Works in Progress

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I thought it would be nice to take a little break from clamming and show you what I’m working on.  Once, I asked my husband to make me only work on one project at a time.  He is a wise man, and did not attempt to do this.  Seems like having multiple projects happening all at once is the way my creativity works best.  At least that way, if I’m procrastinating on one project, I can move ahead with another.

As I mentioned previously, I’m working on sewing something I said I would never sew:  a bathing suit.  This is one of the projects I am procrastinating on.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Cutting out the bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

The bathing suit so far

 

In case you are interested, here is the pattern that I’m using.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

So far, it’s going ok, thanks to numerous blog posts around the web, but I keep avoiding it because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up.  That’s pretty silly, though.  I mean, really.  If I could master bathing suits, I would probably be tapping into one of the few areas of home sewing that’s actually still cost-effective.  It would be SO GREAT…so I’ve got to get moving.  You can all hold me accountable to actually finish it.  Plus, I need a bathing suit that fits.

One of the projects I am using to procrastinate on my bathing suit is this shirt, made with a pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin (one of my all-time favorite sewing books).  This is the sleeveless t-shirt top.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopSo, this was meant to be a quick project.  I need a few of those to motivate me through the long projects.  The book I got this from is all about hand-sewing, which is really fun, but when I need a quick project, I cheat and machine-sew one of the garments.  They come together really fast and all the patterns that I have tried have been flattering at various sizes.  This one is made from a bed-sheet and an old t-shirt.  (Incidentally, the bed sheet is partly made from recycled plastic bottles AND I got it at a thrift store, so it’s like it’s been recycled multiple times!)  But…

I decided it needed some details, so I added the contrast binding and then tried to add some crochet trim.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopAbove is the marking I made for the trim, but the trim was too white, so I dyed it in black tea.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Above is the original white, and the tea-dyed piece, but now the white still seems too white and the tea-dyed piece looks…dirty.  See what you think:

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Not to fear, though!  I decided to procrastinate on the t-shirt with this!

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressThis garment is the Long Fitted Dress, also from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  This was the quick project that was to save me from the avoidance of the other two.  But then I faced a few decisions.  What color binding to add?  Contrast like the t-shirt or the same fabric?  How about keeping the binding the same as the dress and adding some crochet details to this garment?  (I’m starting to sense a trend in both crocheted details and decision-making leading to procrastination.)

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressMaybe something like this?  (The trim on the bottom would actually be on the back side.  There is a small train on the dress–similar to a high-low hem but, being a maxi dress length, it’s more like a small train.)

I was trying to actually make a decision, but it was tricky.  I tried the dress on to see how it looked and realized that the fabric is pretty thin and, rather than skimming curves, it reveals the curves and lines that you usually want fabric to skim over.  So now I’m procrastinating on this project, too.

But I did get something done today!  I have a very weedy garden, but I actually weeded a small part of it.  Want to see?  Yes, you do!  (Because if you stop reading now, I can’t tell, so I’m just going to assume you are still going strong.)

Works in Progress: Garden

Before…

Works in Progress: Garden

After!

I also made a little sign with paint pens on some bits of slate to mark our morning glories and moon flowers.  I’m hoping they take over the deck rails.

Works in Progress: Garden

Lastly, check out my leeks.  They flower every year and look so cool.  They also attract all kinds of very waspy looking insects, so I admire them from afar or in the evening, just to be safe.

Works in Progress: Garden

What are you procrastinating on?

Try It: Learn about Clamming

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Two summers ago, I got my first recreational clamming license.  I really wanted to learn to forage, but I was nervous about teaching myself.  I also felt like I needed a little guidance if I wanted to learn to fish, but I thought I might be able to learn to clam.  Why clamming?  Well, this part of New England is pretty big on clams, so it seemed like a good way to learn more about the place I now call home, and I thought it would be fun.  Why not?

The only problem was, I didn’t actually know any clammers, despite the fact that it’s a big industry around here.  (We even have a Shellfish Constable.  Isn’t that the coolest?)  So, I turned to books and the internet.  Just in case you share the same interest (You were probably hoping I would post on this, right?), I thought I would point you toward the resources I used to get started.

First up:  The Compleat Clammer by Christopher R. Reaske.

The Compleat Clammer

This book is an interesting read on more than just clams (as you can see from the book cover).  It tells you about clams and other shellfish, where and how to find them and how to “catch” them (it’s not like they really run away, but they do dig), and how to prepare them for eating afterward.  It also has an interesting trivia section.  Here are a few pictures from the book:

The Compleat Clammer

The Compleat Clammer

The Compleat Clammer

This was a great book for learning about the different tools I would need both for clamming and in the kitchen.  It was also really interesting.

Next up:  Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them by Curtis J. Badger.  While The Compleat Clammer is written by a New Englander, Clams is written by a Virginian.  It was great to get a bit of a look at clamming in another part of the country.  While much of the information in the two books overlaps, every region has slight differences, so I say, read widely and learn as much as you can!

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

Clams gives good strategies for those with and without a boat as well as interesting history and lots of good recipes.

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

Clams:  How to Find, Catch and Cook Them

I also spent time on Google and YouTube looking for clamming and cooking videos.  One of the most helpful, was this one on “How to Open Clams” by Rich Vellante of Legal Seafoods.

I also had to learn about tides and how they worked (Google it!) and read the town’s shellfish laws.  No illegal clamming for me!  It was a fun learning experience, but the part I love the most is being outside, knowing the beach and ocean better, and being able to bring home treasures for my family that we can actually eat!  It’s so cool!

If you have the chance, I hope you try it.  And don’t worry!  More information on clamming will follow.  I’m sure you were worried, but you don’t have to be any more.  ;)

Happy Independence Day!

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Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S!  When I was growing up, my Mom always made us wear red, white, and blue for July 4.  We’re all decked out in red, white, and blue at our house today.  Here’s an up-close shot of my patriotic garb:

Independence Day!

Shorts: J.Crew; Shirt: Diesel–thrifted (yes!)

We’re also getting into the spirit with our food.  We tried this recipe and came up with these chocolate covered pretzels.  I think I would use white chocolate as my main chocolate if I did this again, but nevertheless, they are good and easy to make.

Indpendence Day!

I think we also need some late strawberries.  Aren’t these gorgeous?

Independence Day!

If you plan on relaxing at all this weekend, here’s some reading for you:

  • Have you ever looked at Susan Branch’s cookbooks?  A friend just recommended her work, so I’m looking at The Summer Book, which is filled with recipes, gardening tips, and more all illustrated with colorful watercolor paintings.
  • A walk in the woods is always more fun with a foraging book in hand.  The best I’ve found are by Samuel Thayer, who wrote The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden.
  • Want a fast-paced and interesting adventure book?  Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson may be aimed at a middle reader/young adult audience, but it’s good enough that even older readers will enjoy it.
  • Finally, if you’ve ever dreamed of two of your heroes joining forces, you’ll know how I felt when I heard about Craft South and Fashion by HandAnna Maria Horner + Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin teaching a workshop together?  Sounds like creative heaven.  If you go, report back!

 

Have a great weekend!

Of Clams and Chowder

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Foraging, clamming, cooking, New England food, summer.  All of these things can go into a good pot of Massachusetts clam chowder.  You can buy a great bowl of chowder at a lot of places (my favorite is Ipswich Clambake, also my favorite spot for a lobster roll), but have you ever made your own?

Yes?  No?  Maybe so?

I think it’s time to talk chowder.

Chowder Time (Pattern and Branch)

 

When I first decided to make my own, I looked online to see if Ipswich Clambake had ever published a recipe, and…no luck.  What I did find was a recipe from Periwinkles in Essex, Massachusetts.  I tried it, and it was love.  This recipe is my ideal New England Clam Chowder:  white, thick, creamy, with chunky potatoes and clams.  Yum.  I’ll reprint it below with my very minimal changes.  I admit to trying to lighten it up very slightly, but only very slightly.

Ingredients:

3 celery ribs, chopped (makes about 1 ½ cups)

1 white onion, diced (makes about 1 ½ cups)

1 ½ cups of unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)

2 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½” cubes

2 cups fresh chopped sea clams

2 cups of clam juice

1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon chicken base

1 cup white flour, unbleached

1 qt. heavy cream (I removed the heavy cream and increased the half & half below from 1 quart to 2 quarts. This lightens it a little bit without sacrificing taste or texture.)

1 2 qt. half & half cream

Directions

1. Cut each celery rib lengthwise into five pieces, then cut pieces cross-wise into medium size pieces.

2. Cut ends off the onion and mince.

3. Add butter, onion and celery to sauté pan and sauté over medium heat until onions and celery are translucent and soft, about six minutes.

4. Peel and dice potatoes into ½ inch pieces.

5. Add clams, clam juice and potatoes and all seasonings (white pepper, chicken base, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt) into large saucepan and heat until potatoes are softened but still whole.

6. Add flour to onions and celery in sauté pan and mix into a roux over medium heat for about three to four minutes.

7. When potatoes are softened add roux mixture to pan with clams and potatoes and mix over medium heat to make the clam base.

8. Add cream and half & half to clam base. Over low heat mix and stir until well blended and near boiling. Be sure to break down all of the base/flour mixture into the liquids.

9. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Thomas Rafferty, Periwinkles Catering and Periwinkles Restaurant of Essex, 2009. – See more at: http://cook123.com/recipes/periwinkles-clam-chowder.html#sthash.36IKOknz.dpuf

 

Even though I tend to think of chowder as a winter comfort food, I usually do my fair-weather clamming in the summer.  I must not be the only one thinking about clams in the summer because many a town around here hosts a chowder fest in the warmer months.  In a future post, I’ll share a bit about clamming and some resources for you in case you decide to give it a try.  Buon Appetito!

 

 

Summer Fun

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Hi, friends!  Happy Summer Solstice and first official day of summer!  This has been the first week we’ve consistently had 70-degree or higher temperatures and it has been a gorgeous week.

Summer Fun (Pattern and Branch)

The advent of summer and the end of school has gotten me thinking about vacation activities.  I saw a toddler summer bucket list on Pinterest, so I made one for us, too.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Tube down a river.  (Maybe we’ll try tubing the Saco River in Conway, NH.)
  • Visit Castle Island in Boston.
  • Try out the Swan Boats and Frog Pond in Boston.
  • Visit a swimming pond.
  • Go to the beach!
  • Try one new beach.
  • Go to Women’s Surf Camp (that one’s just for me).
  • Teach the neighborhood kids to play kickball.
  • Teach the neighborhood kids how to do the big jump rope.
  • Go to a wading pool.
  • Made popsicles, frozen yogurt, and gelato.
  • Do art!  Paint driftwood, make a mini art gallery, sew.
  • Try one new park.
  • Have playdates.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Pick some fruit.
  • Go clamming!

Summer Fun (Pattern and Branch)

We may not do all of these, but now we have some fun ideas to try together throughout the summer.  I’m pretty excited.  What about you?  Any summer plans or fun ideas?

 

Before we say good-bye, here’s a little weekend reading for you.

  •  I just checked out the book First Prize Pies by Allison Kave and it looks DELICIOUS!  I definitely recommend that you look through it.
  • Check out these super cool Euro bikes.  They’re like the mini-van of bikes.  You could haul so much with one of these…
  • Have you ever read any of the books in the Singer Sewing Reference Library series?  I have two of them and currently have another checked out from the library.  They are an excellent and very helpful resource.
  • If you’ve ever thought of stenciling fabric, Alabama Chanin provides the ability to download their stencil designs for free, so you can make your own versions.  If you have more money than time, you can buy premade stencils.

Have a great weekend!

New Pajama Shorts and Weekend Reading

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I just finished a project!  Woo hoo!  That always feels like a big deal since I often (pretty much always) have to work on creative things in small chunks.  The latest creation is a pair of pajama shorts featuring this fabric.  Check it out:

Pajama Shorts (McCall's 6848) by Pattern and Branch

 

I wrote a review of the pattern on the Pattern Review website.  I’m also publishing it here in case you plan on trying this pattern for yourself.

Pattern Description: “Misses’ Tops, Romper, Shorts and Eye Mask: Top A is fitted. Semi-fitted romper B and top C have self bias binding. B: Loose-fitting through hips, pocket, elastic with purchased ribbon tie ends. A, C: Pullover. Shorts D, E (below waist) have elastic waist. A, B, C, D: Narrow hem. E: Ruffles. Eye mask F has elasticized casing.” I made shorts (D) without a ruffle. That is what this review covers.

Pattern Sizing: Multi-size pattern with Large, Extra-large, and Extra-extra-large. I made size Large for the shorts.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked that it came together quickly without a lot of pattern pieces. I think the back crotch length could have been a little longer, at least for me. I’m hoping the backside doesn’t creep down when I sit or bend down.

Fabric Used: cotton wax print

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew it again (I may try a crepe de Chine or something silky next time.) and I think it would be a good project for others to try. I would also like to try the shirts, but maybe in a knit, even though this pattern is meant for woven fabrics.

Conclusion: This was a good and easy pattern. I’m happy to have a pair of pajama shorts that are cool and comfortable.

And, just in case you want to take a closer look at the pattern envelope and the shorts…

Pajama Shorts (McCall's 6848) by Pattern and Branch

Pajama Shorts (McCall's 6848) by Pattern and Branch

Pajama Shorts (McCall's 6848) by Pattern and Branch

One thing I had thought of doing, inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest, was to add some mini-ball trim to the leg openings.  The only time I have worked with that trim was when I helped a friend make a scarf.  I should really say ‘attempted to help’.  We could not get that stuff sewn on right because it’s just so narrow.  I finally got to the point with these shorts where I needed to finish them and be done or they would join the world of never-finished sewing projects.  Anyone have any experience with sewing mini ball trim?  I’m sure there’s a tutorial somewhere on the internet…

I like how these turned out.  Maybe (maybe) if I make them again, I would try to lengthen the back crotch measurement to avoid good ol’ “plumber’s butt”, but we’ll see.  I’m excited to make something else with this fabric.  Maybe a top?  I’ve been pinning plenty of clothing with wax prints to give me ideas.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads of the world.

 

Here’s a little weekend reading if you get the time.  I love it when The Coletterie sends out weekend reading links, so I’m using their idea out of pure admiration.

  • My Mom sent me this article:  Why the World Needs the Makers to Say No Boldly.  It (and the article it was based on) gave me a lot to think about.  I think I now understand why my mental project list is 100 miles long, but I only ever finish one or two of the things on it.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  I’m still thinking it over.
  • I’ve been reading through Kadiddlehopper’s SwimAlong 2013 posts.  I’m thinking of taking the plunge… (ha ha ha)
  • I’ve also been contemplating becoming a late joiner in the slip sew-along on Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.  New territory in sewing for me, that’s for sure!
  • And if you NEED to build your body into a surfer body, Men’s Fitness has got you covered.  I was worried that, being a woman, this might not work out so well for me, but I’m getting there.  I may never again surf (I’ve gone a whopping two times), but you have to dream–even if your dream is just to get really strong and have good balance (and yes, I did watch too many surfing movies this winter).

Happy weekend, everyone!

A Weekend Project and a Weekend Recipe

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It’s time to take a break from sewing (and reading about and thinking about sewing, which I often do more than any actual sewing) and do a necessary project.  Here’s what’s on my weekend to-do list:

Weekend Project (Pattern and Branch)

Weekend Project (Pattern and Branch)

These guys need a little TLC.  Chair #1 is from a couple of Brimfields ago.  Sad, but true.  The green one I got at a local flea market and redid, but since it’s been sitting on our deck for a few years, it’s started to develop new rust spots.  I’m hoping to find a cool color of spray paint to give these guys some new life.

Secondly, I have a recipe (sadly undocumented in photos) that I developed just for you.  I made it up for a picnic we went to last month, and it went over well.  If you need a good picnic dinner, give this a try.

Sunny Day Picnic Salad

makes about 13(ish) servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound of rotisserie chicken, deboned (or chicken of your choice)
  • 6 ears of corn, cooked, corn cut off the cob (or about 4 cups of corn kernels, cooked)
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced crosswise
  • 3 packages of Ramen noodles without the seasoning, cooked and cut up with scissors until the noodles seem like a manageable size
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated or processed in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Instructions

This salad is easy to put together little by little over time.  So, feel free to do the steps in a different order or do a step and put the salad in the refrigerator until you have time to do another step.

  1. Boil your potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, and put into a large bowl.  You’ll use this bowl to mix and store the salad, so make sure it’s a pretty big one.
  2. Coat a medium skillet (cast iron works great, but isn’t essential) with cooking spray and cook the garlic and onions over medium/medium-high heat until they are softened, adding more cooking spray as necessary.  Cook for less time if you like them barely softened and longer if you like them really soft.  I opted for really soft, and let them cook while I did other prep.  Stir occasionally.  When they are finished, add them to the bowl with the potatoes.
  3. Add in all of your other ingredients and stir, stir, stir until it’s all mixed up.  Don’t forget to do a taste test of see if the seasonings seem right to you.
  4. Enjoy!

Everyone I served this to really liked it and went back for seconds.  I should have picked an actual serving size–one cup would have been good.  So, the number servings may be slightly off.  If you try it and get an exact number of servings, I would love to hear about it.

I hope you have a great weekend.  The weather looks to be good here.  I’m thinking up some fun projects and excursions for the summer, so stay tuned!

 

Photos from the Month of May

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Guess what?  I think spring has finally come to my part of New England!  It’s hard to believe, but I think it’s actually true.  And now that we have weather in the 60′s, everyone is hoping for temperatures in the 70′s.  Contentment is elusive…

I’ve gotten a few chances to shoot some pictures this month, and I thought you might like to see what I’ve been up to from a photography standpoint.

First, some flowers…

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

I just love dandelions…and no one minds if you pick a whole bunch of them!

 

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

 

Now for some really cute and fuzzy goslings.  You know they’re just going to poop all over creation, but they’re still so adorable when they’re babies.

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

 

My Dad came for a visit and we went out to a nearby beach to take pictures together.  I’ve been wanting to do that with him for a few years now, and it was really fun.

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

These are from a trip to an old quarry turned State Park.

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

Photos from the Month of May (Pattern and Branch)

I hope you’re having a good spring and getting in time for creative endeavors, whatever they may be.  Just remember to use your powers for good and not for evil.  ;)

Field Trip: BRIMFIELD!

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I have LOTS of pictures to share with you today.  I’m very excited.   After being sick last week, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t recover in time, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was fully healthy and ready to go on one of my favorite yearly pilgrimages (with my favorite antiquing buddy) to Brimfield, Massachusetts and the largest outdoor antique show in the US.

I need to hold myself back a little so I don’t write and write for pages on how much I love going to Brimfield, so I’ll try to keep to a few points.  (I have an entire notebook dedicated to Brimfield where I make notes on favorite fields, collect sellers’ cards, and note where to park and what to wear, etc., etc.)  Here are the basic details:  The show is three times a year (May, July, and September) from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  People come from all over the US and even other countries to find antiques, treasures, and “upcycled” goods made from odds and ends.  If you’re looking for something in that realm, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it at Brimfield.  The Brimfield Antique Show is made up of numerous fields on either side of a one mile stretch of road.  Each field has scores of dealers.  Some fields are open every day of the show and some are only open on certain days.  You can walk all day long and, depending on your pace, still not see everything.  My record is 12 hours of walking (with breaks–let’s be realistic–walking all day allows you to eat like a Hobbit).  Friday we covered about 9 miles and walked about 10 hours.  We saw almost everything (if that’s even really possible).

Enough talking, though.  Let’s see some pictures.  One of my goals this year was to take ‘lots of pictures, so here’s your photo tour of the May 2014 Brimfield Show.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

If you’re looking to outfit your sweet loft with large-scale coolness, look no further.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Along with vintage goods, we came across the work of some seriously creative and fabulous craftsmen.

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Everyone needs a pink hair dryer for a rainy day, right? (Plus, check out the cool coral necklace I scored for only $10! One of the other dealers told me it was worth $150.)

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Can you imagine the time and skill it takes to carve something like this?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

There’s plenty to decorate the outside of your place as well as the inside.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

Brimfield’s not all about the shopping…it’s also an education.

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

 

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

And my biggest purchase at Brimfield…….?????

The motorcycle jacket of course!  Did you think I got a motorcycle?

At Brimfield Antique Show with Pattern and Branch

My friend Jo-Alice and I took a well-earned trip to Cracker Barrel after “hiking” through the wild and rainy antique fields of western MA all day.

My total haul for the day included the coral necklace you saw, a three-strand aurora borealis crystal necklace (Also $10.  Yes!), a large and healthy rosemary plant, a test tube rack and some test tubes to use as vases, my awesome motorcycle jacket (which I am wearing as I write this), and a secret stocking stuffer for my husband.  It may have been the best Brimfield yet.  Good company, good weather even with the rain, great finds, and lots of good pictures.  All in all a great trip.

Have you ever been to Brimfield?  Do you plan to go?  Have any tips to share with others or questions to ask?  I’ll do my best to answer!

Cross-back Shirt (McCall’s M6751)

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If you read the last post, you may remember that I mentioned sometimes sort of running over sewing projects with my sewing machine…  Well, today’s project is proof of that.  It’s nice on blogs that you get to edit yourself or clean up your sewing table before shooting pictures, but we need the whole story sometimes, too, and the real truth is that often it’s more important to me to finish a project than to get it perfect.  I’m happy with how this project turned out, but I did have to fudge it a bit.

I made this shirt with McCall’s pattern M6751, view A.

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

Fabric: Daisy Chain by Amy Butler for Rowan

Here’s a back view:

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

I’m happy with how this turned out.  That’s not to say it turned out the way I expected, but while making it, I discovered a treasure I didn’t know I possessed, and it changed the direction I took with the pattern.  I think I mentioned once that my parents gave me a Singer Featherweight for Christmas one year.  They found it at a barn sale and had it serviced, and then gave it to me.  I was kind of scared of it at first, but as I read about it and started using it, I began to realize that it wasn’t scary–it was a workhorse, and it could probably survive any mistakes I might make on it.  It came with a box of various feet that, to my eye, look like miniature farming implements.  Check out the one that I discovered to help me with this project:

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

It’s a binding foot.  I had never heard of this before.  Luckily, I have the manual for the machine, so it told me how to use the foot.  It can attach binding (and more!) to the edge of fabric in one fell swoop.  I looked up a tutorial on YouTube to make sure I had the right idea, and gave it a try.  My first try came out a little…rough.  I decided not to aim for perfection, but to try to get the hang of it.  I ripped out my first attempt, and the second went much better.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was usable.  I marked the points where the binding hadn’t really attached, and hand-sewed it on.

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

Binding foot for Singer Featherweight (Pattern and Branch)

 

So, it was finished, and I took the pictures you saw up top.  It lays a little funky, but that may be because I trimmed the seam allowance off since I wasn’t folding it under with the binding like the instructions tell you to.  Then I discovered more places where the binding didn’t attach, so it was time to just zigzag the heck out of the thing.

McCall's M6751 by Pattern and Branch

After a good ironing, it was fine.  Not perfect, but a good finished project and new knowledge gained.  The bound edge brings to mind vintage aprons I’ve seen at antique markets.  Now I know how they did it.  :)

For those with sharp eyes and a good memory, you may recognize the fabric from the sleeves of my dress in the last post.

I’ve submitted this as my first review at Pattern Review.  You can find it here.