• Handicrafts

    What I’ve Been Up To

    I’m in between job assignments until next Wednesday.

    I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to work (i.e. what will I hate least). So, I’m in school with computer classes. I’m still planning on taking my Accounting CLEP and taking both computer and accounting next year.

    In the midst of all this, my niece was born. We’re all obsessed. I’ve visited twice, and I think we are going to visit again this week-end. She definitely looks like our side of the family, in the first photos I saw she looked like Doctordiva, then when I saw her, I could see her daddy, my brother, but then I quickly decided she also looked dead like Travelgirl’s baby photos. We need to dig out all our baby photos to compare.

    I’ve of course, made her some baby things. This was my first attempt at smocking; I’m now hooked, but since I don’t plan on only using gingham fabric, I’m planning on investing in a smocking machine. I found the elephant flannel on fabric.com and did a simple mitered corner hem. The blanket is simply “Old Shale” (this is NOT “Feather and Fan” although it is often incorrectly labeled so, even in print, I think). I’ve also helped stock her already burgeoning library with the darling Frances books by Russell Hoban and a Disney princess collection.


  • Handicrafts

    Brijee Patterns Casey Skirt Pattern Testing and Blog Party

    In June I participated in a pattern test for Brijee patterns. She is currently hosting a pattern giveaway on her blog here.

    I made my skirt from Robert Kaufman Superlux Poplin in navy. I’ve needed some more business formal looking skirts (the color is darker than the photos, but I wanted the skirt to be visible). I shortened the the skirt, and I tried my hand at bound button-holes.

    I’m not crazy about the waist-line, I might use a rounded one and I need more fullness in the back skirt (but not waist), but I will definitely be using the pattern again with adjustments. This is so flattering for my body type!

  • Handicrafts

    Riley Blake Anne of Green Gables Fabric Collection

    I was searching for fabric prints by designer, and I saw an Anne of Green Gables Collection by Riley Blake. I don’t think most of the colors suit me, but it you love Shabby Chic colors (soft, muted blues, creams, pinks, and greens) and bookish stuff (there are QUOTE print fabrics!), you ought to check this out here. And each print appears to be available in a few colors.
    Also, I found out awhile back that Sullivan Entertainment produced an Anne of Green Gables Wedding Dress Pattern, and here it is (you can probably also find it on ebay and etsy from time to time). Now, this is for the movie, not the book, so the wrong time period for book,* but the 1910’s had some lovely styles (think of Downton Abbey). 
    *What is it with messing with the time period, what was wrong with placing Anne in the correct time period? Her sons fought in WWI; Anne was born about 1965 (the books keep track of her age and Jem’s, so you can count back from 1914 to see how old), so Anne of Green Gables occurs in about 1976, which is far earlier than the first miniseries . . . and the new miniseries sets the story . . . why? And oh, my will I have more to say about what I’ve heard about the miniseries . . . actually, I really need to describe my issues with the first miniseries.

  • Handicrafts

    My Quilt

    I started a sloppy patchwork quilt as a child and finished it sloppily as a teenager. The patches came apart, and I sewed it into a bag; I think I still have it, and if I do I might redo the entire quilt.

    My second quilt I started at seventeen or younger. I finally finished off the binding this year. Everything is hand-stitched. I will not do that again as I have my preferred handcrafts, and no one has enough time to pursue absolutely every handcraft.

    My room is not properly decorated, and I needed a new bed-cover, so I have the quilt on my bed for now.

    Isn’t the binding cute? I bought blue binding originally (I have a blue border that you cannot see in this photo), and then used some of it and could not match it. Then I realized such packaged binding isn’t 100% cotton anyway. I decided to make some but could not find a good match until I went to a local quilt shop. I was under the impression that I needed bias binding, and I am so glad I asked about amount of fabric I needed because I was informed that for a rectangular quilt regular binding with strips sewn diagonally is the appropriate choice. This information saved me money, time, and frustration.
  • Handicrafts

    Fall Sewing

    I pulled out my autumn clothes at the end of August to look through them. I had hardly any dress clothes and no everyday bottoms that fit. I did however have a TON of sweaters. I just need more necklaces and scarves for those. I bought some brown fabric during a New Year’s sale at Hancocks, so I made two skirts. I tried to make the plain (twill, I think) one look a bit nicer with edge and top-stitching since I simply followed a basic pattern. The other fabric was cheap, so I did not do much different except hand-stitch the hem. I had enough of the twill for a pencil skirt which is on hold since I need a zipper that matches decently.

  • Handicrafts

    Skirt Refashion

    I bought a plus sized maxi type dress at Clothes Mentor and turned it into a maxi skirt with an elastic shirred waist. I ended up taking the entire skirt section apart and cutting it into the A-line shape I wanted.

    I looked up two tutorials before I dared to try the elastic shirring, but I need not have feared as it was quite simple. I enjoyed seeing the steam “magically” shrink the shirring together. I also added elastic to the top in a casing.

    The skirt is fun and comfortable, but does not have the most flattering silhouette. I think an elastic waist would work better with a more circular skirt, and I would prefer my a-lines to be bias cut. But I am still pleased with the skirt, especially since I have several tops and blouses to wear with it.

  • Beauty and Fashion


    So, I did make a drop-in-the-ocean kind of dent in my alterations pile.

    I turned this dress

    Into this skirt.

    I took the small “bodice” off the skirt. I was just intending to “hem” the ruffle left by the fabric above the elastic shirring, but instead I added elastic after taking out some of the elastic shirring that had come un-sewn. Of course I made the elastic too tight, so it hurt my back/insides/waist, and after months of procrastinating I fixed that, easily of course for all that stalling.

    I have more recently produced the below skirt which is also a dress-to-skirt alteration although a bit more complicated and less satisfying since I have to cover this waist treatment with a belt.

     I cut the top off the dress (it was basically a sack), stitched the lining to the skirt (I left an opening on the top for the elastic, but now I realize I should have done it the way instructed for the below skirt), and sewed below that seam to make a casing.

    Then I altered a skirt that I had made. I took about 20″ out of it, and it is much more flattering now. I do not know if I ever posted about this skirt or not, but here is the tutorial. Imagine the possibilities! Airy silk, long maxi, pouf-y velvet.

  • Handicrafts

    More Vintage Patterns

    More vintage patterns! The first and last two I bought on eBay. The middle one I bought on Etsy. Some of the eBay patterns were only a few dollars but do not expect that as it is probably a rare occurrences! And look at how tiny! I think all mine are 12 or 14 and since 14 has a 24″ waist, I assume 12 has a 22″ waist. I am not that small in the waist, but I do not think making the patterns a little bit larger could be that difficult. I probably need to copy them on sturdier paper, such as packing paper, anyway.

  • Handicrafts


    A few weeks ago I had a prolonged period of semi-successful sewing/altering. Since this mood produced a barely perceptible dent in my sewing/alterations mountains, I need to motivate myself into another one.

    I bought this silk and cotton J. Jill skirt from Ashley at Bramblewood Fashion during one of her Shop My Closet sales. I decided to shorten it since it hit at an awkward length on me. I do not have a very good before photo. I probably should not have done a rolled hem because of the ruffly nature of the hem (and it was a new skill learned this sewing frenzy period). Oh, well. Maybe I will fix it somehow eventually.

    I ordered the materials to make a white and a cream extender slips quite a while ago. I put this white one under a full skirt, and my sister said I looked like a lacy cupcake. In addition to being too full, the skirt was also crooked. I learned from my mistakes and the cream one is much better (but still not the greatest), but most of my mistakes are usually out of thoughtlessness and impatience which means I have wasted a lot of time and material. These are not genuine mistakes, but laziness.

    Much improved.

    I made the red skirt for my little sister after tearing out the terrible work done by a much more hasty sister (yeah, runs in the family). Months ago I shortened a pink skirt I had handed down to another sister, and so this sewing period I made an infinity scarf out of the left-overs. I found a grey silk dress at Goodwill and turned it into a slip for which I need to find grey lace to make into another extender slip.  I finished a partially made baby dress someone gave us. Sugarplum, our older cat, likes to climb on our table and sit on the fabric. When she is hiding from Mumford (our spoiled little kitty princeling), she sits in the chairs.

    I am thankful for what I did get done, and I learned and practiced two new skills: French seams and rolled hems.

  • Handicrafts


    I have finally started sewing; most of this month was supposed to be devoted to sewing since I am off school for this month, but I hadn’t seriously worked on it until this week. I have half of the dining room table covered with fabric and partially started projects. The above is the main portion of a skirt that will consist of a yoke and gathered skirt.

    This is part of the bodice of the maxi dress that I started last year. I had originally planned to cut strips of fabric and gather and sew them on the bodice as rosettes in the manner of my inspiration dress, but I ditched that idea last year. I thought about it again this year because I did not like the idea of a plain bodice, but then I thought I could embroider swirls on it instead of meticulously sewing spirals on with the machine. I am using silk ribbon to do the swirls which will be all over the front.

    The pink striped fabric will hopefully become a dress. The gingham will be a pleated skirt and possibly a border on the blue and yellow gathered skirt. The original plan for the green is/was a pencil skirt, but it is quilt fabric and pencil skirt are better with heavier fabric, so we shall see.

    I am also working on a swimsuit-I mean I started one last year. I have partially finished skirts, ripped apart skirts and other untouched fabrics as well. Yeah, I have a lot to work with. I get bored easily, so it is better for me to have more than one project going. Besides if I work on them all diligently I can have several new items of clothing done at a time.