Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Top Sewalong!!

Woooo!  The Made-By-Rae Spring Top Sewalong is underway!  This challenge has been going on since 2009, and I've known about it since 2009, but my lazy butt just hasn't acted on it until now.  And I kind of feel like I might attempt to make up for lost years by submitting a few tops...but we'll see.  BTW, have you visited Made-By-Rae's website?  She provided the free pattern and tutorial for the Buttercup Bag that I made for the Winter Pinterest Challenge (and OMG, my bag was featured on The Great Indoors as part of her Challenge Wrap-Up -- weeeeeee!!). 


I had been wanting to make a top based off this dress pattern for about two years.  I had made this dress back in 2010 for a friend's wedding, and I love it so much, but it's a little too fancy to wear to work, and I don't have many fancy outings to attend in my daily life. 

I did wear it for a family photo shoot last summer though...

Photo Credit: Natalie Champa Jennings

I had a lot (like, a lot a lot) of fabric leftover from the wedding card box I made, and I didn't want it to go to waste.  It's a great weight, and while eggplant is not exactly a spring color, it's still gorgeous and a color that I will wear any time of year.  In order to punch it up a little, I figured binding the edges with a contrasting color would make it fun and fresh.

Because this pattern was for a dress, I had to do some guestimating and self-measuring to determine the correct length for the shirt.  Well, I underestimated the length, and this shirt was on a fast track to being a crop-top.  Not a trend I am interested in trying to bring back.

Measure twice, cut once, Leah!  Dangit! 

I thought about scrapping it all together.  The combination of the non-spring color, the botched length, perfect time to bail out and start anew.  But I've seen enough Project Runway episodes where the designers either didn't have enough fabric, or cut patterns all wrong, they still sent something down the runway, and so would I.

I cut two 5" strips to extend the length of the top, kept calm and carried on.

I should mention here that I actually cheated on the assembly of this top.  The pattern calls for some facing on the front and back, and I had LOST the pattern pieces at some point.  The pattern also calls for the sleeves to have a lining, but I skipped that too.  Instead, I opted to use double fold bias tape as a fake hem.  Is that cheating?  Sometimes I think so, but it looks so clean and finished so it's hard to pass up.

So here is the finished product.  I'm curious - is it "Spring-y" enough to enter in the Spring Top Sewalong 2012?  I feel like without the shoulder cut-outs, it probably wouldn't fly for Spring, but with the additional skin showing, it makes it a little flirty, no?

I adore the cut-out look, and I think I will make at least one more top from this pattern, probably using a lighter fabric, such as cotton, with a brighter color scheme, maybe even a print.


HookingupwithHoH Party Button Photobucket Wildflowers and Whimsy
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's......SuperNephews!

My nephews are obsessed with Superheros.  Batman.  Superman.  Spiderman.  Ironman.  They know their Superhero stuff.  And it's amazing because my sister doesn't even let them watch these movies or cartoons.  It's part of the boy DNA, I'm convinced.

So I wanted to make them something extra special superhero-y for Christmas.  Yes, what I am posting about today, in March, was intended to be a Christmas gift.  Better late than...whatever, I'll start earlier for Christmas 2012.

I saw this adorable superhero cape tutorial on Pinterest that originated from Puking Pastilles:

I was sold.  I began assembling my supplies back in early December.  T-shirts in each nephew's favorite color, and a coordinating fabric for the logo, a print out of the letter in the Superman logo font, some stablizer, and determination.  I knew I was in for a lot of satin/applique stitching.

Since I had increased the size of the logo letters to about 700%, it had become all pixelated so I had to trace over it to get a clean cut guide line.  I cut out my patterns in the fabric and the stablizer all pinned together.

I pinned each logo to their respective shirts, and did a wide zig-zag stitch just to tack them together, and so I could get rid of the pins. 

Then the cursing fun began.  I had done the satin/applique stitch before, but on very long, straight lines.  Satin stitching these logos would end up trying my patience since I was guiding the needle around some short, tight curves, lots of direction changes and general guessing of where my needle should go to make it appear professional.

SuperD was my first attempt, and it was a valiant attempt, but it didn't cut the mustard.  I had to go over it a second time to fill in the many gaps.  Luckily I'm a quick learner, and SuperC and SuperJ went much smoother.

I was thrilled with how they turned out.  I sent them off in the mail to get the SuperNephews the proper gear for saving the world from the bad guys.  I was even more thrilled to get the picture of SuperJ, SuperC and SuperD all beaming in their new crime fighting gear!

All in all, once I got the hang of the satin stitching, it was a really fun project to complete.  As much as I'd like to make a SuperC onesie for my little man, or even a size 2T shirt, it would be too small to maneuver around my sewing machine while trying to apply a neat satin stitch.  He's stuck with the screen printed Old Navy superhero onesies for the time being.

Photobucket HookingupwithHoH Party Button Photobucket
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition

I somehow stumbled upon the Bower Power Blog last week, and she was promoting a Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition, which is where she challenges her readers to make something that they have Pinned (sound familiar?) within the Challenge week and then show it off in a fantastic link party.  She and a few other Blogesses (Sherry, Cassie and Erin) promote this Challenge, and it's a big creative quorum.  I had to enter, of course.  But what to make?  So many options!  I wanted to keep it semi-simple, where I wouldn't need to make a separate trip to a fabric/craft store, since I didn't have much time (a week...essentially a weekend since the week is filled with work and bebe).  I had been itching to log some serious time on my sewing machine, so I headed over to my Details In The Fabric pinboard.   So many choices!  I settled on the adorable Buttercup Bag with a FREE pattern and tutorial, graciously provided by the super talented and creative Made By Rae

As much as I adore small handbags, being a mom to a 14 month old, I need something bigger, and definitely something with a longer shoulder strap.  I decided to increase the size of the pattern by 30%, which is a whole other tutorial in itself.  In short, there were some modifications.

I decided on two Joel Dewberry for Westminster fabrics: Ginseng Collection and Damask from the Aviary 2 Collection.  For the lining of the purse, I used an old work shirt of the hubby's.

When it comes to sewing, my least favorite part is cutting out the pattern.  I wish I was confident enough to go pattern-less, but I'm just not there yet.  All you seamstresses that create tutorials of garments and bags and wallets without a pattern, my hat is off to you!

The tutorial that Made By Rae created is very easy to follow.  Once my pieces were cut out and ironed, I was ready to start assembling.  First, the pleats.

Then I attached the upper band.  When I increased the size of the pattern, part of the upper band didn't make it on to the printed page, so I had to improvise on the actual length.  As you can see, I came up about a half inch too short on both sides.

Tim Gunn's voice echoed in my head, "Make it work!" so I trimmed off those extra half inches and carried on.  As you can see, with the outer part of the bag sewed up quite nicely. 

Moving along to the lining, I stablized the location of the magnetic closures, and inserted them. 

I also attached the pockets.  I thought too far ahead of the directions when preparing the pockets.  I didn't read that we were to fold over/double the fabric to make the pocket.  I got nervous and thought, "a single thickness pocket, surely that needs to be stabilized!"  And so I ironed on some fusible interfacing to give the pocket fabric some durability.  Of course it was after the stabilizing that I realized the folding over was to occur.  So I ended up with two very very durable and sturdy pockets.

It was at this time that I got nervous about the flimsy lining trying to hold up these sturdy pockets, of which I am guaranteed to subject to some serious wear and tear.  Also, I've made some bags in the past that were extremely flimsy and lost their shape very quickly.  I didn't want this to happen, so I decided to iron on some more fusible interfacing to the back of the lining.  I really would recommend ironing on interfacing BEFORE a pocket and a magnetic closure are affixed to the lining.  But I did it anyhow, and for the most part it worked.

I sewed up the lining, attached the lining to the outer part of the purse, and then flipped it inside out and then right side in.

As I mentioned earlier, I needed a longer shoulder strap.  I've never been a fan of the armpit purses, with the super short straps.  These days, it's an added bonus if the straps of my purses are long enough for me to wear them crossbody.  So I tripled the length of the strap, and attached it.

And there it is!  My Buttercup Bag with some minor edits! 

I think this will probably be a weekend purse, since I carry so much crap with me to work during the week, and I feel much more secure having a zip-top bag while riding on the Metro.  The size of the bag easily fits my wallet, planner, large sunglasses case, phone, a small packet of wet wipes and probably two diapers.  Knowing me, I can -- and will -- jam a whole lot more in there...

And an action shot.  Baby on one hip, Buttercup Bag on the other!  Let's do this!

This Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition is just what I needed to get my tail in gear and to a fast turnaround on a project.  It reminded me that I can start and finish a project in less than a week, and I can do it well!


Sew ChattyCreative Itch
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