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Christmas Crafting?

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This post is a supplement to my previous book report. I now have pictures and a plan, hooray!

I made a promise to stay off the computer all Thanksgiving day, which leaves me some time to try a bit o’ Christmas crafting. I think the book I’m most excited to experiment with is The Cute Book, because the projects are so tiny and… well, CUTE… and best of all, I have a huge stash of dyed organic velour and organic wool scraps in a rainbow of colors. I have easily found a use for scraps that are 3″ or larger in the past, but I never knew what to do with the smaller pieces that are abundant around here. This is the perfect project book for me! Just a little note, of course the animals can be made as large as you like, but actual size of the projects in the book is very mini.

the cute book 2

Isn’t the index (above) adorable? I mean it, I’m obsessed with the layout of this book. I think it’s wonderful and witty, and the text is cute as well. Each project covers two pages, and each project layout is a different color from the others.


the cute book 3

I’ve never made any sort of critter, whether hand-sewn or by machine, stuffed or flat, embellished or plain. I will be interested to see how this works out for me. Ha ha! I’m going to see if Anya can do some hand sewing as well. I think she can do it because she loves to”make” and she’s pretty meticulous for a 5 year old. Yeah, I’m bragging on her. Better than ragging on her. Pfft, hush Christy, you’re being weird.

From Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilting Gifts, I fell in love with this quilt but there’s no way I will even attempt to make it. Not that you shouldn’t, it’s just that I am not a quilter and I am far too scatterbrained and disorganized. I’d never get such a beautiful color wheel laid out, let alone sewn nicely. Isn’t it striking? I think so.

last minute patchwork + quilted gifts

I do plan to try making the bird ornaments (which can be seen on the cover of the book if you click on the title above), and this sweet stuffed elephant. “Peanut, the wee elephant” is what the project is called, and it was designed for the book by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls.

last minute patchwork + quilted gifts

The finished size is about 7″ by 9″ and I think Zella would love one of these for Christmas. I’m partial to this project because when I was a little girl I dreamed of being an elephant. You know, as a career. My mom tricked me into believing that if I pulled on my nose and ears every night before bed, it was possible. What a gullible little kid I was. Thanks for deceiving me, Mom!

Finally, two little projects from Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching. These ornaments are cute and simple, and will be a good introduction to hand embroidery (another first for me). If I mess up I’m not wasting much in the way of materials or energy.

aimee ray doodle stitching

Another little critter to try out…

aimee ray doodle stitching

In other Christmas-related news, we bought a live tree this evening! We went to Lowe’s and let Anya pick it out, I honestly think she picked the nicest one in the lot. It’s gorgeous. Even more exciting, it’s our first live Christmas tree! If I had known you could get such a lovely (and extremely aromatic) tree for under $30 I would have started this tradition a long time ago.

Encouraged by one of the photographs above, I tried to talk Bill into getting a pink tree but it was hopeless. I’m lucky he didn’t throw me out just for suggesting it, I could tell he was seriously considering it. I think pink would have gone well with our black, white, gray, and silver house though. Totally. I guess pink trees are trendy this season… check out the latest cover of Blueprint magazine for another example. Previously, I think it was upside down Christmas trees, which I don’t quite get. I mean, this one is $600 and sadly, all sold out already. Really?

My last little tidbit before I go to sleep. I coveted these Ahna Holder wool-felt stockings last year, and swore to make some cool felt sockings for my family before Christmas rolled around this year. It would probably make more sense to just *buy* some, huh? I would never go for such an easy solution.

ahna holder stockings



Written by sewfussy

November 21, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Posted in Books, Crafty fun, Sewing

Yoshiko Jinzenji, Quilter

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I have never been extremely interested in traditional quilts, but Yoshiko Jinzenji’s work is so different than what I envision when I hear the term “quilt,” and she’s definitely an artist worth checking out!

You can see some of Yoshiko Jinzenji’s beautiful quilts on her website, and there are also a couple of books of her work available. I have “Quilt Artistry” (text in English) and some of the projects inside are amazing… I wish I had some photographs of the inside pages, but I don’t. I’m a tease. Maybe I’ll take some later, though.
And even though it is not written in English I would also like to get the other book, “Simple Quilts.” There are a bunch of projects in there that I would like to make, and it should be similar to the other Japanese pattern books I have in that there is enough information to create the projects without text. I should be able to figure it out, right?

I am also really digging her fabric line (available here at ReproDepot) but my problem is, I can’t decide which of them I love the most. You should really check out the full-size files since you can’t see much in the thumbnails…





For some reason, browsing through her collective fabric line makes me think of Alexander Calder’s work.



Isn’t this little elephant marvelous? I was not familiar with Calder’s non-mobile sculptures but I think I’m more intrigued by them than the types of work pictured above.


Written by sewfussy

November 14, 2007 at 1:11 am

Halloween Pictures

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I know y’all have been just dying to see the finished costume that I first posted about here. Well I won’t keep you in suspense any longer!  Here it is, along with the costume I made for little Zella (which is a modified version of Simplicity 5695 – tres simple!)

Halloween Anya

I have to say, working with this flannel-backed satin fabric (Sew Comfy line from Joann’s) was a pain in the butt. It warps too easily so it was hard to sew a nice straight line. It was worth using though, because I had – and still have – quite a stash of it from when I started making these little chenille baby blankets.
The other annoying thing about making the purple dress is that there was *so* much fabric involved that it was pretty difficult to sew. I mean, that jenk was heavy! It kept sliding off of my sewing table and pulling whatever seam I was trying to sew out of alignment. Also, there was an enormous amount of gathering. I chose to make the version with overlays (the purple “skirts” that lay on the off-white main skirt) and I almost couldn’t get my machine to run over the two gathered layers of the skirt plus the outer layer of the bodice. Then I had trouble with the zipper, and trouble with the hand stitching of the lining, and so on and so on… I don’t even want to think about how many hours I spent on this dress! I think a lot of those hours were spent on the accessories – matching elasticated treat bag with lace, matching tiny-circumference gauntlets. You know, gauntlets, those glove-like things that go on the arms? Who knew?

But in the end, I think it was worth it, even if I am kicking myself for not remembering the off-white sash I also made to go across the bodice. Anya was thrilled and it really is a dress fit for a princess. Or maybe a flower girl. Ha ha.


Halloween Girlies


Halloween Girlies


Written by sewfussy

November 2, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Family, Patterns, Sewing

Helloween Sewing (Simplicity 8953)

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What was I *thinking?*    I could have spent as little as $20 and 45 minutes on a Little Mermaid or Princess costume for Anya but instead I decided to try and thin my fabric stash and make her this poufy insane ensemble that may not even fit her.

simplicity 8953

I’ll be sure to post pictures of the actual project in a day or two.  It’s basic but very “Princess-like,” and Anya is all about Princesses these days (but not as much as she is crazy about Ariel).
Must get back to hand sewing the lining in so that I can go to sleep.    I gathered well over 10 feet of fabric tonight.  Errgh… remind me never to do this again!

Written by sewfussy

October 31, 2007 at 6:21 am

My Sewing Room Overrunneth.

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Um….I think I need to stock my website and make some space!

fussy galore

Written by sewfussy

October 26, 2007 at 5:00 am

Jalie 2005 Choice of Tees- love it!

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I think I may have found my tried and true shirt pattern in Jalie 2005’s Choice of Tees. It’s only (ha) the fifth tee pattern I’ve tested and unlike the other 4 patterns, this is one I know I’ll be using again very soon.

Jalie 2005 Choice of Tees

This is my first Jalie pattern and I’m not sure why I decided to give it a try. Sure, there are nearly 80 positive reviews for this particular pattern on patternreview, but I don’t think I saw them before I acquired the pattern. It must have been the groovy looking cover page (above) that jumped out at me during a recent shopping spree.

Some other cool things about this pattern include the fact that the sizing goes from toddler (size 92) all the way to adult (size 25/26). I don’t have any other patterns that include adult *and* children’s sizes in the same envelope. There are also three different styles included; v neck, boat neck, and round neck (also referred to as jewel neck. what?). Seriously though, am I dumb for not knowing what “jewel neck” means? Don’t answer that.

(round neck version with unhemmed sleeves and added band at bottom)

round neck jalie 2005

I decided to be an incredible dork and make matching boat neckline shirts for my 18 month old and myself using a slinky black bamboo jersey that I bought from a local Hancock’s before it closed. I thought it would be really difficult to work with but it wasn’t too bad. I used my serger quite a bit for the seaming.


The directions for this pattern are not very clear, plus they are included on one of the huge pattern sheets instead of on a separate, smaller piece of paper. It would have been easy to make a copy of the instructions if I had thought of it, but now that I’ve sewn a couple of the tees and am familiar with the pattern, I won’t be needing them. Ultimately, the included instructions are not all that helpful to begin with, but how complicated can a tee shirt be?

Here is a shot of my unhemmed shirt – I was being lazy. I need to lengthen it by adding a band to the bottom (see round neck star tee below) because I prefer my shirts to be a bit longer than average. I don’t have a picture of my daughter’s shirt, but it looks the same as this one only smaller.

boat neck Jalie 2005


Written by sewfussy

October 23, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Patterns, Sewing

Built By Wendy 3835 Tunic Dress (or whatever) and Boy Haircut

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Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. A couple of weeks ago I was stricken with the worst sinus/tooth pain of my life and was unable to function for about a week. After an emergency trip to the dentist and a few days of antibiotics and pain medication I’m finally starting to feel better. Man, that was rough.

So since I haven’t written in so long I have quite a bit to show, but because there are a lot of pictures I am going to post a little at a time. For today, a tunic dress that was inspired by the Built by Wendy 3835 dress/shirt pattern and the dress in view C in Sewing Talk, one of my favorite Japanese pattern books. I wish I had a photograph of view C, but I don’t right now. It’s basically a simple sleeveless dress with no darts and an elastic casings at the neck and the armholes. So easy!

built by wendy 3835sewing talk

I referred to both patterns for the body, basing my dress on the shirt in the BBW pattern (another “view C”) but using the Sewing Talk pattern to lengthen the BBW top. I also used the raglan style BBW sleeves and the BBW pockets. Okay then, I guess it’s actually best described as a modified Built by Wendy 3835 but I only made it because I liked how my first Sewing Talk View C dress came out so much. I have pictures of that dress, but they really suck so I’m not sharing.

The dress was made using a weird crinkle-gauze type blend I got for $1 a yard from Joann’s. It was really easy to work with but the fact that it is crinkly stretch fabric made the pockets tricky to apply – or it could have been difficult because I bias cut the pockets. You can see how they are a bit “off” in the dress form photo.
I read an article recently that said the best skirt lengths for us short folk is either mid-thigh or ankle – *not* right at/above the knee or mid calf. I never realized that, but it’s true. The dress is quite short but I plan to wear it this fall with asphalt American Apparel leggings. I am wearing biker shorts underneath it in the photos. Stylin’!

built by wendy 3835 on dress form

Check out my boy-hair below. I told y’all I went a little crazy with my razor cutter after my last haircut! It’s so much easier to have it this short, though, and I’ll sacrifice beauty for ease any day.

tunic dress bbw 3835

tunic dress bbw 3835

Written by sewfussy

October 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm