Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wristlet Clutch Purses w/ Vintage Trim

When someone knows you sew, you automatically are the recipient for lots of related paraphernalia. 'A box of my grandmother's old fabric', 'some patterns I was given for free at a flee market', some vintage trim samplers...

There's not a lot you can do with 8 or less inches of trim, but turns out it's a good length for decorating a little clutch/wristlet purse. Simple enough design to draft up. Just a single pocket purse, with contrast band, lining, interfaced with quilt batting, zipper, and strap.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Go Ask Alice: A Wonderland Quilt

My friend got me some cute Kawaii Alice in Wonderland fabric for my birthday a... couple (?) years ago... 

Anyway, I had acquired some coordinating fabrics, and started working on this quilt... over a year ago. I had the top all pieced, sandwiched the quilt and started quilting it, but became extremely frustrated by lack of cooperation with sewing machine/quilt, etc... the stitching wasn't falling completely 'in the ditch' (for those not familiar with quilting parlance, this refers to stitching along the seam lines, so that the stitches actually sink into the seam/disappear). For some odd reason, I think because the way they had you press the seams versus how (the pattern) I chose to quilt it, it was frustratingly difficult to get the stitching to lie in the ditch.

So, I walked away (aka folded it up and set it aside) for a year. Finally pulled it out and finished it up!

Does anyone have any recommendations for taking photos of quilts? I can't ever seem to get good ones to show the entire top of the quilt. I've tried hanging them on clotheslines (but the wind blows them around or I can't get a good angle). I've also tried just laying them out on the floor and taking an overhead shot, but again I can't seem to get a straight-on angle, and then it looks all wonky, even when it's actually nicely square. I also have major lighting issues with a wide shot of this quilt. The close-ups seemed fine, though.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Porphyria Awareness Purses

One of my first projects of the year was a set of purses to help raise money for my friend's liver transplant fund. She has struggled with Acute Intermittent Porphyria, a genetic blood disorder for half her life, first becoming symptomatic as a teenager. She's been hospitalized numerous times due to attacks,  and undergoes weekly treatments. She's one of the strongest people I know, and I'm so excited for her that she's gotten the approval for a liver transplant that will cure her of her symptoms and allow her to lead a healthier, more normal life.

To read more about Heather's case (or to donate directly to her fund) please visit:

To learn more about Porphyria, visit

To check out these purses (only $20/each), visit

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lorelei's Yellow Dress (A Reproduction)

This was an unfinished project from the DRESS-OF-THE-DAY series last fall. I was over three-quarters done with the hand-embroidery when my tennis elbow/golfer's elbow/carpal tunnel/cubital tunnel (let's just say 'arm damage') was too painful to do anything anymore, and I abruptly stopped all sewing or any strenuous activity. Was one of the first projects I picked up when I finally seemed recovered enough to start easing back into my usual activities. And so, finally, here's...

(Brought to you by The Mentalist episode 5x08 'Red Sails in the Sunset')

 As someone who sews, and who watches a lot of television and movies, naturally costuming/wardrobe choices are something I notice. 

The main character, Patrick Jane, is basically a conman, and as such his appearance is well
put-together (oh, the classiness of the Vest), but he has numerous issues which belie this manicured appearance. And his wardrobe shifts to reflect the major changes this character goes through later in the series.

Likewise, the other lead, Teresa Lisbon is dressed in the typical 'sensible female cop in charge of her own team of detectives' attire, pant suits, buttoned up blouses, reserved, not flashy, practical.

This specific dress caught my attention, because it was not a choice made by a character for themselves, but one our 'Mentalist' chose for the character of Lorelei Martins, someone who he is playing a game on, manipulating to his own end. Does the choice of a garment that is undeniably sweet and innocent for a disturbed woman who associated with your psychopathic associate denote an attempt at appealing to her compassionate, unsullied side? Or is it simply the reflection of an ironic sense of humor (like the cowboy hat as he basically goes vigilante)?

At any rate...


  1. Analyze The style and cut of this garment is a relatively simply a-line dress, with a deep 'u' neckline and hem landing just above the knee. It has a bodice yoke, four darts in the front, three darts in the back, sleeves that gather with elastic.

    The designwork is floral, with vines and little leaves. The neckline is a buttonhole edging in red embroidery floss. The hem and outline are a zigzag design, which I chose to replicate with a herringbone running stitch.

    Now that we're really studying a single garment while rewatching the episode, we notice things such as two DIFFERENT garments were used for this dress. This obviously happens while filming, but in this case, a continuity person was off their game, or was ignored, because 'hey, who's going to pay such close attention to something like the color of the embroidery on the dresses?'

    *raises hand* 'That would be someone like me... :-)

    I decided to go with the dress she wears more, the one with the mainly, orange, navy and pink flowers.
  2. Sketch & Draft First, draft the pattern. This is a relatively simple design: Yoke Front (deeper 'u' than the back), Yoke Back, Front, Back, Sleeve. If using yourself, you just have to measure against yourself and use the original as a guide.Ex: The yoke meets the dress just above the fullest part of the bust, so measure from shoulder to above half an inch above the fullest part of your bust...

    Then sketch  the flower motif. I also labeled the colors according to the stills for each section of embroidery...

  3. Cut, Sew, Embroider Basically, make the garment.
    (Best part is that I was able to make this entire piece from my Stash! Win!)

Monday, January 5, 2015


Well, the start of this year has some changes for me. I left my job, for various reasons, including 1.) it had become an unpleasant place to work and 2.) although my hands/arms are a thousand times better, my right arm is NOT back to normal, and probably never will be. So continuing to do the work that damaged my arm in the first place isn't probably wise.

I have resumed sewing, a little bit at a time, which makes me happy. 

My friends had an awesome New Years' Party, of the 'Masquerade' variety. So I threw a Raven costume together for that, mostly from pieces I already had, but ordered some wings and a feather wig, too. Altered a cheap mask. Made a tulle tutu style skirt. Done.