This is the brown flannel dress that I had on my winter make-nine plans, which was hanging unfinished in my last update post. Now that I've completed it and am close to completing my cape, I think I'm almost half-way through my winter project list. Of course, I haven't stuck completely to it---I've also been cutting out other projects, and I made the jumper dress that I mentioned I was thinking about adding to my list at the time that I made that post (hopefully it will appear in a review here on the blog soon)---but bit by bit, I am working my way through my pile of projects.
I've made McCalls 6209 many times, and this is my third flannel version. I wear my navy blue dress and my black dress at least once a week through the long six months that make up the cold season here. Since I wear them so much, it felt like a good idea to make another version. This time I left the sleeves in a bell shape, my only change from my other versions. To make this simple change, I cut out the bishop sleeves included in the pattern, but left off the cuff and sewed a narrow hem instead. I was careful to interface the back zipper so it wouldn't ripple, and did a narrow machine hem on the skirt as well. I don't know if I've mentioned before that I don't usually use the skirt pieces included in this pattern. I like my skirts to be more full, so I usually cut a rectangular dirndl skirt using my favorite skirt pattern, Simplicity 7880, as a reference.
There is some sunshine now, and more rain than snow, and even some buds hesitantly turning green. It was just over 50 degrees when we took these photos yesterday while walking Gia at the park, and it was amazing how warm that felt. There were a lot of people walking their dogs in shirt-sleeves. I'm not so acclimatized as that, though, so I wore my new flannel dress with a petticoat, tights, and a shawl that I crocheted myself last year using this free pattern from Laughing Purple Goldfish designs. I also wore vintage brown leather gloves that I thrifted a while ago, and my purse for the day was a $2 basket that I also found at the thrift store. I made a liner for it using scraps of muslin and a white ribbon. It's just the right size for a purse, the woven wood is clean and sturdy, and the liner-bag keeps my things private. My necklace is home-made from unakite beads, which were a Christmas present from my husband. They were just right for St. Patrick's day. We made soda bread, which is my favorite part of that holiday.
I am looking forward to spring so much! I've started choosing patterns for the floral sheets from my last post, and I even finished sewing up my Easter dress last week. I can't wait until the world becomes colorful again. As quiet and restful as the brown and grey winter landscape is, I miss the variety that comes with the blossoming season.
Are you looking forward to the change of seasons where you live? Are you making sewing plans or already sewing projects for the next season? Do you like to sew something special for holidays? How do you adjust your sewing plans for the weather?
I took advantage of a bit of rare morning sun this morning to take a few photos of our sewing corner to show that there has been some progress made over the past few weeks, albeit rather slow. But as I mentioned in my previous post (and a very heart-felt thank you to everyone who left a kind and encouraging comment!) I've been struggling with my emotions this winter, and the weather has been very dark and stormy recently---not good for my spirit and not good for taking photos for this blog. This week we're only due for one storm, and some sun after that, so I hope I can photograph one of my two completed dresses or my nightgown that I haven't reviewed yet, or maybe even the flannel dress in the photograph above that is waiting for its neck facing, sleeves and hem to get done in the next day or two. The brown dress and cape are both from my winter make-nine list. I think that after I finish these two garments that it might be time to set some of the winter projects aside for later in the year, though, because I'm itching to make some warm-weather clothes to remind myself that within two months there will be warmer weather and more sun again. I do have some thrifted wool cut out for sewing projects that will work well for unpredictable spring weather, though, so I will probably keep slowly working my way through the cold-weather pile, but not feel stuck to finishing it before I start adding light cotton things in, too. Like an Easter dress for next month! I chose a pattern and made a few modifications and cut it out of a recently thrifted sheet----and I'm looking forward to getting started on it. It has flowers on it, and that makes me hopeful. I love flowers, and all the green, growing things. I can't wait to plant a garden, even if it's very small, and mostly in pots. It will be such a pleasure to see the green tips of leaves nudging their way out of the ground again.
Speaking of cotton and sheets, below is a photo of some more sheets that I've thrifted recently and am eager to turn into summer dresses, skirts and blouses. I was pleased and surprised to find two of the same pink floral patterned sheet (one is a little bit more faded than the other) at different thrift stores over the past month. The sheets are on the right hand side, and the left hand side is a different pile of second-hand fabric, which I hope will be destined to become the first quilt that I've made in about a decade---and the first quilt that Mr Rat has ever made. Mr Rat and I have been saving fabric from his Hawaiian shirts for about three years now, with the idea of making a quilt out of them. When they get stained or ripped or don't fit well anymore, then Mr Rat gives them to me and I harvest the buttons and cut the shirt into big pieces of fabric. We intend to make them into a quilt in the "Windmill" pattern for our queen bed. It will likely be a long, slow project, but that's all right. It's nice to have something to pick up and put back down, doing a little bit at a time. The windmills will be half patterned Hawaiian shirt cloth and half cream colored cotton from the big sheet that I found at Goodwill on sale for $1 that is at the bottom of the pile. I think that we finally have enough fabric to get started! Maybe more than enough. . .
And last, there is a photo of Gia, because she is beautiful, and the best of friends. And now, I'd better get ready to take her on a walk while the sun is still shining. And hopefully we will be back again to post soon, and more regularly again.
This unfortunately won't be a very picture-heavy post, as the weather has not been cooperative for outdoor photos again this month. The snow is finally melting, but the winds are coldly biting and incessant, and made me very loathe to take my heavy wool coat off at the park, even for Mr Rat to get a few pictures of my new FolkWear Black Forest Smock. I've never posted about my winter coat on this blog, although it is a refashioned sewing project. I spotted it on the clearance rack of Decades vintage store in Salt Lake City last year for $5. One of the buttons was held on with a safety pin and the sleeves were outrageously long. But all the beautiful ribbon and ric-rac trim caught my eye, and I had to take it home and fix it. Now the lovely pewter reindeer buttons are secure, and I folded the cuffs inside the sleeves and stitched them up by hand, making them fit much better. This coat has kept me warm all winter so far, and I often get compliments from strangers when I wear it. It is so distinctive, and cheerful, too. I will have to try to imitate the way that it is trimmed on my own sewing projects at some point.
Back to the main sewing project of this post, my new Black Forest smock: my mom gave me the pattern for Christmas, and I've been excited to try it out. Even though it wasn't on my winter make-nine list, I decided to go ahead and make it anyway, since I've been struggling with my depression these past few months--especially this past month----and a warm smock made of flannel felt like just the thing I wanted to wear. And I was right, as I have worn it twice already since I made it, even though I barely finished the last bits of hand-sewing right before we took these photos on our Sunday afternoon walk. I was worried that it might be a hard pattern to sew. I've only made one Folkwear pattern before, as a pattern-tester, and found that it challenged me to learn new skills. This pattern took some new skills too, like learning to make many tiny pleats around the neck-line and cuffs. But it wasn't hard. It actually came together very quickly, with one day of cutting out the pattern and fabric, and another two days of sewing before it was finished. The style and sizing are so forgiving that there isn't any fitting to do except to make sure the neck binding will fit over your head (I used a very small seam allowance to make sure it would fit over mine, since I have a rather large head circumference). The fabric was easy to work with too. It is a blue and tan plaid flannel that I found while thrift store shopping with my husband and mother-in-law in San Diego this past Thanksgiving. I got a four-yard piece for $6. So far, it has pre-washed well, and is very warm and soft. The pattern instructions for the Black Forest Smock are clear and helpful, although I'm not sure that I got the tiny pleats quite right. But I think there is a lot of lee-way to adjust and change them, so I'm not too bothered about it----making pleats is a skill that I am still practicing. There aren't many size options to choose from for this pattern, as it is meant to be quite loose; I cut on the "slender woman" lines along the sides. I did a faux-french seam to finish the insides. I think I could have done a french seam, but I'm not very experienced with them, and I wasn't sure which seam finish I wanted to use until after I had already sewn the seams. Doing any kind of seam finish on a half-inch seam allowance was a bit of a challenge, so I ended up doing my faux-French seam mostly by hand, which worked well. The pattern doesn't tell you what sized buttons or button-holes to do on the cuffs, so I just chose two that I liked from my vintage button collection, and pinned out the positions myself, and then did the button-holes by hand, as usual. It is interesting making a garment that doesn't call for interfacing: it gives the smock a rumpled effect, but I think that adds to it's charm, and also makes it extremely comfortable. If I ever get tired of wearing it as a day dress, I can always use it as a nightgown. Or sew up another one as a nightgown. . . Or make a summer version out of linen or soft cotton, and learn to do the embroidery included with the pattern. . . I left off the pockets in this, my first version, but perhaps in the next one I will add them and decorate them too. . .
As you can tell, I do like my Black Forest smock a lot, and I am sure that I will make this pattern again.
As a side note, my mom recently trimmed my hair and cut off the layers for me. Even though they did make my hair curl more, I wasn't overly fond of that last hair-cut. Now it is short and light and one length, and I plan on slowly growing it back out again. It does make me feel a bit like an Edwardian child in these photos, though, to have cropped hair and a billowy smock. I just need a Steiff teddy bear named "Winnie-Ther-Pooh."
And as another side note, look at the bottom of the post to see what an interesting little creature Mr Rat and I saw while we were taking pictures. Mr Rat thinks it is a nutria, and we were both astonished to see it swimming in the icy creek in such cold weather. As soon as it saw Gia, though, it crawled into a crevice in the bank and disappeared.
This was a simple project from my winter "make nine" plans: my favorite skirt pattern, Simplicity 7880, sewn up in black flannel. Mr Rat and I made a small order from fabric.com last month, since he wanted to try out one of the Kaufman line of plaid flannels to make another version of his recent flannel shirt. I ordered a piece of Kaufman flannel, too, but in plain black. I've read good things about Kaufman fabrics on the internet, and wanted to see how different it was from the flannel I've bought before at JoAnn fabrics. Now that I've tried both kinds, I think that the reviews of Kaufman flannel are quite accurate: it pre-washed well, and is much firmer and stiffer and pills less than JoAnn flannel. It sewed and pressed well, too, with minimal fuzz loss.
I've made Simplicity 7880 many times. For this version, I did all the usual things that I do: pinked the seams, handpicked the zipper, made a narrow machine-hem, and used waistband interfacing for structure. The one thing that I changed was to widen the waistband by pressing the seam-allowances smaller before I attached it to the skirt, and sewing it over a wider waistband interfacing than I usually use. I think it gives the skirt a nice silhouette.
I've been in need of warm winter skirts, and I'm very happy with how this one turned out. It's versatile, simple, and fits in well to my wardrobe. I know that I will wear it until it is worn out.
I'm wearing my new skirt with my most recently completed blouse, a vintage Mexican silver and abalone butterfly brooch, some warm woolen socks, and a petticoat. I took these photos with the tripod in the studio the day before Mr Rat and I woke up to over two feet of snow. The last two photos show what our tiny yard has looked like for the rest of the week, as well as one of our favorite visitors to it.
I hope that all of you readers in the Northern Hemisphere are staying warm! And that readers from the Southern Hemisphere are managing to stay cool in the heat waves.
I apologize for the grainy photos----but at this point in the winter, I will take any weak ray of sunshine that I can get. Photographing indoors right now is much easier for most garments than outdoors while there are still mounds of snow everywhere, and ice patchily melting.
This is actually a garment that I sewed in November of last year to wear on our Thanksgiving trip to San Diego. When Mr Rat and I visit his parents, we are outdoors a lot, and sometimes help out cleaning up after the many animals on their property (Mr Rat's mother runs a successful petting zoo business and has miniature horses, ponies, miniature goats, ducks, chickens, and many beautiful rabbits scattered around their large yard). We also like to pick fruit and weed Mr Rat's cactus garden that he planted when we moved away from California and had to leave our potted cacti and succulents behind. While I do wear dresses and skirts while I'm in San Diego, sometimes it's useful to have my legs fully covered in denim, so I decided to attempt to make myself some jeans before we went last fall.
I was lucky enough to thrift a large piece of dark, heavy denim two or three years ago----almost five yards, I think, and 60 inches wide. It was very inexpensive, so I decided to go ahead without doing a muslin first and just try sewing up a pair of denim trousers using the 1970s Betsey Johnson pattern Butterick 3846, also found at the thrift store. I've made some pants from size 8 1970s patterns before (a while before I started this blog) and found that they fit----but just barely. They were too tight to be comfortable. My measurements are really closer to a full size larger for my lower body than my upper body, so I decided that making a size 10 might work And it did, even better than I thought it might. The crotch depth is rather low, but I think that goes with the 1940s-style of these wide-legged pants. I think the lower rise is necessary to make this style of high-waist pants comfortable to sit and walk in, since the denim has no stretch. The darts at the front and the back make the fit quite good, I think, and I like the high waist and wide waistband that make it easy to tuck in my shirts. I was careful to finish my seams with machine stitching on the inside to prevent fraying, I edge-stitched the waistband and the hem, and I used some heavy buttons that I bought at JoAnn fabric stores for the waistband closure and a metal jeans zipper for the front fly (my first time attempting one of those!). I did the buttonholes for the waistband by hand, which was a bit of a chore with such heavy fabric. But a thimble made it happen, and I put some fray-check on the inside, just to make sure it was as stable as possible. I didn't add the patch pockets this time, although I think I might the next time I need to make some pants. I did add some belt loops out of left-over scraps so I can wear a belt when I wish. The other thing I did to make the pants more sturdy was to sew the crotch and inner leg seams twice, to help them withstand the strain of movement. I left the hems rather long so I can wear my jeans with clogs, but when I'm wearing them with flats I just roll up the hems a little into a cuff, which has a rather 1940s look.
I was really impressed by how well our 1940s Singer 15-91 sewed through denim! On my old contemporary machine I would have been worried about straining the motor, but with our all-metal vintage Singer and a jeans needle, it was no problem at all.
I'm wearing my still-pretty-new jeans with a chambray shirt that I found on the clearance rack at a local thrift store for a dollar. It had a big tear near the original cuff, so I cut them off, sewed up a new hem on my machine, and rolled the sleeves up. I don't often do refashions, but occasionally I find something at the thrift store that I like well enough to take home and mend, like this shirt. I love the color and the faint floral pattern, and think it will make the perfect comfortable cleaning/work shirt.
I'm also wearing my old Lotta from Stockholm clogs and a thrifted sweater.
Here is my first completed project from my "Winter Make Nine" plans. A photo of the pattern I used for my new blouse, McCalls 5771---A 'Marlo's Corner' pattern circa the 1970s in my usual size 8---is in my previous post. McCalls 5771 is a very simple blouse pattern, perfect for a beginner who wants to try making a vintage, sightly Edwardian looking shirt. There are no bust darts, so the fit is slightly loose. The sleeves are gathered, (and rather more generously puffed than I thought they would be based on the pattern envelope illustration) which made setting them in very easy. The cuffs are very basic; in fact, I'm not sure how to describe the way they simply fold over to button without a lap in-between----just fabric that has been folded up and stitched. The collar is also basic: just a long rectangle that is set on more in the manner of a waistband than other collars I've done. I'm not sure about the shape it gives the collar; it tends to flatten a little in the front where it buttons. But overall, I think it is a good basic shirt design, and a quick sew (at least up until the time for buttonholes and buttons).
The material I used was a thrifted cotton sheet with small grey stripes. I edge-stitched the collar, front, hems, and cuffs for crispness, pinked the seams on the inside, did the button-holes by hand, and used some plain white buttons that I bought on sale at JoAnn fabrics to finish everything off.
I'm wearing my new blouse in these photos with my still-serviceable old grey wool skirt and my dark grey wool cape. And of course two warm pairs of socks, a petticoat, some thrifted grey leather gloves, and my old leather boots. We were lucky to get these photos before the next storm blew through and left almost a foot of crusty white snow. Trying to document sewing projects in the winter time is always challenging.
I've been intrigued by how many #makenine references I've seen around the internet over the past few years. If you're not familiar, it is a challenge set up by Rochelle New of the blog Lucky Lucille and the small business Home Row Fiber Co. The concept is to choose nine sewing (or knitting or crocheting, etc.) projects to be completed throughout the year at any pace. Since my end of the year review shows that I make far more than nine projects a year, and one of my goals is to plan out more of my projects in advance, I thought that I'd try to make two sets of "make nine" plans: one for cold weather, and one for hot weather. Utah doesn't have much in-between weather---it hardly ever hits the 60s or 70s. Mostly it is in the 50s or below or the 80s and up. So while we live here, I think it might help to have two defined wardrobe planning categories, and I thought I'd start by sharing the nine patterns that I have cut out and ready to sew over the next three months of winter.
Starting in the upper left corner and going roughly clockwise:
McCalls 5994 - I have the jacket and skirt cut out of thrifted navy pin-striped wool.
Simplicity 7752 - I thought this might work to layer under the jacket of McCalls 5994 as another option from the matching skirt. This is cut out of a thrifted navy cotton-polyester sheet.
Simplicity 9842 - This is also cut out of the same thrifted navy cotton-poly blend sheet. I'm going to make the long-sleeved version, which should work well year-round, and I can wear it with the navy wool McCalls suit for a monochromatic look.
McCalls 5766 - I cut this out of some black flannel that I bought from JoAnns on sale. I wear my flannel dresses a lot in the winter, and would like another option. This one will be maxi length, and I'm excited to try out this pattern and to have a cozy long dress.
McCalls 5771 - This one is almost done, actually. It is laying on my sewing table waiting to have the cuffs finished and buttons done. I made it out of a thrifted white sheet with pale grey stripes. I think this will look nice with my grey wool skirt or grey wool jumper.
Simplicity 7880 - I just cut out a new version in black flannel, to add some warmth to my selection of skirt bottoms for the colder months. I wear my other versions a lot, but they are mostly made out of broadcloth, and I need some heavier, warmer ones.
McCalls 5531 - This is going to become my new brown wool winter coat (although lengthened, and with the skirt widened a little). My mom gave me the wool for my birthday, and I have it cut out, as well as brown flannel left over from another dress I cut out for interlining the bodice and sleeves, and lining that I bought using a birthday gift card from JoAnn fabric stores.
New Look 6073 - I started sewing this before I got my coat supplies, and have been taking a long time finishing all the hand top-stitching, which is why I haven't started my coat. But I'm getting close to finishing, and I think I should be able to wear it over my coat for extra warmth on extra cold days. This is made out of thrifted camel colored wool and thrifted rayon lining (a really lucky find, especially considering it is in a matching, slightly darker shade of camel-gold!).
McCalls 6209 - I have this cut out of brown flannel, also bought on sale at JoAnns.
I do have two other projects I'm tempted to add in, even knowing that I might not get all this done during the winter months. The other two are a black and white cotton-poly blend dress that would work for the warm months, too, and a brown twill jumper dress, which could also be worn year round. So if I don't get to them yet, they will probably be on my warm-weather list. And if I don't get to all of the projects I have cut out, I'm not too worried. I will just start up again on them in the fall, as they are all things I want to wear, and I will still need warm clothes next winter, too.
When planning out sewing projects (especially nine at once!), it's hard not to think about the time needed for the projects, the patience, the skill-----the endurance. When I was writing this post, I wondered if "thoughts on patience" might be the right title, but then I felt like endurance is more accurate: sticking with something until it's done, even if it is tiring, or hard. Mr Rat and I were having a conversation about sewing and other people's perceptions of it. When he tells his coworkers that he likes to sew, or when I mention that we sew to people at church, we both experience the same reaction: sewing is generally seen as being too time-consuming, and scary to start doing because it requires the acquisition of so much skill. But like making art, or learning a language or a musical instrument, it is really endurance that is required most of all. There are two important steps in sewing: first---to get started, and second---to stick with it. Mr Rat and I started this blog almost three years ago to record our projects and to make that record public in case our sewing pattern reviews and the other things that we post might be helpful to anyone else. But Mr Rat wondered if our current intermediate to advanced level of sewing might seem daunting to a sewing-newcomer, which made us both reflect on how we got started sewing. It was messy! It was frustrating. I learned the basics as a child, and I can assure you that there were temper-tantrums and crying on the floor, and claims that I'd never get over being scared of the machine. Anything that we do with our hands requires muscle memories built up over a long period of time to really get comfortable and skillful. Mr Rat just decided to recycle two of his oldest self-made shirts into fabric he can use as patches on new shirts. And they look so different from his most recent shirt, finished three years later. I had been sewing my own clothes as an adult for at least three years before we started this blog, so my first wonky projects are not on the internet. But I remember them, and how when I made them I wished to be better, and sew more complex things. And years later, I am a better seamstress (although striving to get better, still) and I can sew my own coats and capes and complicated blouses and dresses (with tucks and handmade buttonholes and darts that are not bubbly), things that I struggled to even attempt when I first started sewing regularly again.
I just wanted to mention this as an encouragement to the beginners, as well as all of you more experienced sewers: it's important to keep on enduring. Practicing is the only way to get better, and even if it is tiring, it is worth while. Because after a year, two years, a decade. . . then you can look back and see that elusive progress that you dreamed of. The process may feel hard, just like looking at a long list of projects can be daunting at the beginning. But I know that over months of an hour spent here or there at the sewing machine and the ironing board, these projects will get made and posted about here, and then I will get to have the pleasure of wearing them, and feeling like myself every day. And getting a little better at sewing along the way. All of our goals have to be reached one step at a time, and just sticking with it----enduring----is how to get there. It doesn't take anything more special than to just keep trying.
I have always admired shirts and coats with elbow patches. I really like the contrast they add especially when they are made of leather, corduroy, or wool. I was really excited to make this Sunday and Sons Work flannel to keep me warm during these long and cold winter months. I spent a good deal of time getting the pocket patterns just right and making sure the plaid matched in just the way I liked. I used the brown corduroy not only for the elbow patches but also on the inside of the cuffs, under the collar, under the pocket flaps, and as trim on the sleeves and side seam hems. I like these little details. They are small but unique and add more character to the shirt. I feel like flannel shirts should be roomy so I made the extra-large version (which is really more like a large in U.S. sizing). It feels comfortable, the fit is good, and the style is right on.
As you can tell from this last photo, Mr Rat and I are teaching ourselves how to play the classical guitar. Our new guitar was an exciting Christmas gift. We've never had our own instrument before, and we are both excited about this! We both play piano (but don't have access to one) and Mr Rat plays a little bit of saxophone, from a long time ago, so learning how to play a stringed instrument is a new learning process for us both, and one that we are enjoying. Mr Rat looks so handsome practising in his new home-made flannel!
This post is catching up from last year, as I made this smock and matching purse in the fall and only managed to wear them outside once before snowy weather blew in. Now that we are in the depths of winter, I've given up on the idea of photographing out in the landscape (at least until I have a heavy wool garment to share), and am going to try to take some photos in my studio on sunny days instead. And maybe this way I can catch up some of the things that I sewed last year and haven't had a chance to review yet.
My sewing cabinet housed almost 5 yards of this nice rust-colored corduroy for four years or so from the day that I originally found it at the thrift store to the long overdue day when I finally chose a pattern for it. The pattern I finally picked out, 1970s-era McCalls 3483, was also a thrift-store find. It is a size larger than I usually make, which made me uncertain about buying it, but for 50 cents I thought it was worth a try. When I imagined pairing it with my long-neglected corduroy, I thought that going a size up wouldn't make a difference to a loose over-garment, and I was right. I was actually surprised that I didn't need to narrow the shoulders, and the fit was good without any adjustments. I remember reading in one of my sewing books that the difference between pattern sizes is about 1 inch overall---which is a big difference if you are trying to make a fitted garment, but is very little difference in a loose or flowing garment so long as the fit is good around the shoulders. The one curious bit about the fit of this garment that I noticed is that the smock looks much shorter on the drawings on the pattern-cover compared to how it fits me in real life---which is almost down to my knees. I'm an average 5 foot 5 inches, in case any one else out there has this pattern and needs a reference for the length.
Since corduroy tends to shed and fray, I was careful to do faux-flat fell stitching on all of the seams, which had the nice benefit of giving them a top-stitched look on the outside. I also did top-stitching on the collar to keep it neat, as well as the cuffs and the narrow hem. I also used some scraps of old thrifted bias binding and sewed them by hand to the edges of the inside facing and sleeve openings so they won't have trouble going through the wash. This gave them a clean and neat finish, as well. McCalls 3483 has a lot of nice details: over-sized patch pockets, puffed sleeves with big cuffs, an exaggerated collar, and a neat yoke opening. Since the button closures called for loops, and I didn't want to deal with the hassle of trying to turn corduroy inside out (that sounds like a recipe for a headache), I cut little pieces of the selvage of the fabric and rolled them into little tubes and sewed them shut by hand. Then I made them into button loops and sewed them on to the yoke and cuffs by machine. The buttons are from JoAnns. I took my smock with me to see what kind of ball-shaped button I could find that matched the fabric, and was really happy to find these nice faux-leather ones in just the ride shade of ochre.
I think this smock makes a stylish alternative to wearing a sweater indoors all winter long. And in the fall and the spring, it is the perfect lightweight pullover jacket. I made a purse to match it out of scraps leftover from my smock and a wooden purse handle set that I bought half-off from JoAnns for the grand total of $4! The inside of the purse is lined with scraps from my Folkwear shirtdress. The last of the corduroy scraps leftover from both smock and purse recently got used by my husband as details on a shirt he is almost finished sewing. This ended up being a rather thrifty outfit, especially worn over my old brown smock dress that has some paint stains on it (which my new corduroy smock nicely covers up), and worn with the clogs that were given to me for my birthday. It makes me glad that we can take something that no one wanted and use every scrap of it to make not just one, but three interesting new useful things that will bring pleasure to Mr Rat and me.
I know this photo is terribly blurry, but Gia looks so charming that I couldn't resist adding it.
My main handmade gift this year wasn't sewing related, since I ran out of time to make Mr Rat something on our Singer. But I did have time to make a chess set for him out of oven-bake clay and seed beads. We found a chess board earlier in the year at the thrift store, but didn't have any pieces to play on it. When he opened up this particular Christmas box, Mr Rat was really surprised and excited-----which made me pleased that I had spent the time making something personal for him and me that we will use for years to come. I think that the total cost was about $12 worth of clay and about three hours of molding it and another hour and half to bake the pieces.
(In case you are wondering: Ryan's set is the potted cacti collection, and my set is the team of white rats).
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew