Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pattern Review/Baby TOM's

It's time for my Wednesday review. I don't know if you have ever tried a PDF pattern from an online seller and it is completely funky but I sure have. So I decided I will write up a review on the PDF patterns I try so I can shell out some advice on which ones I think did well (or, unfortunately, not so well). This week I made some baby TOM's for my hairdresser. They turned out soooooooooooo cute!

I made some edits to the pattern so they would be more functional, in my opinion at least. First off I didn't use a canvas material. To find a cute canvas fabric with a small print your options become VERY limited. So I opted to use a cotton material and used a medium weight interfacing to give it the same stiffness and non-stretch as canvas. I also lined the ENTIRE shoe for a soft no show seam shoe (talk about turning an entire baby shoe right side out through an itty bitty hole). Last but not least I added elastic in the sides to help keep it snug on baby's foot.

The pattern came from this etsy shop. It was a great pattern with various sizes. The instructions had full color pictures and great step-by-step instructions. The only thing that I do have say is I found the sizing ran a little small. I thought maybe it was due to me lining the shoe so I tried again without lining or elastic. Nope, still felt the sizing was off. So if you purchase this pattern go a size up. But overall really easy to follow!

My Sorry forgotten life err bedroom...

Ok, not really my life. But my bedroom. I have neglected it entirely. In my house I have hung curtains, put pictures, and made my best effort at decorating. EXCEPT my bedroom. It is my sorry forgotten space. Beware of horrifying pictures.
When I was pregnant I put an ugly green tablecloth over my window to hide my neighbors glaring light that bothered me all night. Loved the darkening so much, I left it there.
Now post pregnancy we have been sleeping on the couches near the ultra heavy-pain in the butt to move-only thing that keeps baby sleeping swing. So now my bedroom is basically an oversized storage closet. And my bed frame broke. Seriously cheap wood or something, so me thinking I am going to be so handy lifted off the mattress and box spring (ooeed and aahhed at the junk hiding underneath) to set to work to fix my bed frame..........
flash forward one week later=mattress and box spring are still leaning against the closet (who needs clothes anyways?).
 So once again this is my sorry forgotten life. And here I am blogging (and showing pictures of this awfulness) to my followers in hopes of winning a makeover from this talented lady. As my toes curdle from the shame of the tablecloth over the window, the stuff hiding under my bed, and the mattress against the closet, please wish me luck!

****UPDATE: I didn't win, sad smiley face. But in happy news we did fix our bed and the baby is not sleeping in the bulky swing in the living room anymore. Hooray for a useable bedroom. Plus I found some cute fabric I am going to use to turn my room into some oober cutenes... It may take a million years since I have to do it myself.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Family Pictures

Remember the dresses I made for family pictures? Well here is a sneak peek of how they went.

That's my gorgeous girl Amelia in her Emmaline dress. Aren't her gray eyes just absolutely lovely? My photographer was amazing. Can't wait to see the rest!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Message of Hope.

Today I have another pillow tutorial. I LOVE making pillows. They are fast and fun and can generally be made with stuff I already have on hand. This particular pillow was made for my dear sister-in-law who recently found out she had cancer. I wanted to make something for her to let her know I was thinking of her and this battle she has to face. So I stalked her facebook for inspiration and saw that she had posted this photo.

She wrote that she would change the word to 'strong' instead. Wahla! My inspiration. Throw some bold, bright, and fun fabrics together and this is what I came up with.

This is something I hope will be able to constantly remind her of how strong and special she is and that she can beat the crap out of this!

So here is how I made this lil' bit of a pillow. Supplies needed: Printer, Scissors, Fabric Pen, Fabric, Thread, Sewing Machine, Heat n' Bond, Sewing Needle, Button, Poly-fiber fill.
  • First of all, determine the size you want it to be. I wanted a pillow small enough it could go on a sidetable as well as a bed or couch. My dimensions were 12"x17" and I used 1/2" seam allowances. Cut 2 of whatever size you decided to go with.

  • Because this has applique on top we need to do that first before sewing the front and back of our pillow together. To get your lettering you have a couple options, I free handed the "i am" portion of my phrase and found a similar font on my computer, to the one shown in the first picture, for the word "strong". Print your words and cut them out. Lay them on top of one of your pillow pieces. This will help you determine if you have printed them the right size for your project. If you are satisfied with your lettering trace it to the right side of your contrasting fabric using a washable fabric pen. 

  • Next iron your heat n' bond to the wrong side of your contrasting fabric. You want to do this BEFORE you cut out your lettering. To conserve fabric you can cut widely around your lettering and repeat on the heat n' bond.
  • Make sure your fabric and heat n' bond are ironed very well before removing the backing. Remove the backing and you can now cut out your lettering. 

  • Place your lettering on the pillow front. When the pillow is stuffed you will have about 2 inches that will pull towards the back so place your lettering about 2 1/2 inches from the edges of the pillow front.   (the 1/2" is for the seam allowance). I had to learn this from experience, note the "i" was dotted in my first pictures but after realizing how much the pillow pulled back when stuffed I took it off!
  • Iron your lettering in the desired place.
  • Now we can applique using a very tight zig-zag stitch. Centering your needle at the very edge of the first letter, stitch around the letter. Be sure to keep the edge of the letter centered in between your zig-zag stitch so it catches all the raw edges. Stitch completely around the letter. Clip threads and repeat for the next letter.
    • If you used a loopy/cursive font you will not need to lift your needle until you have stitched completely around the whole word. Don't stitch the letters individually.
    • For O's or other round letters turn your fabric slowly, leaving the needle in the down position lift your sewing foot up and make small pivots with the fabric as needed.
    • For points on M's, or other similar letters, leave the needle down lift your sewing foot up and turn your fabric at a 90 degree angle and continue stitching.
    • Complete the inner parts of your letters last. (B's, P's, D's, etc...)
    • And most importantly GO SLOW. I promise the temptation of putting the pedal to the metal is not worth it and will leave you frustrated and unsatisfied with your work. Going slower will help you get a tighter, straighter stitch.
    • If this all just seems too daunting, a top stitch an 1/8" in from your letters edge will suffice as well.

  • My #1 goal lately is to have my insides looking as good as my outsides, do you think I passed on this test? (if you have knots showing or coming through check your tensions and completely re-thread your machine)
  • For the flower cut 1 long strip of your contrasting fabric. My dimensions were 3.5"x44". Fold in half lengthwise, with right sides together, and stitch across one of the short ends. Turn right sides out and press.
  • Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew a gathering stitch along the long side of the flower. Gather pulling the bottom (or bobbin thread) until your strip is a little more than half the starting length.
  • To pin your flower to the pillow start by taking the short edge that has been sewn together and pin where you would like it to end. Continue pinning the flower in a circle, getting smaller each time you go around making sure your inner circles cover the raw edge and gathering stitch of the circle beneath it. Once you reach the end of your flower strip you can check to see that you have made it the right size. If you need to loosen or gather the flower strip do so now. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the flower UN-pin (yes, un-pin) until you reach the outer circle of the fabric or only one layer is showing. 
    • I found that if you completely pin it in shape before sewing you can make sure it is the right length and don't have to unpick to loosen or tighten your gathers. I figured pin and un-pinning is better than seam ripping!! 
  • Now you can top stitch your outer circle right over your gathering stitch. I actually hand sewed mine after I stuffed the pillow but if I did it again I would use my machine and attach the flower before I put the pillow together, which is why this step is here.
  • Pin the next portion of the circle until you come back around to the un-sewn part. Top-stitch this section down, again right over the gathering stitch. Repeat this process until you have sewn down your entire flower.
  • Next attach your button in the center of your flower. Call me crazy but I LOVE sewing buttons. I love to make the stitching in the back look like 2 little dashes and my X across the top nice and full. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment when my buttons look good. (Now button holes...... that is another story.)
  • Now you can stitch your pillow pieces together. Place the two pieces right sides together, make sure you aren't getting any of your flower edges in the seam. Pin the sides and stitch together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave an opening on the bottom edge wide enough for you to put your hand and stuffing in. Use an over-locking stitch  on your seams.

  • Trim off 1/2 of your seam allowance except at your opening. Turn right sides out and press, be sure to press the openings under as well.
  • I top-stitched a narrow stitch around all my edges to give it a more finished look. Feel free to do this or skip it.
  • Stuff your pillow, the fuller the better.
  • If you top-stitched your edges you can simply handstitch across your opening. If you did not top-stitch use a ladder-stitch to close your opening.
  • Voila, badda-bing, or whatever you want to say you got yourself a custom saying pillow!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blessing/Christening Dress

For starters let me say I did not make this dress or the accessories. I owe that all up to a very loving mom and a great friend. It is just too beautiful not to share with the blogging world. The dress was made with a white satin bodice and the skirt is made with ivory satin ruffles with a white organdy overlay. I can feel the lusciousness of the dress in just saying the fabrics! The sash piece and coordinating headband were made by my friend, Jeni, who owns and runs Fancy Schmancy. The flower is called enchanted and you can get that tutorial here.

I can, however, take full credit (well half when you count my husband) for the gorgeous baby girl in her blessing/christening gown.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Baby Sundress

About 2 months ago I won a pattern pack from Violette Field Threads, one of the cutest pattern companies out there. I was dying to get my hands on this particular pattern, Emmaline. They used a pink Riley Blake chevron print and I wanted that same look so I used a red one.

Here is my cutie Amelia doing her best at being a model in her maxi dress, she was sooooooooo ready for bed at this point (I think I was ready for her to be in bed too!). There was not one thing I would change about this pattern, I loved it, so much in fact we are having family pictures done with her in this outfit. You have to excuse my rudimentary photo skills.... I am just not gifted with a camera!

My next pattern from my prize pack that I wanted to delve into was the Vivienne skirt, I wanted to make it into a sundress for family pictures so here is a little how-to on added a bib style front to your favorite FLAT FRONT skirt pattern. (I also shrunk the pattern to fit a 0-3 month size but that is a tutorial for another day)

Because it isn't completely my design I won't give you a full tutorial on the dress, just a little how-to on making any flat-front skirt into a simple sundress. The most important thing when making a pattern is getting correct measurements from your baby. Once you have these you can begin your drafting. (Note: Try your pattern out on muslin or other cheap fabric before cutting into your quality fabric. This way you won't be wasting any of your good fabric... Like I did ;-p)

Supplies needed: Sewing Machine/Serger, Fabric per pattern suggestion + 1/2 yard, interfacing, thread, iron, scissors, measuring tape, ruler, and 2 sew on snaps. (lining and elastic may also be needed per pattern requirements). If you do not have a serger secure all seams with an overlocking stitch.

  • First, you will want to get your ruler, measuring tape, and some plain white paper. 
  • Start by getting some measurements from your baby.
    • Measurement #1: Measure your baby from armpit to armpit. This will tell you how wide across the top your bib should be. (Depending on your preference you can take this in a little bit, just to be sure to leave it wide enough to cover baby's nipple area).
    • Measurement #2: Measure on the chest where you want the bib to start down to the belly button. This is length of the bib.
    • Measurement #3: Measure from the side of the baby's body to the other side. This will be the bottom width of the bib.
  • Add 1 inch to each of your measurements to allow for 1/2" seam allowances.
  • Now take your ruler and white paper and draw a vertical line equal to the length of measurement #2. Draw another line equal to measurement #1 centered horizontally over your first line (makes a T shape), repeat the same process at the bottom of the first line with measurement #3.
  • You now have your top and bottom lines. You will now need to connect the top horizontal line to the bottom one. Make the connecting line slightly curved. (You only have to do this on one side because you will be cutting on the fold.)
  • Now you can cut your pattern out. Cut on the vertical line (i.e. measurement #2) and around the top and bottom and your curved connecting line. Mark your pattern as Bib front and mark alongside the vertical line as the fold cutting line. (I once again didn't have the camera out for the pattern tracing process but I recreated it digitally so you can get the idea of what your pattern piece should look like)

  • Now we need to make a pattern from that pattern for interfacing and lining. Take your cut pattern and trace along the top edge and the curved connecting line (or side line). Trace the pattern in about 2 inches on the bottom line and the vertical line. Remove the pattern and connect the two open points following the shape of the pattern at about a 2 inch distance. Cut the pattern out and mark pattern piece as lining bib front. Mark the vertical line as the fold cutting line.
  • Pin your patterns to your fabric. You will need 1 bib front of fabric, 1 bib lining of fabric, and 1 bib lining of interfacing.
  • Also cut 2-3.5x15 strips of fabric for the straps.
  • At this point you are going to iron your interfacing onto the wrong side of your bib front. (Follow guidelines given on the interfacing)
  • Take your 1 of your straps and fold in half lengthwise with right sides together using a 1/2" seam allowance stitch them together. Repeat for the other strap. Turn the strap right side out and press with seam centered in the back.
  • Next pin your straps each 1/2 inch in from each side to the top of the bib front with right sides together. Stay stitch in place. (Stay-stitching is a stitch that doesn't show but holds the piece in place until the permanent stitch is made.)
  • Next pin the bib lining and bib front to each other with right sides together. Using a 1/2" seam allowance stitch along your sides and the top of the bib. Turn right side out and press.
  • Now you will top stitch along the sides and top of the bib.
  • You will now need to make your skirt per the patterns instructions. Stop before attaching the lining and sandwich the bottom of your bib front in between the lining and skirt, with right side of bib touching right side of skirt front. If your skirt pattern does not call for a lining simply stitch the bottom of the bib front to the top of the skirt front right sides together and press seam down. (because every skirt pattern is different you will have to determine the best way for you to attach your skirt front)
  • At this point you will need to try your sundress on your baby. Criss-cross your straps in back (this is completely your preference where you want them to cross) mark with pin the crossing point. 
  • Also mark 1/2" down from the point on each strap where it meets the skirt (each strap should attach about 1/2" from the side seam). This is where you will attach the snaps.
  • Carefully remove your sundress from baby, take care not to get baby with the pins. OUCH!
  • Make a loop about 1/2" wide and the same length as the width of your strap. Attach it at an angle to one strap where you marked your crossing point. Attach it at the sides of the strap so the other strap can be pulled through it.
  • Trim the excess of the bottom of your straps press under about 1 inch beneath your pin mark, stitch over seam. Repeat the process for the other strap. 
  • Hand sew the male end of your snaps at the place you have marked on each strap. And finally hand sew the female ends of your snaps 1/2" in from each side seam, take care not to sew through the elastic.
  • Voila! A sundress using your favorite flat front skirt pattern!

I have to say I love this dress, and the Ella being her smiley self sure makes me fall in love with it a little more! She is so cute, but maybe I am biased ;-)

Once again keep tuned for the Grand Opening post of my girl's room. For just a little taste of it's cuteness here is a sneak peek............ 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kids Bean Bag cube

As my first post on my blog I am opting to share the easiest project you can do, really. My cutest little button of a niece Jaedyn just turned one. My lil' sissy just bought a new house and is started to get it all decorated. So what do you give a one year old who just got a new room? A posh bean bag cube, of course!
The things you need for this easy, fast, and fun project.
Cost break down: 1 yard clearance Moda fabric $6.00, 1 yard clearance Free Spirit fabric $6.00, 2 fat quarters 2.50 ea. Poly fiber fill reused from some old pillows I hated-Free! Total cost=$17.00 (your cost will obviously vary depending what you have on hand and how much your fabric costs ya)
  • 1 yard each of coordinating fabrics (or 2 yards total of one print)
  • Fat quarters of coordinating prints for handles and monogrammed letter. (this is optional, I just like the look of having multiple fabrics)
  • Rotary cutter or scissors.
  • Heat n' bond lite
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Serger or Sewing machine
  • Poly fiber fill or bean bag pellets. (the amount depends on how big your cube is)
My cube is 17" on all sides. Great thing about this is you can make it big, small, or even rectangle. First step is to cut your fabric. I will give you my dimensions and cuts for a 17" cube, it is quite large so you may want to scale it down a bit for your tot. Now these instructions may seem quite long but this pattern is very forgiving and you definitely have room for error. Don't let the length of the post trick you, this cube only took me about 2 hours to make (including cutting time!).
  • First cut 4- 17.5" x17.5" of your chosen side fabric. (I left my fabric folded in half from the bolt and folded it in half again so I only had to cut once with my rotary cutter.)
  • Next cut 2-17.5"x 17.5" of your chosen top fabric.
  • Next cut 4-6.5"x10.5" strips of your chosen handles fabric (this is completely optional, I added handles so my cute little munchkin of a niece could tote this all over the house on her own)
  • Next print a letter for your monogram and trace it on your fabric, be sure you trace it reversed on the back side. Repeat this same process with your letter on the heat n' bond.
Now your fabric is all cut, which is the most un-fun part of the process in my opinion. Now you get to sew this puppy up. If you are using a sewing machine be sure to use an overlocking stitch, you don't want this to rip open the first jump your wild munchkin throws at it lol!!
  • First we need to make the handles. Take 1 of your strips and fold in half long ways or hot dog style with right sides together. Sew a straight stitch with 1/4" seam allowance along the long side. Turn your fabric so the right side is showing. Press so the seam is in the center back of strip. Turn each short end under about 1/4" and press inside the casing (so no raw edges are showing.). Repeat with 2nd strip of fabric.
  • Now we need to attach the handles to the side pieces. Take 1 of your side pieces and fold in half, then fold in half again. Mark with a pin or fabric chalk/pen the point or center of cube. Measure, or in my case, eyeball about 4.5 inches from each side of the center and pin the short ends down. You want your handle to be loose so that a hand can fit under it to carry it. Repeat this simple process with your other side piece.
  • Now it is time to sew (yippee). We are going to create a square (ish) on either end of the handle. To do this we top stitch the short end of the handle down. Start at the top and go down to the bottom, with the needle still in the fabric turn it 90 degrees and stitch another 2 inches (ish). Once again leave the needle in the fabric and turn 90 degrees and sew back to the top of fabric, and finally turn the fabric again and stitch back to your starting point. Leave your needle in the fabric and turn it 45 degrees so that you can sew a diagonal across your barely sewn square. Sew the diagonal to the other point or corner, lift fabric off and repeat the diagonal on the other corners making an X in your square. Repeat this process for all ends of the handles.
  • Next take your side fabrics and put two (use one of the sides with a handle) with the right sides together and do a straight stitch down the side with a 1/4" seam allowance, you can use pins put at a horizontal to attach them together, if needed (I didn't, but you'll find I don't hardly ever). Repeat this with your next set of side pieces. Now you will sew your sets of 2 side pieces together putting right sides together, making sure your handle side pieces alternate with your blank side pieces (also be sure that your handles are both horizontal).
  • Now you should have a long strip of 4 side pieces all sewn together. You can now sew the 2 ends together by folding it and matching raw edges of right sides together. Leave an opening on this seam wide enough that you can fit your hand in to stuff it. Press all seams
Wow, that is sooo long but really now that you made it to this step it didn't take that long did it? Now we get to do the top and bottom, which may seem scary matching all those seams, but once again it is very forgiving and if you "drunk" sew or aka very tired mama sewing like I do it won't matter if your lines/seams aren't perfectly straight. 

  • First if you have chosen to monogram it you want to get your printed letter and trace it on reverse to your chosen fabric and the heat n' bond. Then cut each out and iron them together (follow directions on heat n' bond)
  • Next center your letter on one of your fabric pieces and iron it down. 
  • Now you can applique it on one of two ways, depending on how you feel your skill level is. I did a very, very tiny zig-zag stitch around the very edges of my letter to hide all the raw edges. Or you can simply do a top stitch fairly close to the edges of your letter to help secure it down. Completely up to you. (I suggest a good quality thread if you choose to zig-zag, I have found that Gutterman is great for this kind of applique).
  • Now you can attach your top and bottom. Start by pinning, and I really do recommend actually pinning on this step, one of your top/bottom side pieces to a side side piece right sides together.  Sew along over the pins with a 1/4" seam allowance. Once you have done the first side go on to the next side you may have extra fabric that doesn't align perfectly just pin it as best you can and match the start of this seam to the end of your previous seam. Repeat for the next two sides, clip corners if you used a sewing machine. Repeat for the other bottom/top side piece. Press seams.
  • Turn cube right side out and begin to fill with poly fiber fill. I filled mine fairly full but not so full it was busting at the seams. When it starts to look full and the fabric isn't sagging in any place you are probably good to go, based on your own preference. My cube was kind of lumpy at first (see my above picture) because I reused poly fiber fill from some pillows. It took a few days to get in a new shape.
  • LAST STEP (did you just do a little dance because you are loving your easy, super cute, project?) all you need to do now is close the opening by using a ladder stitch. Follow this perfect tutorial here. 

Now do you love it? I am thinking of making a few to toss around in my girls room or even something like it as an ottoman in my living room. Oh and don't forget my darling niece who loved her treasure.

Look forward to some of my next postings on a Toddler Girls fitted Peplum dress and my blog GRAND OPENING post of my girls room.