Thursday, August 30, 2012

e mustard cords: plus tips on making patterns

e cords (18 mo) pattern and text instructions here
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I really loved the outcome of this project.
That isn’t always the case.
From the same mustard scrap I made Ellie’s purse, came a toddler pair of mustard cords for fall.
At the end of the post are a few tips I use when making a pattern from store bought clothes.

I used a pair of jeans as a pattern, but wanted a more slender leg.
I almost just pulled out the jeggings pattern, but I got looking at real jeans made with denim and there’s much different shapes (mainly in the back) to have a non-stretch fabric go around a diaper butt than a stretchy legging pattern.

So I started from scratch making a pattern from her Old Navy jeans.

Changes I made:
taper the legs so they weren’t flared
patch pockets
faux fly
adjustable buttonhole elastic waistband
no belt loops

I also made them longer to hopefully last all winter and maybe even into next year. So for now she’s folding the hem.

I thought about whether I should do a tutorial, but really the sewing was the same as the baby jeggings, to sew the faux fly.
The patch pockets are a little different, but you just plop them on top and top stitch them to the pant front.


Another special detail I liked was some free motion stitching on a back pocket.
I just made an “e” for her name and to give it a little subtle personalization.

I’ve mentioned before how I really have a hard time designing, picking out fabric, or getting excited about sewing girl clothes. Boys are much more interesting or inspiring for me for some reason, which is probably why I ended up sewing half of all my Project Run and Play entries for my son. But I’m starting to get better and getting girl ideas I like.
I was a total pink loving, skirt twirling little girl, but now I just don’t gravitate to traditional girl colors, ruffles, bows, etc.

My husband was commenting on Ellie will probably be a tom-boy since she never gets to wear pink and she’s already wearing boy shoes. These shoes I recently bought for her because she only has sandals, but all the girls section were sequin, pink glitter, character, just not my thing. So a simple pair of boys canvas keds were less expensive and something I actually liked. I pointed out she does have a flower on her head (easy to make). Plus, this girl has a spunky personality and I’m sure once she can speak and have opinions on what she wears there’s nothing I can do to prevent pink, ruffles, and glitter if that’s what she wants. Plus this outfit does have a purse to match!


Tips on how to use a pair of jeans to make a pattern.
Basically I think it’s most accurate to trace the exact replica of each piece with it face down on the paper.
This is construction paper from Lowes in the painting section, and personally it’s too thick for patterns. I’ve also used wrapping paper, but I think I’m going to buy a roll of thinner paper in the near future, if anyone has an affordable paper they like for drafting patterns let me know!

The example I’m using was the jean front.

So I put the jeans face down and traced the exact dimensions of the jeans, then set them aside.
From here I was able to first take in the leg so it’s not flared, drawing the lines from the thigh down to my narrow leg opening on both sides.
The hot pink lines are the additional fabric I’ll need, so the bottom is some extra length and fabric for a hem.
The top I needed excess fabric to made a fold down waistband (1.25”) and the extra faux fly panel.

Then you just need to add your seam allowances to all edges except the straight top and bottom.
You can use a ruler and just measure out your allowance and then connect the markings all around.

But my little tip is this this little gadget I’ve been using for a while that makes it so much quicker.
Seam Allowance Guide 
It’s a magnetic seam allowance guide that hooks right to your scissors and is adjustable. It just saves time so you can cut a uniform seam allowance with no measuring, or even lay out a garment on fabric and add the seam allowance right as you go.

It’s definitely worth the investment if you make your own patterns or alter patterns a lot.
Sewing for myself I find I’m between the commercial pattern sizes a lot. So a lot of patterns I’ve purchase my measurements are actually a size bigger that’s not included so this helps as I seem to need a little bigger pattern often. I should just start buying the patterns with the larger range of sizes but anyway...
The way this gadget works is I first draw two lines, and the distance apart is my seam allowance.
So for these kid jeans I actually did a small allowance, only 1/4” because I was using scraps and I was serging all the seams and thought I’d save fabric with a smaller allowance.
So there’s two different guides, green is for scissors that don’t have any slant to the blade.
So I cut into one line, then adjust the rubber ring to where 1/4” would be using these particular scissors.


Then it’s set and you’re ready to roll. and just cut out your pattern, keeping the rubber ring on your finished garment line.
The only thing this changes using the guide is the fact the pattern always has to be on the right of the scissors, so you have to cut out your pattern or fabric going clock wise.

It makes it a lot easier for me to get a nice uniform allowance on curves, I just take many short cuts with the guide, rather than connecting dots.Then you can just plop your paper pattern on your fabric and cut it all out, having the pattern to fix once the garment is sewn, or use again.
So I have these little jeans and am considering a few other pairs, they’re quite quick to sew now the pattern’s there and you just can’t find mustard baby cords very easily either.

Yay! You made it to the end of this post!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tablecloth #3

Heads up, kind of a lame post.
But I am really excited about what I have to share tomorrow! But I recently made another fitted tablecloth and this time it is a new version.
The first one from tablecloth vinyl lasted about a year. 
The wear and tear of little kids, or the fact I melted a big hole in it with a hot pan led it to end up in the trash. 
ORIGINAL TUTORIAL HERE

So after that I thought I’d try a more durable finish, with straight plastic vinyl and made just a clear tablecloth with invisible thread.
VERSION #2 HERE

And now I made a fitted tablecloth from cotton quilting fabric.
I used the exact same tutorial as number 1, except I had to piece a border because quilting cotton is only 42” wide and the print was big enough I thought a border would look better than piecing a seam.
This took 2 yards down to the last scrap for a 48” square table, plus the solid border which was probably 1/2 yard.
IMG_3366
So now the plan is to maybe have a few different fabric tablecloths, then just plop the clear plastic vinyl one on top so I can wipe it and not have to wash the fabric one as often. 
A little lame, but better looking than plastic on wood I think.
print was Riley Blake’s Domestic Diva:
IMG_3368

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tutorial: Elle Purse

Thanks for all your nice comments on the last post announcing my pregnancy.
We're so grateful to have a healthy pregnancy and looking forward to another chubby girl!
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On to a new pattern and tutorial:
purse
Lynette gave me some scraps of mustard corduroy from her friend’s skinny jeans she made last year.

So I used some to make Ellie a purse. 

 
We don’t have a ton of girl toys or accessories, so she needed a purse…because lately she’ll grab RJ’s undies and put her arm through the holes and sling it over her shoulder.
So A+ for creativity, but now she doesn’t have to wear her brother’s undies on her arm as an accessory.
purse3
It’s a trapezoid shaped little purse with a thick pieced bottom to give it storage room.
Fully lined and easy to customize with buttons, additional pockets, etc. 
I used store bought plastic handles but you could make your own fabric straps easily.
An easy, quick sew and a great use for your scraps!

 elle purse
My purse handles were originally hot pink. 
I got them on sale for $1.00 and I’m not a fan of pink, so I primed them with spray primer and then used two coats of yellow spray paint.

PRINT PATTERN PIECES HERE
To print, simply click on the link and in the upper left corner is a printer button. 
The pattern is only 2 pages and full scale.

Supplies:
1/4 yard each for outer fabric and lining
plastic handle set or ribbon (or you could sew your own strips from fabric)
Pattern uses 1/2” (1.25 cm) seam allowance throughout.
1. Cut out your fabric pieces
You’ll have the same three pieces for both the lining and outer fabric.

2. Sew Bottom to One Bag Front Piece
The bottom piece tapers into the side seams of the purse, so I find and pin the center of the bottom piece and bag side.
Pin centers together and carefully sew around the curve, until the bottom piece tapers into the bag front.
purse5
I flip the purse over and repeat on the other side, working from the bottom center around until the bottom piece tapers into the side.
purse6

3. Repeat with the other side of the purse.
Start once again pinning the center bottoms together and sewing your way around the edges.
When you get to where the second bag side tapers, you’ll sew right up to the first side as the two seams meet at a crisp point.
purse7
To finish the side seams above the bottom piece, simply lay the sides flat and sew from the top down to the tapered point, but not beyond.
purse8When you turn the purse right side out, the side seam should seamlessly split around the bottom bag piece at the junction.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the lining and trim excess seam allowances on both.
purse9
5. Connect Lining to Outer Purse 
To sew the lining to the purse exterior with right sides together, I place the lining inside out and the purse right side out.  
Position the purse exterior down inside the lining.  Pin side seams to line up.

purse11
Because my handles were stiff and obviously couldn’t  pull through a hole in the purse, I left holes to insert the handles once the purse was turned right side out.  I used my handles to measure where I’d need to leave holes to slip in the handles later.

purse10
So one side had a seam around the end, then had two holes where the handles would be. 
purse12
The opposite side of the purse came around each side seam but left a big hole to turn the purse right side out. 
If you’re using ribbon or fabric straps, you can sew them on the exterior of the purse prior to step 
  Then sew around the circle leaving a few inch hole for turning.  The raw edges of your straps will be hidden in the guts of the purse between the lining and exterior. 

6. Finish Up 
Turn both the lining and purse right side out, then shove the lining back inside the purse.

purse13
At this point you’ll have a large hole from where you turned it, or in my case 3 holes for handles. 
To connect my handles to the purse, I cut 1” wide strips and folded them on each other, zig-zagging the seam.  Basically making a belt loop actually. 

purse14
To attach my plastic handles, I looped a strap through the bottom and pinned it through the holes I’d left in the top seam of purse.
Working on one handle at a time, I top-stitched around the top of the purse to finish it off.
purse15
purse4

Simple pattern to make a chubby purse with a narrow neck to keep the treasures from falling out!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple Blouse #3: Maternity

Another simple blouse and a big announcement: I’m pregnant with another little girl!
I’m due in January and this baby will be a little less than two years apart from Ellie.
That’s actually why I collapsed this summer and didn’t make or blog anything for months.
I’ve always thought I had pretty easy pregnancies in the past, but this little girl kicked my trash.
Many days I’d lay on the couch watching my kids destroy my house feeling like I’m in a coma--thinking I should care Ellie spilled a sippy cup of milk on the rug, and RJ is cutting the detail stitching off the pouf I made, but I really don’t care. 
I was kind of in survival mode for quite a while, the weirdest part was I had zero desire to be creative.
Usually I have way too many ideas and not enough time to make them, but this summer just walking in my sewing room made me want to throw up.  So I’m thrilled to be about half way to baby and feel a lot better.  Hopefully the worst is over with this pregnancy.baby
So I have a few maternity and baby projects brewing in the mean time. 
So first off…I am really weird about maternity clothes.
 The further along I get, the less I can stand anything on my belly. I can’t stand tight tops or the full panel pants with elastic up on the belly.  One trend I just don’t get are the maternity pants and pencil skirts that go up above the baby bump. But I’m not a fashion icon so maybe it’s something I can’t understand.

{source}
I guess I’d prefer the muu-muu maternity years where you just wear a tent, which isn’t flattering, but comfortable.
Anyway, I think I prefer the least flattering clothing on the planet when I’m pregnant.
But I’m going to try to make a few pieces that I can stand to wear and hopefully will look a little more fashionable than a tent.
So on to the blouse:
dot1
I used the same pattern I made for french knot and the green crinkle, but made this time wider and longer to accommodate a baby bump.
The fabric is a silky polyester that’s light and flowy.
I added some shirring to the back to help give it some shape since there’s no darting or ties.
I have two rows from side seam to side seam, then another two rows above that end 4” before the side seams.
dot3
dot4
It obviously won’t last the whole pregnancy, but it’s comfortable and easy to wear…and easy to sew. 
After it was cut out it took 15-20 minutes to finish.dot5
More fall clothing to come this week and I have a few tutorials mixed in there too, so I feel like I’m really back to blogging again and am really excited to be sewing/ creating again after an blur of an awful summer!
Bring on fall!dot2

Friday, August 24, 2012

Simple Scarves


I am done with summer. This one hasn’t been the best.

And fall is by far my favorite season—the leaves, the holidays, the food, harvest time, and the clothes.
I love the layers, jackets, sweaters, boots, jeans come back to cover my nasty legs, etc.
So I’m moving on and the last few years have always had the most sewing inspiration in fall.
So I’m brewing up some fun ideas for clothing (mainly for Ellie and I), but in the mean time I needed a quick, easy project to help me get back into sewing.


So I made three scarves, each out of a single yard of gauze.
Cotton gauze is a lightweight, 100% cotton, crinkled textured, slightly stretchy fabric.
It’s nice it’s 100% cotton if you have a color you’d like to dye it. 
(My orange was a little too tangerine, so I dyed it in tea to make it more of a burnt orange)
I thought it would do well as a scarf because you can easily squish it tight for a skinny look, or it will fluff full if you want more volume.
It’s also pretty affordable. I bought mine online from fabric.com for 3.98/ yard. So each scarf was $4.00 which is pretty good.
UPDATE: Gauze on sale for only $3.38/yard. You can get some cheap scarves!
So a pretty cheap way to add accessories to your wardrobe and have a quick satisfying project you can finish in less than an hour.
It’s so simple I didn’t take photos of the process, but here’s a diagram to show how I cut the fabric and attached the halves together.
The finished scarves measure 25” wide and 76” long. The diagram below lies, it is only 25” wide.
A little more explanation to accompany the diagram:
1. So first, you’ll fold your 1 yard in half, lining up the selvage edges together.
Then you just cut along that fold. This makes the 36” yard cut the length, so with two halves it will give you the 7” long.
This guaze was 52” wide, so in half that results in the 26” raw scarf width, but after you hem it the finished scarf is 25” wide.
2. A French seam is really easy, you just have to sew it twice. Here’s a video if it’s a new method.
basically you sew wrong sides together, trim seam allowance to 1/8” to reduce bulk, fold scarf right sides together around seam allowances and sew another 1/4” seam that traps the first one in a channel. Then top stitch the seam flat to one side.
3. After that you can just do a quick hem around the remaining four sides that have raw edges. I don’t worry about doing mitered corners or anything.
I chose to hem the two short sides, then the long ones. You could even just serge the edges to make the project even quicker!


Then you wear them…which is probably the hardest part for me.
I like the idea of scarves, and I’ve watched this helpful fancy video on 25 ways to tie or wear a scarf.
But I still feel like a dork trying to pull off something I’m not sure looks right. Kind of funny.
Maybe I just need to go for it and the newness will wear off and I won’t feel like a little girl playing dress up or something.



On to fall and cooler weather!


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