Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Nursery is Complete!!

Now, I know that Max is 18 months old now...but we just finished his room! We painted it light green before he was born and I painted some art for him while I was pregnant since I was a long-term sub for an art teacher and my students were painting, too. 

The walls are a light green that is really hard to photograph. When we were in Oregon recently, my mom and I chose some fabric for the curtains. I got it at Jo-Ann because I wanted to use a coupon. I needed ten yards and didn't want to spend a fortune. We chose one with a white background and baby animals. The green in the curtains matches the walls. 

Fabric close-up:

I made three panels for each window and they turned out fine. There are Ikea shades behind them, but we couldn't get ones that matched the width of the windows exactly, so some light comes in on the sides. The curtains have solved that problem and also make the room look a lot more "finished". 

 The curtains also match the quilt my mom made for Max. The quilt has lions, monkeys and giraffes on it and it is super cute. Max likes to point to the monkey and make oh oh ah ah noises now.

Mom also made him a bunting with his name on it, too. Which is also super cute! 

 Here is my "artwork". While they are cute and I am reasonably okay at drawing and painting, I did not come up with any of these ideas myself. Just to be totally clear- I found all of the images on Etsy searching for "baby art" and then drew them by hand, made a few changes and then painted them. I will put my inspiration as a link under each one, if I can find it

 I regret having made it appear that the fox is floating in the air. I also changed the birds to robins because that is my mom's name.


 This is the worst painting and I did a terrible job cutting the mat. Measure once, cut seventeen times because I can't make straight lines with the exacto knife.
It was similar to this one
 This one is my grand oeuvre, my masterpiece!
Inspiration by Silvia Portella
I made a few changes: hamster to hibou, Ingrid to igloo, mouton to Maxwell (obvi!!), Xavier to xylophone, and Zoulou (which seemed weird/a little racist to me) to zebre. Other than that, it was super cute and I tried my best to imitate it. 

So that's Max's room and I am really happy with how it turned out!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bedroom Curtains!

We have lived in our apartment for five years now and it was time to make some new curtains. The old ones were meant to be temporary, as there were no blinds or any kind when we moved in. It was pretty awful and didn't block out all of the light; I should have made new ones sooner.

 It's just two panels the width of the cotton I bought on sale at Jo-Ann. Max likes birds and always says "a biwd" in his tiny little voice, so I thought he would like these. The old ones were black and blocked out a lot of light, but the black fabrics all had ugly prints.This one is grey. 
 I added ribbon ties on each side, so you can pull them back if needed. 
 The print is cute, but nothing amazing. I just want to wrap up some projects before I go back to work next Monday and all my energy and free time disappears!
I have a lot of projects to post, but I need to take some pictures of them!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Which coverstitch machine should I buy?

I have one sewing machine, a vintage Singer 15-91, which only does a straight stitch. I really like sewing knits now and I want to up my game and have a professional looking end result. From looking online, it seems like it will be about 400 dollars, which is a lot, but I will have it forever so it is an investment.

From online research, I have found:

Janome CoverPro 900CX

  • It has really good reviews and can use regular spools of thread instead of serger cones. 

Brother 2340CV CoverStitch

  • Some people say releasing the thread is really difficult. It does do a triple thread, while the Janome only does a double. Is that even something I would use, though?

I am leaning towards the Janome... Do any of you have either of these and some advice?

(Last time I went to JoAnn, I wanted to see the display machines and they didn't have either to view AND they had rearranged the whole fabric section and eliminated at least 2-3 rows of fabric. Ugh)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Vintage Pledge 2015 Skirt- 1940s Advance 2469

I didn't even technically make a vintage pledge for 2015, since I was already huge and pregnant in January and I had somewhat low expectations for how much sewing I would get done. That eventually was lowered down to nearly zero.

Kerry of Kestrel Makes did ask me early in the year to do one of the pattern stash interviews and being an experienced mom, she let me put it off until the fall. I delusionally expected to get it done during my maternity leave. Ha. I was featured in December. I now can see I have some serious pattern hoarding (and finding) contenders in the Chicago area like Tasha, Michelle, and Liz. They have some awesome patterns.

Anyways, this was my first sewing project for post-baby Molly for 2015. Let me take you way back in my time machine to around September. I was back at work and I though about making a skirt. I had a huge piece of plaid flannel-feeling fabric from the year before that I bought at Jo-Ann- I think they are called Plaiditudes.

I wanted to use Advance 2469, view 1 with the cool pockets. Right after school started, I had not lost the last ten baby pounds so I knew I needed to increase the waist from the 24 of the pattern to the 28 of my current size. This pattern is from the 40s and is completely unmarked; it just has the holes of various sizes for marking and you figure it out.
From the Vintage Pattern Wiki
Okay, so just to recap, after having a baby and not sewing anything for myself nearly a year, I decided that my first project back should include:
  1. Grading a pattern, which I rarely do
  2. Matching plaid, which I suck at
  3. Using an unmarked pattern from the 40s

Great, can you see where this is heading? lol

Let's start with grading the pattern. You know, I added a half-inch to the outside of each piece and it does correspond accordingly. It's just that at work, I am always on my feet as the co-teacher walking around the room and helping students. So after going back to work, those ten pounds melted away and I am back at my original weight (though jiggly). So the skirt doesn't fit and I can't take it in because of the....
 Attempt at matching plaid! This plaid has a somewhat weird repeat and I had a really hard time trying to match it while cutting on the bias. I did a fairly good job cutting it out, but the fabric is thick and I still don't have a walking foot. So in places the layer fed unevenly and the plaid is slightly off. I am not sure why I thought bias cut skirt + plaid = magic in the first place... so if I took it in along the side seams, the plaid matching would be off by even more and would be super visible.
Plaid close-up
 The pockets are the cool feature of this pattern and they are really unique. They are only sewn on in one row of stitching under the flap. So the pocket bag and the flap are both floating.
Floating pockets

 With a baby and a full-time job, finishing this took a few weeks. The thought of then hemming it by hand was just too much. I rustled through my notions and found some vintage, black, iron-on hem tape and I went to town! It worked as advertised and it gave the hem a little more volume, a little like horsehair braid dialed down a bit.
Vintage, iron-on hem tape
 The back lined up fairly well in regards to the plaid. For some reason, like forgetting how to sew after such a long break, I thought it would be smart to use an invisible zipper. I don't have an IZ foot, so I just used a regular foot. This led to the infamous bottom-of-the-zipper-poof where it looks like "maybe that lady has a tail? under her skirt?"
 Probably should have reinforced the waistband with something too...

I can't blame the pattern really. Using an unmarked pattern just expected a little too much of my skills/memory after such a long break from sewing anything slightly complicated for myself. I think the last thing I made for myself was the same maternity pattern three times before Christmas of last year...

Anyways, I will just donate it I guess. Commiserate with me, maybe? Oh well, you live, you learn as the great Alanis Morisette once said. lol

To part, here is a picture of Max at City Park in New Orleans just after Xmas. He's sitting in a oak tree being adorable!
10 months!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Max goes to France, plus some fabrics from Paris

We had a long-planned trip to France over Thanksgiving for Max to meet his great-grandparents. It was a really great trip and everyone loved Max of course!
at the Centre Pompidou, covered in drool

One of our Xmas card photos, his outfit was a hit!
 Shopping for the baby is very satisfying, so I bough a bunch of cute French clothes. Some are 18 months sizes, so he is not quite big enough until the Spring probably.
The one on the left says "tu me fais fondre" (you make me melt)

The koala sweater and overalls fit now and they are too cute!

The grey sweater says "mon petit amour"
 One afternoon we went up to Montmartre to walk around and stop at Chateau Rouge. That is the metro stop near the African market and all the wax fabric stores. Two summers ago, I shopped around and couldn't decide on anything. This time, there was a new shop that had just opened. It was very organized and had new stock that wasn't picked over- lots of good prints with different colorways in each.

All three are the full panel that you get, six meters or something like that. The left one is pink and green with a shiny gold design; it is hard to see unless you click on the picture and make it bigger. I really like the primary color one in the center with chickens. The right is blues and greens with an abstract plant design.
 Max is too big for the Baby Bjorn now. I missed the December Babywearing International meeting and there isn't one in January, so we don't have any other carriers right now. I think this weekend I am going to wash one and try some back carries. He is only 20 lbs, but he is too heavy to wear on my front anymore.

We also went to Marche St. Pierre and I bought some light polyester prints that will make beautiful dresses for the spring and summer. I don't have a specific plan in mind, so I bought two meters of each, just to be safe.
This one has an almost crazy graffiti look to it

Africa safari?

This one makes me wish I was in the Caribbean instead of the Chicago winter
They are all very drapey and light. I hope to make something cool! I am back to my previous weight and shape (minus the squishy stomach muscles), so now sewing isn't also a huge trial-and-error, fitting exercise. I can just go back to my old size and modifications!

I should really start on the spring dresses now and maybe I will finish them  by the end of summer, lol! Any pattern ideas?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Custom Yoga Bag and Giveaway Winner

The (late) winner of November's pattern giveaway is Amaratha, aka Megan from The Quirky Kiwi. Email me with your mailing address at mollysewsblog@gmail [dot] com.

I made this yoga bag quite a while ago, perhaps during the summer before I went back to work?

 I spent a long time on it- probably too much time, to be honest. I measured my thick yoga mat and made a rectangle. The base is a circle and I math-ed it out so it fit perfectly. I added the big pocket for a water bottle; the neck has elastic so the bottle doesn't fly out.
 The bottom of that pocket is a semi-circle, which prevents it from sagging too much.

 It closes at the top with a drawstring tie. The drawstring flap should have been more shallow, so it balloons up at the top a little too much. The shoulder strap is a really nice 2 inch wide braided trim. The fabric and trim are all from Jo-Ann's, since this was a spontaneous project. I had been using a fabric shopping bag for all of my yoga stuff.

Near the top of the bag, I made three pockets. One is for cash or my credit card. One fits my keys. The other can hold a lip balm and kleenex. That's basically all I need for yoga!

I spent an absurdly long time matching the print to make them invisible. I used the plastic baby snaps to close them, which is kind of a pain to use. The pockets are annoying to use because they are a bit too small for each item because I didn't account for enough ease. That makes them poof out when in use.


So the yoga bag worked reasonably well, and then I went back to work in September and haven't gone to yoga since. I do work on my feet all day as a special education co-teacher, which helped me finally drop back to my pre-baby weight! I do need to work on toning my sad and stretched out stomach muscles though!

Sweet baby Max is now ten months old (maybe 8 or 9 in this picture) and I hope that for 2016 I can sew one project a month. I miss sewing, but it is so hard to sew when I am so tired. I need mental energy to sew, otherwise everything is backwards or wrong ad I spend more time with the seam ripper than actually making things!

Here's hoping that 2016 has more sewing in my future!