About Me

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As a Martha Pullen licensed sewing teacher I love to learn new sewing techniques and I equally enjoy teaching sewing techniques to others.  You can also find me teaching Bernina Customer Courses at my local Bernina dealer.  In addition, I demonstrate Stampin' Up products.  I am a servant of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, wife of one, mom of two, and grandma of five.  Welcome to my sewing and crafting studio!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Three

Here it is, my last post of 2011.  This month's block of the month is in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman's wife.  Since he was a Yankee general, there are no forts named after him as there are for the Southern generals.  I have no partiality to the North or South - I am neutral.  My mother is 100% Southern belle and my father is 100% Yankee.  General Sherman's wife, Ellen, was a highly educated, very politically active woman.  You go girl!

I must confess, I am not an accomplished quilter, so I have one thing to say about this block - tedious.  I find quilting more difficult than garment sewing because it is one dimensional.  Measurements and seams must be spot on or the whole thing ends up askew.  Garment sewing is three dimensional and easier to 'fudge' when something doesn't match up perfectly.  I'm learning patience every day.  :)

Have a safe New Year's Eve and a "sewcessful" 2012.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Infinity Scarves

Happy Birthday to me!!!  My sweet, talented daughter made three beautiful inifinty scarves for me for my birthday last weekend.

She used this tutorial.  Thank you my dear daughter, I love every one of them and I have many outfits with which they will look terrific.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Colette Patterns 1016 (Ginger Skirt)

This pattern offers an a-line skirt with three waistband versions.  I chose to make version 3, which has a straight waistband, but the skirt is cut on the bias.  Since this was my muslin, I used a very inexpensive suiting fabric that I purchased on sale at my local Hancock Fabric store.  I paid just under $10 for the fabric.  I did not need to alter the pattern at all.

This was the first Colette pattern that I've used and I have to say . . . . I am hooked!  I love everything about the pattern from the fit to the packaging.  The pattern does not have instructions to add a lining, but that's a really easy addition so I did put one in this skirt.  I prefer to line most of my skirts. 

Rather than hemming the bottom of the lining, I added lace to it and tacked it down at the front, back, and side seams.  I like the feminity that the lace adds.

Here's a picture of the how pretty the skirt hangs around the hemline.  I really like how the skirt is fitted in the hips and then flares slightly toward the hemline.  The concept kind of reminds me of the nice silhouette that bootcut jeans give.

I like this skirt so much that I purchased some very expensive, 4-ply, 100% silk fabric from Yellowbird Fabrics in SLC to make into a beautiful Spring garment.  I plan to sew it up in either version 1 or 2 next time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Treat Boxes

This was my weekend project.  My boy is in the military and can't come home for Christmas this year.  These crafty containers are filled with homemade ginger cookies, chocolate-dipped peanut butter/ritz cookies, and fudge.

I purchased very inexpensive containers at my local craft store and embellished them with scrapbook papers and little items I had on hand.  Isn't that boot die cut just too clever?  I used my Silhouette craft cutter to cut the boot and the double-layered rosette on the bottom right container.  The rosette is from the Silhouette online store and the awesome boot is from Kerri Bradford

Okay, back to sewing.  I'm in the process of cutting a skirt for Christmas Eve.  The cutting is going slow because I'm using a plaid fabric.  The pattern I'm trying out is the Ginger skirt from Colette Patterns.

Have a great week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vogue 1275

I made view A (the brown, long sleeved view).  

It fits nice and I did not make any alterations to the pattern (since it is made from a knit, I knew it would stretttttch over my lumps!)  The neckline also sits nice.  I thought it might be a bit “gapey” because of how it fit before I applied the neck band, but when it was finished, it behaved itself nicely.

Here's a photo of the neck before I added the band.  I was concerned that it would gape like that after it was finished and I planned to take in the neck line, but I decided to wait until I got the neck band sewn on.  I'm glad I waited, because the neck band made the neck line lay down nice and flat against my skin.

I especially like the ruched effect on the sleeves, it is a nice design detail and very easy to sew.
Here's the inside of the sleeve to show you how the elastic is applied with a zig zag stitch and stretched to fit.

And here it is from the right side:

It is difficult to see because of the busyness of the print, but the front ruching detail is quite flattering for my small bust.  Here's a close up (under poor indoor lighting).

The fabric is a polyester/lycra knit that I purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It's part of a fabric collection by April Johnston (for those of you who are Project Runway fans, she was on season 8).  All in all, I really like this top and I plan to wear it quite often during these cold, winter months.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Two

Okay, here's installment number two.  This block is in remembrance of Eliza Brooks Ellis Bragg.  Her husband was General Braxton Bragg, CSA.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Bragg, California are named for him as well as Bragg, Texas (a ghost town).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snowman Throw

Since it was snowing here yesterday, I made this quilt top.  As you can see, it is not quilted yet.  That's my goal for later this week, but those cute, little, round faces were just begging to be shared!!!

It went together very quickly as the main body of the throw is just 5" charm squares (100 of them to be exact) and the top is just appliqued snowman faces.  Best part is that my snowmen won't melt.  :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BurdaStyle 3/2010 #105 Skirt

This is not a terrific skirt because of the pattern details, as it really doesn’t have any.  But rather, what makes it a terrific skirt is the arsenal of fabrics that could be considered when making this pattern.  For my first version I chose fine wale corduroy from Yellowbird Fabrics in Salt Lake City. The fabric has just the right amount of body without being stiff.  I’m not exactly sure how I will style the outfit.  I just used the white button-up blouse because it is easier to see the skirt that way and the green sweater just added a pop of color.  I’m thinking a gorgeous silk blouse (perhaps made up from a salmon color silk I saw at Yellowbird fabrics) and a great belt will really set off this simple skirt. 

I made view A but cut the length for view B (it was approximately an inch longer).  This is such a basic, straightforward skirt pattern.  It has only four pieces – skirt front and back, and facing front and back; therefore, I didn’t follow the pattern instructions.  All I did was sew the darts in the front and back, sew up the side seams, insert the zipper and add the lining, and finish it up with the facing and hem.  IMO BurdaStyle patterns fit great.  I graded up one size from the waist to a size larger at the hip and it was a perfect fit without any alterations.  Here are the front and back pics, but since it lacks any design details they look pretty much the same.

I used my Bernina invisible zipper foot # 35 to insert the zipper and the method for the facing is from the "Simple Way to Sew Facings with Invisible Zippers" tutorial on the Colette patterns Web site. 

Invisible Zipper
Here’s a look at the lining. 

I used a brown ambiance lining fabric that I also purchased at Yellowbird fabrics.  The raw edge of the facing is finished with purchased double-fold bias tape.  I prefer a bias tape or some type of ribbon as opposed to a narrow, double fold for skirt facing edges as it adds a nice finishing detail to the inside of the skirt.

I will wear this skirt a lot this fall and winter and there are numerous ways it can be styled.  I will probably use this pattern to add skirts from other fabrics into my wardrobe as well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pot Holders

Yes, these pot holders are from the same TNT pattern that I use exclusively for pot holders (previously reviewed here).  These, however, are not for me.  They are a gift for my mother for Christmas.

If you are using this pattern from Amy Butler's book, the fabric requirements are listed in yardage.  But if you have fat quarters and would like to use them, three fat quarters will make two pot holders (with next to nothing left over so be careful to plan out your cutting strategy).

This next picture is simply because I wanted to show you the beautiful, and tasty, apple that I picked from my tree this morning:

Now on to some more garment sewing for me, me, me!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

McCall's 6395

View C reminds me of an updated version of the 'drop-waist dress' of the early 80's!  Those were not my favorites to wear at the time, but this one is a fabulously modern version with great details.  Gone are the 80's tiny flower print cottons.  Enter the new mellenium solids and animal prints:

I LOVE this dress.  It fits good and it is comfortable and best of all, it is not like anything else I have in my wardrobe.  And to top it off, it cost under $20 to make.  Don't get me wrong - I don't sew to save money.  If that were the case, I would just buy my clothes.  I sew to have one-of-a-kind pieces and for the pure pleasure of sitting at my sewing machine producing something wearable.  I adore fine fabrics, but c'mon, now and then an inexpensive find makes me feel great.  I purchased the black ponte knit, the snakeskin print, and the 22" metal zipper at my local Hancock Fabric store for just under $20.  The ponte knit was on sale and I used coupons for the snakeskin print and the zipper.

The pattern instructions called for the zipper to be inserted from the top of the bodice piece to the bottom of the bodice where it meets the skirt piece.  The collar was to be secured with a hook and eye closure.  Since I am not particularly fond of hook and eye closures, I opted to insert the zipper from the top of the collar to the bottom of the bodice.  In doing so, I sewed on the collar before inserting the zipper, but I did not sew down the collar facing to the inside until after I inserted the zipper.  Then I foled down the collar facing and enclosed the top portion of the zipper tape into the collar and hand stitched the collar facing to the inside.

The sleeve 'caps' are self-lined, but the pattern called for a narrow folded hem finish for the bottom portion of the sleeve opening.  Instead, I finished it with single-fold narrow bias tape that I had on hand.  It didn't photograph too great because of poor lighting and dark fabric, but here's a picture of the inside of the sleeve area:

I used my serger to finish all the inside seams and I used the single-fold narrow bias tape to finish the edge of the skirt hem.  And of course, a double-needle (4mm wide) straight stitch hem was in order for the skirt since that is what is standard for knits (and this dress is primarily knit).

Here in Utah, this is a 3-season dress.  I can wear it as is in the Fall and Spring, but I will also be able wear it into the long, cold winter months by adding a close-fitting, long-sleeve knit shirt underneath. 

And now, my blog readers, I have a giveaway!

I have an extra pattern, never been used, never been opened, that I will gladly send to you free of charge.  The pattern sizing is 8-16.  If you would like to sew this up for yourself or a loved one, be the first to make such a statement in the comment section of this post, and I will contact you via email for your mailing address.

Thanks for reading and commenting.  Have a great weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month One

Since DH's graduate degree is in Civil War studies, I thought I would show my support of his interests by joining Fat Quarter Shop's block of the month.  Each month focuses on the wife of one Civil War General.  Once a month, for 12 months, I receive the biography of said wife along with the fabric and instructions for that month's block.  The club runs from this month (October) through next September.  The first block is in remembrance of Anna Marie Hennen Hood.  Fort Hood is named after her husband.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Room Bed Runner

Ahhh, sweet success.  I love rounding out the week with a completed project.  Here's the bed runner that I previewed here.

I try to keep the guest room pretty neutral and not 'girly' it up too much because you never know what gender guest will be staying in there.  But it was crying out for a pop of color.  This bed runner is very long (90+").  It would fit a king size bed perfectly.  Since I do not own any king size beds (they are all queen size), I will simply fold under the ends on each side to achieve the length I need.  The bed runner is puddled on the floor on the other side of the bed in this photo!!!  Actually, if I were to use a bedspread rather than a quilt and dust ruffle on the bed, the bed runner would fall to just above the floor on each side just like the length of the bedspread.  Hmmm, perhaps a bedspread purchase is in my future.

Here's a picture of it taken fromt the other end of the bed:

Here's the back of the quilt:

And, finally, a look at the quilt label which I embroidered using my embroidery machine:

The quilting was done on my quilt frame and I simply used a flower stencil and water soluble marker to mark it before quilting.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Card

Here's a quick little card I made for my parents. 

My inspiration for this card is from Nichol Magouirk’s blog.  I used Gina K. Designs ivory cardstock for the card base and the pumpkin rubber stamp is from her Falling for You Stamp TV kit.  I stamped the pumpkins on watercolor paper, then heat embossed with white embossing powder, and painted in with Close to My Heart markers (goldrush & olive) spritzed with pearlized water.  It was a technique I learned in Jennifer McGuire’s Inpsiration Showcase online card class last month.  I adhered them to the front of the card using pop dots.  The spider & web & BOO! acrylic stamps are from Close to my Heart (CTMH).  I die cut the tree and fence using my Silhouette.  I cut the tree out of ivory cardstock, then rubbed CTMH chocolate dye ink on it and let it dry.  Then I used CTMH colonial white dye ink on the Hero Arts designer woodgrain background stamp to give the tree a little dimension.  The background paper is from a 6 x 6 paper pad by My Mind’s Eye called Mischievous.

I'm currently quilting my bed runner and hope to have a review posted on here in the next few days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Butter

Apples from my apple tree + sugar, cinnamon, & cloves = sweet Fall flavors all winter long.

Equally good on pork, english muffins or toast, or straight out of the jar!  Ya' gotta love this time of year.

Kitchen Valance

It's Fall and it's time for a change.  Here is a simple valance I made for my kitchen window.  Such a small change but such a significant impact.  Sometimes simple is good!

I used some fabric from my stash.  It is actually a Christmas print, but IMO can be used year round.  It is "At Home for the Holidays" by Heather Mulder for Henry Glass Fabrics.  The black print is a great accent to my black appliances, but I needed a pop of color so I added extra large red ric rac trim.  I purchased both from my local quilt store about a year ago.

Now on to something not so simple.  I must finish two skirts - one for me and one for my guest bed!  Have a terrificly beautiful Fall weekend.  My apple butter is in the canner processing as I edit this post.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pattern #376 Tutti-Frutti

Yet another charm pack table runner.  But not for me this time.  This is a Christmas gift for my mother.  Aaaaack!!!! Christmas already?  I know, if I were truly a dedicated sewist, I would be completing such gifts late into the night on Christmas Eve.  Oh well, call me a novice.

The colors are perfect for my mother's home.  She likes soft, pastels and this fits the bill.  This is a great pattern by Sandy Gervais - it sews together quickly and it is fairly inexpensive.  It only requires one charm pack, and a small amount of batting and backing fabric.  I have a number of these table runners around my home.  This post and this post (on the back of the chair) are two examples of a couple variations that I made of the pattern.

I know my mother will not turn this over to use the back side, so I used a vanilla colored kona cotton for a simple backing.  Here's a picture of the back, plain and simple.

Here's a close up of the quilting.

On another completely unrelated note, I finally decided on a skirt pattern to go with my cardigan (Simplicity 2154).  I'll post more on that later this week.  Have a sunny, cloud-free week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bed Runner

Just wanted to share some progress on a small quilting project that I started this week.  This is from the book Bed Runners Using Precut Fabrics by Kathy Brown.

The title of the pattern is "Serene Strips".  Mine is anything but serene.  The pattern calls for one jelly roll for the strips and all I had on hand was this Dolce jelly roll by Westminster Fabrics.  This is stepping outside the box for me because my home decor is very neutral, warm tones.  However, I'm working on brightening my guest room somewhat while still keeping a cohesiveness with the rest of the house. I have several changes in mind for that room, so we'll see. I'll post before and afters when it is complete.

Obviously the bed runner is not finished.  I'm at a standstill because I just ordered coordinating fabric yesterday for the border, so I must wait until it arrives in the mail before I can finish.

Let's see now, I'm sure I can find something else to keep me busy until then......

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Retro-Modern Pillow

A crocheting camping we will go, a camping we will go . . .  DH and I finally pulled out the RV for our first camping trip this season.  We spent five glorious days and nights in the mountains doing absolutely NOTHING (except for crocheting this terrific retro-inspired pillow).

The pattern is in the Setember/October 2011 issue of Crochet Today magazine.  The pattern includes a square version and a round version.  I chose the round one simply because all my throw pillows are square and I needed to change up the mix a bit.  I used the suggested yarn colors as follows - Red Heart Super Saver #380 Windsor Blue and #313 Aran, but I couldn't find #406 Med Thyme at my local craft store, so I used #661 Frosty Green.  The pattern calls for a crocheted front and back for a 16" round purchased pillow form.  Being a sewer, I decided to crochet only the front panel and to use fabric for the opposite side.  I also added a scalloped crochet edge to bring it all together.  I happened to have a piece of quilter's cotton in my stash that complemented the yarn colors perfectly.  Here's a shot of the opposite side:

In case wondering minds want to know, here's how I put the whole thing together. 
1.  I started with my crocheted pillow panel:

2.  After measuring to make sure it truly was 16", I cut my cotton fabric to 16 1/2" using a ruler and Sharpie to mark my circle.

3.  Then I sewed a 1/4" double fold hem around the circle.  To do this, simply sew a basting stitch 1/4" from the edge of the fabric like so:

4.  Pull up the bobbin thread and the hem will 'fold itself over'.  Then simply fold it over on itself again and topstitch.

5.  Then, using Omega nylon thread, I hand sewed a blanket stitch around the circumference of the cotton fabric so I would have a foundation on which to crochet a row of double stitches.

6.  Finally, I used a scallop crochet pattern to attach the back to the front.  This was a really fast and easy project and it was a great addition to my square, fabric home dec pillows.