May 31, 2012

making a swimsuit: mission (sort of) accomplished

Remember the swimsuit I was planning on making for the "I Will Wear it in Public" sewing challenge that ends May 31?  Well I finished my suit last night and am posting about it May 31--nothing like waiting until the last possible minute.  The rules of the challenge:

  1. The theme of this challenge is to sew any garment that YOU will be proud enough to wear in public. 
  2. This is a sewing challenge so machine or hand sewing is a required element in your entry.
  3. You must make a new garment for this challenge.  
  4. Upcycling and refashioning of existing garments is acceptable and long as you follow the second guideline.
  5. Don't confuse garments with accessories like hats, scarves, belts, etc.
  6. You must try something new when creating your garment.  That's where the "challenge" part comes into play, right?  Maybe you've never used a pattern, or sewn with knits, or installed a zipper.  Here's your chance!
  7. It's not mandatory, but please take a few minutes to get know your fellow participants.  Check out their blogs, facebook pages, pinterest boards, etc.  We're all in this together so let's show some support!
The new things I tried while making my swimsuit:
  1. Making a swimsuit. :)
  2. Modifying/altering an existing commercial pattern.
  3. Sewing with spandex/swimwear fabric.
  4. Using sew-in elastic.
  5. Using sew-in breast cups which I just now realized after looking at the picture on the box that I sewed the stupid things in UPSIDE DOWN!
  6. Using my serger for something other than finishing the raw edges of fabric before I pre-wash it.
  7. Using a twin needle for hemming and sewing down the elastic--it worked amazingly well!
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It took three tries, but I finally made a pair of bottoms that fit well.  If I make another suit, I'd make the bottoms a smidge bigger in the butt and a bit narrower between the legs.  The top fits fairly well, but it's got some issues.  I'd like more gathering across the front (it just looks wrinkled and not gathered), and I really don't care for how the bust area looks.  (Do you think sewing the breast cups in upside down has anything to do with that?)  If I make another suit, I'd probably try a different style top that is more flattering to my (non-existant) figure.  But it's done!  Now, time to pack up the spandex and get back to quilting. :)  And I can't believe I'm doing this, but here are pictures of me in my homemade swimsuit.
Okay, it doesn't look too bad from the back. 

Hmm, the top could use some adjustments.
Sorry for the poorly lit indoor pictures.  It's cloudy and only 50 degrees today!

May 26, 2012

teacher gifts

My son "graduated" from pre-kindergarten last week. I used to think the whole pre-k graduation was kind of odd. Hats and diplomas to celebrate the normal progression from pre-K to kindergarten? Then I had a child and realized it's a big deal. He's gone to the same daycare since he was 6 weeks old so we'll miss everyone there.
 (Isn't he cute?)

I am so amazed at how much he learned this past year. Besides knowing the letters and writing his name, he can count to 100--is that even normal for a 5-year old? His teachers have been wonderful and I thought they deserved a special little gift.

There are so many great teacher gift ideas out there. I was inspired by this berry basket gift and this flower-themed gift. I purchased the flower pots at Target for $1. I added flower-themed Bath & Body Works products--a small shower gel and lotion and a hand sanitizer. They were on sale and cost about $7.50 per gift. (Mental note to stock up on the small sizes during their semi-annual sale when you can get the shower gel and lotion for $1 each.) I was going to print up a cute tag but ran short on time and just stamped a "thank you" tag. I clipped the tag to the flower pot with a binder clip tied with a cute ribbon. I also wrote a personalized thank you note on a cute piece of scrapbook paper.  They were a hit!

May 25, 2012

giveaway day winners!

The Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day winners of the mini shopping bags are:


I'll be contacting you by e-mail.  Congratulations and thanks to everybody who stopped by my blog and entered!

May 21, 2012

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day {May 2012}

It's Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day! I missed out last time but today I am giving away 2 lovely mini shopping bags to 2 lucky winners. The bags are made from a Michelle (formerly KeykaLou) pattern. The pattern comes with instructions for making the same bag in three different sizes. These bags are the small size and the finished dimensions are approximately 12" x 10" x 4" (30 x 25 x 10 cm). The outer fabric of both bags is Sugar Creek and Winding Road by Denyse Schmidt. The inside of one bag is Kona Peacock and the other bag is pink (I believe it is also Kona but am not sure of the exact color). These bags are perfect for holding a few items from a quick shopping trip.  They also make great lunch bags which is what I use mine for.  (And no, you cannot have my Angry Birds fruit snacks or Girl Scout Cookies--they are for demonstration purposes only!)

  • Giveaway is open to US residents.
  • To be entered, simply leave a comment on this post. Not sure what to say?  A few suggestions:  tell me where you're going on your summer vacation, suggestions for activities to keep the kiddos occupied this summer, your go-to handmade gift, or a link to your favorite recipe or your favorite tutorial.    
  • Comments will close on May 25 at 7pm EST and the winner notified by e-mail.
  • If you are a no-reply blogger, please be sure to leave an e-mail address in your comment. If I can't easily get in touch with you, I will select a new winner. 
Good luck!

May 14, 2012

making a swimsuit

Back in January I decided I was done wearing ill-fitting, unflattering, store-bought swimsuits.  I can sew so I figured it would be easy enough to make my own even though I'm a little intimidated by sewing with knit/stretch fabric.  I ordered swimsuit fabric from  (Not a lot to choose from in January but I did find a cute floral print that was inexpensive so it won't be too tragic if I ruin it.)  I pulled out the patterns I purchased a few years ago.  I pinned some inspiration suits.  I posted my plans on my Facebook and told everybody at work I was making a swimsuit.  Then I did nothing for 4 months.  Typical me.  People at work started asking how the swimsuit was coming along.  Umm, it wasn't. Fortunately, I found out about Rikka's "I Will Wear it in Public" sewing challenge which was just the motivation I needed. (Unfortunately, it's already May 14 so I'm running out of time!)  I am using a swimsuit pattern--McCall's 5400--and the top middle view (white suit) is my starting point:
I'm using the pattern to get the basic shape of the suit right but I'm making a lot of modifications to the swimsuit top.  I want a more "retro" suit so I'm adding gathers along the sides.  I'll also make the top longer so there's more coverage and maybe add a ruffle to the bottom.  I don't think I'll add the tie on the front but maybe some sort of gathering instead?  I made a trial pair of bottoms a few weeks ago and realized I need to line the entire suit even though the pattern didn't say to.  If I don't, I won't be able to wear it in public!

May 11, 2012

looking for an "I spy" fabric swap?

I know I said I wasn't doing any more fabric swaps.  But then I joined the Fabric Swap Finder on flickr.  And there was a boy/girl "I spy" fabric swap.  And I just happened to have suitable boy/girl "I spy" fabrics in my stash.  Because I'm NOT buying any more fabric. :)  There are still spots open, so come join the fun!  You'll get my contributions which are this awesome "boy" fabric:

And this awesome "girl" fabric:

(Hey--it's got flowers--it's "girl" fabric.)

Not convinced?  Check out the other cute fabrics in the flickr group.

May 6, 2012

simple things Sunday

One of the blogs I follow (simple as that) hosts a weekly link party to celebrate simple moments that bring us joy each week.  I'm not a great photographer so I rarely have great photos to share.  I've also become increasingly lazy about taking photos.  (It's amazing how many pictures I have of my son's baby and toddler years.  He's 5 years old now and I swear there are months I take no pictures of him!) Yesterday he was outside coloring with sidewalk chalk and I snapped this:
I love having a beautiful sidewalk to look at thanks to my artistic little boy. When I'm not wanting to go to work, opening the garage door to see a pretty driveway always brightens my day!

May 2, 2012

just three {May}

It's May so it's time for 3 more goals with traceyjay quilts!

traceyjay quilts

First, a review of progress on my April goals:
  1. Give machine binding a try and bind my rainbow Road Trip Quilt.  Done!
  2. Finish hand sewing a binding on a quilt.  So not done.  Now that I tried and succeeded with machine binding, hand binding seems dreadfully awful.
  3. Add borders to a Central Park disappearing nine patch panel and make the quilt sandwich.  I ended up finishing the whole quilt!  (This makes up for not completing goal #2, right?)
For May:
  1. Make a quilt with my polka dot pinwheel blocks.
  2. Sandwich, quilt and bind another quilt top that's been sitting in the pile for over a year.
  3. Make at least one simple strip quilt top using fabrics from my stash.  I'm making good on a goal to donate some blankets to Project Linus.