Tag Archives: sewing

Welcome to the Handmade Experiment’s Giveaway Spectacular!

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From now until Christmas I’m planning on having at least one Giveaway a week. Yay! *cue fireworks, marching band, and baton twirlers* I’m calling it the Handmade Experiment’s Giveaway Spectacular! WooHoo! *cue acrobats, fire-dancers, and trick ponies* Expect to find great prizes from some of the most talented artists and designers in and around Portland Oregon Alright! *light the cannons, send out the dancing bears, and make room for the clown cars*

What the heck! I figure with enough smoke, mirrors, and excitement no one will notice that I’m not posting much about my own handmade items. It is the holiday season after all. Most of the handmade things I’m making are for people who read this blog! Oops! So, I’m officially putting my Santa’s Little Helper sign up and making my studio a No Peeking zone. I’ll show off the stuff I make for the kids, but unfortunately the rest is top secret.

Now On With the Show!

Let’s start this thing out right with one of my favorite flickr buddies and fellow crafty mamas, Shelly Figueroa owner and creator of Figgy’s Kids. Fairly new to Portland, she just moved here nine months ago from Ohio, Shelly is an awesome seamstress, clothing designer, teacher, and pattern maker who has generously offered up a 3 pattern package. That’s right! Not one, not two, but three patterns are up for grabs!


The first pattern in the 3 pattern package is her Ella’s Bubble Bottom Skirt. This is a fun and easy reversible bubble skirt pattern with an elastic waist and size range of 12 months to 6 years. What little girl wouldn’t love to have one of these?

The second pattern in the package is her Mary Go ‘Round Dress. It is a simple to sew, reversible wrap dress with a snap closure and a size range of 2-6.

3545127596_7484a863d8holyjumpsuitbatgirlpatternAnd last, but not least, is her Holy Jumpsuit, Batgirl! pattern. This adorably nostalgic jumpsuit is a halter top with an elastic back and big ruffles at the leg in a size range of 18 months – 6 years.

jumpsuitAnd the best part is Figgy’s believes in sharing! So not only are they simple to make and fun to wear, but you can also sell the clothing you make so long as you give Figgy’s credit for the pattern. I love this! Thanks Shelly!

If you are in Portland and would like to get one of Shelly’s patterns check out Cool Cottons and Bolt Fabric Boutique. If you’d like to take a class from Shelly she’ll be teaching a Bird Mobile class on 12/1 and The To Go Artist Organizer class on 12/6 both at Bolt. Check at both Bolt and Cool Cottons for future classes taught by Shelly. She also teaches at the Lake Oswego Community School if you have a son or daughter interested in learning hand stitching, machine sewing, or other fun craft projects.


Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. If you want to win this adorable 3 pattern package deal I want you to do three things.
1. Subscribe to my blog. (bookmark me, follow me, put me in a reader. Just come back!)
2. Go to either Figgy’s Kids or 1000 Markets, look around and then come back here and comment. (favorite item, next pattern piece, what you think is missing. In short, give Shelly, a hard-working crafty mama of two some love by giving her some feedback, please!)

3. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you.

If you want more chances to comment and win simply do some networking for me. Facebook, Twitter, whatever. Just leave me another comment letting me know how you got the word out. I’ll leave comments open until Sunday night midnight PST. Monday morning I’ll announce the winner. Thanks! Now I’ve got to get back to sewing!!

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mamakind


can you guess what she is??

So PZ wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween. Yay! Fun costume!! I let Hubs and her do the paper mache helmet and backpack/oxygen tanks and I sewed the suit. I used this pair of overalls that I’d bought from Inretrospect last Christmas as a guide and added sleeves. I put elastic in the ankle and wrist bands and added a little piece of admiral star ribbon. I added the gathered shoulder and the high collar to give it a bit of 60’s “moon girl” appeal.

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Book Review: Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing


I finally got a chance to sit down and do a couple of projects from Lotta Jansdotter’s book, Simple Sewing. The book design is very much like her fabrics – minimalist design, organic prints, and funky colors. There are 24 sewing projects separated by the headings COOK, GO, NEST, and ORGANIZE. It probably says something about my life, and definitely my body rhythms that the two projects I chose were both from ORGANIZE. It is autumn after all. I chose the bed pocket (an anniversary gift for Hubs) and the magazine holder. 

bed pocket

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Two for Two


Anne, one of my bestest of buddies, just had her second daughter and since we were out of town for the big event I decided to try and make up for it with a quilt. Nothing says “I love you” like cotton. 🙂 Anyway this is the second quilt I’ve made. I used Lotta Jansdotter’s book Simple Sewing for Baby as my guide and although I like this book very much I think one of us had her math off. I could easily be wrong, but I suspect that neither of us accounted for seam allowances, so the back of my quilt was bigger than the front and I had to cut to compensate.

I still had a pretty big wrinkle in the back after I started the actual quilting, so I ended up pushing the wrinkle all to one edge and sewing it down. This solution worked pretty well. The only other issue with the blanket was my own doing. I didn’t have the patience to wait until Cool Cottons was open and so instead of using one whole piece of batting I used two rectangles one way and then overlapped it with two more rectangles going the other direction. This made for a kind of bumpy ride which I’m hoping will smooth out over time. There is also a small triangle of quilt that seems to not have ANY batting and this is, of course, beneath the lightest fabric square. Lovely.


One of the reasons I chose to use Lotta’s pattern was the pocket. I added the O(for Opal) applique by using Pellon’s Wonder Under which is super easy to use and has become practically second nature to me after doing so many capes! All and all this was a labor of love for I have definitely caught the quilting bug. PZ really wants me to make her one next. I’m thinking I’ll make her one for Winter Solstice. Something to keep her nice and cozy. 


Bugs in the Mail

I’m back! Hubs, PZ, Q, and I are done with our tour of the midwest and are oh so glad to be back in Portland. We arrived to find not only two very where-have-you-been-and-did-you-bring-us-any-food pups at our house, but also two tired-of-being-in-this-packaging-thank-you-very-much-and-nice-to-meet-you buggies from Australia. Yay! Dimmity and Beatrice are two, count them TWO!, sweet little ladies that Rebecca from Blinking Flights was sweet enough to make and send to us for her part of the bug swap

My girls just adore their new bug pals! Thanks so much Rebecca. I hope you are enjoying Zaque the Space Man and sorry it took me so long to write this!! If you guys want to check out more of the super cute bugs from the swap go here.


Bec's lady bugs 2

Q’s Doll and Ball

Stitched In Time nutcracker doll

I finished Q’s birthday doll over the weekend, but am waiting to give it to her until her party on Saturday. Simone was a HUGE help with the hair (thanks Simone!) and I took a cue from Orangeflower and put in an elastic waist for the skirt. I could not figure out Alicia‘s instructions on that at all. Ha! Oh well! I think she still came out pretty cute even if her head is more than a little smooshed.

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Not Stitched In Time

Its the first. Which means it is time for another Crafty Daisy Book Club discussion. Our book this time is Alicia Paulson’s Stitched In Time. This was one of my suggested books because I already had it on my bookshelf and had been meaning to find some time to do a project from it. Alicia is a fellow Portland crafter (Yay!) and actually lives in my neighborhood which was one of the main reasons I purchased the book. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have otherwise. My first flip through I was excited by the photo of a small child’s blouse and another photo of a child’s vintage looking dress. Unfortunately they were for display only. Disappointed, I started a more careful peruse to see what project I wanted to do.


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Kitschy Coo Review – Four Way Reverisble Swing Top pattern and tutorial


I ordered one of Amanda’s 4 Way Reversible Swing Top pattern and tutorials a couple of months ago from her Etsy shop Kitschy Coo Kids and finally found time to try it last week. The pattern was drawn on nice, thick butcher’s paper and although one of the pieces was mislabeled it was pretty easy to figure out what was what. Plus, Amanda was quick to answer any questions I had. I contacted her through Twitter, but I’m sure she’d be responsive through her shop or blog as well.

The tutorial is printed out on the front and back of 4 pieces of computer paper and has 17 process pictures. Most of the steps were easy to follow. Toward the middle, when it is explaining how to seam the sides of the shirt, things got a bit muddled for me. The pattern instructs to pin the inside fabric and to leave the outside fabric loose as you sew the side seam together. I found the mechanics of this hard to understand and the loose hanging fabric a sewing accident waiting to happen. I simply pinned inner fabric to inner fabric and outer to outer until I had a tube, then sewed it like a pant leg or shirt sleeve. Figuring this out was a bit frustrating for this beginning sewer at 11 pm in the almost pitch black hole I call a craft room. 🙂 I ended up leaving it for the night and coming back fresh the next afternoon during nap time. In the light of day it was a breeze.

My button holes ended up kind of funky as well. I should have looked more closely at the pictures online. When I made this top for Q I also made one for PZ, but the buttons ended up even stranger for that one and so I’m turning it into a double breasted top. I know it is going to look fabulous. *Don’t worry! I’ll post pictures as soon as I’m done. I hope during nap time today.

Even with those few kinks I must say I’m pretty happy with the final product. Amanda said she is hoping to start sending her patterns to get printed professionally which I think should really help. I’m planning on ordering more of her patterns soon. I like both her Tunic pattern and am excited for when the Smocky Top is written up. I think she is a great designer and I bet with a bit more tinkering her patterns and tutorials will reflect that.

When I purchased this top I also got the Double Breasted Reversible Coat pattern and tutorial which I’m very excited about for fall and I happened to have been a winner during one of her giveaways (Yay!) for her Boy’s Single Breasted Coat pattern and tutorial. So stay tuned! You’ll definitely be hearing more about Kitschy Coo patterns here in the future.

In case you are wondering about the fabric, I got the Matryoshka Dot fabric from Cool Cottons, (but you can get it at Superbuzzy)and the 30’s reproduction fabric is RJR’s 2006 Everything But the Kitchen Sink. I got it from Fabric Depot a couple of years ago. The buttons came from the button jar my mom sent me this winter. She’d been collecting them forever. PZ loves sorting through them. (Thanks Mom!) I should also send a shout out to Yancey who was a sweetheart and got me the early birthday present of a new ironing board. I’d been using one of those tiny table top numbers, but now I have a brand new baby. It is HUGE and adjustable, with a place for me to sit the iron and hang the clothes underneath. So cool!! Thanks Yancey!


May Giveaway Day – Beginning Sewing


If you’ve been following along you’ll know all about the Handmade Experiment and how back in January I committed myself to making all the gifts I give this year. So far this has involved some baking and woodworking and a LOT of sewing. I had done a bit of sewing before – some pillows and the lining for a crocheted bag I made for a friend, but nothing like what I’ve done this year – tote bags, kid’s clothes, costumes, and even some plushies.

My hubs says he’s really proud of me. I’m proud of me, too! Sewing and creating for myself and friends and family is something that I’ve always wished I could do. I thought it would be so hard, but its not. My best piece of advice: start out simple. Sure you want to made retro swing dresses that fit you perfectly, but why not start with a cute tote or wrap skirt? One success will give you the confidence to move on the the next project and the next. Before you know it, your friends will be asking you to sew stuff for them!

For those who are letting their lack of a machine get in the way, check out your local fabric stores and crafty shops. You might find that there are sewing machines you can rent or a space you can go to work on your project. If you live in Portland or the surrounding area, check out DIY Alert! for a map of crafty spots around town and lists of classes.

Okay, so you might have picked up I’m big on promoting handmade. To prove I’m not all talk and to be a part of the May Giveaway Day spectacular that Sew, Mama, Sew! is throwing, The Handmade Experiment is reaching out to those sewing beginners and wish-I-coulders with an awesome sewing supplies giveaway from two great Portland designers!

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Summer Wardrobe Fresh From the Garden

While PZ and hubby did a bit of gardening, and I do mean just a bit since it was raining for most of the week, I managed to get in some sewing. I’m still building on the girls spring/summer wardrobes and was inspired to do some light cotton pants after getting a great deal on retro striped fabric from Knittin’ Kitten (it looks like what they make men’s dress shirts out of).

two pants for Q

two pants for Q

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