Wednesday, October 19, 2011

to fly or not to fly...with my sewing machine

Happy news to report that I got a job!  I work freelance so there's always the off chance for long periods of unemployment-and it has been pretty dry lately.  But, work is on the table til February, so that's very exciting! 

Thing is, it's a lot of traveling...what am I to do about sewing?!?  I mean, I could take all the knitting I have stalled, as I have quite the yarn stash as well (pretty ridiculous textile addiction I have!)  My sewing machine just fits in a carry-on roll suitcase.  I have a work bag to carry on as well, so my camera bag needs to go in my carry on, too, but both sewing machine and camera bag won't fit.

And I did check the TSA website, sewing machines are not prohibited.  Plus, there are stories abounding on the interwebs about carrying them on the plane.

Anyone else do this?

Ahhhhh, decisions, decisions! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

happy 4 year anniversary

to me and the husband!


honeymoon in hawaii

my dad and I

I made my own dress using Simplicity 5876, a 75th Anniversary pattern.  Unfortunately, I can't find any great full shots of my dress, just partial ones, haha.  How on earth did that happen?  (I really need to dig around for pictures of the full dress, I must have them somewhere!)   I made the one on the far left.

At that point I didn't really sew much more than home dec stuff and got it into my head to sew my gown.  I had looked all over and online for something with flutter sleeves with a retro flair.  Needless to say, nothing existed unless I wanted a custom gown-which wasn't gonna happen.  Our wedding was a total DIY affair (a.k.a tiny budget) so I figured I'd just sew my own. 

I didn't understand grading patterns, so cut out a straight 12-34 bust, 26 1/2 waist, 36 hips.  My waistline was a little bigger than that, more like 27 1/2 or 28.  And that dress was tight at the waist, lol.  Just thought it would work somehow, ha!

But I did use these really cute pin-up buttons on the cummerbund.  They make me smile.

Also, in my novice-ness, I had tried on the dress during fittings with a bra on, and didn't wear one for the ceremony, so it was a little loose.  Oh well, it looked good and my husband still talks about that dress to this day :)

Maybe one day I'll remake it in another color, perhaps for the 10 year anniversary?

and just because, hehe...


Monday, October 10, 2011

another home dec conquered: ironing board

Our apartment is pretty small and my ironing board kinda lives out in the open.  Thank goodness my husband is so laid back and doesn't really care.

I replaced our old ironing board a couple months ago cause the lining fabric didn't breath and it rusted. I had pools of rusty water on the floor whenever I had a good steam going on.  Really annoying.

So, got a new ironing board, and had been meaning to recover it, well, cause it's ugly.  And the lining is so thin on it, whenever I iron, I can see the diamond mesh depression on my fabric. I've been layering muslin under my projects so not to get that.

already stained (new iron is next on the list-any suggestions??)

I figured if the thing is gonna be out in the open, and I'm taking the time to redo it, it at least needs to be cute and kinda blend with the rest of the decor.

Originally I was going to get a dark gray fabric that would blend with my redone chairs but after I got to the store I found a great gray houndstooth and decided that was it!

At some point, I had a revelation-the legs of the iron don't have to be dark brown (b-o-r-i-n-g), so why not spray paint them something fun?? Off the the hardware store!


Inside while the primer and paint were drying, I used the old batting as a template for my new batting.  I want the board to be really cushy, so I sandwiched 4 layers of cotton batting between muslin and sewed it up.  To prevent it from shifting during future washing, I sewed 3 times around the edge, catching the batting in the seams.  The batting is prewashed 100% cotton needled batting from Joann's, 72 x 90 inches.

Then I used the old cover as a template for my new houndstooth one.  I cut that out, and right sides together, sewed bias tape around the edges for an elastic casing.

I want the cover and the batting to be separate, in case I want to replace the cover in the future, then I don't have to buy more batting.

After getting the bias strip on, I threaded 1/4" elastic through the bias casing, tested it on the board, then closed it up.

And all together!

I absolutely love the finished board and it looks so pretty in the space!  

Disclaimer:  I used a primer and spray paint suitable for metal.  The spray paint got a chance to set for at least 24 hours, and hopefully *crossing fingers* that is enough that when opening and closing the iron it doesn't scratch off.  We'll see... 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

please have a seat

Don't you just love to complete something that's been nagging at you for a while?  This project has been on my case for over 2 years.  TWO YEARS! I mean, we even moved and it still wasn't finished. 

I got these chairs from my great aunt Evelyn, they had been in her house since before I was born.  I figuring they are mid-century.

Before, they had this old tweed on them and as I discovered, no support underneath the seat.  Not sure how that happened...

Seats removed

Aunt Evelyn was a pretty crafty lady and had re-covered them at some point, but her and the family all smoked in the house (ick), you know, how people used to do, and they were desperate for a little love.

I removed the first layer of tweed fabric and found this reddish fabric with gold threads on the back and the green on the bottom. But as you can see, damn gross inside.

Sanded down the seats

And after stained them really dark

I don't have pictures of it, but I wove upholstery webbing on the bottom and attached it with industrial staples.  Then I covered the seats with a bunch of batting for cushion. 

I've had one of the chairs done for about a year, but the 2nd one had been sitting *almost* finished since then.

Poor thing, just hanging out undone

So now, after my bombshell dress I decided I needed something easy to take on.  And after all is said and done...

And with it's mate :)

I got this Ikea fabric as a gift 4 years ago and could never decide what to do with it.  I love, love, love it on these chairs!  

I made the pattern in muslin from the old fabric then traced it on the Ikea fabric.  I used a fusible interfacing, but next time I'll underline for added strength.  Hope it lasts, haha, cause obviously I don't love upholstery projects considering how long this took.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I've said it before and I'll say it again-I should never sew with a deadline-will I ever learn my lesson??  I got it into my head that I needed, needed, to make the Bombshell dress with Gertie for a friends wedding.  The wedding was this past weekend.  Needless to say,  I did finish, but not without a couple casualties.  I blew off my friends, housework (and husband a little) to make and finish (yay!) this damn dress. HOURS upon hours spent sewing, hunched over.  I won't even show you the aftermath to the sewing area and living room.  I'm even ashamed. 

Luckily I have a "top drawer" husband who granted me the time and space to sew my little heart out.  

The wedding was in Big Bear, CA, a couple hours away, and I must say, was so lovely!  We stayed on the lake, the weather was perfect and it was fun to see a new place.

And the wedding was the sweetest,  I cried my eyes out!  But it was the good crying, interspersed with bursts of laughter at all the funny stories.  I can't imagine two people more suited for each other! Aren't they cute?

But, back to the dress.  I did make my own wedding dress (almost 4 years ago), and it was complicated, but this dress seems now, to be the most complicated thing I've ever sewn.  Did I mention it took me forever?

I'll spare you the muslin shots, cause they're a little skimpy. I even added a full inch to the top of the bustline and around the back.  I took cues from this lovely dress maker, here.  I couldn't imagine if I hadn't how R rated it would've been, ha. Here's the bodice, pre-lining. And I've catch stitched all the facings down, inserted the padding, and clipped my seams.

Here's the lining fabric, boning inserted (giggle)

When I got to the hemming (my least favorite part of dress making) I realized I had forgotten to buy any seam binding.  I had a great aunt who was a total depression era/make do and mend kinda lady.  When she passed a few years back, I was lucky enough to get her sewing paraphernalia.  I dug through her sewing box and found my seam binding! Can you imagine paying only 19 cents for a notion?  Thanks Aunt Evelyn! (I'll have to talk more about her at some point, she deserves her own post!)

Here's the finished inside, black polka dot bodice lining and waist stay.   I skipped the zipper guard, cause well, it just didn't seem to need it, and so far, so good.  I just love the polka dot inside.  I also really like the waist stay, so brilliant for strapless dresses.

California gets chilly at night, even during the summer, and being in the mountains, I figured it would get even chillier, especially for early fall.  The wedding started at 3, but it was outside and the reception in a tent next to it.  I needed a jacket.  I had great dreams of making a bolero or short  jacket, and even picked out a pattern, Simplicity 2250.  I bought the main and lining fabric.
However, I just ran out of time.  I bought RTW.  Don't judge please.
The problem was, even though it was my size, it was still too big.  So I chopped it all up.  I unpicked the bottom and part of the side lining, took in the side seams by an inch and shortened it by about 4 inches, then reattached the lining. Unfortunately, I was so time crunched, I just didn't have time to snap pictures.  A jacket re-do sounds like a good future post, too!

It started getting dark at the wedding before we could get a bunch of good photos, so I recreated the look at home :) Not a fan of this picture of myself, but I had to throw in the Ozzie shot, he insisted.

Back to the lake, chasing the sun

And it's gone

Congrats again Claire and Joey!