Did I ever tell you about the time my mom bought the Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic Pattern? And how my sisters, my mom and I each made a version (or two) for ourselves? We love tunics. We’re a tunic family. Whitney? She’s no different. And this little Sadie Tunic…that bicycle fabric…those little spoke buttons? To. die. for.
The Sadie Tunic in Bicycle Fabric
The facts, straight up:
Size:  2-3
Fabric: Lucy’s Crab Shack by Moda in green and solid coordinate
Notions:  Fabric button cover maker (mine’s a Dritz one)
Difficulty:  Easy
Make it again?:  Um.. possibly with the little pockets, maybe…

The Sadie Tunic with Covered Buttons
Her words:

“I’m clearly a sucker for a tunic.  This one nearly did me in though.  I figured I would have a quick little project on my hands since I was omitting the buttons on one side and the pockets entirely.  Nope. 

First, I sewed on both facings not realizing the button placket should have been sandwiched between one.  Then I realized I should have serged the facing edges so they didn’t fray.  Then I attempted to fix that problem by pinking the edges and managed to cut through the front of the tunic…  By the time I got it all put together, attempted to mask the slice in the fabric, and started working on the buttonholes, I thought I was going to throw in the towel.
 
The buttons took forever because I wanted those little wheels centered just so.  Never mind actually making the buttonholes – that was an exercise in patience because my automatic buttonhole maker sometimes doesn’t like to make the second long leg of the buttonhole as long as the first.  Grrr.
 
Do you ever have one of those days?  It was no fault of the pattern, which was easy to follow if you read the directions.  I was just not on top of my game this time.  I do think that serves as the motivation to sew it one more time – just to prove I can get it right.”

You know you’ve eaten too much sugar and had too little physical activity when a 4pm coffee break isn’t just necessary, but is the only thing that will keep you from sleeping right through till tomorrow morning. Life is hard when you sleep eleven hours per night have to choose between pie and cookies for your hourly snack. The result? An extra five pounds in five days. Lovely. Enter the thrifted flannel Wiksten Tova Top! A little extra fabric around the midsection never hurt no one.

Wiksten Tova Top from Thrifted Flannel

One of the most wonderful things about being home for the holidays is the time available to sew. In Boulder I feel bad if I haven’t left the house all morning. I feel guilty if a Beagle hasn’t had his daily romp through the field. Not here folks, nosiree. In Montana, we get up late, sew all day, and nap often. Also, our thrift stores are packed with goodies. There’s a reason they call this state the Last Best Place…for thrifted awesomeness. So two days ago I bought the digital version of the Wiksten Tova Top pattern and set to work with some thrifted flannel my mom picked up.Wiksten Tova Top Flannel Shirt

Now, I’m going to be honest and I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Here it is: This pattern was not at all easy to follow. My mom, who has sewn garments for, like, 30 years even said so! The instructions aren’t written well and the photos are pretty bad. So if you’re anything less than an advanced intermediate seamstress, I would beware. Unless you have a very competent mother who fixes your mistakes.

Wiksten Tova Top Flannel Shirt

Still, I’m pretty smitten with my new top. And it had to be worn with my newly thrifted snow boots. Have you seen this trend explode in the last few months?! Me too! I spotted the cutest girl in the Denver airport wearing a pair. I was overjoyed to find a little boy’s pair sitting on the racks of our local Salvation Army for me. What’s even better? They’re functional! I’ve been wearing one very old pair of Uggs (with zero traction) to walk Beagle in the snow. These will work much better.Thrifted Snow BootsAre you back to the grind now? Recovered from the holidays? I’m so excited to be back at this blogging thing for realz! Lot’s more to come!

I was on a super tight budget this year for Christmas presents and had a time period of about 36 hours to get everything made for my loved ones. Remember…nothing new for a whole year? Yep, that includes gifts for others. And because I continually plan so poorly, I didn’t leave enough time to make something totally unique and handcrafted for each member of my family. I did whip up something pretty stellar though…on Christmas Eve. Aspen tree candle holders…squeal!!!

Aspen Candles

Do you have access to an aspen tree that’s fallen down? How about a drill press and a chop saw? And maybe a drill bit that is the exact same size as a tea light? Then you’re set (and I’m impressed you are so well equipped)! If you’re missing any of these items, it can’t hurt to ask your friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Especially on Christmas Eve at 3pm, they’ll love that.

Aspen Candle Holders

These aspen trunks were cut into varying sizes last spring and have been sitting around my craft room since then. I brought them home at Thanksgiving with the hopes of making these candleholders, but alas my dad didn’t have the right size bit. Magically, when I came home three days ago, the bit had materialized and my dad was willing to show his very accident-prone daughter how to use a drill press. Bless his soul.

Fourteen sections later and I was done! I couldn’t contain my excitement so my whole family found out what they were getting on Christmas Eve. Sorry fam.

And on Christmas morning, despite a balmy 2 degrees, I still got these candles lit outside in the snow. And I just love how woodsy they look and how cheap they were to make. Can you say…basically…free?
aspen candles

How were your holidays? Did you scramble to get things together in the eleventh hour?

Sew Thrifted is coming back at you…stay tuned!

Remember me friends? The talkative, random, sewing obsessed blogger you used to know? I’m here! And I’m free! Let the holidays officially begin!

It has never felt quite so good to have a semester behind me. While it was the hardest 1/4 of this MBA program, it was without a doubt the most satisfying. The hard work this semester will pay off…I can feel it. But that’s another post for another day.

fa la laMy suitcase is packed for my journey home tomorrow, and a cuddly Beagle is going to stay at his favorite aunt’s. I am bringing several projects, including some awesome turquoise fabric and a hideous black frock. Needless to say, things will be rolling your way soon folks.

In the meantime, have a most wonderful holiday season. Hug your loved ones and tell them why you’re grateful for them! See you on the flip side!

 

She’s still doing it, folks. My sister Whitney is still churning out awesome stuff on, like, a twice-weekly basis. She hasn’t hit a sewing wall yet. Her sewing machine hasn’t been sitting neglected for weeks at a time. This woman has found her thing. She can whip out these crayon wallets faster than you can say, “That is the cutest thing I have ever seen.”

No joke.

My heart breaks weekly from these Sistershare posts. I mean really, how cute are little crayons in fabric pockets?

crayon wallet

Also, I’d like to know why I didn’t get the contrasting fabric matching gene.

Crayon Wallet

The facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Crayon Wallet from Vintage Market
Size:  one size
Fabric:  Stax matryoshka fat quarter pack from Walmart
Notions:  basic grosgrain ribbon from JoAnn
Difficulty:  Easy
Make it again?:  I think I’ve made about 17 of these by now.

Crayon Wallet

Her words:

“First, if you are willing to shop at Walmart and haven’t checked out their sewing section, you should.  There are some gems in that handful of aisles:  consistently cheap interfacing, D rings in packs of four, and occasionally a decent fabric.  If you find these fat quarter matryoshka packs, pick them up.  I know a few sewists that would pay you over retail for them.  That said, the quality of the fabric is subpar.  It definitely is not quilting quality.

I searched the web thinking someone would have to offer a free crayon pattern/tutorial and nothing I found fit the bill.  I wanted a bifold where the crayons would lay sideways so they’d be less likely to slip out.  I didn’t think that was a terribly tall order, but there wasn’t anything free out there and I didn’t exactly feel like reinventing the wheel.  So I bought a pattern off Etsy.

These go together quickly and I highly recommend cutting enough to do several wallets at once.  They make great small gifts (maybe for a newly crowned big sibling?) and everyone loves brand new crayons.  I bought my crayons on sale for 50 cents per pack at Target during their back-to-school sale.  I found the unlined notepads at Staples.  Not including your time, you should be able to make each wallet for under $3 apiece.

The pattern doesn’t offer any variations on closures, but use your imagination.  I’ve done these with a large button and elastic closure and also with just a simple elastic band that stretches across the long side of the wallet.  It would also be easy to sew in a small fabric tab and use velcro or a snap to secure.”

Hey folks! Guess what? There’s a light…it’s at the end of the tunnel! I have almost survived the hardest semester of my life. And I cannot wait to spend three weeks in sweats, sewing, skiing and being a social being again. I cannot wait to return to the world of humanhood. The world of basic functioning.

I have so many projects on my list. But first I wanted to share this fun tutorial with you. It will take you no more than 30 minutes. I guarantee it.

I recently taught this sewing class at Fabricate. It turned out to be a great class to take slowly and have a good chat in between steps. I encourage you to sew this pillow cover with a friend, because you cannot mess it up. Really.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Lay your pillow across the chest of your shirt and make sure you have enough fabric to work with between the arm seams. My shirt was a men’s XL so I had an extra inch on each side of my 19″ by 19″ pillow.

2. Cut a square the same size as your pillow. Make sure the pocket of your shirt is at least 2″ from the edge of your square, with the buttons running down the center. Cut the two layers of the shirt at the same time.

3. Place the fabric with right sides together (your buttons should be on the inside of the square) and pin around the outside of the square every 2″ to 3″.

4. Sew around the entire square with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Reinforce with a backstitch across the placket (the reinforced section with buttons) on both the top and bottom.

5. Unbutton your shirt, turn right side out and use a corner turner to make your corner look nice and sharp!

You’re done! Put that puppy on your favorite throw pillow and go take a couch snooze…

My sister, Whitney, showed up to Sew Weekend with the most awesome kid’s backpack I’ve ever seen. Complete with piping and D-rings, and a zipper. Things I avoid because they are hard. You see, my sister was jumping back in the sewing saddle after a multi-year hiatus from sewing with this project. I swear I’m not jealous of her total sewing talent. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m not. I think.

Today? She’s sharing her thoughts on the Made by Rae backpack pattern!

Made by Rae Toddler Backpack

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Made by Rae toddler backpack
Size:  toddler (the pattern also includes instructions to enlarge this for a school age kiddo)
Fabric:  Ikea canvas, Jo-Ann quilting weight cotton
Notions:  Jo-Ann bias tape piping, zipper, strapping, and d-rings
Difficulty:  Advanced beginner
Make it again?:  This one was auctioned off in a fundraiser.  I’ve since made an identical one as a gift.

Her words:

“This is the pattern that started it all off, folks.  Ms. Meadow-Rue invited a crew of us to the cabin for sewing weekend this summer and I was the least skilled sewist of the bunch (made up of my very able sisters, my famous mother, and a family friend).

By contrast, my sewing memory highlight reel includes a pair of enormous shorts I made in probably the third grade (my mother laughed) and then slides into a stream of poorly executed home decorating projects.  I knew I had to get serious before this meet-up. 

My 1970s Viking headed down to the shop for a tune up, my stash of fabric was raided, and the backpack pattern was bought.  There was no going back.

I think a swore, on average, once every three minutes with this pattern.  If you haven’t worked with piping before, sewing through two layers of fabric blindly trying not to hit the piping in the middle is super frustrating.  

I survived, and so will you.  Make the backpack.  It’s totally darling.”

That story about Whitney’s shorts snafu made still circulates at family gatherings every so often. Makes me laugh every time.

I bet you thought I wouldn’t get this post up, didn’t you? I know, you had resigned yourself to the fact that you’d go one more week without a Sew Thrifted post. To be honest, I thought so, too. I’m sorry.

But at the last moment, just minutes before my evening class I’m pulling through for you. Like a ultra marathoner who stops to sit and catch his breath just feet before the finish line, while the crowd is urging them to just. keep. going. And then they crawl across it. That’s basically what I’m doing right now. Crawling through life. Soon, it shall be enjoyable again. In twelve days I’ll be enjoying leisure reading and playing with a healthy, like-new Beagle.

A small thing that makes life even slightly more enjoyable? Fabric napkins.

Fabric Napkins from Vintage Sheets

My friend and classmate, Emily, has set a goal for herself to be as waste-free as possible…even if that includes taking her own fabric napkins to restaurants. First, I laughed…then, I thought, “That’s genius!”. So I copied Emily and made myself some fabric napkins, and I shall bring one along next time I eat out.Four Napkins from Vintage Sheets

What makes these napkins even better? They’re made from a vintage pillow case I thrifted over a year ago. Yes, four large napkins from one pillow case. I was shocked too.Four fabric napkins from vintage sheets

Mitered corners scare me, so I used my serger’s rolled hem feature to create a nice finished edge. I only have white and black serger thread, but I found the white thread complemented the 70’s fabric beautifully.

I love these little beauties. They certainly have brightened my day. Go make some for yourself, they’ll put a smile on your face.

P.S. Thanks for all your concern and kind words over the past week. Buckley is still having a rough go, and will see a neurologist this week. Keep your fingers crossed, if you don’t mind having limited use of your hands.

Every time I go to the thrift store I look for fabric. Every single time. I’ve found fabric worth buying twice. Twice in at least 100 thrift store trips. Those odds aren’t very good in case you can’t do math like me.

But some days, you arrive at the thrift store just hours before somebody has decided to liquidate their sewing stash. Those are the days where prudent buying decisions are your nemesis. If you see yards and yards of fabric that you potentially, on a whim, if the stars align just right might use? Buy it. Don’t let it linger on the shelf, because after one stroll around the store it could be gone.

Let’s just say, it has happened. Luckily, my latest trip to the thrift store resulted in a big win of megaball jackpot proportions. Basically I can quit school now and just sew all day long.

Right.

First, the awesome teal flowy fabric. I don’t know the specific kind of fabric, but it’s drapey and flowy and pretty much the exact opposite of cotton. And there’s about three yards, maybe four, here. For $2.99.

That teal fabric has big potential, and I’ve been racking my brain, and pinning myself to death over what it may become. Here are some options:

I absolutely love that tied back tank. I know it’s, like, 30 degrees out and I can’t layer with that all that back detail going on. But I’m still obsessed. Sue me.

Next up. At least two yards of this white and red striped cotton. With the most adorable ribs running through the whole thing. Also for $2.99.

The minute I saw this fabric I thought – table cloth! Since I just learned how to sew a rolled hem on my serger, it seemed like a no brainer. I think wearing this fabric would be a little too candy-striper for me. I’m considering tea-staining this beauty for a look more like this:

 

Have you thrifted any fabric lately?  You’ll be happy to know that Sew Thrifted is returning on Thursday. I bet you had given up hope. Have faith in me friends. I shall not disappoint you.

 

It’s been a doozy of a week friends. In addition to Beagle sickness, life has just been a little trecherous lately. And by being distracted, frustrated, hurt, and overly worried about everything, I let all the beautiful things in my life pass by unnoticed.

Yes, I neglected everything I’m grateful for. During Thanksgiving. When I was supposed to be thankful. I am the world’s worst American.

So a littler meander through my iPhone photo gallery slapped me right back in the face. Wow, do I have things to be thankful for. And these are only the ones I chose to document.

So, a week late and probably even more annoying for those who dislike these internet memes, here’s my thankful list. In no particular order.

1. My cuddly, silly, independent Beagle. Don’t be annoyed by my obsession with my dog, because it’s only going to get worse.

2. My family. Such happy, warm, loving people. Such a support system.

3. My friends. Those that tell me how happy they are that we’re friends. Those that check in on me. Those that continue to reach out despite the terrible friend I’ve been. Wow.

4. A creative spirit, my sewing machine, and my blog. It feels so good to have this little outlet to return to, even when I’ve neglected it for a few weeks now. (I’m sorry, things will turn around soon, I pinky-promise).

5. My health. I can walk, see, hear and taste. I can run and jump and climb. I can laugh. I take these things for granted way too often.

6. My freedom and security. Amen.

 

Things I’m not thankful for:

1. Rotten avocados