Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Spring Clothes

So, I know that I made the girls Easter dresses, but then I saw this tutorial on Freshly Picked that was just like those dresses at Target that I have not been buying since I was sure that I could make them. I used some of the Easter Fabric that was used for those change purses.  And it turned out like...

 this, and...


Amelia's was so short though that it stuck straight out in the back.  I ended up adding another layer just so her modesty would not be offended.

The picture above was so blurry that I thought Amelia needed another photo to show off her cuteness. So...

Here she is modeling her sister's hat.  And since A got a cute pic then so should Sophia. 

I have been wanting to show off her blue hair anyway.  It matched her bunny.

I also made myself some pants using the shorts pattern. 

It worked quite well even though I had to fudge on the bottom hem and do something like bias tape or they would have been too small. I think that they will be nice for spring and summer since the cotton is so thin. 

The only bummer about all these new clothes is that they wrinkle very badly after being washed and dried.  I have been meaning to mention that.  It is ok since I always have my ironing board out in the sewing room, but man, it makes those store bought clothes all the better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Spring Wardrobe

Well, as you may remember, blogs are wonderful things. This time I say that because my blog seems to have some psychological effect on me. After posting my entry about my dress and being intimidated about it, I finished it in the next couple of days. That is the second time it has happened like that. There is something about expressing your fears, in this case blogging about them, that allows you to get over them. Very strange and powerful.

The dress

turned out okay. I am pleased with it for several reasons.

1. I can actually wear it. This is my second dress, but it is the first one I will wear. The first one ended up looking like a hospital gown and I ended up cutting it off and using it as a skirt.

2. It contains a lot of firsts. My first sleeves (for me), collar, and button placket. I think they all turned out pretty good.

Things I still need to work on and change:

1. I need to remember to add pockets. I know that can mess with the style of some clothes, but with this dress it would have been fine. I could have added them in the seam and since it is quite loose at the hips (due to #2 below) it would have allowed me to carry tissues or little toys. I always say that the clothing industry is trying to keep women down by either not adding pockets or making them so small that nothing can fit in them. Do you realize what an advantage men have over us by being able to carry around their most needed supplies in their pockets? It is a conspiracy, I say!

2. I really need to figure out how to size myself. I am even contemplating making one of those duct tape dress forms of myself. Hubby is ready! We watched the videos the other night and it is amazing how happy men can get just thinking about using duct tape. I tried to fix my sizing on this dress by taking in the waist at the sides, but it caused it to lie a bit oddly at the hips. I could have added darts, but I thought that odd also since it has gathering at the top back. I don’t think darts and gathers belong on the same dress. However, since my knowledge of garment making is quite limited, I could be wrong.

So, I finished my dress. I also repurposed two of my old shirts for Easter dresses for the girls.

I like them lots, but neither girl seems thrilled. They will wear them anyway for at least that one day! I am thinking of having them wear leggings and leaving the dresses open after the third button so that the under skirts show more. I made the extra ladybug under skirts because I thought the shirts were a little thin for dresses.  I also thought it tied in well with the red buttons and ladybug ruffles.

After the dresses, I started on shorts. I made two pairs of shorts last year, but to be honest, I sort of wimped out and made them like pajama bottoms – no zipper, just drawstring. They are not the type of shorts I would buy at a store. Well, during one of those sales I am so fond of, I bought a pattern for “real” shorts. I have now made two pairs (the second one from one of hubby’s old shirts) and I love them. They DO look like shorts I would have bought. Yay!

They also have some of the problems store bought clothes have. The first pair is just a bit tight around the hips and gapes a little in the back. Story of my life! (FYI while trying on the shorts to take this photo, I decided they were not too tight, just too low.  I don't know if it was just another day or if washing them loosened them.)

I tried to make the second pair a bit bigger in two ways. I wanted a little more room in the hips and I wanted the waist to be higher. For those who know me that is strange, but these were really low waisted. I added an inch to the crotch area to raise up the waistband. I also tried to add a bit of fabric on the side of the front section of the shorts to make them roomier. Unfortunately, with the way the pockets are inserted, I needed to have increased the size of them and I didn’t realize that until construction. I ended up cutting off the extra fabric and just decreasing the seam allowance from 5/8” to ½”. It WORKED!

I am super thrilled with my progress in garment sewing, but I’m sort of projectless now that I don’t need anymore dresses or shorts. I may have to start on tops soon. I need to use some of my Easter fabric for the girls, but hate making things that I know won’t be worn more than once or twice. Suggestions for my next project are welcome (as long as they don’t involve stuffed animals. Sophia gives that suggestion every other day!)

Come on Spring!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I am supposed to be working on a dress for me (Simplicity 2885).

 I got to the point of buying the pattern (yay Joann’s 5 for $5 sales!!). I measured myself. Yuck! I cut out the pattern pieces. Then I got scared. I really hate sewing garments. I never seem to get them quite right. I think it has to do with my fear of making things too small and my desire to make things quickly. I also want to use a brown with pink, green, and white dots material, but I am not sure if it is appropriate. So I was stalled…

Then, out of the blue, I decided that I needed to make Easter gifts for Sophia’s class. I had bought this cute little change purse in Hot Springs, NC over New Year’s.

 This was the weekend my parents took the kids (Gott sei Dank!!) and hubby and I went to NC with my sister and hubby and Gina and hubby. It was the first time the six of us were together without kids in SIX years. We love each other lots. We enjoy each other’s company so much, but the kids have put a bit of a damper on our wild and crazy ways! So, my sister set up this weekend in honor of her FIFTEENTH wedding anniversary. Oh my! She got the grandparents to take charge of children. She begged couples to come. It was so nice. We should have sent her flowers. We didn’t. She is family. One never thanks family properly.

The point: while in NC I saw these cute little change purses made by some local sewer. At first I just said, “How cute. I will have to try that when I get home.” Then I felt some sort of need to support people who do such cute things and bought one for SIXTEEN dollars. I thought that a bit steep, but “support, support” went through my head. After I got home, it was a big hit since I had chosen the frog (Sophia’s current favorite). The sewer had sewn so many cute appliques to choose from it was hard to make a wrong decision. Anyway, I got to the cutting of the dress fabric and I…thought it was best if I made Sophia’s class change purses reminiscent of her new frog purse. Logical, right?

I have been tempted to repurpose some of my old clothing partly due to guilt of my need to buy fabric and partly due to all of these blogs that show just the cutest transformations.  So, I finally took some scissors to an old denim skirt of mine.  I used that skirt, some Easter fabric, and then scraps from my ever increasing scrap collection.  The only thing that actually cost anything was the thread, the velcro, and my time.  Since it was procrastinated time (such a thing?) I don't count it!  Thirteen change purses later, I am quite pleased with myself.  There are different insides for each and I tried to make the boys manly.

Each one has a letter on the front representing first names.  I used a straight stitch to try something new and to save thread.

While making the change purses, I was also inspired by my Sewing Circle Friends to make something for Sophia’s Go Texan Day. For you non-Texans, perhaps non-Houstonians, Go Texan Day is a day when the kids wear western clothing celebrating our past and our Rodeo present. Sophia’s is next Thursday. I decided to finally tackle one of the true repurposing projects-transforming adult clothing into children's. I used one of my old t-shirts that had just gotten too short, too tight, too old. I did this for two reasons: first, I have been unable to find plain, long sleeve t-shirts for the girls and our weather has been too erratic to assume she can wear short-sleeves next week (Crazy for us!). Secondly, I have been reading for MONTHS about these type of projects, and honestly, have just been too afraid to try. This pushed me into it.

I knew that a cute bandanna skirt would have been the best option. You know the ones, like these. It is easy and cheap and sooo cute with a LONG SLEEVE WHITE T-SHIRT. Wait, I couldn’t find one of those AND S HATES skirts. I think she might be growing out of this, but this was no time to really test my theory. So, instead, I bought a blue bandanna and went to work on the old t-shirt.  Like most first tries, it is not perfect. But, all-in-all, I like my first woman’s tee to child’s dress repurpose project. I might even try another. I might even embellish this one a bit more with a bandanna ruffle on the end of each sleeve (covering up the fact that I made the sleeves a bit too long ;) )

So, here I am. It has been several weeks now since I cut out those pattern pieces for my dress. I have almost run out of excuse projects. I might actually have to cut fabric and give it a go. I am still intimidated….Hey wait, don’t I have to make Easter dresses and perhaps even Easter PJ’s (yes, I did buy a lot of Easter fabric last year on clearance right after I started sewing)? We shall see…