Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time to get started

This arrived in the mail today:

And of course, because I mostly wear solid colours the patterns and all those colours kind of made me panic a bit.

Today I'm going to start by washing and shrinking the yardage before cutting. I also need to deal with the pattern pieces. If you remember this post, I was concerned about cutting the pattern pieces in the correct size. Then I found this amazing blog post which explains how to copy your pattern and cut out a single size which then saves the original pattern from being cut. GENIUS!! And since I am lucky enough to have one of those multi-purpose printers I will be trying out this technique. I will make sure to share how that worked in my next progress report. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Evening Clutch in Black Brocade - GIVEAWAY CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed.

I found this beautiful brocade in the back of my fabric cupboard and thought it would make a great evening clutch. This fabric is incredibly difficult to work with but makes the most gorgeous clutches! You have to iron it at a very low heat and it frays so much when you have working with it.

I forgot to reduce the heat at one point when switching from ironing canvas to ironing the brocade and there is a bit of melting at the back of the clutch. It barely shows so I thought this would make a great giveaway item! All I ask if that you comment below and tell me if you own any clutches and if so, how often do you use them? I will grant one entry if you are a Facebook fan and a second entry if you follow my blog so please leave a separate comment for each entry!

I will be picking a winner tomorrow night, Monday, March 26th at 9:00 PM EDT. Good luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lambs for Spring

I have been busy sewing these incredible lamb dolls lately. They are quite tall - at least 18 inches and the head is very large which makes a great pillow for a toddler. Every time I list one in my shop, it has sold within 24 hours. I am using a fabulous Lamb doll pattern from Dolls and Daydreams which can be purchased here.

First of all, these are amazingly well drawn patterns. I have purchased and tried many, many patterns in the time I've had my Etsy shop open and I love patterns that are not hand drawn which means use a computer program to draw and please use a ruler for straight lines! I like pieces that are symmetrical (circles should be round). These patterns are very good. They are probably not for the beginner sewer in my opinion because I have a lot of experience and I do find them a bit tricky on the final step - sewing the body shut. But I am experimenting and coming out with pretty good results each time. The key is to take it slowly.

A couple of tips I'd like to share:

1. I use the triple stitch on my sewing machine instead of just a straight stitch when sewing up the limbs and the body. The picture on this setting for my machine looks like 3 parallel dashed lines. I have found this stitch makes incredibly strong seams which will stand up to a lot of stuffing. The only con is that if you make a  mistake and you need to rip some seams, it can be time consuming. I think that the strength of the seams is more important.

2. Make sure you leave enough space at the top of the limbs - it really does make it easier to sew the limbs to the body especially when sewing the body shut.

3. I find stuffing that is really, really puffy works best for the body because it fills everything out nicely. It also means the doll is much lighter. I have used a stuffing that is more expensive in the past but it sort of clumps and makes a heavy doll. Experiment with different brands of stuffing to see what brings better results.

4. Before stuffing the body and closing the side seam with a ladder stitch, I iron the opening closed so that I have a nice crease showing me exactly where I need to insert my needle. It makes a really nice, straight seam. I use this same idea when closing everything I make!

And now for more pictures:

My favourite model. I will not lie - there was bribery involved in getting her to do this.

I will be trying more Dolls and Daydreams patterns soon: Fox, Monkey, Tiny Tot and Horse/Zebra

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring projects

I spotted this little trio in my garden this week - a sure sign that Spring is here.

Since the nice weather is coming, I'm planning on completing a couple of sewing projects for myself. (I promise to TRY!) I am always so busy and what little time I have to sew, I tend to make things for my Etsy shop. But I have purchased 2 sewing patterns and some fabric and I really do want to make something for myself. 

The first pattern is the Socialite Dress by Anna Maria Horner - which I purchased at Venezie fabrics online store.

The second pattern is the Roundabout Dress & Slip - also available at Venezie Fabrics.

At this point, my only concern with these patterns is that even though I have the measurements for each size I really don't know which size I should make for myself. I usually buy a size medium or large (I really prefer loose fitting clothing) but these patterns seem a tad on the generous side so I may just play it safe with a medium. I wish there was a way for me to keep the pattern in all sizes!

As for fabric selection - this was very hard. I feel nervous about picking out fabrics for clothing as opposed to bags. BUT, I did place an order for the following combos - both from the Secret Garden collection by Sandi Henderson:

Grand Tapestry in Midnight

Vintage Ironwork in Midnight
And this combo:
Garden Gate in Garden

Cotton Couture in Herb (horrible photo!)

I will have to take photos of the finished projects. I figure by posting this, I have somewhat committed to following through this time! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A new style of cosmetic bag

I have been trying to think of a new style of cosmetic bag for a while now. I wanted something that was prettier than a simple zipper pouch (which you can find by the thousands on Etsy). I decided to modify the square buttercup bag pattern I used to sew by eliminating the strap, straightening the top edge of the band over the the pleats and using a ripstop nylon for the lining.

I have tons of ideas for variations on this style of cosmetic bag - mostly pretty ideas to dress up the top band: ribbon bows, appliques and decorative stitching patterns. The best part of my cosmetic bags (in my opinion) is the lining. This lining can be pulled out of the bag, washed, dried and put back inside. It's a good idea to keep your cosmetic bag clean and free of bacteria and this ripstop lining makes it very easy.

Another great feature is the size. These bags are HUGE which means enough room for my cosmetics AND my lotions and potions. Measurements are: 8.75 inches wide at the top, 9.5 inches wide at the bottom, 7.5 inches high and 4 inches deep. I can easily fit at least 6 4 ounce jars!

Here are a few of the first bags I've made:

A view of the inside - 2 4 ounce jars and a bottle of lotion (tons of room to spare!)

I've been so horrible at posting lately. I am going to try and change that. I would really love to share tutorials and maybe even free patterns.