Thursday, November 29, 2012

Handy tip for those with paper cutting machines

One of my favorite new toys is a Silhouette Cameo. It cuts vinyl, fabric and paper, and is totally addictive. I'm using it to make this year's holiday cards. However, the design I chose leaves a lot of little itty bitty pieces of paper behind on the cutting mat after the card is removed. Getting those little pieces off is a royal pain; it take a lot of time and those little pieces get up under your fingernails... Ouch!
So I decided there had to be a better way. And I found one! Take a look...

I hope this helps your crafting!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A little baking.. er, sewing

This is a project that has been patiently awaiting its turn in my sewing room. I got the idea a few months ago, bought the fabric, and promptly let it all ferment. Finally, yesterday its turn came, and now I can cross one more thing off my UFO list (or would it be the USO list, for Un Started Objects?).

I wish I could remember where I first saw these, but I thought they were just the cutest thing. The cherry fabric really isn't "right", but it's what I found.

The lattice strips are woven like a real pie, and stitched down just to the Insulbright layer under the cherry "filling".

The back is padded with a layer of drapery interlining called "bump", which is 100% cotton. The layers are then joined with a strip of the same crust fabric.

The "test" potholder I made was quilted through all the layers, which made it very stiff, which is why these are just quilted through the top to keep the lattice strips in place. The strips are just tubes of fabric, turned and pressed with the seam down the middle of the back (love my Fasturn!).

These will look fun in my kitchen! And they were really easy to make. I got four out of a yard of the crust fabric and half a yard of the cherry fabric. They're about 11" in diameter. The strips for the lattice and the binding were cut at 3" wide.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Uncomplicated sewing

Sometimes it's nice to just be able to put together a pattern and not have to think too much about it. This was one of those times. There's been a lot going on at the home front, so I wanted to escape to the sewing room and make something for myself that wasn't too taxing, yet was still gratifying.
I really love the blue chambray sheath dress I made for myself earlier this year, and wondered whether the pattern would work for a knit. So I redrafted it with a flared hem and made it up in a medium-weight knit from my stash.
Verdict: Yep, it works for a knit, with a few modifications. I stabilized the pocket piece with a fusible stabilizer to prevent future baggy pockets, and also stabilized the pocket edge with a decorative stitch to make sure it didn't stretch out. And since I didn't have thread that matched exactly, I used a contrasting thread for both the decorative stitching and the hemming.

Front view:

And the back view:

Here's a close-up of the pocket edge:

I did the stitching on my trusty Viking 1+, which I recently set up on its own table in the workroom. Now I've got six machines set up and ready to sew, which is probably overkill, but I do love having a choice of machines.
The only real issue I had with this dress was with the neck and armhole binding. I used a strip of the same knit fabric, and it doesn't lay flat. I'm going to attribute that to the fact that I didn't stretch it out enough as I was sewing it. But no matter; it's quite comfortable and I plan to wear it a lot. It has some ease in the top, as I plan to wear it over turtlenecks (as shown here) during the coming cold months.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Inner Beauty... Revealed!

This post has nothing to do with sewing and everything to do with health.

Are you over 50 years old? If yes, have you had a colonoscopy?

(I'm sure I've lost about half my readership with that last sentence alone...)

Why I had one

I have no family history of colon cancer, but have at least two friends who have had it. I knew getting a colonoscopy was a good idea, but the idea of one just skeeved me out.
This year we hit our insurance deductible, so we decided that if we wanted to get any kinds of optional testing or procedures done (that were still deemed appropriate by our doctor), that now was the time to do them, since they would be fully covered. I'm 52 now, and my doctor had suggested having a baseline colonoscopy done in the near future. So I called the gastroenterologist I had seen for my gall bladder and scheduled the procedure.

The Prep

Everyone makes a big deal out of the prep. I was even dreading it. But honestly, it wasn't a big deal at all. It wasn't painful, or even too uncomfortable... just inconvenient. My doctor puts his patients on a fiber-free diet for the five days prior to the procedure, which was really the worst part. The prep itself consisted of taking two pills, then mixing up some laxative powder with a half gallon of Crystal Light and drinking it over a period of about two hours. And the morning of the procedure, another dose of a different laxative. So yes, I was in the bathroom a lot, but like I said, it was just inconvenient.

The Procedure

I was out like a light during the whole thing, so don't remember any of it.

The Recovery

I woke up in the recovery area and in a few minutes was sitting up drinking ginger ale. Twenty minutes later Bob was driving me home.

The Verdict

I have a nice, clean colon!! It really is amazing how technology can let the doctor see the entire length of the large intestine.

See that dimple on the lower left? That's the opening to my Appendix. He got to scope all five feet of my large intestine.

Is it silly to be happy about a nice, clear, totally polyp-free large intestine? Well, I am.

Here's my point

So many people get the willies when they think about getting a colonoscopy. I can understand that; the thought of undergoing the procedure really taps into one of our cultural taboos. But it's not the horrible experience it's made out to be!! The staff at the center where I had mine done couldn't be nicer, and several of them congratulated me on getting it done so early. And now I know that I have a healthy digestive system, so that's always a huge relief!!
I highly encourage all my readers who are 50 or older to just go ahead and schedule a colonoscopy. You'll be glad you did. And if it means just one of you gets to catch a problem early on, this post will be worth it.
Who's with me?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Really, REALLY different sewing

One of the wonderful perks of living near Washington, DC, is that we can be members of the Smithsonian Institution, which gets us invited to neat events at their museums. Last Thursday, we went to the Udvar-Hazy Center, the annex of the Air & Space Museum, for a reception honoring the installation of the space shuttle Discovery.

The shuttle really looks magnificent... and so big!! You can walk under the wings and tail and get a fantastic look at the details. We also got to hear a presentation by Valerie Neal, curator of the shuttle display. She was an amazing resource and told great stories about what it took to get Discovery to the museum. Then she took a few questions, and one of them was regarding the white material that covers the sides and top of the shuttle.

The first time we saw Discovery close up, we joked that it looked like it was covered in papier mache, like a kid's science project gone supersized. But when Neal explained what the material was, I darned near fell off my chair.


Yes, high-tech quilts, but for all intents and purposes, the shuttle is covered in blocks of quilted material. The fabric was spun out of silica, and the batts were quilted with quartz thread! I'd never heard of such a thing, so I looked it up when I got home and found this document from the NASA archives, going back to the early 1980s:

(Click on the picture to open the PDF document)

Who knew that quilting played an important role in the space shuttle program?

Friday, October 19, 2012

A change in my office

I've been reading a lot lately about the hazards of sitting for long periods of time. And that's exactly what I do at work: sit at the computer. So I decided to give a standing desk a try. All it took was a $20 LACK table from IKEA and a willingness to try something completely different.

Here's my office before the changeover:

My office isn't a big room, and that chair really occupied a lot of real estate. Plus, the desk I use (another IKEA table) has no drawers. The cabinet to the right was a recent addition, trying to tame the chaos.

After a few hours of rearranging, this is how it looks now:

It feels very weird to be standing and typing, and I can already tell that my legs are going to need a few days to adjust to the new demands placed on them. But it is doing wonders for my posture; it really isn't possible to slouch when standing at a computer (although I suspect I'll figure out a way pretty soon).

There's still a lot to be done to organize other areas of the office, but I'm taking it slow and not trying to change everything at once. Baby steps!

Do any of you use a standing desk? If so, how do you like it?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Little Mermaid" costumes

This afternoon I got to see the closing performance of "The Little Mermaid" at the local high school. Hooray for quick recoveries!! The cast and crew did a wonderful job, as usual, and I got lots of hugs and thanks and a lovely basket from the director.

But for me, of course, the real reward is seeing the costumes on stage, during the performance, brought to life by the actors. They did a masterful job!! I didn't get any pictures during the show (photos were prohibited), but will snag a few when the official photos are posted. In the meantime, here's a shot of me with the three "major" costumes I did.

Of course I used PatternMaster to create all the base pieces. For Sebastian, I made a simple turtleneck and pants, then used 1/2" foam to make the shell pieces. The claws were simply giant mittens that slid over his hands, and they worked perfectly. They're kind of hard to see in the above picture.

For Flounder, I started with a hooded pull-over top and made it big and floppy. There was a casing with a drawcord around the bottom edge so it could look more poofy.

And oh, Ursula... What fun I had with this costume. Since the part was double-cast, I needed to figure out a way to not have to make two entirely different costumes. So I created a bodysuit for each of the two girls, and a buckle-on harness that had the tentacles on it. The tentacles were given some body by using foam pipe insulation, with some extra batting rolled around it to fill them out. Each tentacle was made out of three long triangular pieces, two black and one purple for the underside. They moved beautifully during her scenes.

Next week the same school is doing "The Giver." I only did a few things for that show (the Giver's robe and a few accessories for the other actors), but I'm still looking forward to seeing how well the book translates to the stage. Right now, though, I'm really chomping at the bit to do some sewing for ME!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I owe a debt of gratitude to William T. G. Morton.

Note: this post contains non-sewing content that might not appeal to the squeamish, and has a picture of an internal organ.

Without the pioneering work of William T. G. Morton, my experience yesterday would have been unthinkable.

Morton is widely recognized as the first true "anesthesiologist" as he administered the ether to a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital on October 16, 1846.

Fortunately, advances in anesthetics in the 166 years since then means that surgery is safer then ever before. Yay for science!!!

So yesterday morning I went into the local hospital to have my gall bladder removed. Two doctors agreed that it should come out; they saw evidence on the various scans that showed there was a pretty big stone in there. Even though I wasn't having any symptoms (aside from the initial attack in late July that precipitated this whole medical odyssey), I learned that gall bladder issues can lead to pancreatic issues -- which are FAR more serious. So I decided to follow their advice.

Gall bladder removal used to involve a long incision across the abdominal muscle, a multi-day hospital stay, and a 6-week recovery period. Now it's all done laparoscopically, with four small incisions and minimal muscle damage, and it's outpatient surgery. The incisions aren't even sutured shut anymore; they use glue, so there are no stitches to be removed later. Amazing! My operation was at 10:00 a.m. and I was home by 2:30pm.

I asked the surgeon if I would get my gall bladder back as a souvenir and he rolled his eyes. Then I asked him to at least take pictures, which he did.

Here's what my gall bladder looked like, along with the stone that was removed from it.

Yeah, that's a stone all right. More like a boulder!! Yuck. And it all got removed through an incision just over an inch long.

So now I'm home, recuperating, taking things very easy. I hope to feel up to working on some sewing projects in a few days, but I won't be rushing anything! Luckily there's a lot of deskwork I can take care of.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A New York Weekend

A few months ago, one of my favorite blogs announced a special "Speakeasy" tour of the Garment District in New York City. I really love going up there for fabrics; the last time I got there was a whirlwind one-day search for my Smithson Gown fabric. But this... a guided tour of secret fabric showrooms? To translate an old Dutch saying, "I can be glued with a wet finger!" In other words, I signed up almost right away.
But I didn't want to do it alone. So I suggested to my friend Regina that she might also be interested in the tour, and if she was up for it, we could make it a multi-day visit, which would allow her to see more of the city than just a few square blocks. She, too, signed up right away!
We decided to go up on the Bolt Bus on Thursday and stay through Sunday afternoon. This meant enough time to see several different parts of the city, from downtown to uptown. And boy, did we make use of every minute!


We arrived in the city in the early afternoon. After dropping our bags at the hotel, we jumped on the subway and headed for Union Square.

First order of the day was some lunch. If there's one thing about New York, it's that you could live there for decades and eat at a different spot three times a day and never visit the same restaurant twice. The choices are staggering. Guided by our noses, we settled on Morocho, a Peruvian food truck parked at the side of Union Square.

 Regina enjoying the first bite of her lunch. We ended up taking our food over to the High Line and eating while overlooking the Hudson River.

 After lunch we wandered into one of my favorite stores, Olde Good Things. They carry a wide variety of things, mostly architectural salvage. They also have some gorgeous and unusual pieces, like the chandelier above, dripping with hand-blown glass fruit. Maybe when it's time to replace the old wagon wheel lights in my sewing room...

 I was also entranced by this Griffin piece. You can't really get the scale of it in the picture, but it was almost two feet high. It was made of cast steel and carried a $1200 price tag.

 Regina and I loved the name of this store. No idea what they sold.

We also stopped by the Lion Brand Yarn store, to ogle the different fibers and gape at the colors. It's a fantastic little store.

For dinner, we went to Ellen's Stardust Diner. It's quite a tourist spot, but so much fun! All the waitstaff are singers, and we were treated to everything from Elvis to opera. The singers would walk up and down the skinny platform just behind Regina. The diners often joined in, and it was all such a rollicking good time that you really didn't mind that the food wasn't really stellar.


We got up to a dreary sky, but held out hope that we wouldn't get TOO wet during the day's tour. Unfortunately, the skies opened up for the first hour of our adventure, and it drizzled off and on until mid-afternoon. But it didn't dampen our spirits! Mimi Jackson and her helper Cindy Chock led the group of 14 shoppers to a series of fabulous stores in the garment district. The thing about all the stores we visited was that, unless you knew they were there, you'd never find them! They were all located on upper floors in non-descript buildings. No flashy signs or other pointers. Which made finding them all the more special!

The first stop was C & J Textiles. The sign says "100% silk" but they had sooooo much more. I ended up not buying anything there but was tempted by many things, including this wonderful lace-embellished netting:

I didn't even ask the price; I knew it would be way, way out of my budget. But it was just amazing. I could easily see it as an overdress for my next Smithson gown.

Next up was Metro Textiles, which I've been to before, but that didn't stop me from finding some nice shirting and a knit solid.

From there we went to Rosen & Chadick, a two-story marvel with fabrics of every description. I was thrilled to find the exact shade of green twill I needed for work pants.

Next up was Fabrics & Fabrics, which used to be called Lace Star. This was another amazing place, with a ton of unique fabrics, including this one that caught Regina's eye:

 I'm not sure what could be done with a print like this... you would certainly lose quite a lot of yardage to make best use of the motif.

I ended up with two pieces from here: a scarf print with a fleur-de-lis motif, and yet another piece of solid blue shirting. Uh-oh... am I in a blue period?

Here's our group, with Cindy (center, in blue) telling us what our next destination would be.

 It was Manhattan Wardrobe Supply! I've ordered from them via the web before, but it was so much fun to go there in person and browse the aisles. One of the things I spotted was this huge array of Velcro, in a wide variety of colors. Now I know where to find it!

Over lunch, Cindy suggested we also stop by Westpfal Scissors on 25th Street. I'm so glad we did! I was able to find a leather punch I'd been wanting, plus blades and a new Olfa cutter.

 They had this fantastic wall hanging in the store, made of antique blades and cutters of all kinds.

 We also stopped by City Quilter, where I picked up some crossword-themed fabric I'd been searching for.

 After a rest in our hotel room, we ventured out again for some dinner, this time at Szechuan Gourmet on 39th Street. Their specialty was supposed to be spicy food, and wow, they weren't kidding! We really enjoyed our green bean/asparagus/eggplant with mushrooms in spicy garlic sauce, and the braised spare ribs and mushrooms.


We had considered going to the Maker Faire in Queens today, but the iffy weather was a concern. Plus, it would be an hour's trip on the subway to get there, and there would be a lot of crowds and walking, so we decided to stay in the city and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the pieces we saw was this year's rooftop installation, "Cloud City" by Tomas Saraceno. Climbing in the sculpture required timed tickets, which we didn't have, but we still enjoyed looking at it.

After the museum, Regina went back to the hotel to rest while I met up with an old friend from college who happened to be in town. It was so much fun to reminisce with her about our crazy days at the GW Hatchet. But eventually she had to head home, and I went back to the hotel to pick up Regina and head out for a wonderful sushi dinner at Akaya Sushi on E. 31st St. between Madison and Park.


Regina didn't feel up to walking any more, so she spent the morning at the hotel relaxing. I decided to head out and do a little more exploring on my own. I headed uptown for the GreenMarket on Columbus and 77th. What a fantastic market! I bought some fresh teas, as well as a bag of Indonesian pepper for Bob, and a jar of spicy garlic jelly. Yummy! From there I headed back downtown for a trip to Murray's Cheese, followed by a stop at Toy Tokyo. For me, no trip to New York is complete without going to these two places.
Finally it was time to get on the bus and head back south. Now I've got new fabrics and tools to play with, and will certainly be turning out more creations as the weeks go by! And, of course, I cannot WAIT to go back to New York and do it all again.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another yard sale find (or flop?)

Yesterday I was out running errands with my hubby when he spotted a sign for a yard sale and suggested we check it out (isn't he great? I'm so lucky).

He was happy because he scored two propane cylinders for $2 each. And I'm happy because he spotted this:

It's a Vaporella 2h Professional steam iron! These things usually run upwards of $200 or so, and I managed to snag it for $20. Why?

Because this is what the plug looks like. It's a European 220-volt. So I have no way of knowing whether it works or not. But Bob has reassured me that he can make it work.

This is an American 240-volt plug. Bob will replace the plug on the iron, and will run a 240-volt circuit up to my sewing room (once we've tested the iron to make sure it actually works, that is!).

So, it remains to be seen whether or not this is a find, or a flop!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Robe for "The Giver"

It's been anything but a dull month here! Now that school is in session again, it means a return to sewing costumes for the local high school drama department. This year they are doing something different: a play AND a musical at the same time!!!
The play is "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. It's a "dystopian future" kind of story, and if you're not familiar with it I highly recommend it (along with its sequels, "Gathering Blue" and "Messenger"). Luckily for me, most of the costumes will be purchased or rented. But the director wanted me to make a robe for the Giver, an elderly man who needs to look scholarly. She pointed me at this video to give me an idea of what she wanted. I can't embed it, but here's the link:
HEC-TV Live: Inside the Artist's Studio -- The Giver: producing the play
It's rather long, but if you go to about the 42:00 minute mark you'll see the character in his costume. This is all I had to go on.
So of course, I went to my trusty PatternMaster Tailor Made software. The actor playing the part was the same student who played Ren in last spring's "Footloose", so I already had his measurements. I started with a peplum jacket draft and elongated the skirt portion to extend to the floor. In Pattern Editor, I added flare and pleats to the back skirt section, so the hem sweep went from 40" overall to 120".
The real issue became sourcing the fabric. The director wanted it to have good body so it would hang properly, but it also had to be the right color, since color (or the lack of it) plays a major role in the production. I considered sweatshirt fleece, but couldn't find the right color. Wool would have been perfect but it was way too expensive. And then there was that contrast: how would I get that effect? After a fruitless search through two fabric stores, I decided it was time to think outside the box, and headed into WalMart.
I found what I was looking for within ten minutes:
Yes, those are curtains. Two panels, 54" wide and 82" long, were just enough fabric to make the robe. And the shirt ($5 on clearance!) would be cut up to provide the contrast trim. Total material cost: $25.
(When my son saw what I was using to make the robe, he said, "You sure do have a thing about making clothes out of curtains!")
Actual construction of the robe was a pretty quick project. The trim was attached with Heat 'n' Bond to avoid dealing with puckering.
Here's the front view:
It looks pretty much like a clerical robe, I realize, but when he's got the other costume parts (like the hoodie), it will look better. And I think it looks better unzipped anyway.

Back view, showing the trim going down the center back:

And it really twirls nicely:
So, that's one costume done. Now I have to get cracking on the costumes for the other production: "The Little Mermaid"!

Monday, August 13, 2012

County Fair Results!

This year I entered six items, and was very happy to win ribbons for all of them!

My contrast collar and cuff shirt got fourth place in the Ladies Blouses category.

In the Masquerade Costume category, I took third place for the Jafar costume.

I received a second place ribbon for a skirt I made that I completely forgot to blog about. Anyway, it's a simple gored skirt with pockets and a center back invisible zipper. It look dreadful on the hanger!

My blue sheath dress got first place in Ladies Day Dresses -- Cotton.

This year's Smithson Gown got a blue ribbon in the Long Formal category. It's hard to see... took me a minute to find it tucked way in the back!

My final blue ribbon was in the Accessories: Scarves (fabric) category. I entered the two Longcat scarves I made for Diana.

The fair is also displaying the garments from the Project G Street challenge:

So that's it for another County Fair! Each year I say I'm going to make lots of stuff to enter, and each year I let time get away from me. So I'm going to make a goal of creating one fair-worthy item every month, so that by the time next year's fair rolls around I'll have at least a dozen items to enter!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not quite Project Runway, but close enough!

Wow, the last two days have been simply dizzying... in a good way, I assure you!!

On Friday, I packed up my entries for the Montgomery County Fair and headed over to the fairgrounds to register them in the Home Arts category. I had six entries altogether (and I'll write about them in a separate post). I got there right as the registration desk opened at 2pm. It took a while to get my entries written up, and then because I was nervous about it being damaged, I carried the Jafar costume (on a dress form) into the exhibit hall so I could be sure it was set up safely.
While I was getting it all arranged, two of the building volunteers approached me. "Have you heard about Project G Street?" one asked.
Yes, I said, I had heard about it but didn't enter. "Well," she continued, "Audrey here had a team member drop out suddenly and is looking for a replacement. Would you be interested?"
Project G Street was a new event this year at the County Fair. Eight teams of three would spend a day creating outfits using only fabric gleaned from a pile donated by G Street Fabrics. Teams were also given a $25 gift certificate to G Street to purchase things like zippers and buttons. The teams gathered on Thursday evening to pick their fabrics and get the theme: "The Sophisticated Fair-Goer." They were supposed to design their outfits, then choose patterns and notions on Friday. Teams were not permitted to use anything from home other than sewing machines, tools and thread. Sewing would take place on Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. and concluding at 6:00 p.m. with a Runway show in the Home Arts Building.
So here it was, about 3:00 pm Friday, and I was peppering Audrey with questions. Did she have much sewing experience? (Yes, some) Who else was on the team? (Her 12-year-old daughter) Had she already chosen the fabrics and garment design? (Yes, sketches and fabrics were in her car) Would she be the model because I had no desire to do the runway walk? (Sure)
I warned her that I can have a tendency to be bossy and competitive in situations like this, and when she said that wouldn't faze her, I agreed to help.
Yeah, I'm nuts.
We went out to her car and looked over what she had. I told her I have completely forgotten how to alter commercial patterns and said I'd much prefer drafting something with PMB. She was fine with that, so I measured her right there in the parking lot (got some interesting looks from the security guard, too!). Then I headed home to start drafting the patterns and gather my sewing stuff together, as we had to deliver all our supplies to the hall before 8pm.
By about 6pm I was back in the hall with all my gear and eight huge pages of printouts from my plotter, with patterns for a knit top, pants, jacket, purse and hat. Audrey and I put our heads together to figure out what else was needed and I gave her a shopping list for G Street for that evening. Then I headed home to get some sleep and prepare for the coming day's insanity.

This was our designated sewing area. The area draped in white behind the tables was one of two dressing areas for the team models. I brought my Viking 1+ and Rowenta steam generator iron, and Audrey brought her Brother sewing machine and serger. I also had a big cutting board and lots of scissors, pins and marking tools.

The Fair Queen and Prince started us off at 9:00 a.m. with words of encouragement and a rousing "Ready, Set, SEW!"

Audrey cutting out one of the parts of the knit top she would wear. She loved using my scissors and pattern weights!

Our first finished outfit parts: the sun hat and purse in matching fabrics. Audrey made the rosette and leaves. The hat and bag patterns were both from Wild Ginger's free Wild Things program.

I didn't realize until well into the afternoon that the purple fabric had been shedding all over my pants the entire day!!

We only really had one minor crisis: My Viking 1+ was acting up (shredding the needle thread), so we were doing all the sewing on her Brother. But she didn't have a buttonhole foot for her machine! Here we were frantically going through the boxes of machine accessories she had, to no avail. And her machine was just smart enough not to let us sew a buttonhole with the incorrect foot. Dang!! But luckily, by sewing very, very slowly, I was able to do the buttonhole on my machine without incident. Whew!
We finished with just five minutes to spare... the only thing that we just couldn't get to was adding the purple piping to the jacket.

Here's Audrey being dressed and prepped for the Runway.

We all lined up behind the Fair Queen and Prince, who were holding the Project G Street banner, and paraded to the Home Arts building for the runway show.

We got a lot of cheers and applause as we made our way through the tents.

We waited outside until the audience was seated in the hall.

Then it was our turn to go in and start the show!

Here's Audrey taking her turn down the runway.

So who won?
This outfit took third place, with a prize of a $100 G Street gift certificate.

This romper and jacket set took second place ($200) gift certificate). The team consisted of three teenagers, and the quality of the work was really amazing!

To my total lack of amazement, this dress took the top prize ($300). It was simply stunning in every details: the fit, the workmanship and that pop of red in the flounce that was picked up by the shoes.

In the end, we got a fourth-place ribbon, which came with a $25 G Street certificate which I told Audrey to keep. All the teams' outfits will be on display at the fair for the rest of the week, and will then go to G Street Fabrics to be displayed for about a month. After that, Audrey is so excited that she will get to take the outfit home, because she simply loved it! She said the pants were the most comfortable ones she's ever worn, and she plans to make the shirt again too. Her daughter (at right) already has designs on the hat.
As for me, I get the satisfaction of having taught Audrey some sewing tricks, but even more than that, I think I've found a new friend! We got along so well all throughout the day and were always laughing, so it really made the hours just fly by. She's already told me she wants to do it again next year, and she wants to team up with me again. I'm in!