Oh, and since I couldn't pull off getting your gift to you in time for your actual birthday, I'll just share a teensy sneak peak...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Oh, and since I couldn't pull off getting your gift to you in time for your actual birthday, I'll just share a teensy sneak peak...
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Daydreams aside, for the most part, I end up wearing knits, since I can't seem to button up any of the few button front blouses and dresses in my closet. Hence my foray into the world of home sewn knitwear, starting with Simplicity 3678.
Here's my take:
Okay, so I generally wear a size 10 these days in ready-to-wear clothing. If you've never sewn clothing from a pattern before, take note: you CANNOT go by your regular size when it comes to choosing which size to sew from a pattern. Really, you can't even go by your measurements. On this pattern, if I went by my measurements, I would have sewn a size EIGHTEEN! (What is up, pattern companies???) I guess, if I had to nail down a general rule of thumb for myself, I'd split the difference between my measurement-indicated size (18) and my ready-to-wear size (10). For this dress, I made a size 14 and it fit pretty well. Just let your ego go, ladies, when you're sewing from these patterns.
Did it look like the pattern photo on the envelope when I finished it?
I think so. Plus a few (ahem) extra pounds of model underneath and a more open neckline/bodice which I'll explain in a sec.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so, in theory. Still figuring out how to sew knits without it becoming a comedy of errors. See below.
A thin, cheapy, for-experimentation-only knit print out of my stash. (This could explain some of my problems.)
Any adjustments made?
Um, yeah. I tried sewing the neckline and facing with a double needle, to give the dress a more professional finish, but I just wasn't happy with 1) how the facing was laying (it was really bunchy) and I could just imagine it flipping out every time I wore the dress (assuming I ever actually got that far) and 2) how the fabric actually bubbled up between the two needles. (Anyone know what that problem was all about? Double needles are meant for knits, right?) So, anyway, not wanting to spend time troubleshooting or seam ripping, I serged off the seam and facing.
Then I tried turning a narrow hem and stitching it down without a facing. Which I think would have been fine had I not (apparently) stretched the fabric as I sewed, so it got all wonky and wavy. So I serged that off.
At which point I tried Heat N Bond No Sew hem tape, because I had it on hand. I stuck it onto the inside of the serged edge, folded it down, then tried to stitch over it with my trusty double needle. Surprise, surprise, that didn't work. Apparently, when they say No Sew, they mean it. It kept gumming up my needle and breaking the thread. So I serged that off.
Finally, I purchased this lovely little product from my local fabric shop, so much more appropriate, and used it to stabilize the newly cut and serged neckline, turned it under, and stitched it down. Done, but now my dress absolutely requires a cami underneath. Which I probably would have worn anyway, so no big loss. (pointedly ignoring precious loss of time)
The only other "adjustment" was that I serged the bottom hem and left it at that. L-A-Z-Y. But, hey, I think I paid my dues on this little project, especially considering that it may never pass through my front door.
Would I sew this pattern again?
Actually, yes. I think so, if I had a nicer, more sturdy knit to work with. And assuming the Wonder tape washes up well, I'll stick with that little revision to the pattern. Facing schmacing.
The final product, as photographed by my 6-year old:
Friday, September 4, 2009
What is impressive (to me at least) is that I actually bought this fabric locally, in a land of copious batiks and country granny prints. And not much else, until now. We have a new fabric shop in town! The polka dot fabric is a high quality, super soft flannel and the other is, well, you can see for yourself, a fun, eggy print that appealed to the birdlover in me. (The flannel color's not really true in this photo - it's a really pretty pear green. Love it!) And I noticed some Amy Butler (fabric and patterns), Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner (oilcloth, at that) and Portabello Pixie patterns among the racks on my last visit. Fun!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I finally finished a Katy Kitty doll, the pattern for which my talented friend graciously gifted to me when it was first published. Since I didn't have any corduroy that would work, like the pattern recommends, I went with a heavy, natural canvas for the body and a tan felt face. She's a Siamese kitty, apparently. The skirt and sleeves are remnants from an old Freshcut charm pack that I used to make these coasters way back when. Love that fabric...
Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Then I came across this great book by the talented Lauren Child and these two sets. What modern, fabric and fairy tale loving girl wouldn't be inspired? Plus, we're already huge fans of Ms. Child's work around here. And I've been obsessing over this fabric (so perfect for Audrey)since it came out, so the story's been on my mind. I couldn't resist this project.
I made the mattresses pretty thin, with just one layer of lofty batting. I know how I feel when space-consuming toys come into my home, so I didn't want to make the set too large. There are twelve mattresses made from various calico prints. The bottom mattress has a little gathered pocket to hold the pea. 'Cause I know if it were my kids', that pea would disappear in about 7 minutes flat.
For the pea, I crocheted a small ball out of wool felt, then lightly felted it by hand. I can't find the pattern I used, but this tutorial would work just great, too, I'm sure. You might need to use a size smaller hook for a bit tighter gauge to get results like mine. For the felty look, I rolled it in my hands under VERY hot water for several minutes then plunged into cold water. Squeeze it out and let it dry. Done.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This is the second year that Gage has requested a chocolate cake with green icing. Can do, buddy.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here's one frustrating thing about impulse fabric shopping, for me. Just how much fabric do you buy? A yard? Two? Some of these beauties I have specific plans for, so those were easy, but the others were a yardage crap shoot. I just wanted as many of those yummy prints as I could possibly get. I ended up going with around a yard each thinking that that would be plenty for simple outfits for Audrey (most are 54" wide), bags, or throw pillows, for which my sofas are crying out. No self control, I tell you.
Another frustrating thing about impulse fabric shopping? That it generally happens when I'm not actually getting any sewing done. But, hey, my fabric shelves sure look pretty these days...
Monday, July 13, 2009
Check out the inspiration dress by Neige.
And now for the finished product:
This dress was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants project whipped out the week before Easter. I ran out of gas after some frustrating issues and, even though I felt like it really needed something extra in the front - like the pockets in the inspiration photos - I just couldn't summon the will to go on.
So she wore it backwards, like so:
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
And, of course, I'd like to spread the crafty love by nominating a few blogs myself:
La Maison Boheme: I came across this one just a few days ago and have enjoyed browsing her lovely collections of design photos. I especially liked today's post. Not that I'm a huge fan of pink. In fact, I've spent much of the past year trying to persuade Audrey to branch out from her long-standing pink obsession. But, when Asher and I came home from the hospital, my dad had gotten me a gorgeous bouquet of perfectly pink roses. Those silly flowers made me smile every time I passed by them in my living room. Which makes me think a dash of more permanent pink might not be so bad in there. Anyway, cute blog. Check it out.
image via Three Potato Four
Three Potato Four: Okay, so I know these guys don't need a shout out from little ol' me, but I still feel the need to express my appreciation for their great taste, which makes their shop a real treasure trove. The blog highlights shop updates and the search for more vintage and modern goodies, plus the way Janet and Stu infuse their unique style into their home, family life and travels. A few of my favorites from their shop: this, this, and these.
And, finally, Lucy and I: This is a sweet blog by a fellow SAHM, or WAHM, depending on what stage she's in, how she's feeling, or who's asking. When she's "officially" working, the author designs, sews and sells clothes for moms and daughters. When she's not, she designs and sews simply for herself and her two girls. I really like her simple, classic aesthetic and materials. Oh, and she has another blog, shampoo free, that I find intriguing...
So there you go. Thanks again, Larry!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Oh - and I've been cooking. It's been fun finding new ways to use the CSA veggies that I might not have otherwise bought.
What we've gotten recently: summer, pattypan, cucumber and coccozele squash, lettuce, beets, green beans and new potatoes.
And the new recipes I've tried so far:
- Country Club Squash Casserole with the summer squash. I found this recipe on a random search for a casserole I had during my college years.
- Orangette's Squash and Pecorino Frittata with the coccozelle. This was really delicious, but I think I'll use the stovetop to broiler oven method next time. Flipping it was a little challenging. For me at least.
- Fresh corn saute with tomatoes, squash, and fried okra from Bon Appetit Fast, Easy, Fresh with the patty pan. We liked everything but the patty pan. If I try this again, I'll use a more flavorful squash, like zucchini, if I can't get more coccozelle. Any suggestions on what to do with patty pan squash in case we end up with more?
- This cucumber salad, which was just what I hoped it would be. A really light, fresh, summery side.
- Alton Brown's Pickled Beets. I'm not a huge pickled beet fan, but these were really easy and tasty. I plan to use the leftover roasted beets to make Orangette's Beet Feta Tart tomorrow after our farmer's market trip, if I'm still playing the baby waiting game.
Then there are the turnips from the past two bushels I've gotten. About 3 pounds of which are still sitting in my crisper while I wait for inspiration to strike.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Roasted Root Vegetables
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
3 to 4 medium turnips, washed, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 or 2 medium to large rutabagas, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
3 to 4 medium beets, washed, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
4 to 5 springs of fresh rosemary
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
Like I said, this is really open to interpretation and is infinitely adjustable. If you can't stand turnips or are a little wary of the rutabaga, leave 'em out and add carrots. Or more potatoes. Whatever you like. Just keep in mind that you should have everything cut around the same size so that your vegetables cook fairly evenly.
Now, once your veggies of choice are all washed, trimmed and cut, toss them into a big bowl with the herbs and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with olive oil. Get your hands in there and give the mixture a good toss to make sure each piece is evenly coated. Once the veggies are seasoned and oiled, spread them evenly on a large baking sheet (or two, if necessary) or a baking dish, like so:
Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 or so minutes and rotating the pans if you've got more than one. Your veggies should be tender and golden brown (the white ones, anyway) when they are nicely roasted. Note: Most of these root vegetables will cook at about the same rate, but keep an eye on each variety to make sure one isn't overcooking. The most likely culprit for overcooking - sweet potatoes. The turnips will probably take the longest to soften up and brown.
You can serve this dish as a side, but it's hardy enough for a vegetarian entree, I think, like I've got up top with a simple salad. And, yes, that is a paper plate. Photo stylist, I am not.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I'll tell you how I did it. This was the problem:
Then I started the patch. I wanted it to be strong enough to hold up to stress and washing with the denim, so I fused two large fabric scraps together using Heat'n'Bond fusible interfacing. I'll get to the hem tape in a sec.
Use any stitch you like to finish the edges, starting (and finishing) your stitching inside. Not sure what you'd call this stitch I used. I just knew I wanted it to be a little rough and organic looking. And fast. If you choose to use a straight stitch, or something that doesn't actually grab the edges of the denim, you may need a little extra space between your stitching and the edge to allow for fraying.