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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!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crochet Chevron Blanket

I haven't posted anything about this project, but I have been crocheting this dang blanket for almost three months!  I only crochet when I sit down to watch a show on television (I have a very difficult time just sitting and watching something - that's probably why I don't go to the movies very often).  This blanket consists entirely of single crochet, which if you crochet, you know that is a very small stitch so it takes a lot of them to accomplish much.  Whew!  I love the blanket, it is a throwback to the 1970's when they were very popular and many, many colors were used in the blanket.  It must have been a way to use up yarn scraps.  I remember my mother made one for our sofa.  Anyway, I like the updated minimal coloring used in this one and chevrons are extremely popular right now in home dec as well as scrapbooking and crafts.  Here's a close-up of all those little single crochets:

This was a free pattern from All Things Bright and Beautiful  I used Red Heart worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn and a size "I" crochet hook.  There are 8 sections of white, 6 sections of green, and one section of blue - each section consists of 10 rows of single crochet.  The blanket is 45" x 65".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Leibster Love

What a great way to start a Monday.  The very talented Jennifer, over at The Musings of a Dedicated Housefiancee nominated me for a Leibster.  According to Jennifer's blog, the German word Leibster means beloved (or favorite).  Thank you so much, Jennifer.

To pay it forward I am presenting the following lovely women with a Leibster:

Doobee's Creations
Frogs in a Bucket
Idle Fancy
Musings of a Seamstress
Eating Pins

The rules of the Leibster Blog award are:

1.  Thank your Leibster Blog award presenter on your blog.
2.  Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3.  Copy/paste the blog award on your blog.
4.  Present the Leibster Blog award to 5 blogs (with 200 followers or less).
5.  Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment.

Colette 1016 (Green Silk Ginger Skirt)

As noted in this previous post, my second Ginger skirt is made from 100% 4-ply silk.

Here are my thoughts about silk fabric - buy it, sew it, you'll love it!!!  Colette patterns designer Sarai Mitnick encourages the use of silk fabrics in her designs and I see why.  What a terrific fabric to sew and wear.  It behaves nicely with the sewing machine, it drapes beautifully, and it is comfortable to wear.  As with my first Ginger skirt (made last December) I did not make any pattern alterations with this one.  The fabric I used in December was heavier and bulkier than this silk.  I did notice that in the silk fabric I will need to take in the waistband 1/2" next time.  Yes, there will be a next time because this skirt is quick to sew, fits great, and gives a flattering silhouette.  Here's a picture of the back.  It's very basic with a hidden zip.

As with my first version, I also added a lining to this one.  I plan to make one more this year and I will probably add some kind of detail like piping.  I will definitely be using silk again.  Whether it will be a print silk or solid, I'm not sure.  That's part of the fun in perusing the fabulous silk fabrics at Yellowbird Fabrics in Salt Lake.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Simplicity 2215

Here's my Easter dress:

I used a beautiful, almost batiste-quality, 100% cotton fabric in a pretty springtime floral print from Yellowbird Fabrics in Salt Lake City.  The bodice lining is 100% polyester hang-free lining from Hancock Fabrics.

I only made two minor design changes.  The first was that I chose to not add the pockets.  I’m not a big fan of pockets in dresses and skirts, so I left them off.  On my frame, they add attention and sometimes bulk at the hipline, ugh!  The second change I made was to use ruffled fabric as a design element along the hemline.  I've included a tutorial of my process for adding the ruffled fabric.

I like that this dress has both a side zip and front buttons.  Side zips in a dress are a good thing because if I happen to get the zipper insertion off a smidge, it’s not so noticeable since it is buried under my arm!  I also like that it has the added benefit of front buttons.  The two entry openings make the dress very easy to slide on over the head.  The bodice is close fitting, so it is necessary to have as much ease as possible in getting the dress over the head.  It also helps to not mess up the hair!

I love the fit of this dress.  I made the size 12 and I did not have to alter any of the pattern pieces.  It is a very girly dress and looks very “Eastery”, but I will also be able to wear it all summer with flip flops or strappy sandals.  The fabric I chose is extremely lightweight so it should be very cool in our hot summer months.  A heavier weight fabric, such as denim as shown on the pattern envelope, could be used for a year-round version to be worn with sweaters, jackets, or long sleeve tees.  If you are not yet comfortable with inserting invisible zippers and/or buttons and buttonholes, I would not recommend this pattern until you have some experience with those techniques. 

Here's a shot of the side zip:

And here's the buttons and buttonholes:

I did not follow the pattern instructions for either technique, so I can’t address how clear-cut the instructions are.  But the buttons and buttonholes are up front and center so they must be sewn with some precision. 

This is a great pattern and if it is your style I would encourage you to give it a try.

Ruffle Fabric Trim Tutorial

This ruffle fabric is very popular right now and I am seeing it made into women's skirts and baby and girls' apparel.  I purchased one yard a couple months ago with the plan to make it into a skirt or onesie/skirt combo for my little granddaughter, but there is plenty of fabric to use for other projects as well.  Being pricey, it is almost $20 per yard (for knit fabric, are you kidding me?), I wanted to put the extra yardage to good use.  So I used some as an accent to the hemline of my dress.

Let me start by noting that this is the same basic process as adding piping to a project.

Let's begin:

1.  First, lift up those ruffles and have a peak.  You will see that there is enough 'flat' fabric between each ruffle to allow you to cut off as many rows of ruffles as you would like.  For this dress, I chose to just use one row of ruffles.

It is simple to follow the lines already on the fabric as your cutting lines.  Remember, this fabric won't ravel because it is knit.  It does, however, have a tendency to curl under once it has been cut.  Just be patient, it will all come together rather nicely.


Your three best friends for cutting are the self-healing cutting mat, the rotary cutter, and the clear cutting ruler.  Line up the edge of the ruler on that pre-determined cutting line and simply run your rotary cutter over it.  This can be done with shears, but you will save your sanity by using the rotary cutter.

Ta da, you now have a nice row(s) of ruffled fabric with which to embellish your project.


Simplicity pattern 2215 has a pattern piece number 10 (lower band).**  After seaming the band together as directed in the pattern instructions, fold the band in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Lay the ruffle fabric (right side up) on top of the folded band with raw edges together and pin.  Yes, it is necessary to pin because of that roly poly edge of the knit fabric.

**If you are using a pattern that does not have a bottom band piece, make your own.  Cut it 3" wide (unless you are using more than one row of ruffles, then you will have to cut your band wider accordingly) and the length of the circumference of your hem (you may have to cut two lengths and piece them together), plus allowance for seaming it together to make it long enough to fit your garment.  Continue with the tutorial from the **


Okay, now you're going to sew a straight stitch a scant above that ruffle.  I used a roller foot for this step because the knit ruffles kept getting caught under my regular presser foot.

You now have a nice straight line of stitching just above those ruffles.  There is also enough seam allowance left to allow room to stitch this ruffled band piece onto the dress.

5.  The final step is to pin the band/ruffle piece right sides together and raw edges even with the bottom of the dress.  Sew it with the band piece on top so you can see the stitching line from the previous step.  That becomes the line you follow for your seam.  I used my serger for this step so as to have a nice finished edge.  Here's a picture of all those layers, serged together:

6.  Finally, press the seam up toward the garment and press the band and ruffle down.  This technique could also be used to add interest to a quilt or home dec project.  Have fun with it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Six

It goes to reason that since last month's block was commemorating General Grant's wife, this month would inevitably pay homage to General Lee's wife, Mary Curtis Lee.  She had a silver-spoon upbringing and she was highly educated, but the poor woman was just weak in many facets of her adulthood.  Her life was such a sharp contrast to Irene Grant.

I really like this block, I think it is rather detailed and quite attractive.  I'm now caught up on all my Civil War blocks, so you won't be seeing another one until I receive my next shipment in April.  But of course I have clothing construction to share with you in upcoming posts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Five

Block five in this historical quilt series is ode to Irene Boggs (Dent) Grant, our 18th First Lady and wife of General (& President) U. S. Grant.   Bringing elegance and grace to the White House, Mrs. Grant was quite the socialite and hostess.  Her memoirs were published in 1975 - I may have to locate a copy as her story has peeked my interest.

I like this block very much.  I'm particularly drawn to the pinwheel in the middle of the star.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

C'mon Spring!

This photo collage is as close to spring as we're getting right now.  It turned very cold yesterday and snowed (sigh).

The far left photo is my Easter dress, which I finished this week.  I wanted to take photos of me modeling it outside, but alas, Utah late-winter/early-spring weather does not cooperate.  Open-toe heels in two inches of snow is not fun!  Therefore, I will post a review and photos as soon as the weather improves.  The yellow flowers are snow-covered primrose that I planted a few days ago when the temperature was in the mid 60's.  The bird is a great home dec find that I purchased at Hallmark (of all places) for a mere $5.99.  The bottom right photo is a shelf scarf that I made a number of years ago.

I hope your spring is warming up nicely.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Four

Admittedly, I'm behind on my Civil War Blocks of the Month.  This one was my January shipment!  I'm working on catching up with them this week because I truly would like to have all 12 complete by October so I can finish the quilt in time to give it to my Civil War enthusiast husband for Christmas.

This was a fun block to sew.  No itty bitty pieces to worry about.  And I'm really partial to green, so of course I like the color scheme.  This block is in honor of Irene (Rucker) Sheridan, wife of General Sheridan.  Following the Civil War, the Sheridan's lived in Washington in a home that was purchased for them by Chicago citizens who were grateful to General Sheridan for his work following the great Chicago fire in 1871 - now that's gratitude!!