Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Matching Western Christmas Shirt

I finished my Christmas Shirt. It's McCalls 6383, it's a very 70's western shirt. I have made this pattern several times for myself and I like it a lot. There are a couple things that changed on this one. Such as I made the back yoke larger or shall I say longer. It really didn't show off the material and since I have longer hair it would have been covered up, so I extended the back by about 6 inches. I also think I need to alter the collar; this collar is HUGE. It's VERY 70's. Looking at the pattern it's very hipster, a thiner body and the large collar. I also think I need to put some darts in the back of mine. I will wear it a few times first to make sure. On one of the other shirts I made from this pattern I added darts and made a smaller collar. The darts in the back help define the waist. The other thing about my shirt..the 70's patterns did not think women had waists or hips. I added about 1/2 an inch to the bottom sides of the shirts to keep it from spreading out at the bottom when I wear it. I have this same pattern as a black Christmas shirt I made with white pipping and when I wear it untucked the bottom spreads out..the white pipping forms an upside down Y...it looks a little funny. I also made my collar in the grey material because the pink fabric really washed out my face. All other things about this shirt are great. For my shirt I used the 3 yards of the 10 yards of pink fabric I bought at Scrap. The pink fabric is a cotton and a little stiff but I hoping it will relax after a couple of washings. No big deal if it doesn't as we will only be wearing these shirts in December.

My husbands shirt is McCalls 4530 in red linen. He asked why I didn't add a back yoke to his shirt. I told him it was because I made his first and I forgot, really I thought the red was so nice and bright...a very Christmas color. I think his would have benefited with a back yoke too. I told him if he wanted me to add a yoke I could take his apart and add a nice yoke if he really wanted one. Maybe later, he wants to wear it RIGHT NOW. Neither shirt has pockets which may be a flaw...of course I can add pockets too, but I really wanted to get this done before the holidays were gone. My husbands favorite part of his shirt is Santa diving into a pool, it looks like Santa is sunburned and naked.

Now that the holidays are over it's time to get down to finishing a couple of quilt projects that have been sitting around. We have some friends that were due the day after christmas but have not had their baby as of today. I wanted to get a quilt made for them. Now I will focus on their quilt. I have the top complete. It's the alphabet. I was kind of waiting to see if they had a girl or boy, but it really does not matter. I will make it unisex. Since it's a baby quilt it should go quickly.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A couple days late but I finished a Christmas Western Shirt for my husband on Saturday. I had wanted to get it done before Christmas but I was working on a wool shirt for him (a wool shirt was much more necessary than a linen Cowboy shirt). The pattern is McCalls 4520, it's out of print but there are a couple other similar patterns floating around out there if you are looking for a western shirt. I will say I'm disappointed by the lack of mens patterns at pattern companies. But then there is little variation to mens clothes, you can only do so much with a shirt or pants...other than using unique fabric...everything seems to be the same. That is good if you are going to make mens clothes as all you have to do is learn a few basic techniques and you have it. I have found a couple of small pattern makers that have some interesting styles like Buckaroo Bobbins. Though I have not made any of their patterns it was nice to see other options for mens clothes. Sorry kind of a rant there on mens patterns.

I just love the christmas material used on the front and on the cuffs, it's called Holiday Break & it's by Michael Miller. I bought it a couple of years ago with some other cute kids western themed holiday fabric. Now I will work on my Cowgirl shirt, it's going to be pink with the Holiday Break as the yoke. We will again have matching Christmas Shirts.

The Rumple Minze is from my brother...he gave it to us with a jar of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, candy canes and chocolate mints. Just add hot water & booze and you have a nice warm jar of happiness.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Slippers, Christmas Shirt & tile

For Christmas my husband bought me a very cute pair of slippers, as well as a couple of Craftsy Classes that will help improve my sewing. Craftsy had all of their classes on sale for $19.99 just before Christmas. I had wanted to take the a class on pattern altering they had one called "Create any Size" it goes over pattern garaging and how to alter the pattern to your size. I have a ton of old patterns that I would love to make in my size but several of the patterns are too small. I have not taken the class yet but I will this week to see how I like it. I love learning new things but often find it difficult to match my schedule with actual classes at shops or colleges. I have taken some wonderful classes at Modern Domestic in Portland...if you ever need hands on training the ladies at Modern Domestic are WONDERFUL!!! 
I also made my husband another Negroni Shirt. He as about 5 now. This one is a lovely burgundy that I bought at the Pendleton Woolen Mills. The piece was in the salvage bin, it was bout 3 1/2 yards long but had been cut to about 36" width. It's soft and light weight wool that has a linen feel to it. I added some cute Japanese fabric as an accent. I didn't get the snaps on till after Christams, but gave it to hem anyway and took a photo. My husband prefers snaps to buttons. I think the color looks really good on him...so does he. 
My sister installed a gas fireplace in her basement about 2 years ago. She has a TV on the wall above the fireplace and some lovely bookcases on either side of the fireplace. The problem was she bought some expensive tile squares to put up around the fireplace, but was kind of afraid to do the actual tiling. I know that feeling..you really want something perfect so you just put off getting it done with the excuse that you may mess it up. I went over to her house last week and helped her tile the small area around the fireplace. She grouted it and it looks amazing. She told me she's glad I came over to help her and that Lisa (her partner) is very happy that it's finally done. The tile sheets were about 10x10 and the actual tiles were about 1/2 an inch each, the sheet is a mixture of metal, tile and glass. It sparkles so nicely. I was so happy to help her out on this project. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bargain Fabric & a Fish Toss

I love finding a bargain. I find that I'm lucky when it comes to locating a fabric bargain. Last week I had some errands to run and on the way back home I found that I was close to Scrap. Scrap is a local creative reuse store and donation center in Portland Oregon. It started out as a place to donate extra art supplies that you no longer use, such as paper, paint brushes, creative magazines, corks, tile..you get the idea. Last summer I bought a mannequin. They also take Fabric. I stopped and see if there is anything that I needed before the holidays. I always find some gems at Scrap and this visit was no exception. In the fabric area I located 5 1/2 yards of some black wool for $10.50, 10 yards of some pink cotton material for $18, 1 yard of some beautiful red paisley for $2 and 5 yards of some cute pink flannel with flowers for $9...SO for about $40 I was able to get 21 yards of fabric!! The wool will more then likely turn into a shirt for my husband...maybe a jacket for me. The pink cotton will be use for quilting after I make a western christmas shirt for myself, the pink flannel will be made into a couple pillow cases and the paisley will be used in a quilt. If you are ever in Portland and not sure what you want check out Scrap, they always have amazing items that you never knew you needed.

The Fish Toss is also happening again this year. This is something that my husband & I started on News Years Day 1/2/2010 at the Red Fox...they are were usually closed on New Years Day and we convinced them to open for a couple hours and host the fish toss. Chuck bought about 2 dozen cat fish and it cost $5 to throw a fish. The person that tossed it the farthest wins the kitty. The first year we thought we would have about 10 people....more then 30 people came out at 1pm to toss a fish, watch the event or just have a beer and laugh. I made t-shirts the first as an incentive for people to come out. I get a tab at the bar for the shirts. I stopped making them a couple years ago as things always get a little hectic around the holidays. This year they asked me if I would please make them 20 shirts. Since I'm currently unemployed I had time and printed the shirts. Now I have to go back in and add the RED FOX in red ink. I also made a Fish Toss onesie for one of bartenders Jake who's partner is due December 26th. If you have had kids you know that the onesie's are something that you use every day in fact I have heard that you can go through 3 or 4 onesie's in a single day with a newborn. The fish toss has now become a tradition for the bar...this is the 5th year.  People are always looking for something fun and different and I think a fish toss on new years day is just the thing. Join us if you can!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leggings and a Book

I decided to show you what I look like wearing the leggings. The burgundy leggings are just a little longer then other leggings but they fit really really nicely. I love putting these on first thing in the morning as I drink coffee and feed the cats. The material is 95% Rayon and 5% spandex. The material has a 4 way stretch, it's about a 60-70% stretch which makes it great for leggings. You can make a size smaller and they will still fit,. It's all about the waistband and the elastic you use. Some elastic is nice and comfortable but your leggings will pull down every time you bend over. A nice strong non-roll elastic will keep the leggings in place. I have come great celtic designs that I'm going to print on the fabric this week to see how it takes.
I received a copy of Sara Midds's latest book "A Bowl of Olives On Food and Memory" from Workman Press. It's a beautifully illustrated book that contains memories of picnics, summer dinners on the balcony, a funny chapter on eggs and a delightful page of napkin designs. Sara Midda's delicate watercolors through out delight the eye. I found myself looking at some of the pages soaking up the elegant images of raspberries, pomegranates & figs. Thought the book is small in size it is filled with such amazing detail,  I took 3 days to pour over and soak in this wonderful little book. I keep going back to the raspberry and the napkin illustrations for inspiration.  

Monday, December 15, 2014


 I made another pair of leggings, It makes me sooooo happy because I have also found the perfect stitch on my server to make these leggings. It stretches nicely and holds the seam. It takes me about 1 hour from start to finish to make these leggings.

I have come to love this way of installing a waist band. You stitch the elastic down on the top of the band, the roll it down and stitch it again along the bottom. I added the blue piece of material so I tell at a glance which was the back. I think I will go back to the non-rolling elastic. The elastic I used on this pair was too stretchy & it may not provide the same staying power of the non-roll elastic. It's alway a test when sewing with materials that you get a thrift stores and estate sales. Though I love this pattern and would suggest it to anyone that asks. I want to try screen printing on the bottom of the next pair of leggings..oh yea there are more of these in my future. 

I bought a scooter a couple of years ago, we were going to make it into a rolling cupcake. It proved to be a little too large. It was about 5 ft long which would make the cupcake too large to store and we would need a trailer to move it. So my husband took about 18 inches out of the middle of the thing and then welded it back together there is a very study metal bar running down the center of the scooter). It's a little hard to ride if you have long legs but it's a work in progress. We are thinking of making a costume type of cover so the base can be interchangeable with different costumes. 

Making a shirt for someone for christmas. The burgundy fabric is from Pendleton Woolen Mills, it was a nice large piece in the scrap bin, it looks like a linen wool blend...but I'm not sure so I'm treating it like wool. That means I will have to wash it in cold and line dry the shirt. I'm in the process of putting it all together, I have the cuffs left. I should have it done in the next day or so. I will more then likely use snaps for the front closure as the recipient really likes snaps instead of buttons. I like to use a fun matching novelty fabric to add hidden details in the shirt. I have made about 5 of the Negroni Shirts so far, mostly for my husband...a couple for my father-in-law. They are always a hit and once you have made one...it's easier the next time. 

Out cat Sid sitting on the fence waiting for something to move in the night. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Some leggings, a shirt and a quilt back

I love my light up Santa, if I could I would leave him out all year long I would, he always makes me smile. I completed several projects last week. My new goal is to do one thing every day. One day last week I spent on the internet choosing health care...that was a drag. So I had to get into the studio and make something. So I made a couple pairs of leggings for my husband, he likes to wear long johns under this jeans during the winter months. I bought him some silk long johns a few years ago, but he can only wear those so many times a week. These leggings are a little thicker and may be just a little warmer...at least he thinks they are. As you can see I did a zigzag stitch in the waist band. It took me about an hour to make both pairs of leggings. I'm going to Joanne fabric this week to look for some grey or red material to make a couple more pairs for myself. I love these leggings and as I said they are soooo quick and easy to make. I then finished the backing for the my Tula Pink Moon Shine quilt. I used the left over squares with some nice turquoise material that I found in my cupboard of fabric, I think the turquoise goes nicely with the bright Tula Pink fabric. This week I hope to put the entire quilt together and quilt it on my machine at home. I pulled out my Christmas Fabric in preparation of making a couple matching western shirts for my husband and myself. I was thinking of the grey or red for the base of the shirt with the Michael Miller Holiday Break fabric as the decorative yoke. I love this fabric it's very cure. 
I also finally tried to make a fabric basket. I have seen these on so many blogs. Ladies make the baskets to put in sewing rooms and fill them up with small scraps of fabric or thread destine for the trash. I have never made one before and found a nice tutorial on SewMamaSew during the handmade holidays posts the last few weeks. I like it but I do not think I will be making any more for my studio but I think I will make a couple to hold cookies as gifts this holiday season. During the winter months I like to wear long sleeve t-shirts under large sweaters. I tried the Alabama Chanin long sleeve shirt from her last book "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design". I used some cotton jersey that was not very stretchy thus the shirt is a little tight. I want to make it again because I like the flare in the sleeves. I think I have to do some adjustment to the bust, as that area was a little tight too. The fabric I used to make this shirt was some scrap that I bought at a thrift store so I have no idea of the actual content of the material. It was a white piece of material but I dyed it blue with a batch of fabric I dyed last summer on vacation. I really liked the color and was hoping that the shirt would work on the first try....it did not. I may just back to the Jalie 2805 pattern as I have made several of these t-shirts and they all fit really well.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I made it through Thanksgiving. We cooked a 15 pound turkey thinking that we were going to serve 10 people, it turned out there was only 4 of us ! So we had a lot of turkey left over. I made some wonderful Cranberry Marmalade, I did not have any dried apricots so I used dried cherries and blueberries. It was delicious! I was afraid I made too much but we ate the sauce on all things turkey over the weekend. Yes we had turkey for four days...turkey sandwiches, turkey empanadas & turkey pot pie. We did end up freezing a couple pounds of turkey because we had had too much and were sick of turkey. Maybe later this month I will make the turkey empanadas again as they were a huge hit with the husband. Any type of food that you eat with your hand (like hand pies) is always a hit with the husband.  I made a apple pie and a pumpkin pie. I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie so I was not sure how the pumpkin pie would turn out. It received rave reviews from my mother & husband. I cut up and cooked a sugar pumpkin and a butternut squash for about an hour then scooped out the insides. An employee at New Seasons told me that if I was going to make pumpkin pie from scratch it was better to use another type of squash because the pumpkin alone will not give me enough for a pie and that the squash gives the pie another layer of taste. She was right and it turned out wonderful...I even had some and like it.  Though it has not snowed here yet it has been very cold and commuters have been faced with slick roads in the morning. This snow photo is from last year when we had 4 wonderful days of snow in February. I love seeing fresh snow on the trees and the sculptures in the park across the street from out house. I hope it snows this year before Christmas this year!