Tag Archive for December

The one where she babbles on about Christmas sewing

The Christmas sewing was done on Christmas eve, in the early afternoon.  Fortunately I had been wrapping things all along, so I only had two to wrap.

It was fun.

I don’t want to do it again for a while.

Like a year.

There were a couple of false starts where I took the recycle, upcycle, used, and regift directive too seriously and attempted to make all my gifts from dog food sacks.  I made some cute bins and zipper bags, but felt they lacked universal appeal.

(I’ve been known to take things a little too far.)

Fortunately, I lost my enthusiasm for the project before it was too late.  That dog food plastic was difficult to sew.  I think I’ll save it for grocery bags from now on.

My first idea was to make everyone a ditty bag.  I would sew numerous cosmetic bags, travel kit bags, and grocery bags, call them ditty bags and give each to an appropriate recipient.

In the end I couldn’t warm up to that idea either.


So, for my BIL, who cooks on a Big Green Egg, I made a green apron with a stencil decoration.  For 4 of the men, I made zipper bags with carabiners at the top.  (Those were blatant copies of a bag I saw, except mine are a different size.)  I made t-shirt scarves for my two nieces, and an infinity scarf for my sister.  For Mom I made a table runner using some bird fabric that I bought for her back in ’05 or ’06.  (She loved it!)  I also made a table runner for myself.  I made a kitty hat for the sprout with an embroidered face.  I also made a hat for myself  (recurring theme here?) but I didn’t embroider the face on mine. Not that it wasn’t cute, but I had enjoyed all the embroidery I cared to by that time.

I think that’s everything.

The only one I’ll expound on here is the t-shirt scarf.  I had seen some patchwork scarves online that I thought would be fun to make.  A visit to the thrift store–children’s section–turned up plenty of cute t-shirts with graphics I liked.  I washed them, then cut 10-inch wide sections from all usable seamless areas of the shirt.  (I was not careful about length of the sections, just that they were 10 inches wide.)  Next, I laid out the sections in a pleasing order, enough to sew 4 strips–two fronts and backs.  Then I sewed the sections together to make strips, and two strips together to make a scarf.  Kinda like they show here on Squidoo except I hemmed the ends and mine were a lot longer.

(I think some team-themed versions of these would be fun.)

Where are the pictures, you ask?  Well, rather than put all the photos here, I made a Flickr! set with all the specifics.  (Feel free to ask any questions here or there.)

Now that things are settling down, I’m burning up to sew for myself.  Yesterday I mended everything that was in my way, and today I finished another project that had been hanging around for far too long.

I’ll tell you about that later.  For now, I’m still enamored of Silhouettes yoga pants, so I expect I’ll be making a new version of those very soon.  My pattern is freshly-fitted, thanks a to a feminine remake of some lounge pants that Mr H received and didn’t want.

Now that all this work is done, I’m the one lounging!


A couple quick and easy

I’ve done a bit of my Christmas gift sewing, but some sewing for me inevitably creeps onto my radar from time to time.  One such item is this long cardigan sewn from McCall’s 6802:

McCall's 6802 View D sorta

The fabric is from JoAnn’s this fall and I love the almost-ruffled texture of it. The pattern has you face the collar, but I was afraid that it would be too heavy for the garment.  Mine is single-layer, which gave me a few challenge–especially when hemming.  In the end, I did a double cover stitch.  I went over it on the inside, then on the outside.  I like the line of dark stitching.

Surprisingly enough, I am finding that the long loose cardigan doesn’t annoy me when I wear it around the house.  I had originally thought I might finish and wear it for Thanksgiving, but it didn’t work out.  Happily there was enough pretty fabric left over to make a gift scarf, too.  Bonus!

(The recipient doesn’t read the blog, so we don’t have to worry about that.)

The other Q&E4me project was a pair of leggings made from a lightweight sueded knit fabric that didn’t suit the yoga pants that I ordered it for.  (You can’t tell much about them, I know, but you will not be seeing a photo of me modeling leggings on the web. Count your blessings)

Ottobre Woman 2/2011, #6 leggings

These are from Ottobre Woman 2/2011, #6.  The finished ankle width, as designed, was 10″.  My ankle being 8.5″, I narrowed the pattern a bit just there.  Oddly, the rest of the pattern was spot on–even a little negative.

They fit perfectly.

I never thought of myself as a leggings girl until I realized that I wear leggings nearly every day in winter.

But I wear them with socks and call them long underwear.  :-D

(I’ll spare you my rant on going ’round with bare legs and ankles when it’s cold out.  Fashion smashion.  I’ll be the one that’s warm!)

Waist finished with stretch lace

The waistline was quick and easy to finish with stretch lace. I’m loving them!

Project #54: And another one…

Project: Long Sleeved Knit Dress
Pattern: Modified McCall’s M6355
Size: 12 altered
Fabric: Rayon/Poly/Lycra Ponte Roma

Another one

This is very exciting reading no doubt, but these two new knit dresses will be very useful for me this winter.  I didn’t even own a long-sleeved dress of any kind a week ago.  Now I have two!  Both will go with numerous jackets and cardigans in my closet, which is always a plus.

This dress is exactly the same as the green one, except that I turned the neckline under and cover-hemmed it rather than binding it.

I didn’t even try it on until it was completely finished.

Yes, I know better.  ;-)


Project #53: Faux Fur Vest

Project: Faux Fur Vest
Pattern: Modified Simplicity 2285
Size: 14 altered
Fabric:  Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown from Fabric dot com lined with black bemberg

The vest was a lot of fun to make *and* to wear!  For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, I actually had my challenge project done well before the due date.

Those of you who keep up with fashion and pass along tidbits to the rest of us, informed me that fur was *in* this season.  Thank you.

I searched around various retail websites and found several inspiration vests that I liked.  One was this one, which came from Nordstrom.com, I believe:

Inspiration Photo 2

and this one which came from the same website and is part of a child’s outfit:

Inspiration photo 1

So.  My preferred vest features appear to be cheetah, center front separating zipper,  and high collar. First things first, I started looking for cheetah fur yardage and found…


Fabric.com had some nice faux furs, so I chose their Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown. It had sort of a striped pattern to it.

Next (after ordering only one yard of the $$ not-on-sale fur)  I started looking for a pattern and found…


The closest pattern was (also not-on-saleSimplicity 2285, which had the collar and the general shape I liked but no zipper.  I found some vest patterns with princess seams plus a zipper, but I didn’t want to cut the fur that much.  Think about it–fur, seams, stripes.


The Simplicity pattern artwork looked better than it actually was.  (You are no doubt surprised by that revelation.)  In reality, it was a long box with the only shaping provided by the tie belt.  That might be fine for someone besides me–you know, somebody tall and thin.

I look better in a short, shapely pattern.

In the end, I shortened the thing three inches and added some shaping in the form of a bust dart and curved side seams. I considered putting in waist darts and decided I just couldn’t stand to deal with more seaming in the stuff.  Adding the zipper was enough of a pile-trimming nightmare.

(Once the trash went out, however, I didn’t lose anymore sleep over that issue.)

The belt is from some dark brown faux reptile knit that I had in my stash closet.

Now that it’s done, I love it:


You can see the shadow of the dart, but I don’t think it detracts from the vest’s appearance. Quite the contrary, in fact, considering what a box looks like on me.


When I laid out the pattern, I was careful to align the darker stripe with the center front and back.  The stripes were a good width for the vest, I think.


And of course, I used every fur tip I could recall:

  • draw the pattern onto the back of the fabric, rather than pinning
  • snip around the pattern with the tips of my scissors, being careful to avoid cutting the pile
  • trim the pile from the seam allowances before and/or after sewing
  • pick the pile out of the seams with a pin after the seams were sewn

The only photo of me wearing it is this group shot from the meeting on Saturday.  We had seven ladies to participate in the vest challenge–one of them left before I remembered to get a photo.  I wore it with my new McCall’s 6355 dress and my brown suede boots.

Sew Classic Vest challenge

I had so much fun with it, that I’m toying with the idea of making some other faux fur garment before you inform me that it is passé

Project #51: Linen Trousers

Project: Linen trousers with Cowgirl pockets
Pattern: Modified Simplicity 3688
Size: 14 altered
Fabric: Linen/rayon blend

Before it gets too much further into December, I wanted to show you my last November project. You know, those modified Simplicity 3688 pants.

The finished leg width came in at about 19 inches.  It’s a very nice width for casual, loose trousers.

Now I’m no pattern maker, but here’s how I did it:

  1. First I decided how much narrower I wanted the pants to be (4 inches) and divided by 4 to get 1 inch per seam.  You divide by four because the pants legs must be narrowed evenly on each side.
  2. I marked the horizontal crotch line on both front and back pattern pieces–it was nicely marked on the back already.
  3. I drew in the horizontal knee line (halfway from hem to crotch) on both the front and back.
  4. At the knee and hem lines, I marked a dot 1 inch in on each side. (That’s the 1 inch I calculated in Step 1.)
  5. I connected the dots from the knee to hem–the legs are straight from the knee down.
  6. I drew a pleasing curve from the knee line up to the crotch line on inseam and outseam.
  7. I walked the seams to be sure it would sew together.

I was pretty sure it would work out fine since I didn’t monkey with the grainline at all.

And it did.

Here they are on Brunhilde:

Full length

And the finished pocket. I must confess it’s a pain to actually use the pockets. But they *are* lovely:

Pocket close up

The first (and only up to now) time I wore them was with the aqua Ottobre shirt and an old dark brown corduroy vest.

As worn

And from the back:


These are my highest brown (casual) shoes, and you can see that the hems are about 1/4″ from the floor.  Casual being my shoe of choice, I hope they don’t shrink.

Pretty much perfect in a whole lotta ways.