Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ice Dance Dress-and 497 crystals

I have had to make Axelgirl an Ice Dance dress for over a year.  Her coach told her when it was time to test her Silver Dances, she would get a new dance dress, but really didn't need a new nice one until then.

So about a year ago, I met with this coach and she gave me some ideas and pictures of what she thought would look nice, and picked colors for me.  In the pictures below, the color is really inconsistent.  The lining is a violet lycra (more of a violet red tone), with plum mesh over it.  I ended up messing up on the original bodice, and barely had enough fabric to do the bodice below.  The original plan did not call for using stones at all, but because of the lack of detail on the end result, it was really plain.  I want to thank my cousin for coming up with the paisley idea.

 Here are pictures of the final dress.  I am really pleased with the final result.  Hopefully she will be able to use this dress for a while.  She has one silver dance left, and then 2 more levels after that.



And pictures of the crystals in progress.  Overall, applying the crystals to the dress took 4 hours.  I am guessing I spent 3-4 hours at least the day before working up the design details and figuring out what to do.


Here is the original crystal layout.  This was done on a pattern tracing paper.  I then had to mark each section and apply the crystals onto the dress.  After the fact, I found out there is some mylar paper I could have used to do this.  I need to get some to have on hand.


Here are the crystals I accomplished in the first hour.  This picture probably represents the dress color the best.

Here are the crystals after 2 hours.  I started picking up speed and confidence after a while.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Explosion in the Disney Princess Closet

It's been just over a year since Axelgirl introduced Mini Axelgirl to skating.  The first time she took her on the ice was sometime last October.  Mini Axelgirl has made great progress in that time and it has been fun watching her learn.

The first time we took her skating, Axelgirl and I decided at the last minute to make her a skating dress.  I mean like 2 or 3 hours before we had left. It was a simple dress, solid pink stretch velvet, with a butterfly applique and crystals.  Here is a picture of her then, with Axelgirl, getting ready to take the ice:


In the last year, not only has her skating improved, but she has gotten smarter, and of course grown.  And growing means you outgrow your clothes.  As soon as she outgrew this dress, I made her another one, with fabric I already had.  I also made her a dress for her and Axelgirls family spotlight.  Well, she has grown again, and had specific ideas.

For a while, MiniAxelgirl has been talking about wanting a light blue sparkly dress.  Axelgirl and I always found this funny.  After Axelgirl had been skating for a while, one of the girls in her class had a light blue sparkly velvet  practice dress, and she always wanted one.  For various reasons, I never really made her what she wanted.  She did get one several years later though  :)  Several weeks ago Mini Axelgirl mentioned to me that her dress was getting too small.  She just knew I would fix this problem.    So we discussed what she wanted, and light blue was still in the plans, but she also wanted pink.  She told me what she wanted, so after I got home, I thought about it.  I looked at pictures on line, drew up two designs and sent them to her to choose.  (Actually sent them to her mom, as she doesn't have her own email yet :)  )  They let me know which one she wanted, and I went from there.

 Back
 Front
This is the final result, and I think she is very pleased.

Sorry the pictures aren't very clear.  I forgot to take them with my camera and had to use my phone.  The pattern is my starting point for most child size skating dresses,  Kwik Sew 2177/2178 which includes a leotard pattern.  For this dress I did change the skirt line, and also did the color blocking.  This pattern is no longer showing as available on the Kwiksew website.  I would think that Kwiksew 3507/3508 would be a good starting point.  I do not have this pattern, so I have not used it.  It does have short sleeves which mine does not, but does not have the leotard option which I like to use when redrafting the skirt to make sure I get the overall length correct.

There is a reason I referred to this as an explosion in the Disney Princess Closet.....  That is what the fabric reminded me of.  The colors and the sparkle.  This dress required 16 different pattern pieces and 23 pieces of cut fabric I believe.  When I looked at all of the little pieces that was one of my first thoughts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Birthday Gifts

I have posted several things I made for my nieces first birthday back in July (Mistakes or Design Features).  I am going to finish up sharing those items today.

First, and one that I think turned out really cute is her "Big Sister in Training" dress.  This is a variation of the basic dress where you add a skirt to a RTW t-shirt.  The skirt in this case is mesh left over from Axelgirl's skating dresses.  It looks lighter and fluffier, more like some of the tutu dresses you see in the stores.  I used a similar technique to Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The exceptions were each layer was cut double width and folded in half, and the edges of the mesh are not finished.  This is a personal preference, as I feel finishing the edges makes it heavy.  The fabric will not fray, and if not fiddled with, holds up pretty well.  Embroidery design is from nobbieneezkids.  Crystals are hotfix crystals I had at home.  You can pick them up in small quantities along with a tool at most fabric and craft shops.  If you prefer to buy in bulk I use www.dreamtimecreations.com for a lot of mine.  They are MUCH cheaper this way, and you can never have enough sparkle.

There was also a matching bib so she wouldn't stain the dress.

I like to shop at Kohls.  One thing I like is a lot of times they have nice Children's Books with stuffed animals to go with them for about $5-$6 for each item.  When they had the Eric Carle books, I picked up The Hungry Caterpillar to give as a gift.  I kept forgetting to send it, so I used it for her birthday.  Again, here is a case where a toy prompted a coordinating outfit.  I bought a short set with a plain top from Walmart, and used a Designs by Juju design, making some color changes  and reorganizing the stitch out to make it go faster for one color.

 There was also the Hungry Caterpillar clip to go with it that was detailed here.  http://lifeinthesewingroom.blogspot.com/2011/01/craft-time-with-axelgirl.html



 Then there was also the Birthday bib.  Nothing much, but here it is.  Design was from Planet Applique

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Childrens Corner Carol-Details from Mistakes or Design Features

Over the summer I posted two things that I made for my the first birthday of my niece.  Two of them had design features that were not intended.

My version of the Childrens Corner Carol was one of them.  This is not supposed to be a dress with a yoke.  The smocking or the pleats are supposed to come down from the neckline.  And you are supposed to start your smocking low enough so that the collar won't cover it.

Well some days my brain does not function properly.  It just doesn't.  I act without thinking.  Speak without thinking.  Cut and Stitch without thinking.  The first two are harder to fix and can cause more damage.  Cutting and stitching without thinking can sometimes be fixed, modified (becomes a design feature), turned into a UFO, or tossed.

In this case, as you may have guessed, I started my smocking too high.  If you search for Images of Children's Corner Carol, you can see many examples of it being done properly.  Here is an excellent example.  http://southernmatriarch.blogspot.com/2011/03/getting-ready-for-summer.html


I ended up turning it into a yoke dress, because my smocking was too high.  I think it is still pretty cute, but not the original look I was going for.

Of course, bloomers always make an outfit cuter.  I was lucky enough to be a tester for the Sara Norris Maclain pattern, available here. http://www.saranorrisltd.com/category_44/Patterns.htm  Here is my version.

 And once again, I have waited so long, I have forgotten the smocking plate.  I do think the fabric was a little too stiff for this outfit, but it is from the Nursery section at Joanns.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A UFO was finished and sent on

I have a ton of UFO's.  Well maybe not literally, but more than I want to count, list or admit to.  I do dig through them periodically and try to get rid of some of them, but many I just can't because they would be nice IF I would just finish them.

I found this one recently.  It was a smocked yoke for a Childrens Corner Mary De.  I'm guessing it was 4-5 years old.  I started it for my great niece at one time, and never constructed it.  I'm guessing it was supposed to be for valentine's day one year, as it is very pink, and has heart lollipops on it.  Since it was fully smocked, it only needed the construction.  Should be simple, right?  Wrong.  My plan was to finish it and send it on in the box with the other stuff for my nephew and niece.  I did accomplish it, but not without some quality bonding time with my seam ripper.

I have made many Mary De's since I started smocking.  So many, that I used to be able to make them in my sleep.  Not this time.  I had to read the directions, step by step, and I found the turning directions confusing.  Hopefully I will remember better the next time, as I really like this pattern, and need to find some willing recipients for them.

I also had piping issues.  Well, I always have piping issues.  When I had my Pfaff 7570 I could do great piping.  I guess the foot was just right for me.  I have had my Babylock for about 8 years, and have never really been able to master piping on it.  I can do it ok, but not great.  I have taken classes, and we go over how to do it, the teacher makes suggestions on the foot, and I get better results.  Then 3 months down the line, I try it again, and can't remember the suggestions, and can't find my notes which I put somewhere for safe keeping.  Add to that, by the time I started on this one, I was out of my 'good' piping cord, and hadn't received some new stuff to try.  The stuff I ended up using was a tad smaller, and a lot softer.  I don't like 'soft' piping cord.  I find it can get smushed and then I end up stitching through it or something and don't end up with nice round piping.

Anyone know how to make good piping on a Babylock Ellageo 3?  I saw that Babylock has a mini-piping foot.  I might try that.  Anyone want to get it for me for Christmas?

Well here is the dress.  As you can see from some of the things I do, even when smocking, I don't always use the traditional pale colors and fabrics.  Axelgirl always preferred brighter fabrics and colors, as do I, so I still tend to do a lot of that.  I also hope these things get used regularly, for play, and not just for special occasions.  I think that if you stick to the traditional paler colors, people are less likely to think of them as play clothes.  While for most things I don't sew to save money (skating clothing, and a few other sports  items are the exception), many times I can make a nice dress for play cheaper than you'd spend at Penneys or Sears for a decent play outfit.

 Full view of the dress

Smocking Close up.  I'm thinking the design might be based on True Colors from ASE.  It has been so long since I smocked it, I can't be for sure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Axelgirl is spoiled

Axelgirl is spoiled.  She admitted this to me the other day.  We were cleaning her car, and doing a few things to it, and she said she wanted it to look different.  She wasn't talking about anything major, just more disappointed that the pink fuzzy steering wheel cover didn't fit, that type of thing.

She actually has a pretty good attitude about 'her' car.  Axeldaddy got a new car in 2010.  His previous car was a 1998 Saturn, that had been pretty reliable. Since she was going to be 15 shortly after we bought the car and learning to drive, we decided to go ahead and keep it so that she could use it.  Many kids at her school have nice cars.  New cars.  Cars newer and nicer than mine.  She has told me many times that she is just glad to have a car to use when she gets her license.  I'm very thankful for this.

But back to her being spoiled and the car.  She told me she was used to me making her things so that her things would always be different from everyone elses.  Whether it was clothes, skating dresses, etc, I was always willing to go the extra step to make it special for her.  There has been more than one night when an outfit wasn't finished when she went to bed, and when she woke up, she was wearing that item.  She has known from a very young age, that she could go into the basement and find fabric, and I would do my best to get it made up as quickly as possible.  Ask to go to Joanns, Hobby Lobby or Hancocks, and all chores and punishments for the day were forgotten.  We still haven't figured out what to do to her car to make it special yet, but she thinks she has some ideas for what to dangle from the mirror.  She does have a vinyl decal (in hot pink of course) of a figure skater and her name on the back window.

Well lately, her requests haven't been for her, but somehow, I am still willing to do my best to fulfill them.  We recently sent a bunch of gifts for my new nephew and threw in some things for my niece.  A toy for my niece led into making a matching outfit of the toy.

We got her this flashlight.  It is really cute.  You squeeze its tail, and the mouth opens, lights up and makes sounds.  I can see many hours of fun (Sorry Sherri and Pat) with this one.  Axel girl saw it, and decided she needed an outfit with a pink and purple unicorn on it.

So here it is.  It is a reversible MP Applique Jumper.   It is really similar to the Childrens Corner Lucy, which many people prefer, but I had this pattern, and didn't want to buy a new one.  The entire thing, except for buttons and the ribbon were from stash. I even had ready made piping in the correct color.  I think it was in a gift bag I won when our guild had a teacher in that they got from Jan at Bessie Mary. I had several technical difficulties with this one.  I had to wing it to make it reversible.  So I left the two bottom layers open, and added the pink ruffle to the lining.  I didn't think about it, but then when I hemmed the main layer, it was too short.  So the lavender ribbon ruffle was added to match the removable ribbon ties.  Next time I do reversible, there are several things I will change.  I am amazed that I never made any of these A-line jumpers when Axelgirl was little.  They are simple, cute and easy.  As I said in an earlier post, I have several ideas for these jumpers, some with coordinating little brother outfits, some for by themselves.  I need to show the pattern to MiniAxelgirl's mom to see if she likes it.  We have designed one for her as well.

 This is the front of the jumper, or the 'matching' side.  Quilting weight cotton, probably from Joanns in aqua with little white random dots.  Or you can pretend it is Fairy Dust.  Hey, its a unicorn, so use your imagination.  I was also told they 'poop rainbows and butterflies' while we were making this outfit.  You can see here where I had to add the purple ribbon because this layer was too short.  A little busy for my taste, but I think it is perfect for a little girl.  The ribbon bows on the shoulder are removeable.  They are a piece of ribbon with a buttonhole in the middle.  After the jumper is on, you put it over the button, and tie.
This is the lining but is wearable on this side.  It is a cute bug print where some of the bugs are gingham.  Yes there are butterflies, which makes it a perfect lining.  See above for reasoning.  The ruffle and piping are hot pink pima gingham.  Once again, I love pima gingham.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Big Sister - Little Brother Outfits

I love sewing little kids clothes.  But it is a challenge when they are far away, and you don't get to see them very often.  As Axelgirl and I have designed several other outfits, in our heads at least, I'm hoping for some feedback on how they fit.

I made matching outfits for my niece and nephew.  My FIL loves to fly model airplanes, so I decided to go with an airplane theme for them. It took me a while to find something that wasn't too girly or too boyey (is that even a word) Fabric Finders made a cute pique with airplanes on it in two color ways, it was hard to find, but I finally located it at PBJ Kids..  I decided to go with the orange/lime/turquoise instead of the primary colored one.  They are both lined in Pima Cotton gingham.  There are times I wish I had about 10 yards of every color of this stuff.  I love using gingham for accents, linings, and for just things.

Both outfits are made from Martha Pullens Applique book.  Using another pattern, I cut down the JonJon to about 6 month size (at least that was my goal).  The jumper is a size 2.  Since my niece and nephew are about  15 months apart, this seemed about right.  They also live in Tucson, so I don't have to worry about the weather as much.  It does get cooler in the winter, but since I planned these outfits for about 6 months from now, they should be fine.


Embroidery design is a modification of one from Designs by Juju.  I seem to be using her designs a lot lately.  In this case I left off some of the stitches to better match the planes on the fabric.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bibs, Blankets, and Burp Rag, oh my!

I have a new nephew Ayden.  He will be two weeks old next Monday.  Don't know when we will get to see him, as they live in Tuscon.  We have only been able to see his older sister Corrine once, and that was when at her first birthday.

Of course I had to do some sewing for him.  Here are a bunch of bibs, blankets and burp rags that I have made recently.  I also made 2 sets for an interpreter at the school I recently subbed at for 8 weeks.  I need to get them up there to her.

 Just a bib with his name.  I'm not really happy with the result.  I used Palette v5. to digitize a font and the stitches are too long.  I don't do enough with it to know how to really fix it.
 2 more bibs.  Both Designs by Juju designs.  I just thought the tie design was cute and had to use it.  I never seem to have boy designs I like.  I hope this time I bought enough to last a while.
 Everybody loves Cookie Monster.  I made 2 different kinds of burp rags this go around.  Above using the pre-folds is a new way for me.  Below are pictures of how I used to do them.  It seems as the preferred way is the prefolds after looking online.  I'm curious to hear if Axelgirl's Aunt has a preference
 Dinosaurs to go with fabric picked out by Axelgirl for a blanket.  Fabric says things like Up to no good, and here comes trouble

 I really liked this monkey fabric, so I bought enough for 2 sets.  I thought it was good for boys and girls.  One set is for my SIL, the other for the interpreter.
 A monogrammed set.  I really should invest in some decent fonts, or figure out which fonts work best in Palette.  I would have liked denser stitching than these have.
 2 more baby blankets
 Reading Alien.  I really liked this design, I just find him really cute.  I was thinking about putting him on a sweatshirt for me, but not sure if I will be 'allowed' to.  Axelgirl says it would be 'weird'.
This is for the interpreter.  I found the I Love You design  here on Etsy.  She is not finding out what she is having, so I tried to make the 2 sets for her pretty neutral.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

First, I am way behind.  I am going to try and figure out what is missing from here, and get it caught up, somewhat.  Maybe out of order, but I did this more for me to keep track of what I have accomplished.

One of my more recent things was from a contest from Adorable Heirlooms.On their facebook page, they had an ugly fabric contest.  Then it went from there where you had to make something from the fabric.

Well I won the 'ugly fabric' part, which gave me an extra 24 hours to create my masterpiece. I ended up creating a tiered skirt, appliqued shirt, and headband for my 5 year old cousin.  The best I can tell is that she loves it, and doesn't consider it ugly at all.  So while the fabric is a bit of an eyesore on its own, I was able to work  it into something that was pretty cute.


This is the entire ensemble.  When Mini Axelgirl was given the outfit, she immediately put the shirt and headband on.  I have to take the elastic in on the skirt so it fits.

 Axelgirl made the zebra from sculpey clay to go with the outfit.  A ribbon was placed behind it, and stitched on a purchased stretch headband
 One of the shape appliques from Designs by Juju, framing a zebra from the fabric.  Someone did refer to them as Demented Zebras during the contest.
This is the skirt...  No pattern was used.  It was supposed to be a girls 5-6.

  1. Determine finished length, waist size, and width of lining
  2. Using a cheap tshirt  that was about right for the finished width, and cut it to finished length - 2 inches, using the bottom as the bottom of the skirt. (this is your lining)
  3.  Cut 6 widths of fabric the length I needed. (Approx finished skirt length/3 + 1.5 inches).  Also cut an additional strip about 2 3/4 inches wide
  4. Sewed 2 strips together into a circle and roll hemmed with wooly nylon on the serger
  5.  4 thread serge the tops of the circles, then gather
  6. Pull gathering threads.  Starting from bottom of skirt, stitch bottom tier to lining with a wide zig zag stitch.  Bottom of fashion fabric should hang approx 1.5 inches lower than lining.  Apply next tier moving up the lining so that bottom of this tier hangs about 1.5 inches below top of lower tier.  Apply top/final tier to top edge of lining.  This should also hang about 1.5 inches below top of middle tier.  Adjust positioning if necessary. 
  7. Stitch waistband to form circle, fold waistband in half . stitch to skirt, leaving opening for elastic.
  8. Insert elastic in opening, secure ends of elastic, then stitch opening shut.