Friday, February 26, 2016

Peppermint Swirl Dress

Before Christmas, I bought the pattern and material to make my daughter a Peppermint Swirl Dress. I saw the pattern and really liked it, and thought that I should make my daughter a twirly dress now, when she likes to wear clothes I make and twirl.

This dress is a time-sucker, to be sure! The end result is fun, but getting there wasn't always fun! Each "swirl" is made of two pattern pieces, which must be cut with the fabric right side up.

I had the dress bodice and skirt almost completed, and then I just kind of stopped. I made up my mind to get it done and so I did!

the back

The skirt is fuller than a full circle! Very twirlable!
My daughter loves it and now my sewing table is (mostly) cleared off! Sewing isn't inexpensive, but starting a project and leaving it till it is outgrown is definitely not very frugal!

Now, a few notes on the pattern. First of all, it is a digital pattern which requires printing and taping. These are so annoying to me. I know some people use almost all digital patterns but I do like the ease of the "Big Four". The pattern instructions were written fairly well. I ended up with too much fabric though, so their recommendation for yardage is way off. I made a few changes in the construction to make it neater on the inside (especially attaching the bodice to the skirt, I didn't want the seam exposed). I read through the sash instructions three or four times and never did understand what they wanted me to do. So I made a sash and sewed it into the side seam instead. Also, this is written as a "dress" pattern but truly it is a jumper that should be worn over a blouse or shirt! The neckline comes very low and the armholes are gaping as well. It's hard to see the neckline in my pictures, but when sewn at the seam allowance they gave it goes super low. It's a cute neckline! But not one that my daughter can wear as a "dress".  Also, another annoyance to me was the fact that there is a pattern for sleeves available - if you buy it separately!

In the end, I had fun (most of the time!) making this dress. I doubt I'll make it again though! The hem alone took me well over an hour! But my daughter loves this dress so it's a win!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Make Do and Mend

On Saturday I tackled my sewing chair that was full of mending and sewing projects! When I was growing up, my dad was the one that we kids gave broken odds and ends and toys to and he fixed them. In our house, I am the one that accumulates all the odds and ends to fix (sewing wise, anyhow!). My daughter throws things on my sewing table expecting the turnaround time to be much less than it usually ends up being. ;-)

So what did I fix?

:::Two pairs of jeans for my daughter. The bottom hems were raggy and she didn't want to wear them any more. Most of my daughter's clothes, including all her jeans, are given to her by friends (hand-me-downs). These were no exception. My "fix" for these was to simply zigzag over the edge in matching thread. It makes the frayed edge less noticeable and will extend the use of them. The hem on the second pair also needed stitching. I used matching thread, since I don't have pink topstitching thread.

This morning she thanked me for fixing the hems so while these are not "perfect" they will do just fine!

:::A towel. I turned it into a rag by stitching the very frayed edges together (right side together), and then zigzagging around the edge. This will extend the use of the towel by making it a little thicker but also it makes it noticeably a RAG which will not accidentally work itself back into the kitchen towel drawer.

I hate to admit how ridiculously PICKY I have been about my rags - throwing towels away and buying rags. No more! Silly me...

:::A Build-a-Bear ear bow. This is another thing that was thrown on my sewing table that I came across. The bow had come apart, but was still halfway attached to the elastic. I pulled the ribbon back into a bow and tacked it in a few places to keep it going.

:::My husband's slacks - he bought them new from a thrift store (they still had the new tags on them and were unhemmed) for $1. And then they fell into the abyss that is my sewing table. ;-) Hemming slacks is never my favorite thing to do but I got it done!

And there went my morning! That is why I put off mending! But it is a worthwhile venture because it makes things last and reduces trash (the rag, for instance). I'm glad I was able to get to those things.

Friday, February 12, 2016


I took Heather's Hibernate workshop this year. I've wanted to take it in the past, as enjoying winter is just not something I embrace. The workshop did not disappoint.

There were several projects I completed that I wanted to share:

a dishcloth knit out of thin cotton yarn, and two fuzzy yarn bowls

Our weather here is cold, cold, cold...I'm looking forward to spring but trying not to be anxious about it! Our winter has been so mild compared to past winters, I really can't complain (well, I can and I have complained...but I'm trying not to!)

Tonight: we're going to look at a bike for ME! Then I can go bike riding with my daughter! (When the roads are no longer snowy, of course! ;-) )

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Five Frugal Things, Dinner Edition

Several blogs I read do a "five frugal things" post, which I find interesting. So I thought I'd write one of my own.

During dinner prep tonight I did the following frugal things:

1) On Saturday I cleaned out my pantry shelves, and made a list of random things that I need to use up. One of those things was 3/4 cup of a wild rice mix. I was making rice and fish for dinner, so I mixed that rice with regular brown rice in order to have enough for dinner.
2) I sautéed some onions and garlic to go in the rice, and then thought I'd add a few vegetables that were still very edible but not very pretty looking: a few mushrooms, and some carrot sticks.
3) Mavis and her trash challenge has me thinking of reducing our own garbage output. So tonight I pulled out a bowl and collected anything compostable as I made dinner. We have a compost bin, but I haven't been using it over the winter. I'm going to start making that trek out to the compost - it will be that much less garbage to the curb!
4) I rescued a dilapidated lemon by juicing it and then adding it to homemade salad dressing, sprinkling it over the fish I was baking, and making a quart of lightly sweetened (with maple syrup) lemonade.
5) I peeled and sliced seven withered apples and made an apple crisp for dessert.