Pattern Review: Amy Butler Birdie Sling

Another A+ for Amy Butler on this one! This Birdie Sling pattern review is my first bag pattern review. I’ve added a magenetic snap closure and clarified the peat instructions.

Continue Reading January 30, 2011 at 12:56 am 1 comment

New Year = New Projects

New Year’s project time!  Yay!  I’ve got a couple things that I’ve been wanting to make for a while and while I was off work for the holidays I decided that it was time to look through the craft closet and pull out some projects to start working on.  In no particular order, here’s what I came up with:

First I’ve decided to make my first bag.  Ever.   Scary.  For the pattern I chose the Amy Butler Birdie Sling Bag.  I love big purses and tote bags and I think the pleats on the front of this one are really cute.  I’ve actually been in possesion of this pattern for over a year and already have all the interfacing, so I get bonus points for clearing out some of my stash!  I went to JoAnn’s with a gift card and found some really cute purple fabric with fuschia pinwheels for the body and two coordinating fabrics in purple and teal for the straps and lining.  I’ve been reading some reviews of the pattern online and I think that I will add a magnetic snap closure at the top, and possibly insert a zippered pocket into one side of the lining.  I always like to have a secure place to put a wallet or my car keys, even if it ends up as a beach bag.  I’m super excited about it and just cut out all of the pattern pieces two nights ago.

Second, over break I cut out three more pairs of Wide Leg PJ Pants, two are from lightweight cotton prints for Spring/Summer and one out of this adorable lime flannel with white sand dollars on it.  Because I love PJ pants this didn’t seem unreasonable at the time, but I don’t know if I actually need three pairs so one of them might turn into a gift for someone, we’ll have to see how they turn out.

Third, I’ve got two dress patterns that I would like to try to make.  The first is Vogue 8555, which could be totally work appropriate in the right fabric.  Unfortunately I’m still looking for the right fabric, I just haven’t seen anything that wows me at the moment.  The second is a Kate Unger pattern from Vogue, 1182.  I’ve already bought a really pretty navy shantung for this dress and I plan on making view A without the trim at the neck.  Hopefully I’ll get a cute cocktail dress out of this pattern!  The third pattern I’m pretty sure won’t get made this year, it’s the most advanced pattern I own right now, I bought it mostly because I thought it was really gorgeous and also because Vogue was having a $1.99 pattern sale and I went a little crazy.  It’s Vouge 1174 by Cynthia Steffe, strapless and structured and slightly scary.  But if I can find a great fabric and work up the gumption to try boning, piping, pleats and darts all on the same dress I think it’ll be seriously sassy.  We’ll see about that one.

Fourth, I’ve been wanting to make a quilt for a while and I’ve got a finished quilt top in my craft room that I’ve been meaning to finish.  It’s a crib sized quilt made from charm squares out of some really cute flannel prints.  Why I decided to make my first quilt out of flannel I’ll never be able to explain.  Anyway, I think it’s the perfect size for my first foray into machine quilting and hopefully I’ll be able to whip it up sometime in the near future and add it to the finished project pile.  I’ve also got an entire bundle of Joel Dewberry fabric in the Cool Stream palette from his Modern Meadow collection that I’m planning on turning into a Mixtape Quilt from Oh Fransson for our living room.

Lastly,  I have several costume patterns that I haven’t put to use yet and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to make our Halloween costumes this year.  Unfortunately at the moment I’m not super excited about any of my options, I’ve got a 50’s Poodle Skirt, a Medieval Dress that I really like, I’m just not sure about for Halloween, and a Renaissance Dress of questionable accuracy and style.  They all have something that interests me, but none of them are calling out to me at the moment.  Oh well, I’ve definitely got a few months until I have to make a decision.

January 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm 1 comment

I’ve learned…

This quote seems appropriate for today, and it’s always hit a chord with me, so I thought I’d share in leui of my usual crafty adventure or rambling. Enjoy.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it
seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that
you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things:
a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that
regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re
gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as
making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both
hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I’ve learned that whenever
I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve
learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that
every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or
just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you
did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

August 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm 1 comment

New Summer Top! Simplicity 2922

I got to spend the entire afternoon sewing today and I must say it felt good to spend a few hours doing what makes me happy.  It didn’t hurt that I had a very cute helper puppy who kept coming to check on me and give me a look that was somewhere between “I love you and you’re awesome and interesting and I could watch you all day” and “I’m soooo bored because nobody EVER plays with me and now I have to go sleep on your pillow in a huff”.  I highly reccomend puppy audiences while sewing, it’s good for the craftmosphere.

On to the sewing specifics, I was working on a pattern for a summer top that I had cut out and fit about 4 months ago.  The pattern is simplicity 2922 and I made the sleeveless yoke tunic pattern (the white top in the pic below).  This is one of the Project Runway patterns that Simplicity has been marketing for a couple years now.  The whole idea is that they are supposedly easy to sew and offer various yoke/sleeve/length options so that you can play designer and totally customize your look.  These patterns also tell you yardage for each pattern piece individually, so you can buy what you need for the exact combination you’re going for without the guesswork. Unfortunately they also suggest several embellishments to the budding designer that are a little more than unfortunate.  Large rinestones, beading or a lace hem?  I think not.   

Simplicity 2922

When I cut out the pattern initially I cut out a size 10, even though my measurements are closer to a 12.   I wanted something a little more form fitting and there appeared to be a lot of ease built into the top.  I used swedish tracing paper to trace the pattern pieces, cut them out and fit the pattern on my dressform.  That stuff is amazing, so much easier to work with than flimsy pattern paper.  After fitting I decided that there was going to be an unpleasant tightness in the armhole and decided to go with a size 12 in the yoke to give me more room and keep the size 10 for the body. 

I will say that the instructions were very straightforward and the sewing was actually a breeze once I got started.  I highly reccommend ironing at ever possible step on the yoke pieces to make every lay correctly!  My only issue seemed to be that the notches on the front yoke and front body pieces didn’t match up on my two different size pieces, but I was able to fudge it slightly and don’t see any evidence of a problem on the finished top.  I did end up taking about 2 or 3 inches off the hem length because it was originally tunic length and was hitting me in a very unflattering area (hello hips) and I decided to go with a long-ish top instead.  All in all I’m really happy with the way this top came out, I would definitely consider making it again and/or one of the dresses in this pattern envelope. 

Simplicity 2922 Sleeveless Yoke

I’m also pretty happy with the fabric I chose, you can’t really tell in the picture but the orange is pretty bright and not a color I usually feel like I can pull off with my skin tone.  I ordered this fabric online and when I received it I was a little worried, but I love the print and the colors are so happy and summery that my instincts told me to just try it anyway.  Just goes to show that you should trust you instincts, at least in the case of fabric choices. 

The best part about my sewing adventure today?  I like this top enough that I may wear it to work tomorrow, which cuts about 10 minutes out of my morning schedule!  Now I have to make the gruling decision of whether to sleep and extra 10 minutes or eat breakfast – knowing me it’ll probably be sleep.

June 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

Crate cover

I finished this crate cover for Maggie a couple months ago and forgot to share!  We were using Adam’s old blanket from I don’t know when to cover her crate for a long time and I couldn’t stand it anymore so I decided to whip one up on my own.  I used a fairly cheap quilting cotton from Joanne’s that was black with little white paw prints all over it and appliqued her name on top in lime green with white polka dots to make it fun.  This is my first and only attempt at applique and while it went pretty smoothly, it definitely took longer than expected – thank goodness we kept her name to six letters!


Horrible old blanket of doom


Mom! I'm not ready for my close-up!

Here’s a close-up of the applique – I used a tutorial from one of my favorite blogs, Sew Mama Sew , that was really helpful for a beginner.  If you’re thinking of trying your first applique check it out for some crystal clear instructions!

My first applique ever!

February 24, 2010 at 11:40 pm 1 comment

I was never really gone…

So obviously I have broken some previous promises of more posting and even forgotten to follow up my last post with pictures of the Halloween costume I was so diligently working on.  I choose to blame it sewing overload and an all-encompasing addiction to crappy reality tv.  So without further ado, my totally handmade Princess Peach costume!

What, you were expecting some more adult?  Obviously you don’t know me very well. 🙂

I made this dress using Simplicity pattern 2813, and cut out the Cinderella pattern.  I raised the neckline and added a ruffled collar in dark pink and a matching dark pink band at the hem.  I added storebought elbow-length gloves and a hoop skirt to give the dress just the right amount of princess pouf – the pouf is very important to those that don’t know.  The jewel is made from turquoise and gold modeling clay with two pin backs to prevent it from being weighed down and the earrings are made from the same turquoise modeling clay rolled into balls with flat posts glued to the back.  The crown is just a heavy weight card stock spray painted gold with red and blue plastic gems glued on.  I used my crop-a-dile to attach an eyelet to either side of the crown so that I could use bobby pins to hold the crown to the wig.  All-in-all I think I did a pretty good job for my first hand-made Halloween costume, and I give myself extra props for the Mario influence and authenticity – I studied lots of Peach gameshots to get this one right!  It did take a little longer than I originally thought it would, but the end result was worth it – I can’t wait for next year!  Oh, and mad props to the husband, who makes a mean Mario!

He really is a good sport, don’t you think?

February 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

I love some vintage sewing

I’ve been working on a pretty ambitious Halloween costume for the past few weeks (pics to follow this weekend!) and as a result have been doing some browsing online of costume sewing and vintage sewing.  I’m especially interested in Regency and Elizabethan costuming, but I’m also drawn to 50’s vintage patterns.  Maybe it’s the idea that if I were to sew these patterns I could actually wear them in public places and feel well-dressed.  Either way, I’ve found some really great websites in the process and I felt like it was my duty to share, here are the latest and greatest in no particular order:

Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – The title is a play on words, Gertie is working her way Julie and Julia style through the 14 sewing patterns in a 1952 learn-as-you-go book “Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing” and her daily posts are not only witty, but her sewing is downright impressive.

The Historical Sewing Blog – These two ladies are master costumers and tend to focus on Victorian and Civil War era dress-making.  There are tons of pictures of their personal costumes as well as from Costume College, which I would love to attend someday.  Just think, you get to dress in period clothing every day and learn about sewing!

The Period Movie Review – I cannot say enough good things about this website, tons and tons of popular movies and tv series (lots of BBC!) are reviewed on historical accuracy and costuming from old black and white favorites to the most recent Austen films and even several sci-fi/fantasy films.  If there is a period movie you really like it’s probably here and many have in depth costume photos as well as production photos taken during filming but never seen on screen.  It’s very interesting to read about which movies were more accurate than others in terms of what people would have actually worn and general costuming details that help develop characters.  Definitely worth checking out, it’s probably my favorite new blog of the moment.

Ok, well enjoy checking these out and let me know if you see anything you like!

October 26, 2009 at 11:16 am 1 comment

Houses and Puppies and Crafts… Oh My!

I’ve been on hiatus from the blogging world for most of this year and the guilt has finally gotten the best of me.  I do have some good excuses though: getting used to married life, going on an awesome Costa Rica honeymoon, holidays, BUYING OUR FIRST HOUSE (yay!), moving in February, decorating – which is a perpetual work in progress, and on top of all that in April we adopted a boxer-lab mix puppy who we named Maggie. 

Zip Lines in Costa Rica!

Zip Lines in Costa Rica!

Shiny New House!
Shiny New House!
Maggie Moo!

Maggie Moo!

It’s actually Magpie, but we call her Maggie or Maggie Moo most of the time.  She has the sweetest disposition in the world and is learning her manners very quickly; we’re already done with our first puppy class.  So we are officially a happy little family now.
Since things are starting to calm down, or I’m starting to get better at time management, I want to try to return to the blogmosphere and start sewing and crafting again.  I never completely stopped but I did get sidetracked and I definitely fell into blog silence.  I hosted a scrapbook party with my Creative Memories rep Mindy in June and had several friends who were interested in starting an album.  The party inspired me to host a scrapbook day for some friends a couple weekends ago.  We listened to music and had snacks and got to be crafty for a whole Sunday afternoon, it was a lot of fun and will definitely be happening again in the near future. 
I’ve also been working on a crate cover for Maggie.  Right now we are using one of Adam’s old blankets on top of her crate and I do NOT love it.  So I found some cute black fabric with little paw prints all over it and decided to attempt to appliqué her name on the top in a lime swiss dot print.  I’ve never appliquéd before so I’m using a tutorial that I found on the Sew Mama Sew blog and things are going well so far, everything has been cut out and fused, now it’s time to start stitching down the letters so I can sew the whole cover together and figure out how I want to finish the edges – wish me luck!
That’s all I know today, ciao for now!

August 13, 2009 at 10:36 pm 2 comments

say I’m the only bee in your bonnet…

I heard a lovely song by They Might Be Giants for the first time at a friend’s wedding recently and danced around and sang with my girlfriends wondering how I could have made it thus far without encountering said song.  It was awesome and fully of hippy-dippy happy and I had to have it.  I had to run home and download it before I forgot about it lost it forever and I embarked on yet another $20 itunes shopping spree.  Have you ever noticed that you can never download just one song on itunes?  I blame the links on the right, “you might also like” and “other listeners bought”, and while I should probably be mad at itunes for their manipulation of my love of music, I can’t be perturbed when I download a great new song that I’ve never heard before or yet another oldie but goodie from the 80’s and early 90’s.  Music makes me happy. 🙂

November 25, 2008 at 11:35 pm 2 comments

married life is sweet :-)

I haven’t been on here in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been here in spirit!  Important things have been going on! 😉


Me and my Monky 🙂

We are officially married now and back from our honeymoon in Costa Rica (which was AWESOME) and the general craziness of October 2008.  Married life is pretty sweet, I have the pleasure of saying “my husband” instead of “that guy” or “my boyfriend” and pretty soon I get to change my name and be all “Mr. and Mrs.” with my sweetie.  I’m kind of glad I didn’t do it right away, aside from lack of time off work in which to do it, it will be a nice extra bit of happiness after things have settled down a bit for us.  We’re working on picking out pictures from the photographer for our awesome modern wedding album, I’m really excited to see how it turns out, which means I need to get my butt in gear and pick out some pictures already!  I was really happy with how everything at the wedding turned out and really don’t have any complaints.  We had a great time and were surrounded by people we love – we couldn’t be luckier in the friends and family department. 🙂

In other news, our good friends Jim and Jenness got married this past weekend, which was a blast.  They are perfectly suited for each other and had a beautiful wedding.  It was fun to see the whole wedding show from a different side so soon after ours and get to play the guest role, I definitely got to eat and dance a lot more than at my wedding!  I know they’ll be very happy together and can’t wait to see them grow old together (*cough* andhavebabies *cough*). 🙂

November 3, 2008 at 7:47 pm 3 comments

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