Aunt Emily

Emily Bowyer Hammel was my father's older sister. She was the dearest person I've ever known. Over several adolescent summers, she patiently taught me how to sew and how to cook. I loved her. Sadly, she has been gone these few years and I miss her very much. However, I am carrying on her legacy of sewing and trying to carry on her legacy of caring.

Thursday, October 30

Monday, October 27

Good Sewing Day

I didn't get as much done this weekend as I hoped - don't we all suffer from that condition?? - but I did get some work done. No photos at this point, but I managed to:

- Saturday was CQ get together with the Cincinnati 5/6. I fixed Z's Halloween costume, and appliqued a few more of my 8 pointed stars;
- Sunday, I finished Courtney's dress (still to be hemmed);
- I also sewed together and fitted a muslin for a man's shirt for my husband - it took three different fittings to get it right, as I'd never fitted a man before!;
- I put together all of the pink/green strata for my next CQ Pieced Squares - I want to use them for sewing room accessories.

So I was happy, I got a lot done. Not as much, etc., as stated above, but still pretty good.

Saturday, October 25

New Butterick Patterns

I'm not usually a Butterick pattern fan - I use Simplicity and McCalls much more frequently. BUT I had an email tonight with new Butterick patterns - and I think I might be a convert! Look at these fab styles. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)
First, there are two new Retro Styles - a jacket and a dress, both dated 1946 - way before my time, but nice pieces.
And how about this coat and suit? I love this coat - you can't tell from the photo, but the drawing shows some nice shaped darting at the back. The second pattern has an absolutely wonderful red suit in the middle of the photo - dynamite power suit.
Finally, these wonderful dresses. I'd love the long sleeved dress illustrated in red in the first pattern - but maybe a soft aqua? And the second pattern has a fabulous looking "little black dress" potential in that green dress, as well as the black one!
They are on sale at the company site, but I'll wait until the $1.00 sale at JoAnns or Hancocks, thanks.

Lace Takes The Edge This Season

Click on the link above for a story in the LATimes about the importance of lace in fashion this season. The header states:

The delicate fabric is showing up everywhere, thanks to its strong showing in Miuccia Prada's fall runway collection.

Or go to,0,3489605.photogallery for instructions on how to make a lace collar t-shirt. It actually seems more like a lace inset yoke, but you get the idea from the photo to the left. Photo credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, October 22

I'm Finally Getting Down to It!!!!!!!

The past week or so has been quite busy at the sewing machine. The first photo is of a crazy patch quilt top for my d-i-law for Christmas. It is 25 11 inche squares, with a 2.5 inch border. I've decided to put one more border on it, but you can see the combination of fabrics I used - hot pink, peach, paler pink with small touches of yellow, purple and green. (Modeled by DH!) I have still to quilt it.

In fact, I liked the combination so well, I took all the little scraps and pieces, and made a number of 4.5 inch squares, shown in the second photo draped on the ironing board. I want to use this for a summer bag. I am still looking at it, trying to decide if I want to cut it up one more time to mix the fabrics even more.

On November 1, Courtney turns 13! All girls (of any age) need a new dress for their birthday. In fact, I was surprised she wanted one, as she is such a tomboy. She picked out the dress pattern - Simplicity 3629, a Project Runway pattern. I used a cheaper red satin, with a sequin fabric for the yoke. I did this as I know she will be very tough on this dress. I ended up having to use Fray Check all around the dress pieces. In the photo above, you can see the dress in progress-I plan to add some of the sequined fabric to the sleeve as well. Because her birthday is so close to Christmas she wanted a red one.

Today, I was at Joanne's, looking at the McCalls patterns that were on sale. I picked up this coat pattern - Hillary Duff M5765. I think I will get some red fleece fabric and make a coat for her for Christmas to match the dress.
On Monday night I had a sleepless night, so I got some of this sewing done then. I also cut out a muslin for a man's shirt to fit for my DH. I haven't basted together as yet, but that is coming quickly. I also sewed a two layer fleece blanket for Christmas for Courtney's brother Skyler, so that is one present down.

Wednesday, October 15

Progress on the Beginning of Christmas

I finally got a bit of sewing done Monday and Tuesday!!

I cut my 5.75 yards of fabric strips for the pink/apricot/purple crazy patch quilt. Sewed them together. And have cut them into 37 twelve inch squares, and taken the pieces left over and sewn them into six medium to large pieces of crazy patch.

I grouped the squares into 5 - 6 stacks, and cross cut for the first crazy patch match. I must sew these together, then cross cut again to keep the crazy patch theme going. Once that is done, they will be cut into same size squares, and sewn into the top of the quilt.

I am thinking now that I might actually have enough for two projects out of this group.

I'll post photos as I make more progress. The combination sounds like a mess, but it is actually bright and lively.

Thursday, October 9

Thinking About Christmas

I have continued my lack of sewing for the past week - again. I just can't get motivated.

But I have been thinking about Christmas. I know these things are on my list:

- Carpenter's Wheel Quilt for brother;
- Pink/Peach crazy square quilt for d-i-law;
- four total flannel p.j.'s for the boys;
- four total satin kimono style housecoats for the nieces and s-i-law(I got the fabric in later spring from when it was on sale for $1.99 a yard);
- four shirts for dh;
- what to make for son, mother, aunt and friends?

Help Me Decide

I want to make my brother a quilt for Christmas (2008 or 2009??) using the Carpenter's Wheel design. (see a sample pattern at I've collected eight different wood print fabrics to make this.
In trying to plan the design, I photocopied the fabrics, cut them up into 2 inch squares, and taped together three different blocks (above). The only color that really did not translate in the photos is the cream/yellow wood grain that looks plain white in the photos.
I am undecided about which looks best. I tend to like the first on the left. I like the second as well, but the third looks too busy. What do you think? Leave your comment and help me decice.

Saturday, October 4

101 in 1001

Have you seen the latest thing going around the internet? A list of 101 goals to be accomplished in 1001 days - roughly three years.

This is interesting to me. I guess I am at stage of life where I've been there, done that for so many things. AND it is so easy to loose sight of what you set out to accomplish, with varying demands from work to grandchildren to husbands. I'd like to lose weight, get back to pottery, remember birthdays, etc.

The list is an interesting way to think about what you want to do. I started a list, just to see if I could generate 101 ideas - well I am at 35, many of which are multiple step. Giving it some more thought, I am sure I can get close.

Right now this is just an exercise, but I might consider really doing something with it.

Islander Method Pants - Sometimes I wonder about myself!

Sorry - no photo of this. I used my personally fitted and drafted pants pattern yesterday. I was looking for fabric to use as a muslin, and picked up a crinkled rayon I've had for dogs years - I think mid-80's! Anyway, I transferred the pattern, cut the pattern out, and basted the pants together.

At some point, I realized that the fabric I picked was stretchy. Much stretchier than I thought originally.

The upshot - the pants are really too big to be able to judge fit. However, the crotch length seems to be good, the length is great and the width and fit of the legs seems good.

SOOOOO...I cut out a second pair, in a NON-STRETCH rayon/cotton woven. I haven't put them together as yet, as I need to get a zipper, but I'm hopeful the pants will be a good fit.

I am going to take the big and stretchy, and add an elasticized waistband. They would be great for at-home (NOT even a walk to the mail-box) pair to clean in, paint, or whatever.

It also occured to me that it would be very simple to use the exact same measurements to create a skirt template. No worrying about crotch length, etc., just using the correct . . . ummmmm, dimensions! Once I get the pants down, I may give that a try as well.

Info on the Island method is available at I am going to investigate this further, as these methods of construction claim to:

  • double your sewing speed!
  • elevate your personal sewing skills
  • create the clean, ready-to-wear finishes in your garmets
  • teach construction methods that are the equivalent of the best designers.

All quite noble and interesting claims. As I progress with this pant thing, I'll let you know what I think. There is a three day class offered in the methods, with a four day class to become a certified instructor. Take a look at the website and let me know what you think!