Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Love

Pink Fig 
Summer Love
Swimsuit Cover-up

Here is a really cute outfit by Pink Fig.  I bought this PDF pattern which comes in sizes 2T - 10Y.  The printable pattern pieces are for the shorts only and the other instructions will have you cut measurements for the bodice front/back, waistband, and straps.  The pattern includes a beach bag as well (also cute!).  I haven't made the bag yet, but I think I have enough fabric left over to make it match if I do.

The only sewing notion you need in addition to your fabric is 1/2" elastic.  The bodice requires 2 rows of elastic and the waistband requires 3 rows.  Since I was running low on elastic (I didn't check the instructions prior to sewing), I used one row of l" wide elastic for the waist instead.  If I had had enough elastic, I would have made 3 rows as per the pattern instructions.  It really gives it a nice look and effect, but I still achieved great results.  I had to use a really soft elastic since my daughter is sensitive to how fabrics feel and fit against the skin.  I bought some elastic from Sew Sassy, which I will purchase from again.  I have to look back and see what I bought, but it was so nice, great stretch and recovery, and very soft!  I tried some other elastic I had first, and it was so bulky and just felt rough.  I have never really given much thought to elastic, but if it is thick or rough feeling, you can feel that through the fabric.

The instructions for this are really easy!  Even if you are new to sewing, you could make this I believe.  However, it does say "intermediate" when you look on the website for the pattern.  My daughter loves it and my other daughter wants one as well.  The instructions are well written and well illustrated.  I think this is a great summer outfit whether you use it for a swimsuit cover up or on its own.  

If you look closely, you might be able to see that the bodice fabric is a bunch of little snails!

For my fabric, I used Riley Blake's Snug as a Bug by Melly & Me purchased here, which is an Etsy store; I highly recommend buying from her!  Great prices and customer service--I am so glad I found her store.


Monday, I threw together an outfit for myself!  

I purchased this plaid chiffon from Denver Fabrics and copied a RTW skirt that I bought last summer.  The tank top is from Old Navy and I added a gray jersey knit band to the bottom of it to tie in the colors of the skirt.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Red, White & Blue

Who doesn't love red, white & blue?  These colors look amazing together, always.  

If you are looking for some awesome nautical or RWB knits, Girl Charlee has a great selection.

This outfit was a multiple pattern hack for me.  My daughter has been asking for a high/low tank top for several weeks.  For this outfit, I was able to use patterns from Ottobre Summer 3/2013.

#34 Movimiento tank top--altered hem for a high/low look.

I love the dots with the stripes!

#31 Ola de Calor sundress--traced from the waist down only for the skirt.  I also made a yoga-style waistband.

#33 Chica Ciclista leggings--added a hem band at the bottom to match the shirt fabric.  

For the first time, I sewed my elastic directly to the top of the leggings.  I cannot believe I waited so long to try this.  I made a loop of my elastic, divided it into 4 equal parts, matching these points to the waist of the leggings.  Wow, that was simple!  Then I turned the elastic down and used a zigzag on my sewing machine to secure it all the way around.

I used my coverstitch machine for all top stitching.

My daughter loves her Miche bag!  She likes me to cover it in a coordinating fabric to match her outfit.

I also want to mention that for the pocket on the tank top, I used a strip of woven interfacing on the seam allowances.  This made sewing the pocket to the knit so much easier.  I didn't have to worry about my seam stretching at all and was able to accomplish my top stitching very close to the edge.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, June 16, 2014

Forest Fairy Craft Book Review

Last Saturday, my children and I had a fun afternoon crafting with the "forest fairy" craft book!

Here are fairies that my girls and I made.  My son, who loves to work with felt, also made us a tree (not something in the book....just his own spark of creativity).

This is really a great book to add to your library of fun things to do this summer. As soon as my children could hold a crayon in their fingers, I started encouraging them to be creative!  You name it, we had it--paints, glitters, glues, felt, clay, pretty paper, etc.  I bought a cabinet from Home Depot just to store all of our supplies in.  However, now with them getting older, I find it more challenging to engage them with crafts (and a little more expensive).

This book is beautifully illustrated and well written.  My children are preteen ages and they can easily follow all of the instructions without help from me.  If your children haven't learned to hand sew yet, there is a "sewing lesson" section illustrating simple stitches that they will need to be able to do to make the items in the book.  I too enjoyed making a fairy!

One thing that I was not expecting was many of the fairy designs appeal to boys as well.  In addition to making flower and other girly-type fairies, you can make ninjas, pirates, and leprechauns.

And if that is not enough to get your creative mind flowing, there is a section on making animal pouches out of felt.

We keep all of the supplies in a fabric carry bag so it can be easily pulled out and taken to the living room.  After finishing, everything goes back in the bag for next time.   All of the supplies can be easily found in most craft stores and I found it to be an affordable craft since all you mostly need are thread, felt, wooden beads, buttons, etc.  I think I found online a plastic jar of silk flowers to use for the skirts, but I also had a lot left over from when I use to buy silk flowers to make hair decorations for my girls.  Nothing really expensive to make but with fun and cute results!


I know I could have just left a review on Amazon, but this is so much more fun and with pictures too!  If I find another great book out there, I'll share the information in hopes that it is something you can fill your summer break with too.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pencil Skirt with Renfrew Top

 I purchased this lovely navy blue hibiscus floral cotton jersey knit from Girl Charlee fabrics for $6.50 for 1 yard, which I still have a good sized remnant left over.  I found a tutorial for this skirt online.  It is always a good idea to look online because there are so many bloggers who generously put patterns or instructions out there for free.  I was in search of a skirt idea that wouldn't have too many seams, breaking up the flower print.

 For my lining, I used white micro mesh from for $3.38 for 1 yard, also plenty left over for another sewing project.  I picked up the micro mesh on a whim.  I saw a RTW sleeveless knit top that had layers of a pretty light-weight fabric ruffled at the bottom and I thought maybe this fabric would work for that.  Instead, I used it to line my skirt.  I guess it could have worked without a lining, but I wanted to follow the tutorial completely.  I am so glad I did because this fabric makes an awesome lining!  I confess, when a pattern calls for lining, I am always drawing a blank on what to use and will avoid it if I can.

I like the yoga-style waistband.

Originally my plan was to make Butterick 5495 Top View A to go with this skirt.  I did, but I just don't like the fit on me.  For starters, I had to sew up the slit because it brought the neckline below my bra strap--yikes!  Why didn't I see that coming?  Also, I'm not liking how the sleeveless version looks on me.  It just kind of gaps open and you can see my bra from the underarm area--not a look I am going for ever.  I do believe it is the right size, because it fits me everywhere else.  The fabric I used is a very stretchy knit, stretching 2 ways.  I'll cut it up and make underwear out of it! Anyway, I pulled out my Renfrew top to wear with this skirt.  I guess I didn't really need another navy blue top since I have a couple other t-shirts in that color as well.  I was just trying to go for something different and this was a fail for me.  But oh how I love my new skirt!!

It looks nice on the body form but not on me!  I will keep this pattern to try this winter with long sleeves.  I think that may look better on me and I'll use a different type of fabric.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Self-Drafted Boy's Tank Top

Here is a tank top that I made for my son!  He only has 1 RTW tank top that fits, so making him new ones was on my priority list.  I looked through my Ottobre, but unfortunately I didn't have one that was in a large enough size for him.  I took his RTW top, which had seen better days, and folded the back side in half to trace around it so I could have a template to work with.  I looked at one of the boy's tank tops in the Ottobre magazine pattern diagram to see what kind of angle I needed to draw for the shoulder seam.  I then used my French Curve to draw in a nice, bigger curve for the armhole, as well as a neckline.  I figured, this is a tank top, right?  You really can't mess this up too much.  My son likes his shirts a little on the loose and comfy side, so I wanted to have a good amount of width to it.  The plus side to this is it will fit a while.  I figured at the very least, it would be a shirt to lounge in if it didn't turn out to his liking.

He loves it!  I told him he could tell me if there was something he didn't like and I would tweak my pattern, but he says it is perfect.

Lately when I sew knits, I first use my sewing machine and then finish off with my serger.  It takes a little more time, but my seams are accurate.  I also used my coverstitch machine to finish off the neckline and armholes.  When I started using my coverstitch machine on this shirt, one of my needle threads kept breaking!  Oh my gosh, I was so frustrated.  I could tell that this particular thread was not feeding well through the tension disk, but I couldn't figure out why.  All was set to the proper tension and nothing was wrapped around anything.  Would you believe it was this particular thread spool?  I looked at the thread closely and it was obviously a poor quality of thread.  You could see the unevenness of the thread thickness.  Time to invest in better quality of thread.  Do any you buy your thread online?  Where do you buy your thread for apparel sewing?

I sewed the binding to the arms while flat and then stitched my side seams.  I wanted to do this with the neckline, but I forgot and sewed both shoulder seams together before I remembered.  I like to sew it flat; it just is much easier.

Here is my pattern I made.  Not much to it.  Pattern pieces are identical except for dropping the neckline in the front down a little.  I use Ottobre's method for calculating the length of knit to use for the neck and armhole binding when using jersey knit.  Even as big as this tank top is, I can easily get it out of 1 yard of fabric, having enough to make the binding as well.  It is a cheaply made shirt.  I need to try this for myself.  I have a lot of Old Navy tank tops, and it would be a lot of fun to make some in prints for myself.

 His next shirt will be in this camo fabric, which shrunk quite a bit after washing!  It will be a tight squeeze since it is now less than a yard.  You just never know what you are going to have once it comes out of the wash, which is why prewashing is absolutely necessary!


I am currently working on a skirt with a matching blouse for myself, which I will be blogging about soon!  I found a free online skirt tutorial that worked beautifully.  For the blouse, I am using Butterick 5495, view A.


Thank you to everyone for your prayers and well wishes.  Every day is a little better with healing.  Now I am down with a very painful sore throat with ear pain--ugh!  I actually went to the doctor yesterday.  It is thought to be the result of allergies.  So, I am taking several allergy meds in hopes that it will alleviate this pain.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, June 9, 2014

McCall's 6951 & Simplicity 2909

McCall's 6951 for Shirt (previously reviewed here.)
Simplicity 2909 for Shorts

I finally finished this outfit for my daughter!  I started this 3 weeks ago and finished yesterday.  I had a remnant of some stretch denim that I thought I could get a pair of shorts out of for her.  She NEVER wears denim, so I went out on a limb and tried a pair of shorts.  The pattern is super simple--no pockets to work with and just an elastic waist.  I even simplified the hem omitting the pattern piece for the bottom tab.  It would have been a cute addition, however, not knowing if she would like these or not, I wanted to make them as quick as possible in case they never made it out of her dresser drawer.  I'm happy to say that she likes them.  It is hard to make the transition from jersey to denim.  

The shirt fabric is a medium weight cotton that has a slight stretch to it.  Only using the lace for the back yoke, it goes a long way!  I still have plenty of scrap lace from a sewing project a couple of years ago.  I do need to buy more lace in a variety of colors.  Cream would have been ideal, but to tie in the white lace, I used white buttons.

I used a twin needle and top stitched the shorts to give them a little more detail.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, June 5, 2014

American Ships Quilt Progress & Other Sewing

 While recuperating from surgery, I have been able to make use of my idle time by working on my son's Ruby McKim American Ships quilt.  I bought an embroidery book with an explanation of stitch types, as well as many embroidery design downloads for future projects.  Having this book really helped me to perfect my stitch, so it was well worth the money just for that.  I am able to stitch away a little faster...or it could be that I have nothing else I can really do at the moment!

So far, these are all the ships I have completed.  Small in comparison to what I have left to do.  To put things in perspective, the top row of the quilt is made up of 8 squares (6 ships and a compass at each end).  There are 9 rows that make up this quilt.  The more I do, the more ambition I have towards completing it.  I purchased this quilt pattern from StoryTime Quilting.

I had a wonderful surprise in the mail last week!  My aunt Nancy has mad skills at finding treasures at yard sales.  She sent me all these beautiful trims!  I don't know how she does it, but she finds the most amazing things.  Most, if not all, look to be vintage--I can't wait to incorporate them into my sewing!  I just love looking at them!

Below is a slip that I have been working on in the Gertie Sew-Along with Butterick 6031 pattern.    Who knew that a slip could be so easy to make? 

And here is another sleeveless button-up, lace yoke shirt (McCall's 6951) that I am making for my other daughter.  I have this fabric in pink, brown and green--thank you to my friend Vickie for sending me this lovely fabric!  Oh yes, we girls are all getting matching tops!


As much as I sew, and I sew a lot, there is always so much more that I want to make.  I have to control myself when it comes to buying more patterns.  I really need to sew up what I have bought!  Maybe I need to make out a written sewing to-do-list to keep me on track.  I get so easily distracted when I see what all of you are doing on your blogs.  I find myself in hunt of a new pattern and new fabric.  It never gets old and I love it!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley