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Remember that Rooibos Sewalong?

I barely do and I’m the one who was so gung-ho about it. Of course, that was two months ago and everyone else has long ago finished their dress. I just started on my muslin version of the Rooibos pattern last Saturday morning. The kids weren’t up yet so I had time to lay out white fabric across the floor without any “oops! sorry, mom” incidents.

One little complaint is that I didn’t love the way there are so many sizes on one pattern. On a few pieces they split it up by sizes. Like the Bodice Front, for example, has one piece that is size 0-8 and another that is 10-18. This makes following your size’s cutting line a whoooole lot easier than when size 0-18 are on one piece. I just did a little guess and go on that mass of cutting lines and hoped for the best. {shrug} It worked.

I didn’t have time to sew it on Saturday, but thanks to a bout of insomnia yesterday, I finally got to stitch the muslin. I did a full-on version of it, just didn’t finish seams or back-stitch and the dress took me just about an hour to make. Sweet.

The super awesome thing about it? It actually fits really well, right out of the box. I will have to make a couple small adjustments–the back dart is weird and sticks out like a bust dart on my back. Fixed that little oddity. And then I’ll be adding six whole inches to the hem line so I can do a more than 5/8″ seam as suggested and so it will hit my knee when I’m standing. But that’s it. Two little changes.

Bring on the linen! I need a new love and I think Colette Pattern‘s Rooibos dress is gonna be it.

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(Sew Darn) Cute Crochet Cozy

You may be familiar with Jenny Ryan’s name if you read CRAFTzine.com. She wrote the book Sew Darn Cute back in 2009, but the date isn’t so important, the projects are still absolutely adorable.They are quick and easy (great for beginners!) and I really, really wanted to try out the crochet hook cozy. Continue reading (Sew Darn) Cute Crochet Cozy

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Oh, Apron!

I have had a decade-long love affair with aprons, particularly those with a modern vintage feel. Thanks to the new job, I got to try out an Indygo Junction pattern. I had the bright circled trim fabric in my stash and then found this great (if old) Alexander Henry Japanese-themed print. I love the combo because they don’t quite fit.

This All-Day Apron style really appealed to me because it offers lots of coverage and it’s super-flattering. I adored the cover photos of it and when I was finished, well, I adore it in real life, too.

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And the back…

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There were a few little tricky bits and I made a few little changes (adding top-stitching to the apron skirt where the ruffle attaches, for one) and next time I’ll figure out a better, cleaner way of attaching the back straps. I don’t love the ‘just sew it on’ approach. Too many years of apron making vintage-style to take the lackadaisical way about it.The pattern instructions were a tad confusing when it came to attaching the trim, especially since there’s a real lack of sketches or images.

Overall, great pattern. Love the style, love the trimming and easy-on/easy-off, great coverage of it. I think I’ll be making another few.

Indygo Junction: All Day Apron
retails for $11.99
one size fits most
early intermediate sewing skills

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A Wonky Bag to Make

I get Stitch magazine because I love the projects they include. Granted I have more with Post-Its tacked to the page than I could ever find the time to make, but I keep on getting each issue. Love it.

The last included this funky messenger bag with a big ol’ hole for carrying on your shoulder or a longer strap if you just want to use the hole as a decorative touch on the flap. Personally, I prefer the off-kilter variation and decided to give it a shot. With a few changes.

I didn’t like the way the strips were made, making you piece all sorts of things and decided I would do it a bit differently. I also didn’t particularly like the long strap and wanted to make it with a shorter, hand-carrying strap.

I figured with my new job I could really use a new bag to transport to my composition notebook, magazines, books to review, and, not any less importantly, my lunch. I have plenty of heavy weight fabrics to choose from; an obsession with upholstery fabrics has give  me a bit of a stockpile. I ended up picking this black and white wool pattern (how would you describe it?) and a cotton sheet in red, black and white for the lining fabric. Sure, not typical lining fabric, but I’m okay with that.

I traced out the pattern from Stitch (I love that they have them in there like Burda has for years) and took to it on my own accord. I can’t tell you whether or not the pattern instructions were any good because I never read them. Sorry.

The outside is just two pieces (the one with the hole) and a panel/gusset that makes the bottom and side. I didn’t want to do all the funky piecing along the side, so instead I did just a little quilt-as-you-go style piecing with some back silk dupioni along the left of the front. For a while I debated how to integrate some red into it. I found these cute vintage button and tacked them on there, but I’d like to add something else, maybe a little stitching in red? We’ll see.

Putting it all together only took an hour or so, but all the clipping and grading of seams and double stitching them really added to the time before I could flip it over to really see how it looked.

Despite pressing and re-pressing with steam, the lining and outer fabric where just not laying right, so I went in through the lining hole that I’d cut (I left the hole in the woven wool uncut until necessary and stay-stitched it before that) and did a bit of understitching as far along the flap seams as I could. This made a huge difference and suddenly the flaps were lying flat.

After flipping, pressing and pinning the lining to the outer fabric, I stitched the two together at the hole, trimmed out the hole and used a cute red, white and black alphabet print that I bought down during my visit to Ashland.

Today I’m finishing up the hand-stitching, sewing the trim fabric to the lining and securing the lining to the bottom of the bag (it annoys me when it tugs up with use.

I think I’m gonna like it. Maybe enough to make another–might be a good way to put a tiny dent in my upholstery fabric stash.

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Where’s the party?

My friend had the book The Party Dress: How to Sew the Best Dress in the Room sitting on her dresser and I couldn’t help but pick it up. The cover dress was lovely enough but inside? Oh the dresses! I’m kind of a sucker for those frilly, poofy, ultra feminine get-ups and Mary Adams is the queen of making them. The spun sugar delicacy of all those ruffles just sucks me in every time and I can’t help but ogle them. I mean, really, check this beauty out…

Of course, I have no where to wear it, but the point (at least for me) is really just to oooh and ahhh over dresses that are this frilly. But Adams includes numerous variations on a theme in the book and there is inspiration galore. I love this version, which is totally wearable…

And the fact that she calls it an apron dress makes me even happier with it. I think I’d have to do it with a bit less in the petticoat department and probably a tad longer, but I’m seriously considering something similar. The Party Dress comes with a pattern and well-written sewing instructions, but with some experience, skills and the inspiration from her lovely pictures, it’ll be easy to manipulate the basic style into something much more interesting.

Check it out at Powell’s or Amazon.

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Exploring Ashland

I was asked late last week if I could chaperone my son’s high school when they went down to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (which is, btw, sort of a misnomer… there’s more than Shakespeare). I agreed and figured I could take the time to do some hand-sewing and explore Ashland for any fabric stores. I wasn’t even sure they’d have one, though in hindsight… of course, they do.

In fact, they had two shops downtown. Fabric of Vision (145 E. Main Street) is right on the, uh, main street of town and I stumbled onto it on my first full day there. Outside the shop, there’s a little sale rack that I sifted through until I was distracted by the phone call I’d been waiting for. So, the next day, I headed back and made it all the way inside. It’s a miracle I came out with any money left. They’ve managed to squeeze in more bolts of cloth than I would have expected in there, with a great range of books and ribbons and tools, to boot. Wonderful shop, really, and so much more than I expected. I managed to come out with just this adorable alphabet fat quarter, the latest issue of Stitch and a copy of Material Obsession, which I am totally obsessed by.

It wasn’t until the next day, when I finally pulled my nose out of Stitch that I found Quiltz (53 N. Second), just down the street and slightly behind Fabric of Vision. As you can imagine, the entire shop is focused on quilt-making with loads of designs and prints, and plenty of finished quilts to inspire new projects. I was so good in there, just looking and not buying. Until I hit that last rounder on my way out the door. But I saw this and just couldn’t stop myself.

Carolyn Gavin Spring Street fabric for P&B Textiles

Really, could you have resisted?! The whole line is absolutely adorable– with raindrop fabric, even. I managed to avoid the temptation of the other coordinating prints, but this one was too fantastic to leave behind. Just a bit of it had to be mine; it makes me smile every time I look at it.