Category Archives: Garment Sewing

The Cutest Lion Ever

When the family was all here for the wedding last month, I asked my daughter in law if I could make a Halloween costume for H.  I know she won’t really ‘trick or treat’ since she isn’t even 2 years old yet.  But the kids at daycare will likely celebrate Halloween.  Also, she is starting to enjoy pretend play and dressing up with silly hats, wearing her mama’s ‘pretties’ (bracelets), etc.  I think even if she doesn’t trick or treat, she will enjoy having the costume to play with.

After chatting, we decided on a lion costume.  It will be fun for her to play with and she does enjoy roaring like a lion (which just cracks me up).  I ordered a pattern, which was silly because I have so many costume patterns in my pattern shop but I had sold the lion pattern already. Anyway, I selected McCall’s MP365 as it looked like it would be pretty simple to make.  I decided to leave the hand mitts off and make the tail detachable in case it was annoying when H was pretending to be a ferocious lion.

I chose a soft minky fabric for the body of the costume.  So cuddly….and so evil!  Honestly, cutting the minky was incredibly frustrating.  It slips and slides all over the place.  I would begin pinning the pattern piece from the center and work outward.  By the time I was to one end, the other would be off.  It was crazy!  So after putting nine billion pins in it, I finally started cutting. It made me nervous that sewing it would be a miserable experience but it wasn’t at all.  I had talked to my minky-expert-friend, Sophia, and she told me to use lots of pins and my walking foot.  The walking foot made all the difference.

One of my favorite parts of the costume is the lion’s mane.  I had bought brown fabric and was supposed to cut fringe to create the mane. But if H uses this very much, it will be washed a lot and I wasn’t about to finish each edge of the fringed mane.  I could have used minky because I wouldn’t need to finish the edges.  Then one day I was at Jo-Ann’s and I took a look at prepared trims.  I found this fringe and it was perfect!! It makes the lion sort of sweet.  My DIL says it reminds her of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. It was so easy to attach and saved me a lot of time. I also hand stitched a bit of it to the end of the tail.

This loop on the back side of my little lion holds the tail.

Making the tail detachable was not a huge deal.  I took a strip of minky and folded it wrong sides together and top stitched around all sides.  Then I used “steam a seam” and fused a square of fabric to the inside of the costume just behind where the tail would hang.  I wanted to reinforce that spot so the tail didn’t stretch out the fabric when my little lion was roaring over the grasslands.  Once the back side fabric was reinforced, I used the strip of fabric to make a belt loop of sorts.  Then I made a second strip of fabric in the same was as the first. After putting velcro on each end of the strip, I hand stitched it to the end of the tail. This strip passes through the loop and Velcro’s to itself.

All in all, it turned out really cute.  I just hope it fits!  I had measurements to work with but I won’t know until they try it on her.

The cutest, cuddliest lion costume!

I can’t wait to see this on H.  I am putting it in the mail this morning.  When I have pictures of it on her, I will share one.  Of course, one never knows how a toddler will react and she may decide she hates lion costumes.  In which case, I am sure the next child will enjoy it.  I can remember my kids wanting to be something for Halloween and I would not want to start that costume until just before Halloween because surely they would change their mind at least a couple of times.

A few new items for the shop.

Other than the costume, I have been focused on adding new versions of Chemex Cozies and French Press Cozies to my shop.  This is the season where people begin shopping for the holidays and these two items sell quite well as gifts.  That will likely be what I concentrate on for the next couple of weeks.  When I select another fabric to offer, I make one as a sample and then my customers order them according to the size they need.  I make them to order which keeps me busy but it also means I am not sewing and sewing unless the item is sold.  Otherwise, I am guessing at which size and version to make.

Are you doing any Halloween sewing this year?  Maybe fall decorations?  Tell me what you are working on!

Linking up with lots of fun places.  Check them out at the top of this page, under Link Ups.

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Voile and Simplicity 1589; A New Blouse

When I was in Vermont in early September, I took along a number of sewing projects to work on.  One of those was a piece of pretty voile (designed by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabric) and a blouse pattern.  I haven’t used voile before and wanted to try it out.  In case you aren’t familiar, voile is a lightweight cotton with a higher thread count making it softer and sort of flowy (is that a word?).  It washes well and can be used for garments or quilting.  Anyway, I thought I would give it a try.  One thing I wanted was a blouse that didn’t have to be ironed after washing and this one doesn’t.  If taken out of the dryer right away, it looks lovely.

I chose Simplicity pattern 1589 because of its simple construction.  Two pattern pieces, just the front and back.  It literally took about an hour and one half to make.  I used French seams for the two side seams and the shoulder seams so the inside finish is very clean.  The neckline and armholes are finished with blue bias tape.  The pattern calls for bias cut strips of the same fabric but I am too frugal for that.  Bias strips leave so much waste and I like the pop of color that shows now and then from the coordinated bias tape.

I don’t have a normal set of pictures to show you.  My husband had taken some for me but most of them weren’t all that good so I decided to show you the shirt in action, so to speak.  I had it on while H was here last week and my son takes about 100 pictures daily of her so the shirt is featured in a number of them!

The pattern is fun because the back is just two overlapping pieces whose center edges are cut on a diagonal.  The opening goes all the way up to the neckline but when it blows open, it really only does so at the bottom because of the overlap.  Does that make sense?

Tomato picking was a favorite part of H’s morning with Grammy. However she was picking them green, orange and any color between!

It is long enough to wear with leggings which I like.  I did lower the front hem as much as possible.  It has that hi-low hem feature that is trendy these days but I didn’t want it to be as prevalent as the pattern had called for.

You can see the diagonal cut on the back pieces here.  I think it is a fun design.

Falling For You table runner

So, another blouse is done and now I have time to finish up a few other projects that are near completion. I started this table runner before the wedding and should be able to finish it up this afternoon. I am going to make H a Halloween costume so I want to get the sewing table cleaned off before I start it.  The pattern is ordered but I haven’t shopped for fabric yet.  She is going to be a lion and will be the cutest lion out there!

Finally, if you are in the mood for some fall colors, all of the autumn fabrics in my shop are 25% off today.  Come take a look – there are some really pretty pieces and they are a great deal.  Precuts, bundles and yardage are all available.  Also, hop over to either Instagram or Facebook and enter to win a cute bundle of Halloween fabrics.  Today is the last day of the sale and the last day to enter the giveaway!  Hope you will come and join in!

A Sweet Finish

Today I found myself getting frustrated because I have so much I should be doing and no energy.  After a two day migraine it usually takes me two or three days to get back on track.  This weekend is a big one because my son is getting married on Saturday.  My kids all come home on Thursday which is so great.  Anyway, I felt like I should be cleaning house or doing yard work, etc and really my body is rebelling and saying I should take it easy.  So I went in the sewing room.  Time in the sewing room is often a cure-all, right??

New Look Pattern 6578 and Radiant Menagerie Fabric by BariJ

I had most of this cute little dress made already.  I started it at the beginning of August and when it came time to put the buttonholes on it (a task I dislike) I hung it up in the closet and pretended it wasn’t there. But it is so cute and it called to me this morning so I pulled it out. I wanted to make it for my grand daughter but it is late in the season so I made a size 3T in the hopes she will wear it next summer.

The fabric is called Radiant Menagerie (from Indigo & Aster) and was designed by the talented BariJ.  I LOVE her aesthetic and carry a lot of her fabric in my shop (Wild Bloom, Indigo and Aster and now Virtuosa.)  If you aren’t familiar with BariJ, she is a talented artist whose work is often quite feminine and usually features large floral designs.  Her paintings are very pretty and some are quite whimsical.  Take a look at her work here.

She has a lot of animals sporting floral crowns and I was thrilled to see her include them in the Indigo & Aster line (produced by Art Gallery Fabric).

Probably my favorite of the animals, no surprise there, right?

The fabric that features the animals is called Radiant Menagerie and is a border fabric of sorts.   Each selvage edge is lined with the various animals.

In between the selvages are stripes in coordinating colors or pink, orange, green and blue.  The stripes are actually dotted lines. So when using this piece in a quilt, it is simple to fussy cut the animals and then use the stripes as a coordinate.

I wanted to use this as a dress so I was careful to choose a simple pattern with a straight hemline (as opposed to curved.)  This enabled me to use the striped portion as the bodice of the dress and the animals as the bottom.  The back side of the dress mirrors the front with animals parading across the bottom and the colorful stripe at the top.

Front ruffle detailing.

As if it wasn’t colorful enough already, I decided to take it a step further.  Using a four inch wide strip of La Floraison Lit (another piece in the line) I sewed a tube with the fabric and turned it right side out.  Then I ran two lines of stitching down the center (with a long, loose stitch) so I could gather that tube into a ruffle.  A quick hunt through my buttons resulted in these cute, colorful buttons to add to the ruffle.  I really like the extra detail this adds to the dress..

Finished French Seams

My serger is (still!) not cooperating with me so I finished the seams with French seams.  This will prevent any fraying.  I do love French seams.  They are easy and give a really nice finished look to the garment.

Lavender facing on the inside.

Because the fabric in a nice lightweight cotton, I didn’t want to use the dress fabric for the interior facings around the neckline and armholes.  It showed through and didn’t look very polished.  Instead, I used a scrap of a lavender solid (I think a Moda Bella piece)). It looks pretty to see that lavender bit popping through.

The dress is adorable and while I am certain it will be too big for now, I can look forward to seeing it on her next spring or summer.  These little projects are so much fun.  They don’t take a whole lot of fabric and I love seeing her in something I made.

It felt good to sit and sew the bits needed to finish this little dress up.  Tomorrow I should have a lot more energy to be able to get things done for our big weekend.  I am over the moon about this wedding as I really think these two are perfect for each other. We are so happy to welcome Shar into the family! I will share more about the wedding once everything quiets down again.

 

Sharing with my favorites, including a new linky party hosted by Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty.  It is called Brag About Your Beauties and happens on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Fridays of the month.  Be sure to check it out!

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Friday Finish – Chambray Pants

Happy Friday!  Before I get going here, I want to thank everyone for the great response to the July Blogger Bundle.  It is a beauty and I am happy to announce that Kathie L will be receiving a bundle in the mail soon.  She won the drawing for the giveaway!  Yay for happy, squishy mail – it’s coming your way Kathie!

I actually do have a finish to share – not a quilt finish but something to check off the WIP list nonetheless.  I began making a pair of pants in May – Well, I actually bought the fabric over a year ago and it sat on a shelf until May.  But then Me Made May rolled around and I got excited about making some clothes.  I got these nearly done in May – they only needed to be hemmed.  It took me until mid-July to hem them.  Why??  Now it is too hot to wear pants.  Silly me.

So these were a very easy make. The pattern for these was Vogue 7294.  The pattern was from 2001 and the pants had a high waisted cut.  I took a few inches out of the rise so they would hit me below the waist. There isn’t a waistband – just a simple elastic waist.  I don’t tuck my shirts in so this won’t be an issue.

The biggest issue I ran into was the fabric I chose for the pants.  It was not a good choice at all!  It is too light weight and it frayed continually, making it a pain to sew with. I did the best I could, making sure to finish each seam with a zig zag stitch to help with the fraying.  My plan is to hand wash these (in the washing machine – my washer has a “hand wash” cycle) and hang them to dry.  I really have no idea how long they will last?  For all I know, they may disintegrate upon first wearing.

Chambray Pants

I was concerned that this lightweight material would make the pants look like pajamas.  To be honest, they do look a lot like pj’s.  But I like them anyway.  They are comfortable and they have pockets in them!!  However, I am afraid to use said pockets because of the lightweight, easily frayed fabric.  Yikes, these are going to be some high maintenance pants!  😉

In closing, does anyone need a good book to read over the summer?  I just finished two and both of them were excellent.  The first one was The Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler.  I am a huge fan of Anne Tyler’s.  She writes such great stories about regular people. I love how she develops her characters. The reader always comes away feeling like he really knows those people.  Great read!

The second book I read is the The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez.  It iss a timely novel about several families who came to the US from various countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.  The relationships between the families, their history, and a love story between two young teens make this book hard to put down. Have you read anything good lately?  I am ready for another book.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  We are having lunch with my in-laws on Saturday and then we will be home all day Sunday.  Supposedly it isn’t supposed to be over 90 degrees this weekend so that will be a nice break from this crazy heatwave.

Linking to lots of linky parties.  See them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Designs by Heidi – Guest Post

Hi Everyone – I am back from our back-to-back vacations! Both trips were awesome but as always, home sweet home!  After a relaxing time away, I am ready to jump back into my blogging/sewing/shop routine.  Today I have a really special post to share with you.  I would like to introduce you to Heidi Emmett.  Heidi is a really talented pattern designer and I am proud to carry a number of her patterns in my pattern shop. To do justice to this introduction, I need to tell you a bit more!  Heidi lives in Grass Valley and we are both in the same quilt guild.  Heidi makes both quilts and garments, designs clothing patterns, teaches sewing classes at an annual retreat up at Lake Tahoe and is generally a creative maker at heart.  She also owned a brick and mortar fabric shop in Grass Valley for quite a few years.  She is a person with what seems like unlimited energy and is constantly making or designing something.  About a month ago, she and I chatted at a guild meeting and we were brainstorming ways we could work together since we both have so many common interests.  As a result, I have begun to carry her patterns in my pattern shop.  She had purchased some of the Sarah Golden linen blends from me at the quilt show last May with the intent to make one of her Terrific Tabard vests. Today she will share the vest she made and explain the process she used to make it. I hope you enjoy the post.   If you have any questions for Heidi, be sure to leave them in the comments and she will post a reply to you there. I hope you all will enjoy getting to know Heidi as she is a creative force to be reckoned with!

Hello! Designs by Heidi is who and what I am. I have a line of “Art to Wear” patterns. You can find some of my patterns for sale at Needle and Foot. A BIG thank you to Bernie, for inviting me show off some of the fabric she sells using one of my patterns, Terrific Tabard.

I’m going for a whole new look (than the cover shot above) with the linen blends I got from Bernie’s Etsy shop. Let me show you what I did to create a sophisticated and smooth Terrific Tabard. I started with two linen blends from Bernie. I absolutely LOVE linen! And these two linens by Andover Fabric are neutrals that will work with ANY  other palette of colors. The piece with the columns of lines is called Lines (appropriate enough!) and the piece with the checked pattern is called Squares on Tailored Cloth.  Both were designed by Sarah Golden and are available in Bernie’s shop.

tabard

I went to Quilt Market in Portland, OR this past May and was able to buy a modern black and brightly colored panel by Marcia Derse. This panel won’t be available in stores until October. I immediately thought to use it as a part of my Tabard vest!

Fortunately, I also snagged some very small pieces from Marcia’s newest collection, again available in October.  The linen fabric is just perfect with these prints.

Most of my patterns have tissue pattern pieces included (I always include a range of sizes in one pattern). Notice I have taken a lengthwise fold in some of the tissue (closest to the side, not the center). I did this because I want to insert some improv strips to add color and visual interest to the vest.

I love lots of bold color and plan to use bits of the smaller Marcia Derse pieces to create a long strip of fabric.  Remember when I cut out this piece I pinched out some, so now I have to fill it back in with something.

I first cut the panel apart near the pinched out area all the way up through the shoulder area. Tip: Always cut wherever you pinch it out, then you can replace that space with your accent fabric and bring it back to size again. It is a fun and creative trick.

I cut up a few of those colorful pieces and sewed them together and then stitched them to either side of what I cut apart.

Always line up other seams and plan to have extra on either end to trim off. I do not like to run short. I will just snip, snip, the orange fabric in line with the shoulder seam.

While I let the fashion layer dictate what each section will look like, I always, ALWAYS, strive for a long and lean look. I want your eyes to see the whole design in an up and down fashion as this tends to be much more flattering than looking side to side.

Preparing the embellishments for the back of the vest

When I created the back piece, I wanted to add some embellishment to it as well.  For this, I used an applique process rather than slicing and inserting a strip.  I cut the pieces I wanted and folded the raw edges under and pressed them. Next I pinned them in place and top-stitched around the edges to attach them to the back as well as finish those raw edges.  I didn’t fuse them first though you certainly could if you preferred that method.

After stitching the front pieces to the back, in most other “quilted” version of Terrific Tabard, I would be layering the vest with batting right now (sometimes even before the shoulder seams are stitched together) and quilting all three pieces. Then the vest would be finished off with quilt style binding (albeit much narrower than a quilt binding). These instructions are included in the pattern. But THIS vest will have no batting. I chose to line it traditionally which means no binding necessary! This version really goes together quickly.

Front and back lining pieces stitched at the shoulders

The two front lining pieces are “Grunge” in black. The back piece lining is a very old (no longer being made) Kaffe Fassett stripe. To line this I pinned it, right sides together, and stitched all the way around using a 1/4″ seam allowance. I made sure to leave about a 6-8″ opening on one side so I could turn it right side out.

Grading a curved seam.

Very carefully grade the seams on the curved portions. Grading just means trimming one piece smaller than the other. When you turn the whole piece inside out and begin to press, press, press (that’s the secret to a beautifully lined piece), all the rounded edges will fall into place as you press. Tip: On dark fabrics use a press cloth (a piece of muslin works) on top of the fabric before you press. Sometimes you get a shine, even on linen.

Handmade buttons by Sandra Bruce

I have a rather large collection of buttons. Here is a group of handmade polymer buttons by the talented Sandra Bruce. I love to buy the buttons I like, knowing that someday, I’ll have the perfect button for a project. Forget buttonholes. I use strips of fabric that have been folded and pressed and stitched into place.

 

The polymer button I chose for the front is very intricate and it’s really BIG, but I think it blends in nicely.

The two side buttons are from my glass button stash. I know, I know, it’s a sickness, but one I don’t want to get over. Ha, ha.

It’s finished!!

I love my new vest. I can’t wait to wear it (not sure when since it is still summer!), but I’ll be ready when cooler weather comes.

Here is the finished back side of the vest.  I love the look of the larger scale linen print slicing through the narrower lines.

Worn with just one lapel folded out.

One last way to style this Terrific Tabard, fold back the lapel on just one side.

If you like what you have seen, please join me at Designs by Heidi for more fun and creative happenings. I love sewing “Art to Wear.”  You can also follow me on Instagram to see the latest patterns and classes I offer. Thank you again Bernie for letting me join in with you all at Needle & Foot.

Hugs, Heidi Emmett

New Shorts for Summer

Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I sewed a pair of shorts?  Its been a long time, like a really long time! Maybe sometime in the 1980’s or so?  Anyway, during one of my obsessive trips to a thrift store, I picked up a Simplicity easy-to-sew pattern for pants, shorts and a skirt made with woven fabric and a knit fold-over waistband.  I have a knit skirt like this and it is really comfortable.  I was a bit curious about making this combination of woven and knit fabric and decided to give it a try.

The first (and only) hurdle was deciding what size to cut.  I am sure I am not alone when I say I dislike measuring my hips and waist.  The number is never what I think it should be, which is to say I think I should be the same size as when I made that last pair of shorts.  Ha.  Guess what? I am not.  When I took measurements and looked at the pattern, it indicated I should make the shorts as a size 14.  The vanity running through me said, well that is clearly a mistake because I don’t wear that size.  Truth be told, I almost cut the pattern out as a 10 (which is my ready to wear size).  Vanity runs strong and deep my friends. At that point,  I had to have a very firm talk with myself. It went something like this:  What does it matter if you cut a size 14?  Well, of course it matters – it means I have gone from a size 10 to a 14.  No, no it doesn’t and if you cut these at a size ten, they won’t fit and you will be so irritated. On and on we went, the two of us inside my head.  Finally the pragmatist won and the vain side lost.  I cut them as a size 14 and here I am telling all the world about it – well, at least the portion of the world who reads my blog.

Shorts that actually fit!!

Guess what?  The shorts took maybe an hour to make and THEY FIT GREAT!!  Shout that to the world – in handmade shorts, I wear a 14 and I made a pair that fit!!!

Woven shorts with a knit waistband = comfortable!

I debated whether to actually take a photo of the waistband but decided I should because I am being all mature and accepting of whatever size I am and the waistband is the cool part of the shorts. (If that isn’t a run-on sentence, I don’t know what is.). I love the fabric I used – it is from Alison Glass’ Handcrafted line of batiks and is called Artifact in Navy. (Click the link if you want to check it out in the shop.). Overall, I love these and will wear them a lot.  My only disappointment is I didn’t put pockets on them.  I like having a pocket for my phone and car or house key if I go for a walk.  I think I can put a patch pocket on the back side still and that will fix things right up!  The next pair are going to be in knit fabric for top and bottom.  I want to see how that changes things up.  I suppose my take away from this project has to be that the numbers are just numbers.  My hips are what they are and if you want something to work, just follow the size and measurements as laid out on the pattern.  They didn’t put those numbers there to make me mad, rather they put them there so I could be successful with the project.

Community Service Quilt, Pine Tree Quilt Guild

One other quick sewing project I did last week was to bind a quilt that someone in my guild made for Community Service.  This project was pieced and quilted, it just needed someone to bind it.  I happen to enjoy binding so that was an easy one to help with. When I got it home, I saw the binding was made and was quite narrow.  The maker cut a two inch strip where I usually cut 2 1/4 and sometimes 2 1/2″ strips.  I decided to machine stitch it to both front and back sides so it would be really durable.

As I came to the end of the binding strip, I realized it wasn’t going to be long enough.  I should have checked it before I started but I made the assumption that the maker had done that.  Looked like it was going to be a scrappy binding.  I found a little print that seemed to work with the polka dot binding provided with the quilt.  It all looks fine.

Pieced binding for the win!

I especially like the backing for the quilt.  It is a nice denim with a printed pattern.  This quilt will last for a long time.  It is earmarked for the local foster youth program.  When the kids age out of the system at 18 years old, our guild gives them a quilt to add to their belongings. This one will work for a guy or girl.

Delicious boysenberries, or are they?

Last story of the day…..  on Saturday, over the weekend, I was picking berries early in the morning.  It was gorgeous out and there are a zillion berries right now.  I popped one in my mouth and guess what?  There was a beetle on the underside of the berry.  Ugh!  It was horrible.  There I was having my zen moment picking berries all alone and all of a sudden, I was spitting beetle out of my mouth.  Yuk!!!  I will be a little more careful before tossing another berry in my mouth.  🙂

Reminder – I will be back on Wednesday this week with the June Blogger Bundle.  It was curated by Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms and I am really excited to see what she has made with the fabrics!  See you there!!

Linking to Cooking Up Quilts, Lets Bee Social, and TGIFF.  Info is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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boatneck t-shirt

Boatneck T-shirt Finish

Today is the last day of May, which means it is also the last day of Me Made May for this year. I had hopes of making one new garment each week.  While I didn’t quite get there, I am close!  I made a mauve t-shirt, a black and white t-shirt dress, a boatneck tank top and almost finished a pair of pants.  Not too bad!  I also cut out a pair of shorts but didn’t get farther than that. It was really a fun series of projects and I feel like my rusty garment sewing skills are improving.

Let’s take a look at the simple tank top I made.  In actuality, it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped!  Combining a McCall’s pattern (M7322) with a great piece of knit fabric called Morse Dot Blue, I cut out a boatneck tank top. The knit is from Art Gallery Fabric (it is available in my shop) and is just lovely – great quality and feels so comfy.  I chose to make a size large because I thought it would be easier to size down than up and my measurements showed me to be between a medium and a large. I also skipped cutting out neck and armhole facing pieces as I don’t like having that extra fabric to tuck into place. It is a cleaner, simpler, finish to bind the arms and neckline with bias tape.

It became apparent right away that the shirt was going to be too boxy in shape.  I decided to cut in the armholes to give it more shape at the shoulders.

Yikes, the armholes look terrible!

When I did this, it made the armhole openings too big.  Look at the photo above and you’ll see they are cut too deeply.  Somehow I didn’t notice how far off the fit was until taking photos! The camera doesn’t lie.  🙂

Ugh, at this point, the armholes and shoulder seams were sewn with a stretch stitch and then a zig zag beyond that. Determined to fix this, I decided I would need to take a wider seam at the shoulders to lift the shirt and then tighten up the underarms. This photo is a close up and you can see how tiny the seams of the stretch stitch are.  I couldn’t unpick these without damaging the fabric, plus it was taking forever to rip out the seams.  Instead, I decided to cut the shoulder seam off completely and restitch it.  The seam binding finish wasn’t as clean but it worked.  For the underarm, I cut a narrow strip out of the first three inches of the seam and sewed it back together on an angle.  Not pretty but at least it was served the purpose of closing up that armhole a bit.

boatneck t-shirt

Looking back, I should have taken a picture with my hand on my hip again so you could compare, but it does fit much better.

boatneck tank

The fit is so much better with those two alterations. The shape of the armhole is what I was going for in the first place.  Side note, looking at the pictures, one has to wonder how on earth did my hair get so gray!? When Julia took the photos for me, I specifically asked her to make me appear taller, less gray and about 35 years old.  She promised to do her best but I am pretty sure I look at least 57 and barely 5’4″ in all of these shots.  (It is so weird to post pics of myself – Sigh…)

As I made these changes to the shirt, I pondered why I was willing to spend the money and more importantly, the time, to make such a simple shirt.  I can pop into Target or Ross and pick up a tank top for not a lot of money and no time at all.  Sewing something for myself is satisfying and I enjoy the challenge.  It makes me so happy to see a resurgence of interest in sewing, both in quilting and garment sewing.  Seems like the high school Home Ec classes I took are a thing of the past (unfortunately) so it is nice to see the hobbies being taken up.  Hopefully this means they will be taught to others and passed along to new generations of kids and grandkids.

The pants I made are pretty cute.  Once I hem them, I will share them with you.  The shorts will be set aside but not for too long.  I want to have them to wear this summer.

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T-Shirt Dress Finished!

Inspired by all of the wonderful makes being shared on Instagram this month for the Me Made May event, I made a simple t-shirt dress last week.  Three weeks ago or more, I spied this black and white knit fabric at Ben Franklin’s.  It was 20% off which made it a good deal.  When I first saw it, I thought it would be a cute t-shirt.  However, once I got ready to cut it out, I realized I had more than enough for a dress.

t-shirt dress

Because I liked the fit of the Blanc t-shirt I made with that mauve fabric, it seemed reasonable to just extend the length of the pattern and create a dress. I figured if it didn’t look right, I could trim the length and wear it as a shirt.  Once I had the pattern pieces and fabric laid out, I took an old t-shirt dress I have worn for the last couple of summers and put it on top to determine the length and width of the lower part of the dress.

After cutting it out, it is just a couple of seams to put it together.  The neckline is finished with bias tape and each seam is finished with a wide zig zag stitch. (I know, I should have used the serger but it is in the shop.  A story for another post!)

Once I had the shoulder seams together, I slipped it on and saw the length was a bit shorter than I wanted.  I debated adding a block of solid black to the bottom for length but honestly, I didn’t feel like driving to the store.  (Living where we do, a run to Ben Franklin is about a 20 mile round trip.) Instead, I finished the hemline with the same black bias tape.  That way I didn’t lose any length to turning under the fabric for a hem.  It worked really well and made it just long enough to wear.

Overall, I like the dress.  The fit isn’t perfect but I will enjoy wearing it. I have really been enjoying making things to wear lately. Me Made May was a great way to jump back into garment sewing.  How about you?  Do you have the itch to make something too? I have a pair of pants in process that I am unsure about.  The seem like they are going to fit well but the fabric is very soft and I fear they are going to look like pajama pants.  If this is the case, well I guess I will have a new pair of pj pants! We shall see.

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Me Made May

Do any of you follow, or get involved in, Me Made May each year?  This event is one to encourage garment sewing and was started years ago.  Now in its ninth year, it is a very popular sewing celebration that happens on many social media platforms. It is the creation of Zoe from So Zo, What Do You Know.  She is a sewist living in the UK and she often blogs about garment sewing and sustainable sewing.

Me Made May is a unique event in that each participant really sets up their own challenge.  Many, many of the sewists will challenge themselves to wear only their handmade clothing each day of the month (some even take it as far as handmade underwear, camisoles and/or bras).  Others may set a personal challenge to wear something handmade once each week.  Others might set out to create some handmade garments during the month.  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it.  I also like that there is no judging, no voting, no huge prizes driving everyone. People share their makes, their sewing ideas and plans with each other – usually on Instagram #mmm18 or #memademay2018 or by blogging.  (Just to give some perspective on the size of this event, it began 6 days ago.  As of this writing on Sunday afternoon, there are over 4,000 posts in#memademay2018.) It celebrates a mutual love of sewing – be it incredibly intricate and fitted garments, or a basic t-shirt.

blanc t-shirt

Which is exactly what I made last week!

Several months ago, I thrifted a bolt (yep, I have a lot of it) of this mauve stretch knit fabric.  I had no idea what I would do with it at the time but I figured I would think of something.  The fabric in general is in great condition.  There are a few spots on the selvage that have a small hole which don’t really cause any issue since they are on the selvage. Thinking I wanted to make a t-shirt, I scouted the internet and posed the question on Facebook, asking for pattern recommendations. One pattern designer that was recommended is Blank Slate Patterns. I liked both the look and simplicity of the Blanc T Shirt.  You can buy the pattern, or if you are a member of their Facebook group, it is a free download.

blanc t-shirt

The pattern has two pieces. Well actually, it is a pdf download and there are 20 pages to print. But 16 of those pages create two pattern pieces. It is sized from XS to XL.  Really, this is a simple process – just takes a little bit of tape and scissors. Not a big deal.

I decided this first round would be a practice session.  I purposely cut it out as a size large because it is easier to size down than up. Plus I was hoping for a loose, kind of flowy look?  Is flowy a word?  Probably not but you know what I mean.

It takes no time to sew front to back. Once I tried it on and decided I liked the fit, I ran a loose zig zag stitch over each seam to finish it off.  Really I should have set up the serger to do this and get a nice finish but you know… it was in the closet…. the sewing table was a mess…. it just seemed like to much work. Maybe next time.

After finishing the seams, all that was left was a bit of finish works. Hemming the bottom and the sleeves came next.  Finally I finished the neckline with purchased bias tape. The only hiccup in the project was the bottom hem.  I ran two lines of stitching and there are several wobbles in the second line.  I am not sure why it happened.  It doesn’t bother me enough to rip it out though. If I were to want a double stitched line I think I would try using a double needle.  I bought one a long time ago but have not yet practiced with it.

blanc t-shirt

I love these little projects because of the quick finish. It is really satisfying to cut out a couple of pieces and then have a t-shirt to wear the next day.  I am going to make one more in this pretty black knit that I bought.  My plan after that is to make something a bit more challenging. I have two patterns sitting out that I keep looking at and debating which to try first.  Stay tuned for more in Me Made May!

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Christmas Project Finish

Last weekend I made the cutest leggings for my Vermont grand baby.  This morning I took a few pictures to share with you. They will go off in the mail this afternoon so she can wear them for the holiday season.

I was in Jo-Ann’s about a month ago and picked up this adorable reindeer fabric.  I love the expressions on the face of these deer.  At the time, I was hoping to make one-piece pajamas or a little dress with the fabric but I didn’t buy enough.  Drat .  I had enough for leggings though.

As usual, I perused Pinterest and found this free pattern. It was just perfect, very simple and it went up to size 2T. My sweet grand daughter is a chunk and I didn’t want the pants to be too tight. The pattern is from Toddah.net and prints out on four pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The instructions are simple and if you are just learning to sew, I recommend this project. It is beginner friendly.

It took all of 45 minutes to cut and sew the legging.  I used a tiny zig zag stich while sewing so there is some give with the knit fabric.

Each seam was finished with an extra zig zag stitch. I wasn’t exactly sure about the length. I had an inseam measurement of ten inches from her mama but it seemed long. I put elastic at the ankles. That way if they are long, they can bunch up at the ankles.

Last finishing touch was to stitch an X at the back of the waist so it is easier to tell front from back. I can’t wait to see how these fit.

While I was working on these, I kept thinking about the kids’ Christmas stockings. I felt like they needed an embellishment at the top. I took a run to Ben Franklin and found this red twill tape with a white stripe. It has a rustic look that I thought worked great with the Winter Friends fabric. When I got home, I asked my husband to make some rustic buttons for me.  He found a maple branch and sliced some rounds from it.  Then he drilled two needle-size holes for stitching, sanded and put some finish on them.  They are SOOOOO cool.  I was thrilled with the finish of the buttons. (You can bet I will ask him for more of these in the future. He whipped them out in no time. What a talented guy!)

The twill tape would surely fray over the years so I stitched a teensy hem at each end and painted a bit of white glue over the ends.  I think that will help the tape remain intact.

What do you think?  I feel like this is the icing on the cake. The stockings feel finished now.

Do you want to see a button up close?  Yes, I thought so.

OK – This is it. No more blogging until after Thanksgiving Day.  This afternoon Julia and I have a date to make pumpkin pie, fudge and the dough for tomorrow’s rolls.  Happy holidays to you and your family!

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