Sonya Philip's Shirt No. 1 Hack and More

 I recently purchased some gorgeous linen fabrics from the Doggie Bag sale on

It's an ongoing, ever-changing source, and you never know what you might find there. 1/2 yard remnants in interesting colors will make nice scarves; 1 yard cuts for a top; 1 1/2 to 2 yard cuts in textured linens for throws or lightweight blankets. I'm not even half way through my order, and I've already made the two coverlets/throws and one top. 

The throws were easy-peasy. I kept the selvedge edges as-is. Here is a lovely reversible linen in a gorgeous indigo/cobalt blue on one side and natural linen on the other.

The sewn edge is a simple hem ~ iron 1/4", fold over and iron again, then stitch. This is heavy weight, and perfect for so many things, like cozying up in a chair outside on a chilly evening, or cuddled into while watching TV, or placing at the end of a bed. 

The second throw is textured linen/cotton, medium weight in bleached white, ISO10Bleached. The cotton makes it extra soft. When you receive this fabric, it's flat and easy to sew. Once it's washed and dried it magically changes to this fluffy, pillowy texture. Again, I left the selvedges as-is. I cut the raw edges perfectly straight, zig-zag stitched about 1/2" away from the edge, and fringed it to match the selvage edge. I'll put this at the bottom of my bed just in case I need an extra layer as the weather begins to cool. 

For the top I modified 100 Acts of Sewing Shirt No. 1 pattern by Sonya Philip and used just one yard of Fabric-Store IL019 softened linen in Elephant. The color is absolute perfection for me, a gorgeous deep slate gray/blue. It'll go really well with my new pandemic silver hair! 

I decided to have a go at creating a portrait/funnel/cowl type neck on this pattern. There was a lot of guesstimating involved as I've never made nor do I have a top like this. Since I was working with linen with no ease or stretch, I knew the neck had to be wider than my head or I'd never get it on. I measured my head and figured out what the smallest opening should be, added seam allowance, and an extra inch to be on the safe side. I thought 7-8" tall would be ample. I made it 9" for seam allowance, figuring I could easily cut it down if I needed to. The tricky part was just where to start the curve on the shoulder up to the top of the funnel. I approximated at about the halfway point, and used a French curve ruler to make a nice transition curve from top to bottom. You can see my chicken scratch notes on the neck pattern.

I used French seams for the sides; and a simple hem for the bottom, arms, and neck. I liked the shirt on, but the neck opening at the shoulders seemed a tad too large, so I tacked the top edge of the neck at the seam onto the shoulder seam. I also made a small tack in the front top of the neck onto the front of the shirt. Now it sits just about right, laying with a soft, blossomy drape. Next time I will begin the neck about 1" further up the shoulder, making the bottom portion of the neck a little narrower. 

There is ample room in this top for a long-sleeved under layer when the weather starts getting chilly. It will be a great transition piece, and goes with just about everything I own. Next, I'll get to fringing up those scarves; and I still need to figure out just what to do with that houndstoothe-like fabric. Any suggestions are most welcomed!

Owl Stitchery

With all that's going on in life, this project was like a good book that I could pick up and get lost in, a mini-retreat if you will. It's been a little sad to call it done, but finished it is. I used materials I had on hand. The base of the owl is an old washcloth with a beautiful design that I'd saved from years ago. There are scraps, a block printing sample I made, and miscellaneous threads, some gifts of hand-dyed wool I had been treasuring. 

Here is the progress for my little whimsical owl stitchery. I started by making the owl face, and placed the face onto the washcloth. I took a photo and in my notes I sketched out different lines, colors, and ideas. 

The computer sketch is above and stitching below. 

The completed owl.

I put linen and my block printing sample into the embroidery hoop, and played with the positioning of the owl and branch. I used my notes on my ipad again to try out different embellishments that might look nice. I really enjoyed using my ipad for this, and am now using this method for some of my other artwork. 

The block print sample was stitched to the linen.

Here's a computer sketch of the branches to be stitched.

The grounding branch, blossoms and dainty branches were embroidered.

I needed to decide whether to leave it plain or add flowers, so I cut out a few flowers and arranged those in different ways. 

I loved the cheery flowers, and really, I wasn't ready to stop stitching yet, so I appliqued the flowers and leaves. 

And still not ready to put it down, I added various flora. 

A tiny bit of red was needed to pull in other art that would be nearby.

Once the stitching was complete, I hot glued the fabric to the embroidery hoop, then trimmed the excess off. 

I'm planning on creating a gallery up my staircase wall where my little owl will reside and watch over us with her sweet, inquisitive eyes as the years go by. 

Wire Shelving Makover

Trouble with space issues has sent the organizational part of my brain into overdrive. We do plan on some remodeling/additions eventually, so I don't want to spend too much money on temporary solutions, but being a Virgo I cannot abide living in chaotic mess. An awkward corner of stacked boxes and plastic storage bins was driving me nuts. I brought in a shelving unit that had been languishing in the garage filled with deflated soccer balls, old lacrosse sticks, and miscellaneous stuff that hasn't been used in years. Score! I love it when I can shop my own home, especially during a pandemic. Even more fortuitous is that this shelving was the perfect size to fit tidily into this corner, and had casters to roll easily out of the way if we wanted to fully access a seldom used door.

Now I appreciate the minimalist look, and wire shelving in the home can be done quite successfully, but it just wasn't cutting it in my art/sunroom. The wood trim and terracotta tiled floor begged for something warm and not the cold steel look. Plus I was still looking at plastic bins and clutter. I had previously ordered a large quantity of natural linen from (subscribe for their most awesome sales). I'm contemplating recovering an old sofa, and I knew there were lots of projects around the house that I could use this linen covering metal shelving.

Lowe's had a solid pine board the perfect size to fit on top of the shelves. I ordered that and a curtain rod online, and utilized their convenient, contact-less curbside pick up. 

I put screws on the bottom of the board; then wired the board to the shelving to help keep it in place. 

I then screwed the curtain rod to the front of the board. The hardware didn't fit exactly, so I'll be sure to gently move the curtains when I'm accessing the boxes. 

I sewed the front curtains from two rectangular pieces of cloth, using the selvedge as the hem for the bottom. I then used a third piece of linen and attached it with fabric tacks for a stationary covering on the side to completely enclose the shelves.

It's also nice to have an extra work station or flat space to put things. 

All in all I'm very happy with the outcome of this project, corralling the clutter and creating more useful space, while not spending too much time and money on it.