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DIY SEWING SEWING FOR KIDS

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

October 31, 2016

I used to be reluctant to spend time and money on halloween costumes for my kids. I knew that I could always buy one at the store cheaper than I could make it. But then a couple of years ago we were the wizard of oz for halloween. After we wore the costumes they went into our dress up bin. My kids and their friends wore those dressups ragged. I only wished that I had used better fabric (the cheap costume fabric I used tore at all of the seams over time) and took the time on some better construction. So now I’ve changed my tune. My kids can choose to be whatever they want for halloween and I will do my best to make it happen. It’s the one time of year that what I do for a living really benefits them. They feel special because their costumes are different than everyone elses. I try to use quality fabric like quilting cotton that will hold up to small and impatient hands and will wash and dry well. Even if it costs a bit more money. I know they will be worn over and over again as part of imaginative play which I love. Worth all of the time and money.

This year my kids wanted to be a kitty kat, and a New Orleans masquerade ball girl (inspired by our family vacation this year to New Orleans). I was pretty excited that there were no super heros or princesses involved so I didn’t complain. First of all the kitty. We went to the fabric store and I let my 3 yr old choose the fabric. He went with this leopard print fur because it was amazingly soft. I also got some tan felt for the tummy and inside ears.

I used Simplicity 2855 for the pattern. It’s a great, really versatile pattern, although I ended up taking an extra 3 inches off of the length in the end. Nothing too hard to sew at all. I did end up transferring the zipper from the front to back, just because my fabric was so thick that it looked wonky and I didn’t want it to be at center front. I also ommitted the shoe covers and mittens because I think those both just make it hard to trick or treat.

The only negative working on this costume was the fur. Never again! Such a beast to work with. It was my first time and I was not prepared. I broke 2 needles trying to sew through thick layers and I have fur everywhere. The end result was pretty great, but in the future I would try and find some fleece or something else thinner and easier to work with. Also, I won’t be about to wash this which is a huge negative.

Now for the masquerade dress. I used Simplicity 3725 for this one. Its a really great princess or period dress pattern that you could use for lots of projects. My 6 yr old daughter measured at a size 4 in the chest and waist for this pattern. I was scared that it would be too short so I went with the size 5 overall and just lengthened the skirt. This worked fine except that I took out about an inch on both sides at center back before inserting the zipper. Next time I would also take a bit out at center front so it was a bit narrower through the shoulders.

For fabric, the main black damask is this weird fabric that I found at JoAnns. I think it was marked as scuba knit but it’s much thinner than that and the print is felt. The nice thing is that I didn’t have to hem this fabric. I just cut it where I wanted it to end and called it good. The green lace is just something I had in my stash for lingerie sewing.

I did make a quick petticoat to help the dress stand out. To do this I just gathered about 5 yards of tuelle onto an elastic band. Not pretty but it works. I think if your fabric was lighter weight – closer to a quilting cotton, then it would be much fuller which would be nice.

That’s it. I hope you all have a really happy Halloween. It’s such a great holiday for sewists! Now I just need to figure out something for myself to wear.

DIY SEWING

SHIBORI DYED KIMONO ROBE

July 22, 2016

Allie of Indiesew hosted a little shibori dying get together and I decided to take the opportunity to dye some fabric for a bathrobe that has been on my list forever. I’ve done quite a bit of dying over the years, but always use whatever RIT dye or whatever is found at the local craft store. This was my first time to use actual shibori and it was pretty fun. I loved that I didn’t have to boil it as that is always such a mess. Allie said she just bought this shibori kit from Amazon and it worked great for us.

For fabric I just ordered a bunch of this white linen. I love sewing with linen and wearing it in the summer. It’s breezy and natural and I embrace the wrinkles.  And as far as a bathrobe goes, even better.

I used two techniques when dying the fabric. For the main part of the kimono I knew that I wanted it to be mostly blue so it wouldn’t be see through at all, even when wet. So I used a simple clothespin technique that I found on pinterest. Pretty much I folded it into an accordian and then put clothespins every few inches. Here is a pic on instagram that shows what it looked like prior to dying. I’m pretty obsessed with how it turned out. It kinda reminds me of some African mudcloth that I have. I love that it is geometric and repetitive, but still not perfect.

For the accent pieces I went with a pole wrapping technique like this one although instead of putting it on a pvc pipe I used an old fabric tube from Allie’s basement. I think if I went with a thicker tube (mine was probably only 3 inches in diameter) then there would be less white. I love how this fabric contrasts with the darker and more geometric main fabric. This one resembles waves to me and ended up being ombre because the inner fabric got a lot less dye to it.

For the pattern I used vintage Simplicity 0017 from 1985 that I picked up at the thrift store for 25 cents. It’s perfect. I wanted something that was a true, boxy kimono style like this one. A lot of the robe patterns that I have seen have thinner sleeves resembling more of an oversized mens shirt instead. If you are looking for a similar style, Erin of Sewbon has a free kimono pattern on her site that looks almost identical.

The robe was a breeze to sew up. I think the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves a bit. I’ve already worn it a ton and it will probably end up being one of my most worn sewn items ever. That being said, I want to make another one already. This one ended up a bit heavier than I was planning. The linen is more medium weight than lightweight like I was expecting. Now I want to make one in a bamboo knit for serious comfort and maybe even a silk one to wear in the evenings. I’m a little bit addicted.

I also want to copy Sewbon and Indiesew and dye a set of cotton napkins. Wouldn’t that be such a great holiday gift? Or even a set for yourself for summer bbqs. Hmmm. I think I need to do that soon.

DIY TUTORIALS

SHIBORI TUTORIAL

May 6, 2016

I am so obsessed with shibori right now. Just another layer of being creative and making my own clothing. I recently tried a new technique for the Mini Colfax Dress above and photographed along the way so that I could show you.

As for materials, I used a linen rayon blend from JoAnn fabrics. It’s on the lighter weight side, and would be slightly see through in white, but the added dye makes it perfect for everyday wear.

For dye I just used RIT dye in navy. I also recently bought some black to try and I am also intrigued by the cobalt. The navy tends to lean a little purple in the lighter areas so be warned but I like how dark it gets.

I did two different shibori techniques, since the Mini Colfax view B calls for contrasting fabrics. For this first one you are going to need a marking tool (such as chalk or a disappearing marker), a ruler, thick string such as embroidery thread or yarn, and a bunch of little round objects. I used beads that I found in my daughters art bin, but you could also use pennies or marbles or anything else that will hold it’s shape in the water.

First, lay your fabric out and mark a repeating pattern for every place you want to tie up a bead. How close they are is completely up to you, but I just did a 4 x 4 inch grid to keep it simple. Use your marker to mark every spot.

Now you are going to take a bead (or whatever you are using) and place it on a dot.

Now take a piece of string (about 8 inches long) and wrap it tightly around the end of the bead. Tye in a tight knot so it doesn’t come undone.

Repeat for every dot. This is going to take longer than you think, so plan on doing the part when you are watching a movie at night. It’s not hard, just time consuming.

Now it’s ready to dye. Let me show you the other technique.

This one is super simple and will create a boho stripe look. You are just going to need your fabric and a bunch of rubberbands.

First you need to fold your fabric. You are going to do this accordian style. So take one end and fold it at about 1 inch and then fold back the other way at another inch. Just like the fans you would make out of paper as a kid.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do your best. If you have a ton of fabric it might be easier to rip your fabric into pieces and do it in chunks. I was doing about a yard here which was fine. Continue until the whole thing is folded.

Once it’s folded, use some weights or something to keep it from coming undone. At one end, wrap the whole thing with a rubberband several times so that it’s pretty tight at about 1 inch in. Continue to do this every inch. You can of coarse do whatever distance you want. Each rubberband will create a wobbly white stripe once dyed.

Continue for the entire length of fabric.

Once all of the rubberbands are on you are ready to dye both of your fabrics. There are lots of different methods for dying and these will be included on your dye packaging so I won’t go into the details, but I like the stove method as you can see in the pic below.

Once everything is done make sure to clip the string and and rubberbands. Be super careful when doing so to make sure that you don’t clip your fabric as well and create a hole. Rinse the fabric thoroughly and wash it separately from your other clothing the first few times to prevent any bleeding.

I have to admit that I am obsessed with the way that these turned out. Really quite simple to do too. I have plans to do some more for me and some pillowcovers shortly.

If you want to see some other shibori tutorials that I have done in the past, check them out here and here.

DIY PATTERNMAKING SEWING

ROSCOE – OFF THE SHOULDER HACK

April 27, 2016

With all of the off the shoulder love everywhere in ready to wear right now, I realized that the Roscoe Blouse and Dress is the perfect pattern the easily hack for this look. With just a few changes you get an easy to wear boho / beachy dress or blouse and it takes just a couple of hours to sew up.

Can I just say how much I love this new trend? It’s pretty friendly to those of us who want to hide some problem areas like the tummy or hips. And yet it’s still super sexy and natural. I’m a big fan. So much easier to pull off than the crop top trend of the last couple of years. I really think that almost anyone can pull this look off.

Materials:

  • Roscoe pattern pieces 1, 2, and 3
  •  1 ” elastic
  • fabric (I’m using rayon challis)
  • matching thread
  • safety pin

 

First you will need to print off pattern pieces front, back and sleeve (you won’t need any of the the others unless you want to add a ruffle or bind up the bottom of the armhole). I printed off the dress length, but you can also trim at the line for blouse length if that is what you are making.

Next, take your front piece and make a mark about 4 inches down at Center Front. Go lower or higher depending on your preferences, but remember that there will be a 1 ” elastic casing above this marking.

Make another marking about 1″ above this one, but on the armhole. Make the marking perpindicular to the armhole curve.

Connect this marking to the CF marking, curving naturally between the two. This will be your cutting line for the front of your dress or blouse.

Put your sleeve pattern piece on top of your dress front pattern piece, lining up the armhole notches. Transfer the point where your cutting line on the front piece hits the armhole, to your sleeve pattern piece at the same point.

Draw the line out, perpindicular to the armhole, for about an inch. Curve the line naturally until you can go straight across (perpindicular to the grainline) until you are close to the back armhole of the sleeve and then curve up a bit so it is perpindicular to the back armhole curve. It should look something like this. It will be the cutting line for your sleeves.

Put the sleeve pattern piece on top of your back dress pattern piece. Line the back armhole of the sleeve up with the back armhole of the back dress (matching notches) and transfer the marking of the line you just made to the armhole of the back dress.

Draw the cutting line of the back dress to CB like you did the others. (Draw out for about an inch perpindicular to the armhole and then straight across to Center Back.)

Now, cut all of the tops off of your pattern pieces along the cutting lines you just drew.

Draw a stitching line 1/2″ below the cutting line on all pieces.

Measure all stitching lines and add them up. Multiply this number by 2 and then subtract  3″ for seam allowances. (Mine was about 58″.)

Take this number and cut a piece of fabric that is that width and 3 1/4″ tall.

Cut out your dress front, dress back, and sleeves as well.

Sew your dress up much like the regular roscoe by first sewing each sleeve armhole to the matching front or back armhole. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner.

Now sew up sides of the sleeves and dress (or blouse) starting at each sleeve end and ending at the bottom of the dress or blouse. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner.

Sew the two small ends of your long skinny pieces together, right sides touching. So it makes a long loop.

Press the loop in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Pin the raw edges of your loop to top of your dress, right sides touching. Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave a 2 inch section unstitched at center back (to insert the elastic).

Wrap your elastic around your shoulders to get an idea of how long your want it. Add some extra length and cut. Using a safety pin, insert the elastic into the loop and all around so that it enters and exits at the opening at CB. Pin the ends together and try on. Adjust the length of the elastic until it’s snug enough to stay up, but still comfy. My experience is that you want it on the looser side. Your arms and chest will keep it up. If it’s tight it will inch up all day which can be annoying.

Sew the two ends together of your elastic, insert it back into the casing, and stitch the opening at CB closed. Finish the seam allowances of your elastic casing in your desired manner.

Check the length of your dress or blouse and also the length of your sleeves. I ended up cutting a few inches off of the length of the sleeves to hit at my elbow for a different look. Trim as necessary and finish in your favorite way.  I am going to simply serge the edges and fold it up at 1″ and then stitch.

You may want to Stitch through all layers of the elastic and elastic casing at CB and maybe a couple of other places to keep the elastic from flipping around with wear.

Give the whole thing a final press and you are done!

Let me know if you guys have any questions. I can’t wait to wear this out and about.

DIY

DESIGNING A REPEATING PATTERN FOR FABRIC

April 19, 2016

Thank you so much for all of the positive responses from all of you about the Colfax Dress and also the fabric that I made for the projects. It’s been really fun working with My Fabric Designs for this launch and I wanted to put together a little post to show you how easy it is to make a repeating pattern using their design tools so that you can make your own fabric too. Creating a pattern that repeats evenly and seamlessly can be a tricky part of designing the fabric. You can do it all in photoshop or illustrator if you prefer. Here are a few youtube tutorials that helped me a ton when I was learning how to do it. Click here, here, or here for the videos or tutorials.

Or you can just do it straight through the My Fabric Designs website. It’s really simple and you don’t need any fancy programs to it. Before we even start I recommend that you watch this youtube tutorial. It goes through their design tool and will give you a great overall idea of how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5RfnISyCEc

Next you are going to need some images. I made up 5 different shapes or groupings of shapes in illustrator. These could also be something that you draw and scan into your computer. Or it could be online images that are stock or free domain. Whatever they are you need to save them as separately files.  If you are going to be overlapping them or making a colored background make sure that the background of your images are transparent. I recommend saving them at 300 dpi and at a larger scale than you think you will actually print them. You can always scale them down when designing, but you can’t go bigger.

Now, go ahead and open the fabric creator. Click File / New and decide what size you want to start with. Go smaller like 6×6 inches if you want a small repeating pattern like you would use for quilting. I like mine larger so I chose 20×20 inches. You also select the background color at this time. I went for a black.

Hit apply. The middle square will be the one that you work on (light gray background) and the right square will show your finished repeat pattern.

Go to Add / Image and choose your first image to upload.

It will drop it in the middle of your work square and show the repeat on the right. Cool right? Continue to upload all of your images.

Move around the images and scale them. You will notice that as some of your images overlap the edge of the working square that they will create a repeat. The right square makes it really easy to see what your repeat looks like and where to place each object for the best visual affect. You can scale the images or rotate them with the handles on the outside of each object. You can call arrange them by sending them in front or in back of other images. Keep playing around until you like the way that the repeat pattern looks on the right.

Once you are ready make sure you save your pattern to your desktop. Then click order fabric. This will bring you into the area where you can choose the type of fabric you want to print it on and how large you want your pattern to print (it can go down to 150 dpi).

Then order your fabric. Make sure that you use the code TRUEBFS for free shipping on your order this month.

I hope this tutorial made designing your own fabric a little less scary. I have had so much fun playing around with this tool. Just a reminder that My Fabric Designs is providing the prizes for the Colfax Sewalong Contest. So if you want to give it a try this is the perfect opportunity. Click here for more details.