Halloween 2015 – Ariel and Prince Eric

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Happy Halloween, everyone!

We generally don’t go all out for halloween, but this year we were invited to a birthday party where the dress code was “costume or cocktail,” and decided to go the costume route.  The party, which was last weekend, was celebrating our friend’s 30th birthday and his dad’s 70th – 100 years all together.  Since we were celebrating a century of life and friendship, some thoughtful costume making was in order.  🙂

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So I went on pinterest (like you do) and started looking at costume ideas.  This costume is totally inspired by this mermaid costume by Lauren Conrad, except I wanted to make a few changes to make it more like Ariel (why not embrace the red hair, right?) and because I didn’t want it to be quite so revealing…IMG_7524Tim was pretty happy with this costume idea, since his costume didn’t require much to put together – he had the white shirt, jeans, and boots already, and I just quickly hemmed some red fabric from the remnant bin at Joann and tied it around his waist.  Voila!  Prince Eric.  IMG_7486 My costume took a *little* longer… lol!  I didn’t use any patterns for this, so it was a LOT of me walking through the house from my sewing area to the full length mirror in my bedroom to check for fit and decide how to do the next step.IMG_7491The top is just a dark purple quilting cotton.  The skirt has a quilting cotton interior lining with a sequin top layer and about 12 yards of tulle.  🙂  The sequins were on a mesh fabric, and that mesh was plain along the selvedge, so I left that at the top of my skirt just because I liked how it looked.
IMG_7495 IMG_7502 Then to finish it off (and cover my bra straps… I hate wearing strapless bras!) I sewed on some twill tape for straps and added some seashells.IMG_7515 IMG_7518

Overall, I was pretty happy with how it turned out!
IMG_7541IMG_7553 And Ella liked it too… she kept wanting to touch it and has asked me almost every day since then if I want to wear it again!IMG_7562 IMG_7563 I love this cute girl!  She has the option of being a princess or a firefighter this year (both are just part of her dress-up clothes we already have in the house), but since she has been running a fever off and on for the last couple of days, she might not even get to go to our church’s trunk-or-treat tonight… we’ll see how she’s feeling.  Luke has a borrowed pumpkin costume, but after a trip to urgent care this morning for a self-inflicted scratched eye (corneal abrasion for all you doctor types), he’s not feeling 100% either.  Sooo… I’m actually glad I didn’t spend a bunch of time making costumes for them this year.IMG_7565IMG_7570 IMG_7575

Thanks for reading!  What were you for halloween this year?

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Kid’s Clothes Week Plans – Fall 2015

It’s almost time for kid’s clothes week!

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What is kid’s clothes week?  It’s a week where you commit to sewing for kids one hour a day, seven days in a row.  This season’s theme is “Disguise,” but I’m not really planning to make anything that fits in with the theme… oops!

This will be the first time I’m participating, and I’m very excited… BUT I’m not planning to make anything for my own kids!

I am lucky enough to be the recipient of some great hand-me-down clothes from my sister, who has two beautiful girls older than Ella and a cute-as-can-be son a few months older (but a couple sizes bigger… ha!) than Luke.

Lexi and Chloe

Chloe and Nolan

Lexi and Nolan

See?  I told you they were some good looking kids!

Since I don’t have a great need for clothes for my own kids, my sister and I devised a plan for me to sew for my oldest niece, Lexi.  My goal is to make five tunics and three pairs of leggings for her.  And then in about two years I *might* get them back for Ella, if they aren’t too worn out… but I kind of hope they get worn out, because that means they are a well-loved part of my nieces’ wardrobes.

I’m sure I will still be making clothes for Ella and Luke this fall/winter, just not in mass quantities. 🙂

Here’s a quick look at the patterns and fabrics I have lined up:

The Nessie Top by Craftiness is Not Optional – I plan to do three different variations on this one.

nessiefront-nwThe Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew

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Pretty in Peplum by Sew Much Ado

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Go To Leggings by Go To PatternsGo-To-Leggings-Pattern-cover

Leggin’s by Love Notions

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Bonny Leggings by Made for Mermaids

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Why three different leggings patterns?  Well, because I see myself making a LOT of leggings in the future, and I want to find which pattern I like best.  So I plan to make one of each, see what the differences are, and go from there.

I already have most of the patterns printed, assembled, and traced for Lexi’s measurements (although I think I threw out my back doing this on the floor all in one evening… oops!  Lesson learned.)

For the fabric, I ordered most of it from Girl Charlee.  Here’s a peek:

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It’s all knit fabric, which can be trickier to work with than woven fabrics, and this will be the first test of my NEW SERGER!!! (affiliate link)  I’m excited but also nervous about the whole trims-as-you-sew thing… no “oopsies” allowed… 😛

Wish me luck!

Do any of you have plans for kid’s clothes week?

Ikea Chair Seat Cushion

One of the things I love most about having learned how to sew is the ability to see something that needs to be made around my house and just MAKE IT!  The perfect example of this happened just this past weekend.

IMG_7361We scored this kid’s Ikea chair for free from a neighbor, but since it didn’t match our dining set, Tim painstakingly disassembled, sanded, stained, and polyeurothaned each piece and then put it back together.  It looked great!

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And then, for reasons I didn’t quite understand, Ella decided that every time she sat on the chair, she needed to have this on it.  She called it her “flapper.” Um… huh???  The workings of a two-year-old mind are beyond me.

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This is actually a pyramid baking sheet that she pulled out of a drawer in our kitchen.  Not exactly attractive when placed on a chair, and actually kind of uncomfortable, if you ask me!    After a couple of days where this happened over and over again, I realized that what she wanted was a seat cushion, since we have cushions on our other dining chairs.  So… I dug through the fabric I had on hand and got her input on what fabric she wanted (surprise!  it’s pink!).  Then when nap time came around, I made her a seat cushion of her very own.  Here’s what I did if you want to do something similar! (And if you don’t, just skip to the end to read her reaction upon seeing the new cushion… it’s super cute, I promise.)

First, I made a pattern.  I pieced together some paper to make the shape I wanted – I was really only concerned with the shape on the right side, since I knew I would cut on the fold.

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My pattern piece looked like this.  You can see that I made a note to cut on the fold in the middle and add a seam allowance around all the other sides.

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I then cut out all my pieces, including a top, bottom, and four strips to make ties to attach the cushion to the chair.  I also cut out a square of that tacky shelf liner (tacky as in slightly sticky, not as in tasteless… but you can make your own opinions there LOL ;)) to help make the cushion stick to the chair and not slide around when she sits on it.  (Note: It looks like I added a seam allowance on the folded side of the top piece, but I didn’t – the pattern piece just shifted over before I took the picture.)

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I started by making the ties.  I folded the strips in half length-wise, then unfolded and folded each edge in toward the middle fold line, then folded again.  This sounds confusing, but hopefully the pictures make it clear.

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Next I sewed along the edge to close it, and did a zig-zag stitch on one end of each tie (I zig-zagged back and forth a few times to make sure this was really secure).

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I then prepped my bottom piece by pinning the tacky piece in the middle and sewing around the edge with a zig-zag stitch.  I didn’t change my thread color before doing this… laziness or design choice?  I’ll let you decide.  😉

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Next, I placed my top piece right side up and pinned my ties where I wanted them.

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Then I tucked the ties in so that I wouldn’t sew over them.

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And then… I inexplicably stopped taking pictures of what I was doing until the whole thing was done.  Sorry!  What I did was put the bottom piece right side down on top of the ties and pin the bottom and top piece together around the whole outer edge.  Then I sewed around the whole edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving about a 4″ gap at the back.  Next, I turned the whole thing right sides out through that 4″ gap and stuffed it with a little bit of poly fiberfill.  I didn’t put a ton of fill in because I didn’t want it to be super puffy – just enough to give a little softness to the cushion.  Then I sewed the 4″ gap closed.  You could do this by hand with a ladder stitch, but I made the… ahem… design choice ;)… to just sew it closed with my sewing machine, so you can see the stitches if you look closely.

Ta da! Seat cushion.  I admit that it’s not the most tailored cushion ever, and if I made it again I would at the very least use the same fabric for the bottom that I used for the top, just because you end up seeing the bottom fabric a bit when it’s on the chair.

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The best part of the whole project was that when Ella woke up from her nap, I told her to go look at her chair and she said, “Oh!  It’s bee-U-dee-full!!!”  And my heart just couldn’t get any more full.  I sure do love that girl.

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Tribal Print Lane Top

Okay guys – I finally faced one of my biggest sewing fears – sewing clothing for myself!

IMG_7319I chose the Lane Top by Shwin Designs, and this was the perfect pattern for a women’s sewing newbie.  It’s flowy and there are no darts, so the pattern itself is fairly straight forward.  I measured at the small/medium border for both the chest and waist measurements, and a straight-up large for the hip (ummm… can someone say pear-shaped?), so I chose to do a medium at the top and grade out to large at the bottom.  IMG_7291I also added 2.5 inches to the length, since the pattern was written for someone about 2 inches shorter than me and I also have a long torso (as in, no cheap-o one piece bathing suits will ever fit me!).  Plus, I wanted the shirt to provide a little extra booty coverage when I’m wearing yoga pants.  Because let’s be honest – I kind of live in yoga pants when I’m at home.  IMG_7296The result was a little bigger than I was going for, particularly in the shoulder area.  I may try a small for the chest/waist next time, but I also kind of like the oversized look right now, especially when my post-baby belly is still hanging around.IMG_7301The trickiest part for me was working with a new type of fabric – rayon challis.  I got this fabric from fabric.com (although it looks like this color is out of stock – see another colorway here) and I love the feel of it – I mean, wearing rayon is pretty great!  But working with it is a little tougher than a quilting cotton, since it can slip around on you a bit.  I used a trick that I had seen on pinterest (but didn’t actually pin, so now I don’t know where I saw it), and I think it saved me some major heartache.  Are you ready for this?  A glue stick!  Elmer’s school glue, to be precise, because it washes out.  You roll it on, then fold your hem/binding down and hit it with a hot dry iron.  Presto!  No more dealing with shifty fabric between pins!  I highly recommend.IMG_7309Thanks for reading!