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Showing posts from 2011

My 2011 in Review

Well, 2011 was an emotional year for me.  My youngest daughter graduated from high school, my mother went into a nursing home, various other problems that I won't mention here, and I did a LOT of reflection.  Where have I been, where do I want to go, etc, etc.  I'm sure all of you have had similar times. With a now empty nest, I took on a lot of new roles- a new job as a mentor coordinator with the school district, teaching sewing lessons for community education programs, and tutoring reading.  I even took a short lived job at a local bridal store as a seamstress.  (What a nightmare job that was!)  My husband has been wonderfully supportive during this transitional period, even though I'm sure that he misses having home-cooked meals like we used to have.  I hired several new people at SewBaby..  (And they are doing a great job- thank you Shirley, Elise, Jonathan and Christopher!). I can't say that I'm any closer to answering any of those big questions.  I real

Winter Wardrobe Sewing Plan

I think that my favorite part of sewing doesn't have anything to do with the actual sewing!  It's the PLANNING.  I could look at patterns and fabrics for hours and hours, imagining what to do with them.  It's pretty easy to spend more time daydreaming about what I can make than actually making it. Here is my latest sewing plan.  The fabrics have been in my stash quite a while, so I am going to use the Fabric Stash contest as an incentive to actually follow through with my plan.  It's only a month long contest, so I'm being rather ambitious- that would equal two garments a week, but I think that I can do it. I bought some shoes and necklaces to go with these things too, so I really have committed myself to this! The last time I followed through with a plan was about two years ago when I did another wardrobe contest .  It really helped me to expand my wardrobe, and I'm thinking it's about time to do it again- this time in more neutral

Vogue 8771 Striped Knit Top

Boy, it has been a while since I posted anything that I've made for myself!  I've been sewing a lot, but mostly Christmas presents like pajamas and pillowcases.  Now that Christmas is over, I am dying to try out some of the new patterns that I've bought in the last couple of months!  I've picked out quite a few fabrics in the black, cream and gold color groups to make a group of separates that will coordinate. This top is the first of many in this plan to come.  These photos were taken today- our first snowfall of the season!  I bought Vogue 8771 when it first came out, but hadn't found the perfect fabric for it until just last week.   The pattern is just 4 pieces- front, back, sleeve and cuff.  I made View C which is the longer version that has a curved hem- shorter in the front than the back. It was super easy to sew.  The neckline is narrow hemmed, so there aren't any fussy bands to fiddle with.   Vogue 8771 Here it is without the cardigan so you

10% Off All E-Patterns!

Any last minute sewing projects you want to do before Christmas!?  Well, try a downloadable e-pattern!  All of our E-Patterns are 10% off right now, and they are quick and easy to download so you can get started right away!

New Ellie Inspired Patterns!

 Do you love knit fabrics?  Do you love patterns?  Do you love sewing?  Then these patterns by Ellie Inspired are perfect for you!  They are exclusively designed for knits! With the wide selection of styles, you'll be able to create a super cute outfit for your little ones.  Plus, the knit fabric and easy wash & wear care makes it an instant hit for moms. 

Snap Sale at SewBaby!

It's that time of year again!  No, not Halloween or Thanksgiving, but time to stock on snaps with our biannual Snap Sale!  Take 20% off of any snap product with the coupon code SNAPS20 through 11/8/11!  In addition to the coupon, if you order 6 packages of snaps, you will qualify to get an additional $3 off for a quantity discount!  Why snaps?  They are faster than buttons, easier than zippers, and don't damage your clothes like velcro.  What is not to love?  Our line of snaps is from the Snap Source, and we carry a HUGE range of their products.  If you are unfamiliar with the Snap Source- here are just a few of the MUST HAVE items that they manufacture. 1.  THE Snap Setter .  (Yes, I meant to capitalize the THE, because it is the only snap setter that I use!)   The snap setter is a three part high impact plastic tool, that magically sets your snaps with just a few hits of a hammer.  The snaps come out perfect with this tool, unlike plier type tools that can let the

A Dirndl for Oktoberfest: Burda 8448

Burda 8448 My daughter went to Germany as a foreign exchange student several years ago, and ever since, she has been asking me to make her a dirndl for Oktoberfest.  I finally succumbed this year to her request.  A dirndl is a traditional German folk costume that includes a dress with a very full skirt and a very fitted bodice, an apron that goes over the skirt, and a peasant top to go under the bodice. Burda magazine always features a dirndl in their September issue, and the Burda pattern book had lots of styles to choose from- from sexy St. Pauli girl type outfits, to long covered up ones. My daughter chose 8448, which is one of the more covered up ones.  I used a black striped linen for the skirt, a pretty blue cotton for the apron, a black stretch corduroy for the bodice, and a lovely white batiste with little pink tufts of embroidery for the blouse. The pattern takes a TON of fabric- it called for 3-3/8 yds just for the skirt.  My daughter is petite and

One Pattern, One Afternoon, 4 Looks!

I'm so excited- I think I just found my new go to TNT (Tried-n-True) pattern for a draped neck t-shirt!  The pattern is from the Fall/Winter issue of My Image magazine, style #1152.  A mere 3 pattern pieces, and a Saturday afternoon sewing time, and I was able to whip up 4 completely different looks.  Version #1- work top My one tip with this pattern- eliminate the back neck facing- you don't need it!  Just turn under 1/2" and topstitch in place.   The first is a  work look- I used a poly/lycra jersey knit in a crazy black, cream and red animal print.   This one went together so well, and fit so perfectly, that as soon as I was done, I said, "okay, what else can I make from this pattern?" Version #2 Casual top with jeans   So, my next version is more casual- it's a grey and white geometric rayon lycra knit that I thought I could wear with my grey jeans.  Again, my growing addiction to this pattern left me hungry for more!  So, I thought &qu

Win A Free Pattern!

Guess what!?  You could win a free pattern!  Just follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Follow and Comment on our newest blog posts right here! Or, do all three!!!  10 Winners will be chosen next Tuesday 10.25.2011!

My Dear Watson- It's a Cape!

I'm giving a nod to Sherlock Holmes' style in my latest sewing escapade.  This plaid wool cape is for a friend of mine who is preparing for a life of excitement and adventure.  She is expecting a baby in late January: the COLDEST time of the year in Illinois!  Coats are my specialty, but I wanted to make something non-maternity, that she could continue to wear anytime after the baby is born. So, voila, a CAPE came to mind!  I've never owned or made a cape before, so this was a journey into the unknown for me.  Here is my pattern review for Simplicity 2285 that I posted on   Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but the pocket area is a little tricky and you have to think through that. When I was making it, I forgot that I was making a cape, not a coat, and was thinking "These are the craziest pocket instructions I've ever seen!!! How did these ever get approved!!!!". Then I realized that the pockets are accessible

My Image 1157 Princess Seamed Dress

I'm excited to make my first item from the My Image Fall/Winter 2011 magazine !  I love this pattern magazine because its designs are so wearable and they include a lot of designs for knits. This one is style 1157. Pattern Description: Long sleeved princess style dress with a gathered front inset. Pattern Sizing: European sizes 36-44.  I made size 42, which is about a US size 12 in RTW. Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No, I don't think that the line drawing portrayed the center front correctly. It's only gathered on one side, and the line drawing looks like it is gathered on both sides. Were the instructions easy to follow? The only problem that I had was with where to match the notches on the front panels. There were too many notches!! I originally must have chosen the wrong ones to match the center front panel with the side front panel, as the neckline came to below my bra line. I actual

Bundle Sale at SewBaby

If you have a tendency to want every fabric because they are all so beautiful, but don't have the space to keep yards and yards, then you will love our fabric bundles!  We've selected several fabrics that all go wonderfully together, and packaged them in bundles that contain 1/2 yard of each fabric.  These are wonderful to help you get creative!  Use one fabric for a collar, another fabric for a hem band, perhaps another for the bodice and another for the skirt.  Or if you are making home dec items, piece together the pieces for valances, pillow tops, aprons, etc.  The possibilities are limitless! Another wonderful thing about our bundles, is that they are always 10% less than you would pay regularly for them if you were to buy them individually.  And to entice you to try them out, we are offering a special coupon for an extra 15% off the bundles until October 17th! Just type in the code BUNDLE11 when you check out to get this extra discount. Visit our bundl

Sewing 101 Class Projects!

 I took on a new adventure this September.  I decided to teach sewing classes for our local community college, Parkland College , and for the Urbana Adult Education program.  I've taught private sewing lessons before, but not a group, so I had to think about how to go about it.  I, myself, am a project based learner- learning through actually making something, not by listening to a lecture or reading a book. So, Shirley suggested that our Double Duty bag pattern would be a great project that would appeal to a wide variety of people, and could be used in many situations- knitting bag, diaper bag, beach bag, etc. Shirley has made over 50 of these bags herself, so I invited her to be my teaching assistant during class. The students were amazing and very patient with us as we learned what worked and what didn't with our set-up.  They did a fantastic job, and here are the pictures to prove it!     We held the class here at Sewbaby because I had collected enough Berni

My Image 1115 Asymmetrical Neckline Dress

Line drawing from magazine The dress on me. When the My Image Spring/Summer issue came out, I knew that the first thing I wanted to make from it was M1115- the Asymmetrical Neckline Dress.  I just didn't know that it would take me this long to do it!  But before the summer got away, I managed to trace the pattern, and I chose a gorgeous rayon knit print to make it with.  I eliminated the back center seam, but otherwise made a straight size 42.  The front ruching is done with a length of elastic, but the instructions were pretty vague about how much to use, and where to put it.  I measured the front seam, and cut a piece of 1/4" wide elastic 3/4 the length of the seam.  Then I zigzagged it to the seam starting just below the facing, and ending just above the hem allowance.  It seemed to work pretty well. You can see the final results on me here. On me, the neckline dipped below where my bra shows, so I would have to wear it with a cami. If I made it aga

Simplicity 2178 Cynthia Rowley Dress

I wanted to make myself a dress for my daughter's high school graduation party next week, and chose Simplicity 2178 which is a design by Cynthia Rowley.  I originally chose to make the longer maxi-dress, but the consensus from my family was that it looked too costumey- too much like a Roman, so I shortened it to knee length. The fabric that I used was a silk-linen blend- very vibrant in color with a nice weighty drape.  The pattern features a side invisible zipper, a faced front, pockets, and a shoulder tie.  I really love dresses with pockets!  The shoulder tie is a nice touch, and the other side with strap allows you to still wear a regular bra.  I would advise that you use a fairly thin fabric if you are doing the version with the shoulder tie, as by the time you knot four layers together, it can get thick and heavy, which isn't the look you'll want.  I had to shorten the length of the shoulder strap by 2 inches.  I also did a full bust adjustment and added a couple

Simplicity 2252 Formal Dress

This is a great new pattern from designer Jessica McClintock for Simplicity  2252.  I made a slight variation on View A for our friend Colleen's senior prom.  She wanted a one shoulder drape, instead of a halter type top. Colleen found this great chiffon type fabric that looks like water with silver sequin like discs that sparkle.  It's really a gorgeous fabric, and I bet it looked great on the dance floor.  The pattern had called for a stiffer fabric, so what I did was underline each piece with a polyester lining in blue, to give it the stiffness that was needed to form the pleats in the waist area. The bodice is completely lined and supported with boning. I cut the size 10 which matched Colleen's measurements exactly, but it was too tight.  I had to let it out a bit, so if you make this, I would recommend making a size bigger than your measurements to be on the safe side. Here is the back view. It has a small train on the back.  The wind was blowing when we took

Vogue 7521 Fit for a Queen

Vogue 7521 Dress front It's been a while since I posted anything that I've made myself.  I haven't been sewing too much lately, and what I have been sewing has been a lot of odd jobs for other people.  But I always love sewing prom formals, and I've sewn two this season, which may help me get my sewing groove back.  This one is Vogue 7521 which my daughter chose for her senior prom.  Dress back This is a really nice classic pattern.  It has both a halter and criss-cross back option.  This took 3-1/2 yards of 60" wide fabric, and with my zipper, pattern, fabric, I made it for under $20!  Dress front close-up. It went together quite easily, and had I not tried to insert bra cups in it, it would have taken me just a few hours.  I had originally inserted some gel type bra cups in it, and just as I was nearly finished with the dress, I inadvertently stuck one of the cups with a pin, and oil came oozing out all over!  Horror of horrors!  You s