Thursday, September 23, 2010

KCWC - day 3 - Freezer paper patterns

Got my sewing mojo back on yesterday - wahoo! I discovered some leftover floral corduroy fabric in my stash and thought it'd make a great skirt for my 9 yr old daughter. She's really into her new western style boots, so I thought a "cowgirl" skirt would be fun. It'll be a gathered skirt with a bit of an attatched underskirt or petticoat peeking out the bottom. I'll show you the finished photos tomorrow - after I run out and get some lace to finish it off! ;)

For now, let me share with you some major work I did on kids' clothes today: pattern tracing. Not exciting in the sewing sense, but necessary and crucial prepwork. A multi-sized pattern is great, but you can't just cut into it if you'd ever want to sew it again as your child grows. Want to know my secret for getting just the size I want on some sturdy paper? Freezer paper! OK, maybe not a new invention in the sewing world, but it's rather new to me, and I love the outcome. Taping the pattern to a window and tracing it that way would work - if I had windows large enough, and if I could find uninterrupted daylight hours to do this! This works well after the sun - and kids - goes down.

First I cut around the pattern pieces just to get them to a manageable state. Those huge pieces of tissue paper are so unwieldy!

Next I lay them out on a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down. Using a Sharpie, I mark the outlines with dots right on the tissue pattern. The Sharpie bleeds through the tissue onto the freezer paper, leaving me a nice connect-the-dots pattern. I use a ruler to put in the straight lines, and a steady, decaffeinated hand to draw the curves (I could use a french curve, but the kids misplaced mine). Remember to mark all dots, notches, and other details! When I know all the info I need is transferred, I can fold those tissue paper pieces back up and store them in their envelope, safe and secure for next time.

Now is when the freezer paper advantage comes in. The shiny side will lightly adhere to the fabric with just a smidge of a warm iron applied. So I can lay out the pieces, iron them down then cut them out with NO pins!! The paper easily comes off the fabric (but I always do a test first, just to check).
Tomorrow is cutting day as well as getting some of the major seams constructed. This will be a lined wool coat, which has two upsides: wool doesn't fray, so finishing seams isn't necessary. It's lined, so all those seams will be neatly covered! I'm already planning on how I'll alter this pattern; I think I'll leave out the set-in pockets (bulky!!) and put a neat pocket on the inside lining for keeping track of small things, like a pair of mittens & a handkerchief.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

KCWC - day 2

Didn't get much sewing done on day 2 of the kids clothes week challenge. Evening plans with friends diminished my sewing time, but I did manage do crank out this little muffin cap for a costume.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids' Clothes Week Challenge - day 1

It was pretty easy to get a good hour or more of sewing in yesterday for the KCWC. I worked on sewing flannel pj pants for my 4 yr old. This must be one of the easiest sewing projects out there - elastic waistband, 2 seams, and hems. Done. I used a modified version of Butterick 4222 (modified to make a smaller size than what I had). I used 1 yd of flannel and about 20" of 1-inch wide elastic.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Christmas Hexagons

The Christmas quilt top I've been working on since Spring is finally finished! This was an exercise in scrounging together my scraps of "Glace" fabric by Three Sisters for Moda. I was literally digging through my waste bin looking for bits of leftovers in order to come up with the border of squares! Sewing hexagons was a new thing for me. It's not very difficult, but as you can see from some puckers, precision is key.

The top measures about 42" square. Now the challenging part - quilting!

Kids Clothes Week Sewing Challenge

Sept 20-26, 2010
Join in over at Elsie Marley's blog.

For one week, work on sewing clothes for your kids an hour each day. I have four kids, so this should benefit our family!

I hope to sew some fishy PJs for my 4 yr old and a wool dress coat for my 9 yr old. To do that in one week is a challenge, for sure! Some mending will be in there as well (with three boys, there is ALWAYS mending to do!) If there's time, I plan on sewing a skirt for me, too. Ok, I'm not really a kid, but perhaps a kid-at-heat counts?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Six Socks

Sock pair #6 for 2010 is finished!

On our 10th anniversary trip to Cape May, NJ, I picked up this yarn because it reminded me of the colors of the sand and sea we enjoyed so much together. I wanted to find a pattern that would be a lasting reminder of the rippling waves and sand there. It took over a year to find something that was JUST right, but I love the outcome! It's a very stretchy sock, so I'll have to keep this in mind as a good gift sock pattern.
Pattern: Koi socks (ravelry link)
Yarn: Fortissima Socka Cotton Colors (used 72g out of the 100g skein)
Needles: US 2 circular
size: fits women's US 10

Cozy and complete!

Remember this slip cover? Now it has some matching throw pillows for the neighboring sofa!
These 18" square pillow covers were a snap to sew. There's an invisible zipper opening on the bottom seam of each, just behind the piping. Now I'm kicking my feet up and enjoying my FINISHED chair project! (It's finished because I'm officially out of fabric!).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There and Back again - Holland, MI

We went over hill and under hill to get to Holland, MI last month. I love this town! First, it's on Lake Michigan, and any beach that sports a tunnel through a sand dune is pretty cool.
Standing with "just your toes in the water" quickly turns into wave jumping. No jellyfish, sea urchins or other spiky, painful objects here!

And sunsets over the lake - a perfect way to end a day. Of course, you have to climb hundreds of stairs up over the dunes to see the sunset, then find your way back down those hundreds of stairs in the dark if you tarry too long!

Downtown sports an awesome used bookstore, complete with a resident cat!

My son settled in with a book about polar bears, his recent obsession.

Very intrigued by a shop full of cuckoo-clocks. It was like walking into the movie "Pinocchio." Very clicky-clacky, very noisy, and very expensive!
The boys were disappointed to have to leave the shop so quickly, but the fudge/candy store was two doors down, a good compromise!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Spin in Public day is September 18, so I share with you some of the spinning I've been doing lately. I've been fighting with my great wheel lately (broken parts) and finally gave up. I had two cops nearly the same size so I decided to proceed with plying them together. Before you think I did something very rude to law enforcement officers, a "cop" is the conical shaped stash of spun wool that is on the spindle. The drop spindle full of red yarn above shows the cop on the spindle; to the far right you can see a cop of yarn that I slid over to a knitting needle. Plying simply means twisting two strands of spun wool together. It makes for a more sturdy and stable yarn.

There's a fluffy bit of the roving in the center, and the ball is just two strands of the singles wound up together. It will help me keep everything from becoming a tangled mess when I ply them on my drop spindle. I think I'll get a fine laceweight yarn when finished!

The doily in the photo was crocheted by my Grandmother.

Other randomness: my daughter turned nine last week. She decorated her own cake, fueled by her interest in mermaids. Fruit roll ups and skittles never looked so good!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sew Happy!!

I have had the most wonderful and relaxing Saturday! I think I've been long overdue for some creative output. Here's the result:

- worked on my Christmas quilt (hey, it's never too early, right?). The top is allllllmost finished! It's more a lap quilt or wall hanging size, so don't get ideas of a queen sized topper here.

- sewed a pillow to match my living room curtains. I bought panels from World Market that came packaged in cute little bags made from the same fabric. My seam ripper and I make quick work of those bags and now my sofa is happily coordinated.

- started a pillow to match my slipcover - lots of Waverly fabric left over, just need to get a zipper

- cut out a pair of PJ shorts from a beautiful green and peach vintage sheet. I'm so excited to finish these - the only thing holding me back from diving right into the construction was a couple of dirty boys who needed bath and to get to bed. There's a lot more vintage sheet love and a giveaway over at All Things Vintage Sheets - so don't toss out grandma's linens before you have a look!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baby Love

Two friends expecting babies - both girls and both within a week of each other! My last three kids were boys, so some girly crafting was long overdue! Now that the babies have arrived (welcome Eva and Faith!), I can share with you what I made for them. This has been very hard to keep secret - I absolutely LOVE these sweaters and dresses!

For Eva, a Southern gal, a short sleeve cotton sweater and sundress:

The sweater pattern is Autumn Leaves Baby Cardigan by Nikki Van De Car. The dress fabric is from the "Love" line by Amy Butler. Those bits peeking out of the neck are cute little knotted ties on the shoulders of the dress. Sweetness.

And for Faith, a Northern sweetheart, similar sundress but with something warmer on top:

Fabric is also from the "Love" line by Amy Butler. This sweater is called Baby Roots Cardigan (Ravelry link). Below you can see the dresses on their own - I gave up on trying to put piping on the gathered waist seam on the purple dress. That nearly killed me the first time 'round. (This dress pattern is a free pdf, but I've misplaced the link right now. I'll post it after I do some digging).

15 minutes of fame

My daughter's embroidery is featured today on Sew Mama Sew - go check it out! :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Reality

Ahhhh....we've been on vacation for the past two weeks, and while I could tell you about ALL the great things we did, I will just mention a couple. I did a yarn crawl at the Michigan Fiber Fest and scooped up some Socks that Rock yarn as well as wool roving and a new drop spindle. My sister-in-law took me to some of her favorite fabric shops where we just drooled over so many beautiful designs and patterns! I ended up getting a Moda charm pack, honey bun, and a layer cake of sorts, as well as plenty of ideas to sew. If only I had more time!! Maybe another 2 weeks for just a sewing and knitting vacation?

I even got together with one of my high school friends, Jessica over at Twin Fibers. We did a potholder swap - I'll let you go visit her cute blog and see what I made for her, and what she made for me. We also found out that our kids are third cousins! :) How fun is that?