Sunday, August 29, 2010


Another pair of stays but this time with Periwinkle linen! They are really the same as the green pair but different in many aspects too. Same pattern but this is a larger size that I also had to lengthen. I also did it entirely by machine (deadlines are looming!) except for the binding. I had to put that on mostly by hand because of the way it intersects and wraps around places with boning.
The view from my new work space! ;)

front back

tabs galore!

I also ventured into the cable ties arena. I never thought I would do that but I like how sturdy they are and easy to find (Hello, Home Depot!) and how cheap!

Shoulder strap with grommets for holes and ribbon to close (yes, I need to replace that with a ribbon that is not poly!)

I started out with a 20 yard role of linen from and it has turned into 2 regency petticoats, 2 pairs of transitional stays and 3 pairs of stays of this style. There is a gown and a shirt in the works with the 7 yards left. I did not make the petticoats or the transitional stays but just assisted :) I mention it because quite a bit of it was dyed another color with different Rit Dyes. It was cheaper to buy that much at once in white instead of getting a few yards of this and that and paying shipping several times. Who can decide on several projects all at once?! I will go into some more detail on how exactly that went with pictures in another post.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby Gifts

So, this is not a sewing project but fun none the less ;) Diaper "cakes" are one of our families favorite gifts to give - practical and a nice presentation. They are so simple to make and take very little time also.

We purchase the chargers (round tray) on sale after Christmas and the rubber bands used to wrap the diapers were purchased at the dollar store. I think we have made a dozen of these "cakes" and still not run out from the one bag! One package of diapers will do a nice size cake (we used size 3s here) and a bottle of baby lotion, powder or shampoo stablizies the whole thing in the middle. We bought large rolls of ribbon from Costco awhile back but you can do a cake with just a few yards.

A kind lady taught us how to make the bows ourselves but instructions can be found easily online. A few pins hold the ribbons and bow in place and it's done! I would guess that these cost about $15 or maybe $20 if everything isn't purchased on sale.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Linen stays

I have been working on these stays for the past few weeks. We are slowly (or maybe not so slowly?!) getting into 18th century living history so it is a very new and different realm for me. More hand sewing is involved and more linen. I love both but in moderation ;)

The J.P. Ryan pattern that I am using (more stays to come!) was quite overwhelming at first. The instructions are very detailed but they prove to be very helpful. I found all of the answers to my questions in the instructions and following each step, they went together quite well.

It did take much more time than I expected but in the end, I think it was all worth it. A word of advice though, if you ever do lots of hand sewing, learn to use a thimble!

My only regret is the tabs (funny looking things that stick out at the bottom). They are fun and different compared to mid-19th century corsets but rather odd to my civil war trained eye! They did not turn out as well as I would have liked so I am sure am glad this is not a dress or piece of outerwear!

Hand done eyelets, boning channels and binding........ I did as much as I could by machine but it did not turn out to be much compared to all that hand sewing!

I would like to make a linen shift or two eventually, but for right now, my civil war chemises will have to do!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Edwardian Apron

Isn't it nice when you can take a break in between the normal projects and make something for a friend? Even more so when it is for a special occasion like a birthday? Well, I had the privilege of that this week. I did not really plan on making it but I seem to like projects that are unplanned the most lately. T

This is an Edwardian apron modeled by my sister (although not the recipient!) and made with the Sense and Sensibility pattern. Believe it or not but this apron was pretty much free too. The fabric is a rather heavy upholstery fabric and was given to me a long time ago. It was from my third grade teacher when she was moving. Textiles really do have stories don't they? I made the binding using a canvas curtain because that is the only thing I had that would match! Hopefully, it will hold up well with the heavier fabrics used.

I really love this pattern because I can use one size and have it fit most anyone. I usually cut out the largest size (I think that would be a 16-18)and because of the ties/straps, anyone can fit into it provided that it is not too long. My sister, mom and I run the gamut on all sizes and the recipient is expecting. In theory, it fits the mother to be also but i will let you know how that goes too :)

Every time I make it, I always shorten it about 6 inches and it is still the perfect length for my 5'6" friend. I also took the idea for the ties/straps from the Girls Edwardian Apron pattern. As the pattern is, the straps always fall off your shoulders so I added these tabs in the back, made the straps and ties all one piece, cross them over and then it stays much better! If you ever try the pattern, try this change. You will like it :)

Picking out a coordinating ribbon proved the easiest part.

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

P.S.: I apologize for the funny layout on this post. i am still learning all this html stuff!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Simplicity 2926

I am so sorry this has taken so long! I did actually finish my own graduation dress but it has taken a while to get some pictures :) I used Simplicity 2926 and did not change it drastically at all. I really like it when patterns work well that way! I did end up slimming down the sleeves a bit because as they were, they kinda made me look like a quarter back. I also took in the waist area to fit it the way I wanted. Once again! Making a mock up first made all the difference! I also was a bit skeptical about the piping. I make piping all the time for 1860's clothing but I thought that it would just blend in so much with the fabric and not really matter. I was really wrong! It is really important for the dress construction and style of the dress and I think it makes all the difference.

I also have to thank my sister for this dress! She saw the fabric on the clearance at Joanns and knew I would like it! I think it cost less than $10 and with the zipper, the dress cost less than $15! I am really glad that I was able to make my own graduation dress for that amount of money because I know how much other girls sometimes spend. I have worn this dress for a few other occasions also and I am glad how versatile it is. I was not sure about using a quilter's cotton but I think the print lends its self well to clothing.

And the graduation dresses together for memories sake :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Friday, August 6, 2010

~A Housedress

My sister and I made this dress for my mom recently. Grammie helped us customize the pattern to fit my mom on our most recent trip up there. She taught us how to make sure the shoulders fit well for a more flattering fit. The skirt has gores to control the fullness. We also made sure that the neckline was big enough to slip on over her head. That way there is no messing with zippers and it really is an easy on, easy off dress!

We made the piping from some adorable light blue gingham and some thick yarn from Wal Mart! You have to do what you have to do when they do not carry the right color in stock! It is sometimes cheaper to make your own from scraps than buy it pre-made.

Over all, this dress cost less than $10 because the fabric was bought previously on sale, we did not need a zipper and the buttons were also bought on sale. You really cannot do better considering how well it fits.

Those of you who know my mother will not be surprised that since she liked it so much, she has plans for more. Lots more! Grammie told me how to change the pattern to make functional buttons all the way down the front and how to change the sleeves and neckline for different looks. All the fabrics were bought on sale so all 10 dresses should not be more than $100 together once it is all said and done. Not having to put in zippers really makes a huge difference. We bought a huge bag of white buttons when a small store had a sale and we get a lot of thread from yard sales and thrift stores. Always keep and eye out and it can really pay off!

ETA: Maria asked what pattern we used or if we drafted it. The short answer is that a pattern was used way back when but the existing pattern has been modified so many times that it really is not like the original pattern anymore! The good news is that you can make a dress like it very easily. All you need is a basic dress pattern that has darts and a basic sleeve. If you just raise the waistline and change the sleeves a bit and make the skirt gored, you have this dress! Omitting the zipper is quite simple too. All you have to do is make sure that the neckline is big enough to go over the head and that there is 3-4" of ease throughout the garment to get it over the shoulders and bust-line easily. I hope this helps! I can't promise, but there are thoughts of coming out with a pattern like this over at Practically Pretty. Drop Bettie Need a line and tell her that you would be interested :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How I make Quilts Part 2

Hello All,

See part one here.

I finally put together all of my "Sister's Choice" blocks and started laying them out. It has taken me some time since I usually only make a few segments a day or even week. Laying out all the blocks is the most gratifying part when it has taken so long!

Anyways, for most quilts that have a set design, you do not really need to lay anything out. Since I make so many scrap quilts though, without a real set plan, I enjoy laying the blocks out and figuring out where I want things to go. I like to make sure that there is not too much blue or red in a particular section and that there is not two blocks with the same fabric near each other. Those sorts of things are easier to figure out on the floor but might not be necessary for you depending on what style your quilt is.

After I have layed everything out, I then decide if the quilt needs a border and if it does, what fabric to use. You can see in the picture that I have some fabrics layed next to the blocks in the top right corner. I just go to my stash and lay things out until I find something that works. As you can see, I like to stand at the top of the stairs to get a birds eye view of what it will look like :) I find it to be easiest that way. I liked how a thin border and another wider one looked so I am going with that. I forgot to take a picture but I must have gone through a dozen options! Friends and family are great for this step too because I do find that it is a hard decision, especially with scrap quilts! Sometimes nothing seems to look right and more opinions are helpful. Thanks to those who helped me out! You know who you are :)

If you do not have a lot of fabrics at home to choose from and need to buy something from the store, I think I would still lay my blocks out and just try to imagine what would look best with it. I was fairly confident that a brown/cream/green combo of some sort would be "safe" but I also tried pinks and purples and other colors that were already in the blocks. If you have an idea of what might be "safe" you can probably find something that will work and you can always return it! You can also bring some blocks with you as I am sure the employees at the fabric store would love to see what you are working on!!! :D

Another option is to just not do a border or make a pieced border. I did a narrow white border and then a border with just a bunch of squares on the Irish Chain Quilt. More border hints and tips here.

I numbered the rows of the blocks and stacked them all up after I chose the border and now I will put them all together. After that I will put on the borders so stay tuned for another installment on how to make the quilt "sandwich"!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Apricot Jam

Life sure does get busy when the harvest is coming in! We are not able to have fruit trees on our property right now so the farmers around here have become good friends :) I was visiting my Grandparents while my mom did a half bushel worth of jam and when we got home, we helped her out on the second half. It really does go fast when you have lots of hands to help!

A friend gave us a recipe that does not add artificial pectin but takes advantage of the pectin that is already in the fruit. Next year we hope to experiment and make a jam that does not have any sugar. We are always trying to make things more healthy ;)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn