Thursday, May 31, 2012

Orange Sherbert and Vanilla Ice Cream Shirt

  This is another quick and easy project I did.
  Awhile back, I had a shirt in my husband's favorite color, construction orange. I hardly wore it, because it just wasn't feminine enough for me. Also, it had short sleeves, and I'm not fond of showing off the jiggles that reside on my upper arms. I just don't wear sleeves shorter than elbow length in public. I had a long-sleeved white shirt that I also didn't wear, because it was too see-through, so I combined the two. These are what I started with:
  At first, I chopped off the body of the white shirt, made it into strips, pleated those strips and added them to the hem of the orange shirt. I also cut the white sleeves off and sewed them under the ones on the orange shirt. It turned out like this:
  My husband wasn't particularly happy with it though, he thought the pleats looked funny. I kind of liked them, kind of didn't. They girly-ed  the shirt up, buy they flared out some from the shirt and with the multiple layers they added a lot of bulk.

  This shirt went back in my closet and sat there, completely unworn, until this week, when I changed it again. I picked the pleated section off and replaced it with a plain section, then lettuce-edged the bottom of that. I also added a strip of the white around the neckline, to help balance the colors a little. Here it is now:
  It's much better... It seems more feminine to me, and it is actually long enough because the strip at the bottom. Most importantly, I don't have to let anyone see my jiggly arms. ;-) The colors remind me of that sherbert-ice-cream swirl that I've seen at the stores, orange and vanilla. Yummy. 

 Thanks for stopping by,

PS: The skirt is my pleats and panels one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stenciled shirt

  Here is what I was up to yesterday:
  When I started, this was an ultra-plain grey shirt. I love grey, but every time I wore this shirt I felt drab and just plain frumpy. So, to fix it, I tried out a technique I have been seeing everywhere for years, but haven't actually used until now: freezer paper stenciling. Basically, you draw a simple design on the non-shiny side of freezer paper:
  It doesn't matter much if your lines are perfect, because you can smooth them out when you cut. I cut my stencil out with regular scissors up until the last few pieces, and it took me about 45 minutes. I used little tiny scissors on the last few and it was much faster. A lot of people use a cutting machine, like the Silhouette Cameo, or an X-acto knife to cut. I just don't happen to own either of those. =)
 Here is what it looked like cut:
  I decided not to use the design in the top left corner, and cut a different one out of a separate piece of paper. Once your stencil is cut out, you just put it on top of your fabric, shiny side down, iron it on, and brush or pounce on some fabric paint. I used acrylic paint thinned with fabric medium. Once the paint is dry, you iron it to set it, and you are done! It was fun.
  I remembered the other reason this shirt didn't get a lot of wear when I tried it on though... it is a little short, and the sleeves don't go all the way to my wrists, which is why they are rolled up. Plus, the back neck is too high and the whole thing looks tight even though it is quite loose. Does anyone else have trouble with all the shirts they buy being too short?
  I did have a couple spots where I either didn't iron enough or painted too energetically... you can see that one of the leaves on the lower right of the shirt has a blotch above it. I also wish I had put the stencil closer to the side of the shirt, (and used a shirt that fit!) but considering that I only spent about an hour and a quarter on it, I'm pretty happy. I am definitely going to stencil some other stuff when I get the chance.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pleats and Panels Skirt Tutorial, Part 3: Sewing

  This part of making our skirt should be less complicated, but more time-consuming - all we have to do is sew. This is the skirt we are working on:
  We are going to start with the panel pieces. Stack two right sides together and sew down one long side with whatever seam allowance you added when making the pattern. I sewed at 1/2 inch.
  You should end up with a piece like this:
  See the seam on the right hand side there? This piece will open out and you will have this:
  The seam is in the center in this photograph. Repeat this with the other four panel pieces, and you will end up with three identical pieces. Stack two of them like this (but without the corner flipped up ;-)):
 and sew down the right hand side. Open the piece you just sewed out and it should have 3 total seams at this point. Stack the final piece on top again, like this (but again with the corner down...):
   Sew down the right side again. Now finish all the seams you just sewed with a zig-zag, or use a serger like I did, and press them all to the right with the piece face down. Once you have the seams pressed finish the edges on the sides and bottom. You don't need to worry about the top, as it will be enclosed in the waistband. With the piece face down it should look like this:
  Set this piece aside for now and we will work on the waistband. Stack the main waistband front piece right sides together with the waistband back piece, matching curves and angled sides. Sew with your added seam allowance, and sew the secondary waistband front piece to the other side of the back. Repeat with the facing, but sew the pieces on opposite sides so you end up with mirrored waistbands, like this:
(Can you spot the Gaiw hands? =))
  On the piece with the main front waistband to the left (the lower piece in my picture) press up a scant seam allowance on the lower edge. I pressed up about 3/8 of an inch. This will be your waistband facing:
  Stack the pressed piece right sides together with the other waistband piece and pin along the top edge:
  Now sew around with your added seam allowance, starting from the left pressed edge of the and ending with the right pressed edge. Leave the bottom open. You want to sew down the pressed part:
  Grade your seam allowances by cutting one to half the width of the other:
 Clip close to but not through the stitching on the inner curves:
  Cut the corner off next to but not through the stitching:
 And trim close to the stitching on the tight outer curve. You can also notch this part of the seam instead:
 Flip the entire waistband right side out and press it thoroughly:
 Now take this piece and match the raw, unpressed edge up with the top raw edge of the paneled piece, with right sides together. Pin, matching seams. On the main front waistband, fold the seam allowance of the paneled piece toward the WRONG side:
   On the opposite edge, with the secondary front waistband, the panel piece won't meet the edge of the waistband. Yours should actually be shy of the edge more than mine is, since I forgot to add a seam allowance on waistband piece here:
  Sew the seam you just pinned, being careful not to catch any part of the waistband facing. Press this seam up, toward the waistband, and grade it by trimming both parts to different heights. Pin the facing down just past the stitching:
 On the right side, stitch in the ditch to catch the facing on the back side. You will stitch between the two pieces, where the arrow is pointing, spreading them slightly apart as you sew.
  When you are done you will have something like this:
  Right sides together, sew the seam you left open with your added seam allowance, stopping where the machine can't fit any farther. We will close the rest of this part off when we do the top-stitching later. Now you should have this:
  Set this aside for a moment and we will work on the pleat pieces. Put them right sides together and sew with your added seam allowance on both short sides to form a tube, then finish all of the edges- top, bottom, and the two sewn side seams:
  Press the the hem up 1 inch all around. If you don't have a serger I recommend pressing up 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch for an enclosed hem.
  Baste this seam in place and we will work on the pleats. If you recall, I had 12 pleats 4.75 inches apart that were 2 inches deep each. I measured the depth of the pleat in each direction from a side seams, pinned, and brought those two pins together, to make a 2 inch deep pleat. Finger-press this pleat to one side and pin it down on both sides. Measure 4.75 inches from the pin on the right, then double the pleat depth to the right of that, and pin or mark both spots:
 Take the right pin and bring it over:
  On top of the left pin:
   The layer you see underneath the pleats is the main skirt. I pinned the pleats next to the skirt to ensure they matched up, but you can also do it separately. Pin the pleats down until you have pinned all of the pleats you allowed for in your pattern-making. In my case, this was 12. Slide the skirt right side out into the pleated tube with the hem of the tube closest to the waistband and with the pleated tube inside-out. Sew all around the tube, and when you flip it right-side out, you should have this:
  Press the seam you just sewed, and press the pleats in place if you wish, then top-stitch everything. I top-stitched the hem of the pleated piece down, every vertical panel seam, the seam between the pleats and the panels, and all the way around the waistband. The final step is to add snaps. I used Dritz Heavy Duty snaps in the package with the tools included. The instructions for this are on the back of the package. I eye-balled where I wanted the first snap and marked it, then measured for the other ones and marked. I used the hole punch tool:
  to make holes in the top waistband piece on my marks, and used a chalk pencil to draw where the lower part of the snap should be through the hole. Just a word of warning, the hole punch tool needs a very hard surface under it to work properly. If you use a block of wood, be prepared to pick chunks of wood out of the tool for every hole. Once you have finished the top-stitching and the snaps, you are done!

  Put on your new skirt and take a thousand pictures! (I only took a few because my camera eats batteries in mere minutes)
   For more pictures, go HERE
   For Part 1 of the tutorial, making the pattern, go HERE
   For Part 2 of the tutorial, cutting the pieces, go HERE

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pleats and Panels Skirt Tutorial, Part 2: Cutting the Fabric

  Today's post is going to be a bit shorter... all we have to do is cut the fabric. We are working on this skirt:
  We made our pattern pieces yesterday, finishing with the pleat piece dimensions, but we will be cutting the pleat pieces first, since they take up the most fabric. I managed to make this skirt from just over 2 yards of 56" fabric, but the cutting would have been MUCH easier with more. If you are using a light weight fabric like quilting cotton, you will also want about a half yard of fusible interfacing. I didn't use any since my fabric was a heavyweight denim.
  So for the pleat pieces, fold your fabric with selvedges on both sides even. You may want to re-cut the edges perpendicular to the selvedges so they are perfectly even. Then from the cut edges, measure up your pleat height (18.5 inches for me) and mark that height from the cut edge in several places.
 Line a straightedge up along those marks and mark a straight line across your fabric, then cut. Since I was using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, I had to do this in sections... I just cut part of the fabric, slid it over some, folded the excess, and cut again.
  My pleat width was close to the width of my fabric, so I cut the height the entire way across, then measured the width I needed (53.5 inches) and cut off the extra.
  Next, the main panel pieces. To get the most out of my fabric, I kept it folded with selvedges together and cut the piece out one direction:
   The wider part of the pattern is lined up with the cut edge here.
  Then I flipped the pattern piece upside down, with the slimmer part lined up lined up with the cut edge and the angled edges matching the angle I just cut and cut around the other two edges, like this:
 This works because the angle is the same upside down or right side up. Flip it one more time and cut again so you have a total of 6 pieces, then start on the waistband pieces.
 Cut two of each waistband piece, the front ones on a double layer of flat fabric:

  For the back waistband pieces, fold the selvedges together and line the straight edge of the piece up with the fold, cut, move the pattern piece down along the fold and cut again. I have NO idea where the pictures for this step went.
  If you are cutting interfacing, you will want to cut one out of each front waistband piece, and one on the fold for the back waistband piece.
  Now you have all your fabric cut out... 2 pleat pieces, 2 of each waistband piece, and 6 panel pieces, also one of each waistband piece in interfacing if you are using it. All you have left is sewing them together!
  See you soon with a post about sewing your skirt together. =)
EDIT: For part 1 of the tutorial, making the pattern, go HERE
For part 3 of the tutorial, sewing the skirt, go HERE
  Thanks for stopping by,