Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A Green Armoire, Finally!

Years ago, I bought an armoire from the Spiegel catalog. The assemble-it-yourself kit was made by American Moulding & Millwork and was a joy to put together. The accomplishment made me aware of my ability for DIY. 

This cabinet has served me well over the years, storing books, sewing fabrics, and supplies. But, almost from the beginning, I knew I wanted to paint it green.

While debating on the exact shade, I sealed it with a clear finish. Well, it ended up wearing that for years! I chose different shades over the years, even buying one twelve years ago that went bad. Yes, paint can go bad, horribly bad, even if it has never been opened. The smell was disgusting, nauseating!

Last year, I bought a new shade, a small 8-ounce tester pot of Clover Green in satin by Benjamin Moore, and finally got around to painting it a few weeks ago.

I had to wipe the piece down with prepaint cleaner Krud Kutter and give it a good sanding. I first attempted to paint without primer but thought it might take too many coats, so the rest received a coat of Kilz 2 primer.

I have to admit, I took a somewhat lazier approach to paint this piece than I usually do. I didn't sand between the paint layers and probably should have painted the inside, especially those doors. I didn't think of it at the time, was limited on the amount of paint, and I was very impatient to finally have it done. So, so many excuses! 

So there will be no open door photos in this blog post; 1) because I didn't paint the interior doors, and 2) it still hides a mass of stuff and materials despite my very thorough decluttering.

It is what it is.

But check it out? I even refolded all of the fabric for my "near-future" projects using a tutorial pinned from Pinterest. It is so much neater and easier to comb through to see what I have. The first thing I noticed is how neutral the fabric within is compared to the cabinet itself, It is all white, cream, gray, black, and navy blue. So, I guess I'll have to change that!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The White Stripes Are Coming! - Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee

Pattern: Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (2013, the original one-size-fits-all version)

Pattern Description: Oversized boxy top with shallow boat neckline with dropped shoulders and three-quarter-length fitted sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: One size fits all, finished length: 23.5" finished width: 58." The pattern is now available in four sizes here

Fabric Used: Black/Gray/Ivory stripe cotton jersey blend knit from Girl Charlee Fabrics, Wright's (vintage) non-stop rayon seam binding in Navy 55, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Black #010 and Silver #100.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: For this version, I cut the armscye of the sleeve 1/2" wider than the pattern tapering out to nothing at the wrist. I also added six inches to the sleeve length. Trying to gain more ease, I used a 1/4" seam allowance at seams except at the shoulders where I used 1/2".

Conclusion: I need to make more of these and I also need to enlarge the sleeves even more!

Monday, June 07, 2021

KonMari Method Part 5 : Komono Sewing/Crafting/DIY

This entry is for all the makers working in garment sewing, crafting, and home DIY projects. How do WE declutter?

This particular category was not given significant focus by Ms. Kondo. Supposedly it is a part of the Komono/Miscellaneous group. I didn't even realize that fact until I had my latest stack of plastic bins in front of me. These five small bins were just my crafting supplies, but I realized I also had my heavy-duty DIY tools, plus loads of garment fabric and sewing patterns. Luckily, I had done the first pass on those last two categories pre-KonMari, and I did not revisit those now. Note: When I decluttered that time, my only criteria was 'could use the fabric in the future?' I am now aware I will need to go through them again with "Do they spark joy?" in mind.

One of the difficulties with this category and the KonMari method is the whole concept of "sparking joy." When you work with craft and sewing supplies, you want some surplus materials or a "stash." These items will come in handy at some point but do they necessarily spark joy?


I had multiple cardboard boxes and plastic containers that held all of this stuff. I needed to organize, consolidate, and label everything that I had. I ended up with four specific containers:

  1. Paint Prep: A small portable tub with my pre-painting gear such as nitrile gloves, assorted paintbrushes, foam brushes, sanding blocks, latex caulk, spackle, Frog tape, some blue painter's tape, a paint can opener, plastic drop cloths, and a concentrated degreaser and cleaner for prepping all surfaces before painting.

  2. Primary Paint: A plastic tub holds the plastic paint trays the I line with aluminum foil, my handy paint pail (if you use latex paint, you can let it dry out and later lift the entire pail shaped paint thing out, it's so freaky cool!), extra foam rollers (in two sizes), paint edging tool, plastic cups, and painter tripods to support drying objects, small portions of leftover paint, Kilz 2 primer, and my must-have supply of Minwax Polycrylic in Satin. 

  3. Electric Tools: Another container holds my products which just happen to be Black + Decker products; a BullsEye auto-leveling laser level with stud sensor (BDL190S), 7.2-volt cordless screwdriver (PD600), and a 1.2 Amp corded Mouse detail sander (BDEMS600). Because there was room leftover, it also holds the tile leftover from the kitchen makeover (Yup, I know, potential future clutter!)

  4. Manual Tools: These live in a plastic toolbox with multiple-sized screwdrivers, wire cutters, two box cutters, two types of old school levels, a complete set of sanding files, two sets of pliers, and .


IKEA Misi table (No longer available)

I have an old IKEA Misi table with four convenient drawers that I use to store my most used notions.

  1. This drawer holds all of my old Coats & Clark's threads. I now have a separate container for the Gutermann thread that I use now.

  2. Sewing and machine needles, sewing scissors, my rotary cutter, walking foot, seam pickers, and my marking chalk all live in this drawer.

  3. This one holds my sewing labels, pinking shears, fabric swatches, 

  4. My Babyloc sewing machine manual, tracing paper, tracing wheel, tape measure, my bobbin thread box, and the-all important not-for-fabric scissors live in the last drawer.

In addition, my sewing cabinet (a former Spiegel Catalog armoire) holds even more. Inside, it has several similar-sized plastic totes, each with a different purpose.

  • Notions: One container holds all my interfacings, Pellon Easy Pattern paper, seam bindings, elastics, ribbons, velcro fasteners. To simplify things, they are all in individual clear plastic zip bags, so I can easily see what I have.

  • Knit Scraps: This one holds all the good knit remnants, fold-over elastics, and salvaged findings that could be made into underwear, tank tops, or turban headbands.

  • Office: A little bit different, this tote holds tape, rubberbands, envelopes, pens, plastic sheet protectors for my PDF patterns, and archival envelopes I use to protect my vintage patterns.

  • Soft toys: Leftover fleece, juvenile print fabrics, and felt that I can use to make things for my grandniece and two grandnephews.

  • Crafts: See below.
  • Paints: See below.


For me, craft supplies meant: older unopened acrylic paint tubes, newer acrylic paint for small projects, assorted paint brushes, sandpaper, pipe cleaners, hot glue gun, a staple gun with staples, rulers, several different types of tape, oil pastels, chalks, drawing pencils, stencils, unused origami paper, watercolor paper, sheets of vellum, metal knitting needles, and even a set of circular bamboo knitting needles.

I also had a small jewelry supply stash of jewelry findings, leather and suede cords, beading wire, some leftover elements from older jewelry pieces, plus packages of metal and wooden beads.

I took my time going through these, thinking of the likelihood that I would ever use each one or if it would be more useful to someone else, i.e., could it spark joy in someone else? If so, they were moved to another tub destined for the ScrapRVA reuse organization in Richmond.

An in-progress donation tote


I love the idea of oil pastels (I bought them for a college course in 2010), but I never used them after that, so it was time for them to go. Once I started thinking about it, more things made their way into the ScrapRVA donation box. So, could I see myself needing and then using it in the foreseeable future? That was the main question I asked myself. The effortless donations were any items that I had in multiples, or I had no idea that I even owned it. I ended up with a healthy group of things; many were never used.


At one point, I found myself trying to justify keeping items that could still bring me joy. You know, you can always use paint, pencils, hot glue... I had to revisit the contents of a few containers several times to remove things that I knew would continue to sit around unused. Because that was the same attitude that filled those boxes in the first place. Perhaps I was having a more difficult time because I took longer with the KonMari process than I was meant to. Ideally, you do it in one continuous session, not over several months as I did.

For now, the box of donations, my box of 100+ sewing patterns, and any other goods for ScrapRVA are living in my car's trunk until I drive to Richmond to hand them over. That's good enough for me.