Sewing: August 2012 Archives
Once again I am going to give raves reviews for our new Create Kids Couture Free Pattern Download: the Millie's Schoolhouse Skirt. This skirt is, of course, totally cute but also great for any girl given the options to customize it. You can just go with the skirt, add suspenders or tie on the sash. Anything goes. It is great. It also doesn't take that much time to make. By the time you can get your kids in the car with all their gear/snacks/toys, drive to the mall, unpack everyone, get them to the store and try on clothes, then get everyone and everything back in the car, drive home and unpack, I guarantee you can make this skirt. All in the comfort of your home, with a nice cup of tea by your side and maybe your kids watching a movie so you can relax. Which sounds nicer to you?
I made my Millie Skirt ready for fall in some nice Gold, Garnet, and Raspberry tones from Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy Legacy Collection. You can find plenty more fall collections in our Holiday Section. Just click on Quilting Cotton on the left sidebar and look for the Holiday Fabrics section and fall is nestled in there with Halloween, Christmas and Chanukah. I opted just for the 3 prints and ordered ½ yd of each and found that by mixing up the patterns I could get 2 skirts from my fabric purchase.
My skirt is just the skirt since my daughter while a big twirling advocate will climb into a skirt readily, but once she has one layer of clothing is off to play. Any additional layers can only be added via fierce negations in which I often concede more than I gain or tears are involved. She loves the skirt though since it looks like a bell and twirls nicely. It is a size 4T since she will be 4 in the winter and the fit is just right. I love where the skirt hits at her knees; it will look great with leggings once the weather matches my fall fabric choices and the gathered waist means I can tuck her shirt in, leave it out or add a sweater without too much bulk.
I was able to practice more with my serger on this skirt and loved finishing my edges as I sewed up the skirt. I did have some trouble when it came to adding the waist band so I left the hole open, added my elastic then sewed it closed with my sewing machine then went over it again with my serger to finish the edge.
You will love making this skirt and your little girl will love wearing it. It goes on with a quick tug for those learning to dress themselves and is easy to remove for potty breaks. And if you want to pair it with some shorts for playtime, the Create Kids Couture Aiden Shorts fit perfectly underneath this skirt!
I run a mobile library out of the back of my car. The book list is ever revolving and there always seems to be at least 10 books back there at a given time. My little one loves books and if I need to run errands, I need to have a constant supply. I designed this Back Seat Car Organizer to fit her mobile library but it can easily be used for art supplies, toys, diapering needs (for the babies) or whatever your child needs to get through a trip out and about. My organizer slips onto the back of a car seat and features 3 pockets, 2 big and 1 small. While looking for a great place to take pictures I discovered that this organizer is perfect for other locations in the house that need a space to store kid supplies. You can hang it on your stairs for the "you need to take this stuff upstairs" stuff, hang it from a coat hook for school supplies in the mud room or mount it by bunk beds for books or in a closet for hair and toiletries. The ideas are endless as long as you have a need. The finished Back Seat Car Organizer is 21'' h by 13.5'' w.
To make your own you will need:
1 yd of heavy canvas fabric for lining
1 yd of quilting cotton if making all pockets the same or
¼ yd for small pocket
¼ yd for medium pocket
½ yd for large pocket
Plus approx. 2 yd of 2.5'' bias trim for edging and strap
Instructions (all seams are ½'' unless stated otherwise):
From canvas cut:
Two 21''x13.5'' pieces for body
One 17''x13.5'' for large pocket
One 12''x13.5'' for medium pocket
One 6''x'13.5'' for small pocket
From Quilting Cotton cut (sub in various prints if you want a different print for each pocket)
One 17''x13.5'' for large pocket
One 12''x13.5'' for medium pocket
One 6''x'13.5'' for small pocket
With RS together, pin all pocket pieces together and stitch across the top (one of the 13.5'' sides). Press seam open then press WS together and pin 3 open sides together for all pockets. Topstitch across the top, finished edge.
Baste 2 body canvas pieces together. Pin Large Pocket in place, lining up bottom and side raw edges. On each side, mark 10'' down from top. Starting at top finished edge, stitch down one side, pivoting at the 10'' mark, stitching across to 2nd 10'' mark and back up to the top, back stitch at both ends. This shortens the pocket so it isn't a deep cavern that will eat your books.
Pin medium and small pockets in place, matching bottom and sides and baste in place. Square up everything with a ruler and a rotary cutter now if you want.
Apply bias trim, starting at the center bottom and working your way around the entire edge of the organizer.
To make your snap straps, you can either serge your straps like me or stitch up 15'' of your remaining double folded bias trim. Cut your strap into 2 pieces, one 7'' and one 8''. Double fold ½'' at one end of the 8'' strap and apply the female snap according to your package instructions (check out my post on snaps here for extra help). The snap will hold the double fold in place so you don't need to sew it first. Repeat for second strap with male snap and place a second male snap 1'' down from the first. Pin your snap straps 2.5'' in from each side on top of the organizer and stitch in place twice for extra durability.
Enjoy your new Back Seat Car Organizer. I have another on my cutting table already for baby #2. It will initially be used for wipes, pacifiers, bibs, diapers and burp cloths and hopefully evolve to books as well from there!
I love to decorate for Halloween but I dislike the appearance of many decorations during the day though they are amazing at night. I try to incorporate as many spectacles as possible that look great day and night. That is one reason I made these Halloween Votive Luminaries. They look super spooky at night when they are all lit up and just as festive during the day when the vinyl covered cotton print is the star. These vinyl luminaries are easy to make so you can whip up a dozen to line your sidewalk, sit in your windows or as a centerpiece for a party. You can make them for other holidays or any day just by your fabric choices. Try a Christmas print for a holiday open house. A solid in your little one's favorite color with his/her name cut out would be perfect for a birthday decoration. You can also try some burlap with ribbon trim to add some bohemian charm to a brunch. The vinyl covering makes it easier to cut out designs and adds stability so your luminaries will last well past the special occasion.
To make your own Halloween Luminary you will need:
Approx ¼ yd of fabric for 1 luminary (Check out our Halloween Quilting Cotton section)
Approx ¼ yd of Heat n Bond Vinyl
A votive holder or pint size mason jar (like I used)
Tea light or flameless small candle or LED light
Measure around the widest part of your votive and add 1'' for seam allowance for the width and make it about 4-5 taller than your votive. I cut my fabric to 12'' wide by 10'' tall to fit around my pint size mason jar.
Apply the vinyl to the RS of your fabric according to the directions. Use your paper back to draw your luminaries design and then cut it out using scissors or craft knife. Fold over the top and bottom ½'' and top stitch in place. This is not necessary to prevent fraying but does add stability to your luminaries. With RS together stitch up your 2 short sides to make a tube. Carefully turn your tube RS out and smooth out the vinyl covered cotton. Slip it over your votive, add a candle and enjoy your Halloween decoration in the day time or night.
You can even try using your paper punches for this project to create a lace effect or add polka dots all over with a hole punch. These luminaries are fast and fun and store flat as a bonus!
***If you want to use poly fabrics instead of cottons, make sure your use a press cloth when applying the vinyl and also use a flameless or LED light instead of a real candle.
When I first found out I was pregnant back in January, one of my first objectives was maternity/baby items search on Etsy and wouldn't you know what the top maternity item was at the time: Hospital Gowns. Apparently moms are tired of looking washed out and plain in these first pictures with baby. New moms want to look as fabulous and glamorous as they do every other day, despite the fact that they are in a hospital. So the market for designer hospital gowns took off. I put a designer hospital gown at the top of my "To Make" list, found this pattern by Lazy Girl Designs and quickly decided on my fabric. I choose Spot On Mini Dots Navy Quilting Cotton for several reasons:
1) I love polka dot right now and it works well with everything. I certainly don't want to clash with hospital issue receiving blankets should I forget to swaddle my little one in my own first.
2) Navy is a good color for me; It won't wash me out.
3) Navy should be easy to wash because, let's face it, this gown is going to get dirty. I don't want to ruin 3 yds of Amy Butler fabric and I don't want to spend my first few days at home trying to rescue my hospital gown with delicate washings to remove stains
Now you may think why would you spend all this time on a gown you will wear once? Well, just like your wedding gown it is mostly about the pictures that you will cherish for a lifetime and you want to look good! But also after careful thought I figure that I can wear this gown many times the first few weeks or even months. It will make a great nightgown until baby gets a night time schedule. It will make night feedings that much easier and comfy. I can certainly wear it at home the first few days until I am feeling better. And afterwards I can use the fabric to make a memory quilt or some other small project. This pattern only required 3 yds of Designer Quilting Cotton so making your own is cost effective and fun!
Even more appealing for all you non-pregnant folks out there is that this free pattern is not a maternity hospital gown but just a regular hospital gown pattern that can be adapted for maternity use. I cut mine out with two left sides for the back and it fits me perfectly being 8 mos pregnant. You can make this gown for any loved one with an upcoming hospital stay. It is a great way to brighten up what is sure to be an anxiety-ridden adventure. My only changes would be to recommend lowering or widening the neckline. It is a lot too modest for me. Not that I want to look like a vixen in the hospital but I don't like my neckline crowding me. I like to have plenty of room around the neck in case I sit on my gown funny or it gets pulls accidently. I am going to lower mine at least 3'' and make it into more of a scoop neck just for the extra room for movement in the hospital bed. I do love how this pattern does away with all the gathers and frills of most maternity gowns. I enjoyed only spending a few hours on this pattern instead of several days. As stated earlier, yes I want to look good but this is not a wardrobe staple so I want to invest just enough time to look good with it being a time suck. The Velcro at the shoulders was a blessing over the snap tape I see in most hospital gown patterns. I want the quickness of Velcro over the precision of a snap. I also used self fabric to interface at the shoulder seams for looks and added double folded trim at the shoulder edge and neckline. I cut six 1 yd 2'' strips from the scraps cutting out the gown and pressed 4 of them into double folded trim. The two strips I didn't press I pinned RS together on my shoulder edges and stitched on. Then I pressed the seam towards the gown and folded the trim towards the gown and topstitched in place (see picture above). Then I added the Velcro. I omitted the button because I am not really sure of its purpose but I can always add it later. I also serged the sleeves, back edges and bottom hem to save time and because I just received my new serger and I am LOVING it! I was also able to use the remaining strips as back ties. I will add one more to just above the rump so I don't have my bottom poking out when I walk around.
Overall, I really enjoyed this pattern. It was quicker than I anticipated, looks more fabulous than I expected and it comfy, comfy comfy. I recommend it for any expecting mom or hospital go-er!
Thank you Lazy Girl Designs for your wonderful pattern!
I didn't want to use a zipper on this dress -- my goal was a pullover garment. But, this dress is somewhat fitted, so I needed to come up with a solution that would keep the look of the dress, but would allow me to pull it on without fuss. So, I cut the pattern one size larger than my true size, and I added ties by stitching them into the darts on the back. Problem solved!
I have mentioned on previous vintage patterns that they sometimes call for a technique that isn't often used today -- an overlay approach to stitching pieces together. Instead of sewing the elements right-sides together, you prepare each piece, pressing under the seam allowance on the piece that will be on top, and then place it on top of the other section to sew it, stitching very close to the folded edge. It feels weird to work this way initially, but I find I really like it. The S-curve at the front of this dress would be really difficult to assemble without this approach. Here's a close-up of three of the pieces coming together this way (the two front bodice pieces and the skirt):
I'm pretty pleased with this little experiment. I like that I can wear this dress on its own through the summer, and then layer it with a long-sleeve undershirt or cardigan and boots for cooler weather. Versatile is always a win in my book!
I am taking a break from my Denyse Schmidt Hills n' Hollers quilts to make a floor quilt. My goal was to finish a quilt before baby #2 makes her debut. My plan hinged on the idea that a precut quilt might speed my process up a bit since cutting out the Hills for the Denyse quilt (I'm 2 twin size quilts for the girls) took a LONG time. I have been eying the Charm Packs we carry for a while now and decided to make my move. The charm packs can just be stitched up and pieced together to make a very cute and just the right size floor quilt for the nursery (Why not a crib quilt? See my post on "What not to make for Baby"). After a careful selection of which charm pack to use I set to work.
Charm Packs are sample sizes of quilting cotton collections sold in 5'' squares pinked on all sides. The charm size is just big enough to show off the print and to be used as a quilt piece but small enough that you don't feel the need to cut into it, but you can! There is a wealth of charm quilt patterns out there online. My favorite place to window shop is the Moda Bakeshop. However, Charm packs are not the only precut packs out there. You can also try your hand at Jelly Rolls: 2 ½'' by 44'' precut quilting cotton bundles that are sold in rolls that look delicious. There are also Layer Cake Bundles: a collection of 10'' squares that make up one of the newer precut themes. There are several more divisions of a fat quarters out on the market but these are the major players and make up the majority of quilting patterns.
I stitched my charm pack together using ¼'' seam allowance and a 5 x 8 grid. Next, I finished the quilt top with a 5'' border of cotton muslin (log cabin style) all the way around to make a roughly 50'' x 35'' quilt top. This was just the right size for playing on the floor, car rides, picnics in the park and any impromptu outings that require a soft place for baby to play. I have only finished the top and while it took me a while (I really wanted everything to be perfect) most of my apprehension is for the unknown. I have never made a quilt sandwich before and this will be my first time quilting on my non-quilting machine. Though with all your Facebook tips, I do feel more confident. I have my batting and my quilt backing (the green ribbon print by Denyse Schmidt) and when next you see this quilt it will be all done and ready for baby. I have to look into whether to baste my sandwich together or pin- decisions, decisions!!!
The quilt is done!! The binding was easier than I had convinced myself and thanks to all the tutorial suggestions on Facebook I was able to figure it all out. I added 1 strip of blue print to the binding to add some fun and embroidered my daughter's name on the quilt in my handwriting. She loves it and so do I!