Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

New Digs

My Sewing "Studio"

I moved and I love it!

Dark Industrial Corner

I say that alot about alot of things, but I really, really do *love* my new sewing space.

Even More Storage

I waited and waited and waited. I blame myself as well. I didn’t put too much effort in moving. My old sewing space was my dining room. You saw my giant mess the minute you walked through my front door. And for a person as messy as I am, that’s so not good.

My Stash

We’ve been so wishy-washy about what was going down in our basement that nothing was ever done. The sad thing is that it’s the largest room in the house.

All my machines lined up

So, I finally convinced Chris that it was time. I had sewing things on every floor of our house. I had totes in the living room, dining room, red room and basement. I couldn’t remember what I had.

The Mega Table

I moved everything! Opened every tote, box and bin. Sorted through piles of stuff.

Sewing Alley

I got rid of a lot.

Tools Hang Close

Then, my favorite- I made a spot for everything. Every item now has a home.

More Storage

And now my home is at peace.

**** If you want all the juicy details where I’ve labeled just about everything in the room, click on over to my Flickr page. ****



Back again and with something crafty!

Finally finished poor Eddie’s school bag- um, 6 months late.

Eddie has a bag!

Augie has had his since the beginning of the year, but I was too lazy to do two bags.


The size of these was important. Remember Augie’s Kindergarten backpack? That thing is a pain to get things in and out of! These were going to fit everything including their lunchbox and huge library books, but not too big that they couldn’t carry them.

Dimensional pocket

There aren’t any inside pockets since I know they’d never use them. Girls maybe, but boys don’t use inside pockets.  The outside pocket is a must since their morning snack must be in there for fast and easy access. I learned how to do this “dimensional pocket” from Cindy Taylor Oates’ great pattern for Backpacks. (I recommend highly this pattern!) It was so easy to do and came out perfectly every time.

The tricky part!

The hardest part is that top zipper. Since this was my pattern, I had to work hard to get all the pieces to fit.  Now I know why patterns with top zippers are never sewn in at the ends. I did sew my ends in. I had to rip it out many times because it was hard to get the corners neat and everything matched up.   Do you see my mistake?

I think I went through 10 needles sewing these two bags. There’s stiff peltex interfacing throughout and two layers of home dec fabric. Then there was the handles which were interfaced as well. There was some major cursing going on!

Boy's School Bags

Needless to say, my trusty Singer was put to the test! I love that machine.

(The mistake was the top piece with the zipper. The lining camo fabric is on one side and the outside skateboard fabric is on the other. I know it’s hard to tell and the fabrics match, but I can tell. It drives me nuts.)

Rotting My Brain

I’ve been watching alot of TV lately and I totally believe it rots your brain. I mean, I used to be productive. I used to whip out projects left and right. I would sew, read or just sleep. Then, we got Netflix.

My favorite hat

Now, I watch movies whenever I want. You can watch them on your computer or your TV. How genius is that?! Seriously though, I’m not going to go on and on about this, but man- I love it.

So, back to some things I do manage to get done:


My mushroom log has gown. We watched it grow amazingly fast. We would walk away for a couple hours and I swear there was noticeable growth when I returned. And the growth overnight was amazing.


We cooked them up as appetizers for some guests the other night along with some Shitake’s which were also grown on a log. It was so very yummy.

I’ve also managed to get alot done on my newest quilt:

Quilt Kit

I adore this quilt. I’ve been eying quilt kits for the longest time and finally broke down and bought one for mother’s day this year. Kits are nice, but I’m not sure if I’d buy them again. For me, it seems like it takes the originality out of a quilt. I thought I wanted a no-brain-er type quilt, but now that mine is almost done, I feel like I almost cheated. I still love my quilt, but I just don’t know if I would recommend buying a quilt kit.

(BTW- the kit I bought included the pattern and all the fabric for the quilt except the batting and backing which is what most kits include. You still have to make all the cuts for the blocks, but it takes the guess work out of the fabric choices.)

Next up is this tote I made many months ago. I wanted to share it because I use it 24/7.

Project Tote

It’s not my usual tote. This one is lined, interfaced and has pockets on the inside as well as outside. I bought all the fabrics used in this bag from Ikea and I must say that their cotton solids have a nice weight to them.


I’ve been using it by my bedside to keep everything from library books to my latest knitting project. The best part is that it easily comes with me. We are constantly takes little trips so this bag works well for the on-the-go project that I feel I always have to take with me so I don’t get bored.

And lastly some quick links that I have to share:

I just made these Fudge Babies tonight and man, they are awesome. You’ve got to try these simple, 4 ingredient, no baking desert. Even Chris liked them although he said they immediately made him think of Schweddy Balls.

I just discovered Made. And let’s just say that she is my hero.

I need to cram in a new hobby so I can make this, but also want to sew myself a really, really good pair of jeans and maybe huge leather wallet.

Anyone have any tips on sewing with leather?


ps- The first photo of my favorite hat is a free pattern called Foliage by Emilee Mooney that I found on Ravelry. I made it with some luscious Malibrigo worsted yarn and the color is called Molly. I have more hats to share soon.


This year’s Halloween was a blast as usual. The kids have been wearing their costumes for weeks since I was finished with them super early this year.

Halloween 2009

Augie was Anakin Skywalker– he cracks me up posing like that!  For his costume, I made the bottoms with a pj pant pattern and for the shirt I simply traced around him while he laid on the fabric. Since the whole outfit is rough I used a thicker burlap-type fabric and did not hem any edges. I loved it- so very easy.

Young Anakin Skywalker

Eddie was a vampire with wings. His was even easier since it was mostly the make-up. We used one of their Harry Potter robes from a few years ago and I gently basted the wings under the arms. The seam can be taken out easily since I worked so dang hard on these robe- I wasn’t about to ruin them.


And lastly, Ms O was a fairy. And yes, I cut her hair again. This time it’s way too short, but she insisted that she wanted her hair like Augie’s. I will not do that again. So back to the costume- it’s made using Simplicity 2872. This was a great pattern even though it was hard to understand all the directions as to what was the lining, sheer and outside fabrics. I ended up skipping the tulle and tripled the sheer skirt. I really can’t remember what I did since I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. I never really paid attention to what I was doing, but kept my fingers crossed that it would work out.


It did and she loves it. I made her a size 4 even though she’s barely in a 3 so that she can wear it for some time to come. I do have to warn you to be careful around velcro. Her wings just about ruined her dress before we figured out the velcro on the wings’ waistband was causing huge runs on the dress.

We had a blast with our friends who hosted an amazing party full of food and fun. Trick-o-treating was perfect since the weather cooperated with clear skies and mild temperatures. Now, what the heck am I going to do with all this darn candy?

Oh, and I also wanted to mention that our mushroom log is blooming!

Blue Oyster Mushroom Log

These little baby blue oyster mushrooms have just started. I bought the log at the yearly OMS mushroom show. (What? You’re not a member? Get on it! If you’re not in Oregon, I’m sure there’s a chapter in your neck of the woods. It really is a great community of people.) The logs are a measly $5 if you are a member and you can get others like shiitake, maitake and other varieties of oysters.

Aren't they cute?

I picked the blue oyster because I wanted something that was easy to grow and was very successful so that the kids can watch it. The log has been sitting on my table in the kitchen for about 3 weeks before the first blooms started.

And one last thing that I highly suggest you do with your kids. It’s an autumn leaf garland.

Autumn Leaf Garland

I did this with my kids this morning and it was fun. We walked around the neighborhood for about 15 min collecting leaves then brought them home to iron between pieces of wax paper. The longest part was cutting them out, but overall it was a quick and easy project.  I love my garland- it looks so pretty in my window.

I don’t know how the heck Valerie has time to do all these cool projects, but she does! This will be our next project. You should wander through Valerie’s site if you have time- she has a ton of ideas.


Summer 09 Skirt

I’m an XL girl.  Always have been.  So when looking at patterns, the models are always smaller.  I get excited and think I can totally sew that and it’s so cute.

Then I make it. Ugh.


First of all, I did not read the pattern carefully.  The cherry fabric was to be the main panels of the skirt with the brighter fabric “peeking” through between the pleats.  After sewing the 10 panels together, I realized that I mis-understood the instructions.  Only 2″ of each panel would go into the pleat so my skirt would actually be striped! Yuck- not what I wanted at all.

At midnight, I called my sister in Hawaii for a chat and I started another skirt.  I decided on the circle skirt instead because while trying on the mistake skirt, I realized that adding all the bulky pleats to my body frame was not a good idea.

Summer 09 Skirt

It took me less than 3 hours from start to finish AND I was talking to Fini the entire time.  This is an easy skirt. The fabric is Valorie Wells’ Del Hi collection called Paisley Earth and is just gorgeous. (If you see it, buy as much as you can afford.  The fabric is luscious and high quality. You will never regret it.) I really hesitated cutting up.

I still don’t know if this skirt is something my body should be wearing, but oh well.  I have my Summer 09 skirt.  I’m happy.

It's a Circle!


– Pattern is 2 pieces: cut 4 of the ¼ circle piece and 2 of the waistband piece.

– All pieces are cut on the bias so it takes alot of fabric, but it hangs so nicely.

– This pattern runs big so start at your usual size or go down one.

The End.


Newborns are so tiny!  Without their onesies, sleepers and blankets swaddling them, there’s nothing to them. No fat, very little hair and a teeny voice. So quickly you forget all these things.  Then your 7 year old holds one and you just about loose it right then and there.

Eliana's Quilt

This quilt was made for one such tiny girl who were were so lucky to finally meet today. Welcome Eli!


I don’t know about this quilt.  The colors are too muted, everything blends together and the binding is boring. I did have a ton of fun making it though.

Up Close of Free Motion Quilting

I decided that stippling or meandering is addictive.  I can’t wait to do it again. I feel artistic when I’m doing it.  I feel free and creative.  No lines to follow.  You can go fast or slow- whatever works best for you.

This is my first quilt using the technique of free motion quilting.  I love this video. I do have to warn you- this method uses a ton of thread!  I loaded 4 bobbins for this 45″ square quilt and I used every one of them.  Maybe as I get better with more practice, I may learn to use less.  I am going to get my thread here from now on.  It’s just too expensive otherwise and I can never remember to get it during those dumb “sales”.

Baby Quilt

Moving on. I have another baby quilt to make and of course my skirt so I better get my tush off the Mac and to the sewing table!

Oh, before I forget, here are the specifics:

1.) Quilt is a made of cotton with Warm and White for batting and flannel for the back.

2.) Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) is really a piece of cake once you remember to:

a.) Go at a consistent speed.  Too fast and you’ll skip stitches.  Too slow and you’ll get a knot of thread.

b.) Load tons of bobbins.

c.) Lower feed dogs and use darning foot.  FMQ is not possible without these two!

d.) Use a sharp needle!

3.) I used my Singer 15-91 for the quilting and I loved it.  I tried using my other machines, but Stella was so smooth, fast and her bobbin holds a ton.

4.) I used Amy Butler’s free Lotus Brick Path Quilt Pattern which can be found here.

5.) My rectangles were the same as in the pattern: 4½ x 7 ½.  I have 11 rows and each row had 7 rectangles= 77 total rectangles of 9 different fabrics.

6.) Nine different fabrics weren’t enough.  Should have used 12.  It was too hard to vary the pattern.

7.) Should have used sashing between the rows or a border or something.  Pattern was muted.

8.) Used my ½” bias tape maker for the binding and machine stitched it on- both front and back.  Should have did it by hand and made my binding a little wider.  (2½ inches like she suggests.)

The End!


So I tried to shirr a while ago.  I started this dress back at the beginning of May after hours of designing my own pattern.  (My sister has asked me to copy several mini Boden outfits for E.)

Trial Run Dress for E

I finally got around to putting it together and shirring last week.  The elastic thread has already come apart so I have to do it over.

Broken Already

I scoured the web looking for a shirring tutorial where the rows were not sewn in a circle or tube.  I just wanted to go back and forth across the front and back of the dress, but didn’t know if I had to tie off at each end.  Yeah, I was too lazy to tie all those darn knots that people do.


I wanted to sew one continuous line, but since I couldn’t find anything showing it done this way I wasn’t sure if that would still work okay or if it would throw off the whole shirring process.  Instead, I backstitched 3 or 4 times at the beginning and end of each row.  Bad idea.  After talking with G the other night, I found the exact thing I wanted to do in an Octobre mag!  The worst part was that one of the editions I already had also had the exact shirring technique that I was trying to accomplish.  Frustrating.  It was right in front of me all along.


So I will be re-doing the shirring and will be sewing in one continuous line this time, (and will reduce those ginormous pockets!).  Live and learn.

I also finally tried AB’s Swing bag– minus the scarf.  I don’t like scarfs.

Grad Present

I liked the pattern.  It was bare bones.  No pockets, gussets, or closures.  It’s supposed to be reversible so you can’t add all that nonsense stuff if you want to be able to turn it inside out.  I really liked the pleats at the base of each handle.  It’s too cute.

Love the Handle Pleats

The bag was for a neighbor’s daughter who just graduated high school and is heading off to OSU.  I tucked in some hard-to-find long sheets for her dorm and called it good.  It was great because I didn’t have to wrap it.  I don’t like to wrap. Talk about a waste of resources.  (Sorry, I feel a mean cold coming on which is why this post is a little funky and negative.)

Gift Inside

I really do like the bag pattern, but changed a few things such as: I didn’t interface it with canvas as the pattern instructs.  Who keeps light colored canvas on hand?  Do you?  I sure don’t.  I had this stuff which worked out just fine.  Also, I did not leave the opening for turning on the curve of the top of the bag.  I wasn’t about to handstitch on a curve- it always turns out crappy.  So instead, I put the opening on one of the straight sides and topstitched. Finished and given already with lots of thank you’s.

Next up- how does your garden grow & tour of my yard.