Monday, September 16, 2013

Tula Pink Sew-Along

Or quilt-along? This month I am embarking on a sew-along based on Tula Pink's fun City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book! My friend Katherine from Aurora Spitfire is hosting this sew-along with Lesley from Duckadilly. Here is the timeline and our Flickr group if you'd like to join in on this Tula Adventure! The best part is that you can work at your own pace and this sew-along gives you plenty of time (ends Dec 8) to finish up.

Of course, I haven't even picked my fabric yet, but this Tula Pink book is really cute and chock full of such a variety of interesting little blocks that I'm sure anyone could find a mix that appeals to them. There are also a few basic quilt designs at the back of this book if you want to sew with a project in mind. For me this will be an exercise in using up my small stash pieces while gaining practice in basic block construction. I will surely end up with another couch throw by the time we're done! :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Sew-Along Update

Hi there! We just finished up our Colette Patterns Laurel dress sew-along and I will post a pattern review along with photos of my finished dress very soon. It turned out great! My friend Cara from My Little Lady Designs made herself a Laurel top and it's super awesome!! For now, you can check out pics HERE at our Flickr group. We took a little break afterwards and starting today we're going to tackle a Jamie Dress Sew-Along, pattern by Sis Boom. Mine will be in Jennifer Paganelli's beautiful Eloise fabric shown in the pattern example photos, and perhaps I'll do another in a yet to be decided fabric!

 Here is the proposed schedule for our Jamie dress sew-along:

Mon 5/13: Print/assemble pattern, cut pattern pieces
Tues/Fri 5/14-5/17: Sewing!
Sat/Sun 5/18-5/19: Finishing touches/adjusting fit

Excited to keep you updated on our progress! I think our next sew-along will be Sis Boom's Vanessa, which will be perfect for the upcoming hot summer months! Can you tell that I'm becoming a Sis Boom pattern collector? They make it too easy with all the convenient digital patterns. :) I'm also planning a few projects from the Colette Sewing Handbook, which arrived at my house from Amazon last week. I'm really looking forward to soaking up more sewing technique knowledge as I dive into that book. The Truffle dress especially seems flattering and fun to sew! Looking forward to all these fun sewing adventures ahead!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Laurel Dress Sew-Along Begins Soon!

Next week we're starting a sew-a-long of the new Laurel Dress pattern by Colette Patterns! You can follow that link to purchase a PDF pattern if you want to join us in showing this very cute and versatile shift dress. Then all you need is some fabric and a zipper, I guess!

 Photo courtesy of Colette Patterns
 Here's the tentative schedule:

Mon-Tues 4/15-4/16: Printing/assembling pattern, cutting pattern pieces
Wed-Fri 4/17-4/19: Sewing time!
Sat-Sun 4/20-4/21: Finishing touches, adjusting for fit

If you want to join in, here's a link to our Flickr page: April 2013 Sew-Alongs. We'll be posting photos of our work as we go along and sharing our progress! Can't wait to see how this dress turns out. There are a lot of little options available on the Colette Patterns' website. I'm still debating whether I want to add the pockets or not. I'll have to figure that out pretty soon!! :) Have a great day!



Sis Boom Meghan Pattern Review

We just finished up sewing our Meghan peasant tops by Sis Boom and are ready to tackle the Laurel dress by Colette Patterns! But first, I'll give you a quick review of the Meghan pattern. Here I am in my "Lauralee" fabric peasant top...

 Meghan tops West Indies and Lauralee fabrics by Sis Boom

Sis Boom patterns are typically very easy to print, assemble and understand. This is a very simple project that's perfect for a beginner! I wanted my Meghan to be a hip-length top so I cut my body pieces to a length of 15", then added 1 1/4" for seam allowance (total: 16 1/4" in length). Of course, I'm quite tall at 5'10", so you might want to adjust yours according to your own measurement.

The pattern states that if you want a more fitted peasant, you should go down one size. Still, since I'm usually a medium, I cut a medium...but now I wish I had done the small. Oh well! An adjustment I did make was to cut all my elastic pieces an extra two inches longer than the pattern called for. I just didn't want anything to be tight or constricting!

Also, the pattern calls for hemming the body/skirt pieces before attaching them to the bodice. I wouldn't do that next time around. After I tried on my finished Meghan, I realized that I wanted a closer fit in the body, so I took in both my tops over an inch on each side seam. Obviously, it's much easier to hem a garment after making adjustments for your own body type.

Finally, there's a choice of three cutting lines on the bodice pattern pieces according to your cup size. I actually think cutting a larger (2 or 3) bodice piece regardless of your chest size would give this top a little less of a potential maternity look. After having three babies, I'm definitely not into wearing anything that seems like it could be found in a maternity shop!! That being said, if you are pregnant, this pattern could be easily adjusted to fit a growing baby belly. :)

Overall, this was a very quick sewing project. I think I could've finished sewing both garments in about 2-3 hours...if I could get that many solid, uninterrupted hours!! I definitely love sewing Sis Boom patterns, you really can't go wrong if you decide to give them a go!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Sew-Alongs!

I took a brief hiatus from updating my blog, but now I'm back with info about a whole month of sew-alongs for April 2013! My friend Cara from My Little Lady Designs and I will be tackling several dress patterns from Sis Boom and the new Laurel dress Colette Patterns just launched. Here's the schedule:

4/3-4/7: Sis Boom Meghan Peasant Top
4/8-4/14: Colette Patterns Laurel Dress
4/15-4/21: Sis Boom Jamie Dress
4/22-4/28: TBD (Sis Boom Rebecca?)

Here's the Flickr group I created to share photos: April 2013 Sew-Alongs. Should be great fun and will definitely put us all in perfect Spring mood by the start of May!! 

My side project for this month is also sewing the Sis Boom Lucy Halter as a maxi dress in two different fabrics. It's my first time sewing with some Jennifer Paganelli fabric and I can't wait! Here's one of my fabric choices:

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Colette Shorts! Madeleine Mini Bloomer Review

Seems as though I'm on a shorts-making kick this summer! Kind of ironic, considering I'm more of a skirt and dress kind of girl. In any case, I recently came across Colette's free pattern for the Madeleine Mini Bloomers and thought they were so adorable! And I figured I didn't have much to lose trying them out, considering the pattern was free (!) and I had plenty of fabric leftover from my last shorts-sewing extravaganza.

Here's some pics! BTW, I won't be modeling these for photos as they are quite brief...very cute to wear, but I draw a line on sharing that on the interwebs! ;)

My pattern review:
Such an easy pattern and a quick sew! Literally, an hour or two to sew these up. A perfect project for a beginner. In fact, there's only 2 pattern pieces, and the only part I found time-consuming was inserting all that elastic and ribbon in the casings. The waistline is made with 2 rows of 1/4" elastic and then there is another casing for ribbon ties at each leg opening. Next time around, I will sew my casings a little more accurately so I don't run into any difficulties inserting the elastic.

Another note: cut this pattern for your hip measurement, not your waist size. My hips are quite narrow, so I should've cut a size smaller. I had to take this pattern in at least an inch and it's still a little poofy in the hip. "Normal" hips should have no problem, though. Of course, since I like to make patterns in multiples, I've already cut fabric for two more pairs...both in a silkier rayon blend. I'm really excited to see how those wear in an even lighter, more lingerie-y type fabric! The pair above is made from a relatively lightweight cotton poplin, which is perfect for summertime wear.

Next up will be a review of Colette's Lily dress! I just finished it last weekend in Amy Butler Kasbah fabric with a aqua chevron accent fabric. Really, really pretty.
Honestly, Kasbah is way more "pattern" that I'm used to wearing...but I still love how it turned out. Then I'm done with Colette for awhile...she and I need some space. Ha! I'm moving on to Sis Boom now, specifically the Angie dress. Jennifer Paganelli, I hope your fit will be kind to me! ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Colette Iris Shorts Pattern Review

Even though I haven't been posting much this summer, that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing! I recently finished sewing two pairs of Iris Shorts by Colette Patterns and I going to write up a quick pattern review right here, before I forget how I made the darn things! ;) First...some pics:

Obviously, I chose some super wrinkly cotton fabrics for this project! Both were purchased from Mood Designer Fabrics...I highly recommend them, btw. The Iris pattern recommended pique, poplin, twill, etc...and I went with a striped seersucker and a khaki poplin with tiny chocolate polka dots. If I were to make these shorts again, I'd probably go with a heavier twill fabric instead. The poplin especially is so lightweight that I could've/should've done a lining. Oh well! They'd make better pajama shorts or something, but I digress. Here are the seersucker Iris shorts:
Front view
Back view
Full view

I'm a Colette Patterns size 12, but I cut the waist panels in a size 14 so I could wear the shorts a tad lower on my waist. This is a very high-waisted shorts pattern and, in my opinion, that's not a very flattering look from behind. Making them more "low-rise" seemed to solve that dilemma somewhat.

Also, I noticed the shorts are quite a-line in appearance as they fall around the thigh area. Just a little too full for my taste. So for my second pair in poplin, I used a larger seam allowance from the hip down. As you can see in the following pics, the poplin Iris shorts are more fitted to my shape...
Front view of Iris Shorts in dot poplin
Back view of Iris Shorts in dot poplin

This was my first foray into using a Colette pattern and I'm super pleased with the overall experience! I used their digital pattern so I can print it out again whenever I want. The pattern pieces were easy to use, the instructions were thorough, and the end product is comfy and cute. Best of all, sewing these shorts went pretty fast and everything was straightforward. An advanced beginner could tackle these shorts easily, and even a beginner looking to stretch their skills into working with zippers and interfacing would be fine attempting the Iris shorts. I will definitely use this pattern again, perhaps doing an elastic waist pajama shorts version?? We'll see! :)  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Dining Table Makeover

Hi there! I'm tackling furniture painting projects left and right these days now that our summer has begun! I've been wanting to do something...anything...with our very worn out dining table top since last winter. When I saw this post from Domestic Imperfection, I decided to go for it before I could talk myself out of it all! :)

Here is the before picture...

The blonde and white dining set went much better in our old house, but seemed to clash with the gray walls we inherited (and love!) in our current dining room. Plus, you can't tell from this pic how badly the previous finish on the tabletop had been worn off in the "high traffic" areas! 

Initially, I had wanted to paint the whole thing white so I had plenty of paint on hand but I was nervous to leave such a blank canvas, so to speak, for my kids to put marker and paint stains all over. I thought a patterned tabletop would help disguise any kid-related snafus, maybe! The new table concept would involve sanding down our tabletop, painting a stencil across it, applying a darker wood stain, then sealing the whole thing with polycrylic.

Lucky me, I already had a really cute $4 fleur-de-lis style stencil on hand from my curtain project! I just didn't want to spend $50 on a large-scale stencil...but it took many hours of stenciling a repeating pattern in exchange, way into the late night hours! I started in the middle and worked my way out. I love how it turned out!
Here "she" is! (The table and I are besties now, after all these hours spent together!!)
My husband used his orbital sander to remove the old blonde finish...thanks dear! Then I applied three coats of Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut. I also sanded with our orbital sander in-between each coat. This was my first time working with wood stains, and whew...what a smell! I'm not a fan.

The final step was applying a polycrylic sealant, also a first for me. I'll definitely use it again on all my painting projects! It really leaves such a nice, professional (and durable) finish. I did three coats, lightly sanding with a fine grit sanding block in-between coats.
 Can you believe all of this started with one tiny fleur-de-lis stencil?? I think it has a cute little French country look to it, which I love. More pics...
As you can see, we have the ubiquitous $20 gray floral rug Ikea rug that's just such a great value. Our dining room is strangely the largest room downstairs, so I decided to put two rugs together to span the table area instead of going sans rug. At twenty bucks each, no one is too heartbroken if our our troop of young children spill something our our conjoined rugs. Which they do...a lot. ;)

I'm so in love with our "new" table!! We actually served dinner on it last night and it was such a cool experience! After using our rickety extra drop-leaf table for the past several days, we felt like we were in some kind of fancy restaurant...ha ha! And I'm so happy with our all-white chairs. They even seem easier to clean now, thanks to a final coat of polycrylic.

Thank you so much to Ashley from Domestic Imperfection for inspiring me to do this table makeover and providing great guidance! I have a few other furniture DIY projects to share in the upcoming weeks, including our decoupaged bookcase that is something I just love. :) Thanks for stopping by!!

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