Monday, August 27, 2012

Accessories to Dance

Can I just say that I love being able to sew?  When I do something like these ballet skirts, I feel like I just did something very clever.  Why you ask?  Well we were out buying the ballet tights (learned the hard way to buy the real deal that you have to try really hard to get a run in) and a new leotard for each girl at a dance wears shop, since they have both grown and the girls both wanted skirts to go with the leotard.  After looking at the price tag of $28 for something similar to the pink and $35 to a black wrap around, I decided that I could easily make them (and as long as each girl promised to leave the dance store without throwing a fit or getting whiny for not getting what she wanted).  A trip to JoAnne's, $5 and an 1 1/2 later here are the results: 
 The pink one is simply a yard of fabric folded over not quite half way.  At the fold I made the casing for the elastic and then sewed on some roses and a bow.  Very simple.  I'm not quite sure what kind of fabric I used, just something sheer and flow-y from the fancy apparel fabric.  It was 50% off, so that was the clincher.  To finish the bottom of both skirts I simply did a tight but wide zigzag all the way around.

For the black skirt I gathered the waist a little so that the finished length was 1 1/2 of her waist measurement.  Then I just folded a ribbon over it that was long enough for the tie on each side as well and stitched from end to end, making sure the skirt waist was completely secured in the fold of the ribbon.
Pretty simple, not very time consuming and I got a good felt like I 'stuck it to the man' so to say by not spending a fortune on something so simple.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mass Production

Have you ever had to mass produce something?  I think this is my first go at producing a lot of one thing.  When my oldest son signed up for marching band, I put on the volunteer form that I sew and had costume making experience.  After avoiding such positions as being in charge of all of the uniforms (there around 170 and I would have to be at every football game and competition to make sure each and every kid was properly dressed), I got a call to help make the costumes for the color guard.  They needed someone to draft a pattern for a hood and then be able to sew them up.  All something that was doable for me from home and there are only 30 to make.  Still 30 is a lot of one thing.
This is the crazy $22 a yard fabric (that means I have over $500 of fabric in the first picture...kind of crazy thought).  It looks kind of cool and when I took it into JoAnne's to get enough(before the actual order was placed at the special place they get their fabric) to make a mock up of my pattern to get it approved, they said they would be carrying something like it with their Halloween fabric if you are interested in it.
Here's the hood on some smaller models.  I like how it turned out and so do the people in charge.  The actual hood comes together in 15 minutes.  It's 4 pieces, 3 seams and then attaching the hood to the shoulder piece.  However, they want this velvety trim around it.  Putting that stuff on is a pain.  It's slippery on one side, velvety so it won't slide at all on the other and stretchy.  Putting that on makes it almost an hour for each hood.  I am getting a little faster, but the fact that basting it leaves holes makes it hard to get on just right.
Here's the pile of everything cut out.  I have the head pieces sewn together and the shoulder pieces together.  Next step, the trim around the head piece.  Give me a day or two and I'll post instructions on how to draft a pattern for your desired size and how to put this together.  It's really not that hard and might come in handy for Halloween:)
I haven't quite decided what kind of costume this would be good for.  The metallic (and shape of the hood) tends to look like something for a knight/medieval.  But the rattiness of the tears in the fabric make me think zombie.  Maybe I should ask my kids to see what they say.  One has asked for a cape out of it though.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Something a Little Practical

 My husband has had to wear a tie to work everyday (except for 2 glorious years where he had to wear a uniform...those were the good times, with not as much laundry and the USPHS took care of the uniform stuff).  Most of the ties fall under the cheap, but nice looking category.  That means they tend to fall apart easily.  I went through his tie collection yesterday, when I was planning on fixing my son's tie.  I figured he had some that he wasn't wearing because they needed fixing in some way.  He had 8!  So I watched some Olympics and set to work fixing those ties, plus 3 ties from my two sons.
 Some needed the seams sewn back together.  Most were missing the little do-hicky to tuck the skinny part of the tie into (Do those things have a name?).  To make a new one I took some grosgrain ribbon, put fray check on the ends, tucked them under and tacked them on by hand.  Pretty simple.
 Here's some more finished ones.  All said and done it was pretty easy and now my husband has 8 more ties to chose from.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dyed and Dried

So the pre-pleated trim is dyed and dried.  I tried the ombre effect, with every 3 minutes or so adding another yard of trim to the dye bath.  Not sure if you can see the results very well right now, but hopefully when I put it continuously on to a skirt you can see the gradual color change. 
I also threw in a piece of eyelet that I had laying around, thinking I could use it for sleeves or something if I used the trim on a dress rather than a skirt.  However, it turned out much more purple.  Not sure why, but it must have something to do with the different type of fabric.
 I mentioned in my last post how I get to raid my mom's sewing room every time I go home.  Sometimes she is just getting rid of stuff, but sometimes I look with something in mind.  She doesn't sew much in the way of clothing anymore.  She does a lot of quilting though.  Because of that I get to pick out notions and fabric that she doesn't need anymore.  Here is a sampling of what I came home with this time.  Lot's of rick rack in fun colors.  My favorites are the gingham bias tape and various colors of rick rack.
 Here's just a fun picture of all of the rick rack that had prices on them.  My how times have changed.
 I also got a bag of woven trim.  Not sure what I'm going to do with this yet.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back from Blogging Vacation

I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I find it hard to get a lot of sewing done in the summer, especially since I don't have a sewing room and I have to set up camp in what would be the dining area, but is really the piano room/den.  Plus you throw in 2 weeks to visit family in Utah, 3 weeks covered in poison ivy (I'm super allergic and had it all over my arms and legs--boy was I miserable) and then 2 more weeks to visit my family in Pennsylvania (I did get to raid my mom's stash though--more to come on that) and all of that adds up to more than half of the summer gone.  Here's one thing I did accomplish though:
My husband's department is not the big money maker (as opposed to something like cardiology which you have to order lots of test and procedures--infectious disease not so much) for the hospital and therefore has to have an auction to raise money to help send their fellows to conferences and stuff.  His contribution to the auction was to ask me to do something.  I made 2 pies (which actually went for more than the dress) and the offer of a custom made dress for someone's little girl.  The request was for something in floral and pink and here is what I made.  The yellow is left over from this project.  The pink was something I picked up at JoAnne's.  The dress is from my favorite pattern.  I think the little girl that received it was pleased.  I hope it was worth the $80 bid.
Another thing I've been up is designing the outfits for the color guard for the high school marching band.  They make their own to save money.  My son is in the band, so I'm helping out.  I wish I had a picture.  They are wearing these hoods and guess who gets to make 30 of them.  I'll have to share more of this story as soon as I get my mock-up back and get a picture of it.  It's funny, they are really trying to save money, yet they are using this crazy $23 a yard fabric.  My challenge was to get as much as possible from each yard. It was kind of fun to come up with the pattern though.
When I go up to PA, I get to raid my mom's sewing room.  She doesn't sew much in the way of clothes anymore so there is usually a lot up for grabs.  Both she and my grandmother worked in a sewing factory at one point in their lives.  When it went out of business, they got to take some of the trim and stuff that was left over.  This stuff is all from the 50's and 60's.  There is some awesome stuff.  I need to pull out all that I brought home this time and take a picture.  This pre-gathered white trim was something I dug out. I tried my hand at the ombre dying technique with a fun project in mind.  I'll share the results on Monday.


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