Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Ellie smells the flowers.
I bought these candle holders a while ago at Target on a whim. I love the shape of them, but I am unsure if they are strong enough to stand out against the color of the wall. I don't have candles in them because they are for tapers, and I'd like shorter ones. I think I am going to keep these candle holders regardless, because well..I don't have the receipt anymore, plus they were maybe $10 total.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


While I have finished the apple/pear dress and put it in my closet, the first dress I started making is taking a bit more time. I wasn't happy with the way the collar looked (and frankly it just wasn't right), the zipper needed to be fixed and I wanted to add a strip of fabric at the bottom to make the dress a bit longer. Well, at this point, I have made the collar THREE TIMES and I'm still not sure if I'm happy. I have also put the zipper in three times, there isn't a seam on the darn dress that I haven't done at least twice. I'm starting to think I'm learning to rip seams, not sew them!
Today I decided, after the suggestion of someone who has sewn a lot more than I, that since I could put on and take off the dress without unzipping it, I would just remove the zipper and sew the seam. Also, I've had a considerable bit of trouble with the fabric itself, as it is silky, and frays very easily. To fix that, I cut strips of iron-on interfacing about 1 inch wide, and fused them down both sides of the seam where the zipper used to be. That will stop the fabric from fraying any more.
The original pattern for the dress called for "gathering"- basically some loose stitching across the top that I would then pull tight. I wasn't digging this--it wasn't easy to control while sewing, which also made the collar look goofy. So instead I have fashioned some pleats, which is one of the few things I am quite happy about!
I have also made really good friends with my iron. I didn't realize how much ironing was involved in sewing!

Since blogs are much better with pictures-- I took some of the seams I have been sewing, ripping out and re-sewing (x3). Enjoy!

The fabric fraying and the interfacing fused on.

Mes amis the iron, pin cushion, interfacing and the dress.

Oops, I ironed my ruler. I thought ironing made things flat..

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Today has been a pretty exciting day. Earlier in the week I discovered another sewing store (and a privately owned one, at that) in Ann Arbor. It happens to be the only place within many miles that carries Amy Butler fabric and patterns, and I've been crushing on her stuff. Their hours are weird--only open until 6pm most week nights, and few hours on the weekends, but since I rarely get home before 5:30pm that didn't seem like a viable option. But tonight I was casually browsing their website ( at about 6:45 PM and saw that on Thursdays they are open until 8!! I was out of my apartment and at the store within 15 minutes. The store is small, and mainly just quilting, but they have a decent selection of fabrics and the Amy Butler stuff! They didn't have the pattern I was looking for, but I did order it. The ladies that work there were also quite interested in my sewing projects and it seems I willbe bringing some by to show them when my pattern comes in. This store also hosts several classes each month, and I think I will attend a couple-- mainly bags, wallets and aprons.
Maybe the most exciting part-- Amy Butler is from Columbus, OH, which is about 4 hours from Ann Arbor. When I was talking to the two ladies about liking her stuff, they mentioned that she is going to be in Ann Arbor!! for a weekend in the coming months--they haven't worked out an exact date. She'd be coming up to hang out at the store, sell patterns, fabric, samples, and lead a couple workshops. How cool would that be?

Second, one of my new activities is browsing the message boards at It is basically show and tell for all kinds of crafters, but there are boards specifically catoring to sewing projects, and garments. Someone's post led to their own blog, which was mainly about decorating shoes with fabric, buttons, sequins, you name it. Why haven't I ever tried that? Now I'm looking around at my shoes thinking..hmm..which ones are boring enough to spruce up? I think I'll look for some inexpensive shoes that have a good shape, but maybe aren't the prettiest color at target, and work on those. Using paint and my bedazzler (no, I don't really have one..) I think the shoe would be unrecgonizeable. Glittery every color of the I come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Even Kittehs Like Ipods

The other day one of my friends pulled out her brand new ipod touch, which she was carrying in a sock! I know this isn't uncommon, but such a beautiful piece of technology needs a beautiful carrying case. So of course, I took it upon myself to make one. I didn't have a pattern although I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like in my head. I got out my trusty graph paper and looked up the dimensions on apple's website. I then knew what I needed-- small amount of fabric, probably about 1/4 yard, similar amount of heavy interfacing, and some velcro. I made a quick trip to Joanns and found a 1-yard reminant of a pretty pink fabric and got that since I knew my friend would like it-- and also some pink velcro and interfacing.
Then it took a little more than an hour-- definitely less than 2-- to complete the ipod case. I am quite proud of the finished product, and hope my friend will like it too! (And further, I hope it fits properly since I don't have an ipod touch to test it with.
I did take pictures of it though--

Watch out, Ellie will steal your ipod case.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More input needed: How do I fix this chair?

I got this lovely chair a couple months ago at a lawn sale. The people were moving and really just looking to get rid of their stuff, so they sold it to me for $5. I was very excited-- I love the shape, and the fabric isn't so bad either. I thought it would be a great chair to put in my bedroom, and Franklin has really enjoyed it.
It does have some problems though-- the upholstery is largely fine. There is a little discoloration on the seat, but I think that's just from age. The cushion, however, has real problems. It is lumpy on top, and you can see why when you turn it over. The brown fabric should be laying flat, and the white piece is the foam- that also should be flat, not bunched up on the right side there.

So my dilemma is this: I'm afraid then only way to fix the seat is to take the upholstery off the chair to fix the seat, repad, and put the reupholsterly back. However, I am concerned that I won't be able to reuse the same fabric. I like this fabric, but also the bottom is really messed up. I have scoped out some fabrics at Joanns, and here are some options:
(All swatches from

So you get the idea. I'm looking for a blue and brown or teal and brown pattern to match the colors in my bedroom already. I'm a fan of

Which one?

Recently I've been unsure about the mirror in my living room. I think it was too small for the area of the wall it was on. I had another mirror in my bedroom, so today I decided to put that one in the living room. I took before and after pictures, so uh..tell me which set up looks better.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

File it under future projects

(photo from

Since I can't be crafting 24-7, but I can constantly come across projects I would like to do, I decided I should start posting about those projects. I have a bookmarks folder called "projects" that is about a full page long. When I'm reading blogs or looking at other websites (Real Simple, Martha Stewart, etc) and find a project I like, I bookmark it so I can find it easily on a rainy day. Now, its very likely that some of these projects I won't ever do, mainly for lack of a good use for them. Like, I don't have a backyard, so any backyard projects aren't going to work for me at this point. So anyway, maybe someone reading the blog can use these ideas I have compiled.
I found this Starburst Mirror project just yesterday. Mirrors like this are quite expensive, even at Target. This project uses a lot of inexpensive, readily available materials like popsicle sticks, which makes it easy to do. But my favorite thing about this idea is the possibility for changing it up. The layout of the popsicle sticks, the backing they used, even the size, all of these things can be changed. Maybe it is just their picture, but I would prefer a much shinier finish.

I also really like the coat rack in that picture. If I had a good place to hang something like that (or the need-- closets abound in my apartment!) I would be looking to find that rack.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


So the pictures in the last post are obviously of the second dress I made. It took only 2 evenings to finish, and I think it looks great. The pictures are intended to show how versatile the dress is- I can read things while wearing it, I can turn on light switches...such an amazing dress.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


OK- I have finished the blue dress. I wore it to work yesterday--and despite needing some alterations, I think it was good! I need to work on the collar more, and perhaps add a strip of white fabric along the bottom to lengthen it a little. I intended to have a picture taken at lunch, but I forgot! I will get one very soon!

In the meantime, I have started *another* dress. This one will not take nearly as long as the first. The first one took me at least 12 hours of actual work time to complete, not including the muslin mockup.
The fabric is an awesome kitchy apples and pears print that I found at Joanns. This dress will be a bit more tongue in cheek.

Given the more casual fabric, I picked a more casual dress design as well. I saw a picture of a dress someone had made from this pattern on a message board, so I decided to find it. Its a Project Runway pattern, and I have mixed feelings about it.

Whether its because I've already made a dress, or that this fabric is cotton, not silk, or that the pattern is actually easier, this dress is going MUCH faster. But, the pattern itself isn't as nice as the first one I used. First, this pattern came on 2 HUGE sheets of tracing paper. I don't have a surface that large in my apartment, which made it really cumbersome to work with and then fold up after! I had to cut out a lot of extra pieces to get to the pieces I needed, because of course, they were in the middle of the 4x6 sheets. Also, the instructions with this one are really lacking. If I hadn't made that first dress, I would been tearing my hair out trying to figure out what they're talking about. In addition, instead of showing how to make the base of the dress and then going on to the additions, they are all mixed in. This results in a lot of time flipping back and forth and finding the right boxes, blah. Not want I want to be doing.

So last night it took me just under 4 hours to cut the fabric out, and sew together the main pieces of the dress, including putting in the zipper. It was amazing-- I didn't have to do ONE THING more than once! Very exciting! Tonight I will finish the arm holes (making the sleeveless version) and the neckline. Then hopefully I can wear it tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Tada! My dress pattern! I am making the one without sleeves, as I previously mentioned. But since I am using a patterned fabric, I am not planning to put rhinestones or anything like that along the collar.