These hospital gowns were made for a children’s hospital in Africa. A little unusual for our group to make, but we were asked and we met the challenge. Sew Blessed Kentuckania is a group of local women who enjoy sewing. We typically make clothing for children who live in third world countries: t-shirt dresses for girls and shorts for boys. Peg, our fearless leader, doesn’t sew a lick, but she is the queen of collecting fabric, t-shirts, and getting others involved in sewing. She is a woman on a mission and for a woman who doesn’t sew, she has the most incredible fabric stash that miraculously keeps replenishing itself. It has been amazing how many people contact Peg with fabric donations. Sew Blessed Kentuckania, is a group of women who feel blessed to have the skills to sew and the opportunity to clothe children. For some little girls, these may be the only dresses they ever own. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Author: Maribeth Thomas
Better Late Than Never…
February and March have slipped by quickly for me and a late March snow makes me think Spring will never arrive. But I know it is just around the corner. In February I succumbed to making Helen’s Closet’s Blackwood Cardigan and I’m so glad I did! I used a sweater knit fabric for this quick and easy make on the serger. I’m fairly new to serging and learned that next time I’ll use the differential feed to avoid the wavy stitch line on the bottom band. I will definitely make this again.
I also made a simple flowing vest called, For the Sheer Fun of It, from Judy Kessinger’s FitNice System. Fabric is 100% rayon from Joann’s. Such a simple vest took a lot of time! I used this vest to practice a serger rolled hem with Filaine thread. While it is OK to wear, I’ll improve on the next one. I’m always hopeful! Originally, I kept the long angles of the hem line to accentuate the plaid. BUT when I saw the pictures of it on me I realized that much fabric overwhelmed me! So back to the cutting table to cut the curve on the front pieces. Also got a little more rolled hem practice.
What I learned: use a narrow serged edge instead of rolled edge; cut the curve on the front pieces to avoid the long tails. We took pictures on a sunny day and while we enjoyed the sunshine, these aren’t the best pictures. I put off posting thinking I would retake pictures. Well, that never happened!
Planning to make this is a spring sheer fabric and hoping that will speed the arrival of warm weather.
Copycat Casual Dress
While searching for the perfect casual dress with pockets, I found this dress at Northstyle.com. I liked the cowl neck, three quarter sleeves, pockets and side vents. I planned to make it tunic length to wear with leggings, but decided I would have more options if it was a bit longer than tunic.
Last October I took the Fit Nice System class with Judy Kessinger at Austin’s Sewing Center, my local fabric store. Judy has a master top and master pant pattern that is fitted to each individual and from these two master patterns, you can make numerous variations. Lisa Niehaus was the instructor and did an amazing job helping me fit the master pattern to my body. I left with a completed shirt and felt confident I could handle making variations since I finally had a top fitted to my shoulders, bust, waist, and hips. Throughout the day Judy constantly says, “You are the designer and it is totally up to you what you do.” This class gave me confidence in myself as I return to garment sewing. I highly recommend it. So here you go… my copycat dress!
I liked the look of the selvage edge and used it as the top of the pockets. I simply surged the other three sides of the pockets and attached with the Nancy Zieman wobble stitch. I used my FitNice master top pattern with a cowl neck variation. First, I decided my finished length. Then at my widest point on the pattern, I extended the side 1 inch, then drew a diagonal line from the arm through the 1 inch extension and to the hem. The one inch was too wide for me from under the arm and through the waist and I tried it on repeatedly as I was taking in the seams. Next time I make this, I’ll add 1/2 inch from underarm and taper to 3/4 inch at the widest point. I’ve worn it with a long necklace and heels to church and also with a scarf and boots. It is comfortable and I love it.
My Sewing Space – My Happy Place
I love this spot! It was a guest room that I shared for sewing and paper crafting, but now it is my designated creative space and I do love it. I am blessed! Confession – it is rarely this neat. I have been cleaning, purging, and organizing the ‘after Christmas mess’ and decided to take photos before starting another project.
This is the view from the door when entering the room. The little red dress was made by my mother for me to wear in a wedding in 1958. The picture frame is late 1800’s and originally had a charcoal drawing of my great great grandmother. See the little orange Singer sewing machine in on top of the Ikea Expedit. It was my first sewing machine which I received for Christmas in 1963. It only sews a chain stitch but it still works.
The Campbell’s Soup light was purchased in Memphis. Tennessee, in 1969 at The Shop of John Simmons. It lights up my pressing area quite well. The sewing table was purchased at Goodwill, an Ethan Allen maple table that my husband cut the legs off, cut a hole, and added a platform for my old standby, Bernina 930 Record. I keep my Baby Lock Eclipse nearby and can easily pull it towards me or push it back against the wall as needed. I’m short, 5’1″ and wanted a comfortable sewing height but we cut the legs a little short and added PVC pipe to lengthen them.
This is a view of my cutting area. It was our old 1920’s kitchen table that I painted a few years ago. When I decided to use it as a cutting table I added the three leaves which have not been painted. Eventually I’ll get around to painting them. The Ikea Raskog cart hold projects in progress. The old chair was one my Aunt had “when she set up housekeeping.” I haven’t been able to decide on a upholstery fabric so I sorta made a slip cover from a canvas drop cloth. It is pinned, stapled and draped on the chair for now. I would like to attempt to make a proper slipcover for it in 2018. The TV is sitting on a black file cabinet. Rug was purchased at Target a few years ago.
This is the view under the cutting table. The wood shelf holds fabric to be repurposed from old knit shirts and donated fabrics. I participate with the group Sew Beautiful Kentuckian which makes clothing for children in third world countries from donated fabrics. The box and bag hold my to be made t-shirt dress materials. The wire basket holds newly purchased fabric that has not been washed. The bit of red on the left is a file cabinet that slides perfectly under the raised table. Bed risers made the table a nice cutting height.
This is the view across from my sewing table. The closet on the left holds a printer, paper crafting materials and photographs. The closet on the right holds fabrics and sewing supplies. I don’t have a huge stash nor do I want one. My goal is to simplify and be intentional in what I purchase and make this year. The mannequin was my mother’s and is from the 1950’s. The dress is a 1920’s white dress I picked up years ago at an antique store. A friend brought me the hat from a jumble sale in England.
This last photo is another Raskog cart that holds all my pressing supplies. The drawers in the white cabinet hold thread scissors, and machine accessories. The gray boxes contain most frequently used patterns and additional sewing notions.
Hope you enjoyed the tour of my sewing space.
Nothing quite like a bowl of hearty vegetable stew or chili on a cold snowy day. Leftovers are ever better! We use glass bowls for refrigerator storage and they do get hot in the microwave. Bowl cozies to the rescue! Found the pattern floating around on Pinterest and the link is here. The batting is called Wrap and Zap from Joann’s Fabrics and my local store had it in stock. These went together quickly and we love them! I plan to adjust the pattern a bit and make more for my larger square glass storage containers.
2017 Sewing Review
Sewing for Grandkids
This year I had successes and failures in pattern fitting for the granddaughters. Then I discovered Little Lizard King patterns. Yahoo! Successful fit and I am off and running..
The gray dress is made from the Roanoke pattern by Little Lizard King. I love the classic lines and used lace that was made by the girls’ Great Great Grandmother. My Grandma Jessie gave us crocheted lace towels as a wedding gift 45 years ago. Long ago I discarded the towels but kept the lace and am so glad I kept it. The fabric is Robert Kaufman Quilters 100%woven cotton linen, gray.
While I am not a huge fan of character clothing, the girls love My Little Pony and Minnie Mouse, so being a good Mimi, I made outfits using character fabrics. The purple dress is the Roanoke pattern by Little Lizard King. The red/blue and red/black Minnie Mouse dresses are the Blue Ribbon Dress pattern from Little Lizard King.
This was one of my first experiences sewing with knits. The orange dot fabric is one of my old shirts repurposed and the crocheted dolly was made by my Grandmother. Pattern is Simplicity 1435 and this was an epic fail in the fit department! I made a size 5 but it swallowed my granddaughter. So it is in the closet waiting patiently for her to catch up to its size!
Sewing for Me
My recent return to garment sewing for myself resulted in frustration after frustration until I took a class from Judy Kessinger, FitNice System. Judy and Lisa Niehaus took measurements and then custom fit a pattern to me. I learned so much and feel confident in my abilities to fit additional patterns and to made adaptations to the FitNice Top pattern.
I used the basic FitNice System top pattern to make this tunic. I added a cowl neckline, flare at the sides, and a shirt-tail hem. Fabric purchased at my local fabric store, Austin’s Sewing Center. I am looking forward to all the varations I can make to this fabulous fitting top pattern!
In June my husband and I visited New York and I spent hours at Mood Fabrics. Yep, I was lucky enough to be there on Swatch’s birthday. I spent 4 days visiting fabric stores. It was overwhelming, but exhilarating to see and touch so many beautiful fabrics.
Sewing for the Home
The last 20 years most of my sewing has been costumes, sewing for the home, and craft type of sewing. I did little documentation of these projects from 2017, but this is a pillow I made for a friend.