84 degrees

was the temperature on the day that I finished knitting my new houndstooth scarf.  I made it just in time for…..the end of summer.


Mommy, where do knitting projects go when they die?

In all honesty, between a back strain, a road trip to Arizona, and a family “sewing intervention”, I received an unwanted separation from my beloved sewing machine.  I really do adore sitting down and knitting, but I HATE sewing the pieces together when they are all done.  That, and my children grow at a rate much too fast for me to knit for them….I have too many sweater parts lying around for me to be able to pick up the needles truly guilt-free.


cue angelic harp music..

I decided to peruse free patterns on the ravelry website and found a link to this houndstooth scarf.  So cute, free, and it uses my favorite yarn from Hobby Lobby!  The closest Hobby Lobby to my house is about a 30-45 minute drive and totally worth it.  I am absolutely in love with their cheepie acrylic yarn (appropriately called “I Love This Yarn”).  It is so so so soft, so cheap, and machine washable.  The color range is pretty nice too, see?  Ok, promo over, now back to the show.


hit me baby one more time

I decided to start the scarf on our trip to visit the in-laws in Arizona.  You know, because nothing says great knitting weather like a summer in Phoenix…but it was either that or play Wii Just Dance 3 all day with the kiddos (ok, I admit-I did play just a little…it’s just impossible for me to say “no” to pretending to be Britney Spears for 3 minutes).



Here is the end result in front of our garage freezer.  Yes folks, my husband has his own freezer for beer glasses.  Hopefully he won’t read about me making fun of his freezer, or I’ll never be allowed a cold beverage again-and I’ll sure need one after wearing the scarf all day.






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The peacock

This is your old tomato, we will get married soon or I'm out!


One of my friends/ co-workers is getting married in October and having her bridal shower this week.  The future bride, Paulina, is an incredibly spicy south American lady…think along the lines of Gloria from the show Modern Family.  Most people either love Paulina or hate her.  I happen to adore her.




Because of her flamboyant nature and need to always be the center of attention, Paulina’s work nickname became “peacock”.  Now that she is settling down, for her wedding shower, I wanted to gift her something “house-wifey” that still maintained some of her usual flair.   Since she loves to cook, an apron seemed a fitting choice.  I then went online to search for inspiration.


I thought the bottom of version A of Simplicity 1934 kind of looked like feathers and might be a good start.  Some other inspirations were:








My original concept looked something like this.  I thought that I wanted it to look somewhat art deco-y.  I wanted the bottom part to represent feathers, and felt that the bodice needed something as well.  Josie had the idea to make two bird necks form a heart.  I thought about writing something on the sash as well (in Spanish?).  Unfortunately, the literal translation of “peacock” into Spanish is “royal turkey” so that was out.  I decided to just go for it without having a final plan in mind.


Things started off well…and then the obsessing started.  The first problem I encountered were the colors.  I originally wanted a demure, sweet looking apron and made it in a light mint green fabric with turquoise bias tape.


Unfortunately (and really, quite logically now that I think about it) peacocks, by nature, are NOT subdued…so that idea didn’t work out so well.  The obsession then began to take its toll on my close friends and family members…I even went so far as to walk out to the garage and plop the apron and a bazillion fabric swatches directly on top of the dorkfest game my husband and his friends were playing on one of their regular Thursday night get togethers.  They were pretty good sports initially, but after they came to their senses and realized they were a group of men drinking beer and having a conversation about which colors did or did not did not “pop”, I got kicked out of the garage. :(

mom, please stop...buying...fabric....



The next day, I went back to my favorite place for inspiration and found this in the bargain bin on my way out!







looking good so far...


That night I used wonder-under to stick everything together and onto the apron.  I was so pleased with how it looked that I almost stayed up really late to stitch them down.  Instead, I made the prudent choice and went to bed.


I woke up the next day and went to admire my progress…. Holy avocado!






So I unglued and staggered the feathers a bit to give them more curve and felt very relieved that I decided not to over-achieve the night before.  It looked a little better…but I still felt angry at the apron for not cooperating.


I then decided that I didn’t want to commit to making both a peacock and peahen on the bust.  That, and deep down I kind of suspected that they would end up looking like a pair of phoenixes that had sprung forth from a molcajete of guacamole.

I choose not to worry about the top, and instead worked on embroidering the word “peacock” onto the waistband.  After spending some time obsessing over fonts on this fun website, I finally decided on:







I then moved on to the bust.  This is what I came up with in the end:

I added the ruffle to ease the transition from waistband to the peacock silhouette.  I also sewed a little bit of green onto the crown feathers.  I felt like it still needed something….and then began obsessing about the eye.



too eyeless

too plain

too scary





too satanic

too 80s


After my husband started pretending not to hear me, I gave up.

“I guess I’m finished with the apron” I thought.



But wait….I realized that I did not like the thread color of the word “peacock” and proceeded to cut open the waistband, undo half of the embroidery and re-do it in dark green and then even darker green.  After deciding that I liked the original color best, I redid it in the original dark blue.  Then I realized that I should have written “Mrs. Peacock”…guess my blog name is not “sewnormal” for a reason…

Finally, here’s a picture of the end product.  All I can say is if the original peacock does not like it, that might ruffle my feathers and feathers may fly.

peacock apron










After finishing this project I got lectured on blah blah blah… “obsessive personality”.. blah blah… “you’re always sewing”… blah blah “or thinking about sewing”…. and got banned from the machine for the reminder of the day.  Oh how I missed you my love….




But wait….why hello there…and your name is??



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“Hello, it’s your family…

remember us?  We love you….” said my husband to me while I was sewing the other day. This may be a sign that I might be crafting a wee bit too much over summer break.


The first dress of the summer was a shameless copy of this one–with a belt!  The top of the dress was made from Burda 7494 with a circle skirt for the bottom.  I love the dresses that Julia Bobbin makes and plan on pilfering a few more of hers in the future.  I found a great tutorial here for the belt which I would highly recommend.  Here’s how the dress turned out for me:






























My husband thought the dress looked very “sexy librarian”….









Next up, I had been planning on making a copy of this dress featured as a Make this Look osew weekly.  One day when cleaning Penny’s room though, I happened to listen to the soundtrack from Grease on repeat (I was trying to feel young again while folding my children’s clothing-Grease had been a sorority rush theme for me…um….5…yeah 5…. years ago at the G-Phi-B house).

After that, I decided I wanted to make my version a little more Sandyish:


I found McCalls 4769, added white cuffs, and viola!- instant 50′s housewife.








Is it sick that I actually really do like to iron?






For my next dress, I wanted to use a pique fabric and decided on simplicity 1873 and added a navy sash.



































I was soooo happy with how it turned out until my husband told me that the dress made me look like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Now, truth be told, I did try out to play Dorothy in my 6th grade play, but I guess the school staff felt that the role of Miss Gulch would be a better fit for me….  go figure.






Well, I’m going to seize this golden opportunity to finally realize the dream: so here goes….







My final dress was a rip off of this dress from Anthropologie.  I decided to use a cheap Italian restaurant tablecloth lace fabric instead of the nice stuff they probably use at the store.

The dress went from this:
















to this:






I used a navy blue fabric under the cheepie lace.  I like the dress, as long as a I don’t look back and see how much better the inspiration dress looks.







I then realized that EVERY dress I have sewn so far is blue!  Perhaps a trip out of the house will inspire a more varied use of color in the future.

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Part of your world…


I remember seeing The Little Mermaid as a freshman in high school in the theater-twice- and wondering how they were going to skate past the death of the main character without traumatizing all the little children watching.  They let her survive!  She married the prince!  Yeah!!!!  The Little Mermaid is such a great girly movie and measures right up there with Dirty Dancing.



waddle waddle


I wanted to make an Ariel costume-dress as a birthday present for a little lady in our lives.  The little mermaid costume has two major pitfalls: the always awkwardness of being half naked, and walking in a fin.  Now at this point, I soooo wish I could post the picture of my friend Valerie dressed as Ariel’s sister (Arista?) in a play in high school, but I value our friendship too much…I’m very sure that she would never speak to me again.  So instead, here is some random person I found on the internet.




I decided to do a shell top and a dress bottom.  I figured that if they are selling these as Ariel dresses that it would look sort of alright.  I was debating on whether or not to use a skin-colored fabric as a background but decided that I didn’t like the idea of a 5 year old looking so exposed in public.


Here’s how it all turned out.  I’m not even sure it looks like Ariel  (wow, a mermaid without a fin doesn’t really look like a mermaid-who would have thought?), but at least it has TULLE!!  What girl doesn’t love tulle?






I’m thinking that I need to indulge my girlish side with some tulle, so that’s definitely going on my growing summer project list.  I think I’ll pass on the shell bra though..

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Penny turned two too soon…last April

The end of the school year is always a super busy time.  Even with that though, there has been a little bit of time and energy left for crafting.

First up was Penny’s birthday celebration.  When you are the second child, your mother posts about your birthday on her blog almost two months after it happens….  Poor child, at least we remembered to celebrate.



We devoured a red velvet cake from Porto’s.  Highly, highly, highly, so highly recommended!



Here are some of the gifts I made for Penny:


A crochet dog, bowl, and bone-Penny LOVES dogs.  The pattern was purchased from this etsy seller.




Penny is beginning to love dressing up, so I used Simplicity 2989







to make Snow White and Minnie Mouse dresses.




The original plan was to go to Disneyland to get a picture in one of the dresses with Minnie Mouse…  Never happened….Maybe this summer we’ll go and it won’t be hot and crowded (hahaha).  Meanwhile, I’m now thinking of how I can make an Ariel dress with the same pattern for an Ariel-loving little lady in our lives who’s birthday is next week.

Then after a few craft fails that I may or may not post about later depending on how successful I am at salvaging them….were a few gifts:

What do you make for your principal who banned cupcakes from school birthday celebrations?  A “no cupcake” tie!

Now I must honestly say that I fully approve of the school’s no cupcake rule, and have been trying to lend support by telling slightly exaggerated “my child was almost given peanut butter at school to which she is deathly allergic” anecodotes.  I didn’t take a picture of said principal wearing the “no cupcake” tie in order to avoid ourselves the awkward silence that would come about after I asked him ”can I take a picture of you in the tie to post on sewloca.com?” (crickets…)


Next project was an end of the year “thank you” gift for Josie’s AWESOME kindergarten teacher.  Josie said that her teacher’s favorite colors are green and purple.  I didn’t have anything matching that description in my stash, so OF COURSE I had to make a trip to the fabric store.  Oh how I missed you M&L!





I made an apron from this pattern again.  I think the time has about come to invest in a bias tape maker…





And finally, a baby gift for my husband’s school principal.  This turned out so cute it was almost worth staying up until 3 am on a work night to finish it.




Whoo hoo! Swimming and crafting!


Summer is rapidly approaching!!!  That means air conditioning and crafting…and playing with my children too.  There are a few new little boys to be born in the near future (please note: NOT by me), so I am on the lookout for cute baby boy ideas.  Suggestions would be MUCH appreciated-I have all girly patterns.





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Hoppy Easter!

Spring break = more time to craft!!!  ….  oh, and special family time too…


I bought this rabbit flannel on an impulse-driven Joann stop one day after work.  Josie recently inquired longingly about the fate of the “bunny fabric”.  I decided to make the girls simple Easter nightgowns.  I chose this pattern because it uses the least amount of fabric out of all the pajama patterns I have.  Dang pajama patterns need too much material!  And why do I have so many pajama patterns anyway?!?



Pay no attention to the extension cord in the background



Here’s how it turned out.  A little long in the sleeves, but maybe the girls will grow into them by next Easter.






I also got it into my head that I wanted to make myself a Tiffany blue/ robin’s egg colored Easter dress.


Funny thing is, being from southern California, when I think robin’s eggs, I think of….









I once did a project in college about the foraging behavior of robins in varying environments and at different times of day.  I monitored the quantity and efficacy of their pecks, and the number of robins feeding at each given time.  I grew to loathe those poor little creatures.  I much prefer the candy; it’s much yummier than the actual bird (so I assume, at least).

Anyway…back on topic…


I used Butterick 5708






Here’s how the dress turned out.

I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either.  The bodice doesn’t lie very well and I can’t shake the feeling that I have two overgrown mutant flies sitting on my shoulders.  Too bad I’m not a fabulous 50′s fashion sketch; the dress looks much better on her.  That, and she looks like she has somewhere super fun to go.  I, on the other hand, am off to fold the laundry.



And finally, this was the beverage for today, and comes HIGHLY recommended by me.  It’s from the food network website and can be found here.  Have a happy Easter all and enjoy!!!




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As a mother of two, work is pretty much the fanciest place I ever go…but I just had to buy this Simplicity pattern anyway.




Well, at least I would be prepared if I ever got invited to a fancy-pansy party….







I decided to make it in a dark purple sateen, and here’s how it all turned out.

simplicity 1876simplicity 1876



(No makeup= decapitated photo)









































I love how it turned out!  My husband, on the other hand, was a tad concerned about the length and then asked me where the prom was.  I’ve never been to a prom, but I did go to winter formal once:


Yes, my date is wearing jeans with his tailed-tuxedo jacket.  I thought about blurring out his face, but, for those who know me well, you will know that I have a hard time getting over certain things…I must say that it was a fabulous night that culminated in a near fist fight with another group of teenagers in the parking lot of our local Dennys.  Oh, to be a teenager again….






simplicity 1876

and a side by side comparison…haven’t aged one bit…if you cut off the part of the picture where my face is…





I think I’ll wear this dress to an upcoming retirement party we’re going to since I’d look pretty stupid wearing it to the grocery store.  Hopefully I can manage to have myself a brawl-free evening this time around…



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Emerald green

For some reason, in my mind, the color emerald green equates to old Hollywood glamour. There is probably a perfectly reasonable explanation behind this that has to do with how they colorized film at the time, or fashion trends, or that I’m just crazy…  but these are the images emerald green evokes to me:

Emerald City-Wizard of Oz

Curtain dress-Gone With the Wind

MGM Grand Las Vegas

I wanted some of that old Hollywood glamour for myself.  Why do I need Hollywood glamour, you may ask?  So I can be glamorous in my own mind, which is very important when you work with elementary and middle school children.




So a while back I bought this pattern and decided to make it in…emerald green.  I snuck off to the fabric store, bought the supplies, and hid them in a corner so my husband wouldn’t have tangible proof that I need to stop going to the fabric store.




"she had man hands!"




I courted this pattern for quite some time, but not unlike the Jolie-Pitts, was unable to commit.  It was this one piece.  I’m sure it’s a very nice piece that you can grow to overlook once you get to know the dress better… I just didn’t feel like taking the plunge.




Then I came across this fabulousness on lunch break while attending a conference in San Diego.  The Bettie Page store has (drool, gasp, choke, die…) some of the cutest clothes on earth.  This managed to satisfy my green dress need through the fall and winter seasons.






With spring approaching, I began to court Vogue 1084 again, but then Butterick 4919 came into my life.  It was retro, wrappy, modest, and best of all, rated “easy”!





And here is how it all turned out:





















Maybe not as glamorous as in my own mind…but a pretty good turnout for a weekend in front of the sewing machine.  I think it would look better if I was more…um…bosomy.  I wonder if they have a “do it yourself” tutorial for that online?











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I am trying to use up my fabric stash.  Not because I want to use up my fabric stash, but because I want to be able to answer “no” when I come home from the fabric store and my husband asks me “Don’t you have enough fabric in your stash already?”.


First up… bird fabric.  I bought this when I first started sewing and never knew what to do with it.  On my sleep-deprived maternity leave, I attempted to make this purse with it.  It has never been used because there is NO WAY that it would fit all of the super very important things I carry in my purse…like lollipops, cell phone, receipts from 2011, old shopping lists, breath mints that have rolled out of their container, pens that no longer work, and very occasionally, cash.


Josie liked the fabric and I decided to make her a dress similar to her cousin Jade’s using this pattern.  She changes into it every single day after school

(I think she likes it).


Man, I need to learn to take better pictures!  I guess that photography class in high school  didn’t quite cut it for me-That must be what happens when your teacher teaches photography by showing you the latest release on video, Sister Act


I then dug this classic out of the stash.  Here is the fabric’s before…

You mean you are actually going to make me wear this someday?!?



and after.








The love birds were Josie’s idea and were shamelessly pilfered from this image:


So I now have a miniscule amount of space in my stash!  I think that justifies a trip to the fabric store this weekend….

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Entering the new year with a bang

My dreams of full-skirted polka dots and pink belts evaporated when I heard the crunch.  The crunch, it turns out, was my husband’s car crashing into my sister-in-law’s van.  Oh, did I mention I was pulling into the driveway at the time?  It was my sister-in-law’s birthday too.  Happy birthday by the way.  And happy new year to you spent at the auto body shop.  Oops.

Oh my god guys! I can drive!


I guess that’s why in high school I passed my driver’s test by a narrow margin of one point.




So, down the cost of a deductable, I had to think functional not fancy.  I decided to try to make the vogue full-skirted dress with the super cheepie fabric in the WAAAY back of the store.  Big mistake.  Maybe not a fabulous enough mistake to post on craftfail, but enough of one to roll it into a ball and stuff it far out of sight for awhile.  :(

supposed to look like...








Doesn’t it look like I’m going to dance in my district’s next folklorico performance?



I then moved my sights on a birthday gift for my obsessive cat/animal skin print-loving co-worker/friend.  What better way to tote your lunch to work than in a hybrid animal lunch bag?  Awesome free pattern here, and a selection of 30+ free lunch bag patterns here.  Ok, that’s better…


The most recent endeavor was an attempt at polka dots, with inspiration from this dress idea on the awesome sew weekly website (“make this dress” section).  This time I went more towards the front of the fabric store.  I also picked a pattern that did not require 6+ yards of material.  It rained ferociously day after finishing it, but darn it, I wore it to work anyway! (Vanity, thy name is Cristina)








Hoping to continue to stay away from accidents for the rest of this year…both car and crafting.

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