Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby Preparation

Just got in from my daughter's. Made a quick trip to take her a bookcase, stroller, and car seat with 2 bases for her, the son-in-law, and the pending addition to the family. I left Saturday morning and got back late this afternoon. I'm bushed!! However, the nursery looks great.

She purchased the stencil for the wall back in July. Since the closet door seemed dull, we thought that would be a great place for the tree stencil. Both of us think it turned out great.
I hope you notice the lamp on top of the bookcase. It's a tree branch with birds. Very cute and a great purchase from Hobby Lobby.

The high point of the nursery is the owl quilt made by moi. She picked out the McCall's pattern back in July, too. The quilt is supposed to be made from fleece, but that didn't seem quilt-like to me. So, I decided to make it out of cotton like a real quilt AND I handquilted it--a task I had never tackled before.

Since the quilt was designed for a baby, I wanted it to have a whimsical quality. I like the owls' faces--they are happily watching.

I learned so much from this experience. First, I stepped way out of my comfort zone. I have not only never quilted, I have never WANTED to. The idea of cutting yardage up into little pieces and then sewing them back together again did not interest me at all!! However, if you look close, you will see that the quilt is applique style:

Since I was handquilting, I could add to the whimsy flavor by adding little details. As a beginner, I kept the additions simple and was very selective to where I would make the details. Here, I added "feathers" to the wing. 

I added a heart to the girly owl's tummy.I [put veins in the leaves, too.

Then, I hand quilted the filler space between my appliques. Again, I made the rules

up as I went. Using red, sidewalk chalk, I made a meandering line that ran all over the quilt. Here, you can see my design. The chalk washed out with the first washing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time has flown!!

Here I sit, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, contemplating how quickly the year has gone. This time last year, I was filled with grandiose ideas to create, sew, knit, etc. Though I have done a lot, it is only a fraction of what I wanted to accomplish. Now that can only mean one of two things:  either I am totally unrealistic (which I would never confess to), or time just got away from me and now I am snowed under. I choose answer number two, since there is less guilt involved.

In case you haven't heard, my eldest daughter is expecting. This will be my first grandbaby. No, she doesn't know what she is having, so I can't invest any time sewing gender specific items. However, I have been a busy bee sewing for both mom and baby. I made most of her maternity wear including skirts, shirts, pants, and a coat. The Megan Nielsen patterns are fabulous!! They sew up very quickly, look better than most of the clothes in the stores, and best of all--they fit!! My daughter has been very pleased with her work attire.

Currently, I have sewn for the nursery and the baby. I began with 6 yards of flannel from Hobby Lobby. I made the crib skirt first, then followed with 2 crib sheets from the same flannel. Here in Texas (I am told) flannel crib sheets are almost impossible to find. I haven't seen any in the usual stores I shop in. Crib sheets take about an hour to make, require 2 yds of fabric, and 1.5 yds of elastic. I am very pleased with the final project.

Next, I made the son-in-law a diaper bag. My daughter purchased a beautiful, floral one from Vera Bradley, but it wasn't something I could see my son-in-law carrying, so I offered to make him a brown one per his request. I used brown canvas with a blue cotton trim. Though I like the final project, I realized a lot that I would do differently. First, adhesive interfacing does not stick well to canvas. Second, a diaper bag requires a heavy duty magnet closure or velcro. Here is my final project:

 There are double pockets on each side and 3 pockets on the front. The straps can be converted from a backpack style to a traditional bag with double handles. Inside, there are more pockets. I think I would remove those next time and just have the inside one big, roomy space.

The front zips open with zippers on each side and the top opens with a double purse zipper. I had most of the notions in my stash, but did have to purchase the purse zipper and lining fabric.
 Here is the backpack version. The sliders that adjust the straps were purchased from an online company--Strapworks. I purchased the clips at Joann's, but next time will order those from Strapworks, too. There is quite a cost difference.

I'm not really sure the son-in-law will use it, but at least he knows it was made for him. That does say something nice about the mother-in-law, doesn't it?

The pattern is McCall's 6617. At first it seemed rather daunting with the 53 steps required to make it. However, when taken one step at a time, the bag really isn't that hard. However, when I make the next one, I will do several things differently. I do plan to make it again, but for another purpose:  I think this would be a great picnic bag. We shall see after the first of the year when I have more time to play.

I have been very busy knitting, too. I made 3 baby afghans (I see now days they call them blankets). This first one is for my daughter. The color isn't real clear, so let me describe it. I used a wool blend in a variegated yarn that blended from cream to dark gray. Woven within the strands were pink and blue threads. It is gorgeous (if I do say so myself). The pattern was simple and a free download from the TLC website. I am very pleased with this one. I think my daughter really likes it, too.

 Next I knitted this red cable baby afghan. This was done in a yarn that I had purchased to make a sweater several years ago. Unfortunately, I misplaced (I refuse to admit that I lost something) the directions and couldn't finish it. I ripped the knitting out and had this huge ball of yarn that stared at me every time I opened the sewing closet door. Finally, I decided a baby afghan to put in the gift stash would rid me of the yarn. It worked up beautifully!! and was a prized gift at the baby shower last week.

Though the cable looks difficult, it really isn't. This afghan took about 7 days to complete, which isn't really

that much time when you consider I only knit in my wasted down time.

Last, I made the same afghan as the one for my daughter, but used a worsted weight baby yarn. Isn't this lovely? The picture doesn't show the color real well, but this is a very pink afghan. I love it--especially when I found the yarn on clearance for $1.90 per skein. This is the only item left in the gift stash at the moment. Which means--TA DA--I get to start all over again replenishing the stash. LOVE IT!!

Work has a silent auction that benefits our employee charity. I made this wine bag as my donation. My co-workers will add wine, glasses, and a chocolate to make it extra special. I think it turned out lovely!! I hope we make a killing on it!! That was last week's project.

And this quilt is my gift to the nursery. My daughter wanted to make this quilt, but never got around to it. Originally planned for fleece, I decided that fleece was a blanket not a quilt, so I hand sewed this owl quilt top. Last week I finished hand sewing the appliques, cut the backing from the leftover flannel from the crib skirt, and purchased the cotton batting. I am slowly teaching myself to hand quilt. Since I don't have a quilt frame, I pinned the quilt together with curved safety pins, then pinned the quilt to my ironing board to stabilize it. So far, I am about 1/2 done. A friend of mine who has quilted in the past tells me I am not doing it right. Does that really matter? The batting is sandwiched between the top and back and the hand stitches are holding the whole thing together. Isn't that quilting?

Here is an example of my quilting. Personally, I like the imperfection that occurs with hand quilting. I recognize machine quilting is a whole lot faster, but the stitches come out perfect. Mine are wobbly and irregular in length. That is fun to me!! Besides, I want my daughter to tell her son or daughter how Grandma D made the quilt before they were born. I want them to know that I learned on their special quilt. Each stitch is made with me in thought and prayer for my soon to be born grandson or granddaughter. How special is that?

God has not only gifted me with crafty talent, He granted me the courage not to live so serious. I enjoy what I do immensely. Perfection isn't nearly as important to me as enjoying the experience of stretching myself and doing something outside of my level of expertise. In my world, failure is an option--because failure is learning. I know what I create brings joy to others, and that gives me pleasure. How many other sons-in-law can boast that their mother-in-law made them a diaper bag? How many daughters have designer original nurseries made especially for them by their mothers? I am truly blessed--not only in the talent but by the family who lovingly appreciates my craftiness.

Thanks God.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Baby's doing good

     I have continued to sew for the pregnant daughter, but as she enters her 3rd trimester, I begin to sew for the baby, too. Here's my first creation:  the baby bunting. I found this fleece at Hancock's for $6 last week and thought it would be perfect for a newborn. The hood is lined with heavy, tan fleece. I debated about lining the whole thing, but since it was the first time I used the pattern, I opted to start slowly with a single layer. You can't see, but the sleeves end with fold over plackets that create mittens. I found an orange zipper in my stash that matched perfectly. Final cost:  $7. I wanted owls, but didn't find anything that could serve boys or girls well. Will keep watching.

     So, today I have an animal print maternity top to finish (the Megan Nielsen ruched top). I mailed out a care package Tuesday for the daughter and wait for feedback on the wool skirt. I have another piece of wool plaid and a navy pinstripe that I'd like to turn into pants for her. I want to make sure the hipline is correct BEFORE cutting the material, though.

     I should be sewing for me, but I cannot seem to jump start myself. I have plenty of patterns, fabric, and time, but when it comes to stopping, choosing, fitting, cutting, and sewing for myself, I'm a bit of a dud. I joined this online community and agreed to sew my own clothes for a year--that began Sept 1. So far, I have made a black t-shirt with black, knit pants and a fleece jacket. What I really need is undies since my undie drawer is nearly empty. Do I sew panties that take next to no time or fabric? Of course not. I'm looking at slacks, tops, jackets, even camisoles and cardigans (and I never wear those things). My social outings are usually limited to work, work, work, and the grocery store. Not exactly a couture world that I run in. OK, here's the promise:  Today I will cut out at least ONE thing for myself and complete it before September runs out. OK--help me stay honest and on track.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sewing makes me cuss.

I love to sew when it goes right, but when it doesn't....well, it's a good thing I married an aviator. He has taught me a lot of good profanity that fits perfectly into bad sewing situations. Case in point:  maternity wear for eldest, pregnant daughter.

My eldest daughter lives in a small town in Oklahoma. The closest town has only a Walmart and K-Mart for her to shop at. If she wants any exotic clothes from Target or Old Navy, she has to drive 45 minutes to Tulsa to shop. Problem there:  the clothes are not well made, expensive for the quality, and ugly colors. Thus, I am trying to assist her (and empty out my sewing closet at the same time). Though, truthfully, I have probably doubled my stash since learning of her pregnancy rather than diminish it, but that's a topic for another day. Anyway, I began with the Megan Nielsen patterns. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are great. The skirt and t-shirt patterns are quick, easy sewing projects, take only about 1 yard of material, and look better than most affordable RTW shirts. I'd honestly place them up there with Pea in a Pod, and those tops start over $30. So, I made several shirts, skirts, and maternity/nursing tops. Unfortunately, success does breed pride and over-confidence, and I assumed (making an ass out of myself) that I could use any stinking pattern and be successful. WRONG!! Enter Butterick pattern 5796.

I began with the pants pattern. [Please ignore my husband holding them up for me. Photos taken flat on the bed or hanging on a hanger looked weird. He was forced to hold these pants up (the gun pointed at him is not visible at this angle)]. We tissue fit the pattern and found a 16 to be a perfect fit. WRONG!! I ended up sewing 1 1/4" side seams, 1/2" inseams, 5/8" crotch seams, and took 1 1/4" off the yoke before the pants fit. However, once completed, there were perfect!!! I was sewing on Cloud 9. I thought I had finally gotten the hang of fitting pants and could even adjust for pregnancy. My head was gonna need 3 pillows.

Then I started the cowl top. Being conservative by nature, I prefer to test new patterns with junk fabric. If it works, OK and I end up with something to wear around the house. If it is an absolute flop, I don't feel so bad wasting fabric. I dug up some stretch velour in a slate blue for my "muslin". I got online to research sewing maternity and size selection. All the instructions I could find said to use the pre-pregnancy size. Sadly, I didn't sew for my daughter pre-pregnancy, so I had no starting point. Then, some website told me to go 4 sizes larger than pre-pregnancy RTW. Since she had been a 5 or 6, I figured a 14 would work, but when comparing to the pattern back, I felt that would be WAY too big since I wear a pattern 14-16 and she is smaller than me (even pregnant). So I tissue fit the pattern to her and came up with an 8 above the armpit and 12 below the armpit. Feeling especially cocky, off I went humming and cutting and acting like a sewing big dog. The top hung like a sack--the back gapped, especially at the neckline, and she hated it. Pinning like a fiend, I reassured her I could fix it all the time reminding her it was only a sample--not really to be worn in public. That lie seemed to buy me some grace. I took in 1" shoulder seams, ran a 1" pleat down the back from neckline to waist, added size 10 sleeves with 5/8" side seams, and the thing was looking more promising. Just 3" off the bottom and we were in the money. I knew she wouldn't love it, but I was thinking we were on the right track--another assumption. When will I learn?

The cowl neck was an excursion into sewing HELL. I re-shaped the cowl to accommodate all the adjustments I had to make at the neckline. You can imagine how long this took me. I fit and tried then trimmed with paper until I finally got the right dimensions--then I cut the fabric and stitched it on. At first, I thought I had it backward because the cowl made a huge hump (like a camel) at the base of the neck. I rechecked my work and yup, all the pieces were in the right place; but it still looked like crap. So, I took out the basting and re-sewed the cowl which offered no improvement whatsoever. My daughter started looking at me like I was a novice and trying to permanently scar her pregnancy by "dressing her funny". After sending her back to Oklahoma, I went back to the drawing board. I pinned and trimmed until there was hardly a cowl left. I was tempted to toss the shirt in the trash and tell all involved of my experience with spontaneous combustion, but I knew the lack of smoke and scorched, burn marks would expose my lie. So I kept trying...and trying...and trying....until there were no ideas and no tries left. I opted to turn the edge, finish it off with a double needle, and call it good. Here's the final project:

I don't think she'll hate it--I know she will. Oh well, at this point I just want the Shirt from Satan out of my sewing room. I know it exudes bad karma. I don't care if she uses it as a bum-around shirt or rag. All I know is next week when I mail her the package of maternity goodies, this demon seed will be hers to deal with.

Next, is the maternity skirt. I morphed the 5796 pants into a skirt pattern. I did this because she prefers the stretch fabric yoke to the usual front panel found in most maternity RTW and sewing patterns. Sticking with the "cheap is the way to start" concept, I chose a black, grey, and off-white plaid as my fabric. Here's another new lesson:  material at Hancock's on sale for 69 cents that ends up 4 cents after the 10% off coupon probably has a problem with it. Mine did:  the plaid is off. Though I cut the plaid as meticulous as I could, the plaid only matches on 1 side. For me, it's no big deal. I'm not sure if she will care or not. I lean to the idea that she won't since a wool maternity skirt is a novelty where she works. Here's the final product:
Personally, I like it. It's slightly A-line and slightly pencil skirt with the
yoke at the top to allow for tummy. Just like the pants, She can wear the yoke over or under the baby bump. The knit yoke is another scrap from my stash and is a 4-way stretch similar to the fabric found in tights. I know she will catch the mismatch of the plaid, but I think the overall look with make her happy. Plus, it's one more free outfit for work. Go MOM!! Oops, I'm getting cocky again. When will I learn?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Location, location, location.

     We have lived in our current house since Oct. 1990. During that time, we have done some interior painting, but other than that, the flooring and wall coverings were original. Until NOW!! We have removed wallpaper, repainted, and put down hardwood flooring. My husband had a hard time letting go of the green marble entryway, but finally we have a lovely, tile area to welcome our guests. . .AND I have a new sewing area that is mine, mine, mine. Welcome my new addition:

As you can see, I have an oak armoire that has been converted into a sewing cabinet. The chair folds over and slides into the space (not visible in this picture) on the left for storage. To the bottom right, I have a extendable shelf (made for a printer) where I house my second serger. I have yet to re-organize the upper shelves. I want to find (or make) storage boxes for my patterns and cone threads.

The door handles serve as hangers for my current projects. Over by the window, the ironing board, lowered to a functional level waits patiently for me to press and steam my seams and projects.

Here's a view of the other side of the room. I have an antique maple dining room table that serves as my cutting board.

I love my workspace. This is the piece of sewing Heaven that I have always wanted. Besides another storage unit on top for my sewing ham, sleeve board, etc and a small rug to muffle some of the sound when I am sewing, I cannot think of one more thing I need. I can die now--all goals are met!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Year of Sewing

     For the past 30+ years, I have flirted with sewing--always wanting to become a fabulous, all-inclusive seamstress, but never really knowing how to get there. Now I do. To be a better sewer I finally understand I have to sew more. So, I have committed myself to one year of sewing instead of purchasing. I should be scared out of my mind, but instead, I am rather excited by the challenge. God knows I have enough fabric to sew myself around the world a couple of times, but I don't think I have the skill to do so. This year will be the year I develop the skill. The only thing that can stop me is fear and lack of faith in myself. By experience I know I can do anything I set my mind to. So, here I gooooooooooo!

     I begin with an honest look at my wardrobe. I must admit, it's pretty pathetic. I have a lot of stuff that is the wrong color, wrong size, and wrong fit. I have clothes that are stained that I continue to hang onto. I have some odd guys that I purchased (mostly on sale) that I never really found a use for. It's apparent to me that I have a closet full of impulse buys and my "wardrobe" has no plan. I cannot tell you how many times I have read the articles about creating a mix and match wardrobe using 5, 7, or 9 pieces. THAT's what I want to do.

     Another thing I recognize involves weight and body shape. Mine is not good. Though I love the look of tailored, I need loose and multi-sized to allow for weight changes. Though I am injured right now and unable to workout, I will be back on my feet soon. I can no longer afford to avoid diet and exercise, and my wardrobe must reflect that lifestyle and adapt appropriately.

     Also, I have to incorporate color that flatters. Somewhere along the way, I lost my color palate for a "summer" wardrobe. I need to get back to that formula. When I dressed according to my best colors, I looked good, felt good, made wise purchases, and had a wardrobe that worked.

    So, where do I start?  I have decided to make my blue jeans my core outfits. With fall looming on the horizon, I think this is a good idea. The next step is to learn how to make a storyboard where I can post pictures of my patterns and fabrics. With that goal in mind, off to google search I go.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Will Not Be Competitive, but I will participate

Pattern Stash 2012

Woo! Hoo!  I have entered my second contest. I was an idiot with the first one--The One Yard Contest when I made the fabric scrap bear and failed to link in my badge for entering. Though my plate is pretty full, I have decided to enter. I know I won't win, but I can be involved.

Maternity sewing is done for now. I just finished but have yet to take a photo of the new, Green Pepper, wave bag. I like it EXCEPT for the handles. I was supposed to use webbing and I used fabric. Pinned on, the canvas fabric looked good, but sewn--not so much. It's OK, though, since it's just a bag. I can make it prettier another day. The first time I sew anything is a learning curve for me.

So, the pattern stash contest starts at midnight. I am sure there are those who will start sewing immediately. I cannot. I have my first of three certification exams next Saturday. I will be glad when they are over and I hope and pray that I pass each of them easily. I have been and will continue to prepare, but I also have to keep myself sane through sewing. Sewing is good for me. Something about the tactile contact with texture and the expression of creativity calms my soul. I must have been designed to sew. I have yet to pick my patterns. Perhaps I should do that now. My cranium is full of too many facts for me to do anything else at the moment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I have been crazy sewing like a fiend. First, I made most of what I wore to the 44th Annual Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse Annual Convention in Charlotte, NC. The only RTW clothing items (besides bras, undies, and socks) I took with me were 2 pair of capris and 1 pair of jeans. Everything else was sewn by ME!! I made (and wore) 3 maxi dresses and multiple t-shirts. I loved wearing the maxi's. They fit well, looked good, and were very simple to put on and off. Plus, on the plane, they were major comfortable.

This week I am sewing maternity for my oldest daughter. I found the Megan Nielsen patterns online and purchased 5 of them. I began with the ruched skirt, though the photo does not do it justice:

I took the photo with the skirt lying on a piece of contrasting fabric. Hanging on a hanger, it just looked like black fabric hanging on a hanger. Though a medium in size, the skirt sure looks small and skinny to me. Good thing my daughter isn't very big.

Here are the two ruched t-shirts I made for her:
I think they both are wonderful. The first is a forest green textured knit that came from my stash. Originally, I used the fabric to make my daughter's Poison Ivy Halloween costume when she was in high school. Since the color is great on her, I know she will be pleased. The brown top is made of a jersey knit that she picked out. It's the same pattern with short sleeves. I am concerned that a medium will be too big, but we shall see. If so, I will make a small next time. Plus, if it is too big, I figure she won't wear them until the last trimester, so they will make "new" shirts during the final couple of weeks.

Back to the sewing machine. I took the day off from work, but don't seem to be accomplishing much.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Sewing Weekend

It seems to me that Mother's Day should allow mothers to do whatever they want on their ONE day. That's what I try to do. Since my kids are grown and gone, I do whatever I want any time I want. Since tomorrow's Mother's Day, I have planned to sew for myself, by myself, to satisfy myself. (Totally selfish, but what the heck--with two daughters, I earned it!!)

This morning I cut out 3 outfits:  a pair of pink, knit capris, a pink leopard t-shirt, and a red/salmon sleeveless knit dress. I finished the dress in a little over an hour. Here's the first product:

 Since I took my own picture, the details are lost because my arms are in the way. It's sleeveless with a scoop neck. I made a size 14 with alterations for sloped shoulders and sway back. I still need to hem it, but I think it looks pretty good and will make a great foundation garment for my trip to Charlotte, NC in June. I am allowed to put in a 5/8" hem, but I think I will go for a 1" hem since I am probably a little shorter than the pattern is made for.

I am trying to think of a jacket that will go with the dress and flatter the curves without creating bulk or look boxy. I may need to work on that in my head for awhile BEFORE laying scissors to fabric. I don't like wasting fabric or time, and I really hate making items that I won't ever wear.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I made the first pair of shorts EVER that fit, look polished, and were made from scraps and cost me next to nothing. I really like them. I used a cotton plaid from my stash as a muslin and sewed them over a couple of weeks. It wasn't that they are that hard, but I really was putting in crazy hours at work and had to do what I could do in the time I had available to do it. I think they look pretty good. I have a royal t-shirt that works perfectly with the plaid.

The pattern:  Simplicity 1808.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My First Teddy Bear

I joined an online site called Pattern Review. Sewers of all levels share their love of sewing from all over the world. It is amazing to me how much so many different people have in common. I am quickly becoming addicted to the website.

Anyway, they are currently running a contest titled One Yard Challenge. The idea is to sew an item using more than 1/2 and no more than 1 yard of fabric. I decided to make a teddy bear though I have never made a stuffed anything in my life. Here's my final result:

I used fabric scraps from my scrap bag. I had 1 piece 22" x almost 45" and a second double scrap of 7" x 12". The free downloadable pattern came from an online website. I chose to not add the 1/4" seam allowances, making a slightly smaller bear than the pattern was designed for. When I almost had him completely done, I realized that I ran out of fiberfill. To stay with the" use up the scraps" theme, I took apart an old pillow to have some of the fiberfill.

I think he needs something else, but I can't figure out what that something is. A bow tie, t-shirt, or vest might be a nice added touch. I can't decide. So I put him up on the top of my plant shelf to watch him for awhile. I know the right accessory with come to me, I just need to step away and quit thinking about it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I wore my tunic today!

Here's my Butterick 5644 tunic. We went to an outdoor wedding today and I decided this would be a perfect look. Very comfortable and causal.

Currently, I am having a horrible time. I started a pair of shorts using Simplicity 1808. To start, the pattern was improperly printed and very difficult to make any sense out of. Second, I had to make several adjustments. I used a size 14 to fit my hips properly (based on the finished measurements) but that made the waist too small. Rather than adjust the waist and leave the pleats in, I opted to take the pleats out. Unfortunately, I forgot to make the same adjustment on the belt and the facing. I cannot believe how totally stupid I can be sometimes!! Then, when I finally got to the part where I could put in the elastic and actually do some fitting, I didn't have the right size elastic. I had every size you could think of, but not 3/4".

So, I opted to begin a teddy bear made of scraps. I finished the head last night and started on the body today. The arms were really difficult, but I finally figured them out. I started to stuff the body and realized I didn't have enough polyester fiberfill to complete the project. I'm going to have to go back to Joann's tomorrow and get some more fiberfill.

Maybe, now that I have the elastic I could at least run it through the casing a call it quits for tonight.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sewing Stash

It has been forever since I last blogged. As you can guess, my sewing plans derailed last year. I quit a job, started a new job working night shift, and continued my consulting on the side. Hours were long; sleep was fast, and there was little time for sewing or doing much else. Now, I am back on the day shift, working banker's hours (sorta), and starting to sew again along with a dozen other activities.

My first major accomplishment has involved the WOC Nurse Society. I became a member last July and will be attending their national conference in Charlotte, NC this coming June. I am really excited since this is my first national convention with this organization. One of the vendors is sponsoring a walking activity, and I decided to participate. Since Feb. 22, I have walked over 1.1 million steps and have earned a couple of prizes. I am so proud of myself--it hasn't been easy. I had tendonitis and nerve impingement in my left foot when I started, so I began slowly. The contest ends May 18, and I know I won't win. Currently I am in 6th place, but that's OK. Better 6th than not at all.

I have re-organized my sewing storage closet and realize that I have a ton of fabric. Now I know I should get rid of most of it, but I originally bough it because I like it and guess what--I still like most of what I have; I just have too much. I have decided to sew up my stash. I have made 1 shell, 1 tunic, and 1 sundress for a total use of 5 yards of fabric!! Unfortunately, I bought 3 more yards of knit yesterday to make outfits to wear to the convention. I promised myself to sew more of my stash before buying, but the fabric was so pretty and a pattern/ fabric currently in style. I could not stop myself!

 Here is my pink cotton top made from Simplicity pattern 2938, I liked the sleek look on the pattern and really envisioned this to be a dress. However, once cut out and basted together, it doesn't resemble the pattern at all. The have to have cut it smaller or clothes pinned the back to make it that snug. I found it to be baggy, so I tapered the shoulder seams and center back seam to fit me better. As a top for Texas summer, I think it will be a winner--tucked in as a blouse it's a loser, being way too loose and baggy at the waistline. It is a stash buster, though and I used up 1 1/2 yards of cotton without purchasing a thing!!

My second and third projects are hits. I made Butterick 5644 in a tunic first and then as a sundress. I like it! The tunic is a maroon and cream cotton interlock. I know I brought this fabric with me from California over 20 years ago. I have looked at it a dozen times and could never find a pattern that I felt would work with the non-stretchy and limited quantity of the fabric I had available.

This tunic really looks nice with capris and belted. It's very slimming and the waist gathering is just enough to create an illusion of a waistline without bunching or adding weight at the abdominal area. This is certainly a keeper.

Liking the tunic so well, I used a cotton woven piece and lengthened the pattern to make a sundress/ beach cover up. You can't see the pattern, but it's a cream colored cotton with decorative stitching in orange, green, and yellow. I noticed when I started laying out the pattern pieces that the material was flawed and the stitching colors differed. The top is consistent and the bottom is consistent, but the two are still different. No one on the planet would notice except for me, and I rather like it. I had a hard time running the elastic because it didn't want to feed through the layers where the front overlapped. It took 3 tries to get it right, but the finished product is great. I coupled it with an orange/brown woven belt and absolutely love the look. This will be a great item to wear on the flight to Charlotte.

Today, I will cut out 1 yard of a light pink knit for a tank or shell. Haven't decided which yet, but there is time. I'll post the next project when I am done.