Sunday, November 27, 2011

Moscow Wool Dress Coat

This coat was three years in coming. 
 My aunt gave my little sister and I all her fabric a few years ago and we split some red wool.  Lynette made herself a wool coat, and I have been hoarding my red wool for three years just trying to get the courage to cut it.  Making a coat has been intimidating, but using a nicer fabric like wool made it even higher stakes.  So the month we spent staying with Lynette, I decided I would jump in and sew it with her supervision available throughout the project.

Being red and a little military looking, I thought it reminded me of Russia and initially I kept thinking of it as my "Stalin" coat, but that doesn't have the nicest connotations.  So I thought it would be a good coat to wear if I ever went to Moscow.  So I called it my "Moscow" coat.

For this coat I actually followed a pattern the entire way through, although I did have to lengthen the sleeves a few inches, which is kind of the whole reason I make coats for myself.
I used McCalls M5759 jacket version B.

The element that caught my attention to this coat pattern initially was of course the large collar.
It's all one piece that wraps around and kind of serves as a scarf at the same time.

 The under collar and lining are this red and silver striped fabric I found for $1.00/ yard.

The angled front is kind of tricky to button, but I like the lines it creates and I think it makes it a flattering cut in addition to the princess seams.  
The pockets are faux tabs sewn on.

I had these buttons which I thought would go well, being large and metallic.
They're actually roaring lion heads if you look closely which I thought was kind of cool and different if anyone ever really took time to notice.

So far I have loved it.
It's one of those projects I look at it and feel shocked I was actually the one who sewed it together.
It was my first time sewing with wool and making a nicer dress coat. 

I thought it would also be a fun holiday coat to wear this season! 

I'm glad I finally got the courage to make it after holding on to it for three years and I wonder if I could have managed it earlier had I just had the guts to cut into it and make it happen.
Maybe it was better to wait and get a little more experience before now, who knows.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Questions Answered

A while ago I had a post where readers could ask me anything they want.
Here's the questions I got, and if you have any more questions, you can leave them in a comment or email me here:
and if there's anything else anyone would like to know we'll do a Part 2.
Just like before, I feel happy to pretty much answer any question you have, even if it's not a craft/ blog related something you've been wondering about me.

1) Have you been sewing for a long time?
        I guess so.  But if I say the total years, it will be pathetic how crappy my sewing is.  The first thing I ever sewed was probably as a 2nd grader I sewed a pillow for my barbie.  In Jr. High I made pajama pants, and pieced square quilts together.  I took sewing classes at school in home ec and added a windsock and lame ruffled pillow to my repertoire.  I also made a bunch of simple elastic waist skirts, but not really that much.  In college I made my husband a rag quilt and pajama bottoms when I was in love with him but we were only friends forever.  So I feel like I've sewn a little here and there throughout my life.  I knew how to work the sewing machine, but not until I became a stay at home did I really start to sew and develop skills in it.  For me, I'm always learning and sewing clothing is a new passion I've had this fall to get better at .

3) What project are you most proud of?
This is a hard one. 
 I guess for sewing, lately I'm most proud of making myself jeans or my moscow wool coat.  I think I've made items that I like better, but for those I'm most proud that I actually had the courage to tackle the project, and pleased that they turned out.

Furniture probably this front facing bookcase.  It was the first furniture I built completely by myself from buying the wood all by myself, working all the tools, and mounting to the wall solo.  I was shocked I could do such a manly project all by myself and it gave me a lot of confidence in furniture.

4)  What hobby would you most like to do for the rest of your life if you could get paid to do it? 
That's a hard one too because I really like so many different areas of projects.  But I think for me sewing would probably be my favorite as it has instantaneous satisfaction as it comes together, and lots of variety.  I think I could sew the rest of my life and still love it.

5) And if you could take one non-essential luxury item to a desert island, what would it be?
probably books actually

6) favorite movie? Rudy.  My mom gave me the DVD a few years ago for Christmas and I started watching a special feature and was already crying.  My husband Rhett came in so we could start the movie and said something like: "oh no, you're crying already and it already hasn't started..." Rhett teases me about it a lot.  I just cry so easily in movies.  I was 8 years old and saw Home Alone in the movie theatre and even cried then.  The only other person I know that cried in Home Alone is George Castanza.  I'm also ashamed to admit I got a little teary in Tangled and even Toy Story 3.  I can just cry so easily.  As a kid I learned to cry at will, and my dad utilized my skill to tease my mom on more than one occasion but then it backfired when no one took my tears seriously anymore.  

7) what is your favorite book?  that is too tough.  maybe favorite authors would be easier: Roald Dahl and CS Lewis.

8) what is your favorite part of sewing? what is your least favorite? 
my favorite part of any project is definitely the planning stage.  Getting the inspiration, the initial creativity, thinking through the details, picking colors/ fabric/ etc.  It's the fun, exciting part.  Then I get started and don't like the process very often, then when it's done I love it again...most of the time.  Disasters happen.

Cutting out is by far my least favorite part of sewing.  I hate cutting out, but it's so important to get it right in the end.  

"How on earth do you have the time to complete all the projects you do with two kids, one being an infant???"
a few people asked this in different ways...ummm.  There's probably lots of factors.  A few I mentioned already in this post.  To add to all of that:

1. Limiting my time to get things done.  Cheri at Momma Hear Me Roar said it better than I could, basically if you give yourself 10 minutes or all day to do something, most often you'll use all the time you allot for the task.  For example I hate laundry.  So I try to encourage myself to just wash, fold and put it all away in one day rather than living out of a laundry basket of clean clothes which we sometimes do--that's just life sometimes at our house.  But I find if I reward myself with one episode of a TV show to fold laundry, I can get it all folded most of the time, rather than all day if I don't set a limit and it takes 3 times as long.  

2. Working Fast.  This sometimes ends up in lower quality obviously, but time is valuable.  So I try clean my house like my mother in law will be here in 20 minutes and try to sew as fast as I can.  I remember when I bought my sewing machine my little sister said she could never sew on a home machine because it drives her crazy how slow they are compared to industrial.  I thought how rarely I sew with full blast speed so that didn't matter to me.  After a few years sewing more, I feel the need for speed on a sewing machine and often feel it's just slowing me down not sewing as fast as I need to.  So something that would take me a few hours then, may only take 20-30 minutes now.  You just get smarter about how you work I guess.

3. Limiting Photography/ Blogging Time to Make More Junk: The computer can suck a lot of my precious time just taking/editing photos, blogging your projects, all the steps of tutorials,  let alone all the blog management/ networking that you'd do if you were a good successful blogger (which I'm not...checked out my tutorials tab lately? it stinks I know).  I tend to scrimp on the blogging side of things in order to make more projects.  

4.  Having a Designated Craft/ Hobby/ Studio Space:
For me, this is huge.  I share all my project stuff with our office, and so it's cramped but it's so vital to have my sewing machine always there ready to sew at any time.  Sometimes I'll sew for 3-5 minutes while my son is finding his shoes, and stop.  My husband's Negroni shirt sat over 24 hours with the needle down in the shirt and the seam sewn half way until I could get back to it.  Having a physical area/ space to jump in and leave my projects at any time really allows me to take advantage of tiny little breaks of time that pop up throughout my day.  If I had to pull my machine out of the closet and set it up on our kitchen counter, I wouldn't get nearly as many things done for sure.  So I am so grateful we were able to allot some space for my projects.

5. Night Owl/ Husband Works around 55-80 hours a week
My kids have a 7-8pm bedtime and I never go to bed before midnight.  So I have (usually) a good 4 hours most nights to get my household stuff done, or if I'm lucky to work on projects.  I stay up late until 2am probably once a week...some weeks a few really late nights.  I guess from being a mom I'm getting used to functioning on less sleep or something.  

My husband is in a really busy stage of his career and works many and unusual hours.  So I have lots of time at home, and where I used to/ would rather hang out with him, he's working a lot. His high intensity career right now adds stress to a family and my creative outlets are therapy for me kind of.  I keep busy myself with my own interests and hobbies rather than feel bored/ lonely/ neglected.  Granted I still have a melt down now and again from feeling overworked and under appreciated (most moms have these right?).  But in some ways, some weeks, projects help me survive when I'm tempted to feel I'm a single mom...which I'm not, but some weeks it can feel like that and it's fun to have something cheap, useful, and personally fulfilling to look forward to.

7. Natural High (I sound like a DARE campaign)
But I actually think, for me, there's a synergy element of making and creating things.  It kind of gives me energy, even though it obviously uses energy to create stuff.  The idea of making crap late into the night after a day of being a mom can seem exhausting, but it kind of gives me energy for the next day.  I'm excited about the projects and it kind of fuels me to do everything else.  I don't think I'm addicted, but creating fuels more productivity in the rest of my life.  I don't feel it drains energy, but actually gives me energy to be a more active mom, etc.  Maybe that doesn't make sense and sounds weird...and maybe the energy I reap from creative outlets is more mental than actually physical.

8. I'm Real and Lame 
I have a wall hanging that says: DULL WOMEN HAVE IMMACULATE HOMES.
I am not a dull woman.  My house is definitely not a pig sty, but you will find dust and probably some little kid finger prints on the glass door, etc.  I try to keep things clean and the main areas of our house presentable, but we live there with little kids so yes, it's not immaculate and some times dishes get left in the sink overnight to be taken care of the next day.  I obviously value a clean home but know as a granny on my death bed, the last thing I'll think is "I wish I kept my house cleaner." Sometimes you can have tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner, spend a whole afternoon playing Battleship, and do the quick clean version in the bathrooms and still be OK I think.  As for being lame, I really don't have any other hobbies/ interests I'm involved with.  With the baby still taking naps, we are kind of home bodies and I'm not very social and kind of a hermit crafting away.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone in the states enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend!
We had a time with family.
Last month we had our family photos taken.
Family photos are so stressful for moms I think.
We had by my cousin's wife Jacquel take them and she was great--fun, affordable, and we're so pleased with our photos!  You get the digital files of your photos so you can actually do something with them.  It kills me how expensive it can be to print photos from photographer.  My kids were being pills so I was just hoping to get one picture with all of us looking semi-happy with eyes open and we definitely got more than that.
Here's Jacquel's blog Moment  by Design if you live in Utah County and are looking for a photographer!

I read this article on tips for styling family photos a while ago and thought it had some good ideas to think about.  I tried to use the tips but had to adapt them fit our style and family obviously, as my husband wouldn't enjoy wearing a scarf no matter how much it made a family photo pop.

So I started thinking of a color palette I liked, and grabbing fabric out of my stash.
I ended up liking a gray/blue color scheme with yellow accents.  I always worry about being too matchy matchy, but I really liked the more simple color scheme, so I tried to use the corduroy and velvet to add some texture.

As  I got planning the only fabric I had to buy was the sapphire velvet, which worked out great.
I was so excited at the collaboration of all my fabric,  then stopped to realize all I had was fabric--which meant I guess I was going to make all this crap.  But I was excited.

My friend Natalie is my friend that I always ask for fashion advice, and I was telling her my plan and if I remember right, she called me a maniac.  Which I agreed with, but I had a while before our pictures were scheduled so I thought it would work.

It was a close one.
The morning of our pictures I finished my blazer, made my yellow scarf, and sewed Ellaria's little velvet shoes.  I ended up not having time to make my trouser jeans, so luckily Lynette helped me out with that.
Rhett's negroni shirt
Ellaria's dress
It was a little maddening and more than once I asked myself why I ever thought it would be a good idea to sew the majority of our clothes for this picture.  But in the end it does add another personal element of these photos for me.  I guess it makes me love the pictures to obviously see my family, plus they're wearing all the imperfect things I made (or Lynette). 

This was my favorite of Rhett and I.

 I think this is my favorite, my boys with actual real smiles...a rare photo for us.
You should also check out Lynette's most recent post of everything my mom has sewn's pretty cool and I should try to find as many things my mom made me to copy her idea for a post.
 Check out my mom's sewing skills here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby Leggings with knee pads

The Baby Boy Skinny Jean Giveaway Winner:
Blogger Megan said...
So cute!!
My favorite thanksgiving dish is pumpkin pie. There is nothing better than pumpkin pie with whip cream!

Thanks for everyone who entered!!!

My little girl needed pants for winter.  Being  a spring baby we had lots of cute summer dresses with the panty-diaper covers.  So I wanted to make a batch of simple knit leggings for the next few months.  
Ellaria is crawling now so I wanted to add a little extra cushion for her little knees, and so these leggings also have additional KNEE PADS!

Rather than show all the steps for making the whole legging, here's a link to Ashley's Legging Tutorial from Make It and Love It to use for the majority of the project, and I'll just show you how I added the knee pads.

Before you sew anything, you'll attach the knee pads to the open leg pieces.
Cut 2 ovals of the coordinating fabric and 2 slightly smaller ovals of your pad or filling.
For the "pad" or filling of my knee pads I used a thicker fluffy fleece scrap I had.

With each leg open, you'll sew your knee pad on the front half, 3 to 4 inches down from the point of the crotch curve, and about 1/4 in from the edge.
I layered the white pad fleece, then the knit top and sewed around the oval with 1/4" seam allowance. 
Then you construct the rest of your leggings the same way as a regular pair of leggings.

Depending on my leggings, sometimes I used the same fabric for the knee pads, and other times I choose a contrasting knit to make them stand out.

Sewing around with the 1/4" seam allowance leaves a raw edge around the knee pad, which is why I used knit so it won't fray.

 It adds a little cushion without being too bulky on the leggings.

I also did make 2 pair before I thought of the knee pad idea.

 I hope it makes it a little easier crawling around on wood floors!

These leggings have been great with her summer dresses, that we can still get use out of layering a long sleeve tee under the top and having leggings for the bottom!

Quick, easy, and these will save a lot of money as opposed to buying leggings.
It always kills me to spend even $4.00 on a baby pair of leggings that cost $.50 or less to make.
I upcycled some t-shirts for most of these leggings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giveaway: Baby Boy Jeggings CLOSED

These little stretch knit jeans are so easy to make, I wanted to make another pair to give away!
I also wanted to show the boy potential in my pattern/ tutorial for the hipster dudes out there.
So you can win this pair of Baby Boy Skinny Jeans!

Using the same pattern and steps as the girl "jeggings", I made this little pair of baby boys skinny jeans.
SIZE: 12-18 months
Black knit denim with classic copper stitching 

I dug out some of my son's baby clothes and yes, Ellaria is sporting a dude outfit for this giveaway.
She's pretty cute as a boy too (I think). 
(Ellie is an average 8 month old, so these are too long.  They are sized for 12-18 months)

Stretchy, comfortable, denim knit with the elastic waist for easy on and off.

I chose not to sew the yoke stitching above the back pockets as I did with the girl jeggings.
Yokes are used on boys/ mens jeans too, but I thought the plain pockets looked a little more masculine to me.   
I forgot to mention in the tutorial, but I did design the back with a higher rise to accommodate diaper butt.

Perfect jeans for any little dude this winter!

Leave a comment  on this post with your email please and maybe if you feel like tell me your favorite dish out of your Thanksgiving meal, and if don't live in the states and celebrate Thanksgiving this upcoming week, tell me your favorite fall/winter dish.

Please only leave one comment/ entry, so if you need to fix or change an entry, please delete your first comment.
Giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere.
Winner selected by and will be announced the next time I post, which will hopefully be Monday but I make no promises.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Larkrise Blazer

Thanks for everyone who entered the giveaway, we have the Baby Jegging Winner:
{selected by}
Blogger Kellie said...

My favorite holiday movies are the classic kids cartoons, love them, still to this day, probably helps that now, I have little ones to watch them with :) Thanks for the giveaway, so cute!

Making this blazer has been a big deal to me.
It's the most I've ever spent on fabric--sapphire velvet.
It's my only article of clothing that is "dry clean only".
Any long sleeved piece of clothing with sleeves that are actually long for my orangutan arms makes me happy.
Due to wearing solid Old Navy tees most of my life, wearing a blazer makes me fancy and grown up if that makes sense...almost like playing dress up a little actually.
It was something I thought it would be nice to be able to make for myself one day, and finally that day came and although not perfect, it turned out looking like I expected and I was pleased.

The Larkrise Blazer
Princess seams, shawl collar, three button closure, fully lined.

The inspiration for this came from a british TV series.
I am a big fan of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I've always liked the period films set during Regency England.  So my mom told me about a series called Larkrise to Candleford.  It's a BBC series with 4 seasons and that was pretty much all my turns for Netflix picks this summer.  I'm sure a lot of people would hate it, but I really enjoyed the series.
The main character Laura wears this blue cobalt velvet coat quite often and each time I always thought how much I liked the color, drape, style, and sheen of her coat.
Here's the only photo I could find.

So that's my inspiration, but obviously hoped to make a modern version.
I did come across J.Crew's Schoolboy velvet blazers in my search too.

 I decided I wanted a feminine blazer, and went with the shawl collar, which means the whole collar is added on in one piece, where a traditional lapel has the body center front panel fold for the bottom point, and a small collar is added for the larger/ behind the neck point.  The shawl collar seemed less business blazer to me.

The velvet was $25/ yard!  Crazy.  So with a 50% off coupon at JoAnns I bought the 2.5 yards but it was the most expensive cut of fabric I've ever purchased.
So I was nervous to cut into this and decided it would be best to make a mock blazer first, so I made the uncut corduroy blazer if you remember seeing that one.

The main difference between them is the Larkrise is fully lined, where I didn't bother lining the corduroy.
I chose a periwinkle lining that was on clearance. 

I used half ball 1/2" buttons and covered them with the velvet scraps.  
An easy fun way to have a nicer look and perfectly coordinated buttons!

I wore it this day with my houndstooth sheath dress, navy tights, and riding boots.  I think I'd like to try wearing it with a more causal look, like jeans and just a tee under it or something.
But being dry clean only, so far I've only brought it out for special occasions...which for us means events with no kids to vomit on me.


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