Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sew Crazy

Fall Crafternoon took place in our rather small apartment Sunday afternoon.  But instead of cleaning Saturday night, I decided to make a skirt.

I got it finished around 11 p.m.  But I also put the hook and eye in backwards.  :-/

I did manage to get the apartment clean for Sunday, and Crafternoon was crowded, but lots of fun.  One of these days I'll remember to take pictures during it.


This morning I finally tried out the fork pins I learned about from the couture dress class.

The fork pins keep layers of fabric from slipping, which is handy when matching seams.  This is a quilt for the church sewing circle.  I think the pins are working pretty well so far...


This afternoon I finally finished the muslin for my Sherlock Dress.  It's a complete redo from my first attempt.  I made the top and sleeves a size bigger, changed the pleats on the skirt, and made the pockets bigger.  

Next I have to rip it apart and start on the fashion fabric.


In other news, the West Seattle Fabric Company is opening a second location next month.  The Stitch & Sew Studio will be on California Ave, a couple miles south of the fabric store.  And I will be working there during the morning open sew hours Tuesday through Friday.  I look forward to seeing you there!

And by the way, the West Seattle Fabric Co. is having a great blowout sale this weekend.  You should check that out, too.  :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Stars & Stripes Table Runner

This weekend I took a break from working on my dress.  Instead I put together a quilted table runner, using a charm pack and some striped fabric that I picked up at The West Seattle Fabric Company a few weeks ago.

The inspiration was Stefanie Roman's Charming Stars Quilt and the many primary colored quilts I've seen recently.

 I didn't have quite enough of the stripe fabric for the backing, so I improvised with the remaining charm squares.

Stripe matching success.

'Marmalade' didn't have enough blue for the pattern, so I threw in a couple squares that were leftover from my 'Ruby' table runner.

Ready for binding.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Gray Dress, Episode 1: Making a Muslin

I have begun working on the muslin for the gray dress for my Sherlock costume.  I'm following the couture sewing methods taught by Susan Khalje in her class on  So far I've had some ups and downs with the process, but I'm happy with the overall process so far...

Preparing the pattern.  During the couture process it is stitching lines, not cut lines, that matter.  So I began by marking the stitching lines on my paper pattern pieces.  I used a protractor to make it easy to mark along the curves.

Preparing the fabric.  I matched the selvages and ironed a new center fold parallel to the grainline.  It took a couple tries.  I had to put it through the washer and dryer after the steam of the iron started distorting the fabric.

Cutting out the pattern pieces.  I left lots of extra room so I can play with the seams.

Transferring stitching lines to the fabric.  I used two sheets of blue wax transfer paper and a tracing wheel.  I taped the transfer paper to the table so it wouldn't slip away from me.

Sewing over the traced lines.  This transfers the stitching lines to both sides of the fabric.  This does several things.  It makes it easier to match seams since you can do it tactically, and it gives reference points to work from during the fitting.  But I did have to fiddle with the tension on my machine quit a bit to get it to pucker as little as possible while sewing through just a single layer of fabric.

Assembly.  I assembled the top and bottom separately, since I knew I would need to add length in the torso.

Adjusting to fit... 

Not there yet.  :-(

I lowered the waist.  But I also need to lower the bust darts and give myself more ease on the side seams and the sleeves.  I think I'll leave it alone for a few days and also think about whether or not I want to keep all the pleats.  It's looking a bit too busy at the waistline.

Monday, September 10, 2012


These elephants were in Grandma Ruby's embroidery pattern collection.  They made me smile.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


This year I'm making two dresses for Halloween: a "Baby" dress for my friend, Lida, and a "Sherlock" dress for myself...

They will be the third and fourth dresses that I've ever sewn.  Dress Number 1 is a hideous green linen that lives in the back of my closet, while Dress Number 2 is a Jamaican floral print that I actually wore to two weddings this summer.  While my success with Dress Number 2 has inspired more self-confidence, I would love to actually know what I'm doing.  So I was really excited to discover "The Couture Dress" on Craftsy.  Yesterday morning I bought the class and then spent most of the day watching the videos lessons.  Couture sewing is going to take an eternity, but the results should be worth it.

I've go the pattern pieces cut out.  Next I need to mark the stitch lines then cut out and mark the muslin.

I made this sketch while proctoring the ACT this morning.  After four hours of fiddling with it, I couldn't get the shoulder to look like it wasn't disjointed.  : /

Friday, September 7, 2012


"Everyone has a quilt story.  It's about being loved and cared for.  And I think that's one of the things I'm trying to say with my work.  So if people think about the time their grandmother wrapped them in a warm quilt, it's perfect." --Terese Agnew, on Craft in America Episode VIII. Threads

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer Adventures, Fall Projects

It's been such a busy summer, full of travel and adventure...

Catadupa, Jamaica 

Waterton Lake, Alberta, Canada 

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone 

Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Naches Peak Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

But now it's September and back to business.  It's time to get a head start on donations for the church's craft fair in November.  So I've been knitting up dish cloths...

And embroidering kitchen towels...

And last week I caved in and joined Pinterest.  My first Pinterest inspired creation: the ubiquitous gray cowl.