Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays were indeed such.

2 reasons I haven't posted much:
1. Finals
2. These two:  Mom and Brother.
I have been sewing, so more adventures soon!


Friday, December 16, 2011

When finals are over...

... has been a mantra for a while now.
I am currently taking a 30-minute break to stand in line at the post office to pick up mailing supplies so that I'll be able to send things to my mom and brother for Christmas, and thinking of all the things I would rather do tonight and tomorrow morning instead of writing papers and exams. Lovely how that works out, isn't it? But. I have motivation in the form of fabric goodness that really, REALLY wants to become a quilt. I picked up some cottons that work together too wonderfully for words… I'm trying to bribe myself to finish paper #1 by getting to put them all together in real life and not just in photos. And when paper #2 is submitted late tonight, I get to wash them all while I work on exam #1 and paper #3. Then it's cutting time! I'm excited to make my very first quilt top.
And a tree skirt.
Thank Heavens for the kind words of encouragement from lots of people in many spheres of my life. I wouldn't make it through without it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pretty presents...

I'm hoping for a China-Free Christmas.  Here's some of the progress.

Mom's gift.  Has been decided upon, and I'm soooo psyched about it, because I think she'll really enjoy it.  However, she reads so I won't write.  I'm still hoping to persuade her to spend Christmas in my home (AHEM, Mama, pleeeease say yes?) so I can see her open it.  

Jewelry Sets:
Well, much like my sewing, I get the concept out, and I get the things put together, and it’s those finishing touches like, oh, closures, and matching earrings that get put off… But it’s all there, and it’ll get knocked out pretty quickly once I sit down for a second. 
The fabrics are coming together nicely.  I'm really getting excited about it.  I bought my mat and ruler and rotary cutter 2 weeks ago on Sunday (hooray for straight lines), so real progress is a-comin'! But... I will say I really like the fabrics I have right now...  We found some in a shopping adventure and others are old shirts that were favorites and no longer fit after big weight loss... They look great with the things in the quilt, they are 100% cotton, and I can't think of a more special way to re-use them.  

And honestly,  have you ever realized how much fabric is in a single shirt?
Wow.  Sleeves themselves are huge...
At this point, I’m going with measurements, and a wing and a prayer.  So far,  I have inspiration photos from pinterest and I've made inquiries for advice from the lovely ladies at SG.   I’ll add the widths of the strips up as I go, and make it to the measurements that I’m aiming for… I’m giving some thought to the whole idea of the back, and piecing it with log cabin squares, or maybe another shape… And some pillow covers.  But my goal currently is to have the piecing all done by finals and to find a good source for batting and all… I suspect I’ll be headed back to Whipstitch for some advice.  

Now to finish work so I'm allowed to play!

Happy day, friends.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas promises

I am not buying a single pre-made, straight-from-a-big-box-store decoration for my home for Christmas.
There, I said it, so it MUST be true.  Right?

I did buy things…
An angel to hang over my nativity (Ten Thousand Villages, an amazing Fair-Trade store)
A tree stand (bought at the local Ace Hardware)

And I have a few things…
Christmas balls purchased on sale last year after Christmas
White lights
Crystal from an old chandelier
Ornaments from our family Christmas tree that I’ve cherished since I was a kid
A nativity, made in Peru, from my mama

As for making things?
Already started on paper ornaments.  These are so much fun, and will make great bows for Christmas gifts!
An idea is floating around in my head for a tree skirt.  Thrift Store here I come…

It’s the holidays, y’all. 
What are you making?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas is a month away? WHAT?!

Gwen and the calendar (Can you believe it’s the middle of November??) got me thinking Christmas... And I AM making gifts.  There isn’t, in my humble opinion, a substitution for handmade things or carefully chosen things… and if I give gifts, I give these kinds of things.
Yes.  I have started.  I have necklaces and earrings for many of the ladies in my life.  The boys will get baked goods.  My baby brother is getting recipes and the supplies to make them and shirts that’ll fit his gangly arms… which I won’t be making.  Blankets galore for little ones and expecting parents.  Mom reads the blog so I don’t know that I’ll talk about her gift… I’m excited about it though. 
I am making one gift that's pretty huge... A quilt.  Pinterest knows about it.  The recipient knows about it and has agreed not to read about it... and chose the palate with 3 lovely fabrics, pictured, and added to it with shirts and other reclaimed fabric.  
I’ll be digging into the collection and looking at vintage fabrics- not all flat folds of fabric but upcycling too- to mix in.

Now YOU get to hold me accountable for it too.  Here's to finishing by Christmas, right?

“But Sarah…” you might be thinking, “You don’t quilt.”

It’s a true statement, friends.  But… I dunno.  Something tells me that although this quilt is my first solo attempt, it will not be the last one, and will be a good way to sew more than I have been.  You can probably guess there hasn’t been much sewing happening… and you know, my mood relates to it.  I was soooo crabby yesterday it wasn’t funny, and while there were many factors, I think one of ‘em is a lacking in flexing my creative muscles. 
So I will flex them in the coming weeks... I've already started.  Some straight lines.  Lots of alterations are on the docket, and more are no longer on the docket... It's kinda nice.
I am well aware that a large part of me really wants to create too, though… and I will.  The quilt is a part of that, and so are some really great dresses and skirts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whipstitch Fabrics

Online, Whipstitch Fabrics is home of Sewing Buddies and many other great forums.  And some amazing classes and tutorials.  And a creative and ever-changing blog.  A great Etsy store. 
But, as I am an Atlantan of sorts, I finally made it to the brick-and-mortar store, friends!  And boy, am I glad I did, even though it’s waaaay after I mean to.  It’s so great.  I can’t wait to have an excuse to go back, and boy, do they give you plenty of excuses…
Great quilting fabrics and good clean lines… 
Pretty baskets of half-yard cuts and fat quarters. 
Great spools of antique ribbon that will be a great pair of headbands…
Open space they share with everyone when they aren't teaching their awesome classes.
And the light... Oh, the natural light.  

I didn't take pictures of the store, just the great stuff I got from it... A definite foul on my part.  But it won't be the last time I'm there.  More eventually!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesdays: Overlap

I had to do a closet switch, FINALLY.  
This is a great thing, friends... Fall temperatures have necessitated the pulling out of sweaters and jackets  and made vests feel appropriate once more... Have I shared how much I love vests?  I do, I really do...
But we'll talk about that later.  Let's go back to categories.
As I was thinking about my categories, I felt the need to show you guys how much they overlap.  So, I put some work into a chart this week.  And then realized the chart didn't do justice to how much overlap really happens, so we're a day late because I took some extra time.  Next week will be about versatility basics too, but there's the diagram... 
The overlap is important.  There are things that I wear to class and on the weekend, like jeans, and very rarely sweats.  There are things on the other end of the spectrum I wear to class that I wear to church and to work.  
There are things I will wear like it's nobody's business.  Seriously.  Most often these are dancing things and fun sun-dresses, and man oh man do I love em.  But... That's me.  
I think everyone could do these kinds of diagrams, and I think overlap happens.  Overlap is the product of well-made pieces and a cohesive wardrobe.  Pat yourself on the back for it.

Categories will be back next week with some more on overlap and list time.  This post is too late already!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall and Projects

When real life hits, escaping to the land of ribbon and lace and fabric, glorious fabric, will often make everything better.
Well, I'm counting on it.  Reality bites every so often, and now is one of those times.  So, to keep my sanity and update my fall wardrobe, I'll be sewing along with a 6-piece wardrobe!
They have top and bottom suggestions, but I see some dresses happening in addition to some staples.

I've updated the queue.

The projects, in order of "appearance":
swirly 10-gore (maybe partial circle or kickpleats instead) skirt in brown floaty rayon from stash... possibly with the bow from the Lunch Date skirt I want to make.  
herringbone vest from stash
herringbone pencil skirt from stash
denim half-sleeve jacket from stash that I started last year and apparently didn't blog about
red swishy dress from stash
green knit top from stash

Notice a common thread? 
Yup.  I'm on a fabric diet.  It's time to use what I have and finish up old things too... It's all this crazy organizing.  I want to be a good steward of what I have, and that means using it, not it sitting on a shelf.  Plans from old SWAPS are turning into this cluster of things I will wear.  Yay!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday: Categories!

The Academic Wardrobe is providing the food for today’s thought.  In planning a wardrobe, you have to plan for YOUR life… and what that looks like.  So, the idea of what composes the perfect list of basics and the perfect number of things you should have off of that list of basics should get based on how you live your life.  Here are my categories and some things:
-Class/weekend (4-5 days/week in class)
-Dance/going out (dance at least once a week, going out twice a month)
-Work/Church (3 days/week)
-Gym (ideally, 3 days/week)
      Running/general workout
-Dress-up Day
      Interview/funeral/preaching clothes
-Dress-up Night (maybe once or twice a semester)
      Cocktail hour, weddings, evening-wear
      Rain, cold, etc.
-top drawer
      Undies, jammies, etc.

Now, how many of what go into each of these categories? How do you decide?
Consider your habits… How often are you doing these things?  I put my usual schedule in parentheses. How much space do you have to donate? How often do you like to do laundry? You want to make sure you have enough clothes to get you between laundry days. Bottoms can be re-worn sometimes, tops less often.  Enough to mix it up is nice, but not so much that you don’t wear things… And this is where you really have to determine YOUR perfect amount, in the words of the unclutterer.

Okay.  Now, this is the part where I leave it right here and go achieve this step in my own wardrobe.  I'd love to know if these are steps any of you are taking in your own wardrobes, or which systems and categories you have.  

Happy day, friends!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday: Clean out 2

Well, it turns out that school is counter-productive to wardrobe reform. 
But.  Fall is not.
As the seasons change, I have a great desire for cohesion, friends.  And a touch of paring down.  Nancy’s Week 1 has been my guideline, and I really do want to work on it, it’s honestly about the time to do so right now. 
I want to organize, and get control of things while it’s still warm enough to clean out, and run back and forth to my car, throw open the windows, and pare down Summer before I have to add Fall and Winter clothes into the mix… because here in Georgia, it may be fall according to the calendar, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.  And the cleaning? Well, we won’t get into that.  This is, after all, Wardrobe Wednesday, not one of  Sarah’s crazy nesting/cleaning/home-making post.  Go here for that

I’m on an organizing kick, and I’m going to link to some things I think will help me, and maybe they’ll help you too!  There are some links that are general, but all are on my current wavelength. 
  • Apartment Therapy has collected closet things. 20 beautiful ideas that gave me a serious case of closet envy.
  • When you see these, you’ll need something attainable to aim for, go look here for a very comprehensive, picture-heavy post.  Organizing Made Fun is great AND attainable for all of us. 
  •  Discardian’s hanger trick: flip em around, and when you’ve worn something, it gets to be flipped back.
  • Lest these things seem expensive, go check out The OrganizedHome’s post on frugal organizing- not everything needs an expensive system.
  • Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness is always great, and his Daily Ditch is an inspiration.  
  • And on removing general clutter in our lives, Discardia is great.
Be inspired, friends! Clean out those closets before winter sets in!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesdays: cleaning up and clean out

It's back to school time, and I confessed to you already, I've done my shopping.
Now Labor Day has come and gone, and with it a massive amount of cleaning, and it's time to talk about what came out after all of the going-in that happened.
There are many schools of thought as to how much clothing a woman need own, and I'm thinking it through here in front of my wardrobe, too... And I've decided to start with a good solid culling of excesses before any other step.

So, I took a "before" tally of my wardrobe, pre-clothing switch, and as I was going through things, I had some questions written in dry-erase marker on the mirror.

Nancy Nix-Rice asks a great list of questions in the first week of her series on style:
Is it in good condition?
Is it a good color for me?
Does it fit? Really?
Is it comfortable?
Have I worn it recently?

Friends, the resulting pile of clothes and shoes wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but Nancy has some great thoughts on putting things where you can see them that I hope to implement, although I don't have as much hanging up space as she does... Or the space for my closet to be just for clothes.

Traditionally, one changes seasonal clothing on Labor Day weekend, but I'm anticipating more warm weather, and many summer pieces are transitional.  But, I'm glad I went through and got rid of some things.  And the re-organizing? Crucial.
I need to do more one day when I'm in an unforgiving mood... I'll only keep the really good stuff then!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting to it

Home Dec sewing really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be… lots of getting things ready and measurements before I sew a bunch of straight lines.  The hardest part?  Getting to it.  I washed dishes to avoid it this afternoon.  Seriously.  And if you know me in real life, you know how much I ABHOR dishes. 
But you know what?  I bit the bullet.  Sitting cut out and pinned are the covers for both nightstands.  The old pillow covers have been dismantled, leaving me with 2 forms and piping, plus more of an idea as to how the construction is supposed to work.  Fabrics are chosen.  The last bit of piping is tracked down, measurements are taken… Crazy how simple it becomes when you stop griping and just do it.  Knock it out!  It’s been SO simple, friends.  I didn't have to go out and buy anything new, and I can't wait to see what my bed looks like.   I now wish I’d done it sooner, like a lot of things we put off and put off.
I should probably get back to it… This could be the return of Finish-it Friday!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday: A day late. Sorry friends!

Well, there really is a good reason to be late sometimes.  Being home and hugging my mama?
Qualifies.  She gives the BEST hugs.
Right.  Wardrobe planning.
There are soooo many websites that will try to tell you about how to plan a complete wardrobe, and they have merit, but who is to say what is right?
Real Simple gives their guidelines here, with a list of basics by season.
For me, this won't quite work.... I think it's geared toward professionals more than students. And the number of pieces of outerwear and designated pairs of jeans? Not quite me, but this list has good things to it too. It covers a range of footwear nicely. It is built around classics. And it's seasonal. And I think it's going at it from an angle of someone getting in on the ground floor of the wardrobe train.
A blog post entitled the Academic Wardobe caught my eye for reasons I'd think woukd become apparent when juxtaposed with my student status...
I liked this article much more, because it takes an analytical approach, inviting you to look at your life, and make up . I think this is a better starting point for me than square one and the basics... So go see it. This is where we will begin next Wardrobe Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesdays: A confession

I confess, as I have in the past...
I bought things.
Not thrifted, bought.
Not as spectacular as when I bought things in Turkey...
But Gap and Old Navy this time.

You see friends, I have not conquered pants.
And it's waaay easier to go with what you know works sometimes. And so, a pair of khakis, pictured, from Old Navy(25% off) and a pair of jeans from the Gap(40% off) now call my wardrobe home...

...Oh, there were tops, too.
2 knit tees I could easily have made, but so much more easily picked up at 70% off.
1 knit top that will be a pattern for a refashion, pictured top left (Finish-it Friday is returning, friends!)
1 woven top that will beget lots of shells for church, pictured in the middle... Just had to get the sample, and it was on sale too!
1 cardigan that I have eyed for a loooong time, bottom left, now sold out...
and 1 great vee-neck sweater(at half off) whose softness reminded me of boyfriend sweaters and whose shape was a nice little hybrid, and the color? A beautiful green that pops for this redhead.
Oh... Sorry I couldn't stalk the internet for pictures of everything for y'all. has something against showing wardrobe staples, apparently.

Something I am learning to be okay with is where I am right now in a lot of ways, including what and how much I sew. I sew because it brings me joy. I could sew everything I wear, but then I'd stress so much over holes in my skills and failures that I wouldn't get the joy anymore. So sewing the things I can, when I can, is how it is for now, and I really am okay with that, even if it means less to write about here... I will, however, continue to try to fill my wardrobe with good things I make, I'm just not good enough to make them all, and that's okay with me.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the start of something pretty nice. I'll be tracking my journey in forming that wardrobe- the one I like with things I make that fit my lifestyle- on Wardrobe Wednesdays. It'll be my journey toward a cohesive kind of style, and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you all!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I want to make this skirt.

This, friends, is the Lunch Date Skirt from Spotted Moth.
If you haven't looked around this website, you should. It's dreamy, wonderful sewing eye-candy and man-oh-man, what fun.
... and I have an idea of how to make this cute little skirt, but time? HA!
I have made an epic fail of getting summer sewing done. Life just... gets in the way.

Really, Greek just gets in the way.

For my sanity's sake, Finish-It Fridays may make a glorious return...Heaven knows the refashions awaiting are plentiful... But until I conquer Greek, it's anybody's guess...

How do y'all do it?
How do you balance sewing with life?
Anybody wanna make some curtains and slipcovers for me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ugh. Home dec sewing...

Ah yes...
That most dreaded, but necessary chore, doing any form of sewing for the home. I am not looking forward to lots of squares and rectangles, but they're coming...
-at least 3 pillow shams, if not 5 or 7(living and bedroom)
-curtains, maybe
-covers for nightstands

Fun times, but SO glad to have a big girl apartment to sew for!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For the first time in a while yesterday, I flexed sewing muscles and altered a pattern to fit a very dear friend. Today, well, writing a sermon should take the front burner, and it may yet, but I'm also thinking about putting together this men's shirt, or at least reading about doing so... I don't know, though.
There is a deadline involved... Which should motivate me more. It's still tough though. Something is standing between me and this. I don't know what it is... I do know I don't like this feeling.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finish-It Fridays: Week 1

On the docket this past week was a big finish and 2 little ones.

The big finish: My first year of Seminary. Finals are over and oh, has it been a whirlwind.

The little ones: Changing a halter dress into a strapped dress. 5 minutes and 2 lines of stitching later, I can wear a real bra with this dress, and stains that were on the wrong sides of the straps are hidden now. I anticipate MUCH more wear out of this now!

Also, I did the hand-stitching to fix a pencil skirt.

Not really picture-worthy.

What did YOU finish this week?
Kay has been working on a lightweight jacket... It's going to be pretty awesome!

Friday, May 6, 2011


It's official, my sewing space has been taken over by UFOs... Un-Finished Objects. While cleaning up after not for a really long time, I laid them all out nicely and photographed them... And I was kind of saddened by the numbers and types of things that need to be done. SO many of these would be so easy!
-grey pants: hem
-wine skirt: Buttons and a hem
-McCall 5801: Collar and put it all together... Oh, and the princess seams from hell.
-blue knit dress: take in, shorten
-Easter dress: Take in properly, fix facings, add the contrast, make cute 50s-style bolero/jacket to match
-wine dress: The hem is pinned in... I just have to stitch it. And fix a belt out of the old fabric. And cut the old hem off and add my fun hem lace.
-Red pencil skirt: teeny little bit to take in at the hips, and it'll be GREAT for fall.
-Pink dress: Really, this could still be a work-in-progress. My self-drafted top didn't work well... at all. As in, it'll take a friend helping pin the things behind me after I elasticize some parts and do some other things to make it work... Great concept, it just needs help.
-2 pairs of pants to take in for a friend. He's too skinny and tall for his own good.
-a dress that really needs some strap carriers
-a bag for summer that probably shouldn't be counted as a UFO yet either... but that's beside the point.
12 things. And they'd all be great additions to my closet(except for my friend's pants) and get worn on a regular basis. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one with this kind of pile. So confession time and motivation time. Anybody want to do a UFO challenge? I'm thinking of having Finish-it Fridays. Where you do your best to post a picture of something every Friday. We could all encourage one another! Wouldn't it be nice?? Comment below if you're in.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So one of my dancing friends has decided we need a "code-word" for every time I have something home-made on while dancing... And the word he decided on is Luxembourg.
So today, what with my last-minute-ness, I've got to finish this dress for a Luxembourg night. I'm using the pink baby rib knit from December so yay for stash consumption. It's along the same lines of the infinity dress, but not really. Same twirly skirt from the brown dress, and a 4" waistband, and a free-form cut-to-fit front and back, which really has to have pictures on the body... It's halter-ish with a fun crossover in the back instead of ties- makes it more dance-able.

So. Here's to finishing so I can show you guys pictures. On my body for a change!

Also, a quandary. Can anyone think of a place where I could order bra strap carriers online? I've discovered a lack of patience for sitting and sewing itty-bitty snaps to ribbon...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

my sailor shirt

First, we're going to play pretend... and pretend this is green oxford cloth you see on your left.
Then, we're going to pretend it's the super-huge(read:17.5" neck) shirt I found at the thrift store, and not from Rusty Zipper.
After that, we're going to pretend I wasn't just distracted by all of that fun vintage-n

Now let's talk about my first refashion in toooo long. I used the aforementioned fun green shirt, and started with Simplicity 2593, which I have used before for this dress, which is now just missing the collar and is on the list of UFOs...

I changed the scoop neck to a v-neck, the gathers to pleats, and drafted and added the collar. I shortened the thing by an inch at the middle and just started at the curve to keep the hem. One more round of pretend, and then I'm done... We're going to pretend I took pictures of the whole process. Here is the finished product.
I'm really digging it as is, just about... I think if I made it again, I'd remove a little width from the center to make things stay up better with this wide neckline. As is, the plan is to add bra-strap carriers. I am really proud of my mitered corners, and the little detailed shot shows the first one, which is a bit iffy, and the last one, which was nice! My seams are also all enclosed somehow, and I am proud to say this shirt survived the washer and dryer without incident!

Hope all of y'all are having a good week... I hope to squeeze in some sewing soon so there's something for you to read about, but it's a busy week, and yesterday was crazy... I wrote about it over here at In a Nutshell, Life... the blog I started a while back about life outside of sewing. I made the choice to start that blog as a place where I can talk more about school and life without raining on the sewing parade. Check it out, if you wish... I post there on most days I don't post here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter dress: Simplicity 4224

I did make an Easter dress… From scratch, in spite of and because of my crazy schedule… I say in spite of and because of because at times, it really is a both/and thing. I sew despite being busy, and because of how busy I am, if that makes any kind of sense at all. The sewing gives a measure of sanity… It’s something that is really and truly calming… especially the things that don’t involve fitting. When it’s just the work of hands making something 2-D change and morph to live and breathe, it’s exhilarating.

When I get to use my hands to make things for others, I am giving them a piece of my heart and I have an unparalleled way to show love. I get to connect with generations- the one that is forming now- and those who have passed… and it all happens with a needle and thread.

Ah, waxing poetic…

You don’t want ot listen to me ramble, you want to know about this dress…

The fabric started life as 3 yards of "jade" Calvin Klein cotton with lycra from fabricmart... long sold out now. It has a definite right and wrong side, and I used the wrong side with the right side for the sake of matching, serendipitously PERFECTLY with a suit I already have. It's the best. Everything came from stash, and so my numbers are happily changing... one of these days I'll have a real, working table over on the side.

From start to finish(in the current form) it took about 4 hours, including the pattern alteration that gave me my fun time kick pleats… which, already, have proven to be completely worth it. I do want to go back and add some embellishment and redo the facings to add some lining and make everything fit how it really should. The pleasant thing- a truly lovely surprise- was the fact that there weren’t ten million and four alterations needed concerning the princess seams… I don’t know if it was the pattern, forgiving fabric, a combination of the two, or just… magic… but I will re-use these when it’s finally time for me to make a sloper.

I did, however, wind up taking the thing in by at least 3, if not four inches total on the sides, which was a bit frustrating. However, it stayed on my body without the elastic mentioned in the instructions, and I didn't have to do the pull-up-constantly maneuver some strapless dresses require. I like the drop waist, and it twirls. It's a win, to be embellished later.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stashoholism Confessional

(props for the term go to The Slapdash Sewist)

I confess… And I have pictures.

Well, it started when I went to Hancock’s for a thing of hem tape… and it was all half off. I walked out with 4 things of trim. I meant to get 2. That’s nothing compared to the amount of damage I did when I saw the $1/$2/$3 table… I bought much of what’s now in the baby blanket stack I showed earlier this week, and a set destined for an apron, which didn't make it into a photo but which you will see soon- probably going to be a wedding present before the end of the year, and some prints for my stash and my sewing buddy... At a third to half the original prices for most of it. That makes it better, right? I saved almost twice what I spent. I get points, right??

If it had stopped at Hancock’s I’d probably be okay, but had to go and take an

additional 20% off of my entire cart of deeply discounted pretty fabrics for Spring… so I added some more yardage to the stash. Maybe not as deeply as the Hancock’s stuff, but the thing is I think I’ll sew it all up before the summer is over. Somehow summer sewing is on my brain at the moment, and I won't get too much time to do it in so I felt the need to go ahead and stock up. While the sale signs were up. I can tell you, of the… 20ish yards of fabric that have made their way into the stash this month, I paid full price for a whopping half-yard.

These prints were just too good to pass up- Wild World Bon Vivant in cornflower on the left and Atlas Carnation on the right. Both vaguely reminded me of Istanbul, and I wanted those colors in my closet for spring and summer... As I rarely feel that way about prints, I gladly paid the final price of $3.14 a yard for it( on sale and then couponed too... WIN!)

The solids? Well, I didn't expect the little bit of polish/sheen on the pink broadcloth, and we'll see how it washes, but it's probably going to be a dancing skirt/dress. It pairs well with the carnation print, so they'll play nice at some point. As will the far left blue with my cornflower print , which is described as a lightweight cotton blend twill... It's airy enough to make me think of spinning like a little girl. There was also the white shirting which feels wonderful and has a pattern for a dress shirt ready to go, and an oxford cloth and a pinstripe... More summer dresses.

And here's to posting more. There was a fair bit of catch-up to do, which I have done this week, but this is my stress relief and cheaper than therapy so I see more sewing continuing to happen too.

Even so, it’s time for a fabric diet. Here’s to making cards, using what I have, and only buying notions for a while.

Any tips?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Simplicity 2580

I did more pattern alterations for this dress, which began its life as Simplicity 2580... It had a collar treatment that would have looked best in plain white with my choice of knit, but I really just wanted to sew, not shop, so I eliminated it. I also lenghtened and widened the skirt of the dress... You guessed it. For twirl factor. We're going to pretend that I took pictures of the alterations... I was really just too excited to sew to do it in real life.
I've got some alteration for this one in mind to draw the waist in, but its debut was belted at a dance. The goal is just to add definition and a little interest to an otherwise simple design, and I think a waist detail would do that beautifully and there are some big scraps to make it with. Just enough to make me feel a little more fabulous in it!
It does have more shape when on the body, and I think it'll be re-appearing as much as I can get away with it because it's SO comfy. I'll play around with seaming-maybe princess lines- to add some shape and more fullness in the skirt and make this one again for sure- the top options that come with the pattern are awesome and it fits really well. It's well-suited to knits with some heft, and I have a few of those in the stash!
The amount of work it'll take to make me feel awesome about the dress is totally worth it- photos on the hanger aren't doing this one justice.

Well, off to continue with this game of catch-up and write 2 sermons... oh, and there's an Easter dress on the dockett too... and about 4 million other things between me and finals. I'm thinking I'll update my list in the queue to include UFO's... if nothing else, it'll remind me to post about them.

Oh well, back to it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter dress... Yes, it IS 5 days away...

Well, I could finish a long-loitering UFO, McCall 5801, or I could cut into some new fabric…

We’ll see. This IS Holy Week, the worst time ever for me to decide, oh, a new dress for Easter. But the one I’m working on? So BROWN… Maybe if I don’t have to buy anything. And I choose a really simple pattern. That I have. And have fabric for. Hmm… Shouldn’t be too difficult.

Option from scratch: Simplicity 4224, view B. I would add kick pleats at the princess seam(5 minutes of altering the pattern for lots of fun? Yes please!), and maybe white(or straight contrast) trim at the hem, drop waist, and as a rosette. No tie belt. I have everything, I'm pretty sure, and it's a pretty straightforward pattern... 6-pc Princess bodice and a skirt, as I would make it, with 4 pleats. Even if I lined the top(I hate facings) I don't think I'd make it too complicated.

Or am I crazy?

We shall see...

Monday, April 18, 2011

The best baby gift

Although I'm at the age when everyone seems to be getting married, not yet babies, there are still family and friends who are a little older and are having children. I can think of 3 since January and 2 due this month without trying hard, and of at least 1 more before the end of summer, and that's without trying hard.
That's a lot of baby showers, y'all.
My mom passed down a great tradition though, and it's to take flannel, make a square from a 1-1/4 yard cut, and turn the edges under with mitered corners for an oversized swaddling blanket. The few extra inches have proven useful for making these multi-purpose, and the flannel is great year-round. I have a stack that has been augmented by season-change sales at Hancock, which means less expensive than normal, and about 20 minutes each will turn these into useful gifts- How cool is that?
And here are 2 finished blankets that I want to embroider with monograms before sending on to their new homes... with an extra or two included, perhaps. Somehow it just means more because I cam make these with my own two hands... and I really like the feeling of using a skill I have been fortunate enough to acquire to share. This is just too good to keep to myself, so I'm blessed to share the love.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Simplicity 4881

Alright, because I'm still not feeling 100%, you don't get to see my smiling face, but pictures really are looong overdue.
I altered a pattern...
Then, from my Frankenstein of Simplicity 4881, made this skirt out of a yard and a half of mystery black knit that came in my first-ever fabric bundle from Fabricmart. Funny how the things I bought to sew from there are still all whole pieces of fabric, but two of the bundle cuts are finished garments....
Since finishing the skirt, I've worn it out dancing, oh... 3 or 4 times? I've decided the twirl factor isn't quite there, although it has plenty as I tried to show, so I cut gussets to add to it out of the very little fabric remaining after I cut out the skirt. My version is lined in a thin black jersey knit, and has washed really well. And the elastic waist, although not the most polished of things, has been great to move in for dancing.
By the time gussets are in this, I will be well again, and I'll be sure to get twirly pictures.

Hope you're enjoying the day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Check it out!

The queue is updated.... next come links.

And photos are on the schedule for as soon as I do laundry and kick strep throat in the butt.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Absence meant sewing this time...

A skirt and a dress to be more precise! From stash! Well, the bundle from Fabricmart, but that counts as stash I think... anywho, I made an 8-gore swing skirt a week ago, and could not go straight from the pattern, though I did use one. Simplicity 4881 was the starting point, but did I stop there? Hahaha...
I shortened the pattern 1-1/2" right off the bat, then removed a good amount of width at the top of the pattern to make it more suitable to my stretch knit. The hole in my wardrobe was filled! The skirt came together quickly, and my alterations worked like a charm. Next time I will add gores for even more fullness, but this is a good skirt the way it's drafted.
Photos soon.

And a post about a refashion.

And a dress I made from scratch.

Oh, and the EASIEST baby gift ever. I'll be putting together 2 packages this week, one for my Sewing Buddy, Shannon, of Little Elephant Stitchery. Check out her shop too, she makes some pretty amazing things! My cousin Vanessa is also due next week, so she'll be getting some goodies too- for baby brother and big sister.

Wow, I need to take lots of pictures, or so it seems. Lately I have tried for a garment a week, and have added more yards that will be garments for the summer... but school has to finish up first. We'll see what makes the queue!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The brown dress

Well friends, here's the dress... I discovered the un-levelness of the hem and the unfortunate length (frame 1) after wearing the dress twice, washing, and the first full day of wear, and then shortened while levelling, so this is the finished product, lacking only a new hem, which will probably just be rolled on the serger... as soon as I find one to use for such a task. Anybody in the Atlanta area?

What I like about this dress? SOOO comfy. Seriously. It's nuts. And the twirl test? Has a purpose. Cutting a half-circle rather than a full circle means undies are less likely to show on a dance floor, on top of using less fabric. Having never really watched, I can't say with certainty this is foolproof, but I like it, and I have 2 half-circle dresses I dance in regularly, this one and the pink infinity dress for salsa. And honestly, one never gets too old to twirl. I think part of the reason I like to Lindy and salsa so much is that it's twirling that's socially accepted and encouraged, even!

And here are some new fabric goodies...
I have GOT to get a handle on fabric storage here in the apartment... I can feel it taking over if I am not careful. The good news? These all have great potential to fit into the way I am re-thinking my SWAP without the suit.
Long story short, I want more seasonal things... not a suit jacket. Will I make it? Heck yes? Right now? Not so much. Spring is calling, and I am listening, friends.

Well, homework is calling too. Weekend outfits up soonish. Hope y'all got sewing done!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March plans and days 3 and 4

Already, I am using this exercise as a way to do a bit of an evaluation of my wardrobe... I went to look in my closet, wondering what I could possibly wear this morning when I have had little sleep, less primp time, and still REALLY wanted to have a skirt day... And you know what I didn't have in my closet? A comfy black skirt. So you get pinstripes. Again, my me-made pieces are the happy bag and a necklace. These necklaces are a go-to right now as I finish up some things to actually have CLOTHING that qualifies as me-made... Yesterday's me-made thing was more jewelry, and I was really silly to not take photos earlier before the switch to sweatpants. I know they're hard to see at times, so I took a shot of the 3 most recent ones... just so you can see them.
But anyway, back to the important stuff: Sewing. Last time I checked, that's still what this blog is about.
....You know what the first new thing on my list for the month of March is? A knit black skirt. I am thinking 6 gores, maybe 9... lined for sure and as full as I can get it. I have fabric... hmm... Is it bad that I want to just change my SWAP to accomodate things like this? What if I just sew a LOT between now and April 30 and see what I come out with? I could, technically, still have a plan... just maybe not so much in reality.
Oh well. The docket for March definately includes this skirt out of a midweight textured black knit from a FabricMart bundle. I am planning to throw a swatch in with the next load of laundry.
Also in the making are...
a shirtdress dress that lacks completion from that awesome border print ages ago... think 2009. It WILL be my Easter dress this year.
a knit dress from scratch- altering the pattern and everything from the baby rib knit
a dress shirt muslin for W
the denim vest will get done.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 2 of me-made-March

Well, 2 outfits... one was for the day, and celebrated the return of the skirt... I wore jeans after 2 whole weeks in skirts and dresses on the first, but the weather is just too pretty for pants. My me-made items in outfit 1 are a trusty bag in a happy print that began its life as upholstery and became a beach bag... which has worked its way into all-the-time rotation when the temperature is above 70.
The other one is a necklace. I don't think I blogged about either of these two items.

Outfit 2 is a result of helping the president of the Seminary and his amazing wife greet guests for a function. I had... no... made time to make the alteration that it would take to make the dress wearable... It took me less than 20 minutes to do it, and while I noticed other things I need to fix(that little cardigan is hiding a multitude of sins), it was great to wear the dress and get compliments on it. And great that it's warm enough to wear a dress!

This is already teaching me... taking the 20 minutes made this dress look so much better... I'm worth that, and so are the things in my closet! So why not do it? I'm going to add to my goal... I really want to get the mending pile down.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Me-Made-March and a recap

"I, Sarah from In a Nutshell, Anachronism, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March 2011. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade/refashioned piece of clothing or accessory every day for the duration of March 2011."

... Already started. Today's piece? An accessory. My earrings. A darling favorite pair that a sorority sister made... Because much of my wardrobe was pre-determined. It's camp t-shirt day today at school... and I'm a camp person.

And in the month of February?

Okay I confess... I didn't really sew much. And I ordered 20+ yards of fabric. Which is tempting me away from the plan. That, and February was an intense month for these projects.
But what I did do:
-cut out vest... decide vest looked HUGE. Panic about vest. Realize seams wrapped all the way to the back. Breathe a sigh of relief. Resume vest construction.
-refashion a pretty neat sweater. It'll come out to play this month.
-mending and making wearable of many things. You'll see them this month too. The real challenge will just be taking pictures.

Which brings me to this one. You get to see earrings and the library in the background, that's it. I'm sweaty and gross... no photos of me. Sorry.

So are YOU doing Me-Made March? It's not too late- Zoe says some pretty amazing things that make a lot of sense about the stuff we sew needing to actually LEAVE the closet.

Hope life is good for you! Expect to see some rockin' outfits in the near future.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

January report and February goals

My goal was to sew 3 things.... and I did.
The blue turtleneck was a wadder, but one well worth having, because it made this amazing chocolate knit dress I still have yet to photograph possible. I finished it, minus hems, and wore it twice. It's come through the washer and dryer without a problem, and I see it being heavily featured in my closet in the coming months.
See, Atlanta has this thing.... our weather really doesn't know what to do with itself much of the time. There has been at least one day every month where short sleeves and a skirt without tights has been comfortable, so I'm not really sewing pants. That, and fly fronts? Way to scare the bejeezus out of a girl.
So item number 3 is a swingin' skirt with some awesome bias insets at the hem and a great pleat detail. It has a button closure at the back and a very narrow waistband. All it lacks are buttons, pretty much... I hope to wear it dancing before the end of the month.
2 SWAP pieces down, 9 to go... or at least 6, if I buy/include 3 tops.

On the docket for February:
-denim wearable muslin of Simplicity 2728 as a vest, with shawl collar and pleated pockets. It is cut out, and waiting to be marked.
-sweater refashion... have to make it fit. TOO big!
-a men's shirt... I have fallen drastically behind (as in, have not started) on the MPB men's shirt sew-along because I was lacking fabric for a muslin. And you know, school.

And fabric and buttons on the way... Much to the detriment of my bank account, I discovered paypal. I am gonna be ms. frugal again after this week, but there were assortments and deals at fabricmart I couldn't pass up... especially when I need swing skirts and SWAP holes filled in.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Progress... sort of.

Well folks, the infamous Burda turtle that everybody loves is... not my favorite. For me, on me. And I've made some alterations that help with this, but my pretty grey-blue version? A wadder. One of my first. And it was supposed to be a SWAP garment, albeit not one integral to any planned outfit. At this point, I'm working on the first essential garment in the plan- the half-sleeve tneck dress. The changes?
I took off a ton of width in the waist and hips, as well as a little in the sleeve. I left BeeBee's 2 inches in length in, as it looked nice. I took width out of the neck- it looked too slouchy for my taste, but I could see a case for widening the neck to make more of a cowl as well...
I narrowed the shoulders to get the sleeves to sit in the right place.... which is funny, because shoulders on jackets always seem to be the place I want more space, but here it just looked sloppy.
And I took some height out of the sleeve cap to remove some poof that seemed to form in the original sleeve.
Oh, the trial and error... the basting, the stitching, the seam ripping... I am liking the way it's working out though, and the dress will be done this afternoon, minus hems. A special little belt to go with it and one fix from altering too much are also in the plans, but we'll see about them. And expect a garment count ticker to pop up soon... more site modifications are in the works as well.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A long weekend means sewing!

First up, from basting to a garment... I've marked up the Burda tneck, and it'll be wearable, albeit not as well fitting as I'd hoped. I added some space in the first version, and I'll be taking most of it out again.
After a salad, my sewing machine is moving to my kitchen table for the rest of the weekend. And oh, does it feel good to type that... I am kinda psyched. I started out my MLK weekend with a day of doing nothing, a night in, in bed early, and after church I am ready to SEW! 3 garments, 2 definitely SWAP and one possibility, are calling my name, and if I'm being really honest I want to get going on February's stuff too!

If we're lucky, pictures later today... I hope your long weekend gives you time to do something you love.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Keeping my Sewing Resolution...

Oh yeah! I made a sewing resolution, and no far I am well on my way to keeping it... I decided I will make 3 things a month. The goal is to complete 3 things, mostly pre-determined, every month. I am allowed to get ahead if I finish one set of things, but I really hope not to get behind.With the whole SWAP thing and kind of knowing what the months of May and June will look like in the rest of my life, I have planned out my sewing from now to April with certainty and May and June with some definiteness, and even have a non-SWAP bonus for the months of January, February, March, and April... SO EXCITING.
There are pictures too.

January: We're starting out with the non-pictured turtleneck, then going to the skirt, then the dress, and the bonus makeup bag IS something I would really like to get to... I am customizing it as a belated Christmas present for a dear friend, and I want to have it ready before the end of January.
Progress reports right now... everything minus one set of bias is cut, and I am only missing brown thread for the dress. The bonus project is missing a zip and some contrast for bias... I can't bring myself to do it with hot pink, and can't decide on another color.

The suit that started it all is on the docket for the plan for February, paired with a really simple
sweater refashion. I want to do both pieces together and already have some mojo and stam going, so this seemed reetty perfect. I have all notions and threads for both, and will need to come up with a pattern for the sweater, probably drafted, and a cutting layout for all those suit pieces.

The Bonus for February is where it gets a little rough...
I'm committed.
Men's Shirt Sew-Along over at Male Pattern Boldness for W's shirts that he is getting from Christmas. I just am not sure about doing my first button-down shirt without moral support, and seriously, who better to give it than this guy? He's awesome, comical, and very thorough with his instructions, so I will make a better shirt for his presence in the process, and the cameraderie is another aspect of it I can't pass up.
And dear readers, I may cheat, and start on February early... It's a lot, but I don't have class the last week in January, so I'll have time... January sewing's been pretty manageable thus far.
On with the SWAP. It'll (hopefully) be starting to warm up, so the dresses, a modified Simplicity 3678 in the pink knit and already-started McCall 5801with a border print, will make their appearance. I knew when I got the fabric (blogged about here) it was destined to be a dress, probably for Easter 2009, and it WILL be for Easter 2011... MAN am I glad my size hasn't changed.
Rounding out the month will be a white woven top, possibly button-down, upcycled from a giant men's button-down.
The bonus will be some alterations I will have had in hand for some time by this point, but will see more wear in the spring and summer months. Oh, and these photos wouldn't be complete without my knees sneaking into at least one shot. There it is!

SWAP crunch time. There will be 3 SWAP tops: green, turquoise, and another grey or a tan or a blue. The bonus, which I'd like for Easter, is a petticoat. No idea for patterns yet. It'll happen. But the petticoat pieces? Already cut. I'm hoping to do a thin little slip out of some tricot or lawn and then just attach the layers to one another, finishing the layers with white ribbon at the seams, and putting that right on the slip.

Edited in order to get pictures to behave. Please forgive me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My break in pictures

Before Christmas: a pageant, work at the Christmas tree lot, a formal, and Christmas Eve service
During Christmas: opening presents, filling up my new sewing box from W's grandmother with supplies, and cutting out a dress
After Christmas/this past weekend: Going to a GA youth conference and watching youth grow in God and seeing old friends again. How awesome!
Now to go make use of snow day number 2 and sew... one Burda turtle is basted, the dress is next, and the skirt after that.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Well friends, I’ve been silent, but that certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything. The Christmas season is always busy in churches, and mine was no exception. We had an absolutely beautiful Christmas Eve service, and then I was off to W’s parents after dinner with a family from church. My Christmas gifts were things for my apartment and clothes, and all of them were things I can use and will wear. But W’s grandmother made sewing boxes out of old cheese boxes… They are quilted and soo useful. I said goodbye to the Tupperware that held the supplies I’ve been carrying with me before the morning was over!

Since the day after Christmas has rolled around, I’ve cut out and begun to sew 3 garments… a top, a dress, and a skirt. And here’s the fun part. They will give me 2 whole outfits by themselves and combine well with things in my wardrobe to make many, many more. I’ll start with the tops(the dress is a combination of patterns). Both are the infamous Burda turtleneck… but neither have long sleeves- the dress is a half-sleeve and the turtleneck is a short-sleeve. I suppose I’m incapable of actually making a pattern as it stands the first time out of the gate, but I think that’s also the same reason I sew. I like to make things the way I want them.

The first garment, the Burda Turtle- which is just a top- was my way of testing the waters with the pattern, so I used a blue-grey knit of undetermined fibers from the bargain table at Hancock’s. Right now the sleeves are basted in and I’m seriously considering just basting the whole thing to see how the fit is, because I, while writing this, am away from the sewing machine. And I want to know the first one fits and I like it before I get to the second one. Even though I have already cut it out.

The second is the dress, which is a Frankenstein mishmash…You know the top is the Burda turtle, cut off to be a high-waist/low empire length. The skirt is a shortened half-circle courtesy of Vogue 1027. I’ll join the two with a band that will provide a great place to showcase belts, and give me my waist.

The third garment is probably the most involved, but I’m hoping it’ll see the outside of my closet enough for me to say it’s worth all the time I’m taking with it. Remember that wine twill? I cut out the skirt and about 17 yards of 1-3/4” bias, which should be more than enough for the 2 laps that it has to make around the bottom and the facing on the waistband… I will interface the skirt itself, so hopefully the waist won’t grow too much. In between bias laps will be the loop of continuous bias tape I plan on finishing to the pint of stitching tonight. My first try with this method.

On the docket: a pattern for a makeup bag that will hold brushes too, a pattern and some cutting for 2 totes: One for me, one for Mom, and some flat pattern measuring and adjusting on a dress shirt.

Pictures as soon as life normalizes. Hope your holidays were splendid!