Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

Hey y’all!

I wanted to check in to let you know that so far…I’m winning… mostly.

If you read this post, you’re aware that I’ve given myself a little challenge to use the patterns currently in my stash. (or should I say STASHES!) Also, I’m trying my darndest to use fabric I already own as well. Hence the title “Sew What You Got Challenge.”

For tonight, I thought I’d let you know that I’m having a blast. In the last 4 days, I’ve sewn TWO dresses. YIKES!!! I’m so happy!

Here’s some details for the first.



I started with the stash above. And I grabbed this pattern below because it was on top.



Here’s what I ended up with! I love it! 

To keep it from being a little too crazy – I added the fun HUGE rick rack to the side seam. I’m thinking it was a good call. 

If you’re interested in a pattern review, just keep on a-readin’.

McCalls 6695:

I love having this dress but I will most likely never make this dress again. It is marked “easy” on the pattern front, but in my opinion that’s misleading. For someone like me whose been sewing a loooong time, it wasn’t what I’d call hard… but it was very time consuming. I do think a novice sewer would be frustrated with a few of the steps. I think they could’ve tweaked the design in a couple of places to make it much simpler and actually have better results.


Tomorrow… Challenge Dress #2…FOR SALE! Here’s a sneak peak:



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We just returned from our spring break trip to the Ozark Mountains. It was awesome. Mostly….

What wasn’t awesome was returning to a home filled with the sights and smells of a dwelling used for band after-parties! Yep. That was us. Each year we rent our house out for spring break because it’s also known as SXSW around here in Austin, Tx. People come from all over the world to hear music on literally every street corner. We make a lot of money renting our home, and the crews get a nice place to relax while enjoying our fair city.

Every time has been awesome… this time… not so much! The smell of cigarette smoke is every where, and I found a cigarette butt underneath my daughter’s bed. UGH!!! AND, as it turns out, Airbnb.com no longer collects the security deposits they claim to collect. Yep. So, here we are forced to figure out how to rid our carpets, curtains, sofas and so forth of the cigarette residue on our own…

If you’re feeling stressed, so AM I! So stressed in fact… that the only logical thing to do in this situation is… think, Think, THINK…


In all of my frustration yesterday, I had the BEST Realization… I’M A PATTERN HOARDER! And I should do something about all those patterns I own!



Somewhere along the way, I let my FABRIC hoarding overflow into PATTERN hoarding, too! Probably around the time my second child was born. I think I decided that if I own the pattern then that’s practically owning the dress…makes sense, right!

Anyway..I’m challenging myself to do something about/with all these patterns. It may sound crazy, but I think I’ll try SEWING with them!

Looking around my sewing room, in the drawers and little nooks and crannies, I chose a stack of patterns.



They were camouflaged as a lamp, I’m sure you would have never noticed them! 

I chose this stack of patterns and came up with this challenge for myself:


Here are the rules:

1. Choose a stack of patterns but DO NOT sort through or look at them prior to choosing them.

2. Start with the pattern on top and sew through the stack on pattern at a time.

3. If at all possible, use the fabric you already have. (Goodness knows I’ve got plenty…or do I?)

4. It’s acceptable to buy notions.

5. It’s acceptable to purchase fabric or other supplies when necessary to make the garment what you like..but do NOT go crazy…her hee.

6. If you come across the same pattern more than once, I do not have to resew it…unless I choose to!

Wanna join me???

Here’s my first project:


Stack #1. EEEEK!! I see some little baby feet in there…. I wonder what’s ahead for me!!!


This pattern was on top of the stack and I am SOOOOOOO happy!


Here’s the fabric I chose- by Amy Butler…I love it! I’m taking a bit of a risk because the pattern is created for lace which has a significantly different drape… but this girlie girl is okay with fluffy dresses, so fingers crossed!

Okay y’all… I’d love for some of you to join me!

I’ll be posting other things as well, but be on the lookout for the finished products/pattern reviews/etc that coincide with this personal challenge…

Here’s to making room in my storage drawers for MORE PATTERNS!!!…….AND FABRIC!!!!


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Happy Monday y’all!!!

Some of you may have noticed that my Etsy shop is looking more like a poor pitiful shop than an actual clothing store.  OH WELL!!!  I’m having such a great time getting my house in order that I don’t even miss creating new dresses…yet.

This weekend, I began the process of transforming my son’s room into something noteworthy.  In our last home, we kept adding kids so the rooms never quite became anything worth anything.  A quote from the first realtor to visit our old home and tour the kids’ room:  “Oh my.  Hmmmm.  This will have to change.”

Well – I am now determined for that to change!!!  Owen’s room is slated to have matching bedding, a curtained reading nook, curtains for his closet, and actually worthwhile things on his walls. (not that last time he had mis-matched girlie things on his wall, right!?  cough cough)


Above is what I finished this weekend…. AAAAAHHH… it was SO fun!!  My son is only 7 years old so I wasn’t expecting much of a reaction to something as useless to him as fabric on his bed.  WRONG!!!  I was downstairs when he first saw it… I heard something that sounded like Super Bowl screaming coming from his room.  Then I heard, “MOOOOOM!!!  This is the Best Day Ever!!”  Be.  Still.  My.  Heart!  SEW worth it, right!?!

This has brought me such joy, I thought I’d spend the next few blog posts sharing with you how I upped the wow factor in his room.  I’ll share tutorials on easy pillowcases, easy coverlets, and easy fabric curtain panels.  I’m hoping that some of you will find these helpful!

Let’s start with the pillowcase… mostly because it’s fewer photos and that’s all I had time to download today.  (Apparently, the kids’ school thinks they need to be wearing “official” uniforms and not chevron fabric, so laundry has to be done.  UGH!)


If you google “how to make a pillow case”, you’re gonna find all kinds of crazy patterns that take about 14 or 15 steps. Seriously!?! It’s a pillow case. It’s gonna get drool and vomit on it. Why spend a whole day making one!!! Here’s I do it: Grab a pillow case that you already own. lay it on top of the fabric that you want to use. You can see here that my fabric is narrower than the pillowcase I’m using for my pattern, but it’s okay. It’s okay because it’s close enough. If it were much narrower, I probably wouldn’t use it, but since it’s close – bam. I’m using that baby! (also worth noting: I’m able to keep the selvege edges as they are. There is no need to hem them on this fabric. If you need to hem up the opening edges, you’ll need a little bit more fabric than I’m using.)


Be sure you match the folded edges together and the open edges together.


Then cut out your fabric just a bit larger on the sides than your pillowcase pattern. We’re going to do a French Seam, so you’ll want to cut your fabric about 1/4″ or so bigger than you usually would … but just eyeball it. Pillowcases are very forgiving!


A french seam is a seam that enclosed – meaning you can’t see the edges on the inside. It will make sense in a minute. I like to use this seam on pillowcases because they get a lot of laundering. The French Seams keep the inside of the cases nice and tidy. To do it – sew up the sides of the pillow case WRONG SIDE TOGETHER, I know, weird, and use a very narrow seam allowance.


Now, turn your pillow case inside out and press those sides.


Now you will do another seam down the sides. Be sure that your seam allowance it enough to fully encase the seam on the inside. If you do too small of a seam allowance, you’ll have fabric sticking out when you turn it back right side out. Now you have a French Seam Pillow Case.


Since I’m not hemming the selvedge edges (aka: leaving the opening unhemmed), I needed to be sure to reverse stitch my seams extra well and clip those tails very well.


This is kind of a whompy photo – but I wanted to show the inside so you can see the french seam. (at this point, I’m wondering why sometimes I capitalize French Seam and sometimes I don’t. Are you wondering that too?) Anyway, you can see the enclosed french seam on the right.


When you turn it right side out and press the side seams – Here’s what you get!!! I love it. It was super fast … that makes me so happy!


Coming next – how to make that easy coverlet! And I do mean easy!

There you have it y’all… how to make a very fast and easy pillow case!


Time: I think this took me 15 minutes…and that was with taking pictures.  You CAN DO THIS!!!

Cost: pretty darn cheap.  I used leftover fabric from the coverlet … but lets’ see… I think I used about 1/2 yard of fabric, so for me – $3.50.  YAAAAAAY!

I hope you’ll make a million of these.  Be sure to invite someone over to spend the night just so you can offer them a brand spanking new pillowcase!

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I can’t even believe this is true – but it’s December 2nd, and my Christmas tree has yet to be put up.  Gasp!!!!  Not only that, but I have not put out a single Christmas decoration yet.  Moan.  Insert frowning emoticon here.

HOWEVER, I have managed to begin the process of sewing Christmas “things” (aka. clothing!) for my kids.  Sometime this weekend I’ll show pictures of the kids’ family photo outfits … but for tonight, I wanted to show you my most recent project for Rosamund.  A Baby SMOCK!  Yes, it’s what you’re picturing in your head.  A sort of apron-like top…sort of a like a pinafore.  I found a pattern.  I used it.  I love it.  I will make more!

I started with View C of Butterick 5625.

You have to use your imagination when choosing these patterns because their photos/renderings are often quite hideous outdated.  I knew I would be using a Christmas plaid for the outer fabric, and I decided to use a polka dot for the lining to keep the vintagey feel to the piece.

Here is how my (first) version ended up.

You can see the polka dots peeking through in the back.

I also chose to add rick rack to the back section only. I will pretend that this was on purpose because I am very happy with the outcome. (The truth is that I ran out and didn't have enough for the front. Some mistakes are well worth making!)

I am just all smiles looking at this - Gosh - I hope I'm not becoming a stage mom!

I followed the pattern almost exactly as written...EXCEPT, I added this cute little yoyo pocket - be sure to apply BEFORE sewing the two sides together...

..and I added the rick rick. As with the pocket, be sure to add the rick rack to one side first, then sew the two sides together along the rick rack stitching line.

This project really is very simple – especially if you leave off any embellishments.  I can even see a bazillion options for boys as well.

Time: I’d say anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending upon what embellishments you add.

Cost: $6.50….Pattern-$1.  Fabric – 2 fabrics, about 1/4 yard each so approximately $2.50 for fabric, $1 for buttons, $2 for rick rack.

I hope you’ll send me photos of what YOU come up with!!!

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Rosamund has just the sweetest, simplest little pink dress that was a hand-me-down from my aunt’s grandbaby.  It really is super simple, but I just LOVE the way it fits Rosamund….so I decided I want more just like this one.  Rather than rummage through pattern books (knowing full well that I’ve got something in my pattern hoard stash), I decided it would be faster to just copy the dress itself.  So I did.  And I love it.  She wore it to her Baby Dedication at church last Sunday.

Since I like it and I like the process, I kind of think you might too…so here is a tutorial on how to do it.  It is easy breezy because I used a dress that is simple.  Note two things – 1. it would not be as easy if the dress I was copying was not as simple, and 2. I’m copying a baby dress but it works exactly the same with a “grown up” dress!

Here's what I'm talking about ... started with the dress on the left, copied it, made another one!

So to get started, pick your dress.  Duh.

Fold your fabric and fold the dress - both down the center. I should note that for this dress, both the front and back were almost identical, so I was able to cut them out almost identically. You'll see the only difference in a little bit. (You'll need to do this step separately for the front and back if your sides are different.)

You can see if positioned the fold of the dress about 3 inches away from the fold of the fabric. This is so that my dress will be gathered at the bodice. You can see the gathering on the pink so i want that on the green, too. Also, you'll see that as I cut the curve of the skirt I created a seam allowance.

In addition to making sure to create a seam allowance, I cut the new pattern quite a bit longer than the original so that it's a dress and not a tunic. I totally guessed on this measurement - feel free to measure your little munchkin if you're into that sort of thing. Be sure to cut 2 of these skirt sections.

Now that you have your front and back skirts, it's time to make the front and back bodice sections. Lay out a double layer of your fabric, and cut around the dress - again leaving a seam allowance. For the curved portion, I just carefully tucked my scissors in between the dress and the fabric and sort of guessed where the curve is. It's much easier and much more accurate than you'd think.

Here is where you have to make the change for the front and back. The front section of the bodice needs to come down lower to get over the head. So, I just cut it down lower. I didn't trace the dress or anything, I just guessed ... as long as you cut carefully, this will work out nicely. The left photo shows 2 identical sections, the Right photo shows how I cut the front section.

Disclaimer … Warning… Whatever you want to call it.  I did make a mistake here.  The dress I copied is made out of stretch knit fabric.  I cut my new dress from quilting cotton.  What’s the big deal??  Well…this dress, if made just like the original will not fit over her head because there is no stretch to the new dress.  I should have caught this and extended the shoulder sections about an inch at the top to accommodate snaps or buttons.  I was still able to do that, but the dress won’t fit her very long because it’s tight at the arms.  Anyway, let’s move on!

Run a basting or a gathering stitch along the top of both skirt sections. Pull to make the gathers.

With right sides together, attach the skirt to the bodice. Repeat this for the other skirt and bodice pieces.

Press your seams, and you'll end up with 2 sections like this...by now it's getting exciting!

Sew your side seams.

You're going to attach bias tape all the way around the top of the bodice sections including the shoulder sections. To make this easier, I suggest curving the shoulder straps. Bias tape works gorgeously around curves!

Cut a long strip of bias tape (or use purchased bias tape). I suggest beginning at an underarm seam, but it's your dress. Start wherever you want. I'm not that bossy!

You can attach bias tape from the front first or the back first. I wanted my tape to be a design element, so I first sewed it to the wrong side, pressed it to the front, then sewed it down with a topstich. Here you see how I used my tailor's ham to help the pressing process. I don't have a photo, but once I finished pressing, using about a 4.5 stitch length, I sewed along the edge of the bias tape to attach it to the front of the dress.

Then I attached snaps to the shoulders and hemmed the dress. Almost done! Hollah!

I felt the dress was lacking a little something schnazzy, so I added a little yoyo. Love it!

And of course I added a matching headband!

And then I put a baby inside! It was IMPOSSIBLE to get a non-blurry photo of this little darling of mine, but hey - you can still tell the dress turned out! Look at the armholes - you can tell that I got lucky that my oversight turned out okay. Those armholes are tight, but perfect for about a month! Okay, maybe 2 weeks!

Truthfully, this is not a project for novice … unless you’re okay taking it slow and/or making a few mistakes.  I would say this is really more along the lines of an intermediate project…as much as I HATE saying that!  It’s still cheap though, so give me some props!

Here’s the breakdown:

Time: realistically, about an hour, depending upon how comfortable you are with bias tape.  Some of you will need 2 hours for this dress if you need to take your time cutting and applying the bias tape.

Cost: I calculated right at 1/2 yard of fabric for the whole dress, so you’re looking at about $5!!!

Go ahead y’all…sew yourself up something that you already have!!!  I dare you!!!

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Well, I didn’t exactly get these 3 days of tutorials posted in 3 consecutive days…but I have managed to make good on my promise – whew!

So far, we’ve learned how to make a Ridiculously Easy headband using just a strip of fabric and as strip of elastic.  Then, we learned how to make that same type of headband only now it’s reversible and/or we added rick rack to the sides.

Today, we will make a headband with more shape to it by creating a pattern for your own head!  oh yeah!  Additionally, for this headband, the elastic will be encased in fabric.  This one has more panache than the others – but that doesn’t mean that any one type is better – just different.  They’re all winners just for being headbands!


This is the idea – you’ll see the actual headband has some shape to it and you can’t see the elastic!

Okay, let’s get started with the picture tutorial!

Before doing anything to change the width or the length, fold the strip lengthwise.


Start by measuring the crown of your head from just behind your ear, up over the top, all the way to the same point on the other ear. I use a string/rick rack.

Measure that length with measuring tape. (You can use measuring tape from the beginning, but I felt more confident using something made of fabric since my headband will be made of fabric)

Cut a strip of fabric 1" longer than the length you measured. For the width, just make it wide! You're going to begin the trial-and-error part of creating your pattern. You want to cut it too big so that you can cut it down to size. If you start too small, you just have to start all over again.

You should end up with something like this!

Now, go in front of a mirror and "try it on" for size. You're checking for both the length and width that you prefer. For mine, I made a mental note that I wanted it narrower, but I liked the length. (I'm just holding it with my hands behind my ears)

before doing anything about the width or length, fold the strip in half as shown - bringing the short ends together.

Now fold the strip, lengthwise, bringing the long ends together. This way, when you go to make changes to the shape and size, both sides will be mirror images.

Now you can create your desired shape...cut along the unfolded edge! You can see that I started narrow and then made it wider at the upper center. When I unfold the strip, you'll see that it's the same left and right and top and bottom.


Here's where you are making a pattern so that you can make more of these without having to go through all the trial and error. Just grab a sheet of scrap paper. Fold the headband strip in half so that you'll create your pattern from just half the band. See the next photo!

YOu can see I've created "half" a headband for my pattern and have indicated along the foldline to "cut on the fold" just like a commercial pattern would do. Now you can go ahead and cut one more headband strip so that you'll have 2 identical pieces. Set your pattern paper aside. (Once you're finished, if you need to make changes, you can mark them on the pattern paper)

Now we move on to the elastic casing. This time, measure underneath your hairline from ear to ear.

Now cut a strip for the elastic using that measurement plus 1" for seam allowances. Again, i just guessed on the width - keeping in mind that you'll fold this in half and will also need a seam allowance. It will still be pretty narrow unless you want to use crazy wide elastic!

Using another piece of scrap paper, cut out the elastic casing strip for a pattern just like you did for the headband. (After you've finished your headband, you can make changes to this if it need to be longer, wider, shorter, etc)

Now, let's get sewing! Put your paper pattern aside. Here is what you will be working with - 2 identical headband strips and 1 elastic strip.

Place your headband pieces right sides together. I've drawn the sewing lines on the fabric to make it easier for you see where to leave the opening. When you create your headband, you don't have to draw these lines! You can see there's a hole at the top, and the ends are left free as well.

Sew all the seams as indicated. Leave the necessary opening on the headband. For the elastic casing, fold right sides together and sew together lengthwise leaving the ends free.

trim the seams of your casing and turn right side out.

press your seams!

cut your elastic...of course, I guess on this meaurement!

Insert elastic into the casing strip

sew elastic to the edges using a tight zig zag stitch. (sorry for the shadow!)

Grab one end of the elastic casing with a long safety pin...

Pull the elastic casing through the hole in the headband, until it barely extends past one of the open ends.

Using a zigzag stitch, sew the casing to the edge of the headband side like shown.

reach inside and grab the other end of the casing. Put the safety pin thru it to guide to to the other end of the headband on the inside. Let it just peek out, and sew closed with a zig zag stitch. The headband will crinkle up like shown.

Now look inside the opening and grab the elastic casing. As you pull it out, it will pull the rest of the headband to the right side. This is just like turning a pillow cover right side out.

You can see the start of the casing coming out here...just pull it on out!

Here it is all turned out - SO EXCITING, HUH!?! - Now you have to press your seams. As you do this, you tuck the seam allowance of the opening to the inside, so that when you topstitch over it, it seals up!

Notice the seams are encased on the inside! GORGEOUS!!!! I'm salivating.

Oh the difference a hot iron makes! I'm a sucker for a nicely pressed seam!

Add your topstiching, then try it on for size! (If you don't like topstitching, you can hand sew the opening closed. If you've figured me out at all, you know there's no way I'm doing it by hand!) Also, this is the moment of truth for your sizing. The headband may or may not fit depending upon how accurately you were able to take your measurements, allow for seam allowances, etc. For mine, I was able to get it on, but I felt like it needed to be a tad looser. So, I went to my pattern and made an adjustment...

Notice on the right, I added a note to myself to increase the length of the casing strip by 1/2". Now I'm DONE! Now I have a pattern to make this whole process so much faster next time!

Of course, I couldn't stop there...I made another using all the tricks - reversible with rick rack!

….remember the first one you make is a Trial-and-Error one, so don’t use your prized scraps.  Isn’t that a funny term “prized scraps”?!?  Only true fabric hoarders know what that means!

Cost: FREE – you’re using scraps!

Time: First one – about 30/45 minutes.

Second one – about 10 minutes!

*************** AND NOW FOR A GIVEAWAY!!! ****************

I left out a small step.  If you can identify it, I’ll send you a headband!  (first 3 people to find it will win!)


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