Monday, July 6, 2015

All I know about machine embroidery

I've been promising this post for a while. But there is so much information to include, I'm going to split it up into several posts and answer the follow questions:

-What embroidery machine should I buy?
-What embroidery supplies do I need, and where do I buy them?
-Where do I get cute embroidery designs?
-What embroidery software should I get?

For the first post I want to share how I got into machine embroidery.

It started with a shirt I saw on Etsy. I was looking at Frozen themed birthday ideas for Christine and I saw this amazing embroidered frozen birthday shirt on Etsy. I fell in love with it. I NEEDED that shirt! Except it was $30, which seemed pretty expensive to me. In retrospect I probably should have just bought the t-shirt instead of the $600 machine, and several more hundred dollars in supplies!
The shop is on vacation right now, but it looked like this shirt

I belonged to a facebook sewing group that had a lot of embroiders in it and I started paying more attention to embroidery posts. Then I started looking at etsy shops selling embroidered items. Looking at all the amazing things they were making, made me just HAVE to have an embroidery machine.
My husband was working a pretty bad rotation at the hospital at the time, so I think he was feeling bad about his work schedule and the impact it has on me. He knows how happy my hobbies make me. So he encouraged me to get the machine.

Why should YOU get a machine?

Because it is FUN
You can make ADORABLE things
It's a new CHALLENGE. I sew and I do hand embroidery, but machine embroidery is a whole new crafting world.
So you can have MORE sewing machines! Because the more sewing machines you have the cooler you are!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Project Run and Play: Frozen Fever Dress

June was a busy month for us. The kids and I were visiting my family in Utah for half the month while Daddy was working long hard hours at the hospital. But I managed to squeeze some time in for my favorite sew along. This month was a fun one. Y'all know how I love dress ups. This month's challenge was Kiki and Company's Elsa Dress up.
When the challenge was announced, I knew immediately that I needed to make Elsa's Frozen Fever dress. This tutorial was perfect for it. If you don't know (how do you not know?!) Disney included a little short film before the live action Cinderella movie about Elsa celebrating Anna's birthday, and of course they have brand new summer dresses.

It's a FAST sew. Seriously. I went to the fabric store on Tuesday, as in three days ago.
The cape is this green sparkly costume fabric. It looks fabulous and is my daughter's favorite, BUT there is now green glitter all over my sewing room. I had to give my sewing machine a good cleaning after sewing through this sparkly stuff because GLITTER. ALL. OVER.
I cut out flowers from pink felt and used fabric glue (fabri-fix) to glue them on. The raw edge of the cape was finished by zigzagging across the edge (because I didn't want to buy 3 spools of green thread to do a rolled hem).

I only slightly modified the tutorial by adding sleeves to the dress. They are just rectangles sewn together and gathered where they attach to the bodice. They will help hold the top up, and because Christine insisted that the dress have sleeves because Elsa's dress has sleeves mom! She even drew me some "pattern pieces" to use. It was pretty adorable.
This will give you an idea of sleeve placement, and velcro placement for the cape. It's very simple for Christine to do by herself.

The skirt is a basic rectangle. But I had a HARD time finding the right color of fabric at the store. So I ended up mixing three colors together. I layered together this neon green polysatin, a blue chiffon, and a green tulle. It think together it works.

To complete the Elsa summer look, I needed a flower for her hair. I made a pink Kanzashi flower (tutorial from Pumpkin and a Princess- you don't need the plastic circle guide. I just traced a cup for my circle and eyeballed four basting stitches). I need a little more practice, but I think it's adorable.

For more project run and play looks check out the linky party here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Project Run and Play: May

Another month, another Project Run and Play challenge! We've had so much rain all week long, I had to settle for indoor photos today.
This month's remix is the the Summer Chevron shirt. It's a great free pattern from Crafty Cupboard. It reminded me a lot of the above Persnickey photo I pinned (literally! I'm talkin' old school pinterest) on my inspiration board in my craft room. (The outfit is no longer available from Persnickety- it's like two years old).  I have wanted to recreate this look for a long time, and this pattern was PERFECT for it.
I had this great green print I got from the same fabulous estate sale I keep mentioning. I have no idea what type of fabric it is, but it is soft and has a great drape (and also frays like crazy). I knew it would be great for this look.  The beautiful blue vintage buttons also came from the same estate sale. Then I had some white muslin that I have yards and yards of. You always need lots of white muslin right?
So let's talk about how I remixed this pattern. I started with the size 3. I trued up the corners on the neckline so it would hang nicely and be a little less square, then I added 3 inches to the skirt width for a nice gather, then I lengthened it by several inches to make it a dress. Then I turned the bodice around so the buttons would be in the front. I altered the closure slightly so I could have an overlapping button placket to be like the persnickety dress.
Then of course I NEEDED those ruffle shorts that almost look like a petticoat. I drafted the shorts by adding a few inches in width and waistband to my basic shorts sloper. Then I added two ruffles. ADORABLE. I am in love.
Do you notice anything fancy about the finishing on the ruffles and the flutter sleeve? That's a ROLLED HEM!! I have owned my serger for TWO years and I finally was brave enough to do a rolled hem. Let me tell you, it is so EASY! I was terrified about removing my stitch finger on the serger, but it's really easy to take on and off. I am going to do rolled hems a lot now that I know how to do this! I watched this super helpful video from CKC and read this blog post from LBG and that's it. They each suggest different settings and I experimented and ended up using a combo of their suggestions. I used a 5 for my right needle, 5.5 for upper looper, 7 for the lower looper, 1 for the differential feed, R for stitch length, and R for stitch width.
Seriously, those ruffles would have taken forever to hem. Instead I just ran them through the serger so quick! and I loooooove how pretty the rolled hem looks!
Does that blue stripe bother anyone else? I didn't pay attention to the fabric and just gathered and sewed it, and it happened to end up just askew to the blue buttons. Hmph.
Anyone spot the green lego? Can you tell I pushed aside a huge pile of legos to take these pictures?
Don't let Miss sassy pants trick you into thinking she's being sweet here. She's thinking about her Twilight Sparkle My Little Pony carriage she's going to buy with the dollar I bribed her with to let me take these photos interrupting her lego-crushing monster-free time (aka Jacob's nap time).

Check out all the other Project Run and Play entries here

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spruce Shorts for Fluffy Bums: Free Pattern Add-on

I was surprised by how many of my pattern testers use cloth diapers. About half! They asked me for suggestions on how to adjust the spruce shorts for fluffy bums (an affectionate term for cloth diaper babies) Should we add 1" to the height? Should we sew a size larger? Well, the true answer is that they need a different shaped back piece to allow for the extra bulk. So they convinced me that I needed an add-on pattern piece for the pattern. (you can find the free download here)
This is what the difference of original back piece (blue) and the fluffy bum back piece (gray). So you see there is a longer back rise and extra width. 
These were NOT tested with the usual care I give my other patterns. I am not a cloth diaper expert, plus there is SO much variation in cloth diapers. It depends on what brand you use, how many inserts you use, and the shape of your child. For some, you might not even need the extra piece, the original pattern may work just fine for you. The above photo shows the regular Spruce Shorts with cloth diaper on.
This mommy called this diaper her "huge nappy" (it's a baby beehinds diaper if you were curious) and you can tell the regular pattern would never get over that adorable diaper! I hope this is helpful to cloth diaper mommas! You can download the free pattern add-on from my Craftsy shop here

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

KCW: Matching Striped Pajamas

These matching pajamas have been a long time in the making.
I wanted to use two new pajama patterns (Brindle and Twig Footie Leggings and Heidi and Finn all you need jammies) for the kids' Christmas pajamas, but I didn't have enough fabric for mistakes. I had never used either pattern so I wanted to check sizing fit. I would hate to cut out a size too small and not be able to pull off my Christine jammie dream.
So I cut out jammies for both kids in this fun striped neon knit I got from Girl Charlee for crazy cheap. It's a thin light weight knit, not good for winter, but PERFECT for summer.
I finished the pants, but for the shirts I only sewed one arm and skipped hemming completely because I only needed to test length and I had Christmas jammies to sew! As soon as I knew how the patterns fit I moved on the Christmas ones and threw these unfinished ones in my cast aside projects pile.
And there they sat. Unloved. Then for KCW Winter last January I meant to finish them. Well, I didn't get too far. I finished Christine's shirt but didn't touch Jacobs.
But THIS kids clothes week, I had great momentum, I already finished my list and still had a day to go plus I had the double needle set up on my machine, so I finished this bad boy up real quick. Now the kids look stinkin' adorable in their matching jammie sets.

I got the nonskid bottom fabric with cute little footprints on it from etsy shop Lilbabythangs but it looks like they are going out of business and getting rid of their inventory. Too bad because the nonskid fabric is adorable.

As for the patterns. I really liked the Heidi and Finn all you need pajamas- pj top. There really isn't anything special about the top I choose to sew up. I really need to try out all the other options that it came with. The Brindle and Twig pants pattern was okay. The soles were a little small, and honestly I wished I had purchased Peekaboo patterns' Happy Feet Pajamas instead.

Regardless, these pajamas are so cute and the kids love to match. The light-weight knit make these perfect for summer around here.