February 27, 2013

Challenge Accepted: Learning how to Read a Pattern

 I'm a visual, hands-on kind of learner. That's why I've been intimidated to follow more than basic patterns in the entire eight or nine years I have been sewing. I've kept it very simple and did not venture far outside my comfort zone. I'd rather have someone show me how to follow the pattern, or draft a pattern of my own. Up until now, that's basically what I have been doing.  I've learned a lot, but lately I've been wanting to challenge myself a bit more and make some maternity and children's clothing.

 As soon as I put on this tunic I made from the  New Look 6725 pattern, I was proud and thankful I tried something new. For the material I chose a red linen. I even wore it to Church Sunday with a black long sleeved shirt under it, and black leggings and boots. It's exciting wearing something you made with your own hands.

 Believe me, it took some effort getting from start to finish. And some answered prayers. But it's finished!

 It inspired me to share some sewing terms basics you need to get started, which, even patterns  intended for beginners expect you to know without much of an explanation.  Hopefully sharing my mistakes and victories can help. Stay tuned!

February 20, 2013


 Like many of you who have been sick multiple times this year, we are sick yet again. My head is just beginning to clear enough for me to make coherent sentences. Two days ago my six year old told me he didn't understand what I was saying. To which I replied, "Neither do I. I think I shouldn't even be talking right now."

 Each day we have been getting a little better, and yesterday we even made it out to enjoy the warmth from a February sun. I soaked in lots of Vitamin D. When I came back in to make dinner, I thought how being sick makes me appreciate little things I take for granted on normal days. Like being able to talk. And breath. To laugh with someone or at yourself. To clean the dishes without having to take a break.

To bring in crisp sheets off the line and fold piles of laundry (which are patiently waiting to be put away when I have a burst of energy.)

And enjoy beautiful sunsets at 5:40 p.m., instead of an hour earlier.

Every day is full of simple pleasures and moments of God's grace. Go enjoy them! 

February 16, 2013

Playing Dress Up

We've owned a lot of the same furniture since the first year or two we were married. Living in Steubenville was a great spot to find antiques on a newly wed budget. One early purchase was this stool, which has resided in several kitchens over the past seven years. 

It gets a lot of good use with my little kitchen sous chefs perched on top, next to the counter, helping me cook and bake. 
Lately I've been wanting to change it up a bit, so I grabbed some leftover drop-cloth material I used to make Christmas stockings, and made a little cover to go over the top.

 And if little helping hands get some smudges on it, I can easily wash and/or bleach it. Just a little change to dress things up. I'm still contemplating spray painting the legs, but for now, I'm content.

February 7, 2013

French Seam Tutorial

 Sergers are wonderful inventions. Perfect for so many of the sewing projects I seem to be interested in these days. My serger, on the other hand, seems to be more of a near occasion to sin lately. Even after threading and re-threading several times, it's not working right. Wisdom would say, "walk away from it awhile. Take a break or take it to a shop." But I am stubborn and keep coming back to it, thinking surely it will work differently this time. It doesn't.

 And so I learned the French seam. It's easier than I thought, and I am happy to have a finished seam I can work with until the mystery of the problem serger is solved. French seams enclose the raw edge, leaving a professional, finished straight seam that lays nicely on both sides. Trust me, it's easy. And I finished in about ten minutes or less.

3. Lay the fabric panels open, with the seam on top, and press the seams open.

4. Fold the fabric, right sides together, and press again. 

5. Sew 1/2 in. seam along the folded edge. The photo below shows your seam from the back side of the fabric. 

6.  Press your enclosed seam to one side.

And finished!