Thursday, March 13, 2014

Build My Own House

So the huge project I alluded to in the sweatshirt post is....


We haven't started digging and I already have a headache.

So.  About a year ago, a week after I gave birth to Izzie to be precise, my husband and I started designing the floor plans.  We went through every nook and cranny as a team and had an architect render it digitally and make it official.
We thought we'd start last summer, but life and finances destroyed that idea.

We moved to our small town, hoping to also maybe find a house we liked.
But unfortunately not many people come and go in tiny towns and other than some trailer homes and an 11 bed rotting nursing home for sale, we didn't have many options.

So building a house.
Something my husband has always wanted to do!  A dream and lifelong goal.
I was 12 when my parents built the house I grew up in and it seemed like a nightmare.
I love the idea of living in a house you built and designed, but the idea of actually going through the process seemed overwhelming.

So we bought a half acre corner lot (land is really cheap if you live in the middle of nowhere) across the street from my mother-in-law.  Yay for Grandma a bike ride away!!
We've been waiting to build the house we plan to live in the rest of our lives this summer.

In our town, you can be your own general contractor.
All your sub-contractors have to have licenses, but being the coordinator and secretary of the project you can do it yourself.
My husband wanted to go this route, saying we'll save money, we're so invested in the house down to every detail and penny (because we're cheap), we'll be over involved anyway whether we pay someone to be in charge or if we just do it ourselves.

But then I pointed out.
My husband works two full time jobs, 112 hours per week.  Some shifts overlap so he's working two jobs at the same time, running between the two all day....but the reality is for our family:
"WE" being the general contractor really means "I" (the mother of 3 tiny kids, who's going back to college, with 3 different church assignments) would be the general contractor.

The idea made me want to throw up.
I am a girl who likes DIY, I use the power tools more than my husband, I even got a table saw for Christmas, but the idea of rough plumbing, footings, etc was overwhelming.

So my husband bought me this book:

Then I met a friend in town who was her general contractor for a house she built last summer and she pumped me full of confidence telling me I can totally do it, it's being organized and management. hiring and trusting your sub-contractors.
She also gave me her whole list of who she hired for her house.

We hope to start digging next month, so I'm in the paper work process right now getting bids, finalizing details, redesigned the roof for attic trusses, etc.

I'm expecting this to be a horrible experience and hope next fall when we move FOR THE LAST TIME IN OUR LIVES, I'll look back and think, "that sucked but it wasn't as bad as I expected".
I'm walking into it planning for a summer of nightmare and stress.  But if building a house is a nightmare, I've decided I'd rather be in charge of and responsible for the nightmare than ticked at a general contractor who doesn't care about the house as much as I will.

But on the fun side:
We will have things we've never enjoyed before, like a laundry room!
And a mud room!
Both with windows and natural light!

Our laundry machines are currently in the kitchen of our rental, were in a hall closet of our Idaho house, and other weird places in all the dumpy rentals before that.

We also realized our plans required engineered trusses, and the price to make them with attic space wasn't that different, so we added an attic area for a toy room and sewing space!!
But to make the budget, I will be finishing it myself most likely, laying the flooring and wall treatment, (no I am not hanging my own sheet-rock, but my idea will be a big project)
Pretty sure we will live up there when it gets finished!

I'm excited about getting to make all the decisions.
We already designed the floor plans with our aesthetic in mind, now it's down to all the fun details.
The house will be a mix of 

which sounds like a horrible mix for decor vomit, but I think in the end will represent us.
Our style just may be decor vomit I guess, but at least it will be different and what we like.

One thing I'm excited about are stained glass windows.
I worked for a stained glass artist the summer after I graduated high school and have never had a reason to make my own.
My mom made her own art glass for the house I grew up in and she's going to mentor me.
So that will be fun!

So look forward to updates in the good and horrible as I build my own house!

If you want a peek at ideas floating in my head for our house, you can check out my pinterest boards for:

AHH!  This is crazy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Military Shirt for Herschel

For Herschel's birthday gift I made him a shirt with some really great military details: pleated chest pockets, epaulettes, and (my favorite bit) a hidden belly welt pocket that is long enough to conceal a knife. 

I used a pale grey heavy weight cotton, then dyed it with a little bit of black to get a dark grey wash that looks like something our good friend John Rambo would have liked to wear.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jacket for James

Our brother James rides a motorcycle, so he always wears some type of jacket. I made this one for him as an alternative to his leather jacket which can get really hot in the spring and summer. I used a heavy cotton twill for the outer and polyester lining on the inside. It has four welted pockets, two on the chest, two at the waist. I did a military-style standing collar with a front snap closure. My favorite detail is the floating cuffs at the wrist. A ribbed cuff is great for a motorcycle jacket because it keeps the wind from rushing up the sleeves, but the gathering it causes can really take away from a sleek looking jacket. So, I decided to make the ribbed cuff and the sleeve completely separate. James will get the functionality of a ribbed cuff, but the sleeves just stay nice and crisp.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tutorial: Altering the Waist of Men's Trousers

Of all the alterations for men's trousers, the waist is the quickest and arguably the most important. If the waist size isn't correct, then it can effect every other aspect of the fit of the garment. So, here is how it's done.

1. Remove the center back belt loop.
2. Lift up the center back section of the waistband and remove the stitching holding the waistband in place (usually two short rows).

3. Pin the bottom and the top of the waist band.
4. Double check from the outside that each seam of the waistband is lined up perfectly.
5. Mark your stitching line.

You will mark half of the total amount that needs to be adjusted. For example this pair needs to be made smaller by 1", so it is marked 1/2" from the original stitching.

If you need to make the trousers smaller, your stitching line will be on the left side of the original stitching.
If you need to make the trousers larger, your stitching line will be on the right side of the original stitching.

The line through the waistband should be exactly parallel with the original stitching. After you're past the waistband, taper it in  gently to meet up again with the original stitching.
6. Stitch down the marked line twice. A double stitch ensures security.
7. Remove the original stitching.

If this is the first time the trousers have been altered, the original stitching will most likely be a chain stitch. You can just clip it on one end and pull the whole thing out in about three seconds. 
8.. Open the new seam and fold the waistband back down. Pin through all the layers keeping the pin right in the center.
9. Pull out one inside section. Fold up the end corner and tack into place. Repeat on the other side.
If you're increasing the size of the trousers as much as possible you won't have end corners to fold up and tack. Instead, just fold the waistband down and tack vertically along the back seam of the waistband.
10. Reattach the belt loop.
11. Press the new seam.


-Standard sized trousers shouldn't be taken in more than about 2",  otherwise the back pockets can get too close together.

-Don't cut out the extra fabric if the trousers will ever need to be altered again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Simple Blouse Variation: Standing Collar Sweatshirt

Whoa. It has been a while since I've posted or made anything!
I will probably post later this week to fill you in on the new huge project I've started.
I'm excited, and terrified about it...and just hope it will be done by the end of this year.
I've also been cramming (and not doing so great) on the mid-terms that were this weekend.
Going back to college is killing any hobby time!!!

But, I finally got another tutorial for the Simple Blouse Pattern together.

Since you really need a sweatshirt now that it's spring.
But maybe if you're in the southern hemisphere or use a lighter sweater knit, it might work now!

This is kind of a funky sweatshirt.
I was inspired by the standing collars of the 60s and thought I'd add some wood buttons in there as well for contrast and something different.
I used sweatshirt fleece, which only has about 10% stretch and is thicker in order to achieve the tall standing collar, and have worn it once a week all winter.

It's like the more grown-up hoodie for me.
The comfortable, slouchy, basically-wearing-pajamas-today top with a few elements that make it look like you're not heading to the gym.
For me, I've never been to the gym, it's more a pretending I got a chance to shower before noon and faking that I actually got dressed.

Like all the other Simple Blouse variations, the pattern is designed to help teach you the basic baby steps to altering a basic top into your own creative design.
So feel free to make the collar shorter, or ditch it all together and add ribbing like Lynette's tutorial here.
The button tab on the collar only has one real buttonhole on the very front where it crosses to hold the overlapping collar together.
The kangaroo pocket at the waist also has button tabs you could kill as well.
It's hopefully a helpful guide to help you envision where you can take your own ideas.
So get out your Simple Blouse Pattern and click through below to get the full tutorial!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Suit for Hershy

For the month of March, Jessica and I wanted to focus on men's clothing. We'll be sharing a bunch of tips, projects and tutorials for all the men and boys in your life. To start out, I'll be sharing a project I made for our little brother.

Hershy wanted an all-black western-inspired suit. So, of course, he needed all three pieces. The trousers have a single pleat to allow a little extra room. I did flapped welted pockets which were inspired by the costuming in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He chose a black on black floral satin for the vest. The jacket is my favorite part of all, because of the pick-stitching. It took extra time, but it was totally worth it. It just looks so handsome. I modified a vintage pattern for this suit. I altered the size to fit Hershy perfectly, and I added double vents in the back of the jacket,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Pinterest Board

Twenty sewing bloggers (myself included) have joined forces to create a fantastic new group pinterest board called A Modern Thread. We'll all be pinning our best sewing projects and tutorials, so you can finds tons of fantastic sewing inspiration all in one place. We'd love for you to check out the board, and we're offering a huge giveaway as incentive - we're talking $600 worth of prizes! Here's a glimpse of what you can expect to see on this new pinterest board: a-modern-thread-graphic-revised If you sew, or want to learn to sew, this board is going to be a fantastic resource for you. You'll find new ideas daily - all sewing focused and no junk to clog up your feed (we promise!). On the board you'll find ideas for sewing clothes, accessories, bags, and home decor, as well as beginner sewing lessons and more. If keeping up with 20 sewing bloggers at once sounds like something you'd be interested in, click the button below to follow the board! (Even if you follow me already, you'll need to click through to pinterest and hit the follow button to follow this new board.)
And if you'd like to get to know the bloggers involved a little better, have fun checking out their individual blogs: Alida Makes | Caila Made | Crazy Little Projects | girl. Inspired.| It's Always Autumn | {LBG Studio} | Lexi Made | Melissa Esplin | Melly Sews | Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop | Polka Dot Chair | Running With Scissors | See Kate Sew | Sew a Straight Line | Sew Country Chick | Skirt as Top | Shwin and Shwin | Simple Simon and Co | The Sewing Loft | The Sewing Rabbit Once you're following A Modern Thread, you can come back and enter our amazing giveaway, with a combined prize package worth almost $600! We'll choose 5 winners, so there's more chances for everyone to win, and the only requirement for entry is following A Modern Thread on pinterest, so there's no jumping through a bunch of hoops to enter! Check out the amazing prizes (enter at end of post): a-modern-thread-giveaway-graphic-edited Winner #1 will receive the Grand Prize, which is a $200 gift card to Amazon and a $50 gift certificate to the Ribbon Retreat. One lucky winner will receive a $200 gift card to, which is enough to purchase a brand new SEWING MACHINE or even a SERGER! A new machine can make sewing so much more enjoyable - no more pulling your hair out when you can't get the tension right or the bobbin thread keeps bunching up. And if you already have a great sewing machine, you'll definitely want to use the money for a serger - they make sewing knits a breeze! The grand prize winner will also receive a $50 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat, an online ribbon, notions, and fabric store. They carry a great selection of quilting cottons and just about any sort of ribbon or trim you could imagine, plus pre made fabric flowers, gems, and all sorts of other cute stuff. Find more from The Ribbon Retreat on Facebook or pinterest. Winner #2 will receive a $50 gift certificate to & a 5-pack of patterns from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. is an online fabric store with an enormous selection and prices that are well below retail. They offer free shipping on orders over $35 AND free shipping on any returns. It can be hard to tell if you'll like a fabric when ordering online, but ordering from is worry-free. Find more from on Facebook and pinterest. Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop is full of gorgeous, modern sewing patterns for kids. You'll find patterns for everything from jackets, pants, and tops to swimsuits, baby necessities, and even doll clothes. The winner will get her choice of 5 patterns, a $40 value! Find more from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop on Facebook. Winner #3 will receive a $50 gift certificate to Modern Yardage & a 3-pack of patterns from Blank Slate Patterns. Modern Yardage is an online fabric store with a brand new premise: they print their own fabric on demand on pre-shrunk cotton poplin, meaning they can offer the most current trends in fabric color and design. Additionally, any of their gorgeous patterns can be scaled small, medium, or large, so you can get the print you want in the perfect size. Find more from Modern Yardage on Facebook and pinterest. Blank Slate Patterns offers modern sewing patterns for women, girls, and boys. With looks ranging from casual hoodies and classic tees to pretty dresses and the perfect blazer pattern, you're sure to find patterns you can't wait to sew. The winner will get her choice of 3 patterns, a $27 value! Find more from Blank Slate Patterns on Facebook. Winner #4 will receive a $50 fabric bundle from Riley Blake and the full line of patterns from Polka Dot Chair. Riley Blake Designs offers fabric lines with vintage sensibilities and modern flair. Their colorful fabrics include cottons, flannels, sparkle cottons, organic cotton, knits, dreamy, and laminates, as well as coordinated notions (buttons, ric rac, ribbon, lace, etc.). Find more from Riley Blake Designs on Facebook and pinterest. Polka Dot Chair is a modern DIY and sewing blog, offering 7 different patterns, including an adorable nesting dolls zip pouch pattern and patterns for handbags, shoulder bags, a retro travel bag, and more. Winner will receive a copy of each pattern in the collection, a $50 value! Find all the patterns in the Pattern Shop. Winner #5 will receive a $50 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat, two patterns from LBG Studio, one pattern from Shwin and Shwin, and the Euro Swim Trunks pattern from Running with Scissors. LBG Studio is a sewing, craft, and photography blog offering stunning photos and inspiring tutorials. Winner will receive both the Leather Accent Foldover Pouch Pattern and the 2-in-1 Convertible Clutch Pattern, a $16 value. Find both patterns here. Shwin and Shwin is a sewing blog offering a large assortment of modern sewing patterns for both boys and girls in addition to a wide range of tutorials and nearly 20 free patterns. Winner will receive her choice of patterns, a $9 value. Find them all here. Running with Scissors is a sewing blog with an extensive library of fantastic tutorials and 5 patterns including the Simple Blouse Pattern for women and the Woodland Animal Sewing Pattern for children. Winner will receive the Euro Swim Trunks Pattern for boys, a $6 value. Whew! I told you this giveaway was big, right? Be sure you follow A Modern Thread on pinterest, then use the rafflecopter below to enter to win! Must reside in the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Please wait for the rafflecopter widget to load (if it doesn't click on the link). Five winners will be chosen at random, and winners will have 24 hours to reply once notified to claim their prizes, otherwise alternates will be chosen. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 9th, at 11:59 pm MST. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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