Happy Birthday to Me…

My birthday rolled around the way it always does and it was pretty awesome.  I thought my husband and I would do the dinner and movie thing.  But my family had other plans.  After moaning and apologizing for not being able to come into town for my birthday, my daughter walks in the door that afternoon.  What a great surprise!  But that wasn’t enough.  The whole family showed up as well and cooking a wonderful dinner.  The best way to spend a birthday.

CraftsyCaptureAnd today, this shows up in my email…

How totally awesome is that?!  Thank you, Craftsy!  You know how to make a girl feel special.

If you’ve spent any time at all on this blog, you know I’m a huge Craftsy fan.  The biggest problem I had was choosing only one class!

I’m currently taking Suzy Furrer’s, Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper, and have Kathleen Cheetham’s, Adjust the Bust and have enjoyed them both for different reasons.  Suzy Furrer’s classes are focused on creating custom patterns using actual measurements, while Kathleen Cheetham’s classes are focused on adjusting patterns to create a better fit.

I’ve had my eye on two classes by both of them:

In the end, I just couldn’t decide… so I flipped a coin!  The Skirt Sloper won.  But honestly, the other class will make its way into my cart sooner or later.   It’s just a matter of time.

Craftsy, if you’re listening, a men’s tailoring class would be fantastic!   Video instruction for men’s tailoring is pretty tough to find.  I’ve found quite a few good texts on the subject, but it isn’t the same as watching the techniques being performed.

For now, I have plenty to keep me busy…and happy!  Craftsy, thanks so much!  Just another reason to love you.  😉


Sewing Your Own Jeans

A couple weeks ago, after I splurged on Crafty’s awesome $19.99 sale, I spent a couple days watching  classes on making jeans.

Angela Wolf has classes on Pattern Review as well as Craftsy.  In Sewing Designer Jeans she uses her own jean pattern to talk you through the art of making your own jeans.  Some great tips are on distressing the denim to create that broke-in look of your favorite washed and worn jeans.  Other tips include topstitching options and, my favorite, hammering those multi-seamed, hard to sew areas for a flatter, easier to sew seam.

Another class I’ve had in my Craftsy library is Kenneth King’s Jean-ius.  The idea is to take a pair of your favorite, best fitting jeans and create a pattern from them … without taking the jeans apart!  Since I no longer have a favorite fitting jean, I wanted this class more to learn to clone a pair of pants … any pants.  My favorite part of this video is the construction of the jean.  Kenneth talks you through so many why’s and how’s of putting together a pair of jeans and shares some of his favorite methods.  This is definitely a class I will be revisiting.

I recently purchased the Jamie Jean pattern by Named Clothing.  I’ve been a little obsessed with discovering what difference the European cut made in a pair of pants and my daughter has been needing blue jeans, so it was a good excuse.  I have the pattern cut and ready to sew… but no time!  It appears they may have to wait until after Christmas.  But many of the tips from those jeans classes will be put to the test.  🙂

And lastly, I found this post by Don Morin on drafting a pair of American Jeans based on your own measurements.  Creating custom patterns based on measurements has also become a bit of an obsession lately.  I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something that actually fits!

I measured myself, which is always dicey, and drafted a pattern.  I’m pretty proud of myself.  Of course, the proof is in the pudding, so we’ll have to wait to see how the muslin actually fits.

All of this activity was actually from a couple weeks ago.  With Christmas and high school football championship games, it’s been pretty busy around here.  And Christmas is next week.  I’m not ready!  Oh, and my husband is having knee surgery Monday…before Christmas!  It’s going to be crazy around here.

I really need to sew up a few zipper bags before Christmas….let’s see if I actually get it done!

I hope you’re doing a better job of organizing your time.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


Craftsy.com and The Iconic Tweed Jacket

In my recent post, I shared that Craftsy.com was running an awesome sale on their classes.  If you read it, you know I had quite a few classes in my cart and was trying to decide if I should cut it down a bit.  However, it was too hard to choose, so I didn’t cut any classes from my cart.  Shocker, I know.

This weekend, I watched The Iconic Tweed Jacket with Lorna Knight.  There seems to be so much going on with this style jacket right now.  I’m participating (and way behind!) in the French Jacket SAL hosted by Inna at The Wallinna and Leisa of A Challenging Sew.  I also recently picked up Claire Shaeffer’s book Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan.  So when this class came out, I was VERY tempted.  At the same time I wondered how much of the information would be a repeat of what I already have available.  In the end, I took the chance and added this one to my Craftsy cart during their fabulous sale.

While some of the material does repeat, a lot of it is still fresh.  Lorna approaches this jacket a little differently in places.  I found myself mentally comparing the different techniques and choosing which I thought would be my favorite method.  To begin, she constructs her jacket using the seam allowance and not by marking the seams as I’ve been shown previously.  I love her method of stabilizing the front center, neck and sleeve hem.

Most of all, I enjoyed her teaching style.  (Of course I’m a sucker for the accent…I thought it might be Irish, but she appears to be British??)  She is very methodical and seems to anticipate the questions you are thinking in your head.  The pace was wonderful, neither too slow or too fast.  Lorna offers great tips along with her reasoning for the methods she chooses.  I will definitely be referring back to this class.

If we’re lucky, Craftsy will have plans to bring Lorna back for other classes!

Another review you might find interesting is Red Point Tailor’s:  The French Jacket courses review – part 1

I also watched most of Angela Wolfe’s, Sewing Designer Jeans, and I finally finished Sandra Betzina’s Pants Fitting class, but those reviews are for another day.

And by the way, did you see A Challenging Sew’s post yesterday?  Leisa is planning a sew along (SAL) beginning in January using the free patterns Marfy has made available.  For all you newbies to Marfy, and to current fans, this should be a fun SAL.  (See previous post for more info on these patterns.)

That’s it for now.  Happy Holidays!

“Big Techniques from Small Scraps” with Sarah Fielke

If you haven’t taken a look at Craftsy.com, you have GOT to check it out.  I have taken quite a few of their sewing and quilting classes and can confidently say their classes are well worth the money.  And then there is the fact that once you have bought the class you can watch it as often as you like and they don’t expire.  It’s just a great resource.

One of my most recent classes is Sarah Fielke’s (The Last Piece blog)Big Techniques from Small Scraps“.   I recently read a couple posts that raved about Sarah’s needle turn appliqué technique and I really wanted to give it a try.  Craftsy just ran some of their classes on sale, as they often do :-), and I signed up for Sarah’s class.  I’ve gone through two thirds of her class which covered applique and deconstructive piecing.  The class goes on to cover improv curves and working with 60 degree rulers.  Sarah does a wonderful job describing her techniques and has some wonderful ideas for using scrap fabrics.

Craftsy.FielkeBlockThis is my first attempt at Sarah’s needle turn technique.  It was surprisingly quick and I’ve really enjoyed it.  I did make one mistake and used a fabric glue.  Unfortunately it was a permanent glue!  Live and learn.  I think I will get away with it on this piece, but I will know better next time.

The pale green leaves on the two tulips(?) and the yellow tulip are too light for my taste.  I plan to hand quilt this piece, which is pretty much a first for me.  I will use thread to add color to those areas and perhaps add legs and feet to the bird.  I have really enjoyed the process.

I’m considering treating this as a center to a medallion quilt.  As of today, this class is still on sale.  You should check it out.

Tell me, have you taken an online class or workshop you would recommend?  I’m always looking something new to learn.

Fun with dying fabric

I have such a blast with the Craftsy classes.  Today I was working again on dying fabric using tips by Malka Dubrawsky in her class.

I couldn’t find Pima cotton locally, so I looked through my white stash and found the finest 100% cotton I could find.  I started with two half yard pieces.  I knew I wanted to start with two colors that would both work with a third so I could use one dye bath on the second process.  I decided to start with a yellow and a dark orange, then move to turquoise.  The intension was to end with a green and yellow, and to discharge the orange and have a turquoise and orange.

1. Started with Dark Orange, 2. Discharged and dyed Turquoise, Didn’t discharge as much as I wanted and it is now more gray, but I do like it. 3. First dyed Yellow, next dyed Turquoise. Used a lot of wax tools for the Yellow dye (just to see what the effect was) and used the potato masher all over for the Turquoise., 4. Tools used to transfer wax. 5. Still had some small wash ‘crumbs’ on the fabric after removing the wax.

For the first piece, I was using almost every tool I had pulled just to see what they would look like.  My favorite tool was a toilet paper roll …how crazy.  One end was perfectly round and the other had gotten a little pinched and was a great egg shape.  I really liked overlapping them two or three times.  On this first piece I dyed yellow and then turquoise.  Since it’s so crazy with all the patterns, I will cut it and use in a charm or 2.5″ square type situation.

One tool I was excited about was some old wooden spools I had.  I pulled a really small and another larger spool, glued them to wine corks and tried them as wax tools.  I was really disappointed.  They didn’t transfer wax well at all.  I was hoping to see the spool end and small opening, but I usually just got blobs.  Not good.

On the second piece, I loved the initial orange.  It was a great rich color.  When I moved to discharge, I didn’t review instructions and started with 1 cup clorox and 1 cup vinegar in their respective bath buckets.  The orange didn’t discharge hardly any at all!  Says something for the colorfastness of the dye.  After about 45 minutes and little color change, I double checked the instructions and upped the bleach.  I was out of patience at that point and really didn’t allow the fabric to discharge as much as I had planned.  The background color turned more gray than I intended, but I do like it.  It had been a week since the original dye and I believe the original wax had gotten broken up and allowed the turquoise into the original white sections, so I did get some good turquoise after all.   Lucky accident.


I wanted to introduce you to Humphrey the Bonzo Hound


Now, honestly, I’m not sure what a Bonzo Hound is, but that’s the name the pattern gave him so that’s what I’m going with.  I picked this up on the Bustle & Sew site and made him up in Malka Dubrawsky’s Stitch in Color fabric.  Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do him justice and the colors are not coming through as well as they should.

Humphrey is going to one of the best little boys in the whole wide world.  My nine month old grandson, Paxton, will have tubes put in his ears tomorrow and I thought he would love a friend for the occasion.  Paxton loves colors and patterns and I think he and Humphrey will get along fine.

This photo really shows the glare, but I thought you might like to see the underside of his (brown) ear.  This fabric is an awesome orange and pink fabric that goes great with Stitch in Color.

I recently finished a Craftsy class by Malka Dubrawsky and can’t wait to try dying my own fabric.  I’m sure if you check back, you will see some of the results.  If you haven’t seen what Craftsy has to offer, you really need to check them out.  They have some truly awesome online learning opportunities.