Archive for June, 2009



SWAP Sewing: Bias Trimmed Linen Skirt.

I had the linen in my pile all along, but wasn’t sure what to do with it.  I didn’t want a plain-old skirt, as I already have on I made out of khaki poplin a couple years ago.  As I was thinking about how to jazz up my linen, my eye fell on the little bits of bias trim left over from the other sewing I’d done for SWAP, and I knew I had the answer.  I took a simple a-line skirt silhouette, and added pockets trimmed with bias.  The waistband casing contains elastic and a gingham ribbon as a drawstring.  The patchwork style bias trim along the hem adds a bit of color and ties in with many of the tops I made for SWAP without overdoing the matchy-matchy bit.

SWAP Sewing: Tree Applique Tee

This is another piece of my SWAP that wasn’t part of the original plan, but it evolved so beautifully I had to include it.  I picked up this lovely blue organic cotton jersey during one of my shopping trips at the local JoAnn’s.  It was on clearance, and the sale was half off the clearance price.  To top it off, there were 34 inches left on the bolt, so it was priced as a remnant.  No sewing mama in her right mind could turn that down!  I bought it and brought it home where it went through the wash, and was folded with the other knit fabrics waiting to be sewn for swap.  Seeing my color pallatte together inspired me to make this applique.

This jersey is thin and soft, and has a nice drape like a vintage tee.  I detailed the hems and neckband with reverse coverstitching.

The tree has stitched texture along the trunk, and the leaves are each sewn on with a single line of stitching in the middle, leaving the edges free to curl a bit.  All the applique bits are knits, and the edges are left raw.

SWAP Sewing: Striped Sleeveless Blouse

Of all the pieces in my swap, I am super proud of this one.  I had a lot of shirting left from making the skirt, and was on a roll with the sewing, so I decided to use the rest of it to make a blouse.  Sleeveless blouses use surprisingly little fabric.  I incorporated the green gingham from my tunic in the facings.  The front patch pockets are cut on the bias.  As I neared completion, I dug into the button box and came out with nine (count ‘em) matching blue buttons.  Luck was on my side.  Considering my aversion to matchiness (seriously, I don’t think that’s a real word, but I’m using it anyway) I chose to sew the buttons on with lime green thread.  I think it really adds to the couture style of the blouse.

SWAP Sewing: Yoga Waist Skirt

Do you recognize this fabric?  Yes, it’s from E’s Easter dress last year.  I was looking through my fabrics to see what else I had that matched my SWAP color scheme, and this one jumped out at me.  I adore this print, and used practically every inch of it to make this skirt.  The cotton/lycrayoga style waistband is super comfortable, too!  I wore it to church last week, and as expected, E. put on her dress to match mommy.  We were saved from total family matchiness due to the fact that A. had gotten dressed before she saw me wearing this skirt.

SWAP Sewing: Shirred Waist Skirt

This is one of my SWAP items that didn’t turn out quite like I planned.  I had this idea to make a garment that could be worn as a dress or a skirt, with a “waistband” that could be worn around the bust.  You can see in my sketch that it has ties that fasten the center front, or could be tied halter-style.  The idea was great (and still is, someday I may resurrect it), however the execution was flawed.  I cut the pieces how I imagined they needed to be, with the skirt on the bias for added interest.  I put the waistband on, tried it….and it wasn’t good.  I took it apart and tried again….still not quite there.  And I gave up, cut off the top, did some rolled hems and added rows of shirring to make a simple skirt.  I do like the skirt, and have worn it a couple times.  But I’ll always know it didn’t turn out how it was supposed to turn out.

SWAP Sewing: Ruffle Front Tank

The lettuce edges on this top seemed like they went on forever!  But, I think it was worth the extra effort.  The fabric on this one is a rayon/lycra jersey that had been waiting for just the right project.

To make the ruffles along the front, I split the pattern piece and cut the front in 6 panels.  Then, I lettuced the edges of each panel, and stitched them wrong-sides-together.  The neck and are trimmed with a lettuce edged binding, and the hem is done with – you guessed it – more lettuce edging.

My confession:  I didn’t count on the ruffles being turned backwards in the end, and out of habit sewed the pieces with right sides together.  So, I ended up with the jersey inside out.  Now you know.

SWAP Sewing: Printed Jersey Tunic

When I saw this printed knit, I knew it was just right for one of the tees in my swap.  Printed knits are hard to find, especially ones that are not too juvenile, and this one had just the colors I was looking for.  Since the print was busy, I needed a simple silhouette.

I used turquoise picot edge elastic trim at the neck and arms.

SWAP Sewing: Olive Capri Pants

Okay, these weren’t on my original drawing.  You caught me!  But I think I’m going to sneak them into my SWAP because I like them so much.  Maybe they’ll replace the black french terry gauchos with the ruched waist (that I haven’t made yet).  This was my first try at “real pants” for me.  And I’d call it a success.  I learned a lot in the process, and know what changes to make with the next pair.

I used an olive cotton ripstop fabric with a touch of lycra for stretch.  I got it at JoAnn’s and it was crazy cheap, regular price was $4.99/yard, and it was on sale for half off.  So, the fabric for these cost me a whopping five bucks.  The weight is okay, nice for summer, but a bit lighter than I’d like for winter bottom  weight fabric.  I really like the ripstop texture, as it gives these a sportier look.  I’ll admit, I went back to JoAnn’s and picked up more of this fabric in khaki and dark olive.

The pattern I used is #13 in Ottobre 2/2008, which is shown as wide leg linen pants.  I shortened them to a capri length that falls just below my knee.  The biggest issue I had with the pattern was the fit.  I chose a size based on my measurements, then traced and cut.  As I was sewing, I tried on and realized that they were too big, so I took in the seams to make them smaller.  I really feel I could have gone down two sizes on the pattern and been just fine.  I’m not sure how much of that has to do with the fact that the fabric has a little stretch, though.  The fit is comfortable, but I prefer a lower waist than is show in this style, so if I were to make this pattern again, I’d lower the waist by at least an inch.  Of course, this is a personal preference rather than an issue with the pattern itself.

I have to say I’m insanely proud of how well the zipper fly came out on these pants.  It is practically perfect and lies nicely flat.  I guess I have an aversion to sewing using the “right” color of thread, because I stitched these up with contrasting baby blue thread.  I went a little crazy with the bar-tacks on these as well, but I feel like the added details make them look less “homemade”.  Once again, I used a pretty piece of gingham ribbon as a tag, sewn into the back waistband.

The details continue on the back with patch pockets.  I added belt loops on these after they were done out of necesity, since they are a tad too big.  But, I’ve worn them many times since I made them, so the size issue hasn’t kept me from enjoying them.  This has been a huge step for me, getting past the fear of sewing pants for myself.

Fresh Local Produce.

Yesterday I picked up my first box of the season.

This year, our family is part of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Each Thursday, I stop by a storefront in town and pick up a box of the freshest local fruits and vegetables.  This weeks box included strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, spinach and mixed greens.  Our CSA also included a newsletter with information about the farms and recipes.  Check out the localharvest website to find a CSA near you!

SWAP Sewing: Floral Peasant Top

I promise, this is one of those tops that looks so much cuter on a person than it does on a hanger.  Really.  Maybe some day I’ll get Hubby to snap a modeled picture so I can prove it to you.

I used this tutorialto make the pattern for this top.  I did change the back neckline to sit a bit higher than the front neckline, though, which necesitated changing the sleeve piece as well.  After I made a tester top, I felt like that was an important change, and I’m happy that I did it.  I used elastic shirring at the neck, arms and waist.  I really love the fabric I used for this top, it’s by Robert Kaufman, part of his “London Calling” collection.  It’s a lawn, lightweight without being sheer, with a lovely soft drape.



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