Image Map

Monday, May 30, 2011

Apron Giveaway Winner!

So here are the results for the Apron Giveaway. There were 134 entries and I thank everyone for entering. I am pasting this random number generator below. If you would like one for your giveaways just go to and you can get a widget for your blog there. Fun stuff!
Well, when I went to add the winner the generator reset again so I can't post it. Maybe not such a great widget afterall. Or I did it wrong. 
The winner was number 30.
And that is Kimbuck JR who I will be e-mailing and getting the apron out within a couple days. Have a good Memorial Day ! God Bless those who have died for our country.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Life In Sewing Patterns

I went to my first estate sale today. It was in the San Fernando valley. 
Northridge to be exact.
 Northridge is a bedroom community in the suburbs of LA. A lot of young families moved to the area after World War II to buy the affordable yet homogenous homes that quickly took the place of the orange fields that had once been there. Many of those first homeowners are dying now and Estate Sales are common. It's a little strange walking through a dead person's home. In speaking to a woman named Victoria who was working at the sale I learned that the woman whose home it had been had been a professional singer but she also sewed a lot and her name was Marge. In the garage I found a large box of patterns stuffed on a shelf as well as lots of fabrics and notions. I was starting to go through the box when Victoria told me I could just take the whole thing for ten dollars. Why not?, I thought. So I paid and carried it to my car. I then returned to get some of the fabric and notions which were another ten dollars and I couldn't leave without a few record albums as well. I have a weakness for kitsch and left with some great sixties soundtracks. The Valley of The Dolls, Westside Story, The Sound of Music, Porgy and Bess, and The Lady and The Tramp,and Sammy Davis Jr. 
When I returned home I started to go throughout the big box of patterns and it felt a little eerie.  I think you can learn a lot about people by just their sewing patterns. I found patterns from the early sixties all the way up to 2008. There must have been some little girls in the family because there were lots of children's patterns from the mid sixties and teen and trendy youthful patterns from the seventies. I also found two wedding dress patterns, one from 1980, and the other from 1983, which makes me conclude Marge's daughter's were getting married about this time. I found a whole set of Marlo Thomas patterns who was the actress that played in the hit TV show That Girl in the seventies.I found were two children's patterns with a very young Brooke Shields on the envelope as the model.The patterns from the early sixties must have been before Marge had children because they were the smallest size. The women's patterns from the late sixties and seventies were still quite fashionable but the later patterns took on a more serious air as she got older. There were lots of career woman patterns from the late seventies to the nineties so Marge must have been working at this time. Then the patterns from the late nineties and on became matronly and there were only a couple patterns from the last decade so I'm guessing she was getting too old to sew much. Also the patterns got gradually larger through the decades as many of us do. Many of the patterns were unused. It reminds me of all the projects I hope to start but never do.
Maybe someday some stranger will be going through my patterns and wondering about me too.
So here is my photo tribute to a life discovered through someone's sewing patterns.

Outfits for a young wife in the sixties.

Outfits for little girls in the sixties.

More outfits for the girls as teens in the seventies.

Outfits for a fashion conscious mom in the seventies.

Outfits for a sporty Southern California family. I found a lot of swimsuit and tennis outfit patterns.I can't wait to try making a seventies swimsuit.

I found two wedding patterns from 1980 and 1983. One was used , one wasn't. Maybe a daughter was going to get married then didn't, or maybe she just didn't like the pattern.
Power suits from the eighties for a working woman. Marge may have became more professional as she got older.

More work outfits from the nineties. Becoming less structured.
And last we have some leisure type looks from the early 2000's that an older woman might wear in her retirement.
There were over 100 patterns in all. I'm not quite sure what to do with them . Any suggestions?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Make A Tiny 1/8 inch Couture Hem for Sheer Fabrics

When I was making a bridal gown I took a class from master couture sewing expert Susan Khalje. I learned a technique from her which I will share with you. Have you ever had  problems hemming sheer fabrics like organza, chiffon, or cotton batiste? You can't sew a normal hem because it will show through and look bad and a serger hem looks mass produced. Mrs. Khalje doesn't think very highly of sergers, I might add. I for one have a rather unfriendly relationship with mine! One method of hemming sheer fabrics is a rolled hem which is done by hand but this tiny machine hem method is a faster and easier method. For some reason I have never read about this method in any of my sewing books. I believe it is a couture secret. I hope she doesn't mind my giving it away!

1. Start with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Fold over the hem 3/8 of an inch and iron to the wrong side.

2. Now stitch with about a 2mm length stitch with a very thin machine needle as close as you can to the fold. About 1/8 of an inch from the fold.

3. Take some small scissors and trim as close as you can to the stitch line you just made.

4. Finger fold the hem over one more time as small as you can, between about 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch to cover the raw edge and stitch again. The stitch line will almost be at the hem fold and will barely be noticeable.

5. This is how it will look from the right side. As you can see from the tape measure it's about 1/8 of an inch.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ottobre Designs: Remedy For A Sewist's Shopping Hangover

First of all I have to say thanks for all the nice comments on my homemade apron giveaway. I got some new followers and I look forward to checking out your blogs too. I was part of the Sewmamasew Giveaway blog event and I can't believe how much traffic that brought to my little blog for a couple of days. I felt like one of those blogging big shots.Well, we mustn't let things like that go to our heads shall we? 
Onward soldier!
I was out on a rare shopping trip with my girls yesterday. Forever 21 and H& M for Isabelle my 15 year old, and H&M Kids and Gymboree for my 8 year old and 23 month old. Gymboree was having a sale where everything in the store was 13.99 or under so it was hard to resist. I bought Gigi the most adorable Esther Williams style 40's one piece ruffled bathing suit with a matching swim cap. They all got some cute things for Summer.

But the whole time we were out I was thinking, I can make that, that , and that. Why am I buying this stuff ?  Well, I fell off the handmade wagon, and was feeling regretful for buying things I could have made. In essence, I felt like a sellout! We sewists put a lot of pressure on ourselves and just because we CAN make something doesn't mean we always want to. I cook but I still like to eat out. Sometimes food tastes so much better at someone else's house doesn't it?
So here are some of my thoughts about allowing myself to fall off the sewing wagon:

  • Most commercial patterns don't have designs for some of the trendier, more fashion forward looks you can find in shops.
  • It would take me forever to draft all the patterns in the shops from scratch.
  • It would take me a couple of days to make something that I might be able to buy for cheaper than it would cost me to get the raw materials.
  • I was just plain lazy and hadn't shopped in ages and hey, shopping is fun sometimes if you have the cash.
  • My collection of vintage children's patterns isn't really appreciated by my girls yet, although Lily is a vintage toy collector...
Yes it might be cheaper to buy things ready made sometimes, but how are these super low prices achievable? Well, I covered my thoughts about conditions in overseas factories in another post so I won't focus on that now but it is a big reason to make your own clothes.

But here we have OTTOBRE MAGAZINE coming to the rescue! Fashionable kids patterns to make at home. OK, Ottobre Magazine isn't cheap at about 20 dollars an issue to have the English translation of this Finnish Magazine sent to me in the US, but each issue has about forty patterns you can cut out and use. If you make about five designs per issue that comes to four dollars a pattern, which isn't too bad

They have some really fun everyday clothing designs for kids. I would like to start making more separates as I only seem to make dresses for the girls. Here are some of my favorite looks from the 2011 Spring and Summer issues:

So back to shopping. Do any of you also suffer that guilty feeling when you buy something in a shop that you know you could easily or not so easily make? It sounds crazy but I felt like I was cheating on my sewing machine!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Child's Apron Giveaway!

Hey folks! I'm glad you stopped by and today just might be your lucky day so why not sign up for my first blog giveaway?
You just might win this reversible child's half apron I made from preshrunk Tina Givens Fairy Cupcake fabric and trimmed with crochet along the edges. There are little cupcakes and fairies all over this cheerful apron. It will fit from about age 2 till about age 12.

How to sign up?Just leave a comment below! If you like this blog and decide to follow it or press my Facebook Like button you will get an extra vote but it isn't required. However, if you do follow, please mention it in your comment so I can find you in the Followers section. 
If you win I will ship the apron to you all expenses paid anywhere!  I will be using a random number generator to choose the winner . Your number will be assigned by the comment order and if you follow I will add you to the end of the comment list.

This giveaway will remain open till Sunday May 29 when the winner will be picked and I will send the package out on Monday April 30. Good luck!
If you are visiting from the sew mama sew Giveaway Day welcome and if you make children's clothing you are also invited to post your projects on my Kids Sewing Saturday linky party ! I hate to be such a shameless self- promoter  but you can also stop by my Etsy shop here and have a look around.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sewing For kids Saturday and a New Dress for Gigi

I was shopping in the garment district of LA when I stumbled upon a fabulous fabric in the two dollar a yard bin at the back of Micheal Levine's. It was like a rose among thorns and I snatched it up right away. A yellow background with brown branches that upon closer inspection are birds!

The design is whimsical but the color palette is sophisticated. So now I have a new fabric designer I love and her name is Tula Pink. This pattern is from her Nest line designed for Moda Fabrics.

Being the fourth daughter Gigi is the recipient of mostly hand me downs. Her wardrobe has been starting to get a little shabby lately so I thought I would whip her up a little outfit from the fabric mentioned. I used McCall's 6164, a simple and quick toddler dress and made a headband from my bow tutorial you can find here.

 Gigi's big sister has asked me to make her a matching outfit and when I searched Tula Pinks blog I found the exact same fabric made up into this skirt . Funny, I also trimmed my dress with the same brown bias trim. 

So I hope I have enough fabric left to make both. Now I wish I had bought more than 5 yards. Don't you hate when that happens?
After making a wedding dress, a first communion dress and a baptism gown in the last six months I can tell you I am only too happy to be getting back into color. Color makes me happy!
Oh and today is also Sewing For Kids Saturday so if any of you have any kids sewing projects to link up, I would love to share what you have been working on!
Here are a couple of cute pieces from the last Sewing Saturday. However, they were all cute !

So Lets' Start Linking!
I'm linked here:



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upcycling or Refashioning Projects and Tutorials

 I am entering some of my past projects to an online contest for refashioned clothing so I have gone through some of my past posts and tutorials on this blog. My baby has grown a lot in just the past several months since I have made these projects. These are just some of the sweaters I started making. I put the ones I didn't use in my friends' shop and on my Etsy shop. Unfortunately we are going into Summer  but you can always make some of these yourselves and put them away for Fall. I also have a few grown up projects thrown in here too because Baby can't have all the fun!

Three adult sweaters cut up and made into a baby sweater.

Detail from another baby sweater I made from an adult one.

Two ill fitting blouses turned into one better fitting one. The blue shirt looked bad on me but I had to save the embroideries. I loved that owl especially.

An old mans sweater turned into a baby vest. I was going for a sort of German Edelweiss look here.

An old lady's sweater turned into a fancy baby sweater. I call this one The Jackie O.

Another old cashmere sweater turned into a baby sweater. I made my own bias trim to add to it. Click here for my baby sweater making tutorial.

Two sweaters turned into one. I love the cassette applique.

Sleeves from one of the sweaters made into baby pants. Click here for the how-to.

From old jeans and a skirt and pillow fabric to a purse and a kid's headband. For the tutorial on making the headband click here.

Mens shirt into peasant blouse. Click here to see the tutorial.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner. I hope you enjoyed this little show and tell.

I am linking to:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...