Labor Day has passed and it’s really starting to feel like fall here after such a beautiful summer… I even put on a cardigan sweater this morning (!) so cozy sewing is on my mind. If you feel the same way and haven’t seen the fall issue of Stitch magazine yet, definitely snap one up. I love it and have some favorite projects bookmarked.
My kids went back to school (well, preschool and the toddler class) yesterday and it’s the perfect time of year for these two clever projects – Jennifer Wolak’s bunny nap roll and Lisa Anderson’s chalkboard mat.
For myself, I can’t decide between the prettiest party frock by Gretchen Hirsch (have you seen her gorgeous new book yet??) and the big blue by Stitch editor herself, Amber Eden! Full paper patterns for each design are included in the issue, or downloadable online, so it’s easy to sew even the most ambitious project.
And these two hats by Stephanie Smith and April Moffatt are just adorable. I’ve always wanted to sew a hat.
I wrote two articles in this issue, too! I’m so thrilled to be one of three contributing editors (alongside Gretchen and Linda) and getting to write regularly about craft history and culture (and of course, sewing). I interviewed Jade Laswell of Craft Hope about her truly amazing love-inspired charity crafting mission. You can find out a lot more about her efforts on their Facebook page, including the current project (#18), quilts for wildfire victims.
And I got to tell the story of Coats and Clark, the 200-year-old thread company that is still at the forefront of sewing technology. It was fascinating to research and a lot of fun to write, I love craft history.
Here are a couple of page snapshots, including a look at how thread is made – both now and hundreds (even thousands!) of years ago.
I absolutely loved the Coats and Clark ephemera I found on eBay and Etsy for this piece. My two favorites were the Zebra from the “Spool Zoo” (included free with a package of bias tape in the 1930s, so a child could cut out the animal shapes and glue them to an empty spool of Mama’s thread) and the 1961 magazine ad pairing spools of thread with chic fabric scraps for a fashionable effect.
Thank you to Amber and Stitch for the chance to write these pieces! I have two more articles in the Winter issue (here’s a hint about one, and the other for good measure) and I’m working on an article that’s very close to my heart for Spring 2013, complete with some sneak peeks at pretty new fabric collections. I feel very lucky to get to write about craft things I love – freelance life definitely has its ups and downs, but the good parts are great.
Hope you are enjoying your first few days of fall too!
It took me awhile to finish my name tag (you can see a couple dozen awesome ones from February’s meeting over here btw!), because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to write/print/embroider West Coast Crafty. I was dreaming of Gocco, but finally went super-simple with a lovely turquoise Sharpie from Collage.
Loving my 2012 craft project journal from Ex Libris Anonymous…
Finished name tag! I used blue Pearl Bracelet from Lizzy House for my main section and binding-tape lanyard, and yellow Peacock Lane from Violet Craft for my pennants, and the back. I embroidered my name, stitched down my bias tape, pinned the pennants in place, and then used Pellon 71F heavy interfacing for it instead of batting, stitched around 3 sides, trimmed and carefully turned it, fully fused it on the back, and then turned the raw edges in on the bottom and top-stitched the perimeter.
I’m confident there’s a prettier way to add the pinback than invisible thread, but oh well. I like the back and that cheery yellow!
At the February meeting (which was completely awesome and included a stellar talk by Kathy Miller and a Cotton Couture color card for each of us!),
I got to wear my finished Lisette market skirt. Hooray! I bought the Denyse Schmidt fabric at JoAnn at the end of January, started cutting and sewing it at the Fabric Depot All Day Sew and stitched the buttons on the day before the meeting. I really like this pattern.
Here are my thoughts:
1. I made View B which I think is super cute, but it’s short. Really, really short by my late-thirties’ standards (I think 18″) so I “hemmed” it with folded twill tape right over the raw edge, instead of losing any more length. When I sew it again, I’m adding a couple inches to its length for sure!
2. The six pieces (front center + sides, back center + sides), look REALLY similar on your sewing table. I notched them all (thank goodness) and was still struggling to figure out which were front, back, side, center, anything. Don’t unpin them all at once (oops).
3. Choose big, striking buttons for the plackets. I really loved how that defined the skirt style along with the neatly top-stitched panel seams. It’s really cool how the plackets also create an avenue for a belt, tie or scarf, like stylish belt loops.
4. This is a nice efficient pattern that will give you good-sized scraps for patchwork – yay – or… a headband! I sewed a headband to match and I really love it, on days where my messy hair is kind of driving me crazy it is a nice polished feeling. If you’d like to make one too, I love Caitlin’s tutorial, I just adapt it a bit for my love of vintage and excessive amount of long, thick hair.
Ok, last sewing thing! I’m really excited for our PMQG field trip to the Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington this weekend! Nancy, Brittany, Rachel, Kaci, Cherri, Michelle, and I are all heading up to check out the show, the first time I’ve been in 10 years. If you are going too, I’m doing a book signing for both Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft at the Pendleton Woolen Mills booth on Saturday from 10am-12noon, please come by and say hi and get a free quilt block or magnet kit. I’d love to meet you!
Quick PSA for anyone around here: the huge September Pendleton Woolen Mill sale ends today! I went yesterday morning with Michelle, Daniela and Everett, and snapped up some pretty amazing things. Everett loves it there and crawled all around while I trailed him, looking at beautiful things. He has an eye for the most colorful blanket fabrics!
I ended up choosing some yardage for fall sewing – I want to make some Western shirts and a-line skirts. My 13th anniversary with Andrew is coming up in October, and the first year we were going out, I sewed him a dark brown corduroy Western shirt with a 1974 Simplicity pattern. I made him close his eyes when I tried it on him for fit, and I was so excited to give it to him once I set the last pearl snap. This year, I want to make him another one in the soft reddish-brown plaid fabric, a reissue from the 1960s Beach Boys era. I saw this beautifully sewn sample shirt in the Pendleton booth at the Expo and fell in love…
So this is what I picked out. The plaid yardage is mostly 60″ wide (or even wider) so you can make a nicely detailed shirt, even if your husband is 6’6″, with just a couple of yards. I’m going to use the inexpensive soft brown cotton for a muslin/sample shirt to get the sleeve length and details just right before I cut into that gorgeous wool. So Andrew will hopefully end up with a few anniversary shirts after all!
So, my fall craft dream is to make a few simple a-line skirts for myself and Pearl, and a little Western shirt for Everett (probably in cotton for now while he’s growing so fast). This is going to be fun! Michelle picked out a bright turquoise and white wool to make some pillows, and Daniela bought a fantastic blanket fabric to make herself a duffel coat. I am super excited to see it all come to life!
If you go:
Pendleton Woolen Mill Store sale
Ends at 5:30 today! (9/30)
8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland
I’m so happy to be today’s stop on the Sewing for Boys blog tour with a review and giveaway (read on!). Shelly and Karen have created a fun collection of 24 projects to make for the boys – or girls – in your life, from newborn to age 7, from pants and shirts to hats, belts, and Lego bags. There are full-sized paper patterns included for all the clothes projects, and thorough instructions and diagrams throughout. Be sure to check out the Sewing for Boys flickr group for tons of inspiring photos of reader-made projects!
I have my heart set on making the Treasure Pocket Pants for Pearl (as a good hand-me-down for my little boy Everett), but when I saw the To-Go Artist, I knew that would have to be my first SFB project and the one to show over here with my book review. (It didn’t hurt that Daniela designed the airplane fabric for this one – love it.)
My nephew Julian turned 10 (!) this year and though he’s a little too big for the clothes size ranges here, I knew he would love a portable mini-art studio.
I did a few adaptations to make it more him – left off the shorter crayon holder in favor of a larger one just for colored pencils,
kept it to one main solid fabric with a bright peace-sign print instead of using three different ones, and added a 10 applique on the front.
I also did a few things that made it more me – made a quick handmade binding tape to edge the top of the notebook holder instead of top-stitching,
and used a snap (with a button cover) instead of Velcro since I didn’t have any handy. I also added this little tag, which resurfaced from 2000 or so when I moved my craft room. (This photo also shows the truest color of the solid green canvas I used, a home dec fabric from IKEA that I also sewed Pearl a set of curtains with.)
Here’s another look at the inside. The only thing I wanted to do, but didn’t, was top-stitch the whole perimeter to finish as the instructions mentioned – I love top-stitching, but with up to six layers of thick canvas layered in a few places, my universal needle was not happy. So I hand-stitched the opening with invisible thread and it worked very nicely, it’s not quite as defined but it works. It’s plenty sturdy with all that canvas, especially once I pick up a hard-covered sketchbook to add…
So, on to the giveaway! Wiley sent me my review copy and has generously donated another copy of the book for me to give away to a blog reader, and I’m adding a piece of the print I used (Alexander Henry’s “peace” from 2005, which I bought around then at Michael Levine in LA and just cut into for the first time for this project!). To enter to win the book and fabric, please leave a comment on this post by next Thursday, September 22 (midnight PST), mentioning your favorite craft project you’ve ever made for a kid, and I’ll let Shelly and Karen pick the winner then!
Even better, for locals: Shelly will be signing books at Modern Domestic tomorrow night, September 16, from 6-9, and at Powell’s Books on October 22. Don’t miss Wiley’s author blog and tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour, True Up!
So, today I needed to rehearse my log cabin presentation, call a cab to the airport for dark-thirty tomorrow morning, pack, and track down Everett’s birth certificate… what better time to sew a new dress??
This was my recent score at JoAnn – 3 yards of my favorite print from Denyse Schmidt‘s Picnic line earlier this summer. I pre-washed yesterday and then started cutting around noon. I’ll post more about the Continental pattern if anyone’s interested, but it felt like it ran very big on me in my measurement size (18) and I ended up doing various pleats and tucks at the armholes and neckline (front and back), and bringing the sides in substantially. The length was perfect as-is, though.
My favorite change was skipping the tie belt (which is very cute in the pattern envelope photo) and making an improvised 4.5″ wide reversible obi sash instead. I really needed the definition and the wide, graphic sash turned it from billowy and indistinct on me, even after all the streamlining, to a more tailored waist and party-dress silhouette. LOVE the fabric – just love it. I did the sash in half Picnic, half County Fair (her 2007 home dec collection). I really love the contrast side out, and then the matching side is more subtle but also pretty.
Here’s what they look like together closer up… I’m calling the dress Picnic at the County Fair. By the way, I hadn’t had a chance to press it or even trim threads before I started losing the light, so forgive my super quick photos. Today flew past me!
My goal was to finish the dress before it got super gray and fall descended and it was time for jeans every day. Well, it was 95 degrees here today and summer is sticking around for now, so I’m hoping for several outings in my new dress! And the first one will be at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild meeting tomorrow night… huge thank-you to everyone there for inviting me to come visit and speak. I am so excited, and I’m bringing a big stack of PMQG members’ cards for our log cabin potholder swap!
See you next week! Or if you’re in Kansas, tomorrow!
It’s been years (literally) since I’ve had a chance to sew this much, and I can hardly believe I’ve actually gotten to make or mend a few things that didn’t have a deadline attached to them. I wanted to share a few photos of the projects I’m the most excited about…
This vintage dress, which was a $5 Rose Bowl treasure, had been on the long-neglected mending pile since 2007 (?) with a broken metal zipper. After moving everything in my craft room downstairs and finding it again, I stole half an hour, dipped into my newly organized card catalog of notions, and put in a new zipper. I have never loved my little Pfaff more than when I was zipping along on this project, realizing I was going to get to wear it out to dinner in ten minutes when the babysitter got here (it was the evening of our sixth wedding anniversary). I usually don’t post many photos of myself, but here I am very happy, and just so glad to be wearing this dress again instead of losing it to the perma-pile.
My favorite thing I’ve made in forever is this denim wrap skirt. Love the pockets, which hold an iPhone and keys perfectly, love the a-line, and love the total simplicity of it. I’m also kind of amazed that I finished it after all this time… I prewashed the fabric and cut all the pieces out in summer 2007, right after we moved back to Portland. Then I found out I was pregnant (the first time), suddenly got the chance to write another book (Button It Up), and reluctantly put the skirt project away to whenever I could fit it in time-wise, not to mention fit into it body-wise. Two more books, a house move, a craft room move, and another baby later, I got those long-forgotten pattern pieces back out (I really thought this one might end up in my crafty estate sale for someone else to finish a few decades from now) and started sewing.
I love top-stitching. I find it so relaxing to just go forward with these neat, even lines. This is kind of a dream project for me, I guess – three full bobbins’ worth of relaxing! The skirt is sturdy denim, top-stitched basically everywhere, and almost architectural on. I’m not nearly as worried about a sudden gust of wind as I would be in some adorable light, frothy thing. But a well-placed safety pin never hurts…
Anyway, I’m hoping for a good photo soon, but none of my mirror ones turned out, so I’ll update when I have someone around who is not three or nine months old and can take a decent picture of me wearing it. Oh, and I lost the pattern envelope sometime in the last four years (unsurprising) so the vintage pattern wiki page was awesome for reference – it’s Simplicity 9541. My only tweaks were shortening it 5 inches to just below/at the knee, and a few of my own attempts to set the waistband, etc. differently than the 1980 “UNIT 6″ approach I couldn’t really get my sewing head around.
Next, I finally got started on the Carousel Quilt kit I bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics a couple years ago, which is a charming pattern Kathy designed, built around the Denyse Schmidt County Fair cheater print panel. It’s stitching up super fast but I didn’t have a chance to finish piecing it last time I had childcare. Next week for sure!
I also mended a pair of Pearl’s old cowgirl pants (my favorite kids’ pattern, Burda 9772), hemmed a pair of Andrew’s cords, and then jumped into Mic-Mac part 2. I sewed Pearl a brown George the Puppy from Girl’s World a little while ago, which she promptly named Mic-Mac, and then requested “so many more Mic-Macs.”
So I cut a couple more out last week (a red one for her and a green one for Alex, both with yellow number-print ears), and sewed and stuffed them on Monday. Well, I think I’ll be making another green one for Alex, because Pearl loves the trio of Mic-Macs, and they are basically partying together all day long.
She lines them all up, she tells me stories about them, and they go on trips together. Not bad for a project that takes much less than an hour and a quarter-yard of fabric. Actually, you could probably make two in an hour or so, if you didn’t have to change thread colors. (My only tweaks were top-stitching the ears, and I didn’t clip curves this time since the seam allowance is only 1/4″ and I had a hard time not cutting too much on the brown Mic-Mac.)
So, now that I’ve caught up on some sewing to-do’s (to say the least!) I went to JoAnn Fabrics in search of Denyse Schmidt‘s new line Sugar Creek. Here is what I found at the Eastport store in Portland on Tuesday:
Not a ton of Sugar Creek in the mix, but yay, there was some Picnic (which I wasn’t expecting to see again) so I snapped up three yards of this very-favorite print, plus a new Lisette pattern – Continental, for the cute dress:
So, we’ll see when I have time to make it (hopefully in time to wear it at least once before sweater weather officially descends). By the way, I bought the Lisette Market pattern (for the adorable a-line skirt) at JoAnn a few weeks back too and I’ve already lost it! If you know any finding-things charms, I’d love any good thoughts. I want to make that skirt…
Oh, one more project (no sewing involved). My dear friend Alison came over last week and we made terrariums, so I got to re-make my Star Wars Terrariums from World of Geekcraft. I had disassembled them all in 2009 to send the action figures and rocks and sand away for the photo shoot and I was missing them so much. So she made wedding centerpieces, and Pearl and I made my Star Wars worlds again. Yay!
PS: If you have been following or helping with Quilts for Quake Survivors (thank you!!!) I put a new post up on the blog a couple days ago, about our last sewing party and final push to raise money for Mercy Corps and donate the remaining quilts. You can check that out and add your two cents over there if you’d like to.
PS again: If you are into these things, I’m finding the one minute to post things on my craft writer page on Facebook or my new twitter a lot more often than the hour or whatever for a real, full-on blog post with pictures over here. So please say hi over there if you’d like to!
I mentioned Pearl’s remarkable long and varied list of Halloween costumes she desperately wanted to wear last week (not counting my own pick, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the six I listed a few days ago had been joined by 7. Kangaroo and 8. Yoda – she got the hat from last year’s costume out of the dress-up trunk and wore it around the house for an afternoon before circling back around to 1-7). After all that, I’m happy to report that thanks to an absolutely beautiful vintage embroidered Western shirt that Holly surprised us with, we successfully went with 5. Cowgirl!
Andrew took this Polaroid earlier in the day, before we got the rest of her costume on, but I just loved it anyway. I found this 1950s bouncy horse on our street a couple of years ago with a free sign on it and lugged it home. Pearl LOVED it and she and her little buddies rode it all the time, until the day one of the springs connecting the horse to the base broke and it just wasn’t really that fixable. So now it’s been freed to live on as a lawn ornament and cowgirl photo destination!
Holly did a photo shoot with a group of mothers and children in September and October and Pearl and I were lucky enough to be included. On the last shoot day, she surprised us with an awesome gift: this gorgeous 1970s hand-embroidered Western shirt, a Sears size 4. It fits my lanky 2.5-year-old perfectly and voila, along with a $5 cowgirl hat we got at the stables in Sunriver the week before, the Halloween costume dilemma was solved! Who could possibly resist the chance to run around in a super cool shirt embellished with a ladybug, a goldfish, a star, a puppy, a turtle,
a mushroom, an enormous carousel horse, and a WHALE?!
Pearl really seemed to enjoy life dressed as a cowgirl, though she told everyone who asked her on Friday what her costume would be that she was going to be a dog, and everyone who asked on Saturday that she was going to be a kangaroo, and I had my doubts she’d cooperate so happily. But on Sunday, she was a cowgirl, and so was I actually! It was super fun. Even though I didn’t end up getting to do any actual crafting for the costume myself, and did end up carrying her little stuffed horse around all night, it was so much better than sewing three or four (or let’s be honest, eight) costumes and endlessly doing battle over which one might actually make it out for trick-or-treating.
p.s. Thanks so much for the super compliments on the Pendleton patchwork quilt, and to Rachel for posting about it on CRAFT:! I really, really, really love that project and it makes me so happy every time I see it. I wish everyone else who likes it too a big armful of beautiful wool fabric samples, a blissful afternoon sewing, and a cozy evening curled up under your new favorite quilt. Seriously, don’t miss the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, it is a craft paradise full of unexpected treasures.
Linda has been in town all week (she and Paul finally left today, we were sad to see them go) and we’ve gotten to do all the fun Portland activities you only treat yourself to when you have visitors! Among other adventures, we got waffles, Thai food, biscuit sandwiches, gelato and ice cream cones, and of course plenty of coffee… plus there was some knittn kitten, yard sale-ing, long walks, Powell’s, yarn shops, and a little barbecue over here with buddies in the lineup. Linda has a nice post with a few photos here — she and Paul did lots of great Portland things on their own, too. Since my laptop is currently full to the brim until I transfer a good chunk of my towering iPhoto onto an external drive, and everything I’ve snapped recently is trapped on my camera in the meantime, I have borrowed some favorite pictures of the week from Lee, Paul, and Linda.
To celebrate the release of Crochet Adorned, Linda did a super cool crochet 101 segment on AM Northwest, and at her lovely Powell’s event last week we not only learned a few tips, tricks, and secrets, but we got to see the whole array of her beautiful book projects in person… such a fun evening! Lee got some great shots of Linda at the famous wooden-book podium,
and the many pretty things she brought to show us.
Linda took lots of questions at the end of her talk. As a total beginner (I have crocheted two bead and wire necklaces using only the foundation chain stitch thanks to Diane), I asked for her recommendations for hooks and she suggested Clover Soft Touch, which are ergonomically designed for working comfortably. I was also curious to know what her favorite projects in the book were, and she mentioned her lovely Butterfly Apron and this gorgeous Lace Bowl.
Seeing all of her projects out was so inspiring! I was really looking forward to her flower crochet event at Yarn Garden on Saturday — the first time I saw her book, I was instantly drawn to the beautiful flower designs (like the Garden Party Cardigan on the cover) and her comprehensive stitch and motif dictionary is an incredible resource.
On Saturday afternoon, we all settled into the front room at Yarn Garden and I snapped up the recommended Clover Soft Touch hook (size G). It was so comfortable to use, even an hour in (thanks Linda!), and after a few experimental practice loops I was on my way to flower-constructing.
Linda gave all of us super-helpful one-on-one instruction and we got to crocheting. She had some colorful sample pieces out to show, and plenty of stash yarn up for grabs. Of my neighbors at the table, Kathy made a hot pink flower, Caitlin‘s was blue and mine was orange. I was by far the most junior crocheter on board but I started to feel so much more confident on petals 2 and 3 — with Linda’s tutoring, I was actually double crocheting! Just a few repetitions and a satisfying pull on the yarn tail later, I had the sweetest little five-petal flower made and a bright blue button picked out for ornamenting it. Yay!
Linda’s book is such a treat — a lovely array of ideas for turning something you already have into something you love with delicate updates and pretty touches, from beginner-friendly to delightfully aspirational. I’m so excited to keep going and make more flowers… and trims… and granny squares (my necklace in all these pictures is a Lindamade original!). One of these months, after lots more practice, I even hope to try my hand at that gorgeous thread-crochet bowl.
You can see lots more peeks at the book on Linda’s blog and in Diane’s, Lee’s, and Natalie’s reviews. And Alice is giving away a copy of it today — hop over there to leave a comment and enter to win!
Months and months go by and I don’t manage to get anything sewn at all, but this one little week has been so exciting sewing-wise! Two fun tutorials I did just went up, and I made Pearl a crafty little Easter basket, too. Triumph x 3 after a very long drought! If you’re in the mood to sew some little things for the babies in your life here are some fun, easy projects you might like to try.
On Friday, the always-awesome CRAFT: blog posted my Woodgrain Baby Gifts article and how-to. I loved doing this one and I am so happy to see it out in the world!
I made two sets of apple-and-branch appliqued muslin swaddling blankets, burp cloths, shirts, and matching pants (using my beloved Burda 9772). I love appliqueing and mixing fabrics, and it was nice to make some cute things for Pearl to grow into… and the swaddling blanket and burp cloth combination is my go-to new baby gift, so now I have some all set for the next baby-to-be in our world!
And on Sunday, my CraftStylish tutorial for making a soft, baby-friendly felt owl with a bonus crinkly surprise inside went up, too.
Pearl loves grabbing things that crinkle and crackle, so I recycled two wipes packages into the secret ingredient inside… and when I surprised her with it she immediately grabbed it and squeezed away so I knew it was a success.
And he fit so nicely into her Easter basket yesterday morning, too!
I seem to be kind of a holiday-crafting mother so far, and as usual I am loving felt above all other materials. I used it for the broom and Griffyndor emblem for her Harry Potter Halloween costume, and for her Christmas stocking, and now it’s the star this time around too. The Easter bunny stopped at Powell’s for some favorite books and then scooped up my treasured chocolate bunny from jekbot and last week’s owl, and added some new little treats: pinked felt Easter eggs I decorated with ribbons and rick-rack!
These are super simple to make. I just cut out matching ovals in different colors with pinking shears, used tacky glue to add ribbons and rick-rack, and sewed them together (leaving a space at the bottom for stuffing), trimmed the edges, and finished them up on Saturday afternoon.
Then on Easter morning, Pearl had the best time pulling every single thing out of the basket and playing with it all! I’m sure next year she’ll want to hunt for eggs and gather them all up, but this year she is all about taking things out of larger things, and having a lot of fun doing it. And of course relaxing with a bottle afterwards.
One more thing to add to this super long and very baby-centric post is that the yellow dress she’s wearing in the picture was mine as a baby, and the appliqued whale dress is the one and only thing I made for her while I was pregnant, so it’s been extra fun for me to see my big girl crawling around cheerfully grabbing owls and Easter eggs wearing some of my favorite things. She is so sweet lately.
I hope you had a lovely weekend too!