Nice to Meet You: Six Favorite Things I’ve Made

I found Adventures in Dressmaking a while ago, and have really been enjoying Suzannah’s posts. She and some other awesome bloggers are hosting a Nice to Meet You! series, and I thought it would be fun to participate. The question to answer is: What are six of your favorite things you’ve made? I may be new to blogging, but I’ve certainly made some things! I’ve never really thought about which projects have been my favorites though, so it has been a lot of fun looking back (and trying to find them so I could take some pictures!).

1. Strawberry Shortcake Costume

Do you remember Strawberry Shortcake, the adorable 80s cartoon? Well, you should – ’cause I do! Strawberry was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid, so in high school I decided to sew a Halloween costume after her.

From Hurricane High School year book, 2002.

I’ve made other costumes since, but this is still my favorite. And over time I’ve added more pieces as I’ve found them, such as green- and white-striped tights and a curly wig. I even have strawberry tennis shoes with strawberry laces!

2. Sis-in-law’s Wedding Dress

When my brother got engaged I was more than happy to help his soon-to-be-wifey with her wedding dress. She chose a gorgeous ruched lace gown. The only problem was that it was strapless, and she needed one with sleeves. I thought I’d probably be sewing a little jacket for her. Not at all!

Danielle dress front 002

It took three snowed-in days of sewing, beadwork, and removing and reattaching appliqués. But it was worth it – she loved it and no one could even tell it had been altered!

3. Little Wizard

I’m quite fond of wizards. Merlin, Gandalf, Micky Mouse in Fantasia… Wizards are awesome. So when a coworker got upset about moving to MS Word 2007 and losing his little wizard assistant from the older version, I just had to make one.

Isn’t he just the cutest little wood and foam wizard ever?

Flashback Friday – Watercolor Painting

I am not a painter. Period. But I do enjoy painting with my old watercolors occasionally, though usually for small things such as ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). I took a couple painting classes back in high school, and I seldom created anything that I liked. My paintings often had a harsh, rigid look that I didn’t like. I found that oil-based paints made it worse, but water-based paints helped create a softer look. This painting was one of the first I ever painted that I actually liked. It’s not that good, especially close up, but it has the feel I was going for and I love the colors. So when I recently came across some awesome “floating” frames, I bought one thinking it just might work for my old painting. I haven’t decided where to hang it yet, but it makes me happy to actually see it out and not hidden in a closet somewhere.

Illfitting Dress to Cute Top

I came across this dress while shopping the other day. I loved the color and the shirring at the waist, but it fit horribly. The top was much too big, which put the shirred waist in completely the wrong place. Yuck. But otherwise it was cute, and cheap…

So I got it with the idea of making a few changes. Okay, maybe more than a few. I took out the sleeves, which I liked, and unpicked the waistband from the bodice. Then I flipped the skirt up-side-down, cut off the hem, and cut out the neck and arm holes. So I essentially turned the skirt into a shirt with the same waistband. Make sense? I made a slit in the front and lined it with a strip from the old bodice. I sewed across the shoulders, then sewed around the neck to form a casing and put the sleeves back in. Then all I had to do was thread a cord through the neck casing and hem the waist.

Taa-daa! A much more flattering, shirred waist, peasant top! I wish I hadn’t cut the neck hole up quite so close to the shoulders, but it’s not too bad. Now I can show off the cute “x”s in different colored threads across the waistband without looking terrible while doing it.



Flashback Friday – Marine Blankets

When my first little brother to join the US Marines left for bootcamp, I wanted to make him a surprise gift for when he returned. A sort of thank-you-for-being awesome, you-survived-the-torture sort of gift. He didn’t have a comforter for his bed, so I decided to make him a quilt. To celebrate his awesomeness, I made an iron-on of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor for the middle of the quilt. And, of course, I had to make a matching pillowcase. I was, and still am, not a quilter, but I think it turned out pretty good.

So when another one of my little brothers also joined the Marines, I of course had to make a blanket for him, too. But instead of a quilt, I chose to crochet it. I believe I actually thought it would be easier! =0P

I decided to use the tapestry crochet technique, so I had to first make a chart. I wanted to make it of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor again, so there was a lot of detail to work out in Photoshop. Once I got that worked out, I started to crochet. And boy, did I crochet! That afghan may have been my most time-consuming to date. Trying to keep the sides even was really difficult, and nearly drove me mad! Needless to say, the poor guy didn’t get his blanket right after bootcamp, but I did get it done eventually. And it was SO worth it! Though I have been avoiding large projects in tapestry crochet with more than two colors ever since.

If you are interested in crocheting an afghan for a Marine in your life here is my pattern (chart only) as a pdf: Marine Afghan Pattern by the Sweet Seamstress. It is in tapestry crochet, which involves carrying the other colors of yarn inside single crochet stitches.

The top reads “Don’t Mess…” and the bottom says “…With the Best.” Quite applicable for more than one reason.

If you are/were in the US military, Thank You for Your Service!

Arick's at Christmas


Saturday Surprise – New Quilting Frame!

I am so excited! I have been wanting a quilting frame for years. Literally – years. I’ve only made a couple quilts, ever, but mostly due to the unavailability of a frame to quilt or tie them on. I’ve asked for a quilting frame every Christmas since I was a teen, and I occasionally bug my husband about it – he being an awesome builder-of-many-things type of guy.

But today we decided to check out a yard sale down the street… and there it was. It was still in an unopened box, and I wasn’t even sure if it was, in fact, a quilting frame since it only had one small sticker of a contraption on the front. But I thought I recognized said contraption, and apparently so did my husband. He thought it was a good price, and so we bought it!

The pieces. Not too many, but a whole ton of nuts and bolts.


Shadow “helping” as cats often do.


Finished. Woo-hoo! I can’t wait to MAKE something on it!

Flashback Friday – Kitchen Curtains

Many of the projects I make are for others – for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, and sometimes “just because.” Due to this, I often don’t get so see my creations later on down the line (luckily I’m getting better at remembering to take pictures). I get to enjoy the “oh, wow!” sentiment (hopefully) when I present them to their new owners, but that’s the end of that.

So unlike most of the things I sew and crochet, my kitchen and dining room curtains are a project that I get to enjoy every single day – well, except when we’re enjoying another cruise. =0)

I already had towels and other kitchen things when the hubby and I were married, so I had planned on continuing to use those until we bought our first home. Little did I know it would be several years! I had planned on decorating the kitchen with an ivy design in green and white – I saw so many adorable ivy fabrics in stores. However, when we did indeed buy our beautiful home, cotton ivy fabric was nowhere to be found!

After a lot of searching and stocking on Ebay, I finally found some fabric I liked. I hadn’t ever sewn anything but plain curtains and valances, so I was a little intimated – but I had a vision in my head and had to recreate it. I BARELY  had enough fabric, but I was able to pull it off. And I still LOVE my kitchen curtains. The ruffles just make me smile, and the gingham tiebacks (my hubby’s suggestion) are just stinkin’ cute.

Do you have a favorite project you get to enjoy every day?

Tutorial – Shoe Organizer

The other day I tried to put a bunch of shoes away that have been collecting under my dresser, and around it, and… well, let’s just call it a “shoe infestation.” I’ve been really into flats this summer, and I guess it shows.

Anyway, I found that I really didn’t have a place to put all of them in my closet. I have a shoe stand, but it seems better for larger shoes, not little flats. I can’t hang over-the-door or hangs-from-the-closet-rod organizers due to the accordion doors and limited space. But I was able to find one tall, skinny piece of wall left open that was just wide enough for a pair of shoes…

Suddenly, I had just had to make a shoe organizer.

I tried to take pictures and write down instructions as I went. This is my first tutorial… ever. So, here goes!


Fabric Shoe Organizer with Box Pleats


  • About two yards of cotton fabric (for the length)*
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine (unless you really like sewing by hand)

*For fabric, I actually used a twin-sized flat sheet. Sheets have many uses besides just lying on top of beds – they are wider than most fabrics from the store and are often cheaper, so they make great fabric.

The space I wanted my organizer to fit was 70″ long by 8″ wide, so that is the size of my organizer. However, it would not be difficult to change the dimensions.

First, if you are using a sheet, cut off the hem down one side. (You are welcome to pick out the stitching to save fabric, of course, it would just take some time and for me this was a quick and dirty easy project.)


Next, starting from the top of the sheet (head), cut a strip for the back of the organizer. For simplicity’s sake, I added 1″ seam allowances all around, so my piece was 72″ long by 10″ wide.


I cut two strips for my backing to make sure it was strong (being that it was going to hold several pairs of shoes).


Now it’s time for the pockets. First I measured a pair of my flats across the largest part to make sure I cut the pockets big enough.

It took 3″ more to go around the tops of my shoes than straight across the back. I wear a size 8 to 9 in flats (is that weird?). If you wear a much smaller or larger size, or want to fit a more substantial shoe (though I woudn’t suggest boots!), you’ll want to measure your own shoes before you cut your pockets out.

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