The favored child

Since Kailan hasn’t been acting up and getting all attitudey on us, he has been getting clothes sewn for him.  Anya needs to earn more dresses, even though mommy really wants to make more. 

These shirts are the same pattern as the last one.  I just used buttons instead of snaps and only one pocket.  I finally figured out how to use the button hole thingy on my machine, and it works pretty good actually.  I cut out both at the same time, so I mass produced sewed them at the same time.  Much more efficient use of my time.  There are a few more that I have to cut out yet.  I wanted to make sure he was going to wear them before I made them up, and he has been reaching for them in his closet.  Yay!

He was pretty happy with the shirts.  The first shirt has knights and chinese dragons on it.

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dragonshirt

This second shirt is poker cards.  He will wear it when Brian hosts poker at our house and be his daddy’s good luck charm.  It doesn’t work so well for him since he stumbled a bit and managed to bite his tongue.  This kid could get hurt in a bubble, I tell ya.  😉

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pokershirt

I also made an outfit for Anya (a.k.a. the Toddler-turned-Teenager) in May but never got a decent shot of it.  It is a shirt from Target with a Tinkerbell applique of the fabric.  The skirt is a skort for our little princess that likes to get dirty.  She just looks like an irritated teenager here, doesn’t she?

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Then I made myself a few things.  I made a shirt and skirt set, but once they were done I realized that they looked a bit too much all together.  I’ve just worn them seperately.  Of course having pictures of them would be far too organized, so just imagine a white peasant top with a shirred bottom with sleeves in a pretty bright green and white knit.  I did the skirt witht the green knit and made some ruffles.  It’s cute, trust me.  I have several things I’ve made for me that haven’t been photographed.  Maybe I’ll get to it soonish. 

None of this was completed last weekend, since that was all about the landscaping.  I’m still a bit sore and very sunburnt.  Oh well, it looks pretty!  Hope everyone else had some time to get crafty last week. 🙂

For the boy

I’m not sure how many times last week he asked me if I was done with his clothes…but it was many.  Many, MANY.

Upon further review of his closet last week I discovered that he had way too many clothes as it was, so I don’t feel like I need to make him a ton of things.  They both have a lot of clothes.  To be honest, I really haven’t bought them much RTW clothes from the store in a while.  Except for jeans…I don’t really like to make jeans.  A lot of the shirts in his closet were 4T – both short and long-sleeved.  If we were going for the white-trash-show-the-belly-look, then I guess it would be okay. 😉  I purged a bunch of clothes that will soon be going to one of my friends that has a little boy younger than mine.  There were shirts he NEVER WORE this past winter.  I should feel good that he wore the fleece outfits I made him whenever they were clean, so I will be making him more comfy clothes for this winter.

Without further ado, here is a fun in sun summertime outfit for our little guy.  He was very excited about his new clothes.  Trying to be creative with boy clothes is not easy…but I tried. 🙂  I have a bunch more cut and ready to rock n’ roll on the sewing machine.

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I also made him these flannel lounging pants.  They were much adored, as well. 🙂  They are super easy to whip up a pair in 30 minutes or less.   The weather was pretty chilly this weekend, so they were needed!

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 Hope everyone else had some time to get crafty this weekend. 🙂

Princess dress

Adding tulle to a dress makes it princessy, right?  Anya had a princess birthday party this past weekend, and they were supposed to wear princess dresses.  Well, I didn’t get this done in time so I sent her in the dress I made her for her birthday.  Hey, it has princesses on it, so it counts!  I actually made this while she was at the party and she was pretty happy to see it when she got home.  It is the basic sundress I’ve made in the past.  The straps are shirred pieces of the main fabric with a rolled edge.  I need to reposition them, though, since they are bit too close to the edge.   That won’t be too hard, though.  I also made sure I had a layer of fabric under the tulle, because that is scratchy.   It had about 24 yds of tulle…so very much full!  I’m so glad that I can get my serger to gather this stuff for me…otherwise it would be a lot of work.  Honestly if my serger didn’t gather for me, I wouldn’t do the twirly as much as I do it now.

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She ended up being a bit of an “imp” on Sunday night.  “Imp” is a code-word for mouthy, not listening and being bad.  She lost this dress for a week until she can be respectful to mommy and daddy.  She really wanted to wear it to daycare on Monday, but this was her punishment.  Whatever works to make them tow the line!

Now I really, really need to work on some stuff for Kai.  Not that he will be nekked or anything.  He has been bugging me for shirts for him, so I’ve got a good 4 outfits in the queue.  It’s the boy’s turn now. 🙂

Hope everyone else was feelin’ crafty!

Just a few things…

Okay, seriously…I didn’t get all of this done this week.  I need to eat, too.  😉  I signed up to do a stash sewing competition on a (mostly) children’s sewing forum I frequent.  Basically for the month of May you try to use your fabric, notions, etc. and you get points for everything you make.  Contests are always good motivators for me.  Especially since we are finally getting near warm weather and my kids need some stuff.  Not Anya really, but she will still get cute dresses because I can’t stop sewing the cuteness. 🙂

This is what I have done so far for this month.   I made the kids lined spring fleece jackets from a pattern (New Look 6667).  I deviated from the pattern, and had a few issues with the zippers not lying right.  Oh well, they fit and the kids love them. 🙂  Anya’s is pink fleece with a flannel on the inside.  The zipper was about half an inch too long so I did some pulling of the fabric to get it to work.  It’s not a masterpiece but it is warm!  Kai’s is black fleece with two different dragon woven prints.  I didn’t have enough of one for the lining, so I ended up using two.

 

 

Then I made Kai some shorts from the latest Ottobre pattern magazine to match one of the shirts I had printed for him at Spreadshirt.com.  I think these are pretty cute and they mostly fit him.  The pattern was impossible to trace, so I think I traced off a wrong piece.  They are a little tight, but they fit since the black denim has a little stretch.  I will make the next pair a little bigger. 

 

These are those super duper luxury “spa” neck wraps that you can throw in the microwave for two minutes.  They are so simple to make.  I used Jasmine and Basmati rice (they are rounder so they don’t poke through the fabric) sprinkled with a little essential oil.  I bought the essential oil in the candle section at Micheal’s, and I got Lavender, Fresh Linen and Relax.  They smelled so purty!  The three together were Mother’s Day gifts for my Mom, Brian’s Mom and my Grandma Jo.  The pretty fabric is a cover they can throw in the wash, too. 

The next one was a gift for a friend that is incredibly late.  I made her a “spa package”, complete with a little silk makeup bag filled with SkinMedica products.  Hopefully that makes up for it being so late!

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I made four pillows for the couches at work, too.  They asked me to make some that matched the remodeled decor from last summer.  We have couches the guests sit on and they were a bit plain.  I bought some 20″ goose down pillow forms and some wonderful olive embroidered and gray duiponi silk.  They feel so luxurious and look a lot better in person.

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Love it when I can work with luxury fabrics and don’t have to buy them myself LOL!  Silk frays a little, but other than that it isn’t too hard to work with.  I made them one evening after the kids went to bed, and I could have gotten them done much faster if I had done it more assembly line.  Oh well. *yawn* 😉   There’s even a little bit of fabric leftover that I can use for some of my projects (another makeup bag, perhaps?).  They got me some very nice Vera Wang Calla Lilies for making them.  Don’t they look pretty on our new countertop? 🙂

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 Then I made a few things for myself.  I’m still…ermmmm…”fluffy” from the winter.  During the two hot days last week Ii realized I have hardly any warm weather shirts for work that fit.  I like to keep my tummy rolls to myself and hidden under loose fabric whenever possible. 

I didn’t have patterns for these items and just used some stuff I had for the sizing and to draft up the pieces.  The red shirt and white/black shirt are actually the same pattern.  I just changed it up a bit. myshirts

Then I made a dress for me, which I used a dress I bought at Ann Taylor Loft for the measurements.   It was a bit more involved than I thought it would be, but I might make it again.  We’ll see.

 

this picture is little since I didn’t have any makeup on and hadn’t showered 😉

Okay, that’s it!  My to-do list is a bit long, so I have more on my sewing table.  *sigh*  Always more to do!

More birthday bling

On Sunday the Princess had her party with friends.  The occassion warranted another dress, of course.  This one has a bunch of butterflies on it and is seersucker.  It’s very twirly, too, of course.  The same self-drafted pattern as the last one.  The seersucker definitely gave it some volume…beyond just being twirly.  It was plenty full.

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See…very twirly.

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And very full when you are trying to decapitate the Mermaid.

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For the little girls decending on our home, they got little treat bags.  I got these pink bags at Michael’s for a few bucks each.  A little fabric paint and the girl’s have their personalized pickin’-up-the-pinata-loot bag. 

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I painted their faces at the beginning of party…7 little faces…one superhero and 6 butterflies.  Can you guess who was the superhero?

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Anya got some fun presents from her friends and hopefully they enjoy their little bags of goodies.  They got candy from the pinata, we decorated some foam butterflies with glitter stickers, and they got Ariel bubbles and an Ariel bracelet.  Fun stuff for little girls!  Kailan got a blue bag, of course, and I put some little knights in it for him.  He was very happy with that.

I have more sewing to show, but I’ll just leave it at this for today.  Hopefully I will have a big long post next week full of goodies. I should be able to get some sewing time with the long weekend ahead…I hope.  Kailan is sorely lacking in the shorts department, and summer might just sneak up on us! 🙂

Creating to stand the test of time

I don’t think I really need to tell anyone that most toys these days are plastic pieces of you-know-what.  Why should they be anything else, really?  Kids have such short attention spans with their toys because so much advertising is thrown at them.  They go from one toy fad to another, so long-term use doesn’t seem to be needed.

There are a few things that I think kids will play with for a longer term.  For boys it is generally their cars.  With girls, it is dolls.

My grandmother made this doll bed for my mother.  My sister and I played with it, too.  I had to do a bit of refurbishing of it, but now my daughter plays with it.

 Doll bed - Starting point   Doll Bed - Finished #2   Doll Bed - Finished #1

When I was little I really wanted a dollhouse.  My sister and I made do with temporary makeshift “dollhouses”, but it was something that I think I would have played with a lot.  When I saw an unfinished dollhouse at Michael’s (for only $30!), I knew what I wanted to get Anya for her birthday from Mommy and Daddy.  I’m hoping that it will become a family heirloom, and be passed along in the family.

My timeline was somewhat limited, having only a few weeks to do this project.  Add in trauma’s galore and a kitchen renovation, and I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted.  At the very least, I wanted to have it painted, with the basic decorating completed in the rooms.  In order to get some input from Anya before giving her the big present, I asked her what color she would like and let her pick some of her favorites out of the scrapbooking papers I had.  I had set aside a bunch of pink and sparkly ones…she chose them all.  😉  I then used them to create her rooms.

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I didn’t buy any paint for it, and just used what I had.  I had a quart of purple that I mixed with white to get a pink color.  I had some cans leftover that had a Ralph Lauren pearly paint, which is the sheen you see above.  I mixed the pink with the gray and cream pearly paint to get the different colors.  I had a stamp for the fleur-de-lis and painted the other wall decoration freehand.

I used modge podge on the scrapbooking papers for the floors and some ceilings.  I’m not so sure how well they will work, but I can always “redecorate”. 😉

Now comes the tasks of getting/making some furniture for it.  I’m not going to rush, just so the stuff I make has some quality to them…hopefully.  I’ll post them as I get it done.

I also made this dress for her birthday, too.  It’s a new design and had some good twirl factor to it, as she likes.  It took me around 3.5 hours to make it, including drafting time and making mistakes.  She was pretty happy with it. 🙂

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A last minute dress…

I wanted to make Anya a new dress for picture day at daycare last week.  I had two all cut up and ready to sew, so I knew I could get it created within a few hours.  I started sewing it at 9:25 and finished at 11:35pm…and it was hanging on her door for picture day in the morning.  Why do I do this to myself???

I was so very tired when I started sewing, since I’ve been burning the midnight oil and doing a lot of stuff lately.  I was still coughing from being sick the week before, too.  The next morning I drove right past daycare on my way to work.  Good thing I have little people in the backseat to say, “Where are we going Mommy?”  Oy, I need some sleep.  My bloodshot eyeballs can testify to that!

Here is her dress, which is the same basic design as the Care Bear dress (which is regularly worn).  There’s a few differences, but the main thing is that it is very twirly.  That’s very important! The bottom is about 14.5 feet around.  Good thing my serger gathers the fabric for me. 🙂  Sorry no picures of her in it, right now.  I completely forgot to take a picture Friday when she wore it.  I’m sure I will have pictures of her in it soon.

 

Then…

I tried to keep myself busy on Sunday due to something worrying me, so I decided to finish up the other dress I had cut.  I started modifying it a bit by cutting a swoosh in the bodice to match the neckline.  Then I had to figure out how to put the two pieces together so the point matched.  This proved difficult.  First I tried a zipper and that looked like crap.  Then I folded over one edge, and added snaps.  This worked fine until I didn’t match them right on the other side and needed to take them out.  Let’s just say that there’s a little damaged fabric on the panel on the underside.  It doesn’t show, though…so, let’s just ignore that shall we?  😉

After it was all finished I think it looks a bit westerny, which was perfect to wear with her new cowboy boots that Aunt Susie bought her.  (They both wore their boots to daycare on Monday, Susie.  Thanks again!)  🙂

 

On my to do list:

  • A birthday dress (I’ll have her pick out what fabrics she wants from the bounty in the basement)
  • A scarf (Seriously, Anya has been asked me to make her a scarf regularly!  At least I’ll have it made for next winter LOL!)
  • Spring fleece jackets for the kids.  Their zip up hoodie sweatshirts are too small, and I’ve got a bunch of fleece that I can use.  Hopefully I can put them together relatively quickly.
  • Swimsuits (No, I have not forgotten!  I was waiting to get the next Ottobre because I want to use their bottoms pattern for the swimsuits.  It’s almost a boyshort style.  I got it on Saturday, so I just need to trace the pattern now.)
  • Gift for a friend that is long overdue.
  • New spring bag for me
  • Summer shorts for Kailan
  • Redo a Robots (the movie) t-shirt that is so big for Kailan (sz 14/16).  He really wants to wear it, so I will just redo it to make it smaller.

I’m sure there is more that I am forgetting!  Oh yeah, I need to work on Anya’s present for her birthday, but that isn’t sewing related.

The tiles came in last week from Change Your Art, and I’m a little disappointed.  The color is off, but not so much that we can’t use them.  I’m going to guess their printers work on a different color space (sRGB vs RGB), and they really need to disclose that on their website.  I need to send him and e-mail and see if that was the problem.  This weekend will be the last major project of the kitchen…tiling!

Starting out on this sewing thing

Since I’ve got nothin’ this week, I thought I would talk a little bit about sewing and how I go about getting things done.  I get asked fairly often about it, so I thought I would just write up a few things.  Feel free to tune out if you don’t care about all this boring sewing stuff.

  • One thing I get asked is how to start off sewing and what machine to get. For sewing machines, I wouldn’t recommend getting a high end machine to start. Once you know how much you are going to use it, then maybe you can buy something with 50 different stitches and an onboard computer. FYI, my sewing machine has neither. It is a heavy-weight Janome machine that can handle being used A LOT. I generally only use the straight stitch, the zigzag stitch and the buttonhole setting.  I have to service it once a year or once every two years. I probably should be doing it more, but I can’t part with her that often.

I can imagine there is a thrift store or two that may have an old machine lying around from someone that had it in their closet collecting dust. I learned to sew on ancient machines that hadn’t EVER been serviced I would wager, and frustrated me to no end. I figured out how to work around that and still learned to sew.  The oldest one I used was black and probably from the 40’s or 50’s.  It only did a straight stitch, and the foot pedal popped when I used it.  I’m fairly lucky I didn’t get electrocuted. 😉

I also have a serger.  While not a necessity in sewing, it cuts down the time needed to make things.  Whereas before I would have to sew a seam and then finish the edges, now I can do it once.  I still make sure everything is sewn well, because a serger can become a crutch in that, but it is so nice to make up clothing articles quicker.  Plus…I can ruffle with it!  I’m sure if you seen the creations I’ve made for Anya, you must know how much I use that. 😉

  • Once you have a machine, then you can buy fabric. There are so many places online that you can buy fabric from, plus the chain stores in many locations. If you live in a large metro area, see if there are any discount fabric warehouses around. There are a few where I live and that is where I buy the majority of my fabric for great prices.  Seriously, that duiponi silk dress and pants I made for Anya cost about $25…if that.  I could have easily bought her one for the same amount of money at JC Penny with lower quality materials. 

 

  • Next you need a pattern. The chain stores occassionally have sales on their patterns and that is the best time to buy. You can get a pattern for $0.99.  You can also see if you can find lots of old patterns on ebay.  I have a bunch of patterns that I got that way, and most were uncut.  I wouldn’t recommend the Ottobre patterns for beginners, since they don’t have a lot of instructions, but they are nice once you have a basic understanding of garment construction. 

The major pattern companies will usually have how hard the pattern is on it, so look for the easy ones starting out.  There are also free tutorials online, but some of them expect you to have a basic knowledge of how to put things together.

I recommend buying some basic patterns and then you can modify them for what you want.    For instance, get a pattern for some basic elastic waist pants.  If they fit, you can use that same pattern to turn it into capris by just cutting it shorter, or add a ruffle to the bottom by figuring out the length and multiply by 2 for the width.

  • Now, actually making something. My best advice is to find an elderly relative or neighbor that would love to teach you just for some company. Really, wouldn’t that be the best way to learn? They have alot of knowledge and experience to impart and you can learn in a relaxing atmosphere where no one is pushing you to buy something from them.  Plus, you are doing a good deed and spending time with someone that probably doesn’t get a whole lot of visitors.  My Grandma Josephine is the one that taught me to sew, and we had a wonderful time together.

If you can’t find someone to help you, thoroughly go over the patterns before you start.  Maybe take a sewing class at Joann’s.  If you get stuck on something….google is your friend!  They are so many wonderful seamstresses out there that are sharing their knowledge on putting in zippers or making buttonholes.

Start small is my best advice. Make some pillows or simple curtains. They have lots of straight lines. Then you can graduate to simple clothing construction. That would be nothing requiring buttonholes or zippers or darts. Eventually you can tackle the zipper. Really, it’s not that hard. Have a seam ripper, since you will have to use it. It is inevitable, so just accept the fact that you will make mistakes. It is part of that learning process. 🙂

I still have much to learn about sewing. There are so many things that you can make and do that your learning is never really complete. Couture sewing is difficult due to the attention to detail, but the final product is worth the effort. I want to try more of those techniques. This next year I want to make more items for myself, since I have the fabric for it anyways. 🙂

 

As to how I get so much done…well, having a goal in mind is good. Since I usually try to make sure I have something to post for Carrie’s Crafty Tuesday’s, this keeps me motivated to make things. I have so many projects that I want to get done, this extra motivation is helpful!

Hopefully I will have something to share next week, but since home improvement is taking a priority I’m not sure I will.  It may be a few weeks yet. Busy, busy!

Twirly Skort Tutorial and St. Patty’s Day skirt

Alrighty folks…here is the tutorial.  I have a mixture of photos between two different skirts, but hopefully it isn’t too confusing.  If you can, make the cute little treasure pouch.  It is just too adorable, and very handy for little treasures and bits and bobs and Polly Pocket shoes they pick up along the way.   This tutorial shows:

  • How to make a twirly skirt
  • How to make a twirly skirt with skort attachment
  • How to add a removable pouch to the skirt

I use snaps in this tutorial for attaching the pouch, and they are super easy to use.  I actually bought a whole bunch of them in various colors from the Snapsource.  They are so much easier and quicker to use than buttons and buttonholes.  If you look at how I attached the pouch, I made sure that when the pouch wasn’t attached the tab with the colored snap was facing out.  It just kind of blends into the background and looks decorative.  If you do make the pouch, make sure you don’t have a metal piece showing when the pouch isn’t attached.  It’s all about those little details!

Let me know if you have any questions on the tutorial.  As always, if you use it, I’d love to see pictures of your creations!  I make these tutorials because I want to share my love of sewing, that’s why I don’t charge for them.  I’d just like to know if they are being used.  🙂

Sorry, I don’t have an action photo of Anya wearing her Irish skort yet, but she is wearing it today!  I will have to add a picture of her wearing it later.  We are All American Mutts, so basically a little bit of many ethnicities…including Irish.  Kailan has a cute green t-shirt he is wearing today, too.

  Here’s a little Irish Blessing for you today:

May you be in Heaven

A full half hour afore

The devil knows ye’re dead.

I am also going to make a corned beef roast for the first time today.    Wish me luck.  We’ll be havin’ gratin potatoes and sauteed cabage with it, too.  Boiled cabbage just doesn’t sound all that appetizing. 😉

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Another one

For Crafty Tuesday, I only have one thing to share this week.  I didn’t actually sew this past weekend, though.  I was busy dreaming away on what I need to do for the kitchen.  Anya and I took a walk around Home Depot and she proclaimed it was her “Favorite Store!” since she got some popcorn from a nice Home Depot lady.  They were promoting some grill or some such…I didn’t look at it…we just took the popcorn and ran! 😉

 

Thanks for all the nice comments and suggestions on the redo…they are so helpful. 🙂

 

Here is my share for today.  This is another skort set for “summer”.  She wears it whenever it’s clean, thus the turtleneck underneath.

This design is on the shirt:

Not the best shot of her wearing it, but she wasn’t exactly cooperating.  Sometimes you just take what you can get!  I processed this shot a bit too bright, too, but hopefully you get the idea. 🙂