Sewing for a Cause

Sitting down at my sewing machine and finishing up a project is good for my soul; it helps me to recenter, to relax. It’s even more fulfilling when I can sit down and create items for other people. A close friend of one my husband’s aunt is battling breast cancer, and medical bills are becoming a huge financial strain on her and her husband. His aunt and another friend are organizing a fundraising event to raise money for medical expenses. When I saw mention of a fundraiser on Facebook I knew I needed to make something for the silent auction!

With the fundraising being held for a breast cancer patient, I wanted to create something that had pink in it, yet didn’t have an overwhelming theme. Something that could appeal to a wide range of people at the fundraiser while still showing support. Off to Pinterest I went to look for some ideas…

I knew I wanted pink, and wanted to incorporate a heart; maybe a patchwork pillow cover would be a good idea. I quickly came across a tutorial over at imagine gnats for a patchwork heart pillow cover and it was exactly what I wanted! (Funny too how a couple of days later Rachael contacted me about helping her sew up some of her new knits.)

Now armed with an idea I set off to get the project started.

First off, I had to draft the heart freehand. Which is NOT my forte.

IMG_3231Then I scrounged through my fabric, to realize that I didn’t have 3-4 pink prints that would blend together well enough for the project. Thankfully a quick search on Etsy and I found a pink/white fat quarter set that was exactly what I had in mind. A simple grey/white geometric from my stash would help add a neutral touch to the pillow.

Rachael’s direction were simple to follow and the QAYG — quilt as you go — method adds a fun touch to the patchwork.

Stitch To Stitch QAYGAn envelope style back meant no zippers to sew in, yet the recipient can easily to remove the cover for laundering.

Stitch To Stitch Patchwork Heart PillowI absolutely love how it turned out — pink without being in-your-face pink! It was also really fun to work on sewing something that wasn’t an item to wear.

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

French Terry Dolman Top

So, yeah. When Rachael at imagine gnats asked if I wanted to test some fabric I might have asked for some french terry to work on a project for ME as well! One of my goals this year was to start doing some “selfless sewing”; I spend so much of my time making things for my kids (and customers), that it’s time I make stuff for myself.

To keep things easy to start off with, I chose the newly released drop shoulder top from Seamingly Smitten. I’d never sewn any of her patterns myself but had recommendations from a few friends. And truthfully, it was 50% off at the release so that might have swayed my opinion just a little. Hehe.

Rachael sent me a medium weight french terry in a fun stripe print. When I opened the package I literally wrapped it around my shoulders and fell in love. The french terry is nice and warm without being super heavy. Off it went to be laundered and I began the fun task of printing and taping pattern pieces together.

The pattern was pretty straightforward and came together fairly quickly. Like so many striped fabrics, the stripes weren’t printed completely straight across the fabric, but it was much better than some I’ve worked with. To make sure it wouldn’t drive me crazy every time I looked at it I took the extra time to line the stripes up precisely at the seams. That part was honestly the most time consuming step! Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies slow me down but it was soooo worth it in the end.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry TestingThe french terry wasn’t as easy to work with as the ponte de roma I used for the ruffle pants, but still easier than some knits. The edges do curl a little. This can be challenging when attaching cuffs or other pieces when you need to stretch one piece to fit the longer length of another. To help combat this, I sprayed the pieces well with Best Press to help them keep their shape. It didn’t stop it completely but made it easier to work with.

I used my serger to construct all of the garment, and then topstitched on my sewing machine (using my walking foot and a ballpoint needle). Because the neckline is so wide I used a long, straight stitch to topstitch the neckband in place. I knew it wouldn’t be under stress to fit over my head so the need for a stretchable seam wasn’t as important. This was more about looks than functionality. I also added a cuff at the end of the long sleeves, and a bottom band instead of a traditional hem. The project took me a couple of hours with intermittent breaks.

As soon as I put it on, I couldn’t stop smiling! When making it again I would make some slight changes to the overall pattern (minimizing the dolman sleeve slightly, and adjusting the overall length of the sleeve and the top) — with this being the first time using it, I wasn’t sure how it would fit but it was good following the directions based on the size chart. And I’m short too so tops are quite often long one me. But this shirt is so incredibly comfortable and WARM. It’s going to be well worn. Especially during the colder months!

Comfy enough that I could stand outside in temps in the low 30’s today, to get some photos! Which was hard for me because I’d much rather be behind the camera than in front of it.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry Dolman 1To add some fun contrast, I flipped the fabric on the arm pieces so the stripes went a different direction! Love how it turned out.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry Dolman 2You have to love the squinty-looking-into-the-sun photos! I figured I shouldn’t have every one with my sunglasses on…

STS French Terry Dolman 3

Fabric details:

  • This is 100% cotton french terry, and weighs about 13oz/yard. It makes it a nice weight for a lighter sweatshirt without being overly heavy.
  • Shrinkage was minimal, and I was surprised. My 2 yard piece shrank about 3″ total lengthwise after washing/drying on medium high temps. For 100% cotton knit fabric this minimal shrinkage is awesome.
  • It is a 50% crosswise, 2-way stretch with about 85% recovery. This allows you to stretch it to fit over your body but it will not completely go back until it’s washed/dried again.

I’m so glad that I took the plunge to make something for myself! Can’t wait to do it more often. And you can bet I might have to make myself another one of these tops in a solid color!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

Boxy Pouch Giveaway

(Pssst…if you’re here for the giveaway and don’t want to read through all of this, just jump to the bottom of the page. I’m not going to be offended, I promise.)

As strange as it seems, sometimes my creativity is fueled by working on items completely different than what’s for sale in the shop.  I think this is because I’m allowing my brain to not think about “work” and just sew for fun; opening up the flood gates to new ideas, new fabric combinations.  The benefit too, is that if I don’t brainstorm anything new I still end up with a great project to add to my collection!

For the longest time I’ve been intimidated by zippers and I vowed in 2014 to overcome that nervousness.  I figured one of the best ways to get past that fear was to just sit down and work on a project that made me sew a zipper in. And then do it over and over and over again until I felt completely comfortable. Last week when I stumbled onto this free boxy pouch tutorial over at Pink Stitches, I knew it was the perfect place to start working with zippers AND do some fun sewing for myself, to help get the creative juices flowing!

To make it fun, I took a handful of scraps in grey and yellow from 2013 projects and pieced them into scrappy panels for the sides, then quilted them on the diagonal for some contrast.  A white zipper and a small handle pull it all together.

After a couple of hours of sewing (it took the most time to piece the side panels together and then quilt them), and only one question to the author, I had a beautiful new scrappy pouch sitting on my sewing table!  As I finished it up I had the great idea to pass it along to someone in a giveaway.  A giveaway just for fun, no strings attached!

Which is ultimately why you’re here, so here’s what you need to know!  The mandatory entry is just that, only an entry, no strings attached.  No need to “like” any pages, no need to comment or grant access to anything.  Just click on the first entry and cross your fingers your name gets drawn.  You can receive additional entries for liking the Stitch To Stitch Facebook page, leaving a blog comment or sharing the giveaway to your Facebook friends (the easiest way to do that is through the STS Facebook page) but they’re not required.

Good luck!


Stitch To Stitch Boxy Pouch Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Entry open to US and Canadian residents and runs until midnight (MST) on Sunday, January 19th, 2014.  Pouch measures approximately 9x5x4″ and is fully lined.

Saturday Pattern Sharing 7/7/12

I’m changing it up a little today!  This pattern isn’t for a wearable item, but instead a great idea for all the little girls AND boys in your life!  I’m thinking that with a few modifications it would be easy enough to put together with a hot glue gun if you’re not the sewing type.  😉

This fun pattern/tutorial comes from Everyday Celebrations and would make a fantastic gift for the toddlers in your life.  Certainly a project I need to find time to put together for my 18-month old.  Although truthfully it would be easier if someone with a cricut/silhouette could be convinced to cut the letters out for me!

Happy sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 3/3/12

In like a lion…out like a lamb?  I know the last few days have brought really dangerous and devastating weather to parts of the United States — I hope this adage holds true and that better, calmer weather is on the way.

As the weather continues to turn and spring makes it’s guaranteed appearance, it’s time to celebrate the warmer season with some super cute skirts for the little girls in your life.

This Cotton Candy Skirt from Simple Simon & Co. is just the thing to welcome beautiful, sunny weather!

Happy Sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 1/28/12

Since our household is heavy on the estrogen (at least in terms of those who stand on 2 legs), little boy patterns are more few and far between.  But in celebration of a bunch of little boys being born to friends I figured it was time to dig through the internet and find a couple of really cute boy patterns for today!

First up, these absolutely, so stinkin’ cute, itty bitty boxer briefs by Sabra over at Sew a Straight Line

Second is the super cool boys belt over at The Mother Huddle

Stuff like this makes me yearn for some boys, or even *a* little boy, in the house.  For some reason I doubt my husband would appreciate me making him boxer brief with cute designs on them.

Happy sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 1/21/12

Although we have yet to see much snow in our area, our winter temps have certainly made their chilly presence known.  When I’m outside playing I’m a huge fan of toasty gloves and mittens but when driving I dislike the feel of the material on the steering wheel.

With scraps upon scraps of fleece fabric here in my stash I was super excited to receive this tutorial in my inbox the other day — my hope is to sneak this project in somewhere over the weekend!

Happy sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 10/22/11

The more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I find myself wearing more and more aprons.  I’d like to say I’m just trying to be more fashionable as I grow up but I don’t think that’s completely the case (my one apron says, “beef — it’s what’s for dinner”).  Perhaps I make more of a mess as I get older.  Or maybe I’m just getting tired of trying to remove spots/stains from the clothing of three other people in the house and I don’t want to remove grease stains from my own.  (Ding, ding, ding!! We have a winner!!)

No matter the reason, I’m always on the lookout for cute functional patterns for aprons.  I think this one for the Hostess Apron over on Sew4Home would make a fun project for yourself or others on your gift list this holiday.  I’m not sure if I’d make one with The Grinch on it, but you’re free to do whatever you wish.  😉

Sew4Home's The Hostess Apron Comeback Series #4

Happy Sewing!