Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quilt for a baby

A little man was born recently.

And he needed a quilt.

So I made him one.
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Amy Butler Dorothy Clutch

I made this clutch for my mom for Christmas. It was something that she started a long time ago and gave me all the pieces, thinking I might finish it. Well I finally did and gave it back to her!

The inside is the gnome fabric by Heather Ross.

The rick-rack trim on the pocket is from our Stash.
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My first doll (in a long, long time)

Having a baby niece is awesome!

Here Gretel is playing with the doll that I made her. I forgot to take a picture before the doll was wrapped, so I'll have to see if I can get another picture of her! She has a velour body, wool yarn for hair, an embroidered face, and a cotton and linen dress with ribbon sewn on the hem of the dress.

I think the last time I made a doll, it was for myself and I was about 10 years old. Making this doll for Gretel, I was working from memory of the doll patterns that I've been seeing popping up everywhere, especially Autumn's cute dolls. She sells the pattern at Bolt, but when I started the doll, it was late at night and there was no way for me to get it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More of the jacket

edited to say:
I wrote a review of the jacket for the
bolt neighborhood blog and you can find it here.

I heard that the class is already full, but please, put your name on the wait list, you NEVER KNOW what might happen!

So, I cut off all my hair!

And I got some pictures in my new jacket!
The double-breasted-ness of it makes it look a little odd when the top button is unbuttoned. I think I like it better with the collar up.

Here I am showing off the inside pocket that I added.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Sewing

I have been sewing up a storm, but except for the things I've sewn for the not-yet-reading crowd, I can't share them here. This jacket is an exception! I started it a few weeks ago with some vintage wool that was in my stash. It is a fabulous heathered tweed and I had three yards, which was perfect, because it gave me enough to cut around the moth holes I found in the yardage!
I also lucked out that I had the lining fabric in my stash (from my Gram Norma, along with the wool!).
I was willing to try out the pattern, knowing that I hadn't invested much in the materials, and as luck would have it, it turned out perfectly!

It is the Uptown Coat by Favorite Things

I only made a couple of modifications. Upon close inspection of the photos on the pattern cover, and wanting as slim-fitting a coat as possible, I chose to make a size slightly smaller than my bust size requirements. I figured that a) the wool + the poly lining would keep me pretty warm and b) I always have at least one small child with me, so it's not like I spend much time in severely cold weather.

I put cording in the buttonholes to make them nice and sturdy.

A nice shot of the lining fabric (and that's the pattern peeking from behind).

It took longer to decide on the buttons than any other part of the jacket! Finally I found some buttons to cover and gave it a try!
Be looking for a full review of the pattern soon!
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Friday, December 11, 2009

elna for sale

Have you been very good?

Are you ready for a new machine?

Because this one is amazing.

Yes, you can sew on vinyl or leather or oilcloth with this awesome roller foot.

With the other feet, you'll be able to sew things that are beyond what you can currently imagine.


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Corded strap

I'm working on the Favorite Things Uptown Coat and it is coming along swimmingly. But I think every jacket is improved with a loop to hang it on a hook. I wanted a sturdy loop, so dug up some nylon cording.

I cut a bias strip 8" long from the lining fabric (because that's how big my scrap was). I folded the bias strip in half around the cording, and using my zipper foot, sewed close to the cording, making sure not to sew through the cording.

Then I slid the bias tube down toward one end of the nylon cord and sewed across the bottom edge of the tube, securing the tube to the cord.

Then I trimmed the seam allowance to about 3/16", give or take.

Then I turned the bias tube right side out by sliding it over itself. The seam where I sewed across the cord was the anchor. You can see in the photo above that I had much more bias tube than cord. This was intentional. Once I sewed the bias tube, I realized it was way too long. So instead of wasting that much cording, I slid the bias tube down to the end of the cord.

Here you can see the corded loop, nicely turned. Because the tube is bias, it stretches a bit as it turns right side out and then relaxes around the cord.

You can also use this technique to make spaghetti straps. Most of the time you will want skinny straps to be corded with something like cotton, and you want to be sure that the cording doesn't show through your fabric.

If you want to make tiny tubes of fabric for applique or other flat applications, you can use my method and slide the tube almost all the way to the end of the cord before you sew the tube to the cord. Then when you turn the tube right side out onto itself, the tube will be hollow and can be ironed flat.

If you skip the step of trimming the seam allowance, you can have a slightly puffy tube of fabric, which is great in some applications (small straps on a doll dress, maybe?).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Ornaments

What I've been working on!

I will tell you that attempting to bead during Orion's 30 minute swim lesson, while also trying to keep Soleo occupied in his stroller, was no small feat. Next time I'll plan just to do a little embroidery instead of beading... But a girl had to give it a try!

I took Alicia Paulson's class at bolt and got started on some Christmas ornaments! I'm still a little slow with the handstitching (and Cecily will tell you that my mom and were whispering the whole time, plotting how we could do the blanketstitching on our machines.)

But the class was a lot of fun and I can't wait to hang my ornaments on the tree! We just got our tree on Friday and it's already all set up and decorated. But I think I can find just a little more room for a few of these cuties!
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Finally posting pictures from my October trip to Hood River for the annual Sisters Gig!

This year the challenge was to make something using flowers. This is a table runner that I made in time for my friend's bridal shower that I hosted. In the picture I'm wearing my newest Belle Skirt. I made it from IKEA home dec fabric and I love it! It's a bit heavier than my linen one, but has that nice texture!

My mom was the queen of getting things finished! Here she has awesome corduroy overalls for my little one and darling bloomers for my niece!

Me, my mom, her mom, my aunt!

The breakfast table on our final morning!

The view from our rented house.

One of the quilts my mom worked on. I love the vintage feel of the pink and green!

Karen with the Halloween panel that was the inspiration for mine.

Kathy with her floral quilt.

On my way home, I stopped at Bonneville Dam for some shots of the river. I didn't get the picture I was hoping for, but had fun looking around and got some interesting scenic pictures.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Did I scare you?

This is a wall hanging that I made for Halloween. It was a panel that I quilted and then did the "potholder" technique, so as to skip binding it. If you click on the photo you will get a bigger version and you can look more closely at the picture that shows the back. Because the panel had a nice black edge, I was able to sew along the line and from the front, it looks like I bound it!

I used my BSR and free-motion quilted parts of it, and with the feed-dogs dropped, I outlined around the eyes and some other fun details.

I've been having issues with my binding lately that I'm not really happy with it when I do it entirely by machine. Yet when I attempt to hand finish it, I get all caught up in perfectionism and it takes FOREVER to finish. I needed this done by say, Halloween. Of this year.

Perhaps my handsewing and/or perfectionist attitude will improve upon taking Ms. Alecia Paulson's ornament class over at bolt! I am so excited to be taking a class! It's been a long time since I've gotten to play student. And with my mom in the class, we're sure to have a riot of a good time!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day

In honor of all that supports sustainability and protection of the environment, I am proud to throw in my two cents about climate change on Blog Action Day.

There is a lot of talk in our house about our carbon footprint. Often I think my husband has gone too far and he has earned the sarcastic nickname "MisterCarbonFootprint". But I really do appreciate the awareness that he often brings, about how to do things in a way that is more gentle to the earth.

If you haven't done it lately, you can calculate your own carbon footprint at The Nature Conservancy's website:

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Classes at Bolt

Bolt's new class list is available at and there are a couple of classes I want to bring to your attention!

First, I am teaching a class in October called "Halloween Helper" to focus on the special project of your choice. Do you have a Halloween costume that you need help on? Bring all your materials and we'll figure out that hook and loop closure on the faux fur!

Or perhaps you are disappointed that a specific class didn't make it on the list this time around? Do you wish that we'd offered the Belle Skirt or the Cute Skirt class? Perhaps the Swing Bag or the Farmer's Market Tote Bag that you wanted to give as holiday gifts?

Bring the project(s) of your choice to class and get some great individualized attention. Class is limited to four students, so you will plenty of time to get all your questions answered!

I am also teaching another session of the Learn to Sew: Farmer's Market Tote Bag. I hear the class is already full, but don't hesitate to get on the waiting list!

Later this Winter I hope to get a Jalie coat class on the list, as well as the popular and flattering Belle Skirt and Jalie T-shirt that I've previously taught.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well Woman Support Seat

I was commissioned by my midwife Ellie Legare to sew a cushion to be used by midwives in well-woman care and home births. It was a fantastic challenge!

Because of the cushions needed to be highly water resistant, I made them from 450 denier coated packcloth. Here I am putting in the zipper. I used a teflon coated zipper foot (and a seam guide). For some of the steps, I could have used the regular foot, but when sewing on the coated side, it was important that the foot not stick to the fabric and cause skipped stitches and the like.

Once a hole is in the fabric, it is a permanent hole in the coating, so I couldn't take out stitches and resew seams.

The waterproof zipper. I could have possibly used a regular zipper, but I didn't want to chance it. And frankly, I couldn't resist how cool this stuff is! It is made similarly to an invisible zipper, in that the coils are on the inside. The waterproof coating on the outside of the zipper is really thick and can probably be used in a lot of very wet applications!

The zipper is sold by the yard and the zipper pulls are sold separately. You have to be really careful when you put the pulls on to get them on straight. Here I've sewn across the top edge so I don't accidentally yank off the zipper pull.

I got all the materials at The Rain Shed in Corvallis. I shopped in person and ordered some things over the phone. The store is amazing and their service is excellent, which makes up for not being able to order online! It's like a DIY version of REI! You want to sew your own tent? You want to sew your own waterproof cycling gear? You need fireproof fabric? Reflective tape?
Buttons, gadgets, and gear? Check! They've got what you need!
The finished zipper.

These are two finished cushion covers, waiting for their foam inserts.
I cut the foam with an electric carving knife that I scored at Goodwill. The foam was 5" thick, so it was hard to cut straight.

One of the big challenges was sewing the gusset to the curve without pinning. Since pins poke holes, all the pins had to be within the seam allowances!
But the best part of the project was some hilarious patten testing with my mom, sitting on the cushions and pretending to have a baby. I had both my boys at home with Ellie and my mom had my brother at home with a midwife, so we had some great bonding and some really good laughs!

Technical Sewing

I was recently honored to be involved in the wedding of two of my dear friends. I've known the groom for more than 20 years and I've known the bride for over 7 years. They are such a perfect match! And being in their wedding was wonderful.

Slightly less wonderful was the bridesmaid dress. Chosen by bridesmaids who are, shall we say, more endowed than I, it was a challenge to fit. A challenge made much worse by me accidentally ordering way too big of a dress.

I ended up taking it to a wonderful alterations place in downtown Portland (picture me parallel parking the minivan and hauling the baby + stroller into the tiny store). It was so worth it! She brought the dress down to a very managable size and from there I was able to fine tune it even further.

It was my first experience sewing with boning and it wasn't nearly as hard as I originally thought. But holy cow, very time consuming! Between taking out the boning, re-sewing the boning, and trimming all the excess seam allowance, I spent a lot of time getting the dress to fit. But it eventually did!

And look! I even got my hair all done! It was so much fun getting all gussied up!