Welcome to my Crafty Blog!

an overjoyed sam at the statue of a giant thimble and buttons in toronto

I'm Samantha (Sam), a mechanical engineer, seamstress, crafter, & entrepreneur. Enjoy perusing photos of my sewing and craft-related adventures. I hope my blog brings inspiration and happiness to your day!

Tutorials & Free Projects

Tiny Thread Spool Pushpins Tutorial X-Stitch Throw Pillow Tutorial
Starburst Wrapper Bracelet Tutorial Vintage Hassock Reupholstery DIY
Safety Eye Installation Tutorial for Plush a guide to sewing in your dorm room
Sewing Basket Essentials for Beginners a gift guide for the seamstress who has everything

popular posts

Handmade Wool Alpaca Plush Tiny Handmade Plush Cactus
Annual Ladies' Board Rummage Sale orange sewing machine from germany
Marietta Big Chicken custom plush tiny narwhal graduation gift

Archives

Categories

sponsored: my favorite tools

handmade tee: black knit with flowered placket

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

Time to share another me-made! It’s another simple tee, actually shares the same guts as my favorite handmade blue bird shirt: 2-piece pattern, just a front and a back, no pesky sleeves. For this one I added a colorful flowered placket detail for contrast, and I thought I’d walk you through how I did it.

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

I started by cutting out the tee and constructing the placket separately. A typical placket has extra fabric sewn behind it to finish the raw edges of the slit, but I cheated. I constructed my placket with two pieces of fabric rather than one, and the seam down the center (and its generous seam allowance) allowed me to finish those edges without adding more fabric.

I sewed my two rectangles together until about halfway up, then used the rest of that unsewn area to make the slit, hemming it into the Vee shape you see above.

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

Flipped, pressed, ready to go!

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

I then placed the placket on the shirt front, lining up the bottom edge where I wanted it to end up. I flipped the placket to sew it right-to-right along the placket’s bottom seam: that way, when I flip the placket to the right side, everything is in the right place and one set of raw edges is taken care of.

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

After stitching that seam, I pressed the raw edges of the right and left sides of the placket under, then turned everything to the right side. This photo was taken right before topstitching the sides in place.

After top stitching, the placket was securely attached and I finished up by trimming away the black shirt fabric behind it. I did a few hand stitches to make the corners extra secure, and then continued with the shirt as normal. I finished the neckline of the shirt with a strip of black binding, and that finished the last raw edge of the placket.

The final special touch on this shirt is the sleeves: I bound the end of each sleeve with a strip of fabric to match the placket and tie it all together. That might be my favorite part!

handmade tee - black with flowered placket

My mom took these modeled shots on our family trip to Barcelona: here I am at Parc Guell, one of my favorite places in the whole world. The mosaic benches are just amazing… every time I look at my pictures I become ever more determined to tile my kitchen backsplash using broken plates. How awesome would that be?!

Sewing Room Tour: 2018 Edition

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

Welcome to my new sewing room! It’s my favorite room in the house: this is where the magic happens. Out of all the rooms, this one has taken the most tweaking to get it just how I like it. It’s a never-ending process, but I love where it’s at right now so it’s time for a tour!

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

First of all, this room is huge and bright. There are two windows, and I added four recessed, dimmable LEDs in the ceiling so I’m never lacking for light. I painted the walls gray, like I’ve always dreamed, and I’ll never fall out of love with that original hardwood.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

When you enter the room, the far wall holds my two main machines: regular Juki (she’s new! and i love her!) and my Babylock serger (also very loved). The dresser in between holds supplies: quilting rulers, needles and pins, screwdrivers and spare parts. The small wooden drawers on top hold the easy-access notions: scissors, snips, chalk/pens, seam rippers.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

I found this ironing board the week after I moved in: it was propped against my neighbor’s trashcan, waiting for its trip to the landfill. I couldn’t resist the color, so it came home with me, I removed the legs, and now it’s my magnet + peg board.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

The Juki came with its own table, so I shortened this desk by chopping a few inches off the legs to make it an ideal sewing height. The desk was a steal at a recent estate sale: I found it in the corner of a shed, and the top was all dusty, so they let me have it for $20. Its two drawers are perfect for holding the Juki manual, presser feet, and extra bobbins, and the best part is that the drawers are just small enough that I’m not tempted to clutter them up with less related things.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

I try to keep this little table near the entryway clear for sewing lessons – if someone brings her own machine, that’s where we set it up. The rolling cart underneath holds my plywood sheets for laser cutting, and it’s easy to roll out of the way when I need that space.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

The cutting table lives in the center of the room, and I finally live in a space big enough for the table to hold both leaves. It’s sheer luxury to have a table this big and flat and ready for whatever I throw at it. I have two rolling drawer units underneath: one holds all of my “neutral” fabrics: white/black/gray cottons, knits, or linings ready to accent whatever I’m making. The other holds larger cuts and my trusty paper cutter lives on top, ready to roll into action.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

The white shoe divider is dedicated to fabrics with an intended purpose: the “on-deck” shelf. The bookcase holds my trims, buttons, and, currently… the fabrics I haven’t managed to put away elsewhere. I just got most of those blue-handled bins for Christmas and it was so satisfying to finally sort all the zippers, bias tapes, and cording into their own bins.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

This vintage drawer thing holds my buttons, sorted by color, and other handy supplies like q-tips, popsicle sticks, small glues, baker’s twine. Another estate sale find from a while back, it wasn’t super dirty when I got it, but I ran the drawers through the dishwasher and they came out sparkling.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

I mounted an over-the-door ironing board to the wall to save space. That was another big deal for me – not only do I get two leaves in my cutting table, but I get a full-sized ironing board! That’s the closet door, and to the far left is the door back out to the rest of the house.

Fluffyland Sewing Room Tour: 2018

Here’s my closet: another splurge in clear, clip-top bins. It feels amazing. My fabric has never been so organized, and the half-height bins mean a lot less digging is required. All the fluff – foam and polyfil – lives on the top shelf.

And that’s my sewing room! It’s certainly not always this clean, but so far I’ve been making a good effort to keep it organized. It’s a wonderful place to sew, craft, and teach. Thanks for coming on the tour with me!

a flag of independency

a flag of independency

This post is quite the throwback for me. Hello old apartment! Hello old sewing machine! It’s good to see you again.

A common question I get from visitors to my sewing room is: what is the meaning of INDEPENDENCY?

a flag of independency

The story begins, as you might expect, with little Sam finding her independence. I had lived with my parents for a year after starting my full-time job, and I had saved up a good chunk of money: it was time to find my own place. I did some Craigslist research and began apartment hunting.

a flag of independency

One of the places I visited was a condo belonging to a woman in her mid-thirties. I quickly realized it wasn’t right for me: it was on the ground floor with a giant sliding glass door in the back, so I knew I wouldn’t feel safe enough by myself. But she and her father walked me through, and I made mental notes to fine-tune what I was looking for in a place of my own.

a flag of independency

While the place wasn’t quite right, they were an incredibly kind family and her father was absolutely charming. He was an older man of Middle Eastern descent and spoke with an accent. He was so proud of me, this little bird finally leaving the nest. They both told me, “call us if you ever need anything! Even if you don’t take this apartment! We live right nearby, call us any time.”

a flag of independency

And, as we made our separate ways, the old man wished me good luck, and said, “You’ll have a new flag on your head!”

a flag of independency

I cocked my head, puzzled.

“You’ll have a new flag on your head!” he repeated, and mimed a flag pole rising from the crown of his head.

“A flag of Independency!”

a flag of independency

I drove home grinning. I didn’t know what it meant to have a new flag on my head, but I knew he was right. Moving out, finding my first solo apartment: this was a big step in my life. And it felt so good to have someone agree, saying “yes, it’s true, this is a big deal!”

a flag of independency

So I made a goal: once I found my apartment, I would sew myself a flag to celebrate. My new flag: a flag of Independency.

a flag of independency

I found my beloved apartment, I set up my sewing room (sewing room tour 2014, sewing room tour 2015), and I made my celebration flag. I used wool, vintage pennant-style. I made a template for the letters in Illustrator to get the right angles and sizing. I used Heat-n-Bond to fuse the letters – one of these photos shows how I ruined my (old, decrepit) ironing board cover in the process! I then sewed around each letter, and used the same gold wool to bind the edges of the triangle.

a flag of independency

In my new House, the flag still has a place of honor in the sewing room, reminding me of that special time and honoring all the other new flags I continue to acquire.

Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what flags 2018 has in store.

blue birdie shirt on the brooklyn bridge

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

I made this little tee last summer, and it’s one of the simplest shirts I’ve ever made. No sleeves to set, just two pattern pieces to stitch together and then hem. Despite this shirt’s simplicity – or possibly because of it – it is my #1 most worn me-made garment, hands down.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

The ultimate test of wearability for me-mades is simple: does it make it into my suitcase? This shirt passed with flying colors, and has traveled as far as Thailand! But these pictures are from another one of its journeys, when I met my favorite Marie in New York for a weekend of fabric shopping, dessert eating, and general exploring.

What’s extra special is that I bought the fabric on another Marie adventure, at the T├╝rkenmarkt in Berlin. The fabric was cheap, and it’s not great quality, but somehow it became an extremely comfortable shirt with the perfect amount of drape and stretch. After a year of nonstop wear, it’s starting to thin out, especially where the shirt ends up rubbing on my belt buckle, but I think I have enough fabric left for a clone.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

Trips with Marie always include blog photos for us both, like these where we crossed the Brooklyn bridge and I said things like, “am I walking too fast? is it blurry? how’s this?” and she patiently snapped shot after shot.

NYC garment district - fabric bolts

Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the fabric. Mood was the queen of eye candy, as always (and winner of both our wallets…), but there were plenty of stores, like the one above, that provided loads of inspiration. Finding fabric is a joy in itself, but the best part of this trip was discussing future projects with a fellow crafter. One of us would spot a fabric similar to one already in the stash, and we’d talk through a planned shirt, skirt, or bag… so many ideas, so little time!

For Marie’s much more timely documentation of our New York trip, check out her blog posts: Day 1, Day 2.