Friday, September 28, 2012

Jersey at Last

I have at last spent the two gift certificates my children gave me to Alabama Chanin. Here are my yardages in Carmine, Turquoise, and Denim, waiting to be made into things that are beautiful.

What a treat!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Frederick Ducks In

Keeping his keen eye on things.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alabama Studio Style: Gray on Gray

I'm using the "Angie's Fall" stencil on a cotton-bamboo blend from Hancock's. The fabric paint is "Tin Foil" from the airbrush supply section at Hobby Lobby.

One of the most challenging parts of working with jersey is the tendency of the edges to roll before they are sewn together. Here I am basting the top and lining together by hand around the edges. I find that laying the pieces out on a towel allows the terrycloth to help grip the edge and hold it in place to some extent.

Then once I get the pieces sewn together the curling isn't a problem anymore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Dress into an Apron

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the pristine Boden dress hanging on the thrift store rack--my size, a beautiful color, $4.00. I tried it on and discovered that while it fit, the cut was wretched--no wonder it ended up donated. I brought it home anyway. It's destination: apronhood.

Here's how to do it. First, get bold with the scissors. Cut straight up one side seam, around the sleeve, leave yourself a nice curved neck piece in back, then back down the other side. In the case of a side zipper, cut it off carefully (protect your good scissors).

Here the back top is done (I eyeballed the yoke, then checked it for symmetry afterwards). Just the skirt left to do. The dress already had waist ties--I was able to leave one of them on, but the other had to come off because of the zipper. No problem, I just trimmed it off and will reattach it in a second. If the dress didn't have ties, I'd make some out of the sleeves.

Now I've got the basic apron form ready and hanging on the dress form. See the little points above the waistband? Yes, I trimmed those off to have a nice smooth line going down the side of the apron.

Since my dress was gorgeous and Boden, it was lined with a lightweight cotton, so I set the machine stitch size to long and basted the fashion fabric and lining together all the way around, 1/4 inch from the outside edges. It's also time to baste the waist tie onto the dress, raw edges of the tie lined up with the edge of the apron, on the front side (see below).

Time to bias-bind the edge! The dress already sported a dark-blue binding at the waist, but I couldn't match that from my stash, *and* I didn't have any blue thread. So I went with a cream binding. You can use single or double-fold (double is probably easier). Stitch it to the apron, right side of bias tape to WRONG side of apron, right along the fold-line, which is 1/4 inch. Make sure your waist tie stays on the front side of the apron.

Next, press the bias binding outwards (trying not to destroy the pre-set folds in it), then turn it over the edge and pin it neatly, before you machine stitch all the way around. Look how the folded edge catches the tie end so nicely.

The waist ties look good . . .

The back looks good . . .


The front looks good! Now it's going across the road to Phyllis' house. She has blue eyes and will look marvelous in it.

For another dress to apron fix, check my etsy shop.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Daisy on the Couch

Daisy isn't well today and spent a lot of time on the couch with her stripey afghan

and our stripey cat.

She felt perky enough after dinner to convince me to take her to the park to ride her scooter on the smooth pavement. When she's scootering, she says, she forgets she has a cold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Apple • Orchid

A rare moment when the table looked somewhat serene--I have multiple projects taking up room at all times this weekend, although the last piece of an endless stenciling job is drying tonight. A good thing, too, because I need that table space for something else that needs spreading out.

And then it will be back to apples and orchids.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Made a Lampshade

I never realized that us regular mortals could just up and make a lampshade--but the vintage paper one was in actual shreds, so I peeled it off and got to thinking. The wire frame didn't look that hard to work with, and I had some pieces of a vintage tablecloth . . . .

Somehow I got lucky and decided to run a length of piping in the bottom hem. That made turning the lower edge under a very easy proposition. You can see the catch-stitching that holds it in place. The top is loosely gathered, turned over the top of the frame, and also top-stitched, without being corded.

The whole thing is kind of rumply, but in real life I never notice!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On to the Chair

Moving on to the neighboring chair, I decided to make the bottom front edge scalloped, by doubling the fabric, tracing around an oatmeal box, and stitching around the scallops. And trimming well!

And in other news, there's a fun tote for winter in my shop.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gray Jersey on the Table

Cutting out some new gray jersey--a cotton and bamboo blend? Why is cotton jersey so hard to find? Loving the look of my marble eggs and river rocks weighting my pattern.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Violet Cotton Sweater

I started this sweater last summer and actually finished it quickly, but when I sewed it together the shoulders were disappointingly Too Wide. This may be a common failing in Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits because it has happened before. Grr.

It took a while to figure out how to fix them, and in the end I ended up hand-sewing (with yarn) a big tuck in the actual shoulder. So that there's an inverted pleat at the very front and the very back of the sleeve. I call it a style choice, okay? But the good thing is it hardly shows, in real life *or* in the picture.

The neckband also gave me trouble. It was originally knitted separately and sewn on, but it stood out weirdly like a Nehru collar. Clara offered to pick up stitches and make me something a little smaller and subtler. I said yes. And then I knit the separate bow strip and googled how to tie it in a not-too-bulky bow, and stitched it in place.

And finally, like many of the patterns in this book, it's very short-waisted! It will be fine with my 1940s trousers, but not with anything that sits low.

Vintage Kitchen Decals

Anyone looking for vintage kitchen decals for their cupboards or canisters? I've got fruits and vegetables available here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Short Goat Story

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Attempt Another Slipcover

Having sewn just the one armchair slipcover, I was a little dubious about tackling our largest couch. But I bought out all the white denim at Hobby Lobby and started in yesterday by making a big pile of piping.

Like last time, I was stunned by how well it went together. I really don't understand why I can do this, because I have a very dark history with large sewing projects for the home (I was pregnant, it was summer, no central air, needed a large balloon shade, tiny floor space, didn't know I could put a zipper foot on the machine, broke many a needle, cussed).

Well, all I can say is, things are different now! I sewed til I ran out of fabric, then wrapped the seat cushion in a quilt until the store gets more denim in. Until then, I will sit down on the couch with Fitzwilliam and enjoy myself.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Handmade Wardrobe for Sale


Thank you all so much for your bids! I've contacted the winning bidder, and the backup. Please let me say how much I appreciate everyone's generous support. I truly wish I could supply each and every one of you with your very own hooverette . . . .

I'm letting go of a whole bunch of clothes at once, and am offering them as a lot, to the best offer I get before midnight, central time tonight. The proceeds of the sale will be split evenly between an orphanage and a community development organization, both operating in West Africa.

If you're interested in submitting a bid, just send me your best offer by comment before midnight (none of them will be published), and please start above $30 as I anticipate this is what shipping will cost (there won't be any separate shipping charge).

All the clothes are things I made (with a couple of thift-store shirts thrown in) and most have been photographed for my blog and 'm linking to photos below. All are sized to fit a bust 36-38, waist 28-30, hip 40-41 figure.

Thank you for looking, and I look forward to hearing from at least one of you, please!!

This polka dot blouse and coral linen skirt.

This turquoise cotton dress.

This pale pink wool skirt.

This back-wrapping summer dress in pale blue.

This blue cotton dress cut down into a knee-length skirt.

This green polka-dot hooverette dress.

And these unphotographed items:

A lavender and pink floral circle skirt
A coral silk knee-length skirt (store-bought)
A natural linen A-line skirt, knee-length
A dark denim A-line skirt, knee-length
An Alabama Chanin short-sleeved blouse in lavender, a little short in the waist unfortunately.

Thanks again, dear readers!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Shall We Have for Dinner?

September 13

Stuffed round steak
Mashed potatoes
Kale or turnip greens
Creamed carrots
Cucumber Pickles

--The American Home Diet: An Answer to the Ever-Present Question, What Shall We Have for Dinner?, E.V. McCollum (1920)

Housedress in the Shop

Doing a little bit of sorting out, and I've put a cotton housedress in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vintage Suitcase and Sheet Music

Clara called and asked if I could go up to her room and find a Brahms Sonata in E Minor in "one of the vintage suitcases."

Stop right there. How many degrees of awesome is she? Who has vintage suitcases full of cello music anyway?

Only the *most* awesome.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Last Hour of Snow Day Log Cabin Quilt

Out of season, I know, but the quilts have minds of their own. Last hour of snow day: tiny vivid brights, black and charcoal, all set in white linen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brown Scones

Just use your regular scone recipe and replace 1/2 cup of flour with an equal amount of wheat bran or wheat germ. Then, before baking, glaze them with 2 T. milk + 2 T. dark brown sugar. Now they're practically as good for you as vegetables.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saturday with Little Boys

David and two nephews and a beautiful bright blue day for playing Secret Codemaker's Club in the barn, swimming, chasing (not in the house please!), Legos, and finally crashing on the couch with some comics.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Country Troubles

After we parked the tractor in the barn for the winter, a packrat nested under the hood and ate out the ignition. With no ignition, we couldn't get it on the trailer to take it to town, and it sat and sat. And either the barn roof settled or enough dirt washed in on the floor that when we finally got Awesome Tractor Repairman out yesterday, the tractor was too tall to fit out the door.

I left them to it and have no idea how things resolved so happily, but I know that we can bush hog now, halleluja.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

All The Summer Birthdays Log Cabin Quilt Top

My mother spent a week here recovering from her hip replacement, and did as much quilting as she could while she was here (I didn't make her, she wanted to!). But I had to keep her company and do a lot of piecing. In fact, I got so far ahead (she'll never catch up) that I couldn't bear to add one more top to her list, so I'm offering it as is, for someone else to quilt.

My scrap box had gotten so full of extra already-cut strips that I decided to mercilessly sew it down. This "All the Summer Birthdays" top is the result--a riotous collection of bright-colored squares. Find it in my shop.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Second Blooming

One of my first Alabama Chanin projects was this jersey dress in violet (one of Hancock's few jersey offerings--I've used many a yard of this!). I love the dress; the fit is good, I like the color and design . . . but . . . I thought there was room for a little more oomph on the front.

So I took it along in the car when we took Clara to school, along with scissors, thread, and the remains of the gray tee shirt.

And added a few more sprigs of leaves. Best thing about Alabama Chanin projects? They never have to be finished.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Creamy Coconut Ice Cream

This is so easy and good, and can also fill that need for a gluten-free, chocolate-free dessert. And I think you could even make it dairy-free with an easy change. Read on:

•Creamy Coconut Ice Cream•

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, empty a can of light coconut milk. Using a hand whisk, dissolve into it 3/4 cup sugar. Lightly stir in 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, and 1 t. vanilla.

Pour into countertop ice cream maker. Turn it on, and once it starts going, add 3/4 cup flaked or shredded coconut.

[For untested dairy-free goodness, try substituting a second can of light coconut milk for the cream and sugar. I'm pretty sure that would work out for you.]

Dear me, this is so good. The coconut doesn't freeze very hard, so it delivers quite the hit of chewy sweetness. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Sunflowers and Strawberry Plants

Enjoying my mother's flowers, and getting some new strawberry plants set out in the garden.

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