Monthly Archives

September 2013

The no good very bad (sewing) day

Some days you got it.  And some days…you don’t.  I tried to just whip up another Debbie’s Birthday Dress (DBD) last week thinking, ‘I got this…’   Except I totally didn’t.

This is no fault of the dress pattern, mind you.  The pattern is a breeze.  Such a breeze that sewing up one before made me a tad cocky.

So, this is the dress that almost won.  Not as in almost won a blue ribbon…more as almost beat me into submission.


If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post a picture of some cute fabric awhile back. (Actually, if you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen this dress already!)  I bought the fabric at this huge antique show this summer, and loved the detailing along the bottom of the fabric.  So sweet.  It seemed like ‘let’s go pick apples’ kind of dress.  So I decided to use the DBD as my pattern, except I was going to forego the seem up the center because I didn’t want to match up the stripes of birds at the bottom.  This is fine, except that seam in the back is all part of the plan of the lining and closure and yadda yadda yadda, I made the dress and couldn’t flip it right side out because the back bodice is not split.  In other words, I needed to use this method.  Oops.

PicMonkey Collage

But the mistakes started way before that, including subtracting too much seam allowance when tracing the pattern to be cut out into one piece, not two and sewing the dress in such a fashion that I sewed the bodice to the lining instead of sewing up bodice to back of dress and lining front to lining back.  If you sew, you understand this.  If you don’t, let’s just say you can’t do it that way.

I seam ripped the entire thing apart probably 5 times all said and done.  I would be okay with this if I did it one night over a glass bottle of red, but I didn’t.  I wasn’t even rushing.  I was just screwing up every time I sat at the machine.  I lost my mojo.

I came very (very) close to chucking this fabric in the garbage and starting over.  But I couldn’t.  I loved those little birds.  Well, I loved them in-between hating them anyway.  Also–Lily has very few clothes these days.


So…I finished it.  It’s a good from far/far from good kind of garment, but when you put it on a freshly-recovered-from-the-5-day-stomach-bug toddler, it’s allll good.

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Have you ever felt like your project was giving you a sewing smackdown?  How do you get your sewing mojo back?


What I wore all summer…

I sewed a couple  items for myself this summer, although I never wound up sharing them because the idea of self-photo shoots is about as fun as a trip to the dentist.  My husband surprised me with a tripod and remote shutter, though, so I figured I’d at least try it out again.  I used the same backdrop I shoot with the kids, but I need to find a bigger wall, hence the cut off head.    Although, the shoots may be a little less daunting if I always just chop off my awkward, smiling at no-one poses.

So this is the first item of the two that I managed to put together before the crazy summer non-schedule took over…  It is the same pattern that I used to make this first dress.  It makes a fantastic maxi, and I meant to make one more with a non-racer back top.  But, alas, that did not happen.  I wore this thing all summer…at the beach, on the boat, out to dinner…  It is just so comfortable, kind of like wearing pajamas all day.  It’s loose and flowing, and eventually I’ll see if I can use a woven fabric for this, too.




I sewed it so long ago, I don’t remember the details, but it does sew up pretty quick!  I recommend this pattern for anyone looking to start sewing for themselves, and especially new to sewing knits.  The edges curled a bit, and I decided to forgo hemming it, because it really just isn’t that noticeable.  And it’s a lot of hem.  I do want to try some hem tape for knits, though, does anyone else use that?  What is your favorite (easy/lazy) way to hem knit fabric?

Current sewing is going slowly.  I have seem ripped this little dress I’m working on about 4 times, and I just tried to use a new method for all-in-one facings and I definitely screwed something up there so I need to seam rip again.  The problem is, I’m pretty spacially-impaired so I don’t even know I’ve done things wrong until I try to flip the garment right-side-out and it doesn’t work.  Then I have to spend 20 minutes making sure it really doesn’t work and it’s not just me doing it wrong.  Spacial judgement is just not my strong suit.  I get lost everywhere, I always think my husband is going to hit other cars in parking lots, and I do a lot of unnecessary 3-point-turns.  Sigh…

So thank you sewing-tutorial-ladies and picture-laden PDF makers of the internet.  Without you, I would not be sewing :)



The Play Dress

After I sewed the mixed up dress from last week, that I assumed was a big fail (until it surprisingly wasn’t), I immediately needed to sew something else.  Again, I was just going to sew the flashback t, but I couldn’t just do that.  I rarely sew the same thing twice, I’m not sure why.  I always do something a little different, and I usually immediately regret it.  Over the long-haul, I’m glad, because I learn, but this process inevitably leaves me muttering under my breath as I seam rip, rip, rip away.

This one wasn’t so bad, however!  I just wanted a little every-day dress that she could wear now with bare legs and through the winter with leggings.  This one was quite simple…I laid out the fabric with the flashback t pattern, and then laid down a dress on top of that.  I followed the shape of the dress (adding a bit for seam allowance) and followed the flare of the curve.  I also did little pretend sleeves.  They aren’t separately sewed on, I just drew little cap sleeves out from the pattern.  Easy enough!  This sewed up in a snap.

Then I sewed up the sides, hemmed the sleeves with a little zigzag, and finished the collar.  For the little finishing touch, I added a wee little pocket, although the placement is a little wonky.  I’d say I’ll fix it later, but let’s be honest about that…it’s never gonna happen.

So here’s the little girl in her new dress, happily posing for a few bribes.  (Meghan, your bracelet was one of them!  She loves it :)

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I’m trying to use up some of the bins of fabrics I have laying around.  This polka dot stuff I bought last year for this dress at JoAnn’s.  Since I didn’t know how to estimate fabric then, I bought a TON of it.  Oops.

I really should pick out the fabrics I like for this little one, before she gets all opinionated on me.  How do you handle the fabric selection?  What you like or what the kids like?  Are your kids easy to convince, or do they have a definite sense of style?  Just wondering…


I go out walking…

For the Spring and half of the summer, I walked every day.  Pretty much.  There was a rare day here or there, but I made it part of my routine.  A friend of mine and I wanted to walk every day, which sounds easier than it is.  Between family schedules, toddlers, nursing babes, and 40 minutes round trip, the time just wasn’t there.  So, we said: 30 days.  We’ll both walk every day for 30 days.  I even instagramed a few (#30daysofwalking) because it’s #notofficialuntilit’shashtagged).

The first week was the hardest, the second week was the second-hardest.  I walked one day in sleety rain, decked out in lightweight ski pants and a parka.  I was frozen when I came back in, but it felt SO GOOD!   Then it just became second nature, until it slowly faded out of my life.  I’m bringing it back for the fall, though, while it’s not freezing and snowing and dark at 4:30.

On these little walks I mainly enjoyed three things:  solitude, nerdy podcasts, and watching the wildflowers bloom.  I took photos of them, unable to resist their cast-off beauty.  The hardy flowers called weeds and relegated to roadside ditches.

I love them.

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Flashback + Tinny = Fail + Win

I have been jonesing to sew over the last couple of weeks, so I sat down this week to use up some fabric and make some clothes for the kids.  My sewing space is a wreck, and that didn’t help this process very much.  Also, I think I forgot how to sew…

Okay, not really, but man, how many times can you sew a sleeve on wrong?  Apparently three.  Three times!  Right sides together, how hard is that!???

But I digress…  I decided to do a little something different with ye olde flashback skinny t.  One of my first ‘figure it out’ projects was this flashback t-turned-dress last fall.  I apparently knew what I was doing better back then than I do now, because the dress I made for my two-year-old wound up mysteriously humongous.  Luckily, I knew I had a 6-year-old running around here somewhere that it would probably fit.  And, unlike every intentional outfit I’ve ever made the girl, she decided to up in where this to school the very next day.  Well, then…

I took the flashback skinny t, and after sewing the neckband the wrong way (with the stretch going on the wrong direction) I just did a narrow hem instead.  It makes a pretty little boat-neck-type finish that was a happy surprise.   Although that method would make the neck too big if I had made the t-shirt in her actual size.  But on a 2T pattern for a 6-year-old, it looked pretty cute!  Then I wanted to make the shirt into a dress, so I added a skirt.  A circle skirt!  I actually used the 18-month-pattern from the Tinny pattern.  Since I was using knit, I knew it didn’t have to match up perfectly, and so I just kind of matched things up with the two patterns.  I think pattern mixing is going to be a fun endeavor (so I shoulddefinitely  buy more patterns, right??)  I should have tried it on to see where my daughter’s waist would be with the shirt on, but the model was napping, and I was feeling antsy.  Feeling antsy in sewing almost always backfires, but I still have not learned…

…especially when it all works out in the end!  This isn’t my favorite sewing project I’ve ever completed, but something tells me it will be worn more than anything else I’ve sewn her.  Something tells me the knit fabric helps.  Kids like to feel like they are in jammies all day.  (So do I for that matter…)

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That smile… it’s a win!

August Moments

August was a little busier than July (is that possible?)  The novelty of summer vacation ended by August 1st, and the kids needed a little more direction for playing and general well-being.  And by well-being I mean, how to occupy the same space without screaming/crying/whining/hitting/spitting/biting and other generalized antagonistic behaviors.  Some days they are more animal than human child.

My youngest, in particular, is quite canine.  Here is an exchange from last month.

Me to my husband after hearing him use some dog-like verb age (sit?  stay?) to our youngest:  “She’s not a dog, you know.”

The child, right after the words came out of my mouth:  Licks her Dad’s empty plate, then rummages through the garbage can.

My husband:  “I beg to differ.”

I have mixed feelings about the start of school, but what it will mean is actual time to sew!  Without neglecting anybody.  I never did manage to do the ‘get up early/stay up late’ sewing routine going this summer.  Mama likes her zzzzz’s.  I gave up enough of them in the last few years, I think I’m still replenishing.

So August was spent with a little less sewing, and a little more of things like this….

kids playing with frogs fun at enchanted forest adirondack sunrise photo 5 toddlers and iphones Adirondack Inspired Gardens Bouckville Antique Show Spring Free Trampoline

Adirondack Fall Leaves

How are you feeling about the start of school?  Does it change the schedule or not so much?