Monthly Archives: October 2010



Part 1 (of an undetermined number of parts…) of let’s learn how to use sewing patterns together!

I attempted my first real sewing pattern the other day (10/24). I generally find pictures and kinda sorta directions online of stuff I want to make and then wing it, which has its good points and not so good points (like accidentally sewing the wrong sides together because nothing is really marked….I have a well-used seam ripper.)

Joann’s Fabric had a ginormous sale last week, and I finally made it there on the last day of the sale. Talk about ridiculous- I’ve never seen the place so packed. The number I pulled for fabric cutting was 98- they were on 65! Anyways I got some good simple stretch knits (navy and black) to try on this pattern I got for 99 cents during their last sale. It’s a shirt that’s very similar in style to one I bought at H&M that I love. At the last minute I saw this really adorable pink and hearts John Deer fabric –

John Deere

It's country.

that made me think of one of my friends. It was $2.50 a yard so I decided to get 2 yards. Then I thought, “I have no idea what I would make her out of such juvenile fabric even though she’s totally country, and my choice of 2 yards was completely arbitrary and probably not enough to make pajama shorts…oh well, maybe I’ll use it to try out that baby clothing pattern I got during their other last sale!”

Let me be honest. I’ve had a small stack of patterns sitting in my craft supply chest since before my first sewing machine died on me in 2007. Can you tell I have a little pattern anxiety? I was pretty gung ho to make the shirt for myself so I wanted to cut out the pattern pieces I would need for that. Then I started feeling nervous and didn’t want to mess up my nice fabric and decided maybe I would cut out the baby clothes pattern too while I was at it. Preparing to sew- pinning, cutting, basically everything that ISN’T sewing and then saying Tada look what I made!- is my least favorite part. Might as well make less tedious pattern cutting for myself next time! So I spread out the patterns on the only surface big enough to accommodate them: our bed.


Take a good look. This pattern will never fit back into this envelope. Ever.

I cut out all the pieces for each garment I was interested in making, so I probably won’t need to cut out of these patterns again. Or at least not for a good while.


At least I have one place big enough even if it's a little weird and I cross my fingers I don't cut our sheets.

cutting pattern

Action shot!

Pattern pieces

Funny that all these weird pieces will yield clothing, eventually.

Phew. So our patterns are cut out without incident. Yay!

I ultimately decided to make the baby jumpers pattern first (despite my desire for new clothes for myself) because a) it was 99 cents so if I was seriously inept and somehow managed to destroy it, I wouldn’t feel too bad and b) as previously discussed in my Facebook crafting album, I enjoy making little people things because I get a sense of accomplishment in a short amount of time, which gives me just enough confidence to start another project and c) I seem to know a lot of women who are pregnant/recently had children, so I know I can find someone to gift my first (probably less than perfect) attempt at baby clothing to. Anyways, I digress. My point is, pattern anxiety is ok! Let’s move on.

To further ease my worries of messing this up I decided to upcycle old pajama pants with a cute apple print. Cost? Free! (Thanks yard sale leftovers down the street from two months ago!) So I can be guilt free if it doesn’t turn out. Although, the yellow background blended with the pattern paper so much that it made it a little more difficult to cut the pieces. Oh well.

Pattern 2

Free pajama pants turned fabric which I also happen to think is adorbs. This is the back side of what will be a baby shirt.

Everything was going swimmingly until I realized one side of the pant had both seams and thus there wasn’t quite as much fabric when I went to cut the front half. Hmm. I almost panicked…

Until my tetris skills kicked in.

Flipped Fabric

Phew...when you rotate fabric around sometimes it works out to be the size you need. Thanks spacial reasoning! This is important, because each shirt piece needs to be cut on the fold (otherwise you would need 4 pieces and the shirt would have a seam down the middle).

Huzzah! Got it. The slight amount of stretch seems like it goes 4 ways, not just 2, so I think it will be ok that I am not going the same direction as what I used for the back side…here’s hoping.

That’s as far as I got on Sunday because I was getting too tired to read the directions closely and I apparently need bias tape, which I don’t have. But everything is all cut out and ready to go, and I can make bias tape myself if I feel like doing a lot of ironing.

Until next time– which may or may not be this weekend, because grad school demands my attention and it’s Halloween and all– when I will be putting all the pieces together and hopefully actually doing some sewing!

Pumpkin Guts!


Maybe this doesn’t count as a craft … but maybe it does. We carved a pumpkin to put on our porch.

Pumpkin 1


Pumpkin 1

Mmmm. Braaaaains.

Pumpkin 3

Pumpkin surgery.

Pumpkin 4

Eyes! Nostrils!

Pumpkin finished

Ooooohahahaha. *creepy music* This was supposed to look like Jack Skellington, but that didn't go so well.

Pumpkin Seeds

I also decided to bake the pumpkin seeds. This is pre-baked, but they turned out pretty tasty.

I got pretty frustrated because I couldn’t get the eyes even, but I’m the kind of person who will keep going and going and Jack would end up without a septum for his nostrils to exist in…so I stopped while I was ahead. I made the husband finish the mouth because the teeth were kind of tedious, haha.

Also Halloween related (maybe?) I made this dress over the summer as a practice version of the infinity dress I later made my friend (yeah I’ll do a post on that later, perhaps with instructions) and it came out too short, so I thought it might be ok for a Halloween costume.


See. Inappropriately short for normal day use. Halloween appropriate? Maybe.

That’s assuming we do anything involving costumery for Halloween. Or anything period. We might just stay home and give children candy. And guard my pumpkin from pumpkin smashers. Happy October everyone!

Purple Not-So-Slouchy Hat


First (real) post! Woohoo.

So, this hat felt like it took forever because getting it started involved starting over several times to get rid of the hole in the middle, because I really struggle with reading crochet directions. I’m a visual learner. I need pictures. [I always feel mislead by what other crocheters term to be “easy” or “for beginners”, because then I just feel slow when it seems less than easy.]  Then I started to worry I wouldn’t have enough yarn, because what I had wasn’t a full skein…long story short, I am now very familiar with the yarn selection at two Michael’s and the Joann Fabrics here in Chi-town. Lesson learned- save the skein wrapper in case this happens. Better yet, buy more than one skein in the first place if it’s a color you really like.

Looking like a real project.
Halfway there.
Top detail

This is only the second pattern I have used and eventually I felt comfortable enough to freestyle some changes, like adding a few rows (because I apparently have a large head) and things like that. It didn’t come out slouchy the way that I wanted, since I was limited in yarn to begin with and couldn’t add more slouchy like I wanted to. Anyways, I think it turned out pretty nice. I really like the pattern detail from the top.

Phannie Hat Pattern:

Yarn: I used Caron Simply Soft in Violet (thanks Caron website for helping me figure that out…)


Finished hat!

Lookin' fly on the CTA.


A friend on facebook asked me how I learned to make this hat. The answer is, I taught myself with the vast resources inside the internets. [Pretty much every craft project I attempt is born of an idea I had that was supplemented with visuals from someone else’s idea that was sort of similar to what I had in mind but not quite. I’m pretty terrible at drawing, so this is the best way for me to show someone else what I am trying to accomplish, and just edit in my details.]

At any rate, if you are looking to learn how to crochet (or knit) I very highly recommend joining They have awesome free patterns (and for purchase ones too), in addition to help forums and things like that. For you visual learners out there who are like me, if you get to a place where you just can’t figure out what “sl st then fpdc in same st” means there are great and kindly fellow crafters who are willing to explain it differently- or even walk you through it in a picture. It’s wonderful! Of course, my best friend also crafts and always kindly responds to my “WTF does this pattern mean!?” text messages, so that helps too.  Crafting is a process of trial and error.

Speaking of trial and error, sorry for the weird gaps in between pictures. Learning how to used wordpress’s picture formatting is a craft in itself.