Monday, October 29, 2012

A Simple Skirt for Fall

Recently I hosted a sewing night for my MOPS group.  I'll be sharing more about that later, but when we were done sewing, there was some extra fabric and of course I thought "oh, the girls could use a new skirt!"  Mmm hmm...the girls need a new skirt like I need a large slice of vanilla bean cheesecake.  But...skirts like this are so easy to do and the fabric was there, so why not?  

Apparently there was something truly fascinating over in the neighbor's yard!  I found the fabric in the quilting cottons section at JoAnn's.  I think the print is so lovely and the colors are perfect for fall.

I made it a tad long because the girls seem to keep growing taller but they never get bigger in the waist.  While I love these colors for fall, I do think the pink flowers will carry the gray background right into next spring and summer as well!

My best friends got the girls these little purses last spring and the girls decided they needed a purse for this photoshoot.  I guess a cute skirt makes you feel like heading out and about!

Looks like it's leaf raking time!  Or, leaf-ripping-apart time if you're 2 years old :)

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tutorial: A Bubbly Ruffly Shirt

They've always been opinionated about fashion, but lately the girls have been voicing very strong opinions about the fabric I choose for their clothes.  The girls both saw this fabric, declared it "pretty bubbles" and they wanted it, so it became the bubbly ruffly shirt!

It has a square neckline with a pretty ruffle accentuated by a coordinating ribbon.

Two little buttons close up the back (although you could easily use snaps!).

Plus it goes well with our pink bouncy balls :)

Grab some supplies and let's make one!  You will need:

-1.5 yards fabric (for most little girl may need more for bigger girls)
- Coordinating 3/8" wide grosgrain ribbon
- 2 coordinating buttons
- Sewing stuff (coordinating thread, sewing machine, scissors or rotary cutter/mat)

Seam allowance is 1/2" unless otherwise indicated.

First we need to make a pattern.  You can see this process in more detail here, but basically you want to fold a well-fitting t-shirt in half and trace around it (trace both the front and back necklines).  Make sure to add seam allowance! Then quickly square off the neckline and draw a cutting line just above the bottom of the armhole, about 1.5" down from the neckline (cutting lines are in blue on the right).

For the back, I followed my back bodice pattern and cut it off at the same height as the front.  If your pattern doesn't already have it built in, you will need to add 1" to the center  back line to allow for the button overlap.  You could also square off the back neckline if you like, I just chose to leave it rounded.  I would suggest that if your child has a larger head, you might want to use a square back neckline to make the opening a bit wider.

Here are my front and back bodice pattern pieces.  Save the bottom part you cut off and we'll use it to cut out the bottom half of the shirt!

For the gathered sleeve, trace the complete armhole curve of your bodice pattern and make a mark for length (I just lay out a sleeve that fits and add an inch at the end for hemming allowance).

Now swoop down a couple of inches from the bottom of the armhole to allow for some gathering later and then connect all your lines to finish the sleeve pattern.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Gathered sleeves are pretty forgiving (obviously, since this is about the ugliest sleeve pattern I've ever seen!).  The top line is your fold line.

For the bottom half of the shirt, take the bottom part of your bodice pattern that you cut off earlier and lay it on the fold of your fabric.  Add enough length to the bottom to allow some room to hem it and cut 2 pieces on the fold.

Cut 2 front bodice pieces on the fold (1 for main and 1 for lining) and 4 back bodice pieces not on the fold (2 for main and 2 for lining).  Add that to your 2 bottom half pieces and you should have all this so far.

Also cut 2 sleeve pieces on the fold.

Finally cut a piece for your ruffle strip.  It should be about 1.5 times the width of your bodice and 3" long.

Now that all the awful pattern making and cutting is over, we can finally sew!  Take your main bodice pieces and sew them right sides together at the shoulder seam.  Do the same with your bodice lining pieces.

Lay your main and lining bodices right sides together, matching up the shoulder seams.  Pin and sew all the way around the neckline and down the straight button flaps (sewing line indicated in black in the photo below).

Turn the entire bodice right side out, push out all the corners sharply and press well with your iron.

Overlap the back pieces by 1" and mark for your buttonholes.  Following your machine's instructions, make buttonholes and carefully rip them open with your seam ripper.

Fold your ruffle strip in half lengthwise and press with your iron.

Run a basting stitch (longest stitch length) 1/4" from the raw edge.  Pull the bobbin threads to gather the strip until it is the same width as the bottom of your bodice.  Pin the ruffle strip to your bodice, lining up the raw edges and stitch in place with a 3/8" seam allowance.

With right sides together, sew the bottom front shirt piece onto the bodice.  Finish the seam by serging, zig zag stitching, or trimming with pinking shears.

Overlap the back bodice so the buttonholes are on top and attach the lower back shirt piece in the same manner as the front.

Cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon to the same width as your bodice.  Covering the seam between the bodice and the lower part of the shirt, pin the ribbon in place and stitch very close to both the upper and lower edge of the ribbon.

Run a basting stitch along the curved part of the sleeves.  Pull the threads to gather until the sleeve fits into the armhole.  I prefer to concentrate my gathers near the top (center) of the sleeve, but you can distribute them as you like.

With right sides together, sew the sleeves into the armholes and finish the seams.

Lay the entire shirt out right sides together, matching up the underarm seams and stitch it together from the bottom of the shirt all the way to the end of the sleeve.  Finish the seams.

Hem the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt, sew on your buttons and you are done!

Go out and enjoy the fall colors!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Craft Time: Our New Favorite Thing!

I picked up a few new craft supplies for the girls last week and suddenly craft time has become an oft-requested thing!  The younger twin seems to especially like it and has repeatedly asked to "make craft?" over the past few days.  That's my girl :)  

Saturday morning they both asked to make a craft, so I grabbed some paper, glue and scissors and we went to town while Daddy took pictures!  I cut out some paper for them and had them help me with some blunt-tipped scissors I got them.  I have to say, I was incredibly impressed by how well the older twin did with cutting.  We've only done it once before and she was already opening and closing the scissors when told to and cutting along the!  

Then there was gluing.

 Then there was more gluing (who knew glue sticks were so much fun?).

This was promptly followed by more gluing, along with the incredibly important decisions about where to place the paper circles.

I had to get involved to help glue on the googly eyes because those things just do not stick with glue stick.

 Add some legs, and we have a cow!  Well, two cows, actually.

We had a couple of rousing renditions of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and I'm calling this craft a success!

Monday, October 15, 2012

KCWC Wrap-Up

I got so much sewing done last week!  None yesterday as Sunday is a day for church, family and football around here, but I hope everyone else had a super successful KCWC!  Based on some of the amazing photos I saw in the flickr group, it sure looks like everyone was busy, busy!!  My girls are pretty well outfitted for fall and winter now.  I hope you got a chance to check out some of the new tutorials I posted last week as I sewed.  Today I'll share a few of my favorites from the flickr pool!  Be sure to check out more photos at their blogs (linked below each photo) and show these talented ladies some love!

I love navy and mustard together and these sweet little bloomers just make me smile!


This coat is just perfect!  I definitely need to check this pattern out!

Oliver + S Secret Agent Trench with ruffles

Rae & Kristin had a little competition going during KCWC and I am in love with Kristin's version of the Pierrot tunic!  Also that fabric...gorgeous!

shirred bird pierrot

This little top is just darling.  Light and feminine and I love the button detail!

These itty bitty circle skirts make me smile!  I adore the fabric choices and can't wait to see Jess' newest cutie pie in them when she gets here!

baby circle skirts

How happy are these pants?  Adorable fabric and so sweet and girly!

Britches and Bloomers

Loving the fall print on these pants...and the sweetie little baby bum, haha!

big butt pants (2)

Amazing work ladies!  It's so much fun to see how many different looks people create for their kids and get a peek at some really fun fabrics!  Now I think I need a rest, but most likely I'll be sewing again this afternoon! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012 Day 6: Lots o' Leggings and How to Add Ruffles to Your Pattern

Yay, the leggings project is finished!!!   

These four pairs are for a fellow twin mama, plus I made a pair each for my girlies and another two pairs for a different twin mama.  Yeah.  Twins are everywhere!

I used the basic leggings pattern from Whimsy Couture and then added ruffles to the bottom of each pair.  If you want to add ruffles to your leggings pattern it's pretty simple, although to make it look nice can be a bit time consuming.

First, you'll want to cut out your legging pattern pieces.  This works best if your pattern has two pieces, a left leg and a right leg.  Then cut a rectangle off the bottom of each leg that is 4.5" tall (yes, I know I have two different colors here...I had lots of leggings in various stages of completion going on this week!).

Now cut strips of fabric that are 2" tall and twice as long as the rectangle you just cut.  Ruffle each strip until it is the same length as your rectangle.  I used my serger, but you can use the old fashioned basting stitch/pull bobbin threads method as well.

Now start attaching your ruffle strips to the rectangles you cut off the bottom of each leg.  Position the first ruffle 1.5" above the bottom (or 3" below the top), pin and sew in place.  I would suggest using a zig zag stitch to maintain the stretch in the knit fabric.

Repeat with your next ruffle, pinning it 1.5" above the top edge of the first ruffle or 1.5" below the top.

Finally add the last ruffle, which should be flush with the top.  Each ruffle should cover the top of the one below it by 1/2", which will cover your stitching lines.  

Now place your ruffled section right sides together with the bottom of each leg and stitch in place.  In the "I learned this the hard way" category, make sure you are pinning the ruffles to the correct side of each leg if your fabric doesn't have a right or wrong side!  Otherwise you'll end up with two legs facing left or right.  Not cool.

Now flip the ruffled section down and topstitch it in place.  This will both look nicer and also keep your top row of ruffles from flipping up.

Continue assembling the leggings according to the pattern directions.  When you're done, you will have a lovely ruffled leg!

I love the navy pair, even though they keep turning out purple in my photos.

This is a lot of leggings, folks.  Eight pairs this week.  I think I'm taking a leggings hiatus for a long while!