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 fabric-store.com 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