Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anthems and Nonsense

Do you ever hear a song that sounds sort of like an anthem and even though the lyrics may be terrible it's catchy enough that the chorus kicks in and you shout it at the top of your lungs?? Well I do. There is something therapeutic about it. Almost like, no matter what it is I'm saying right now, it expresses a certain emotion, usually not at all related to the lyrics (at least for me). This week the song is We Are Young by Fun and of course they are playing it like every 5 minutes on the radio. Don't judge. If you are having trouble trying to conjure up a song you may have felt this way about a popular one is Here I Go Again on My Own by Whitesnake... although this whole tangent might apply more to those who secretly have always wanted to be a singer in a band and don't have the vocal abilities (me).

So that is not at all related to sewing but it was on my mind so I decided to share. In my sewing world this week I had some frustrations with my machine. I got all geared up to try and make this bag, The Weekender, that I pinned on Pinterest a while ago.

I got out my materials which included this brown and white decorator fabric, costume pleather, and some scraps for a possible liner which is not included in the original tutorial.

I started cutting and even though I read through the directions at least 4 times, of course I cut it wrong. 5 inches to short and not enough fabric left over to do it again :(

So I decided I would just modify it a bit. I usually count on my first try at any one pattern as being a prototype so this doesn't bother me too much. Then as I continued to read through the instructions I just felt really confused and there were no pictures to really show certain things and I like to see it not just read it, it's how I teach myself new techniques. So I just decided I would do it the best way I thought and take lots of pictures and make my own tutorial inspired by the bag.

Fast forward to me starting to sew and I can't get my tension right. ARGH! I fiddle with it for awhile, but I was also sewing at Miranda's and didn't have all of my stuff with me. So I decided the best thing for my sanity was to pack it in and finish it at home.

So tune in next week for my first ever (inspired) tutorial...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fat Tuesday's sole other pattern...

This is it- Easter dresses (and pants) 2011 ! 
The way I got conned into doing another pattern was really quite good. It was a present. My birthday is in February and my (very brave) friend gave me two patterns and two bolts of fabric as a birthday gift. Crazy? Yes. You should never, ever, do this to someone- way too much pressure- and what if they hate the fabric? Or the pattern? UNLESS they are your very best friend and know you well enough to take raving mad risks like this. 
She was, (is,) and it was perfect.
(Mali's dress- reversible to the birds from Owen's dress on the other side)

This was for my littlest one. 
I added the little cinch up on the left because I just can't bear to
 leave well enough alone. It's outgrown now but I love the style because it can be a shirt with jeans or bloomers this summer for sure. The dots fabric is Heather Bailey's "Dream Dot" in Splash and the green pattern is from JoAnn Fabrics. I'm so sorry I don't have the name on it but it comes in a few colorways and I've used both the blue and green in various projects. The name of the bird print on the bodice of Owen's dress and inside of Mali's is Valori Wells "Nest"- BIRDS in Teal.
The patterns are both McCall's, M6058 and M6271 respectively.

(my favorite photo)
(or maybe this one- that was not posed, I swear)

Owen's skirt was a balloon skirt. SO much easier than I imagined it being. Honestly the only tricky part about sewing this was the pleats in the bodice had some very confusing directions.....  I will say that I have no idea how to make all of the wrinkles come out of the skirt and the balloon-ness of it poof up again after a can't exactly straighten it out...drycleaning? For kids clothes? Hmmm. Well thankfully I had the good sense to not wash them before Easter.

(except that this one makes me laugh)

Keler's pants are some light green stripey twill from JoAnn Fabrics, I think they still carry it, the pattern is Dana's "Kid Pants" from Made. I love that pattern, use it for everything- especialy shorts. Thanks Dana! The shirt was two season's ago Gymboree.

(My three babes- Mali tearstained but smiling after some rather excellent brother snuggling)

All in all, quite the success, even if Mali's headband is too wide and makes her look balder than usual, (maybe that's why she was crying?). 

(If I did it again I would cut down the width and length of the ties, maybe even just use ribbon?)

Check back Tuesday for this year's skirts and a little bit more hair on everyone!
Happy Easter sewing out there....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Blue Yellow...tied

***CLARIFICATION***  If you love our blog, and keep reading into the post below mine, please note that I didn't write it!  We have 4 authors on this blog, and the author of the previous post ("Let's Hear It For The Girl") is Holly (see sidebar), who is pregnant with a girl.  I, Melody, may or may not be having a girl, but we won't find out the gender until our ultrasound in May.  Don't worry, I'll let you guys know when that happens...  :)
I got a few texts/messages today congratulating me on "the girl"...I will be passing those congrats on to Holly!
Ok, keep reading the real post...

***  ***

So, I've been a bad blogger lately.  I was absent last week, and for all intents and purposes, my sewing machine hasn't seen much of me either.  So...bad blogger, bad sewer.  Not sure what it is, but it could be just the ups and downs of having a hobby.  A hobby you can take and leave as you want, but when you have prescribed date to check in with the blogging world, then sometimes the rate at which you do your hobby and the rate at which you write about your hobby don't exactly match up.

Well... I did finish the blue/green/yellow quilt for my brother, and I'll show you!

tying the quilt -
i used yellow embroidery thread to match the center diamonds
whole quilt -
i wrapped the back around to the front for a 3 inch "binding".  (call me a cheater)
close up of the tying.
square knots.

All folded up and ready to deliver to Adrian!

Hope he likes this labor of love from my Grandma and me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lets Hear it for the Girl!!

So last week I found out I was having a girl and I am oh so very excited!!! Besides all of the clothes I want to sew and freezer stencil for her I am also looking forward to sewing everything for her nursery/blanket needs. If you recall last October, Miranda and sold some of our handmade items at Oktoberfest. One of the things I had made on a whim one day was this precious baby "quilt". I put quotations around that because technically a quilt is fabric sandwiching padding and sewn together. Well I sewed my pieced top straight onto fleece with no padding. I wanted to give it a more comfy baby feeling. When I was done I had fallen in love with it and at the time (not pregnant) wanted to keep it for myself on the off chance I ever had another baby and it would be a girl. But that seemed silly. Well no one has purchased said quilt and now pregnant with a girl, it is all mine!!!

The lighting doesn't do the colors justice, but it is shades of green, turquoise and taupe with hints of yellow.
The design is a basic subway pattern but I added fours scattered square blocks throughout of bigger patterns to help break up the straight lines. Some of the fabric came from fat quarters from Joann's, but a few of the other scraps came from a scrap bag I purchased last summer at the Sisters out door quilt show and just to name drop the scrap bag was from Valori Wells' studio (so I was told). I also have some scraps that came from a shirt my mom made last summer and a blanket I made for a friend last year with fabric purchased from the Stitchin Post in Bend, OR. So there are many cool memories linked to this quilt and I think I was just meant to keep it.

Something else I did differently on this quilt, besides the fleece backing, was to use ribbon binding. I typically make my own binding and hand sew it on, but I wanted to try something new and knowing it was a baby blanket I have always like the texture and look of ribbon edging.

Lastly, this is a photo of some flannel from Joann's I randomly picked up several months ago. Flannel was on sale, I saw this, loved it and bought 2 yards...ha ha. Not only is it really cute and has birds... but the greens and blues and taupe match perfectly with the above blanket. I think my nursery is decorating itself. Now what to make with this.. a crib sheet? a self binding flannel blanket? Something else entirely?

What do you think??

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fat Tuesday sewed a pattern

(and she kicked and screamed and only did it one more time ever)...

Easter is coming y'all! Remembrance of the greatest gift ever given, the annual Smith egg hunt.....and new dresses! Well here is my first attempt, (two years ago), at an Easter dress to get you in the mood to sew something for the little one's in your life...
This was my second sewing project ever. It's a "See & Sew" pattern #B5198. It was a bear to sew. I'm not sure if it was the pattern or just that I was so new to sewing in general but it seemed excessively hard at the time.

(PS- check out that wrist chub- she slays me. I'm so in love)

 It's supposed to have a zipper but I fell for these buttons so I adjusted it a bit for elastic loops and buttons instead...
In retrospect I should have used a solid fabric, it turned out way too busy for my taste even with the seemingly simple pattern. I like the bright springiness of it, but it seems a bit overwhelming.

So there you have it- dress, bag, and headband (way too scrunchy- live and learn) all made by Mama for my first girl on her second easter. (And for the record the things she's double fisting are grapes and strawberries- a treat but not one to make a kid go crazy in church, just one to make Mama stress about the dress and strawberry juice...).

I'll be back next week with last years dresses for both my girls (and a pair of pants for the boy!), and the week after that with this years skirts.  Happy dress making folks- 

Monday, March 19, 2012


 Awhile back, I wrote a post about some different projects I had coming up, and I've made a bit of progress on a quilt for my brother.  Now, my grandma had made him a quilt that he has loved and cherished, so much so that it is worn to pieces, beyond repair.  He asked her to make him another, and she agreed (!), with the understanding that I would help her piece it together during her visit to our neck of the woods.  Well, she was out here for a month, and with all the visiting, cooking, baking, and lounging in the sun, we didn't quite get the quilt finished.  So as she left, she passed along the project to me.  I told my brother I'd finish it as my birthday present to him...I mean, he's my brother, I'm not going to be nice just BECAUSE. :) my sewing room (read: garage workshop that I share with my husbands tools and new drumset...story on that later), I've been piecing together the last of these blocks!

right sides together

the big block, comprised of four blocks
big block is 17" square
each small block began as a 9" block
diagonal scrappy strips sewn on to a backing piece (scrap)

picking out the fabric for the back.  
love it.  
and my brother approved it.  
and Bennett's hand is trying to touch it in the picture.  
Shopping in JoAnn's with two little ones can be challenging...

Today, I'm trying to sew all the rows together, with sashing in between, and then get it all pinned together tomorrow, so I can tie it (g'ma's preferred method of keeping the quilt sandwich together).  

A good netflix queue and a quilt to tie/bind can do wonders for the soul.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Darin' to be Squarish...

Last year I picked up this great book on modern quilts called Dare to be Square by Boo Davis. It is definitely a beginner's book, which was great, and after doing a few traditional quilts I was looking to do something different. Most of her stuff is pretty hard core and innappropriate (which I didn't know until after buying the book and googling her) so if you check out her website, fair warning it's crude. Her book, however, has more of a cute, fun approach to block-by-block quilting. Here are the couple that I made:

For my first two kids I had crocheted them baby blankets. Well... ever since stepping into the world of Quilting I have had very little desire to ever crochet a blanket again. I have picked up the hook for a couple beanies but even then I was itching to get back to my machine. So, I decided baby number 3 would get a quilt. I loved the wiener dog and it was so easy! Definitely had this done in a weekend. I decided to back it with flannel to give it a little extra coziness since quilts can take several washes before they have that wonderful worn-in soft, comfy feeling.

My 5 year old (then 4) had been asking me to make her a quilt and she really liked the Robot on page . So we headed to JoAnn's and I let her help pick out the fabric. Disregarding all my best efforts to sway her color choice she picked a green robot with a pink background and purple accents. She was even particular about the exact fabric and shade of color she chose.

I was actually surprised with how it came together and it wasn't as hideous as I imagined it would be. I added the piano key borders because I did want to make it big enough to fit on a full size bed. My daughter was very happy with it and when I finished she said "wow" and promptly asked when I was going to make her another one. HA! Got to love kids!!

I also made the bunnies from the end of the book, two of which coordinate with the blankets.

The greatest thing I learned from making these quilts was how easy it was to take a concept and make it into a design. It gave me some confidence in my ability to come up with something on my own. Since then I have made several quilts that I just sort of drew out what I wanted it to look like and took and block-by-block approach to piecing them. It's always fun to see how they turn out. I will still follow patterns when I see one I like but I definitely have gained some freedom from my desire to always follow a pattern.

Until next week....


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tropical Love is in the Air!

After a splendid hiatus from real life, I’m back with a bunch of fabulous inspirations.  My love and I just returned from a week long Caribbean cruise, during which I went from status girlfriend to fiancé!!  So, now I am a betrothed woman – I like the word betrothed, and I’m set to bring it back into our daily lexicon! 

While we shopped around on the islands, I saw many a cute beach cover up, tote bag, and sundress that as I checked them out, I realized I could definitely make those items.  So, hopefully as the spring and summer months are close approaching, I’ll remember my tropical inspirations and then be able to post tutorials and pics along the way. 

On a totally separate note, remember my last minute costume for a birthday party that I made a Marilyn Monroe dress (my first attempt at sewing clothes) in 3 short days?!?! If not, here's that post: click here.  Well, I finally have photographic proof.  Ta da!!!

That's all for me for now.  We're off to go camping in Mexico this weekend.  My eyes will be open for sewing inspirations while I'm there.  Until next Wednesday...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fat Tuesday's quick projects

Well unfortunately this is another week where I am writing this late monday night with a ton of other things on my plate- so short and sweet it is. 

(Freezer paper stenciled shirts for my kids)
This isn't strictly sewing per-se, but it's crafty and I use it in conjunction with sewing quite a bit. Have you heard of Feezer Paper Stenciling? It's so easy and fun. You just buy freezer paper, cut out the shape you want, iron the paper onto the item you want to paint (with the glossy side of the paper down), paint with fabric paints, and peel off the paper- viola! Don't forget to put a thin cloth over the paint after it's dried and give it a good ironing to seal the paint and keep it from getting so peely in the wash. I have another great example but I'll have to save it because it's a present and I don't want to give away the surprise. 

Next quick project: bed warmers
(a stack of folded warmers after a fit of Christmas sewing)
This one is easy and quick too. Buy some muslin, cut two pieces 7" x 14", sew together on three sides, turn rightside out and fill with 2 1/2 cups of rice, tuck your ends in and sew shut. Pick some cute flannel and cut one long peice 7.5" x 32", fold the ends down (wrong sides together) 1/4" and iron, fold over another 1" and sew. Fold whole piece in half (right sides together) and sew down each side, turn your pocket right side out, insert your warmer into it's washable comfy pocket, put in the microwave for 2-3min and stuff down at the bottom of your bed. Enjoy the cozy. Hurry quick before it gets warm!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fat Tuesday's (one) original idea

Well I'm on the run today, (no, not from anything), a million things to do and only 24 hours to do them in. Hrm, tricky. So I'm just popping in to show you a quick something.

They're powder bags in case you were wondering. What is a powder bag you ask? It's my one lone original idea. Here in San Diego any day is can pretty much be a beach day if you want it bad enough. My trouble after I had kids was the whole question of how to not bring the whole beach home with us, and how to time the beach day so that I could arrive home in time to give the kids a bath before naps.

This is the answer to that. Someone told me that a little baby powder sprinkled on the hands and feet, (and arms and legs and everywhere else), and then dusted off again would take off beach sand and leave your little ones clean enough to skip the bath, at least for nap time that is. I tried it and they were right- it's magic, the sand falls right off. But why carry around a bottle of baby powder when you could have pretty fabric instead- and why dust all your children yourself when you could just hand them a powder bag and they could do it (willingly!) themselves as you pack up?

The interior pouch is filled with baby powder and sewn shut (yes, this means some day it will run out- I've had mine for two years and it's still fairly full- I'm not worried) to make a little pouch that you simply rub over your skin to remove the sand. The powder comes thru the fabric just enough to be useful without getting used up immediatly. The exterior pouch is vinyl and velcro to keep a perfect seal on the baby powder pouch and keep your car/diaper bag clean. Now how fun is that? I sell these for $10 apiece, (or $15 for custom fabric), plus shipping and I'd love to say that they are in my etsy shop and to go take a look- but alas, it's not true. I haven't posted any recently. If you are interested though I'd love to make you one- just write my a note in the comments with your email and we'll chat okay?

Spring is in the air folks- enjoy it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I'm taking a break from my quilts for a bit to tell you about my newest hobby: sailing.


One of my favorite movies is What About Bob?.  You HAVE to watch the "I'm Sailing" video clip.  It's one minute long. Do it.  You know you want to.

"Dr. Marvin!  Guess what! Ahoy! I sail!  I'm a sailor! Isn't this a breakthrough?!  Out on a boat...on a lake...way far away from the dock...with the wind, and the wind, and, and the sky and everything??  AHOOOY!"""

No, really, I am taking a break from my quilts (just finished one last week!) (and I have two more to work on!) to sew a couple little ties onto some onesies.  I had a friend special order a tie with a sailboat theme (hence my reference to What About Bob), as she's going to an 80th birthday party for someone in her family, and there is some sailing significance.  

not sewing the little onesie to itself is difficult

 As soon as I finished her order, she called and said her cousin wanted the same thing for HER baby boy, so ...  fabric shopping, onesie buying, and bing bang BOOM!  Two sailing twinsies in onesies will be showing up to the party in STYLE!

corners are difficult

So my question is...when using a zig zag stitch, how do you make the corners identical?  As I'm turning the shirt, sometimes it looks like I went over it twice (like the top left corner) and sometimes it looks like I completely skipped it (like the top right corner)!  Any help on that one? 

Maybe I can get a cute picture of the 2 boys in their shirts and post an update! I'll see what I can do for you, faithful readers...  

Did you watch the video clip?  :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I love getting hand-me-downs! The thing I've noticed, however, is that as my daughter is getting older and clothes are worn for longer by each person they tend not to last as long. When I pulled out the bigger size jeans for my daughter they barely lasted a month before there were holes in the knees. So in a effort to make them last longer I decided to patch them, nothing new or unique about that, I know But it is the only sewing I did this week. I pulled out my scraps and some steam-a-seam and here is what I came up with.

My goal was to make them look cute as well as be functional. I wanted to use a dark fabric in order to hide dirt and stains but still be multi-colored in order to match most of the tops she has. I also attached a square of fabric to the inside to really prevent the tear for getting worse and hopefully make it a little more comfortable. I'm happy with how they turned out and she just thinks it's fun to have mom sew things on her clothes (let's hope that attitude lasts for a few more years) :)

Posing for the camera. Notice the mismatched socks... yeah she's dressing herself these days. I swear she has plenty that match.

See you next week!