Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

Happy New Years Eve! It's hard to believe 2014 is right around the corner. It was a busy, whirlwind of a year, but it was also a wonderful year. I have learned so much, completed another semester of school and of course found time to sew.

I wrote 32 blog posts this year, less than I hoped to do, but it's a decent amount especially since school takes up the majority of my life and I was away all summer working at camp, so I did not sew at all during those 3 months. :(  However, I did manage to blog some each month!

I made several projects, many of which did not get blogged. I estimate about 35 garments were made along with other small projects (purses, zipper pouches, etc.).

My three favorite projects of the year:

 The Lady Skater dress - my new favorite pattern
The Madeline Maxi Dress - in which I conquered the invisible zipper and wrote a post on Made it with Moxie for Selfish Sewing Week.
Last, but not least:

The Flip Vest - where I went crazy and sewed six vests for my little brothers and sister.

Next year, I plan to keep better track of my projects on this blog. I made my sisters and I matching dresses for Christmas using red lace. They are made of the same fabric, but all are different patterns. 2013 may be almost over, but I still plan on sharing those dresses here with you. I have a few other projects I recently made as I spent the weekend at my aunt's house and we accomplished a lot of sewing.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate you all so much! Happy New Year!!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Black Concert Dress

I made another Lady Skater Dress. This pattern is so great! Each time I make it I like it even more! I have been in orchestra for about 2 years and we are required to wear all black for our concerts. I had been wearing a black shirt and skirt, but I've been wanting a black dress for a long time.
I went to Joann Fabrics on Black Friday and found some crushed panne velour on sale for $2.99/yd. I decided to buy the black for a Lady Skater concert dress!

This dress was fun to make, but there were plenty of challenges along the way. First, I have never sewn with panne velour. It is a knit fabric with a 40 percent stretch and you have to press it on the wrong side. It can be slippery, so pins are a must especially for the neckline! I did not catch part of the neckline when sewing and had to use my seam ripper. It's hard to use a seam ripper on this fabric especially when the thread is the same exact color! It all worked out though and the fabric is pretty forgiving.

Here's a close up of the dress. It's hard to tell here, but I used the wrong side of the fabric for the neckband and arm cuffs. I ran into some problems with the arm cuffs. The right one went on perfectly! The left one was slipping a lot and so it is a little crooked. It's not noticeable when I'm wearing it (except by me).
I didn't have any clear elastic left, so I used 1/4 inch regular knit elastic. It worked fine, although the seam is somewhat bulky. That may be partly due to the fabric too.

Here you can see the arm cuff where I used the wrong side of the fabric. I love experimenting with using the wrong side of the fabric which usually isn't seen. It works great here!
I was able to wear my new dress for our Christmas concert on Dec. 8th. I'm planning on wearing it lots more too and not just for concerts. Black dresses are so versatile.

P.S. I also chopped off 11 inches of hair! My little sister and I donated our hair, and I love my new style. I haven't had a major haircut for a couple years and the change feels so great!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Ugly Christmas Sweater

It's the time of the year for Christmas parties. Many times those parties have a theme and sometimes it is "Ugly Christmas Sweater". Last year, was my first time experiencing an Ugly Christmas sweater party. I had no idea what to wear! All my sweaters were pretty (in my opinion anyway)!

As luck would have it, a friend gave me this beautiful sweater vest:

However, it was too plain. I got it the afternoon of the party. Boy, did I have work to do!

I have a lot of my sewing supplies at school, so I was sure I could find something to spruce up the sweater! I found green felt, ribbon, red felt and Christmassy fabric. I also found some bits of tinsel left over from decorating.

I only had a few hours before the party, so I got busy! First, I cut out a Christmas tree from the green felt and pinned it on to the sweater.

Sewing was next:

I added some red ribbon to the bottom.

It was too plain and needed more pizazz. A little tinsel and trim here, a little red felt there...much better!
Finally, a bow to top it all off.

Ta-da! The finished project!

Finally, here are a couple pictures from the party last year. We had a fashion show of everyone's ugly sweaters. I won the prize for "most creative".

It was a fun time had by all!

Have you ever been to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party? What did you wear?


Saturday, December 14, 2013


The semester is over!!! I am done with school for the year!! I am so happy to have finished another semester of nursing school. There is light at the end of the tunnel! To celebrate I made some snow angels. The snow is so pretty here and I love going for walks and hearing it crunch beneath my boots.

Soon I will be spending my month long winter break at home with my family. It will be great to be home! I can't wait to bake Christmas cookies and help decorate the Christmas tree. I also have a long list of sewing projects that need to be done before Christmas.
My sisters are the cutest! Here they are wearing matching skirts that I surprised them with a few weeks ago. I found the knit fabric for $2 at the thrift store. This was the best picture I took of the two of them - my baby sister doesn't like standing still for long!
I am making my sisters and I Christmas dresses. They are the same fabric, but different patterns. Other gifts I'm making are the Go-To Cape for my mom, some bimaa sweaters for my baby sister, the Ethan shirt for my brother, and maybe a purse.
A couple weeks ago, I went Black Friday shopping at Joann Fabrics with my mom. I bought some black panne velvet and made myself another Lady Skater dress. I have yet to take pictures and blog about it.
I'm in orchestra and we have to wear all black for concerts, so it is the perfect concert dress! Here's a sneak peek - the lighting wasn't the best in the hallway where this was taken.
With finals week over, it has been so nice to relax. Tomorrow I will think about packing and then home I go! Hope you're all having a lovely December!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a blessed day filled with family and friends. Today I have so much to give thanks for. I'm spending the day with my family and I'm so happy for time off of school to spend with them. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pay It Forward

Almost a year ago, Mary on Lake Pulaski hosted a pay it forward event on her blog. I was sent a lovely appliqued towel and hot pad she made (and I use them all the time!).

To fulfill my part, I decided to make some open wide zipper pouches using the tutorial from Noodlehead. Would you like one?

Here's what you need to do: 1) be one of the first three people to comment on this post; 2) have a blog; and 3) agree to make something handmade for three of your blog readers anytime within the next 12 months.

Comment below, agreeing to pay it forward and I will send you one of these zipper pouches. Also, tell me which one you like best if you have a preference.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lady Skater #2

I've decided that the Lady Skater is my new favorite pattern! This is my second one and I love wearing it! I sewed this a couple weekends ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I should've been studying, but my sewing machine and this pattern were calling my name!
This time, I decided to make the 3/4 length sleeve version and use two fabrics. The turquoise knit is my favorite color and it was given to me for free from a friend back home. She was getting rid of her stash and thought I would like it. At the time, I had no idea what to make with it, but this dress was perfect! I wanted to make the entire dress out of the turquoise, but there was only enough for the skirt. I love how it turned out with two fabrics though!

The bodice was made with a cotton knit from The Fabric Fairy. I planned on using it for a top, but it went great with the skirt fabric.

Close up of the sleeve cuff and bodice fabric.
This is the inside of the dress.The turquoise knit is textured on the right side, but it is smooth on the wrong side. It is also very stretchy, as it stretches both ways.

My house at college is very old, so I decided to have fun taking some "vintage" style photos.


I don't play the piano, but I thought this was a fun set-up for an "old" photo!
The Lady Skater is such a great pattern and it is so comfortable to wear! I'm planning on making more...pretty soon I'll have too many dresses!  
Have you tried any new patterns lately?
I'm linking up with Project Sewn, for the final week and Signature Style challenge. This dress describes my style perfectly - I love the color turquoise, I live in skirts and dresses all the time and I like to wear comfortable clothes. I could wear this everday and be happy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fat Quarter Swap - What I Received

Hello all! Last month I participated in a fat quarter swap held by Lisa of Sweet Little Pretties. The theme was spots and stripes and we were to send our partner two fat quarters. I  forgot to take pictures of the fat quarters I found for my partner, but they went to Australia. I never heard from her, so I hope she received them!

I received my package from Taiwan! Alisa from A Stitch In Between had my name and she way out did herself by sending more than just two fat quarters.

In addition to the two fat quarters she was required to send, she sent me an envelope pouch , a really cool postcard of Taiwan, and a bag hook.

The envelope pouch is so cute! I love getting mail, so this is the perfect pouch for me.
Even the back looks like an envelope!
These are the two fat quarters Alisa sent me. They are both bright and colorful. I love the striped fabric and the blue dots are so fun. I wonder what I should make with them?

The bag hook is essentially a metal round circle that opens up ito a hook. The whole thing opens up into a hook that you can put on a table so you can hang your purse or bag on it! I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but it is such a cool idea! I have never seen anything like it here in the U.S. before. I can't wait to try it out!

Thank you so much Alisa! You should all check out her blog. She has two adorable kids who she sews for and she has traveled the world. The blogging community is so great - you never know who you will meet or the friendships you will make!

I will leave you with this beautiful picture from my college town. Fall is by far my favorite time of year here - it is so beautiful!!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall, Headbands, & Sewing

 Happy October! Fall is definetely my favorite season, especially around this time of year when all the leaves start changing colors and the weather is cooler. It makes me happy! I enjoy morning runs around the lakes near my college and everything is so pretty right now. The leaves are starting to change to red and orange, but there is still some green left and you can also hear the crunch beneath your feet.

Fall also means everything pumpkin and apple! I can't decide which I like better...I love pumpkin bars, pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin pie but apple crisp and apple pie are great too!

School is keeping me busy, with midterms right around the corner! I have found some time for sewing and it is such a huge stress reliever. I made this headband out of leftover fabric from a project I made last weekend (which I'll be showing you soon - for now you get a sneak peak of the fabric). It is a textured knit in my favorite color...turquoise!

The headband is really comfortable and was so quick to sew. I just happened to have a long narrow rectangle left over from my other project and it inspired me to make a headband! I just straightened the edges, hemmed each long end by 1/2" and then sewed the short ends together adjusting until I had a good fit. I also made it a little narrower in the back so it fits better around my ears. Quick sewing projects can be so satisfying!
What's your favorite part of fall? Do you prefer pumpkin or apple?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Selfish Sewing Week!

Hello Everyone! Today I have the honor to be posting on Made With Moxie as a featured stitcher for Selfish Sewing Week! I was so excited to have this opportunitity and I decided to make the Madeline Maxi Dress from Serendipity Studio. You can read more about my dress here.

Have you done any sewing for yourself this week?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I Sew

Once upon a time I discovered the world of sewing. I wrote a little bit about how I learned to sew in this post, but I wanted to share a little more about why I sew. So many times I hear people say to me, "You made that? Wow, I could never sew" or "I wish I could do that." These conversations make me realize how lucky I am to have the ability to sew. Although interest is coming back sewing is a lost art in a way.
One of my first projects was the snowman quilt pictured above. Looking back, I have no idea how I got through it. Two-inch squares and triangles made for a lot of tears and seam-ripping for 11 year old me. I still have the quilt, although it's hidden in the back of my closet where I never have to look at it. The squares don't match up, the rows are definitely not straight, and I had no idea what I was doing with the binding.

It got the job done.  :-D
But even with all the imperfections I kept going. Looking back, that quilt makes me smile and brings back so many memories of learning to sew.

Sewing is a creative outlet for me. I love being creative and being able to take a piece of fabric and turn it into something useful, pretty, wearable, or comfortable. That bolt of blue denim from Jo-Ann's? It has become a skirt worn all the time. Those scraps leftover from other projects? They are now potholders used to prettify (is that even a word?) the kitchen.

Sewing takes my mind off other things. I'm in nursing school and it can be IS very stressful. My favorite kind of study breaks include sewing.

Sewing allows me to express myself. I enjoy sewing my own clothes and that allows me to have a very unique wardrobe. I can wear something I made rather than the "normal" everyday college uniform of pajamas or sweat pants.

For me, the process of creating clothing is so much more satisfying than the process of shopping.

Finally, sewing reminds me that I'm not perfect. My little snowman quilt is far from perfect, BUT I have made progress. If someone had told 11 year old me that I would be sewing clothes and blogging, I would've looked at my quilt and laughed. My sewing now is far from perfect. My sewing will never be perfect, but I don't want perfection. I just want to make progress.

Thanks for reading my ramblings! I had a bit of a rough day yesterday and I realized there's a reason for everything and God has a plan for each of us. It may not always be easy and we'll never reach perfection, but we can make progress.
Why do you sew? What was your first project?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lady Skater Dress


 I first found out about the Lady Skater dress when working at camp a few weeks ago. It was nap time for the kids and I was really missing my sewing machine. While catching up on reading blogs I came across this pattern from Amanda of Kitschy Coo! I really liked the style and I've been wanting a casual dress for everyday wear, so I bought the pattern.

It's a pdf pattern and there are 3 different styles you can make - cap sleeve, 3/4 sleeve or long sleeve. After I bought the pattern I went on Girl Charlee and bought enough fabric to make myself a dress. I don't think it's in stock anymore, but it's called Silver Pin Dots on Charcoal gray and it is cotton lycra.
It's hard to tell from the picture, but the silver dots are raised, so I had to be careful when pressing seams. For the trim on the collar and sleeves, I just used the wrong side of the fabric.

The pattern was very easy to follow. Amanda was very helpful when I had a question about sizing because my bodice and waist measurements weren't the same. She also helped me figure out how to lengthen the skirt. As is, the skirt is meant to hit at knee length for someone who is 5'5". I'm a couple inches taller than that and I prefer my skirts/dress to fall below my knee. The skirt has a 1 inch hem and the length is perfect on me.

The dress uses clear elastic in the shoulders and waist seams to help with stablizing. This was my first time using clear elastic, but it was super easy to put in. One tip though: don't put your hot iron over the clear elastic. It might melt.

The dress went together pretty quick. I finished everything except the hem in a few hours. I used a twin needle on the hem for the first time, so I went slowly. Hemming is my least favorite part of sewing and usually I speed through them, but I wanted this one to look nice! I think it turned out well. It was hard to tell if I was catching the fabric underneath since you have to sew from the top. There are spots that go a little too far in, but overall it's pretty straight.
This is about how close I stayed to the edge for the hem.

I'm wearing this dress today and the fit is great! It's the perfect dress for summer and it will be great for fall too. I wore it to visit my aunt, and when I brought my siblings to the park. It's so comfortable and I already want to make another one! Thanks for making such a great pattern, Amanda!


Friday, August 2, 2013

A New Top!

This is one of my new favorite outfits, especially the top. I drafted the pattern myself, with the help of this tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard. It was super easy to make - I just used a shirt that fits really well and traced around it onto freezer paper. The sewing was easy too - Melanie's instructions were very clear with lots of pictures!

I did have some trouble with the sleeves. I had planned to make the arm bands out of the blue knit. However, when I tried the shirt on, it was extremely tight around my arms. Part of the problem was the blue knit isn't very stretchy. Also, I hadn't made the arms wide enough when I traced the pattern.
After a lot of ripping and frustration, the shirt finally fit around my arms. I ended up using the black knit (same as my skirt) and adding a piece under the arm, as you can kind of see in the picture below.
The little extra piece sticking out is the rectangle I cut and added. Without it, the shirt was still too tight around the arms. It isn't the prettiest solution, but you can't see it at all when I'm wearing it.
This shirt is so comfortable to wear! I love the bright blue colors too! The knit is a cotton jersey that I got from The Fabric Fairy. I had been eyeing it for a long time and finally decided to buy some with a new shirt in mind.
My skirt is a simple bubble skirt. I used the tutorial on EmmylouBeeDoo. I made a bubble skirt a few years ago using her tutorial, but I like the way this one turned out much better.
These bell pictures were so fun to take too! My brother did a great job and we were lucky because shortly after we finished it started pouring. It's nice when you can find new places for taking pictures - it makes things more interesting.
Happy weekend!!

I may link to some of the link parties listed here.