Monday, December 29, 2008

photos! sort of

stitch magazine skirtWell. I promised photos of the pintuck skirt, but the light here was just not cooperating. Add to that Kate, Ana and Tom who were running around being tiny hobgoblins, and there you go. We're doing two photos, one of the skirt on me (where you can see the shape and that's about it) and one of the pintucks. I still love this skirt... the combination of silk charmeuse for a lining and light cord for the skirt was very warm, even worn with just knee socks on a blustery NYC day. I walked most of the way down bleeker to The Hummus Place for lunch, then back, and I stayed pretty warm and toasty.

This skirt was a cinch to make - it was the tracing that was a nightmare. BWOF tracing really isn't a problem for me, and tracing off the pleated skirt from the Stitch magazine sheet was ok, but this skirt took ages to even find the correct lines. It was so worth it, though- I love the effect of the wavy pintuck lines.

I ended up using, as usual, a bias tape hem on the skirt and a grosgrain ribbon waistband. The invisible zipper insertion I did wasn't the bestest ever, but it only has the teensiest bubble at the bottom, so it's OK. I did interface, so not sure where the bubble came from this time.
stitch magazine skirt

And... new mail! Two new Hot Patterns came today!! Can't wait to make that little jacket, although the notched collar is kind of freaking me out a bit.


pintucks and more box bags

No pictures yt, but I made another skirt from Stitch magazine... this one is the pintuck skirt, in brown corduroy from Ebad's on 8th ave. I wore it to work today with my brown knee high boots- finally another skirt I can wear with them! I think I've never had so many skirts I can wear with my boots as I do right now, which is a small triumph for me. This idea of actually sewing things I'll wear a lot, instead of things that look neat but never come out of the closet, is a bit of a work in progress for me.

In any event, I bought myself, finally, a bluetooth headset for my phone. I've wanted a jawbone in the light gold color since it was announced months ago, but it only just recently dropped in price enough that I would buy it to use while driving. Amazon sells a little bag to hold the ear piece in, for $10. Or, I could make a little bag for it myself. ;-)

Here is the little bag... cute, but nothing you couldn't knock off with a bit of fabric!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

stitch magazine skirt


I hope everyone's Christmas was lots of fun! Ours was chaotic, but then every day with the nieces and nephews is pretty much total chaos anyway.

We'll call this a "remix" of the pleated skirt from Stitch Magazine. I left like I hadn't sewn any new clothes for myself in years after all that christmas stuffie and pajama and tote bag sewing (which for someone who LOVES making clothes is some serious deprivation (-; ), so this afternoon I made a new skirt for christmas dinner. This is a $2 skirt... the fabric is a poly homedec fabric, about tablecloth or napkin weight from the JoAnn's remnant bin. It has a 50 cent zipper in it from Daytona, then a ribbon waistband and bias tape hem from my stash. The pattern is loosely the pleated front skirt from Stitch, although I heavily modified it to remove the button front and to work with my skinny fabric remnant. I ended up with a skinny front panel, a skinny back panel, and two skinny side panels. It works ok, although the zipper is offset from the center in the back where the back panel and a side panel meet.

I like this pleated shape from the front and back, but from the side it really emphasizes my swayback. I'm searching for a nice bell shape to make a new skirt for a dinner party- I've got the fabric, which is a soft buttercup yellow wool- and now I just need a good pattern. This is close, but I'll probably look through my BWOFs for a better one.

Kate spent some time investigating my new sewing machine with me this afternoon, and we made a new jumper for her american doll on it. She loves the fancy decorative stitching and so we ended up with a pink jumper with an appliqued heart on the front and a snowflake decorative stitch in purple on the hem. Very "designed by Kate" indeed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Originally uploaded by wck

Merry Christmas to all! I'm still working away on a few last minute gifts, but I have a couple hours tomorrow morning if I really need them. Next year, I'm starting Christmas sewing in June! On the bright side, I've made almost every gift I'm giving, which is pretty cool. I ended up buying 2 calendars... some tea and dried fruit and cheese... a bottle of single malt scotch for my dad (which is bit of an annual joke, because I polish off far more of his single malt collection than he ever does)... a borders gift card for my brother in law... a pair of shoes for each of kate, ana and tom, and a few books for the kids. Not too bad, and everyone got some homemade PJs and things as well.

This teddy bear is for Ana, and it's from an older Simplicity pattern that my aunt bought me at a garage sale last year. This is the smallest size, 18 inches. There's a medium and a large in the pattern as well- I really like how it came out, but there's a far amount of hand sewing in closing the back and each arm and leg. I prefer the stuffie patterns where you only have to hand sew one opening, not 5! The face is so cute, though, I can definitely see myself making the large size as well.

I hope everyone's Christmas is fun and relaxing!

still more christmas sewing

Originally uploaded by wck

This is the burda style amin pattern - my first burda style pattern!

I also played with the decorative stitches on my new machine to decorate two towels:


The penguins are from scraps from my sister's PJs and tote bag.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

box bag

box bag
Originally uploaded by wck

A smidge of sewing for me snuck into the presents! This is a small bag from the box bag tutorial from the Drago[knit]fly blog. This is really a practice run to make one as a gift, but this trial version came out so nicely that I'm swapping things in my zip pouch that I keep in my purse right into it.

Here are two more views of it:



If you make it:

At step #4, I marked the thirds but then found it easiest just sew down the entire length of each side. I used the 1/3 markings to box out the corners, though.

I left off the handle, and used quilting cotton with some weft interfacing. I might use fusible fleece interfacing for the next one I make, since this one collapses very easily.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ana's Christmas vest

burda vest
Originally uploaded by wck

Here is Ana's matching green velvet vest from burda 9677, at long last. I made Kate's version all the way back in October... the pattern and the velvet have been sitting here patiently waiting ever since.

I lined her vest with some of the christmas tree cotton scraps left from my tree skirt. Since I was working with scraps, the front/left/back pieces each have the trees pointing a different way. It's only a lining, so it's ok though. And I hemmed it with lace, just like Kate's version.

It should look cute over her little plaid dress, and it's really warm since the velvet is quilted to some batting.

burda vest

Friday, December 19, 2008


One more post today!

I wanted to share a jacket that I found at Ann Taylor Loft this week. I went in with a $25 coupon from purchasing some tops there in a month or so ago, thinking about getting some tshirts. This jacket was on a rack near the door, and the pleats and seaming really caught my eye. I love pleats- especially intricate, tiny little ones like this.


If you look closely, you'll also see that the buttonholes are formed in the seams of the jacket front panels -another detail that's rather rare to see these days, but really gives a nice touch. I love the lines that the panels and the topstitching form- even though the material is only a poly, it makes it look like a much more expensive garment. The pleating is continued on the cuffs and there are little pockets (real pockets! and big enough to hold my blackberry!). The buttons are just plastic, but very vintage-looking, and go nicely with the style. Of course it has 3/4 sleeves- pretty much a requirement for me to absolutely love something!


Here's a quick shot of me wearing it. I think this is going to be a great travel jacket to wear with jeans to go see my sailor. I like cropped jackets with a pocket for my blackberry for flying, and this one is really comfy and should wear well on the road.



Originally uploaded by wck

more christmas wrapping totes

Hand Knit Flyaway Cardigan

sweater Linda Made has been running an etsy shop as a benefit for a family member with cancer, and this green sweater was one of the items listed recently. I really loved it when I first saw it, and I couldn't get it out of my mind. Of course I ended up buying it, and it came last night. It's so gorgeous! It's made out of cotton, and hand knit by the designer. You can see a picture of it in her post about the sweaters - look how wonderful the swing shape is in that shot!

I've been wearing it today with a blue scarf and a white wool jersey tshirt I made myself from jalie 2005. Even though it's cotton, it's super warm.. I might never take this sweater off. I doubt I'll ever learn to knit this well (I can sort of manage doll sized scarves, in a straight knit stitch only!!), so I'm so happy to have a chance to own an amazing hand knit sweater.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

one finished tree skirt

tree skirt
Originally uploaded by wck

Now I need to actually buy a tree and decorate it! In the meantime, Declan's been giving it a few test runs to break it in.

This is loosely from a vintage McCall pattern, 7225. It has a half-circle shaped tree skirt pattern, I went with that rather than draft my own circle shape. I used an ancient, icky mauve color poly-ish boucle as batting to quilt it. Sooooo glad to have it out of my stash, and it made a great batting. This is one of the first things I've ever free motion quilted, and it was lots of fun. My Viking does a wonderful job of keeping the stitches about the same size as you quilt, so long as you don't jerk the material around. I just did some totally freehand meandering swirls around it, and ended up with something with a nice body to it.

So there it is- I really didn't need a new tree skirt, but I only put Santa ornaments on my tree so I kind of wanted a skirt with some Santas as well!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a sneak peek

Originally uploaded by wck

Christmas quilting, but it's not for a bed...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

tote bags

Kate's 1 seam PJ pants came out very nicely- I'm giving them to her now, since they're a christmas ornament fabric and it seems a bit silly to give them to her on December 25th. I also made up a pair of PJs for my sister, using last December's BWOF PJ pants and this December's BWOF pleated-front raglan sleeve knit top (12-2008-113). And I snuck in a pair of pj's for myself from the BWOF pants pattern. I'll have to take a picture of them later... I used a cute little polar bear print from the JoAnns christmas aisle.

I've been "wrapping" presents in reusable tote bags, so here are two of them. Tom's is from Thomas and Friends fabric, of course.
Thomas's tote

And my sister's is from a remnant of the flannel from her PJ pants. I put an outer pocket on it, with an iron on design that matched the penguins on the flannel.

christmas tote

Kids 1 seam pajama pants from a regular pants pattern

pj pants pattern Here's a quick pattern tip for making kids pajama pants. I didn't want to buy a pattern just to get some 1 seam PJ pants for Kate, and I was feeling kind of lazy about making 2 seam pants. You can abut the pattern pieces from regular 2 seam pants to get a 1 seam PJ pants pattern.

Lay out 1 pattern piece, and then put the other one next to it. I use the "alter pattern here" lines to help me line it up. It doesn't have to be perfect, these are PJs after all! Then cut around the entire shape to get your pants pattern. Viola!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

an elephant for Ana

Wee Wonderfuls elephant for AnaFrom Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, the wee wonderfuls elephant! This is another Ana birthday present. It has a little pouch of some flax seeds inside, so you can microwave it to make it all toasty.

Wee Wonderfuls elephant for Ana

Saturday, December 6, 2008

advent calendar, 2008

Advent Calendar Stockings Kate and I made an advent calendar today for her family. You'll notice that it's December 6, and we only just made one. My excuse here is that I made a perfectly serviceable one last year, but it has since gone MIA. It was actually missing last weekend, but I didn't get a chance to make a new one- thinking that I should make it in secret from Kate. Well, I gave up on that idea, and she helped me out today. She actually didn't seem to mind getting a sneak peak at her presents in there, and she got a huge kick out of Anas. Most of the presents are small ornaments for the tree, but there are also holiday socks, some mittens, and little hair things. She helped me paint most of the ornaments to go in, and pick out fabrics from the scrap pile for the stockings- it's incredible how useful a 5 year old can be! She's almost to the point where she can sew on a button, at which point she'll be indispensible.

I did a lot of looking around the flickr creative advent calendars pool. Sooo many gorgeous creations there! I was thinking of making mine all nature inspired or Victorian style or somethig fancy, but it ended being in the school of "OMG, it's December 6, I need to make something NOW."

A jingle bell stocking with a fleece mittens ornament:
Advent Calendar Stockings

A few stockings on the hanging ribbon:
Advent Calendar Stockings

Some more stockings:
Advent Calendar Stockings

A few stockings waiting to be stitched onto the ribbon:
Advent Calendar Stockings

Some more stockings, with a reindeer ornament that Kate decorated:
Advent Calendar Stockings

Stocking with buttons:
Advent Calendar Stockings

All the stockings on 2 ribbons, then hung from picture hooks:
Advent Calendar Stockings

Thursday, December 4, 2008

fuzzbuster's morning

declan Sharon had a post about the her dogs morning routine, which was such funny timing, as I was thinking this morning that Declan and I have a very definite routine every morning. The alarm goes off at 5 AM and I usually wake up to find Declan snoring away at the end of the bed. I wake him up and lift him off the bed. (He's way too spoiled to jump himself down even though he can pretty easily clear a sofa in a jump if he wanted to.) Then he does his puppy yoga and shakes his fur out while I find my slippers. We go down the stairs -I start first, then he passes me, every morning- and I make my coffee and then feed him. Then I watch him spill his food everywhere while my coffee brews. He's a very messy breakfast eater.

He has two downstairs beds. One is basically a big stuffed pillow with Heather Ross's dog print on the top:
declan's bed

The other one is my armchair, which is covered by a crocheted fisherman's sweater pattern lap sized blanket that my grandma made me to take to college. (It's the blanket underneath him. The flower embroidered one is a thrifted blanket.) I love that blanket-- I think she made one for each grandchild when they turned 18, so that's a LOT of crotcheting.


In other news, the skate guards got their first try out at 8 AM yesterday morning at the bryant park rink. I like to carry my skates upside down by the blades, which used to make the plastic guards pop right off. The new fuzzy guards, though, stayed tight and protected my hands nicely from the blades. Success!

Monday, December 1, 2008

PJs and skate guards

skates Lots of places sell fuzzy stretchable skate guards for about $10 or so. I've wanted a pair for a while, since my hard plastic skate guards pop off frequently (I have cougar brand skates and bauer brand guards and the shape of the blades on my skates is just a little different). So I talked to my mom about making ones, and we agreed it should be really simple. I laid down a skate over some pattern paper, traced the blade shape, and laid it over a fleece scrap left over from Ana's smock. Then I cut it out with a 1 inch seam allowance and zigzagged the outer edge. I folded over a 1 inch casing and threaded through elastic. Start of tracing to finish of both guards was literally 14 minutes. They're sloppy, but I was going for "done" not "flawless" tonight. Well, that was easy! I should make a pair for Kate's skates as well, since she doesn't have any guards right now.

I made Ana a teensy pair of flannel PJs with the leftover flannel and trim from my mom's nightgowan as well.


With a teensy fleece tag to mark the back.
pink tag

Sunday, November 30, 2008

the pajama factory continues!

More pajamas! This one is actually a birthday present for my mom. Not a surprise for her, because I had to ask her about what style she wanted and then do a little bit of fitting. This is Butterick 4214 that I found at Parons about a month ago, in size M (which is about her size). If you look closely at that photo, you'll see some golf balls flannel on the floor, ready for my brother in law's flannel PJ pants.

butterick 4214

Hem lace from MJ Trim
butterick 4214

Yoke ruffle from MJ Trim
butterick 4214

I bought some more flannel from the fabric fairy store to make another for her for Christmas, but I still need to buy trim for it. I'm thinking of doing a bit of flat piping around the yoke instead of a ruffle just to try something new.

fire engine shirtAnd this is a small sleep shirt for Tom. It's made from another JoAnn remnant from my big collection of remnants I bought a few weeks ago when they were extra reduced. The neck is kind of low in the front because I didn't put on a rib collar but just folded on some self binding. I think it will be OK, he usually sleeps in a few layers anyway. This is a size 3T, just a bit big on him, but he's growing really really fast. I used Kwik Sew 1531, the same as Ana's pink and brown PJs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Learning to skate

Warning, this is an almost entirely sewing free post!

Yesterday afternoon I took Kate down to our local ice rink. This is her third time ice skating, and by far the most successful. She's already talking about going again next weekend. Kate's actually named after Katarina Witt, so I guess it was just a matter of time before she got bitten by the skating bug as well.

Kate looking a bit concered before we started:
teaching kate to ice skate

And on the ice, now smiling:
teaching kate to ice skate

My grandfather taught me to skate when I was a little kid, and after our lesson yesterday I have new respect for all the work that entails. I spent two hours holding Kate up and skating backwards... thankfully something I'm ok doing, since I used to play defense on our college hockey team. As we were going around and around and around I kept pointing out the lines and circles under the ice to Kate and explaining how they were used in hockey. She got really into it- every time we went over a blue line she would yell "puck out, get out!" So cute. And she was fascinated by the penalty boxes and wanted to sit in them "for a tiredness penalty" a few times. We even had an adorable feminism lesson- when we first went out she was looking at the ads on the side of the rink, and there were some hockey school ones with photos of guys playing hockey. She looked up and asked "can women play hockey?" I told her absolutely, lots of women play hockey. When we got off the ice for a pretzel refueling, she told my mom "guess what? girls play hockey too!" Which of course cracked my mom up. She gave me a "I know where that came from" look and told kate that girls could do whatever they want. Awwww. I love my mom. Especially since she froze in the bleachers for 2 hours while we skated!

I wish I'd gotten a picture of Kate's hockey skates. They're the cutest little teensy things.

Just to make it somewhat sewing related- I'm wearing on of my favorite shirts, an ancient Helly Hansen thermal shirt. I bought it when I was right out of college to replace one that I'd literally worn to shreds in school. I cut off the cuffs because I have short arms and prefer to shove the sleeves up to my elbows, then I slashed the front neck so it wasn't so tight. I wear this shirt constantly- it has to be washed with borax pretty often to keep it from smelling like an old gym locker. I wish I had a pattern and the right material to knock it off. The fit is perfect for me, as it comes all the way down over my hips but doesn't get too tight there and isn't too lose at the top. The fabric is really the key to why I always wear it though. It's some polypro type fabric that's warm when you need it to be and super breathable and soft.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another butterfly dress

My niece Kate has been wearing the original butterfly dress to bits and pieces. OK, not really yet, but she has it on the second it comes out of the laundry. So I thought I'd better make another one for her, although this one has short sleeves. It's Burda 9677 again, and the outer print is an Alexander Henry print.

Front... the collar looks a bit wonky with the way it was sitting on the hanger.

kate's butterfly dress

Back, with a big ribbon sash to tie (essential for dresses in Kate's opinion).

kate's butterfly dress

The hem and neckline were finished with single fold bias tape turned inside. The lace on the sleeves if from MJ Trim- it's just a bit of eyelet lace that was nice and wide. I took advantage of the selvedge and cut the center back along that so that it stabilized the zipper a bit as it was going in. I love the pleats and the princess seaming but they're slooooow to pin together and stitch.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful meal today! I spent the day mostly in the kitchen, but almost all the cooking was done and just waiting to be rewarmed 2 hours before our meal, so I snuck off to my sewing machine. I'd made cherry pie last night, and pumpkin pie early this morning. At 10 AM I started really cooking- we had praline topped sweet potatoes, red bliss mashers from Tom Douglas's Seattle Kitchen cookbook (I love love love Tom Douglas so that cookbook is literally in pieces now), acorn squash, butternut squash with wild rice (my own recipe), home made applesauce, parmesan and rosemary biscotti, biscuits, stuffing with cherries, apples and pears and mushrooms, and of course a huge turkey. My mom contributed carrots, green beans, and cranberry sauce. I don't believe I'll need to eat for days now. This is actually the 10th Thanksgiving dinner I've cooked... I love doing it every year, and the menu is usually pretty much the same, but it's fun.

So this is what I made in my little sewing break. I'd gotten a really nice poly jersey (since sold out, sadly) in my Gorgeous Fabrics order, and I was dying to make yet another BWOF 11-2008-103. This is my third iteration of this pattern, and I still love it. I could easily see making a few more with 3/4 length sleeves. This one goes nicely with jeans and with my black sateen trousers, so it should get a lot of wear.
with tom

My niece Ana also got to test out her new polar fleece smock today. This is another pattern from the most recent Patrones Ninos magazine. I love the super bright stripes on the fleece-a bit loud, but it makes a nice bright smock and hides food well. I bound the neckline with navy foldover elastic, then the sleeves and bottom hem are sewn with a twin needle. This version was just a wearable muslin-hence the wild fabric- to see how it fits. Like every Ninos pattern so far, of course, it fits very nicely. I have some nice velour that I'll use to make up a good version for her. Here she is modeling it- there's a funny fold in that photo, but I think it's because she'd been racing around in her walker for a while before I took the picture.

The butternut squash and wild rice we had for our dinner was something I sort of invented, based on a zucchini and rice casserole we eat a lot. Here's the recipe, such as it is:

* Cook 1 cup of wild rice with red rice according to the package directions
* Roast a butternut squash until it's soft. Ours came from my grandma's farm, and it was sooo sweet. Yum!
* When the squash is soft, peel it and put the soft fruit into a casserole dish. Mix in a bit of olive oil.
* Add the cooked rice
* Add some dried cranberries, and a bit of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Mix.
* It can wait at this stage until you're ready to eat. Cook in the oven or microwave until it's warm through. The best way to test that is to insert a knife into the center, then pull it out and feel if it's hot.

And one last picture... Ana and Tom tucked into their playpen while we ate. They had started out at the table and got a bit fussy. I love how they're happy to sit and watch from a distance. Silly kids.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Present PJs

There are going to be a lot of Christmas present pajama posts in the next month, hopefully! Here's a pair for Ana. The material is some marimekko cotton rib knit left over from my hoodie.

PJs for Ana

Here's the pattern- it's an older Kwik Sew, has PJs from size 1 year to 4 years old. The footed version is adorable, but I wanted these to be able to roll up a bit if the legs are too long.

kwik sew