Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Progress

This afternoon I got to work in my sewing room - again! It feels like a little miracle. The dress is coming along. I hope I've made the necessary alterations to prevent some of the problems that others have had with the style. The dress form is a HUGE help. While it's not shaped exactly like me, so far the dress seems to fit me pretty closely to the way it fits the form. Tomorrow I begin applying endless amounts of bias tape. I'm glad I picked a contrasting color or the lines of the design would be completely lost with this fabric.

I even finished a new (and very overdue) pair of pants for Taz. My little Mini-Me has had quite a growth spurt since the last time I made him pants. I had to add 4(!) inches to the pattern. Poor kid LOVES his other mama-made pants so much and has worn them so often that the elastic in the waist is completely shot. He insists on wearing them to school all the while struggling to keep them from falling down to his knees! These are a conglomeration of a few Ottobre patterns that I've been using for the past couple years. He loves the style and still prefers an elastic waist over a zipper.

Here's a little thing I add to most pants. I use a fun fabric for the pocket linings - something I know the wearer will love. It's such a silly little touch but Taz loves his "secret pockets."

And in other crafty news, I finished Elf's necklace for the tea party we're attending on Sunday. I got the idea and the graphics from Disney.com via Allcrafts.net. I was able to find the ink jet shrink paper at Michael's (in the scrap booking section.)  The directions on the shrink paper suggested using a few coats of clear nail polish to seal the ink. I also used steel grey polish on the back (and a sharpie on the edges) so they'd look better as they moved .

Add them and some other charms to a chain and...

A necklace worthy of the Mad Hatter's tea party
(and my favorite 9 year old.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Oh, Facebook, I do love thee! After a long while of mercilessly teasing those "my age" that had joined, I relented about 18 months ago while laid up for a few days after having my appendix removed. I've had a wonderful time re-connecting with old friends, getting to know new ones and keeping in touch with those that are far away.

Last week, a friend (who lives several hundred miles away) posted a link to the A Frock By Friday challenge and asked if anyone wanted to participate with her. Not having sewn anything in MONTHS, I thought, "Why not?"

Well, the free Burda pattern that she's using doesn't go up to my size - yet - so rather than making myself nuts re-grading the pattern, I chose another I already had in my pattern stash. It's a few years old, but I've never gotten around to making it.

With the help of my dear Brew Guy, I got my sewing room back into shape last night and this morning I was ready to go! As soon as Xena cashed out for her afternoon nap, I got cutting... and immediately remembered why I don't sew much for myself. Cutting out a size 20 circle skirt required me on all fours - smoothing, pinning and cutting on my sewing room floor. Awesome. Because my knees don't hate me enough these days. Thankfully, the "floor work" is done and tomorrow I get to do my favorite part, the sewing! Fitting is almost as bad as, and often worse than, the cutting.  I've vowed never to sew another stitch MANY times whilst trying to get something to fit me properly. Oh well. I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. Maybe, with the help of my snifty new, and SMALLER (thank you), dress form it won't be so bad this time around.

Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In which I go off the deep end....

I have all the photos ready for the fleece fringe tutorial and I know I mentioned a doll snuggie in my previous post. Those need to take a backseat for the moment. Elf's first Brownie scout meeting of 2010 is tomorrow. And, what is a slightly off her rocker ("slightly" is debatable, I know) sewing mama to do?

Yep. Julie needed a sash! Julie is apparently a busy girl who comes straight home from skating to bake then on to Brownies without even a moment to brush her hair. Anyway....

Yes, it's madness. But if you or someone you know is inclined to share it with me, here you go:

Here's what you'll need.

 a) 1/4 yd of brown fabric - it can be as heavy as twill or woven cotton quilting fabric. I used an inexpensive quilting solid. b) your own little darling's sash c) printable fabric sheets d) Heat n Bond or something like it.  *** You can combine C and D by buying iron on printable fabric, but I already had the Heat n Bond and the plain fabric is significantly cheaper.***

First, you need to scan your real-life Brownie's sash (or if you haven't sewn them on yet, the badges). Yes, just lay it on the scanner and make a few scans getting all the badges you want. C'mon, if you're participating in this, it's not the weirdest thing you've ever done. Maybe not even today.

My scanner automatically sized everything to fit on a standard sheet of printer paper. But if you need to manually set the size, you want the scanned badges to be about 55% of the original size.  I cut and pasted the badges from the various scans into one document and printed on the paper according to the package directions. *** Keep in mind that unless you specifically buy the colorfast fabric sheets, you won't be able to wash your doll's sash. Hopefully you wouldn't need to anyway.***

Fuse the Heat n Bond to the wrong side of the fabric according to the directions. I cut the Heat N Bond a little larger than the fabric to make sure the adhesive covers everything. **Tip: place your fabric face down on a plain sheet of paper rather than directly on your ironing board. The extra adhesive will stick to the paper rather than your board. (Too bad I thought of this AFTER I got adhesive on my much abused ironing mat - again.) You can cut out the badges individually or leave them in groups. It's up to you.

Now print the pattern and cut a) two on the fold if you're using a lightweight quilting fabric b) one (on the fold) if you're using a twill. Use cutting line B for a two layered sash and A for a single layer.

If you're using a heavier fabric and making a one layer sash, finish the long edges with a rolled or very narrow hem.

If, like me, your fabric is lighter and you're making a two layer sash, stitch the two layers right sides together (there may be no difference between the right and wrong side of the fabric) with a 1/4" seam allowance. Clip the seam allowances, turn and press. Topstitch 1/8 - 1/4" from the edges.

No matter how you've handled the long edges, now fold your sash in half like this:

and stitch the short ends together. You can serge them or, like I did, just use a regular machine and finish the edge with an overlock or zig-zag stitch.

Now you're ready to iron on the badges! Use the original for placement and iron on the badges according to the directions on the Heat n Bond package. You *could* stitch around the edges of each badge for a really authentic look, but I chose to end the lunacy here. (Of course, there are council specific badges and the troop numbers that go on the front, but I've left those off for now to protect Elf's privacy.)

And you're done! Your friends will think you're either brilliant or deranged, but your Brownie will think you're a rock star! And really, that's the whole point, right?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lots o' Linkage

I'm trying really hard to stay off my feet this weekend, but I have doll clothing on the brain. I swore I was burned out and done with it for awhile on Elf's B-day, but I guess I'm not.  So in my ongoing search for free patterns (not that I don't have enough purchased ones), I found some today that I had not seen before. I thought it would be good for myself and others to have a list put together for easier reference. So here it is. These are all free patterns, but some of the sites have patterns for sale also. I have not made many of these, but I've got a mental list that's growing exponentially by the minute of ones I'd like to try. Have fun!

Free Patterns:

Pettiskirt in Child and Doll sizes at YCMT

Twirly skirt, wrap skirts (one reversible) and pillowcase top at YCMT

Six sets of actual AG clothing for some of the historical dolls

Smocked Dress

Dropped Waist Dress

Old Fashioned Dress

Two Tiered Twirly Skirt

Several dress/skirt patterns

Mermaid costume (and just a cool blog in general)

Doll clothes from women's undies (Might sound weird, but it's cute and they're a good source for small scale print knits. Just click the link and you'll see.)

Hobo Bag, doll money, and a few other free patterns (plus some for sale)

Tee shirt (free) and other patterns for sale via instant download

Doll Clothes Sewing Supplies:

TLC Doll Hospital

Tiny Zippers

Home Sew

And this has nothing to do with anything else here but I ran across this book and can't WAIT to get my hands on it!
Knitted Icons by Carol Meldrum

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fashion Show featuring the lovely Julie...

Elf's birthday was a fun family day. As is our tradition we all took the day off and spent some time together to celebrate our beautiful girl. A birthday breakfast, a family swim at our gym, dinner at Elf's favorite restaurant - with lots of playtime for her and Julie in between - made for a pretty good 9 year-old birthday, I think.  The doll wardrobe was a HUGE hit and Elf was very appreciative.

So here it is...

First, here's Julie's chest and a very anxious girl waiting to see what's wrapped up inside.

Now to the actual clothes.

 A skating outfit with hat and scarf to keep her warm during practice. Dress - Hinds' book. Hat and scarf - just winged them with a crochet hook and some sock yarn. Purchased skates from American Girl (before I found them for less than $5 from Michael's.)

Sassy girl with a "leather skirt" and camo tee. BG thought it was wrong to put a doll in a leather mini. I submit that it's wrong only if I make a matching one for the 9 year old. :D Purchased pink boots from AG.

What Elf refers to as her 'movie star' coat. I loved this fringe technique so much I took pics of the process to post as a tutorial later. Coat - Simplicity 4786. Hat - Hinds' book with fringe substituted for the brim.

Some lounge wear to match Elf's. Tank - Simplicity 5276. Pants - Simplicity 4786.

And the outfits I didn't get modeled pics of yet...

Soccer star with blue and white jersey and blue shorts to match the uniform Elf wears. Hind's book. Purchased shoes, ball and socks from Michael's.

Spring outfit. Peasant top and capris. Hind's book. Purchased crocs and hat (from Michael's, of course).

Apron and oven mitt set. McCall's M6006. The apron alone took me all most of an afternoon, but it was so worth the time! 
I realized while making this that fat quarters for quilting are a perfect way to get just enough of a woven for most doll items. MUCH cheaper than buying a quarter yard of fabric and a LOT less waste.

Couldn't help myself. Little rocker outfit. "Leather" pants - Simplicity 4786. Tee - McCall's M6006.

Close up of the tank already shown and another pair of lounge pants -  Simplicity 5276.

 One more close-up of the sassy girl outfit with the boots (Simplicity 5276) and matching wrist cuff. As always, I can take a cute thing too far. 

Oh, and don't forget the Snuggie!

I found the pattern for free here. I can't believe I actually made one. I'm NOT a Snuggie fan. I've never found blankets to be a problem, frankly, but Elf REALLY wanted one. Now as I post this I realize I have just enough fleece leftover for well, what's more demented than a dog snuggie? A DOLL snuggie! I just might sew this weekend after all....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking a short break

I've been wanting to update about the doll wardrobe, but I've been too busy sewing it! Hopefully I can get done tonight with enough time to photograph it all before I have to wrap it all up for Elf to open tomorrow. (I've been so furiously sewing I've barely had time to be incredulous about the fact she's turning 9!)

I just had to take a quick break and post one shot. Tiny scrunchy that matches the little skater outfit I'm working on. Hey, ya gotta have fun with these tiny clothes or they'll make you nuts. Not that I had far to go.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Better late than never

Finally getting this blog started that I set up probably YEARS ago. Hey, with little ones things get busy and the best laid plans.... you know.

Anyway, new year. New goals. New projects. My current and most pressing project is creating a dream doll wardrobe for a certain almost 9 year-old I know and her hot-off-the-press-just-dropped-of- by-Santa American Girl doll. Sadly, by the time Santa procured the doll he had to choose between clothing the doll or his own children. (Clothing ACTUAL children is cheaper.) So my goal is to blow away this most amazing young lady on her 9th birthday with a wooden treasure chest chock full of doll outfits.

Thankfully, we a little heads up from the big man I was able to get lots of patterns for $.99 at Joanns. (And now have too many to choose from.) I also discovered the Joan Hinds books. Pretty neat stuff. The one pictured is my favorite so I went ahead and bought a copy. It even has knitting patterns in it for some great sweaters, mitten, a felted hat, etc. I was able to find the others (complete with patterns) at my local library.

I was able to whip out a few things for my darling's new best friend over the holidays. I had made the kids matching footie style pajamas for the holidays this year. So Julie got a pair to match. I used Hind's Sew the Storybook Wardrobe for 18-Inch Dolls for the pattern. It's the white rabbit/cowardly lion pattern without the hood/tails. And, yes, I realize the doll's not actually going to be walking on the wood floors, but I had scraps of Jiffy Grip left over so why not? :D

I skipped making the girls dresses again this year. I found such a great deal at Costco that it seemed silly not to buy them. It would have cost be more in just the fabric for similar dresses and I really dislike working with satin, tulle, etc. Of course, as is typical, I ended up working with them anyway to make Julie's not-quite-matching-but-close-enough dress. I used a slightly modified pattern from the Hinds book I bought.

Less than $5 in fabric and a few hours of time saved us about $40 for something similar from the AG site. I was so excited I called my mom and officially thanked her for teaching me how to sew so many, many years ago.

So now it's time to start on her wardrobe. I'll post a list of my planned outfits and then make bets with myself as to how many I actually get done. Elf's getting a doll-sized kitchen for her birthday from my mom so Julie certainly needs an apron, chef's hat an oven mitts. That's first on the agenda.