Thursday, March 23, 2017

Circuit Sheet Wallet and CNA Painting

  I decided to make birthday gifts for everyone again this year! I'm doing a mix of crafting and sewing this year, just for the sake of variety, and here are two of the gifts I crafted in January. 

 I came across this interesting wallet tutorial a while back, and decided to make one for my father-in-law's birthday- it suits his line of work. 

  I mostly followed the tutorial, but added a couple more pockets on the inside:

  I also added extra tape wherever I felt some reinforcement would be helpful.

  It was pretty fun, but my taping skills could use some work! I think I would leave a slightly wider gap on the exterior pieces than on the interior pieces when taping the middle 'hinge' next time, to allow for the thickness of the pieces when folding. 

  The wallet itself seemed like a pretty small gift, so I added in this card-sized multi-tool, bought from Pick Your Plum last year.

  My brother's fiance also had a birthday in January. I was originally planning to make her a skirt, but she never got back to me with her measurements. She became a CNA around the same time, so I ended up writing a quote in calligraphy with a bit of watercolor painting near the top. I'm not sure how readable this is.... it says, 'It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing'

  I added bits of gold watercolor to a bunch of the letters and the stamens of the flowers for an interesting sparkle effect.

  But, as usual, the sparkle didn't show up well in photos! I've really enjoyed learning a little bit of painting and calligraphy this past year... I think this is the first time it's showed up here, but I share a lot more of it on Instagram

  I've got at least 5 other gifts photographed and waiting to be posted here, so hopefully I'll be back soon!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, March 6, 2017

Another Batch of Raglans

  I've learned something. I should definitely not say that I'll be back with a specific post, because it might take me over a month to get photos of some of the items for that post. That's why you haven't heard from me since January!

  Anyway, back in... oh, September? I made some modifications to the Lane Raglan pattern and sewed one up. After changing the shape of the armscye and pinching out bits here and there to reduce the wrinkling, I added a bunch of width at the center front and gathered it to the neckband, with some elastic thread shirring a little below my waist.

  The result is kind of a different silhouette for me... more drapey and feminine, instead of the fitted styles I usually wear. I kind of like it though!

  I used a pretty, but poor quality, rayon blend jersey from Sincerely Rylee... which made it even more girly! All of my modifications gave me a slightly better fit around the armscye, but I totally forgot to take care of the fabric pooling at my lower back! (And forgot for subsequent versions too.)

  I really like this one belted.

  I made it with the straight hem, but I wish I'd stuck to the curved hem because it's a bit shorter in the center front and center back on me this way. I lettuce-edged all of the hems on this shirt.

  This one has been worn quite a bit!

  Then, in November, I made a hooded sweater using my modified pattern!

   I used the lower neckline so the hood would fit, and added the thumbhole cuffs because the construction looked interesting.

  The way they are put together is pretty clever... if you don't have the pattern Adrianna posted a tutorial of her method here. They are a tad uncomfortable though... I should have made the sleeves 1/2" longer for these.

  Also, I used a pretty French Terry for this shirt (Nala, from Sincerely Rylee) but forgot to size up to account for the lack of stretch! So it's too tight, particularly in the sleeves. As a result of that, this sweater has only been worn for photos, which is disappointing because I really like the fabric, and it was on the expensive side for me. I'm keeping it around in case I magically shrink or something. ;-)

  I dislike the hood that's included in the pattern. It isn't trued, and in spite of the huge amount of fabric the pattern piece takes up, it feels too small (although part of that might be the mass of hair on the back of my head...).

  In addition to which, there are no notches and no set amount to overlap the front, which means the neckline could end up pretty different on different versions. I modified the hood by adding a lining.

  I added the grommets, but never put the drawstrings in for this one:

  And finally, I made another plain raglan from more low quality rayon blend jersey, this time from Girl Charlee. This one fit really well, and I really liked it in spite of the thin fabric. Unfortunately I managed to splash the front with bleach a couple of weeks ago, before getting photos.

  At least the back didn't get bleached! ;-)

  And that's the last of the regular clothing I made myself last year!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

French Terry Shirt and Dress

  Before our Thanksgiving plans last year were cancelled by an untimely virus, I made some clothes for my older two daughters to wear that day. To start with, I made Booper an Uptown Downtown dress in French terry from Sincerely Rylee.

  Although I've sewn the Uptown Downtown dress before (here and here), this was my first time using it since it's been updated.

  I had high hopes for the update, but it looks like the main change was making the instructions include all of the different options that can be made from the add-on pack. Unfortunately, while the pattern itself was changed some, there are odd things going on like the shoulder seam sitting well behind the top of the shoulder, and the seams still aren't completely trued. I did think the layout of the instructions was interesting, and a little easier to use than the long-form of the original version. The new version has tabs for the different sections, such as pockets and the different neckline finishes. The instructions still use photos in some areas and illustrations in others.

  The main thing that bothered me, however, was the trimless pages. If your printer is like mine and prints in a slightly different spot on each page (the actual printed area is exactly the same size, just the margins change) it leads to a lot of inaccuracies and frustrations when assembling the pattern. I'd much rather spend the time cutting the edges off of the pages!

  I made the cowl-neck, long sleeved version this time, and included the pockets! I also did a twin-needle hem for the sleeves and skirt, for a change. =)

  Since I was using a French terry without much stretch, I went up a size from what Booper's measurements put her in. I'm glad I did, as it would have been too tight otherwise, particularly in the sleeves. I also lengthened the dress to below Booper's knees.

  I used a thinner, stretchier rayon-blend French terry for the cowl, and I love the way it drapes! It also hasn't pilled up quite as much as the polyester blend the rest of the dress is made of.

  Even if I wasn't enamored with the pattern update, Booper loves this dress... it currently receives the most frequent wearing of any item she owns!

  To make full use of the pattern once I'd gone through the rigmarole of assembly, I cropped it to hip-length and made a shirt for Gaiw, a size up from her measurements:

  I probably would have made her a dress too, but that French terry was on the pricier side, so I didn't buy much of it!

  Gaiw's shirt also has a cowl-neck, and twin-needled hems.

  She absolutely loves matching with Booper, so she was pretty happy with this shirt!

  However, the skirts she has that work with this shirt are either too big, like the one in these photos, or really, really worn out. (See that white blob to the right of Gaiw in the background of this picture? We have feral bunnies living in our yard.)

  So, this past week I made Gaiw a tiered skirt from some linen-blend fabric (this, but in the color 'moss') that I bought in Imagine Gnat's Black Friday sale.

  Being a linen blend, it does wrinkle up a lot (I gave the skirt a very thorough pressing only about fifteen minutes prior to taking these photos) but it seems like it doesn't wrinkle quite as much as a 100% linen fabric would.

  I've made tiered skirts using a ruffler foot before, but mine hasn't been cooperating lately, so I just used basting threads for the gathering. I went for a ratio of 1.75:1 for the tiers this time... I usually use at least 2:1 or higher, but I didn't want this one to be so full.

  I was in a bit of a hurry, and somehow I managed to complete the entire skirt, including measurements, calculations, and cutting, in a single morning. I clipped the final threads and was a little surprised to be finished!

  I considered making a flat-front waistband, but as I mentioned, I was in a rush, and Gaiw refuses to tuck her shirts in anyway, so I just made it elastic all around.

  The insides are all serged, and the hem is a simple double-fold.

  I suspect this skirt will get a lot of wear... it's not as colorful and bright as this little girl likes, but it certainly has enough twirl!

  I'll be back at some point with some shirts I made for myself last year! =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Princess Dress and Party

  Gaiw turned 5 in December!

  She's still delighted by all things princess, so for her birthday I made her a fancy dress.

  I used this pattern but added puffed sleeves (I wish I'd made them puffier!) instead of the cap sleeves. I actually bought the pattern, but Stef, the designer is a friend, and refunded the cost with a sweet note, which pretty much made my whole week!

  I used pink satin and tulle from for this dress... the pattern has some pretty generous fabric requirements, but I was able to get the outer and lining of the dress from just 2.5 yards of satin! I decided to add some extra layers of tulle to the skirt so it would be super-fluffy, so I used a full 4 yards of 108" wide tulle for that. I also used some heavy-duty white tulle from Jo-Ann's. The satin ribbon is from Hobby Lobby and I had the trim and snaps on hand already.

  I changed the sewing order of the bodice a tiny bit because I changed the sleeve type. Aside from that and the extra layers of tulle, the only change I made was to skip the top-stitching around the waist seam. Or to be more accurate, I initially top-stitched but with so many shifty, fluffy layers, I bent a bunch of my pins and the seam was all over the place! So I picked it out. It probably would have worked if I'd hand-basted first, but in the end I decided to just leave it.

  I love the pickups on this skirt! But unfortunately the whole bows keep escaping up into the casings, so next time I think I would do two separate casings for each pick up.

  I used more of the trim around the sleeves, and did the lower section of gathers with elastic thread in the bobbin as usual:

  I used KAM snaps for the back instead of the recommended covered buttons and buttonholes... they look really cute, but the bottom snap is perpetually coming un-snapped, so buttons probably would have been better! There's also a bit of a gap where the top of the skirt meets the bodice... I think a hook and eye right at the waist seam would help.

  Gaiw absolutely loves this dress though... she's worn it at every possible opportunity! It's showing a little wear already... one sleeve has torn a bit and she and her sisters ripped big chunks out of the tulle because they wanted veils. But she doesn't care a bit!

  I also put together a fairly quick and simple party for her... I made a cake and ice cream, threw together some fabrics and decorations I had on hand, and made some crowns. Here's the cake:

  As usual with anything more than a very basic design, this was really tough for me, and didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd imagined it would! I froze my cake layers first but someone turned the heater way up and everything thawed before I realized why. So the towers were very tippy and crumbly. And the frosting wanted to melt on the outside... but that works anyway because it adds to the stone effect a little! I had planned to use sugar cones for the roofs of the towers but I only had two on hand, and there weren't any this time of year at the stores closest to us. So I improvised with a lot of aluminum foil to make the other two tower roofs!

  For the crowns, I slightly modified this technique. I used a spray-on fabric stiffener, so I coated the pieces of lace twice before painting them. I also let them dry completely after painting both sides, before forming them into a circle and gluing, because they were a little floppy when the paint was wet. 

  I used a DecoArt Dazzling Metallics paint in Glorious Gold and Rich Espresso, and Ceramcoat in glitter silver. That glitter one was definitely everyone's favorite... and since it was in the paint it didn't flake off everywhere, as glitter is wont to do!

  I loved making these... they were a lot of fun and I think they turned out beautifully! Although I couldn't figure out how to capture how sparkly these were in a photo! All of the materials for these were from Hobby Lobby.

  I made a quick sign with some torn watercolor paper, gold Pearl-Ex, and pink cardstock, all things I had on hand, to set in front of the crowns:

  I prettied up the table where the cake and crowns were by adding some fabrics... that adorable gold-dot knit is from Hobby Lobby (although it could have done with a steaming before I used it), and the thin pink satin was given to me a while back. And of course ruffle fabric for the backdrop!

  I added a little bowl of chocolate-covered almonds to the table at the last minute, and I also made plain vanilla ice cream that I didn't include in any of the photos, as well as some coconut milk ice cream for one sister-in-love who is allergic to dairy:

  The ruffled streamers were leftover from a baby shower a few years ago:

  And so were the pomanders:

  And that's the entire extent of the party! The crowns were the favors and I didn't plan any games. I've been ridiculously short on time to create lately so this was about all I could get done in time, and still be able to finish the girls' Christmas dresses. But the important thing was that Gaiw liked it, and she did. =)

  Gaiw is a very interesting little girl... she's always thinking big thoughts with her sparkly eyes wide and you never know what she's going to blurt out next! She's a little butterfly, always flitting from one thing to the next faster than I can follow.

  She's been surprising me lately by doing chores without being asked to... even making her sister's bed one day! And she loves to wrap toys up in old boxes and gift them to people.

  Gaiw loves her fruits and vegetables... salad remains high on the list of requested foods for her! But she's also quite fond of sweets!

  She absolutely loves art and spends hours each day creating vibrant pieces portraying adorably funny little people, and writes, 'I love you!' on almost all of them. =) We love our Gaiw -our family just wouldn't be the same without her!

Thanks for stopping by,