Friday, December 10, 2010

moar sewing & friday dance!

ok. i dunno what it's like at your house right now but at our house - it's absolute MADNESS....

unlike the serene & orderly appearance of this blog, my living room is resembling santa's workshop after a visit from a psycho with chain saw... there's glitter and boucle fuzz where glitter and boucle fuzz should just. not. be. O_o

i have waaaay too many projects going on at once for birthdays, donations, the holidays, new baby arrivals, etc... and the children are on crafting overdrive... they've turned it up to 11!!! :)

they're also still attending birthday parties... and i am still making birthday presents.... i SWEAR people are having WAY to much unprotected sex in the spring... jeez LOUISE!!!!

"mother's tired, she needs a rest...." :) ennyhooo.... here are my two latest creations:

the doll's dress is made from an alteration of simplicity 4786. i added the shoulder ruffle from simplicity 4268.

the girl's dress is an (neckline) alteration of simplicity 3510. i added the center front ruffles and sequin trim... just because. :)

the boy's shirt was made from butterick 3475. however, i didn't have the right size so, i had to grade up the pattern myself. it turned out well i think and apparently fits it's owner perfectly. hopefully, that will be true this summer. the fabric was actually a production sample i received from one of my former manufacturers when i worked for joe boxer. i wish i could remember the name of the fabric - we were so good as so many things at JB including naming colors and fabrics. :)

last but not remotely in the least... the porkchop celebrated his 5th birthday on tuesday. much love, hugging, gift wrap ripping, hilarity and cake ensued... HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my s'wonderfullest little man:

thanks for stopping by.... i hope you are having an AWESOME friday!!!! :)


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

so little time, so many toys to sew

so, first and foremost... the reason for the quiet blog? well, we've celebrated a number of birthdays which are usually preceded and followed with LOTS of sewing... however, not only did the kids bring home bags full of goodies... my dear (suffering) husband had the misfortune of bringing home the chicken pox.

thankfully, i'd already suffered thru them as a child and the kids have already been vaccinated... he had to stay away from the public for at least a week and was too sick to really do anything except stay in bed. so, i had to double up some parenting duties... honestly, i had no idea i could be this tired. so beware the birthday parties, parents... BEWARE.... :)

ennyhoo.... back to the birthday gifts... i was really proud of these three, all made for classmates in porkchop's jr. kindergarten class:

i made another bunny from martha stewart's encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts. i made the tote bag by copying another one we had lying around. the fabric flower was another made with the help of the wisecraft fabric flower tutorial. inside the bag, along with the bunny, i placed a lovely book perfect for ANY young girl, "my name is not isabella". the book is beautifully illustrated, educational and empowering for girls. it also gives a short bio of "women who changed the world" which includes "Mommy". :)

so, i didn't think the boys would appreciate a bunny... i've made teddy bears from the book "toys to sew". but, i felt like i needed to make something new. a little further in the book are patterns for dinosaurs, like the apatosaurus above. and this pattern (like the herbivore dinosaur) scared me the least. the patterns for the stegosaurus and the t-rex are really amazing but frankly, nightmarish. when i have more time, i'll try them.


i put the initals of the boys' names on each bag and filled them with items purchased from our local toy store, building blocks toys, a melissa & doug paint craft, a kumon origami book, a magic drawing slate, and a dover sticker book. what can i say? i like to spread the crafty, artsy fartsy love... :)

ok. i REALLY have to return to the saltmines now... hopefully, i'll have another post up soon... thanks for coming by and reading!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween!

huzzah!!! a post that isn't a "dance friday"! :)

pictured above is the costume that the paloma wanted - a fancy firefly from the chasing fireflies catalog... the costume, including all the accessories (wings, antennae, glovelets, choker, earrings) would've cost about $120.00 (before tax, shipping, etc...)

porkchop wanted to be the engineer from the polar express:

i didn't actually see any engineer costumes at the halloween store, but i figured it would be easy to put together since i already had a white tee, an engineer cap and a red handkerchief. i just needed to make some overalls.

after the fabric/pattern hunt at joann, i started working on the porkchop's overalls first:

i purchased McCalls M4756. i was shocked that i found only two overall patterns. the other was too small - an infant size. i did have to add some length to the overalls since porkchop is so tall, but other than that, the pattern was very easy to follow. i couldn't find any striped denim to match his hat, but the dark dye denim i did find looked really good with it. of course, i had to buy some train buttons and a train patch too. and multitudes of heartfelt thank yous to the craft universe for the invention of snap tape! i'm thinkin' maybe porkchop can be a member of the dexy's midnight runners next year... har de har har... :)

the first thing i had to do re: paloma's costume was find the wings. the halloween store didn't have this color green in the dragonfly shape but they did have a lovely aqua blue and she liked the traditional wing shape and they were already on sale.... so i brought the wings with me to match fabrics. (just don't tell her she looks like a fairy... you won't hear the end of it...)

luckily, i also had patterns for paloma already - i used the bubble dress pattern from Simplicity 2767 and i used the petals from McCalls M4622 to make a tutu to go over the dress. make it and love it blog has a great tutorial for making the glovelets. i bought some pipe cleaners and added them to a headband she already had. she was a little disappointed that the dress didn't light up like the one in the catalog, but she loves the assorted glitter, crystals and mini paillettes on the dress and wings. i'm especially happy that she has an actual dress to enjoy as well, not another costume dress (we have many) for pretend play.

ennyhoo... i'm soooo glad, i finished these costumes... and i'm sooo looking fwd to watching the kids show them off tomorrow night!

hope you have a happy halloween! thanks for coming by and reading. :)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tooth fairy fail. AND WIN!!

before we go any further... if you're a tooth fairy non-believer, do yourself a favor and don't read the rest of this post... :) don't say i didn't warn you!

ennyhoo... as i mentioned earlier, i've been perusing martha stewart's encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts.

one of the many crafts/gifts that caught my eye is a cute tooth pillow... it's a little square pillow w/ a pocket where you can store the tooth for the tooth fairy...

well, paloma is waist deep in the "loose tooth" age... and so, of course, i started to make the pillow... however while i was sewing it up, she wiggled another tooth loose...

thankfully, i finished up the pillow in time for bed last night (click to enlarge thumbnails):

we went thru our nighttime routines and fell asleep w/ visions of teeth and fairies dancing in our heads...

this morning, i went into paloma's room to wake her for school. she was already awake. AND CRYING MISERABLY... clutching the pillow... and the tooth... (!!)

"Mommy, the tooth fairy never came!!!" she cried. (O_o)

i was SHOCKED!!! (O_o) i mean what the h*ll kind of tooth fairy doesn't pick up a loose tooth!!!??? and after it was placed in such a beautiful holder and all.... what could possibly delay her/him!!?? what does she/he do all day anyway!!?? and why is there no tooth fairy customer service/complaint line??!!


paloma was SO upset... she even wrote the tooth fairy a letter in case she showed up (slacker...):

before she walked out the door to walk to school w/ the thin man, she hugged me tight and whispered, "i really hope the tooth fairy comes. i hope i didn't do something wrong."


hours passed.... i picked up paloma and porkchop from school. porkchop ran to paloma's room and of course, i followed because very rarely does something good come of him playing in her room... i shooed him out of her room and noticed a LOT of glitter scattered on the floor... i called to both of them to clean it up... they bounded down the hallway...

"what glitter?" they said.

"the glitter that you guys scattered all over the room... please stop doing crafts in your bedrooms you guys. paloma, i also want you to make your bed please." i replied.

the paloma looked completely confused but started to make her bed anyway... and she found this under her pillow:

there was some money inside the pillow pocket and a beautiful unicorn toy sitting next to it!!!

the note reads (click to enlarge):

we couldn't believe it!!! there was even a trail of fairy glitter from the windowsill to paloma's bed:

in closing, she went to bed very very happy tonight... as will i... tooth fairy, we'll never doubt you again... hope your wing is healing up quickly! :)

thank you for coming by and reading...


Monday, September 13, 2010

new kid on the block

at the end of august, my extended (my stepsister's sister in law) family grew by one new bouncing baby boy! so, of course, to celebrate the healthy baby's arrival and the blossoming family, i started sewing (not heavily drinking or gorging myself with sushi per usual...). :)

i wasn't sure what i wanted to make... i took a walk, found myself at the library (a common occurence) and started perusing the craft book section. i picked up martha stewart's encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts, sew u and sew what! skirts

clearly, i wasn't going to make him a skirt or any part of a women's wardrobe so, i hoped martha stewart would inspire me... and she didn't disappoint!

first of all, the book is GINORMOUS! supposedly, it contains 150 projects... i didn't count them, but considering the size and heft of this book, it wouldn't surprise me... so, i saw these three projects that served as a launching pad:

(click to enlarge thumbnails)

one of the many cool things about this book is the included CD. it has all the patterns & designs needed to complete the projects.

i made the bunny exactly as specified and instructed in the book, except that i also made a yo-yo, stuffed it with fiberfill and used it to make the tail:

the kimono was easy to make. i even made my own contrast binding... however, i did notice after cutting out the pattern that the front flat pattern was missing seam allowance at the "angled shoulder". i should have trued up the pattern beforehand, but honestly, i just assumed that the pattern was correct. i mean, it's in a martha stewart book for goodness sakes... (!!??)

the pant was made from some random pattern i already had. the baby booties in the book were too feminine looking so, i used the pattern for the sole in the book, but then used porkchop's old pair of robeez as a reference to draft patterns for the top and heel. i didn't want to use elastic (as in robeez) because the shoes are made of felt. so i used ribbon and made a hole in the top to secure. next time, i make these booties, i think i'll use ultrasuede, fleece and an actual buttonhole. :)

ennyway... thank you for stopping by and reading. hope you have a lovely rest of the day... :)


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"oh firenze, dolce firenze"

in october, the thin man and i will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. :)

after our wedding, we travelled to italy for our honeymoon. we started in venice and ended in rome, with stops in florence, pisa, siena, san gimigiano and capri.

i'd always wanted to visit italy. to me, italy was a bigger film celebrity than any international film star since most of my favorite films used italy as a backdrop -
fellini's 8 1/2, roman holiday, stealing beauty, night on earth, life is beautiful, godard's contempt, and a room with a view:

eenyway... a while ago, in a galaxy far far away, i picked up this quirky fabric that had a poem about florence printed on it... i didn't know what it said, so i was afraid to make anything from it until i got it translated and made sure it didn't say something that would make an italian want to point and laugh at me. ;)

recently, i've become friends with a wonderful mom (ciao marcella! *hugs*) at paloma's school who happens to be italian, from a small town near milan. she took a look at it and reassured me it was not offensive. :) i really wanted to make something that was large enough to show off the entire poem so, i decided on yet another dress from matsumoto's "feminine wardrobe":

the text of the poem is as follows (i still don't have an exact translation unfortunately):

"oh firenze dolce firenze
che portastionde magiche nel-mio io
dove nelodie ronantiche e statue autkhi
come la guerra e la pace
si ripetono nel tempo, celand o amori
nato nella tua culla.
dove maratonando nelle tue vie, he
sognate me raviglie nascoste.
alloggi casuali dove il neglie stpuc'
dare con l'aiuto della luna....
e l'alba dalba per ricominciare ad amare
circndata da un lungo fiocco d'argento
si rispecchia il tuo mondo d'arte
donandori un senso completo di liberta'
libenpa' di conquistartl..."

grazie & ciao ragazzi!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

my "green acres" camisole

i know... this japanese pattern stuff is probably getting stale for you... so, thanks for indulging me another post about it... :)

below, the "town camisole" (G3) from jinko matsumoto's book feminine wardrobe:

so, i discovered something even more confusing about these pattern books... in american patterns, i can count on the sizing (S, M, L, XL) to be "standard" across the board. however, in this japanese book i found two different size charts in the book. one is front and center in the beginning of the instructions portion of the book. however, when you look at each pattern instruction separately, there is another size chart...

for example: i was a M when i made the ruffle blouse (F3) & dress (F2). i was a S when i made the town one-pc dress (A1). then, i noticed my bust size didn't even register on the size chart for this camisole. if i read it correctly, the size LL was for a size 30" bust measurement. (LL!!)

i figured out (for each size) that the designer multiplied the bust measurement x 2.4. so, i made a pattern for me using that formula.... (yes, i kept in mind that maybe i'd have too much fabric round my bust and look like a balloon...)

i got this unique farm scene border fabric from my mother in law's vintage stash... i really like how it turned out... i think it may look kinda cute over a jersey shirt in the fall/winter too.

in the future, if i feel like i resemble too closely a thanksgiving day parade balloon, i made a belt with a bakelite buckle that i purchased from ebay a while ago. so, i have the option of comforting my vanity if/when i have to:

oh come on... you didn't think you'd get away without hearing the theme song:


thanks again for reading/stopping by!


Monday, August 2, 2010

"resort" dress & "town" dress

i finished two dresses from jinko matsumoto's book "feminine wardrobe":
(click on pics to enlarge)

the "resort" F2 dress:

from book: mine:

the "town" A1 dress:

from book: mine:

i love these dresses! they're perfect for these hot & steamy summer days in chicago... i made a small (1" wide) matching belt (w/ vintage MOP belt buckle) for the F2 dress because it was a little too billowy. now, it looks more like a tunic... the A1 dress is very vintage looking, can't wait to try it out dancing...

both dresses were very easy to make... for the F2 dress, i only had to draft the extra ruffle and lengthen the front and back pcs i'd aldready made for the ruffle top. the A1 dress required only one pattern to be drafted - the belt - all other patterns were included with the book.

the only thing i thought really confusing was how to apply the facing to the A1 dress... so, i've included how i sew a facing below, just in case anyone else needs some tips:

here's the back facing and the back:

i mark the seam allowance at the shoulder seam as a guide. then, sew the armholes and necklines, stopping at the seam allowance, clipping curves, trimming seams:

turn it inside out and press:

after doing the same thing to the front, pin the front and back together at the shoulder seam. IMPORTANT *DO NOT PIN THE FACINGS!

this next part is tricky (and so i sew the slowest i ever sew...). sew the front and back together at the shoulder seam WITHOUT catching the facing. you create a "facing sandwich" sorta :

press the front seam allowance down and fold/press the facing seam allowance over it. and then slipstitch the facing seam:

ennyhoo... i hope you like my dresses... :) thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

mamazilla - 1, metric system - 0

so... i did it!!! :)

i converted all the measurements from metric into (good 'ol, familiar, clunky) american units, drafted the patterns (including the varying seam allowances), and sewed up a camisole from the japanese pattern book, "feminine wardrobe" by jinko matsumoto.

here's mine:

and here's the model from the book:

i used this funky vintage fabric (another goodie from my mother in law's old craft room stash...):

notice how the screenprint is printed on the crosswise grain... (??) i wasn't sure what to do with it but after i saw the bipatterned camisole, i immediately thought of that fabric and was curious as to how it might look as a finished product...

i LOVE it! :) and really, as soon as i got over my fear of all things metric, it was a breeze... can't wait to start on another garment!!! huzzah!!! :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

me v. metric system - battle royale

it was a such good idea at the time...

i was in sanseido books, a not so local (to me) japanese bookstore, where they stock a number of lovely clothing pattern books and magazines...

it was all the pretty pictures and the cute colorful diagrams that lured me in... despite all the blog posts i've read to scare me off the prospect of actually making patterns and garments from these books... (the conversion of cm. to in., the variant seam allowances in one (freeekin') pattern piece, the actual drafting of pattern pieces, the language barrier, is there a zipper or isn't there? what size (width) elastic?!! etc...)

i bought two... *facepalm*

feminine wardrobe by jinko matsumoto:

and the latest issue of cucito magazine:

so, i've FINALLY gotten thru converting most of the measurements for one garment... the simplest blouse of the bunch... i have fabric... i have to hit the fabric store for some more interfacing and elastic... let's all hope i survive... with some hair intact.