Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Few Quick Projects with Terrible Pictures


I just needed to do something quick and cute. These were the results. Excuse the not so good pictures.


I still have a few Sew Beautiful knit rompers left in the stash. Momma loves rompers/bubbles/knit. Easy care, easy dressing and cute. To that end I dug up two that would fit the two littlest girls right now.


Unfortunately I didn't have two the same color in appropriate sizes. To tie them together in the "dressing sisters alike" my plan was to match the embroidery.



I used a machine embroidery from Mommy's Apron Strings on Etsy. Isn't he cute?  The font used is from Jolson's. I think they turned out cute and are headed to the post office today.


Mimi couldn't forget brother. He is almost four, so my time for him is running out. Like his cousin counterpart, I'm limited to t-shirts and shorts. That is ok. I bought this fabric from Children's Corner a couple of years ago. Aged long enough. The t-shirt is the last one in his size in the closet. Oops, might need to order more. Momma is not usually a fan of white t-shirts but I am hoping he is leaving behind the era of wearing his entire meal on his shirt.

I know there are many who are gasping. The embroidery design is a "faux smocking" machine embroidery from Appliqué Corner.  I have been known to make loud noises of how I would "never" stitch one of those. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Make your words sweet for when you have to eat them. I tried to flip the design so it matched the shorts. Brain freeze. I know how and did it, then I flipped it again because I thought the headlights were taillights. DUH!

Shorts are Parkers Pants of course. I lined them with broadcloth. It makes them more wrinkle proof plus they have more body.

I hope there is something quick and cute in your day faithful reader. Now off to make something for the other address. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Passing It On



Don't those little dimpled hands just make your heart sing? Three of the littles were here at the end of February. One day it was just the older two and Mimi at home. So what to do but sew? In digging through my stash, I only had two novelty fabrics large enough to offer to the project, pillowcases.

Nugget was first. but there was no one here to take his picture while he sewed. He was single minded, only wanted the end result. Had no interest in the process at all. "Are we finished yet" was his constant mantra. LG on the other hand was fascinated by the entire thing. And picked up what I expected of her quickly.


She didn't want to keep her hands where I wanted them though, she wanted to investigate how the machine worked. Hence Mimi has a death grip on her hands.  She was enthralled watching that needle making the stitches. Does this Mimi's heart good. Perhaps this summer, during Camp Mimi 2017 the girls can have squeeze in some more machine time.


Here they are with their finished pillowcases. Too cute! They proudly have them displayed on their beds at home.


Our littlest seamstress can not be deterred. When she wants something, she will have it. She uses these chairs to get into all kinds of predicaments both here and at home. Momma has threatened to make them into firewood. More than once. Here she is doing the dishes even though her Momma said otherwise.

I hope you have a little one in your life with which to share your passion. Don't be afraid to try, they may surprise you.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bunnies in a Garden of Liberty


Remember when I teased another photo of Liberty© yumminess here? Well I finished that project and can now share it with you.


My local SAGA chapter hosted Gail Doane for a workshop a few weeks ago. As is our custom, our chapter provided table favors and door prizes to the attendees. Three of us worked on the table favors and these were my offering to the effort. They are even cuter in person.


They are a simple pincushion that feature sweet spring bunnies surrounded by a garden of luscious Liberty Tana Lawn© for the tops. I found a redwork bunny machine embroidery design for the centers. I altered the design a bit to make it smaller. No one needs a dinner plate sized pincushion. They are embroidered on a denimy-twill like fabric. (How is that for official sounding? Denimy, a new word.) After all the bunnies were embroidered I cut them apart and then added the strips of Liberty© around them randomly. I had no pattern, just winged it.


No two are alike. I deliberately did not plan which fabrics to add to each bunny. I liked the randomness of it. There are a couple of lawns that snuck in there that may not be a Liberty© prints but are wonderful none the less. How many prints can you name? Why DO we feel the need to know the name of the Liberty© prints? Since the strips were only an inch wide, not a lot of Liberty© was sacrificed for the project. The tops are sewn onto a layer of batting to do the "paper piecing" sewing to create the tops. Plus it gives the top a bit more oomph.


Each pincushion is finished with a homespun type fabric I got from a quilt shop. It actually was in my stash which is why I don't know exactly what it is. I know where and when I bought it, just don't remember its name. I did round the corners for ease of construction. There was a fleeting moment of insanity that I BRIEFLY considered piping these. After a stern talking to myself, I gave up on that idea. What was I thinking anyway?


When they were complete, they were quite the sight to behold. Lurve!


They were fun to work on. I hope you enjoyed our Bunnies in a Garden of Liberty.




Monday, April 10, 2017

Lining a Smocked Apron Dress


I posted Baby's Easter dress a few days ago here. I wanted to make life a tad easier for Momma when it came time to iron and get clothes ready for three little ones, three and under, when getting ready for church or to visit that Big Bunny for pictures. I decided to make the apron dress with a lining that could serve as a slip as well.


As you can see from the pattern front Children's Corner Aprons comes with four views. (One is not included in this pattern front photo.) I chose the center one which has a small square of smocking at the center front neckline.

When I made the sample for the magazine submission that LG wore, I underlined it with silk organza.  I wanted more of a slip this time. I chose Imperial batiste.  There are some alterations that have to happen to the dress back pattern in order to create the "slip" lining. I will try and illustrate, forgive the horrid pics, it was nighttime.


This is the back pattern piece. Ignore the green tape for now. It is for all views.


Notice on the pattern piece the markings:
  • Place on Selvage
  • Foldline
  • Center Back
  • Lap
  • Facing
We are going to ignore the "Place on Selvage". Traditionally many Children's Corner patterns will have you place your pattern piece on the selvage to avoid having to finish that back edge during construction. Cut out your garment back according pattern piece with a 1/4" added seam allowance, NOT on the selvage. Now we are going to cut out an altered back from lining fabric.


This is with the pattern piece folded back on that "Foldline" marking. Can you see how the folded under pattern section is shadowing through? The EDGE of the pattern piece is now at the green tape marking. That is where your facing would normally end and still will be after we add the lining/slip. That is where the green tape is placed. You don't have to use the highlighter tape, you can draw a line with a pencil. 


Fold pattern piece under again where the green tape/line was placed. YOU NEED TO ADD A SEAM ALLOWANCE HERE. I added 1/4" for a seam allowance. The line/tape edge is the seam line edge of your new pattern piece. This is the piece you will use to cut out your back lining/slip pieces. Cut out this pattern piece making sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance from your lining fabric.


You should have two backs that look like this. (Since I did not take photos of these steps during construction of the dress I have used a doll sized bodice back for illustrations purposes only.) Note that the bodice back from the aqua fabric is considerably wider than the lining piece.


Stitch the straight edge of the back to the straight edge of the lining, right sides together. Press seam towards lining. Fold back on the fold line indicated on the pattern. Voila! Your bodice/dress back has a facing of garment fabric with the lining attached. Since this application makes your button band only two layers, make sure to interface your button band for added stability for creating buttonholes.

Continue construction of the dress. For the Carol, I used the dress front pattern piece for the non pleated dress front for my lining. Another reason my lining needs to hang free because the lining is not the same width as the smocked front. Stitch side seams of lining right sides together, and dress right sides to gather. Stitch shoulder seams of dress and lining. Attach collar sandwiching it between the the lining and dress front. Insert sleeves. Time to address the hem.


Due to abject laziness I am going to illustrate how to finish your slip/lining at the hem so that your lining hangs free, using the doll sized bodice pieces I just used. **When constructing your dress, when you are stitching the lining to the facing, end stitching at the point that equals twice the hem depth plus 1/2". I had to reverse stitch a tad to illustrate. Trim your lining to same depth as the FINISHED HEM LENGTH of your dress.** Fold your slip lining under 1/4" twice, machine stitch your lining hem in place.


This shows both hem depths folded up. On a child sized garment, your lining will be 1/2" shorter than your garment hem. This photo is taken before I stitched the lining hem in place.


After your hems are both stitched in place, (no these aren't stitched, it's a tutorial! I'm just showing the steps) clip the seam allowance of the garment fabric at the top edge of your finished hem. It is indicated as a black line on the seam allowance.


Fold under the seam allowance on the hem portion below the clip and slip stitch in place. This will give you a clean finish below the slip/lining. You may also do the same to the seam allowance on the slip lining, I did not do that here.

Since your seams are exposed between the layers of the lining and the outer dress you have to address the side seams. You can finish the seams in the manner you choose. I chose to pink the seams allowance.

This is the inside of the dress after it is complete.



I hope this helps you approach your dress lining with a new eye.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Bunny for Baby


 

Coming in under the wire as usual. Our Christmas time baby is having her First Easter.


Big sister, LG, is wearing her Lolli-Hop Lane from the Spring 2017 of Classic Sewing Magazine for Easter. Since this photo was taken last summer when LG was just twenty months old, the hem needed to be let down and baby sister needed a matching dress.

Children's Corner Aprons
Again, I used Children's Corner Carol which is included with their Aprons pattern. Lucky for me it comes in sizes 6mos - 4. Our sweet girl is a peanut, I fear the size 6 mos might still be a tad too roomy. We will see.


Since baby is only four months she can't have a lollipop stick. :) For safety sake, I made the stick into an old fashioned Saf-t-pop handle. Remember those? (Ironically enough, the dentist used to hand them out when I was a kid.) I also pleated/smocked fewer rows to have the smocked area more proportional for the smallest size. The handle is a 70-75 wrap bullion loop that I couched down in about 3 places along the bottom curve and made a straight stitch just under the bow tie over the ends of the loop.


A sweet Easter treat for a sweet baby girl. Again the fabrics as well as a complete kit are available from Farmhouse Fabrics.


I think the aqua/pink color combo will be beautiful on our fair, sweet baby. She is my best chance at a redhead. Praying it sticks.


I did not use the gingham covered buttons on the back. Sweet girl is still a lay-about baby and I didn't think the covered shank buttons would be very comfy. These cute pink and white buttons look great and match the color of the piping.


I hope your Easter sewing is finished and you will be relaxing this week, dreaming of chocolate bunnies.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Its April, Must be Time


Must be time for a little baseball. Instead of Opening "Day" its been Opening Night for primetime tv reasons I am sure. I even bypassed my usual Sunday night viewing of PBS. :)


This guy is the man of the hour today all over the news. They do love their baseball here. Its always a good time to be in the Gateway City when these boys are back to what they do best.

Back to your regularly schedule evening. Be glad, I could have posted about...


this! Let's be honest though, I'll take a giraffe over politics any day.

Back to slogging through this sewing room. You can't even see the floor in here today.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Altering a Sleeveless bodice for a Sleeve


As promised here is the follow on tutorial on changing a sleeveless bodice to receive a set in sleeve.


Children's Corner Louise fits Princess quite well and is open to many adaptations. This one is a fairly easy alteration, even if pattern drafting scares you. I used the bodice of Children's Corner Virginia to alter my sleeveless bodice. I used Children's Corner Ruthie for the sleeve. For my mind, it seems counterintuitive to add to the bodice to add a sleeve but that is what you do. A sleeveless bodice is cut in on the armholes and can sometimes dip down at the neckline.


You can see the extra width of the CC Virginia pattern piece underneath the CC Louise pattern piece. (To answer the obvious question, yes on the Lolli-Hop Lane dress I did use a Children's Corner Ruthie sleeve, the reason I did not use the bodice of Ruthie for the inset sleeve alteration is because the Ruthie has a high yoke and it would have meant an extra step of taping, tracing the skirt to the bodice to get a complete armhole. Remember all Children's Corner patterns are interchangeable in their parts. So a Ruthie sleeve would fit a Virginia armhole.) So onto the instructions of how to do this.

  • Lay your sleeveless bodice pattern piece over your "sleeved" bodice piece. Matching center fronts. 
  • Decide at this point if you want a to leave the neckline dropped, I chose to leave it.
  • Trace a new pattern piece 



It is a tad difficult to see through the three layers, my stack has the Virginia bodice on the bottom, the Louise bodice in the middle of the stack, ending with the tracing paper on top of all. Transfers markings.


Note on your new pattern piece all pertinent information. Virginia armhole, Louise bodice with smocked insert, size and cutting directions.


Repeat the same process for the back bodices. It really is that simple.


Voila! My sleeveless dress has been altered to include a sleeve. Proceed with your normal construction.  I hope this helps those that had questions about how I altered the dress pattern for the article Lolli-Hop Lane in Classic Sewing Spring 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Altering a non smocked bodice for a smocked insert


I have been asked to do a tutorial on how I altered the Children's Corner Louise for both a smocked insert and sleeves. This post will be about the smocked insert. Another will follow in a day or so with the sleeve alteration.

First off I am not a pattern drafter but I am a fair to midland instruction follower. For many years I have heard many wiser than I say how the pieces/parts of Children's Corner patterns are interchangeable. I have found this to be true. This is not always the case of every pattern line, but Children's Corner patterns were developed over the years using the same pattern blocks. This is what makes them interchangeable.


I love the way Louise fits, it is appropriate for a little bit older girl while still allowing for some design changes. I knew I wanted it smocked but at six and half I felt like a basic yoke like CC Lee was a tad younger look than what I was going for. That bodice is a blank canvas for so many design changes. I chose to insert a smocked panel.



One thing to keep in mind is proportion. I am not a big fan of a smocked insert covering a child's entire chest. To me, it looks over done as well as heavy. Unlike a pleated skirt or full smocked bodice, the insert is more rigid by nature and has a tendency to stand up away from the child like a placard. A more narrow insert has less chance of doing that. That is just my opinion. I chose to make the insert about one-third of the length of the bodice.  The finished insert is approximately 3" of the 9" of the bodice front. This measurement might change depending on the size you are making.  Try to keep in mind the  rule of thirds and this will work well for you.


I made this Children's Corner Lee for Princess last Easter. I smocked the plate as written and ended up with chocolate bunnies under her arms. I like picture smocking but not to have it end up under her armpits! She loved it and that is what matters. All that aside, I didn't want to smock bunnies for under her arms this year.


So I chose to add "wings" to either side of the insert. A wing is a block of fabric the same depth as the pleated piece cut on the straight of grain. I joined these blocks on either side with a 1/4" seam. This join on either side left an opportunity to pipe! You know how I love piping. Make sure your wings on either side are of equal size. This piece will become your complete insert.

There are a couple of ways to alter your pattern for the bodice front. You can figure out the depth of your insert and cut away that same depth on your front bodice pattern piece. (Remember to add back on seam allowances at the bottom of the altered bodice front as well as the top of your insert.) Or if you are a short cut person like myself there is an easier way. 


Apply piping to the top of your insert. This is just basted for illustration, I would normally glue my piping on.  And this insert is wider than the one on my dress, so there are no "wings" applied.


Attach a block of fabric large enough to accommodate the upper bodice of your pattern piece. Again this is loosely basted for illustration purposes. You now have a block to be treated as one piece of fabric.

If your pattern does not come with a full sized bodice pattern piece, trace one on a folded piece of tissue or tracing material. If you feel brave enough, fold your insert/fabric block in half making sure to center your smocked insert correctly on the fold. I am not that brave.


Place your full bodice pattern over your fabric block.  Again making sure to center your smocking.  Pin securely and trace around your pattern piece. In this case where the insert goes the full width of the bodice, stitch a narrow, short zig-zag stitch around your pattern piece just inside where you will be cutting the pleats. This will prevent your pleated piece from unraveling and losing its shape. Since my insert had the flat wings on either side this step was not necessary and I simply cut out my pattern. 




Another variance I made for this pattern was the order of work. In the pattern instructions it had you attach the skirt pieces to the front and the back separately. You ended up with a completed front of the dress and a completed back. Then it instructed to stitch the side seams together. I knew I wanted to pipe all the way around the skirt to the back placket so I completely constructed the bodice without the skirts first. Including inserting the sleeves. It is much easier to put in sleeves without the weight of the skirt involved. I then constructed the skirt, added the tucks and then attached it to the bodice with piping sandwiched between. No side seams involving piping and it is smooth all the way around the waist seam.

I hope this gives you the courage to try adding a smocked insert to a flat bodice. It really is quite easy.
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