My son’s free tickets to the Warped Tour cost him $94.

No, that wasn’t the money he spent on food. Or gas. Or souvenirs. Or even a speeding ticket.

That $94 is what he’s out after some loser stole his wallet at the concert. To whit:

  • Driver’s license ($15)
  • College student ID that he just got a week ago ($15)
  • Purchases charged to his debit card before he realized his wallet was missing and called me to cancel his card ($14)
  • Barnes & Noble gift card he received as a graduation present from his favorite former teacher ($50)

Fortunately, our bank should credit him the $14 but the gift card is gone and he’s going to have to shell out the money to replace his license and ID.

It never crossed my mind that I needed to tell my son to put his wallet in his front pants pocket. It just seems like common sense to me. But I guess that’s common sense gained from living 20 years longer than my kid. I feel so badly for him because it really tainted a great experience. I’m proud of him, too, for taking the right steps (checking Lost & Found, calling me so I could contact the bank) as soon as he realized his wallet was gone.

Still, it’s a lesson I wish he hadn’t learned the hard way.

Steampunk Sweetie

I’ve been unable to take part in any launches or really list anything for sale the past few months, but I could not resist the Boutique Steampunk launch on Ebay. My sketchbook is full of Steampunk designs and getting the chance to sew something from it made me a little giddy.

Of course, my oldest is jealous that I’ve sewn a Steampunk set for his sister before the one I’ve been promising to sew him. He agreed, though, that the outfit turned out just awesome (and he loves the pictures).

It’s a seven-piece set (I’m counting the wrist cuffs individually) and one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn. It’s also one-of-a-kind, so if it sells, all I’ll have are some really cool pictures to remember it by.

The top stressed me out the most. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out quite like I imagined but it did and I love it. The little puff sleeves are shirred at the cuffs, so a little puffier and girlier. The back hem swoops down into a long, curved tail and the rows of shirring at the back waist make for a slight bustle effect. I added a lace overlay to the collar and finished it off with vintage buttons.

I used a brown cotton twill for the kicky little pleated skirt. Boy, did I worry about all that contrast stitching! And it took forever but I definitely think it adds a little something extra to the skirt.

The pants are probably my favorite part of the set. I used a cotton/Spandex blend fabric for the main part of the pants. It has a slightly raised design to it which is a little more visually interesting than just plain cream. But the best part has to be the layers of lace ruffles. Three different types of lace — all different lengths — layered together. So fun!

The wrist cuffs are another lace with an elastic band sewn into them. Comfortable but cute. And I love the modified Keyka Lou Baby Clutch. I added a sleeve to the back and slid a belt through it for a cute hip pouch.

You can see the rest of the pics from our photo shoot in my Flickr.

More, More, More

People tend to give me the crazy eyebrow when I tell them I sit on a massage stool when I sew.

It wasn’t always the case. I previously used a big ol’ office chair with arm rests and a high back and everything. What I found was that the arm rests got in the way and I never sat far enough back to take advantage of the back rest.

A massage stool just made more sense for me. But it was kind of … boring. Plain.

Not anymore.

As part of the big studio re-do, I decide to make a little slipcover for the stool. It took virtually no time at all to make. The biggest challenge was making sure my measurements were right (and the attention to detail paid off because it was a perfect fit.

I measured across the top and then drafted a circle 1/2″ larger to account for the seam allowance and any mistakes in measuring. I cut strips 2″ longer than the depth of the stool to give me enough width for the seam allowance and also to create a casing for the elastic drawstring that holds the cover to the chair.

Cut everything out, finished the raw edge of the rectangle, sewed it into a circle, pinned it to the top, sewed it, then made the drawstring casing and boom! Done!

In Progress

I feel as if my studio revamp is taking something only slightly short of forever. I’m not typically a piecemeal sort of girl but that’s exactly how I’ve been dealing with this re-do: One little bit at a time.

It’s making me nuts.

And while it’s still not done, it’s getting closer to being exactly what I want. Fun. Bright. A little girly. Very much me.

My older son’s bedroom is downstairs and he’s groused a bit about the girling up of the public space outside his door. I was quick to remind him that he’s heading off to college in the very near future and will be gone nine months of the year, so 1. he won’t have to look at it that much and b. it’s my house and I can do what I want.

I’m thinking he most objects to the giant pink futon. I picked up the frame on Craigslist and forced asked him to sand it down for me so I could prime and paint it, a nice shiny white. I would loved to have left it stained but that dark wood just doesn’t work in a room that gets minimal natural light. The bright pink cover was a great find, a floor sample on clearance at the futon store where I bought the mattress.

The finishing touch would be the pillows. It was love at first sight with this Alexander Henry fabric (Sew Now Sew Wow). I mean, love love love love LOVE. I’ve been accenting it mostly the the AH Perfect Pattern fabrics (black, white and pink versions) but also some aqua and white polka dots from my stash.

The small pillow (top) is just a basic slipcover over a 16″ pillow form. I inserted a ruffle between the front and the back to fancy it up a bit.

The larger pillow was inspired by the cover project from the Spring issue of Stitch. I kind of did my own thing with the blocks (which are foundation pieced, unlike the magazine’s instructions) but I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s big and bold and bright and just perfect.

More Wristlet Action

I guess I’m a sucker for cute little purse patterns. (OK, I’m a sucker for cute patterns, period.) Which is why I couldn’t resist when I saw this sweet little bag from Keyka Lou.

And then it took me three weeks to finish it.

This was not the fault of the pattern. Rather, it was the fault of the sewer. Or, better stated, the fault of the shopper who could not find the darned clasp for finishing the strap. Oh, and after they arrived, I managed to misplace them for another three days, just so I couldn’t

I love the shape of the wristlet and the size is just perfect. I lined it with the same Heather Bailey fabric that I used with the Dena Designs fabric on a dress I made Miss L last month. (It remains one of my favorite fabric combinations.)

The wristlet sews up pretty quickly — provided you have all the needed hardware — and I definitely see more of these in my future. I’m thinking it’s going to be a wristlet-heavy Christmas this year, since I have so many folks on my list who need a little something handmade under the tree.

Playing with Patchwork

I had a bunch of squares left from some Christmas presents I made, so I decide to put them to use and make a little bag I’d been mulling over. No pattern. No idea if it would turn out. Just arranging and sewing and crossing my fingers.

Overall, I like it. It’s not a huge bag but just big enough to wear on a park outing or to an art festival. The strap is sewn in such a way that it lays flat against me while keeping the bag flat against my hip, too.

I lined the exterior of the bag with fusible fleece and like the somewhat cushy feel it adds.

The only thing I really wish I’d done differently is the zipper. It’s too short and keeps me from opening the bag as widely as I’d like. Of course, I was trying to use what I had on hand and the zipper seemed to work nicely with the fabric.

Just a fun, practical little bag that I think will make a nice addition to my gift-making repertoire.

Two Halters, No Waiting

It’s nice to take a break from sewing wee tiny clothes every now and again, although I have to admid that I need a better model. Excuse the child’s dressform and instead enjoy the lovely Sun Surf Halters (an Amy Butler pattern) made recently.

Now, I would have modeled the Heather Bailey one I made for myself except … it looks awful on me. Seriously. It’s so unflattering, in fact, that I could not put it on for even a photo. Part of it’s the size — I think I need a Medium-and-a-half — and part of it’s the cut, which does nothing for my hourglass shape.

It’s not the pattern’s fault, by any means. Just a poor choice of style for my own self. Which is why I went on to make a second for my sister-in-law. I chose a pretty batik fabric, in her favorite color. I think it’s going to look amazing on Jenn and will likely end up making her more, if that’s the case.

Overall, I like the pattern. It’s got a nice range of sizes (children’s and women’s) and it’s easy to put together. I even had my 11-year-old sewing campers make them and they knocked ’em right out. But it’s definitely a look you need to know is flattering for you before you sew it.

The Sew Cute Studio

I’ve been working on a revamp of my sewing studio for a few months now. It’s unusual for me to not get down to business and finish a project before moving on to the next thing. I’ve been trying to take my time with this so that I have the things I way I want them instead of just settling for what I can get.

The latest part of this piecemeal approach has been new storage for my buttons. I replaced my one big jar of button with a June Tailor Button Bank back in December. It became obvious very quickly that the Button Bank was not the tool for me. I had to dump out all of the buttons in one channel to find the ones I wanted and the design of the jar often allowed other button colors to jump ship. It just made me nuts!

I knew I wanted individual jars for each color but struggled to find the right jars. I wanted something with personality but I also wanted enough matching jars because I can’t do the different styles and/or sizes thing. I sort of stumbled upon these jars at Hobby Lobby and knew they’d be perfect — especially because they were on sale for $1 each!

The lids were originally shiny metal but that was too boring. I primed them then spraypainted them red. I printed out labels and used a scalloped edge circle punch to add a little more interest. I love how they turned out! Definitley cooler than the Button Bank and I think they’re better suited to how I work, too.