Let’s Sew!

sewcialIf you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, I hope you can join me tomorrow night, June 7th, to sew-sew-sew for the orphans in Vietnam. I will be bringing along patterns for bucket hats for adults and toddlers, the lovely Popover Sundress (that’s the dresses they’re sporting so sweetly in the pic above), and some generic shorts.

Thomas Knauer kindly donated twenty (!) pounds of fabric and we’ll be cutting into that. Modern Domestic has offered the space, machine and tools. All I need from you is a little time and a spool of neutral (grey, cream) thread.

Sew Em Be Charity Sew-cial 
Modern Domestic – 1408 NE Alberta St. 
June 7    5-8 p.m.

Thank you, Thomas.

peartreeI first heard of Thomas Knauer back in 2011 when he was releasing his first line with Andover. It was a lovely collection called “Pear Tree” and I remember seeing him in Houston at Quilt Market carrying a bag he had made out of this lovely large-scale partridge-in-a-pear-tree print. I was too shy to say anything, but seeing the fabric in-person sealed the deal.

I was sold on his designs.

The colors are what really get me and I wish I had the art background to explain what it is that makes them so appealing to me. The yellows aren’t bright yellow, the oranges are just slightly different than one would expect and the greens make me swoon. I adore his use of simplicity and repetition while not making the fabrics basic and boring. I bought bits of Pear Tree and Savanna Bop, and Thesaurus has been on my t0-buy list since he posted that he was doing a word-themed fabric.

Not only is Thomas a wonderful fabric designer, he also does quilt patterns and does an astounding job at it. And not only that, he is one of the most honest people you’ll meet. So when he promised he’d send me fabric to make clothes for the Tam Ky orphans, I knew he would.

And on Monday, he did.

20130501-071806.jpgStacked on my couch it measured 39 inches high, more fabric than I could have imagined he would send. I was, and am still, awed.

So now I am planning a sewing day at Modern Domestic and hopefully one or two more. There’s no way I can do this alone, I need my sewing and quilting friends more than ever. [Portland peeps–I’m looking at you!] But I cannot wait. I am already planning which fabric for shorts, which for dresses and pulling others to make coverlets for the beds.

Thank you, Thomas, for your support and generosity. I owe you one.

Giving a Little Gift of Love {guest post}

I want to thank Teresa for the opportunity to sew for the orphans of Tam Ky, Vietnam. I’m Mary Striegel and when I’m not working as a chemist for the National Park Service, I’m teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls to sew.  The girls are part of the Girls in Action mission group of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana.  The Girls in Action, or GA’s as they are called, are learning to open their hearts and make a difference in the lives of others through God’s love.

GA’s stitching up diapers with the help of Jessica Guidry.

I’ve been teaching girls to sew for almost 10 years. When I read about Teresa’s Sewing for Orphans project, I thought that this might be the perfect project for our girls.  The five young ladies are bright and enthusiastic about learning and this was a way for me to teach them about Vietnam and the needs of the children there.  They jumped at the chance to make diapers for the babies.

Emily Mackey concentrates on the sew width.
This is Mary Katherine Hickman first time sewing and she loves it!

The GA’s weren’t alone in their desire to help.  This summer I had the chance to teach some women of church to sew.  When they learned about the project they wanted to do their share.  The Sewing for Orphan’s project was infectious…I placed a call for seamstresses and soon had a group of nine members ranging in age from 7 to 70 ready to sew.

Linda McKee was handy with boys shorts (and the seam ripper!).

We met on Saturday morning and shared laughter and joy while making pillowcase and popover dresses.  Some of the sewists had never used a serger, but they whipped out more diapers. Others fashioned boys shorts out of men’s tee shirts.  By the end of our sewing session, we had completed 16 dresses, 9 pairs of shorts and 22 diapers!!!

Jason Gray finishes a pillowcase dress.

More importantly we gave a bit of love from our hearts to the children of the Tam Ky Orphanages.  Thank you, Teresa for the chance to show we care.

And really, I cannot thank you and your crew enough, Mary. It has been so amazing to me to have so many people join me in my efforts to do something special for the orphans in Tam Ky. Thank you, again!

Share your pics on Flickr, pretty please


As donations start showing up in my mailbox (thank you! thank you!) I thought it would be awfully nice if sewists could upload their own pics of their creations and we could all connect via Flickr.

If you’re on Flickr, please connect with me (crinkledreams) and join the Sewing for Orphans group so we can share posts, pics and links.

See you there!

Oh my. The word is spreading!

First I found this and it made me pretty happy to see folks were re-pinning and posting about my little sewing drive:

Then I got a comment from Trinh saying that she’d found out about the sewing drive thanks to a post on Rashida‘s blog. Rashida? As in I Heart Linen‘s Rashida?  I had to check it out. And sure enough… she did!

Squeal! I cannot thank her (or Shelly or Kim or PMQG) enough!

I am awed, really.

(If you’re new to this project and want to get involved, you can join in on the sewing or donate cash–just email me and let me know!)

How to Make: Popover’s bias straps and hem

So we got the Oliver + S Popover Sundress side seams finished and added the yoke, now we get to finish it off.

Now time to do the bias straps. You can do them with self-fabric or be justifiably lazy and use 1/2″ double-old bias tape. I bought a bias tape maker not too long ago and will be trying that out on the next dress. For this one, I just followed the directions.

Fold the bias strap in half lengthwise, then in half again, on one side only.


I followed their directions, but also added a step. The stretch of the bias and the stretch of the underarm curve made for some frustration for me. I had to re-do it on one side and decided to just stay-stitch to avoid the double stretch.


How to Make: Start the Popover Sundress

finished Popover dressI wanted to find a quick and easy pattern for the orphans’ dresses, so when I found this one from Oliver+S, I thought it might just be the one. I’ve used their new Straight Stitch Society patterns [did I really not take any photos?!] and really love the way they put them together and explain the construction. I figured same people, different name–it’ll be good.

I was right, the Popover Sundress pattern is quick to assemble, the instructions are easy to follow along and it’ll sell you on their patterns.

The pattern is a downloadable which means you are going to have to tape it together to get the full-size pieces. Normally, I hate this and refuse to do it. For the sake of this project, including being able to share it all with you, I did it. I pulled out the clear tape, lined up the grids and taped it together. Just because I did it this once, don’t be expecting me to do it much more. I’ll take tissue paper patterns any day.

Anyway, you end up with three pieces: dress, yoke and ties. They also give you a matching pattern for a doll dress, which I may have to do with my scraps. We’ll just have to wait and see.


Getting started on some orphan dresses

So I got this fabric about a month ago. I’d ordered from Strawberry Patches, three yards of it to make a wrap dress with. Well, I thought I ordered the red version of Darlene Zimmerman‘s Betty Dear fabric. This pink is what showed up. I emailed Suzanne at the shop and she took care of everything asap, sending me what was left in the red. (Not as much as I had hoped for, but enough to make this Joel Dewberry pattern!)

I wasn’t sure what to do with this pink version. Three yards of a fabric I would never wear. And then I realized, I can use it for the orphans! Duh.

The pattern I used is a downloadable pattern from Oliver + S, scaled from size 2 to 8 in one pattern piece. You just print it out, tape the pages together and -bam- super simple sundress!


Sewing for Orphans

One of the projects that I’ve really wanted to do for a long time is to have things made for the orphans in Tam Ky. I’ve made a few things and we’ve been lucky enough to have people donate clothes, toys, books and money that we brought along on our last two trips to the orphanages.

But I always wanted to make it bigger than me just sewing a few things for a handful of kids. That’s where you come in.

Affectionately known as The Tinies, we worked with them at the Home of Affection.

As part of our Pho for Three fundraiser, I’m heading up a charity sewing drive to get quality, handmade items to these kids I love so much. There are five things, in particular, that I’m asking for: shorts, dresses, messenger bags, pencil pouches and simple diapers. Depending on your time, sewing abilities, spare fabric, etc. you can pick whichever one you want to make. With more than 100 kids ranging from newborn to 17 years old, there’s plenty of opportunity to help.


cozy textures & uncommon mirth