy to have it completed. I haven't hung it up yet and now I'm feeling more like I'll just put it away and be extra delighted to see it next December!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Look 6071 - Gray and Yellow Dress

Now that I'm done with the Christmas clothing sewing, I'm turning my attention back to my Dress Warm project. For my third dress this season, I made a lightweight sleeveless knit dress. Sounds perfect for winter in Ontario, right? Actually, it has been unseasonably warm less cold but still a long way from summer-like.

New Look 6071

On it's own, this dress is not at all seasonally appropriate. But, I made it with the intention of wearing it with a long black cardigan that I picked up at a thrift store awhile back. I liked New Look 6071 when I first saw it and have been wanting to try it out.


I give the fabric pretty mixed reviews. I used a rayon jersey - very soft and drapey and nice to touch. However, it was difficult to sew and I think it will keep growing. This dress probably won't last beyond this season, but I'm okay with that. This is the last piece of this type of knit I had in my stash and I likely won't buy any more. My local Fabricland always has a lot of it and it's tempting to purchase, but I'm always disappointed. I've learned my lesson.

The print is pretty wild. I like the yellow and grey combination and it has a bit of an animal print feel without actually being animal print. Truthfully, I like it best mostly covered up like with the cardigan and probably won't wear it otherwise. I can only do prints in small doses. Especially wild ones like this.

New Look 6071

I will use this pattern again. I really like it. The bust detail is well drafted and flattering and the instructions make it easy to do. It's also a pretty quick make. The dress could be casual or dressy depending on the fabric used. When I make it again I will use a more substantial knit. This jersey was just too flimsy. I don't know if I've ever left a dress hem raw (I just prefer a more finished look) but I did on this one. Just the thought of trying to hem this dress without turning it into a rippled, wavy mess was stressful. A less-finished look sounded good this time.

New Look 6071

Worn like this, I was plenty warm. So, technically a success given my Dress Warm goals, but this isn't a dress that I'll be reaching for real often. Both the print and the fabrication reduces its wearability for me. I do really like the cardigan and will probably be looking for another way to wear it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Burda 9990 - Glen Plaid Vest

Item No. 3 in the Coordinated Christmas Clothing series is a vest for my son. While my girls have often had matching dresses, this is the first time he has been included. When I asked him if he would like to match the girls he was pretty excited about it.

Burda 9990 (vest)

The shirt and pants were hand-me-downs from another family. For the vest, I used Burda 9990 - a good pattern for both the pants and the vest. The front has welts (but no pockets) and the back has darts with a belt.

Burda 9990 (vest)

I underlined the front of the vest with a lightweight cotton because the glen plaid is fairly loosely woven and I thought some more structure would help. There are supposed to be four buttons on the front, but I only had three of the same and didn't want to buy more.

Burda 9990 (vest)

I also made the black tie. It is completely opposite of everything these ties tried to be. This one is made from a crafty-type tutorial (as opposed to in-depth instructions from an expert). This one is cut on the straight grain to save fabric (as opposed to the bias like real ties are). This one has an elastic band around the neck and doesn't even tie in a real knot. The tail end of the tie is square and raw. The back is whipstitched closed. I could go on. But, I do have to say that it looks pretty good, all things considered. I spent as much time on it as it was worth and I'm satisfied with it. I combined these instructions with this pattern (because I couldn't get the pattern for the first one to print).

A skirt for me will be the fourth and final item, but I probably won't have pictures for a few days yet.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ottobre 6/2011 #13 - Glen Plaid Dress

Item No. 2 in the Coordinated Christmas Clothing series is a dress for my younger daughter. I liked this dress in the most recent issue of Ottobre when I saw it and thought it could work for combining the glen plaid and dark red fabric.

Ottobre 6/2011 #13

I'm quite happy with how it looks now, but when I first tried it on my daughter I was not hopeful about it. My first thought was, "I didn't know a three-year-old could look frumpy!" But, cutting off some length helped as did the addition of sleeves.

Ottobre 6/2011 #13

This dress looks better on a body in motion than it does in photographs. Here the back looks a bit big, but it's just a very basic A-line shape. The plaids match nicely at center back, but maybe you notice that the sleeves are cut with the plaid going the opposite way. I was seriously in danger of not having enough fabric and played pattern tetris for awhile to get everything I needed squeaked out. Switching the direction of the sleeves was the only way.

Ottobre 6/2011 #13

I think the sleeves make the dress. The gathering at the top of the arm is done with two rows of shirring using elastic thread in the bobbin. I've never done that before. It worked out pretty well, but I don't know if I'm interested in shirring an entire waist yoke or sundress top yet. I was thankful for the plaid pattern - it made it easy to sew those lines straight.

The gathering at the wrist is supposed to be just actual gathering with the trim strip sewn on top. It was way too loose, so I put a piece of 1/8" elastic through there to gather it up snugly.

Ottobre 6/2011 #13

The instructions for sewing the tucks on the front yoke didn't seem to work out for me, so I just did my own thing and I'm happy with it. I like the textural interest it adds.

If the sleeves made the dress, then the hat made the outfit. For the beret I used this free pattern, cut out of ponte knit. The rose is from a purchased tutorial available here. Before I made the hat, I asked my daughter if she would like one and if she thought she could wear it without playing with it. She was very excited about having a hat and was sure she wouldn't play with it. She wore it all morning today and didn't play with it at all. I was quite impressed.


I really like the rose and added one to a headband for my older daughter to wear with her jumper. No pics of it on her, but it was a good addition.

Rose headband

Next Up: a vest for the little man...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ottobre 3/2011 #18 - Glen Plaid Jumper

This year I wanted to make coordinating clothes for the whole family to wear at Christmas time. I have no idea why. I've never wanted to do this before. And right now I'm having serious doubts about whether I still want to do it! When I explained my idea to The Preacher, he gave me a please-tell-me-you-are-kidding sort of look. I'm not sure he's on board yet, but that's okay. I'd say the project is 90% complete and I'm hoping to be completely finished by Saturday night.

I started with my older daughter's jumper. She had a piano recital last weekend so I used that for an early-ish deadline. I chose a pretty simple pattern from Ottobre 3/2011. This is a summer issue and the pattern is shown as a sundress, but it worked just fine as a jumper.


I cut the bodice on the bias and added piping around the top and at the waist seam. The piping at the waist seam made the jumper stand away from her body like she had a hoop in there. Not a good look (but really good for a giggle). I took the cord out of the piping and took the jumper in a bit at the side seams. That helped, but I think I still could have gone down a size.


The buttons were from my stash and both the burgundy piping fabric and the black lining were given to me by someone who cleared out her stash. I lined the bodice only (the pattern called for facings, but lining seemed just as easy).


The pleat arrangement on the skirt seems a little different to me. On each side of center, there is one inverted box pleat and one knife pleat. The front and back are identical.


I wasn't expecting my daughter to be very excited about this jumper - she usually likes a lot more color and fanciness - but she does like it quite a lot. And it looked good with the piano at the recital!


Handmade Holiday Happiness
This season I'm finding myself being attracted to all sorts of simple handmade things. This isn't entirely new for me of course, but my aversion to thoughtless consumerism has increased in the last few months. While I've always admired handmade goods, I'm really appreciating the simpler things right now and have been trying to work them into our family's Christmas preparations.

I made these two pillowcases as a gift for my younger daughter. A few weeks ago she lamented that she didn't have pretty pillowcases like her sister did. (She's the youngest and when she moved from a crib to a big girl bed she just got the linen closet extras. When her older sister made the same move, she got all new coordinating bedding. Oh, the injustice! But, for some reason, she only felt bad about the pillowcases).


Other than the lavender solid, these are all fabrics that someone else passed on to me. My daughter admired both of the florals, so I hope that these make her happy. I didn't feel like changing the thread on the serger, so I did flat-felled and french seams. All the seams are straight and the fabric was so easy to work with that the extra steps didn't take that long.

I've never made pillowcases before, but it is a small, simple way to add a little more handmade goodness to your daily life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Christmas Sewing

A couple of years ago my mom gave me this kit to make a quilted Christmas wallhanging. This year I was determined to get it made up so I can enjoy it. I bumped it up on the to-sew list over some other things that had definite deadlines. The sewing wasn't at all complicated and assembling the top went very quickly.

Christmas wall hanging

I followed the layout guide as exactly as I could. Some of the fabrics included were different than those used in the diagram. The red for the ornament was different from the blue and green, so I put it in the middle. But, I didn't consider how that would affect the border blocks. There is a lot of green in the lower left hand corner that I didn't notice until I had it all together.

Christmas wallhanging

I haven't put the binding on yet, but I really like the candy cane stripe fabric included for it.

Christmas wall hanging

The ornament tops are machine appliqued. I started hand embroidering the hooks, but it was taking a long time and wasn't looking that great so I ripped it out and stitched it by machine, tracing over the line three times. Much more efficient and it looks just as good as my embroidery would have.

I'm looking forward to putting the finished project up soon. But, after I got to this point, I switched gears and did some work on gifts for my kids' teachers. I started with this tutorial, but modified it a bit.

Covered Journals

I moved the patchwork strip to the other side of the cover and added a ribbon loop to hold a pen. I saw this on a different journal somewhere and thought it was a nice touch. I won't include these particular pens, but didn't have the right ones when I took the picture.

Covered Journals

I find teacher gifts to be a tricky thing, but that's a discussion for another time. I hope they like them!

Next up: Christmas-y clothes for the fam...