flowered birthday tote

I know lots of people with birthday in September (including me!) and one of them just happens to be my sister-in-law, Jessica. I wanted to make her a girly tote bag as a present.

I had a home dec weight remnant from Hobby Lobby that looked much more brown than green while rolled up. I kept forgetting it had a green background; it was prettier than I remembered. The scale of the flowers worked well on this tote.

This side has a pink flower and the other side features a white flower.

I used the same technique that I used to make this tote bag, except I used cotton webbing for the handles instead of making them myself. I considered doing another line of topstitching at the very top to keep the handles in line, but they stood up well enough without the additional stitching.

Here’s a peek at the inside. French seams again, and I did the top the same way.

I have another home dec remnant of gray chevrons on cream to make a tote for myself, but I need to buy some more cotton webbing for the straps.

I hope Jess likes her birthday present!


welcome baby Levi!

So my friend Christine just had a baby. She’d asked me to make her a nursing cover months ago, but it took awhile for us to get together on the measurements. Then I moved. So last weekend (four days after baby Levi arrived on the scene) I decided it was high time I started it. It hardly took any time to make, leaving me feeling more guilty for putting it off so long.

I had everything I needed already. Awesome purple and green fabric, which just so happened to be the colors the new mom requested; purple thread; D-rings salvaged from a yard sale belt; and cable ties in place of boning.

I gotten the idea of cable ties from Cation Designs and we’d just bought a pack of cable ties for the apartment. They made the shape I wanted, and hopefully they’ll hold up through the mail. I just hand-stitched them together with some thread.

Here’s the finished project.

I used this tutorial, but there are lots of different versions out there. This is just the one that suited Christine, who was looking for one like the Hooter Hiders. I used a quilting cotton and added six inches on both sides. I also put the D-rings in before I attached the strap to the body instead of inserting them at the end.

I kept trying it on as I went so I could check the functionality. Plus it looks totally different when a person is wearing it than it does hanging up. The part that is supposed to stick out does, so it should work!

This pattern also has two pockets in the bottom corners. If I made it again I’d make them bigger since they seemed like something could easily fall out of the pocket.

I’ve completed a number of refashions since I’ve moved (just slacking on photo-taking), and finished another gift this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates!

spring 1974 in patterns

So here are the photos from the Simplicity 1974 catalog I promised awhile back. The pre-move yard sale was successful. I’ve now moved and settled in, and my craft area is set up and ready to go. I still need to photograph a number of recently completed projects, but I have been sewing and have a number of things to share.

Now back to the 70s. This opening spread looks pretty dated, like shag carpet, orange polyester pants, and lava lamps. (My apologies to lava lamp fans.)

But on the following page is this spread which, with the exception of the boxy jacket and “is it a skirt or shorts?” combo, looks like it could be in a magazine today. Polka dots, contrast stitching, and waist belts? I’d go for it. Not to mention the wrap dress is a gorgeous shade of blue. Even though these pieces are for spring, I can see the two on the ends working well in fall. The dress at center left is a little summery.

This ad still rings true today!

But this Pfaff ad takes the cake. They have matching hair! and that beard!

They could have used that Pfaff to make themselves some matching unisex shirts.

In this case, I think unisex means not flattering for men OR women.

On the other hand, I think this dress would be incredibly flattering. Love the zipper.

I think my favorite out of the whole catalog is this one. The chambray version rocks. I love the pleating, contrast stitching, and belting it at the waist.

This is another one of my favorites. Especially in that polka dot border print.

Here are some girls’ peplum tops with peter pan collars that are enjoying at least a second go-round today. The expression on purple pants girl’s face is kind of saucy, but I wouldn’t go for pleated cuffed wide leg trousers…

And one of the last ads in the catalog:

With all the blogs and help available on the internet today, it’s getting easier for sure (check out Craftsy for example). I’m not designing my own dresses yet, and I wouldn’t say the things I sew look “professional” except to non-sewers, but with every piece I sew I hope to get a little closer to my goals.

If you have any questions about patterns in this catalog or details on pattern numbers or specifications, let me know and I’ll be happy to look it up for you! I’m hoping to use it as a resource to find vintage patterns I want to look for online.