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My first completed project for the Spring palette challenge.  This was actually supposed to be my Easter dress but I didn’t have time to start it before then, let alone finish.  I fell in love with this vintage pattern the moment I saw it at the New Vintage Lady’s etsy shop and imagined it in a bold summer solid color to show off the details.  Then I stumbled across this – sheet with butterflies and the vision changed entirely.  Because both my main and contrast fabric are a little sheer I fully lined the bodice (in the yellow dot fabric) and sewed in loose lining to the skirt  in the butterfly fabric.  I added in-seam pockets and contrasting scallop hem on the underskirt (petticoat? not sure what the right term is), using Colette Pattern’s Meringue hem facing piece as a guide.  I love the way it turned out!  

The only down side is that the fabric does have a pretty high poly content so it does get quite hot for such a light and breezy design.   This is something I am trying to pay more attention to in my fabric purchases going forward.   For my first year of sewing I felt like everything was essentially going to be a wearable muslin so didn’t feel justified in investing a lot of money in fabric, but most pieces have turned out pretty well and I’ve found that a nice fabric really does make the difference between clothes I reach for all the time and the ones I wear once in a while.


A couple of online challenges and a great new sewing closet from Goodwill have helped reunite me and my sewing machine this Spring.  I’m still trying to keep my computer time down and my sewing/knitting time up but here’s a quick recap:

1. Dana and Rae’s Celebrate the Boy month got me to finally make the I-spy quilt I’ve been planning for my boy for some time.   So many great boy ideas!  Makes me really look forward to more crafting for my boy! 

I bought the vintage I-spy charm pack from Amy Smart on etsy, last year.  They really made the quilt.  The ecosystem boarders were a Walmart sale find of all places.  Hopefully that fabric will hold up as well as the rest of the quilt. 

2. Collette Patterns:  Spring Palette Challenge

This was a 10 week challenge to create a mini Spring wardrobe around favorite color palette.  The first couple of weeks people shared mood boards and sewing plans and the rest of the time people shared their amazing progress.  And I do mean amazing, you can go check it out here.  Not having ever really sewn my own garments I was not expecting to get much done, but I was so inspired by these ladies.. now I’m totally hooked!

Here’s my mood board, inspired more by textures than colors per se (ie. pink dresses aren’t really a part of the plan):

Here’s what I actually made:

Collette Patterns: Macaron

Simplicity 2211


Andrea's Shawl


Lady Kina


Yes, I know, a couple of knit items snuck in mainly because I can’t sew while Little Mr. is awake, so knitting fills that time nicely.

3. The challenge is over now, but I am definitely going to keep sewing.  As luck would have it, the last item I made post-challenge was this ruffle dress, which fits in rather nicely with the upcoming theme on another site that has provided me much sewing inspiration: The Sew Weekly.  Next week’s theme is: clothes inspired by a childhood outfit.  When I saw this theme and thought about it for a few minutes I realized this most recent dress has a lot in common with the first dress I ever made, helped along by my aunt who taught me how to use a sewing machine  and draft a simple pattern in the process of making the dress for my 10th birthday.   It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo but both feature ruffles, fabric sashes and small purplish floral paisley prints.  I’ll let you all draw what conclusions you may from that …

Simplicity 236010th Birthday Dress

10th Birthday Dress

Time to show you the fruits of my halloween sewing.                                                 I present to you: Trixie the Halloween Fairy and her cat Moonlight.  When I saw the Trixie drawing on the cover of the book I thought it would be a cinch.  A simple orange tunic, how hard could that be? I could probably find one at Target ready made.   But next thing I knew I was at the .99 cent pattern sale at the fabric store with a pattern requiring 5 yards of fabric and a little girl insistant that there had to be sparkles (Me: are you sure those aren’t polka dots?  Her: Yes, I’m sure).   So I got to experiment with sewing knit fabric, sparkly tule and black satin.  I used Simplicity pattern 3680, which is actually pretty cool because the front shows how pretty much with just a change in sleeve length and fabric selection this could be an equally great Witch/Pirate/Cowgirl or Hippie costume.  I used view A (witch) and made a few modifications including taking about 4 inches of fabric from the sleeves as Trixie wasn’t partial to the “poofyness”.  I also sewed the neck elastic closer to the neck edge (also to reduce poofyness) and omitted the extra “lining layer of fabric in the skirt.  Both the head band with bow (which you can’t really see in the picture)  and headband with cat ears (since the little Mr. doesn’t like hats) were made using the aflutter hairband tutorial by JCasa*Handmade on Sew Mama Sew.  This is a really nice basic fabric hairband pattern and I think I will be making more of these

In addition to the night garden sweater (which is finished but I haven’t photographed yet), for her birthday Frida commissioned my mother to make her a decorative quilt in “cool colors” to show off the model magic buttons she crafted earlier this year.  And asked that I make her a pillow house following a tutorial from London Mummy (seen on Sew Mama Sew).  Though worked independently, methinks the two were made for each other.

 Encouraged by the quite wearable results of the pajamas I made last month I decided it would be nice to make the little Mr. some pajamas with a matching top.  Preferably one that did not involve buttons.  I’ve been saving a small stack of his receiving blankets for repurposing and this one matched quite nicely with a blue tank-top that had hit the scrap pile a while back.

A few snips and seams later.. voila!   The most satisfying thing about this project was that I used almost the entire receiving blanket with very little waste, which you can sort of see in my little cutting diagram below.    I would like to make another of these in which I perfect the sleeves (didn’t get the angle on the raglan quite right so they are a little poofy) so I will try and do a more complete tutorial of sorts when I do. 

 The short version though is to cut the blanket into equal 6ths, by folding it in half and then in thirds.  Each third then becomes a pair of fronts and backs for the shorts and sleeves for the shirt.  By positioning the cuts along the already finished edge of the blanket, you minimize the need for extra selvedging. 

Use an old t-shirt or tank-top (since you won’t be needing the sleeve fabric) to form the body of the shirt, the casing for the elastic at the top of the shorts and the neck edge.

This week I learned how to crochet hairpin lace.  So called because it was originally worked on a curved hairpin.  Long strips of loops are produced by wrapping yarn around the hairpin (or loom) and crocheting up the middle.  Then the strips are joined in various ways to form a pattern.  I made and joined two strips to form a scarf.

There are quite a few nice tutorials on the web.  I used this one from bellaonline but Stitch Diva also has several along with her innovative uses of the technique and quite a few free patterns at Crochet Pattern Central.

This was a great way to showcase some ribbon yarn I had in my stash.    It goes quite well with the skirt my little one hand painted this weekend.  I’m savoring some of her artwork from earlier this year.  Now that school has begun, I’m sure a new body of work will be wanting to be displayed. 

We’ve also been perfecting our sewing skills.   La sirenita learned to do machine piecing and I practiced machine quilting.  We decided to save the lesson on sewing a straight lines for another day. 

It seems that when I sew, I am especially attracted to the color red. 

 1. Pillow case for Craft Hope Project Nine.  We heard there was especially a need for boys themed pillowcases and thought this yard of cars fabric from the remnant bin at the fabric shop might be appropriate. PS:  Sirenita and I decided sewing pillow cases, or at least plain ones, is a bit dull.

2. Fleece soaker, also with fabric from the remnant bin.   I used Katrina’s quick sew  pattern.  It wasn’t quite roomy enough in the back for our bulky diapers, but may work as a training pant if it still fits by the time we’re ready for that. 

3. Background fabric is Red Kona Cotton and vintage I-Spy squares from Amy Smart  on etsy  to be made into an I-spy quilt for the little Mr. 

Then I thought back to my first project as an adult on my own sewing machine (my mother gave me one for my birthday in 2005).  It was this red skirt.  Definitely the most succesful project I have ever sewn.  I made up the pattern for a simple skirt for my girl.   She still wears it with much joy.  I have made no alterations since it was first sewn.    She wore it in 2009 too.  I just couldn’t find a picture. 

So of course, after Fluffy (the elephant) saw la Sirenita’s pajamas, she wanted some too.  My little seamstress picked some blue and white fabric (to match her own) laced with silver (to compliment Fluffy’s fur).

She quickly mastered the use of the sewing machine and we are all quite pleased with the result.  A posh pillow served as an excuse for the little seamstress to try out the machine’s fancy stitches and for mama seamstress to try piping.

Craft Hope has announced Project 9: Pillowcases for terminally ill children.  We sat out project 8: Washcloths for cleaning gulf coast wildlife (no offense to gulf coast wildlife) but am excited to sign-up fora  pillowcase or two or three.  The little one has been asking about learning to machine sew and I think this might be a good simple first project. 

I discovered Craft Hope, founded by an Austin Mama of three hoping to make a difference through crafting,  earlier this year and it resonated with me right away.   My design team and I rummaged in our remnant bins and made a set of crocheted shapes and sewn numbers bean bags for school children in Liberia for Project 7.  Sorry for the dismal picture of the counting bean bags, one side has embroidered numbers and the other has a mini-quilt block with corresponding number of patches (yep, was feeling pretty clever).  I not so cleverly used stretch fabric remnants for these so they came out a little wonky, but I think it adds to their character.Of course, we subjected the bean bags to rigorous quality testing before sending out.  They passed.  Need to make some more of these for my littlest one soon.

Fresh from the sewing room.  Freestyled the pants and nightshirt, shorts are Simplicity 5226.