Wednesday, March 16, 2011

... birthday banner

I'm working on a sewing project for a friend at the mo that's taking a bit of time, so I don't have a lot to post. But today I realized it was about time to take down my birthday banner (more than a month after my birthday), and I thought, gosh-darn it, it was cute. So I thought I'd throw up a quick post about making it.

Flag banners - so hot right now.

Is it lame to make your own birthday banner? It might be. It's at least lame-adjacent. But it was a big birthday for me ("venerable, but not at all matronly" is how George described it on the party invite. You can guess the number). I wanted an excuse to make a cute flag banner anyway! And here's how I did it:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

... lining for an old steamer trunk

While George and I were out for a run last summer, I spotted a sweet old steamer trunk at yard sale. We stopped and asked the yard sale proprietor if we could come back in a bit and buy it. We (quite literally) ran home and got some cash and the car - $12 later, it was ours (the yard sale lady threw in a little oil painting I liked for free - I love yard sales).

Hello, storage!

We are always looking for more storage in our little apartment, so this was a huge score. But before we could actually store things in it, it needed a little interior rehab. The originally lining was torn to the point of being unsalvageable and it smelled MUSTY.

Before: old lining, smelled like basement.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

... plaid skirt (with mixed results)

Spring is coming, and like most people in the Northeast, I'm viscerally longing for warmer weather. The stores are starting to carry spring clothes, the runways are showing fall clothes which really seems like jumping the gun, and I'm itching to make some light, breezy dresses and skirts for the warmer temps.

But I have unfinished business, before the cold weather is gone for the year: this black plaid fabric that I bought almost three years ago. Every winter since, I've meant to do something with it - preferably before black plaid fabric goes out of season. And every year I've never gotten around to it. So before I bought any cotton lawn or planned any sundresses, I was determined to use. that. fabric.

The fabric wasn't really inspiring me on its own, so I decided to copy a J. Crew wool skirt that I liked:

Photo from
Photo from

Cute, right? You don't have to like it. No judgement. Anyway, getting the folds "right" was pretty tricky - I say "right" because I don't think I entirely succeeded.

Attempt #5 or #6

The result (please excuse the quality of the pictures! I seem to be getting worse at taking them):

side view

This, my friends, is a solid Meh at best. The fabric (which is not wool, but sort of a medium-weight woven business) didn't really want to cooperate and I didn't get the draping quite right. The back looks better than the front, which is not generally what you're going for in a skirt. Would it have been way easier (and quicker) to just make a simple A-line skirt? Uh, yes. But it's good to try something new. Even if it doesn't work out, you usually learn something. And honestly I'm just glad I finally used that fabric. I can move on!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Buying fabric for a project can be tricky. Nine times out of ten, when I go into a fabric store (or on a website) with a specific type of print or texture in mind, I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. Other times, I find fabric that I love, but don't have a use for at the moment. Then the question becomes, do I just buy some of it and think of a use later? But then, how much do I get, not knowing how I'm going to use it?

Well, those two circumstances collided for me last weekend, when I couldn't find a fabric for a project I'm working on for a friend (the result of which I will hopefully share at a later date), but I did come into the possession of this lovely peacock feather-patterned twill:

It's a nice medium-weight twill, bit of sheen with a good stretch and it was dirt-cheap - about $4/yd.  SO, I bought the rest of the bolt - about 4 yards. And now, what to do with it? I love the pattern - although I wish it wasn't a black background, which always reads kind of dressy to me. I have a ton of it, so I have plenty for any project - except if I wanted to like, cover a couch, which is not my plan (I don't think).

A little black strapless peacock dress? A little jacket? A bag? Suggestions???

OK, I can't resist - this was about 10 seconds after I took the pictures of the fabric:

This is why I need a sewing room. With a door.