I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to try something new. I wanted to try working with polymer clay. I’ve never worked with clay except some ceramics-type clay back in junior high once, so didn’t have any idea really what to expect. The guys were at a concert last night, so I went to Tracy’s to hang out with her, eat delicious Thai food, watch silly stuff, and for her to teach me about the clay. She showed me a few things, like how to work the clay through the pasta machine, and how to handle it, and then she gave me a project to work on. Its a terrible photo but I made this cute little flower and vine enveloped mirror disc to wear as a pendent.
Working with the clay was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, though it probably didn’t hurt I watched a ton of videos over the last few days in preparation. I’ll try to get a better photo when I finally have an actual camera again. I finally got home at about 2:30am, way after Mattie got home.
This afternoon I went out and did some shopping. I ended up going to several stores, most more than once, and finally finding all the things I was looking for after comparing prices both online and off.
At Target I came out with a package of baby wipes, since they get the clay off of your hands better than anything else, and a stacking trio of boxes, one with a tray inside, to store my tools I had yet to buy and to store my unopened clay in. I love Sterilite’s storage options and I use tons of them in my craft room from everything from bead tool storage to pattern storage to fabric storage. All but about $0.95 was covered at Target by a git card.
The pasta machine I got at the Kitchen Collection store in the outlet mall, and at Harbor Freight (which is almost next door to it) I got the set of 6 double-ended tools. The Exacto blade and the tissue blades I got from Micheal’s after I looked for the tissue blades at Harbor Freight but they didn’t have them. The pasta machine was on sale, so that was nice too.
The stacking containers turn out to be the perfect size and shape and I was able to place all four blocks of clay I have no into one section and put my little cookie cutters into another. (I didn’t keep the packaging for the cookie cutters- it was just easier to show them off in the pic that way.)
Later on this evening, I saw Joann’s had $0.01 shipping today and tomorrow for the holiday, and they had clay on sale down from $2.49 to $1.87 per package. I went ahead and ordered a few more blocks in different colors since I had a few bucks left, part of which was covered by my gift card I had for there. That will give me a bunch of colors to work with. :) I want to get my cookie cutter shapes, but that can wait. :)
Today’s project was a new, bigger, more fun purse. Weeks ago I had decided to make myself a new purse. I wanted a bigger purse, and I also wanted to add some zipper pockets to the inside. I had modified my purse pattern I have made several of already for myself to be larger, and but hadn’t worked it out yet so wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I had estimated the fabric usage to be about 50% more than what it takes for my original design, but it actually ended up taking almost double that. I barely had enough fabric to cut everything from using the two one-yard cuts I had chosen for this design.
My exterior fabric, pictured at left, was chosen after I had already picked my lining fabric- a cut of fabric that my friend Jami gave me two years ago. I had to hand draw some of my pattern pieces as our printer wouldn’t print half of the pieces, and gave me duplicates of others.
The actual construction went really smoothly, except for the part where I forgot to put the interfacing in. I actually had to partially disassemble it afterwards to put it in because to just wasn’t stable enough without it.
I added a zipper to the inside of both sides in the center panels, and was really pleased with my zipper skills- both went in perfectly the first time, and I don’t think I’ve ever put a zipper in so well the first time, and especially not two of them.
One of the biggest design changes I made besides making the purse bigger and adding the zipper pockets was to make the strap longer so it could be worn cross-body, though it doesn’t sit incredible low and it at about hip level.
The lining fabric is a cute grey and yellow polka dot flannel, and its a perfect match for my outer fabric.
After stitching it up, I did find a few things I wanted to adjust in the final pattern, such as making the purse body about 2″ taller, and I found the pocket pieces needed to be lengthened by about 1″ to fit better into the design and sewing methods. When I sew this purse, the pockets on the ends are held in place entirely by stitching them into the other seams- the only thing I have to do with the pocket pieces is hem the upper edges before inserting them into the seams.
Am I happy with the outcome, despite thinking it should be about 2″ taller? Yes. Hopefully I’ll be making an official pattern download with instructions for this version and adding it to my shop soon.
Simplicity 1716 has two different necklines, two different top lengths, as well as two mini-dress variations, and three different sleeve options. I opted to sew up View D, which is the cowl-necked mini-dress, but to use View A’s sleeves. The fabric I chose was one I had bought sight unseen with this project in mind, but after trying to use this same fabric type for another project several weeks ago, I wasn’t sure it was going to pan out. I really loved the color though, so threw caution to the wind and jumped in.
I cut the pieces, and figured since there were only a few, I couldn’t very well mess it up. I started off by sewing the two back pieces together by their outer edges instead of their inner ones. That should have been a sign of things to come. I should have stopped there and picked it up another day, but I really wanted to wear it that afternoon, so I slogged on.
I got the darts in okay, and I got the shoulder seams and side seams stitched without a problem. Then I moved on to stitching on the sleeves. Easy, right? Nope. I sewed them on inside out. Ripped them out, sewed them on again, this time right side out, but I succeeded in stitching one on upside down. If this has been a woven fabric, it would have been no big deal to rip out all of these stitches, but in a knit, its difficult, and its so easy to put holes in the fabric instead. I put a few into it while I was ripping out all of those stitches.
Anyway, eventually I got finished with it, and tried it on. Due to the instability of the fabric I used, it actually created a much softer, drapier fit because of it and I really, really like how it turned out.
I paired the mini-dress with the purple skinny pants I made last week, and I could not have been happier with the outcome. Sorry for the weird almost-full-body selfie, it was the best I could do without a camera since the image stabilizer finally went on mine.
So despite the difficulties, and the things that went wrong, the bad fabric choice, I still love the outcome and I’d be glad to have a second one of this same pattern in my wardrobe. I’m also loving the solid colors I’ve been using lately.
The belt came from a Chinese reseller off of eBay- I actually bought three of them, one black, one white, and one red all with different ornamentation. I’m apparently at that in between weight where regular sized belts are too small but plus sized belts are too big, which leaves me elastic belts that all seem to come form China.
Anyway, Simplicity 1716 View D was a winner!
Butterick 5169 View B is the long sleeved top at left. I had tried to sew this pattern once years ago and having no idea how so sew, or how to follow directions, it was a complete and total failure. I can’t remember what happened to the top in question- I probably threw it out and said good riddance. I do remember there were horribly placed button holes that ruined it completely.
Anyway, in my attempt to clean up and use up some fabrics, I realized a girl can never have too many tops and started going through my shirt patterns. I came across this one and figured why not? It’s been years since I tried it and I actually kind of know how to sew now. I checked the fabric requirement, saw it was a small 2 yards, and selected a 2 yard cut of charcoal Kona cotton from the pile on my beading table. One less cut of fabric to put away, right?
The top is someone fitted, with a lot of darts (6 I think it was), and buttons down the front. I have button holes, but figured there are only four so why not give it a try? I can survive four button holes.
Excuse my lousy picture- its from my phone taken in poor lighting. My camera seems to have not only lost its ability to fire the flash without help, but also has lost its image stabilizer too rendering it pretty much useless. I’ll be saving my pennies for a new camera soon. I’ve already got one picked out, and I wish I had the money for it now because having double exposure photos seems to be the best I can manage right now with my camera.
Anyway, the fit is good, though I would lengthen it a few inches if I make it again, and its comfortable to wear. The construction was super simple and easy to follow, and the final outcome is like the pattern image. I haven’t made the skirt yet to go with this, but may make it next. Or I might make this top again in a different color. I really need to gain more solid color pieces as I have more than enough prints in my closet already.
Tomorrow we’ve got company coming over, but if I get up early, I might see about using up another cut of fabric from my stash.
As promised, I worked up a second pair of these plants today, in some in plain black flannel for Mattie. His pair went together really smoothly except for the past where I manage to stick a pocket on backwards and ended up with two right legs and had to rip out some seams. I didn’t notice until I was about to sew the crotch seam and things weren’t lining up quite right.
Even with that problem, I still managed to knock them out in about 90 minutes from first cut to last stitch.
He claimed they were going to swallow him, I can only assume his reaction to the very wide legs on these pants. Simplicity 4101 is actually a pattern for scrubs so they are very roomy and easy to wear.
I made this pattern once years ago in a really fun, really splashy fabric that was not at all suited towards something that needed to take abuse. I wore them maybe twice, sat down, and the whole butt ripped out. That was when I learned that there are fabrics referred to as bottom weights and what that actually means.
My friend Alix was recently given a sewing machine and I am trying to get her to come over so I can teach her how to sew. Hopefully we can do that soon and I can give hr a small project to work on while she learns.
Today I’m planning on doing some furniture rearranging in my craft room, but not sure how much. I also want to try to reclaim at lest part of the closet nook, but with all of Richard’s car parts in there, that’s looking pretty iffy as I won’t be able to access the space even if I do empty it out.
I set out today to clean my craft room. To says it a mess is an understatement. My craft room is divided into two sides- one side for beading and jewelry making and the other side for sewing. I have two 6 foot folding tables, one on each side of the room. When its clean, its easy to find anything, and there’s plenty of room to work. But when its messy? Forget it. Finding things is a nightmare, and getting stuff done is almost impossible.
This was my craft room after I put most of my fabrics away, and stowed the ones that are for sale into a container pushed under the beading table. You can see it there on the right. Under the table is a huge mess of larger fabric scraps, interfacing pieces, and who knows what else.
This was after I tackled the pile of scraps, throwing quite a few away and stowing the rest. I had to empty my little trashcan twice. I put away pattern pieces from the project I finished yesterday (whoops!) and picked up as many tiny bits of fuzz off of the carpet. I found tons of safety pins laying everywhere. I found my bolt of interfacing, which was buried under all those scraps.
That plastic trash bag you see under the table has a hoop skirt in it. Where does one generally store their hoop skirts? I honestly don’t know.
I also found these. My long missing thread snips. I’ve bee looking for them for ages and all along they were buried on my sewing table.
Of course there’s still that big stack of fabric sitting on the end of my beading table I need to do something with. Two of the cuts of fabric are supposed to be pajama pants, so I figured I’d jump in and make one pair today and will probably make the other pair tomorrow.
I used Simplicity 4101, View D (pants), cut in a medium. Its a unisex pattern, technically for scrubs, and the sizing is huge. Except for my hip measurement, I really could have cut a small and been okay. Anyway, it went together super easily, though I left off the patch pockets that are on the legs halfway down. The slash pockets at the hips are more than enough for pajamas.
I had a little scare as I was sewing when I looked up and saw this much thread left on my spool, and my bobbin had just run out. I only have about 6 more inches to stitch, so I hand-wound the bobbin a few times around, and hoped I’d make it. I literally finished as the end of the thread from the spool was feeding through the machine, and there’s a tiny bit of thread left on the bobbin. Close call!
Sorry my photos of the pants aren’t very good ones. I see to have been suffering some sort of difficulty with my tank top- no matter how I adjusted it for the pictures, something was showing that wasn’t supposed to.
Here’s the front.
Here’s the back.
And here’s the side.
These are insanely comfortable, and the flannel I used is soft and warm, and the print is really fun. Lately I’ve been all about the owls and the foxes. I would love to make a few more pairs of these, but I really don’t need any more clothes actually designed to lounge around the house in. I do enough of that already.
Tomrrow I’ll make another pair in plain black for Mattie, and that will be two cuts of fabric gone out o that stack.
A while back I posted View B of this pattern McCall 6173 (here), finding that while the pattern was easy enough to put together once I had the right fabric, they were more skinny pants than leggings. I had cut the pieces for View A shortly after, but only just got around to stitching them up today. While View B has an elastic waist, View A has a zipper and waistband. It also has several darts, front and back. The real question of course, is does it make leggings as shown on the envelope? Nope. Not even close.
The fit around the waist, butt, and hips is comfortable and decent… for pants. I took an inch and a half from mid-thigh all the way down, and I still have skinny pants. I’d have to take a lot more of for leggings to appear out of this pattern, even though the zip-entry version is a better fit.
I honestly can’t imagine how much modifying I’d have to do to make these into leggings- I cut these as a large according to my waist measurement, but I almost think I’d have to cut a medium and tweak from there to get a true leggings fit. As you can see, they’re still baggy around the knee, and way too loose at the ankle for leggings.
I am really pleased with my fabric though I wish the zebra strips were a bit more obvious. They are in the weave of the fabric, and there’s no color differences, so you can only see them when the light hits just so. Oddly enough when I ordered the fabric, I was worried the stripes would be too obvious. Go figure. There’s also just the right amount of stretch and good stability in this fabric, and I feel like I made a good choice for these pants.
Will I make the other pair I had planned, and already bought fabric for? I think so. That pair is supposed to be this same view, so I anticipate a new pair of comfy (but skinny) pants in my future. This view of the pattern was super easy to work up, and it flew by, except for the part where I stitched a dart into the wrong side of the fabric.
I think I might work on Simplicity 1716 as mocked up here as well.
I’ve been sick this last week and while I’ve been curled up on the couch, I’ve started doing cross stitch. The first one I did I really liked, but wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I thought why not stitch it into some fabrics, make a mini quilt, and stick it on the wall. Before I post it though, I warn you. Its wonky. Really, really wonky. But since the text on the cross stitch says
I figured some wonkiness would go long with the “be you” part- warts and all. I intentionally did not measure anything. I eyeballed stuff. I stitched. I trimmed. I eyeballed more stuff. I spent 3 hours on the couch hand sewing the binding on (three times!), learning how to do mitered corners properly, and running into a few problems along the way. I used my new Ginghers and sliced through my fabrics like they were made of butter. Warm butter. I may have stitched together even more scraps of fabric in colors I did not even need to use for this project. The only thing I measured was the back to find the center to stitch on a hanging loop at the end.
Anyway, here is my first finished cross stitch and my first quilting project. Its hanging on the wall in the house because Mattie declared it art and said it should hang where people could see it. :p
The darker colored stars are purple, as is the darker text, and the binding is also purple. I used fabric scraps from the cute zippered pouches I make, from a shirt I made for a baby, and from scraps leftover from clothing I made myself, as well as some vintage scraps.
Next time I will measure. Maybe not everything, but I’ll make sure my strips of pieces are trimmed up nice and that should help a bit. There will be a next time!
Months ago, I mentioned we were going to a prom-themed party for a friend’s birthday. I had my dress under wraps, and was going to reveal it with photos from the party right afterwards, but it slipped my mind completely. Yesterday I finally remembered to ask the photographer for permission to use a few of his photos in my blogs, and got his website link to full give him credit. Matt Rondel took the photos, and you can see more of his work here.
The photos we’re in don’t show the clothing that well, but they’re still fun photos and I want to share them. My dress has some really fun detailing around the neckline, but as it was chilly, I kept my capelet (McCall’s 5006) on all night and stayed warm.
The capelet was made out of leftover fabric from my dress, as well as some gold satin I had on hand already. I used scraps of velvet ribbon to make the ties to fasten it that I had in my stash already.
My dress was made from Simplicity 1612 View E, after I fell in love with seeing this version in a fantastic border print. I liked the simple lines of the dress overall paired with the interesting neckline and figured why not? I really wanted to do the dress in royal blue, but couldn’t find the right type of fabric in that color so went with this forest green instead. Overall for my dress and capelet, I think I spent about $35 to make both.
Mattie’s shirt is made from Simplicity 7330, View 4, and is called the “3 hour shirt” on the envelope. It was actually a lot easier to make than I was expecting, and turned out really well. I also learned a few new techniques for handling facings while sewing it, so it was pretty much a win-win across the board.
Here’s two more photos form the evening for your enjoyment.
I had a lot of fun that night, and am happy with how everything turned out. :) My only complaint is I had made these fantastic earrings to wear that night, and I forgot them at home. When we arrived I noticed someone else’s earrings, and immediately realized mine were sitting at home, in the holder, and not in my ears. :(