Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 12 of 2013 ~ Reflection of my favorites this year

The Best of 2013

Most viewed post: A-Line Skirt Tutorial
I love this skirt and wore it quite a bit.  My zipper skills have improved tremendously so I should make a new one - however this Riley Blake fabric is my favorite of all time!

Coolest thing I sewed: Pac-Man Bathrobe for Mr. T
It was difficult, expensive, and took forever, but I LOVE IT!

Most favorite thing for me....a tie!
First is: My J.Crew knockoff!! 
I love this tee - I can't wait to make another version!

Second is: my Alma 
(I have another one in the works)

Some other favorites:
Jalie Tee 

Jungle stripes for K, sewn a total of 3 times!
Pink stripe  and yellow ice cream

Tank for me

Minecraft Jacket for T

McCall's dress for K sewn twice!
light pink/light blue    and dark blue/pink and white

McCall's Dress for Sew Weekly Reunion

Shorts for T

Cute tank for Miss K

I hope your year was eventful and successful! Here's to 2014 being even better in sewing!

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Monday, December 30, 2013

Year End Resolution Totals

December turned out pretty poor with only 3 makes.  I was stressed to the max with school finals, holiday fanfare, and then I slipped on the concrete steps and landed square on my forearm on Dec 20th.  While I didn't break anything (thankfully), it is still sore - even now.  My forearm is almost back to a human coloring but my shoulder is bugging me.  I'll be back at my sewing soon as the kids head back to school Thursday.  My machines have been calling to me :-)

Here are the grand totals from my 2013 resolution calculations:

Total completed items: 105.  June was my most productive month with 14, July next with 13.  My slowest month was December with 3, followed by November with 5.  (Holidays really stress me out and my migraines hit harder - it shows in the numbers).

Average blog posts weekly: 2.25.

I'm pretty happy with my results as on average I made 2 things a week this year.

In 2014 I'm going to focus more on myself and also on sewing with quality materials. We are at about 25% handmade clothing vs. RTW for the three of us, Me, Miss K, and Mr. T (Mr. Sunny doesn't count because I don't really sew for him); I'd like to increase this to 50% this next year.

I'll do a roundup of my favorite 2013 garments in the next day or two.

Happy Holidays and ~ Happy Sewing! ~

~Kristin ~

Thursday, December 19, 2013

3 Tees for T - and Xmas things

Happy Holidays to you!

Over the last week and a half I have been sewing some things.  Let me share

First, I made 3 long sleeve tee's for Mr. T with Pattern: Jalie 2918 (shout out to Joy at 21wale for inspiring me to make this pattern! Thanks, Joy!)

This is the second tee I made.  I love how it turned out!  The cotton jersey fabric is thick enough and sightly ribbed.  It has great stretch and is soft.

I tried a new paint that I picked up from Amazon.  It comes in a cute tub and from the little I used, this will last forever.  If you are interested it is called Jacquard Products Lumiere Fabric Paint 2.25 Oz. Jar: Metallic Silver and sells for $4-6 per tub in a ton of colors.  For the fox I used Burnt Orange and for the Zelda triforce I used Pewter. I found that sponging it on worked better than a paint brush.

This green one is the first one I made out of a silky soft jersey, most likely rayon.  It was hard to sew because it curled up a lot and was slippery.  It is a bit thin too.  I'm calling it a "wearable muslin" but T only gets to wear it to bed. :-)  I used a size "O" which I'm pretty sure is an 11 US.  T is very small and skinny for his age.  The sleeve length and shirt length were too long for him.  I ended up folding out 2" from sleeves and shirt on the second and third shirts.  Otherwise, no other changes.  It fits great and I'm very happy with it.

The shirt is easy to sew up.  I used my serger for everything except the hems.  I used fusible bias tape in the shoulder seams.  I have found that I used 3/4 yard in 60 wide for the front, back, and 1 sleeve.  Then you need a whole other 3/4 yard for just the one last sleeve to fit :-(  This means a bunch of left over fabric.  I could make a tank top out of the left over, but I choose to make a few pairs of undies for Miss K.

Here is the third shirt which I have yet to paint.  I'll be making this one a Zelda Triforce like the green one but this one will be wearable, lol.  This is the best fabric.  It is thick, soft, springy.  I'm guessing cotton spandex, or lycra.  I wish I had more of it! I love it, a lot! It was a remnant from Mill End that I got for $3 - just shy of 2 yards.  Good thing I shortened the sleeves because I squeaked out just enough.

Sorry, no pictures of Mr. T wearing them.  He is at school and it has been so dark and dreary when he's been home after school.  I assure you though that they fit him well and this will be a favorite pattern :)  If I had one thing to gripe about it, it is that the armpits are very long - but T has only skin and bone there.... eh, it works.

If you would like to know how I do my freezer paper stencils to paint on the shirt you can check out my previous post/tutorial here.

On to the Xmas sewing.  I haven't done much.  My MIL and SIL requested plastic grocery bag holders.  They choose their own colors for them. SIL on left, MIL on right.  They whipped up fast and I know they will be well received.

My 2 nephews will be getting Packer fleece snakes.  Here is my test one, 1/2 stuffed.  He has 2 bells in his tail end so when you shake him, he rattles.  My kids now each want one!

That's about all I've been up too.  Today is my last day of class and I'll be soooooooo happy to be done, for a few weeks.  I start again on the 6th of Jan.  Technically as of today I have my MBA!!! YAY!! But I added a second emphasis so 2 more classes to go.

I hope you have a great holiday and enjoy time with your families!

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Friday, December 6, 2013

How did it do?

Funny title. I know. I can't think of anything better.

I love reading other sewing blogs and seeing the amazing things people create. However, I often wonder if what they make actually works for them.  Did they wear it often? What bothered them after some time?  How did the fabric wash/wear?  So I thought I would start a Friday post showing some past makes (I'll pick a few each week), describing what worked, what didn't, how they washed, what I would change.  Because usually when I sew something I'm too excited to show it to you so I photo it right away before it's even worn more than that moment.

Let's start with the "works" for each of us.


October 6th, 2013 Ottobre 05/2013 1A
I know this is very recent but I really have put the mileage on this top.  I wear it the minute it's clean and it is always so comfortable.  The fabric has been washing well so far.  The neckline bugs me because it is so big/low and the sleeves are slightly tight but I still wear it.  I always have a camisole underneath, just in case.
It is one of my "loves" and I'd pick it over RTW any day.

Miss K:

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress on June 4th 2012 and also June 19th, 2012 Take two
I really enjoyed these cute dresses.  They did get tons of wear all summer 2012 as well as spring/summer 2013!  I call that a win!  I did have to pair it with leggings this year because they are starting to be too short - more like tunic length now.  K loves these and chose to wear them herself a few times.  They are starting to become a bit snug in the bodice after all this time so I'm not sure they will make it to spring 2014.  I wish I wasn't so silly and cut into the pattern or I'd make her some new ones in a size 10. With so many patterns already, I'm too cheap to re-buy this.  The fabrics washed and wore well. There are no stains or tears.  One gripe is that the tiny "V" in the neckline likes to fold over and not lay flat.  Some interfacing there would have helped.

Mr. T:

June 26th, 2013 Ottobre 06/2011 #37 Shorts
I love these. T loves these.  They fit well, they are the longer style.  He grew a bit into them before school and actually chose to wear them to school often!  win-win.  The fabric is a dream, nice and thick but not overly hot.  They wash well and haven't had any rips/tears or boyish destruction to them.  I wish I had piped the back pocket but other than that I'm really happy with these.  I plan to make some more for him this next summer.  *hmmm. I bet I could make some sweet pants out of this pattern for the spring! super excited now.


April 2nd, 2012 Mushroom plastic grocery bag holder. 

Still love it. Still use it, tons.  All my plastic bags go in it.  I've received many compliments on it from visitors too.  It matches my kitchen well.  It is holding up perfectly to the abuse of over-stuffing and ripping bags out one-handed.  I'm actually making one for my MIL and SIL for Christmas because they love mine so much.

And the "didn't works" 


April 17th, 2013 Vintage Simplicity 8072
As much as I loved the look of this top, sewing this top, and the fabric, It just didn't work out :(
I'm actually really sad about it.  The fabric is a luscious rayon challis and I wish I could roll around in it.  It is super soft and buttery.  So what is wrong with it? The string never wants to stay put and doesn't cinch tight enough.  This is because it doesn't go all the way around.  The back with the buttons pull open every time I try to tighten the top.  Also, the buttons in the back don't lay flat enough because of this and gape open or pull to the point of almost popping off.  I cry inside even looking at these pictures.

Miss K

May 2nd, 2012 Rainbow Dress.
I should have known this stinking thing would never work.  The raw, serged edges and poor fit just didn't make this dress fun to wear.  I did know as I was making it that the fit was terribly sack-like and wanted to ditch the pattern, but love the fabric.  I also didn't finish the pattern exactly as the instructions stated - I left them halfway because I no longer liked the pattern.  I could have made it work - I just had no ambition at that point. I have this in my pile of didn't works and will make effort to salvage the fabric to make something else.

Mr. T:

February 27th, 2013 Ottobre 06/2011 Zen T-shirt pattern
In all fairness this is my own fault - seems to be the case often!  Loves: the fabric. I freaking LOVE this fabric! It sewed well, washed well. I re-purposed this Tee into underwear for Miss K. LOL. What didn't work? The fact that I broke a stretch twin needle, tried to use a regular twin needle, got a hole in the shirt doing so, and had to take 2 inches off the bottom.  Then  the hem made the shirt too short.  K wore it for pajamas for a bit.  Also, the sleeves suck. They are too long and skinny and self drafted terribleness. Chalk it up to inexperience at the time.  I've come along way since February! ;-)  So this is a didn't work - not because of the pattern though, I love the pattern and it has worked other times.


January 18th, 2012 Hammer and Thread Owl
This is only in the didn't works because the flannel washed so terribly.  It pilled horrendously.  Also the sewing on it is bad. really, really bad.  This owl is well loved by K and still has a spot on her bed.  I just need to make her a better one now that I sew better.

I hope you enjoyed memory lane with me.  I think that is why I enjoy sewing so much - it fills me with such fond (and not so fond) memories; I hope my children have memories with these things too.

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Monday, December 2, 2013

Resolution Totals November 2013

My November 2013 makes

In keeping up with my sewing resolutions for this year I plan on doing a tally-type thing on the first of each month regarding the prior month to keep me on track for the year!

November 2013

Items Completed: 5
Resolution: 3

Unfinished projects completed: 0
Resolution: 1-2

New items in the Etsy shop: 23
Resolution: 2

Avg Blog Posts Weekly: 1
Resolution: 1

Tutorials created: 0
Resolution: more

Woah. I hit a bit of a roadblock in November.  I sewed only 5 things; half as much as I have been lately. I do love the three tops I sewed though.  And we will say that holidays, illnesses, and massive schoolwork have contributed to the decline this month. 

I've also been discouraged by poor fabric and poor fit.  I need a source with a balance of affordable but quality knits.  I have tons of patterns marked to go, just no suitable fabric and self-doubt in my abilities. 

December is the last month of my resolution totals for this year.  I need to step it up and finish with a bang!

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~