Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Melissa is re-releasing the Marigold dress with an extended size range over at Blank Slate Patterns!

I participated in the testing for the re-release, and I decided to go for a color block effect, making the bodice from a tone-on-tone cream stripe and the skirt from a solid blue.


The Marigold pattern has a number of sleeve options (split-sleeve, cap sleeve, and long sleeve) and can also be made as a peplum top instead of a full dress.  I also made the sash that is included with the pattern to go with my dress.


I also styled my dress with a wide black belt I had in my closet for a different look:


I think the color block look gives the dress a retro/vintage looking vibe, which I really like!


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Utility sewing

Not all of my sewing is fun and beautiful.  Well, perhaps, that’s not entirely true.  Almost all of my sewing is fun– I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with a completed project.  Recently, though, I took a little bit of time to sew up some utilitarian things for my household.

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First, I made some re-useable mop covers for my Swiffer-like mop.  We had our kitchen renovated this summer, and that project included getting new floors in the entire ground floor of our house.  I’ll be doing (hopefully, ha!) a lot more mopping, and I really didn’t want to have to keep buying disposable mop cloths.

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These covers are made from scrap flannel (an old, old sheet) and an old less-than-white-but-still-clean hand towel that had been relegated to rag status**.  The towel became the mop part, and I used the flannel to make pockets on each end so that the mop head slides right in.  It was a very simple sew– I based my measurements on the size of the mop head and basically just serged everything together.

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**I did make one with all flannel, but when I used it, I found that it stuck too much to the floor when I was doing wet mopping, so when I make more (and I’m definitely going to make more), I’ll use more towel pieces.

When I’m done using the mop covers, I’ll toss them into my rag wash load, and they’ll be ready for the next time I do some floor cleaning!

~ ~ ~

I used some scrap cotton for my next quick sew: a cloth cover for a frozen-veggie ice pack.  Recently, a friend and I were talking about ice packs (and I’ve been needing one more often recently due to foot pain), and she mentioned that she keeps a bag of frozen veggies (peas, corn, etc.) that has been “permanently” designated for ice pack use only.  I thought that was a great idea, and instead of just putting a label on it like she suggested, I took it one step further (because, after all, I am me).  I like to have my ice packs wrapped in a bit of cloth, so why not just make a little pillowcase that can just live on the veggie bag all the time?  No one is going to mistake the dino-covered bag for a supper side dish 🙂

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This was, quite possibly, an even simpler sew than the mop covers.  I simply made an envelope pillowcase sized for the 1-lb bag of peas I had for an ice pack!

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Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go and ice my foot. 🙂


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This summer, I wanted to do some sewing with my kids, especially V, who had been asking to do more during the school year.  I planned a project with her (post coming later!), and in the process, her little brother wanted to get in on the action.  When we chose fabric for her project, he also saw some fabric he loved, so we purchased it for him.  But before we got to that project, I wanted to do a bit of introductory sewing with him.

One day while my daughter had a friend over to play, B was feeling a bit left out, so I called him into the craft room to do some sewing with me.  I cut rectangles of some scrap flannel so that we could make a little pillow together.  Since B just turned four, he can’t reach the machine pedal, so just like when I started machine sewing with V, he sat on my lap.  He “steered” while I used the pedal to keep the stitching going.  He also carefully removed the pins as we approached them!

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He was thrilled to get to stuff his own pillow, and we sewed it closed together.

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This project got finished so quickly, and he put it to good use right away!

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And then he was hooked!  He kept asking about the next project, and so I quickly got the fabric he’d chosen pre-washed and cut out so that we could make…. SNUGGLE PJ pants!

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He sat on my lap as I sewed every seam (even some of the serging that I did to finish the edges), carefully removing pins as I came to them.




I deliberately lengthened them so that they will last a bit longer– he is growing so fast!  I love this colorful Star Wars fabric that he found.  It’s so fun!



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Last fall, I bought myself a royal blue maxi dress from Old Navy for less than $5.  Since I was ordering online and didn’t know what size would fit best, I ordered two different sizes.  The dress ended up being even more fantastic than I’d expected, and since it was so inexpensive, I decided to keep the extra dress to cut down to fit my daughter.

Since it was already getting to be cooler weather, I put the project off until the very end of June, when it came back to mind when a friend asked me if I was working on any sewing projects.  Unfinished projects really weigh on my mind, so I decided to tackle it at last.

I wanted to preserve as many of the design elements of the original dress in the cut-down version as I could. Here are some some screen shots of the Old Navy listing (shown below):

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My first step was to cut off the bodice piece, above and below the elastic waistband.  I discovered that I could take out the stitching that held the drawstring in place and draw it closer in the neck so that it was more appropriately sized for a 6-year-old, and then I took in each side seam by 3 inches.


Doing a bit of quick measuring, I cut down the elastic waistband to fit my daughter’s waist.  There was enough width in the original back panels of the dress so that I could make the entire skirt from it (there is less gathering than the original styling, but that’s ok).  I shortened it for my daughter’s height and attached it to the adjusted waistband.  I think I probably could have shortened it even more, but I guess now there’s room for her to get taller 😉

Finally, I shortened the length of the bodice by a few inches before attaching the waistband and skirt to it.




This was the most improvised project I’ve done, and it was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time!  I love having a mommy-daughter set of dresses– I think this might be our first ever matching outfit!  I love that my daughter is so excited about them, too!


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Blank Slate Patterns has re-released the Catalina Dress pattern!  I got to work on testing some of the updates to the pattern.   This pattern works with woven and knit fabrics(!), has a tank or cap sleeve bodice and button placket bodice option with three lengths.

For my version, I made the tank bodice with a maxi skirt, and I think it can look pretty dressy this way:


I love maxi-dresses in summer.  They can be dressed up or down.


And there are pockets!



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I’ve been wanting to sew up a Rivage Raglan dress for quite a while now!  The style reminds me of a particular dress made by a multi-level marketing company.  I love the style, but I wanted more choice in my fabrics.  I think this is a perfect fit!

This first dress (of many, I hope!) was made as a muslin, and I love how it turned out.  I used the last bits of a floral knit (see more HERE and HERE!) and supplemented with a black-and-white striped knit.  I’m usually not so adventurous in my mixing of patterns, but I really love how this turned out!



Here I’m wearing it with leggings (it was a chilly day!) but I think it’s going to be super cute without leggings, too.

And I’m particularly pleased with how the neckline binding turned out!


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Bunny and Bug



I’m not exactly sure what gave me the idea, but I decided that each of my kids should get a special mommy-made softie for Christmas.  I love Ikat Bag’s Menagerie pattern, and since I’ve already made a squid, I knew that the pattern is really straightforward and well-written– and therefore manageable in the short amount of time I had free before Christmas.

I chose to make a Bunny and a Bug, because those are nicknames I use for my children.



Bug is made from “anti-pill” fleece from Joann.  He is soft and snuggly, but I must say, I am super unimpressed with the “anti-pill” nature of the fabric.  He was pilled almost as soon as my son hugged him!  But thankfully, that doesn’t inhibit him from being cuddly.

I found some faux fur in a nice grey color for Bunny (I was surprised (and happy) that when I asked V about the color of an ideal bunny, she chose grey instead of white.  I love grey!!). The inside of Bunny’s ears and her tummy are made from scraps leftover from V’s bathrobe.

These softies were a quick and inexpensive project to make, and since B isn’t much of a softie kid in general, and since V has a seemingly endless supply of them, I didn’t expect these two to become beloved toys.  I was delighted, though, when Bug became B’s most-snuggled animal, and V was so taken with Bunny that she wanted to bring her for show-and-tell at school.  Both kids insisted on bringing them on the airplane for our holiday travel (and Bunny got pulled aside in security because she was so dense! Whoops!).


Even months later, Bug and Bunny are counted among the “favored few” of the kids’ stuffed animals.  That makes my maker-mommy heart so happy.


just look at those faces! 

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