Friday, June 25, 2010

like it's supposed to be (butterick 4176)

When I made the Bubble Dress, I was completely in love. Turns out, however, that my husband doesn't really like the bubble hem. So, as a part of cleaning out my craft space, I found some fabric that I decided to make into something more his style (ie: straight hem.)

So, once again, I used Butterick 4176, except this time I added sleeves and did a straight hem line.

It's cute, but I still think I prefer the bubble hem on this particular style.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

men's shirt sleeve hem

My husband finds dress shirts that he likes all the time, but his biggest problem is that he hates long sleeves with a fiery passion!! So, I have spent a lot of time cutting off and hemming shirt-sleeves for him. Since this can be such a useful task in stretching a family's budget, I thought I would show you all how I do it.

First, find a shirt your husband already owns, which has a sleeve length that he likes. Lay it out flat (iron it if you must,) and measure the top and bottom of it:

You will need to add 1 and 1/4 inches to each measurement to allow for the hem.

Next, take your bottom measurement (+ 1-1/4") and measure out from the armpit on the sleeve you want to cut off:

Make a small cut:

Do the same for the top (except use the top measurement + 1-1/4".)

Insert your scissors in the hole and carefully cut only the top layer from one marking to the other. (I just eyeball this, but you could take a ruler and some fabric chalk to mark it before cutting, if you want.)

Turn the sleeve over and cut the other side from one mark to the other. Keep your scissors lifted slightly so you don't cut the bottom side.

After finishing both sleeves, if you have a surger, surge around the bottom edge of your sleeve. (If you don't have a surger it's not a problem.)

Next, fold the edge of the sleeve down 1/4 inch (or the width of your surge,)

then fold it down one inch and pin:

Measure and pin all the way around each sleeve (I use roughly 6 pins on each:)
Sew where you have pinned, stretching between pins slightly so that everything lays flat.

When you are finished sewing both sleeves, lay it flat on the ironing board and give it a good press:

You have now converted a long-sleeved shirt into a nice, comfy, short-sleeved one. Ta-da!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

dana's shirt dress

My sister, Vivian showed me the adorable tutorial on MADE for a little girls' summer shirt dress. Two days later, my brother-in-law brought over a whole pile of his old dress shirts to see if my husband wanted them before he donated them to the DI.

So, I snagged one of them from my husband and turned it into a shirt dress for Rora.

The most difficult part of the whole project was making my pattern. Rora is the same size as Dana's daughter, but I had the hardest time figuring out how to make the top curve of the sleeve 10", with the bottom curve measuring 14". I never did figure it out - I just ended up making the top curve of mine 7" and the bottom curve 14". (If someone can show me, I would love it!!)

Either way, I was really happy with how the dress turned out:

Rora loves it so much, I couldn't get her to hold still long enough for me to get a good picture of her in it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

long lost baby pea coat (butterick 4009)

The inspiration for this project sort of came from two places. Originally, I wanted a beautiful coat to go with my daughter's blessing dress.

More recently, I was reading this post on Made by Heidi, in which she talks about living on a student budget and doing all her crafting out of her current supplies in her craft closet. I started to think about the dark corner of the house in which I keep all of my crafting supplies (which is, in all fairness, just the floor space underneath the shelves in my linen closet.) I realized that it was starting to get a wee bit crowded in there and could use a cleaning.

I began pulling out bag after bag after bag of yarn, hair clip supplies, leftover scraps, thread, etc, etc, etc. The floor space in the linen closet started to seem more like Mary Poppins' bottomless carpet bag than ever before. While I'm not crazy enough to try to last a full year using nothing but the supplies in my closet, I also didn't want things to get so out of hand that my children will eventually have to dig my crazy self out of my crafting world to put me in a home for the mentally unstable . . .

One of the things I found at the bottom of the mess were the supplies for this baby pea coat. I had planned on making this coat for my daughter when she was about two months old--she is now 2-1/2 years old (oops.) This pattern is so old that it is out of print. Now seemed like as good a time as any to make it.

It is a beautiful, fully-lined coat. It required a lot of hand stitching (slip stitching,) but when I finished it, I was glad that I decided to sew it even though my daughter is way too big for it now.

Turns out there might be a reason the pattern is out of print. I cut out a size small, which should be roughly a 3-6 month size coat. I followed the directions and seam allowances exactly, yet it is actually the same size as a 12 month coat.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

rag tag baby blanket

When my daughter was born, a very sweet woman at my husband's work made us a blanket that I love. I decided to copy it when a friend of mine had twins. It was a learning experience, and I will be giving you directions the way I would have changed things.

To make this blanket, you will need 1 1/2 yards of each fabric (I only used 1 yard of each, and the blankets I made were a touch too small):

cute cotton fabric for the top,
thin flannel fabric for the middle layer, and
sturdy flannel fabric for the backing

After washing, cut fabric into 8" x 10" rectangles. You will need 24 rectangles of each.

Layer fabrics with one of each panel, and sew and "X" through all three layers.

When all your layers are tacked together, begin sewing the rectangles into rows, with the seams toward the top layer. Sew six rectangles together along the long side with a 5/8" seam--you will end up with four rows.

Attach the four rows to one another, making sure to line up the seams. (Once again, make sure the seams are toward the top of the blanket.)

After sewing everything together, you are about half done. The rest of the process is long and tedious, but a good project to do while watching a chick flick.

Carefully cut the seams for fraying. Be careful not to cut through your stitching, or you'll have to repair it when you're done.

Besides the blankets needing to be 4 rectangles x 6 rectangles, I also learned that the fun fabric should be the one on the top, with plain fabrics in the middle and on the back. No matter how cute the back of the girly blanket was, overall is wasn't as cute because you can't see the back that well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

a labor of love

This quilt really was a labor of love. It has been about a year since I finished it, but it is still one of the projects of which I am most proud.

It all started when my mom retired from teaching sewing, and upon going through all her old stuff, we found this little gem: The Best of Miniature Quilts Volume 2. Inside it were 18 patterns, with directions, for some of the most beautiful, incredibly detailed quilts I had ever seen. They were all miniature quilts meant to be hung on the wall, but I had other plans. I asked to "borrow" the book, and have never returned it--sorry, Mom!!

The pattern I fell in love with was called Don't Tread on My Heart, and I wanted it for my little girl's twin bed when she moved out of the crib. With finished dimensions of 20 1/2" x 29 1/2", it obviously needed some adjusting for a twin-sized quilt.

I enlarged the pieces to twice the size in the book, and then cut out enough fabric for twice as many hearts as it originally asked for. The original quilt pattern was for only the area inside the red box in this picture:
As you can see, I added quite a bit. The whole quilt ended up being over 740 pieces!

I also created my own design element that got a lot of funny looks. I can't even count the number of times I heard, "Why are the corners cut out?"

Although it might look ridiculous laying out flat, the corners being cut out made it so that the quilt could be laid on a day bed, or a bunk bed without bunching on the frame, like so:

For the first time in my life, I hand quilted a quilt, and even though it took several months with my young children laying under the quilting frames, I think it was well worth it. Someday, I hope to be able to provide each of my children with at least one hand quilted piece quilt.