Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hello again

Well, hello, blog. Long time no see. 

My reconstruction surgery was 6 weeks ago. Most of my time has been spent recovering, recooperating, and driving to doctors appointments. I have been able to get a little sewing done. 

First up: my butterfly blouse. 
Pattern: Ruby top from Made by Rae
I made the skirt, too. I wear it almost every other day. It's cool, and it fits my changing body. 

Then my second Ruby top. This time with sleeves (they aren't in the original pattern and gave me fits). 

And today I finished a cute dress. The patten is McCall's M7120, an easy learn to sew pattern. I learned two new things that weren't in the pattern: sewing on slippery fabric, and a blind hem. 
The fabric is a printed peach skin from Joanns. I love the color and the silkiness, but it was much harder to work with than the cotton I'm used to working with. 

Next up is a shirt dress in a cotton print. I will learn how to sew a collar and how to do buttonholes. 

Ultimately, I would like to create a memade capsule wardrobe.  A girl can dream, right? :)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Long time no see

It's been quite a while since I blogged last. The tamoxifen that I had to be on caused me to gain weight and feel super fatigued and yucky all the time. Plus, things always get crazy at the end of the school year. 

I'm a member of a great group: Crochet Texas! We are a chapter of the Crochet Guild of America. We focus on charity work, learning new skills and techniques, and fellowship. During our latest meeting, we learned how to make crochet plaid. 
This is the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan made with HobbyLinby's Love This Yarn. My little one (who isn't little anymore since she lost her first tooth this week!!!) has already claimed this as a blanket for her favorite toy. 

This summer, I have a reconstruction surgery, plus I would like to crochet, read a book, and work on my ukulele. Hopefully, I will be able to get back in the habit of being creative and writing about it here. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Slow progress

I made another Colette Moneta, this time in teal, but haven't taken a picture of it yet. And I've made a little progress on the pink baby blanket, but I had to spend a few days untangling the ball of yarn I'm using. I would like to start a new cardigan for myself, but I'm having a hard time deciding what to do. I really had hoped to do more crafting during Spring Break, but it didn't turn out the way I planned. Oh well. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Projects don't grow unless you work on them

The past two weeks have been rough. I had to have emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder on March 1 and I'm still recovering from it. My birthday was on March 5, and it was my first birthday post-cancer diagnosis. I was grateful for the birthday and owned up to my 34 years. 
For my birthday, I got a new serger. I haven't really gotten a chance to try it out yet, but this week is Spring Break, so I'm hopeful that I will have some time (between the doctors appointments and the spring cleaning that desperately needs to happen at my house). I have a teal Moneta cut out that needs to be made up, so that should give the new serger a great warm-up. I may even write up a mini-review of it. 
I'm working on a crochet baby blanket for a friend at church, but I have discovered that it won't grow unless I actually work on it! It's a cute pattern that I bought through Ravelry that has some filet-type hearts on it. Can you see the pattern yet? 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fleece Jacket number 1

Last night I finished a jacket from sweatshirt fleece. The outside of it looks nice and the inside is super soft and cozy. I just wish the temperatures here in Texas would actually feel like winter so that I could wear it without sweating. 
My next few projects will be: re-sewing some of the seams on my Minnie Mouse Moneta, sewing a blouse, and making a birthday Emery dress with some beautiful Cotton and Steel quilting cotton I bought from fabric.com. It has yarn balls on it! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


On Saturday I had color consultation with a friend who recently became a House of Color consultant. I thought for sure that I was an autumn, but I'm not! I turned out to be a Winter. A burnished winter, to be specific. She said that this type of winter often has autumn eyes. So that explains a lot. :)
Here I am in my burnished winter colors and lipstick. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day! I went from her house straight to Joanns. I picked up some pretty charcoal gray floral quilting cotton to make another Emery dress. 
One of the most useful tools that you get is a wallet with color cards that you can use to help choose clothes. Then I went home and cleared out all of the spring and autumn colors from my closet. It was liberating, really. 
So now I have a better idea of what colors of fabric to use when I want to look great! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FO: McCalls Tweed Dress

M7014 is a princess seam dress. It is my first try at fitting princess seams, and I think there is a little tweaking that I need to do to get the fit just right. Certainly not bad for a first try, though! 

Cutting the fabric was more difficult that normal because of two things: the pattern pieces were longer than my cutting boards meaning that I had to use scissors instead of my rotary cutter, and the fabric was a much looser weave than I am used to. The fabric liked to slip around and stretch out while handling it. Serging around the pieces helped. 
Sewing the pieces wasn't terribly complicated. I did make a few changes to the pattern, though. I used an invisible zipper instead of a normal zipper and I didn't make a lining. I used bias tape around the neck and sleeves instead. And I added pockets! :)
The final fit is a little off, but it certainly worked well as a teaching dress. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

Why I'm sewing

I'm sewing for fit. Specifically, I'm sewing my own clothes so that I can have clothes that fit my current body. The body that beat breast cancer. The body that is very different in size and shape than it used to be and is SO different from what looks decent in most ready to wear clothes. 

Fit is such a challenging issue in sewing. I  really had no idea when I started. Now I'm reading all kinds of books and blogs about bust adjustments and pattern alterations...

Here is my prepared pattern for McCall's M7014. 
I graded between a 16 in the bust and an 18 in the waist and hips, added an inch of length in the torso, two inches of length to the hem, and took out a half inch for a hollow bust adjustment. 

I beat cancer, but there is still a long journey ahead. By God's grace and providence, I'll get through this. And have a beautiful handmade wardrobe at the other end. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day dresses

On this Valentine's Day Lord's Day, I'm wearing my newest Emery dress and my mini-me is wearing her (way too big) mini-Moneta. She insisted that she had to wear it to church today. I think I will have to draft a smaller bodice pattern. :)

Next up is a McCalls dress pattern. I cut it out last night, but I need to add some length to the hem and probably make a hollow chest adjustment. 

And one more picture just for fun. This is Mr. Creative. Picture taken by my favorite four-year-old photographer. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Emery Adjustments

I didn't sew, crochet, or knit much this week due to a sinus infection and a minor surgery. But today (Saturday), I worked on perfecting the fit of the Emery dress. After reading through the Palmer/Pletch book Fit for Real People, I made the following adjustments: I cut a size 12 in the bust and graded to a 14 in the waist, added an inch to the bodice, and took out a .5" for a hollow bust adjustment. 

Here is a picture after I put in the zipper but before it is all the way finished. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I made a mini-Moneta! I used the bodice from a McCalls knit dress and put a plain gathered skirt on it. I didn't even look at the pattern directions. I just made it like the Colette Moneta and it turned out perfectly. She measured between the size 5 and size 6, so I cut the size 6 bodice but it still has a ton of growing room! And If I'm going to make things for her, I want them to last for a long time and get loved and used. She enjoyed twirling around in it. In fact, that's the first thing she did when we tried it on. :) 

Floral Moneta and the best T-shirt pattern ever

So last night I sewed another Colette Moneta dress. This is such a great pattern--great fit (I did grade between two sizes, and change up the neckline a little, but it was super easy), great directions, easy to sew, and amazing to wear. This one is made from a floral knit fabric that I picked up at Joanns. The headband is self-drafted and made from scrap fabric left over from the dress. I also used a hair elastic and a button. 

I didn't think that I would enjoy sewing with knits as much as I have, but this week I've been on a roll. 😀 

Friday night, I made two t-shirts out of scrap knit fabric. They fit me so much better than ready to wear t-shirts, that I'm not sure I could ever go back. The pattern is another Butterick blouse pattern I picked up on sale. It is B6132 to be precise. I only made two changes to the pattern: I didn't line the yoke, and I sewed the sleeves in the same way that you do for the Colette Moneta. 

I have a little bit more knit fabric in my stash to work through, then I have a million other plans and ideas. And I still need to work on my languishing knit and crochet projects. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sewing with knits

This week, I made two different patterns with knits. I love my serger. It really makes seams quick and easy with knits. And my sewing machine does a great job on the hems.  (I always use a jersey needle made for knits when I sew them!)

First up, the Butterick Knit Blouse (B5354). The short sleeves ended up being cap sleeves, so I can't wear it without a cardigan at work. I will probably make another with longer sleeves so that I can have one that is more versatile. 

Second, another Colette Moneta. I'm calling it my Minnie Mouse Moneta. :) Maybe I should make a big bow out of my leftover fabric! I adjusted the bodice pattern pieces to have a bit more coverage on the shoulders and neckline. Just personal preference, really. This fabric has some spandex in it, and was more difficult to sew than the jersey I've used before. The weight of the fabric gives it great drape, but meant that I had to adjust the way I was sewing it. You can't let the fabric hang off of the table while you sew it! I may have to go back and restitch some of it to give it a bit more stability. Again, I didn't put the pockets in. I LOVE pockets, but knit fabrics just don't hide them very well. 

My goal is to have a great handmade wardrobe, and I am well on my way. I have a few more things that I know I need in my wardrobe, but I think it's almost time to figure out what is in my closet that just doesn't work for me anymore. Then I can really see what gaps I need to fill in with my next sewing projects. Maybe I will purge my closet after I get my color analysis done. Then I can have a better idea of what colors look good and why. I've been thinking a lot about what shapes look good on my body-- my post-mastectomy body is pretty different than my pre-cancer figure. More on all of that later. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last FO of January

This is a picture of my finished Butterick B6100 Blouse. Or the Blue Butterick Blouse as I'm calling it. Fabric is light blue Oxford shirting from the clearance section of Joanns. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Colette Moneta

My newest adventure is sewing with knits. This is the Colette Moneta pattern. And it's actually the second one I made. The first one was turquoise, but I accidentally cut the skirt when I was using my serger. There were tears. 

So I bought more interlock jersey knit and made another one tonight. I love the fit and I know that it will get worn often. And I'm also sure that I will sew more Monetas. 

With the leftover fabric from the ill-fated turquoise dress, I made a scarf. I may have to crochet something to attach to it to jazz it up. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Handmade PJs for the whole family! I used the Margot pajama pants pattern from Tilly Walnes' Love at First Stitch for my pair, then drafted patterns for the other two pairs based on pjs that I knew fit. Then one weekend later, I made three more pairs for myself! 

This week's sewing

This week I made a blouse and a skirt! 

The Colette Sorbetto top is an easy, free, tank-top pattern. It took two evenings after work, and I wore it to work on Friday with a cardigan that I upcycled from a pullover. 

I made another pattern from the book Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes. The Delphine skirt is a pretty easy to make a-line skirt. I made it out of a khaki twill I picked up at Joanns. Next time I make this pattern, I'm going to add pockets.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pocket Perfect Purse

Today I finished sewing a Pocket Perfect Purse from Indygo Junction. I bought the fabric and handles at Joanns yesterday. The pattern has been in my stash for so long that I don't remember where I bought it, let alone what state I lived in at the time. I want/need a little more hand-holding with the directions, but I did finish it and I'm already thinking about how to make another with a slightly different shape at the top. And maybe a zipper. And maybe...  😜 #memade #purse #joannfabrics #indygojunction 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunflower Emery Dress

I finished another Emery Dress tonight! This time, I made it with a sunflower fabric I found at Hancocks. I had to be very careful about placement of the flowers, but once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing. And the zipper didn't give me fits this time. 😀 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Polka dot Emery dress

My polka dot Emery dress is done! I'm happy with the fit of the bodice, especially after five or six muslins. I was a little worried that it was too big, but I have enough room in it to move around and teach comfortably. It really is the perfect dress for teaching and I love it! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Dear blog,

One of the goals that I have is to have more #memade items in my wardrobe. During Christmas break, I had time to do some creative crafting and made a dirndl skirt with pleats and pockets and a Miette Cardigan. 

The Galaxy Skirt is an easy diy without a pattern. I used the pocket pattern from Emery to make sure that I could put in pockets before I cut into my dress fabric. I also used the directions for the invisible zipper from the Emery Dress. (It was the start of the zipper wars!) I think that the skirt turned out great. I will definitely wear it often. Next time I will interface the waistband. 

The Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund is a free pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue for a while. I grabbed some Kraemer Perfection Worsted in Bright Blue from my stash (originally from The Knitting Fairy) and went to work. It was an easy pattern. I love top-down seamless sweaters! I have a tall torso, so the next time that I make it (I rarely repeat a knitting or crochet pattern, but I love Miette so much that I must do more) I will probably add another inch or so to the length. I like the cropped look with skirts and dresses, but I kept tugging at it when I wore it. 

I love both pieces and I'm even more excited to add to my #memade wardrobe this year. 

Creatively yours,

I conquered the zipper!

Dear blog,

I conquered the zipper! It took many more tries, but it is in. I also hand stitched the lining this evening. It's really looking like a dress now. Tomorrow, I plan on doing the sleeves and then the skirt hem in the only thing left. While I'm very excited to have a #memade dress to wear, I'm also trying to go slow and enjoy the process. The only problem with these plans is that I go back to work tomorrow after Christmas break, so I won't have the same kind of time I had for the last two weeks.

I am also working on a knitted cardigan. The pattern is called Myrna by Andi Satterlund. I'm making it in a beautiful light blue Cascade 220 superwash. I'm participating in Andi's Selfish Sweater Knitalong aka SSK2016. 

Until next time,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New adventures

Dear blog,

Today I am starting a new adventure called blogging. My aim is to document my crafty and creative pursuits. Mainly, I crochet, knit, and sew. But I also dabble in many other creative outlets.

My latest adventure is sewing clothing for myself. I recently fell in love with the Emery Dress pattern by Christine Haynes. There are so many beautiful versions on instagram! After buying the digital version of the pattern, I printed and taped it all together. Unfortunately, my new printer didn't print it right, but I didn't realize it until muslin #1 didn't fit. So I reprinted and tried again. Muslin #2 didn't fit....I made 4 muslins before the bodice fit the right way. I also wanted to make sure that I could put in an invisible zipper before I started the real dress, so I made a quick skirt and used the pocket pattern and the invisible zipper directions from Emery. First zipper install was, well, creative. I guess I twisted the zip around the wrong way and I couldn't get the thing zipped after sewing it in. So I ripped it out and tried again. Second time success!

Then I was ready to cut into my "real" fabric. For my first Emery (I am already planning many, many more!), I chose a red and light blue polka dot quilting cotton from Joann's. I carefully cut the pieces and serged around the edges, then sewed the darts and pressed everything. This evening, I got all the way to the point where you install the zipper. I had to make anther trip to Joann's for another invisible zipper foot (I accidentally sent the first one with the old sewing machine when mom brought the new one). I tried on the dress with the skirt attached before I inserted the zip...and it was too big! After a few more alterations and a lot of trial and error with the muslin, I installed a zip on the muslin to make sure it fit. Second time success with that zip, too! Now comes the best part...I installed the zipper correctly the first time! Or at least I thought that...until I couldn't move the zipper pull. It turns out that when I pressed the zipper, I didn't press it good enough and part of the zipper tape was caught in the stitches and the zipper pull was getting caught in them. No big deal, right? I've taken two tries with the other zippers, so this one is par for the course. So I get out the seam ripper and start taking out the zipper. But we all know what happens with seam rippers. I cut a hole in the zipper! Thankfully, I didn't cut the dress fabric.

So tomorrow's adventure will be buying another invisible zipper and trying again. So far, the score is: Zippers 3, Melly 2.