The blog has been quiet for a while, but I have been busier than ever. I finally took the plunge and started a sewing business in March. I would never have imagined how fast it would grow! In fact I have as much as I can handle right now considering I’m still working my day job. I hope to start blogging about my makes as soon as I figure out how to better organize my time. For now, you can find Stitched by Shae’ Cannon on Instagram as @stitchedsc and on Facebook as Stitched by Shae’ Cannon.
Happy New Year!
As I mentioned in my last post, I had taken a few vacation days in December. Amidst all the “busy-ness” of the season I made some time to do a little sewing and drawing.
I have no idea how I missed this pattern in previous searches. It is exactly what I envisioned wanting. I have several cuts of medium weight linen from fabrics-store.com, and chose the gray color “asphalt” for my vest.
The above photo is after a full day of wear…not much wrinkling for linen. This pattern is such a fast make. the front and back seams are sewn RIGHT sides together and then the seam allowances are pressed open and topstitched down. The directions have you finish the edges before you stitch the seams (they recommend serging, but since I have yet to master my serger, I zigzagged the raw edges). I love the frayed edges:
I already have plans for several more versions in both woven fabrics and knits. I can see myself getting tons of wear out of this, especially considering we have been having 75 degree weather lately.
On the drawing front, I have been commissioned to do a portrait. I worked on it before Christmas, but the client and I decided that the photo chosen just wasn’t working (the resolution was low and I wasn’t happy with my resulting lack of detail), so she is taking more photos over the Christmas holidays. We will meet in the next week or so to finalize the photo and I will begin a new version.
In the meantime, I decided to try out some new techniques in an effort to improve my blending skills. A friend had given me a photo (a year and a half ago, eek!) of her son when he was a toddler for me to do a portrait, and had told me to “take my time”, and she “wasn’t in a hurry”. I don’t think she will ever do that again! I decided to pick it back up and implement the new (to me) blending techniques/approach to drawing and I am so pleased with the result!
I know that I still have room (a great deal) to improve, but I think this is so much better than previous attempts. My friend has only seen a photo of it, but she said she loves it, and that is all that matters to me!
I should just come right out and say it…I was a scrooge this year. Usually I am chomping at the bit to decorate for Christmas as early as my husband will allow (for the first twenty years of our marriage we had a live tree, so he always wanted to wait until the second week of December, while I was always wrangling for December 1st). This year though, I just was not in the spirit. For the second year in a row we had an artificial tree (an old one from work that I borrowed). It has been a very hectic year work-wise for the hubs (i.e., very few off days) which translates to added stress on me. Why, you ask? Well, first of all he is so involved with our boys when he is off that his added work days means I take on all those things he normally handles. Which, let me tell you, is an AWFUL lot! He also usually does most of the cooking, both because he enjoys it and he is BETTER at it than I am. Lately I have had to take on that duty much more (to everyone’s dismay), plus lots of other reasons I won’t go into. Needless to say, I only got the tree done after my 11 year old came home from school the week before Christmas break saying that if we didn’t have a Christmas tree up or the stockings hung on the mantel this year he would just leave Santa a note on the front door. YES, I was shamed enough to put the tree up that day. Unfortunately that was my only decoration until Christmas Eve, when I finally got around to decorating the mantel (yes, those are three Alabama stockings and one Auburn one),
the sofa table (my 11 year old painted the snowman this year :-),
and making the Christmas cookies (not iced!).
Luckily, my Christmas spirit finally showed up that day, and I have been enjoying it ever since! In fact, I am gonna embrace my English brother-in-law’s tradition of leaving it all up until New Years!
I also wanted to share photos of our tree and some of our ornaments. We started our ornament collection the year we married (1993) with one from the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta, GA.
I was a senior at Auburn University, and my then-fiancé and I drove to Atlanta to pick up my wedding dress. While there we toured the museum and bought the ornament, starting a tradition of buying an ornament or two (or three!) each year.
This year was the first year that I did not use a single “filler” ball ornament. Our tree was decorated entirely with our special yearly purchases and the boys’ handmade ornaments from past years. Of course our respective college teams are represented:
These are a some of my favorites:
And of course some of the handmade:
I think our tree is beautiful, even if it IS artificial! (Disclosure: I still love a real tree, but I have to admit that an artificial one is easier to put up and take down)
Well, there you have it. Believe it or not, I have enough Christmas decorations for every room of my house (including bathrooms), a Christmas village, and outside items. Maybe next year I will get it all out and up, and in a timely fashion.
More importantly, we have had some good quality family time (the Hubs got home Christmas morning and was off the weekend), and I had some vacation days saved so I have been off some with the boys during their school break. I have enjoyed this Christmas more than almost any other we have had despite the “scrooge” beginning!
I finished up my second ever pair of knitted socks last night. I cast them on in March, worked up about 2 inches of ribbing on each one, then put them aside. I cannot remember exactly but I believe I used a Lornas Laces sock yarn. I knit them using US2 DPNs (I much prefer DPNs over circular needles for socks) mainly because they were the smallest DPNs I had on hand. I have since ordered US1 DPNs because it seems most sock patterns call for them.
I picked them back up the week of Thanksgiving and knitted about every evening on them to finish them up, so I am saying it took me almost three weeks to make them.
I didn’t really have a pattern for them. I like 2×2 ribbing, and I had used 64 stitches on my last socks, so that is what I started with. Because I wasn’t using a pattern, I knew I would have to do internet searches for each part. One completed pair of socks done a year ago does not an expert make!
When it got time to do the heel flap, I lucked up and found the Knit Along sock series by Hands Occupied, (This link is for day one. Here are the links for the Day 2 Heel Flap, Day 3 Heel Turn, Day 4 Gusset, Day 5 Toe) which I went back to time and again when I was stuck on how to do something.
I also found Have A Yarn‘s instructions for the eye of partridge stitch heel flap, which makes a very sturdy, thicker heel flap. I absolutely love it! Here is a closeup photo of my second sock’s heel:
On my first sock, I somehow missed the part of the instructions where on the knit side all the slip stitches are slip as if to PURL…I slipped as if to KNIT, and while just as thick, the heel isn’t nearly as pretty and it doesn’t seem to have as much stretch. I used half my stitches for the heel flap (32), and when I turned the heel, I used the short row method from Hands Occupied (Day 3 Heel Turn). I continued to knit the top half of stitches in the ribbing since I wanted it to extend all the way to the toe. Once I got to the start of the toe, I changed to all knit stitches and decreased as per the tutorial (Day 5 Toe):
I had used the Kitchener Stitch on my first pair, so I went back to the internet and found a tutorial (I don’t know about you, but that stitch, while easy, has several steps that I have trouble keeping in order. Also, I found that watching a video of it made it much easier for me to grasp). The one I used is by The Knit Witch, found on YouTube. I really like the Kitchener Stitch because it seamlessly grafts two rows of live seams together. I always hated the toe seams on RTW socks so I definitely didn’t want to put one in socks I spent forever knitting!
Second sock finished. Ain’t it pretty! ;-D
I am wearing them today for the first time, and today just happens to be my 29th (haha) birthday, so these will forever be my birthday socks!
What is so exciting about this pattern is that it is drafted just for us “curvy” girls who need more coverage in the bust area than most RTW wrap dresses or wrap dress sewing patterns usually provide. Jenny’s pattern is sized from a C/D bust to a G/H bust and in sizes 12 -28! The sewalong officially starts today, but I will not be able to start until my fabric arrives. I found the most beautiful printed knit on MarcyTilton.com called the Montage Knit.
Cannot wait until it arrives and I can begin. I will have some “catch up” to do but I think I have sewn enough with knits that it will be doable.
If you have ever wanted to sew a wrap dress but thought they weren’t for your body shape, I encourage you to check out the Appleton. Every version I have seen has been lovely!
It’s costume time again, but not just because it’s Halloween month. Our local high school homecoming is this week, and today each class has a theme to follow for dressing up. I made two costumes, both without patterns.
First, my 5th grader decided to be a Circus Ringmaster (his class theme is circus/carnival):
I was able to make this from fabrics I had on hand (other than the top hat which I bought online). The vest is really just the two fronts attached at the shoulder and side seams to the jacket. I cut out 4 and seamed them together so they are completely lined. It was a little too tight so I added the rectangular trim to the front to make a placket. I ran out of time to add buttons and buttonholes so it is safety-pinned closed from the inside here. The jacket gave me fits…but of course I was sewing and designing it as I went, so that meant seam ripping, re-cutting, etc. I guess for no pattern it turned out okay. My biggest disappointment with it was thinking I was out of the red fabric so I improvised and cut the tails of the coat out of black. Only after I finished did I find another large scrap of the red corduroy! ARGH! I used an old buttondown shirt with the sleeves cut off (so he wouldn’t get hot) for the white shirt and made the bowtie out of the same red corduroy (21 wale, very lightweight). The pants are a pair of my old jersey lounge pants cut off just below the knee. I draped the faux leather fabric over his shoes to get an idea of shaping, cutting three pieces (two side and one back), seamed those together, then seamed a wedge shaped rectangle for the leg section. Of course I did this at 11pm last night, and when he tried them on this morning the calves were too tight. Alas this morning was a marathon seam ripping/adding in a back panel/re-attaching to the pants sewing session (Hey, he was only 15 minutes late for school! ;-D)
The second costume I made is for a friend’s daughter who is a senior this year. Her class theme was “The Hunters and The Hunted”, and she chose to be a squirrel.
Her mom bought 1 1/4 yards of faux fur, and I used an existing vest as the template to cut out the top. I cut out a slightly shaped tube for the tail, seamed it up, stuffed lightly with polyfil, and straightened a metal hanger out to give the tube some stability. I then just safety pinned it to the vest so it would stay upright. The ears are just rounded triangles seamed about an inch at the top and folded in at the bottom and seamed, then turned right side out and pinned to a headband. Voila! She had faux fur boot tops that matched perfectly and just added a brown top and leggings. I think she is the most adorable squirrel I have ever seen!
Where I live (The Deep South) football is the king of fall. People sport their favorite team logos on everything from hats and Tshirts to, you guessed it, ties. I decided to design a fabric for bow ties featuring my sons’ school mascot the Volunteers (think Minutemen) in our school colors orange and black. I chose bow ties over neckties for two main reasons. One, they take much less fabric per tie, and second, bow ties seem to be pretty popular with the boys at our school right now. I am pretty chuffed with the result!
I already have several orders, but the undeniable proof of success is this: my 16 year old, who before now has never worn anything but neckties, has already claimed this first one as his own to wear to Homecoming (if it doesn’t clash with his date’s dress, of course!)
I had another bout of “fabric design fever” a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to order fat quarters of them so I could get a better idea of the print layout. Previously I had only ordered 8″x8″ swatches, and it really was not large enough to get a good visual of overall pattern. The result? I love them! I can now envision some of my prints as scarves, some as totes or accessory bags, and some as clothing. Here are a few quick snapshots I took this morning of them laid out on my breakfast table:
I love the two coral/pink fabrics. One is a geometric print and the other an abstract floral . Both of these I can see as workout tanks in Spoonflower.com’s new Sport Lycra fabric. The geometric sample is in the sport lycra. It has 12% lycra and is moisture-wicking, so it is perfect for workout wear.
The green fabrics I can see as flowing tops , dresses, or scarves. Spoonflower.com has several options for this: poly crepe de chine, silk crepe de chine, modern jersey, and silky faille to name several.
I decided upon viewing them that I really liked the feathers and floral print above for clothing also (with its coordinating mini print below), especially after seeing it on Spoonflower’s new site SproutPatterns.com (beta version right now) as a Myrtle Dress. SproutPatterns.com is a sister site to Spoonflower.com where they offer a limited number of patterns that can be customized with your fabric choices from their site (your own designs or any others they offer for sale) and the pattern pieces are printed out with your design choices directly on the fabric. All you have to do when you get it is cut out and sew. How cool is that???
I leave you with a couple more pictures (because this post isn’t picture heavy already, right?)
I have some medium Weight linen in a dark forest green that I have not been able to decide what to sew it up as. It was just too dark for my taste as a summer item. Where I live it will be pretty warm well into November, so I figured why not make a fall dress? I browsed around on the Internet for some dress ideas and found one on Etsy that I liked in the Idea2lifestyle shop.
I made a sketch of what i envision sewing:
I have an existing pattern I think I can alter enough to accomplish this. The black at the neck and sleeves are just attachments to make the dress look layered; I have some handkerchief weight black linen I think will work well for this. I plan on making the 3/4 sleeves vented to above the elbow to minimize wrinkling from bending my arms. I want to do some type of embroidery in black on the skirt, possibly shashiko, a Japanese form of embroidery dating back to the 1600’s. I like the inspiration dress’s long front ties, which are shown both tied and left hanging. I will probably wear them tied to cinch the waist in some and give a little shape to an otherwise loose design.