Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My favorite fabric in the whole world...........

Sorry to assault your eyes with this fabric right off.  Saturday,  Axelgirl and I made her a new pair of skating pants.   This is some fabric we had left over from a competition dress that she chose for the bottom cuffs and waistband on a black pants.  She had talked about ordering new fabric, but I wasn't going to buy a yard minimum  and pay shipping for two 4X12peices and one 5X28 piece.  As we were working tonight that was her comment about the fabric.

Later she asked me what my favorite fabric was, and I said I really didn't have one, but if I had to pick, it would probably be the multi color dotted swiss, available from Farmhouse Fabrics and other heirloom stores.  It is not a practical fabric by any means, but I just love little girls dresses made from it.

But, back to the pants.  Her current practice attire of choice is a pair of tight fitting black pants, and a t-shirt or leotard.  This is what a lot of the girls wear, and we have been trying to find time to make a new pair for a while.  She currently has 3 pair that we made last summer, and a pair that she bought about 6 months before that, so it is time to start replacing them.  It is cheaper to make them than to pay $60 or $70 a pair.  Chloe Noel or Under Armour are the pairs most commonly seen at the rinks.  The ones we made last year were from standard lycra and a little lighter weight than the purchased ones.  This time we made them with Jumbo Spandex/Super Stretch which is a heavier weight, so I am curious to see how they hold up.

The pattern is one we developed last year, to fit her, using her purchased pants, Kwik Sew patterns, and her thoughts so it would be what she wanted.  How wide the waistband trim was, how high the waistband is, and tweaked it to fit her.  I would say the entire project probably took less than an hour.  She did most of the work, with me just telling her what steps were next.  They really are no more difficult than pj pants.  There are 5 pieces including waistband and cuffs, one piece of elastic and 10 seams/stitching segments.

First, Cutting
You can see that we are cutting above the pattern on the waist.  I need to retrace it, as we originally made it to low.  We just work off of a note on the pattern that says to cut it 1" higher.

Then sewing, you can still see shades of her pink stripe in her hair in the picture.  Most of it has faded out by now.   We use the serger for most of the sewing, but lycra/skating dresses can be sewn with a standard machine.  A serger is not necessary, but if you have it use it.  Don't be afraid of it.

 Finished pants

And to make the pants even better, they even match her newly pedicured toes!

And for those trying to read her t-shirt---- It says "I don't have ADD, its just that.....Oh Look a bunny rabbit"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sewing Room Redo-Bulletin Board

Earlier this summer, I purchased fabrics to finally finish the sewing room.  I shared pictures of the fabric here.  I have been working on it a little bit at a time.   Before I can finish everything that I would like, I need to get some more fabric.  Hopefully it is still available.  My goal is to have everything the way I want it before the end of August.  We will see if that actually happens.

The first thing I accomplished was the bulletin board.  From the front, it looks great.  I am not totally satisfied with the back, everything did not get tucked in neatly as I did not leave enough fabric.  I also feel that I might have added a bit to much padding, as regular push pins don't seem to work, so I use straight pins on it.    I have pictures of the process I used, figuring it out as I go along.  I have done one other bulletin board before this, and made some changes from that. I apologize for some of the formatting.  I am having a hard time making it do what I want it to do today.

Supplies used are:
  • Standard bulletin board
  • Cover fabric about 5-6 inches longer and wider than outside dimensions of bulletin board
  • 2-3 peices of padding, again 5 inches longer and wider than outside dimensions of bulletin board (can use fleece, quilt batting, or whatever you might have on hand.  My bottom layer was actually pieced from fleece)
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nails to reattach hangers or new hanging hardware
  • Spray adhesive-if desired, this can either be repositionable, or anything used for craft projects.

Bulletin board before beginning project-I had originally covered it by sticking fabric under the frame.  This is a quick and easy method, but wasn't as finished of a look as I wanted.  The fabric shown is some I had and was considering if I liked it.

Remove original hanging hardware.  I marked the spots, as I already had the screws in the wall to hang it, so hardware needed to go back in the same spot, as I didn't want to add additional holes to the wall.

Next, cut the layer of padding that will be next to the bulletin board the size of the bulletin board and tack in place with adhesive.  You can see here where I pieced my fleece

Do the same with the next layer of fleece/batting, I ended up trimming after positioning.  It seemed to stretch as I smoothed it

Next, lay the cover right side down on the work surface then the top layer of batting on top of the right side.  Center bulletin board on top of batting.

Pull fabric over where needed, and attach mounting hardware.  I went ahead and stapled around the area as well to hold things in place, as I nailed the hardware down

Next begin stapling the edges over, pulling tight, work on all 4 sides.  I do the ends, then the middle of one side, then the side across from it.  After all 4 sides are tacked in place, I finish each side, pulling taught.

Next, attempt to miter the corners as neatly as possible, considering the bulk of the materials

 Because I have issues with my staple gun, most likely operator error, I needed to go back and hammer some of the staples in all of the way.

Using a flat head screwdriver, push the extra fabric and batting under the edge of the frame.  Fabric can be trimmed if necessary.   This leaves the back looking neat.

If desired, criss cross ribbons can be added, securing in the back at this point.  after playing with several different ribbons, I decided the print was to busy and looked messy on this fabric.  I did do it on Axelgirls bulletin board.  I used a large yarn needle and tacked buttons at the intersections of the ribbon, stitching through the cork.  Her bulletin board is black velvet with lime green ribbon with pink saddle stitch ribbon and hot pink hologram covered buttons, so a very different look.

Finished bulletin board flat on table
 Finished bulletin board hanging on wall

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nook Cover

I have been doing some sewing, but just a little bit here and there.  My big accomplishment this week was making a cover for my nook.  I knew that I would not be comfortable carrying it around in my purse without some sort of protection.  Looking at the cases in the store, I really didn't care for any of them.  So I went and looked on-line including etsy.  I decided at that point to make my own, and purchased this pattern from Birdiful Stitches on Etsy.  While I probably could have done without a pattern, it was nice to have someone figure out the measurements and all of that for me.

This is my first one.  Of course, I did not follow the directions exactly  : )  I never do.  Two more visible changes I made were using a ponytail holder for the closure instead of the bias loop, and I added an additional pocket big enough to hold the nook.  This will allow me to slide it in there for better protection of the screen if necessary.  Internally I did not use the batting/interfacing combination.  Instead I used something I already had, can't remember what it is called.  It is the extremely heavy, thick craft interfacing.  It is not fusible fleece, but very heavy. 

I found this very difficult to turn, and my machine would not topstitch due to the thickness.  I need to try something different next time.  I do like how it has smaller slots for id/debit card, etc, but would like to see a spot for pen/pencil, and maybe a notebook.  I can also slip my reading glasses in one of the pockets and it still closes.

I will probably be doing another one in the next few months after using this one, and figuring out what changes I want.

You will notice the customized picture on the front of the nook.  Axelgirl made custom screen savers for her dad and me, so that we could tell them apart.  I think she did an excellent job.

All fabrics are from Joanns ever shrinking wall of quilting fabrics.
Nook Cover Closed

 Nook Cover Outisde, laying flat
 Nook Cover Inside, showing added pocket
 Nook cover Inside, with Nook in place

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sewing Time

I have a lot of different thoughts about this going through my head about this, and will try and organize them in a clear manner.  This has been on my thoughts lately, as I go through phases where I manage to find the time, and others where I just can't/don't.  I am not ADHD, but have felt that way this week.  I think it was from Axelgirl being in camp for three weeks, and then jumping back into the mom duties at full pace.

One thing I do know, is that we all have limited time to pursue our hobbies.  Modern conveniences, in theory have given us more time to pursue our interests.  But it is up to us how we choose to use this time.  I think many of us choose to pack more and more into our schedules without taking time to prioritize and just say no.

Christmas 2009 Axeldaddy gave me the complete Little House on the Prairie TV Series on DVD.  18 months later, I still have not completed watching it.  In the last few weeks, I have been able to watch some of them, while taking the time to do handwork.  It has been rather enjoyable.  When Axelgirl is home, she watches with me, and we will occasionally send Axeldaddy "LHOP Updates"-usually making a smart-alec comment about what is happening.  While I realize that there are historical inaccuracies with the show, when you think about what the families in the late 1800's had to do, compared to what we have now, there are a lot of day to day activities that should be giving us more free time.

First, right now the item I am the most thankful for is Central Air Conditioning!  We are in the middle of several days where the heat index is over 100 degrees F.  This makes everything much easier.  Can you imagine baking your families bread on a wood stove to begin with, then doing it in this heat.  Or having to do your laundry by hand.  It only takes a few minutes now to toss a load in the washer, and come back to it an hour or more later. A refrigerator to keep our food fresh and safe.  Don't forget the car.  While a horse and buggy ride might be romantic on a special evening, lets face it, the car is much more practical, even when teaching an almost 16 yo to drive.  Then you add in things like TV, stereo, and the ever present computer and internet in our lives.  But it is up to us to use these things to our advantage, and make sure we allow ourselves time to do the things we enjoy.  This is definitely something I have learned in the last few weeks, and need to work on.

Over a week ago, I began the process of re-organizing the sewing room.  I am getting there, but have been sidetracked.  Axelgirl got a new desk for her room on Friday, so all of a sudden we were putting together a new desk, making room by moving things around, taking things out, etc.  So stuff went in the basement.  Then I started moving things around.  Then the mirror and the bulletin board in her room had to be moved.  So patching holes, and painting, then drilling more holes, and the list goes on.  So now, instead of one organization project, we are in the middle of 3.  I know this will cut into the sewing time this week. 

But one thing I have decided, is I am only going to work on projects I want to.  My time is limited.  If I started something 3 years ago, and didn't finish it, I should be asking myself questions.  Why didn't I finish it? Why am I keeping it?  Do I really like it?  Only pick the projects I like, and not feel bad eliminating the ones I don't want to do.  That may mean giving them away, or tossing them.  I need to be realistic.

Part of that is when asked to do something for someone else, only do what I want to.  Earlier tonight, I was asked to put a bustle on a wedding dress for a friend of a friend. Oh yeah, and she needs it in 4 days.  I said no, as i had no experience in this area and the time period was really short.  Earlier this year I was approached about making a Christening gown out of a wedding dress for a friend of a friend.  That fell through as well, as she wasn't willing to pay my price.  I'm seeing a trend here.  While each would be a challenge, and help me expand my skills, they were not really what I wanted to do.

I guess my point, is find time to pursue your hobbies and interests, and don't waste energy on those that you lose interest in, or don't take on a project, just because you feel like you should.

Right now, I am hoping to allow myself the time to spend with Axelgirl in the sewing room.  Before she left for camp, we bought fabric for her a sundress to make together.  I am hoping she still wants to do this with me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

PBJ Kids Rebecca Lynn

A week or so ago, I posted about some gifts I had made for my nieces first birthday.  One of the gifts I made was a kit from PeanutButter-n-Jelly Kids at Saga Convention last fall.  It was a kit for their Rebecca Lynn smocked bishop.  Bishop Kit

First, I will say that I don't normally buy kits, but there was a convenience factor that it would allow me to start right away, so I could finish right away.  I did start right away, but did not finish.  The kit on the website says that it is swiss, and I paid the swiss price.  While I know it was not a poly cotton kit, it was not Swiss Batitste.  I am thinking it was probably Pima Cotton.

The smocking was very time consuming.  Then I finally got it done, and decided to make it a tad shorter than the Ellen McCarn bishop since my niece is not walking, and IMO, shorter lengths are better for crawling.  Well I didn't measure properly, and ended up taking to much off the bottom.  Luckily I had fabric in my stash that matched the binding.  I ended up cutting a piece 6 inches wide the width of the bottom.  Stitched it into a circle and folded in half.  After that, I serged the band on to the bottom of the dress that was cut 3 inches shorter than the desired length.

I also made a pair of bloomers out of the same gingham from a Simplicity pattern.

Close Up View
Yes, the bias is wonky, I'm not sure why

 View of Bloomers
 Full View of Dress
I am hoping to see pictures of it on her soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

She's home and a baby gift

Axelgirl is home from camp!  She just spent 3 weeks at Joseph Baldwin Academy at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO.  It is a gifted and talented camp, and she got to take a class on geneology.  We've only been home for a bit, and she is still unpacking, but I can't wait to see what she has put together.  Right now, she is unpacking, sorting and organizing all of her 'stuff'.  We have missed her, but I admit, because I wasn't wearing all of the mom 'hats' I had more time in the sewing room.  I'm hoping to find a way to continue that.  We are very proud of her for successfully completing all 3 weeks.  They had an 'all-nighter' last night before we picked them up.  I must say all of the kids and especially the staff looked exhausted.  I will also say it is a relief to see her healthy and in one piece after the camp, even though I know she is old enough to take care of herself.

Since I bought the fabric for the sewing room, I have been working on that, as well as deciding it was a good time to clean/reorganize/declutter.  I've also been finishing up the embroidery for a Gail Doane jacket, hopefully to construct some day soon. More on that, and details on the gifts for my niece next week.

One of the things I worked on was a baby gift for a former coach of hers.  She just had her first baby, and it was a lot of fun to make baby things for her.

I will say, the trend for baby boys seems to be blue/brown rooms.  So part of the gift is based around that.  I made a 3 sets of matching blanket/bib/burp rags for her.

The blankets are Joanns flannel.  The finish at about 43" squarish.  I buy 1 1/4 yards of flannel for each, and serge a rolled hem all the way around in a coordinating or matching fabric.  The bibs are from Kohls/BabiesRUs/ToysRUs.  I buy the blank packs and just use what I need, keeping the extras for the next baby gift.  Burp Rags are made from unfolded gauze type diapers.  When making a gift, I usually try to monogram a set, do one set (or more) based on the room theme if possible, and then whatever "I" like.  Sometimes inspiration comes from the print on the flannel, parents interest or hobbies, a cute ribbon, designs I have, or just 'unknown inspiration'.

The first one is an example of being inspired by a ribbon.  I just loved this monkey ribbon.  Originally, I was determined to stick will all browns/blues, but this monkey ribbon was just too cute.  I think it will be great for girl or boy gifts in the future.
  and the Monogram in blue/brown.  I did it in Pallette, I honestly don't remember the font I used

Daddy is a musician, so I did a music themed one, again in blue/brown