Friday, January 31, 2014

We Have A Winner!!

The winner of my extra Sew News magazine with the article I did for the Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag......
is Carolyn!!!
Congratulations Carolyn. Please email your address to me at sewbussted@yahoo.com so I can get this out to you.
The first video for the sew along should be up on Monday, February 3rd. The videos are free and you will be able to watch them at your convenience. Be sure to join the Flickr group, http://www.flickr.com/groups/2224982@N24/. I would love to see the fabrics that you plan to use!

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Rag Bin Fleece Skirt Pictures

It has been snowing almost nonstop since Wednesday night, so Mother Nature decided that I didn't need to take pictures yesterday afternoon. We have had over 2 feet of snow in the last 36 hours. Amazing!! There are still a few flakes in the air, so the dots you may notice are not lint, just snow. The pictures aren't the best, but at least you can see how the skirt fits. I really like this skirt...a lot. If you've never made a fleece skirt, give it a try. I think you might like it as much as I like mine.
Yesterday I talked about the fact that I would like to add a few more leaves. Now that the skirt is on me, I think you can see what I mean. It just needs a bit more embellishment. 
A side picture, also very difficult to see, but if you look closely, you can see that the leaves work their way to the back at the hem,
You can't see the back yoke, but you can see that the back fits nicely. I was very happy with how well the back yoke worked out.
You may remember the top that I'm wearing from this Sleeves On Saturdays post. It's one of my favorite tops. I call the sleeve the Bending Willow Sleeve. It's super easy to draft.
I left the irregular hemline that the coat had. I always like a little interest at the hem. So all in all, a project that I'm very happy with.
Thanks for stopping by!!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rag Bin Worthy No More!

Many of you may remember the raggedy sweatshirt that I just couldn't bear to throw away :) It was left behind by one of my exchange students. It shrunk and he grew, so it was of no use to him. I kept it and wore it...a lot. It was great to throw on with jeans and wonderful on a cold morning over my pajamas. Well, time took its toll and it became stained, ugly and ready for the rag bin, at least so I thought.
I just couldn't bear to throw it away, so I cut it up and created this little skirt. It has become a favorite everyday go to piece in my wardrobe. Funky and fun!!
I received a message from a lovely lady who follows my blog asking if I would do another creation. At first I thought I would go to the resale shop and find another sweatshirt and then I remembered that I had this jacket. I am now VERY embarrassed to admit that I bought this coat/jacket. It actually looked cute when I bought it. I made the mistake of washing it, mind you, on a gentle, handwash cycle and I hung it to dry, but I figured out that the lining was not cut on grain, anyway it became just an ugly mess. 
The back of the jacket had a very full, asymmetrical half circle skirt. As I thought about a project, it occurred to me that I just might be able to save this piece.
The first step I took was to cut the back skirt away from the jacket.
 I draped it on my body and found that I didn't want the extra extension.
The extra was cut off so that the back would hang straight. The only problem is that the center area needed to be filled in.
I took the back bodice and placed it inside the open back area. The bottom of the bodice was placed at my waistline and the shoulders hung down inside the skirt. I placed pins where the two pieces matched up. I added seam allowance to the line before I did any cutting.
The skirt is now finished. You can see the back yoke in the picture below. Since this is fleece, I was able to get away with not putting in a zipper. Score!! I finished the serged edge around the waist with a 1/2" strip I cut from the fleece. I then topstitched it with 2 rows of stitching. This will give the waistline a little stability since I didn't want to add any type of waistband.
The finished front skirt. The "roses" were made by cutting circles out of the fleece. Your roses will be more interesting if they are not all the same. The largest circle is about 4" wide. The centers of the roses are sewn down in a square stitching pattern. The leaves were all cut free form, so no pattern. If you would like, I would be happy to do a page of leaf patterns. But give it a try, they are really quite easy to cut and they should not all be the same . They will be much more interesting if they are different sizes and shapes.
In this picture you can see that some of the leaves have been sewn with veins and some are just sewn down the center. This allows the leaves to have the feeling of movement  You can also see the square shape sewn in the center of the roses. My suggestion is to cut lots of shapes and start placing them on your garment. Just place a pin in the center. From time to time, pick the garment up and take a look at it in the mirror. You will be able to see what needs to be moved around and where you need more leaves or more roses. I wore my skirt a few days ago and once I had it on, I decide that I need a few more leaves that move around to the back. Not much, just a bit.
Since you don't have a jacket just like mine, you won't be able to recreate the skirt that I made. But I hope that this will inspire you to look at some of your discards in a little different manner. They just might be a wonderful garment waiting to be birthed.
I'm venturing out this afternoon to take a few pictures. So check back later if you would like to see a picture of me in the skirt.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Get Ready For The Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Sew Along

The first Sew News issue of 2014 is now available! And it is full of great information, wonderful tips, and 
 and my little article!!!! I'm so excited!!! I just realized that this bag does double duty for Jungle January!!
 I made this bag months ago and now I have it back in my hands and I can finally enjoy using it.
Just to give you an idea of the size, I've included a picture of the bag over my shoulder. You can see that it's large, but not too large.
Inside are an abundance of pockets for anyone who is always on the go. There's room for everything from diapers and a bottle, to your flip flops for that impromptu pedicure and there's even a special pocket for your cell phone! Even with all these items, you can still find room for all the other necessities that are a must in everyone's bag.
If you would like to make the bag and sew along with me, starting next week, the week of February 3, 2014, there will be a new video up each week to help walk you through the process of making your own bag. A special Flickr group has been set up, you can find it here, http://www.flickr.com/groups/sn_sewalong1. Join and post your pictures. I can't wait to see your creative fabric choices! You can find the Sew News newsletter here and the blog post here where you can get information on the sew along and how to join the Flickr group.
Now, I've saved a little treat for last, I have an extra copy of the current Sew News Magazine
and I would love to share it. So, leave a message on this post if you would like a chance to win. I will announce the winner this upcoming Friday, January 31st.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

It Is Well With My Soul
(Original lyrics)[1]
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Have you ever heard of Horatio Spafford? His is a story of great sorrow, great resilience and even greater faith.
In the latter part of the 1800's Mr. Spafford was a very successful Chicago lawyer. He invested heavily in real estate and met financial ruin due to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. After some recovery, he was once again hit by the economic downturn of 1875. He had planned a trip to Europe for he and his family, but decided to stay back at the last minute to deal with zoning issues that had arisen after the Chicago fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship that his wife and four daughters were on collided with another ship and sank. Only his wife was saved. He quickly boarded a ship to meet his grieving wife. While at sea, the captain came to Mr. Spafford and told him when they were crossing the point where the two ships had collided and where his four daughters had been lost. It was at that moment that he pulled out a pen and paper and wrote the lyrics to, "It is Well With My Soul."  
The Spaffords went on to have three more children. Their only son died at the age of four with scarlet fever. A few years later, the Spaffords decided to move to Jerusalem where they helped to form The American Colony whose mission was to serve the poor. Their philanthropic work focused on helping the poor with no regard for religious affiliation. The colony became the subject of the Nobel Prize winning book Jerusalem. The story was inspired by a visit that the author had with the Spaffords. The charitable work begun by the Spaffords continues today in the original Colony house. The Spafford Children's Center provides medical treatment and outreach programs for Arab children and their families.

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Sunday's Soup

Some of you may have noticed that I've been missing in action for the last few days. Well, I was back in Denver taping sew along videos for Sew News. It was a lot of fun, but I think I was rather stressed as I now have a lovely cold sore on my upper lip. Isn't it interesting how the body lets us know in no uncertain way that we need to relax at least a bit?!! I listened and spent most of yesterday resting and sleeping. I feel like a new person today :)
I'm cheating a bit, as I did not make the soup that I am sharing with you. After a day at Sew News, I spent the night with a friend who lives near Denver. She hosted a party and made this lovely soup. It was so very good, so I just had to share it with you. It's called Lentil and Escarole Soup, but she changed it up just a bit by using kale rather than escarole, so we will call it
Lentil and Kale Soup
This is not an online soup, but from a magazine chuck full of what looks to be fabulous recipes.  If you would like a copy of this magazine/book, here's a link  http://americastestkitchen.buysub.com/new-releases/cook-s-illustrated-all-time-best-soups-stews-2014-special-issue.html It's quite reasonable, only $9.95. I've already placed my order :)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 celery rib cut into 1/4" pieces
6 cloves of garlic sliced thin
2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley
4 cups of chicken broth (if you would like a true vegetarian version, substitute vegetable broth)
3 cups of water
8 ounces of brown lentils picked over and rinsed
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus grated for serving
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and sliced into 1/2" wide strips

1. Combine oil, onion, carrot, celery and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 17 to 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add broth, water, lentils, tomatoes and their juice, bay leaves and Parmesan rind(my friend did not have one and the soup was still quite delicious) Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until lentils are soft, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Note; you can put all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low all day at this point. Just be sure to saute the vegetables prior to placing in  a slow cooker. This recipe is perfect for a slow cooker.

2. Stir in chopped kale and cook until wilted.(If cooking soup in a slow cooker, add kale with other ingredients and allow to cook all day) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve. Pass grated Parmesan cheese. Sit back and listed to your guests rave over your delicious soup!!!

This soup would also be lovely served with a side of brown rice. My idea, I do love brown rice ;) Give it a try, I know you'll enjoy. I did!!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Drafting The Back Fitted Bodice

For many, drafting a pattern seems like a deep, dark, mystery. Hopefully, you are beginning to see just how simple it really is. What I would like to do is continue on with this series throughout the year. Once the bodice is drafted, we'll draft a sleeve and a skirt. Once we get a good fit, we can then move on into drafting fun designs. After all, that is what it is all about!! Now I say we, sadly this is not a classroom situation and I cannot personally fit each and everyone of you, so as I've said, for now, you'll only be able to see the changes I make in my own pattern. When I move to drafting a basic sloper for a client which is required by one of the modules for the Master Sewing And Design Certificate Program, you will then be able to see me fit another person which I'm sure will be interesting. That won't happen until later this year.
Today we will be drafting the fitted back bodice pattern.
Begin by tracing the back basic bodice pattern.
Transfer the J-K line from basic back bodice and label it as A-B.
Mark C at center back waistline.
C to D is 1/4 of waist measurement plus 1" for the dart.
Connect B to D.
Measure between C and D and find the center. Draw a right angle from C-D line at center point to A-B line. Mark this point as G.
E and F are 1/2" on either side of line G.
Measure down 1" from G and mark as H.
Connect E and F to H.

Our next step will be to adjust the front fitted bodice side seam and and true our darts. Once this is completed, we'll add seam allowances and begin the fitting process.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

This made me smile. I hope it puts a smile on your face as well. 

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Sunday's Soup

While cruising through Pinterest, I came across a recipe for sweet potato soup that looked amazing. The website  where I was directed to is quite interesting. It is a vegan website, but I think there are recipes for just about everyone's taste. The soup is called;
Sweet Potato Soup In a Flash
Here is the recipe as it is printed. I made a number of changes and they are below.

1 cup mashed sweet potato (from a baked sweet potato - all sticky and sweet)
1/2 cup+ No-Chicken Broth (or substitute vegetable broth) -- add more to thin out to desired consistency
1/2 cup soy milk*, original or plain or unsweetened flavors (I used Soy Dream)
*almond milk will work too

Add to taste (what I used):
* orange or satsuma zest (a pinch)
* salt (3 pinches)
* chipotle powder (1/2 tsp)

1/4 cup diced avocado
2-3 tortilla chips, crushed (I used red, spicy jalapeno chips!)
dash of seasoned chili salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Bake your sweet potato until tender.
3. Remove potato skin, add to blender along with the broth and non-dairy milk. Blend on low until smooth. Taste a drop to see that it is slightly bland at this point. Add the salt and spices to taste. I added the zest last and folded it into the poured soup.
4. Serve with garnish or avocado and crushed chips over top.
You can find the original recipe here,http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/12/sweet-potato-soup-in-flash-avocado-on.html

Here are the changes that I made to the recipe. She suggests as an alternative to use canned pumpkin which I did. Makes the process really fast. I also used coconut milk rather than soy milk. I used a large can of pumpkin which rendered 3 cups, so I tripled everything. If you don't like your food too spicy, go easy on the chipotle powder, at least initially. You can always add more. For 3 cups of pumpkin, I added the juice of a 1/2 lime. I added more to my serving. I also added a can of white beans that I drained and rinsed. I suggest adding a teaspoon of ground cumin and a teaspoon of garlic powder. As you can see from the picture, I did add broken tortilla chips. I used Doritos brand Spicy Sweet Chili.
I think they are awfully good :) I didn't get paid for that, wish I did ;) I didn't have any on hand, but a welcome addition would be chopped green onions as an added garnish.
So you have the original version and my version with the changes I made. It is a very nice soup that would be great for week day lunches. If you have leftover baked sweet potatoes, I suggest using them for this recipe. The pumpkin is a stronger taste, sweet potatoes are mellower.
Hope you're having a wonderful Sunday!

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Beautiful Belle, A Sneak Peek!

This past year I did a number of projects that I was unable to share as I had to wait until they were published. Well, the wait is over, at least for one project! I'm very excited to share with you the bag that I made using the Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Pattern. This bag kicks off a new feature that I will be writing for Sew News entitled, Sew and Tell. 
When I initially saw the pattern, I thought it was nice, but just a big slouchy type of bag.
Once I got into the project, I LOVED the bag. 
The magazine will be on newsstands January 28th. To kick off this new feature, Sew News will sponsor a sew along featuring me!!! The sew along will be a series of videos where I will walk you through my process for making the bag.
In the article I wrote, I talk about the bag and all the possibilities there are to customize it. Don't let the outside of the bag fool you, as the inside holds lots of secrets!!!!
Sew News will kick off this new series with a wonderful give away. You'll have a chance to win not only the pattern, but the Amy Butler fabric as well. What a fabulous give away!!!! Be sure to check out the Sew News blog TODAY so you can throw your name in for your chance to win the pattern and fabric. Here's a link to the blog, http://www.sewnews.com/blogs/sewing/
Follow this link to sign up for the Flickr group, http://www.sewnews.com/blogs/sewing/2014/01/14/amy-butler-beautiful-belle-handbag-sew-along/
I'm really excited about this opportunity to sew along with you, a little nervous too!!! Actually, a LOT nervous :) If you enjoy the first sew along, there will be more throughout the year. I can't wait to share with you the upcoming projects. There will be a new project in each issue this year. I had a great time discovering new patterns and I hope you'll enjoy making them as much as I did.
If you don't win the free pattern and fabric, you can buy your own pattern here, http://www.shopsewitall.com/product/beautiful-belle-handbag-pattern-by-amy-butler/ellens-picks
As soon as the videos are up on the website, I'll let you know.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Drafting The Front Fitted Bodice, Adding Darts

Now that we've drafted the basic bodice, we can now start adding the darts. The darts will give the bodice the shape and fit that we are looking for. I really enjoy this part of the drafting process!

Begin by tracing off the basic front bodice pattern.
Transfer K-L line and remark as A-B. Transfer the W-V line along with X at bust point and remark as E at waistline.
C-D is 1/4 of waist measurement plus 2" for dart. Example; if your waist measurement is 32", 1/4 of 32 is 8. Add 2 to 8. Line C-D would then be 10".
Mark F and G 1" on either side of E and connect B to D with a straight line. .
Measure down from bust point 1 1/2" and mark as H.
Connect F to H and G to H.
The side seam dart can be placed anywhere along the side seam, but I like to place the center of the dart 3" below the underarm. Mark this point as I.
To determine the width of the side seam dart, measure the side seam of the front basic bodice and the side seam of the back basic bodice. The difference between the two will be the width of the side seam dart. As an example; if the side seam of the front basic bodice is 10" and the side seam of the back basic bodice is 11 1/2", the side seam dart width will be 1 1/2".

Draw a guide line from I to bust point. Measure 1 1/2" from bust point and mark as L.
Divide the difference of the front and back side seam difference in half and place a mark on either side of I. Mark as J and K.
Connect J and K to L.
Once you have added the darts to the front bodice, set this aside. Our next step will be to add the darts to the basic back bodice. Once we have added the darts to the back bodice, I will show you how to true the darts, my favorite step!!
After the darts are trued, I will then cut my bodice out of muslin and we will begin the fitting process. As I said when we started, my fitting issues may not be yours, but hopefully you will learn something from the changes that I will make to my bodice.

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