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.

Saturday night I will be at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum selling my makes at the craft fair and chili cook-off. There will be a campfire, cowboy singer, chili cook-off, coffee, and cocoa! You can download the flyer for distribution and more details here, HotH Flyer 15.

Chili, Crafters, and Cowboy Songs at “Holidays on the Homestead”

Visit the Antelope Valley Indian Museum on Saturday, December 5th from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. for an old-time country Christmas celebration! Originally a 1930’s homestead, the historic grounds will be decorated in vintage holiday style with live acoustic music around a campfire, a chili cook-off, tours of the grounds, a country craft boutique, real cowboy coffee brewed over the fire, and hot chocolate or cider for the kids! Explore the unique hand-built museum and whimsical grounds at night with soft lighting and the smell of fresh greenery, and the wintery sky sparkling over the desert.

Stay warm around the blazing bonfire while cowboy singer Michael Tcherkassky, “The Saddle Serenader”, croons the romantic poetry about life on the range that cattlemen composed by day during their journeys across the old west, and was then shared around the campfire when the sun went down. Michael has performed traditional cowboy songs and poetry for many years at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival and other events around the country.

The country craft boutique features one-of-a-kind handmade gifts. The crafters carry on the artistic spirit of Howard Arden Edwards, who built the Indian Museum to house his collection of American Indian artifacts. The Craftsman-style building is decorated with his colorful representations of Indian culture and creative hand-made furniture. This is a great opportunity to support local artists and find unique gifts!

Rose Edwards was known for her tasty rib-sticking chili and cornbread feasts at their holiday celebrations. Try Rose’s original 1930 Christmas chili recipe and the chili cook-off entries, complemented by delicious cornbread generously provided by The Lemon Leaf Café.  Our 2015 judge will be ranger Colin Daxon, who recently joined the department.

Event admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, and ages 5 and under are free. This event is a fundraiser for the non-profit Friends of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum, which provides funding to help keep the museum open.

Butterick3579One bad go at pants wasn’t enough. I had to try again. This time I used this simple slacks looking pattern and again, I traced the pattern out on kraft paper and graded up a few sizes. I ran into a few issues in tracing, which may have led to some of my problems with fit. Basically, the pattern was printed lighter than normal so I had to sandwich the pattern between two layers of kraft paper to make the lines visible to trace out. That meant trying to keep all the layers still, which was beyond difficult. In hindsight, I should have pinned them together first. Doh!

Anyway, I finally got my pieces traced and a few measurements told me things were going to be a bit big. My waistline was measuring out at 52″, not subtracting for seam allowances so I know I’d have to take things in. I sewed them as is though and then tried them on and yup, way too big.

I ended up ripping out the waistband, and taking in about 2.5″ from each outside seam, plus adding one small dart that took up about an inch into each side in the back. That was better, and I stitched the waistband back into place like this.

B3579Front

 

Are they great, amazing, fantastic pants? No. But I didn’t expect a miracle because they literally have three pieces and no shaping in the original instructions. They are however, better than the red pants are ever going to be, and they are comfortable to wear.

B3579Back

 

Oh! And that’s another Kwik Sew 3740 view B you see on my top half. I managed to squeeze it out of the scraps I had left over from the Dolman sleeve top I showed you last time with the red pants.

I’ve sewn KS1425 before, twice, actually, but its such a comfy, casual style and I wanted to sew it again. I traced the patter sizes I’d previously cut out to a larger size (boo! weight gain!) and I started cutting. I was proud of myself because I graded things perfectly and all my pieces lined up just right. Of course this top has 4 pieces, plus the little strips across the back, so there’s not a lot to it. I didn’t take process photos but there’s not a lot to see in this one anyway.

Afterwards, I took some photos wearing it, along with the red pants from my previous post. The pants are kind of growing on me, and as I said, they are super comfortable. I’m thinking  after looking at these photos, maybe they aren’t so bad.

Here we go! Picture time!

3

 

I’m still not 100% crazy about the fit in the front but I’ve gone over several fitting cheat sheets and there’s nothing super glaringly wrong with them. They’ve just kind of loose which I’m not sure to, though as I said, I like the rear fit okay.

4

 

So, new top, and the final view of the red pants. I’ll hopefully be posting new projects soon. I have some crazy stuff in mind!

S1620Simplicity 1620 is a cute set of separates, which includes tops, dress, and pants. I decided to do the pants but oh my god was I shocked, disappointed, and completely confused as to how these pants that I made were the same pants as seen on the envelope.

I did use a heavier fabric than it called for, however, these pants are awful. For one, they are huge. I’ve gained weight so I remeasured myself to make sure I was making the right size. The pattern is for an elastic waist, pull-on pant, and I initially followed the directions to a T and I think I could have fit two of me into them.

I wish I had taken a photo of these pants when I first made them so you could see how bad they were, but I was honestly so shocked at their awfulness I set to work right away ripping them apart and remaking them.

S1620CutWhen I started, I started out right. I traced my original pattern pieces onto kraft paper so not to cut the original pattern up. I elected to add pockets, which are easy enough to draft yourself. The trick is just making sure the opening edge is large enough to admit your hand easily after sewing it in.

I cut my fabric, which was a not-very-heavy red corduroy that I originally bought to make a jumper with. I figured I’d either have really cool pants (That make unfortunate noise when I walk) or I would have wasted the approximately $10 I spent on this fabric off of eBay.

I followed the directions to a T, as I said above, and ended up with awful, super bulky pants that made me look like I weighed about 400 pounds.

I ripped out the waist casing and tossed the elastic aside. I grabbed my tape measure and started marking darts- 4 front and 4 back. That took up about 12 inches of fabric from the waistline and when I tried them on I could just wiggle them over my hips. I took the extra fabric and cut a waistband and stitched that in place, and I added a front zipper with a button and loop closure on the waistband.

I tried them on. The fit at the waist and upper hip was good, but they were so big everywhere else. I decided to take them in from about 3 inches down from the waistband to 3/4 of the way down the leg about 2″. Basically I cut a straight line from one point to the other. Stitched them. Tried them on again.

They were better but still not great. The back fit pretty well but the front was really poofy and just awful. I now looked like I weighed about 300 pounds. An improvement from 400, but still not okay. 😉

Finally I stitches a line of basting down the hips, closing off the pockets. My beloved pockets. I tried them on. I saw most of the poof was gone out of the front and they laid much flatter. I looked closer to my actual weight. Time to grab the scissors and cut off the pockets and sew things up for real!

Here’s the final outcome after all of those adjustments and changes.

I feel like I finally have a wearable pair of pants, though not the best fitting ones.

Would I use this pattern again? Probably not, even knowing what mods to make to make them “okay”, because in all honesty, they are barely what I can call okay. I will however, look forward to sewing other pants that are hopefully much better fitting and not needing so many modifications just to make them semi-wearable.

Oh, and did I mention I bought a serger? Its just a basic model but I for to use it for most of these pants! That was after my first one broke after less then 30 seconds of use and i had to return it to Amazon for a replacement. This one seems to be doing much better though!

 

 

 

My thrift store finds, minus the 3 yards of pink floral fabric I got. Totally forgot to put it in the frame!
My thrift store finds, minus the 3 yards of pink floral fabric I got. Totally forgot to put it in the frame!

I decided Thursday morning I’d go thrift store shopping. I only know of three thrift stores off-hand, but the internet is my friend. I started off with the three shops I knew. I was looking for certain items- books for Mattie’s dad since I got him hooked on a new (to him) series and since they were very popular, I can find a lot of them for super cheap used, sewing patterns, and yarn. Above is pictured everything I came home with, except for the two books for Mattie’s dad.

Good Will

I did a quick walk through and I found the 9th book in the series I am slowly getting for Mattie’s dad. That was all I found but the store is nice and clean and people are pleasant.

American Way Thrift Store

This one was a bust of books, but I did find two sewing patterns I wanted.

Salvation Army

I didn’t find anything here at all. I wasn’t too upset though because they have business practices I don’t agree with. At this point I was starting to wonder if I was going to find any yarn at all in any of the shops I visited.

Thrift Shop (generically named and located in the outlet mall)

I found a sewing pattern here. I thought it was overpriced for being thrift store goods at a dollar, but it was brand new and uncut, just the envelope was torn. At this shop I did find a few skeins of yarn buried in the bottom of a tote full of fabric scraps but it was horrible cheap stiff and scratchy stuff and in two awful shades of brown. Pass!

New to You Thrift Shop

The patrons all reeked of vodka but the ones that were chatty were super friendly and nice, and obviously regulars to the shop, offering to help me find things. The alcohol smell was so strong I was afraid too breathe deeply for fear of becoming drunk! Haha! But I found two more sewing patterns, and a 3 yard by 42″ cut of fabric of a lovely soft pink fabric with roses on it that I hope is not damaged of stained that I want to make a blouse out of.

A to Z Thrift Shop

This place was the size of a closet, and run by people who barely spoke English. It was over crowded and honestly just looked like a storage unit packed full of stuff I didn’t want. Didn’t buy anything. I felt stifled and suffocated the entire time I was inside.

Grace Thrift Center

This was another one new to me, but it was clean, spacious, well organized, and they had craft supplies! I ended up leaving there with another sewing pattern, 3 skeins of variegated blue sock yarn, 1 hank of 100% Peruvian wool yarn in a bright lime green, and another book I needed for Mattie’s dad.

After I got home, I decided to go back and get the other Cascade 100% wool yarn and the other skein of sock yarn in a different color, and I also found another book for his dad.

So, all in all I got 16 items and I spent $16 and change. I’m pretty okay with that! Three of the sewing patterns are new and uncut and a fourth one might be- I’m not sure yet but I’ll examine it later.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking this time!

This tiny little closet space is perfect for my fabric and scrap storage! Snug as a bug! #sewing #fabric #storage #stash

A photo posted by Debra Leigh Wilson (@kittyloafdesigns) on

scarves

The time since I last posted has been filled with a variety of things. I’ve finished the last of my knitting UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) with the exception of my blanket, which I’m still slogging along on. I have an informal goal to do at least 4 inches every time I work on it, but some days I don’t feel like working on such a large project. I’ve knit a few more ruffle scarves, which will be available in Raeosunshine Pets‘ auction the second week of February. I’ve listed a few random items I somehow missed in my shop, and I’ve sold an item (not made by me, sadly) that I had hanging around for ages at a much better price than I expected on eBay. I had a birthday yesterday (I’m 34 now) and I took myself shopping for new fabric, new yarn, some new knitting needles, and some meat at Mattie’s request that was “not chicken.” We eat a lot of chicken.

The fabric, once pre-washed, will be made into another pair of pajama pants for me, and I have a fun idea for a new scarf using the Edgar pattern I used with that bulky green and yellow yarn last month I think it was. I’ve got rainbows on the brain, and if you know anything about me, you probably know I love bright colors. I think after I get another few inches done on my blanket I will start on that project.

I’ve also started going through my grandmother’s cedar chest a little at a time and seeing what’s actually in there. I’ve pulled out about ten dresses and one blouse in various states of completedness, and I am betting there are others because I still see more fabrics pinned together into rolls and stuffed into bags in there. Everything I have taken out so far needs to be hemmed, only has some of its facings, a few things are damaged.

Some of the more interesting pieces in the chest. A blouse, a colorblocked dress, plaid dress with schoolgirl pleated skirt, and completed dress with rip in one sleeve.
Some of the more interesting pieces in the chest. A blouse, a colorblocked dress, plaid dress with schoolgirl pleated skirt, and completed dress with rip in one sleeve.

I’m hoping I can finish some of the dresses though it’ll likely be with bias tape or some other type of matching fabrics for facings, but need to look at them more in depth first.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Hopefully my next post will be showing you some completed items!

You’ve probably noticed all the changes I’ve been making have been moving towards one big thing – simplification. I keep several blogs but sometimes it can be too much to keep up with all of them. As a way to resolve that, I’m combining my sewing and crafting blog into one with the Kittyloaf Designs blog. A lot of the content really does overlap and it just makes sense to have it all in one place.

I will be keeping the debsinstitches.com domain name for a while but it will point here once I get all of the content from that blog moved over to this one. It will probably take a few days but I feel like it will be worth it. I’m also seriously considering combining the Deb’s Cooking blog with my personal blog.

I just feel like I can do better for you with less to juggle, and with more content in less places.

Its taken me about a day, but I finally have the content moved over from debsinstitches.com to here, and now I just have to rearrange some of it a bit and make it all work together. That will be the most difficult part, but like I said, it’ll be worth it to have the things that are fairly closely related all in one place.

The biggest hurdle I ran into was that for some reason the WordPress import tool won’t work with my server configuration, so I had to find a work around. It took some searching but I did find a solution and it saved me a lot of work as far as manually transferring all the posts over. I still had to move the images over because “importing” them just hot links them from where they were- once you delete those locations, the images are gone. I really wish importing the images meant uploading them to the new location and starting fresh.

Yesterday I showed you the jacket from this costume and the nearly finished blouse underneath it. Today I am showing you the whole thing together. I am really please with how this costume turned out and I cannot wait to wear it for Halloween! I’m so excited!

S9723FrontAll

 

I made a lot of changes to this pattern as I went. As I think I mentioned yesterday, the blouse was lengthened to be able to be a separate piece from the skirt, and I added a side zip to it as well as slitted the upper back and finishing the edges with bias tape and a snap so my head would fit through to put it on.

Ruffles

 

I let off most of the trim this pattern called for. The jacket is already really wild so I was going to let that be the eye catching piece of the outfit and not compete with that.

I decided to tuck the front of the skirt up to give it more body and to show of those ruffles in the petticoat that I spent so much time working on. If you now me, you know I hate gathering and I hate doing ruffles, even if I love them when they are done. That petticoat was sent from Hell to make me crazy!

This was taken before I tacked up the over skirt.
This was taken before I tacked up the over skirt.

I was worried the waist would be too snug with the skirt fitted over the petticoat but if anything its a little loose and could be a bit tighter.

All in all I am really pleased with this one and glad I ignored the bad things people have said about this pattern and decided to give it a try with modifications.

Thanks for reading!