Thursday, March 28, 2013

sewing thank you notes

so my birthday was over the weekend and i got a lot of great sewing related goodies (2 books, 3 fabric store gift cards and my threads magazine subscription came in!) there was also a lot of chocolate cake and a little wine ;) i have some pretty amazing friends and family. really, i feel so blessed. and they know me so well!

i'm really big on thank you notes
. it's just a thing. what about you? do you always write them? do you care if you receive them or not? so i had some store-bought cards. but i also felt like getting a little crafty. and i had some blank cards made of nice paper, soooo...

i originally had the idea to cut out the words "THANK YOU" out of scrap fabric and stitch them onto the cards. but that would probably get time consuming and the cards are on the small side so the letters would also need to be small. and i didn't want this to turn into something frustrating. so then i thought i'd cut little triangles of scrap fabric and sew them onto the card in a pennant banner style. i wasn't loving it, so then i thought i'd sew different colored ribbons to make stripes across the fronts, and then i remembered all of the specialty stitches on my machine, so i said "forget the ribbons! let's try out these funky stitches!"

and this is what i came up with.

i have to say, i think they turned out super cute. i stitched across the envelope flaps as well. and i only killed one needle in the process! i started going too fast and it just couldn't take it. sewing through paper probably isn't the best thing for my machine, but i think it'll be alright.

i'm wondering if some of my friends won't know i have specialty stitches on my machine and will think i did it all by hand, like a robot. hehe

Thursday, March 21, 2013

i caved to a 99 cent sale

ok sooo i wasn't going to buy anything for a new project until i finish the project that i've been working on, the lined dress… 

i have been watching tutorials and reading books about using the narrow hemmer foot and trying to get it to work. and it's just not working right. the shape of the foot looks slightly different than the tutorial i was watching. i think the lady is using a bernina. i have a brother XR 7700. so not as fancy. anyone else have the same machine and know any tricks to getting the narrow hemmer foot to work properly? the fabric just will not stay inside the curved piece of the foot. it feels like it's more trouble than it's worth. i trimmed the hem of the dress and the lining and it looks pretty even now. you should have seen the makeshift hem gauge i made. it consisted of taping a yardstick to the inside corner of a wooden box so that the yard stick was perpendicular to the floor. then i marked it and used that to measure the skirt length. the skirt was on the bias, so after hanging, it was a little wonky. ok, a lot wonky. and i decided to make it around knee length. so now it looks pretty even. tonight i'm just going to give up on the narrow hemmer foot (at least for now) and do a narrow hem the regular way. then i'll be done! party, party, party!

as i was saying…i wasn't going to buy anything, but… my new sister-in-law has a birthday coming up, so i ordered some fabric from Spoonflower. i've never ordered from them, so i'm excited to see it. i didn't design the fabric myself, which is an option with their website. i just found a print someone else had already done that worked for what i wanted. i wish the shipping was faster, but i just paid the standard shipping rate. i'll post pics when it comes and let you know how i like it. have you used their website before?

so then i also needed to run by the fabric store to buy a zipper to use in making her gift, and i found out that the store (Hancock's) was having their 99 cent pattern sale on all Simplicity and McCalls. ok, 99 cents!! i just had to buy a few. so i picked up these 3.

that last pattern is one that's been on my To-Sew list because i've seen several really cute versions of that dress (minus the big bow in front). i like the dart placement on it. it has 4 darts coming up from the center front. so then i started wandering through the fabric, and they have a lot of stuff, but i wasn't loving any of it and i didn't have any clear ideas of what i wanted, so it was time to go. i'm thinking i should probably keep using stash fabric, before my stash gets crazy. so i'm going to sit down and see if any of these patterns match up to fabric i already own. i will have to buy some more knit fabric though because i'm clean out of knits and i want to do the top wrap dress in a knit.

and why do i always want to sew dresses!!! i should really sew some more tops to wear with jeans on weekends or tops to wear to work. but once the weather gets warmer i'll be more inclined to wear dresses. i never really think to wear dresses with tights. it did get really hot this weekend (almost 80F) but now it's dropped back down to the low 60s. 

anyway i hope to have the dress i've been working on finished tonight!!!! i want to knock it out. no more messing with the blasted narrow hemmer foot. i'm really excited to move on to a new project. yay! which reminds me… i need to buy some of that swedish tracing paper. but if i cut out those 99 cent patterns instead of tracing them, i think that wouldn't be the end of the world. eh, i'll probably trace them anyway, for making adjustments.

oh amazon, you know me so well. this is the email i received from amazon this morning…

ok, if you insist =)

Friday, March 15, 2013

luck of the irish!

when i got home last night there was a package in the mail for me! all the way from Ireland! yay! so exciting! i was the lucky winner of one of Sew Grateful Week giveaways from Cuada Design =) check out her shop here, where she sells handmade bags and accessories, and take a look at the amazing things she's working on at her blog here!

i received this very cool book "Bags with Style" that has some amazing designs and includes patterns! i only own one other book on sewing, so this is adding to the start of my collection. (all of the rest of the dozens of books i've read were from the local library.) a book stash, woohoo!

and then she also sent me a pdf copy of her Clutch Sewing Pattern! very cute! you can get a copy yourself on craftsy here. and she also surprised me by including the most adorable black and white bird print fabric to use and the notions needed! i'm thinking about using a contrasting bias tape, how bout a teal blue? and remember my chart from yesterday… black and white, plus teal blue… spot on!

i'll post photos when i make it! i've made two clutch purses before, but they were gifts to friends. so this one's allllll mine (insert evil cackle)! =) first i still need to hem that dress. everything is done but the hem. this month has just been super packed, but next month is looking wide open for some dates with my sewing machine

hope you all have a happy St. Patrick's day! especially Cuada Design! because she's actually from Ireland, and she's super sweet for sending me these treats! (and hey i'm part irish, imagine that!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

color me awesome

i've been doing a little thinking… (i know, watch out! right?) Steph of the blog 3 Hours Past did a great series "Conversant in Color" (here's a link to one post) which started to get the wheels spinning, and then Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow did a recent post about colors. so i thought i'd jump in. and i liked her little circles of color, so thanks for the inspiration ladies!

with sewing, i feel like there's a little disconnect (at least for me) when it comes to picking out fabric color and the wearability of the final garment. when shopping at a store for RTW clothes it's easier for me to hone in on colors that i like and will wear. i can hold it up and see what the finished garment will look like on me or try it on right then and there, bingo. at a fabric store, i think i go into color and pattern overload. so much to choose from! i completely forget that the fabric will turn into a garment that i'll be wearing. most of the crazy quilting cottons sure are fun, but really, am i going to wear that, no. i need to take a step back and remember to visualize what the fabric will become, and ask myself, will i wear it?! because i don't want to end up with a bunch of handmade clothes that never get worn.

like the dress i'm working on now - i'm not super in love with the color and pattern anymore. it spoke to me at the store, but did i really know what it would become? no. so i need to do a little more pre-planning before shopping. fabric shopping with a purpose! and the last knit top i made? also a color disappointment. i might never wear it. strike two is the fact that it's a tad shorter than i like my tops. but even if the length was perfect, the color is still a no-go. it's an olive green. i don't wear olive green. what was i thinking?! i liked the pattern and the fabric was soft and had a nice drape, but would i really be excited to wear it? nah.

that's another thing. i want to be Excited to wear the clothes i make/buy. i want to love them. fewer pieces, but pieces i love. doesn't it feel great when you're wearing something you Love? i want that feeling every day.

time for some visuals right? i was looking in my closet at the colors i wear (yes my closet is organized by color), the colors that don't get worn, and the colors that i don't even own:

i love black and white. i have a lot of black and white. and i like wearing black and white together, and black and white patterns. i also love wearing vibrant primary colors. royal blue is a huge chunk of my closet. i also just bought some royal blue shoes and they are amazing. i also love a true red and i get compliments when i wear vibrant yellow. after those, i'm also drawn to coral and teal. love love love. and occasionally an emerald or a violet. those work too.

so i want to take this into consideration when fabric shopping. and i want to avoid the following colors:

anything muddy like a burnt orange, mustard or olive. no good. and this is just me. i have a good friend who looks amazing in mustard, it's one of her favorite colors. she has red hair and mustard looks great with it. i love wearing a vibrant yellow, but a mustard just looks bad on me. i'm blonde and pale. and i've decided that pastels don't look good with my paleness. i need some contrast, and those light colors just don't do it for me.

another lesson learned is that colors i love when separate, can become colors i don't love when combined together into a pattern. so patterns take some careful consideration. think about the scale of the print as well. case in point: the red and white bikini. awhile back i bought a red and white bikini. it was white with tiny adorable red flowers on it. i love red and white. it was seriously cute. until i saw a photo of myself from a little bit of a distance on the beach. red and white make pink. and it looked like a light pink. and my skin looks like a light pink. so you get the idea. not a good look. unless you're on a nude beach.

so i'm going to take more careful consideration of the fabrics i purchase. and remember the colors that work for me and the colors that are "uh, not so much." i know i'd like to think, "oh i can wear any color! i'm brave and open-minded!" but when i'm getting dressed in the morning i grab the colors that make me feel good when i wear them. 

what do you think? what colors work for you? and are there any colors that make you want to run and hide?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

and another

are you sick of seeing baby stuff yet? haha. i don't even have any kids, nor am i expecting. and also not planning for any in the near future. but baby stuff is just so cute to sew.

so here are the final diaper covers for my friend's baby's first birthday photoshoot. aren't they cute?

are you sick of chevrons yet? they've been very popular recently. and some have debated that it's just a zigzag. either way. it's a fun print.

this time the fabric was not quite wide enough to get the full front and back connected with the chevron/zigzags running horizontally. they would've looked weird running vertically. so i had to do the crotch seam this time. i also just wanted to get these done, so i tried to throw my perfectionism out the window. key word being "tried." it still took me about an hour, maybe hour and a half, including cutting, to finish these. plus my serger started being mean. okay i was trying to go too fast and wasn't getting the leg hole to curve properly. so i had to fix it. curved edges on a serger require some finesse. not something you can race through too quickly. i think i was getting cocky about my serging skills and the serger wanted to remind me who's boss.

anyway, i also decided not to spend the time matching the chevron/zigzags ("chevzags"? no?) on the side seams. the baby won't notice.

can't wait to see the photos of him wearing these. cuteness.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

another minor project distraction

i'm a huge pushover. but anything for a friend, right?

baby diaper covers

a friend/co-worker asked me to make baby diaper covers for her baby's first birthday photo shoot. the polka dotted version is the muslin to test the fit. she's going to use a tiny teal blue and white zig-zag/chevron/whatevs for the final. she said the muslin fit well so we're going to do the same size for the final (the 12-24 months size on the pattern).

the pattern is from the blog Dana Made It. find it here. thanks, dana made it! i used 1" elastic for the waistband and 1/4" for the legs. one modification to make (fabric permitting) is to remove the crotch seam allowance, tape the front and back pattern pieces together and cut the whole thing on the fold. bingo, no crotch seam. i mean who wants a crotch seam when you don't have to have one, right?

and serge the whole thing, leg holes, waist line flat, Before sewing up the side seams. much easier. zig zag if you don't have a serger or you can do bias tape, or you could turn it under twice to hide the edge. but i'm loving my new serger. lov-ing-it!! best-thing-ever! get-one-if you-can!

i was going to turn the edges under to hide the serged seams, but since this was a muslin i didn't bother. but my friend Liked the serged seams because it "looks professional." so there ya go, serged seams. super profesh. (i don't think i've ever said "super profesh" in my life…)

the dress is recovering from surgery. hanging up, "letting it drop" (AKA didn't have time to finish it) and the only thing left is the hem. how high? right below the knee? should i show some knee? maybe it would be more fun if it was above the knee? i guess i'll pin it up, take photos and decided. oh i should've taken photos and let you vote. there's still time. i decided not to rush the hem. i could've rushed it and gotten it done in time to wear to my brother's wedding rehearsal dinner on thursday. but we're leaving town tomorrow, so i'm just going to wear a RTW dress.

if you want to vote on the hem length before seeing the photos, go for it =) do you have a "go-to" hem length? and how short do you dare to go? ;)