Friday, October 28, 2011

To Market to Market

I am taking another plunge.

Yeah, I'm pretty daring over here.  No, really I am.  I am not one to take risks and plunges and those sorts of things.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while now.

In February, I started and Etsy shop with my sister.  We were, or I was, discovering at that time what I really liked to sew and so I made a bunch of different things.  I didn't do much to promote the shop... we had a Facebook page and that was pretty much it.  We did make a few sales, which I hear is pretty good for a first year Etsy shop.

But now, my sister is pregnant and is using all her leftover energy to take care of her house and two girlies, so she is in no mood to sew things.  Our shop is collecting dust,.

That means however, that now I get to take a new direction with my sewing.  I have discovered that I like making dresses.  But my little girl needs only so many cute dresses as during the week it is more practical for her to wear pants.  She only wears a dress on Sunday to church.

Trust me, she has an abundance of dresses.

So, I have decided to make dresses to sell.  My first real test of this new direction is coming in November as I go to a Craft and Trade Fair in Legal, Alberta.  It is local to me and bigger than my in-town farmer's market where mostly seniors go to buy eggs, baking, and produce.
The Fair is taking place on November 19, so I have to get my butt in gear over here.

I am a little nervous about making dresses to try sell... I mean, what if no one is interested?  What if they don't like the styles that I like and therefore make?  What if I don't sell not even one?!?!!

I guess we'll see.  And at this point, I will be happy to simply make my table fee back  :)  Though, it would also be nice to make the fabric costs back too so I can say to my hubby that I didn't lose money on this venture.

Here is the first Christmas dress I made to sell at the Fair.  It is a 0-3mos size and, in my humble opinion, stinking cute!

Little pleats! 

What do you think?  Am I going in the right direction here?  If you had a little girl, would you maybe look twice at this dress? 

I was busy making the second dress last night and thought I could get done before bed, but I have learned, even before this, that I should not cut or sew after 10pm.  My brain just goes in not-thinking mode. 
I ended up seam ripping this morning to say the least.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Mystery Solved

I am the proud mother of a nose blower.  Possibly even a nose blowing addict.  She blows her nose in kleenex, table cloths, wash cloths, dish cloths, hands, and even against dvd cases.  She blows her nose at least 5 times a day, though I limit her to one kleenex a day.  She points at the tissue box and blows.  She looks at me, scrunches her nose up and blows.  Always the nose scrunch.

Handy to have a nose blower at times.  That means boogers are no longer the hidden enemy.  Just give the kid a kleenex and she'll blow the nasty little sucker out.

Other times, it is not so handy to have a nose blower.  Specially one who thinks she has to blow her nose all the time.

Today began as such a day.  At breakfast, she blew her nose in her daily allotted kleenex.  She made the thing wet with spit (because when nothing comes out of her nose, she sticks her tongue out and makes the nose blowing sound, throwing spit across the table and into my coffee).

The day then continued as she kept 'blowing' her nose.

By lunch, I think she had scrunched and blown at least a dozen times.  And then I saw this:
And then this:
So, being the mother-sleuth that I am, I followed the obvious trail to the scene of the incident.

That's when I knew, the nose blower had taken her addiction to new heights!

No worries though.  I apprehended the suspect and she is now in custody, aka, her in crib having a nap with 'Munny'.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Dress and Fabric Love

Well, after that very hard pattern I thought it was a good time to make something a little easier, you know, to make me feel good and competent again. So I pulled out my Oliver&S pattern for the Seashore Sundress.

Now I know it is fall going on winter, but I figure D can wear this as a jumper with long sleeves underneath or a cardigan over top. Plus, fall needs some bright blue to keep things lively.

I love how this little dress turned out, and it only took me one night to get it done! Whew. I feel better about my abilities now. The fabric is something I acquired via a Flickr swap and it is a Michael Miller print. The blue really is as vibrant as it looks in the photos.

I broke out the button kit for this beauty.  Two matching swirl buttons!

Pockets that really serve no purpose, but are cute if you remember they are there.

Linking this dress up here
Celebrate Color

In other news,
When I opened my email this morning, I had to mails from two fabric shops.  They both wanted to show me some new prints, and what darling fabrics they are!  I am a sucker for so called Children's Fabrics like these. 



What fabrics are you a sucker for?  Florals?  Geometrics?  Solids? 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hokey Smokeys, What a Bag!

Wow.  That was one mean bag I finished sewing up.  A challenge, that's for sure.  And I found the hardest part to be the top-stitching!  That never happens!  That part is always the most satisfying in my books.

My sewing machine and I pushed limits I did not know existed!  We sewed past the hours of sunshine and worked into the wee hours of the evening... We pressed on and on with our friend the iron and sewed till we could sew no more.

Okay, so that's a bit of an enrichment of the actual story...  ahem.

But really, this was a challenging pattern the got me just a bit frustrated at times. I tried to find other reviews of the pattern online, but the only posts I found were ones of frustration.  Broken needles.  Snapped threads.  One blogger even almost threw the handles away until she was saved by a friend.  Really, sounds like a horror story to me, and yet I thought this was the perfect bag for my swap partner, so I persisited.

The pattern is from Amy Butler's book Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags.  It is the Miss Maven Ruffled Handbag.  Sounds friendly enough, eh?  

Let me interject here with this fact: 
I in no way consider myself and Experienced seamstress as the pattern calls for.  I just didn't think the bag looked all that hard. And I like a challenge.

Well, to start, I have never cut out so many pattern pieces in my life.  Main panels, interior panels, handles, pockets, cell pocket, tabs, and all with interfacing.  Yikes.  At least 30 pieces. 

Since other bloggers cited the handles as being the nightmare, I though I would start with those first.  Yup.  Get the dirty stuff out of the way first.  Well, let me say, the instructions, though very polite ("Please set the exterior aside for now"), were not all the great.  Maybe that's just me though as I like a good visual to help me along.  The book only had sketched diagrams and they were not all that helpful when it came to the handles.

I did what the instructions told me and then I wondered how in the hang these were supposed to look good!  I did not take a pic of the 'finished as per instruction' handles because I was too impatient to make them look a good finished.  But believe me when I say that the inside curves were not at all pretty.  So I took matters into my own hands and made and added bias tape to the curves.  And though the corners are still a little wonked, overall, they look waaaaaay better.

Now that the 'hard' part was over, I went on to the easy part.  The next problem people seemed to have with the bag was the ruffle.  I don't get that problem, because that was probably one of the easiest parts for me.  I have some ruffle experience, you know, pulling threads and all to get a good ruffle, and I did not snap any threads.  One trick I did do when attaching the ruffle was using a twin needle so my stitching was even and I was done in one shot.  I did have to take it slow through the ruffle because of all the bunched fabric, otherwise I may have had a broken needle.  Since I have to travel about an hour to get a new twin needle, the few I have are very precious to me and I take very good care of my precious twins.

Then it was on to bigger things.  The construction of the whole.

This went fairly well, though because of the fused fleece and the layers of fabric, this was a little frustrating.  I almost needed a long arm sewing machine to get this all together.  Really.  It's true.

Anyway, at one point, the point at which the handles were attached, the pockets were in place, and I had only to sew the top together, the bag looked like this:
 Pretty, eh?

But it worked.  I got the bag all together and then it was time to topstitch and add the tabs with the magnetic snaps.  That was the point I nearly quit.  Bah.

No worries, though.  Little D helped by showing me that it was all okay because we recycle.  She lined up the cans from the recycle bag for me to show me, well, I really don't know what.  Because it really didn't help me with top-stitching. 
Um, yeah, that's my sewing space.  Small, cramped, and rather unorganized.  I need a room for my hobby.

Anyway, 2 days toil and this is the end result.
Ta da!

Was it worth all the effort?  I don't know.  We'll have to see what my partner thinks when she gets it.
Secret swap, so I am not showing the inside or telling any real details about it since that might give it away.

Overall, definitely a difficult pattern, but not impossible.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A New Cover

It's new! It's fresh! It's clean! 

I finally got fed up with my old ironing board cover that had a spot of fusible web and some other unidentified spots seared into it.  It also was rather loose because my dear daughter lost the tightener for the strings. 
I say I finally got fed up, but I was actually inspired by my friend's new and shiny cover.  I saw it yesterday and just knew I had to have a new cover too. 

I had fabric and elastic already at home, so I simply laid my board down on top of the fabric and traced around it to get the shape of the cover.  Then I zigzagged the edge and made a 1/2" casing for my elastic.  About and hour later I had my cover.
And doesn't my iron look happy?

I will admit that pulling elastic through such a long casing was not fun.  I was using as large a safety pin as I could and my fingers still got cramped. 
But look how pretty it is!
And look at how tight the cover is on the board!  It's not going to bunch up on me any more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mail is a Wonderful Thing

So I got some nice mail this week!  First, from the last post I was writing about some swap groups I am part of.  I also took part in the 'A Little Fabric A Little Chocolate' swap on Flickr in September. I was paired up with a wonderful partner who chose to spoil me.  Just look at the package!

three fqs, one 1/2 yard of remix, all kinds of notions, and chocolate!

The other bit I got this week came from Nikki, over at The Girl Who Quilts. She had a giveaway a little bit ago for two magnetic pin bowls.  I love the bowls when I saw them and was quite happy when she emailed to let me know I won my choice of two! I chose the blue and white ones, and I already love them.

See, works like a charm!  And since I have two, I can have one by my sewing machine and one on my table so I don't have to go back and forth for pins.

I love getting mail like that.  In the internet age, it is not often we get nice mail.

Also this week, I made little D a fallish coat.  I say fallish because it is not suited to the rain we've been having lately, but it is nice and warm for the non-rainy fall days.
I used my beloved bike fabric for the outer and some leftover yellow minky for the inner.  Turns out I didn't have enough of the brown fleece to make the jacket even if I decided to use it.

I didn't really use a pattern - surprise surprise - but it turned out pretty good.  The arm holes are a little smaller than I would like, but that can't be helped now since I used up all of both fabrics.  Still fits.  That's all that matters at this point.
D trying on the hood before I finalized it.
I don't have a really good pic of it, sorry.  My model is quite impossible and I can't hang it against a flat surface because of the hood.  But you get the idea.

We like it.

Oh, and did you know that frosted rulers make for an excellent face mashing apparatus? 
Yup, discovery of the day over here.

 Edited to add: I got a small and fuzzy picture of my model strutting her stuff.  And she chose her own clothes this morning. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Swapping Fun

I recently joined a few swap groups on Flickr. You know, just cuz I need another excuse to sew. I joined the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap a little while ago and had a bit of fun deciding what kind of pouch to make and what fabrics to use.
This is what I came up with.  Nothing too fancy or complicated.  Some Heather Bailey fabric, some pleats, some hand stitching, a green zip.  Really, I guess it's not the simplest pouch out there. 

There's also a surprise inside for my partner.  Hope she likes it.

I also joined the Scrappy Swap so I could put some of my hoarded scraps to good use.  The thing that really got me to join the group was not the receiving of new scraps, but the making of something useful from the scraps I already have!  I loved being able to piece together something I had never made before.
Can't show the whole thing cuz then I might give something away and this is a secret swap after all.

And, in non swap items, I am hoping to make D a fall/spring coat.  Something a little thicker than what she has now and something that will last longer than just one season.
I think I have settled on using the bikes on grey, but the husband wasn't sure right away about the bikes.  He wasn't sure if he wanted D walking around covered in bikes.  Really?
I think it'd be cute and unique.

What I can't decide now is whether to use the yellow minky or the brown fleece for the inside.  Any thoughts?