Thursday, November 24, 2016

Penguin Kit Kats


Cute little Poinsettia Christmas Mini Tote Bag

     I just created this cute little tote bag made of card stock using a free design from Bird's Cards and my Silhouette Cameo. 

      I resized it to fit 2 entire bags on a 12x12 sheet of card stock.  After assembling the green tote using 1/8 inch double sided adhesive, I saw how gosh darned cute it was and had to decorate it for Christmas. 
     I used a Poinsettia cutting file that I thought I got from Bird's Cards but can't find anymore (maybe she no longer is offering it-I noticed many files that I previously downloaded are no longer available) and my Silhouette to cut out two Poinsettias on one sheet of 8.5 x 11 card stock, then cut out some leaves to go behind it.  No leaves were included in the Poinsettia file.
     I then cut out paper to decorate the front, back and sides of the tote using scraps from an old paper pack purchased 3-4 years ago from JoAnn's.
     I lifted the leaves of the poinsettia flower a little to make it more three dimensional, then assembled everything using a brad to keep them in place.  I used a large glue dot to attach the poinsettia to the tote, then added a glittery self adhesive dot (from the Dollar Tree) to the brad in the center of the Poinsettia. 
     I then used Wink of Stella on the Poinsettia flower leaves-note to self: next time do it BEFORE assembly!
     It's about 4.5 inches high by 3.5 inches wide which is perfect for some miniature candies or small gifts.
     I want to make several more and if they turn out just as cute I will include those images below.  The music note background paper paired with the poinsettia is so cute but because I am out of those scraps I will be playing with other papers.

Old Time Christmas Cards using a Paper Pack

     I had scraps left over from an unknown Christmas paper pack purchased from Joann's about 4 years ago.  It included different sized squares of old time images that could easily be turned into cards.  Of course at the time I didn't realize what to do with them because they weren't the size of a card.
     I revisited those scraps recently and decided to turn those images into simple and quick little Christmas cards using matching scraps of double sided papers from the same pack and a few pieces of dry embossed solid colored cardstock.

     I ended up changing some of them after taking this photo so I will include images of those changes below.  In the top row, I kept the first card as is.  It has Wink of Stella on the candle lights to make them "glow".  I changed the rest of the top row cards slightly and will describe them below.
     On the second row, I kept the cards as is.  The first one on the left has red gemstones added to the holly leaves.  The middle one has Wink of Stella on the poinsettia leaves, and gold colored enamel accents added for the center of the poinsettias.  The last card has Morning Dew Nuvo Crystal Drops added over the holly berries, and Wink of Stella on the holly leaves.  All of the cards have the same sentiment inside which is "Warm Winter Wishes" from Gina K Designs "Holiday Greetings" which doesn't seem to be available for purchase anymore

     I decided to add a similar embellishment to the top row second and third cards.  I just put a red and white snowflake made on my silhouette cameo (I have tons of these left over from a project) and a red adhesive gemstone in the upper right hand sides of each.  I did need to add some color to the white snowflake because the white clashed with the off white of the card so I used some antique linen distress ink on the snowflake to dull it down.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

First Attempts at Bra Making

Second Bra Attempt with Maya Bra Pattern by Ana

    If you can't find a well fitting bra and you know how to sew, then the decision of what to do about it is obvious.  I, however, will be starting as a newbie even though I know how to sew.  I have a serger and a computerized sewing machine with hundreds of stitches that is capable of embroidery too.  I seldom use it but I do want to start sewing again.  I am so frustrated about not being able to find a bra that fits so this is my comeback to sewing.
     Unfortunately, it isn't as straight forward as sewing side seams, putting in zippers and buttonholes, gathering and setting in sleeves.  I can do all those without problems.  It's like bra making is from another planet.  There are so many specialized fabrics, special accessories and specialized instructions to follow.  Don't get me wrong, I can follow instructions.  That is the easiest part.  I have made panties before and know how to set in lace and add lingerie elastics.  It is the precision involved.  You must be VERY precise in your sewing to get that professional look, but hey at this point I am less concerned about a professional look and more concerned about fit.  Precision will come with practice.
     There are patterns for sale on Etsy and a few free ones online if you want to search for them.  There are also some traditional patterns by Kwik Sew and Elan that you can search for.  I actually have one of the Kwik sew ones that I never used and the size won't work for me anymore.  It will work for my daughters though.  (Anyone see any pretty bras ending up in their wardrobe in the future?)
     I am working with the free Maya bra pattern by Ana from Romania.  If the link doesn't work it is probably because she is planning on moving her entire blog to  She is not there as of this blog post though.  Ana has English or Romanian instructions for you to choose from, but they aren't complete yet.  There are enough instructions to get the cups made and attached to the cradle and bra band, then put in elastics.  It doesn't cover the side stays, hooks and eyes or the attachment of straps though.
     As far as fabrics go, the ideal ones are currently out of my price range so I will be asking for a gift card for Christmas so that I can buy the necessary fabrics.  Unfortunately, you can't get the proper fabrics from your local fabric store.  You need to go to online bra making supply stores.  You CAN get some items from Fabric Depot online but you can't get everything you need there.  I am concerned that by the time I spend shipping and handling at multiple stores in an attempt to get the lowest prices I will likely spend more in shipping than the discounts I am receiving.  I have therefore decided that I will purchase them all at the same online store.  I have been looking and know of one that has everything (Sweet Cups Bra Supply), including kits for first time sewers who are confused as to what to buy.  They are the US distributor for supplies that are sold by the instructor of the Craftsy class at her Canadian Location.  I will keep you updated when I venture into the online world of bra making supplies.  I understand they have Good Friday and Cyber Monday sales so that might be when I have to order my minimal accessory products to use with the fabrics and elastics I have at home-I need underwires and hooks and eyes at the minimum.
     In the meantime, I made the Maya bra in the size I currently wear just to see if I could make something that looked like a bra.  I had to supplement the instructions with my  imagination plus some videos I found on YouTube and pieces from several videos.  Because I can't purchase underwires locally I purchased boning as a substitute and I purchased a cheap washable fusible foam instead of the suggested foam.  Then I purchase a bra repair set of hooks and eyes.  These are not professional looking at all because they aren't as wide as the bra band and definitely make it look homemade, but it is totally functional.  Here is a photo of my first attempt, although I picked it apart to use some of the nicer elastic and the hooks and eyes for my second attempt.  The first attempt was every bit as ill fitting as my current bras, but despite the fact that I have cut parts of the bra off, I think you can see that it was looking quite nice.

1st Maya Bra but deconstructed.  Ignore that image in the center of the bra.  My editing software added that weird detail

     For my second attempt, I didn't want to purchase more foam in case it still didn't fit.  I went down a cup size, used the same band size and again used boning instead of underwire.  Because it is a soft bra I have stuffed it with crumpled newspaper to make it more 3-D.  Please excuse the lumpiness.  It is difficult to tell if it fits or not due to not having proper underwires so I have decided I will order some underwires on my next payday, remove the boning from the casing and put the underwire in instead.  It seems closer to a proper fit but doesn't lay right.  A foam bra would have been easier to evaluate.  The image is at the top of this post, but I have added closeups here.

     After my second attempt which still didn't seem like it was going to fit perfectly, I signed up for Beverly Johnson's Craftsy class "Sewing Bras-Constuction and Fit".  I discovered that I didn't do things the way they should be done.  My top-stitching was too far from the seam line, I really HAVE to have underwires to evaluate for a good fit, and there was a top-stitching detail she teaches that I wasn't aware of.  I also didn't realize that you really must have two separate lines of top-stitching on your underwire (boning in my case) casing.  I only top-stitched the outer edge.
     I really hadn't planned on spending money on the class right now, however, I probably saved a lot of frustration by doing so.  I eventually want to purchase the Pin Up Girls Shelley Bra Pattern (which is also available at the US distributor site linked above under "one that has everything") and have questions on the Craftsy site for Beverly to help me find my proper size in her pattern.  According to her charts, my combination of cup size and band size doesn't equate to a pattern size.  It is a non-traditional size.  No wonder nothing ready made fits me.  This is another reason I am glad I am taking the class.  I can stop wasting my time shopping for bras, only to come home with nothing.
     I will post again after making my first bra using underwires and the Craftsy class instructions.  It will be with non-traditional fabrics I just have laying around my house until I finally make a bra that fits well.  I am concerned that Beverly is going to tell me to just alter the heck out of the cups to make them fit or to take one of her other classes for more detailed information for fit.  I really don't want to be spending money right now and just can't take another class until Spring probably.  I REALLY need a bra soon though.  Wish me luck!
     If you are interested you can search for images of the Maya Bra and the Pin Up Girls Shelley Pattern made by home seamstresses like me.  They are gorgeous.  I've seen them on Instagram and Pinterest and they are probably all over the web if you just search for them.  Ana has some completed Maya bras on her website as well.