Wednesday, December 7, 2011


So believe it or not, I have been sewing (and knitting and otherwise crafting) up a storm!  Unfortunately all my projects have been of the so-called "Christmas gift" variety.  Therefore the blog is comitted to strict secrecy until December 25...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vogue 8527

I've never made a handbag before tacking Vogue 8527 but I think I will definitely be making several more attempts.  I made this pattern out of a black faux alligator and lined it with red silk remnants.

This pattern went together like a dream and I can't wait to make many more... Now that I've seen how well this pattern works I may purchase some leather and try some more "upscale" versions.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A shout out to Grandma!

Who is lending me her sewing machine until I can obtain a replacement...

Mary Poppins wishes you a Happy Halloween!

As people may have guessed, this Halloween I was "practically perfect in every way."  My Mary Poppins costume was inspired by both the classic movie and the Broadway show.  I utilized Simplicity pattern 2581 to create a cherry red coat and trimmed it with black braid and large black buttons.  I also made a white button down shirt embellished with vintage lace and replaced the top button with a red silk bowtie attached to a stick pin.  I self drafted a gored skirt sewn from navy wool.

My favorite detail may have been the umbrella.  Deciding that the "official" Mary Poppins umbrella from Disney was too rich for my blood, I purchased a black umbrella from target and removed the handle. 

I then sculpted a parrot head from Sculpey clay.

After the handle was baked and hardened, I painted the parrot and attached it to the umbrella handle. 

I think this project was a great success.  My costume was popular with both trick-or-treaters and late night adult revellers! 

Mary Poppins meets the Doctor...

and is NOT intimidated!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green Tomatoes

I realized that my poor tomatoes (which have been the same size and color for over a month) were not going to last much longer ripening on the vine in our increasingly cooling climate.  So I decided to take the plunge, harvest the darn things, and see how well they ripen indoors.  A dedicated purusal of various gardening blogs have provided me with a lot of bizarre advice that I have no intention of dealing with... Let's be honest here, if I wrapped each tomato individually and stored them in a dark closet, I would remember them when the rotting smell eventually became too pungent to ignore.  So instead I am putting them in a colander on my counter.  And I shall see what happens.

In other news, here is a cat!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Seriously Project Runway?


I am very disappointed in you. 

Okay, so yes his ensembles were an ill-fitting snoozefest, but seriously you liked Josh's ridiculous acid-leopard-80's-plaid-tuxedo absurdity better?  REALLY?

Also, I hate Josh.  I'll say it.  He's awful.  He is untalented and awful.  Dear Josh... you know the classic advice that you should get dressed and then remove something before leaving the house.  Think about that...please?  And Nina Garcia is concerned about Laura's taste level?

And those plaid pants?  They may be the most horrific garment I have seen in my life.  Seriously, if you can make a model look lumpy and chubby and weird just think about what those would do on to the bodies of us normals!

I did legitimately love Anya's jumper although I firmly believe Victor deserved the win for creating beautifully tailored seperates that a) the average woman would wear, and b) inspire me to actually try some of those 70's patterns I inherited rather than mocking them.  Also I did love Bert's dress which was the "bonus" winner.  I am certainly not going to spend money to buy it on, but I may create my own (slightly more tailored) version. 

But, do you think Anya is ever going to design something that is wearable by anyone who needs a bra?  Because that draped v-neck to the belly-button thing is fine and good on models but the average American woman wears a 36C... just something she may want to consider.  The jumpsuit was pretty but it would look vaguely pornographic on me.  It would look vaguely pornographic on Heidi for that matter. 

This season is making me sad and afraid that it will soon be time to mourn the passing of my favorite reality show.  Because it has not only jumped the shark.  These season's designers are chum in the water. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Further attempts at sewing machine repair...

All to no avail.  I am really at a loss. 

I figure I'll take the machine in to the repair shop to be looked at this weekend but I am still sad that I won't be able to put the finishng touches on my Mary Poppins coat in time to enter them over at Pattern Review.  And I didn't bother adding the blouse and skirt because why bother when I haven't finished the whole costume yet.
So in the interim I have gotten started on some knitting.  I'm not doing anything too fancy.  Just a simple ribbed scarf out of some gray wool that we picked up at the Yankee Peddler this weekend.

And of course I enjoy any chance I get to use my knit picks! (Seriously? Best knitting needles EVER!)

Not to give anything away, but someone may be getting a nice Christmas gift!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My sewing machine seems to be broken... I am most unhappy because I still need to finish up my Mary Poppins jacket before the Pattern Review costume contest closes on Friday!  Why? Why does this happen to meeeee?!

And yes, I am aware that the melodrama is unwarrented and absurd but I DO NOT CARE!  I have a head cold and a BROKEN SEWING MACHINE!

I think my main frustration is that I can't for the life of me figure out what is wrong.  When I turn the wheel forward the needle is hitting an unidentified "something" in the bobbin assembly.  Weirdly I do not have this issue if the turn the wheel backwards.  I have unassembled and reassembled the bobbin assembly multiple times in past several days.  There is probably less lint in the machine than when I brought it home. 

I'm starting to wonder whether this machine has just seen it's last days.  I mean, I suppose you can't expect a $150 machine from Walmart to last more than 5 or 6 years?  My dear Brother C6000i has served me well but it may be time to consider an upgrade... hmmm...

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Brief Foray in Home Dec Sewing

So to go with my (relatively) recently refinished dining room set, I decided I needed some beautiful throw pillows to scatter along the bench and add to what I am going to dub my "modern cozy cottage" decor.  With this plan in mind I purchased fabric months ago but never brought my vision to fruition until recently...

But I finally got my act together and  made my pillows.  (I still plan on making an upholstered cushion for the bench in a kahki tan I picked up at the JoAnns clearance.  I'm picturing something with covered buttons... this may be a disaster so stay tuned!)

Being on the lazy side, especially when it comes to "boring sewing" (aka things that are straight lines), I did purchase pillow forms, utilizing my weekly JoAnns coupon. 

To begin creating a throw pillow you want to start by cutting fabric squares that are smaller than your pillow forms... Yes dear reader, I know this is counter-intuitive, but it is the essential trick to creating a throw pillow that seems professional and finished.  The forms I purchased were 18" x 18" so I cut fabric squares that were 17" x 17x. 

I then pinned the front and the back of the pillow together (right sides together of course!) and sewed the two sides together.

I left about eight inches open and unsewn on one side.  For those who are real "beginner beginners" you want to assure a really sharp corner by sewing right to the edge of your seamline and making sure the needle is peircing the fabric when you make each 90 degree turn.

Then trim the corners and clip the seam allowance before turning the pillow right-side out.

Then for the fun part!  I stuffed the pillow form into the newly created cover and slip stiched the cover closed.

The result? Several beautiful new throw pillows which are not only perfectly matched to my decor but cost only approximately $8.00 each!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Boogie down with more 70's fashion...

You'll be lookin' goooooood....

Because nothing says sexy liked striped pjs and a pipe.

The perfect look for a Bond villain on the go...

Why don't men today wear patio jackets with thier swim trunks?  And more importantly, what is a patio jacket?

Because nothing can set off a brown vest and mustard blouse quite like a jaunty turquoise scarf!

The man on the far right wanted to wear his gold shoes today but it didn't match his blue outfit.  Luckily he had his gold belt to tie it all together!

I don't really want to mock this one because it speaks deeply to my long burried hipster heart.

Is he stabbing her for making fun of his boots? 

Ah yes, the blue denim quilted suit: a necessity for every stylish man

This may be the weirdest his and hers ensemble I've ever seen...

An Exceedingly Steampunk Adventure

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to a Steampunk themed masquerade benefit.  Of course this sent my artsy crafty mind a whirl and I had to get started right away considering my costume options.  
Of course, I considered picking up Simplicity 2172 or 2207.  However, I thought it would be more fun to design my own ensemble.  But of course, for a masquerade I started by designing my masque.  It is not yet completed, but I am pleased so far.

I started by covering a very basic masque from the fabric store with brown faux-suede.  I then glued down rivets and sprockets before attaching a fan of peacock feathers.

I plan to pleat some cream colored silk to attach as a fan shape behind the peacock feathers.  I also plan on attaching a stick and some hanging ribbons and brass chains.  Alternatively, I may insert a rivet on each end, weave some cream grosgrain ribbon through a brass chain to create a strap for around the head.  I haven't decided yet. 

I also am still thinking about my costume and sketching options...

Finishing the Hat

Because I have always believed that I am "practically perfect in every way," this year I will be clad as Mary Poppins for Halloween!  (Congratulations to those who guessed correctly... aka, everyone who guessed!)  I still have to finish the coat, but this weekend I was in more of a "crafty" rather than a "sewy" mood so I set my mind to accessories.  I picked up a pair of gloves at a vintage store for $6.00 (I didn't want to wear those chintzy, shiny gloves that are sold at the costume stores so vintage seemed the way to go) and made myself a black straw boater with daisies and cherries.

I started with a large, floppy straw hat from the floral department of Pat Catans.

I then began peeling away the brim, layer by layer, to reduce width of the brim down to approximately half it's original size.  

I then cut off the excess and stitched the remaining brim in place.

I painted the hat black.  I did one coat in "soft black" and let that dry.  I then painted a top coat in a high gloss black.  The combination of the two paints added some texture needed to make the hat look more worn and natural.

 I then glued on some cheerful daisies and cherries.  After the glue dried I stiched the flowers and berries into place to assure that they were secure.

Next I will finish the coat and draft my pattern reviews for the blouse, coat, and skirt so that I can enter the costume contest.  Once that is complete I will still need to purchase shoes and the umbrella.