Category Archives: Sewing Projects

Brass Buttons

If you’re ever in the mood for treasure hunt, there’s a wonderful antique store nearby called the Cottage Jewel. Its small and mostly sells jewelry and smaller trinkets, and all the merchandise is displayed according to color, which I love. Every drawer of every table and dresser is filled with buttons (all separated by color, of course). There are beautiful ivory drawers filled with cream colored stone, bone, and wood buttons. Plastic drawers with buttons in the shape of animals and with wild patterns. And classy drawers that have all sorts of shiny sparkly blacks and whites.

As a Valentine, Hubbs gave me a gift certificate to the Cottage Jewel, for the express purpose of buying buttons (so that I could have fancy buttons to use on the jackets I was learning to sew) and this weekend I picked out the first installment.

After pulling them out and loving the way the colors and textures all coordinated, I decided to sew them onto a sweater.

I first arranged them on the sweater with safety pins so that I could adjust before committing with needle and thread. And then I didn’t use any fancy button stitches, I just sewed them on from behind with matching thread.


Here it is, I’m so pleased with how it turned out. And I’m hoping for just a few more rainy days this month so that I can justify wearing it once before putting it away with the winter clothes. The yellow lid you see in the corner is from my grandma’s button box, and my mom assures me she would be delighted to know I keep my pins and needles in it now.

The machine-of-tomorrow

I suppose before I get too far along in talking about sewing, I should introduce my machine. Here she is:

She’s a Singer 301a, from the 50s I believe. She was my Grandma’s mother’s new sewing machine, which my grandma gave me quite a few years ago. Its just like my parents “new” house I guess- I always think of it as the new house, even though they’ve lived in it almost 20 years.

A few things I love about the machine:

1. It’s been quite patient with me. I started playing around with it before I knew what I was doing, yet every time I sit down, it works! I’m sure I’ve been less than kind to it, but it still just chugs right through what I ask it to do, which brings me to number 2

2. Its not finicky: I’ve sewed through stacks of paper valentines and canvas paintings, not realizing that you’re supposed to do things like “change the needle” and “adjust thread tension” – But its still works every time! The manual does say that it will start up “with no coaxing.”

3. I love the sweet illustrations and instructions in the manual. There’s so much optimism and promise.This what my sewing experience will be like! Delighted exclamation when I walk past my machine, and crowds of ladies (all in dresses, of course) ooh-ing and ah-ing as I fold my newly sewn sheets.

And here in the second paragraph it does say that the “smooth running machine-of-tomorrow will amaze and thrill” me. Now that’s a promise!

The manual also promises if I ever have trouble, “a trained, courteous SINGER representative will gladly call at your home.” I may have to take them up on that someday.

Ruffled Shirt Dress

I mentioned in the post about the quilt that I’m learning to sew. And its true. A very kind friend is teaching me. But before my first lesson I was itching to start – who needs to know what a seam allowance is to sew a dress, right? Hubbs was getting rid of some old dress shirts and so I looked online to see if there were any fun things that I could make out of them. And oh there are some fun ideas out there! I finally decided on this tutorial ´╗┐here since it looked so cute and fairly simple.

What was really interesting was starting with another garment rather than plain fabric. I learned a lot by deconstructing the shirt – I saw how the seams want together, and how the pleats were fastened at one end, and what the interfacing did. And it really took the pressure off to use something that was going to be thrown away anyhow. I wasn’t stressing about cutting into my $30/yard fabric.

And this is it! So fun, right? The back is still a little sloppy and so its not quite ready to wear out of the house. But that will come. Can I say how much I LOVE the ruffle?

And the second is like it

Well, following in the theme of babies and Psalms (and 7th grade, it turns out), here’s my project before last. I didn’t make the quilt – I bought it a year ago in anticipation of a little one that I knew would come someday and is finally on its way. I embroidered and just gave this to my sweet kim-kim’s (and her hubby’s, of course) little one that we’ll meet in September – here’s hoping for the 8th! Since I’m learning to sew, it only seemed fitting to embroider the name on there, rather than paint it. Thread will also be much more cuddly for a little face than dry acrylic paint.

So hello again, chain stitch that I learned in 7th grade Creative Stitchery class. I never thought we’d meet again.

Here’s an excerpt of Psalm 148 which seemed very appropriate for the theme of the quilt.

Praise the Lord!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for His name alone is exalted