Friday, May 27, 2016

Enchanting Simplicity Skirt

Trying to learn something new has always been a way of life for me.  There are some projects that I am naturally drawn to, then there are others that take longer for me to get started.  Those that are put on a shelf are not forgotten, just in the processing mode.  When I do return to them, I will be consumed with understanding everything about them.  My brain never stops and research is my best friend!

Garment sewing is something I have been fascinated with since I was a child.  I loved all of the stunning clothing featured in old movies!  The elegant dresses, perfect cigarette pants ( I want some so much) and even the perfectly constructed everyday wear.  Edith Head is my idol!  If I could make anything that looked 1/100th as gorgeous as she did I would feel amazing!



When I was little, my grandmother sewed clothing. She had an old mechanical Singer that was black and it stayed in the living room in it's table.  When she wanted to make a new outfit, she would sometimes take me to the local fabric store with her.  I was completely content looking through the big books of Simplicity,  McCalls and Vogue patterns dreaming of all the clothing I could make! The notions wall was a place of delight with all of the rainbow of colors and little bits and pieces of useful hardware.  None of it made sense to me at the time but I was enchanted.

The month of May on Instagram has been #memeademay. A full month of thousands of lovely people sharing photos of clothing THEY made!  Seeing all of the garments that people have been sewing has been helpful to me.  It is like looking through the big books at the local fabric shop and being able to see how the patterns fit real people.  May has been my time to learn more about what I have wanted to learn for years!

For this skirt , I used a Simplicity pattern.  The fabric is an Alexander Henry print I have had in my stash for years and love to bits! I do not normally wear yellow but this one is an exception!



I modified the skirt to have pleats instead of having the gathered waistband. There is one in the front and two on the back.  I measured the fabric, quick pressed a center to each piece and figured out what size pleat was needed to make the pattern still fit.  I am really very happy with the result!  I also used the Colette technique for putting in a waistband with a zipper.  It always looks so finished!


Learning the tips and tricks of any craft is helpful.  When I was making the Colette Sorbetto blouse a couple of weeks ago I needed a better way to mark darts.  I turned to my online educator You Tube and found this very helpful video from Mallory and her Mom!





The best part is that this tip pretty much works for all marking!  It makes pocket hole marking a breeze!  Many of my Instagram friends told me they have been using this trick for years!



The excitement of learning something new is exhilarating!  I have learned enough to hopefully take the next step into more advanced garment construction.  Today I will be looking for new patterns to try and new techniques to master.  I am thinking of a classic shirt dress Carolina Herrera style ( a girl can dream, can't she)!

What are some of your favorite patterns that you can recommend?

Linking to Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WIP Wednesday Bonus Fun Aurifil Block!

The Splendid Sampler Block 28 by Charise Randall from Charise Creates was released this past Thursday.  It is an adorable paper pieced dress, spool of thread and needle with a very sweet story.

Before I started making the lovely vintage looking spool,  I knew that I had to change the spool to represent my favorite thread...

Aurifil :o)




I am an Aurifil girl through and through.  I use Aurifil on every project that I sew from piecing tiny blocks to constructing bags.  The 50wt ( the orange spool) is the finest thread available made from long staple Egyptian cotton and magically processed into a strong virtually lint free 2 ply thread.  This process, that takes place in the factory in Italy, creates a thread that makes perfect seams and flat blocks!  With the lack of lint from this thread, you machine will be happier!  You can find out more about Aurifil by visiting Aurifil.com :o)


To make the Aurispool was not a difficult change to make and it turned out absolutely perfect!



I drew little lines on my pattern to create this block but Charise,  being the FABULOUS designer that she is, offered to make a pattern so you will not have to guess and draw the lines yourself!  Thank you Charise! To get the BONUS pattern for the Aurifil Block visit The Splendid Sampler!


After making this block you will have the paper piecing bug!  It is addictive!  Visit Charise Creates website to see MORE of her wonderful patterns!





Charise also has some free patter like this Apple and Pear that is a PERFECT beginner paper piecing pattern!





Hope you have been joining in for all of The Splendid Sampler fun!  This FREE sew along organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson from Quilt Jane is a year long event with 100 ( did I mention FREE) quilt blocks!  The Blocks are released every Sunday and Thursday and have a beautiful detailed PDF for you to download.

This sew along has every style of quilting and handwork too!  It is a great skill builder series for anyone.





Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Motivation {orange}

Welcome back to Monday Motivation!  Today is the second day in the new week and the first day since the close of International Quilt Market in Salt Lake City!

Today it was time for me to get back to my sewing machine after a long weekend break!  I am starting off with The Splendid Sampler Block 29 Scrappy Happy Heart by Christa Watson from Christa Quilts.

The Splendid Sampler sew along was organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson of Quilt Jane.  This completely free sew along presents two blocks a week and includes a printable pdf for you to make each of these 100 beautiful blocks created by over 80 designers.



Also, starting this week is a new #bescrappy color !  It is, you guessed it...ORANGE!  Christa's block is super fast and paper pieced.  It took me longer to find orange stuff than it did to stitch up this block! My kids need more orange toys!  Make sure to join me ( gogokim) and Susan ( yardgrl60)  on instagram to check out the weekly color challenge to get through your scraps!

The block is 100% scrappy with a variety of oranges.  When I am out getting more orange toys, I need to get more orange fabrics too, I forget how much I love this cheerful color and I need more in my life!  I used Zen Chic Modern Backgrounds for Moda Fabrics and paper pieced using Aurifil 50wt thread.


If you want inspiration overload, go check out the #missingmarket hashtag on Instagram! Heather from The Sewing Loft and I had a blast this past weekend choosing with nine other fabulous designers and bloggers on Instagram having photo challenges and giveaways galore!

There were an amazing number of participants that shared lovely photos, heartfelt posts and I learned a ton.  The hosts were incredible and it was the best weekend I have had in a very long time!




For the last challenge by my friend Kim Lapeck from Persimon Dreams had a great photo challenge for #mylatestquiltmqm and I decided to make a collage of The Splendid Sampler color block shots from the past few weeks. I am getting more and more excited about finishing this quilt!



For more inspiration, humor, sewing, quilting and giveaway opportunities come hang out with me on:



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Missing Market

Twice a year beautiful images from International Quilt Market flood our social media.  It is much like the Quilting Industry's equivalent to Spring and Fall Fashion Week in NYC and Paris.  Every fabric house, sewing machine manufacturer,  designers of patterns and fabric and new and exciting products are presented in a massive convention center to shop owners for them to choose the best of the best to bring to you in your local shops!

This is a trade only event and closed to the general public.  Many have to miss Market but we can have fun in our own way!  An Instagram Party including giveaways!  No need to miss out on any sewing goodness, fabric awesomeness or designer stalking, we will create our own fun with an Instagram #missingmarket event!






Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft and Go-Go Kim have organized a fab Instagram Party to celebrate all of us that will be #missingmarket with surprise guest hosts every three hours that will be presenting you with a photo challenge, a tutorial and even a giveaway!  The hosts are all wonderful and are volunteering to have fun, guide you if you need help and are there to share in your photo challenge fun! 


The party will Start May 19  at 6 pm EST with an introductory round for you to say hello  and share #fivethingsaboutme!  

The event will start and end with the start and end of Market in Salt Lake City, UT 

All of the times are for Mountain Standard Time 
May 20   9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. 
May 21   9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
May 22:  9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Easy to follow along and participate 

gogokim  and @thesewingloft will announce the upcoming host just before the shift change for you to follow along and participate.

The wonderful host will post the challenge, then will post a photo of the rules and the prize that will be won!!!! Each host is responsible for their giveaways. Please contact them with any questions.

You are not required to do all of the challenges, just the ones that interest you, but you are encouraged to play along just because it can be exciting! 

Make sure you use the hashtag  #missingmarket so you can be found in the searches! We do not want to miss anything you are doing! 




This event is sponsored by our friends , Aurifil, Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics, who are at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City!  Please go and see what they are sharing on Instagram directly from the Market floor!  










Looking forward to having a party with you and making this #missingmarket weekend one to remember! 







Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WIP Wednesday



WIP Wednesday is here again!  Seems like it was just Saturday.  I seem to have endless WIP projects  :o)  This week Susan and I have been attacking our green scraps for the #bescrappy fun on Instagram.  Have you been playing along?  You can see more of my scrappy color block block by visiting my gogokim Instagram.





I decided to crack open my Farmer's Wife Sampler book that has been on my sewing table for months ( it is embarrassing how long) and I made block 14 for fun.  

In this block are a variety of greens and the background fabric is Zen Chic Modern Backgrounds for Moda Fabrics.  With such small pieces, I always use Aurifil 50wt.  The two ply 50wt ensures that your 1/4 seam IS a 1/4 inch!  Not all threads are created equal is 50wt is the weight of the raw material not of the standardized measurement of the final product. 50wt threads by different manufactures can be different in their thickness.  There is also two ply vs 3ply.  With Aurifil there you will have perfect seams and flatter seams every block! 





I have also been working on my Little Dresses For Africa!  It is a wonderful organization.  You can also make Britches for Boys and monthly pads for girls so they can go to school. Find out more about how you can help out using their free patterns by visiting their website.

I made this sweet Betty Ann pattern by Sis Boom!  You can find more of Jennfer's patterns by visiting here.  The pattern is a pdf.  I found the size I needed and printed up only those pages.  I used the directions from the pdf on my laptop to follow her very clear instructions :o)  Good pattern!  YAY!!!    It has a gathered from and simple elastic along the back for a good fit.  I used these beautiful Denyse Schmidt fabrics I had in my stash and Aurifil 40wt for construction.

I have so many more projects and I will have a BRAND NEW pattern to release with the next couple of days!  I am so super excited!

If you are using up your scraps be sure to add the #bescrappy and tag Susan and me so we can see your amazing projects!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tools and Tips for Easier DIY Painting!

Have a room you are looking to update with a fresh coat of paint but hate the thought of spending the time and money to have it done?  Welcome back to Monday Motivation!


When I decided a few weeks ago to paint, I starting mentally going through a checklist in my head of the things I would need to quickly paint the side entry to our home.  When I was painting a light bulb moment happened. I started to take note of what I was using and what I thought would be most useful to others to make their paining experience more enjoyable.  These are my tools and tips for easier DIY painting.



The first time I painted was in our starter home in La Mesa, California in 1995.  It was a wonderful 1206 sqft home that had stunning oak hardwood floors ( under the carpet and tiles that were GLUED to the hardwood).  Everything had to be painted both inside and out.

Luckily my father in law was a General Contractor and was on hand to give guidance in How To with many things.  There was no internet to search for how to do these things so with some guidance and a lot of elbow grease I became a painter.

The rooms in the starter home were painted at least two times each.  We went on to buy two other houses, one other in California and now the one we currently live in Virginia. I have put thousands of hours into painting.  Painting has become a Zen activity for me.  I even painted a room two days after giving birth to the last of the four children.  To say I love painting rooms may be an understatement.

 The side entry of our home painted a beautiful white. 
See how useful the mat is in this space.



Before you ever start painting, you will hear a million times, it is all in the prep work.  This is very true but the key is to know how to do prep work in a way that will not waste your time and money.

One very important thing to know is that the walls and trim you will painting is clean.  Paint does not not adhere to grease and dirt.  Also, If you paint over dust bunnies, they can go into your paint tray and they you will be saying so many adult words as you are trying to pic the fuzz off the wall you are painting. NOT FUN at all!

Here is my list of must have tools and how I use them for fast and fabulous painting every time!


Dry Dex Spackling and a Metal Putty Knife



This is one of the more frustrating parts of prep work for me.  To repair holes and then not know when they are dry.  Dry Dex goes on pink and turns white when it is dry.  I will never use anything else!

I have tried the plastic putty knives and honestly cannot stand them.  They do not make the surface as smooth as a metal one can.   These are easy to clean with a damp cloth and wipe dry.  I have had the same one for at least 10 years.




Flannel Fabric

Flannel fabric, the cheap kind you buy at Joann's on sale is one of the best things to have on hand for many things including painting.  Buy a yard when it is on sale or when you have a coupon.  Cut the fabric into manageable squares about 8x8 is what works best for me. These squares can be used for a few different things including cleaning the dust off the walls and trim prior to painting.

Wet flannel squares are amazing for the occasional drip of paint when you have an oopsie.  It happens and the best way to attack this is with an immediate swipe with a wet cloth. Keep a couple of damp cloths at your side constantly.




Soft Toothbrush




For hard to reach or super tight or ornate wood work, soft toothbrushes are the number one best way to make sure your surface is clean and ready for paint!



Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags, Sharpie Pen and Screwdrivers and Painters Tape ( I use Frog Tape)




This combo with be priceless when it comes time to take off outlet covers and switch plates!

With your sharpie, write the room name where you will be painting on the gallon sized Ziploc bag. The bags are a wonderful way to keep track of all of the switch plates and covers.  There is nothing more frustrating than working in more than one room ( waiting for one to dry and starting on another) and you misplace a plate or some screws by taking them off and leaving them scattered.



Not all plates and covers have the same type screw.   Go ahead and have both types of screwdrivers ready to go, so you will not waste time looking for one when you need it!

The painters tape is brilliant for saving the screws.  After you unscrew the screws and take the plate off, put the screws back into the holes and put a small piece of painters tape over the screw.  It will not be lost if it is taped in place.


Place all of the plates and the covers in the bag :o)

The gallon sized Ziploc bags are also amazing to use when you have a wet brush and have to stop to run an errand ( like picking the kids up from school).  Instead of washing out the brush, place it in the ziploc bag, removing as much air as possible and this will keep the brush wet for up to 24 hours.  I have not tried it for any longer.



An Empty Box 





An empty box is a great way to keep track of all of your stuff while you are painting.  put your screwdrivers, painters tape, ziploc bags with your outlet and light switch covers and any other thing you need for easy transport.

I am always very happy that I have everything in one place to save time when I need to find things quickly! I picked mine up for free at Costco when I did my shopping.



A Plastic Trash Bag



For the same reason as the Ziploc bag.  This one is for storing your roller and pan while you then have to take the kids to Tennis practice.  Place the whole lot in the bag and then twist the end and fold it under the pan.  Make sure to store this in a place that it will not be stepped in or knocked over.  This will also keep for up to 24 hours but I cannot recommend any length of time beyond 24 hours.



A Phillips Head and a Slotted or Straight Screwdriver






If you are unfamiliar with tools, the top one is the Phillips head and the bottom is the slotted or straight. I have had these two for years and they have never let me down.




You will need these to remove your light switch plates and outlet covers.  They are not always the same so make sure to have both on hand to be ready and not wasting time searching for a screwdriver.

If you do not have these screwdrivers, you can buy inexpensive ones at your local home improvement store.  These are a must have for many home improvement projects or DIY.



A Non Skid Floor Mat

This is one of my newly discovered favorite tools!  An inexpensive non skid mat is the perfect way to  keep your floors safe and your paint still!  I have one that is not fuzzy but more of a berber.  It is easy to move and if the paint were to spill, it would not seep through and ruin my flooring.



An Angled 1 1/2 in Paintbrush ( sash brush) for Latex, Acrylics and Water Based Wood Coatings




I have used many different sizes and styles of brushes and this one feels the best to use and makes cutting in and trim painting without have to tape first ( MAJOR timesaver) a breeze.  I have always bought the best brushes I can afford.  Super cheap brushes are usually not the best quality and will not hold the paint as well, will not have nice bristles making your paint job messier and the bristles will more likely fall out and end up in your paint job.  The last is the worst since you then have to take your fingers and try to pull the bristles off the wall.

If a fuzzy or a bristle happen to get into your beautiful painting, the easiest way to get it is to take one finger and swipe it with a good amount of pressure.  Do it as soon as you see it. If you do not, it can dry into the paint and then you have to pry it out and sand and re paint.  Have one of your damp flannel cloths ready to wipe your painted finger.

When you buy quality brushes, make sure to clean them properly after use, air dry them and store them in their original cover for years of use.

Purdy was the favorite of my father-in-law with good reason.  I still have some of his Purdy paint brushes from over 20 years ago!

If I cannot find Purdy, I will pick up a Wooster Brush.  I have had very good results with these brushes as well.



Whizz 6in Roller and Roller covers for Walls & Ceilings






Same with the brushes, after trying many styles, I have settled on this size and style.  It fits perfectly into my hand, is not too big or heavy.  This roller holds a good amount of paint for the size.  It does not spray or drip unless it is overloaded.


The not spraying feature is the most important to me.  I do not usually use drop cloths.  I do not like them because they collect bramble, they are not 100% safe especially when using ladders and they are so cumbersome.  I only use them if I have to or if I am on carpet that I love.

The Whizz brand has been consistently high in quality for years.  I recommend it highly.



Whizz Disposable Paint Tray

These trays are made to fit the different sized rollers.  They are inexpensive and when you are done with your painting, air dry them and dispose of them in your regular trash. You can also rinse them out and reuse them too ;)

*** if you are painting using oil based paints be aware that they are considered household hazardous waste and should not be disposed of in your regular trash***




Valspar Paint ( it is my paint of choice)





Everyone has a favorite and mine is Valspar which can be purchased at Lowe's.  The colors are fantastic and the quality is outstanding.  The newest in their paint lines is Valspar Reserve. It is slightly more expensive but it covers in one coat for lighter colors and two for darker colors without having to use a primer first.  The extra cost is worth not having to prime or do more painting.




Paint Can Opener





Do not ruin your screwdriver by opening paint cans!  This little inexpensive key is the perfect tool for opening and reopening your paint cans with ease!



A GREAT Attitude



Last but not least is a great attitude.  Painting the walls in your home is a wonderful way to update any room.  The ability to paint on your budget and in your time frame is worth its weight in gold.


I have many more rooms in my house to paint.  It is an open concept home with all the common areas having a touching wall. I have been waiting for the rains to stop and the warmer weather to appear to continue my paintfest!


I already painted the right side the Ultra White and the difference is amazing! 


Having the right tools for any job is a necessity whether the job is sewing, yard work, cooking or painting.  Knowing tools and tips for easier paining will help you make the job faster and easier!

What are your favorite painting tips!  I love to learn more to save time!

If you want more sewing, DIY and creative inspirations and always a bit of humor, please join me on:



























Sunday, May 15, 2016

Adventures in Garment Sewing Burda Style Princess Seam Pencil Skirt

I been bitten by the #memademade apparel sewing bug.  My GoGoKim Instagram feed has full of beautiful garments that people have been stitching and I just could not resist any longer!  Sewing clothing is a new way to use the skills I have learned from years of piecing and quilting and learn more skills that will help me to possibly overcome obstacles in seeing other projects.  The bonus to this challenge is clothing that are made custom to my shape and style.

I happened upon a fantastic apparel fabric at Joann Fabics that was a beautiful array of eye popping flowers!  There was only a little over a yard left but being the fabric junkie that I am,  I needed to have it even without a project in mind. I am sure you will agree with me that this was a must buy :o)



I remember that the Burda Style Princess Seam Pencil Skirt did not require much yardage and what better way to use this vintage looking fabric than in a classic pencil skirt?


Although I am different pattern sizes in my waist and hip area and will always need to make adjustments, this pattern is easily adjustable from the two side seams. This one needs to be taken in another 1/2 inch to make it fit like a glove.



Rather than pressing turning and stitching, I decided to try a Blind Stitch Hem.  I have never attempted to try this hem style but being an adventurous girl, I thought what the heck...I can always grab Jack ( the seam ripper) and rip it all out if need be.

Happily, Craftsy has a youtube video featuring Angela Wolf sharing how to make a blind hem stitch!



It took me a few tries on my Bernina 440 but I think I have gotten closer to understanding how it works.  I used the #5 foot and shortened my stitch width. I used Aurifil 50wt thread in 2600 to help hide my stitches.  It melts into quilts, so I figured it might also melt into hems.  I am still figuring out the perfect combination and have a long way to go before I will be completely comfortable with this technique.


Instead of choosing a boring zipper, I thought a POP of color would be fun for this skirt.  This zipper was the exact color of the flowers  so I was certain it was meant to be.


The Burda Princess Seam Pencil Skirt will be made many times more now that I understand how to quickly sew it together.  I will be practicing the Blind Stitch Hem on some scrap pieces and am looking forward to using it in hemming pants too!
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