Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hit me baby one more time.

The Sew Weekly challenge for last week was to redo a pattern. They used patterns from earlier in the year but I haven't done a lot of challenges so I decided to do two that I sort of needed. Forgive the title but every time I think if this challenge I get "Hit Me Baby One More Time" stuck in my head.

My first redo was this cream color shirt. Its made from the Jalie scoop neck top pattern. I added a lot of length to the sleeves and then added lace to the end of the sleeves and the neck line. My husband said it looked like a pirate shirt. He also says that is a compliment so I guess I'll take it. Its out of supper soft rayon lycra and while I don't necessarily love the way it drapes around the girls I think it will get a good bit of wear this winter bc it feels so good on. I still have some work to do on the arms of this pattern but I'll save that for another day.  I probably need to work on a tee shirt sloper.

My big accomplishment of the past month or so was getting my courage together to make some jeans. Ready to wear jeans and I don't have a great track record and the Jalie jeans pattern has so many great reviews that I decided that many people couldn't be wrong.  These first pictures are of the first pair.  I cut the pattern based on my waist measurment.  This is not what the directions suggest but since my waist is always the biggest of my measurments I decided to go with my gut (in more ways then one I guess).  I'm glad I did this as the muslin fit well as does this pair.  The only change I made here was to straighten out the legs. 

I should have added length but didn't so I used extra wide single fold bias tape to hem them so that they didn't get way too short.
This is the second pair.  They are out of slightly stretchier denim.  I wanted to make them skinnies so I measured a pair of jeans that I like and tapered the legs accordingly.  I'm still getting used to skinny jeans.  I guess its a sign of my age but I remember waking through the mall with my mom telling her that I'd never wear bell-bottoms.  Of course then I had boot cut and super flare jeans for years.  Now skinnies are back and I'm not so sure except that I love them stuffed into my purple boots.
I also added 3 inches of length to these at the knee.  I like the added length.  It allows them to rumple a bit at the bottom.  I also tightened these up a little by using a 5/8in outer seam allowance for the outseam.  I think they could still be a bit snugger but I wasn't feeling brave.
You probably can't see them well but I put pin-tucks on the back pockets of this pair and used purple top-stitching thread for both pairs.  Does anyone know where you can order different colors of top-stitching thread from?  I'd love some funky colors but purple was the most interesting color at my local store.
Anyways, I'm loving my new jeans. I've still got a bit to learn and I'm sure there will be plenty of new pairs to come but they fit so well without falling down. I feel like my rtw pairs are either uncomfortable at the beginning of the day or falling off by the end of the day. While I doubt I will ever be completely done with rtw clothing my quest for the perfect jeans is over. I'm getting closer with every pair so I think I'll just stick with making them myself.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Smurf Smurf Smurf dress

This little dress has been in my mind for a bit now.  I bought the Smurf tee at Five Below this summer before we went to see the movie.  I had planned to make a summer dress to wear to the movie but that just didn't happen.  It sat on my shelf until I noticed that this month pattern review was having a refashioning contest.  Now there are ladies taking apart lined jackets and such for that so I'm not expecting victory but it did end up being the push I needed to get going on a Smurf dress.
This month is also use a tutorial month on sewing mamas.  I liked the idea from this tutorial but ended up changing a bunch of things to get the look I wanted so I decided to make my own tutorial for how I got my version.  Like the original I started with the Olivia dress pattern.  I also had 3 black shirts and a little big of light blue cotton lycra.
I used the front pattern piece to mark where I wanted to make the bustle for the back of the dress. 

Then I cut individual pattern pieces for the bottom flounce and the other three flounces.
Each piece had to be slashed, spread, and then cut on the fold so having individual pieces made things much easier.

The bottom flouce was attatched to the regular back piece.  If I had had more fabric I probably would have just made a really long flouce but I did not have enough for that.
Then all the  bustle pieces are lined up and sewn together at the top.  I also sewed them down each side to make assembly easier.  If you want to serge the bottoms this is the time to do that for all but the bottom piece.  That one should be hemmed with the rest of the skirt in case your seam allowances were a little off like mine were.

Then I sewed the bustle to the upper back.
I used one of the shirt sleeves for the black upper sleeve and the regular dress sleeve for the lower blue sleeve.  For the black one I just cut it out of the shirt and cut the hem of the bottom.  I shirred the bottom of each sleeve then sewed them together before putting them into the dress.

Other then that I just put it together the regular way.  I haven't given you a great directions but this really is one of those things that is easier to do then it looks or sounds.  Just make sure you have an individual pattern piece for each bustle piece and you should be just fine. 

Here are model shots of the back and front.  It was raining the day she wore it so we had to stay indoors.  She likes the dress though and enjoys shaking the ruffles.  You might also recognize the leggings.  They were posted here and refashioned from knee socks and a pair of bike shorts.

Lesson Learned: If a tee shirt does not have side seams you can cut off the neck and sleeves then fold it in half to get a larger pattern piece to fit. This just means the front and back piece can't come from the same shirt.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

pins times 2

Its taken me forever to get around to doing this little post.  The top picture if for the sewingmama's I think September challenge.  It is a sewing machine pincushion.  I wasn't sure about it when I made it but now that I've had it for a bit I'm loving it.  Usually, I end up just throwing pins on my table as I take them out of things so this has made my sewing room a much safer place for the barefooted sewer and child.  I made it from this tutorial.
This was my go at the October challenge. It was to either make a stuffy or digitize a child's artwork. I didn't really want to do either of these things but since I had done them all I decided to at least do something that was in the spirit of the challenge. I used a lilblueboo tutorial to transfer a scanned image of a drawing Emily did to a shirt. I wasn't thrilled with the results though so I'm glad its a shirt we mostly wear under things. I think my laser printer was just one of the ones that didn't work well with this technique.  Oh well I've got another one pinned that I want to try one day.  I wish someone made iron on paper to use with laser printers.

PS I know its November I'll get the post for that challenge up tonight or tomorrow.  I ended up changing enough in the tutorial I used that I wrote my own so the post will take a bit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a brown skirt

A few months ago I got it in my head that I desperately needed a brown corduroy skirt. In that how on earth have I survived this long without one sort of way. I mean really how does anyone survive without one? Does that ever happen to you? I bought two yards of baby whale cord and dug through my pile of patterns.

There were a few contenders but ultimately I decided on  Simplicity 2512 view D.  I actually bought it initially with view A in mind but found myself drawn to this version.  The reviews were good though I'm glad I read them because this pattern is high wasted and short which is a problem since I am also high waisted and tall.  As in 5 feet 9 and a half inches tall most of which is legs.  I slashed this pattern and added the oh so not magical but totally the width of my ruler 3inches.  I'm glad I did.  It would have been indecent on my without. 
I think I like the fit though the curved waistband nippes in a lot.  I made a 16 and pre waistband thought I could have dropped a size.  Post waistband I'm glad I didn't or it wouldn't have fit.  If I make it again I will probably slash and spread just a bit so it sits a little lower. 
Stupid Lesson Learned:  You only need one left front and one right front for this skirt so be smarter then me and unfold your fabric before you cut. 
I had planed to use cord for the bias binding but thanks to my cutting mix up I did not have enough.  I'm glad I didn't though.  I used this lovely light brown quilters cotton that has line drawings of old fashion ladies in profile all over it.  I only had a yard and Emily was not a fan so this became I nice little detail.  Makes me feel a touch anthroie.

Hope you like.  I've worn it 3 times now and am pretty sure I do.  It  looks better my shirt tucked in so I'm adjusting to that idea.  The other thing I want to point out even though it is stating the obvious is that this is not an aline skirt or even a straight skirt.  This think is widest at the hips and nips in towards the waist and knees.  Its a neat style but I'm not sure I realized that till I made it so I'll give you the benefit of my experience.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I promise I have been sewing lately. I'm got to get some pictures taken. In the mean time though I thought you might enjoy these. I mean who doesn't love some wild and crazy tights. For some reason Emily gets worked up if she doesn't think her plain tights match her outfit but is fine with a wild print that doesn't come close. I've had more trouble finding cool wild tights this year for some reason though.

Then I had a major well Duh moment when I read this post. She was using adult knee socks and tights with wholes in the knee but it worked pretty well with capri length leggies. The only real change I made was that I just cut the leggies a little above the knee and sewed the socks on so the didn't have to stretch so much. This makes it easier for Emily to pull them back up. I also discovered that if you want footless tights you can just cut the foot off right above the heal and sew them on upside down. These are all Target socks and they are getting a bit pilly but they are holding up well so far. Talk about a great instant gratification project. I made all of these in abot 15 minutes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bun Bun

This is the last Halloween post. Don't worry it was done well before just like Elijah's costume I'm just behind in my posting. I think Emily is so cute that she is worth the wait though. I thought she would pick a princess this year but she was having such a hard time deciding what she wanted to be that I took her to JoAnns to look at the books. She loves the books. After much deliberation she decided to be a bunny. Not just any bunny but her beloved stuffed bunny Bun Bun. 

Amusingly there was not a bunny pattern.  She saw Simplicity 2068 and decided the lamb was close enough.  Maybe with a little encouragement from her mama and big brother both of whom were ready to pick out fabric.
The pattern sizing was not great.  I ended up doing the width of a 2 and length of a 4 for the top and the width of a 1 with the crotch curve of a 2 and the length of a 4 for the legs.  Not too bad but considering that the pattern is a "Learn to Sew" pattern not great either.    
I decided not to bother with the Simplicity hat.  Instead I used the bear hat from Little Things To Sew and made the ears longer.  This went together really well.  It is a little big but super cute.  I decided to make a medium and probably could have gotten by with a small.
Hope you like.  Emily was pleased and I'm really glad she decided to be something little and cute this year.  Don't get me wrong I like princesses but there's just something way too sweet about dressing up like your favorite stuffed animal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

almost mini boden

A month or two ago I was perusing the Boden site. No good reason to be there mind you but there I was and there this was.  It was love at first sight.  Well almost.  I didn't like the price tag one bit and I didn't love either color.  I mean the burgundy is pretty but it felt too much like a just Christmas dress and while the mustard may float some or your boats it would make Emily look like a flu victim.  I guess that could have been that but I also had the nagging feeling that I had seen a tutorial for something similar.  Then I remembered the Starboard Skirt from Simple Simon and Co. 

So with that as my jumping off point this is where I ended up. 
The bodice is based on a sleeveless a-line dress.  I just squared it off and cut it short.  Then I cut a single strip for the bow band.  The bow itself is a bigger version of this bow tie without the padding.
The fabric is velvetien that was in my mother's stash.  I have no idea how much she bought or for what purpose but there is still a lot more.  The shirt is the peasant top from Little Girls Big Style made from I think City Weekend fabric though I'm not sure if that's the right line.  I know its from the Oliver and S line and it is so very soft.  It reminds me of they way Lightening Bugs and Other Mysteries felt just if you were wondering.
As for the skirt part I did make a few changes.  I based my measurements on the bottom of the bodice.  I also made my pleat a bit bigger and decided to sew about thee inches down to hold it in place.  I wanted it to stay closed for a bit on the skirt below the bow.

Here you can see it all flattened out and then I sewed it flat just inside the seam allowance so it wouldn't get wonky when I attached it to the bodice.  The inspiration dress had little tucks in the back skirt but I decided to do gentle gathers for Emily's dress instead. 

I hope you like it. I'm so glad I found the Simple Simon tutorial as a jumping point. I know my directions are not the best but I figured something was better then nothing. Hopefully, one day I will learn to make really nice precise tutorials. Until then I do enjoy rambling.

Stupid lesson learned during this project: You cannot just cut off the top of an invisible zipper and expect the facing to keep the zipper pull from coming off.  This lead to  having to ripe out a broken zipper and install a new one.  In this case the new one is a slightly exposed and oh so trendy regular zipper.   I think I'm going to add this as a new feature.  Perhaps some of you will learn from my mistakes and I but most of you will get a good laugh from them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

pretty art smock

I signed Emily up for an art class in our towns art center.  The only thing that had me worried was that they were asked to bring an art smock or old tee shirt to cover their clothes.  Now we are talking about a child who hates to cover her dresses.  She started refusing to wear bibs at about a year old and still fights me on coats regularly.  I knew good and well this little bugger was not going to wear her brothers old blue and red Kindergarten smock or one of my race tee shirts.  Then I remembered there was a cute little smock in Little Things to Sew.  She made hers with quilters cotton but I decided to use laminated cotton.  I made a medium but shortened the length a bit because I only bought a yard of the fabric.  I also left off the pockets because I didn't think she needed them.
She still wants to take it off as soon as the art project is done but at least we didn't get paint all over our clothes.  Her class is over for now and she has moved on to swimming but I'm sure we will do more in the spring and the smock well get broken back out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birthday Monkey

Did you guess that Emily had turned 4? She sure did on October 16th. I've been referring to her as a 4yo instead of a 3yo lately but hadn't gotten the Birthday dress post finished.

This dress is the cover dress from Otto 6/06.  I saw it when I first discovered the Ottobre site and had to have it for this dress alone.  Though there are some other things in it that I really like as well.  Emily seems to agree.  When I was shower her options for her Birthday dress she squealed when she saw this one.  Now this may come as a shock to some of you but she also choose the lovely monkey cupcake fabric.

I wanted to share a few pictures of the process as well.  This dress looks a little intimidating but if you keep track of the pieces its really quite easy.
I modified the straps to button.  All I really did was cut them a bit longer and secure them into the back bodice.

Here is a picture of the first ruffle being gathered to the bodice.  I like to pin in place before pulling in the gathers with the bobbin thread.  I just think its easier to distribute things this way.

Once the ruffle is sewn on it gets sandwiched between the bodice and the next dress piece.

Here you can see it sticking out between the layers.

The next layer is put together the same way.  Here's the finished product minus the little girl and before the monkey buttons.  I got the monkey buttons once the dress was finished.  I almost didn't get them bc I worried they were a little over the top.  Then I had to laugh at myself bc really this dress is so far gone buttons can't make much of a difference.

She is wearing it with matching  double ruffle pants from the book Little Girls Big Style.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Blog Love

I've got a bunch of posts in the works but haven't exactly finished any of them yet plus I had another little topic I wanted to cover quickly. Last week I got a blog award from Glo sews. It was one specifically for new blogs or blogs with less then 200 followers. Now I'm not always into the idea of an award that then you give to 5 other people but I love the idea of spreading the word about smaller and newer blogs. Too bad for me it turned out that I wasn't reading many myself so I went through the list of my awesome followers and added a bunch of their blogs to my sidebar. Boy are you some talented ladies. Its humbling to know that you take the time to read what I write. So here are my five though might I suggest you check out all the blogs to the right.

Frogs in a Bucket She makes beautiful things for herself.
Lindsey's Wardrobe  She sews things for her daughter some of which I may copy directly.
macaroni & cheese  She does all sorts of things and upcycles quite a bit.
Stuff Mummy Makes  She makes adorable things for her son and takes beautiful pictures.
Goosegirl Sews I love to sew and smock but one day I hope to do them as well as she does.  She probably has more followers but I'm listing her anyways.

Do you have a great blog I should check out?  Do you know of one that I'd enjoy?  If so by all means please put it in the comments.  I'm not really following all of the award rules but I do hope you will check out some of the blogs I enjoy both listed here and on the sidebar.  If I missed yours its not that I don't like it just that blogger and I do not always see eye to eye on little things like if I can see my followers list so please don't be offended.