Friday, December 18, 2020

Tamarack Jacket 2

A few weeks ago, I shared my "practice" Tamarack Jacket. As I mentioned in the last post, I had enough fabric to make one more jacket, so I decided to tweak a few things and make another Tamarack Jacket. I like the last one, but I think I like this one even more!

Here are the few things I did differently... I used fabric called Strawberry Field by Rifle Paper for welt pockets, cuffs and trims. I love the contrast.
I decided to go with view A this time, but changed the neckline to a V-shape. Also, I shortened the jacket by a couple inches.
I felt like the first one I made was a bit too big, so I took in the sides to make it slimmer.
The next time I make a Tamarack Jacket, I want to use the fabric I quilted instead of an already quilted one. This is such a versatile pattern, and I feel like the possibilities are endless. I am imagining what it would be like if I extended the length to my knees to make a long jacket. Wouldn't that be fun?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Babylock Giveaway

I just wanted to let my readers know that Baby Lock is having a Dream Sewing Room Sweepstakes! You can enter for a chance to win either a Baby Lock Solaris 2 sewing and embroidery machine or a Venture multi-needle embroidery machine with a qualifying Koala studio, Madeira thread and Klassé needles. This is an amazing giveaway!! I have had a few different sewing machines in the past and after I used my first Baby Lock sewing machine, I loved it so much that there was no going back. I know whoever wins this giveaway is one luckiest sewest and will take their sewing adventure to the next level! You can enter to win at their website until 12/24/20. Don't miss this!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Neighbor's Christmas Gift (with Printable Tags!)

Every year, I love thinking about what to do for our neighbor's Christmas gift, making tags, putting on ribbons... I feel like I am working in my own Santa's workshop and that gives me a cheery feeling. I truly feel like I am surrounded by very nice neighbors, we have our neighborhood party, many people are looking out for each other, I know most people by their first name. I want to do something nice for my neighbors, but when you are working with a small budget and buying about 50 gifts, You really have to be creative. Last year, I did disinfecting wipes (I tend to lean towards practical gifts), and that would have been perfect for this year, but usually there is a limit on how many I can buy nowadays, so that idea went out the window.

One morning, I was looking at Pinterest while in bed searching for "Neighbor's Christmas gift ideas", "simple gifts" or "budget friendly gift ideas". I saw many things that had me thinking, "Hmmm... I have done that, that's over budget." Nothing popped out to me. I was thinking that 2020 was a hard year for most of us, but our neighbors have been such a silver lining in our lives. Then I had an "Ah-Ha!" moment! Silver lining... Aluminum foil!!! Yap, that's how my brain works.

I was super excited about this idea, and told Mr. TRH what I am going say on the tag which is:

"2020 was a very interesting year to say the least, but having neighbors like you is a silver lining as always. Have a very Merry Christmas!"

I was quite happy about this idea. It came from my heart, good tag line and budget friendly.(pat, pat...that is the sound me patting myself in the back) Mr. TRH was listening to me while busy getting ready for the day, then he said, "hum, that sounds good, and if 2021 doesn't improve, they can make tin foil hats." What??? who says that?... but then we laughed. So I decided to make the gift tag with both of our lines. We could all use some humor, right?

I created free printable gift tags if you have been looking for fun, budget friendly and practical neighbor's gifts. Simply click the picture and it will take you to the PDF. Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 7, 2020

Tamarack Jacket 1

I have been wanting to sew different things and stretch my skills. One of the items that I have been eyeing is jackets. I found several patterns online and this Tamarack Jacket is one of the jackets I have been dying to get my hands on. Using a hashtag, I was able to see other people's unique version of this jacket; it is so fun to see them. I had so many ideas floating in my mind, but there are a couple things that made me nervous just jumping right in.

First, I wasn't sure how this jacket would fit me. Second, I have never done welt pockets; I feel like that is a bit above my skill level. I would hate to spend so much time creating pieced and quilted material just to make something that is unwearable. So I decided to make a "practice jacket" with already quilted material. I was so lucky to find this fabric at Joann's for 30% off + 20% off my total purchase with a coupon!

Here is the welt pocket I was so afraid of... I had to read the instructions carefully, but it was so well written with diagrams that I was able to figure it out. I am pretty happy with the result.
For this jacket, I decided to go with view B, which is the style with snap buttons.
I followed the body measurement guide on the pattern and chose my size, but I felt like it fit a little on the baggy side. I think I can wear a thick sweater and still be ok. I love how this turned out, and guess what... I realized I have more material to make another jacket! Have you noticed that the title of this post is "Tamarack Jacket 1"? Yes, that means "2" is coming soon! :) I decided to change up a few things and came up with a different one. I can't wait to share it with you soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Quilt Finished! ~Blast from the Past ~

A little over 20 years ago, I had this small quilt group with my friends and one of their mothers, who is a master quilter, taught us a shortcut on how to piece these quilt blocks. I made all the blocks, made them into a quilt top and I even marked the designs for quilting... then I stopped there. I think I was working on something else and got distracted. Between moving three times, three kids, many surgeries on top of everyday life, the top got tucked away and I forgot about it. During the sew my stash challenge, I came across this and decided it was time to finish it.
I used to be so intimidated by machine quilting. I am still not that good at it, but I actually enjoy it now. With my beloved Babylock sewing machine, Aria, I finished quilting it in a few days. I quickly put the binding on, so I could hand stitch the rest in the car when Mr.TRH and I were traveling up to Kennewick Washington. That was about a 20 hour drive in total... needless to say, I finished the quilt!
Over the years, my taste changed quite a bit, but I still love this cheerful colored quilt and I had so much fun finally finishing it. I named this quilt "Blast from the Past" and I think it fits perfectly on her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Light Denim Wide Pants

I can't believe we are already in the second week of November! I made this lightweight denim pants a couple weeks ago, but life got busy and I didn't have a chance to post it until now. The pattern I used is from one of my Japanese sewing books and the whole process was so simple and easy as the title of the book claims it to be. With one glance, it kind of looks like a skirt.
I am toying with the idea to make this with plaid if I find something that catches my eye, or...
Lengthen it and sew sleek pants with solid fabric. I don't know if I could pull off the look with my height though... it would be an experiment for sure!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Simple Fleece Jacket for my Girl

I knew it was getting colder, but we had snow yesterday! My "sew my stash challenge" is still ongoing, but I have been wanting to make a coat this year. My goal is to make a wool coat with liner, but that type of project is not only intimidating, it is costly too (no room for mistakes)! I wanted to start somewhere a lot simpler and easier. I felt like the coat pattern Simplicity 8811 is a great one to start. I bought a slightly better grade of fleece and dove right in! Just as I predicted, it was very easy to make and I am so happy at how it turned out. Since this was for my daughter, I personalized it with a pocket liner. Since she is a good scholar, I used cute pencil prints inside the pocket. She loved the special feature just for her.
I saw her wearing the jacket inside and outside the home a few times already and I assume that is a good sign.
Now I am very curious to see how the jacket would look if I make it with different materials.  Hmm... There are so many things I want to make and not enough time! I need to add that thought to my "to make" list.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cotton + Steel Rayon Separates

I bought this beautiful Rayon Challis "In Bloom" by Cotton + Steel a while back. this Rayon is the perfect weight and very smooth to the touch. It is a little different choice of fabric than my usual pick from solid or floral, but when I saw it I immediately fell in love with the design. After going back and forth between sewing a dress or separates, I decided to go with separates! For the pattern, I used Simplicity 8910 dress pattern from my previous post for the top but extended the length and made a blouse. For the skirt, I used my all time favorite flare skirt pattern I drafted. With the left over fabric, I was able to make sashing. I prefer wider sashing, but I didn't want to buy more fabric just to make the it... so it is what it is and I still like it.

I thought it would be fun to have a wrap belt with black fabric for a different look and whipped up one with cotton fabric I had in my stash

The blouse has moderate puffy sleeves, so I knew it would be a little difficult to wear it with a standard sweater or cardigan, that was part of the reasons why I decided to go with separates. This way I could wear them separately with other items and have more options. I normally don't wear black, but the sweater in the picture is an exception. I love the softness, v-neck, and fluffy texture.

During the process, I second guessed my decision for my fabric choice... I thought maybe the pattern and the colors are a little too bold for me, but once I wore it I was glad I trusted my gut instinct for loving the fabric. Sometimes it's nice to get out of your comfort zone and be a little adventurous. :)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Olive + Navy Top with Flare Skirt

I never use broadcloth to sew clothes because I don't think the fabric drapes nicely and could make the clothing look cheap. Then, when I saw the combination of this olive and navy fabric, I immediately had an image of a finished top in my head and I couldn't resist. I broke my own rule. I used a pattern from a Japanese sewing book created by Yukari Nakano. The book contains 28 pieces of simple, sophisticated and well designed clothing; I pretty much want to make all of them. Also, what is nice about her book is that unlike many Japanese sewing books, the seam allowance is already included in the pattern! It cuts down on the process and time which is a huge plus. For the skirt, I used my favorite flare skirt pattern I drafted years ago. 

Overall, I love how it turned out. I feel like the front of the blouse is a little bland compared to the back, but I guess that contrast is a good thing. One thing I regret is that I wish I finished the skirt with a zipper, not with elastic. Most of the skirts I make; especially now are with elastic... I am staying home most of the time, I want to stay comfortable. Though, in this case it would look much nicer with a regular waistband without getting bulky when I tuck the blouse in. Well, we live and learn, right?

It's too cold to wear this by itself now, but I am looking forward to next Spring and Summer.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Light Weight Denim Dress with Simplicity 8910/R10183

I had this light weight denim forever and there were a few times in the past that I almost sewed something with it and then changed my mind. When I had Simplicity pattern 8910 in my hand and was revisiting my stash, I felt like they were a great match. There are many reasons why I adore the design of this dress pattern. I love the simple shoulder with modest puff on the sleeves little above the wrists. I also love the thick pleats in the front and the back. I feel like these pleats have a slimming effect compared to other similar dresses. Another aspect I love is these unique slash pockets and how they compliment the pleats nicely. The only change I made for this pattern is that I brought the neckline up higher.

After I tried on the finished dress, I realized that I wanted the top portion of the dress slightly shorter; if I am going to make this dress again in the future. You see, I have a short torso and long arms. That is why I normally don't buy petite clothing even though I am a short girl. The sleeves will be too short for me. One of the greatest aspects of sewing your own garments is that you have some control over how the clothing fits you. I already made an adjustment to the pattern and made the top front/back 1/2" shorter.

The air is getting cooler, so I decided to do a fall coordination with a shawl. Because of the nature of the fabric, I feel like I could wear this dress pretty much all year round. I also think that my daughter might even be willing to wear a shorter version of this dress if I sew her one.

I sewed quite a bit during September; mainly light weight dresses, I still have some similar dresses I want to sew lined up, but part of me wants to start working with thicker fall material. Well, you might start seeing a mix of these posts in the future! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pale Pink Linen Dress...

Remember this linen dress I made last year? I really liked how it turned out so much that I wanted to revisit the pattern with different fabric. I had pale pink linen fabric I purchased at the same time I bought the purple fabric and I decided to use it for the same dress...

But the thing is; I had a little less fabric so I had to make the skirt shorter and I couldn't make the belt. I thought it would still be fine, but I like the longer length much better. I think that would make me feel more "me".

The air is getting a bit chilly around here, so I also wanted to take some pictures with a cardigan and a scarf, but when I was looking at the pictures before writing this post, the white cardigan and the pink dress reminded me of the nurses when I was in the hospital in Japan growing up! Ugh!! Well, to be honest with you, this is not my favorite dress I have ever made... but, you live and learn, right? I also know that when you are in a creative endeavor, they can't all be winners even though that's what we strive for. Isn't it so interesting how just a few inches off the skirt length or less than a quarter inch of difference could change the whole look of a piece of clothing? 

I wish I could turn back time and make something else instead... I will still wear it around the house, but this was a learning experience for me. I hope my next project will be something I could say "I love" and share with you!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Brown Linen Dress

About a week ago, I was looking through my old Japanese magazines and came across a dress a model was wearing that caught my eye. I was looking for inspiration for some design ideas and this particular one lingered in my mind. I decided to try drafting my own pattern. I wasn't sure it was going to work, but I had a pretty good idea of what each pattern piece needed to look like. I chose the brown linen that had been sitting in my closet for years. I thought this dress style and the linen would go together. 

The finished dress is a bit different than the dress in the magazine, but the concept and the feeling is pretty close to what I had in mind. I love how it turned out! Only thing is that 100% linen wrinkles so easily. I am looking forward to making the same dress with a more light weight fabric such as lawn, crape or voile next spring.

As I keep going with my own "sew my stash challenge", I feel like more ideas are flowing into my mind and I am more willing to take risks. Sure I might make mistakes, or my plan won't go as I hoped, but I won't improve my skills unless I try, right? Thank you for visiting to see how my projects are going and leaving comments, I appreciate them very much! I have more sewing projects lined up and I can't wait to continue to share them with you!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

McCall's 7969 Hack Blouse

Several posts ago, I shared a dress I made with the pattern McCall's 7969. I love it so much so that I knew I wanted to make this dress in a different color in the near future. Who knew that I would end up making a top using the same pattern before I made another dress? Ok, Ok, let me tell you how I got to that point... 

As you all know, my sew-my-stash challenge continues.  I needed to get thread at Joann's for another project I was working on... I was there to "JUST BUY THREAD"... well... Since I was already there... you know, so I kind of wondered through the fabric section (that is why my kids hate going shopping with me. They say that I need blinders! Haha.) Then, this unique fabric among all the others immediately caught my eye!! I bought what's left on the bolt, there was only a little over a yard. Driving home, I was thinking what I should sew with it and the idea of using McCall's 7969 pattern to create a top popped in my head.
Technically, I was suppose to work with my stash, not newly purchased fabric, but I got side tracked and couldn't help it! I think one of the hardest things as a sewist is to find fabric that catches my eye and inspires me. There are limited selections at the local stores. Sure I could buy them online, but I love to touch and feel the material. I usually don't wear black, but this one is an exception. I love the leafly design with bronze color on the fabric so much.
I wore this with one of my favorite skirts, but it looked nice with jeans too. This top is surprisingly versatile. Have you found fabric that inspires you lately?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Olive Jumper Skirt

This is one of those projects where I have seen something like this in a magazine or at a store, but I can't find a pattern similar to this, soo... I was just going to try to see if I could make it up as I go. I originally bought this linen blend fabric to make a skirt, and I only had 2 yards of it. I had no room to make mistakes! I drew a sketch of how I wanted it to look, measured myself (twice, of course) and then drew the lines right onto the fabric.

I would have made the shoulder straps wider if I had more fabric, but I barely had any scraps; it worked out ok! I really like how the elastic part in the back turned out. I had a picture in my mind of how it was going look and had to figure out the process in my head. The elastic makes the dress fit snuggly above my chest, but not too tight. Also, I didn't have to deal with a zipper!

Lately, the area I live in is starting to get colder early morning and at night, but I can still wear this with the right layering and shoes.

A part of me still thinks that maybe I should have made a gather skirt instead, but I am glad that I tried to see if I could wing this without a pattern. Besides, with this design I could always alter it and turn it into a skirt, if I change my mind. :)

September is national sewing month, have you been sewing lately? If so, what have you sewn?
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