Monday, September 30, 2013

September An aMAZEing Month

I first ran across the marble game idea from THIS blog post. It is as super simple and as super fun as the author said. I although, couldn't make my games as simple as hers. For my mazes I cut a 6 x 8 inch rectangle and drew my own maze/path that was roughly one inch.
I make one side colorful and one side solid. Thread color is up to you
whether you want contrasting or invisible.

I used fabric markers to add start and finish shapes to opposing corners.

The solid side allows you to show the maze and let the kids see which
way to go. Different "start" and "finish" symbols are a must otherwise
they'll get turned around and forget which corner they are working towards.
I've watched the Pink Princess play with these and at 5 1/2 she really seemed to grasp the concept and enjoy moving the marble. This is a great fine motor skills activity as well. Before that she didn't show too much interest and got bored with it. Maybe the simpler ones would be better for a younger age? I'm also wondering if these would be a good pocket exercise for adults with ADD? A small one wouldn't take up much room in a pocket and whether you have ADD or not once you pick one of these up you have to move the marble.

So what did YOU stashbust for September? Cindy has taken time from her busy work and student schedule to post her adorable project and open up the link party for us all! Head on over so we can see what you've been making!
I'll be back on Wednesday with my September Flickr roundup and our October challenge details! See ya then!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stashbusting Birthday Bag

The round of birthdays is underway here. We start in August and go until January. Anyone else have all the family birthdays stacked in one chunk of the year?
The beginning of September was the Little Man's birthday, so I real quick whipped him up something before I left for the wedding.
Plenty of room for school papers, or my sewing books???
Earlier this year he had found this FABULOUS, probably vintage, sailing? map? ocean? home decor weight print in my stash. That boy has an eye, let me tell you.
Closeup of print. It's so cool.
I wanted to make him one of those fun monster bags I keep seeing on Pinterest for Preschool but earlier this year he had specifically requested a bag with a flap and a long strap that went over his shoulder. So I decided to bite the bullet, use the stash, and make him what he had requested; because, sure as shootin' I make my own idea, he'll remember what he said to me six months ago... (kids are like that, ya know... always remembering stuff you've forgotten.)

This flap bag is so simple to make, holds a TON, (especially if you don't put a closure on the flap) and can be made any size or shape which is why I'm not giving you any measurements. You can use any rectangular piece of fabric you have although I recommend the outer shell be heaver weight because you'll be using this ALOT.
Lining also from stash, Boxed corners and topstitched handle. 
This was the moment when I almost decided to keep it...

I threw a quick video together since I can't draw like Cation Designs, then I spent way to long playing around with sound effects...
Anyways, hope you enjoy it and talk to you soon. Any questions, please just ask.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stashbusting with the Tumble Tee

Welp, I won this amazing giveaway, a tumble tee pattern and some fabric, from Bird&Bicycle just in the nick of time. I had gotten the call that the Pink Princess was in need of some new dresses for Kindergarden!!

Can I say I was just as excited about the packaging as
I was about the fabric inside?
The Tumble Tee by Imagine Gnats is a great kid's wardrobe builder. It's a basic tee pattern with built in sleeves for quick making. It can be used for both boys and girls and is easy to colorblock however you please.
Sorry for the lack luster photo shoot. We were getting tired of
standing in our braces so it was "get it done quick time"

I used size 3T and added a pile of length to keep those long legs covered this winter. The pink knit came from my stash and her mom had the perfect grey and magenta stripe fabric to go on the top. This dress sewed together so quickly you didn't even realize it was done before it was done!
I plan to get plenty of use out of this pattern since the size range is so great. The not-nieces and nephew will be getting this for a long time...
I don't know what else to say because it was such a simple and easy experience.

How's sewing for kids going for you?

PS. I made a last minute decision to join in on the Selfish Sewing Week going on. I don't know if I'll get to spend an hour everyday but I'm going to try to set some time aside to work on some projects for me. Friday is our local sewing day so I'll get a whole day of me sewing in then.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tips On Sewing Bridesmaid Dresses

So I thought I'd share some things I've learned from this whole bridesmaid dress experience.
Now before I start, I want to say we all walked down the aisle fully clothed and according to everyone, looking very nice. My hope is that by sharing these tips someone else may have a smoother journey than I did and there will be less stress involved for all around.

Iphone outtakes...
First, making custom dresses is the most inexpensive way to nicely clothe five bridesmaids that range in age from mid twenties to mid forties, have a foot difference in height, and are in different stages of motherhood (or not).

Don't let someone who doesn't sew choose the pattern and fabric.
   My best friend has never sewn in her life and her mom has only sewn home decor or small projects. While I remembered to warn my friend on how sizing differs from RTW I didn't even think to mention that very rarely do dresses look like the model on the packet. Pattern photos are advertising just like any other garment store photo. The fabric chosen, while fabulous to work with, was heaver than required which also resulted in a different look. This meant that we had very different results than what the bride was originally picturing in her head.
   If I could have re-done this part I would have had her send me photos of what she wanted and gone pattern and fabric shopping from there.

Try to be as concrete as possible.

   My friend wanted these dresses to be something we would wear again so she said we could choose any of the different necklines from the chosen pattern that we wanted. Since I was sewing long distance I chose the cowl neck since it had the greatest amount of ease built in and the least amount of pieces on the front. I figured it would be the easiest to alter for our different body shapes. 
   Long story short, one of the bridesmaids didn't like the neckline, said her sister would make the dress, and called me the monday before the wedding to help. I spent the first hour putting the dress back together for a fit check and the next 45 minutes trying different neckline solutions until we found one the bridesmaid was happy with. With much prayer I was able to do this without collapsing in tears or anger.
   The solution to this would have been to have the bride and seamstress make as many of the decisions beforehand as possible. When you are a bridesmaid, state your opinion early or not at all. If you do decide to speak up, tell the seamstress not the stressed out bride.

One of my best friends!! Fabulous to stand up with
her! She nailed fit on her dress btw.

Remember the details.

  • Get accurate measurements and remember to mention the importance of undergarments. ( I made a video showing the basic measurements as well as some special ones needed for the design of this dress. This helped tremendously in getting a good fit.)
  • Remember when buying a lot of fabric to get it all in one go or check the dye lots. (this saves on the bride's nerves when she's called and told the fabric is a different color.)
  • Decide hem height and remember to take shoes into account for hemming.
  • If someone else is finishing work you started make sure to make notes of the changes you made to the pattern so they can complete it correctly.

Be Patient and Flexible
   No matter how much you prepare; you never know what changes, challenges, or craziness will happen. Being a calm seamstress, letting go when you need to and being patient as you deal with all sorts of people will help keep the bride calm and confident so she can focus on her day.
Cold feet before the wedding ceremony.
Mine, not the brides. :)

Finally, Don't fret and trust your skills.
   The dress I was most worried about fitting ended up being the best fitting dress the Matron of Honor had worn in a long time. She was so pleased she had plans to wear it again. Seeing someone glowing and confident in what they're wearing makes it all worth it!

Happy Matron of Honor

At the end of the day, they're married and that's all that matters anyway.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kid's Month & Crazies

So it's kids month and I had all these cool projects lined up when my best friend decided to get married. Instead of sewing things for kids I decided to act like one.
I had loads of fun and didn't always look quite this psycho. I promise to show more dress photos soon and chronicle what I've learned about making bridesmaid dresses. I bet you can't wait... But...
I've been waiting to show you some fun kid's projects so you get one of them RIGHT NOW!
Ever since I saw Imagine Gnat's Dino I thought it was the cutest idea!

dottie dino

Squishy, my youngest not niece, was flying to her Dr. appointment and hitting a "CHEW EVERYTHING" stage at the same time.

Since she's too little to notice or care I picked a simpler shape. I used black fabric since I have heard that it is one of the first colors babies can see. I also added more ribbons because I wanted to!
 Final special features included elastic to slip on her wrist to keep her from dropping it (but make sure you measure first because I didn't and Squishy was, well, too squishy so it was too tight on her).

And it was just too boring as is so I decided to continue my kawaii experiments and fused a little face to one side. This is easier to do when you think of it before you've sewn and stuffed it.

So that's it, my simple chew toy for children. Have you gotten to sew anything for kids this month?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Liebster Award

Wow! Way back in February the lovely Sally of Quirky Peach nominated/awarded me the Liebster Award! It came at just the right time since I was feeling a bit blue and wondering what in the world I was doing blogging. After some research I learned Liebster is German for beloved little one and this blog award is for those with 200 followers or less. I did my best to follow those rules...
Since September is my one year anniversary of blogging I thought it was about time to get this done and perhaps share a bit more about me.

The Liebster Blog Award Rules:

- Nominees must link back to the blogger who awarded them
- Write 11 random facts about yourself
- Answer 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
- Nominate other blogs and ask them 11 new questions

Eleven Random Facts:
1. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a month before my 14th birthday.
2. I can't go to bed with my feet FEELING dirty.
3. Growing up, it was so hard to choose between sewing or reading my latest library book. I soon realized reading and ironing could not be done at the same time.
4. I love swimming. It's the one "exercise" I would do on a regular basis if we lived closer to a pool.
5. I love being with small children. They are honest, funny and full of surprises.
6. I get scared easily and therefore don't like halloween. Warning: trying to scare me may result in you getting punched, slapped or my ring in your lip.
7. I'm loud and laugh alot.
8. I don't like to drive.
9. The wind whispers secrets in my ear.
10. I love to sing.
11. Right now I think I want to build myself a tiny house with some sort of rounded red door. That or a house that looks like a big red mushroom.

My Eleven Questions from Quirky Peach are: 

1. What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?

Probably my coral 50s dress. It was such an easy vintage make, easy to wear and gets compliments from random strangers. What' s not to love.
2. Do you tend to sew more for yourself or others?
Hard call. Rough guess,  Me 60% others 40% 
3. What is one thing you love about where you live?
The glorious sunsets and all the stars at night.
4. Do you listen to music while you sew? If so, what kind?

YES! Most often I listen to Audiobooks or Podcasts but I also listen to instrumental stuff like Jon Schmitt and the Piano Guys. I like the acappella band Rescue, Celtic Men and Celtic Woman
5. What is your dream project to sew?

A king size paper pieced double wedding ring quilt. I have the pattern I just need to sit down and start sewing those wedges together. My Dad has bought and sold antiques since I was very little. I can remember him buying some old double wedding ring quilts and thinking the pattern and detail was beautiful. I've wanted to make one since then.
6. When did you start sewing?

When I was ten I announced to my parents I wanted to learn to sew. That summer my grandmother and I made a dress and jacket.
7. What is your favorite kind of fabric to sew with?

I must admit I haven't had a lot of diverse fabric experiences but right now I'm in love with knits.
8. What do you do if you get in a sewing funk?

Go visit the not-nieces and nephew or watch a movie and crochet, knit or embroider. Mainly just getting away and giving myself some space to relax and focus on other things.
9. If you could be any fictional character (movie, book, etc) who would it be?

The wise woman in George MacDonald's The Lost Princess A Double Story or  Nurse Matilda/Nanny McPhee.
10. What is always at the top of your grocery list?

Milk or cheese or both.
11. Who is your biggest fan?

My parents. Both have been super supportive and encouraging. Dad was a boot maker so he understands and helps with the creative process while my Mom is always in awe and encouraging of what I do since she is not creative in the sewing field. 

Cation Designs Funny, Fabulous Seamstress and has a Fantastic Cat. What more can you ask for. Without her help with the stashbusting sewalong I wouldn't have gotten to meet a bunch of you guys!
Marmota Lovely blog from the Czech Republic. Sewing and a different culture!
MoonThirty Witty, interesting and fun. I enjoy her spirt.
CariHomemaker Lovely garments and cute kids. She even has a son who sews!
Kbenco  Gorgeous construction!
Crab&Bee Pretty much I want to steal several of her dyed garments. Give me lessons???
SewPassionistabyDiana I hope she doesn't take offense because I mean it in the best way but this is like taking sewing lessons from your uber stylish mom. I only hope I can rock some of those styles when I grow up.
Thread Theory They make modern men's patterns. Need I say more!?!
HandmadebyHeatherB This lady makes me laugh, every time. She also makes me want stuff, every time. We have a love hate relationship and like it that way. :) 
Japanese Sewing Books Much more than just books, she reviews magazines, fabrics, translates requests, does tutorials and notifies you of free patterns and stuff. If you like Japanese style this is worth checking out.
Crafting A Rainbow Another lady who makes me smile. She has a good color palette and a beautiful smile.

My Eleven Questions for Nominees:

1. Who are the three most influential people in your life?
2. What is the most influential book you have read?
3. What's your favorite thing to do to relax?
4. What's your favorite thing to make?
5. What's your favorite pattern you've sewn?
6.When it comes to sewing: Quick and easy or special details?
7. Classic or Trendy?
8. What is one thing you would not want to live without?
9. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
10. If you could meet anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
11. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

Thanks SO much Sally for choosing me! I'm so glad you did because I wouldn't have found your wonderful blog otherwise. 

I hope you enjoyed this and I'll be talking to ya'all soon!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Stashbusting Theme and August Roundup

What a whirlwind this last month has been. Hopefully as the school season starts up again we can adjust to the new rhythm our days hold and continue to find some time to sew. For September we have a new theme that's small in size but big in impact! It's KIDS MONTH!!!

This will be another challenge month with a dual focus. You can make a garment for a child or toys and useful things for children. Whether you have children of your own or have to borrow someone else's kid, I hope you find some time to spend with some of the most refreshing people our world has to offer.

Here's our Stashbusting Kids Pinboard. I also have my personal Girl Stuff, Boy Stuff and Costume boards that I've been collecting projects on for my not-nieces and nephew.

Sewing Like Mad is also running a kid's sewalong that goes from preschool to elementary age kids. She's offering a great prize package too. You can check out her blog by clicking on the button below.

Sewing Like Mad

For those who have older children a new blog has been started to help out those sewing for the "tween" age. Go check out SewCoolForTheTweenScene

Well, that's enough inspiration for September. Let's see what was accomplished in August. Here's some of my favorite projects from our Flickr pool.

03/2013 #33 Chica Ciclista Leggings
Cute and comfy leggings
Bloggers' BOM - finished!
Lovely autumnal quilt
Jalie 2788
Fabric and Pattern used from stash Double Win!
Front swishy skirt
Lauguishing UFO no longer!
Shibori romper
Romper+Dyed Fabric=Uber coolness!

Kimberly's Birthday
Family dresses times three
Seamstress in action.
Now go forth and sew! I'm going to go lay in the hammock in my best friends back yard! I love vacations, don't you... :)