Oh my goodness, how did it get to be Christmas? What the heck have I been doing for the past few months? Well, work mostly. Work is pretty much insane - 142 students, meetings with my cohort teachers three times a week, yearbook once or twice a week after school, scrapbook club once a week after school, and really the list goes on and on. With all that, I haven't had as much time to sew and, as I've said before, it saddens me. When I do have free time, I am devoid of energy, creative or otherwise. Anyhow, enough of this ranting! Because in spite of the lack of time, I have managed to complete some projects.
OCTOBER 2011 (above): Another version of the three-tiered ruffle dress...
OCTOBER 2011 (above): I am particularly please with this dress. As usual, Heather Bailey's fabric inspired the delicate femininity of this dress. After posting it on facebook, one of my friends liked it enough to purchase - major bonus!
NOVEMBER 2011 (above): A few months ago, I made a corduroy skirt from my favorite go-to book, Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy. I had some left over material so I decided to make a modified peasant dress from the same book. Overall I am pleased with the results even though I am not satisfied with how the pattern addresses sleeves... The finished product doesn't seem to fit properly at the armpits. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? I'll give it another shot and see... Nini loves both the skirt and dress!
NOVEMBER 2011 (above): My dear friend Emily gave birth to a lovely baby girl and I could not resist putting together this onesie for her! This fabric was left over from a previous commission by a friend and thought it was perfect for the holiday season. And I had been dying to incorporate cherries into my work somehow! So adorable! And Emily loves it!
DECEMBER 2011 (below): By now, everyone has noticed that I love to make girls' clothing. Sorry, I can't help it! Girls' clothing is just sooooooo adorable! No matter the pattern or garment, the outcome is always one of almost unbearable cuteness. :-) So, that said, I am have made a concerted effort to find a boys' garment that I truly enjoy making that also gives me "cuteness accomplished" factor. And here it is: the reversible overall with applique! I upcycled a pair of my hubby's khakis and used left over madras fabric from the summer to make this super cute set of newborn overalls. Though I followed the steps from a tutorial, the pattern I drew myself. I just cut a 2T pattern based on standard size charts from gymboree. We'll see how that goes...
Completed a LONG, long time ago... Like mid-August. Actually, I haven't been able to work on any sewing *since* this dress. It's very upsetting to me. But this is what happens when I get back to work: I have no time for my hobbies and interests. Work is ALL-consuming, to the point that during any free time I do have I am too exhausted to really do anything... :-(
I was very excited to make this dress because it was a new pattern. I was also feeling pretty bold about the fabric combo and went for three different fabrics for the three ruffles (instead of the recommended two). Even as I was constructing it, I was excited about the end result.
The process was pretty straight forward. I made sure to finish all seams perfectly and to create my own double fold bias tape from the bodice fabric so that I can finish the neckline and armholes. And here it is, the final product. Several people on facebook responded very positively! Nevertheless, I am already thinking of changes for the next one. Maybe adding a ruffle to collar? I'll figure it out!
2:12 pm to 2:32 pm-- PIN and CUT bodice, front and back, main and lining
front bodice = 2 pieces each 8 3/4" x 12"
back bodice = 2 pieces each 10 1/2" x 12"
2:35 to 2:54 pm -- MEASURE, MARK, and CUT skirt
skirt = 2 pieces each 15" x 36"
2:55 to 3:00 pm -- MEASURE, MARK, and CUT border
border = 2 pieces each 3" x 36"
TOTAL time = 48 minutes
6:20 PM to 6:54 pm - BASIC skirt construction
BOTTOM: attaching border to the bottom (1/8" from edge)
SIDE: MEASURING and PINNING seam allowance (5/8" from edge); STITCHING sides together
TOTAL time = 34 minutes
8:00 am TO 8:30 am - SEAM finishing for skirt
SIDE: zig-zag stitch (stitch length was 2; width was 4 clicks)
BORDER: FOLD, PRESS, and PIN the edge up for hem
2:00 pm TO 3:00 pm
STITCH the border edge upward - what a pain in the a**! First, my bobbin was filthy and the bobbin thread kept bunching up so I had to clean out the bobbin area. Then, the fabric kept shifting around so that the stitching was not straight. After undoing the stitching three times, I decided to live with the imperfection and move. For next time, I must find a way to improve the process...
TOTAL time = 1 hour
3:11 pm to 5:32 - UGH! Dealing with bobbin issues again! So much lint in there... must be the fabric? Had to sew the stitches for gathering the skirt several times. Finally worked out when I changed the tension to 3.5
TOTAL time = 2 hours 21 minutes
9:50 am to 10:38 am = ATTACHING skirt to bodice and REMOVING gathering threads.
10:40 am to 12:31 pm = FINISHING the details such as:
ZIGZAG stitch the raw bottom edge of bodice
FOLDING bodice seam over the skirt's raw edge and STITCHING
Some time ago my sister asked that I make pillowcases for my niece and nephew. She purchased the actual pillows and gave me an unused quilt for the fabric. I had purchased a great book Simple Sewing by Beth Baumgartel last month and it has been a huge help with techniques, especially neatly finishing seams and construction tips. I used the book to make the pillows - super easy to follow.
Here are the finished products. I figured I'd embellish the pillows with some hand-embroidery. I am pretty pleased!
A very close friend of mine requested that I modify her little girl's beautiful dress (fromAnastasia y Gus on etsy). Her toddler had worn the original dress with sage green ribbon as a flower girl in a wedding a few years ago. This year, another wedding has come up but the color scheme for the bridal party is midnight blue. My friend simply needed me to switch out the ribbon. I say, no problem! And it shouldn't have been difficult; except, has anyone tried looking for midnight blue in the middle of July, post July 4th??? It was verging on impossible! I found the ribbon only after looking in three different craft/sewing stores. The actual alteration process was very easy. Used a seam ripper to carefully undo the stitches. Used the original pieces of ribbon to measure out the new ones. (Tips on cutting ribbon at an angle: Put a piece of tape where you plan to make the cut. Cut the ribbon THROUGH the tape and this prevent the shifting which usually occurs. To prevent fraying, I singed the edges holding a flam just 1/4" away.) I inserted the new pieces of ribbon into their spots on the dress and pinned in place. Finally, I slip-stitched the ribbon in place. I am fascinated by the virtual invisibility of the slip-stich! Very cool.
Emma Hardy's book has come in sooo handy these past few months. It was very much worth the purchase because sometimes searching the web for patterns, printing them out, taping them together, etc. can be such an overwhelming hassle.
Here is a peasant top from the same book. The process was very straightforward although I must add a note: when you are sewing the seam/hem where the elastic must pass through, I need to snip some of the excess fabric so that the elastic doesn't get stuck in the folds. It will save me a lot of trouble... My niece loved her top even though a little bit of her belly stuck out! So cute.
Basic Pattern from Emma Hardy's "Making Children's Clothes"; my own modifications are: 1) coordinating border 2) ric rac 3) fabric applique for flower stem (versus ribbon) 4) one stem for 3 yo-yos...
Fabric for border and yo-yos is Heather Bailey's Hop Dot - Cherry from the Nicey Jane line.
Update: So, I brought the dress over to my sister's house and my niece loved the dress immediately! However, she couldn't keep it for too long because my sister suggested that I add a third button to the back so that Nini didn't need to wear shorts or pants underneath. No problem! From now on, I will make sure to add a third button to the basic design of the dress... Here is a pic of my niece wearing the dress. Isn't she lovely!
Can you tell I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Heather Bailey fabrics? Love them to pieces! Especially the Nicey Jane line. Maybe if BF turns out to be a girl, she may have these??? Patterns for bibs and booties and applique template are from Emma Hardy's "Making Children's Clothes."
So after seeing all my sewing projects on facebook, a my friendfrom work requested that I make two tank-top dresses for Independence Day (patriotic fabric must be used, of course!!). I bought the fabric and I bought the tank tops for the project. In fact, I bought several tank tops knowing that I would want to experiment. Well, here is the experiment in photo above. I am quite pleased with the result though some of the inside needs some cleaning up. I still struggle to get that clean, finished look on the inside that my mother always accomplishes with her work... I think it just takes time and experience to get there. With this dress, my goal was to modify an existing pattern I found online. Somehow, I felt ready and bold enough to give it a try. Overall, not bad. But the process involved some trial and error. I am learning that, in order to get the final result you desire, you must be willing to unravel your mistakes and start fresh. A hard lesson to learn when you are a perfectionist like myself... "What do you mean I didn't get it right the first time????" Yeah, I have to get over that. Because, as my mother says, sewing takes patience.:-)
UPDATE: Here is my good friend Amy's daughter wearing the dress above! Super adorable!