Monday, March 2, 2015

A Wadder Was Made

Rachael has very definite opinions about her clothes. What budding fashion diva doesn't? Anyway, she's been making her list and checking it twice about what she wants to take to this year's Youth Camp in June. She knows me...

If she wants it in June, better ask Mom in February to make it. It will get made with more time. Anyway, two Saturday's ago after Rachael played at ULM's Piano Festival (she made a superior!), we hit up Hancock's and got a pattern (New Look 6210) and 2.5 yards of very thin blue jersey and a 1 yard of pink satin (I advised against both but she wanted that color jersey and that color satin).

Our inspiration dress:

The pattern worked perfectly with a few alterations since this is an adult pattern and Rachael is still growing from a child's body into a young lady's shape. I started with view A bodice and morphed it to view C skirt in a size 12. I scooped out the back and raised the front neckline 2". I took in the center back seam 1 1/4" only towards the top since she does not yet have an adult's broadness. When she tried on the dress, I ended up taking in another 1/2" at the underarm - it flaired out just a tad. 

The dress looked exactly like the above photo. Except, the jersey was too thin. It clung to her curves. And there was the bow. The bow was cute but she had picked out a pink satin and since the wrong side showed, I lined it. This was a mistake it proved to be too thick for the look we were going for. We both agreed that we needed to look for a slightly thicker fabric for the dress and a totally different fabric for the bow. 

In other news, I finally finished a knit project. I had made a pair of fingerless mitts, wove in threads, blocked them and even wore them twice. Unfortunately, with those two wearings I realized that I had made them just a few rows too long. My pinkies couldn't decide if they were supposed to be outside the mitts or inside. It was driving me nutsy! I unpicked the bind-off, frogged back the garter stitch edge and then an additional 5 rows. From there, I knit 3 rows of garter stitch and bound off. They are the perfect length now. Yay me!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow Days Are Fun!

Here in Louisiana, snow & ice are rare occurences. Seldom does it get THAT cold. School was let out early on Monday and then canceled completely Tuesday and Wednesday. I had fun cutting out a new shirt and just being a bit lazy. It was a nice break from the usual routine of school, housework, laundry, sleep. Instead I had sewing, housework, laundry and sleep!

I cut out Simplicity 2369 (have you noticed that all my patterns are several years old?), view C with lengthened view A sleeves. The fabric is a black midweight rayon jersey with a bit of lycra. I love this fabric. I want to say that it's from Gorgeous Fabrics because the cut edges were very rough and that's how almost all the fabrics that I have from there are (please know that I have not ordered from this store in about 6 years or any fabric store actually).

I started with an 18 around the neckline, grading out to a 22 around the hips. I shortened the ties 5" and they are borderline almost being a tad too long. I am super pleased with how this top turned out - I love it!

The photos are a little washed out to show a bit of the details. 

The hemline doesn't pucker like that when I'm wearing the blouse (I wore it into town this morning). It's comfortable and I'm just thrilled with it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sickness Came to Visit

Last month, my husband mentioned something about my blog and I had to say that I hadn't posted anything since last April. I also realized that I had not made a single item for myself at all last year. Everything was for my daughters, school uniforms for the girls at school, a grocery bag holder for my husband. Nothing other than hemming several store-bought skirts was done for myself.

Part of that was the very real lack of wanting to know what my measurements were/are. The other was my obsession with knitting. I may not have sewn anything for myself but there was plenty of selfish knitting!

A few weeks ago, a 3 day fast was called at church & as the girls I were driving home that night, my middle daughter mentioned that since nothing was said about the fast being a food fast (pushing back the plate was mentioned) that I should fast from all knitting. I did not like the idea. At. All. Flesh rose up and said No! Not happening.

I woke up the next morning & put my knitting to the back burner. If I can't go a few days without doing something, then that something might be taking God's rightful place as first in my life. I figured that with work, I'd be ok fasting from my knitting. Ha ha.  Monday was ok. Guess who woke up sick Tuesday morning though? That would be my youngest child. The one that can not be left at home by herself. Okay, it took about 2 hours of sitting around at home to get me up and doing something. First, I started repainting the walls in my bedroom. Between coats of paint, I started cutting out fabric - the same fabric that has been sitting out for the last 2 years waiting on me to find the motivation to cut it up. When the fabric was cut (which has always been the part I liked least about sewing), I started sewing.

First, I pulled out McCalls 6844. I can totally see why this has been such a popular pattern! I love the
open knit jacket that I now have to wear. I made View A. I started with a L in the shoulders, graded out to an XL at the bust and all the way up to XXL at the hips. I did fold up along the petite lines for the sleeves, front & back.  Usually, I'm a fan of 3/4 length sleeves, this time I left them long. I love it and definitely plan to make more!

Do you see the black on the collar? I didn't pay attention when cutting out the fabric and only cut 2 of the collar instead of 4. I had already cut the remaining fabric and had NO leftovers. To the rescue with a solid black knit that I had in stash.

Next, I sewed up Vogue 8534. This used up the remainder of this piece of fabric. I made View C with 3/4 sleeves (barely). I didn't have a lot of fabric to work with. While I was sewing this up, I wondered why there were no mentions in any of the reviews that this had a reverse high/low hem. It wasn't until I really looked at the line drawings that it dawned on me that I had cut the front with the curved hem but cut the back with the shorter, straight hem of View A. I actually like the way it looks and both of my older girls agree that it still looks pretty good.

I think that I will probably make View B of this pattern with the shorter hem length. 

At this point, we were no longer sick (the rest of us got sick later that week), I wasn't fasting from my knitting any longer but I was on a roll. The mojo had returned.

I pulled out McCall's 6896. This one... I'm just kind of meh about. It's okay, I'll probably wear it but it's a bit uninspiring. I love the fabric though. Kind of wish I had made the other view of Vogue 8534 with it. Oh well...

This pattern will go in the reject pile.

Last up is Pamela's Patterns #105 The Perfect Tank Top. I love this! Of course there are mods to make this a more modest tank top for me but I know that I will make more! The mods: I traced a medium at the front using the darted front going out to a large at the hips. I lowered the dart point 1". Raised the front neckline, took off 1" along center front fold at the top tapering to nothing at the bottom. The straps are about 5" shorter than called for.

It's an awesome tank top and I will be probably make multiples of this not only for myself but also for my girls.

Both pieces of fabric were bought from Sawyer Brook Fabrics about 5 years ago(?!) - 6 yards of fabric out. 

I'm not finished yet. There is more fabric to be sewn and after the sickness of a few weeks ago, Debra came home with flu on Thursday - we are under quarantine until Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Bit of Selfishness

I think that most of y'all know that whenever we have long school breaks, we spend that time with my husband where ever he might be working at the time. Currently, he's in Baytown, TX.

Last month, while we were on Spring Break I had the awesome chance to visit a couple of yarn shops. It felt like pure luxury. First because I got to go by myself! Second because I only had to drive 25 miles to get to it. Here at home, I have to drive to Shreveport or over to Jackson, MS. - we're talking 3 hours in a vehicle. One way. Needless to say, those trips are usually only made once a year.

At the first yarn shop, Park Avenue Yarns, I bought a couple of Kim Hargreaves pattern books, 2 pair of circular needles and 10 skeins of Cherry Red Hempathy by Elsebeth Lavold. 

It's a sport-weight yarn, hemp/cotton/rayon blend. The notes on Ravelry says that swatching is essential since this yarn blooms after washing. I still didn't swatch - I like knitting dangerously. 

The sweater is Maggie by Kim Hargreaves. I have to say this about Ms. Hargreaves. I'm not sure if I've ever seen any other knitwear designer manage to have as many patterns that I love and want to knit. right. now as she has.

My notes on the few mods that I made are here.

I currently have a summer shawl blocking - I'll share that in the next few days.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Vow

I, Amy Bailes, do hereby declare that:

I will not buy any fabric to add to stash;

I must sew/use 2.5 yards of fabric before buying a single yard of fabric.

It's past time to get the stash under control.

Last year, we bought our next door neighbor's house and land. We tore down our old mobile home and moved into the new (to us) house.* I love this place - we have room to spread out. Unfortunately, although we gained 600 square feet of house, we actually have less storage space, less closet space. Go figure...

Anyway, when we moved in, I put shelving up in the utility room and my fabric stash completely filled the bottom 4 shelves. For the first time in 20 years of sewing, all my fabric was in one spot and I could see every piece of fabric that I had bought and then not used. 

Well, it was all in one spot until this February, when I decided that I no longer wanted my sewing desk in my bedroom. I wanted my bedroom to be just a bedroom. I wanted to be able to make my bed and not trip over the sewing desk chair. After pulling my fabric off the shelves, I moved my sewing desk and pattern cabinet into the utility room. Man, I have a lot of fabric. I guess most sewers do.

Seriously, I have a piece of fabric that I bought the year I learned to sew. I remember buying it! I remember what project I was going to use it for. I remember what town & state we were in when I bought it (Lake Jackson, Texas). I have fabric that I remember buying when Hannah was 6 months old; I was planning on making smocked dresses (bought at Famous Fabrics in Monroe). I have fabric that I bought when Rachael was a baby. And even more fabric that I bought when Debra was still in diapers. 

When we first decided to buy this house, I started going through fabric. I gave away a lot of fabric. A lot. Every piece; every yard that I now have? I love it. It's not something that I'm not willing to part with. All the fabric that I still have is in 4 - 120 quart plastic storage boxes and 2 - 100 quart plastic storage boxes.

So, that why I've made the vow. It's time. Past time. I'm not saying that I don't want to have a stash, but I would like to have maybe half of my current stash? We will see. At least one less storage box of fabric would be nice.**

*We have central heat and air. I love not having to get up twice a night during winter to put wood in the heater to keep the house warm.

**Notice I said nothing about the yarn stash?

***Want to take a wild guess as to where the fabric stash is being stored? Irony, thy name is Amy - all those storage boxes are in my.... bedroom. Yeah, let's not talk about it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


She turned 17 today. Somebody, please tell me where the last 17 years have gone?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Zig-Zag Outfit

Last week, I finally managed to get an outfit made that Rachael has had planned for about 4 months. What can I say? I procrastinate!

The shirt is self-drafted using a zig-zag print we bought back in October. It closes in the back with a zipper. Without the belt it's a little boxy but this is the style she wanted. The sleeves have a fold-up cuff with a buttoned tab. 

The skirt is also self-drafted using a ruffle fabric that I found at Hobby Lobby. Super simple to make! 

The belt is one that my MIL bought for Rachael last year from Cato's Fashions.

This is the second outfit that Rachael has planned for Church Camp. Two down, one to go. The fourth is to going either come from her existing clothes or we will buy something!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Youth Rally Dress

This post was originally started two weeks ago....

Rachael wanted a new outfit for a Youth Rally that we were having at our church and I finally had to tell her that it just wasn't going to happen. The week before a Youth Rally is super busy, the church gets extra cleaning done to it and so does the fellowship hall. There is also last minute skit rehearsal and school and dental appointments and laundry and dinners to cook and... and... and....

We spent most of the Thursday before the Youth Rally at the dentist and afterwards, Rachael and I went shopping for a little bit. We found a really cute dress at Dillards. We both fell in love with it. We discussed several different ways to make it a little more modest for her to wear. 

I dug through quite a few plastic containers of fabric to find that yes(!) I did have one yard left of a semi-sheer georgette leftover from another project. I cut one panel 17" and another 15" to make a "skirt" underneath the lace hem. I also added a 4" ruffle underneath the lace around the bottom of the sleeves. This made it modest enough that she could wear it to church.

In case you might be wondering - Rachael does her own hair. I'm not sure what kind of setting my phone was on when I took these pics of Rachael. The dress is a dark coral.

This outfit was not only worn to the Youth Rally but it's also one of the outfits that she's selected to take for evening church at Church Camp this year. Only 3 more outfits to go...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Testing, 1, 2, 3

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This is a test. I repeat, this is just a test of the Amy Needs to Sleep system.

I Despair of Ever Sewing For Myself

Debra's skirts have been finished for about a month. They are cute, she can run and play in them and well.... what else is there to say about a plain A-line skirt?

Rachael requested an outfit several months ago and slowly has become more and more insistant that she has to have it NOW! That's the next items that are in my sewing queue, I despair of ever getting to doing any kind of sewing for myself.

The ruffle fabric will become a simple A-line skirt and the zig-zag* wiill become a simple tunic. The blue dot may or may not be used as the facings. Probably not though since it doesn't match the skirt fabric.

Until later....

*This fabric could be listed as a major pet peeve of mine. It's not a chevron, it's a zig-zag. 

Family photo:

Hannah and two of my best friends' kids at the local civic center watching the Monster Truck Show. I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. I still like boxing and motorcross better though.