Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little quilting trick

This is probably going to make some of you go, "well, duh!" But it's a new trick I learned recently that has saved me so much time, I just had to share. I know there are probably a million quilting tricks to save time and this is the first real trick I learned. I'm not really sure what it's called, we just call it chain stitching.
So here it goes. When you are sewing blocks together and you have a whole bunch to sew together, you can stack them up and then sew them one after the other without having to clip the threads in between each one like it shows here in the picture:So you just keep sewing straight through without lifting the presser foot or needle or anything. It will make a chain of thread between each square that you simply clip and tada! you have a whole bunch sewed together.

I am not sure if I explained that very clearly. It's pretty easy to catch on when you see it done. The first time my friend showed me this I was amazed at the brilliance of the idea. Why didn't I ever think of anything like that? I should be embarrassed to tell you how slowly I was moving along before I learned this trick.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My pattern stash is growing

So please tell me what I should do! Many of you already know that I made 2 dresses using Simplicity 3775.
They both turned out great and I have fabric enough to make one more dress. I saved my favorite fabric for last and I was planning to do a short sleeved, v-neck, tie waist version of 3775 using this:
However, last week JoAnn's was having a Simplicity pattern sale and I found these patterns:I love the wrap dress and I have always wanted to make one. It uses the same knit type of fabric as the other pattern, so the fabric I have would work really well for it. But I was looking forward to making another version of the 3775 because it really turns out well and I am quite familiar with the pattern. So do I use the fabric as intended and hope that maybe there will be enough left over to make a wrap shirt from 2369? Or do I just use the fabric and make a dress from 2369 and forget about 3775? I mean I can always buy more fabric (although I don't intend to until I use what I already have) but which dress do I sew with what I have? I am really in a dilema here. Plus I found this pattern to make me some shorts for the summer:

Ok, please advise me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A small, much needed, overdue alteration

Do you ever buy a tank top to use as an undershirt that seems perfect when you try it on, only to find that when you get it home and try to use it as an undershirt, it begins to sag uncomfortably low and you are constantly pulling, tugging, and self conscious every time you try to wear it? Now, this top doesn't really look low cut at all, I know, but it sure shows a lot when I bend over and the shirts I wear over it tend to pull it down. Well, did, until I just fixed it! Here is one good reason to sew. You can do simple alterations on the clothes you buy. So in this case all I had to do was turn it inside out, then pinch the shoulder seems and sew a new seam for them taking off about an inch. Now I can wear this without feeling self conscious and you can't really even tell I changed anything. (sorry I have no after picture. My camera died. The after really doesn't look much different anyway though.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes I wonder why I sew

Especially when I happen to be in the mall and they happen to be having a January clearance sale and I happen to find a cute pair of pants and cute top all for $10:These pictures don't do justice to the color of the top. It's pink and very pretty.
I didn't even get a chance to try on the sweater before buying it because I had three crazy kids in tow and when I got home and tried it on I really wasn't sure if I liked it. However, after trying it on again, this time unbuttoned, it actually looked really great on me! I'm so excited I have a new outfit to wear for my date this weekend!

Monday, January 17, 2011

One small thing leads to another

Today I was fully intending to get some quilt blocks done. So far I have not done any of the sewing on my own machine, but at my friends house, so when I went to sew them I had to find the right color thread. I couldn't find the blue I was looking for with the rest of my thread so I had to do the dreaded search in my messy sewing closet. Well, that lead to pulling everything out and that lead to reorganizing my closet and that lead to finding a cut out pants pattern that needed to be completed. Maybe some of you remember awhile back when I sewed a couple pairs of pants from Simplicity 2627. Well, I had another pair completely cut out and still pinned to the pattern that I had burned out on before completing. I finished them today! I didn't get any work done on the quilt, but I got rid of some clutter and my daughter has one more pair of pants and that's good enough for me.
I did make one mistake. I accidentally sewed one of the bottom legs on upside down. I wondered why there weren't any notches to match up when I attached the bottom to the top. So if you look really closely you can see that the two knees don't quite match up but it's not noticeable enough for me to even come close to unpicking and starting over! They are still functional and my daughter loves them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Homemade Barbie Clothes

So here is what I finished yesterday and today. This is outfit 4 from Simplicity 6208:
The blouse is the same in both pictures. It is such a versatile basic wardrobe piece, I am going to have to sew a bunch of them in different colors. Same with the skirts. The skirts were so incredibly easy, they each took me less than ten minutes. The jacket took a little longer (obviously) but still wasn't too hard. It turned out a little bulky though because of the fabric. I forgot to take into consideration that I was sewing for Barbie dolls because that fabric would make a very nice jacket for me!

This skirt on the bottom I just cut out and sewed myself without a pattern. My daughter wanted a "long long skirt that touches to the floor." When it came down to Barbie's ankles, that wasn't good enough for her so in talking to my sister she suggested I add some lace. I did that, and now it touches to the floor.

Jessica asked if I did it by hand and if it was tedious. None of it was done by hand and it is a lot simpler than you might think. When I first pictured sewing Barbie clothes I couldn't fathom how on earth you would sew on those tiny shirt sleeves, or finish the necklines, etc. But they make it super simple. You'll have to come over sometime Jessica and make some with me! And Talena asked if Audrey is impressed. Yes, she is now that I sewed the lace onto the long skirt. Thank you so much for saving me a lifetime of complaints! The kids are loving each new piece of clothing as it comes available. The only problem is, I'm done! You know when you start dreaming about Barbie clothes, it's time to take a little break. I'm sure I will come back to it eventually though. Oh, and I think the main reason I had fun is because like my mom said, "Wow, a shirt, a pair of pants, and a dress, all in one day. Don't you wish our own wardrobes went that quickly?" And I say, "yes Mom, yes I do." This is a little bit of wish fulfillment here for me. I'm fulfilling my own dreams through Barbie;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A special wedding quilt

I am so excited to have the opportunity to make a quilt! I really like making quilts, probably a little more than making clothes. You can make one pretty fast and it is always exciting to see how it will look when it is done because you never really know what it will look like until it is done. A lot of things I try to do don't turn out as well or as pretty as I envisioned or hoped they would, but quilts always turn out beautifully.
So, of course I went to my friends house to look through her quilt books and to make a long story short, of course she pulled out piles and piles of fabric and we found enough scraps to make a beautiful queen size quilt. Here are two of the finished blocks:

I scanned them in so you can not quite see the full block but you get the idea. We need to make 72 blocks for a queen size so we have our work cut out for us! (well, not quite cut out. That's my homework for tomorrow, no pun intended;)

Of course it's always good to have more than one project going at once lest you get bored. I sewed a couple more Barbie clothes today and I will post about them tomorrow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feeling a sense of urgency

Lets face it. Barbies are hard on their clothes. Poor Snow White is practically in rags her clothes are so beat up. With their pointy fingers and lack of flexible joints they seem to enjoy ripping their clothes to shreds! We have Barbies around here that need new clothes and need them NOW!
So here are the two outfits I've made so far. The red shirt is actually supposed to show her midriff but I altered the pattern a bit to cover her belly. Hey, I'm making the clothes, I can make 'em how I want to! Besides, without having to see her belly, you can focus on her beautiful facial features... ;) The only thing about my alteration though is that I forgot to take into consideration her large booty in the back. So the shirt flaps open in the back, but who cares. The kids don't seem to mind. The kids have already decided they are p.j.'s.The dress was pretty easy to make, it just got a little tedious doing all the darts. I don't really like how the neckline turned out and I'm not too crazy about the fabric I used, but I'm not going to do anything about it. I will probably add a ribbon though like it shows on the pattern just to dress it up a bit. Well, if I ever get around to it. The pants were a breeze! They only took me about 10 minutes.

So I was pleasantly surprised with how simple and almost fun it was to make these. When I read reviews of other people who made these I practically rolled my eyes at them when they said they had fun making them. And now I'm rolling my eyes at myself because, well, you can just ask my husband if he thinks I enjoyed it. I'm going to try a jacket next and then maybe a fancy dress. We'll see. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Next Endeavor

As a favorite author around here (Dr. Seuss) makes clear in his book Green Eggs and Ham, if you can't fight something long enough you might as well embrace it. So without further ado my next project will be...Barbie clothes. Yikes! I have never liked Barbies for numerous reasons I don't care to expound on here. This is a sewing blog not a bash on Barbie blog. Anyway, I have a 4 1/2 year old who LOVES Barbies. Of course she has a mommy who didn't feel the need to buy her any, but her life was made complete when a neighbor gifted her a shoe box full of hand me down Barbie dolls. Well, almost complete. Of course now they must be accessorized. She wants me to sew them some clothes because of course Mom can do anything. I was very hesitant because I knew that my idea of a dress was not going to please her. So I mentioned to my neighbor that I didn't dare try to sew a dress for these dolls and of course she pulls out 5 out of print Barbie doll patterns and so here is the beginning of my Barbie doll dress making career. We'll see how long it lasts.
Here are the five patterns:Ok, so be totally honest with me. Would you dare even attempt this Vogue pattern? Just looking at it terrifies me, but I'm just a beginner. I want to know if there is anyone reading this who would make these gorgeous clothes for their child's Barbie.
So of course my daughter wants the beautiful white wedding dress, and not something simple like the knit shorts and handbag. But I will be starting with the knit shorts and handbag for the simple reason that my friend who gave me these patterns already has those cut out and ready to sew. They have probably been sitting in the bag for 50 years, since her daughter was a little girl. I'll take it!
So, I post about this because I need your good wishes and motivational support. I need people to report to and show and tell too. So please leave an uplifting comment...