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 29, 2012

Crochet Chevron Blanket

My first review of this chevron crochet afghan was back in March of this year.  I made that one for myself, but this one was a Christmas gift for my daughter.  I must admit that I rather selfishly considered keeping this one, as I am so pleased with the color combination.  But no, I did not keep it lest I wouldn't have a handmade gift for DD.  I always try to include at least one handmade item in her gifts.

The pattern is a free one from here.  I used a size I crochet hook, and the following Red Heart brand worsted weight yarn colors: 
  • Grey Heather (3 skeins)
  • Lemon (2 skeins)
  • Cherry Red (1 skein)

Now doesn't that look warm and comfy amidst all that cold snow!?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quick & Easy Scrappy Christmas Trees

Here's a great way to use up those Christmas print scraps.  It is a free pattern download from the Baby Lock Web site.  This is such a quick and easy scrappy Christmas tree.  I sewed up two of these in a matter of minutes, and I plan to sew at least eight more this afternoon.  I am using them on Christmas packages such as this:

So there ya' go.  A very quick last-minute sewing project that adds a great handmade touch to your Christmas presents or even to your tree.  Have fun!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quick and Easy Gift-Card Holders

Do you have gift cards to give?  Tired of simply putting them inside a Christmas card or an envelope?  If you have just 30 minutes or an hour, you can stitch up one of these sweet, quick and easy gift-card holders.  It is great packaging in which to present that special gift card.  The pattern and instructions are in the Fall 2012 eidition of Quilts and more magazine.

The pattern requires a minimal amount of fabric and heavy-duty interfacing.  The instructions are straight-forward and easy to follow.  These gift-card holders could also be reused and forwarded to other gift-card recipients, or they could be re-used to store business cards, credit cards, etc.  I chose to make mine in Christmas themed fabric, but any fabric could be used to make them great year-round gift-card holders.  Here is what the inside looks like:

I sewed all three of these in about an hour.  Don't you just love those quick-gratifying sewing projects that will bless others?


Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Christmas Card

Tis the season, creative counterparts.  Here's this year's Christmas card.  I kept it pretty simple in style so as not to distract from the sentiment on the inside, which is what is most important:

The color scheme is a little outside the box for me.  I'm usually pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas colors.  But overall, I am pleased with my foray into contemporary colors.  So here is what I used for my cards:

Card base - Gina K. Designs heavy base weight navy cardstock
Patterned paper - Jingle by Close to My Heart
Mister Huey's Color Mists in opaque white (doesn't show up in the photos, but adds great dimension in real life)
Snowflake - Kerri Bradford cut file from the This and That Winter kit
Silver embossing powder by Hero Arts
Scalloped Window with candle (I omitted the candles) cut file from Silhouette
Inside sentiment - white cardstock, Ginda K. Designs pure luxury layering weight; Sentiment is a Silhouette cut file that I converted to a print and cut file along with the window frame from the front of the card
Silver metal 'gem' by Mark Richards

Most of my creative efforts are spent in front of my sewing maching, but my sewing and crafting time is pretty much split during this time of year as there are so many great gift items to be made.  I do, however, have a quick little sewing project to share with you this weekend.  So stay tuned.   :)

What about you, does your sewing time give way to other creative outlets during this season?  I would love to hear about or see some of your projects.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vogue 8667 - Dress

In sorting through my sewing photos whilst preparing to write the review for this dress, I noticed my last several garments have all been grey.  So . . . this is the last grey garment I will sew for some time - on to some color!

My hands are in fists, not because I am upset, but because it was freezing outside.  Where's that new coat I just made!?

When I put this on to show my husband the finished product, his comment was "wow, that one is really nice."  Notice the emphasis on that one.  Hmmm, does he mean all the other pieces I've sewn were not nice?  Okay, Pam, quit reading more into it than what he said and accept the compliment!!!

IMHO, what makes this a winner is that collar. Other than that, this is just a basic, fitted dress. Which is not a bad thing. We all need some great classics in our wardrobe, wouldn't you agree? I know this one will get lots of wear.  The pattern instructions were to add three hook and eye closures along the back of the collar where it comes together just above the zipper.  By doing that, it would have stood up all wonky in the back and it was too late for me to alter the collar since I did not make a muslin first (ahem).  That said, I actually prefer the way it turned out because I really like the way the collar comes to an inverted V in the back.  I simply added one eye and hook closure where the collar naturally falls to the V shape.  Here's the back of the dress where you can see that collar V that I'm talking about:

And here is a close up of that back collar:

As you can probably see from these photos, the sleeves are just a bit snug.  Not so much that I can't wear the dress, but more snug than I would prefer.  Since I did not make a muslin (ahem, again), I was not aware that I would need to add about 1/2" circumference to those sleeves.  I would also extend the length about 1" to help cover my muscular marshmallowy upper arms.  :)  Other than that, I would not make any pattern alterations.  This dress fits like a glove, just as this style should.  I might make another one (with sleeve alterations) some time in the future as I do find this pattern very flattering and comfortable and as I mentioned before, the style is classic.

Oh, if anybody is interested, here is a picture of the dress without the belt:

There are so many sewing project ideas tossing around in my head right now that I am undecided what will be on my sewing table this week.  It will be a surprise to all of us.  If you are so inclined, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and see what you are sewing.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Butterick 5824: Grey Wool Coat

Finished, just in time for Winter Storm Brutus!!  This pattern is part of the new Patterns by Gertie line for Butterick.  I participated in the October coat sew-along on Gertie’s blog and I’m really glad I did.  There is no way I would have finished the coat on my own.  Well, not before next summer anyway!  The pattern is labeled easy, but I beg to differ.  The back collar treatment is a bit tricky, but Gertie put a great video on her blog that helps explain it much better than the written instructions ever could.  That was the only step that threw me for a loop.  Having sewn tailored jackets in the past, I found the process to be quite enjoyable.  Okay, upon journaling my review thus far, perhaps I was a bit hasty to correlate easy with beginner.  Yes, the pattern is easy if you are at least an experienced beginner.  I would not recommend this pattern as a first project, however.  That said, I LOVE this coat.

It certainly has the largest skirt sweep of any garment I own.  There is a lot of fabric there!  I purchased the grey wool at Joann fabrics ($30/yd) with a 50% off coupon for $15/yd.  Gotta love those coupons.  All that fabric gives the coat great twirl factor:

It is lined with lavender China silk, which I purchased at Yellowbird Fabrics in SLC.  When I was at Sewing Summit last month, I had the privilege of attending Saria Mitnick’s lecture on special occasion sewing.  After reading her Collette Sewing Handbook last year, I determined that I would sew with silk whenever the opportunity lended itself, and her lecture was the boost I needed to invest those $$ in high quality fabric.  Mind you, this coat requires yards and yards of outer fabric as well as lining fabric.  I was tempted to settle for a polyester lining because of the cost factor.  After all, it wouldn’t show and nobody would know whether it was silk or polyester, right?  Wrong.  I would know and it mattered to me.  So glad I made the leap from polyester to silk.  What a difference in the drape and the feel of the coat.  Here’s a picture of the lining before I finished the sleeve and bottom hems.
BTW, if you ever have the opportunity to attend an event where Sarai Mitnick is speaking, I encourage you to go.  It will be time well spent.
I made bound buttonholes and for the inside “slit”, I used the straight stitch buttonhole (#59) on my sewing machine.  It helps to reinforce the area around the slit so it doesn’t stretch out.
One last finishing detail is this great retro–inspired rooster pin that I purchased especially for my new coat.
Rooster Pin by Heidi Daus for HSN

Lastly, here is a gratuitous Basset photo of my big boy in the background plowing through the snow with his sniffer as all good hound dogs would do.

On my sewing table this week is Vogue 8667.  Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment as I love to interact with other blog readers.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Double Bobble Scarf

Here's a beautiful scarf that I crocheted some time back, but neglected to post it here on the blog:

It's called the Double Bobble Scarf and the pattern is in Crochet in Color by Kathy Merrick.  The whole scarf is done in an oval pattern rather than back and forth rows like a lot of crochet scarf patterns are designed.  It crochets up rather quickly and I love all those bobbles!

The best thing about this scarf is that it goes beautifully with my new Butterick Coat that is almost complete.  My coat is gray wool and the lining is lavender China silk.  I should have a full review some time next week.  Until then, here's a picture of the almost-finished coat and the Double Bobble Scarf together.

We're off on a camping trip this weekend.  I've started another crochet project that will keep me busy until I can return home to my sewing machine.  Do you have other crafty hobbies that you enjoy when you can't be near your sewing area?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Add a Quick and Easy Pocket Label to Your Quilt

Colorful Boy Quilt with a quick and easy pocket label

My favorite workshop at the Sewing Summit last week was Perfect Pockets with Deborah Moebes of WhipstitchThat girl truly loves pockets and would like to see them on everything -  everything I tell you!  I signed up for the Perfect Pockets workshop because I avoid adding pockets to almost any and all projects I sew.  I think they add bulk to my already bulky body.  Deborah did, however, change my mind.  Her enthusiasm and humor were quite contagious.

As I was quilting my grandson's quilt upon returning home from Sewing Summit, I began to think back about the weekend and all the lovely, lovely women I met and all the great teachers and speakers from whom I was priveleged to learn.  Deborah Moebes and her Perfect Pockets workshop jumped to the forefront of my thoughts and I pondered adding pockets to everything as she encouraged us to do.  I envisioned pockets on the quilt, but I am a very practical person and I needed a reason for those pockets to be there.  The quilt was already sewn and halfway quilted so I knew I would not be incorporating pockets into the design.  The only other detail left to add after binding it was the appliqued quilt label on the back side.  Eureka!!!

I added a flap pocket to the back of the quilt and incorporated my embroidered quilt label onto the pocket.  And yes, the pocket actually serves a purpose.  My original intent was to give my little grandson a tooth fairy pocket.  Last year, my daughter inadvertently threw away a tooth that my granddaughter lost, so I reasoned this would be a "safe" place in which lost teeth could await the tooth fairy.  Then, the tooth fairy could just put the money exchanged for the tooth into the pocket for safe keeping until morning.

But in addition to tooth-fairy duty, this quick and easy pocket label could also be used to store small "treasures".  I did not put a closure on the flap.  I was concerned that hook & loop tape, a zipper, buttons, or snaps could be uncomfortable if my grandson rolled over on the quilt pocket while sleeping. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Coat Sew Along Progress

My new winter coat is coming along nicely, thanks to Gertie's Coat Sew AlongThe bodice and skirt are sewn together, bound buttonholes are in place, and the sleeve hems are done.

I used a catchstitch to hem the sleeves.  The Colette Sewing Handbook is a great reference if you need a reminder of some basic hand stitches.

This week we are sewing the lining.  My lining fabric is lavender china silk.  I'm so excited about the progress of my coat and I'm thrilled to know that I will have a new winter coat in a couple short weeks.  I'm thoroughly enjoying the whole tailoring process.  It has been a number of years since I made a tailored garment.  What about you.  Do you like the process of sewing tailored clothing?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Binder Pouch

I'm heading down to Salt Lake for the Sewing Summit this afternoon and I decided this morning that I needed a cute pouch in which to carry my supplies.  After all, who goes to a sewing conference without a handmade item full of sewing supplies?  So I sewed up this pouch with fabrics I had on hand. 

I didn't have the time or desire to shop for supplies so this tutorial was the perfect answer to my search for the perfect little pouch.  Isn't it dang cute!!!  I only made a couple small changes to the original pattern.  I used laminate fabric (by Riley Blake) and instead of the fabric three ring binder tab called for in the pattern, I simply used a piece of canvas strapping that I found in my stash.  No, I do not have the grommets on it yet, because I did not have any on hand.  I will purchase those later.  As for now, I will just be carrying it in my purse anyway.

Here's a shot of the zipper edge.  You can see how nice and flat it lays.  Perfect for storing in a binder.  And the laminate fabric is especially nice if you are making this for your child's school supplies as it wipes clean easily.

I forgot to photograph the backside, but it is just a piece of the darker laminate.  And, BTW, if you are using laminate fabric, the teflon coated presser feet work marvelously.  Have a great sewing weekend.   :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coat Sew Along

Here we go sewing peeps.  I've committed to Gertie's coat sew along.  The schedule is to have our muslin sewn and fitted by Monday (October 1).

I've not ever participated in a sew along before.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Perhaps it is the stress of accountability.  Will I be able to keep up with the schedule?  What if my garment doesn't fit properly in the end, what if it just looks stupid, what if my color/fabric choices are pathetic?  I must get over my insecurities and dive in with fortitude.  I know the end result will be greater sewing experience and many, many lessons learned.  So it will be a win, win either way.  What about you?  Do you like to commit to challenges or sew alongs?

In the opposite sewing realm, I am busy quilting my grandson's twin size quilt.  My daughter indicated she would simply like straight-line quilting, so rather than using my quilt frame and short-arm quilter, I am using the walking foot on my sewing machine and quilting straight somewhat straight diagonal lines.  :)

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sassy Librarian Blouse

Have you enrolled for any classes at Craftsy yet?  If not, I do highly recommend them.  I've taken several classes including cooking and sewing/quilting.  Christine Haynes offers the Sassy Librarian Blouse via Craftsy and I wanted to sign up as soon as it became available several months ago.  Well, my patience paid off and the class went on sale last week for $19.99, so I quickly signed up.  It is definitely geared toward beginning sewers, so you may ask why I would be interested. I must admit, my interest was in the pattern not necessarily the class.  But Christine Haynes is a talented pattern designer and her instructional videos are very easy to follow.  I really enjoyed watching the videos and following along with my project.

I cut the size 8 and tapered to a 10 at the hips.  I ended up taking in an extra 5/8" on each side seam.  I also sewed the vertical darts two inches higher than the pattern called for because I wanted to accent the waistline a bit more than what the original pattern allowed (it was a bit boxy on me).

The collar is difficul to see as it blends into the bodice fabric, but here is a close up:

And of course, I used my serger to finish the inside seams and front facing:

I really like the pattern.  It pays homage to one of my favorite TV wives - Laura Petrie.  I believe I will style my new top with leggings and ballet flats (ohhhhhhhh Rob!).  If you are a beginning sewer or you are simply interested in this pattern, I highly recommend the Craftsy course.  I would love to see your version if you are so inclined to share.  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Bloom - Bed Runner Follow-up

Good Friday morning all my sewing and blogging friends!  In preparing to share my quilting with you all, I had to go back to my previous projects so I could reference the original post on this bed runner.  Wow!  Has it really taken me 3+ months to get this topper quilted?  The blog doesn't lie.

So here is "A Midsummer Night's Bloom", finally quilted, bound, washed, and lounging on the bed.

I must confess, I am not necessarily a pastel color kind of gal.  And I had my doubts even after I completed all the piecing for the top.  But now that it is quilted, I'm really liking this bed runner.  I think it is that pop of chocolate brown that draws me in.  DH mentioned three times how dark brown was the perfect choice for the binding color.

I used several different quilting motifs.  The quilting shows up best on the back, so here is a close-up:

In lieu of a completely solid backing, I like to add a strip of coordinates from the quilt.  I also like to machine embroider a label for my quilted projects.  Here's what I did on this one:

The wording on the label doesn't show up very good in pictures.  I used a pinkish peachy thread for the lettering.  It looks great in person, but not so great in pictures (unfortunately, my photography skills are lacking).  But you get the idea.  :)

This week I also sewed up a new blouse which I plan to wear today.  After I get it photographed, I'll meet you back here.  Until then, happy sewing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Burda Style Magazine 02-2009-125

No, I did not recently complete this top.  But when I wore it Sunday, I realized I never shared it with all of you because I wasn't blogging when I made it.  And it is too nice of a pattern to keep all to myself!  The blouse has somewhat puffy sleeves with a sleeve band that includes a functional button, it has a collar and it buttons up the front.  Princess seams add shaping detail so it is not a boxy fit.

Burda's fabric suggestions are for light weight shirting.  I used a great batiste fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.  If you are interested in this pattern, I posted a review of it on Pattern Review way back in 2009 when I made it.  So if you have the February 2009 Burda World of Fashion magazine in your archives and decide to make this blouse, I would love to see your version.  I just might make another one in the upcoming months.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Simplicity 1761

I desperately need lightweight jackets that I can wear from fall into winter, and I prefer to be able to dress them up or dress them down.  I will defintely be able to do that with this jacket.  Hancock Fabrics had the fabric labeled as ponte, but trust me, this is much lighter weight than a ponte knit and it has a very soft drape.  It was my plan to wear this to church yesterday, but with the temperature still in the low 90's, I opted for a short-sleeve blouse (made by me) with the black skirt instead.  So here I am sweating perspiring just long enough to get a few shots of the jacket.  Sorry the pics are not the best quality.  DH was in a hurry to get back in front of the TV so as not to miss one of the rare games where the Redskins were actually scoring!!!

Here is the pattern description from the Simplicity Web site:  "Simplicity misses' & plus size jacket has shaped armholes, side seam pockets and top stitching; skirt in two lengths has asymmetrical yoke and front cascade. Pullover knit top has 3/4 sleeves. Khaliah Ali pattern collection."  I beg to differ with the shaped armholes.  The pattern has dolman sleeves, which is why I chose it because the dolman sleeve seems to be a big trend this season.  Okay, there is a seam that could give the armhole some shape - that is if the sleeve circumferance wasn't so dang large.  No, I didn't make a muslin.  Next time I will take in those sleeves a bit so the jacket is not so overwhelming.

I'm thinking if I belt the jacket, or add a couple inconspicuous hook & eye closures just below the bustline, it might accentuate the waistline a bit and draw attention away from the huge armholes.  Maybe, I'm just not used to the dolman sleeve anymore.  It has been out of style for a number of years now, but it is making a reappearance this year.  So, with all that said and after seeing the above photo, I decided to restyle the way I wear the jacket. 

Deep in thought, I contemplate other ways I might style this jacket.  Belted over a black sheath dress might be another option.  Hmmmmm, do I have a black sheath dress in my closet?
So what if I don't have that LBD in my closet - I can always make one.  After all, I do know how to sew!!!

This jacket does have some great lines to add topstitching and other embellishments.  Here is a close up of the seams with toptstitching.  It looks like a pocket, but it is not.  I also added self-made cording between the front facing and the body.  I wanted a faux leather trim, but alas, my local store did not have any pleather.   As I passed the Halloween costume section, a shiny, black, leather-looking fabric caught my eye.  So, yes, I used cheap thrifty black (very thin and stretchy) costume fabric for my cording.  It actually looks very much like leather trim.  :)

This knit fabric was misbehaving under my presser foot.  The top layer was bunching up and not feeding properly.  Unlike quilting and home dec projects, this is a garment and it is three dimensional so I did not want to use my walking foot.  So I used my teflon foot and it worked beautifully.

Today was quite warm again, but very rainy and overcast.  Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same.  Yay!  Another no guilt, stay inside and sew kind of day.  Yard work, beh!! 

Do you feel guilty about spending time sewing when there is outdoor work to be done?  Or, perhaps you are lucky enough to live in a condo or apartment and somebody else takes care of those chores.  :)  However you might be spending your time, have a pleasant week.