Saturday, December 1, 2012

Diaper Clutch - and My first pattern!

Some of you might remember I had a pattern of a diaper clutch like the one below...

Well, recently I was laid off of work, so I decided that I would try and sell my pattern.  It took a bit of time, but I was finally able to create a pdf pattern!  I'm actually very happy with how it turned out.  I don't have any decent drafting software, but I was able to use an illustration software since this is a simple enough pattern. 

It's now available via craftsy:  My Diaper Clutch PDF Pattern.

Hopefully those of you who bookmarked the tutorial will understand my decision to now sell the pattern. 

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Tale of Two Shirts

Several months ago, I purchased some fabric from an etsy shop.  It was a custom order since I wanted a couple of this and a couple of that, and after a short couple of convo's with the shop owner the custom listing was made and I purchased my fabric.  Since the shop owner is over seas it took a short while for it to get here.  When I finally received my package I opened it and immediately thought - oh, I thought I got more ribbing than what's here.  Since the price was in Euro's, I thought maybe there was a misunderstanding and left it at that. 

Imagine my surprise when a couple of months later, I receive not one, but two more packages from them.  I open up the first one and there was the missing ribbing along with a note explaining that for whatever reason this package was returned for incomplete address.  She apologized and said to be on the lookout for an extra package with "cars".  I opened up the second package and much to my delight she enclosed this:

It was a yard of the cars fabric (I think cotton poplin) and a half yard of the jersey knit strip fabric.  How cute was it!  And the fabric immediately started it's siren's call and I had to make something for my little boy with it.  But what?  The cotton poplin would be easy, but what do I make with a half yard of stripped jersey?  Then inspiration struck in the form of an Ottobre pattern:

Image from

The shirt on the right was perfect for it!  A woven button down with a hoodie.  But when I looked up the sizes available, the smallest was a size 128.  As you can see from the picture, it's really for a boy and my little man is still a toddler.  I generally make a size 98 in Ottobre for him at the moment (and there is still a bit of room to grow with that size). 

But that siren song was still singing to me.  This fabric was meant to be that shirt.  Do I just put it away for a while until my little guy is big enough for me to make it?  But then inspiration struck - I have a yard of the cars.  Maybe I can squeeze two shirts out of it!  One, this hoodie combo, and maybe the art camp shirt that is in the same issue (which I've made before). 

Bingo!  I laid it out and all that I couldn't fit was the second back yoke piece for the hoodie shirt.  But since that is on the inside, I picked up some blue cotton for that one piece.  Here are the finished shirts (excuse the wrinkled camp shirt as my son had already worn it and it had gone through the wash):

Of course while the finished shirts look pretty good, I did make many mistakes along the way (there is a reason the title of my blog contains the word "Beginner").

For the art camp shirt, it took me 3 tries to attach the collar properly.  Of course, it would have helped immensely, if I hadn't cut it out with a 1/4" seam allowance and sewed it with a 3/8" seam allowance - leaving next to no seam allowance left to attach the collar to the shirt!  Well, the pattern must be pretty forgiving as I made it work. 

For both shirts, I cut out the sleeves the same way for both left and right.  The sleeves are not symmetrical (although close) so it matters which side is attached to the front.  Luckily, they're not too far off, so I could just draw in the seam line, baste the sleeve to the shirt, and sew it in that way.  Luckily, Ottobre doesn't draft the sleeves with any ease in them, so I didn't have to worry about that on top of having mismatched seam allowances.  Boy did I luck out here. 

Oh, and the button stand on the hoodie shirt - yeah, I interfaced both sides.  Which means that I had way too many layers to try to sew through when doing the hem.  So the hem at the button stand is just one layer and I had to using my pinking shears to it, so that it will hopefully not fray in the wash down the road when my son is old enough to wear it.  Speaking of hemming - I'm still not great at getting an even hem.  I think I just get too excited that I'm this close to finishing and my stitching ends up uneven. 

But this is why it's fun making clothes for our kids - At least for boys, at this age, you can dress them in whatever and they don't care.  And though my shirts aren't perfect, they don't care.

Some other shots of the shirts -
A close up of the collar of the camp shirt - with the attached ribbon as a label (also included in my surprise package!)
A picture of the hoodie shirt on it's own.

Look at how the sleeve matched up with the shirt!  I don't think I've ever gotten a better seam.

This is literally all that is left of the car fabric after making both shirts.

The siren's song was sung, and I'm happy with the results.  Until next time, happy stitching!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dresses, Dresses, and More Dresses

Do you find yourself attracted to one type of pattern over any other pattern?  I do.  And do you find that for whatever reason, you don't tend to wear that particular item of clothing much?  I certainly do!

I have a relatively small pattern stash.  Well, compared to some of the folks I read about over on anyway.  I currently have about 60 patterns in my Sewing Kit database.  Out of that I have 19 dress patterns and 9 skirt patterns.  I have only 2 pants patterns.  What do I wear on a daily basis?  You guessed it, pants/jeans! 

I'm not sure why I'm so attracted to the different dress patterns.  Especially since dresses in the stores only catch my eye occasionally.  But I definitely dream of making them all up someday. 

Here are some of the patterns in my stash just for you to drool over as I do thinking of the potential.

I actually have this one as Simplicity 0345 - which is the view without the bow:

This one is very young and flirty:

I love this one in the plaid:

And my most recent purchase - (for the day dress, not the evening one):

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: "Sewing Kit HD" iphone app

Sewing Kit HD is an upgraded version of Sewing Kit.  Vesta Software is the developer of Sewing Kit HD.  This app helps you keep track of your pattern stash, fabric stash, notions, books, projects etc etc.  So far I've only used the pattern storage and the fabric storage portions of the app.  As far as I know, it's only available on the iPhone/iPad for now. 

Some of the Pro's of this app:
1.  List/pictures of all patterns at your fingertips!  It's easy to see what you have already when your out stashing. 
2.  I like that I can keep a log of all the fabrics in my stash.  I would never be able to remember fabric content other wise.
3.  You can keep your measurements, no to mention family/friends measurements
4.  Overall, it's a great concept.
However, there are a lot of con's to this app:
1.  Why on earth did they not give the folks who already paid $8.99 the chance to upgrade to "Sewing Kit HD" for a small fee?  I paid the price as I wanted the updated interface.  I don't know if the developer will be focusing his efforts on just the HD version, or if he'll continue to update the regular version. So something to consider when you're deciding which to buy.
2. Crashes All.The.Time.  (I have the iPhone 4s).  I've found a few ways around the crashing which I'll post below under Tips for using.
3.  Half the time when I take a picture in app, I get a blue screen.  Not sure what happened to the picture.  I often have to retake the picture a few times when that happens.  When this happens, any unsaved data on the input screen is lost as well.  Rather annoying. 
4.  Yardage field is less than useless...  You can only store a whole number there. 
5.  For Simplicity patterns, I get front and back cover pics.  The other Major companies, if the pattern happens to be in their database, I only get the front cover and line drawings.
6.  The bar code scanner is useless.  It hardly ever found the pattern (and when it did, the only information added was the pattern company name, pattern number, size, and any pictures associated with the pattern).
7.  This seems to be different for different people, but for me, it finds Butterick and Simplicity patterns easily enough (when I manually enter it, not via the bar code scanner). But I had to manually take photos of my McCall's as the program never found their pattern pictures. 

Tips for using Sewing Kit HD:

1. Take any pictures with the camera phone and then import them into Sewing Kit. I've done this a few times vs taking the picture within the app and so far, importing pics from my camera roll, seems a lot easier and less buggy.

2. When you first enter a pattern, select the pattern company, enter the pattern number, then click in Body Type. Why? Because if you head directly into say category which is a menu selection, it stalls. By clicking into Body Type you give the app enough time to go fetch whatever pictures it can/can't find. I found that I needed to do this with independent pattern companies that I added to the pattern company list as well as for the Big 4. For whatever reason, it likes to go looking. Once it's done, then you can then finish entering your data.

3. Don't bother with the bar code scanner. If it happens to find your pattern (and that is a big IF) the only information it fills in for you is company, pattern number, size, and pictures. I've had the program crash while trying to use the bar code scanner, and the info it autofills isn't worth the extra hassle.

I think now that I've worked about the above tips, I'm actually happier using it.  I do like that I can see how many yards of fabric I need when I do find that perfect fabric for a pattern.  (I always take a picture of the back so I have that information). 

If you work with Sewing Kit or Sewing Kit HD and have any tips of your own, please share!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The quest for the perfect fabric cutting table

I'm lucky - I get to set up a sewing room.  Of course I have to share with the elliptical machine and the TV - but I get to have my own space.  I have an arrow sewing table that works really well, but no cutting table.  Right now I have to cut anything out either on the floor or the dining room table.  Both are not ideal.  So I decided that it's time to look for a cutting table.

You would think that this is easy - but it's not.  At least not for me.  I want something that looks decent (as it will likely be set up all of the time) and is functional.  My first try:  Ikea.  I bought the table top fro the VIKA system:   Ikea Table Top
along with these legs:  Ikea Table Legs

I thought this would be great as you can adjust the height of the table!  Well - what a disappointment.  It wasn't as stable as I would have liked.  So back it went.  So now the search starts over.   I had wanted Ikea to work since they're much more economical than anything that is specifically made for the sewing room.  For instance, this table:  Sewing Cabinet  I love the way it looks - but it's out of my price range. 

Sorry for the links, but I don't know how to show the picture on their websites directly.  :/   Not that anyone is reading this, but if anyone has any solutions, I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And yet another sewing craft blog

I've been thinking about having a space where I can document all of my different craft/sewing/cross stitching projects over the years.  So I've finally taken the step of starting a blog.  I'm not sure how often I'll update - but I wanted to at least have a space ready for all of the fun things that I plan on making!