Gifting DIY-style!

Every year I am in a mad dash to create a “Hand-made Christmas”.  I have been doing this for years now and I think my family has come to expect a gift not bought.  Not in a bad way, or at least I hope not …yikes!  One motivator for me is, of course the creativity, but more so…the rushed timeline I end up pushing on myself.  I really do work much better on a tight pressed deadline.  Crazy…yes, I am crazy!

Who doesn’t love a hand made gift?  And seriously, when we are all grown up…do we really NEED anything?  I swear my Mom asked me every year up until a couple of years ago, for a Christmas List!  I have always disliked sitting down and greedily listing all the things that I wished someone else would buy for me.  However, when I was young…I had no problem perusing the Sears catalog and writing down every last toy I just had to have :).  Besides, when someone knows you, I mean really knows you, they should be able to figure out some meaningful type of gift.  Some may consider this weird or ungrateful….but I just don’t like asking for things.

Free Sewing Pattern for a curved top cosmetic bag. Love the bow detail on the frontHow To Make Homemade Irish Cream LiqueurDIY Leather Strap Clutch Tutorial // Delia Creates

DIY Leather + Flannel Snap Scarf Tutorial // Delia CreatesHomemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats - The easiest homemade dog treats ever - simply mix, roll and cut. Easy peasy, and so much healthier than store-bought!Canvas & Leather Lunch Bag

All the pictures above are from the websites/bloggers below…give credit where it’s due!

So without further ado, here is a list of some fairly easy and fun/cool things you might enjoy making up for someone on your Christmas trail this year.

Pretty Pillow Cases

Spirits for the gift maker or …

Arm Warmers…for the teen or hip chick!

Super cute, on-trend leather clutch

Yummy nuggets for your doggies!

Not just any scarf….you gotta at least check this one out.

A pretty cool lunch sack…for a dude in your life 

Rope Bowl: A gift perfect for the “I don’t know what to give her/him”

Tilly’s Eye Mask: Do you know someone who could use help getting to sleep?

A relaxing neck warmer: Here is a gift to make for yourself AND someone else…they will love you forever!

Every girl needs a cosmetic bag

If you have any others that you’d like to share….please leave a comment so I can check them out…always looking for ideas.

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A little bit of WILDness!

Every once in a while, I want to make something to run around in that is a little bit crazy and outside of my norm.

On a recent YouTube webcast by Peggy Sagers of Silhouette patterns, she showed some leggings using some new fabric she has on her website…neon greenish-yellow with black animal print.  Yikes!  you might say, but they are really cool.  So I made an entire outfit that I plan to wear to an afternoon birthday party with the family at a casual restaurant and arcade.  Perfect!

Pattern and Fabric Deets:

Self-made:  Poncho/Cape click here for a tutorial. Fabric: Quilted Acrylic/Virgin Wool blended with Nylon bought at FabricMart.com (unfortunately they don’t have it anymore).

StyleArc: Laura Knit Leggings. Fabric: Wild Cotton Jersey with stretch in both directions bought at SilhouettePatterns.com

Jalie: 2805 Long Sleeved T-Shirt. Fabric: CottonLycra Jersey bought at Natures Fabrics

RTW:  New Boots bought at DSW (the most amazing shoe store EVER!!) I swear they pay me to shop there ;).

Now for the pictures….

  

this is a little Michael Jackson “Thrillerish”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve reached the bottom….thanks for taking a gander!  I had so much fun planning, sewing and wearing this today.  I had many looks and compliments [blush] :). Do you ever sew outside your normal style box? Please do feel free to comment either way….like or not, I so love to read comments.

Disclaimer: none of the links in this post are affiliate nor do I get anything for linking. I simply want to share in case it may help a future sewing friend!

ON TREND! LONG VEST… A quick make

Ooooh I’m so excited! We all know what TNTs are, but what about those times when you can use a pattern and make something completely different without having actually made up the originally intended garment.  This is one of those times for me.

I already have a Trenchcoat although it’s a casual rendition in leopard print twill.  This make is a long vest with a faux fur collar.  image

I used Barbara’s Trench which is a rendition based on the traditional Burberry Trenchcoat.  The story behind this is that it was an idea offered up by Peggy on a recent webcast.  I decided to splurge on the fabric she used in her version.  It was $29.99 per yard! Yikes…for a cotton knit.  The description is that it is dual sided…which it is, and it is black and dark gray….which it WASN’T!  When it arrived it was a sunny afternoon and I swore it looked blue, but I thought it was how the sun hit it.  I took it right to the wash so I could get my vest ASAP.  When it finished in the dryer, it still looked blue.  The flash of my camera brightens the blue tone but it really is a deep dark muted navy, if that makes sense.  I was entirely bummed, because I also bought a black, gray and white fur to use for the collar at the same time.  That was not going to happen….just look at the difference!  Not good.

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I emailed Peggy right away and she was receptive…I could have returned it, but since I’d laundered it already…I thought hey why not use it. She has since corrected the listing :).   It’s wonderful rich feeling fabric with a perfect weight and drape for this make.  I searched for faux furs and took basically blind faith on the description alone….and what I settled on ended up a perfect compliment to my deep navy blue.  It is a really soft bluish gray polyester fur that washes beautifully as well!

As for the pattern changes, I cut the front a seam allowance away from the center front line, removing the double breasted-ness. All edges were serge finished, turned under and top stitched. I cut only the upper collar and attached the stand traditionally and sandwiched that unit over the neck edge and edge-stitched in place.  No closure needed. And voila!

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As a bonus, now I know that the size I used will be good when I make the full version in a lovely rich wool cashmere flannel I just got from fabric.com for $14.99/yard.  I should be hauled away to jail for that steal!  I know….cheesy, but hey I couldn’t resist….lol.

I’ve linked up at http://www.grayallday.com/sew-it-chic-monthly-november/. This is a fun way to connect with other sewists who are sharing their most current makes.

COMPLETED: Another ComfyCozy Dress…Lola of Victory Patterns

Last year I made the Jasper Sweater Dress from Paprika Patterns and I wear it often.  In my search, I also found Victory Patterns and bought Lola.  While both designs are sweatshirty, each have distinctive differences. imageLola has raglan sleeves and a flat ribbed neckline as well as roomy pockets on each side panel.  Another difference is the hi-lo waistline.  It’s sort of like an empire waist, but only in the front. Finally, the fit silhouettes my body more than with the Jasper.  My husband likes it that way ;).

I made the size 10 based on the finished garment measurements…I am really loving these pattern companies including FGM in ther patterns.  I never use my body measurements to select a size to make up anymore.  The fabric was a poly sweater knit from FabricMart…it didn’t list as such, but it is a hacci knit I think.  When it arrived, it wasn’t what I was expecting…it is a little shiny for my taste.  However, I think I like it….it worked for this make.  I didn’t spend very much…$5/yard.  It took just under 2 yards.  It’s a little lightweight for this pattern becaus it caused the pockets to droop a little…I guess I could say instead that they are slouch-pockets. Yes, I like that, it sounds like I did this intentionally ;).image

During the cutting and marking, I kept mumbling and grumbling under my breath that there are way too many notches….but I snipped every one of them.  As it turned out, it was really helpful to have all those match points!  I usually follow instructions the first time I use a new pattern….usually.  The instructions and illustrations are in a tidy little booklet, love that.  Sometimes those guidesheets from, say the Big4, require beating into submission!

As always I complete all the small pieces before construction.  That’s a sewing tip I highly recommend to all of you reading my blog.  It makes the whole project seem so much quicker, even though the time spent is probably the same if you were to track it.  But I’m not going to do that….I prefer to go on feelings and emotions. Ha!

I pretty much sewed it right out of the envelope (or box in this case ;)). The only pattern adjustment was to remove 2 and 1/4″ from the length. Initially I removed just 1″ internally.  Once it was almost done, I decided to remove another 1 and 1/4″ from the bottom.  I’m glad I did it this way because I think I like the pockets a little lower since they sort of slouch.  If they were higher up, they would add some width at my low hip area…no one wants to look wider, am-i-right?  I usually need to adjust for a sway back by 3/4″, but this fits really well at the back waist….I think the waistline seam paired with princess lines makes the difference for me on this one.  The only construction change I did was to fuse the back of the little triangle thingy at the CF neckline…it helped tame it for finishing the edges so it didn’t get stretched out in the process.image

I like it!  This dress is so comfy and could easily be something I will throw on to laze around the house with some legging or really high knee socks.  I’m sure I will make this again out of a really nice swearshirt fleece, but it will need to be of high quality with stretch for sure.  There are many design options with this pattern…like color blocking perhaps?

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What do you think, have you made this or similar? Share what you’ve done….I like seeing what other sewers’ come up with. :).

More Pattern Drafting

Once I got started in my new adventure…the Pattern Workshop course I blogged briefly about here, I discovered that I’d probably be more successful learning the basics of drafting the traditional way.  So I pulled up the Craftsy class, Pattern Making Basics: The Bodice Sloper that I’ve had for a little while taught by Suzy Furer.  This woman is by far the best instructor of any Craftsy class that I’ve taken.  And let’s just say I have taken upwards of 25 classes in 3 years. [blush].

I have watched the entire course at least 3 times before I pulled all my tools out on the table.  I love all the math, measuring and nerdy thinking involved in drafting.  It brought me back to my Junior Highschool days when I took an architectural drafting class.  Pattern drafting is no different, you get to use a ruler, paper, pencil and eraser…..not to mention a lot of brain-work too.

But first I needed my husband to take all the necessary measurements….he is such a good helper!  He watched the section on how to mark and measure each and did so quite accurately. I swear every day…he is the BEST husband any woman could have…and he’s all mine ;).  Finally the fun began, MATH!  There is a nicely organized chart for the measurements and calculations in order to begin putting meaningful lines on paper.  It took me about 1 and 1/2 hours to get through the front moulage.  A moulage is actually a body blueprint and is supposed to fit like a second skin.  Here she is, almost in her glory…the armhole and neckline still needs to be developed. DSCN0242

The back should be a little quicker since there isn’t a shoulder or side (bust) dart.

Just a little tweaking of the armhole, then onto tracing!
Just a little tweaking of the armhole, then onto tracing!
If you look at the outermost tracing, the armhole is really shallow and overall just wonky.  Others in the class had similar issues.  For some reason that I don’t understand is that I needed to remove 3/4″ from the cross back guideline ( from armpit to armpit). But heck…it worked!  Now the moulage can be traced to preserve all this lovely work.  Once traced, it will be cut apart to create pattern pieces for my cloth.

Look closely...aren't they pretty?
Look closely…aren’t they pretty?

Ready to cut out of my muslin...but remember to add seam allowance :)
Ready to cut out of my muslin…but remember to add seam allowance 🙂
To be continued…

Dun dun dun! Not too shabby for my very first moulage if I do say so myself :).

   
    
 
Thanks for joining in my latest venture!

Disclaimer: none of the links in this post are affiliate nor do I get anything for linking. I simply want to share in case it may help a future sewing friend!

I am STASH BUSTING!…making room for more ;)

After posting about my sewing stash, I realized it’s time me to go shopping and stash-bust.  There are some fabrics I’ve had for a while and a couple that are more recent. One of the @home fabric store departments I did not include in my last post was the pattern department!  How could I leave that out?  I tend to use my TNT patterns most often, so the others that I bought, cuz I loved them, needed to have the dust blown off of them.

Some of the most abundant is a collection of Silhouhette Patterns.  It took me a while to start buying them, because frankly…the photos are usually not very appealing. (sorry Peggy :/)  That said, I began to shift my paradigm when I started watching the live webcasts on YouTube that Peggy Sagers does every other week.  I have learned so much from her, from fitting using draping to making simple changes to a pattern to achieve a completely different look. Peggy Sagers is a very generous pattern maker….these webcasts are 1-hour-long and are FREE!

One of the patterns she frequently uses as an accessory is Colette’s Wrap #83.  See my pattern review here.  It’s sort of a cocoon style wrap, but the coolest change is creating an infinity scarf by inserting a zipper in the back seam!  I finally made, not one but TWO!  Sunday football on T.V. is when I need a super simple project because I go back and forth as I can’t sit for very long.

imageMy first one (view 1) is made from a holey charcoal gray jersey knit that I bought about a year and a half ago from Silhouette’s website. This fabric is really cool, it is very textured and kind of spongy.  I used an argyle printed zipper from my stash for a little pop.  image

My second (view 2)is with a taupe Maggy London rayon rib knit from FabricMart and a YKK black zipper with brass teeth.imageimage

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A couple more pictures to gawk at…

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I had about 1-1/2 yards of the rib knit left which was just enough to sew up a quick turtleneck using my TNT Jalie t-shirt pattern, shown with my wrap.  I doubled the width of the neck-band because I like a tall turtleneck, Jalie’s is really a mock-turtleneck.

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Worn with my Jalie Eleonores!
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oooh, my cheeks are so rosy!

My next make on the cutting table are more Ginger Jeans, blogged here.  I’ve also got 5yards of Seahawks flannel for making Christmas gifts for all our kids and grandkids, shhhh don’t tell them ;).  Then it’s on to a custom fit shirt for my son who is has become quite the on point styled young man.  I will be using Silhouette Patterns George’s Shirt.

Thanks for reading :).  Have you busted your stash lately?

Disclaimer: none of the links in this post are affiliate nor do I get anything for linking. I simply want to share in case it may help a future sewing friend!

fabric-STASH! = @home-fabric-store

What got me thinking about writing about our waxing and waning stashes, is that I’ve recently (a month ago :/) won a fabric bundle from Lauren at http://www.spitupandstillettos.com.  It included 5 1 yard pieces of some really fun cotton Lycra (I think) knits.  I entered for the give-away and was one of the winners!  Thank you Lauren and Alyson Clair Collaboration :).image

Many of us home sewers have a stash, and wrongly give it a shameful mention when the prospect of adding yet another piece of yardage arises.  I say just shift your paradigm and redefine what a stash is.  I have.  My stash is my own curated @home-fabric-store. Curated because I only purchase carefully selected yardage that I know I will love.

Most of the time I buy fabric simply because I love the color, print or texture and know it will find its purpose one day.  On occasion, I purchase fabric for a specific make and complete it right away. However there are times my intentions change when I’m daydreaming…or night dreaming as it were.  I love when I see an inspiration and go shopping in my @home-fabric-store and get to see and feel my way through my stash to find the perfect match.  I guess you could say I’m being environmentally responsible, after all I didn’t have to use any gas, right?

I think I need to hire new help...this is a mess!
I think I need to hire new help…this is a mess!

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Depending on how long a piece of fabric has been around, it may be considered free when you make it into something other than its original shape.  By that I mean it can be a garment, quilt, bag or whatever makes your sewing machine sing. My sewing machine’s favorite tune is clothing 😜.

There have been only a couple of times when my stash was less than 5 pieces over the years, but now, and really at any given time it’s upwards of 20, 30, 40 pieces. And that is probably not even accurate. Haha!image

Stashing is not relegated to fabric only.  Don’t forget nOrion’s, notions and more notions!  Every sewer needs to have an assortment of zippers, buttons, snaps and various tapes to rifle through when planning a make. I add to this section of my @home-fabric-store often.  This creates a much more relaxed planning process since I don’t have to worry about going to the local fabric store where they might not have what I need or want. Thread, needles, interfacing and stay tapes remain in more than adequate supply.  In fact I need to reorder more black tricot interfacing.image

imageTwo of my fave online sources are Wawak and Pacific Trimming for zippers, snaps, cool buttons, needles and thread.  For my go-to tricot interfacing, I use Silhouette Patterns. It is wonderful stuff.  There are other shops that I may buy from, but I won’t bore you as I’m sure you have your faces as well.  Let me know if you’d like a list of where I like to shop and I may put together a page with sources.

See, there’s no need to feel guilty or ashamed when deciding if buying that 2 or 3 yards of luxurious wool/silk suiting is necessary.  Just consider it as adding to your curated @home-fabric-store!