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In The Right Place, At The Right Time!

img_1127I am rarely in the right place at the right time. I am usually a day or two or an hour or two off the mark, but not this time. This time I was at the right place at the right time for an awesome sale at Joann’s Fabric. Despite my continued vows of purchasing no more fabric, I decided to shop this sale and I am still super excited about the deals and savings that I got, so let me tell you the story.

It was my day off and I was running some errands, when my phone chimed that I had a text.
The text was from Joann’s Fabric telling me they had a special offer just for me. Usually, I ignore these texts, but I was waiting in a line, so I decided to actually read the text.

The sale was for $20 off a $50 purchase of any regular or sale priced purchases from 4:00pm until closing that day only.

img_1136Wait a minute, that was an awesome deal!

$20 off of a $50 purchase is very close to 50% which is half price. I quickly pulled up the Joann’s app on my phone and searched the current ad. And there it was, 50% off licensed prints.

YES! 50% off the regular price plus an extra $20 off at the register? Lets go shopping! I would have no problem spending $50.00. And what made this sale even more sweet was that I was already in town and it was close to 4:00pm so it would be no trouble to swing by and pick up some beautiful new fabric to add to the stash!

img_1150I made the husband come to Joann’s with me. I also made him download the Joann’s app and coupons on to his phone. I figured that he needed to take advantage of this awesome sale as well, didn’t he? We headed down the licensed print aisle and quickly filled the cart with bolts of fun Peanuts and Star Wars prints. We then headed to the cutting table where I made a pile of bolts for the husband and a pile of bolts for me that would add up to just over $50.00 each.

Since I had instructed the husband on what and how much to have cut, I wandered off to the fleece while the husband was getting his img_1159pile of fabric cut. I found some licensed no-sew fleece blanket kits on sale for $9.99. There were several Peanuts and Star Wars blankets in the piles but I had already selected the fabric for my $50.00 purchase, so I would not be purchasing any no-sew fleece blanket kits this time.

After the cutting of our fabric purchases was done, we checked out and headed for the car. As I was reliving the savings I had just gotten again to the husband I was bemoaning the fact that I had not got any of the blanket kits. That was when the husband surprised me by saying “Well, go back then.” What?!? Go back and buy some more? What about the coupon? I only had one coupon! I looked on my phone and the coupon said it was still valid so I turned around and went back in the store.

img_1120I picked up 5 blankets and one package of dollar stickers to add up to $50.00 and headed for the register. I held my breath as the sales associate scanned the coupon on my phone. The register took the coupon and sold me my 5 blankets for $30.00 making them $6.00 a piece. What a savings! I was beyond excited! I hurriedly headed to the back to get 5 more blankets for the husband to purchase, but the husband stopped me.

Ok, ok, he was right. I had just purchased a ton of fun fabrics and now 5 blankets, and that was enough for today.

img_1141Ever since this experience, I have more carefully read the texts I receive from Joann’s, but none have been for the fabulous savings I received from that particular text that I got at the right place at the right time.

But now instead of reading more texts and planning my next fabric shopping adventure, I need to get busy sewing all of the fun fabric I purchased from this sale. So, stay tuned to see what fun things I make from all of it!

Until then, sew forth and sale on!

Look WHOO’s Here For Thanksgiving!

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As I made my list this year of the many things that I am thankful for, I decided to include my fabric stash in the list.

YES! I am VERY thankful for my fabric stash!

Like a fine wine, it is a place for my fabric to age and rest until it is time to be sewn into something wonderful. It seems that the fabric I buy HAS to spend a certain amount of time in the stash to age and breath before I can use it.

That was not true for this fabric though…

Joann’s had a doorbuster sale on holiday fabric. At 60% off, how could I not buy some? Sitting on the doorbuster deal shelf was this cute Thanksgiving owl printed fabric. When I saw it, I knew I wanted a shirt made from it. So, I bought enough fabric to make me a typical shirt with it. Off I went straight home with it to the sewing room, bypassing the stash completely.

DSCN3819I pushed all of my other sewing projects aside and got started on my new Thanksgiving shirt straight away!

This was a very odd feeling for me…

Here I was ready to prep and cut this fabric within hours of purchasing it, and it had not yet spent its allotted time in the stash to properly breath and age. I blame the recently made Snoopy shirt for this reckless use of fabric on my part. After cutting and sewing such a precious fabric as the snoopy fabric, why not try using another recently purchased fabric?

I started the construction process by pre-washing the fabric and I am so happy that I did not skip this step.

This fabric shrank. A LOT!

DSCN3820I could still get my shirt from it but there would be little to no scraps remaining when I was done. After washing and ironing the fabric, I pulled out my collarless button front basic sloper pattern and the cutting process started.

Knowing that I had just enough fabric to make this shirt, I tried to cut carefully, but I did not cut carefully enough. I cut two right facings, and I did not have enough fabric left to cut a left facing. Since the facing on this shirt will not be seen, I thought about making the facings from a different fabric, but as I fiddled with the scraps of this fabric that was left, I determined I could cut the left facing from the scraps if I put a seam across the middle of the facing. Once again, since the facings will not be seen, I decided to try the seamed facings first. If it looked bad or was bulky or messed with the buttons or buttonholes, I could always cut out some new facings from a different fabric.

DSCN3821So with that, I began the process of sewing it into a finished garment.

The sewing of this shirt went smoothly. I have made this basic sloper many times without problems. When the shirt was completed, you would not have known that I had to piece the left facing together. The seam did not add any bulk to the front of shirt and it is in between the third and fourth button so no one will know it is there but me.

IMG_2870The shirt wore great as I gobbled down turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie in it on Thanksgiving Day.

The shirt is very comfortable and I have received a few compliments on it.

So with that I will add one more thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful to have a fun Thanksgiving shirt for one of my favorite holidays. I am also thankful that I did not make this fabric spend a year or two in the stash before sewing it up into this shirt.

I have wore it all month long now and with November nearly over, I can’t wait for next year just so I can wear it again!

Until then, sew forth and gobble till ya wobble on!

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

McCalls M6274 – Puffy Sleeves

IMG_0046If you keep up with the Joann’s Fabric and Craft ads, you may have noticed several great sales on patterns over this last summer, and like any good fabric store shopper, I could not pass up a great sale on patterns. I did my research before going in. I studied the pattern web sites and made lists of my wanted patterns. I decided on the styles and sizes I needed before entering the store. I took the husband with me to Joann’s on purchase day so he could search out the patterns as I called out the wanted numbers. At the check stand, I delighted in the saving at the bottom of the receipt. I hurried home with my new patterns, and promptly poked them in the closet. But, the other day I just was not in the sewing mood to begin altering my second pattern for myself. And so I pulled out these bags of fun new patterns instead, and I decided it was time to sew some of them up. I quickly chose McCalls pattern M6274 as my next project, a size 4 girl’s shirt with puffy sleeves.

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Puff PatternI started by reading the pattern directions. Since this project was to try a new pattern, I decided early on that I would be good about following the pattern guide in making this shirt, and not deviate from the instructions and improvise my way through the sewing as I usually do. So, as I traced the pattern and cut it out, I was careful to add all of the markings from the original pattern. Being the first try of this pattern, I did not want to use a favored piece of fabric for this shirt, so I checked out what I had in my scrap boxes. I picked this purple and white stripe for it, but I debated a while about using it because of the stripes. I was already trying a new pattern. Did I want the added worry of aligning stripes too? But since I’m a daredevil like that, I finally decided on the purple and white striped fabric for this shirt.

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P1030582Cutting out the pattern was no problem and soon the sewing had begun. After sewing the shoulder and side seams, it was time to make and insert the puffy sleeves. Because I had decided to follow the pattern guide more closely than usual, I read the pattern guide carefully and had the markings for the gathering stitches and the tab all in place. This all worked to my advantage. The construction and insertion of the the sleeves when smoothly. Much more smoothly than I had anticipated. Even the gathering process went smoothly. Maybe I’m getting better at gathering? I was very excited. The sleeves had even worked out great with the striped fabric. I had worried that with the gathered sleeves that the stripes would look askew but they lined up fine. I did use a double needle on the hems of the sleeves. This was a little tricky with the tab, but in the end it worked out great. I did deviate from the pattern in one spot. I decided to not make buttonholes in the tab, but to just sew the button and tab to the sleeve. I saw no reason why the tab would ever be unbuttoned, so why go to the extra work of a buttonhole. I did notice right away that these sleeves were the shortest short sleeves I have ever made. It seemed like the hem was almost to the armscye. At first I thought about lengthening the sleeve but then decided not to. I was following the pattern and this was the length the pattern said to make the sleeves. Plus these are cute little puffy sleeves, and lengthening them may take away from that look.

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P1030751After inserting the sleeves, all that was left was to finish the neck and bottom hem the shirt. It all sounded pretty simple but as I held up the shirt with the sleeves attached, I noticed the size of the neck and especially the drop in the back of the neck. The front and back of the shirt are almost at the same level. And the neckline is huge. The shoulder seams are so tiny. How is this going to fit? Will it always be falling off the shoulders? Not wanting to turn the neckline down any more than I had to, I serged and turned the neckline once and stitched it down with the double needle. This was not the cleanest look. I would have preferred to hide the serging with the another turn but I did not want to make the neckline any bigger and I wanted some shoulder seam left.

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P1030750With the shirt finished, I decided that I could not make a judgement call on whether I liked the pattern or not until I gave the shirt to the little neighbor girl and I heard back from the mom on the wear test. Did it hang off her shoulders? Were the puffy sleeves too short and made it hard to move around in the shirt? I am going to have to ask her mom to be very honest about the fitting points, not just say oh its cute, and she likes it. I need to know how it wore so I know if I want to make another shirt from this exact pattern again. Or will I want to modify the neck line on it, or if I would even make the shirt at all again. So, after I find out the results of the wear test, I will decide if my great sale pattern was even worth its terrific price, or will it be removed from the pattern stash in the closet forever. I will report back on those decisions later.

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Well until next time, happy sewing and crafty dreams!

But It’s Too Hot

Because we had such a cold winter this past year, the husband has wore his heavy fleece robot bathrobe all winter long, and has been nice and toasty in it. As the seasons are starting to change and the weather is starting to warm back up, I am starting to hear murmuring about how hot and heavy the robot bathrobe is. When I found the husband looking for his old worn out bathrobe for the coming summer months, I knew it was time to make him another lighter and cooler bathrobe for the summer months.

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IMGI got out the pattern that I had used when I constructed the robot bathrobe, but with our recent change in body size, I decided to try a newly purchased pattern, Simplicity 5314 instead. I purchased this pattern awhile back on one of Jo-Ann’s 5 for $5 pattern sales. I started by taking some quick measurements of the husband, but decided that since he would want a roomy big bathrobe, I would just make the XXXL size. Next came what fabric to use? I showed the husband the terry cloth I had picked up at Walmart for $1 per yard, but he cringed at the sight of the baby blue color of it. So, the next time we were at Joann’s, he spotted some nice flannel with monsters on it and I picked that for his next bathrobe. At the cutting table, I told the lady helping us that I needed 5 yards. There was 8 yards left on the bolt. Since I refuse to pay Jo-Ann’s regular prices for fabric and I would be use my coupon, I told the lady to give me the whole bolt, and I am glad I did. After putting the fabric through the washer and dryer, it shrank several inches. It was now only 40 inches wide, not 45. and at least 1/2 yard shorter. Wow. I was sure glad I had gotten the extra fabric.

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P1020777 - Version 2Too scared to cut into the expensive monster flannel, I decided I could use a new bathrobe too. This would give me the chance to muslin the pattern before cutting into the husband’s fabric. So, I dug out the baby blue terry cloth from the stash. I decided since I would be making the XXXL size for the husband, I would make the XXL size for me. I traced both sizes of the pattern and cut my size out of the terry cloth and proceeded to start sewing. Sewing with the stretch of terry cloth is alway interesting but things were going along just fine until it was time to try the bathrobe on. When I pulled the bathrobe on, it was HUGE. The shoulder seams went to my elbows, and the bottom of the armscye was at my waist, and it was longer than I am tall. It was way, way too big! And I decided that it was going to take major reconstruction to fit me. I asked the husband to try it on and, of course, it fit him much better. Begrudgingly, he agreed that with a little bit of altering, this blue terry cloth bathrobe could be his summer robe. That was very sweet of him, but I had not yet given up hope of this thing being my bathrobe.

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IMG_0022Because this bathrobe was just big all the way around, I started my alterations by tracing the size XL pattern and placing its pieces on the bathrobe. With my sliver of soap, I traced the XL size on to the fabric. I then stitched on my soap lines. It was not an exact match. I had to fudge where some seams were already sewn together (I was not in the mood to unpick terry cloth), but it worked out fine in the end. After sewing it, I cut off the extra and tried the bathrobe on again. Wow, it so much better fitting already! The armscye was still very low, so I stitched the side seams up higher into the sleeve to solve that issue. I now had a bathrobe that fit quite well. It was still big and oversized, but it was the right amount of oversized this time around. Even more importantly, I knew what size and alterations like raising the armscye to make on the husband’s bathrobe, so I was now ready to cut into the monster flannel without fear of flubbing it up.

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P1020779The flannel was a dream to work with after working with the stretch of the terry cloth. It cut and sewed up great. It was not long before I had something for the husband to try on. Because of all I had learned while fitting my bathrobe, there were only a few tweaks needed to his before the fit was just what he wanted. I am anxious for the husband to wear his new flannel bathrobe and give it a proper tryout. He has always previously had knit bathrobes and I wonder if he will miss the stretch of the knit that the flannel does not have. If he does not mind the loss of the stretch, I think I will make me a flannel bathrobe next time too.

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As I looked at the fun monster design on the husband’s bathrobe, I became jealous that mine was just a boring old baby blue one, so I decided to add some embroidery to my bathrobe to spice it up a little. It was not hard for me to pick a design. I chose a Peanuts design that I had always wanted to try out, but I had just never found the right item to put it on. My bathrobe was the perfect choice to try it out on. One problem that arose was that I did not place the design very well. I placed it where I would have placed it on a shirt. I did not take into account IMG_0018that the robe is so oversized, or the cross over of the fabric when the robe is closed, or the fact that I will wear the bathrobe without a bra on. Anyway, the design is stitched where it is and I can’t change that now, but I did learn another valuable lesson regarding embroidery design placement on bathrobes. Besides that, no one but the husband is ever going to see me in my bathrobe. And he is happy that he does not have to wear the baby blue terry cloth, and I love having a Snoopy and Charlie Brown on my bathrobe.

The Husband Must Really Love Me

You will never believe what the husband did. It just proves that he really loves me. The husband bought me fabric! Yes, you heard correctly and I will repeat it. The husband BOUGHT me FABRIC!

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Remember my blog post about the online fabric sale that Joann’s was having? Remember the piece of Mickey Mouse fabric that sparked me to actually make a purchase? Remember that the next day, I received an email telling me that that fabric was out of stock and would not ship? Well, the husband received an email later stating that that particular piece of Mickey Mouse fabric was back in stock and could be purchased at the sale price. The husband knew that I wanted that piece of fabric very badly and that I was disappointed when it had not shipped with the original order, so he decided to buy me a couple of yards. Isn’t he so sweet?

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It arrived the other day and I am excited to get creative with this piece of fabric and see what I can design and make from the husband’s fabulous purchase for me.

Oops, I Did It Again

Bought fabric. Yes, I bought more fabric. I admit it. I said it out loud. Even though the stash has worked its way out of the closet it’s stored in and is headed out the door of the room it lives in, I still felt the need to add more to it. I received an email from Joann’s Fabric stating that all fabric was on sale. Usually I can resist temptation and not even look, but not the other day. All fabric on sale. SALE?!? FABRIC?!? FABRIC SALE?!? Hmm… Let’s just see what I might think I need!

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Because I am not the biggest fan of buying fabric online, when I look on line at fabric, I limit it to licensed cottons, flannel and fleeces. That way I know what I will have when it arrives. So, I start by checking out the Mickey Mouse prints and I found one that I fell in love with. I quickly added it to my cart. I then went looking for a free shipping coupon.

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Yay!

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I found a free shipping coupon but with a minimum purchase.

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Darn!

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So, I returned to shopping to try and meet the minimum purchase. Of course it was no problem to meet and exceed the minimum purchase after checking out the rest of the Disney prints, the Snoopy prints, and the other licensed prints. Another Mickey Mouse print, a Snoopy print and a Marvel Comic print were added to the cart with hardly a second look. When I finally looked in my cart, I decided to click on check out before I found more. Pleased with my selection, I now had to forget about it and wait for it to be shipped.

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All was good until the next day when I received an email informing me that the first piece of Mickey Mouse fabric, the one I fell in love with, the one that prompted the purchase of the other pieces in the first place, was out of stock and would not be shipped with the other pieces. Argh!

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Oh well, the other pieces have arrived and they are awesome. I decided not to just pack them into the stash but to let them set in my line of site and see if they can become something more than just stash. Hopefully you will see some great new posts soon of what I decided to create with these new pieces.