Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just Say NO! (To Catnip)

Meet Tilly.
"Hello Tilly!" Says Cordelia
"Hello Cordelia" says Tilly.

 Tilly is the sweetest, kindest, most adorable, lovable, innocent, passive cat I have ever had. She is the definition of all things good and kind.

 However, she’s not the smartest. But that’s ok, cause what she’s lacking in the brain department she makes up for in her good looks.

Tilly has 3 great passions in her life.

Sleeping . . .


Eating . . .

And Catnip.

She’s a little drug baby.
Seriously, her mom was hyped up on catnip the whole time she was pregnant

Her only flaw?

She likes to take my tape measures and once Tilly gets her paws on one of those things, it’s history.

I’ll never see it again.

I think she sells them on the street to pay for her catnip habit.

Here’s proof that Tilly is hanging with a questionable crowd.

A while back she came home with a hole in her head.


And a severely bruised neck. 

 The poor kitty was in so much pain she could hardly move. See Tilly, this is why you don’t hang out with catnip dealers. Eventually a deal is going to go sour and you’ll get into a fight.

 And loose.

 Cause you're a lover, not a fighter.

But getting beat up wasn’t all so bad.

 For one thing, she got the good pain meds.

And for another, I felt so bad for her I let her lay on the quilt top I made.

Tilly has good taste in fabrics.
She loves to roll all over my most expensive/ labor intensive projects.

And then Cordelia got so jealous I had to let her lay on the quilt too.
She’s a demanding little bugger.

Here’s the quilt.

Go ahead and call me





Actually don’t.

Only little old ladies make quilts and I’m not ready to be one of
those yet.

Then I had to get a picture of Cordelia with the quilt cause she likes to be the center of attention.

Cordelia has to wear her floppy straw sunhat when she goes outside because she has a delicate complexion. And really, who wants a dress form with freckles? Not me.

And then, because catnips a hard habit to kick.
And because Tilly’s not such a quick learner. . .

She came home with another hole in her head!

Which she scratched.
And licked.
And chewed at until it was

And redder
And grosser.

So I had to put this on her.

The Cone of Shame.

Poor Sweet Tilly.
Someday you will learn not to fight with neighborhood dealers.
And hopefully it’ll be soon
Cause I don’t love paying all these vet bills.

And then Cordelia wanted a cone of her own.
But I said no.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

While on the Subject of Matching. . .

Do you recognize this fabric?
 Well you haven’t seen it yet, but in case you didn’t notice, it’s the same fabric I used to cover my sewing chair/ make a top, but in a different color way.
I may have gotten a little carried away, but I can’t help it.
I have a weakness for all things Heather Bailey.

So I took this fabric that matches my chair but in a different color and turned it into this sundress because I decided I NEEDED something to wear to the plethora of weddings I get to attend this summer.
(You have to wait to see the front of the dress, because Cordelia’s bosom is too big and the dress does not button up over it. I would hate to take a picture of her with her bosoms hanging out cause she is so modest about nudity and such).

I had sew much fun making this dress and my favorite part about it is how well I got the seams to match up.
That’s right there’s a seam in there.
 Can you find it?

Do you want some help?

See right there.
 I told you so.
Are you thoroughly impressed with my matching abilities?
Well I am, so there.
I think I will start calling myself





In fact, I got so excited about my matching skills that I forgot all about those pesky little seam finishes and I completely spaced that I was going to French seam this dress until it was too late and I had already sewn the seam. Well there was no way I was going to rip those puppies out to start again so I gave it a mock-French seam finish (which is why you can see two rows of stitching instead of one).
 Not as good but it works.
 Sometimes that’s just how you have to roll around here.


Please enjoy a brief intermission as I attempt to translate for those of you who do not speak sewing as a second language.

This is a seam.
 I put two pieces of fabric together with the RIGHT sides touching and sewed them together.
 As you will notice the edges of the fabric are raw and ravely.
 So I have to do something to these edges so they:
 1. are pretty (I like to make the insides of my garments look just as good—or better—as the outside.)and
 2. don’t unravel completely and fall apart.

This treatment is called a SEAM FINISH

There are a variety of seam finishes, and the one you choose to use depends on many factors including: price point (some are quicker and easier to do and thus cheaper), the type and weight of the fabric, the location of the seam and what kind of stress it will receive, and personal preference.

This is the French Seam Finish.
It is my personal favorite to use in mid to light weight fabrics because it is easy and looks nice. But the bad thing about French seams is that the first step is a little backwards from every other seam you sew (you start by sewing with the WRONG sides of the fabric together), so it’s easy to forget/ get it wrong especially if you are concentrating on other things, like matching the print.

And now I will take a moment to apologize for boring you to tears with my lecture on seam finishes.

I’m sorry.

I can’t help it.

Once I get on the topic of seam finishes it’s hard to get me to stop.

You're lucky I didn’t have more pictures easily available or I could have gone on about seam finishes all day.

I adore seam finishes.

I LOVE seam finishes.

If I could, I would marry them and have little seam finish babies.

Not really.

That would be weird.

And then I would have to deal with situations like this:

Picture me walking down the street pushing my seam finish babies in a stroller.

Stranger stops us.
 “oh what a cute…”

 she looks closer into the stroller
 “…er…. Um… yeah. Nice weather we’re having ey?”

Now she’s quickly walking away glancing around nervously as if she expects me to do something crazy.
 And really, who could blame her?

Ok, ok, ok. I’ll stop embarrassing myself with my sewing geekdum.

Back to matching clothes.

Well anyways, about the same time I was making the green rose sundress I agreed to participate in a fashion show. And then I fond out there were children who wanted to model in this show.
So I had to make a girls sundress.

Um, Cordelia, that’s a CHILD’S sundress. NOT a top for you.

 Still wrong.
It’s definitely NOT a skirt for you either.

Much better.
 Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a single picture of the matching dresses together.
 Because I was too busy dealing with other things.
 Like worrying about whether or not to tuck my shirt into my pantyhose to keep it from riding up and coming un-tucked.
I did, and it worked.
Try it.
You’ll like it.

Well I was on such a matchy match roll and I had access to the most adorable 3 year old so I went ahead and made this coat which goes with….

This Coat!

Back to the boy’s blazer.
Check out that cowboy lining.
 Oh how I love cowboys.

And look at those welt pockets.
A lesser seamstress (and by lesser I mean sane) would have said "it's a childs garment" and would have skipped the pockets, or used patched pockets, or made a mock welt pocket.
 But not me.
 Cause that’s how we roll here at Hart Designs.
Only the finest quality for our 3 year olds.

Just a Quick Disclaimer:
What you are about to see is so cute it might actually hurt.

 It may result in the uncontrollable urge to say “awwwww”

Or to have the sudden desire to start reproducing.

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

 Can you handle the cuteness?

I can’t be held responsible for any rash behavior if you can’t.

 I did give sufficient warning after all.

OK Then.

Look how precious they are!

I was going to enter sewing geek land again and show you all the inner details that went into making the boys’ coat, but I think I’ve already bored you enough today so instead I’ll show you pictures of the cuteness that is Preston.

 In a tweed coat.

With elbow patches.

I like to think he is dancing with joy because he loves his coat so much.
 In reality I don’t even know if he’s dancing.
 And if he is, it’s certainly not because of his coat.

 But a girl can always dream.

And if you though Preston was cute, just check out little Daja.

 She’s gona wear that dress to her birthday party.

All together now, “AWWWWW”.

Happy Matching
~Melisa and Cordelia

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Chameleon Effect

Meet my work chair.

"Hello Work Chair." Says Cordelia.

"Hello Cordelia!" Says Work Chair.

On the one hand, Work Chair is great cause she has really helped with the whole pinched nerve/ numb back issue I got from slouching over my sewing machine all day.

On the other hand, she's black.

And boring.

 And black.

 And worn.

 And black.

Oh, and did I mention? She’s also black.

I like to have color in my studio (err can I really call it that when it’s also my bedroom?) and the chair really just didn’t fit in.
And this hurt her feelings.
And we can't have that.

So Cordelia and I decided to cover the chair in something a little more inspiring.

 And festive.

And don’t forget cheerful.

Or colorful.

My goodness Work Chair. You look absolutely stunning!

So I found this Heather Baily (I love you Heather, I want to be just like you when I grow up) large rose print fabric and it was perfect.

 It was colorful.

 It was cheery

 It matched my desk beautifully.
(Desk to Work Chair, "How you doing?" Perhaps a little inter-office romance is brewing?)

 It was designed by my BFF Heather.

 And best of all? It was on sale.

So I got some. And I really had no idea how much I needed (seriously, who goes around covering desk chairs?), so I got a few yards. Cause it was so fantastic. And it was on sale. But you already knew that.

Look at those roses. Cordelia squalled with excitement when she saw them. Seriously. We love this chair now.

 It even inspired us to make…….

. . . . . . Waite. . . . .

. . . . .  for. . . . . 

. . . . .  it. . . . . . .

This top!!


I lied.

 The chair was not my source of inspiration but one of my students was. I was trying to come up with some new class ideas for this summer, and one of my students told me she wanted to make a top. What an excellent idea!

 So I found a simple top pattern, and, because I have a strict no purchasing of new fabric to make class samples policy, I used up the leftover rose fabric.


Beautiful rose top.
With ties.
That also match the chair.
Cause if you’re gona match your chair, you might as well go all out and REALLY match the chair.

Come to my class and you too can have one. But yours will be better. Cause you made it. And you probably have more talent in your left earlobe than Cordelia and me combined.
I bet you didn’t know it was cool to match you furniture!
 Well it is!!
Stick with Cordelia and you’ll learn all kinds of life altering (err can I really call it that) stuff.



Cordelia where are you?!?!?!

Have you seen Cordelia?!?! I can’t find her!

The best part about matching your furniture?

It’s like having your very own invisibility cloak!!! Who needs Harry Potter when you have the chameleon effect?

Happy Chameleoning,
~Melisa and Cordelia

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cordelias First Assignment.

So Cordelia’s gotten a bit lazy—that and she’s been spending too much time with Oadie who is teaching her bad habits—and she has taken to sleeping most of the day

This is understandable, as so far I have had little work for her and hanging around all day doing nothing must get quite dull.

 But today I had a task for her.

“Psssssst. Cordelia."


"Wake up! I have work for you!”

 She didn’t want to get up. Apparently she gets quite grouchy when you wake her up before 1 PM.

I had to feed her lots of coffee to make amends.

She did cheer up a bit when she heard I needed her to try on a muslin of a bodice of a dress.

A heavily pleated bodice.

Look at all those pleats.

 This is why they call me


Actually, no one has ever called me that.

 Not once.

 But they should

“I want pleats! Lots and lots of pleats”
said the client who will someday wear this dress.

“I DEMAND pleats. I DREAM of pleats! GIVE ME PLEATS!”

Actually, I’m making that up. I’m pretty sure I was the one demanding pleats. But it’s fun to pretend I have to deal with crazy demanding clients instead of the sweet accommodating ones I have been blessed with

Then I added a midriff band.

To accentuate the waist and all.

 Accentuated waists are good.

 Unless you don’t have one, and that’s just unfortunate.

Then comes the skirt.

 Now it looks like a real dress. It’s all ready for the first fitting!

 Which went quite well, in case you were wondering.

Cause I am

.........waite for it................

JK. I wish!!