Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pattern Review Love!

It's no secret that I love Pattern Review.  I do my best to get on there and let everyone know what I thought of a pattern, and I usually consult others' reviews before I buy a new pattern (especially the more expensive ones!).   While browsing the site this morning, I was surprised to see that my comments about the Peony Dress were featured in the "Best Patterns of 2012" segment.  I did a little happy dance, and thought I would share the news with you!

If you're interested in seeing the best patterns of 2012 (because, really, why wouldn't you be?) head on over to Pattern Review to check out the article!

If you want to see my other reviews on Pattern Review, you can check out my profile here.

What do you guys think? Do you own any of the patterns on the list?  I'd love to see anything you've made and hear what you have to say!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

An unexpected break...

Hello my lovely readers!  I haven't forgotten about you, although I haven't been doing much crafting this week. 

Unfortunately, I got some bad news last Friday--my great-grandmother died.  Although she was old, and lived a great life, she was very healthy so her death came as a shock to all of us.  I've been spending much of my week traveling, thinking, and watching sappy movies rather than sewing.  I have, however, been  working on a few more portable things from the couch that I hope to be able to share with you this week! Just as soon as I find the charger for my camera, that is.

I hope you and your families are all doing well and staying warm.  I, for one, have got my sights set on spring--it can't come soon enough!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sew Free for Your Valentine--or Yourself!

Happy Valentine's Day my dear readers!  I am so thankful for all of you, and am sending lots of love your way today!

The Sew Free Project is turning out to be a lot of fun for me.  Hopefully, it's equally as much fun for you!  When I first started compiling free patterns, I thought I would have a few good ones and not much else.  It turns out that I was wrong.  So far, on my pinterest board, I've compiled so many free patterns that I could sew from only free patterns for a couple years, and still not get through them all!  It's amazing.  If you haven't checked out the board yet, do it!  There are so many patterns!

Anyway, now that I've gushed about my love of sewing free, let me share my latest sew free project with you, The Ruby Slip, just in time for Valentine's Day!

My slip is not "ruby"

Pattern: Pattern Scissors Cloth's Ruby Slip.  It's a bias-cut slip with a scalloped lace bodice.  It's a free, printable, pdf pattern.  The pattern was pretty easy to cut out and put together.  My only gripe was that the pieces were "burda style,"  meaning they were all overlapping.  Even though I'd normally just cut out a pdf pattern, (knowing I can always print it again) I had to trace off the pattern pieces.  After taping all those pieces together, I didn't really want to trace.  Not that big of a deal, just saying.

Sizing: According to the size chart, I fell in between a size 10 and 12 ( I have a 28.5 inch waist in case you care).  I cut a size 12 to be on the safe side.  My bust, on the other hand fell in the range of the size 14.  This pattern was drafted for a B-cup, which I am not... I figured I would just do a FBA if I needed to, and cut a size 12 all over.

Did it look like the picture/drawing? Yes.  Exactly.  Except I like my colors better!

Fabric Used:  I went to my local fabric shop and got this amazing 100% silk Betsey Johnson Fabric and some scalloped stretch lace.  I bought 1.5 yards of each, and had just enough.  My lace was not quite wide enough, so I improvised by adding a second row of scallops on the longest piece.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  They were! I followed them for the first half of construction, then I finished on my own.  The construction was very straightforward, so I didn't have any trouble!

What I love most: The fabric.  It's really, really gorgeous, very soft, and has a lovely drape.  I also love the lace.  I think they just look so pretty together, and I'm so happy with how it turned out.
A close-up of my fabric

What I would do differently if I made it again: I would cut the skirt in a 10.   I would NOT cut a different size in the bodice, however.  Keep in mind I'm a DD cup (sorry if that's TMI, guys), and this fit me, but I am very petite.  I have very narrow shoulders, and a small rib cage, so I think that's why I was able to get away without the FBA.  If you are above a B cup and are not a narrow lady, make sure you do a FBA.

Pattern alterations:  I ended up taking in about 2 inches in the ribcage, but if I had cut a smaller size, that probably wouldn't have been needed.  I also double scalloped one of the bodice pieces, but that's just because I forgot to measure my lace before I bought it.  Oops.

Recommended? Yes!  So pretty and drapey...

Final thoughts: Go make one! It's an easy, quick way to make yourself feel special on Valentine's Day!  Or, you could make one later.  It's just so pretty!  Sewing something with no purpose but looking pretty was so much fun! 

PS--Sorry for the horrible pictures, guys! It's hard to photograph sheer things...I'm certainly not modeling for you ;)

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Leibster Blog Award!

2013 really is shaping up to be a wonderful year!

The lovely Grace who blogs over at handmade.homemade gave me the Liebster Award this week.  How cool is that?  

The Liebster Blog Award Rules:

  • Nominees must link back to the blogger who awarded them
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs and ask them 11 new questions

  • 11 things about me:

    1. I love wearing red lipstick.  It makes me feel fancy, no matter what I'm wearing.
    2. I have two cats, Dudley and Sunni.  I hate their names, but they came with them, so we're stuck.  They are both very smart and cuddly and they even know how to sit and come!
    3. My favorite color is pink.  All kinds of pink.
    4. I wish I had crazy curly hair.
    5. I grew up on the beach in New Jersey.  No, the Jersey Shore is not really like the TV show.
    6. I hate wearing shoes.  And slippers.  Probably a product of fact #5...
    7. I'm a vegetarian.  I'm also lactose intolerant, but I eat cheese anyway because it's just so good!  
    8. I'm exactly 5 feet and 3/4 of an inch tall.
    9. My favorite book is A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    10. My favorite animal is a cow.
    11. I love to travel, and I've never said no to a trip!  In 2011, I spent almost four months on a road trip around the USA.  My boyfriend and I drove around 20,000 miles.  We've been to every state together but Alaska, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan, and Rhode Island.  It was the greatest thing I've ever done, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 
    Dudley and Sunni

    The 11 things Grace wants to know:

    1.  What’s the best book you’ve read in the past few months? This is kind of sad, as I love to read, but I can't think of a single book I've finished in the past few months. I've started lots.  Before I started sewing regularly, I would come home and read.  Now, I come home and sew.  The most recent book I finished reading was The Colette Sewing Handbook.  It's a great resource, and I highly recommend it to new sewists.  I have yet to tackle any of the patterns, but I hope to change that very soon!

    2.  Who is your favorite actor or actress?This is going to sound totally cliched, and it is: I love Audrey Hepburn.  She's so humble, beautiful, giving, and classy.  I just love her old Hollywood glamour; so different from the trash that comes out Hollywood today. 

    3.  What’s your favorite thing you’ve made, cooked or baked in the past few months?
    Hmmm.  I recently made some pretty awesome vegetarian French Onion Soup.  I consider this a feat without beef broth!

    4.  What’s the most special piece of clothing you own? Why do you love it?
    The most special thing I own is this horrible blue skirt I made about a year ago. It's gathered and ugly, but it's the first article of clothing I made myself, so I just can't get rid of it.  It reminds me of how far I've come!

    5.  Do you have any family heirlooms?
    I have lots!  I love old things.  I have my great-grandmother's dishes in the kitchen, another great-grandmother's rocker in the living room, and lots of jewelry from my grandmother.

    6.  What do you do to relax?
    I put on comfy clothes, sit on the couch, and drink a cup of tea.  Sometimes, I'll leave out the clothes, and just get in the tub with a good book.  I love the tub!

    7.  What’s your ideal/ fantasy vacation?
    A year long trip around the world with no set agenda.  I'm not really into fancy cruises or tours where everything is set up for you.  I like to be able to decide where I'm going, when I'm going, and how I'll get there.

    8.  Have you made any new family or personal traditions recently?
    No!  The only thing I seem to be able to do consistently is put the Christmas Tree up!  I'm not really very organized...

    9.  What’s your favorite creative outlet?
    I really love sewing.  I've been seen knitting, jewelry-making, crocheting, painting, refurbishing furniture, scrap booking, really anything I can get my hands on.  Sewing is my favorite, although sometimes it's nice to take a break and do other things, too!

    10.  What’s one aspect of yourself that makes you really proud?
    I'm really proud of my blog!  I was really afraid to join the blogging community.  Now that I dove in, I found a community of really supportive people who share my interests.  I love that I can share my projects with other people (no matter how far) that are interested and can offer constructive criticism and wisdom!  I'm so proud of my creations and all that I am learning, and so glad that I've been able to share them with all of you!

    11.  If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
    My boyfriend asked me this a couple of months ago, and I said: "I just want to be a craft blogger with the skill to make things for others.  I'd love to be able to create my own patterns and clothes and sell them online, and blog about my life and the creative process."  Not much has changed since then. (Although I wouldn't mind owning a physical store with classes, fabric, patterns, and hand-made clothes either!)  I don't know if I'll ever have the skill to draft patterns or the technical ability to make items for others, but it's something I can dream about.  But, I CAN blog all I want--I've certainly overcome that hurdle.   In the mean time, I love learning all that I can about making things for me!

    The bloggers who inspire me that I would like to nominate for the Liebster Award:

    1. Mokosha at Mokosha
    2. Sally at The Quirky Peach
    3. Kristin at Sew Classic
    4. Mika at Savory Stitches 
    5. Button Lover
    6. Kathy at Kathy Sews 
    7. Janelle at Sew Hopeful
    8. Alice at The Pin and Thimble
    9. Sew Tiger Sew
    10. Hazel at Disaster in a Dress
    11. Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes 

    And here are my questions for you:

    1.  Do you have a favorite pattern? (Sewing, knitting, crochet, whatever.)
    2.  What was the last thing you made?  
    3.  What is your favorite print? (dots, stripes, floral)  Or, do you like solids better? If you like solids, what's your favorite color?
    4.  What is a typical day like for you?
    5.  Where is your favorite place?
    6.  What do you do when you're feeling down?
    7.  What is your crafting space like?
    8.  Which blogs do you look to for inspiration?
    9.  Would you rather live by the sea or the mountains?
    10. What's your favorite meal?
    11. What makes you happier than anything else?

    Now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about me:
    Don't forget to check out Grace's beautiful blog!  Grace, thank you so much for passing this award on to me!
    AND go check out the blogs of all the lovely ladies I awarded!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Giveaway winner!

    And the winner is...

    ...the 10th person to comment was:

    Judith  6 days ago

    What a lovely 1st giveaway! Off to have a peek around your blog...J

    Congratulations Judith!  I will be contacting you shortly!

    THANK YOU to everyone else for entering and following.  I've really loved having you all around the blog, and enjoyed your comments over the past week.  I'm planning on having another giveaway next month, so stay tuned!

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    Sew Grateful 5: Something I made for someone else

    What a lovely, grateful, week it has been.  To finish off my Sew Grateful posts, I decided to make something for someone else.  In this case, a very small someone else.

    My best friend had a baby girl about 6 months ago, which I've been really happy about because I get to make things for her :)  Making things for babies is the best! Because they're so small, it really doesn't take much time!

    I used a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn.  Here's what it's supposed to look like:


    And here's my version:

    See? Not nearly as cute as the one with the baby :(

    Unfortunately, I don't have my own cuddly little baby to model it for me, so I took a picture of my cuddly cats for you instead.

    Don't let them fool you, they're usually getting into trouble.

    Anyway, now that you've got your cuteness in for the day, on to the pattern.

    This was a really easy, straightforward pattern. It's knit in garter stitch in four pieces, then put together at the end.  Overall, it was pretty mindless.  Perfect for knitting while sitting in the car or watching a movie; not tons of concentration required


    Pattern:  Lion Brand Yarn Colorplay Hoodie.

    Sizing: I made mine in 6 months, but there are instructions included for larger sizes

    Does it look like the photo?  Yes!  I'm not very original with my color choices, so I used the exact yarn pictured in the photo.  It looks almost exactly the same.  Yay!

    Materials: 2 balls of Lion Brand Amazing yarn in Pink Sands and two buttons.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes! Very clear, simple, and easy.  I would definitely recommended this for a beginner.

    Pattern alterations: I decided to leave off the hood.  I even made it, but decided it looked kind of stupid.

    What I love most:  The buttons.  I didn't want to put colored buttons on, because I didn't want it to be too pink.  I like that these have little flowers on them, but they're not super girly.

    What I would do differently if I made it again: I wouldn't waste the yarn on the hood.  Other than that, nothing!

    Recommended? Yes! Quick, easy, clear, and cute. 

    Final thoughts: It would be cuter with a baby in it.  Maybe we'll get lucky and my friend will send me some photos of her gorgeous little girl in the sweater...

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Sew Grateful 4: My Sew Grateful Project/ The Sew Free Project!

    A few weeks ago, I shared some free things that I would love to try out if I had the time, as well as some patterns and tutorials I was lusting after.  I also talked about a series of posts you can look forward to: The Sew Free Project.  Each month, I'll be posting my completed project review of a free pattern or tutorial found online.  I figured that Sew Grateful Week was as good a time as any to get started!
    To kick off The Sew Free Project, I chose the dolman sleeve top from Cation Designs

    Pattern: Cation Design's Dolman sleeve top: The pattern itself is a free printable pdf with only 8 pieces.  I hate having to print and tape 8 million pattern pieces together, so I couldn't be happier about that! However, there were no instructions for putting the pattern pieces together.  Usually a pdf pattern has some sort of letters of numbers to match up the edges, this didn't.  It definitely took me a few tries to put together!  I took a picture of what it should look like put together just in case you'd like to make your own.  Hopefully that will save you some time!

    Sizing: I cut a size small.  It fits well everywhere but the neck.  It's a bit too wide.  Next time, I want to try to adjust for narrow shoulders.  I like the drapey effect, but I think it's just a bit too much. What do you think?

    Did it look like the photo/drawing? Yes!

    Fabric Used: 1.5 yards of knit.  It's got this lovely lacy striped pattern on it that's kind of hard to see in the photos, but is really pretty!

    Were the instructions easy to follow? Very, very, very easy!  This was one of the quickest makes EVER.  There are four seams to sew, a neck band, a waist band, and two arm bands, then you're done! BAM!  This seriously took like an hour to cut and sew, if that.  It also took me an hour to cut and put the pieces together, but that's all over now...

    What I love most: The pattern fits well, was easy to make up, and is a great basic top for jeans.  Plus, it's made for knits, which I love.  Stretchy, cozy goodness!  Oh, and the lines match up with little pictures of cats.  Perfect if your cat is like mine, and loves to sit on your patterns while you sew...

    What I would do differently if I made it again:  You mean when I make it again? Adjust for my narrow shoulders.  The neckline is a bit funny, too.  I think it's time to invest in a walking foot...

    Pattern alterations: None, yet.  Next time, there will be!

    Recommended? Absolutely.  It's free, cozy, and easy! What could be better than that?  I also think this would be a great first project for someone who wants to try sewing knits for the first time.

    Final thoughts: Love it!  I'm off to make a few million more...

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Sew Grateful 3: Button-up Front (or back!) Circle Skirt Tutorial

    As most of you know, I'm pretty new to sewing my own clothes, so the thought of writing my own tutorial seemed a bit daunting.  However, I figured that if can do something, so can anyone!  My tutorial is for a simple circle skirt-with a twist!  The edges on this skirt are finished with contrasting bias tape for both simplicity and style, and is closed with an adorable line of buttons up the front (or the back--you choose)!
    Front buttons!

    Back buttons!

    If you've never made a circle skirt before, you'll have to do a little math.  Don't fret! It's very simple, and will leave you with a smile, not a headache!

    Measuring and cutting the skirt piece: 

    You will need:
    • Tape measure
    • Ruler
    • Calculator
    • At least 1.5 yards of fabric.  You will need extra if your waist measurement is much larger than mine, if you are tall, or if you would like your skirt to be long!
    • Scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat
    • Butcher paper/craft paper or a marking pencil/pen/chalk
    1.  Measure your waist (or wherever you would like your skirt to sit) and subtract 4 inches to counteract bias stretching*.  Then divide that number by 6.28.  This number is your radius measurement.  For example, my waist is 28 inches:

    28 - 4 =    24   
                   6.28  = 3.8

    So, my radius measurement is 3.8 inches. If your number is in between inch markers, you can round it up or down to the nearest half inch.  3.8 inches rounds up to 4 inches.  (If I were 3.6, I would go down to 3.5)

    **A note about bias stretching: 
    All fabrics stretch when cut on the bias, to counteract this, you have to subtract a few inches from your waist measurement, otherwise your skirt will be huge!  If your fabric stretches a lot, you can always move your buttons over to make the skirt tighter.  If it is too tight, you can make your hole bigger by cutting some fabric out of the waist.

    2. Determine how long you would like your skirt to be.  Measure the distance from your waist to the spot on your leg that you would like your skirt to end.  Add your radius measurement to that number.  This is your length.

    I wanted my skirt to be 16 inches long, so:

    16 + 4 = 20

    My length is 20 inches.

    **You don't nee to worry about adding a hem allowance because we are finishing this with bias tape.  If you'd like to hem it instead, them be sure to add on an allowance, otherwise your skirt will be too short.

    3. Now, it's time to start marking and cutting!  You're going to want to fold your fabric in four (fold it in half, selvage edge to selvage edge, then in half again--it should be more square than long skinny rectangle) before you start marking and cutting.  Alternatively, you could draw your measurements out on butcher paper or craft paper and trace them onto your fabric. 

    4.  You are going to make two sets of curved lines: one with your radius measurement, and one with your length measurement.

    For the first line, use your radius measurement.  Starting at the top corner, make a marking every few inches.  Connect the dots into a quarter-circle.  This will become the waist of your skirt.

    Repeat this process, this time using your length measurement.  This will become the hemline of your skirt.

    When you are finished cutting, you should end up with a big circle with a hole in the middle.

    Keep going, you're half-way done!!!

    Assembling and finishing the skirt:

    1.  Gather your materials.

    You will need:
    • At least 8 buttons
    • At least 1.5 yds. of fabric
    • At least 6 yds. of bias tape
    • Pins
    • Scissors
    1.  Cut all the way through one side of your circle.  If you are using fabric that looks the same or similar on both sides, it's also a good idea to mark one side as the inside, and one as the outside.

    2. Take out your bias tape.  Iron it so it is flat if you are using store-bought tape.

    3.  Start with the two straight edges of the skirt (where you just cut) the circle open.  Unfold your bias tape, and attach it to the inside first.  I put a pin every 5 inches or so, but you could do more if you want to!

     4. Flip the skirt over to the right side and fold down the bias tape.

    5.  Top stitch the bias tape to the skirt.  Go slow, and try to make it as straight as possible!


    6.  Attach the bias tape to the waist.  Repeat the same process on the inside as you did for the edges.  Go very slowly--remember this edge is curved!  When you get to the ends, leave a little extra length of tape, about 1/2 inch.

    7.  Fold the edge of the bias tape in so that there will not be raw edges exposed when you top stitch the right side of the skirt.  Flip the skirt to the right side, and top stitch the bias tape.  When you get to the end, ensure that the bias tape stays folded inward on both sides and completely encases the raw edges of the bias tape on the sides of the skirt.

        8.  Repeat for the bottom of the skirt.

    9.  Try on your skirt.  You should have enough extra space at the waist for a 1in. overlap on each side.  You may have more or less, depending on the stretch of your fabric.  If you do, be sure to account for this before you sew on your buttons and make your button holes!

    10.  Make your button holes and sew on your buttons.  I put one button every two inches down the left side of my skirt.  You could do more or less, it's up to you!  If you are using fabric with a pattern, be careful to match up the repeat of the pattern as you sew on your buttons.
    Check out that plaid matching!

    10.  Try on your skirt, twirl around, and take lots of pretty pictures!
    Don't forget to twirl!

    If you would like to show off your skirt on my blog, send me a picture at ashley@craftsanctuary.com and I will post it!  If you have any questions, you can also leave me a comment or e-mail me, and I'll do my best to help!

    Thanks to Debi at My Happy Sewing Place  for hosting Sew Grateful Week!  Be sure to check out her blog for all the other great tutorials and free patterns from other bloggers!

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    More updates...

    Hi all!

    I went ahead and changed the comments part of my posts to Disqus.  It's something I've been thinking about doing for a few weeks, but just haven't gotten around to doing.  I've seen it around some other bloggers' sites and I really like the way it allows you to see what's going on in the blogosphere when you comment.  I find it much easier to navigate and see who's responded to you.  I like the "conversation" that happens on a blog, and I feel like Disqus helps to facilitate that.  I hope you like it too!

    Just a side note--if you've commented on something in the past, you comment will not show up for about 24hrs.  (That's how long it takes for the Disqus team to import all the comments into the new format)  Don't worry!!! They will show up soon, and I still am able to view all of your comments through Blogger.  So, if you entered a giveaway and you no longer see your comment, never fear! I've still got your information!  Your comment will be back sometime tomorrow :)

    If you're a new visitor, or are leaving a new comment about something, you should have no problem!

    As always, you can e-mail me or leave a comment if you're having issues!


    Sew Grateful 2: Why I'm Sew Grateful...

    This day is all about reflecting on the things in our life that we are "Sew Grateful" for.  What a wonderful idea!

    First, I can't say that I would have had the time or the opportunity to explore my interests if I did not have the support of my friends and family.  I was truly lucky in that my family never really told me I couldn't try something.  As a result, I was always able to pursue my crafts.  I began with painting, then beading and jewelry-making, followed closely by sewing and knitting.  As a fifth grader, I got my very own sewing machine, which is not something many people can so.  I was SUCH a lucky kid!

    Over the past year, I have been able to take a lot of my crafty pursuits further.  I've had a lot more time to sit down at night and learn how to do things I didn't even think were possible.  My terrific boyfriend bought my a new sewing for Christmas (and even let me turn our guest room into my "craft sanctuary."), one of my grandparents got me my serger, and another taught me how to crochet when I broke my foot back in October.  It seems the more I craft, the more I am able to craft, which is truly a blessing.  It's relaxing, fun, and so much more fulfilling than sitting in front of the TV every night.

    Finally, I took the plunge into blogging a couple of months ago, and have been met with nothing but kindness, inspiration, support, and well-wishes from people I've never met.  The blogging community has kept me going, and forced me to keep pushing myself to try new things--and do old things better.  I am so lucky to be a part of this wonderful community!

    Thank you all for following along! 

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Sew Grateful 1: Giveaway!

    Sew Grateful Week is finally here! What better way to kick it off than with a giveaway!  This is also the first giveaway on my blog.  Yay!  My giveaway is for:

    Simplicity 1882
    Simplicity 1882: "Misses' Amazing Fit dress with separate pattern pieces for A, B, C, D cup sizes and slim, average and curvy fit." Fits sizes 6-1-10-12-14.  More details can be found on the Simplicity website.

    I'm especially fond of view B, and I think it's great that this comes multi-sized for different cup sizes.  (So awesome that I am keeping one for my stash, too.  But that's a different story...)


    2ish yards of polyester fabric from my stash.  It's not the most breathable fabric in the world, but the print is so pretty!

    You must be a follower of the blog to enter.   Leave a comment below telling me how you follow my blog to enter! Be sure to leave me your e-mail if your profile is not connected to your blog, so that I can contact you if you win!

    The contest is open internationally.  Entries will be accepted for one week.  I will pick a winner at random next Monday February 11.

    Good luck!

    Don't forget to check out all of the other Sew Grateful giveaways!

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Updates around the blog...

    I've been busy signing up for more fun things around here!  In case you missed them:

    • If you use bloglovin, you can now follow me there by clicking the button to the right.

    • I will be participating in the lovely Julia Bobbin's second Mad Men Challenge!  Check out her blog, or click on the button on the right for more details if you'd like to participate.  Really, the most important thing is that we'll all be making 50's and 60's inspired dresses! YAY!

    • If you're on twitter, you can follow me @craft_sanctuary, or click on the button on the right.  I've never used twitter before, so I've got a pretty steep learning curve, but I love the way it allows other bloggers to instantly and quickly connect with one another.

    That's all I've got for you today, guys.  Are you participating in the Mad Men Challenge? Are you on twitter? Let me know!