Pattern Anthology Tour // Trapper Hat Remix

Interesting tidbit: if you google “trapper hat,” “aviator hat,” “tracer hat,” or “lumberjack hat” you’ll get images of basically the same hat.  Who knew, right? I was trying to figure out the difference, and learned that according to 21st century fashion there isn’t much.  Whatever you wanna  call it though, it’s handsome and very good idea for little boys to sport.

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This Trapper Hat pattern designed by Sew Kate Sew is a) adorable, and b) part of the gorgeous Pattern Anthology Winter Wonderland collection.  I was asked to remix this pattern, and at first I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. I mean, it’s so great as-is, so I wasn’t receiving any super innovative revelations about how to change it. Besides switching up the fabric a bit, I decided in the end to add something completely non-functional, because every once in a while a very silly thing is the best choice. I discovered lots of hats in this style have additional little ear flaps that can be buttoned up or down, depending on your mood. Can any of you tell me what their for? Additional ear warmth? Style? Perhaps a historical function that has now evolved into a design detail? Will we ever know?

They were simple to add, I just sandwhiched them into that crown seam, and added a loop and buttons to fasten them up or down (I forgot to photograph them up!) The easiest way to do this is the flaps to the bottom section before you attach it the top portion.  

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I wanted the tiniest bit of that plaid flannel to peak out around the flap , so when sewing the flap front and back right sides together, I pulled the plaid towards the center just a tad before sewing, so that way it pulls around to the front and gives you that edging of plaid.

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The outer is corduroy, the lining is a fluffy faux lamb’s fleece, and the front flap is a beautiful orange and navy plaid all from Joann.  I top-stitched everything but those two top seams because I felt it keeps the hat well shaped and structured.  And it looks nice.  I think it turned out so handsome, and the only thing I would add (still might) are some leather buckles or ties to the end of the long ear flaps, I think some added weight would help to pull them down.

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This is such a fun design, and I’m excited to be part of the Pattern Anthology tour! If you haven’t already, go and check out the amazingness going on other there! 

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(And thank you to my handsome little nephew for being my  model so I could save this hat for my Bub”s Christmas present!)

Hand printing // Wood Grain Tessellation Pillow

I made this pillow the other night for a friend, and I kinda love it.

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Wood Grain, PS, is SUPER fun (and speedy!) to carve. I used an eco carve printing to plate, which is a dream to carve, and has a nice larger size which I wanted for this long and skinny (1/2″ by like 5″) stamp.  I made a simple envelope pillow form and then basted around the edges with some pretty coral yarn. The fabric is thrifted, and the paint is black screen printing ink.
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As much as I hand print, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the lovely variation in saturation that it creates.

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For tips on hand printing, start here.  The pillow pictured behind is one of a pair that I made about a year ago but never blogged about.
mad mim_handprinting_woodgrain pillow03Have you guys turned into Christmas-heads yet? I’m about there, just finishing up a few projects before I head into moving-mode. I had big plans to make presents for all my large family, but alas, I may have to rethink that idea as we’ll just be trying to settle into our new house next month. Tears. Are you geared up for a homemade Christmas? Do you have a rule of thumb when it comes to gifting homemade?  It’s a delicate balance because making stuff–for me–is the best part of Christmas because of how FUN it is to think about and love the person you’re making for. BUT! Sometimes diy-ing it can become this huge burden and overwhelming to-do list that ends up robbing you of all your time and thoughts. How do you balance it?

My Mood Fabric Make // a pencil skirt and yoked blouse

Otherwise entitled The Sistehood of the Floral Knit.

all together at mood

In went like this–back in August or whenever it was that we Fabric Weekenders were spazzing out in the various corners of the fabric district, a group us were effectively getting our minds blown at the wonders of Mood.  I was perusing (that word decidedly lacks the upmost enthusiasm I was experiencing in that moment) the knit aisles when I spied this gorgeous knit with a delicious hand and drape. It was calling my name, and boy oh boy was I pickin’ up what it was putting down. (No surprise there though, right? It’s got that orange-y coral color that is like the national color of Mimdom).  Anyway, then Melissa, Merrick and Leanne wanted some too, and before you know it, it was a Thing. In the end I think there were 7 of us who all got one yard, and  then determined that we’d share a fun post about whatever we ended up making.  So that’s the gist–the story of the floral knit we all fell in love with. And not that it matters, but I was totally the first.mad mim_mood fabric yoked blouse02

Ok, so my first project that I made from this was a basic pencil skirt that I love and wear often (scroll down to the bottom).   I had initially dreamed of blocking it out for a dress or something, but when push came to shove (right before Sewing Summit), I just wanted a go-to skirt that was classy and comfortable.  Practicality brings home another win.  But then we all started talking about the post yesterday, and last night the Project Runway Within sort of took over, and my scraps of the precious knit somehow landed the spotlight today.

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I squeaked this bad boy out! Not only did I have only a very small piece of the knit, but I literally used all but some shreds of that silk chiffon I found deep sea diving at Michael Levine Loft.  It ended up being pretty perfect, and I love how it turned out.  I started out with the Briar Tee as a block for the yoke, and the rest is just winged. Winged? Wung? Wung!! Now that’s funny.

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I love the buttons down the back, don’t you?mad mim_mood fabric yoked blouse06

And here’s the pencil skirt!

mad mim_mood fabric wiggle skirt_02Now go and check out what these amazing ladies did with it! I can’t wait to see  myself!

Jen . Merrick . Bethany . Melissa . Andrea . and Leanne‘s forthcoming!


African Wax Print Sheath Dress

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A couple months ago African Premier contacted me about trying out some of their fabric. I hadn’t ever heard of them before, but when I clicked over I was like WHOA, cool prints. I spent like thirty minutes right then and there, and was so refreshed by the unique, bold, and graphic patterns.  You don’t see prints like that just anywhere.

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I picked out this wax print:

african wax print

I am in love with how this dress turned out!! Don’t you think the simple sheath silhouette (Vogue 8766) makes this graphic print scream at the top of its lungs? Like for real. The fabric is somewhat stiff and good for more structured clothing, which is why I opted to not make a button-up, which is what I originally had planned. I also thought about doing a blazer (you’re thinking: she’s still talking about that, huh?) but in the end I wimped out because of all the matching required. Speaking of matching, can I direct your attention to the beautiful sunset? How about the sketchy photoshop job on the left sidewalk? (there was a big car) Anything to avert your expert scrutinizing eyes from that waistline! I spent so much time matching horizontal lines, but I straight up FAILED with the vertical ones. I just couldn’t get it to work! For one thing I cut out a size smaller on top, and because the darts in front are larger than the back’s, mathematically it just wasn’t happening. So give me a fat break and just sort squint around the middle section.  Also,  in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t line this sucker. I know I know! I hate sloppy sewing, but I just got lazy, and that’s the honest truth. It happens to the best of us, mostly late at night.  But despite it’s imperfections, I really really love it, and the print just feels exotic and bold.  Made me feel like a tiger, and that’s no lie.

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Check out the seamless matching here on the sides!

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Some other favorites from African Premiere‘s site: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. And also be sure to check out their laces, they have some gorgeous stuff there too–I especially love their premium voile laces and their polishing cottons. I think a dress or skirt out of any of those would be stunning. Also, take note of the amazing prices! That’s $20 for a SIX yard piece, which comes out to be just over $3 a yard! Hello budget bride’s maid dresses!

other prints i like

SO, we found a house! In Springville! It’s a cute little house (not too little, but definitely not huge), and I think it’s going to be perfect for us for the next 5 years or so. I can’t wait to get into it, we’re set to close end of the month, and move in the beginning of December.  My head is positively SWIMMING with design ideas and furniture dreams, and now I’ve got to gear up for our second move in 6 months.  But it’s all so fun, and I am JAZZED (hands and all) to finally have our own place;  I have waited for years, all the while fantasizing about a time when I could paint and puncture walls whenever and wherever I please!

Gold Polka Banyan Tee and Bow Band Leggings

I have at least half a dozen back-to-school outfits for Twinkle that I’ve photographed but haven’t posted. What can you do. Too little time, and too many other things to do.  We’re trying to buy a house as you may remember, and we found one and put an offer in (their asking price), and they countered at $4,000 OVER their asking price. Como se wha??We went back and forth and they wouldn’t come down, so we said peace out. So we’re still looking, and man oh man is that hour-and-fifteen-minute-commute-in-GOOD-traffic getting old as the hills.

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This is one of those outfits that I make by the boatloads, but doesn’t always get blogged. It’s cute, functional and beloved by the wearer, but so simple that it doesn’t always make the I-HAVE-to-share-this-on-the-blog cut. Well here’s to go-to outfits and designs! This is Figgy’s Banyan tee, which is one of my all-time faves. It’s just so whimsical and comfy. It’s a great tee pattern too, I’ve made it without the handkerchief hem, and it’s got the perfect amount of swing.

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The leggings are Ottobre, from issue 4/2012 #15. There are several leggings patterns throughout the all issues though, and they’re all wonderful.  I just love the little bow band at the bottom, it’s become my standard way of  finishing  leggings because it’s adorable and  fast and doesn’t require hemming.

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Another thing I want to mention is how AWESOME it is not to be sewing my kid’s Halloween costumes this year. I know that Halloween is typically when the National Mom League dusts off their sewing skills to make their kid’s costume fantasies come true, and I’m usually right there with you. But I’ve gotta say, there is nothing so sweet as an off year, and that’s the truth. I got a real high off checking their costumes off my list in a matter of 5 minutes in the costume aisle at Target.  So there! Better make a note of the time I advocated buying over sewing!

The Skipper Top

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Sad to say, but the third child really does get the fuzzy end of the lollypop sometimes. Although my little Tiny has commandeered much of time over the last two years, she has benefited very little from my sewing talents. She got priority numero one in a lot of things, but clothing wasn’t one of them, poor little Dear. This girl has been toddling around in rags, and that’s the honest truth. She has one halfway decent shirt (that’s not completely stained gray or completely to small), and nary a pair of leggings without some serious knee nastiness or holes. She’s a regular ragamuffin, and she doesn’t even know it. So as soon as I was done with Sewing Summit and back to school sewing for Twinkle and all the other sewing obligations I had, her wardrobe finally reached it’s rightful place at the top of my to-do list.  When Abbey emailed me about joining her Skipper Top pattern tour, I immediately agreed because it looked like a quick, comfortable, cute and customizeable staple for her. I love this shirt!! I’ve already made three versions of it for her, and know I’ll use it again and again. And it’s so fast! I can make it and a simple pair of leggings (like the ones she’s wearing, pattern from Ottobre), in under an hour for sure!

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After I had traced the pattern for this top, I looked down and this beautiful Marc Jacobs cotton from Mood was peeping out from my fabric storage at me. I only bought like a 1/3 of a yard of this beauty (and was planning to make something like this for myself with it), but after a quick mental mock up it seemed like a perfect little fall piece for Tiny. And I think I’ll still have enough (hopefully) for my project.

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The only changes I made were to flare out slightly the back piece in order to accommodate for the woven fabric, and I twisted the neck band piece because I’ve been into that lately (tutorial forthcoming!)

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Adorable, right? Of course right. She was totally rocking it today, and now she has FOUR decent shirts, which makes me four shirts closer to being an adequate mom. This perfect little shirt may be my easy ticket to respectability!

Time to Sew, Yo // The Wrist Pin Cushion

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One of the gems from my LA trip, was a dinky little wrist pin cushion I got at Golden Cutting and Sewing Supplies.  I just grabbed it last second before we were leaving, and it came to pass that it has been one of the handiest little thing! I love it! No more searching for you pins only to discover you left it at the cutting table, and then when you’re at your cutting table you have to go ALL THE WAY OVER to your sewing table to retrieve them again.  Back and forth, back and forth, the pin cushion fetching never ends.  It’s unreasonable. So at the risk of sounding ridiculous, I’ll say this sleek little sewing accessory has simplified my life significantly. PS I know it’s not sleek at all.

Which is why I decided to whip a few up for some friends! Besides the fact that mine is WAY cuter than the one I bought, it was a fun little project–my six year old made one along with me, and enjoyed the simple hand stitching.

Round up:

  • a couple different complimentary scraps of fabric (about 5″ square for the larger piece)
  • some stuffing
  • a bit of elastic
  • a bit of ribbon
  • a juice lid
  • a glue gun
  • and a needle and thread

Cut out your circles using this amazingly complex circle template. Gotta remember to copyright that masterpiece. You want to use your really spectacular fabric for the larger circle. mad mim_wrist pin cushion diy_03

Take your smaller circle and baste all around it with a needle and thread. Make sure you start with some really secure whip stitches, a simple knot isn’t sufficient. Cinch it up tight around your juice lid, whip stitch again, and then stitch across it several times to really secure that bad boy in there. *Note that my fabric shown here is melon colored on one side, and bubblegum on the other, just didn’t want you to be confused.

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Cut a length of elastic that fits comfortably around your wrist with about an inch overlap. You want it snug, but don’t go crazy, eh? I don’t want anybody’s circulation to be cut off. Stitch together.

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Now repeat the whole whip stitch, baste and cinch process with your larger circle. Stuff it within an inch of its life, and then whip stitch and cross secure several times. After I got to this point I continued to stuff it through the stitching til it was tight and firm just like my bum. HAH! You’ll have to do some adjusting to get a nice even flattened sphere. mad mim_wrist pin cushion diy_02

Now. Wrap your elastic (centered) around your juice lid, and then sandwhich it to your cushion. Secure by whip stitching around the whole thing (base fabric to cushion fabric). Go around twice if you like to reside on the safe side. 
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Bust out your glue gun and carefully glue a pretty ribbon over the gap between cushion and base. Or not, this step is optional, but i think you’ll sleep better if you go ahead and do it, just saying.  
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Ta daaaaaa. Say that Miranda style just for me. mad mim_wrist pin cushion diy_08

Masking Tape and Color Magnet Bear Tee

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Nothing like a 15 minute project to get your heart pumping. This little bear tee is so simple that you can have it done while you wait for your oatmeal to cook. Okay okay, on the stovetop. But seriously, this is an easy technique using a cool cool product that I’m super excited to show you (my new fave for sure).

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Grab some:

The skinny:

Draw or print (with a printer) a large design on some freezer paper. I used this big bear, which you’re welcome to as well, don’t mention it. A shortcut I always use is to cut a piece of freezer paper exactly 8.5 X 11, and then throw into the paper tray of your printer and print straight on it. Cut out the design with a utility knife, being careful to always pull your blade down. Iron that bad boy (shiny side down) onto your tee or what have you. You’re effectively masking off this design so you can now print or stencil over it.

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Cut a long length of masking tape and stick to a cutting mat. With a rotary blade, cut down the center of it. You could also use a utility knife if you find yourself  rotary-bladeless. The goal is to have very thin cuts of tape.  Tape in a stripey pattern all over the the bear, cutting more tape as needed.

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Now for the cool juice. Here’s the 411 on Color Magnet. It’s a color attractant that when applied, dried, and then dyed, will magically attract more dye creating a completely permanent (won’t fade and creates no stiffness whatsoever) two-tone effect, which I really just can’t get enough of. I LOVE THIS STUFF! It comes in a pen with a foam pad tip as well, which is perfect for stenciling. Apply this stuff on your masked out bear, and allow to completely dry.

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Once dry, remove all tape and freezer paper, and then dye according to manufacturer instructions.  I used this Hanes Youth Beefy Tee, and fiber reactive dye in Chartreuse.  You’ll end up with something like this.

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Fun, right? This masking technique also works really awesome with small scale pattern stencils (like this insane tribal stencil I recently made). I used this technique for my very own bear tee (pictures forthcoming), as well as a top using color magnet and this masking tape design, which is rad and I can’t wait to share.  

My little man Tito LOVED this shirt, but I’m sad to say, I lost it! Somehow or other, it didn’t make it home from Sewing Summit with me, (!!) which he and I are really bummed about. I also never got a picture of him in it, which is doubly unfortunate. Luckily it’s easy, and I can quickly do it again if it never surfaces.

PS. Sewing Summit was fantastic, and I’ll put together a recap post soon. My hand printing class was a blast!

Since I got home though a little over a week ago, I think I’ve spent more time in my bed than out of it, Ain’t No Lie, Baby Bye Bye Bye. Jeez Oh Man, I got so sick of lying down, and I was too sick to even hold up a book for half of it. I was just a-trembling and sweating and I’ll spare you the rest. I got REAAAL sick, the most severe case of strep I’ve even had. But I’m pretty much better now, and I think it’s done plowing through (and over) our family. My very first act as a semi-healthy adult (AFTER I cleaned up my house in a hazmat suit) was some late season canning, which like always, is rewarding but a crapload of work. I did Peach Pineapple Mint Jam, Raspberry Preserves, and Charred Tomato and Chile Salsa, all three recipes come from the Uh-MAZING book Canning for a New Generation.  My garden is just about done spewing forth good things to eat, and I think we’re about to lose the rest to frost anyway. Now all I have left are the grapes.  I’ve got literally bajillions of grapes that want juicing. I haven’t ever done them before, but I’ve heard it ain’t no thang. That’s one rumor I hope is true, because I am bushed!



Darling Ranges Dress // 80’s Bedsheet Edition

I spied this classic 80’s bed sheet at DI nearly a year ago, and was in love. It’s so undeniably late 80’s/early 90’s  (I mean it totally looks like that couch I grew up with), and yet? And yet I totally love it.  I mean, my last name ain’t Tribe for nothing. I decided to make it shine with Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges pattern, as I have long long wanted to give it a go, and was very much inspired by this look by Steven Alan.

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I did make some alterations to the Darling Ranges pattern, as my muslin (I made a muslin!) had some issues. I adjust the dart angle and position (still didn’t nail it as you can see), and angled the side seams WAY out (like 2 inches on each side!) because it was pulling the back piece forward and my side seams weren’t straight down. I removed the added width I now had by adding darts in the back. I also raised up the neckline by one button, and lengthened the hem.  Oh, and I cut a size up in the sleeve (as per several reviews I read), which fit perfectly. I also added a cuff, because the elastic sleeve wasn’t gonna fly with my thicker cotton and edgy (hah!) pattern.
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The real bonus of sewing with a sheet is that it’s so so soft from lots of washings. I try not to think about WHY it was washed so many times, and just focus on how dreamy it feels. This dress is so comfy, and that alone will qualify it for some guaranteed game time this Fall.  But really, I love it all around, and dig that it’s gonna dress up or down easily.

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I’m definitely going to make this dress again, especially now that I have adjusted the pattern to be just about perfect for my shape. It really is a great design.

I’m in Sewing Summit crunch time, and have about 2,387 projects to do before next week. I try not get stressed, but I can’t help it; house shopping, school starting, trying desperately to preserve the abundant fruits and vegetables from my garden, planning for my Sewing Summit class, AND take care of and feeding my family have sort of just sent me over the top, and I’ve been staying up way late. My body apparently needs more sleep that I’m giving it, because I got sick today which is a real bummer.  Hopefully I’ll bounce back soon, because really, I just have to bounce back soon. I need your tips on keeping your calm and dealing with stress! I am not a high stress person, but over the last couple years I’ve started really physically responding to stress like for instance I get lock jaw or get sick when things become hectic. It’s no fun, and I am really trying to deal with it better. I know everyone is different, but what works  for you?

School Girl Floral Blazer, a Striped Skirt and Her First Day

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New Fave, in the hood. I’ve been planning a floral blazer for Twinkle for like light years (almost as long as I’ve been planning a blazer for myself which still hasn’t materialized), and it took a whole week to tackle. It wasn’t easy folks, I really had to muscle through some sizing issues, and I can assure you my seam ripper got lots of game time. But zoo-ee-mama, how I do love it.

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Deets: I used this sweet sweet floral that I found at Michael Levine (I bought it at their storefront, but it’s on sale online!), and it ended up having great body for this project. The pattern is Kwik Sew K3697, with a few alterations. First of all, I chose a size that was really too big, and so I had to take everything in. BOO. In tailored sewing, that is a big fat pain in the arse. I added a fitted curve to the back and side seams, brought up the hem, and added a contrasting lining to the the sleeves, which is just a bomb little detail in my ‘umble opinion. But you know what is an even cooler detail? The tags. The first one is my token Mama Loves You tag, and then instead of sharpie-ing her name in like her school asks, I made her a custom name tag that I can only partially show you, cause I’m mysterious like that.  SO SWEET!! I had a mini-stroke making her name tag, I just really out did myself with that one. PS Melly has a really great blazer pattern that  would adorable in girl version as well, and I don’t think you’d have to make many (or any?) alterations.

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A couple more things. I totally ran out of fabric (sad!), and had to piece the inner front panels, AND (much like my first version of this pattern) I had to cut it off grain!! Oh the horror!!
mad mim_Floral Blazer and Striped Skirt_05The skirt is self-drafted (if you can call it that); it’s just a rectangle with a paper bag elastic waist, fake placket and rectangle pockets. Super easy, and she chose the triangle buttons which I think are pretty cute. The fabric is a heavy seer sucker that a neighbor gave me. 
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You know who is pretty cute? This girl. And her new glasses?? Adorable.  She loves this blazer–she’s been sporting it half-done around the house all week and asking me WHHHHHEN will it be done!!??!  Not for the first day of school, I’ll tell you that much. But now she’ll look fantastic for her second week of school, which is nearly as good. I actually don’t want to talk too much about her first day of first grade, because it was a sad day for me. I think I cried for an hour straight the night before, and swore up and down I was just going to home school her. The actual morning though, she was really really excited. I kept on asking if she wanted to stay home, and although she had mixed emotions, she was really pumped to go. After a week we’re already in a new groove, and she’s loving it.  I’m okay, but it is a really long day.  Anyone else have a hard time sending your kids off to school?  I was home schooled all growing up, so I think that makes it extra hard for me, although I know homeschool isn’t right for our family, at least not now.  I guess it’s just an end of a chapter and that’s always sad.

In other news, I’m SO excited for Sewing Summit, and things are crazy around here with preparations and trying to find a new house because WE’RE MOVING AGAIN. Allan just got a new job down South, so it looks like we’re going to be calling Utah county our home again. I’m excited, but have lots of mixed emotions to leave a lovely home and family near by.  I will have family near by down there as well, but it just feels like we didn’t get quite enough time here. But we’re hoping to actually BUY a house which is pretty fun and so grown-up. Lots of change on the horizon!
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Stenciling: Fresh Angles Pillows DIY + free design template

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Now, you all know pretty well by now that my love and loyalties lie with the rubber block and carving tool–I really really love me some stamp carving. BUT! Who can resist the clean, crisp lines of stenciling?? So clear! So sharp! Stenciling is like block printing’s perfect older sister who gets all A’s, and who is kinda OCD–She’s maybe a little less exciting, but you gotta appreciate that predictability! Handprinting, although not hard, does have a lot of variabilities that can affect the crispness of your results. Stenciling on the other hand, is so straight-forward; just keep in mind a few techniques, and you’re gonna come out a winner.

Steps for stellar stenciling:

  • Use good stenciling film. I’ve used everything from cardboard to contact paper, and although anything will work, a good quality stencil film that is transparent, thin, yet sturdy will make all the difference in getting good, clear prints. I do love using freezer paper, but it’s a one time deal, and can’t be reused. When I make a detailed stencil, I want to be able to use it again!
  • When cutting out, use a good, SHARP utility knife. Don’t waste your time with a dull one, you’ll end up cursing obscenities under your breath. If the blade isn’t sharp, you’ll have to pull too hard, and won’t be able to stay ‘in the lines’, which will be sad.
  • Always (try to) pull your knife downwards–you’ll have the most control that way.  Avoid sideways or upward cuts by continually rotating your design. Oh, and use a cutting mat!
  • Don’t load your brush/sponge with too much paint! When you first load, blot it out a couple of times on your paint tray before applying to your project.  Less paint over more passes prevents bleeding underneath your stencil.
  • Repositionable adhesive spray is your friend. It temporarily sticks your stencil to your printing surface so nothing seeps underneath, and then you can just peel it up, reposition, and use again.  I typically reapply every few passes.
  • Always make sure to have some scratch paper underneath your printing surface so your paint doesn’t bleed onto the other side!

This design was inspired by some doodles I did a few days ago when I was trying to draw flowers without any curved lines. I’ve got a thing for hard and soft together,  it’s just so bangarang. Anyway, I had just been reading the super awesome book A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight, and was all pumped up to turn my doodle into an all-over-print.  I’m so excited to do more with this, and actually, I’ve been scheming about how to flesh out a quote un quote collection of designs to go along with this.  What?! You heard me. Until then though, I’ll hook you up with the design template so you can make your own! Don’t mention it.

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To make these pretties (my favorite is the all-over-print), start by tracing the design onto the stencil film, and cutting it out with a (sharp!) utility knifemad mim_stenciling_angular flower pillow_12

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Then prepare your printing surface. I used these  zippered, blank pillow covers and dyed them a soft Kilt Green (diluted the concentration to make it more subdued). Do as I say not as I did, and press your  printing surface  before printing (check out all Dharma’s blanks!)

mad mim_stenciling_angular flower pillow_06Don’t forget to put scratch paper inbetween so nothing bleeds to the back!

mad mim_stenciling_angular flower pillow_01Now using a stenciling brush or sponge, apply the fabric paint (I used Jacqurd Textile Color in Spruce), being careful not to pick up too much paint, eh? For a set pattern like the first pillow, it’s wise to mark out where you’ll print before hand. For the all over design, I packed in the stencil as many times as I could fit into the space, and then filled in the remaining spaces using sections of the stencil, no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I was filling in just the tiniest empty spaces, so for that I ripped the end off my sponge so I could print just a single flower or leaf or whatever without printing into the other parts of the design.

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Doh! My paper wasn’t butted up to the very edges and it bled through onto the back, so I turned that frown upside down by making it into a border. Bazinga.

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Heat set your design with a quick pass of the iron, slap that baby over your pillow insert, and stand back and listen to the hallelujah chorus sing.

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And what about that awesome ikat pillow, you ask? I got that gorgeous print at Michael Levine, and a 1/2 yard of that masterpiece gave me two amazing pillows! (similar drool-worthy ikats found here). mad mim_stenciling_angular flower pillow_11And just like that my couch is my favorite part of my living room. Pencil, stencil, paint and faint, I always like to say.

I have SO MANY juicy back to school specials to show you, so stay tuned. I’ll leak them slowly over the next few weeks as I get a chance to photograph them. Now (after I whip out a few funny tees for the boy), I’ll be turning my mind and creative energies towards getting all ready for Sewing Summit, which means more handprinting.  I’m on a hand printing rampage! Don’t be surprised when I instagram hand printed toilet paper, I’m just saying;)

Tailor’s Ham and Sausage

I have been wishing upon a star for the last five years that I could get my mitts on a tailor’s ham and sausage. I learned how to sew on a couple of these babies (way back in 4-H by my fantastic teacher Cami), and ever since I’ve fantasized about them–especially in those desperate moments of particularly difficult pressing fixes.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. One time I saw one in a thrift store;  it smelled like moth balls and was ugly as sin and even then I barely passed it up. I’ve just kept on sewing and fantastizing until I just couldn’t take it anymore.  That was like, last Tuesday, case your curious.
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Do you sew with a ham? It’s for pressing curved and hard-to-get-at seams, and anytime you can’t get your garment to lie flat. The ham is great for darts and princess seams, and the sausage is perfect to slide into a sleeve for that wily shoulder curve.  And wowee, are they fun to have and to hold. If nothing else, you’ll want one to canoodle with next time you settle down to watch your favorite movie.

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I used Kristiann‘s pattern and tutorial, and packed those suckers with sawdust (that I got free from the nice fellows and Home Depot) within an inch their lives.  It was a messy and time consuming and a real good time. mad mim_tailor's ham and sausage_02

Pretty jazzed about my new  meat. So tight, so firm, so heat-ready with it’s cotton and wool sides.  Like Katy so aptly put it: serious seamstresses use a ham. 
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