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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Balanced


I honestly don't know how time manages to pass so quickly.  The past month has been a whirlwind, and I hardly feel like I can keep my feet on the ground.


Amongst other things, my oldest starting kindergarten has thrown our family for a loop.  I really didn't think that it would be a hard transition for me, and emotionally, it hasn't been.  Half day kindergarten, however, takes over your life.  It's going to be a new phase in our family's life, and I am trying to adjust.

I've been hoping to find a nice structured routine for all of us, and I suppose that it happens a bit naturally. Originally I thought that I'd sew/work while Clark was in class, but so far that hasn't happened.  Any and all sewing has been in the early morning, with errands being run during school time.  With craft fair season on it's way, I have to find a bit more work time.


Do you have any suggestions for finding a good work/family life schedule.  Balance has always eluded me. The idea of working from home sounds like a dream, right?  You're able to work in your pajamas, stay home with your children, and make a little extra money.

I've come to think that working from home might be the hardest job ever.  Having to balance your work  and family responsibilities is nearly impossible, not to mention keeping your home in good repair. Sometimes I fear that I'm doing a disservice to my children working from home.  I don't want to send the message that they are less important than a project or a deadline.  They don't often get my full attention, but instead a frazzled and frantic momma.





Like I mentioned, I'm hoping to find a better routine, and a balance, until that happens, posting will continue to be light in these parts.  I can't do it all, and I'm trying to admit that to myself, and the harder part, accept it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Toddler Swimsuit


Summertime is fading, and to be honest, I'm pretty sad about it.  Normally I'm ready to welcome in cooler weather, but this year my oldest will be entering kindergarten.  It will be a new phase of life for our family.  Our schedules will never be the same.


In an attempt to make the most of the remaining summer, we hopped in the car a few weeks ago, and had a big summer road trip.  We started out camping at one of our favorite lakes, and ended up spending some time in the sand and sun in California.  With all of the swimming and sunshine, a second suit was in order for August.  


I had purchased this adorable swimsuit material about a year and a half ago, and finally put it to use.  I absolutely love the little lobsters.  The red athletic knit for the rash guard was purchased at Wal-mart of all places.  I used a combination of the knit and the swimsuit fabric for the hat.  My little Gus and an anything but little head, so having a nice knit on the sides provided the stretch that his head needed.

The bucket hat was made using Abby's (Sew Much Ado) free pattern.






Friday, August 1, 2014

Princess Anna Inspired Costume



In addition to the Snow White costume, I also sewed up a winter princess costume for our princess meet and greet.  We had the very best Elsa and Anna, and they deserved to have something pretty to wear.  



For Anna's costume I ended up ordering the aqua blouse online, and that saved me quite a bit of time.  The vest and skirt were self drafted patterns.  The vest was a bit of an adventure.  I've decided that I really need to invest in an adjustable dress form, it would have made the pattern making process much easier.  I used black satin, gold double fold bias tape, and iron on flocked vinyl, from Expressions Vinyl,  for the vest details. My silhouette cameo saved me so much time, cutting out the intricate designs for me.



I also designed some floral details for the skirt, once again, vinyl and my silhouette did all of the work.  You can see that I didn't do the scallop detail on the skirt, I just didn't have it in me.  


Better than the dress, was the princess wearing it.  Both "Elsa" and "Anna" did a wonderful job, and were so adorable and sweet.  There were lots of star struck little princesses.



I didn't make Elsa's dress, I ordered it.  Yep, I broke down and bought a dress.  I'd originally planned on making it myself, but after pricing fabric, I just bought it.  Her crown, however, was all me.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Snow White


For those of you that follow me on Instagram, prepare to see a lot of duplicate images. 


 A couple of weeks ago, I put together a little princess party at one of the local boutiques.  It was so much fun to play dress up, and take a bit of a  break from all of the superheroes and robots that fill my home.  To my knowledge, this was the first time that I've ever dressed up as a princess.


The party was an Elsa and Anna inspired meet and greet, but since I'd be at the party all day, I figured that I should dress  up as a princess too. So, in order to avoid purchasing a wig, Snow White was naturally my first choice.  After all, I do live with several little men in a small house.


The costume was thrown together in a hurry, but came together nicely.  I didn't want to have to draft a fitted bodice pattern, so I used a crushed velvet with stretch.  The sleeves are satin, and though I wish I'd made them a bit puffier/pouffier, they were fine.  I'd thought that I'd cut the pieces with enough extra material for gathering, but, I was wrong.  Since it was last minute, there was no recutting/sewing sleeves.  I ended up trimming the sleeves with a gold glitter fold over elastic.  It was an afterthought, but one of my favorite details.

The sweetest little Elsa you'll ever meet!

My dress, is actually separates, the skirt has a flat front, and an elastic back at the waist.  I like elastic waistbands on costumes, just so that they can stretch and be worn by multiple shapes and sizes.



 Add some red lipstick, and of course a bright red hair ribbon, and you're set.  Now who wants to see Anna's dress?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Technique Tuesday: Sewing and Serging Pintucks



Today we are going to talk tucks...mostly pintucks.  I love pintucks, they are a simple sewing technique that can add an extra special detail to a project. Pintucks can be created with either a sewing machine or a serger, but I must admit, in this case I prefer my sewing machine.

First off, a pintuck is basically a straight stitch sewn on the fold of a fabric, creating a narrow lip. I've used pintucks and tucks on a number of different projects.  Here are a few examples: Sunburst Pintuck Top, Crayon Box Pleat Skirt (waistband),  Itty Bitty Remix, and my pintucked top.

Sewing a Pintuck

Light to medium weight fabrics are traditionally used with a pintuck technique. For practice, it is helpful if the fabric has a linear print on it.  For example, this cotton print has lines running vertically, horizontally, and on the bias.  If you want to practice making pintucks, it may help to use a similar fabric.  

Of course, you can use a solid, and use a removable marking pen/pencil as a guide, it just involves more measuring and marking.


Start by folding your fabric along the desired line or guide.  Pressing can make the process easier.


Place your material under the presser foot, and align the material with your 1/8" presser foot marking.  The larger the seam allowance, the bigger the tuck, the smaller the seam allowance, the smaller the tuck.  For a pintuck, I don't go any larger than 1/8", and often stick to about 1/10".

Sew a straight line along the length of the material. 


Sew as many tucks as are desired.


Press the tucks in the same direction.

.
Here's a look at some tucks created with varied widths.


From left to right: 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1"

Serging a Pintuck

A serged pintuck is nothing more than a narrow rolled hem sewn on the fold of the fabric.  The thread is much more visible than when a tuck is created with a sewing machine.

The technique is the same, but the serger requires specific settings.


My brother 1034d uses the multi-purpose guide foot for creating pintucks.  The foot features a plastic guide that can be adjusted left to right to accommodate different widths of tucks.  The guide is really helpful in maintaining a straight stitching line.


The pintuck is created using a three thread set up. The owner's manual provides these settings:

Right Needle: 4.0
Upper Looper: 4.0
Lower Looper 7.5
Differential: 0.7
Knife: Disabled
Removable Stitch Finger: Off
Stitch length 1.0-2.5 (I prefer 2.5)
Foot: Multi-purpose guide foot (aka: blind hem foot).


Here's a look at what the knobs and dials look like all set up.


 Adjust the guide foot so that the guide sits just to the right of the right needle. Place fabric under the presser foot, with the folded fabric flush with the guide.

Stitch down the length of the material.


 That's it.  The serger requires more set up, but once you've worked out any necessary adjustments to tension, it is really quite simple to do.  As I mentioned earlier, I still prefer the look of a standard sewing machine pintuck, but the serger is quite, easy, and works well.  Using a coordinating thread will help the stitching lines be less visible.

Now, aside from these basic techniques, there are a few helpful tools to making pintucks even easier.  Pintuck presser feet are available, and paired with a twin needle, pintucking becomes a cinch.

 Enjoy this informative video by Liz of JanomeLife


       




Monday, July 7, 2014

Masha and The Bear Dress


Have you heard of Masha and The Bear?  I hadn't, not until my cousins asked me to make up a Masha dress for their little daughter's party.  Apparently Masha and Mishka is her favorite Russian cartoon, so they planned a Masha themed party to celebrate summer. 




Masha's dress is adorably simple.  An a-line skirt, and a deep necked bodice made the pattern pretty simple to draft.  The hardest part was finding the right trims for the sleeves of the shirt, and the hem of the skirt, which I ended up picking up at Joann's, not perfect matches, but they worked.
As far as materials go, I used a pink suiting fabric for the dress, and a white oxford shirting for the top. 



I added a simple button closure at the back of both the shirt and the dress.  


She made an adorable Masha, and her little brother made a perfectly cuddly bear.  







Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fabric Wallet and Smart Phone Case


I think that I mentioned in the last post that I'd been working on a lot of custom project for family and friends, well here's a glimpse of one of those little projects.

My sweet Mother In Law asked if I'd make her a case/wallet for her new iphone. I've made some basic leather sleeve style cases for ipods, ipads, ect, but I'd never made an official case/wallet hybrid.  So this was a bit of an intimidating project for me.  I knew that to get this project right there would have to be a lot of prep work: measurements, patterns, proper order and assembly, and then hope and pray that I remembered to add all of the seam allowances, and then of course hope that the phone fit in the wallet.


When I finally got over my trepidation, and sat down to make the case, it wasn't that bad. I ended up making a tri-fold wallet.  I added a side zipper pocket for coins, and a small pocket for lip gloss.


 In the middle there is a leather sleeve for the phone, but the phone also fits in on the side pocket, under the cards.

I also added a little leather wristlet, so that she can carry it on her wrists on all of her adventures.  I lace and flower were afterthoughts, the pink zipper felt out of place, so I added more of it.

It's not perfect, and there are things that I'd do differently next time, but all in all I'm pretty happy with the finished product.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Summer Blessing Outfit


My sweet nephew was blessed this month.  I have yet to meet him, as he lives far away, but I can't wait to kiss his sweet little cheeks.

His good mom asked me if I'd make him a blessing outfit, and I couldn't say no.  Sewing/crafting is one of my love languages, so to be able to make something special for him on his special day, was a great way to show him and his parents my love and support.



I ended up sewing a simple white satin vest with a pocket square, and a matching bow tie.  The satin shorts are so sweet.  If a baby has thigh rolls, I whole heartedly believe that they should be shown off.


The little newsboy cap didn't turn out as perfect as I'd liked, but was still a sweet touch for the little gentleman, and a bonnet alternative for such a grown up blessing outfit.