17 October 2016

J is for jeans

I've been accumulating old jeans in a pile for YEARS with the intention of cutting them up and making a picnic blanket. I'm finally working on it.

It occurred to me that making a picnic blanket out of jeans as large as I want would be REALLY REALLY heavy, and possibly even damage my washing machine when putting it in the laundry. So Plan B is that I'm making 48x48 inch jeans quilts, and then I'll put them all next to each other. Voila! My 8-foot by 8-foot blanket, just in four pieces!

One down, 3 to go!


The back is an apple print on a navy blue background - it came from someone else's clean-out that ended up at my house. Very vintage-y, probably from the 80s. I have no idea, but certainly not current. It works for a picnic blanket.


It's a little wonky (bottom right corner) - obviously I need work on my squaring off, but this is only the 2nd time I've tried this. And who cares. It's a picnic blanket to sit on the ground.

close-up of the apple print

07 September 2016

I made something for ME!


I made myself a shirt!  I bought the kid version of this blouse months ago (the Glass Onion by Shwin Designs), and even though I still haven't sewn it up, as soon as they came out with the adult version (the Glass Petal) I bought it and made one for me!  A little tricky to put together, but they provided a video for the hard part.  It fits really well, except the sleeves were much too tight. So I got really brave and modified them!

Following this tutorial, I made tulip sleeves to give me more movement.  And, bonus, they mimic the back of the shirt!  The first time I put one in it was backwards, but I got it all figured out and now I have a fabulous new shirt.  I've got plans for at least one more with a few tweaks to my new sleeve pattern and a little bit of added length to cover my growing belly better.

29 August 2016

shirt and shorts: sleep sets


Two identical pairs of pajamas - but it took me two months to finally get around to finishing the second pair.  I used the same pattern as the nightgowns I made earlier this year, and just traced off some of her current pajama pants.  It took about an hour per piece (top and bottom).  She LOVES her sheepy pajamas (since she love all things sheep), but the floral ones are equally as comfy.  

S is for Stencil

I made three (more) reusable grocery bags back in April.  Two for Tawnia, and another one for me.  I had just discovered freezer paper stencils, so I had to try it out.  (For a complete tutorial you can find one here.)  I have tried painting on fabric before, and this is the best method I have found so far to get clean lines and enough layers of paint on so it won't fade.




My favorite was the mermaid one (I found the original image on Pinterest and free-handed it).  A bold graphic that came together really quickly.  The aunt quote is fabulous BUT it took for. ever. to cut out all the letters.  Worth it, because Tawnia uses it all the time and loves it.  Tawnia also requested some flowers - and her favorites are lilacs.  I didn't stencil those at all, just had fun with a paintbrush, but I stenciled the butterflies afterwards.

Grey Sheepy shirt for a sheepy 4th birthday party!


 I actually made this shirt and stenciled it back in April.  I was going to use it to surprise my brother and sisters when I visited them.  But right before the trip I miscarried and had to put the shirt away.  Funny enough, when my sister came to visit at the beginning of August, I was able to pull out the shirt again to make our announcement to her!

08 August 2016

I is for INSANE!!!!

So the three older girls and I just wrapped up with a community theater production of "The Music Man" - the girls were in the junior chorus, and I was one of the pick-a-little ladies. About 10 days before the show was scheduled, I asked the producer what we were going to do about the toga costumes for the Grecian Urn sequence ... she didn't know ... I figured it out ... and suddenly I'm charged with making ten togas in a week ... I don't think that's quite what I was offering, but there you go. And glory be - I pulled it off! Just in time for the dress rehearsal! For real. Dress rehearsal was Wednesday. I finished the last one around midnight on Tuesday night.


I used this tutorial for a pillowcase dress, although ours obviously were for adults. My original measurement for the two rectangles of fabric was 36x60 inches, and we adjusted from there. A couple of the ladies needed it wider, a couple more narrow, and some needed to be hemmed a lot more than others - but that was the starting point. For the fabric, I went to Walmart and got the cheapest white top sheets I could find in the bedding section - a twin was 5 bucks and I could get three togas out of two sheets, depending on the measurements. I used a 1-1/2 inch satiny ribbon for the shoulders - a couple of years ago, I got huge spools of ribbon from clearance in the gift wrap section after Christmas and they were still just sitting there. This was a good use of it. That was pretty much it - it just took a lot of time because I had to do them all really fast, and there were so many! I did get some help from a couple of people, which I very much appreciated because at the same time, Adam has been sick all month and we were trying to put up blueberries (frozen) and cucumbers (pickles) (not combined) from the summer harvest.

Anyway, the togas. The insane number of togas:

 "Aaaand a fountain!"

"Triiiiickle trickle trickle trickle!"

03 August 2016

H is for hatinator

My hat for "The Music Man" ...


Th original hat was in a box of random hats, and this was the only one that fit my head over my hair ... but it was too big, and the brim was too floppy. So I cut the dome and settled the top down into it further - you can kind of see the line on the top left in the picture. The stitching was really obvious so I knew I had to cover it with something ... obviously I went with lace. I also cut about a half inch off the brim and that helped A LOT. I originally wanted to get a feather boa and just wind it all around but I never made it to the store to get one. When I was doing the lace, I also pulled out the tulle, thinking I'd make some kind of bow but fortunately (because this was about 3 hours before the dress rehearsal), inspiration struck and I just twisted a long strip of tulle around and around and fluffed it up. Except for the stitching on the dome, the whole thing was done with a heck of a lot of glue in my hot glue gun.

And here we are!!

The hat in action! On stage, I was the Pick-a-little soloist ... "Just melt her down and you'll reveal a lump of lead as cold as steel ..."

And with three of my girls in "Wells Fargo" ...

P.S. This type of big foofy hat, in England anyway, is actually called a Hatinator. Here, we just call it a Kentucky Derby Hat. HA!

30 June 2016

2nd quarter report

I did a first quarter report at the end of March ... so here's the 2nd quarter. Because I'm still sewing like a maniac (well, for me, anyway) but not blogging it. April and May were spent on the two big projects of finishing the Nancy quilt and the Fairy Tale dress.

I also made SM an Artemis dress for her birthday in May - she wanted a Greek mythology themed party, and her favorite goddess is Artemis. The Artemis symbol is a crescent moon, so I put them around the base of the dress edged with silver thread (my applique is a disaster - it got all bunchy), and I added silver ribbon and an embroidery stitch in silver thread at the top. The pattern was my stand-by, the Playtime tunic, turned around backwards. The folded open flaps on her neckline are normally the button-up section on the back. And I left off the long sleeves and just folded the arm holes under.



And since we're talking about the party for a minute ... you want Sue to do cakes for you!! I had nothing to do with this cake, except driving to her house to pick it up. And for one of the activities, SM painted a big picture of a Minotaur (mounted on a board for sturdiness), and the kids made slingshots and other throwing devices to have target practice. This was a big hit with the boys who came to the party.



June has been kid-clothes-catch-up time. JK has a family t-shirt that's too short for her to wear, so it's now a dress with a tiered skirt so I can add another layer later. She's worn it pretty much constantly since I finished it, including on our camping trip (until it was so filthy I hid it in the dirty laundry bag).


And for our camping trip, in a week, I blasted out 8 pairs of shorts and a skirt in less than 2 weeks, which have not been photographed because there's another way I'm lacking. Not blogging, and not taking pictures either. (Of course, half the shorts were for pajamas, but still.) But it is gratifying that every day, there's at least one handmade item being worn somewhere! Usually two or three!

19 June 2016

I is for invisible zipper

At long last! I have finished the Fairy Tale dress by Oliver + S that I started last October. Major UFO in my sewing area. (UnFinished Object)

The long and drawn-out saga of this dress is ... last fall, I needed to make RG's baptism dress and I had just bought this pattern as a gift for Mindy, but not sent it to her yet. So when RG said she wanted this for her baptism dress, I pulled out this cute lightweight blue cotton to use for a mockup. If it got messed up, oh well. If it worked, she'd end up with 2 dresses. I got the bodice most of the way done when I ran out of time, so I switched to a different pattern I already knew for the baptism dress. And this got set aside until after Christmas.

Spring rolls around. RG could use another church dress, so I picked it back up. I have now put in darts, and my first zipper! An invisible zipper is tucked in behind the fabric, as you can see, rather than exposed up the back. I obviously didn't get it lined up perfectly - I have no idea how that happened - but her hair covers it when she wears it so whatever.


I was going to put the sleeves on it but by the time I got around to finishing it, RG had grown a bit more. I had to cut the neckline lower so it wasn't choking her, and cut the arm holes bigger. They wouldn't match the sleeve pattern, so I just did the sleeveless binding for the arm hole edges. It was ... weird. I don't even know how to explain how that worked. You'd just have to try it.

This dress also took FOR-EV-ER because adding the lining, along with a layer of tulle in the skirt, got complicated. It looks like such a basic dress! But it's not! I read the directions a million times and still didn't understand what was going to happen until I was actually doing it. And then I put the skirt lining in backwards/inside out, so I had to take it apart and do it again. Another delay.


I finally got it done in May and RG wore it to church in New York. The next Sunday, JE decided she wanted to wear it (they wear close to the same size), and literally 10 minutes later, she got black acrylic paint on the front bodice. I still have no words ... the most complicated dress I've ever sewn, SO many hours on it, and it was worn once before it was basically ruined. I soaked the dress in rubbing alcohol for darn near a month, scrubbed at the paint, and washed it about 5 times, and it's finally scrubbed and faded out enough to be unnoticed. It's not entirely gone.

So. Whew. The letter I is done. Moving on.

18 June 2016

Repeat: pleated tunic

After the fairy shirt and paisley dress, I have now made a third pleated tunic from the free pattern on Shwin & Shwin.  I may have to buy the official McKenzie Tunic pattern at some point, since I like it so much.  The pleats are adorable, and I really like the square neckline.  And of course, I used yet another vintage sheet - super cute Minnie Mouse - that I'm sure we'll see again next summer.

curtsy and bow

17 June 2016

Repeat: keyhole top and leggings

Shirt look familar?  It's the same Keyhole Top as last year, only sized up for my growing girl.  I love how fast this shirt comes together.  Adding the bias tape (the same as this project) takes the longest, but I've had lots of practice, so it goes on smoother now.  The fabric was yet another thrift store find.  

I may have said this all before, but: Someone told me once that sewing clothes for my kids was not a way to save money.  When you get fabric as cheap as I can (thrift stores or given to me), and learn to draft free patterns (like this!) then how is this not better?  My child gets to wear one-of-a-kind clothes made specifically for her!  I may be able to buy her t-shirts at Walmart for $4, but I bought this sheet for $6, and I'll be able to make more than one article of clothing out of it!  Besides, this is not about saving money, but about my need for a creative outlet for my sanity.  It just also happens to clothe my child.  And I love it.  This may not work for everyone, but for me, right now, with my one child, this makes us both happy.

These leggings are a new pattern.  Thanks again, Trina, for the Playtime Tunic and Leggings pattern from Oliver + S.  I haven't used the tunic part yet (probably this fall when I need long sleeves), but I've made three pairs of leggings!  All three from knit sheets at the thrift store (seriously folks, I get all my fabric there).  Without planning it, I LOVE how they all go so beautifully with the Keyhole top!  The purple one is actually super fine stripes (and what I made my maxi skirt out of), while the pink and yellow are solid.  I'm getting more comfortable with knit, and these were not overly complicated to make.  The only thing I'd do different next time is make a bigger size, because while the size 6 fits her now, it probably won't for long.