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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!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Month Seven

Here's the seventh of twelve blocks for this quilt.  It has a number of little pieces and I really like the look of the block.  This one is to commemorate Mrs. Pauline Clark Mosby, wife of General John S. Mosby (The Gray Ghost).  Now if  you know your Civil War Generals, you know that John S. Mosby never attained the rank of General.  He was a Colonel.  If you are so inclined to check it out, DH pointed out to me that Colonel Mosby's mug graces the cover of the April 2012 edition of Civil War Times.  Yes, yes you can stop chuckling now - I admit it.  Civil War Times magazine is delivered to our mailbox six times per year.

So is the quilt now called The Generals' Wives and One Colonel's Wife Quilt?  Probably not.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simplicity 1806 - Pullover Tank Top with Flounce

I highly recommend this new pattern from Simplicity.

Before I go into any details about the pattern itself, I have to post a disclaimer about my choice of fabric:  **I used what was in my stash because this is my muslin to test for fit and any alterations I might need to make.**  That said, I used the fabric left from the flower girl and toddler boys' vests that my son's then-fiance asked me to sew for their soon-to-be-aborted wedding.  No, I'm not bitter, just venting a bit.  It has been almost 3 years since she stomped on my boy's heart, so I'm moving on to using up all the bridal fabric that I didn't have to pay for.  Yay!  So here is my fit muslin done in some kind of polyester bridal fabric:

I do like the color a lot.  And, yes, I realize I cut off the top of my head in this photo.  That's what happens when you're using Sir Tripod and his trusty sidekick,  Camera Timer!

This pattern sewed up quickly - maybe 2 hours from cutting out the pattern to hemming the garment.  The side flounce is what sets it apart from being just another boring tank top.  Sometimes we need those basic pieces such as tank tops, but I'm into some added details lately.  Here's a picture of the tank without the sweater:

The pattern instructions call for a narrow double turned hem on the flounce.  I am so not into making narrow, double turned hems.  They are tedious and I always burn my fingers with the iron when I try to press down the hem.  Enter my serger.  I've come to rely on that nifty narrow rolled hem more than I realize.  It's my cop out to avoid narrow hems.  But what stopped me from using that nice, neat, narrow rolled hem this time?  My serger is at my local dealer for its annual cleaning.  And to make matters worse, instead of the usual 7-10 day turnaround, they told me it will be 3 weeks before my serger will be ready.  Are you kidding me?  I can't be without my trusty serger that long!  Okay, okay.  Take a deep breath, suck it up, and make that narrow double-turned hem as instructed.  Here is a close-up of that dreaded hem:

But stay tuned.  I will make one more version of this top.  Next time it will be in 100% silk and that flounce will have a serged, narrow-rolled hem.

I also resorted to french seams as this fabric ravels terribly.  They do give a nice professional finish to the inside.

Overall, this is a great pattern.  Beginner's should find it very easy to sew as well.  Just be certain to use a nice drapey fabric.  And when you sew those side front sections to the front piece, I recommend you pin that flounce out of the way so you don't catch it in the seam.  Just saying . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sock Bunny Easter

Who doesn't love surprises?  And a handmade surprise is the best of all!  On Easter my daughter surprised me with this adorable sock bunny:

The bunny is made from a knee sock.  My daughter used this tutorial.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Simplicity 3678

This is the fourth time I've used this pattern in one view or another.  This one is view A.  This pattern sews up very quickly and fits nicely.  The only change I make is to the neckline.  Instead of following the pattern instructions for the neck binding, I simply fold the binding in half, the same as what is done for a quilt binding.  I then attach it to the neckline, fold the raw edges to the inside and topstitch.  I also stitch the center front of the neckling closed from the under bust up about 2" because the neckline is very low and I don't want to wear a camisole under this one as it is for hot, summer weather and I don't like too many layers in the summer.  This dress is great with a pair of flip flops.  I used a navy/teal ITY knit from Joann's.

Here are some photos of the neck binding process:

Fold the binding in half, wrong sides together and press

Attach the binding to the neck edge, raw edges together

Turn to the inside and topstitch

This is a 2007 pattern, but it is still available for purchase:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Civil War Generals' Wives BOM - Setting Blocks

I received the fabric and instructions for setting blocks several months ago, but procrastinated in assembling them.  Please don't laugh, but being the novice quilter that I am, I had no clue what a setting block was!  So in my effort to understand said blocks, I came upon an article at McCalls Quilting that explained it quite well.  These blocks are oversized blocks that are used around the perimeter of the design blocks so they can be trimmed to size without cutting into the design blocks.

So here are my first two setting blocks:

Setting Block #1 - I made 12 of these
and . . .
Setting Block #2 - I made 4 of these
I am waiting for design block #7, which should be here next week.  Until then, that is my quilting for now. 

I am moving on to tweaking the fit of my Jalie jeans pattern and altering the design a wee bit to make a pair of capris.  I purchased some black stretch denim from Joann Fabrics this week and it is pre-washed and ready to go.

I also completed a dress this week, but I don't have photos to share as of yet.  Hopefully I will get that one posted this weekend.  Have a blessed Easter.

May Challenge

For the month of May I am participating in the Me-Made-May '12 challenge over at Zoe's blog.  This is the very first challenge I have committed to and I have to admit, I am a bit apprehensive.  Can I really pull this off, how much of my hand-made wardrobe do I actually wear on a daily basis, do I need to crank out more items to fulfill this commitment?  Hmmm, we will see.  Here is my commitment as posted on Zoe's blog:

I, Pam of A Notion to Sew, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavor to wear at least one item handmade by me each day for the duration of May 2012. Items will be posted on my blog at least weekly.

Watch for the weekly updates in May to monitor my success.  If you want to participate, go on over and sign up.  It will be fun to see the progress from all the participants.