Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Maternity Skirt Alterations

I recently bought a maternity skirt from NewCreation Apparel, and while it's a really cute style, the elastic on the maternity band was too tight. Well, maybe not too tight if the skirt is worn above the belly, but that just feels weird to me. So, what's a girl to do? Fix it to the way she wants of course!

Here's a before picture of the maternity band. Notice the cute pockets just under it. In order to make sure the band is well covered most of the pockets have to be covered too. A bit of a bad design there, huh?

Okay, so the first thing I did was to cut off the elastic band leaving a bit of selvage to it for another project I have in mind, then to serge the skirt part of the band with the serger I'm still borrowing from my MIL.

For the new waistband, I used half inch elastic because I figured it would be more comfortable. Plus, that was all the room I had on the back of the skirt! For inserting the elastic into the casing I got a sudden inspiration to try something I'd never thought of before. I cut the end of the elastic to a point. You wouldn't believe how much easier it was to slide it through that lightweight jersey!! I know, you're probably thinking, "Well, of course! I've been doing that all along." I guess I'm a slow learner. ;-)

I can't believe I forgot to take an after picture of the new waistband! But here's one of me wearing a much more comfortable maternity skirt. :-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My First Maternity Skirt!

I came across a really neat idea for making maternity skirts last month from reading this article on a blog that I follow. Four and a half months along, and I can only fit into one of my everyday pre-pregnancy skirts, so I decided it's time make my first real maternity skirt. Unfortunately, I only had one skirt that was a candidate. This sweat-skirt that I bought from NewCreation Apparel a few years ago:
The elastic waistband has always been rather tight, and I figured it'd probably be too tight for comfort after the baby is born anyway. The rest of the skirt is very stretching and wonderfully comfortable.

There's a pocket on the back of the skirt that I didn't want to lose, so I couldn't cut it straight across the hips as directions said. So I gave the front a nice rounded down angle instead.

For the maternity band, instead of using an old camisole, I used the shelf bra that had been cut out of a camisole. It is actually the perfect size, and has a wonderful elastic band across the top. :-D

I've also been borrowing my mother-in-law's serger and decided to use that instead of zigzagging it to the skirt. I figured since both fabrics are so stretchy, it would be more stable that way. Unfortunately, the serger stitching didn't want to stretch, so I had to stretch out the fabric as I sewed. That's why it looks so bumpy. But it's perfectly smooth when I wear it! And that's what matters, right. ;-)

I can't believe how comfortable this skirt is to wear now. I can't wait until I can make some more!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recycled Skirt Redone!

Last April I made my very first recycled skirt. Because I didn't use any kind of directions and pretty much made it up as I went along, I was never very satisfied with it. So I searched around, and finally found this wonderfully detailed set of directions, and as they say, the rest is history!

For a while I was too busy with making other skirts to sell, and life in general to get back to my black gray skirt. But then after I found out that I was pregnant, and started quickly outgrowing my skirts with fitted waists, I realized that I would probably never fit into it again. Or at least, not for a very long time. ;-) Plus, I always need more things in my shop, so it really wasn't that hard of a decision to make.

So I took the whole thing apart and redid it the right way! And this time I gave it 4 panels instead of just the 2. It looks so much better now!

And the back,
I really had to stuff myself in it for these pictures. But I'm really happy with how they came out. My hubby is a good photographer. Here's the Etsy listing for more pictures. I hope you enjoyed reading about this work in progress!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bridal Shower Gift

This last Sunday I had the chance to attend a bridal shower for a young lady at my church. Naturally, I really wanted to make her something instead of buying a gift. So I looked through a crochet book that I've been borrowing from my mom, and found the perfect something that was easy, and more important, fast! In case you're interested, the name of the book is Our Best Thread Crochet. :-) Anyway, one of the projects in there is making a lace edging for kitchen towels, and what new bride doesn't need lots of kitchen towels?

And here's a close up picture.

This is a great way to take an ordinary gift and make it extra special. And did I mention that each lace edging only took about 2 hours to make? Which is especially good for someone like me who is a very slow crocheter. :-D In addition I only had the cost of the towels for my expenses! (I already had the crochet thread and hook) So it's wonderfully economical too!

P.S. That fabric you see peaking behind the towel is an upcoming project. ;-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ball Bag Part 4

Okay, so the ball bag wasn't quite finished. Yesterday I took it over the school to give to the Middle-school coach. Naturally she wanted to try it on the stand to see how it would work. This was my first time to see what the stand actually looked like, and it was very different from I was expecting.

I was thinking it would sit flat on the floor and have it's 4 slats coming out at an angle the length of the original bag. As you can see it's quite different from that idea! Because of it's X shaped design and long length of the top slats the bag slid all the way in causing the sides to fall downward. If I had had the stand with me during the bag's construction I would have been able to make the appropriate adjustments, namely shortening the middle section and side pieces so that they would be taunt.

So I brought the bag back home and made a few alterations. First off, I had to figure out how much extra fabric there was.

Then I sewed 4 darts down the sides. And voila! It now fits taunt! Unfortunately, it still doesn't fit as nicely on the stand as I would wish, but everyone was extremely happy with it when I took it back to the school today. :-D

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ball Bag Part 3

Well, I've obviously not updated on the ball bag for the last couple of days, perhaps it would be best to start at the beginning.

Day 3.
After everything was going so well, I was ready to finish the bag on Thursday. Unfortunately, when I went to pin the side pieces to the middle section I discovered that things were not lining up right.

Somehow or another the side peices ended up being almost 2 inches higher then the rest of the bag.

I still can't figure out how it happened since I added the same amount to every piece. I even remeasured the end pieces and found that I had added 5 3/4in, to the original end pieces, and only 5 1/2 to the side pieces. Strange, isn't it? Well, the whole thing upset me so much that I couldn't work on it at all on Thursday and ended pulling weeds in my flower garden to let off steam. ;-)

Day 4.
Returning to work, resigned to the only thing I could think of to fix the problem, and began be cutting off the excess from the top of the sides then ripping out the binding and resewing it on the shortened pieces.

Next I sewed the sides to the middle section. And thankfully the newly shortened pieces fit almost perfectly!

Day 5.
Today I started by pinning the binding all the way around the bottom, then up the diagonal sides and across the top of the bag. I used all but 3 of my pins to do this!

And with hardly any extra ribbon to spare!

Then all I had to do was stitch all the way around, fill in the gaps, and it's done!!! Here's my husband holding it up for me.

I sure hope the school is satisfied with my work.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ball Bag Part 2

Things are looking good today! I was able to get enough done that I have a really good chance of finishing the ball bag tomorrow!!! I never even considered that it would go this fast. I'm beginning to wonder why in the world I stressed over this project so much.

To start things off, I had to finish the second side I didn't have a chance to do yesterday, then sew both sides to the bottom. Wrong sides together with 2 rows of stitching under the grosgrain ribbon. I hope this way it will end up being much stronger then the original bag, which only had one row of stitching and had been ripped and resown numerous times.

As a side note, I sure am glad school gym's are rather dirty places as maybe they won't notice something that as much as I try I cannot get off the denim. ;-)

The last thing I did was too sew the binding to the top sections of side pieces. And just as I wrote that I realized that what I've been calling the side pieces are actually the end pieces! Oops! I hope this doesn't cause too much confusion.

While I was pinning the binding to the second side I discovered something that made me exceedingly grateful that I decided to go ahead and get a second roll on grosgrain ribbon! Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Swimsuit/ Part 1 of the Ball Bag

About 2 and a half weeks ago I finally finished my new swimsuit!! I've had the pattern and fabric for about 3 years, but had just never gotten to it. But with an acting job my husband got in Texas I figured there be a pretty good chance of getting to do some swimming, so I'd better get it made! I bought my pattern from Simply Modest Swimwear. As you can see, I made a couple changes to it.

The first thing I did was to give it the slightest V-neck, and add a V-shaped band around the neckline. I also virtually eliminated the sleeves leaving only 1 1/2 inch band around the arm holes.

Both my husband and I are very pleased with how it came out. ^_^

Naturally Guinivere couldn't resist the temptation of the spandex when I was trying to spread it out on the floor. ;-)

A couple month ago I was hired by our local school district to copy a "ball bag" that the middle-schoolers use for basket ball practice to store their ball in. It's not really a bag, but no other description seems to work.

The bag fits over a metal stand to give it form with these slits.

The pre-planning part of this just about drove me up the wall. For a fabric choice I selected a heavy weight denim; it wasn't until the school had already delivered it to me that I realized duck cloth would have been a better option. All well, live and learn.

As for the binding... originally I had it in mind to make my own biased tape out of the denim. However two things prevented me from doing this. First off, I was really worried that my machine wouldn't be able to handle that many layers of denim. It would at least be 4 layers, at most 6. When I took my machine in for it's yearly maintenance I asked the guy there and he told me that household sewing machines are only built to sew through 3 layers of denim. The second reason was that I didn't have enough fabric left to make biased tape after cutting out the pieces.

I asked the ladies over at the S&S forum for help and one option that kept coming up was grosgrain ribbon. At first I didn't think that it would be strong enough, but was afraid my machine wouldn't like anything thinker, so finally went wth that. We went to Wal-Mart yesterday and naturally they didn't have any in navy, so I had to buy black ribbon. I hope the school doesn't mind.

Anyway, to finally get to what I actually DID today. :-P

First thing was to enclose the bottom edge of top pieces of the side sections.

Next I sewed one on top of the under piece and made the slits. But alas, a summer thunderstorm overhead prevented me from doing anymore. :(

I hope to update my blog everyday until I get it finished!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cargo Skirt

Yesterday I finally finished my new cargo skirt! My orginal plan was to take this pattern, angel it out a little to make it more A-line, then add cargo pockets.

Well, when I got the pattern out I discovered that there was a little problem, inside the envelope there was the directions and the pocket pattern... and that's it. No drawstring or skirt pattern pieces! We're leaving on vacation next week so I didn't really have time to ask my mom to go through her sewing room to look for them and send me, so I thought maybe it was about time I drafted my own pattern! Well, sort of. I measured the largest section of my hips then added 2 inches for the top of the skirt then used a yard stick and pencil to draw all my straight lines.

I still used the pattern instructions for putting it together although not having the pattern pieces I decided to just stick with the cargo pockets and not even attempt the inside pockets. I also wanted to keep the little slits on the bottom of the skirt, though they do begin lower then the original indicated. When planning out how I wanted it to look, I knew I wanted to use heavy duty thread for top-stitching, and that I wanted there to be a row of top-stitching on either side of the side seams. But it wasn't until I started working on it that I realized that if I turned under the entire length of the side seams from the slit on up, I could completely enclose my selvages!!

I forgot to take another close up of the outside after it was sown. But it can be seen in the finished pictures of the skirt.

The draw-sting ended up not working out quite as I had planned. In trying to guesstimate how wide to make it, I guessed too wide. Plus I didn't have enough fabric left over after the second try. Thankfully it's still usable, but inside the casing it's all folded up. :(

Now on to something more fun. The pockets! I wanted to make them look like the majority of cargo pockets seen on store bought clothes. And I wanted them to be big enough to place my hands in. So the first thing I did was measure the length of one of my hands and the width with fingers out stretched. The I added an inch to the width of the pockets plus the selvage extra. When it came to actually putting them together, I still wasn't exactly sure what I wanted. So the first thing I tried was sewing straight down the middle at a half inch.

That didn't work very well. In fact, it looked rather stupid pressed out! So I took it out. But, having two stitching lines 1 inch apart exactly in the middle of the pocket turned out to be just what I needed for my next try! Using that line as a guide I folded under a crease at a quarter of an inch and sewed right down that line!

For the pocket flaps I had another problem. My machine won't stitch heavy duty thread in the bobbin, so I'm limited to only using it for my top thread. But that's not going to work when sewing Velcro. The only way I could figure out to make it work, was to stitch the edges of the Velcro on the inside then, flip it over and use that line for a guide and do the top stitching on the top.

I really like how the finished pocket came out.

For finishing touches I double stitched the hem and bar tacked just above each slit. I'm really pleased with the finished product! I hope this has given you some inspiration to draft your own pattern too! It's really not as hard as you would think. :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

$100 Giveaway at Marie-Madeline Studio!

There's a $100 giveaway going on right now over at Marie-Madeline Studios! You can use it to buy fabric and patterns. Sounds super awesome, huh! Click HERE for more details.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Lambkin for Callie

My niece, Callista is going to be 1 year old next Monday. So naturally this Auntie wanted to make her something special for her birthday. Unfortunately, the pattern I wanted to make her called for a bath towel, something I kept forgetting to buy whenever we went shopping. So I asked the ladies over at the Sense & Sensibility message forum for some help finding a stuffed animal pattern that was easy and fast to put together and was told that the Lambkin would work perfectly.

I decided to make it out of fleece instead of cotton so it would be nice and soft. Because of that, I added just slightly to the edges of the pattern pieces. Also, I couldn't turn in the edges of inside the ears before sewing them on as it was too bulky. But I think it looks cute the way it is!

The directions called for making felt eyes for very young children, but I don't have any felt, so I embroidered sheep eyes on it instead. Yes, sheep really do have rectangular shaped pupils!

I sure hope Callie will like it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The New Sense & Sensibility Pattern Site

Last week Sense & Sensibility patterns relaunched their pattern and resource site. And it look fantastic! I still want to get the Kimono pattern someday when I can afford it. So far I've made the Swing Dress and the Regency Dress.

Well, here it is!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recycled Skirt

Last Sunday a friend from my church gave me some scraps of fabric, bunches of spools of ribbon, some old patterns, and three pairs of old blue jeans to use for my purses. However, the pieces I could get from the jeans wouldn't be big enough, plus none of them are my size. I knew there would be something I could use them for, but what? Then I had a revelation! Recycled blue jeans skirts! And with all that ribbon and scraps from my purses I can really decorate them up.

Of course the first thing I needed to do was figure out how to make the skirts. I've had an old pair of black Capri pants that I've been wanting to turn into a skirt for a really long time now, I had even take the center seams out a few months ago. I decided I would practice on them. But as hard as I looked I couldn't find a single thing online for how to put a recycled skirt together! After looking at a few skirts on Etsy, I had a general idea, but I still had to guess on how everything was put together. I'm sure there's a much easier way to do it, but this is how my skirt turned out.

And the back.

So, what do you think?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Simplicity 3673: 1950's Retro Jumper

Here I am, finally getting a post up of my newest project, a gray jumper made from Simplicity's 3673 retro jumper pattern. This is the second garment I've made from a very large piece of gray fabric that was given to me by a friend at my church. And there's still plenty of it left! I found the pattern to be very easy to put together, and I especially love how the bodice is completely enclosed! The petite instructions also worked perfectly as I didn't have to worry about fighting with the pattern to get it just right.

Anyway, here it is:
Because I have very narrow shoulders, and also because of the shape of the jumper's neckline, I decided to make a mock-up of the bodice first to see if it would be too big. And sure enough, it was looking like it wanted to gap in the front and lay too far to the edge of my shoulders.
My mom told me that the easiest way to fix this was to take in the front by a half inch, and add the same amount to the sides. I did that, and it worked wonderfully! However, the next task was to make sure the rest of it fit right. Based on my measurements, and the finished size of the pattern, it looked like I needed to make the bust a size 10, the waist a 12, and the hips on down a 14! So that took some thought to decide just how I wanted to angle everything. But then, after all that work, when I tried it on before hemming it, the hips turned out to be way, WAY too big. >_< So I took it back in to a 12, but it still seems a little big. I'm thinking that next time I make this pattern I'll just stick with a size 10 all the way, and see it that works better.

Naturally of course, my dear sewing kitty, Guinivere wanted to help me hem it!!