Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I just passed 8th Grade Home Economics

I believe we have an almost unlimited capacity for learning. Our only bounds are our desire to learn and our fear of the subject.

I've taught myself or sought to learn many a thing over the years. To crochet, to cook, to draw, paint, decorate cakes, even the ever elusive knitting. (Which I discovered after all this time that I really didn't enjoy doing it) I've taught myself how to use a computer and even in some instances how to fix my computer (and when I should get someone else to.)

I always want to know more and share more of what I know. So when Chloe was born and felt the urge to make her clothes, the feeling of "I can't sew! How'm I supposed to make her beautiful things?" was alien. Sure there are things I can't do, mostly because I don't really want to. (See MMA sports) Usually if I want to do something I just stubborn my way along until I fifgure it out.

And I did that...sorta. I'd try any tutorial on the internet that sounded interesting and run with it. Make up my own ideas? Absolutely. Buy a pattern and cut it out? Never...

Tonight I realised my major phobia with sewing started with a teacher. An awful teacher who always told me what I did wrong but never how to fix it. Who couldn't see past her prejudices to fairly and honestly do her job and left me to flounder. A teacher who failed me for being unable to complete a pair of elastic waist shorts.

I followed a pattern tonight. I cut it out, traced it, snipped and sewed and Chloe has a pair of pale pink shorts made from a maternity top that I never liked. And I have renewed faith that because I want to learn I can and will.

Thanks to Julie Bird for the shorts pattern.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Twirl Skirt

and a shirred peasant blouse

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Since I started sewing in semi earnest I have discovered loads of gadgets, gizmos and doohickeys that make a sewing girls life easier.

A few that I desperately desire are...

A ruffler foot:

This automatically makes ruffles and gathers as you sew.
I definitely do not have patience for that baste, baste pull thing.

Heck I don't even really understand that.

A Binder Foot

For attaching bias tape to an edge. I could become addicted especially since I hate hemming but do like to make reversible stuff. I could see needing a 12 step program if I had

Bias Tape Makers

Make your own bias tape! Never have to search for a "match" again!

And if you're going to make your own bias tape you'll probably want

A Rotary Cutter and Mat

and a Guide Arm

A roller foot would be nice as well as a felling foot. A double needle clamp too.

Oh and I'd really like to figure out how to make a pair of shorts.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tie Top Made from a Fat Quarter
or an appropriate sized rectangle

Start with a fat quarter of fabric that you like (Or a rectangle large enough to form a slightly poofy top plus some extra for straps)

On the long side, measure in six inches

Fold over and iron flat

Cut along the line to form a 6 inch wide strip

Like this.

Fold larger piece of fabric in half and cut along the fold

You will end up with two rectangles, set aside for now

Fold the smaller strip of fabric in half lengthwise and iron flat

Cut into 2, three inch wide strips

Fold in 1/2 inch and press down

Fold over other side to meet and press down

Fold over one last time and press

Straight stitch through the center

Like this

Set aside

Using the larger pieces of fabric, place right sides together, straight stitch a 1/4 inch seam along either short side.

Finish with zigzags.

Finish the top and bottom edge as you see fit. I zigzagged the top edge

and satin stitched the bottom. Fold the top over about an inch (or the appropriate size for your elastic)

Fold into fourths and mark for strap placement (Sorry Bad picture)

Tuck strap under and pin in place

Repeat with second strap and straight stitch around base. Leave a space unstitched for elastic

Like this

Fold straps up towards the top and pin in place. Straight stitch around top.

Measure chest and add a wee bit of give and cut a piece of elastic to that measurement. Thread on to a safety pin and feed into open hole on shirt

Use the safety pin to work elastic through the casing, remembering to leave a tail hanging out.

Pull through on the other side

Sew elastic together to form continuous loop

Place finished top on adorable child, tie straps and voila! Easy summer shirt.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reversible Skirts (and a smock but we hate that)

Sure, Chloe needs more clothes. Of course she does...
JoAnn's had fat quarters on sale for 99c and you can't beat a skirt for less than $3.00.

Because I have to make things hard on myself, the first skirt had a flip flop hem and waistband. (The fabric on one side folded over to form the hem or the waistband on the other side) It mostly went okay excepting I was very careful when making the felled seam to leave a space to feed the the elastic throgh. Well all but the very first bit of the seam when I sewed completely through. This made running the elastic through impossible. I made a small slit a nd will hide it with a bow.

The smock I just hate so I'm not explaining it. It is fully reversible though.

The second skirt is a straight reversible skirt. I trimmed a bit of fabric from the side with the initial plan of making matching hair ribbons. I remembered Chloe had ruined a white t'shirt with chocolate and thought "What the hay." I painted a branch up and across to hide the stain then appliqued a bird and flowers. I did have to sew the flowers on by hand. (Never buy cheap thread folks I was miserable with how often this broke in the machine.)

What's not shown are the music notes I painted on to hide the dry erase marker spots Chloe got on the shirt less than an hour after it was finished.

The last is a flip flop again. This time I didn't screw up the waistband so there's no bit of elastic sticking out.