Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tag You're It

I was tagged by Paula of Sew Confused. Thanks, Paula! Hope this makes sense. My brain is fried today!

Same thing I'm doing now. Wife. Mom. Homemaker. Crafter. Seamstress. Add in Home Educator.

Supervise and Assist two teens hired to clean the basement - DONE
Supervise and Assist two teens hired to clean decks and paint porch - DONE
Spray Paint two end tables black - One down, one to go.
Sew side drapes for safari room - Haven't even started. Might be a late nighter
Register son for golf camp - Ummmm...where's the phone!

I'm not really a dessert person. Favorite sweets would be cheesecake and white choc/macadamia cookies. Pizza is my favorite snack.

Give money to son's private school.
Give money to Carry the Cure
Buy a Steinway for our church (and one for me too!)
Help several deserving families I know
Finish our house and landscaping
Buy DH several toys he has denied himself in order to buy US things
Travel with our sons
Too much else to list here

Eugene Oregon (yet another thing we have in common, Paula!)
Kirkland Washington (went to college there)
Fremont California
Roundup Montana (don't ask. It's too painful to talk about)
New Orleans, LA
Tacoma WA
Santa Cruz CA
Springfield MO

Babysitter (child)
Cafeteria worker (college job)
Librarian Cataloging Assistant (college job)
Designer Dresses, Coats and Furs Salesperson (also did modeling for the Dept. Store's fashion shows)
General Labor, Remodeling Work for FIL's investments
Church Secretary (before kids arrived)
Free Lance Writer
Various Entrepreneurial/Home Business Stuff

All of the above was brief and inconsequential. My biggest desire was to investment a lifetime in my marriage, family and home.

Those who want to play obligations to anyone!

Sharon Sews - Sharon
Weekend Crafting - Reethi
Sew Much to Sew - Angelia

I'm too tired (did you see today's to do list?) to think of any others! Sorry. :(

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mantel Decor Tutorial

Since I'm doing this anyway, I thought I might as well photo and detail the steps for ya'll. The room I'm currently working on is what we tend to call the "homeschool room" even though our kids are pretty much grown and we haven't homeschooled in years. The name has stuck. The plan for this room is a safari/old world/british pub/hunting lodge kind of look. Is there such a thing? It was dictated as the only possible outcome when DH came back from Africa with trophies to display. And when it's done, I think it will be great!

The large gas fireplace is the focal point of the room. DH's Alaskan Dall Ram hangs over the mantel. I decided to make this "backdrop" for his trophy. It makes things look more polished and cohesive with the room's theme. The idea could be tweaked for any kind of decor, however. You could use reeding in the frame for tropical decor. Mirror for contemporary. Paisley print for traditional. Toile for French Country. Cabbage roses for cottage. You get the idea...

Step One: Measure out the size square you desire. Pencil in lines to guide you in hanging the fabric and placing the molding. Sorry, forgot to take a pic of this step.

Step Two: Choose fabric for your insert. I used burlap for mine as I wanted a rustic, safari-ish texture. Cut fabric to fit. Spray back of fabric with spray craft adhesive and smooth into place being sure edges line up with your pencil marks. The little wrinkle in the middle of my fabric is where I pushed the nail through to hang the trophy. It will be hidden once the head is up.

Step Three: Cut molding in three pieces. Two side pieces and top piece. Miter corners if needed. I preferred to use corner rosettes as we have this trim throughout the house. Paint molding.

Step Four: Nail molding into place using small finishing nails. Touch up nail holes with paint. Notice my high tech hammer. :)

Step Five: Now for the fun part! Decorate with your accessories. Hang a trophy, mirror, portrait, watercolor, etc. in your backdrop.

More "Persevering Productivity"

If you're wondering about the title of this post, I'm referring to THIS in which I naively announce all the things I'm going to get done in 2008. HAH! It's now almost June. I am about halfway through the year and still have a llloooonnnngggg way to go towards getting all that done. I'm making good progress in the sewing and stash-busting department. I've stash-busted almost 150 yards. I'm making fairly decent progress in the home organization efforts. Still a long way to go, however. The marathon-shape thing? We're not going to talk about that. Pretend I never said that. I was delusional. I must have been watching Chariots of Fire again and forgot that I'm more than 2x the main character's age.

I recently learned that we will be having house guests in a few weeks. So I need to lay aside the sewing for a bit and do some prep work for that. Company coming is always a nice little pressure to get some things done that need to be done anyway. So...those of you who come here strictly for the sewing, might be bored for the next dozen posts or so. I'm going to be posting my organizational and decorating projects. I will get back to sewing as soon as I can. :)

And with that caveat, here are pics of what I did yesterday. I cleaned out and organized a whole wall of bookshelves. Fifteen feet. I hauled out FOUR black bags of stuff to the trash. After everything was reorganized, I arranged them as prettily as a REAL library allows (Those libraries in magazines must be for non-readers. The books are color-coordinated and there are NO paperbacks.), tucked in bits of greenery and then hung some vintage landscapes on the fronts. This was an idea I saw in Country Sampler Decorating Ideas years and years ago.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From Roll Top Desk to Gadget Center

One of my goals this year was to try to get every inch of the house perfectly culled, decluttered, organized and beautified. Quit laughing. I'm serious. In this process I've discovered a new principle of organization. At least to me. It's kind of a variation on the "bloom where you're planted thing." Ready for it???

Organize your reality.

For years I've tried to set up systems and then get people to use them. I've finally come around to looking at what people are using and then organize that. Rather than fight the tendency for shoes to get left in the front foyer, organize the reality that that's where people leave their shoes in Alaska. Rather than try to get people to put away keys, receipts, and spare change, deal with the fact that it's always going to get dropped on the foyer table and organize that spot.

And that's what I did with this desk below. It had become a magnet for electronic gadgets and their respective chargers, batteries and accessories. I am sooooo not a gadget person. I have let the sight of those gadgets and tangled mass of cords drive me crazy and finally realized that I was going to have to go with the reality. That desk is where it is most convenient and likely for them to get dropped. So organize THAT spot. I turned this roll top desk into a gadget storage and charging center.

First, I removed the back of both the desk and the shelf insert. I did this without ruining them and stored them so that they could be replaced when we wished to use this piece as a desk again. I also stored one of the drawers as its spot was needed for one of the larger gadget chargers. I then ran the plugs through the back of the desk. I mounted a power strip to the back of the desk and plugged in each charger (and a pencil sharpener).

Each cord and charger has its own cubby so that there are no dangling cords, no jumbled mess. They get tucked into their holes until a gadget needs charging. Then its simply pulled out and the gadget plugged in.

The whole mess then gets covered by pulling down the rolltop. There are no cords showing beneath the desk because the outlet is just above the center of the desktop, hidden by the plant. So you'd never know anything electrical is going on.

The drawer holds extra gadgets and batteries. No more mess. And all those ugly electronics and cords are out of sight!

Now on to solve the next problem. There are plenty to choose from!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I didn't get my shirts done in order to share them with you today. Got sidelined by a new med and just didn't feel well enough to push through. So...ya'll are getting reruns today! I thought I'd share a former creation. This was made a couple of years ago for a customer when I was sewing children's designs. I used vintage and new fabrics and then tea-dyed them to blend in the new fabrics with the old. It's a great way to use up bits and pieces of vintage textiles. I also used some embroidered bits from old tea towels. The buttons were covered with scraps of vintage linens. You can see more about vintage textile covered buttons here.

If you're interested in tea-dyeing, here are some tutorials.

Tea Dyeing Tutorial

How To Tea Dye

Tea Dyed Fabrics

Tea Dyeing FAQ

Tea Dyeing and Aging Techniques

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Good Book Anyone?

When Craig and I drove to town to pick up my sewing machine, he wanted to stop by a furniture store where I had spotted a chair I really liked thinking it would be perfect for an empty corner in our living room. It was discontinued and thus being offered at a great price. He decided to pick it up for me. I felt more than a little spoiled (and guilty!) since we had just shelled out a small fortune to have my machine refurbished. But I do LOVE it. It matches a lamp we already had perfectly. It's a very tempting little spot to read. I hope this summer to paint the hutch next to it black and then give it a bit of a stain glaze to age it.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Some Quick Summer Tops

I decided to knock out a couple of quick summer tunics this weekend. I am quite short on summer clothes as I simply love Fall clothing (good thing I live in Alaska!) and my closet is quite lop-sided with wools, sweaters and jackets. I will be using a Simplicity pattern with a simple square-neck pullover top with side slits and darts.

I have almost finished the one below in an ethnic batik-looking cotton. I will add some wood bead detailing to the neck. Probably just another hour on this one.

This cotton border print will be sewn in a slightly longer length than the pattern depicts. I may add some Indian Shisha work to it. Haven't decided yet. But for those of you who might be interested in adding it to your creations, there is an excellent tutorial at Joyful Abode

This pique will be sewn as is. No additional embellishment.

I'll post an update with pics when I get the shirts done.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tentative Art Coat Plan

This is my first tentative plan for my Evening Art Coat. I have several things I'm still deciding. Input welcome.

1) Wool coating or wool flannel or twill: Wool coating is more practical here in Alaska, but would the appliques be a nightmare on such a heavy fabric.

2)How much embellishment: Should I do the collar? Should the border turn the corner and extend up the front opening?

3)What fabric for the appliques: Batiks? Wool Felt? Funky, brightly patterned prints?

4)What is the best way to apply the velvet edging to reduce bulk?

5)I have a brightly patterned plaid poly taffeta I'd like to use for the lining strictly from a design point of view, but am worried about its sewability and the rustling noise. Should I stick with flannel backed satin which eliminates the need for interlining?

6)Hem length: Debating between just above the knee (longer than the pattern) or long, almost cloak length?

Friday, May 23, 2008

What One Does When One's Machine Is In The Shop, Final Episode

One finishes a quilt top (well, almost finished)...

Perfect timing too! My sewing machine is ready to be picked up. I will finish the handwork on the quilt top in the car on the way to town to retrieve my Pfaff. I only have some hand-stitching on the leaves and flowers left to do. Evidently Pfaffs get priority attention since the repair shop is also the local Pfaff dealer. I only had to wait 4 days instead of two weeks. Not so bad. Makes me feel guilty for whining. :)

So I have two quilt tops ready for sandwiching and basting. That is my least favorite part of the quilting process. But I'll suck it up and get them both ready to go. My free-motion foot will not be coming in for awhile yet. The quilts will have to wait a couple of weeks before I can finish them up.

When they are completed, the lavender quilt is headed to Nana's House. The flannel quilt below is overdue. I started it about a year ago for a 5 yo girl whose baby sister had unexpectedly died of a sudden respiratory illness. A group of us had made a memory quilt for the family, but I was working on one for the little sis as well. I finished the quilt top and then went on a trip. When I got back from the trip the quilt got buried with another dozen or so UFOs. That's what one gets for juggling far too many projects at the same time. Inevitably a ball gets dropped. So...once that one is quilted, it will be sent on to little Melody a year after the fact. But I hope the love and comfort intended will still be felt. It's just a simple patch square, but the flannels are super soft and have little baby animals on them.

So...I survived my week without my sewing machine. I got all my planting done, a closet made over, some nicer-than-usual meals cooked and a quilt top finished. Next up will be finishing the two quilts. But after that? This is what I'm thinking:

**Finish planning and shopping for Art Coat

**Cut out Karess Harvest Dress. See the appliqued girl's dress in the sidebar? That one sold when I had my children's design business, But I promised one to my little model who attends our church. She just adored that dress and just smiled ear to ear the whole time she modeled it for photos. So she needs one, KWIM? The applique takes a long time so I thought if I start it now, it'd be ready by Fall! LOL!

**Cut out a couple of quick summer tops for myself. The summer weather has hit here and suddenly I have nothing to wear. I am not a summer-kind of girl. I love the Fall with its wool and sweaters and layers and jackets. So I am constantly caught off-guard by the warmer weather. I need something fast!

And I'm off to town to pick up my machine....


The Joy of An Unexpected Free Day

I was planning on helping Casey's school librarian inventory out her books today. It was going to be a long, dusty, numbers-focused (NOT my strong point) day. She called this morning to say that her computer is not working and not to come in. So I have a free day suddenly dumped in my lap. Oh joy! I was happy to help her and feel badly about her frustrating techno-glitch, but there is nothing like an unexpected bonus day! And my men are out golfing so I have the whole house to myself!! What shall I do? Work on the quilt? Clean house? Bake? Papercraft?


Charity - Off to slap on and crank up my Sondre Lerche CD....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What One Does When One's Machine Is In The Shop, Day Three

One resorts to cleaning out closets...

Day Three of The Machine Fast. I may not be Ghandi, but it still hurts. Since my Pfaff is in the shop, I resorted to Spring cleaning and serger sewing. I culled, cleaned, reorganized and decorated my bathroom closet. I made little slipcases for each sheet set, using a different print to designate bed sizes. I used fabrics from my stash so the cost was nil-and-none. And I significantly busted some stash. Baskets hold household supplies. Papercrafted labels with rag ties make contents known. Wire racks on the back of the door make every bit of space count. Finally, I added some rose-scented sachets. So now it not only looks pretty, but it smells nice as well. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What One Does When One's Machine Is In The Shop, Part Two

One plants flowers...

You can see that we're needing to paint. To the right there are strips of colors I was considering. And I had painted the dark green trim as an experiment. Was thinking the door would go scarlet and the house body a mushroom color. Since we got a beautiful new gray/black roof, I've changed my mind. I am going to go with a pale gray on the house, black trim and stay with the scarlet door. Actually, we're getting a new, much nicer door. I wish DH would let me ditch the cedar front. I hate orange tones. But he loves it, so it stays.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What One Does When One's Machine Is In The Shop

One resorts to hand-sewing...

I decided to do some needle-turn applique on my lavender quilt since my Pfaff has gone under the knife and won't be out of recovery for a week or so. I usually do my applique the quick-and-easy way (fuse, then machine satin or blanket stitch). But I hate my back-up machine and since DH picked up SPACE, a wonderful sci-fi TV series (NOT!), I thought I would redeem the time with a little old-fashioned hand-sewing while wittily mocking said series. Hopefully I can finish the applique on this quilt top before my machine returns. Sadly, the free-motion foot I needed (mine had broke from constant hard use) to finish this quilt was not in stock. It had to be special ordered and who knows how long that will take. I have another quilt waiting to be stippled as well. So things are backing up in the quilt department. Guess I'll get good at this hand-sewing thing.

For those interested in Needle-turn Applique, I suggest these tutorials.

Easy Needle Turn Applique 101
Learning to Quilt, Lesson 4, Applique
How to Needle Turn with Freezer Paper
Applique and Hand Sewing Lessons
Applique Basics
Quilt Applique Techniques and Tips
Quiltmaking Fundamentals
Heirloom Quilts, Lesson 3, Hand Applique

Machine Service Blues

Setting: A smoky, slightly seedy jazz cafe. A low platform with a solitary mike is dimly lit by one lonely spotlight. An overweight, middle-aged redhead approaches the mike, fidgets with her home-sewn dress and mournfully begins to sing...

Machine Service Blues (sung to the tune of I Left My Heart in San Francisco)

I left my sewing machine at J.B.'s Sew and Vac.
What will I do without it here?
Now I no longer sew
that quilting UFO,
My sewing room is oh so bare, I don't care
My Pfaff waits there at J.B.'s Sew and Vac
Until next week, it waits for me
When it comes home to me from J.B.'s Sew and Vac (big breath for the big finale....)
My UFOs I'll sew again.

The singer exits the stage revealing a slightly wonky invisible zipper.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finish Emily's Cape - CHECK!

Don'cha love it when you get to mark something off your to-do list. I just wish this one had been marked off a little sooner. But that was out of my control and Miss Em will be able to put this away in her closet for hopefully many more dress-up events to come!

Overall, McCalls 3033 ended up being a keeper. It went together quickly and the end result was very cute. I'd like to make one in black velvet with beaded trim on the hem. The only thing I would suggest is being sure to interface that two-piece bias-cut under collar. Without that, I think it would be difficult to stabilize the bias cut edge. There would be too much ease for a nice match up with the capelet's neck edge.

I was finally able to get some narrow cord made from the Chinese brocade and with that a decent Chinese ball button. This is not the best fabric for making narrow fabric tubes, but with a lot of patience and several trial runs, I was happy with the end result. Here are the pics...

Next up will be the applique work on my lavender quilt.

Chinese Ball Buttons and Frogs

I'm still on a mission to finish this capelet for Miss Emily. I have constructed the shell, attached the small shawl collar and constructed the lining. Before I can bag the lining, I need to baste the button loop into place at the base of the collar. I wanted to use a button loop made from a fabric tube of the capelet fabric. However, I had a horrible time creating cord for the loop. I used instructions from these websites:

There was nothing wrong with these instructions. I'm pretty sure the chinese brocade was the problem. It wanted to fray something terrible and it was too stiff to turn in on itself. Since I was short on time, I didn't have the luxury of a steep learning curve. So I went out and bought rattail cording. I just finished my first Chinese Ball Button using this cord and these online instructions:

Making Chinese Frogs and Ball Buttons

This resulted in this button. Too small and not really very ball-like. Definitely no where close to workable.

Back to the drawing board. Next I used these instructions...

How to Sew A Chinese Frog

This was the resulting button. By this time I could see that a thicker cord was going to be needed. I decided to try my hand at making my own again. Before I had used a very narrow strip of fabric. If a bigger cord was needed to make a bigger button, than I might as well try to make it myself. I would probably be able to successfully turn a larger fabric tube. So back to my original idea of a chinese ball button from the capelet fabric itself.

I'll update later. Hopefully with a successful Chinese Ball button. If anyone has had success with these, please feel free to sing out!

Computer Transfer In Progress

DH gave me a new computer with TWO flat screen monitors for my birthday. My computer was about six years old. Which I guess is prehistoric in techno time. I will be slowly transferring over data to the new computer. I don't expect there to be any blip in my blog, but ya never now. So if I cease to be my overly chatty self and the posts dry up, chalk it up to a temporary computer glitch. But if I do this right, there shouldn't even be a hiccup...


We Now Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Okay, that's over. This is a sewing/craft blog and not my own personal therapy couch, so back to the topic at hand! Thanks for your kind words. Craig is sore but fine this morning and we are dusting ourselves off and returning to life as usual.

On the sewing front...

***DH was wanting to buy me a buttonhole machine for my birthday. I was sure I had heard such a thing mentioned on Pattern Review. I thought I had read a thread there that you could buy one for $400 or so. I mentioned it to Craig because we had had such problems with my buttonhole function on my machine being iffy. So as my birthday approached he secretly did online research and visited sewing stores in Anchorage to find out more about this. He turned up no such animal. The only thing he found was a $10,000 machine intended for factory use. Obviously, we are NOT going that route. If anyone has heard of a home buttonhole machine at a home user price, please let me know!

***During DH's research he was told by a store owner that the machine I have (A Pfaff Tiptronic) is actually considered an excellent machine. It got 5 stars at an online review site. But the gentleman knew exactly why my buttonholer had started to fail after 8 years hard use (I'm ashamed to admit I have NEVER had the thing serviced in all those years). So, Craig says part of my birthday present is to get my machine refurbished. The owner recommended staying with the machine as it's a good one. But I will be getting new cords/pedal (my cords are shot at the plug ins and held together with Craig's soldering job and electrical tape), a new free-motion quilting foot (mine broke and I use it a lot) and then the refurbish. The cords alone cost close to $200! But it's still cheaper than a new machine. And the gentleman said he can get my buttonholer working like new. Big sigh of relief!

***Emily's cape - If you read the posts below, you know that this project didn't get done in time for the big night. I still want to finish it, however. I don't know if she'll have occasion to wear her dress again, but a girl can always use a pretty evening wrap in her wardrobe. Her family loves music and perhaps they'll attend some symphonies or some such thing.

***This week's sewing plans are to make serious progress on the applique of the lavender quilt top, to finish collecting everything I need for the Coat Sew Along, to finish Emily's cape and to sandwich and baste a child' flannel quilt that I've had for eons.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Warning...Doting Mother Moment

BuckeyeSue left a comment below to please post pics of the kids on their big night. Well, that's all the excuse I needed. So if you're looking for hard core sewing info and not endless pics of my adorable child and his even more adorable childhood friend, then you'll want to skip this post. You've been warned. Excessive amounts of photos to follow....

This is The Princess in Pink. The sweet and lovely Miss Emily. This is about as close to a daughter as I'll ever get (along with her big sis, Sarah) - thanks to Pam's generousity in loaning out her wonderful girls when I get an itch to do girly things for a change!

Our baby...Sigh.

Caleb, our eldest, who was our rock during our day in ER. He took point for us, got Casey to the ball and played chauffeur for the kids.

Good friends since toddlerhood!

On their way!

The kids with our beautiful valley in the background

Okay...I'll stop now. Be grateful. I have LOTS more pics! :) :)


Bad Stuff Happens

Yesterday was A Very Bad Day. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And yesterday we were pitched a particularly nasty one. We attended the Walkathon as planned. DH started to not feel well, but he attributed it to eating too much watermelon for breakfast. We had taken two cars to the event so I could go home and finish the cape while he and Casey went on to the Biker Blessing. I left the parking lot before them and headed to JoAnn's to pick up some rattail cord to make the Chinese ball button for the capelet. My efforts to make cording from the Chinese brocade were disastrous. It frayed. The seams pulled loose. It was too stiff to turn in on itself when attempting to turn the tube. Just a mess. I was at JoAnn's when I got a panicked call from my son that something was wrong with Craig. He was in a lot of pain and retching. They were headed home. I dropped everything and headed home as fast as I could. When I got home DH was in agony. I took one look at him and knew something serious was going on. I told him it was either ER or I call 911. We raced off for ER with me on the phone to 911 urging them to tell the hospital to be ready. Even so...we got there and waited FORTY-FIVE minute while DH was literally on his knees on the floor groaning in agony. I was furious. The wait was so ridiculous that the ER Doctor later told us to please file a complaint. He said if it had been heart-related (which should have been a considered option with that pain level), the wait could have had disastrous results.

Will spare you the nightmare 8 hours that followed. But Dh was finally released that night. Kidney stones. About a half dozen of them. With blockage. But they finally passed. I have never seen anyone in that much pain. The doctor gave his pain a 9 on the pain scale. Far worse than I remember my childbirth being. There are no words to describe how helpless you feel when someone you love so much is in so much torment and there is nothing you can do.

And we missed all those wonderful first formal event memories. :( :( My eldest son rushed home from college to help his little brother get dressed, take photos and do the chauffeuring. And my dear friend, Pam (Emily's mother), had pics in my mailbox before we even got home. But it's not the same as being there and between groans even Craig was expressing his dismay at missing Casey and Emily's big night.

And no...I wasn't able to get her capelet done for her. :( :( :( was my birthday. But, my big present for the day was taking my husband home alive. It could have been worse.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prom Capelet

It's 10 a.m. I have about 8 hours to finish up this little capelet. It should be no problem except that our family has two events to attend today. We're participating in our pregnancy crisis center's Walkathon. Then after that our church has a Biker Blessing. The local motorcyclists bring down their bikes to be prayed over, listen to music and eat hot dogs and burgers. It's a popular event. However, I'm going to return home after the walkathon so I can work on the little capelet. I'll leave the bikers to my men. :)

So far I have constructed the shell. The lining is also put together. The next step will be to make a tiny button loop. I've never made a spaghetti strap before so I'm hoping my cheap plastic loop turner will do the trick. Then just bag the lining and I'm done. I want to make a chinese ball button and hope to find an online tutorial for that. If I don't end up with enough time to make the button, I'll simply do a quick covered button instead. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a little time left for some hand-beaded accents, but we'll just have to see.

Of course, chatting on here is just eating up the little time I have left so I gotta scoot!!! Will post pics when done and pics of the kids all dolled up as well.

Here's a pic of what I have done so far. The collar looks messy, but I did press it and it just needs the roll tweaked a little. The construction on the collar surprised me for such a quick and easy project. Nothing difficult, just extra steps. There is both an upper and under collar. The under collar is cut on the bias and is done in two pieces seamed in the center. The interfacing is likewise two pieces, cut on the bias and with a center seam. This means that there is quite a bit of ease caused by the bias when you attach the collar to the capelet. For those who might want to try this pattern, you might be tempted to eliminate the interfacing but it really does help stabilize the bias.


Friday, May 16, 2008

A New QUICK Project (as in 24 hours!)

My youngest son, Casey, has a school formal this weekend. It's a private Christian school so it's much like a prom, but without the focus on dancing and, of course, a more conservative music choice. He has asked a female friend, Emily, to attend with him. She is the daughter of my closest friend and one of my Monday sewing lesson buddies. You've probably heard me mention her and her sister in my posts. Casey and Emily have known each other since they were pre-schoolers. Our families are all close friends. So...anyway...the divine Miss Em has picked out a pink floor-length formal. Feminine, sweet and delicate. Much like herself! It has been cooler in the evening than normal and so I thought she might want a pretty little evening wrap and offered to do one at the last minute. As in the party is tomm. night! LOL!

So we met at the fabric store today. We settled on a simple elbow length capelet with a shawl collar. No sleeves will speed things up. It will be made from a Chinese brocade with a champagne background, pink roses and peridot leaves. It's lined in bright pink flannel backed satin for warmth. Here's the pattern. It's View E without the braid and beading. The brocade is soooooo gorgeous, it doesn't need adornment.

I hope to have time to do a little bit of hand beading on the motifs along the front opening. We'll see. Anyway, I'll post pics as I go. I've got to get right on it.

First stop...clear off my cutting table. It's buried 2 feet high at the moment!


Progress Report

This is my current Sewing To Do list. Updated in italics.

Immediate (this week!)

Alter a friend's bridesmaid dress - DONE! I finished this last night. It is a beautiful duchess satin dress in a gorgeous shade of copper. Fully lined and with a chiffon drape over the bust. It needed taken in on each side, which meant taking apart the drape, satin and lining at the upper edge, taking in 1/2 inch on all of them and then putting it back together. Then shortened the straps 1 5/8 inch. That wasn't so bad. The pain was hemming it 1.5 inches. It had a narrow rolled hem. I didn't want it to look different from the other bridesmaids, so I had to reproduce that in a dress with side seams, a back seam and front AND back princess seams. What a pain to try to roll through that many seam allowances! I was almost in tears trying to use the foot. Just wouldn't work through all those layers. So I had to do a tiny, tiny, tiny hem the turn-and-press way. What a pain! But the end result was just fine.

Put the last border on my Lavender Quilt top - Fabric has been pre-washed and ironed. Need to go clear off my cutting table so I can cut and attach this last border. Then the top will be ready for applique.

Sandwich and Baste a flannel quilt top (A year old UFO!) - Nothing new to report

Short Term (through the summer)

Art Coat - Nothing new to report. Shopping without success for a colorful, but sturdy lining. Thinking through underlining and how much warmth I want. Still need to post sketches for you all

Finish Lavender Quilt - See above

Finish Flannel Quilt Top - Nothing new to report

Karess' Harvest Dress - Secured fabric for dress and appliques. Need to still select the fabric for the reverse facings.

Long Term (by next summer)

Finish UFO Crazy Quilt (tons of hand-stitching, beading, etc.) Nothing new to report

Perhaps a capsule wardrobe - Nothing new to report

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Winners of The Hundred Skirts Giveaway

The winners of The Hundred Skirts Giveaway are....

Basket of Craft and Sewing Goodies: Bec Clarke
Needlecase/Silk YoYos/Needles: Paula
Needlecase/Silk YoYos/Needles: Mindy
Needlecase/Silk YoYos/Needles: "a"

I will be contacting you soon for your addresses in order to ship your goodies. Or you can email them to me... lovelace @

Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to all the Hundred Skirt Project participants.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Modest Chic

I've been reading a discussion online about modesty. I'm a big believer in modesty. However, I'm also a lover of fashion. Most of the discussions I read about modesty pit these two against each other as if they could not possibly peacefully coincide. Unfortunately, most of what I have seen forwarded by the "modesty camp" as acceptably modest is appallingly frumpy. I think this is one reason why those who love fashion have been reluctant to embrace the concept of modesty. They automatically picture baggy sack dresses and assume that membership in a cult must be next on the horizon. Not so... I decided to take the strictest definition of modesty that has been given to me (high necks, long sleeves, at the knee hems, not form-fitting) and show some fashionable variations that are most decidedly NOT Frump Girl Material.

These are by Kenzo, one of my favorite designers.

And some others from my "Sew Someday" File

I think there are plenty of options for the woman who desires to dress modestly and still look chic, have a strong sense of personal style and express her love for fashion. Sewing your own clothes gives even greater freedom to tweak a pattern to meet a personal requirement of modesty - in all its wide and varied definitions.