my chair


This is one of a pair of side chairs I purchased off craigslist over the summer. You can read about it here.  This is the before pic:

 I figured they looked easy enough to recover myself, so I finally found some fun fabric and finished the one of the two.  The fabric is from the amazing Australian fabric designers, Umbrella Prints.  It was a total splurge for me when I ordered it a few months ago, so it's nice that at least one of the chairs is finished and I can see it daily.  I love the print, it's fun and versatile at the same time.  Someday I'll make some spiffy patchwork pillows to add to the fun.

[yep, this is me in my chair, I'm that cool]

Things are still pretty bumpy here, I'm starting back full-time at my job this week.  It should be interesting. I wish I didn't have to, but that's the way life goes I guess.  I've definitely learned a lot in the last couple weeks, more than I ever could have imagined.  Anyway, hope you have a great Monday...

i am thankful


I know Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I still wanted to write up a list of things I'm thankful for
family, friends, my job, neighbors, my home, my dog, blogging, sewing, my sister-in-laws, and most of all my girls:

[they're posing with some goodies from my friend Jeni, thank you Jeni!]

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday surrounded by your favorite people. Thank you for reading! And I also want to add a huge thank you to everyone who purchased my patterns during my sale, it brought this little mama tears of joy, thank you.

thank you and a 2-day sale


Thank you all so much for your sincere and kind emails and comments about my last post.  I really feel uplifted by your thoughts and prayers and knowing I'm not alone in life's struggles.  I do want you to know that we're all physically okay and I am so thankful for that.  I have become really aware of how many people really do care about me and my family, it really is amazing.  But for now I'm taking things one day at a time...

I'm sure you're all planning your Thanksgiving day festivities and maybe even plotting the route to your favorite shops on Friday, but I wanted to have a little pre-holiday sale.  I've never done one before, but having some money to pay a few bills would be a relief.  So please stop by and enjoy $2 off any pattern of your choice!

Just use the discount code: holiday2011 at the checkout. 
All done, thanks so much for your support!!

2 days only.  :)  Thank you for your support.

the post that I never wanted to write


I never wanted to write this post.

Life has taken a complete turnaround in one week, things I didn't think were possible are now my reality. I could write a novel's worth of words to explain what is going on, but I won't, not here, not right now at least.

                                                                      Source: via Karine on Pinterest

I do ask that if you are the praying type of person, please pray for me and my children. And if you're not, please keep us in your thoughts.

I do also want to add that this blog has been part of my own therapy, and I hope it can continue to be that.

                                                                   Source: via Anna on Pinterest

simplicity skirt 2226 sew along - day 5


Welcome back for day 5 of the sew along, you can catch up on day 1day 2day 3, day 4 anytime as well. 

Today's our last work day.  We'll be finishing the waistband and hemming!  
Finish waistband:

Sew the remaining waistband facing pieces together just like you did the other waistband pieces. This time though you'll want to finish the bottom curved edge of the waistband.  Use a pinking shears, zig zag stitch, overlock stitch, or I even did a tiny rolled hem on my original skirt.  There really isn't a wrong way, do what feels right for you.  

* A reader pointed out that I was using a 3/8" seam allowance on these pieces and she's correct.  It's my way of adjusting for a little bit larger fit, so it's somewhere between a size 6 and 8.  I wasn't going to mention it, but on this pattern at least, you can make adjustment like that to the waistband and it doesn't affect how the skirt attaches since it's gathered.  Hopefully that makes a little bit of sense.  Okay, moving along...

Pin the waistband facing top edge to the top edge of the waistband on the skirt, making sure to align side seam of waistband with that of the waistband facing.  The facing will extend past the back of the skirt on each side, that's normal.  Simplicity says to move the carriers (belt loops) out of the way so you can topstitch them later, but I chose to sew them into the seam.  You don't have to, it's just the way I wanted to make it easier.  So if you want to sew them into the seam, just sandwich them in between the waistband and waistband facing and pin them in place.  Sew.

Next we'll understitch the waistband facing so it doesn't end up rolling to the outside of the skirt when you're wearing it.  Press the seam allowance up towards the facing and sew close to the seam.  

Press the waistband facing to the inside of the skirt.  Tuck in the back edges that are along the zipper so that there are no raw edges. You can finish them in by hand sewing like step 29 in the pattern, but I'm lazy and sewed them down with my machine, I just stitched along the stitch lines that were there from sewing in the zipper.

On the outside of the skirt stitch close to the waistband seam.  That's it for the waistband unless you chose to leave the belt loops out of the way, if so you'll topstitch them in place now. You can also sew in the hook/eye, I skipped sewing mine in, but it's up to you!


Okay, so if you're ready to finish them hem, I would suggest trying the skirt on to see if you still like the length of the skirt.  You'll press the bottom edge to the WRONG side by 1/4" then turn and press again and stitch close to the inner fold, just like in step 34.  You can use a pretty long stitch length if you want.

I wanted to try something new for me, so I did a blind hem on both my skirts.  It's a little different, but a nice finish. You can follow the directions in your sewing machine's manual, or there's a great tutorial here.  

You're finished!  Thanks for sewing along with me.  If you want there's already a Simplicity Patterns flickr group for you to add your photos to.  I might also do a linky party possibly this weekend, but maybe next just so everyone has time to finish up.  How does that sound? Let me know if you'd be interested in that.

simplicity skirt 2226 sew along - day 4


Welcome back for day 4 of the sew along, you can catch up on day 1day 2, and day 3 anytime as well.  

It's zipper day!  Don't be afraid, take some deep breaths, whatever you have to do to get your game face on.  I can tell you that my second time sewing the zipper was much better and went smoother than the first time, but both worked out great and I've got two wearable skirts.  

Inserting the zipper:

First you need to baste the rest of the back skirt seam from the notch you sewed up to earlier all the way up to the top of the waistband.  Basting again is the longest stitch length on your machine.  

Flip the skirt so that you have the left seam allowance all the way to the left, pulling the rest of the skirt to the right.

Pin the opened zipper in place to the seam allowance only.  Teeth and pull tab should be facing down with the teeth centered on the center seam.  

Starting from the bottom of the zipper, using your zipper foot, baste the zipper along that left seam allowance (it looks like the right seam allowance, but it's because I'm sewing it from the bottom of the zipper to the top).  

Next, flip your zipper out to the side and you'll have a tiny little bit of fabric peeking through from the seam allowance that you'll sew along (see that little green line above?).  

Now, flip the zipper face down over the right seam allowance now.  Pin it in place through all the layers (zipper tape, seam allowance and skirt).  

From the RIGHT side of the skirt, baste in place.  I think they recommend hand basting, but I cheated and used a basting stitch on my machine. (I didn't take a picture of the basting, but you can see it in the picture below:) 

Now sew with a regular stitch starting by making a line perpendicular to the center back skirt seam at the bottom of the zipper about 3/8" of an inch or so, then pivoting and continuing to sew up towards the top of the skirt all the way to the top of the waistband along the zipper.  You're sewing right next to the zipper teeth (which you can't see, but they're under the fabric, just feel for them) and be sure not to sew into them otherwise your zipper won't open! Remove basting stitches from the previous step.

Use your seam ripper and open up the basting stitch and you should reveal a lovely little zipper all finished and ready!

**Here's the nitty gritty.  If you're super stressed about the zipper again, practice on a piece of junk fabric and zipper. Just use two pieces of fabric sewn with a 5/8" seam allowance.  You might be surprised how much more comfortable you'll feel doing it on your actual garment after you've practiced.  Trust me that trying new things will not only help you learn, but that you get a huge sense of accomplishment once you've done it.  

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Feel free to put your pictures in my flickr group and you can add notes and ask questions right with your actual photo, of course ask questions in the comments section too, but I know sometimes it's just easier to show what you're working with compared to trying to explain it all.  

I really want you all to succeed with this!  ♥

[I'm going to run this sew along a little differently than my typical blog posts, if you have any questions or comments or suggestions/tips please leave them in the comments section and I'll respond to them there.  Usually I like to reply to comments directly by email when time allows, but this way the info will be there for anyone who joins along.]

simplicity skirt 2226 sew along - day 3


Welcome back for day 3 of the sew along, you can catch up on day 1 and day 2 anytime as well.  :)

Today is a pretty low stress day.  We'll be doing two bigger steps, sewing the waistband and attaching it to the skirt, as well as making the belt loops.

A little word first on the gathering.  If you did choose a thicker material you might have a little more difficult time gathering, just take your time pulling and gathering bit by bit.  You could also add a third row of gathering stitching.  By doing two rows it's basically a backup if one of your threads breaks, so a third row would make it even more sturdy.  Gathering is pretty forgiving, so if you gather it too much you can always loosen it and you can gather it more as well if it's not gathered enough.

Sewing the belt loops (referred to as the carrier in the pattern):

Basically just like making double fold bias tape.  Press wrong sides together in half, open up, press raw edges to center fold, fold in half again and press. Topstitch on both sides.

Cut into four equal pieces.  That's it, those are your belt loops.  You can also leave these out if you're not ever planning on wearing the skirt with a belt.  I like the little bit of added detail they provide, so I included them.

Sewing the waistband:

Grab your interfaced waistband pieces. Pin back waistband pieces to each side of the front waistband, RIGHT sides facing, aligning the notches.  Again, still using a 5/8" seam allowance.  Press seams open.  

Sew belt loops at bottom curve of waistband at the indicated locations marked by the dots on the pattern pieces.

Attach waistband to skirt:

With RIGHT sides facing, pin the waistband to the skirt.  You'll want to pin the bottom curved edge to the skirt top, aligning the raw edges.

Be sure to match the side seams of the waistband with the side seams of the skirt.

Adjust the gathering so that it fits with the waistband.  Pin the remaining waistband in place.

Sew.  I usually am pretty careless about sewing gathers, but if you really want things perfect you can use a knitting needle or stick to help hold the gathers in place.  More pins help, but a little 'extra hand' in the form of a knitting needle might come in handy.

Press seam towards waistband.

That's all for today.  Tomorrow we'll tackle that zipper, it's really pretty slick.  I quite like how it works, so don't be worried!!  After that it's pretty smooth sailing...

[I'm going to run this sew along a little differently than my typical blog posts, if you have any questions or comments or suggestions/tips please leave them in the comments section and I'll respond to them there.  Usually I like to reply to comments directly by email when time allows, but this way the info will be there for anyone who joins along.]

simplicity skirt 2226 sew along - day 2


Well, hopefully day 1 went well for you, I'm glad to hear some new tips and your excitement in making something for yourself, finally!

Today we're going to put together the main body of the skirt with pockets.  I'll add some suggestions for finishing the seams as well, but definitely feel free to do whatever works for you.

Please note that this pattern calls for 5/8" seam allowances throughout.  Make sure you know where that is on your machine (and if you don't, get out a ruler and measure from the needle and mark 5/8" with a piece of masking tape, etc.)

Sewing pockets:

Place pocket facing pieces RIGHT sides together on top of the skirt top. 

Sew along both curved pocket seams. Flip so that the WRONG sides are touching and topstitch along both both opening edges.

Now flip over the skirt front.  You'll be folding the pocket piece so that the RIGHT sides are facing.

Like this.  Pin the bottom edge.

Finish the bottom edge by using a zig zag stitch or serging or using pinking shears, etc.  Baste (the longest stitch on your machine) along the top edge and side edges as shown in green. 

Sewing main body of skirt:

First you'll want to finish the back seam edges, I chose to do a zig zag stitch on both pieces or you could also use a pinking shears, serge, etc.  Since you'll be pressing the seam open, finish both edges seperately.

Place skirt back pieces RIGHT sides together and sew together starting at the notch.

Press the seam open.

This step uses a french seam for both side seams, I chose to do this method because it frays less and looks more professional.  Place skirt front and assembled skirt back WRONG sides facing.  This seems wrong, but don't worry, it's easy and painless.  Sew down each side seam with a 1/4" seam allowance (this is instead of the 5/8" allowance called for).

Next, you'll turn the skirt wrong side out and press both side seams.  With RIGHT sides facing this time, sew each side seam again using a 1/2" seam allowance, thus enclosing the raw edges.

When you turn the skirt right side out the seam will look like this:


Sew two lines of basting stitches along the indicated areas between the dots.  Basically you'll be gathering along the front of the skirt between the pockets and along each back skirt piece.  Set your machine to it's longest stitch length and do NOT backstitch, simply leave the tails of thread.  The directions in the simplicity pattern call for you to gather the fabric in a later step, but I always do it this way out of habit (or probably just trying to rush through things).  You can chose to do it now, or save it for another step.

 Pull those tails (either the bobbin threads/bottom threads or the spool threads/top threads - not all threads) gently and as evenly as possible to gather the skirt.

It's starting to look more like a skirt!  Hope you join me tomorrow for Day 3.  ♥

[I'm going to run this sew along a little differently than my typical blog posts, if you have any questions or comments or suggestions/tips please leave them in the comments section and I'll respond to them there.  Usually I like to reply to comments directly by email when time allows, but this way the info will be there for anyone who joins along.]

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