Category Archives: Sewing

Sewing For Baby–April, 2021

I decided to make my grandson a romper for his Easter gift. I also gave him some baby food instead of candy. He seemed to especially like the squeezable pouch of baby food, which his Mama gave him right away. I’ve just been buying a few items when I have a great coupon, or there is an amazing sale. I will definitely look out for those pouches, again. I’ve made him squash, mashed peaches and pears, and other regular food at various times while he is over here, but thought a few prepared jars might be handy for his Mama at times. He also liked the Strawberry Apple Spinach Teethers I bought.

He was perfectly content to bang 2 plastic eggs together for a while. We know he will be gobbling candy by next Easter, if allowed.

I used Simplicity 1447, and made view C. I made the large size, which says it’s 18 months, even though I know it will be too big. He is growing so rapidly that by summer, it will likely fit. If not, we will hope for a sunny fall:)

I have had this fabric for many years in my stash and love it. I was happy to find a purpose for it. Matching plaids was a challenge I have not tried for a while, but with the help of my trusty seam ripper, I prevailed until I was satisfied. I made it while on vacation to the beach, in the camper, so I had plenty of time to mess around with it to get it right. I used a zipper in the back, as called for, white bias tape around the neck and armholes and snap tape at the crotch.

I made a mistake and cut the snap tape one snap too short. I centered the piece I had cut, and just made sure all edges were finished well and hemmed. It looks fine on the outside, but won’t win any prizes at the fair on the inside!

I would like to try this pattern again. I’d like to see how this one fits first and if it seems like it will be as cool and comfortable for him as it looks on the pattern envelope.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–March 15, 2021

Several years ago, we got extra daffodil bulbs when my sister divider hers. Patsy planted them in front near the street and they get prettier every year. The first year there was one bloom on some of the plants. Now they are starting to multiply and will continue to do so until I will have to divide them in the future.Sometimes, we add in a few bulbs from Winco or other places, but mostly these are absolutely free flowers that just keep growing and growing. I weeded a tiny bit in that flower bed, but there’s lot more to do.

We spent the week cleaning up the tree Rob cut down last Monday. There’s still a bit left to pick up, but the majority of branches are gone. Rob borrowed a trailer to haul them away to my sister’s farm. The cardboard box was over some daffodils to keep them safe, and another one was covering the faucet. The chunks of wood will join the rest in the side yard, drying for next year. Then, I’m going to enrich the soil and plant a few things. I have not decided exactly what I’m planting, yet.

Rob’s been transplanting like crazy. He built some shelves up high in the greenhouse and is putting in an automatic sprinkler system to water things when we go camping. He’s doing some experimentation. It seems like the next thing he is going to try is 1 minute per day and see how it goes, after drenching them so badly he feared he had drowned them during the last trial run! (Do you notice a theme here lately….we are planning to make it to our camping trips this summer, unlike last summer when they got cancelled almost every time–nothing will stand in our way if we can help it, says the girl who already had to postpone one trip due to an ice storm! But, we will prevail, or if we have to cancel, it won’t be from lack of trying to go!)

The tomatoes are really starting to look good. They are not all for me, in case you were wondering if I was going on a “tomato only diet” in the summer:).

I made 3 kinds of soup this week. One was vegetable, one was chili and the other was a cream of broccoli, carrot and cauliflower with cheese, made from the little baggies of veggies in the school lunches and milk from the same place.

Rob had to stop off at Costco and grabbed a cooked chicken while he was there, so we’ve been eating that. He pulled steak from the freezer one day and then found that our niece, Alissa, accepted my invitation to eat lunch here on Sunday after church, so he saved it, cut it into smaller pieces and cooked it when she came over. She loves, loves, loves steak! Her brother and sister were already here, and they were so glad to see her. She works at a camp these days and isn’t home as much as they would like. We all were delighted to see her! As the day progressed, the party grew unexpectedly. 2 daughters and grandson came over, too, so I baked a lot of potatoes and cooked carrots, green beans and corn to stretch out the one package of meat he had thawed. It’s the garden that just keeps giving! I also used some of my home-canned apple pie filling to make an apple crisp. There was more than enough, and there were lots of leftovers for people to take home if they wished. Funny thing. There are still carrots and beans in the fridge…hmmmm….no one took those….hmmm.

I did some cleaning and yard work. It makes me feel calm when I get things tidied up. Of course, the clean house didn’t last long, since Jake and Michaela spent the weekend here, and we had the kids over on Sunday, but at least we started out clean:). It still felt good to know I had done it! I noticed that the kids all spread out nicely without being asked, so I felt happy that they were social distancing on their own.

I finally went to JoAnn’s and used some gift cards I received for Christmas. I got some cotton fabric, elastic, thread, and a few patterns. I plan to make some summer dresses for Patsy and maybe a top or two. I may even make myself a cool, flowing, oversized summer dress while I’m at it. Last summer, I wished I had one to throw on after working in the garden, since I often get quite hot out there.

I’ve been working on a dress for Patsy that was started some time ago, so need to finish that before I start anything else. I also made several masks. Some of ours are wearing out, and we lost a couple. Now that we’ve been going back to church, I am wearing masks more often.

Sewing A Fleece Pullover For Michaela–December, 2020

This pullover is for Michaela, my autistic niece. Recently, she saw me sewing quilts for her sister and Lovana. She really, really wanted me to sew her something for Christmas, too. She loves soft, fuzzy things and animal prints, so I knew this piece of fleece would be perfect for her. She dislikes surprises intensely, so I let her choose what she wanted made from it. She choose a pullover “like uncle’s.” He has a couple I made him years ago that he wears while working outside.

I used a pattern that I have had for years. I can see from the envelope that it cost $1.25 at the time I bought it. I have used it many, many times and have really gotten my money’s worth out of it. Thankfully, I had some fabric she liked, a zipper in my stash and some 1/2 inch elastic for the sleeves on hand. I am not doing any extra shopping right now, so was very relieved I had what I needed, especially a zipper that was the right kind that matched. I use the kind with the thick, wide teeth for these pullovers. That kind are usually separating zippers, but I just sew over the bottom and cut off any extra because I don’t need them to separate for this project.

Since she spends Tuesdays and Thursdays here, I used this as an activity. We try to keep her busy. So, one day, she watched as I cut it out. Another time, I had her take the pins out of some of the pattern pieces, then she got a chair and stared at me as I sewed. No pressure there:). I worked on it quite a bit over the weekend while she was not here, and only had to measure the elastic for the sleeves around her wrists and insert it. I did that yesterday, then finished it up. She tried it on. It is enormous on her, even though we cut out her size. Thankfully, she doesn’t care. She will likely layer it with shirts under it anyway.

Tomorrow, I will let her and Patsy wrap it up, because they both love to wrap gifts. Then, she will open it on Christmas and be as happy as a clam.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–And a Quick Sewing Project for Patsy–November 15, 2020

I was able to complete a quick sewing project this week. I took the scraps from Patsy’s cape and made her a hat. Sadly, I lost my old hat pattern somewhere in the sewing room. Rob found me another one for free on the internet, and this is how it came out.

We had a very old peach tree at the back of our garden. We’ve been talking for quite some time about taking it down. After all, my sister owns a peach farm and we get all we want from her. Besides, we were very nervous about smashing the neighbor’s fence since so much of it was actually leaning over the fence….you know how these kinds of projects are. They get bigger the more you think about them. So we put if off. This summer, it began to lean alarmingly towards the beautiful fence our neighbor recently erected, so we became more committed to removing it before it fell. In reality, this picture doesn’t even really show how far it was leaning. The angle is wrong. Today was the day to get it down at last!

We were jump-started into action when we were visited by our neighbor on the west side of our house. We followed him into his yard to gape in horror at another neighbor’s yard utterly filled with a part of a huge cedar tree that broke in the last day or two and smashed a shed and filled that person’s entire back yard. He felt he should show us because the rest of the tree was starting to lean alarmingly toward our shop! After some consultation with a couple of neighbors, we found that a tree service was going to be called tomorrow. But, we knew we couldn’t delay any longer in removing our problem tree. That new fence the neighbor put up is too nice to smash.

Thankfully, we had live-streamed church this morning, and God provided a window of opportunity with no rain this afternoon. The minute we were done, the skies opened up and it poured. So, it just became a nice Sunday afternoon project that didn’t ruin our Sunday plans, and took much less time than we had feared.

I climbed a very short ladder and snipped off lower branches with hand loppers and then moved to the clean-up crew. Rob used his chain saw with the long handle to cut off branches, bit by bit, from the top down. We were very careful and pulled the branches toward our side of the fence and threw the branches into the empty garden. Some raspberries and artichokes were actually smashed a bit in the process, but we uncovered them ASAP. There were a few branches that fell over the fence. Thankfully, our neighbor had removed the fancy lights, per Rob’s request a few days ago, and we were able to pull the branches up and over using a garden rake without damaging anything. He came out as we were finishing and assured us that his side of the fence was just fine, we had not smashed, ruined, or destroyed anything in our efforts.

We used pruners to cut the branches into small pieces and filled the yard debris bin. Rob cut the larger pieces into firewood with his chain saw. We left the rest of the branches in the garden and will fill the bin again several times as the weeks pass by. The apple tree will come down this winter, too, hopefully. We get no good apples from it. It’s not ready to fall on anything, so it can wait.

Now my garden will get even more sun and grow even more veggies! The raspberries should be sweeter and grow better. The roots of the tree have been taking too much water from the back of the garden, and I’m hoping this helps. Doing this job ourselves saved us several hundred dollars, maybe more if it had fallen and smashed that lovely fence.

I had planned on shopping last Tuesday, and got the things on my list. I used my $10 off $50 coupon at Safeway and actually spent about $45. I stopped off at Winco and got a 68c/lb turkey and a couple of things they sell for less there. In the meanwhile, Rob and Patsy stopped off at a different Winco and grabbed 2 more turkeys. I’m delighted to have three turkeys now. The whole thing was complicated by the fact that Rob, Michaela and Patsy were on their way home from picking up our 1/4 beef when they stopped for those turkeys! It was a larger quarter than last year. So, we played “arrange the freezer” for quite a while, and it all fit, thank goodness.

While out with her, he found ham for $1.29 at Grocery Outlet, and bought 2 small ones. One hour later, when other family members went to get some, they were all gone. They simply haven’t been on sale anywhere this fall. Since he was going out again, I had him pick up a few more groceries, including a couple more gallons of milk with long pull dates, and we should be set for the next couple of weeks. I have reserved some of my monthly budget for an Azure Standard order later in the month, if I decide to do so.

Rob chopped wood 2 more times this past week.

So, we are loaded up with groceries and wood, so plan to spend this next week cozy and busy!

Sewing For Patsy–Flannel P.J.’s–November 2020

The fall sewing project to replenish Patsy’s wardrobe continues. I made a nightgown and some shorts from a large piece of flannel I had on hand. In the past, I’ve purchased flannel from JoAnn’s flannel sales, sometimes on the day after Thanksgiving, for low prices and this piece was in my stash.

The nightgown was made from Butterick 5723. The shorts were from Simplicity 2819. These were both patterns I’ve had for a long time. The shorts were made because I had just enough fabric left over and I figured she could always pair them with a t-shirt and wear them to bed, or wear them under the nightgown.

I thought the nightgown was going to be shorter, so I lengthened it. It’s not short! In fact, it reaches between her knees and ankles after I made it longer. So, the shorts will likely not be needed under it after all.

Two things I do on shorts and pants: 1) I add a small piece or ribbon or bias tape to the center back casing. This shows the child at a glance which side is the back, like a tag would. 2) I stretch and sew a line through the center of the casing after I’ve inserted the elastic and made sure it fits the wearer. That keeps the elastic from rolling and twisting inside the casing over time.

If you try this, I’ve found that the elastic needs to be shorter than the actual waist measurement. It seems that the elastic stretches out when I sew that line through it. I usually go around her with the elastic, then take away 3-4 inches and insert that much into the casing. I then have her try the shorts/pants on and make any adjustments needed, sew the hole closed, then do the stretch and stitch down the center of the casing.

On the nightgown, I made a couple of alterations. First, I cut the top according to the pattern, but then gradually widened the sides, starting from under the arms, and by the time I was to the bottom of the skirt edge, added 2-3 inches. That actually added 8-12 inches of width over the hips. She likes her night things loose. I added about 5-6 inches to the length of View C, but left off the ruffle. I also tacked a ribbon bow to the center front so she could easily tell which side is the front. It’s difficult with this style to tell in a hurry.

I also left the sleeves free to flutter at the lower edges, rather than inserting a casing and elastic there. She doesn’t like the elastic on her arms, so I never put it in there for her nighties. Instead, I just narrow-hemmed the edges.

Sewing For Patsy–October 2020–A cotton blouse–A Friday Project At Last!

I finished up this cotton top on Friday. It was much easier than the last top I made.

I used Simplicity 8949. I was unable to buy this pattern in her size, so I simply cut everything a little bit larger. It was simple enough and it worked great.

The sleeves looked fuller on the picture for View B. I guess they were fuller than A, but if I do this one again, I’ll cut them even larger as she had hoped for ruffly, fluttery sleeves. I added some lace to the sleeves, though, and she was happy with that.

The alterations I made to the pattern were: I enlarged it. I added lace. I did a little top stitching and then tack stitching to the center front V-part. I did this so it would lay flat and hopefully not rip out as she pulled it off and on. I also put a small zipper in the back as those work for her better than things like loop and button closures. I lengthened it slightly.

I think it will be cool and comfortable when she’s warm, and layer easiy when she’s not. A long time ago, I liked to post projects on Fridays. This qualifies, since I finished it up on Friday! It really wasn’t very hard, folks. I just have been super busy this week, so that’s why it took all week. Hopefully, on Saturday, I will get a longer chunk of sewing time in on the next project.

This top was very economical to sew because I had the fabric on hand for years, and it might even have been some Lovana left behind when she moved out. Even better, the pieces of this pattern fit on the piece of fabric and there was none left over! Since I still have quite a bit of fabric on hand, I’ve been trying to use some of it and have been having trouble matching patterns with the lengths or styles of fabric I have. I got the pattern at JoAnn’s for $1.99, recently. Thread was in my thread bin from projects in the past. The zipper was a loose one in my zipper bin, so it was either torn from another garment at some point, from a yard sale, or given to me over the years. People are very generous when they know you sew and Rob also looks for notions and lace at garage sales and often gets handfuls for very low prices.

It was easy enough that I would make it again in another color. I will, however, wait until I see if she really likes it enough to wear it a lot. It’s all about comfort around here, so we shall see:)

Sewing For Patsy–October 20–A silky, Flowery top

Last weekend when we got this fabric, I had no idea of how difficult it would be to sew. One week later, here’s the top:). Whew!

She chose McCall’s 7325, view A. I decided not to put the lace on the bottom edge.

The fabric she chose is very sheer, so she needs to put a camisole under it. Knowing that helped me when I was sewing the slit in the neckline. It ended up a little deeper (well, quite a bit deeper) than it was intended to when the stitching got accidentally cut and then the fabric started fraying. You have to clip to the stitching or it won’t turn well. But, I took one tiny clip too far….easy to do. Well….with several sewing sessions, none of which were very long due to frustration and intense concentration, it’s now sewed, reinforced, and top stitched to make sure it won’t tear out!

One view had some cording for a tie. The other views had no tie at all. She didn’t need the tie for modesty, as she will be wearing a cami, but

I sewed my own tie, then inserted it because I questioned whether she would be feeling like her neckline was too wide and might even have trouble keeping the top straight if it kept slipping to one side, as tops sometimes do.

She loves it. That’s what matters. She said she felt like an angel with wings:).

We bought some cotton fabric to make another top from the same pattern. We decided together that we would change patterns. I don’t think the amount of fabric in this top would allow the thicker cotton to drape well. As hard as it was, this fabric was the right choice for this style. It’s done now, and I have some easier projects for this week:).

Sewing A Cape–October 2020

Patsy wanted a cape. She gets cold in the mornings, and thought it would be fun to snuggle in a “wearable blanket.” So, we finally braved JoAnn’s and she chose this fleece. They were having a sale for $2.99/yard, a wonderful price in my opinion. I got 3 yards, which was a little more than was actually needed. I used McCall’s 7202, view B.

McCall’s patterns were on sale for $1.99 and I got a handful. I have not been able to get any new patterns for a while, mostly because I have not been to the store during any sales, and, in truth, haven’t been going at all. Although I have quite a bit of fabric, and quite a few patterns, I have been frustrated with the fact that the patterns I have either aren’t in Patsy’s size, or don’t fit the size of the fabric pieces I have on hand. I’m hoping I now have some patterns that will work with some pieces I have on hand. I’m hoping to go get some Simplicity ones when they go on sale.

The pattern called for snaps to close the front of the cape. I bought a package of the large snaps called for, and they were $5. For snaps. So, I decided to experiment with some buttons I had on hand to see if they would work. I interfaced the front, and did not have trouble putting buttonholes into the fleece. I do find that these large buttonholes on the fleece are showing a tendency to stretch out already, and I didn’t even cut them as big as I would have on 100% cotton fabric. So we shall see how that works out.

The other change I made was omitting the line of sewing on the sides that would make sleeve-like openings in the cape. She wanted it to just flow.

For around $11 Patsy has a new cape. I told her to wear it and wear it and to not save it for “good.” I figure this one is an experiment, and the price was right! If it wears out quickly, or the buttonholes don’t hold up, I’ll make another one and use the snaps. It took a little longer than I thought it would, mostly because of the buttons and buttonholes and the fact I had not made this pattern before. It would be much quicker another time.

Now that the garden is finished except for the fall and winter veggies, I’m hoping to devote quite a bit of time to sewing. Patsy needs several new things. We went ahead and purchased a few items and I plan to sew a few, and her wardrobe should be back in great condition.

Patsy’s Been Sewing–May 16, 2020

Since Patsy has finished so much of her schoolwork for the year, she’s had a little extra time on her hands. She pulled out this skirt that she started quite some time ago and finished it.

The new skill for her on this skirt was a separate casing that was applied to the top of the skirt and the elastic was inserted into that.

She is still working on her sewing skills. In addition to sewing, she’s also been working on her 4H sewing advancement, which is a list of activities she can do to increase sewing skills.

Sewing A Dress-May 15, 2020

I used some of the cotton fabric we purchased for $1.80/yard to make Patsy a dress. She has been wanting a dress that twirls around, with lots of fabric in it. The price was right, so I used yards and yards to make this dress for her.

She chose view B, with the hi-low hemline.

This fabric is very thin, so it drapes well. I don’t think a more sturdy cotton would work very well, but I do think a knit fabric would.

It was raining yesterday, so she decided to wear the dress with a white t-shirt. When it gets really hot, a tank top will do.