Three and a half years after I started on it, I finished my quilt top. I realized during all the cleaning of my craft room that I was nearly done making squares so I busted out the last few over the last few days, then cut some plain squares (not pieced, just one fabric) to make a border around the edges. And finally its done!

Its about 56″ wide, so right now the plan is to back it with some 58″ wide black fleece, and then use yarn to tie off at each corner of the individual squares. If I wait until fleece is on sale or there’s a coupon, I can probably finish it for about $10.

Anyway, obviously I’m super excited to have gotten this far! I will actually have a finished quilt very soon, even if its already too warm to cuddle under one.

Later today I will contact the guy who took the rest of the scraps off my hands and ask if he wants more- I have a few more shopping bags of them left over that I’m not going to be using.

Back in June, I sewed up the blouse in this pattern, and though my fabric choice was pretty and it looked nice, it didn’t work out. The fabric shredded through the seams with the slightest pressure, and even with seam binding added onto it, it just didn’t work out. I loved the pattern though and knew I was going to make it again in a different fabric. Wednesday I sat down in my craft room and cut the pieces out of a cotton fabric I bought for something else originally but decided would work great for this blouse. I cut it slightly large then the pattern called for where the seams would be to give myself a little extra room to do French seams. The first time I made this I found out this blouse has very little ease, so cutting a little bigger was a must for this. I also added about 2 inches to the length of the blouse. This goes together really quickly and soon I had a super cute top in an adorable button print. I will swap out the zipper in the side most likely later on for a lighter weight one, but aside form that, I am thrilled with it.

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So Sew Easy had a post on making the perfect low-volume maxi skirt and I was excited to try it. I only recently sewed my first maxi dress and am crazy about the length. I’ve never had long skirts or dresses before. I grabbed a fabric I originally bought for a dress but decided I didn’t care too much for and got to work. I thought it might make a cute skirt so why not? Wrong! The fabric is super thin, super slippery, and just bad. When I had 2 layers of it, it sewed okay, but when I added a third layer the fabric kept getting stuck in my plate. I tried backing the fabric with tissue paper and wax paper. Nope. Still stuck in the plate. I tried my walking foot (that I finally looked up how to put on my machine- doh!) and that didn’t help. Finally I settled for pretty much dragging the fabric through by hand and it sort of sewed okay. I’m pretty darned sure the rest of that fabric (slightly more than 3 yards) is going up in my shop very soon!

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I did love the shape of the skirt though so I made another one out of a more stable, not slippery knit. This one turned out fabulously and its in the pictures with my blouse. I want to make another one but not sure if I have another cut of fabric that will work for it in my stash. I’ll have to go look.

I sat down last night and while we were watching movies (3 of them!) I cut yards and yards and tons of scraps into strips about 2.5 inches wide. This took hours and I still have tons more to cut up, but as it is I have two shopping bags will with strips now. Today, after breakfast, I sat down to my sewing machine and started sewing the strips into a long ribbon, then sewing the ribbon into larger sheets. From the sheets I cut my quilt blocks- 7.5″ squares that are all angled a little differently. Each block is completely different from the next, in colors, patterns, direction, and angles. Most of what I did today was purples as I had 7 yards of various purple prints I bought specifically for this project. But I also did some other colors, and by the time I get through the scraps I have cut now, there will be several in each color grouping. I told Mattie I am not taking on another sewing project until after I get through the huge pile of fabric strips on my swing table. There’s actually 2 plastic shopping bags worth right now that I hope to get through this week.

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I love the purples in the group below. I think the fabrics I chose go together really nicely. I still have another yard of purples to cut.

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I was really, really surprised to see how nicely the oranges and browns worked together here. Even the small additions of bits of pale turquoise seems to fit in well enough. I also really like how that pizza fabric in the purple one at left goes in so nicely. That fabric was a skirt that I hated so much I chopped it up to add to this project. It looks much better in there!

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One thing I am finding really fun about this is looking at the squares and recounting where the fabrics all came from. Some are scraps left over from my childhood when my Mom sewed my clothes. Some are scraps from commissioned sewing jobs I took on for friends- The scraps from Joann’s purse I made her found its way into several of these blocks. There are fabrics left over from all sorts of random sewing projects here and I love it.

Tomorrow I’ll do the shopping, buy dog food, and then I want to do at least another ten blocks. I had no idea these would prove so time consuming when I started, and I can see why some retired people take this up- its the perfect busy-work to pass the time, it can be done mostly on the cheap, and I’m betting the feeling of pride when you finally finish is fantastic.

So I am pretty sure this is my new favorite pattern, at least for this week. I sewed View A as its supposed to be, then I sewed View A minus the flounce in white satin for the 80’s party, and this morning I sewed View A without the flounce again out of some black moleskin (?) fabric I had in my stash with no idea what to do with. I’m trying to use up some of the fabrics I already have before I buy more the beginning of next month. In May I’m planning on making some workout clothes with the nifty moisture-wicking fabrics I found at Fabric.com and I want room in my stash for anything I don’t use right away, and the fabrics I have stacked up on my tables right now.

M5184BlackFrontAnyway, here’s the latest version of McCalls 5184. I like it, but I did not stop to think about how bad of a dog hair magnet this fabric is going to be. Its going to be horrible… LOL. I added a few inches to the length like I did with the white version- this one got about 4″ added to it. Of course there is no give in this fabric so I have to remember to tug it down a bit before sitting. Thankfully most of my skirts are not this short!

 

 

You also might recognize the top I’m wearing as one of my 80’s Kwik Sew patterns I did last year (I think) from a tiny bit of fabric I thought I would never find a use for. Its one of my favorite tops now- so comfortable, airy, and the bright colors are fun. Its one of those tops I may find myself making again in time.

 

M5184BlackBackMy zipper almost went in perfectly the first time, but then I noticed a tiny edge of my interfacing (which is white) was visible where something wasn’t quite lined up right. This being black, it was super visible, so I had to rip out that side of the zipper and make adjustments to fix it. Still, overall the whole thing went super smoothly. I think I’m done with this pattern for now though and pretty sure I do not need any more skirts either way. Well, maybe a few long ones. I don’t have any maxi skirts.

 

I also spent a quick hour stitching up Simplicity 6816 View C, which is just a basic short-sleeved t-shirt. I remembered after sewing up I think it was View A before that these tops wind up a little short on me, so I added three inches to the bottom hem and it would up being hip length, which is perfect. I don’t have a photo of me in it yet, but here it is on one of my girls.

 

M5184BlackDogIts nothing fancy, just a simple scoop neck T, but I got to use some of the most hideous fabric in my stash (I bought 3 yards on clearance years ago) and it actually makes a good T-shirt. I was happily surprised. The pattern calls for binding on the neckline but I just hemmed it instead. I didn’t see how binding would really add anything to this top and since I really hate doing it…

I decided this year I will play along for Me Made May 2014. I thought about doing it last year but I really didn’t feel like I had enough me-mades to give it a real go. This year though! I took a count of my closet and I might be missing a few items but this is what I found.S6816ViewCFront

  • 13 shirts
  • 1 sweater dress
  • 9 skirts
  • 5 dresses
  • 1 formal dress + capelet
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs pajama pants/shorts
  • 1 piece lingerie
  • 2 fleece jackets/capes
  • 1 belt
  • numerous purses

I’ve got at least 21 outfits without even thinking about it right there- that’s almost the full month just like that. I’m going to try to take a photo each day and show you everything at the end of the month, but no guarantees there. I most likely will not be wearing the jacket, cape, or the formal dress, but everything else will probably have a shot. One of the dresses needs to be taken in a bit, or even better disasembled and re-cut, but otherwise everything listed is in wearable condition.

Here’s my pledge:

I, Deb of http://debsinstitches.com/, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2013.

And here’s where you can sign up for Me Made May 2014 too!

I’m not going to promise to dress head to toe in my me-mades every day, but I will wear something. I’d also like to try to wear at least one piece of jewelry I’ve made each day as well. I have tons of it (and tons for sale!) so that should be no problem.

I’ve posted a few projects in the last few months that have had either lousy pics, or mentioned things without any pictures at all. This afternoon my new camera arrived, and I was able to get a few quick photos of some of the stuff you really did not get to see before, so here’s a quick photo dump.

I’ll start with Simplicity 1612, View E, which was my prom party dress. I had posted photos from the party that the photographer took, but none of them really showcased my dress well. This dress turned out great except for some slightly wonkiness at the neckline, but that may have been caused by user error.

S1612ViewEFront

 

The back of this dress is fairly open, and ties at the neck. I had originally wanted to do the view with the twist back detail, but ended up falling in love with this one after seeing it sewn on another sewer’s blog.

S1612ViewEBack

 

One last shot. Look who needs to redo her nails! Whoops!

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Here’s McCall’s 6173, View A. I’ve sewn these pants before but wanted one more pair of them because they are so freaking comfortable. I’m totally channeling my inner Peg Bundy here, BTW. The shirt I’m wearing is Simplicity 7330, which was Mattie’s shirt for the prom party. One of these days I’m going to make my own because this shirt is really nice to wear.

M6173ViewAFront

 

Here’s the back view.

M6173ViewABack

 

I still have the complaint that these pants will never really be the leggings they are supposed to be, despite taking them in many inches from the mid-thigh down. They just don’t fit that closely at all.

Here’s Butterick 5169, View B. This is a nice fitted top and its very easy to wear. I can see this pairing well with quite a few things, and my only complaint is its a little too short for my tastes, so if I make it again, I’ll be adding 2″ to the length of it.

 

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And here’s the back view.

B5169ViewBBack

 

I think this top does a nice job of emphasizing my waist with the way it fits, although I did find it a bit odd that it only has vertical darts, no horizontal ones.

I also tried working with my polymer clay on my own the other day, only to find my toaster oven I had does not regulate its temperature at all, and my clay was burned completely black in less then three minutes, and the entire house was filled up with horrible smelling smoke. It took me over 30 minutes with the doors all open and a fan going to clear the air inside before me and the dogs could go back in again.

I’m hoping to pick up a toaster oven in the near future that actually works properly and having another go at it. Tracy keeps sending me all these fun looking ideas and I want to try some of them.

 

purse-cutToday’s project was a new, bigger, more fun purse. Weeks ago I had decided to make myself a new purse. I wanted a bigger purse, and I also wanted to add some zipper pockets to the inside. I had modified my purse pattern I have made several of already for myself to be larger, and but hadn’t worked it out yet so wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I had estimated the fabric usage to be about 50% more than what it takes for my original design, but it actually ended up taking almost double that. I barely had enough fabric to cut everything from using the two one-yard cuts I had chosen for this design.

My exterior fabric, pictured at left, was chosen after I had already picked my lining fabric- a cut of fabric that my friend Jami gave me two years ago. I had to hand draw some of my pattern pieces as our printer wouldn’t print half of the pieces, and gave me duplicates of others.

The actual construction went really smoothly, except for the part where I forgot to put the interfacing in. I actually had to partially disassemble it afterwards to put it in because to just wasn’t stable enough without it.

I added a zipper to the inside of both sides in the center panels, and was really pleased with my zipper skills- both went in perfectly the first time, and I don’t think I’ve ever put a zipper in so well the first time, and especially not two of them.

purse-outside

 

One of the biggest design changes I made besides making the purse bigger and adding the zipper pockets was to make the strap longer so it could be worn cross-body, though it doesn’t sit incredible low and it at about hip level.

purse-inside

 

The lining fabric is a cute grey and yellow polka dot flannel, and its a perfect match for my outer fabric.

After stitching it up, I did find a few things I wanted to adjust in the final pattern, such as making the purse body about 2″ taller, and I found the pocket pieces needed to be lengthened by about 1″ to fit better into the design and sewing methods. When I sew this purse, the pockets on the ends are held in place entirely by stitching them into the other seams- the only thing I have to do with the pocket pieces is hem the upper edges before inserting them into the seams.

Am I happy with the outcome, despite thinking it should be about 2″ taller? Yes. Hopefully I’ll be making an official pattern download with instructions for this version and adding it to my shop soon.

b5169Butterick 5169 View B is the long sleeved top at left. I had tried to sew this pattern once years ago and having no idea how so sew, or how to follow directions, it was a complete and total failure. I can’t remember what happened to the top in question- I probably threw it out and said good riddance. I do remember there were horribly placed button holes that ruined it completely.

Anyway, in my attempt to clean up and use up some fabrics, I realized a girl can never have too many tops and started going through my shirt patterns. I came across this one and figured why not? It’s been years since I tried it and I actually kind of know how to sew now. I checked the fabric requirement, saw it was a small 2 yards, and selected a 2 yard cut of charcoal Kona cotton from the pile on my beading table. One less cut of fabric to put away, right?

The top is someone fitted, with a lot of darts (6 I think it was), and buttons down the front. I have button holes, but figured there are only four so why not give it a try? I can survive four button holes.

B5169B

Excuse my lousy picture- its from my phone taken in poor lighting. My camera seems to have not only lost its ability to fire the flash without help, but also has lost its image stabilizer too rendering it pretty much useless. I’ll be saving my pennies for a new camera soon. I’ve already got one picked out, and I wish I had the money for it now because having double exposure photos seems to be the best I can manage right now with my camera.

Anyway, the fit is good, though I would lengthen it a few inches if I make it again, and its comfortable to wear. The construction was super simple and easy to follow, and the final outcome is like the pattern image. I haven’t made the skirt yet to go with this, but may make it next. Or I might make this top again in a different color. I really need to gain more solid color pieces as I have more than enough prints in my closet already.

Tomorrow we’ve got company coming over, but if I get up early, I might see about using up another cut of fabric from my stash.

mattieiMonths ago, I mentioned we were going to a prom-themed party for a friend’s birthday. I had my dress under wraps, and was going to reveal it with photos from the party right afterwards, but it slipped my mind completely. Yesterday I finally remembered to ask the photographer for permission to use a few of his photos in my blogs, and got his website link to full give him credit. Matt Rondel took the photos, and you can see more of his work here.

The photos we’re in don’t show the clothing that well, but they’re still fun photos and I want to share them. My dress has some really fun detailing around the neckline, but as it was chilly, I kept my capelet (McCall’s 5006) on all night and stayed warm.

The capelet was made out of leftover fabric from my dress, as well as some gold satin I had on hand already. I used scraps of velvet ribbon to make the ties to fasten it that I had in my stash already.

My dress was made from Simplicity 1612 View E, after I fell in love with seeing this version in a fantastic border print. I liked the simple lines of the dress overall paired with the interesting neckline and figured why not? I really wanted to do the dress in royal blue, but couldn’t find the right type of fabric in that color so went with this forest green instead. Overall for my dress and capelet, I think I spent about $35 to make both.

Mattie’s shirt is made from Simplicity 7330, View 4, and is called the “3 hour shirt” on the envelope. It was actually a lot easier to make than I was expecting, and turned out really well. I also learned a few new techniques for handling facings while sewing it, so it was pretty much a win-win across the board.

Here’s two more photos form the evening for your enjoyment.

girlslegs mattieguys

 

 

I had a lot of fun that night, and am happy with how everything turned out. 🙂 My only complaint is I had made these fantastic earrings to wear that night, and I forgot them at home. When we arrived I noticed someone else’s earrings, and immediately realized mine were sitting at home, in the holder, and not in my ears. 🙁

After some trial and error, including some really silly ones I should have expected, I finally have a 6″ Kindle case ready to be added to my shop, and hopefully a few more than this one.

One of the biggest problems I was having with the first version of this case was that there was so much bulk in the seams from the padding that a Kindle wouldn’t actually fit inside it. I solved that by added a little height and width to the pattern, as well as trimming down the seams of the lining and padding significantly after stitching them. I also cut a 1/2″ off of the bottom of the padding to allow a closing seam to be sewn in the bottom lining of the case after turning, something I was having extreme difficulty with before.

I just used some scrap fabric I had on hand for this one, but I think it turned out really cute. The only thing left to do is get a package of snaps to use to fasten the flap down. I briefly considered a button but it seems too time consuming to get in and out of the case, having to undo both a button and a zipper.

One thing I will change in the future on these is the construction method- I will stitch all layers going onto each side of the zippers at once to make sure there’s only one seam line and no visible stitches later on, but that’s fairly easy to do. Its how I did the zippers for the zippered pouches I made last year.

The only difference between this one and the one that was actually ordered will be some piping along the outer seam. I’m waiting on my piping foot to arrive still, but its here in town already so I’m expecting it tomorrow.