Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vogue Pattern Giveaway!!

You may remember that back in March I was working on a Vogue pattern dress for Princess Peanut. I was having a lot of trouble with it, and hating it, and I ended up putting it to the side until I recovered my will to sew. Shockingly, I decided to finish it up this week:

Now, I need to sit down and have a conversation with myself about buying and using patterns. 9 times out of 10 I stray from the pattern instructions because they don't make sense, or I feel that there is an easier way. Why do I waste the time and money on these things? I think the convo would go like this:

Rational me: Why do you keep buying patterns and going through the work of cutting them up only to show disdain for the instructions and do your own interpretation?
Rebellious me: Because I hate measuring and I'm bad at math and I make clothes for kids that are not here for me to fit them, so I need the patterns to avoid crafting a tent-sized frock.
Rational me: Oh right, I forgot about our hatred of measuring...
This dress gave me so much trouble that I hardly have anything to say about it. I'm just happy to be able to ship it off to my niece this week. This oufit has been sitting on my project table for 2 months, leering at me, reminding me of my failure, and slurping up my creative energy. Now, I can finally get on with my life.

As my final act of petulance toward this pattern, I am going to offer it up here as a giveaway. I know I only have, like, 10 readers, but that means better chances for you to win, right? This is the link to the Vogue Pattern V8060 that I am giving away. I have cut the pieces out for the dress, but all of the sizes are intact. If you remember from my older post, I traced out the pattern onto the fabric.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here with a username that links back to your blog or an e-mail address for you. Assuming I have any responses, I will choose a winner June 1st. Goodluck!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Born of necessity..

Kindergarten (a.k.a the viral petri dish) has struck again. Just when we thought it was safe to put away the vapo-rub and lozenges, my Bear came home with the mother of all colds. Not only did we get a huge dose of the sniffle/cough/sneezes, we also received a special cold-moved-into-the-tear-ducts-and-spewed-gross-goo treat. The goo only lasted a day, but then he woke up with puffy eye. (It may not seem that extreme, but if you knew what his eye normally looks like you'd be shocked.):
My worry was that the goo clogged up his ducts and that his eye was going to swell worse and eventually explode. With that image in mind, I knew I needed to put a little heat on the ducts to help break up the junk stuck inside. But, I don't keep hot water bottles (do they even sell those anymore?) or heat packs around here. I do have some rice pillows that I made during the winter, but those are way too big for his little 6 year old face. That, of course, left only one option. Make a smaller one!! So I did:
The gray pack is filled with white, long grain rice (the fabric was upcycled from scraps off of my sisters hemmed work apron), and the star fabric is the removable case. I figured that anything touching a virus-infested-goo-eye should be washable.
I serged the edges of the case to reduce bulk (little kids don't like heavy things on their faces), and decided against any kind of closure since it is really unnecessary.

Now, I just pop it in the microwave for 30ish seconds and it fits perfectly over his eye socket! I also made a second one for the freezer since I can confidently anticipate future bumps and bruises that will require a cold pack.

I just love the convenience and versatility of a rice pillow. But, I honestly never thought to make small ones until now. These only took me about 20 minutes to make, and I may make a bunch more for future baby shower gifts. Cool, right?

Friday, May 22, 2009


Yes, I am.

Guess who's having a SALE on her Artifire items!! Me me me!!
I really want to get rid of the old stuff that has been in the shop forever, and update with some new outfits, so check it out and spread the word. All of my kid's outfits are $5 or under!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sewwwww HOT!!

It's 327 degrees in my house right now, so you can bet I haven't been anywhere near my sewing nook. The thought of being suffocated by mounds of fabric and sweltering next to the iron doesn't thrill me. I could, of course, just turn on the AC in the house, but I have strict principles against using the air before Memorial Day. As far as I'm concerned, it is against the law.

Instead, I think I will share couple of things that make me happy today. First is the totally excellent handbag that I bought from Myn on Artfire for 50% off it's original price. I have been coveting this bag for a couple of months, so when I saw that it had gone on sale I jumped on it. How sweet is this fabric??
And, I ADORE the huge rick-rack. But, I'm the type of gal that isn't afraid of gargantuan notions.
What I didn't notice when I bought it was that the blue panel at the top is actually a faux-fur material. What a great surprise! LOVE IT!!!
Another excellent thing that I got today was this:
So so delicious! It was on clearance for $3 for 4 bottles, and now I'm kicking myself for not buying all that they had. Very refreshing on these hideously hot days in Chicago.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sew Organized!

While I was reorganizing my countertops (completely ignoring the film final that I'm supposed to be completing) I decided that I needed to get rid of some clutter. You see, I use a fabulous little netbook for all of my computer needs, and I love it, but the accessories end up creating all kinds of flotsam all over my table.

So, I ran over to my sewing desk and whipped up this little honey of a pocket organizer (it looks a little off-kilter because I took a pic of it hanging and forgot to adjust it to hang straight):
As you can see, I used the same fabric as my newly recovered seat cushions for the lining and backing:

And now, I have pockets for my odds and ends:
Like this USB cable that I use to upload all of these excellent pics to my blog:
This project gave me a real feeling of accomplishment, but it was short lived due to my film final still being incomplete. *sigh*

Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer Wrap Skirt

I had an event to go to this week that called for a new skirt. Unfortunately, I didn't attend the event, but I did finish a skirt.

I used a pattern for this wrap skirt, but I made a few of my own modifications. For example, I "wedged" the panels a little bit because the original pattern was more of a straight drape. Also, the polka-dotted contrast fabric was a last minute decision because the main material was too "Luau" on it's own. Don't you just love black and white dots? This skirt was sooo super fast, but I really hate this waistband technique. It gives a nice fit if you like your skirts fastened near your boobs, but I generally like my bottoms to sit on my hips..Notice how I learned my lesson on the side view shots...No more pouchy belly weirdness:
I decided to make the back waistband match with the main fabric. That way, when I turn around and show the front it's like "WOW! Polka Dots!"
I'm really getting in to making skirts. They are just so fun and comfortable. If I wasn't so lazy about shaving my legs I would wear these ALL the time!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bra (Band) Alteration - Tutorial

#3 on my "Top 5 LEAST Favorite Things to Do list" is bra shopping. Why do I hate it so? Because my boobs are big for my frame. Last time I checked (which was ages ago), Victoria's Secret, Target, Jc Penney, and Sears do not carry sizes 32F/FF. I have to drive an hour away to visit the nearest bra boutique that caters to my size. AND, I have to pay anywhere between $35 and $50 to purchase a basic, everyday wear bra. PLUS, the lady at the boutique has to alter the bras for me since my ribcage actually measures 30", and they just don't make my cup size in such a small rib band. So, I have decided to take matters into my own hands.

Disclaimer: This is my first tutorial, so it is remedial at best. As usual, I'm certain there is an easier/better way to do this, but this is the way I chose.

Step#1 - Find a cheap bra that has cups that fit your breasts. Band size doesn't really matter that much, but the closer you get to your actual band size, the better. The best I could do was a 38:
Step #2 (not pictured)- Measuring. There are a few ways to do this, but what I did was try on the bra, pinch the band to fit, and have my husband mark the band for me. You could also use an old bra as a guide, or (for the smaller boobed) try it on, twist the band around so the clasps are in front, pinch and mark. Keep in mind that the clasps add an inch or two, so factor that in to your marks.

Step #3 - Use a seam ripper to remove the zigzag stitches that connect the clasps to the band fabric:
Step #4 - Separate the clasps from the bra and set aside. Cut off the raw ends of the bra at the marks you made. I had to cut off appx. 1.5" on each end.
Step #5 - Re-insert band fabric into clasps, pin if you want to, and set your sewing machine to a short zigzag stitch. Be sure the stitches catch the clasp on the underside as well. Follow the original seam-ripped line, and do the side edges also.

(I know it isn't pretty, but my boobs are HEAVY, so I stitch and backstitch the life out of my clasps.)

Now, you may notice the wrinkle I got in my band fabric after cutting and replacing the clasps. This is because I was sizing down from a 38 to a 32ish, and the band width is more substantial the closer you get to the straps. Once the band stretches around my ribs, the wrinkle is less noticeable, but I don't care about it anyway. If you care about wrinkles, choose an original band as close to your size as you can get.

I hope this is helpful to anyone searching for band alterations. The only reason I posted this as a tutorial was because I couldn't find good instructions anywhere else.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Although I am a card-carrying procrastinator, I have these weird episodes that involve inventing a new project that I tackle with manic obsession. For example, I was vacuuming (wow, does that word look odd..) this morning, and when I pulled out my dining table chairs I immediately decided that they needed to be re-covered. The first time I covered these was 4 years ago, and they have gotten pretty grubby.

Keep in mind that I am showing you a photo of the LEAST grubby of all the chairs. I almost wonder how this cushion steered clear of the stain slaughter that all of the others have suffered:
When I bought these chairs, almost 10 years ago, I made the genius decision to choose a light cream colored cushion. So, I obviously needed to replace those original covers shortly after I had a child. And, when I replaced them, I made the rookie mistake of stapling the fabric to within an inch of it's life:

Now that I am older, and smarter, I realize that staples are totally unnecessary for my chair-type, and I can just wrap the cushion tightly and screw them back in to place. This still allows for a nice, smooth tuck:
The reason I chose this plaid fabric (which you may remember from the awesome skirt I made), is because I have TONS of it. Seriously, I think I started with 10 yards of this stuff and it still seems to be procreating. I have little plaid fabric babies stuffed in every nook of my sewing room. Plus, I don't have any other fabric that would have covered all 4 chairs. And, since I think it resembles a picnic table cloth, I thought it would work well with my dining room.
Done and done. Cost = FREE (the fabric is from a freecycler), and Time = less than an hour.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow??

With Hen and Chicks:
Cheddar Pinks:
And Dwarf Coreopsis:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Crazy for Crochet

I have been so busy with hemming and alterations on friends' clothing that I feel creatively lacking. But, I did start to crochet a blanket for the Pretty Pretty Princess.

My sister mentioned that the last blanket I made has been outgrown, so Pretty Pretty Princess and I conferred on the colors for her new blanket. She was adamant about YELLOW!! So, I thought I would go with a "sophisticated, but whimsical girl" pallette, and a Granny Square pattern.
I don't like making teeny little squares that I whipstitch together since that involves alot of counting, and I think I have made it pretty clear how I feel about number-related crafting. I really think that one huge granny square is much cooler looking.
Normally, I don't crochet after Christmas because I am sick of looking at yarn by the end of December, and because I feel like I will jinx the arrival of warm weather by crafting cold weather items. But, Mother Nature has been giving us the cold shoulder this year, so I am happy to be wrapped up in cozy fuzziness right now: