Tuesday, March 29, 2011

St. Patty's Day Skirt

Yeah... I'm a few weeks late posting this... I know...

I did make a cute and comfortable skirt that I wore for St. Patrick's Day this year - because it's green, of course!  :)


I found this post with this awesome skirt pattern and although I didn't exactly follow instructions exactly, my skirt turned out pretty cute.  It's got the same waistband concept as the pattern and that is what made is really comfortable.

What do you think?  

The Schoolhouse Tunic - On Hold

The Schoolhouse Tunic is on hold... after all that work getting motivated and getting everything all set up, I have come to a halt with the issues with my sleeves.

Basically, I'm not in the mood to rip the seams that need ripping... not quite yet at least.  So it's sitting here on my dress form... waiting.

Schoolhouse Tunic - On Hold

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Color Inc. Weekend Giveaway: Newborn Cable Knit Bonnet from Little Labyrinth! - printLife

Good Morning!

Normally I don't share a lot of contest and giveaway links on here, but this one is way too cute and I just had to let you know about it.

Go check out this adorable hat by Little Labryinth and find out how you can enter to win!
Weekend Giveaway: Newborn Cable Knit Bonnet from Little Labyrinth! - printLife

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Schoolhouse Tunic - part 2.1

I've never made a top for myself with sleeves on it before.  The only sleeves I think I've ever done on my children's clothing has been the little simple things on the peasant top that I just recently made.

Sleeves are a little scary.

I started working on the sleeves of my tunic tonight - it was the next step in the pattern.  The instructions looked simple enough (run a few basting stitches, pull a small gather, pin sleeve to top and sew) so I figured I'd be able to get this done fairly quickly. (I had spent a good bit of time just browsing on the web tonight but I really wanted to make some progress on my top)

The basting was simple, as expected.

Then I went to pin my sleeve to the bodice piece.  I read instructions over and over but for whatever reason, I could not make my sleeve line up with the edges of the bodice.  The bodice was too long - so the gathering on the sleeve was really pretty pointless - I had to un-gather everything to get it to fit most of the way around.

I went ahead and stitched the sleeve on, then stitched the sleeve underneath and closed up one side of the bodice - but as I sit here looking at it, I'm afraid that I'm going to have some seam ripping to do.

The biggest problem I think is that the sleeve piece seems like it should have been larger.  I'm pretty sure that I cut out the correct size pattern piece so I'm not really sure why it's an issue.

I'm going to think on this a bit and figure out what really should be done with this.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Schoolhouse Tunic - part one

I said before that I have been wanting to make myself some new clothes... well, I am finally getting around to something that has been sitting on my project list for awhile.

The Schoolhouse Tunic from Sew Liberated...
Cute huh?  I think so too... bought this pattern sometime last year and am just now getting around to making it for myself.  That's how it usually goes though...

After going back and forth a few times about what kind of fabric I wanted to use, I finally settled on some nice black/gray linen.  I found it at JoAnn's for $14.99 a yard and had a 50% off coupon - total I spent around $18 for the fabric (not too bad for the nice quality stuff I got).  I actually kept trying to decide between the fabric that I ended up with vs. a linen almost exactly like the one that was on the model for the pattern... too funny :)

I started tracing the pattern pieces on to transfer paper some time last week, in hopes that I could have stitched this up over the past weekend - which was a good plan until I got sick and spent a good bit of the weekend in bed.

Anyway, on Monday evening I cut all my pattern pieces and started pinning the first few steps of the pattern together.

I did make one little adjustment to the bodice - I added a few extra inches to the bottom of the bodice pieces.  My normal problem with tops/dresses with seams under the bust line is that they are always too short for me and end up cutting me right through the center of my bust. 
 I'm hoping that the extra inches added solves this problem and doesn't cause me any other issues with the pattern.  I don't really see why it will, but it really is my luck that it would mess something up.   I guess we'll see when it's finished :)

Tonight, I was able to get the entire bodice piece put together.


What do you think so far? (please ignore that skirt that is still pinned to my dress form - it's still waiting to be hemmed)

The next step is the sleeves and attaching them to the bodice...  I'll share step by step until I get this finished - hopefully over the weekend at the latest so that I can wear this sometime soon. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A First of Many - Peasant Blouse

When I found this tutorial for a child's peasant blouse at Prudent Baby I just knew that I had to make one for the girls.  If it really was as easy as it looks, then I'd make several.  I mean seriously... what a perfect addition to any little girl's wardrobe.

Peasant Top

Well, I am happy to announce that it really was as easy as it looked.  I followed the measurements that were listed for the 18mo - 2T size because, conveniently, that was the exact size that I needed (it's always nice when you can follow the instructions exactly as written instead of having to do the math to make it a different size).  The instructions were perfect and super simple to follow.

I've been really needing some sort of project that could give me some instant gratification and this was definitely a great one for that.  It took me most of the day (between wrangling two toddlers, one of whom was sick) but could have easily been done in about an hour for those people who can sit for an hour and just work on a single project.

Of course, I made a few customizations myself though.  I did not add the waistband elastic piece from the original tutorial.  I might try it out on future versions just for some variety, but didn't feel like it for this one.  But, I did add some cute little pockets on the front.

Peasant Top

I really like this fabric because it's almost got a vintage feel to it.  Nora actually picked it out herself when we were at the fabric store this past weekend.  It was cute and on clearance, so of course I couldn't say no.  :)

Another thing that is so awesome about this top... I really think that I could make it using 2-3 fat quarters (depending on the size).  I'll probably try that at some point and let you know how that turns out. :)

Peasant Top
As you can see, my model wasn't really up for the job tonight - too busy watching Toy Story. :)

I like how versatile this type of top is.  You can wear it as a shirt, or as a dress.  With short sleeves, long sleeves, or even no sleeves if you wanted.  It's nice and cool when the weather is hot but can also be worn with a long sleeve shirt underneath during the colder months.  I definitely see myself making lots of these types of tops in the future - maybe even eventually one for myself!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

my latest obsession: patterns

Once again, I've gotten hooked on finding new ideas of projects that I want to do.... I really have no need to ever look for another project or find new ideas, because my current "I'd like to do" list could seriously last me a lifetime.  That's part of the problem with having so may awesome resources, and ideas out there to find.

My latest obsession has been patterns.  I decided that I wanted to finally make something for myself so I started looking for ideas, which led me to the pattern books in the fabric store, and then of course I had to pick out just a few.  And of course, I can never stop at just one or two.  In the past 2 weeks I've bought probably close to 15 new patterns.  Most of them are for adult clothing (i.e. for me), but I did also get a new purse pattern, and a coat pattern for the girls (I'd like to make them coats for next winter I think).

This recent pattern obsession has been fueled a bit by some pattern sales, so at least I'm not paying full price.  Hobby Lobby has Simplicity patterns for $0.99 through Saturday, and JoAnn's has them for $1.99.

I've found lots of tops, a few dresses, skirts, even jackets and cardigans.  I'll share along the way as I actually make things.

One awesome tip I have found when it comes to buying patterns... or maybe more just picking out patterns... plan ahead.  If you know that a store has patterns on sale then that is definitely the time to buy them!  I mean, who really wants to pay $17.95 for a pattern when you can scout out the sales and get them for $0.99-$1.99 each? 

Another thing... get online and check out all the patterns and spend your time browsing through the designs at home.  I could honestly spend hours just looking through all the pattern catalogs at the stores, and of course I never actually have that much time to spend doing so.  If you browse the pattern manufacturer website and make a list of the patterns you are interested in then you can head straight to the pattern drawers at the store and save a ton of time. 

I've taken this a step further and will actually take a photo of the patterns that I like on my cell phone, that way if I am in search of a pattern then I can just flip through my phone till I find what I am looking for, and I've got all my info right away.  Or, on the chance that I do sit down and browse through the pattern catalogs, I take a photo of the page and then I have my info handy when I get to the drawers.

Oh yeah, and try not to get too stuck on a specific pattern - especially when they are on sale, the popular ones can easily sell out before you get there.  So be prepared with some alternatives.  There are so many similar patterns available that it's usually pretty easy to find another one that will work for you.

One little rant though - I am a bit disappointed by how a lot of the pattern sizes are limited.  I can find some great patterns but then end up disappointed that it isn't offered in my (larger) size.  Part of my whole reason for wanting to make clothing for myself is so that I can wear things that fit.  It's fairly easy to make things fit if you are able to make it from a larger (than accurate) size pattern and then adjust to take it in where needed, but I'm finding it quite a bit harder to make a pattern larger in the areas that I need it to be bigger to fit.

I'm thinking that maybe I need to learn how to customize pre-made patterns...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

large(er) version of my buttercup bag

Remember when I made my first Buttercup Bag and I mentioned that I was going to make another one, but the enlarged version?  Well, I did... and now I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you :)

I made a few changes with this second bag that I think were definitely helpful, and made it turn out even cuter :)

First, I had recently come across this tutorial for making your own custom piping and thought it was really cool looking.  I had also been browsing through Flickr photos of the Buttercup Bag and got a bit of inspiration from other people's alterations.  Mainly, to use the piping on the bag and instead of having a single strap - to make two separate handles.

So I set out to make my own custom piping to match the lining fabric that I was using.  I didn't have enough fabric to cut my strips of fabric on the bias, but that was really not necessary for this project.  I could see where it would be necessary if we were putting the piping around lots of curved edges, but this was a pretty straight line, so it wasn't necessary.


I simply stitched the piping to the upper outer part of the bag before attaching that piece to the lower outer piece. It's really nice that if you don't get quite close enough to the edge of the piping then you can always re-stitch it to get closer.


Do you notice anything else a bit different about the photo above?


Instead of stitching the pleats in the lower outer pieces, I got a little lazy and just did a gather instead.  Honestly, I almost like the look of it better... plus it was much quicker than having to measure, press, pin and stitch all of those pleats.

For the handles, I simply measured out how long I wanted them to be, then cut strips of fabric (two of the outer fabric, two of the lining) of that width and length plus my seam allowances.  I pressed the edges of each piece and then did a top stitch all the way around to have the two pieces of fabric attached.  Oh yeah, I also used some heavyweight fusible interfacing on the outer fabric to give it a little more strength.

Once the handles were assembled, I just marked where they should be, pinned and then stitched them as I was stitching the outer and the lining together.  Simply make sure that your handles are on the right side of the outer fabric, but sandwiched between the outer and the lining (before it is turned right side out)... sorry, I forgot to get a photo of that part (I know it's a bit confusing, but maybe you get what I'm trying to say).

And here is the final product...

the outside
buttercup bag - large

and the inside
buttercup bag - large

Not too shabby huh?

*oh yeah, I kinda ad-libbed the pocket too - the size that the pattern called for was a little too small for what I needed.

Another difference between this finished bag and the first one I did (following the pattern exactly) was that I did not put in a magnetic closure... actually, I didn't add a closure at all.  I honestly didn't think it was necessary, especially with the double handles.

I've been carrying this bag around ever since I finished it, and I just love it!  It's still a little on the small side for me (I'm more of a big purse kinda girl), but it holds my essentials and is comfortable to carry.

I'll probably try to make another one sometime this year, but try enlarging the pattern even more.  I'd also like to try adding in a zipper closure maybe.

As I promised... (even though I'm super slow)

I know, I'm a few days late on the photos that I had been promising... it's been crazy around here, so that's really my own excuse (it's valid though).  I finally got a chance to sit down with my camera and computer and get these photos downloaded - I can't believe it's been about a month since I have downloaded photos!  That is so not like me at all... I'm going to be better!

I've got quite a few projects that I had done and haven't shared yet, so stay tuned for those in the next few days.

my almost finished skirt

As you can see, it still needs to be hemmed.  I'm getting there - but just not in much of a rush because I already know that it doesn't quite fit me either... so it will have to hang out in the closet until I drop a size or two. 

This skirt was really pretty easy to make.  The only difficulties I had was when I tried to add a lining to it.  See, I didn't start out planning on needing a lining but after making the first few stitches I realized that the skirt fabric was a bit see through.  It's not exactly work appropriate to have a semi-see through skirt, you know?  Well, I obviously didn't have any lining fabric with me at home so I had to plan another trip to JoAnns. 

In the mean time, I kept sewing along on the skirt.  I should have stopped when I got to the zipper part - but it was one of the first few steps and I was really wanting to get it put together.  In hindsight, I need to not put the zipper in until I have the lining ready.  It looks pretty rough on the inside...

Actually, next time I just need to pay more attention to my fabric choice and not get anything that needs a lining. :)

Oh yeah, if you are wondering... the pattern I used was from Simplicity's New Look collection, #6843

Like I said, it was really simple to follow... not a lot of steps either (it's one of those 1 hour patterns).  My only complaint is that the pattern only comes in one set of sizes... and it doesn't go up to my correct size (sadly, I guessed my measurements incorrectly).  I think I am going to do some reading about how to adjust a pattern and then maybe try this one again.

Does anyone know of any good resources for learning how to adjust a pattern for your own measurements?  Please leave any suggestions in the comments :)

Speaking of comments... I just love them!  Thanks to everyone who has left comments for me in the past... keep them coming!   I know I've been a little boring lately, but there really will be more fun stuff coming soon!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's going to be a good weekend

This past week has been an interesting one, and so I am glad it's over and now the weekend :)

Work has been interesting - not bad... just a weird week.  I actually do feel like I got a lot done at least, so that's good.

It was my Mom's birthday on Tuesday... Yeah!

We went to dinner for Mom's birthday last night but I had to leave early because the girls were sick and in bad moods... Boo! 
At dinner, I knocked over my margarita after only a few sips, leaving me with just a few sips left - what a waste.  Then on my way home I ran out of gas and got stranded half way in someones driveway until my husband could get there with enough gas to get us going again.  What a night!  As soon as the girls were bathed and in bed, I crashed myself.  Slept really good too!

But... today is a new day!  And although it's cloudy and wet outside, it's going to be a good day. 

I have had a shower and gotten dressed already - even have a little bit of makeup on.

I have finished an entire cup of coffee before it had a chance to get cold.

I have had a chance to play on the computer for a little bit now.

It's after 9:00 am and both of the girls are still asleep.  Shocking huh?  I think we are going to have to wake them up before too long.

I've got to run by the storage unit place before noon to close out our account (saving $60/month).

And we talked about trying to go get some donuts for breakfast this morning... still seeing how that one is going to pan out.

Today, I am going to finish that skirt that I have been working on all week.  And hopefully get my next project planned out and patterns traced and ready to go.

It's going to be busy, but I'm determined that it will be a good weekend!

More later with that finished skirt!  And I know I've been all talk lately... but I'll finally get some photos downloaded and posted soon - I've totally been a slacker on photos lately.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Sorry I've been MIA all week.  It's been a super busy week at work, and I've just been really tired when I get home.  Half the week I haven't even touched the computer after I got home.  I have been working on a new skirt (for myself) to wear to work.  It's been interesting so far... I'll be back this weekend with the details and photos. :)

In the mean time... here's a little something to enjoy :)

Isn't she hilarious? Those are my glasses and of course her "pincess hat" :)

I'll be back this weekend :)
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