Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

I’ve actually been very productive in 2012 so far. Not that you would know it from my lack of blogging *cough*. I’ve decided to focus on getting the miscellaneous or already begun projects done. This has included a bunch of mending, hemming a skirt, and working on a t-shirt revamp (photos later).

Sewing Swag

Santa/my family was generous this Christmas and I got a lot of sweet sewing stuff! This year I want to learn how to fit patterns so I can start making dresses that actually fit me, so  I got a couple of fun books to help!

I had heard that The Perfect Fit was a great book for fixing all kinds of fitting problems. It’s got tons of photos of common issues and how to fix them like swaybacks, necklines, bust adjustments, etc… It’s a little hard to ignore the ridiculously dated photos, but they don’t affect the actual techniques.

I also received The Party Dress based off the rave reviews I’d seen online (didn’t have a chance to check it out in person as B&N didn’t carry it). It seems like the kind of book that would be best enjoyed with a friend, as the technique it uses for drafting the dress patterns requires multiple hands. I think some of the content will come in handy down the line, but for now it’s just fun reading. Guess I’ll have to give up my hermitage and make some sewing friends huh?

In the family nursery with husband and cat.

For Christmas and New Years the hubs and I went down to Southern California where all our family is. It was a great vacation filled with family, board games, beer drinking, and beach outings!

San Clemente, CA

As for other goals of 2012, I’ve decreed that it shall be year of the corgi!


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Darn commercial patterns and their ridiculous amounts of ease!!! If I wanted to wear a sack all I’d need is a rectangle of fabric and straight side seams. There is nothing less fun than spending the time to fit a pattern with tissue and then sewing the real thing and learning that despite your best efforts it still is huge (and apparently you need to work on your tissue fitting skills). I decided to go ahead and do as the internet says and go down a size, which worked, almost magically.

McCall's M5972

I have been trying to make a muslin of the bodice from this pattern, so I could pair it with a feminine circle skirt. I got it, and a number of others, during a $1 pattern sale at JoAnn’s. I have been on a fifties dresses kick lately and would probably give up a quarter of my soul for a closet full of full-skirted, high-waisted, brightly colored dresses.


Well, by going down a size I was able to get the boobs to finally fit, the armscythe seems fine though I wouldn’t mind a little more room, but the front neckline still wants to gape. If I push it flat  it looks great and the shoulders look fitted, but once I start moving it pouches out again. I will have to do some more research. I really want to take a class on fitting patterns/tailoring and get some hands on help with what the heck I’m doing wrong. Right now I feel like I should just stick with sewing skirts and miscellaneous home decor and quilting projects.

Ho hum.

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Project #12 – Blouse Altering

Last weekend I went on a bit of a thrift store clothing binge.

I have a sorely out-dated wardrobe, I am too cheap to buy new, and I also want to practice my sewing skills and learn how to alter clothing to fit me better. Quite seriously, I have clothing in my closet from eighth grade (albeit only one or two items, but I have more from freshman-senior year of high school).

Anyways. Here’s this giant yet girly shirt I bought.

I’ve been really digging the salmon and coral colors, and I thought the ruffley sleeves and braided neck details were cute. The bodice hit right on, except that it was about three sizes too wide.

I needed to take it in about two inches on each side.

I took the seams out down to the bodice ties and pulled them out so I wouldn’t accidentally sew them into my new seam. I wanted to make sure those stayed functional. Then I measure and sewed along the seam keeping the curve of the shirt the same.

Then I flipped it inside out, made sure the fit was right, and then I cut new slits for the drawstrings and pulled them through to the right side.

And that’s it! Super easy and now perfectly fitted!

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I’ve actually had this one done for a while, but have been so swamped with work I haven’t had time to post it.  I am a flower-holic. Even now I am plotting how to add flower embellishments to a t-shirt I got at the thrift store to re-fashion.


Here’s the cute felt poppy I made using this tutorial from The Wishing Elephant. They are super easy to put together and look really cute on a headband. I just used a length of grosgrain ribbon I had around and a little piece of 1/4″ elastic at the bottom to make it a stretchy band. I’ll definitely be wearing this as the season changes into Fall and Halloween approaches.

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Mad props to my bestie June for taking some pics of the backgammon board.

Her favorite color is orange so I wanted to make sure to incorporate a lot of orange-y tones.

This time I made a little pouch to carry the game pieces. It matches the fabric I used on the outside of the board and closes with velcro. To carry, just roll it up in the middle of the mat!  I also invested in a bag of wooden circle cut-outs to use as pieces! All I had to do was paint them with an acrylic paint and then use a couple coats of gloss.

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The hubs and I have been on a backgammon kick recently. We’ve been able to play on the xbox 360 when we’re at home, but we really wanted a travel set to take out to the brewery or the park. Rather than shell out $20-30 bucks for one of those silly briefcases, we decided to make our own! Mine being the cute, quilted, girly one and his the butch canvas one.

All set up and ready to play.

Doesn’t it make you think of summer time and watermelon? Two of my favorite things!

Most of the work was cutting out the little triangles or “pips”. On the up-side I’m getting a lot better with my rotary cutter! Yay for practice and fun creations! Anyways, back to the construction notes. The pips were attached with double sided interfacing–the kind you use for applique work. Then I got to do some fun wavy quilting and attach the binding. The ribbons are sewn under the binding and worked great for ties.

All rolled up.

I can’t get enough of cute packaging!

The next time I make one of these I’m going to try and figure out how to attach a pocket for the pieces and dice to go. As it is I’ll have to carry them in a separate bag. I think what I’ll do is sew a basic pouch and make the open end have a flap with a velcro closure. Then, after all the quilting is done and I’m ready to start the binding, I can sew it along one of the short sides and fold the binding over it for extra stability. I’ll have to sew it on the edge opposite the ribbon closures, but then it will be able to roll up neatly inside! (too excited…need fabric and rotary cutter…stat)

Now for my husband’s take on the classic game:


He cut and sewed it all by himself. I’m so proud! He has learned the frustrations (and possibly the fun) of the rotary cutter, the iron, the ruler, and the sewing machine. We’ll see what sewing adventures the future holds for him.

On a final note, I would love to make these and sell them on etsy, but I’d have to get a lot faster. It took me a whole day to make just one, probably because I was being too precise with the measuring and the cutting. But I would rather measure three times and cut once than measure once and cry the rest of the day.

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I finished this project last week but didn’t get around to posting it. Oops. I bought this dress for $7 dollars at the goodwill, and figured that since it was SUPER huge I would have some fun altering it. I’m definitely a sucker for Seersucker. I actually tried it on at Target last year but couldn’t bring myself to buy–my super thrifty muscles always get a good workout at Target.



I didn’t want to do a lot of cutting on this project, so rather than completely unstitch and redo the bodice I did some gathering at the top of the cups.  First I pulled up the dress so the cups actually were at my breasts ( not under my ribs). Then I made little mini pleats, folded the straps over on them, and sewed up the sides. Voila! A bodice with lovely gathering that actually makes it look like I have a nice set of boobs.

Close Up.

Now for the back shot.



Hooray for shirring! The powers of this little technique never fail to surprise me. This was originally just a saggy flat waistband, but with a little elastic thread, a few rows of stitching, and a little steam pressing I got a fully gathered back skirt that fits at my waist instead of dropping down to my butt.

I love the way this dress came out, and am just waiting for the weather to become warm so I can enjoy it! (Raining and cold at the end of May? Seriously?)

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