Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What is the best thing you've ever sewn?

Sweet Girls 2011
There are many handmade items that are my favorites and it is hard to pick only one. But if I had to pick one piece from my entire sewing collection, above all others it would be the Christmas Carol dresses I made for my daughters. My family received tickets to see the Christmas Carol live show and I wanted the girls to dress up nice. Since my youngest was a size 5 and the oldest was a size 8 it was hard to find dresses that match in the department stores. Finally, I gave up shopping and decided to make them myself. I found two yards of this red and green, plaid, taffeta  in my stash. I bought black fabric for $15, so the price of these dresses were $7.50 a piece! I used the Precious Dresses Pattern from Carla C., the Scientific Seamstress. The girls loved them because they could twirl and play with them on. We had a wonderful time at the theater and the girls looked adorable.
Picking Flowers
I learned many new techniques sewing these dresses; gathering, making a placket to incase the buttons and a lining. Handmade dresses seem to last longer too. Even though my two girls are to big now to wear their Christmas Carol dresses, we have saved them because of the memories they bring back. Back of Christmas Dress

Monday, July 27, 2015

On To Round # 4

Moving on to Round 4 feels amazing. I have had butterflies in my stomach all weekend. Second guessing all of my design decisions. This is such a tough competition and all of these women are incredible seamstresses.  I am learning so much!  I didn't know you could print on canvas (like Michelle, from Sewhenge) or combining paraffin and beeswax to make a solution you can use to waterproof your bags (like Teresa from Dandelion Drift). At the same time I feel honored to be in these challenges. 

The next challenge is the Carolyn Pajama Pattern by Closet Case Files. I have been looking at the Ginger Jeans Pattern forever. This will be a great first pattern from her collection to sew up. Sew Modern has also given us $75 to shop with, so I have been combing through their stash. They are based in Los Angeles, CA, I hope I receive the fabric with enough time to sew. There is so much to do; print the pattern templates, take measurements, cut templates, wash fabric, cut fabric and sew. 
I will keep you posted!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Arizona Caravan Tote and Pouch, Round Three Challenge

This is Round #3 of the Super Online Sewing Match. It has been wonderful receiving patterns, fabric and online resources to create our sewing projects with. I feel so lucky to be a contestant. Each week receiving a new challenge with new resources to make it with. This week's challenge was the Caravan Tote and Pouch Pattern by Anna Graham from Noodlehead. Anna has a new book and line of fabric out and I can't wait to get my hands on both! 
Caravan Tote Carry
The Caravan Tote and Pouch pattern by Noodlehead is a knitters dream. It has pockets everywhere for needles, yarn, stitch counters and placement markers. I am a beginner, when it comes to the world of knitting, but I love and respect it. I feel that it has made me a better seamstress because knitting is making your own fabric! 
Caravan Tote and Pouch
When I received the challenge, I began to wonder what fabrics to use. It was hard to narrow it down. I went to Fat Quarter Shop, who sponsored this week's round, and instantly fell in love with  Arizona Fabrics by April Rhodes from Art Gallery Fabrics. The Caravan Tote and the Arizona fabrics were a match made in heaven. I saw that the tote had leather handles. So I made a call to my step-mom and asked for some leather from her fabric stash. I text a picture of the Arizona fabrics and she sent me a parcel of the leather in the mail. Now all I had to do is wait and come up with a plan. 
Caravan Tote
Once I received the fabrics, I had to figure out where to place all of the Arizona prints. I had acquired 5 of the Arizona fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop. (Thank you Fat Quarter Shop!!!)  I could have picked any one of them to be the focal point of this tote and it would have looked perfect. However, after hours of deliberation, I finally decided to use them all! First, I thought about a log cabin quilted pattern but it just didn't look right in my mind. So I looked for another idea. I stumbled across Maureen Cracknell Handmade's site and she had a terrific tutorial on the herring bone, quilt as you go pattern. That was it!!! Caravan Tote
In order to create the herring bone effect, I took the main template and added .5" seam allowance on the fold line. I cut 4 - 9"W X 13"L panels. At the top corner of each panel I started to draw 2" diagonal lines just as a starting guide for the quilt as you go. Then, I cut 2.5" strips of fabric to quilt with. This was my favorite part of making this tote because I got to play with fabrics and quilt them together.  These diagonal panels where then sewn together to achieve the herring bone quilted effect. 
Front Pocket
I used the desert blanket and triangle tokens, Arizona prints for the lining. There are eyelets on the inside slip pocket to act as yarn guides.Lining
The contrast fabric is a Robert Kaufman slate chambray fabric that I repurposed for this design. I embroidered the chambray to tie it into the overall look of the tote. I found the Aztec embroidery design at KMP design studios. Since the quilted part of the tote was a large feature, I did not cover it with a pocket. 
Caravan Pouch Carry
I decided to make the pouch with the cute pocket to show it off. The leather handles are a Sew Spoiled original. I cut the leather and the tomahawk fabric, into 1" X 24" handles. Then I Mod Podged the tomahawk fabric first and allowed it to dry completely. I used a Fabric Mod Podge so I could spot clean the handles later if they needed it.
After the fabric dried, I painted the rough side of the leather with Mod Podge and centered the fabric over it. I pressed them together and let it cure. After the handles were dry, I clipped and sanded down the edges. I love how everything turned out. 
Caravan Pouch
The pouch was a cute addition to the Caravan Tote Pattern. Thank you Anna from Noodlehead for adding it to this sewing pattern. It is large enough for a small skein of yarn and/or more needle storage. I added a little strap to use on the shoulder or wrist. I love to carry my knitting with me and most projects start small and grow into scarves, sweaters, etc., so a small pouch is great when you are first starting a knitting project. The flap pocket fits my iPhone 6!!! (With my iPhone in it's case.) Yeah! 
The instructions throughout the pattern were written very well. I had never installed a zipper  like this one in the Caravan Pouch. All of my previous zipper pouches were made by running over the sides with my needle. I found this method a little more sophisticated. I love that I found out about this new sewing technique. Also, I did not know about Pellon Shape Flex101. (I know, I must live under a rock.) Adding it to your fabric before adding another interfacing is brilliant. 
I can't wait to see everyone's Caravan Totes! Thank you for stopping by. 
Please share a comment below. 
Best wishes and tons of stitches!

This is pretty cool, just #F21THREADSCREEN on any Instagram picture and it shows up on the Thread Screen in NYC. The thread screen has 6,400 spools of thread to create any picture!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Beautiful Day To Wear a Dress!


This is a Cecelia Dress from The Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman. I love this dress and this is the third one I have made. You can wear it with a belt, that is in the pattern, or without a belt at all. Then it looks like a shift dress. I am currently on the lookout for a thin yellow or navy leather store bought belt to wear along with it. This fabric is Arizona by April Rhodes from Art Gallery Fabrics. I like all of the prints in this collection but this one looked like it would make an amazing dress.
This is a wonderful go to pattern because you can make it from any 2+ yards of fabric, as long as the print is non directional. The sleeves have a pretty tulip shape and I like that it has a big pocket. It is wonderful to have a pocket! There is not a zipper or buttons to worry about sewing, only elastic at the neck line. What a gorgeous day!
Handmade Cecelia Dress in Arizona by April Rhodes
Shoes: Natural Soul by Naturalizer Shoes
Shades: Charming Charlie

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sew Spoiled Sewing Space

Sew Spoiled Sewing Space

My sewing space has changed as my life continues to change. Recently, my oldest daughter asked for her own room. Sharing with a younger sister was not working any more and she wanted her own space. My sewing room was dismantled and we moved her in. We then had to figure out where to put Sew Spoiled? It was determined that the bonus room (which is the tv watching, game room) would have to do. My girls love it because it is easy for them to sew on the machines. The machines are always ready for action. The cover is never on, what is that for? I guess if you travel with it. (Day-dreaming: I would love to go on a sewing retreat. ..... Ok, back to reality.) The lighting is good in my new space. I am very fortunate to have a serger, sewing and embroidery machine. 
Embroidery Machine

Fabric and pattern storage has always been an issue. I store a lot of fabric under beds and in closets. I take pictures of inside of the storage bins, so I know where to look when a project comes around. My two favorite pieces in my sewing space are my yellow ruffled glass pin dish and my Martha Washington sewing cabinet. The ruffle dish was given to me by a close friend and I love it. It is in a lot of Sew Spoiled pictures almost like a mascot. 
Yellow Pin Dish
The Mary Washington sewing cabinet holds everything you need to put your fingers on; scissors, measuring tape, buttons, zippers, etc.. It has 2 saddle bag compartments and 3 drawers. One thing I would change is adding shelving or more storage. 
My girls and I love to make dolls, dresses and accessories, so poor Dad is driven out sometimes in a wave of fabric from the bonus room. He is a really good sport and he helps me with pictures. Even though I have a small space, it is mine and I love it!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On to Round # 3!

The Super Online Sewing Match II, challenge at Sew Mama Sew, has been such an awesome experience for me. I have learned new sewing techniques, patterns, fabric, online sites and above everything else, I have met really outstanding people, who love sewing as much as I do. At the beginning of the week we are given the same sewing pattern and by the end of the week we have turned it into something different, fresh and new. I am excited that our next challenge is the Caravan Tote and Pouch by Noodlehead for Round 3. One of my favorite things to make are bags and accessories. 

Thank you so much Hart's Fabric for this wonderful Saint James navy and white ponte fabric. They wrapped the fabric in tissue from a printed pattern. I loved that! I made another Marianne Dress. I am totally crazy about this dress! I really love Christine's design! By the way, my 8 year old took this picture of me! She did a great job. 

#Marianne Dress
I am going to have a great wardrobe for this coming school year if this keeps up! Ok, now on to shopping and getting ready for Challenge #3.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Classy Marianne Dress, Round Two Challenge

I am having so much fun participating in the Sew Mama Sew, Super Online Sewing Match II. This week we were asked to make the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. I love the look of this dress, I will probably make the Marianne dress over and over again! Christine Haynes is a wonderful apparel designer and her instructions for this dress are extremely detailed. Since this dress is made from knit fabric each step was written for a conventional sewing machine, as well as a serger. I have noticed in all of Christine's patterns that she keeps things simple. Only using a few pieces of fabric to stitch together, this makes it easier for anyone to create her designs. 
When I started looking for knit fabric for View B of the Marianne dress pattern. I looked for stripes. I assumed that I need a busy print or something with horizontal lines. It wasn't until I went fabric shopping, that I realized color blocking would give me a classic look. The fabrics I chose are solid red, white and black Ponte De Roma Fabrics. Ponte De Roma is a double knit fabric with tons of elasticity, it is a medium weight knit fabric, which helps hold this beautiful shift dress shape. Ponte De Roma medium weight fabrics can be worn all year long. I can wear my Marianne dress in the spring with flats, summer with sandals or in the fall and winter with boots and/or a scarf. 
After buying the fabrics, I tested out the pattern to check fitting. When researching this pattern online, I noticed that Christine Haynes had a Sew Along and blogged about each step of the pattern. This was yet another great tool to use for constructing this dress. In the pattern I was a size 6 (bust size 34"), however when looking at the finished garment size, the bust measured 37.5". I knew this would be too large for me since I am also petite. Plus, knit garments need to have a little negative ease, so that the knit fabric can stretch to give you a better over all fit. Size 4 is the size I created and I love the fit!!
The color blocking was simple to figure out. I cut the front and back dress templates in half at the waist line and added a 3/8" seam allowance to both pieces. 
inside dress
  • White fabric= front yoke, back yoke, collar and sleeves. 
  • Red fabric= cuffs and the top of the front and back dress templates.
  • Black fabric= the bottom of the front and back dress templates. 

I did notice that my serger stitching was with white thread and I could see the thread a little at the seams. To make sure the thread color matched the blocking, I used my sewing machine as well as the serger to interlock the stitches. At the end of the pattern instructions, when it was time to hem the dress, I serged the bottom with black thread, ironed the hem 1/2" and returned to my sewing machine to finish up.
You could color block the Marianne dress using any colors of your choice. I used three colors here, however you could use two or more. It is fun to try and test out different options when you are color blocking. The cuff detail was another wonderful element of this dress. I used little gold buttons to finish the classic look. Overall this project was a huge success, I recommend this pattern to anyone. It is a timeless classic and easy to make. I can't wait to see the other Marianne dresses! All of the seamstresses are extremely talented, I feel honored to be in the contest. Best wishes and tons of stitches!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marianne Dress Inspiration!

1 and 2. Extra Petite | Petite Fashion, Style Tips and DIY, 3. Red Dress with White Collar 4. Flower Dress   5. Ula Style: Pre-spring wishilist 6. Laundry by Shelli Segal Knit & Faux Leather Drop Waist Shift Dress | Nordstrom 7. Ideas for Styling Your Little Black Dress - Sortashion 8. French Red Dress 9. Outlined Dress 10. Color Blocked Dress 11. Lace Dress 12. Green Dress

This is a collection of dress ideas for the Marianne Dress Sewing Pattern by Christine HaynesIt is amazing how many ideas there are for one dress. The possibilities are endless. It is hard to pick just one style to go with. I would love one of each of these. That is also one awesome thing about sewing. Once you sew a pattern and get the right fit, you can make it over and over again using different fabrics to achieve a new look. The Marianne Dress has two views so there are even more possibilities. I like that you can make this simple dress and add a lot of accessories to it. This adds to expressing your style. Which dress is your favorite?? 
By the way anyone can join the community sewing match at Sew Mama Sew.

To Enter:

  • Sew something new between June 24, 2015 and August 28, 2015. It has to be one of the patterns we have to sew in the challenges. So far we have the Sutton Blouse and the Marianne Dress.
  • Share images/thoughts on your Community Match item via your website, Flickr, Instagram, etc. Add the URL for your blog post or Flickr image(s) below in the comments. Use #superonlinesewingmatch to tag your photos on social media sites.
  • Sew Mama Sew will randomly select winners from all entries. The more times you enter, the more chances you have to win.
The prizes are for fabric and all kinds of awesome stuff, check it out!
Best wishes and tons of stitches!

Monday, July 6, 2015

On to Round 2

Recently, I submitted my Sutton Blouse, by True Bias, to the judges for Round 1 of the Super Online Sewing Match, hosted by Sew Mama Sew
All of the contestant's blouses were beautiful and I could tell each seamstress did their best. This is a tough competition. I was chosen to move on to Round 2 and now we have a new challenge!!! The sewing pattern for round 2 is the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes!! When I read the pattern for this challenge, I jumped out of my seat! I adore Christine Haynes and all of her designs! She is a wonderful pattern designer, so I knew this would be a great dress! I have her first book Chic and Simple Sewing, it is truly amazing. You know it is a great book when you make several apparel pieces from it. I made the jacket, cape, wrap skirt and school house shift dress. I also interviewed Christine in March of 2011. Wow, that was four years ago!
I am looking forward to making this beautiful dress. I love View A with the pan collar, however View B with the cute cuffs looks like something I would wear all of the time! This might be harder than I thought so many choices. What view would you make?? I am still bouncing off the walls with delight.