Monday, December 22, 2014

Dirty Aprons

Dan's Grandma Hess had 11 children. At her funeral service some one who used to work on the family farm spoke about his experience working for Jacob and Mary. He mentioned that he could always tell when another family member was on the way, because Mary's apron front began to get dirtier. For some reason, that is the only tidbit I remember from the funeral service.

Can you guess whose apron is getting dirtier in the front these days?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Days 6 & 7

I promise, this is the last One Week One Pattern post! These two pictures basically show you what I wore. We were away for the weekend, where it was much colder than it had been earlier in the week, so my t-shirts didn't quite cut it. I didn't wear one on day 6 (we just hung around the house all day and tried to stay warm), and while I did wear one on day 7, it was under another shirt and sweatshirt all day. Like so:

So that's it! It was fun to participate in an online sewing community activity. I am glad to wear other clothes, but it made me think more about what it would be like to always wear the same uniform, or style of clothing. I'm sure I'd own fewer clothes and be more creative, which is something to think about. I like to say simplicity is a good thing, but I'm not sure I really live it when it comes to clothing. It takes up much more of my thoughts than it probably should. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

OWOP Day 5

This was my pattern version for Day 5. Here also, this picture was taken over the summer, instead of on Thursday, but I pretty much looked the same, minus a scarf that happened to wear with it this time around.

We left for a long weekend vacation mid-day, so as soon as I was finished with my morning at MOPS, I changed into some traveling clothes (jeans and a t-shirt) and didn't get Dan to snap my picture.

This is probably my favorite version of my pattern. It's too heavy of a knit to wear on really humid days, however, so I have to save it for slightly cooler weather. I picked the fabric up at a local thrift store, so I really have no idea what the fiber content is, although I'm pretty sure it's not 100% cotton b/c of the feel of it and how warm it is.

For some reason, I think this dress looks better with the belt on my hips, rather than around my waist. And I think this is one reason I like it more. I'm used to my waistbands landing on my hips, not my waist, so it feels more natural and comfortable. When I wear other dresses with a belt at my waist line, I'm less likely to keep them on longer than the event I wore them for.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

OWOP Days 3 & 4

Yesterday, Day 3:

This shirt was made from a thin knit remnant I picked up at JoAnn's. The two pieces don't match up perfectly, because the bottom was smaller, which makes it more fitted than other versions I've made. But I still like it. And I got the shoulder seams lined up nicely, so that's a plus.

Today, Day 4:

Rewearing the dress I wore on day one. This time I wore it with a belt made from cutting about 3 inches from the length of the fabric and trimming to the right length. No stitching of any kind on the belt. I love how knit fabric doesn't fray like woven fabric, and since it rolls over on itself, you can't even tell that the long edges aren't hemmed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Week One Pattern: Days 2 & 3

Here's what I wore Sunday, Day #2:

Confession: This picture was not taken yesterday. Dan was working most of the day, so I couldn't have him take a picture, and since I don't have a smart phone or camera that photographs well in the mirror, I figured I'd just use a picture my mom took of me a few weeks ago when I had her photograph me in the dresses I've made this past year. I wore the same belt and similar jewelry, so I figured this works!

When I first made this dress (it's a lightweight knit with some percentage linen fiber content), I sewed the tucks in the top as the pattern suggested. I wore it that way a few times until after I made another knit dress without the tucks. I decided I preferred the tuckless look and so I took this dress apart and remade it sans tucks.

Day #3:

Here's the first shirt I made using Simplicity 2147. I hadn't planned on making a shirt initially, but I had some fabric from a knit skirt I'd made a while ago that I wanted to repurpose. You can see the skirt in the picture below. The fabric was too thin for a skirt (and I'd made the skirt too tight), in my opinion, and I had enough to make a shirt. I basically took the yoga waistband off the skirt and then re-hemmed it. I didn't have enough gray fabric to make the top/sleeve pieces, so I found some very lightweight knit fabric at JoAnn's and figured I'd see how it all turned out. Overall, it's fine, but if you look closely, it's not the most professional-looking. I don't have a serger, so sewing with knits is interesting, I definitely like the shirt more than the skirt, so I'm glad I made the change!

Monday, September 8, 2014

And So It Begins

We made this...

in preparation for this...

It's a shirt to wear to "specials" classes at school: Spanish, music and movement, etc. Basically any class where he'll have a different teacher than the ones in his classroom. We were supposed to provide a "name shirt" that he'll put on over whatever he's wearing that day, so we hit up a local thrift store where I found a navy t-shirt. It has the words "Korea rocks" on the front, so I used some scrap fabric to cover that up and then ironed on the letters. I am taking bets on how long it will be until some of those letters fall off or are pulled off. Thankfully, I have extras.

The plaid shirt underneath is a men's button down shirt that will be his paint smock. I shortened the sleeves and took off part of the collar.

All went well. He was all smiles when we walked into his classroom and all smiles when I picked him up.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Week, One Pattern: Day 1

Today is the first day of One Week, One Pattern (OWOP). And I did it! I actually wore one of the dresses I made. I've been wearing the clothing I made from this one pattern, but part of me wondered if I'd totally lose motivation to wear them during a specific week. I wear my clothes based on what I feel like wearing, so knowing that I've committed to wearing certain clothes during certain times made me wonder if I'd decide to throw in the towel last-minute. But I didn't, so that's good. Just a reminder, here's the pattern:


Today is hot and humid (my least favorite weather, unless you have a pool or other swimming venue at your disposal, which I do not) and we spent a chunk of the day at Longwood Gardens, so I picked this version (View A) of my pattern. No belt. I didn't want anything restricting airflow!

It's a little boxier than I typically wear, but it was great in hot weather. I used a very thin knit, so it was pretty breezy and lightweight. If you look closely, you'll see that I don't have any tucks in the part of the skirt that meets the bodice (can you call that upper part a bodice?). I made two dresses with the tucks, decided the dress was way to billowy and poofy, and so for each of my subsequent dresses and shirts, I've left out the tucks. Much better in my opinion.

A few other notes, for anyone who cares (and I'm not offended if you don't!), I made this dress too short initially and so I added a band of about 4 inches to the bottom. I matched up the strips pretty well on the front, but not so much on the back. But you can't see that from this picture. It's not the best-made dress, but I think I'll be wearing it more than just this week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Simplicity 1878

Here it is! Last month I posted a dress project I was working on. I finished it a few weeks ago and got my mom to photograph it for me. Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. It fits loosely, but not too loose. I don't have a picture of it, but it has two darts in the back - one on either side of the zipper - which add some shaping.

I forgot to add inches when I was cutting it out, and so I just decided that it would have to be shortish. I plan to wear it with cardigans and tights or leggings in the winter, so it should be fine. I made the pattern sleeveless, as you can see, because I want to be able to layer sweaters over it, and when I tried it with one sleeve sewn on, the sweaters looked funny because of the bulkiness of the sleeve beneath. If I was only planning to have this as a warm weather dress, the sleeves would be nice. I liked the look of it either way. Another reason for not having sleeves is that my shoulders are on the larger side compared to the rest of my upper body measurements, and by not having sleeves, they are less confined,  and I didn't need to worry too much about fit. I did need to take in the sides under my arms when making it sleeveless, in order to make it fit a bit more snugly. No gaping armholes, please.

I had my mom take some pictures of clothing I've sewn over the past year, and it felt really strange to pose for pictures. It took a few tries until I felt comfortable-ish. I think this is why I haven't taken many pictures of my projects along the way. It just feels unnatural. Having some little ones posing with me was a fun way to make it feel a little more normal.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Project

I found an old braided rug at The Main Street Closet in Willow Street this weekend. It doesn't lie flat, it has a hole and it was never finished. I debated whether or not to get it, but it's rewarding to breathe new life into old things. Why go buy a new rug when I can fix up an old one?  Besides, it has character, right?

We were at a family reunion this weekend with Dan's extended Hess family. This was a perfect project to begin working on while chatting with others. Unfortunately, chatting was a bit difficult for me since I seemed to have lost my voice - not a good thing when you are spending the 24 hours at a large gathering where talking is the main activity!

Anyway, I started taking it apart because I will need to re-lace most of it so it will lie flat, and 
then I can also fix the hole more easily too. I've repaired two braided rugs so far prior to this, and it's definitely rewarding.  I have a slew of other projects, and the challenge for me is to make sure I finish some before beginning others or I get stressed out by all the (literal) loose ends.  And the real 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Changes...Kind Of

Did you hear all the cheering and celebrating coming from northern Delaware at the end of last month? That was us celebrating that DAN IS FINISHED WITH RESIDENCY!!!!

Five years. We made it through. I knew we would, but there were times when "being done with residency" was only a very abstract idea, similar to before I was ever pregnant, and I would think "someday when I have children..."

So here we are. We've been asked a lot what's next. Not much is changing this year for us. We are living in the same house, and Dan will be working at the same place (as "chief resident" for one year and part-time in the ER), just in a different position. Up until residency really ended and his new job(s) began, it didn't feel like anything was changing. If I'd been packing up a household while all the end-of-residency parties were happening, I think I would have felt like we'd come to an end of an era.

I can tell life is a bit different now because Dan's main job has more regular hours. He basically leaves at the same time each weekday and returns around the same time. Amazing. Sounds normal, right?! That hasn't been our normal for most of our marriage and certainly not for the past 5 years. So it's pretty nice to have some regularity in our life. The kids know more what to expect as well.

Here's Dan with his fellow 5-year residents at the EM/IM graduation luncheon.

With the out-going chief and the chief for the year after this one.

You've worked really, really hard, Dan. I don't really know the half of it, but I'm really proud of you. Edwin and Elena talk about someone being hurt and going to the hospital and say: "Daddy will take care of them." 
I know your patients are well cared for. I'm honored to have been part of this journey with you.  (You know, washing your scrubs and making sure you have food to eat and all that good stuff! ;) )

Thursday, July 10, 2014

And Speaking of Sewing...

Did you know there are so many sewing bloggers out there? And their blogs are so fun to read and see what others are sewing? I really enjoy seeing what others sew, and have stumbled across a fun sewing/fashion challenge called One Week, One Pattern. And since I have two dresses sewn from the same pattern, I decided to sign up and join.

You can find out more at Handmade Jane's blog here.

I'll be using simplicity pattern 2147. I'm basically posting now so you all (all 8 of you) can keep me accountable, because I'd really like to do this. September 6 - 12 is when the wearing happens!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Late Night Sewing

Taking an afternoon nap often leads to me not being tired when bedtime rolls around. It's after midnight and I'm still awake, but I do plan to go to bed soon. After all, I'm supposed to be getting up to exercise early in the morning.

Dan was at a friend's house watching a world cup game, so I spent my evening sewing, and I finally tackled a project that's been on my list for a long time: a bow tie for Dan.

If we're friends on facebook, you may have seen some pictures of him wearing bow ties. He's one of a bunch of coworkers who wear them on a pretty regular basis, and it only makes sense that I should learn how to make them. For the longest time I thought I needed to be able to make them adjustable like the ones he's purchased. But today I realized that the point of custom clothing and accessories is that they are custom: they're made to fit the wearer! Sometimes the most obvious ideas escape me. So no more shirking for me - time to sew a bow tie.

I cut a pattern from one of Dan's other bow ties and also used it to determine the correct length. You can kind of tell in the picture, but my pattern is not quite symmetrical.

I used an old silk neck tie that I bought him at a thrift store years ago. Overall I'm pleased with how it turned out. And aside from sewing with slippery silk (not fun), it was quick and easy.

I also did some sewing for myself. I've been on a dress-sewing kick this past year, and it just keeps on going. I haven't blogged about most of them, because that requires me to take pictures of the dresses, and I just don't have a good camera for doing that on my own. It feels silly to put on a dress just to have someone take a picture so I can blog about it - feels like too much extra time to do that when I'd rather just begin a new project.  I guess I just need to have Dan snap a picture when I'm wearing the dresses.

Sewing has been fulfilling my need for a creative outlet this past year. And it feels good to make something useful and wearable and to know that some one didn't slave away over it in a dilapidated factory around the world.

My current project is Lisette Simplicity 1878. It's going to be more of a tunic because of the length since I'm going with View C, although mine isn't as short as the pattern jacket shows.

Using this fabric:

Here's what I have so far. 
Sleeves, zipper, sewing up the side seams and 
hemming are the only things remaining. 

We'll see if I ever get around to taking a picture of it after I'm finished!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mama Tribe

A friend of mine recently named our group of mom friends her "mama tribe." I love it. I feel like it describes us. I have this great, close group of friends here in Wilmington. Many of us are transplants and don't have family close by, and a bunch of us met 4 years ago when we all joined a local moms' group. Most of us had recently moved to the area, we had small children, and we were desperate for friends.

Over the years, we've met other moms in various places, told them about our awesome group, they've joined in, and so here we are. We help each other with baby-sitting, we take meals to each other when we have babies, or are sick, or have crazy things happening in life. We throw "baby sprinkles" when some one is pregnant, we have play dates, we have moms' nights out - any reason to get together to laugh, or cry, or both. We know we have friends we can call on when we just need to talk to a some one who knows what we're going through. We don't all have the same parenting styles or childbirth stories, but we care about each other and ready to help out when needed, those other things just don't matter.

Before I had kids, when I was engaged, some one told me that I needed to make sure to foster my friendships with my girlfriends, because they would be vital to me. She was so, so right. Thank you for keeping me sane, Ladies. I love you all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

Maybe I should call it a rainy snow day. We got a lot of snow overnight, but it turned to icy rain during the morning. Now it's just all-out rain. (Yuck.) I'd much rather have inches more of snow than rain on top of snow and temperatures below freezing.

But really, who am I kidding? I'm just happy we had snow before the rain. I love snow, and I love snow days. I haven't had a job in years that required me to drive when there was too much snow, so I still like it. I'm sure if I had a job where I had to go to work regardless of snow accumulation, or if it really interfered with my schedule, I'd begin to feel differently. But that's one of the great things about having been a teacher and now being at home full-time. Here's how we stayed busy today. 

Uncovering the car

Jumping on the "trampoline"

Making applesauce

Taking sunflower seeds out of a dried flower head

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Miscellaneous Sewing Projects

I've spent more time at my sewing machine in the past few months than I have in a long time. It's been a lot of fun and met my need for a creative outlet. However, I like to be useful and practical when it comes to sewing too. Here are a few things I've spent time sewing recently.

Tote bag made with
miscellaneous fabrics from my stash.

Small cloth napkins
I used home dec fabric from my stash.

I made a skirt for my niece last summer when she came for a visit, and this little skirt 
was for her American Girl doll. It matches my niece's skirt. 
Apparently it makes a nice hat too.

One of my cousins got married last fall, and
I wanted a new dress for the occasion, so I took the plunge and sewed one. 
It's the first dress I sewed that I feel really fits me well (thanks for the help with the fitting, Sis!). 
Unfortunately, I don't have a better picture of it. 
I'm not good at getting pictures of my completed clothing projects.
(Just ignore those water spots - it was a rainy evening.)

Pillow for Edwin's room.
I made him a duvet out of scrap fabric last year,
and this coordinates.

Cloth reversible bibs. 
She may be potty trained, but she still needs a bib.
Plastic bibs get gross, so I used old towels and fabric from my stash. 
The pattern is the reversible bib from "Growing Up Sew Liberated" by Meg McElwee. 
I love this bib pattern.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The title deserves to be capitalized because of how much Edwin wanted new bib overalls. I would look (at his request) every time we stopped at a thrift store, but I never found any his size. So I decided I might as well make some. Let me just say that I have a lot more respect for whomever it is who sews my jeans. Like jeans, overalls have a lot of top stitching, and that part was more difficult than the actual construction of the clothing. Now I understand why overalls cost what they do in the store. Chances are the people sewing them don't get paid what they should. I've been thinking about that much more since making these overalls.

It might seems strange but these were Edwin's Christmas gift. He was pretty happy with them, except that he didn't like that it was a surprise. He wished I'd have told him I was making him some for Christmas. Go figure.

This pattern is Kwik Sew 3948. I used the same denim as my Lisette Traveler dress, but this is the right side. It's too lightweight for overalls, I think, but it worked well enough, and they certainly aren't too heavy for him to wear comfortably. Because of the thinness of the material I had to reinforce the areas where I attached the metal buttons. I almost ruined the overalls when attaching one of the buttons. They can be tricky, especially when it's midnight and you're trying to finish them the day before Christmas Eve. Thankfully, it all worked out, and no one sees the patched hole beside one of the buttons. I'm glad I made them, but I won't be making another pair any time soon.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Birthday Backpack

Elena turned two in December, and I'm finally getting around to mentioning it. We keep birthdays fairly simple around here, because I am not a party planner. The thought stresses me out. We gave Elena a gift on the day of her birthday and then had both sets of grandparents over for a birthday dinner and cake the following day. (The cake is a whole stressful story of it's own. All I'll say is that I made twice as much cake as I planned and none of it turned out the way it should have.)

Anyway, here are some pictures of Elena's birthday backpack. I had made one for Edwin when he turned two, before leaving for Botswana. Elena had been wanting to wear Edwin's, so I figured it was time for her own. Plus, she's out of diapers now (!!!), so we've retired the diaper bag and use the backpack instead.

Many thanks to indietutes for the free toddler backpack pattern. I made some changes to the pattern that includes a small zipper pocket on the back, open pockets on the front, velcro closure, and I added about 1/2" all the way around. Plus, I lined the backpack and use fleece as a padding in between the outer fabric and lining.