I went by one of my favorite thrift stores yesterday morning because I wanted to check out something I thought I saw the day before. What was I after? This. An almost 8 pound bag of buttons!

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For anyone unfamiliar, typically buttons are purchased on a card with somewhere between 2 and 8 buttons to a card depending on size. A card can cost anywhere from $2 to $6 retail. There are literally thousands of buttons in this bag. I paid $28.33 after tax for it. If there are 2,000 buttons in the bag, I paid $0.014 per button. That’s a steal!

I’ve been working on sorting them the last day or so and wow it is slow going!

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On the left are the colored ones, plus the black shanked buttons and the ones made out of shell. In the middle are all browns and metal ones. And on the right are black ones, and the whitish ones. Most of them are divided further by size, unless I only have enough of that color family to fill one spot. I’m nowhere near done sorting them, but I’m going to keep going until I fill up all three containers and then pass the rest onto Tracy at Art Resurrected.

There have also been quite a few conchos that I will be giving to someone who is really into leather-work right now.

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This is about half of them that I dug out of the buttons- there’s literally about 90 of these.

KS1262Mattie and I were invited to an 80’s themed party later on this month, which gave me something new to work on in my sewing room. I thumbed through my pattern stash, looked at dozens of options online, and after not finding anything I really liked that was available within a size or two of what I needed, I decided to go with Kwik Sew 1262 View A from my stash. This is  pretty basic pullover blouse with a tie detail at the neck, and its construction is pretty simple. Of course I decided to go all out 80’s and buy gold lamé too sew it in, which I started to regret as soon as I started cutting the fabric.

I really like the slightly puffed sleeves and the tie neck detail, and I can honesly se this making a very wearable top in a more durable fabric. The gold lamé though- I’ll probably wear it once or twice and at some point it will vanish from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration.

I did about half of the sewing on it this evening, constructing the main part of the blouse, and tomorrow I will hopefully get to the sleeves and hemming it. I had originally planned to do a skirt with a matching gold lamé ruffle but at this point, I’m thinking I’ll just skip the ruffle and do a floral print mini instead. I’d at least like the skirt to be wearable for normal every day use even if the blouse is not.

IMAG1017Here’s my thoughts on this fabric and why I can happily go to my grave if I never have to sew anything with it again.

Pros

  • It’s super shiny and fun
  • It’s lightweight

Cons

  • It’s polyester so probably does not breathe for shit
  • Its like sewing aluminum foil- every pin prick and ruffling of the fabric shows. I am living in terror that I will have to rip out a seam and it will leave the fabric full of pin holes.
  • Its slippery and hard to keep moving evenly and constantly wants to pucker.

I’m sure I will have more thoughts on it as I work towards finishing the blouse, but that’s all for now. Gold lamé, you suck!

KS1425I recently bought a small stack of 1980’s Kwik Sew patterns of of eBay. I don’t usually go for the 80’s, but there were a few that were super cute and the price was right. I didn’t have any immediate plans for them, but figured something would pop up in my fabric stash that would go with one of them.

The last few days I’ve been picking out pieces of fabric, either stuff I honestly can’t fathom why I ever bought it, or large remnants from past projects to list of eBay. While I was sorting through it all, I came across a piece of fabric that had so far proven too small to use for anything. I fell in love with it and ordered the very last 1.5 yards a few years ago, but I didn’t want to make a tank top, and so far that was my only real option aside from a top I had just made a few days previously and I didn’t think that fabric was right for it.. Then I realized Kwik Sew 1425 only uses a little over a yard of fabric. I decided to sew view B, but without using contrasting fabric for the sleeves, which makes it the same as view C, without the straps in the back.

KS1425FrontThe entire project took about 2 hours from start to finish, mainly because I had to rip out a couple of seams. I say its because I used a perfectly matched thread color- if I had used a contrasting thread, there would have been no mistakes, and everything would have gone perfectly. I also finished the neckband and sleeve ends a bit differently from the instructions. I used a size Large.

I’m very pleased with the outcome, though if I make it again I’d add a few inches to the bottom. I didn’t hem the bottom edge because if I had, this would nearly be a belly shirt, and I didn’t want that. I also really like my fabric choice for this. I also like the way the back is low, but not bra-strap-showingly low. Its a nice scoop and contrast to the high neckline in the front.

Excuse the face I’m making and the yoga pants. I usually take photos with my good camera and a tripod, but my camera died, and Mattie apparently doesn’t know to take the picture when I’m not making faces. I figure I was lucky to get him to snap them at all. :p I’m pretty sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this top though, even if I was making faces for the photos.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the fabrics I’m selling, you can see my eBay auctions here. I also have several patterns listed eBay and in my shop. I unfortunately had my glasses break and also had to order new contacts- an almost $300 expense I had to charge because I had no other way to pay for it. Please check out my items for sale and if any appeal to you, grab them! I would greatly appreciate it, and would love to be able to pay for my eye gear sooner rather than later!

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This was a super friendly pattern and really easy to put together, save for me not paying attention and stitching a few things together backwards. I definitely recommend it to the beginner sewer.

s3673mockupI just picked up 3 yards of a gorgeous cranberry red corduroy fabric on eBay and am waiting for it to arrive now. What am I going to do with it? I threatened Mattie that I’d make pants out of it, but I think I have a better idea now.

This jumper dress (with the narrow skirt) would be great to do with that fabric! The bright color will be toned down a bit (I hope) but the simple lines of the dress, and paired with a long sleeved t-shirt, it will be great for winter. I will probably line the entire thing, though I’m not sure what with what fabric yet. Maybe something really out there to make it a little more secretly fun. No one ever sees the lining fabrics, but it could still be nice to use something really flashy in contrast to the solid outer color. I’m actually thinking maybe a gold color?

m5330mockupI also grabbed some gorgeous floral print fabric- an out of print Moda from the 80’s. I’m planning on making another, slightly shorter version of McCall’s 5330 to channel my inner 80’s girl. I think it could be really cute.

What else am I planning? I have this absolutely gorgeous red floral fabric I bought years ago. I originally bought it to make a dress out of, but either I was a lot smaller than I remember ever being or I dramatically mis-read how much fabric I would need for it because the piece I have is about enough to make a top and that’s it. I have a few pattern ideas in mind for it, but nothing definite as I’ll have to re-check the yardage and see what I actually can make with it. That project will probably wait for warmer weather though as the red floral, while gorgeous, is so light that its almost sheer.If I had made a dress form it it would have had to have been fully lined.

I also need to stop buying new fabrics when I have a ton in my craft room already!

I’ve done this pattern (M5165) before in the past in all three sizes, and its super quick and easy. Pretty much the worst that can happen with this pattern is you could stitch too close to the edge of the fabric and have a hole when you turn it. It really is almost completely mistake proof. I sat down and made two new small ones tonight, which I added to my Kittyloaf Designs shop, and plan on making another one tomorrow in the medium size. The one on the right is using a vintage fabric I got from my grandmother’s stash from when she used to sew her own clothes years ago, and the underside is just cotton broadcloth.

I ended up using one of my stuffies for a model as I don’t have access to a dog of that size here at home, and it actually worked out pretty well. It doesn’t run around or try to take off the coat!

I’m planning on doing some beadwork tomorrow afternoon and running some errands outside of the house, but want to make the other one of these, and maybe start on my bathrobe (M5348) I’ve been stalling on. I’m also hoping to go through the sewing patterns I recently acquired and pulling out the ones I want to sell, and getting them listed on my site as well. Listing the ones I’m keeping here in my library is going to be a huge project that may take several days to complete- I have roughly 50 new patterns to catalog and photograph.

I also have to go pick up some fabrics from the post office tomorrow and assuming they are correct, stitch up two zippered pouches for a friend’s daughters. That will be a really quick and easy project that should hopefully be completely pain-free and easy. I was going to link you to the tutorial that showed me how to sew these bags initially, but I can’t see to find it now and must have deleted the bookmark.

One thing at a time, right?

If you haven’t read the previous post, go back here to catch up. There’s a nice close-up of the fabric in that post too. 8)

I headed out to my craft room after doing the grocery shopping today and got to work on this hoping to finish it today. I followed the directions almost exactly, except where the upper part meets the lower, I used a French seam to hide the raw edges. Everything seemed to be going along nicely, until I tried it on. The back gaped something awful. There was at least 3 1/2 inches of extra fabric back there, even though I had been super careful in cutting everything and had taken my measurements just a days before.

I didn’t want to completely deconstruct the top (those French seams take time to pick out) so instead I ripped out the seam connecting the top to the bottom in an area in the center back about 6 inches wide. I already knew how much needed to come out of the back, and had pinned up the excess and was still able to pull it on and off easily, so I went ahead and cut the excess off from the upper back panel. Then using a French seam, I connected the two sides again.

That left me with a few extra inches of fabric in the bottom portion, and since I hate gathering, I made four tiny pleats to take up the excess and stitched the top and bottom halves together again. The result was very nice, no ugly spots, and it went smoothly. I still think the back sits too low, and if I make it again I’ll use interfacing in the back panel to stiffen it up a bit, but overall this was a quick and easy pattern to do and it turned out really well.
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Sashi says she approves of my new top, though she’d much rather be digging a hole in one of the flower beds.

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I think the bust could have been a little roomier, but for women who aren’t big on top, its probably just about right.

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The back still sits low, but nowhere near like it did before, and the gape is gone! Success!

I would definitely make this again in the future when I need another cute halter top, or I may try the tank top version instead next time.

I started washing all my cotton fabrics in my bins today, which while the first load was half actual laundry, the next two were fabric only. After it was washed and dried, I measured each piece, refolding it, and then pinning a note onto it so I know how much is there at a glance later. Part of my problem with the fabric I do have is not knowing how much is actually there. If its all clearly labeled, I have no excuses for not being able to put a piece to good use, and I’ll hopefully be doing less buying of cuts I don’t really need. I got it done today but it was tough as its hot back there in my craft room and there was a lot of fabric to fold and measure. The plus side is some of the pieces were still sealed in plastic and clearly marked as to how much fabric was there, so I saved the labels and just pinned them back on the cuts afterwards. Of course they all need a good ironing, but I’ll worry about that as it comes up.

While I was folding and measuring all that fabric, I found a dress my grandmother had started making many years ago. Most of the dress is sewn together, but it doesn’t have any facings or a zipper. I wasn’t sure what to do with it right now so I just folded it up and placed in in the drawer next to the pink dress she cut but never sewed together. I still haven’t looked to see what is there or not there in that one- I was about to use the fabric for something ages ago, and when I pulled out the pin holding it into a roll, I realized it already was something.

Anyway, I’ve now got two drawers full of cotton prints, one full of cotton solids, one drawer full of knits, one drawer full of flannel, and one drawer with some specialty fabrics and several colors of satin.

I have also been poking around on eBay looking at large lots of vintage patterns. I found one lot that had quite a few I liked it in, but the largest sizes were two or three sizes below me at this point, especially considering older pattern sizing runs smaller then modern sizing does. I did make a bid, but walked away after making one last one about a minute before the auction closed. The final bid was $13.00 above my last bid. I’m kind of glad I missed out on it, though part of me wonders if I couldn’t have resold most of them later if they were in good condition.

After that I found a lot that had 41 recent patterns in it. There was a buy it now option on it, and the price wasn’t bad at all. It was actually a good mix of patterns, many of which are in my size and are something I’d like to make. Almost all of the patterns are new and uncut as well. This is the breakdown of the patterns in the lot. They’re all Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity patterns.

Will fit now (20 patterns)

  • B4929, B5315, B5455, B5491, ^B5638, B5641, ^B5662,
  • M6116, M6321, M6349, M6518, M5855, M5932, M6318,
  • S2355, S2359, S2365, S2694, S2966, S4080

Will fit when I drop 1 to 2 sizes (4 patterns)

  • M5006, M5400, M5525
  • S2338,

One size patterns, mostly accessories (6 patterns)

  • M6523, *M6090, *M6089, M6045, *M6047,
  • *S2273, S2274

Stuff I’ll probably never use (due to either small size of being children’s patterns) (10 patterns)

  • MP367, M5382, *M6326, *M6118,
  • +B4790, B5555,
  • S2941, S2561, S2692, S2364

The pattern numbers marked with:

  • * Already cut
  • ^ On my favorites list, I was already going to buy these
  • + already own it

Even if I only use 15 of these patterns, I still paid under $4.00 each for them and I can always sell the really small ones. I’m probably never going to fit into a pattern size 12. That’s about a 34″ bust and a 26″ waist. Tiny!

After spending all day washing, drying, measuring, and folding fabric (imagine folding your laundry for 3 or 4 hours, it wasn’t the most fun way to spend an afternoon) I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually do any sewing. I was instantly burned out on the idea of even touching fabric, let alone laying it out, cutting it, and pinning it to sew. That didn’t last long though and by about 8pm I was back in my craft room looking at what cuts of fabric I had enough of to make Butterick 5011’s view A. While the gingham I planned to use was an okay choice, it wasn’t really what I wanted. I ended up finding this cut almost on the top of the first drawer I looked in.

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This cheerful fabric is a cut my mom bought when I was a little girl, and I think I remember having a shirt or maybe some overalls in this print when I was about 4. The yellow is pretty bright but the red strawberries and blue stars actually tone it down a little so its manageable. I cut out all the pieces, one of which I had to go back to cut after I started sewing because I forgot it the first time, made the ties, stitched the back to the fronts, did the same to the facing pieces, and stitched the facing onto the outer part. I turned it but I didn’t understitch it yet. I’ll do that tomorrow. So far the only modification I’ve made to the pattern was the ties- instead of stitching down one side and then turning them, I folded the edges to the center, folded it in half, and stitched down the edge. Its so much easier then trying to turn a narrow tube (I know, there’s lots of tricks to do it easily but its something that frustrates me like crazy) and the ties sit flatter that way too.

I am so glad I picked up my Reader Digest sewing book a few weeks ago when I was out at my mom’s. That book is excellent for explaining what different terms mean and giving good detail as to how you actually do them. We had to buy the book as part of our class materials when I took a sewing class several years ago, and it has proven useful over and over.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I should have quite a bit more done and something to actually show you. Maybe I’ll even finish it.

b5011My next project will be Butterick 5011, view A. The only difference between the two of them is one is a tank top style (B) and the other is a halter neck (A). The fabric I’m using is a red and white vintage gingham that either came out of my Mom’s fabric stash from when I was a small child, or out of my grandmother’s fabric stash, which was from the 60’s and previous. I’ve actually got quite a bit of vintage fabrics in my stash, and am looking forward to giving them a life besides just sitting in my drawers. Anyway, the pattern pieces are cut and tomorrow I will pre-wash the fabric just to be sure. There are zero frayed edges on this stuff so I don’t think its been washed yet even though its probably older than I am.

I also received the stackable drawer units I ordered from Amazon thinking (wrongly) that my patterns would fit inside them. I was going to refuse the package at first and just send them back once I realized (too late) that they wouldn’t work for what I wanted them for. Then I realized they were pretty much perfect for storing my smaller cuts of cotton fabrics (and larger scraps) sorted more or less by color. I’ve got reds and pinks, yellows oranges and browns, greens, blues, purples, and black and whites.

I’m thinking about using some of the smaller pieces to practice making quilt blocks with so when my fabric order with my quilt picks comes in, I can be ready to start making the blocks for it.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow, after I wash a drawer full of fabrics, I’ll hopefully get started on the cutting and sewing of the new top, and hopefully it turns out cute with no weirdness like that dress had.