Tuesday, July 24, 2012

McCall's 6503- A Dress For Me

I made a dress for myself.

I don't do it often enough.

I make darling dresses for my daughters
and other little girls.

But I wear ratty jeans and tshirts most of the time.

There really is no good excuse for it.

I have plenty of fabric and loads of patterns.

I know how to alter and fit clothing.

I just don't like to sew for myself,
especially in the size I am now.

I always think I will wait until I lose weight.

But then I don't do it and still wear
the ratty jeans and tshirts.

And my wardrobe was getting to be ridiculous!


 I pulled out McCall's 6503
and chose view A.

I pulled out some gorgeous fabric that I have been
hoarding for just the perfect dress.

This is "Anthropology 2005" by Dan River.

Yes, I have had it awhile. 

I have most of the bolt left....

Actually, this was kind of my "muslin"
because I had never made this pattern before.

But it turned out so well!

I was nervous about the sizing,
so instead of just cutting out my regular dress size,
I cut the sizes according to the measurements.


It was HUGE!!!!

I should have just cut it a size 16,
which is my normal size.

So I fussed with it,
and cut it down,
and resewed it,
and tried it on
 over and over until it fit perfectly.

Next time I make this pattern,
and there WILL be a next time,
I will just cut the 16 from the beginning.

Please excuse the dorky look on my face.

Don was taking the photos and he was being goofy.

You know,
when I take photos of my girls in their outfits,
I fuss over the collars and sleeves so they lay correctly.

He didn't get that part of the deal......

But I LOVE this dress.

I love the collar and the surplice neckline
and the little ruffle.

However, I didn't love how "gapey" the front got 
when I bent over or slouched.

So, I added a super cute vintage button and buttonhole
right under the collar.

Don couldn't understand why I asked him to 
take a photo of the back.

But I reminded him that my blog was mostly read by 
sewists who would like to see how the back looked.

There is a side zipper in this dress 
so the back is very smooth and nice.

The ruffle is a little scrunched on the 
back of the neck because I had been wearing
my jean jacket that morning at church. 

I love this dress so much!

I will definitely make this pattern again,
maybe next time in a denim or linen.

I plan on wearing this,
 with my cowboy boots,
when the HRH takes me to the 
Brad Paisley concert on Thursday!

We bought the tickets in March,
and I am so glad we did!

Don (my Hot Rockin' Hubby) was laid off 
from his job last week,
so this concert is a huge treat coming 
at a hard time.

And I am so glad I made a new dress to wear 
with my hubby.

We would so appreciate prayer
as Don looks for a new job.

Thankfully, he still has his part-time church job.

 Happy Sewing!!!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Ahnalin Sewed Her First Dress! (or, Learning To Pick My Battles)

This summer, I decided to give my daughters
some special assignments.

In addition to the usual sleeping-in-late,
going to the beach,
playing outside with friends,
lemonade stands,
and other summer past times,
my girls get to accomplish some things!

Each of my girls must:
1. Write a story.
2. Learn a song on the piano or guitar to accompany themselves.
3. Sew a dress that they will wear.

So far, Ahnalin has learned to play
"You Are My Sunshine" 
on the piano.

She sings it hundreds of times a day,
much to the unending JOY  chagrin 
of her big sister.

But she also sewed her dress!!!

Last Tuesday, 
Ahnalin and I went to Joann Fabrics 
to buy some thread and look at the Mccall's pattern books.

McCall's patterns were on sale for 99 cents each.
 Ahnalin had been mooning over a certain jumper pattern
for quite some time,
and had decided that she wanted to make the jumper herself.

While sitting at the pattern table,
a large group of ladies sat down and grabbed the books.

One of them kept "shushing" Ahnalin!
 Ahnalin was actually behaving beautifully,
so it was very rude for this lady to do this.

The lady had already grabbed the McCall's book
away from Ahnalin, telling her that they were not for children.
she said they were only for "real seamstresses".

I informed the lady that Ahnalin was an "award winning seamstress"!

She won a Blue Ribbon for her quilt 
2 years ago at the county fair.
That makes her a "real seamstress" 
for sure!

And then the store manager walked by
and said hello to Ahnalin, by name,
and asked her what her next project was.
Ahnalin proudly showed her the pattern
and told her what fabric she was using.

 So after this little showdown,
you can bet I was going to let Ahnalin buy her pattern!

Off we go, leaving the nasty ladies to 
hog the pattern books.

Ahnalin had been begging to use a pink and white
gingham print from my stash,
for many years. 

So, I mistakenly assumed that she planned to 
sew the red gingham dress (View D),
because of it's similarity to the picture on the pattern.


She wanted to sew the view with 
the pear fabric (View B)
because she loved the curve of the bodice,
and the pretty pockets.

I explained to her that I felt View D would be simpler
for her to sew, with straighter lines,
and gathers instead of pleats..

However she had her heart set. 
She reminded me that when I first started sewing,
I chose the most difficult dress I could find,
because I assumed everything would seem
easy after that. 

Why, oh why did I tell her that?
I mean, it was true, but I was 14 when I did that,
not 7.

She also told me that she fully intended to finish her dress,
so she could wear it to church on Sunday.

Oh my!

I was flashing back to all those Saturdays in 
high school, when I would start sewing in the 
afternoon and finish a dress to wear to church the next morning.

She cut her dress out on Friday and when she started to get 
frustrated, I told her it was time for bed.

Saturday morning, she was up with the sun,
begging to work on her dress.

After struggling with the pocket,
she decided her dress would be fine without it.

This was not accomplished without 
a few screaming fits from her,
and I had to really make every effort to hold myself together.

I knew how badly she wanted to finish her dress,
and she wanted it to be perfect.

She is SOOOOOOO much like me!
Which is why I tend to jump to react
when she freaks out. 

I reminded her that if she had chosen
the simpler design, she may have been less frustrated.

Yes, it was an "I told you so" moment,
and it wasn't helpful.

She picked out trim and buttons
from my stash. 
Watermelon is her favorite fruit,
so once she saw those, her choice was made.

And I think the lime green trim was chosen because
it is my favorite color and she was desperate to 
please me after her nasty tantrum. 

Part of me,
a very, very big part of me,
was tempted to tell her that because of her horrid tantrum,
she could not finish the dress today.

But another part of me,
the part that is working on giving grace,
and showing love even when I want to react in anger,
knew that she NEEDED to finish this dress. 

And she NEEDED that one-on-one time with me,
where I was not working on things for clients,
or even sewing a dress for her. 

She NEEDED to finish this dress
to prove to herself that she could do it.

There are areas in this dress that are not perfect.

She is a perfectionist and so am I.

She freaks out when something is not perfect.

But in a strange way,
I had to show her that striving for perfection,
when it leads to extreme frustration,
is not good. 

She made close friends with her seam ripper, 
which is good.

But some curves were not as round
as she wanted.
I told her that self control (not screaming and 
throwing the dress across the room) 
was more important that perfect curves.

That was hard for me. 
I am not sure who is learning more in this process,
Ahnalin or me. 

But she finished her dress!

And she loves it.

She is already planning the next dress.

I am so proud of my little one,
for the achievements in sewing lessons
and the harder lessons in life. 

Happy sewing!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Freshening Up My Bedroom For Summer

My cozy bed.

It needed some freshening up for summer.

And I had to do it on a pretty snug budget!

I love bright colors and vintage cottage looks.

I managed to achieve my goal for less than $50.00.

What I had:

Antique Dresden plate quilt
(handed down from my great grandmother)

Green French quilt
(birthday present from my parents last year)

Silhouette portraits of our family
(my favorite souvenirs from Disneyland)

Swing arm lamps
 (ordered from Pottery Barn a zillion years ago)

Blue and white chintz euro shams and bed skirt
(made by me with fabric bought at a garage sale)

Red rick rack
(my embarrassing stash)

Blue rick rack
(same embarrassing stash!)

Elastic, thread, bias tape

What I bought:

1 set of white sheets from T.J. Maxx 
($32.55 including tax)

2 pairs Ralph Lauren floral pillowcases from Marshalls
($10.85 including tax)

My old lampshades
were darling black and ivory check fabric
from Pierre Deux.

I still love them
and didn't want to permanently alter them.

So I made lampshade covers
out of one of the pairs of floral pillowcases.

And I made throw pillows
with the rest of the fabric from those pillowcases.

I used the other pair as regular pillowcases.

I sewed a row of red cotton rick rack onto the 
white sheets and pillowcases.

And after making special pillowcases
for a bazillion different people,
I finally made some for me!

I decided to use the phrase
"I am my beloved's 
and he is mine" 
from Song of Solomon 6:3.

I love it and so does my beloved Hot Rockin' Hubby!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happiness Is Homemade - A Giveaway!

I am so excited!!

Last year I fell in love with 
a book called 
"Twenty Eight And A Half Wishes"
by Denise Grover Swank.

I interviewed her on my blog
 and then pined away waiting 
to hear what would happen next to 
the heroine Rose, her sister Violet
 and the handsome Joe.

the next book,
"Twenty Nine And A Half Reasons"
just came out and I LOVE IT!!!

So, when Denise
asked me to make an apron
for a giveaway on her blog to celebrate
the launch of the new book,
I was thrilled!!!

Denise is giving away this apron I designed 
and created 
and some other goodies as well.

You can enter at her blog,

And you can
buy the book and load it right to your
Kindle here:

Twenty Nine And A Half Reasons

So pop on over to Denise's blog and
read all about her fabulous books,
and enter the giveaways too!

Thank you Denise for letting me be a part
of the fun!

And thank you for writing such wonderful books too!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

I am so grateful that I was born
in this beautiful country.

I am so grateful for our freedoms.

I pray your day is 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Birthday Prayer Pillow

Ahnalin was invited to a little girl friend's birthday party.

She is always very proud to 
give her friends gifts
that have been "made by Mama".

While I often give aprons and skirts,
another of my favorite gifts to make is 
 Prayer Pillows.

I made a Prayer Pillow
for her teacher at the end of the school year.

I call them prayer pillows
because the whole time I sew these little bundles of fluff,
I pray for the recipient.

I pray blessing, peace, joy,
health, comfort, mercy,
any specific need they may have,
and of course love.

My mom used to make them for people 
when I was little.
And I always remember people feeling 
so loved and blessed when they received them.

the birthday girl was Brynn,
lover of the color blue.

I pray the Lord blesses her with a joyous year.

Happy Sewing!