Monday, January 31, 2011


It hasn't been that long ago that I bought fabric with a specific project in mind and only when I was getting ready to make that project.  Those days are gone though, and I've built up quite a little stash.    It seems that many of us who sew have the same propensity for collecting.

Tomorrow is the first day of the stash game over at sewingmamas, a game designed purely to encourage us to sew through some of our unused yardage.  You get points for sewing fabric and lose points for buying or otherwise acquiring fabric for the whole month of February.  For some of us, it is a good thing it is a short month!  There are prizes too. . .most of them are, ironically enough, fabric.

I've never participated, and I probably won't this time either because I don't get enough sewing time to be a real contender, but I will play my own version in the spirit of the original game. 

For the month of February, I'm not going to buy any fabric unless I need something to coordinate with something I already have on a project I'm currently working on.  Some of my prints are getting a little bit babyish for my girls and will inevitably look like PJ's sewn up, so I'm going to try to sew them all up until they are gone. 

Isn't it pretty?  But some of it definitely needs to go, so wish me luck!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Springtime and Ruffles

Our weather seemed to transition overnight this weekend from winter to spring, which is pretty typical for this time of year in south Georgia.  It was so warm that I sent my girls outside to play yesterday in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops.  I love warm weather, and I got the itch to sew something for spring. 

I went to my fabric closet. . .ummmm china cabinet. . .and shopped for something spring, and this is what I found:

Isn't it pretty?  I got it in a surprise box from a member of a long time ago, and it has been aging in my stash for awhile waiting for the perfect project.  As I typically do, I pulled it out and some coordinating dots and left them sititng on my sewing table while I tried to decide what to make.  And Christine came through again.  (I promise I do have some original ideas of my own from time to time!)  She made this fabulous Hanna Andersson knock-off  and she promises her readers a tutorial for how to make one of their own. 

I couldn't wait for the tutorial, so I pulled out a raglan pattern and went to work.  I also decided to forgo the puffed sleeves in favor of a longer straight sleeve, which will work well for cool mornings and hot afternoons.   I also ended up with 2 ruffles instead of 3. 

I tried to use my coverstitch binder to apply the neckline binding, but as it turns out, the ruffles ended up being too thick to go through the binder slot.  I ended up having to apply the binding by stitching one side on with my serger, folding over and coverstitching, which worked fine, but definitely isn't my preferred method.  One side of the neckline is wonky because it got stretched out when I removed the first binding attempt.  Hopefully, it will work itself out a little bit when it is washed. 

I will try to get a modelling picture later.  Allie is tired and not in the mood to get dressed and smile for the camera. 

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From the vault

Most of my sewing time comes on the weekends, so I don't have anything new to show today, but here are a couple of my recent favorites. 

No modelled picture of this one because I don't have a girl this small anymore.  This was a gift for some friends. . .my husband requested that I make something super-girly, so I obliged.  These are all Ottobre patterns. 

I'm not sure it gets much cuter than pants with an attached skirt, but look at this hat!  I love it! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson

Just for fun, and because I'm short on time, today's post will be a short sewing vocabulary lesson. 

What on earth is a Bodkin?

A bodkin is a very useful tool to have in your sewing basket (or big plastic tub if you are like me).  Mine looks like this:

You use this nifty little device to pull things, like elastic, through a casing or tube of fabric.  Even if you don't sew, you could use one of these. . .I promise.  Have you ever lost one end of a drawstring in a jacket or pair of pants?  This is so much better than a safety pin to pull it back through.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


In the past few months, Allie has become very opinionated about what she wears.  It isn't so much about brand names or about preferring to wear RTW; it is more about style.  She will automatically reject anything she thinks is little-girl style, so I've been trying to accomodate her taste while keeping in mind mine:  namely that children are children and should dress like they are.

Anywho, I had this great multi-colored hearts knit fabric that I bought at Joann's, and it got a thumbs up from Allie, so I took a cue from Christine at .  She made her daughter a tunic out of the same fabric, and I loved it. . .so I copied it.  I hope she doesn't mind!

The shirts are the Carmen tunic from here: .  The pattern is rated intermediate, and I would agree, but only because of the square neckline.  It definitely takes some finesse to get it in there right.  The leggings are Riviera leggings from the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love ( ).  If you've never made a pair of leggings, let me encourage you to do it soon--they are the instant gratification project of the sewing world.  They sew up very quickly and are popular with the kid-crowd right now.

There are a few sewing blogs that I read frequently, and many of them are authored by women who are not only great seamstresses, but also very talented photographers.  I love their blogs just as much for the pictures as for the tips and tricks.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  They also seem to have ultra-cooperative children who stand still for pictures.   Unfortunately, my children aren't and typically don't. 

Why I Sew

I'm an active member of an online sewing community.  I've learned many many things there, but one of those is that people sew for many different reasons, and my own personal reasons are just as varied.  I've always been crafty. . .I guess I can thank my mother for that.  When I was young, she painted and cross-stitched, and did all kinds of crafty hobbies, including wood-burning.  She endured and encouraged my craftiness, providing me with salt clay to sculpt with and scraps to hand-sew clothes for my Barbies.  I even went through an origami phase, and she bought me a book and paper to fold and refold. 

I think I was about 13 or 14 when I decided I wanted to make myself a wrap skirt.  My mother dug out some fabric from the bottom of the hall closet and gave me a crash course on the sewing machine.  I didn't have a pattern, so I measured myself and cut 3 rectangles of fabric, which I sewed together with 2 straight seams.  Mama gently recommended that I should probably at least slightly curve the top of those side-seams to accomodate my hips and waist. . .well, yeah.  She also gave me instructions on how to sew facings for the waistband of the skirt and found a hook and eye for me to use as a closure.  When I was finished, I wore that skirt proudly, and I begged her to take me to the fabric store for a pattern and fabric. 

That's where my love of sewing started.  There were, of course, large stretches of time where I didn't sew, but every year or two, the bug would bite me again, and I would pull out my machine and some fabric and create something for myself.  When my oldest daughter was a baby, I decided to make her Halloween costume, and I haven't stopped since. 

My husband puts up with my hobby. . . which is no small feat since my house pays the price.  I'm not the best housekeeper, and I like to sew in my free time, not clean.  I also leave my sewing machines out on our dining room table at all times, and our china cabinet doubles as fabric storage! 

I sew because I love it.  I sew because I'm a very analytical person by nature, but I'm equally creative.  My career satisfies the analytical part of me, which leaves my creativity screaming for an outlet.  I sew because I crave the satisfaction of taking a piece of fabric and some thread and ending up with something beautiful.  I sew because I don't like that many of the ready-to-wear (RTW) clothes for little girls are more provocative than they are cute and age-appropriate.  I sew because I can. 

Why do you sew?