Friday, July 30, 2010

Ice Cream Dress Progress

I posted a few weeks ago, that I would be participating in the Ice Cream Social Sew-a-long being hosted over at Badskirt.  Amy has been doing a great job with hosting duties and has offered some very useful tips. 

Here are my pieces all cut out.  It's a bit funky for me but I really wanted to make something with this Amy Butler fabric.  I got approval from my girls so here's hoping it turns out.

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I decided to give French Seams a try.  Never heard of them before?  Me either!  However, after reading Amy's post on the subject and the great tutorial over at Oliver & S, I was intrigued.  I really do like that there are no unfinished edges in the whole dress if this technique is used on the side seams. 

French Seams were fairly easy.  It did pucker a little under the arm but I think that it will be O.K. when being worn.

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Here are my finished pockets.  I like the yoke detail on top.  I didn't get too fussy about them and I think they turned out nicely.  Amy also provided a great link for how to make nice curved edges on the pocket.
Few!!!  Attaching the yoke to the bodice was not easy!  I'm still not really sure why I struggled so much with this step.  To hem the sleeves and attach the yoke to the bodice took me 2 hours!!  SERIOUSLY!

I don’t care for how this center back part came out.  I probably should have taken a break and come back to this as others had posted about issues with this step too.  I'm not really sure what to do to make it look better.  That's it for now.  I have one step left, attaching the bottom band.  Oh yeah, and then starting all over again for my other little girl.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the Garden Dresses and Easy Zippered Purses

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I have been wanting to make my girls some “In The Garden Dresses” from the great tutorial over at my favorite blog From an Igloo (go check it out!).  I finally got them done just in time for a special event for my girls this past weekend.  They came out super cute and my girls really love the twirl factor!


I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated when I first reviewed the tutorial for this dress as it involved two techniques that I had never tried before, making a button hole and shirring!  I did a little research and taught myself how to do it and I think that it came out pretty nice!  I’m a bit proud of myself!


I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor.  The girls had the opportunity to go to a book reading and signing this past weekend.  It was a “fancy” dress up event which is right up my girls’ alley.  They had a blast in their new dresses.  When I was in Joann’s last week, I noticed that they had some Fancy Nancy fabric.  I thought that it would be fun to whip up some purses for them and their cousins who were also attending the event.  I decided to try the Easy Zippered Purse Tutorial at, you guessed it, From An Igloo!  They came out really cute and the girls where really excited about them.

One of my girls immediately filled hers with jewels for the big event!  So cute!
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Here they are all dressed up for the “Fancy” Day!

Jane O’Connor even commented on their lovely dresses and Fancy Nancy purses!


The last thing that I wanted to share was a quick tip that I learned a couple of weeks ago for turning purse straps.
Sew a small piece of ribbon to one end of your fabric before you sew it into a tube.  Make sure it is a bit longer than your tube and tuck it into the middle near the fold.


  Then sew your tube right sides together as you normally would.  Now use your finger to tuck in the end with the ribbon sewn to it.


 Pull on the ribbon from the other end until your tube is turned right side out!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Freezer Paper Rocks!


O.K. I really love freezer paper!  I had never even heard of it until I tried this tutorial on MADE for freezer paper stenciling.  I posted here about a grilling apron the kids made for daddy and here about some shirts that I made for my boys using freezer paper stenciling.  Of course the girls wanted some too.
  I cut out the  map of the island where we spend time in the summer and I let the girls do the painting themselves.
Now for the fun part.  Peeling off the paper to reveal the finished artwork.
They actually did a really good job and we got tons of compliments on the shirts on our first trip over to the island for the summer.  Thanks for the great tutorial Dana!
Of course we had to tie dye some of last years pink pants purple to go with the outfit!  This was a great way to get more use out of pants that were looking a little worn.

Then the other day, my gang was getting a little cranky with each other.  Summers are hard because the activities are fewer and farther between.  On those stay at home days they play nicely for a bit and then…..  On this day I needed a quick activity that would keep all four busy.  I remembered that I had just bought some finger paints and thought that would be fun.  The boys had never done it before and I knew they would love the mess.  Then I realized that I had no idea where the finger paint paper was.  I decided to give the freezer paper a try.  It worked really great and I’m sure it is much more economical.  I love this stuff!
The artists hard at work.
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 Our finished artwork.
O.K. so I thought that would be the end of this post but then I just discovered one more use for Freezer Paper.   You can use it to trace your patterns onto.  It is nice and sturdy yet easy to see through for tracing.  You could even skip the pinning and just iron it onto your material!
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(I just recently discovered yet another use for freezer paper.  You can you it as stabilizer for when you sew on appliques!  Click here to see my post about it.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ice Cream Dress

While  I was over at Noodlehead for the Gathered Clutch Tutorial, I noticed that there was a link to something called the Ice Cream Social.  Basically it is a sew-a-long featuring the Oliver & S Ice Cream Dress.  It looks pretty cute so I think I am going to give it a try!  Plus you gotta love that the pattern goes up to a size 12 so I can use it for a while.  As I mentioned in my last post, I found a fabric store near me that sells designer fabrics so I snagged up some more Amy Butler for this project.
If you would like to be a part of the sew-a-long too, here is the link to the calendar and the flickr group.  You can also click on the cute button to the right of this blog to link to the flickr group.  I purchased my pattern here as shipping was only $1.50.  Check back in to see the finished dresses!

Gathered Clutch

I’m so proud of myself!  Last week I learned shirring and this week I sewed my first zipper.  Even one of my four year olds said, “Wow mommy you did a zipper!”  I have a few dresses and other fun things that I am making right now but last night, I felt like working on a project that I could finish in one sitting.  I have been eyeing the tutorial at Noodlehead for the cute Gathered Clutch and decided to give it a try.  It was pretty easy and straight forward.  It didn’t come out perfect but not bad for my first try.
 IMG_4338I was very excited to finally find a fabric store near me that sells designer fabric!  It was like Christmas walking in there.  I chose some cute Amy Butler fabrics.
The only change that I made to the tutorial was to add a second row of card holders for the interior.

Here is the finished clutch!
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Shirred Cover Ups

A few weeks ago, Dana at MADE posted a tutorial for an adult sized cover up made by shirring a towel.  I loved this idea and thought that I would like to scale it down a bit to make some for my girls.  Then a few days ago, Christine at From an Igloo posted a tutorial for a child’s size version.  Thanks Ladies!  My girls had a pool party to attend so I was excited to make up a couple of these for them.  Since I finally had the shirring thing figured out (see previous post)  it was pretty easy!  I wont go through the steps as they are so clearly laid out in these  two tutorials.  The only change that I  made was that I had to cut my straps 4 inches wide instead of 3.  It was just too hard to turn them right side out with the smaller width.  Be sure to go check out these tutorial and give this a try.  My girls love them!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shir Madness

I have found some really cute tutorials lately on MADE and From an Igloo that involve shirring so I thought that I would give it a try.  If you don’t know what shirring is, it is when you use elastic thread in the bobbin and the result is pretty gathered fabric.  Sounds fun right?  Well once you figure it out it is fun but the road to figuring it out can be a bit frustrating.  First I searched the internet for shirring tutorials and there are about a gazillion.  All giving different advice.  "You must hand wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, no use the regular bobbin winding technique, adjust the tension, whatever you do do not touch your tension, change your stitch length, leave your stitch length alone", etc.  Then there were several additional tutorials with trouble shooting tips for people with Brother Sewing Machines with drop in bobbins.  Which of course I now own.  It is enough to make you crazy!!!  The bottom line is that every machine is different.  You just have to set aside some time to play around with it and know that you may waste a few spools of elastic thread in the effort.  Don’t get frustrated just keep trying different things until you find what works best for you and your machine.  Trust me that the effort is worth it.  Once you get it right, the same technique should always work for you and you will have loads of fun making cute little sundresses! 
What finally worked for me and my Brother Sewing Machine, was a combination of these two tutorials Creative Heart and Prudent Baby.  I wound the elastic on the bobbin as I would with any other thread on my machine.  I took the bobbin plate off to make sure that the elastic was linked into the bobbin.  This was definitely one of my problems early on.  The elastic thread is thicker so it wasn’t linking in properly.  I set my stitch length to 3.5 and left the tension alone.  As I started to sew, I held onto the both the bobbin thread and the top thread until I had back stitched a bit to hold it in place and that’s it!  Maybe this technique will work for you too or maybe you will have to try your own but please do give it a try.  
This is what the back of your fabric will look like.  (Remember that you sew on the front of your fabric.)  The first two lines and the last one are done correctly.  The third and fourth one, Yikes!  (You can click on the picture for a closer look.)
Leah, at Sew Spoiled also gave shirring a try this week and posted about it.  Be sure to check out the cute sundresses she made!  I have actually completed a couple of fun projects this weekend and will be posting about them in the next couple of days so be sure to check back in!
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