My family and I went on a garage sale run today; the first this year. I got up at 6 o’clock and we started out around 7:30, shopping in 3 different towns and along the highway until late afternoon. We found SO many treasures that our van’s trunk was completely stuffed with packages….even to the point of blocking out the back window. It seemed that there were better sales this year, as well as some ridiculously good prices. I took $100 with me and came home with $25. THAT is saying something when you consider: #1. It’s me. #2. I bought a TON of stuff.

The day started out very nicely with comfortable temps. and no rain. By afternoon the sun came out and it was almost unbearable at times. But there was a nice breeze and all-in-all, today was a perfect day for garage sales. The only thing that put a damper on it was knowing that I had to clean everything up once I got home. 😉
I hope to post some more photos soon, but for now here’s a peek at some of the treasures that I can now call my own. 🙂

The family’s collective garage sale finds— We were thoroughly joyful and yet disgusted with ourselves for the excess of “junk” that we drug home. 😉

My packages (I had some more in other parts of the room— my family kept finding them while they went through their stuff)

My perfect size 11 Oxfords, brand new =$3 (I have been craving a good pair of oxfords)

Darling retro clock = $1.50

Wonderful, whimsical pincushion = $.45

A huge tub of vintage clothing patterns. They are all a size too small, but I figure it’s easily remedied by using a smaller seam allowance or adding a bit onto the pieces. This woman had great taste……..almost every pattern was adorable! I just hope they aren’t missing pieces……….

I got a some fabric from my Grandma a while back (as seen in a previous post) and almost as soon as I saw the striped cotton, I knew what I wanted to do with it. I’ve been seeing those cute, bubble-ish, pleated skirts around lately and have WANTED one. But I can never find a pattern for a style that is similar. So I finally decided to modify a pattern that I already had. The Simplicity pattern #2758 worked really well for a project base because of the already fitted-with-pleats waistband. And it had enough fullness at the bottom that I could easily pleat and tuck to my heart’s content without taking off the wiggle room for walking. I decided to back the cotton with another one of my grandma’s vintage pieces to give it some body and keep it from being too sheer. It worked perfectly! Below you’ll see the finished project, complete with two cute, but almost non-functional pockets that I designed myself. They are lined, as is the waistband, with a cute, retro-style cotton that I bought at one of my favorite shops here in town. The same fabric is just screaming to be turned into another necktie necklace sometime soon. 🙂

I added some vintage buttons (I recently purchased them at an antique store in Walnut) to the front for interest, and because I plan to add suspenders eventually. When I do, two more buttons will be added to the back to hold them in place. But for now, I thought adding buttons to the back might look funny. 😉

As you can see, there were still a few strings that needed to be clipped, and markings that needed to be washed out. Other than that, it was completely finished. 🙂

I hate that the horizontal topstitching doesn’t match up once the zipper is closed. They did before. 😕 Other than that, I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve made three skirts with zippers so far, each with a different method. It’s a learning experienc for sure!

And some inside views; because I have a fascination with the insides of garments.
I love patterned facings or linings. 🙂

The same thing with stuff matching up on the inside. It must have something to do with how the zipper zips and exactly where the teeth intersect.

Also, the instructions didn’t explain what to do with the side of the skirt where the facing folds over, COVERING THE ZIPPER TEETH (see the right side? If the facing had been folded straight down, like the other side was, then it would have kept the zipper from zipping all the way up). So I had to improvise and try to manipulate the fabric. I think it turned out well, though.

Once I finish my blouse, I’ll post some pics of me wearing the completed ensemble. Hopefully next week…………..

Mystery Plait Tote -by Constructivism

I love this bag!! I’m really glad that I found it and made it…….so cute! I do have a few things to say about the pattern, though. I had some trouble printing it, for one thing. But the seller was VERY helpful, and sent me another pattern (reformatted) so that it would work with my printer/computer. I think this problem was completely on my end, as I’ve had trouble printing other patterns, too. They worked perfectly on my dad’s computer and neither of us can figure it out. Weird.

The other problems I had were more to do with the instructions. Number one……..all measurements are metric. Millimeters and centimeters. The buyer is warned about that before the purchase, though. There are about three different seam allowances used throughout the pattern: 5 mm, 9 mm, and 1.5 cm. 9mm is the most common and I used 3/8 inch seam allowances here. You may want to find a metric converter online and use that for your reference.

Number two……the instructions are very wordy and therefore, a bit hard to follow. Also some of the cutting-out techniques were foreign to me. For instance, the seamstress is instructed to cut a roughly sized piece of interfacing and fuse it to the wrong side of fabric. Then you lay pieces out, pin, and cut. This was actually a pretty nice way to do it, though. The fact that you need to flip your pattern over before cutting the second piece, is never mentioned. If you don’t flip the piece before cutting it the second time, you will end up with two right sides or two left sides of the bag. Not helpful. And wasteful if you don’t realize it in time! This is the biggest negative I have with the pattern. — Turns out I was wrong about this step! The pieces can be cut without flipping…………just turn one piece 180 degrees once it’s cut out and you’ll have two perfect pieces! I don’t know where my head was when I did this step. Sorry for any confusion!!!

At least one or two of the photos didn’t seem to match up with what my pieces looked like. Weird.

The plaiting technique was fun! I would suggest sewing a basting stitch at the fold line (9mm), around all handle pieces before folding them under during step 10. This way you can just fold and press directly on the basting line, eliminating all of that fussy measuring, pressing, measuring, pressing, etc. It makes the handle step go WAY faster and more smoothly. Just remove the basting after your handles are sewn to the facing pieces. Ta-da!

One last suggestion to make your sewing experience go more smoothly: during the last steps shown in the pattern, sew by hand. The seams that you have to sew over at the bottom of the bag lining are too thick and will give you trouble unless you have a very powerful machine. These steps, in text, were hard to follow, so just look at the photo.

I love the inner pocket and how professional this bag looks when finished. I added a magnetic snap to mine, which gave it a nice touch.

All in all……..I give this pattern 4 stars (you have to be experienced and pay attention!) and the seller 5 stars for customer service! 🙂

I bought an amazing new book+cd at Barnes and Noble a couple of months ago. It’s called Twinkle Sews, and is basically a selection of clothing patterns (and artsy photographs) from the designer of the Twinkle line of clothing. I don’t know much about the clothing line, so whether or not these are the actual deigns from the line, I don’t know. But I do know this much: I. Love. It. Immediately, I wanted to make almost every outfit in the book, but I finally chose an easy-looking skirt called Skyline Skirt. It’s a simple style with clean lines and I had the perfect fabrics for it.
I took photos every step of the way to document my very first Twinkle Sews project and to give a little review of sorts. For the most part I love the book and the patterns are easy to follow. I did find a few mistakes that could lead to trouble with your design, especially if you’re not very experienced, but I’ll point them out along the way. Enjoy!

Each pattern in this book is presented in pdf format on the included cd. You just insert it into the computer, open the file and print the pattern you want (8X11.5 paper). For example, I wanted the Skyline Skirt, size 16. So I printed the file SkylineSkirt_16.pdf. Easy! That particular pattern didn’t have too many pieces, but my second one sure does! I don’t remember how many off-hand, but it seems like it was somewhere between 30 and 60. These don’t take very long to piece together, though, and then it’s just the matter of cutting them out, which has to be done no matter what pattern you’re using. 😉

I don’t think the book has a section telling you how to cut the paper patterns and piece them together, so I’ll include a little info about it here. Sorry if this is getting too long and drawn-out!

First, cut along the dotted lines. These usually run parallel along two or more sides of the paper, sometimes less. Once these are cut off, piece the papers together using tape. There will be a partial circle with a number in each corner of the paper (usually). These match to the other three partials with the same number on the other papers. It’s not difficult to get the hang of, and goes fairly quick once you get started.

The book, cd, 3 pattern pieces for “Skyline Skirt” and the un-pieced, uncut paper for my next project: the Dark Secrets top.

(In this pic)I like the skirt……..the sweater? Not so much……. It reminds me of the sweater Lizzie McGuire’s grandma gave her. Please tell me that I WON’T think that this is a cute top in a couple of months or years from now! The way my taste in clothing has changed recently…..I’m afraid. lol

There are only 8 “steps” for the Skyline Skirt, but some of these, in turn, have more than one step to them. This pattern calls for a zipper which is not my area of expertise. The last(and first) zipper I sewed, caused me grief, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the instructions for each pattern, they do assume that you know what you’re doing in the sewing world, and that you have at least a basic knowledge of sewing techniques. But no fear: there is a whole chapter at the beginning that takes you through terms and instructions that you’ll need for the patterns and any other sewing you may do in the future. Honestly, I’ve been sewing for several years and, in some cases, making my own patterns, so it’s always a bit hard for me to say whether or not a real beginner would understand the instructions as well as I do. They seemed very thorough, though, at least in the beginning chapter. The steps for each individual pattern are a little more vague, assuming that you remember techniques from the beginning of the book. You may have to reference back from time to time.

Also, the sizing is a bit difficult to understand, or at least it was for me. In the beginning chapter it explains how to do some simple calculating of your measurement + given amount for ease + given amount for seam allowance. The amounts for each of the last two are actually given right there in the first chapter. Once you know this number you are supposed to match it up to the included sizing chart. Sounds simple, right? Well, at the beginning of each pattern, it tells you whether to use your bust, waist, or other measurement to figure your size for that particular article of clothing. In addition to that, it will sometimes say “use such-and-such amount for ease, plus such-and-such amount for seam allowance”. And those amounts will be different than in the beginning chapter. Or sometimes it will only give you the ease amount before the instructions. Sometimes neither. I just found it a bit contradictory, but when in doubt, go with your instincts and maybe choose a larger size just to be safe. It’s much easier to reduce it down by using large seam allowances or cutting some off, than it would be to make it larger once the outfit has already been partially sewn. I used a size 16 for this skirt, but had to make it smaller…….more on that later.

The instruction pages

Cutting out my fabric pieces

I used an applique-look cotton paired with a medium-weight red linen. I’ve had the linen for years, and more recently bought the cotton thinking it would make a cute skirt. I am so glad that I hadn’t sewn anything with it yet! 🙂

My main skirt pieces:

The one BIG mistake with this pattern

Okay, see how I cut the pieces out? With the numbers, words, etc. facing up when I pinned them to the fabric. That is the usual way, right? Well, not here……just look how the paper and fabric pieces slant down from right to left. The photo shows them slanting from left to right. What’s with that? Ggggrrrrrr…….. :-S So after cutting 16 pieces out one-by-one, I had to re-do all of the green cotton pieces by flipping the paper pattern over when I cut them out. Fortunately I was able to turn the red pieces over and use them the opposite way. That’s another thing to watch out for. The book doesn’t say anything about whether to cut the patterns out with the fabric folded in two, or laid out flat. Normally I cut with my fabric folded, so as to get two pieces done at once. But thankfully I realized before cutting, that you need each piece of this pattern to be cut exactly the same…in other words, if I cut them on folded fabric, I would end up with two peices, one the mirror image of the other a.k.a flipped. For this design, each piece needs to be an exact duplicate of the one before. No room for flipped pieces here! That’s something to definitely watch out for.

More on the skirt project later…….