pillow talk

block carving

It was a long time ago that I carved this block to print an all over design on fabric.  Since then sewing projects took over my studio and left me no room to print.  Last week Barry had Veteran’s Day off and he helped me dig out of the mess and organize it– which left me with a clear drafting table and room to print fabric!

Add to that Pillow Week hosted over at House on Hill Road and I had a perfect use for my handprinted fabric.  Even though I didn’t get this photographed and blogged during Pillow Challenge Week, I did get it made.  That counts, right?  You should check out Erin’s pillow posts— there’s lots of information on closures and stuffing, and lovely pillows to look at.

new pillow

I printed on plain linen and am pretty happy with how it turned out.  My pattern matched up!

handprinted linen pillow

I’m wondering if I need to add something to my ink so it’s not quite so sticky next time and soaks into the fabric a little.  This went really fast, though.  I went from cutting and ironing my fabric to cleaning up my ink mess in less than an hour– printing 1/2 yard of fabric.

handprinted linen pillow, the striped side

I also made a simple striped stamp and printed a long 1/4 yd. of fabric, then cut it into triangles to make the other side.  There’s an invisible zipper in the bottom seam, so the pillow is totally reversible.

handprinted linen pillow, the flower side

I’m excited that my all over pattern repeated so well!  It’s fun when experiments work out.

so, here’s the dress!

new dress

I used McCall’s 3436.  My criteria for making this dress were– modesty (it is so hard to find dresses with sleeves and enough cleavage coverage), simplicity, and something I could put a big flower around the waist.  The advantage of this pattern was that it was in 2 pieces so that I could make the top a smaller size than the bottom.  That meant I had to buy 2 copies of the pattern since it came in sizes 6-7-8 and 12-14-16.  I think I said in the last post that I’m lucky I made the top in muslin (twice) first because the measurements on the pattern said I needed a size 12 top which was way too big.  Then I went back and bought the smaller patten and tried a 10, which was just right.  After looking at the finished measurements chart on the pattern they included something like 4 inches of ease around the bust and waist.  Who wants 4 extra inches?  Totally weird to me.  I also added about 2 1/2 inches to the bottom of the top to make the length of it a little more modern.  The skirt worked fine in a size 16 (Seriously?  I’ve gained a lot of weight since I stopped nursing.), but I had to shorten it by nearly a foot.


I used pretty buttons down the back and made a flower for my hair.

flower close up

The entire dress is lined in a navy china silk.  I serged rolled edge hems along both sides of a strip of it, then made a line of gathering stitches down the center, to make a ribbon for my waist.  I used scraps of both fabrics and the peony pattern from Martha Stewart weddings to make my flowers.  I used the smallest template for my big flower and then copied it at 75% to make my smaller one.  To make sure that the petals didn’t unravel I put fray check around the edge of each flower I cut out.  That was time consuming and stinky!  It stiffened the silk up a bit and made the petals hold their shaped well, though.

new dress

It was so comfortable!  I didn’t have to worry about things shifting the wrong way and showing all my under clothes, and china silk against my skin was truly luxurious.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy a polyester dress from David’s Bridal again.

Now, I know you all want to see pictures of Barry in his mess dress, right?

mess dress


Sorry I didn’t notice I needed to straighten his tie.

Now, I wasn’t the only one who did some sewing.  Behold the party shirt–

unveiling the party shirt

When all the formalities are over and the dancing gets going the guys take those hot jackets off.  And, if you’re a cool Air Force guy you have a party shirt.  So, Barry ordered some spacey fabric (that has glow in the dark stars) and borrowed my seam ripper, then used the old pieces as a pattern.

the party shirt glows in the dark

He needed a little coaching, but he did all the sewing himself.  Pretty awesome, huh?


It was a pretty inspirational evening and I left feeling really proud of my husband.  What he does is pretty crucial to the well being of our country, those soldiers on the ground, and the whole world.

all week long

I’ve been sewing.

making a dress

There is an anniversary gala tonight for Barry’s program at work.  Somehow I can’t fit into any of my gala worthy dresses, so this time around I decided to make one.  I found a gorgeous blue/black silk linen blend at an amazing store called Denver Fabrics.  This is the first time I’ve ever taken on a clothing project like this.  Pattern sizing is CONFUSING!  By my measurements I needed to make a size 12 top– luckily I made it in muslin first and it was way too big.  The size 10 fits just right, though.  For the skirt I had to make a size 16, though I wear a size 6 or 8 if I buy clothes at the store.  I have been cutting and sewing for hours and hours and up until midnight most nights this week, but all I have left to do today is hem the sleeves and add the finishing touches to my accessories.


I’ll show you the whole thing on Monday.

stuff I made and mailed away

Here are a few things I made lately and then sent them away.

a gift sweetpod

My brother served a 2 year mission in Mexico and a friend from there just had her first baby.  She wanted a baby carrier that was more than a long piece of fabric, so I made this up for her.

zipper and lining

The lining is a honeydew green which I think is a fun surprise.

rolled up

I’m also behind on some baby gifts, but it’s always nice to get a surprise when your baby is 8 months old, right?  And the weather now is just right for a Sweet Pea pilot cap or two.

sweet pea pilot caps

I found this pig fabric a while ago at The Fancy Tiger which was crying out to be made into bibs.

piggy bibs

Wouldn’t you agree that piggies are for bibs?