31 Days of Sewing

    It’s finally October. I say that because I have been anticipating cool days, leaves changing color and taking on a new 31 Day Blogging Series. I have done a several of these series in the past, inspired by the Nester linkup. Last year there were more than 1200 bloggers participating! Wow! The 31 Day Series now has their own Facebook page, and website! Be sure to follow my inspiration board on Pintrest and instant daily updates on Instagram! This time around I have decided on 31 Days of Sewing. I was going to name my series Sew 31 Garments in 31 Days, but I decided I was backing myself into a corner by committing to this number. I am confident that I can do it, but sometimes life has other plans, but 31 garments is my optimal goal for this month. Today was the perfect day to begin, we cranked up the fireplace for the first time this year. Something about having a fire always inspires me. I spent the afternoon in front of the toasty flames whipping up my first garment in this series. This outdoor porch is currently my design “studio”. It’s rather drafty. Actually it’s VERY drafty.  That means that come winter, I won’t be able to be out here at all, it will be too cold. Time is of the essence. I must create all I can before the snow flies. 31 Days and counting….. My rules for this 31 Day Series: 1. I plan to only use easy patterns, almost exclusively Very Easy Vogue.…
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7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

It’s nearly the end of the week and I haven’t accomplished much of anything on my to do list. I have had a million distractions here. I am also working on some bigger projects, but can’t reveal those just yet. So, I decided to put together a few posts that you may have missed. These are easy sewing projects for the beginning sewer. They also happen to be some of my favorites! Sewing Project #1: DIY Dog Bed This is Maggie. She is one of my all time favorite pooches, and she was my model for this DIY Dog Bed project. Sewing Project #2: Cowl Blouse This simple blouse is great for warm summer days. It is flattering for any figure type and super easy to throw together for the weekend. Here’s how to sew a Cowl Blouse. Sewing Project #3: Fleece Robe Sewing a fleece robe is another easy project. Fleece is easy to work with because you don’t have to finish the seams. This robe is warm and fluffy, every girl should have one in her closet for those cool evenings at home. Pajama pants are another easy item to make. You can make them from fleece, flannel, cotton, etc. They also make a great gift! Project #4: DIY Apron I love reusing fabric from different sources, this DIY Apron is made from an old flannel shirt. I love it for those really messy DIY projects! Sewing Project #5: These pillows go back to my early blogging days, I still love them.  The photos aren’t my best but…
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Sewing with Lace: Part 2

    31 Days of Sewing: Day 11 This is the third day of working on this simple lace blouse, Vogue pattern #V8927. There is something about trying to finish a project on a deadline. I remember being up all night sewing when I had a design project due while in college. There were always uncontrollable factors. For example, thread getting caught in the machine that ruins a seam. It must be ripped out and re-sewn. Sometimes more than once. Unexplained mistakes were also a hazard, such as extra fabric getting caught in the seam on the wrong side, an iron that scorches your fabric, or even accidentally cutting a small hole in your finished work. This is the nature of sewing. There are only so many things you can control. The rest is left to the mercy of the universe. Sewing at home doesn’t give you as many outs as a design show room does. In the show room, it’s easy to just recut a garment and start over. At home, you can’t just recut a garment that is messed up, no one can afford to do that. When you sew for yourself you have to just go with the flow of things, and figure out how to minimize the damage. Like today, I was determined to finish this blouse. I had to run to the fabric store for more fabric (this would be the second time) because I forgot to cut two of the facing pieces. Fortunately, they still had the fabric I needed. I got home and…
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Sewing with Lace

31 Days of Sewing: Day 10 This sewing project has taken me more than 3 days. So much for my 31 day sewing goal. I think I need to rename this series 31 posts of sewing. Every time I think I am getting ahead, something comes up and I end up being behind again. My days revolve around doing our home school, making meals, doing laundry, dishes, etc. Then there are the trips to soccer practice, the grocery store, the post office. Not to mention trips to see colleges, going to church, and of course, the fabric store. After all that, it’s time to sit down and get some actual sewing done. First, I make a fire on the porch (my “studio”). Have I mentioned it’s cold out there? Then I can get down to the days work, cutting out the garment of the day. Sometimes I cut out two at a time. After making a cup of tea, I can sit and sew. By this time, it’s typically about 3:00pm. I have a working window of opportunity until about 4:30pm when it’s time to start dinner. By 6:00pm it’s too dark and cold to work on the porch any more. That means there is only about an hour or so of actual work time. Humm…..this could be why I am not accomplishing much these days. This pattern is Vogue #V8927. I loved it the minute I saw it. Something about the combination of the black lace and white crepe made me swoon. I also swooned when I found some…
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Sewing with Peach Skin

Sewing with peach skin is something that many people shy away from.  Peach skin is unique because it has a slightly brushed texture to it that gives it a time worn appearance. Kind of like your favorite faded blue jeans. It just looks like something you have had in your closet forever. 31 Days of Sewing: Day 9 It’s been great to experiment with all new fabrics on the market. Right now there is a wonderful choice of fabrics in the fabric store. There are even more choices online, it can be hard to choose. I prefer buying things in person, I like to touch everything. If it’s coarse or stiff, it’s just not for me. I am super sensitive when it comes having fabric against my skin. The other day I came across a bolt of peach skin fabric in the clearance section at the fabric store. It is so soft, it feels like butter. It also feels like something you would wear forever, until it falls apart. I do a washing test before choosing my fabric for cutting. I always wash the fabric to shrink it before I cut (fabrics can shrink as much as 10% the first time in the laundry). Some fabrics pass the wash test, and some don’t. Because I haven’t cut the garment yet, I am not so concerned about shrinkage, but I do like to see how well it will hold up after washing. I have a couple of cotton broad cloth pieces that I bought to make blouses out of, they looked…
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Sewing a Cowl Blouse

    31 Days of Sewing: Day 8 I am finally back on track with things here. The miscellaneous trials of this last week have come and gone, and I am glad to be back to sewing. This project is truly a one hour accomplishment. This is Vogue Pattern #9771. It’s only two pieces, you sure can’t get any easier than that. I chose a blue poly knit for this one, it is one of my favorite fabrics to work with. The knit has a wonderful drape, washes easily and is easy to sew. This blouse is cut on the bias which gives it a great fit. The pattern calls for a facing around the armhole and back neck. I personally hate facings. Why would someone want to have a wad of extra fabric and stiff interfacing under their armpit? This will always be a mystery to me. There is an easier way. Most garments today aren’t made with armhole facings, but are finished with bias binding. It’s easier, faster, and is much less bulky. This is how it looks on the finished garment. To make your own bias binding, find the true bias of the fabric by folding the selvedges at a 90 degree angle (as in the top of this photo). Cut along the folded edge to separate the fabric layers. Cut 3 strips of fabric along the cut edge, mine were 2 1/4″ wide. I mark them with pins, but you may prefer to draw it out with a ruler. Fold the bias in half lengthwise. Pin…
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Sewing a Fitted Blouse: Part 1

31 Days of Sewing: Day 6 This week has been an unprecedented disaster. We have had a family crisis, an electrical outage and a plumbing problem. This little one hour blouse has taken me 4 days to make with all the distractions. My week started off okay, I realized that I probably should have planned better for this series and had a stash of fabric and patterns to pull from for my projects. Have I mentioned that organization is not my thing? I don’t have a fabric stash, so I spent far too many hours this week roaming the fabric stores. Found a fabric I liked at store A. Forgot the coupon for 40% off at home. Bought the fabric anyway. Found a better fabric at store B. Signed up for the store B discount texts, only to realize I left my phone at home and couldn’t use them. Bought fabric anyway. Returned fabric A to store A. Found an even BETTER fabric for the next project. Forgot phone and coupons once again. Returned to store B to buy buttons and interfacing for project A, remembered the phone and coupons, but buttons were only $1.00 so it didn’t really save me anything. Went home to wash fabric, washed it all, put it in the dryer. Dryer didn’t work. Checked fuse box, fuses were melted and wires fried, box smelled hot. Called landlord who in turn called electrician. Roamed fabric stores again to pass the time, totally confused as to why I was there, and what dang coupons I was supposed to use.…
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Sewing Camisoles

31 Days of Sewing Day 3 Back to the drawing board today, finishing the last piece in this sassy little lingerie collection from easy Vogue pattern #V8888. I don’t think this pattern is as easy as they said it was. It’s cut on the bias, which is notoriously stretchy and hard to handle. It makes cutting and sewing harder because no matter how hard you try, the fabric always moves. A few extra pins help, be sure your needles are sharp. You may need to baste here and there to make sure it all comes together the way you want. One more thing, I used a slightly bigger stitch length and looser tension than on the other pieces I made (this will also keep your seams from puckering). Most of the time when I sew, I use a small 2.5 stitch. For the satin camisole, try a stitch length of 3 or 3.5. If you do need to rip the seams out, it will be easier and won’t stretch the fabric as much. This little camisole has contrasting lace on the bodice and yoke. I also added some extra lace trim at the hem since I had it left over from yesterday’s pj pants project. I must admit I changed the sewing process a bit on this garment. Have I mentioned that I consider the pattern directions to be more like guidelines? Many times there is an easier way to sew things. I don’t know why they make things so complicated when they can be simpler. I think more people…
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Sewing PJ Pants

  31 Days of Sewing: Day 2 Day 1 of sewing went great, no real issues. Day two on the other hand was a different story. Nothing went the way it was supposed to. Some days are like that I guess. My issues started with cutting today’s garment, a cut little pair of satin pj pants. Okay, technically they are panties, but I won’t call them that because it might direct the wrong type of traffic to my blog. Anyway, I skimped on buying the yardage for this project, trying to save a buck, only to realize when cutting it that everything was supposed to be on the bias and I didn’t have quite enough fabric. Of course, I crammed it in anyway. I cut the back on the straight grain instead. Life will go on. No way was I going back to the store in the rain today. This is easy Vogue Pattern #V8888. I made the satin robe yesterday, today it’s the panties, tomorrow will be the camisole top. Sewing the pants is really easy, if you are having a good sewing day. Today was not my day. I sewed the side seams together, and added the lace at the leg hem. Then it was time for the elastic. After stitching the center front seam together and measuring the elastic, I set about making the waistband. First, stretch the elastic the length of the waist (from center back, across side seam, center front, and to the other center back), single needle stitch with a basting stitch stretching the…
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31 Days of Pintrest: DIY Project Rules

Here I am starting my 31 day challenge of DIY projects inspired by Pintrest. It occurred to me that perhaps I should explain a few things before I get too carried away on my projects. I have been scoping out Pintrest for utterly fabulous ideas. I have pinned them all on a page called “31 Day Blog Inspiration” so you can view them in advance. Find my page here. If it seems odd that I have more than 31 ideas pinned, it’s because in some cases I loved more than one idea and couldn’t really decided which direction to go with it. Have I told you that I am indecisive? Anyway, I will narrow things down before the very end. Perhaps you are not on Pintrest yet? Well, here’s a bit about it. It’s an idea website. You can “pin” a photo of someone else’s idea from anywhere on the internet and store it on a Pintrest page. You can then view other people’s ideas, or share your own. There are tons of amazing ideas out there! Pintrest includes cooking, recipes, inspirational words, great books to read, fashion, gardening, sewing, art, photography, project and craft ideas. The only thing is that you have to be “invited” to have a page through someone else that has one. Once you are invited, you can register and log in with your Facebook or Twitter account. If you don’t have anyone to invite you, send a email to Designermom4@hotmail.com and I will invite you to join us. It’s easy! My theme for the month is “It’s All…
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