27 October 2012

of course

I suppose I wouldn't be a real sewer (or seamstress or sewist or whatever "people who sew" are called these days) if my kids hadn't ruined something at some point. I was working on trick-or-treat bags yesterday as well as some fabric pumpkins (found here on PS I Quilt - aren't those cute? And totally easy!)

Tonight, Adam was going to sew something really quick on one of his hammocks and we discovered that the bobbin case for the machine has vanished, along with the bobbin spool I was last using ... And we did a lot of housecleaning today, so I have no idea where that thing could possibly be. The spool is easy to replace, but the bobbin case? Yeah. No sewing at all until that thing is either located or I find another one online to replace it because the machine doesn't work without it. My 2-year-old and 6-year-old absolutely will not leave my sewing stuff alone, and both are good at absconding with things - like small bobbin cases, possibly - that they decide to claim as their own. Sigh.

Good thing I'm not working on Halloween costumes - they're done. Christmas presents, on the other hand ... that's going to be a little more difficult to get started on.

23 October 2012

Disney trip outfits

Adam decided a few weeks ago that we were going to Disney World for my 40th (gag) birthday - yay! He asked me for a budget (since I'm our financial manager), told me the dates we'd be gone, and assigned me to make outfits for the girls for every day we'd be in the DW parks. Other than that, I knew nothing, not even what hotel we were going to stay in. It was my birthday present!

We were there last week and it was a great trip - the biggest surprise was that my parents and sister were in the hotel room next door. Hooray hooray for family helping with small kids!

I made princess dresses, which I've already posted about ... and then the girls never wore them at Disney World. It was too hot and humid the whole time to even think about wearing satin. Well, I have Halloween outfits for all of them now.

I got stuff to make country flag shirts for Epcot - I ordered little 4x6 inch desk flags from countries in our family's heritage - England, Germany, Denmark, and Poland. I pulled them off the little sticks and was going to applique them to plain t-shirts and have them worn with jeans. That didn't happen either. With "cold weather" setting in for fall and winter, you can't find short sleeved shirts ANYWHERE in stores. And don't get me started about how much of a pain in the neck it is to find PLAIN shirts at all without garish and ugly pictures and words all over them. I ended up buying long-sleeved shirts and one of the baby's shirts was a turtleneck. It's 90 freaking degrees outside (even in October), and all I can find at the store is a turtleneck? Seriously? For Epcot, they just wore the US flag shirts I got at Walmart for Independence Day with shorts. SM wore her Pledge of Allegiance skirt.

They wore two of the things I made ... the first day at the Magic Kingdom, they all matched with pink Minnie Mouse fabric that I found on fabric.com and at Walmart. I ended up buying it at Walmart (even though I'm really hating on that store these days) so I could start sewing right away and not wait for the shipping. I got the accent fabrics from a local small fabric shop (Stitch-n-Frame) - the woman at the shop was fantastic in helping me pick stuff out that I never would have considered on my own. I was definitely willing to pay more for these fabrics just to have the help in choosing them, plus they're from the fancy shmancy fabric designers that I read about on sewing blogs but have never actually come across in a store until now - the floral print is from Riley Blake and the pink dots were from Michael Moore.

SM's dress was the same pillowcase style dress from the One Yard Wonders book that I made for JE at Easter. I embellished it with a ruffle around the waist, which idea I got from Sumo's Sweet Stuff (via Project Run and Play).

RG wanted a skirt. I was shooting for this ruffle from Flamingo Toes but I put the ruffle together without taking the taller bit into consideration. Oops. Need to read ahead better. So I just attached the ruffle I had to the bottom of the skirt and called it good. I do still want the Flamingo Toes skirt and even know which fabric combo I'm going to use for it. It's just a question of who will get the new skirt. Maybe me.

JE's outfit was from the One Yard Wonders book - a pinafore over a shirt and shorts. She's still in diapers so she needed something over her bum. I prefer her in shorts or leggings, not just a diaper cover. I like how it looked like a jumper - you couldn't really see the shorts, but when she got chocolate ice cream all over the pinafore in the afternoon, we just took it off and she was still fully dressed.

And baby TA - I went around and around with trying to figure out a dress or jumper for her, until a friend told me to just put her in a skirt with a onesie. I did this tiered skirt tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional and it's so teeny and cute! I really like the look of this skirt, so I'll be making more of them. I need to tweak the proportions a little bit next time - because my sewing is not total precision, I need at least one inch extra on the middle and bottom layers to accommodate for the gathering and hem.

This was the clearest shot I got of all 4 outfits. Hopefully my dad or sister got a better one at some point during the day! Some of our princess pictures didn't turn out (Rapunzel is completely out of focus, for one) so I'm glad we had multiple cameras going. This was taken within 10 minutes of getting past the front gate on our first day, and wow - the stars aligned for this. Leading up to the trip, every time we asked the girls who they wanted to meet, the first name was always Mary Poppins. And there she was as soon as we got there.

For Animal Kingdom, we had safari vests, of course! They were done mostly freehand - I measured and traced around t-shirts and made test versions out of an old sheet before I cut into my main fabric. I used cotton ticking (which is usually used for upholstery and frequently has stripes - I found some plain), got random fat quarters from the Walmart craft section to make the pockets, and colored flower buttons to coordinate.

I was winging it when I made the first test vest - I traced a shirt onto the sheet and sewed it all up and it didn't work really well. My mom found this tutorial on Couturier Mommy on how to make a vest pattern from a shirt tracing, which I mostly followed - I still eyeballed it for the armhole lines. I traced the shirt onto a piece of packing paper that we use for large art projects, then pinned that to the fabric ... that went much better. TA's vest ended up a bit too small - it fit around her, but was snug and it was too hot for her to wear anything fitted. So she didn't wear it very long. RG was also not being very cooperative that day so she didn't wear her's very long either. I have no pictures of all 4 of them at AK - I think my dad got one but I don't have it yet.  Here's one of SM and one of JE at Rafiki's petting zoo to give you an idea - bias tape around the armholes, buttons and buttonholes down the front, and patch pockets all over the front.

It was a lot of work getting ready for the trip with the sewing but it was fun, and I worked on my sewing skills. I learned that major projects like the princess dresses are still waaaaay beyond my reach and I'm really glad that I have friends like Kera to walk me through them (and/or do them for me). I got more practice on gathering stitches, buttonholes, and bias tape. I figured out, a little bit, how to make a pattern traced off a current article of clothing, and tried a couple of new tutorials that I hadn't done before. I'm branching out!

05 October 2012

princess dress preview

Adam decided a few weeks ago that we're going to Disney World for my birthday and promptly assigned me to make new clothes for the girls, particularly princess dresses for when we're at the Magic Kingdom. I've been sewing like a madwoman for about a month now - all the princess dresses, a Minnie Mouse print, and now I'm working on safari vests for visiting Animal Kingdom.

Here's a sneak preview of the princess dresses (mainly for my mom and sisters). These are horrible pictures, but you can see the dresses. We'll get better ones in about 10 days in front of Cinderella's castle!

The catch is that these all began as adult sized formalwear, and has been cut down and restyled into princess dresses for little kids. My friend Kera (the one I keep mentioning) introduced me to this idea during the summer - you get formals from the thrift store or the back of your closet, and you've just scored a truckload of satin yardage for next to nothing.

SM's dress - blue with the sheer overlay and white ribbon - is a top and skirt because that was the best way to cut down the dress. It was originally a bridesmaid dress from my brother's wedding.

The other girls were outfitted from two formals that I got at a thrift store for 10 bucks total. Kera the Genius cut down RG's purple dress and it's darn near the original, only now sized for a 5-year-old. The big wrap-around looks a little odd here because she had her shoulders positioned weird. It looks like a big bow around her - really cute. Kera did the whole thing with her serger - I did a little bit of hand stitching on the top to get everything into place, but that was it.

JE's teal dress was actually a skirt to begin and we modified it using this dress from A Girl and a Glue Gun as the idea, minus the tulle over the top. Kera had lace that matched perfectly in her own stash which is around the bottom between the silver ribbons. It looks awesome. I've already made her a hairbow (just need to hot-glue it to the clip) out of the lace. Kera did about 95% of this dress in one night while I did TA's 3 times because I kept screwing it up.

TA's dress was copied directly from the same post as JE's - her main fabric was the bottom cut off RG's original dress, and I got the sheer overlay from Walmart. I wanted tulle but you apparently can't get it unless you go to Jackson. 60 miles one way for tulle is not happening.

Now to figure out shoes ...