Sunday, July 29, 2012

American Ships Quilt

Here is a project that I am working on...this amazing 1936 Ruby McKim "American Ships Quilt."  I have made a few quilts, but this is the first one involving hand embroidery.  I actually had to look up some online tutorials to figure out what to do! 

So far, I have completed three ships. The pattern consists of 45 pattern blocks, including a large square Rigged Clipper in the center that will combine applique with hand embroidery.  Each pattern is on paper which then has to be traced onto your fabric square; I am using Kona cotton for this.  Most of the ships are extremely detailed, and I have started with the easiest to trace.  Since I am new to hand embroidery, I'm hoping that I will be more experienced at this by the time I take on the more challening ones.  I definitely have quite a bit of work ahead!

This all started one day when I was researching quilts online and came across a selection of Ruby McKim quilts.  I love the 30s era of quilts.  My son happened to be looking with me. As soon as I found this quilt pattern, my son said,"Mommy, can you make that for me?"  Absolutely!

This is definitely a labor of love.  I am setting a goal for myself of 2 per month.  As for thread color choice, I'm letting my son have all the input there. :)  When completed, it should be 72" x 81."  According to my pattern, it states that with wide borders, the quilt can measure up to 90" x 99."  Once completed, I am going to have my husband design a wooden nautical quilt hanger to display it.

DIY Light Table for Tracing Patterns

I wanted to share my home made light table with my readers.  My husband built this for me last year; I love the size of it.  As you can see below, it is large enough to accommodate a fairly large pattern piece.  With a small amount of wood and a couple purchased lights, he was able to put this together in a very small amount of time.  We had a picture frame that was in pretty bad shape that we were no longer using; however, the glass in it was in perfect condition.  It's a little heavy, so I don't take it far.  When storing, I leave it standing up and put it on the side of one of my sewing tables.  I hope this helps give some of you an alternative to laying out some big bucks for a tracing table. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Modkid Swim Cover-up

I LOVE Patty Young's "Sewing Modkid Style" book.  Patty is the "Queen" of children's knit patterns.  Can her patterns and techniques be any easier?  I don't think so!  If you have little girls to sew for, you would enjoy this book.  I just love looking thru it; it is lovely from cover to cover.  

This little dress is so cute!  It only took me a couple hours of sewing to make this.  This outfit sews up exactly as pictured in the book.  I already have another one in turqoise cut out to sew for my other daughter.    

I love the kangaroo pocket on the front.  What a fun dress to make!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Easy skirt!

I found this skirt tutorial on "Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing." I LOVE this site. If you haven't been there yet, I highly recommend it! I am learning a lot from reading her blog. One of her tutorials is this wonderful gathered full skirt. As soon as I came across this tutorial, I knew that this could be downsized to fit my girls as well.

Gertie's instructions are very easy to follow. All you have to do is take your waist and length measurement, do a little simple math, prepare your two rectangular pattern pieces, and then you are ready to sew them together! This skirt does require a zipper. I made this in just a couple of hours.

Note:  I have found that sewing a gathered piece of fabric to another fabric can push your gathers to one direction, making it look a little messy and sometimes catching more of the fabric in the seam allowance than you would like.  One way to help with this is to press your gathers flat with the iron before sewing.  It helps to keep everything straight and in one place!

I purchased this fabric from Walmart a couple of years ago when it was on their clearance rack.  I knew it would translate into something cute one day. :)  I just purchased some black gingham fabric to make myself and my girls all matching skirts--how fun!  I will post pics of those when completed.  By the way, my daughter in this pic likes only things that are "comfy."  She wore this all day and loved it!  It's hard when you make things for your children; you invest time and money, never knowing if they will be worn as much as you would like them to be.  I'm delighted that this pattern is a WINNER with her.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sundress McCall's 6554

Here is my new sundress! I absolutely love this pattern. For starters, I traced the bodice onto tissue paper and began working on my full bust adjustment. I referred to "Fit For Real People" upon doing so. If you don't already have this book, I highly recommend it. I am only beginning to understand pattern alteration, but I think a good place to start is with the FBA and go from least that is what I'm doing!  I'm pretty happy with the results.  I made this in a pattern size 12.

I really like the pleat detail on the front of this dress, as well as the tie.  The tie is not sewn to the dress.

This pattern calls for installation of an invisible zipper.  If you have an invisible zipper foot for your machine, this makes it a breeze to do.  I didn't baste my zipper this time; I found that just pinning was sufficient. 

Fabric purchased from a yard sale--thank you Aunt Nancy!!  This fabric is so similar to the fabric on the pattern--lucky me!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Butterick 4722 (girl's skirt pattern)

This is version D of Butterick 4722.  This is fast and easy just like the pattern says!  I used gauze fabric and also lined it with white batiste.  Sometimes you just need to take a break and make something simple.  There is a repeating print on this fabric which I was able to utilize for the ruffle piece.  This is a perfect little skirt for summer.  This is an elastic waist skirt with a tiny bow tacked to the front for decoration. 

I purchased the fabrics thru

Friday, July 6, 2012

McCall's 6099 (boy's shirt pattern)

Here is a shirt I made for my son; the fabric is "Timeless Treasures" Antique Paris pictures.  It is difficult to find patterns for boys and equally as challenging to find fabrics once you get beyond the superhero, dinosaur, tools or tractors stage! 

My son wears RTW size boys large, and the large size for this pattern worked well.  However, I did lengthen the pattern an additional inch from the Xlg size option.  I hemmed the sleeves and bottom of the shirt using my coverstitch machine.  I also reused buttons from a previous shirt I had made for him, which is now too small. Fabric was purchased from

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Burda Style Layered Lace Dress 06/2012 #116B

This is my version of the Burda Style Layered Lace dress.  This is my first Burda Style pattern.  I really liked the looks of this dress on the model and how lacy and delicate it appeared; I just had to have it! 

It is made with a batiste underdress with a gathered chiffon skirt that is attached.  The top layer is made from scalloped white lace trimmed in chiffon.  Surprisingly, the lace and chiffon were quite easy to sew.  I had a little difficulty interpreting the pattern instructions, but after beginning assembly of the pattern pieces, I was able to understand more clearly how to put it together.  I wish I hadn't shortened it so much.  I ended up having to take up the shoulder seam a little afterwards; it just felt like it was going to slip off my shoulders, leaving it now about an inch shorter.   Oh well.  Now I have experience sewing lace and chiffon.  

I made this in the European size 38.  Even though my measurements indicated this size, I think there is enough ease in this dress where I could have made it in a 36 and been happier with the fit.  All fabrics were purchased from