Monday, 24 December 2012

Still Here

It is hard to find sewing time now that work/school is in full swing but I have managed a few things.  I decided I wanted to make Maya a flannel nightgown and after looking at patterns I decided I liked a vintage Simplicity pattern (pattern 9095 if you are interested).  I found the size 4 pretty generous (although my 4 year old is on the small size).  She LOVES it and so I ordered more beautiful flannel from on sale.  Joann's also has flannel on sale right now as well although it is not as good quality as the designer stuff I got at jimmybeans. 

I also decided to make Maya a Christmas shirt.  I used an Oliver and S pattern (family reunion dress which has a blouse option) and just gave it long sleeves and an elastic cuff).  I love this fabric but Maya won't wear it.  Seriously, she will. not. wear. it.  When I say this girl loves pink, I mean she really loves pink and this shirt is not pink enough.  I don't know where she comes from!  Luckily, Hannah likes it and at the rate she is growing it will fit her next year. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sewing for Sam

I have been trying to think of something I can sew for Sam.  His sensory issues make that a bit difficult.  For example, I made him really lovely Oliver and S bedtime Story pajamas and he refused to wear them because they felt "different".  I was able to get him to wear the pants for a abotu 15 minuted but he absolutely FLIPPED when I tried to put the kimono style top on him.  SO now I have this great pair of size 8 pajamas and no one to wear them!  They are blue and brown so, unless she adjusts her tastes, Maya won't wear them when  she is older ( I keep hoping she will learn to love blue like I do!!)

I think I have decided to make Sam a Charlie Tunic.  I love this pattern and I have made a few shirts for the girls.  The pattern doesn't quite go up to his size but I think I can size it up myself.

Here are the first two I made for the girls:


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Back-to-School Sewing

I have been turning out projects at a pretty good speed this summer.  I use the time after the kids go to sleep to sew.  I usually opt to neglect things like finishing the dishes. . .

I have made Maya some cute stuff for this fall and winter.  These two dresses are from Un Petit Design

The pattern is a free download and they were quite easy to make.  One of my pleats is ever so slightly crooked on the pink dress but you can't tell when she has it on.

The flannel I used for these pajama pants was from the remnant bin at Joann's.  I think it cost about $3?  I found a pink shirt in Maya's drawer that had a little stain on the front so I added a ruffle over it and now she has new jammies.

These are Christmas pajamas.  Yes, it is a little early but I didn't get around to it last year so I figured getting them done early might be a good thing.  Also, the Riley Blake flannel I had my eye on last year went on sale for about 4.50/yd earlier this summer and I couldn't pass that up.  I made two pairs (the girls).  I made Sam pajamas last year (Oliver and S Bedtime Story pajamas no less but he won't wear them so I am not sure if I am going to try again this year).  I kept it simple and made a basic elastic waist pant and a peasant style top.
These are hard to see but they are jeans with heart shaped cargo pockets.  I made a pair for each girl. 

I decided to get a jump on another holiday project and whipped up these Halloween skirts for the girls this past weekend.  You can't tell from the picture but there are little silver sparkles on the fabric.  It is a little sheer so I made 2 layers thick.

These two I wrote about in my last post but they are part of my fall sewing projects so I figured they are worth mentioning again. 

I have two dresses I will probably finish tonight and then I might take a little break from sewing for the girls.  It is time to figure out something Sam might wear and to make something for myself. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Hanna Andersson Inspired/Love the Peasant Style

I have been a bit obsessed with the peasant style top/dress this summer. For one thing, the construction is soooo easy.  Another real advantage is that it is pretty much guaranteed to fit.  And since there are no buttons, zippers, or snaps, my four year old can get them on by herself.  I made the girls a dress, a shirt and a pajama top in this style for the summer.

I love to look at the Hanna Andersson catalog as soon as it arrives.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of their dresses this year, the Retro Dress, is a peasant dress.  I decided to pick up a couple of prints I have had my eye on for a while and make an HA inspired dress.

Here is Hannah's 2T dress. I opted for one pocket instead of 2 because when I pinned 2 on it seems to mess up the look of the print.  The pocket is ribbon bound (the ribbon encases the raw edge of the pocket).  I haven't added the bows on the pocket and at the neck like the HA dress has because I need some green thread.  I am not 100% sure if I want them though.  Hannah is still putting a lot in her mouth and I could see her chewing the bows.
Yes, that is a picture of the inside of the dress.  Why?  Because I got a serger!!!!  I got the basic Brother model. had a price drop for about a day (from about 200 down to 178).  It has been a dream.  I have only used this stitch so far but I haven't had any problems.  I am in love with the amazing finish and the speed at which I can work. 
When Maya saw me buy this fabric she said she didn't like it (no pink).  When she saw Hannah try it on she got a little jealous and said actually she DOES like the fabric.  Too bad.  She is going to have to wait until the school year starts and I start getting paid again.  Don't feel too bad for Maya.  I have a different fabric all ready to go for her.  And I just made her this (peasant style) flannel top. I love the kangaroo pocket.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fall Neck Wrap - Pattern and Tutorial

Here is a free pattern for a Fall Neck Wrap (good for spring too but since fall is approaching that seems more appropriate as a name).  It is a great way to show off a fun print and/or a pretty button.  You can also make the inside and outside different colors for a nice contrast (directions for making it reversible are below).

 To get started you will need:

Pattern piece 1 and pattern piece 2

1/2 yard of fabric (I made mine with quilting cotton but I am planning to make a few in flannel as well.  I am pretty sure you could make this with fleece too but you might want to add a 1/2 inch or so to allow for the thickness of that kind of fabric.) PRE-WASH any fabric you use.  You don't want it to shrink after you make it.

Thread, sewing machine, scissors, pins, etc

Small piece of fusible interfacing

Button (Any size will work but, on most of the wraps I made, I went for the biggest button for which my machine could make a button hole.  I am NOT interested in hand sewing buttonholes and I am still working on making a good machine buttonhole without the automatic setting)

1. Print and cut out the pattern pieces.  Be sure to use 8 1/2x11 paper and make sure the there is no scaling.  Match the dots and tape the 2 pieces together.

2. Cut your fabric. 

3.  Iron a small piece of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric where you plan to sew the button.

4.  Place the two piece of fabric with right sides together and sew around using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Leave a 2-3 inch opening along the bottom.

5.  Trim your seam allowances (if you want - it doesn't make a whole lot of difference on this project) Notch the round corners.  Note- you might want to notch/trim a little better than I did in this picture - I ended up going back and making this one a little neater.

6.  Turn the the project through the opening you left so the right sides are out. You might want to use the back end of a knitting needle or something similar to help you get all the corners fully pushed out.

7.  Finger press or iron the edges flat.

8. Topstitch around the entire neck wrap (about 1/8 inch from the edge).
Looks like this one needs to be ironed again. . .
9.  Wrap the fabric around your neck to check the button/buttonhole placement (you want them to be in the same spot on opposite sides.  Mark your buttonhole with chalk.  I tried vertical and horizontal placements and I found horizontal (like on most coats) worked better.

10.  Sew the buttonhole and attach the button*.  DONE!!

*If you use 2 different fabrics and you want to make this scarf reversible just sew two buttons, one on each side in the same spot.  On this one I used two small buttons on each side (4 total). 


I bought the Oliver and S Firefly Jacket pattern as soon as it came out.  I love the shape and the fact that it is reversible.  I have gotten away from using patterns, I have been making my own for the most part or following tutorials but this one was worth buying. 

Here are the results:

The jackets are the same; they can be worn with either fabric showing.  My only complaint is that the jacket is a tad short.  I used the size chart and my seam allowances were accurate.  If I make it again, and I probably will, I will add a little length.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

One More Skirt

I made one more skirt for the Skirting the Issue campaign.  It is a gingham circle skirt with an exposed elastic waistband.  I mailed them off to Utah on Monday.
I am happy that I met my goal of 5 skirts for donation!

Fleece Jacket

Maya has been asking for a Hanna Andersson fleece jacket.  Why?  Because I handed her the catalog a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to cook dinner.  Maya LOVES clothes so I thought it would keep her busy for a few minutes.  It did but then she decided she wanted a $52 Marshmallow hoodie.  Don't get me wrong - I love Hanna Andersson- but the prices make their stuff  "sometimes" purchases.  Or I get my Hanna Andersson fix at Costco.  I do splurge on the PJs for Sam though.  His sensory issues make night clothing options a bit limited and he likes the jammies so he gets them. 

Anyway, back to Maya.  I haven't worked much with fleece but I figured I could probably make jacket myself.  I used a couple of old jackets as models and drew a pattern.  It took about a yard of fleece.  With sale prices/teacher discount the fleece, zipper, and thread probably cost around $12. 

It came together really well and I am very pleased.  The one think that irks me is that one pocket is about 1/8-1/4 of an inch higher than the other.  It happened when I attached the zipper.  EVen though everything was lined up before sewing, the fleece is thick and cushy and it shifts every so slightly under the presser foot.  I re-did it but the result was the same.  For now I am leaving it.  When she has the jacket on, you can't tell. 

I am going to make one more and then I will try to upload my pattern as a PDF if anyone wants to use it.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

For Donation plus a tutorial (sort of)

I read about Skirting the Issue and decided to make a few skirts to contribute.  I wanted to make some skirts for older girls (not pre-schoolers).  I figured enough people would make the basic elastic waist cotton skirt (which is a great skirt for little ones) so I wanted to use some fabrics more suitable for older kids.  I made 4 - one is for a teen and has a 3 inch wide elastic waistband with a polka dot silky skirt body.  The other three are knit skirts (the purple is bamboo knit and the pink is cotton jersey).  One is a bubble, the other 2 have layered asymmetrical hemlines. 

The directions below are for the assymetrical hemline skirts above.  I didn't take any good pictures while working so I am sorry if this isn't as clear as I would like.

You will need: .75-1 yard of knit fabric, thread, 2 inch wide elastic, sewing machine, ball point needle (recommended), cutting mat, & rotary cutter.

1.  Cut 2 rectangles from your knit fabric.  The first should be the length of the skirt you want plus about .5 in by about 1.5 the width of your waist measurement.  The second should be about 2- 3 inches shorter (same width). 

2.  Cut your elastic.  I used 2 inch wide black elastic.  It should be the length of your waist measurement plus 1 inch. 

3.  If your fabric has right sides, put them together and, using your sewing machine's stretch stitch, sew the sides of the first rectangle together.  Repeat with the second. You now have 2 tubes.

4. Put one tube inside the other (both tubes with right side out). The longer layer should be on the inside and the shorter layer on the outside. Using a long straight stitch, stich them together (you can remove this stitch later if you want, it is just to hold the layer in place while you attache the waistband.

5.  Sew the ends of your elastic together with a .5 seam allowance.  Zig-zag each end to prevent fraying (could do this first).  Then stitch down each end to the band to make it sit flat.

6. Pin the center seam of the elastic to the center seam of the tubes of fabric.  The elastic should be on the outside and the fabric should overlap into the elastic about .5 inch. 

7. Find the opposite side of the skirt and the opposite side of the elastic and pin them.  The fabric is wider than the waist band so you want to pin it carefully.  You will stretch the elastic as you feed it through your machine.  This is more easily done if you stretch a small section at a time.  I like to pin in 8 evenly spaced spots.

8.  Sew the skirt to the waistband.  You need to grip the fabric and elastic firmly and stretch the elastic.  Gently feed it through the machine.  Any time you let go of the fabric, stop sewing first!!  I backstitched at the start and finish of this line of stitches. 

9.  Lay your skirt out on a cutting mat.  Use a ruler or straight edge to cut the bottom of each layer at an angle.  A rotary cutter will work better than scissors because knit fabric stretches as you cut with scissors resulting in an uneven line.

Note that I separated the layers before cutting each one.  In the picture below the longer layer is being cut and the shorter one is pulled up.  Then I pulled the longer inner layer up and cut the outer layer. 

I goofed on the pink one and cut the layers too short so I added some ruffles.  Now I think it is my favorite of the bunch!  (for a little girl, I can't see myself in neon pink. . . )

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Maya has been very jealous now that Hannah is dressing more like a big girl.  Hannah has a striped sundress that has Maya seeing green.  She shed tears over not having a rainbow dress herself.  Lucky for her I recently purchased some knit fabric in a cute rainbow print from The Fabric Fairy.  I also bought some striped rainbow fabric from Joann's.  Here are the finished products:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A-line dress from a t-shirt

I had to run a quick errand at Kmart the other day.  As the girls and I walked in (Sam was with one of his ABA therapists), we passed a rack of t-shirts on sale for just a few dollars each.  They were pretty shapeless and I almost walked by but then I realized that they were made from a nice strong interlock knit fabric.  I had Maya pick one out and when I got home I cut out an a-line dress, made some bias trim straps and literally within 20 minutes Maya had a new dress.  For Maya's narrow build this dress is perfect.  If I make more I will switch the bias binding across the tops for an elastic casing (I like a little gather at the top of an a-line or else it just looks too boring). The great part about this project was that the hem was already finished for me.  I don't have a serger so I can't give a garment hem that fully polished look. 

Maya has terrible red-eye in this picture.  I fixed it but I can't get the fixed photo to load in the proper rotation.  Oh well. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Doodle Pants - A Way to Rescue Fabric

I bought some grey brushed twill a while back and when I washed and dried it in preparation for use, the color got all funny.  The fabric looked blotchy and I thought it was going to be a total waste.  I had planned solid grey pants for the girls and the fabric now looked like someone had spilled juice on it.  The fabric sat in my stash for a couple of months until yesterday when an idea popped into my head.  Since the fabric looked stained, why not make it look like it was stained on purpose?  I thought some careful bleach drops might do the trick.  As I thought it over some more I suddenly got an image of acid washed jeans with splatter paint and grafitti all over them (I might have had a pair like that when I was a kid around 1986 or something. . . maybe. . . . ).

I got out a spray bottle and started bleaching. I let the bleach set for a few minutes to fully do its work.  Then I washed and dried the fabric. 

Next I dug out my fabric markers.  I wanted to cover them with grafitti-like designs but when I went to start I realized I have no skills in that area.  I used to be able to draw a mean set of bubble letters but even that escapes me now.  So,  I asked Maya what designs she wanted and she requested stars, hearts, swirls, and rainbows. 

I heat set the markers in the dryer.  Last night I cut out some pants and today I sewed them up.  This is Maya's pair.

I think these are my favorite homemade pants yet.  I mey even go back and add some more doodles.  All I have to do is pop them in the dryer again to heat set anything added.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

I love some of the prints in the "A Walk In the Woods" fabric collection.  I finally bought some from this etsy store.  I made both girls simple peasant dresses with a band of ruffle down the front.  If I make this again I will make the ruffle a little wider.  Hannah was the only one who kinda sorta posed this time.  Maya slept late and I didn't have a chance to grab a picture of her.  When it comes out of the wash and gets its second wear I will get her.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

How to make a totally original skirt

First, get about a half yard of broadcloth.  Lay it out on a table with some kind of backing to protect the table.  I used wax paper.  Tape down the cloth on top of the backing.

Second, find a preschooler.  You see a preschooler isn't influenced by what is trendy so she won't opt to try to paint the latest craze on the fabric like owls or argyle patterns (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE owls, but we are going for totally original here).  Set out the fabric paint on a paper plate and give your preschooler a paint brush.  Let her go to town. 

We had some paint splatter when I quirted out the blue so Maya got put in the shower to rinse off and we opted for a bathing suit to wear for the rest of the project

I ended up joining in and upcycled some of my son's too small undershirts into nightshirts for the girls.

Let the paint dry for 72 hour minimum.  Wash and dry the fabric.  Turn it into a cute skirt!  Bribe your preschooler to pose for a picture by giving her a cookie.