Fanning the Flame

This year for my birthday, I received a brand new sewing machine. It's nothing fancy, a Singer Simple (2263), that I purchased at Wal-mart for around $100 (plus a bonus 1 year subscription to Martha Stewart Living - woot!). After all, I didn't have any idea how to use the darn thing, so why was I gonna spend an exponential sum of money on the lovely, high-end Bernina that the lady at Hancock was trying to convince me that I "needed," when I was still questioning whether I was really cut out for the whole sewing thing to begin with? Despite the ridiculousness of her sales pitch, I signed up for a simple "introduction to sewing" class. The class ended up being pretty fun, once they realized in the first 30 minutes that I wasn't going to be shoved aside with my cheapo Singer in favor of the other lady with her shiny new Bernina that literally cost her as much as a luxury sedan. I managed to learn a bit about my machine and some basic sewing skills. Much to my surprise, I found that I just *might* be capable of this sewing thing that others seemed to find so easy. I was excited!

Unfortunately, time went by and I hadn't much touched the machine since the class, with all of the handbags I was furiously knitting away at and selling. I had a good thing going, selling all those custom bags, but was in definite need of a break - some "me" crafting time. Once I announced my handbag hiatus, I finally got to work on some other projects that needed my attention. First, I turned out a pair of dinosaur mittens for Ian, one triceratops and one T-Rex, complete with pointy teeth and red gaping mouth when he separates his thumb from his fingers(which he was WAY cute about). I also managed to knit about half way through a what-will-be lovely sweater for me in the most beautiful "moss" tweed you can imagine. I worked on a couple of projects for friends, a purse for Sheila's daughter and a poncho/hat set for Laura's Birthday Girl. I even bought the yarn for some cool felted slippers I've promised Collin, which will be really fun once the knitting bug bites again.

You may have learned by now, I tend to go through phases of crafting. I'll completely obsess over one medium for a while - eating, drinking and sleeping my current obsession, while hardly touching the others. So, when I finally found myself glancing longingly at my new, yet neglected, sewing machine, the embers of passion were once again fanned and I was ready to dive in!

It all started with the desire to recover the gliding rocker that would end up in Meghan's room. This chair was fairly cheap to begin with, and has mostly made it through Moira's and Ian's nursery years, but was in need of a little pick me up. So I managed to figure out how to recover all the cushions in a nice tan suede that should hopefully hold up as well as the original denim, as seen here. Then came the inspiration for a very special project for my soon-to-be born nephew, which is so special that I'll devote the entire next post to tell you about it. ;-) While working on the project for baby "Pete" (no - as far as I know, that is not going to be his name. It so happens that my co-Auntie, Suzann, on the McCann side of the family, loves nick-naming all of the not-yet-born babies until we have an actual name at the birth) I stumbled upon this tutorial by Leslie at a room somewhere. Go ahead and look... I'll wait... it's worth it, trust me.

Ooh la la! You mean, I can do that? Are you sure?! You do know I'm complete beginner, and - while, yes, fueled by the crazy that so often plagues other like-minded Crafties of my generation - I've never stitched anything that anyone would even remotely want to put on their body? Well, okay. I'll give it a go. So with great pride, I present to you, my first attempt at pillowcase dresses! Matching, or more appropriately, coordinating ones for my girls. Now, I'll have you realize that a large part of the adorableness of these is the wearers, for which I can claim very little credit, but THEY'RE PRETTY DARN CUTE, are they not?!?

First up, Darling Meggie, strutting her stuff (with the help of big Sis). These pillowcase dresses are going to be uber-cute during outings this Summer to the Botanical Gardens, when it's sweltering hot outside, and they can wear nothing but the dress (they'll make a good swim-suit cover up too!). But, for now, the brown leggings and undershirt look pretty sweet with it too.

(Okay, how can you not love this picture? Just a snippet of her constant state - tongue waggling in the air like she's vigilantly awaiting something to come and land on it.)

Here's the ever-fabulous Moira in her version of the dress, which can't be seen all that well in this picture, but you get the idea. Another great thing about these dresses is the speed in which one can be whipped up! I bought the fabric Friday afternoon and was able to complete her dress in a couple short hours that night before her Tea Party with (l to r) Kendal, Chloe, Celeste and Kaitlyn Saturday morning.

Are these girls not the cutest of cute?! Once again, Moira can sport hers with brown leggings and a pink undershirt on the colder February days, but will enjoy a more sundress-type wear this Summer. I see many more of these in all different patterns and styles in the very near future.


So there you have it. The beginning of what I expect to be a very long and beautiful relationship with my $100 Singer sewing machine... that is, until I completely loose my mind and trade my car in one day for the "needed" Bernina. ;)


E said...

What a fun post! I *love* all of your work -- such fun, special stuff!!!

The girls' dresses are adorable! A friend of mine sews fun dresses for her daughters that I think are simply gorgeous and I know you've got the skilz:

The Pattern: http://www.oliverands.com/downloads/Oliver+SLazyDaysSkirt.pdf

One of the ones my friend did:

Enjoyed catching up with you!

Love ya,

Bruce Judisch said...

Janelle, you have a knack for writing. It's probably that one drop from our gene pool that, had I gotten it, would have one day made me rich and famous. Thanks a lot!

Your post is proof-positive that it doesn't take a second-mortgage sewing machine to make my grandkids look great--just themselves and a great mom with a heckuva lot of talent.

the mccann clan said...

@ E - Thanks so much! I'm sure I've been a bad blogger over the last few months, but I had fun writing this post today. Another bug that sometimes bites. ;)

I appreciate you sending the links too! Her skirt was super cute and the pattern didn't look all too difficult. Maybe I'll give it a whirl sometime soon... the girls can't have ALL pillowcase dresses, now can they? :)

@ Dad - Don't be ridiculous! If there's one gene that you DID get, it's the writing one, Mr. I'm-a-published-author! :) Thanks for the compliments though - you also retain the "build up your daughter" gene! ;) Glad you enjoyed the post.

Jessica said...

The dresses are too cute!

DW Hobbs said...

These are just darling! And the wearers of these dresses, well, now no words can express their cuteness. ;-)

I'm SO pumped that you've been bit by the sewing bug, Janelle, I always knew you had it in you!

Oh and I second Mr. J's sentiments on your writing wholeheartedly. And I second your comments regarding his! But you're both far too humble because we all recognize your genius, so your secrets are definitely out! ;-) Your whole family is just wonderfully creative and talented!

I just love you guys! ;-)


P.S. Though I don't honestly think one can be "too humble"...perhaps it just makes me love you all the more. :-)

DW Hobbs said...

E: I couldn't see the entire link that you sent for the pattern, would you mind sending my way? :-) Just curious! I could see your friend's blog link though and that skirt was adorable!!

Thanks for sharing!!

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