What’s in my Sewing Basket

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I decided to do a post on what I keep in my sewing basket and what tools I use all the time and need ready right at hand. After all, a seamstress is only as good as what’s in her sewing basket. That’s a saying, right?

Well, let’s get started!

 

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-Pincushion with plenty of pins. Need I say how important these are? Probably not. Winking smile

-Tape measure

-Soft Tape Measure. As you can see, I have more than I need of those!

-Scotch tape. This is really important for notes and those things that pins won’t work for.

-Sewing Needles. Some things can’t be sewn on a machine and these always need to be in ready reach.

-Thread. I keep white and black within ready reach because I use them the most frequently. If I need a specific color aside from those, I keep them in drawer unit elsewhere.

-Sticky Notes. I use these for quick notes or labeling fabric pieces. I use these a lot.

 

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Now for the tools.

-Fabric Sheers. I have two pairs of these. I need either to sharpen them or get a new pair.

-Pinking Sheers. These are nice for certain projects. They are also know as finishing sheers.

-Seam Ripper. Seriously. . . these are SOOOO important. I use it more than I wish I had to. . . you know what I’m talking about. I actually like to keep several around because they like to wander off and get lost.

-Little Tiny Scissors. I think these are actually Fingernail scissors. These are super helpful and wonderful to have around. They are small, pointy and they get into those tiny places that nothing else can.

-Cutters. I have really no idea what the official name for these is, but they are really handy. And sharp. I have used them for quilting and rag quilting.

-Pen and Pencil. Nough said.

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Bobbins! Always have these on handy! I wish I had a better container for them. But you totally need to have extra around. I like to keep one of all the main colors ready wound so they are easy to access.

 

What do you keep in your sewing basket? Anything else I should put in my sewing basket?

By His Grace,

Victoria

Mom Dress to Daisy Skirt DIY

Daisy Skirt

I saw this picture on pinterest, and really wanted a daisy skirt. There is something whimsical about the daisies. I don’t really know what it is, but I though it was just so cute!

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We were all shopping at Goodwill and I pulled this beauty (not really) off the rack and gasped with delight. “OH I love this! Look at this! Look at this!” I all but squealed! Under my breath of course so as not to disturb the other shoppers. Smile My sisters proceeded to look at me with that have-you-gone-crazy look. “no no! It’s going to be a skirt! It will be fabulous! You’ll see!” They just rolled their eyes in that age old “whatevs” look. One of my sisters assured me “I know you can make it look good, but I just don’t see it”. I happily went home with my $6 purchase, determined to make an awesome article of clothing for my closet.

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First step was that I cut the skirt away right beneath the bodice.

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I then cut a 3 inch wide rectangle of the front of the bodice for the waistband. I wanted to incorporate the button detail on the front of the skirt waistband. I know, I cut it kind of crooked.

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I then reinforced it with interfacing. The kind I used was a little lighter than I would have preferred. Next time I will either double it or use a heavier weight. I ironed it in half as well and pinned it down.

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I sewed the fold down on the raw edges. I cut the front waistband to half of my waist measurement. The back, I left as long as it was because I planned to thread elastic into it next.

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Using a safety pin I threaded the 1.25” width elastic into the back waistband piece.

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I pinned it and sewed the elastic down on the sides.

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Then I sewed the front and back waistband together. Next, I sewed right below the elastic on the back so it had a snugger casing. I also gathered the top of the skirt.

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I pinned the skirt to the waistband. Because I made the waistband too wide, I ended up sewing with a seam allowance of about 1” all the way around. When all was said and done, I re-sewed the button on the front of the skirt so I could be sure it was centered.

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I didn’t show it in the pictures, but I also ended up cutting off the hem and re-hemming so it would be a few inches shorter. It was just a tad too long and was at that awkward length. This made it much more manageable.

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I just love this skirt! The weight and drape of the fabric is perfect, as well as nice and light and cool for spring and summer.

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I even got to keep the pockets of the original dress! I don’t have any clue why. . . but pockets make me so happy!

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Front waistband detail.

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Back Waistband detail.

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Overall, this DIY was relatively easy to do. It took me a couple hours in the middle of the afternoon and was a quick turnaround. It is really comfortable. The only thing I would do differently is make the back waistband larger and maybe use an elastic with a little more stretch, or incorporate a zipper. It is a little hard to get over my hips when I put it on, but I can easily pull it over my head.

 

What do you think? Would you try this DIY?

By God’s Grace,

Victoria

DIY Quick Dress Fix

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I was given this dress by a friend and I loved the fabric! Blue and green, specifically blue is one of my favorite colors ever! I wear it the most. In the words of Shelby from Steel Magnolia’s, “It’s my signature color” said with a southern accent of course.

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The neck was really kind of. . . um. . . this is not a word but bear with me. . . Choky. It just was so uncomfortable and I felt like the dress was trying to choke me! LOL! I wasn’t ready to give up on this dress yet so I decided to give fixing it a shot.

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First I marked with a pin where I though the actual neck should be. Where would it be comfortable? Yet still modest. I didn’t want to cut too much off. I have done that before and nothing could be sadder. Sad smile

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I trimmed it in a scoop shape and then ironed the raw edges inside. It was lined so it worked perfectly. then did a quick top stitch with white thread.

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All set and I love it! No more scratchy uncomfortable neckline! And, it took me like 5 min! This was the easiest fix I think to date! And to think I was almost ready to give it away! So happy I didn’t!

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P.S. I apologize for the mess in the background. I was cleaning sweaters out of my closet!

 

Have you ever had a quick fix that you loved?

By God’s Grace,

Victoria

The Making of. . . My Christmas Dress Part 3

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Here it is!!! I am so thrilled with how this dress turned out! I cannot even begin to tell you! So, my two best photographers were out of commission, one wasn’t feeling well, and the other was scrambling last minute to figure out what she wanted to wear to the Christmas party. So I had to train a photographer while taking these photos, and there was a fair amount of editing involved. So I apologize for the not so perfect pictures. Smile

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Every detail of this dress just makes me so happy. The princess seams, the ruffled waistline. OF course those sleeves and the lace trim!

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And that Peter Pan Collar of Lace made from a vintage doily. So many of my favorite things. Peter Pan Collar, Lace, Vintage, (cue the music) “These are a few of my favorite things!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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I am also quite proud of the fact that my jewelry matched today!!! Being on a budget and picking up things here and there at thrift stores and flea markets does not make for a perfect, matchy matchy polished look. Smile But I found three pieces that went together. I just bought this necklace recently for $1!! Score! And these earrings are my all time faves! Actual Antique finds!

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Now, I would have loved to have just the perfect pair of heels to go with this dress but alas, it was not to be. I had planned to wear my heeled oxfords, but the light tan leather just clashed with the black tights and dark color of the dress. I tried tying it in with a matching belt, but it still didn’t work. . . I kid you not, I tried literally 7 pairs of shoes on. (some of my moms and sisters) but none worked. Then I couldn’t find these black flats which were a last resort. I was getting frustrated and finally offered to pay anyone who found them. “Reward Offered HERE!” My 12 year old brother happened to find them RIGHT WHERE I HAD BEEN LOOKING!!!!! (smacks forehead with hand) Can I just bury my head in the sand a moment?

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My Hair was a style I did a tutorial on here. I really love the soft look.

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EEK! I just can’t get over the lace everyone! So in love!

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Zipper detail in the back.

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SIgh, those sleeves turned out just like I always dreamed!

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Outfit Details:

Dress: Made by Me

Tights: borrowed from Mom

Jewelry: Thrifted from various places

 

I am just so happy with the way this dress turned out! I cannot begin to tell you how much of a special lady I felt like wearing it! Can someone time travel me to the beginning of the 20’th century please? I hope I didn’t rave to much. It is just when a project you have dreamed about doing for so long meets your expectations. You are over the moon! Or, at least I am. And I have to admit, I have had my fair share of sewing oops and mistakes, so when this turned out so perfect, I was so happy. Even with the few hiccups I had along the way.

 

Did you wear anything special for Christmas?

May the Lord bless you all richly as we come to the close of this year and the start of the new!

By HIs Grace,

Victoria

The Making of. . . My Christmas Dress Part 2

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Making sure the bodice fits. . .

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Working on the sleeve pleats. I had so much fun designing these sleeves and am so thrilled with how it turned out!!!

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Sleeve sewn to the cuff.

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Sleeve finished with the cuff and sewn to the bodice.

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This dress had one of those “oh-man-i-messed-up-now-i-have-to-seam-rip-and-now-i-am-crying” moments.  I cut the skirt to short on accident, and the gathers got messed up, so I had to detach the skirt from the bodice, Re-gather, pin and sew it. seam rip the hem to let it out, and re-hem it with a smaller tiny hem. I was a good girl though earlier and instead of settling for a less than par fit, I took part of the sleeve off to take in the shoulder seam and re-affixed the sleeve. I have such a short torso, that the bodice almost always is too big, but you don’t figure it out until too late. You can see in the picture below that I had to take it up about an inch and you can see my pin in the shoulder seam.

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Fixing that sleeve and shoulder seam. . .

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Now, for the fun but hard part. Figuring out what to use to trim it. I have been collecting vintage and antique doilies for several years now and went through my pile trying to see if any of them would work for the collar. I had such a hard time and pined on about 6 before I figured out what to do. I even played with the idea of a solid whit muslin collar, but muslin was all I had and it required a more polished looking white fabric than muslin.

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Mid process of picking out stuff for a collar, I found this roll of lace trim I had gotten from Hobby Lobby and gasped when I put it on the sleeve. OH MY GOSH! I about flipped! It was so gorgeous!

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Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I am not sure why my camera was being funny that day. here is me pinning on the laces trying to figure out which one I liked best.

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Then, I tried it on with several options pinned, uncut lace trailing behind me from my sleeves, and pins instead of a zipper because I hadn’t gotten that far yet. It was really hard not to poke myself! LOL! About squealing at this point because I can’t stand how much I love it.

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I finally decided on a doily that I liked best, cut it in half and seam bound it so it wouldn’t fray. Then I pinned it to the dress and hand sewed it. I wasn’t going to trust that to the sewing machine! It was hard enough to sew the seam binding to it.

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Halfway done!

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All done!!!

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Zipper was sewed on later and I finally finished it! I am so LOVING this dress! I felt like “an Old fashioned girl” in it. It looks amazing! Stay tuned for a final look!

By His Grace,

Victoria

The Making of. . . My Christmas Dress Part 1

 

I really wanted to make a dress for Christmas this year. I have had my eye on several plaid dresses/skirts and finally came up with a concept for a dress. These two pictures below were my inspiration, although with each, I pinned them with the stipulation that they needed a peter pan collar.

 

Love the Black Watch Plaid of this look, Although, I am going for slightly longer and with a collar of course.christdress

 

And this one is practically the perfect cut, but again, I want it longer.

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So, last week, I did a mock up of my dress using a mashup of my ideas, a dress pattern that I love, and a self drafted sleeve pattern that I made up on the fly. I like making mock ups of things this important before I make the finished one. It really helps with ironing out problems (and wrinkles) before I get to using my more expensive finished fabric. I usually use a scrap sheet that I pick up from a thrift store for a couple bucks. Here is what my mock up looked like. I apologize for the messy room. But hey, I am not perfect and when I am creating, I tend to make a mess. Plus, sharing a small room with 2 sisters, means the room is never perfectly clean. Smile

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I am so stinking proud of this sleeve!!!! It was everything I hoped it would be. “Nailed it!”

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Next I bought the fabric and cut it out. It is all set for me to sew it tomorrow. Please God, I don’t have any troubles with it and can have it done by Christmas Eve. Also, I would like to make a skirt that is cut up and sitting in a basket for my little sister for her to wear on Christmas.

 

I love this Plaid Flannel! So in love! I hope I love the finished product as much as I like petting this fabric. It is so soft and I got the 3 yards I needed for $20. No bad I’d say.

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Cutting out the Skirt portion

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Bodice Pieces and cutting guide, (which I sorta ignored) My way was easier and used less fabric. (sheepish grin)

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Toying with the idea of a lace Peter Pan Collar with one of these vintage doilies.

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Cutting out my self drafted sleeves. I had to rip out the sleeve from my mock up dress because I forgot how I did it. It was less of a headache to cut it out of the practice dress, than it was to scrunch my eyebrows up and stare at the fabric and scissors while doing mental gymnastics. LOL!

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The sleeve pieces cut out. The rectangles are for the cuff at the bottom of the sleeve. And the dress pattern I used parts of.

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All of my stuff laid out on my bedroom floor which is my work table most times. It is easiest to work there because it has enough space for yards of fabric, me and my scissors. Smile

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Super excited to show you the finished product!!!

Stay tuned for my Christmas Outfit Post!

By His Grace,

Victoria