Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Hedgehog pocket

My friend, G, is kind enough to accompany me on fabric shopping trips from time to time.  This time, it paid off for her.  We were wandering around JoAnn’s when I heard, from across the store, “Look at the cute hedgehogs!”  G and I bolted across the store to find these adorable little fleece hedgies.  I quickly agreed to make my friend a hedgie fleece pullover. 

The pattern is sort of an old Kwik Sew that I hacked to bits over the year.  It started out as just a plain sweatshirt pattern.  I added a zipper, a collar, pockets, side shaping, etc.  Fortunately, G is close enough to my size that only minor sizing adjustments were needed. 



Hedgehog front













A pink zipper would have been awesome, but time did not permit another trip to JoAnn’s.  G is an elementary school librarian and it was hedgehog week.  I whipped this jacket together in a few hours. 

Every teacher needs pockets.  Here is a shot of the pockets:

Hedgehog jacket



Posted on: 1 January, 13


Every now and then, there is project I just have to do for sheer joy of just doing it.  That was totally the case with these hedgehog mittens from Morehouse Farm.  As luck would have it, a good friend who loves hedgehogs has a birthday every year.  For once, I did not procrastinate… and that was a very good thing.  I was worried about learning how to knit a mitten, specifically the thumb part.  (There is a thumb in the photo, I just have my thumb tucked in so you can see all those quills.)  Well, a mitten thumb is no big deal, but those quills!!!  The quills were not hard, but they were time consuming… and plentiful. 


Look at all those quills.  Take a moment and look at how many there are.  I highly recommend this pattern because the mittens are to die for, but be prepared for all those quills.  They are worth the effort because look how cute they are. 

If you are making these for a gift, start early.  I started in October even though my friends birthday is in December.  Those quills take a long time.  I made lots of progress during the 24 hour gaming marathon.  The students cheered when I reached the end of the quill section on the first mitten.  Once the first mitten was completed, I had the motivation to power through the second one.  The mittens were completed before Thanksgiving.  The hard part was keeping them a secret until my friend’s birthday at the end of December.  Yes, there was lots of squealing when she opened the present.


Ok, one eye looks a little wonky in this photo.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take a photo of a mitten while you are wearing it???  I guess I could have used the timer feature and a tripod.  Besides, the wonky eye adds to his charm.

Oh… some details about the pattern.  It was about $30 for the kit which includes the pattern, yarn, eyes, and shipping.  The yarn is quite lovely and there is plenty to complete the mittens.  The directions were fine.  It took me a minute or two to wrap my head around how to do the quills, but I soon had plenty of practice and was whipping out those little buggers pretty fast in no time.  I don’t know how warm and/or functional these would be for real mittens, but they sure are cute.  My friend is an elementary school librarian.  She does a hedgehog unit with itty bitties every year.  These will be a huge hit!

I have long admired the lovely bags made by Lori of Girls in the Garden.  Her bags are sewn beautifully with gorgeous fabric combinations.  I wanted to try my hand at sewing a bag, but never got around to it.  Being selected as tester for Lori’s Rose Messenger Bag was just the kick in the pants I needed. 

DSC02243The directions are fabulous.  Even a beginner could end up with a very successful bag using this pattern. 

Since this was a test run, I grabbed fabrics I had on hand.  The blue striped fabric is actually a shirt that my husband ripped on a computer rack.  Having only made two or three bags previously, I expected to struggle a bit and end up with a less than perfect product.  Nope.  The bag went together beautifully and easily.  I want to make another one using better fabrics. 

This pattern lends itself to lots of customization.  You can add more pockets to the inside to suit your personal needs.  That band on the front would be a great place for a bit of machine embroidery, ribbons, fabric flowers…. or a souvenir pin from an arts festival. 

DSC02242I finished this bag right before I went to Washington DC for the Capital Fringe Festival.  I knew I would be doing lots of walking and subway riding.  The cross body strap was perfect… comfortable and secure.  The outside zipper pocket was a great place to keep my subway card, tickets, and phone handy, yet secure.  I had random people on the subway and street comment on the my bag. 

I hope Lori has more patterns in the queue.  She has a great sense of design and writes great directions.  The pattern is available through her Etsy shop


In less than two weeks, the population of our little cul de sac will decrease by two.  J and my neighbor’s son will start college.  It’s last and my first.  (Though C is right behind them as he starts his senior year of high school.)  I could not let the boys go off to college without a little something from my sewing room.  My neighbor’s son will study music.  I was thrilled to find the music note flannel at JoAnn’s.  I spotted the monster fabric when I bought the music note flannel.  As a joke, I sent J a photo via text messaging.  He has always been a rather serious lad, preferring solid colored pj pants.  I nearly jumped for joy when he texted back to say he thought the monster fabric would be fun for college.  Yay!  I am so happy to see him embracing his fun side and enjoying himself more. 

The pattern is my tried and true Ottobre pj pants pattern.  I would love to know how many times I have used it.  It is hard to see in the wild prints, but there is a side pocket so the boys can keep their cell phones handy at all times… for texting their moms every single day. 


This top started as a silk scarf from India.  I love the color, love the tissue weight silk… but I don’t wear scarves.  I either feel like I am being strangled or they fly all over the place.  I don’t wear scarves. 

However, I do go to the beach and love wearing soft, easy, beachy things.  These floaty tops are all over the place, with hefty price tags.  I grabbed some scissors and cut a neck opening… too big.  Thought about different ways to fix it.  Thought about tossing in the trash.  That tissue silk is a bear to sew.  Then I played around some pleats to draw in the neckline and discovered the pleats actually make the top hang better at the shoulders.  What started out as a mistake ended making the whole thing better. 


Hemming the neckline was the next challenge.  I can’t remember if I never had one or simply lost the rolled edge foot for my sewing machine.  There is only the tiny bit that I cut out for the neckline to use a test sample.  I messed around with the zig zag settings and how to fold the fabric as I sewed to get a presentable rolled edge on the neckline.  For the sleeves/side seam, I tried on the top, held my arm out straight and marked where I kinda, sorta thought the seam should be.  I did not sew it all to the hem to give it more of that floaty feel. 

Obviously, I need wear a tank or cami under this very sheer fabric, but it feels so light and airy.  I will probably wear it with white jeans or shorts.  Total love.

I finally figured out what I should dress up as for Halloween: an organized, intelligent, put-together woman, because I am certainly not one in real life.  All day, it feels like I am herding mice.  Just when I think I have it all together, one of those little suckers slips out and I am frantically scrambling again. 

Things were kind of coming together this week.  I even sewed!  I traced, cut out, and sewed a whole top this week.  (Okay, it is a super simple long sleeve tee, but still… I get credit, right?)  Physical therapy went well on Monday.  PT guy and I were high fivin’ ourselves for busting through a ton of scar tissue, which helped us figure out that the quad tendon is a major issue.  PT guy discovered that he pressed down on the tendon, I could tighten the quad without pain… except for the pain caused by a large hand with a strangle hold on my tendon.  Since it would be awkward to walk around all day with him strangling my tendon, he taped down the tendon really, really tightly.  I could go up and down stairs without pain!  Being a crafty girl, I immediately discussed design options with PT guy.  Within minutes of returning home, I made a band to restrict my tendon… and it sparkles.  (Hey, that’s TWO things I sewed this week!! Extra credit!)

On Thursday, PT guy and I were feeling incredibly bold and daring, thanks to my sparkly tendon band.  For the first time in months, I was back on the leg press.  After a few shaky reps, I worked my way back up to 70 pounds with one leg.    I knew I would be sore the next day.

The next day…. oh my, “sore” I could have handled.  The knee blew up like a puffer fish and oh so painful…. and the school called.  They desperately needed me to work.  I don’t know how I got through the day.  Students even noticed that I was in pain.  When I got home, I soaked in a hot, hot bath with a very large glass of wine, then went to bed, thinking that I had pushed through the worst part. 

Saturday brought a whole new level of pain and swelling.  I am not allowed to take any pain medication in preparation for a series of injections that I might get in the next few weeks.  Going into work pushed back all of my Friday plans to Saturday.  Raging pain blew up my plans to accomplish anything on Saturday.  And that, my friends, is how why my grasp on organization is so tenuous.  Aside from the usual curve balls life can through, I never know when the pain is going to smack me like the world’s biggest dodge ball.

This morning I was determined to salvage something of this weekend.  C wanted to get the new Simplicity pattern for the men’s jacket.  I looked at the JoAnn’s flyer that said McCall’s patterns were on sale, but somehow read that as “Simplicity” patterns.  When C couldn’t find the pattern in the drawer, I hounded the manager to check in the back for any unopened boxes of patterns.  I must have had a crazed look in my eye, because she did find a copy for us.  I decided to treat myself to a jacket pattern too… because they were “on sale.”  We had patterns, found fabric, and had a delightful time looking at everything.  I had the clerk put the fabrics on two tickets so we could use two coupons.  I had thought all of this through carefully.  As we check out, the totals seem high, but it is hard to do math in your head when you have a knee full of hot, stabbing pain.  As we get to the door, I notice the patterns rang up and the normal 40% off price.  I asked a nearby clerk about the sale.  She informed me Simplicity was on sale last week.  “But the flyer…. oh… it says ‘McCalls’… never mind.” 

For a moment, I thought about returning the patterns and returning to buy them when they went on sale.  It kills me to buy them at regular price.  I was annoyed at myself for being so disorganized with the sale dates.  C felt awful that I went out in pain to get this for him.  I decided to keep the patterns.  In the grand scheme of things, the money is not that big of a deal.  There is no guarantee that my knee will be cooperative the next time there is a sale.  C and I will have snazzy new jackets this fall.  Most importantly, we had fun together.  I should just embrace the concept of free range mice. 


The fabric is the lime green geometric print from JoAnn’s Lisette line of fabric.  Last year, a student used it for a project and I fell in love with the color and print.  On several trips to JoAnn’s, I would pet the fabric, but then resist the urge to buy it… so much fabric already in my possession.  Finally, I caved, with the solemn promise to myself that it would be sewn up before the end of the summer.  It was a race to make that happen.  I have only worn it once because it seems a bit “unseasonable” for October… even if the temperatures are in the 80’s.  September was okay, but October crossed a line.  However, the one day I wore it, I loved it. 

The pattern is yet another from Simplicity’s Project Runway line.  These patterns fit me so well that I cannot stop buying them.  Of course, loving them does not stop me from making modifications.  This view has overlays that cross over the front and tie in the back.  At just shy of five feet tall, I avoid anything that might evoke the image of “little girl.”  A dress with a full-ish skirt and a big bow in the back definitely screams “little girl” a bit too much for me. 

Instead of tying in the back, I altered the overlays so they terminated in the side seams.  (This also saved this project from not having enough fabric.)  To figure out the length of the overlay and placement, I basted the side seams without the overlays.  Then I tried on the dress and fiddled with the overlays until I found the right placement and a pleasing configuration of gathers/pleats at the side seams.  I pinned like crazy, stabbing myself several times in the process.  Then I opened up the basting, tuck in the raw edges of the overlay, and seamed.  I really wanted to keep the overlays because it gives the front some visual interest. 

POCKETS!!! Aside from the killer fit, the inclusion of pockets is my favorite part of this pattern line.  Sure, I can draft my own pocket, but it is just so handy when they do it for me.  I can also churn my own butter, but I don’t see me sitting out on the front porch doing that. 

Sorry that there are no close up photos of the bodice or any photos of the back.  (The back is really cute… check out the pattern here.  I made the version with open back.)  These days, I am grateful when I remember to snap a photo and manage to post it online.


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