Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wildman is Having a Birthday

Wildman will be having a birthday soon. Its a fun day and a sad day. Fun, because it is fun to be five. Sad, because he has sadly outgrown most Mimi mades. So t-shirts it is. šŸ˜¢ That being said, he also loooooooves Superheroes!! His favorite right now is *Spiderman.  So Mimi was on the hunt for an embroidery design. (Yes, some licensed designs can be found on the Internet. No, I am not going to point you in that direction. Google, you will find many. ) I never did find an embroidery design but I did find this "pow" number from Stitch Away AppliquĆ©. Its called Comic Book Numbers. Stitched our really nice albeit slowly for some reason.

I again used a Joe's USA t-shirt. Yes, I know it is more expensive than the standard "blanks" t-shirts but they hold up so well. These boys get a lot of wear out of the embroidered t-shirts so I don't mind spending a tad more. I am not doing dozens to sell. I am just dressing two little boys.

I found this five year old's dream at Hobby Lobby. The fabric snob in me about had a stroke but what a Mimi will do for the cause. 

That begged the question how to cut it so it landed in the right place on the appliquƩ. It wasn't going to be much good if Spidey ended up behind the 5 or off the edge. I noodled it for a bit when I had an "ah-ha" moment. Now if this is something you already knew, leave me in my ignorance for a bit.

I have gotten into the habit of printing off my embroidery designs to test placement. It has been a big help. I had already done that when I was trying to see through the paper. (Conjures an image doesn't it?) My "ah-ha" was when I thought I can cut out the big parts and use them as a template! Boy, did I feel smart! (Again, keep it to yourself.) I used an exacto knife and just cut away the large areas. Ignore my ratty looking cutting mat, its about 25 years old. Going to need replacing soon.

I jut scooted my template around until I had the correct elements peaking through. It did take careful marking of the cross points on the fabric to get them to correspond to the cross points I had made on my shirt to make sure Spidey was where I wanted him.

Voila! A serious looking superhero peeking out of the appliquƩ right where I want him. Need to wash out that blue mark!

This was a down and dirty, get it done, Christmas and baby are still in the works. What are you working on?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

And Then there were ten-Sew Together Bags

As the title suggests, and then there were ten. I posted about my Sew Together Bag obsession here. Like most obsessions, it doesn't go away on its own. So here is No. 10! I made it to swap with a friend who is making something darling for Princess. More on that at a later date, think Noel and fir trees.

Lullaby by Kate and Birdie Paper Co for Moda

The fabric set I used was Lullaby by Kate & Birdie Paper Co for Moda Fabrics. I love those sweet little birds and my friend likes peach.

I always love the look of the side of the bag when its closed. I know I am strange. Go with it.

It is always fun to see the insides. And yes, I did intend for the zippers to open in opposite directions. I love the cool crisp look to this color combination.

So there you go, the simple story of No. 10. What are you working on, faithful reader?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Another Quick Skort for Fall

I'm on FaceTime one afternoon with Princess, the oldest granddaughter. "Mimi! Look at this skirt, it has bunnies on it!" I reply, "Yes, it does." Her emphatic response, "Its October!" Okay, I might be dimwitted but on occasion even I can hear what is not being said. In other words, I need another one that isn't Easter themed. Can I help that she wears this skort three times a week? Mom says she loves it. For her it is the best of both worlds, dress-like and shorts underneath. So I am making more.

I made the skort from this same orange pin dot twill that I posted about here. She was so little then, she wasn't even walking.

Children's Corner Sara's Skort
I used Children's Corner Sara's Skort again. I am a slow sew-er and even I cut out, sewed and finished the skort and embroidered the t-shirt in an afternoon and evening. So quick.

She is certainly not that baby anymore. Too grown up for this Mimi to like. The flat front gives it an even more grown up look. I don't expect it to fit longer than a hot minute. I made the size 6 again. She is an average size 6 year old but has not grown a whole lot in the last year. I expect her to shoot up at any second. She has already grown a shoe size in the last 8 weeks. So a growth spurt is imminent. Still I stuck with the size 6 since it still hits right above her knee.  

The t-shirt blank is from ARB Blanks and it is a size 8. Still fits great. I have been very happy with their blanks. It has held up great in the wash, and being worn 2-3x a week it has been washed A LOT!  

The embroidery is from Stitch Away AppliquƩ. Stitched up beautifully. First time using one their designs. I have no idea what font I used for the monogram.

While the twill was from the stash closet, I wanted something new for the pleated ruffle and shorts. I went to a local quilt shop, Janie Lou and found this cute floral. I wanted something besides gingham. Shock, I know. It is called "Whatever the Weather" by Kaufman

I didn't realize until I had it home that the base of the print also had polka dots. I am nothing if not predictable. 

I have more of these planned for her as well as a Children's Corner Lucy from this same twill planned for LG. My fabric for Christmas dresses should arrive soon, and I still am working on linen for that coming home gown for our December baby. Have to go, there is sewing to do!

Keep stitching, faithful reader.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bias as a Flat Trim-A Tutorial

At Easter time I promised a tutorial on using bias fabric as a trim, and then quickly forgot. My brain is a sieve. More pours out the bottom than I could ever pour in. While I was making this sweet dress for one of our new babies on the way, I remembered making that promise. Thankfully, the memory floated to the top of the tar pit in time for me to snap some photos while I constructed that dress. So here goes.

In generations past, a sailor collar such as the one pictured above would have been trimmed with soutache braid. More recently things like flat ribbon and rick rack have been used. When I made Nugget's Easter outfit, I knew it would be difficult to color match the aqua pique so I used self fabric as a substitute for the soutache or ribbon trim.

It is an inexpensive but effective way to add a pop of color or just to mimic a traditional trim such as on my sailor collar.

What you need:
  • Fabric of your choice, natural fibers work best but poly/cotton can be wrestled into submission
  • Rotary cutter/mat preferred but not crucial
  • Starch
  • Glue
  • Bias trim maker
  • Wash Away Marking Pen
  • Hot Iron
  • Edge stitch foot for your machine
  • Patience, but not a lot.

This is a set of bias tape makers that I have. All are by Clover. Available in most sewing, craft stores. I realize that there is also a "machine" by Simplicity that is available but those little metal wedge things fit in the drawer and cost very little. If I were having to make hundreds of yards of bias I might would consider another gadget but I'm not. Couple of yards at a time is the most I would probably need. I would strongly advise against using prepackaged bias found in big box sewing/craft stores unless you are realllllllly forced to do so. The fabric that bias is made from is not always color fast (ask me how I know), may not be cut on a true bias and the fabric is not the best. I know I am a fabric snob, it is one of my many faults.

For glue, there are so many available on the market now. Everything from Roxanne's Glue Baste-It, Jillily's Appli-Glue, Sew-Line Glue Pen to plain ol' Elmer's Glue. All work. These are just a few of the options available. Just make sure what ever you choose is water soluble.

Starch! Starch! Starch! How do people sew without starch? I no longer am able to find the Niagra Non-Aerosol locally so I order it by the case from Amazon. I prefer it over the spray can.

Fabric, again the options are endless. For the baby dress, in order to have the trim match the piping, I deconstructed some of the left over piping and used the fabric from that.

First cut your bias strips, I am remedial and have already admitted that I can remember nothing, I have written on my individual makers with a sharpie what width bias I need for each size bias tape. You will see it in some of the following photos. I cut my bias with a rotary cutter but if you want to draw lines and cut with scissors, go for it. Make sure when you cut the bias strips, that you are cutting on the true 45* angle. That is crucial if you are going to shape/curve your bias trim.

You can see my sharpie notes on my bias maker. You feed the bias strip into the wide end of the bias maker, you might need to scooch it through with a straight pin to get it to come out the narrow end where it has magically folded it into folded bias strip.

As you gently pull the fabric through the tape maker, spray with starch until damp. Iron dry.

Use your iron to press the starch dry immediately as it comes out of the tape maker.

If you try to pull a long length out before you starch and press, it will pop open on you.  Even more so when you are using a poly/cotton fabric. This will result in a folded bias that is not consistent in width. So every couple inches, wet with the starch and dry with the iron.

This will result in a sharp, consistent bias tape. (And don't be judging my dirty ironing board cover. I know you were.)

Decide the placement on your garment.

Measure and mark your placement. I did this after I hemmed it. I feel like my placement with the marking pen and glue is more accurate having the hem to measure from rather  than trying to hem it after I have added the trim. 

I know there will be many who will express concern over ironing over the blue marks. I use this fine blue wash out marker from Clover. I buy them two and three at a time. I PERSONALLY have not had a problem with the blue marks coming out after I have ironed over them. And I iron over the blue marks with every garment I make or embroider. It is important to thoroughly rinse out the blue marks with plain running water before you use any soap on your finished project. And as always, if you are concerned, try a test on some scrap fabric first. 

I neglected to take a photo of the glueing step during construction so I had to recreate it. I glue down one side of the bias at a time. Use small dots of glue and making sure that you glue the bias down accurately, barely above your marked line. Avoid stretching your bias as you apply. 

Iron dry. This prevents you from accidentally moving the trim as you move your fabric.

This shows the second side still being free before I stitch that first side. In my experience it reduces the chance of it rippling.

Use an edge stitch foot to stitch the trim to the base fabric. Make sure the blade of the foot is running smoothly along the edge of your trim. Since it is glued down, you can stitch along with very little chance of rippling or movement. If you are using pins, I can guarantee it will not be as smooth a line.

On my machine I have clicked my needle position over two steps to the left or right so that I am as close to the edge as possible while still making sure the edge is securely stitched down. Experiment with your machine's needle positions to see what works best for you. This is not the best picture but look closely and you can see where I have lifted the presser foot so you can see the needle in the fabric.

Press your trim flat after stitching the first side then glue down the second side, again being careful not to stretch or handle the bias more than necessary. Ironing your glue dry as you go along. I stitch the second side down in the same direction as the first, again to help prevent rippling. 

Ta-da! Crisp, straight, sharp, bias trim. I hope you find this useful. Let me know how it works for you. 

Keep stitching, faithful reader. Lots more going on in the sewing room. Christmas and babies are coming!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A New Babe on the Way

Newest baby girl is due in 57 short days! I am currently working on her coming home gown but other than that, I have not sewn one thing for her. I can't believe it. Part of my problem has been there is no shortage of baby things in the Mimi Closet.

Here is the wardrobe already awaiting LB! As you can see, all of it is awaiting an appointment with an iron. These are things that either I have made, friends have made or are left from my girls and a few purchased things that are smocked. This is just NB-12 months. There are over a dozen daygowns in there alone. She does have one new daygown in there, it is Bella from Classic Sewing Magazine that I shared here. She won't be going nekked for sure. But still every new baby deserves a few things that are just for her.

So Mimi made her just a sweet, simple dress. It is made from a Spechler-Vogel fabric known as Skip Dent. It is poly/cotton with a tone on tone stripe. I piped it with Susie's Ready to Smock piping, also poly/cotton. No, poly/cotton isn't always my first choice, but this baby girl is Momma's #3 in three years. Mimi thought momma just needed an ironing break every now and then. 

For a more casual look, I did a piped French binding at the neck instead of entredeux with lace or Swiss trim. The sleeve bands are piped as well. You know me, if its not nailed down, pipe it.

It is no secret that my go to patterns for older babies/children are Children's Corner patterns. For new babies my go to is almost always The Old Fashioned Baby. This pattern, Best Embroidered Baby Clothes I,  appears to be out of print but often comes up on Ebay or Etsy. I made the small size for 7-13#.

The sweet little bluebird is from Applique for Kids. She just makes you smile.

The lower skirt is trimmed with bias band that I made from deconstructed piping.  (Look for a tutorial in a few days.) The hem is finished with a tiny Swiss trim. Poly/cotton or not, sweet vintage mother of pearl buttons are used down the back. Just for fun, I stitched the button band and hem with the same pink thread I used for the bluebird's kerchief.

Ignore that dark that square shadowing through, its the size tag. 

Back to the project at hand, a coming home gown for this sweet baby girl. 

It doesn't look like much just yet, but it will. Until then faithful reader, keep stitching.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Someone had a Birthday

Someone had a birthday this week.

This sweet girl turned two! How time flies.

Mimi zipped up a new outfit. Made from a pique I have had for several year and Imperial broadcloth for the top.

Children's Corner Aprons

The top is made using Children's Corner "Carol" which is made from the Aprons pattern. It is a size 2. Finished length is 15". Machine Embroidery design from Digitizing Dolls on Etsy. I don't remember the font I used for the lettering.

Don't you just love sweet puffed sleeves?

Children's Corner Parker's Pants

The pants are made from my standby "Parker's Pants" also from Children's Corner.

Just simple inexpensive buttons down the back. It will eventually get cool down south and I wanted this to be play clothes.

Seeing it on her, there are some things I am not crazy about. I want that collar to be wider and the dark purple polka dots are too dark. I don't THINK I used the wrong seam allowance so I will redraft the collar before I make the next one. Also, I made these the length of a pair of leggings that I know fit and are the right length. These are a tad too long. It will depend on time as to whether I re-do it.

There is so much about this picture I love though. Those damp baby hairs, šŸ˜,  she and momma had just come in from a walk. The untied shoe lace. It just melts my heart. They are only little such a short time. And can we talk about how clean momma's floors are?!

Mimi's girl!
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