Fleece Neck Warmer

DIY neck warmer

This was a quick and dirty project, made with a remnant of stretchy lightweight Malden Mills fleece. I’d gotten it years ago from their factory outlet in Massachusetts, used some of it for baby things, and then set it aside indefinitely.

I was about to pass the fleece on when I realized it was perfect for making a new neck warmer. I just used an existing neck warmer as a guide for sizing.

To make the double-layered tube (with 1-way stretch fabric), sew the first seam with the stretchy grain parallel to the seam. When you turn it to sew the second seam, the stretch will be going horizontally around the neck (which you need) instead of vertically. It’s counter-intuitive, but take it from me, since I had to redo it once. It took forevvvvver to pick out that seam. I used a small zigzag stitch and topstitched the edges.

I had hoped to make some leggings out of the fleece, too, but then, after some research, realized leggings would require a 2-way stretch. Bummer.

Anyway, I’ve been doing lots of gluten-free baking, so I’ll have to share some more of that soon. Gluten-free bread-making always seems to involve a little magic. I’m amazed at how well things have turned out.

Many thanks to my little model here. Obviously, the neck warmer is a bit big for her, but you get the idea. For more of my sewing projects, click here.

Quick Wreath from Back Yard Greenery

DIY greenery wreath

I got inspired to make a quick wreath after reading this blog post over on decor8 the other day.

I’d been planning to do something for our front door since our old wreath was so decrepit, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I’d never considered using live greenery since the only ones I’d ever seen looked like they’d take a master’s degree in wreath artistry and a few months to create. Hello, Martha Stewart!

But the blog post made me see how pretty a quick, natural wreath could be, and I realized we had plenty of greenery in the back yard. I bought a form at Michael’s (about $4) and clipped various bushes: magnolia, Yaupon holly, rosemary, and wax myrtle.

Sadly, the regular floral wire was out at Michael’s, so I bought this stuff that’s kind of like a never-ending green twist tie. It’s not so bad. And I basically twist-tied the greenery on in a haphazard, overlapping circle. It took me about half an hour. The best part was not having to follow any directions.

Personally, I’m kind of smitten with its exuberant cowlicks. I would totally do this again. What about you? Have you made a wreath of your own?

In other news, with this being the last day of school for the year, I’m winding down my latest draft of my young adult novel and am readying it to send to a reader/ writer/ friend. Scary and exciting at the same time.

Hopefully I’ll be around a little bit over the break, but if not, Happy Holidays to you!

and p.s. We’ve been watching this hilarious show called Lilyhammer. It’s about an American mafioso-turned-informant who chooses Norway as his relocation destination. All kinds of funny cross-cultural issues come up. It stars Steven Van Zandt, of Sopranos and E-Street Band fame. You can find it on Netflix.

The Great Pattern-Drafting Experiment

This project looks simple, but it has taken me many months to complete. Okay, I have to admit, over a year, but I wasn’t working on it that whole time. I haven’t sewn much for myself  in the last few years, mostly for my kids and our home. Part of that has been not wanting to spend so much time on something that might not fit me in the end. So when I heard about Cal Patch‘s book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes, I fantasized about making something to fit me perfectly.

Fiber July 1 – 5, 2011: Design (and MAKE!) Your Own Clothes with Cal Patch

I really like this book. The instructions are clear and written with a sense of humor. The projects are just the right speed for me——beyond beginner but simple enough not to be intimidating. But my favorite thing is that the book leaves lots of room for experimentation. So I like to flip through often and just dream about what I might create. For me, dreaming is more than half the fun.

That said, my first project doesn’t involve a lot of experimentation, besides the pattern drafting itself. It’s the first project in the book, with very little deviation besides the added waistband.

I crossed off a lot of firsts with this skirt. Besides my first self-drafted pattern, I also made my first muslin (trial run of the pattern in a cheap fabric), sewed my first invisible zipper, and used my first French seam. I now realize flat-felled seams would be better here, but oh well.

I’m not completely crazy about the skirt. There are a lot of flaws you can’t necessarily see here, and although the fabric is lovely and soft, I’m not sure what to wear it with. Just having made it feels like a big accomplishment, though.

Since I had plenty of fabric left over, I offered to make a skirt for my daughter, too (just a simple gathered rectangle). If you know me well, you know I’m really not a matchy-matchy type. Our bridesmaids didn’t even match. But my Little Miss loves matching, so she was totally hip to it, especially when I offered to add a floral strip at the bottom.

I love her styling choices here. She’s a bold little fashionista. I feel a mother-daughter matching day coming on. Oh, the things we do for our kids!