Last year, I was given a bag of clothes by one of M’s cousins. She was cleaning out her closet and distributing the pieces. “If something in here works for you, great! If not, just give it away.”
This was, to me, an invitation to try my hand at modifications.
I discovered this tutorial awhile ago. It’s intended for maternity clothes, but who doesn’t love a good ruching, and DIY to top it off?
I pulled out a tank top from the bag of clothes and it didn’t take much to make it a perfect fit.
First things first, I shortened the shoulder straps by about an inch each.
Next, I decided how long I wanted the ruching to be. I decided to make it about from the empire waist (just below the bustline) to the bottom of the shirt. I cut the elastic to that length, minus two inches (I’d say three for a more bunched look, but I didn’t want to take the shirt much shorter).
Then I followed the tutorial instructions. I positioned the top of the elastic on the first side seam of the shirt at the empire waistline and secured it well.
Then I stretched out the elastic to the bottom of the shirt without stretching the shirt itself.
And then I just let the machine run down the elastic along the side seam. I secured the elastic well on the bottom and checked the ruching.
Sweet! And then repeated the same thing on the other side.
And ta-da, a shirt that was a little too big for me is now a perfect fit.
I’m so happy! I have a new sewing machine!
It’s a Janome Memory Craft 4800, a model that’s been retired, but is fully-loaded with lots of great features. I’m so excited to be “back in the saddle”.
This does have another consequence: the sale in my Etsy shop will end as of May 31st, so get your orders in! All of the listings have been discounted 10-20%—now is the right time to buy.
Now is also the right time to get your name down for any custom sewing projects you might have in mind. I think my summer schedule is likely to fill up quickly!
On our recent trip to Saskatchewan, we faced the conundrum of needing certain pieces of baby equipment, but not wanting to lug them across three provinces. We posed the question to my sister-in-law and she posed the question to her in-laws, who generously lent us a playpen, car seat, and high chair.
As a thank you, I made a couple of bow ties for the twin boys in their family.
These are going to be available in my shop, as soon as my sewing machine is running again. If you have an immediate need, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂
I love both of these bow ties. The fabric makes me incredibly happy, and I was so pleased to find the bow tie hardware for a reasonable price on Etsy.
When would you dress your wee one in a bow tie? Do you think they’re just for special occasions or are they coming back for everyday wear? I don’t know which it is, but I think it should be the latter! They’re just so classy and fun. 🙂
Another project for my friends was to make a roman shade for their kitchen window. The project began when S contacted me to make a faux shade for the window, a relatively simple DIY (here). They’d been looking at roman shades in stores, but hadn’t found one in their price range that they liked. It seemed like a quick and simple project, so I agreed.
But a week or two after we’d talked about it, I stumbled across a tutorial for making a real roman shade (here and here). And so, with their enthusiastic permission, I took on that project instead. I procrastinated terribly for a few weeks, afraid to mess it up. But once I finally got started, it was actually quite straightforward.
I didn’t take pictures of the process, but it turned out really well.
I think they’re very happy with it, too. 🙂
If you’re looking for a roman shade, send me a note! I’m always happy to discuss custom work of this kind. (There will be a slight delay in production time of about 2 weeks in order to get my sewing machine back on its feet.)
Enjoy this beautiful weather!
I’ve had a quite a few side projects on the go. Some friends wanted a sling bookshelf for their son’s bedroom and I was happy to oblige!
We found a tutorial from Penny Carnival. One of her shelves is pictured below—click on it to head over to her tutorial.
My friends selected their fabric and in about an hour and a half, a shelf was born.
Don’t you just love the puzzle fabric?
This shelf is such a sweet addition to a toddler’s room and it’s so easy for wee ones to take their books in and out. The tutorial is very clear and easy to follow. I think the sewing part of the project is suitable for someone with beginner’s sewing knowledge. And the hardware aspect doesn’t look too difficult… but I wasn’t involved in the installation of it. Regardless, it’s a quick project when all is said and done, and is such a great way to corral books while still encouraging your little reader’s interest.
I think I need to make one for C’s room.
Alas, my sewing machine died last week. For a month or two, the tension had been off, which required quite a bit of babying to avoid loops in my stitches. I’d also noticed a funny smell, like overheated electronics. And then, about an inch away from the end of my last seam on my most recent project, everything stopped. It wasn’t stuck, as it sometimes is when the thread gets all bunched up. I was able to finish the seam using the handwheel. But the pedal no longer triggered the motor. My work is now at a stand still.
My husband has the machine apart on the kitchen counter.
He should be able to tell whether the issue is the motor or some other part of it. If it is the motor, though, he hasn’t been able to find the correct replacement. So for now, I will be unable to sew.
The good news is that all of the listings in my Etsy store are already made and ready to ship. The better news is that everything is on sale. If you’ve had your eye on something, now is the time to get it! Happy shopping!
Boys are sadly under-represented in my shop. I aim for gender-neutral, but since I have a girl, my products tend to be evolutions of things I’ve made for her. But bow ties will soon arrive in my Etsy store. Keep an eye out! I’ll post updates once they’re there. In the meantime, sneak a peek at the fabric.
Are you as excited as I am?
I made this backpack using a pattern from Made-by-Rae.com.
I just love how it turned out.
The piping finishes it so nicely.
With adjustable straps, this bag easily fits my petite two-year-old, and would just as easily fit her 6-year-old friend.
There’s also tonnes of room on the inside.
This is everything we packed in for a trip to the dentist and the bag wasn’t even full. While Mommy and Daddy took turns getting their teeth cleaned, C entertained herself with colouring, reading, playing with her Little People figurines, and eating snacks from her Nest Boutique snack bag. And we had a change of clothes standing by in her mesh travel bag. Whew!
Are you interested in purchasing your own? Find it in my Etsy shop! If you’re looking for a school-age backpack or a smaller one (doll-sized, perhaps?) send me an email or contact me through Etsy.
We’re planning to travel by plane to see my sister-in-law, and that means that we need to consider packing requirements. We can certainly check luggage, but with my dad’s frequent travel for business and an incident or two of losing luggage while traveling with the family for vacation, I have been trained to be leery of checking luggage. That and the post-travel wait for bags with an either grumpy or wired (or both) wee babe, I’m aiming to avoid the checked luggage.
You’re allowed two items on the plane, plus some extra eligible items (like a diaper bag for your baby’s things). We only have a couple of bags that are the right size, I’ve been wanting to make a backpack for our daughter, C, and since I was on a roll (and had the fabric), I ended up making a wee set for the two of us (sorry Honey…).
What you see pictured is a shoulder bag for me, a backpack for C, and a laptop sleeve to keep my computer safe in transit. How fun!
The laptop sleeve is lined with fleece and cotton to provide extra padding.
The shoulder bag is just about as big as the airline will allow.
And I’ll include detail pictures of the backpack tomorrow.
Don’t you just love the fabric?
Every Christmas, we draw names on my husband’s side to determine who gets whom a gift. This past Christmas, I drew the name of one of my lovely sisters-in-law. In the fall, I’d been reading about couture sewing techniques and was especially taken by the hand-sewing. I love the blue dress I made last summer, but I remain dissatisfied with the long side seams. On the machine, the delicate fabric crinkled and bunched. The skirt has enough fabric that you don’t notice the waves unless you inspect it closely, but hand-sewing does prevent such a thing from happening. You have a lot more control over the shape of the garment.
Since my sister-in-law claimed that she had no particular requests (and even hinted that a handmade gift would not be amiss), I took it upon myself to handsew a gown for her.
Excepting the hem and a bit of taking in, the dress fit her perfectly.
I have, much to my own dismay, had the gown ever since Christmas to make those slight modifications and to finish the inside seams.
We’re traveling to see them and I look forward to finally delivering the dress to its rightful owner.