Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Twirly Skirts

 Have you heard of Skirting The Issue? It's a blog event hosted by Simple Simon and Co in which sewists join together to sew and donate skirts to foster care for girls who may need them. This is the third year of Skirting The Issue, and I've wanted to join in every time... but it hasn't worked out. Until now! I didn't sew much, but even two skirts are better than none.

  These are pretty basic.... full circle skirts with a separate elastic waistband, that are sized to be just longer than knee-length. I top-stitched the interior waistband on this green skirt, and for the yellow-and-white one I stitched-in-the-ditch.... and it actually came out decently! It took me every bit as long as hand-stitching would have, but I need the practice. I knew I wouldn't have time for a regular hem, so I did a rolled serged hem on both. I do like that it keeps the skirts light weight.

  I used fabrics from my stash for both, and although I didn't love the green as yardage, I think it makes a darling skirt... and I love the fabric and contrasting waistband on the other skirt. =) I added simple tags with fabric markers.

  I did sizes on the front, and the back has care information, just like a regular tag. It's a really fun addition.... I want to add tags to everything I make now!

  So there are my two quick, simple skirts... I hope I get a chance to make more next year!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Becker's First Birthday

  Guess who is 1 year old now!

  This cutie is:

  One whole year ago, she was born in the car on the way to the hospital.

  She's the sweetest and happiest of little girls, and loves to snuggle.

  She's always been able to sleep by herself, as long as she has her fluffy blanket, but she will squeal and laugh with joy when I pop in her room to pick her up.
The car behind her is the one she was born in. =)
  Beckers adores her family and loves to be talked to and held, but is quite shy and won't let many other people hold her. She just sneers at them, and at the world in general.
This is a half-sneer. It's usually more pronounced
  Once she gets used to having you around though, she will babble (real sentences, if you can decipher them!) and squeal at you.

  And you might even get some smiles, as long as you don't get too close.

  I just love this little girl!

  For her birthday, I made her a little tee dress, upcycled from a shirt I bought about 5 years ago for the very purpose of upcycling.

  Her sisters both received upcycled tee dresses on their first birthdays too... but I think my skills in that respect have improved, as evidenced by Booper's dress:

  And Gaiw's dress:

  I didn't have time to draft a pattern, so I used shirt pattern I won in a giveaway a couple of years ago. I used a size 6 month width (Beckers usually wears a 9-month or 12-month width in ready-to-wear), and added the fullest a-line skirt I could eke out of the small tee. I also shortened the sleeves. I wasn't impressed with the directions, which would have led to excessive bulk at the point of the neckline, so I did it my own way and I am pleased with how it turned out.

  I'm not so happy with my twin needle top-stitching, but that's mostly because my sewing machine has a difficult-to-control foot pedal, which results in either not stitching at all, or flying along, and isn't great for detail work.  I also added lace at the waistline and sleeves:

  And I hemmed the skirt with lettuce-edge serging to balance the white accents out, and preserve as much length as possible for my tall girl (18-24 months in length in most clothes...)

  I also made her a pair of Natty Janes! Instead of leather on the soles, I used some soling material, in hopes that she will be walking soon. The shop I bought it from doesn't have the exact stuff I used right now, but they have other soling materials that look like they might work even better.

  I added bows on the toes and altered the sewing order so I would end up with no raw edges on the interiors. It worked decently, but I think that for it to work well, I'd have to use a wider seam allowance on just the lining, to account for the bulk of the seams and turning. I should probably have clipped the curves a little better too. ;-)
  Once again, I'm not pleased with my top-stitching, and my sewing machine skipped quite a few stitches on this thick leather, so I had to sew over the same areas several times.... I feel like I definitely could have done a better job on these, but they are cute anyway!

  They fit perfectly in length, with just a tiny bit extra width on my slender-footed baby:

  The dress also fits slightly better than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise!

  It's still not perfect, but it's miles better than all the store-bought clothes she has! She's just too tall and skinny for most clothes!

  I also made her a cake- classic white cake, torted to 4 layers, with pastry cream filling two of the layers and balsamic cherry filling for the center layer. I used a basic buttercream to frost it. Other than being too sweet from the frosting, it tasted amazing!

  I tried out piped ruffles to decorate it, and I think they turned out really well considering the kind of time crunch I was in (such is my life). Next time I'll draw guidelines on first, as in this tutorial (which I found after the fact, of course), but it was really simple and didn't take long.

  Beckers was quite happy to try it:

  She thought about it:

  and decided she liked it:

  The balsamic cherry filling was adapted from this recipe... I doubled the vinegar, halved the cloves, and reduced the thickeners for a jam-like consistency. It's pretty amazing stuff...if you ever get the chance you MUST try the pie in that recipe! It's without question the best pie I've ever tasted.

  Some of Becker's relatives came over to help us celebrate her birthday, and gave her gifts that she loved.

  My sister-in-law knit her a darling sweater with a heart on the front, and my mother-in-love gave her blocks, a counting book, and a doll that she has been dragging around everywhere. =)

  I've heard that she also has a gift coming in the mail from my mom. =)

  Her favorite toy is still my phone though. ;-)

  Happy birthday, little Beckers! I love you!

  Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Embroidered Chambray Skirt

  I'd love it if you would take a minute to visit Skirt Fixation and vote for your favorite knit item! Today is the last day to vote! =)

  I mentioned yesterday that I had another item sewn for Kid's Clothes Week.... and here it is!

  I machine-embroidered the hem of this skirt a couple of weeks ago, before my fancy sewing machine broke, but didn't have time to finish it up until this week.

  I used a pattern for this one, the Betty Skirt designed by the Shaffer Sisters... they are in the process of re-doing some of the sizes, so it's not currently available, but once it is there will be quite the range! Doll sized right on up... 27 sizes total, with a gathered, small pleat, large pleat, and placket version for each.

  This one is size 4 with a 6 length, based on the measurements provided, and it fits exactly as is intended. I do prefer longer skirts, since my girls grow up a lot more than out, so next time I will lengthen accordingly.

  Good thing Booper has two little sisters to pass it down to!

  Once again, I'm quite pleased with the interior of the skirt. I deviated from the pattern instructions and did French seams for the side seams, then since I can't top-stitch a yoke down properly to save my life, I hand-stitched that. This is the inside:

  Because of the hand-stitching, I spent quite a while finishing this one up this week.

  It was worth it though, Booper loves it! =)

  Oh, and I think I've figured out what is wrong with my camera.... it's the lens. It's a zoom lens and used to work fine for distance shots, but now it doesn't zoom right and gets fuzzy. I don't know what happened, maybe one of my kids bumped it. As long as I'm not trying to zoom in it works fine though. The reason all of the photos are overly saturated isn't the camera... it's Blogger. It auto-edits photos when I upload them and I refuse to start a google+ account just so I can remove the auto-edit. I'm seriously considering moving this whole blog to Wordpress.... any advice from folk who have?

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Little Gingham Skirts

  Before I start telling you all about Kid's Clothes Week and what I've been making, I'd love it if you would take a minute to visit Skirt Fixation and vote for your favorite knit item! =)

  I've mentioned Kid's Clothes Week before.... 1 week of sewing clothes for children for 1 hour each day. I don't get to participate every time, but it just so happened that I didn't have quite as much as usual going on this week, so I signed up at the last minute. And surprisingly, I'm right on track for the week. =)

  I finished this set of things on the third day: Three matching gingham skirts with white bands.

  The gingham was polyester and quite sheer, so I used the white as both band and lining, and the skirts could easily be worn inside-out and look fine. Love it when it works out that way!

  They sewed up speedily, for me.... 3 hours total for 3 skirts, and that's including hand-winding a bobbin (I still need a rubber gasket for the bobbin winder on my Singer 401A)

  It was much harder to take the photos than to make the skirts. Three little girls and one of them hungry is a difficult combination to shoot well. And I just noticed that one of the little girls' shirts is stained, and I didn't even bother choosing their shoes, so these are their unedited choices. ;-)

  At least my camera wasn't blurring everything like it has been lately! (Except for cropping and watermark, these shots are all straight out of the camera.)

  I'm happy with the results, and will be sewing more skirts like these from other fabrics in the near future.

  These three munchins were really happy to have matching skirts. =) (Except Beckers, who didn't much care.... all she cared about was food.)

  I have another thing finished for Kid's Clothes Week now, and one cut out that I'm hoping to sew up sometime tonight.... so hopefully I will be back soon!

Thanks for stopping by,