Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flowers for Jasmine

Thanks for indulging in a little craziness!! I have Juanita Weasel on the "lock screen" on my phone and everytime I turn it back on, she makes me jump just a little, but I love her anyway!

But, back to the sewing... I made my second Colette Patterns Jasmine top last week, and gave it the debut wear today after enduring a little cold snap the last few days.

I made a few changes this time around. The sleeves are the most obvious. I used the cap sleeve pattern piece from Butterick 5328, and instead of just easing it in, I made a little inverted pleat at the shoulder seam.

The fabric is a print design from Anna Maria Horner, a voile, that I think I bought at, and I didn't want the center seam. The floral print is in a line at a 30 degree angle from vertical, and after cutting it on the bias it's now at a kind of unfortunate angle that looks like I just didn't cut it straight, but, well, it doesn't bother me. Anyway, I cut it on the fold, and added vertical darts in the front and the back to give it a better fit.

I just wanted to show you that the center of the flowers match this skirt perfectly, and I'm not really color blind or anything.

I made the collar just a teeny bit wider, and the neckline just a bit lower.
I like it with the bow untied, too. So, the next time (and there WILL be a next time), I need to make it just a bit snugger around the waist. You obviously can't see in the pictures, but it kind of does this weird flip out thing at the hem. I'd also make the collar even wider in the back and around the shoulders, tapering back to the current width for the tie. Or I'll just leave the collar off. I'm thinking boat neck. Maybe sleeveless.

I'm working on a vintage Vogue right now, and I'm too lazy to go check to see which one. You'll just have to be surprised! :D

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not About Sewing At All



Do you know about the Bloggess? If you don't, you probably should, but she is definitely NSFW. And if you don't like cussing, well, you might not like it.

But if seeing taxidermied animals dressed up in outfits... like Juanita Weasel above... seems like something you might want to check out...

OK, her blog is not all about taxidermied animals, but she is extremely funny, and her memoir, Let's Pretend this Never Happened, just came out, and I can't put it down!

What about Juanita up there, though? Well, creative sorts have been taking this picture, and adding their own phrases to it. I'm pretty sure that the Kyle that she's looking for is not the Kyle that's my son and probably the South Park Kyle (or maybe not), but...

... if you have a young adult child whose phone always goes to voice mail, or who doesn't answer or acknowledge text messages for days at a time, and you have a few anxiety issues of your own... well, it is likely that in his mind, this is exactly what I look like when I finally resort to threatening posts on his facebook wall, and untold number of texts saying "WHERE ARE YOU?"!!

Please return to your regularly scheduled activities. Tomorrow there might be sewing. Or maybe on Wednesday.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two More Awards!

I've been given 2 more awards which is always exciting! The first is actually a repeat award, the Liebster Award, this time given to me by KC who write over at The Sewcratic Method. Thank you!!!

The rules of the Liebster Blog award are:
1. Thank you Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog. Yep! Thanks, KC!!
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you. Done!
3. Copy/paste the blog award on your blog. Done! and now in the sidebar, too, so y'all will all see it.
4. Present the Liebster Blog award to 5 blogs (with 200 followers or less). Um.
5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment. Um.

I confess that the hardest part for me is passing the award on, so I am going to take the lazy  democratic route, and award this to anyone with less than 200 followers who hasn't already received it!

The second award is the Versatile Blogger award! Many, many thanks to Denise, the Blue Gardenia herself!

This one has some rules, too... let's see what they are:

1. Display the Versatile Blogger logo. Done!
2. Say thank you to the blogger who presented me with this award. Thanks, Denise!
3. Link to Denise's blog. Well, that's done, too!
4. Nominate 15 more bloggers for this great award. Um.
5. Share 7 things about yourself.

So, if I'm ever going to get this one done, I'm going to award this to my blogging friends that don't have it yet.

But I will share a few things with y'all. I mean it's the least I can do.

  1. I have 2 amazing children and 1 amazing son-in-law. Laura, who is married to Thomas... they live in Alexandria, Virginia. Kyle lives in Macon, Georgia.
  2. I have 2 really weird rescue dogs. Look for them in pictures! Danny, the short, yellow one loves being in pictures. Teddy, the black one, must think he soul is being sucked out, and runs when he sees the camera. Did I mention they are weird?
  3. I almost always watch TV every evening. Favorites right now include the Amazing Race, Mad Men, Dancing with the Stars, and American Idol.
  4. I have voted for American Idol contestants.
  5. I'm doing an online art journaling workshop, and have discovered that I love painting with watercolors. I've never really painted before.
  6. I hate to cook.
  7. I'm kind of a slob and a packrat, which is totally different than a hoarder. Really. I can throw and give things away. Just not the Friday uniform saddle shoes I wore in high school when I was on the drill team. 

I do reserve the right to come back in and actually award the awards, but this was kind of hanging over me, and I just didn't want to wait too long to acknowledge the awesomeness!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Renfrew 2 and Renfrew 3

I love this pattern! I think this is the first time ever that I've used the same pattern 3 times in less than a month! The Sewaholic Renfrew tee shirt is officially a TNT! The 2nd and 3rd versions were short sleeve V-necks. I made it just like the first one, size wise, and only raised the v-neck 1".

Meet the Renfrew Black Stripe. I had this blue ITY knit left over from making a yoga skirt, and was hoping there was enough for something else. It was, but I didn't have the length for the front bodice without cutting it in half (or thereabouts). I didn't make the stripe go all the way around because I just didn't want to bother with matching. I know. Lazy. Biggest design change... no sleeve band, and I lengthened the sleeve just a bit.

The Renfrew Pink. I used a jersey knit from, possibly a bamboo. It's pretty thin, but making it a little bit loose helps avoid seeing all the lumps and bumps. I love this color, and will be wearing this a lot! Can't see them too well, but I did use the bands on the sleeves this time.

I've got more knits waiting to become tees, but currently under the needle is another Colette Jasmine top with a couple of twists. I should have finished it yesterday, but Roland bought me an iPad. Um, not much got done after it arrived...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Outdoor Pillows

I spent this past weekend making some pillows for the furniture on our new outdoor patio. I've made so many home decor items, and find this kind of sewing very satisfying. I have made so many window treatments that I have saved my family thousands of dollars. I'm not kidding. Have you ever gotten a quote for drapes?

If you are a beginning sewist, and need some practice on your straight seams, you've got it made! Window treatments are easy. The hardest part, seriously, is the math. Not ready for interlined and lined, pinch pleated floor to ceiling drapes? How about pillow covers?

Once you make pillow covers, you will never want to pay those expensive prices that you see. I haven't looked, but I suspect there are some pillow cover hacks for all those super cute pillows from the popular home decor stores.

I made 2 18" square pillows with an envelope opening on the back for the adirondack chairs which look great but can get kind of uncomfortable. The fabric is all specifically for outdoors, purchased from I made the cording from bias strips from the striped fabric and it's a super fat cording. I've had this stuff in my stash for a couple years, and I'm afraid I don't actually know the diameter.

A close up of how the opening looks in the back (and the cording):
But the bench...   I love how the bench cover turned out! The kidney shape had its challenges. I started with a piece of 2" thick foam from Jo-Anns that is the length of the bench, but was not quite the width. I made a pattern from newspaper taped together by tracing around the edge of the bench.
Have you ever worked with this kind of foam? It's grabby. I knew that it would be darn near impossible to just slide the cover over, so I first made a foam cover out of muslin. Oh, I cut the foam with a big knife. Kinda made a mess. From the scraps, I cut the end bits to made it wide enough and just glued them on with a craft glue.
Bench cushion, covered with foam scraps
I don't plan to ever remove this muslin cover, so I just slip-stitched the opening closed, but I'm using a zipper for the outside cover. The edge strip is 2" wide, and I inserted the zipper in the middle of the strip.

Yes, the zipper is brown, but you can't see it. Sewing it in the middle of the strip made it easier to sew the bottom piece on. If you use a similar technique, just remember to unzip the zipper, or you'll be stuck with it inside out! It turned out to be a perfect fit!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Quick Kitchen Sink Poll

Would you prefer a single bowl sink or a double bowl sink in your kitchen? Thanks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A 1960s Fashion History Lesson -- The Paper Dress

Today I have my vintage pattern seller hat on, and have come across a pattern that while not particularly stunning (kind of the opposite, really), has just a fascinating little historical tidbit that I think warrants mentioning.

Reincarnations Resale

I also want to mention that while I was around for all but 5 days of the 1960s, I don't actually remember this particular craze. Perhaps I was just too young in 1966 when the paper dress was invented by the Scott Paper Company as a marketing stunt. Nobody there expected too much to come from it, but this became a fashion craze and for around $8 you, too, could own one of these disposable creations. And you can have an original one still, but it will cost a bit more today.

According to my primary source, wikipedia, you could even get a paper bikini! Not sure how you might swim in one. Of course, this was not actual paper, like newspaper, or copy paper, but a kind of disposable cellulose fabric.

Now if you were a creative type, and wanted to make your own, Simplicity was there to help you out with Simplicity 7376! Released in 1967, the Jiffy  "easy cut-easy sew" caftan was suitable for paper and felt, in addition to, well, regular fabric. On the instruction page, there are a couple of hints on just how you should treat the sewing of paper. For one, to hem the dress, you simply mark the hem and cut it off at the desired length. What could be easier?!!

The short, sleeveless dress (view 3) has a bit of a hospital gown feel to me, and the general unattractiveness and lack of durability were a couple of factors leading to the quick demise of this fashion fad.

Did you ever have or wear a paper dress back in the day? Would you wear one today?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Me Made May 2012

It's coming! May will be here before you know it, and Zoe, of So Zo', is leading the "me made" charge again this year (but only once this year, so don't miss out). Last year, I participated in both the June and September "me mades" and learned a lot about my own particular self stitched wardrobe, and I expect I will this year as well.

Secretly, I was kind of hoping for a cooler month, but alas, the temp here in Atlanta will be a lot like it was last June and September so there will be some stuff from last year. I have made some new things though, and have several items in the queue, of course, that will make their appearances. In fact, yesterday, I cut out 2 more Refrews!

So, in accordance with the "rules" for Me Made months... here's my pledge:

'I, Ellen of It's a Sewing Life, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2012, and to increase my me-made wardrobe by at least 4 garments.'

That increase, by the way, refers to at least 4 new things made in May. Hopefully a couple more... we'll just have to see.

Are you in?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Renfrew #1

I've been sewing and sewing... a special project that's not quite ready for prime time. In the meantime, I whipped up a Sewaholic Patterns Renfrew tee. Easy, peasy. I'm kind of a mixer-matcher when it comes to patterns, so I made view B, short sleeves... check... with the view A neckline... scoop neck... check! And I ditched the band.

The best part about this pattern? No alterations! Well, one teeny one, and I hardly call it an alteration. I traced the size 10, and around the waistline level, I veered out to the size 12. The length without the band is perfect for my short little self. I could probably even cut the size 8 for the top part (or just a straight size 10), but I like my knit tops a little loose. The next one (and there will be a next one) I may raise the neckline just a skosh.

Anyway. I'm calling this color cadet blue, and it's a short sleeve t-shirt. Meet the Renfrew Blue:


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