Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Tooney?

I made this top for my daughter a couple of days ago and she was pretty excited about it.  She noted that it was pretty long and I told her it was called a "tunic." When she put it on the next morning, she ran to the Preacher and said, "Look, dad!  Mom made me a tooney!"  He was confused as a tooney is the Canadian $2 coin.


I've had this fabric in my stash for awhile.  It was a pretty good match for a hand-me-down pair of leggings.  I really wanted to make a tunic with a hood, but didn't have enough fabric.  So, then I made a two-layer neckband to go along with the layered look of the sleeves.  The bottom layer was white and wider than the top layer of the pink print.  But, when I wanted my daughter to try it on to check the side seams, we could not get it over her head!  So, I took that off and put fold-over elastic around the neck.  I'm not as excited about how it looks, but I was being lazy and wasn't too interested in cutting new neckbands.



Next up: another tooney tunic and leggings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Affirmation

I picked up my fair entries today.  All of my things were gathered up and waiting on a pile for me.  A woman, (who was a member of the committee responsible for the homecraft exhibits but not a judge) brought me over to it and then said, "Oh, this is your stuff!  This is beautiful work!  Especially this (pointing to the jacket).  I had several people complain to me that this did not win first prize.  Anything with bound buttonholes should win first prize.  I was not the judge, but I still would like to apologize.  I just don't understand that judging."  She was very dramatic about the whole thing.  I thanked her and said I wasn't really upset about it and I had won several other prizes (share the wealth, eh?).  But, I did appreciate knowing that it wasn't just me that was confused by the judging in that category.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wine Bags For Sale

I make some small baskets and bags to sell at a shop in town and the owner asked me to make some wine bags, so this is what I came up with.



This was the first one I made and then stopped in to show it to her and get feedback before making more.



The strips are pieces of old neckties.  It was pretty snug and we thought the handles could be a little longer, so I made those changes and then made four more.



The bottom of the bag is a circle, so this project wasn't as simple as just measuring height and width.  I had to dust off some math skills.  C = 2(pi)r .... remember that?  Then making a circle of a specific diameter meant I should really have a compass.  During my unsuccessful search around the house I found a roll of packing tape that looked about right.  I measured it and the diameter was exactly what I needed.  Perfect.



All of the bags have a layer of batting between the outer fabric and the lining.



For perspective, here is one with an empty wine bottle in it, but I think the handles are drooping, because they really are more 1.5" taller than the top of the bottle.



I hope they sell! 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kwik Sew 3169 - Girls' Peasant Top

Yay!  A different pattern to talk about!  A break from KS 2918!  My daughter is getting big enough to move out of the toddler pattern sizes, so I bought this pattern during the summer to try.


image from www.kwiksew.com

Kwik Sew did not disappoint.  I used size XS and added 1" to the sleeves.  The recommended fabrics are all wovens, but I used a knit and it worked just fine.



Someone gave me this fabric years ago and I kept it even though I didn't really like it.  It feels like really old polyester.  But, the color worked pretty well with this skirt (a thrift store find) and my daughter liked it, so it was a go.



The top looked pretty plain when I was finished, so I added the ribbon bows to the neck and sleeves.  I think the whole look might be a little too "peasant-y," with the tiered skirt and peasant-style top, but my daughter thinks it is SO pretty.  She "styled" the outfit all herself for the picture - necklace, headband, socks.  Lovely!

I'll likely be using this pattern a few more times - it goes up to size 12-14 and the short sleeve version is really cute, too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Results Are In!

Drumroll please....

I did pretty well at the fair!  I was there today and checked everything out.

Seven items placed first in their category:
dress
blouse
sport shirt
girl's jumper
girl's blouse
girl's nightgown
doll clothes

Two items took second place:
child's socks
boy's pajamas

One item came in third:
vest


Which leaves four items that didn't place:
apron, jacket, socks, scarf


So, that means I won about $90.00.  I really enjoyed looking at all the things entered.  The quilts were particularly amazing. 

Overall, I am pleased with how I did and I didn't find the judging too perplexing.  Well, except for one category.  The jacket.  Of course, I'm being completely and totally objective here, but I was ROBBED!!  There were only four jackets entered.  The first place one looked terrible.  The second place one looked better than it and the third place one looked better than the second one!  Really, I don't get it.  Of all the things I entered, that was the most complicated and nicely finished.  Okay, I'm getting over it.  Seriously, that was the only category that I felt that way about.  So, I'll go back to being happy about it all now.

I'll have to pick up the things on Monday and then we can actually wear them!  Thanks for all your kind wishes - this was a fun endeavor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More T-shirts....

Two more T-shirts.  I only took pictures of one because the second one is even less exciting than this one!



They are intended to be worn under a hoodie and a fleece pullover (both hand-me-downs in great shape).  Do you remember me mentioning that the Preacher is rather particular about his T-shirts?  Well, these tops are made from two T-shirts that he wore only once or twice and then deemed unacceptable.  The fabric isn't great, but for layering T's, it works fine.


I used fold-over elastic on the neck.  This is the first time I've used it and I really like it.  It looks nicer than a ribbing neckband and is stretchier than a bound one.  Putting it on couldn't be easier - just fold the elastic over the edge and stitch it down.  It should be stretched a little bit, but not a lot.  Before putting it on, I sewed one shoulder seam and then sewed the other seam after the neckline was finished.  It seems easier to determine the best length for the elastic this way.



For the lettuce edge on the sleeve and hem, I use a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.  I like to do it in two passes.  For the first, I stitch about 1/4" away from the edge and stretch the fabric while using a stitch of medium length and width.  Then I trim off the 1/4", getting right next to the zigzag stitches.  For the second pass, I keep the stitch width the same, but decrease the length so it is nearly a satin stitch and then stretch the fabric again while sewing.  I find it looks best if the one side of the stitch is actually just off the fabric.

The second shirt has the same elastic at the neck, but has traditional hems.  Of course, the one pictured (with ruffles!!) is preferred by my daughter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Baskets For Sale

These baskets do move out of the shop in town so I made three more.  I tried to be a little more "fall-ish" with the fabrics and colors.


The shop owner asked me to make some bags similar to these baskets, for wine bottles.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  I have a prototype finished, but it needs some reworking before I'm ready to make a few.  For dimensions, I used a wine bottle that I had and the bag turned out pretty snug.  It looks good for this particular bottle, but not all bottles are the same shape and size.

I finished a couple more shirts for my daughter that need to be posted yet, but this project is more inspiring right now....perhaps because it is warm again and fall clothes don't seem so urgent.  Or maybe it's just a lot of fun to turn scraps into money!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another T-shirt

After seeing this shirt, my daughter told me that it wasn't really a good idea to wear short sleeves in the fall and winter.  I explained that I made it to be worn under a cardigan.  Then she said she thought the color was really pretty.  So, I think everything's going to be okay now.



Last fall she had a long-sleeve T-shirt to wear under a hoodie and she hardly ever wore it because it was so frustating for her when she was getting dressing.  And after the long sleeves that were too short, short sleeves looked good to me!

The fabric is left over from a top I made for myself a couple of years ago.  It's an interlock knit and looks more purple in real life.  The pattern is Kwik Sew 2918, modified to have a gathered and bound neck.
 
That pile on my desk is getting smaller....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Down, A Bunch To Go...

It seems my daughter grew while she was at school on Friday.  I measured her in the morning before she left, made this shirt during the day and then when she got home and tried it on, the sleeves were too short!  BAH!



I seriously measured her arms and then compared the pattern pieces to a long-sleeve shirt which had sleeves that were too short so I would know how much longer to make them.  I made this new one 1.5" longer.  Still too short!  After figuring out that she grew 1.5" between June and September, I'm not all that skeptical that she DID grow noticeably while at school.


The sleeve situation is very frustrating, but I like everything else about the shirt.  I used the pebble piping (just like on this top) around the neck and really like how that looks finished.  The fabric is a really nice, smooth jersey with lycra that I bought at Fabricland several months ago when it was a good deal.  And, I like to see my daughter in blue - it's a nice break from all the pink.

The pattern is Kwik Sew 2918 - just like every other T-shirt I've ever made my kids.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back at it...

So I haven't sewn anything for a week.  That's a long time for me.  The break was good, since I wasn't feeling very excited about sewing.  I did some other things that needed to be done - some cleaning, pulling stuff out of the flower beds and gardens, organized some closets, etc.

During the last week the weather got noticeably cooler.  So, today I started on the project of making fall clothes for my older daughter.  As you can see, I have a few things lined up.


Some of this is already clothes - hand-me-downs - and the rest of it is fabric from my stash that needs to be made into clothes.  Some of the hand-me-downs need to be mended or altered.  I like to do all the laundry only once a week, so that means my kids need a lot of clothes.  To me, this seems like a pretty big pile of stuff to sew up and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to sew all this. 

In an effort to make this easier, I picked up two new pairs of jeans yesterday that I thought were reasonably priced.  Both of them were great for length, but much too big at the waist.  After trying on both pairs my daughter said, "Mom, I think I need to be a little fatter for these pants to work."  Wouldn't that be a nice problem to have?

I'll probably look a little harder for RTW jeans that fit her.  I do have the Jalie jeans pattern that I haven't used yet.  Maybe I'll use that for her.  It just seems like it would be a lot of time spent on a garment that will likely be outgrown before the end of winter.  I took some measurements today and my daughter grew 1.5" in height since I made this dress.  Oy.

Off to the sewing room...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kwik Sew 3126 - Soccer Pajamas


I brought this little guy with me to the fabric store (Fabricland) to pick out some fabric for pajamas.  We brought home this soccer print and an indy race car print.  Perhaps you remember what I think about auto racing.  So, I was a little conflicted about buying the indy cars.  But, it was either that or hockey and I really don't care for hockey either. 


This soccer print was also available with a green background - you know, so it would look like a soccer field.  That seemed to make sense to me, but the client wanted the blue, so that's what came home.


I've used this pattern many times already.  It's a good pattern.  This set of pj's is the largest size, T4.  They're a little big on him now, but that was intentional.  They'll be too small too soon. 


This is probably the best pattern matching I've done yet.  It's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it work.  It's a one-way print with a fairly large repeat (compared to the size of the pattern pieces, anyway) and I had only a little extra fabric.  But, I squeaked it out and I'm glad I did.  I wondered aloud to the Preacher why I bothered with the pocket.  With the pattern matching, you don't really see it much and it's not like my son will use the pocket.  But, it's part of the classic pajama look, so it's good to include it. 


I'll be entering these in the fair in the "Boy's Pajamas" category.

Next up:  I still don't know.  Nothing's cut out, nothing's waiting in line.  I'm not feeling very inspired right now.  My daughter still needs quite a lot of clothes for fall, but that project doesn't sound like fun yet.  I have a lot of fall/winter fabrics in my stash that I'd like to sew for me, but I think I'd feel better with some sort of plan for that.  I could zip through those indy car pajamas, but that doesn't get me excited either.  I might just take a break for a few days.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time's Up!

Yesterday was the deadline to submit entry forms for the fair.  I dropped mine off a little after noon.  My form had 14 items listed.

apron
dress
jacket
blouse
vest
socks
sport shirt
scarf
girl's jumper
girl's blouse
boy's pajamas (finished, but no post yet)
girl's nightgown
child's socks
doll clothes

Some of these things I made a few months ago, but they are eligible as long as they have been created since September 2008 and haven't been soiled or defaced by wear or use.

The fair actually happens September 23-27.  Next Friday I have to pick up the tags for the items and then they need to be dropped off on Monday, September 21.

I think I mentioned that I found the judging last year to be a little unpredictable, so I'm going to be happy as long as I just recover my entrance fee ($10 - per entrant, not item).  The prizes: 1st - $10; 2nd - $8; 3rd - $6.  We'll see what happens....

Butterick 5729 - Doll Clothes

The fact that I don't sew very much for my younger daughter causes me a bit of guilt.  It shouldn't, but it does.  I don't sew less for her because I like her less, just because she doesn't need new clothes.  She gets all of her sister's hand-me-downs.  Now, someday that will be an issue, but right now she doesn't care.  But, I feel guilty nonetheless.  She really loves baby dolls these days, so in an attempt to assauge some of my guilt, I made this little dress for her (or rather her dolls).

The doll's eyes make it look like I caught her off-guard with the picture.  Yikes.
I nearly abandoned this project twice.  First while finding the pattern pieces.  How in the world can a doll clothes pattern need four full sheets of tissue paper?!? The pattern pieces are tiny!  Well, there are nine different items included in the pattern with very few pieces being used for more than one item.  There are two sizes included - 14-15" doll and 17-18" doll - and each size has it's own pieces.  Finding the pieces I needed took a ridiculously long time.  (I'm having problems with the Butterick site, so no link to the pattern - sorry!)

And then the second time was while finishing the neckline.  The instructions have you finish it with bias tape.  I tried it as instructed, but the tape was way too wide to lay flat without puckering the bodice.  I should have cut a second front and back and used it to line the bodice, but I had already clipped and trimmed the neckline, so there was no going back.  I ended up folding under the bias tape again to make it narrower.  It worked, but could have gone better.  Very putsy stuff just for a doll.


To finish the seams, I stitched a second time in the seam allowance and then trimmed close to that second line of stitching.


I added piping at the waist seam and a band at the hem.  I'm not all that pleased with the sleeve.  They're way too long to be short sleeves.


The bloomers are made from a scrap of white quilting cotton and the dress is same fabric as the shirt I just made.

I'll be entering this in the fair in the "Doll clothes - fabric" category.

The little man's pajamas are almost done.  After that?  I dunno...hmmm....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Socks for Someone Else

These are the first socks that I have knit for someone other than me!  I think my daughter was a good choice.  She's as excited about these socks as I am.


I used the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns for these.  My daughter's feet were in between the sizes offered, so I figured out how many stitches to cast on using the gauge that I was knitting at and the number of inches that I wanted.  So, I needed the sock to be 6" in circumference and was knitting at 8sts/inch - that means I needed 48 stitches.  I was still able to use the charts in the book since one of the size/gauge combinations was for a 48 st sock.  I just followed those numbers, and used my own inch measurements when those were needed.


I like how the 2 x 2 rib continues down the foot of the sock, but I'm not happy with how it looks where the rib meets the smooth sole stitches.  Before starting the heel flap, I divided the ribs on the edges so that the stitches for the top of the foot had one purl stitch at each end.  This was just to make the pattern balanced.  The instep decreases were done one stitch before the end of the needle.  I should have done them on the last stitch.  Now it looks like there is an unbalanced rib along the instep decrease line.  Oh, well.  I've never done ribbed socks before.  Now I know...

Remember how I ran out of yarn for the sock I was knitting last?  Well, I had quite the opposite problem with this pair.  I bought two skeins and have one complete skein left and probably one-quarter of the other one.  I should have known that socks for a five-year-old wouldn't take two skeins, but I was a little too cautious after running out during a project.

I'll be entering these in the fair in the "Child's socks" category.  My kids are a little confused about this fair stuff, but they're getting pretty into it.  Now they bring me random things from around the house and ask if we can put it in the fair.

I finished the doll clothes and won't be doing that again any time in the near future.  Post coming soon.

Next up: pajamas for the little man.

Monday, September 7, 2009

McCall's 5522 - Lavendar Striped Shirt

One of my goals for 2009 was to make a great white shirt.  I haven't tackled that yet, but I think I'm going to consider this shirt the first step in that process.  This pattern was in the running for "the" shirt and I think I like how it turned out.


This fabric is from NY - Metro Textiles.  It seems to be high quality, but was pretty lightweight and it wrinkles really easily.  It also presses well and feels nice on.


Some details:

The collar:


The sleeve placket and cuff:


Bias-cut lower bodice: (resizing the pics makes the stripes all wonky)


I added a seam at the center back to make the chevron pattern balanced:


This shirt feels more like spring than fall to me, so I think I'll put it away and it will be a nice surprise after the long winter.  Besides, I don't really have anything to wear with it now.


I'll be entering this in the fair in the "Ladies Blouse" category.

Next up:  doll clothes (?)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today's Smile

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments on my last post.  I really appreciate it.  The online sewing community is fantastic.  I'm glad to be a part of it.

This scene in my backyard made me smile today.  I liked the combination of the bright flowers in the quilt on the clothesline and the crop of real flowers (zinnias) in the garden below it, both in the sunshine.


I made this quilt just over five years ago while I was waiting for my daughter to be born.  Two weeks before my due date I was restless and anxious and needed something to focus on.  I nearly finished this before she was born.  Now it sits on her bed.  It is throw or lap sized, so it works as an extra blanket for her.

My shirt is coming along.  I'm using McCalls 5522.  It feels like it is slow going, but I'm closer to the end than the beginning.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One year ago today...

...my life changed a lot.  My family moved to Ontario, Canada and my regular ol' husband became "the Preacher."  So many things to adjust to:  living in a different country (we're US citizens), a spouse's new career, being away from family and friends, becoming a full-time SAHM, meeting lots of new people, etc.

I think this has been the toughest year of my life.  We have been confirmed in our call here and God has provided everything we need.  But it hasn't been easy.

This has also been the most productive sewing year of my life.  This is no coincidence.  Sewing has really helped me cope with all the changes in many ways:

1.  I spend most evenings alone (after the kids are in bed).  The Preacher has a lot of meetings or work to finish in his office.  This is when I do most of my sewing.  I am thankful that I have something to do that I enjoy during these hours.  I find my sewing machine to be good company.

2.  The language barrier between Canada and the USA is pretty minimal, but every new region has colloquial language (and spelling!) that takes some figuring out and getting used to - beyond, of course, the "eh" that everyone associates with Canada.  Along the same lines, we have had to deal with international banking, immigration issues, and the like that have been totally new and unfamiliar.  My sewing patterns, books, and favorite websites, on the other hand, have been comfortingly familiar.  I know this language and these processes.

3.  I find one of the hardest things about moving is losing people that share your history.  I often long to just sit and chat with someone who has known me and my life for a long time.  Getting to really know people is hard work for me and it takes a long time.  But, my sewing machines have made the last few moves with me and I know them.  I know just where the tension dial needs to be set.  I know exactly where the serger thread will likely break during re-threading.  It's taken time to learn these things.  I haven't given my machines names like some people have, but often they do feel like old friends.

4.  Sewing has helped me clothe my family.  Shopping is kind of complicated for me.  Either I take three little kids along with me - that sounds fun, eh?  Or I hire a babysitter and go solo - that sounds expensive and I haven't even bought anything yet.  Add in the time to get used to the new and foreign stores and learn where to shop and it just seems like a very long and costly process.  I sew pretty much all of my own clothes and a lot of my kids' clothes (I have bothered to become familiar with some second-hand stores).

5.  Those of you that have done (or are doing) the SAHM gig know that it can be rather monotonous and understimulating.  I love my kids dearly and am grateful for the time that I get to spend with them while they are little.  However, some days it feels like all I do is clean up the kitchen, change diapers, help pick up toys, etc only to do all the same things again (and again and again) just a short time later.  Progress seems invisible.  When I sew I make forward progress and have something to show for my time.  Something about me needs this sense of accomplishment.

I've always loved sewing, but I've been particularly grateful for this skill and interest that I have in the past year.  Hopefully the coming year is easier, but still with good sewing output.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Butterick 4842 - Corduroy Jumper

Corduroy is one of my favorite fall/winter fabrics.  I like it's weight and texture and the rich, lovely colors that it comes in.  And I like jumpers on little girls.  So, I think a corduroy jumper for fall is a good thing.


This is Butterick 4842 in size 4.  Kind of.  I took in the CF 1.5", the side seams 3/4", added 1.5" in length to the bodice and 1" to each flounce.  So, I started with size 4, but didn't stay there for long.  This pattern is really short.  You can see that from the pattern model.


I thought the jumper might turn out too plain, so I added two bands of ribbon at the bottom of the bodice.  It's sheer ribbon with satin edges.  Nice how Fabricland had ribbon to match this color almost exactly, but no narrow white grosgrain ribbon.  Okay, I'm over it....


Tutorial for the flower here.   I'm not thrilled with the button in the middle.  I've been doing a great job of using up my button stash rather than buying new, but at times like this I'm not so pleased about a minimal stash.  This was the best I had.  I stitched a pin to the back of the flower so it is removeable.  It doesn't look like it will launder well.


The jumper is lined with a cotton print leftover from this project:


My sister's wedding.  Aren't they all cute?  I love this picture!  My younger daughter also has a hat from this fabric. 

I'll be entering this in the fair in the "Child's Jumper" category.

Next up: a shirt for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kwik Sew 3146 - Girl's White Shirt

This shirt is a shameless copy of a shirt I picked up at a garage sale for my younger daughter.  It was too small during the right season, so she never wore it.  Now I passed it on to my neice.  I really liked it, though and the design stuck in my head.  So, here's my version for my older daughter.


I cut the sleeves off right above the elbow and drafted a new cuff.  The cuff is slightly flared and then I added a velvet ribbon at the cuff seam.


The collar also has the velvet ribbon around the edge.  In hindsight, I realize that I probably should have cut and mitered the corners, but I just folded and overlapped them.  It was pretty bulky and took a bit of manipulating to look satisfactory.  The original shirt had grosgrain ribbon rather than velvet.  I would have preferred this for my copy, but Fabricland didn't have any.  Seriously.  Lots of other ribbon, but no narrow white grosgrain ribbon.  Very disappointing.

I made size T4 for my daughter and had to take it in 1.5" at the side seams and underarms.  I added a bit of shaping at the waist.  Not that she has any shaping at the waist, but she was concerned about this shirt looking "boyish" and she was pleased with this change.


I've used this pattern many times before, most recently here.  It's a good one.  I love it when little kid clothes looks like grown-up clothes - just smaller.  This pattern does that - the collar, yoke, little pocket - it's all the right scale and done just like the real thing.


I'll be entering this in the fair in the "Child's Blouse category.

I'm nearly finished with a jumper to go with this shirt.