Monday, July 28, 2008

Time for a Tune-Up

Sad news: my sewing machine is in the shop. I've been without it for 4 days and I'm having some sort of of sewing withdrawal depression. :)

The good news is that my machine comes home tomorrow! It's been 8 years since I've had the machine serviced, and so I thought it time to take care of that.

How often do you all take your machines to a shop for cleaning, oiling, adjusting? How often is necessary? Do you do your own machine servicing? Yes, I clean and oil my machine regularly, but lately something about the tension has been "off." After 8 years, it was time for a tune-up!

These two tops for my daughters were made last week when I still had my machine. Both are from Ottobre, and both are made from the same lightweight jersey knit fabric.

happy sewing,

Ottobre 4/08
Design #34
Size 146

Ottobre 3/08
Design #5
Size 98

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rated E for Excellent!

Pam at Off The Cuff Style recently gave us a blog award...a badge of Excellence. I am so honored to receive the badge! Pam's kind words about our blog really blew me away. Thanks, Pam!

Here's a few of my favorite sewing blogs that definitely deserve a badge of excellence. If they so desire, they can pass along the award to any blogs they feel deserve it. Enjoy!

Christina at Assorted Notions makes the most awesome stylish clothes! I'm envious of her style and her ability to sew so well with knit fabrics.

Cindy's blog, Sew Blessed, is such a sweet and refreshing place to stop by. She does beautiful work, and I always enjoy seeing the fun sewing and craft projects she does for and with her little girls.

Another blog that I enjoy is On Pins and Needles. Michele kind of reminds me of Mom...never without a project in the works, and always sewing for her large and happy family.


I echo Jessica's words of appreciation to Pam for her kind words about our blog. I love reading Pam's blog and have learned so much from her!

Many of my favorite sewing blogs have already been awarded this Badge of Excellence, but I'll add a few more:

Summerset at Pins and Needles sews some amazing garments, many from vintage patterns. Summerset's attention to details makes her sewing so extraordinary--her garments look fabulous on the inside as well as on the outside.

Another of my favorite blogs is Stitches and Seams. I would never have learned how to use my coverstitch machine without Debbie's coverstitch tutorials. Debbie is such a talented seamstress!

I like to read Astrid's blog, Connecting the Dots, not just for her beautiful photography, but also for the cute little outfits she makes for her children. Her Ottobre outfits, in particular are simply adorable!

Happy sewing,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Purple Maternity Shirt

I just realized the other day that most of you guys who don't know me personally haven't heard the BIG news...I'm pregnant! We're expecting a little girl, and the due date is November 18th. I plan to have her at home again with the same midwives that delivered Elliot here, 18 months ago. We are pretty excited!

I feel bad that I haven't mentioned it before now, but I've been feeling so good, and am just now (at 5 1/2 months) starting to feel really pregnant--big and achy and all that good stuff.

I've also started sewing maternity clothes! Last time I was pregnant in the winter, so most of my clothes were winter clothes. Maternity clothing is ridiculously overpriced, and I've been experimenting with converting skirts and pants into maternity. So far I've been really pleased with the results, so be on the lookout for more pictures and a tutorial in the next few days.

I made this lavender shirt a couple weeks ago from some nice knit fabric I found on the clearance table at Hancock's. Total cost: $0.91 =)

I traced the pattern off of a rtw shirt that I liked. The fit isn't exactly the same, but I think that's because it's a slightly different type of knit. I like it though, and hope to make a few more.


Monday, July 21, 2008

McCall's 4747 Finished Pictures and Pattern Review

Here's the finished pictures of last week's project, and my review of the pattern (which is also on Pattern Review).


Pattern Description:

Civil War costume for men: Fitted, lined coat, and button fly trousers. I made view B with the long jacket, and double-breasted front closure.

Pattern Sizing:

S-XXXL. I made the size large for the jacket, and it was just slightly big through the back. I used the medium for the pants and had to size them down some as I sewed to make them fit a 32 inch waist.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, I was pleased with how very nice this came out. Very authentic looking in my mind.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The back of the coat features a center split and two deep pleats at the side back seams. I found the instructions for making the pleats very confusing, but then this was my first time to make a tailored lined jacket for a guy. I was very careful cutting out the pattern and lining the pleat fold lines up correctly, but when I got to the part where I needed to sew the coat skirt to the top, it didn't match up. I ended up having to gather the upper back slightly between the side back seams in order to make all the seams line up correctly.

I either did something wrong with the pleats, even though I was so careful, or the pattern lines are misplaced for the pleats. I would be curious to see if anyone else had this problem.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Lining instructions were pretty easy to follow and went together well. I was able to make this in 5 days without any major issues.

Fabric Used:

Navy poly-wool blend. Cotton lining. Black velvet ribbon for sides of pants.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Had to gather upper back between side back seams as discussed above.

I added shoulder pads between the lining and outer layer to bulk the shoulders up a bit more. Not sure that this is historically accurate though...

I should have lengthened the sleeves...I didn't measure and ended up having to put in a 1/2 inch hem. Yuck! Of course then the lining was then too short to sew to the sleeve hems, so it had to hang free. I did tack it down on the sides of the sleeve seams.

Shortcuts I took:
I sewed the lining hem with a machine straight stitch rather then by hand.
I used the blind hem stitch on my machine for all other hems, rather then sewing by hand as the pattern recommended.
I also sewed the lining down at the waist seam by stitching "in the ditch" from the topside, rather then sewing it by hand. Same for the inner waistband.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I'd sew it again if you paid me enough!

Yes, I'd recommend this to others, particularly if they are more advanced sewers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sewing on Saturday

The Specifics

Pattern: Ottobre 3/2008

#11 "Strawberry" Tunic

#12 "Summer" Short Sweatpants

Size 98

Too big, but Em will grow, so it's okay. I should have graded the pattern down to a size 92.

Fabrics: Yummy French terry for the pants and cotton knit for the top.

happy sewing,


Friday, July 18, 2008

Almost done...

Hello! I've been holed up in my sewing room in case anyone has been wondering where I am... This has been a fun project, but it has seriously taken every spare moment of my time this week.

Joshua just came over this morning and I was able to check the hems on him before I hem the jacket and pants.

To do still:

-sew waistband on (it is just basted on for fitting)
-sew waistband buttonholes
-sew 6 pants buttons on
-hem pants
-hem coat sleeves and sleeve lining
-press entire outfit

Hopefully I can get some pictures of him in the finished suit this evening. He's going to look pretty dashing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

McCalls 4745

What I'm working on this week...

I'll let you know how it goes...I've been working almost every spare minute since Sunday night, and I'm only about halfway done with the jacket. I must be a slow sewer!

Wish me luck,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cloth Napkins

Cloth Napkins---Just how many does a family of 8 need? How often will I need to wash these? Why am I doing this? :)

Yesterday I made 32 cloth napkins, 17"x17" big. All the fabric came from my stash, and I even made some with airplane fabric for the men and boys in the family.

I don't quite know the logistics yet of how this is all going to work. So.... those of you who use cloth napkins, perhaps you can tell me. Do you use the same napkin for several meals? How do you keep "whose napkin is whose" straight? I know that some of my kiddos will not want to use a napkin for a second meal if there is any likelihood that it was used by somebody else for the previous meal. Do you wash the napkins with the regular laundry (with the panties?!) all mixed in together? Will 32 napkins be enough for a while, or will I need more? Anything else I should know? Don't tell me that napkins are a good ironing project of little girls. I don't see any of us ironing these. :)

So, back to my question.... Why am I doing this? In no particular order:

a. I'm tired of buying disposable napkins.
b. This is a way to save money. We need to cut back on the household budget.
c. I have a daughter who's thinking "green" and she convinced me that we could make napkins work, laundry and all.
d. I should do what little I can to re-use and recycle, and you can't do that with paper napkins.
e. I'm not wasting paper.
f. I'm using up some of my fabric stash.
g. The napkins will look pretty on the table, especially if I come up with enough coordinating fabrics.
h. Cloth napkins really are much nicer to use than paper.
i. Anything else I haven't thought of?

Off to launder the new napkins...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pattern Weights

I've had no time to sew lately, and here's why....

I've been making pattern weights, more pattern weights, and even more pattern weights! When Denise of the
This-End-Up co-op asked me about doing a group order, I really thought nobody would be interested. Yes, I was wrong. : )

Making these pattern weights has been so much fun! I listened to audio books and sewing podcasts on my iPod (with speakers-not headphones) while making the weights, and the time flew quickly by. Now, 125-plus weights later, I'm finished with the group order. I'm almost sad to be done, but these pictures make me happy.

I tried to choose my one absolute favorite, but I just couldn't decide. So instead I chose four! For years, I've used just plain jane weights---in fact, the plain weights are still in my sewing basket. I really must make a few decorated sets for myself, don't you think?

~my favorites~

Okay, now that these weights are finished, I'll be back to sewing again. I have all kinds of plans in the works...

happy sewing,