Saturday, April 30, 2011

Summer is here...

  The weather has been beautiful here lately and we're all in full summer mode when it comes to clothing.  So when Jenny had another pattern to try out, I volunteered again.  This time was for a Woman's tunic.  But I realized before I cut my fabric that tunics and me just don't really get along.  I'm a little too top-heavy if you know what I mean to wear what is basically a short dress with jeans...I always end up looking pregnant or large, or both...
  So I decided to just add a few inches to the length and make a dress.  This pattern has so many possibilities.  I added a halter strap to my dress, but you could leave it strapless, add straps, add the halter ties, add backwards halter ties like Jenny did on the tunic dress I made for Emma...  You could add side pockets or patch pockets (thinking I'm going to go back and add to my dress).  You could make it at tunic length, dress length, maxi-dress length.  You could lengthen the bodice and just make it a regular top.  Jenny gives you a great foundation here to take the pattern and make it your own.

   And if adding to the pattern weren't enough, I thought it would be a great summery detail to add beads to the halter straps.  So, I dug around in the kids' craft basket and found a bag of pony beads.  I pulled out 2 greens, pinks, whites and blacks each to match the colors in the dress and wrangled them onto the straps.  The fabric is actually black with little pindots of a bright green, pink and white.  Up close it's obvious, from a distance, they blend together nicely.

  My only complaint at all with this dress is that even after taking it in a few times, I feel it's a little big still in places.  But that comes with trying out new patterns and altering them.  Next time, I'll start with a smaller size...and how could that be a bad thing at all??

  And last, just a funny story (which was not funny at all at the time) to amuse you this weekend.  And by amuse you, I mean be glad it was me and not you!  Chris and I started the C25K running program a few weeks ago.  I had been doing cardio 3 days a week anyway, so I was looking for something new and this is a great program to get back into running or into it at all.  So yesterday afternoon I knew Chris would be home soon so I put a movie on for the kids (don't judge please...Emma was sick yesterday and I wanted her laying down) and went out to run.  As my pictures often show, our property is mostly in pine trees, but we have a grassy area in the back of the property where Chris keeps a track mowed for me to run on.  (He's sweet like that.)  I get about 3/4 of the way through the workout and am gearing up for the final long run and I look up ahead and stop dead still.  There is a 6-foot brown snake spread out in front of me with his head lifted up hissing at me and his tail just a-shaking.  I almost died right there!  Now, I jam when I run, so my music was on loud and I couldn't tell you if there were rattles on the end of said shaking tail or not, but I can tell you that I ran backwards about 15 feet at lightning speed and just stopped and stared.  It was surreal.  The snake was not in the least bit scared of me, and I was scared to death!  I had visions of snakes in movies jumping at me and chasing me across the field!  He finally turned and slithered SLOWLY back into the high grass and woods where he came from.  I waited till he was gone and then sprinted back up to the house as fast as I could with fear that he was waiting to strike at my heels as I ran by.  I was determined to finish my run, but Chris was coming down the driveway, so I told him and then was so shaken I couldn't concentrate so I called it day.  And now, little Miss Fraidy-cat is afraid to go outside and run anymore.  Honestly, I don't even want to go outside at all...what if he comes up to the house?  What if he's waiting in my garage for me tomorrow?  What if he and all his snake buddies thought I was cute and they want to eat me for lunch??
   I know I live in the woods and I've always known there were snakes around, but knowing and seeing are 2 very different things.  I'll get over it eventually, and MAYBE continue with the C25K program (I'm not set to run again till Monday), but maybe I'll just stick to my sewing machine and let my fingers and my creative juices get all the workouts for awhile...or I could just strap a shotgun to my back when I run... 

P.S.  I'll be linking this dress up to all of my favorite parties...check out the party page to see where all the cool kids hang out!  (kidding, of course!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Do any of y'all read Rachel's blog at Stitched in Color?  She posted a few confessions the other day and asked for everyone to tell theirs.  I thought it was so interesting.  From reading most of the comments (there were well over 200!), I found that I am not alone in certain likes and dislikes.  Come to find out there are many of us that don't fall in love with every new line that comes out.  There are many of us who can't afford to or flat don't want to buy every new pre-cut that comes out.   There are many of us who shop at JoAnn Fabrics and we're okay with that.

  So, why does it take Rachel asking us to tell our darkest quilting secrets to find out we're not alone?  I guess that the sewing world and it's cliques and groups within it are just like life.  Most of us are afraid to step too far out of the popular circle for fear of never getting back in it.

  Life only comes around once and you get one chance to live it like you want.  It's hard to step away from the pack sometimes, but I'm trying to remember that making others happy doesn't always make me happy.  Making myself happy will only make it easier for me to make others happy in return.  Of course, I'm not saying to forget the golden rule.  Not at all.  In fact, sometimes making others happy is an easy way to bring joy to your own life.  What I mean, is that saying I like something or agreeing to do something only because I think everyone else is doing it is not the way to bring joy to my life, and in turn, to other's lives either.
     I give everyone permission to go out and do your own thing today.  Skip in a crowd, wear a crazy shirt you love, sew something breaking all the rules...whatever makes you feel special and unique.  Because if we were all the same, then who would ever create new things for people to love anyway?
These 3 make me very happy.  This is from the Beach 2 summers ago, and everyone who knows us personally will know this is picture is them in a nutshell!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

  Here's wishing a Happy Easter to you and your family from me and mine!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


  I completely forgot to mention yesterday that my friend Tricia, from I Heart RocknRoll is having a HUGE giveaway over at her Facebook page.  She's over 1000 fans now and a bunch of her friends and sponsors are celebrating with her.  I'm one of those proud friends!  I think there's like 20 items up for grabs!  I'm giving away a custom dress based on things I've made for Emma on this blog.  The winner will work with me to decide size and fabrics used based on my stash.  Check out these posts to get an idea of what you could win:

Ruffled Tunic TopPopover DressRuffled Halter Top  

   Head over to her page to join in on the fun.  You'll be glad you did.  And if you're here now from the giveaway, WELCOME!  I hope you'll like what you find here and want to stick around with us.  
  Alright, I'm off to put out a few Easter decorations and dye a few eggs before our Teeball game this afternoon.  I haven't been feeling the decorating groove, and Emma and Oren have decided they are going to decorate without me...I'd better go supervise!  We will also be making meringue cookies (just google Easter story meringue cookies) this evening and Resurrection Rolls in the morning!  Activities involving eating will always catch my attention I guess!  ;)

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Good Day

  Today is a good day.  We spent the day relaxing, picking up the house, creating, protecting our "dinosaur eggs" which are really just acorns in a mason jar...don't even ask!  We made chocolate birds' nests, swam and enjoyed hamburgers out by the pool.  And what makes it an even better day is remembering our Savior who on this day sacrificed himself for our salvation all because he loved us and his Father, our Father in Heaven.

  I had a friend ask me if I could make a hairbow for her daughter to wear Sunday and although you know how I feel about hairbows (I think I like making them until I remember halfway through that I really hate it!), I agreed.  She said the dress is yellow, black and white, so this is what I came up with out of what I had at the house.  I haven't seen the dress, so I have no idea if this at all goes with it, but here it is nonetheless...

  I also worked on Emma's bow holder today, which is kinda funny since I did two projects involving bows today completely on accident.  I took the purple-painted cork board and glued ribbon strips onto it.  Then I took some headpins and beads I bought when I thought I might like jewelry making (about as much as hairbows) and made hooks for her ponytails.  Since she has a bunch of headbands, I spray painted and then inked up some big plastic buttons I had and sewed them down with embroidery floss and a strong needle.  That way the headbands can hang on here as well.  I decided to back the whole piece with felt in hopes that will help it stay sturdy and strong.  This entire project came from rejects in my craft room, so I'm fairly happy with how it turned out...  What do you think?

After loading it up, I think she might need two together to hold it all...good thing I've got extras of  it all!!

   I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful Easter weekend, full of smiles, bright colors, and the joy of a wonderful Savior who sits on the right hand of God waiting to welcome us all to Heaven one day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

  Well, I thought I'd spend the afternoon getting in a run, finishing up a few projects (or working on them anyway), and making "chocolate birds' nests" with Oren since he was determined to do so.  I'm not sure what he has in mind for them...I was going to melt some chocolate and stir in some coconut and then mound them on wax paper in nest shapes.  But, an awful storm came through leaving the backyard covered in tiny bits of hail and wind gusts up to 25 mph. 
  So, instead we all tucked ourselves in bed and took a little nap after school.  Actually, Emma read I'm sure and I think Oren played with toys in his room.  But Chris and I took a little nap anyway.  And it felt great.  I'm still a little sleepy because I NEVER nap during the day, but sometimes rainy days just call for it.

  So, my list won't be as high as I'd have liked, but here we go:

  A dress for me.  I blogged about it here.  Because I was home alone this morning, I didn't get any pictures of myself wearing many pictures of me in my bathroom mirror does this blog need?  I'll see if I can get Chris (or Oren!) to take some pics of me in it on Friday. Here's a picture of it all done though.

  Working on sashing for my Mod Mosaic quilt.  I'm going with 4-inch white sashing around each block.  I'm hoping to have this baby ready to quilt by next Wednesday's report.
  I've got a square piece of cork painted bright purple in hopes of turning it into a bow holder for Emma's room.  For a girl who loves to wear ponytails, she sure has a lot of bows and hair accessories.  This should be done by Friday and I'll post pictures of it when it is.

   Spiderweb blocks for my swap.  I'm sorting 1-inch and 1 1/2 inch strips for these blocks.  I don't think I have enough solids...Oh, darn, I'll have to buy some more!

Quilts needing quilting:  (Absolutely no progress here at all...)
  My Postage Stamp Quilt-a-long quilt.  I think I've decided to forget the borders and just quilt this one to get it done.
  Jelly Pops quilt.  I made this top before I started the blog and just havent' got around to quilting it yet...

As before, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  What have you been working on and what did you get done this week?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Summery Top for me!

Hi everyone!  I’m back today with a quick post about the strapless shirt I made on Saturday.  I didn’t take pictures along the way because it really is that simple, but I’ll tell you what I did. 

Does anyone else scrunch up their face every time they use their camera?  Oh, it's just me...well, then.

I bought this simple knit t-shirt at Walmart from one of their $3 displays. I liked the color and the fit was good, so I didn’t want to change it too much.  But I thought a strapless look might be cute.  I laid the shirt down on my cutting board and lined the ruler up with the bottom of the sleeves.  Since my shirt was striped, this was even easier.  I had a built in level!  I just cut straight across, cutting off the sleeves and neckline/shoulders.

Then I just folded over about an inch (again, I just used the stripes as a measurement) and pressed it.  I had half-inch elastic handy, but you can just fold down a little more than the size of whatever size elastic works for you.  I stitched this down, leaving a hole to thread the elastic through.  (Because this was just for me and knits don’t ravel, I didn’t even worry about folding up the raw edge.)  Here’s where I forgot I was working with knits and used a straight stitch.  Be sure to use a stretch stitch on your machine so you don’t pull the stitches out like mine did in a few places.  Oh, and switch to a ballpoint needle, they work much better for knits.  I did at least remember to switch needles.  If you’ve never worked with knit fabrics and that made no sense, let me know or just google sewing with knits!  ;)

Now, measure your chest around and cut the elastic just a little smaller than that.  This is one place we want to make sure the fit is good and tight…especially because we’ll be wearing it during the hot and sweaty summer months.  Don’t want this baby slipping and sliding off, do we??

Once I had the elastic cut, I pulled it through, sewed it up and sewed up my casing.  Then with the extra pieces, I cut strips and gathered them to make little flowers and hand-sewed them on the “neckline.”  I thought it made for a simple, quick, but cute little top.  And it’s versatile too.  Depending on the amount of scrap fabric you cut off in the beginning, you can make little halter ties and tack them down to the inside front.  Or, buy a shirt in a bigger size than you need and cut a small hole in the hem and use it as a casing for elastic or a drawstring for a blousy look.  You could put an embroidery or appliqué design on it.  Or go crazy with flowers or ruffles along the top or side. 

I’ll be linking up again to some great parties.  Check out the list here, and make sure to go see all the great goodies these ladies have for ya.  Summer clothing should be simple and fuss-free.  Don’t you think?  What do you love to wear all summer long?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thank You! and some rambling...

   I want to start by thanking everyone who left an opinion on my last post!  It was helpful and encouraging to hear your suggestions and Chris was glad I left the vote up to y'all!  I agreed with most of you and decided to go sleeveless since Florida summer is already upon us (and because it meant no more cutting!)  I also decided to just pick up some pre-made bias tape at JoAnn yesterday when Emma and I went shopping.  So I've got the arms done now and decided to just use the rest of the tape to hem it.  The dress is a little short and I wanted to lose as little length as possible in the hem.  Plus, since I already had the tape, why not use it?
  I like this dress and it is simple to make.  I could see more of these hanging up in my closet.  But next time around, I'll do things a little differently.  Obviously, cut the sleeves a little bigger.  I definitely want a version with sleeves.  Maybe a seersucker or linen blend; something really light and summery.  I'll also bind the neckline like I ended up doing the arms and hem on this one.  Maybe I just can't read a pattern correctly or something, but I don't understand why the big-name pattern companies always make construction harder than it needs to be.  They had me cut out this wide length of bias, sew it down, then turn it under and edgestitch it and then with all that leftover bit, just handsew it in place.  Well, first off, hand sewing without showing was virtually impossible on the light, silky fabric I chose.  But, honestly, wouldn't it be simpler to just use the same bias tape size for the arms and do the same thing?
  Sorry, I don't have any pictures of this done yet, but I spent the weekend being Momma and wifey, so there wasn't much time to sew.  I did turn a tee-shirt into a cute strapless top that I'll show you tomorrow.  Emma and I spent the afternoon shopping yesterday, as I said.  She's been going through a rough patch with some physical issues including her eczema and finding out she needs glasses and I thought a day of girly time might be just the positive reinforcement she needed.  Being a Mom has surprised me in how soon we have to deal with issues such as peer pressure, self-image, attitude, etc.  I often call my Mom and apologize, because Em is like me in so many ways!  ;)
  I mentioned that we ran into JoAnn's yesterday.  I needed to get some more Kona White to sash up my Mod Mosaic quilt.  I totally forgot to look and see if my store had the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics, but I did look at the patterns.  I am in LOVE with the new Lisette patterns from Liesl at Oliver +S.  But can I just say that I am my wallet was not so in love.  They were like $17!!!  Seventeen dollars for a pattern?  It better come with fabric and a little robot who's going to do all of my pressing and cutting!  I see they're much cheaper from the website, so go there if you want them.
  I could continue to ramble on, but instead we're headed out to spend some time with my toes in the water watching my crazies swim.  I'll leave you with this...I sure do love this complicated and beautiful girl!

P.S.  Daddy says it might be time to get rid of the pink glove next year...she said "Why??"


Friday, April 15, 2011

I need your opinion!!!

Hey y'all!  Before I get to progress on the dress I've been sewing up and my question on it, I've got to toot my own horn for just a quick minute...I got an email from Jenny yesterday saying that my tutorial on the Anthro-inspired skirt had been featured by CraftGossip!!!  I mean, CraftGossip is huge and they featured my little skirt!!  I'm proud and a little astonished all at the same time.  So, if you've come over from there, Hi! and feel free to stick around awhile.  Now, for those of you that know me, I'm not at all a toot-my-own-horn kind of girl.  I don't even admit to having made things Emma and I are wearing unless people ask me where I got it most of the time, but this just really made my day.  I'll admit, I did a little happy dance alone in my bedroom!  Glad no one saw that!

  Okay, I'm done with the horn and ready to move on.  So, as I said in the last post, I'm working on a dress for me (and this will be the first one I've actually finished in about 6 years!!)  But I've come to a design issue I want your opinion on.  I've only got to add in the sleeves and hem it, but otherwise it's done.  Now as you can see in the pictures below, I'm a curvy girl, I'm not gonna lie.  I LOVE to eat and while I'm trying to eat healthily (is that a word?) and exercise daily, the pounds are taking their time coming off.  That said, I still went down a size on the pattern because apparently, I'm an eternal optimist.  And, are you ready for this...this size fits me everywhere EXCEPT the sleeve!  The darn sleeve is too small around!!!  I didn't think my arms were where I really needed to focus on, but I guess me and Simplicity have different ideas!  ;)  So, after basting in the pleats and fighting with a tiny piece of elastic to gather up the sleeve and ironing a tiny hemline (that was my clue to try it on), I realized that the sleeves are too small and I'll have to recut them and start over on them.  Thank goodness I tried them on before I attached them!

  So, I tried the dress on to see how everywhere else looked and I think maybe fixing the sleeves isn't worth it.  That's where y'all come in.  I took pictures without the sleeve and with it pinned on--pretend it actually looks right, it was a nightmare to pin a too-small silky sleeve with one hand!  So, lay it on me...Bind the armhole sans sleeves?  Add the sleeves in a bigger size?  Toss the dress altogether and go eat some cookies? What do you think?  I'm a big girl (haha, no pun intended) and I can take it.  And while I wait for answers, I'm going to go do said daily exercise.  And maybe do about 500 pushups???  (No way that's happening!)

Here it is without the sleeves.  I'd just bind them to the inside with matching bias tape.

And here it is with one pinned-in sleeve.  I'm just not sure...

THANKS, y'all!  And I know that Chris will say thank you too!  Otherwise, it's up to him to give his opinion and like any smart man, he has no interest in giving me an opinion on if something looks to small on me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday

  Aaah...a whole day to do what I choose.  Well, till about 4 anyway, when Chris and the kids get home.  So, what to do today?  Laying out and sashing up my Mod Mosaic blocks?  Sewing up that new dress for me?   Starting on my spiderweb blocks for the new swap.  Whipping up a few new shirt refashions?  Nope.  Not first anyway.

  First, I did some more spring cleaning.  Oren's room is completely clean and reorganized.  Emma's room is done as much as I can without being ruthless and just tossing stuff left and right.  How did she grow up into a kid with her own "stuff" before I was ready.  So, now she's got to get in there and sort through the rest of it, deciding what she really needs and what can go...  If she's already like this at 6, I better buckle up and hold on tight for the next 12 years!

  And then...then I saw that I was featured on Jenny's blog today!!!!!  It's my Anthro-inspired skirt with the grommets from last week.  She said she loved it and would like to feature it over there.  And I said SURE!!!  I am so glad people actually liked it enough to want to show it off.  I don't consider myself innovative or all that creative, really.  I'm good at finding what I like and following the directions to make it, but that's nowhere near the same as creating my own things.  So, thanks Tricia and Jenny for featuring me and my little skirt.

   As for my actual Works in Progress like the title suggests...I'm putting the Mod Mosaic quilt back into this category since my blocks came.  I'm adding in the dress for myself since that's in the process of being cut out, and I've got a few other projects I'd like to start in the next few days, but...they're not in progress yet!  ;)
I'm considering a 4-inch sashing between each block and then at least a 4-inch border.  What do you think??  And I realized that I used a LOT more scraps in smaller bits than others...  I could have made a lot more if I'd used bigger pieces!!  

  Absolutely nothing this past week...  :(   (Unless you count Spring Cleaning.  I don't!)
  Mod Mosaic Block needs sashing and borders
  Simplicity's New Look 6022 for me.

Quilts needing quilting:  (Absolutely no progress here at all...)
  My Postage Stamp Quilt-a-long quilt.  I think I've decided to forget the borders and just quilt this one to get it done.
  Jelly Pops quilt.  I made this top before I started the blog and just havent' got around to quilting it yet...

As before, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  What have you been working on and what did you get done this week?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Look what came!

I'm in the middle of spring cleaning Emma's room and that's an all day job in itself.  That kid is a packrat!  I don't know where she gets it from (said sarcastically, as I would let my sewing room get piled ceiling high if no one ever came in there but me!)  She's decided she's too old for most (leaving about 5) of the books on her bookshelf, but she's not too old to give away her baby dolls and stuffed animals.  So, while I usually make them keep their own rooms cleaned up, once in awhile I go in and "help" by getting rid of what I know they don't even remember they have or don't need anymore.  And once it's gone, it's gone, so there's no arguing about it!

But I had to stop and post when I opened this!  It's my swap blocks from the Mod Mosaic Swap I did last month!  I was so thrilled to see all of the different blocks I received and am already laying them out in my head as I clean!  Tomorrow is my "Kelli" day when the kids go home with Grandma after school, so I'm planning on sewing up that dress for me and playing with my new quilt blocks.  I have 12 altogether.  I had originally planned on using now I have to decide if I want to make the other 8 or do I want to use bigger sashing strips!  ;)

  I'll spread them all out tomorrow so you can see what I've got.  I don't know how Kari (the swap coordinator) knew how much I loved bright and cheery colors, but she must have, because they're all that way.  Chris might not love it when he sees how much pink and turquoise there is!  ;)

  Oh, and for the family...I spent the morning in Oren's classroom helping him make his Easter bunny.  He made the ears purple because Emma did when she was in pre-k, but the rest is all Oren!  Sorry for the fuzzy picture, it's from my phone, but how funny is this??  He named it Rivers, not sure why...  And he got up at 6 this morning so he could have breakfast with Daddy, so that's why he has big bags under his eyes.  Daddy was headed out the door, so he had to have breakfast with Momma instead!  LOVE HIM!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


So, I had no plans of disappearing from cyber space for the rest of the week, but darn-it if life didn't get in the way of my sewing and blogging time.  I spent one whole day last week driving to the big city to pick up snacks for 4-6 days worth of testing.  Other Floridians will understand...the FCAT is next week and we picked up snacks for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at our elementary school.  The FCAT is our state-mandated test to prove if kids are learning what they are supposed to be learning.  Results affect whether kids can be promoted to the next grade and the school grade which affects teacher bonuses, and possibly pay in the near future.  I will save y'all my true feelings on this test and put my soapbox away...  Back to the snacks...if you've never loaded, unloaded and then sorted almost 1900 drinks and then again that many snacks, it is tiring.  I certainly didn't need a workout that day.
  Then we've also had teeball practices and a game, spring cleaning all over the house, babysitting a friend's kids one afternoon, volunteering in Emma's class, a sick Oren who later threw up all over the backseat of my car...  See, life just got in my way!  But my kids are only little once, and I can sew when they've moved out and on with their lives, so I'm okay with that.

Anyway, first, I want to announce the winner of Tricia's rocking earrings from the giveaway...our winner is:

Follow through GFC I Heart Rock n Roll's under Lupita Soto.

Congratulations to Lupita!!!  I have forwarded your information on to Tricia and she'll be getting with you soon.

  And since I don't have anything crafty to show for this week I'll leave you with an idea of what I'm looking forward to making this week (hopefully) and a picture of why I don't mind being away from my sewing machine (for awhile anyway...after too long I get a little antsy and disappear into my sewing room!)

This week I have plans to start and finish this dress.  I also want to make up 2 of these glasses cases.  One for me since I always throw my sunglasses down in my purse and have to fish them out when I'm blinded by the FL sunshine, and the other for a friend's little boy who just had to get glasses.  He's 5, so I thought a cool place to put them when he's not wearing them might be better than in his backpack, on the floor, or under the bench in the dugout!  

And here's a picture of the two crazies that went swimming yesterday with their Daddy.  I, with all of my sense and wisdom, decided to sit and watch.  The water was icy cold and after maybe 10 minutes, Emma's lips were blue and both kids' teeth were just a-chattering!  They must have enjoyed it though, because the first thing they asked after church this morning was could they swim again!
Look at that eager face!

The water was so cold it literally took her breath away when she jumped in!  She thought this picture of herself was hilarious by the way!

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday afternoon and I promise I'll try to be around a little more often this week!  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My guest blogging post

**Don't forget about the giveaway for earrings from I Heart RocknRoll!  You can find it here.**

  Wasn't Tricia's post yesterday great?  If I didn't already have those earrings from her, I'd enter the giveaway myself!  :) I've tried jewelry making a time or two and already have the supplies, maybe I can make my own now in different colors...

   I thought I'd repost what I wrote for her blog since I made a cute skirt for me, and you know that doesn't happen very often.  So here's a quick tutorial on an easy Anthro-inspired elastic-waist skirt.

  As Tricia's more into the accessory side of fashion and I'm more into the sewing side of it, we thought it would be fun to swap blogs for a day and teach each other's readers something different.  I thought I'd bring y'all a quick and easy tutorial for a simple skirt that won't take long to whip up, but will get lots of compliments.  So let's take a look at our inspiration piece...

   Like many others in blogland, I LOVE how Anthropologie makes life look so sweet and simple and fashionable.  But my wallet DOES NOT.  So, like many others I often bookmark my favorite looks to see if I can recreate them at home for much, much less.  I saw this skirt and liked the look but not the $68 price tag.  $68 for some material sewn together with elastic and some ribbon???  C'mon people!  If you're with me, let's get started.

   I gathered up some supplies: fabric of my choice, 1-inch elastic, ribbon and my usual sewing supplies of machine, matching thread and some pins.  Oh, and you'll need an iron.

    Since this is a tutorial for beginning sewers, I'm changing a few things about the skirt.  We won't be adding the horizontal pintucks (so I used a fabric that had enough visual interest not to miss them.) and I'm leaving out the pockets.  While it looks like the dress has a drawstring waist and the name implies that, it's actually an elastic waist with a decorative ribbon tie.  We'll be doing the same.  Drawstrings aren't hard to do, but elastic is that much easier....

Here we go:
WARNING...BORING MATH COMES FIRST.  Stay with me, I promise it's not as bad as it looks!

1.  To make this skirt fit you, measure your waist.  Mine was 18 inches, so... haha, just kidding.  Mine was about 35 but we're going to go with 36 for ease in math.  We want to multiply this number by 1.5 so our skirt will have some poof to it.  We'll be drawing the waist back in with elastic before we finish.  Since our skirt will have 2 pieces (a front and back) we take our multiplied waist measurement and divide it in two.  But we also have to add an inch to each piece for our seam allowance (or what we'll use when we sew it together.)  So, my width measurement is 28 inches.  If you'd like your skirt to have more "poof" then double the original waist measurement...the poof factor is up to you!
     (36 x 1.5) / 2 + 1 = 28 inches.
2.  Next, you need to measure for length.  I'm making my skirt 19 inches finished length.  This will hit right around the knee.  So, measure from your waist to your desired length.  But, like before, we need to add to that measurement a little.  We'll be folding up the bottom of the skirt to hem it and folding down the top of the skirt for the waistband.  We'll make a 1 inch hem at the bottom, so we'll add 2 inches there and we'll be making a 1 1/2 inch waistband so we'll add 2 inches there.  Stick with me, I promise this is the toughest part!   ;)  My length measurement was 23 inches.
     19 + 2 (for hem) + 2 (for waistband) = 23 inches

3.  Whew, let's all take a break from that awful math and get started on the creating.  On an important sidenote here, you should ALWAYS wash and dry your fabric before making any kind of clothing.  Fabrics shrink at different rates and it would stink if your cute skirt shrunk in the wash to become doll clothes!
      Now, lay out your fabric and measure out your rectangles.  I have my fabric folded in half so I only have to cut once.  I'm using a large ruler and cutting mat with a rotary cutter, but plain old (sharp) scissors work too.  I'm spoiled by my quilting supplies and would never go back to scissors if I didn't have to!  I cut out the two rectangles with our measurements above and I'm ready to start sewing.

4.  Finally, we get to sit down at the sewing machine!  You're going to thread your machine with a matching thread and bobbin and then line up your skirt pieces with the right sides facing each other.  That means, basically your skirt is inside out.  If you are a new sewer, you should pin your edges here together just to be sure.  I never pin, but just for you, I did today.  Well, one side.  I didn't pin the side I didn't take a picture of.  That's how I roll!  Oh, and NEVER sew over pins.  Always stop and pull them out when you get close.  You could sew onto one and break your needle, the machine or yourself if a piece were to fly off.  I'm not a nervous nelly, but this is one safety rule I always follow!

My fabric didn't have a right and wrong side, so it looks like the outside is showing, but really, it's not.  If your fabric has a definite right and wrong side, the wrong side should be up!
   We're going to line up the edge of the fabric on the 5/8 inch line (your machine should have a little line out to the side of the presser foot that says 5/8.  Mine is in cm so it says 15.)  Keep the edge of the fabric aligned with this line and sew a straight seam right down from the top of the fabric to the bottom.  That means, you'll be sewing a straight line along the 23 inch lengths.  It's always a good idea to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.  Sew a few stitches, make your machine backstitch a few stitches and then go forward again.  It just locks the seams so you don't come undone!  Once your side seams are sewn, you need to finish the edges.  There are a number of ways to do this, serge, zig zag seams, or the easiest...pinked edges.  Get some pinking shears (those zig zag scissors) and cut along the edges about 1/4 inch from your stitched line.  Pinking the edges will keep them from unraveling!

 5.  Now to the iron...You'll want to iron open your seams so they lay flat when you're wearing them.  Use the heat best suited to your fabric and iron those seam allowances open like the picture.

Then you'll need to work on your hem.  Ironing your hem in place is the best way to ensure an even hem.  Ask me how I know... So, you're going to iron the bottom of your tube of fabric up 1 inch.  I have a metal measuring tool that you can easily pick up anywhere (like Walmart) but I couldn't find it, so I just used my thick plastic ruler.  Measure up 1 inch all the way around to the wrong side or inside and iron that in place.  Now you'll take that 1 inch and fold it up again.  Iron this in place.  This puts your hem on the inside of your skirt and encloses your raw edges so nothing will ravel.  It also looks nice and professional.

 Once this is ironed in place, you may want to pin...I live dangerously and went without it.  Line up the top fold along the inside of your presser foot.  I moved my needle close to the left edge and sewed a straight line all the way around.  This takes practice to stay straight and not sew off the edge.  Go slow if you're unsure and you'll be fine.  (Another sidenote...hems are a great place to use all those decorative stitches on your sewing machine if you're using a plain fabric.)

6.  Now, onto the grommets for the waistband.  If you look at the inspiration photo, the decorative ribbon tie is threaded through grommets.  So, I drove up to Walmart, picked out a set and the hardware needed to install them and went to work.  You could also just put in 2 buttonholes, but the buttonholer is often intimidating to new sewers (who am I kidding, me too sometimes!) so I thought I'd learn something new with you.
     I started by getting the waistband ready.  I did it just like the hem, but first I measured and ironed down a half inch and then measured and ironed down an inch and a half.

Again, this is the inside of the skirt...sorry for the double sided fabric!
Once I got that all ready to sew, I unfolded it all and figured out where to put my grommets.  I measured my skirt.  Right now, it's 27 inches across.  So I marked a spot at 13 1/2 inches as my midpoint right below my waistband fold.  Then I laid down the grommets about an inch away from that and followed the directions on the grommet package including adding a little thick interfacing.  If you don't have interfacing/even know what that is, you could use a scrap of fabric here that you've also cut holes in!
This is the outside of the skirt!
    Once those were hammered in, I folded the waistband back down and got ready to sew it up.  We're almost done now!

  7.  Now that your grommets are attached and your waistband is folded back down to sew, go back to your machine and sew the waistband along the folded edge just like you did the hem, being careful near the grommets not to sew over them.  EXCEPT, you're going to leave a gap of 2-3 inches unsewn.  I usually make this gap near one of the side seams.  Once you've got the waistband sewn, you're ready to add the elastic.

Take your waist measurement from the beginning and cut a piece of 1-inch elastic slightly smaller than that.  You want it to stay put!  Attach safety pins to both ends of your elastic.  Pin one end to the waistband opening and begin to thread the other pin through the channel created by sewing your waistband shut.  You can use the pin in the channel to guide your elastic through and the other pin will keep your loose end from getting lost inside the channel.  When that happens, you have to pull it all out and start don't want to know how many times I've done that.  ;)

   When you get your elastic threaded back to the opening, you'll want to sew it together.  Remove the safety pins, line up your elastic edges and zigzag stitch back and forth over the edges to keep them together.  Once done, slip the elastic into the channel, get it all straightened out and sew up the opening left in your waistband.

8.  Now all we have left to do is thread our ribbon through and try it on!  Use that safety pin again to put your ribbon through one grommet and out the other.  Get it evenly in both holes, trim up the ends (you may want to heat set the ends by holding them near a candle flame.  Get them close enough you can see the ends seal without getting so close you set them on fire.  But, believe me, you can quickly blow the fire out...I have!)  I chose to just cut the ends in a V-shape and call it a day!  And you are ready to show off your new creation!

I know this seems like a lot of steps, but it honestly took me twice as long to write out the directions and take the pictures as it did to make the skirt and I NEVER make up my own patterns.  That's how easy this actually is.  And the best part about this skirt is, once you've mastered it, the doors of garment making are flung open to you.  This is a basic elastic skirt pattern...adapt it with different fabrics, leave out the grommets, make it for any size, lengthen it and run the ribbon through the grommets and make it a halter top.  For that matter, you could lengthen it and add elastic at the bottom too to make a really cute tube top.  Or add elastic to the bottom to make a bubble skirt.  Add side pockets (which I usually do...who doesn't love pockets?) See what I mean?  Once you've got the basics down, you can adapt them in so many ways!

    So, what do you think?  I will definitely be making some more skirts for spring and summer this year, but the next one will have pockets!  And maybe one with a yoga waistband...and a few dresses too.  Oh, and definitely some strapless shirts.  I made a couple last year that turned out really cute.  Hmmm...maybe my next tutorial?  Well, they're so easy, you don't really need a tutorial, but maybe some pics anyway!  Any requests out there?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Post--A lesson in wire wrapping

Like I mentioned yesterday, we're having a wonderful guest post today from an old friend of mine!  I'm more into the sewing side of fashion while she's into the accessorizing.  She's brought us an amazing tutorial today to get you started in jewelry making too!  AND....a giveaway!!!  I have these earrings and I love them!  Read on...

Hi Lovely Fans of Small Town Stitcher!

I am so excited to be here! Kelli and I go way back to high school and 4-H! She was the awesome sew chick and I showed market hogs (crazy I know)! We lost touch for a long time but thanks to Facebook have been reunited! Yay! We are so much alike that we even named our daughters Emma who both happen to be six! Whoa! We even lived 30 minutes away from each other for years and didn't know it until I happened to be moving away to the beach :( Boo! But, now she has a place to visit on a pristine beach! Yay!

So, a little about me! My name is Tricia and I am the face behind I Heart Rock n Roll (and my crafty things too). I am Mom to 2 great kids, Christian and Emma, and wife to Noah (or Big Daddy as I like to call him). I was blessed many times over when we moved to the beach (blessing) and got to quit my boring government job (blessing) and started crafting full-time (blessing) you see the trend...:)

Please come and visit me on Facebook, my blog, and Etsy store!

Now, for the tutorial I chose the basic earring. Once you master the wire-wrapping technique you can make all sorts of other jewelry so this is the best thing to learn right away! This is my first tutorial so I tried to take tons of pictures!!! Please feel free to contact me,, with any questions, comments, and/or suggestions you may have! I would love to hear from you!

  • Gather your tools - you will need round-nose pliers, flat-nose pliers, and cutters (these tools are easily found at all craft stores and even Walmart).
  • Gather your headpins, desired earwires, and beads - I used 1-1/2 inch headpins, leverbacks with open loop, and beads (make sure the beads you choose do not exceed half the length of the headpin). 

  • Slide your beads on the headpin in the order desired.

  • Using the round-nose pliers grab the headpin right above the top bead.

  • Push the headpin away from you to a 90 degree angle.

Side view of the 90 degree angle.
  • Keeping hold of the headpin slide the round-nose pliers to face  up (see picture) so the nose is stacked vertically. Take the headpin and pull it up, over (in one motion), and down.

Side view of this step - should look like a ?

  • Keeping hold of the headpin slide the round-nose pliers to face back in the original position and push the headpin underneath and away from you creating a loop! :)

  • Using the flat-nose pliers grab the loop (keeping it flat between the nose), take your other hand grabbing the tail of the headpin and wrap it around the headpin above the beads keeping it close to each revolution until you are flush with the top bead.

  • Cut the excess tail as close to the top bead as you can. You will see a little bit of the tail left which is okay! Take the flat-nose pliers and smoosh the tail to lay flush with the wrapping.

  • Using the flat-nose pliers open the loop on the earwire, slide your earring on and close! You are done!!!!!! :)



Enter to win these cute earrings! All you have to do is:

Mandatory Entries:
  • Become a public follower of Small Town Stitcher's Blog (1 entry)
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Bonus Entries:
  • Blog, tweet, facebook about this giveaway (up to 3 entries)
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Contest ends Friday at midnight EST! Winner announced Saturday!!!!! Go Gators!

Tricia L.
I Heart Rock n Roll (and my crafty things too)

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