Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween ...  prepare to have your brains eaten by the queen of the zombie apocalypse ...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

kcw wrap-up and what's next

For the first time ever I managed to complete a project Every. Single. Day. of Kids Clothes Week.  I generally don't have that kind of discipline so it was a pleasant surprise even for me!  I made 3 tops, 2 dresses, one vest and one skirt ... and yes, I did stop and check my math real quick to make sure that added up to seven :)  There was even a free pattern and a tutorial thrown in the mix, so I'm calling the week a success.  Of course I still feel like a slug compared to Rachel from Imagine Gnats who made 32 (!!!!) articles of clothing, but we can't all be that productive :)

You might have noticed there are only six pictures.  Even I have a tough time getting excited about a basic black skirt so I didn't think anyone would mind if I left out the picture.  If you really feel the need to see it, click here :)

Now that Kids Clothes Week is done, I need to determine what comes next.  When I first started blogging, all I wanted to do was keep a record of my sewing projects and share them with anyone who might be interested.  Along the way, I realized that I love drafting patterns, perhaps even more than sewing ... GASP!  So now I have some questions to ask myself and some decisions to make.  But in the mean time I will keep sewing, sewing, sewing ... kind of like Dory in Finding Nemo :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

kcw day 7 - izzy dress

I did manage to squeeze one more project into Kids Clothes Week on day 7.  I had posted a picture of some lovely Alexander Henry fabric back in this post, but I wasn't really sure what I wanted to use it for.  At first I was going to make another Sally Dress, but then I ended up writing this tutorial instead, and I wasn't in the mood to make a third Sally Dress.  It's actually unusual for me to make two of any dress pattern in such a short amount of time, but three is unheard of :)

So instead, I used my own Izzy Top pattern (get the free pattern here) and turned it into a dress!  This really is a great pattern for highlighting a bold print because the pattern itself is quite simple.

To make the Izzy Top into a dress, all you need to do is add 6" to the length of both the front and back skirt pieces.  If you prefer a tunic length, then add 3" instead.

Today's photo sessions is brought to you by Skittles :)  Mae was not about to sit still without some kind of bribe, so I raided the Halloween candy stash!  And when I didn't dole out the Skittles fast enough, I was the recipient of Mae's fierce look ... which I of course took a picture of :)

Hands down, my favorite closures on a dress are buttons, but sometimes snaps are simply more practical on little kid clothes.  Especially when Daddy is the one getting the little kid dressed :)  Button or snap ... the Izzy Top looks cute with either one!

This print is absolutely beautiful.  The rich combination of colors is rather unusual but stunning in person, which is what drew me to it in the first place.  I rarely use statement prints like this, but every once in a while I fall in love with one, especially when it has a cute little cat that looks just like Mae's Buppy :)  Luckily, this dress didn't use very much fabric, so I still have enough for another project!

Mae's happy with the dress too, but I think this particular look has a lot more to do with the Skittle in her mouth than any piece of clothing she is wearing :)

Bodice - Legacy Studio Teal Textured Dot from Joann's
Skirt - Alexander Henry "aoi has 2 sisters" in Turquoise/Red
Lining/Snap tab - Robert Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Berry
Snap - Kamsnaps
Tights - MiniBoden
Shirt - H&M
Boots - H&M

Saturday, October 26, 2013

another tumble tee ... with actual tumbling ... kinda :)

This pattern was so quick and easy, yet so cute, that I figured why not make another one :)  You can see the first version here and get your own Tumble Tee pattern here.

For this version I combined the sleeve and shirt pieces into one and ended up with only two pattern pieces, one for the front and one for the back, which which means there are only two seams - the shoulders (which extend all the way down the arms) and the sides.  Then I added a giant heart applique which is available for free in this post.  And I completed the shirt by adding cuffs to all the unfinished edges in my attempt to avoid having to hem a single thing  :)  Aside from the applique, the entire shirt was made with my serger.

I have absolutely no idea why, but I decided to add the word love to the applique.  Normally this is not at all my style, but I do love how it turned out.  And it suits Mae really well ... she is quite the cuddler :)

And apparently quite the dancer too!  She couldn't resist a few booty shakes while posing for pictures today :)

And then there's whatever this move is.  I'm not really sure what to call it, but it seems to come right after the booty shakes and before the giant HOORAY :)

Dark grey knit - lightweight rayon/lycra blend jersey
Red knit - lightweight organic cotton jersey
Light grey knit - cotton interlock

Friday, October 25, 2013

pattern review friday - imagine gnats tumble tee

I can't believe I almost didn't buy the SewFab bundle!  I have a feeling I'm going to work my way through the patterns one at a time until I have tried every single one :)  I already made the Bimaa Sweater here and the Sally Dress here, and today I am on to the Tumble Tee by Imagine Gnats.

But first, a little back story.  Mae has a little kitty named Buppy.  It originally belonged to one of the other kids, but she has claimed it as her own, and there is no reclaiming when it comes to two year olds, so I believe Buppy officially belongs to Mae now :)  She loves her kitty so much that she sleeps with it, carries it around for most of the day, and would gladly take it everywhere we go if I let her ... pretty much like any other two year old and his or her lovey.  At least I assume this is normal since not one of my other kids really had a lovey.  I amazed that after six kids I can still encounter something totally new to me!  Anyway, I would like to introduce you to Buppy now since I believe he will be featured in many upcoming posts!

I have had this kitty print for a few years, but never really had a project for it ... until now!  A Tumble Tee full of kitties is perfect for my Buppy-loving Mae :)

Overall, I really like the fit of this pattern.  It's a bit loose, but fits like most 2T shirts, and I'm confident it will fit perfectly once Mae grows a little.  And, if I hadn't chosen to make the changes I did, it would have been a really quick sew too.  But as usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I did modify a couple of things :)  I made the neckline a little wider, although it ended up just a bit wider than I intended.  I think next time I will widen the sides but not lower the front a back at all making it more of a boatneck.  I also extended the sleeves on the pattern to make a faux cuff and then added the free long sleeve pattern from Imagine Gnats found here to create a layered look.  The final change was to add binding to the bottom and neckline mainly because I don't like hemming knits :)

I'm always amazed at the personality that emerges around the age of two ... you would think by the sixth kid I would be used to it, but I'm not :)  Mae has turned into quite the ham lately.  The other day, my mom taught her how to wiggle her butt to the song "Shake your Booty" by KC and the Sunshine Band.  So today, after I finished putting her hair in a pony, she stood on the bathroom counter and shook her little booty for a solid ten minutes.  And the whole time, she pointed at the mirror and yelled baby while watching her hair flip back and forth.  It was one of those moments where you wish you had a video camera, but unfortunately I don't keep one in my bathroom for those impromptu booty shaking sessions :)  I did manage to capture a bit of the action while taking pictures later, but it's just not quite the same.

This was the last picture of the day for obvious reasons.  I asked her if she would stand on the stool, and got this look in response.  And I gotta tell you, it was accompanied by a really loud and long (and quite obnoxious!) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Shirt - Cotton interlock from Joann's
Sleeves - Upcycled from Old Navy tee
Pants - Previously featured in this post

Thursday, October 24, 2013

back to basics - kcw day 4

Sometimes I get so busy sewing a bunch of elaborate projects or trying out new patterns that I forget to focus on the basics.  I'm sure most people are guilty of that considering so many KCW blog posts start out with "what she really needs is some leggings/basic shirts/pajamas..."  So today/s project is very basic but serves a purpose i.e. boring to use the technical term :)

That's right, I made a drop waist solid black corduroy skirt to go with Mae's Dora the Explorer Halloween shirt.  It doesn't get much more basic than that.  And you don't even get cute pictures of Mae to go with it, although I promise I'll be back with a few of those tomorrow :)

This skirt took about 30 minutes, so I didn't even get my hour of sewing today.  Maybe I'll try to squeeze a little more in tonight after the kids go to bed, or maybe I'll just be lazy :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

izzy top - free pattern and tutorial

It seems that for me Kids Clothes Week = free pattern. In April, I drew up the Lola Dress which led to the first free pattern on this blog.  And then in July I offered 2 patterns, the Butterfly Jumper and the Basic Knit Shorts.  Logically this KCW should result in 3 patterns if the trend held true, but it turns out I have the time, energy and brain power for only one pattern this time ... and to be honest, I think I may have borrowed some brain power from my kids just to finish this one :)  Regardless, I did finish it, and here is the free size 2 (and now 18 mos -  - 12!) pattern.

The following links to the pattern contain affiliate links. Although I do not make any money directly from the Izzy Top pattern, I do appreciate people signing up for Craftsy through this link since I get a small commission for each new Caftsy account.  Affiliate programs like this allow me to keep these patterns free for everyone.  Thank you!

The Izzy Top is a sweet, feminine curved yoke top pattern that closes with a button (or snap) tab in the back.  It is a very simple pattern to make and only requires basic sewing skills.  The link above is the pattern pieces only.  All cutting and sewing directions are included in this post.

*** After you click on the link for the Izzy Top pattern, make sure to open it with Acrobat Reader before printing.  For some reason the pattern does not print correctly directly from Dropbox in certain browsers ***

The pattern includes two options for finishing the bottom - a basic hem as shown above or the elastic casing shown below which creates a cute bubble effect.  The elastic option is super cute on kiddos with a bit of a toddler belly :)

Preparing the pattern:

Sizing - The only measurement necessary to determine size is chest circumference.  The pattern is designed to fit true to ready to wear sizes.  For example, even though my daughter Mae has a 19" chest, she wears a 2T in ready to wear clothing and she wears a 2T in this pattern as well. The measurements below are intended as a guide and indicate the largest chest circumference that each size can accommodate.  If your child is taller or shorter than normal, length can be added or removed from the bottom of the skirt.

18 mos - 19.5
2 - 20"
3 - 21"
4 - 22"
5 - 23"
6 - 24"
7 - 25.5"
8 - 27"
10 - 28.5"
12 - 30"

1. Click on the link above to get your free Izzy Top pattern pieces.

2. Print the pattern pieces being sure to select no scaling or the print actual size option.  You can print just the first page to start and measure the 1" test box if you are unsure whether the pattern is going to print the correct size.

3. There are five pattern pieces: the front bodice, the back bodice, the button tab and the front and back "skirt" portion.  The front and back skirts are nested on the same pages, so you may want to print pages 1, 2, 4 & 5 twice.

4. The skirt pieces need to be assembled by matching the stars.  You will need to trim one of the pages to overlap the other.  For reference, the skirt on the size 2 should measure 9.5" along the right side of the pattern piece if it is printed and assembled correctly.

Cutting your fabric:

Suggested Fabrics: Most light to medium weight wovens such as corduroy, 100% cotton or cotton blends, linen, or rayon challis.  The elastic bottom version is better suited to lightweight fabrics.

This pattern uses approximately 1/2 yd of the main print and about 1/4 yd for the lining for the size 18 months and size 2.  Sizes 3 - 8 should use less than 1 yard and sizes 10 & 12 use approximately 1 1/4 yards for the main fabric and all sizes use less than 1/3 yard for the lining.  The button tab can be made from a scrap of coordinating fabric if desired.  You will also need one button or snap and a piece of 1/2" elastic (optional).  If you are making a buttonhole to close the back of the top, you will also need a small piece of fusible interfacing.

5. You need to cut the front bodice on the fold.  You should have one cut from your main fabric and one from the fabric you will use to line the top.

6. Cut 2 of the back bodice from your main fabric.  One should be a mirror image of the other i.e. flip your pattern over when you cut the second piece.  Repeat for the back bodice lining pieces.

7. Cut 2 button tabs

8. Cut the front skirt piece on the fold.  Repeat for the back skirt piece.

9. If you are doing an elastic bottom, cut one piece of 1/2" elastic to the following measurement:
  • 18 months - 23"
  • 2 - 24"
  • 3 - 25"
  • 4 - 26"
  • 5 - 27" 
  • 6 - 28"
  • 7 - 29.5"
  • 8 - 31"
  • 10 - 33"
  • 12 -  35"
Here's what all your pattern pieces should look like once they are cut:

Sewing the Izzy Top:

All seam allowances are 3/8"
Clip all curves before turning right side out
Iron frequently - this isn't my favorite step, but it really does make a difference :)

9. Place bodice front and bodice backs right sides together and sew shoulder seams.  Press seams flat.  Repeat for lining.

10. If you plan to close the top with a button, you should add a piece of fusible interfacing to the back of one of the button tabs.  Place the button plackets right sides together.  Sew along the two longer edges and the curved side.  Trim close to the stitching line.  Turn right side out and press well.

11. Place button tab along the back right bodice 5/8" from the top with the raw edges lined up.  Sew a line of basting stitches 1/4" from the edge.

12.  Place bodice and lining right sides together and pin along the back openings, neckline and armscyes.  Sew along pinned edges.

13.  Clip curved edges and corners and turn right side out.  Press well.

14. Lay the bodice flat with the lining sides together.  Along one side seam, lift the main fabric from the front and the main fabric from the back and pin the entire seam right sides together, main fabric to fabric and lining to lining.  Sew seam.

15. Repeat on the other side seam.  The bodice is now complete :)

16. Place the front and back skirt pieces right sides together and pin the side seams.

17. Sew and serge/finish the seam.  Fold under 1/4" and then 3/4" along the bottom of the skirt.  This will form either the hem or the elastic casing.

18. Sew close the the edge of the hem.  If you are not using elastic, skip to step 19. If you adding elastic to the hem, leave a 1-2" opening.  Then thread the elastic through the opening, overlap the ends 1" and sew together using a zigzag stitch.  Then sew the hem opening closed.

19. Mark the center of the front bodice and the center of the front and back skirt pieces.  Gather the top of the skirt (using the gathering method of your choice) to approximately the same size as the bodice.  This makes it easier to pin in the next step.  If you are not familiar with gathering, here is an excellent YouTube video that uses the same gathering technique that I use.

20. Pin the bodice to the skirt right sides together matching side seams and center marks and evenly distribute the gathers.  Make sure to keep the back bodice pieces flush to each other so there is no gap when the top is finished.  It may be helpful to baste the backs together before pinning, but it is not necessary. 

21. Sew and serge/finish the seam.  Be sure to remove any visible gathering threads if necessary.

22. Turn top right side out, press the seam up (I usually just finger press on this step) and topstitch the bodice about 1/8" away from the edge

23. Add your button hole/stud half of the snap to the back tab and the button/socket half of the snap to the other side.

That's it!  Easy as pie, but unfortunately not as tasty ... although the cuteness might make up for it :) As always, please email me or leave a comment if you need clarification on anything found in this tutorial.  Or if I made any errors, which is not only possible, but likely!  Or just email me or comment for the fun of it.  I like that too :)


Blue Shirt
   Main fabric - Joann's
   Lining - that info is lost in the remnants of time :)
   Tab - Cloud 9 Fabrics from Joann's

Floral Top
   Main fabric - Birch Blossom by Alexander Henry
   Lining & button tab - Red micro dot from Joann's

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

a giraffe vest - just because

I was at Joann's last week buying the stuff I needed to finish this project, and I was lucky enough to have Mary cutting my fabric.  Mary is probably my favorite person at the store.  She's chatty, always friendly, and avid quilter, and she even teaches classes.  So, as usual, I was talking to her while she cut my fabric and she asked me what I was planning on making.  I swear, every Joann's employee does this when cutting, and one of these times I'm going to tell them the truth ... no plans, just a fabric hoarder :)  Anyway, our conversation went something like this:

Mary: What are you planning to make?  Let me guess, a Halloween costume.

Me:  No.  I'm making a vest for my daughter.

Mary:  Oh, into the animal prints is she?

Me:  Well no, she's only two.

Mary:  Oh, so you just like them?

Me:  Um ... not really.

At this point I'm sure Mary is trying to figure out why I'm buying a fabric that neither Mae nor I actually like.  Honestly, now I'm starting to question it myself.  There was definitely a long pause at this point while I tried to figure out what to say :)

Me:  It just sounded like fun, and her grandma loves giraffes. (While this is technically true, I know for a fact that she loves giraffe print on giraffes, not anywhere else!)

Mary:  Well, she's only two.  I guess you can dress them however you want at that age.

I would like to thank Mary for her ever cheerful (and tactful!) way of saying that I'm nuts, but since my daughter is young, hopefully my awful fashion sense shouldn't mess her up too badly :)

It turns out, Mae likes faux giraffe fur vests just fine, although she likes cheese a lot more :)  I have the weirdest kids ... I could not get Mae to sit still for a picture until I gave her a piece of cheese, and not just any cheese, but the good stuff ... Aged Vermont Cheddar.  Faux fur and fancy cheese ... what can I say, the girl knows what she likes!

The inspiration for this vest came from this pin of a Zara fur vest.  Originally I was going to use the pink fur I posted last week, but I couldn't find coordinating fabrics or the zipper I wanted in pink, so I scrapped the pink and started from scratch while in Joann's, which led to my lovely conversation with Mary :)

I also planned on writing a tutorial for the vest, but as I was sitting there drafting a pattern, I realized I had no idea how I was going to put it together or even if the design idea would work, so I nixed the tutorial idea and just concentrating a trying to get the vest together correctly.  To say it was not easy would be a gigantic, humongous understatement.  I don't think I've ripped that many seams or redone so much on a single piece of clothing ever in my life.  Also, it been so long since I put in a zipper that I couldn't even remember if I owned a zipper foot!  But it was worth it ... I think ... ask me next week once I've put some distance between me and the vest :)

Mae also likes loves practically lives for chocolate, specifically the Hershey's kiss I bribed her with :)

Faux fur - Joann's
Lining - Joann's nursery print
Leather trim - Distressed Faux Leather from Joann's
Zipper - Joann's
Pants & Shirt - H&M

Monday, October 21, 2013

tutorial - adding a front opening to the sally dress - part 2

I decided I couldn't leave you hanging (and your dress unfinished!) ... so here's part 2 of the tutorial :)  If you missed it yesterday, here's part 1 and here is the original dress I made with the modifications.  And if you haven't already purchased a copy of the Sally Dress pattern, you had better run (don't walk!) right here to get one of your own!

Attaching the skirt to the bodice

1. Lay the bodice flat.  Match the side seams right sides together, main fabric to main fabric and lining to lining as shown in the following picture.  Repeat on the other side.

2. Press the armscye seams well.  Your bodice is now ready to be attached to the skirt.

3. Construct the skirt as directed in the pattern.  I chose to hem my skirt at this point since I find it easier to do this before it is attached to the bodice.

4. Run gathering threads along the top of the skirt.  I personally find it easier to gather the back and front separately, but it's not necessary.

5. Gather skirt to approximately the size of the bodice.  I like to do this first because I think it's easier to gather before pinning.

6. Place skirt inside bodice with the right sides together and the top edges lined up.  Adjust the gathers to fit the bodice and pin generously.

7. Sew/serge seams.

8.  Turn right side out. Topstitch bodice 1/8" from the edge if desired.  I did choose to topstitch the dress shown in the pictures.

Main fabric - Olive Green 21 Wale corduroy from Joann's
Lining/Pockets - Colorbok from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps as always