Sewing in a Small Space Part 1

Ironing Board Redo 1

(long post ahead)

I sew in a very small space.

To be frank with you, We live in a very small space. My husband and I bought this house with the intention of living a much simpler lifestyle. It was to be lived in by us during our retirement years. A place that would be easy to maintain, easy to close up so we could travel, easy on taxes and utilities.

Our house is a mobile home that had been repossessed or traded in. It was very used and we got it for a great price. We put it on our lot and started remodeling. There is all of 968 square feet for us and all of our stuff. There were three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an eat in kitchen with a utility area. This would probably have been enough for just the hubs and me. We planned to take one bedroom for my sewing room and the other for guest and extra storage.

You know what they say about the best laid planes. First on child moved home and then another. They never came back alone, they always brought more. For the last decade there has been someone living with us. We have one grandson that lives here during the school year and sometimes beyond and a granddaughter that lives here from time to time.

During all this moving in and out, we realized we needed a dinning room. There wasn’t enough room in the kitchen for a family to eat and enjoy themselves. I also needed more room in the kitchen for food storage and prep. We also found that the living area wasn’t in the right place. You had to walk through this area to get to any other room in the house. It was not conducive to good conversation or for watching TV.

To solve these problems we removed the wall between the living room and one of the bedrooms. Then we raised the ceiling to match the one in the living room. Now we have a living room at one end and a dinning room at the other.

In doing this, I no longer had a sewing room. My sewing and crafts have to share a space with the dinning room. I have been paring my supplies down. Only the best or most useful things get to stay. All the storage has to look good and function well. Everything has had to be thought out and redesigned. I am not by any means done and I am sure this processes will be on going.

I don’t have a large budget for this. Most everything has been reused, repaired, or recycled. We live on a fixed income so I have had to get creative. My whole remodeling, crafting, living theme these days has been “More Time than Money and not near enough Time”.

I knew I needed to use a cohesive color scheme over the whole area. I have chosen to use black and white. I also used these neutral colors in my kitchen. As with the kitchen, there are pops of blood-red. I bought some really nice canvas toile on sale from Hobby Lobby. I purchased about 6 yards at less than $5/yd.  I will be using it in several projects.

Toile 1

First up in this endeavor, my disgusting ironing board. My ironing board stays up most of the time. It needed to look good and be functional. Remember more time than money. I will not be showing the before picture. Everyone knows what an old worn out ironing board looks like. You know you do LOL.

I found a great tutorial at Sew4home. You can find it here. I used some of the toile and a nice deed red quilting cotton. For the new pad I used an old blanket. I tested the blanket by covering it with the fabric, using my iron on its highest setting with the most steam possible, then pressing and ironing over it to made sure it wouldn’t melt.

Ironing Board Pad 1

One of my pet peeves is having the ironing board padding bunch up and shift while I am trying to press out a large piece of fabric. Also I can’t stand when the board cover pops up and gets in the way. To solve these issues I had my husband sand down the metal surface and spray paint it with “Rust-oleum”. Then I sprayed it with adhesive before I laid down the new pad. I made sure the cover was deep enough and tight enough to go well under the top so it couldn’t pop up.

It turned out great. I have been using it for a few weeks now and it is wonderful. The only thing I would do different is instead of trying to turn up the fabric, I would use bias tape to form the casing for the elastic. I think that would have been easier because of the curves.

I will be showing my remodeling progress here over the next months. Maybe some of my ideas will work for you or you give me suggestions that could work for me. Feel free to comment and share.

2014-05-26 17.42.33

Completed Spring Outfit

JJ green halter yard 1 (2)As often happens, KCW comes but circumstances conspire to keep me from fully participating. I did get to sew at least an hour a day but couldn’t get pictures taken or write about it. I will be posting about what I did as I can.

As I mentioned in the last post I took Julianne’s FDOS dress apart and made this outfit. I also used some of the leftover fabric from the dress. Oh, and the plain green is new Tutti Frutti fabric.

The original dress was made using the Annette Reversible Sundress by Nanoo Children’s Designs . I purchased it on the “YouCanMakeThis” site. You can read more about it here.

The Sassy Shorts are blogged about here. They fit her very well. I was worried about using elastic that wide (1 inch) on a little girl’s shorts but she says they are very comfortable.

04-17-14 PE (2)

The top is the Ruffled Halter by Oliver and S. It is a very easy pattern. It took me two days to make because I wanted to do things my way. My OCD kicked in and I didn’t want to leave the ruffle edges unfinished. I tried to put a narrow hem on the ruffles but that made them too short. My trusty seam ripper and I got to work and took out the three hems. I knew the edges wouldn’t fry much because they were cut on the bias. But I had never left edges undone before. Well, I came up with a compromise and used one of the mostly unused decorative stitches that are on my sewing machine and sewed close to the edge. It looks pretty good. I guess you can teach an old less than young dog some new tricks. You can find a great tutorial for this top here.

04-17-14 PJ (2)


I really wanted to preserve this dress. I remember my First Day of School Dress my grandmother made me. It was light blue check with a removable reversible collar. The collar was white on one side and blue check on the other. It had a full gathered skirt and I loved it. My grandmother sewed it for me with love. She made me other pretty dresses when I was little but that dress was special. I hope my granddaughter will remember her dress with the same fondness fifty years from now.

04-17-14 PH (4)







When we finally got a warm enough day for pictures Julianne danced all around the yard.




04-17-14 B (2) 04-17-14 C (3) 04-17-14 D (2) 04-17-14 E (2) 04-17-14 F (2) 04-17-14 G (2) 04-17-14 H (2) 04-17-14 J (2)


Oh, to feel such freedom!

04-17-14 PC (2)









Welcome everyone from Small Fry Blogs. I am glad you found my little piece of the blog world. I have added Bloglovin as a way to follow me. Hope you like it.



Just a cute little honey drop ready for school. I made that for her last fall. She has already outgrown it. So it is now on its way to my grand-niece.

Bluebird goes to School

Honey Pot and Other Goodies

2014-03-12 18.19.35

This week was my week to receive goodies.2014-03-13 16.20.51

My daughter Kim sent me a honey pot. It is so cute. She thought it would go with my blog name. It was put out by Le Creuset. I love the golden-yellow color. I was so tickled when she gave it to me. Thank You, Kim.

Then the mail came and I received my new Oliver and S patterns. Oh happy day.

2014-03-12 18.21.53

Oliver and S is one of my favorite pattern companies. You really get your money’s worth with an Oliver and S. Not only do they come with multiple sizes but you also get a sewing lesson or two or three included.

Oliver and S rates their patterns by difficulty. The more scissors a pattern has the more difficult. All three of these are one scissor which makes them easy for a novice. The finished garment will make you look like a pro. They are so versatile you will use them over and over.

The last goody was a package of peanut butter Oreo cookies my sweat hubs brought me. They were sooo good dunked in my coffee. Ok, not good for you but such a guilty pleasure. (I didn’t get a picture before we devoured them, sorry.)

Tote Bag from Tutorial and Stashed Material

 Workbasket 1

First let me preface this post with this statement:

Sewing, crochet, and knitting can be expensive hobbies but they don’t have to be. With a little imagination and re-purposing you can make beautiful gifts and garments. You don’t have to spend your savings to enjoy your hobby. Bog land is jam-packed full of free patterns and tutorials for making whatever you can imagine. You can “harvest” many materials from your own closet or your local thrift store. I use re-purposed materials in a lot of what I make. Don’t let the lack of money keep you from being creative.

Jamie's Tote

This past Christmas was rough financially. If it weren’t for free tutorials and using what was already in my stash, Christmas would have been very lean. I will be posting some of what I made in the next few weeks. I will tell you where I got the information and what I used. I hope you enjoy this thread. If so leave a comment, please.

I wanted to make a bag for my youngest daughter. She loves bags of all kinds. She has a bazillion of them but is always looking for more. She never gets rid of any unless she thinks you might like it then she will give you the bag right off her shoulder .  That’s just the way she is. She still has one I gave her back when she was in high school nearly ten years ago. I would be willing to bet she doesn’t even know how many she has.

I chose to make the “Summer Madras Tote” by noodlehead. Anna is such a creative person and her blog post are an easy read. I went back into the archives and read every one. (I read blogs like they are good books. I can’t put them down until I have read every word.)

One of the reasons I chose to follow this tutorial was all the pictures of what others did with it. It’s a blank canvas or an empty wall and you get to decide what it will become. Your fabric stash is your paint box and you are the artist.

Anne makes the instructions very easy to follow. She gives plenty of clear pictures of all the steps. I was never left hanging wondering what to do next.

I’ve only made one other bag and I didn’t really like how it turned out. The instructions were not clear and I had a hard time figuring out how to put it together.

I will be buying patterns from “noodlehead” every chance I get because I know what she produces will be good. The “Road Trip Case” will be purchased this weekend to make one for my step-granddaughter’s birthday.

HONEYMADEIT - 100_0647

The tutorial call for ½ yd cuts of outer fabric, lining, and canvas (as an interfacing).

HONEYMADEIT - 100_0644

I used the lovely tulip print for the outer (doesn’t that just say spring?), an apple green check for the lining, and heavy interfacing for the interfacing. I also used apple green bias tape, a red and apple green plaid (Tutti Fruitti), and a red fabric left over from my kitchen curtains. I have had the tulip print in my stash for over ten years and the green check was picked up from a thrift store. I had everything on hand so I didn’t have to buy anything.

Everything was great except for the lining fabric. It was the worst fabric ever. It looked great until I washed it. I think 90% of it was sizing. I should have gone with something else but the color was too perfect. Pulling everything right side out through the lining seam wasn’t going to work and I was afraid the unfinished seams would fry over time. To prevent this I sealed the seams with “Stitch Witchery” and joined the outside and the lining wrong sides together at the top and finished it with bias tape. Worked great. I added the same bias tape to the straps so everything tied together.

I still have at least 5 yds of that check left. I see a lot of checked muslins in my future. OK, not everything you get at the thrift store is great. I get more good stuff than bad so I think I’ll keep going. Can’t resist the prospect of finding treasure.HONEYMADEIT - 20140126_174655Jamie really loved her gift.

New Computer

I had to get a new computer because the WI-FI on my old one died.

My daughter and her family will be moving to South Korea in March. They will be there for two years. I will need to be able to use Skype or some such communication software.

Choosing a new computer is hard. There are so many options to take into consideration. I knew I didn’t need it to be super fast because I don’t play games (who has time for that?). I don’t need a lot of storage. I can always put files on a thumb drive. I just needed a basic computer with a built in web cam. I got a good deal on this HP from Best Buy.

I can already tell I will be much more productive when I blog. Trying to only use the mobile app is a major pain.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my grand babies will be in a foreign country for two years and I will not be able to hold them and kiss their little faces. I am glad that they will all be together this time. It was so hard on my daughter the last time her husband was stationed in South Korea. Little M was under a year old and his father didn’t get to hold him for a whole year. When you are in the Army you go where they send you. Still I am not a happy camper.

Doesn’t that face make you want to kiss him all over?

2014-02-16 16.54.45

Little Mr. A