Dusting Off The Paperweight

I love my embroidery machine but I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t get nearly enough love. And by “love” I mean “use.” It’s just not something I necessarily think about when I’m planning a sewing or crafting project. I’m trying to be better about that and am really happy with a couple of recent projects that required my embroidery machine.

A friend asked if I could make her daughter’s first-birthday-photos dress. Of course I said yes! I actually made matching dresses, one for K and another for her older cousin E. The dresses are identical Miss Madelines (by The Handmade Dress) with the girls’ initials embroidered on the aprons.

As soon as I saw this cool #1 Teacher badge on the SWAK Embroidery newsletter, I knew it would be the perfect thing for Teacher Appreciation Week at Miss L’s preschool. I’ve never done an in-the-hoop project before, so I was a little nervous. But the badge stitched out perfectly on the first try! I’m so glad I have this file now, because I can definitely see using it again and again.

Buy Handmade

One day while driving down Main Street in the city where my kids attend school, I noticed a new shop’s sign on a long-empty storefront. An artists’ market. I was so excited, it took everything I had to not pull over and peer through the window. Of course, it was 6:30 a.m. and nothing was open, and I really needed to get home so my husband could get to work. I made a mental note to check back later.

It was about two weeks before I could stick my head in the door and scope things out at Leasa: Life’s Work. And what I saw made me a bit giddy. Cool handmade goods. Some other neat gift-y things. A cool workspace for classes. Best of all was Leasa, the owner, who’s been making and selling handmade cards forever. I loved hearing about her work and her vision for her new shop. I think it’s a great thing for our area and I can’t wait to support it and the craftsmen who are selling their wares there.

I’m also excited to be offering some of my things there. I’ve already taken three Miss Madeline dresses adn a couple of wristlet bags.

Miss L watched me take the dresses into the shop and was so sad to see them go. Of course, they’re all too small for her and it’s not like I can’t sew her others. (In fact, I’ve already made her a different dress with the Heather Bailey and Dena Designs fabrics, so I’m not sure what the deal is.) And I always love sewing with Paula’s Flights of Fancy. It always makes me smile!

The wristlets are my own design and feature embroidery from Urban Threads of two lovebirds. I thought it added some interest to the little bags and I especially love the repetition of the Park Slope fabric with all those cute little birds.

Recovering My Mojo

I have a little confession to make. I haven’t been feeling the sewing love lately.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed sewing; it’s just that it’s felt a little forced to get to my machine and make something. And that’s bothered me. Sewing has been such a release for me and having it feel like a chore is just not an option.

So I wrapped up a few things and spent a couple of days doing nothing sewing related. No pattern browsing, no fabric fondling (oh, you know you do it, too), no sewing. And suddenly, I reached the point that I missed it. I could see projects in my head and itched to make them happen. Sewing again feels like a creative outlet and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Of course, with this kind of feeling, I can’t help but spend every available moment sewing. Ready for the onslaught?

Another Feliz, this one in a pair of fabrics I bought last year at Joann’s. Island something-or-other, IIRC. I made the modifications I thought would make for a better fit for Miss L, since this one was made for a niece’s birthday present and she’s a wee bit smaller than my girl. Perfect fit. It’s actually stretched a bit to fit on my dress form. I can’t wait to make some fall versions of this dress!

Have you seen the new Lila Tueller patterns? There are all these great, funky patterns for kids but not so much for moms (or teens). And her comes Lila with her Funked Out Peasant Blouse. The pattern out now is only three sizes (8, 10 and 12) but she’s planning more sizes. Her blog has info on the pattern sizing and also corrections to the pattern (some don’t list a 14-inch zipper among the needed notions).

I grabbed the pattern as soon as I saw it at Intown Quilters. Had to have it. And then when I was talking to the class coordinator a few days later, she told me the owner wanted me to know it was in. I guess they know me well over there. LOL!

I had little bits and pieces of these Amy Butler fabrics on hand and I think they worked well together. I’m finding it a bit difficult to sew for myself out of my stash. I tend to buy just a yard at a time and so many things take more yardage. This top works nicely because it’s just a bit here and there — just enough to pull together a cute, one-of-a-kind top. This one is now hanging up as a sample at the shop.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t paying attention the day I bought this pattern. The Cardiff pants by Studio Tantrum remind me of some of the funky pants you might find at Hot Topic in much bigger sizes. That’s probably why I couldn’t resist buying them.

Had I really read the store listing, I would have realized the instructions were in German before the envelope arrived. I still would have bought it, though. I’m just now getting around to sewing them because they start at a size 98 and that little tyke of mine is just really fitting in that size.

So, no translation to work from but I didn’t find it to be much of a problem. The only thing that gave me issues were the pleats. I couldn’t get the panels small enough to fit where they were supposed to. I ended up doing the aprons twice. Definitely worth it. They are seriously fun! That little nut of mine kept spinning around to make the panels flare out. I’ve seen some variations of these with little dangly detachable pouches and the like but decided against it since she’s so young and likely to get them caught on things. I can’t wait for the boys to come home and see these — they’ve been so eager for me to sew them up!

Last but not least … my first playing with Heather Bailey‘s Pop Garden fabrics. Can I tell you how much I am loving these prints? (When they first arrived at IQ, I threatened to pile them on the floor and just roll around in the yardage!) I swear, I will end up owning every piece before too long. They are just delicious! I decided to make some things that coordinated so both L and I could enjoy them.

Her dress is another of the Miss Madeline style by Samantha at The Handmade Dress. It is just so bright and fun; definitely suits that girl of mine!

My tunic is by Indygo Junction. I have to be honest here. I’ve probably seen the pattern in the box at the shop a hundred times or more and never given it a second glance. The samples on the envelope looked a little frumpy to me, just totally not my style. But something about it caught my eye this time. It’s shape reminded me of one Jennifer Paganelli has shown on her blog, made with some of the fab Bell Bottoms fabrics. And in that instant, I was able to visualize the top in bolder, more colorful fabrics. I’m glad I gave the pattern a chance because I’m really happy with the finished product. This one is hanging up as a sample at the shop right now, but that’s only because it’s so darned hot outside. I’ll definitely be wearing this one out and about just as soon as the weather allows!

Going to the Farmer’s Market

I know y’all must get tired of me falling in love with the things I sew, but I’ve done it again. I was lucky enough to be a tester for a pattern and used some Farmer’s Market and Park Slope fabrics to make this darling peasant-style dress with apron.


And I’m a bit bummed, too, because I only have enough for one — and it’s in my Etsy shop. I messed up when cutting out the dress so instead of having one for the bitsy and one to sell, I only have this one. Is it wrong that I hope no one buys it so I can sneak it into her closet?

The dress is part of another Trendy Textiles launch, so be sure to show my buddies some love and see all the great things they’ve made. The theme is “Mommy Took Me to the Farmer’s Market” and features lots of great things for girls and moms.