Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coloring Wallets

These coloring wallets were made at a friend's request. She is gifting them to her nieces for Christmas. The design is a basic crayon roll enlarged to hold colored pencils or markers and with a pocket to hold a standard size scratch pad. I love the interior fabric, Always Peace by Michael Miller, designed to look like doodling on notebook paper. The main exterior fabrics are both from Amy Butler.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Snow White - Simplicity 2817

Simplicity 2817 for my sweet girl. Of course, I think she's the cutest Snow White...ever! I actually bought this pattern over a year ago during a Hancock 99 cent sale. The two blue fabrics are cotton/poly broadcloth. The yellow and pink were picked up from the bargain table....a polyester of some sort, I assume.

The pattern was fairly easy to follow and offered me some new challenges - piping, applique, sewing with "slippery" fabrics. I made only a few adjustments to the pattern, adding velcro closure rather than a zipper (easier for playing), forgoing the bow on the headband, and not adding the stand-up white collar around the cape. The bodice runs a bit big, but that will help the dress stay in dress-up rotation for a year or two. Simplicity 2817
We were rushing to go to the zoo for Hallzooween one Sunday and I ran into *issues* making the white collar. My daughter tried on the cape and said "I think it looks finished without the white part". I hugged and kissed her and told her that she made my week! I also grew tired of fussing with the hem....and decided to cut it with the pinking blade of my rotary cutter! It works just fine without a proper hem. I may finish the hem at some point, or I may not!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Big Butt Baby Pants

Awesome name for a pattern, isn't it? If you follow Made by Rae, you have probably seen Rae's new pattern for Big Butt Baby Pants. Although my only "baby" who just started kindergarten (insert sad mom face here) can no longer fit this pattern, there are babies in my extended family....who may or may not be big-butted. Guess what? They are getting new pants in the near future!

The pattern is available as a pdf download, includes two pattern pieces and is sized for newborn to 2T. The pattern offers variations for foldable cuffs and butt ruffles. Rae will post instructions for pockets. The back insert allows for easy fitting over cloth diapers...thus the big butt name.

The main fabric is "XOXOXO, The Cat" by Wendy Slotboom for In the Beginning Fabrics, ordered sometime last year. The accent fabric is a quilting cotton purchased at Hancock. the print reminds me of martini olives! Cheers!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

HUGE Pool Bag

My sister asked me to make a pool/beach bag. Her one request was that the finished bag be huge enough to hold all the neccessities for her family of four's trip to the pool.
Pool bag sewn from Fredrika Fabric IKEA
I knew that IKEA fabrics were the way to go, since my sister wanted a fun print and sturdy bag. Constanca inspired me with her beach bag made with the same Fredrika fabric. I drafted a pattern in a similar shape. For the interior, I used IKEA's striped Sofia canvas and included a large pocket (12"x16") and key fob. I added some interfacing to beef up the handles but did not add any to the body of the bag since I used the heavier fabrics.
The finished size is nearly 24" x 36"! Yes, large enough for four towels, dry clothes, diapers, snacks, purse....or a couple of toddlers! IKEA Fredrika

Bathroom Makeover. Fabric related....but no sewing!

Dusting off the blog...I won't blabber on about the many unfinished, unsatisfying projects that happened this summer...this blog is meant to archive my finished projects. So here is a project that has nothing to do with sewing, but does involve transforming a space with fabric!

I saw this Target shower curtain on another sewing blog (can't remember where, though) and knew it would be perfect for my daughter's bathroom. The print is fun, modern but not too "kiddy". I love how a fun print can change your mood. The little squirrels and owls make me smile!
Without painting, it turned the room from blah to wow!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nightshirt Refashion

After seeing this nightshirt worn on the bloganista flickr group, I purchased one at Target on clearance for less than $4 for my first refashion. This top was intended to be my second entry for Rae's Top Week. The deadline was Friday 4/30. The master procrasinator in me just assumed that the deadline was Friday at 11:59:59, so after getting my daughter to bed that night, I scurried around to finish the top and upload the pictures to flickr. I was even going to be clever and name the top "the buzzer beater" or something...but checked Rae's blog and saw that the deadline was actually 8 PM. Oh well, that news allowed me to slow down and finish the top on Saturday with a little more care.
Fortunately, the nightshirt fit me perfectly across the shoulders, so no adjustments there. I cut off eight or so inches off the bottom and got started. First I opened up the collar seams and removed the collar, leaving just the band which I restitched. I took in the side and sleeve seams quite a bit.
On the placket, I removed all buttons and sewed the bottom two-thirds shut. Then from the fabric piece cut from the bottom, I created ruffles cut on the bias and sewed them right onto the placket. I like the current ruffle-trend but in small doses, so this worked well for me.

I used a hem facing and finished with a double-row of topstitching. With facings, I have been understitching (using Karyn's tutorial) which makes a big difference in the finished product. After cutting the sleeves to three-quarter length, I considered adding a bias cut binding, but decided to go with a simple casing for elastic.
This is an easy top to throw on for a comfy weekend day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another go at Simplicity 2892

Simplicity 2892
Last year for made by rae's Spring Top Week, I made a Simplicity 2892. Why not kick off this year's Top Week with the same pattern? This black and white cotton lawn was scored on clearance last year from for only $3.49 per yard. (I have the same print in green and white that is destined to become a tunic)

This view of the pattern has lots of fussy details including a ruffle, a gathered yoke and hand-joined yoke facing. You can read my post about the first 2892 for some details. The only variation I made to this version was four rows of shirring at the hem. I have wanted to try shirring and it was fairly easy. The details are a little hard to see on this busy fabric.

I loved the outcome of last year's 2892 but don't love the fabric. I wore it just once. This black and white version is the most wearable of any garment I have made. It sort of has a White House Black Market vibe.

A couple of other tops are in process (along with two skirts and a dress)....let's see if I make the deadline for Top Week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Skirt Muslin

Dressmaking, aka garment sewing, has my interest these days. I added some new books to my sewing library to focus on learning techniques and drafting patterns. A few new blogs have been added to my google reader and I registered for the classes that came with my new sewing machine.
Design it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch is teaching me how to draft patterns. Cal walks step-by-step through pattern drafting with instructions to make skirt, pants, woven top, t-shirt and dress patterns. I started with the skirt and have been working on my pattern and muslin for the past few weeks. I've also been hanging out at KitschyKoo's sewalong over at her blog and on flickr.

The pattern drafting process is interesting. I love the idea of drafting custom patterns based on your personal measurements. As someone whose chest and waist measurements correspond to a "small" pattern size and hip measurement to "large", making custom fit clothing, especially skirts and pants, is an attractive concept. The drafting process takes patience and willingness to try and try again. At this point, I have adjusted my pattern eight or ten times.

After completing a first draft of my pattern, I realized that I forgot to include ease. Oops...I'm not going for skintight! So I erased my lines and redrew adding in an inch of ease to each measurement as the book suggests. After the pattern draft was revised, I cut out my fabric for the first trial run, aka my muslin. My muslin is not made of muslin at all, but of a lightweight embroidered black corduroy from my stash.

I then sewed up the side seams using a long basting stitch, leaving one side seam open about 8 inches at the top. Then I did a quick try-on and realized that my hand-drawn hip curve was unlike any natural hip shape in this world....with pointy bits sticking out from my hip area like some stylized couture piece...but not in a good way. (Note to self: purchase a hip curve soon.) I also found that the "sweep" (circumference of the bottom edge of the skirt) was too large, making this A-line skirt a seriously exaggerated A. So I went back to the pattern, redrew the hip curve and reduced the sweep. I ended up smoothing out the hip curve quite a bit, almost an inch inside the original hip point line I drew. My ending sweep measurement is only about six inches larger than the hip measurement. This made for a less exagerated A, but still flattering for my body shape.

Now is where I begin to sound like shampoo bottle instructions: wash, rinse, repeat...or in this case, redraw pattern, baste side seams, try on, rip out side seams, repeat. I went through this process five or six times, which is the exact reason to sew a muslin first (with basting stitches simple to rip out). The muslin allows you to achieve just the right fit and perfect the pattern through trial and error.

Once I had what I thought was a good fit, I wanted to take the skirt on a trial run. My goal was to ensure that the fit was nice and comfortable while sitting, walking, driving, etc. before I went to the trouble of finishing the waistband and attempting my first invisible zipper. So, I restitched the side seams (both all the way up) using a standard stitch length and handsewed the hem. In this condition, still with an unfinished waist, I slipped the skirt on over my head (yes, really!) and wore it work. My conclusion was that the fit was right, although the fabric stretched out a bit by the end of the day. I received a few compliments from co-workers, and thought to myself "if they only knew how unfinished this garment is."

The pictures in the post were taken after work (in diminishing natural light), so the skirt is a little stretched out but still well-fitting. Those black tights look so shiny with the flash and are doing nothing for me in these pictures :) I may go shorter on the length. This fabric could easily look dowdy at longer lengths. So now, I'll properly finish this skirt with lining, zipper and waistband...then try out the pattern in another fabric.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quick nightgown

During a shopping trip this summer, my daughter picked out some cute fabric for a nightgown. This morning she pulled the fabric out of my stash. I like when she shows an interest in my sewing, so I decided to sew up a quick gown.
For a simple project, I chopped off one of last summer's t-shirts for the bodice and added a gathered skirt of the gown fabric. To keep the gown really cozy and to help it fit longer, I cut off the sleeve and neckline bindings using my rotary cutter with the pinking blade.

I ironed-on some flower transfers that I picked up at Michaels many months ago to add some interest and up the cute factor,

The gown is a hit and is still being worn as I type! I told my daughter that it will be a spring/summer gown, but I have a feeling this might make it into heavy dress-up rotation until then!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Apron in cotton lawn

My daughter outgrew her apron so a new one on my to-do list. Initially, I chose a "kiddie" fabric, but she grabbed this floral from my stash instead ("because it has pink"). Her choice worked for me, because this fabric was purchased with the intent of making a vintage-styled apron. This cotton lawn (from JoAnn's red-tag area for $1/yd!) reminds me of something I might have found in my great-grandma's kitchen! I love the feel of the lawn.
I used McCalls 5551, View A. This pattern is nice as it contains patterns for several different style aprons in kid and adult sizes. I also used this to help size the recent soccer apron. I cut out a size 6-7 thinking my daughter can wear it for several years. I was right....the apron nearly fits me! I can actually fold the bib portion over and wear it comfortably as a hostess apron. The pattern calls for lace trim, but I used magenta ric rac to add even more vintage feel. Here you see the apron being put to use. You can also tell it is plenty big for my four year old. Conveniently, the fabric matches perfectly with her new slipper boots from Grandma :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules

Puppet Theatre current from Bend the Rules Sewing
I made the Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules Sewing as a Christmas gift for my daughter. I also gave her an animal puppet-making kit (picked up at Michaels a year or so ago). The colorful puppets paired well with the Puppet Theatre and led to a hilarious puppet show on Christmas day with my sister, mom, daughter and me as the puppetmasters. It was one of those priceless moments that only happen with a little one around! I deviated from the book instructions slightly, because I didn't use cuts of fabric. The main fabric with large circles is a nursery curtain panel and the white fabric with small dots is a coordinating crib sheet. Both are from Dwell Studio for Target. I lucked out and found these on a clearance endcap for $5 each because they were an internet return. I love the colors and happy dots! As a side note, if you are in the market for nursery linens, these are great quality - soft, smooth cottons. The curtains are fully lined, too.
The pattern and instructions for this project are straightforward. I suggest planning to make this over a few days. Sewing all of those long straight seams gets tedious :) To make the project go a bit faster, you could leave off the ball trim and even skip the valances. I don't know if using the curtain panel was a shortcut or not. It did save me from hemming the bottom, making a casing for the tension rod and hemming one side. On the other hand, it added a few steps adding pieces to create the window.

All of the white there in the middle section is feeling a little boring to me, so I may cut out some of the large dots and applique on the bottom valance.
Since my 63"x44 curtain panel was wider and shorter than the main fabric piece that the instructions call for, I had to make a few adjustments:
  • I cut about 1o inches off the side and hemmed to the book measurements (give or take). (the ten inches I cut off should work well to make the storage case.)
  • Then I cut the curtain into two separate pieces, across the width about 14 inches down from the top edge. I hemmed the top piece. I left the edges raw on the bottom piece.
  • From the crib sheet, I cutoff the elastic/casing off to create a flat piece of the white dot fabric. (I saved the elastic/casing...I'm sure I can use it later at some point.)
  • From the white dot fabric, I then cut two rectangles measuring 8"x16"and hemmed the long sides of each rectangle. I also cut my valances from this fabric.
  • I attached the bottom valance to the bottom piece of the main panel (and enclosed the raw edges) using double fold bias tape in blue.
  • Next, I sewed the short sides of each 8"x16" rectangle to the far ends of the two main panel pieces to create a "window".
  • From this point I just followed the book directions for finishing.
That lengthy explanation may make a straightforward process seem more complicated than it really is, but it might help someone!
Note that in these photos, the dowels are not inserted (they still need to be cut down to size), so the opening appears droopy. When the dowels are in place, the panel and window are nicely squared up.

Small projects

My creativity has needed a boost lately. Even with the holidays approaching, I just didn't have it in me. (I did make a few holiday gifts which I need to post) Honestly, I think the whole craft fair thing, coupled with machine failures and lack of time, zapped my creativity. Craft fairs are not for me, I'm afraid. To get back in the swing of things, yesterday I decided to do some small projects that were short on time and full of instant gratification.

The first project was strap covers for my daughter's car seat. Her seat in my car has cozy covers around the straps that can be positioned around her face. Her seat in my husband's car does not have the cozies and she has been complaining about the scratchy straps. I decided to whip up some covers.
I simply traced the existing cover to make a pattern. I used grey fleece for the top side and fusible fleece on the underside. Then I added velcro strips on the underside to secure the covers around the straps. To finish the covers, I sewed on double-fold bias tape. My husband should appreciate that the trim is Tarheel Blue for his favorite college basketball team!

My second project of the day was a sewing machine cover. For about a year, I had an IKEA pillow cover sort of draped over my machine. I decided my new machine deserved a proper cover. For this I just cut the side seams off the pillow cover, cut the length to fit and then hemmed the raw edges to make a slip-on cover. To close the sides, I sewed on some twill tape ties. Easy, quick, done...cute.

With the remaining fabric from the pillow cover, I made a needlebook and wrist pincushion from One Yard Wonders. I truly need the needlebook. I usually just throw my needles in the bowl that holds my pins (pictured at the top of this post), so it is like looking for a needle in a haystack ( bowl) when I need to handstich.

The pincushion is sewn using an offset square technique. You may not be able see in my pictures, but the end result is a cool zig-zag effect where the two fabrics are joined. I am thinking this same technique might make a nice floor pillow for my daughter's room using two contrasting fabrics to highlight the zig zag result. See, my creativity is slowly but surely returning :)
By the way, One Yard Wonders is full of fun projects. I keep flipping through the pages
or inspiration!! FYI, if you have the book, there are some corrections posted at Storey Publishing and a group set-up at flickr.

Secret Santa Shoulder Bag

I was commissioned to make a bag for a secret santa exchange. Green is the recipient's favorite color, so I paired this green Robert Kaufman print with a chocolate corduroy. The bag is a simple shape and will be a good size for everyday use.
For the closure, I made a corduroy loop and used a large button.