another moneta

Because you can’t have enough of a good thing, right? Especially a dress this cute and easy!

I made this piece in one evening, it took me just about 4 hours, from cutting to finishing all edges. I took my time and it looks just lovely! I think I’m getting the hang of this. So much so that I’ve just ordered some adorable knit fabric from Girl Charlee. I can’t wait until it comes in!

All laid out ready to cut:

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(Some day I’ll have a cutting table and my back will thank me. Also, say hi to my cute red Saltwater Sandals, I just LOVE them!)

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Diggin’ that twin needle coverstitching! Who says you have to have an overlock to sew knits? Not me! (Although, that would be nice. Someday maybe!)

The completed garment:

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Did I mention the Moneta has pockets? It does and they’re wonderful!

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my new dress

There is a pattern that was (or is?) taking the online sewing community by storm. Have you heard of it? I’m sure you have! It’s the Moneta by Colette Patterns. You can read more about the company here.

My friend Denise was the first one to make me aware of this darling pattern. She made one, sent me a pic and I fell in love. I demanded to know details! She made another one, sent me pic, and also shared the link this time. I quickly purchased one for myself.

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I was super excited to get started. But also a little nervous. Years ago I attempted to make a dress and the results were NOT GOOD. I pushed through my trepidation however, because Denise never steers me wrong! Since I wanted to get started right away, I took to my fabric stash and tried to find enough yardage to accommodate the pattern. I thought I had it when I pulled out this adorable flower print knit. (Did I mention the Moneta is a knit pattern? Yeah, that only added to my anxiety, knit is so much more flaky than wovens!) I started placing my pieces and soon realized it wasn’t going to happen. I had a decision to make. Should I just make a tunic? Or head to Joann’s and get some solid black for the bodice? I had my heart set on a dress, so I went with that latter option. And I’m glad I did, because I love the final look!

Two things that I did for the very first time in making this garment: using invisible elastic for the gathered waist and using a twin needle for finishing the edges with a coverstitch. I love learning new things!

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new floral top

This is actually version two of a top in this particular fabric. The first one I made with the same pattern that I used here. But it didn’t turn out quite as nice as the first time. The proportion was off, probably because I attempted to lengthen the tunic. It hit me weird on the stomach and was tight in the arms. I was disappointed to say the least. I was tempted to just scrap the shirt and call it a loss. But I hate wasting! So I got out the remaining scraps and tried to salvage the project by using a new pattern.

This time I used this one:

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I again, got this one at Joann’s, for super cheap, $1.99. A deal! The fabric that I used I also came from Joann’s and it’s a summery cotton linen floral print.

I liked the panels used for shaping and it allowed me to utilize the fabric in a different way, making small cuts and sewing them together, instead of just one big piece. I had JUST enough fabric using the first version and my leftover fabric. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to trash the shirt completely!

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handmade sensory bags

Teensy bit of background info:

If you don’t know me “in real life” or haven’t glanced at my About Me page, you may not realize that my oldest son was diagnosed with autism a little bit before his second birthday. He’s 10 now and it’s been quite a roller coaster ride, as you can imagine. Some days are amazing and beautiful and other days are tedious and frustrating. Which I’m sure is the same for typical parents. Add autism to the mix and trust me when I say, it brings “parental challenges” it to a whole other level.
But my son is lovely and funny and amazing and intelligent and one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Over the last year or so his anxiety levels have been consistently rising. So much so that we decided to seek out some assistance for him. (Anxiety often goes hand in hand with autism.) Unfortunately with the high instance of the disorder, resources are stretched VERY thin around here. We buckled in for a long waitlist to see a therapist that had experience with anxiety in children, but also had the autism experience necessary in order to actually help my child. (Many therapists become inaccessible to a child like my son to those professionals who don’t know how to deal with the autism component. Again, very common, and VERY frustrating.)

We finally got a call that his name was next and he started seeing someone weekly back in March. It’s been good for him, good for us. Good for our family. We all continue to grow and learn and better equip him and ourselves for the tough days.

Last week when he was there, his therapist mentioned that the whole time he was talking to her he was handling a sensory bag that she had in her office. Hers was silky stretchy material with buds inside. He enjoyed fiddling with it and he remained calm during their discussion.

We’re no strangers to sensory input as when my son was first diagnosed he also had MAJOR sensory processing issues. He began OT as his first step in Early Intervention. At that time I was introduced into the strange world of sensory diet, input, and aversion. Things like Vestibular Input, brushing protocol, and joint compressions. His OT was great and over the next few years his sensory issues were tamed, a lot.

He stills gets OT as part of his IEP in school, but it’s not enough. We’re currently seeking additional private OT to supplement what he receives in school and also to hopefully help calm him when he’s at home with us. While we wait for services to begin (another waitlist!), I knew I could do a few things here that he might respond positively to. First step, how about some sensory bags? Great!

Now obviously, there are great therapeutic product companies out there that make almost everything an SPD individual might need, but I was looking for something cost-effective. I knew I could make them easily and cheaply.

I picked up a bag each of red lentils (which are very tiny and lighter) and red beans (which are larger and heavier) from the grocery store. I spent under 4 bucks total. Next I grabbed some of the play sand I had leftover from filling my outdoor canopy tent weights. Play sand is SUPER cheap, you can get a 50lb bag at Home Depot for under 3 bucks.

Of course I have a ton of scrap fabrics, so I rummaged through my stash to find some suitable pieces.

I choose three distinctively different fabrics:

a silky satin
a cozy cotton flannel
a stretchy cotton knit

Each fabric offers a unique sensory input coupled with their different fillings. Each bags finished dimensions are 9.5 in x 5.5 in. All seams are double sewn for extra durability. As I was cutting my pieces I figured, what the hey, might as well jazz them up a bit. I added appliques on two of them. (This was done with double-side fusible web.) The entire project took about an hour.

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The sand one is especially useful, as the heft of it is considerable and it can double as a lap weight. Which is yet another form of sensory therapy!

Using my hands to create something to hopefully help my son in his challenging journey is simply precious to me. So much love sewn into each!

etsy love & House of Wood

Back at the beginning of this year, I was contacted by a woman named Jen who was interested in my 3-ring binder pencilcase. I typically make them to around the size of a standard sheet of loose-leaf paper. She inquired whether I could make my superslim case into a 3-ring binder compatible case. Of course I could!

She and I set to work in figuring out what fabrics I had that worked best with her favored aesthetic. She picked out the very cool Echino Ni-Co Bicycle print along with a coordinating cotton lining for the interior. And I set to work!

She loved her new pencilcase and I loved working with her to make her something she adored. Isn’t that the best?

Jen has her own blog, the amazing The House of Wood. It’s beautiful and wonderful, just like her!

Recently she started a regular series on her site called Etsy Love, where she showcases Etsy shops that she well, LOVES. Check out this months, including yours truly!

I have to also point out how much I’m admiring the work of fellow featured shop of Jen’s, EvaJuliet, specifically her Choose Joy print. I mean, how I could not love it!

If you’ve got your eye on something in my shop, now is the time to fill up that shopping cart, I’m offering a 15% discount using Jen’s readers code, HOUSEOFWOOD!

go win something!

Shanell of Go Team Kate fame recently contacted me in hopes that she can get her hands on one of my snazzy and totally useful 3-ring binder pencilcases that I started making this year. She wanted to review it for her Products We Love section. I thought, sure why not! Secretly I think my goods hold up to even severe scrutiny. (I sound like Angela Martin from The Office, no?)

In addition to her reviewing my product and giving a rave review, (YAY!), she is holding a giveaway for one of my pencilcases.

These are the ones I sent:

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I love how different the fabrics are from each other, but if I was hard pressed, I couldn’t pick a favorite! I’m just as in love with bold, graphic, geometric prints as I am with pretty pastels and trees. Enough love for all yo.

So get on over there and enter to WIN!

handmade summer top

I have SUCH a hard time finding summer tops. When the heat and humidity come around, I usually pare down my wardrobe to a top, cut-offs and some sandals. Any more clothing and I become very miserable. Being of large stature, in height and weight, I have the darnedest time finding cute, cool, summery shirts to wear. Everything is either polyester, too short, hideous, sleeveless, or has a ridiculous and annoying elastic across the bottom band. WHY DO THEY DO THIS? It’s never flattering on anyone!

This year I decided to give it a go at making some tops for myself. I’m not a clothing designer nor am I pattern drafter, so I had to find some options in the commercial pattern department. JoAnn’s was having a 99 cent pattern sale a few months ago, so I picked a few up that I thought I might like to try.

The first one was Simplicity 4607:

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Now the ONLY reason I bought this one is for the easy breezy tunic it offered. I have a few tops in that shape and I love how comfortable and easy it is to wear.
Because this was my first time using this pattern, I thought it would be best to try it in muslin first before I cut into my newly purchased cotton yardage. But in all honesty, I hate doing a muslin mockup. It takes just as much time as the finished product and I’d rather have a usable item at the end! So I went through my fabric closet and found something that would work. Some old cotton blend lightweight floral print fabric that I got from the clearance section at G Street fabrics. I figured if I mess it up or need to adjust in any way, I won’t mind doing it on this fabric. But if all goes well, hey, I’ll have a completed and wearable shirt!
And it worked out well!
It was a very easy pattern and it’s beyond comfy! Success!

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Now I can’t wait to make a few more!

new bag for me

For as many bags, purses, pouches and wristlets I’ve made for sale and for others over the years, the amount of those items that I’ve made strictly for my own personal usage is really low. I always want to make new bags for myself, I just never get around to it!

My old bag was looking used and sad and I was kind of sick of it, so I started thinking about what I’d like to carry around for the next six months to a year. (or longer!)
I still had a nice amount of Jessica Jones’ Outside Oslo line in my fabric inventory. Plus I had purchased a weird/cool magenta suede jacket/shirt thing from the Salvation Army sometime last year. I knew I wanted that suede for myself!

I love mixing colors and prints and this bag makes me seriously smile. Each side a just a little bit different and I re-used the pocket that was originally part of the garment. There is a removable strap that is attached via swivel clip and nickel grommets. The straps are attached via rivets.

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Inside:

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As I finished this piece I figured I might as well make a new wallet wristlet for myself too. I like matching things but I decided to make this item just a bit different. I had some old navy blue vinyl leftover from my last tote. I used this to make the random shapes on the outside. I first fused them onto the exterior using fusible webbing. I seriously LOVE this stuff for any and all applique work.

You can see my handy work from the wrong side:

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And the finished product!

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I attached the strap by threading it through a goldtone grommet and knotting it. For the closure, I purchased a heavy duty double-sided metal zipper from Joann’s.

I just love how cool the design looks.

new upcycled Etsy treasury

I just love being included in someone’s treasury. The curators can usually come up with very interesting and unique themes and items. This one didn’t disappoint! All upcycled items! Including my own re-purposed leather bracelet cuff:

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I made this cuff from leather cut from a skirt and pair of pants. I like using pants to source my leather because I can get long and narrow pieces which are good for the cuffs and/or straps. All of my leather comes from items procured from thrift shops, Salvation Army, and Goodwill. I’ve become a bit of an expert at harvesting awesome leather goods!

New Product

When I was preparing for the holiday show at W-L High, I had an idea to make some flat pencilcases that can fit right into a 3ring binder. This way they’re attached and won’t get forgotten or lost. My older son has a cheap plastic/nylon one that came from the school supplies box that the PTA offers every year for each student. That’s where the idea initially came from. I thought, “That’s ugly, I can do better than that!”

And so I did!

I made about a dozen of them for the W-L event and they sold well. I figured I would make some more for the Swanson event too. I made ten new ones with the new fabric I procured in January. Lots of modern, graphic, and retro prints. I’m in love!

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School supplies never looked so good!