Monday, September 29, 2014

New baby!!

Last week my sweet hubby and I had an hour to kill between dropping off one kid and picking up the others, so we decided to check out the local Antique Mall.
We didn't have a whole lot of time, and I honestly wasn't looking particularly closely at anything. Mitch spotted this elaborate cabinet, and only upon closer inspection did he realize that there was a sewing machine in it. He called me over, and after I started breathing again, we took a peek at the price.
I should mention at this point that a treadle sewing machine has been a dream of mine for some time. And this one *gasp* she's so beautiful! And that cabinet! I have no words. But I know very little about machines this old, and even less about cabinets, and we HAD to go to get the other two kids, so I walked away, me heart breaking a little more with each step. I should mention at this point that Mitch thought we should buy it right off. I should listen to him more...
Obviously, this tale has a happy ending! While waiting for the kids to get out of school, I did a bit of homework and determined that the price the Antique shop was asking was a very reasonable one, and we went back to get her. I didn't breathe on the whole drive there. What if someone else had gotten her?? But there she was, waiting for me. It was meant to be.
She wasn't in perfect condition. Not surprising, since she's 114 years old. I cleaned and oiled her, then replaced her belt and the rubber ring on her bobbin winder. But even before all that, she moved like a dream. So smooth! My modern machines are jealous.
Even though I don't know a lot about machines this old, my clue to her age was the direction of the needle thread. You thread her left to right, instead of front to back. I looked her serial number up in the Singer database and discovered that she is a Model #27, built in 1900. She's in amazing shape for her age!
Her decals and paint are a bit worn, particularly on the machine bed where she'd have seen the most action. It is clear that she was used and cared for well. I wish I knew her history. Imagine the things she has sewn!
Her face plate is in excellent shape, although it could use a bit of a cleaning. I love the ivy design on it.
The treadle mechanism is in beautiful condition though. Even the paint is still shiny! Replacing the belt was easy peasy.
And just look at that perfect stitch. Nora and I are going to have a lot of fun together.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cole's Creations Neverland Shirt, the first

You've seen the final version of the Neverland Shirt. This was my first.
Myra likes this one, too.
One of the things that the tester group really worked hard on was getting the collar just right. You can see that this version isn't perfect. I overlapped it a bit too much. It is also the smaller version of the collar.
The testers in the group liked both versions so much, Nicole decided to have both options in the final pattern. I think it was the perfect decision. I love the big bold collar of the other version, but this petite collar is perfectly sweet.
The fabric for this version is a double knit that has very little recovery, so it has a looser fit than the star shirt. I think it looks great with slim pants like these floral Hosh Pants. (Preview: an expanded size range and better fit for the Hosh is currently in testing, as well as a wide leg version that you are going to LOVE!)
The cuffs and collar are a super thin viscose jersey. In retrospect, it isn't the perfect fabric and I wish I had lightly interfaced both collar and cuffs. Particularly the cuffs, as they have a tendency to collapse while Myra is wearing the top.
All in all, this pattern is definitely a winner for us. These two are in constant rotation in Myra's wardrobe, and I know I'll make more. The pattern goes all the way up to size 16!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cole's Creations Neverland Shirt

I was so excited to be able to test this adorable shirt! It came at the perfect time too; just as I was contemplating Myra's fall wardrobe.
The pattern is the newly released Neverland Shirt from Cole's Corner. It is a cute little long sleeve tee with cuffs and an adorable peter pan collar.
The neckline is finished with a binding which captures the collar and finishes it cleanly. The pattern offers two methods for attaching the binding, but for this version (which is my second and made from the final version of the pattern) I used my coverstitch binder.
The fit of the top is sleek, but not too snug. Myra and I both love the fit. It goes well with both slim pants as well as full skirts, so it's a very versatile top.
The main fabric is from Kitschy Coo. It is made by Znok and it is so super soft! Kitschy Coo still has some of the pink, as well as two other colorways. The pink polka dot was hanging out in my stash. I was thrilled to find such a good color match!
The cutest detail of this top though, is those notched cuffs. They're adorable and so easy to attach! You won't believe it. They are stitched into the sleeve seam, so they stay folded up when the kiddo plays.
This is a completely cute, but surprisingly easy to sew pattern, and the best part is that it comes in a crazy huge size range. from size 1/2 (6 month) all the way up to 16 years!! Head over to the Craftsy shop and get yours!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog hopping!

It seems like we go through blog hop phases her in sewing blogland, and I've been tagged for the latest. Thank you Becky! If you haven't been by her blog, give it a visit. She's a charming and talented lady, and I always enjoy reading what she has to say.

This hop has questions for me to answer, so I'll jump right into those.

1) Why do I write?
My first blog post! The whirl/walk away dress
That's a simple question with a complex answer. I started this blog, lo those many years ago as an offshoot of my family blog. I had just returned to sewing as a hobby after a long hiatus. I was a new SAHM with a couple of toddlers at home. Although Facebook and Twitter were around then, they weren't the social media dynamos they are now, and so my blog was my way to get out into the world and be heard. I had a somewhat difficult transition from the working world to motherhood, and it helped to have contact with other like minded people. I wanted a way to keep track of my projects and share with the community at large. I've been amazed at how much the community has grown in these 6 short years since the blog began. It's amazing to me that the community of sewcialists and crafters has expanded to include so many varied and interesting people and artists. I just love the way that blogging lets me give a little back and also connect with those who "get" the sewing bug.

2) What am I working on?
Did you know the Hosh Pants
were getting a wide leg option?

Right now I'm in the middle of back-to-school fall sewing, filling in gaps in the kids' wardrobes as well as my own. I've been testing a couple of patterns, so the blog has been quiet, but there has been a lot of sewing in the background! I also pretty much always have a Barbie project in various stages of completion. It's funny, with human clothes, I am very much a project monogamist. I have to finish one before I start another. With Barbie, I tend to get a project going, then let it percolate for a while as I build inspiration.

3) How does my blog differ from others of its genre?
That's a tough one actually. There are so many blogs out there with a specific focus, but my sewing has never been like that. I sew what I want, when I want. I sew for me, for my kids, sometimes my hubby, often for Barbie and her friends. I make a variety of things with a variety of fabrics, from jeans to swimwear to knit tops to vintage dresses. I like to vary my projects greatly, as it keeps things interesting to me. For me, that variety is what makes my blog different. I do a lot of different things, and I do them well.

4) How does my writing process work?
I've honestly never really thought about it. I make a thing. I take a zillion pictures of the thing. I write about the thing, including lots of pictures, because I like lots of pretty pictures when I read a blog post. I have always been a very concise and to the point writer, so I let my photographs do most of the talking and keep the text to a minimum. I myself read a ton of blogs of different genres and I notice that when there is a long stretch of text without something pretty to look at, I tend to lose interest, so I try to make my posts as easy to read as I can, assuming you suffer from the same blog post reading ADD as I do. Actually, this post is already so word heavy that I'm getting tired of staring at it. Off to find some pictures!

The last step is to nominate two more bloggers. I'm going to be a blog hop rebel and leave it open. I've enjoyed reading these posts on many blogs, but if you haven't had a chance to answer these questions, I hope you'll consider this post your invitation! I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Barbie's Fab Night Life

A few months ago, I was tagged in a Flickr photo challenge, with the theme of "Urban Safari". I thought it would be fun to make a few animal print gowns for the girls, and let them duke it out for Mulder's affections. That seems like something he would enjoy.
I picked up a few animal printed fat quarters and made a few plans, but then the move got in the way, and life got crazy. I finally got all the dresses together and put together my diorama for pictures.
I started with Trichelle's dress. I love this grey snakeskin and I thought the black and grey would suit her. She's so fierce, I wanted a vampy dress for her. This is McCalls 658. This is an older pattern, so I did make a few size modifications for Trichelle's belly button body, but otherwise made it as designed. I love the neckline detail. I added some large hotfix studs to bring the eye up to her beautiful face.
The next outfit I made was Violette's. The dress is made with Advance 9938. I made this view for Midge, so I didn't have to make any alterations for fit. I wanted the giraffe printed cotton to be the star of the show, so I didn't embellish the dress, but I did make Violette a coordinating belt out of a scrap of leather from an old purse. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
I decided against animal print for Dana. She's Mulder's lady fair, and I wanted her to stand out. Her gown is from a pattern I found on Pinterest. Sadly, it is not credited, so I don't know where it came from, but it is super sexy! The fabric is a silver embossed gold knit. Dana has an Obitsu body, which is much slimmer and bustier than Barbie's body. I took in the dress significantly in the side seams of the skirt and back of the halter portion. If I had made it in a woven, I think I'd have had to deepen the bust dart as well.
I think Trichelle and Violette look amazing in their gowns, and I had tons of fun making them and styling them. Making Violette's belt was easier than I thought. I'll definitely be making more of those.
Of course, the other girls never really had a chance...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bow Girls!

A few years ago, I bought this cute bow print thermal knit from Girl Charlee. It took me forever to finally sew it up!
My original plan for this fabric was a sweatshirt style top for me. I wanted something comfortable just for hanging out at home, but even at home I like to be cute.
I wanted a sleek fit and I thought a dropped shoulder would be fun. I started with the Kitschy Coo Comino Cap top, which I love the fit of, and just drafted a semi-fitted sleeve. Instead of a band at the neckline, I bound it with my coverstitch, which made the neckline a little bit higher.
I love the slightly scooped back neckline of this top. It's so pretty. You can see the dropped shoulder a bit better from the back. I think it's a fun detail. It nods to the wide shouldered 80s trend without the linebacker shoulder pads.
Since the Comino Cap Top is so economical of fabric, even with long sleeves, I had a ton of fabric left over.
Myra got the bulk of the leftovers. I pulled out an Ottobre raglan tee pattern I've made for her twice before. It is from the 04/2013 issue and has a nice fitted shape with a bound neckline. I made the sleeves 3/4 length, as Myra has trouble keeping long sleeves out of messes. And because her cute baby-chubby wrists slay me.
When I showed Myra her new top, she immediately wanted to know where Teresa's was. Ooops. Back to the sewing room! I was initially trepidatious about this print on Barbie, since the scale is rather large, but it worked out nicely with a single motif centered on the front of the tee, and at the sleeve hems. Teresa got a bound neckline too. The pattern is a blend of Simplicity 4719 and 4702.
So, between sewing a trio of thermal knit tees, and this weekend's extremely pleasant weather, I think I'm ready to start sewing for Fall and Winter. Bring on the wool! I'm ready!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Bellini Sew Along - FBA!

Hey cats and kittens! Remember when I promised you an FBA tutorial just for the Bellini? Well it's here!
Well, it's not EXACTLY here. It's over at the Capital Chic Blog! Head on over and check it out, and if you haven't already, pick up your Bellini pattern while you are there. It's a Sew Along!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pajama Party Time!

One of the funny things about doll collecting is the dichotomy between preserving the condition of your dolls and also being able to display and enjoy them. Clothing is one of the places where this particularly becomes a problem.
The vinyl that many dolls are made of has a tendency to stain, particularly when left in contact with dark colored clothing or shoes. So, in order to preserve a doll's coloring, she should be stored in a way that prevents contact with dark colored fabric or leather. Some collectors store their dolls nude, but I like to see my dolls, so I decided to make them some clothing that would be cute, but safe to store them in.
Light colored PJs seemed like the perfect compromise! I thought it would be fun for the J-dolls to have a little slumber party. I recently got the book Dolly Bureau, Volume 2, which includes patterns for Momoko and 10.5 inch dolls. It's a good place to start for these petite girls.
But even before I acquired Dolly Bureau, my friend Kristine sent me a Skipper pattern (Simplicity 5861), which actually is an excellent fit for my J-dolls with only minor length adjustments! So I made a few pairs of comfy jersey knit pants for the girls to wear with their handknit sweaters.
Adeline thinks her soft pink wool sweater and lounge pants are perfect for a PJ party. I agree.
Aria is also wearing Simplicity 5861 pants, made shorts length. The fabric is a reclaimed baby shirt that had a cute lettuce edge hem. I used the lettuce edge for the shorts hem. The top is from the Dolly Bureau book. It's sized for Momoko, so it's a bit big in the shoulders for Aria, but fits her well otherwise. It is also made with the reclaimed baby shirt, trimmed with baby rick rack and stretch lace.
After Aria's outfit, I still had a sleeve left of the baby shirt. I decided to make Talulah a simple tube dress. I trimmed the bodice with wide stretch lace and inserted elastic at the upper edge and waist. The hem was cut on the shirt's lettuce edge hem.
Next up is Marti's baby doll dress. It is also from Dolly Bureau. This pattern is labelled 1:6 scale doll, but is modeled in the book on a baby doll BJD, so I wasn't sure what to expect with the sizing. I thought it might be a bit big. The neckline gapes a little on Marti, but it's still pretty sweet.
The pattern includes bloomers, which just escalated the sweet factor off the scale. The fabric is a handkerchief weight linen from my stash. I love the texture it has.
The final outfit is Christa's two piece set. Again from Dolly Bureau, these pieces are sized for 10.5 inch "super skinny" dolls like Monster High and Ever After High. While the height is right for my girls, J-dolls are bustier than MH/EAH, so I made these pieces out of knit to take advantage of the negative ease. The robe is a cheetah print french terry. It doesn't have a ton of stretch, so it's a good thing Christa's hands are removable or she'd never be able to get it on.
Under the robe, Christa wears a knit tank dress. This is my favorite piece of the collection. I love the way it fits her and the cute ribbon detail on the bib front makes me happy.
I'm do happy that the girls have cute clothes that I can safely store and display them in. They seem to be enjoying themselves.
Now if only Christa would stop texting her boyfriend...