Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sewing for ME! My Easter Skirt

Way back when I first learned how to sew, I did a fair amount of sewing for myself.  This was in high school, so I really didn't have anyone else to sew for!  Obviously in the past two years, I have done a ton of sewing, but basically 0% of it has been for me.  

I've been enjoying the Sewing for Me series hosted by KOJO and Sewing in No Man's Land.  When I received some fabric from a friend at church and this absolutely adorable aqua dot print was in the pile, I was inspired to make myself something!  Here is my Easter skirt!

There wasn't much of the fabric...maybe 1/2 a yard, so I had to be creative with my cuts.  I ended up lining the skirt with some white broadcloth, which worked out fine because I was able to make it long enough.  I don't think it would have been too cute to show up at church in a mid-thigh length skirt!  The front panel features two pleats, which give it some shape and pleats are just always fun, right?

The waistband is made to fit perfectly just below my waist and the back simply zips with a 9" zipper (although don't look too closely at the stitches around my zipper...yikes).  I added a couple of darts both for shape and fit.

I didn't really use a pattern for this, although I followed a few of the steps from Melanie's chevron skirt tutorial.  I love that skirt too and I think I need some chevron fabric!  Overall I am happy with my new skirt.  Now I just need a cute top to match!

Is anyone else sewing for Easter?  I have the girls' dresses and headbands done.  I just need to get some photos taken when the girls are feeling cooperative (cough, cough...LOL)!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Still here...

I've been busy sewing, I just don't have much to show right now!  I have a lot of photos to take and then I'll be sharing some recent projects with you.  

In the meantime, here's a little sneak peek at the girls' Easter attire. We've had gorgeous weather here over the past couple of weeks, so I took the opportunity to get them outside for photos.  They seemed bent on making it the most difficult photo shoot in history, though, especially when the younger twin declared "fence scary."  I have no idea why, but she would not go near it.  Oh well, we'll try another day!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Our sweet baby girls are 2 years old today!  It seems impossible to believe!  I guess they are big girls now, but they'll always be our babies :)

I made them a little outfit to celebrate their birthday!  They wore it for their party Saturday and to church on Sunday and they were so sweet in it.  They call it their "two shirt."

This was my second time doing an applique on a onesie and I'm definitely getting better at it!  I made the "2" out of matching fabric from their skirt, then added a little "cupcake" from the coordinating pink fabric and little poufy flowers.

The skirt cinches up on each side with grosgrain ribbon and the girls LOVE that ribbon!

I love the cherry blossom print on the overskirt fabric.  It has such a springtime feel!  It's just from the quilting cotton section at JoAnn's. 

I would say "how old are you going to be?" and they would just giggle.  Then I'd say "what's on your shirt?" and they'd yell out "TWO!" and point to their shirt :)

Toddler belly.  I love it.

I wondered how long the ribbons would stay tied.  I think it was about 3 minutes.  Then they had to run up and show me they were untied, but run away again if I tried to tie them.  I think I need to superglue them in a bow!

Happy Birthday, sweet girls!  Mommy & Daddy love you so much!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Haven Top Sew-Along Day 3: Sleeves and Finishing Up

If you have been following along, you should now have a completed bodice, minus the sleeves!  Today we will add the sleeves and finish up the top.  You'll have it ready just in time for the spring weather that has hit, at least here in the midwest (don't tell me it's going to be cold next week...I don't want to know!)!

*For Day 1 (pattern & pieces) click here and for Day 2 (assembling the bodice) click here!*

For the sleeves, first take your two sleeve bands and iron them in half lengthwise.

Line up the raw edge of each strip with the long flat edge of each sleeve.  Stitch in place, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Finish the seam by serging, zig zag stitching, or cutting with pinking shears and press it with your iron up towards the sleeve.

Turn the sleeve over and topstitch on the sleeve 1/8" from the seam.  This will give your sleeve a nice professional look, as well as lock your seam in place.

Set the sleeves aside for a moment and take your two lower shirt pieces.  Line up the front and back pieces with your front and back bodice.  Stitch, right sides together, and finish the seams.  Press the seams down towards the bottom of the shirt.

Take your two sleeves and fit them into the armholes.  With right sides together, carefully pin the sleeves in place and stitch them to the bodice.  Finish the seams.

Lay out your shirt, right sides together, and carefully line up the underarm seam, bottom edge of the sleeves and bottom edge of the shirt.  Pin, then stitch the shirt together all the way down each side and finish the seams.

Take your two bottom band pieces and stitch the short ends together, creating a tube.  Press the seams open.

Iron the band in half, wrong sides together.  Slide the tube up over the bottom of your shirt, lining up the raw edges and matching your side seams.  Pin in place.

Stitch the band to the bottom of your shirt all the way around using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Finish the seam.

Flip the band down and press the seam with your iron up towards the shirt.  Topstitch on the shirt 1/8" from the seam.  

Now stand back and admire your work!  You just made a super cute top for spring and summer!

I hope you had fun sewing along!  If you have any questions, please let me know!  Also, if you made a top, I'd love to see it!  You can upload a photo to my flickr group, or leave a comment with a link to your blog post.  If I have enough to share, I'll do a round-up in a week or so and showcase everyone's work!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Haven Top Sew-Along Day 2: Assembling the Bodice

Time for day 2 of our Haven Top sew-along!  If you followed along yesterday, you should have all your pieces cut out and ready to sew.  Today we will be putting together the bodice.

*If you missed Day 1, click here to get the instructions for making your pattern and cutting your pieces!*

To start, we'll sew together the bodice detail.  Take your two detail pieces and place them right sides together.  Using your predetermined seam allowance (whatever you decided on when making your pattern) stitch the detail pieces together down the two long sides.

Then turn the piece right side out and press well with your iron.

Place the detail piece in the center of your front bodice (exterior fabric piece), lining up the raw edges.  Stitch down the two long sides, 1/8" from the edge, securing the piece to your bodice.

Take your bodice front and back pieces and sew them right sides together at the shoulders.  Do this for your main fabric and lining fabric.

Next, place your lining bodice and your main bodice right sides together, matching up the shoulder seams and corners and pin it well.  Now stitch the two pieces together along the entire interior perimeter, including the inner edges of the back bodice.  I highlighted my stitching lines in the picture below so you can see exactly where to stitch.

Flip the pieces right side out and press well with your iron.  Work the corners and edges to make sure it lays nice and flat.

Overlap your back bodice pieces by 1" and pin it together along the bottom edge.  Decide where you want your buttons (or snaps) to go and mark the placement.

Make your buttonholes and carefully rip them open with the seam ripper.  You can sew on your buttons at this time as well.  Baste the back bodice together where it overlaps, 1/4" from the raw edge.

That's it for today!  Tomorrow we'll add the sleeves and bottom and finish the shirt up!  You might want to do a quick fit check on your child with the bodice if time allows.  As always, let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Haven Top Sew-Along Day 1: Pattern & Pieces

Welcome to the first day of the Haven Top Sew-Along!

Today I will walk you through making your pattern and we'll cut all the pieces.  To make your pattern, grab a t-shirt that fits your child well and some paper to trace onto (copy paper, freezer paper, whatever you have!).  I suggest using a shirt with a plain neckline and sleeves (no big ruffles or gathers).  If you have a square neck top that fits your child, you will be one step ahead!

To begin, you first need to decide what seam allowance you will use.  3/8", 1/2" and 5/8" are all common.  I tend to use 1/2" because it's easy to remember and easy to add on (I was NOT a math major!).  Use whatever you are comfortable with!  Fold your t-shirt in half and place the fold on the edge of your paper.  Using a pencil, trace around the outside edge of your shirt, adding in seam allowance as you go. When deciding how long to make your pattern piece, remember that we will be adding a 2" band to the bottom, so you might want to cut your pattern a little shorter than you ordinarily would.  I also like to make sure the "skirt" part is a little A-line.  With woven fabrics, it's nice to have a little wiggle room since it won't stretch like knit.

Trace both the front and back neckline, again adding seam allowance.

For the armhole, fold the sleeve back and trace the curve, meeting up with the side edge of your shirt and the shoulder.

This shirt will have an empire waist, so you need to decide where to cut the bodice off.  I placed my guide t-shirt next to my pattern and figured out how long I wanted the bodice to be.  I added seam allowance and drew a straight line across the shirt at that point.

Now we need to square off the neckline.  Place a straight edge horizontally in line with the front neckline.  Draw a straight line out to underneath the shoulder area.

Then line up your straight edge vertically going down from the inside edge of your shoulder to meet the horizontal line you just drew.  If you have a small-shouldered child like I do, you may want to bring your shoulder in a 1/2" or so and use that as your new inside shoulder edge.  The square neck will fit a little wider than a traditional crew or scoop neck.  Once you are happy with the width of your shoulder seam, draw a line connecting the down to your front neckline. 

Line up your straight edge horizontally again, this time in line with your back neckline.  Draw a line meeting up with your vertical line.

Now you should have a squared off neckline.  You can erase the curved neckline and cut our your pattern pieces.  I like to trace the outside edge with a sharpie, using my straight edge to make sure all my lines are nice and straight.  I also like to label my pattern pieces.  I typically put the name of the pattern, the size, seam allowance, and cutting instructions.  I also label front and back (or front neckline and back neckline) and any fold markings.  For this pattern, you can use the same pattern piece for the front and back bodice.  Just be careful to cut on the appropriate front neckline and back neckline when you cut your fabric.  Also, when we cut the back bodice, we will not cut on the fold, but we will add 1" to the fold side on each back piece.  If you aren't comfortable adding the extra inch while you're cutting, feel free to trace the bodice pattern piece and add that 1", creating a separate back bodice pattern piece.

To make the sleeve pattern piece, I simply place a new sheet of paper over my bodice pattern.  I trace the curve of the armhole, then make a straight line out from the shoulder seam.  This will be your fold line.  Make another straight line out from the bottom of the armhole.  

To determine length, I find it easiest to measure the inseam of your guide t-shirt.  You can also measure your child, if you can get them to stand still!  Remember, we'll be adding a 1" band to the sleeve, so cut your length accordingly.   Mark the length, label your piece and cut it out.

You should now have 3 pattern pieces, resembling a shirt!  You should have a sleeve, a bodice and a "skirt" pattern.  If you cut a separate back bodice pattern, you will have 4 total pieces.

Now we'll make a pattern piece for the bodice detail.

It's basically an hourglass shape, but we need to add seam allowance to make it fit properly.  This is a little complicated to explain, but just look at the pictures, which always make more sense than my ramblings!

First I traced a complete bodice by tracing the bodice piece using the front neckline on half my paper, then flipping the bodice pattern and tracing it backwards.  I drew a horizontal line down from the front neckline and up from the bottom of the bodice.  The width of the space is my seam allowance.  I wanted the design to be about an inch wide in the center, flaring out to 2" wide at the top and bottom.  To get this shape, I drew a straight vertical line down the exact center of the bodice.  I then made dots spaced 1/2" from the center line in the middle and 1" from the center line at the top and connected the dots in a smooth, even curve.

Still with me?  I was fairly specific about my drawing, but if you have a good eye and aren't worried about perfection, you could just draw the shape freehand!  Once I had the basic shape, I added seam allowance on each side and drew it in with my sharpie.  Once I hit my seam allowance line at the top and the bottom, I just drew straight up because you won't see that part in the final shirt.  It will be hidden in the seam allowance so it doesn't need to be nicely shaped.

I cut the piece out around the outside lines and that is the final pattern piece!  Yay!  Now it's time to cut our fabric!

Using the front bodice pattern piece, fold your fabric and cut on the fold 1 exterior fabric and 1 lining fabric.

Using the back bodice pattern piece, keep your fabric folded but do not cut on the fold.  This will ensure you get a left and right back bodice piece.  Adding 1" to the fold side for each piece, cut 2 exterior fabric and 2 lining fabric.

Using the sleeve pattern piece, cut 2 sleeves on the fold (exterior fabric :))

Using the "skirt" pattern piece, cut 2 pieces on the fold.

Using the bodice detail piece, cut 2 pieces out of your contrasting fabric.

We also need the bands for the sleeves and bodice bottom.  To make them the correct length, measure the straight side edge of your sleeve (the part opposite the armhole curve).  This will be your length.  The width should be 2.5".  Cut two pieces of contrasting fabric 2.5" x your length.

For the bottom band, measure the bottom edge of your bodice.  For this piece we will need to add seam allowance to each side.  So, if your seam allowance is 1/2", add 1" and this will be your length.  The width should be 5".  Cut 2 pieces of contrasting fabric, 5" x your length.

You should now have all your pieces cut out!  To recap, here is what you should have:

1 front bodice (main fabric)
1 front bodice (lining fabric)
2 back bodices (main fabric)
2 back bodices (lining fabric)
2 bodice detail pieces (contrasting fabric)
2 sleeves (main fabric)
2 sleeve bands (contrasting fabric)
2 "skirts" (main fabric)
2 "skirt" bands (contrasting fabric)

For my lining, you can see I just used a really lightweight white cotton I had in my stash.  Since I hoard am frugal with my fabric, I just used the white, but you can use whatever you prefer.  You can use your exterior fabric, your contrasting fabric or anything else you have on hand!

Great job!  You just made your own pattern!  Tomorrow we'll assemble the bodice, so you'll need your thread, machine, and coordinating buttons (or snaps, if you prefer).  Any questions so far, please let me know!  

*For Day 2: Assembling the Bodice click here*
*For Day 3: Sleeves & Finishing Up click here*