Getting organized

I ❤️ spreadsheets. Five-plus years ago, I worked at a company that used an insanely outdated version of Microsoft Office; this did not make me love spreadsheets. Luckily, for many reasons other than ancient software, I no longer work there and can now appreciate the beauty of complex filtering and inserting columns without turning the filters off. 

I was wandering Jo-Ann’s the other day, petting fabric I didn’t need and had no immediate plans for, when I thought about how nice it would be to have a master list of the patterns I’ve accumulated. Then, instead of relying on the same patterns time and again, I could easily peruse my options – as well as buy an appropriate length of fabric. Combining this with the above mentioned feeling regarding spreadsheets, and my pattern data file was born: 

I’ve yet to decide the best way to sort (designer? Pattern type? Size range?), but I’m pretty happy with the potential here. Farther to the right is a column to indicate whether I’ve used the pattern; today “yes” is a pretty small percentage. I’m curious to see how much I can improve it this year, so I’m putting my starting stats below. Hopefully this will be the impetus I need to try something new!

  • Patterns: 92*
  • Made: 32

*Don’t worry, Dan, many of these were free!

Rosie in batik

Did I ever tell you about my purse? I love my purse. The bird bag felt a little too springy going into fall/winter last year, so I knew I wanted to make myself something a bit darker. For Mother’s Day last year I got a bundle of patterns from Swoon and, shamefully, didn’t jump right into making any of them. After much debate, I decided the Rosie cross body bag was what I was looking for.


I had bought myself a pack of batiks from Craftsy with no real plans for them; they were just so pretty! Turns out the one yard cuts are perfect for bag making. I combined one with a solid gray so the batik would stand out and I was even able to find a coordinating zipper in my stash. What to use for the lining was another debate, but I eventually settled on a bright blue for contrast; after all, only I would really see it and maybe it would keep me from losing things in the depths of the bag.


I didn’t stray far from the pattern. I skipped the interior zipper, knowing that I was apt to never close it. I modified the strap slightly as shown in some of the example photos on the website to use my contrast fabric on one side.


My regret? Not scotch guarding it as soon as it was done. It’s definitely starting to get a bit dingy, but I’m disinclined to wash it lest it should come out irrevocably misshapen. Now that it’s warm out again, maybe I should make a summer version. Or perhaps move on to a Della wallet…oh, decisions!

PSA: Iron temperature matters

Gather round and I’ll tell you the tale of the time I melted the shirt I just finished sewing.

…wait, did I spoil the ending?

I have a habit of picking up a pattern or two from Jo-Ann’s when they’re on sale for $1. Simplicity 1916 was a fairly recent addition to my stash and when had a knit sale around Thanksgiving, I saw the perfect opportunity to expand my work wardrobe. Simplicity 1916

I picked a very drapey nylon-spandex blend for view A. I’m torn between two ways of thinking about a print fabric for this style: either the print doesn’t do it justice as it makes it hard to see the gathering detail, or a print is a good way to camouflage any errant stitches in a design element that gets away from a straight seam.

Option 3: a busy print makes it harder to see where you melted the synthetic fabric while trying to steam your hem flat:

I'm melting
Mmm, crunchy.

Hard to see? It’s easier to see on the iron.

Iron abuse.
Iron abuse.

New adventure for the new year, learning how to clean my iron and deciding how to salvage the hem of my new shirt. Also, double checking fabric content and iron settings before going too crazy.

Can you find it?
Can you find it?

Joining the parade of Elsas

Like every other 5 year old girl, Greta loves Frozen. So when we were at a fabric store recently, I was not surprised when she spotted a Simplicity Elsa/Anna dress pattern and had to have it. She did a good job being patient while I shopped (and patterns were on sale), so I agreed — I would make her an Elsa dress for Halloween.

Check out those teeth! Elsa needs some lessons in dental hygiene.
Check out those teeth! Elsa needs some lessons in dental hygiene.

With the popularity of Elsa, there are a lot of choices of blue sparkly fabric. The pattern had instructions for snowflake appliqués on the cape, but as I recognize the limits of my own patience, I went for cape fabric that was pre-sparkly snowflaked. I had to punt a little on the skirt and cape pieces. The skirt fabric wasn’t as wide as specified in the directions, but I didn’t want to buy more so I cut the pattern pieces a bit narrower. I liked the snowflake fabric because it had a border, but I didn’t buy enough to position all the cape pieces on that edge. The back pieces feature the border and the front do not; I sincerely doubt anybody will notice.

Before the zipper was in and the hem was done. She still didn't want to take it off!
Before the zipper was in and the hem was done. She still didn’t want to take it off!

As fun as the French seams and sheer/slippery fabrics were, I’m glad it’s done and I can use “normal” fabric on my next project! Greta has plans to be Anna next year…that dress looks a lot more complicated. Five year olds are fickle though, so maybe I’ll get a reprieve!

Quick sews

I had time to sew last weekend, but was reluctant to start on my next big project – Greta’s Elsa dress for Halloween. Instead, I went for a couple quick projects for instant satisfaction:

My friend and her twins I made turtles for a couple months ago? They’re moving out of state, which means I’m losing another work friend (sad face). I was toying with the idea of making a going-away present when she mentioned a lack of hats for the babies. I found cute fleece in the remnants bin at Jo-Ann’s and whipped these up with some guidance from Martha. They aren’t exactly the same size and I wasn’t sure if they would even fit the babies, but I think they worked out okay!F0SyEZ2PEaW07WB0.jpg

We have bed pillows on our couch. It’s cool, because I like to sleep there (much to my husband’s chagrin), but it’s probably time to get grown-up throw pillows. Said husband even suggested it for the couch we recently moved to the basement. I squirreled away some cloth napkins I found on clearance a few years ago, so I busted out two in fall-ish colors and re-purposed them. I even went with a zipper closure instead of an envelope/flap style. I must be getting brave!Jaow6V1BRKFyEORH.jpg

I did at least cut out pattern pieces for Greta’s costume this weekend. With less than 2 weeks to Halloween, I can’t push it off much longer!