Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Favorites from Shorts Week

With the announcement of the first place winner today, Shorts on the Line is over. With over a hundred shorts, there were many sewers who deserved to win. Here are my favorites, who I think deserved a prize.
Ruffled Shorts by la inglesita. These ruffle shorts almost won the reader's choice. I have already pinned the tutorial from Homemade by Jill that she used to make these.
What I liked:  I love the girly ruffle along the side, the fabric choice, and the coordinating top.
Apricot Bloomers by Rowan and Oak. These shorts won 1st prize, and she deserved it. When I saw these in the flickr group I though "Oh crap, there goes my chance at winning!" She used the bubble shorts pattern from Ottobre Summer 2012. I am slightly tempted to buy the issue from ebay for $20
What I liked: The color, the pleats on the top, the adorable pockets, and the lace poking out of the pockets and along the bottom.
Puppet Show Shorts by Wee Share Blog Made from an Oliver + S pattern
What I liked: the pleated pockets with bias tape, and the fabric choice.
The Japanese Pattern Book Shorts by Sew Country Chick. These shorts make me want to buy several Japanese sewing books (although I am completely intimidated at the thought of having only pictures and diagrams to figure out the sewing).
What I liked: I love the gingham print and the playful yet dramatic volume of the shorts. 
Tomboy Shorts by Little Weaver Women Can you tell that I like grey shorts?
What I liked: the flat front, gathered legs, and the pockets with the fabulous yellow pom pom trim
Pocket Shorts by Elegance & Elephants I was shocked that these didn't win. This was another "Oh crap, there goes my chance at those prizes."
What I liked: this is a self-drafted pattern, made from knit, and in a fabulous color. So impressive!

the Box Pleat Shorts by Zuzzy. I mean, how fabulous is Zuzzy? (ha ha ha!)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chevron Quilt Update: Week Five

Up until now I have been writing to no one, it's been strangely comforting. I am a little nervous writing today's posts. This last week I finally shared my blog with all my friends and family. My husband encouraged me to tell everyone. Actually he told me if my shorts were featured on Shorts on the Line, then I HAD to go public with my blog (he is very supportive of my little hobby).  So far I have only had traffic from linky parties and random google searches for things like "a little accident"), and of course my sisters. Now, all of a sudden I have readers. Very few, but still.

This week was really exciting with Shorts on the Line. I would check my google reader every morning, first thing, to see who was featured. I was crazy excited that both my box pleat shorts and peplum shorts were featured. Then, Jessica from Me Sew Crazy suggested I add my tutorial to Sew Set (an awesome database of sewing patterns and tutorials) so I uploaded my box pleat shorts tutorial, and today they are on the front page! One of the top patterns!  I would say Shorts on the Line was a great little "coming out" party for Zuzzy. I am grateful for the ladies that put it together at Imagine Gnats, Designs by Sessa, and Small + Friendly, and for everyone who left a sweet supportive comment over here on Zuzzy.
For my new readers, every Saturday I write about my progress on making a toddler-sized chevron quilt. (Except today is Sunday oops! I was visiting my in-laws yesterday and watched the Olympics instead of posting). With writing my shorts tutorials this week I didn't work on my quilt at all during the week. So Saturday morning, knowing I had to make a little progress to write about, I laid out all my squares again and sewed them ALL into rows.
I would have kept going and sewn the rows together, but I decided that I wanted the quilt to be longer. So I am going to cut two strips from this mushroom print in gray. (I didn't do any math on the quilt before buying my fabric-- shame on me--- and so I had a LOT of leftover fabric. Was this "problem" of too much fabric caused by my subconscious trying to hoard as much fabric as possible? probably.)
 Next week I hope to have a finished quilt top!

Stay tuned this week for a little tutorial on the simplest ever pin cushion and a wrap-up on my favorites from Shorts on the Line.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peplum Shorts Tutorial

Yay! Small and Friendly featured my Peplum shorts on her top ten for Shorts on the Line! 

I did not originally plan to share a tutorial for these shorts. But I had such a positive response, I thought maybe someone else might like to make a pair? To make a tutorial, I had to sew up a second pair of shorts so I could take photos of the steps. This time I decided to try two different fabrics. I used On Point Minty and Straws in Minty from the Simpatico fabric line by Cloud 9. 

(Confession: I bought the On Point Minty fabric to recover my ironing board, so Christine will be matching my ironing board when we wears these. Is that weird?)

To make these shorts you will need:
1/2 yard fabric for a 12-18 months size
1" wide elastic
Pattern for 12-18 month size can be downloaded HERE

CUT FABRIC: You will cut 4 short pieces (2 for the front and 2 for the back) 2 waistband pieces, and one circle. To cut the peplum piece you will need to fold your fabric in fourths. (Like Dana does HERE in her circle skirt). 
 STEP ONE: Place two short pieces right sides together and sew along the curve. Repeat with remaining two short pieces. One will be your front. the other will be your back.
 STEP TWO: Place the front and back right sides together and sew the sides and the legs.
STEP THREE: Place the waistband pieces right sides together, and sew along the edges.
STEP FOUR: Turn your waistband right side out (print on the outside, seams on the inside) and fold it in half lengthwise so the raw edges are together. 

 STEP FIVE: Make your "sandwich" by laying your shorts, peplum, and waistband together and line up all the raw edges. Sew around, leaving a 2" gap for inserting your elastic.
After you have sewn your sandwich, it will look like this.

 STEP SIX: insert your elastic through the hole you left. Sew the elastic together.
 Sew the hole closed. Then zig zag along the edges to reinforce the seam. (or use your serger if you have one)

STEP SEVEN: Finish the edge of the peplum. I used my rolled hem foot. But you could also turn the edge over by 1/4 inch.

STEP EIGHT: Hem the shorts. Simply, fold over 1/4" then another 1/4" (so the raw edges are enclosed) then sew along the folded edge.
 ...and you're done! So easy right?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Box Pleat Shorts: Tutorial

Wow! My tangerine box pleat shorts I made for Shorts on the Line were featured on Imagine Gnats today!

For those who want to make their own, here's the tutorial I promised:

You will need:
1/2 yard fabric (I used Kona Cotton in Tangerine)
1 button
1" wide elastic
STEP ONE: Cut the pieces as indicated in the photo. Pattern for the front and back (for size 18-24 months) can be downloaded HERE (seam allowances ARE included in the pattern pieces). When printing, be sure the box for "fit to page" is NOT checked. You don't want your computer changing the size of the pattern pieces!

If you want to make this in a different size, cut a similar shape by tracing a pair of shorts that already fit your toddler then
  • add 1 & 1/2" to the width for seam allowances and pleats
  • add 1/2" to the length for seam allowances
  • add 3 inches to the top of the back piece for the elastic casing
  • for the leg cuffs cut rectangles 2" by the length of the leg circumference plus 1/2" for seam allowances
  • for the waistband cut rectangles 3 1/2" inches by the length of your fronts plus 1"
Now that you have your pattern pieces all ready it's time to begin!
STEP TWO: Place the BACKS right sides together and sew along the crotch. (all seams are sewn with a 3/8" seam allowance) Set aside.
STEP THREE: Place FRONTS right sides together and sew along the crotch.
 STEP FOUR: working on the wrong side (the inside of the shorts) fold the faux fly to the left. Top stitch along the seam you already sewed. Then sew a second line about 3/8" (the length of my presser foot) from that seam.
When you turn it over to the right side (the outside of the garment) the front will look like this.
STEP FIVE: Now it's time to make the BOX PLEATS. (working on the right side of the fabric) With chalk or a disappearing ink pen make three marks: 3"  3 1/2" and 4" from the middle seam to the right and to the left of the fly. Fold along the outer marks in towards the middle mark. Pin in place and sew across with a  basting seam.
 STEP SIX: Now it's time to sew the waistband pieces to the front. First you are going to fold the side you are not working on out of the way so you don't accidentally sew on it. 
 Turn it over so you are looking at the right side you are going to place the the shorter waistband (the 6 1/2" length one) to this side.
 Before you pin the waistband to the front, fold one side over by 1/2 inch. 
 Now pin to the front and sew across. 
 Turn it over and it will look like this.
Remove the basting stitches that you sewed to keep your pleats in place.
And now repeat on the other side, using the longer (8 1/2" length) waistband piece.

Now unfortunately, I first sewed the front waistband and back waistband separately then I sewed the fronts and backs together, but then I had raw edges at the seams with elastic poking out and I knew I couldn't post a tutorial with the "wrong way" to sew it. So I ripped it out and sewed it another way. So there are a couple pictures that don't quite match up. Hopefully it still makes sense.
STEP SEVEN: Place the back piece on top of the front piece, right sides together, and sew along both edges.
STEP EIGHT: Now it's time to add the elastic.  To position the elastic, it might help to fold the fabric first to make the casing, iron it, then place the elastic so you can see where to put it.  You want your elastic to be at least 1/4 of an inch from the top, within the 1 1/2 inch casing.
Sew each end of elastic.

STEP EIGHT: The next step is to make the waistband.
To make the waistband, fold the top of the shorts down 1/4 an inch, then another 1 1/2 inch along the entire circumference of the shorts. This will make the casing for the elastic in the back and will finish the front waistband.
When you are folding under the waistband at the fly you will have to fold the overlapping edge out of the way to sew the waistband in place.
This is what it will look like. The zig zag stitch is the elastic sewn in the back and no raw edges poking out.

(I did a little research after I made these and found another way to sew a flat front with an elastic back. Check out this tutorial for the how-to)
Top-stitch the edge of the fly
STEP NINE: You are almost there! With right sides together, sew the legs.
STEP TEN:  Sew each cuff together. Sew a gathering stitch along the legs. Pull threads to gather until it is the same circumference as the cuff. Pin the cuffs to each leg. Sew. Just like you did to the waistband you are going to fold over 1/4 and inch, then another 1 inch (folding in towards the inside of the shorts) and pin just above the seam line. Sew in place. Repeat on the other leg.
STEP ELEVEN: Make a button hole and sew on the button.

and FINALLY: Reinforce the faux fly with a small, tight zig zag stitch.
Woohoo! You are done!