Friday, April 22, 2011


This last week has been busy!  Did you know that in this month we have 3 birthdays and our wedding anniversary?  Coupled with Spring Break and Easter, it's made for one of the busiest periods of the year!

There has been shopping, eating, sewing, baking, visiting, planning and lots and lots of prep!  But then there are the rewards:

Lemon-lime cupcakes, with lemon-lime mascarpone frosting.
I found the cupcake recipe here.  As a side note, the ingredients list didn't include the butter mentioned in the directions, so I winged it with a stick and a half.  These two-bite cupcakes are between the usual mini and regular cupcake sizes, and baked for about 18 minutes.  I also added an extra cup of icing sugar to the frosting mix to firm it up a bit.  The result was mighty tasty, if I do say so myself!  Do try them if you get a chance!

A peaceful weekend to you!

Friday, April 15, 2011

When Victory is $4

So I found a super soft rayon jersey remnant in the bin at my local fabric store - you know the one, it rhymes with Schmoschmans.  It was 50%, and I figured that was cheap enough for an experiment - I desperately wanted to make a batwing sleeve top for one of my girls.

I hate drafting patterns, but I wanted the batwing sleeve top more...

So this is what happened:

The neckline is a little janky - I sewed it while comforting a toddler on my lap, but she still payed me the ultimate preschooler compliment by refusing to take it off!   A small price to pay for overcoming an irrational fear, wouldn't you say?

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Summer Dresses

So as I'm working on my 8/100 project, I knew there would be some side projects on the way.  I still want to go back and use the sew-a-longs in the side bar - and there are other kids asking for items :)  But somewhere in the mix I'd like to sew up some summer-ish dresses for me.

But here's the kicker about dresses and skirts.  I rarely wear them.  Amongst my many (apparently irrational) fears, I live in constant fear of this love/folly scenario:

If only we could all looks so fabulous in granny panties.  Or is that a girdle?  

Either way... it terrifies me.  So either I must get over my fear, carefully choose my skirt options, or avoid subway grates at all costs.  What's a girl to do?  (Aside from making sure her underwear is all in clean, working condition?)

Do you like dresses and skirts?  Full/straight/in between?  Had any love/folly moments my underwear drawer needs to be aware of and prepared for?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Back to the Future T

All the way from 1983, Simplicity 5859 "One Yard Tops"

Revisited in 2011, "Back To The Future T"

One day, she might stand still...

All in all I'm pretty happy with this one.  Naturally, it's too big for her yet (all part of the plan!)  I finished it slightly differently to what they had in the instructions, omitting facings where possible, or trimming them.

I also:

- left off the shoulder ruffles.

- reduced the sleeve ease so that the gathers & sleeve cap were flatter.

-  reinforced the shoulder seams using clear elastic and secured the seam allowance at the sleeves so that they couldn't sit out (this was altering the appearance of the gathers).

- used a fabric loop for holding the button.

- added an applique.

I do intend to make this again in a different view, but I'm considering reducing the depth of the V opening in the back.  I'll also attach the button loop before applying the neck bias trim and hide it inside the seam.

And I think the ruffles will have to make a comeback!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thrifty Finds Part 3 - Where We Set Things On Fire

Burn tests... I've heard about them.  I've heard that phrase thrown around by the ones in the know, "Oh I did a burn test..." and suddenly all the mysteries of their fabric universe were unfurled.

Pretty much every piece of fabric I've purchased has had the content known, and in handling it or working with it, there have been few mysteries at all.  So of course, given the opportunity I jumped at the chance!  

(And just for the record, I was very careful, especially with my (older) kids around, to make sure this was all carried out in a precautionary fashion.  I would suggest the same to anyone trying this.  Safety first!)

I used this handy-dandy chart to help me navigate the results:

As suggested, I used small parts from the cut ends - although let me tell you it was tough to cut even a little off - I'm pretty frugal when it comes to my fabric layouts and layout paranoia set in who knows what I might need?

A reminder:

I was pretty confident the red and the floral were mostly cotton.  The white and blue stripe was the most mysterious to me.  Cotton/poly blend?  It reminded me of unwashed linen, but it was a tad bit slubby and I didn't want to get too excited.  I'd been hunting for a striped linen for my summer dresses project for a while...  It would be too crazy to find some in a thrift store!

And the results?

Red first:

This burned like cotton in burn quality, odor and ash colour.  I did notice that the ashes were stiffer overall and had some very black streaks.  My best guess is that is due to the melted lurex threads.

The Floral: 

This burned exactly how cotton/ramie/rayon is described.  My daughter even commented (without knowing the chart) "That smells like paper!".  The print seemed to leave an interesting burn pattern on the ash.  Given the feel of it I'm pretty sure this is a brushed cotton, and after laundering it, I'm almost positive.  It's probably the softest woven fabric I've ever felt!

On to the mystery fabric.  I was expecting some sort of polyester deal - self extinguishing, dark beads of melted plastic.  Oh well, and I'll re-thrift.  Nothing lost.  

The Blue & White Stripe:

On first try I didn't believe my eyes, so I tried it again.  This wasn't polyester.  It was a natural fiber.  The charring, the odor, the palest of the gray ashes... delicate almost.  This wasn't cotton... this was linen!

Now granted, it might not be the most awesome quality Irish linen you've ever seen, but for 2 1/4 yards at $1.99, I was pretty happy!  My hunting for a striped linen for summer just went up in smoke! 

Have you recently done the happy found fabric dance?  I want to hear about your fantastic fabric finds!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thrifty Finds Part 2

After dismal results at the local thrift stores, and only buttons to be had at the antiques mall, I decided to pop into a thrift store across town next time we were that way.  As it happens our dentist is right nearby, so that worked out nicely.

Let me tell you, I found some things, but wow-ee I had to hunt.  They were all hidden, and by hidden I mean they were actually shoved in the back of other used linens like bed sheets, and tablecloths and other fabricy things that looked funny and smelled weird.

I dug this one up - the red with the gold lurex, and the girls all squealed.

Red!  Shiny!
43" x 2.5yds and scraps - $2.99

soft and brushed floral
56" x 2yds 30" - $1.99

blue and white mystery
58" x 2 1/4yds - $1.99

The first two I figured were probably cotton, the last one - the blue and white stripe - I wasn't so sure.  It had an almost stiff hand and an obvious slubbed texture.  I wondered if it was home dec, so I figured a burn test when I got home might be in order... and I have to say, I was surprised by the results!

what do YOU think it is?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thrifty Finds Part 1

It seems that thrifting has taken on a whole new life with the resurgence of vintage patterns recently.  People are now hunting down not only fabric, but notions also.  Inspired by some of the thrifty finds I've seen in the blogosphere, I thought I'd poke around at some of my local spots and see what I could dig up.

The area I live isn't especially crafty - also it's a new-ish area, not so many estate sales etc and nothing in the thrift stores, but we do have a fun antiques mall nearby so I took the girlies for a hunt one Saturday.  There were 3 stalls, out of about 80-100 that I found that had vintage notions, and two of them were well priced.

At the first stall:

giant, and luscious red! 

a collection

(I needed the one little charcoal gray one, right in the middle for a current project, and I knew I'd be using the little yellow one soon, so it seemed wise especially with making kids clothes, to have some single buttons on hand.)

And at the second stall, hidden amongst a giant stash of other brown and orange buttons:

gentle teal

sweet blue

I got all of these buttons for about $6 including tax, which was a pretty good price considering the variety, and practical application.

Do you thrift for crafty supplies?  How are the options in your area?