Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baby Scallops

I found the idea for this baby blanket in this book. There is a template for the scallops (showing a corner and 2 scallops), but it's a little tricky to construct the whole blanket from the portion given. My blanket isn't precisely square and the scallops are not identical. I was also left with a lot of puckers in all those corners.

I like the clever (to me, anyway) instructions which have you construct the blanket right sides together (with the batting attached to one side) leaving an opening for turning, turn right sides out, press, quilt and topstitch.

I used a darling Peter Rabbit print cotton for the top and blue and white gingham for the back. The batting is flannel.

Basic Tee

This is a long-sleeve tee pattern I downloaded last year from BurdaStyle. It's the Lydia pattern, which I got for free but, alas, now costs $1.

This was the first t-shirt I ever made, and you can see the hemline could have been better. Pressing helped those puckers a bit. I also noticed with a bit of amusement (now that I've been sewing clothing for a year) that I blind-stitched the sleeve hems. Why did I do that? I have no idea.
Interestingly, the pattern called for a facing at the neckline, which you could say is unnecessary in a t-shirt, but it is a lot easier to do than a neckline binding.
The shirt has a great fit and I plan to make more of these for fall - possibly with a regular neck binding.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Floral Sidonie

Burdastyle's Sidonie skirt was a great pattern for my first skirt. It's a basic A-line with darts and a back zipper. It's also lined, but the instructions are very good, so - to my surprise - it went off without a hitch.

The fabric is a stiff cotton from Hobby Lobby. The lining is broadcloth, also from Hobby Lobby.

Both the button and the zipper came from my stash of button and zipper assortments from HomeSew.

I haven't actually worn this skirt since I made it shortly after I discovered I was pregnant with Molly, but it's a well-drafted pattern and fits nicely . . . I should say will fit nicely some day.

Crazy Quilt

I made this (pseudo) crazy quilt for my mom for Christmas. It has 9-inch squares using the same crazy pattern for each block. I used civil war era reproduction fabric gathered from a variety of places over the years. The rest of the pieces are just muslin.

The backing is cream-colored flannel. For the batting I used a natural cotton batting, which seemed fitting for this antique-y quilt.

I used a different fabric for each piece (not including the border) and a different embroidery stitch for each line. Luckily my library had an embroidery stitch encyclopedia. Phew!

This border is called "Prairie Points". You fold the triangle pieces, stick them between the quilt layers, and then topstitch the edge of the quilt. (Easier said than done!)

Finally, I basted and then machine quilted the whole thing.

The patterns for both the blocks and the border are found in this nifty book:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scallops and Box Pleats

My first set of curtains years ago were rectangles with tabs along the top - a good start, but I wanted something a little more interesting this time. I found that NOTHING could be found in the stores to suit my fancy or my pocketbook.

So after browsing many pictures of valances, I took some measurements, sketched what I wanted, ordered some fabric off ebay, and made a pattern. My husband had the great idea of folding a piece of paper up to help construct the pleats in my mind.

I used cotton quilting for the front and muslin for the back. The iron really is your best friend in a project like this.
I ran into a little trouble when inserting the curtain rod through the top. The valance must be pleated first and THEN folded over (as opposed to folded over and then pleated) because you can't make the curtain rod fit the shape of the pleats, no matter how hard you try, he he. Luckily I hung the first valance before finishing the others, so I only had to unstitch one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Five in Paisley

Last summer I thought I'd make matching sundresses for my (then) 2 daughters and 3 nieces. By the 5th dress, I wasn't sure it was the best idea, he he, but the results were gratifying.

The smallest dress in size 6 months is from McCall's M5419 and the other four (sizes 3T and 6T) are from Simplicity 9786.

I found the brown paisley seersucker and giant brown rick-rack at Hobby Lobby. I love the giant rick-rack!

The dresses are cute in the pictures, but are actually huge, billowy and cape-like in real life. However, they are easy-schmeasy and would make a great beginning-sewist's project.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Once in a while I like to whip up a big batch of bibs assembly-line style to have on hand for baby gifts. I made a template for these by tracing an old, old bib my mom had made for me long ago. This is a good-sized bib, covering baby's whole torso.

It's a lot of fun to pick out fabrics for these - and a bit of a challenge to find plenty of boyish prints. I use flannel for these because it's soft and absorbent. I have never understood the vinyl bib concept - food and drink slide off the bib and onto the clothes.

Velcro is a good option. I know this because I've put on and taken off thousands of bibs on small necks and ties are no good. Snaps work all right, though, and are quicker to install.

Bib making is an excellent beginning-sewer project.
A quick how-to:
1. Make a bib template on clear plastic or stiff paper.
2. Trace two bib pieces onto flannel.
3. Stitch right sides together leaving a small opening (2-3 inches) at the bottom of the bib.
4. Turn right side out, using a long, pointed object to help.
5. Press bib, taking care to press the seam allowance in the small opening under so that it is even with the rest of the bottom edge.
6. Topstitch around the edges.
7. Add velcro or snaps.

The brown blouse that started it all

A year ago, I got the itch to try the Bonfit Bodice Patterner my mom had given me a few years earlier. This was the first piece of clothing I'd made for myself (not counting that sweatshirt in 7th grade sewing class), but I was well pleased with the result, despite the hackneyed approach I took to putting it together.

With the Bonfit system, you take your measurements, adjust a life-sized plastic template accordingly and then trace on paper to create the pattern. You add your own design elements - which can be a good or a bad thing!

I thought the "basic blouse" was a good choice for a first attempt. The fact that the shirt turned out HUGE gave me the opportunity to add some neckline pleats and remove about 7 inches at the side seams. I checked and rechecked my measurements, but I can't imagine that Bonfit really intends for there to be so much ease in a garment. Now, with a little more stitching experience, I may try it again to see whether the error is mine or the pattern system's.

Cap sleeves, self-fabric bias bindings, pleated neckline.

Back enclosure.
The fabric is cotton quilting from Mary Jo's Cloth Store.
I really like this top and wear it all the time. It stands out as an appealing selection in my row of plain t-shirts.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB