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.


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.


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



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:


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

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

MarketTandRwith childTom

And the final product…




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.


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!


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




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:


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.

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.




Gail's Nest · Pattern Review

Sewing as Therapy

I heard an amazing podcast on Love to Sew. It was Episode 25 with Caz Adams from Useful Box. She’s an Aussie sewist who nearly lost her life after the birth of her son. As she recovered from the trauma, sewing became a way to return to equilibrium.

I was totally relating. Sewing is therapy for me too. I love to sew. I’ve been sewing since I was in junior high. Once I became a mom my sewing was reduced to curtains, costumes, and Easter dresses. But now that my kids are adults I am finding solace and healing from life’s stressors in sewing.

This is what sewing does for me:

  • It tickles my right brain’s desire for creativity.
  • It releases endorphins that trigger such a sense of calm, satisfaction, and peace.
  • It provides an outlet of escape from tension and stress.
  • It makes me so happy and proud of my accomplishments.

Two recent therapy sessions produced these fun projects:

The first is a cat house from a free pattern from See Kate Sew. I used fabric from my scrap bin and just had to buy the 1/2 inch foam. I thought it would be complicated but I found the directions to be straight forward, clear, and correct. It came together pretty easily. I gave it to my daughter, Rachael, and her hubby, Tom, for their cat, Inara.


I think she likes it! SCORE!! (Yes the endorphins are flowing right now!!)

My second therapy project was a tote. I found this pattern at The Inspired Wren.


I found the directions a little complicated (certainly not for a beginner), but the pictures were helpful. I bought heavy cotton (from the remnant section at Joann’s) and used lining from my stash. The suggestion for the bottom panels was to use duck cloth but I used black vinyl that I had leftover from another project. I was so happy with the result. Here are pics from the process:


Ahhhhh. I feel sooooo good. Try it. It’s what the doctor ordered.






Gail's Nest

The Art of Ironing



I walked into my friend’s home and saw a familiar sight: shirts draped over a chair and an ironing board waiting nearby, I said to her, “Yay – a kindred spirit! A fellow ironer! We ironers are few and far between! It’s a lost art, isn’t it?” She agreed.

Really, it’s more like a curse. My mother ironed everything – even T-shirts and jeans! So naturally I couldn’t NOT iron. But when people stopped by and would catch me ironing they inevitably would say, “Why are you ironing?” Here’s my answer: I DON’T KNOW!! I’m sorry, but I just can’t seem to get to the dryer exactly when it finishes to get out the shirts. So my clothes come out a little wrinkly.  So I hang them up and put them in my ironing closet until I have a block of time to do about 20 shirts. It’s in my dna, I guess. I just like to the look and feel of a nice crisp shirt.

Would you like to know the steps to ironing? Here they are:

  1. Set up your ironing board and iron. Get the iron hot.DSC00493
  2. Put on a favorite TV show or netflix movie.DSC00494
  3. Use the wide part of the board to do men’s shirts. The narrower part is better for skirts and dresses.DSC00496
  4. Iron the right front, the back, the left front, and then give the collar a good pressing. I like to use Magic Sizing spray to give it a light stiffness.DSC00498
  5. Next press the shoulders and the yoke.DSC00500
  6. Next do the sleeves one at a time, folding them so the underarm seam is at the bottom and you can get a nice crisp pressing.DSC00499 - Copy

That’s it! How was the movie?



Gail's Nest · Jewelry

Steampunk Jewelry Tutorial

Everybody should do something creative! It’s quite the stress reliever and the joy of producing something that is fun, beautiful, and that people actually like receiving as gifts is very satisfying. So here are my latest makes:


Steampunk is a style that is hard to describe verbally – it is mechanical parts, watch parts, keys. It is Victorian Sci-Fi. You’ll see it in modern movies, literature and fashion. Words that describe steampunk are corsets, lace, time travel, metal, futuristically old.

If you’re still puzzled, here are a couple of images to give you the gist:

Can’t say I’m into the fashion, but I love the jewelry and it is so fun to make because you are putting together metal parts in a way that only suits yourself! I started by pinning some of my favorites on pinterest.

So where do you find the parts? Look around your home and collect washers, springs, old watches, and keys. I really hit the jackpot when I walked into an antique store and discovered a desk with lots of drawers. I started pulling out the drawers and found a bag of watch parts. I asked the owner how much the watch parts were, and he said they went with the desk, as he put them in the drawers for interest in the desk. I said I didn’t want the desk but only the watch parts. He was confused and asked why I wanted watch parts. I told him I would like to make jewelry with them. He hesitated for a moment and then said, “The watches were my dad’s and I’d love to know they had a second life. You can just have the watch parts for free.” Yippee!

So after sorting through the pile, I picked out a few pieces and washed them. Here is a step by step of how I made them. The first ones are my washer necklaces: DSC00711

I traced around the washers on colorful scrapbooking paper and cut them out and then superglued them onto the washer:


Then I put about 3 coats of a dura-gloss to give them a shiny raised look:


It was easy to slip a cord through the middle.

Next, I superglued watch parts. The above pic shows a washer with an old watchface and springs glued together. I used a metal-gloss product to spray over them to give them a sprinkly shine:


I looked for parts that naturally had holes to slip earring loops or jump rings through them:


Here are my other photos. If you are interested in purchasing any of them they will soon be available at our etsy store.


Let me know if you try to make steampunk jewelry! I’d love to hear from you.