Friday, June 22, 2012

Not Dead

Hello. I'm not dead, just been busy and needed a break from blogs.
Do you ever just take a break from reading blogs, blogging yourself, checking pinterest, etc?

I've actually made a few things, a blouse, a dress for Ellie, a storage shelf for fabric, but I've yet to photograph and blog them.
Summer is busy, I have all the outdoor chores now, and  blogging just hasn't been something I've wanted to do, so I'm alive, taking a break and will have more projects soon.

I think this is why I've never tried to make money from the blogging aspect. 
I like having the flexibility to just go off line for a while when myself or my family needs it.

Also, I'm the Girls Camp Director--in charge of planning a camp for the teenage girls in our church congregation--and that is stealing most of my free time at the moment.  
I hope it ends up being good.  
It's boot-camp with war/ army/ camo themed so no frills or pedicures planned...although we're "camping" at a nice cabin and will have electricity, toilets, showers, and an oven.

So hope your summer is going well too and I imagine blogging in general takes a back seat for most of us this time of year!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

$5 Dining Makeover

Our dining room had a ceiling fan as the main light source.
We’ve never used the fan, and it just seemed weird above our eating space.IMG_1199
I found this brass chandelier at the thrift store for $5.
With a wash, primer, and oil rubbed bronze spray paint, we have an actual light fixture that’s a chandelier and has more light with two more light bulbs.
Pretty good update for only $5!IMG_1200

Monday, June 4, 2012

Once Upon A Thread

I’m really excited to share a children’s book and sewing to go along with it over at No Big Dill today!
This is the third round of a series Katy hosts called “Once Upon A Thread” where you find lots of bloggers sewing something inspired by a favorite children’s book.
I was thrilled to get a chance to participate and today I’m sharing outfits from one of our favorite little boy books:

No David! by David Shannon



I love children’s books and have done a few other sewing projects inspired by kids books:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

and a few paintings:
The Big Hungry Bear and the Red Ripe Strawberry

My Father’s Dragon

A compliation of Roald Dahl Favorites

Sunday, June 3, 2012

French Knot Blouse

I need more blouses.
Pretty much my "above the waist wardrobe" consists of solid tee shirts.
I need to grow up and move beyond the Target or Old Navy tee shirts.

But I'm also thinking a real blouse might be more flattering.
Lynette, my sister, HATES knit.  She won't sew with or wear it.
She's voiced her anti-knit opinions, and I still love knits for kids, but I'm starting to come around with the unflattering element of just wearing tee shirts for me.
After babies, I find my tummy skin will never be the same, and wearing knit shirts that cling may not be the best idea.  Obviously a larger tee shirt won't cling as much, but then it won't fit right.  So before this post becomes "What Not To Wear" by someone who's clueless and needs to be a contestant herself, on to my new goal to sew more tops that aren't knit and outline to outline and emphasize my perpetual post-partum mini gut.
So I'm trying to have looser blouses in more structured fabrics to flow over the skin rolls rather than crease between them.

I had some left over drapes from my aunt, and made a simple pop over blouse.
The scoop neck is big enough to go over my head without a zipper or button, so it makes it an easy top to wear.
It's just like a tee shirt, no boob or back darts, so it's even easier to sew.
It gets some shape by the curved side seams so it's not just a total box.

The texture on this blouse is a pattern of french knots with embroidery floss.
I had never used french knots and found helpful videos on youtube to show me how, they're pretty easy.
The knots add a subtle detail and texture that I thought worked out nicely.

The front is in a grid pattern that gets more concentrated at the neck.
The back just has a 2" spaced grid throughout and the sleeves were an even 1.25" grid.

 I worked on it over the course of a few weeks a few here and there when we went places.
I rarely hand sew but this fit in a bag and made it easy to get it done while watching the kids play at the park, fishing, etc.  I put a square knot behind each french knot, but as I worked, just left the thread connecting them.  The drapery fabric is thick enough you can't see the backing thread so I think I'll leave it to help prevent knots coming untied.

After sewing the side/ shoulder seams and finishing the neckline, I used tailor chalk to map out diagonal lines 2" apart on the front and back.
I marked intersections with a blue fabric pencil and as it got closer around the neckline, I drew knot dots on the half way point between intersections to double the concentration of the knots.
I didn't use any embroidery hoops either.

 I wore it to church today and got a few compliments and asking if I made it.
Later my husband asked if it was because they liked it or if it looks homemade....I wasn't sure.
I think I'll try another and make it 2" longer.

Anyway, the french knot idea could spruce up lots of different projects with simple, subtle texture and detail.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Secretary Skirt Tutorial: pintucks

I’m sharing this skirt over at Crafterhours for Skirt Week! Last year I entered a shirred pocket skirt and won a prize!  I was pretty excited.
Enter Your Skirts to Win!
You can enter skirts you’ve sewn to the different flickr groups here:

This skirt has a simple silhouette, just an a-line, knee length waist-banded skirt with a side zip.
I also used a simple neutral fabric, gray summer suiting.
The interesting element I wanted to emphasize is the texture created with the pintucks.
I thought it would be a way to take a simple staple skirt but add something to avoid being boring.
So first to cut out your skirt.
You can use a skirt that fits you well, just add the seam allowances and 2 extra inches at the hem to allow for the pintucks, and taper up to the fitted hip/ waist.

If you are creating a pattern from measurements, measure your waist/ upper hip where you want your skirt to sit, skirt length, and how large you want the final hem width. 
For my skirt I folded my fabric twice to cut two identical trapezoids for a front and back.
(my measurements in photo in gray for reference)

1. Waist Measurement: because you’re cutting your front/ back on a fold, your measurement will be 1/4 or divided by 4, then remember to add a 5/8” seam allowance.
2. Skirt Length: from your first line, measure along your fold the skirt length + 1.5” hem
3. Hem Width: Take 1/4 your final skirt circumference to measure out from the fold and add 2” for the fabric that will be gathered by pin tucks. 

4. Connect Measurements: to get a side seam, connect the skirt waist and hem measurements in a straight angle and cut out skirt halves
Side Seam and Zipper
I chose to connect the front and back halves along the left side seam first, including a 7” zipper.
I insert the zipper with the tape at the raw edge of the skirt to leave a seam allowance for the waistband above the zipper teeth.
Map Out Pintucks
To keep the skirt fitted through the hips, I used chalk to draw a top line 6” from the top waist edge. 
The pintucks will merge at this line.
Next, chalk a line perpendicular to the hip line in the center of the skirt, remembering one side still has a seam allowance to take into account when you find the center.
Measure along your chalked hip line and divide by 8.  Mark that measurement across hip line, working from center out. 
These marks will be the top of the pintucks.
Do the same along the hem, dividing it by 8 and measure out.
Connect measurements with straight lines, you’ll notice they’ll slightly flare out as you work away from the center.
Repeat on the back of skirt.
Sew Pintucks A pintuck is basically just topstitching near the fold of a garment.  In this case, you’ll taper the pintuck at the hip as you would sew a dart.
Start on one end and fold skirt on mapped out chalk line.  Begin sewing at skirt hem, topstitching pintuck with 1/8” from fold.
About 5-6” before you get to the chalk hip line where the pintucks end, begin slowly tapering your sewing toward the edge of the fold.
Try to gauge your taper to sew off the fabric right at the hip line.
To finish the seam, the best way would be to pull threads to wrong side of skirt and tie in a knot to secure pintuck tops.  I’m lazy and carefully back stitch right where the seam leaves the fabric.
Press Finished Pintucks
Keep working around skirt sewing pintucks.
I chose to pintuck the side seams as well, as they were evenly spaced.
Some of the pintucks will look wavy or wonky on the angles as they are sewn slightly on the bias. 
Once you press them, both the tops at the hips and the wavy seams should look crisp and smooth.

Finish Skirt: Waistband & Hem To hem skirt, I serge the raw edge and iron it under 1.5”. 
You can use a blind stitch on your machine, but I prefer to hand-sew a blind hem around to try to conceal the stitches.

As for the waist, I first cut down the front 1” from the center, then taper up to the hips.
This makes it more shaped to cut down in the front but stay high in the back to go over your butt.
To attach the waistband, I use a simple method with creating tabs to overlap over the zipper, follow the steps in this tutorial for the “back waistband”. I just cut the strips 4” wide to make a finished 1.5” tall waistband. 
I also included medium weight interfacing in the skirt waistband.
Hope this little tutorial helps and the pintuck technique could be used in tons of ways!
I used it with a larger 1/4” pintucks on the back bodice and skirt of this peacock dress to add a lot of texture. 



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