Category Archives: Sewing

Top Stitcher starts today!!

Oh my goodness everyone!
I am in the very first season of Top Stitcher (much inspired by Iron Chef, but for Sewists).
I am up against the very talented Suzanne from Pattern Revolution.You may remember the two of us competing in the Challenge Create competition not so long ago. I totally knew this would be a challenge! You can read our bios here.
We had to sew up a Spring outfit out of SPORTS APPAREL! This seriously got me thinking. I had the most difficult time narrowing down the sport. It took me 2 weeks of thinking about it, and listing sports in my head. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY SPORTS THERE ARE??!! Yikes. I clearly have trouble with broad topics with lots of choices. Once I narrowed it down to a section of the Goodwill store, it only took me two more days to actually find something I wanted to refashion! Plus, making something for my 9 year old takes a lot more fabric than when she was a toddler. Tricky finding enough yardage in pieces.
Then I saw that they had golf attire. In XXL no less. Oh yes. Golf! I didn’t even think of that sport. Really: fencing, baseball, gymnastics, football, basketball, soccer, track, boxing, swimming, tennis, fishing. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 8,000 sports.
Once I had the pieces I wanted to refashion, I had to decide how to treat them. The shirt was made from some kind of shiny Polyester with a slight stretch. I just touched that shirt for days before actually choosing a pattern to start with. I couldn’t decided whether it was knit or not.
The other thing that truly challenged me was choosing only 4 photos. Ha! So tomorrow I will be posting the ones that didn’t make the cut for that post, here.
You can read about the rules and the prompts and see who is in the line up this season here.
This week, I will call on all of you to help~ YOU will be the judges!! You can also read up on the voting criteria. This is one well-organized contest.
Head over and see what I made!
 Wish me Luck!




Expo Recap

I went to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo on Saturday! This is the very first year I have ever made it. I was so excited!!!


I met up with Amy from Friends Stitched Together (and Crafting Con).


It was the first time we met IRL, and we laughed for about 4 hours straight! Instantly comfortable around each other.

She is so fabulous. It was really nice to be able to walk around and share this experience with someone who sews!


There was so much to see. And THE FABRIC. My goodness. THE FABRIC.


Oh these lace trims! I am pretty sure I drooled a little bit near them.


There was something there for everyone, for sure.


It was a quilter’s paradise, though. Plenty of fabrics, machines, and gadgets geared toward quilters. We even got to test drive a quilting machine. It was crazy fun.


This made me wish I knit.


This was one of Amy’s favorites.


The delicate fabrics on these dresses just melted my heart.


THIS!!!! We have a friend who’s son is going to college for something brilliant and science-y. I would love to make something like this someday.


And then….. we met Gretchen from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing!!! You may remember that I entered her contest (here). We actually got to see the winning dress. Beautiful.


 I was a little star stuck. She is made of all sorts of awesome. I also felt a little short. Ha!


Overall, a memorable day. And an excellent excuse to get out, do a little fabric shopping (more on that in another post), and socialize with my sewing people!

Knowing when to stop

I don’t know if you remember this dress? I made it before I really had any understanding of adjusting patterns, and I made a much larger size than needed to accommodate “my girls”. *ahem*

The high waist also bothered me. And it was a little baggy in the chest area.

So I got to thinking it would be great to fix it up and wear it to the upcoming Sewing and Stitchery Expo.

Yeah. It didn’t go so well.


I unpicked the zipper, and the skirt portion, and kept the bodice in tact. Then I adjusted the boob darts. OK.

I lengthened it by adding a strip of red across the middle, then re-attached the skirt. I then inserted the zipper, which I ripped out and sewed back in three times to get everything lined up. Then discovered (after trying it on again) that it was too tight.


Unpick AGAIN, and sewed a strip to widen it on either side of the zipper, and I have no idea whatthehell happened, but it all slanted to the side once I sewed it all up. On the bright side it did fit now, but the boob darts needed to be adjusted again.


Everything started to bubble, and you know what?

I’m done.


I adore this fabric, so I will keep it and make it into something else, eventually. Maybe when I can actually look at it without twitching.

When do you give up? How many times do you seam rip the SAME SEAM before running away screaming?

Just for You sewalong: Venna Tote

I decided to join in The Sew She Can: Just for You book sewalong by sewing up the Venna Tote!


I followed the pattern exactly, and really loved it. It is written very well, she even walks you through making box pleats!


I used some crazy fabric for this one. Even for me. The outer is this upholstery fabric with the national monuments printed on it that started out a cream color with red. I dyed it (along with the liner) Rit Denim Blue. I got the fabric and the dye from my local Buy Nothing Project! I love that.


I combined that with this fantastic quilting cotton with retro T-bone steaks on it. I couldn’t help myself. Not only did I use that fun fabric for the sash, but I made 2 inside pockets with it!


OK the pattern only called for 1, but I like pockets, so I added 2.


I am not much of a red and blue person, but I have to say that I LOVE this fabric combination AND this bag!


I had some red corduroy for the flower. Look how sweet!


I can’t wait to use it. Although The Bee (pictured above) asked if she could have it! I may have to make another because I don’t want to share. Ha!

What have YOU made today?

Boys Can Wear Pink

I am participating in Kelly’s from Handmade Boy new series:

boys wear pink button


The other day while waiting for Falafel’s glasses to be fixed, Jim and I overheard this woman talking with her daughter about her baby brother. The little girl was trying on all sorts of glasses, and wanted her brother to try them on too. And when she picked up a pink pair, her Mother said “Oh I don’t think he would like those! They are pink!“.

I actually was surprised. Seriously. After all, pink is just a color. I always dressed my two girls (even as babies) in blue and never thought twice about it. Why shouldn’t boys be given the same color choices?

Even though I don’t have a boy, I do have a husband, and we both feel that men CAN ALSO wear pink!


I self drafted him a vest based on another that he wears all the time. I also used the instructions for construction from the School boy Vest pattern by Sew Much Ado (because it rocks!). The inside is as pretty as the outside.


You may notice there are buttons but no button holes. My machine is STILL in the shop (for another post) and I would need a degree in antique machine button holing to do it on the loaner.


Anyhow, Jim actually picked both of these fabrics out. The outer is plum linen, and the inner is this satiny patterned pink.


For this photo session, we combined it with a hike that we wanted to do (on the recommendation of a friend). We drove out to this trail in the middle of nowhere. We drove on logging roads, gravel roads, roads with no signage, and drove down a path that looked like it was intended only for foot traffic. There were NO PEOPLE. Anywhere. For miles. Remember that movie “The Edge“? It looked like that. So much that I expected a large hungry bear to appear any second, or maybe a cougar to snatch up our little Falafel.

Which was quite possible.


It was incredibly beautiful, though. And there was no one there to question us why he was on a hike in 40 degree weather in a purple and pink vest with no coat.


There is nothing more manly than a Father being a good Dad…wearing any color.


Does your husband (or boys) wear pink?


Make sure to check out the other fabulous looks AND enter the rafflecopter below to win some fabulous prizes!


One yard of Stenzo Pit Stop Poplin in pink from Mabel Madison
$25 gift certificate, plus a surprise fat quarter from Phat Quarter Shop
One yard of solid cotton/lycra & one yard of coordinating fabric from Purple Seamstress
One pattern of choice from Paisley Roots
$20 store credit from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
One pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates
One pattern of choice from Mouse House Creations
Bottoms Up Pants Pattern from If Only They Would Nap
One Pattern of choice from Titchy Threads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Project Run and Play: Muscle Shirt turned Brain Power dress

It is time again for another Project Run and Play challenge!

This time, all participants had to take Living with Punks Mademoiselle Muscle Tee pattern and either sew it as is, or put their own spin on it. Guess which one I did?


It is all about the Brains instead of the Brawn! Get it? Muscle Tee. Brawn.


I actually used parts of another pattern (Pretty in Peplum Dress by Sew Much Ado) that fit my Falafel well, since the Muscle Tee only goes up to size 5, and she wears a size 7-8.


First, I changed the neckline. I raised it, and added some ribbed knit.


BTW: I am still borrowing my friend Kirsten’s sewing machine because mine is STILL IN THE SHOP??!! Goodness, I surely hope I get it back soon. I do love that machine. prpmuscleclosem

I also added some FOE on the peplum, but did it slightly different that it’s intended usage. I made it look like a stripe by sewing it along the underneath edge, then turning up and topstitching in place.


I made the skirt into an A-line shape, and lengthened it past her knees.


I love the way it came out! It reminded me of a librarian’s outfit. But as soon as she put it on, she climbed a tree.


Oh that girl.


What have YOU sewn today?

I give because I Love.

To celebrate LOVE, I have a giveaway for you today!

Remember the shirt I made a few days ago for Falafel?


She has decided (after only wearing it for the photo session) that she would like to give it to one of you!

If you would like to see the details of the shirt, read the post, and then come back to enter.

Just enter through the Rafflecopter below….

Winner announced below!

And Happy Valentine’s Day!

*disclaimer: I had trouble with the snap tool, and consequently the top snap is bent strangely and only sometimes closes. While I will work on this before sending it, I cannot guarantee it will actually work. Other than that this shirt is AWESOME and made with love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A bouncy Before and After for you

A friend of ours asked if I would be able to find a trampoline for her son’s Birthday this week through my online community of awesomeness (The Buy Nothing Project). Of course I gave it a whirl.

And of course I found one!

Another lovely friend of mine (on BNP) saw my post and happened to have one that her kids abandoned in the yard. But it needed some love.


This is it as I was scrubbing it with soap. I forgot to snap one before, but this gives you a pretty good idea of what it looked like.


I scrubbed and scrubbed, cut off the old spring cover, and dried off everything thoroughly.

I happened to have this red tent panel in the garage that we no longer use. It is great sturdy waterproof fabric, but it frayed like crazy! So I just sewed some more French Seams (pretty soon I will have duel citizenship from using those so much-ha!) and created a tube. Then carefully ironed a casing on each edge and inserted elastic on both sides.

The legs unscrewed (with some help from my husband and his tools) and I just cut little slits in the cover so they could screw back on and it would stay in place.


With just a few hours of work, this trampoline got a new life, and our little friend will have his birthday wish come true!

I love that.

More photos of the Western Shirt

Because the light was better than it had been in a week, and I didn’t know how the photos I took with the backdrop would turn out, we did two photo sessions of the western shirt.


I liked them both, so I am sharing the other one with you today.







I had so much fun with this one.

I will say that I cannot wait until my machine comes back from the shop. I miss it terribly!

What have you sewn today?

February FREE for ALL

The fabulous ladies over at Frances Suzanne have created a new series for the month of February called:


and have graciously invited me to be a part of it!

The whole point is to tap into all the FREE patterns out there as a resource for everyone to use. Today I am sharing with you where I get a whole bunch of the free patterns I use.

{Brace yourself}


Seriously. It is a great way to try out patterns in a book before actually buying the book! All the books have their patterns in an envelope. You can trace what pattern and size you need, and then put the pattern back for someone else to use.

Brilliant, right?

The book I borrowed from my local library is Little One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. I have actually used this pattern quite a bit in the past: like here and here and here.


I used the “Western Shirt” pattern, traced a size 6 (because that is all it goes up to in the book), and lengthened it a few inches for my girl who has grown.


**BTW: I am getting used to the vinyl backdrop my husband bought me for Christmas and playing with light. Trickier than I thought to time the position of the incredibly rare sun (around these WA state parts) for where I chose to hang the backdrop.


OK…details! I used my very special Heather Ross fabric for this one. The stuff I have been hoarding hanging on to until the perfect pattern showed up. I LOVE HER FABRIC.


I went all out on this one. I pattern matched (the best I could- check out that princess in the pocket), made french seams, and top stitched everywhere possible.


Those purple Kam snaps add a little pop of color.


This inside is as pretty as the outside. Excuse me while I do a little back patting.


And I did all this with a borrowed machine (because my right arm sewing machine is still in the shop)! Can I get an “Ooooh” and an “Ahhhhhh”?

*And a huge thank you to my dear friend Kirsten who let me borrow her workhorse of a machine.


I love this pattern and it’s simplicity. She really walks you through each step (the French seams and top stitching were just added by me, not actually part of the pattern).




Of course, I encourage everyone to support indie designers by buying their books, because they have worked hard and this is how they make their money. BUT I must say that if you are unsure about making that jump, or don’t have the money to do so, no need to fret!

Use your local library as another source of FREE patterns.

Check out the plethora of other ladies joining me in finding FREE patterns for all!!
(Click on the image below to take you over to Frances Suzanne)