Saturday, December 18, 2010

I won, I won!

Sew Mama Sew coordinated a Giveaway event in which bloggers participated by offering a handmade prize to be won. There were HUNDREDS of blogs participating with unbelievably generous prizes! I entered many of them and when I checked my email this morning, was thrilled to find out I was a winner!

I was the winner of an adorable leather / cotton wristlet (see it here!) created by Gabrielle of Tiny Apartment Crafts. I can't wait to see which version come to live with me. Thanks again, Gabrielle. I'm glad I found your blog and look forward to seeing new creations from you!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Butterick 5523 - Two Toned Dress

12/9//2010 Edited to add a modeled dress.Next up on my Sewcation was a dress. For some reason, cowl necklines are calling out to me lately. I picked up this pattern, Butterick 5523,

during a 99 cent sale and then tried to find the right fabric. There are two beautiful versions at Pattern Review that looked fantastic. They were both done in a single color but I still like the two-toned version shown on the pattern envelope. When I saw this two sided knit fabric in Hancock's, I thought it would be perfect. It's a heavier, stable knit. I think it is considered a ponte knit.

This pattern was quite an easy sew. Sizing was good except the sleeves ended up too short. I wanted long sleeves but the cut edge ended just at my wrist - i.e. no room to hem. I really didn't want a 3-quarter length sleeve so I came up with the idea of using the contrast color to make a cuff. I love how it turned out. The other two reviews mentioned the length of the dress was short so I added 2" to mine. Turned out the length would have been just fine for me and I ended up with a 3.5" hem. I could have shortened it but I thought the weight of the hem would be good for this heavier knit. I love the pleat in the sleeve. I actually sewed down the sleeve pleat as well as the pleats in the skirt. I just like that look better. I also opted to gather the back rather than do the pleats as both reviewers said they didn't care for the pleats in the back. The "cowl" is more structured than a typically floppy cowl due to the weight of the fabric but I think it makes the dress look more professional (i.e. business professional.)

I'm happy with my new dress and plan to debut it at a meeting on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

JoAnn Fabrics is evil - Forgive my Rant

I am so annoyed!!! I received an email from JoAnn Fabrics at 1:30 am yesterday inviting me to a "One Day Only Web Exclusive Sale + FREE shipping - No Minimum Purchase". I have been wanting to replace my cutting mats and lo and behold they had three different versions of self-healing mats in the size I needed (24" x 36") and they were all 50% off! Hallelujah! Those suckers are expensive so I was quite excited.

I spent a little time comparing the different mats and finally made my selection. But shoot, my first choice was backordered with no rainchecks offered during this one-day sale. Oh well, "no worries," I thought and I selected option # 2. Hmmm, it was also backordered with no rain checks. So I cautiously selected option # 3. YUP! You guessed it. Also backordered. Un-freakin-believable.

But being a glutton for punishment, I thought, "what the heck, I'll replenish my rotary blades and pick up some other supplies during this good sale." But alas, nine of the twelve items I selected (all on sale) were backordered. I was quite pissed and fired off a nasty email.

I never received a response but this morning I did receive emails that indicated four of the backordered items were back in stock including two of the three mats that I mentioned. Free shipping was still available on orders over $35 so I thought, no harm. I'll go ahead and order the items and still not pay shipping. You know where I'm headed, right? ALL the items that miraculously became available just hours after the one-day sale were now full price.

I will still take advantage of JoAnn's 99 cent pattern sales, which I presume is a loss leader for them but I am DONE buying other sewing and craft supplies from them. Their fabric is horrendous, customer service is atrocious and craft selection is abysmal. I try to buy from independent vendors anyway (I am the QUEEN of online purchases) but this just sealed the deal for me.

JoAnn Fabric, you should be ashamed of such evil business practices, especially this time of year!

(FYI, I found the evil Santa photo here. It captured my thoughts about JF perfectly!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

McCalls 5857 shorts

I read a review on someone's blog a year or so ago that this pattern (McCalls 5857) is a great basic. And after making two pair this weekend, I have to agree! Somehow, my shorts and pants are all a little ...ahem.... snug these days. And I'm getting a little tired of leaving them unhooked under my t-shirt (Come on... don't pretend like you've never done that!!!) With another trip to Florida planned for right after Christmas, I decided I needed some basic shorts.

I used some stretch twill from my stash and a couple zippers from a huge assortment I purchased off ebay a few years ago. I never thought I would be able to use bright colored 6" zippers - who knew?!! I ended up with a cuffed pair in tan and a hemmed pair in olive. I plan to also make a brown and black pair and I'll have a great set in basic colors.

I am very pleased with this pattern. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have never made a lapped zipper until now. I tried one time years ago and couldn't get it. The instructions in this pattern were so clear cut, I'm disappointed I never tried again until now. I see some new pants in my future!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Finally.... A Sewcation!!!

I am always so envious to read on blogs or Facebook when someone ends up with a free weekend to sew to their heart's content. This was one of those weekends when the stars aligned...
  • Harley Dude was out of town
  • No kid commitments
  • No social commitments
  • No work overflow
  • Home from work early on Friday
So, guess what I did? Yup, I threw on the sweatpants and took on lots and lots of sewing, some cooking and a little home spruce-up, too. Here are the results:
  1. Sewing Projects: sewed 2 pair shorts, one scrunchie scarf (will be soliciting opinions on this in a subsequent post), a dress, and a tunic top; hemmed two pair pants and a skirt; cut out another top; and pre-shrank 6 pieces of wool (more about that in another post). I'll review projects over the next few days.
  2. Cooking: Honey Garlic Chicken (adapted from this), Turkey Breast with cranberry onion sauce (crockpot), coffee cake (Krusteaz mix - OMG AWESOME!), Honey BBQ meatloaf (email me if you want the recipe - I've been making this for 15 years and it's fantastic.)
  3. Home: Painted walls and trim in guest room (and by the way, THIS is the best thing invented since sliced bread. Cuts the time to paint doors, baseboards by a fraction!)
Finally, Christmas... Although I didn't do any shopping this weekend, somehow I'm about 75% done. Lots of online purchases plus a daughter who LOVES to shop who has picked up a bunch of stuff for me. My favorite present so far is a woven blanket for my parents that I had made at Snapfish that incorporates some family photos . See below for a comparison between the original photo and the blanket. I was AMAZED at how well it turned out! (Excuse the wonky display of the blanket; no one was home so I improvised with the pantry door.) And Snapfish has had some great 25% and 30% off deals so if you're interested, I highly recommend them. Oh... the blanket arrived 3 business days after ordering!

It was so wonderful to not leave my house the entire weekend. Monday is going to be especially hard this week!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pajama Party

I love homemade jammies! Over the last month or two, I have made a few sets. First up, is the bathrobe for Florida (McCall's 5534) that I have reworked three times now. I settled on plain long sleeves (after trying ruffled sleeves and cuffed sleeves) and I think I finally have it right! Fabric is a stretch terry from JoAnn's.

I made up a little pair of shorts with the leftover terry fabric and paired it with an Old Navy t-shirt (hard to beat $5 t-shirts and tanks for pajama tops!) for summer jammies.

This set has flannel pants and a knit top made from Simplicity 4706. Can you tell I photographed them after I wore them?! (Made from stash fabric.)

Finally, I made a pair of knit pants* out of a great tie dye fabric from and paired it with a tank from Simplicity 4076. I was using up the leftover turquoise knit and didn't have enough for sleeves so I made it a tank and edged the neckline and sleeves with picot edged lingerie elastic. I purchased the trim from Sew Sassy and can't recommend them enough for lingerie supplies. Quality of products is excellent, selection is good, prices are great and shipping was very fast - I received my order in less than a week.

Why all these pajamas are turquoise is a mystery to me. Although I love the color, I didn't set out to do all turquoise! LOL.

* Ok, I confess, what you are seeing in the photo is leftover fabric not the actual knit pants. I was too lazy to go upstairs and get the pants when I was taking pictures.

McCall's 6164

I am in serious need of some new tops and have admired various versions of McCall's 6164 so I whipped one up for myself. It was a very quick project and the sleeve construction is very clever. I made View A and would like to also try View D and maybe E or F.