Thursday, January 31, 2013

I heart ruffles!

Project Run and Play's sew along this week was a Valentines Day theme.   I decided to make my oldest daughter a ruffle t-shirt dress with leggings and glitter shoes!  Here's the overall look.

This picture shows the stretch leggings under the dress.
 I made a pair of shorts and attached the lace so it would be more comfortable.

Here is how I made the t-shirt dress 

I took a t-shirt I had pre-cut (front, back and sleeves) and altered them to make a dress.   In the picture above you can see the front placed on a type of tracing paper/old interfacing.  This allows you to measure exactly how long and wide you make the pattern.  I have found this very helpful when making my own patterns.   Anyhow, Use the ruller and angle it to create an a-line t-shirt dress (or even nightgown).

Above - shows the t-shirt pattern back ready to cut out and use.  (Tip - make sure you layer the front and back views to make sure the front and back are the same length.)

Now lets plan for the Ruffles on the front of the dress

Here you see the front view traced and ready to cut.  I then placed it on my rotary mat and evenly measured all the ruffles.  This helps with attaching the ruffles later as well as planning how much to cut for each row.  

Tracing the Lines on the front of the dress to align the ruffles

After you cut out the t-shirt front, take a tracing wheel and tracing paper, using your rotary cutter, re-trace those lines.  Now you have lines on the front of the dress to guide you as you sew each ruffle.  

Now it's time to lay out your colors for the ruffles

Ok, this looks messy (haha) but this is how I laid out my strips of fabric for the dress to plan out each layer and how much fabric I would need.  (basically measure the width of the dress and multiply by two or three to get desired ruffle look.)

Sewing your ruffles in place

Hopefully you can see the white line from the tracing paper.  You pin each ruffle to this line and stitch down or zig zag down as I did.  (If you want a more finished look, I would suggest hemming each ruffle BEFORE you sew it down to the front of the dress.)

VIOLA!  Ruffles! I sewed from bottom to top and this was great because you didn't have the ruffle above you in your way as you sewed the next one.   I used four materials.  (A recycled red twin flat sheet, a recycled valentines day t-shirt print and two other knits that just matched the print.)

For the top of the dress, I did the regular t-shirt sleeves and I used a red ribbing for the neck.  I also used some black ribbon and lace over the top ruffle for an added touch. 

The leggings

I made a pair of "bike" shorts and attached the stretch lace to the bottom.  This made it appear as leggings in the picture and for the look of the outfit but also allowed comfort around the waist.   Below is a detail of the shorts attached to the knit.

The shoes


ADD A MIXTURE OF MOD PODGE AND GLITTER - tapping off areas you don't want glittered

 Instant Dorothy Shoes!

So again here are some pictures of the whole look.  

Sew stay tuned for next week......always be sew hungry for more.....AKH

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A road bump - please say a prayer for us

As I am finishing up my valentines dress for Project Run and Play....I have had some serious bumps in the road this week...

First of all my husband brought home a flu type virus which landed him a fever for three days, then transferred to baby - still recovering and now big sister has it!  (She's in bed as I write.)   I am praying that my multi-vitamins will ward this away but I am now coughing!  UGH!   I can't stand getting sick....I don't have time for it!  (LOL)  But it happens.

However, I am not writing tonight to share the flu bug.   I wanted to write about my husband's condition.  My husband has a degenerative cornea issue. (That's right - his eyesight is failing.)  Last year, we discovered his glasses were not working.  He went to the eye doctor for a usual check up and told him that he needed to see an eye surgeon and get checked out.   After the appointment we were told he would need a channel dug in each cornea to prevent his cornea's from coning out.    We were also told though that he could try hard contacts and this might help prevent further damage, but also the doctor could not say or predict how long it would take for his eyesight to worsen.    

Today, my husband went for a check up and found out he needs a cornea transplant in his right eye as well as the channeling surgery for his left eye.    He was asked to try a few things first and he has a check up again in a few months to schedule surgery.    

So please say a prayer for our family.   We have no idea how much the surgery will cost and how we will pay for it.   

Sew for now I'm trying to keep my head up and keep positive....and keep sewing.  Thanks for reading.  


Friday, January 25, 2013

PR&P Sew Along: Boys Week

Boys Week and a gift for missions

This week was boys week for Project Run and Play.  The challenge was anything boyish.  I decided to make a baby boy outfit with some material I found on sale.  I thought I would make my own applique and decided to use a bear on the outfit.   This time I followed a pattern book (Baby Couture by Samantha McNesby) and did a few minor alterations to the garmets.  The book includes a very simple baby jacket which was easy to make and gives lots of room for customizing.   So here is the complete gift "set".  I made a raglan t-shirt (pattern by Kwik Sew), a jacket lined with t-shirt material, a pair of pants and a bib to match.

A view of the t-shirt placed inside the jacket.
A close up of the t-shirt.  I used brown ribbing which (ugh) is blending in with the color of the table. And I used bias strips to add a detail to the front.

This is a back view of the jacket with t-shirt and pants.

Now if you have read my blog, you know I only have two girls.   God layed upon my heart to make an outfit for a baby boy and give as a gift.  I wasn't sure who to give it to until Wednesday night service.  Reverand Doctor Epratha Sarathy Th.D. came to speak about his ministry as a pastor in India.  He is part of Jane India Missions.  They "plant" churches throughout India and they also run over 300 medical camps to assist the poor with medical care.   One of the things Dr. Sarathy spoke about was the number of orphans in India due to the high rate of HIV/Aids.   In fact, Dr. Sarathy and his wife have 17 orphans living in their home/church building!!  (If you would like to know more about this mission, please visit here.)  I also asked the pastor what a bear would mean in the Hindu religion. (Afterall, you would not want to give a gift that had an "evil" spirit attached to it if a non-Christian were to accept it.)  The bear actually represents strength and courage!  So I am packing this outift to send back with Dr. Sarathy on Sunday and pray it meets the needs of a little boy.  I also pray that he someday has the strength and courage to follow Christ.   

Next week is valentines week....can't wait to sew together the outfit for my eldest daughter.  I think we will also accessorize this time! So stay tuned and come back Sew Hungry for More!  AKH.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sew Along: Dots and Stripes


The challenge this week on Season 6, Week 2 of Project Run and Play (here) was something with Dots and Stripes.  I looked around my stash and did not see any dots or stripes that spoke to me.  My older daughter loves color and she loves rainbows.  So my first thought was a rainbow type theme but I didn't want to do a my little pony dress for this challenge.  Haha.  So I was trying to think about sewing ahead for spring/summer and what theme would meet the challenge.   Then it hit me...Lollipops!  So I wanted to do dots and stripes with a lollipop theme dress for spring or summer.  I also wanted to do something my daughter could romp around in and not just for church on Sunday so, I decided on a modified t-shirt dress.

Here, once more, is my sketch

Detail of the sleeve with ribbon detail.

 Here is the Finished Dress

My own applique.  This time it's layered circles in fabric.

I also combined ribbing colors on the neck for a more interesting twist on the t-shirt dress.

Silly Girl!  My model.

This was fun.  I enjoyed the sewing and my daughter dancing around excitedly in her new dress.  She loves comfy mommy made t-shirt dresses.  No thrifting or cutting corners on this one...all from scratch.

Next week's challenge is Boy's week and I am doing a gift for a friend.  So come back...Sew Hungry For More..AKH.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sew Along for Project Run and Play: Pattern Remix Challenge

Inspirations for Dress

I decided to do a sew along for Project Run and Play.  The first challenge is to use the Cottage Home's pattern for the Party Dress (Here) and remix it into something else.   I decided to keep the theme of the "party" dress but change a few elements.  My inspirations were these cotton organic baby tights I found on clearance at a local shop.  They have a black background with purple cables and purple diamonds in a vertical pattern up the tights.  I also found this beautiful satin which is not a perfect match but close enough for me! 

 I will say this has been one of my most challenging dresses.  Not because of the actual sewing but the time to sew.  My family came down with the stomach flu on monday....Perfect timing! LOL.  So I have been sewing between my kids sicknesses and myself.  Anyhow, back to the dress details.  

Here is a picture of my original design drawing. I altered a few things along the way, which you will notice in the pictures later..

The Final Product

And here is the finished dress.  (Sorry no modeling yet....she's still sick.) 
Back view

For the front of the dress, I cut out the Center of the Bodice front and did what I call fabric oragami.  It's a process of folding and pressing the fabric into a shape.  I wanted triangles to go along with the diamonds in the tights. These triangles are stacked until they appear to be weaving in and out.  

Front Bodice of Dress.

For the skirt, I decided to use two skirts.  The underskirt is black and the purple material was on top of that. I decided to use ribbon and do a "pull up" technique on the sides of the dress to let the black satin show a little more. 

For the back of the dress, I used some antique buttons I had bought at an estate sale.  These just seemed to look elegant and go with the overall theme of the dress.

And so there you have it.  One sew along completed and I look forward to completing the next challenge.  So stay tuned...and be Sew Hungry for More..


Update:  Here are some photos we snapped this morning.  I didn't use the tights because here in lovely Florida tradition, the weather decided to be like 80 degrees out!!!

Back of the dress

Too Cute and Rotten!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Should I buy new, used or sew to save money on kids clothing?

With this new year brings even newer taxes! YUK = need a "dislike" button on facebook..haha.   Anyhow, our family is a one income family for the most part and it makes it more challenging now that I know our healthcare as well as taxes will take out a significant part of our paycheck.  (I get to see "how much" this friday. fun, fun)   As I go through and re-adjust the budget, some of the categories like entertainment and clothing costs get hit the most.  So I thought I would do a posting about saving money on kids clothing and weighing in on the question: "Should I buy new or used clothing or is it best to sew what I need?

Buying New Clothing

Oldest daughter in Gymboree Horse top with Grandma's handmade cowgirl vest
 and Mamma's handmade twirly skirt.

For me as a seamstress, it is hard for me to brake down and buy new clothing especially when it is not on sale.  For one I don't have the money to buy an $80 dress for my five year old or even a $40 pair of shoes.   My kids (hopefully like everyones) also grow out of clothing so fast that it is hard to justify spending a lot on newer clothing.  So here are my "rules" on buying new:

- buy it only if it's on sale AND my child is in a growth spurt to where I couldn't possibly sew THAT much.
- buy things that I cannot sew - tights/hosery, shoes, underware, socks and sweaters for example.
- buy it if I really need it and cannot sew it in time - backpacks, winter coats, last minute special occasion outfit.

I usually shop stores and malls when they have their best sales - more than 50% off, coupon time or bonus shopping bucks to come back and get great deals again.  I browse sales ads before hand and find exactly what I need.   Most of the browsing I do is window shopping...I will look for needs but also look to see what I can duplicate by sewing it and saving money.  I rarely buy online or catalog.  I like to see and feel the quality of the garmet before purchasing.  There are some name brands I trust quality, but others it is hard to say if the garmet will look like the picture online.  I do window shop Zillily and Totsy sites but still haven't seen a clothing deal I HAD to buy at that price.

Buying Used Clothing

Two sayings come to mind "Buy used and pocket the difference" and "Recycle/Reduce/Reuse".   Buying used has it's ups and downs.   I sometimes buy used for a project to re-use it as something else.  This is mainly to save cost because let's face it, when Joann Fabrics has knits for $12.99 a yard and you don't have a coupon. Spending that amount is more than a child's t-shirt at full price!  So sometimes in order to find a color match, I go find a "newer" looking unstained t-shirt to cut down to my child's size.  Even $4 at Goodwill is better than the fabric at full price and sometimes sale price!  

I do re-use some of my clothes, my husbands and "hand-me-downs" also to make garmets.  It is easy to cut down t-shirts and even men's dress shirts to make a skirt, a dress or another shirt.  There are several tutorials online showing how to re-use garmets or "upcycle" hand-me downs for another use.  Here are a few of my favorites:

- Using a men's dress shirt into a girls dress here
- This tutuorial here a great way to use up a few t-shirts or cotton skirts by making each tier a different fabric.

I have bought other things at consignment sales and thrift stores such as sweaters, hoodies, and general clothing to help fill their closets with a wide variety.  Sometimes it's nice to find a sweater dress (for example) and then make leggings to go underneath or a pair of jeans with embroidery on the legs which I will match up with a t-shirt.   This method does help the budget but most of the time I try to sew what they need.  Which brings me to my next and last opinion.

Sewing To Save on Clothing

"When to sew and when not to sew?" is the question.   I will say there are some expensive fabrics out there.  Nice name brands like Moda, Amy Butler and Robert Kaufmann (just to name a few) also have a price tag.  In my neck of the woods the prices start at $9.99 a yard to $16.99 a yard for these types of materials.  Yes, there are places online, and I have bought some after going to my local quilt shop to look at the actual print.  But still after shipping it is hard not to spend a lot of money buying fabric.  

So what do I do to make the price cheaper? Here is a listing of tips.

I mix (oops..dirty word..haha) fabrics.  I will buy one or two pieces of the expensive and then match with cheaper materials like solids or fat quarters.   I know they are not all matched for you and so this presents a challenge.  Usually though, I am able to find what I need and the match ups are sometimes better than the original material collection.  

I find "used" fabrics at thrift stores, yard name it, I'm on it.  I sometimes find fabric that is perfect and sometimes I buy "lots" where only a few pieces are what I really want to use.   I have found Moda, Robert Kaufmann, and other name brands at these places.  I probably pay half or more off the original retail price.  This helps my budget and helps someone get rid of Grandma's fabric stash after she can no longer use it.  

I also play the sales game at fabric stores and walmart centers.  I gather coupons, do ad compares and try my best not to pay full price for anything.   

I will say that for my family, it saves me more right now to sew for my daughters.  I do from time to time, sew for myself, but lately that is not often because everytime I turn around, we are going through another growth spurt.  

So here is what I do each season to help with cost and fill the closets for the girls.   

- Take inventory of what they have and what fits.  Go through hand-me-downs and look over to ensure there are no stains, rips, or tears.   

- Repair (if possible) or alter some things to make them more useful.  My youngest isn't quite as tall as her sister, so I end up heming pants and dresses.

- Make a list of what is needed for the season.  Skirts, Dresses, Pants, Jackets, etc.  

- Divide and conquer.  Is there something you can sew easily such as leggings or skirts to boost their wardrobe?  Or does something take you a lot longer where you would feel more comfortable buying it to give time to sew the rest?  Answer these questions and make a plan.   

- Plan what you sew!  Give yourself time, ask family members to help with watching kids and schedule some sewing sessions.  Also look ahead at seasons and ahead!!

- Do some activities while kids are awake.  I usually cut out outfits during the day as the kids play.  This doesn't take long and I can watch kids while I cut.   

- Do somethings during nap time or early bed time.  For me this means a "quiet" activity so I don't wake little ones.  I usually iron, pin or gather during this time.   I will sew a few seams from time to time, but since my machine is near the crib, I cannot sew a lot when she sleeps.

Wrap Up

 In review, it helps to understand where your sewing helps and hurts your clothing budget.  I think most of us are trying to save and make do with our current resources.  I encourage everyone to sew as much and as often as you can.   Review your stash, make changes and plan your sewing schedule.  Find out what you know you need and see if your budget allows sewing, buying new or buying used.  

Anyhow, I hope this blog has helped someone become more organized about their sewing.  I hope to follow up with some great projects this year and a monthly theme.  So please visit frequently...and always come back Sew Hungry for More. conclusion, I have a question for you....
What do you do to help with your clothing budget??  What do you decide to sew and not to sew??


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quilted Dress Tutorial Part Two

Ok, Ladies and Gents, here is the second part of the tutorial for my quilted dress.   Sorry for the wait.  The baby got sick, had Christmas presents to finish (which I will share on another posting) and well life just got in the way.   But here it is....

In Part one you have the strips of the skirt sewn together.....except the last piece.   It's time now to assemble the bodice for the dress.   Now I like to make mine out of a knit so the child can easily slip it on and off.  No buttons, zippers or linings to use.   I do add ribbing to the t-shirt BUT in this case I could not find a knit color I liked at the fabric store.  So, I thrifted a top at the Goodwill that matched perfectly AND I decided I would re-use the ribbing on the shirt so I could skip that step.  (I will probably do I t-shirt from scratch with ribbing on another tutorial much later.)

Materials List: 

- knit (or thrifted t-shirt)
- rotary mat
- a marking pen or sharpie
- the current t-shirt that fits to trace for a pattern
- scissors.

Time to Trace and Cut

First lets lay out the t-shirt....

Next, fold the t-shirt you are going to cut out with sides seams together and place the t-shirt you want to trace on top.  Align the ribbing at the neck together if you want to re-use the ribbing.

Take your scissors and trace the bottom where you want a bodice piece to end...I usually fold up the t-shirt to a desired length.  Take your finger and trace the side seams..mark with marker and cut.  Take your fingers and flatten seam for shoulder, trace with marker and cut. 

Now repeat these steps for the back bodice piece.  Lay on back fold, trace and cut.  This will give you both your bodice pieces as shown below.

For the sleeves, I reuse the old sleeves and trim them down.  This is done by taking the thrifted t=shirt and cutting out the sleeves.  

From this point I find it easier to lay the thrifted t-shirt on top of the child's t-shirt and trace (with a seam allowance of 1/2" allowed) with a sharpie marker.  Then lay this sleeve on top the other one to cut both the same as shown in the picture below.

So now you have your bodice front, bodice back and sleeves ready to assemble.

Shown above are all the pieces.  If you noticed I also re-used the bottom of the old pink t-shirt for some more strips.  This is to be used for a ruffle or band at the bottom of the skirt.   I have also added a reverse applique to the bodice front. (not sure if I will do that tutorial later or not.)   

Time to Sew!!!

Now place the bodice front to back, right sides together and sew the shoulder sleeves together.  Then serge if you have a serger or finish the raw edges in your desired manner.  Take the sleeves and run a gathering stitch along the shoulder seam.   Again with right sides together attach the sleeves to the bodice piece...gathering as needed and pinning to keep in place.  A picture is below for reference.  (One sleeve is already sewn, the other is pinned.

Here is a picture of the bodice after sleeves have been set in on both shoulders.  Now flip this allowing bodice front (right side) to meet bodice back (right side)...align the side seams and under arm, sew and serge.  This will allow you to finish your bodice.

Attaching the skirt!

Next, gather the skirt with two rows of gathering stitches leaving room for the last seam.   Sew the skirt together.  Place bodice right sides to right sides of skirt.  Pin side seams and then gather the skirt as needed to fit the bodice.  Pin as you go.  Check to ensure the gathers are even and look right.  Stitch.  (Pictured below is the gathering shown after stitching.)  Then serge or finish the raw edges so they will not fray.

Lastly, I took the three pink t-shirt rows shown in a picture above, cut them apart on one side and sewed them back to back.  I pleated them (you could also gather them) and then pinned it right sides together to the bottom of the skirt.  Also for finishing touches I decided to pleat and add a ruffle to the bottom of the sleeves in the same manner as the bottom of the skirt.   You could also just fold up the sleeves and hem or fold up and add elastic in a casing to give a different look.   Below is a picture of the finished dress.

So now you have it.  The quilted dress.  I will have my little one in it soon to add some modeling pictures.  This is a spring dress and right now it's 50 degrees in Florida!  I think I'll wait for a warmer day to do the modeling.   

Happy Sewing and get ready for some more tutorials...stay sew hungry for more!!!