Monthly Archives: August 2006

Hot Patterns Sunshine Tops

As soon as I saw this pattern from the new Hot Patterns Weekender Collection, I knew I had to have it! One can’t have too many tees here in south Florida but I do get tired of the same old styles. I just love the gathered neckline and the neckband is just begging to be beaded!

I’ll be blogging about my embellished version of this top over on The Sewing Divas blog but, before I start on that I want to whip up a quickie version to test the fit. I’ve traced off a size 10 which is what I used for my Hippy Chick Dress last winter.

The fabric I’ve chosen for my test is a beautiful, royal blue Austrian cotton knit from Josephine’s Dry Goods in Portland. I had picked up a few short lengths of Austrian knits when I was there last, forgetting that they weren’t 60″ wide. I have just enough to make the cap sleeve version of this top – and I mean JUST enough.

Stay tuned!



Filed under Fabric, Hot Patterns

My fabric stash!

I recently took down my website – I just have too much going on and hadn’t been maintaining it anway so….. However, several people have asked about the picture of my fabric closet so I thought I’d put one up today.

A couple of years ago, Leslie in Austin mentioned that she had rolled all of the fabric in her stash. I thought this was such a great idea that I spent an entire weekend reorganizing and rolling all of my fabric. Rolling makes it easy to see every piece of fabric and to remove a piece without causing an avalanche. Because you can stack the rolls higher than flatfolds, I was able to fit all of the extra fabric from the linen closet into my sewing room closet as well.

As you can see, I try to keep my fabric separated by color. This makes it much easier to find what I’m looking for.

The wire baskets in the center hold linings, ribbings, lingerie fabrics and stretch linings. Like any good sewer, I have a few fabrics still in bags on the floor. 🙂


Filed under Fabric, Sewing Studio

Pool table cover – Final

Woohoo! It’s finished! This is certainly not a project I am anxious to tackle again anytime soon. The sewing was easy enough but trying to control so much (nearly 6 yards) heavy vinyl was very tiring. My shoulders, neck and arms are killing me! In a real workroom, the machine’s power stand would be inset into a large work table. I’m not that lucky so I had some of the cover resting on a chair next to me and the rest on my lap.

I wanted the finished cover to have plenty of ease – this is just a large cat bed, after all. 😉 A snug cover would have turned it into a cat trampoline. I somehow miscalculated the length, not allowing enough ease for the center of the cover to lay flat against the table. Rather than remove the sashing strips (ugh) I borrowed yet another idea from my quilting friends: double sashing strips a la the Log Cabin pattern. I simply cut down all four sides and added a second set of strips. The ones on the end are a wee bit wider to make up for my mistake. Not perfect but not bad enough that I’d want to start all over. It’s a pool table cover, after all. Besides, none of my friends carry a tape measure with them.

I’m very happy with the way the corners turned out. I used the same technique that I used on my son’s tailored bedskirt. I sewed the side pieces on first then added a 9″ wide piece underneath. I hemmed the underpiece but left the sides unhemmed to reduce bulk.

I think one of the hardest things about a project like this is figuring out what to do as you go along. I can tell you how much ease I like in a straight skirt (2″) or how much ease I like in a pillow cover (-1″) but I’m a bit lost when it comes to pool table covers so I had to wing it and really exercise my sewing brain. It will be easier next time. Just let me rest for a few years.

Last, but not least, I have to praise Connie, my wonderful walking-foot machine! I am sooooo glad I bought her. She sailed through this project with flying colors, every stitch as perfect as the last. Mwa!

I was a bit intimidated when I first brought her home. Knowing that the foot could walk right over my finger was a little scary – especially when you take a look at the ginormous needle (I think this one is a 22). After two big projects and a couple of purses, we’re old pals.


Filed under Sewing for the Home, Sewing Machines

Pool table cover – Part 2

I didn’t get as far on the cover yesterday as I had hoped. I spent the morning in the vet’s office with a very sick Winnie Pooh – 2nd time this week, sigh. We all know how these things can happen with pets and children. Hopefully, this is nothing serious but we will find out for sure when her blood work comes back today. So, I spent yesterday afternoon and evening rushing to finish my real work and didn’t get back to the cover until last night. The top is finished, I just need to add the skirt – if that’s what you want to call it. 🙂

I really like black purses and shoes with white topstitching. I’m not sure why, I just like that look. I thought it might be a nice way to accent the cover – a way to break up the huge expanse of black. I’m very happy with the way it looks.

Here is the top before adding the sashing strips on the long sides. In the background you can catch a glimpse of my husband’s pride and joy, a 1952 Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 jukebox. It is the jukebox featured in the opening credits of Happy Days and was the first jukebox to play both sides of a record. About 10 years ago, my son and his friend broke two of the mercury glass tubes on the front while playing pool, a sure-fire way to make a grown man cry. Luckily, I was able to find chrome replacement tubes. It’s just not the same but then we all have our battle scars, don’t we?

Here is what I’m trying to protect. It’s no secret that I love ALL shades of red. I think every room needs at least a little bit of red. My husband doesn’t mind and my son has happily inherited my love for red so I’m able to indulge myself as much as I want.

I probably won’t get this finished today, it being Friday and all. Friday is usually a crazy work day for me so I’ll get back to this tomorrow.


Filed under Sewing for the Home

Pool table cover – Part 1

My Hot Patterns Sunshine Top is all ready to be cut out and then, once again, I am distracted by my very demanding house! Way back, in the beginning of June, I had our pool table recovered. At the same time, I ordered a custom cover for the table – naturally, my table would have to be a slightly odd size – none of the ready-made covers will fit. Naturally. Well, here it is August and I’m still waiting for my custom cover. I called the shop two weeks ago. They can’t find my order and will call me the next day. I’m still waiting. I am so sick of looking at the white sheets that have been covering the table for two and a half months. You see, we have to keep the table covered because my cat, Kanga, thinks the pool table is a really great bed. I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to remove cat hair from wool felt. I won’t even tell you about the little hairball “accident” she had a few years ago. The table needs a cover, period.

While I would much rather have a cover made from a beautiful decorator fabric, I settle on vinyl simply because cat hair won’t stick to it and any little spills can be wiped off with a damp cloth. I’m becoming very practical. The less I have to clean the more sewing time I will have. 🙂 I decide on marine vinyl because it is a nice weight and fairly thick. So, I measure the table. It is 56″ wide. Of course, most marine vinyl is 55″ wide so I know I will have to do some piecing. Just to make things more difficult and time-consuming, I decide to piece a design rather than just straight seams. Here is what I came up with (very quilt-like and I’m not even a quilter!):

Stay tuned. With a little luck, I will have this sucker finished today!


Filed under Sewing for the Home

Back to Basics

I’ve had the blahs lately. You know, sort of like a bad hair day all over, every day. My favorite garments just aren’t exciting to me anymore. You’ve had it too, haven’t you? Last night, with both of our husbands working, my best friend and I decided to go to one of our favorite little Italian places for dinner. I was in a red shoe mood so I decided that plain black pants and a black top would be easy. I put on simple silver hoop earrings and grabbed my favorite red bag. When I gave myself a final mirror check I realized that I looked more chic than I had in many months. While none of the individual pieces were spectacular, together they were perfect. I’ve been concentrating so much on making stand-out pieces that I have neglected the bones of my wardrobe, those go-to pieces that are always right. It’s time to get back to basics and fill in the blanks.


Filed under Accessories, Shoes, This and that

No more flying snips!

My friend Greg gave me this really strong ceramic magnet to use as a seam guide when he was out of the regular magnetic seam guides. Apparently, he removes them from broken industrial motors. When I wasn’t using it as a seam guide, I had pushed it off to the side of the machine bed and discovered an even better use for it: to hold my thread snips! Now, when I sew really fast my snips won’t go flying onto the floor. I already added one to my serger and hope to eventually have one on all of my industrials. It goes without saying that a magnet should never be used on a computerized machine, but you already knew that.


Filed under Notions, This and that