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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

  1. mccall’s 6553

    February 28, 2014 by Megan

    M6553 FrontShe’s here!
    :::said in the style of Liz Lemon impersonating Oprah:::
    My dress form is here!
    I have christened her Lady Sybil, but I’ll save proper introductions for a later post.

    I’ve got a good 12 months worth of garment sewing to share with you that has never been shared because:
    a. my personal photographer spends all his time flying helicopters and having light saber battles with army brats; and
    b. I loathe being in front of the camera.
    {this stems largely from a deeply rooted instinct to make goofy faces and pose like asian tourists anytime a camera is placed before me…which does not a hip fashion photo make}

    So starting with the oldest, here is McCall’s 6553!
    I ♥ this dress something fierce.
    I actually saw this dress on Fashion Star and likely audibly gasped when I saw it.

    image {saks 5th ave}

    image {saks 5th ave}

    And then it won, and I was stoked that I could purchase said audible gasp dress only to discover it was $345!!!
    The audible gasp quickly transitioned to the sound of a deflating balloon.
    You can imagine my glee when McCall’s released the pattern as part of their Fashion Star line.
    There was more audible gasping.

    I bought the pattern with the intention of sewing it as a maternity dress while I was pregnant with The Peanut.
    {hahaha…sewing while pregnant. i crack myself up}
    Fast forward a year and it became the perfect postpartum dress!
    Fast forward another year and I’m still wearing and loving this dress to bits.

    mccall's 6553 back
    The pattern includes a belt which I sewed up but never actually wear.
    I tend to wear it with a cute little colored belt to jazz up my grey/navy/black wardrobe.

    mccall's 6553
    Not sure what’s going on with the front there.
    I sewed it from some suspect polyester suiting that actually is crazy comfortable and drapes beautifully.
    There is some 14″ of ease built into this pattern, which even with a big drapey style 14″ of ease is ridiculous, so I cute the smallest size and it’s still roomy.

    mccall's 6553
    Here’s with the belt from the side
    There are slits for the belt to slide through, which leaves it draped free in the back.
    The belt slits, if you sew as directed leaves a good 2″ of my midriff showing so I sewed that much narrower than directed.
    It’s a super easy dress to sew, and I’m excited to sew another version.

  2. i bought a book and a mannequin

    February 11, 2014 by Megan

    Hello friends!
    I’m currently smack in the middle of my less-than-Pinterest-worthy couch watching the last 2 runs of women’s luge.
    {i know nothing about luging but the olympics bring out the mediocre sports fan in me}
    While watching a sport I know nothing about I am actively planning our big trip to Disney World next week, which I am giddy excited about.

    Although I have nothing riviting to say {do i ever?} I did want to tell you about 2 purchases I am CRAZY excited about.
    The first is that I finally bit the bullet and bought a dress form.
    A really nice, straight off the screen of Project Runway dress form.

    roxy dress form
    {ok it’s actually straight off of my amazon wishlist but it looks identical to the forms used on project runway}
    She’s not here yet, she also has not been given a Christian name, but hopefully when my Disney hangover lifts I can share both.
    I realize that a dress form is not a need, not in the way that I need Jesus, my family and caffeine, but oh how I’ve wanted one for years and we finally, finally, had the cash to buy one.
    I am so excited to speed up my sewing by using her to make initial fitting adjustments and to drape on.

    The other purchase I made was a book.
    {not shocking considering we’re about to pack out another 750lbs of books back to hawaii}
    The book is entitled Home Comforts: The Arts and Science of Keeping House.

    Home Comforts
    It’s about keeping a home, something I am terrible at.
    I realize that a ton of the info in this book (which is larger than some of my accounting texts from college) is totally ingrained and second nature to some.
    Which is awesome!
    I’m not in that Type-A/Suzy Homemaker/Home Economics Major camp.
    I wish I was…but I’m not.
    I’m a crazy creative, project driven, chaos thriving, clutter-tolerant, haphazard homemaker who is prone to choosing my kindle over my laundry…daily.
    I actually feel like I have a lot going for me though; I’m a good cook, I love to entertain, and I love all the things involved in the making portion of homemaking.
    But keeping a home, that’s where I fall flat on my face.

    So I will study it.
    I figure now is the best time to start this project since I’m about to embark on 2-3 months in a hotel without my home, and then I will be blessed to start fresh, in a new home, hopefully with new habits to establish.

    “Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housekeeping actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when completed. These routines echo the rhythm of life, and the housekeeping rhythm is the rhythm of the body. You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy these benefits.” ~Cheryl Mendelson,
    Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House 

    Doesn’t that sound marvelous?!?
    I think it does.

  3. a baby quilt for the third kid

    January 24, 2014 by Megan Home Front

    Raw Edge Circle Quilt
    We have this pervasive saying in our household, “Third kid.”
    Always applied to The Peanut when we acknowledge that he is getting the shaft in ways his older siblings never experienced.
    Pretty sure I only spoon fed The Peanut for about a month.
    I gave up that pursuit the day he figured out how to suck baby food out of those organic baby food pouches.
    We pretend it’s more efficient, but really he’s just the…
    Third Kid.
    {also known as lazy parenting}
    Case in point, The Helper’s baby quilt was finished 3 months before she arrived.
    The Cadet’s quilt fell a bit by the wayside and wasn’t completed till he was 4 months old.
    And poor Peanut, I didn’t finish his quilt till he was 16 months old!
    {wahh, wahh}
    Third Kid.

     Raw Edge Circle Quilt Top

    I used Cluck Cluck Sew’s Raw Edge Circle Quilt pattern and fabric from Parson Gray’s Curious Nature line.
    I really loved that the raw edges create such great texture to the quilt top.
    It’s been washed several times by now, and the top is so crazy soft.

     Raw Edge Baby Quilt – Close Up

    It’s backed with black polka dot minky fabric {which I despise sewing with} but it is oh so very soft.
    The Cadet’s quilt is also backed with minky and he calls his quilt his ‘soft blankie,’ which makes me gush, so of course I backed The Peanut’s quilt with minky!
    {i mean, how could i not?}

     Raw Edge Quilt Folded

    I stitched in the ditch for the quilting because it was quick and easy, and the dang thing had already taken me 25 months to produce.
    (in case you’re not tracking that math, I had 9 months of growing the peanut in addition to his 16 months of his life outside the womb)
    I actually managed to sew 9 quilts for children whom I did not personally gestate in the time frame when I should have been showing my love to my own child via meticulous handicrafts.
    Third Kid.

    So while we hang our heads in shame for our pathetic parenting neglect of our dear Third Kid, we take solace in the fact that 16 years from now that “neglect” will likely look like much later curfews than his siblings, and hopefully he will rise up and rejoice that he is in fact the Third Kid!

    :::disclaimer, all of his real needs are actually met, but the natural progression from uptight first time parents to relaxed third time parents has resulted in some sad comparisons on non-essential issues like quilt production and the presence of plastic toys in the home:::

  4. sewing a new wardrobe

    July 30, 2013 by Megan Home Front

    3 cheers for a 2 month hiatus!
    Life happens, my attentions were where they needed to be, I feel absolutely ZERO guilt about that.

    So in my absence The Peanut turned 1.
    There were carrot cake cupcakes and a 2-day panic from The Cadet’s blood sugar readings being through the roof.
    Good times.
    Good times.
    Next year we will just eat carrots and skip the cake for everyone’s birthdays.

    About a month after The Peanut was born I was back at my “normal” weight.
    {not sure i like having a normal weight or any other measure or normalcy}
    When you vomit your entire pregnancy it’s pretty easy to make friends with your scale after baby arrives.
    Since then I’ve lost another 40ish lbs.
    This was not intentional, I had no goal, and it wasn’t consciously done.
    I have no secret weight loss tips, it just happened.
    {although if i could figure out the formula i could be rich}

    One of the problems that has arisen from losing weight is that nothing in my wardrobe fit anymore.
    I’m sure most women would be ecstatic about this but I was not.
    {seriously though, i am still pissed}
    I never had a problem with my weight before, I’ve always been pretty confident, and I built myself a wardrobe of pieces I LOVE!
    There was a bit of an investment involved too since a large chunk of my wardrobe was culled from the Anthropologie sale racks.

    Thankfully, I sew.
    {sigh of relief}
    Although most of my pants can’t be altered a bunch of the rest of my wardrobe can.
    On top of that, I have a loverly pattern collection which I can use to fill the holes.
    Enter McCall’s 5884.McCall's 5884
    This blouse was super easy to sew!
    I found the fabric at Hancock’s and was immediately smitten.
    Kind of a shock since 99.9% of my wardrobe consists of ivory, black, gray, and navy items.
    Not so much vibrant yellow.
    But what can I say?
    It was sweet penguin love that called to me!

    Sweet Penguin Love

    I had cut the fabric from the smallest size in the pattern’s size range, but alas, it was still too large.
    2 months after I originally sewed it up I took it in 1.5″ on each side and finished it with flat-felled/turned under seams.
    McCall's 5884

    I had a recent fashion epiphany and discovered the pure perfection that is the black skinny jean.
    {and they all said “amen”}
    Seriously, somehow I missed the memo on the universal goodness that are black skinny jeans.
    I blame the entire state of Hawaii.
    A wardrobe staple that slims, goes with everything, can be dressed up or down, keeps me from mom-frump, and hides stains from gross Army Brats?
    Sign me up.
    I wear them almost everyday.
    And yes, they match my penguin blouse.

    McCall's 5884

    I’m off to hunt down some homeschool curriculum because we are officially that family.
    More on that later!

  5. kelly skirt in nani iro

    February 19, 2013 by Megan Home Front

    A few months ago I got pretty frustrated with this post-baby body of mine.
    {pretty sure every female who has had a child or 3 has been there}
    Still loosing rapid weight, but hadn’t plateaued yet.
    Definitely a good problem to have except that the wardrobe that I ♥ so much was all too big.
    This meant that eventually I could buy smaller clothing but since I was still loosing over a pound a week that shopping spree was a ways off.
    So logically I sewed something.

    This is my most favorite pattern sewn in my most favorite fabric.

    Nani Iro Kelly Skirt
    It’s the Kelly Skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen.
    It’s a dream.
    {a dream i tell ya}
    I sewed it in Nani Iro’s Painting Muji which is a lightweight canvas.
    I loooove this fabric.
    There is actually a panel of it hanging on my bedroom wall.
    I hoarded it for the duration of my pregnancy saving it for this very project.

    Close Up Kelly Skirt

    The pattern is totally sewable exactly as drafted and written.
    It’s actually the second Megan Nielsen pattern I’ve sewn if you recall the Darling Ranges maternity dress I sewed last year.
    The only changes I made were to use gathers instead of pleats, make the raw selvedge edge the hem, and to make the waistband and placket a bit wider to accommodate the larger buttons.
    The reason I went with gathers instead of pleats is because the pleats weren’t very flattering on the post-baby-belly squishiness.

    When I say I love this pattern, I’m not exaggerating.
    The Nani Iro version was the 3rd version I had sewn in the span of 3 days.

    Version 1 was made in a lovely chambray.
    (pardon the instagram photo)

    chambray kelly skirt

    Version 2 was made in a rayon challis.
    (and  again with the instagram photo in my dirty bathroom nonetheless)


    The only changes I made on these two was to do gathers instead of pleats.
    I also used fusible interfacing along the placket of the rayon challis version because it needed the added stability for the buttons.

    I hope you like them.
    I sure do.
    And if you sew at all I HIGHLY encourage you to try Megan Nielsen’s patterns because they are just that lovely.

    I hope you have a happy Tuesday.
    We are hunkered down at home on this gray and rainy day.
    My Helper has a stomach bug so we are catering to that with lots of couch time.

  6. my pegboard window

    February 13, 2013 by Megan Home Front

    Let’s get real for a second.
    My house is rarely clean.
    Certain areas of my home might be clean at any given moment but rarely is the entire thing clean.
    Case in point:

    This was my sewing closet a couple of weeks ago.
    Sadly this is part of our bedroom.
    {obviously I missed the Martha Stewart issue about the bedroom being a sanctuary}
    I could easily blame it on the holidays, or the fact that I was the wedding coordinator for my brother-in-law The Hot Shot who got married at the end of December, or that The Cadet was diagnosed with The Diabeetus and spent a week in the hospital….etc.
    but it probably would have ended up this way regardless.

    I realize that I do MUCH better at keeping The Southern House clean and void of clutter when there is a place for everything
    {even if everything is not often in it’s place}
    so with that in mind I tackled organizing my sewing area.

    I purged, and purged {and purged some more} and then folded heaps of fabric all so I could reward myself with a trip to Lowe’s!!

    That nice man is cutting a discounted piece of pegboard for us.
    It was $9 because Jesus loves us.

    I also got to hit the antique mall because My Soldier loves me.
    $25 later I came home with a loverly vintage window.

    Here is the before:
    {because it’s some unwritten code of the blogoshpere to have a before picture}


    3 hours of indentured servitude was provided by My Soldier who smashed all the glass out of the window and then meticulously cut individual panes of pegboard to fit each of the frames.
    {i ♥ him}
    And here is the after:

    It’s mounted above Betty and holds all of the various things I frequently am reaching for while sewing.
    There is even a tiny little shelf that is perfectly sized for my 2nd-7th cups of coffee I tend to consume while sewing.
    The whole project came to around $40 with the damaged pegboard, the window, and the pegboard hooks.
    I hope you like it.
    I sure do.
    So much so that I might stare at it for prolonged periods of time.
    {i realize that’s not normal}


  7. inspiration and completion

    October 4, 2012 by Megan Home Front

    It’s one of those days where I wish I was Type A.
    I look around the room and see project after project in various states of completion.
    In my head Type A people don’t struggle with this.

    That belief stems largely from my knowledge that Type A people can’t go to bed without finishing the dishes.
    I don’t think twice about finishing the dishes first thing in the morning.
    {that’s after my 1st cup of coffee of course}
    I promise that whether or not you are able to sleep without doing the dishes is totally relevant to every other area in the Home Ec world.
    I also believe that if you and your spouse don’t have the same dishes-before-sleep philosophy it will at some point in time be a source of marital contention.

    My sink is currently filled with dishes.

    The dishes aren’t the only thing currently left undone.
    I’m currently plagued by several unfinished sewing projects.
    Including but not limited to:
    a pattern that I am testing for a friend that needs batting;
    a quilt for The Minimalist’s Baby H that needs to be basted and quilted;
    I have a dress for My Helper that needs button-holes, buttons, and a hem;
    and several sewing projects for myself that I want to start but won’t because I’m only 3 months postpartum and still dropping weight.

    Am I the only person who can’t seem to finish anything?
    I can’t be the only person who gets a bolt of inspiration mid-project A and suddenly has begun project B.
    Sadly all it does is make my To Do list less manageable.

    I’m off to attempt to accomplish something.
    It should probably be eating lunch since it’s 2pm and I have yet to do that.

  8. the map project

    September 7, 2012 by Megan Home Front

     I ♥ maps.
    Probably because I love to travel.
    I’ve been blessed to travel a lot and just looking at a globe makes my heart warm with memories.
    {my traveling days have gone the way of kids and life on a budget}
    I knew when we settled into The Southern House that I wanted to use maps in the decor.
    {but let’s be honest, maps are totally in right now so maybe i’m just a sucker for a trend}

    I didn’t want just any map.
    I wanted a vintage pull-down school house map.
    Being back in the land of antique stores meant that there was a possibility I’d find one.
    The wall space behind my couch was just screaming for a large-scale map of some form.
    And then I saw one online that I really wanted and alas, it cannot be found.

    image via pinterest via smile and wave

    It’s a vintage Denoyer-Geppert chalkboard map and it is dreamy.
    So I tried to find a suitable substitute.
    Restoration Hardware made one once upon a time for $$$$.

    image via restoration hardware

    Honestly it wasn’t as cool.
    I liked the vintage aspect of the Denoyer Geppert map.
    So I started looking at all the other vintage pull-down maps and what killed me was the hideous color schemes.
    I found some on Etsy that I liked but nowhere near the scale I was looking for.
    I realized that all I really wanted was a large scale, rustic looking map in a muted color palette.
    So finally I just resolved to making one.

    it needs to be ironed again

    This is what I came up with.
    It’s 45″x60″
    {large scale}
    and it has a muted color palatte.
    {so my living room doesn’t actually look like a schoolhouse}
    Bonus: It’s made of fabric!
    {i’m a textile junkie so it gives me a wee bit of a fabric high}

    image via amazon

    I bought a cheap wall map from Amazon (although any office or school supply store carries them).
    I made sure that the dimensions were in the range I was looking for.
    I also busted out my Kona Color Card and painstakingly spent a night trying to figure out what solids to use for the states.
    I also bought some Heat & Bond at JoAnn’s while I was in HotLanta.

    I traced the mirror image of each state onto the paper side of the Heat & Bond.
    Then I ironed the states with a large boarder to the fabric.
    (hint: it’s easier to assign each fabric color to one of the colors on the map, that way you don’t have to figure out how to arrange the fabrics)
    After I ironed the state to the fabric I cut it out making sure to leave a portion of the state with extra fabric so I could overlap them on the map.

    This is about the point where I was cursing any state that had a river as a border.
    {i officially hate any state on the mississippi river, the red river, the ohio river and all of new england}
    It was helpful to have the map on the floor as I cut so I could figure out what part of the state to cut exactly and what part to leave to be overlapped.
    {basically i created giant USA jigsaw puzzle out of fabric}

    Once the states were all cut I traced the proper US map image onto a 45″x60″ piece of linen I had lying around with disappearing ink.

    tracing on the sliding glass door

    This served as my guide to line up all the states.
    Then I ironed and ironed and ironed some more.

    Heat & Bond is really strong but I wanted to make sure it was all secure so I sewed the state borders as well.
    Bonus: it gave it some added visual interest.

    This was a wee bit difficult.
    [see previous statement of states with rivers as borders]
    As you can see from the picture, I didn’t sew on the exact state line, but sewed to the side of the line.
    Because every state technically overlapped another state everything was secured.

    Et voilà!
    My wall is covered!


  9. wiksten tova maternity style

    April 26, 2012 by Megan Home Front

    See! I told you was sewing a maternity wardrobe!
    This is the Wiksten Tova dress pattern that I put the simplest of maternity alterations into.
    It actually doesn’t look like the pattern has been altered at all which I love!

    I cut my normal size but before I cut the front piece I added 1.5″ to middle fold.
    {yeesh, how can it be so difficult to explain something that was so easy?}
    The front portion of the pattern is cut on the fold.
    Before I cut the fabric I shifted the pattern over 1.5″ and then proceeded to cut normally.
    :::see picture above:::
    Because the pattern is drafted to be straight at the bottom of the yoke and the center of the hem that is the only alteration I needed to make.
    It adds a full 3″ of fabric to the front of the garment to cover the bump.
    When it calls for you to gather this section of the garment I just did some extra gathering to make sure it lined up with the yoke.
    {hopefully the picture helps with that abysmal description}

    Here’s a close up of the extra gathers and the yoke section.
    You can also see the lovely woven fabric I used for the dress which I bought at JoAnn’s 2+ years ago.
    {and yes, i have been known to hoard fabric for that long}

    Oddly enough, my favorite part of the Tova tunic/dress {besides wearing it} is hand sewing the inside of the collar.
    Something about hand-finishing a garment makes it that much more enjoyable to wear.

    I’m off to take a nap, because I’m sick, pregnant, My Soldier is home…and I can!

  10. Darling Ranges – Maternity Style

    April 19, 2012 by Megan Home Front

    Yay! I’m actually sharing something I sewed!
    This is the Darling Ranges dress from Megan Nielsen.
    I ♥ this pattern!

    Obviously it is not a maternity pattern but I made some alterations to make it fit the expansive baby bump {and the other lovely lady lumps that grow rapidly during pregnancy}
    As written the pattern is a breeze.
    It has the most clever neck hole facing/placket assembly ever.
    The problem with clever in patterns is that it often doesn’t make any sense the first 3 times you read it, but I promise if you follow the instructions exactly as written it comes together easily.
    {cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye}

    I used a fun swiss dot shirting from
    I cut the front of the dress a size up from my normal size, and then I still did a full bust adjustment to the bodice.
    {i might have needed an extra full bust adjustment ~ yikes!}
    I raised the neckline an inch and raised the waist to empire.
    {basically i redrafted the whole front bodice portion of the dress}
    Honestly, even with all the adjustments it was pretty easy.
    I finished this dress at the end of February and clearly the continued growth is causing this dress to fit a bit snug in some areas {ok, one area}.
    I also added a 4th button to the top (out of dire necessity) and lengthened the skirt to compensate from the length taken from the bodice.

    Can you tell I’m not a fan of being photographed?
    I tried taking photos in my usual manner but that’s really hard to do with a maternity dress, it just doesn’t hang correctly.
    I wore this to church on Sunday and the loverly wrinkles are as a result of sitting in it for so long.

    I’m excited to sew several non-maternity versions of this dress after bambino #3 makes an appearance.
    Shirt dresses are a God-send to nursing mothers everywhere.

    Megan Neilsen is actually hosting a Darling Ranges sewalong on her blog right now.
    She dives into several alterations you can make, not the maternity alterations, but she does mention those in the pattern itself.
    The sleeveless version is right up my alley especially since I’ll be moving to the oh-so-hot-and-sticky southern part of Alabama.
    {it’s practically florida}

    Happy Wednesday!
    I’m off to purge kitchen items for the move!

    Thanks to my friend Amy for letting me ambush her and take these photos with no notice on Sunday.