Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simplicity 3634 ruffled knit

I recently made my ruffle shirt.  I had purchased this fabric from Emma Seabrook a couple of years ago at the American Sewing Guild Expo in Indianapolis.  I fell in love with the fabric because of all the colors and it is fun. However, it is not a fabric you want to wear when you're trying to look thin.

I used Simplicity 3634 without the cowl neck and scooped the neck line just a bit more.  When working with ruffled fabric you are basically working with a moving stripe so you will need to either pin or baste each row to keep the ruffles/stripes running in the same direction.  Finishing the sleeve and bottom hems was easy, I just trimmed so that a finished ruffle was at the bottom.  the neck line wouldn't work that way so I just serged a small binding on just like you see in a t-shirt.

I also had enough left over fabric to make my daughter a skirt which ended up being finished way before my top was. You can see it on her blog. How to Make a Ruffled Skirt without a Pattern

Simplicity 4784 Christmas Stockings

It is hard to believe but I actually made 4  stockings this year and had them ready in time for Christmas.  I used some plaid fabric I found in my sewing room, the cuff was from a red wool jacket I found at Good Will and the lining was from scraps.  These were very easy to make and the size is just right, 17-1/2 inches tall by10" at the wide part. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Carol's Zoo pattern & Nursing home gifts

Every year for the past 5 years or so  my mother, daughter and I work together to give a gift to some nursing home residents.  At first we wanted to give all the residents a small gift but decided that we would rather focus on those that do not have a family.  The Nursing home we chose is a small facility located in Franklin.    Last year there were 11 and this year there were 8 residents that didn't have a family.                                                  
The items in the gift bags are purchased throughout the year and include, shampoo, body lotion, a toothbrush a comb, chap stick and warm no slip socks.  We also like to give them something soft to hold.  Last year and this year we were able to use donated pillow panels and animals that had already been cut out.  When we made the pillows we made a inner pillow,  stuffed it then inserted it into the prepared printed pillow and hand sewed the opening shut.  Even though this takes longer than just stuffing the pillow the result is much nicer.  The 2 plain white pillows on the side are filled with sewing scraps and go to the local animal shelter for pet beds.


The two frogs were pre cut so we just had to give them eyes, sew and stuff.  I didn't have directions so I don't think the eyes are placed quite correctly but I think they have lots of personality.  The pattern is from Carols zoo.  They have a range of animal patterns that just have 2 or 3 pieces.  I have made several and they are all cute and make perfect projects for a beginner sewer.  The frog takes longer to turn and stuff due to having legs but if you get the bear  pattern below the Sewing, turning and stuffing is really fast and easy.  The entire range of patterns is available at



Fleece hats for Christmas

Our church was having a Christmas party for the neighborhood kids where during the party they were all going to receive a shoebox of gifts donated by our members.  I also thought it would be nice to give them hats because Indiana winters are cold.  I sent the hat request to my Franklin Neighborhood group of ASG and knowing how busy sewers are at Christmas hoped to get a few hats. I was pleasantly surprised when during the meeting I received all the hats below from Renate, Cindy and Shirley enough hats for all the children.

Thank you very much.  The hats have been happily received. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My silly African Grey

As I have said before we have an African Grey by the name of Elizabeth.  She is not a particularly aggressive bird but like most birds she has a strong flight instinct if something scares her.  If you walk by her cage carrying something you have to talk to her or she will flap about trying to get away.      I have no idea why, but she is not afraid of the Webster, in fact she hated it the very first time she saw it.   Here is her recent reaction when I got it out to clean some cobwebs.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Easy way to make a scarf

Scarfs are super simple to make, they are a fast inexpensive addition to your wardrobe.

The red and black one below started out as a piece of fabric 18" x 60".     The scarf sizing can be very flexible as 9 or 10" scarves also look nice.  This is a great way to use some  left over fabric from your sewing projects.  The main idea is that they have a nice drape.   This particular fabric is a rayon blend so it drapes nicely  and feels smooth against my neck.

First straighten up the edges.  A rotary cutter and mat make fast neat work of it.

 Next, if your fabric is willing you can pull threads from both short ends to form a fringe,
If you have a serger you can do a rolled hem along each long edge, then a little fray check on the ends and you are finished and ready to go out  the door wearing  your new accessory.  If not  you can either do a rolled hem by hand or a narrow machine hem also looks nice.
I hope you make a scarf soon,   they are a lot less expensive to make than to purchase and they make great gifts.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo

Per my earlier post I was lucky enough to win a prize package to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Tinley Park Il. 

I received a package of 5 classes, a shopping bag, ticket holder and 3 days of free admission.  I was only able to attend on Saturday so I took 3 classes.

Vortex Quilt with Debby Kratovil was a hands on class  from 8:30 to 11:30 so it was worth 3 classes.   The $20 class fee covered the pattern and ruler.   This was a fun class.  The Bernina machines were loaned to us by Linda Z 's sewing center.  The machines were easy to use and I had no problems sewing with the unfamiliar brand and model.   I liked the knee lift for the pressure foot. We were not able to finish the small quilt in class but here is my progress so far.  This will be a small quilt lap or wall size. If I ever get it done that is.


         We were all given a small package of bating by Warm and Natural.  Nice gift and much appreciated.

and  a CD of Some Bernina Projects

I then had a baked potato with chili for my lunch.  It wasn't bad but it was  something more to my husbands liking.  He went shopping and had lunch at  Cabelas.   I looked at some of the vendor booths for just a  few minutes, then went to my "Do it in the Hoop!"  class with Cindy Losekamp. 
This class focused on embroidering with Angelina sheets and fibers, not something on my sewing list for the near future but the information is always nice to have in case the shinny bug bites and I feel the need to sparkle up my sewing with Angelina

My last class was Core Sewing Skills , the Next Step with Cynthia Guffey

Cynthia is passionate about  sewing, it is interesting to me that she doesn't have a serger so she spends a bit more time with the techniques than I do.  She puts in had picked zippers and does generally more hand work .  Most of our hour with her was spent talking about the grain of fabric, how important it was to find out if your fabric was on grain by pulling a thread and if necessary how to straighten the grain.  She told us the importance of stay stitching to prevent stretching the fabrics and how we should sew with the grain of the fabric even though you might have to switch directions 3 or more times for a sleeve.  I can see changing directions 2 but probably would change 3 times on a sleeve.  Maybe I'll try it and see what happens.  I then spent just a bit more time looking at the booths.  As my sewing room is a complete wreck The only thing I purchase was Swedish tracing paper.  Then it was time for the long drive home.

I had a nice day, learning and re-learning sewing techniques, being inspired by the projects, ideas and beautiful quilts that were on display.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mabenka's Resturant

My DH and I drove to Chicago to go to the Original Sewing  Quilt Expo.  We went on Friday afternoon so we drove a bit further than Tinley park and ate our dinner at Mabenkas.   "A warm and friendly casual dining atmosphere with ample Polish and Lithuanian ethnic charm".

Since it was a Friday night we decided on the specials, he the Polish combination plate and I chose the Lithuanian combination plate. 

We started out with soup, his was beet soup and mine was pea soup.  My soup was very good, better than the beet soup.  The soup was a full bowl not a cup so it would have been enough to have it with the good bread that was served to us.

The service was fast enough and friendly  and you can see my meal below.  I had no idea that there would be so much food.  Being of German descent I have had sauerkraut and various sausages many times in my life but I had never had the other two items.

Kugelis and Cepelinai,  You can see the sour cream and horseradish I was given to eat this meal with.  Both of the new items were interesting,m not bad but not on my favorite list either.  I think I will like them better when ever I have them again.  The problem was that there was to much food to really enjoy it completely.    My husband said his dinner was better than mine (except for the soup).

Next time Kids portions for me!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

American Sewing Guild Annual Meeting with Pam Damour

Saturday November 2 was the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Sewing Guilds 35th annual meeting. Held at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis.

As usual this was a fun day, we hold our elections have lunch with a bunch of friends  and are entertained by a National speaker all for a very reasonable cost of $35 per person.

We each received a packet that included the agenda for the day, some information about a bed and breakfast and possible retreat  locations as well as  a fat quarter of fabric.


Pam is a high energy, entertaining speaker who loves to teach.  She showed us many ideas that are used in home dec  that can  be used in any type of sewing you do.  One of the things  that was really appreciated was how to miter.  I have done mitering before on skirts and jackets as well as other items but I usually have to look it up every time.  Pam also has developed several tools that can make your sewing easier such as a double scallop ruler and a piping trim ruler.  She  has   DVD's, patterns and a couple of books (possibly more).  One is a pillow book that I purchased last year.  This book has some cute pillow ideas, some machine embroidery and a few recipes.  I plan on making one of the pillows for Christmas and hopefully it will be done this year.

Pam is also a zentangle instructor and sells  a pattern book and supplies.

We all received a tile(paper) and pencil and then with Pams instructions  drew a  pumpkin. Just like sewing each persons was a bit different.  I bought a white and grey fabric pen with the thought that some day I might draw some zentangle designs on fabric. 

There were many prizes and I think the majority of us won something.  Below is my prize.  This is cute, not something I would wear but it would be a cute pillow or wall hanging or part of a lap quilt.  I think I have plenty of time to decide what to make with it.   The grand prize was a paid registration to ASG's National conference.  I think just about everyone wanted to win that one.

A style show was held after lunch and I am  totally impressed with the wonderful outfits we were presented with.  I would like to have shown pictures but they didn't turn out well.   It is inspiring to see what "home sewers" can and do accomplish. 

Here I am with Pam and  look she is still smiling after a long day.

Pam, thank you for being our speaker this year, you were great.

Primo, thank you for the good food and nice atmosphere.

Indianapolis CAB, thank you for all your hard work.  I had a wonderful day.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Butterick 228 aka 5101

This Butterick pattern was a nice surprise.  I have had it in my stash for quite a while  and I have had the fabric for quite a while too. It was purchased during my New York trip about 3 years ago.  

 The Indianapolis Chapter of ASG's Annual meeting was Saturday November 2nd and I wanted to make something new.  I kept debating on what I should make and pulled lots of patterns and fabric to audition for the part.  What ended up happening was paralysis due to analysis.  I finally decided on Friday November the 1st that I would make the wrap dress but then my daughter said she would really love a sweater from this super soft mid weight knit.  

I had 3 yards of fabric so I ended up making a top instead of a dress.  Since I was worried if the wrap dress would stay together correctly anyway  I was fine with the decision.  luckily the pattern  has cut on sleeves and is super easy to make.  There were only 4 pieces, a front, back tie and tie loop.  

I wore the top all day on Saturday and did not have to adjust it one time.
the left front wraps around under the right front and has a tie that goes around the body and exits from an opening on the left side seam and meets  the tie for the right front.  Since the tie is at the side front and not in the center, it didn't add a lot of bulk at my stomach area which I  appreciated.

I already have plans  to make this pattern again in a quieter, less bold knit the next time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I won classes at the Orginal Sewing & Quilt EXPO!

I opened my email yesterday  and this is what I saw.

Congratulations on being the winner of our blog giveaway for a Value Package A! Value Package A includes 5 class sessions, 3 day general admission, an Expo shopping bag and a limited edition neck wallet! 

Description: OSQElogo_email.gif     Description: FaceBook           
What a nice surprise.  I have been looking through the class list to see what I want to take.  So many choices.
This Expo is in Tinley Park IL which is 30 miles south of down town Chicago.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Beginers sewing class

In September I taught  a free sewing class at the Whiteland Library. 

This is a beginners class  so I expect people to not remember how to thread their machine and how to wind the bobbin  so as I have done every year for the past 5 years  I design a simple class.  I have taught how to make tote bags from new fabric and how to make them from up-cycled bird feed sacks.   Last year I taught how to make a t-shirt quilt.  I supply the fabric and thread for most of the projects, even kiting them up to save time.   I always bring extra scissors pins and measuring supplies as well as other basic sewing items including an iron and an extra sewing machine.  The class description stated to bring a sewing machine.  When checking on the number of people that had signed up I asked if people were bringing their machine and was told yes.  The reason I checked was because the first class I taught for the library  a few years ago had 12 or 13 people showing up to make a tote bag and none of them  brought a machine.   

This year 13  people signed up for the class and 10 showed up.  The amount of people is fine  but of the 10 people 7 did not have a sewing machine and one of the attendees  that did  bring her machine stated that she was going to make a pillow case.   As people came in to the class empty handed I asked them if they had a sewing machine they said no but the library had told them that I would probably have an extra machine.  Yes, I brought 1 extra machine.  Of  the students 2 were teenagers and both did a good job.  One lady  with absolutely no sewing experience brought her 2 girls ages about 6 and 8 (no machine). I like teaching young sewers because they are so happy to make something but at that age you almost need one on one teaching to keep their interest and help them through every step of the project.

Needless to say it was impossible for people to get their apron done when so many were sharing machines and it wasn't fair to those that brought a machine because they couldn't get as much out of the class as they should have.

It was frustrating for me because since so many people were sharing machines I couldn't really teach, I had to run from person to person helping with each part of the project.

  Since the aprons couldn't get finished I said I would teach a second class so everyone could get the help they needed to finish.

I know at least one of my friends  Dee finished her apron because she wore it to our Sewing Guild challenge. 
3 showed up for the class part 2, one of the teenagers, the lady that made the pillowcase in the first class and a gal that had most of her apron done but wanted to hang out and sew.
Dee's finished apron

The second class was easier, the teenager used my extra machine and finished her project and the almost  finished gal got hers done .  This left the nice pillow case lady.  She had a lot of trouble with her machine.  She left her manual at home but I was able to figure out the threading and tension issues for her.  She still wanted to do extras to her project so she did not get it done due to the machine issues but I am sure she will finish it later and it will look quite cute.


almost finished!

I am not sure if I will teach another class at the library again.  If I decide to do this again next year the rules will be as follows.

You must bring a machine in good working order.  You must bring your machines instruction manual.  Last year a woman told me she had a working machine at home but brought "this one" in hopes that I could fix it for her.  

Bring scissors, pins, tape measure and basic sewing supplies.  13 people using  5 pair of scissors is totally inefficient.

I need to know the number and ages of anyone under the age of 16 that plans to attend  ( I need extra help for young sewers)

Funny thing is that while I was typing this I thought of simple project to teach that could be completed in 2 hours,   I could kit it up and  limit the options for excess creativity in the class.  I am totally hopeless.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mammoth Cave and Lincoln's birth place

We recently went on a trip to Mammoth cave in Kentucky.  Even though less than 4 hours away we though it would be fun to stay the night.

We invited our daughters boyfriend so we needed 2 rooms for the night.  Mammoth park has 3 different options, one is a regular hotel room, and another is a small cabin but it only had one room.  The 3rd option is also a small cabin but this cabin has 2 bedrooms.  There was a bathroom with shower in between the 2 rooms and a small fridge in one of the rooms.   I wasn't really impressed because I saw some cob webs in the corners, but my daughter thought it would be fun so I said ok since it would only be one night.   The price is only about 70 dollars for the night so it was inexpensive  for the 4 of us.   Each room had 1 Queen bed and 1 twin bed so there was plenty of sleeping room.  There is no air conditioning but plenty of screened windows and ceiling fans in both rooms.  We checked the weather carefully while making reservations and since the weather was cool in the evening it was quite pleasant.  We took snacks and breakfast foods but went to the hotel for dinner.  The guys had cheeseburgers  and fries which they said were quite good.    Daughter and I shared a steak dinner with an extra vegetable.  We asked for our steak rare but I think that the regular chef was out that night (off season and during the week)  because it was not done at all and was even cold.  At our request it was quickly cooked properly.  Our salad and mashed potatoes were good as were our cooked apples. I thought it odd that they left all of the peel on the apple but it was soft so it was fine.

While there we took 2 different tours, the Historic and the New Entrance.  Both tours were fun, they had lots of stairs and lasted about 2 hours each. 

Many of the passages had cute names like the one below.

On our way home we stopped at Lincoln's birthplace.  It was a perfect day to get the free walking tour.  This is the spring that would have supplied his family with water.  It was also cool even on a hot day.

 This is the memorial, Most of what you see has special symbolic meaning

This is the cabin that is inside of the memorial. This was considered Lincolns birth place until it was carbon dated in 2004 and found that it was almost but not quite old enough to have been his birth place so it is also symbolic.

We had a great time at both Mammoth cave and Lincoln's birth place.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vogue 8634

This was a very easy pattern just as Vogue promised. I featured this as a me made May outfit and promised I would make it again. 

 My pattern is a medium and I don't like thinner knits to be too  fitted so I added a 1/2 inch to the side seams.    Because of my age and or size, I  lengthened the front bodice by one inch.  While wearing this the weight of the knit pulls the top a bit lower than I like for work so I'll just wear a cami under it.   I did not have this problem with the lighter weight knit.  For the next version I will probably raise the neck line a  bit so I won't have to worry about it. 

I used a twin needle for the sleeves and hem.  I have a serger with the coverstitch function but I haven't used it yet and didn't want to start arguing with my machine, I wanted to wear my shirt the next day.

Front side

This is how the inside looks when you use twin needles.

The knit fabric has a wonderful drape and is smooth and soft at the same time.  It was purchased  3 or 4 years ago when Billli and I went on  fabric buying trip to New York City with Peggy Sagers.  We had so much fun and were totally amazed at how many fabric and notion shops there were. We were able to go to stores that most shoppers never see. The quality of the fabrics were also better than what I usually see in my area.   It was almost overwhelming. 

I would love to go again. (Billi can you hear me?)

The sleeves are really the same length and the cowl usually sits nicer but I just finished working 10 hours and was too tired and hungry to spend any time making adjustments for the camera.
This is a really quick top to make and you can easily cut and sew it in an afternoon.