Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Project Limbo

I've been working on lots of projects. Problem is, they are all in various states of unfinishedness. (Look at me--I'm so crafty that even when I'm not making stuff, I'm making up words.) Project limbo, I call it.

I've been meaning to post. I really have. But Eliza has been getting up earlier than usual, cutting into my morning "me time." And if I try to post when she's awake, she always climbs on my lap, forcing me to type one-handed (like I am right now, for example). That makes the process of typing up an in-depth post more daunting. She has been taking nice naps, but I'd rather use that time to work on projects, or more often, get a nap myself. On top of all that, my carpal tunnel is acting up again. My right hand tends to go numb if I type for too long. Not fun.

Still, I've been keeping busy sewing. The weather turned hot for like a day or two here in Minnesota, and I got all inspired to make Eliza a bunch of summer clothes. Then the weather turned cold again, and I haven't been able to put her in the clothes so that I can take pictures. Pretty soon, though, I'll have a little tutorial for making an adorable crossover back shirt. You're gonna love it. 

(I've been working on it for more than a week now, way before Smashed Peas and Carrots posted her tutorial. Mine is put together a little differently, so I'll still go ahead and post it. Great minds think alike, I suppose.)

I also made her some pants and a pair of shorts to go with her new shirts, but I ran out of elastic so they're unfinished at the moment.

I did finally finish one project though. I followed the tutorial on Craftiness Is Not Optional for the miniBoden Knock-off Dress by Vanessa from Little Big Girl Studios. Look how cute it is:

I adapted the Leila and Ben sweet dress pattern (seriously--this pattern is so versatile!) as directed in the tutorial. I left the elastic off the sleeves to create flutter sleeves (and also to avoid threading more elastic).

It's hard to see in the pictures, but the dress is shirred around the waist to give it a little gather. This was my first attempt at shirring with elastic thread. I'm not going to lie. There were some tears and a few swear words involved. It still didn't turn out perfect, but I was running out of elastic thread to try again. It still looks cute, I think.

I was also a little intimidated about adding the pockets, but let me tell you that it was really quite simple. And I love the extra detail!

Well, my hand is numb and my baby wants to read some books. I'll be back soon with that tutorial I promised.

Until next time,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

T-shirt Dress

Just look at this sweet little dress I made for my daughter! Can you believe it started out as a woman's t-shirt that I bought on clearance from Wal-Mart? I think I only paid $1 for it.

Wanna see how I made it? WARNING: I am not a seamstress. This is my first attempt at making up a dress without really following a pattern. So the pictures you're going to see are not exactly pretty. But it's proof that you don't have to be a perfect sewer to make a cute dress. Who cares if it's not pretty on the inside? Nobody is going to judge you. Especially a sweet little girl who will just like having a new dress to wear.

The t-shirt was a size small to begin with. I would have gotten a bigger one if they had them so that I would have had more fabric to work with, but they only had smalls. I used another of Eliza's dresses as a very basic pattern. I started by lining up the neckline of the dress with the neckline of the shirt, then marked around the bodice with a roughly 1/2" seam allowance. Then I cut the bodice shape out from the t-shirt.

Next, I just sewed the top seams (shoulder seams, I guess?) together like this:

Simple so far, right?

Next, I did the sleeves. This was the scariest part for me. I haven't really done this kind of sleeve before. The "Sweet Dress" pattern that I've made before has a different sleeve type. I had no clue what I was doing, so I just punted. I cut off the sleeve from the original t-shirt and just kind of followed that shape but cut it down a little bit. I also added a little pleat to make the sleeve puffy. then I pinned that along the bodice and sewed it on.

Next, I closed up the bodice by sewing up the sides and under the sleeves.

The bodice was finished! Then I moved on to the skirt portion. This was really easy. I just cut off the bottom part of the t-shirt to the length I wanted. That way I could use the hem of the shirt for the hem of the dress. No hemming = BO-NUS!! I sewed a gathering stitch (longest stitch length, lightest tension, no backstitching at the beginning or end) around the top part of the skirt, like this (see the stitching along the top?):

Then I gathered the skirt and pinned it to the bodice. This was the other tricky part for me (besides the sleeves). In fact, I pinned it wrong at first and was halfway through sewing it together before I realized that the skirt part was going to hang inside out. I had to get out my trusty seam-ripper and start fresh. Basically, you want to turn the bodice right side out. Then turn the skirt inside out, with the hem away from you. Insert the bodice into the skirt so that the top of the skirt and the bottom of the bodice line up. The two pieces should then be right-sides together. Then pin. Sorry, I didn't take great pictures of this step because I was still figuring it out for myself.

Anyway, once it's pinned on, just stitch around it with about a 1/2" seam allowance. I then finished the edges with an overedge stitch (or you could just use a zigzag stitch) and trimmed the excess off (less bunched fabric rubbing the baby's body that way).

 I turned it right side out, and voila! I had a little dress!

It needed something a little extra, so I made a big flower out of some knit fabric left over from another project. I followed this tutorial: How to make t-shirt fabric flower and sewed it on tight to the dress. 

Then I put it on my model and went outside to get some pics. My model wasn't the most cooperative. She was more interested in turning her back to me and walking away, but here are some pics:

 Then she started getting a little tired:
So we went inside.

The end.

Until next time,


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vote for Me!

Here goes a little shameless self-promotion. I entered the Spoonflower fabric design contest. This week's theme is black and white--everything had to be black and white--no gray or gradients. I did an original illustration I call "In the Night Garden." If you like it, would you mind heading over and voting for me? Here's the thing. There are 27 pages of entries. Yeah, 27. And they come up in a random order every time you bring it up, so I can't even tell you what page you'll find mine on. You'll have to scroll through to find mine. Of course, feel free to vote for any other fabric you see that you like. There's some cool stuff this time around.

Here's my design:

In the Night Garden

And here is the link:
You should be able to vote without signing in.

Thank you for your support. :-)

Until next time,