Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Good Reason to Keep a Fabric Stash

Most of the time I feel a bit of guilt when buying fabric that I really don't have a specific use for like this one.

My stash does tend to get out of control cuz while I'm often short of sewing time, I always manage to have shopping time.  However, there was no way I was passing up this beautiful lining fabric at $1 a yard.  There were two pieces of the same fabric, both marked "as is" $1 for 3 yards. I've checked the fabric over several times and have not found any flaws, though.

It's been sitting in the stash for over a year.  Yesterday I found the most beautiful corduroy that would work perfectly for a jacket pattern that had been sitting here for about two years.   Even better, the lining matches the corduroy!  Yes!  It was a great idea to buy it--not feeling any guilt now. Keeping a stash does pay off.   These two were made for each other.
And the paisley and blue cords HAVE to be together in this jacket.
The paisley will just be on the bodice.  No more computer until this jacket is finished. That should give me some incentive to git-er-done.
The pattern is still out there if you want to see it:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweatshirt Redo

I'm loving this "new" sweatshirt!  I need to get a dress form.  This looks much better on, but I can't take my own pic without getting that annoying flash in the mirror.

I had one sweatshirt that was too tight on the bottom with rough, scratchy cuffs and one that had bleach marks on the arms.  Being cheap frugal, I used the best of both to make one nice sweatshirt.

 How to get an unusual sweatshirt with lettuce edged finish?

I took one sweatshirt and cut it off just above the point where it started getting tight.  I also removed the cuffs on this one that were too rough and did a lettuce edge on the sleeves.  I used my serger to get a slight lettuce edge effect on the sleeves,  bottom edge of the top piece, and bottom of the added band.  However, you can also do this with a regular machine by using a close, wide zigzag as you would when appliqueing.  You MUST pull the fabric taut from the front and back  while sewing this on a regular machine to get the effect and to keep the material from being pulled into the machine.  Practice first!
Section cut off bottom of one sweatshirt
The 8" band added to the bottom was from the mid-section of the bleach-stained shirt that just happened to be the same shade of navy blue as the lettering on the first shirt and a good 4" wider.  I cut this band so that it would flair out slightly toward the bottom.  The band is the same width as the top piece where they meet and gets wider toward the bottom.  I slanted  my line out an inch on each side.  It doesn't show well in the next photo but you get the idea, right?  Gotta remember those hips.  In fact you might want to have the back hang slightly longer if you are blessed with butt.

 Just because I find it easier, I used Stitch Witchery ironed about an inch down from the top of the right side of the added band to hold the two pieces together rather than pinning.  The Stitch Witchery goes on the outside of the added bottom band so that when you iron the two pieces together the right sides of each piece will be facing you.  I hope this part isn't confusing.  Let me know.  Really, you are just sandwiching the edge of the added band with the adhesive ironed on inside the top shirt, straightening it out as you would like it and pressing according to the Stitch Witchery directions.   Then you can sew the two pieces together.  I  doubt that Stitch Witchery is up to permanently holding the pieces together.

 If you try this, you will have to determine how long you want the band to be based on the length of the top piece after you cut it and where you prefer the bottom to fall.  Remember the band needs to be about 2 inches under the upper piece.  You will sew about  1/2" down from the top of the added band.  That way, you will not be sewing on the Stitch Witchery which could gum up your needle.  It will also leave you with 1" of fabric that will be loose on top section so that the lettuce edge has room to "ruffle."

That's it!  I might try something similar on some of my slightly shrunken  t-shirts.  Taking out the existing hems and ruffling the edge should be just enough to make some of them wearable again.


Monday, September 12, 2011

That Baby Dress Really Needed this Hat, Didn't It?

The finished dress from my last post was screaming that it needed a matching hat.  I found a free pattern for this one on Prudent Baby.

 Did I make changes?  Of course I did.  The pattern is designed so that the hat can be reversible, but I decided I wanted something at the top of the hat when it was finished.  It needed more cuteness.  My fabrics on each side were so similar that I decided to go for it.  I put a fabric yo-yo on top:

I also wanted ties which the pattern didn't have.  Since I originally planned for this to be reversible, I decided on buttonholes with knotted silky cording.  You can see in the photo below that you can pull the cord to have the knot on either side.  Does that make sense?  You knot both ends of the cording.  Then you can pull the ties so that one of the cord's knots will be on the outside when you reverse it and one will be at the loose end.

Make sure the buttonholes are tiny--big enough for the cording to get through, but not for the knot.  I made a few practice ones and tried it out.  You all know that you need to put some tape on the ends when you cut it to keep it from fraying, right?  The stiffness of the tape is really helpful in getting the cording into that little buttonhole, too.  I'm going to try thin fabric ties with knotted ends on the next one.  I think that would look great, too.

In retrospect,  I think I should have put the buttonholes up a bit higher.  That would allow the sides to flare out a bit more for sun protection.

All in all this is a great pattern--soooo easy and cute even without the yo-yo really.  If you read through the comments on the Prudent Baby post, you will get some idea on sizing.  The pattern can be enlarged or reduced to fit your needs.

Now don't they look just perfect together?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sweetest Little Dress

Look what I made!  Is this not the sweetest little dress?   I used Jackie Clark Designs' pattern appropriately named Sweetest Little Dress.

The fabric, Junko Matsuda Tip Top Elephant Stripe in pink, and pattern were both from Pink Chalk Fabric.  I used one stripe for the bodice and put a few of the others together for the skirt pieces.

The pattern  has a hand embroidered design included, but I wanted to use this fabric which certainly doesn't need any embroidery.   My original intent was to put a blue ribbon across the bottom but Melissa talked me into something red and suggested the buttons be red as well.  The red was a much better choice.
This was my first time using rick rack.   It was really easy to work with, and I love the additional detail.

In the pic below you can see how I  cut the fabric so that a pink checked stripe would fold under for the hem.

The pattern is really simple for the most part.  I did have a one problem with it.  There are no markings for the buttons.  You have to wing it.  I was not really comfortable with that. I have never had a pattern without button and buttonhole placement before.   I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. Finally, I emailed the designer who suggested folding the fabric to find the center placement for the middle button.   It's fairly easy to figure out the placement across the shoulders.

 I was more nervous figuring out how far IN from the edges to place the buttons and buttonholes. The designer didn't answer this part for me (although I emailed her again).   I don't have baby clothes sitting around the house to use for comparisons or the little person here to serve as a dress form.  I finally just guessed at it.  I hope it will look as good on the wee person as it does on the hanger.

According to the designer,  button placement would depend on the size and shape of the button.  The pattern, however, lists quarter-inch buttons.  I would have preferred having the markings for the quarter inch buttons.  If someone wants to change that, they should be the ones that have to spend time figuring out how to make it happen.

Another thing is that the sizing is quite vague.  The pattern is listed as being for "up to 24 lbs."  Since it sure isn't for a newborn, I don't know what the starting number would be as in maybe 12 to 24 lbs.  As I said, I don't have any baby clothes around to compare it with.  I think it would be better for the company to determine the comparable sizing used as in 6 to 12 months or whatever along with a beginning number for the pounds.

Will I use the pattern again?  Probably.  It's a cute dress.  I will be able to make changes in the button placement if I need to.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hiking After a Hurricane

When we went camping within a day of Hurricane Irene, we were not expecting any real problems. We were heading into the mountains! It's far inland. No problems there, right?   Wrong.  Lots of wind, lots of rain, lots of places for all the rain to flow downward, lots of wash outs. From the State down to the local government and all the utility people did an incredible job of getting everything back on track for the tourists, but the Adirondack Park has a million hiking trails that are still a bit beaten up from the storm.

I thought you might like to see some pics of tiny Deer Leap Trail outside of Lake George.  We picked a short one with little elevation figuring that would be doable.

What can happen in less than two miles?

Well, in some areas the washout was so wide it was difficult to know if you were on the trail or just following a washout.  We were barely on the trail when we met two hikers who had turned around rather than go through the downed trees.

Sometimes you could go over and/or through

These were the easy ones.

It think he wanted to come home with us.

Stopping constantly to assess how we could get through through made this  two mile walk seem like  it was taking forever!

It's always good to have  a friend to go ahead for you.

These spots were tough.  You just could not see the path beyond because so much was down.  My husband and I made the mistake of both going off the trail at one of these spots.  We spent what was probably five minutes but seemed like twenty to me trying to find the trail again.  I have the "keep someone on the trail and stay within shouting distance" rule firmly ingrained now.

Nice place for a picnic lunch, but I think I'll wait for the clean-up crews to come through first the next time.