Archive | She’s Crafty RSS feed for this section

FBA AKA Full Bust Adjustment AKA My New BFF

1 Apr

So many good things going on in my little sewing world!

I finally placed an order for a bunch of knits from Girl Charlee.  I got 8 different fabrics for a total of almost 30 yards.  And spent $5 a yard or LESS!  The order arrived on Tuesday and I whipped up two creations before the end of the day on Wednesday!

And this shipment spurred me to clean up my sewing area and oh how nicely folded piles of fabric make me smile!

Knits on the left, quilting cotton on the right, fabric earmarked for kids or others on top

I broke into the striped sweatshirt knit first and sewed it into a chevron pattern before cutting out a dolman sleeve top and a maxi skirt.

Also I’ve discovered a wonderful camera app for my iphone called Camera Awesome.  It’s by Smugmug and it includes a self timer!

On Thursday, I had enough advance notice of a 99 cent Simplicity Pattern Sale at Joann’s that I scoured and Pinned the 10 Patterns that I wanted.  The day of the sale, I got to the store mere minutes after it had opened and pulled all but 1 of my desired patterns.  Then I flipped through the Spring catalog to find a suitable substitute.  Just look at all the goodness I scored for $10!!

3 Lisette patterns, 2 Cynthia Rowley, and 5 additional.  Included are 4 pairs of pants, 14 shirts, 17 dress variations and 2 jackets.

On a separate shopping trip I picked up a little McCall’s pattern that was for a simple silhouette and promised the ability to alter it with ease.

Thank you Palmer and Pletsch for McCall’s Patterns M6355 ! You’ve changed my life. With one simple pattern, I learned enough about adjusting darts, to not only attempt it on the provided and fully marked pattern, but to also use is on one of my newly acquired Lisette patterns!

Here’s what the altered Palmer and Petsch pattern looks like.

I pinned the tissue together, held it up to me and cut accordingly.  Then I ironed the tissue onto freezer paper and made my new darts. Even still I was a little nervous with the outcome so I just made a simple short sleeved shift out of Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden Chevron.

And it worked!  So then I added some embellishments to the neck and hem in the way of some fancy stitching.

I feel like a new woman.  It is truly remarkable how much better these clothes fit when the darts are properly sized for my bust!

And upon having such success, I decided to try it out on my Lisette Traveler Shirt dress. And low and behold it worked too!  I also read up on the pattern and as per another reviewers remarks on, I cut a larger skirt so that it was more gathered.

Other than the FBA and full skirt, I followed the pattern to a T and it is fits beautifully! I added a little striped grosgrain ribbon for a belt and will be sporting this for Easter!


Spring 2012 Sewing for Myself

10 Mar

Sewing is cathartic.  I focus on the sewing and forget about life’s stresses.  I enjoy the focus of it.

I try to sew at least 2-3 projects a week.  And the original idea was to blog about each item separately, but between the time it takes to sew an item and the time it takes to photograph it and blog about it, I don’t have much time left.  And besides, as soon as I finish a project I want to put it out there to show it off. When I try to space out my posts on a per project level, some things seem old to me by the time they get blogged about.

So with all of those issues, I just stopped blogging and kept sewing.  This post is one of a few that will play catch up.  It’s a round up of all of the things I’ve sewed for myself over the last month or so.

It includes 3 skirts, 2 dresses and a pair of pants!

First up, the Apron Skirt from Sew A Straight Line

This is one that I found on Pinterest and was excited to try.  It is essentially 2 pieces of recangular fabric that are sewn together on the sides, hemmed on the bottom, and have bias tape added to the top.  To wear it, you step between the two pieces of fabric and wrap the excess around your waist.  It’s easy to wear and confortable.  And can be worn in a multitude of ways.  I suspect it would create a nice long skirt as well.

Then I created 2 dresses from Simplicity 2363 Pattern. A short version and a long version, both sleeveless. This pattern has many pieces that create the same effect as darts, and helps curve to the body.  The arm holes are not adjusted for size based on the use of or lack thereof of sleeves and so I had to take it in a bit in the chest area.  I also cut it one size smaller than I measured. I will be using the pattern often!

I think it works better with less obvious patterns and without mixing pattern and solid. I like it very much as a maxi dress, and it’s super comfortable!

Moving on, one of the sewing books that I purchased was Diana Rupp’s Sew.  There are many patterns that I like in it and all are sized Small Medium Large, which I also like.  I took the Breezy, Easy Wrap Skirt and made it reversible.  I love it and it reminds me of skirts my mom used to make.

I cut it a little shorter than the pattern called for as well. I like skirts at or a little above my knee.

Then over the last two days, I wipped up some wrap pants and a prairie skirt.  Neither were from a pattern, tho I did follow a tutorial on the pants to figure out the measurements.  They are two pieces of rectangular fabric with a U cut in the middle of each.  You sew the U of each piece together, add some bias tape and hem.  Super easy! My mom used to make these frequently and they very much remind me of her.

The Prairie skirt, is a copy of a skirt by Sugar that I got at the MAGIC show in Vegas, over a decade ago when I worked at Girls’ Life Magazine.  This one was pretty easy and it gave me a chance to use the rolled hem feature on my serger.  And while there is no photo of it, I did try it as a strapless dress and it works.  Not super flattering so it would be used mostly at the pool, but I like the option.  The skirt is a heavy linen that I got from the remnant section at Joann’s when they were having a 70% off remnant sale!

So that’s it for my stuff of late.  Lots of fun and I can’t wait to sew more.  The list of things I want to make keeps growing, so I’ll keep sewing!

Dance Party at Lolly and Granddaddy’s!

5 Mar

Handmade Valentine’s Day | A Lesson in How NOT to Sew

14 Feb

In my sewing frenzy, I decided that I’d have a handmade Valentine’s day and celebrate my love for my family by handmaking all our Valentine’s gifts and celebratory stuff.


My first piece of inspiration came from my big Reneissance Redwork Fat Quarter Bundle win from the Fat Quarter Shop

image from


17 Fat Quarters and a panel, more than enough to use to take my first stab at quilting.  Then I found a chevron quilt pattern that seemed easy enough on Pinterest, from Crazy Mom Quilts. Even though the directions clearly state the use of regular quarter yards of fabric as opposed to fat quarters, I figured that it would be fine to try anyway.

I started slicing and sewing and slicing and found that the white pieces of fabric were a hair longer than the red, which meant that the last square sliced was always wonky.

I sewed through 6 fat quarters and took an extended break.  When I resumed the quilt project, I thought that I had remembered the measurements correctly and began slicing and sewing away, only to realize that not only had I cut the squares to the wrong dimensions, but that I had also used the wrong seam allowance.


But I plowed on through the project and without rereading the directions, laid out the pieces of my quilt and began sewing my rows. I knew that there was some component that was to be done on the diagonal to make sure that the chevron pattern ran crosswise, but when I liad out my pieces, it seemed like my quilt would be awfully small if I cut on the diagonal, so I skipped that part and just let my chevron run diagonal. (as it turns out it was the sewing not the cutting that was done on the diagonal)

First I worked with the correctly sized squares and those made up pretty even zig zags.  But then I moved on to my incorrectly sized squares and it all went to pot.  Not only did my zigs stop zagging but I also had to sew such big seam allowances to fix the sizing issue, that I had far too much fabric waste for my own liking and my once huge quilt was suddenly VERY small.

At one point I had dreams of making a quilt for each girl and a doll quilt for each girl.  When I saw how small it was becoming, the quilt turned into a family quilt to be used to snuggle under on the couch.

I used the panel and some additional red fabric to make the back of the quilt, then sewed my batting between my layers and quilted all the zig zags.  Good lord did that take FOREVER.  Seriously forever and it doesn’t even look very nice.  Maneuvering the quilt at each turn and stuffing it through the arm was a total PITA.

But my quilt disaster was not to end there.  Because the final piece of a quilt is the binding.  Having run out of red or white fabric I opted to purchase ready made bias tape.  The selection at Wal-Mart wasn’t great so I settled for a navy blue (I wanted robins egg) and sewed the binding on yesterday.

But here’s where I screwed that part up….I completed the first pass of the 2 step binding attachement process only to realize that I hadn’t full unfolded it AND I had sewn down the corners improperly.  Thoroughly deflated with the whole process, I just pulled the tape up and over the edge and force sewed it on.

The whole quilt is horrible to me, but my husband and kids didn’t notice today when they were presented it.

I do not however, foresee me making any more quilts.


I saved a few fat quarters from the bundle to use to make a Valentine’s skirt for each girl.  I thought I could figure it out on my own, without a pattern, and perhaps document to add a tutorial to the blog since they’re in short supply here.

I got to work cutting and sewing and very soon realized that the skirts were gonna be uber short, and that sewing appliques is tedious and that perhaps there’s something to be said for all those applique tutorials and their recommended use of iron on stabilizers.  But I couldn’t be slowed down by such details and went on my merry way.

Luckily, I had leftover strips of white fat quarters to add some detail and length to the skirts via a waist band.  And then I made them too big in the waist so that they would sit lower and thus not appear as short.

Cute enough.

And free since that fat quarters were won.

The girls are happy with them too.


The piece de resistance to my handmade Valentine’s were to be their dolls.  Once again, I thought, who needs patterns, I can make one for these dolls, and photograph the whole adventure to post as a nice tutorial.

Once again…. WRONG!!

Details, details, details!! They’re to be the death of me. I swear.

I carefully drew my pattern pieces and cut them out.  I stitched up Isabelle’s doll first and wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t pull the foot through the neck for the life of me.  A project that I thought I could finish in an hour was dragging into it’s third hour before I cried uncle and walked away.

When I returned, I pulled and tugged a little more and finally righted the doll.  Only to discover that I had sewn her pigtails up inside of her and that she’d popped a few seams in the struggle. Thankfully, my husband suggested that instead of clipping of her pig tails and reattaching them on the outside, that I simply, rip a few seams and pull them through.

It worked, I fixed her popped seams and stuffed the rest of her all up. She’s a little funky but she’ll do.  I altered the pattern a bit for Lelia’s,and was able to pull her legs through her neck for righting her without incident, but I decided that my pattern making and tutorial should be left for another project down the road.

The girls like their dolls, and they like the little touches each has, that were made just for them.

Lelia’s doll got a blue dress that matches one of hers, some red undies, and brown shoes because Lelia says she doesn’t like pink.  Her dolly got blonde hair and blue eyes to match Lelia.  While Isabelle’s doll is all pinked up, Pink hair and shoes, pink floral undies, and purple eyes with a dress to match her candy dress.



Tutorial | Photo Valentine’s

12 Feb


I posted a picture of my kids Valentine’s on Facebook yesterday and got lots of responses. Many of you haven seen them on pinterest. That’s where I found the idea , but none really detail how to do it so here’s my attempt.

And even though Valentines is Tuesday, there’s still plenty of time to make these cards yourself. I’m pretty sure that from start to finish this project took me all of an hour and that includes the drive to and from Target to pick up the cards.

Take a photo of your kids with a clean background, holding out his or her fist.

Upload to your computer and using the photo editing software of your choice, add the valentines txt and art. I used Photoshop Elements, but you could use Picnik, Aviary, photobucket even the Preview software that comes preloaded on your Mac will let you at least add text.

On the flip side, I bet you could use your iPhone and one of the photo editing apps and do the exact same thing with one less step. You can even upload right to Shutterfly from there too.

Save the image, and I chose to upload it to Shutterfly and have the prints sent to target because I didn’t want to use up all of my printer ink. I had 15 of each kid made to the tune of $6.04.

I then picked up two packs of heart lollipops at the Dollar store, for $2.12. Which means that the total cost for 30 Valentines was $8.16. A bargain!

Then using an exacts knife, with I cut a little line on the top of the fist and the bottom of the fist and slid the lollipop through the two holes, creating the illusion that they are holding the lollipops.
Since the photos are the same I could stack up two or three at a time and cut them together.

Easy peasy! So if you haven’t taken care of your valentines yet, in less than an hour you can make these.

Pattern Testing | Jackie Dress from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop

9 Feb


Being on Facebook all day long pays off! The Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop needed pattern testers again and this dress looked too cute to pass up.  Plus it’s called the Jackie and the style is totally Jackie O influenced.

This time she needed a size 5 so I got to make a dress for Isabelle.  I had everything I needed on hand except for a zipper, and this style was on my bucket list of dresses to make for the girls.

When I bought the zipper, I thought I was going to use a solid kelly green cotton with this Dear Stella Wildflower fabric as the collar.

But then when it came time to sew I changed my mind for two reasons. 1) I want to use the kelly green fabric to make a simple A Line Jumper and have it monogrammed in pink.  2) I forgot I had this Dena Designs Taza fabric, which was perfect for a 60’s inspired dress.

I am so glad that I used it, because it came out better than I could have thought and it just might turn out to be their Easter Dresses.

The pattern was easy peasy!  3 pieces: collar, sleeve, and body of dress. Once you’ve cut out the back of the dress and the lining, then you cut up the additional line on the pattern where the piping will go and place it on your fabric allowing for a half inch seam allowance.  So basically, place it on the fold the same as you did before it was cut, but leave a 1 inch gap between the middle piece and now side piece of the pattern.

A note on collars

I once found them incredibly intimidating and would never have dreamt of tackling them. But since I’ve taken the full on sewing plunge, I sewed my first collar with the Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop’s Olivia Pea Coat which I used for the Chevron Coat. And let me tell you, there is nothing to be afraid of, nothing at all. It’s like making a round pocket or something simple like that.  And the addition of the piping on this collar, made it super uber cute, and again, easy!

The sleeves were pleated and not gathered, which while a little time consuming, because they are tiny, was a nice change from gathering the sleeve.

The same sleeve sewing technique was applied here as on the Isabella dress, and once again I don’t entirely get it. There must be an easier way to finish the sleeves. But alas, I couldn’t find one so I sewed one sleeve one way and the other another.  Prefering the second method, which was to only attach the lining to the dress in the pit area.

This time around for the zipper, as it was suggested in the Isabella pattern, I chose to sew the zipper using the invisible method instead of exposed, it just seemed easier to me and since my zipper wasn’t an exact match for my fabric, it worked out nicely to have it hidden.

All around the pattern was thorough, with lots of pictures, and I am pleased a punch with the finished product. I’ll definitely be making one for Lelia.  I’d love to be able to pull this look off myself, but I believe that at 35 I might be a tad old for the adorable peter pan collar.

I made Isabelle pose for these pictures this morning and she was less than pleased with my request.  So she made cranky faces the whole time.  As revenge, I’m posting them here for all the world to see.  Because I’m a kind and thoughtful mother, who might be a tad passive aggressive.



Can This Dress Pattern Be Fixed?

8 Feb


I was all excited about Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2147: Learn To Sew

image from Amazon


It was a simple pattern that looked similar in style to the O Tunic from Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders and a style that I thought would be flattering on me.

I made a test pattern first out of material of which I have copious amounts.  It had pleats in the back that I decided added bulk so I removed them for the actual dress and set out to make a dress out of the Timeless Treasures Catch of the Day Bistro Menu Ecru  to match my kids O Tunic dresses. I made it, tried it on and looked in the mirror, pleased as ever with my results.

So much so that I made the dress again, this time in the long sleeved version using some knits that I had picked up on clearance at Jo-Ann’s.  Again, sewed it, tried it on, looked in the mirror and was happy.  So happy with this one that I was going to wear it to the Opening of the Heavy Seas AleHouse.

Seriously, BAD BAD BAD

And then I had my husband take pictures of me in the dresses so I could blog about them. When I pulled the photos up on my computer I was saddened to see that instead of being kind to my curves, the dress makes me look like I have porn star boobs and am a tad on the large side overall.

I swear that in the mirror I looked fine, but these photos reveal less than flattering dresses.  Needless to say I did NOT wear the knit version to the AleHouse, and instead whipped up my lovely cocktail shift.

But the thing is, I used the last of my Hoodie Catch of the day on the dress and I’d really like to salvage it.  Does anyone who reads this have any ideas?

And if I use this pattern again,what can I do to prevent the porn boobs?  Or should I admit defeat and acknowledge that this just ins’t a pattern for my body type?