****This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced soon!****

Oh my gosh, you guys. I have been giddy for, like, three days. Absolutely, annoyingly, anxious-happy. And it’s over a little bitty named Roxanne. I managed to use a sewing pattern all by myself and it turned out wearable, one might even say, darling? My new favorite pattern company, hands down, is Victory Patterns.

Roxanne by Victory Patterns made from thrifted fabric

I swear the pointer finger claw comes out in 90% of my photos.

I bought this e-pattern over Christmas break after perusing some online patterns with my mother. I had about four yards of some awesome teal fabric that I had thrifted about a month earlier; a georgette, according to my mom. I cut out the pattern and read the beautifully designed instructions before starting. Not usually my thing. About four hours later the mutant death virus took over my body.

Those cut-out fabric pieces laid folded, alone, waiting to be assembled for nearly a month. In fact, I almost entirely forgot that I had a shirt to sew. Then I deemed last weekend and recuperate-and-sew weekend, and I stumbled upon the makings of my shirt. I set to work with that miraculous, not-at-all-like-me patience.

It was the pleats, friends. Those pleats captured my heart. The topstitch on that yoke? I couldn’t take a break without thinking constantly, without being totally obsessed, with finishing this shirt. True story, ask my friends, refer to my tweets.

It was finished. And then this happened. Envision angels singing, okay?

Roxanne top and beagleNow this pattern. It’s really something to write home about. There was not a single missed step. It was easy to understand and conscise. And never once did it make me feel totally inadequate. Most sewing patterns do that to me. Victory patterns are amazing. And there are two versions you can make!

roxanne both versionsSource

Roxanne by victory patterns meadow rue giveawayAnd guess what?! You can have one too! The sweetest Kristiann (the mastermind behind the patterns) has agreed to let me give one pdf version of The Roxanne pattern (a $9.95 value) to one of you. Just leave a lovely, little comment. The winner of this giveaway will be chosen at random and announced Monday, February 4th here on the blog.

Godspeed, good friends, godspeed.

Since the new semester of school has started, I’ve had a surge of requests for alterations from my classmates. Interviews, spring cleaning, or maybe just a renewed mission to look good has prompted my friends to clean up their wardrobes. Of course, I’m excited about this. It means people are trying to fix their clothes instead of replacing them. And when the seat of your jeans is a little too saggy? I’ll put some more belt loops on your men’s designer jeans. Hell yes I will.

Tutorial time! Yes, it’s the most obvious fix ever, but sometimes photos help. Right? Please tell me they help.

measuring existing belt loops1. Measure the length and width of the current belt loops on your jeans. Write down those numbers, adding 5/8″ to the length and double the width plus 1/4″.

How to Sew Belt Loops onto Jeans2. Cut a rectangle of denim in the dimensions you noted above. I used a pair of old jeans I never wear anymore.
3. Serge the long end of the fabric with a dark color thread. Try not to cut off any fabric while serging.
4. Iron your belt loop so that the serged seam runs down the center. Serge the top and bottom edges.
5. Edge stitch at 1/8″ seam allowance down each long edge of the loop with a coordinating thread.

find and mark the center point between the two belt loopsNow you’re ready to sew the soon-to-be loop onto the jeans. For this project, I added two extra belt loops between the back middle and the side loops.

6. Measure the center point between the two loops and mark with chalk. Pin your belt loop to the waistband with 1/4″ folded under.

sewing belt loop onto jeans7. Sew a straight stitch that lines up with the waistband’s topstitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
8. Sew a tight zig zag stitch over that straight stitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
9. Repeat on the bottom of your loop.

Now go thread a belt through those loops and admire your handiwork.

The most epic Sew Thrifted post is coming your way after I clean myself up for some photos. It might be my proudest moment yet!

Whitney is prolific, if you can’t tell. She’s got an arsenal of Sistershare posts just waiting for my procrastinating self to post. She’s creating…all…of…the…time. She has the studio, fabric stash, and passion to be a sewing blogger, but she’s sweet enough to let me share her creations here. I love my family. Check out the latest pattern review! The most darling Pleated Penny.

the pleated penny

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  The Pleated Penny by Shwin and Shwin
Size:  3T shirt
Fabric:  something I bought at JoAnn
Notions:  basic white snaps
Difficulty:  Listed as Advanced Beginner…  I’d say it’s easier than that
Make it again?:  Yes, but only because I’ve already paid for the pattern.  If you haven’t, don’t bother.

The Pleated Penny

Her words:

“This shirt/dress is perfectly cute and makes for a decent evening project, but it lacks markings for the pleats, so you’ll spend a frustrating 20 minutes measuring and attempting to get everything to line up.

The one thing this pattern did inspire me to do was to learn to make my own bias tape.  I used this tutorial, ordered my bias tape makers in two sizes from Amazon, and got to work.  I’m not saying I’ll never use a package of readymade bias tape again, but I certainly prefer the look of handmade better.  Try it out.  It’s a great skill to learn.”

Projects. I’ve got about a million of them on the back burner. A reupholstered chair sits patiently in my garage for a new coat of laquer. A print has been designed, awaiting a screen to be burned on to. All the pieces of the Victory Roxanne pattern have been cut out of some awesome teal fabric.

This sort of blatant laziness, procrastination, and overcommitment would have sent me into a near tizzy a few years ago. I do not like unfinished projects. I don’t like the pressure of having too many things to do and no time to do them. I’m Type A…through and through. Damnit.

But I’ve noticed a gradual shift. In my life, in my actions, in the way people interact with me. Since this summer I’ve started to see myself relax a little bit. I never expected that to happen. I always thought I’d be high strung, emotional…and, let’s face it, a little crazy. But recently, I’ve taken more time to do the things I love, causing more projects to pile up. I’ve started to understand the how empowering it is to say no to doing things I simply don’t want to do. I’m in a good place…most of the time. Life is peaks and valleys.

It's okay to say no quote

I’ve started living in the moment. Not all the time. But it’s happening more often that I expected. And it’s fun! When I’m in the midst of the most enjoyable happenings, surrounded by the most awesome people, and I can think, “damn. I love what is happening right now”…that feels amazing.

wherever you are, be all there

So I’ll get around to my projects in waiting. I’ll have some transformations to show you eventually. But I’ll also try to feel less bad when I don’t post for a few days. Or when you haven’t seen a Sew Thrifted…for umm…months. Capiche?

One thing I haven’t done for nearly a month? Thrift! And savers is having a huge sale for MLK day. I shall be there with bells on. Maybe I’ll show you my haul?

savers

She’s done it, folks. Whitney has written a full tutorial on the most adorable matryoshka finger puppets you have ever laid eyes on. Enjoy!Finger Puppet Tutorial

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Full tutorial below
Fabric:   “Bright” from Little Kulka by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Kona solid
Notions:  Fiberfill
Difficulty:  easy
Make it again?:  Oh heck yeah

Her words:

“I found an adorable fabric and have been making everything under the sun from it.  I really wanted a set of finger puppets and searched the internet for some sort of tutorial to make them.  I came up short.  There were plenty of great ideas for felt puppets, but nothing that called for fabric ones with a little dimension to them.  Let me share my process.  Hopefully you’ll find it helpful!

Start by picking an appropriate fabric.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This is from the Little Kulka line and I LOVE it.  I multiple-purchases-12-yards-total-plus-extra-coordinates LOVE it. 

Basically what you’re looking for in a fabric is an image with a definite border that stands somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three inches tall.  You could use animals, people, fictional characters… you name it.  While you’re at the fabric store, buy a coordinate for the back.

Start by cutting out the image with some extra space on the sides.  You’ll probably want at least a ¼ inch overhang, but if you have more room, by all means, use it.  Do not feel like you have to cut around the image exactly.  A rectangle or a square is perfectly fine.

Once you have that piece cut, use your coordinate fabric to cut out a second set of pieces that are exactly the same size.  For your third set, fold a large piece of your coordinate in half, iron, and cut a final set of pieces the same (folded) size as the first two.  The fold will ultimately go along the bottom of the puppet, so in my photos, the fold is along the short end of the rectangle. 

You should end up with a pile that looks like this:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

What you’re ultimately aiming for is a small stuffed puppet with the image on the front, some fiberfill in the middle, a single thickness of the coordinate to contain it, and the folded thickness to go around your finger.  Your finger will end up between the folded thickness and the single thickness.  Hanging in there?

Stack your fabrics like so:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start with your image face up.  Then layer your folded coordinate on top of the image, but slightly above the bottom of the finished puppet.  The fold goes towards the bottom of the puppet.  Finally, layer your unfolded coordinate on the very top, lining it up with the original image on the bottom.  The final photo shows your finished sandwich of fabrics.

Now pin your little stacks of fabric together, image side up, and get to sewing.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start at the bottom edge of your fabric and sew around the image, leaving the bottom of the doll open.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.  I sewed slightly outside the image, leaving a thin whitespace around the doll.  Experiment and see what works best in your situation.  Once you’ve sewn around three sides, cut the excess fabric away.  Snip small cuts in corner areas.  In this case, there is a small snip between the doll head and body on each side.  Be careful not to cut through your stitches.  You just want to facilitate turning the puppet right side out.

I did not draw any lines to follow on my puppets.  I was able to see the image well enough through the fabric to be able to follow it with my presser foot.  If your fabric isn’t as transparent, you may want to trim that layer with a uniform edge to help with the sewing.

Turn your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I like to use a knitting needle to run around all the edges.  I also like to iron the puppets at this point.

Edgestitch (sew closely to the edge) your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This step is optional, but it reinforces the seam and means that when you close the bottom of your puppet, all the edges will match.  Make sure you’re still only stitching three sides.  You want to leave that bottom open for the next step.

Fill your puppets and sew them shut.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I used a small handful of fiberfill in each puppet.  The knitting needle helps get the fiberfill into tight spaces.  Turn the bottom of your puppet in, pin and sew it up.  Make sure your seam allowance is scant enough to avoid sewing the back folded piece into the puppet.  You need a spot for your finger.

All done!  Sit back and admire your handiwork.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Finger puppet tutorial

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Hi lovely Meadow Rue readers. How are you? Happy to be back in a routine? Sad that the bustling holidays have left us all somewhat…befuddled? Me too. Meeee too.

sick Allie

I apologize for what I’m certain was my longest absence from blogging since starting this endeavor. This little thing I’ve named the mutant, death virus attacked by body last Sunday. By Monday I was immobile and it wasn’t until Friday that I started to feel normal again. It left me with a lingering, hacky cough as its souvenir. Really a thoughtful bug. I’m warning you folks, it’s going around. And it’s mighty contagious. You might consider wearing a mask. Just think about it.

But I’m recovered and way past due for a Year of Nothing New update. Agreed? So far, six months of Nothing New has been a real party. And I mean that seriously. I’ve saved money in the retail arena and I have several new pieces of clothing that I absolutely love! One question I’ve been asked over and over is if I’m going to go on a shopping spree on July 1st, 2013. The answer is no.

makefixborrow

First, this project has literally transformed the way I think about what I buy. I’ve become that opinionated hippie who is annoyed and saddened with the capitalist culture we live in. That’s not to say I don’t indulge often in consumer tendencies (I have to eat after all), but I’m so much more concerned with who I’m giving my money to now. It was a pleasant realization to understand the power I have in choosing where my dollars go. Please choose wisely, people. Make sure your monetary transactions reflect your values. It feels so much more honest to live that way, I’ve found.

vintage thrifted loafer shoes

Second, recently, having too much “stuff” is driving me absolutely batty. I’ve started to politely refuse useless gifts and free swag (a girl does NOT need 15 metal water bottles). I plan on doing a major purge of most of what I own in the coming months, simply because my soul is craving it.

gift

Finally, what’s probably the hardest for me, is the guilt of not being the perfect “nothing new” blogger. My Christmas gifting performance was dismal, mainly because I had too little time to make special, handmade items for each person I care so much about. I know in my heart that the my family and friends aren’t concerned with how much money or time I spent crafting the perfect gift for them. But I feel like I continually fail in this arena, and buying gifts is just so much easier. I’m not sure where to find a sense of mental balance for myself here. I’m still looking for confidence when it comes to involving others in this Year of Nothing New.

Like everything else in life, I’m still working on figuring out this whole endeavor. What it means for the blog, for this year, and how it fits into my life as a whole. What’s most exciting, is that my values are becoming startling clear. Especially after a dark period of my life where I never really knew what I wanted or who I was. That isn’t to say it’s easy, but it sure as hell is a lot of fun. Join me?