Buttonhole Trickiness

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I had a few minutes today to try out some test buttonholes on the embroidered cotton I am making into BWOF 05-2009-114. The buttonholes are in the bodice and are the exit points for the drawstring that snugs in the empire waist.

Of course, my machine and button-hole foot did not like the embroidered cotton that I was working on. As you can see below, the machine had a lot of trouble feeding the fabric through and I was trying to help it along, but inevitably, it would skip a section.

Then I tried making the button hole without using the button hole foot. I put tissue paper between the fabric and the feed dogs. This worked pretty well, except that my sides of the button hole overlapped a tad so the stitches ripped when I tried to cut open the hole.

I was about to struggle with the previous method since it resulted in a skip-free buttonhole, but then I had an inspiration. Why not try putting tissue paper between the feed dogs and the fabric AND between the fabric and the buttonhole foot? This worked brilliantly.

In the photo below, you can see (kind-of) that the tissue is attached to both sides of the fabric.

Now I just need to make a template for the two buttonholes on tissue paper, pin it into the correct position on the bodice, stick a piece of tissue under the fabric and let'er rip! Yay!

Handkerchiefs are Done!

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Now I just need to find a box to ship them (and a few other things) to Catherine and Michael. Hooray! I've got a quick trip to Dressew tomorrow and then I am diving into cutting fabric!

I also just updated my recent creations at Burdastyle. A neighbour of mine saw me yesterday and mentioned that she had seen a skirt that I made on Burdastyle. Fun!

My New Project Line-Up

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In this blurry photo, you see a bench with my next FIVE sewing projects. (Excepting, of course, the handkerchiefs that Catherine and Michael won that I still haven't finished. I will sew them before I make another single stitch.)

From left to right: McCall's 5064, BWOF 05-2009-114, BWOF 05-2007-124, Jalie 2682, and McCall's 5860. (The one without a link is not in the archives yet.)

They are all traced, cut out, and have seam lines drawn in for tissue fitting. (I won't tissue fit the Jalie top, however.) The two BWOF patterns have tape around the curves and the curves are clipped. (I will do that to the McCall's patterns, too.)

And now for the lovelies! All of this fabric I purchased in Portland during the Pattern Review Weekend. Clockwise from the top right:
First, a lime green and a charcoal grey cotton jersey for the Jalie top (the green will be sleeveless, the charcoal will be long sleeved).
A brown rayon-linen blend for the swing coat and a bamboo print for the lining (the fabric is made of bamboo, too).
Next there is a large, bright floral quilting cotton by Alexander Henry for the McCall's jacket with a bright yellow to underline it.
Then there is a bright pink cotton eyelet by Anne Klein for the BWOF spaghetti strap dress with a pale pink batiste for lining.
And finally (but first on my sewing list), a bright blue/aqua embroidered crinkly cotton for the other BWOF (that you can't see).

I am pretty excited about this project line up and the sewing challenges represented here.

The Pattern Review Weekend was a lot of fun and terribly encouraging. I was able to meet two people whose blogs I regularly read, and spend some time with lots of other quality people. Hopefully I'll get copies of some of the pictures taken and will be able to post them.

One More Thing Before I Go...

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A little friend of ours is turning four. Lucy suggested that we make him a superhero cape. (I have made three other dress-up capes for little friends turning four, but this one takes the cake.) Our little friend's name begins with a T.

Here is Lucy modeling the reversible dress-up cape. One side is "Knights in Shining Armor" and the other side is "Superhero/Spaceman". Everyone had artistic input - particularly on the Superhero/Spaceman side. Many opinions on design and colour choice were given and considered.

Here is a close-up of the collar piece. I shamelessly copied the collar from one of the dress-up capes at our local drop-in centre.

I like to try new sewing techniques or fabrics whenever I can - particularly when I am revisiting something I have done in the past. There were many new things on this cape: I used princess satin, panne velvet, tissue lame, and foil. I used Wonder Under to help place the appliques. I used metalic thread and a metalic thread needle to stitch the gold and silver letters in place. And last (but not least) I used piping.

This was a very fun project and I am glad Lucy had the idea.

What Plan? Who Said I Wanted to Sew with a Plan?

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I made my first BWOF pattern! It's #105 from the March issue.

I made it because I need something to wear in Portland when it is 80 F and I am fabric shopping! Woo hoo! I leave this afternoon for the Pattern Review Weekend in Portland.

One problem with the skirt. I couldn't find finished garment measurements anywhere for the pattern, so I went by the body measurements. The skirt is a bit too big in the waist. I tried it on numerous times, and I thought it was going to fit more snugly, but then it didn't. I am not pulling hard on the fabric below.

I want to SWAP

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SWAP means Sew With A Plan. Basically, make a few items that go together and be coordinated to make different outfits.

I need to do more pattern research, but I am thinking that I would like to make:

  • a pair of skinny capris (stretch woven -I don't know that I am ready to make pants yet)
  • a tunic or two (in an airy woven material and an airy knit)
  • a knit dress (with ruching across the abdomen - I know I've seen one somewhere)
  • a couple of knit sleeveless tops
  • a trumpet skirt (I have Simplicity 5914 as does my slapdash hero)
  • and a jacket (something soft like a hoodie, but with edgy structure - perhaps motorcycle or military styling)
  • and maybe a couple pair of capri-length leggings (or I could just buy those somewhere).

(Of course, this list would take me nearly a year to finish at my current rate of sewing, but I like having Big Plans.)

As for colours, I think I would like to use both a coral and an aqua and perhaps a couple of neutrals like charcoal grey and honey brown (although I'm not certain that a honey brown would go with coral and aqua). I think these colours look good on me.

Anyway, I am heading to the Pattern Review Weekend in Portland (land of no sales tax) and will have the opportunity to shop for fabric, so I want to have some sort of plan before I come home with loads of crazy stuff.

All thoughts are appreciated. (I love comments!)

Oh and in the midst of all of my looking around at patterns online I found this coat pattern from Hot Patterns. Very nice.

Pink Bird Dress Completed and Worn!

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Here I am head to toe at my friend's house. Today Lucy's preschool had their annual Mother's Day Tea so I surprised Lucy by wearing my new dress and (more importantly to Lucy) my high heels. I dropped Clara off at my friend's house and asked her to snap this picture.

Here is a closer shot of the main parts of the dress. (I managed to cut my head off in every self-timed shot.)

The dress is fun to wear and fairly comfortable, though the weather today is far too chilly for a sleeveless, flared dress. I need to review this pattern at Pattern Review (and the Jalie top, too) soon.

(I'm thinking that a pair of Clarks or Naot heels are in my immediate future - these are ridiculously uncomfortable!)

Another Jalie Top!

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I got another top sewn yesterday. Hooray! I tried making the front neckline a bit smaller and I attached a piece of clear elastic about 1/2 inch shorter than the length of the front neckband to try to snug it up. I think it worked. I know my sewing is better on this second attempt at knits.


I thought I would also show the dessert I made for Peter's birthday party.

Dirt cups!

They are small plastic wine glasses with a few chunks of leftover chocolate cake in the bottom, covered with chocolate pudding, sprinkled with crumbled Oreos,
and decorated with a gummy worm shaped into a 6.
The kids thought they were great!

Actually Amusing T-Shirts


I go to Snorg Tees sometimes just to laugh at the clever things they print on t-shirts and hoodies. Some are quite clever. Others are simply amusing. (Warning! The previously linked site does carry t-shirts with sexual content.)

In sewing news, Wednesday is my sewing day. I have two t-shirts cut out and I have my dress pinned and ready to hem. Hopefully all three will be finished by tomorrow afternoon. On Thursday evening my friend is coming over for an introduction to sewing lesson. Fun!

My Boy is Six


Six years ago my life completely changed.

About a week old

Six years old

It's crazy, but good.

Happy Birthday, Peter!

The happy little cake eaters...

And Clara thinks Peter is a jolly good fellow...


This week, in addition to turning six, Peter was in his school's original production, Stories of the Water Project. There's a short video here describing the project.

Below are photos from the finale - an entire school number. I love large groups of small children trying to stay focused on singing. I've blurred out the faces a bit, but you can still see how much random activity is happening. Itchy knees, shirt tags needing to be fixed, etc. Of course Peter noticed the flash and shot me a look.