Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Sew Weekly: Celebrational Osier Dress!

Modeled by Cecily, because *gasp* it's not for me!
This week's Sew Weekly challenge was a fancy dress, and since I'd already made my festive Christmas dress, I needed a different excuse to sew a party New Year's Eve. Now,  I know cool people are supposed to get all dressed up and go out for cocktails at some glamorous bash, but I'm not a cool person. Come on, I troll thrift stores for comic book character sheets. So for NYE, my husband and I are getting together with our old Dungeons and Dragons group in San Diego for some epic gaming, then watching some classic sci-fi movie highlights (Star Wars! Firefly!)...none of which involve little black cocktail dresses.

Thus it is that after a whole year of sewing clothing for myself (with a couple of mending/hemming projects for the husband thrown in to assuage my guilt), I end 2011 with a garment made for someone else. Despite all of the Selfish Seamstress' brainwashing, I am breaking free of S.W.A.G. to make a dress for one of my dearest friends, Shayna, aka my sheet supplier and fellow Anthro-addict. Shayna is one of the most beautiful people I know, both inside and out, and she has been one of my staunchest supporters as I explore dressmaking. So it really wasn't grudgery at all to sew for her; in a funny sewing-karma-supports-my-decision surprise, I didn't even make one stupid mistake while I sewed this up! Usually I attach at least one piece wrong-sides-together or attach a side seam to a shoulder seam or something, but this project DID NOT UTILIZE MY SEAM RIPPER AT ALL. Friends, that is unheard of, and worthy of celebration in and of itself.

Ahem. I'll stop patting myself on the back now. Anyway, earlier this month, Shayna and I went to Anthro to try on their dresses, and she fell in love with the Unconditional Osier Dress (an osier is apparently a type of does an unconditional willow make any sense at all? is it like The Giving Tree?).  However, at $168, it's hardly affordable for someone who works at a nonprofit (because of course Shayna's awesome and giving like that), especially since I little fancy dress isn't really necessary. After examining the dress thoroughly, and noting that it had no darts or princess seams or any other shaping, I declared it would be pretty easy to recreate, albeit in a different fabric. Flocked flowers on mesh is not something I encounter, ever, in a fabric store. After some discussion, Shayna and I decided on green lace as a suitable replacement; since her hair has reddish tones it should complement nicely. And that's how I volunteered myself to make a fancy dress for someone else.

Since the Anthro dress was essentially a simple raglan sleeve tee attached to a skirt, I didn't use a pattern. The shapes I drew were based off of Shayna's measurements -- the first time I've made a fitted dress for someone based solely off of measurements! Here's what my pattern pieces looked like after I drew them up: 
The front and back pieces are the same except for the neckline and whether it's cut on the fold or not. If you want to "draft" your own, it's basically just 1/4 of your bust and waist measurements and the length so want the bodice. The sleeve was really roughly based on where on the neckline I thought it should end, then draw a diagonal line connecting that to the bust.

Raglan sleeve: make sure the seams match the bodice pieces. Since the neckline is lower in front, the sleeve is not symmetrical. When I realized this, I had to cut another piece of paper to make a full sleeve pattern piece, hence the awkward taping and the random "cut on fold" arrow in the middle.

After attaching the sleeves to the bodice pieces, I gathered a rectangle for the skirt (80" around, 23" high, if you're wondering) and attached that. All my seams were trimmed down to 1/4" and zigzag stitched. I love that with the scallop-edge lace, I didn't need to hem the skirt or sleeves! I finished it with bias tape around the neckline, like the original dress, then added a hook and eye at the top.

Amazing to find so many matching forest greens at Joann's!

Scalloped edge on the skirt (and cat coming to investigate).

Of course there would be a little thread tangle right there. Also, don't look too closely at my hook and eye sewing...

Scallop on the sleeve, zigzagged edges.

Back view. Thank goodness the zipper looks okay,
since I'm not sure how to hide it with lace.
Shayna's already got a black slip, so I didn't need to sew one, thankfully. I'm not convinced if a black slip is the best for this green, but then again I don't know what other color would go with it. It looks pretty weird with Cecily's greige-colored "skin" underneath it.

Fabric: Forest green nylon lace with a scalloped edge, $7/yd from Joann's
Notions: Forest green zipper, forest green bias tape, hook and eye
Hours: This was the fastest dress I've ever made, probably because it didn't need to be lined or anything...2.5 hours! I know that doesn't sound speedy, but I work slowly :\ Also because I have to keep kicking Walnut off the fabric.
Will you make this again? I am already planning on getting some more lace, possibly in black? red? plum? to make this for myself.
Total cost: Much more expensive than my usual -- I spent about $30 on this project. Since I was trying to finish this in time for NYE, I couldn't wait for lace to go on sale at Joann's, or for lace to be shipped from, hence the premium price. However, I got three yards of lace when I only ended up using two, but now I have some leftover. Add in non-sale thread, bias tape, and zipper, and I guess the actual cost of materials used is more like $20.
Final thoughts: I've never sewn with lace before, and it's really not as bad as I imagined it would be! This lace is sturdier than it looks, and it hides thread like no other -- if I hadn't basted in red and yellow, I would never have been able to find those threads again. Granted, this isn't real lace and I didn't do any underlining or cutting out and applique-ing to hide seams, but still. I also love how easy this dress is to put together! I'm already envisioning it in other suitably drape-y fabrics with circle skirts, pleated skirts, all kinds of variations! I don't think this "pattern" would work well with stiffer cottons or a more well-endowed person, but I'm thrilled to have made up this very basic raglan sleeve block, if you can even call it that.

Even though Shayna is one of the nicest people I know, I'm still scared to death to show it to her. She hasn't seen the dress or even the lace I used, and of course I'm nervous about the fit. Hopefully it looks okay on her! It's one thing to wear a home-made dress when you're the one who's made it, but it's another thing entirely to give one to someone else to wear. I will update with pictures as soon as I can!

I'm way hotter in my imagination.
Also, at some point soon I'm going to do a summary post for this year -- what I've learned, what I've made, what I'm hoping to make next year. But first, Sariel the Eladrin rogue has a castle to infiltrate and an evil warlord to poison!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Embroidery Projects: Totoro and Rohan Banner

I wasn't just shopping and being goofy with Emily while I was at home in SF; I was somewhat productive as well! My husband and I decided (well, I announced and he resignedly agreed) that our new family Christmas tradition would be to watch all the extended edition LOTR movies in the days leading up to Christmas, culminating with ROTK on Christmas night, because, you know, Christmas is about the coming of the King. And when the two Hobbit movies finally come out on DVD, it can be the five days leading up to Christmas! My siblings and cousin joined us, and my dad wandered in every once in a while to ask "What's so bad about that Froodoo guy's ring? Why isn't he wearing shoes?" or "What's wrong with that crazy guy on the top of the tower? And why does he keep being switched with a giant eyeball?" or "Why is that old man so ugly?" Once again, in trying to explain the whole story to him, I realized that a) I'm really bad at explaining stories I love, because I focus in on the little parts that move me instead of the whole arc, and b) all fantasy sounds crazy when you try to explain it to someone who doesn't read fiction. Even worse if your dad is a very rational scientist.

But I digress. Anyway, besides scaring my husband by saying all the lines before the actors got around to them, I also embroidered. Simple line-art pieces that only involve one color are the best thing to do for someone who can't just sit and watch a movie without feeling the need to multi-task.

Not yet ironed, obviously.

I love those little dust bunny guys!
Tonari no Totoro is an absolutely adorable Hayao Miyazaki film. I highly recommend any of his movies. Working at a leisurely pace, this took me all of FOTR.

I then worked on the horse from the banner of the Rohirrim for all of TTT and ROTK. I mean, it's only appropriate. I have to say, I can see my stitches getting tighter and neater as I practice more. The only thing bugging me about it is that the two skeins of floss I used for this, despite having the same number, are slightly different colors, so the mane and one leg are slightly more brown, less gold. Too bad I don't have a Handmade Ryan Gosling to look out for different dye lots.

Cue Darth Vader "Noooooooo!!!!"
In love with back stitches, stem stitches, and satin stitches. Still not a fan of split stitches.
The different colors are more or less obvious depending on the lighting. Can I pretend it's a design element? Pleeease???

[Disclaimer: obviously I didn't draw any of these original designs; they belong to Hayao Miyazaki and Alan Lee? John Howe? the Tolkien estate? respectively, and no copyright infringement is intended.]

Next in the lineup: some kind of practice with a piece involving multiple colors. Then maybe I can start thinking about my grand Hobbit masterpiece.

My Christmas Haul

After a week in The City (because there's no city but San Francisco to self-centric San Franciscans), we are finally back in The City of Culver City, which really doesn't compare. Except that this city has Walnut, who is currently giving us the cold shoulder for leaving him alone for Christmas (don't worry, we got him a cat sitter, but apparently that's not good enough for him). Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the awesome things I came back with!

First, this book, from my brother. It looks a little scary, even to our cat-loving family, but I'm really excited to try some of these crafts. Lord knows Walnut sheds enough.

This takes wool felting to a whole 'nother level.

My sister got me the magnetic Grabbit that I've been wanting, as well as a copy of The Hobbit. According to that line of reasoning, she probably could have gotten me a rabbit, too.

The best thing was that on Tuesday, my husband graciously accompanied me to four(!) thrift stores in Temescal -- there's nothing quite like post-Christmas shopping among other people's discarded items! I lucked out and scored a bunch of vintage patterns for $0.25 each, albeit not in the best condition. Some are more promising than others (I admit I got a little bewitched by the idea of cheap vintage patterns).

Four skirt patterns. I don't have any yoked skirt patterns, hence Simplicity 6123. Butterick 3923 has a unique skirt front closure. I like the top-stitched pleats on Simplicity 8349, and the wraparound aspect of Simplicity 4763.

Interesting design on a mod dress in McCall's 9071, weird collar on Vogue 7943, normal sweater dress on Simplicity 9333 (and right after I had to make up my own sweater dress pattern), and Vogue 7599 is a cute jumper with pockets.

Interesting draped collar blouse and simple toggle coat.

Never seen one of these before! A mail order dress pattern from Marian Martin with really cool side panels!

I also got a bunch of vintage seam tape and a couple of covered belt buckle kits! I can finally make some belts to go with my dresses!

A package of seam binding used to be anywhere from $0.15-$0.45! Also, I've never heard of Boiltex.

Also pictured above is some nice suiting of unknown material (probably poly, though) in dark gray with teal stripes. The best find, though, was this lovely, lovely wool-silk blend fabric. It feels unbelievably rich and the colors are just enough to keep it from being boring, and it drapes beautifully. I almost didn't see it (it was stashed in a corner), and even when I did I was afraid to ask how much it was. Well, I did, and the lady who owned the shop started waxing poetical about how the fabric was from Italy, it had belonged to her mother, she used to love sewing, it was so thick and wide and blah blah blah...I was afraid she was going conclude with either "...and therefore it's not actually for sale," or "...and therefore I'm going to charge you $100/yard." So imagine my surprise when she said "...and therefore I'm going to ask you for $5/yard." Four yards of Italian wool (and silk) for $20 total?!? Yes please! I couldn't walk out of the store fast enough; I was afraid she would change her mind and ask for more. As it was, I almost felt bad for getting such a good deal.
Sorry for the bad pictures in this post; I had to use my point-and-shoot since we didn't want to lug the DSLR up to Norcal.

I still need to decide what to do with it, and knowing me it'll take a couple years of sitting and mulling, but I am so, so, so thrilled with that buy. But in the meantime, I've got a Sew Weekly party dress to make up! And a cat to make up with. Frankly, between the two, I think the former will be much, much easier.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

My sister and I take great pride in our talent for making somewhat dubious crafts, and Christmas trees are no exception. For the longest time, our family used a $15 artificial tree that my parents got at a garage sale (can you see where I get my thrifty genes?). Every year it lost another pound of needles, and it was looking more and more raggedy. Emily and I tried to make up for the big holes in the greenery by covering it with increasingly gaudier ornaments from the Walgreens' post-Christmas sales. Well, earlier this year, my parents finally threw it out, after over twenty years of service. Emily and I were horrified; that sad tree was one of our favorite Christmas traditions. We never even got to say goodbye!!

It looks okay until you see how it's drunkenly leaning on the windowsill.
So yesterday night, when our dad told us to go to BB&B and pick up a flashy new pre-lit tree, we took that as a personal challenge. We were not going to betray the memory of our old tree. We were going to make a new tree that would be just as pathetic as the old one. One cat scratching post, four pieces of cardboard, lots of tape, and four strands of fake foliage and tinsel later, we had a new tree. Once it was decorated, even my perfectionist mom grudgingly admitted that our tree turned out better than she'd expected. Not exactly glowing praise, but we'll take it!

Fenxi, our family cat, investigates.

Really? This is what you did with my scratching post?

You can see the cardboard fins of our tree taped to the scratching post here.
Our tree looks a little silly and more than a little pathetic, but that's okay. Christmas isn't about crazy over the top decorations or shiny aluminum trees, it's about being with family and not having to put on a show because they love you just the same. It's about quality time, the opportunity to be goofy and creative, and making something out of nothing with people you love. And ultimately, it's as Linus reminded everyone in a Charlie Brown Christmas:
"'And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'" Luke 2:8-14
Everyone, I hope you enjoy this season of celebration with your family and friends. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired: Hooray for Hippos Dress!

How many hippos can you count on this dress?

Really, Anthro? Really?
Anthropologie has been putting out all sorts of clothing with animal-print fabric. First it was tiny elephants. Then it was camels. Not content with large mammals, they delved into an aviary with flamingos and penguins, then got even weirder with creepy-crawlies like ants and snails. When did animals on clothing become hip? Why didn't I get a memo? Good thing Shayna and I stopped at an Anthro recently and saw the mini zoo they have there! And good thing I've been saving this hippo-print fabric from IKEA since 2009. And best of all, this week's Sew Weekly theme is "Anything Goes," and if crazy hippos all over a dress isn't anything goes, then I don't know what is.

Also, this is another dress to go in my husband's "sigh, I need to walk next to this lady" category. But hey, Anthro, the ultimate arbiter of hipster cool, says that animals on clothes are okay! Although they probably didn't have in mind kids' bed sheet prints from large Swedish furniture manufacturers.

I was in a hurry to clean up the apartment before we left for the Bay Area, so I told my husband to just quickly snap some pictures while I did the vacuuming. As a result, the pictures aren't the best, but this week, anything goes, right?

Being all 1950s housewife and vacuuming in heels.

I used my trusty New Look 6723 pattern, a vaguely Breakfast At Tiffany's-esque princess-seamed bodice with a deceptively full looking skirt (but it actually uses less than three yards of 45" fabric). To pay homage to the crazy pleating on the Cirque-A-Line dress, I added pintucks to the bodice. I also added pockets, because a dress with pockets is so much more practical. And lowered the back neckline a little bit.

Look! Pocketses! Also, crazy tulle "belt" to add to the festive look. I will not wear it this way for real.
Lowered back neckline, with a crazy six-legged hippo at the top!

Fabric: 100% cotton from the IKEA kids' collection in 2009, aka "Barnsling" by Eva Lundgreen
Notions: Grosgrain ribbon & swimsuit hook for the waist stay, white 22" zipper, hook and eye
Techniques used: Pintucks! Which have been on my list of things to try, and it's not that bad. Mine aren't entirely centered or even, but that's because I was just folding and ironing and sewing as I eyeballed it.

There's also the handpicked zipper and grosgrain waist stay, which by now have become so normal in my dress-making that I wouldn't bother bringing them up anymore, except that I wanted to point out that my handpicking has gotten much, much neater. And the grosgrain ribbon is green to go with the red of the dress, making it that much more holiday-appropriate. Even if nobody knows it except me.

My stitches have gotten much tinier and more even.

Hours: My standard five hours...wasn't a complicated dress, but I had to go slow on the princess seams to make sure that it didn't get wrinkly. Also the pintucks took a while, running back and forth between the sewing machine and the ironing board. The handpicking, though, went a lot faster after having done so much embroidery in the past week.
Will you make this again? I've used New Look 6723 so many times in the past, I'm pretty sure I'll make it again. Maybe with sleeves next time.
Total cost: I don't remember how much I paid for the fabric two years ago, but I'm almost positive it was less than $10.
Final thoughts: I don't know what's more appropriate for the season than a red and white dress (with a secret green ribbon inside), especially since the hippo tails look like little sparkly stars. This dress makes me feel giddy inside to wear it, because the hippos are just so cheerful! Never mind that I'm much, much closer to thirty than twenty. I'll wear hippos for as long as I feel like it, dagnabbit!

Trying to look like a composed, serious, mature adult, even if I am wearing a hippo dress.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do You Ever Find Yourself in the Zone While Sewing...

...and think to yourself, "Gosh, I'm doing so well!" only to catch yourself doing something totally inexplicable, like pulling out pins and throwing them into the trash can while sewing a long seam instead of setting them aside? Guys, this is why I need a Grabbit.

Christmas Wish List

I suddenly looked at the calendar and realized that Christmas is FOUR DAYS AWAY. How did this happen? It just sneaked up on me, which you'd think would be pretty hard to do, considering the Christmas-y decor that I've been dabbling in.

Strangely enough, one of my least favorite things about Christmas is the pressure to get the perfect gift for everyone. Bridget Jones' Diary expresses it best:
Dread the exchange of presents with friends as, unlike with the family, there is no way of knowing who is and isn't going to give and whether gifts should be tokens of affection or proper presents, so all becomes like hideous exchange of sealed bids...Ugh. Would that Christmas could just be, without presents. It is just so stupid, everyone exhausting themselves, miserably hemorrhaging money on pointless items nobody wants: no longer tokens of love but angst-ridden solutions to problems...What is the point of entire nation rushing round in a bad mood preparing for utterly pointless Taste-of-Others exam which entire nation fails and gets stuck with unwanted merchandise as fallout? Why not make it that everyone must go out and spend £500 on themselves then distribute the items among their relatives and friends to wrap up and give to them instead of this psychic-failure torment?
Which I realize sounds horribly Grinch-y of me. But really, I'd love for Christmas to just be about gathering with loved ones and singing Christmas carols and eating yummy food and celebrating the birth of Christ. And now I'm going to be really hypocritical (but not, too, as this list makes things abundantly clear, thereby rectifying the Taste-of-Others exam anxiety) and share what I'd like this Christmas. These are all things that I think sewists would love, very useful-type tools, but if you're anything like me, haven't purchased for yourself because you already have an inferior tool that you feel like you should just make do with.

1. Clover Chaco Liner, Pen Style: for tracing and making lines and marking darts and things; I keep trying to make do with the cheapy fabric pencils from Joann's, but they pull at fabric and the lines don't show up well, but simultaneously are really hard to erase. Which is like the worst combination ever. Anyway, these chalk pens have refills in different colors, so you can use them no matter what color fabric you're working on. I vote for yellow just because I don't think I'll ever sew anything that shade.

2. Grabbit Magnetic Pincushion: I have two(!) of those ubiquitous tomato pincushions, but my pins spend half their lives in a little pile on my desk or on the ironing board because I can't be bothered to stick them back into the tomato, only to have to wrestle them out one-handed while pinning. With a magnetic pincushion, not only can you drop the pins on and have them stick and stay while sewing, you can wave the whole thing over your floor like a pin vacuum! My husband and has definitely found his fair share of pins in unexpected locations.

Now if you were married to Handmade Ryan Gosling, that wouldn't be a problem, but that's neither here nor there.

3. Some kind of thread rack: I have all my spools of thread stuffed into an old tea box, and I have to go digging through it every time I need to find a certain color. Also, I have three different red spools because every time I'm at Joann's, I don't remember having any. This rack means that you can see all your threads at once and remember what you have. I'm still kicking myself for not buying the $5 thread rack I saw at a thrift store right before we moved, but at the time I thought packing it would be too much trouble.

4. Tailor's ham and seam roll: Again, I try to make do with my normal ironing board, but things get tricky. I keep telling myself I'll make a set one day, but why would I want to stuff a thing with sawdust (where do you even get it?!) when I could be making a dress instead? This way, I tell myself, independent artists get support.

5. Fabric store gift certificates: Because the stash always has room, no matter what husbands say. Or you could just go ahead and buy me some nice wool or lace trim, but with a gift certificate the sewist gets to pick!

So that's my peasly little round up of practical, but still a bit of a splurge gifts for a sewist. They all fall into the category of gosh-that'd-be-nice-but-I-can't-justify-the-expense-when-I-have-a-mostly-serviceable-if-not-ideal-equivalent-at-home, with the exception of #5. Although I guess #5 falls into the category of yes-I-make-most-of-my-dresses-from-old-bedsheets-but-just-once-it'd-be-nice-to-make-winter-appropriate-dresses-with-some-embellishment.

And as a last bonus: if the sewist in your life already has every tool under the sun and doesn't need more fabric for the stash, consider giving a donation that enables someone else to be a fiber artist! Heifer International has a "Knitter's Gift Basket" that enables a family to clothe themselves through alpacas, sheep, and angora rabbits. Alternately, One Mango Tree empowers women in Uganda by giving them jobs; they make some lovely clothes and accessories. I know it's too late to order in time for Christmas, but I'm a firm believer in New Year's presents!

Tomorrow: my "anything goes" dress. And believe me, it's a prime example of what happens when you tell me that anything goes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hobbit Embroidered Map of the Lonely Mountain

I do go on kicks, don't I? Every time I discover a new technique or hobby, I go crazy with it. Whether it's using knits  or princess seams or making zippered pouches or snowflakes, I am all about overdoing it. So I present to you yet another embroidery piece, and that's not even counting the one I did in between Simon's Cat and this one. But that one is for my sister's Christmas present, so I won't show it here yet.

Since Peter Jackson's movie version of The Hobbit is coming out in a year, I have grand plans for a spectacular Hobbit-themed embroidery piece (because once I get into something new, it's always go big or go home, regardless of my actual skill level) based on this original painting by Tolkien, so this was my practice piece.
I started with this picture of the Lonely Mountain, which is part of the original map that appears in The Hobbit. [Sidenote: In case you're wondering, because I was confused at first too, dwarven maps tend to put east up top, where we would normally put north.] I scaled it up, printed it out, and then taped it onto a piece of linen with a piece of carbon transfer paper in between. I took some liberties with the size of the letters while tracing, just because I wasn't sure how small I could stitch and still have the shapes be recognizable. Also, I (correctly) guessed that by the end, I wouldn't have the patience to stitch the entire sentence about the Iron Hills and Dain, so I just left that bit out.

Carbon paper sandwich.

The faint carbon lines leftover after tracing.

After that, it was just a matter of slowly stitching in the lines. I used a full six strands for the mountain and dragon and trees, but switched to two strands for the lettering. In hindsight, I should've done fewer stitches for the dragon and trees too, as they look pretty blobby. That's why this is a practice piece, I guess. I mostly used stem stitches and back stitches for the lines of the mountain, and filled in the shaded portions with satin stitches. The letters are all back stitched.

The mess on the back. I have no idea what actual real embroidery pieces are supposed to look like, since no one ever shows the backs of them.

Things I've learned: 
  • Don't be afraid to use different numbers of strands
  • Inserting your needle even one thread over can make a difference (and the corollary, when in doubt about placement, don't just shove it in anyway and assume it'll be okay)
  • Make sure to have perfectly smooth nails and fingers or else any rough patches can catch on the floss and pull it out of the needle
  • Tiny details need to be exaggerated a little to make them show up clearly in the final piece
  • It's a lot easier to hang out with people while embroidering, rather than sewing!
  • Don't watch documentaries about architecture while embroidering, since both require visual attention; podcasts are a lot better.
  • I really, really, really like how methodical and meditative this art is! 
  • Old maps are the best candidates for embroidery, since they're supposed to be all wiggly and weird. That's my justification for the imperfections in this. Still, I'm pretty chuffed with the final piece!
Next to a Macbook Air for an idea of scale.


I'm going to take a break from embroidery for a little bit so that I can make my Sew Weekly "Anything Goes" dress, but this will be a good craft to take home to San Francisco where I won't have access to my sewing machine.

Linked to Skip to My Lou, The Girl Creative, and Sew Can Do link parties.