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.

16 June 2016

Repeat: Pepper Pinafore

Remember this dress?  The Pepper Pinafore.  Well, I did it again.  When Aaron's grandmother died, I wanted to make Cupcake something appropriate to wear to a formal Catholic funeral.  I had been given yards of the black eyelet and knew this was just the thing to use it for.  (And I still have lots more, so maybe something eventually for me.)  Black for the funeral, and pink because she is only three.

08 June 2016

the letter Q

I finished the letter P at Christmas.  It is now JUNE.  I ended up with seven different P projects in that time - pajama pants, pillowcases, purses, pleats, Pinwheel, a pair of pink pajamas, and paisley pleats.  So I say, it is about time I finished Q!  Since I have been wanting to do a quilt, it was really the only option for my Q.  But I haven't taken the time in the last five months, and I have projects piling up, so it was time for a different approach.

As soon as I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to try it.  I didn't want to do the complete quilt the way she did, but the method looked easy enough.  And it was!  String piecing is fun and fast, and I will definitely be doing more in the future.  

Trimming my first piece was so cool.  A pile of fabric turned into something quilt-like.  

And then I got real fancy with my new rotary cutter and more pieces and got this!

But what did it become??

A sewing machine cover!

It has a pocket, inspired by this.

And a slot for the handle, that I learned how to do here.

Simple ties on the side to keep it on.

I used my homemade bias tape for all the edges and along the pocket.

And a view from the back.

Hooray for completing a project, for making my house beautiful, and the letter Q!

28 May 2016

H is for heritage quilt

Just over 3 years ago, Adam's mom passed away from cancer and we helped to clean out her house. Her fabric stash was pointed out to me, and I was told I could take whatever I wanted. I remember a couple of things specifically - I found a large cut of flannel that I (eventually, this past winter) made into pajama pants for Adam. And this completed quilt top. 

I was interested in making quilts, but hadn't started yet when I found the quilt top. I liked all the blue, so I put it in the box with everything else ... and promptly forgot about it because in the next couple of months after the funeral, we had a new baby, moved from Mississippi to Connecticut, and bought a house. It was a year before I dug into the fabric boxes. This past winter, I came across the quilt top again. Some of the seams were frayed, so I did some repair work to the top, and then tackled quilting it - my first! I learned how to use the walking foot on the machine, and for quilting, just followed the edges of the squares in a grid. You can see it on the back. The back is a pale lavender knit top sheet that my kids never used. For binding, I just wrapped the sashing fabric around to the back, folded it under, and stitched everything together.

I'm glad we have this quilt because my kids were never able to even meet their grandmother. This is definitely a piece of our history - I hope it helps the girls feel connected to our extended family.

17 May 2016

Paisley Pleats

Project: Run & Play has a summer sewing challenge right now, and I just happened to be sewing up some summer clothes for Cupcake!  After growing out of all of her dresses, she was in desperate need of more - for church or play.  I had already made a pleated Fairy Shirt from this free Shwin & Shwin pattern, but it was just too cute and easy to not make another.

I have sewn a few Shwin & Shwin patterns now, and have loved them all - the Pepper Pinafore and Michelle Jacket.  I've purchased a few others but haven't tried them yet.  The patterns are easy to follow, the finished projects fit well and are seriously the cutest.  Great for beginners like me!

The paisley fabric was given to me. I love it, but the greenish hue is just not my color, so I was happy to find a place to use it!  And the purple was won in a giveaway on Thread Riding Hood a while back.  I would love using stuff in my stash - I try not to be a hoarder, but my stash never seems to get smaller!

In the end, happy girl, happy Mommy.  I love to sew for her.  I hope to instill in her a love for creating.  She talks about making clothes for me, when she gets a sewing machine from Papa.  I don't think Papa knows this, but basic sewing lessons will be in her future - perhaps after she turns four.

Our conversation just now...
Me: Cupcake, do you want to sew like mommy?
C: Yes.
Me: What would you make?
C: Pumpkin pie.

11 May 2016

a pair of pink nightgowns

A pair of pink bunny nightgowns for Cupcake and Kitty.
Only four month age difference,
but Cupcake got a size 7/8 and Kitty got a 2/3. 
They are just basic peasant tops, with added length.
To get a quick start I used the pattern here
And each came together in just a few hours.
Fabulous for an afternoon of sewing. 
Quick, cute and long term wearability.
I see several more nightgowns in my future.
(Especially since I just found some flannel sheep fabric!) 

01 April 2016

Easter Pinwheel

I seem to be stuck on the letter P.  Pillowcases, pajama pants, pleats, purse, and now Pinwheel.  I also have a pair of pink nightgowns coming up.  And I'm not counting a body pillowcase (because spending $12 on one was ridiculous, so I made one in about 20 minutes), or the purple maxi skirt that I'm currently working on.  Apparently I'm scared of quilting.  I could use Quick or Queen, but that feels like cheating.  I know I don't have to make a full-sized quilt for it to count, but doing that first quilt is so intimidating!  I'll start after our vacation this month.

Even though Trina has been sewing with Oliver + S patterns for a while, this is my first - the Pinwheel Dress and Tunic.  Which I got from Trina.  Thanks!  It was more complicated than most of the other things I have made, but the directions were clear and I slowly made my way through.  

The tiny pink daisy print fabric was in the package with the pattern, so it just made sense to use it.  And I made my own bias tape!  All of that ironing takes a while - even with a bias tape maker - since my ironing board is very short I can only do a little bit at a time.  Ah well.  I love the pop of color, and have already got three other colors of bias tape in the works.  

22 March 2016

ahem ... quarterly report

Yes, actually, I have been sewing pretty steady since the beginning of the year ... and yikes, we're already a quarter of the way done with 2016! I have only one thing to show for it so far:

1. JK, my baby, turned 3 at the beginning of this month, and this was her birthday present. It's the Baby Doll Basket from Made Everyday (formerly MADE). The secret to getting it to stand up nice and tall is to use the super-stiff crafting interfacing. But, um, don't look too closely at the binding. I should have used a much wider bias tape - this barely caught both sides of the lining and outer layer. For the most part, it was really easy to do - Dana's directions are all good. The wrestling match to get it through the machine on the last binding step though ... I'm happy with how it turned out but I don't know that I'll ever make another one. I had originally planned to make one for each of my girls, but the older girls are indifferent - this is all well and good but they're not asking for their own.

2. I finished Adam's pajama pants that I messed up at Christmas - those turned out to be an easier fix than I'd anticipated.

3. In January, I sewed more rope baskets until I ran out of rope. I want to get more, and make more little baskets but there are other priorities first.

4. In January, JK rather abruptly decided to move from her toddler bed to the bottom bunk of SM's bunkbed, which was intended for her anyway, but it was a sudden switch. In moving the bedding, I realized that she has all small blankets so I need to work on getting her twin-sized blankets by next winter (she's still small enough for the small blankets). We have fleece layering blankets for all the other girls, and I thought about buying her one as well until I remembered that I had a large cut of fleece in the fabric piles ... it even has Disney princesses on it and is purple, her favorite ... It has now been trimmed, curved corners cut, and a machine-embroidery stitch all the way around the edge to pretty it up, and it's on JK's bed.

5. I have multiple quilts in progress at all stages - planning by drawing it out on graph paper, cutting and piecing, and quilting. I'm really liking making the quilts, all the stages so far (ask me again when I bind my first one) ... they're just taking a long time and other small projects take priority a lot.

And I can't even shoe-horn any of this into the Alphabet Challenge! Dang! I'm still on H.

- I've started machine quilting, so I used the walking foot. I have the quilt about 2/3 of the way done, but had to take it off the machine to do JK's doll basket. It hasn't made it back to the front of the line yet.

- I'm still working on finishing a dress (the lining is very weird), but I have now put in A ZIPPER!!! My first! An invisible zipper even, which is supposed to be harder (???). So I used the zipper foot.

24 February 2016

purses and pleats

My lotion exploded, so I had to make myself a new purse.  Always finding excuses to sew!  I'd been holding off using this cute blue canvas, but I finally had the right project to use it for!  Paired with the pink I think it is quite a fabulous little bag.  French seams and box corners for the bottom (like the grocery bags) and the top is folded over (similar to the top of a pillowcase) so no exposed seams, without adding a lining.  Sounds silly, but I'm pretty proud of it, especially since I just made it up as I went along.

But on to more important things.  Kids Clothes Week!  To go with the toys theme, the fabric is covered with drawings of fairy princesses.  And what does Cupcake love to play with?  Fairies and princesses, and she loves to draw.  The fabric (which was actually a couple of pillowcases) suits her perfectly.

I've been wanting to make the Pleated Square Tunic from Shwin & Shwin since I saw it well over a year ago.  I really like square necklines, and the pleats are adorable (and not too complicated to figure out!).  Bonus of no closure!  Basically, just a fabulous little top to whip up in an evening or two.

I'm not sure how much more I'll get done for KCW.  If nothing else, I'll get started on her Easter dress - The Pinwheel Tunic by Oliver + S.  I already made over 10 yards of bias tape for it!  Then there are a couple of nightgowns for Cupcake and her cousin Kitty before our trip to Idaho in April, and eventually I'll start on a few quilts too.  So much fun to look forward to!