Gift: Cocktail Napkins

891 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Sewing

Let’s take a break from my vacation photos and have a looksie at the beautiful present my sister Marta made me.

Thank you, Marta, for such a lovely present. I can’t wait to have cocktails with you to try these bad boys out!


Pattern Crush: Busybodies

601 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Family, Inspiration, Sewing


Back in the day, it was actually cheaper to make clothes than to buy them.  My mother made most of the clothes my sister and I wore, and we loved it.  Going to the fabric store to choose a pattern, picking out the fabric for the new outfit, listening to Mom sew and sew until it was all done!  Around the early 90s, the fine people at Butterick came up with a new line of patterns for girls: Busybodies.  The clothes were fashionable, yet could stand up to some time on the playground.  This didn’t mean a thing to me and my sister; for us, it was all about the Busybodies Girls.

The same four (illustrated) girls were depicted on every pattern cover.  A cross between The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins, they were the girls my sister and I wanted to be: fashionable, carefree, and confident, with beautiful hair and killer accessories.

As anyone who sews can tell you, it is totally awesome to take something that is just an idea, or a picture, and turn it into a unique piece of custom clothing.  Busybodies opened up that door for me.  I fell in love with those illustrated girls, and my mom was able to give me my own little part of the Busybodies world.  It wasn’t too long before I began sewing my own clothing, and eventually, it was no longer about Becoming a Busybodies Girl- it was about making my OWN clothes and developing my own style.

I still have a soft spot for those girls.  I called my sister up to tell her about a Busybodies pattern I’d seen at a thrift store recently.  We still agree that they are the coolest girls we’ve ever seen.


I had my mom make an exact replica of this illustration!  Proudly wearing my new outfit on the first day of fifth grade.

PS: Thanks, Mom for the hundreds of outfits you sewed for all of us!


Lace Garland-Yea or Nea?

1,591 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Crafts, Home Decor, Sewing

Livy at A Field Journal posted about this beautiful paper lace garland a while ago.  I finally got around to making it (sewing machine/ motivation issues) and put it up above the bed.  I’m not totally satisfied.  Should I make some more?  Should I put the garland somewhere else, and then put some sort of wall hanging above the bed?  I really like the garland itself, I just don’t know if it should go above the bed.




Bookshelf to Hutch Transformation


I think you’d be hard pressed to find a 20something who doesn’t have a particle board bookshelf in her apartment.  I think they’re so ubiquitous because real wood bookshelves are: a) expensive and b) tend to look like they were made by the Amish.  In our last place, we used our bookshelf to hold books.  We bought an Expedit bookcase from Ikea to hold our books and hobby supplies, so ye old particle board bookshelf was just sitting there.  I then came up with the brilliant idea of transforming it into a hutch.  I thought it would make our dining area seem a bit more obvious, as if the hutch is saying, “Yes, see, people eat here… my plates and various crockery are proof!”

To spruce up the old girl, I first took out the top two shelves and attached craft paper with double sided tape to the back.  I did kind of a crummy job cutting the top of the paper, so I’m on the hunt for some cute tape to cover up the jagged edge.  It is amazing how just some brown paper really gave the bookshelf some more depth.

I have these great dessert plates from Anthropologie that were a birthday gift from my sister a few years ago.  Sadly, they’ve just sat in my kitchen cupboards all this time!  I attached them to the back of the shelf with that putty you can use to put up posters.  I also made a little snake of putty that I put on the bottom of each plate to help them stay put.  They’ve been up for a few days now, and they’re holding quite well.

I found some clearance Amy Butler fabric (like $5 a yard!) to make the skirt.  I just did a quick sew job, as if I were making a little curtain.  A tension rod holds it up.

Now, the funny thing about all this is that with the exception of the desert plates, I don’t actually own any dishware worth showing off.  The antique radio (it still works!) passed down through Brian’s family seems to compensate just a bit.




All and all, the transformation cost about $10.   Anyone else have a cheap and quick furniture transformation?


Review: Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton

666 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Inspiration, Sewing

I watched a great documentary this weekend: Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton by Loic Prigent.  I stumbled upon this DVD while searching through my local library’s online catalog, and decided to check it out.  The film was produced for French television in 2007, and the DVD has the option for English or German narration and subtitles.  The film follows designer Marc Jacobs while he designs two separated collections: one for his own label, and one for Louis Vuitton.  The film crew was given unprecedented access to the design tables and work rooms of both fashion houses. You’re able to see how the creative process begins (pitch meetings, inspiration boards) and how it ends (the last minute stitching on garments less than an hour before a runway show).

You don’t need to have an interest in high end fashion to enjoy this documentary.  I think anyone with a creative mind will enjoy seeing  Marc Jacobs go through the creative process; I know I found inspiration from watching him and his teams work.  Anyone who’s pulled an all nighter finishing up a project will sympathize with the crews pulling 24 hour plus shifts to get the garments ready for a runway show.  I also found this film to have an overall fun spirit to it, which made it that much more exciting to watch.  The narration is quick and witty, the editing is clever and entertaining, there is some great music in the background, and of course, Marc Jacobs himself is fun to watch.

This clip from the film demonstrates perfectly what this movie is all about: the fun music, the creative process, the team’s attitude and spirit under Jacobs’ direction.


My Dream Serger

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Sewing

Last fall, while at the fair, I decided to stop by a booth set up by a local sewing machine chain to check out some sergers. I had absolutely no intention of buying. Fast forward ten minutes, when this sweet old lady is giving me paperwork to finance the PFAFF Coverlock 4862! I hadn’t walked into that booth alone; I had my mom (an experienced sewer) with me. My mom suggested that I go take a walk to think it over. I hemmed and hawed all day at the fair; I even went back to “visit” the serger a few more times. But that $1200 price tag was just too much, so I went home empty handed.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago: I’m trolling ebay, and what do I see but a brand new Coverlock 4862 at a great price! I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

I now have the serger here with me, and I’m stoked to get it up and running. I’ve been wanting to work with knits, but my sewing machine (my Grandma’s Elna ST) just isn’t up to the job. I’ll be sure to post how the serger is working out!


Super Buzzy!

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Crafts, Misc., Sewing

I  just came across this totally cute fabric and notions website,  The products are all from Japan, and are much more exciting than what you’d see at the local fabric store.  I’m really digging Retro & Nostalgic and House & Home fabric categories, especially this and this.  Perhaps some throw pillows, or a cozy for the flat panel tv?


I D.I.M.

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Crafts, Sewing
I did it myself!

I did it myself!

This make-up brush roll was inspired by a project in one of Lotta Jansdotter’s books.  I use a lot of brushes in my daily makeup routine (hello, mineral makeup!) and I wanted a way of keeping them all organized and clean in one place.  I just couldn’t find anything that would hold all of my different brush sizes AND I wanted something other than basic black.  When I was a flight attendant, this really kept me organized when I was on the road.

I used upholstery fabric for the body, and pre-packaged trim to keep the edges neat.  I’ve been using it daily for a little over a year now, and it holds up well to being washed on the gentle cycle with a delicate soap.

 | Tags: ,