Sunday, May 30, 2010

the mother-load of FREE sewing patterns

I stumbled upon this site looking for ideas of what to sew with my 7 year old. This is a HUGE treasure trove of FREE online patterns/tutorials etc. You can waste some serious time with all these links:

You've been warned. Don't blame me for frittern' your time away. I just provide the means.

Friday, May 28, 2010

a barrette for them or me?

I found this tutorial for these gorgeous clips on The Purl Bee (photos all by The Purl Bee)

They look a lot more complicated then they really are. Really, after looking at the tutorial... I was like - hey, even I can do that. Plus they are a lot bigger then they look.

So the real question is - do I make these for my daughters or me?

Hint, hint...

I was browsing Etsy one night and came across this cute little thing. It's a mini dress necklace made out of recycled vintage tin. Really, I saw an apron instead of a dress, and that's why I fell in love with it. So I sent Kevin a not so subtle hint and emailed him the link. I'm not a big jewelry person, so I think he was wondering what was up. But he gave it to me for Mother's day and I love it! It comes from a seller called Shixie. She has a ton of different colors and patterns. I'm loving these earrings.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Basic Skirt Tutorial

A long, long time ago I started a tutorial for this very basic skirt...and then I forgot all about it. (I think they call that Mom-nesia. Sometimes my case is pretty severe. :)) Anyway, Maren kindly reminded me to get my butt in gear and finish it already. So here it is. It's not fancy schmancy. It's just a basic skirt that you can embellish to your hearts content. The great thing is that you can make this for any size. I've even made one for myself. If you have any questions or if I'm not clear in any of the steps, please let me know.

skirt - (waist measurement x 2) by (however long your want it to be)
pockets - 1/4 yard
Elastic: waist measure + 1/2"
bias tape (if desired), thread, sewing machine, etc.

First, decided how big you want the skirt. Measure around the waist in inches (x). Take that number and double it(2x). That is the width of your skirt. Now decide how long you want it to be and add about 1 1/2 inches to accomodate hemming and putting in the elastic. Now cut out your fabric to your specifications. For example, I made this skirt for my daughter. She has a 20 inch waist and I wanted the skirt to be 9 inches long. So I cut out a rectangle of fabric that was 40 inches by 10 inches long (I knew I was putting bias tape along the hemline, so I didn't cut out the extra 1/2 inch.) If you need to use two pieces of fabric to make it big enough that's fine. Just add 1/2 inch to your measurement to accomodate the fabric you'll use to stitch it together.

If you want pockets, cut them out however big you want them. I usually just free hand this by folding the fabric in half and cutting out half of a "u" shape. You can use a pattern piece from a different pattern that you like. You'll want two for each pocket. Also, cut a piece of elastic that is the same measurement of the waist plus 1/2" (mine was 20 1/2 ").

Ok, here we go with the tutorial. It's really easy. Sew the short edges right sides together so you have a tube. Now, you have several options with the bottom hem. You can hem it, add ric rac, lace, etc., or encase it in bias tape.

I chose bias tape.

Hem your skirt, or put bias tape on.

Time for the pockets. Sew both pieces of the pocket together, right sides together. Be sure to leave a small opening at the top so you can turn it. Clip the corners and turn the pocket right side out.
Like so. :)
Iron that baby so it's nice and flat.

Top stitch the top of the pocket to close the opening.

Do the same thing with pocket #2. Decide where you want the pockets to be on your skirt. I like to find the middle of the skirt, mark it with a pin and then measure from that point to be sure they are even. Pin the pockets in place.

Sew your pockets on.

Now it's time to put in the elastic. Since I serged the top of the skirt I only folded it down once a little bigger than the width of the elastic. If you don't have a serger you can fold it over twice (be sure to add another inch or so to the length of your fabric if you choose to do this), or you can sew a zigzag stitch, which acts similar to a serged stitch.

Use the elastic as your guide to fold and pin down the casing. Iron.

Sew the casing.

Be sure to leave a small opening (1 1/2" to 2") to thread the elastic through.

Attach a large safety pin to your elastic.

Thread the elastic through the casing.

When you get it all the way through, pin the elastic together and then smooth out the waist band.

When the waist is the way you want it, remove the safety pin and sew the elastic ends together. Make sure it's secure. I like to put a straight stitch in, back stitch a few times, and then go over it with a zigzag stitch to make sure it won't come apart.

Sew the little opening in your casing closed. You may have to stretch out the elastic a little bit to get it smooth.
Ta da! You have an easy skirt. You can add all the frilly, lovely accessories you want to personalize it to your taste.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

so cute and girly twirly skirt

I finished my last outfit for awhile. I think I've made about 10 of the Edith twirl skirts so far, a little more then half of them with shirts. They get easier all the time, but really I think I've become a little obsessed.

I love this fabric combo. The teal/tiger stripe/and polka dots - so darn cute. 

These skirts are lined, which intimidated me at first, but it's easier to make then you think.

This t-shirt is $3 at Walmart, of course Target has a cuter more tailored looking t-shirt for $5, that I've also appliqued on. This applique is from Lil' Blue Boo.

Birthday Crafting

My little girl had her second birthday. Sniff. For months we had be excited for her "Madeline" themed party. I used the Simplicity pattern 2674 for a Madeline dress. The napkin labels, goodie bag labels, invitations, welcome sign were all done in Illustrator. I made the banner from fat quarters and the letters are felt. For the cake, I printed a picture of Madeline and then traced it with piping gel onto wax paper. I then transfered the image onto the cake and used frosting tips and my finger to color in the areas. The cake pop recipe can be found here.
I was talking to my husband on the way home from the party, and telling him how sad I was the party was over. I'd been so excited for so long, and Maddie has been SOOO excited as well. We'll just have to find more reasons to have awesome parties.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

pillow love

My friend Tiffani gave me 3 chairs that she had "shabby chiqued" and no longer needed.

So I decided to make a few pillows. I wanted to tie in the polka-dot fabric so I appliqued onto it.

I used a green sheet to back all the pillows and added black ribbons for ties.

I added the ties for 2 reasons - the chairs are kind of small so I thought the ties would keep the pillows from falling off and we live in a neighborhood with lots of nasty feral cats and I was not about to let those &%#$ cats have these pillows too. 

Oh, I love them them. So - so - so cute!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Walmart Sheets and Shirring

Someday my daughter will be a cooperative model. The first pic is her flinging herself against the fridge in protest. I bought a flat twin sheet at Walmart for 4 bucks. From it I've made a purse for a friend and this dress and I still have plenty left for another project. I love cheap fabric! This pattern was from portabellapixie, and it was super easy and fast. BUT I will admit, it was my first time shirring, and I simply read the pattern and thought I knew what I was doing. After cursing over threading the elastic thread in the needle, unpicking and re-sewing and unpicking and re-sewing, my dear husband kindly pulled up an online tutorial on how shirring SHOULD be done. Ohhhhhhh, you use regular thread in your top thread....I'm a total doof. After that it was cake. One summer outfit down, much more to go. Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is your inner self a selfish seamstress?

This is the Selfish Seamstress - I realize she is way out of our league in terms of sewing, but it's always fun to have someone to aspire to. Anyway, Christie introduced me to her blog a few weeks back and her hilarious haiku's .... we all agree with her sayings wether we utter them aloud or just in our head. 
Which one is your favorite?

Christie - "Some of it is so true! My favorite is when people hear you can sew and then have all kinds of projects for you to "help" them with. That's where she's coming from. You have to check out her store. She sells mugs and shirts and stuff from Zazzle with funny haiku's on them, like:

I mended your pants.
There might still be some pins in them.
Just kidding...or not.

It's cute that you think
That I'd like to sew curtains
For your stupid house.

Mare's fave:
When I sew for me
There's no such thing as bedtime
Oh, look, there's the sun.

Some people take joy
In sewing for their loved ones.
We call them "suckas."

You'll buy the fabric
If I sew the dress for you.
What's in it for me?

You need your pants hemmed?
Google for local tailors.
Glad that I could help!

Christie's fave:
Things were casual
Then love grew and so did you,
Sweet, beloved stash.

Sew something for you?
It’s not that I don’t have time,
I just don’t want to.

not only is she teeny tiny and super cute - look at these clothes... someday. someday. I forgot to mention - all her proceeds from t-shirts and mugs, she donates to charity (doesn't buy fabric? What the h.!) Wow. I'm impressed.

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