Last night at about 8 pm I got a surge of inspiration. I would make one of those 15 cent patterns. I chose the very 80's pattern Butterick 3423. 

It is supposed to be a blouse, but I saw sweatshirt. I make test pieces, not a muslin. I figure if it doesn't fit me, I will know someone who it will fit. I also like to see the pattern in its full glory before I alter the hell out of it.

 I rushed through a lot of it, trying to get it all done in one night. Seen here on the back seam.

 I gave up and thought I would sleep on it, and the sweatshirt will just be for me around the house due to the sloppiness. I woke up today just wanting to finish. I skipped putting interfacing in around the collar. Which I now regret. I skipped the buttons because I like it so much with out them.

Only after finishing did I remember the pattern called for gathered cuffs, I had just hemmed them. I might cut them at 3/4 sleeves and call it a day, or just keep rolling them up. Either way it's suuuuuper soft and really lightweight.

Oh and before I forget, the pattern itself was super cool. The tissue paper was almost waxy and seemed so much thicker than today's tissue patterns. 

And the lines were thicker and darker, AND had the seam allowance already marked on it. The instructions were a breeze due to coloring in of right-side-wrong-side.

Down side, the paper was super brittle and I had to stop touching it ripping it and put it on the ground and kept going back and fourth to refer to it. 

Thrift Store Haul and stalled for Scissors

Sometimes it really pays off to go to thrift stores. Today I struck gold. Just for a little background I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sure it's the second biggest city in Iowa, but the sewing stores in town are ruled by quilters. I like to think of them as a rival gang. There are two major fabric stores in town, combined they have maybe 50 bolts of apparel fabric. Slim pickens.

So... I hit up the saddest mall ever, way more closed stores than open ones and well there happened to be a even sadder thrift store. Wandering through the crap I found that glimmer of hope in the form of a basket full of patterns. 

For 15 cents each! Then just laying around was 2 yards of mustard yellow canvas like fabric, for a dollar!

Cat approved! I'm thinking shorts? Skirt? 

Then, being on a high from my great score, I thought I would check Goodwill. BEST IDEA EVER. I had wandered around and was totally disappointed with the same old same old.

Then, under a pile of mixed matched pillow cases was a gold mine of fabric. (Each pile has at least 3 yards.) The three blues and the red one are the softest sweatshirt material. (The darkest blue has at least 4 yards, maybe more.) Either way I'm super excited because I have been meaning to try to copy my favorite hoodie.

Super cute and super see through. Maybe a lining? 

Is it just me, or does this just scream light weight sweatshirt? Oh and did I mention only 88 cents each?!

Then when I thought I had combed through the heap I saw this..

Ska pencil skirt? Track suit jacket? It's made of a polyester and my mind will be racing with ideas. Got any? 

Anyway, I should be working on my state corn dress. I have all the pattern pieces cut out and fitted and now it's time to cut. Then it dawned on me, I am about to cut the most expensive fabric I have ever used...with kitchen scissors.

Yup. Before I was sewing, these scissors had a previous life as "the sharp kitchen scissors". But I just can't bare to use them anymore. First off they give my thumb a weird bump that hasn't gone away since I picked sewing back up. But it's time to upgrade. I just can't cut silk with kitchen scissors. 

White Cotton 3/4 Sleeve Dress With Pockets

BAM there she is, my interview dress. 

The collar is in need of a final press but I need to wash it still to remove all the red markings. Let's just call this, "finished but not ready for the judges yet".

3/4 sleeves and full pockets.
Full skirt for twirling.
Shirred at the waist (under belt) for a better fit and ease.
I have to tell you this has been a dream dress of mine for years. Endlessly searching for a white cotton dress with 3/4 sleeves. Let alone with pockets!  The pattern is from Gertie's New Book for Netter Sewing and the white cotton I found at Joann Fabrics. All in all it was under 20 bucks to make. This is one of those projects you look at and go "this is why I got into sewing".

That Song From Bravo's New Jersey House Wives Promo

Just a Quick bit here, I've been haunted by this song every time I hear it come on the tv. Turns out Meiko has a bunch of songs on commercials that I also love, I wont waste your time posting them all here but this one should lead you down the rabbit hole just fine.

Small Steps To the Crown

I'm not sure if it's going to be my rise or down fall that I am making my own clothing for the Mrs. Iowa pageant. I, never have been in a pageant before have been doing a lot of googling on the topic. I have gathered I will be walked into a room in front a chair, stand in front of 3 judges, and just stand there while they mark my score for presentation. Then asked to sit, and without looking behind you, sit down, cross your legs at the ankles and clasp your hands.(I tried this a few times and I might miss the chair.) From what I can gather the look for this is what I like to call "news caster chic".

So just slap together a cute sheath dress right? Wrong. I look dreadful in sheath dresses. I just don't have the curves. It just  looks like a sack hanging off me.

I opted for a more fitted white shirt dress. My idea was it would look like a mans collard shirt, crisp and office appropriate.
This Ralph Lauren number was a huge inspiration. I added pockets at the side seams of course. I am also using pearl snaps instead of buttons, and the collar I used is a little more June Cleaver than a mans shirt. 

I should be finishing the hem today and will be able you show it off real soon. Since I will be judged so hard on my look, which is ultimately all up to my craftsmanship, it adds so much pressure to every stitch.

Now the costume.I was thinking about cutting my corn fabric yesterday, but realized that the pattern I was going to use for the top might be too structured for the silk cotton fabric. I have my heart set on sleeves now weather it's going to be to hot on stage or not. Fingers crossed I have enough, I originally was going to make a strapless dress, but again with the silk... Oh well it's a reason to flip through pattern books.

I better get a move on. Only like two weeks and counting!

How to sew on sequin trim / the tribulations of making a Snow White apron

I had thought that a snow white apron would have been just as much a snap to make as my mothers day gift apron. Boy was I wrong. Turns out the sequins were the easiest part and the top was the hardest. Who knew? 

I was already late for the party of the hostess I was making this for, so I threw it up on my robot form (that's a whole other story for a later date) and if you ask me, it doesn't do the thing justice.

I didn't have an apron pattern so I just kinda made the front of this dress. I lined the top and attached the straps before realizing it was way too wide, and should have taken waaay more off the sides. I then just kinda folded the sides in and stitched around the edge.

Turns out it's a feature, not a bug. It added more shape and structure to the already interfaced top. (btw I don't like using the word bodice, and I don't really have a good reason for it) 

Then the bottom. I interfaced the white because I knew I was going to be sewing on sequins and it just felt right.

Ok quick story, I learned how to sew this sequin trim from a grandma who works at Hancock. She told me to set my machine to the width of the sequin, and then zig zag stitch. Which I thought was cute, like I have that setting on my base machine.

So I did a test run, I set it to the largest zig zag I could and went for it.
I went my normal speed and did biff it on a few, and stabbed through the edges. I then figured when I do the real thing I will just slow down. BAD IDEA. When I went slow, it gave the trim time to slide around. 

I lined up the edge of my presser foot to the line of white stitching already on the white part of the apron. I kept the middle of the trim lined up in the middle of the presser foot, and like I said before, just hold your breath and go for it full speed. I ended by just going back and forth a bunch of times.

The red  tie is where I feel I really should have thought ahead more. I just made a long ribbon and stitched it on the front. The top is lined, but the red sash isn't also on the inside. Oops!

Either way, it totally rules. 

I have a jam packed weekend ahead, and of course I found a cute project to squeeze in. I'm going to a house warming party on Saturday and wanted to bring something, a plant...Home Depot gift card...But then I saw this!

A snow white apron! 

Just minute of laying my eyes on this I ran to the fabric store haberdashery. Instead of rickrack which always looks 70's to me, I found a new challenge to tackle, sequins. I don't have a pattern, but I bet I can wing it. 

Today I made the best skirt ever. I went to goodwill after a failed garage sale attempt yesterday. I had found these sweet pillow covers. They smelled like bug spray but looked brand new. Did I mention they were two bucks?! Score. After a wash and press the fabric was ready to go. I made the cases into one of my Fav Patterns. 

Finally a reason to wear my blue swede shoes without feeling super dressed up. 

I didn't have time to take too many photos,my husband and I are in the middle of trying to put up an above ground pool. Between my new plaid skirt and a pool, this is going to be the best summer ever.

How to make a sash/gay prom

One of the many reasons why I wanted to do a pageant was the little girl inside me wanted the sash and the crown. Well half that fantasy has already came true.
 Last weekend my red headed, lesbian sister put on a gay prom at a local bar. And what prom king and queen would be complete without a sash? That's where I came in.

I went through my scrap bin and was lucky enough to have enough strips to make two sashes. Buying new, one yard of red, one yard of blue, one yard of white and half a yard of interfacing should give you more than enough to get it done.

I cut all the fabric into strips. I started out trying to make a pattern off my real sash, but there is no curve and it's just straight lines. I cut all colors into  36"x 5" strips. (that size fits me a size 6, the winners being lager ladies it was a little on the small size)

Cut 2 white strips
3 red strips
3 blue strips
2 interfacing strips

Interface the wrong side of the white strips

Sew a color strip to the white strip sewing the long sides first. You should have a long tube to turn inside out.

Sew the red-red tube, and then the blue-blue tube.

Turn all tubes right side out. 

Sew the color side to the white-color at the top seam. Right side together ( aka the white side on the inside) I zig zagged stitched this seam to reinforce.

Now the bottoms of the strips I folded in and top stitched very close to the edge. I wished I had had some tassels.

Now here comes the magic, make the strips a huge aids ribbon. Put white thread on top, and red or blue in your bobbin. sew a leaning square to keep them together at the bottom. Sewing around the edge, pin first, try it one making sure you get the angle right.

I didn't get shots of it, but I used iron on, print out paper to add the letters. Finding the right size to print out was the hardest part of the whole thing.

Here are the prom king and queen dancing their victory dance. Turns out the girl that won prom queen had had brain cancer and had missed her real prom (hence the hat)and loves the sash as much as I do.
Oh and here is my "prom picture". Photo credit.


Glad you found the place. My odd ball life has gotten so strange I thought I should start to share what I've been up to in my work shop.(a.k.a a closet sized sewing room)

It's late now and no time for any photos yet, but here is a bit of what I am up to:

 I entered a Mrs. America pageant and am sewing my "interview" outfit which is a white cotton shirt dress with pearl snaps.
 I am opting into the state costume portion. Being from Iowa, corn is my theme. I am going to make a 60's style prom dress out of corn printed fabric.I have already made the HUGE underskirt out of neon green tulle. 

( Word up to for making a corn print in cotton silk Here)

I'm not really sure what I have gotten myself into with the pageant, which I leave for on June 12th. Tick. toc. tick. tock.