Stashbusting: Containters

I didn’t intend to sew various containers with the same fabrics, but I did, making a nice set and using up 3 yards of fabric. (Only 21 yards left to reach my goal!)

First, I made a messenger bag for Good Man. I used navy cotton duck leftover from Dad’s jeans quilt. I lined it with some bright neon green circuit fabric. I thought I’d make boxers from the fabric, but it didn’t soften up much when washed.


This is pattern S2358. It is an OK pattern but ended up sort of floppy. I changed the pattern a bit, adding rings instead of sewing the webbing on directly.



I also bad a trash bag using the same fabric as well as an old vinyl bag that once held sheets.

Trash Bag

Finally, I made a (very large) lunch bag for Good Man. It is huge but easily holds a Mr or Ms Bento and closes with an elastic loop and button. I like that the contents will be hidden!

Lunch Bag

Large Bag

Stashbusting Failure

So I claimed that I would sew six projects from stash. I made one dress and then found a fabric I couldn’t skip over because it reminded me of dating Good Man. (Side: I was happy to get every last bit of that fabric because another woman in my sewing class was interested in it. She was never prepared, was very annoying, and once claimed that “most prostitutes have a really great life. I am glad I bought all of the fabric before she could. Petty? Sure.)

So I started over. I would sew seven items from stash before buying more fabric!

Well, I made two more items (the dress and a pair of boxers). And then, with three Living Social deals burning a hole in my pocket, I went and bought more fabric.

It all started on the $2.97/yard table, which must have been recently restocked, because it wasn’t picked over. I then moved to the silk section, and finally ended up with some African print cotton.

Forty-six and five-eighths yards later…

So now my plan for the summer is two sew down half the yardage I bought. My goal is a nice, round 24 yards. We’ll see if I can do this!

Making a Plan

I spent the first night of my summer vacation watching New Kids on the Block videos on YouTube. As an adult, I was especially creeped out by 15 year-old Joey McIntyre singing a romantic song to a woman who looked far older than 15. Please do go, girl. Also, what’s with the head thing at 2:45?

As fun as the jaunt down memory lane was, I need to make a plan for my summer or I’m going to waste massive amounts of time on the rabbit hole of the internet.

I can’t believe I’ve been teaching for ten years.

Making a Pattern Mine: New Look 6001

More than six months ago, a coworker gave me several huge trash bags full of fabric. Not all of the fabric was my style pattern- or color-wise but it was all my style price-wise!

One of the fabrics was a sort of abstract floral pattern that was probably printed in the mid to late 90s. I had about three yards of it. I also had an old pattern in my stash that I wanted to use for the Pattern Review stash contest.

So I put the two together and magically got a dress! Ta-da!

New Look 6001 With Major Changes
(The front of the skirt is actually smooth, but there was a breeze.)

Actually, I traced out the dress pattern in March or April and then let it sit…and sit…and sit until I had a sewing date earlier this month with Competent One from my sewing class. While she worked on drafting a bodice for a wedding dress, I marked off seam allowances on my pattern. Then I used fitting techniques from Dressmaking for Real Women and Pattern Fitting with Confidence to change the pattern sizing and do a full bust adjustment.

I debated making a muslin since the fabric was cheap and not something I was completely in love with.

Always make a muslin, even if only to run away from the hospital-gown looking result.

Run Away From the Muslin

I had adjusted the dart, but it was too pointy. So I tried several different things (including a total mistake that ended up looking…well, to quote my sewing teacher, “very feminine”) and decided to gather the bodice.

I sent the photos to Competent One, who suggested I remove the gathering at the waist, too. She suggested I turn the skirt into more of an A-line.

I measured the gathered amount compared to the midriff band. It was 1 1/2″. I then drew two 3/4″ darts from the top to the waistline. I cut to the waistline, and cut from the hem to the waistline and closed the wedges at the top to open the wedges to the hem.

The fabric was a strange width (41″) so the amount I was able to open the skirt was limited by the lack of fabric. I still needed to get rid of 3/4″ width at the top, so I cut a wedge out from the center waist to the center hemline.

I widened the skirt in the back the same way, which was slightly complicated by the fact that the back was cut in one piece. Still, I thought it through and figured out how to make it work. I did change the sides in order to make up for the fabric jog.

I also added in-seam pockets. I always buy dress patterns but never sew them because I want pockets. That was a quick fix.

I didn’t make a second muslin, since the fabric I was using wasn’t super expensive. I used the abstract floral print, but didn’t have enough to make the full dress. In fact, because the patter had a direction, I had to cut the cup pieces out single layer. I made the neckline, midriff and ties in black cotton.

I did discover that I had made a mistake fixing the jog in the back, and the sides didn’t match up. I ended up drawing a new seam with my French curve and I think this accident made the dress fit even better!


I had expected to hem the sleeves and skirt as directed, but instead I used bias quilt binding on the skirt and extra wide bias binding on the sleeves. I love how it turned out. I feel like it looks like stained glass!

I took my time with the binding and didn’t need to redo a single inch of the five yards of it!

Bias Binding

I wore the dress to Mark’s birthday party and to work and got a lot of compliments, but it felt really good when a perfect stranger said, “Cute dress!”

I also discovered that the neckline hugs my chest perfectly! I can actually bend over in this dress and the neckline stays in place. That right there makes this dress a winner!

I have a few other fabrics I’m thinking of doing this dress in, and I think it would make a great “first silk” project.

I adjusted the pattern Sunday, cut out the muslin Monday, made the muslin Tuesday, readjusted the pattern Wednesday, cut out the fashion fabric Thursday, and finished the whole thing by Saturday night. I solved problems that came up without gnashing my teeth, and I think taking time was a huge time saver!

Rock Star Good Man

One of the things I didn’t miss when I was teaching third grade was the end-of-the-year crunch that comes with teaching the graduating grade in a school. We don’t have to make class lists, but we have to vertically plan with the next school, plan graduation, tour the middle school, throw a massive party, etc. The students are feeling rather cocky about being done with elementary school and yet are nervous about middle school, but trying to hide it by acting cool.

Throw in the school-wide assemblies, public library visits, band concerts, field day, specials ending, and other teachers throwing in the towel and showing movies all day and giving students dot-to-dots as schoolwork (in fifth grade? You must be kidding me) and it’s really hard to keep any sort of routines for the students.

Still, I tried. We did some great math lessons based on Guinness Book of World Records and the students got to compete for class records. We did some language games that the students enjoyed and reflected on our year. And when they were just so squirrely they couldn’t deal with it, the students helped me clean and pack up the room.

Today we had our big class party and I asked Good Man to show up for some of it so he could help me bring boxes home after school.

I met him in the office just as two of my former students were coming down the stairs. “Hey, Mr!”

A few minutes later we passed my entire class in the hallway. The fourth grade teacher started waving her hands excitedly, “We saw Mr! We saw Mr!”

The whole class waved, “Hello Mr! Hello!”

Good Man just laughed and shook his head. “You’re a rock star!” I said.

Not Understanding America

Amanda: Ugh, I do not want to go to school.

Good Man: Aren’t you done with tests?

Amanda: Yes.

Good Man: Aren’t you done teaching everything you are supposed to teach?

Amanda: Yes.

Good Man: What the hell, America, I do not understand.

I am dreading the next two and a half weeks of school.

The Hassles of Living on a Popular Street

So this takes the cake for misdelivered mail….

We live on a street with a very common American street name. When we bought this place, the survey company actually tried to survey our address on Common American Avenue instead of Street. And since that property is much larger, they almost overcharged us quite a bit of money.

We’ve had problems with our mail ever since we moved in. One neighbor’s surname is surprisingly close to mine, so I always get his mail. Some kid nine doors down? We get his magazines. A few weeks ago, we a package from a doctor’s office intended for a neighbor three blocks down. I’ve talked to every mailman about it, but nothing changes. So I’m not surprised to get the wrong mail, but…

Last week, we got a letter in the mail from our exact address, except the city was West Des Moines, Iowa. Enclosed was my $20 gift card from Angie’s List (headquartered in Indianapolis) and a handwritten note on the Angie’s List form letter:

Your name + street address showed through the envelope window, but not the city and state. So we rec’d it instead–thus we’re forwarding to you.
Regards from Iowa.

I might just send them a postcard back, thanking them for forwarding my mail all the way from Iowa!