No More Snorlax

I am retiring from making Snorlax themed items. Yes, it was fun making the baby onesies for my sister-in-law as they announced the gender of their child-to-be back in August. Then I made a matching T-shirt for the Dad-to-be's birthday. And then a baby blanket shaped like Snorlax was requested. Originally, my brother wanted a large version of the baby blanket for himself.

Until I showed him the famous Snorlax beanbag chair posted on Deviant by SmellenJR (She has a bit of a how-to on this page if you want to re-make your own). Then he decided that he wanted a Snorlax beanbag chair instead.

I finished it Christmas Eve. It has a few flaws, but despite those flaws, I am pretty stoked on how it turned out.

That being said...no more Snorlax.


Finished cat sweaters!

These sweaters were finished in time to head to CVS and make digital photocards this year.

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas, and to those celebrating Chanukah, I hope you enjoy this last night!



Christmas Sweaters for the cats

I've been working on matching Christmas sweaters for Molly and Sarah Jane. Once they're made, we are hoping to get a picture of them in their sweaters for our holiday cards this year.

Here are the shots in progress.

What are you doing for holiday cards this year?


Yet another Birthday Present for a friend

I made this tunic shirt as a birthday present for my friend at the beginning of November. I wanted to make sure she received it in the mail before I posted it on my blog.

I traced around a large T-shirt for sizing, as she and I are not the same size.

This is the second time (Day 16 of Me Made June) I used The Sewing Convert's tutorial on making the One Hour Caftan. While I originally like the other one I made, I made the sleeves too long, and it ended up going to Goodwill after a few months. This one I drastically shortened the sleeves.

I completely fell in love with the fabric and design combination for this piece. So... I went back to JoAnn Fabrics, bought more fabric, and basically made a dress version of this for myself. Once I get a decent picture of me modeling the dress, I'll post more about it.

Have you ever made a gift for someone else that you pretty much ended up duplicating?


A finished crochet piece

A few months back, I had started this cute "Chevron Lace Cardigan" way back at the end of August. I am proud to say that it is finally finished! I absolutely love this cardigan, and if I didn't have so many other projects on needles / sergers / machines, I would probably start a second cardigan.

Here are some pictures. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Have you finished a long-term project recently? If so, what was it?


A finished Green Dress

Hello TSKB Readers!

The green dress is at last finished and modeled. There have been -many- posts regarding this number. I don't think I will ever wear it without some sort or cardigan because despite my desperate tweaking, the zipper never came out as good as I had hoped.

Please! If you have tutorials on flawless invisible zipper installations, link them to me. There are many on the internet, but if I can have ones that are reader-approved, maybe I will have a successful zipper installation in the future.

The pants that I've been working on are almost finished--I just need to hem them. I have a final exam on Tuesday, but after that, I may post more than once in a week span. *gasp*

But for now, enjoy these two shots of Butterick 5029. Hopefully I'll get them on Burdastyle by the end of the year.

Pufferfish face. Because I loathe serious pictures.


Dress Inspiration

So, grad school + 3 preps of teaching + 1 new prep + gym = no real sewing,

I have been crafting, just slowly, sporadically, and not posting anything. There are pictures, though.

In the meantime, I saw this on discount at JCrew and I wanted to store it for inspiration. This dress looks super cute and super easy. And at $30 on clearance, I could pay for it. But, it seems too summery to buy now. I'd rather hold on to it and wait for spring.

Dress from JCrew

Have you seen any cute inspiration ideas that are out of season lately?


Finished Birthday Present

For my friend's belated birthday present, I finally made a decision about which side of the fabric to use.

After a rather long and frustrating week, when I got home on Friday I decided to just make her shirt.

However, things got a little frustrating. For my birthday, Ryan got me a serger (Brother 1034D). I've been debating whether or not to actually keep it, because a few months ago I learned about overcasting and have declared that I don't need a serger after all. But, I decided that I could test the waters on this project.


However, when you figure things out and the thread stops breaking because you finally have the tension right, so you don't have to spend 5+ minutes threading the darned thing, some pretty cool stuff happens.

The front (with a kitty standing guard)

The back

Side bow detail

My tag
I think that despite the swearing and frustration, I will keep the serger. I will admit that the entire thing was not done on the serger. The shirring was done on my Janome, and seams where I was very nervous, I sewed with the Janome first and serged afterward. But the bulk of the seams were serged (it takes a LOT of faith).

There are some neat features on this machine, but I think I will just stick with the 4 thread overlock stitch for a few months until I feel more comfortable.

How have you expanded your sewing knowledge lately?



I find it funny how much I like sewing, but I cannot stand mending.

Take these dress pants. They have been sitting in a mending pile for over 8 months because a button popped off.

The button has been masking tape to the left leg so I would easily have access to the button for mending. That didn't help me get it done -any- faster.
They took less than five minutes to sew the button on. Why did I wait so long to do something so simple?

Is there anyone else that puts off simple mending for no other reason than you just don't want to do it?


Baking season has begun

I know that the weather has been switching back and forth a lot recently, but I've at least been able to experience a little bit of fall and it's been lovely.

I have yet to make anything pumpkin related, but I enjoy fall because I can use the oven without causing my apartment to become sweltering.

These cookies were very fudgy chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. These came from The Good Cookie, which is not my favorite cook book, but it has some pretty solid recipes.

What have you baked recently?


Fixing of the Green Dress

Hello TSKB Readers!

Oh, this dress. So close to being finished, and yet I feel I always am delayed.

At this point, I just need to let it hang for hemming. But then the kitties tried to attack it, so I had to fold it and put it away. And I haven't been able to find a non-busy weekend where I can let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours so I can hem it again.

I also need to do some TINY handsewing to cover up a few more portions of the zipper opening. And fix the hook and eyes. But these are minor things


Birthday Cake

I have not been much into posting lately, and for that I apologize.

I have a very belated picture of my birthday cake. Apparently, you should not decorate a cake 24 hours before eating it and stick it in the fridge, as the designs will dissolve and turn into mush like it did above.

However, it tasted delicious. This recipe was taken from a cookbook at home, and I will forever use the icing recipe for all flavors. The icing spreads really well, isn't too thick or thin, and tastes great.

For the icing, you combine
  • 2 cups of cool whip
  • 1 cup of cold mix
  • 1 box of instant pudding mix, any flavor (the smaller 3.4 ounce package)
This was butterscotch icing on a chocolate cake drizzled with caramel (that sorta melted). I encourage you to try this icing recipe!


Pants Progress

The pants fabric has officially been cut. I've sewed all but the waistband and hemmed the pants. I would have taken better pictures, but I'm feeling under the weather (I'm thinking sinus infection), so this isn't the best post. I hate to admit it, but I haven't even tried them on yet...

Molly insists on being involved in the quality control progress...

Detailed shot of the fly. I know I should have chosen a darker zipper than the fabric, but oh well!

To read about all the progress that has gone into these Vogue 1051 pants, click here.


Pleated Sleeve Blouse Refasion

I bought a few items from Goodwill last weekend to modify as wardrobe additions. At this point, I've only managed to do one of them.

I went from this:

Basic, black, long-sleeved button down. Nothing really wrong with it, but it's just dull.
 To this:

Those are chemical structures embroidered on the tie. Awesome, I know.

Basically, all I did was cut off the sleeves with about a 1" seam allowance. I then took the remaining portions of the sleeves and cut them into 2" wide strips. I folded them in half and then pleated them to fit the circumference of the sleeve hole. From there I sewed them on and added some topstitching for a decorative and functional effect.

I'm not a long-sleeved person, so I was very happy with how this turned out. A lovely new shirt for only $3.50!

Do you do any Goodwill modifications to clothes to make them more "you"?


So close! (birthday dress that wasn't)

I've been making good progress on Butterick 5029. I even managed to put in the invisible zipper rather well (I cannot stress how much better it was to baste the zipper instead of pinning it and then directly sewing.
It's not hemmed yet. Even if I had been able to finish, I'd still need a good 24 hours for the dress to hang before I could hem it.
I was even hoping to wear it for my birthday today (woohoo! I'm 24). But when I tried it on Sunday evening, it felt a little loose. And it was very very loose. Not in the hips. Nor the midsection. Not even the main part of the bust.

Doesn't look to bad from the front, but it just didn't feel right.
 Instead, I got this.

The hot mess unpinned, as is.
Pinned with 1.5" taken in at each side, but not starting until halfway up the bust section (where the split appears)

And now I'm at a loss on how to fix it without causing major pulling or other issues. I've got a few hours worth of internet research to figure it out. Oh well.

This really has been a setback type of project? Anyone else working on a project like this right now?


Fabric Decisions

I have some fabric decisions to make. I am currently working on a shirt for my friend's birthday. I am basing the shirt off of one that I already own.

Okay, so I gravitate to a certain style and fit for RTW. Don't judge me! =P

This should be easy in terms of  construction: another raglan-sleeved top with shirring detail (there is a side tie bow at the bottom that got cut off a little bit).

I picked out the fabric below for the top. Unfortunately, I am in love with both sides equally. The lighter side is supposed to be the "right" side, but you really can't tell that the darker side is the "wrong side". I do not want to do something where both sides are visible. My boyfriend suggested making it reversible, but that's far too much work for a shirt that needs to be finished in about a week.
I can't decide!
Help me out by taking the poll below!



Remake of a favorite shirt

I regret my closet purge. I mean, I wouldn't regret it so much if I had restocked my closet since then. But with the exception of a few items, I fell like I am lacking some items--basic staples, cardigans {I'm hoping to snag one or two at Goodwill and spruce them up them using Grosgrain as inspiration, and a few other work-home double pieces.

I have this one shirt (really a dressy T-shirt/peasant blouse hybrid) from Old Navy that I love. In purple. But, like many of my well-loved garments, it's got some wear and tear issues. I can totally fix it, but I am waiting on purple thread I know I have in my stash at my brother's house.

The original Old Navy top. From this picture you can't tell, but the bottom band is split along one seam and elasticity has been lost around the bottom band and a little on the neckline.
Yesterday, I went to JoAnn to get some more thread for my Butterick dress. And while I was there, I saw this adorable fabric that I felt compelled to buy. When I got home, I decided to remake my Old Navy shirt.

In terms of construction, this garment is pretty simple. It's a raglan-style T with a shirred band at the bottom. I simply traced around the shirt (stretching where appropriate) and gave myself about 1/2" seam allowance. I overcast all of the seams on the inside to prevent fraying and overcast the edges around the neckline as in the original.

Some alterations I made were to add shirring on the sleeves (just one row) and overcast the sleeve edges instead of hemming them. I also added two non-functional buttons to the front.

Normally I would model my clothes, but I am still sporting a black eye and a swollen face from the surgery, so my dress form will have to do.

I love the shirt, but I don't know if I am 100% sold on the buttons. I can't decide if I should add 1-2 more, or if I should remove them both. Any suggestions?


Shirt Saved with Shirring

Like the alliteration?

I've had this one tank top for about goodness, 6(?) years or so now, since high school. And sadly, it lost all of the elasticity in the straps, which made it unwearable for the past year or so.

However, with my new understanding of shirring, I was able to fix this in about 10 minutes. Hooray for a new lease on a favorite item!
Tank top in progress of repair. The difference between the fixed strap(right) and "loose" one (left) is pretty obvious.
Detail of the shirred strap. Ignore the threads I haven't cut
This is one of my favorite things about learning how to sew--I can hang onto a garment after it is starting to get old, I can recreate favorite looks from old clothes or things that I can't afford, and I can make (well, almost) anything I can imagine!


Taco Soup

Hell TSKB Readers!

I'd be lying if I said that I was trying to post regularly this week; the whole surgery thing kinda kicked my butt. To top it off, I had an orthodontist appointment yesterday, and he ended up re-opening most of the surgical sites, so I'm back in pain.

Because I knew I would not have any desire to cook, and because I knew I can't eat solid foods for a while, I decided to pull out the crockpot and try something different.

I found this recipe online for Taco soup on Our Best Bites. Easy to follow directions that include a stovetop version and a slow cooker one. I chose the latter.

This makes a LOT of soup. I couldn't even fit in the second can of diced tomatoes or the second can of kidney beans, and mine came out more stew-y and less soup-y.

It was good, but I think next time I'll cut down on the garlic (4 cloves is a lot!) and probably throw some black beans in instead of the corn. However, this soup is great because I made it Wednesday and there's enough to get me through lunches and dinners until Monday.

What things are you looking forward to making in your slow cooker this fall/winter?


Sewing gods aren't smiling

I am currently taking two sick days to recover from some -lovely- oral surgery where the last of my baby teeth (yes, at the age of 23, I still had 4 baby teeth: my canines) were yanked out, my gums were cut into, my jaw was drilled a bit, and the new teeth have brackets and chains just waiting to be attached. Mentally, I'm good, But I can't really talk without pain. And as a teacher, I kinda have to talk. I hope I'll be up to going to work tomorrow. Grad school tonight will be my test.

But enough about life's unpleasantries, let's talk about sewing unpleasantries. I had ONE goal this weekend: to finish up the green dress (Butterick 5029) that I've mentioned here and here. All was going well.
The back

Cute strap detail

I thought to myself Wow, I'm actually going to make this arbitrary sewing deadline I set for myself. How cool!
The front, which looks awesome1

...and then I ran out of thread gathering the skirt portion. At this point it was close to 5pm on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, I could have gone to JoAnn and gotten more thread (the Boy even volunteered to go with me/do it for me!), but I decided to throw in the towel for the night.

In other news, I went to JoAnn with my sister-in-law and did find fabric for my dress pants. It was a tad more than I wanted to pay, but I managed to get that lovely camel color. It's been prewashed; now I just need time to actually lay out the pattern pieces and cut! I'm nervous!


Not a winner, but...

So Shabby Apple posted the winner of their Dare to Design Contest on Thursday.

Unfortunately, I was not the winner of the contest. I did post a picture of the winning design below.

Little Season is the designer of the winning creation.

I think it's great that Shabby Apple is expanding their line into separates, and a separates item won the contest.

Although I am disappointed that I didn't win, I really don't consider myself a loser. For one thing, this was the first time I entered the contest, and I made it into the top 15 finalists! This was also the first creation I ever made without a pattern, so that was exciting. This contest helped increase traffic to my blog (albeit temporarily), and I got to see a great outpouring of support from family, friends, and coworkers.

If they offer the contest again next year, you can bet that I'll be trying again.


The sucessful fabric

I did mention that I did not have the best of luck at JoAnn fabrics recently, but I am pushing forward with the one dress. And boy, is it taking a while to drape the front! I want it to be as symmetrical and even as possible, so I have pinned this thing far beyond excess. I think I am going to do all of the gathering on the top pieces before I baste them and then sew them together. I feel that if I were to do it one after the other, as the directions state, that the pieces might look too different (or I am probably just being paranoid).

I did remember to prewash this fabric (I forget that a lot. Or, if I do remember, I hand wash it because spending $1.75 to wash and $1.75 to dry one piece of fabric seems far too expensive), so hopefully it will fit after the first was or two!

The pictures I have aren't fabulous, but they show enough detail for you to see my pinning obsession. =D

Are there any time-consuming techniques that you feel have to be "just right" and are worth an extra hour of fussing until you find it perfect?


Settling in to the September Routine

So the beginning of this school year has been interesting to say the least. The first day of school was cancelled due to power losses and road closures from Hurricane Irene. Then, on Thursday we had a two hour delay that turned into a cancellation at 7:30 (I was already at school because I missed the initial phone call *sob*).

On September 6th, my grad school class started up again. It's going to be a lot of work seeing as it's a laboratory class. I really want to keep taking this class, but I don't know if I can work and do the workload that the class requires.

So, with all of that hubbub going on, I haven't posted in a while. I'm going to try to get back on a more regular schedule, even if it means posting an entire week's worth of entries on the weekends.

On Labor Day I went over to my older brother's house. He and his wife hosted a cookout; I was informed to either bring a veggie tray or a cheese and crackers platter. I knew I didn't want to do something conventional since my last cookout item was such a hit, so I searched through my bookmarks to find something suitable.
Are those....mice?

 Yes, itsy bitsy mice. I found this adorable idea on the blog Cute Food For Kids (click here for the how-to). I would check out this blog anytime you want some cute food inspiration! The stuff is awesome!

I did not have sesame seeds, so I used poppy seeds. And instead of a hotdog I used the little mini pepperoni guys. My tails didn't turn out as well as the ones on the how-to, but I still like them!

Have you made any cute food creations lately?


Not a lotta luck at JoAnn

I went into JoAnn Fabrics yesterday with a pretty solid list of things I was looking for. However, I think the budget gods (money's a teensy bit tight at the moment) were trying to help me out because after an hour and a half in the store, I nearly walked out empty handed.

My goal was to obtain the following:
  • Fabric for my pants. Preferably in a brown solid, or at least something in the brown family
  • Lining for my dress. I would have used the original fabric I bought, but I wanted the lining to be a teensy bit stiffer, and that fabric is back up to $12.99 a yard.
  • Fabric for a pencil skirt. I was hoping for a lovely purple shade.
So I go into the store. First off, it is -packed-. It's a Friday afternoon, but I have never seen so many people in the store. It turns out there is a 50% sale on all red-tag items. There are far too many children running around without supervision and crying. There's a reason I teach high school and not elementary school.

I start with the pants. Now, I guess either a) I really know nothing about fabric, or b)JoAnn just wanted to mess with me. On the back of all the pattern envelopes, they give fabric recommendations, and because I have invested so much time in these pants, I thought I'd listen to them instead of just pick what I want.

JoAnn Fabrics does not use words like "garbadine" and "tricot". They just say "suiting fabrics", and for me, there was a hug variety in the drape and weight of the fabrics in that section. And forget the tricot. I had no idea where to look for that. If it weren't so busy, I'd play stupid customer, but there I was. (In hindsight, I should have taken all those notes about fabric types I wanted to from that lovely library book)

Feeling frustrated, I went to the back, the clearance section. I find this awesome corduroy-esque material that would be awesome for pants (maybe it's not garbadine, but I just want something at this point).
After searching online, this is the closest visual I could find. However, the cord part was almost patterned
So I take my victorious fabric up to the counter. However, the top two yards are a separate piece, and the actual bolt is a slightly different dye lot. It was more of a peachy tan than a mustard one, so I didn't buy it.

What did I end up purchasing, you may be wondering at this point.

A zipper (that doesn't really match) for the Butterick 5029 dress I was deliberating on, notions for said dress, interfacing for the pants (it was already cut before the corduroy failure), and the lining for the dress. At least I have some complete project to work on, yes?

I don't want to be mean to JoAnns. There were a lot of things I wanted to buy for future projects, I just had no look for what I wanted at the present moment. Oh well!