Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorites of 2013

Okay, I feel a little late to the game.  I almost didn't write this post because I haven't blogged an entire year.  But I've made more things than I can keep track of, so this feels like a great reminder to me of what I enjoyed doing the most while learning to sew this past year. 

I haven't blogged about everything I've sewn (who has time to do both?!?), but here are some of my favorites.  And by favorites I mean I enjoyed making them and they were actually worn often instead of thrown into the "not quite right" pile to fix someday.

For the Girls:

I modified the Cottage Mama Party Dress, my favorite basic bodice.

It should come as no surprise that I love these tops (I made 11!)

The best fitting pants I've ever made for the girls. 
I'm also in love with those shoes I painted with gold triangles.

For Me:

I modified the Casual Lady Top to make this.  It was my second time using knits and looking back I'm pretty shocked it was sewn up without too many problems since I was making it up as I went.

  For the Man of the House:

I really need to sew more men's items!
 Non Clothing:

Someday I'll make another...

So those are the favs that I've actually taken pics and blogged about.  Hopefully I can get more efficient in the new year and share more - I already have a few new favorites to show soon.
Wishing everyone out there a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dishtowel to Child's Apron - in less than 10 minutes

A friend's birthday was coming up and I asked the girls what they wanted to give her.  Since they had just made cookies and could think of nothing else, they requested I make her an apron and get her some baking supplies.  No problem.  I made them aprons last year out of some dishtowels and ribbons and they love them.  There are several ways to do this, but here's how I do it-

You'll need:

  • a dishtowel - mine was 17" x 24 1/2"
  • ribbon - at least 50"
  • any embellishments you want to add to the apron

 Step 1:  Pinch the towel at about 8 1/2" from the bottom.  Slide the towel up to overlap about 4".

Step 2:  Stitch the fold in place along each side of the towel.

Step 3:  Stitch down the middle of the towel to secure the fold further and also create two pockets.

Step 4:  Turn the towel over.  Fold each top corner down to line up with the top of the pockets.  Stitch down each side making sure there's a space about 1" on each side for ribbon to slide through (less or more depending on the ribbon you choose).  You can also folder under the corners of the triangles to secure them better.
Step 5:  Slide the ribbon through each casing that you have made.  Seal the ribbon edges with a lighter and tie the ends into knots.  The knots are intended to keep the ribbon from sliding out of the casings.  You can also sew down the ribbon to the apron, but I like to leave it free so it's adjustable.

Step 6:  Finish off by adding any other embellishments to the apron you can think of.  In the two aprons I made the girls I didn't even bother since they already had plenty of interest on them.

There you have it!

This one is a gift, but here's the girls in action wearing theirs…

I couldn't believe they could roll out cookies and cut them by themselves.  The baking set we got from Ikea was a hit!  The smaller roller is perfect for them.  The amount of flour all over the house was pretty ridiculous though.  One of them (hint…she thinks she's tinker bell) decided it was fairy dust and practically started a flour fight.  It was worth it though.  They were so proud of themselves and it was probably time to scrub down every surface in the kitchen anyway.  Still finding sprinkles in random places though. 

Hope everyone out there is finding time to bake and have fun with this season!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Penelope Peplum

I haven't finished Christmas gifts yet, but I sure did find some time to make myself a new shirt.  A way to be productive while still procrastinating.  

You may have noticed it in the Faux Fur Vest Tutorial post.  The pattern is the Penelope Peplum by See Kate Sew.  It was on-sale during Black Friday weekend and I snapped it up as quick as I found out.  

I heart peplums because they are fitted where I feel confident, and flowy where I don't.  It was pretty quick to sew up and straight forward.  Everything worked out like it should, but I'm not sure if the peplum skirt is at the right place on my waist.  I keep thinking it should move up a couple inches, but the next day I think it's great as is.  Or maybe I should've sewn a shorter sleeve option.  What do you think?

In case you're wondering, the fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics.  It's a very nicely weighted knit.  I walked by it and debated forever whether or not it was outdated looking or fashionable - so hard to determine when it's on the bolt rather than a person.  I think in the end it's pretty trendy - reminds me of some Urban Outfitter shirts I've seen.  

I hope to sew up another soon - gotta get this peplum perfected so I can look good while still indulging in all the cookies we've started making!  Any one else procrastinating, or is everyone finished with Christmas gifts?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Make a Faux Fur Vest

Ever fall in love with a faux fur vest in the store, only to look at the steep price tag and have to walk away?  I've wanted one forever but didn't want to pay over 50 bucks for a item that might fall out of fashion soon.  So what do you do?  Make one!

There are already some tutorials out there online, but in case you haven't seen one I wanted to break down the how to for you.  You'll need about 3/4 yard of faux fur and 3/4 yard of a lining fabric (less depending on your size).  I got my fur at JoAnn Fabrics.  Linen or quilting cotton works well as a lining, but you can try knit too.

Start out by making a pattern from a tshirt you own or a tshirt pattern.  (sorry no pictures for this part)  If making one from your own tee, start out by folding your shirt in half with the arms tucked in and the back facing you.  Trace the folded shirt back and add seam allowances (1/2 inch).  Make the front pattern from the back pattern, but angle the neckline into a low V.  You may also want to curve the front piece like in the picture below, but keeping it straight works just as well.

I didn't actually use the curved front pattern piece shown and instead made a more square one later.

Before cutting into the fur, a few things to know…

  • Pet your fur!  Seriously.  You want to be sure of the nap so that when you are cutting out your pattern pieces the nap is facing the direction you want it (usually down).  
  • Some furs shed a ton so you may want to cut it out outside.  I tried cutting it out with a razor on the back side of the fur to avoid the shedding, but that technique didn't work out for me.
  • When sewing the fur together, make sure to tuck the hairs inside so they don't get sucked into the seam.  If they do you can fix it later by gently pulling out the hairs that got sewn down.
  • Also when possible, sew with the fur on top of the lining pieces when feeding through the machine.  I found that the pieces fed more uniformly that way - though it was only a major difference when I used thicker fur.
Use the pattern pieces to cut out a back (on the fold) for the lining and fur, and a left and right front piece for the lining and fur.

The next steps of assembly are very similar to the assembly of a sleeveless bodice.  If you're familiar with sewing those this will be super easy!

1.  Sew the lining front and back pieces (right sides together) at the shoulders.  Do the same for the faux fur pieces.  Pay extra attention that you're sewing the front pieces on correctly so that the armholes are on the outside and neckline is in the center (make sense?).

2.  Next up, we're going to sew the neckline.  Match the front lining pieces to the front fur pieces (right sides together).  Make sure the shoulder seams are matching up.  If you have really thick fur, definitely pin or clip the fabrics together as it will shift around while you're sewing.

Too bad my lining looks the same on both sides - wrong side shown on top in picture.
3.  Sew the arm holes on each side (fabric still right sides together), leaving the side seams unfinished still.

4.  Now that you have the shoulder seams, neckline, and armholes sewn together, reach in and turn the vest right side out.

Only the side seams and bottom to finish.  The side seams will be tackled next.

5.  Take one side and match the fur front to the fur back, and match the lining front to the lining back - all right sides facing.  Make sure the bottom of the armholes line up.  Sew it up and repeat for the next side.

6.  Almost there!  Turn it inside out so that you can match the bottom hems of the lining pieces to the fur pieces (right sides together).  Sew from one front piece to the middle back and stop.  Then sew from the other side to the middle back and stop again, leaving a gap large enough for your hand to fit through.  Then use that gap to turn the vest right side out again.  Hand sew the opening closed with a blind stitch.

You may love it so much you'll make two like I ended up doing.  Trendy Christmas gifts for all!  

Use a fun lining….

Or a plain one…

Either way Good Luck!
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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Plain Tshirts Holiday-ed Up!

Got any plain Tshirts or hand-me-downs that you want to give new life too?  Turn them into Holiday shirts with some bleach, paint, or sharpies!

I'm a little fascinated with using bleach to write and draw on fabric and was eager to try the technique again.  It's so easy!  All you need to do is pour a little bleach straight into a bowl and use a Q-tip or paint brush to "paint" the bleach on the fabric.  Make sure you place cardboard between the front and back of the shirt to prevent bleed through!  The bleach reacts quickly with the fabric and you'll see your design start to show up within 5-10 minutes.  You have to hand wash the fabric after those minutes to see the final results of the bleach (sometimes it looks more yellow before washing).

I couldn't get the idea out of my head of sprinkling bleach on a tee to make it appear like snow was falling.  So I grabbed some shirts and my bleach painting supplies (err Q-tips…).

But first I started out with the red shirt.  I had lots of ideas - candy cane, santa hat, christmas lights, ornaments… the candy cane won out.

The bleach didn't turn the red completely into white, which was little disappointing.  Bleach reacts different to every fabric/color, so you never know what you're going to get until you try it out.  I highlighted the candy cane with a gold sharpie and added a little green ribbon.  *Note - If you use a permanent marker on fabric, you should iron it for a few minutes afterwards to set it in and prevent future fading.  My favorite part about this candy cane shirt is probably the lace at the hem of the shirt.  Adding the lace takes away from the stretch of the shirt, but it's not a big deal since it's at the hem.

Next up came the blue shirt with snow effect I wanted to achieve - with the phrase "Let it Snow".  If you follow on instagram, you may have seen what happens when bleach takes a little too well to a particular fabric.  The bleach spread really fast from the letters I had painted on with a Q-tip and turned the phrase illegible.  A bleach pen may have had less tragic results.  All was not lost though!  I used a silver sharpie to rewrite "Let it" and outlined "SNOW".  Way better.  I also added some texture to the shirt by sewing on some extra snowflakes I had crocheted.  I've been addicted to making them lately and have a bunch laying around.

Hope everyone is enjoying the snow that has seemed to touch almost every bit of the country the past week.  We definitely have!

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Color Your Own Tote

Check one off the Christmas gift making list!  Have you seen the IKEA Tidny fabric?  It's this great canvas-like cotton with interesting drawings on it that are meant to be colored in with permanent markers or fabric pens.  I think it's a fantastic way to give a personalized gift.  Have the kids color the fabric and then sew it up into a tote for giving.  

I considered writing a tutorial, but this one is better than I would write up.  I've also seen this fabric made into skirts, shorts, and pillows.  I plan on making the girls some skirts.  I have a feeling they'll get a kick out of wearing something they've colored.  What's everyone else making to give this year?

also linked at:
Creat Link Inspire

Monday, December 2, 2013

This Christmas

This Christmas I decided to do something most people would think is crazy on top of everything else that goes on during the holiday season.  I decided to finally open an Etsy shop!

My supportive friends have been urging me to do so for quite some time, but I know the Etsy biz can be tough so I hesitated.  But the past few weeks something got in me and I started creating a ton of things that I love to sew/knit/crochet.  Mainly simple skirts, hair clips, and infinity scarfs.  Since the girls do not need a skirt for every day of December, I opened up shop to get rid of it all (and have a reason to make more of course).

Right now the inventory is mostly holiday items, though that will change eventually.  The link to the shop is in the side bar.  This is expected to be my only post about it since this blog is not about the shop, it's about sharing ideas or experiences with creating/sewing.

Btw, what has everyone else been up to lately?  Lots of crafting?!?  

Lately we've just been enjoying the season - talking about the true meaning of Christmas, reading about the Elf on the Shelf, seeing Santa, and also seeing our first movie in a theater!  We splurged and took the girls to see the new movie Frozen on Black Friday.  I LOVED it!  The girls on the other hand loved the big screen and the popcorn, but were a little concerned with the seats trying to fold them in half and the loud music.  They keep talking about the snowman movie though.  Olaf and the reindeer totally outshine the princesses - a rare thing!  I made them some cute snowflake hair clips to celebrate the new experience, which I'm glad they love.  I have a lot of patterns printed and gifts to make that I hope to get going on and sharing about soon!  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something for my Other Half

When my husband had a birthday last month, I thought it would be good to finally sew him something. He does so much for me by putting up with my disaster sewing area and taking pictures of everything so I can share.  It's high time I put aside fabric and time for him and not just the kids (or me).

The tshirt is a free pattern over at Burda Style called Pete.  The pattern wasn't too difficult and went together well.  I spent quite a few hours on it though.  I wanted to make sure that the stripes matched perfectly and that the inside seams were nice and clean.  No rushing!  When I was finished, it looked humungous and I was pretty sure it was going to be a fail.  But I tried it on and it looked good on me except for the shoulder width so I was pretty pleased.

This must be his best side, since almost all the pics I took of him looked like this!  It's kinda weird that I made one exactly like the pattern picture.  I didn't intend to, it's just that this black/grey striped knit was the manliest fabric I had on hand.  I love it though - he doesn't have a lot of striped shirts or black and grey ones.  I think he loves it too since he wears it pretty often, so I think I'll start trying some more men's patterns.  I'd love to hear of any good ones!

Also linked at:
Make it Wear it Thursday