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I’ve Been Busy…How About You?

I am usually a pretty organized crafter who tries to complete one project before starting the next but after losing my sewjo for a couple of weeks I am on fire! My projects took over the dining room this weekend and instead of home cooked meals on the table, we have this…

sewing in process

First up is my ALMOST completed cape for the Monthly Stitch August challenge. Forget that it is hotter than blue blazes at the moment, I must have a cape to parade about town this winter. More details to come on my cape next week.

cape in process

Next up is a totally random project I started Saturday. While I was organizing my sewing cabinet (otherwise known as trying to find a way to jam even more stuff in without the door flying open!) I found a kit for a quilted Christmas apron that I picked up at a local craft fair nearly two years ago. Never mind that I don’t know how to quilt, it is over four months before Christmas and I have tons of other more pressing items in my sewing queue. Even so, I actually enjoyed stitching the blocks together and will definitely use it once I finish. Next I will have to consult you tube for visual aids to quilt and bind the apron. If anyone has suggestions for good quilting instruction sites, let me know.

quilted apron

Also on my table is another Roza blouse (my 3rd!). Football season starts next week and I am a huge South Carolina Gamecocks fan. The University of SC is my alma mater and only an hour from my house. We often go to the games or watch them on television with friends so I decided to create a one of a kind blouse to wear. I did the embroidery of the USC mascot while watching TV last week and plan to stitch up the blouse this weekend. This version also uses up some of my stash so I get brownie points for stashbusting!

roza embroidery

And if that wasn’t enough I also have two items in process for the Sew Weekly Reunion. One is my first version of the By Hand London Anna dress for the Pantone Color Challenge. I am almost finished and hope to have a proper pattern review written next week but if you haven’t tried this pattern, you must get it to the top of your sewing queue stat!

anna dress

The other is for the Patterns and Notions Swap Challenge. If you recall from a previous post, my partner Amanda sent me two vintage patterns along with a cool set of buttons and a vintage tape measure. One of the sewing patterns included a knitted jacket pattern so I am feverishly knitting in the hopes of finishing it before September 1st. I would love to win the huge set of buttons offered as the prize.

pattern swap sweater

With all this positive creative energy flowing, what could be better than a gift in the mail? I recently won the Annette Tierette’s blogaversary giveaway and Anneke sent me a beautiful length of wax cotton fabric and lovely note all the way from Belgium. If you haven’t ever checked out her blog you definitely should. She makes cute clothing and always photographs her makes in cool industrial kinds of places which make her posts exceedingly more interesting!

giveaway gift

That’s what I’ve been up to this past week. Would love to hear about what you have on your sewing table!

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Giveaway Winner

First of all thanks to everyone who provided suggestions on tackling my UFO pile. Many of your suggestions have already been incorporated and I hope to show some completed UFOs soon. Over the last several days many bloggers are also addressing the UFO issue so I am glad to know I’m not the only one with this problem! Lauren’s post yesterday about her sewing process kicked off some lively discussions regarding UFOs that you should definitely check out. Lauren also posted some good tips about the sewing process in general which I definitely plan to try. Emily and Cindy’s August stashbusting challenge requires UFO completion so if you have a pile like me and you aren’t already part of their challenge, now is the month to get on board!

Now back to the winner of the pattern giveaway…

Congratulations to Nessa! Her suggestion to unpick the garments in short stretches then reward myself by doing something else already seems to be working. I have unpicked the In House Blossom blouse and Colette Ginger skirt and plan to get these completed in time to post them for the August Stashbusting Challenge. Nessa, please email me your shipping address along with your pattern choice and I will send to you right away.

Sewcial Bee & Miz Mozelle Pattern Review

I ignored my UFO pile this weekend but decided to participate in the Sewcial Bee monthly challenge. Kat posted a helpful list of current challenges so I checked out Gillian’s post regarding the Sewcial Bee challenges. I missed the one last month but was definitely all over it this time around. The challenge was posted on Saturday morning and the intent is to sew something over the weekend that meets the challenge requirements then post your make to flickr. This month’s challenge was determined by GidaStudio and had to be inspired by food. My make was actually inspired by the link to HeatherB’s blog where Heather made a cake that inspired her dress. I happened to have some black and red floral fabric in my stash and the Miz Mozelle pattern on my “to sew” list so I went for it. As you can see, I not only made a similar dress, but also a similar cake. Thanks Heather for the floral icing tip!

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Now onto the pattern review…

This was the first time sewing a Jamie Christina pattern so I am a bit late to the party. Most of her offerings are not my style but the Miz Mozelle dress seemed like the perfect pattern to pair with my fabric. The fabric is some sort of rayon blend I bought at Hancock’s awhile back. I think I originally planned to use it for my Mad Men Challenge dress but opted for a vintage cotton sateen in psychedelic colors instead. The pattern had to be graded up quite a bit but the fit of the dress is relatively forgiving so it wasn’t much of a problem.

The instructions were well written and clear. The only issue I ran into was sewing the keyhole. I must have stretched the fabric and bias tape too much when stitching because I could not ever get the bottom part of the loop to lay flat. I finally ended up stitching the bottom closed so that it formed more of a “V” instead of an oval.

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The waist is not fitted but instead utilizes a casing and elastic. The pattern called for 1/4″ braided elastic but I opted for 3/4″ non-roll elastic instead. This did cause the casing to be much more obvious but distributes the gathers better in my opinion. I also did not make the sash but plan to use a black elastic belt I already had. I tried it both with and without the belt and like it either way. I will definitely be making this dress again but perhaps in a solid color.

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Sewing Mojo, UFOs & a Giveaway!

I had a few days off at the first of July and spent the time organizing my sewing space. I went through my fabric and pattern stash, happily making plans to get both under control. After completing several items though, I feel like I really should finish all of my UFO’s before starting something else. I am not looking forward to fixing all of the issues that prevented me from finishing each garment in the first place so I keep putting them off. The pile is growing and at my current rate the UFO pile will be bigger than my fabric stash soon! Any ideas on how to keep my sewing mojo (or sewjo as  Lizzy calls it!) going while also reducing the UFO pile?

As an added incentive for both you and me, I am going to give away a pattern of your choice from my “willing to share” stash to the person with the best idea for keeping my sewjo going and conquering my UFO pile. The giveaway will close on next Wednesday, August 14 and I will announce the winner next Thursday so get those ideas coming!

My current UFO’s include:

Colette Crepe in vintage navy dotted swiss. This dress has been in the UFO pile since early 2012. I got as far as adding the piping then got stuck. The dress has a sweetheart neckline so it requires some finesse to get the piping and facing to lie flat. After trying a couple of times, I got frustrated and tossed it. In order to finish the dress, I would need to unpick the neckline and restitch the piping then sew the sides seams and hand hem.

Colette Crepe

Colette Ginger in embossed suede microfiber. This was my second attempt at this skirt and has been in my UFO pile since mid 2012. The first one is a tad too tight in the hips so it rides up. In an effort to correct that issue, I cut a larger size expecting to simply add a few back darts so the waist would fit appropriately. Unfortunately the fabric is so thick and stiff I can’t get the waistband to lie flat and get all these weird puckers. In order to finish the skirt, I would need to unpick the waist darts and figure out how to get the waistband to fit properly. The skirt also needs to be hemmed.

Embossed Ginger

In House Patterns Blossom in Amy Butler sketchbook voile. This blouse has only been in my UFO pile since early spring but the fabric is so lovely it is a shame to have it languish. There are a couple of issues with getting this one finished. First the back neckline gapes so somehow I need to find a way to “tighten” it up without removing fabric from the shoulder area. I also didn’t have enough fabric to grade up the sleeves as the pattern is written so I opted for a tulip style instead. I got the first side on correctly but struggled with the other sleeve so much I put the whole blouse away and never came back to it.

In House Blossom

Colette Hawthorn in minty green eyelet. Not so much a UFO as a hard to get started. I have all of the pieces cut out but can’t seem to wrap my head around how to line and add the facings. The fabric is scalloped along the button edge instead of the hem so any ideas on how to get the facings and lining stitched without losing the scallops would be most appreciated!

Colette Hawthorn

A Little Embroidery and a Lot of Stashbusting

I am a hot/cold type of person, especially when it comes to my hobbies. I will often spend hours obsessing over a newly learned technique, pattern company, or fabric  to the exclusion of all else…until I get burnt out and toss it to the side for the “next new thing”. While this is great for becoming accomplished at a specific skill, this behavior leads to a lot of UFOs and an ever growing stash.
anna maria
This past week has proved to be the best of both worlds. First my recent love of embroidered clothing has resulted in two additional garments. The first is a restyled version of a basic Old Navy v-neck tee. The design is from Anna Maria Horner’s Needleworks Notebook which is a great book for anyone who loves Anna Maria’s style. She offers many different crosstitch, needlepoint, embroidery and crewel designs and I plan to incorporate a few of them into future projects. This was my first time using waste canvas and won’t be my last as it makes the stitches more even and the embroidery easier.
Roza version 2
The second embroidered garment finished this week was another Roza blouse. This Kate and Rose blouse is my new TNT pattern when I want to combine hand stitching with sewing. On this version, I used the Hungarian redwork pattern I found on NeedleNThread along with some fabric my daughter, Caitlin, had given me for my birthday back in May. The fabric is a quilting cotton so the final blouse is more structured and less flowing than the voile version but I still love it!

And if those two weren’t enough, I also finally finished my pink gingham Sorbetto which has been languishing in the UFO pile for months. Nothing much to say about this one except I learned how to do an FBA during construction and added two buttons from the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby for embellishments. Sorbetto is definitely a great stashbusting project!
Gingham Sorbetto
My final item for the past week was a super quick skirt for Caitlin made from a houndstooth fabric that has been in my stash since I first started sewing in 2011! I initially made the mistake of buying a bunch of quilting cotton that really wasn’t the best for apparel sewing but it looks cute on her and helped reduce my stash.

My sewing mojo is in full swing so I am going to take advantage of it. What’s going on in your sewing room these days?

Mid Summer Sewing

While June was filled with a frenzy of Hummingbird and Bombshell sewalongs, July is following a much more relaxed approach. I have cut my pieces for the Colette’s Hawthorn dress but not gotten around to stitching them together yet. Instead I am spending a lot of time reading my favorite sewing blogs and plotting some stashbusting garments. While reading about Tilly’s holiday wardrobe, I fell in love with her “Life’s Too Short” skirt and knew I had to make one for myself. I typically prefer straight skirts as I feel they are more flattering to my pear shaped figure but the red line weave fabric of Tilly’s skirt sold me. Fortunately Tilly was kind enough to mention the fabric specifics in her original post so I was able to find the exact fabric from Jimmy Beans Wool.

Tilly Twin 2

The result is a super comfy gathered skirt that fits wonderfully with my summer wardrobe. I mostly followed Gertie’s gathered skirt tutorial and used exactly two yards of fabric. The seams were serged and I blind hemmed the bottom by hand.

Nicely Finished SeamsI also embellished a plain white t-shirt using a free embroidery pattern from Kata of Kate and Rose. Kata provides a wonderful tutorial for using t-shirt stabilizer which worked beautifully. Since I was working on a white fabric, I simply traced the pattern onto the stabilizer then stitched it directly onto the shirt. I am happy with how the embroidery took a basic t-shirt and “fancied” it up. In fact one of the girls at work said I reminded her of Snow White in my new ensemble!

Embroidery Close Up

Stashbusting Sewalong

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Stashbusting Sewalong

While checking out the wonderful dresses posted in the flickr group of our Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge, I happened upon Cindy’s Cation Designs blog. In addition to being in love with her absolutely beautiful Gatsby dress, I am super excited to see that Cindy is hosting a Stashbusting Sewalong along with Emily from Tumbleweeds in the Wind.

Since the start of Me Made May, I have been not only going through my handmade garments, but also my fabric and pattern stash. I even spent a whole Saturday earlier this month photographing my fabrics and documenting the yardage in the hopes of actually doing something other than collecting!

Though the Stashbusting Sewalong started in January, there are monthly challenges and the ladies are open to having stragglers join. To that end I have pledge to cut my stash in half during 2013 and also only buy notions or linings needed to complete stash fabric garments until I get my stash under 20 pieces of fabric.

Are you working out of your stash or like me, always wanting the newest “thing” at the fabric store?

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