Monday, October 31, 2011

First Habitat for Humanity Project

I spent a couple hours at the Restore over the weekend working on my first project! I picked this ugly worn looking little card table that they said they have had forever, and despite being marked just $10, no one had even given it a second look.
A Way before or two:

After a coat of primer:

Below is the fabric I intend to recover the top with, and the table and chairs with a coat of white paint.

Imaging what how the chairs will look if/when I reupholster them (Having trouble getting the dang seats off the chairs!)

Not bad for my first go. I'm excited to get back there later this week or over the weekend and finish up!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Completed sewing projects

I've been bad about getting my sewing projects photographed and shared on the here are several projects I have done recently, modeled by Gertude, my dress form.

The first is Butterick 5649, made with a fuschia corduroy. 

This was the first project I made with button holes, and I'm only kind of happy with how it turned out. Between the top and second down button hole the fabric doesn't lay flat for some reason--probably the button location compared to the button hole is the problem. Regardless, I found this pattern easy and am happy with the result. I keep thinking maybe I will make this in other fabrics, but I have yet to do so.

I used the button hole maker that comes with my machine and I am really impressed with it so far.


The next project was an unplanned one, New Look 6082.

 I was looking for a pencil/straight skirt that had a wide waist band. This skirt is unfortunately only one of those two criteria- it has a wide waist band, but it is definitely more A-line than straight or pencil. In addition, its pretty short. Kind of sad because with this skirt I tried my hand at lining things that aren't lined in the pattern. I think it came out rather well.
However, I wore this guy to work once and then removed the zipper and put it in the dud pile. I still am on the hunt for a pencil skirt with a wide waste band, and once I find it, I will make a new royal blue skirt!

The next dress is a hot mess, and McCalls 5927.

I think the problem is just me working too fast because I'm excited to get it done. I need to take this baby apart and make it look right. You can see all the puckering on the front waist line below, and the creasing  along the back zipper.

I really like this fabric, I'm planning to buy more (and maybe the blue version) to hold just in case I can't get this dress to look nice.

Below we have Butterick 5455. 

The details are hard to see given my photography and the pattern of the fabric, but I LOVE, love love this dress and pattern. I am planning to make a black version (A girl can never have too much black, right?) in the near future. I think this dress is a great opportunity to add some bling around the neckline for the holiday party season. 
The fabric is a cotton sateen that I found on Joann's clearance table during a 50% off sale. I think I paid something like $2.50 a yard for this fabric. I had never seen it there before, but I really like it and was psyched to score it for such a reasonable price. 

So that's all I've got for you today, although I definitely have more pictures to take. I'm learning the value of making a muslin before trying a pattern "for real", and can really see how it makes a difference in the fit of the garment, the time it takes to make it, and the general quality of the finished piece.

However, I definitely think I am still a beginner and I'm not going to let some dud garments get me down!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Partnership with Habitat for Humanity!

I have such an exciting announcement today!
Recently I approached the Habitat for Humanity Restore about volunteering to do some furniture rehab- painting, reupholstering, just like what I do myself at home. Needless to say they LOVE the idea, and this morning I went to visit the store and their offices for a tour and to meet some people. 

They have a space for me in the warehouse where I can work, and tons and tons of tools and supplies already in the store that I can use freely. I can basically pick any piece they have in their warehouse to work on, and I have total creative control! I am so excited!

The idea is that I volunteer a few hours and they provide me with a small amount of supplies (paint, sand paper, etc--much of which they already have in-store) and I turn their furniture that no one is going to buy into something they will buy!

In addition, they are allowing me to blog about it on here, and are going to feature my projects in their newsletter. I am going to be having some business cards made up (probably tonight!) which will be included on each piece I work on and up at the register. 

I don't have pictures YET, but I have already picked a table and two chairs as my first project, and plan to start on Saturday! 
Except an update Saturday!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

The lovely (and versatile) blogger Iris from Bring Your Own Vegetables has awarded me with the "Versatile Blog Award"
Apparently as I result I get to talk about myself. So without further ado, here are some things about me:

  1. I'm actually a nerd in real life. I have a Master's degree in biostatistics and currently work in health care consulting, formerly worked in molecular genetics/bioinformatics researching kidney disease.
  2. ...But I would love to blog, paint and sew full time. I'm currently working on setting up an etsy shop with some of the things I have sewn.
  3. In college I helped write high school math textbooks. My name might be in your child's math textbook!
  4. A lot of my DIY-ness comes from my mother. Growing up we did lots of work on our house ourselves- which is how I learned to patch drywall, paint, remove wallpaper and paint some more. Also how I learned to use a drill and saw. My mother thought it was important that I knew how to do those things as a woman ("so I don't have to rely on men", ok Mom)
  5. My father helps to manage a hardware store, my uncle is a plumber, grandfather is an electrician, and my step father is a former flooring installer, current general contractor. These things are in my genes!
  6. My mom will probably never get over the fact that I can't knit. I can sew, I can make beaded necklaces, but I just cannot make knitting/crocheting work for me.
  7. I love shopping. My family jokes that my first words were "on sale?"
  8. I'm in the process of buying a condo and its just pointing out how really inpatient I am. I've been waiting for 48 hours for a response from the sellers. 48 HOURS!? They're trying to break me! I just want to move now!! (Scheduled closing date- Oct. 24th)
I'm not sure who to pass this along to, so I pass it along to everyone who reads my blog and writes there own!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The hardest thing about packing for my impending move is that I don't really know when I will be able to move. At the earliest, it will be October 21st- which is just 10 days, but it could be later than that with no limit. Patience is not something I have lots of, and this waiting game is just killing me. Particularly because I have no control over it.
In the mean time I'm trying to pack a box or two a day while keeping it relatively normal so I can still live (read: distract myself) until I actually move. This basically means I haven't packed my sewing supplies, although I have packed a lot of other creative supplies that I like to use. I've also packed books, taken things off the wall and patched holes, and oh yea....repainted every room I had painted here.
Bye Bye grey bedroom

Bye Bye Horizontal Stripes in the bathroom

And bye to something I don't think I have even gotten around to sharing- the pink kitchen. Apparently I don't even have any pictures of it! Just imagine the walls between my cabinets and counters painted "wild aster" by Benjamin Moore (had it color matched in Valspar). This project was a super-quick stress reliever that only took 1 tester to do two coats!

If you have bought a house, how did you handle yourself during this waiting period? Any advice for me about that or packing??


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sewing Studio

In about two weeks, I am moving into a new condo that has a 600 sqft finished basement! I intend to use the basement as my sewing/craft/hobby area, but I need advice on how to furnish it.
I am currently using my dinning room table for cutting, which is not good for my back. I know that the table I cut on needs to be higher than a normal table, but how high? My inclination is that it needs to be "counter height"- but is that right?
And in terms of size- I'd want it to be large enough so that I can cut large pieces of fabric easily. So I'm thinking maybe 2 yards long by 1 yard wide, at least. Maybe a square is best- 2 yards x 2 yards?

I have a couple ideas about how to achieve this. 
The first is to buy a table top and legs from Ikea. 
I could use cubby bookcases like the Expedit, or any of their other options, given they are tall enough. I'm rather 
The problem with this plan is I'd be restricted by the size of table top available.

The second option would be to use Ana White's "Knock off Wood" Plans for the table pictured above. This might be optimal because I can fully customize the size of the table.

Besides a cutting table, what else do I need in a sewing studio? I'm particularly interested in ways to store fabric, both to keep it visible and to keep it neat. I would love to try some sort of hanging system. Has anyone ever seen this kind of system?

I'd love advice! How do I set up a dream sewing room?