Friday, November 22, 2013

Baby Pants and Baby Dress

Here are some photos of some newborn baby pants I made for my friend's baby girl.  I love this pink print and the cute bow in the front!

The fruity fabric is left over from an apron I made a few years ago.  I used Made by Rae's Baby Newborn Pant pattern.  It is free!

I used Sew Much Ado's Infant Peasant Dress pattern to make this baby dress.  This was also a free pattern and included a tutorial.

Do you know of any great baby patterns on the internet?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Diamond Candles Winner!

The winner of the Diamond Candles giveaway is....

Daline Fairbanks

Congrats Daline!  (She was notified by email earlier today.)  A big thanks to Diamond Candles for my wonderful new peachy candle and for doing the giveaway.  And thank you to all of you who entered the giveaway.  Have a wonderful week!

Thank you so much for participating and big thank you to Diamond Candles for my lovely candle and this fun giveaway.  More giveaways to come!
- See more at:
Thank you so much for participating and big thank you to Diamond Candles for my lovely candle and this fun giveaway.  More giveaways to come!! XO -
- See more at:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vogue 8902 - My Clara Oswald Dress

Scott and I decided to be Doctor Who characters for Halloween.  He chose to be the Eleventh Doctor, and I chose to be one of his companions, Clara Oswald.  Soufle girl (Clara) wears a red dress in her debut on the show, so I whipped up Vogue 8902 in a lovely red double knit.

I've been saving this red double knit for a fall/winter dress and when I saw Vogue 8902 I had to buy it:

It is so comfortable looking!  It also looked like it would be easy to construct, and I was right on both accounts.  I mean, really, when I put this on I feel almost as comfy as I do in a nighty.

I only had the weekend to make this dress so there wasn't time to obsess and over-think the pattern alterations.  I cut out my size - 8 shoulders to 10 rib area to 14 waist and 12 hips - and made the dress 2" shorter in the skirt.  Well, I have news for you...although a double knit is one of the recommended fabrics for this pattern, it is NOT a knit pattern.  I had to take in gobs of fabric on the sides and would have been much better cutting an 8 or 10 out throughout the whole pattern.

The fitting isn't perfect, but I think it looks great for a quickie dress.  I chose not to line it.  I used some jersey to finish off the neck edge.  Yep, a quick fix, but it looks just fine.  I finished the sleeve and skirt edges with a blind hem on the machine.  The neckline is a bit higher than I would like, but it is good for fall.

P.S. - I love red lipstick.  This is Stila lip tint in 'Fiery'.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Unpacking and Settling In

Hello all! It's been way to long since I blogged here in my little sewing corner.  I haven't picked up the sewing machine much since we moved.  I've been pretty busy with unpacking, painting, procuring and staining furniture.  We've also been shopping for a second car, which has been really time-consuming.

 a crape myrtle in November
I know now that moving (a cross country move at that!) can be stressful or hard or difficult for a lot of people.  I used to wonder why people got so overwhelmed at the thought of unpacking boxes.  Well, folks, it happens!  Those boxes can fill entire rooms and the thought of spending hours unboxing and organizing made me go into hiding!  One of my friends generously offered to help me unpack my sewing room.  Having her there forced me to stay on task and keep going until my sewing room was in a livable state.  The result was fantastic!  I really couldn't have done it without her. 

I love this new hutch.  I displayed all of my large pieces of fabric on the top portion of the hutch and scraps and remnants on the bottom.  I love how neat and attractive it looks.  I was able to purchase this hutch for only $75 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  It's like a Goodwill for furniture and building materials!  

I open the cabinet, and my fabric is colorful and organized.  I got most of this fabric during my L.A. shopping trip.  I really had to cram the fabric in our car to make it fit, and then drove it from the West coast to the East coast.  Looking at it now makes me realize that it was totally worth the hassle.  When I see it organized like that, I think of all of the wonderful things I am going to make.

My sewing books are neatly organized, and my childhood doll, 'Rose', finally has a home.

I've spent a lot of time repainting the living room, dining area, and the master bedroom. My husband worked really hard building raised garden boxes so we could get a fall garden (cold weather crops) in.  I can't wait to see lettuce growing in November!  The plants are starting to sprout!

I hope you don't mind me posting about something other than sewing.  This is what's been on my mind lately, and my goals have mostly been focused on getting the house settled.  

It has been such an adjustment to have my husband working full-time (and not in school).  The nature of his work does not allow him to study at home and I miss having another 'body' in the house while I work.  So, even though there have been a lot of changes recently, I only feel that I am adjusting little by little.  I guess I need to be patient with myself!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Swimsuit -Kwik Sew 3153

Last February I made up Kwik Sew 3153 in a bold, red, white and blue floral.  Since recovering from shoulder and knee injuries, my body is more muscular and I no longer fit into my old swimsuit.  When I put it on, it was if I was *squeezing* my thighs through the leg holes and the fabric under the arms was strained every time I moved my shoulders.

KS3153 February 2012
I think the wonderful thing about sewing a pattern a second time is that you can easily make changes to it.  It is so much easier to tweak a pattern than to start over completely!  I added fabric to the side seams under the armpits and 3/4" elastic to each of the leg holes.

At first I cut my new suit with larger leg holes, adding width at the side seams.  This did not work at all!  When I put on my suit the larger leg holes didn't stay put on my butt and rode up towards the center, giving me.........a wedgie.  So if you are pained with a wedgie on your suit, it may be that you need to take in the side seams.  After I did this, my suit looked and felt great!  I found that simply adding more elastic to the leg holes gave me enough room to be comfortable.

I chose a pink, blue and brown paisley print from Denver Fabrics.  I repositioned the straps in the back so that they will never slide.

The sewing blogs have been alive with bombshell-style swimsuits this summer.  I was tempted to try this style, but it would have required extensive bust alterations.  I am so small busted it probably would have looked awful no matter what I did.  And if I managed to keep the girls in while wearing it, I still would probably feel really exposed.  So, I stuck with a TNT pattern that has no frills.  It fits and I am pleased.

Have you ever tried a different style and realized it just wasn't for you?  Or realized it looked fabulous?  I feel confident when I wear clothing that flatters my shape and fits great!  I would love to read your comments below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LA Fabric District Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my review of the LA Fabric District!  Last time I shared with you some of the stores I visited.  Today, I will finish with the stores I visited on Saturday.

A note about Saturday shopping in the Fabric District:  1. It is really crowded.  2. It is more expensive to park than during the week. 3. Some of the stores are closed on Saturday.  4.  It is really crowded ;) 5. It is fun.  How could it not be?!

I parked at a meter on Saturday, because I found one close to the stores I wanted to visit.  The first store I visited was LA Alex:

LA Alex is on 9th between Wall and Maple next to Tex Carmel.  This store was a little on the larger side and had sections really organized into types of fabrics (they have mostly polyesters in their store).  It was a breath of fresh air not to have to barter here as all of the prices are set and labeled above the bolts.  I stole a shot here of some type of polyester and denim.  A lot of the fabrics were on the cheaper side (in quality) and being an apparel sewer, I would only use these fabrics for costumes.  The minky and linens were $5 per yard and there was a lightweight woven poly/cotton section for only $2 per yard.  I snatched up some blue and white gingham for a costume (guess which costume.....that's right!  A Dorothy Wizard of Oz costume!) for only $2 per yard.  In the back there were a bunch of zippers, some dye, and a bunch of notions. 

Journal Fabric, on 9th between Wall and Maple, was full of apparel fabrics and they had a surprisingly decent selection of knit solids.  I saw some silky (poly) prints, swimsuit fabric, and as you can see at the storefront they have a bunch of fabric for only 99 cents per yard.  Here, I found the perfect shade of blue fabric to make a T.A.R.D.I.S. dress for Halloween.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to check out my favorite sci-fi show of all time, Doctor Who!

Before walking into Zip-Up Zipper, I had no idea so many zippers existed!  There are silver, antique, and gold metal zippers.  There are zippers that open from both ends.  There are cute zipper pulls with palm trees on them.  There are zippers that are over 12 feet tall!  And the cool thing is...if the owner can't find a zipper that is the exact length you need, he can cut one down to size for $2 more.  They also had a cool selection of buttons and other notions.  I really enjoyed browsing in here.  I would love to come back.

Angel Textiles was my favorite apparel store to browse in, probably because at this time in my sewing journey I am totally into sewing with knits.  I kind of stumbled upon this place via the back door.  Up to this point, I hadn't found any poly cotton knit prints I liked, and this place was chalked full of them.  The associate sold me 8 yards of fabric for $2 each.  I didn't have to barter down to this price.  I was astonished at the price.  I would have liked to have bought more, but by this point my truck was chalked full of fabric.

A special thanks to my husband who came with me to the District the first day:

You are simply wonderful!


Well, there you have it!  That is everywhere I visited my first trip to the Fabric District.  I absolutely loved it, and I hope that if you visit LA, you get to go to the Fabric District, too.  We stopped in LA in the middle of a road trip and had to take our fabric camping in the Redwoods, through Idaho, Utah, and now will be trekking all the way out to South Carolina with my spoils.  Fitting this stuff in the back of the car amongst our camping gear, my serger and sewing machine, is a bit tricky (even when your trunk has almost the capacity of Mary Poppins' handbag).

We stuffed fabric in the cooler, around the boxes, and on top of everything.  What you see exposed is not even 1/4 of it.  I have a very patient husband who tolerates my fabric hoarding.

Our car has 193,000 miles on it.  The water pump sprung a leak a week ago (just a problem caused by wear) and we were lucky to not be traveling when it happened, so it was easy to get to a mechanic.  Now, we will be traveling between Utah and South Carolina.  I am praying that we will make it to our new home safely. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

LA Fabric District

My husband and I were in Los Angeles this month for a wedding and were fortunate to be able to visit the Los Angeles Fabric District.  This was BIG for me!  We are moving to the East Coast and I have no idea if or when I will ever have this opportunity again.  The advantage to shopping here is the amazing selection.  You can find supplies you might not be able to find elsewhere.  The other spectacular draw are the low prices.  I read blog posts and wrote up a route for us to follow, complete with a map on Googlemaps.

We made sure to bring plenty of water and some snacks, and I had lots of cash in small bills.

I started my shopping in FIDM Scholarship Store.  This is on the corner of 9th and Grant and if you get there when the store opens (M-F 9am, Sat 10 am) you may be able to park at a nearby meter like I did.  They use the proceeds to benefit students at the Fashion Institute of Design.  In the back, there is a fabric room with a ton of remnants and larger rolls of fabric.  It requires a little digging, but if you are looking for some hip, nice knits, you may get really lucky.  I paid only $1 per yard for remnants.  They also have clothing for sale.  A lot of them have a hole or two, but they are really cheap.

Then, we headed over to the heart of the Fabric District and parked on 9th and Wall Street.  If you're headed down 9th and pass Maple, turn left on Wall Street.  A quick left will take you up a ramp to a parking lot that charges only $4 for the whole day.  (There are other lots, this is just the one we parked at.)  You may be able to find a meter on the street if you come early, or if you are lucky. When I came back on Saturday, the lot was $7, so I opted for metered parking.

We went to Tex Carmel, where they had loads of beautiful linens and wools.  Unfortunately, their prices were a little high, and they didn't seem willing to barter with me, so I left without purchasing anything.  It's not a bad idea to shop around and see how the prices compare.  You can always come back.

Next, we went to Fabrics and Fabrics, on 9th between Maple and Wall Street (sorry, no pic).  An employee pointed me to the linens, where I saw this lovely, lightweight teal linen.  He said everything on that wall was $10 a yard, but when I started to leave, he gave it to me for $8/ yard.  I probably could have talked him down another dollar, but I really did think it was a good price.  He pulled the roll from the huge stack of linen rolls, and started cutting.  They really aren't that precise when they cut - just so you know.  They eyeball it, and from what I hear, most places only cut whole yards.

After I bought the linen, my husband and I stopped by one of the hot dog carts and I got a 'street dog' with a bunch of pico de gallo and avocados.  It was sooo good, and only $3.  I highly recommend the street food.  We sat on some steps.  I am a really careful eater.  I started to chow and promptly dropped an avocado blob onto the linen fabric I had just purchased.  Yay.  So glad the spot came out!

Next, we stopped by the highly raved about The Loft of Michael Levine Fabrics. It is on Maple between 9th and Olympic.  Here you can buy fabric for $2.50 per pound.  This is where all the cast offs and remnants go, and you have to dig in tallish cardboard boxes.  I actually found quite a few large pieces and we ended up cutting all of them ourselves, into smaller pieces.  They also had some rolls of fabric against the wall, organized by color.  I didn't find too many wovens here, mostly jersey knits in solid colors.  I hear that the Loft changes daily, so your experience could be totally different than mine.

Lastly, I stopped by Michael Levine Fabrics, just across the street from The Loft, where you can find almost anything.  They make you pay for it, too.  Their prices are usually higher than the small businesses nearby, but everything is really well organized and priced.  You won't be able to barter here.  There are plenty of salespeople to cut fabric and ask questions.  If you can't find something at one of the other stores, Michael Levine has a great selection, so make sure you stop by.  It's kind of like walking into a Joann's or Hancock's minus the pretty posters and sales signs.  It has more of a warehouse feel.  They don't use the high-low price strategy, which I liked very much.  You can park in the lot behind Michael Levine, but it's quite expensive and they validate, but only for 15 minutes of your time.  That is why I would prefer to park in one of the other lots or at a meter and then just run my fabric back to the car.

After 3 1/2 hours of shopping, my feet hurt, my legs ached, and I had seen so much fabric I wanted to vomit.  I know, a real trooper, right?  But after a good night's rest, I was back at it again for a few hours the next day.  Stay tuned for my next post and I will tell you where I went on Saturday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Portable DVD Player Tote

I purchased a Portable DVD Player last week via Craigslist. My husband and I are moving cross country soon and wanted some road entertainment. My player didn't come with a soft cover, so I decided to make one. In my search for a good design I came across this fantastic tutorial via Make it and Love It. 

I whipped this up in couple of hours. It's so nice when I have an idea for a project and I have everything I need. I found the upholstery fabric in my stash.  I used some fleece from a sweatshirt to act as the padding between the upholstery layers.  The serger made quick work of finishing some of the edges. It's SO NICE  to make a quick and easy project after working on a long and tedious one. 

The velcro flap secures the DVD player in place.  The front pocket has its own flap to secure the car and wall chargers.

Note: I have learned my lesson never to buy sticky-backed velcro.  It will gum up your needle and eventually the thread won't be able to loop to form stitches.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Simplicity 2588 - Bridesmaids Dress

I finally finished my bridesmaids dress for my brother's wedding!

Fabric used:
Stretch Poly Satin from Joann's - surprisingly satin goes

This dress pattern from Project Runway allows you to choose different skirt and sleeve options.  The bride chose the flat sleeves and the flared skirt.  The flared skirt has a pleat in the front.  I think the outcome is fabulous!  This dress is really flattering for my body type. 

Because the pattern instructions aren't very straight forward, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who has limited experience sewing clothing. 

ZIPPER --- The envelope tells you to buy a 22" zipper, but not what kind.  Use an invisible zipper.  I am taking a free Craftsy class called 'Mastering Zipper Techniques'.  This really helped me to amp up my invisible zipper sewing skills.

I learned that using fusible tricot can help the zipper go in easier:

HEM DEPTH --- I thought it was strange that the pattern didn't say how much to hem the skirt.  There are 5 other bridesmaids sewing this same dress for the wedding, and they may come up with all different hem depths. 

HEM TAPE --- The bride provided hem tape as one of the notions, even though it isn't even mentioned in the instructions.  I feel like hem tape is invaluable when hemming a flared skirt.  The end result is much smoother and looks nicer from the right side of fabric.  Satin can be a nightmare to sew with.  Let's not make it any more difficult, please!

POCKETS --- I also did not think that the instructions for constructing the pockets were very intuitive, but I hate reading yeah.  But I love pockets!  I can just hear Matt Smith saying, "Pockets are cool."

FRONT PLEATS ---The front pleats were harder to construct than I expected.  I think sometimes it's difficult to wrap your head around how to fold a pleat when it's just a flat piece of nothingness.  I figured it out after a few tries.  The instructions tell you to actually sew the pleat together, fold and press it to one side, and then remove the stitching.  There are poke holes in my satin where the seam was.  Not cool!  Does anybody know how to stop this from happening?? Satin is EVIL!

Fitting Alterations:
I made a muslin of the top before I cut it out in satin.  There were some fitting issues so I made the following alterations before cutting out my dress:

-Sloped Shoulders Alteration
-Lowered Armscye
-Shaved off fullness at bust
-Took in the bust seam and side seams
-Added 3/8" Length to torso (I thought I had a short torso, but every Vogue dress pattern I make, I add length to and this Simplicity was no different.)
-I also changed the slope of the yoke because it felt like it was falling off my shoulders.

*One of my readers noticed that my left shoulder looks different than my right, evidenced by the way the fabric is pulling worse on the left side.  She recommended that I scoop out the armhole more on the left.  I was amazed at her skill and eye for detail!  I didn't get to try this out because I'd already cut out my second muslin.

Fit and Overall Outcome:
 So the back view is pretty good.  The only real problem is the zipper.  The zipper puckers a little on the bodice and gets a lot worse on the skirt.  I constructed most of the dress with a walking foot, which was a total lifesaver!  I can't use a walking foot at the zipper, 'cause i need an invisible zipper foot.  Oh well, the relative smoothness of the other seams makes up (at least in my mind) for the puckers at center back.

I think the front view looks great!  The dress fits perfectly in the bust and pretty good at the shoulders.  There is still some pulling at the armholes but this is a raglan sleeve in a woven.  There is also pulling from the torso to the waist but I don't really care.  I didn't want to take the waist seam in any more in case I gain weight.  (I'm back to my pre-knee injury weight.)  My husband loves the cut of this dress.  He says with the amount of time I spent altering this pattern, I should definitely consider whipping it up in a different fabric.  I think I will.

Anyway, thank you for enduring this very long review.  Don't be intimidated by this pattern.  It's completely doable, it just requires a little more time and attention.  If you don't choose satin you'll have a much easier time than I did.  Let me know if you have any tips for sewing with satin or mitigating puckers with invisible zips.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Little Geranium Dress

One of my friends is having a girl any day now, so I had to whip up the Little Geranium Dress.  This free pattern by Made by Rae can be downloaded on her website.  She also has the dress in larger sizes for sale, but I knew this little number would fit my friend's newborn.

I made my own pintucks for the front, and added mustard colored trim.  The fabric is a Lisette made for fall 2011.  I kept holding on to it because it needed something, I just couldn't put my finger on it until I paired it with the yellow trim.  It does a great job of brightening the blue up.

I love the little yellow buttons on the back.  This is a great easy pattern and like Rae explains, has so many options.  You could shorten it into a tunic, add flutter sleeves, change up the neckline and it would look like a completely different dress.

I added my label, to make the dress look more official.  

I am still working on my bridesmaids dress, and should have it done to show off later this week.  It does not look bad, however, "I LOVE sewing with satin!" said no seamstress, EVER.  Believe me, it is not a thing.  Satin is not forgiving, at all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Hem Knit Fabrics with Design Plus

A few weeks ago I went to my local independent apparel fabric store and found this amazing sewing notion, Design Plus:

As you can see by reading the packaging, this product has many uses.  I will show you how to use it to hem jersey knit fabric.  In the Craftsy class 'Sewing with Knits: Five Wardrobe Essentials', Meg recommended using fusible tricot on a spool, 1/4" wide, to aid in hemming knit fabrics.  The problem with this product is that it adds bulk and may not stretch as much as the fabric.  I couldn't actually find the tricot, so it is just as well.

Instead I found 'Design Plus' which is great for controlling knit hems.  It is basically paper-backed fusible web cut into a 1/4" strip.  It is around $11, but there are 27 yards on a roll, so it will last you FOREVER!

I tried this out and it worked like a charm!


Place the fusible side of the strip against the wrong side of your hem edge and press it with a dry iron.  I used a cotton/lycra blend so I put the iron setting on cotton.  If you have a curved edge like I did for this project, you can press 6-8" strips of fusible web. 

Peel off the paper backing and fold your hem over to the desired width.  Press the hem with steam. The hem is now fused in place.

From there, I used my double needle to stitch the hem all the way around.  Sewing the hem on the edge goes so quickly because I am not having to pull out pins along the way.  My hem stays exactly in place where I fused it together.  It looks professional, and I didn't even use a walking foot!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

7 Ways to Use Elastic

I found this great informative video the other day on Pinterest.  Uploaded by Secretlifeofabionerd, it shows 7 ways to use elastic.  I especially liked the information about shirring and elastic thread.  Check it out:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Simplicity 2588 - Fitting Woes


I'm in the process of muslining Simplicity 2588.  I'm making the dress option with the flat sleeves and the fuller skirt for my brother's wedding.  The muslin doesn't look half bad, except this annoying problem right under the arms.  You can see the pulling above, from the front underarm to the shoulder.  I've never had this problem, so I'm not sure what to do.  It's not pulling in the back, just the front.  The armscye (can I even still call it an armscye because it's a raglan sleeve??) is a size 8 at the top and tapers out to a size 10 right at the point where the folds start near the front of the armpit.  I pinned the bodice on and wore it for a while to check the comfort.  The armscye is annoyingly high in my armpit, so when I put this on I want to escape and run away!  Maybe I should alter the armscye using this tip.

I took out 1/2" at center front to make the fabric fall over the bust better.  I'm wondering if this stole ease from the arm area.  I really have no idea how to fix this so any advice would be very appreciated.