something old, something new

no, it’s not what you think.  i know i promised pictures of kyle and amy’s wedding….and i will share, but it’s HARD picking just a few of my absolute favorite pictures!!  i go through them and say “that’s one of my favorites”…and repeat…for ALL of them!

no, this is about two new additions to the studio.  and to be honest, one’s not really all that old…it just made titling this post easier!  a few weeks ago jeff and i spent a sunday afternoon wandering around the antique mall, which in reality is part antiques/part flea market, but a great way to spend the afternoon.  i’ve gotten pretty picky selective about what i will actually drag home purchase…the house suddenly feels overflowing and i’m ready to begin letting go, NOT bring more in.  but back in the corner of one particularly cluttered booth a wee small sewing machine caught my eye…maybe because i’m always looking for sewing related finds, but most likely because it was bright purple!!dscn7099

i love that they printed right on the box “serious machine”…but they really just about HAD to since, again…bright purple!  no one was around, so i picked it up and took a look.  kinda cute…and then my fingers moved to that little white toggle switch at the lower right and the thing actually worked!!  2 speeds, 8 stitches (in reality 4 of them are straight stitches), a foot pedal, the adaptor, batteries  AND the box.  the price tag said $15. and i seriously thought about it, but set it back gently and after exclaiming to jeff “how adorable”, i began to move on.  it was then that i heard the voice…”you like?  you buy?”  since i hadn’t seen anyone nearby i almost assumed it was the voice of some sewing god, but it was male and heavily accented…not what i expected my sewing god to sound like!  the booth owner had seen me playing and came to make a deal.  without hesitation he lowered the price to $10, and without hesitation i packed it in the box and brought it home.

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i’ve done nothing with it except wipe it with a damp cloth, so i’ve yet to see how it actually operates.  my hope is that one of the great nieces may show an interest in sewing some day and this will be a great machine for them to start out on.  for one girl i see baby doll blankets, for the other maybe a supergirl cape…doesn’t matter, that purple beast will be here at the ready!

my second “old” addition truly is old.  a christmas gift from my eldest son and his girlfriend (i know exactly which one searched for it, drove to retrieve it and wrapped it..but he helped deliver it to the house, so he gets some credit!)dscn7105

it’s a “sew tidy” sewing cabinet for threads.  manufactured by the “sew tidy/edmilton corp” in milwaukee during the 20’s and 30’s.dscn7113

complete with label!!  there’s no way that all my thread will fit in this cabinet, so i’ve been thinking that i may use it to hold the old wooden spools that i’ve inherited from grandmothers.  i think that’s a unique way to display them.  when closed it only measures a couple of inches deep.  some of these came with a small drawer-like compartment at the bottom and some had a hanging pocket….all you needed to sew in style!

looking at this cabinet made me think about all the notions, accessories and tools that we all feel we ‘need’ in our studios….but look back at what the average sewist accomplished on a treadle machine and with only a few tools.  i’m sure that whoever owned this originally felt that it was quite the luxury…and i think it’s a perfect “old” addition to my studio.

what about your sewing space?  is it filled with more modern tools/accessories?  or is it a mix, like mine?

 

 

 

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the gifts of 2016

it seems all i heard myself say during the month of december was “i’m not ready”, and by the end of the month i found that i had mental lists constantly running through my head…all negative.  the lists of what I didn’t accomplish, didn’t bake, didn’t decorate, didn’t make time to visit with.  they were heavy lists, and i’ve decided to let them go.  i’m trading them in for lists of how many strangers i wished a happy holiday, how delicious the pizzelles were with my morning and evening coffee, how much i enjoyed each stitch in each gift i was able to make.  and of course the biggest list of all (and the one i usually ignore until november!)…the list for next year!!

to start the new year i want to share a few of the handmade gifts i managed to eek out in 2016.  the last of the gifts were just now opened due to scheduling conflicts, so i’m finally able to share them all.

first up….the turtles!  i had these planned for quite some time and actually had them completed quite early.  one for each great niece.  a big old floor pillow with personality.   hannah is a pink and purple sort of girly-girl who loves to dance, so for her…a pink and purple turtle with a bit of glittery fabric thrown in for fun.dscn7031

brooklynn is more of a whirlwind of action…karate kicks, ninja moves…that’s more her style.  so she got a blue and green turtle (there’s a bit of glitter…i couldn’t resist), with a surprise underneath.  the bottom of the turtle is girl super-hero fabric…super girl, wonder woman and batgirl.  no, the red doesn’t really “go” with the blue/green top, but does that really matter?  i hope it said to her “i get you…I know who you are”dscn7033you may not be able to tell from the pics, but these guys are BIG!  they stand about 10-12″ tall and from head to tail measure about 48-50″….perfect for propping you up for movie time.

my sister (turtle girl grandmother) has eyed my messenger bag for quite some time…offering to take it off my hands, so i made her one of her own.  it’s amy butler’s first messenger bag pattern…a very simple bag with a pocket flap.  i use mine all the time and it’s just right.  once i made it i decided she needed a heigh-ho laptop sleeve to match, so she got a set.dscn7046picking out the buttons was, of course, my favorite part of the project.  at one point i think i had every button in the studio spread out across the rug…and that’s a whole lotta buttons!

dscn7043sister also got a kerchief shawl.  i can’t sit and watch a movie without picking up a knitting project.  i made one for myself first to test the pattern and then made hers…after blocking i’ve decided that if i make this pattern again i’ll add an extra repeat since it feels a bit short when i wrap it around my neck.

 

last year elizabeth made recipe towels using a spoonflower tutorial here on the blog.  i knew then that i wanted to make some too.  instead of using a single recipe, i stole borrowed some the favorite family recipes…ones that even the grandsons would know…mostly handwritten (i think each side had one printed recipe) and had fabric printed at spoonflower.  i made towels for everyone, 18 in all!  every generation got a towel…even the great granddaughters and i have a few left that just need hemming in case there is ever a towel emergency.

 

dscn7041i saved my favorite project…or shall i say my latest sewing addiction…for last.  the rope bowl craze has been happening for a while now but i seem to show up a bit late at these sorts of things.  i’ve had the clothesline in my studio closet forever (planned on making a bag with it), but it wasn’t until days before christmas that i pulled it out and began my first bowl.  jeff walked in to find me forming the bottom and asked what i was making…actually it was more “what are you making NOW?” and i replied “a bowl”…he didn’t even comment, just walked out.  but nothing would dampen my enthusiasm for this project.  i’ve seen them made with fabric strips covering the rope, with ribbon accents, but i had yarn…plenty of yarn, so that’s what i used.  iI didn’t try to make the accents symmetrical, i just added them whenever i felt the urge to add color.  i also started out with the standard loop handle, but tried what i call “the casserole handle” on one and loved it!  some are lightweight rope, some are a bit stiffer…i’m still trying to find just the perfect clothesline because i’m hoping to make a LARGE basket for myself and need it to stand up to a bit of weight.  have you tried these?  OMG…you must!  the process is so easy and the possibilities are endless (unlike the clothesline…i ran out a couple of times and had to make emergency trips to the hardware!)

so that was 2016…i can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.  what’s on your list for the year?

 

 

 

introducing…the villager blouse & tunic

november is probably one of my favorite months.  it holds so much for me to be thankful for.  it’s the month of my wedding anniversary, my husbands birthday and thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.  so i’m introducing my newest pattern and if you read through to the end you’ll find a ‘thankful’ sale!!!

it’s been “in the works” and “almost ready” for quite some time now, but the villager blouse & tunic is ready to make it’s debut!

what began as a collaboration with elizabeth last fall before i took over sole ownership of snapdragon studios is finally complete.  after several neckline changes, sleeve changes, length changes…there just wasn’t anything left that needed to be changed!

raglan sleeves, 2 collar options, 2 lengths, full button back…it’s a super simple sew and can easily be completed in a short afternoon.  so far I’ve made it in voile, cotton, chambray, knit and rayon and i’ve loved each and every one.  and even though the pattern is fresh off the press, i’m already planning my sleeve hack so i can enjoy it this winter….maybe flannel??  i’ll keep you posted.

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the full button back may look daunting to those of us who hate dislike making buttonholes…BUT…lucky us, the buttonholes are optional!  the top slips easily overhead without them, so we can simply stitch those buttons in place and it looks like we’ve spent hours.  i think this is the one and only sample i made that i actually stitched buttonholes in.

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the sleeves offer a great little pleat detail along with a 1/4″ bias binding, giving it a vintage feel.

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the split collar may be my favorite.  the split can go on either side and offers up a great spot for those vintage brooches.  i love collecting old pins, but rarely find the right place to use them.  problem solved…this collar was made for this starburst beauty.

my sister reluctantly exuberantly agreed to don both versions and allow amy to photograph her…and michele and christine both joined in, changing in a public foyer while college students passed by.  thanks guys!!  you all look stupendous!

the villager is available now in my etsy store in both print and pdf versions.  please note that print patterns will begin shipping on 12/1/16.

and here comes the good part!!!  the SALE!!  all patterns are on sale…25% off all purchases, including the villager until 12/10/16.  just use the coupon code THANKFUL.  my way of saying thank you for your amazing support this year.

i am truly thankful.

my name is kim, and i’m a craftsy class hoarder

everyone say “hi kim”!

do you craftsy?  if you don’t know what craftsy is, click on the link and be prepared to spend considerable time.  online classes, patterns, fabric, kits, yarn…it’s all there.  i’m here to publicly admit that i have accumulated an extensive craftsy class library and haven’t completed a single one.  i am a craftsy class hoarder.

i have used bits and pieces of nearly all the 150 classes in my class library (yep, 150!), but i’ve never followed a class from beginning to end.  it all began several years ago, when craftsy was brand new.  meg, of sew liberated, signed me up for 2 classes as a gift.  i think they were the sassy librarian blouse and a tailored blazer.  i took a look and was a bit dismayed to see that one of them required an 80 page print out for the pattern and quite an extensive list of materials.  i watched a bit of the video and decided i’d do that “some day”.

“some day” hasn’t happened…yet.  over time i’ve added to my classes whenever there was a “free class weekend”, and somehow ended up with 150 classes in that library.  i believe i’ve only fully paid for 2.   that 150 doesn’t include the “pattern library” which i have also been rapidly filling with free patterns (there are lots of free patterns to be had).  i HAVE made several of the free patterns…does that redeem me a bit or am i just making excuses?

i have a class for everything, from photography to knife skills….sewing, knitting, bread baking, a guide to shears, a guide to zipper installation….quite a range of knowledge at my fingertips.

the beauty of the online class is it’s there whenever you need it.  serger trouble?  click on your serger class and troubleshoot.  bread not rising properly?  the answer is waiting in your bread class.

i may never view every single class in it’s entirety, but having those resources at my fingertips is awesome.  go check it out…and don’t blame me if I’ve enabled you to be a class hoarder too!!

if there’s a 12 step program available, keep it to yourself.  i’m having too much fun!

ps-new pattern release date is 11/20…keep an eye here on the blog or on instagram for news, pictures and a sale (just in time for holiday making)!!

the elves and the shoemaker

I MADE SHOES!!  i know i’m a bit late to the party, but hey!  i made shoes (without the need for elves!).

last fall at quilt market  i was fascinated as i watched carolina moore (craftmoore on ig) working on espadrilles while shuttling back and forth to our hotels. i could tell she was hooked and i even offered my feet just in case she felt like making a few extra pair (sadly, she did not).  so…i had to do the next best thing…make my own.

make them i did, but not for me.  this inaugural pair was a birthday gift for my sister.  she’s one i can always count on to appreciate my handcrafted gifts (yes, even the ones i promised 2 years ago and have yet to produce….i knew you’d bring that up sis, so i beat you to it!).

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i used dritz soles along with their exterior fabric and thread for the hand stitching.  first time on a new project i like to follow directions as much as possible. i did not however purchase their package of lining fabric…there’s plenty of fabric to choose from in the studio.  i debated about using the purple lining…it used to be her favorite color, like 3 decades ago, but maybe people change…i wasn’t sure if i liked the purple with the multi stripes.  it wasn’t until the shoes were complete that i noticed the picture on the packaging….multi stripes with purple lining…talk about subliminal advertising!!

if you’re late to the espadrille party too, i highly recommend the process.  i mean, you make shoes!!  for the most part they were very simple, but here are a few techniques that made it just a bit easier on my hands.

* i used a curved upholstery needle…the curve made stitching much easier!!

* wax the yarn/thread very well…it really takes a beating going through the soles and the wax helps it not only glide, but keeps it from fraying

* i tried many thimbles!!  i have all kinds, leather/metal/plastic/rubberized, but i kept taking them off to pull the yarn through the stitch.  so i donned a latex glove (which i admit was stolen from my father’s hospital room) and it worked “like a glove”!!  i wore the glove on my “working” hand and it really gave me great grip on the needle.  my fingers were grateful!

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the espadrilles have been presented and were well received….enough so that she was willing to allow me to photograph her feet.  now that’s sisterly love!!

 

 

oooo, baby, baby

i’m getting back into the studio more and more lately, and as threatened promised, i decided to do some fun sewing in between the mock ups and pattern development.  i had a perfect excuse as my niece was expecting a baby girl early in march.  she arrived on march 4th (by the way, that is also her grandmothers birthday!!) and my first glimpse of her was to be easter sunday.

i chose a commercial pattern going with simplicity 8098 because i love every single view, both boy and girl.  it has a vintage sort of feel to it.

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then i headed to “the stash”.  my stash is really quite modest, but i found yardage that i had been saving for a ‘small person’ and decided it was just girly enough without being too fru-fru.  it’s a lecien fabric called folk tale by natalie lymer of cinderberry stitches.  it’s probably no longer available (because i like it of course…if i hated it, it would be in every fabric store in the nation!)  i picked up some coordinating fabric for the bodice and ruffle, some pearl snaps and was off.

being used to making full size human clothing, i marveled at the small pieces.  it’s been a while since i’ve sewn for little ones.  but it was a nice change of pace (no bust adjustment!!).

drumroll……….

while i’m not thrilled with the pictures, i was pretty pleased with the romper.

yesterday i met the newest hannah of the family.  since i already have a 4 year old great niece named hannah, i’m calling the new one “double h” (yes, last name begins with h)until i can come up with a better nickname (no one wants to be “big hannah” or “little hannah”…worse yet, “old hannah” and “young hannah”).  she’s a wee bit of a girl, and i never did see her with her eyes open, but she’s beautiful.  i sort of doubt that the romper will fit her until next winter since she’s so small, but you never know!!

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welcome little “double h”….i’ll be here if you ever want a special dress, some warm hand knit socks or some wee little mittens!

 

Noodlehead’s Caravan Tote and sewing lessons

I’m dropping in to share a sewing project my sister and I worked on last weekend.

She has been talking about learning to sew for a bit now, and she wanted a new school bag, so when she came across Noodlehead’s pattern for the Caravan Tote it seemed like the time had come. She chose her fabric and we took over our parents’ basement for a Sunday afternoon and when we were all done she had a snazzy new bag.

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We didn’t have any issues with construction, and she sewed almost the whole thing herself. I think I did the curved seams on the front pocket because she was nervous about making them even, but otherwise she was on it.

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Not bad for a first project!  What was your first sewing project? I think mine was a skirt for a Renaissance costume because I am extremely hip like that. 🙂

-Elizabeth

step 1: make a list

all through the holidays i was thinking about what i was going to sew in the new year.  i thought about it at work, i thought about it while cleaning, i thought about it before drifting off to sleep at night.  but i didn’t DO anything about it.

step 1:  make a list

i finally sat down in the studio and took a good look around.  there were patterns…there was fabric.  all i needed was a plan.  i really feel like i need to use some of the fabric i have on hand instead of hoarding saving it…so that’s where i started.

and here’s the short list of personal sewing for the remainder of the winter months.

  • summer jazz dress – amy purchased a beautiful knit a long time ago…it’s 1st on the list
  • finlayson sweater by thread theory – i have a great french terry i picked up in nyc and i think i’ll follow her sew-along (missed it in real time!)
  • marianne by christine haynes – i have the knit and it’s been here for a while
  • backpack – yes, i’m too old to carry a backpack, but i want one and you can’t stop me!
  • amy butler’s original messenger bag – my sister has been eyeing mine for months…better make her one before mine disappears
  • both the jade jacket and the willow tunic by kay whitt – the jade definitely will require a fabric purchase (silk!!), but i  can find something in the stash for the willow
  • birkin flares by baste and gather – i fell in love with them at first sight…and so admire all the testers for photographing their butts!  i just need the perfect denim…suggestions?  i’m sort of waiting for her sew-along for these, but don’t plan to wait tooooo long.

that should keep me busy for a while, along with regular studio work (continuing development of a new pattern!!) and some fun projects for the blog (new cushion for the wicker chair?)

step 1 – check!!  step 2: get to it!!

what’s on your cutting table at the moment?

kim

 

jaws ate the pencils!

i made very few gifts for christmas this year…fewer than normal and the ones i did make were small ones.  i loved elizabeth’s tea towels!!  i’ve already made a note to make those for mother’s day (mom…avert your eyes!).

adult coloring books were definitely the “hot” gift this year, and the girls in my life each got them.  amy received tula pinks book along with an ocean themed one while brittany got one with tattoo designs since she is beautifully inked.  i made each of them a pencil case to hold their colored pencils, but i had a difficult time letting this one go.

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jaws!!!  i spotted this pattern and tutorial quite a while ago, but knew that i HAD to make it to hold amy’s pencils.  it was quite simple until i got to the zipper.  i had read the comments from other makers, so i was aware that the zipper posed some issues.  in the end, i widened his mouth a bit and hand basted the zipper in place…then added the lining separately. it worked, and i love his big mouth!!

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it’s safe to go back in the water…just don’t carry any pencils!

kim

Recipe tea towels

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were lovely and that you are looking forward to a fantastic 2016.

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I wanted to share one of the Christmas projects I did this year that would be good for almost any occasion. I came across the idea on Sew Mama Sew and then a little more searching turned up Martha Stewart’s tutorial for recipe tea towels. I played around with both layouts and liked Martha’s version better.

I borrowed some recipes from my mom and aunt that were in family members’ handwriting and settled on two recipes from my great grandma (baked apples and apple pudding), one from my grandma (her signature lemon meringue pie) and my great aunt (pecan pie- my mom’s favorite). I won’t belabor the design part since I just followed the tutorials listed above and had the fabric printed by Spoonflower, but in case the interwebs need another tutorial for hemming a square or rectangle here is how I did it.*

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Iron a crease around the image.

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Cut off the corners at a 45 degree angle about 1/2″ from the corner of your image, then fold that corner in and iron a crease. Repeat for each corner.

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Re-iron your original fold on all sides.

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Turn the raw edge under to hide it in your fold and press. Repeat for all sides.

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Your corners should look like this.

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Pin twill tape, ribbon or ric-rack across the top left corner at a 45 degree angle with the ends in your seam allowance for a hanging loop.

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Stitch around the perimeter and you’re done! (Ignore the weird tension issues in my seam above. I stitched from the top and didn’t notice the tension problem until I had finished stitching this one.)

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Enjoy your finished tea towels!

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I made eight (two yards of printed fabric), which was enough for my mom and her sisters, my sister, sister-in-law, cousin and cousin-in-law to have one with one left over for me. They were a hit and I am itching to make more

What were some of the handmades that went over the best in your family this year?

-Elizabeth