I was able to sew a warm, cute outfit for my grandson last week.
I used Simplicity 9652.
It fits him well, except for being a little long. That’s fine. He does nothing but eat and grow these days. I just turn up the cuffs for now.
The dark green is a sweatshirt knit with a slight bit of fuzziness on the inside. It was in a bag of fabric that was given to me. Part of the fabric was not good, as it was faded, but there was enough good for this part of the outfit. I had the camo fleece in my stash from an after-Thanksgiving sale several years ago. I was happy to find the time to sort through a couple of my bins of fabric and to find it there.
The hardest part of this pattern was the placket at the neckline. I haven’t done one of those for so long I didn’t remember when, and certainly not how. I read and re-read the directions and followed them step-by-step and finally got a result I could live with. I’ll confess a seam ripper was used a couple of times. :(. I used some slightly thicker than normal interfacing under the buttonholes as I was worried that the knit would stretch when I tried to make them. It held fine and did the job.
The rest of the outfit was pretty easy. I will say that it really helped to be working with knit fabric, especially for the cuffs of contrasting fabric. There were times where I had to stretch a bit here and there to get them to fit on and it would have been very hard with a firmer woven fabric. Also, I was able to use the serger quite a bit and it finishes the seams so nicely.
It was fun to have some time to sew. It was a nice “January” activity to dig through fabric bins and make an outfit.
Cost: Olive green fabric-free, Fleece fabric–likely around $4 several years ago, pattern–$1-$2 some time in the past, buttons–in my stash for years so….?, thread–in my thread container for years, and elastic for the waist–$1 at the most. No matter how generously I count past purchases, the outfit cost less than $10, and all of it was spent some time ago.
I did send Rob to JoAnn’s to purchase more elastic and another roll of thread for future projects as I had some really good coupons, and hope to sew some more. I found lots of great fabric in those bins. I’d love to use some more of it this winter before the gardening season starts up again!
We had a small ice storm this past week! There was some freezing rain, some light snow, and more freezing rain, resulting in less than an inch of frozen mess! My nephew and grandson had a great time out on the deck.
Jake showed Malcolm how to get turners and “clean” off the snow.
They didn’t have a ton of success, but Jake ate what he could chip off. They had so much fun. Thankfully, we had been having a sleepover anyway, so no one had to drive out and pick anybody up:). The roads were bad, so we didn’t go anywhere until it melted, although Rob would have been the one who braved it if necessary. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
We had planned many simple activities this week, along with having the fun (for the kids) of the unexpected storm. We had Jake all week, and I wanted it to be fun and busy without spending a fortune. I have also carried out my goal of lots of activities, and less emphasis on stuff during this Christmas season, so we kept our gift giving simple. Therefore, we had more time to do things with whatever kids were around. We went to the library and got books and participated in story time, took a walk a couple of times. This time it was rainy, but one day was cold and clear and the boys played at the park. Today, we went swimming at the YMCA–a perfect day-after-Christmas activity, using our membership. My niece went, too. She enjoys swimming very much. It was a very successful week and we felt very relaxed.
They decorated a gingerbread house.
….playdough and books galore….
Jake made a Roman chariot and did Perler beads while Malcolm napped. He also requested popcorn many times, and we popped that and watched movies or he played on his devices.
I had a lot of help making cheesecake for the party that got cancelled on Saturday (we will try again with that daughter next Saturday)…Maybe a good idea to save that cheesecake for us anyway:). I made another one all by my self for Christmas Day. I used my Instant Pot for both. I like how they come out in there and they are somewhat small–just the right size. They only use 2 packages of cream cheese each time. I find at holidays there are so many desserts people tend to want only a small piece of many desserts, so this has become a favorite way to make cheesecake.
On Christmas afternoon, we went to my sister’s for a wonderful Christmas meal. Afterwards, we opened the “big family” gifts. I had a lot of fun playing with Zai and reading his new books. Everyone got so many lovely things. It was just the right amount for the boys and they enjoyed them all!
My sister was given some fabric. She passed it on to me. In one of the bags was some blue knit. I used it to make Rob a pair of sleeping shorts. There are several other pieces I think I will be able to use, and then I will pass the rest along for someone else to be creative with.
We cruised along on leftovers and some soup today, and I plan to keep meals simple for the rest of the week, as well. I did buy a bunch of groceries, using coupons and sales. I had a reward for $10 off my order, so I used that.
I hope you all had a very nice week and continue to enjoy a little more “holiday” this week, as we plan to do. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This year, we decided to simplify gift-giving and focus more on experiences of the season. I started with being in the Christmas production at church. Then, the choir sang a couple of the songs from the program for both services last Sunday. Now that the program is over, we’ve moved on to some other activities.
Rob has been building fires in the yard in the fire pit. Sometimes he and Malcolm roast hot dogs, and sometimes they just watch it burn. It’s been very cold (for our area-no one laugh from South Dakota), but Malcolm needs to burn off energy, and we try to get him outside a little each day.
We had a party for our Sunday school class of 5th graders. Rob gathered branches of fir, pine and holly from my sister’s farm and we made greenery swags. We used coat hangers for a base, and some little additions and bows I purchased at JoAnn’s. They were on super sale over Black Friday and so I got them then. I’d show you the finished work, but I don’t want to post pictures of the class without parental permission. Some were more sophisticated, and some were pretty rough, but all of the crafters seemed to have a lot of fun.
The fire pit was burning the entire time, as it was about 25 degrees that morning. Around 11, we finished the swags and roasted hot dogs. Truthfully, the kids were having so much fun tearing around in the little car we have in our yard that they almost forgot to eat, but 2 bags of chips were downed pretty fast once they remembered. My mom had come over the day before the party and we made cookies–sugar cookie trees decorated with green sugar and a star, and some bar cookies. We finished the party inside with games and a short devotional. Rob had wrapped a present over and over, with pennies and candy in some of the layers. Inside was $1. That old game was just as fun for these kids as it was for me when I was little and they unwrapped and unwrapped layer after layer when the music stopped, and passed it around when the music was playing. It was fun for all of us, Rob and I included.
We visited the carousel with Malcolm. The waterfront park was decorated with lights and we walked around for a while before we rode the carousel. Mac was not convinced that it was going to be fun, so he and I snuggled up in a wagon and had a pretty good time. We want to grab baby brother another time and take them both. I think it will be easier the second time. It was a very fun outing for under $2, as they let me ride for free. I haven’t ridden on a carousel for ages. It was fun!
We were invited to a friend’s house to frost Christmas cookies this afternoon. This lady was Jake and Michaela’s nanny for years, and our whole family loves her so much, so Rob and I were delighted to get to see her. Much to my surprise, both Malcolm and the nephew of the hostess were much more interested in her coasters than the cookie operation! We had fun visiting, though, and brought a plate of cookies home to enjoy.
I did a little more sewing this week. These pajama pants were made from a remnant of fabric and cost me less than $2 to make. I was able to use the same pattern as I used for the bathrobe I made last week. I also worked on a pair of sleeping shorts for Rob from some fabric someone gave my sister, and she passed on to me. I’m not quite done, but will work on them this week, along with the bathrobe for the littlest grandson. For Christmas week, that is a noble goal, and I’ll see if I get any of that done:)
This week, I made a bathrobe for Malcolm. I used Simplicity S9214. There was enough extra for sleeves, the belt and facings for his little brother’s size, so I went back and purchased enough of the same fabric to make the body of the robe again, and am working on one for baby brother. Then, I will have no wasted fabric, or leftovers I don’t know what to do with.
I used a very plush, soft fabric, for the first time, in a garment. I had some struggles with it, but overcame them. Thankfully, bathrobes do not have a lot of intricate sewing–mostly straight lines.
We needed to run an errand one evening, so we drove around a little extra to see Christmas lights. This business was so decorated, and had Christmas music blaring over a loud-speaker, so we got out to look. There were all kinds of characters–everything from life-sized reindeer pulling a life-sized sleigh on the roof, to the Nativity scene with visitors ranging from Mickey Mouse to the shepherds and a 2-story marching toy soldier on the grass nearby. It was quite a bright display, and where I would likely never go quite that far in my decorating, Malcolm was so impressed that I could hardly get him back into the car.
We also saw many houses decorated nicely and we enjoyed our drive very much.
I cooked some brownies with some help. I wanted them festive, as part of them were for the gluten-free college-age kids. Instead of buying an entire package of Christmas M and M’s, I just picked the red and green ones out of a large container I was given. (I did pick the orange and yellow ones off while my helper wasn’t looking.). After baking, they were set to cool. My helper extraordinaire jumped up on his chair and grabbed the pepper shaker, and before I could stop him, he liberally peppered them! I sent the un-peppered part and kept the rest at home. I hope. I haven’t gotten any comments about my spicy brownie recipe, so they are either very polite, or I found it all and cut around it:)
Through the week, we ate quite simply, and mostly from food storage. I thawed 2 kinds of soup that had been made previously and we ate them as well as opening a jar of home-canned soup. I thawed some squash and that’s gone, as well. My aunt gave me some chili, and we enjoyed that, too. I experimented with some Asian lettuce wraps, using the last of the garden cabbage, and they were good. Rob made some fajita-like filling, using beef, home-grown onions and frozen garden peppers. He ate his in tortillas that needed to be used and I ate mine on some rice.
We used quite a few home-canned items. I can always tell how much we are drawing on that resource by how fast the “empty-jar” basket fills and how often I have to empty it and bring in more filled jars from the outside shop. I love being able to use my “fast food” at this time of year. I hope to get some more sewing done, as I haven’t been finding time for that lately.
I filled one yard-debris bin with clippings from the yard. I hope to get some dry days and fill it again this week.
My sister took me to lunch and to see a Christmas concert at a nearby university. I was surprised to find that the concert was free. It was lovely.
We are keeping Christmas gifts very simple this year, so we have more time for experiences. We hope to finish the last of the gift buying this week and check that off our list. Next week will be filled with kid-time, as we will work with our nephew and niece quite a few extra hours. I’m laying my plans for fun activities and games, and think everyone will have fun.
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.
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.
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:)
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.
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.
Rob’s tomatoes and peppers are looking insanely good! He’s starting to harden them off. It will be a while before it’s time to plant them out, but when it’s time, they will be ready. We are having such an early spring. It won’t be long.
This turned out to be a good week for me to work in the yard and garden. I weeded for hours. Several bags of compost/steer manure were spread in different places. My soil is quite poor in the flowerbeds and the garden always needs ammending.
The new compost bins Rob built are in place against the fence and quite a few buckets of weeds have been put in them already. The old compost bins he made last year have been organized. I moved any un-decomposed weeds from the top of the pile on the right to the left. Now, everyone has been instructed to leave the right hand side completely alone and not add any new scraps or weeds. I am going to remove the nice compost from that side very soon, and spread it over the corner of the garden. The slats come out of the front of the bins, making it easy to shovel the rotted compost out. Then, I will instruct everyone to put new debris in the emptied side, and let the left hand side finish.
Last fall, I dug up a small corner of the garden with an old-fashioned shovel, added a bag on compost/steer manure and planted a few snow peas and beets, along with a few green onion seeds. The beets flopped for the most part, but the snow peas are about to fruit and there are a few green onions. It was a successful experiment. I can’t wait to eat some.
I’m getting a few artichokes. They are quite small, so I fertilized them, the raspberries, the blueberries and the strawberries.
We received one day of much-needed rain. I was so happy to have one day where I didn’t have to lug water out to the garden to hand-water my tediously planted baby onion plants, tiny carrots and beets, and lettuce. It’s been so dry this spring. Later, when the garden is fully, we will run the sprinklers over it all, but the system isn’t set up yet. We have to get the hoses out, set up the sprinklers, etc.
Patsy made another mason bee house. Being Patsy, she painted it purple. The mason bees are working busily in the houses Rob built and put up. They are already filling the straws with mud and new offspring. They are also very busy pollinating all over our yard.
My sister sent over a beautiful hanging pot of flowers.
Rob dropped some baby veggie starts on her doorstep. It’s been difficult to not be able to really see and visit with this particular sister, so we’ve had to be creative with texts, visiting from a wide distance, and phone calls.
Michaela was getting very restless, so Rob took her for a drive. They drove around and dropped things on people’s doorsteps (like my sister) and looked for trains. Sadly, they were working on the tracks, so they didn’t see even one, but there’s always another day.
We had the kids over for a “party.” My sister needed to work 2 days this week, from home, and we wanted to take the kids somewhere to give her the peace and quiet she needed. Our house is the only other place they can go right now, since we are back and forth so much, we consider ourselves as one small circle, and our work with them is considered necessary. So, we got out the 2 kiddie pools we own and put water in them. They used any and all water balloons we could find from either house. We ran the yard sprinklers so they could run through them. Rob build a fire in the fire pit and we roasted hot dogs, marshmallows and Peeps our niece, Alissa, brought over. We made ice cream cones and decorated them with M and M’s and gummy bears. They were so tired, they came inside and I put on an educational tv show about wild cats, which they watched as if in a coma, then went home where their dad said they had a great, exhausted evening, and fell into bed. I confess, I fell into bed at 8:30 as well, since we’d had Jake for 2 days and one night. The girls just joined us for the second afternoon. Of course, Alissa just joined us for the fun of it, and to help out. Since I homeschooled her for 3 years, it felt very right to have her over here for the afternoon. I miss her now that she’s getting so grown-up and busy with her adult life.
We needed to get produce, and some other groceries. One day, I went down to Safeway. I took the little handful of Monopoly tickets I had received weeks ago, not really knowing if they were even doing that game any more with how busy the stores were. They were. I was able to get several free items, such as gummy bears, French bread, and extra tickets. Some other people did not want their tickets, and so I brought them home to Patsy. She and Jake worked for quite some time un-wrapping them (bless you people who shared!). They got quite a few free items. I wasn’t sure if we were going to redeem them, but to my chagrin, I found I had forgotten something very important, and Rob had to go back and get it that evening. So, we were able to get them after all. We got a brick of cream cheese, several donuts, a box of pasta, and another handful of tickets.
Rob has done a little shopping here and there, getting things to fix things around the house, things for the yard, a few groceries, etc. I took Lovana shopping, as she doesn’t drive. I’m hoping we are all set up for a couple of weeks again, now. I’d love to go a month, but I will probably not be able to make it that long, due to the fact that I always need produce since Rob is still working hard on maintaining his weight loss.
They called and rescheduled his surgery for June 29. If the virus erupts here, of course they will postpone it again, but we are hopeful, so it’s even more important that he be the correct weight.
I was able to take the scraps from Patsy’s skirt and make a little summer sundress for my little friend, Danait. The pattern was one I’d had for years and the trim was from a garage sale years ago. There was an extremely long piece of it, bought for a very low price, and I’ve used bits of it several times over the years. I was delighted to use some more of it and to finish up the blue print fabric. The entire dress cost less than $4, and I had a lot of fun sewing it. Rob, Michaela and Patsy dropped it on their doorstep, along with a few Easter items, and visited briefly from a safe distance. I was working, but was glad they could take my love.