Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hits and Misses of 2014

I feel like 2014 was a good sewing year for me. I had a lot more hits than misses and I had a hard time narrowing it down. So here you go in no particular order....

Cake Patterns Cocoa Shrug
I wore this ALL summer and fall. It's perfect for those dresses I wear
that sit at my natural waist. I want to make another!

Maritime Shorts and Pants Hack
I'm so tickled I attacked my trouser fear and made these up. They are still
worn frequently!
Japanese Pattern
Chiffon Top. I love this top! I'm so happy I got to sew with chiffon and
it turned out to be an enjoyable experience. 
I made this ADORABLE vintage dress pattern up in one day because
I had a birthday deadline. She loved it and I loved it. 

Sewing Cake Hummingbird Skirt
This plaid wool skirt has to be one of my favorites of the
year. I refashioned an old aline skirt of my mother's
into this. I wear it until it's too warm to wear.
Love love love.
 Two others that have to be mentioned even if they haven't been blogged are my black plaid Lola and my blue floral sweatshirt top. Both have seen lots of wear and are pieces I reach for  again and again.

Now for the misses...

Athena Top Pattern
I really wanted this to work out. It had some of my favorite features,
pleats and a cowl. I don't know if it was pattern or fabric error but
it stretched and gaped like crazy. I wear it for pjs.

This is my second Athena top with a not such a cowl back.
The neckline was still to gapey and the facing wouldn't stay put so it never
got worn. I'm going to have to remake this into something else because
I like the fabric.

My other miss wasn't a garment but something I do feel badly about. I feel like I really dropped the ball on the Stashbusting Sewalong. With camp and the move I wasn't able to encourage or promote as much as I have in years past.

So what have I learned? Well that will have to wait until my Reflections and Goals post... :) Stay tuned.

How about you? Any terrible fails this year?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 5 of 2014 My Highlights

It's time to celebrate the past year and I thought I'd start with our new category: Personal Highlights!
I had a few doozies this year! Warning, Sappy personal stuff ahead... read at your own risk!

Going to Camp
I spent almost three months in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and LOVED it! My official title was Craft Coordinator but I did a ton of other stuff too. It was so wonderful I'm going back again this coming year. I'm working on a crafting binder so things will be more organized. It's so exciting! If you really want to see more here's a clip of me doing crafts for Horse Camp. It starts at about 1:50. You can also see one of my Stripy Cabarita loose in the wild.

And this is our goofy staff video with great panos of the country we were working in. I'm posting this one more so I can find it again than for anyone else. It's long and sentimental. 

I've been wanting to move to a more populated area for a long while. It's finally happened and I couldn't be more excited. My parents and I moved to Montana and are renovating an old building built in the 1930s. It's got a great art deco look and we'll have a shop in the front and live in the back. I'll get to teach sewing lessons and have all sorts of goodies for sale in the shop.

This year has been one of the most painful yet one of the most blessed years for friendships in my life. What do they say? People; you can't live with them, you can't live without them. Or more accurately in my case, "Open arms leave the heart unprotected." Letting others into our lives, loving those we meet can be a very scary experience. Because of some sad things I was ready to run away from people but God directed my feet to camp where I was surrounded by people who graciously and unconditionally loved me. Recently He has shown me I cannot live my life in fear, anger or suspicion of others but in His strength and wisdom I can continue to bravely face the world and love those I find in it.

I am a Type 1 diabetic with Celiac Disease. Celiac was a more recent diagnosis and the path to wellness has taken awhile. When I look back on how well I survived camp and all the heavy lifting I'm doing on the house I am so pleased. All the healing my body has accomplished and the ability to grow strong again is so exciting. To have the confidence to walk to the grocery store or go on a hike without worrying whether I'll be exhausted halfway through is a wonderful thing! 

Thus ends my sappy roundup of 2014. I'm so excited to see what new adventures 2015 has! How about you? What have been your personal victories this year?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Make It With Wool Last Garments of the Year

Hello Sewing Buddies!
  I figured it was about time I posted these! I came home from summer camp, found out I was moving and found out I was not only helping my friend enter SD Make it With Wool contest I was entering it too. Cue the exacting frantic sewing, because this was for a contest!

Why yes, I am a perky librarian. 
Notice the flowing sleeves that are so in style as I display how green our leaves still are.

I did add a high waistband to show off my tiny waist with different tops. 
How I'll probably wear this outfit since it is SO MUCH green together!

So fun! Now you can see the guts which were all stash busted! I had to add color somewhere.

Since red is my favorite color and I think topstitching that can't be seen is a waste I opted for this dark magenta. A little spice but not super loud.

This was actually my second top and I loved how it came together. Even if it involved a lot of hand stitching to hide all my seams. 

  • I used Cake's Hummingbird pattern for the pencil skirt since I'd already made it up several times. I used my shaped waistband and simply pleated a silky remnant I had for the skirt lining.
  • For the final top I used a vintage Butterick 6856. I knew this era fit me pretty well so I made it up without muslining. Next time I'll lower the bust darts a smidge because I'm not going to wear bullet bras and things quite passable but not quite perfect.
  • I really like these as a whole outfit but even more as separates. It's Italian wool and I didn't know wool could feel so nice!
  • There was a lot of angst because of the deadline and the perfection needed in sewing but I'm glad I've got these pieces made because they will be nice to wear once we're done working on the house.
  • I'm kicking myself for not pretreating the wool. The lady I got it from said, "No, no. You must always dry clean wool" so I just took it home and started cutting.
Any ideas on how to wash wool at home? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stashbusting Sewalong IMPORTANT Updates!

Hello Stashbusters!
I'd like to start with a big thank you for everyone who has participated these last two years. Especially as Cindy has had a shb and I've worked at camp and moved. Lots of changes and we've sewn through them all. I'm so proud of how everyone has continued on without our active participation!

You're all AMAZING!

We're in discussion about a Stashbusting 2015, because the fabric elves have been hard at work and we've still got fabric! There are going to be some changes though. To that end I've got a handy little survey for gathering more information about the future. Please take the time to fill it out so we can get a more accurate view of how to continue.

Thanks Everyone! I hope to see you all in the new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stashbusted Knitted Christmas Cowl

Look! It's a bird. No, a plane. It's a....

Giant sling! No! A papoose carrier?

Sillies! It's the GAP-Tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley. Brought to you using my best model poses and faces. I've been taking notes!

Drown yourself in this fabulous texture! 


  • A mindless knit was just what I needed in the middle of all this moving. It gave me something creative to do while sitting on the couch in the evening absorbing the new move or resting my aching muscles. 
  •  I used Jen's pattern as a jumping off point. I added the contrast bands and kept knitting until I felt the proportions were right.
  • This is my one handmade Christmas gift!
  • I used some stashed Lion Brand yarn I bought in my teens. It had been ripped out twice before...
How are the holiday preparations coming for you? Are all your gifts ready to go?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

La La La Lola!

It seems 2014 is quickly coming to a close so I guess I better get my bum in gear and finish blogging about my makes! Here's one I whipped out and photographed right before the move. It's my first Lola by Victory Patterns.

Nananananana, Disco! Or maybe Ninja! 
Dog, how did you find me? 

Obligatory, all around view.

  • So this is very bright and I'm not sure I'm brave enough to wear it around in public... but it makes a smashing around the house dress.
  • I'm 5' 10" and I added 3 inches to lengthen the bodice pieces and skirt. I probably did something to the sleeves as well but I can't remember what.
  • Between adding the length and the stretch of the pink fabric I'm feeling proportions are a bit off?
  • The pink fabric is probably too light for this design as I can see it really stretched and bags a bit. 
  • When I was researching this pattern a lot of people questioned the amount of pieces for a knit dress. Well it's superb for color blocking which gives you the look of a body con dress with the comfort of your favorite sweatshirt. (Don't believe me, wait till you see my second version.)
  • Pattern went together super easily and really pretty quick for all those pieces. ;)
  • These both came from the stash and I'm pretty sure this was one of my FESA makes!
I think that's about it... any questions please ask and I'll try to remember... 

Question for YOU! Would you wear something this bright out in public? Are you a solid or a print fan?

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Free Fabulous Fabric Organization System

Hello Sewing Friends,
  I found a blog post intended for June but never published so here you go! Enjoy! I'm so excited to share this fabulousness with you!

Oh Fabric! How we love to pet and look at you. The problem is we can’t always find the exact piece we’re looking for, as we wade in the depths of the piles and totes or poke into the nooks and crannies we’ve stashed our preciousessss in. 

I don’t know about you but if I can’t see it, I forget it’s there and it languishes deep within the pile collecting who knows what as it lays on the floor. I wanted a better way to organize my fabric than folding and refolding on my shelves or scooting piles along the floor. I believe fabric is meant to be used as more than dust collectors and bug nests.

I read lots and lots of articles and spent hours on Pinterest looking for storage solutions but for everything I saw I had to buy something else so the piles stayed. Until I was reading Miss P’s blog one day and her method clicked! Here’s why I like it 

  • Utilizes shelving you already have
  • Uses cardboard you can get for free
  • Able to see the fabric from all four sides of the board
  • Makes every piece of fabric the “same” size
  • Allows you to store more fabric in the same amount of space ;)
  • Doesn’t cause an avalanche when you pull a piece of fabric out 

Two points I want to hammer home are by contrast are: this is superior to the bolt at the fabric store because the cardboard is thinner and the fabric is wrapped around ALL four sides so it is VISIBLE however you stack it! 
 While this is similar to using comic book boards this method uses free cardboard you cut for YOUR shelving, allowing you to maximize what YOU already have!

This was not something I did all at once, in fact I’ve been working on it for about a year. As boxes come available I cut them up which makes it very manageable and less overwhelming. It has been glorious! Everything stays neat and it is so easy to grab things in and out of the stack. It has also been frustrating because I seemed to keep pulling pieces I’d already rolled out to use. I guess that means the visibility thing is working! 
If I was really organized I’d have written the yardage and attached it to the piece but when do I ever pay attention to my yardage requirements? :)
Grandparents helping for the first big cut and sort.
Getting Dad in on the cardboard cutting.

This worked wonderfully for all but my smallest pieces of fabric which were overflowing the smalls tub. My mother couldn’t sleep one night and discover pinterest for herself. :) The next  day she offered two file tubs that were stored away unused. This works just like the file cabinet system only these fit on my existing shelving and didn’t cost me anything but cleaning time. It’s easy for me to pop the lids off and see all the pretties crammed in a row because you can bet I was cramming as much as I could in them. :)

I’ve finally found a storage solution that works with what I have; and once it is set up, requires no maintenance to keep up. It’s always ready to go and is easy to add new pieces to. (Bonus: it was super easy to pack up in the move, slotted them into garbage sacks and filled in the cracks.)

I never expect to use up all my fabric nor do I want to. I just want it to be in a manageable form and not take up all my space. This is what works for me.

Odds and ends I rolled and stuffed into a box.
How about you? What are your feelings about your stash of fabric? How do you organize it? Do you have a favorite method?