December 22, 2011

Flirty Apron

For the sexy chef in your life.

All seam allowances ½ inch
Self- B/W Leaves  5/6 of a yard
Lining- Buttercup Yellow 5/6 of a yard  
Contrast #1- B/W/Y Butterflies 1/3 yard  
Contrast #2- B/W/Y striped/dots 1 2/3 yard

  Please note, the above drawings are not perfectly to scale and are just to give an idea of what the pattern pieces should look like and grain direction. I tried to include measurements to give an idea of how big to make each piece. The tool over the apron is called a "hip curve ruler" and every serious pattern maker should have one. I use mine to draw waist seams, hip seams, princess seams, hems, armholes, necklines...

General Instructions:

  1. Fold Contrast #2 fabric length wise and cut an 4 x 60 in strip (actual piece 8 x 60).
  2. With right sides together, cut 45 degree corners and sew ends closed. Trim corners. Turn right side out, press.
  3. Make pleats in ruffle every 1.75 inches with a pleat depth of 1 inch. I alternated pleats from both ends toward the center. Pleats are knife pleats and should go in the same direction. Makes about 20 pleats. If there is extra fabric, hide in center pleat.

Tip: I pin the top of the pleat and the bottom of the pleat to prevent the pleats from flaring. When I am done I have a 4 inch wide strip of pleats just under 40 inches.

  1. Baste pleats across top edge. Leave in lower set of pins.
  2. Cut pocket out of Contrast #1 fabric. (Note: top edge is on fold.) With right sides together, sew around edges, leaving one side edge open. Turn right-side-out. Press, folding SA for open side in. Edge stitch onto front of apron sewing small triangles at corners for stabilization. Top stitch a dividing line down center of pocket. Placement for the top of the pocket is about 11 inches up from the bottom of the apron (without ruffles.)
  3. Fold Contrast #1 fabric crosswise and cut two,  2 x 20 inch strips (actual pieces 4 x 20)
  4. With right sides together, cut 45 degree corners and sew ends closed, and length of neck tie. Trim corners. Turn right side out, press.
  5. Place on top edge of apron, ½ from side edges, flush with top of apron. Baste in place.
  6. For waist ties, Fold Contrast #2 fabric lengthwise and cut two, 3 x 60 inch strips (actual pieces 6 x 60)
  7. With right sides together, cut 45 degree corners and sew ends closed, and length of waist. Trim corners. Turn right side out, press.  
  8. Place on side edge of apron, flush with side edge and ½ down from armhole edge. Baste in place. 
  9. Pin ruffle to lower apron edge over waist ties, starting at center and curving around toward armhole edges. Should reach just to waist ties. Okay if it overlaps. Baste in place.
  10. Tuck all ties into front pockets. Keep pleats away from lower apron edge.

 14. Sandwich lining over self, right sides together. Sew around all edges, leaving 6 inch gap open at neck.

15. Turn inside out.
16. Fold in neck SA. Edgestitch close.
17. Remove lower pins from ruffle. Flare/fan pleats. Press or starch pleats.

Yeah, my sewing room is usually a mess.

December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest

 Where we get to redo a post that we feel deserves a second chance.


  I posted this originally back in February when I had less than a half dozen followers. My mom, Sharan Joyce, has a talent for coming up with parodies and wrote the Save-the-Umbrellas campaign after seeing all the family umbrellas out on the porch to dry. (Pictured at the bottom.) 

I think it's funny and witty enough that it deserves a second chance. At least I can't ever look at umbrellas the same way now. 

Investigating Biologist: Sharan Joyce

Biology: The Umbrella is classified as follows: Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Class Aves (birds), in the order of Chiroptera, which also includes bats and lawn flamingoes. Members of the Umbrella family generally are unipods (one-legged). Three major genuses have evolved: Bumbershootus (long, black); Parasolis (long, brightly colored); and Collapsicus (short, color varies). Each genus is further divided into species: curvatti, with a hooked foot, or knobsii, with a blunt or “clubfoot.”

Bumbershootus curvatii

Parasolis knobsii
Collapsicus knobsii

All members have an inflexible central vertebral column with fine-boned flexible wings that sprout just below the tiny head. The brain is surprisingly small for an avian. The adult’s average wingspan is three feet. Certain marine specimens, adapted to sunny beaches, have a span of up to six feet.

Characteristic Behaviors:
Like bats, umbrellas are frequently found hanging upside down in dark places. They are not exclusively nocturnal, however. Umbrellas generally shun sunny days (except Parasolis), and come out only on cloudy or rainy days. They live on nutrients derived from moisture in the air and are capable of hibernating for years between feedings if necessary. During their dormant season umbrellas may fold their wings tightly about their bodies, securing them with an “umbrellical cord” about their middles, or they may retreat into skin-tight cocoons. Umbrellas rarely breed in captivity; most are captured wild in their native breeding grounds (China) and exported.

Domesticated umbrellas, like domesticated turkeys, are generally flightless. Years of evolutionary degeneration, brought on by umbrellas’ growing dependence on humans, has weakend the umbrella’s skeleton to the degree that most individuals are unable to fly. Far from the ice age days when vast flocks of umbrellas could be seen circling the frozen tundra in search of thawing pools of water, the domesticated umbrella will not even expand its wings unless a human carries it to moisture. Occasionally on a windy day instincts will be aroused and an umbrella will attempt to take flight, but this is often a fatal experience resulting in skeletal inversion.

Umbrellas of the Bumbershootus and Collapsicus genus are most at home in the areas of year-round precipitation. In semi-arid climates, umbrellas tend to disappear after the end of the rainy season. Labeling and tracking of umbrellas has established that many of them try to migrate to the equatorial zone in search of more rain. Since they are flightless, many umbrellas take the bus; however they have small brains and no innate sense of direction, and often find themselves hopelessly lost unless some kind human adopts them.

Parasoli umbrellas can be found in both dry and wet climates. Marine umbrellas, and the domesticated poolside umbrella, seem to thrive on evaporated moisture from nearby bodies of water; perhaps they have made this evolutionary adaptation to enable them to flourish in sunny weather when there is little competition from the less-advaned, wet-weather umbrellas. In an unusual symbiotic relationship, Parasolis knobsii seems to feed on sweat exuded by humans on hot days, while sheltering the human from the sun.

The Problem:
Umbrellas have been exploited by humans. It is tempting to think of umbrellas as amiable, non-demanding pets, and many a child who cannot be trusted with a puppy is allowed to have an umbrella. However, umbrellas are a well-known hazard if allowed to roam, open and unrestricted, through the house. Also, they are not easy to housebreak. After a few puddles are left on the floor, they are usually shaken and relegated to the garage without water. This is inhumane. Pet umbrellas allowed outdoors are treated little better, as the master must guard against the ancient tendency to flight by keeping a firm grip on the leg when walking their pet.

Further, it is shameful that wild umbrellas are poached and killed for their feet (valued in making canes and walking sticks). Wild umbrellas may soon become as endangered as the sea otter as their skin is highly valued in making water-repellant tents. But the greatest travesty occurs in China, where umbrella hatcheries do a brisk business selling millions of fledgling Parasolis’s to the U.S., where they are considered a delicacy and served in cocktail drinks.



December 12, 2011

Gift Card Fun

This was just so awesome, I had to share.

Target gift card with free Legos.

I was at Target and saw this in the toy section. (It is not by the front counter with all the other gift cards.) I threw it into my basket, wondering how much it was going to cost extra at the checkout. Turns out, the Legos are FREE with purchase of gift card. I asked the clerk if there was a minimum amount I needed to put on the card.

She gave the the accompanying eye roll for the, "Why do I get the customers with the dumb questions when they've got three people in line behind them," question. 

According to her, I can put whatever amount of money on the gift card I want.

*Evil maniacal laugh*

I plan to include it in my husband's Christmas stocking. He may be an adult, but I know he likes toys just as much as my young cousins and nephews. And since it's free, if he gets tired of it after the first ten minutes, I have no problem tossing the pieces like I do with Happy Meal toys. Then he can use the money on the card to buy something he wants more instead. (Probably peanut M&M's or a bag of mini Reeses candies.)

Folds into a small "book"