Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Bias Skirt

I kinda disappeared on here around Christmas but I do assure you that I had a lovely Christmas and I was quite busy in between all the festivities. I do hope also that everyone had a lovely Christmas. For those that did update their blogs and shared a little bit about what they were up to and their family traditions, I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much!

My moms Christmas present was something that I think I had been promising since LAST Thanksgiving. I guess it puts it in the same category as that table runner but..... I did get it done in time for my mom to wear on Christmas Day. The fabric was found on clearance (LOVE that) and is just the perfect weight for winter wear. I do not really know what the fabric is but lets just say it is poly suiting to be on the safe side ;)

As for the pattern, I did not have one her size in my stash. You would think I would considering how many hundreds of patterns I have (ahem) but alas I did not. I was in a pinch too cause I think it was three days before Christmas when I started on it. I was not going to go out in the cold and drive all the way to Joanns to get one in her size either. So, I googled it. Do you know how nice google is? It is really nice. I came up with this link and said hallelujah. Just what I was looking for.

Now, in complete BethanyLynn style I drafted the skirt just perfectly with the WRONG measurements. Why do I do that? Lets just say I had a practice run before the real thing. That works. In the end, it probably only took me about 30 minutes to draft once I had the right measurements ;) And you know what, it was super easy. I would do some things different next time but I think over all it was worth taking the time with the nice fit and end result.

The sewing was straight forward. I officially love lapped zippers. They are easier to put in than invisible zippers and way cheaper to buy. I used the serger we have to finish the seams and I love it too. That hem tape stuff that who knows who gave me is a winner too. I used it on that other skirt and I used it again on this one. I'm glad its a big roll cause I think I will be using it a lot.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Things Happening!

Hello All and Welcome! If you are visiting from Practically Pretty, I hope you enjoy yourself. If you have not heard yet, there is an announcement over on Practically Pretty so go and read it ;)

That is where my brain has been over the past few weeks and I am so excited about the things that will be happening in the new year --both for me and Practically Pretty. As Grammie mentioned, I am hoping to offer things for girls and teens all the way up through ladies and maternity wear. It is a big undertaking and something we have been talking about for probably a year now! A lot of the previous projects on here are things that you will see in the new Practically Pretty store. The Changing Seasons pattern and those dresses are definitely on the list along with some skirt styles I hope to be posting soon. What has me realy excited right now are some new pattern lines from other small businesses that have been kind enough to let other home businesses use their patterns.

I've mentioned the Handmade Dress pattern line before but now that I have the patterns in hand and am picking out the fabrics to make up samples for Practically Pretty, I am even more pleased and excited about using them! Samantha Caffee is a homeschooling mom with 3 children and one on the way and is also in the process of adopting a sibling group from Bulgaria. She is just a sweetie and I have enjoyed her blog so much and it pleases me even more to say that her motivation behind her pattern line is just the same as sewing for Practically Pretty-- she wanted more for her little girl than what is offered already by the clothing industry. I doubt I am the only one who has noticed how common the sexualization of little girls is especially in the fashion and design world. I think Samantha is doing a fabulous job by offering alternatives through her patterns and I hope that Practically Pretty becomes a great resource for custom girls clothing that caters to those who value little girls and young ladies in their modesty and innocence.

Next up is another wonderful pattern line, also by a homeschooling mother of 4, who in the same way, started her pattern line for her daughter. Her name is Dawn Hansen and she is the owner of Olabelhe patterns. You can read more about her on her "My Story" page of her website. I only just recently came across Olabelhe patterns but the moment I saw her designs, I contacted her to ask about her copyright policy!! From reading her e-mail, I could tell she was also a real sweetie and was kind enough to allow me to use her patterns through Practically Pretty also. She has everything in her pattern line from jumpers to dresses to skirts and blouses, coats and even hats! Dawn, I am getting ready to place my order today! Thank you so much for all the time you have put into your beautiful designs.

Sense and Sensibility patterns have been used by Practically Pretty in the past and I certainly hope to continue using them. They are so enjoyable to use with their good instructions and quality paper. I know for sure that Jennie's Edwardian Apron (that you see all the time on this blog!!) is very practical and pretty so that is a must. ;) Her girls pinafore and pantaloon pattern is also so functional especially for active little girls.
Last but not least is an old find but with many new beautiful things! Judith Marquis of Amberlane in Canada is a very talented designer who specializes in heirloom with a lot of detail from smocking. I came across her patterns because I was looking for a nice nightgown pattern that was also pretty. I think her patterns are just that! She has a new robe pattern called "Autumn Leaves" that I am super excited about and I just can't wait to get started on making some samples from her patterns.

Well, I do hope you have enjoyed this small update on things to come with Practically Pretty. Lord Willing, this is just the start and I am enjoying it already. I have spent some time over the past few days picking out fabrics and matching styles and patterns to fabrics and writing scribbles here and there. Here's to hoping that much will be accomplished in the way of warm weather things in time for Spring weather!
Bethany Lynn

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Apron......

This time for my neighbor and shortened to be more 1950's esque than Edwardian! She suggested shortening it just for her ease of movement and I really like how it turned out! In case you have not seen previous posts, I did use Sense and Sensibility's Edwardian Apron pattern, again! Everyone just seems to like it and it sure is easy to make for lots of different sizes and body types.

I do apologize for not having any pictures on an actual person. It is getting quite cold around here an apron over a coat just does not look right ;) It even started snowing while I was taking these pictures! Can you see the little flecks on the table?

I did do the adjustable shoulder straps that cross over on this one. Besides shortening, that is the only change I made to the pattern. More info here on that adjustment.
As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

As I was going through the UFO bin the other day, I found this unfinished table runner. As I saw it, I remembered to last year when I was working on it. I did not get it done last year in time for Thanksgiving and this year I pulled it out the night before Thanksgiving! Just goes to show that out of sight is truly out of mind because I completely forgot about it until I saw it again nearly a year later!

I really thought I would finish it but cooking Thanksgiving dinner always takes more time that one would expect....... SO I finished it before I went to bed on Thanksgiving-- definitely not in time for Thanksgiving dinner! I think it might be officially winter now so it is back in the cabinet. But it was used last Sunday for lunch and now all of the Christmas decor is out...... at least I know it will be finished for next year's Thanksgiving!

Oh and just to keep it real, that border is some sort of polyester blend and the batting is poly fleece! I did hand quilt it and I do prefer working with all natural materials, but this works too. Don't be scared to break rules when it will work for you! Easy patterns and designs are good too. Since this was so stress free, I would love to make another table runner with a more complicated design some time. Those are the best kinds of projects :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Changing Seasons in Red Chambray

I had fun last weekend sewing this one up. Same pattern but different fabric. See my thoughts on the pattern from last time over here or just scroll down a bit.

It went just as smoothly as last time. The pleats were fun to accommodate maternity and the ties were so easy to put in. I found the fitted cap sleeve to be a breeze also and they fit so well.

Absolutely love this fabric with the warp being black and the weft being red! It makes for such a great "shimmer" and more interest too. I have never sewn with chambray before but it seems to be a really great weight for fall and winter clothing and is rather wrinkle resistant too even thought it is all cotton.

The only obvious change I made was when I used the shawl collar from this pattern instead of the options provided in the original Changing Seasons pattern. It was so simple to do as I just followed the "jewel neckline" but made a bit more v-ed in the front following the shape of the shawl collar.

As for fitting adjustments, I have had to narrow the shoulders slightly both times that I made this pattern. It is a simple adjustment though that really makes a difference. A garment with shoulders that are too wide or too narrow can really not look good! I can't remember the last time I did not do this when making a dress or blouse with a modern pattern so I guess it is rather common for people to vary in the shoulder area. The Changing Seasons pattern outlines how to adjust the shoulders if needed also.

I was excited to use this Baker Lane pattern again but for maternity. I am glad that it turned out well and hope that this mother to be gets lots of mileage out of it!

Bethany Lynn

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Changing Seasons ~Take 1

I finished this dress for my mom last week in time for her to wear to church on Sunday. It is fashioned out of a simple cotton using Baker Lane's Changing Seasons pattern. I really love this pattern because it has several neckline variations and collar options. The skirt is a basic gore design but by following the suggestions, there seem to be unlimited options! I lengthened the short sleeve to a 3/4 length sleeve and was very happy to find that it was so simple. It comes with 4 sleeve options and lengthening the sleeve like I did makes 5! The instructions were very clear and the pattern is printed on nice white paper, not tissue that rips easily! It might seem rather expensive, but you do get what you pay for! I even found the instructions to be inspiring with the pictures and quotes dispersed through out.

Looking at their yardage charts, the dress seems to take a lot of fabric but as the women in my family are rather short, and this was not a directional print, I only used 3 1/2 yards.

I covered the buttons myself and I didn't have to fiddle with a zipper! I did take the time to serge the raw edges but I think this dress only took me about 6 hours and less than $10!

A friend of mine is about 6 months along and we worked on making a dress using this pattern last weekend. It was just as pretty and flattering on her also and I can't way to show you all pictures!

Until Then,

Bethany Lynn

P.S.: Some of you all asked where to get a pattern for the house dress I made for my mom a while back. This would be a great pattern to use and the instructions include information on making this dress so it will slip over the head like that other dress.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tweed and Velvet......

I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it on clearance at Joanns. I am sure I spent less than $12 on this skirt. Maybe I loved it so much because of the price ;-) or maybe, it reminded me of this skirt from the House of Bruar. Knowing the skirt from Scotland was way too expensive, I am sure that settling for this fabric was a great comprimise! Now I only wish I had more of it!

I think I bought the fabric two winters ago and I am guessing it is a poly/wool blend or something along those lines. It might be considered a tweed also but I can't say for sure. I don't know that much about textiles! The flowers are velvet and I would love to know exactly how they produced the weave and then added the flowers.

I remember cutting it out imeddiately because I was so excited about it. The sad thing is that I was just not satisfied with the way it turned out so I threw it into my UFO (unfinished objects) basket and just pulled it out last week! I guess it must have sat there for a good two years with an attempted rolled hem (what was I thinking?! This fabric is way too thick for that!), a waistband that was half on, and no zipper in site. It was also just too large on me and the shape of the gores were unflattering. Did I mention that I tried to finish the seams with binding too? I am sure you can just imagine how well that *did not* drape.

So I took off all that binding, took in the seams and serged the raw edges instead. The attempted rolled hem was as sad as can be with whip stitches that must have been at least one inch long (?!) so I took that out too. Some black poly hem tape lent it self well to this skirt and finished the hem so beautifully. I think I would be willing to wear this skirt inside out........

It was my first time to do a lapped zipper but that was only because I was desperate and didn't have an invisible zipper that was suitable. If I remember correctly it was one of those Reader's Digest sewing books that saved me. Love the index in those ;-)

Anyways, back on track here. The pattern I used was one of those that I found at a thrift store. It is just 8 gores with a waistband and side zipper. If you wanted something similar, the Beatrix Skirt from Sense and Sensibility patterns would work. So would the Walking Skirt from Folkwear . I looked on the Simplicity pattern website and there are several gored skirt patterns that would lend themselves to this pattern too.

Happy cold weather sewing!

As Always,

Bethany Lynn

Thursday, November 4, 2010

~ A Hunting Shirt

".... the shirt worn by Morgan and his men, as well as by many other Americans, was the single outstanding contribution of the Continental Army to military clothing. Commonly known as a hunting or rifle shirt, the loose-fitting garment was usually fringed on the sleeves, collar and hem. It was made in either a V-neck pullover or wraparound style and allowed the wearer great freedom of movement as well as comfort.
General George Washington was an early advocate of the hunting shirt. He considered it "cheap and convenient" and thought increased use of the shirt might deceive the British as to the number of riflemen in the Continental forces. Early in the war, Washington tried to get such garments for all the troops but failed because of the shortage of cloth.
As the Revolution progressed, the rifle shirt took on importance as a symbol of frontier qualities which differentiated Americans from the foe. A 1781 ballad contrasted this garment with the more formal attire of the British regulars:

Yet are red heels and long-lad'd skirts,
For stumps and briars meet, sir:
Or stand they chance with hunting-shirts,
Or hardy veteran meet, sir?"

- an excerpt from Soldiers of the American Revolution

I made this piece of outerwear for my dad last month for his Rev War Colonial militiaman impression. I used the Eagles View pattern and as you can tell, this garment has all sorts of names! When I ordered the pattern, I honestly figured that since it was such a cheap pattern that I could at least get it and use it for the shapes and sizing but that was all. I was surprised to find that it really turned out to be more helpful than I at first thought. The instructions are well worded and clear. It includes several sizes which I found to be helpful and all sorts of recommendations. It is the only pattern I could find for this style of garment but it really turned out to be great!

I used about 3 yards of the 8.0 oz. linen from for the XL size. We picked a tan but I thought it was interesting to find out that they were also made in " white, black, blue, brown grey, ash and shades of green."

The only thing I changed was shortening the sleeves and changing the cape. It had you make one cape that was two thicknesses of fabric-- sew right sides together, flip out and then attach. I did not really like that style as I was going off an original sketch from Sketchbook 76. The original's cape was two "capes", one long and the other about half the length one on top of the other and each only one thickness of fabric. I made that change and really prefer the way it looks.

Sleeve gusset

I apologize for not having betting pictures of him wearing it...... I was kind of preoccupied ;-) He is on the left in both pictures.

I am working on pictures for two Civil War era wool dresses and a modern skirt that has finally come out of the UFO bin! Maybe by next week. Hard to say. :-) Thank you all for stopping by and thank you also to all of you who take the time to comment! It really makes it special.
As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Just a few more aprons here because they are pretty and practical. A perfect sort of gift for two special birthday girls who enjoy cooking and pretty things!

You all have seen this style before. It is not complicated to make but it seems to result in a nice amount of detail. I enjoy making it because it does not require too much fit and I don't have to worry about making something as a gift and then having it not fit the recipient. I used the Edwardian Apron pattern in case any of you have not seen it before. Honestly, I love this pattern so much and find it to be so practical that I have one copy for here and one copy to let friends borrow!

Surprisingly, I was able to squeeze these aprons out of less than 2 1/2 yards each! I wanted to use these specific fabrics because I had them on hand and because they just looked like my friends! I had to shorten them a bit but other than that, it was easy. They are not directional fabrics so that helped quite a bit in being able to use a small amount of fabric.

Learning how to make your own bias tape is a must also! I can hardly ever find the right shade at the store and it is always nice to work with 100% cotton materials when the main fabric is already 100% cotton. I am fairly sure that most pre-packaged bias tape is poly/cotton. It is also rather expensive! A long, clear ruler used for rotary cutting quilt pieces is very helpful along with some chalk. It really is quite simple.

Edited to add that I did change the way the back ties from the way the original pattern instructs. I explained a bit more in this other post.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick and Easy!

Quick and easy! This is just my speed.

My dad came home one day from work and said that he would like to give a house warming gift to someone he knows at work. He said that he knew her appliances were black and that her favorite color was blue but that she had a rather eclectic sort of style. She liked to cook but not too much and did not have very much kitchen-y type stuff.

My mom picked up some cooking utensils from Wal-Mart and we all decided she could use one of these considering ours is absolutely packed and used every single day.

But what to put with that? We thought that placemats and napkins were just perfect. The fabric was waiting for a project like this and about 4 hours later, these were finished.

This week I also made 5 pairs of mitts for colonial living history and an edwardian apron. I have some pictures to post about my dad's hunting frock and am cooking up some pretty maternity dresses with a friend! So much to do, so little time. Tomorrow is the last living history event of the season so more will be coming next week!

As Always,

Bethany Lynn

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Story of a Shirt..... more or less.......

Let's be honest here. This was one of those projects where I was so looking forward to making it...... and then I was looking forward to being done with it long before I was. Don't get me wrong, the pattern was awesome! It was just me. Am I the only one who needs projects like that? Where you need something to go not so right just so you learn something that you needed to learn? Yup, thought so. Getting a sense of reality is always great ;)
He's putting "war paint" on the kids for the Boston tea party. Don't worry! It was voluntary! ;)

Anyways, so we are looking at the green-ish shirt that my dad is wearing. He requested it for his Rogers Rangers impression(google it! It is interesting!) and he had some specifications. It needed to be green (camouflage after all!) and large enough but not too large to go over another shirt un-tucked. My first mistake was when I was planning out the project. I thought to myself..... this pattern is just squares and rectangles! How much easier can that be? I don't need a mock up! Wrong. You always make a mock up. Always. End of story. Lesson number one.

So I cut it out of my linen and proceeded to follow the great instructions doing most of the seams by hand, mind you! So it is all done except for the cuffs and hemming it and my dad tries it on. It is much too large in the body and the sleeves are too long. Now what?!
And feathers on this little guy to get ready for the Boston tea party too......

The last thing I am going to do is take the whole thing apart. He brilliantly suggest slitting the shirt up the front and making it into a wrap shirt of sorts. It is period correct and solves that problem. He then suggests cutting out a bit of the sleeve length and then sewing it back together forming a seam right around the elbow. Brilliant again. Solves those problems no thanks to me. He takes it off and I proceed to make the changes. The shirt does get finished but it is still white. No problem. I dyed the fabric for these stays and these and these...... and these and for my sister's dress (which I have no pictures of as usual.) I can do that. I've done it before. I can do it again. No big deal......

Have you ever tried dyeing something green before with green and brown dye? You want an earthy color that doesn't look like a chemical dye was used..... and it is supposed to match that belt that your dad already has. Just make some samples right? Easy enough. I think I made at least a dozen. I got the one I wanted and then I forgot how I got it. That makes a person feel un-intelligient in the least. In the end, I dyed the shirt the right color, rinsed it out. End of that. But then I put the shirt in the drier. It came out the color that you see here but it was brighter and less gray when I was done. I was slightly disappointed. Just slightly.

The man has a shirt. I am still sewing...... It seems like a long time ago now but I appreciate that shirt. Simple things keep you humble? mhmmm

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

P.S: I just realized that picture with the knife is kinda creepy. My apologies. You kinda have to have a sense of humor in this living history stuff ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some changes......

Yes, this place is having some changes made! I hope you all like it. I really like how it turned out no thanks to me, but thanks to a very talented friend! It should be this way for a while to come and I hope you all find it as homey and inviting as I do.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

~ Another Linen jacket and petticoat

This time for another friend in the same pattern but View B instead of View A. In case it isn't obvious, we are looking at the green jacket and brown petticoat :-) I don't have any pictures of just her.

Linen from and simple muslin for the lining.

The stomacher was so simple to construct and the covered buttons were so worth it. Now to only figure out how to keep the lacing around the buttons.......

The petticoat is as basic as it gets. Katherine's instructions are a great help too.

I'm slowly catching up on cataloging all these projects.... more to come.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Saturday, October 9, 2010

That dress.......

I promised some pictures of my finished colonial outfit. I suppose I promise pictures of a lot of things. The problem is that when it is finally all finished, I move onto something else and I never remember to take pictures when I am actually wearing any of this stuff. Much to busy you know ;)

So, these aren't my pictures but they give you an idea of the day and where I wore it and kinda how it looked. If you are interested in more information concerning the pattern I used and things of that sort, look at my first post that I linked to above. Enjoy!

That would be almond oil for soap balls..........

I am not too fond of the way the pleats are in the sleeve but I am not too fond of the idea of taking them out and putting them back in either.... choices choices.

Doesn't that young lady to my right in the picture look fabulous? I think so!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn