Home Sewing

I learned to sew around age ten, and I started with clothing. My mom sewed all of my Dad’s shirts, most of my sister and my clothes, and many of my three brother’s shirts. She also re-upholstered furniture, made curtains, made doll clothing, did mending and alterations for friends and neighbors, made I-don’t-know-how-many plaid uniform skirts for girls from our grade school and our high school… and I picked up her love of all things textile early on.  I begged to go along to the fabric shop with her, and picked out patterns and fabric before I ever learned to make things myself.

Funny, though, my sister never had any interest; still doesn’t. As my sister says, “why do I need to know how to sew, if I need something done, I can just ask you or Mom.” She has a good point. It’s not like we’ve ever said no to her.

This week I made a valance for her youngest, my sweetie pie niece, Zoe Grace. She’s the doll I made the owl pillow for, and there is a quilt in the works to match the valance and pillow.

Valance Detail on Instagram

Click on the photo above to see a clearer larger version on Instagram, I added the hugs and kisses fussy cut detail to set it off!  The walls are a very pretty turquoise color, and I had a tough time getting a good pic with my iPhone, but you sort of get the idea…

Valance on Wall ruffled girly valance

She has a butterfly garland on order for the walls, and other butterfly decor plans.  And these curtain rod finials are just too cute!

Valance Detail Hugs and Kisses

 I can’t talk her momma into it, but maybe I’ll get lucky and Zoe Grace will want to learn how to sew one day!

June has been a bust month for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild… my house was one of the drop off points for entries to go into our first local Modern Quilt show!  On the 15th, my husband and I drove to Ames with the entries and met up with Jill of Modern Quilt Relish, and Greta, the curator at the gallery.  Two hours later, we had the show hung!

Quilt Show installation

Quilt Show Installation 2

This last Sunday evening we had an artist’s reception, and several of us collaborated to give an impromptu Gallery Talk with Q&A.  We were incredibly pleased to have such a good turn out to our gallery opening!

MQG Quilt Show Reception

One of my two entries is the blue and yellow Row House Creations Fox in a Box quilt shown here, next to a “clothesline” display of mug rugs and my friend Emma’s fun “piece, love, quilt” quilt:

MQG Show and mug rug display

The show is on display through July 25th.  For more pics, check out our guild’s Flickr pool.   Our guild has also been busy making a charity quilt to benefit a local hospice center; the fundraiser is sponsored by our local Harley Davidson dealer, and so our colors for the quilt are “Harley” colors (orange, grey, black)…  here’s my block:


It’s looking really good so far, a friend of mine is quilting it for us on her long arm.  I’ll be sure to show you the finished quilt!

Happy Sewing!



Project Wardrobe, 1.2

My “1958-vintage-Mad Men-inspired” Easter dress was finished during the eleventh hour of Holy Saturday (actually around 11:30 p.m.)…

Me on Easter Sunday morning

After measuring the pattern pieces, I adjusted the bodice a little bigger (primarily because I was worried about the waist being too snug for me), as it turns out, The bodice was about two sizes too big when first assembled, so I took it apart (twice) to make it smaller and more fitted, and eventually added a small pleat at the center neckline in front (NOT part of the pattern) that mimics the soft pleats at the center of the skirt front and back to make it fit correctly. It’s a perfect fit now, but a workout for the seam ripper (and the delicate rayon challis fabric!). I also fought with the zipper. After destroying the zipper I stopped to buy on my way home from work on Friday, (I trimmed it, forgot to sew over the zip to create a new “stop”, sewed into the dress perfectly on the first try, and then unzipped it right apart!) I “made do” with a zipper I had at home, and I must have put that zipper in at least three times. Major frustration.

A cool Sunday morning; I wore it with a 3/4 sleeve cardigan

The skirt at the hem has a circumference of 99″ (251.46 cm) and I don’t own a crinoline to wear with it like the gals on the pattern cover have, so we were attempting to get a photo of me twirling in the skirt:

Trying to get a "swirling skirt" photo

Mostly I just got dizzy and a bunch of out-of-focus silly photos of myself.

Have you ever sewn with a vintage clothing pattern? How did it turn out for you?

Sew Content

I am so blessed, blessed with great talents, great family, great friends, great opportunities….I have alot to be thankful for! And thanks to the support of these wonderful family and friends, virtual as well as IRL (in real life), I’ve found peace with the struggles I was having a few weeks ago…

Who cares is this is the only sewing I got done in over a week?! At least I had time to sew one night…it could have been NONE!

What does it matter if I don’t have time to post on my blog for over a week? The world won’t end…

Why should it matter that my blog has only 30 readers and another one I follow has over 300? I still enjoy writing it, I enjoy journaling my progress here, and having a record to fall back on when my 40-year-old memory fails me yet again…

My life is wonderful, my life is blessed. And I choose contentment. Because the contentment of the past week or so feels so much better than the self doubts, self pity and self battery of the previous weeks.

Here’s to your contentment! Have a wonderful week…

You’ve Gotta Have Fri-e-nds….

I hope you read that title in the tune of the Bette Midler song that I’m borrowing it from…anyway, I have a new stitching friend, another fabulous Australian crafter, Jan, who was my partner in the F-R-I-E-N-D-S Swap. The idea was to send an item (or two or three) that represented each letter of the word “friends” to a new swap/blog/internet friend that you were matched up with. Psst….in case you couldn’t tell, I made a great match! ;->

This is what I received this week from Jan:

Lovely gift wrapping with a handmade tag on each one…(My birthday came a few days early!)

And all the lovely loot…

is for Fat Quarter Bag in green batik (made from the free Buttercup Bag pattern) and Fabric. I don’t think Jan knew how much I’ve been coveting the Emperor’s Garden “Day in the Country” fabric (the pink one) that is not available in the states, so I was elated to see a piece of that! She also included a floral fabric of the Waratah Flower that grows in the bush of New South Wales. The card she sent also had this same waratah flowers on it. Like no flower I’ve ever seen!

R is for Reading, she sent me a collection of bookmarks and a Reusable tote from the library she works for. We share a love of reading.

is for Indulgence (the chocolate!) and a Inspiration in the form of the Prints Charming bird panel (I love bird designs!) And it’s in aqua, one of my favorite colors!

E is for Easy Peasy Stitching Purse…again in the lovely A Day in the Country fabric! My little ginghers scissors will fit perfectly in there. This is going directly into my hand sewing/embroidery bag that get’s taken along everywhere!

N is for your Nose, she made a green batik tissue cozy for my new purse (above!) and sent a lovely lace trimmed soft cotton hanky. I must have commented about my sinus problems here sometime or she just has a sixth sense and knows I go nowhere without my tissues!

D is for Drink coasters made with a fun flip-flop fabric, which she told me are called jandals in New Zealand (See I even learned a few things with thise gift!) and S is for Scarf, and absolutely lovely, soft, delicious, GREEN, fun and funky scarf that its’ far too warm to enjoy right now but will be an everyday staple of my wardrobe this Winter!

See, didn’t she do well?

This is what I sent to Jan:

A Fat Quarter of Novelty Notions Fabric…Red Ric-Rac tied with a Red Ribbon…Inspiration and Ideas in an Iowa-born quilting publication (It’s published less than five miles from my house!)…Mary Engelbriet Recipe for Friendship charm pack…Extra Notions for use with her new pincushion…a Dress Form Doll Quilt…and a Sweet Slice Pincushion...
This was so much fun, and I feel I have a new long distance friend for life…

you, Jan, oh so much!

Wardrobe Remake

It seems everyone is trying to be a little more frugal these days, recycling… reusing… upcycling… making do… I am no exception. Add that to the fact that I have now lost over 20 pounds since January, and can’t afford a new wardrobe in each size while I am still losing weight, I’m always looking for ways of making my clothing “make-do” or “get-by”. I found this dress on the 85% off rack of a department store early this Spring…

It was with the Winter clearance, so obvisouly a leftover from lastSummer…there was an issue with the zipper and the bodice was grossly undersized for me (and probably anypne else that would wear this size) so it remained on clearance. I loved the fabric in it…and could see potential as a casual summer skirt…so…

I found a great companion fabric at JoAnn’s and whipped this up last weekend:

I’m modeling it here with a dark brown top, but I actually wore this the other day with a crisp white cotton top and got lots of compliments on my “new skirt”! The best part is, I can easily make it smaller as I continue to go down in size! I have more of these wardrobe remakes to do in the coming weeks…gotta get that Summer wardrobe ready!

On another note, I thought you might like to see a picture of our new little addition…my grand-niece, Raegan, proud new owner of the French Roses quilt I showed you here.

She looks pretty sweet…and I can’t wait to meet her!

My Handmade Holiday 2008

As you know, if you’ve been here before, I made a pledge to myself to make as many handmade Christmas gifts as possible this year. Other than stocking stuffers, and some books, I bought very few gifts. The rest I made…

There was a rocket for Robby and one for Sam…

Pillowcases for the big boys, Tim and Michael…

A pillow for Leah, Matti, and Mike…

Wallhangings for the nieces….

Three more tablerunners in addition to the one I made for Marguerite, my Pink Christmas pal. These went to my Mom, Tonya, and Harriet….

Pajama pants for Toni, Lacy and Elice…

Personalized onesies for the newest addition…

Some handmade food gifts of Rice Crispy treat kits and Hot Chocolate Mix, courtesy of Lolly Chops….

I helped play Santa to my little friend Addison by helping to paint and decorate the dollhouse her Daddy made for her…

Did some baking using new recipes…and utilizing my recently thrifted cookie jar (love it!):

Wrapped lots of gifts, “Doris-style”, (my family would be glad to define that for you…) with help from Maggy, as usual…

Phwewwww….No wonder I’m a little tired these days! All in all it was a wonderful Holiday season, full of blessings, great company, good times, and yes, even some loot for me:

Don’t forget to visit my December 31st post and sign up for my giveaway…the table runner is nearly complete, so new photos coming soon!

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the newborn Jesus received his visit and gifts from the Kings. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means “to shine upon,” “to manifest,” or “to make known.” Thus, the feast of the Epiphany celebrates the many ways that Christ has made Himself known to the world, mainly the three events that manifested the mission and divinity of Christ: the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12), the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11), and the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). The visit of the Magi is emphasized on Epiphany Day, and Christ’s baptism is celebrated the first Sunday that follows.

Blessings to you all on this Holy day.