Waste Not, Learn Not…

You know that feeling you get when you buy a new pair of shoes or a new outfit, and you’re just dying to have an excuse to wear it , but for some reason you can’t get yourself to wear it?  I know we’ve all been there.  Is it because you don’t want to risk it getting dirty or ruined so fast?  Is it because you can’t bear to break it’s “newness”? Or perhaps it’s because you don’t want to “waste” it because nobody is going to see you in it that day?  I know I’m guilty of this with a lot of things, including my fabric stash.

I’ve come to realize lately that it’s partly hindering my sewing progress.  I often find that I hesitate working on practice projects because I feel like I’m wasting fabric if it’s not a specific project that someone will be using right away, if ever.  Even with coupons or discounts, fabric is just not cheap nowadays, so a part of me feels guilty when I go to use up my stash.  I know, in a sense, it’s totally ridiculous.  After all, what good is spending your money on something only for it to take up space and collect dust on a shelf?  THAT would be the real “waste” in my opinion.

Furthermore, how could I possibly plan on improving my skills without practicing consistently?  How will you know how a fabric behaves, best needle/thread/tension, etc. if you don’t test it?  It’s never a waste if it’s for the sake of learning, but I just need to keep reminding myself of that!

I’ve also really been trying to get on the ball with getting in more sewing time, and taking the time to sketch out my ideas as they happen so I don’t forget them, because let’s face it- I WILL forget it.  One of the worst things is having all sort of ideas flowing like crazy, and when you actually sit down and try to be productive – NOTHING!  I’ve made it a point to carry my sketchpad with me, and I think it really helps me get in a good groove.  I finally remembered to pick up some colored pencils so I can start incorporating some color into my sketches to really get an idea of what color palettes I’m feeling.

This past weekend, I was happy to have some time and work on one of my sketches.  It’s just a basic flat zippered clutch bag, but I wanted to play around with color placement and style lines.  It’s simple, but slightly geometric.  I want to play around with the proportions and shapes some more so that it’s not quite so equal all around.  It was a great chance to use some faux leather/vinyl fabric from my stash.  I just wish my machine was a little better at handling the bulkiness that vinyl seams create.  Overall, it does a better job than a lot of home machines probably do, but I can’t wait to upgrade so it can fly through the seams with ease and perfection!

triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (6)triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (7)triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (3)


Handmade Black Quilted Crossbody Handbag – Vogue V9263

This post is a little late because I really wasn’t going to blog about it to begin with.  I wasn’t fully pleased with how my latest project turned out, but I figured hey, this blog is meant to share both the successes AND failures.  I want to be able to look back at my progress eventually, and see what areas I was able to improve, and what areas still need work.

In all honesty, it wasn’t a total fail.  There’s actually quite a bit of elements that I really liked the way they turned out.  I’ve been trying to research and look into different handbag making techniques so that I can learn what I like and don’t like, what materials work best with certain styles/techniques, etc.  It’s definitely a SLOOOOOOOOWWWWW process on my part, but I also have to be careful not to burn through supplies.

The goal this year is to really increase my bag making.  I wasn’t able to complete nearly as much as I wanted in the last year, so I definitely need to pick up the pace and push through.  For my first handbag of 2018, I chose to work from a Vogue Handbag Pattern, V9263.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t believe I can’t find any blogs or posts anywhere about this pattern!  Vogue V9263 comes with patterns for two very different handbags, both of which are quite nice.  I bought this sometime last year when Vogue patterns were on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Never pay the full price unless ABSOLUTELY necessary!

Vogue Sewing Pattern V9263
Left: View B Right: View A

I decided to make View A, which is for a small quilted crossbody handbag.  It’s ideal because not only are smaller bags in right now, but I only have one little one that I’ve had for years now, and it’s taken such a beating lately.  I do however, think that View B of the tote is pretty cute too, and it offers a lot of pocket space in the lining.  Perhaps I’ll try that one next!

For the fabric, I chose Spradling Whisper Vinyl in black, and a random lining fabric I inherited recently from my late grandmother’s fabric stash.  I love that I get to feel like I have a part of her memory in the handbag!  I didn’t stick 100% to the sewing pattern as far as interfacing and using contrasting fabrics.  I love the look of an all black handbag better.  I also opted for Pellon Flex Foam to quilt the front and back pieces, and I think it gives the bag much more structure and a better quilted effect than the recommended interfacing would have.

Once finished, I was so disappointed to see the zipper warped!  It warped SOO badly!  Everything was aligned and working out great before that.  I did a little google search, and a lot of suggestions said to interface the pieces (and staystitching would probably work too) before sewing the zipper.  This makes sense since the vinyl fabric has a great deal of stretch to it.  With all of the cramped maneuvering I had to do around my machine, it probably added to any stretching that may have also occurred already from the zipper installation.

**Which also lead me to realize how badly I want to eventually invest in a cylinder arm sewing machine!  Even though my machine has a free arm option, it is still way too wide for a purse this size.  It makes neat topstitching extremely challenging sometimes!

Overall, I actually still love this crossbody handbag pattern despite any sewing flaws on my part.  The dimensions are nice, and I really would like to make some more by experimenting with different fabrics/colors/pocket styling.  I love the quilting and piping details, and hopefully I’ll be able to work out the zipper kinks on the next one!  Below are some shots of the final product.



v9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag frontv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bagv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag backv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag strapv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag lining

Power Rangers Toddler Backpack Using Simplicity 1388 Sewing Pattern

I’m super excited for how this sewing project turned out!  It was nearing Christmas and I was still trying to figure out what on Earth I could get for one of my little nephews.  He’s almost three years, and he’s pretty typical in what he likes: superheroes, cars, etc.  In a sense, he’s pretty easy to buy for, but he also has a lot of different toys and clothes already.  I also had a pretty tight budget to stick to this year.  I was wandering around the fabric store one day, just trying to think of something I might be able to make.  This time of year, the standard seems to always be a no-sew fleece blanket, but I already made him a blanket last year.

He’s really into Power Rangers right now, and I was lucky enough to find ONE bolt of Power Rangers fabric.  Still, I was left wondering what the heck I could make that might be a little useful to a toddler.  I sat down to flip through the pattern books, and realized I had previously bought Simplicity 1388, which is a sewing pattern for a backpack.  Perfect!  It would be great for my spending budget as well because I already had most of the supplies on hand.  I chose to do view A because it was the most basic and practical for carrying toys, snacks, blankets, clothes, etc.

power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (1)

  • Main fabric – Power Rangers cotton
  • Contrast fabric – Navy canvas
  • 1″ Red Nylon strapping
  • Dritz 1″ Strap adjusters
  • 12″ & 22″ zippers

Additional Supplies not pictured/required:

  • Pellon Wonder-Under
  • Duck canvas
  • Pellon Flex Foam
  • Lining Fabric




Based on the dimensions, I was a bit worried that the backpack would be too large for a toddler, but it actually looks like a nice size for him.  There were some modifications that I wanted to make, so I pretty much just used the pattern for the sizing of the pieces, and figured out the rest on my own.

I wanted to make sure the backpack had enough structure and shape, so I decided to underline all of my pattern pieces with the duck canvas.  The pattern called for interfacing and fleece, but I wanted to keep my cost down by using materials I already had.  I also feel that the canvas gave the cotton more body.  I used the Pellon Wonder-Under to fuse the cotton and canvas together to function as a single layer.

One of the things that bothered me about the pattern, was the straps.  It is designed to just use nylon webbing/strapping but I thought that sounded uncomfortable and cheap looking.  I instead decided to make cushioned straps like a regular backpack, and use the nylon strapping to keep them adjustable.  I also opted for these plastic strap adjusters instead of the thinner metal adjusters required in the pattern.  Using the Pellon Flex Foam creates a nice padded strap without making them too heavy or stiff.

power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (3)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (4)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (5)

I’m so glad I decided to make my own straps, because it really takes the level up another notch.  Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the backpack turned out!  At first, I was really having trouble getting my curved seams to lay flat, even with plenty of notching and pressing.  I was about to settle, but being the ridiculous perfectionist that I am, I opened up the lining and notched and pressed the heck out of it, and it looks way better!

power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (16)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (11)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (13)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (12)power rangers toddler backpack simplicity 1388 (15)


DIY Mini Knitted Christmas Stockings


Continuing to DIY some Christmas decor with this free Mini Christmas Stocking knitting pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits.  There are eight different fair isle patterns included that you can choose from, but you could just knit them as a solid color and they would be just as cute!

They finish up quickly and would make a great ornament, garland, or gift wrap embellishment.

Backrest/Lounge Pillow using McCall’s Sewing Pattern 4123

Since finishing up all of the dresses for the wedding back in September, I’ve been on a little sewing hiatus.  Not that I haven’t wanted to work on anything, but I think I just needed a break, both physically and mentally.  In the meantime, I’ve just been working on a few different knitting projects to keep busy.  I love that knitting is something that you can take on the go, and work on whenever you have a little downtime.

I finally realized my much needed sewing break was coming to an end as I was starting to look up projects, to sketch down ideas, and to get inspired by different fabrics I was coming across.

I had this McCall’s 4123 pattern in my stash for awhile because I was waiting to gather all of the materials for it.  My boyfriend and I love having movie nights at home, or sometimes we have our lazy days of NBA 2K and knitting.  I wanted to make us both some backrest pillows so we could be more comfortable when lounging around.  I chose View H (lounge pillow), and although I didn’t follow the pattern instructions exactly, it still came out great.


**A quick tip I learned from my boss recently is to interface the pattern pieces.**

GAME CHANGER!  I can’t believe I never thought of doing something so obvious!  It stabilizes the delicate tissue paper so it makes it so much easier to work with and also makes it last longer before getting worn out.  In the past, I’ve always traced them to kraft paper if I needed, but transferring markings is such a pain!  She suggested using just the cheapest Pellon fusible interfacing that runs $0.99 per yard at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I’m not sure if you can see it clearly in the photo below, but it fuses easily to the tissue while still being able to see all of the necessary pattern markings:

pellon interfacing

The original version for View H, includes creating an inner pillow (of muslin or other inexpensive fabric) first that holds the stuffing.  The main fabric is supposed to be lined with fleece, and is meant to be removable (like a pillow case) with a Velcro closure.  I decided to skip all of this lol!  I also ditched the top handle and side arm pockets because I figured they would either not get used, or would get stuffed with trash.  I figured I’d save myself the trouble of extra unnecessary steps.

By skipping these options, it also helped keep the cost down.  The supplies needed to create 1 lounge pillow this altered way are as follows:

  • 2 yards fleece fabric (or other 60″ fabric)
  • Fiberfill for stuffing
  • 5 yds of cording (for piping)

I decided I wanted to do some fun prints because there are so many adorable fabrics out there that I rarely have use for.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to add a little color and personal touch.  Although the pattern suggests a home dec weight fabric, I went with some Blizzard fleece from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Fleece is always cheaper this time of year, so it was also a more affordable option.  I went with a generic basketball print fleece for the boyfriend, and paw prints for me.

blizzard fleece joann fabrics

Since I plan on making at least two of these backrest pillows, I used the 10 lb box of Fairfield Poly-Fil brand of fiberfill.  This size runs around $50 at Jo-Ann, but I waited until I had a 60% off coupon!  They also have many different size packages.  If you’ve never bought the Poly-fil before, just note that it will expand almost double the size once you open the box.  This’ll give you a rough estimate of how much product you get.

fairfield 10 lb poly-fil

Cording for piping can be purchased by the yard or prepackaged.  I found this in the Home Dec section at Jo-Ann (where all of the curtain and upholstery supplies are located).  Since each backrest needs 5 yards, this 10 yard package was perfect for making both:


Instead of using a Velcro closure, simply skip these steps in the instructions and sew all of the seams closed.  Be sure to leave an opening so you can stuff it with the fiberfill.  Once done, I just slip stitched the opening closed for a nice clean finish.  Don’t be shy with the stuffing either!  You want to make sure it has a nice firm shape to last awhile.  It’s so comfortable, we’re fighting over who gets to use it first lol!  Can’t wait to make my backrest pillow, and I’m thinking I might just make some for my nieces for Christmas!

mccall's pattern 4123 (2)

Handmade Gray Knit Beanie with Faux Fur Pom Pom

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like fall around here!!! Well, it’s only been a day, but I have high hopes!  If you know anything about Cali, you know we’re basically sunny and hot year round.  We’re occasionally lucky to get a hint of a rainy/cold season here and there, but we also wake up to 90 degree weather on Christmas Day many years.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it and wouldn’t be able to make it many other places.  That being said, I DO love the fall and winter weather.  I love wearing sweatshirts, beanies and basically anything warm and cozy more than tanks and sandals.  Since I’ve been on a little sewing break, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy improving my knitting and crocheting skills.

One of the great things I love about yarn art is it’s portable and can be taken in the car, but more importantly it can be worked on from the comfort of my bed…in my pj’s…while lounging like a lazy bum!  I love the way this came out, simple and basic, but clean and polished.  I’m also loving the look of the faux fur pom pom over a yarn pom pom.  I think I’m going to give this one to one of my nieces because the size is just a tad bit small looking for an adult.

wool blend gray knit beanie with faux fur pom pom

Handmade Burgundy Wedding Gown Update with Photographer’s Photos

Finally got a couple of the wedding photographer’s pictures back…totally loving this full body shot of Eva’s burgundy wedding gown from September.

The veil was made from a lace knit fabric from Joann Fabrics.  The wedding gown was made from a damask jacquard upholstery fabric from Fabric.com.

Photo cred:  Island Memories Photography

Handmade Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s Dresses

WOWZERS!!  I’ve been M.I.A. on here for 2 months!!  Not TOTALLY without good reason, however.  One of the reasons is simply that my stinkin’ WordPress app has not been working on my phone!  Has anyone else had this issue?  My phone is my main source for updating, simply because it’s so handy.  I’ve already tried deleting and re-downloading the app, updating my software, etc., but nothing works.

More importantly, I’m sure you can tell from the title image what the main reason for my absence has been…

No, I didn’t get married lol.

I did however, have the exciting privilege of creating the wedding gown, bridal veil, and bridesmaid’s dresses for my younger sister’s wedding!  Although I’ve sewn some apparel in the past, this project was so completely out of my comfort zone.  I really hadn’t sewn many fitted garments, and if so, they were primarily from a manufacturer’s pattern.  It was really exciting (and at times overwhelming) to drape and draft all of the patterns myself.  I was pleased that I could figure out the order of make for the dresses with surprising ease.  At the end of it all, when you see it come to life, it’s such an amazing sense of accomplishment to know you did it on your own!

The Bridesmaid’s Dresses

When I first began the project, I originally assumed the bridesmaid’s dresses would naturally be the easier of the two.  WRONG!  In a sense, they were.  Since the material used was stretchy and the style was very drapey, the fit didn’t have to be perfect.  However, figuring out how the material draped best on the dress form was at the least, time consuming.  Another big difficulty I encountered was trying to fit the bust area, while maintaining the loose soft drape of both the front and back.  Ultimately, we just had to pin and sticky tape ourselves in.  Aside from some fit issues, I loved the feel of the fabric.  It was also fully lined so it was more forgiving and didn’t feel too thin or see-through.

The bridesmaid’s dresses were inspired by the Kotahi Gown by Gemeli Power:

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit

The Bridal Gown & Veil

For the star of the show, the bride had some VERY specific requests, which is the main reason why I was making the gown in the first place.  We just knew it was going to be so difficult and/or expensive to find everything she wanted.

The silhouette she wanted was actually quite simple (thankfully!).  I can’t imagine trying to create something more elaborate with my limited experience!  She opted for a strapless trumpet style gown with a sweetheart bodice  The difficulty was going to be creating the right fit, and finding the perfect fabric.  We both searched everywhere, and ordered some swatches online.  Finding the perfect shade of a burgundy/marsala wine damask jacquard is no easy task…especially when the majority of the available options are either shiny and cheap, or carpet thick.  Fabric.com came through with the win!  I found this home dec/upholstery fabric which was 100% the idea she had in her head.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice:

home decor upholstery burgundy damask jacquard fabric

There were so many elements to her gown that I had never attempted before.  In addition to being fully lined, the bodice portion had a duck canvas underlining, rigilene boning, and a waist stay for added support.  I had also never inserted an invisible zipper in a lined dress, and it was nice to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my machine!  I’m secretly kind of addicted to it now!

We had to do about three different muslin mock ups because her measurements kept changing so drastically.  I was starting to get worried that I would never be able to get the fit right!  On our last one, I was soooo excited to see it FINALLY work out!  Her main request was to be super fitted throughout the bodice and hips, and then gradually flow into a trumpet style gown.  The front was darting out a little too sharply (in a more mermaid style), but it still worked out great.  The flow of the train is my favorite!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (5)

Finding the right veil fabric proved to be waaay more difficult than finding the gown fabric.  I found a stretchy knit lace from JoAnn Fabric.  The color was not a complete match, but the little bit of contrast gave a nice element to the look.  It was also quite heavy, so it’s a good thing she decided to go for a shorter veil.

I can’t wait to see the photographer’s photos because these cell pics just don’t capture how great the entire wedding and wedding party looked!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (4)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (6)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (1)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (7)

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (2)handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (3)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (8)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (2)

Although each dress had it’s own areas that needed refinement, I’m so proud of what I created, and so happy that I could bring her visions to life!

As much fun as it was creating FOUR dresses, I’m so happy to get back to sleeping and eating on a regular schedule LOL!

Autumn in August?

Ok, so I know it’s barely the start of August, but as most of you crafters and those of you in retail know, it’s basically already Thanksgiving.  Well, as far as the retailers would have us believe.  Even though it’s been this way for years and years already, I STILL get so shocked when I see stores roll out new seasonal merchandise at least 3 months prior.  And of course, there’s ALWAYS the grumblers complaining that it’s waaaaayyyy too early to be thinking about the upcoming season.

As much as I still get shocked, in a way, I understand the early jump start.  We’re constantly taught that the early bird gets the worm, right?  To stop being lazy, and that procrastination gets you nowhere.  That successful, organized people plan ahead, no?  If you think about it, if the stores waited until summer actually started before they set up summer themed merchandise, we wouldn’t have time to get the perfect swimsuit for our Hawaiian vacation.  We might not have the money all at once to get all of the awesome Christmas decor, and still have time to set it up and enjoy it long enough before it’s time to tear it all down.  As a crafter, you know it’s essential to start early in order to complete your projects in a timely manner.  The older I get, the more and more I try to remind myself that this early planning is much more beneficial, at least for me.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am such a bad procrastinator!  I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still something I work on and am trying to improve about myself.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been surprisingly proactive when it comes to seasonal decorating.  Since switching jobs, I’ve had much more free time to get things done.  Now that all of the fall decor has rolled into retailers, my bank account hopefully won’t suffer!  Im such a sucker for the fall and winter months (you wouldn’t think so living in So Cal!)!

I’ve had a grapevine wreath in my stash for like 2-3 years now…seriously.  I made it a point that I was going to finally sit down and use it up.  I headed to my local Dollar Tree and grabbed a few great floral picks and pumpkins before they’re all gone.  If you’ve never ventured into a Dollar Tree, you’re missing out!  Now, obviously floral items from craft stores are going to have a bigger and somewhat better selection, but honestly, the Dollar Tree floral is pretty amazing!  I guarantee you, nobody will ever believe you only spent a few dollars!

*I hate the little bald spot above “give” so I fixed it after the picture was taken

The only *major* purchase was the tiny owl from Jo-Ann Fabric.  I had a roll of 2″ burlap in my stash that I cut up to make the mini banner.  I wrote out the message in sharpie to act as a guide for the black acrylic paint.  I was planning on using some heat transfer vinyl with my cricut, but I got too lazy.  In retrospect, I kind of wished I had used vinyl, but I still love it!

I really love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to make some more!  I want to put it on the front door already, but I know that’s pushing it!

Till next time!


Incredibly thankful and excited because…

The awesome Keri Elaine nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award !

Photo credit to: https://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/blog-button/

Even though I’ve had this blog open for a year now, I really haven’t been able to dedicate the time into it that I’d like to.  It’s nice to be able to engage with the other bloggers on here, and see all of the different topics each one covers.  Keri is an aspiring actress who has some great posts about fashion and art, so be sure to swing by and check out her page!  I’ve never been nominated for a blogger award, so thank you Keri for your consideration!!

As part of being nominated, you guys get to learn 7 fun facts about me so here goes!

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE baseball, and specifically, the Los Angeles Dodgers!  They’ve been my team growing up, and I’m praying this is the year I finally get to see them in the World Series!
  2. I’m somewhat obsessed with the Jurassic Park movies, as well as cute dinosaur stuff.  If I ever have a child, it’s going to be a dinosaur nursery for sure!
  3. People are always surprised by my choice in music.  It varies from rap/hip-hop to Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra.
  4. I could live at Disneyland if they let me.
  5. As much as I love wearing makeup and having cutesy clothes, I’m ultimately all about the comfort at heart.  I would go everywhere in sweats & pj’s if it was socially acceptable!  LOL!
  6. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but California.  However, the idea of adopting a ton of dogs and living on a giant acre of land sounds increasingly enticing.
  7. Lastly, I’m ridiculously, over-the-top, can’t-be-healthy-by-normal-standards OCD about symmetry and perfection.  I absolutely cannot stand to see lists or groupings that are unbalanced or oddly numbered.  For example, the fact that this list is 7 items is going to drive me bananas!  In a perfect world, it would be 5 or 10 or so on.  Or clocking out from your job at a time like 4:23?! Oh no!  LOL all of my friends and family tease me for it, and thankfully I’m able to poke fun at myself too!

The best part about being nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, is that I get to keep it going and pay it forward to other awesome bloggers!  I wish that I could nominate everyone, but unfortunately it’s not possible.  Below is a small list of some of the great blogs I would like to nominate.  Please check them out and give them a follow!

  1. Sissh does some AMAZING artwork, and is one of the first blogs I followed on wordpress.
  2. Brittani is all about the DIY and you should be too!
  3. PaperPuff has all kinds of card making posts which is great inspiration for anyone interested in papercrafting.
  4. Buster proves it’s awesome for men to get involved and embrace sewing too!  I hope to be on his level one day!

Till next time!