Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fat Quarter Project Revealed!

Thank you for the guesses I had on the "Fat Quarter Project."  Actually, both Mushywear and Janimal were correct in their guesses that the items I was sewing looked like flower petals.  They are!  I made a petal skirt for my daughter!

I found a tutorial for this project online at Kara's Craftastical website.  I just thought the skirt was so adorable that I knew I had to give it a shot.  Besides, I knew I had a bunch of fat quarters stored up, and I wasn't sure what to use them for.  This project was perfect for that purpose!  On the website you can download (for free) a template of the pattern pieces, and the instructions given were not difficult to follow.  For some reason, I ended up using more petals than Kara did, but the skirt still came out great.

While the front of the skirt has a simple waistband, the back has gathers, achieved by sewing a casing for three 1/4" pieces of elastic.  It is a cute effect, and it fits my little one well.  In fact, she will continue to wear this into next year, I am sure.

The only change I made was I decided to only use two tiers for my daughter's skirt because I thought three would be too much for an almost 18 month old.   Also, after I sewed the skirt I realized that she did not have a top to wear with it.


I decided to sew a T-shirt, and add an applique to it.  I used Kwik Sew's Sewing For Toddlers, and sewed a size T1.  I re-used another one of my old maternity shirts, similar to this one for the fabric.  Sadly, the shirt is a little oversized for my little princess.   I really thought it would fit according to the sizing chart, but I was mistaken. So I will be taking in the side seams some for a better fit.

I wish I could say I am 100% happy with the T-shirt.  Don't get me wrong, I love the applique, but I wasn't as pleased with the way I attached the neckband.  I measured everything correctly and made sure the grain of the fabric, and the stretch was right, but I ended up having to pull the neckband quite a bit when sewing, and this caused some puckering.  Other than that, I really like the shirt.  I continue to get good sewing practice, and I will definitely applique again!

Here is the little one wearing her new "outfit:"

Can you say "Vogue!"
Smile for the camera!

Are we done yet?
PS--Sorry about picture quality.  Our camera is MIA, and I had to use my hubby's phone to take pics this week.

Stay sew-filled!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Kwik Sew patterns

When I saw that Kwik Sew has released some new patterns, I got excited to see what they had.  Well, upon glancing at their website, I was disappointed that there weren't any items I longed to sew.  You know what I mean?  That's how I usually decide on which patterns to buy--if there is a longing deep inside of me to make that particular item.

Now, sometimes, if I think a pattern is just ok, I will try it out when it goes on sale for 99 cents or 1.99.  But who am I kidding?  I buy all my patterns on sale!

Here are some patterns that I found were cute:

This is Kwik Sew 3833.  I love the cap and tie for a little boy, and the headband and purse with the fabric flower for a little girl.  Adorable!

If I were to make a winter coat, I would make Kwik Sew 3828, View B, shown in the lime green.  I love the asymmetric collar, and the oversized pocket!

Does anyone know if Kwik Sew patterns ever go on sale at Hancock Fabrics?  

BTW, I am still working on my fat quarter project (see here).  Thank you for your wonderful guesses!  I have been sewing every night since that post, and thought I would finish last night, but I couldn't find one of the pattern pieces!  I plan on sewing when the kids take a nap today, so I hope to post the mystery project by tomorrow.  

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fat Quarter Project!

I usually like to "announce" the next project I am working on in the side bar to the right, however, I have found myself a bit lazy for these last couple of weeks.  This week I am motivated to not let the lazy bug get the best of me!

I decided to show you a piece (or pieces) of what I am working on, and let you think about what it might be.  The only hint I will give you is that this project uses ALL fat quarters.  In case you are wondering what a fat quarter is, it is a pre-cut piece of fabric that measures roughly 18 x 22 inches.

This is what my project looks like so far...

Any ideas?

For each of these pieces (and I have many more to sew) I used a technique called chainstitching.  It is a quicker way to sew when you are repeating the same action over and over, and it saves thread.  Here is what the chainstitch looks like:

You basically sew the piece you are working on, DO NOT backstitch, pick up your presser foot and make sure your needle is up, then continue on to your next piece.  I know the thread is a little hard to see in the picture above, but you end up having all of your pieces connected when you are done.

I still have to turn these pieces right side out and topstitch.

As a side note, I learned that my sewing machine has a needle down feature!  I found it by mistake since I have been sewing these pieces up one after another.  I pressed my needle up/down button, and when I began sewing, it would go back to needle down position even when I removed my foot from the pedal.  How beautiful! 

Because I am sewing so many curves, I can adjust position without having to mess with my handwheel!  Though I must say, I usually try to manage with adjusting too much, but it is nice to find this out!

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Creative ability

I am sure that most of you are not surprised that I titled this blog post "Creative Ability."  In essence, that is what sewing is!  It is being able to look at something, see something else in your mind, and then create it! Voila! That's creative ability!  And the great thing is that no matter who you are, or where you come from, you possess a certain ability to be creative (some more than others).

This is another reason I  LOVE TO SEW!

Lately I have been challenging myself to do more with what I already have.  So I looked into my closet full of clothes, and asked myself "What can be re-used, re-purposed, or re-fashioned?"

Well, after having had two babies, I still have a section in my closet filled with maternity shirts.  Since we are not planning on having any more kids any time soon, I decided I could at least transform some of these shirts.  My inspiration came from Ashley at Make it and Love it, who has a whole section devoted to re-purposing clothing.

I ended up taking this lovely red cotton knit shirt:


And turning it into a shirt for my little princess:


For the most part, I followed the directions on Ashley's blog.  However, I had issues with using the original neckline from the shirt because my daughter is still a toddler, and the sizing is for girls'.  If I had been able to keep the original neckline intact, I think the end result would have been a little more pleasing.  

The neckline I created (and I do mean CREATED) used binding from the same polka dotted fabric I used for the slightly gathered ruffle on the bottom of the shirt.  I also shaped and attached the sleeves myself, and added the decorative trim in the top middle of the shirt.


Though it was some work for me, the whole time I worked on this shirt, I felt so free!  I think that freedom came from not following a pattern or instructions, but just following my instinct!  Granted, I still like to follow laid out instructions, but this change was refreshing for me.

Here are some more pics of my silly girl:

So, my hope is that you awaken your own creative ability, and do something you never thought you would do before!  And in return, I hope you love it just as much as I did!

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's a date!

Every once in a while the hubby and I get a chance to enjoy the company of one another without having the kids around.  We are trying to make this more of a habit, since we know that spending "alone" time together is so important to the quality of our marriage relationship.  So, yesterday, my MIL offered to watch the kids for us so we could have a date!

Now, when I say the word "date," I am sure most of you are thinking of something like dinner and a movie.  Or maybe even going to a park and having a picnic.  Either way, I wonder how many of you are thinking about this..

Yes!  This is our date.  If you guessed Barnes and Noble bookstore, you are right!  Now, don't think that I am being sarcastic in tone, because I am not.  As much as I enjoy being playful, I must say I truly enjoyed myself.  When the hubby and I first started dating, we used to go to Barnes and Noble to have coffee, hang out, talk, and browse books.  It is how we fell in love in the first place!  So, to stay in love, we went back to where we fell in love, and I must say that I LOVED it!

We had the best time together!  He had his stack of business books, and I had my stack of sewing books/magazines.  We browsed through the items we selected, and chatted along the way.  It was very refreshing.

The first sewing magazine I looked at was Vogue Patterns.  I had seen this magazine before, but never actually purchased one before.  It has some interesting articles in it, but the pictures were the most fun because they were from different (yep, you guessed it) Vogue patterns.  

Out of all the patterns, two of my favorites were:

 Vogue 8644.  This version pictured looks matronly, but the one in the magazine was done with piping at the seams on the front, in a neutral beige fabric with brown accents.  The jacket was gorgeous as well!

My second favorite was this:

This is Vogue 1183, a classic Kay Unger design that is marked "easy."  I love the silhouette of this style, and just how classically beautiful it is.  My lesson from this magazine is just how much fabric choice makes a difference in the final product of your garment!

The next magazine I looked at was one of my favorites.  It is called Stitch magazine, and it is fabulous!  Every time I have looked at this magazine it has not disappointed.  It has a hodge podge of sewing projects, and they are stuff I would actually sew!  

After reading magazines, I stumbled upon three sewing books, two of which I had never heard of before, and one that I had:

Since I know it is hard to read the titles of each of these, I will address them one by one.  The top book is Design Your Own Tees by Jennifer Cooke.  This book is a how-to design your own T-shirts using stitches, silk screening, embroidery, and other techniques.  There were some really cool designs in here, and you could really get creative with dressing up your T-shirt.

The book to the left lower hand side is called Absolutely A-line by Wendi Gratz.  This book uses one pattern  to create 26 dresses for little girls!  What!  Amazing!  When I first read that on the cover I thought "I'm sure a lot of those dresses are going to look the same." Wrong!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that each dress (and a couple of top/tunics) were different and unique.  My lesson here was that you can take one basic pattern and come up with limitless possibilities!  In fact, that may be a challenge for me down the road !

The last book on the lower right hand side is the one I had seen online, it is called Stitch by Stitch Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time by Deborah Moebes.  I cannot say enough good things about this book!  I was blown away by the great photo demonstrations of techniques used in the book.  I was definitely thinking this would be a great book for a beginner, or just to have to review things like sleeve insertion.  It also includes a bonus CD with extra patterns, etc.  I definitely love books that walk you step by step through a process!  Also, there were cute projects in here too!

Overall, we spent about two hours in Barnes and Nobles, just drinking in the atmosphere, and enjoying the peaceful sounds of quiet chatter around us.  I did not plan to buy any sewing materials, only browse.  In fact, we were getting ready to leave when I spotted this beauty in the bargin bin section:

It is Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullins.  I had borrowed it from the library before and was pleased with the information in it.  It is specifically for sewing knits, which I love to sew.  It has a plethora of patterns included with the book, and you can make different variations of the designs to your heart's content!  I held my breath as I looked at the price, and could not believe it was only $6.98!  I'm sure my hubby knew by the look on my face that I was not leaving the store without it!  He said he didn't mind investing in my dreams (which is sewing, I have no plans to be a fashion designer or anything).

So it was a wonderful day with my wonderful man!  

Stay sew-filled!