Archives for category: sewing

So it’s been a few years since I have written on the blog (or accessed the dashboard to do so….holy moly it looks intimidating) but it’s time for my triumphant return. First, let’s take a look back on some things that have happened since my disappearance, shall we?

  1. A huge reason why I stepped away in the first place was a little guy I was growing. Remember that birthday party I didn’t have the heart to do much for? It was because I was so.sick all the time. Funny how I went as a house for Halloween that year…I was perhaps hiding a bit of a bump behind it all 😉  After the first few weeks of the pregnancy, things did improve dramatically. Baby Heath arrived in June 2014. He’s a little firecracker now of course.img_1698
  2. While pregnant with Heath, we of course took on the kitchen renovation. And by pregnant, I mean 9 months along. I had called and asked for some shelving to organize the kitchen a little in a nesting rage…and that night the husband starting knocking out  walls. Anyway, it turned out gorgeous.
  3. We’ve done plenty of other house projects too, including both kids rooms, front door, and backyard. Maybe I’ll write about them one day. Probably not.

    4. I’ve still been cooking and sewing and schooling nonstop throughout it all.

    5. And we have done a few ridiculous birthday parties…12238248_10107734921237651_4402035916461737501_o6. As well as epic Halloween costumes…

    The biggest news of all though is what is yet to come, and the reason for my return to the blogisphere. We are embarking on the next huge chapter of our lives–a move to IRELAND! What?!? So in an effort to document that journey, I am back!

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For the past month or so, Dexter has been VERY clear with his Christmas list, describing the particular Lego set he wants with great detail to any Santa he sees. Charlotte however has given me nothing to work with. She mentioned once that she would maybe want a baby doll though so I ran with it. I tried to find a nicer one within budget, but those bitty babies and similar are a little ridiculously priced. Even used. I didn’t want just another not so special baby doll, and it had to be SILENT for everyone’s sanity….so I settled on trying to make her one…

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I went with Simplicity 2809. She said she wanted a boy and a girl and wanted them to look like her and Dexter…but didn’t want to get too ambitious so I started with the girl doll. It actually sewed up pretty quickly!! I changed the face embroidery a little and constructed it a little different than it said to (like sewing the yarn into the seam on the face instead of hand sewing afterwards and stuffing the arms and legs before sewing them on instead of having to handsew 6 openings like the pattern would have me do). I don’t know if I love it, but she does and tried to steal it already, so I guess it’s a win? Maybe I’ll make the boy doll after all.

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For the clothes, I started off with a set of diapers…(scrap flannel and velcro, using the provided pattern)…

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But Charlotte was peeking over my shoulder as I worked and kept asking where her dress was so she could be a dancing girl doll (her way of saying ballerina…I’m trying to get her to change the vocabulary there and she’s not budging).  Unfortunately, the pattern had layette type things…shirts, sleep gown, etc.  No dress.  So I drafted a wrap dress out of scrap fabric starting with the kimono shirt the pattern provided.  I just shortened the shirt a little, added a skirt, and done.  Of course I finished all seams (even though doll clothes are never made with finished seams) because I wanted it to hold up a little better.

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It closes with velcro so that there’s a CHANCE that she will be able to take it on and off without me doing it for her (at what age do children dress their own dolls and not just shove them on mommy’s lap and demand that they be changed?)

Of course, that wasn’t enough random side sewing.  I also had planned awhile ago to make Charlotte an apron for Christmas, since Dexter already has one, and she sort of had one but it was part of an old Halloween costume, and I sold the costume, so she was pretty sad that she couldn’t dress up in her apron when helping mommy or playing in her kitchen.  Logically, as I was going to cut the apron out and sew it up, I decided to make her doll one first…but both sewed up in about an hour so not so bad.  The pattern is Simplicity 2492 and I just drafted the doll one freehand.

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Now I swear the pajamas will be next….hopefully….

I couldn’t leave Dexter out of course, so I decided to whip him up a vest to match Charlotte’s dress.  I searched through my never ending pile of patterns and of course I didn’t already have a vest pattern, but I found this tutorial online and it was meant to be!  It’s even the right size!  I didn’t want the lapels, so I just left those out.  I basted it up to check fit and tried it on him, and he says “Great job, Mommy…but I think it needs a pocket.”   Um, okay.  I added a welt pocket instead of the faux pockets in the tutorial (how angry would he have been with a faux pocket?!?), sewed the rest of it up, and had him try it on again.  “Super, Mommy….now you just need the buttons and it’s done!”  Oh, right.  I guess I can throw in some buttons…sigh.  It turned out really cute I think and they were a big hit when I took them out in their matching looks!

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Next up, Family Pajamas (tradition around here….hopefully I finish before Christmas Eve!)  What are you working on?

I found some clearance fabric and it inspired me to sew Christmas outfits (for the first time).  Seems a little silly that I’ve never made them dedicated Christmas wear in the past…I guess I’ve just always found really cute second hand stuff and didn’t bother before.  For Charlotte, I wanted a vintage-inspired classic look, and I’ve wanted to sew a circle skirt dress for awhile, so I decided it was time.

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I started with a basic bodice pattern (drafted from other patterns I own and a t shirt that fits), added some sleeves (modified also from another pattern I’ve made in the past), and finally made a circle skirt pattern (from Dana at Made).  I also cut lining for the skirt and bodice from black kona cotton.

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It sewed up pretty quickly (aside from running out of thin elastic for the sleeves).  I added black grosgrain trim along the bottom of the bodice before sewing the bodice together (being very careful to keep seam allowances consistent so that it would match up as I went).  I used single fold bias tape to finish off the sleeve seems, and provide a channel for the elastic to gather them up.

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Big bonus for this dress….no gathering!!  Probably my least favorite step in dress making….gathering and pinning.  For the skirt, I finished the main fabric with black bias tape, and then just did a rolled hem (using the rolled hem foot on my machine) for the lining.  I didn’t have a ton of room on the back bodice for buttons so I went with snaps to make my life easier (there wasn’t much space to overlap since I really wanted the plaid to match up nicely).  Snaps are a lot easier to attach than buttons and buttonholes anyway 😉

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It seemed a little plain so I added the bow on the front.  I wish I could say this is my favorite dress ever and I’m in love with every aspect, but alas, I made the bodice shorter than I should have (poor planning, whoops) and so the skirt hits higher than I had hoped it would, and makes it overall on the short side.  Sigh.  I still love it, and Charlotte is smitten with it…especially how spinnable the skirt is, but I do wish the fit was a bit better.  I’ll have to make another with some minor changes for her….perhaps a tutorial is to come?

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Now to make Dexter something to coordinate!  Action shots to come when everything is done 🙂

It was time that I sewed something for the little man….it seems Charlotte gets 4 things for every one of his lately.  I printed and cut out a few pdf patterns and he was intrigued, so I let him come over and choose what he wanted.  We had purchased green corduroy together while we were rowing Corduroy with plans to make overalls for his bear and pants for him (side note, homeschool is going great–I should write an update!), but it didn’t happen yet…I was sure he would pick the green corduroy pants, but no.  He picked underwear.  I did want to try the pattern out and him asking for it might have been the extra kick I needed, so I let him pick some fabrics and got started.IMG_1093

I went with the Undercover Bottoms Boxer Briefs Pattern from Fishsticks Designs.  I have made Tinkle Time Trainers for both kiddos in the past, and even made underwear versions of them, but there are A LOT of pattern pieces, so it can be a little tedious.  No step is difficult, but it’s just a lot of cutting.

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I purchased both the boxer briefs and the little fishies undies in hopes that I would make more cute underwear for the kids without being so intimidated by the 16 pattern pieces.  It seems the store bought underwear tends to stretch out and fade pretty quickly….or my kids are rough on it.  But yes, it is definitely something easier purchased than made.

That being said, the boxer briefs did sew up in about 30 minutes, including cutting, while holding a child and explaining to another child all about how a serger and sewing machine work.  I did use the serger the whole time (except for the topstitching) so it was fast.

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I really love the fit, since underwear seems to come in 2t-3t and 4t-5t, and the former is too tight and latter is super loose, but he says they are too tight and refuses to wear them.  I guess he’s a boxer kinda guy.IMG_1094

What do you think?  Worth it to make yourself?

KCW day 2 started out with 1) Thinking about sewing for the kids  2) Realizing that finishing up Halloween costumes made much more sense….so I made a wig for Hubby.  Fail on kid’s sewing, but WIN that Halloween is DONE!  Anyway, here’s an older project that I haven’t shared yet 🙂

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I had a strange urge to sew up a peplum top the other day. I think it came from me finally realizing what a peplum was (I really thought it was fabric….realizing now I was mixing it up with poplin) and project runway bringing it up a lot. Or maybe they only said peplum once and it just echoed in my mind. I wasn’t really a fan of the look because maybe it reminded me of clowns, but i guess it grew on me. Whatever. I have a lot of pencil skirts though and love pencil skirts, but sometimes I have a hard time wearing them. Tight on top and tight on bottom is just a bit much, right? So a versatile peplum top would solve everything. I tried on a few in stores, they all flared out like ON my ribcage. Not so flattering. My goal in wearing a peplum top would be to accentuate the waist, minimize hips….not look like an empire dress that fell. So I pulled out Lisette 1666 and decided I’d tackle my own. That’s when I got distracted and made yet another pencil skirt. For fabric, I wanted it to go with a variety of things but still be interesting, so I decided on basic white cotton with a little stretch and a lace overlay. I did make a muslin since I’ve never made a fitted top before, but I managed to screw up the muslin so badly sewing pieces together upside down or in the wrong places that I just threw it out and decided to tackle it with the actual fabric instead, wishing for the best.

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I lost a little along some seams because the lace didn’t always match up and behave. I also managed to slice into it with my serger blade along a shoulder, so that had to be taken in to hide that mistake…..but other than that, I like it. I am still pretty nervous about wearing it….like it screams “I made this myself!”

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What do you think? Anyone else as horrible at muslins as me?

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It’s Kid’s Clothing Week!! The goal is to spend an hour a day working on sewing for your kiddos, so despite this being an impossible time of year to take on more sewing (halloween!! And a party to plan for my darling soon to be 3 year old), I am doing it anyway.

Today I cut out a Sunshine Dress tunic. I had already made a dress and it came out really cute, but went with a tunic since I didn’t have enough skirt fabric for the dress. I also tackled some more Halloween sewing….almost done…here’s a little preview:

 

 

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Yep, that’s right, doggies, we have multiple doggies.

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And all these pups need nice, comfy, plushy beds to sleep on.  But have you seen the price of dog beds in pet stores? Ridic. Really.  So we just make our own! We use the three inch thick foam from Joann’s (make sure you use your 50% coupon!) and some outdoor canvas-sy material.

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With the fabric right sides together, pin it around the foam.  You’ll want it a little tight. Then take a pen and mark where you’ll sew.

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To make the corner just pinch and fold the fabric so it folds around and draw another line where you’ll sew, like this:

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Pull out the foam and stitch it up on the lines you drew. That corner line is a little tricky, but just fold it and sew too.

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Before flipping it inside out, I went ahead and hemmed the raw edges so I could stick some Velcro on them. It always makes washing the covers easy when you can just pop out the foam and throw the covers in the washing machine!

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Then flip it inside out and marvel at the corner!

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Almost finished!! Slide (or shove) the foam back into cover and slap some sticky Velcro on the open edge.

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I ran one more line if stitching over the Velcro, just to make sure it stayed in place and that’s it!

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Now the doggies can sleep comfy again!  Carson was happy about it, but still doesn’t understand why he has to share with the little one, haha.

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Have you made doggie beds before?

I’m a huge Project Runway fan….and then became a Project Run&Play fan and try to sew along as much as I can….and now there’s Project Sewn, too!  Phew.

When they announced the Coffee Date Dress Sewalong, I knew I had to be in.  I have never made myself a dress, and as evidenced in the past few projects I’ve sewn for myself, I might not have been ready for it.  But I tackled the dress anyway 🙂

 

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So it’s not so impressive on the form, but it does fit me quite nicely.  Bonus, the straps actually cover bra straps perfectly.   Actually it looks really sad in that picture….poo.  I went with blue chambray from the Lisette collection at Joanns and used white denim for the facings (I didn’t bother to interface them since the denim was stiff enough as is).  I wanted to use only stuff I had just in case it didn’t turn out at all…also the reason I didn’t do the ruffle.  I might add some embellishment to the bodice later…still thinking exactly what I want.  It is a very comfortable and versatile dress though.

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Yeah, that’s the wrinkliest white cardi on earth.

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I was a little worried that darts coming up that high would make for some awkward pointiness, but it does look nice and lay nice on.  Side note…I think it’s time I broke down and bought a sewing ham…

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There were no hook and eyes to be found.  I’ll have to raid my mom’s sewing box later and add one.  Ignore that the waistband doesn’t match up perfectly.

 

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For the hem, I used some single fold bias tape to make a facing, and then just stitched it in place.

My very first homemade dress for myself!!

 

My children have too much clothing. Dexter gets lots of hand me downs, Charlotte is easy to shop for and doesn’t size up very quickly…I really only have to wash their clothes like once a month. It’s a little out of hand….so I’m concentrating on filling my closet. I could just not sew, but I could use some new clothes. I’m a sale shopper, so I tend to just buy random items, and not really build a wardrobe. Classic mom move, not spending money on herself, right? I have, however, purchased a lot of fabric with plans to sew something up for myself out of it. It’s time to get moving on that!!

I decided I wanted to tackle a peplum top. If When I ever tackle that, I’ll maybe explain why that was such a need, but when I went to cut out the pattern pieces (Lisette 1666), I just got tired looking at it. I didn’t feel like cutting out that many pattern pieces, I wanted to just sew something and have it done. That’s when I noticed that the pencil skirt in the pattern was only two pattern pieces. TWO! I can handle that. So I went with a pencil skirt instead, and got to work.

I made Charlotte this dress awhile ago. I am in love with it, and will one day force it upon a grandchild of mine. It doesn’t fit her anymore, but it’s still one of my favorites.
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I didn’t purchase the fabric to make that dress, it just sort of happened that way….the fabric was a clearance purchase from Joanns, with plans to make myself something. I grabbed the extra, thinking pencil skirt in some glen plaid, perfect! Then I went to cut out the TWO pieces…not enough fabric. Darn. I still wanted the skirt out of that fabric….I knew I couldn’t just buy more, so I came up with the crazy brilliant idea to add some black lace panels down the side seams. Lace is totally big right now, right? I used black poplin to line the lace and for sanity’s sake, decided to only add the black lace to the front side pieces, and not make new pattern pieces to create these new side panels and turn this simple skirt into a huge disaster. Aesthetically, I’d probably have preferred that the black pieces wrapped around more, but I’m still happy with it.

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I used black ribbon for the top waistband and decided to just leave the ends longer and tie it instead of using a hook and eye. I did a blind hem on the bottom, cutting the lace instead of hemming it in to show the scalloped edge. Subtle, but I know it’s there.

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The fit is a little tight…of course, I don’t really know how to make clothes that fit me yet. I’ll get there.

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It did only take an afternoon to sew up though, even with me over-complicating it with the side panels.

Up next….dress? Yet another skirt? Peplum top?

We’ll see 🙂