Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Christmas in July

Since the end of July, I have been leading another semester of Journey Groups at my church. A Journey Group is a special interest group of people who get together for a common goal. Some goals are entertainment, socializing, Bible studies, exercise and whatever else instructor feels will bring the group together. In last two semesters I have led a group of Sewing for Starfish Kenya. We made pillowcase dresses and shorts for the children at an orphanage at the House of Hope. You can read more about it here.

After two successful semesters, I felt led to look for new organization we could work with. A friend introduced me to Supports Hope in Uganda. I thought we would make more dresses and shorts but, I wanted to be open to other options. I got in touch with my contacts to find out from them what would be most useful. I offered a list of fairly economical projects that we could offer and waited to hear back.

They requested stuffed animals to be used as Christmas presents for the children. What an awesome idea! I was happy to make clothing, but I was I got really excited about making stuffed animals. 

I have made Wacky Creatures using Mccall’s 5826 from my kids and they loved them. I thought this pattern would be a perfect candidate for my Journey Group. We have a wide range of ages and skills in this group. I thought this project was a good opportunity for the newbies to acquire sewing skills but also give those with advanced skills the opportunity to be creative with the design of the faces and embellishments.

There are 144 orphans who will receive these Wacky Creatures. We will construct them flat and leave an opening for them to be filled with available materials in Uganda. My contacts will work with the kids to stuff and close them, so they are a part of the process there.

We are five weeks in and our group is in full swing. We have cut all of the Wacky Creatures we need and are creatively and excitedly working on the embellishments and various face designs. 

We are having so much fun! We are laughing at our own silliness and the thought of the delight on the faces of the children when they receive them. Look at some of these designs!

We have a lot of work yet to do before we meet our goal. It is such a good time, I know we will get it all done.

Do you have an organization that can benefit from sewn projects for another semester of Journey Groups? Do you have ideas for other items to sew for charity? Please share in the comments below.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

That's a Wrap!

I am a champion multi-tasker. I love embroidery and hand-sewing. While doing stationary tasks, I'm usually  stitching something up. Some people find it difficult to have many plates spinning, but it keeps me sane. When I find clothing that can serve multiple purposes, I get really excited.

My vintage Simplicity 7497 reversible maxi wrap skirt is a wonderful pattern to do double duty.

This skirt requires 7 yards of fabric, three and a half for each side. I searched my stash and found this Robert Allen Baja Damask home dec fabric I was holding to make a maxi skirt.


For the flip side, I wanted a fabric of similar density and found an unused shower curtain in my stash. 


This pattern was very easy to sew. It was tedious at times however, because the seams are so long. I decided to use white cotton in my stash for the waist tie. I wanted it to look like two completely different skirts when worn.

Here is the completed skirt. I have it paired with a jersey halter, I reviewed here.



The wonder of this skirt, is that it can also be worn as a halter dress.

There are many other ways to wear a wrap skirt to get more versatility. Given that this is a double layer of medium weight cotton, my options are limited. I am in love with this great wardrobe builder. 

If you want to make your own, New Look 6215, Kwik Sew 2954, Mccalls 5430 are currently available patterns. There are others available on Etsy. Cut the pattern out twice, one in each fabric choice. Stitch the interior seams together. With right sides together, raw edges even, sew sides and bottom together leaving the top open for turning. Press and sew waist band as directed on your pattern. 

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lucky Me! Little One Yard Wonders!

Lucky, lucky, lucky me! This week I won a random giveaway on Pattern Review. The prize was the book Little One yard Wonders!

I own the other books in the series, One Yard Wonders and Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders and was excited to see what this book had to offer. Today, the book arrived in the mail.There are 101 projects for babies and kids and many caught my eye. Here are a few that caught my eye and are on "to make list".

Go Away Big Monster Towel
My "Little Man" loves hooded towels. He is outgrowing the ones I made when he was born. This will be a great treat for him!
Yia Yia Snuggle Hoodie
 He is also a huge fan of fleece. He has many blankets he carries EVERYWHERE. When the weather cools off in December, I will make him a few of these.
Simple Pants (Love the pockets)
 I think the whole household can benefit from these fun pockets on pants.

Summer Days Hat
 How cute is the ponytail slot?

Tot Tote and Wallet
 Pockets, pockets everywhere!

Doll bed with Storage
 So much cheaper to make than the designer doll beds at a particular doll store. 

House in the Hallway
I seriously Googled this type of playhouse this week. I could not find the correct words to get what I was looking for. I am so excited to make this in a bakery style and car repair shop.

Car Cozy Playmat
"Little man" takes his cars wherever he goes. He would love to take this on the go.

Retro-Inspired Bathing Cover-Up

I love the pocket detail and pom-poms here! I will be adding this to a grown-up dress for sure. 

There are so many wonderful projects to complete in this book. I am anxious to get started on some of these. I am working on a long list of sewing projects so these have to wait a bit, but I am thrilled to have something to waiting in the wings.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My First Foray Into Swimsuit Sewing.

Have you ever sewn a swimsuit? I had not, and had no plans to make them.They are fairly reasonably priced to buy and always seemed like more trouble than it is worth to make. In a recent fabric acquisition, I discovered 3-yards of swimsuit fabric in a retro motif than it just my style. Not wanting this fabric to go unsed, I decided to make a suit.

Despite my hesitation to make a suit, I have several patterns in my stash. For my first attempt, I chose McCall's3566.
I chose to make view D top with G bottom and the H cover-up.  A few necessary tools of this project  included: my serger, a must for working with this fabric and suggested by the pattern; a loop turner to flip the drawstring on the coverup and top and stretch needles to sew the fabric smoothly.

The instructions were easy to follow and the suit came together without a hitch. There were a few frustrations with keeping all of the elastic guides and drawstring pattern pieces straight, but beyond that, it went well. Here is my custom dress form
wearing the ensemble. (Sorry about the crotch pole, I tightened it too much when I fit some pants the last time I used it. I did not want to wait on hubby to get home to unscrew it for me.)




Based on my measurements I cut the size 12 (bust 34) for the entire suit and the A/B cup. I may have overestimated my assets, but I think this runs big. I could have gotten away with a 10. I really like the cover-up. I appreciate that it can be worn hitched up on one side or worn as a skirt.

Working with specialty fabrics takes more time than working with regular fabrics. Given the time spent on this, usual cost of fabric, and the cost of a similar RTW swimsuit, I will buy in the future. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the pattern. Given the choice between spending my time or money in the future, I will rather spend an hour at TJ Maxx than make another one.

I am happy to have crossed a swimsuit off my sewing bucket list. Now off to see what to tackle next...

Happy Sewing,