Slipcovering the Chairs

Some time ago we bought a couple of new armchairs. We quickly realized that they would have to be slip covered to protect them from the cats. So I got to try my hand at slip covering again.


Here is a collage of snapshots of the work in progress.

And here is the finished product!


Pinning pattern
Marking the hem
Another Closeup
Second Slipcover
Tricky Corner
Side Viewr
Fit Check
Back Viewr
Side Tucks
One Down

A Christmas Apron - Part 2

Continuing from my previous post, the next thing I worked on was the apron bib.


I decided to line the bib with the striped fabric, the same one I was using for the elastic casing at the top. Now that I think about it, I believe I also made the casing strip slightly wider than the pattern. My main guide in deciding how wide, was the width of the elastic I had on hand. I used a one inch wide, 10 inch long strip of non-roll elastic. This elastic is thicker than other types but I figured it would help to keep the elastic from folding in on itself.

I pressed the casing in half lengthwise and the pressed the folded edges to slightly larger than my one inch elastic. I placed the casing around the top edge of the bib and pinned it in place making sure the pins caught both side of my casing. Then I stitched along the very edge of the casing to secure it to the bib.

I inserted the elastic, pressed the folded and turned under edges of the neck ties and attached them to the bib.

Next it was on to the midriff pieces. I didn’t take photos at each step, but the sequence was as follows.


I gathered the bib bottom and sewed it to front midriff piece, then I gathered the skirt top and sewed that to the front midriff also. Next I sewed the inside midriff piece to the bib.

At this point I sewed the waist ties up, pressed them and sewed them to the midriff sides. With the midriff backing piece still loose I remembered to sew on my “Handmade by” tag on the inside.

Now all that was left was to fold and press the seam edges closed. I turned the a few inches of the bottom unsewn edge of the midriff inside out and sewed them together. I pulled everthing back right side out and put a closing top stitching all around the midriff piece


Here’s a look at the inside of the finished apron.


And me modeling it.


I didn’t mention it before, but I made the large size, which isn’t really that large. I like very much how it turned out. There are a few more things I would do differently next time, but I will definitely make this Pretty Ditty apron again.

A Christmas Apron - Part 1

I had a last minute impulse to sew one of my Christmas presents this year. I have been known to handcraft gifts before, but it has generally been something knitted, and as such, it was something I had planned well before Christmas. This year I decided to make an apron for a very sweet lady I know. Once I started to think about aprons, I did a Google search on pretty apron patterns and this one pattern kept popping up, the Pretty Ditty Apron.


After seeing quite a few different versions of this apron and how truly pretty it always appeared I quickly ordered the pattern. Fortunately I got it in the mail very quickly which allowed me to go straight out to my local Joann Fabric store to find some pretty coordinating cottons. I found all sorts of lovely cotton fabric resources on the web but it was too late to order anything else online and get it quickly enough. My fault for waiting until the last week before Christmas to make it.

I forgot to take a picture of my coordinating fabrics before cutting them, but here they are before I had done much of the sewing.


I chose three fabrics for the apron, a large floral pattern in pink and yellow, a stripey yellow and a small pink print fabric. I think the pattern is designed for two fabrics if your are doing the single sided one and three fabrics if you are making the reversible version. I had planned on the single sided apron, but still decided to coordinate three fabrics for this. I used the large floral for the front skirt and bib, the yellow stripe for the elastic casing on the bib, for the small ruffle on the bottom and for the ties. I also ended up lining the bib with it. I used the pink print for the two front pockets, the neck ties and the midriff piece.

I made some slight changes when I cut out the pieces. I added half an inch to the width of the neck ties as well as half an inch to the width of the ruffle. Considering the half inch seam allowances they both seemed a bit skinny to me so I added the extra width. I also cut the apron tie open at the center front where the pattern it indicated it should lay on a fabric fold. I thought it was a typo, thinking that surely there had to be two separate ties that attached at the midriff sides. Later I found out that there is an error in the pattern concerning the length of the ties. They really should be cut much longer and if constructed according to the pattern, indeed the tie is in one piece

If I had read through the instructions first I would have realized that the construction calls for the tie to pass through the midriff piece as though this was a casing. In this case the tie really does need to be cut with the center front on the fabric fold and both long ends would extend out from inside the midriff.

I don’t mind having two tie pieces, since I didn’t really like the idea of inserting the ties through the midriff. I do regret not having realized that the ties were still rather short at this point. It would’ve been nice to be able to wrap them around the front as is shown on the pattern envelope.


The first thing I did was to sew the pockets on the skirt front and then hem this piece all around. Next I made the ruffle and attached it to the front of the skirt. This was actually the most time consuming part of the whole construction.


I pieced the two ruffle strips together, folded over the edges, and stitched a small hem all around.

I marked a crease down all the middle of the ruffle to guide where my gathering stitching would go.


And then attached the ruffle per the instructions. Here I am gathering and pinning the ruffle to the skirt.


Manual for the Singer 20U33 Sewing Machine

I was looking around for more information on my 20U33 sewing machine and found that there wasn’t much beyond what I already had, the manual that came with the machine. I thought I’d share what I do have.

Update: 8/11/2012 - Missing pages 10 & 11 are now included.

Singer 20U Manual_Page_01.jpg

Download the manual in pdf format here.

Yay! Time for Sewing Again - Robe Project

I find myself with more free time lately and so I have been slowly getting back into the sewing room. One of the first things I wanted to finish for myself was a robe made from this pattern.


I’ve had this pattern forever and over the years have made it for different family members. A few years ago I decided it would be nice to make a robe for myself, so I bought a lovely blue cloud patterned fleece. Well it had been sitting in my sewing room since then.

Early this year I made the resolution that I would finish it before another winter passed and I actually did finish it about a month ago, just in time for the cool weather.

Here are a few progress shots. The pattern is pretty easy to make. The shawl collar saves you a bit of sewing and it’s easy to trim with piping and to sew the facings on. Here I am putting the top stitching on the shoulder seams after attaching the back of the collar to the back neck.

No facings on the collar yet. I just wanted to see if I needed to trim back the shoulder pieces a bit. The shoulder should drop quite a bit on the robe for a loose comfortable fit, so I left it as it was.

Next step was to put the piping on the collar.

Here the piping and the facings are on the collar and it’s looking good.

After serging the front raw edges of the facing I attach the facing along the back neck and shoulder of the collar by hand.

Next I attach the sleeves. I like to press as I go, it helps you to judge if things are shaping up correctly.

The sleeves are on. At this point all I have left to do is attach the cuffs with another bit of detail piping, make the tie belt and loops and then mark and hem the robe.

Voila, a nice warm cuddly robe!

It’s good to be back!

Moonridge 2009

On June 20th we found ourselves heading back to Moonridge at Big Bear Lake once more. It’s been three years since our last visit. It would have been nice to see the Moonridge Animal Park finally situated in it’s new location, but that has not happened. From what I hear relocation plans have been moving slowly and lately have stalled even more. The National Forest Service required an environmental impact study before approving the relocation of the zoo onto forest service land. Having received the study a few months ago, it is now requesting a new study. So little Moonridge Animal Park remains on Goldmine Drive, charming as ever, but bursting at the seams.

Click on the picture to read all about my trip.


What’s New

I haven’t been doing to much sewing lately, but never say never. I have been dedicating all my spare time to artwork nowadays. I have a Supernatural fanart blog at


and an even newer art blog that includes all my non-fandom artwork.


Stop on by!

The Artwork

I keep thinking that one of life’s greatest luxuries is time for yourself, free from the demands of the rat race. Funny how that doesn’t occur to you when you are younger. I am enjoying my break.

I’ve been doing my artwork, really in depth, not just the part of actually taking pencil or brush to paper, but the part of the creative process that involves spending long periods of time reading my art books, sketching, just daydreaming on possible compositions or planning my next project. With my favorite music playing on my stereophonic headphones or playing in the background on my little music system, I can just let my imagination fly.

Right now Yo-Yo Ma’s cello is playing a haunting passages from some movie score. It is beautiful.

I have finished the Daniel Colourfix drawing in time to send if off to Ann Kullberg to include in next month’s member show. It was a long journey with this piece, but I feel it was time well spent. I learned a lot about using this paper with colored pencils. It has great potential for portrait pieces. This is the finished version.

(Click to enlarge)

I started a couple of other pieces. I decided to finally try an ampersand Pastelbord that I bought maybe years ago. I’m still looking for that perfect surface to give me the results I want. My initial reaction was that it I like it even better that the Colourfix paper. It has less texture making it a little easier to get the smooth blending of colors that I trying to achieve in a portrait. And it handles blending of colors wonderfully. I can get pretty close to my goal of catching the subtle shadows and contouring realistically on the faces I draw. I’m still learning about this surface but so far it seems like a winner to me. Here is a picture of this project in work. Ironically I’m having more trouble with the background than with the face. It all comes down to having good reference material for me. I have a good reference for his face, not so much for the trees and clouds.

(Click to enlarge)

On this next piece I’m using the Colourfix paper again, except that the colored pencils are Polychromos. The difference from the Prismacolor pencils are that the Polychromos are oil based while the Primacolor are wax based. I saw them at the Art Supply Warehouse when I went out there a few days ago. I had heard of the Polychromos and how beautifully the colors could blend. I seemed logical to me since they are oil based. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give them a try. Maybe they would be like working oil paints but with the control that a pencil can give you. I bought a 36 pencil set and bought a few more pastelbords too.

I started this portrait with high hopes. The pencils are definitely softer and blend easier that the Primacolors. I feel that they are better suited for the Colourfix paper than the Prismacolor. They are very nice and I feel I can get some great results. They are not as wonderful as I anticipated but definitely give me more options for working the Colourfix. I started the portrait and then realized that my color palette was too limited with the 36 pencils. I reluctantly put it on hold while I order more portrait colors from DickBlick art supply. This Colourfix paper has a warmer tone which I think will make it easier to get normal looking flesh tones.

(Click to enlarge)

To see work-in-progress commentary and pictures of some of these portraits go to my live journal page at:

Art, Supernaturally


I received my second shipment of Nancy Drew books yesterday. They are in very good shape. Now I just have to find a place to put them. Here I am with my whole collection.

(Click to enlarge)

I won a couple of small ebay auctions yesterday too. They were for a cute little row counter and for 8 Trixie Belden books.

I’ll have to wait a while to get the books since the auction owner only accepts payment by check or money order. My check is now making it’s way to Connecticut. Once it gets there, I’ll still have to wait until it clears before my order is shipped. Oh well, I’m patient.

Lunchtime Errand

I made a quick lunchtime trip to a yarn store not too far from work. The store is called the Slipt Stitch and is located right in downtown El Segundo which is about a 5 minute drive from the office. I’ve been wanting to get some longer size 5 circular needles to have on hand for my work on the Leaf Lace Shawl that I started recently.

I have been curious about this store in general, since I’ve seen it referred to now and again as a nicely stocked yarn store.The Slipt Stitch is probably my best bet to find knitting supplies without having to travel very far. I bought two size 5 circular needles, one 32″ and one 42″ long. These should be more than enough to knit a large shawl comfortably. The Addi turbos are supposed to be the cadillac of lace knitting needles!

The store was very nice, full of books, yarn and all sorts of knitting supplies. It is a small shop, but still has room for a few tables and chairs in the front section. I’m sure that for local knitters this must be a fun place to come and knit and chat with the people who run the store.

(Click to enlarge)