Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Parchment Paper Pattern


I started sewing when Luke was a baby.  Even though I did the required Home Ec. sewing classes in middle school, I didn’t exactly love them.  But then I had an adorable baby boy and something in me wanted to make cute little outfits for him, and boyish bed spreads for his toddler bed.  Of course, once I had Alix, followed by more beautiful little babies, the desire just blossomed.  And it expanded from clothes to include furniture slipcovers, napkins, linens, curtains, pillows, etc. Although sewing isn’t necessarily inexpensive – and sometimes it’s actually more expensive than buying things – the ability to make something just how I want it, in the fabric or color I want, inspires me to keep doing it.  Plus, I admit, I am a student.  I like to learn.  There are so many styles of sewing and techniques to do things, that I am continuing to learn year by year.

In the last few years, I have started to do more of my own pattern-making.  It was intimidating at first, but I read a lot of tutorials to see how others were doing it.  And I learned that taking careful measurements made all the difference in the final outcome. 

The old adage, “Measure twice, cut once” comes to mind.  Winking smile

Initially I used tissue paper (the kind you tuck around gifts in gift bags) to draft the patterns, and then I moved on to wrapping paper, muslin, or old sheets.  But recently I started using parchment paper.  The kind that I also use to drop chocolate no-bake cookies on to set up.

When it comes to drafting patterns – parchment paper is perfect

It’s flexible. It doesn’t tear easily. It is mostly transparent – so I can transfer lines for seams and darts very easily.  It’s inexpensive. And best of all – I can even stitch it together!  This means I can do a trial of the pattern, without wasting costly fabric. 

For our ballet recital in May, I am making two little boy vests.  I have no patterns, just one larger boy’s vest to use as my example.  So I took one of Olivia’s shirts and traced around the neckline and the underarm seam down to the waist as my sample size. 

Once I stitched the shoulder and underarm seams, I had Olivia try it on.  She is about the size of the two little boys who will be wearing the vests.  While she was wearing it, I was able to adjust the seams under her arm, which were a little too tight, by simply pulling the paper apart and stopping at a point which seemed more comfortable for her. 

Then I took it off of her, and went back to make adjustments.  When we tried it on her again, it was just right. 

Now instead of making a vest which may or may not fit the little boys, I will take my parchment paper vest and have them try it on; make adjustments, and then sew the vests using the parchment paper pattern pieces over my fabric.


Here’s a look at the “vest”.

The front side – overlapping because I am going to put a couple of buttons on the final fabric vest.




And a look at the back, which will have two darts.




And I thought you might enjoy this one of my lovely assistant modeling the “vest”.








Although my assistant is indeed quite lovely, she was less than thrilled to be wearing this “scratchy” vest.  What she really wanted to do was finish her Math homework.

Now how could I argue against such brilliance of preference and motivation for learning?


So she’s back to her Math!


Have a lovely day! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just a Little Conversation and Catching Up



Little by little, warmer days are coming.  Our little crocuses are blooming their hearts out, and the stiff, deep green stalks of our daffodils are clustered in happy families, here and there around the yard.  Soon they’ll lift bright yellow blooms toward the sun, along with the sweet pink and yellow tulips thoughtfully planted unknown seasons ago, before we came to Kenilworth. 

Many of the trees have tight little buds, some with streaks of color showing more and more clearly through their plump tufts.  The grass is green again, and getting greener each day. 

It’s almost as though the plants share our feelings of anticipation and excitement and change.

School is keeping us very busy – which is primarily why the blog posts are few and far between.  We’re working hard to finish as much as we can, so that we will have more freedom in the summer months.  We will continue to do some school throughout the summer, since I learned years ago that much is forgotten in a short time.  But we plan to have fun, too!  The kids love playing outside with their bikes, and on the zip line.   And then there are sure to be Runaway games, reading in the hammock, and time on the swing set, and playing with the animals. 

Of course there are a few projects on the horizon.  Like a low stone wall which will span the length of the front yard; this may be a project which doesn’t get finished for quite some time. But I’m excited to get it started. 

(I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is excited about it)

We’re hoping to tear down the cobhouse and build another, larger structure where it stands.  It won’t be our future garage/barn – which we’re saving up to pay for with cash.  But it will help give the animals a more insulated home, and provide some much needed storage space for some of the things we’re currently storing elsewhere. 

Lord willing, we will get the doors finished for the mudroom closets and maybe the bench and shelving units in there, too???? 

And let’s not forget trim. Smile 

I also have a few things to do in the laundry room before I show you some pictures. But I need to finish a line-up of sewing projects first, including dresses for the girls and me to wear for our niece’s wedding next month, and the second little nightgown and a couple of boys’ vests for the ballet recital.

We need to figure something out for the boys’ room – which continues to get wet when it rains.  Since Glenn installed a sump pump last Spring, there hasn’t been any more flooding, but there still is an undetermined way that water leaks down under the flooring panels.  We don’t panic anymore; we just pull back the thin indoor/outdoor carpet and turn on the floor fan.  Once it dries out, everything is back to normal. But it would be nice to get to the bottom of it, fix it, and do something a little better for the flooring.


Anyway – these are the things we’re thinking about here.  What about you?  Any projects, big or small, on the horizon?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Laundry Room Part 1




When we moved to Kenilworth, the washer and dryer came with the house.  They were practically brand new, but there was one problem with them.  The color.  You know I would never have chosen that dark red, instead I would have chosen……..  yes, white.

Gradually I have become more resigned to the color of them, partly due to the fact that I keep a large white blanket folded over them; to decrease some of the red glare.

What I really want to put over them is glass front upper cabinets! I know that may sound weird for a laundry room, but I think it would look so pretty.  The width is just a little too big to buy stock uppers and hang them – it would cause 6 inches to be leftover on the end, an amount that’s not easy to conceal cleverly.  Glenn can make them, which he plans to do, but not any time soon, due to the many big-ticket items which take priority over glass front cabinets in the laundry room.

Since I also envisioned a counter over the washer and dryer, for extra folding space, Glenn and I decided we could at least accomplish that much now.  Plus an extra shelf above the counter for the detergent and rags, and other stuff that I store in the laundry room.  We can easily remove the upper shelf later, when we do the cabinets, but for now it would be a real asset.

Here’s a look at the counter in place – obviously we didn’t wait to start folding clothes on it until after painting.



(and just for the record… I wasn’t the one who *folded* those clothes!)


Glenn screwed in shelf brackets along all 3 sides of the wall underneath the counter, and he added a front lip to the counter for extra support.


Next we used cereal boxes to determine how high the shelf should be from the counter.




And now it was time to paint!


I’ll be back soon with the finished look!


Hope you all are having a great day!