Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is why I love sewing.

UPDATE: I finished Chloe's Olivia outfit. You can read about it here.

I know, I just posted a few minutes ago, but now I've been surfing, looking for a certain fabric, and I just had to share this. My daughter Chloe is starting kindergarten this year and she wants me to make her an Olivia outfit. Don't know what I'm talking about? This is Olivia:

I actually like the Olivia stories because even though Olivia is a take-charge kind of girl (um, Chloe), she always treats everyone very nicely. So I've been on the lookout for some red and white striped knit and I think I found it tonight. I already have some soft red corduroy. Won't this be the best? I'm so excited.

What to do with those pesky patterns

Okay, so if you sew using store bought patterns, you have dealt with the issue of what to do with those flimsy pieces of tissue paper afterwards. I hate the way that if you haven't destroyed the pattern already with pins, weights, trying to trace, or whatever, then you destroy it trying to put it back in the envelope. Heck, even if you don't even use the pattern, if you just unfold the tissue to get a look at how many pieces you will be cutting out, it can be near impossible to get it to fold all nicely again. I used to just figure if I really liked a pattern I'd wait until it went on sale and get another one.

That's what I thought before I borrowed a pattern from my sister last year. First of all, I was amazed that she had sewn from this pattern twice, and was still offering it to me to sew with. Thank you, thank you, thank you Itsy (yeah, she's the baby girl still, even with her own babies) for this trick.

Just take a piece of  8 1/2 x 11 cardstock and fold it in half.

Then fold and lay all of those pesky pattern pieces inside.

And slip in in the envelope...


I've always believed that the simplest solutions are the best. Downloadable patterns that you print at home aren't such a dilemma because if you lose or ruin one you can always just print it again, but I like to save them too if I can. As long as I'm on the topic I might as well show you my system for them too, I simply put the pieces in a file folder,

label it,

and stick it in my filing cabinet.

I love to peek at how other people organize things. It never really makes me more organized, but it feels good to see that we all have to try a little.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to carolina fair designs... with a new tutorial for you!

I almost didn't even notice it, but carolina fair designs is one year old! It was this month last year that I listed my first pattern for sale on etsy. So to celebrate let's all make a "Mom is not a messenger" bag! I made this bag because I wanted a messenger style purse/diaperbag, but I hate the thought of being a messenger. A mom's job is much more important (and much harder!) than a messenger's. Here's the tutorial in a picture format so you can preview it, and then you can download the pdf by clicking here. Have fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

See me at Pickup Some Creativity Today!

Be sure you check out my friend Chris' blog today. She let me write a guest post for her Sewing 101 series. There's been a whole bunch of good stuff already, so a felt a lot of pressure! I decided to write on the many uses of bias trim because it's one of my favorite things. I even posted a picture of my huge stash of it!

Friday, July 9, 2010


This post is about sewing, but not about my own. Last Sunday  I dressed my littlest in this cute little red, white, and blue dress (okay, the blue is in the lining, you'll see it in a minute):

Isn't it adorable? I really like it. And she looked so appropriately cute for the 4th. But then later, when I was holding her, I started noticing things about this dress. Things that probably wouldn't have bothered me except that this dress is supposedly a nice brand. I won't name any names, but I will point out this:

Wouldn't you expect good quality from this brand? This is what I saw:

and puckering on one armhole:

and the other:

The seam coming out beneath the zipper would be an easy fix, I guess. I could fix that with just a needle and thread. But why wasn't it reinforced to begin with? And the puckering, well, I know that making a lining look perfect can be tricky, but isn't that why we pay more for quality clothing?

So this is what I want to tell everybody: don't be afraid to sew your own clothes!!!!! If you mess up, you aren't alone. Even the best do. And from what I can see, if you practice a bit, you can sew clothes that are just as well constructed (if not better) than the ones you would buy. Enough said.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Serger practice and more (even twilight shirts!)

So I have still been sewing, nearly every day. Just not taking pictures of everything and not blogging, unfortunately.

So here's a quick recap of my sewing life lately...

About a week and a half ago I found a killer deal on a serger on craigslist. Actually it wasn't a killer deal until I emailed the guy and offered him what I had in cash (it wasn't much). To my HUGE surprise he emailed me right back and said if I came that night he would sell it to me for that ridiculously low price. So of course as soon as my husband got home from work I was out the door and driving over to get it.

I have never had a serger before, so for a week I was testing, reading the manual, testing, reading library books, testing, frustrating a bit, calling the help line (no help from the people in India there), and figuring it out on my own.

My first real project was to make my kids crayon rolls. I'm sure you've seen the tutorials before. This is the best one I've found, so I used it as a start. Of course my daughter asked for a special alteration because she knows I can do that. She wanted velcro instead of a ribbon closure. That this princess would want velcro instead of ribbon was a big surprise, but I worked it out. I added an inch to one end to make room for the velcro strip, and then sewed the other strip on the back.

It was a little annoying to find that the crayons marked up the fabric as the kids took them in and out, but oh well. That's not my fault and I'm sure they're washable. Actually, one crayon roll somehow made it into the bathtub the other night and it survived. I was pleased to see that the kids really appreciate something I made.
(I know all that serging all over the edges is a bit tacky, but this was MY serger practice and the fact that the kids got something is a bonus, right?)

What else... oh, I've been working on and off on a pdf pattern for that little ruffle skirt that I made last month. Here's one I made for Cadie...

I cut the elastic a little too tight for her chubby waist but she loves it. Now she won't have to pull Chloe's out of the laundry anymore and carry it around.

And here's another one for Chloe. I shortened the yoke on the girls's sizes after this, by the way. Now it looks more like the original.

And my friend Ann who has her own store, Ribbons and Bows by Ann has been posting all kinds of pictures on my facebook page of the things she has been doing with the Pretty Pinafore pattern.

She is so talented! I love the little bows at the shoulders. And the matching long bloomers.

When I asked about making it reversible she said,

"I wanted to use gingham fabric but it is very sheer so I added a lining of white broadcloth. There is no right or wrong side to the gingham. So just sew the two pieces together. I left a small opening on one of the back straps that criss-cross. Use that opening to turn you fabric right side out. Just sew the hole closed and sew the shoulder straps together as the pattern says."

Okay. Thanks for sharing Ann!

Oh, and how could I forget the Twilight t-shirts that I made for my husband and I to wear to the midnight showing of Eclipse? (yes, I made him go. and he really didn't want to wear the shirt either but I was very persuasive)

I know, this is a really bad photo taken in the dark hallway of the theatre. And I had to hide my husband's identity. He couldn't believe he left the house in a team jacob t-shirt.

This was reverse appliqué done with letters that I printed up in fancy fonts, and an old red t-shirt that I cut up and pinned underneath. I followed this tutorial more or less. At the last minute, I used this free tutorial to make a matching little shrug. So much selfish sewing!

Back to the grind now. Watch for my new Little Ruffle Skirt pdf pattern soon!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...