Subversive Sewer

{August 27, 2011}   Kwik Sew 3900

This pattern might be easy for some to overlook, but it really is very useful!  I made 4 of them for my newly organized sewing area, and they suit my needs perfectly!

This is Kwik Sew 3900, dubbed “Olivia’s Organizers.”  I don’t know who Olivia is, but she’s on to something.  These organizers come in 4 sizes: extra small is 4″ x 4″, small is 6″ x 4″, medium is 6″ x 7″, and large is 8″ x 9 1/2″.  All can be made with fat quarters or 1/4 yard for the XS or 3/8 yard for the others of fabric, lining, and interfacing.  I used a thick, heavy interfacing as called for.  It works well, but it made for some difficult construction at times.

Here are the finished organizers.  I made 2 large, 1 small and 1 extra small:

I use them to hold pattern envelopes, press cloths, serger accessories and zippers for upcoming projects.

The envelope shows these hanging from a cafe curtain rod, but I wanted to use the fabulous $3, 39″ Bygel wall rails from Ikea.  This meant I needed to modify the casing piece to detach in the back so the pockets could be attached and removed as needed:

Attaching all those sew-on snaps reminded me of how much I hate those things!  It took longer to sew all 8 of them on than to sew the actual pockets!  Anyway, the pattern calls for the casing to be cut from just the outer fabric.  then the short ends are folded in along the fold line and both long ends are enclosed in the upper back seam.  As you can see, I cut a second casing piece from the lining fabric, sewed them RS together on the short ends, serged the top edge of the long end that is not enclosed in the seam, and sewed on the snaps.  Very simple modification!


{August 27, 2011}   My Newly Organized Sewing Area!

I finally made it to IKEA to get the last things I needed to organize my sewing area, and it is a million times more functional now!  Here is the main photo:

Hopefully you can click on it to make it bigger.  I even labeled everything so you can do the same in your sewing area if you like it.

Here are some close-ups:

I saw this recycling bin and immediately knew it would be perfect for storing my ham.  I then had to explain to SO what a pressing ham was.

The wall pockets I made.  I just winged this based on what I wanted to store in it.  It’s mostly for my needles so I could see them without having to dig through a box to find the size and type I need.  I also got over my fear of double fold bias tape and edged the tops of the pockets and the outside edges. I used handbag interfacing as the backing.   The SO helped me with the grommets.  He also hung everything up for me so it’ll actually stay.

My spice jars that I keep my buttons, hooks, snaps, and other tiny notions in:

My obligatory “history of Death Row Records” shot glasses that I put notions for upcoming projects in.  The 2 pac one, not shown:

Here is Kwik Sew 3900 in action, which I’ll do a separate post on.  I changed the casing to snap on and off in back so they could go on these rails.

Would you believe that I used less than a yard of the cream and black print fabric to do all this?  And other than buying the red cotton from Ikea for $4/yard to line the pockets and the Ikea items labeled in the first photo, I used supplies I already had.  So, I got rid of some clutter too!

What I like the most, and SO agrees with me on this, is that even though so much is stored in plain view, it looks neat and cohesive.  This is very important because this is right in our living/dining/kitchen area.  It just shows what you can get with a little planning and a trip to Ikea!

{August 16, 2011}   Simplicity 4997

I got my happy ending in that my boyfriend and I decided to blend our families together when I bought my house in May.  Prior to this, his daughters did not have any bedroom decor, so I set out to change that.  My daughter has always had a nicely decorated bedroom, and I wanted them to have the same thing.  I made some decorations, but the only one that used a pattern was this valance, using Simplicity 4997, a Sewing Patterns for Dummies pattern:

I’d made view D 3-ish years ago for a kitchen we once had, but this time I decided to try view A.  It’s reversible, but to save fabric I used a solid poly/cotton for the sides that faced the window.  The main fabric is a cotton from Hobby Lobby, one of 6 coordinating fabrics.

You can kinda see the matching paint colors separated by chair rail and the embroidery hoop wall art.  Here is also a memo board I made from 2 sheets of foam core glued together and coordinating ribbon:

Hi there!  I’m a little behind on posting finished projects!  Here is what I finished last weekend:

I made this to wear with leggings, which are great when you’ve gained weight and your pants don’t fit.  The pattern is Simplicity 2365:

I made view C, the middle right one rendered in the red and white print.  I made mine from magenta stretch poplin, which I’d bought at Hancock Fabrics a year or 2 ago for another shirt that I quickly decided was too dowdy.  Since then, the fabric sat on the shelf, taunting me to find a use for it.  This turned out perfectly because it was just the right amount!  The hard part was finding matching thread and buttons.  Only Joann’s had the right shade of thread and buttons, which my daughter found for me!  They are a perfect match!

I don’t sew woven tops often due to the fit issues I have with them, but I was careful and tried it on as I sewed it.  It didn’t need a FBA, luckily.  It had tons of details, which are fun to do once in a while:

And I actually made the inside of a garment look nice!  I’m so envious of those bloggers who show off the insides of their garments.  Mine ain’t couture, but I’m proud nonetheless:

The only problem I had didn’t have anything to do with the pattern.  The top is a cotton, and my leggings are a cotton blend knit, so the top tends to “stick” to the leggings instead of hanging nicely.  I found myself tugging at it all day.  I made a miniskirt (Jalie 2920) from a shiny knit which I plan to wear over the leggings to see if that helps.  I’ll post more on that after I get a picture of it.

I also made a hanging organizer from the OOP Simplicity 5124:

It’s nothing special, so it’s not getting its own post.  I made it from scraps of stretch poplin and Amy Butler quilting cotton.  It’s going to go in my coat closet (in my future house) to hold all my gadgets and stuff that normally go on a tabletop and clutter things up.  It’s identical on both sides, so it’ll hold lots of junk.

{October 1, 2009}   Sofia’s Headboard

I forgot to post this-  after several months, I finally finished Sofia’s upholstered headboard!


Overall, it’s not bad!  This is my first time making a headboard.  I used “casa” satin from Joann’s, which I also used for the curtains (I still need another rod, which is why you don’t see any curtains above the bed.

I learned so many new things while making this.  I got to use my new drill to put the holes in it for the tufting.  Sofia and I went to Home Depot, found a piece of MDF, and had it cut to the size we needed.  My mom had a foam mattress pad that I used for the foam, then covered with scrap batting.  I bought a heavy duty stapler, which was surprisingly easy to use.  Sofia learned how to cover buttons, which she enjoyed.  I struggled with the tufting.  After doing some research, I had some direction, but the execution stumped me for several weeks.  I couldn’t get the needle back through the hole on the second pass.  I tried making the holes bigger, but that didn’t work.  When I got motivated to try again, I thought of using a doll crafting needle, the package of which I promptly lost.  I still haven’t found them, either!  Then it finally hit me: I just needed to press the foam down!  Then my needle was easier to “find” on the second pass.  I used heavy duty thread, which I tied around a toothpick placed over the drilled hole.  After much research, I decided on a heavy duty, 2 piece picture hanger with a built-in level.  I drilled into the wall and hung it all by myself!  I surprised Sofia with the finished product, and as you can see in the photo, she was really excited!  Her room is coming together very well!

{June 1, 2009}   Appliqued Pillows

I needed some pillows for my living room, and I’d wanted to use some appliques printed in the sadly now-defunct Adorn Magazine.  (wow, they’re not even in Wikipedia!)  I enlarged them on a copier at work after hours and got to work… a couple weeks later.   Here they are!

deer pillow

This is an homage to my native Wisconsin, rendered in acid green felt.  Tee hee.  I used a corduroy remnant for the pillow itself.

sparrow pillow

Same concept, but with a red felt sparrow.  I left Sofia pick the color.

amy butler pillow

The Amy Butler remnant wasn’t big enough for the 18″ pillows I was using (left behind by the last people who lived here), so I managed to make a border.  Not perfectly, but I don’t think anyone will notice.  I used a hot pink narrow wale corduroy remnant for the back.

I did something special with this pillow.  While all 3 have zippers on the bottom, this one has an invisible zipper!  All you advanced sewers, don’t laugh at me!  I did do one maybe 6 years ago, but it did nothing to alleviate my fear of these things.  But they look so much better than a centered zipper (especially mine with the crooked topstitching).  I did it!  I think I even feel confident enough to use them exclusively from now on.  I’m not positive I got the seam allowance right, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Parting thought….. as I was typing this, I saw Dr Dre doing a Dr. Pepper commercial!  He couldn’t have gotten that gig 20-25 years ago when he was with NWA!  Makes me smile.

{January 24, 2009}   Birdy the Cat Pillows

I’d been meaning to make these cute pillows, the pattern for which can be found for free on Amy Butler’s website.  All I had to buy was a bag if fiberfill and a piece of white felt for the kitty’s face.  I already had the Hello Kitty flannel, fusible web and gray felt.  I decided I might as well make 2 of them- one for Sofia and another for a coworker who loves Hello Kitty as much as I do.  They were really easy to make, great for a beginner.  And super cute!


{December 27, 2008}   Back with a vengeance!!

Moving really put a stop to any kind of sewing for at least a month, but I’m back!

Last weekend, I made 2 curtains.  A start, but not exciting.  Today, however, I got back into it in a big way.  So far, I’ve finished 4 projects and used all stashed fabrics and notions!!

The first thing I made was this pillow.  My living room needs some, and I had this remnant from a coat I made Sofia in 2005.  It’s so soft, I love it!  I also used some velvet ribbon I’ve had for years and a button left over from a jacket I made a couple months ago.


Next up was another project made from leftover faux fur.  I made a jacket from this a few years ago (don’t ask me why).  Using Simplicity 4529, I made this toy hammock for Sofia.


Next I decided to make a cat bed.  Despite having cats most of my life, I’ve never bothered to make one of these because I didn’t want to spend the time and money on something that may never be used, or worse, peed on.  Well, I decided to take a chance, using some Ralph Lauren corduroy I bought in 2006, which I wouldn’t have used for anything else anyway.  I also used a pack of foam chair pads and the rest of a bag of fiberfil left over from the pink pillow.  It still needs more fiberfil… I’ll get it if the cats use this thing.  The pattern is Simplicity 4765.


Finally, I made Sofia a Mickey Mouse dress.  I’d been meaning to make this for awhile but hadn’t had time till now.  The fabric is a cotton knit from Fabric Fairy.  The pattern is Simplicity 4384.


Next up, a look at my new sewing room!

et cetera