I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pay It Forward GIVE AWAY!!

Today's post is about gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for every day of my life. My family is number one! The blessings of good friends- the ones I can have tea with on my porch- and YOU, my "virtual" friends. My talents- sewing, photography, loving children! So much more...but today is about gratitude for good health. I had a checkup last week and not only did everything go well, but I did something I have been dreading: I had my first mammogram. Another blessing: good results!! I have been wanting to find a little way to share my joy on my blog. Give-aways are always fun and today I found a perfect match for me!
BUNDLE - combo deal - Wrapped Up top and Origami skirt pattern bundle: Ladies' Editions - PDF patternsBUNDLE - combo deal - Wrapped Up top and Origami skirt pattern bundle - PDF patterns
Rabbit Rabbit Creations is having a Pay It Forward Sale! The idea is that you buy a Rabbit Rabbit PDF pattern (on sale, no less!) and then Jasmin will send the same pattern to a friend of yours. I just love this idea and it's a great deal! Since ALL of my sewing friends are "virtual," I asked if I could use my PIF pattern as a give-away and Jasmin kindly said "yes"! You are actually going to win 2 patterns, because I chose to share the fabulous Bundle of: Wrapped Up Top & Origami Skirt! AND you can choose the ladies' bundle or girls' sizes!!
If you don't want to wait to win, or want to Pay It Forward yourself, head on over to Rabbit Rabbit on etsy and use code: KINDNESS15 to save 15% and send some pattern love to a friend!! Hurry, because the sale ends tomorrow!!

Now, to win this fabulous bundle (in your choice of ladies' or girls' sizes) all you have to do is leave me a comment, telling me a way that you have "Paid it Forward" (no matter how small). I would love it if you want to become a follower here or on facebook, but it's not required! I will pick a winner on Friday morning, so you have till Thursday midnight to enter.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Lightning the Queen" Pillowcase for Zakhary

My little Andy loves "Lightning the Queen" (Lightning McQueen) from Cars. He went to a friend's birthday party today and his little buddy also likes Cars, so I made him a personalized pillowcase. I daresay with a spelling like "Zakhary" personalized items will be few and far between!
I used the "Waltography" font from Jolson's- on sale right now for 99 cents. It isn't really a Cars font, but it is Disney, so...
The fabrics are from Walmart. I really like the tossed Cars and I think the gingham goes with it perfectly. Happy 4th Birthday Zakhary!

Friday, July 26, 2013

"Prince Andrew's" Smocked T-Yoke Romper

The birth of Prince George had me thinking about smocked bubbles this week. I hope to see lots of beautiful classic clothing on baby George. Today I am sharing this little smocked romper that I made for my little Prince Andrew before he was born.
The pattern is by Debbie Glenn, from her book: Victorian Treasures. I think you can order it from her website, Love & Stitches. Anyway, her version is a daygown. Here's her artistic rendition:

I enjoy the challenge of modifying a pattern and I thought this yoke would be adorable with romper bottoms.
I love the way the romper turned out! This is Prince Andrew's 2 month photo- seems like yesterday! The hardest part of this was the little T-tab on the yoke. Getting the piping to fit properly was hard. I used blue Imperial broadcloth, so this is an easy-care romper. It was intended to be newborn-size, but as so often happens, it fit at 2 months instead. 
Here's the full view. The sleeves are sweet with a little pleat at the bottom.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post by Geek Dad: Super Slip & Slide

Hi, this is guest blogger GeekDad and I am here to tell you about our experience building a Super Slip-n-Slide (SSNS).  This story starts three years ago when my daughter Katie gave me the following book for Father's Day: "Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.
Well, as you can guess one of the projects that caught my eye was the SSNS, but alas it took me another two years to complete.  The following year I got all the supplies and this year we finally made it.  The GeekDad.com website (Ok I'm not "The GeekDad", but I am my family's Geek Dad :-) ) just recently republished the instructions on its website

 Our version of the SSNS started with 25'x10'x6 mil black plastic sheeting from Lowes , Industrial strength Velcro strips ,  50' Sprinkler Hose , 6 tarp clips , landscape pins and 14 pool noodles from our local Dollar store.
Davy and I started laying out the tarp and placing the pool noodles along each edge and at the bottom.  There were two pool noodles at the bottom and six pool noodles along each side evenly spaced.  I then cut the Velcro strips in half and into 2" strips.  We placed three at each pool noodle, one on each end and one in the middle (42 strips in total).  We started with the bottom pool noodles and placed the Velcro about a 1/4" from the edge and then wrapped the sheeting around the pool noodles (see photo).
  At this point Davy lost interest, but Rose came out to help.  We did the side pool noodles to allow for a little extra plastic wrap so we could use the tarp clips (see photo).   Next we turned it over and laid out the sprinkler hose as evenly as we could, but the hose was not long enough since it had to go along the bottom of the slide (I'll have to look for a longer hose).  We attached the sprinkler hose with Velcro strips placed at the center of pool noodle and extra at the turns at the bottom.   Next I hooked up the tarp clipes and achored the SSNS with the landsxaping pins.  Note that I think I will need to get more tarp clips and some heary duty plastic spikes to really hold the SSNS in place.  The last step was hooking up the hose, turning on the water and letting the fun begin!  I hope this will inspire you to make a SSNS for your family.

Thank you for your great guest post, Geek Dad! Mommy's Apron Strings Ladies, get your hubbies to make a cool SSNS for your kids and grandkids!

You may have noticed that I missed Days 3-7 of KCW. Yes, an epic fail! I just couldn't find the free time on Day 3 and once I was "off the wagon" it was harder to get motivated- sounds like a diet, huh? I am taking the 3 youngest to the beach for a couple of days and to go to the Circus, so I'll post from there, if I have internet!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

KCW Day 2: Christmas in July

Today's Kid's Clothing Week project was a super-quickie. It's a 1/2 hour cape! I have wanted to make one of these since I first saw the Cape Adeline Pattern months ago. I bought some sweet pink cotton velveteen from the recent Martha Pullen sale, intending to make Ella a birthday/Christmas dress (since her birthday is in December). I think a little cape will keep her warm in her special dress, which I haven't made yet!
What can I say about this? It's adorable! It was easy! I love it! The only hang-up was the perpetually shifting velveteen against the cotton batiste lining. Even though I used my walking foot, the batiste wanted to shift one way where the nap was up and the other way where the nap was down. A little pulling made it behave. This is such a quick and easy project. I could see making a bunch of these to match a little girl's winter wardrobe. The best part of all: I am getting ready for Christmas early this year!
Check back tomorrow- I plan to do some (overdue) smocking while at a pool party!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kid's Clothing Week Day 1: Andy's Undies

This is my first time participating in Kid's Clothes Week. The idea is to sew for at least 1 hour each day all week. I really want to do it and blog about my progress each day. I should have been working on another sample for my new pinafore pattern, but we had lots of kids here today, so I wanted to do something simple instead. I looked through my PDF patterns and saw the Little Fishies Undies by Fishsticks.
I have been wanting to try these for Andy, recently 3 years old and potty-trained since his 2nd birthday! He loves soft clothes and he's so funny about undies. If I pull them up to his "waist" he says "too high" and pulls them under his tummy a bit. Anyway, I had a horrible nightshirt that I made him from a McCall's pattern a few months ago. I didn't share it then because it is awful. The neckline would be big on me- no kidding.
UGLY- I actually threw away the pattern.

So, I thought of the soft knit in this yucky nightshirt and I also had a piece of soft green knit that was on red-tag at JoAnn's for $2/yd. I was able to cut 2 undies from the zoo print and I could get loads from the green.
These are the first undies I've ever made, other than some adorable American Girl panties. Let me say, this pattern is genius. See the inside- fully lined and the only exposed seams are at the leg cuffs. The waistband is soft cotton knit, but with elastic hidden inside. Easy to make? Yes!
The posterior view. Plenty of coverage for tiny hineys! I only photographed one pair, because Andy is already wearing the other!! They fit beautifully. I made size 4, because Andy is a 90th percentile 3 year old. I can't praise this pattern enough and will definitely try more Fishsticks patterns soon!
I wanted to show you one more project today. Disclaimer: I am an expert seamstress, but a less-than-novice woodworker. However, I made this AMAZING chicken "ROOST"!! It is a thick dowel nailed and gorilla-glued onto 2 squares of wood. The chickens love it! Blackie, Shelly, and Bennie all sit on it and look so cute!

Come visit tomorrow- I am hoping to start a piece of Ella's Christmas outfit from pink velveteen. That's my only hint!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Lost Arts of Sewing: Some Pattern History

This originally posted at A Jennuine Life, but I thought it would be fun to share if you haven't already read it!

I am happy to be visiting a Jennuine Life today to share with you one of the Lost Arts of Sewing. My post is a little bit different, in that I am not sharing a technique, but some history about how ladies sewed in the past. I am also offering a FREE vintage sunsuit pattern and machine embroidery design!

I have loved sewing of all types for many years. I started smocking when I was 10 and haven't stopped. I have made many outfits for my 5 children and I cherish the photos of them in the clothing I made.

Recently, I joined a group that shares their love of PDF sewing patterns. It has given me a feel for what many young Moms and beginner sewists like. They like the PDF patterns because they are instant download, come in many sizes, have excellent directions with many photos, and there is a wide range of styles available at a click.

But this world of choice and convenience is a recent development! When our mamas, grandmas, and great-grandmas wanted to sew for their families, things were very different. Madame Demorest was the first to offer patterns in one size in 1860. In 1863, Ebenezer Butterick was the first person to start selling graded (available in different sizes) sewing patterns. In 1870 James McCall started his company and 2 of the biggest pattern companies were born. At this time, the patterns were pre-cut pieces of tissue paper, with no printing and very scant directions. By the 1890s, these unprinted patterns were widely available and many companies had sprouted up: Pictorial Review, May Manton's, and Ideal (for Montgomery Ward) for a few.
Early Ideal Layette Pattern

Here are your only directions!
In the early 1900s, Butterick started including a separate instruction sheet, which was enlarged and improved in the early 20s as the “Deltor.”
1920s Butterick pattern
Example of Butterick Deltor

In 1919, McCall also improved their patterns by printing directions directly on the pieces, to resemble blueprints.

Example of a McCall "Blueprint" pattern piece- circa 1919

McCall was also the first to use a full-color illustration on the covers, starting in 1932. These early color patterns are quite collectable and often sell for $30-60.

In 1927, Simplicity Patterns sold their first patterns, which were known for being easy-to-sew, every-day clothing.
Early Simplicity Pattern, c 1929
In the early 30s, 2 more brands joined the mix. Superior Patterns, which were exclusive to Sears and Advance, which was JC Penney's brand. Now women could shop for patterns, fabric, and notions at their favorite department store.
This Advance is c. 1950 and I made it!
I really do sew these patterns!

Hollywood, DuBarry, and New York patterns also started around this time. These were very stylish: Hollywood patterns featured a movie-star on each pattern.

Charlene Wyatt of Paramount was featured on this Hollywood Pattern from the 40s.

Starting in the 1930s, many mail-order pattern companies started: Anne Adams, Marian Martin, Sew-Rite, Spadea, Alice Brooks, Patt-O-Rama, and Laura Wheeler. These companies advertised in ladies' magazines and offered crochet and knitting patterns as well as sewing.
Anne Adams Ladies' Dress
McCall was the first to switch to all printed patterns. They were a leader in the industry and are among my favorite vintage patterns. Their name changed from McCall to McCall's in 1951. They were followed by the other brands. Here's a fun look at a Simplicity pattern I have in both versions: printed and unprinted.
Example of the same bootie pattern piece in printed and unprinted.
Another interesting offering of McCall patterns were their patterns that came with transfers. They offered many of these from the 30s to the 50s and the embroidery designs are lovely. They were a great idea, because the embroidery designs were made to fit the exact item.

Beautiful early 30s child's coat with transfer
They also offered transfers on their own, which were called “Kaumagraph” transfer patterns.
Kaumagraph Transfer Pattern, Cute Animals
Once printed patterns with good instructions were the norm, not much changed until recently. Sewing Mamas today can enjoy all the benefits of PDF patterns: instant download, shop at home, photo tutorials, wide range of sizes and styles, and even being able to speak to the designer by email or on facebook if you get stuck!

To celebrate my first guest post, I have a wonderful FREE pattern to offer you today. It has the vintage style of the 1950s combined with all the conveniences of a PDF pattern. I present:

Timmy & Mary's Sunsuit
This is a sunsuit with shoulder-ties and open romper legs with a snap crotch. You can make it lined or 1-layer with bias binding. The fit is loose and comfy for summer! It comes in sizes 6 months to 3 and is perfect for novelty prints or embroidery- by hand or machine. In fact, I am giving you this adorable puppy face machine embroidery design, too.
This pattern is still available! Just join my MAS Patterns Group on facebook!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Off to the Testers!

My next pattern, "Carolyn's Pinafore" is off to the testers. I have learned so much as I have done the computer work for this. I am really happy with it so far and I think you will like it, too! Here's a more casual version that I made to photograph for directions:
It can be smocked or unsmocked and has many options for trim and ties. I can't commit to a release date, because "life gets in the way!" but it's in the works.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Tweet Home

@Shelly: Hey, I like this new house!
@Bennie: Yeah, it rocks it over that little plastic bin.
@ Blackie: We're moving up in the world with 2 rooms and a big yard!!

Tweets from the Tweets!!
The chicks moved into Hen Heaven today when we returned home from our vacation at the Beach!!
I've been working on the Pinafore pattern and I'm planning some fun give-aways and sew-alongs once I get unpacked and organized.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

At the Beach

We are spending 4th of July at the beach. We have been having lots of fun...
this was our view of the harbor at dinner tonight.
We love zipping around in go-carts!
I like seeing the blue, pink, purple, and white hydrangeas.
We played mini-golf.
The little boys swim in the backyard and we've also been swimming at the Y pool.
Tomorrow will be the annual parade, during which I can remind Katie again about the year there were unicorns in the parade and how she said, "Mommy, I know they're real. They have a real corn." The little boys will collect candy and then we'll eat lobster and steak.
Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July in the Greatest Country on Earth! God Bless the USA!!