Tag Archives: sewing

In Progress

Welcome to what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here at From Scratch.  In this new feature, I will be sharing updates on my non-cooking projects, such as the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-a-Long I am working on.  If you see regular updates, that means I am actually working on projects (not just hoping to be working on them).

Let’s get started!

On the Needle

I have two knitting projects in progress.  First let’s take a look at the Downton Abbey KAL.  If you haven’t heard, we are making fingerless gloves!  Or gauntlets, as they probably would have been called back when DA takes place.  I am having a lot of fun with this KAL and learning tons!  Here is my first glove, as of the end of Clue #4 (of 8):

There is a panel of lace roses on top of the glove.

There is a panel of lace roses on top of the glove.

At the top, there is a row of eyelets which will be used to gather the gloves.

At the top of this picture, there is a row of eyelets which will be used to gather the gloves.


I really like the way the colors pooled differently on each scallop in this lace section:

Pretty scalloped lace

Pretty scalloped lace

Since taking these pictures I have completed Clue #5, which involved knitting an I-cord to lace through the eyelets and casting on the second glove.  I can’t wait to wear these!

I have also done some work on my sweater, and completed the first half of the front:

Left front of the sweater

Left front of the sweater

I am probably going to redo the top corner.  Since finishing this, I have learned how to cast off the neckline more smoothly.  I also want to complete the final twist in the cable pattern to close the top “O”.

The neckline portion that I will probably redo.

The neckline portion that I will probably redo.

Once that is done, all I have left is to complete the second front piece.  Then I can block it and sew it together!

On the Cutting Table

I don’t have much going in the sewing department, but I did make a pair of sweatpants for my daughter after modifying the pattern I used for her Halloween costume.

Altered sweat pants - they fit much better!

Altered sweat pants – they fit much better!

They fit great and I hope to make a second pair soon.



Filed under Knitting, Sewing

Halloween Pants

I haven’t done much sewing lately, but I did do a small project recently that I thought I would share with you.  My daughter dressed up like Dora the Explorer for Halloween this year.  The costume was pretty easy to put together, except for finding a pair of orange pants, so I decided to make those.

Meet Dora

I scoured my stash of Ottobre Design magazines and found the perfect pattern for orange sweat pants.  I  used pattern #16 from the 1/2004 issue.  Because my daughter is tall and slim, I traced size 122 for width (based on her hip measurement) and size 134 for length.

The finished pants – the waist is pretty narrow.

The finished pants fit very nicely except for one small problem.  Apparently the pattern is designed for stretchy fabrics, and it turns out sweatshirt fleece is not stretchy.  The end result is the waistband didn’t stretch at all (even though there was elastic in it) and I could barely pull the pants up over her bum.  I really had to yank hard.  So, the pants were fine for a one-time wearing, but not for continued use.

The pants fit nicely once they get pulled up.

I have had a very difficult time finding lounge pants for my daughter this year (they are either too short or too wide), so I am going to adjust this pattern a bit and make her a couple more pairs of sweat pants.  I found some nice sweatshirt fleece at a local fabric store.

Sweatshirt fleece for more pants.

I will share my adjustments with you if they work out!

1 Comment

Filed under Sewing

Curtains for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!  I will be celebrating next weekend because my husband is in the middle of a big work thing right now, but I did get flowers.

For my Mother’s gift this year I made her some new curtains to replace the old, faded ones above the kitchen sink.

Pretend that strip of fabric up top is gathered into a nice ruffle…

My Dad gets some of the credit for this gift.  A while back he noticed how faded the old curtains were getting and he asked if I would be interested in making some new ones as a gift for my Mom.  When the curtains were originally made my parents bought the whole bolt of fabric and a lot of it was left.  He and a friend were going to be driving down from Seattle to Reno to bring me some furniture I was inheriting, so my Dad smuggled the leftover bolt of fabric into the car and brought it along.

Later, when I was visiting my parent’s, my Dad and I took the curtains down when my Mom wasn’t around and measured them.  I also studied the construction a bit.  They are very simple curtains with a ruffle above.

In addition to the new curtains, I made my Mom some matching hot pads since she liked the ones I made for my sister so much.  Hot pads may be my new favorite thing to make!

Matching hot pads.

I changed the pattern a bit from the ones I made for my sister.  I cut them a bit smaller, but the biggest change is with the loops.  I did them totally differently, copying some hot pads I own.  I like this new way a lot better!  I am thinking of doing a tutorial on making these hot pads.  Is there any interest?

Finally, I also made some Lemon-Almond Biscotti, which I gave to my Mom, as well as my Grandma and sister.  They are really tasty!  I got them from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Lemon-Almond Biscotti

Did you make anything for Mother’s Day?  Did you enjoy some good food?


Filed under Sewing

Yet Another Apron Not For Me

I seem to be on an apron kick lately.  I have made three in the last eight months, and not much else.  I guess making aprons is an easy way to satisfy the itch to sew without having to bother with all of the pattern tracing/fitting/etc. involved in garment sewing.

I really like the fabric I chose!

The latest apron apron is a (belated) birthday gift for my sister. I used the same pattern as the apron I made for my Grandma at Christmas:  the “Short Pleated Apron” from Amy Butler’s book In Stitches.

I love this pattern!  It is fairly quick to make and very satisfying to sew, plus you get to use fun prints.  I really must make one for myself one of these days!

Me modeling the apron.

I had a fun experience buying the fabric for this apron.  We have a great local yarn shop here called Jimmy Beans Wool (they also sell their products online – check them out!).  They recently moved to a new location and started carrying fabric.  I decided to check out the new store and buy fabric for the apron all in one trip.  When I got to the shop, I was disappointed to find that they only had the yarn and related knitting/crochet paraphernalia on display.  No fabric to be found!

When I asked a salesperson if I could order fabric online and pick it up at the store (I can), she said I could go back to the warehouse and shop, as long as there was someone back there to help me.  I had the place to myself, and the woman working the fabric orders was very helpful and friendly.  It felt like a private shopping experience!  No line waiting for my fabric to be cut!

Hot pads!

In addition to the apron, I also made my sister two coordinating hot pads.  The hot pads pattern came from the book One-Yard Wonders.  Making the hot pads was a revelation!  So easy to create custom hot pads or oven mitts.  I may never buy hot pads again!


Filed under Sewing

Short Pleated Apron

I have been very busy with cooking and sewing projects so I have a lot to fill you in on!  You will hopefully be seeing a flurry of posts from me in the next few days.

First up is this cute apron I made for my Grandma.  When she asked for an apron for Christmas this year, I jumped at the chance to make her one!

The pattern comes from Amy Butler’s book In Stitches.  It’s a great pattern!  It is pretty quick to make and has some wonderful little details.

I love that the apron is pleated instead of gathered:

It has a cute little pocket:

And I love this little pleat where the tie meets the waistband:

I had to give up on a couple of the sewing gifts I had planned to make this year because I just ran out of time.  The fabric for these items is already cut out, so soon after Christmas I hope to sew them up and then I will have a couple of gifts ready to go!


Filed under Sewing

Hand Made Gifts 2011: Sewn

This time of year my mind turns to the idea of making holiday gifts for friends and family.  I always have more ideas than what I actually have time for, but I do have a few hand made gifts in the works this year (more on those as they get finished!).

To get your creative juices flowing I will be doing a series of posts with lots of ideas for gifts to make and give.  This first one will focus on gifts that are sewn.  Most of these are ideas and images I have gathered from around the web.  Let’s get started!

Zippered Pouch

This cute little zippered pouch can be a gift on it’s own or be used to hold a gift card, special lotion, or other small gift.  Made by Skip to my Lou, click here for the pattern and a tutorial.

Tote Bag

Tote bags are a fun and practical gift.  Make one to match the zippered pouch or showcase a cute fabric.  The tutorial for this bag can be found here at Skip to my Lou.

Shoe Bags

Shoe bags are another useful gift.  I made these ones for my husband several years ago and he uses them every time he travels.  They were made using a heavyweight flannel, shoe strings, and plastic toggles.  I don’t remember which pattern I used (if any), but here are a couple good tutorials:  Shoe Bag Tutorial and Martha’s Velvet Shoe Bags.

Felt Ornaments

From The Purl Bee, these adorable felt ornaments don’t require a sewing machine. I can see them in a rainbow of beautiful colors!  Use them to decorate your gifts this year!  Click here for instructions.

Embellished Dish Towels

Made by Aesthetic Nest, these dish towels are another simple way to give a personalized gift.  Buy some plain white dish towels and sew on rick rack in your loved one’s favorite colors.  See how to make them here.


If you have a little more time, pajamas are always a nice gift to make and receive.  For men’s pajama pants I highly recommend Kwik Sew 2257, which I made last year.  For women, Kwik Sew 2811 is a great pattern for classic pajamas.  Both of these patterns produce very professional results.  You really can’t go wrong with Kwik Sew for children’s pajamas too!

What gifts are you making this year?

Edited 12/7/2011 – to make it more clear that most of the items pictured were not made by me.  🙂


Filed under Sewing

An Apron for Buttercup


Well, the apron isn’t really for Buttercup, since Buttercup is a horse. My daughter takes therapeutic riding lessons at the Center for Adaptive Riding (CAR) and Buttercup is the horse she rides. CAR is in the midst of their largest fundraiser of the year, the Ride-A-Thon and Fall Family Fun Fest.  My daughter is raising money by riding in the Rida-A-Thon.  I made the apron to donate to the raffle or silent auction at the Fun Fest.

The Center for Adaptive Riding is a wonderful organization. They provide therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults with a variety of disabilities. It is run entirely by volunteers and they are so good with the riders. The tuition we pay for lessons only covers about half the cost of those lessons. Money raised by the Ride-A-Thon and Fall Family Fun Fest goes directly towards running CAR and caring for the horses, including Buttercup. CAR accepts donations through their website year round.

The best thing about CAR is that my daughter loves her lessons! The huge grin on her face when she is riding says it all.

For those of you who happen to live in Reno, come to the Fall Fest and Riding Demonstration!  Details can be found here:  Baked Potato Bar and Fall Family Fun Fest.

Now, how about that apron? The pattern is the Emmeline Apron from Sew Liberated. I chose “Western”-themed fabric since this is for a horseback riding event. The red side looks like a bandana and the other side has words like “Buffalo Bill” and “Wild West”. For a more technical review of this pattern see my review on PatternReview.com.

I love this apron – I think it is really cute! Would it be OK if I try to win it back at the Fall Fest so I can keep it?

Riding the Trail


Filed under Sewing

Simplicity 2603 – The Top

My latest sewing project is this cute top from Simplicity 2603. The pattern envelope hardly even shows this top, but it is a hidden gem!

For fabric, I used an ITY jersey knit that I purchased a couple of  months ago from Fabric.com.  This was my first time using ITY and I like it a lot;  it looks silky but not polyester-y, giving it a bit of a dressier look than other knits.

As far as alterations, I did full-bust and full-back alterations.  Doing this rather than going up a size gives me a really nice fit in the neck and shoulders.  To do the alterations, I simply placed the front and back pattern pieces a little bit away from the fold to add width.  These simple alterations work with this pattern because of the neck band and the gathers at the neckline.  For the front, I simply added the extra width to the gathering.  In the back, I eased the extra into the neckband.

Placing the Back Piece Away From the Fold to Add Width

I should probably have done a sway back adjustment, but I didn’t.  My prior attempts at doing so have not been entirely satisfactory and I didn’t feel like trying it with this project.

Notice the pooling in the small of my back?

This top looks great with black pants.  In the summer I will wear it alone, but for cooler weather it works nicely with a black cardigan.

With the Cardigan

BTW, I wish that background were my home, but alas, it is the view from our lodging in the Napa Valley weekend before last.

My full Pattern Review can be found here.

1 Comment

Filed under Sewing

Simplicity 2603 – Cardi-Wrap Complete

After a nearly 3 year dry spell I have finally sewn something for myself!  It was a lot of fun to get sewing again, even if it did happen very slowly.  I actually completed this a couple of weeks ago, but it took me a while to get around to taking pictures.

This is the shorter cardi-wrap from Simplicity 2603.  I did the long sleeve version with the cuffs.

This was a good project to get my feet wet again.  I didn’t want to worry too much about fit and the loose front on this top is very forgiving.

Side View

The shape of the front piece is interesting, but it drapes very nicely.  It falls into place quite easily.

Front Piece

Front Piece

The fabric is a heather gray matte jersey.  It ends up looking charcoal, which I really like.  While the fabric drapes nicely (very necessary for this pattern) it is a little too heavy for this style.  I was hoping to be able to wear the top tied in front, but I won’t be able to because of the too-heavy fabric.  It just doesn’t look right:

Tied in Front

Tied in Front

I really like the cuffs on this.  They are attached about halfway between my wrist and elbow with a little fold.  It’s hard to describe, but I think this treatment is a nice detail.



I’m still getting used to this style on me.  It is very different than what I usually wear.  I wore it out of the house yesterday and I felt pretty good.  My hairdresser complimented me on it, so that’s a good sign!


A different top underneath.

All in all, a satisfying project.  The sewing bug has definitely hit me again and I have to hold myself back from planning too many projects.

See my complete pattern review here:  review.

Next up:  a sleeveless top in my new purple and black print fabric.

1 Comment

Filed under Sewing

Sewing Updates

Remember that cardi-wrap I was so anxious to make a couple of months ago?  I was hoping to have it finished before I posted about it again, but since I seem to be sewing at a snail’s pace I thought I would give you an update.  I have actually made good progress on it.  All I have left is to sew on the sleeves and hem around the whole thing.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to hem it yet.  I’m thinking of either doing a rolled hem or a narrow overlock stitch on my serger.  With both of these options, the stitching will be visible on the outside and I think it will provide a nice contrast around the edges of the draped parts.  I will have to experiment.  I don’t think a traditional folded hem will look very good with this style or my fabric.  Many people who have made the cardi-wrap have just left it unhemmed, but I’m not a big fan of that look.  I can understand the appeal though – this top has a lot of hemming to do and it is very visible!

In other news, the fabric I ordered arrived last Friday.  I love it!  It will be perfect for the projects I have in mind.

The next project in the queue will be a top made out of this new fabric:

I would love to have it done in time for my trip to the Napa Valley next month.  Right now I am considering two different patterns.

Simplicity 2603:

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this pattern includes a nice-looking sleeveless top with gathering at the neckline.

Jalie 2806:

Jalie 2806

I like the foldover neckline, either sleeveless or with the tulip sleeves.

I will also peruse my Ottobre Woman magazines to see if anything catches my eye.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sewing