Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Voile Gray Skirt: modcloth knock-off

I've been itching to sew a little for myself, but being pregnant definitely dampens any excitement for clothing.
So I've been thinking of making things I can wear with the baby belly and when I'm normal after the baby is born.
So first up is a simple skirt made with gray voile cotton and has texture in the thick waistband.
Obviously the cuter version would be a regular person, but it's got a stretchy waistband for maternity as well.
It's a knock-off of ModCloth's In Tandem skirt also made with voile.
Voile is 100% cotton that is semi-sheer and really light weight so it has to be lined.
This skirt took 2 yards and about 1.25 yards of the lining.
gray and chiffon skirt

From reading the description from ModCloth, their skirt has a zipper and is just kind of huge, relying on the sash to keep it up.
I liked the gathered almost ruched look on the thick waistband, but thought the zipper huge waist wasn't the best idea.

So I had a genius idea to use the lining as the base, and with elastic thread/shirring technique, sew the voile on top with excess fabric to add the ruched/ wrap texture between the rows.  
As I got going, I realized the lining was preventing the elastic thread from scrunching up the waistband.
Bummer when the shirring just doesn't work.
So I already had elastic in the casing at the top, and just added elastic to the center and bottom to help scrunch the waist in so it wouldn't hang on the hips.  I had a tutorial of my method, but when it didn't work out I didn't keep taking the step by step photos.
Basically my original idea was using the lining 7" tall to allow the top casing and bottom seam allowance to attach skirt.  The voile top layer was 11" tall.
I serged the top and bottom of the two layers together and just worked the excess top voile between the layers to have the extra gathered texture.

The skirt itself was 120" around gathered up and sewn to the waistband.

In the end, the excess fabric between rows of shirring did add a cool texture to the waistband rather than the regular shirred scrunch.  I ironed the waistband to flatten or crush the gathered texture.
I think the majority of the pregnancy I'll just wear it without the sash as the waistband kind of gets crushed and shortened under the belly as it gets bigger.
But I thought the light gray would work for fall/ winter as well as spring.

I had a bit of left over voile and decided to make the sash as an optional way to wear the skirt.
It's just 6" wide and has a tiny hem around all four sides.

The skirt doesn't have belt loops, but I wore it with the sash a few weeks ago and it stayed put around the waistband.  

In the end, a simple skirt, but a new way to add texture to a basic shirred waistband.
The bow sash is also a fun girl detail you can add or remove depending on the occasion.

Best Aunt Ever: Vintage Hoodies

My little sister, Lynette, is the best aunt to my kids.
We visited her for her baby shower and she had prizes for both RJ and Ellie.

She'd made them each a zip-front hoodie from vintage fabrics she's collected and Ellie got a bonus pair of navy twill pants.
I loved the vintage stripes and print.
My favorite element is the burnt orange ribbing on Ellie's...I've developed a thing for burnt orange lately.

RJ's hoodie is really cool.
It's made with a wool jersey.  I don't think I've ever worn or really seen a knit made with wool.
I definitely know I've never sewn with it.   

Ellie's hoodie is a thinner vintage knit, the kind that doesn't stretch that much so it's probably essential she has the zipper to help get it over her head.
We were laughing at her big boy pants.  This borderline "boy" outfit goes well with her tom-boy antics.

The hoods themselves are really light, just the single knit layer, no lining or anything. 

RJ had to help Ellie out of the garden as I didn't have shoes and she kept running away.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Easy DIY Ghost Costume

This summer when I started sewing again, my son RJ started asking for a ghost costume and pulled out any white fabric from my stash.  The other day I finally broke down and decided to throw a ghost together.

I took a yard of cheap, white, slub knit I had from a $5.00/ 5 yard Walmart bolt and cut off a yard.
I serged the sides to curve up for a snug fit on the head and tried it on.
While he had it on I marked his eyes, then we talked about ways to make the scary eye holes.
He wanted them black, but I wanted him to be able to see where he was going, so we compromised on using black lace so we both got what we thought was important.
I drew 2" circles at the eye markings, pinned a scrap of black lace on the back, and sewed around the circles.  Then I just snipped away the knit white circles, being careful not to cut through the lace, revealing the black scary eyes.

The overall shape just tapers from the head to the side seams which are the full width of the fabric, and I didn't even even off the bottom. 

Look out for this creepy ghost! 

It was really quick, I think since I serged it and just hacked it all out beginning to end it only took 10 minutes.  
Love those quick, easy projects he gets so excited about!
Do you have your Halloween costumes in the works?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

toddler blouse: plaid

I made one more little blouse from the original pink pattern.  

This time changing up the sleeve length, neckline and placement of the placket.
I also sewed buttons on the placket this time since it was out to the side, where the autumn blouse was centered and short enough I didn't think I'd ever button them and just left it blank.

This little blouse used the scraps from a pull-over top I made myself last year.

 The sleeves on this version are three-quarter and cut on the bias.

Ellie's getting sick of modeling, so we had to bust out the Smarties bribe this round. 

Detail of the off-center placket and bias tape neckline.

The blouse last fall was the first placket I can remember sewing.
It's such a good little technique to know as you can take a basic top pattern and plop the placket in the front, back, shoulder seam, or anywhere you want to change up a pattern for more variety. 

Shown with the charcoal e cords. 

RJ was trying to help Ellie be happy for the pictures by dancing next to me, but decided to take matters literally into his own hands.  Needless to say Ellie didn't like it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

e cords Pattern and Text Instructions

I've made my drafted toddler skinny pants pattern available for printing!
This pattern is for 18 months and I only drafted 1/4" seam allowance as I was sewing the majority of the seams with a serger, so keep that in mind as you sew.


I didn't plan to do a full tutorial, so here's a run down of the instructions, and you can use the Baby Jeggings tutorial as a reference for photos if you need.  There's very few steps that are different for these e cords.

First off:
I used corduroy, but you can use any fabric you want really, you'll need about 2/3 yard.
If you choose to use denim, I'd recommend a light weight and maybe some stretch.
You'll also need elastic for the waistband, 3/4" wide regular or buttonhole.

1. Print paper patterns on card stock.  Cut out and tape pants front A and B together and pants back A and B together.
2. Cut out fabric, remembering when cutting two of one piece you'll need them to be opposite to have a right and left (back, front, pockets)

1. Front Fly Seam:
Sew (right sides together) the two front pieces along the curve of fly, into corner, then the short crotch curve.  Snip the corner under the fly to stitching.  Finish seam (serge or zig-zag).  Fold faux fly to left leg, so fly opens on the kid's right hand side.  I usually look down at my own pants to make sure the fly is going the right direction.  Top-stitch (on right side) the bottom crotch seam allowance to the bottom of fly, pivot, then curve up the fly.  Repeat with a second row around fly.
THIS STEP VERY HELPFUL TO VIEW BABY JEGGINGS AS IT'S THE EXACT SAME. construct front of pants section: step 2

2. Attach Patch Pockets:
First you'll hem your pocket curve where the little hand goes in.  I serge the curve, then fold it under and top-stitch it in place.  Iron the 1/4" seam allowance under the larger "L" shaped curve.  Pin pocket to fronts matching the top and sides.  Top-stitch pocket to pant front with 1/8" seam allowance.

1. Back Seam. 
Sew (with right sides together) the curved back bum seam.  Finish raw edges (serge/ zig-zag).  On right side, sew the flat felled type seam by pushing the 1/4" seam allowance to one side and top stitching 1/4" from seam fold to stitch it in place.

2. Attach yoke.  
Because the yoke has a "v" shape, I start at the center, and sew from the center to the side seam, then start back in the center sewing the yoke to the other side.  This way the point of the yoke is centered on your back bum seam.  Finish edge and top-stitch this seam as well.

3. Attach back pockets.  
First fold pocket top down 1/4" twice to create the final 1/2" hem.  You could also serge the top and fold it down once 1/2".  Top stitch the top fold.  Do any embroidery/ applique on pocket now if you want.  Iron the curved sides of pocket to wrong side with 1/4" seam allowance.  Mark the top, inside corner for pocket: 1" out from center back seam and 1" down from back-yoke seam.  Pin pockets on pants and top-stitch around sides and bottoms with 1/8" seam allowance.

1. Inner Leg Seams:
Pin the front to back (right sides together) matching up the center crotch seams.  Pin the legs together at the ankle.  To accommodate the big diaper bum, there's a lot of extra fabric in the back, and it will feel like the back piece is too short.  You just have to stretch the back to fit the front piece as the angle is much more dramatic on the back piece.  I start from the center and sew to one ankle, then repeat.  If it ends up a little (.25") uneven at the ankle, it's alright.
Open this seam and top-stitch seam allowance to one side for the flat felled finish seam look.

2. Side Seams:
With front and back right sides together, sew the side seams and finish seam.  Make sure you catch all the sides of your front patch pockets to enclose the raw edge in the side seam.

1. Waist:
Finish top edge of pants with serging/ zig-zag, bias tape, etc.  Iron down the top around the whole pant 1.25".  Make casing:
     -Elastic casing: this is the easiest method.  You can sew the casing 1" around, leaving a few inches hole and thread your 3/4" or 1" wide elastic through with a safety pin, sew elastic ends together, then sew the casing hole shut.
    -I chose to use the buttonhole elastic method so the front is flat and the gathering is around the back like you find in retail kids pants.  I bought a huge roll of my buttonhole elastic online from but you can find smaller pre-packaged elastic in craft stores. 
Helpful steps to put in buttonhole elastic waistband from Modern Lederhosen tutorial  step 8
 a) Sew 1" tall button holes half way between center front fly fold and side seams on each side.  b)  Sew a button (toward the center fly) of buttonhole. c) Sew elastic (toward the center fly) of button, thread it through the buttonhole and around the back of the pants to come out the other buttonhole, past the other button, and sew it to the pants.  d) Fold down the top and top-stitch around entire pants top making sure not to sew the elastic.  This way the elastic can't go back into the pants if the button pops off.

2. Hem:
Double fold hem totals 1/2", so you'll fold the raw edge under 1/4", then fold it another 1/4" and sew around the ankle opening to finish hem.


Monday, September 17, 2012

clever charlotte giveaway winner!

We have a winner! selected the winning comment and she has been emailed.
Thanks to clever charlotte for giving one lucky reader one of their sewing patterns from their brand new fall line!

Just a big reminder:
all other clever charlotte patterns are
 are 20% off through this week!

The new fall line:
{all photos from clever charlotte's shop or blog}
 olivine dress.

The Jasper Vest and Jodhpur Pants

Peridot Blouse with ankle pants

Autumn Toddler Blouse

The pattern pieces for the e cords in size 18 months will be available Tuesday.
Thanks for your feedback and it's motivating to know people will actually use the pattern!

The practice pink chiffon blouse was a draft for this little fall inspired top.
 Ellie is wearing the top with clever charlotte finch shorts and hand dyed cotton tights.

Made with a cotton floral print, it seemed like a cute, girly print for fall.
This time around I made the placket slightly shorter and the fabric is obviously more structured than the chiffon to hold the shape around the neck better. 
There's the short ruffle collar and shirred wrists again.

The print is a brown background with flowers mainly in orange, lavender and light pink and some green and yellow leaves, so it seemed like a top that could go with lots of different pants, skirts, or layered.

ruffle collar and open placket

 I thought it would look really cute with the clever charlotte chickadee jumper as well.
Get this girl a caramel apple it's time for fall!

Get me down mom I am done!


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