Monday, July 29, 2013

My little "Helper"

So, I've been doing a lot of sewing lately, and my 2 year has been watching.  When I'm done working she's ready for a chance to do her own sewing!
 I do keep a close watch on her while she's doing this, and the machine is off.  I really want to cultivate a love of sewing in my children, so even at this early age if she's not actually trying to use the machine, just pretending to sew with it, I will allow it.
Baby sister is taking notes too!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Simplicity 9784 Baby Dress & Pinafore

 Our little Bubbles turned 1 year old last month!  I knew my mom didn't have time to make her a smocked birthday dress, plus I really wanted to make her birthday dress this year.  Last year just after Bubbles was born I really wanted to make big sister Ace, and her matching dresses out of Simplicity 9784.  I've had these 2 pieces of cotton fabric for about 7 or 8 years, meaning to make myself a dress with them.  But after Ace was born I felt that the print would be better suited for a baby outfit.
 Since there was so much of the fabric, I decided that it would be just as easy to make 2 matching outfits for both of my girls.  So last year while my mom was visiting while I recovered from giving birth, I asked her to cut out the dresses for me.  My thought was that if they were cut, an ready to go, it would be super easy to just pop in the sewing room when I had a little extra time and put the dresses together.
 But alas, I have since learned that after I have a baby, I can't do any significant sewing jobs for the first 6 months.  I put countless diaper covers together in that time, but they were a huge necessity, plus they only took a half an hour each to make.  I did get the bodice and front facing of the bigger dress put together, but then I realized that Ace had already outgrown it.  And Bubbles had outgrown the smaller one by that time as well.
 So I put the pattern and pieces away not knowing when I'd have the chance to get them out again.  As Bubbles' birthday started approaching I started looking to see if I had anything that would work for a birthday dress.  And I remembered that the larger dress had been cut out in a 12 month size.  Bingo!
 I got it out and sewed it up in no time.  The only thing that took extra time were the buttonholes.  You see, sometime last year my sewing machine decided it didn't want to make buttonholes anymore, and I haven't had the chance to take in it for a long overdue cleaning and check-up.  So I had to make them by hand.  It really wasn't hard at all.  I used a blanket stitch because I thought that was how you are supposed to work hand sewn buttonholes.  It wasn't until later that I was reading my copy of the Singer Sewing Book published back sometime in the 50's that I discovered that there is an actual buttonhole stitch, and it looks much sturdier than the blanket stitch.
Overall I'm very happy with the pattern, and love how the dress and pinafore turned out.  Miss Bubbles has worn it several times since her birthday, and I know she'll get much more use out of it over the rest of the summer.  I don't know when I'll ever get around to making the smaller dress, it's a size 0-3 months.  I do know now though that if I want to make something for one of my babies to wear in the first 6 months of their life, I'll have to make it before he or she is born!

I wrote this post in a different style than I normally do.  Please let me know if you like it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Making a Victorian Blouse for a Movie

I recently had the opportunity to make a Victorian blouse for my husband's film.  The film is titled "In His Steps" and is a modern day adaptation of the classic of the same name by Charles Sheldon.  Even though the film takes place in the modern day, one of the characters, Jasper Chase,  is an author and in the middle of writing a book that takes place in the 1890's.  My husband, Zack thought that showing a scene from Jasper's book in the film would also be a great way to homage the time period of the original book.

Naturally that meant making period costumes!  Unfortunately, our budget did not include buying an authentic pattern.  Our Art Director, Carol decided to make the skirt and underskirt, so I could concentrate on the more visible in the film blouse.  First thing to do was go through my supplies.  I had this really pretty wide lace that I found right off and really wanted to use.  I also found some other narrow laces, but those didn't end up working out.  Carol found me some white calico at Joann.

Next was to come up with a style.  These were my inspiration images found searching Pinterest.
I really liked the lines of this first one, and tried to replicate them as close as a could with the base pattern I had on hand.  And the second one below gave me the idea of what to do with the lace.  And also that the sleeves didn't have to be super full.
And here's the pattern I used for the bodice and neckband.  I raised the neckband two inches, and put a single line of gathering at the waist in the front and center back similar to the first inspiration image.  For the sleeves, I used Sense & Sensibility's Regency dress sleeves with the extra fullness option. Before sewing the sleeves to the bodice I pulled up the gathering stitches, tied them in place, then based the lace over them.  I was trying to give the sleeves the appearance of being fuller than they really were.  But it didn't really work.

So I bet you're ready to see my finished product now right?  Well, let me warn you that it is by no means an authentic representation.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  Zack says that any historical discrepancies can be attributed to Jasper's lack of research into the time period.  I can go with that!  Also, I did not do the final ironing of the blouse.  If I had, there would not have been creases on the sleeves.
Rachel Winslow (Laura Seabrook) & Jasper Chase (Samuel Carr). Photo by Mary Roe.
This first picture is the only full length picture I have of the actors.  And they had already changed out of their period shoes!  All well.
Photo by Mary Roe.
This one shows the gathering on the front of the bodice the best.  Since these pictures were not taken to show the work of the clothing, I didn't get any of the back.
Photo by Mary Roe
Our lovely actress, Laura Seabrook.
Photo by Mary Roe
I hope you enjoyed this!  Please let me know what you think of it.  And be sure to check out the movie's website too!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tee Shirt Refashioned into a Baby Shirt Tutorial

 Okay, before I get started I just want to apologize about the photos.  I used the flash for most of these pictures and didn't realize until it was too late that most of the detail was blown out.

So 2 year old Ace has a cute jumper that will work perfectly for Independence Day this year, but 1 year old Bubbles didn't have anything even remotely patriotic looking.  It just didn't seem right to me to take them to the parade on Thursday with one all dressed up but the other not.  I rolled several ideas around until I realized that I didn't have to make a completely new outfit as we have plenty of blue skirts and pants that fit Bubbles, just nothing red.  I've been purging my closet lately of clothes that don't fit me anymore and had a red tee shirt that I couldn't just throw away.  There was too much usable space on it!  Any other seamstresses do that?

So the first thing I did was to decide on the style I wanted to go for.  At first I was going to use one of the spaghetti strap onesies as my base, and flair it out a bit until I remembered that I already had the perfect shirt for the job!  This shirt has these cute straps that button in the front, but I figured that the neckband of the tee would be stretchy enough to work as a one piece neckband.

After that decision was made, it was time to get to work.  First off, I laid the baby shirt over the tee and cut around it as my pattern remembering to leave room for selvages.
 After I had my two pieces I took one, folded it in half, then cut it deeper to get the right shape for the front of the shirt using the baby shirt as a guide.  I also made sure to cut it down to leave room for the neckband.
 Here are the two pieces together.
 Next I cut the neckband out of the shirt, leaving about 3/8 inches under the band itself for the selvages.
 To get the right length I pinned it over the baby shirt.  Turns out, I only had to cut about an inch off of it's length.
Now to get sewing!  First I stitched the side seams in a quarter inch seam.  Sorry, no picture of that step.  Then I sewed the armholes.  Because jersey fabric is rather foldable and soft I didn't think ironing the seam would  do any good.  So I held the fabric at a quarter inch and stitched it down...
Then folded it over once more and stitched it again.  And there's my fully inclosed armholes.
 After that, I sewed two lines of basting stitches across the front neckline and pulled them in a little bit.  I figured it would be pretty to have all the gathering in the middle since it wasn't very much.
 Next to get the neckband ready.  Naturally, I started by sewing it together.
 Then I decided to stitch the selvages out and down to reduce bulk, and give it a more professional look on the outside.
 Then I centered it over both the front and back neck edges, and sewed it in place.
 The gathering got a little flattened and smoothed out, but it's still there.
 For the hem I did the same as for the armholes, stitching the first fold down, then folding it over a second time.  I stitched it at a 5/8 inch seam.
 But it still didn't look quite finished.  Thankfully, I had a sweet cherry applique that finished it off perfectly.  I really like the cherry's as they aren't patriotic, so I will be able to dress my baby in this all summer long without necessarily having to make her look like a flag every time.
Well, I hoped you enjoyed this post and that it will inspire you to re-purpose your old tee shirts instead of just getting rid of them!