Monday, September 26, 2011

Lost my mojo

I have officially lost my crafting mojo.  Having worked 4 out of the last 5 days at my real job, I have had little time to do any crafting...dealing with 2 little ones after coming home from work doesn't leave you with much energy!  What little energy I have had has been devoted to a few horrible attempts at creating- a crochet beanie that turned out to be the size of my daughters doll for instance.  It was intended for my 2 year old- yikes.  Looks like baby "elise" (the doll) will be getting a nice xmas present this year.  ha ha.  Two attempts at following an awesome sew along hosted at Craftiness is not optional resulted in improper cuts of fabric- discovered after the shirt was about 4 inches too short- yikes.  I need to be more patient.  While I am tempted to toss all of this rather than take my seam ripper and fix my mistakes, I will gently put these aside and step away!  No pictures of these disasters that is for sure...

I need a break. 
I will assume my ineptness is due to exhaustion not a permanent loss of my skills?  Does this happen?  Mistake after mistake...I need a breather to recollect my thoughts.  Or, maybe just a nap?

One plus is that I have a few great ideas for the upcoming cold temps...and some great wool finds at the thrift store that I am hoping to transform into some cold weather come soon!  Hopefully the next two days off will be good for me- ahh, a breather.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My First Tutorial! Simple Jersey ruched scarf

Ok, I am all about the scarf these days.  With the weather turning colder I am always looking for ways to snuggle up and get warm...the scarf is the socially acceptable way to feel like you are curled up on your couch with a warm blanket when you are really sitting at your desk at work.  And it can be quite inexpensive and fashionable! 

For this I took a simple yard of jersey fabric, combined it with elastic thread and within an hour I had a new scarf!  Total cost probably 12 bucks...and this is because I splurged and went to Joanns without a coupon and bought the nicest feeling jersey I could find (in the most luscious eggplant color I might add).  Alternatively you could go the less cheapo way and buy 1 1/2 yards or 2 yards of fabric and skip right to the elastic step. Ok, Let's break it down.  I can't say that without thinking of Yo Gabba Gabba (lets do it, break it down)...what is wrong with me?

1 yard of any stretchy, jersey, knit fabric of your choice.  Avoid anything with no stretch or with ribs or heavyweight.
Elastic thread.  I used black to blend in with my fabric color...choose appropriately
Regular thread- again to match your fabric. 
That is it! 

Start by folding your fabric lengthwise and cutting in half.  I chose to fold mine in half and pin with straight pins along the edge, so I could cut along the fold line and ensure an accurate cut.  I could've also taken the time to clean off my work surface and use my rotary cutter, but the amount of clutter on there now is insane and I found this faster.  hmm.

pinned to cut lengthwise
When you have two long strips of your fabric, place them on top of each other and sew one short end- to sew them together into one long strip (using regular thread).  You could do a straight stitch, but I chose to do a french seam on mine to enclose the edge, but it isn't really necessary with knits- I just prefer it.  You can find a great tutorial on french seams here:

elastic thread
Now that you have one long strip you can get to work setting up your elastic thread.  Now, I find it completely impossible to use elastic thread in my computerized drop in bobbin sewing machine.  So, I always pull out my old manual machine to do my elastic thread.  This is one case where it is worth hanging on to things!  I simply hand wind my elastic thread around the bobbin.

I wind up two bobbins, you will need both for this project.  Don't make the same mistake I did here and wind one bobbin from each of my machines- or else you will be sweating and swearing at your machine wondering why the thread is jamming up your machine!  Use the right bobbin for your machine- ugh.  Anyways...
elastic bobbins
machine settings
Ok, now you have a long strip of fabric, and two beautifully wound elastic bobbins.  Thread your machine as usual, this time with the elastic thread bobbin.  I simply line up my fabric so that one edge is along side the left edge of my machine- the other edge rests up against the right.  And sew.  Sew (with a backstitch at beginning and end) all the way to the end of your strip.  Turn your strip so that the other side is now lined up on the left (and your elastic thread is still on bottom) and sew to the other end.  Again, be sure to backstitch.  You will probably have to replace your bobbin somewhere in this second row of stitches.

starting second row
That's it folks!  Clip your threads and your are done.  If your elastic thread isn't ruching up that great you can always take a steam iron to it and watch those threads shrink like magic.

And Voila!  So chic.  So cheap.
*Please ignore my crazy pose- I had a friend take this really quickly today so that I could post this...but I was distracted by my daughter in this pic, not the most flattering pose but you get the idea!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Owl Sweater

I did it!  I actually knit an entire sweater, with long sleeves and everything.  Now, I have knit and crocheted sweaters before, but have always chosen patterns with no sleeves or short sleeves, and cardigans or vests.  I have always shyed away from the full sweater...but not anymore.  Maybe I should make an adult size next- do I have the patience for it?  Would an adult woman look silly with a row of owls stretched across her chest? 
This was a pretty quick project,  all I have to do is add the button eyes and I am done.  yay!  The question now is- will Isabel wear it?  Or at least try it on for me to take a picture?  We will see...
Awesome pattern is available for purchase on ravelry:

Weekend in Pictures

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finished...and almost on time

I am so excited that I actually finished my 1969 girls dress the other day.  Not so excited that I didn't get it modeled and photographed until almost dark last night, and am only attempting to blog it right now- but oh, well!  Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out, I guess.  Excuse the dark and grainy photos, I wasn't organized enough to get the shots of this until almost bedtime.  Oops.

I knew it would be a bit too big (and longer than the original style), my daughter is a 4/5T and the dress pattern is a 6x- but this just means it will work for next year too right?  I love the corduroy fabric I used, but I feel like it still needs something?  I am tempted to go off pattern and add cute pockets or some sort of bib/button to fancy it up.  My daughter only agreed to keep it on for a few minutes last night, and she was bouncing around the entire time.  I am hoping that once I pair it with a pair of cute tights and shoes I will be happy with it. 

Either way I am so proud of myself for following the pattern and it will be a nice warm dress for the fall- if she agrees to wear it!  She is now refusing to wear any of the handmade clothes I have made her for school...apparently they aren't cool enough- even for preschool.  I thought for sure I'd have at least a few more years before I had to worry about that!  It certainly is weakening my sewing mojo...not inspired to continue sewing for her if the items just hang in her closet...hmm.  Maybe this just means I should make something for myself next? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


So, 2 days into this blog and I am already struggling to come up with a post.  Not because I am short on ideas, rather short on energy.  I am fighting an awful cold.  The kind of cold that makes you break out into a cold sweat all day- nice.  Ever since my older daughter started school last week my time to sew has been almost nill...the little one doesn't have anyone to play with and walks around the house asking for her sister all day- so sad.  I worked until late last night and woke up this morning totally unmotivated. 

My goals for today are to finish the corduroy dress I started and get my daughter to model it...hmm.  Will it happen?  For now I am focusing on getting my blog claimed at technorati.  Here we go Z3D5BK6UA5FS  There I did it- now recognize me technorati so I can be legit. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Welcome to the jungle...

Ok, I am going to preface this post with "It isn't always like this, it really isn't my fault, I do clean it, it is my kid's fault!".  I know this isn't all entirely true.  My sewing/craft area is a disaster.  Not all the time, I do get the chance occasionally to spiffy it all up, organize it into color coordinated bins, cubbies...with fabric folded and neatly placed inside.  This doesn't last very long.   I do most of my sewing when my daughters are awake, and "playing".  My sewing area is tucked away on my second floor landing.  I have good lighting, a beautiful pair of stained glass windows to look at, adequate storage and table space.  Unfortunately it also sits right outside of my girls playroom and I attempt to get my sewing done while they are in there- which more often than not means that the playing spills out to my feet...princess costumes, dress up shoes, and all too often they end up crafting right along side me...oh, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Just don't judge the mess!  I will clean it (eventually)...but first I have this dress to sew and show you! 
I have been collecting vintage children's clothing patterns for a little while now, and have just started sewing with them.  My oldest just started preschool this past week and I was inspired by this Simplicity pattern from 1969.  I love the clean lines, and that it can be made with either short or longs sleeves.  Something about it just seems so modern to me, and I thought it would be great in a summery print, or even corduroy for fall. 

So this is what I've done- rather than try (and fail) at my first attempt at a structured garment (zipper and all!) and ruin my good fabric  I made the dress using a vintage sheet from my collection an I actually love how it turned out!  The sheet pattern is almost right on time with the pattern time period- so cool. 

Now that I have one dress under my belt I am making another one using the same pattern.  This time I am using a cute corduroy print and doing longer sleeves for the upcoming cooler weather.  This is on pause now, while I deal with this first...


Fabric Coil Bowl

When I started compiling the list of blogs I read for my blog list I came across the tutorial on Prudent Baby for their Scrap-Busting Fabric Bowl.  I have been a lurker on Prudent Baby for a long time now. Their tutorials are great- if you have never visited their site you've got to head over there right now!  They have been a great inspiration to me when I started sewing for my girls...their snappy toddler top in particular- love it.
Even though I have a number of projects already going at the same time, I just had to get started on this one.  I finished it within a few hours of reading the tutorial.  I am insane.  This includes tagging along with the husband and kids to Home Depot to buy screws...and um, looking for a suitable cord to wrap fabric around so I could make a bowl.  Needless to say he didn't understand the urgency in this and wanted to go alone to pick up the screws he needed to fix the door on our porch, he doesn't understand that my NEED to make this was so strong! 

Lately when I come across an idea or tutorial online that catches my eye I can't stop thinking about it until I start it.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  It is almost like an addiction- the need to create.  Crazy. 

 Anyways, I tagged along to Home Depot and decided to go with a natural Sisal rope.  I liked the idea of using a natural fiber, rather than some of the bright yellow polyester ropes they had...and it was around $8 for 50 feel- yay. 

Having several vintage sheets in my stash I decided to use a cool retro 70's print, with oranges/pinks and greys- perfect for fall.  I love the idea of using old linens for this project, some of the colors and prints out there work great for this project, and the sheets are pretty inexpensive and turned out to be the perfect weight for this project. 

So, I started out with this sheet (that I had already made a peasant dress out of!)  and I took the short edges and clipped across roughly every inch or so.  This made it very easy to just tear across the sheet, to end up with a number of strips (I lost count!) 

Using just these three supplies- a crochet hook, my fabric strips and the sisal rope (and about 30 minutes) I ended up with this....

I love how it turned out...and works perfectly on my coffee table to hold my latest knitting project! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Let's get to know each other

Hi, I'm Jewel.  Writer of this so called blog Small Seams.  I have spent countless hours pouring over blogs online, starting my own blogs (that never got past a few posts!) and obsessively following crafters in the blogosphere.  I figured it was time for me to make my own contribution and join the online community I have spent so much time in.  I am a mom with two beautiful little girls.  I am a librarian, currently working in academia,  recently leaving work in a busy public library.  I am a crafter.  That is an understatement.  I sew, crochet, knit and experiment with other methods of creating.  This makes my craft room a cluttered mess, my reciepts from craft and fabric stores embarassing and the number of projects going on at any given time far too numerous!  I think anyone who takes the time to read this blog can understand.  I am always thinking of what to make or do next, the list of projects always swirling in my head.  This is because of all of the great blogs out there, the free tutorials, the social networking available for us to share ideas.  I hope to use this forum as a place to share ideas and a little part of my life with my readers.  I guess when/if I have readers that is!