Category Archives: Sewing

Tarn and other knitty-ness.

My knitting obsession continues. Seriously, I’ve barely slept this week and there are definitely yarn scraps in my bed. But that’s really beside the point, the point being the fruits of my tireless labor.

First:

The best bow ever.

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I’m just really obsessed with the hot pink worsted weight yarn. And it’s a bow, so duh it’s awesome. Also, I used this little project to learn the moss stitch. I really like the results, but don’t necessarily love how time consuming it is.

I’ve been reading up on knitting the past few days and heard that knitting Continental style is much faster. I’m right-handed so English feels pretty natural. Thoughts my more experienced yarn-minded compatriots?

Second:

Another awesome bow, this time in headband form.

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I used some really lovely black worsted weight Red Heart yarn. It’s a different line that’s much softer than the Super Saver I’ve used thus far.

I knitted this on US 13 needles, doubled stranded. As I’ve said before, I’m impatient. I also wanted something with a little more body that would both stand out against my hair and also be able to hold up to it. I have a lot of hair.

Both pieces are just a simple garter stitch, but they get this really great knobby texture when knitted with two strands held together on these fat needles.

I’m enjoying these little projects, just to see how different needle size, weight and stitch styles can change the look of something. The experimentation will continue!

And a lot of it will be with this:

TARN!

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If you are unfamiliar, Tarn is t-shirt yarn. Made from t-shirts cut into continuous strips and then just essentially stretched out into long tubes, this stuff is awesome. And seriously, so easy.

Which leads me to ask: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS SOONER?!

Perhaps because I wasn’t knitting until now. Anywho, better late than never.

I made these three “skeins” last night out of some old/oversized t-shirts I had around the apartment. I have intentions on thrifting some more material this weekend though.

If you’re interested in making some yourself, here and here are a couple of great resources. I won’t bother reinventing the wheel with so many good tutorials out there already. And seriously, it couldn’t be easier.

My only word of warning: near seams, on thin strips or on particularly fragile material, be careful not too tug TOO hard. You risk ripping your tarn!

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I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with the tarn yet, but there are tons of great ideas on Pinterest. First up will probably be this Lion Brand pattern though, which calls for their Zpagetti yarn. Which, from what I can tell, is fancy tarn.

Anyone out there have experience working with tarn? Project ideas welcome!

 

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So I saw this dress on a blog a while back. It is the SUPER cute Mclain Tunic Dress from Devon Baer. She has her own website and is on Etsy with gorgeous dresses, tops, accessories, etc.

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If I could afford it I’d be ALL OVER her stuff, but unfortunately $250 for this dress was just a little (ha) outside my price range. But I had recently made a dress with a similar cut and knew JoAnn’s had a Lisette fabric that looked a lot like it. Thus, my first attempt at a knockoff professionally inspired recreation was born.

The results:

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I wore the dress Saturday to the “Taste of the Garden” event at Elkhart’s Wellfield Botanical Garden. The gardens are just spectacular and one of our family’s favorite places to take a walk. It’s become a tradition now for my mom, grandma (right) and younger cousin (right) to go to this event together each year.

Sidenote: I LOOK SO TALL IN THIS PICTURE! Fact: I’m 5’2″. My cousin just happens to be TINY (she’s almost 16!) and Nana shrunk down below 5′ years ago so they are two of my favorite people to photographed with. Seriously, this NEVER happens.

Back to the dress: I stayed up all night Friday finishing this dress so I could wear it to the garden Saturday. So do you think there was anyway I’d change into something else when I realized temperatures were going to top 90 that afternoon? Of course not. It was definitely too hot for a longish sleeve twill dress, but I’m so thrilled with how it turned out. It got a ton of compliments and I even heard a few people saying things about it as we walked around  – kind of a statement piece I suppose but I think I can still throw a jacket over it and get away with it at work.

I honestly love this dress and love the Lisette pattern (the Diplomat dress). I’ve made it twice now, the first time from this great nautical quilting cotton on sale at Crimson Tate (the BEST fabric shop I’ve been to, though they only carry cottons). This time I tapered in the skirt some, so instead of continuing out from the hip its more straight. I like the shape better on me and its more true to the McLain tunic dress I was copying  inspired by.

 

Here are closer front and back views, though you’ll have to forgive the heinous wrinkling. This is post-90 degree three-hour jaunt through the park and pre-wash and iron.

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The front is two pieces instead of one like the Devon Baer dress, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I also went without the collar, but I didn’t want to mess up what was shaping up to be a great dress by trying to draft my own collar. Maybe I’ll give that a go next time, as I’ll definitely be making this again. I actually bought the same fabric in yellow, though it might be a bit extreme to have two of the same dress in the same fabric… We’ll see!

 

Have you ever tried to recreate an item you’ve seen before? How did it work out?

Just call me Ken Perenyi!

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Weekly Pin Win

Good morning all! I was having trouble getting to sleep tonight, so instead of tossing about in bed I figured catching up on my blogging was a better use of this new found time than most. It’s giving me a chance to get up a post I’ve been meaning to do for some time now.

I’m starting a weekly feature called “Weekly Pin Win,” in which I will attempt something that I have pinned on Pinterest and show the results here. As you can probably guess based off the title of this post, I’m hoping most of these will go well.

OH, and the name is totally up for discussion. It was really this first thing I could come up with (it is 5 am and I haven’t slept yet afterall) but I’m totally open to suggestions.

I’m just hoping that a weekly feature will encourage me to try some of the cool things I’m constantly pinning. So each week I will pick one, link to the pin and then show my attempt at it. The types of pins will vary  from crafts, to hair to recipes to sewing. This first one is kind of cheating since this is actually the second time I’ve done this project and blogged about it, but I didn’t include the original pin before.

Pin: http://pinterest.com/pin/35325178297484679/

Results:

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Ta-da! This pin is just as easy and cute and it looks and sounds. You simply take two old dishes and a candlestick holder – I thrifted mine from Goodwill – and glue them together. The pin suggests using craft glue made for ceramics, but I honestly just used some dollar store craft glue and it worked great. Just be sure and give everything a good 24 hours to dry and set. This one is smaller than the one I made previously. A shorter candlestick holder is placed between a salad plate and a saucer. It’s a super easy, super cute project that is also an attractive, space-saving storage item. I’m not sure where this guy will go yet – the show on here is clearly just for show – but I’m excited about it and will probably make more. My mom has already requested one 🙂

Has anyone else begun to tackle the Pinterest projects they’ve fallen in love with? Please share some that have (or haven’t) worked out for you!

This also gives me a chance to show off my latest Etsy creation!

This adorable wristlet is actually a phone case and wallet folded up into one. I was gifted something similar last year (and LOVE it) but they are waaaaay expensive. I made this (and am now selling it) for a fraction of the normally $80+ price tag and it’s just as cute and functional, I think. There are card slots and pockets for cash and whatnot on one side and then the other is for your phone (this one is made for the iPhone). Two elastic bands keep the phone in place and allow you full access to the touch screen and buttons without having to take it out. Handy, right?!

I’d love for you all to head on over to my shop and check it out!

And please feel free to follow me on both Etsy and Pinterest!

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Project in Progress: Simplicity 1886

Well I figured it was about time for an update on the project to which I’ve been mysteriously hinting at: Simplicity 1886!

I’m making view D/F essentially, but without any of the wonky shoulder ruffles or tabs. Mostly because I was very limited on the amount of fabric and also because I just don’t really like those details. I’m a big fan of the center ruffle (or flounce, as Simplicity calls it).

I bought this great fabric WAY on sale – I’m talking like less than $1.50/yd. And it was the last of it so I’m pretty sure all I had was 1 yd, but I can’t remember for certain. Either way, it was just enough to squeak the pattern out of. Then, as you may have seen in the last post, I burnt half the flounce. SO I had to recut that piece, but out of two separate scraps that are seamed together in the middle. I was pretty disappointed about it at first but you can’t really tell, which is nice.

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Obviously, there is still work to be done, as the sides are still open. I’ve skipped that shot for you all as it was a bit more risque than I like to get over here at CraftybyNight. I’ve since got the side seams sewn together, but I’m at a kind of standstill. I just totally don’t get one section of the directions…

So if anyone has made this pattern and can explain why there are two facings around the neckline and how to properly attach the front/back facing over the neck facing, I’d be forever grateful. I’m at a total loss. If I can’t figure it out, I’ll probably just skip it all together. I’m not sure why I need it to begin with and I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to finish the thing without that piece.

Sorry for the poor photo quality. I promise some better shots after it’s completed, which will hopefully be this weekend if I can get enough time away from covering the Hancock County 4-H Fair to get some sewing in.

What are you working on right now?!

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Crafty@Night is coming to a store new you…

…if you happen to live in or around Elkhart, Ind., that is.

That’s right! The Crafty@Night wallets and keychains will be sold at Innovations Hair Design in Elkhart starting tomorrow! I’m excited and nervous but we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Here’s a peek at the display I made for the items:

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As you can see, my collection of both wallets and keychains has grown considerably…

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Making the stand was actually incredibly easy. I found the idea on Pinterest (of course) but the original post is from Better Homes and Garden.

Just got to your local thrift or antique store and pick out a dinner plate, candlestick holder and either a salad plate or shallow bowl. I found a these two matching dishes and a TON of other pretty items at Goodwill for hella cheap.

Then, just glue them together! I used a dollar store craft glue and it worked beautifully. Just make sure and give it a good 24 hours to dry. For a grand total of less than $5, I think it’s pretty darn cute. This one will sit in the salon as the display for my items, but I’ll be making another for my apartment. I think it’ll be great jewelry, knick-knack or bathroom storage.

I’m itching for more ideas, so what are some of the clever Pinterest projects you have found?!

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Try this!

Quick tip for all the sewists out there:
When a project calls for you to press under a raw edge a certain distance, instead of painstakingly hovering over your ironing board balancing your iron and a ruler, simply use the guides on your machine to machine baste in a line of stitches at the distance it needs to be pressed under! Then just press at the basting line; no more measuring!

It’s as easy as…

1.
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2.
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3.
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B-E-A-UTIFUL!
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It could be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but I just learned it from Colette’s “Snippets” emails. If you don’t already get them, I highly recommend signing up! Tons of helpful tips and tricks like this one, which is both a time and sanity saver.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

So Francis and I are finally getting settled in from the move! He loves the new place because there’s SO much more space for him to roll around (he even has his own room!) and I love the new place because there’s so much more space for me to roll around! Ok, I don’t really roll around but coming from a studio to an apartment with doors and actual rooms and closets is pretty sweet.

But the best part: I have a sewing room! I no longer have to hunch over my coffee to work and I don’t even have to move all my furniture to lay out fabric larger than 1 yard. It’s really quite exciting.

That, combined with some new tools…

…got me all sorts of energized to get back to sewing. So sew I did for nights and nights, until I finally had enough completed projects to…

OPEN MY ETSY SHOP!

I’m so very excited about this.

The whole thing was born from the wallet I made my mom for Mother’s Day. She couldn’t stop raving about it and when she started showing it to her clients, neither could they. She suggested I make a few more and put them up for sale in the salon – which will start next week!

But it also got me thinking about Etsy and ways that I can help supplement my modest income…

-I’ll get real with you all for a minute –

I love my job.

I absolutely love it. I am a reporter at a daily community newspaper. It’s crazy; it’s stressful but it’s also wonderful. Every single day is different. Some days go exactly as planned and other days you’re rushing out early from an interview with the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana at a hog farm to a house fire and hugging a grieving mother who’s watching everything her family owns burn in front of her. I meet amazing people, learn something new every day.

Most importantly though, this job is literally a dream coming true. I decided I wanted to be a journalist when I was 12 years old; I even wrote my seventh grade final paper on it. So for the next 10 years I did everything I could to make that happen. I worked incredibly hard in high school to get into an outstanding journalism program. When I entered that program at Butler University, I took advantage of every single opportunity I could. I completed four internships and held three different positions on the school paper, including editor-in-chief my senior year. Then during finals week last May, I interviewed at the Greenfield Daily Reporter and was offered a job as a staff writer.

So here I am, loving every second of it and being so very grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded to get here. Some days I still can’t believe I get to do exactly what I want for a living.

But my love for journalism and my job has nothing to do with the money. I knew it would pay poorly going into and that was just fine with me. It still is.

But if there is a way to turn another one of my passions – sewing – into a way to a) be self-sustaining (it’s not a cheap hobby, am I right?) and b) afford a little extra income that will allow me to take some of the financial burden of my schooling off of my parents, then I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen too.

-So excuse all my realness if that’s not your thang-

Back to the sewing:

Check out my shop: Crafty@Night on Etsy.

Here’s just a taste:

And get excited for more sewing projects to come – both are clothing! Here’s a sneak peek of two: The first I just finished but cannot fully reveal until after Father’s Day. The second is still in the works!

Pour mon pere:

New fashion project, in the works:

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Mother’s Day Make

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the Mommas out there. Now that the day has come and gone I can share the gift I made my wonderful mother!

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A wallet! She was in desperate need for a new one so I looked up a bunch of patterns. This was by far my favorite so I just kind of ran with it and picked up fabrics that reminded me of her. Her favorite color is red but she’s a little too conservative to work an all red wallet, so I save the color for the inside. She was really pumped about it and so I am honestly. It came out great!

Here are some other views:

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From the side

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The inside. It has six card slots, plus large pockets on both sides for cash, extra cards, etc., plus a change pocket.  And trust me, she needs all the space she can get. Her last one was falling apart from being continuously overstuffed and forced shut. I also made the tab a little longer so hopefully she can always snap it close – no matter how many photos, rewards cards and pennies she hangs on to.

She and my family were all really impressed, which may be because we’ve never been a family of crafters so anything handmade that doesn’t look like crap is a total shock… but I do think it came out pretty well. They suggested I start selling them. What do you think? Would you buy one?

 

The rest of Mother’s Day was lovely too.

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Unbelievable peonies from our garden!

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They smell so good too!

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We had a shrimp boil for Mother’s Day lunch!

It was ridiculously easy. Just toss a bag of Old Bay shrimp boil seasoning into a large pot of boiling water. Add a quartered lemon and then potatoes, corn, sausage and shrimp (at different times, in order of how long they take to cook, duh). Either dump it on a big table covered in parchment or fish all the goodies out like we did. The seasoning was just right and the lemon really comes through. Delicious!

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Mom set out some boxes for me to take back to Indy with me in preparation for the big move. You have no clue how hard it was to not just box up this little (ok, he’s pretty big) cutie and just take him back with me. If I would I could Mr. Phil, sorry buddy!

I hope everyone else had a great Mother’s Day. What other things did people make for their mommas?!

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A happy accident!

I’ll get to the sewing, but first: Francis.

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Now if that’s not that cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen I’m not sure what is. Who doesn’t want to be greeted by that little face everyday?

Now the sewing.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the PJ sewalong. I was still not thrilled with the pattern I purchased, as blogged about here. I wanted to add sleeves so I decided to start with the top pieces from the Butterick pattern as a base but modify the top to add the sleeves. Since I couldn’t wrap my brain around just whipping up those changes on my own, I used the top of another dress pattern I have made that has sleeves already and then further amended the sleeve pieces to make them a little longer and wider at the bottom (them were originally tight, elbow length sleeves).

After making all of those changes, which is really my first attempt to draft my own clothing patterns, I figured a muslin was in order to make sure it all worked. It did – kind of.

But first: WTF is up with Butterick sizing?

Based on my measurements I should have been making a medium. But when I cut out the pieces and compared them to other tops I’ve made I knew it would be WAY too big. So I cut it down to the smallest size, an extra-small.

I made a wearable muslin out of some pretty pink and white cotton that I bought on sale because it was too cheap and cute to pass up. I never had a real purpose in mind, so I guess this qualifies as my very first stash-busting project. I wish it had turned out better.

It was just a touch too tight across the chest (that problem is a first, let me tell you) and WAY too big still every else. Honestly, it was absurd. It looked like I was wearing a really pretty potato sack, which is why the photos below are taken on my duct tape me and not the real me.  Now I’m not trying to make some sexy skin tight lingerie here, but I still want my sleep dress to look nice.

I like the actual look of it, if only it fit. Also, since I was intending this for PJs its WAY too short to wear in public. But I thought the pleats turned out nicely for the first time I’ve tried them by hand like this (the pattern called for gathers but I didn’t think that would be very flattering when made out of a semi-stiff cotton).

Since I’m going to have to take the whole damn thing apart and rework the fit of the bodice, I didn’t bother finished the neck, arm holes or hem.

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The pattern up close:

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Just for kicks, I thought I would try my trick for all dresses that are too big – tight belt right at the waist. Since I’ve lost about five pounds this happens rather often and I’m not mad about it, I’d rather belt things that are too big than be too big to wear them.

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It actually looked kind of cute this way, which is why I’m calling this a happy accident. Although this isn’t really screaming PJs to me, if I added a few inches to the length it’d be a really simple/cute dress pattern.

But needless to say my PJs for the sewalong need some more work/planning. I’m open to ideas at this point as I feel a little stumped. Hopefully everyone else’s are going better. How are your PJs coming along?

 

WWWP5K update: I’m trying to keep good my promise of sharing more of my fitness experiences as well in light of the upcoming Worldwide WordPress 5k. I’m still failing at getting in a run on the weekends I’m in Bloomington, which is every weekend right now as Pat’s about to graduate. I did get into my Zumba class yesterday though, which as always was awesome. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Zumba you should! But I keep telling myself I should run a mile or two afterwards to add to the workout and get more miles in. And yesterday I actually did it! I didn’t do a full running workout because I have other things to do than spend two hours at the gym but I did hop on the treadmill for a quick two miles. Fitting in shorter distances like this allows me to work on my speed too. I ran two full miles at a much faster speed than I usually do. I know that if I keep working on my longer runs for endurance and pushing the speed on shorter runs I’ll eventually be able to go longer distances at my faster speed. It’s a technique that’s worked well so far for me anyway.

[Tip] This is something I do when running on a treadmill to push myself a little bit further: I set a goal for my run, usually a distance goal. Then, after I reach that goal I look at my other two measurements – time and calories. Then, if I’m not completely dying, I push myself to extend my run to meet another nearby goal, like the next round number of calories burned or a time marker. This probably sounds confusing so here’s my example from yesterday.

My goal was to run two miles at a quick pace. When I hit that, I looked at calories at time. I was at like… 215 calories and 19 minutes (these are rough estimates… I can’t actually remember). So to push myself I said I would keep going until I hit 250 calories or 25 minutes, whichever came last (unless I died before then). It’s a pretty mental game I play with myself but it really does help push myself just a little bit further each run.

One more tip: If I’m running outside and I’ve reach my time or distance goal, I’ll try and make myself do just one more song (because I always listen to headphones when I run – usually Lady Gaga Pandora station, don’t judge me).

What do you do to push yourself through a tough workout?

 

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