Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A dress for my little Whovian

Simplicity 5580
 Dr. Who Tardis Dress

View B
Alterations:  Drafted new pattern to fit my size 10 daughter

I have had this pattern such a long time.  So long that my girls no longer fit any of the sizes (3-8).  

However, my daughter has been asking for a Dr. Who dress ever since I made her a Minecraft Creeper dress.  It took me a while to find some cotton fabric that was Tardis themed.  I ordered it twice and each time I got a followup email that it had sold out--so frustrating when that happens! The next time it appeared, I didn't hesitate to grab it.  

Once I realized the pattern only went up to a size 8, I tried to persuade her to look at other patterns I had.  Nope!  She had to have View B because of the collar.

She typically wears a size 10 in dresses, so I thought grading up one size wouldn't be too difficult even though I had never done it before--How hard could that be?

I used the existing pattern as a guide and measured between the pattern size lines.  I could not get the armhole drawn properly!  I  had her lift her arms and move them around and it would just pull tightly.  After 2 muslin attempts, I decided to look at one of her RTW dresses and use its armhole as a guide.  After doing that, I had to toss the pattern piece I was using and redraw the rest of the bodice.  This also changed the sleeve, facings, and collar pattern pieces significantly.

See the difference:

  I also added 1.5 inches to the length of the bodice.

I found some ribbon that was marked down to .25 a yard and the buttons were in a package for .99!
The collar is made from navy classic quilting cotton I bought at Joanns.

The only thing that could be better is if I had placed the buttonholes a little closer to the outer edge of the dress.  I was so wrapped up in trying to make sure that my ribbon matched up perfectly that I didn't notice I had started my buttonhole placement too far over.  But looking at it now, the buttons get lost in the print anyway.  No matter what I sew, it always seems there is one thing that could have been done better!

If you are making this pattern without any alterations, it sews up fast and easy!  I think this pattern must be out of print, but you can still find it on other websites.

Fabric:  Exploding Tardis 

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Simplicity 1716

I'm back!!  It has been a busy couple of months for me.  During my absence from blogging, my family moved back to the U.S. from Germany.  We started out in a hotel for 10 days, then relocated to a camper for 2.5 weeks, while waiting to close on a house.  It has been an adventure--a family of 5 in a 24' camper, all the while starting new schools and my husband starting a new job.  If nothing, we are a flexible family!   I'm enjoying fabric stores--it's so nice to be able to feel fabric instead of just shopping online.

Last week I purchased this pattern:

View A
Size 10 bodice graded out to a 12 at the waist
Shortened the dress hem by 5 inches
Shortened the sleeves by 1.25 inches
1/2 inch swayback adjustment

I made the mini dress!  I'm 5'1 and the length of this dress hit way below the knee before I trimmed it--not so mini on me.  I know I'm not tall, but compared to other patterns, I think this runs a little longer on me than most.  Thank goodness I didn't add length to it like I had originally planned to do! 

It is a little fiddly making the twist area, but not hard.  I think it would definitely be easier to do with a solid color fabric.  At one point when I was finishing up with the twist area, I seriously thought it was not going to come together.  It just looked like a lump of fabric on my table and I thought, "oh geez, what now?"  The pattern instructions are good though and if you follow them, it will come together nicely.

For the swayback adjustment, I referred to Nancy Zieman's "Pattern Fitting with Confidence" book and the way she explains how to do a swayback is so easy.  I thought it would be a complicated and involved process, but it wasn't.  In fact, it only took a minute or two to make the pattern adjustment.

Normally I do a forward, sloping shoulder adjustment.  After looking at the bodice pieces and the way they are cut, I decided not too.  I just wasn't quite sure how to do it.  And besides, it is a knit and I figured everything would just fall into place on its own. LOL

Also I want to note that the sleeves are pretty roomy.  Sometimes pattern sleeves can be a little tight on me, but no worries, this pattern has plenty of ease there if you find sleeves run tight.

Fabric purchased at Joann's.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, July 11, 2015

American Ships Quilt Progress

Here is an update on My Ruby McKim 1936 American Ships quilt!

I've made some great progress since packing my sewing machine away for our move.  Who knew that all I had to do was stop sewing...ha ha.  What is a girl to do when your whole house is packed up and you are living out of a suitcase?  I'm so glad I kept this project with me.

I can definitely see how I am improving on my stitches since beginning this project.  I'm also getting a little faster with each one.

I like how I was able to bring in a lot of colors on this one.

I may have to redo the Monitor Merrimac.  The thread looked gray to me in the store, but after pulling it out and laying it next to the white, it is really close in color.  I wish I had thought to compare the two in the store.  Darn!  Fortunately it isn't a very detailed square.  After I buy some more thread, I will decide whether or not to keep it or redo it.

I do try to pull up images on the internet to figure out what color to do the flags in.  Sometimes the pics online are just black and white and I have to wing it.

I created a page tab above where I have all of my quilt squares displayed in one place.  This is going to be such an amazing quilt when finished.  I have a long ways to go yet, but I have completed 23 squares now.  There are multiples of the compasses and anchors to do.

I have 6 more ships traced to keep me busy during our move, but after that, I need to buy some more Kona cotton; I miscalculated and didn't buy enough when I first started this project.

We are enjoying our last few weeks in Germany now.  Europe is such an amazing place to live.  We are going to miss it, but I am anxious to return to the United States.  It has been a long time since we have been around family and our children are growing up fast!  I am also getting excited at the thoughts of walking into Joann's and other fabric stores--not to mention the sales on the Big 4 patterns!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY 4th of July Outfit

I'm squeezing in one last blog post before the packers come!  I have wanted to share this project for a while now.  I made this outfit for my girls back in '09 and have wanted to make it again, but I waited too long and they no longer desire to have one.  With the 4th coming up, I didn't want another year to escape me without a post.  I just love this outfit and it is very easy to make without a pattern and it is definitely a beginner-level sewing project!

Supplies:  Purchased plain t-shirt (red, white or blue)
Flag fabric.  I purchased this at Walmart very cheaply
Cotton solid for ruffle bottom if desired

Put your t-shirt on your child and mark with chalk where you would like the skirt to start.  Add 1/2 inch seam allowance and cut there.

Determine the length of the skirt you want. This was minimal.  A yard of fabric is going to be more than plenty if making for a small child.  Let's say it is 10" in length.  Cut it from selvage to selvage TWICE.  Sew up the side seams and run some gathering stitches around the top till it fits the bottom of your shirt.

When making a ruffle, if you don't want to have to hem the bottom, cut it double the width.  I cut my ruffle selvage to selvage THREE times, so it would be bigger than the skirt bottom and be gathered.  Sew side seams, fold wrong sides to wrong sides, give it a good press with the iron, and sew gathering stitches around the top till it fits the bottom of your skirt.

I am by no means a skilled bow maker, but I did make them when my girls were little.  Most ended up in the floorboard of our vehicle.  Their hair would look so pretty and by the time we made it to school, they would have removed them!  There are plenty of tutorials online to make hair bows.

You can also make a bandana.  This was from a girl's New Look pattern, but you can just as easily cut 2 triangles of fabric and then attach some packaged red bias binding.

For the shirt applique, I ironed some fusible web to the back of one of the flags on a fabric scrap.  Next, I ironed it on the t-shirt, put some stabilizer on the back side, and then appliqued it with a narrow zig zag stitch.  This is really easy to do if you haven't done it before.  It definitely makes the outfit.  If you do put an applique on the shirt, it is easiest to do this before attaching the skirt.  Do put the shirt on your child first to determine where you want the applique to be so you get the placement right.

Make sure you prewash your fabrics first.  I had a hard time with my red cotton solid color fading.  You don't want it fading on your t-shirt every time you wash it!  

I'm in serious sewing withdrawal mode right now.  You wouldn't think so with as busy as we have been preparing for our move.  I'd much rather be sewing though.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jalie 2563

Jalie 2563
Sport Top
Size S
Alterations:  Cut down the top to be a little lower.

I wasn't going to do another blog post till we moved, but I made a couple bras before packing up my sewing machines.  It occurred to me that I would like/need to have some extra bras for the period we'll be living out of a suitcase!  And since I made up the Romper from Simplicity 2222, I definitely needed a racer back bra so my bra straps wouldn't be visible.  Thank you Jalie for another awesome pattern!

I used some stretch lace I bought from Sew Sassy, as well as piping elastic, plush elastic, and bra strapping.  The pattern calls for FOE, but since I wanted this for general wear and not sport, I wanted to keep it looking like a regular bra.

I kept the lower lace edge intact by sewing my plush elastic above the scalloped edge on the wrong side of the fabric.  The bra front was cut 1/2 inch longer than the back so I could enclose the elastic there.  I cut my plush elastic in 2 pieces, both 12.5 inches, and then sewed my side seams.

I also kept the lace edge intact at the top back edge.  Mesh was used for the front bra piece.

I made a muslin out of white first, using milliskin fabric.  I found the length of the pattern too long for my needs, so you can see here that I took about an inch off.  I also added a slider to the top edge, as well as the back edge and one to control the amount of bra strapping I needed.  I cut my bra strapping at 18 inches, but I can go about 15 on the next one.  I had to use all sliders since I didn't buy any black rings.  How did I manage to do that!  I need to pay more attention when I buy my bra supplies.

I have worn both of these and they are very comfortable.  I especially like the black one; it is very pretty on.  These were very quick to sew up, taking only about an hour and a half to make.

And how cute is this?  Love that Jalie has small sizes.  This is a size L for one of my girls.  Have you seen the bras out there for young girls....yawn.  I'll be making these up for my girls in bra-type fabrics too, but I couldn't resist trying this out in some cotton lycra.  This version I made exactly according to pattern instructions with the FOE.  We'll have to see how well this is liked by her.  One thing I did to make sewing the FOE easier, I basted it first with only the FOE opened and on the bottom side of the fabric, slightly creating tension on the FOE only.  Then it was so much easier to sew on with a zig zag stitch afterwards.  No pinning necessary and super fast this way.  

I'm already missing sewing, but I know we are about to get very busy, so time will be filled doing other things.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, May 22, 2015

Another Simplicity 2222

Simplicity 2222

Size:  10 Bodice/12 Skirt

Alterations:    Forward/sloped shoulder adj.
                     Petite Line Adjustments (pattern has marking for this)
                     Added 1" to skirt Length
                     Removed 5/8" from upper bodice before armhole curve
                     Removed 5/8" from back racerback area, reshaping curve

I just made the romper here.  After making a few more adjustments, I believe I have a great fit!  I won't go into all the details since that was part of my other post, but I did want to show what a great dress this pattern makes too.  I like both options.

I really, really like this pattern.  I cannot wait to make more!

With my adjustments, I didn't have to make an armhole dart like I did when making the romper version.  No armhole gaping!

I did line the skirt only with some white batiste.

Fabric purchased from Denver Fabrics a while ago.

This may be my last blog post for a couple of months.  We are getting ready to move back to the United States, so I will have to stop sewing and start preparing for the packers!   

Thanks for stopping by ~  Shirley

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Romper Time

Simplicity 2222

Size 12

Alterations:      Forward, sloping shoulder adjustments
Petite line adjustments
Added an armhole dart

I have had this pattern a while now, and since I am trying to do some serious stash busting, this all but said, "pick me, pick me!"  ha ha

You know how you buy a fabric and then have it so long that you can no longer remember what you planned for it or why you even liked it at the time?  That is this fabric.  However, I am happy with how it looks made into something now.

 I finally remembered to adjust my shoulders when I started; I figured out a while ago that I needed to do this but have repeatedly forgotten to do it for the last several outfits.  Forward, sloping shoulders.  That just sounds awful to me.  Makes me sound all out of whack!  ha ha  One shoulder more so than the other.  1/4 inch on the left, 1/2 inch on the right (my purse carrying shoulder).  Doing the shoulder adjustment really takes care of the gap on the sleeveless backside of shirts/dresses.

I wish I could have anticipated the really lonnnnggg armholes on this.  I fixed this easily though with an armhole dart.  However, I did have to unpick my bias finishing, but it wasn't that difficult.  I only unpicked from the bottom seam to the point where I made the dart.  I guess I thought adding the bias binding would somehow absorb that extra fabric.

Before cutting out my fabric, I did use the petite adjustment lines on the pattern which took out some of the length of the bodice.  If you make this, make note of the length of the bodice in case you need to shorten it.  The shorts are pretty short, but so am I, so I didn't add any length to them.  Having too long of shorts on me isn't really a good look either.

If you try this outfit on before putting in elastic, it will look like a sack!  I did to check fit and seriously thought this was ick.  I forced myself to put elastic in it and was so glad I did.  What a difference!

There is a lot of ease in the top, so I have adjusted my top pattern pieces down to a size 10, taking out to a 12 where it will meet the shorts pieces.  I also took out a 5/8" of an inch strip above the armhole to decrease the length there.  I don't want to have to put in another armhole dart.  I hope my adjustments are accurate because I didn't trace my pattern first...chop, chop!  Oh well.  I got impatient brave!

I am jumping right into making this again but with the skirt option.  I will definitely be adding a couple of inches in length there.  I hope with my added adjustments that I will get the fit I am hoping for!  I am wearing a camisole top underneath this.

Fabric:  Blue Check Chambray

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley