Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion · Sewing Project

Refashioners Challenge 2018 – Inspired By

This year’s Refashioners Challenge put out there by sewist and blogger, Portia Lawrie of the UK, is to take a popular designer or fashion icon out there and mimic his/her masterpiece with an old, tired, thrifted piece.

Sooooooooooo…here’s what I did:

Really this project came at the right time because I’ve been planning on making a winter coat for myself for 10 months now. I have quite the pinterest board on coats and patterns. I knew I wanted a 1960s style coat. Jackie Kennedy’s style has appealed to me for awhile and her famous/ infamous Oleg Cassini leopard coat was probably the most amazing thing she ever wore:

 

I say “famous” because when she wore it she stunned everyone everywhere. I say “infamous” because it was so crazy popular that everyone wanted one and the leopard population nearly became extinct. Oleg Cassini was quoted as saying he regretted making it. I think he underestimated how much of a fashion icon Jackie Kennedy was.

Soooooooo…

When I walked into my local “Sally Ann’s Boutique” (aka Salvation Army) I saw this fleece bathrobe. BINGO!!

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Yeah. Hmm. I know. My husband just laughed at me when I put it on. This was a definite rescue operation.

So my first step was to “unpick” it apart. (BTW – why do sewist say “unpick”? I don’t get it. Aren’t we “picking” it? We’re picking apart the seams, right? Un-pick would mean to undo picking which would mean to put it together. Where do we get “unpick”? Anyway… that’s what I was thinking about while I did this tedious task.

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I decided on The Ellsworth Coat pattern by Christine Haynes.

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It required a lining fabric and while fleece is warm I knew I wanted a REALLY warm coat to get through the weeks of below zero (fahrenheit) Ithaca, NY weather. I pulled out a thick black soft fleece from my stash (really it was from a failed attempt to make a coat back in March).

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Look at that pile of pattern pieces! I was going to make a few adjustments on the pattern because the fabric from the robe wasn’t going to be quite enough.

I decided on using the lining fabric for the yoke and collar. Also, I chose to eliminate the pockets on the front. Jackie’s coat had side pockets and I would rather have them too so I planned to insert the pockets from the robe right into my coat.

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Here’s the coat in process:

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Jackie’s coat had 3/4 sleeves so I saved precious leopard print by adding my lining fabric at the bottom, giving the sleeves a 3/4 look but giving me the full length I wanted.

Now it was going to need awesome buttons so I searched my stash, Joann’s, and ebay and settled on these black paisleys.Jackiecoat3-1

So here’s the finished project:

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No leopards harmed in the making!!

Blessings-

Gail

 

Entertaining · Gail's Nest

Authentic Entertaining

“Sorry, I will never have you over to my house”, said my new friend who took me out for lunch after we moved into the area. She was a sweetheart to host a lunch out, but I couldn’t help feeling like there was a part of  her that I would never be allowed to know. I’m sure my friend thought I’d think less of her if I saw her home.

Let’s face it. Our homes are the places where we can be real. This is where we love, fight, play, do our hobbies, show our heritage, rest, read, eat, relate, etc. When we want to open ourselves to someone new, perhaps to help them, befriend them, share our lives with them then that means being real. It means that everything isn’t perfect but that we’re willing to trust our family, friends, and guests to love us or at least accept us “as is”.

That also means that we must never judge our hosts’ efforts, but receive their gifts of hospitality graciously. I learned this lesson in China.

Back in April of 2012, my husband and I along with our daughter, Anna traveled to China to vist all the wonderful people we had met while they had been at Cornell University, located in our home town of Ithaca, NY. One of our hosts took us to a hotel in a rural Naxi village northwest of Lijiang, close to the Tibet border. It was of very traditional construction, set in a courtyard style. My American hyper-clean, germophobic self was initially appalled by the room that we were ushered into. The sewer pipe was exposed and gave off a horrendous odor. Our sheets were moldy. The rickety ladder to the loft where Anna would sleep wasn’t attached. “Lord,” I prayed, “I can’t complain or I will insult my host. Help me to get over this.”

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the most amazing three days of our whole trip. We really felt like we had a real experience, living like the Naxi people. Every morning the hotel owner greeted us with an invitation to join him for a traditional tea pour. And as we drank tea we chatted. Anna discovered he had a dog who just had puppies. She was in love. We learned his family lived far away and he hoped to soon have enough money saved to bring them to live with him. The air was so fresh and the sky so blue – quite a change from the smog in Shanghai and Bejing. I cringe when I think how close I came to missing this amazing treasure on the other side of the world!

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So… here are my tips for easy authentic entertaining.

  • Keep your living area generally picked up. I never have to go to great lengths to clean my house before company comes because I spend a little time each day keeping up with the clutter.
  • Plan on a simple meal so you can focus on your guests. Plan ahead!
  • Use paper plates for easy clean up (use your china for your family!)
  • If anyone asks you, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Always say, “Yes”, and put them to work.
  • Remember that you don’t have to clean your whole house, nor do you have to have fresh paint and everything looking like the HGTV channel. When people come to your home they want to be with YOU, and usually they don’t care about the state of your house.
  • Avoid fussing about stuff when your guests arrive. They will feel like they are an imposition if you are too busy to enjoy them.

Blessings!

–Gail

Lydia's Nest · Recipes

Hulk Muffins

Hey all! I have a yummy recipe to share with you.

I’ve been making these muffins regularly for breakfast lately. I’ve been noticing that Deacon eats the most at breakfast – even if he’s having an ornery day and doesn’t want to eat much lunch or dinner, he ALWAYS finishes his breakfast. This has put me on a mission to find more healthy, nutritious breakfasts. Our go to’s are easy things like toast and fruit, and I wanted to expand our repertoire and get some good stuff in him while I have the chance. These are perfect! They have lots of spinach, without a ton of sugar. They are super yummy too- they taste like banana bread (and not at all like spinach!)

A couple of notes, you can be relatively flexible with this recipe. The recipe includes what I find works/tastes the best for us, but you could certainly change it out to your preferences, like dairy milk instead of almond milk (you might need to add vanilla), a different sweetener, or vegetable oil instead of butter. Also, they freeze really well. The recipe makes two dozen so we eat some fresh and then I pop the rest in the freezer for later. A minute or two in the microwave, and they are ready to go! I don’t know for sure how long they would last in the freezer – probably a couple of months, but we’ve always eaten them within a couple weeks. Lastly, the riper the bananas the better. If we have bananas that get too brown to eat, I peel and freeze them until I make these muffins. Just let them thaw on the counter for a bit before using.

I love these muffins because they are super easy to throw together in the morning. First, combine the dry ingredients.

Then, put all the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the puree into the dry bowl and gently stir to combine.

Spoon into muffin tins, and bake!

I think Deacon likes these.

Hulk Muffins

Makes 2 dozen. Prep time: 20 min, Bake time: 20-25 min

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 4 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Wet:

  • 2 cups spinach (packed)
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cups applesauce
  • 3 large bananas
  • ½ cups butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed (optional, but I love the nutrient boost it adds)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray or line muffin pans.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Place all wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour puree into dry bowl, and gently stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon into muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm but not browning.
  6. Serve warm or cold
Gail's Nest · Lydia's Nest · Sewing Project

Date with my Daughter to a Fabric Store

Sewing lovers will agree that entering a fabric store is like walking into an ice cream parlor. You get a rush when you see all the different colors and textures. And how do you decide?

Couple that with entering the store with your sewing-loving daughter and you have a ready made good time.

Triple that with entering the store with your darling not-yet-two grandson and… well, you can’t linger too long making decisions.

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But… I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

We went to Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Ligonier, Indiana.

So here was our haul…

This super soft double brushed poly could make great leggings!

I’m planning on making a blouse out of this pretty piece.

I want to make a coat, and I found this fun fabric to test my pattern on! I love the color.

When I’ve worked out all the kinks, I’m going to use these to make a 1950s-inspired coat.

And here’s Lydia’s haul:

Such fun!

These two are for some comfy joggers for Cory. (And maybe matching ones for Deacon!)

You can never have too many basic fabrics – the oatmeal will become a sweater, and the other two are great to have on hand for neckbands and such.

Lydia couldn’t resist picking up some fun fabrics for her baby GIRL on the way!

These last two are very soft – they’ll become leggings and a matching top.

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We had a blast exploring Zinck’s. Highly recommend!

Blessings,

Gail

Gail's Nest · Sewing Project

A Guatemalan Fabric Make

Hey Everyone – My lovely daughter, Rachael, and new husband, Tom, went to Guatemala on a medical mission trip and brought back for me some lovely blue woven fabric. I gave half of it to Lydia, hoping she’ll have time to make something for herself (she recently moved to Indiana and now is expecting baby number 2 so I doubt it will be any time soon!) It will be fun to see what she comes up with!

So anyway… here’s the fabric and here’s the pattern I chose to use:

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The jumper was an easy make. Thank you Rachael and Tom!

And here are a few photos of the newlyweds’ mission trip in Guatemala:

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And the final product…

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Thank you to Rachael and Tom! Lydia – what will YOU do with your fabric?

And BTW – if any of you go on a trip and you’re wondering what to bring back as a souvenir to your loved ones, a great idea for the sewers in your family is a couple yards of fabric! Guaranteed they will love it.

Gail's Nest · Lydia's Nest

How to Make a T-shirt Dress in an Afternoon

I was blessed to visit Lydia and Cory this past week. And of course I jumped at the chance to give them a night off while I babysat my darling grandson. I was blown away at Lydia’s creativity at putting together a nice outfit for their big date. She did it during Deacon’s nap.

She started with a pattern for a simple tee, as well as a black jersey fabric she found on sale at Walmart for $1 per yard. She used less that 3 yards.

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Using a ruler, Lydia added about 10 inches down each of the sides of the tee to lengthen to a dress.

She sewed up the sides, and added the sleeves. After she tried it on she decided it was too baggy so she cut the back in half and then I helped her take it in by pinning the fabric so as to make it more form fitting. She simply sewed up the new seam on her serger, which cut off the extra fabric.

 

Next, Lydia cut out a long retangular piece which she then folded and sewed up along the neckline to create a cowl neck. For an easy trick in sewing up the cowl neck take a look at this video. You’ll need to go to 3:40 to see the helpful demonstration:

After hemming the bottom and the sleeves she was done! And then off she was with Cory for dinner and a movie!

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I hope this inspires you to bravely venture out to make something new – for next to no money!

Blessings-

Gail

Uncategorized

SMYLY- Sewing Makes You Love Yourself -Sewing Contest

In my last post, I wrote how sewing is therapy, releasing endorphins that calm an anxious mind, giving a sense of satisfaction of a job well done, and utilizing the right side of the brain, especially after a week of left-brain analytic activity.

And now I present a sewing contest that encourages all sewists out there to share your creations as well as your sewing story. It is called SMYLY – Sewing Makes You Love Yourself. You can read about it here.

Here is my entry and my story:

SewingContestHeatherDress

This is the Heather Dress from Sew Over It.My sewing story is that I have sewed since I was about 12 but once I became a mom I didn’t have as much time to sew for myself. I sewed a lot of curtains, costumes, and Easter dresses for my three daughters. I taught them to sew and we have lots of happy memories sewing together.

But all four of my children are now adults and I miss them so much. My husband and I are enjoying our “sweetheart years” as my friend referred to the empty nest, but I find myself drifting toward sadness and borderline depression. Quite honestly, parenting young adults is the hardest time of parenting EVER, mostly because I can’t do much. And so I’m prone to worrying about them A LOT, which isn’t good, of course. And that’s where sewing comes into the picture.

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Here’s another Heather Dress!

So I’ve really ramped up my sewing in the last five years or so. It has brought me a very satisfying, productive, distraction from that which would try to take me down. The Heather dress, in particular, is comfortable, classy, practical, and lovely at the same time. I feel great in it.

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Blessings!

Gail