Friday, May 31, 2013

Project Sewn Week 4: Signature Look

When I told my husband the theme for the final week of Project Sewn was to be my "Signature Look," I jokingly told him I guess that meant I should make a pair of sweats and a t-shirt!  As a stay-at-home-mom, I don't have a lot of opportunities to dress up.  Most days in the summer it's a pair of khaki bermudas and a t-shirt.  I'm okay with that - I love to be comfy and play with my kids without worrying about ruining my clothes.  If I really think about my signature style or what kind of clothing defines me, there are a few simple adjectives that come to mind.  Comfortable and casual would definitely be staples.  I love a touch of vintage but nothing too frilly.  I really love a good peasant top, which is obvious by the 5 or 6 tops of that style that I already own!  So, for my signature look, I created a peasant top and a pair of breezy linen capris that really suit my style!

For the top, I actually revamped a top I had previously made.  Confession time:  after making the top and blogging about it, I never wore it.  Not even once.  I honestly never felt that comfortable in it although I absolutely adored the fabric!

To turn the top into something I would love and wear, I got out the trusty seam ripper and removed the entire top portion above the pleats.  I used a peasant top pattern to create a new bodice and sewed it to the existing bottom portion and was instantly so much happier with the top!  I used some white eyelet for the bodice and lined everything but the sleeves.  I think it has a romantic and slightly vintage vibe, but still looks fresh and perfect for summer.

I made a simple pair of capris from some white linen and only wish I had added pockets.  I still might add some back pockets, although the tunic length covers most of the top of the pants.  I definitely foresee wearing these capris with many other tops, though!  

I truly love this outfit, which is really the essence of someone's signature style.  If you don't love it and you wouldn't reach for it in the closet, is it really your style?  It may not be sweats and a t-shirt but it's an outfit that I can feel confident and happy in, even chasing the twin terrors around :)  

My best attempt at being a model...don't judge, people.  I think I'll stick to sewing!

Thanks for all the kind comments about my outfits during this sew-along!  If you love this one as much as I do, I would appreciate it if you would head over to Project Sewn and VOTE for me!  I'm #20!  Have a great weekend!

Big thanks to my awesome BFF Shannon Miller for coming over to take these pictures for me, even though I waited until the 11th hour!  :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thank Your Teachers!

As the school year is wrapping up, I'm seeing a ton of really cute teacher thank you gift ideas popping up!  My girls aren't quite school aged yet (thankfully!), but we do have some wonderful teachers in our lives.  While I attend MOPS, the girls are in MOPPETS.  While this is essentially childcare during the MOPS meetings, they do have a curriculum and wonderful teachers and helpers who are all volunteers.  To thank these lovely ladies who care for my crazy girls, I made some simple gifts for them.

First I made a big patch of peanut butter cookies because seriously...peanut butter cookies.  Then I grabbed some cardstock, stamping supplies and washi tape and got decorating!  I cut the cardstock to the same width as the top of my zippered baggies and about 6" tall.  Then I folded it in half and cut the bottom edges with some scalloped scissors.  I put a strip of washi tape across the top edge and stamped some flowers along the left side.  I added a thank you message and signed our names!

Once the cookies were in the bags, I sealed them up, slipped the cardstock over the top and stapled it on.  It was super easy, very cute and all the teachers were thrilled!  It was also very budget friendly!  

We're heading into a holiday weekend here in the US.  For this long Memorial Day weekend we have plans to spend time with family and so I'm signing off for a few days here.  I wish everyone a safe and happy time this weekend wherever you may be!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lavender Lovelies - Vintage Pillowcase Dresses

My best friends recently brought me a treasure of an estate sale find - two gorgeous matching vintage pillowcases!  Although purple isn't usually my favorite color, these lavender floral pillowcases are truly lovely.  

The pillowcases have a pretty floral print that gets a bit larger as you move towards the open end and then finishes with a scalloped edge border in solid lavender.  Also, the fabric is crazy pick up your baby and hold her just because her dress feels super awesome.

The craziest part is that I believe the actual pillowcases were handmade as well!  There weren't any factory finished edges inside, which makes me wonder!  I'm thinking it's pretty awesome if they were handmade and then I reused them to make something else handmade!  

I was originally going to take the lazy route and just make the simplest version of a pillowcase dress with some grosgrain ties, but after my little revelation about the handmade nature of these pillowcases, I decided to spend the extra time and put some effort into it :)  I used the leftover fabric from the top to make the ties.

I also lined the dresses which makes them look so much nicer.  I stuck with the theme and used some fabric cut from a thrifted white sheet for the lining.  White sheets are definitely my go-to fabric for linings!

I love bold modern prints too, but mostly the simple beauty of a vintage floral is what makes me happy.  The girls seem to be quite happy with them as well :)

This picture.  It stops my heart a little bit.  I love these girls.  I love making them things that they can hopefully pass on to their own daughters someday.  This is why I sew.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Voting is now open at Project Sewn for the sundress sew-along!  If you love my dress, I'd love it if you'd hop over and vote for me!  I'm #14 :)  Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

J'Adore Dior (or My Stanley Hudson Sundress)

First of all, I'd like to say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who voted for my black & white outfit!  I came in 2nd and I'm super happy!  Now it's week 2 at Project Sewn and I am so excited about my new sundress!

I'm pretty certain Dior never would have used a vintage sheet to make a dress, but I'm still calling it my J'Adore Dior dress because it was definitely inspired by the gorgeous 50s Dior sundresses.  It's subtitled the Stanley Hudson Sundress, which is a reference to the most recent season of Project Runway.  Stanley's work was impeccable and while I didn't love his final collection, the classic pieces he made during the season pretty much always blew me away.  We definitely have a similar aesthetic!  Anyway, the dress!!

I've probably started a million blog post this same line, but I started with a vintage sheet as my fabric inspiration for this dress.  It's the softest, lightest sheet and the print is just divine.  

As a massive added bonus, the sheet has this amazing border print with an embroidered scalloped edge.  It's so lovely and summery!

I knew I wanted to do a dress with a higher neckline, but the only pattern I have with the darts I wanted is New Look pattern 6874 - .  I started with the tank top pattern pieces and ended up using them only for the bust darts.  I just couldn't even try to draft those myself with all my other sewing going on this week!  After I got the bust darts done, I pretty much abandoned the pattern and self-drafted the neckline and shoulders.

I fully lined the bodice and put an invisible zipper up the side.  For the skirt, I cut the whole width of the sheet to length and then cut it in half.  I pleated each piece until they were the same width as my bodice plus seam allowance, sewed the panels together and then attached the skirt to the bodice.  I love the pleats instead of gathers.  It's a small detail, but I think it looks fresh and young.

Oh yes, and I added pockets!  Cute sundress or not, it's still momville around here and you just never know what the 3 year olds are going to hand you.  Pockets are a must.

I whipped up a quick sash to pull it all together and I had one awesome new sundress!

I don't think I can really overstate how much I love this dress!  It is incredibly light and airy.  It might be the most comfortable dress I own!  I actually wore it while I was sewing up the sash.  Okay, I had put it on to do the final fitting, decided it needed a sash and just didn't bother to take it off, but seriously...if dresses in the 50s were this comfy, I can see how the wives and mothers of the day didn't mind wearing them around!  I love my dress!

And I love the pockets :)

If you love my dress too, I'd be honored if you'd VOTE for me starting Friday morning!  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

French Memo Board

French Memo Boards went through an amazing period of popularity for awhile, but I had never made one...until now!  A friend from church asked if I could make one for her and since I rarely turn down an opportunity to create, I jumped right in!  She chose all the elements (fabric, ribbon, buttons) and I put them all together for her!

I'll be honest, it's not really my style, but I do think it turned out well!  It's her type of decor and she is absolutely thrilled with it so that's what counts!  I will say that these little elephant buttons are pretty cute!

Now that I am experienced, I might have to make one for myself!  I'm thinking a pretty vintage floral cotton for the fabric with some vintage trims instead of ribbon, maybe some glass buttons.  The girls are kind of in need of a new place to put hair accessories, so it might be a good addition to their room if I ever when I get their quilts finished :)  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Big Girl Quilts Update!

It's been awhile since I posted about the girls' big girl quilts!  All I can say is, it's a good thing that we don't have any immediate plans to put them in twin beds because it's going to be awhile before these quilts are done!  I have made some progress, though, in the form of a TON of cutting!

These are all the fat quarters cut in half...63 pieces for each quilt.  It's quite a stack!

At least I am still completely in love when I look at this pretty stack of fabric!  In the "less appealing" category...all the white backing squares had to be cut as well.  Yikes.

Now that everything is cut, I need to get ruffling.  I did a couple of test blocks to see how I wanted to go about gathering all those rectangles into squares.  At first I did a traditional gathering method where I sewed a basting stitch on each long edge and pulled the threads to gather.  After doing one block, I knew I didn't want to go that route!  So I put the ruffler foot on my serger and played around with some test scraps to get the settings just right.  It can be a bit tricky to set the tension so that the pieces gather to exactly the length I need.  After a few tries, I have the right settings and now I just need to ruffle, ruffle, ruffle!

Yay, my first block completed!  125 to go!  I need to get moving.

Wish me luck!  Hopefully my next update is a nice big stack of completed blocks!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chevron Border Circle Skirt Mini How-To

Hey guys!  Voting opens TODAY over at Project Sewn for the sew-along group!  If you liked my outfit, I'd love it if you'd hop on over and vote for me!  I'm #10 - Chevron Border Circle Skirt & Dolman Top.  Thanks!

I thought I'd share a quick how-to on the skirt.  The techniques are nothing new, but I always like to see the process behind other people's creations!  I started with a basic circle skirt.  There are a million tutorials out there.  Dana's is pretty popular and really easy to follow.  Since I was making it fitted, I only added 1" to my waist measurement when cutting the skirt.  Once I had my skirt cut, I just sliced it straight up one side to make a seam for the invisible zipper.

Next I cut a waistband.  Basically I took a long strip of fabric that was about 6" wide and cut it to my waist measurement plus one inch.  Somewhere in there my math must have gone a bit awry because the waistband ended up a bit shorter than the skirt waist.  I just kind of hand pleated the skirt every few inches so it all fit.  Don't tell :)  Okay, so next I folded the waistband in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and pressed it.  Then I lined up the raw edges with the top (waist) edge of the skirt and sewed it on.  I finished the seam and then top-stitched it in contrasting black thread.  I also installed my invisible zipper using this super clear tutorial.  If you've been afraid of invisible zippers, fear not!  This makes soooo much sense!

Here's a closer look at the zipper and the waistband.

To make the chevron pattern, I simply cut a bunch of 2" x 6" rectangles from black fabric.  I think it took about 30 to make this skirt.  I started laying them all out zig zag fashion, keeping the bottom point a consistent 3" from the bottom edge of the skirt.  I wish I had some magic mathematical formula for this step, but to be honest, I just kind of guessed at the placement and it ended up working out.  If you look really closely, you will see that each "zig" and "zag" isn't perfect.  Some are a bit wider or steeper than others, but once the skirt is on, you really can't tell!  Perfection is overrated anyway, right???

Once I had them all in place, I carefully pinned and then stitched around the top and bottom edges of the chevrons.  Then came the crazy tedious part...I actually applique stitched (set my machine to a buttonhole stitch) and went all the way around the top and bottom of each one plus over the little seams where the rectangles overlapped.  Um yeah, that took awhile, but it was so worth it.  Now it looks really finished and won't fray on me.  I pinned and sewed my bias tape to the hem and  it was done!

So that's my black & white look!  I hope you enjoy looking at everyone's work!  Wow, there are some awesome creations in the linky party!  And don't forget to vote!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Project Sewn Black & White Challenge: Chevron Border Circle Skirt and Dolman Sleeve Top

I am super excited about Project Sewn!  I think we mamas get so wrapped up in sewing for our kids that we forget that we can make beautiful clothing for ourselves as well!  This will be such a great motivator.  The theme for week one is black & white and here is my outfit!

I am really happy with how this look turned out!  It will definitely be a great addition to my wardrobe.  I started with the idea for a white circle skirt trimmed in black bias tape.  My original plan was to make a play on the "circle" skirt by appliqueing little black circles in a floating bubbles type pattern.  Once I cut the circles and started laying them out on the skirt, it just wasn't coming together the way I envisioned it.  After about 15 minutes of arranging and rearranging circles, my hubby walked into the room to this giant skirt laid out on the floor.  I explained my dilemma and he said "why don't you do a bunch of crazy zig zags across the bottom?"  Umm, genius.  I immediately switched gears and this chevron border was born!

I didn't make it quite as crazy as my husband's original suggestion, but I think it worked out perfectly!  The skirt is fitted with an invisible zipper and the waistband is top-stitched in black.  I'm a firm believer in going all out if you have a theme!  I also made a super quick slip by hacking up a white sheet because the skirt fabric was a bit see-through.

For the top, I basically laid a dolman sleeve top I already own on top of my black fabric and started cutting. I pulled the "pattern shirt" away from the fold as I cut to create the neckline drape and then just stitched the whole thing together.  I didn't want any bulky hems so I set my serger to a rolled hem and ran the whole thing through, being careful not to stretch or pull the fabric so I didn't get a lettuce hem!  I am really pleased with how it turned out!

I had my hubby take a few "serious" pictures...and then I started twirling like a 5 year old.

Yeah, it doesn't lose it's charm, even when you're 33.  I hope you enjoy my take on black & white and don't forget to vote starting on Friday!

Monday, May 6, 2013

All Things Bright and Beautiful

We're starting the week off bright around here!  This ridiculously cute fabric was a Christmas gift from my best friends and I'm so glad to have it made into something fun and cute for summer!  

So this is about the 10th version of Little Lizard King's Brooke Peasant Dress you've seen from me, but I just love them!  They are so easy to customize and even easier to make.  It's pretty much been decided that we will never buy dresses for the girls again because I end up making so many and they are always a million times cuter than anything from a store.  I stuck with the simplest version of the sleeves this time, but opted to ruffle up the bottom band before attaching it because, if you haven't noticed, I really love ruffles.

Obviously the girls do too.

We whipped up some really cute pinwheels for our photo shoot (tutorial from my friend Tahlia's adorable new blog) and I'm not sure the girls knew what to think of them.  After awhile they warmed up to them and were having crazy fun shaking them all over the place.

After awhile this one said she was done with it and gave it to me and then immediately decided she wanted it back.  3 year olds.

My cuties!  We're so happy it's getting warm!