Thursday, May 30, 2013

needle and thREAD {and a simple bag tutorial}

I'm happy to join up with needle and thREAD again this week.  I love getting a peak into other people's sewing adventures and I always come away inspired.

This past week has been surprisingly fruitful in the sewing department.   As I shared here, I did a little girl's dress makeover earlier in the week.  (Size 10 dress into a size 5 dress)

That project was a ton of fun because the dress turned out how I wanted it to and that hardly ever happens!

I also stitched up another nursing cover as a gift for a friend who is due in June.  I had originally promised her a pair of booties, but she gladly accepted the offer of a nursing cover when she didn't get the one off of her registry.

Is it me or is choosing fabric for other people terrifying???  When I went to the fabric store to find something for the cover, of course, I couldn't find a lovely subtle black and grey floral print like the one she had wanted and then I agonized for at least fifteen minutes (a very long time with children in tow) over whether or not my friend would want green or teal or purple or chevron or calico or My Little Kitty...before I finally grabbed a bolt I really liked and made for the cutting counter.

And now, of course, the lack of black and gray and especially subtle has me afraid that maybe the fabric I chose is too me and not enough her and....oh bother!  It's so hard!

Anywho, enough drama.

Now that I've sewn a few of these nursing covers, I think I've figured out the dimensions that make the best use of a yard of fabric.  As it turns out, if you figure it right, you can make a nursing cover and a lovely little carrying bag to match!

(DIY details are after the jump. Can you believe how super organized I am this week?)

That's what I've been up to in the sewing world.

As far as reading goes, I've had great aspirations that haven't much materialized.  We took a trip to Miami a week ago on something of a whim -- TWENTY HOURS in the car each way! -- and I packed a whole big purse full of books and didn't crack a one!  Something about watching a 16 month old around water makes leisure reading a bit difficult :o). 

However, I did pick up my copy of The Handbook For Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul (by Lisa Hendey) again this week.  I'm about halfway through and I think the reason I never seem to finish it is because the author references her family and upbringing very frequently and that is weirdly off-putting to me.  I say weirdly because I had a happy childhood, but maybe I'm still having a hard time relating?

Oooooooor, maybe I need to take a chill pill and go find myself some good summer fiction!

And this is a total aside, but I'm asking prayers to find my engagement ring that was lost sometime in the last few days.   We think it might be in the house, but we are at a total loss.  Your intercession is much appreciated!

Thank you for stopping by and many thanks to Elizabeth for hosting again this week.  For more needle and thREAD, head on over to In the Heart of My Home and see what everyone is up to.

Nursing Cover and Bag details after the jump...
(If this jump business works --- I'm a first time jumper here.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hand-me-down Makeover ~ A Little Girl's Dress

My girls love dresses of all kinds so I'm always game for hand-me-downs in the frill department.  We received this dress from a cousin but since it was a size 10 and my oldest is a size 6 at most, I thought a makeover might be in order!

Doing what I affectionately refer to as distracted daytime scrappy sewing involving seam ripping in the yard, standing at the machine instead of sitting, and forgoing the iron, I was able to eek out a smaller tiered dress for my smaller girlies.

First I chopped the bodice off and made it smaller by taking in the side seams.

Then, I cut out the elastic and old casing.

I sized the middle tier down to match the circumference of the bodice and sewed the two together.

** I left an extra inch in the seam of the second tier in order to fold it back up (and under)
to create a new casing for the elastic.  **

Then, I gathered the bottom section of the dress and sewed it onto the middle tier.

To add a finishing touch, I grabbed a ribbon that had come with the dress and put a bow front and center.


Now just pretend it's pressed mmmm-k?

Of course both my three and five-year-old have claimed it as their own and say it fits perfectly even though the neckline is still on the gappy side.

Due to the chill today, this is the best shot I could get.   Aren't those ruffles deeeelightful?

There is something crazy satisfying about a successful sewing makeover!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I Wore Sunday {AND} A Flower Embellishment Tutorial Sort of Thing

A Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

Today, I'm joining in another fun link-up and, of course, throwing a little bit of sewing into the mix! So without further ado...

In honor of this cold and beautiful Mother's Day, I dolled up in this outfit for church:

Shoes first. I wore some Anne Kleins purchased at full price from Marshall Fields circa 2002.  Haven't worn those puppies in ages!  But it *is* a very special day, right?

On top, I wore one of my wardrobe staples -- a black button-up sweater by Merona from Target (last year).  I have two of these.  LOVE THEM. Sadly, it is difficult to see the ruffly goodness in photo form.

The necklace is an old one of un-remembered origin and the tank came from from Banana Republic circa 2005.  The skirt literally arrived on my doorstep last week.  It was a secondhand gift (yay for free!) and made by a brand called Elevenses?


Now, one of the interesting details that I love about this skirt is a fabric flower on the side front.

See?  How cute!  Totally something you could make and put on a skirt or sweater or child's sundress or something.  I tried it out and without too much fuss, here's what I came up with:

I'm kind of calling this a tutorial, but mostly I'm gonna give you the dimensions, list of stuff you need, and the process I used. Stick around if you are a sewing sort of person, otherwise, skip on down to the bottom.

To start, here is the anatomy of the flower:

Here are the materials I used: 
* 3/4 inch button
* four pieces of fabric at least 8.5 x 1.75 inches, and one piece of fabric at least 7 x 1.75 inches (read through before cutting)
* a scrap of fabric big enough to cover the button x 2

1) I started with the button.  I cut out two circles of fabric bigger than the button, like in the picture above -- one piece out of my printed fabric and one piece of white for a lining.  Using a whip-stitch, I gathered the fabric around the button and cut off the extra fabric to make the back of the newly-covered button as flat as possible.

2)  Next, I made the fabric ribbon for the flower and tails. 

You can make the fabric ribbon sewing one long piece of fabric and then cutting it apart into the correct sizes, but I only had scraps, so I just found enough fabric to make what I needed:  four ribbons 8.5 inches long and one ribbon 7 inches long.  (The finished ribbon needs to be 5/8" wide which means your fabric scrap/strips must be at least 1.75" wide.)

Instead of cutting the fabric in advance to sew the ribbons, I took my scrap of fabric, folded it over (inside out), and then sewed a seam 5/8 inches away from the fold. Then I trimmed off the extra fabric 1/4 inch away from the seam.  (It's a faster method.  Be careful not to trim too close to the seam, or the seam might pop open when you try to turn it right-side-out.)

Curious why there's a string hanging out? I used the trick of stringing a piece of cording into the fold while I sewed. What you do is tack down one end of the cord (securely so that it doesn't pull out) and then gently pull on the loose end until the whole piece is turned right-side-out.

After it was turned, I removed the cord and pressed the ribbon with the seam in the center back.

3)  To make the flower, I cut three pieces of ribbon 8.5 inches long each.  This is how I started putting the flower together, BUT!  Afterward I thought of a better way, so stay with me...

Don't do that!  Instead of sewing one set of loops at a time like I did, stack all three 8.5" pieces on top of each other and tack them together in the middle.  Then sew all of the raw ends to the middle to make the loops.  Here, I have a somewhat embarrassing paint shop illustration:

Does this make sense?  Tack the middle and then fold the raw ends back to the center.

Anyway, once all of my loops were made using a more squirrely method, I sewed on the two tails -- one 8.5" and one 7" long.  I tucked in the raw edges to finish off the loose ends:

Finally, I sewed the button onto the front.  Delightfully satisfying.

4) To give the flower a bit of height and pizzazz, fluff it a little before you attach it to something.  A bit of bunching in the loop department goes a long way.

Cuteness, yes?  I'm adding this flower to my little bag of sewing tricks.  Do you have a repertoire of sewing embellishments? Ya never know when you might need and extra something to take your sewing project to the next level!

Thank you for stopping by and thanks to Fine Linen & Purple for hosting!  For more WIWS fun, do head here and click around.  Maybe join in next week...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 1)

I'm linking up with Hallie's blog for a bit of favorite-ing fun.

1) Style of skirt to alter:

These are the best!  If you like to do a bit of thrifting like me and generally need to make things smaller, this is the type of skirt to look for: zipper and details (vent) in the center back or center front, a simple silhouette, and forgiving fabric (this one was a loose-weave, wool blend).  I took it down almost four sizes by working on just the side seams.

2)  {Michigan} fabric store:

If you live within a two hour radius of Royal Oak, go there for me sometime, okay?  They have a stunning selection of formal fabrics and everything else you could hope for in a high-end fashion and home dec. fabric store.  I got my lace for my wedding dress there.  Gratuitous wedding dress pictures (albeit the only ones I can find on this computer)...

3) Vintage sewing related possession:

Aren't they fabulous?  They were my grandmother's.  Unfortunately, time has rendered them incapable of "Pinking Perfection" so perhaps it was false advertising?  Here's a picture of my grandmother in her prime:

She modeled a little bit, though I think this was one of those I'm always this awesome photographs.  In a couple of her pictures, she bears a striking resemblance to Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife...

4)  My current favorite tv series that I will probably only get to watch on Netflix and will probably never get to see in it's entirety:

But really, who doesn't like this show right now?  I have to brace myself emotionally to watch it.  You?

5)  And on a final and totally unrelated note.  I. Heart. Zac Brown Band.  Weirdo music videos and all.

The End.

Thanks for stopping by ya'll!  Head on over to Moxie Wife to join in!