Yee haw! I have needed a new purse for AGES. I’ve had this fabric for ages too (Anna Maria Horner Drawing Room in Blue Volumes). I used the same pattern I created for my last purse, but I perfected based on what didn’t turn out as well the last time. I added a pocket in the front and a zippered pocket on the inside. The result? A messenger bag with lots of storage in a small amount of space.
I just picked up my new glasses too. I usually wear my contacts, but once in a while it’s nice to give my eyes a rest. Perhaps I’ll wear these more often.
I’m watching you. I know where you live. Just kidding.
I’ve had this project (Butterick 5245) on the backside of my sewing table for a few weeks. I had other projects–namely the yoyo quilt, the vintage quilt, and the little doll quilt that I threw in for kicks to keep me busy. Plus I decided that if I was going to make a dress, I was going to do it when I could give myself time to think and breathe my way through it instead of rushing it. So I studiously spent all the time putting all of those irritating markings on the fabric and I made the bodice one day, lined it another, sewed the skirt together another day, and I finished it EARLY this morning (read 4 am) when I couldn’t sleep (ah, pregnancy).
I’m SUPER proud of myself for instinctively picking a non-maternity pattern that would work for pregnancy well, and I’m very very very happy to now have a “maternity” dress that is not these horrid neutral colors that apparently the RTW folks think pregnant ladies should be wearing these days.
I learned a couple of things:
1. All of those little irritating markings you have to transfer on your fabric from the pattern really do make a better end product.
2. I should have remembered from my high school Latin that Rome was not built in a day. I get project-obsessed and my must-finish-now mentality shows often and I end up with things that I can’t wear which is kind of against my goal. Conversely, when you give yourself the mental and physical space to create a garment, things turn out better. Finding the fabric really is the hardest part, and that’s pretty fun.
3. I need to read about knits a lot. I sewed slow and carefully and it paid off, but there seriously has to be a better way to approach knits than the way I currently am.
Doesn’t Tina look cute?
My tiny star is giving away one of her adorable owls. How could you resist? It seems like most of the owls I’ve seen are all a bit odd and cross looking, but this one has such a “Who me?” look about him that you just have to laugh. I love softies with expressions like this. Anyway, leave a comment at my tiny star–the drawing is Friday.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, without tea, I just might die…not actually, but mentally. My brain goes zip zip zip all day long and I’m VERY bad at taking a break because I convince myself that I just have to finish __________ (fill in the blank). Thankfully, in high school, I started drinking tea and soon found that having a cup of tea on nice pretty china (yes, thank you Mom for giving me a good eye for a pretty plate) with a wee snack was a rather nice way to make my brain turn off temporarily. Having had a restart, my brain is then ready to get back to zip zip zipping.
Tea for today looks like this:
New pretty teacup and tablecloth that I found treasuring hunting with Mom. Tea itself is raspberry leaf which tastes okay, but I look forward to drinking real tea when I’m not pregnant. 10 more weeks to go!
A new banner is coming starring my teacups…Nathan has to unzip a new font for me.
Valentine’s Day at our house was a quiet occasion…on purpose. We decided that we didn’t want to battle all of the people out at some restaurant where the staff is probably paid extra to be nice to you and the kitchen staff is rather annoyed that you’re making them work extra hard.
So Nathan got me some beautiful yellow roses (because I think red are boring) and we built a reading cave in our living room.
As a kid, I loved making little tents in my room with lights and pillows and blankets. I disappeared in there with a fat stack of books and rarely emerged for the entire day that the structure was up. We often bemoan the pitiful state of education, and though we haven’t and probably won’t make a final decision for a while as to how to deal with it in relationship to our own kids, one thing Nathan and I both agree needs to happen is that we need to teach our kids to LOVE to read as reading really is the gateway to further education in any subject. What better way to do so then to build a little blanket fort? It certainly was a nice way to spend the day with the man I love all stuck in this nice warm cozy den with The Silver Chair, and a couple of books on children I checked out from the library.
I emerged to make us a rack of lamb with some sauteed asparagus and stuffing.
We decided lamb needs to be a more regular part of our lives.
We also made smores over our electric stove.
It was a good day.
The Doll Quilt Sew Along that Sew Mama Sew is hosting seemed like something I could do without too much fuss…and sure enough, I pieced the whole thing in about 1/2 hour, which included cutting. The rotary cutter is my friend.
All of the fabric is from my scrap pile with the exception of the Wizard of Oz fabric that I bought from Superbuzzy last year and hadn’t found a use for yet. I don’t think I’ll give this one away. If this baby isn’t a girl, hopefully one of them will be.
Sew Mama Sew is hosting a fat quarter swap. I figured…why not. It sounds fun and I haven’t swapped anything in a year because it seems like I miss the sign up deadlines for swaps I’m remotely interested in. Pretty fat quarters—how could you go wrong? In fact–go sign up yourself. You have until the 13th to do so.
Aren’t they purty?
Now for something not so purty, but amazingly delicious:
Quick Black Bean Dip
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of one lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch chili powder (or more if you like)
good pinch salt
2 T fresh salsa (WF has a local brand that’s pretty decent in their refrigerated section…if Nathan actually liked Mexican food, I’d make my own because mine is better)
2 T olive oil
Whizz everything in the food processor. That’s it. Eat it with tortilla chips or put it on tacos or salad or whatever floats your boat. It’s not super lovely looking, but it is delicious.
If you’ve sewn for any length of time, it soon follows that you have lots of little bits of fabric that accumulate. Sometimes they accumulate AFTER you’ve made a project, and often, before–like when you see something that’s so wickedly cute or cheap or __________ (fill in the blank) that it must be purchased. So what do you do with all of that?
Sew Mama Sew asked its readers to blog about their stashes, so in the spirit of letting people read weird things about myself, here I go.
What do you usually sew? Whatever I happen to be thinking about. I make clothes, belts, toys, purses, and when I can find the time to devote to them, I love making yoyos.
When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?) It depends. Minimum for me is typically 1/2 yard but I’ll usually buy a yard unless I know the exact project I have in mind for it–then I’ll buy what I need.
Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need? Yes on both counts. Color inspires me–sometimes frequently I can’t resist its siren call.
Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it? I prewash about 80% of the time. I hate having to wash stuff when I want to use it, so it usually goes from the shopping bag into the washer. 20% of the time I don’t feel like it.
Do you iron it? Never. If I’m worried if the fabric will shrink too much or wrinkle in the dryer, I’ll tumble it for about 5 minutes, then pull it out of the dryer, shake it out and allow to air dry–I do this with my vintage tablecloths too–it makes them virtually wrinkle free without having to bust out the iron.
How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.) In an ideal world, I would sort by color because I love things sorted by color. When I’m stressed, I will sort my colored pencils by color. With my fabric, I just don’t have the ideal setup for storage right now, so things get folded and put away as I finish with them essentially. Perhaps I’ll get on the sorting…
Do you have any special folding techniques? I fold everything in nice little tight rectangular bundles.
How do you store your fabric? I have uncut 1/2 cuts in a clear storage bin, cuts from my projects of varying sizes in an open-sided cardboard box (no lie) and my scraps in a really big hat box with the lid overturned that I keep notion scraps in.
What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash? Buy fabric that you love. There’s nothing more depressing than being stuck with 5 yards of some color you totally hate (for me it would be mauve and or hunter green–I shudder…). Solids are your friends too. There are so many awesome prints available for sewers these days, but when you put them all together, your composition can lack balance and just be well…busy.
When do you say enough is enough? Perhaps when I had a complete studio decked out in fabrics of every Pantone shade ever created, but that seems a little over the top. Perhaps the more practical answer is never.
What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects? Amy Butler’s Nappy Bag pattern uses SO much fabric for the lining and old sheets are a good weight for lining that bag. It’s not a quick fix for using up fabric, but yoyos do effectively use a whole lot of it.
Do you have a current favorite print in your stash? Let’s see it! Picking one is like trying to say what your favorite chocolate is. I picked 3.
Because I love tea:
Because it’s funky:
Because it’s from the 40′s, has an unusual hand, and an even more unusual width (36″):
What’s your definition of the perfect stash? (Consider sharing a picture or two of your stash & storage, or direct us to a pic on Flickr!) Something that is usable, that inpires you, that gives you raw material with which to create and discover in whatever time you have to do so. If I could, my ideal stash would look like Britex Fabrics in San Francisco–things neatly ordered by the color spectrum, and nice bright cheery light to judge colors properly by.
photo from Sam Sanford on Flickr.
No, there are not 10,000 yoyos in this quilt–there are only 1,470, but this being my sixth completed yoyo coverlet that I have made in the past five years, my lifetime total of yoyos that I have made is over 10,000 now.
This one is a study in purples and reds and it is for my friend Kara who is the 4th out of my women’s group of 6 to be receiving a yoyo quilt I made. I am SO glad to have this one done. I started it while Nathan and I were dating. It stayed half-finished in the closet for a couple of years until I discovered it during morning sickness. I decided I HAD to finish it before the baby came or there was a 0% chance it was ever going to be finished which if you’ve ever made a quilt entirely by hand you will appreciate that this would have been a crying shame. I love it, especially now that it’s done. It just looks like Kara.
This is a good way to use leftover yoyos that you might have after you’ve finished a project that uses a lot of them and you miscalculated. This is also a good project if you have always wanted to try making yoyos but you haven’t done so because so many yoyo projects involve a lot of them.
2 pieces of wool or cotton velvet 2″ X 36″
11 fabric yoyos of various colors and textures if you wish (there is a tutorial here if you don’t know how to make a yoyo)
Matching the right sides of your fabric strips together, stitch around both long sides and one short side of your strips, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Clip the corners and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.
Turn your tube right side out through the short side that you left open and press all around your scarf. Folding the raw edge of the open short side in, topstitch completely around the scarf with contrasting thread if you like or to match if you prefer.
Line up your yoyos on the scarf wherever you want them and pin in place.
(Note: if you want to place some of them right next to each other, it’s best to first join the backs of them with a whipstitch like this)
You might want to try the scarf on and see if you like where they are and adjust the pins as necessary. Once you have them where you want them, sew one line down the middle of the pinned yoyos on the side without yoyos (your machine will have an easier time with the yoyos on the bottom).