Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I have been pretty busy, though blogging doesn't prove it. I must get better about documenting my sewing exploits. In the past couple weeks I have made a few shirts and a dress by augmenting one of my patterns. All fun stuff that didn't get photographed. 

I made a fun wristlet with the vintage embroidery pattern in a previous post, *and* managed to take some photos. I love this pattern. I started a PDF for it last summer, but time got away from me. I should put that on to-do short list for this weekend. Before I get that pattern up in my Craftsy store, I think I need to make a slightly larger body so I will fit the bigger cell phones. Fits the iPhone perfectly, but I don't want to be overly partial to the technology. 

Tonight I finished another shirt using my keyhole pattern. I decided I needed a sailor shirt. Yes, something for when I take to the sea later this summer. Oh, I had fun with this one! I went with a nice blue cotton for the body, sleeves and collar, with contrasting yoke in white. I used matching blue floss for my anchor and star embroidered decals. 

And just for good measure, a kind of crappy photo of a headless me wearing the shirt. I wanted to show how the now porthole neckline (as my keyhole has gone nautical) falls on me. 

If I didn't get sidetracked with things like work, I would have finished this a day or two ago. But the job puts fabric on the cutting table so I can't really complain, especially since I happen to enjoy what I do.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Oh, blog. How you have been sorely neglected these past months. I apologize for taking those horrible classes that cruelly come between me and what Gina makes... Now we have the summer to get down with the crafting. A few months to see what we can do before it is back to full-time work and part-time school this fall. I already made one dress and one shirt in the past 72 hours. Now let's get down with some vintage embroidery transfers. Momma needs a fun, new wallet...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Felt flower fun

I am really trying to keep busy with crafting as the summer winds down. I only have a few weeks before school starts back up and my free time disappears. Between working full time and taking a class, I fear the creative juices will be bottled and shelved for the season. I am trying to get in the habit of brainstorming a craft for the day first thing in the morning. Some days I am just too pooped after work to act on my ideas. Others, time will simply get away from me. So, there I sat Sunday night and without having created much more than a to-do list on the craft front. I decided to try my hand at a felt flower headband while watching my Masterpiece Mystery. I enjoyed both.

Last time my friend Tracey and I were at the mall, she said she wanted a red flower for her hair. We saw a few and the were just not attractive. No one looks pretty with a plastic flower straight off a cheap dinner's table in their hair. So I told her I would whip one up.

I made this first attempt from beige felt with some great white elastic lace for the band. It isn't too bunchy or too springy, just the right amount stretch to stay put while being pretty peeking through the hair. Now I just need to crank the red one out. The only difference will be black elastic lace for that band.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A for effort, F for blogging

Man, this blogging is harder to keep up with than I initially feared.  I swear I have been crafting it up, honest.

Like last weekend I made myself a new wristlet.  This pattern is about twice the size of my first.  I would call this one a purse, while the other is more wallet.

I absolutely love the fabric's owl design.  Have it in a few colors so you may see it again...  Also loving the lining choice.  It is cut from one fat quarter.  Had just enough fabric for two inset sipper pockets, 6 card tabs, one bill tab, and the body.  Awesome.

I used to look at fat quarters as never being quite enough meat to work with for my designs.  I was thinking too big.  Then it dawned on me that I could take those fun, inexpensive cuts of fabric and use them as liners.  I am a big fan of colorful lining.  Many bags that use poly lining fabric are just so blah on the inside.  Super cute outside but there isn't much going on inside.  I like it to be functional and fun.  Don't get me wrong, I match my lining when it counts; dresses, skirts, etc.  But say I make a cute monotone blazer, and "Oh, is that my phone in the inside pocket going off?" Open the jacket and blah-blam!  A little sunshine, springtime, color me fun liner.  So, those little cotton gems I avoided for years are now working their way into my regular impulse buying at the fabric and craft shops.  I try to buy two of the same design in case one wont cut it.  And that way, even if I make a bad or wallet with the same outer material, I can change up the liners to make them unique.

I have also been wrestling with my first pattern for purchase.  I have it all drawn and divided up for scanning but the dimensions are a bear.  Last weekend I had that light bulb moment.  Now everything seams to be printing out in the proper dimensions.  Of course when I coverted it from a doc to a PDF it will blow up, but as the wise Wendy pointed out, "That is why we work in a library."  The resource lab techies can come to the rescue.  Ha. Lucky for me I know to ask Google before throwing in the towel completely. So simple. Just save the darned thing as a PDF on my Mac instead of running through a doc converter. Then condense the file when Craftsy says it is too big to upload. Victory! So, though no one is likely to buy it ever, at least I am trying to sell my creations. Next is the Etsy shop for clothing and felt creations. My summer of productivity continues...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

blog silence = productivity

I sewed nonstop over the Labor Day weekend.  So much so that I kinda forgot I should be sharing my fun stuff with the world.  Well, the dust has settled and I am now getting down to the business of blogging.

I made three skirts using the McCall's pattern M6567.  I love the long sweeping fishtail.  Two with ruffles and one without:
green cherry blossom festival
red with white, green, and pink dots from Ikea

blue Japanese collage I've had for years
A purple and white version of my go-to shirt pattern: New Look 6781.

Let's see, then there was the white Kona cotton pullover shirt using Simplicity 2365.

Oh yeah, and a cute little dress using the Lisette 2209 by Simplicity.

That brings us up to last week.  I got an idea for a dress of John's niece Lily.  We are horrible at getting presents to the kids on time so this is actually her late birthday present.  Ha.  Anyhow, I saw some cute little knot shoulder sundresses and decided since I hadn't drafted a clothing pattern in ages I would give it a go.  Most of my original designs of late have been bags, purses and toys.  I need to start flexing my clothes drafting muscles before they atrophy.  

I guessed at the general size from her age then set about figuring out common body dimensions, wearing ease and design ease.  I think this dress works.  It is a simple pullover empire waist design (or maybe untie a shoulder then pull it over) with plenty of swing in the skirt.  I made the bodice front and back do opposing dips just to be cute.  It is made out of a pink seersucker with small daisies.  And then I topped it off with three yo-yos studded with daisy buttons.  If it fits, she will be cute as can be.  If it doesn't, it will make a great dress for an over sized teddy bear. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Business Casual Wristlet

Last night I signed up for the Sewing Texture class with Vanessa Christenson on Craftsy.  I really like the twisting technique she used for making decorative flowers on projects.  It made me think about these old work clothes of John's I kept for my sewing stash.  Great silk ties and pants and shirts that are too worn out for the office but have plenty of usable material left in them for me to pilfer.  So, this afternoon I got cracking on one of the wallets I designed and decorated it with a twisted flower from the class.  I added a wrist strap to take it from a clutch to a wristlet.  All the materials (minus the two zippers, though I can harvest those from pants easily enough in the future) are upcycled from the menswear.

The exterior was a pair of charcoal colored, polyester pants.  Nice sheen and silky feel.  The interior was one of John's favorite shirts before its collar became frayed.  You should have seen his face when he saw me cutting it.  Ha!  The tie was this great brown with blues and oranges.  I took it apart and cut it down to 2.5 inches in width.

Here is the finished product:

I think it came out pretty well.  So much so that I will be transferring my moola to it after I post this.  I have plenty of shirts, pants and ties, so should be able to make a nice crop of these Business Casual wallets, wristlets and clutches.  Yay!

If you want to read a little more about this clutch, check out the project I posted to Cratfsy for the class.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

bookin' it up

I decided to play with a bit of bookmaking tonight.  Our Preservation Department at work held a bookmaking event for National Book Preservation Week a few weeks back.  It was fun and easy enough that I decided it was something I could duplicate.  

I whipped out the nice paper that John's old roomie Brian left behind (he was a zinester) and my too-tiny paper cutter.
Once I cut up my paper, I got out the rest of my supplies.  
  • embroidery floss (matched to cover paper) and a needle large enough to accommodate at least 3 strands
  • big ol' upholstery needle and teeny tiny hole punch
  • pair of scissors
  • my block printing kit with the "gina makes" stamps I carved over the winter holidays

Those who know me know I have hand problems (carpal tunnel and joint issues, good times).  So, I used the small hole punch to start my holes in the spine of the book by punching them in half circles.  Then I pushed the holes through the rest of the way with the upholstery needle.  

Starting from the bottom, I pushed the threaded needle through the first hole from the inside to out.  I held in place a 3-4 inch tail for binding off later with my thumb 

I wove the thread back and forth until I got to the top hole, ending like this--->

Then, I worked my way down to the starting two holes, with the tail in the first hole and the needle in the second.  
Time to tie off.  Pulling the knot close to the tale/first hole, I double knotted it.  
Lastly, I cut the threads about close to the knot, but not too close (about 1/8 inch).
 Tah-Dah!!  It's a little notebook.
 Next, I inked up the the block printing roller and stamped the covers.  

I think the block stamps I carved came out really well.  I used the softer blocks that linoleum, again due to these sad hands of mine.  I like the sort of woodgrain striping they ended up having.  The gnome is my official "gina makes" mascot.  I will be able to use this stamp for tags, bags, and just about anything that that will take ink or paint of some sort.  
Of course, the gnome stamp came out a little large.  I decided I also needed something a bit smaller to fit items like toys and kids clothing.  Thought a bug was a cute touch.

Here we have them-- the fruits of this evening's labors. I think they came out well for the first attempts.