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.

Monday, August 31

A Few New Simplicity Patterns & A Few More Burda

Ok, its time to stop dreaming and start doing, isn't it? A few more items on the fire to think about first though.

These two new SIMPLICITY patterns are from the fall line. The jacket 2543 is quite nice - and I like view B in the blue as well. The wrap blouse 2595 is showing up all over the sewing internet and seems like a very versatile and interesting garment. I'd like to get both done.

And there are two blouses in the September Burda I'm interested in. They are basically the same pattern, with different details. The first is from their Folkloric section. They suggest taking the collar to a professional pleater. No such animal for miles around this area. I am thinking I can check with a local heirloom sewing shop, if they are still around. I'm sure they would have suggestions.

And the second is the same blouse, with smaller cuffs and a nice tie at the neck. Seems quite nice, easy to make and versatile to wear.

Sunday, August 30

Time to Start Thinking FALL

Summer is very rapidly waning here in southern Ohio. It is time to think fall and winter sewing. My job does not demand suits (excepting the odd meeting or conference), so some opportunities for fashion sewing are limited. None the less, here is the line up of what I am considering. Yes I know I'd have to be sewing day and night to do all this, but I like to dream!

BURDA has really been on it the past several months. They have had lots of great designs that I'd love to grab, both plus and non-plus. I used to be fairly adept at enlarging patterns, so I may give that a try if I go for some of the non-plus on the list. CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE!!
  • Love this dress! I don't think the photo does anything for it, but I love it from the drawing. I have some long-aging dark emerald green crepe with white oriental flowers on branches - that would be great for this one. I'm thinking I'd lengthen the sleeves a bit, but other than that, this works for me. This is from the September BWOF plus section.

  • Same issue of Burda, but a different feeling. Love this long coat with blouse and skirt. I have some lovely beige wool crepe that would be almost a replica, as well as some other wool to consider. This is on the definite list. The same jacket is shown shorter with a collar, and I'll have to think about which I'd really go for.

  • Very cute little wool cape. From BWOF July or August issue. I doubt the style is really the best for me, and it is a non-plus design, but it could be really cute in my imagination.

  • Another non-plus from the September BWOF. I love the gathers at the shoulder and back yoke. I think this would be an easy upsize and a smashing blouse. Again the styling of the photo doesn't really allow you to see the details of the blouse, but I really like it.

  • I really love the September issue, can you tell? Another non-plus, but look at that coat. Just absolutely love it - what impact. It would be a bit more work to up-size this, but it would be Spec-tac-ular! (Yes there seems to be a theme of the dusty lavender - that only plays a small part in my selections.)

  • Then something I've had on my list for a while. This motorcycle type jacket is from one of the spring issues of BWOF, in plus size. The photo on the left is from the magazine, and here is the line drawing. The photo on the right a great jacket I'd want to model mine on - it is distressed and dyed leather. I found it somewhere on the web, but I'm not sure where. Apologies = if anyone knows, please notify me in comments. I am wondering about a silk body for the jacket? With that sort of dyed/distressed looking design. It would be great for almost anything.

  • Another coordinated suit, this time with Frock Coat - from the fall Burda Plus. Don't have the line drawing but again it would be great for almost any event.

  • Two great tops from the fall Burda Plus. I just love the first one and I think I've got lots of stash that would make this a favorite. The second is a knit and I think it would be great for the winter.

So those are my fav's for fall. I hope, after baby sewing and Christmas sewing starting, I can get going on something good for me.

Saturday, August 29

Baby Sewing - 2 On the Way

Two babies on the way. Grand-nephew Calyn in late October (perhaps on grandfather or great grandfather's birthdays?). Granddaughter PIPER (or Naomi if her dad gets his way) in November, again due on her grandpa's birthday. So I am thinking baby sewing.

In the past month I've gathered several items - patterns, material, snaps, etc. And with a deadline of Sept 20 for my nieces baby shower, I'm going to have to get going on putting these together. I do have three outfits cut out, with the idea that I will just thread up blue and fly. I've got some consulting work to do this weekend, but whenever I have a few spare minutes, I'm cutting out.

In addition to the current patterns shown below, I have some out of print (year 2000 out of print) that I'll use as well Wish me all kinds of luck.

The Butterick pattern shown above is very cute - I especially love the little billed hat for a boy. And it is sized for wovens, not stretch as most baby items are. I'm making things from that!

I finally tracked down some baby pink and baby blue pinwale corduroy to make some coming home outfits. I love these bonnets up above, but I think Piper needs the pink and white one on the lower right. Don't you?

And Simplicity has some repro patterns out - 1948 and 1952. The one above is for felt booties with lots of cute embrodiery. They seem simple enough, and I might even be able to use the embrodiery stitches on my machine instead of doing it by hand. The one on the left below is a cute girls set of slip, dress, jacket/coat, booties and hat.

And then we get into the more contempory patterns. The overalls and coat above will be really cute in fleece, as will the baby sacks below. I think they do need some sort of applique to spark them up though.

OK, I am going to make one lament here. I'd love to make a Heirloom type outfit for Cal, but I feel like my neice wouldn't like that type of outfit - we'd get into discussions of the use of smocking or ric rack or lace or whatever. So I'm sticking with contemporary for Cal. But for Piper, I'm thinking Heirloom outfits are wonderful - and no one is going to complain about ruffles, lace, smocking, etc.

So where along the line in this world did we require that even newborns must follow a "sex role" - boys can only be dressed in pants (no nightgowns for them, no matter how easy that makes it for access) and without lace and furbelows? I think we miss something by demanding that, and put a lot of expectations onto that little bundle when they pop out of the womb. My father wore a dress for the first few years of his life, as did his father, etc., etc. And they turned out OK. Why the limitations??

Friday, August 28

Crochet Frenzy - Day 3

The last of the photos of the donation scarves and hats.

If you are curious, most of the yarn was acquired at BIG LOTS for $1 t0 $3 a skein. A steal for the Lion Brand yarn, as well as some of the other yarn. Some items were made from yarn I purchased for another project. I counted 19 scarves, 1 hat, and 12 hat/scarf combination's.

Now all I have to figure out is how to get them to Paula in Devon by the end of October!

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Yesterday I asked about your WORST memory of a handmade itemfrom childhood. How about telling me about your BEST today? I think mine were the smocked dressed my aunt Emily made for me when I was six to nine years old. How about you??

Thursday, August 27

Crochet Frenzy - Day 2

MORE examples of hats and scarves made for donation. More to come tomorrow before we get back to sewing!

More hat and scarf sets for donation.

Hard to tell on the one below, but there is a hat on the left.

QUESTION OF THE DAY - I remember a wool knit hat when I was a kid that itched and scratched and was terrible - even worse, it tied under the chin and scratched there. That was the worst hand-crafted item I've ever owned. What is your WORST MEMORY of a handcrafted item from childhood?

Wednesday, August 26

Crochet Frenzy - Day 1

I've spent a lot of the summer in a crochet frenzy! My friend Paula in Devon is part of a group that prepares holiday boxes for children in eastern Europe. A local charity actually travels there and presents the boxes. They usually include a scarf and hat in the box.

SOOOOOO I decided making hats and scarfs would be a great way to practice my crochet again. I've gone a bit nuts, so this is going to take a few days to show. First up, the sets of hats and scarfs I've made.

QUESTION of the Day: Are you donating your handwork to to charities? If so, which one and what are you doing? Share your work by putting a link in comments.

Tuesday, August 25

Projects for the Boys

More from my summer crafting.

Little Eman has a "D" - we don't know why he calls the blanket his D - that he won't let go of. It is routinely dirty from being dragged around all day. I washed it last weekend and he was very upset. So grandma got her fleece out, and made some letters to make him a small blanket that might help when his original "D" is dirty. Not sure how he feels about it, except that he yelled "MINE" quite loudly when his big brother tried to take it away! I wanted it to be different from Z's, so I also used the pinking shears on all edges, and cut some fringe below the name.

Two crocheted hats for the boys. I actually had to remake these both at least twice. The hats were too large originally, then Z took one as I was working on it and decided to run through the kitchen, dining room and living room, just about taking out every stitch. I did finally get the two hats the right size. I had a cute photo of Eman with his on - but when I downloaded it was out of focus. So you just have to take grandma's word that they are cute on the boysl

Finally, guess what this is? The perspective is a bit strange, as I had to lay it on the floor and stand back to get the photo.

It is going to be a dinasour sweater. I'm planning on one for each boy before Halloween, so tey can both be monsters. I crocheted from the side to get a ribbed look, and have half of a hood done in the photo above. I'm using the Lion Brand suede yarn which is just lovely to crochet - a wonderful feel.

Question of the Day - Tops and Dress - Simplicity 2836

I posted about this pattern earlier this year. I am finally getting around to showing the results of the three items I made with it. Somehow I'd forgotten them last week when I posted about my summer sewing.

First up is a tunic in a semi-sheer muslin. This fabric is from deep, deep stash - I may have had it since the late 70's, or maybe the early 80's. I know I had it before I got married in 1986! I just loved the combo of the fabric and tunic - put me in mind of the "old days". I've worn it several times, and it looks good with khaki Capri's as well as jeans.

Then I made a second tunic using a pre-crinkled heavier cotton from It is so warm, I haven't really been able to wear it anywhere as yet - I've put it on twice and felt too hot to wear it. So it may be a transitional item. You can't see the detail, but I put on aqua ric-rac at the yoke, then beaded each point with a teal bead on the inside points and a yellow bead on the outside points. The yellow are quite tiny and are hard to see.

The third item was a dress from the same tunic/dress pattern. It is in a polished cotton, in a wild combo of bright pink and yellow with a few touches of green. I've worn it several times and it is cool and comfortable. On the neckline, I inserted a double piping. I've never done it before. I ended up sort of "rolling" the facing over the edges of the piping to create a third line of piping with the garment fabric. Don't ask me how I did it, I don't think I could repeat it! 8-))

So the question of the day: What sewing "misadventure" that you thought was a mistake turned out to be a good addition to the garment??