Thursday, February 15, 2018

Teal Tie-Neck Shirt

I saw a knit shirt with an off-center bow at the neckline last summer, and loved it. So, when I had a little time last fall, I decided to make one of my own!

  I used my knit block, but removed some width from the side seams, partly because that block was designed for a cotton knit, and this is rayon, and partly because I'm a little bit smaller than I was when I made the block. 

  I marked my usual neckband width and height in the center of my fabric, then widened from there out to the edges of the fabric for the tie. I sewed the tails of the tie up to the marked points, then clipped to the stitching and turned it right side out. Then I sewed the neckband portion on as usual, being careful to keep the tails out of the way. I love the way it turned out!

  I used a rayon spandex from Sincerely Rylee for this one- it's pilled up quite a bit with wear, but otherwise worked well. I wanted the bow to drape softly, and the rayon is perfect for that.

  I love the color of this fabric too! The closest thread match I could find was slightly more blue than the fabric, but it's close enough not to be noticeable, even with the lettuce-edged sleeves and hem.

  I'm really happy with how this one turned out, and I want to make another at some point!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stripes and Florals Dress

Foof turned 2 in September. I usually make tiered skirts for my girls' second birthdays, but Foof was much more interested in wearing dresses at that point. She had a hooded dress that she particularly loved, but that was getting a bit short on her, so I decided to go that route!

  I had recently acquired some BOLT knit from Girl Charlee, at what I thought was an amazing price, considering how often I'd heard it compared to Art Gallery knits, and I loved the way the floral and stripes looked together. 

  I was quite disappointed in the quality of the fabric, however. The print felt stiff and rough, the fabric didn't have a lot of recovery, or as much stretch as an AG knit, and for some reason the stitches kept breaking. That almost never happens on the knit garments I sew, so I'm blaming the fabric. The fabrics faded significantly with regular washing, and the print crocked... even when sewing it! You can easily see where the needles went through the fabric because the color pulled away:

  But, I didn't like my other already-available options for a fall dress, so I went ahead with these fabrics. I made a basic bodice, sleeves, a hood, and a circle skirt from the floral, then added details with the stripes, including a self-drafted kangaroo pocket, whose openings I banded with a stripe of the blue.

  I wish I'd made the kangaroo pocket openings just a bit bigger, but Foof loved it!

  Actually, I felt like I should have made the whole dress a little bit bigger... I'd meant for it to have a slightly more relaxed fit. 

  I twin-needled the hem of the ruffle- ruffles on circle skirts are huge, and this one was no exception, even thought it's barely gathered!

  I love the ruffle around the hood! Next time I would widen it the neckline just a bit- maybe 3/8"?

  Foof has worn this dress oodles of times since I made it! I've had to repair it several times due to the aforementioned 'stitches breaking' issue, but she loves it!

  This little girl is certainly adored around here!

  Most of the time she is eager to please, and willing to listen. But there's also the side of her that angrily declares, "You da baddest mama in da whole world!" when she doesn't get her way!

  Foof is a clever little girl, who loves to repeat the large words that she hears, such as 'congregation', and who watches everything her sisters do intently. She loves to mimic them!

  Because she's always copying her sisters, she's surprisingly strong!

  She can climb onto all kinds of things that I wouldn't expect her to be able to... and can usually get back down safely, too!

  Foof loves cuddles, and often asks me if she can snuggle with her big sisters before going to bed.

 She's still very much a mama's girl, and rarely leaves my arms when we aren't home.

  With all of the doting she receives, it's a wonder she's not totally spoiled!

  In addition to making her dress, I made cupcakes. I tried frosting them to look like roses- which was much more difficult than all of those Instagram videos made it look! ;-) I can never seem to nail to balance between 'too soft' and 'not soft enough' with frosting. But I ended up with a few good ones!
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 29, 2018

Dinosaur Shirts

Sometime last year, I came across some glow-in-the-dark heat transfer vinyl. I thought I didn't have a purpose for the vinyl right then, so I didn't buy any. About a week later, I realized that my twin nephews' birthday would be arriving shortly, and I knew they would be all kinds of excited about some glow-in-the-dark shirts! I didn't have enough time to order anything online at that point, so I went looking locally. Unsurprisingly, there was no glow-in-the-dark heat transfer vinyl to be had, but I did find some glow-in-the-dark paint (Tulip brand. Here's an affiliate link for the set I bought, for about half the price I paid!). It's meant to be dimensional, but I brushed it on instead. I cut stencils with my Silhouette, then layered the paint thickly on some grey knit to make these shirts:

  I tested the paint out on some scraps first, and the glow was almost unnoticeable on the grey, even when applied according to the directions instead of brushed on, until I painted a base layer of plain white paint, then did a few layers of the glow paint on top of that. The paint seemed to pick itself up with every layer, so it has a mottled texture that I don't love, but it glowed well enough.

  This shirt has a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the words 'Dino-Mite!'.

  I painted a couple of layers of the paint on top of the lettering too, but of course with the dark base the glow isn't as visible.

  And for the other shirt, a pterosaur, with 'Dino-Soars!' on it.

  (I'm aware that pterosaurs are not technically dinosaurs, but for the sake of the pun I went with 'Dino' anyway. I suppose I should have done 'Ptero-Soars!'.)

  I used 12 oz grey knit from Nick Of Time Textiles and Jalie 2918 to make these shirts. I went a size up from what the twins were wearing at the time. I forgot that I usually narrow the neckband on this pattern- I dislike how it sits when made according to the pattern, as these are:

  I twin-needled the hems:

  And the backs are just plain:

  Then came the fun part... trying to capture the glow in a photo! I ended up with a flash strapped to one leg of my backdrop stand, diffused with several layers of white tissue, and my camera on my semi-broken tripod, propped up with a tied-on sewing ham. I auto-focused with my overhead light on, then carefully switched to manual focus without bumping anything. I ended up setting the camera to Auto, which gave me a long exposure that I activated with the self-timer to reduce camera shake. (A remote would have been better, but mine decided not to work that day). So I would press the shutter button, turn off the overhead light while the self-timer counted down, use the flash once the camera shutter opened, and wait until the shutter closed. It took quite a few attempts to get it right, and I only have a 50mm lens right now, so that made things even more complicated, but check it out- it glows!

  Isn't that cool?! I also tried it without the flash- they appear to glow more brightly in the photos than they actually glow in person!

  Anyway, I wasn't particularly enthused about how the shirts look in daylight, but the glow-in-the-dark effect was perfect for a pair of 5-year-old boys! I still want to try the vinyl too.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 15, 2018

Firefly Hat and Tie

My brother's birthday was in June last year. At the time, he was working in pest control, and I thought it would be fun to make him a bug-themed tie. Most of the fabrics I found were pretty juvenile, but eventually I came across this firefly fabric... it's stretching the theme a little, because fireflies aren't usually considered pests! But I ordered a chunk, and some coordinating orange cotton broadcloth. (And about a month later I found a perfect fly print, but it was too late!)

  Then I proceeded to make a tie! It took a lot longer to make than I expected, because it's almost entirely hand-stitched. 

  I used a free pattern from Purl Soho but I really don't recommend it- mainly because the tie stiffener, if cut according to the pattern, is both too narrow and too short. The tie itself is on the narrow and short side too, and the pieces don't fit together quite right, plus the sewing method adds unnecessary bulk. Next time I'll find an old tie to take apart and make a pattern.

  I added one of my labels to keep the tail of the tie in place, but it pulled the tie a bit at the sides and formed a slight indent- and when I tried to sew it more loosely it bubbled away from the tie It probably wouldn't have been a problem if I'd interfaced the main fabric but since it's a pretty thick quilting cotton I skipped that.

 The tail barely fits in the label anyway, so next time I would just leave it off.

  Anyway, even though I wasn't delighted with the pattern or the addition of the label, I think it turned out okay!

  Then for my nephew, the same brother's son, and whose birthday is also in June, I decided to use the same fabrics and make a bucket hat:

  This is also a free pattern, from Oliver + S, and is a beautiful contrast to the tie pattern. The pieces are well-shaped, the instructions are professional, and everything fit together perfectly!  

  I decided to make the orange side the lining, and added a label, but the hat is normally reversible.

  I admit to being a bit tired of hand-stitching at this point, so instead of hand-stitching the lining crown down, I stuck it down with wash-away wonder-tape and top-stitched from the outside. It's not as neat as hand-stitching it would have been, but definitely faster.

  I used red thread for the top-stitching, and I love how it looks:

  I like how the seam allowance at the top of the hat is edge-stitched to the sides- it really helps keep everything neat!

  I'm really happy with how the hat turned out, and am definitely planning to make another at some point! My daughters were pretty impressed too, but since they have a small box stuffed with hats that they almost never wear, it will more likely be for another niece or nephew than for them! 

Thanks for stopping by,