Monthly Archives: January 2013

Corduroy Jumper for Toddler

The project du jour is a jumper for DD2, McCall’s Sewing Pattern M6154. It’s purpose is to be warm, cute, and bust some fabric stash. To be fair it’s more project of the week, because having a two year old in the house means there is no way I can sew it up in an afternoon.  But I prefer to call it the project of the day.


The floral fabric is leftover from a vest disaster. I made a vest so horribly unflattering that I gave it away. It’s cute fabric though, and should prevent the grey -green corduroy from looking drab.

I had planned on using my brand new roller foot.  But I discovered that it doesn’t fit my machine.  I don’t know if I ordered the wrong part, or ordered the correct part, and was sent the wrong thing.  I’ll have to follow up on that later, and return it.  For today, I didn’t want to spend the scant amount of time during which my child behaves long enough for me to sew returning a part.  I used the walking foot, as advised by More Fabric Savvy.  I could look things up on the internet.  But I like to have actual book references for sewing so that I don’t get distracted by all of the shiny things on my netbook, like Facebook, and Pinterest, or ads that move and flash.


I used sew in interfacing. I’m sure the fusible interfacing will turn up now that I don’t need it.


The pocket instructions are convoluted. I gave up on them and marked the top fold line, snipped to it, and then sewed a casing.  Then, threaded the elastic through the casing, and attached at each end.  Then turned under the edges and stitched.  It was ridiculously time consuming. Before I could finish, my toddler was wanting to help. If the children don’t rave that the pockets are amazingly cute, I won’t make this style again.

I am not completing the sewing steps in order because I want to avoid repeated thread changes.  So far so good with that.

Tomorrow (I hope), gathering the bodice, and attaching it to the yoke.  Or something.


Costume Jewelry Lampshade

So, your grandma left you a box full of costume jewelry.  It has no monetary value.  But you love it.  And it’s completely not your style.  The earrings are clip-on.  And the pins are weird and modern.  When you try them on your coats you look ridiculous.  What’s a crafty girl to do?

If she also left a random piece of pretty fabric, and a lamp with a rotted shade, you’re in luck.

how to cover a lampshade - fitted and embellished

How to Recover a Lampshade

  1. Remove the rotten lampshade fabric.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the lampshade.  If the old fabric was intact, you can use it as a pattern.  This was not the case with my lampshade.  So I rolled the fabric around the frame wrong side out, marked the edges, and cut a seam allowance of three inches.
  3. Lay the fabric back on the frame and determine where you want the seam, mark it.
  4. Sew your seam.
  5. Place the fabric on the frame again.
  6. Fold the top edges down into the frame, trimming where necessary.  Use clothes pins to secure the fabric.
  7. Sew the shade fabric to the top part of the frame.
  8. Flip the shade upside down and repeat steps 6 and 7.
  9. Begin attaching jewelry to the shade.  I also used handkerchiefs.

Voila, grandmas costume jewelry is preserved for the next generation.  Or at least until my children manage to sneak into the bedroom and play dress up with it.

how to cover a lampshade - close up

Mom’s Day Off Sweater

I finally finished assembling the pattern pieces, cutting out, and sewing my cardigan. I used Kwik Sew Pattern 3721 (aka Kwik Serge). I’m ridiculously pleased.


And the back.


This sweater included firsts, and probable firsts. Which is to say, it would seem I would have used tailor’s tacks, since I knew exactly how, but don’t remember. (Faulty memory can be useful.)

Sewing Sweater Fabric

I’ve never sewn sweater fabric into a garment. Just the odd blocks that I used in DD8’s quilt. I felt very paranoid that it would unravel before I could serge it. But it was fine. It definitely needed the serging at the end. But it holds together well enough for assembly.

Laying out the pieces for cutting was weird. The front piece is very unwieldy, since it is both the front and the sleeve. But I eventually managed it after repeatedly consulting the cutting diagram.

Clear Elastic

I reinforced the shoulder seams with clear elastic, Sewology brand. I’ve never used it before. I’ve noticed it in better quality ready to wear t-shirts and sweaters. And I was both keen to try it and anxious that it would tangle in my serger. I immediately cut my hand on the internal plastic packaging.  The clear elastic is wrapped around an H-shape plastic that is very sharp.  Actually sewing the elastic was easy. The serger blade trimmed it right into the stitches and made a very flat, strong seam. I’ll use it to reinforce horizontal seams in all my knits now, preferably a brand that doesn’t use sharp objects in packaging.

Kwik Sew Pattern

The instructions for Kwik Sew K3721 Cardigans Sewing Pattern call for a quarter inch seam allowance. And I am accustomed to 5/8th inch. So I’m glad that I was paying attention. Often, I just assemble a garment without reading the instructions. But I hadn’t used the Kwik Sew brand before. So I wasn’t expecting the more narrow seam allowance.

The sewing instructions and layout diagrams were clear. They recommended the clear elastic, and to mark the pattern with tailor’s tacks or safety pins. I like that I can serge right over the tailor’s tacks. I used yellow embroidery thread, which was easy to see.

There is an odd note on the pattern warning against cutting between or blending sizes, which is opposite of what I’ve learned. The link given for more instruction about the warning doesn’t work.

I used Sandra Betzina’s solution for full-bust-gaposis from Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure, my favorite fitting reference. Full-bust-gaposis sounds silly, but it’s nice to have a cardigan that hangs straight. Basically, you add more fabric in the front at an angle so that your girls don’t skew the line of the garment.  I wasn’t entirely sure that it would work with a modern, flowing, design.  But it does.

Now I have this cardigan that fits really well, but doesn’t meet all of my requirements.  I was seduced by the nice fabric in the clearance bin.  I should have purchased a thicker fleece fabric, to replace my coat that has become ratty from constant washing.  But instead, I have this lovely, great for indoors, hand washable sweater.  Oops.  Now I’ll need to buy that fleece anyway.  It will be interesting to see how the pattern sews up in a more low maintenance fabric.  It’ll certainly be faster, since the edges won’t need serging.

Thai Pork Icy Day

School was canceled today due to inclement weather. I usually hate that.  But this morning I really didn’t want to hassle with getting DD8 dressed, fed and out the door.

Good things are happening, even though the temperature is below freezing.  DH is working from home.  So no worries about his driving in terrible conditions; and he gets two additional hours in the day to spend with the girls.  And, the library is open.  So I took the girls when it opened and we picked out books to keep us entertained.  And we picked up a friend.  So both children are entertained and everybody is safe at home.  Yeah!

For lunch I made Thai Pork from leftovers.  It’s really easy.  I’m not including measurements, because I don’t use any.  Just add the ingredients according to smell.



  • Peanut oil
  • Chopped green onions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cut up leftover pork chops
  • Thai curry paste
  • Fish sauce
  • Can of coconut milk
  • Frozen peas

Cooking Instructions

Saute onions and carrots in a shallow pan.  When they are warm and the carrots begin to smell sweet, add the pork and Thai curry paste.  Heat through.  Add fish sauce and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil.  Add peas.  Cook three more minutes.  Serve over rice.

I would like to work on my cardigan today, at least finish taping the pattern together.  But that isn’t likely to happen. Perhaps tomorrow.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

This is a very simple way to clean makeup brushes without making a mess. You will probably be appalled by how much makeup you had on your brushes.

how to clean makeup brushes soaking

  1. Reuse an empty container that has a lid, and is tall enough to hold your makeup brushes without crushing them. Clear is preferable to opaque. Wash the container and lid. I used an empty sunflower seed jar.
  2. Add dirty makeup brushes.  Do not crowd them.  If you need to, you can wash them in groups.
  3. Fill the container two thirds with warm water. Add a squirt of paraben and sulfate -free shampoo, or fill to top with vinegar.  Shake gently to clean.
  4. Allow to soak for fifteen minutes. Shake again.
  5. Pour out dirty water. Refresh with rinse water. Make sure the lid is on tight. Shake and repeat until water is clear.
  6. Lay brushes on a clean towel in the sun to dry. The ultraviolet light will help to disinfect them.

how to clean makeup brushes drying

Save the jar so that you can clean your brushes again next month.

Holiday Dress in Velveteen and Silk

This is DD2’s holiday dress. I was able to finish it in time for Christmas.  In spite of my sewing it up in the 1T width, it is still pretty large, even with a white blouse underneath.  I used Butterick Pattern B4434, view D.

childs dress velveteen silk dupioni

Velveteen was not one of the recommended fabrics.  I happened to have velveteen.  So I hunted for an appropriate pattern and wasn’t able to find one with velveteen as a recommendation.  So I chose this Butterick Patten because it had very simple lines and no gathering.  It would have been cuter to use the view with slight gathering, because the skirt is silk dupioni (that I had left over from a friend’s wedding pillow).  But the silk skirt was a last minute change.  I had planned on making the entire dress in velveteen.

I also should have waited for my walking foot to arrive.  But I was ready to get on with the project.

childs dress velveteen silk dupioni

My grandmother always kept a box full of fancy buttons.  So whenever I make something for the girls that requires, or could be embellished by a button, I allow them to choose a button from the box.  Often they choose something that doesn’t seem to my adult sensibilities to match.  But I don’t really care about that.  I only care that they love it; and understand that it came from their great-grandmother.  In this case however, I think the sparkly button fits well with the dress.

Velvet and Silk Toddler Dress

My child is a terrible fit model.  She ran away with the dress and refused to take it off so that I could finish it and and help her to put a shirt on underneath.  I had to wrestle it off of her later to bundle her up so we could leave the house.  But at least here is an idea of how the dress looks on a human being.  I should still fit for Easter.

Memory Quilt Progress

The baby clothes quilt is getting closer to being finished.  The backing is on.  It’s crooked and wonkey.  But it’s on.  I should not have attempted to use flannel with any expectation of accuracy. But hey, I’ve reused a piece of cloth (or several); less strain on the environment.

Memory Quilt Sandwich

I machine quilted vertically, between every other column.  Then I machine quilted out from the center column horizontally above a few rows.  It isn’t perfect.  But since a wild child will be using the quilt, sturdiness is key.  Also, the wild child likes to untie quilts.

I made the bias tape myself, which takes, so, long. First cutting.

make bias tape toile fabric cutting

Then pressing.

make bias tape toile fabric pressing

But finally the binding made it’s way onto the quilt.

Quilt Safety Pins Binding

I was able to machine sew one binding edge onto the quilt.  Then, miraculously, I was able to hand stitch most of the rest of it on.  The miracle being that I went to a friends home without my toddler, and as such was able to sew without having to constantly shield the needle from stabbing myself or a small airborne mammal.

At home I finished the last bit of the binding.  I added some smaller squares strategically over mismatched corners, and attempted to tie the rest of the quilt.  I only tied in four places, which is not nearly enough.  Then I gave up.  I’ll have to update again after a long car ride, during which I can tie while the toddler is restrained in a five point harness.

I really like the hand sewing this time of year. I sit outside if it isn’t terribly windy with a nice warm quilt on my lap.  This is very motivating.