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,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Knit Fabric Swap for Challenge Create

  Have you seen Challenge Create at Skirt Fixation? This is the Fabric Swap Edition, and I'm joining in! I sent fabric to Call Ajaire, while Karly from Paisley Roots sent me some.

   My daughter immediately fell in love with the button fabric, and requested a dress. I spent some time sketching to determine how best to put the striped and button fabric together. I finally decided to keep them separate, and add some solids so I'd have enough fabric... brown to go with the button fabric, and navy with the stripes.
  Once I had my designs planned, I began drafting. For Booper, I designed a flowy dress with an asymmetrical waist seam. It has a half-circle skirt with gathers on the high end, ruffles and lettuce edging everywhere, and small details of ruching, embroidery, and a button near the neckline.

   This dress truly was a challenge to make the pattern for... since I was making an asymmetrical bodice and a partially gathered half-circle skirt, I had to make a lot of changes to make the hem level for the muslin I made. When it was perfect, I cut it out of the button fabric and some coordinating brown.

   I'd ended up with one full week to sew everything, after drafting and muslins... and that is when my sewing machine broke. Unfortunately, the only repairman around here who can deal with computerized machines was on vacation. 4 days later, I found a second-hand machine, leaving me only 2 days to sew and one for photos.That is also why the photos aren't great... I didn't have time to re-take them, and had to use the ones where my camera was acting poorly.

  My serger also threw a fit, and as a result I had to use tissue paper and starch on EVERY seam. That's why, after all that perfectionistic muslining, the hem is not level. 

  The side seam on the skirt was my first, I didn't use tissue or starch, and it stretched badly... and I didn't realize it until I had the dress mostly sewn and was trying it on my daughter, at which point I didn't have time to pick it out and redo it. I tried steaming it but it only helped a little bit. 

  Machine troubles aside, it came together relatively easily. The embroidery was surprisingly quick and I love the result... as does Booper. She started begging to wear the dress when I was only halfway finished, and continued begging until I was ready to take the photos.

   Next up was a top for me. I decided on a tied collar and half-length tied sleeves. 

  I didn't have time to make muslins for those after all the machine trouble, so I just winged it and I'm really happy they turned out well. The ties on the neck could be a little bit longer, but they are long enough to tie and that's the important part. ;-)

  I'm glad I already had a decently fitting tee sloper! Unfortunately I randomly gained five pounds just before taking the photos, so it's rather tight. (Maybe it was the stress of the sewing machine issues kicking in?)

  I was prepared with the starch this time, and finished off the entire can, as well as several pages of tissue paper.

   The stripes were abysmally slow, since I pinned every stripe, but for my first time ever sewing with stripes I think I did a decent job of matching them. I should have thought about it more while cutting the sleeves, but otherwise it worked out.

  I lettuce-edged the hem of the shirt for a simple and feminine finish.

  I'm wearing it with a knit and stretch lace skirt that I also made, and my husband's belt that is about 6 inches too big for me. ;-) 

  The skirt is part of a pattern test I'm helping with, and that I love.  It's the second one I've made, and I have fabric for at least one more. I'll talk about them more when the pattern is released.

  In retrospect, using a thin, stretchy knit for me probably wasn't the best idea. It's quite clingy and highlights everything, and looks even tighter than it actually is. I'll get a lot of wear out of it once I drop those 5 pounds though!

One more thing: my computer also rebelled.... that's 4 machines acting up at the same time! Something really didn't want me to complete this challenge!

 At any rate, I would LOVE it if you would go vote! And I'm really hoping that this dress and shirt combo is top on your list. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


  It's been a while since I last posted! I've been sewing quite a bit (1.75 shirts, 2.75 skirts, 1 cropped cardigan, 1 dress) but haven't had much time to take photos where it wasn't either blindingly bright or completely dark. I finally have a few (not great) photos that I will be sharing in a few days for a fun challenge that I joined in. Meanwhile, I thought I'd show you my recent craigslist finds.

  When we first moved into this house, I found this cutting table and mat for a great deal. I love that it's large enough for me to cut the full length of a dress! The table is a little wobbly, but it has drop-leafs on either side to save room. I'd probably make a table or find something more sturdy instead next time, but it does work for my purposes, and I love the cutting mat.

  Next up! I used to play piano for hours when I was a teen... I was never great at it, but I really enjoyed it. When we moved from Oregon to Arizona, I had to leave my piano behind, and I've been searching for one since. Usually the lowest price I see on pianos is about $500 used, so imagine my surprise when I found a baby grand piano for $100! That is a deal you don't see every day. The finish is pretty messed up, but there are only two things on it that are actually broken... one of the hinges for the lid is missing, and the key cover is splitting on one side. Otherwise, it's in beautiful shape and is even in tune!

  And finally, my sister-in-love accidentally broke my sewing machine again when she was visiting last week. Since the only repairman around here who can work on computerized sewing machines is on vacation (again, I swear he has been on vacation or about to go on vacation every time I've brought a machine in there), it isn't repaired yet, and I needed a backup to complete that challenge. I figured I could spend a small amount on a garbage machine that would break in a few months, or invest in a machine that has already lasted for decades. I chose the latter, and ended up with a Singer 401a, the 'Slant-O-Matic', in a cabinet.

  It works beautifully! I'm really glad I chose this instead of a new, cheap one. It does have two problems: the spool pins are broken off and the thread goes flying while I'm sewing, and the rubber gasket on the bobbin winder is cracked and broken from age, so I can't wind any bobbins.

  It came with the original plastic cams and some bobbins and feet:

  As well as a buttonholer, which I haven't had a chance to test out yet:

  If you were reading this blog back then, you know that I also bought my DSLR on craigslist, and since then various bags of fabric and other furniture. Some people go to yardsales, I look on craigslist. ;-)

  Please visit again in a few days to see what I made for the challenge I keep talking about!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sunflower Wedding: The Decorations

  I've shown you the cake, the flower girl dress, and the twirl skirts I made (and the sunflower crowns) for my sister-in-love's wedding, and now it's time for some things I did not make. Most of these were made by my sister-in-love, mother-in-love, and Tia Eva.

  The ceremony was held inside the church sanctuary, and the reception was held outdoors. This was the view as I stepped inside the building:

    Then I popped through another set of doors and saw the card table on my left:

  On the right was a gift table, with a cute banner hanging above it. It said Mr. & Mrs. with the last name, which I've cropped out for privacy:

 I didn't get a photo of the center aisle, but the view from the front of the sanctuary looking out was this. The 'Reserved' signs as well as the invitations and table signs were designed by my brother-in-law. He doesn't have an online presence, but if you live in the Prescott, AZ area and need some graphics work done I can get you in touch with him... he does pretty good work and is willing to listen to what you really want.

  On the platform were more flower arrangements:

  As well as a unity candle/communion table. A Bible was added to this before the ceremony began, and they read out of it and prayed together. =)

  Now outside, for the reception area! There were pretty lights everywhere, and tiny lit paper lanterns hung along the arches. I photographed it all before the wedding began, but by the time the reception started it was dusk, so it was all even prettier:

  These sunflower balls were also hung in one of the arches:

  Tia Eva, who is the bride's aunt as well as mine, made not only favors for all the guests, but little little things to keep the kids who were attending entertained. =)

  Next to them was a chalkboard sign and some wood chunks:

  Next to that, the favors for the adults... The sign said 'Take one and watch love grow' but it was covered up a little by the favors:

  On the other side of the favors were wishes for the guests to fill out.

  And on the far side of the wheelbarrow and kid's packets was a bench for all the guests to sign with Sharpies, and the bride and groom's initials and the date woodburned into it. I love that idea!

  I only took this one photo of how the dessert tables were set up, but it was really cute.

  In between the twin dessert tables is where I set up the cake and where the big buckets for water bottles were.

  And on every table where guests would sit was a layout like this, with either a blue, yellow, or coral table square. Oh, and I actually did help with one set of the mason jar vases. =) We had originally planned to put the cake on a wood slice like that, but we couldn't find any that were big enough. I did find them for sale online a day AFTER the wedding. ;-)

  Now imagine all of those pretty decorations, combined with lots of twinkling lights:

  Wasn't that a darling, rustic-style wedding?

Thanks for stopping by,