Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

or at least I was with my mom’s help.  I am  pleased with how they turned out, the girls love them and that makes me even happier!

Right before we left I figured found a tutorial (HERE) for a skirt that I really liked.  We just happened to have this Moda and Amy Butler fabric sitting around and a couple scraps that worked well for the waistbands and trim.  I love how they turned out.  It’s not easy finding fun patterns and tutorials for the older two that I like as much as they do.  Why do girls at this age go through such odd tastes in clothing?

There are some big things going on right now around here.  Two family reunions within one week of each other,  end of school/beginning of summer, and the biggy is my parent’s restaurant looks like it will only be theirs for a couple more weeks…good, but scary.  So, mom and I do our sewing up there, guess it is time to make good use of the big laundry room I have and re-vamp it a bit.  Nothing like a kick in the pants to get you to do something you should have done before anyways, right?


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Do you like the new header?  I thought it was time for something a bit more professional looking…you know I didn’t make it!  keep reading… 

Work on the store has taken a fair bit of what free-time I have had this week.  Free-time that seemed to be near nothing with working a couple shifts and a big family get-together.  However, I am hoping for an opening date of April 15th for ready-made designs (though, I can do custom designs at any time.)  I will be starting with the knot apron dresses, a new halter top or dress that I’ve designed myself,  and hopefully some Minnie Mouse-type dresses (working on that one today!)  I am so anxious to be able to have items ready to go as well as beautiful photos to go with them.  Photography for me is not much better than the graphics, but I am learning!

Unfortunately, the couple computer classes I took back in college are, well, nearly useless now.  In doing this venture along with remembering the past blog heading nightmares, I finally decided I needed help, big time, in anything graphic design related.  Enter Jenna at Serendiptiy Designs.  I knew Jenna from our wait for the twins, when she was also waiting to adopt her beautiful daughter.  She has been patiently working with me on a blogheader, store banner, and even little avatars with my new mascot.

Yes, I now have a mascot.  It wasn’t an easy thing to pick, either.  Seriously, I have four little girls, two of which have been talked to about the shop and who would have loved to have been a visual presence (their grand plans involved flowers, castles, fair wings, rope, the ceiling fan, and more.)   So then I went to thinking just words would be fine, maybe a flower, but then what to name the shop.   I got Forest involved in the process, he was quick to eliminate my odd-ball ideas and point me in the right direction.  Round and round I went trying to figure it all out when suddenly it clicked.

I think I am in love, meet iLean:


iLeanis a pesky little pup at times, but so fluffy and full of love. Her name may be a bit of a tease, but with only three legs she does tend to, well, lean.

My poor little dog ends up being an inspiration, big old baby that she is!  She will be a cute little presence for my shop and blog, so if you see her in the comments know that she is there on my behalf.   

I am working right now on a portfolio of sorts.  In the next few days I plan to have styles and pricing all spelled out in black and white on a new tab way at the top.  If you are interested in custom designs let me know as I am flexible, but am not afraid to tell you that my skills are not there yet if you request something outside of my abilities.   My goal is to bring you high-quality, custom creations.  If you want to know more, my etsy store has shop policies in place.  Also, keep looking here as I will be announcing all shop listings here as well.  I am pretty sure you can subscribe to a feed (forgive me if I am saying this wrong, I am still trying to figure out feeds and readers) both here and at iLean.

Phew, lots to do plus still cooking (Vietnamese meatballs this week as well as stew and roasted chicken) and homeschooling.  Multiplication was easy, but division is giving us a few stumbling blocks…pretty soon it will click.

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(just to calm any fears, joys, etc. that anyone may be having…no we are not adopting again…so far it is just the six of us and one crazy spoiled ShihTzu)

I LOVE my clothesline.  If I only used it for sheets I would still be happy, but it gets more use than that.  My dear, dear friend and I talked forever about getting a clothesline in our yards.  When she called to tell me her husband was making one for both of us, I squealled…and I am not the type to squeal. 

So imagine, the other morning, the neighbors seeing me out putting clothes on the line on a cool winter morning.   But wait, what the heck is their odd neighbor up too?  Those clothes are not wet.  They are bright and springy, fresh and stylish…not her usual  laundry line digs.  Now she is taking pictures, yeah, she’s finally lost it.  All those hours in the winter cooped up with her kids finally did her in.

It was too nice not to.  I put the kids in front of a movie to keep them out of the muddy back yard. (Of course, it didn’t work, they were at the back door wondering why I was allowed to go out in the muddy yard.)  I hung the dresses, fixed the knots just so, and took a few shots in the natural light.  Don’t they look so pretty!  So here is the news:

I am opening a shop on etsy, I have fabric on order, the countdown is on! 

It won’t be hundreds of dresses and tops, but enough to keep me sewing (my new therapy that doesn’t kick my butt like yoga…which I’m still doing and still hurting.)  I will take custom orders for specific pieces.  I will work with farics I love to place ready-to-wear pieces online for sale.  I will work with fabrics you love to make pieces for your loved ones.   It is still in the planning stages, but I have a name (inspired by Ilean the dog) and I will announce here when it is open for business!

Ok, deep-down inside, I am nervous and a bit scared about it.  It’s outside my norm, but I can’t wait to get started!  All that to say, be nice.  I am already doubting myself, but pushing through anyhow.

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I feel bad for reader’s looking for raw milk articles, ferments, and handcrafted butter or bread.  Those posts are there, please search if that is what you are looking for.  As of late, though, I have re-discovered my love of sewing.  It satisfies the creative and practical side of me in one fell swoop.  I can’t help it, I love it.  Before kids I sewed, quilted, painted (oh my poor paints that are likely crusty with my dear brushes at their side), and all sorts of creative endeavors.  No schooling or training on it, just a love for it.  Sorry dear readers, but I promise with spring on the horizon the food related articles will return.  Meanwhile, you have sewing projects, homeschool, and Adventures in Daddyhood to look forward to.

All that to say, I made two more dresses that I LOVE!  The worst of it is that I have to send them away, but I can cope.  The best of it is they are going to the sweetest twins that were adopted the same time my girls.  Really, what are the odds?   We actually met up at the Hanoi Embassy without really knowing each other would be there.  We have kept in contact and it is great to have someone in a similar boat to talk to.  Her girls are a month older than mine so it is like a heads-up on things.  This family has been so gracious to us in the past I wanted to do something for them.  Long story short, she ordering some amazing Heather Bailey Fabric (Pop Garden) and I made these…I hope you like them!

the pics do not do them justice…flash (obviously) and me in a hurry

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Yesterday and today, my mom and I have been sewing.   We went to the big city (not just a big city, but The big city around these parts) on Friday to see what we could find.  We left with enough fabric, patterns, and trim to make 11 items, plus I have two items at home that I am working on.  Here is our progress:

  •  2 Easter dresses for the older two, needs elastic in casing and they are then they are done…can’t wait to share these!
  • 2 apron dresses for a fellow twin mom and friend, bodice is complete and skirts are coming together nicely, will be done today
  • 4 dress-up dresses (Tink is done, Ariel and  2 Minnie Mouse are cut, but not sewn)
  • 3 summer dresses are cut and one 75% done
  • 2  nightgowns cut, but not sewn (when the twins ask Grandma for something, she delivers!)

It sounds odd and incomplete, but we are doing what we can to not waste steps and get it done (in the end) in less time.  For instance, our machine’s are similar so one machine is the strictly white thread machine and the other we change out threads if need be.  We cut out everything all at once while we were in pattern and rotary cutter mode.  The Tink dress got done first as we are using the same pattern for two other dresses out of nicer fabric and wanted to check sizing….no time for making a muslin! 

Talking Tink, we used the Miss Lily pattern (which is on sale now!) that I really am liking and altered the sleeve to make it a mock spaghetti-strap style dress out of a shimmery green cotton we found.  Add to that the sparkly green sheer leaves and you have a very cute and more importantly, comfortable Tinkerbell dress. 

Today I look for us to have this as a finished list:

  • Tink
  • 2 Easter dresses
  • 2 apron dresses
  • 3 summer dresses
  • 2 Minnie Mouse dresses

I don’t expect to get Ariel done today as it will be an very involved dress (plackets, contrast panels, zipper, peplum, and star fish applique.)  Yeah, this one is a ball-gown style and fancy for my oldest.  Also, the nightgown’s are low on the priority list, so while they will not take long, they will likely be last….it’s too chilly to wear cute nightie’s right now anyhow.

To those that made it to the bottom of this post: I must guess that you are either an avid sewer, good friend, or trying to avoid doing something else.  I congratulate you for reading the Tale of Two Days and would award you some fabric scraps if the girls hadn’t already made plans for them.

***right before publishing this post my mom called and she has come down with the flu!  She kept getting chilly yesterday and was tired, but this morning she is in bed sick : (  Wish me luck, I’m still going to go tackle what I can, though that “finished” list above, will likely be cut in half.

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I am a sewing machine!  Ummm, okay, no I am just a dork.  But I am sewing quite a bit and loving it.  Today, I almost finished the knot dresses (pics below) and cut out a couple of the Miss Lily dresses for the older girls.  I then went out to go to my Grandma’s house to sort through and swipe some trims (thanks Grandma!) from her two drawers full!  Some of the laces she has were made by my Granny (who was born in 1896 if memory serves me right, she lived to 103!)  After that I helped my mom cut out two dresses for each of the older girls, nightgowns for the twins, a Disney-type dress-up outfit for each of the four girls. 

Busy day and, thankfully, an easy school day.

The two knot dresses that are what I call blog finished.  There are still gathering threads that need cut, a hem stitched in (instead of done easy- peasy like the pattern calls for because I didn’t order enough of that print), and buttonholes sewed.  Pretty enough to show on the blog and share for those interested.  I am SO glad I started out sewing my twins’ dresses as this pattern runs small, yikes!  The other twins that will be receiving a dress in the same pattern/different fabric are just a tad bigger than my two and I am not sure this size would fit them.  CeeCee and Brie can slip it on over a shirt…barely.  No shirt underneath and it will be fine.  These dresses will not be around come fall, I am sure of it. I am really hoping for a nice sunny day so I can get some good pictures of dresses and kids.  Flash inside just is not as pretty, but it will have to do. 

Enough blabbing, here are the dresses:

Neither apron is done like the pattern says, after the trip to Grandma’s I simply couldn’t resist a bit of embellishment.  The trim on the Joel Dewberry dress (orange and brown) is an old one of my Grandma’s and a lovely creamy color.  On the Jennifer Moore dress, the apple apron has a green ric-rac edging on it that doesn’t show up well in the photo but looks really cute in person.  The twins, of course, are pleased with their dresses…I’m just hoping they don’t grow out too much soon so they can get some wear out of them! 

For anyone reading that is beginning to sew or has a question about sewing,  be sure that you check out Sew, Mama, Sew.  They have a blog and a forum that have been a huge help to me in refreshing my skills and filling in where I lack skills.  There are wonderful people there sharing great projects at all skill levels.    I’ve learned so much and am off to find a better way to gather a waist, there just has to be a better way!

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First off, I frustrate myself.  The batteries died in my camera, simple enough.  We are out of batteries, not uncommon.  I go to the store this weekend and leave without the batteries that were ON MY LIST!  I frustrate myself.  I wanted to take pictures of and share a couple dresses.    So please pardon me this one (okay, second) time that I am posting photos off of my cell phone! 

First is one of the twins in a dress my mom made.  Bright, fun, flexible for winter, fall, or even into spring.  It’s a lightweight corduroy, so I doubt we will wear it in the summer.  It’s big enough that I am betting it will still be around in the fall as well…petite little boogers.  

Isn’t it a cute one!  Not quite the clean lines and simple (read easy) style I usually make.  Thanks mom for being a better sewer than I am and for making great clothes for my kids! 

I have to share one of my favorites she ever made for the older two, just so I could include a real photo.  These were flower girl dresses (summer 2007) and I still have them for the twins to wear at Easter or Christmas or something  down the road, they are so pretty!

See, my mom is a great seamstress!  I have so much to learn. 

That brings me to this next piece.  A bit of background here.  I have been reading a good bit lately about recycled fashion.  People are making great outfits out of cast-aside garments that have lots of wear left in them.  I wanted to give it a try.  I started with a black turtleneck sweater that I’ve been holding onto since before the twins were with us.  It had a big logo on the neck for a company I represented.  I no longer represent them and I had purchased the sweater too big.  It has hung in my closet for a long time because “it had hardly been worn” and “surely, I can do something with it.”  Well, I finally got the scissors out and did it!   Here is the end result:

Again, pardon the phone photo and really, black is hard to photograph anyways, isn’t it? 

It was so easy and took literally 30 minutes (minus the cute logo-covering felt applique.)  I simply turned the shirt inside out and put it on my girl.  Liz is the fashionista and was more than happy to oblige.  I marked where her armpits were and pinned it up above the shoulders so the neckline would fit her okay.  Took it off, cut the sleeves off completely, started at the bottom side seems, sewed a straight line up to her pit and then turned and went to the old arm holes.  I finished it off by slicing open the turtleneck and lettuce edging all the, well, edges.   It looks so cute in person.  I can see her pairing it with leggings in the spring as well as with the jeans she choose this day.   The belt she found matches  the applique perfect.  Here’s the applique so you can see my mad hand-sewing skills (ha! I have a lot to learn, this part took me an hour!!!)

Jane picked this out after a flickr browsing session.  Click here for her inspiration, it’s so  much prettier than what we came up with.  I have so much to learn when it comes to hand-sewing and embroidery.  These wool felt pieces were part of scrap bags I ordered from Weir Doll and Craft, nice bags if anyone is in the market for them.

The next upcycled project I am going to make will be from a couple wool sweaters I am felting right now.   A summer-sky blue skirt for Jane and jumpers for the twins.  In my free time, that is.

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