Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween 2010

Coleen decided she wanted to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice this year.

The exciting thing is she made her costume herself (with only a little help from me, mostly in the pinning things together correctly area). She used the pattern offered by Sense and Sensibility for a Regency Dress. She was initially intimidated by the several pages of instructions, until she realized that they were just a lot more detailed than what she is used to and they really did not involve many more steps than other things she has made.
Her dress turned out very nicely and we found the perfect accessory in a lace sweater that I wore to my wedding. The tshirt and pants underneath were a bow to Halloween in Wisconsin, which is usually a bit chilly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Devil's Lake, WI

We went on an excursion yesterday. The fall color was lovely and it was an excellent hike. Can't wait to go back and explore more of the park.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The end of Self Stitched September

Well, September has come to a close. It was a very interesting month and I put a lot more thought into what I was wearing each morning than I usually do.

You will notice that of the last eight days of the month, I only have pictures of about half of them. I did have company, but also I got tired of taking pictures of the same outfits that I wore earlier in the month, so you'll have to take my word for it that I did finish out the month...

What did I learn?

I need a more well-rounded wardrobe and though I love to jump from one involved project to another, I need to spend some quality time just making some basics- a few more tshirts and a couple pairs of pants and I would not have been so bored with what I was wearing at the end of the month to stop taking pictures.

I love skirts and I pulled them out and wore them more this month than I have in years. And right now I have a job where I could wear skirts more often. The next few months might get to be too cold, but in the spring, I am definitely going to keep wearing skirts...

Work more on fitting. Since I also started working on the Lady Grey coat sew-along this month, I have noticed a couple of alterations that I could probably consistently make to patterns that would make them fit better. I need a swayback alteration and I also have narrow, sloping shoulders.

And find some TNT patterns. I noticed that a couple of patterns I used over and over again this month. There can be infinite variations just with fabric and details, so find some well fitting pieces and develop a wardrobe around them.

Thank you Zoe for dreaming up this challenge. It has helped focus my sewing and I will have a better wardrobe to show for it!

Pants - altered simplicity pattern
Lady Grey muslin - the project I'm working on right now!
Ottobre Woman cardigan, burda blouse and the simplicity pants again- as much as I wear pants- I really need to get a couple more pairs made!

Simplicity blouse
Altered simplicity pattern for pants- these were the muslin for the tan pair and they get almost as much wear! Except because I was only going to use these for a muslin, they have no pockets- I won't do that again! Pockets are too useful a thing to leave out.

Burda blouse and simplicity pants again
This time teamed up with one of my favorite vests bought at Express ages ago (probably at least 15 years). I really should pull it out more often.

I will probably continue to incorporate self-stitched items into what I am wearing most days!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SSS Days 17-21

All are from Ottobre Woman
2/2008 #10 knit cardigan
2/2007 #4 tshirt
2/2007 #8 skirt

Finished socks today and wore them! The pattern is 'Sunshine' from Cookie A's book Sock Innovation Otherwise, I spent most of the day in my sewing room in very casual clothes that did not get photographed.

This is another version of the simplicity pattern you have seen before... this time with long sleeves. Believe it or not, there is still one more version... I really liked this pattern. All of these shirts are at least five years old and a couple of them should probably be retired soon.

Ottobre Women 2/2010 #6
Jalie Pants - These are actually my husband's - yes we are very close to the same size- at least when I make pants for him a size too big! I was planning on wearing a skirt, but it was chilly this morning and sometimes you just feel like wearing pants...

Ottobre Woman cardigan again... will probably only wear half the day. It has been chilly in the morning and warming up in the afternoons - perfect fall weather!
Ottobre Woman 2/2008 #4 tshirt
2/2007 #12 skirt

Progress on my coat

As of Sunday, all of the pieces of my muslin are cut out. The seams are all thread traced and ready to sew together.

I've had a few minutes here and there the last couple of days and have the back sewn together and am working on the princess seams of the front. I hope by this weekend to have the musling together and fitted.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SSS Days 13-16

Hmm... you'll notice there are only 3 pictures for the four days covered. Forgot to take pictures on the 14th, but it was just a repeat of what I wore on day 3.

Top Ottobre Woman 2/2008 #9
Tank Ottobre Woman 2/2009 #1
Skirt Ottobre Woman 5/2007 #4. Stitched for me by Coleen.

Skirt is self-drafted from RTW. It is a mock-wrap and extremely comfortable
Blouse is the same pattern as the red checked shirt on Day 1. Actually, in the picture below is a 3rd version of the same blouse.

Also wearing the pants from day 1,3,4 and 7...see, I told you I wear them lots.

Lady Grey Coat Sew Along

I'm participating in the Lady Grey Coat Sew Along over at Gertie's blog.
I am so excited! My fabric came yesterday from An unclipped corduroy and one of Amy Butler's prints from her Midwest Modern collection plus ivory satin for the sleeve lining. I think it will be lovely. I am definitely starting on the muslin today when I get home from work!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Self Stitched- the 8th-12th

BWOF ? Will look up the issue after work
Ottobre Woman 2/2010 #6
Ottobre Woman 2/2008 #9
Another version of Ottobre Woman 2/2008 #4
Ottobre Woman 2/2006 #3

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SSS Days 3-7

Ottobre Woman 2/2008 Tunic #1 Two different versions. The second blue one was sewn for me by my daughter (and so I guess I fail at self-stitched...)

Ottobre Woman 2/2008 tshirt #4
Ottobre Woman 2/2010 blouse #14

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 1-3

Here are the outfits for the first 3 days of September. Forgive the bad pictures, I forgot to have Coleen take them and so would take them myself at lunch time and the camera and I were not agreeing on where the focal point should be...

Day 1:
Red check shirt - made by me several years ago. One thing it reminds me of is that I have improved as a seamstress... alot... even though, I still need to work on fitting. It was a simplicity pattern that I do not have any longer, but I used it a lot when I did - probably 5 or 6 different versions over a couple of years
Pants - Made last year while I was taking the series of pants classes offered by Shannon Gifford at Pattern Review. This was originally a simplicity pattern too, but it was altered quite a bit. I love these pants - they are quite comfortable, however I really had trouble with the zipper at the time, so they are not my best effort. I still wear them lots however.

Day 2:
Sweetheart top by Jalie. Love this pattern and really should make some more!
Green pants are actually the muslin for the tan pants above...

Day 3:
Same pants as day 1. The shirt is from Burda October 2007.
My first completed Burda pattern. Great details

Friday, August 27, 2010

Self- Stitched September

I just signed up for self-stitched September over atSo 'zo's blog.

I decided I could probably handle one handmade item a day.

Wish me luck

Better late than never...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Year's Harvest

This year we braided our garlic. Aren't they pretty?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something New

Just a pretty picture.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New shirt

A month ago, I spent my lunch breaks tracing out a series of tops from Ottobre and Burda. Five different tops that were cut out of five different fabrics all from my stash. All of the patterns were cut straight from the magazine patterns without alteration.

This is the first one I completed. It is from the October 2007 issue of Burda. Design #117.

It is made from a lightweight (slightly sheer) cotton I found at Hancock's a couple of years ago. The top has french seams and went together very well except for the sleeves which I realized were going to be too tight on my arms before I set them in. Thankfully, I had enough fabric to recut them out with an adjusted pattern.

Coleen chose the buttons. I really love them, but would never have thought to try something so colorful... I was sort of set on wood or coconut when I went to the store.

I really like the button plackets on the sleeve with the double buttons.

Here's the back, albeit quite wrinkled from a day at work...

I would probably shorten the sleeves a couple of inches if I were to make this again. They were supposed to be 3/4 length, but it looks like they almost hit my wrist.

I would also think about changing the collar. I am not crazy about it. It makes my neck appear shorter than it is. I might just go without one and do a binding or narrow facing.

I do really like the polo style placket and the inverted pleats that open at the waist.

Now, four more to go...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday Girl

Coleen's birthday was Sunday. She is 11! Sometimes it seems like just a moment has passed since I was able to hold her in my arms. Now, she's less than 6 inches shorter than me- I think I will soon become the shortest in my family :)

After William made her birthday cake (cheesecake with blueberry topping), we took her down to La Crosse and bought her a bike. She was so excited! She is going everyday up on the cul-de-sac to practice riding and really has made progress in the last three days.

The outfit she's wearing in the picture with Biscuit was her birthday present from me. She was very pleased with the hoodie. She loves velour and I was able to manage to sneak this piece in past her and get this made without her knowing about it (one of her favorite things to do is inventory my fabric - so this is not so easy).

Most of the rest of the day she spent on one of her favorite pursuits- reading. She is devouring the Redwall books by Bryan Jacques right now - for the second or third time.

We ended the day with a delicious manicotti dinner and the glorious cheesecake!

Next year, she'll be in middle school... how time flies.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Coleen Made a Jacket!

Coleen just finished a blue corduroy jacket- perfect for fall! Yes, it was cut out and started last September and then has just been slowly progressing, but she is finally finished and I have a feeling it will see lots of wear this spring. Unfortunately, with having it on the table for so long -she has sprouted up and is now two sizes bigger - thankfully, I think we made it a little on the big side so I think it will work through spring. I just am not sure it will make it all of the way to next fall...


The pattern is from the Spring 2006 issue of Ottobre Design. Sizing 128-170 cm. She made a size 134. She had originally intended to make this from some light blue corduroy, but then we decided that it was too lightweight and we should find another piece of fabric... well, it was my stash to the rescue. I had this piece of dark blue corduroy that was a better weight for a jacket just languishing in the back of my cupboard and there was just enough of it! And when I say just enough - I mean that a couple of the pieces have selvedge seam allowances and the pocket flap facings are cut in the wrong direction!

I think the jacket went together smoothly for the most part. I would help her with pinning (and in fact the one big error was mine - I pinned one of the sleeves in so that the top of the sleeve was lined up with the front princess seam instead of the shoulder seam - oops! Easily resewable and since it was my mistake - I even ripped the seams out for her.) She had a little trouble keeping the top stitching straight, which I think had to do with the corduroy tending to want to shift in the machine.

We really liked all of the details on this jacket and Coleen found some great buttons- again in my stash- silver with some Celtic knotwork stamped into them.

She was thinking on moving onto an easier project, like pajamas next, but I just happened to have a pair of pants cut out for her and so she has already started on those.

Friday, February 12, 2010

They're Done!

I was able to finish up the curtains last weekend and we managed to get them all hung by Saturday night. What a difference it is to have nice curtains up. It makes it feel so much more like our house and less like an apartment we're renting.

The fabric for all of the curtains came from

Our bedroom

Coleen's bedroom. She has sheets with blue & green polka dots too!
The office. These are my favorite. I loved the fabric!

All of the curtains are lined with black out fabric. All hems were hand-stitched which gives a nice clean finish (albeit a slow one) to the outside of the curtains.

Next on the list: pants for me. And then we will start re-outfitting Coleen for spring. I realized yesterday when I took her measurements that she has shot up not one, but two sizes... no wonder all of her clothes seem small.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What I'm working on


For both bedrooms and the office... yes, all at the same time.

They are all simple tab tops and just the height of the windows (about 3.5 feet).

I think it might have felt like I was getting them done faster if I had done one set at a time... but now I am on the home stretch- just have to hand sew the linings to the curtains on the side edges. 4 curtains down... 6 to go.

Here I am at work on the curtains for Coleen's room

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chair slipcovers

Back in October, I was commissioned to make slipcovers for a chair and ottoman.

I had never done it before, but I like a challenge. So armed with a couple of books, I looked at the bolt of 15 yards of fabric and the chair and scratched my head.

I decided to start with the easy part - the ottoman!
After all it was simply a box that I needed to cover with a piece of fabric. My lesson from the beginning - do not overfit. I got the top to fit perfectly but did not give it enough room to fit over the sides- the result - it looked like an overstuffed sausage ( and you can't tell it to breathe in and hold it...). So it came apart again - luckily I had left really wide seam allowances on the top

Next came the T-cushion which went together pretty smoothly thanks to this book. I also marked all the straight sides of the cushion with a ruler before sewing on the welting cord. I did not do this with the ottoman and there are a couple of places where the straight lines are sort of bumpy.

Next came the actual chair. The book above suggests making a muslin pattern and then using it to cut your final fabric. I did not do this. Instead, I followed the advice in this book, which was to cut large rectangles of fabric and then fit them to the chair. I cut extra large rectangles because I also wanted to match the stripes and I did not want to take the time to figure out their placement ahead of time.

When I got to this part, I was more confident of what I was doing and it went together more quickly. This was definitely a project where my seam ripper was my friend, but I really learned alot.

By the way these are slipcovers. and totally removable. There is a zipper on the back of the chair. I think reupholstery might be a little easier - or at least have different challenges. Here I had to make sure to make it big enough for it to be removable. With upholstery, you would want it to fit exactly.

In the end, I was happy with how it turned out and so was my customer! Next time, it would definitely take me less time and probably less fabric. I would do it again. In fact, it gives me reason to go to yard sales - to see if I can find potential slipcover projects.