Friday, December 30, 2011

Pattern Review - McCalls 5525

I'm thinking of making another dressy winter coat or jacket.  So, I figured I'd bust out my pattern review from the last coat I made.

As much as I LOVE this pattern, if I do make another coat, I may use another pattern in my stash... I'm still undecided.
Check out my original post for when this coat was completed.

Here's my review for McCalls 5525:

Pattern Description: Women's lined jackets and coats

Pattern Sizing: I cut a size 8, and made view B

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, pretty close.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were easy to follow, except I had a lot of troubles sewing the back vent. (I think it was user error though )

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved almost everything about this pattern. The only thing I would change is to make the pockets larger.

Fabric Used: Gabardine

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I already am planning on sewing it again, but in a different view. I would HIGHLY recommend this pattern.

Conclusion: Overall, this pattern was very easy to follow and I can't wait to sew it again!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pacifier clips

Almost a year ago I saw a tutorial for pacifier clips on Running With Scissors blog.  I thought they were so cute so of course I bookmarked the page and put it on my "to do" project list.  They can be used for a lot of other things too, not just pacifiers!
My clips are slightly different than her tutorial, but it's the same idea.

Update:  My sewing machine is still broken... I'll be taking it to a different repair shop tomorrow.  Fingers crossed! 

On a side note, I started crocheting a blanket.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pattern Review - McCalls 8524

It's a good time of year for a robe (at least here... it's getting cold!).  Here's a look at the original post I wrote about the mens robe I made for Hubby several months ago using McCalls pattern 8524.

Here's my pattern review:

Pattern Description: Men's Sleepwear (Robe, nightshirt, shorts, pants)
I sewed View A which is the longer length of the loose fitting wrap robe.

Pattern Sizing: S, M, L
I cut a Medium

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy to follow

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked how quick and easy it was, I did not like the amount of hand sewing it suggested doing (I used my machine instead)

Fabric Used: flannel

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't do any hand sewing on this pattern. I finished off all of the edging and cuffs by turning them under and sewing them with a straight stitch on my machine, which went pretty quickly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, if I had a reason to sew another men's robe, I would use this pattern again. It was really quick and easy, and my husband really likes how it turned out. I might give the pants or shorts pattern a try sometime.
I would definately recommend this pattern to others.

Conclusion: This pattern is great for beginners, or just as a simple project if you're looking for something that doesn't require much thought. The robe I made turned out like the pattern envelope picture, and according to my husband is very comfortable.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

3 step Christmas centerpiece

Here's a quick, easy and cheap Christmas centerpiece idea.  Chances are you already have everything you need to make this!

Candle (in a jar) - Mine is evergreen scented
Flat bottomed tray (or bowl with a large flat portion in the center)
Christmas ornaments
Gift wrapping ribbon

I ended up buying a new black tray for my centerpiece.  It was only a few bucks at Hobby Lobby, in the party section.


1) Set your candle jar on the center of the tray and make sure it is stable.

 2) Add a few ornaments around the base of the candle jar (I used a package of 6 red glitter ornaments from my collection)

3) Cut long strips of wrapping paper ribbon and drape them over the ornaments.  I didn't curl the ribbons, they had a natural "large curl" just from coming off of the roll.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pattern Review - McCalls 3777 tree skirt

I actually made this tree skirt last year but never posted my pattern review on here. 

After an almost 2 year search for tree skirts that both Hubby & I liked, we turned up empty handed.  Not that there weren't pretty tree skirts at the stores, it's just that we had different ideas of "pretty" and we didn't want to spend a fortune. 

So, I finally pulled the McCalls 3777 (A Blue Christmas) pattern out of my collection, Hubby found some cute coordinating fabric and about an hour later we finally had the tree skirt we'd been looking for.  I'm not sure why we didn't just make one sooner haha.

Anyways, here's my pattern review for McCall's 3777

Pattern Description: A variety of patterns for Christmas decorations, including: ornaments, stockings, and a tree skirt.

I made the tree skirt, which is view K

Pattern Sizing: One size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy to follow

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This pattern was very simple and well laid out.

Fabric Used: Cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The pattern has options for adding beaded snowflakes, which I skipped because I chose a busy printed fabric.

It also suggests adding trim between the two fabrics on the top of the skirt, which I skipped. I didn't feel that adding trim in my particular case (with the fabric I used) would have added much to the overall appearance (although I did purchase trim with the intensions of using it).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I HIGHLY recommend this pattern to others. And, if I ever make another tree skirt I would definitely use this pattern again.

This pattern was a quick sew (it maybe took an hour or two?) and very easy to follow. It would be great for beginners.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pattern Review McCall's 5538

After a long 3 weeks, I got my sewing machine back from getting repaired.  Unfortunately it wasn't fully fixed, and will have to be sent in again.  While that's getting figured out, I'll be posting pattern reviews for things I've sewn in the past. 

I'll also be pulling my other machine out of the closet soon.  It has been too long since my last sewing project!

Awhile back, I sewed McCall's 5538 View A for my Hubby, and View C for myself (but gave it to Hubby... since it fits him better)  Check out the first, and middle stages of making view A, and my original post on making View C

Here's my pattern review:

Pattern Description: Unisex unlined top or jacket pattern, including a pocket with velcro closures on the sleeve which could hold an MP3 player. The top features a partial zipper.

Pattern Sizing: S, M, L
I've read that the sizing for this pattern runs big, but did not run into this problem when making a top for my Husband. I cut a medium (view A) for him and it fits how he likes it.
I did think the sizing was too big for me though, and cut slightly smaller than the size small in View C. 

Possibly it runs large for ladies but average for men? 
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes (except I didn't sew the pocket on the sleeve)

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not as easy as I would have expected. I got stuck on step 7. The picture and description of the step just were not working for me. So, after going to bed and having a fresh look at it the next day, I think I figured it out.

After that though, I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary steps in the pattern that I skipped. I basically stopped looking at the instructions after getting through step 7.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like how quickly it is sewn (and it will only get faster in the future now that I've got the instructions down!)

I did not like some of the pattern instructions/pictures. But, it may have just been me having one of those days....

Fabric Used: Fleece

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't sew the pocket onto the sleeve. I stopped following the directions about half way through, but other than the pocket I think everything else turned out the same.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, if I had reason to, I've already sewn it twice (view A and C). It's a very versatile pattern and is pretty fast to sew. (these jackets/tops could also be made into vests if you just finish off the arm holes instead of attaching the sleeves)

Conclusion: I liked the pattern, although I had some struggles with the directions. Once I figured out what was going on it seemed pretty obvious/easy, but it took awhile to get there. I didn't end up following the last half of the directions because there were a lot of steps I felt were unnecessary and time consuming. I also did not sew the pocket onto the sleeve.

I would use this pattern again, but for ladies, would cut a size (or two) smaller than normal.
Basically, the pieces and final outcome of this pattern are great. The pattern instructions could be better.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pattern Review McCall's 4745

Here's the original post for this completed costume.

Here's my pattern review:

Pattern Description: Men's Civil War Costumes  (I used view A as it slightly resembled the uniform Prince William wore on his wedding day and I was making this as a Halloween costume)

Pattern Sizing: S, M, L
I cut a Medium

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I made it in red and added several extra details to make it look like a Royal Wedding uniform for Halloween.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Not really.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that the pattern also included pants (although I only cut the pants and did not finish sewing them). I'm not a fan of the button fly, but it makes sense for being a costume for that period.

I did not like the directions. Honestly, after a bit of frustration I just folded up the instructions and did what made sense.

I also did not like the shoulders! I read other reviews about this and completely agree. I tried sewing the sleeves on as the pattern called just to see how "gathered" the sleeves really were. They were VERY gathered. I tried smoothing things out with the sleeves and it looked a little better, but they didn't lay quite right.

Fabric Used: Cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The shoulders were gathered so I tried making them regular.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew it again, but would ignore the directions right away next time! I also would cut the sleeves differently from the start to prevent the gathering instead of trying to fix it later.

I would recommend this, but not for beginners. Just be aware that the directions are less than helpful and be prepared to go it alone!

Conclusion: The directions weren't very helpful, but the pattern turns out well if you just do what makes sense. But, the shoulders are gathered, so make changes to the sleeves before getting started if that's not the look you're going for.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I mentioned in my last post about the cornucopia I made for Thanksgiving.  I saw the idea on the website and knew I had to give it a try.  I only ended up using 2 cans of the bread sticks, and did not use the water nor egg that the recipe called for.  Just plain old bread stick dough did the trick.

Here's how mine looked:

Then it was ready for the oven.  After it was done, I let it cool and then pulled the foil out.  Finally, I filled it with fruit and veggies and put it on a platter with other bread.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving & updates

Hubby is working over the weekend, so we celebrated our Thanksgiving today!  It seemed weird making the dinner since only a month ago I made turkey, stuffing, gravy, & pies for Hubby's work to celebrate Canada's Thanksgiving.

Between the two Thanksgivings and all the Christmas decor at the stores (that's been there since June), I've got my months and holidays all mixed up!

Here's a look at what Hubby & I will be eating every meal for the next 2 weeks: 

I saw directions on how to make a cornucopia out of bread on the website, and had to give it a try.  It was pretty fun to make, and would be cute for a bigger celebration.  Hubby didn't know what a cornucopia was, so he didn't understand why I thought it was cool, haha.

Hopefully back to sewing soon!

Update on my sewing machine & computer:
*  Sewing machine = still in the shop (hopefully it'll be back soon??)
* Laptop = didn't have a virus.  The nasty stuff that was happening (that made me think it was a virus) turned out to be my hard drive frying :(  I finally got the computer back today, with a new hard drive.  They tried restoring my old data (aka my life, since I'm addicted to my computer) and didn't think it worked!  I'm beyond horrified.  Some of my  data was backed up, but it's been awhile since I did that last.
* I'm still organizing while in the absence of 2 of my favorite things.  If I don't get my sewing machine back soon though, I'm busting out the backup :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


My sewing machine is in the shop for repairs, AND my laptop has a wicked virus.  I really hope my files can be recovered! 

I guess this gives me a good chance to get some other projects done around the house.  The last several months things piled up around here since I spent much of my spare time sewing Halloween costumes and Hubby's schedule has been insane.

So, I'm back to organizing my house and forcing myself to finish unpacking my "random junk" boxes that have been sitting for over a year.

I hope to be up and running soon with sewing, but wasn't given any idea when my machine would be done.  We'll see... I may start posting about organizing :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011 - William & Kate costumes COMPLETE!

Here are some pics of our William and Kate Halloween costumes!

William & Kate Royal Wedding Halloween costumes

Kate Middleton Wedding gown Halloween costume

Ideally I would have had the lace closer together at the buttons but I ran out of time (and trying to fit this on myself would have taken forever), since it's only a Halloween costume, I was OK with leaving this as is.

Check out these posts to see how I made the satin and lace parts of the bodice, the skirt, and how it was sewn together.

I also have a list of key accessories for the costume as well as tutorials on making the bouquet and petticoat.

Prince William Wedding day Halloween costume

Check out this post for details on the pattern I used to make the Prince William costume. (I didn't have time to make the black pants I cut out) You can also see how I sewed the top and bottom part of the coat as well as the details on the sleeves. Later, I sewed some patches onto the uniform and made a sash. Hubby helped make the belt.

Since I messed up my sewing machine before finishing our costumes, there are a few details I didn't get around to adding to the costumes. If we wear them again I'll add them, if not, oh well!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding final touches


It's official. My sewing machine is in for repairs. With the unexpected loss of my machine the day before our costumes needed to be done I had a lot of hand sewing ahead of me. (for several reasons, I opted to not use my spare)

Unfortunately that meant that I couldn't do all of the details I planned on for our costumes. At least not in time. I also didn't have Hubby's pants made by that point, so he wore a pair of black dress pants instead.

Some of the details couldn't be skipped though, such as adding the buttons on the back of the wedding gown, since that closure was necessary for the lace above the zipper. (of course I added them over the zipper too so it didn't look weird) The picture below shows the buttons and loops being added before sewing the lace in place.

I have no idea if I did the buttons "correctly" but it works, and I used what I had on hand.

Anyways, the pictures Hubby & I took in our costumes all turned out blurry for some reason. So, we'll probably take a few more tomorrow, which I will post soon!

To check out more posts (lots of details) about how I made our costumes, click on the "William and Kate" tab on the side of my blog, or "Wedding gown" if you're just interested in Kate's dress.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Uniform details

Only 1 day left until I need these costumes done!! (Wow, I thought I had more time) Of course I somehow messed up my sewing machines tension and am not sure if I can fix it or not, ugh.

To check out the progress of our William and Kate costumes, click on the "William and Kate" label on the side of my blog.

Anyways, on to the details of Hubby's Prince William costume.

I searched everywhere for little gold buttons that would work for the coat front and sleeves. Unfortunately, I needed around 20 matching buttons and could only find 12 or so. So, I ended up buying some silver buttons in the same style and painting them with metallic gold paint.

To make the details on the sleeves of his uniform, I cut out felt (in the shape below) and added white piping.

Next, I hand sewed black and white cording onto the felt in the pattern shown below.

But wait, the details are supposed to be black and yellow (I couldn't find yellow cording at the store) So, out came my favorite art supplies: the puffy paint. I used a paint brush to carefully paint all of the white cording yellow.

Then, I added some of the buttons that I painted gold. Now it's ready to go onto the costume!

I really hope I can get my machine up and running again. I'm not the quickest at hand sewing...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Uniform progress 2

After sewing the top part of Hubby's Prince William Halloween costume, I started working on the bottom part. Once that was sewn together and lined, I attached the top and bottom portions of the coat (no pics of that yet though), followed by a lot of hand sewing to get the lining in throughout.

Now that the coat is complete, well as far as the pattern goes, it's time to get to making the details that make it more like Prince William's uniform.

First of all, I cut black fabric to sew at the base of each sleeve. Using that fabric to determine the width, I cut black felt into the shape shown below. There will be one of those felt pieces on each sleeve.

To decorate the felt, I needed white piping and black cording. But, most importantly I needed yellow cording. I went to an insane amount of stores looking for the kind of cording that would be most similar (and least expensive) and ended up buying some from Hobby Lobby. However they only carried it in black and white.

Even though I was 99.9% sure that dye would not take to this cording, I went ahead and bought the white stuff anyways, and a pack of yellow dye.

The yellow color it turned out was perfect for what I needed. But, I still didn't get my hopes up. When I went to rinse the cording out after dying it, all the dye washed down the drain and my cord was stark white again. LOL. So, on to the new method.... painting it. I need to pick up a better yellow paint from the store, mine are too bright.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Uniform progress

I've only got a few days left to get Hubby's Prince William (wedding day) Halloween costume done, eek! It'll get done though :)

For Hubby's costume, I'm using the McCall's Costumes pattern M4745 and making views A & D. I read a lot of reviews AFTER purchasing the pattern, and of course most of the reviewers said it was quite complicated. I agree. It actually isn't a difficult sew, but the instructions just aren't so great. So, if you're going to sew this costume, I'd suggest you fold up the directions and just do what makes sense. Oh, and unless you want gathered sleeves, you may want to make adjustments to the pattern beforehand.

This coat pattern is very fitted, so thankfully Hubby was kind enough to try it on for me at different stages of sewing.

It's a little hard to see, but the back of the coat has princess seams:

Checking to make sure the sleeves would still be long enough (I made adjustments to mine after cutting them out, so they weren't gathered)

Before sewing the sleeves on, I added little flap things (see below, what are they called??) on the top of the shoulders like Prince Williams uniform had.

After everything was sewn together for the top portion of the coat (and fit Hubby correctly) it was time to move on to sewing the bottom of the coat!

To check out more of the process of making our Royal Wedding day William and Kate Halloween costumes, click on the label "William and Kate" on the side of my blog. There are lots of details for both costumes, there's still time to make your own!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - bouquet

Another accessory I decided to make for our Royal Wedding Halloween costumes was a bridal bouquet.

Although I was hoping to find silk flowers of the actual types used in Kate Middleton's bouquet (sweet William, lily-of-the-valley, myrtle & hyacinth) I had no such luck. So, I just bought some silk leaves and little white flowers and went with it. I adore how much meaning went into every detail of William and Kate's actual wedding though *sigh*, how perfect.

Anyways, I ended up with 2 stems each of 2 different white flowers and one stem of leaves. I already had some floral wire and tape on hand (though I didn't end up using the wire).

I cut the flower stems apart and started bundling them (not knowing how large I'd be making this bouquet) and taping them together.

Then I added some leaves, then more flowers and went back and forth arranging the stems while taping more into the bouquet.

About 10 minutes later, this is what I ended up with, which for costume purposes works just fine:

Here's the side view:

I bent a couple of the long stems around to make a handle for the bouquet and wrapped them in floral tape.

To see more posts on the making of our William and Kate Halloween costumes, click on the "William and Kate" label on the side of my blog. There are quite a few instructions (especially for making the wedding gown) and they're fun DIY costumes.

For a link to other essential accessories for the wedding day "Princess Kate" costume, check out this post

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Prince William costume pt 1

If you've been following along with my blog, you know that Hubby & I are going as the lovely William and Kate, Royal wedding style, for Halloween this year.

For a recap on the making of Kate's dress click these links: the petticoat, satin part of the bodice, skirt, sewing the dress and skirt together, and making the lace part of the bodice. This costume is almost done, I just need to get to the store to pick up more buttons first!

Hubby picked out the fabric & pattern (McCall's Costumes M4745) which will work well to make the base of Prince William's uniform. I'll be making views A & D. View A is the coat, which I will make in red and add white piping. I will make view D, the pants, in black with a red stripe on the sides.

Of course there is much more decorating that will go into the costume after the base is made.

Here I have all the fabric cut out, which took forever! (good thing for watching old TV-show re-runs in the background)

And here, are the items I will "decorate" the costume with. I have a plan in my head for all of this... I just hope it works out!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Lace on bodice

My wedding day Kate Middleton Halloween costume is well under way! Here's a recap on the making of the petticoat, satin part of the bodice, and skirt.

Now, lets take a look at how the lace part of the top was made.

I based the lace layer of the bodice off of McCalls pattern 6120 instead of attempting it on my own, to prevent damage to the lace from unnecessary alterations.

To do this, I traced the McCalls pattern onto a large piece of paper and made these adjustments:
1) Made the front into 1 piece (a v-neck cut on the fold)
2) Made the back come up higher
3) Lengthened the sleeves
4) Pointed the sleeves at the wrists
5) Cut the back into 2 panels, as it will be buttoned instead

Below is a look at some of the pattern pieces:
(the sleeve pattern is on front)

Here's the front and back panels pinned on the dress form:

Once everything was sewn together (with a zig-zag stitch), I turned the lace inside out and lined it up on the dress form. Then, I pinned 2 darts on the front, making it more fitted.

I sewed the darts in place, then moved on to the sleeves.

The sleeves needed to be taken in a lot:

Fitting a sleeve on yourself is a time consuming task. But, with the sleeves inside out, I slowly pinned where they needed to be taken in.

Here the sleeve fits nicer, but there is still more room than I'd like at the wrist. So, I will likely be adding buttons there later to make it more fitted... we'll see.

Once everything was fitting right I trimmed the fabric close to the seams, and flipped it right side out. I pinned the lace layer over the satin bodice on my dress form and tacked them together at the seams.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween 2011 - Royal Wedding - Sewing the dress together

Now that the satin part of the bodice and skirt are done for my Royal wedding Halloween costume, it's time to sew them together.

I lined the pieces up on my dress form to see how everything looked (with the help of my feline assistant). Then, tried it on to make sure the placement worked on me before getting started.

I ended up fixing the pleats on the back of the skirt since the photo above was taken. They just weren't laying right.

On the picture below, I've got the bodice pinned to the skirt. (remember, for this dress, the shiny side of the fabric is the "wrong side")

Here it is sewn together:

Then, I added an ivory, invisible zipper in the back and pinned the bottom of the dress where I thought the hem should go.

I tried everything on and made some adjustments and was ready to move on to the lace!