Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review

It is time to close out another year and receive the start of something new. Upon reflecting on 2010, I realize that I have grown quite a bit in the area of sewing.  I started seriously sewing with the initiation of this blog in February 2010.  At that time I was inspired by my wonderful niece, after helping her complete a sewing project of her own.  My arsenal of sewing knowledge consisted of two sewing classes and lots of sewing books, but not too much hands-on practical experience.  All I knew was I had lofty goals of completing a project a week, and building on my sewing skills, one project at a time.

Well, I have pretty much stayed true to my original intentions give or take a few weeks of sewlessness (is that a word?) here or there.  And I must say that all of the things I have created since February is pretty impressive:

More than all of these things, I have discovered a whole world of sewing blogs that I never knew existed!  To think there are people out there that enjoy sewing as much, or even more than I do is crazy!  I have enjoyed following along with other blogs, and having all of you follow along with me!  So, if I haven't said it enough already, thank you readers for your support, comments, suggestions, and feedback!

*To wrap up the year, I have put together a list of awards...

Mccall's 5893

Did I really even need to ask?  This dress was a dream to sew, and a dream to wear!  It was also my first dress, and where I fell in love with working with knits.  I look forward to wearing it again when the weather is warmer!  


Sometimes it's the simple things that matter the most!  Everytime we take out my son's apron when we cook brownies, cookies, pancakes, or whatever, this apron brings a smile to my face!  It probably gets the most use out of all the things I have sewn, and it still holds its shape very well (how can you ruin an apron, right?)  I look forward to sewing my princess one when she is old enough!


I have learned a lot of techniques this year, BUT this applique on a basic T-shirt was my favorite!!  I plan to use it a lot more on future garments for the kids because it turns out so stinkin' cute, and is just so much easier than I ever thought!


Alright, I couldn't pick just one for this category, so I picked all three!  The petal skirt was just plain fun, and I get so many comments when my little one wears it!  The remaining paneled skirt and shirt were repurposed.  Repurposing is another fun way to create something new from something you already have, and I would definitely be open to doing more of that in the future.


Simplicity 2892
Making this garment was one of the most frustrating sewing experiences I have encountered to this date!  It is still hanging in my closet, and I have tried to give it a "second chance," but it has not grown on me.  Perhaps this will be a perfect item to repurpose (smile).

And last, but not least...


Did I mention how much I LOVE Ottobre Design?  No, really.  I LOVE Ottobre Design!!  I am so delighted with the things I have sewn from their magazine, and look forward to trying many more new things as time goes on.

That wraps up 2010 for me!  I will continue to take a mini-sewing break as I prepare for some exciting sewing projects lined up for the New Year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mission accomplished

I am happy to say I completed my Christmas project--yesterday at 11 PM!  I can't believe it took me that long! I wanted to have everything ready for Christmas morning, but on Christmas Eve I was wrapping presents and making preparations for Christmas, so I didn't get much sewing done until the day of!

Before I reveal what I made, let me just say I hope your Christmas was wonderful!!  Beyond all of the presents, (and more presents) I pray the true blessing of family and friends resonated more to you than the amount of things you could buy. We were especially blessed yesterday in receiving a day of snow, which is rare here in Georgia, especially on Christmas day!  It was just such a special treat, and it even stuck on the ground!  God is amazing!

So, I know a couple of you guessed that I was making PJs according to the hints I gave in my last post.  I guess that has become my "M.O." as of late.  However, I did not make PJs this time.  Instead I made slippers!

Can you see the pairs of slippers tucked under our Christmas tree late last night?  The kids didn't get a chance to see them until this morning, but since they were for Christmas, I thought I would at least create the atmosphere for which they were intended.

Here they are a little closer up:

These slippers come from the Ottobre winter design magazine, and I love the way they look.  As far as sewing them goes, that could have been a little easier.  The binding was a little finicky, and that was a little frustrating.  Other than that, I like these slippers.  They have a fusible fleece attached to the upper fabric and lower sole.  They are interfaced as well, but looking back, I should have used a heavier interface to really make them more sturdy.

One of my favorite features of this slipper is the decorative stitching on the sole of the slipper.  The instructions recommend starting in the middle of the sole and working your way outside in a circle, but I found that starting on the outside and working my way in was much easier.

All in all, the kids are happy with their slippers.  They both fit great, and they were walking around the house in them today. Part of me wants to see if I can push out one more project before the year's end this Friday, but I am tired and gearing up for something new in the New Year (wink, wink)! You will all be "filled" in soon enough...

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas deadline

This year would not be complete unless I made something for Christmas.  At least that is the thought in my head right now.  How could I possibly sew everything that I have sewn this year, and not sew a thing for Christmas?  I mean, I want to make something.

So I decided what that something is...BUT I'm not going to tell you until I reveal it by Christmas!  Instead, I will give you some hints though as to what it could be:

First, here are some photos of the fabric I am using

The first one is more festive and appropriately "Christmasy" than the second.  It is 100% cotton, and has pretty red snowflakes and dots on it.

The second one is not as festive, but a more neutral-colored theme on a light blue background.  It is also 100% cotton.

Here are the rest of the hints:

  1. This item comes from the winter 2010 Ottobre design magazine (my new favorite)
  2. It is a unisex gift (can be made for a boy or girl)
  3. One usually associates this item with bedtime.
  4. They come in a pair.

Have you figured out what I am sewing yet?  I really do hope I finish it before Christmas, as this will be my last project for this year! Feel free to guess what I am sewing, and please let me know if you are sewing any last-minute projects for Christmas, as well.

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, December 20, 2010

New jammies

Are you feeling frazzled this holiday season...?

Well, I hope not!  But if you are, I hope my little one at least made you smile!  

If I am being honest, though, I must say that last week was a busy one for me.  I did some Christmas shopping for the kids, went to my son's Pre-K Christmas party, and attended his Christmas program the next evening.  Not so bad, but when you throw in managing two kids and keeping a household, well, you all get the picture...

I surely didn't make any time for sewing until today.  I finished my son's PJs, and I am thankful to have them all done!  They are the Pitka Jussi Long Johns from Ottobre's winter 2010 edition, and they match the undershirt I blogged about here.

Print fabric: Lil' Zoo cotton interlock knit (Joanns)
Solid fabric: brown rib knit

I really like the design of these Long Johns.  They are fitted without being tight, and they have more than enough room for my son to be comfortable in them when he wears them.  These took me a couple of hours to sew up, and the only snag in my plan was sewing the crotch panel to the pants legs.  The rest of it was pretty straight forward, and I even used a twin needle for all my topstitching this time (thank you Kyle for your advice about twin needle sewing, it is my new love also)!
Back of Long Johns
Of course this post wouldn't be complete without a picture of the whole outfit on my little one.  When he was trying everything on, I pointed out how there was an inner panel on his Long Johns that he could use when he needed to go to the bathroom.  Needless to say, this feature is his favorite part of the garment!  I guess he never noticed that feature before on all of the underwear he already owns!

Overall, I think this was a great outfit that was easy to sew with great professional-looking results.  I definitely plan to use Ottobre magazine for more projects in the future for the kids.  For now, however, I am thinking of one more project before Christmas arrives...

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last minute trip

It is now beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Georgia!  We actually had a bit of snow this past weekend, but nothing that stuck around too long (maybe next time).  So before the weather changed to below freezing, the hubby and I decided to take the kids on a last minute trip to Helen, GA.

For those of you not familiar with Helen, GA, it is a little town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains that recreates an alpine village.  You can shop, camp, visit the local parks, stay in a mountain cabin, fish, golf, go tubing (during the summertime), eat at restaurants, etc. The scenery alone is beautiful!  Everything there has little influences of European culture, and since my mom is from Germany (and I lived in Germany most of my life) I find myself wanting to visit there quite often.

We made it to downtown Helen just in time for their yearly choir concerts done by one of the local churches.  It was a beautiful recital, and they had church members walking around passing out candy canes and programs to everyone.  The smell in the air was pinecones and chocolate cinnamon candies and nuts.  Though it was cold, it was not windy, so it was a bearable coldness.

In the middle of downtown they have this great water fountain feature that is memorable to me and my hubby. We visited Helen when I was three months pregnant with our firstborn, so it was special to see the water fountain again, but this time with two kids in tow!  My does time change quickly!

Here is a close up of the decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the village.  It was a very loud and colorful tree, and much bigger there in the village than my phone camera could accurately display.  All we needed was a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider to make our holiday experience complete!

There were even carriage rides, if you wanted one.  Though I think there is something special about riding in a carriage, these horses just looked plain tired.  They were absolutely beautiful, but my heart went out to them, thinking about how they had to pull people around all day.  I'm not an animal activist or anything, I just felt compassion toward them.

Of course I couldn't get away without showing off the two handsome men in my life (ok, one man, one boy).  It was a long day for all of us, but my hubby still drove us both to and from Helen even though he does a lot of driving for his job.  It was a sweet sacrifice, though you know I would not have minded to take some of the load off!  

My son just had a ball in Helen!  He is one of those joyful children that seems to have a ball no matter where we take him just as long as he is spending time with us!  I found this out one rainy day when we stayed in the house ALL DAY, and I was bored to tears so I just knew he was.  When I asked him before bedtime if he had a good day he smiled real big and said "Oh yes mommy!"  I said "Why, honey?  You stayed in the house all day and we really didn't do much."  He told me "But I was with you!"  Aww, out of the mouth of my son!

Christmas tree--DAY

I leave you with my son's favorite Christmas tree, the one with the blue lights.  We had an awesome day in Helen, and enjoyed the best homemade powdered sugar funnel cakes before heading home for the evening.  When we left, it was already starting to snow!  On our way out we took in all the pretty lights display, but if I showed them to you then this post would be much too long!

Christmas tree--NIGHT
Happy holidays to everyone!

Stay sew-filled!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

PJ top

I did finish the Villi Viikinki PJ top from Ottobre magazine yesterday evening.  I must say I am still enjoying my sewing experience with Ottobre!!  In fact, I made up my mind that I want to subscribe.  I told the hubby about that yesterday and he just looked at me and said "Uh, huh."  I must admit that he is a little more receptive to each sewing adventure I go into as he sees that I follow through.  Some years ago I used to want all of these different sewing items, but I would never use them, and they would simply amass in my sewing closet.  Well, no more!

This top was rated "easy," though it did take some time to make.  I didn't learn any new techniques while sewing this, but I did figure out how to sew raglan sleeves.  Everything I looked up on sewing this type of sleeve said that they were easy and simple for a beginner.  Right!  I tend to have issues with sleeves, and it took me a minute to sort out how to sew them.  In the end, they came together beautifully, and here is the finished product:

Solid brown fabric: Cotton interlock knit (
Print fabric: Lil' Zoo Cotton interlock knit (Joanns)

I did much better on this neckline binding as well.  Usually I have problems with stretching the band to fit the neckline, but this time it all worked.  I followed the Ottobre instructions to a "T" and alternated the use of my serger and sewing machine.  I really like how clean the insides of the shirt look as well.  I am beginning to get better at having a presentable garment on the inside as well.

I stuck with size 92cm for my son, and didn't make any adjustments.  After seeing my son in the shirt, though, I will have to add some length to the sleeves the next time.  I really thought it would be an ok length when I attached the sleeve cuffs, but they still came up a little short.  It's one of those things I notice, but is perfectly fine for him!

Also, I didn't have a twin needle attachment, so I had to make do in that department.  I tried to fake it as best I can, but I am still a little undecided about how the topstitching for the neckline came out.  I like one stitched line better than two, but I think that is only because the stitching is so noticeable.  

Other than those things, I am a happy camper.

Oh, and my son is a happy camper too!...

I will be making the PJ Long John pants to match his top and boxer briefs this weekend, so I hope it goes off without a hitch.  

Thank you to all of the people that left sewing tips that changed their sewing life!  I believe we can all learn from each other because what we don't know can hurt us.  If you think of a great sewing tip you would like to share, please do so here.  You never know, you might read a tip that can help you in your sewing journey as well!

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When you know, you can grow

These last two days have been good sewing days for me.  I enjoy closing off the world when I enter my sewing space, and entering a place of peacefulness, calm and serenity.  There is a certain freedom in sewing that I truly appreciate!

Thank you so much for all of the kind comments regarding my daughter's ER incident.  She is doing great, and her cheek is healing nicely.  Most of all, I am glad to get back to normal life and normal things.

Speaking of normal things, I made sugar cookies with the kids today.  Actually, they are baking as I write this post (I love to multi-task).  When Christmas comes around I can't help but to bake!  I usually bake cookies or some kind of treat every week (no kidding, ask my hubby).  Our Christmas tree is already up, but I need to do some ornament editing = ).  Does anyone else move ornaments around on the Christmas tree until they find that perfect spot?

These are the yummy cookies we are baking, though ours are star cutouts:

I am almost done with my son's PJ shirt I've been working on, will probably post that tomorrow, but I started thinking about sewing in general, and what certain tips have made my sewing experience FAR, FAR better.

I could think of a couple, but my absolute, most favorite is this one:

**Mark the wrong side of your fabric**.

Especially in cases where your fabric sides look the same, such as cotton interlock knit, take the time to mark the wrong side of your fabric.  It is so extremely helpful, because then you do not have to wonder if you are constructing the garment correctly due to not remembering which side is which (and I do tend to forget).  I like to mark my wrong sides with paper masking tape.

I just put a small dot of it on the wrong side of my garment where I know it won't get in the way.  I never have problems getting the tape back off again, and paper tape is gentle enough for all the fabrics I've worked with.
Anyhow, you can use anything you want to mark the wrong sides of your fabric, it is just important that you mark them.  Trust me!

So, that brings me to a question I wanted to ask all of YOU!

What is the best sewing tip you've ever received?

It could be as basic as mine, or more advanced.  In essence, what sewing advice really changed your sewing life?

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, December 6, 2010

In stitches...

I hope everyone else had a good weekend, because I did not.  My weekend consisted with an ER visit, after my daughter fell and slammed into a headboard at a friend's house, and slit a small part of her left cheek open.  Now, as a nurse, I have been trained to see just about anything.  In fact, I would go so far as to say I have seen a lot of things, and I was not phased by it.  However, seeing my daughter crying with a slit on her face (of all places) really did something to me as a mother.

I didn't panic, but quickly applied a cold compress to her cheek, rocking her to comfort her from crying, and began to pray.  Mostly my prayer was thankfulness that she did not get hurt more seriously, but I also prayed for her healing after such a bad fall.  Of course my husband, who was in the other room, rushed in by then, and I told him we would have to go to the hospital because our daughter fell, slit her cheek, and looked like she needed stitches.

Fast forward a little more, and our daughter did get stitches (she was lightly sedated, and had a numbing paste placed on her cheek beforehand), and the staff in the ER was excellent.  The doctor who did the stitches was amazing, and his hand-stitching technique was flawless (as an avid sewer, I did notice this small detail amidst the craziness of the situation).

Immediately after the stitches the cut looked much better, and we went home at about 1AM.  Well, my night was only beginning, because the medication they gave my little one made her crazy--and very angry.  She was kicking, biting, pinching, punching, pulling, and doing everything in her power to hurt us.  I knew it was the medicine (and not my dear sweet baby girl) so I waited out the meds until she fell asleep at 4AM, and woke up eight hours later smiling ear to ear.

Looking back, I am so thankful for all the supportive people and family that we have in our life because they all rallied around us with prayers, phone calls and texts.  I pretty much crashed on Sunday though, emotionally and physically.  I was just exhausted from the lack of sleep, and tired from talking to people on the phone most of the day (and that means a lot because I can be a talker ).

In all, my little one is doing well.  She is healing well, though she still has a little bruise under her left eye, and the stitched up cut.  Other than that she is her normal fearless self.  She is still trying to jump off couches and balance on step stools!  Talk about getting back on the horse, she did not waste her time, not even one second!

As you can imagine, I pretty much put any sewing I had planned on hold this weekend.  I did organize my sewing room in order to keep my mind busy, but did not go any further than that.  I plan on getting back to what I enjoy sometime tomorrow.

I have chosen to learn what I can from this experience and move forward counting my blessings.  I am truly thankful that things were not worse, and my daughter is still as smart, loving, and beautiful as ever.

This made me realize just how precious our time with each other is.  I hope that each of you will cherish the time you have with your loved ones as well because one moment can truly change your entire life.

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ottobre design Autumn 2010

I received the correct Ottobre magazine in the mail a couple of days ago, and I am delighted by all the cute clothing it contains!

Though I do a lot of sewing for my daughter, I wanted to start sewing more for my son.  It broke my heart one day when I came home from Joanns with fabric and sewing patterns for my daughter, and my son said "Mommy, what did you buy me?  It's not that I didn't think of him while I was at the store browsing, it's just that there are really no patterns for boys!!  Can anyone else relate?  I do tire of sewing PJs and a basic shirt and pants for the little man.  I want to sew for him, and not have to sacrifice style as well.

This is where Ottobre magazine enters.  When I first saw the designs in this magazine on their website, I was so pleased!  I knew I just had to try them out!  If all my efforts resorted in putting a smile on my son's face, knowing that he is special, and he is heard, and his mommy loves him, then it would be worth it!

This issue has a lot of really neat outfits in it, and it has a lot of cool stuff for boys!  Here are some of my favorites that I must sew sooner or later:

I am a fan of this little boy's outfit.  The raglan sleeve sweatshirt and dark denim jeans are so cool!  I have never made jeans before, but this makes me want to try!  Also, the button-front shirt to the right is also a great play on different fabrics.

This is another really cute outfit!  I think the hooded sweatshirt with the pocket on the front is a nice casual top.  The corduroy jacket is cute too, but I'm not sure if my son would wear it.

For my daughter, I am absolutely in love with these corduroy overalls!  The heart-shaped pockets are too cute for words!

This A-line jacket is so sweet!  It is so colorful, and I like the pockets and buttons.  It looks like a grown-up jacket made appropriately for a little girl!

So, I will have some work ahead of me...

Right now I am still working on the pajama top for my son.  It will be in the same fabric as the boxer briefs, and I hope to finish it in the next couple of days.

If anyone knows of any other resources for boy's sewing patterns, please let me know!

Stay sew-filled!