Friday Favorites No. 330

Yesterday was my birthday. Since I'm still in Italy, but writing this ahead of time, I have to assume it was pretty amazing! There's also Mother's Day coming up this weekend. Hopefully you have some fun plans, either for yourself or to celebrate a mom in your life!

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Wouldn't these faux leather and felt anemones make a pretty hair clip or Mother's Day corsage? Delia Creates even shares the cutting file if you want to use a Silhouette.

If your sweet little ones need something pretty to wear this weekend, Violette Field Threads has one you can whip up fairly quickly. It has all the ruffles and lace that are so popular right now.

Aren't these flower pot cookies from The Gunny Sack adorable? If you have some skill at making frosting roses, they can be even more edible.

So, a cupcake and a mini cake are really only a little different in shape, but tell me this doesn't look so much more fancy! In my research (okay, honestly just mini cake stalking) I found there are lots of ways to make these. Some use actual, legit small pans, while others are made in clean, empty canned-food cans. The Kitchen McCabe here used little mason jars!

JennyAllsortsDesign has a shop filled with cute things on Etsy, but I particularly love the three sets of international dolls embroidery patterns. These are pretty both as redwork or in multi color.  Wouldn't these be perfect for a little girl's quilt?

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Book Review: Stylish Skirts

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, Tuttle Publishing contacted me and asked if I would review some of their sewing books here on my blog.  I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Happy Homemade:  Sew Chic and Happy Homemade:  Sew Chic Kids already, and today I’m here with Stylish Skirts.  The books were given to me by Tuttle, but the opinions here are completely my own.

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I was really excited when Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe arrived in the mail.  I love skirts, and every year around this time I vow to wear more of them.  They also tend to be one of the easiest clothing items a seamstress can make, with so many options for variations.  This book arrived with 23 choices available, almost every one of them something I would wear. 

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I like the unique touches to classic styles, like this Slub Denim Wrap-Style Panel Skirt, with its extra bit of extended hem.

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Irregular hem skirts have been in style for a few years now, and this version just looks like someone should dance in it.

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The Tiered Look Frilled Skirt adds a twist to the usual tiered skirt by making the layers end at different lengths.

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I really like the white stripe coordinating with the white buttons on this one.

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There is quite a bit of embroidery in this book, which I’ve been loving lately.  Since this skirt is so easy to sew, the extra effort to add the embroidery isn’t much work.

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As far as the way the book is laid out, it’s very similar to the others I’ve reviewed from Tuttle.  It starts out with photos of each skirt on the same dress form, along with page numbers for the instructions.  I miss the personality of human models, but it did make me feel a bit less intimidated that I’m not the size 0 shown in the photos.

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The book includes several helpful pages for beginners or anyone needing a refresher, like this one that covers different closures.

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I really like the way they have diagramed the sewing instructions.  Like my cookbooks, my sewing books can’t have too many photos. 

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The one issue I have with this book is that you have to draft your own patterns.  I understand this is necessary because there’s no way 23 skirt patterns in a variety of sizes are going to fit in an envelope.  However, I was disappointed to find no “How to Draft a Pattern” page, and even with my 40+ years of sewing experience and help from my husband I couldn’t figure out how to make my favorite skirt.

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Granted, I don’t often draft clothing patterns, so this problem may be confined to me.  I did understand some of the other patterns.  My suggestion would be to make a muslin, especially for your first drafted pattern from this book.  I’m still hoping to figure it out, because I have a piece of fabric that would be perfect for that skirt.

The other thing I’d like to see is clearer fabric suggestions.  There are some, but if they were to add that and a page explaining pattern drafting, this book would be perfect.  Still, Stylish Skirts is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a skirt fan like I am!

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Skirt Save

The police department my husband works for holds an awards ceremony every year.  It’s always nice to see the officers and citizens recognized for their hard work and bravery, and it’s a good chance for our law enforcement family to catch up with each other.  Tonight’s the night, so I decided to make a skirt to wear that I’d bought the ingredients for last week. 

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I have a few comments about this pattern.  First of all, I never pay more than about $2.50 for a clothing pattern.  There’s already too much risk involved for me without paying $15 to $18.  This one was $1.  Second, I like the different style options available on this one.  Last, but not least, this is only a 2 hour pattern if you are paying attention and not trying to do several other things at the same time.  The rest of this story can only be blamed on me, not Simplicity.

Cutting this out was a breeze, as it only uses three pattern pieces.  The first step is just stitching the two from pieces together, then the sides.  Piece of cake.  Had I just stuck with one thing at a time, instead of bouncing between this project and another, everything would still be fine.  You can probably imagine by now, that’s not how this went.  This is what the waistband should look like once it’s sewn on.

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After stitching the original seam, stitching a second seam next to it for added strength and zigzag stitching over the edge to make sure my unravel-prone fabric would stay together, I held the skirt up and found this.

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That, my friends, is the outside of the skirt.  With the exposed seam for the waistband.  I just sat there staring at it in disbelief.  A lifetime of sewing, and I was going to lose this skirt to a dumb mistake.  There was no way this fabric was going to survive ripping out three seams and still be viable.  I thought about cutting off the waistband and starting over, since I had a little bit of fabric left to cut a new one, but that would mess with the shape and length of the skirt. 

Instead of throwing a fit, like I wanted to, I laid it down gently on my work table and walked away for a few minutes.  That moment of clarity was enough for me to realize all I needed to do was cover up that seam.  Bias tape to the rescue!

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This tape, folded, is about 3/4” wide.  I ironed the seam down toward the bottom, then pinned the end of the tape on, barely covering the seam at the top to prevent shrinking the casing for the elastic.

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For the rest of the tape, I just laid it in place as I sewed close to the top edge.  When I reached the end, I cut the tape, folded the end under and stitched it over the top of where I had started.  I sewed close to the bottom edge to finish it off.

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After that crisis was defused, I closely followed the directions to add the elastic and hem the bottom.  Once I was finished, I tried it on and was happily surprised.  I love the black trim at the top and would actually add it on purpose if I had it to do over again.

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What did I learn from this?  It’s especially important when working on a project outside my norm, like clothing, that I pay attention to what I’m doing and not try to multitask.  Also, don’t throw away a project just because I made a mistake.  I can guarantee I’ll get to put that life lesson to use again someday.

Friday Favorites–Dresses and Skirts

We’ve finally had a couple of really nice days around here.  We made it all the way to 70 degrees!  I painted my toenails and dug a pair of sandals out of the back of my closet.  Two days later I was stuffing them back in and slipping into my wool socks again, but it was nice while it lasted.  That little bit of sunshine, combined with my daughter’s senior prom coming up soon, has me in the mood for dresses and skirts.

I’m fascinated by the idea of these Infinity Dresses, like this one from Sew Like My Mom

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…and this one from Rostitchery.  I’m just afraid I’d end up somewhere lost in a knot.

Instructables user nataliehua made an entire Ruffled On-Shoulder Dress from one extra-large t-shirt.  It’s a teeny dress, but impressive.

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I don’t own one, but these yoga skirts like this one from Sew, Mama, Sew look very comfy.

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The sash on this Simple A-Line Skirt from The Mother Huddle is removable, but it’s so cute, why would you want to?

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I love the color of this Sweet August Dress from Kojo Designs.  So summery.

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My favorite things about this Taking Notes Skirt from Sewing in No-Man’s Land are that extra-wide waistband and wide tie.  And the bright yellow.  And the dots.

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I like the extra details on this Flowered Wrap Skirt from Creative Kismet, like the curved corner and the lining that would show if it flipped a little.

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All the ruffles on this Ruffle Equation Skirt from iCandy Handmade are adorable, but I’m trying to figure out how I would get those boots to go with it.

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I’m not sure I’m brave enough for this Party Dress from DIY Style, but it just wouldn’t be as fun any other way.

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I can’t even tell you how much I love this Vintage Inspired Summer Dress from Etsy seller Darmiani Fashions.  This, with a pair of red heels, would make me blissfully happy.

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In fact, let’s just go all the way with this.  These.

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Here’s hoping you’ve got dress and skirt weather where you are!