Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Once again, I am sewing along at Project Run and Play.  I have enjoyed the challenges so far.  I like how they push me to grow my sewing ability.  This time the challenge was to use hand stitching in some way.  I chose embroidery. 

My grandma taught me embroidery when I was a preteen, but I haven’t done it since.  I always assumed it was too time consuming.  This month I discovered I was wrong.  Yes, it takes time, but it goes much quicker than I imagined.  It is a lot of fun too!

My sister’s mother-in-law sent me some fabric that she had sitting around from when her boys were small.  I loved the bright vintage cars on the black background and determined to make something out of it for Enoch.  At two years old, he is currently obsessed with anything with wheels and a motor.  His favorite word is caaaaarrrr! He uses this word to mean all vehicles from a motor scooter to a bulldozer.  Enoch saw the fabric and fell in love.  He played with it for a long time and would hardly let me take it away.  I knew we had to use it soon. 

I didn’t want to make clothing out of it for two reasons.  For the first, it’s quilting cotton and I knew it wouldn’t hold up to little boy play very well.  More importantly however, I wanted to make something that he would keep for a long time, not a pair of shorts or a shirt to be quickly outgrown.  I have been wanting to make him a backpack for a while so that’s what we went with.

I traced some of the vehicles from the fabric with a pen on to a scrap of cream fabric.  I then stitched around it with black.  I will definitely be doing something like this again. 

He still loves the fabric.  Caaarrrs!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Summer Swimsuit

Hi everyone.  It's Project Run and Play time again and this month's pattern is this sweet little shirt by Melanie at The Crafty Cupboard.    I really enjoy these challenges as they almost always stretch me to do something challenging in sewing, especially in the area of adapting patterns.

I have had on my list of sewing challenges to conquer, sewing swimwear.  I was scared of that stretchy, slippery stuff they're made of and so it has been put off.  However, my last trip to the pool convinced me that my frumpy "thing I wear which I will not show you"  needs to go.  As I have looked for a modest and attractive option, I really want to make my own.  I am scared out of my mind and probably won't do it, but I want to.  I want to in the same way which I want to sleep outside with a cougar screaming in the background.  It would be a thrilling adventure. . .

Anyway, the first step is to conquer my fear of the fabric.  For me the best way to do this is to sew for my baby girl.  She is my official sewing guinea pig.  She can actually almost get a swimsuit out of a thrifted one piece.  Sewing for her is so much more fun than sewing for me.  Plus, she needed a swimsuit.
Goodwill find about to be cut into.

Drawing the pattern was easier than I expected.  I just traced a onesie, and used the Chevron shirt pattern to draw in the details.  Cutting the pieces out of the thrifted suit was tricky.  There simply wasn't enough for the black base layer.  Fortunately I found a piece of four way stretch Lycra in my stash and was able to save the black base layer of the adult suit for my fully lined bodice. 

I made the sleeves shorter and rufflier.  I put a tie in the back instead of buttons.  I bound the leg holes with the skirt fabric.  I really love how it turned out.  

Sewing with the fabric was much easier than I expected.  Maybe it was the awful thin jersey knit that I made the muslin out of.  Anything is better than that stuff I guess.   Am I the only one who finds quality swimsuit knit easier to work with than low quality jersey?  Maybe the key word is quality. Incidentally , if the lady who cuts your fabric says "Bless your heart*, honey" about your fabric, that might be a hint.  Janalin is still learning to value quality over cheap price, but learning I am.  

Anyway, I like sewing with this stuff!  I will definitely be making her more swimwear.  As for a swimsuit for me,  I don't know.  Has anyone tried it?

*Bless your heart is southern shorthand for "I like to think I'm too nice to tell you, but you're doing something stupid."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Sing to Me Dress

During our honeymoon I told my husband I wanted to spoil him and asked how.  I am not sure what I expected him to say but without the slightest hesitation he answered, "Sing a lot, smile a lot, and have lots of people over."  Almost three years in and that's still what my man wants.  Nothing better than a smiling, singing wife, and a house full of people.  I like it that way too.  I mean who doesn't like to be genuinely singing and smiling.  And as far as the house full of people goes, that's fun too, especially since last time we had a table full at breakfast time, he cooked for them.  We go together well this funny guy and me.

This month I'm playing along with the March sewing challenge from Project Run and Play.  We were to take this dress pattern and do something with it. The dress is cute, but I have to say that when I saw that doll dress hanging on the clothline something clicked.  It was just begging to become a pinafore over a ruffly backed dress.  So I skipped the original dress and graded the doll dress up to size 6-9 months to fit the little lady.

I am very much a beginner at pattern sizing.  I printed the original pattern and also pulled out my 6-9 month size free pattern from The Stitching Scientist.  I have made this pattern before and know that it sews up nicely and, importantly, fits my baby.
To make my pattern I lay the doll dress over the dress it was supposed to go on top of and drew what I thought would fit.  It kind of worked.  I learned a bit and will try again next time.  For making patterns I use wrapping paper.  It is light weight, comes in a big roll, and has a one inch grid on the back.  

I sewed the dress first.  I cut the pieces out as I would to make a regular peasant dress except I left the bottom half off of the back.  I sewed the four pieces together and ended up with this.
This fabric takes me back a year to when first found out I would have a little girl to sew for.  I went to Walmart and stocked up on cheap fabric to practice on.  Even though it is cheap Walmart fabric, I love it.  It is such a cheery bright green and has these adorable little birds on it.  Can you tell I'm ready for spring?
Next I cut the biggest piece of the fabric I had left into three 3 1/4" strips and made them into ruffles.  An excellent tutorial on making a ruffle skirt is available here.  When I added the top and middle ruffles I added a lace ruffle.  I simply placed it under the green ruffle and sandwiched it all together.  Since my major (only) grip with the peasant dress is that it's hard to get those baby arms into the sleeves, I added a key hole and button closure to the back.  I used the neckline elastic to make the button loop; just made it stick out the casing, folded it back over and closed it all up.

With the dress done, I could finish the pinafore.  I placed my cut out pinafore over the front of the dress and suddenly realized that my  pattern grading hadn't gone as well as I thought.  That 18" doll pattern wasn't intended for a 7 month old baby and I hadn't sized the neckline up properly.  Oh well.  Then followed a series of crazy sewing makeshift that I will spare you.  When it was all over I had this.

That lovely ribbon covers up some things you probably just shouldn't do in sewing.  It does it quite nicely I think.  The shoes are from Amber over at Crazy Little Projects.  They are lovely, but they don't stay on.  Can we really expect that?
This is my Sing to Me Dress full of singing birds and butterflies. It's a reminder to serious little me that at the end of the day, singing, smiling, and having lots of people over, isn't such a bad way to live.  Happy Spring!
She gives Daddy plenty of smiles
unless he's pointing a camera at her. . .then no.