Back to the Sewing Machine

I’ve been working on many, many long-term projects: blankets, a shawl, a cross-stitch portrait, and a cross-stitch stitch along. I needed to do something that I could start and finish in one afternoon.

Two white and gray shirts with long sleeves that have large stripes at the wrists laying on a wooden floor, on on top of the other. The bottom shirt is gray with white sleeves with gray stripes. The top shirt is white at the top half and gray at the bottom half with gray sleeves with white stripes.

When I found out Itch to Stitch had a couple free patterns, I decided to make the Uvita Top. Then, when I got to planning it out on the fabric, I decided to make two because I had enough of both fabrics.

White and gray shirt on a tan cushion.

I knew that I wanted to make stripes on the sleeves, so I pulled two colors of knit fabric out of the drawer. When I realized I had enough of the white, I chose to make one set of sleeves white with gray stripes and one gray with white stripes. I didn’t quite have enough white to do a completely white shirt. So I chose to do an all-around yoke of white on the shirt with gray sleeves.

Gray shirt on tan cushion.

To make the sleeves, I started with squares of each fabric and cut strips starting from the bottom, alternating 3 inches wide and 2 inches wide for two stripes. Then I sewed the stripes and top of the fabric together, first with a single needle zigzag and then sewing the seam down with a double needle into the white sections. Once I had the fabric prepped, I folded it in half and cut out the sleeve pieces.

Detail shot of shirt sleeves at the stripes.

I cut out the shirt body pieces of the shirt from the gray fabric, then cut the paper pattern to make a yoke piece and body piece, laid the yoke on the white fabric and added half an inch of seam allowance to the bottom, and did the reverse to the body piece on the gray fabric (meaning I added the seam allowance to the top).

Detail shot of white and gray shirt where gray and white meet with a double line of stitching in the white portion.

I sewed all the seams with a single needle zigzag stitch and then sewed all the hems with the double needle.

Detail shot of the double line of stitching at the hem of both shirts, stacked on top of each other.

All in all, this pattern was super easy to follow, and super easy to modify with the styling. The end result is super comfortable, and it only took an afternoon to finish.


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New Fabrics on Spoonflower

I have been cranking out pattern designs and putting them on my Redbubble shop pretty regularly the past month or so. But I’ve also been wanting to make plain fabric with them. This week I got in the proofs for four of them, and they are now for sale!

I am super excited for these, and already have a few more waiting to be proofed. Just trying to hold off on buying massive amounts of these fabrics to make things out of.


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It’s a Cinch!

I’ve got a problem with buying fabric remnants. You know, those leftover bits at the end of the bolt that fabric stores conveniently wrap up and put on deep discount to clear up shelf space. I really shouldn’t let myself go near those racks. Or let my mother go near them either. I think it’s a hereditary thing.

Anyway, this has led to us having quite the stash of fabrics that are less than a yard long. I wanted to trim this down, so I came up with the perfect solution: drawstring bags.

I had followed a Craftsy tutorial many years back to make a drawstring bag that I use for projects, so I thought this would be a great use of those remnants. I mapped up in illustrator how many bags I could get out of a single yard of fabric (it is two at this 9×9 size for all pieces, including the drawstring), and created myself some pattern pieces out of plain paper. Then I set about cutting as many of each piece as I could out of each fabric. 

Once I had all the fabrics I had gathered cut, I had to figure out how to match them up since there weren’t always enough to make each one the same combination. I matched everything up that I could and sewed all the pieces assembly-line style, because that is my favorite way to do anything.

I’ve only got four combinations up right now at my Etsy shop, but I am working to get more put up in the coming weeks.

I also started experimenting with some heat-transfer vinyl, but I have to perfect that method before I’m ready to do any personalization since I don’t have a cutting machine and am just using an exacto knife.

Countdown to Christmas

Technically doesn’t start until a week from Friday, but that means you’ve still got just enough time to make an advent calendar. This one only took me parts of two days last week. And then waiting for the numbers to be delivered.

I started by figuring out the placement of the pockets, which are 4 inches by 4 inches, and then I created strips for each line. I folded the top edge down half an inch and stitched it with a zig-zag stitch. Next I centered the strips on the green felt and stitched along the bottom of each row before flipping the whole thing over and drawing the Christmas tree outline with a Sharpie. Then I cut the tree out to make it easier to fit through the sewing machine to sew the side of the pockets.

I sewed the lines in between and on the ends of the strips that ended inside the tree outline. I left the ones that go over the edge free until after attaching the tree to the background fabric.

Next I sewed the trunk of the tree to the background, so it would be behind the bottom of the tree.

After pinning the outside pockets out of the way, I sewed the entire outline of the tree down. Everything is sewed with a zig-zag stitch to flatten the edges.

I sewed the remaining pocket edges down and added a star for the top.

I finished the whole project off with a backing (of purple muslin because it was the only plain woven fabric I had that was large enough to cover the whole back) and a wooden dowel for hanging that was slightly too short.

I added a screw to each side, which worked out well anyway for attaching the string to hang it. I had ordered stick-on felt numbers, so all that was left was to stick them on when they arrived. Now we just have to figure out a way to hang it for December 1.


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So Many Projects

So last week I ordered some fabric. It arrived the other day, and my little helper was very excited to help me open it. And then he asked, “Who is all those people?” Which lets me know I need to bust out the special episode tapes as we enter the holiday season.

I’ve drawn a quick flat, mostly to make sure it will look good to cut all the pieces on the bias, since it is quilting fabric and I want it to have some stretch. I like comfy clothes. I think it should turn out well:

Then, there is the issue of Halloween being a month away. One of the boys already has a Harry Potter costume, and now the other big brother has decided he also wants to be Harry Potter. The littles are a little more challenging. One wants to be a “vampire giant tarantula” and the other wants to be “mighty eagle from Angry Birds,” but I think I have those figured out. Just have to actually write a list of what I need to make them.

And, with Halloween only a month away, that means Inktober starts on Saturday. That is my 30 page notebook, which I have gouached the cover of to make 31 pages. Saturday will be creating a cover for it. I’m obviously going to be posting pictures to Instagram every day, but I’m also going to post a round-up here every Friday.

There is one more project that I am also working on. Actually, a few, but this is the first of a mini-series of Christmas presents. And, not meaning to cause panic to anyone making presents for Christmas, there are only 88 days left until Christmas. So I need to get moving on this. Or these. Not panicking. Yet.

You’re A Wizard, Harry

Friday was favorite character day at the elementary school. Predictably, most of the people who dressed up were from the Harry Potter universe. You know, since it’s an elementary school and they weren’t allowed to dress as movie characters.

It started with a scarf, which actually came together rather quickly. I used red worsted weight yarn and yellow bulky weight yarn and was able to create a five foot long scarf with about 4 hours of work off and on Monday and Tuesday.

Then it was time to make the robe. I dyed some muslin black (that one took a couple different tries) and drafted the pattern on Wednesday so I would be able to sew it up on Thursday.

I then went and picked up some sunglasses to remove the lenses from. I wish I had remembered to take a before picture, because they started out bright, sparkly pink. But after a bit of sanding and paint they were much better.

Once everything else was together, I thought it could use one last touch, so I took some extra material from the robe, sketched out the Gryiffindor house crest with a white pencil, and embroidered it.

On the other side, I put a pocket. Not really a stylistic choice, but because part of the robe got eaten slightly by the serger.

Getting Things Done

Is it just me, or does everything seem to pile up at once? You can just be going along with one or two things to do, and then when you plan to do something, twenty other things need to be done at once. That would be how my week is going.

Like I said before, I’m working to really get my Etsy store “open”. Technically, it is open now, but I’m “grand opening” on Sunday. And there is another project I am working on to go with that. So there’s two projects I was planning and working on at a steady pace.

Then, we found out favorite book character day is on Friday. That added another four projects to the list. But it gave me incentive to see if I could knit a five-foot scarf in under a week. (Spoiler alert: I finished in two days. Maybe a whole four hours of work into it?)

I’ve also committed to helping my mom re-open her Etsy Store this week before a major event at her work. And after a major event in her life, but that is her story to tell (and she should, hint hint). So I’ve put off some things for that until I finish this costume, but I’m getting to those, too.

While it can be stressful to have so many things going on at once, I think it helps. It gives that extra push to get things done that sometimes is lacking when you only have one or two things to do.