Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A little mending

I was given some hand-me-downs from my sister in law (la-la-love handmedowns!), and one of the shirts was an adorable white button up.  I was sad to discover that there was a large hole in the collar. I couldn't bear to put the shirt in the donate pile, so I put it in the mending pile. I thought it would be fun to replace the white + pink ricrac collar for something in a cute contrasting fabric.
I picked out the old collar with my seam ripper very carefully. Then I used the old collar for a guide for cutting out my new collar. Then I sewed the new collar back in. Sewing it in was a little tricky because the seams on the shirt had been trimmed down, so I was sewing with 1/8th inch seam allowances! But it was totally worth it!
 Voila! a new shirt. totally worth the effort.  
Adorable right?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Out to Sea Nautical Dress

I am finally getting around to blogging about the projects I made right before we moved/had a baby. (I also photographed these in our old apartment with crappy lighting- hence the blurry photos aaaargh)
Sometimes (okay a lot of times) I see something fabulous and I want to replicate it exactly. Not just the pattern, but the fabric too. This might not be on the high end of the creativity scale, but I LOVED this dress the moment I saw it debut on the blogosphere. The dress was designed by Cally of the blog Calico for Sarah Jane.  Let me tell you, it's ADORABLE.
I do want to make this pattern again in a different fabric combination, but I think I need to wait until she outgrows this one. It's weird to have the exact same dress in two color-ways right? Maybe I will make it into a top instead? Shouldn't be too hard to change the pattern up a little bit.
When I wrote about my red riding hood dress I mentioned it was my second invisible zipper. Well this dress was my FIRST. The tutorial called for an invisible zipper, so I finally pulled out my invisible zipper foot and figured out how to use it. I watched this video from Coletterie that was very helpful.
Cally's tutorial is very clear, I highly recommend it. If you are hesitant about the pattern drafting part and have a 2 year old, just download my size 2 pattern here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Favorites from Shorts on the Line

Remember shorts on the line? Did you see the winners? While I think they were all nice shorts, I felt there were some AWESOME shorts that should have won too. I wanted to share my favorites with you today.

In my opinion, the BEST shorts should be functional, well fitting, stylish, have a "custom" look, not a "homemade" look, they should also show some sewing savvy and creativity. In my personal opinion these all fit the bill.

First up, "Pink Shorts" from My Cozy Co. I love the simplicity of these. You know these shorts will match sooooo many tops. The flat front is a tricky sewing technique, the back pocket is adorable, and the stitching outline is a fun addition.

"Colette Iris Shorts" from Sew Caroline. Great fabric! who doesn't love Anna Maria Horner fabric? Women's shorts that fit? super impressive
"Plain Jane Shorts" from Nicole at Home Seriously, look at that perfect fit! and the photography/styling make it look like it's from a jcrew catalog. My favorite part about these shorts though, is the Heather Ross fabric she used for the facing (you'll have to go to her blog to see) such a great idea to use up scraps of treasured fabrics. (Nicole is currently competing in Sew Mama Sew's super online sewing match if you aren't following the match, you should be!)
"Girlie Ruffles Bubble Shorts" from An Apprentice Housewife These shorts were created for Frances Suzanne's "Flip this Pattern" (another online event you MUST follow! it's so much fun!) Who doesn't love E&E's Bubble Shorts Pattern? I would bet half of the shorts entered for shorts on the line used this pattern. (I bought the pattern the day it came out, but still haven't sewn up a pair yet- I need more sewing time!!) I think these shorts win most creative. My favorite part of these shorts is the girly ruffles on the suspender straps!

"Puppet Show Shorts" from Sewing for Four I love this Oliver + S pattern and have finally added it to my collection (Oliver + S paper patterns are on sale 50% off right now!!!! just use code SUMMER2013 through July 31-- I may have went a little crazy) love love love the eyelet fabric on these. I want a pair for Christine, like right now!

"Fat Quarter Sailor Shorts" from Two Many. Okay, freaking amazing fabric combination. I never would have looked at these fabrics and thought they could look so cool! And she used fat quarters! brilliant!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

KCW: Days 3-7

What happened to KCW? you know, sewing one hour a day? Day one and two were fun, but by day 3 I couldn't ignore the dishes any longer, the laundry was building up, and I really needed a shower. Maybe I will try again with the fall KCW, hopefully Jacob will be sleeping through the night and I can sew at night (currently, as soon as both kids are asleep I jump in bed too)
So instead, I will cheat and count this dress that I sewed up the week before KCW.
Christine outgrew all of her old dresses overnight, so I went to my fabric stash to see what I had. I found 1/2 yard of this red riding hood print (I bought for the Chevron Quilt project but didn't use it) and the red scallop print. I drafted a simple bodice and lined it, then I gathered the half yard of red riding hood fabric and sewed it to the bodice. Then inserted an invisible zipper. (This was my second invisible zipper, and let me tell you, I will NEVER sew a regular zipper again. Invisible zippers are WAY easier and look sooooo much better!) Then the dress was done! easy peasy!

As I was sewing this dress, I told Christine I was making her a new dress, and she responded. "Mommy I need FIVE new dresses!"

I guess I have some more dresses to make.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

KCW: Day Two

Today's KCW projects were a kimono top and navy diaper cover for Jacob.
I already have one kimono top and it's so great, I decided Jacob needed more. They sew up so quickly, there will definitly be more coming this week.
I wanted a diaper cover to go with the kimono top, the only problem was that the diaper cover is too big! So I will have to sew up another one in a smaller size. The pattern I used was Simplicity 3508 a reprint of a 1950s pattern.

Monday, July 15, 2013

KCW: Day One

I started with the Aubrey Bow Dress today, and surprisingly I finished it!
I've had the Aubrey Bow Dress pattern on my etsy wishlist for a while now. I'm glad I finally bought the pattern and sewed it up.
The pattern was great and came together very easily.
Because it rained all day, Christine insisted on wearing her rain boots outside with her dress.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Getting Ready for KCW

This week is Kids Clothes Week. KCW is a sewing challenge, where the online sewing community sews for at least one hour a day for an entire week and everybody shares their sewing progress online. Some bloggers are amazing and pump out an entire wardrobe in one week, and others keep it simple sewing one or two outfits.

I have never participated in KCW, I've only just gawked at the amazing handmade clothes that come pouring out. This week though, I am finally joining in on the fun!

Here's my plan for the week:

Aubrey Bow Dress for Christine
Box Pleat Shorts for Christine
Baby Kimono for Jacob
Vintage-style Diaper Cover for Jacob
The rules for KCW allow you to cut your fabric before the week begins, so last Friday and Saturday I pre-washed all my fabric and cut out all my pattern pieces. We will see how much of this pile I can sew up this week!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Baby Suspender Shorts Tutorial and Pattern

UPDATE 7-21-2014:  I am so excited to share that I now have the Spruce Suspender Shorts for sale in my brand new pattern shop: Zuzzy Patterns. I've been studying pattern making for the last year (after I created the original pattern) and made a few changes to the original pattern. The pattern is significantly improved in fit and digitally graded in sizes 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18, and 18-24 months.  The construction process has been slightly modified, and the suspender straps now feature a rounded front strap. UPDATE now up to 4T! Read more HERE I will always keep the  tutorial and the original pattern for free download here on the blog. But if you would like the shorts in additional baby sizes, you can purchase the pattern here.

The PDF is 20 pages long. The pattern pieces are colored for easy cutting, but for those who prefer to print in black and white the pattern pieces are also dashed! best of both worlds :) All measurements are in imperial (inches). The pattern is listed as $6, but for all you blog readers I have a coupon code for you to get the pattern for only $5. Just enter BLOGREADER into the coupon code box as you checkout.

Now back to the original post I created for participating in Shorts on the Line 2013:

Girl's shorts are done, CHECK! Now it's time for a pair of baby shorts

These are vintage-inspired suspender strap shorts made from grey chambray with vintage buttons. The buttons are from a grab bag of old buttons I found at an estate sale a few weeks ago! score! 
I loooove these little shorts. I think they are so adorable, especially paired with bow tie onesie.
Want to make your own? 

This free pattern is for size 3 months  

You will need:
1/2 yard of fabric (you will have plenty leftover for another pair of shorts)
4 buttons
8" length of 3/4"-wide elastic
matching thread

*all seams are sewn with a 1/2" seam allowance (seam allowances are included in the pattern)
**after you sew each seam, finish the seam by using a zigzag stitch then trim the excess fabric (about 1/4") or use a serger if you are lucky enough to have one.
1. Cut out your pattern pieces. You will cut two fronts, two backs, then two 3" x 20" rectangles for the suspender straps, one 3" x 10" rectangle for the front waistband, and one 3" x 11" rectangle for the back waistband.
2. Sew the fronts together and the backs together (right sides facing) along the crotch.
press the seam open (the iron is your friend!) and turn over
3. match the front waistband to the front piece (right sides together) and sew. Repeat with the back waistband and back piece.
4. (not pictured) Serge/zig zag your waistband top so it won't fray (I had to go back and redo this part because I forgot). I just zigzagged along the edge, but if you want a cleaner look you could line the edge with a little bias tape.

5. Now it's time to add the elastic!

start by pinning the middle of the elastic to the middle of the BACK (the back piece is taller and wider than the front- don't mix them up!)
position the elastic 3/8" below the top of the waistband. Now sew the ends down to hold them in place (sew with a 1/4" seam allowance so the seam will be enclosed when you are done)

6. Now fold the waistband down, enclosing the elastic, and pin. Sew just underneath the elastic being careful not to catch the elastic. Sew slowly and let the elastic readjust as you sew.

7. Time to sew the front to the back. I stretched my elastic on the back and pinned it about an inch in so the elastic wouldn't pull where I was going to be sewing.
Match up along the sides, the waistband on the fronts will hang over. Fold the front waistband over on top of the back waistband.

here are some close ups:
8. Now sew along the side.
and when you unfold it...
... it's a beautiful enclosed seam!

9. Repeat on the other side.

10. Fold down the front waistband. Turn over, and stitch in the ditch
11. Sew the inseams.

12. Now it's time to hem the shorts. Turn under 1/2" then another 1/2". Sew.

If your sewing machine is like mine, slide the arm off to make this part easier.
13. Now it's time to make the suspenders. Take your 3" x 20" rectangles, fold them in half and sew them together lengthwise. Turn the tubes inside out and press. Tuck the ends under and sew them closed.

 14. Sew buttons and button holes.

for the FRONT: sew the buttons to the front waistband on the outside of the shorts. You can just eyeball where to put the buttons, or if you want to be exact, I sewed mine about 2 1/4" away from the middle seam (measuring from the center of the button)

For the BACK, sew the buttons to the inside of the back of the shorts. Sew these buttons about 2" away from the center seam. Then sew button holes in the suspender straps. I sewed 2 button holes on one end of each strap so that I can lengthen them as my little guy gets bigger, in hopes that he won't outgrow these too quickly.
now put your completed shorts on your baby and showoff the cuteness!