Monday, May 06, 2024

Design Inspiration for My First Home

I accumulated all of these images over the last six months. You see, I knew this is how I wanted to live. I needed to find a place that would allow me to fulfill that dream. I may not have the little bungalow of my childhood dreams, but I could do whatever I wanted within these walls. Goal: Create a bungalow in a two-story condo.

These images incorporate my love of green, my father's basket and bamboo collections, mid-century chairs and general vibe, natural wood tones, eclectic artwork, quirky details, and painted furniture.

Dream Green DIY

Cupcakes and Cashmere

Desire to Inspire

Domino magazine

My own room photo

Mystery image from the web

Let's go!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

My First Home - I Bought It!

Yes, I have bought my first home. If you've read my other blog, Shelter, you know that my dream home since childhood has been a 1930s two-story bungalow, but sometimes you have to adapt your dreams. My salary (as a single woman) and working location never matched that goal, and my priorities changed as I got older. Most importantly, since living alone in the family home since my father died, I realized how having a landscaped lawn would be a second job. That fact changed my mind about those dream flower beds and picket fences. There's also the fact that I'm not known as and have never been an "outdoors" person. At all. Therefore, I needed a place that required minimum yard maintenance. 

Enter the townhouse or condo options. Maximum interior decoration fun with less to no seasonal yard maintenance!

I still had a few requirements for my home. I wanted something unique, no high-rises, and I didn't want a typical boxy apartment layout. 

Or, lets say I didn't after I helped a friend and coworker move into her new condo/townhouse. Carrying boxes, I walked up two flights (ugh, more about them later) to an adorable two bedroom apartment with a LOFT! And the second smaller bedroom at the front had three separate windows positioned like a bay window that let in so much light. My first thought was "dedicated sewing space"! The rest of the unit included an angular main living space and skylights in the loft and over the kitchen, so there was even more light! Give me ALL your light!

This unit was something unique, with character. In Newport News, where I wanted to live to be nearer work, there weren't vintage building conversions like in Richmond, VA. I found a few in Norfolk but there was no way I would do that long commute with an undersea tunnel and its infamous delays! In my price range, most Newport News properties were vintage 1980s, i.e., not the best era for residential architecture. But this one, built in 1989, was different. All of the designs in this development were quite quirky. The larger units also had lofted spaces, but they were in the primary bedroom. I didn't understand that layout at all. I have communal plans for my loft.

But before I tell you about those plans, let's look at the raw product. 


In future posts, I'll write about the process that led me to get this place, exactly how I imagined it. I didn't officially use The Secret but...

Coming up: 

  • Inspirations
  • Internet resources
  • Design plan 
  • Projects
  • Process
Oh, and by the way, while this was all going on, I was also the only sibling living in the family property while we were trying to get the home together to sell this summer. Well, that's a whole other story and a wholly different level of stressor. Whew!

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Edwardian Fan Walking Skirt - Simplicity 8747

Finished garment photo coming.

Simplicity 8747 (2018)

Pattern Description: Misses' mid-length full skirt with a center-front seam and a godet at center back from a vintage-style two-piece suit.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes: 16-18-20-22-24; I cut size 22.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Exactly, it's a simple but classic design.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were very easy, but it's important to mark all the marks from the pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This pattern works perfectly for replicating my inspiration outfit.

Fabric Used: 
58" Stretch faux suede (90% polyester, 10% Spandex) in Sycamore from Joann Fabrics, Coats All-Purpose 7" polyester zipper in Forest Green, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Forest Green #792

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Interestingly, the fabric was tough to pin, and I pulled out a size 16 ball point needle to sew it without skipping stitches. However, that bodes well for winter warmth, meaning no cold breezes will get through!

Initially, I thought of making the skirt flared at the bottom or adding more width to the back godet. However, I procrastinated enough that a straightforward sew was best. I didn't get that straightforward so though. The combination of cutting the pattern as 22 instead of 20 and it being a stretch fabric meant that I eventually had to unpick the entire thing, cut it down a size, and sew it up again. Ugh.

After cutting it down to size it fit better but not perfectly. I attached the waistband and instead of slip stitching as I usually do, I followed the instructions and stitched-in-the-ditch of the waistband seam and it worked out beautifully.

The only thing left to do was take care of the very very wide skirt hem. This, of course, I did whip stitch by hand. It probably took 3 hours (over two days) but it looks spectacular. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may attempt this again, but would make sure to use a non-stretch woven. As it is, it's quite clingy around the stomach and hips. I'm not sure I know how this should fit. 

Conclusion: I originally envisioned this skirt for a Halloween costume, which wavered between an Edwardian adventuress or a house mistress complete with a chatelaine of keys and tools.

It does match the shape but not the historical look of the inspiration. Perhaps choosing a wool or twill would have been best. To more accurately replicate the look, I may add a petticoat to smooth the lines and allow the skirt to skim my body versus hugging my curves.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Woodland Magic Lounge Set - Assembly Line Pyjamas

Pattern: Assembly Line FREE Pyjamas pattern (2022)

Pattern Description: A two-piece loungewear set consisting of a short-sleeved top with a wide neckline and relaxed fit shorts with an elastic waistband, and side seam pockets.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes XS to 3XL, I made a Medium top and a Large in the shorts.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it looks exactly like it!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Definitely, in fact, the instructions were excellent.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was looking for an easy shorts pattern but after I saw all the cute flannel and jersey prints available, I thought of making the entire set as sleep or loungewear. I normally just sleep in a random t-shirt and add leggings once I wake up. However, with these, I have an entire cute outfit. Best yet, they were designed with roomy pockets.

Fabric Used: 58" Pop! Fall Mushrooms lightweight fleece (100% polyester), Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Ivory, #800, Pellon Sheer-Knit fusible interfacing, 58" Pop! Forest Green Fox interlock (98% polyester/2% Spandex), 1" elastic, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Deep Burlywood, #791.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Seeing examples on the web and reading reviews showed that the neckline was wide. However, even though I reduced the width by 1/8-1/4," it still could use less width as you can see in the last picture below it tends to shift from side to side. Remember though, if you shorten the width, make sure you can still get it over your head.

The shorts could easily be a smaller size, or the legs slimmed down a bit, because they are quite roomy.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely, not only is it cute, but the pattern is FREE! What's not to love?

Conclusion: I am already eyeing some more cutesy prints (in knits and crisp cottons) for spring and summer sets. One thing I really appreciate about the instructions is that they have you finish all the seams, secure the pockets, and have you prepress all the hems before any side seam construction. Those steps result in a neat and elegant finish, inside and out.