Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Wall Decor from the Junk Drawer: Mom Feature

Another project from my mom.
She made a few of these Christmas Tree wall hangings for us from a load of junk jewelry.


She bought basic canvases and hot glued fabric around them for a darker background.
Then used hot glue to attach all the jewelry.
There are quite a few broaches, like the tree topper. 

It's fun to see the different objects hidden in there, like the "J" she did for me that must have been a charm or something.  
You can also see she outlined the tree with a chain.

Mine is mostly silver and red, with touches of blue to match the rest of our holiday decor at my house.
Notice another charm with the fish? 

A unique, cheap, glam tree.
So now you can raid granny's jewelry junk box for a tree of your own!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Puzzle Nativity: Mom Feature

I've been making stuff, but the Thanksgiving holiday last week put me behind,
 in addition to my sewing machine breaking and needing to go to the repair shop.
So in the mean time, I wanted to brag about my awesome mom who made these nativity puzzles for each family.

She has a pattern from the 1980s when she made one for our family growing up.
Pattern INfo:
Tole Temptations Pattern # 40-45439 by Nancy Farrow from Provo Craft Publications
Basically it's two pieces of 1x12 pine.  One layer you use a scroll saw to cut out all the shapes, then glue the barn frame to the backing piece of 1x12.
She stains the shapes then toll paints them all.  

Each piece is 3/4" thick so they stand on their own for a tabletop nativity scene.

RJ has really loved this puzzle the last few days. 

It's fun to use as a puzzle and to stack and play with the pieces.
It's nice that it can't break being wood hunks as well. 

You can check out my mom's other huge stuffed nativity she made me last year:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maternity Tunic from Men's Dress Shirt


Here's what I made with the rest of my husband's chambray dress shirt.
The sleeves went to the toddler cuff pants, and the body of the shirt got flipped backwards to make a tunic for me.

I didn't have enough fabric for sleeves, so this maternity top is a tank which would be good for anyone pregnant in summer.
But winter is in full swing with snow on the ground and low temperatures, so for this baby I plan to use it as a layering piece.
I was excited to have a chambray top, as it can be kind of a neutral with crazy colored bottoms, like my orange jeans I made, tutorial here.

So the back of the dress shirt became the maternity front, allowing the gathered center to drape over the belly.  I added boob darts and just a simple rounded neckline.

The button up front of the men's dress shirt is now the back of the tunic.
I sewed the button placket closed up to my mid back, as I only needed the first few to get my head through.  I also switched out the buttons with silver post buttons.

My 4 year old took all these photos of me wearing the tunic, and did pretty good using the tripod.
I guess my husband will be relieved I found someone else!

MAKE YOUR OWN TUNIC
(doesn't have to be maternity)

1.  Remove sleeves and chest pocket.  To carefully cut off the pocket, I find a straight edge razor is much better than a seam ripper to carefully cut the threads and slice the pocket right off.

2 Cut Tunic Back
First remove the collar and cut the shoulder seams so you're only using the button front of the dress shirt.
Using a shirt that fits you as a pattern, fold both the dress shirt button front and the pattern tee in half and arrange their folds on top of each other, and align from the bottom up, as the hems can line right up.
Third, cut the neck, shoulder, arm hole and side seam a seam allowance away from pattern shirt.  

3. Cut Tunic Front
Using the back half of the dress shirt, you'll first cut the bottom of the tunic front that covers the pregnant belly.  Align your pattern tee in the center and at the hem.  Cut across 3" or so below the base of the armpit.  This way you'll ensure you have enough length to cover a pregnant belly (red line).
Next remove the yoke from the dress shirt and fold the remaining shirt and pattern tee in half to cut out bodice.

4. Gather Tunic Bottom
With using the full width on the bottom, and your regular size on the bodice, you have a much wider bottom, which is how you get the extra fabric to go forward around the belly.
I measured around 7" from each side to stay flat, then the remaining center fabric needed to gather enough to line up with the width of the bodice.   Baste stitch across the top and gather as much as you need to.

5. Connect Front to Back
Finish tunic front by sewing the bodice to the gathered bottom, right sides together.
Next sew the side and shoulder seams of the tunic back and tunic front, making sure right sides are together.

6. Darts
I noticed I needed to add a dart on the chest to take care of excess fabric at the armholes.
To make a quick, easy dart without a pattern, I put on the tunic inside out, and using masking tape to mark, taped from the most prominent point on the chest down toward the base of the armhole, then pinched however much fabric needed to come together to take care of the sag.
To sew the dart, fold matching up the masking tape on each side and sew along the edge.  The dart should taper right to the edge of the fold.
When the bodice lays flat, the dart should stand up straight between the two pieces of masking tape.
Just peel the tape off and use the finished dart to mark the other side and sew it to match.

7. Finish Neck and Arms
There are many different ways to finish the neck and arm holes, make a lining, facing, self made bias tape, etc.
I didn't want any added fabric with a facing or lining, and decided to use bias tape on the wrong side for this top.
Finalize where the finished neck and arm holes should be and trim 1/4" from the edge.
Sew narrow 1/4" double fold bias tape on the raw edge.
Fold bias tape to the wrong side of garment and top stitch in place.

8. Button Placket
Sew the button placket shut on the back, except for the three top buttons.
Remove all the shirt buttons and replace if you want.

I used the original hem on the dress shirt--the perk of re-fashioning!
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I ended up using pretty much the entire dress shirt, except the yoke and collar.
It's nice to have a top that's not knit and stretched tight over the belly as it makes it though the last trimester.
10 weeks to go!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Refashionista Series: Toddler Cuff Pants

Cheri at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar is hosting a series of refashioning and I was shocked to get a chance to share an idea in the mix.

Today I'm over there sharing a tutorial on taking sleeves from a dress shirt to turn them into unique toddler pants.

I've been wanting some baby chambray in my girl's dresser, and these were a fun way to work them in all for free.

 It was fun for me to try to think of a refashion outside the box to use something in a totally different way, as most of the time I just use the "before" item as fabric.
Flipping the shirt upside down into pants was pretty fun to create.

So check out my post HERE and enjoy the other refashions to come!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Tutorial: Kids Totes


Back when the dino tails were in the Simple Quilts and Sewing magazine, they also had me design a trick or treat bag to go with them, and the instructions are available on their website.

Here's the direct link to instructions to make these cute, quick, totes.
Obviously you could use them any time, for library books, gifts, etc.

 I designed them to have contrasting lining and handles, which makes them reversible with an all solid alternative version.  The bottom has box pleats to give more room in the base as well.
 Anyway, we have a snowman to make this morning as it snowed 4 inches!
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tutorial: DIY Maternity Jeans from Scratch


Sewing your own jeans is intimidating.
But if you ever want to give it a try, making maternity jeans if you happen to be pregnant is a really easy way to start because there's no zip fly, waistband, belt loops, yoke, etc.

You may just prefer to buy cheap jeans and add your own maternity band or panel, like this tutorial from my last pregnancy.

It's pretty quick, easy to sew, and affordable.

So some reasons why I wanted to make my own maternity jeans from scratch with this pregnancy.
#1.  I have a hard time jeans long enough.
Even non-maternity are hard to find 35"+ inseams for an affordable price that fit right.
I just hate to cut up the few jeans I like that are long enough for maternity clothes.
#2 I wanted to try a trend
I've been wanting to try some more colored jeans, and for fall/ winter I was pretty excited about burnt orange or rust.  I couldn't find any long enough to buy if I wanted to, so had to make my own.
#3 Had  the Fabric
If you go buy denim, the jeans can end up costing the same as buying jeans and hacking the waistband, but this corduroy was $1/yd and 60" wide (fabric garage sale years ago), so these cost me $3.00 plus dye.
___________________________________________________
BURNT ORANGE BREAK: orange may not be your thing, but in case you want to give it a go.... 


So really quickly, corduroy that's non stretch is 100% cotton and can dye really well. 
My corduroy was originally a light gray, almost white.
I used 1 box of Rit brand powder dye in Sunshine Orange
and 1/4 box Rit powder dye in Cocoa Brown for this color
To make it easier to dye, I actually cut out all my jeans pieces, then dyed them.
I didn't want to deal with dying yards of fabric, or worrying about uneven dye job with a finished pair of jeans.
________________________________________________
So if you don't want to buy your favorite fitting jeans just to cut the tops off, making your own using a favorite pair of jeans for maternity months may be something you'd like to do.
The sewing is really easy, practically making these baby jeggings but sewing real adult front pockets.

So this tutorial will use steps from my other pants tutorials, rather than having an epic long post.
The referenced steps will have links if you want to click over to see the pictures.
The photographed steps here are mainly for the real adult front pockets.

So to get started:
FABRIC:
you'll need anywhere from 2-4 yards of fabric depending on how long your inseam is, and how wide your fabric is.
45" wide fabric you'll need more like 3-4 yards twice the length of your finished jeans.
60" wide fabric you can cut side by side and only need the length of your pants most likely.

1. TRACE JEANS YOU LOVE FOR PATTERN
I was making a few pairs, so I traced my favorite fitting jeans on paper so I had a pattern to use multiple times.  But you could also just go right on the wrong side of the fabric.
Outline your perfect fitting jeans exactly on the seams, and you'll have to adjust/ rearrange them as you draw to get the curve of the butt and crotch to lay flat so you can outline it.
**I outline below the jeans waistband because you don't need that as you'll add the elastic or panel at the end**
Most likely the back of your jeans has a yoke, or triangle piece at the top of the butt, don't worry about that and just outline below the waist band.
Don't forget to also trace the back pockets and the curve of the front pockets.

2. ADJUST OUTLINE OF PERFECT JEANS FOR MATERNITY
So once you've got the front and back halves of your jeans drawn, you need to first add seam allowances.
I like to sew with 1/2" seam allowances, but my good fitting jeans were currently too small with the pregnancy weight gain, so I also added another 1/4" to all sides to up the size for the growing mama legs and butt.
So from the original exact jeans outline, I added 3/4" to the sides, top, and curves of butt/ crotch.
For the bottom of the legs, I add 1.5" to the for a hem.
Back pockets only need 1/4" seam allowance on sides, 1" seam allowance on top to fold over.
Now the back pieces are done as far as drafting goes.

But the front needs a maternity make-over.
1. Add the faux fly by going beyond the curve 1.5" and curving back into the center front crotch seam.
2. Trace where the front pockets curve and add 1/4" seam allowance.
3. The red line below indicates where the jeans would be just below the waistband.
You'll need to lower the front of the jeans to allow for the shorter rise for the baby bump.  I just guess, usually making the total front crotch seam 6" for me.
**You'll also need to cut out the pocket backing pieces, but instructions for those pieces are included below in sewing instructions.

3. Sew Back of Jeans
here's where I rely on past tutorials
images of these steps on baby jeggings can be found here under "construct back of pants" heading


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.


3. Attach back pockets.  
First fold pocket top down 1/2" twice to create the final 1" hem.  You could also serge the top and fold it down once 1".  Top stitch the top fold.  Do any embroidery/ applique on pocket now if you want.  Iron the sides of pocket to wrong side with 1/4" seam allowance.  Mark the pocket placement using your original jeans.  Pin pockets on pants and top-stitch around sides and bottoms with 1/8" seam allowance.

4. Sew Front Center Seam and Faux Fly
With right sides together on front pieces, sew the curve of the faux fly and then pivot down the center front (crotch) seam.  You'll snip the seam allowance to the stitching at the corner where you pivot.

Open jeans and fold the faux fly back to the left if you were wearing them, right if you're looking at the front of the jeans.  (Most of the time I just look down at the pants I'm wearing to make sure the fly goes the right direction)

Top stitch the curve of the fly, pivoting at the center front seam and top-stitching that down.
Usually jeans have the double needle top-stitching, or you can sew it twice 1/4" away from the first seam.


5. MAKE FRONT POCKETS
You'll need to cut out the backing and lining for the front pockets.
Rather than using the denim (corduroy) for the whole pocket, you'll notice in adult jeans the bottom half of the pockets are always a lighter fabric so you don't see the bulky outline of the pocket smashed on your thigh.

So first cut the backing of the pocket from your jeans fabric, cutting up the front curve to meet the side seam of the back piece.  Then make the piece long enough to go into pocket.
You'll need two of these pocket backing pieces, opposite each other for a left and right pocket.


Next, you'll need to cut the pocket lining for the bottom back half and front of the pocket.
I used quilting cotton and cut two strips as wide as my pocket backing pieces.
The length of this pocket lining will determine how deep your finished pockets are, as this lining is sewn to the pocket backing and front of pants, then folds between to make the pocket.
I used my original pants to measure the approximate length for my pockets.

So when cutting the lining out, (far left image) you'll have one end that matches the curve of the pocket backing, then the other end will match the curve of the pocket on the front of the pants.
Once you cut out one lining, use it to cut the opposite.
Sew the lining to the pocket backing (center image) with right sides together.  Fold lining down and press, and I top-stitch this seam as well to help it lay flat.
You can see now how the lining will fold up to create the pocket when you attach it to the front of the pants (right image).

6. ATTACH POCKETS TO FRONT OF PANTS
Once lining is sewn to pocket backing, you can sew the other end to the front of the pants.
Make sure you're sewing right sides together and have the correct pocket (right pocket to right side of pants).  

Flip the pocket back and top-stitch the front of the pants along the pocket curve, keeping the lining back so it won't show on the front.
At this point you can align the pocket with the front of the pants, lining the curve of the front and side seams all together.

7. FINISH POCKETS AND PANTS FRONT
At this point you can see where the pockets will align with the front of the pants and pin where the pockets will fold.  Next sew up the side of the pocket near the center front.
For the outer side of the pocket, I sew it right to the front of the pants, making the pocket included in the side seam so it can't twist toward the crotch of the pants if you have something in your pocket.

Baste the top of the pocket to the front of the pants, and the side seam.

 Now all you have to do is clean up the curve along the front of the pants, I chose to serge it in a clean curve.


8. SEW BACK OF PANTS TO FRONT
Once again going back to the baby jegging tutorial if you want pictures


Inner Leg Seams:
Pin the front to back (right sides together) matching up the center crotch seams.  Pin the legs together at the ankle.  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.

 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.
Hem:
Go ahead and hem the ankles folding the raw edge twice.  I allowed 1.5" extra when cutting out for a 3/4" double fold hem.

9. ATTACH MATERNITY BAND OF CHOICE

I hate the full panels, so I always go with a band that sits below the belly.
For these orange jeans I just used 4" wide elastic, sewing it right to the jeans, not even taking time to create the knit cover for it.
Obviously I'd never tuck in maternity shirts, but just to show you how I just plopped on thick elastic to the pants:


 So there you go, making your own maternity jeans that should fit like your favorite pre-pregnancy jeans you can't jam your thighs in anymore (if you're like me).
So now I have the plum maternity cords (with only faux pockets) and these orange babies...
...and only 12 weeks to go till she's here.
That seems like a long time, the whole last trimester.

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