Sunday, January 9, 2011

Craft Book Challenge: January

Last night, I watched "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" on PBS. Eh. I thought it was supposed to be hilarious...I liked seeing all of the many popular actors/actresses in it, but it was so long and got a little boring. It was very exaggerated and not even that funny. Oh, well. :)

Also: new profile picture! Cropped from one of the below photos. I figured it was time for an updated one...the last one was taken about 2 years ago. :)

This is my January "entry" for the Craft Book Challenge, hosted by Liesl at Lisel Made (click the button above for more info). This month I've actually made two things from craft books, and there might be more by the end of the month. :) I'm already working on an embroidery pattern from "Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection."

First up is something from Aimee Ray's "Doodle Stitching." This is an amazingly cute embroidery book! This is the only book I've had about embroidery, and I learned all the stitches I know from it. It includes lots of adorable projects.

I was scanning through it again and saw the little stuffed owl and raccoon. I decided to make the owl. Here's what it looks like in the book:

To be honest, I didn't go by her exact pattern. I was too lazy to enlarge the pattern, and at the time, we didn't have a working scanner, anyway. So I just looked at the picture and the finished size and just cut out the felt. :) Mine is a little taller and skinnier than the one in the book. This is mostly because I forgot to really account for seam allowances. Oops.

The way I stitched up the bottom is also a little sloppy. I might go back and fix that later. Anyway, I think he's really cute! He's sitting on my desk right now. I might make the raccoon, too. :)

My other project for the month came from Kay Whitt's "Sew Serendipity." This book has really cute patterns for skirts, tops/dresses, and jackets. The photos in it are gorgeous! And the author is very helpful. I know this from experience- I had cut out the pattern pieces the night before I cut out the fabric, and I somehow misplaced the back facing piece. I emailed Ms. Whitt to ask for a suggestion, and she replied very quickly with a solution. And just as I started sewing the skirt together, I looked and there the pattern piece was, right in the middle of the floor. How embarrassing! :) It must have gotten mixed up in something at my table and fell out when I started shifting things around.

I made the "Tailored Skirt." Here's what it looks like in the book:

It has pockets and trim around the pockets, the hem, and along the front and back seams.

In the next two pictures, please ignore my awkward posture and the weird position of the skirt. It really does hang like the one above! But when we took these after church this morning, it was super cold and windy, which is why my hair, scarf, and skirt are all flying in one direction. If I can get better pictures soon, I'll post those.

I really love the fabric! I thought it was going to be a little too bright at first, but it worked out perfectly.

I went almost completely by the pattern, and it was really great and accurate. The length was a little off, but that might be because of my height (I'm 5'8). Instead of the "at knee" length, like the pattern called for, I cut the longest length, which was supposed to be mid-calf or something, I think? Anyway, when I tried it on before sewing on the hem band, I realized that it was going to be a little shorter than I was comfortable with, even with the band. So instead of using the band that would have only been about .5 inch or 1 inch wide, I did some patchwork with my leftover fabric (that's not visible from the outside of the skirt) and made the band about 2 inches wide. It doesn't sound like much difference, but that little bit made me feel so much more comfortable with the length. :) And I love the hem band! I hate hemming skirts, and all of the pressing and pinning it requires. I would much rather sew a folded piece of fabric along the bottom. I loved that. :)

I have a confession: this is the fifth skirt that I've made. But the four I made before this one were all made with the same pattern: my beloved McCall's 5431. That skirt is full and swirly and amazing, but I wanted to try something different. This skirt is still a-line, but it's a lot more fitted and narrow than the McCall's one. It's nice to mix things up!

This skirt also calls for a lot of topstitching, edgestitching, etc. that add a lot of detail to the skirt. I liked that, but I didn't do all of the lines of topstitching it called for. Mostly because I was running out of navy thread. :)

But this is the most amazing thing about the entire skirt.

The back seam. With an invisible zipper sewn in!

This just completely made my day. I don't mind putting zippers in my wallets. But in clothes? I hate that. They never turn out perfect, and I always have to go back and pick out stitches. Well, the "Sew Serendipity" book includes instructions for sewing in an invisible zipper using a regular zipper presser foot. The author also has a tutorial on her blog here, and I came across it and printed it off. It's pretty much the same instructions as in the book, but I ended up going by the one on her website.

As I was reading the comments about how easy it was, I'm thinking, maybe so, but I bet it won't be for me. Often, I read sewing tutorials or instructions that are supposed to be helpful, but they're completely over my head. Well, this invisible zipper tutorial is amazing. :) The zipper turned out perfect, and truly invisible, on my very first try. No picking out stitches or anything. I am so impressed!

Well, that's it for now. :) I'm going to try to work on my book handbag this afternoon, and I'll put it up if I finish. All I've done so far is cut the pages out of the cover, which made me feel positively criminal. But more about that later.

By the way, guys, if I'm not back later today, just know that I start classes again tomorrow. Including public speaking class. Surprisingly, I'm not feeling too panicky yet, but I haven't allowed myself to think about it too much yet. Tomorrow shouldn't be too bad...we won't have to give a speech on the first day, anyway, unless it's a little "about me" thing. Just say a little prayer for me, though, if you would. :) For my nerves and confidence level. Which sinks a little every time I think of it. Thanks so much. And thanks to those of you who left encouraging words last time I mentioned it. :)

Until next time,


  1. I LOVE the owl!

    Do you think that you could post a link for the Paperdoll Blog Party? Here's the link for day one:

    Thank you :))

  2. Such a good job on the skirt!! And I love the fabric!
    I'm with ya on the hidden zipper too. I haven't sewed clothes in awhile but I remember zippers were always a pain =(

  3. Both are super cute!
    I hear you on the length--I'm six foot and have to lengthen *everything.* Great way to be creative on adding a few inches to this skirt! :)

  4. That owl is absolutely adorable! Too cute! And I love the skirt - that fabric is fantastic, so colorful and vibrant! Love it!

  5. Wonderful finishes! I love the skirt! In fact, that was the next book on my list when I accepted Liesl's challenge. :-( Eventually...

  6. Great job on the zip! I always struggle with these :)

    Along with Liesl, I am starting a Flickr Group for the Craft Book Challenge. We would love you to join up and post your photos there! Here is the link:


  7. What a cute owl! I have this book too but have never got round to making anything from it... I'll add it to my CBC and maybe I'll try the owl.

  8. Love the Owl, doodle stitching has been on my Amazon wish list for a while, maybe now I will buy it :)

  9. The owl is adorable! And the skirt looks great...especially with that scarf!


Please feel free to leave a comment, I love to read them! :) I reply to each one, so be sure to check back, especially if you asked a question.