Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stormfly Tank

Yesterday I showed you a flipped Everyday Tank to hooded fur vest, today I wanted to share a regular version.  Well, a "regular version" as in I followed the pattern instructions to make a tank.  A Stormfly themed one!  This girl asked me to make all her clothes to be dragon themed.  Her fall wardrobe is slowly getting there.  

I love the color blocking ability of the pattern.  The shirt colors are the main ones on the dragon Stormfly's tail.  I used some yellow ruffle knit on the side panels and the effect is pretty fun!  The girls think the tank looks like a fish with the ruffles, which works because dragons love fish.  

This is another bleached tee I attempted to make with a freezer paper stencil, but didn't turn out exactly how I planned.  The blue knit took to the sprayed on bleach a little too well, which is why the bleached area is all white instead of speckles of white.  BTW, the stencil was hand drawn and cut to be a side profile of the dragon.  I used one of their toys as a model when designing it.

She loves it, and was pretending to be a dragon in most of the pics, even giving me some dragon calls :)  Be warned, this is not the last dragon themed sewn item I will share.  I can't help but indulge this obsession, it really is a good collection of movies/tv episodes!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Everyday Tank Blog Tour - Hooded Fur Vest Tutorial

Today I get to show you a fun way to use a very versatile pattern from Serger Pepper - the Everyday Tank!  The pattern tour is going on right now and is full of great ideas.

The pattern itself includes directions on how to make a tank top, tank dress, or maxi dress.  The pattern is constructed with a back, front, and side panel pieces, which allows different fabrics to be mixed together to get a unique look. When I first tried out the pattern I sewed up a tank, which I'll show tomorrow.  But then I realized the pattern would be perfect for some vests I had been planning to make the girls for fall!

The vest are made with super soft swirly faux fur from JoAnn Fabrics.  Best part - they are reversible!  The purple one I made extra warm with a purple fleece lining.  There are no closures to the vest because she didn't want any.  She must feel super hip in it, because every pic I got from her in it was like this...

The other vest for her sis is lined with quilting cotton and has snap closures down the front.  I love the rainbow print she picked.

So...want to make one too?

Here's a quick tutorial on how to sew it up using the Everyday Tank pattern.  It's a little different to construct than other vests because it's cut out as one outer piece and one lining piece - no side seams (see here for the usual way to sew a vest up with side seams, plus some tips for sewing with fur).

Start out first by lining up the pattern pieces side by side on the fabric fold.  First the back piece, then the middle, then the front.  Do not overlap them.  Cut out the pattern piece like below (see pink line) with a 1/2" seam allowance on the front line and the necklines, but not in the armholes.  This allows for some ease there.  BTW, if using a thick fur or thick fleece lining, place the back piece from the fold a 1/2" to get some extra wiggle room in the vest.

 Now you'll have one solid piece that looks like this:

Cut it out for the lining also, along with the hood pieces.  I got my hood pattern piece from the Hangout Hoodie pattern.  If you don't have a pattern, cut out two pieces about 9"x 13", then trim one corner on a curve to fit the head.

Now to assemble:
  1. Sew the back seam of the hood pattern pieces with fabric right sides together (RST) leaving the neck and face openings alone.
  2. Sew the shoulder seams of the vest pieces RST.  You now have a two vests.
  3. Sew the fur hood neckline along the neckline of the fur vest. (fabric RST)  Do the same for the lining hood and vest.
  4. Place the lining vest RST to the fur vest.  Sew them together along along the front openings, from one corner to the next, including the hood.  
  5. This is where is gets tricky, stay with me.  Pull the lining back out of the fur.
  6. Match one fur arm hole to it's matching lining arm hole.  Do this by pinching each arm hole at the shoulder seams, then slowly matching and pining them RST.
  7. When you're finished pinning, it should look like this.  (It kinda reminds me of a Chinese finger trap.)  Sew around the circle.  Repeat for the other side.
  8. Turn the vest right side out and you'll have this.

Last but not least, turn the vest inside out again.  Then sew the bottom together, leaving an opening in the middle big enough to get your hand in to turn it right side out again.  Hand stitch the opening closed.

For the rainbow vest, I overlapped the front and added white snaps to finish it off.

These goof balls want to let you know that there is a coupon code BLOGTOUR40 (for 40% off, expiring on Sunday, November 9th). It works for both the Serger Pepper shop ( and Etsy shop (

There's also a giveaway going on during the tour - make sure to enter!  If you decide to buy the pattern during the tour using the coupon code BLOGTOUR40 and win the pattern, you'll have the choice between having another pattern by Serger Pepper now or a $10 coupon code for a future purchase (expiring by the end of the next year 2015).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also don't forget to check out the other versions of the Everyday Tank~

Monday, 3rd

Veronica @ Sew Very†- Karly @ Paisley Roots†-

Tuesday, 4th

Scary/Al @ Shaffer Sisters†- Amy @ Sews N Bows†- Melissa @ Rebel and Malice
Deanna @ Sew Mc Cool†- Lisa @ Cucicucicoo
Wednesday, 5th
Terra @ Mama Says Sew††- Nichole @ Bluebird and the Boy†- Ajaire @ Call Ajaire
Sara @ Made By Sara†- Annemieke @ Sofilantjes

Thursday, 6th

Bethany @ Two Novembers†- Joy @ xoxo Grandma†- Courtney @ Sweeter Than Cupcakes

Friday, 7th

Becka @ Probably Crafting††- Nienke @ Pienkel†- Renee @ Two Many
Shelly @ Coral and Co.†- Michelle @ Falafel and the Bee

Saturday, 8th

- Bethany @ Wildflower Child Create†- Jennifer @ Diary of a MadMama†- Sabra @ Sew a Straight Line
Daniela @ On The Cutting Floor†- Suzanne @ Winter Wonderings

Sunday, 9th

Magda @ House of Estrela†- Shino @ Nutta†- Jonie @ Knot Sew Normal - Kara @ Sweeter Than It Seams

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Betty Skirt Tour - Pleather and Faux Leather

Today I have the pleasure of participating in the the tour of the Shaffer Sisters first and newly revamped pattern, the Betty Skirt!  I had previously posted a version of the skirt when I had tested the pattern for them.  The Shaffer Sisters are some of the nicest and most supportive women out in blogland - along with hard working!  Over the past few months they have perfected the pattern and updated it with more sizes (newborn - 16x), including a doll size.

The pattern has several options - gathered, gathered with placket, small pleats, large pleats - all with very detailed instructions and templates.  Having several options of something puts me into a tailspin...I have to try it all.  And I will make each version of the skirt, eventually.  But for the tour I made three skirts to show some of the ways to use the pattern.  I had only intended to make two (one for each girl), but the other one snuck in.

My favorite part in sewing the Betty is the yoke.  I make a lot of skirts and loathe threading the elastic.  So it's really a fun change to sandwich the elastic between the yoke pieces instead.  The other great thing about this skirt is that its design is perfect for showing off fun fabrics!

Every time I've walked through JoAnns this past summer and saw this bronze pleather and faux leather in the costume section, I've wanted a reason to use it.  I pretty much stopped and stared at these fabrics once a week.  And then it hit me - they would be the perfect fabrics paired with this pattern to make the girls some fall skirts for school picture day.

Get set for picture overload...first the skirts paired with Little Zippy Tops (their picture day outfit) in gorgeous Heather Ross fabric.

The bronze pleather was really much easier to sew with than I had expected.  I chose to do the gathered version of the skirt to let the fabric shine, and it does!

But for the faux leather, I had a different idea.  It's kinda thin, so I figured I could try and pleat it with lots of clips instead of an iron (thinking it was un-ironable).  Turns out it IS able to be ironed at a low heat setting and pleated just fine.  And because of the amazing detail that the Shaffer Sisters put into the pleating guide, I had absolutely no problems with the process (couldn't believe it!)  I stitched each pleat down about an inch to keep the pleat looking sharp.  My girl loves how the pleated option twirls, as she did several times, which is why the skirt looks a little disheveled in the pics :)

The skirts also looked great with these knit shirts (Eleanor Tops) so I had to share pics of those too...

BTW, this outfit was inspired by another Betty Tour look by Modern Handmade.  My girl asked for a scarf made with the horse fabric and I thought it looked perfect paired with a navy Eleanor top and the bronze skirt!

Last (but not least!), the third skirt I made is a different use of the faux leather with the gathered skirt version.  When I bought the other two fabrics, I fell in love with this Native American style embroidered fabric.  

I think the combo of the two fabrics are perfect for fall.  Like I said, this pattern is great for featuring fabric - especially one that you've been saving forever or that you only have a little bit left to use.

Be sure to check out all the other versions that are being showcased during the pattern tour!  Also, if you've been considering this pattern, now is the time to snatch it up - there is a coupon code to use during the tour for 30% off the pattern!  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Twirly Anna

So yesterday I told you that one sister chose to be Belle at a recent princess party, while you've probably figured out from the preview pic that the other sister decided to be Princess Anna.  I basically make Anna dresses for a living (see Etsy shop) and already have made her a nice everyday princess dress that she looks adorable in.  However it wasn't "twirly" enough so I promised her one that was...

I used the Pretty In Peplum pattern once again.  I'm finding it's great to use the pattern to combine knits for the bodice and woven for the skirt - that way it is both comfortable and fancy.  (plus no zipper or button closures - wahoo!!!)  I'm considering posting a tutorial on how to modify the pattern for Anna or Elsa if there's interest...

Attaching the circle skirt to the bodice certainly made it twirly enough.  However it made it more time consuming cutting out all the appliques needed to fill up the skirt.  

I usually use dimensional fabric paint on my Anna dresses for embellishments, but for this one I tried out appliqueing the bodice and skirt with knit scraps and Heat N Bond.  I like how it turned out, but paint is faster and looks good too.  

Now what princess should I do next?!?!  I'm becoming addicted to sewing them.  I had planned on doing Ariel a year ago, so she's probably next.  Though there's been some mention of Rapunzel...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Belle Dress

The girls recently attended their first all girls birthday party where they were asked to dress as their favorite princess.  You'd think this one would pick Tiana, since that's what she chose for Halloween.  But of course she picked Belle and her yellow dress. 

We already have a store bought play up dress that she is perfectly happy with.  But Belle has been on my mental sewing "to try and make someday" list, so I ran to JoAnn's and picked up some yellow and gold, and got to work. 

The dress is the Caroline Party Dress, modified.  The bodice is straight from the pattern (size 4T - a little big for room to grow) with a gold glittery shawl sewn in.  The shawl is a tube of fabric sewn into the back seams, tacked down at the shoulders, then gathered in the middle with a jeweled button.  

The skirt was where the work came in!  I took a yard of crepe fabric selvage to selvage and marked off 6 vertical lines that were then gathered to get the bustled look.  To gather, I sewed 17" long pieces of 1/4" elastic down the marked lines with a zig-zag stitch as I stretched it as much as possible.  I also kinda pushed the fabric though as it was getting fed through the machine (while holding the elastic taut).  It was epic and I was exhausted by the end, but it wasn't too complicated.  Then I just serged the bottom and hemmed it up a 1/2 inch.  

The dress is fully lined like the pattern instructs (though at a longer length) and has tulle added to the lining hem.  To do this, I cut a yellow and a white strip of tulle 12" x 3 yards each, then folded them in half while overlapping them to make one 6" x 3 yard strip.  The strip was then gathered and sewn to the lining like the pattern instructs.  The tulle at the bottom gives just enough princess poof to the dress!

It's tough to see but there are three fabrics I used.  The gold glitter satin for the shawl, shiny satin for the bodice, and a yellow crepe for the skirt.  The crepe is by far the best fabric to sew with of the three!  To finish the skirt, I embellished it with a strip of the shiny satin - it was gathered and sewn down to each section of the skirt.  

And what was her sis for the party?  Well here's a sneak peek...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Superhero Peplums

Finally the girls are properly outfitted!  Ha.  They've been asking for super hero shirts ever since they started picking up books about them at the library (maybe six months ago?).  They love reading about these guys.  Their favorites are Iron Man, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  

They each picked a shirt for me to make.  I used the Pretty In Peplum pattern and shopped in the Men's section of Walmart for knit fabric.  It was the only place I saw the colors I wanted at the right price.  Did you know you can get two 4T sleeves out of one Men's 4XXL sleeve?!?  

To make the super hero symbols, I did a google image shirt and printed some out to make appliques.  The Wonder Woman shirt is actually made from some iron-on gold glitter sheets that are in the tee embellishment section of JoAnn Fabrics.  It looks awesome, but doesn't stay well on knit (though it does on woven).  I won't be using it again, I just had this already from a past project. 

The waist is some gold bias tape sewn on with a long straight stitch.  Adding the tape takes some stretch out of the waist, but the shirt still goes on and off fine.  The stars were painted on with fabric paint by hand.  

Batman and Superman were made slightly different.  For the two shirts I cut a strip of yellow knit and  layered it on top of the bodice pieces using a long straight stitch to get the belt look.  I did this before I sewed the pattern pieces together btw.  The appliques were made by applying Heat and Bond to scraps of knit.  Then for Batman I cut out the black pieces to iron onto the yellow, and for Superman I cut out the red to layer onto the yellow.  I should've cut out the yellow to layer onto black for Batman, but oh well.  

Batman also has a sewn in cape - which is just a rectangle of fabric that is gathered a bit on each side, then sewn into the shoulder seams.  I left the edges of it raw (also did with all the skirt bottoms) since the knit won't fray.

Superman (or girl) is for a friend.  The girls read several books from the library that had the trio training and working together fighting crime.  

The top also has a cape like Batman, though the cape is attached with snaps at the shoulders instead of sewn in.

 Her best "I'm going to stop you bad guy" face.

I tried to get a picture of these two super heroes together, but all I got was a blur!  Can you tell they're excited to go save someone?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon Shirts (and KCW wrap up)

The last week has been immensely productive (sewing wise at least)!  I thought I'd only manage to get Halloween costumes finished, but just kept going at it and managed to get most of my Kids Clothes Week list finished.  The things on my list were items my girls have been requesting for some time. 

They were:
  • Batman shirt
  • Wonder Woman shirt
  • Leggings
  • Dragon shirts
  • Dragon pants
  • Dragon pjs
  • Dragon jacket
  • anything dragon! ;)
They are a little dragon obsessed, can you tell?  I'm still working on the dragon jacket, but I managed to get the rest finished, along with two Elsa dresses for some friends.  It helps that most of the items were sewn with knit or fleece and I was able to use the serger.  I also used some of the same patterns over and over.  The Elsa and superhero outfits were made using the Pretty in Peplum pattern (love it!).  If I ever get some decent pics I hope to blog about my modifications.  Here's some pics from my instagram feed of some KCW duds.

But back to the dragon shirts!  

I love playing around with bleach and freezer paper stencils to make graphic tees.  So far I've only used it to write with here and here, but with these tees I used a spray bottle.  

To make the look, I first cut out a freezer paper stencil using this image.  Once the dragon was cut out, I ironed it on the shirt well, shiny side down.

Then prepped the shirt by putting some more freezer paper inside of it (to prevent bleach bleeding to the back).  The bleach was delicately sprayed on - only took 3 sprays to get the starry look.  After 10 minutes I rinsed the bleach out and then hung it dry.  That's it!!!  If the bleach looks like it's taking too well to your fabric and spreading out, just rinse it out earlier than 10 minutes.  

This other dragon shirt did not turn out like expected.  The stencil was not ironed on well enough and the bleach ran under it, creating a different image of Toothless (the Night Fury dragon) than I wanted.  It's kinda like an inkblot test or magic eye picture to me - I see either the image I was going for or the image that turned out depending on how long I stare :)

The shirts pair so well with the tribal leggings I made with the Go To Leggings pattern!  Fabric is from Girl Charlee and it's wonderfully soft and perfectly stretchy.

I used the leggings pattern to make the dragon pants in fleece.  I just added an extra inch of wiggle room to the pattern legs.  Next time I'll add an inch to the back rise too.

The fleece was used again to make some sorely needed Pjs.  I tried out the Classic Footed Pjs pattern and it worked out great!  It was way more straight forward to make these than I expected.  I went with the half zip version since I couldn't find a zipper longer than 22" locally.

I used gold puff paint to make the bottoms non-slip with a dragon fire symbol.  

With all their clothing wishes getting fulfilled lately, they're starting to think that mama can make them anything.  And they also expect it immediately...and to their exact specifications.  I was just reminded again that I haven't finished a dragon jacket as promised.  The list is starting to grow again!  ;)