Raglan Tee with Mods

Here’s the thing about FINALLY using a “never-been-opened” pattern from years ago …. It doesn’t suit me anymore. My tastes have changed and so has my figure! Continue reading

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Jacob’s Ladder Wall Quilt

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I sprinkled in a few green squares for interest and flipped the light/dark order at bottom as a nod to imperfection.

Jacob’s Ladder packs a graphic punch in monotone, the light and dark squares advance and recede in a classic, crooked zig-zag.

The simple pattern is a great choice for a novice like me. All I had to do was arrange my two-inch squares and four-inch triangles in the correct sequence to create the ladder.

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I got my instructions for this 20″ x 20″ quilt sample from Marilyn Walker’s book Ontario Heritage Quilts, which I enjoyed for her tribute to talented early quilters and for the imaginative photographs. Good tips on piecing are included at the back.

I chose to hand quilt, which requires patience and commitment.

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For future generations, include a patch on the back with the name of the quilter, the year it was completed and the pattern used.

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Before your first quilt is finished, you will be planning the colours for the next.

Hand stitches create a delicate broken line of thread, much softer in appearance than the precision of a machine stitch (see upper right diamond in photo).

I plan to hang my finished square on the staircase wall. All who ascend and descend can imagine moving between the up-down-up steps of Jacob’s ladder.

Amount fabric required:  

  • One half yard burgundy
  • One half yard white.
  • Batting  to fit 20″ x 20″
  • One yard broadcloth for backing, which is wrapped around the edges to form mock binding.

McCalls M6613 Shirt with Yoke

Pattern from the heap

McCall’s M6613 sat in my heap of unopened patterns for too long. I’m glad I finally made this as it is really comfortable and easy to make.

I'll wear the short sleeves rolled up, otherwise it looks like I'm wearing a man's shirt.

I’ll wear the short sleeves rolled up, otherwise it looks like I’m wearing a man’s shirt.

Because this is really a fitted man’s shirt design, you may want to customize it a bit so it suits a woman’s wardrobe. For my shape I added front bust darts, and I probably could have narrowed the back, now that I look at it on.

Wear it alone in a crisp broadcloth, or wear it open in front over a tank top in a lightweight cotton or sheer. Definitely intended for comfort, it’s a terrific wardrobe addition for physical folks who work in shops, factories, studios, gardens etc.

Mix and match the elements you like most. I chose the curved bottom hem, which I feel is more feminine, and took time to top-stitch detail on the pockets. You get a centre pleat on the back.

Mix and match the elements you like most. I chose the curved bottom hem, which I feel is more feminine, and took time to top-stitch detail on the pockets. You get a pleat on the centre back.

I also sewed my buttons closer together up the front to prevent any gaping gaps. Not likely, however, as the shirt is roomy.

This pattern includes excellent instructions on how to achieve a neat, curved hem.

This pattern includes excellent instructions on how to achieve a neat, curved hem.

Sewing Pattern Challenge 2014

Over the past fifteen years or so, I’ve bought dozens of patterns. Here they are, piled on my work table, and the hard fact is, half are untouched. Never been cut, never made it to outfits. A stash of unfinished business I vow to tend to in 2014.

32 fine patterns, 50% unmade

32 fine patterns, 50% unmade

Sew Two Different Versions 

Of the patterns I have sewn, most have only been made into a single garment. A select few were made more than that, but I imagine now the untapped potential of each retired pattern.

Finding time to finish an outfit is the biggest hurdle for me. So, I’m taking some steps to improve efficiency. When I start a new pattern, I’ll make bristol card templates of the tissue patterns. Tracing these with pen or chalk will save pinning time and I can skip the re-folding hassle. If I can make a couple of items at the same time, I’ll be further ahead, faster…We’ll see how this goes.

Many of my pals have enormous wardrobes. Frankly, I am awestruck at the abundance in their closets. My own fits easily on a two-foot rack, in a few drawers, and in a suitcase under my bed. A healthy portion are “me-mades”, but I have room for more.

Shirt front, back and yoke templates in cardboard should save me pinning time and spare me the hassle of refolding tissue patterns.

Shirt front, back and yoke templates in cardboard should save me pinning time and spare me the hassle of refolding tissue patterns.

Branching out into the unfamiliar

The other thing I want to do in 2014 is push my sewing comfort zone. I have favourite things I like to make, but it’s time to venture into new territory and tackle things I normally don’t. Reading sewing blogs has totally inspired me. So in 2014, I hope to explore the appeal of quilting, home decor, and maybe even take stab at carpet-making and embroidery.

So there it is. I’m not the only sewing blogist with new year’s resolutions. Better sewers than I have gone on record to dig into great stockpiles of fabric, or stretch their skill levels. As an excited sewista, I probably plan more projects than are reasonable. But my track record is to finish half, so I better dream BIG!…. 🙂

P.S. This totally does NOT mean I won’t buy any new patterns in 2014! 

 

 

 

Sewing with faux fur

Lots of Possibilities with Fake Fur

It seems everyone is spicing up their wardrobe this season with fun fur. It’s not a difficult textile to work with, so go ahead and experiment. Maybe choose an imitation shearling to trim your leg-warmers, or put a long-hair accent pom-pom on your scarf, or make fuzzy ear muffs. Continue reading

Craft Pony from Fabric Scraps

Stuffed animals are a perfect way to use up fabric scraps. Second in popularity only to quilts, these soft toys often turn out to be mini masterpieces, with their unexpected colour palettes and surprising texture combinations.

Kids who are helping will enjoy selecting something pretty for a neck bow from your fabric scraps.

Kids who are helping will enjoy selecting something pretty for a neck bow from your fabric scraps.

McCall’s M6136 pattern includes cut-out guides for lamb, horse and giraffe (unusual barnyard buddies). I selected the large horse. It’s really only three hands high (10″ when his ears are pricked up). There’s a smaller version but I thought it could be difficult to sew up.

 

Who can resist the appeal of a long flowing pony mane? I had plenty of yarn scraps ready to use.

Who can resist the appeal of a long flowing pony mane? I had plenty of yarn scraps ready to use.

I had some leftover plaid fabric in blue, green and tan. I originally used it for a pair of gaudy golf pants. Bottom weight solid and slightly stretchy, it was an acceptable choice. The pattern calls for cottons or cotton blends.

 

yarn finalists

Yarn Finalists: To make a mane and tail, dip into any leftover yarn balls you have around. I had fun narrowing down a huge field of contenders.

For stuffing I needed about 4oz of white poly, It is best packed carefully into the small areas first, before plumping up the main body cavity. Adding the stuffing is the best part of this project and worth all your effort. Your soft pet really comes to life in three dimensions at this stage.

Amount of fabric required:  just 3/4 of a yard for the large horse. Plus a ribbon bow or accent fabric strip.

Total sewing time including cutting: about 2 to 3 hours which can be broken up over a few days.

New Corduroy Cover for Curved Rocking Chair

Ahhhh! The curved rocker cover in corduroy is finished and looking very inviting. Re-covering the steel frame chair was indeed a lengthy project from start to finish. A virtual marathon of stitching (43 feet in total) was required, and a couple of serious sessions spent fine-tuning a perfectly snug fit. But all worthwhile in my opinion. Continue reading