Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Play Clothes for Striker Boy

My boy Striker has outgrown all of the button-down shirts that I made for him. The weather has warmed up and he loves to be outside. All the time. The back doors are left open most of the day and he plays on the porch for half and hour then comes in for a snack, then he's back outside to dig in the garden and chase the chickens around, then in the kitchen for a drink. At the end of the day when I tell him it's time to come inside, he cries, "No! Mama!" Then in the morning before he eats breakfast he finds his shoes and bangs on the back door until it's time to start playing again. 

With so much time spent in the dirt, I usually have to change his trousers a few times a day, so I've made loads of play trousers and a new shirt for him.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Dress

We've had some major mayhem at our house. Our basement flooded, the dryer broke, and then I got sick. But now, the sun is coming out, the basement is being fixed, and I'm hanging the laundry out on the clothesline. To keep the freshness of spring filling up my life, I decided to make a new dress for myself. I used two 1 yard scraps to make the dress. I chose the blue first, because it matches my eyes, and I was delighted to find the floral fabric in my cabinet that coordinated perfectly. It's simple, I like it, and I'm glad I've finally made my first dress since my boy was born!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Build My Own House

So the huge project I alluded to in the sweatshirt post is....


We haven't started digging and I already have a headache.

So.  About a year ago, a week after I gave birth to Izzie to be precise, my husband and I started designing the floor plans.  We went through every nook and cranny as a team and had an architect render it digitally and make it official.
We thought we'd start last summer, but life and finances destroyed that idea.

We moved to our small town, hoping to also maybe find a house we liked.
But unfortunately not many people come and go in tiny towns and other than some trailer homes and an 11 bed rotting nursing home for sale, we didn't have many options.

So building a house.
Something my husband has always wanted to do!  A dream and lifelong goal.
I was 12 when my parents built the house I grew up in and it seemed like a nightmare.
I love the idea of living in a house you built and designed, but the idea of actually going through the process seemed overwhelming.

So we bought a half acre corner lot (land is really cheap if you live in the middle of nowhere) across the street from my mother-in-law.  Yay for Grandma a bike ride away!!
We've been waiting to build the house we plan to live in the rest of our lives this summer.

In our town, you can be your own general contractor.
All your sub-contractors have to have licenses, but being the coordinator and secretary of the project you can do it yourself.
My husband wanted to go this route, saying we'll save money, we're so invested in the house down to every detail and penny (because we're cheap), we'll be over involved anyway whether we pay someone to be in charge or if we just do it ourselves.

But then I pointed out.
My husband works two full time jobs, 112 hours per week.  Some shifts overlap so he's working two jobs at the same time, running between the two all day....but the reality is for our family:
"WE" being the general contractor really means "I" (the mother of 3 tiny kids, who's going back to college, with 3 different church assignments) would be the general contractor.

The idea made me want to throw up.
I am a girl who likes DIY, I use the power tools more than my husband, I even got a table saw for Christmas, but the idea of rough plumbing, footings, etc was overwhelming.

So my husband bought me this book:

Then I met a friend in town who was her general contractor for a house she built last summer and she pumped me full of confidence telling me I can totally do it, it's being organized and management. hiring and trusting your sub-contractors.
She also gave me her whole list of who she hired for her house.

We hope to start digging next month, so I'm in the paper work process right now getting bids, finalizing details, redesigned the roof for attic trusses, etc.

I'm expecting this to be a horrible experience and hope next fall when we move FOR THE LAST TIME IN OUR LIVES, I'll look back and think, "that sucked but it wasn't as bad as I expected".
I'm walking into it planning for a summer of nightmare and stress.  But if building a house is a nightmare, I've decided I'd rather be in charge of and responsible for the nightmare than ticked at a general contractor who doesn't care about the house as much as I will.

But on the fun side:
We will have things we've never enjoyed before, like a laundry room!
And a mud room!
Both with windows and natural light!

Our laundry machines are currently in the kitchen of our rental, were in a hall closet of our Idaho house, and other weird places in all the dumpy rentals before that.

We also realized our plans required engineered trusses, and the price to make them with attic space wasn't that different, so we added an attic area for a toy room and sewing space!!
But to make the budget, I will be finishing it myself most likely, laying the flooring and wall treatment, (no I am not hanging my own sheet-rock, but my idea will be a big project)
Pretty sure we will live up there when it gets finished!

I'm excited about getting to make all the decisions.
We already designed the floor plans with our aesthetic in mind, now it's down to all the fun details.
The house will be a mix of 

which sounds like a horrible mix for decor vomit, but I think in the end will represent us.
Our style just may be decor vomit I guess, but at least it will be different and what we like.

One thing I'm excited about are stained glass windows.
I worked for a stained glass artist the summer after I graduated high school and have never had a reason to make my own.
My mom made her own art glass for the house I grew up in and she's going to mentor me.
So that will be fun!

So look forward to updates in the good and horrible as I build my own house!

If you want a peek at ideas floating in my head for our house, you can check out my pinterest boards for:

AHH!  This is crazy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Military Shirt for Herschel

For Herschel's birthday gift I made him a shirt with some really great military details: pleated chest pockets, epaulettes, and (my favorite bit) a hidden belly welt pocket that is long enough to conceal a knife. 

I used a pale grey heavy weight cotton, then dyed it with a little bit of black to get a dark grey wash that looks like something our good friend John Rambo would have liked to wear.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jacket for James

Our brother James rides a motorcycle, so he always wears some type of jacket. I made this one for him as an alternative to his leather jacket which can get really hot in the spring and summer. I used a heavy cotton twill for the outer and polyester lining on the inside. It has four welted pockets, two on the chest, two at the waist. I did a military-style standing collar with a front snap closure. My favorite detail is the floating cuffs at the wrist. A ribbed cuff is great for a motorcycle jacket because it keeps the wind from rushing up the sleeves, but the gathering it causes can really take away from a sleek looking jacket. So, I decided to make the ribbed cuff and the sleeve completely separate. James will get the functionality of a ribbed cuff, but the sleeves just stay nice and crisp.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tutorial: Altering the Waist of Men's Trousers

Of all the alterations for men's trousers, the waist is the quickest and arguably the most important. If the waist size isn't correct, then it can effect every other aspect of the fit of the garment. So, here is how it's done.

1. Remove the center back belt loop.
2. Lift up the center back section of the waistband and remove the stitching holding the waistband in place (usually two short rows).

3. Pin the bottom and the top of the waist band.
4. Double check from the outside that each seam of the waistband is lined up perfectly.
5. Mark your stitching line.

You will mark half of the total amount that needs to be adjusted. For example this pair needs to be made smaller by 1", so it is marked 1/2" from the original stitching.

If you need to make the trousers smaller, your stitching line will be on the left side of the original stitching.
If you need to make the trousers larger, your stitching line will be on the right side of the original stitching.

The line through the waistband should be exactly parallel with the original stitching. After you're past the waistband, taper it in  gently to meet up again with the original stitching.
6. Stitch down the marked line twice. A double stitch ensures security.
7. Remove the original stitching.

If this is the first time the trousers have been altered, the original stitching will most likely be a chain stitch. You can just clip it on one end and pull the whole thing out in about three seconds. 
8.. Open the new seam and fold the waistband back down. Pin through all the layers keeping the pin right in the center.
9. Pull out one inside section. Fold up the end corner and tack into place. Repeat on the other side.
If you're increasing the size of the trousers as much as possible you won't have end corners to fold up and tack. Instead, just fold the waistband down and tack vertically along the back seam of the waistband.
10. Reattach the belt loop.
11. Press the new seam.


-Standard sized trousers shouldn't be taken in more than about 2",  otherwise the back pockets can get too close together.

-Don't cut out the extra fabric if the trousers will ever need to be altered again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Simple Blouse Variation: Standing Collar Sweatshirt

Whoa. It has been a while since I've posted or made anything!
I will probably post later this week to fill you in on the new huge project I've started.
I'm excited, and terrified about it...and just hope it will be done by the end of this year.
I've also been cramming (and not doing so great) on the mid-terms that were this weekend.
Going back to college is killing any hobby time!!!

But, I finally got another tutorial for the Simple Blouse Pattern together.

Since you really need a sweatshirt now that it's spring.
But maybe if you're in the southern hemisphere or use a lighter sweater knit, it might work now!

This is kind of a funky sweatshirt.
I was inspired by the standing collars of the 60s and thought I'd add some wood buttons in there as well for contrast and something different.
I used sweatshirt fleece, which only has about 10% stretch and is thicker in order to achieve the tall standing collar, and have worn it once a week all winter.

It's like the more grown-up hoodie for me.
The comfortable, slouchy, basically-wearing-pajamas-today top with a few elements that make it look like you're not heading to the gym.
For me, I've never been to the gym, it's more a pretending I got a chance to shower before noon and faking that I actually got dressed.

Like all the other Simple Blouse variations, the pattern is designed to help teach you the basic baby steps to altering a basic top into your own creative design.
So feel free to make the collar shorter, or ditch it all together and add ribbing like Lynette's tutorial here.
The button tab on the collar only has one real buttonhole on the very front where it crosses to hold the overlapping collar together.
The kangaroo pocket at the waist also has button tabs you could kill as well.
It's hopefully a helpful guide to help you envision where you can take your own ideas.
So get out your Simple Blouse Pattern and click through below to get the full tutorial!!


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