Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A "just in case" skirt.

I'm getting ready for a quick little trip to NYC this weekend. I just wrote that like I do it all the time, but actually I NEVER get to do anything like this. I'm meeting up with a college roommate that I haven't seen in over 10 years. So I'm packing, trying to see how much I can fit in my carry-on because I don't want to waste time or money checking a bag, and I suddenly realize that I could use a skirt, just in case. I'll wear jeans and a cotton top. Then I've packed slacks, a sweater, and a couple more tops in a grey/black palette (plus the necessary undies and pj's). What I wished for was a simple knit skirt that could go with the things I've already packed. I do not want to go shopping again. Black friday did me in, plus the thought of taking kids in the dressing room with me kills that idea.

So I went to the stash. The knit section ;). I found this soft cream colored double knit.

Perfect. I cut two pieces to make a simple tube, serged the sides:

 (I know, my sewing table is piled high right now. Too many projects, never enough space). I had to serge the sides a few times, playing around with how much ease I wanted. But now I have a simple long skirt, "just in case."

 No hem, I just serged the bottom because I didn't want to lose a single inch off the length:

And no real waistband (just elastic serged on) because no one will see that part:

Yay, now I think I have everything for my trip!

Sewing-wise, this was a nice break from the getting-ready-for-Christmas marathon I'm in right now.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where have I been?

I have been so excited for the past six months to finally plan, measure, and pick out tile for a new floor. My husband took a week's vacation and I naively believed that we would get most of it done during that time. Yeah. Well, it has been one month and one day since we started and we are maybe half way done. Maybe. Probably not since each step is taking about 10x longer than I thought it would.

So since I'm not one of those super bloggers who plans and writes for six months in advance... and I very sadly packed away my sewing machine because there was no room for it (it might be driving me into depression to not sew, seriously)... I decided to post some pictures of the floor project.

This is the front rooms right before my lovely mother in law helped me grout them on Friday. We both worked like dogs so now I can stand in these rooms and see a light at the end of the tunnel.

(of course we still need to remove the haze on the tiles, and sand, paint, and reinstall the base boards. blah)

And here's a picture of my almost unusable kitchen. Tools everywhere. This makes me want to go live with my sister in Tallahassee until it's done. But the kids must go to school...

And here's my super husband with his brother who constantly amazes me with his generosity of time and effort. That guy has worked on our floor like it was his own. Here they are leveling the family room. There is now one row of tile in this room. Small victory!

Finally, here's my little hero. Many hands make light work, huh?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New (to me) website...

I should probably just go ahead and take a class on web design since it appears that I am going to keep up with the carolina fair designs website myself. I have never been 100% satisfied with how it looks, and that's probably because I am not a professional at this. And I haven't hired a professional (yet) because first, I have no idea how much that would cost, I'm afraid to ask... and second, I think I'm afraid to lose control over it. So, maybe the look will change every year, who knows. This change came about because I ran across some web design software that had a free trial period and I started playing around, and lo and behold, I like it. So here it is...

Tell me what you think, but don't be too hard on me :). No, be honest. I will put on my thick skin. And head on over to facebook before you buy anything because I sense a coupon coming...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Owl Bib Tutorial in a Slideshow

A month or so I wrote a guest post for my friend Chris' blog, Pickup Some Creativity. It was really fun and a lot of people got a kick out of seeing my bias trim stash:

(this is my trim stash)

At the end of my little shpeel about how much I love bias trim and how easy it is to use (you can read it here), I posted this little tutorial in a slideshow showing how to make an owl baby bib.

I just watched it again and I had not noticed before that picasa was keeping track of the number of views. It is really funny how that number drops by over 90% after the second slide - where you see what notions you need to make the bib. I guess that not everyone has a stash of fabric, wonder-under, and bias trim on hand?

 After you’ve watched the slideshow, you can download the appliqué pattern here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rotary cutters are for calm, unhurried use only.

Okay, so I know most of my readers (at least I think I do...) and I don't think anyone will be too alarmed or grossed out by this post. Most of us have sewing injuries of one kind or another, right?

So the day before yesterday I was trying to cut some material for a leotard strap (another long story, really, I have been doing way more sewing than blogging lately. Do you know how expensive little girls' dancewear is!!!!!). My two oldest are in school again, the baby was taking a nap, and my 3 year old decided to look for a certain junky dollar store toy. It just so happens that I had the day before thrown that toy in the trash (a funny thing happens when I pick up a toy for the 100th time, a little voice in my head says 'if you toss this, you'll never have to pick it up again.' And unfortunately, I listened to that voice this time).

So Connor is looking for his junky toy, I am trying to cut, and I tell him the truth: the garbage men took it, and it is long gone. Scream, slice, fingertip separated from finger. I'm not going to show any gory pics. I think I only took off about 1/4" anyway. Not enough to rush to the hospital or anything. But I did remove some fingernail along with a nice fleshy piece.

Okay, so here's my reaction, which my husband thinks makes me certifyable.  I was mad. No pain really (does that mean I was in shock?). But blood on the fabric. Wasting precious 'nap time' to bandage a stupid injury. And Connor keeps screaming, not because I'm hurt, of course, but because the junky toy is gone.

I was so mad I picked up that piece of my finger tip and threw it on the carpet! When my older kids got home from school they were so fascinated by my story they spent a half an hour crawling around looking for it. No luck, it must have blended in too well.

Right, well, I better go vacuum now. Hopefully my little diva of a model will cooperate soon and I can post pics of the dancewear. I'm actually quite proud of how it turned out.

And I would love to hear about your worst sewing injury. Come on, I'm not the only one, am I?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cadie's Dress gets a new look... (plus a giveaway)

If you haven't read it yet, Project: project is a blog where this super seamstress named Beth sews up all kinds of patterns and evaluates them (she also does some pieces about sewing machines and fabric). I love how she pays close attention to detail and puts real time into her projects. I'm so thrilled that today and tomorrow she will be featuring two of my designs: Cadie's Wrap Around Dress and  the Pretty Pinafore (which I think she paired with some adorable alligator fabric).

And, we're doing a giveaway too. Just post a comment at the end of her posts (today and tomorrow) saying which carolina fair pattern you like best, and you might win it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is why I love sewing.

UPDATE: I finished Chloe's Olivia outfit. You can read about it here.

I know, I just posted a few minutes ago, but now I've been surfing, looking for a certain fabric, and I just had to share this. My daughter Chloe is starting kindergarten this year and she wants me to make her an Olivia outfit. Don't know what I'm talking about? This is Olivia:

I actually like the Olivia stories because even though Olivia is a take-charge kind of girl (um, Chloe), she always treats everyone very nicely. So I've been on the lookout for some red and white striped knit and I think I found it tonight. I already have some soft red corduroy. Won't this be the best? I'm so excited.

What to do with those pesky patterns

Okay, so if you sew using store bought patterns, you have dealt with the issue of what to do with those flimsy pieces of tissue paper afterwards. I hate the way that if you haven't destroyed the pattern already with pins, weights, trying to trace, or whatever, then you destroy it trying to put it back in the envelope. Heck, even if you don't even use the pattern, if you just unfold the tissue to get a look at how many pieces you will be cutting out, it can be near impossible to get it to fold all nicely again. I used to just figure if I really liked a pattern I'd wait until it went on sale and get another one.

That's what I thought before I borrowed a pattern from my sister last year. First of all, I was amazed that she had sewn from this pattern twice, and was still offering it to me to sew with. Thank you, thank you, thank you Itsy (yeah, she's the baby girl still, even with her own babies) for this trick.

Just take a piece of  8 1/2 x 11 cardstock and fold it in half.

Then fold and lay all of those pesky pattern pieces inside.

And slip in in the envelope...


I've always believed that the simplest solutions are the best. Downloadable patterns that you print at home aren't such a dilemma because if you lose or ruin one you can always just print it again, but I like to save them too if I can. As long as I'm on the topic I might as well show you my system for them too, I simply put the pieces in a file folder,

label it,

and stick it in my filing cabinet.

I love to peek at how other people organize things. It never really makes me more organized, but it feels good to see that we all have to try a little.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to carolina fair designs... with a new tutorial for you!

I almost didn't even notice it, but carolina fair designs is one year old! It was this month last year that I listed my first pattern for sale on etsy. So to celebrate let's all make a "Mom is not a messenger" bag! I made this bag because I wanted a messenger style purse/diaperbag, but I hate the thought of being a messenger. A mom's job is much more important (and much harder!) than a messenger's. Here's the tutorial in a picture format so you can preview it, and then you can download the pdf by clicking here. Have fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

See me at Pickup Some Creativity Today!

Be sure you check out my friend Chris' blog today. She let me write a guest post for her Sewing 101 series. There's been a whole bunch of good stuff already, so a felt a lot of pressure! I decided to write on the many uses of bias trim because it's one of my favorite things. I even posted a picture of my huge stash of it!

Friday, July 9, 2010


This post is about sewing, but not about my own. Last Sunday  I dressed my littlest in this cute little red, white, and blue dress (okay, the blue is in the lining, you'll see it in a minute):

Isn't it adorable? I really like it. And she looked so appropriately cute for the 4th. But then later, when I was holding her, I started noticing things about this dress. Things that probably wouldn't have bothered me except that this dress is supposedly a nice brand. I won't name any names, but I will point out this:

Wouldn't you expect good quality from this brand? This is what I saw:

and puckering on one armhole:

and the other:

The seam coming out beneath the zipper would be an easy fix, I guess. I could fix that with just a needle and thread. But why wasn't it reinforced to begin with? And the puckering, well, I know that making a lining look perfect can be tricky, but isn't that why we pay more for quality clothing?

So this is what I want to tell everybody: don't be afraid to sew your own clothes!!!!! If you mess up, you aren't alone. Even the best do. And from what I can see, if you practice a bit, you can sew clothes that are just as well constructed (if not better) than the ones you would buy. Enough said.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Serger practice and more (even twilight shirts!)

So I have still been sewing, nearly every day. Just not taking pictures of everything and not blogging, unfortunately.

So here's a quick recap of my sewing life lately...

About a week and a half ago I found a killer deal on a serger on craigslist. Actually it wasn't a killer deal until I emailed the guy and offered him what I had in cash (it wasn't much). To my HUGE surprise he emailed me right back and said if I came that night he would sell it to me for that ridiculously low price. So of course as soon as my husband got home from work I was out the door and driving over to get it.

I have never had a serger before, so for a week I was testing, reading the manual, testing, reading library books, testing, frustrating a bit, calling the help line (no help from the people in India there), and figuring it out on my own.

My first real project was to make my kids crayon rolls. I'm sure you've seen the tutorials before. This is the best one I've found, so I used it as a start. Of course my daughter asked for a special alteration because she knows I can do that. She wanted velcro instead of a ribbon closure. That this princess would want velcro instead of ribbon was a big surprise, but I worked it out. I added an inch to one end to make room for the velcro strip, and then sewed the other strip on the back.

It was a little annoying to find that the crayons marked up the fabric as the kids took them in and out, but oh well. That's not my fault and I'm sure they're washable. Actually, one crayon roll somehow made it into the bathtub the other night and it survived. I was pleased to see that the kids really appreciate something I made.
(I know all that serging all over the edges is a bit tacky, but this was MY serger practice and the fact that the kids got something is a bonus, right?)

What else... oh, I've been working on and off on a pdf pattern for that little ruffle skirt that I made last month. Here's one I made for Cadie...

I cut the elastic a little too tight for her chubby waist but she loves it. Now she won't have to pull Chloe's out of the laundry anymore and carry it around.

And here's another one for Chloe. I shortened the yoke on the girls's sizes after this, by the way. Now it looks more like the original.

And my friend Ann who has her own store, Ribbons and Bows by Ann has been posting all kinds of pictures on my facebook page of the things she has been doing with the Pretty Pinafore pattern.

She is so talented! I love the little bows at the shoulders. And the matching long bloomers.

When I asked about making it reversible she said,

"I wanted to use gingham fabric but it is very sheer so I added a lining of white broadcloth. There is no right or wrong side to the gingham. So just sew the two pieces together. I left a small opening on one of the back straps that criss-cross. Use that opening to turn you fabric right side out. Just sew the hole closed and sew the shoulder straps together as the pattern says."

Okay. Thanks for sharing Ann!

Oh, and how could I forget the Twilight t-shirts that I made for my husband and I to wear to the midnight showing of Eclipse? (yes, I made him go. and he really didn't want to wear the shirt either but I was very persuasive)

I know, this is a really bad photo taken in the dark hallway of the theatre. And I had to hide my husband's identity. He couldn't believe he left the house in a team jacob t-shirt.

This was reverse appliqué done with letters that I printed up in fancy fonts, and an old red t-shirt that I cut up and pinned underneath. I followed this tutorial more or less. At the last minute, I used this free tutorial to make a matching little shrug. So much selfish sewing!

Back to the grind now. Watch for my new Little Ruffle Skirt pdf pattern soon!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Connor's quilt is finally finished

 Hey, big thank you to everyone who participated in my little survey last month. A bunch of people made their opinion known regarding what color bias tape I should use to finish this quilt.

For a while I wondered why people thought I had time to make new tape in different colors when I already had a few packages of black? Okay, so I do love making bias tape. So much that I even made a tutorial about it. But in this instance, I guess I was either lazy or going crazy with end of school year madness. Whatever happened, it is a good thing that people also voted that I should get to choose the color of bias trim. Cause I chose to use my packages of black that I already had. And I think it looks great. The black goes better on the back than the front, but oh well.

Connor LOVES his quilt. Especially the soft flannel race car side (yard sale find, yay!).

And that's all that really matters to me. That and the fact that it's done and I can move on to another big project. hmmmm. what will that be?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chloe's little ruffle skirt

Long time no blog, I know! I had underestimated how hard it would be to keep sewing with the kids out of school. Granted, last year I only had one in school all day and one in pre-k (half-day), but that seemed to give me so much more time. And energy. Nowadays I just want to go to bed when the kids do.

But I really wanted to sew Chloe some cute clothes for when she starts kindergarten in August. That's right, my baby girl is starting kindergarten. I can hardly believe it. And, of course, I want her to look smashing.

All of the cute things I was watching on skirt week over at crafterhours inspired me to sew along. This is my first time to try this sort of thing. I really liked it. It's like we're all at some big sewing bee, kind of.

Anyway, this is some fabric I've used before and I love. It's called Kaffe Fassett Clover Red by Westminster Fibers. I got it from fabric.com, but they're all out. As of this posting, you could still find some on etsy and ebay. The little ruffle I made from one of my t-shirts that I cut up. Yeah, I know, but it was just the right color.

Then I finished it with a little ric-rac bow so she would know which side was the front.

And this picture shows what it's really like to photograph a 5 year old. Attitude.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...