Is this WIP really worth holding on to?

I recently posted that I finished creating the lining for my dad's jacket that I was supposed to finish years ago. I listed a few reasons why I finally started it, but I wanted to share one more reason.

Back at the beginning of January, many bloggers were posting their resolutions for the year. I tend to fall short in this category, so I didn't bother. I did stumble upon this reSEWloution list from No Big Dill, and I think I will use this to help evaluate some of the knitting / sewing / quilting WIPs that are floating around.

Other random news: a fellow teacher came to my classroom one day after school and asked if I could alter a skirt for her. My reputation as a sewer is being established! Here is the skirt to be modified.

I know it's belated, but did you make any crafting resolutions this year?


Belated Biscuits

I made these biscuits back in 2011, but forgot about the pictures.

This came from a recipe I got from a much older version of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I folded the dough over so they have the nice appearance like you would get from the Pillsbury tubes.

I didn't realize that my round "cookie cutter" was actually a biscuit cutter! How good to know!

Have you been using an appliance/tool incorrectly? If so, what was it?


Crochet Scarf

Here's an awesome stash-busting project that I saw on Dollar Store Crafts.

The premise is you chain a whole bunch of strands and then knot them together for an easy peasy scarf! Click here to be taken to the tutorial.

What is an easy project you've finished lately?



Remember Fallene? She was a contestant on Project Runway two years ago?

I remember watching the episode in which Fallene was "aufed". There was a scene with she, Bryce, and the concept of grain.

When watching the episode, I remember feeling very smug. "Really? Someone can make to Project Runway without understanding the importance of grain? Even home sewers, the people the contestants usually mock, know what grain is."

Yesterday I ate my own words.

I was working on New Look 6490. This was a pattern that my younger sister had purchased in high school to be part of her graduation project. It was something quick, easy, and pretty to get me out of my sewing slump. I have resolved to not purchase any new textiles until June as money is tight. I had some shiny synthetic material that matched the pink on the envelope cover. I sewed, serged, improved upon the directions, and threw in some french seams for good measure.

Hem is not ironed, but it is even, I promise.

I then went to try it on Gert, my dress form, for the strap placement. I found it a little difficult to pull over her shoulders. However, I wasn't too worried as Gert seems to have a different body shape than I, even though she's dialed into my size. In addition, I went a size up after looking at the actual tissue pieces.

So then I tried it on me. I couldn't get it on at all. I panicked. Why wasn't this fitting!? Then I remembered...I had less than the 1.25 yards they had asked for. Thinking that it seemed to have decent ease, and remembering the larger size, I cut the main front piece and the main back piece on the GRAIN instead of on the BIAS, as the directions said. When cut on the bias, I would have horizontal and vertical give, which would allow me to get it over my shoulders.

Judge not, huh? I guess this will go to my younger sister, who initially bought the pattern, because she's super tiny and can definitely squeeze into it. It's a shame though... I was really proud of how it looks and how well the construction is. Perhaps I was not ready to tackle big projects yet. =P

When have you gone against the rules and it's come back to bite you in the butt?


"First" Snow

Today is the first snow of 2012, but the second snow of the season (if you count when we got snow on Halloween, which I do not)

Regardless, it appears that I made these mittens just in time.

I posted about them on Ravelry (username mlichtenwalner: add me as a friend!). Like my Gamer Girl Gauntlets, I decided to add a Triforce logo to them.

I am having trouble getting motivated to work on anything bit lately. Knitting I can do (a few rows at a time), but the thought of starting a dress, or skirt, or jacket, or pants feels... intimidating lately. I should stop blog hopping and looking at sources of inspiration and be in awe of how well others can sew/craft compared to myself.

Are you doing anything crafty this weekend?



After seeing so many lovely posts on Sweet Sugar Belle's blog, I felt a desire to make and ice cookies. I entered toe world of royal icing, flood icing, and 20-second icing.

A few pointers
  • Give yourself a LOT of time to do this. To make the cookies, make the icing, then decorate. The whole thing took me about 5 or 6 hours, and these guys are all uniform.
  • Do not go into this tired and stressed because you'll end up tired (and possibly stressed) the first time
  • Gen an electric mixer. Getting icing to peak by hand is long and exhausting.
But, I do have promising results. I outlined the cookies in royal icing, then took the leftovers and thinned white, red, yellow, and blue icing. After some experimenting and toothpick swirling, I got some trippy looking dinos.

This is NOT an everyday endeavor, but I am glad that I tried it.

How do you do cookies?


Being resourceful--jacket relining

About 4 years ago, my father had me mend the lining in a jacket. I fixed the holes in the pocket, and did a pathetic job mending some of the worn areas in the back.

About 2 years ago, my father asked if I would be able to reline the entire jacket. Feeling naive but confident, I agreed.

Then I panicked. I knew nothing about jacket linings. The fabric I had surgically removed from the jacket was falling apart.

 My solution? Cram the old lining into my fabric stash and not look at it.

Fast forward to a week ago. I find this brown fabric sitting at the bottom of my fabric stash. I look at it and remember I was supposed to do something with this YEARS ago.

I also found some green fabric that would be suitable for lining. Knowing my father does not care about colors or matching at all. I decided to go for it.

I first cut away all of the seam allowances to yield individual pieces. Again, I had to tread rather lightly as this fabric wasn't in the greatest shape.

Then I simply pinned the old pieces down to the new fabric, gave them 3/8" seam allowance, and cut the individual pieces out.
I had to do some research when it came to the sleeves. I am used to one-piece sleeves, although many will argue that two-pieced sleeves give a better fit. I eventually found out that the smaller piece goes on the bottom, while the larger piece stays on top. Then I sewed the entire thing together.
The wrong side showing---as the lining will be sewn into the jacket

The right side showing--this is what will make contact with the skin
Now, I had some issues with the green fabric. It didn't fray too badly, but I did make sure to serge all edges because I will not see my dad for at least a month and I want this intact (Can't wait to sew the lining in by hand...) when I see him.

My issue was I...kinda ran out of fabric. So, like with my scrappy slip, I had to be a tad resourceful. Again, if I were making this for anyone but my dad, I would have either bought a separate fabric for the sleeves, or bought all new lining fabric so everything matched.

This one under sleeve piece is made from FOUR different pieces sewn together!

Except for the fact that I have not sewn the actual lining in, I would say that relining a jacket is not that terrible and you may want to try it to save a jacket.

Have you ever relined a garment? Was the experience good or bad?


2 Indicators of a Good Teacher

This is not a major post about crafting, so if you're not an educator or not interested in education, you may want to skip this post.

Yesterday we had an in-service day, and our opening presentation was "Why Teach". It highlighted the stories of three individual teachers in our district of various ages, disciplines, and backgrounds. While all of the stories were entertaining and moving, there was one presentation where the speaker mentioned two indicators of a good teacher. These were not things that he made up himself; they were told to him by a fellow teacher. I really like both of them.
  • Make them want to be there
  • Teach resiliency
Even though I have been having some personal struggles with whether or not I've made the right career decision, I think that I will really focus on these two ideas. They don't mention content at all, and that's okay. By making them want to be there, they will be more open to receiving knowledge (an issue that I'm struggling with with 2 of my four classes). By teaching resiliency, or even demonstrating it, maybe they'll persevere more and stop giving up / whining so much.

In terms of crafting, I've been focusing on little projects. I saw this idea on Dollar Store Crafts, and it's a great way to use up tiny leftover bits of yarn. So far I've probably made a half a dozen chains for it.

What do you think about the above two indicators? While they are things that can't directly be measured, do you feel that they highlight a good teacher?


Scrappy Slip

I decided to make myself a second slip. I used scraps of fabric from two prior projects
Green Dress (Vogue 1120)
Three Generation Dress (McCall 6011)

I saw on Pattern Scissors Cloth the gorgeous ruby slip pattern she made...and did a sewalong for! While I want to make that slip, my goal at the moment is not to buy fabric until at least April. So scraps it is!

I used the same pattern as before, and it turned out okkkay.. I'm not totally in love with the strips in front (I was too lazy to adjust the tension on my serger), or their wobbliness, but for a slip under a dress, it will do just fine. In the winter it's lovely to have an additional layer of warmth.

How do you use up scraps of fabric from prior projects?


More shoe updates

First off, I found a fantastic tutorial by icandyhandmade that shows you how to remake shoe insoles. While I did not follow this method, it seems to be a great starting point if you are interested in re-doing your insoles.

Secondly, I revamped a pair of shoes. I made them glittery. I have a bunch of preparation pictures up to the point where I actually started glitterizing (suuure, its a word) them.

Hole in the toe! Oh no~

At that point, I alternated between spray adhesive and glitter, letting the shoe dry about 2 hours between coats. I did around 3 coats.

I did a test run with them at school yesterday, and they fared fairly well. The toe area (with the hole that I was trying to cover and hence save the shoes) fell off. I think I will add a coat of clear acrylic spray after I fix these.

My mission is to do a second pair in black glitter, and possibly a third in gold. Maybe heels?

I fixed these insoles as well.

Have you ever modified shoes?


New insoles for old shoes

I have a pair of ballet flats that have suffered through a lot of puddle walking. My grad classes are in Philly, and the city has notoriously bad drainage.

The shoes themselves were okay, but the insoles were looking preeeety rough. The fabric was fraying, the insole no longer was attached to the shoe, they looked ugly, they smelled funky... I was ready to either toss them or find a way to repair them.

Over Christmas break, I was looking though the many pages I bookmarked, and I remembered Grosgrain's tutorial on making new insoles for shoes. While I did not follow her tutorial, it was a great source of inspiration.

Shoes saved!

What tutorials have you drawn inspiration from lately?


Christmas Apron

For my stepmom's Christmas present, I decided to make her an apron. She loves to cook, so I thought this would be a good gift (with a $40 QVC gift card in the pocket!).

I had a hard time picking out the fabric. I originally wanted the French waiters that she likes (something similar to this), but I could not find it at JoAnn Fabrics. Then I looked (unsuccessfully) for a wine-printed fabric; they were all too busy.

My stepmom had an apron with cherries on it as a little girl, so this is the fabric I decided upon.

This pattern, Cosmopolitan, came from the book A is for Apron. If you already know how to sew, the intro stuff is not that helpful, but it has great patterns, even if you do have to enlarge them on your own. This is not the first apron I've made from here, but I do believe it is the first that I have documented.