01 November 2008

Hibernating Spellbound

Halloween has come and gone, and sadly, I never finished quilting my Spellbound wallhanging. Too many things going on, not enough time. This way I have a full year in which to get this little baby done in time for Halloween! With so many other demands on my time, I think I'm going to officially hibernate this project until some future time. But this way, I'll get to rediscover just how damn cute this fabric is when I open it up again a few months down the road!

Spellbound Quilt Top

31 October 2008

Holiday Party Costume

As if I didn't have enough on my plate right now, anyway. And, you know, it's not like November isn't crazy busy or anything what with the 50,000 words deadlines, and the start of the 2009 SWAP, and getting Holiday stuff done, and that Thanksgving thing, and getting my house clean enough for my mother to see it when she visits in December (which might involve some painting, or something). Nope not busy enough. My friend's company Christmas party (on the first weekend of December) has decided that this year is a fancy dress party. That means costumes. In fact, the theme this year is Latin dancing. Apparently there will even be a dance floor! With lessons! I love me some dancing!

But MORE sewing? Really? I think I might cry. However, the sales at the fabric store are pretty great right now, for those things called costumes, and the sale ends on Saturday. You know, right after Halloween. Go figure. So I hocked some valuables in order to scrap together enough funds to buy fabric and patterns to do this up right, and spend as little as possible on it. I'm pretty damn proud of myself. Two costumes for under $50. We just won't talk about how many hours I'm going to have to sew this month!

I'm pretty sure this costume is seriously over the top, and that we will be the ONLY people who interpreted the extremely vague instructions of "Latin dancing costume" in quite the same way. But hey, it's not my company party, and my friend is totally keen on the hot pink shirt he gets to wear to match my very, um, colorful outfit. Now all I have to do is actually get it all made. Along with everything else.

Party Costume Storyboard
Oh yeah, I AM going to wear all those colors in one costume!
Can't miss me coming!

23 October 2008

First Ideas

I'm actually starting to get some ideas going here. The theme of this SWAP is a week in the life, so our garments need to fit our everyday life. I think I want pants that are a little more fitted than what I've been wearing. Same for the shirts. I always prefer a more fitted look, but the last few years, and few pounds, I've gone the way of the knits. Here is my chance to reclaim clothing with buttons! My palette will likely be determined in large part by the Limeade fabrics I have left over from the JCC, just to cut costs. Not really where I necessarily want it to be, though. More thought needed on that front. I still prefer natural fibers for my fabrics. Here are a few patterns that I'm thinking of getting, and basing my collection on these.

First Ideas

21 October 2008

SWAP Thoughts

Patterns, colors, fabrics, styles. It's a lot to plan out. Time to start narrowing my options. First of all, I don't have the funds to buy all new fabric, therefore I must use as much of what I have as possible. What I have in stash is pretty limited, so I think that means I'm starting with my Limeade fabrics. I bought a lot more than I needed for the June Capsule Challenge. I even have some pieces that never got sewed, so I guess if I start there, I'm a leg up on my planning, huh? That makes this Limeade, the wardrobe. I'll come up with a better title. I'm only bummed that I can't make my dress for this SWAP. I really, really want to make that dress!

One of my biggest dilemmas is what style to pick for my bottoms. I'm thinking mostly pants. My life is more casual, but I'd kinda like to wear pants with buttons again. That would mean I need a lot of fabric, since I don't have any bottom weight fabrics.

Tentative ideas:

  • Colors: White, Lime, Beige, Chocolate, Black
  • Styles: Button shirts and slacks
  • Fabrics: Cottons and linens

Need to work on:

  • Acquiring patterns
  • Fabric selections
  • Building storyboard

18 October 2008

2009 SWAP Announced

Time for a new SWAP! (Sewing With A Plan) Remember that June Capsule I did back in, well, June? That was the baby sister of the annual SWAP, which is for 11 coordinating garments:

  • 4 bottoms
  • 6 tops
  • 1 jacket

And by coordinating, they mean it. Everything has to go with everything else. There is some flexibility in the rules about what qualifies within each category (especially important in the jacket arena, since I live in a desert and don't really need jackets much). The contest begins on 1 November and ends 30 April. Usually it only lasts four months, so I'm thinking I lucked out with the extra two months.

Right now, I have no clue what I will sew. The rules state it has to fit my every day life, which I would do anyway, so it's not exactly limiting. My budget is crazily tight, and that will effect what I do the most. I don't have any TNT (Tried and True) patterns, so everything I sew is going to have to be fitted and altered and adjusted to fit my current weight. It sets me a bit behind the eight ball for the SWAP, but is really exactly the sort of motivation I need. I'm going to be quite challenged to get a storyboard together so quickly!

15 July 2008

The Votes are In

And the winner is.... ME!!!

My camisole won second place for best garment!!! I'm thrilled, and tickled, and excited, and pleased, and proud! THANK YOU everyone who voted for me!!

Finished Camisole Camisole Strap

For anyone interested in seeing the entries they are here. And the first place winner in all three categories (Best Capsule, Best Garment, Best Accessory).

13 July 2008

Sixteen Windows Begins

I truly indulged my newest love today. I cut, I stacked, I sewed, I arranged, I sewed some more. I really do love this fabric. First there was the cutting, and much cutting there was. The first pic shows my piles and their height. Then I had to sew those 120 little rectangles into little threesomes, so I arranged them all out so I could see the fabrics (second pic), and then I mated them into their little family groups (third picture). And finally, on a large board on my craft table, I laid out all the little squares, and spent hours arranging them to perfection (fourth picture). I did start sewing them into rows, but I did not finish. My love will have to wait until tomorrow. A girl needs her beauty rest after all!

Cut Rectangles

Blocks Arranged

12 July 2008


I have fallen in love.

Yes, that's right. I'm in love. It was love at first sight. From across the room we saw each other, and I knew I was not going home alone that night. I've been Spellbound.


Meet Spellbound. It's a line of quilting fabric by Maywood Studios, and I really have fallen in love. In fact, I have done what everyone hates, I've forsaken all others to spend time with this one. I cleared all my many projects, half-done, urgent and otherwise, and swept the table clear for my beloved hobgoblins and spiderwebs. I simply love this fabric.

So today I finally took the plunge. I began the first of several projects I have planned for this fabric. It's the wallhanging that I first saw in the quilt store, that stopped me in my tracks and sent my little heart doing flip flops. I've blown everyone and everything else off for the weekend, and I'm going to indulge myself in this project that is for no one except myself. (I think it's been a decade since I last did that.) And so what if Halloween is still four months off! :P

I've never done a quilt like this. I've always been all about the strip quilts and fast cut, fast sew methods where you never really cut little squares. This one is all about the little squares, because it uses 19 different fabrics. Today I cut (16) 6½-inch squares, and (25) 4½-inch squares. I cut them all individually. One at a time. Tomorrow I get to cut (120) 2½ x 4½-inch rectangles. Then I sew all 161 pieces together. I can't wait! Then I get to add even more fabric.

Ah, yes. I am very much in love with this fabric.

29 June 2008

JCC Finished

I've sent in my entry. That's it. I'm done. Finished! And what an amazing accomplishment it's been for me, too! Because I've got a stress fracture in my clavicle, I had to call it without doing the dress. I'm a little bummed about that. My capsule is still great, however, and I've done more sewing this month than I have in YEARS! Since the rules of the contest allowed one item to be purchased, I finished up my capsule with a skirt I bought to fit into my Limeade wardrobe.


A capsule that is all about staying cool in temperatures that are over 110F. The vintage style camisole with hand crocheted lace and lime ribbon accents compliments the cool shorts in both white and a lime print. A purchased skirt can take this capsule out to dinner, or the desk deli bag can carry lunch on the go, complete with pockets for utensils and even some blue ice.

Patterns and other Info:

  • White Camisole: I began the camisole before June, having cut out the handkerchiefs it is made from, and started crocheting the trim. I did all the sewing, and 90% of the crocheting in June. The pattern is from a vintage magazine article which I read at this website.
  • Patterned Skirt: The skirt was purchased.
  • Both Shorts: McCalls 5010, View C.
  • Desk Deli Bag: Pattern is the Desk Deli by Quilts Illustrated

June CapsuleOutfit 3Outfit 2Outfit 1

27 June 2008

Desk Deli

The Desk Deli, by Quilts Illustrated is designed to be a lunch bag, complete with interior pockets perfectly sized for utensils, blue ice, and anything else one might want to carry with their lunch. I loved this bag pattern when I saw it at the quilt store, and I knew I had to have it. They were sold out, so I even had to wait for them to order more of them! Since time is fast ticking away, I decided to change my accessory from the sun hat, to this bag. For one thing, I think it will sew up faster, for another thing, this pattern has been burning a whole in my brain ever since I bought it. After making the shorts, I had some of the green cherry blossoms fabric left over, and I decided to take a chance that I wouldn't use up too much of the love is fabric, because I wanted to make my bag out of those two fabrics.

Finished Bag
Inner Pockets

I must say, I had a blast making this bag! The pattern is great, the bag is the cutest thing ever. It was my first time using fusible fleece, and I loved the stuff! Such a great way to construct a bag. I want to make one for everyone I know! LOL! And since pictures tell the best stories, here it is.

25 June 2008

Green Shorts


The second pair of shorts worked up even better than the first. I was using better quality cotton, for starters. I did make a few changes to the construction. Nothing major. Instead of sewing the ties in half, then turning them right side out, I folded them like double fold bias tape, and stitched them that way. No turning involved. I made sure it was going to end up being the same width when I was finished, and it was. I also did a top stitch along the top of the shorts. It just looks cleaner that way. These shorts are perfect for what I wanted, light, loose, and cotton. Ideal for the 115°F [46°C] weather we've been having so much of this summer.

I love the print. It's the cherry blossoms I bought at the quilt store. Their fabric is so supple and the weave is even and dense. Love their cottons! They make great shorts, too!



The shorts are done. Nice and quick, just like I expected. I was pretty sure that I was making a tent, but it turns out that they fit quite nicely. I even managed to avoid getting sucked in by the error in the pattern directions. I've got a second pair of shorts already cut out, so I'll probably whip them up, too.

24 June 2008

Camisole Done

I finished ribboning my camisole. It's all done and pretty!

Camisole Strap Detail

23 June 2008

Lace Pattern

Crocheted Beading Edge (with holes for ribbons)

Chain 10.
Foundation Row: SC in 2nd ch fr hook and every ch to end, ch 3, turn.
Next Row: HDC in 2nd SC fr end *(ch 1, sk 1 SC, HDC in next SC) 3 times, ch 5, turn.
Row #1: HDC in 5th ch fr hook *(ch 1, HDC in sp below) 4 times, ch 3, turn.
Row #2: *(HDC, ch 1) 3 times, HDC, ch 3, turn.
Row #3: HDC in 1st sp, ch 3 (sk 1 sp) HDC ch 1 HDC in last sp, ch 3, turn. [3 sps total, large sp is for ribbon].
Row #4: HDC, ch 1 *(HDC, ch 1) 2 times in 3 ch sp below, HDC in last sp, ch 5, turn.

Repeat Row 1-4 to desired length. (Before tying off, see To Join Lace Edgings.)

To Join Lace Edgings: Cut 12" [45cm] tail at end of work, and pull through loop. After sewing in place, sl st chained edge to last completed row, pull through loop, thread 1" [2cm] back along edge and clip.

Source: Folkwear Patterns, Edwardian Underthings.

Not much time left

Only a week left, and I'm still working on my first piece for the JCC. Granted, it was terribly time consuming. Still, I may have to completely change my pieces, in order to finish on time. Maybe I'll substitute a second pair of shorts for the dress, or something. One more week. Wonder how much I can get done this final week?

21 June 2008

Finished Lace

I finished the lace. Finally! At last! It's the wee hours of the morning, but I was so close I had to stay up late to finish the lace. Much as I'd like to finish this camisole, and sew the lace on, I figure it's much wiser to wait until I've slept. Making a mistake while sewing the lace on the camisole would not make me happy, at this point. I've spent a shocking number of hours crocheting that lace. But it's beautiful, and I've gotten really good at the pattern!

I did try to put the camisole aside, and work on the shorts, so I could get some speedier progress, but my camisole just refused to let me. It whispered in my ear, insisting that it be finished first. I'm really wishing that it fit better, because I've put so much work into it! It will be lovely, nonetheless. I did get my shorts cut out, so those will sew up very quickly. I'm pretty much guaranteed two items finished by the end of the weekend. Then I get to decide if I stick with the plan or change it to something I can finish in the remaining week. I'm looking forward to making faster progress. If I realized how much lace I was going to have to crochet before I started the camisole I would not have included it in the capsule. Of course, then I probably wouldn't have ever sewn the camisole, either.

15 June 2008

Slow Progress

Crocheted Edging

Progress is slow on the camisole. I've crocheted 26 of the 120 inches of lace I still need. That's a lot of lace!

Half-way through June and I should be half-way through my items, but that is not how it is working out. I still have hope that if I can devote the better part of the next two weeks to sewing, I will still be able to finish. That's a seriously tight schedule to make, though. Five items in ten days? I think I just gave myself an axiety attack!

08 June 2008

First of the Lace Edgings

I got the shoulder straps all worked out and attached! That step of the garment has had me slowed down for almost a week now, so I'm quite glad I'm over that part! Now it's all smooth sailing with this camisole. I even finished the first length of the crocheted edging, and got it attached to the bottom of the camisole. Now that my shoulder straps are at the proper length, and attached, I was able to measure the neckline, and the arm holes so I know the lengths I need to crochet for more lace.

Edging Attached

05 June 2008

More Camisole

I have been stymied on this camisole. I realized there were going to be fitting issues, and fussing issues, and such with the sides and shoulder straps, so once I got to that point, I pretty much stalled out. For days. This is where the good part of this contest kicks in. I can't delay too terribly long, or I'm not going to make my deadline! So today, despite a late hour, I pushed through and forced myself to fiddle with those frackin' shoulder straps.

First Fitting

I discovered quite a few things about this pattern, not the least of which is that I didn't follow directions very well. Granted, this pattern is about as clear as mud. I thought the paragraph in question was for the second method, not the first. I'll adapt. It isn't a critical issue, at least. The pattern doesn't seem to address arm holes at all. Probably because the writer never expected an overweight person to make this thing, so needing wider sides, and a deeper arm hole probably never occurred to them. I have chosen to solve the issue with a judicious use of scissors. There is one issue with the garment I will not be able to fix, and would not have been able to avoid even if I'd known in advance, and that is how wide the shoulder straps are set. If I make this camisole again I will add fabric to the sides so that the shoulder straps don't have to be so far to the outside. In which instance, I'll need four handkerchiefs, instead of three. And more insertion lace. Wow does this thing burn through the insertion lace! I really did use the full eight yards! But it is quite lovely, and it will indeed fit, so I'm pretty excited about that.

Attaching the Lace Straps

I am currently attaching those shoulder straps with hand sewing. It was the only way to keep the join of four different angles of lace looking pretty. I'm doing my best to hide my stiches into the lace pattern itself. Pretty wins over durable. After all, with a camisole this lacy and pretty, those straps aren't going to be under that much stress.

With five pieces to sew, I have set myself a personal goal of getting each piece done in six days. That only leaves me two more to finish this camisole, and she's got a lot of work left to do! Then again, I always knew I might need to set it aside before finishing, since I'm going to need to crochet more lace. Lots more lace.

02 June 2008

Beginning the Camisole


I had started this little camisole last year. I loved the concept, bought all the goods, and even started crocheting the lace edging for it. Never finished it. This piece was the first thing I thought of for my capsule, and I was so glad that one item could be made before June, because I'd have felt like I was cheating since I had already cut it out, and had crocheted about half the lace already. (Ok, I thought I had crocheted ALL the lace already, but I was way, way off on that estimate.) Because of the unusual construction of this camisole, I really had no way of knowing if it would even remotely fit me, so I decided to go ahead and sew it now. This way, if it doesn't fit me, I haven't lost time in June, and I can come up with another top for my capsule. Perfect, right?

Beginning Pieces

Enough of the intro, get to sewing already! This camisole is a handerchief cami. Literally. You take three handkerchiefs and cut them into triangles. You sew insertion lace everywhere imaginable, edge it with lace that you can run a ribbon through, and voila, an amazingly pretty camisole. I found the pattern online when I was researching Edwardian undergarments. I really love the super lacy loveliness of Edwardian camisoles, and I originally wanted to make it as part of a costume for a convention I was scheduled to go to. When the trip was cancelled, I stopped working on the camisole.

Stitched on Lace

It took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do with all that insertion lace. The diagram isn't terribly clear, and I was getting confused between what was supposed to be insertion lace, and what was supposed to be my edging lace. I decided that the diagram only shows the insertion lace, and it's pretty much everywhere, with the edging lace going on last, and not shown in the diagram. I've never worked with insertion lace before, though the stuff I bought handles more like eyelet than lace, so maybe it still doesn't count.

Edged in Lace

I am surprised with how pretty it is turning out to be. Since I used rather plain men's handkerchiefs, and I chose a fairly substantial lace insertion, I thought it might miss pretty by a few points, but all that lace really does pay off. It's downright lovely.

Front Assembled

The pattern calls for the insertion lace of the front and back diagonals to be cut all in one, but I just could not manage to figure out how long my shoulder straps were going to need to be. So I am going to add them at the end, after the front and back are solid pieces. I would have had to miter the insertion lace at the corner between neckline and shoulder anyway, and it will be easier for me to figure out what the heck is going on with the side seams, and make sure my armpit depth is adequate. So today I added all the lace, to most the edges that call for it. Tomorrow I'll fiddle with those shoulder straps and side seams to see if I can figure out what is going on. Not terribly easy when the garment has as much fullness as it does, and is destined to be gathered by the ribbon lace edging.

31 May 2008

Final Storyboard

Storyboard 1c

Here is my final storyboard for the June Capsule Contest with all four pieces, plus the accessory. It is the eve of the beginning of the contest and I confess to feeling a bit overwhelmed. How can I possibly sew all five items in thirty days?! That's insane!

29 May 2008

Storyboard 1b

I headed to the fabric store to look through patterns, and fabrics, trying to find something I liked for my fourth piece. I absolutely fell in love with this leopard print chiffon, which has a green streak running through it that looks great with my green linen. I had to have it. So I found a loose over-blouse pattern that would work well for it. Or I might do a shawl with it, and make something else for my fourth piece. We'll see. I suppose it depends on what I decide to do for my accessory, which still needs to be determined.

Storyboard 1b

I'm starting to get a little intimidated by the idea of sewing FOUR (or five) pieces in ONE MONTH! Seems like a huge endeavor! But even if I only sew one, I'll have sewn more than I would have without this contest!

27 May 2008

First Storyboard

What is my June Capsule challenge going to be? Hmmm. Other contestants are doing these amazing "storyboards" with sketches, and swatches, and patterns. I'm amazed by the skill of these women. I'm nowhere near that good, but the beauty of it is, I don't have to be. I only have to be as good as I am, and I love that. Besides, this will definitely challenge me to do things I'd normally be too lazy to attempt. Like storyboarding my plans before I sew! (Of course, that's rather why it's called Sewing With A Plan!)

I never even had to think twice about what kind of capsule I'm sewing. I need summer clothes. Badly. I need clothes that fit, that I feel pretty in, and that will weather the scorching heat here in my desert town. Since I see that many of the participants in these contests name their collections, I'm debating something like Heat Wave, or Scorching Lace. (That latter will only work if I have a lace theme in all the garments, though, and I'm not sure if I'm going with that.)

Right away I know two of my pieces. That lacy camisole that's been an unfinished object (UFO) in my sewing room for the past year, and the pair of white shorts I've been meaning to make for ages.

I think the only summer weight fabric I have in my meager stash is white muslin. My budget is extremely tight, so I can only buy a minimal number of supplies and materials and I'm thinking patterns and notions need to be the priority there. It needs to fit, after all!

So back to the storyboard thing. I have two items of the four (plus one accessory). One doesn't have a pattern picture, so I get to figure out how to storyboard that one. The other is going to be made out of white muslin, so I get to figure out how to photograph that one. And I need to settle on two more pieces. I'm thinking maybe the lime green dress I bought last month. (Then I might have to call the capsule collection "Limeade". Oh! Oh! I think I like that!) If I can find a good pattern, I'd like to do a sun shirt. Something to keep the sun off my skin, yet not give me heat stroke, but also doesn't make me look frumpy. That's a lot of requirements for one pattern! The real trick is going to be how to keep from looking like I'm wearing a sheet, yet still finish four items in one month!

Storyboard 1a

I just spent a shocking amount of hours creating this storyboard! I had no idea it would be such an involved process! And I still have two items to add!

26 May 2008

Sewing a Life into Being

Tonight, in my internet travels, I stumbled across something that has lit a fire in my belly. It's called Sewing with a Plan. I've done some research in the past on how to buy a simple work wardrobe (for saving money), but I never thought to apply the concept to sewing. I've been unhappy with my wardrobe for a long time. My body is a new shape, my tastes have changed, and my lifestyle has different clothing needs than it used to. I've been thinking of a number of things I need to add to my wardrobe, especially for the summer that is fast approaching. I even have a few patterns in my new size. Only a few, though. So when I stumbled upon this idea of sewing with a plan, planning a wardrobe of interchangeable pieces, and sewing them as part of a contest, it was a little like love at first sight.

So I joined a contest. The June Capsule Contest (JCC), which requires the sewing of four coordinated pieces, plus one accessory. There are some other rules involved, just to make it interesting. One piece must be a top, and one must be a bottom. One of the five pieces can be store bought, and one can be made before June. That before June thing isn't much of an option for me, since this contest begins so soon! And nothing can be black. I don't want black for summer-time anyway, so I'm good with that one.

I've surprised myself by jumping into this challenge without really spending much time to consider it. I feel like I'm grabbing a bull by it's horns, and making a stand that something is going to be for me. I'm going to sew My Life into Being. I'm going to have a brand new clothing capsule, it's almost like a whole new wardrobe! (Only a bit smaller.) I already have ideas bouncing in my brain, but that's for a different entry. So wish me luck, and don't call me crazy because I've decided that I'm going to sew most of my clothes this year. And keep coming back, because June is very soon, and I should have lots of sewing updates as I rock this challenge!