Burp Cloth Bling

I know, I know, who associates “burp cloth” with “bling”?  Probably no one but that’s what these cute little burp cloths look like to me! 

This was a quick and easy pattern to follow.  Before I saw this cute pattern, I had never heard of double gauze nor thought about using anything like it to sew with.  In my research, learned that it can be used to make lightweight summer clothes.  It looks just like the name suggests – like tightly woven gauze!  I was afraid it would be hard to work with.   It wasn’t, but it took more planning to make sure I cut it just right and lined up with the print.

Between the fabric cutting and sewing, it took a total of two hours to put together. Very neat idea for putting something together for a baby shower gift like lickety split!


I’m trying to blog more often and I’ve got another project in the works!  Until next time!

~Jo

Take the Plunge – Learn to Sew

People often tell me they would love to learn how to sew or that they’ve got a sewing machine that’s just collecting dust and would love to put it to use but don’t know where to start.  For the most part, I’m a self-taught sewist.  I learned most of what I know through blogs that I follow, online classes, tutorials, YouTube videos and TV shows like Quilt in a Day, Sew it All and It’s Sew Easy.  Learning to sew on a machine can be intimidating.  Like learning how to cook, it takes patience, some trial and error and a don’t-give-up attitude.  With a little patience and some practice, you CAN learn to sew!  If you’re at the point where you’d like to challenge yourself to learn, make it a goal this week to take the plunge and watch a video or two.  Psssst!  Google is your friend!

My mom taught me how to sew basic things like curtains, but I knew nothing about sewing machines, so I learned about machine basics through this free online Craftsy class:

Machine Basics

I also needed to learn about what all the presser feet do, so I watched this free class:

Sewing Machine Feet From A to Z

Here are a few basic sewing lessons I recommend for someone just getting started.  I’ve taught my kids with these and they’re perfect for adults, too!

Sew a maze

Easy tote bag

While these are great for people who do well with one-way training, many find it more engaging to take a class in person. Here are a few places that offer classes in the Central Florida area:
Sewing Studio in Casselberry

The Bernina Store in Lake Mary

Fabric Warehouse in Lakeland

I’m sure there are other independent places that offer classes, too.  I also know that Jo-Ann offers classes if they sell sewing machines in the store.

That’s enough to get one started!  And remember, Google is your friend!

Until next time!

~Jo

The Dahlia Dress

This past Spring (yes, that says Spring, and we are now in Fall!), I decided to get started on the Dahlia dress pattern from Colette.  There are two versions to this dress, and since we were heading into Spring, I decided to use the sleeveless version.

Dahlia version 2

To start, I made a muslin.  A muslin is a draft version which can be used to try on and make adjustments before you cut into your expensive fabric.  Since I was really unsure of how it would turn out, I decided making a muslin would be a good investment of my time.  And, that turned out to be true!

Here is my first muslin.  The bodice was very loose, and I knew I needed to do some pattern drafting.

Dahlia muslin

One of the things I really loved about this pattern is it came with a Sew Along series.  In this step, Sarai (the pattern designer) shows you how to make bust adjustments.  So, back to the drawing board and I made the adjustments, which turned out well!  I got out my fabric and started making my first cuts into a very pretty black challis fabric with green roses.  It is thin and lightweight, perfect for the summer.  I love this fabric!

Dahlia 2 first cuts

After cutting one of the skirt panels, I noticed my lines were not straight.  Also, the fabric was so thin it would need a lining and some really strong attention to avoid stretching when cutting out the fabric.  I was not happy.  While the muslin proved to be a good investment of time, I was not looking forward to making a lining, spending more time struggling and making a lot of mistakes with that thin, beautiful fabric.  And then summer came.  All efforts were put aside.

Fast forward a couple of months!  School started back up for the kiddos in August, and I had a change in jobs which allowed me to really get back into my projects.  Being closer to Fall, I decided to table the sleeveless version until next Spring (and maybe pick up some gingham for that)!  I already had the fabric for the version with sleeves; a nice chambray for Fall.  Chambray is about as thick as flannel, but has breathability.  When you look closely, it has the appearance of a herringbone necklace.  I really love this fabric for Fall in Florida!  Here is what the bodice looked like in the first stages of cutting.

Dahlia version 1 bodice

The pattern calls for using the same fabric to make your own bias binding for the dress, or you could use store-bought.  I wanted to put in some color so I bought 1/4” double fold bias binding in kelly green.  I like the look of kelly green against navy.  While this isn’t exactly navy from a distance, it is white and navy when you look at it up close.  The kelly green turned out nice.  A fun pop of color that gives it some character.  Having made three muslins with the bodice, the dressmaking didn’t take long at all!  Here is the final dress!

Dahlia 1 final    Dahlia 1 final bodice

Until next time!

~Jo

I Helped Her Sew

This post is very much delayed and I haven’t posted any of my projects since December, so this is much needed!

This is my friend, Annie. This picture comes from a sewing lesson I did with her over the summer. Her project is an easy pillow pattern found on Sew it All, Episode 909.

Annie's first project

It was an easy one to start with and she had never sewn before. Great job, Annie!

Thanks to Annie for being brave enough to let me teach her how to sew!

~Jo

Teacher Gift

I picked up this receipt holder tutorial a few months ago, and just got around to making it with my kids!

This pattern is simple and easy to teach kids learning to sew. I wanted to teach my kids the value of using a pattern, so instead of just going straight to the fabric to cut, I used a paper bag from the grocery store to make templates that were easy for my kids to trace around.

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Before I could go over safety on the rotary cutter, we had already managed to have a sliver cut on an index finger! Ouchie to a little one! In the end, we managed to have the older one cut out each piece.

We didn’t use the same method for the flap that’s in the tutorial. Instead, the children sewed around the sides and top edges, right sides facing, leaving the bottom open so they could turn it out and push out the corners.

The tutorial doesn’t do a good job of explaining how to finish the sides of the pockets, so we lined up the pockets and the closure strap with the interior coordinating fabric, right sides facing, then sewed all pieces together and turned them right side out. This shaved off some considerable time. All things complete, it took my children about thirty minutes to sew this project!

This makes a great teacher gift!

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🙂 She helps me sew!
~Jo

Box Pleat Blouse

A month or more since I started this blog and I’m finally getting around to a decent post!

So let’s get to it. I bought the Butterick “FAST & EASY” pattern B5354 a few months ago. I had already bought some bamboo knits at the 2014 Quilting and Sewing Expo in Lakeland, so I figured this would be a *fast and easy* blouse to make! Pattern cutting was a breeze, but the first time making box pleats threw me for a loop! A two hour loop! A bunch of re-reading the instructions, a few google searches later, and voila! The pinning is done!

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Off to the sewing machine and here is what the back looks like after the box pleats are completed.

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And the front…

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I was pretty pleased after this part!

Pause for a few weeks while I clean house, focus on work, paint a cabinet and sandwich a quilt! Finally, after 3 hours of sewing the pieces together, wrestling with the seam ripper (this is bamboo knit, remember?) and sewing it back together…ta-da!

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Note to self: invent a GPS tracking device for seam rippers!