Category Archives: Sewing

Kayla Turns 8

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Today is my niece’s birthday and tomorrow is her party. She really wanted a sleeping bag for her AG doll. I decided I would make one for her from scratch.

I used my daughter’s AG doll to make two squares long enough to fit and wide enough to fit, doubled (just the width). I sewed them right sides together with the bottom left open. Then folded it in half and stitched the bottom and sides together leaving it open for a few inches at the top (maybe 5 or so… I eyeballed it.) I then took some matching cotton scraps and made a small pillow that I velcroed to the sleeping bag.

The bag is made from 1970’s vintage pre-quilted fabric that I bought from Selvedge Shop. Sandra is one of my favorite sources on Etsy for vintage fabric. Go check her out if you love vintage fabric and patterns. The cotton was scraps I had left over from lining the jacket below:

My first commissioned garment made for Hyde Von Hitchcock, lead singer of Absinthe.

2012 Goals Check-Up: January

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It’s now the beginning of February and I’m wanting to check in on how I’m doing towards my goals for the year as of the end of last month.

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. In Progress/This is actively being worked on. I am working on scrubs for my new job (Yay!), some wardrobe essentials I’m sadly lacking, and I plan to make the girls’ Easter dresses.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. This will become a priority this month.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m nearly finished my first course. At my current rate I’ll be done my BSN portion of my education by October 2012. Woo hoo!
  4. Save money for our first house. We are budgeting and saving! Yay! We plan to rent a house this spring, for 12 months, and then buy after that lease is up.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. In Progress/Some days are better than others, but I am trying my best.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I started working on my in progress vintage sweater last weekend. I’ve been working on it when I have nothing to do. I hope it’s done by fall.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. This will not happen until spring, I’m sure. I have been working out 3-5 days a week at the gym, though. Yay me!
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. Sewing area is in progress. Bedroom is a beast and very overwhelming. I’ll get to it soon. We’re planning on moving and I need to get that stuff under control so we can pack and go when we need to.

 

Planning My Wardrobe: Sewing the Basics

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I’ve done some review of my basics checklist and here’s what it looks like now:

I’m going to need to make myself some things to have my basics covered. So far I have two things in progress (WIP = Work In Progress). The blouse needs the buttons sewn on and the cigarette pants need their waistband attached and then to be hemmed. Not totally sure if I will crop them or not. I ‘m going to wear them for a day, or at least a few hours, after I get the waistband done to determine if I want them full length or not. Here’s the patterns I’m using to make my items:

Basic Blouse = Simplicity 2339 View B

Pull Over Tops = McCall’s 2818 Views A and C (bottom two in pic)

Little Brown Dress = Simplicity 2648

Circle Skirt = New Look 6149

Pencil Skirt, Wide Legged Trousers, and Cigarette Pants = Butterick B5391

Trouser Style Jeans = Butterick B5682

Fitted Waist Jacket/Blazer = Vogue 8333

Bras = Bravo Bella Bravo #2 Bra Pattern

Planning My Wardrobe

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This weekend I pretty much cleaned. Yeah, envy my exciting life. lol Seriously. I was just tired of my desk looking like a bomb went off. So Friday night I cleaned it up. I swear it’s cleaner than it’s ever been since we built it. It’s not done yet, as I still have to go through the hutch on top of my desk. Once I do that, planning to do so this coming weekend, I will post pictures. There will be no before pics. Sorry, it’s too embarrassing. lol Well, I LOVED the results of my newly cleaned and organized desk surface. So much so that Saturday I decided to really tackle the rest of the house. It looks AMAZING! I got the kitchen, baths, and great room taken care of. I still have to handle the entry, master bedroom, kids’ room, and my sewing nook. It’s so awesome to be able to exist in orderly living spaces! I took today off, as I felt I deserved a day of rest. I did some sewing for the play I’m the costume designer for, and did some light cleaning (laundry and dishes). I took a glorious nap and then after dinner read one of my favorite blogs, The Glamorous Housewife. She has some excellent posts on vintage and vintage inspired fashion, and wardrobe planning.

I’ve never really planned my wardrobe. Ever. And it shows. I have a lot of pieces but a lot of them are not really my style, don’t fit the way I’d like them to fit (I’m growing to hate ready to wear more and more as I sew more), or are orphans (nothing matches them). I’ve also come to realize that I have a definite style and my wardrobe isn’t exactly living up to all I am. I am not a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. I actually hate jeans. They have a purpose, a utilitarian one, in my mind. I would wear them to paint or work on cars or something, but I actually wear them almost daily… and I hate it. I like trousers, skirts, and dresses. Well tailored pieces that look impeccable. I hate t-shirts. I literally only wear them to the gym or to sleep in (rarely), because that’s their purpose to me. Utilitarian. I like blouses, sweaters, and other tops that have a bit of a fancier appearance. I love the lines of 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s clothing. They fit my hourglass figure perfectly. So, my style is best described as retro elegance with a splash of glam.

With that in mind I’ve come up with my Diva Basics (because I really am a diva lol). These are the things I wear, or would wear if I had them, all the time, mixed with other pieces and accessorized perfectly.

Just off the top of my head I have:

  • 2 V-neck sweaters, one in brown and one in khaki
  • 2 cream colored cardigans (one beaded, one not)
  • I know I have some pullovers, but I need to go through them because a lot of them I know I don’t wear
  • 1 pair knee high boots
  • 1 pair vintage heels
  • 1 pair loafers
  • 1 trench coat
  • 1 overcoat
  • 3 sport bottoms
  • 5 sport tops
  • 2 bras that kind-of fit, but I have on order a pattern and supplies to make 2 that REALLY fit
  • approximately 12+ panties, I need to go through them, though
  • 4 pair nude nylons
  • 4 pair tights
  • 1 full slip
  • 1 girdle

And I have in process:

  • 1 basic blouse, it just needs buttons sewn on
  • 1 pair cropped cigarette pants, needs the waistband sewn on and the hems done
  • 1 overcoat – I have a tan wool one, but I have wanted a faux leopard fur one for AGES and I’m making one. It’s not quite halfway done.

I’ll be going through my wardrobe this week and weeding out what I don’t love anymore for any reason. Then I will reassess my checklist. I really need only clothes I love.

Best of 2011

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Recipes

Illegally Blonde Cocktail

Lentil Stew

Corn Pudding

Sewing

Tie Neck Blouse and Pencil Skirt

Tim Gunn Sew Along

Circle Skirt and Wrap Blouse

Crafts

Dollar Store Beauty

Mantle Artwork

Royal TV Rules

Rehabbed Trunk

52 Things

New Year, New Goals

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So, it’s time for a new year and time for new goals. Last year’s goals were not too bad, really. I did a few of them, which is better than none I think. Here’s the recap:

  1. Rebuild my wardrobe. – This is still in progress by the end of 2011 and I’ve made significant progress. I got rid of a TON of clothing (donated/freecycled) and I have been steadily building a really wearable wardrobe that I love.
  2. Get my craft mojo back! – I hardly did any knitting or crocheting, but I did get my craft mojo seriously going with decorating projects and sewing.
  3. Cull excess crap from my surroundings and life. – I got rid of all the excess knitting/crocheting supplies that I was NEVER going to use and no longer loved. Yay! I also moved my sewing space from the bedroom into the great room and reorg’ed it a bit. It still needs more organization work, though.
  4. Land my first RN job! – I got my RN license and got my first job! Yay! I start Jan. 2012!
  5. Get our finances in better order. – This finally started happening around the end of the year. I got into bulk cooking which has saved us a LOT of money, and we’ve been doing less frivolous spending.
  6. Prepare to buy our first house. – Didn’t happen.
  7. Devote more energy into my relationship with Bill. – Made some small improvements, but there’s still a TON of room left to be better.
  8. Devote more energy into my relationships with Evie and Abbie. – I think I made pretty good strides with this, but there’s always room for improvement.
  9. Try out for another play! – I’ve decided to not try out for acting gigs for now. I got involved in costuming and really love it.
  10. Prepare for my first competitive run. – Yeah, um, didn’t happen. My large rear end was way too comfy to sit on this year.
  11. Go out and sing karaoke! – Didn’t happen.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I did do as far as my goals this past year. Yay me! Now, this year I want to accomplish the following… or at least make progress towards these things:

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. I really want more dresses. I also want to make myself a pair of pants that fit me well. I’m currently in process of preparing my dream winter coat for sewing, so that will be first on the list to get done.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. I have 5 potential dresses to make this coming year. I need to confirm them asap and make sure I have satisfied customers so they can recommend me to others.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m starting Jan. 2, 2012 with Western Governor’s University. I really think this is totally doable. I’d like to get my MSN within 2 years, tops.
  4. Save money for our first house. We are tightening our belts a bit so we can start saving for a down payment. Now is really the time for us to buy so we just need to get our money in order for it.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. I adore my family and need to make sure they are aware of that daily.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I have a sweater for myself and one for my mother in the works. I need to FINISH something. Even if I don’t love doing it anymore I want to make sure I finish what I promised to do.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. My large rear end is SUPER comfy, but.. it’s a big BUTT, and I want to get it just a little smaller. So I need to start moving, regularly. Not in the hyper spurts that I tend to do. I have severe motivation issues and lose steam with most exercise, but I really enjoy walking my neighborhood. It’s scenic and peaceful, so I need to use that to my advantage and do something.
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. They both need SERIOUS help. This is a big challenge for me as I’m kind of chaos incarnate and don’t really have an organized bone in my body. lol But I gotta try.

I think that’s it. Fewer things than last year, but things that are far more important to me at this point.

I hope you all have a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

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…the Christmas Spirit threw up all over my house. Well, it’s not that bad, yet. Yet being the operative word. The girls and I have been busy the past month making ornaments for our tree, and other holiday crafts. Here’s a sample of what we’ve done:

All of the projects are inspired by Pinterest. Here are the details:

First, I whipped up these holiday decorations in about 5 minutes while the kids were in school. The instructions can be found here.

I absolutely LOVE them! They suit my taste/style perfectly! I removed the bells from the back of the deer before gluing down so they would be somewhat flat against the glass. It cost me $3 to make both. The ornaments were 2/$1 and the frames were $1 each at Dollar Tree. I already had the scrapbook paper. These will go on the mantel.

Next up, ornaments!

The girls and I worked on Santa ornaments first. I used this blog post for instructions and modified them to suit the supplies I had on hand.

We made a total of 5 and I need to finish them. I need to add some embroidery floss to hang them with and I’m thinking I might want to add a strip of black felt to make a belt, but I’m not sure.

Making the Santa ornaments inspired me to fiddle around and create a Mrs. Claus. Here’s what I came up with:

Isn’t she just too stinking cute?! I love her to bits! I need to make 4 more now.

Living in Maryland means we sometimes have snow on Christmas, but it’s not guaranteed.  Well, the girls and I decided we would make sure we have snow on Christmas every year. First we made some Model Magic snowflakes following this tutorial.

We were able to get 11 snowflakes out of 2 packages of Model Magic. I didn’t want to make them too thin so they’d be sturdy once dried. They turned out pretty much awesome! I thought about drawing designs on them with red Sharpie, but I actually like them just the way they are. I hung them on our chandelier to dry, which took about 2 or 3 days.

One of my favorite experiments in high school chemistry was growing crystals. When I saw this blog post I just knew I needed to share that experience with my daughters. Science really can be stunningly beautiful! Here’s how our crystal flakes turned out:

In person they look like they are encrusted with diamonds. So darn pretty! I can’t wait to see them on the lit tree. The sparkles will just be amazing!

I’ve also been sewing. I have nothing to show, though, as I’m still in muslin stages on a couple of garments. As soon as I get some finished pieces I’ll be blogging about them. Also, I’ve been actively job hunting. I’m sick of living in this rental house and want to move ASAP, so I need an income sooner rather than later. It’s been a rather busy month.