Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Amy Butler Birdie Sling

My sister in law made my husband and I the most fantastic anniversary present. It is a beautiful album of photos she took at our wedding. I don't know how to thank her, so I did what I do best. OK, I don't do it best, but I enjoy it. I made her a present.

She is a teacher like me and I thought a back to school tote would be perfect. She told me her favorite colors are black and white. What I came up with in the end is a pretty Birdie Sling.

This is a pretty big bag. It should hold everything she needs and more.

One of the great features is all these great pockets. This pocket above has a stitch down the center making two nice sized pockets. Can you see that little thing on the right just above the pocket? I used a piece of bias tape and added a key fob (I found it in the jewelry department at Joann's). I read in reviews things can get lost in the bag because it is so big.

I also made this pouch for the purse out of extra fabric I had from the bands.

The zipper is a metal one I got from Grandma Betty. The flowery material inside is a skirt I made and messed up. I loved the fabric and couldn't bear to get rid of it. It is silky and frays like the devil, but it has a new life here.

I used Patty's tutorial for a zipper pouch. It was so easy and was a nice touch.

It arrived tonight and I was so excited to get such a happy phone call. She was very happy with the bag and had already taken everything out of her purse and usual tote and stuffed it all in there. Hooray!

Here are a few things I learned:

1. I only got one yard of each on the three fabrics and had plenty. The pattern called for more.
2. I added the key fob when I sewed the lining and the lining band together. I think it is a nice feature.
3. I skipped the interfacing on the outside. I felt like I had used enough that it would be fine. I think it was too.

This was a fun pattern. I kind of want one now too for all my quilting supplies. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vintage Patterns

Well everyone, I had my first extremely creepy Internet experience. I'd like to start this with a personal dedication:

Dear Ramona Hill of Twining, MI,

Thank you for reading my blog and for all the lovely patterns. I am very flattered to have such a dedicated fan, but I have to be honest with you, sending me a package via the US mail to my house really creeped me out. If you find my address on the Internet, please tell me how so I can fix it.



P.S. If you have any friends with such a great collection to share, please have them e-mail me first. I'd like to keep some notion of privacy in this Internet based world.

Now, on to the goods. Dear Ramona sent me some fantastic vintage patterns.

This is the first up, it is a sweet little sundress and bolero in my size, which was called stout back in the day. I love the collar and pocket button detail. I'm no vintage pattern expert, and these are actually the first I've laid my hands on. If you know anything about them, please share.

This is a fantastic dress with a scalloped bodice. I believe the 46 is the bust size. That makes it a bit big, but I'm sure I can size it down.

On the left here you can see the apron this pattern is for. It is very cute, but did not come in an envelope.

This one may be my favorite. I love the sweetheart neckline and heart pockets. And of course it is my favorite because it is a size 14 and a 32 inch bust. That is a bit of a stretch, but who wouldn't try to lose a full foot off their bust size to fit into a dress like that?

This is another tiny one, a size 16, but it is really cute.

This is a child's pattern for a coat, dress and jacket. It is very adorable. I want to make it right now, but I don't happen to know any children. If I meet one, they will be wearing this outfit by weeks end. And posted all over the Internet to have wildly passionate fans like Ramona!

This is another apron. It reminds me of the ones in HBO's Mildred Pierce. I may need to make this is some pretty fabric.

Oh, this last one is a size 14. What I love though is the caplet that is detachable from the dress. That is adorable!

And what is that fantastic blue background? Why that is my new jacket  made from Simplicity 2443 thanks for asking!

I've been admiring Heather's for awhile and decided I needed it in blue. With buttons. Just like hers. Now I'm starting to sound like one of those fans...

Seriously Ramona, thank you so much for sending me these. In the future if I do something dumb that allows everyone to see my address, please dear readers, let me know!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crazy quilt update

I have been working on this all day trying to catch up on my crazy quilt. I am hoping to finish it on Wednesday. For now I have the top and bottom done.

Here is the top side of the quilt. I used two borders and skipped the sashing.

 I just like this angle of it. This was a nice starter quilt because I did not have to be so careful on seams.

This was part of the Moda Countdown to Christmas collection. I used seven fabrics on this. The size came out to about 5 feet by 4 feet. I never really measured.

Now the back was just a black sheet. I sewed some scraps together and made a strip which I think cut the sheet and inserted the strip. I have to brag that I like the bottom just as much as the top.

I made the bottom about 4 inches bigger on all sides because I don't know how that all works.

For the binding I am using the green with snowflake print.

I hope to show a finished product this week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

McCalls knit dress

Mr. Thinks He Can said he had to be at FedEx in 20 minutes, so this is what I have. One picture, yes I'm standing on a leash. Not the best picture, but a fun project.

This was McCalls 6069, and my first real project with a knit.

Here is what I learned.

1. If you sew with a super stretchy knit, your garment will be really large.
2. Your sewing machine hates knits, unless you have it teamed up with a walking foot.
3. Rolled hems are not appropriate for just anything.
4. Some projects can only be saved with a belt.

I had my stripes all matched, and did a try on and the top was really huge. After I took it in, my stripes no longer matched, but I wasn't showing side boob. I consider it a win. I also did not want to use the facings on the arms, so I rolled the hems. I'm still mixed on that.

Overall, I will wear the dress because it is super comfortable. I can't say it was the pattern's fault because I really deviated on fabric choices and directions.

And yes, sometimes I do brush my hair. Just not tonight!

I should have some birdie sling and crazy quilt updates soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The zipper obsession

After I saw my awesome zipper with the butterflies, I bought the magazine Sew Stylish at Joann's that had a cool little zipper blurb. My scanner isn't working, but I really wanted to share my zipper love. If I get the scanner going I will share.

I found the website,, that sells the zippers and had to post a few. They are adorable and such a cool embellishment. They are a little more pricey than a regular zip, but they should be. Check it out!

These bad boys have rhinestones on the teeth and come in several lengths and colors. Love it! It would be pretty on a formal, or a nice surprise on office wear.

If you look closely at these, the coils are rainbow. I want to use them on everything! I love the sparkly tape one as well!

Pretty, pretty! I just love this fancy taped one. I only see it in black, but what a nice touch it would be on the back of a shirt or skirt.

This one has camouflage coils. This would be cute on anything. Love it! It would look super cute on a marine wallet like this one.

OK, I have no real use for this one, but the coils glow in the dark. I run a lot and was thinking it may be useful on a running coat...or at a black light putt putt place. Yeah, the second one!

There are a few more on the web site. I expect to purchase a few for upcoming projects.

I did finish that blue dress as well, I am just waiting for pictures to show. Oh, and I cutting out my Amy Butler Birdie Sling I am making for my sister in law. It looks fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sewaholic Giveaway

Hello all, I thought I would share that Debi at My Happy Sewing Place is giving away your choice of three Sewaholic patterns. I have not tried a Sewaholic pattern just yet, but I have heard good things. Hopefully thanks to Debi I will get my chance soon!

Besides, you should see her blog just to admire her amazing creations!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Coolest. Zipper. Ever.

Check this out!

I'm speechless! It is a 20 inch long zipper. What do I do with this? I need suggestions! I'm so excited I can't be bothered to crop my toes out! You know that is good.

So where the heck did I get this? My mother runs a charity that crochets for premature babies. If you'd like to see more you can visit Project Angel Kisses.

She often gets materials donated to be used, but sometimes she gets things that just can't be used for the work she does. So, I scored.

The box came in the mail and Mr. Thinks He Can opened it for me, peaked in and said, "Couture."

Yes, one word. Couture.

I said, "What does couture mean?"

Silence. Crickets. "Awesome," he says. Fair enough.

Note to self: Mr. Thinks He Can is being forced to watch too much Project Runway. He is starting to pick up Tim Gunn's vocabulary.

So this was the "couture" on top. It is a nice ombre satin. I'm not exactly sure what to use it for at the moment. I am open to suggestions though. This is a 60" satin, and probably 2.5 - 3 yards of it.


These are the same buttons, just two bad flashes. They are from old clothes of mine. I dig the gold trimmed rainbows and pink pigs the best.

These are all from 1980. Fusible Interfacing was way cheaper then!

Tons of trims and tapes, some old and some new.

Oooooh, ruffler foot. Hopefully it fits on my machine!

These buttons were given to my mom and she was told they were over 100 years old. Some look plastic, but some may be legit.

Here is a closer look at the 100 year old buttons. There are some good ones in there.

 More buttons, there are even more in the package, but I just didn't get them all out.

Here are several trims, the awesome zipper is in the middle. I thought it was just ribbon!  You've gotta love the little bead loom strip right there to the right of the zipper. Remember those?

Several rotary cutters and scissors. You can't have enough of those!

Would anyone be up for a send along exchange kind of like The Sew Weekly did? I can't find the exact archive. I'll send a trim/button package along and everyone can see what you can do with it?

No. You can't have my zipper!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crazy Quilt

I have had serious quilt envy lately. I want to learn, but I'm afraid to teach myself. I am very fortunate though, because I have been invited to join the very talented quilters at the school I work at on Wednesday afternoons for their quilting club. I am very excited, because the women are amazingly talented. Seriously, the quilts they were working on blew my mind!

And then there is me, oh yeah and Holly, she's my plus 1 for quilt club. The ladies started me out with a crazy quilt. I used my Moda countdown to Christmas fabric collection to make my first one. I was instructed to get 6 fat quarters.

Hmmm, googled it, a fat quarter is a quarter of a yard that is cut like so:

(image from

Get it? A half of a half is a quarter...

I stacked all six and was instructed to make a cut. I stood there and thought, what? Where? Do you have a pattern? Eventually I cut, and after a few more cuts and rotations I had this:

This is all six blocks cut and reconstructed. I may try to do a tutorial on this. I did not really have to worry about seams or perfect points. I will basically just get to make a quilt from start to finish, and can try some complicated stuff later. I like that.

Here is a closer look at a block. I will be making these 15.5" by 15.5" squares when quilting notions go on sale half off this weekend! I will then add sashing, borders, binding and finish it up. I will post some pictures as I go.

Now what do you make of that dog? Worst personal sewing assistant ever or just dropping really heavy hints that she needs a quilt for Christmas?

I cut out that blue dress finally. I hope to work on that in the next couple days.

Back to school makes me slow down a lot. I was only out a few weeks, but going back makes me exhausted. As I get in the swing of things I will do better, promise!