Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Long-Awaited Black Skirt

  I realized about 6 years ago that I needed a basic black skirt. I was just beginning my forays into sewing at that time, and had two skirts (neither of which fit) under my belt. The second was created using math, so I altered my math a bit and laboriously sewed up a black skirt with some too-stiff, too-shiny fabric. It was closer to correct this time, except too tight in the waist, and I actually wore that skirt a few times in spite of its issues. Ever since then, I've been looking for the perfect black fabric to make a skirt that fits. 

  A couple weeks before Thanksgiving this year, I bought the perfect black twill from Nick of Time Textiles. This stuff is beautiful! It has a soft hand, enough body for a skirt but is light enough for a shirt, and enough drape to swish beautifully as I walk. The only thing I don't love about it is its lint-attracting qualities, but I'm pretty sure that is a problem with all black twill.

  I originally intended to make a dress from it, but since I bought quite a bit of yardage (and it is 68 inches wide), I decided I would have enough to make a skirt once I'd finished all of the other garments I made that week. I made the same style of skirt as my two drop-cloth skirts, since for some reason I still had the pattern piece I'd used.

  It isn't a perfect fit, since my tummy hasn't gone down from the last baby as quickly as I'd hoped it would, but it's eons better than any other black skirt I've ever owned. And since most of the fit issue is at the lower belly, and my shirts are usually un-tucked and hit around my hips, it's not noticeable.

  I did make a couple more changes this time... I cut extra width on one side of the center front piece, with matching width on the right front, and only put buttons on that side. I also interfaced under the buttons, and made thread chain loops instead of elastic or fabric ones. And finally, I serged everything instead of French-seaming, since I had less than one day in which to sew this.

  I apologize for the last two photos... they were lovely, but adding my watermark did something horrible to them (that didn't show up until I just uploaded them) and I'm not sure why. And this next photo... it looks like I'm being all pose-y, but I was actually just making sure Gaiw wasn't playing with my tripod (which was a birthday gift from my wonderful husband).

  There you have it, a simple black skirt, which has already proven its worth by multiple wearings. =)

  I have just one more post left to conclude the Thanksgiving sewing, and it is by far my favorite of the pieces I created that week. I've been saving the best for last! =) I know, some of you are waiting to see the rest of the Christmas gifts I made, but I just can't bring myself to post things out of order like that. All in good time. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

  If you hadn't noticed already, I've been taking it easy with blogging, but I should be back in about a week with the rest of the Thanksgiving clothes, as well as all of the gifts I made for Christmas this year. I hope you have a lovely, relaxing, fun, blessed day celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Denim Baby Dress And Black Onesie

 This is the outfit Beckers wore for our family photo this year:
 A denim dress, with an asymmetrical opening, contrasting, collar and waistband, and plastic heart snaps (I still love these snaps);

  and a black onesie with a ribbed envelope neckline and lettuce-edged sleeves:

  There is a reason that neither of these are worn by Beckers for the individual photos.... I made the ribbing on the onesie too big, and didn't add enough ease in the bodice of the dress. Also, the skirt of the dress is too narrow for a baby, though these proportions would have been perfect for an older kid.
  The dress is technically reversible, but since the pink side is so much lighter weight than the denim (and is also a bit too sheer) it's not likely to get much use on that side:

  Also, I DID iron this dress before taking pictures of it... but these fabrics both require extra steam to remove wrinkles, and my iron's steaming capabilities are far below average. =)

  I still like the idea behind this dress, but here's what I'd change if I were to make it again: I'd add about 1" total ease to the bodice, double the flare in the skirt, and widen the collar by an inch. Also, I probably wouldn't line the whole thing next time, just the bodice.

  Since I know you all just come here to see the baby, here she is =) (This photo was NOT posed):

  Next up, the things I wore for the family photos. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ruffle Skirt and Black Shirt

 I mentioned a couple weeks ago on Facebook that I ended up making 6 garments for the annual Thanksgiving family photo. Well, I finally have individual photos of a few of them. First up, a skirt made from ruffle fabric for Gaiw, and a black I'm-not-quite-sure-what-to-call-the-neckline shirt for Booper.

  The shirt collar is similar to a turtleneck, but I purposely made it soft and loose... so not quite a turtleneck.

  As you can see, I made a mistake when sewing the collar on. It was supposed to be wrong-side of collar to right-side of shirt, but I did it right-side of collar to wrong-side of shirt. I had 5 other garments to sew that week though, so I didn't pick it out, though I may still do that at some point.

  I made it longer than usual, so it looks nice and cozy, and did a lettuce-edge on the sleeves and hem, as well as the collar.

 The skirt was simple too... ruffle fabric with a plain knit underlining and a knit waistband.

  I made a mistake on the skirt too, and didn't use enough negative ease in the waistband. The knit had a lot more stretch than I'm used to! I had to unpick that, because it wouldn't stay up as it was. It worked much better the second time. =)

  The knit for the shirt, waistband, and lining, is from Girl Charlee. The ruffle fabric was on a daily deal site a few months back.

  The other garments I made for the photos are a top and skirt for myself, and a shirt and dress for Beckers. My husband was also wearing something I made though! He wore the Negroni shirt I finished this spring, which honestly is the entire reason we all wore denim and black. I don't have copies of the family photos yet, but I should have individual shots of Beckers outfit later this week, and my outfit soon after.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Birthday Two For Gaiw

 Gaiw is growing quickly,

  And is now 2 whole years old.... and finally has enough hair for pigtails!

  She's an energetic little girl, who repeats every sentence many times to make sure you understand, gives hugs regularly, adores food, and gets into everything. She loves dolls, bears, and her special blanket, and has been known to change shoes 9 times in one hour. Her clothes are also cycled regularly, and she loves to get her hair brushed. She's the messiest eater I've ever met, but she will loves to have her hands washed when she's finished. I love this little girl. =)

  I made her a three-tiered, elastic-waisted skirt for her birthday. I took a few shortcuts to make it go quickly: I left the selvedges on the strips I cut so I only had to finish the horizontal seams, used a ruffling foot to sew them together, and did a serged rolled hem instead of a proper hem. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the serged hem looks.

  The fabric was a gift from my friend, Karen. I'm so happy I finally had an opportunity to use some of it! =)

  I also made a cake, but since I was particularly short on time this year, it is undecorated. It's a classic white-cake-turned-pink, because what little girl wouldn't want a pink cake on her birthday? I frosted it with stabilized whipped cream (whipped cream plus gelatin) and some ganache. That frosting combination is definitely high on my list. =) The great thing about stabilizing the whipped cream is that it stays fluffy for a very long time in the fridge, instead of melting.

  Happy birthday, little Gaiw!

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gusseted Coin Purse Pattern

  Remember the purple and pink coin purses I made?

  I scanned my pattern in, cleaned it up a bit, and have it ready for you to use! This pattern will fit a rounded frame that is 3 1/4" wide by 1 3/4" tall.
  Feel free to use it however you want- It's a quite imperfect, being hand-drawn and hand-traced, and it's not very complicated, so if you'd like to sell things made with this pattern, that's all right by me. =) I would appreciate link-backs though.

Update: The crookedness of this pattern was really bugging me, so I've re-done it. This one is digitally drawn, and is not crooked! Enjoy. =)

  One quick note: the seam allowances will not meet up at the edges, since they are meant to be folded in opposite directions. The peaks of the gusset will meet the dips of the main piece.
Coin Purse Pattern

   Make sure the square measures 1" when you print it out!

  And now, how to make it! You will need to cut 2 main pieces and 1 gusset piece on the fold of each of the following: Exterior fabric, lining, lightweight fusible interfacing, and fusible fleece. Oh yes, and my pieces are shaped a little differently than the pattern to facilitate pressing the seam allowances in the right directions

  Fuse the interfacing to the back of your exterior fabrics, then fuse the fleece onto that:

  Sew any embellishments onto your front piece now:
Mark the centers of your gussets and main pieces, then pin the lower edge of the main piece to one side of the gusset, right sides together. Sew, starting from the center and using a 3/8" seam allowance. (this just happens to be the distance from the edge of my presser foot to my normal needle position, which is why I chose such an odd number). I recommend keeping the gusset piece on the bottom and straight, and turning the top piece little by little as you sew to match it. Backstitch at the beginning and at the edge, then start from the center again and sew in the other direction, to get this:

   You may want to clip these curves inside:

  Sew the back piece on the same way:

  Repeat for the lining, but leave a hole about 2 inches wide in one of the lower sides:

  Press your seams open as far down as you can... I skipped this step and really wished I hadn't. Leave the lining wrong side out, and stuff the exterior into it, right sides out, so the right sides of the fabric touch. Pin them together:

  Sew around the entire edge, then pull your exterior piece out through the hole you left in the lining:

  Slip-stitch the hole closed and tuck the lining into the purse, then topstitch all the way around the edge. Run a line of glue (I used E-6000) along one edge of the purse and in one side of your frame - the front edge is already done here, look at the back to see what I'm talking about. I didn't go all the way into the angles of the fabric with the glue, because the frame doesn't reach all the way down.

  Depending on your glue, you may have to wait a bit before tucking the purse into the frame. I had to wait about 8 minutes for the glue to bond well... it was still slightly tacky, but no longer smeared on everything. After waiting, poke the center of the purse into the center of the frame, then the edges. Use something like a small pair of scissors or a point turner to get it firmly into the frame. Repeat for the other side of the frame.

  And finally, let it sit again until the glue is fully dried. I left mine overnight before closing the frame or playing with it, but it really takes just a couple of hours to dry. And you are finished!

  Have fun with it! If anything is confusing, please let me know and I'll try to clear things up. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Pair Of Pink Plaid Penny Purses

  There I go with the alliteration again... I'm going to have to make a red and off-white coin purse just so I can call it a 'Cream and Crimson Coin Carrier'. =)

  Anyway, these are my most recent endeavors into the purse making world:

  The larger one is the same pattern as the purple one I made recently, but altered slightly so it fits better into the frame, and with fusible fleece added. I definitely prefer the structure better with the fleece, and it bulks up the top seam so it fills out the frame better.
  The small purse is another pattern I made... basically a circle with a wedge cut out for the ends, and a rectangle with a rounded top for the two sides. It's tiny! And I'm keeping it for my own personal use, because I always end up with way too much loose change in my purse, weighing it down. Having a super-small coin purse will keep me from doing that. =)

    This one is so small that the weight of the frame makes it roll over when it's empty and closed... but once I put a few coins in there it stopped rolling.

  Both purses are made with pink plaid fabric from a fat quarter I bought a long time ago from a quilt shop and used just a tiny bit of. I still have enough fabric left for one more coin purse, I think... I love this fabric.

  They are lined with some lightly patterned cream fabric, trimmed with cream cotton lace from Hobby Lobby (it comes on a roll in the sewing/ribbon section), and decorated with buttons from Joann's. I bought these buttons several months ago in an attempt to bulk up my feeble button collection, and I'm really glad I did. =)

  The frames are from the bagpurseframes Etsy shop. I bought several frames at once, so I had them on hand and didn't have to wait for the long shipping this time.

  The sewing for the larger purse was much easier this time around, and I finished it in only a few hours, in spite of constant interruptions for things like hungry children/husband, messy diapers, and pinched fingers.

  The little one though... it was incredibly difficult to sew, because of its diminutive size. I had to adjust everything every couple stitches to keep from getting sewing in the wrong spots. It was especially difficult to stitch the lining and outer layers together, and to topstitch the opening.

  To give you a better idea of the size, here is a ruler in front of the purses:

  I'm going to have to make one of these for each daughter, as they could not keep from exclaiming over the 'little purses' and trying to 'borrow' them. (Beckers was not involved in this process.) =)

  I've scanned my pattern in for the larger purse and cleaned it up a bit (then re-sized and printed it about 7 times to get it to print right), and should have it up tomorrow with some instructions. =)

Thanks for stopping by!