Holiday ramble

Happy holidays!

Busy much? I love this time of year, so much to do, family, services, and general good will. Even grocery shopping is more enjoyable 🙂

After my marathon costume making for the Christmas pageant, I’m slowly getting back in the mood to so some sewing and posting (yes, Christmas gifts included stash-making dollars from my dear children). Meanwhile, random pics from the last couple weeks…

From the Christmas Pageant – the children were adorable and so excited. Thirty children took part, including a choir of little angels. Beautiful.
A wonky gift to Preston (everyone loved it)! I ordered the ants about a week before Christmas, and they arrived on Christmas Eve, just in time. I searched online everywhere for this ant farm, and I found it at Barnes and Noble.

My tree service guys just arrived, after a full week of rain delays. They are removing all the ancient shrubs from the front of the house, and they’re giving the tangerine tree the haircut of its lifetime. Trimming, wind-proofing, and balancing. The tree is beautiful and very old. I don’t want to lose it to a hurricane.

Yesterday was an online marathon, as I took full advantage of holiday discounts on 4 Indie patterns that have been calling my name.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse
Style Arc Cameron dress
Style Arch Armidale dress
Helen’s Closet York Pinafore

I’ve even ordered fabric, and the first delivery is tomorrow. Now I’m excited!!

Hoping everyone is finding joy and peace in this beautiful time of year,

Coco

Christmas pageant costumes

Greetings! I just realized yesterday that my last post was almost a month ago. I’ve been so busy, in a wonderful and fulfilling way.

I’m so happy in my new church home, and I’ve looked for ways to serve and get involved. In early November, the call for sewists went out – the Christmas pageant costumes were in need of ‘revitalization’ and/or replacement. I went over and, to my surprise, came home with the animals! Talk about a challenge – 3 sheep, 3 cows, and 3 donkeys for the little 3-5 year olds. I haven’t attempted costumes since my own children were that age, long ago. And my only animal was a bunny…

Thank goodness for Pinterest, which opened a world of examples. I chose my models:

And I found two great patterns for the costume basics:

Each costume has a top from S2068 and a hood from S2855, with embellishments. For the bottoms I used True Bias Mini Hudsons. I chose these because the cuffs are easily turned to accommodate our shorter grazers.

Fabric, XXXL Gilden T-shirts, JoAnn
Fabric: Cotton interlock, JoAnn
Fabric, Blizzard fleece, JoAnn

These 9 costumes took me much longer to sew than I anticipated, but I’m really pleased with the results, and I’m excited to see the little ones in the pageant. Christmas Eve will have additional meaning to me, and I’m grateful.

Bye for now – Coco

Must-have holiday sling bag

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And of course it’s a gift. I’m sending it this week to my beautiful Ashley, to be enjoyed for the season. I know she will love it!

Background: I’ve made dozens of these bags, many back when Ashley and I had a craft table at charity events. Our logo was ‘Back Alley Five & Dime’, because we focused on small, affordable crafts. This bag was the only thing that was priced above $10. We didn’t make money on our sunk costs, but we did get to make the donations that were our aspiration. Plus we had so much fun 🙂

square 5x5 rose scroll

The bag – it’s big! The finished size is about 26 ¾” tall including handles, and 18” wide. Remarkably, there’s something about the physics of its construction that makes it feel like nothing on the shoulder, even when packed with stuff. I admit to copying the Amy Butler Birdie Sling (still available online, though not on her site). I simply sought out online photos that gave me clues for the drafting.

drafting

Loving a challenge, I worked on the pattern and construction for quite a while. Result – I love this bag!

On the inside, an interlined bag lining with zipped pocket:

lining

inside pocket

My fabrics are from JoAnnn. One thing they do really well is quilting cottons. They have the best selection I’ve found for holiday prints, and the fabric is very affordable with a coupon. BTW, their online print inventory is nothing compared to what’s available in the stores.

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Ashley will be so surprised by this bag, and I know she will use it. We have a shared funky fun spirit – her mixed media gift to me last year. We’ve always danced in the kitchen…

mom-abug

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Bye for now! Coco

Is it Christmas yet? Maxi Alder

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The time between Halloween and Christmas is my favorite season. So of course I had to make a fun dress to wear!

Actually I searched everywhere for the fabric equivalent of the ugly Christmas sweater. Maybe I looked too soon, but I found this cute stripe pattern, complete with silver snowflakes, at Walmart.

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I just cut the Grainline Alder dress to a maxi length. And added a 1.25″ waistband, with elastic, for my first go at a Christmas dress.

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It took about 3 yards, but I bought 4, just enough to make a little something else…

Loving the holidays…Coco

Butterick 6107 Shawl Collar Coat

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It’s officially fall in the loft, time for a new jacket and a new pattern!

Butterick 6107 is lovely and interesting to sew. I originally bought it with the standup collar in mind, but I was put off by the way the collar looks when it’s open. No problem – I love shawl collar jackets and coats!

envelope-side

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Sewing notes:

  • My choices: size Small, View A, the length of View C, and the pockets from View B.
  • My fabric is Marigold 100% cotton sweatshirt fleece from Fabric Mart. It has only mechanical stretch and is what I would characterize as mid-weight.

fabric

  • The collar is cut-on rather than attached. I know this scares some folks, but the pattern pieces fit perfectly, and the inside corners were easy to sew. Another nice feature: the upper collar is slightly wider than the under collar to allow for the turn of the cloth. A lot of patterns don’t bother to do this.

collar

  • My buttons are 7/8″ faux tortoise shell, with sew-on snaps for the actual closure. I did lots of looking and found beautiful 15mm bronze snaps by Cotowin on Amazon. BTW, Amazon is a great place to look for studs and snaps, the variety is amazing.

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closures

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  • The patterns calls for lined pockets, but given the weight of my fabric, I drafted mine with an interfaced cut-on facing.
  • Here comes more fun – the back! It’s plain on the pattern, but I split it into 2 pieces just below the armscye. I think the topstitching on the collar, the hem, and this new seam add a lot of interest to the back view.

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Oh, this is such a nice jacket, and I love wearing it.

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We had a nice Halloween night here in my little community, complete with a pizza party at the clubhouse to get some food into the kids’ tummies ahead of all that candy. Most of my neighbors have left their decorations in place, I think everyone is simply enjoying the season.

Parting shot: I had to do it, Starbucks kicked off it holiday flavors today with free reusable cups 🙂 Did anyone else splurge on a peppermint mocha latte?

cup

Ciao! Coco