Archive for the Category ◊ Love in every stitch ◊

11 Jan 2008 Eat up this cuteness
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Yes this is my beautiful child.
Yes, I did make the outfit.
She made the blur.  What can I say?
The pattern is from a European childrensware designer.  They publish a quarterly magazine.  You have to trace the patterns and then cut them out because of how the bundle the magazine, but this is my first time working from them and I’m so impressed with the results.  The pattern was really easy to sew, just four pieces and the directions were very, very clear and intuitive.   In fact, I didn’t even use them.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been sewing for a while, but they just weren’t necessary.  They were very easy and obvious and came together like a dream.  I was really nervous about the prospect of tracing and THEN cutting a pattern, but it was really easy and I can really see myself using this magazine to make a lot of the girls’ wardrobe in the upcoming months. 

I visit a sewing board, just about daily and the other day, they were talking about SWAP or Sewing With a Plan.  The idea is to use a basic, simple formula to sew an entire wardwrobe.  The suggestion made on my message board for kids  for summer is:

* 2 pairs of shorts
* 2 dresses, one in a solid color, one in a print or check
* 2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print
* 4 tops, in colors which coordinate with the solids
* 1 skirt

And, you know, I could do that.   There is a lot of talk devoted, on many sewing boards about WHY people sew.  It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit.
DSC_0345.JPG A lot of people like to talk about how sewing doesn’t save them money, but *I* disagree.  Similar products, like the one I sewed for Cadence at one of my favorite children’s stores retails for $32.99.  The yard of very nice cherry corduroy that i purchased cost me just about $13.00.  If I sew sixteen items from my magazine, the pattern cost was $1.  I don’t consider my time in the equation because I love to sew.  Notions (thread, ribbon and a button) might have run another $2, and that’s a generous estimate, making my jumper cost $16.00 with the added benefit if it being exactly what I want.  No compromises.   

And, as my sewing improves, I feel justified in spending more money on more expensive fabric to get a better result.  And the added benefit is that no one will have exactly what my girls have, which appeals to me.  Greatly.

And beyond that, they’ll have clothes that FIT them, not just what is the closest approximation off of the rack.  I realized the incredible benefit of this as I’ve been wearing my workout pants this week.  It’s a great thing to wear a piece of clothing that fits you.   There aren’t any sacrifices “Well, the waist is finally fine, but they’re six inches too long.” or “Now I’m wearing high waters because i thought petite would be better for me.”  Of course, I can hem pants, and I do, but the novelty of putting on something that you know is just going to fit you right now because you checked and altered and all of that stuff through the construction is so liberating.  But, I’m digressing (even though I’m now jealous of all the clothes that Emily’s had to wear that have been cut and measured and fitted to her body).

And, of course, sewing my own clothes is a way to make sure my taste shines through.  No compromises.    Does it surprise anyone that THAT idea appeals to me?

09 Jan 2008 I am wearing…
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…the first item I have ever sewn for myself.  That fit.

Before Christmas I was perusing the fabric clearance at Joann’s and found a sweatshirtesque material (I suppose it’s terry,but with a low pile).  I bought it.  It was cheap.  it was gender neutral.  It could be SOMETHING.  I took two yards for a total of $4.  Can’t beat that with a stick.

I thought about sewing pants for Eric out of it, but something about the color didn’t seem that gender neutral anymore when I got them home.  I washed it up and it waited a month. 

In December I attempted to sew myself a pair of pajama pants out of satin lined flannel. It was a DISASTER.  The fabric, literally, has zero give and I was using a “big three” pattern from the fabric store which, apparently, are notorious for just not fitting (I should know this. I really REALLY should know this by now).  I was disappointed.  It was the first time I had ever sewn something for ME to wear.  And it didn’t fit (in fact, instead of having all of the benefits of both flannel and satin, flannel backed satin seems to have all the negatives of both).  In any case, I shoved them in my drawer. I know it was expensive fabric when I bought it a few years ago and I can probably cut it down into SOMETHING for someone.

But, back to my new pants.  I still wanted to make myself a pair of pajama pants.  In December my favorite pajama pants ripped to the point of not being able to repair them. I saved them thinking maybe I could do something, but after the Flannel Backed disaster, I cut them apart saving a front and back piece thinking I could use them as a pattern to make another pair of pajama pants that fit just as well.  My MIL had given me a big thing of flannel she wasn’t going to use and I considered making something out of that, but after a trip to the gym on Monday (and sweating like a pig in Eric’s heavy ass, hot sweat pants) I knew what I was going to do with the non-gender neutral gray sweatshirtesque material.  I was going to use my gnome pants turned pattern to make pants for the gym.

This morning, was Cadence was sleeping late (don’t let that full you, she was up for more than an hour starting at about 4:45 and stretching to 6:15)  I cut out the pants.  I sewed the side seams and inner leg seams at nap time and finished up the crotch, hemming and waist while watching Ghost Hunters International (I’m a Grant and Jason girl, I guess) and I put them on and They. Are. PERFECT.  Capri length (so I don’t get my toes caught in too long pant legs and trip while carrying the baby).  Perfect rise (because i made them for me, so I don’t have a baggy crotch or a waist band that comes up to my armpits).  Not too flappy, not too tight.  PERFECT, I say.

Well, except that I think the hem might be a little uneven, but I’m still really happy with them.  Now, to go to the gym and try them out.

08 Jan 2008 How much can I blog in two mintues….

…That’s my self imposed Time to Get off of the Computer time.  I’m going to do up a few chores and then head upstairs to my happy, clean crafty area.  I finally finished sorting and putting away this morning, leaving me with a nice expanse of space.  I resumed work on Cadence’s cherry corduroy jumper, putting in the hem during nap time.

I have to admit, that the excess of craft supplies i’ve amassed over the past year has me a bit,…oh….forlorn?  Adding to that is the fact that I have 13 yards of fabric (I think,..maybe 14 or 15) heading this way from around the country to add to the enormous pile that isn’t fitting my storage AND today I got another box from my scrapclub (insert very chagrined smile here).

But it’s good.  Right?


14 Dec 2007 The first cookie of Christmas…

…spiced pumpkin softies from Woman’s Day. You can find the recipe here

Overall, these are pretty good. I skipped the pumpkin pie spice and just added some similar spices of my one (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves). Emily gave them a thumbs up and the baby and the dog liked them too. Oh, and if you drop them onto your cookie sheet you have to flatten them.

Mine looked nowhere NEAR like the one’s in my Woman’s Day (there’s were tiny and very flat and round). Mine were big and sort of ….bumpy? The recipe claimed to make 60 cookies and I made 48 so I didn’t grossly over do the size.

I also used a pastry bag to pipe on the icing. It was easier, IMO, then trying to spread a dollop on each cookie.

17 Nov 2007 At Odds
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I have several hobbies that I love and these hobbies come in and out of popularity in Jamiedom. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve been very much in love with sewing and it’s been getting the bulk of my “spare” time. What this means is frequent trips to the fabric store, buying notions, fabric, patterns, trim and other goodies.

But i have conflicting issues.

First, I love to collect “things” that relate to my hobbie. I love to collect scrapbooking goodies. I love collecting paper. I love collecting yarn and right now I LOVE collecting fabrics. Thursday I was cleaning up the bedroom and amassed a huge pile of fabric (well, huge for me) that needed to be washed in order to be ready for projects. I was rather embarassed by the amount that was there and I said to Eric that I REALLY shouldnt buy ANY more fabric until I used some the yardage that was here. And he agreed, but a trip to Joann’s yesterday found me with 6 more yards of fabric to do “something” with (granted, all three have current projects planned for them, but still….)

And this is where the “at odds” part comes in. I find that I’m actually MORE productive when I have LESS things standing between me and my projects. Searching through piles of fabric, patterns and notions seems to squash my creativity and productivity and I understand that around me. At my core, I think I’m a minimalist, and I try to remind myself of this when I’m out shopping (only buy what you need, don’t buy just to have), but I seem to have a materialistic devil on my shoulder that urges me forward to buying things I have no plans for just to satisfy the part of me that is materialistic.

14 Nov 2007 In Full Swing
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My mom and I would always talk, as Christmas drew near, about the sometimes annoyance people seemed to have with us starting Christmas so early. We both agreed that, becuase of the work load associated with Christmas (work I, frankly, adore doing) that we HAD to start early. That a week’s time or even two week’s time wasn’t really enough to do everything we intended.

So, as Halloween past and I tucked away the pumpkins and ghosts and witches the Christmas season, for me, began. Oh, my excel spreadsheet with my gift life and budget had been set up MONTHS ago, but now I began shopping. Fine tuning. Planning activities and events to make the season EXTRA special (like i do every year). And, this year, that specialness ;o) includes a LOT of sewing.

My current Christmas sewing list is fifteen items long and I’m hoping to accomplish most of them in NOVEMBER. What’s that list look like?

1) The girls matching Christmas dresses are in current production. I’m strugglign with the zippers, but think they’ll done today or tomorrow in time for taking pictures for our annual Christmas card

2) Five cloth dolls for Cadence and little baby cousins and a little baby friend (free of worry from the MIC fiasco)

3) Skirt for me to wear to church and on Christmas day

4) Cloth diapers for C-note (I have two done but need at least three more to make any sort of dent in our disposable diaper useage)

5) Matching pajamas for the girls. To be found in their stockings on Christmas eve morning.

And this, of course, is just a tiny portion of what I’ll actually do. It seems like a lot of stress, doesn’t it? It is, but it’s something I love. Flat out LOVE. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be ordering more gifts, planning crafts and outings and doing everything I can to make our Christmas season MAGICAL.

I cannot wait. :o)

09 Oct 2007 I’ve been sewing. Here’s what I can show…
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I am closerthanthis to finishing Emily’s halloween costume. I want to do a ribbon detail/tie to pull in a waist. She asked that I NOT put a waist on the costume and I didn’t. We went to Michael’s last night and bought some really pretty cream and gold ribbon and I did a ribbon detail around the hem and the cuffs. As soon as the waist is done, I’ll make sure to post a picture. Honestly, I think it’s the best constructed item I’ve made to date.

Cadence’s knit circus pajamas are crazy ugly. I made a lot of mistakes and problems with the serger and my machine didn’t make the process any easier. I only paid $4 for the yard of fabric, so I don’t feel too down trodden. They’re fine for pajamas. I have some scraps left, so I may look into finding a plain colored knit fabric to match them and use the scraps as trim. The pants look okay, but the top if horrible. Oh well, I learned a lot, right?

Anyhow, here’s what I’m showing off…

My new fall bag….

and a matching wallety thing

05 Oct 2007 Sergers ain’t shit
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I’ve been sewing lately. It’s what’s making me happy at this point. I go through phases were different things catch my eye and I’ll focus my energy on that for large amounts of time. I’ve finished Emily’s halloween costume, sewn her a skirt, sewn Cadence a tunic and am now working on making my first correctly sewn pair of knit material fabric pajamas for Cadence.

My sewing machine, though apparently equipped to handle knit fabrics, really doesn’t do the job. It appears to hate them. I’ve tired everything I can do to try and get the machine to handle knits and it just won’t.

During a trip to Eric’s mom, I noticed she had a serger just laying around. Sergers are better equipped to sew knits. They roll the seams in thread and trim off the excess for you, leaving a small, professional looking seam. The serger was Eric’s grandma’s who decided she couldn’t thread the darn thing. Eric’s mom mentioned that I could use it if I wanted to. I declined in hopes that my machine would be able to do the job with a change of needle.

After a miserable night of trying to sew these little jammies with no luck I told Cheryl that I would indeed try out the serger. She said cheerfully that the good news was that the serger was already threaded. I had no idea how significant that idea would be.

Last night I give my machine one more try at sewing the knit material. Even with a different needle it was a bust and I bring in the serger to set it up and proceed to spend, oh, two and a half hours, trying to get the damn thing to sew.

And, by the way Grandma, threading that machine is a nightmare, even for me, with small fingers and okay eyes (with my glasses or contacts, of course). I was so frustrated that I couldn’t make it work.

But after threading and rethreading and trying and retrying, I finally managed to get the machine working and began sewing and honestly, now that it’s working, it rocks.

I will say the serger is just about 10 years old and it’s pretty hard to figure out the manual (shouldn’t that make it EASIER? Apparently not). But I’m happy to say the little pajamas are moving along and may even be finished today.

But I don’t blame Grandma. Not one bit.

29 Jul 2007 In The Trenches-Day 3
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I had big plans for tonight. I finished the hem on Emily’s new nightgown, in which she is currently blissfully sleeping, and I had planned on starting on the girls car tote bags. See, Emily? She has a problem. It’s called “I bring along too much shit in the car.”

I cleaned out the car on Friday and collected a large handful of costume jewelry, broken crayons, colored pencils, paper scraps and crumbs. The idea behind the tote bags was manifold. First, was to keep a nice, non-perishable snack at the ready, particularly for Cadence, but also for Emily. The second was for there to be a neat, attractive looking place to keep diapers and wipes and a spare change of clothes and possibly a small blanket for the Tot. The third was to keep corralled, the various toys and other goodies that seem to accumulate in the backseat of the car causing this sort of of mishmash of, well, trash. Of course as I sit here now, I can see myself with my hands on my hips, explaining to Emily that she may only bring in the car one stuffed animal or dollie and whatever can fit into her tote bag.

At that moment the excitement of the tote bag will be lost on Emily who is now in mourning for her piles and piles and piles of crap that, up to now, have dominated the backseat of our cars. But I think it’s for the better. At least in my head.

But, I got distracted and now bedtime is looming near and I’m half looking at the sewing machine and half thinking about bed and I’m not sure which will win out.

28 Jul 2007 In The Trenches-Day 2
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After an easy (well, only 20 minutes) amount of crying yesterday afternoon, I was hopeful for a decreased amount of crying last night and while C-note didn’t cry for 50 minutes, it was still at least 20 (I was hoping for ten) and naptime today took every bit as much crying as yesterdays nap and yesterday’s bedtime did.

But, the crying thing (henceforth known as CIO) IS working for her. On at least two separate occasions last night, Cadence fussed for a few seconds and went right back to sleep. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. She slept from 8:30 until 5 a.m., woke p to nurse and then went back to sleep until 7. That’s how normal babies sleep and Eric and are thrilled. The crying is still hard. SO hard, but the benefits are good enough that we can handle the crying, so I guess it’s a good tradeoff.

Yesterday, the girls and I hit the store to pick up some stuff to make Amanda and Cjay a couple of dinners to welcome their new baby Kellyn. We stopped to visit last night and Kellyn was very content and VERY pretty. Emily, naturally, didn’t even peek at her (turns out, Emily only likes her OWN) babies and Cadence liked the cat toys better and got shy when and hid her face when I held her up so she could see Kellyn. :o) But, it was nice to see the new baby. She was very, very sweet.

In other news, I’ve almost finished a second outfit for Cadence. I have the waist band to sew into the diaper cover and she’ll be sporting her second mamamade outfit in as many days. I have a third one here near completion, but I had a diaper cover issue and will have to improvise. I wanted to knock a few out before we went on vacation and I guess I got my wish on that one. ;o) Eric has to fix Grandma B’s compuker today and I think the girls and I may drop him off and hit Joann’s for a little more fun stuff. It sounds like hardware which, IMO, may take a while and this will give us something to do that Eric doesn’t CARE to do, so win-win for all of us. I’ll post pictures of C in her new outfit tomorrow.