Friday, November 22, 2013

Baby Pants and Baby Dress

Here are some photos of some newborn baby pants I made for my friend's baby girl.  I love this pink print and the cute bow in the front!

The fruity fabric is left over from an apron I made a few years ago.  I used Made by Rae's Baby Newborn Pant pattern.  It is free!

I used Sew Much Ado's Infant Peasant Dress pattern to make this baby dress.  This was also a free pattern and included a tutorial.

Do you know of any great baby patterns on the internet?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Diamond Candles Winner!

The winner of the Diamond Candles giveaway is....

Daline Fairbanks

Congrats Daline!  (She was notified by email earlier today.)  A big thanks to Diamond Candles for my wonderful new peachy candle and for doing the giveaway.  And thank you to all of you who entered the giveaway.  Have a wonderful week!

Thank you so much for participating and big thank you to Diamond Candles for my lovely candle and this fun giveaway.  More giveaways to come!
- See more at:
Thank you so much for participating and big thank you to Diamond Candles for my lovely candle and this fun giveaway.  More giveaways to come!! XO -
- See more at:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vogue 8902 - My Clara Oswald Dress

Scott and I decided to be Doctor Who characters for Halloween.  He chose to be the Eleventh Doctor, and I chose to be one of his companions, Clara Oswald.  Soufle girl (Clara) wears a red dress in her debut on the show, so I whipped up Vogue 8902 in a lovely red double knit.

I've been saving this red double knit for a fall/winter dress and when I saw Vogue 8902 I had to buy it:

It is so comfortable looking!  It also looked like it would be easy to construct, and I was right on both accounts.  I mean, really, when I put this on I feel almost as comfy as I do in a nighty.

I only had the weekend to make this dress so there wasn't time to obsess and over-think the pattern alterations.  I cut out my size - 8 shoulders to 10 rib area to 14 waist and 12 hips - and made the dress 2" shorter in the skirt.  Well, I have news for you...although a double knit is one of the recommended fabrics for this pattern, it is NOT a knit pattern.  I had to take in gobs of fabric on the sides and would have been much better cutting an 8 or 10 out throughout the whole pattern.

The fitting isn't perfect, but I think it looks great for a quickie dress.  I chose not to line it.  I used some jersey to finish off the neck edge.  Yep, a quick fix, but it looks just fine.  I finished the sleeve and skirt edges with a blind hem on the machine.  The neckline is a bit higher than I would like, but it is good for fall.

P.S. - I love red lipstick.  This is Stila lip tint in 'Fiery'.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Unpacking and Settling In

Hello all! It's been way to long since I blogged here in my little sewing corner.  I haven't picked up the sewing machine much since we moved.  I've been pretty busy with unpacking, painting, procuring and staining furniture.  We've also been shopping for a second car, which has been really time-consuming.

 a crape myrtle in November
I know now that moving (a cross country move at that!) can be stressful or hard or difficult for a lot of people.  I used to wonder why people got so overwhelmed at the thought of unpacking boxes.  Well, folks, it happens!  Those boxes can fill entire rooms and the thought of spending hours unboxing and organizing made me go into hiding!  One of my friends generously offered to help me unpack my sewing room.  Having her there forced me to stay on task and keep going until my sewing room was in a livable state.  The result was fantastic!  I really couldn't have done it without her. 

I love this new hutch.  I displayed all of my large pieces of fabric on the top portion of the hutch and scraps and remnants on the bottom.  I love how neat and attractive it looks.  I was able to purchase this hutch for only $75 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  It's like a Goodwill for furniture and building materials!  

I open the cabinet, and my fabric is colorful and organized.  I got most of this fabric during my L.A. shopping trip.  I really had to cram the fabric in our car to make it fit, and then drove it from the West coast to the East coast.  Looking at it now makes me realize that it was totally worth the hassle.  When I see it organized like that, I think of all of the wonderful things I am going to make.

My sewing books are neatly organized, and my childhood doll, 'Rose', finally has a home.

I've spent a lot of time repainting the living room, dining area, and the master bedroom. My husband worked really hard building raised garden boxes so we could get a fall garden (cold weather crops) in.  I can't wait to see lettuce growing in November!  The plants are starting to sprout!

I hope you don't mind me posting about something other than sewing.  This is what's been on my mind lately, and my goals have mostly been focused on getting the house settled.  

It has been such an adjustment to have my husband working full-time (and not in school).  The nature of his work does not allow him to study at home and I miss having another 'body' in the house while I work.  So, even though there have been a lot of changes recently, I only feel that I am adjusting little by little.  I guess I need to be patient with myself!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diamond Candles Review and Giveaway

Recently, a company called Diamond Candles sent me one of their fabulous candles to review.  They also wanted to give one away to one of you, my lovely readers.

It was so fun for me to hop on their website and learn about the history of Diamond Candles and how they are made.  Each soy candle contains a ring, ranging in value from $10 to $5000, hidden in the wax.  Yes, it is like Cracker Jacks for ladies!  How fun is that!

I waited anxiously for my Peach Paradise scented candle to arrive.  I'm kind of picky with scents and was mesmerized by the pleasant aroma of this candle.  It wasn't too strong or too weak.  It was just right!

There is the ring, wrapped in foil.

I lit the wick and waited.

My niece and I watched the candle burn.  It took a while, which is probably a good thing.  I only buy quality candles that burn slowly, and this candle didn't disappoint.  It took about 6 hours to burn down.

When the ring was near the surface, I speared it with a knife, and pulled it out.  I waited for the hot wax to cool, and then I discarded the foil.

My fingers are impossibly small, so I didn't expect this ring to fit.  It is actually too large for all of my fingers.

But, my niece and I still loved trying it on and showing off our treasure to everyone in the house.

There are so many fun scents to try, especially now that fall is here in full force.  The caramel apple cider ring candle looks scrumptious:

The vanilla lime candle looks nice and fresh:

I'm not into floral scents, but I would love to give this honeysuckle candle to my floral-loving friend:

Would you like a free Diamond Candle?  

Enter below, to win a free ring candle of your very own.  You don't have to have a blog to enter.  Just type in your name and email and you're as good as gold!  Please follow my blog via Bloglovin' or Facebook first.

...And if you just can't wait for your own Diamond Candle, their website is currently running a deal for $10 off your entire order.  What a great deal!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Swimsuit -Kwik Sew 3153

Last February I made up Kwik Sew 3153 in a bold, red, white and blue floral.  Since recovering from shoulder and knee injuries, my body is more muscular and I no longer fit into my old swimsuit.  When I put it on, it was if I was *squeezing* my thighs through the leg holes and the fabric under the arms was strained every time I moved my shoulders.

KS3153 February 2012
I think the wonderful thing about sewing a pattern a second time is that you can easily make changes to it.  It is so much easier to tweak a pattern than to start over completely!  I added fabric to the side seams under the armpits and 3/4" elastic to each of the leg holes.

At first I cut my new suit with larger leg holes, adding width at the side seams.  This did not work at all!  When I put on my suit the larger leg holes didn't stay put on my butt and rode up towards the center, giving me.........a wedgie.  So if you are pained with a wedgie on your suit, it may be that you need to take in the side seams.  After I did this, my suit looked and felt great!  I found that simply adding more elastic to the leg holes gave me enough room to be comfortable.

I chose a pink, blue and brown paisley print from Denver Fabrics.  I repositioned the straps in the back so that they will never slide.

The sewing blogs have been alive with bombshell-style swimsuits this summer.  I was tempted to try this style, but it would have required extensive bust alterations.  I am so small busted it probably would have looked awful no matter what I did.  And if I managed to keep the girls in while wearing it, I still would probably feel really exposed.  So, I stuck with a TNT pattern that has no frills.  It fits and I am pleased.

Have you ever tried a different style and realized it just wasn't for you?  Or realized it looked fabulous?  I feel confident when I wear clothing that flatters my shape and fits great!  I would love to read your comments below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LA Fabric District Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my review of the LA Fabric District!  Last time I shared with you some of the stores I visited.  Today, I will finish with the stores I visited on Saturday.

A note about Saturday shopping in the Fabric District:  1. It is really crowded.  2. It is more expensive to park than during the week. 3. Some of the stores are closed on Saturday.  4.  It is really crowded ;) 5. It is fun.  How could it not be?!

I parked at a meter on Saturday, because I found one close to the stores I wanted to visit.  The first store I visited was LA Alex:

LA Alex is on 9th between Wall and Maple next to Tex Carmel.  This store was a little on the larger side and had sections really organized into types of fabrics (they have mostly polyesters in their store).  It was a breath of fresh air not to have to barter here as all of the prices are set and labeled above the bolts.  I stole a shot here of some type of polyester and denim.  A lot of the fabrics were on the cheaper side (in quality) and being an apparel sewer, I would only use these fabrics for costumes.  The minky and linens were $5 per yard and there was a lightweight woven poly/cotton section for only $2 per yard.  I snatched up some blue and white gingham for a costume (guess which costume.....that's right!  A Dorothy Wizard of Oz costume!) for only $2 per yard.  In the back there were a bunch of zippers, some dye, and a bunch of notions. 

Journal Fabric, on 9th between Wall and Maple, was full of apparel fabrics and they had a surprisingly decent selection of knit solids.  I saw some silky (poly) prints, swimsuit fabric, and as you can see at the storefront they have a bunch of fabric for only 99 cents per yard.  Here, I found the perfect shade of blue fabric to make a T.A.R.D.I.S. dress for Halloween.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to check out my favorite sci-fi show of all time, Doctor Who!

Before walking into Zip-Up Zipper, I had no idea so many zippers existed!  There are silver, antique, and gold metal zippers.  There are zippers that open from both ends.  There are cute zipper pulls with palm trees on them.  There are zippers that are over 12 feet tall!  And the cool thing is...if the owner can't find a zipper that is the exact length you need, he can cut one down to size for $2 more.  They also had a cool selection of buttons and other notions.  I really enjoyed browsing in here.  I would love to come back.

Angel Textiles was my favorite apparel store to browse in, probably because at this time in my sewing journey I am totally into sewing with knits.  I kind of stumbled upon this place via the back door.  Up to this point, I hadn't found any poly cotton knit prints I liked, and this place was chalked full of them.  The associate sold me 8 yards of fabric for $2 each.  I didn't have to barter down to this price.  I was astonished at the price.  I would have liked to have bought more, but by this point my truck was chalked full of fabric.

A special thanks to my husband who came with me to the District the first day:

You are simply wonderful!


Well, there you have it!  That is everywhere I visited my first trip to the Fabric District.  I absolutely loved it, and I hope that if you visit LA, you get to go to the Fabric District, too.  We stopped in LA in the middle of a road trip and had to take our fabric camping in the Redwoods, through Idaho, Utah, and now will be trekking all the way out to South Carolina with my spoils.  Fitting this stuff in the back of the car amongst our camping gear, my serger and sewing machine, is a bit tricky (even when your trunk has almost the capacity of Mary Poppins' handbag).

We stuffed fabric in the cooler, around the boxes, and on top of everything.  What you see exposed is not even 1/4 of it.  I have a very patient husband who tolerates my fabric hoarding.

Our car has 193,000 miles on it.  The water pump sprung a leak a week ago (just a problem caused by wear) and we were lucky to not be traveling when it happened, so it was easy to get to a mechanic.  Now, we will be traveling between Utah and South Carolina.  I am praying that we will make it to our new home safely. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

LA Fabric District

My husband and I were in Los Angeles this month for a wedding and were fortunate to be able to visit the Los Angeles Fabric District.  This was BIG for me!  We are moving to the East Coast and I have no idea if or when I will ever have this opportunity again.  The advantage to shopping here is the amazing selection.  You can find supplies you might not be able to find elsewhere.  The other spectacular draw are the low prices.  I read blog posts and wrote up a route for us to follow, complete with a map on Googlemaps.

We made sure to bring plenty of water and some snacks, and I had lots of cash in small bills.

I started my shopping in FIDM Scholarship Store.  This is on the corner of 9th and Grant and if you get there when the store opens (M-F 9am, Sat 10 am) you may be able to park at a nearby meter like I did.  They use the proceeds to benefit students at the Fashion Institute of Design.  In the back, there is a fabric room with a ton of remnants and larger rolls of fabric.  It requires a little digging, but if you are looking for some hip, nice knits, you may get really lucky.  I paid only $1 per yard for remnants.  They also have clothing for sale.  A lot of them have a hole or two, but they are really cheap.

Then, we headed over to the heart of the Fabric District and parked on 9th and Wall Street.  If you're headed down 9th and pass Maple, turn left on Wall Street.  A quick left will take you up a ramp to a parking lot that charges only $4 for the whole day.  (There are other lots, this is just the one we parked at.)  You may be able to find a meter on the street if you come early, or if you are lucky. When I came back on Saturday, the lot was $7, so I opted for metered parking.

We went to Tex Carmel, where they had loads of beautiful linens and wools.  Unfortunately, their prices were a little high, and they didn't seem willing to barter with me, so I left without purchasing anything.  It's not a bad idea to shop around and see how the prices compare.  You can always come back.

Next, we went to Fabrics and Fabrics, on 9th between Maple and Wall Street (sorry, no pic).  An employee pointed me to the linens, where I saw this lovely, lightweight teal linen.  He said everything on that wall was $10 a yard, but when I started to leave, he gave it to me for $8/ yard.  I probably could have talked him down another dollar, but I really did think it was a good price.  He pulled the roll from the huge stack of linen rolls, and started cutting.  They really aren't that precise when they cut - just so you know.  They eyeball it, and from what I hear, most places only cut whole yards.

After I bought the linen, my husband and I stopped by one of the hot dog carts and I got a 'street dog' with a bunch of pico de gallo and avocados.  It was sooo good, and only $3.  I highly recommend the street food.  We sat on some steps.  I am a really careful eater.  I started to chow and promptly dropped an avocado blob onto the linen fabric I had just purchased.  Yay.  So glad the spot came out!

Next, we stopped by the highly raved about The Loft of Michael Levine Fabrics. It is on Maple between 9th and Olympic.  Here you can buy fabric for $2.50 per pound.  This is where all the cast offs and remnants go, and you have to dig in tallish cardboard boxes.  I actually found quite a few large pieces and we ended up cutting all of them ourselves, into smaller pieces.  They also had some rolls of fabric against the wall, organized by color.  I didn't find too many wovens here, mostly jersey knits in solid colors.  I hear that the Loft changes daily, so your experience could be totally different than mine.

Lastly, I stopped by Michael Levine Fabrics, just across the street from The Loft, where you can find almost anything.  They make you pay for it, too.  Their prices are usually higher than the small businesses nearby, but everything is really well organized and priced.  You won't be able to barter here.  There are plenty of salespeople to cut fabric and ask questions.  If you can't find something at one of the other stores, Michael Levine has a great selection, so make sure you stop by.  It's kind of like walking into a Joann's or Hancock's minus the pretty posters and sales signs.  It has more of a warehouse feel.  They don't use the high-low price strategy, which I liked very much.  You can park in the lot behind Michael Levine, but it's quite expensive and they validate, but only for 15 minutes of your time.  That is why I would prefer to park in one of the other lots or at a meter and then just run my fabric back to the car.

After 3 1/2 hours of shopping, my feet hurt, my legs ached, and I had seen so much fabric I wanted to vomit.  I know, a real trooper, right?  But after a good night's rest, I was back at it again for a few hours the next day.  Stay tuned for my next post and I will tell you where I went on Saturday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Lifetime Supply of Serger Spools

My husband and I LOOOOVE estate sales.  We don't typically shop garage sales because at garage sales, people are trying to get rid of stuff they don't want.  There can be a LOT of junk.  At an estate sale, people have to get rid of things they actually want to keep, but don't have room for.  Estate sales are usually a lot bigger and so you can comb though more things and find what you are looking for faster.

I usually type 'estate' in the search field of the 'garage sales' section of Craigslist to find estate sales in the area. is also a good place to look for nearby estate sales.  The good sales will usually have pictures of the types of things that are for sale.

Last month we went to a sale south of Denver for a couple who was going to a nursing home.  It was a large home, and the woman was an avid sewer.  When I get old and have to get rid of my stash, I want it to be as big as hers was.  It didn't even fit in one room - they had all of her sewing stuff laid out in the master bedroom AND another bedroom.  I wish I had taken pictures of it.  It was pretty impressive.  

There were three tables of fabric that had mostly remnants of a yard or less.  I did pick up some interfacing bundled up that was a great price.  There were two entire tables filled with thread.  I would say half of it was serger spool thread and the other half was $$$ Gutterman thread.  There were all different colors.  It was a sewer's dream!  Then, there were bins full of bias tape, hem tape, piping, buttons, and other notions.  

I decided I wanted to beef up my stash of serger spool thread.  I grabbed one of the four bins and carefully chose the spools that would be coming home with me.  They are 36 in all...or 35.  They are kind of hard to count in the bin.  Most of them are the Maxi-Lock brand which are $$$ at the fabric store, even on sale.  I took the bin downstairs to the table and paid $30 for the whole thing.  Because I was buying so much of it, I was able to negotiate down.

Her lifetime supply of serger thread lasted longer than her lifetime, and I bought a quarter of it, so I'm hoping it will last me 10 years. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Very YouTube Workout

Last summer, while I was still trying to recoup from shoulder and knee injuries, I discovered workout videos on YouTube.  I have a Smart TV, which allows me to watch Netflix, listen to Pandora, and watch YouTube Videos.  Some of you may have a Roku box, which does essentially the same thing and attaches to the TV.  I make a playlist of workout videos on my YouTube page (you have to create an account and be signed in to do this).  When I'm ready for my workout, I just turn on the TV and select which one I want to complete.

My very favorite workouts come from Class FitSugar.  While I was still building up strength, I didn't have the stamina for a long workout, so I chose one of their many 10 minute workouts.  I love these because they are short and easy to work into a busy day.  The teachers show options for beginners, or ways of making an exercise more advanced.  Many of the workouts require little to no equipment.  If I want more of a workout, I can just combine 2 or three videos.

Here are a few of my favorite 10 minute workouts on YouTube:
Full body workout with Holly Perkins
CrossFit Workout (no equipment needed)
Ab Workout/ Strength Training
Arm Workout with Andrea Orbeck
Booty Shaking Waist Workout - actually a Tiffany Rothe workout.  I was so out of shape the first time I did it, and even though I was able to complete the workout, I was SO sore the rest of the week!

When I was a teen, I didn't understand fitness at all.  I thought 'working out' meant that I grab my mom's 5 lb. dumbbells and do a ton of reps (with no form, I might add) as fast as I could until I was totally worn out.  These videos have taught me how to lift, bend and stretch to avoid injury.  I have learned that doing a little workout every day or two is healthier than doing one really crazy one every month...and then hating it and not exercising for a while.

Today I tried a 40-Minute Full-Body Workout and it totally kicked my butt!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Portable DVD Player Tote

I purchased a Portable DVD Player last week via Craigslist. My husband and I are moving cross country soon and wanted some road entertainment. My player didn't come with a soft cover, so I decided to make one. In my search for a good design I came across this fantastic tutorial via Make it and Love It. 

I whipped this up in couple of hours. It's so nice when I have an idea for a project and I have everything I need. I found the upholstery fabric in my stash.  I used some fleece from a sweatshirt to act as the padding between the upholstery layers.  The serger made quick work of finishing some of the edges. It's SO NICE  to make a quick and easy project after working on a long and tedious one. 

The velcro flap secures the DVD player in place.  The front pocket has its own flap to secure the car and wall chargers.

Note: I have learned my lesson never to buy sticky-backed velcro.  It will gum up your needle and eventually the thread won't be able to loop to form stitches.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Simplicity 2588 - Bridesmaids Dress

I finally finished my bridesmaids dress for my brother's wedding!

Fabric used:
Stretch Poly Satin from Joann's - surprisingly satin goes

This dress pattern from Project Runway allows you to choose different skirt and sleeve options.  The bride chose the flat sleeves and the flared skirt.  The flared skirt has a pleat in the front.  I think the outcome is fabulous!  This dress is really flattering for my body type. 

Because the pattern instructions aren't very straight forward, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who has limited experience sewing clothing. 

ZIPPER --- The envelope tells you to buy a 22" zipper, but not what kind.  Use an invisible zipper.  I am taking a free Craftsy class called 'Mastering Zipper Techniques'.  This really helped me to amp up my invisible zipper sewing skills.

I learned that using fusible tricot can help the zipper go in easier:

HEM DEPTH --- I thought it was strange that the pattern didn't say how much to hem the skirt.  There are 5 other bridesmaids sewing this same dress for the wedding, and they may come up with all different hem depths. 

HEM TAPE --- The bride provided hem tape as one of the notions, even though it isn't even mentioned in the instructions.  I feel like hem tape is invaluable when hemming a flared skirt.  The end result is much smoother and looks nicer from the right side of fabric.  Satin can be a nightmare to sew with.  Let's not make it any more difficult, please!

POCKETS --- I also did not think that the instructions for constructing the pockets were very intuitive, but I hate reading yeah.  But I love pockets!  I can just hear Matt Smith saying, "Pockets are cool."

FRONT PLEATS ---The front pleats were harder to construct than I expected.  I think sometimes it's difficult to wrap your head around how to fold a pleat when it's just a flat piece of nothingness.  I figured it out after a few tries.  The instructions tell you to actually sew the pleat together, fold and press it to one side, and then remove the stitching.  There are poke holes in my satin where the seam was.  Not cool!  Does anybody know how to stop this from happening?? Satin is EVIL!

Fitting Alterations:
I made a muslin of the top before I cut it out in satin.  There were some fitting issues so I made the following alterations before cutting out my dress:

-Sloped Shoulders Alteration
-Lowered Armscye
-Shaved off fullness at bust
-Took in the bust seam and side seams
-Added 3/8" Length to torso (I thought I had a short torso, but every Vogue dress pattern I make, I add length to and this Simplicity was no different.)
-I also changed the slope of the yoke because it felt like it was falling off my shoulders.

*One of my readers noticed that my left shoulder looks different than my right, evidenced by the way the fabric is pulling worse on the left side.  She recommended that I scoop out the armhole more on the left.  I was amazed at her skill and eye for detail!  I didn't get to try this out because I'd already cut out my second muslin.

Fit and Overall Outcome:
 So the back view is pretty good.  The only real problem is the zipper.  The zipper puckers a little on the bodice and gets a lot worse on the skirt.  I constructed most of the dress with a walking foot, which was a total lifesaver!  I can't use a walking foot at the zipper, 'cause i need an invisible zipper foot.  Oh well, the relative smoothness of the other seams makes up (at least in my mind) for the puckers at center back.

I think the front view looks great!  The dress fits perfectly in the bust and pretty good at the shoulders.  There is still some pulling at the armholes but this is a raglan sleeve in a woven.  There is also pulling from the torso to the waist but I don't really care.  I didn't want to take the waist seam in any more in case I gain weight.  (I'm back to my pre-knee injury weight.)  My husband loves the cut of this dress.  He says with the amount of time I spent altering this pattern, I should definitely consider whipping it up in a different fabric.  I think I will.

Anyway, thank you for enduring this very long review.  Don't be intimidated by this pattern.  It's completely doable, it just requires a little more time and attention.  If you don't choose satin you'll have a much easier time than I did.  Let me know if you have any tips for sewing with satin or mitigating puckers with invisible zips.