Tag Archives: home-dec sewing

Hallowe’en wrap-up

(and other odds and ends.)

The costumes, as worn.

It’s been a long and hectic week, finishing Hallowe’en costumes and trying to get the house into something resembling order*. I did, however, spend a remarkable amount of time in the sewing room, partly in the desperate Hallowe’en Final Push and partly because it’s a handy place from which to supervise the children’s attempts to reclaim the basement, aka playroom, aka guest room, into something an adult might be able to tolerate sleeping in.

Anyway, in a vain attempt to impose order on chaos (as with the rest of my life), let’s have Fun With Headings:

Hallowe’en costumes

I'm a Vampire Slayer, yo!

They were worn! (There were no last minute back-outs. This is worth commenting on, as Tyo nearly refused to wear hers to the school Hallowe’en Dance on Friday.)

There were the inevitable snit-fits over wearing tights under leggings. Seriously, kids, why did you think I bought both?

I’m pretty sure Syo forgot to take her yellow and blue pompoms out with her, despite the fact that I thoughtfully attached them to hair-elastics so she could put them around her wrists and have her hands free for holding the treat-bag. And they even survived being worn in her hair all weekend. /sigh.

Tyo never did come up with weapons that were suitable to her costume. Babydoll wields two katanas and a gun with charms hanging from it. We have any number of toy katanas and at least one toy gun in the basement mess, but none were deemed worthy. Or she forgot.

We had the first snow of the season yesterday morning (this is actually remarkably late), and the daytime high was only 6C. It can’t have been more than a couple of degrees above freezing when the kids went out. Nonetheless, Syo survived in just her cheerleader outfit and velvet leotard and leggings (over tights). I really like how the velvet leggings turned out—I’ll have to get better photos later. I’m sure she’ll be wearing them lots, anyway.

Tyo, as you can see in the top photo, is not quite as much of a trooper and added a white bunnyhug. I can’t blame her, anyway.

In fact, I can’t complain about anything, as my mother-in-law and her husband took the girls out for their first go-round and then my husband took them out for the second, so I sat on my butt and handed out candy all night. We had about 30 kids come by, just enough to completely clean out all the candy we had. D’oh.

Also, the kids have no school the day after Hallowe’en! Even though it’s the middle of the week! Man, we would’ve killed to have the day after Hallowe’en off school… (mutter… kids these days… mutter)

Stuffed Chairs:


Tyo has been harping on the chair project, lately. I am approaching this with the same enthusiasm I have for all home-dec projects, but she is remarkably persistent (although remarkably unhelpful with things like pinning pattern pieces and stuff.) Anyway, we got the first pieces cut and stuffed over the weekend: two bolster-type pillows that will be the arms of the chair. I’m noticing that they’re not very big—the chair seems more toddler-sized than my-kids-sized. Ah, well. The kids stuffed them with scraps. They didn’t use up nearly enough. I wanted to start with the arms, since I figure if I stall on the rest of the chair, bolster-cushions are still frequently useful, even when they’re scrap-stuffed and not particularly soft/squooshy.

Upholstery fabric

Incidentally, scrap-stuffed pillows are heavy.

Another hold-up on the chair has been that I didn’t have enough of any home-dec weight fabric I was willing to part with (at least that would be good for sitting on—I have some scratchy curtain-type material pegged for coats). Fortunately, one of the things my MIL wanted to do yesterday was trawl thrift stores, and I nabbed this velveteen-esque fabric. I think there’ll be enough. It’s a little hard to tell as the pattern assumes you’re going to use three different fabrics so it doesn’t give you a total on the metrage. Meterage? Yardage. Y’know.

Since I was going through scraps, I decided on a whim to tackle another uncharacteristically-crafty project that’s been lurking in the back of my head:

Coffee Coats

Coffee Coats

I may have mentioned at some point my extended family’s obsession with Tim Horton’s coffee. This might, alternatively, be termed Canadian Crack. Not being a coffee drinker myself, I can’t tell you if it’s actually good coffee or not, but whatever they put in it (the rumour is MSG, which is probably completely unfounded), people are willing to line up ’round the block for the stuff. Despite the cups having crappy lids and, more to the point, none of those nice heat-shield paper sleeves.

Anyway, back in the summer, whilst creek-adventuring, we found a reusable coffee-cup sleeve, made of quilting-cotton and a thin layer of batting. It was quite cute and I imagine someone eco-conscious was very sad they’d lost it. And of course, it looked stupidly easy to make.

So when I stumbled upon the scraps of my (very, very expensive) interlining from my winter coat, I couldn’t help but scurry upstairs, liberate a Timmy’s cup from the garbage, create a curved pattern by marking off parallel lines on the side of the cup and then cutting it up and spreading it flat. Some bits and bobs of coating and a few interesting construction issues later, I have (almost) coffee coats. All they need is a big button for the elastic loop to fit around. I am holding off until I have another cup to judge the size of so I get the button in (at least roughly) the right place.

Sewing up Scraps:

A cute little tee

Still in a scrap-busting mood, I decided I must do what I could with the scraps from Syo’s costume, and determined to whip her up a little, fitted tee if I could. I pulled out a knit sloper I had made her last summer, traced it off, added cap-sleeves,  forgot seam allowances, and stitched it up (with added band-sleeves.)

Naturally, it doesn’t quite fit. She can wriggle into it, but it’s very snug (the sloper was more for a leotard/swimsuit lycra type fabric). I guess we’ll be passing it on to one of my nieces. Anyway, none of the remaining scraps are more than two inches wide, so I think I’ve done well. I even had to piece the band for the neckline.

Next up? I don’t know! I’ve been ogling my blazer and coat patterns, but I don’t have much time right now so I’m hesitant to commit to a serious project. I’m already pretty sure I’m wimping out on NaNoWriMo despite the best idea ever (next year!). If Tyo’s lucky I’ll finish up the stuffed chair while I’m waffling.


More thrift store finds

Oh, yeah. I bought fabric. And patterns. The patterns are odd—they were part of some kind of set (it looks brutally 80s to me, although the dates are mid-90s), but these were the only patterns that were sufficiently classic to catch my attention. They refer to cards for the instructions (no instructions in the envelopes as far as I can tell), which I assume were part of the larger set, but didn’t seem to be there at the thrift store. I can’t even determine the company with certainty, but the sizing is standard Big 4.

The fabric is a sturdy, non-stretch denim with a bit of a stripe. I’m such a sucker for denim.

And I found Syo winter boots (which she’s wearing in the Hallowe’en photos) for five bucks. So, win.

*as my inlaws arrived Sunday night—incidentally a day before I was expecting them. It has become traditional since we moved away from the rest of the family to try surprise everyone else with your visit—our crowning glory was arriving at 10 pm last New Years’ Eve without telling a soul we were coming—so I can’t complain, as we started it.



Filed under Sewing

Winged Cardigan

The Cushion of Doom

My stunning stitching

I finished the damn cushion cover. It fits, more or less. It looks OK, although my piping didn’t end up being as smooth as I would’ve liked (given how many needles I broke, though, my friend can deal.) Also, home-dec sewing can kiss my a$$. Though I really do love this fabric. And I did like sewing the zipper, which is one of those ones you buy by the length off a roll and then add the stops and pull after—so I was able to sew the entire zipper in BEFORE adding the pull. Much easier that way. Although there was that terrifying moment when I wasn’t sure whether I could figure out which end the pull goes on to…

Outdoors: overexposed

To make myself feel better, I spent some time yesterday messing around with drafting. As I mentioned before, I’m in need of me-made sweaters. So, I pulled out my various sweater fabrics and considered what they wanted to be, and eventually settled on a winged cardigan vaguely inspired by this project of Lauriana’s. I say vaguely only because I didn’t actually re-read her excellent tutorial, and was sorta winging it to get the look I had in my head, which is a bit different, more of a cropped, swing-jacket feel. It’s the same basic idea as the Simplicity 2603 cardi-wrap, the main differences being the size and shape of the front drape.

For my version, I wanted a comparatively short, hip-length sweater. I angled the side-seams and the back fold out at the bottom to get a looser, swingy fit at the back and sides, as well.

Winged Cardi Front

Be warned, at least in the short length, this is not a look for those who are, ah, well-endowed. I initially brought the line of the CF drape so it was 90° to the side seam, and when I tried it on—well, can you say “whoa mama!”? Needless to say, I will not be wearing this cardi with the bulletproof bras. I trimmed a significant wedge off the top of the drape, which has toned it down to where I no longer feel like my chest is entering the room several minutes before the rest of me. I have to admit, this is such an unusual sensation for me that I kinda enjoy it—I don’t think I’ve had it since I was breastfeeding. But not really what I want for everyday.

Winged Cardi---Open

Because this is technically a topper, I didn’t want to use my knit sloper (aka the Pattern Formerly Known as Lydia), as it’s super fitted. So I used another knit bodice pattern I had lying around. I did a lot of comparing for length etc, but I intentionally left the wider shoulders and lower armscyes. And that’s probably a good thing, but I sure don’t like the look as much. Especially the low armscye. Grr. The sleeves are pretty loose and shapeless, too—again, probably a good thing in a topper, but not my favourite look.

On the plus side, while drafting this took a bit of time (mostly due to my own futzing), sewing it up was ridiculously quick. Not more than half an hour, including cutting time. The nice thing about this shorter length of drape is that it JUST barely fit on the folded fabric, so I didn’t have to cut out the two fronts separately.

Winged Cardi---Back

We are having some of our first truly summery weather the last few days, so I tried to take photos outside. Sadly, photographing white outdoors in the morning was not happening, and the trees still haven’t any leaves so there’s not much shade in my back yard. So indoor pics it is. This fabric is an interesting, nubbly knit  with what looks like tinsel knitted in, that really screams “six-year-old princess”, but it was inexpensive and the right colour, so I’m going with it.  Fortunately my children have managed to break all the plastic tiaras in the house, or I might have had to don one for the photos.

I think if I were making the sweater purely to be itself, as opposed to being something I hope to wear, I would have flared the sleeves to match the bodice and cut them off at bracelet length (the same length as the sweater when the arm is at the side). But while I’m not completely against bracelet-length sweaters, they’re not my favourite as you have to worry about what you’re layering them over, so I went with regular sleeves for this. Meh.

As with the cardi-wrap, I did not finish the collar/front opening/hem of the sweater, just ran it through the unthreaded serger to trim off irregularities. I did hem the sleeves. We’ll see how that holds up, but it seems like the best way to maintain the drape and flow of the sweater.

Not sure if I’m in love with it—but it was fun to draft up and make.


Filed under Sewing


Why yes, that is eight yards of jumbo piping...

My sewing machine is pretty basic, a three-and-a-half-year-old bottom end Janome; she’s mostly pretty reliable, if not terribly fancy, and at this point we pretty much understand each other.

But every once in a while, she really annoys me.

Today, it was the needle positioning. Now, I can adjust needle position to the left, but not to the right of centre. (It goes further right during a zig-zag, but there’s no option for me to set a straight stitch to the right).

This isn’t a problem in normal sewing, but every once in a while, just once in a while, it drives me batty.

Today was one of those days. I was making jumbo piping. Eight yards of jumbo piping.

Yes, my friends. I am undertaking … shudder… home-dec sewing.

And not even for my home. I’m making a custom cushion and cover for a friend’s window-seat. Technically this is an exchange of labour since she did a wonderful photo shoot for my kids before Christmas with her fantabulous DSLR (she’s one of those hobby photographers) that also gave my a chance to play with RAW images… soooooo fun…. ahem. Anyway, so I’m making her this cushion. Which I’ve been dawdling over for most of the month because, well, it’s home-dec sewing, and why would I do that when I could make whimsical costume jackets? But she came over for tea on the weekend and I wanted to have something to show her, so I spent some time Sunday morning cutting out rectangles… endless rectangles… and then I figured I should at least sew up the piping before I lose those long, skinny strips.

At this point I’ve made lots of little, garment-sized piping on my machine with nary a problem. But this jumbo, mega-sized piping is, well, a wee bit trickier. You see, it doesn’t slide under the “high” side of the zipper foot at all. It has to pass to the right of the whole zipper foot apparatus. And because I can’t adjust my needle position to the right, I could not run my stitching nearly as close to the cord as I would’ve liked. People, I have saggy piping.

Man, I love these dresses...


Even more annoying, I know I’m going to have the exact same issue sewing it to the pillow cover itself. Grrr-grr.

Can’t I make something nice and easy, like a jacket?

Or how about another 70s maxi dress? This one arrived today, courtesy of the Cupcake Goddess’s pattern sale the other week. Num, num. It’s a misses’ size 10, which will be interesting—in the past I’ve usually used 12s and had to take them in a bit, but theoretically the 10 will be perfect in the bust. I’m particularly in love with the blue version, although the rational part of my mind is telling me that collar is a bad idea…

Today’s MMM picture


is a particularly blah combination of repeat outfit (see day 6) with no hair/makeup.  I had hoped to make it through the month without a precise repeat, but I was too lazy to check this morning to see if I’d worn this exact shirt with these exact pants before, and now that I realize I have, I’m too lazy to change. Meh. I think I’ll be back to regular life tomorrow, though, so I’ll try and make more of an effort then…


Filed under Sewing