Sunday, January 30, 2011

A slow start to the day, but fairly productive. Took a while to get started as I had some things to do, like grocery shopping before the supposed upcoming storm.  Not much hope that it won't happen, but still wishful thinking. Thanks to my cousin for coming over and helping with the cutting out.  She was going to come out Monday and Wednesday, but with the upcoming weather, came out today instead.  She brought Mini Axelgirl with her and Axelgirl watched Toy Story and The Goofy Movie with her while they did Perler Beads.  This was Mini Axelgirls first time with them (we had tons left over from when Axelgirl was younger), and she did really well following a pattern.  She made a figure skater :) and Axelgirl made a frame of her own design for Mini Axelgirl.  If the weather forecast is wrong, she may be able to come out and help me later.

Time to get serious about the 22 yards of lycra plus more coming that need to be sewn up in the next week and a half.  Here is a picture of what I originally had, and remember more is coming, and some came but just isn't in this picture..

Here is a tally of what needs to be made, a quick description, and where I'm at.  It is a tally for me as well, so I can keep track.

  1. Wicked Dress-Axelgirl-hot pink hologram with silver mesh overlay, sweetheart neckline.  First dress made, need to remake the bodice. (supposed to be white lace over pink, but it wasn't stretchy enough when it came in)
  2. Wicked Dress-Friend-Same as Axel Girl's dress, in green and black.  Still waiting on black mesh (was supposed to be black lace over green, but it wasn't stretchy enough when it came in)
  3. BoomBoomPow-Axelgirl-Lime green leggins with leotard, black tutu.  Pants made, leotard cut out (fabric not in picture)
  4. BoomBoomPow-Friend-Will make hers after she tries on Axelgirls outfit, will be the same, but mirrored
  5. Dance Dress-Have fabric and design, need to think through the how tos (violet red lycra with violet mesh overlay, lots of shirring)
  6. PIxie Dust-Axelgirl-Pattern is about drafted, have fabric (silver hologram, lavender mesh, with pink mesh accents)
  7. Pixie Dust-Mini Axelgirl-have fabric (silver hologram, pink mesh, with lavender mesh accents)
  8. Footwork-Cut out (swirly fabric with blue skirt, pink tulle petticoat)
  9. Spotlight-still waiting on fabric (red/red hologram with keyboard design, not in picture)
  10. Lavender dress for friend, have fabric, need to measure her, and look at old dress to draft pattern (fabric not in picture)  A line dress with mesh skirt and floaty sleeves
  11. Black orange dress for friend, have fabric, and measurements (black/orange dot fabric, black velvet)
This seems to be a lot, but really is doable.  My goals for tomorrow, if I'm not subbing is to finish #s 11, 3, 6, 8.   I'm supposed to be subbing, and have been trying to get into the system all day to cancel, and it isn't letting me in.  The bigger issue is, I don't remember the times or what school it is for.  Think I'll send the admin an email.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Craft time with Axelgirl

Axelgirl has been complaining for a while that we never do crafts together anymore.  Our schedule has been busy, so that is true.  To many 'to dos' as is common in the life of a high school freshman.  Between individual skating practice, synchro practice, pep band, homework for honors classes, she doesn't have much time for anything.  So we looked at the calendar, and actually marked craft time for us on it.  And here is the results of 3 hours work.  Lots of talking and good bonding time as well.  I do need to work on my photography skills.

We really weren't sure what to do, thought we might make some skating pants, pj pants or something like that, then I found this yesterday.
 If you haven't realized, there is a bit of a figure skating obsession in our house.  Since I had never done much with ribbon, this was great, as we would be learning together.  So, I ordered the tutorial, at the last minute.  It didn't come until we were done, but we proceeded forward anyway.  She thought this would be great for Mini Axelgirl  (shhhh....... its a surprise.  She will get it the weekend they compete, as the dress is a representation of their competition outfits)

So here is what she came up with, without directions: (I'm curious to read through them to see how she did)

Here is her first one, the trial:
Axelgirl's dress will be lavender with pink accents, she will probably turn this into a magnet or bag tag

Here is the one for Mini Axelgirl:
 Her dress is pink with lavender accents.  We were going to put it on a clippie, but decided because of the size a headband was better.  I had blank headbands in the craft closet, so covered it with silver hologram, and added a pink ribbon inside to cover the raw edges (she still needs to fraycheck and trim edges)

Now for what I did.   Besides providing ideas.  I spent a lot of time looking at ribbon sculpture barrettes on line for inspiration.  I should say it is a good thing these sort of things were not readily available when Axelgirl was little, or she would have had one for each outfit.  But then, Etsy and Ebay weren't around then either.
First I covered a clip

Then I came across this here:

 I remembered that we were going to be sending neice The Hungry Caterpillar Book and stuffed animal for Valentines Day. (shhh another surprise) Gotta love the book and stuffed animal bargains at Kohl's.

So I came up with this.  I did the eyes/mouth with sharpie, really wishing I would have cut it out now, but I learned for next time.  Of course Axelgirl says she needs clothes to wear with the clippie.  Have to see what ME caterpillar designs I have.  I should have one right.  Or do I need to spend hours looking for just the right one?

My caterpillar could use some help, but not to bad for the first try.  I am proud of Axelgirl for taking the time to figure it out on her own, and having the confidence to do so.

I think Axelgirl and I may have found something new to do together.  Of course, for the plans we have for the future, the 10 spools of ribbon we bought today so it will require purchasing of more ribbons..............  But I must get those skating dresses done first.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Friday and Saturday, I was supposed to be in classes with Gail Doane, hosted by Spirit of St. Louis Smockers.  Friday, the weather prevented me from going.  But I was there Saturday.  The class was wonderful.  It was the Buttons and Blossoms baby jacket.  Now to hopefully finish it someday.  I am shooting for September, as I made an 18 month size.  I need to decide what fabric to make the dress out of.  Gail had a pretty floral, but I couldn't find it on the website she said.  I can always use the turquoise microcheck.  Need something that goes with the colors but isn't too summery.  My niece lives in Tuscon, so the lighter weight is great for fall/winter, but I don't want the fabric to be too summery.

As usual, the group did an excellent job putting on the class.  Martha had fabric printed with our logo, and the table favors were a pin cushion on Friday, and a little bag to put your thread snips in on Saturday.  Saturday, I also won a door prize.  They were purchased through Jan at  Hence the title of todays post.  I received all sorts of pink trims.  Solid and gingham piping, pink entredeux, picot trim, pink floral bias, pink buttons, 2 kinds of pink ric rac.  Here is a picture.
Now to find the time and the creativity to come up with things to do with them.  I love how each item is tied so neatly with a bow.

On the lycra front, I should be going to a guild meeting, but I started on the dresses for Winter Classic today.  I realized that the stretch lace I bought does not have enough stretch.  So I took a nap to figure out what to do.  So now, I am going to stay home and work with lycra.  And that fits the title as well, as the first dress is pink, and several others are variations of pink.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's great to be appreciated

Originally, I was going to post about the class I attended yesterday with Gail Doane (The class was amazing).  Something happened today that made me change my mind, in addition to just reading Jan's post on National Handwriting Day  .

For many reasons, this has been a rough week, and a few small acts of kindness and appreciation made me feel good today.  Because of weather I missed a class with Gail Doane on Friday.  My daughter and her friends received some news Thursday morning, that really upset them.  I am not going to write much about the problems, as I am trying to not add to the drama that was caused. I seriously doubt that anyone reading here was part of it, but it is time to move on. But I am proud of the young ladies that are moving beyond it, and have decided to bond together, work harder, and show everyone what they can do.  Now if we as parents can support them, and leave the drama behind ourselves.  I honestly think at times, it is hard for us as adults to leave it behind, and in this case, we need to follow the example of these young ladies.

As far as being appreciated, I hadn't intended to be back at the rink today for our beginner practice today.  After Intermediate practice, we went out to eat, and had some time to waste before the public session where MiniAxelgirl was going to come up and skate with Axelgirl.  Because of the weather Axelgirl and I decided to just sit at the rink and watch the Beginner teams, rather than head to Joanns, or the Mall. I walked in, and one of the younger skaters, about 7 or 8 met me and gave me a box of Ghirardelli Valentine Chocolates  :)  I asked her why, not sure why I deserved anything, and she said it was from her family (they have 3 skaters on the younger teams) as thanks for everything I have done with the costumes.  Then a few minutes later, they gave me a basket of bath products and a card signed by the coaches (who added personal notes), and with all of the kids signatures.  While I did spend a lot of time with the team, it was all done without expecting anything in return.  I was doing what I was 'supposed' to do.  But it was great to feel appreciated, and the note will go on my sewing room bulletin board.  The chocolates will go in the sewing room, for when I need a piece.

Jan's post reminded me that I am, and always have been very negligent on sending personal notes.  IF I remember to send a card, it is usually of the Hallmark variety.  But looking at that card again tonight, and realizing the pick me up it gave me that I needed, has me once again saying that I need to be better about sending notes.  There are so many cute notecards out there, available at a reasonable price, that there is no reason not to.  Lets hope I can follow through on my intentions.

Sorry this didn't have much to do with sewing, other than the sewing is what got me the note, which got me thinking.............

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not much sewing going on right now, but there will be

I haven't done much sewing the last few days.  But, I will be.  Less than a month till all the lycra needs to be sewn up.  A bit more to order as well.

I am looking forward to Friday and Saturday.  2 days of classes with Gail Doane.  That will be a lot of fun.  Need to unpack and reorganize my sewing stuff for that.  Some stuff is still in boxes from the trip to Michigan this weekend.  Glad I brought it.  Had to alter some pants, and one of the girls competition dresses.  I would say that most of the girls enjoyed the trip, and the teams skated well, but they didn't place as well as they had hoped.

I didn't get to smock on Mini Axelgirls dress this weekend.  Just didn't have the time to do it.  But will start making the time.

Since I don't have anything new to show, I will show some pictures from the Gateway Competition last November.  I made these 3 dresses.  2 were new for this competition, the one with the ribbon was made about a year ago.  I just received the cd this weekend, because I was late in ordering it.  I will say, I think Kevin Devine Photography ( ) always does an excellent job.  I have over 200 pictures to pick from for 4 programs all on CD, so I can print and edit the ones I want.  I haven't looked at the synchro one yet.  Ignore the scary eye makeup in some of the pictures with the periwinkle dress.  A friend helped axelgirl with her makeup, and was a tad bit heavy handed.  I will say, the periwinkle dress is my favorite so far that I have made.  I am thinking about adding stones to the straps.  Hopefully, this dress will fit for a long time.  I think the aqua may need a few more stones as well.  Need to see what the budget says about the stones though.

Periwinkle dress, she used this for her freeskate and compulsories

Camel spin

 Catch foot spin, this is my favorite picture from this competition I think

 Front of dress.  I need to count and see how many crystals are there.  I'm thinking I did close to 300
 Not the best picture, but I'm a sucker for the ones that show her jumps off the ice
 Another one, showing some of the skirt 'movement'
 This is a dress from last season.  It has 1000+ sequins hand sewn on with a seed bead on each one.  She skates to a 'water' themed program.  I love the look on her face.  If you know her, you can tell from her hand position as well.  It shows her nerves.  They were having problems with her music, and she had to stand on the ice and wait until they could get it resolved. 
 Part of the back of the dress.  You can see Mini AxelGirl and her mom watching, along with my in-laws.  Mini Axelgirl watched her very closely the entire time, and came away from the competition wanting to compete :)
 Another skating element.  How she does this, and manages the ribbon in the other hand, I will never know.  I couldn't do either.
Aqua dress.  At first she didn't like this one.  She thought the shirring was to 'pouffy'.  Everyone else liked it, so she eventually accepted it, and now likes it.  Does it need more stones?  Any thoughts?   Back of dress is below.  The bodice is lycra with matching mesh over the top.  Skirt is two layers of the mesh.  The top of the mesh is shirred at about a 3:1 ratio I believe.

That's about it for now.  Will hope to post new sewing by the end of the week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hoping for the best this weekend.   The two higher level teams are traveling to Fraser, MI to compete in a USFS competition, the two lower ones are competing locally at an ISI competition.  I think dresses are ready to go for the Beginner/Youth team, and I still have 4 pairs of pants to hem.  I gave the machines to a mom driving up, so I won't have them on the bus.  A car just seems better.  I will hem 4 pairs of pants when we get there.  Our dresses should be in as well, and I'm hoping they are all good to go with no alterations.  Good luck to all of our teams.

Since I have about 9 hours on the bus each way, plus hotel time, I have packed the BSY for Mini Axelgirl to work on the smocking.  It is a geometric, and should go well.  I also have a lime Imperial Broadcloth bodice front that is about 1/2 to 2/3 way smocked with Frances Messina Jones Make a Ladybug Wish.  If Mini likes the first dress, I am thinking I will turn it into a Pitter Patter Paige for her this summer.

Axelgirl is having a friend spend the night from the team.  We have to leave at 4:30 tomorrow morning, so hopefully we will be asleep shortly.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Round 1 finally done

Everyone is probably sick of hearing about the beginner team dresses, so hopefully you won't have to anymore.  I finished the dresses this morning, so hopefully that will be the end of it.  I also finished all but 4 pairs of pants for the older teams for travel this weekend.

On smocking, I am about 1/4 way through the smocking for MiniAxelgirls dress.  Should go well this weekend with lots of bus time, and we also get a seat to ourselves.  Wondering what other things I can bring up to do on the bus.  Maybe some beaded socks if I get them pre-strung.  Don't want to bring a bunch of beads on the bus.  Then there are the doll dresses to smock as well.  I guess I will have enough to keep me busy.

Axelgirl was complaining today that I never make time to sew with her when she wants.  So we are going to put some time on the calendar.  She doesn't know what she wants to make, so we will go from there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And Still Not Done....

I still haven't finished the beginner team dresses, or hemmed the pants.  I am hoping to have the house to myself tomorrow.  I subbed Monday.  Today, DH was supposed to go back to work, but the Dr. moved his appointment from yesterday to today, and then Axelgirl had a snow day today.  So not much got done.

I did rip out the smocking, and found new colors I think I like.  DMC 155-purple, 3806-pink, and 744-yellow.  I am smocking it based on a design on one of Axelgirls old dresses. I will have to rearrange some of the rows for the smaller size.  I am thinking it is an ASE design, probably by Robyn Beaver, but I can't identify it.  It is smocked with 4 threads, and fairly dense, but I am only using 3 this time.  I know I just used the smocking plate and didn't do the entire dress.  The smocking is going pretty quick, so I hope I find time to get something else ready to take on the bus as well, or head to the library and get some books.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Still not done......

Well, I did get some fun sewing done yesterday, but I get to rip it out.  I pleated a pink size 4 BSY
 and tied it off.  Axelgirl and I then picked out some colors for smocking.  I got about 3 1/2 rows done and am not happy with how they look.  The blue is just too intense for the yellow and green.  Any suggestions on a good geometric plate and fun colors with pale pink pima.  Axelgirl wants it to look more funky, so I guess we are going for a more modern look/color palette than traditional.

At team practice, a very long day after being there for all 4 teams, I still have some alterations to make on our beginner team dresses, and hem 6 of the 7 of them.  This involves cutting off the hem of all the dresses then roll hemming chiffon.  One of my favorite things to do.  I also have 12 pairs of yoga pants to hem before we go out of town on Friday.  I am also sending the machines up to the competition in the car of a friend.  Just in case there are dress alterations there.  I don't want them in the luggage area on the bus, I know that much.

Guess I will start on that tomorrow night.  Hopefully I'll be motivated.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wanting to be sewing

Well, I haven't gotten anything done in the last few days sewing related.  I have to finish up the dresses for the beginner team.  I've decided that I don't like being told what to sew.  Altering these dresses has been time consuming and not fun.  I also need to sew some of what I want, in the middle of the have tos.  That's just going to require better planning on my part.

With skating related activities from 8.30-5 today, and 11-4 tomorrow, I don't have much time left.  Lets hope it all gets done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Lycra

Yuck.  Altered 2 more of the skating dresses, but won't be able to fit them until Sunday.  I'm hoping for a good fit.  Noticed that since the skirts were chiffon, they were pulling out at the waist on some of the dresses.  This was true of the the two dresses I received tonight to cut into parts.

Also started on the male skaters shirt.  All I need to do on it is the cuffs, and it is done.  Probably a 15 minute job, so will hopefully do that tonight or early tomorrow.  That will just leave 2 dresses left.   I have a feeling all 7 will need to be shortened with a rolled hem on the serger.  Once we figure the length it should be easy, but I need the skaters for that.  I will bring my machines with me Sunday to practice.   Also realized I needed to put name labels in the dresses.  I think that can be done Sunday as well.

After that, I hope to pleat up and tie off a pink pima broadcloth basic square yoke for my favorite pink princess.  Need to decide on smocking colors and a smocking design.  If she likes it when done, I have another one in mind using the Moda Pixie Dust Fabric, and smocking it with some beads, like Pixie Dust.  She is skating to a song with Axel Girl called Pixie Dust, and I think it would be fun to do.  Now the real question is, geometric or picture smocking...........  I need to decide so I know which binder of plates to look through.   One of my goals this year is to start taking more handwork with me when I go places.  So much wasted time.  I also need to do a quick pickup of the area.  Things get out of place too quickly.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I am a Miracle Worker :)

Todays sewing in some ways doesn't feel like much, but it caused me a lot of stress and frustration.  The good thing is, one down, and four to go.  It took about 5 hours of ripping, cutting, and restitching.  I can guarantee you that ripping elastic out of slinky is not fun.  Especially black slinky with black stitching.  No amount of magnification or lighting makes that an easy task.

The beginner team where my daughter skates is composed of 8 skaters.  7 Females, 1 Male.  They are hoping to do a long and a short program this year, and were trying to come up with costumes that would work for both programs.  The team manager did an excellent job in finding used dresses at a great price.  We figured since there was more than we needed, sizing should be ok, and it would work out.  We would take the trim off of one, and add it to a shirt for the male skater.  These dresses are great, with over 300 crystals already on them, the price was right, so we wanted to make it work.    Since they are an ISI only team, they can have the crystals where our older teams also compete USFS and they are not at a high enough level to be allowed crystals yet.  Here is a picture of the dresses I copied from the website we purchased them from

When the dresses came in, the sizing wasn't as good as we had hoped.  Only 2 of the girls fit into the dresses without major alterations/cutting down in size.  I managed to work through the first one today, and met up with the girl, and it fit.  So now I have an idea of where to go from here.  Hopefully, the other 4 and the shirt for the male skater will go much more quickly. Todays was going from about an AS to a girls 10. I just hate ripping out stitiching.  It is bad enough when it is my own mistakes, but ripping out others is even more tedious.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A little sewing, and the lycra madness has begun

A little sewing today.  Last night I finished smocking a bishop for my niece.  I started it back at convention.  Today, I spent about 3 hours just doing the placket and putting on the bias band.  I need to remember to do the placket/bias before I smock the top cable row.  It is all wonky.  I still need to finish the construction, but think I have the length about figured out.  Then I want to make a pair of bloomers to go with it before I mail them

And the lycra madness....Today I measured the beginner team, and marked their dresses for deconstruction and reconstruction, along with working on the male skaters shirt.  My goal is to do 2 dresses a day, so they are done for the weekend.  Then bring my machines with me all day Sunday so I can alter them at their practice, and hem the pants for the OJ and Intermediate teams as most of the girls think they were too long.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year and Recent Sewing

I hope everyone is starting out the New Year right.  I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, Wonderful, Prosperous New Year.

We stayed in last night.  Our daughter  was out babysitting so I used the time to work in the basement/sewing area.  I have a huge room, with a nice closet, but my stuff tends to run over everywhere.  I am bad about putting things away, so the area I use to cut becomes a disaster zone as well.  So I have a nice clean room, and have attached pictures of the room.  I also have pictures of the closet, which is about 8X6, and the area I cut in.  It is sort of multi-purpose as it is used for study, clarinet practice, the table is used for crafts and cutting, but it also has a small sink, refrigerator, microwave, and a few cabinets with paper plates, cups, napkins, etc.  Our basement is a mis-match of furniture that we have replaced over the years, but it works, and I don't have to worry about it if there are 6 girls doing puff paint shirts on the table, or a soda is spilled.

The first pictures are of the multi use area, where I cut fabric.  I guess I could put a cutting table in my room, but I am afraid that would function as a flat surface to collect 'stuff'.

Here is the sewing room, If I can get these in order if you look straight ahead when you come in from the door, turning clockwise to look around.  The room is a butter yellow, and I really want to find some lavender/periwinkle fabric to cover the chairs and for the curtains that has yellow in it.  Everything I find, doesn't seem mature enough.  Any suggestions are welcome.  I hate to order on line, as I never know the actual colors

  On top of the bookcases are some of the items I have received in sewing swaps over the years.  Also some of the table favors from convention.  A few others are on another shelf in a different book case as well

Here is more storage.  About 6 months after I bought these two units at Home Depot, I went back to get more, and they were discontinued.  You can see my ribbon and stranded sequins on these.  As well as the 22 yards of lycra awaiting my attention

On the back of the door, I have an over the door shoe rack.  These pockets are great for storing cords for various electronics, USB devices, etc.  It is also where my palette reader writer unit is supposed to go when I am done with it.

Here is the rest of the scissors 'wall', and another book case. 

 Next is the closet.  On the left, there is a filing cabinet with patterns, and the shelves contain mostly craft supplies.  To the right and in the back is primarily fabrics........  I really can't get in there to get a good picture

Recent Sewing

Earlier this week, my cousin and his wife had a baby girl.  So, since the sewing room was cleaned up, and I could actually find things, I made these 3 bib/blanket/burp rag sets.  Usually when I do these, they are a little more matchy-matchy, but my goal this time was to use up things I already had.  No buying of embroidery designs, fabric, ribbons or threads.  I managed to accomplish this, and actually finished off 2 spools of ribbon.  This is good, as one of my goals this year is to reduce clutter, and not buy things unless we need it.  Need being a very loose term.  For example, I used up my KK2000, I don't need it today, but will get some as soon as I can get to Joanns.  Here are pictures

5 pairs of PJS

I mentioned yesterday that Axelgirl was babysitting Mini Axelgirl.  Part of Mini's Christmas present was supposed to be PJs for her and her Bitty Twins.  Well I ran out of time, so babyistting on NYE seemed like a good time to make them.  Since she had asked Axelgirl to bring her doll along as well, they all got new PJs.  Here is a pick.  It's been a while since I made my daughter and her dolls matching clothes.  Except for the dolls in the sewing room, ALL of her dolls and belongings have been boxed up for a while.  She did do as requested and went and got a doll and brought it along.  The t-shirts the girls are wearing were purchased with added ME.  The doll t-shirts were made by cutting apart purchased t-shirts, so I could have the matching ribbing.  Because of the size, they just have a bow added.