Monday, October 12, 2015

Other fun

 I used to do cross-stitch a lot, before I really got into sewing.  I liked the graphical nature of it, and I had a lot of fun with putting small designs on clothing.  I had quite a few big pictures that I started, but not so many that I finished - oops!  And most that I finished were given away.  I'll have to dig up the few that are still here and photograph them.

Anyway, there are certain times that you need a project and can't lug your sewing machine along.  (As evidenced by last Christmas' slipper production....)  But I eventually got tired of slippers...even though I have a pair that need to be when I knew that I had a long day out with not much to do, I turned back to cross-stitch.  At this point, my favored Blackhawks were starting the Stanley Cup finals, so I bought a logo pattern on etsy and picked up the few needed supplies.  Nearly a month later, I finished it while en route to the United Center for a U2 concert. 

It's actually still not done - the logo is complete, and I do really like the pattern.  All full stitches, and it stitched up nicely.  I will say that I changed the color of the face - that was originally the same yellow as the feathers, and that was just not right.  The other colors perfectly matched the logo on my sweatshirt from the Winter Classic 2015, so I just took the sweatshirt to the store and matched the floss to the face that way.  (If anyone wants to know, I used DMC 783 for the face.)  Now I just need to decide what font I'm using to add the years of Stanley Cup wins around it, and whether I'm going to add "Chicago Blackhawks" or "Stanley Cup champions" to it.  Decisions, decisions.....

However, this one is finished!  I have a misguided friend, so I bought this pattern and made it for her.  I added her name and "#1 fan" below the logo.  It turned out really well (except for being the wrong team....)!  I love the colors in it, too.  That electric blue is one of my favorites.

As an aside, this is also the first cross-stitch picture that I've framed myself *the right way*.  I looked up online how to do this properly.  It's mounted over a piece of acid-free foam-core mat board, and it is laced in the back instead of taped or anything crass. ;)  I didn't add a back over the opening, because I want her to be able to remove the mat in case an autograph opportunity presents itself.  And I included an acid-free pen in the box, for use in such an opportunity.  She was really thrilled with it, and I'm delighted with how well it turned out!  Now I need to figure out how I want to finish mine so that it can get into a frame!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

More twirly skirts!

So of course I couldn't stop with just those previously blogged little girl skirts.  Um, no.  I had bought enough of the tutti fruitti fabric in my initial shopping trip for five skirts.  And then when I went back for yardage for the Sophia skirt, I had gotten enough for two of those.  So it was time to finish these and move them out before summer ended and my niece couldn't wear them!  (Yes, I'm blogging late....again....)

These are all iterations of the Rachel skirt.  I used my serger on all of them to ruffle the middle and trim tiers.  I really like how they turned out!  The purple wavy lines/colored dots on white skirt is a size 4 (my niece is going to be four soon), with regular elastic.  The other three are all size 5, with buttonhole elastic.  I figure that way she can use them now, but she won't outgrow them before next year.

And I had to make another Sophia!  This one is also a size 5 (the last one was a size 4), with buttonhole elastic.  Takes some of the guesswork out of these, which is great!  I included a note with them for my sister-in-law to let me know how that holds up in the wash.  These recent skirts are my first time using it, but I really love it in my boys' store-bought pants!

The Husband was surprised to see this combination, and even more surprised to hear that I'd been the one to pick it.  He thought it looked very summery, like corn, and I told him that was the intention.  I really stink at combining more than two fabrics, so I was just looking for two coordinating colors that were in the dragonfly print.  Still not my style at all, but I think it looks good.  Hopefully my niece likes it!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Little 4 Awhile Rachel Skirt

So I had made my niece a trial skirt - the Sophia Tiered Skirt from Funktional Threads - and then waited to hear the reaction and feedback on the sizing.  Well, it was a hit!  And they said that it was a bit big, which was good!  So of course I had intentions - and fabric already - to make some more.  But first, I decided to try another - less intensive - skirt pattern.  Enter the Rachel skirt, from Little 4 Awhile.  This has the added advantage of being free!  (Anyone who makes skirts for charity, take note!)

For my first iteration, I basically made it as is.  It is a very basic skirt which can be made in either knit or woven fabric.  I chose to use woven for this.  The skirt is gathered to fit the waistband, and the bottom trim band is the exact length of the skirt - no ruffles here.  This is a size 4, and I made the elastic an inch shorter than I had on the Sophia skirt, based on the feedback of that one being a bit large.

For my next iteration, I used my ruffler foot or my serger to play around with gathering - which made it non exact.  (I was using both the ruffler foot and the serger for various pieces at that point - don't remember which I used here.)  The only thing with using either of those - which worked great, by the way! - is that unless you do more math than what I was willing to do at that point, you don't know exactly how the gathering is going to turn out.  I.e., you need to ruffle more than you think you'll need and then put it together.  This didn't bother me - I just cut extra length for my middle and bottom tiers, stitched them together, gathered them, and then put them together with the waistband before stitching the last seam.  (Does that make sense?)  And after the first one, I decided to go with ruffles at the bottom edge - these are double layer, because I have no desire to hem it all. ;)

So there's a story with these two skirts.  A friend's little daughter really loves Spiderman, which is a bit unusual, and her favorite color is brown, which is rather unusual.  She just had a birthday, and I thought it'd be really neat to try to combine these two favorites.  Sadly, there were no Spiderman prints available which were really brown-friendly, but this was the closest I could find.  And this brown print was the one that best coordinated, so I went with it.  At the time, I wasn't sure what pattern I was going to use, so I bought more than I thought I'd need.  (Um, yeah....I had more than enough to make a second skirt for my niece.)  Since I didn't know a waist measurement (and didn't want to spoil the complete surprise by asking), I used buttonhole elastic in this one - my first time.  I heard that it turned out great!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another long-term UFO

So I blogged waaaaay back when (July 2011) about how we repainted my sewing room, and how I bought FQs to make sampler quilts to hang on the walls to tie the room colors together.  And eventually I did make four blocks....and there they've sat.  At one point, I solicited opinions from my online sewing groups about colors for sashing/borders.  And then I bought the sashing/border fabric.  And there it all still sat....until last night.  I suddenly got the bug to do some selfish sewing, and I went digging around in the bins for the blocks and the fabric.

And here's my finished top for the wall hanging!

I still don't know what I'm going to use for backing or binding.  I was thinking about maybe something striped for the binding, if I can find a striped fabric with the right colors in it, and maybe just a muslin for the backing, since it's just going to hang on the wall nonstop.  And I'm going to find someone to quilt it for me, so that it'll actually get done without waiting another four years.  But I'm still amazed (as is The Husband!) that it's done!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Doll dresses!

My niece is apparently quite into dolls, so I decided to get her one that I could dress for her.  I didn't want to spend the money on an American Girl doll for a three-year-old, but Target has the Our Generation dolls which are pretty similar in size, proportions, and looks.  So after texting pics back and forth with my brother, I bought one.  

I was making mother-daughter tops for my sister-in-law's birthday (just now realized that I never got a picture of this year's version before mailing them, darn it!), and my pattern has a doll size!  

So this is to match the two humans - and please excuse the non-matching shoes.  Those are the ones that came with the doll, and I haven't gotten or made any more yet.  Priorities, right?  Now I have since retrofitted this one by stitching the ribbons to elastic and stitching the elastic in place in the necklines.  That way at least the ribbons can't be pulled out.

This one matches my niece's new skirt.  I made it basically to play around with the gathering foot that I hadn't realized I had (bought it in a box of 32 sewing machine feet, then haven't really played with them).  The gathering foot makes some very soft ruffles.  Next time I'll see if I can use it with a double layer ruffle!  I did the same thing with the ribbons stitched to elastic....

And like every young girl these days, my niece loves Frozen.  I found this as a remnant at JAF - far too small to be a top for my niece, sadly - so I turned it into a dress for the doll.  For this, I had to take about six inches off the bottom edge, and I also took out six rows of shirring.  I added straps which are stitched down, because the shirred bodice is stretchy enough to allow for getting the dress off without any closure.  I think that'll be especially nice for my sister-in-law!

I really hope that my niece likes her doll (Christmas present) and all the clothes I'm working on!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Twirly skirt!

My niece is of an age where she loves "twirly skirts," and I got a request from my sister-in-law to supply some.  And JAF was having a sale on their Tutti Fruitti collection, which are basically lightweight, seersucker-like prints.  So I figured, why not have some fun?  I bought several to go together, then realized that without any measurements to go on, I had zero idea how to make something that might turn out wearable.

Enter the Sophia tiered skirt, from Funktional Threads.  I know it's basically an everyday tiered peasant skirt, but since I had no measurements, I wanted sizes and cutting measurements so that I had a better chance of making something usable.  I chose the size 4 because my niece is 3.5 years old, and apparently it worked out well, because it's a little big.  (Yay!)

I really liked the results.  As you can see, this is basically a circle skirt - it's even too full to lie flat as a circle!  I'm not sure that this would have worked as well in fabrics that weren't so lightweight - it might need wider elastic to still stay up.  The ratio on these layers are 2:1, with each successive tier being twice the width of the previous.  This means that you're gathering 7.5 yards of ruffle!  Yikes!  

The instructions tell you to gather each layer by stitching two lines of gathering stitches, then pulling them tight.  I think that's a recipe for broken threads and much frustration, so I pulled out my trusty cording foot and zigzagged over thick crochet thread instead.  Still annoying and time consuming, but not nearly so frustrating.  And I have also ordered a ruffler foot, so we'll see how that works out for future iterations.

Also, the yardage requirements assume single layer ruffle at the bottom, but the instructions give the option for a double-layer ruffle (to avoid hemming 7.5+ yards of ruffle!).  Do yourself a favor and buy a little extra yardage to do the double-layer.  You're welcome in advance.

All told, I do like the results.  This is not something I would have ever come up with otherwise, but then I'm the mom of boys.  I definitely see more of these in my future, but I'm going to play with the ruffler foot when it arrives.  That gathering was for the birds!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A new scrub shirt!

This was a recent birthday gift.  One of my friends on an online sewing group was destashing her mom's sewing stash, and when I saw this print, I knew it'd be perfect for a new scrub shirt for my mom.  Though it wasn't done for her birthday, it was done and mailed in time for her to wear it to their church's yearly VBS program.  (Apparently her fellow volunteers and the kids keep track from year to year whether I've made her any new scrub shirts?)

So Tigger is of course colorful and adorable on his own merit....but I discovered after prewashing the fabric that I didn't have enough to also make the bias binding for the neckline from the main fabric.  Instead, I stole from fabric designated for a different fabric (don't worry, it's at the local JAF - I can get more!) to make the bias binding.  Then, I figured that to tie it together, I should also use it for the tops of the pockets.  Makes it look intentional, and added bonus that it's easier to find the pockets in the busy print!  

No pattern matching here for the pockets - the print was busy enough.  And I think the orange tonal print looks great against the blue background and Tigger.

I hope everyone really likes this one!