Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let me introduce myself + McCalls 5591: The Bird Skirt


Hello, My Name is Devon!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Dina’s evil twin…or not evil…or a twin, but I am her sister (and slightly evil).  I am the yin, to Dina’s yang in the craft world.  Although we both enjoy knitting, I am more of a fashion sewer…sewist…seamstress…whatever…while Dina likes home d├ęcor and quilting.  For some reason, Dina has no patience for making clothing while I have no patience for quilting…really, I am going to sew all these blocks together and put batting down, and sew all over the place, and do all this hard work just for this to lay on top of me…please. Dina has very graciously invited me to post my craft projects on her wonderful craft blog along with her.  At first, I refused her offer. I’m pretty sure my exact words were “I’ll just bring you down” mainly due to the fact that I have a notorious habit for beginning a project and never finishing (evidenced by the 3 knitting projects and 3 sewing projects sitting in my craft closet at this very moment).  However, now that I have finished school and will have more free time, I decided that I should craft more and yes, finish my projects. Maybe this blog is the perfect motivation.


Pattern: McCall’s5591 ($3.59)
Notions: 9” Zipper ($1)
Total cost: $28.35

Luckily for you, my new audience, I just finished a project. Hip hip HOORAY! Yes, that is correct I finished a project. (applause in the background) Yes, thank you, you are too kind. Really, too kind.  I just finished the McCall’s 5591 skirt and have to say I really like it.  I don’t wear skirts very often, alright let’s be honest, I never wear skirts (I only own 2…yes this is a true story). But in an effort to improve myself (and my wardrobe) I decided that I should embrace skirts and dresses.  I always find that skirts at the store are either too short or too long and just hit in the wrong place on my leg. That is why I LOVE sewing my own clothing because I can tailor the skirt to fit me the way that I want it to.  For this pattern, I added a whopping 5” to the length so that it hit just below my knee (the way I like it). I used a beautiful fabric that I ordered from fabric.com on a whim.  Now I have heard from fellow bloggers of the dangers of buying fabric just because you like it without a pattern in mind. Pretty soon you are piled sky high with fabric that you haven’t used because you have a “purchasing problem.” I am hoping that I don’t get to that stage so I am vowing to use up my fabric stash before I buy more, don’t worry.


 The fabric I used was a Valori Wells Jenaveve linen blend with cute little birdies on it. This isn’t a typical print I would wear (black, gray, or white), but again I’m trying to “improve myself.” I’m usually really cheap when it comes to fabric. Like really cheap. I never want to pay over $4 a yard, but I loved the print so much that I bought it at $11.88 a yard. Wowie.


I made the skirt very similar to the pattern except I didn’t add a border on the bottom edge. Instead I just extended the pattern in the bird fabric and simply hemmed the bottom.  I didn’t line this skirt but I finished the edges with an overcast stitch to prevent fraying.  I only really made 2 major mistakes during the crafting of this project.


Number 1: I cut a size 14 in the pattern which was a stupid mistake as it was too big. I took in the skirt a good 3 or 4 inches. Haha! I really should have cut out a 12 but I have no idea why I thought that at 14 would fit. Oh well, no harm done, I merely took in the sides for a better fit. 


Number 2: This was my first time inserting a zipper! That wasn’t the mistake, per se, but my finished product came out a little uneven at the top.  But who’s really looking that closely right? I think for my first zipper I did pretty well.


All in all, I think the skirt turned out great and I even wore it out already! I got some great compliments too.  Hooray for a first project! Keep coming back for my crafting updates. I have a few projects already in the works…

Introducing my wonderfully talented sister

Hi everyone! I have been on a craft hiatus due to an overwhelming amount of Matt's things everywhere since moving back home. I have some updates on the Table Numbers Project but wanted to take this opportunity to introduce my sister, Devon, as a new author!! We have an urban container gardening blog together, Sister's Gardens, and with the rest of our time we are craft fiends!

She is a registered dietician residing in Chicago who spends much more of her time building clothes than blankets, like me. She just got a brand new sewing machine (a traditional family graduation present) and you may remember her from my Chicago trip a few posts back. Now that she has graduated a ruthless program with Rush University she has more time to throw in to her sewing so I begged her to join me here and post her creations.

As sisters we share everything and she is my number one motivator as far as getting crafts finished and gushing about the process with. She's super talented and I'm happy to have her here! Welcome her with open arms (or eyes, since you're reading) and be ready to be amazed! I am not talented in the sewing clothes area so even I have something to learn. Enjoy!! And welcome, Devie!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Hearst Mansion Project Inspiration

Again the crafts were put on hold for a trip. Just two days after I got back from Chicago to see Devon and family I flew down to San Bernadino, CA to help Matt, my fiance, come home after being away for 16 months with work. We decided to celebrate by driving the Pacific Coast Highway all the way home to Seattle. Along the way we stopped at gorgeous gardens, amazing sea-side Inns, and grabbed great food along the way. 

Inspiration is one of those things we find in other crafter's current projects, like last week with Devon, and also from seeing the amazing sights this country has to offer. We saw everything from craggy seascapes to the tallest redwoods. But you know what held the most inspiration for me? The Hearst Mansion. A California castle in San Simeon, CA. Hearst collected everything from Egyptian statues from the tomb of King Tut himself (over 3000 years old!) to tapestries that the Louvre in Paris has copies of. I'm not kidding. So below are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I took to inspire future projects. 

Our favorite part of the mansion? The indoor Grecian Pool. All hand-laid tiles, over 300,000 in total, filled with amazing symmetry and marble statues. We need this in our lives.



A terrace angel

A Grecian outdoor pool, all marble

Mermaids! My favorite

The blue is startling against the black, white, and concrete 

The tile patterns were stunning throughout the castle

The blend of ornate and nature


The stone carvings were everywhere!



Magnificent ceilings all hand carved wood from Italy



One of the many amazing views

The main house (and the King Tut statues bottom left)

The door to the main house


These are the tapestries the Louvre wishes they had


This is one of the oldest tapestries in the castle, look at the detail!




Not exactly a craft but such an inspiration for mix of nature and ornate, details with huge spaces, and appreciation of the past. Such an inspiration!! More crafts soon. All the beauty of the last four days seeing the coastline on the Pacific just made me want to come home and create.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Sister's Inspiration Project

This weekend was my younger sister/best friend Devon graduated from Rush University in Chicago (yay, congrats!). I took her graduation as an excuse to have a long weekend in Chicago at her place so we could have a rare, much treasured "Craft Day" together. As kids we spent HOURS at Grandma's house watching old movies and knitting and sewing together. All the chatting, laughter, snacking, and idea sharing is such inspiration. Since I'm still chugging away on my table numbers project and a fair isle knitting tea cozy I figured I could use this week's post to share Devon's crafts, which inspired me to get home and sew! 

 Meet Devon, my sister

For graduation my sister got a brand new sewing machine. Family tradition, that's when I got mine, too. So we pulled it out so I could ooohh and ahhh at all its awesomeness.

 Devon's new Baby Lock

Devon is much more tailor-minded when it comes to crafts. I find I am too much of a rusher/scared of it not fitting. She is a champ. She got all these amazing patterns and was working on a skirt while I was there over the weekend.
Cut patterns and fabric for future projects

I recently took a class on Fair Isle knitting and since this is the easiest thing to do on a plane and to carry on a plane I took it to work on. I've shelved it for awhile due to the table numbers but it was awesome to have such a huge chunk of time to work on it. 
Scottish yarn and fair isle chart

Tea cozy bottom, side 1

Devon had so many patterns it was a huge inspiration! All I wanted to do was go home and sew!

Patterns and fabric galore!

It was amazing to the see the family and steal a craft day afternoon. Another trip coming up so not much on my front, but I think we'll get some amazing inspiration driving the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Table Numbers Project

Every wedding has Table Numbers to ensure their guests get to the right place before the grubbing begins. I come from a family of antique dealers and crafters. An amazing combination, if I do say so myself. I wanted to make my table numbers and I wanted them special. I looked at a million different versions but none of them seemed right. Once cute idea was to have each table be a favorite Seattle spot of Matt's and mine. But I figured people would not be excited sitting at "Table Our Couch". But seriously, I find handwork very relaxing and have recently been in the mood. So, what's better than an homage to my family?  Like the finished product?
 Embroidered table numbers & rosette heart escort card markers

The little heart rosettes I made ages ago with the help of my amazing Maid of Honor/sister, Devon. They are made out of the same fabric as the numbers (which are all different). So along with a table number the escort cards will hold a rosette to match. I don't think too many people will notice but it's just one more detail I'm excited to make special.
 Table 1 and matching rosettes

Devon helped me pick out all of the fabrics to make the numbers and rosettes. They are a beautiful combination of antique prints, soft colors, and wedding color touches.

 Table number/rosette fabric fat quarters

FYI fat quarters were WAY too much fabric for this project. But it's given me some room for error. Just in case. Plus, as a crazy quilter scraps are treasured.

The embroidery hoops were also a stroke of genius. I was prepared to just go to Pacific Fabrics and purchase a few 4" hoops but I mentioned the project to my aunt, The Antique Dealer. She just happened to have 7 hoops of varying size & shape (varying size & shape?! why didn't I think of that?! adorable!) that she would love to send to me! And whallah! The rest came from Grandma and Etsy.com. (Thank you, Auntie Lou!)

 Antique embroidery hoops

In order to size the fabric for numbers that would fit I just put them in the hoops I thought paired best (my favorite fabrics the biggest, of course) and trimmed.

 Fabric choices trimmed to size in the hoops

So now for each hoop a different sized number was needed. Easy! I just kept increasing the size of the font on my laptop. Once I got it to fit within the hoop...


... I placed the wrong side up fabric over the number. Make sure you're in dark lighting so you can easily see the number "glow" through the fabric. I then traced the numbers onto the fabric with a pencil. NOTE: Make sure you invert the numbers so they are backwards (easy to do in Paint). You are tracing on the wrong side of the fabric. The number "8" is symmetrical so I didn't have to worry about inverting this one.


Then cut out your number and make sure it fits!



I next grabbed a yard of muslin (slightly tweeded, my favorite) and trimmed to fit in the hoop. I like seeing the raw edges of the muslin so I didn't trim too closely so you can see the ruffle around the edges.


I love hand embroidering! I just used a simple traveling stitch to close the edges. So once pinned in place I just trace the numbers edges in a light pink embroidery floss.


And whallah! They look beautiful! But of course, you can see I just did number "8" so I have like eight more to make.

I'll keep you posted on the rest of the numbers as they develop. Hope you like them as much as I do. Plus, I was thinking after the wedding I should just box them up and save them for our first little one. Don't you think a row of numbers on the wall would be adorable in a baby's room? Learn to count! Made by Mom. But, I'm skipping ahead. Wedding first!