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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Inspiring City: Charleston, South Carolina

Every once in awhile you visit a place that seduces you with its beauty, charm, and mystery.
I have to admit I was taken by surprise on my visit to Charleston last week.
The combination of the history, southern gentility, and torpid heat had this California girl swooning.
It was love at first sight.
Charleston is a true southern belle.

I love to visit old graveyards.
How about you?

We went to Charleston for the weekend on our visit to Charlotte to visit one of my great friends and her daughters.
I was so happy to be able to visit her!
I have a few very good friends who live far away and I am so grateful to be able to visit them once in awhile to keep our friendships strong!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Remember Provence Apron Tutorial

Hello readers!

Below is an apron tutorial I shared last week at Family Ever After blog where I was a featured guest.

This little apron was also featured in the April edition of the online Magazine called Parisienne Farmgirl.
So, it has already been around the block ,but here it is again.

It's an easy and fun little crafty project.

But first, I need to announce the winner of the Peek A Boo Pattern Giveaway.
Congratulations to Leigh Ann who blogs over at Sew Blessed!
I hope to see some of your sewn up patterns on Sew & Tell Saturday!
I will be emailing you.

Voila, the  Remember Provence apron....

Being the Francophile I am, I  love and have collected a few of those pretty striped grain sacks on my travels.
I've made pillows from them and often thought about making an apron from one, but was afraid to ruin the beautiful and rare fabric!
I love to combine hand painting with my sewing projects and this tutorial is a perfect combination of both.
A little arts and a little crafts!
You, or the recipient of this little apron can be the Belle Du Jour when you wear it.

Materials needed:
3/4 yard mid weight natural colored linen
1/4 yard  gingham fabric for the ties
Red fabric paint
Masking tape
A paintbrush

Here is my handpainted grainsack on the left next to an antique one I own on the right. This fabric can be used on lots of  projects besides aprons!

Waistband detail above. For the skirt I omitted the fourth 3/8 inch stripe.
Oh I almost forgot, Hem the apron skirt before you attach it to the waistband!

If you make one , please link it on Sew & Tell Saturday, I would love to see it.


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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Country snapshots: finding eggs for mom

It was Sunday morning and everyone wanted pancakes.
But we needed eggs.
So out went our little egg collector wearing her little apron and wellies.

Careful not to let the doggy in to scare the hens!

We needed two eggs for our recipe.

The little egg collector now had to bring these eggs safely to the kitchen without dropping and breaking the precious cargo.

In exchange for her hard work, our little helper got to stir the mix!
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Sew And Tell Saturday July 28, 2012

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday!
If you stopped by last week, sorry I couldn't get the party up. 
I was in Charleston, South Carolina with my daughters, my good friend, and her daughters. 
What a beautiful and historic city it was.
We also enjoyed the beaches at nearby Isle of Palms. where the water is so warm .
Wandering the history and heat laden streets we felt like characters from a Tennessee Williams story.

And Lord, the food there...
Fried green tomatoes, collard greens, shrimp and grits, cornbread, fried chicken....
The list of great eats there is a long one!
I hope to go again one day and will post photos this week..

I have something special today for you.

A Giveaway!

I was included yesterday in the Peek A Boo Patterns 
blog tour and made the Santa Monica Tankini.

Amy from Peek A Boo Patterns is hosting a pattern giveaway on my blog here.
She is giving away three free patterns from her adorable children's pattern shop, Peek A Boo Patterns.

To enter the giveaway go to this post after you link up.



Rachel from House Of Pinheiro was rocking this bird print dress she designed and made.

Charlotte from Sew Far So Good made this lovely summer linen dress.

Sew Chibi made this totally adorable little halter dress for her little cutie!

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Santa Monica Tankini

So I am the last stop on the Peek A Boo Pattern Tour!
I had a fun time looking through all of Amy's patterns when deciding which pattern to sew, and this cute little number jumped out at me.

Gigi needed a new bathing suit and I loved the little butt ruffle on the pattern!

Toddlers + Butt Ruffles = irresistible cuteness.

Totally random info, but we used to live in Santa Monica.
Great beaches and I miss the bike path.

I had a little bit of wide, red striped fabric left over from the strong man costume I made for the play I was working on last month.

As you can see this costume took quite a bit of fabric. I had some big scraps left over and was aching to make something cute like a bathing suit.

Sewing for little kids is a lot more fun and easy than sewing for big, grown actors with hard to fit bodies. 
But this actor was a real sweetie.
And the fabric was free!

bathing suit sewing pattern
This was the first time I made a bathing suit and it was quite painless.
The directions were clear and the fit is accurate.
I am itching to make myself one now.

peek a bo patterns
Here are the little ruffles!
If I could get away with it, I'd wear them too.
I made the ruffles two and a half times the width of the bathing suit bottom, longer than the pattern advised. I like really full ruffles.
The ideal standard for a ruffle is usually 2.5 times the width of garment for thicker fabric and three times the width for very thin fabrics.
Ready to wear will often be less, so as to save on fabric costs.

It was a little chilly during this photo shoot. 
Poor Gigi is shivering a little.
We threw a sweater on her right after this.

I love that grumpy face!

I have been loving the color combination of aqua and red. It looks so fresh and modern.

If you would like to try making this pattern yourself it is on sale today for only five dollars, 40% off the normal price!
Not only is the Santa Monica Tankini pattern on sale today,
 but there is also a giveaway.
One lucky winner will win three patterns of their choice from the Peek a boo Pattern shop.

If you would like to win, visit the shop and come back here to leave a comment saying which three patterns you would choose.

This giveaway will remain open until Sunday, July 29, at 11:00 PM PST.
The winner will be announced Monday, July 30.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Has Sewing Turned You Into A Shopping Grinch?

Before I started sewing seriously for myself and kids on a regular basis, I enjoyed shopping with my friends, by myself, and with my kids. 
Well, take back that part about shopping with kids....
That's not so fun.

In fact, now that I look back, I treated it as a kind of sport.
Finding great deals at outlet malls and discount shops like Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack gave me a rush.

The thrill of the hunt I guess.

Over the last few years my shopping habit has dwindled more and more. When I go shopping with my daughters, I often hear myself telling them things like, 

"I can make that in a few hours. Let me take a photo of that outfit so I can try to copy it at home."

"Look, at the cheap quality of that fabric!"

 "How can they afford to sell that garment at that price? It was probably made by indentured servants so we can buy it, and watch it end up on your bedroom floor."

 In short, I have become a real pain and bore to go shopping with, what with my complaining about the low quality of fabrics and the underpaid labor in third world countries and the surreptitious dressing room use of my i- phone to take pictures of outfits that inspire me.

 So when I started packing to go and visit my friend and her daughters in North Carolina, I realized how sparse my girls wardrobes were. 

If it wasn't handmade, it was from the thrift shop. Their bathing suits were on the shabby side too. 
We were going to be going to a luxury beach resort in Charleston for the weekend and things there are more dressy than laid beck So Cal.

 I was being thrifty and resourceful but maybe I had gone a little overboard? 
 It was time for me to go shopping for some new clothes for everybody, myself included.

 After buying several outfits, I found myself feeling grouchy and guilty on the ride home. 
Not because of the money spent, that wasn't the issue. The shopping trip was within our budget and I bought everything on sale. 

The girls were really excited but I was not being very nice about things at all.  I felt like I had failed my handmade goals by buying a bunch of clothes which I would have preferred to make!

 I was guilty of being prideful.

That night I started thinking to myself and after much thought I decided I needed to lighten up.

Just because you can do something like make clothes or grow your own food doesn't mean you have to do it all on your own. For instance, we grow our own vegetables and buy our meat from a local rancher but I still shop at the grocery store and I don't feel guilty about that. 

I was putting too much pressure on myself! 

 If I wasn't careful I was going to make my kids neurotic. After all, shopping when you need some new outfits isn't a terrible thing.

 I had swung too far in the opposite direction of my former ways.

So readers. How about you? 
If you sew or make something else that you could buy instead, do you beat yourself up or feel like a failure when you decide to buy what you could have made? 
Are you taking all of the fun out shopping too? 
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guest Post Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

  Hi readers! 
Today my guest poster is Jamie from Scattered Thoughts Of A Crafty Mom.
You may have seen her featured here before on my link party. Jamie is a genius at making children's clothing and writing tutorials for sewing her adorable and fun kids' designs.

Welcome Jamie!

Hi Everyone! My name is Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.   I am so happy to have an opportunity to guest post here at Sew Country Chick.  Justine is such a talented seamstress, I just love to looking at all of her fabulous creations and of course linking up at her link party every Saturday!  
  My blog, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom is all about sewing, crafting, and fun family recipes. I would love for you to stop by sometime to check out some of my projects.
Today I am sharing one of my favorite projects, these upcycled patchwork shorts I made for my son.
Do you have a pile of outgrown t-shirts just sitting around, waiting to be given away or tuned into rags?  Well don't get rid or those tees!  Make something new out of them instead!
The shorts may look complicated, but they really are a fun and simple project.  The best part is since you are using knits, you don't have to finish any seams! 
To make these shorts you need:
  • 5 or 6 old tees (you could use more or less depending on the size of the shirts and variation you want.)
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter/cutting mat
  • Your favorite shorts pattern (If you don't have a short pattern, I will include instructions to draw your own pattern at the bottom of the post)
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • Ball point needle (always use a ball point needle on knits!)
  • basic sewing supplies
Step 1: Cutting your fabric squares and assembling the fabric panel.
Cut your t-shirts apart at the seams and use your ruler to cut out 4 inch squares.  Pay attention to the designs on the shirts, you may want to center your squares over certain areas to preserve a design or word.  (Depending on the t-shirt and where I placed the 1st cut, I was able to get 12 to 18 squares from each shirt,   I cut fewer squares on the shirts where I tried to preserve a design or word.)   After cutting the squares, arrange them into a pattern you like.  Use your shorts pattern to determine how big the fabric panel needs to be.  
Start sewing your blocks together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
I pulled the shorts out of the dryer for this photo. (It is one year later and the have held up very well.)
Step 2:  Cutting the shorts pattern from the fabric.
  Very Important!!!  When cutting shorts you need to make sure your fabric lays either right or wrong sides together when cutting the 2 front and 2 back pattern pieces.  You can do this two ways.  Either lay your fabric panels out wrong sides together and cut 2 at once (this is what happens when you fold your fabric in half) or lay your fabric out side by side and flip the pattern while cutting one at a time.  That is what I did in the photo below:
Cut out the 2 front pieces and 2 back pieces.
Step 3:  Assembling the shorts.
Step 4:  Creating the casing and hemming the shorts.
To create the casing, fold the top edge of the shorts over 1/4 inch and press.  Fold the edge over another 3/4 inch and press again.     Sew along the folded edge, leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening to slide the elastic through.   Cut a piece of 1/2 inch elastic.  (start with the waist measurement plus 1 inch.)  Attach the elastic to to safety pin and run through the casing.  (To ensure a good fit, I always try the shorts on before sewing the elastic together.)   Sew the elastic together using a zig zag stitch, taking care to ensure the elastic is not twisted.  Then stitch the opening closed.
  To hem the bottom of the shorts, fold the bottom edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch and press again.  Sew right along the folded edge. (I used my new ball point twin needle for the bottom hem. I love this needle, the knit fabric did not stretch out at all when I sewed the hem!)
  How fun are these shorts?  If you make anything with this tutorial, I would love to see your results!  
  Instructions on making your own shorts pattern:   Fold the shorts you’re using for pattern tracing in half, with the back of the shorts facing out.  Make sure to flatten out the back crotch seam as much as possible.  
  Trace around shorts on to the paper.  Extend the top of the shorts up, in a straight line as shown above.  
  After you have traced the shorts, add a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the sides of the pattern. Add 1 1/8 inches to the top of the shorts for the elastic casing and 1/2 inch at the bottom for the bottom hem. 
  Fold the shorts over so the front side is facing out, and repeat these steps for the shorts front pattern.   Cut out both patterns.  
  If you like this tutorial, be sure to visit my blog to see what else I have been up to.  Thanks again, Justine for letting me share this project with your readers!

This concludes my guest posts for now!
A big thank you to Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of A Crafty Mom for this cute shorts tutorial above.
Cindy from Cation Designs for her post about tips for sewing with sheets
Melissa from Melly Sews with her Sabrina inspired post
Having these talented ladies share their work here has been very exciting to me and I hope you have enjoyed their posts.
I am so happy that they agreed to post at my humble blog here!

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