Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Planning a New Wardrobe

We are finally settled into our house enough that I can start thinking about other things than cleaning and unpacking boxes, although there is plenty of cleaning and boxes to unpack yet. I’ve been losing weight, my clothes are getting old and baggy and it is time for some new ones. While my sewing machine and supplies were packed away, I'd done lots of reading about wardrobes and wardrobe planning and decided it is time to put that knowledge into practice, with Sewing With A Plan (SWAP) as mentioned in Timmel Fabrics website.

Today I set a goal of what I wanted to accomplish. I need an easy-to-make, comfortable wardrobe of casual clothes. I can't have back zippers, no buttons, no excess stuff that makes wearing or caring for the clothes difficult. My life is complicated enough by arthritis that I don't want to make something that I can't get on or off by myself. According to the SWAP rules, I needed 6 tops, 4 bottoms, and a jacket. With those pieces, if made in coordinating fabrics, I should be able to have many outfits to wear. Well, we are on a budget and so I have to use the fabric in my stash so that will put some limits on the coordinating factor. However, as some stuff in my closet still fits me and I have nothing that works with it, I need to be solving that problem also.

My life is very casual. A big day out is going to church, the grocery store, a doctor appointment (way too many of those) or an occasional dinner out with hubby. When my uncle died about a month ago, though, I realized I didn't have a decent outfit to wear to a funeral and had to wear a heavy black winter skirt on a very hot day. I've had a bad habit of just making something whenever it catches my fancy so poor planning has been a problem when trying to get outfits together for those non-routine things.

I went through my own pattern stash, remarkably small considering how many patterns we have up for sale, but I try to leave some Plus sized patterns for our customers. So many patterns at first glance looked like good prospects, but I managed to narrow them down. Then I made a scan of the technical drawings from the pattern instructions. Here's where my lovely hubby came in handy. I showed him the technical drawings (no distracting model or colors) and discussed them with him. He has better taste than me and also is the one who gets stuck seeing me, so I value his input. After discussing with him the various patterns, I clipped out the different garments I wanted to sew and attached them to my storyboard. I then made notes about yardage and whether or not the garment used knit or woven fabrics.

This has been fun thinking about what I want and planning so that I have a nice variety of outfits. Now the fun part: picking out the fabrics to go with each pattern. To be continued...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yard Sale Bonanza!

Do you ever dream of the perfect yard sale? It has all those sorts of things you have been looking for. Well I got to go to one last week. The lady, due to health reasons, was selling off many of her machine embroidery magazines, quilting books, and Burda World of Fashion magazines. Well I went a bit crazy and bought two boxfuls. I had a wonderful weekend going through the things I bought. I ended up with quite a few magazines to round out my own personal collection and those that were duplicates, I now have up for auction, so here is your chance to fill in the gaps of your own machine embroidery project collection. I even have some spare Jenny Haskins magazines up for sale. Check out the auctions at my store.

The Burda World of Fashion magazines, I'm still having fun going through and the thought of selling them kind of wrenches at my heart, so I may just keep those in my sewing room. I have heard of these magazines, but had never seen any in person before. Boy am I impressed. It is like looking through a fashion magazine, seeing all these great outfits on models, and knowing with the right attitude you can make everything in the magazine! There are even instructions on knitting the sweaters and fashion accessories that are shown. Each pattern in the magazine comes in at least 5 sizes, with a nice collection of Plus size patterns, men's and children's patterns also. You have to trace off your pattern pieces which seems to be the only difficult thing to do. My question is, does anyone have any handy dandy hints for tracing off the patterns pieces? Comments greatly appreciated.

I even got a large stack of quilting books, but haven't had time to even look through them yet. That will be for another day.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vintage Butterick Patterns for Sale

Great news! We have new items up for auction on EBay. We have been listing some great vintage Butterick sewing patterns and thought you might be interested in checking them out. We have listed the appropriate measurements on each listing, so you don't have to be scared about what a size 12 in 1950 meant.

By the way, from what I can figure by comparing current standard measurements with those from the 50's and 60's, a size 14 now would have been a size 16 then. Even though the artwork on some of the pattern envelopes looks like the model only has a ten inch waist, the pattern will sew up to the listed measurement.

Factory folded in the listing means that the pattern has never been unfolded or used. The only way they could have been opened would have been by an expert map folder. Remember how when you used to open those old maps and could never again get them right, well pattern tissues are the same way, once they are open, they never can be folded to look the same.

Enjoy the auctions or purchasing vintage patterns straight from our store. We will be listing more vintage patterns as time allows, as vintage patterns take much more time to list due to researching their age and checking thoroughly into their condition.

Shop with us any time! Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Joy of Sewing!

What a fun afternoon I spent in my air-conditioned tree house sewing room! I dug through my box of UFOs (unfinished objects) and found 4 quilt blocks in similar, though not matching colors to make some throw pillows. They will go with some older valances I made years ago that just went up in our entry room. And since I made them, I also have more fabric as I need to make one more valance. Only someone who sews can really understand being able to move into a new house, use older curtains, etc. and still have fabric to coordinate to make more things as the need arises.

I also plan on making a cushion to go over a storage box that will be nice for sitting on to put on shoes and dare I say it? -- Winter boots! It is horribly hot out now, but we have had so little summer, I hate to jinx things and have winter roaring in again.

I missed getting to sew for many months, but spent my time profitably reading many sewing books and magazines, so that now when it is time to sew, I can whip out projects without really having to think them through as I have been filing ideas away in my head for a long time.

Well back to the ironing board and sewing machine for me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


After many months delay, we have finally moved as of the 1st of July. I love having all the room in our new house, but still have many boxes to unpack and put away (mostly books). I had to focus in on getting the bathrooms, kitchen and office in working order and then was finally able to start setting up my new sewing room. It is twice the size of my old one with a nice large closet. My cutting table is made from an old square grand piano circa the Civil War with the piano 'guts' taken out. My hubby the piano restorer (this one wasn't good enough to fix), set it up for me with a cut out space that my thread cart slides in and out. My sewing machine looks out over and past a huge walnut tree and into my in-law's back yard and woods. Since I'm on the second floor of the house, it feels like I'm in a treehouse.

Somehow prior to the actual move, I collected several more boxes and bags of fabric and quilting items, some donated and some purchased. Things are stashed neatly on the shelves for now, but some day I really will need to root through all the various boxes and get them organized and pull things that will never be used.

I have started my first sewing project, a simple crinkle cotton skirt. The fabric was $1/yard at Walmart and it survived prewashing, so I have high hopes for it. It is also in line with the SWAP sewing I have been planning to do. It is an olive green color which I normally wouldn't pick, but the green picks up the leaf colors in some of the tops I have. Even though it is a simple project, I of course, got side-lined by an arthritis flare-up brought on by way too much scrubbing of the old house to put it up for sale. And I definetly need some new clothes as I've been dropping over 5 pounds a month for awhile and things are loose!!!

Now that the move is done I'm hoping to start getting our ebay store restocked with a lot more patterns and sewing books. Visit us any time at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Aquamarine Ambience with Jenny Haskins

On my way to a doctor's appointment today, I picked up Creative Expressions #14. As I was looking through it this evening I was inspired to visit her website. I found the following message, that anyone who has purchased the book Aquamarine Ambience with Jenny Haskins by Simon Haskins would need to know:

"Stop Press: We apologise, it has come to our attention that design aa14, from Aquamarine Ambience is missing from the CD in the following formats; JEF, HUS, VIP and XXX.
Please download this file for the missing design" Click Here to go directly to the site.

I'm still separated from my sewing machine, but there is a project in this latest Creative Expressions that will make a wonderful project for getting reacquainted with my machine called: Jenny's Essence, Jenny Haskins Cheating Crazy Patchwork. It is an 18" little crazy stitch quilt using mostly decorative stitches and Jenny's Brand of stitch building. It would make a great practice piece for anyone who wants to get to know the decorative stitches on their sewing machines. Each stitch is diagrammed so that you can find it or a similar stitch on your sewing machine. Although it does use one machine embroidered design, it could be skipped quit easily with an applique in it's place.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Free Embroidery Designs

Embroidery Library, has just released their new March Free embroidery designs plus a nice lot of Spring designs that you pay for (but they don't charge much!). Two of these new freebies are perfect for me. One is "So many scraps, so little time" for the quilter in me, and the other is "So many books, so little time" for the reader that I am. They also have a clover applique design with Celtic style embroidery on top. All in all a great bunch of designs and in two different sizes also. Don't forget that Embroidery Library's free designs are only good for that month and then you will have to buy them.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fitting Book

Among the pile of sewing books that I got the other day, was The Busy Woman’s Fitting Book by Nancy Zieman with Robbie Fanning. I had seen Nancy demonstrate this fitting technique on television years ago, but didn’t have a written copy to refer to. As I have several body areas on my patterns that need altered when sewing, I have been reading up and trying to find a method that would work for me. I like Nancy’s approach that once you have fine-tuned this technique with classic style patterns, you will be able to add the same alterations to all patterns. I’m looking forward to trying out this technique as it doesn’t leave your pattern in multiple pieces and lots of tape attached to it and seems fairly simple and straight forward.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Yesterday was sunny and an almost balmy 30 degrees. Time to get out of the house and to my delight a local town was having a Friends of the Library (FOL) used book sale. Hubby and I drove to it to see if we could find some good books to resupply our store. Unfortunately when we arrived, we found lots of books, but not many that would be an asset to our store.

We did come home with three boxes of books because I found quite a few books on sewing. Not really valuable books money wise, but valuable to me for reference when I'm sewing. I also found lots of those fun little mystery paperback books that can be read in an evening and provide more entertainment than a TV show. I even found a signed Tess Gerritsen hardcover book that will go into my own collection as she is one of my favorite authors.

My favorite find of all though, was The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts by Claire B. Shaeffer. I have one of her other books and was very impressed with it and have read many of her columns in Threads magazine, and so was happy to find another one of her books. The title is a bit of a misnomer as I didn't see many so called short cuts for sewing. What I did see was a sewing book author who thoroughly knows her stuff and presented it in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. The copy I bought is only illustrated by black and white diagrams, but perhaps a later edition may have colored illustrations. This book will definitely be referred to many times to help know the best way to sew an item.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bought more fabrics today

Just because I don’t have my sewing machine handy, doesn’t mean I can’t plan and purchase stuff for sewing. I’ve really been thinking about the Sewing With A Purpose plan and have started planning some colors, picking out patterns and buying fabric. Of course, with the numbers of patterns I have to choose from in our store, I have to be careful not to try and hoard them all! I live a very casual lifestyle and so don’t need a lot of ‘dress-up’ clothes. Mostly I need clothes for around the house, grocery shopping, occasional nights out with hubby (dinner and a visit to Barnes & Noble) and church.

If a pattern has back zippers or buttons it didn’t even make the first cut. Formals and extremely complicated patterns also got the thumbs down. And while every article on wardrobe planning tells you that you need a tailored jacket, I don’t wear them and am not going to start now. I do like wearing my sweatshirts converted to a lightweight jackets as a cover-up although I only decorate them, I’ve never sewed one from scratch. Perhaps if I have success with the pink knit that I bought yesterday, maybe I will try.

Anyhow, I have narrowed my patterns choices down currently to 5. I want to make at least one dress, 3-4 skirts, maybe one pair of pants, 4-5 easy tops and a better blouse. Very ambitious plan for me. I do remember the summer before I started nursing school and needed something more than the ‘mommy’ rags I had been wearing, I made 11 items in 9 days and was watching 4-5 kids all at the same time so surely if I give myself some time I can get the above plan made.

My great hope is eventually get rid of the worn out, non-fitting, misfit items in my closet and instead have clothes that coordinate with each other at least to the point that each top or bottom has 3-4 matches. Currently I have some tops that only have one bottom that matches them and skirts with minimal tops to match.

At this point I am planning on using black and purple as focal colors with cream, pink, rose, light green as accents. I have some nice things already in the closet that would work already with those colors and my mother gave me a huge bag of fabric with some of those colors as solids also. Today I bought some purple crinkle Charmeuse, a cream cotton fabric, and a light color sheer with purple flowers on it. There is enough of the purple for a top. I was hoping the cream would be enough for at least a tank top but I’m about ¼ yard shy now that I have checked my patterns, but I will see how I can make it work. The light sheer I thought would be nice as a scarf, or accent fabric perhaps as godets in the dress I want to make. Anyways I feel like I am making progress at least in the planning of what I want to do and I think when things melt enough, my sewing machine is coming back home for awhile.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New Fabric!

I woke up today to blue skies, the temperature was a bit above 20 degrees, AND I felt great, PLUS Joann Fabrics was having a sale. I had a coupon for an additional 10% off of my whole purchase which was great on top of the sale stuff I bought. I bought two 3' x 5' cutting mats. One for me and one for hubby in his piano work. I'm going to try and learn to cut out garment patterns with a rotary cutter. I've used them for years for my quilting, but never for cutting out garments. Hopefully, the bigger mat will allow me to cut the larger pieces (I'm a big girl) without them falling off the mat or me having to shift the fabric in mid-cut. A friend gave me a new small rotary cutter which I hear is good for going around curves. All I know is that if I can't learn to cut out patterns this way, my future of making my own clothes will be ending soon. Trying to cut things out with scissors hurts my hands too much.

I found some pretty silky type fabric that I thought would make a nice skirt and was in the colors I've been thinking of using in my own personal SWAP--black, purple, rose. I thought there was only enough on the bolt for a skirt, but it ended up being almost 4 yards so I think I will have my choice of skirt or dress. I also found some pink knit 40% off and got 5 yards. I haven't sewn with knits much but I wear them a lot so this will be a project of learning to sew with them. I figure I have enough fabric for a wearable 'muslin' or a second project. Since pink is one of my very favorite colors I wouldn't mind having two finished items in the same fabric. Now to get my sewing room set up and be able to use my sewing machine again!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Too Cold, Too much Snow, Too many flare-ups!

It has been a strange couple of months for me and unfortunately not really good ones. My arthritis has been flaring up big time with periods of relief barely long enough to get the dishes caught back up. The cold and snow we have been having here in Pennsylvania hasn't really helped either as my artificial knees can't handle cold weather below 20 degrees. So week after week I have been sitting at home feeling miserable.

To make things worse, we are having permit problems with our new house and can't move in yet. This, of course, we found out after I had moved all my sewing things over to the new house. So I haven't even been able to do little projects.

The one thing I have been able to do is surf the internet for which I am very thankful. I have found some interesting sites including one that has a lot of information on Sewing With A Plan or SWAP. All about making some basic pieces for your wardrobe in coordinating colors for tops and bottoms and with eleven pieces you will have wonderful opportunities for mixing and matching clothes for all occasions. This is an area that I having been thinking much about as my clothes are all getting to be on their last legs so to speak. I want to have an organized approached to my sewing for maximine effectiveness. At the same time I also have to cater to physical problems which makes back zippers or buttons impossible for me anymore, tighter fitting pullover clothes are harder now to pull off. I also want to take into account clothes my hubby would like to see me in and clothes I would like to wear and find comfortable. I'm having a hard time explaining to him just exactly why jumpers are so comfy to wear.

SWAP is a fantastic idea for planning your sewing. Click on the links and read more about it. Timmel Fabrics actually is sponsoring a SWAP contest and even if you don't want to participate in the actual contest, there are lots of great ideas and photos to see what other sewists are making and will give you ideas for your own wardrobe planning.