Twenty Crafteen

Butterick 5317

July’s Project: Another dress/Project Tango Zulu Hotel

Twenty Crafteen is moving along at a nice clip, I think. The projects I’ve completed so far include:

  • coasters (January)
  • tote bags (February)
  • zippered pouches (March)
  • skirts (April)
  • dresses (May)
  • more dresses (June).

Well, I guess May and June could be compressed into one harried and frustrating month of attempting to make one dress, but I also do things other than sew. (But WHY?, you ask.)

For July, I want to make another dress. I have a pattern picked out, which I think is pretty cute. I haven’t done sleeves yet, and I suspect those are going to give me a raging case of Sailor Mouth. That… sounds like something else.

ANYWAY. I’m also working on something that, for now, I’ll call Project Tango Zulu Hotel. That should be ready to go by the end of the month, when I’ll give you the low-down.

March’s Project: Aprons

Gainfully Something | March's Project: Aprons

Let’s do this, pattern.

When I was at the fabric store for the hundredth time a few weeks ago, they were having a sale on Butterick patterns. They were all $1.99–ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY NINE CENTS. For comparison, these patterns normally cost $10.99-$18.99. I did a dance.

I picked up this apron pattern (Butterick 5765, version A), because it was advertised as “Very Easy.” Okay, so that was a little bit of an overstatement on Butterick’s part, but whatever. I figured it out.

Oh god what is happening

Oh god what is happening

Here’s the thing about paper patterns: they are crinkly and fragile and somehow expand ten times their size when taken out of their envelope. My dog and cats found them tantalizing, so I yelled a bunch which added to my creative fervor.

The instructions are vague and simple at the same time.

The instructions are vague and simple at the same time.

The hardest part of the entire thing is figuring out how to fold your fabric and position the pattern pieces on there, and then determine how many of each piece you need. This is probably excruciatingly simple, and yet it took me a stupid amount of time to cut out my pieces. Even a pattern that is “Very Easy” assumes that you actually know what you’re doing, which is a silly assumption. Oh, Butterick, when will you learn?

Anyway, after you cut out your fabric, things get a LOT easier. Essentially, you’re making a 3D fabric puzzle that fits together perfectly.

This bodice is adorable.

This bodice is adorable.

Ta da! When I finished the bodice part of the apron, I was so proud. It went together really easily and it looked more professional than anything else I’ve made. The rest went together fairly easily, too. This is not to say it went together quickly. It was mostly tedious (“Sew Bodice [SEVEN] to Waistband [FOUR]”, etc.). However, I think a second go at this pattern would fly by.

Oh, you want to see the final product?

It's so cute! Don't mind my terrible mirror.

It’s so cute! Don’t mind my terrible mirror. Also, the center skirt panel was supposed to be the orange fabric, too, but I ran out. Improvisation!

I really liked the end result. It fits nicely, especially in the bodice. Aprons never fit my zaftig frame, but this has a Wonder Woman kind of feel in the bust. I think I could use the bodice pattern to make a cute swimsuit.

The verdict on paper patterns: this one turned out great, and it was relatively easy to follow. Granted, I read through it about five times before starting, and there were a few confusing parts. I remember looking at one step and saying out loud, “What the HELL am I supposed to do now? Razzenfrazzenrazzlefrazzle.” (I’m trying so hard not to curse on here but that’s going to change soon, I think.) Sewing is all about taking something 2D and making it 3D, and that involves a different part of my brain than I normally use. It’s like origami, and I’m bad at origami. Basically I’m telling you that if I can build my skills to this point, you probably can, too.

I’ve also made a few other exciting things this past week, and I’ll share those soon!

Crayon Rolls (and Sautéed Spinach)

Do you know any kids? You probably do, because you are, presumably, a human person. If you are not a human person, I’m impressed.
Anyway, kids like crayons and stuff. And you know what crayons do? Get everywhere. And break. And get everywhere. There is a solution! A crayon roll!

I’ve made a few of these so far, and they are surprisingly easy and fun to make. They don’t take too much fabric, and the only extra things you need are a hair tie and a button. The roll holds 16 crayons. I put in a few shades of red, orange, yellow, etc., in ROYGBIV order (because, why not), and added black, gray, and pink. You can’t draw a bunny without pink.
These make great gifts. Throw it in a coordinating pocket tote with a coloring book, and there you go.

If I was slightly more awake, I’d put a segue here.

Spinach! It’s delicious when prepared correctly, by which I mean, with lots of garlic.

Sautéed Spinach

  • bag of spinach (or if you get the huge bag from Costco, a few giant handfuls)
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium low heat in a big saucepan. Press the garlic into the oil and stir, cooking until the garlic just begins to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Stuff the spinach into the pan. It will look like you are making way too much spinach, but it’s fine. Trust me. Stuff that in there. Don’t worry about stirring just yet. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. In about 5 minutes, uncover and start slowly turning the bottom spinach to the top. It will seem slightly impossible for a few seconds. Once it’s kind of moved around, cover again and cook 2-3 more minutes, until the spinach is mostly wilted and coated with oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

February’s Sewing Project!

It is still January, but you wouldn’t know it here on the Front Range. Seriously, it’s been in the high 60s the past few days, which is the perfect weather for Beach Boys and windows-down driving. My brain and body are confused–wasn’t it just your wedding anniversary, and didn’t it snow on your wedding day, and isn’t there still snow on your front lawn because your house shades it? Yes, yes, yes. Nothing makes sense.

But as January weirdly melts into February (see what I did there?), so changes my monthly sewing project. January’s project, you’ll recall, was these coasters. I made about five or six sets or variations, including two hot pads for casserole dishes. I sent a set to my mother-in-law (Mother Something, I guess), the lovely lady who gifted me my sewing machine a few years ago. She loved them! I practiced using fancy stitches and attempted sewing on a curve, which is REALLY HARD. I fixed many bobbin snarls and refilled my bobbin a few times and I didn’t even cry about any of it, but I did whine a lot.

I’m starting February’s project early, because a) I’m excited about it, b) I have all my supplies, and c) you can’t tell me what to do. If you’re sewing along, which could be fun or not or whatever, you do you, February’s project is this tote bagIt seems easy enough that I can make it to the pattern and then get whacky and do a bunch of variations/gifts/if I know you in real life, get ready for lots of presents this year.

THAT WAS A LOT OF WORDS IN A ROW.

tl;dr

January: coasters

February: tote bag