Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sew Excited!


is the wonderful, trusty, $40.00 Singer sewing machine that I have been using to make all these wonderful little outfits.  I have to say that, other than a tricky buttonhole function and a slightly sluggish reverse stitch (probably more the operator than the machine. . .), it has been a real workhorse.  I'm sure it was more than $40.00 new, but I bought it used from an elderly woman who had to give up quilting on it because of her failing eyesight.  I hope she would be happy to know how much fun I've had with it and how I used it to start my home sewing business.  This is an absolutely solid machine.  I'm pretty attached to it.  Hey, we've spent a lot of hours together!

I was debating purchasing a serger, but after reading all the reviews, I decided against it.  It was a tough choice, but most of the things I'm making now don't really require a serger to finish them professionally.  I can line things or finish my hems a number of other ways that look as good and actually feel softer than a serger would do.  I know a lot of people probably disagree with me here.  That's fine.

I read a few reviews for a handy little attachment for a Brother sewing machine, and it sparked my interest.   Could I get by without a serger?  Here's what I found on

Brother SA177 Side Cutter 7mm

One reviewer states:

I am so glad I got this little attachment. It was very easy to attach and use on my Brother 6000I. Thread the needle first, install the attachment, line up the material edge, and watch it trim and make a nice edge all at the some time, amazing! A friend tried using her serger with terrible results to finish the edge of a thin lacy material I had, I got this attachment and it worked great, made a nice finished edge! I used it on some sheer material for curtains, also great finished seams which is especially important with the sunlight coming through the material. At this time I don't see needing a serger machine since I have this handy tool.

Another one that was pretty convincing:

No, this doesn't replace a serger. However, it's a very affordable alternative. I also own a serger, but sometimes I don't feel like monkeying around with all the threading involved. I attach the side cutter and away I go!


I think it works very well for what I wanted. This little side cutter is great for quicker serging projects in that you already have your machine threaded with the proper color of thread from having been sewing, and you can serge with that same one thread and bobbin just by snapping on the attachment. I have a full serger machine but for many projects it seems like such a hassle to get 4 matching threads, thread each of them through the machine, manipulate the tension - - - when all I have to do with this is use the same one thread spool I have already been sewing with, snap on the attachment and keep going. When done, snap on a new foot and keep sewing. The two things to remember are to thread your needle before putting the attachment on, and to cut a small slit in the fabric to give it a place to start. That's it. Yes, I am happy with my purchase. I'll still use my serger on heavy projects, but this definitely is a helper and will get used a lot. I purchased it from Amazon knowing they support quality merchandise, and I received it in just a matter of days!

I haven't ordered the side cutter yet, but I will soon.  Oh, I failed to mention - it's $31.99 on Amazon and ships free with Super Saver Shipping.  The serger I was looking at is over $300.00!  Having read all that, you're probably wondering why on earth I want a Brother attachment for my Singer.  

Well, I bought a Brother.
*Insert a squeal of excitement here.*

Check THIS out:

Yes, that's right.  My wonderful husband let me buy this for Mother's Day.  My sister said it looks pretty space age.  Compared to my old machine (which still works and I will NOT part with), I'd have to agree with her.

get this:

YES.  It embroiders.  Appliques and monograms, here I come!  My mind is racing with all the cute things I can make on this amazing machine.  I've used it a little.  I embroidered Holly's name on a pair of old sweat pants to jazz them up, and I made my sister a Nook envelope with her name on it.  But I haven't had a lot of time to put it through its paces, though.  Judging by the number of things it can do, it may actually take me a year or two just to use all of the stitches.

I can't wait to start the Weedhoppers Fall and Winter clothing line samples.  The possibilities are endless, and when those run out, I can actually download embroidery images from my computer to the machine.  Hot dog.  Now the task is to organize all these crazy ideas and figure out which ones I actually have time to complete!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Catching Up

"Out with the Old" should have been titled "Out with Blogging."  What on earth has been happening for the last six months?  

January, February, and March were for sewing.

In March, I did a couple of vendor booths at consignment sales and gained some local visibility on my shop.

And in April and May, I finished up my local orders. 

These pillowcase dress cuties were for two four-year-old twins and a one-year-old!

These two Spring outfits were for a sweet 18-month-old.

The first is an Easter dress jumper for a friend's five-year-old daughter (I LOVE the fabric she found on Etsy), and the second is my five-year-old daughter's Easter dress.

I drafted a pattern for this top / dress by looking at a top that a friend found at an online auction.  It was the first time I'd tried to make my own pattern, and it went pretty well.  I think I would add more fullness for the "skirt" part next time, though.  The back closes with a single button.  I think this picture was taken before I hemmed it, too, so it's a little longer here than it was finished.

The girls got coordinating outfits for picture day!  This is Lilly's.  The other girls will follow when I get their pictures in.  We took Lilly's when we got home, but the girls had to stay at school.  Can't wait to see how the official photos turned out, although Lilly was confused and not very amused with the photographer, so I'm sure her expression will be interesting!

I still have a few things to stitch up and post to my shop on Etsy, and along with that comes designing and making the samples for my Fall and Winter 2012/2013 line.  I have some great ambitions, but judging how quickly the last six months went by and how hard it was keep up with my family and still complete sewing orders, I will probably have to scale it back some.  I'm still really excited to get started.  I'm thinking jewel tones and whimsey for Fall, and soft pastels for Winter.  You can check out my inspiration on my Fall / Winter 2012 board on Pinterest.  I have to admit, it's a little hard to think about Fall and Winter clothes when we just got the kiddie pool out yesterday!!  But these styles are super-cute.

More importantly, over the last six months, Lilly started eating solids, sat up, started crawling, eats puffs with her fingers, tries to say "Hi" and "Bye bye" and has learned that sisters can be a blast to play with.

I'm excited to see what the summer holds, and hopefully it will include a few more blog posts with photos of some of these exciting new projects!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old. . .

Good bye 2011!  Fond memories!
I spent ALL of 2011 with my husband.  Is that awesome, or what?  Considering our first eight years of marriage, we lived together for only 36 non-consecutive months due to both of us going on deployments, attending military schools, conducting training, and the like.  I'm not complaining - let's just get that straight from the get go!  We both love the Army.  I'm just saying that this year was an amazing blessing that our family has relished.  It hasn't always been so easy in the past, nor will it always be in the future.  So, with appreciation and admiration for the old, we say farewell to 2011 with a reminiscent sigh and welcome the new year with open arms of anticipation and hope.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The first project of 2012 is, fittingly enough, made from sweaters discarded in 2011.  As you can see, these guys are just waiting for a little craft love.  I can't wait to chop them up and make something new.  Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

It's getting colder here, although not as cold as it has been elsewhere.  I miss the snow, but I have to admit that getting the baby out is a lot easier when it's not freezing.  Mad props to the rest of you trudging your wee ones through the frigid weather.

I'm trying to finish up my winter sewing to get ready for spring things (I'm super excited about them), and this is today's quickie project - homemade baby leggings.  These actually fit my 4-year-old quite well.  I simply bought some adult knee socks at target and chopped off the foot, and then added some fun elastic trim that I picked up at Wal-Mart.  I don't have a serger, so I used a double needle to hem the rough edge and add the trim.  I'm going to pair these up with a cute dark grey fleece jumper with pink lining - that's next up.  I haven't had much time to sew lately, but it's been a good trade off for tons of fun with the kids and Kevin over Christmas.  Maybe I'll get a few pictures of our D.C. adventures posted, too. . .

Stay warm!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Look at a Book

Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z
I checked this book out from the library just to flip through it and see what I could learn.  I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to begin sewing or quilting. 

There are about as many techniques and tips as there are seamstresses, and you don't have to do everything, or anything, for that matter, by the book.  But I am not always bold and adventurous, especially when it comes to a pricey piece of fabric, so having a guide to consult is helpful.

Another resource I've used is Stitch magazine.  It's a little more random, but each issue has several techniques in it, as well as a glossary of the terms used in the instructions throughout the magazine.  I find that once I've read it, I tend to dog ear those pages and refer back to them if I'm trying to pick up something new. Stitch Magazine also has a blog called Sew Daily, sewing made modern.  Check out their tutorials and templates, or just browse and inspire yourself with all the possibilities!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holly's dress

Wow.  After a slight sabbatical from my sewing machine, I finally finished Holly's dress.  I've only had the fabric for two years.  Have you ever had a project like that?  It just sits there in a folded pile staring at you.  Well, I finally have closure on this one!  This is what I had in mind when I started:

But it looked a little plain for Holly.  Too serious.  So, I added some baby rickrack!  I love this stuff.

This is the finished product - forgive the bad photo.  I can't wait to have her try it on tomorrow, so maybe I'll be able to get a better shot then.  Jessie's is still in the hopper, so check back soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Etsy Cyber Monday

Free shipping from my Etsy shop until midnight tonight!  Receive 10% off when you like us on Facebook through November 30th!  Follow the tabs at the top of this page to access each site.  …Now I'm off to do my internet shopping for the season.  Are you kidding?  Brave all those long lines at the stores with three kids in tow?  I'm not that crazy!