Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My favorite dress yet.

This dress helped me face another sewing goal. Decorative Pockets. I bought this pattern (Butterrick 4172) and said I don't care how long it takes me I am making those pockets. It wasn't difficult at all, and they have great possibilities because you can use contrasting fabrics for the inside and outside. I used restraint with this dress. I always want to use so much color. I love the clothing made of muted linen fabrics that you see in Japanese craft books, but I just can't do it. The fact that this dress is just two colors is progress for me. I wanted to slap a green button on the front at the end, but I made myself just walk away. This dress is also the best fit I have managed for Saga which I am very happy about. So another goal down. I should face making a romper again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I am so happy!

Astrid from Connecting the dots... gave me the E for Excellent Blog award. Let's just say she made my day. I was so thrilled to receive it from her because I enjoy her blog immensely.

So now I will pass it on to a few blogs that I love, and look forward to each new post.

To Jeanne at Nantucket Mermaid. Jeanne and I have shared some pretty exciting times together. She is an amazing artist, and also has very talented sons. You are very lucky if you get to spend some time with Jeanne because she will have you laughing nonstop.
To Lisa and Sarah at A Spoonful of Sugar. How can I not love reading about a mother and daughter sewing team. They have excellent organization tips and tutorials. I can't wait to see what projects they do together in the summer.
To Jessica at Turkey Cookies. I feel that Jessica and I are on the same mission, to enjoy this summer to the fullest. I love reading about her summer days, and her commitment to local food.

Enjoy ladies, and thank you for making my day brighter!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Got to love orange buttons.

I visited a new to me thrift store and was met with with a wonderful surprise. Patterns! I am never lucky at the thrift store, but it was my day. I found the sweetest size two patterns and they have never been used. Most of them are from the 70's which just excites me to no end. I also found a group of patterns from the 80's for me.

This is the new shirt I made for myself using one of the found patterns. It is from '82. I really like how it turned out. The fabric is an old sheet which I also found at the thrift store. I wanted to try out the pattern first before I used new fabric because I had to make size adjustments. I actually like this sheet shirt. Does it scream hello, I used to be a sheet? I also love how I got to use my vintage orange buttons. Really how many opportunities do you have to use orange buttons. I think I am going to take my sheet out for a spin today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let the sun shine!

There is reason to celebrate in our home. My husband has graduated from a solar installation/maintenance program. For years he worked in Logistics and IT and was not happy. When I had Saga he became a stay at home dad, and loved every minute of it. He has always been interested in alternative energy, and vows one day we will live off the grid. I am so thankful that he was offered this training through a Federal grant. Now he can do what he is passionate about, and that is cause for celebration.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Last of the summer dresses.

I think this will be the last summer dress. Saga has several now, and luckily it will stay warm here until mid-October. I just cut this out with kimono sleeves and hoped for the best. I added a front center seam which I really like. I also like the combination of the two fabrics together. I am so happy with how this dress turned out. Yeah success! It is a simple little dress, but suits Saga well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mission Santa Cruz

I love history. My husband and I have always spent our vacations like this: fly into an airport with loads of camping gear, rent a car, drive around for two weeks stopping at every historical marker.Well living in California we are a bit historically deprived. I grew up in a town where an old house meant it was built in the 1940's. But we do have our Mission's all 21 of them. I see the missions as Mexican and Californian history, known as the history of Greater Mexico. So we started this weekend by visiting Mission Santa Cruz for the first time. It is one of the few missions that has the original adobe apartments used by the converted Native Americans. They are beautiful in their simplicity. My husband lived in an adobe home just like them as a child in rural Mexico. Visiting Mission Santa Cruz reminded me how each mission has its own history and "personality". I look forward to sharing California with Saga and showing her how many became one which is what California is really about.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We have a zipper.

So I faced my fear of my zipper, actually it was the fear of the zipper foot. Just figuring how to get that thing on the machine was half the battle. (I have a old school machine, but it has never let me down.) I started with Michelle's glue stick zipper tutorial which is great, and guess what, it was easy, easy! I did start my zipper down too far and had to add a hook and an eye at the end. I can't tell you how many times I pass on a pattern because it has a zipper, but those days are over. Yeah! I haven't put in a zipper for 15 years, and all I've got to say is what's next.

I think you can see why Saga loves breakfast at IKEA. I do too, $5.15 gets you breakfast for three.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Old Friend

Okay this is my good friend. I am embarrassed to say it, but it is my 5th BBW top. This is my favorite type of top to wear when it is 90 degress and your classroon has no air conditioning. I know I need to take risks in sewing if I want to improve. But I need to take baby steps. Years and years ago I made most of my clothes. I was always trying new techniques, and often becoming frustrated. Eventually I became focused on what I could not do and not the progress I was making. I just gave it up, didn't sew clothes again for years. I can't help myself from thinking what I would be able to do now if I never walked away. I am making some sewing goals for myself. One of the wonderful things about sewing is there is so much to learn. (That is also what I love about teaching.) So here I go on my way to goal number one. Zipper.
ps. Can anyone share how to take a picture of gingham without it getting "wavy"?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hi shirt, we are not friends.

It started off so well. I really liked the pattern, and I love this fabric. I was happy with the pleats, and I made my machine sew through that bias tape and it hates thick layers. I accepted that I would have to make adjustments, and I promised myself not to get worked up about it. But the neck is huge, and there was no way my machine was going to go through those layers again without a bent needle or worse. I was going to abandon it all together, but I kept going. I planned all along to wear this shirt over a fitted knit shirt. When I was putting on the buttons I realized just one at the top looked better, and kind of made the collar acceptable. (I may just be fooling myself here. ) But I swear I think it really works. I think I should rename this blog, The Misadventures in Sewing. Now I am going to make a BBW shirt to just get over this experience.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Following the rules.

I made this top (McCall's 4756) over the weekend. I added a collar, and I really like how it turned out. This polka dot cotton fabric is so soft I couldn't wait to use it. Believe it or not, I also made a pair of denim white shorts to go with the top while Saga was playing in the room with me. As I finished the last seam I was just amazed at how long she entertained herself on her own. She was wrapping her baby doll up in scrap fabric and elastic, and this lasted for 1/2 hour. It may never happen again, but it was wonderful. As the photos above prove I followed all my self imposed rules. I used pins, used tools, and followed along with the pattern. Maybe I am turning over a new leaf...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weekend Fun

I took this photo of Saga a couple of days ago. She added some decoration to the bedroom wall. Her expression says it all. The funny thing is she tried to hide the crayons from me. She really is growing up fast. I made this dress for her right before summer started. Just look at the colors I was dreaming of summer time.

On Saturday I went to the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. It was great to see in person what people are making. The fair was held in a beautiful area of SF. It was nice to walk around and enjoy the beautiful views of the bay. It was very overcast, that is why I don't have any decent photos to share. The cool weather was welcomed after the heat wave we had this week.
Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The romper that became a jumper.

Well here it is. I couldn't get a shot of Saga wearing it because I will not fit her until she is 5, or grows 5 inches in all directions. I haven't added the buttons because I am waiting on a package of vintage buttons I bought on Etsy. So what went wrong?
It all started when I decided not to cut out the pattern notches when I was cutting out the fabric. So when I began to sew I had no idea where to start/stop the rise. Instead of having Saga try it on or break out the pattern, I guessed. Obviously, I guessed wrong and decided to go with the jumper style. ( I had to go a buy more fabric too!) No need for an intervention, I promise myself to never do this again! For now on when I sew I will follow the cardinal rules of sewing:
1) use the pattern guides
2) mark the fabric when needed
3) peruse the pattern instructions
4) use pins
5) fix mistakes immediately and not just think it will still work out
6) use measurements
Okay, I think that is all I can handle right now and stick to my word.

I want to thank the ladies who always encourage me. You have made sewing not such a solitary activity.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Little House...

My brother and I in 1973.

It started way back when my mom would make me clothes that looked like this yellow dress. Almost everything she made me had a pinafore and a bonnet. During this summer I have rediscovered my love for Little House on the Prairie. I have decided that I want the entire wardrobe of the Caroline Ingalls. Yes, I will have to shorten the skirts, and have some short sleeved shirts, but I love how simple her dress is. So, when I see the shirts I make with my favorite calico fabrics I am not going to worry is it too Little House. I am just going to admit completely inspired by Caroline Ingalls.

Update: The romper I made is no longer a romper. I had to make adjustments due to my refusal to follow a pattern. I will post it on Friday.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New dress. Okay, maybe nightgown.

I so anxious to use some of this trim that I made up this little dress last night. When it was finished I immediately thought it looks like a nightgown. I am always overly critical of what I make so I just put the thought aside. This morning before going out when my husband saw Saga in her new dress and shoes he asked me why is she still wearing her nightgown. I said it is a dress and went on to story time. But tell me, is this a dress or a nightgown?

Oh well, at least Saga is starting to pose in pictures for me. This is a big improvement over me chasing her with the camera and only getting shots from the back. I am working on a romper right now, but if you want to see the cutest one ever check out what Frida's mom made her.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day out in SF

Today we went to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. They have a butterfly exhibit that I wanted Saga to see. It was wonderful, although she was nervous when butterflies would land on her. Yesterday I bought some new patterns that I want to try. I feel I need to push myself to move away from all my tried and true patterns. But I want to keep it simple because I want sewing to always be enjoyable and not a time of hand wringing or cursing. I am proud to say both Saga and I are wearing tops that I made. That is such a good feeling.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fall sewing begins.

Over the weekend Saga was given a couple of sundresses. I realized she now has plenty of summer clothes, so I need to start making things to fall. I love this simple dress (Butterrick 3477) because I can add a top underneath to match the weather. I left the hem unfinished until the fall. Today at Joann's all notions are 50% off. I have several tools I want to get and have been waiting for this sale. I have my list ready.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Top with Touch from the Past

This has to be the quickest and easiest shirt to make, ever. I love the fit, and how they just say summer. I used some chambray that is very soft and a great hue of blue. The best part is the trim on the sleeves. My mom gave this to me over the weekend. When I was growing up my mom kept all of her trims and ribbons in a drawer. I would go through the drawer and make requests, a dress with this ribbon , or a shirt with this ribbon. Luckily my mom saved all of them. While sewing on the trim last night I could remember looking at it long ago. Thank you, mom.