Monday, October 29, 2012

Knock Offs and Sew Alongs

Elegance & Elephants

The very talented and PR&P finalist this season...absolutely loved her creations...Heidi over at Elegance and Elephants is hosting a series called 'Knock It Off' and asked me to participate.  We've been asked to pick something from a store, catalog, or the such and make it ourselves.  Just you wait to see what I have in store.  I went for high end, as in you can't believe they'd actually charge that much for something you could easily make.  I'll be sharing that in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, Next Monday, I'll be over at Project Run and Play sharing my how-to on this adorable skirt I made up for Week 5.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Resurrecting a Favorite

 I had to go and look for a picture of me tonight and ended up going through a lot of pictures.  Partially because I was just going down memory lane and was having fun remembering the memories that went with the pictures, but also because there aren't many pictures of me.  Sad, huh?  Why do we as the memory makers and recorders let ourselves out of those records?  Well that's a post for another day.  What I wanted to post, was this awesome jumper I had made for my then 9 month old little girl.  This was from back in 2009 and I hadn't ever really posted a how-to. 
 Probably one of the easiest projects I've ever done that got a ton of compliments. 
Here's what you do...first you have to hunt down a sweater that is at least 80% wool.  It can be any kind of wool, but it has to be that high of percentage so it will felt and shrink. This one was a pretty Pendelton wool sweater that someone had already accidently shrunk and then sent off to Goodwill.  So scour those second hand stores and don't forget to check the men's racks too.  You just need a neat looking sweater that is wool.
Second, throw it in the washing machine, put in a little soap and wash with HOT water.  I wouldn't put anything else in with it, because it sheds a lot.  Then you throw it in the dryer.  It should be good and felted by now and be a couple sizes smaller.
Third, find a jumper, dress or shirt to use as a guide when cutting it out.  Lay it out and cut, but don't forget you want a little overlap at the top of the shoulders.  I also used the bottom edge of the sweater so I didn't have to worry about hemming it or anything.
Fourth, sew up the sides.
Fifth, snip little button holes (because the wool is felted, you won't have to do anything else to your cuts), just make sure you measure the buttons and not cut too large of holes. Sew on the buttons. Part of the reason I loved this jumper so much are the vintage blue buttons I used on it.  I just wish I had better pictures of them.
Last, if you really want, blanket stitch around the neck and armholes.  You could use contrasting thread to make a statement.  I kind of wished I had used something that was a little more noticeable   But you don't have to do this step, it's just decorative   Since the wool is felted, it won't fray or anything like that, so you can consider the edge finished once you cut it.
Depending on how big of a sweater you find, is how big you would be able to make a jumper.  This was a women's medium sweater originally and I was able to get a jumper for my 9 month old little girl, who has always been in the 90% for height, so you might say this could fit a 12 month old.
Now's the perfect time for one of these though.  It was a cute outfit with a turtleneck onesie and cute tights or leggings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Project Run And Play Recap

I think I stuck pretty much to the original design.  I added the hat, last minute, which was a fun addition.  I didn't use bias strips for the sleeves or add the ruffles on to the bottom, because I didn't have enough.
Things used from stash: turquoise and purple fabric from my mom many years ago and soft brown wool from her as well
Only thing purchased for this look: 2 yards white muslin and the 'D' rings for the belt.  Total cost: Under $5.00

This is the one I think I stuck closest to the original design.  Plus I added a look for Clara.
This is probably the one that has been worn the most too.
Things used from stash: red and white polka dot fabric and striped seersucker from my mom, button's on coat from my collection
Things purchased for this outfit:  striped shirt from Goodwill (turned into cardigan), white bottom weight fabric from Joann's, gold buttons from Joann's  polka dot and striped fabric for headbands
Total cost: $12

This was by far the hardest and most frustrating week. But it turned out close to what we had come up with and she likes it.
From stash: batting for the jacket lining, Jacquard fabric dye
Things purchased: white sheet from Goodwill, yellow buttons and zipper from Joann's and a daisy stamp from Joann's for the stamping
Total cost: $10

This one was a lot of fun, because I never sew for my boys.  He's even worn it a few times.
From stash: white bottom weight (from week 2), buttons, duck cloth (for number in back) and patch
Things purchased: knit shirt from Goodwill
Total cost: $1

The only week I planned on doing 2 outfits.  Again, I think I stayed close to the designs, but love the changes I made.  I really love Clara's shirt and Sophia's skirt.
Things from stash: shirt used for Clara's shirt, embroidered fabric purchased a while ago on clearance
Things purchased: maroon fabric, buttons on Clara's shirt, and zipper(x2 if you count the metallic zipper I tried out but didn't like) for Sophia's skirt from Joann's
Total cost for both: $8 

Check out both posts here and here. This is another week I decided to add a look for Clara last minute.  These were another set of outfits that I had a lot of fun making.  I dropped the tweed riding coat because Sophia said she wouldn't really wear it.  I didn't really want to spend a lot of time making it after she said that.  Instead I added a little sweater vest.
Things from stash: sweater I cut up for the vest for Sophia's look and 2 shirts for Clara's look
Things purchased: yarn for scarf, horse buttons, yellow fabric for scarf, yellow accent fabric and buttons for shirt from Joann's, fabric for Sophia's shirt on clearance from a fabric shop in Gettysburg, PA, men's corduroy pants from Goodwill used to make Sophia's pants and a scrap for Clara's belt
Total cost for both looks: $15

That's 9 outfits for just over $50!!!  I think that is pretty good and I stuck to my budget for playing along.  The key was using what I had, finding stuff at Goodwill and using the coupons for Joann's. (Oh and I like to raid my mom's stash when I visit, so that helps too:)
Also, I think re-purposing something makes a huge difference in cost (for example the men's corduroy pants only cost me $3, but to buy enough fabric for pants was going to cost me $12 and it wasn't even what I wanted).  The only week I didn't take some article of clothing (or sheet) and turn it in to something else, was week one.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rundown on the Signature Look

So this is kind of the rundown post with more details of how I made each outfit.  If you just want the cute pictures of the girls wearing them and a quick synopsis of what I made, you might just want to check out the previous post:)
First up, the shirt.  This is the only piece that is made from completely new materials.  I had a lot of fun making this one and throwing in the extra details!  I just love how it turned out and would love one in my size.
I found the soft cotton with subtle green floral print at a specialty shop in Gettysburg, PA called Needle and Thread (they specialize in Civil War era fabric reproductions).  The yellow, buttons, and green ribbon came from JoAnne's.
I studied button up shirts for a while to figure out how they are put together and then measured Sophia and drew up a pattern.  The past couple weeks I've been practicing my placket making skills.  I can now say that I don't find the process at all scary now.
The collar turned out perfect with the contrasting yellow piping.  I also used the contrasting fabric for the inside of the collar stand (finally learned what that is called thanks to Stacy) and added the ribbon as well.  Little details make it fun:)
Again I used the contrasting yellow for the inside of the cuffs.
The back has a lined yolk, double stitching and piping detail.
The scarf is some gauzy, yellow fabric I found at JoAnne's.  I just did a rolled hem on each side (first time using a rolled hem foot...loved it!).  Then I stitched across about 2 inches from the end and frayed it.
The sweater vest is simply cut from an old sweater of mine that was starting to fit kind of funky.  I simply cut off the sleeves and extra on the side and the bottom and sewed it all back together.
Between the shirt and the pants, I learned a lot this week.  These pants are made from men's pants.  I wanted soft brown corduroy, that didn't have too big of a rib.  I couldn't find any fabric that I liked so I headed to Goodwill.  A size 38 men's pants was more than enough to get a size 8 girl's pants out of it.  I started by pretty much picking apart the pants, to see how they were put together.
When cutting them out, I used some pants of Sophia's as a guide to get the length and width right.  I used the existing inseam, but cut out the fronts and backs separately.  Then I used the leftovers at the bottoms to get the front pocket parts and zipper pieces.  I used the waistband (which I hadn't unpicked all of the way), tabs and little inner pocket from the original pants.  For the waistband, I started with the side with the button hole and pieced it around the top of my pants.  Then I cut off the extra and finished it off.  The pants have an actual zipper fly, my first, which was a lot easier than I thought they would be.  I love how they fit her and she says they are comfortable.
Now for Miss Clara's last minute outfit.  I started out with some leggings.  I thought I would do a skirt out of some brown tweed, but you see she has tons of skirts already.  The leggings will be something she can wear under all of those skirts.  They are made from the sleeves of a T-shirt of mine that seemed to be shrinking and getting too short.  I cut the sleeves off right at the shoulder seams.  Then I cut out the middle part that kind of looks like a diaper.  I cut it using the bottom hem of the shirt, so to make the casing to run the elastic through all I had to do was fold it over once.  I created the middle part first by sewing the crotch seam and two little side seams and then added the legs, just like you would sleeves.  On the bottom, I ruched them a little by stretching some elastic out and sewing in place.  Finally, I added some little horse buttons that Clara had picked out.  Not my choice, but they made her happy to wear the outfit.  You pick your battles:)

The tunic is a button up shirt of mine, that I never wore that much.  You see, while it is my favorite shade of green, I don't look good in that shade of green.  I look kind of sickly. Clara on the other hand looks good in it.  I picked off the collar and the cuffs.  Then I cut off the sleeves where I wanted them.  Thinking back, I think I should have cut off the entire sleeve and sewed it back on at the length I wanted.  Oh well.
The scarf is knit from some variegated sock yarn I found at JoAnne's.  The belt is made from some left over corduroy from Sophia's pants.  I just folded it over and sewed it together, finished off one end and added the D rings on the other.
To finish neck, I took some fabric left over from Sophia's shirt to make a casing.  Then I threaded some elastic through and put ribbons on each end, making sure to secure the elastic just inside the casing.
To make it fit better, I secured some elastic at the yolk seams on the shoulders and back.  It gives it king of a gathered look and less like a tent.
Another look at the sleeves.  The cuff was a little bigger than I wanted, but to save myself some time, I sewed it on inside out and folded over the extra so the buttons were on the outside.  Really I was just being a little lazy, because this outfit was an after thought:)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Project Run and Play--Week 6--Signature Look

For more details on how the outfits were made, check out this post.
Before I start the run down of what I made for  Week 6 of Project Run and Play, I thought I'd share my 3 favorite pictures from today's little photo shoot.  It is Fall here in the South and the changing leaves are really going full force right.  I love it!  It's my favorite time of the year!  The above picture is of some of the amazing color out there and these 2 are pictures that I feel capture the souls of my not-so-little girls.  They don't show the outfits off really well, but oh do they give me a glimpse of what is inside of them.

Now on to this weeks challenge--Signature Look
I feel my look, if I had to pick any style for me, would be preppy, with a little country farm girl thrown in.  Nothing fancy, everything comfortable and why not throw in my 2 favorite colors, green and yellow.  That is the original sketch.  The tweed riding jacket is something that is me, but not so much Sophia.  She said she wouldn't wear it hardly at all, so I scrapped it.  Why spend hours making something she isn't going to wear?  Especially, when I had other ideas.

I went with brown corduroy skinny pants, a button up tailor made shirt, sweater vest and light scarf.  Each pattern was self drafted, after studying pants and shirts to figure out how they are made.  For the pants I actually took apart a pair of men's pants that I found at Goodwill.  I couldn't find the type and color of fabric I wanted, so I went there to look.  I picked apart the seams, which really helped me figure out how pants are made.  Then I cut out what I needed, reusing the waistband and tabs, and sewed it all back together.  Each week I challenge myself to try something I've never done or tried before and this week I loaded my plate.  The pants were the first thing I accomplished this week.  It was fun to say I sewed a pair of pants.  For the vest, I just cut the vest shape out of an old sweater of mine and sewed it back up, using the v-neck shape of the sweater.
The shirt was my next big accomplishment.  This was my favorite piece this week.  It's really just a simple button up shirt, that I tailored to fit.  It has a lined back yolk, piping detail around the collar, pocket and yolk and contrasting fabric on the inside of the collar and cuffs, with ribbon accents.  The fabric is an ever so soft remnant I found at the specialty fabric shop in Gettysburg, PA.  All of the little accents and details on this shirt just make me giddy!  I love how it turned out and want one in my size.

In this picture you can see the detail of the fabric better, just a simple green floral and in the one below, you can see the back yolk with piping detail.
 My style would always include a scarf as well.  When I lived in Germany, many years ago, I came to love a good scarf and what it can do to an outfit, yet how practical it was.  Tighten it up if you are cold, loosen it if you are too warm...perfect for the Autumn days here in the South that start out chilly and then by afternoon be 30 degrees warmer.  This gauzy yellow striped scarf is perfect for a little yellow accent, but for the practical side as well.
Oh how I love the colors of Fall!
Sophia wanted to try out Clara's scarf.

My window for taking these pictures was small, so I had to take what I can get.  It was another sunny late afternoon and the sun was a little glaring again.  It was also windy.  Needless to say, most of the pictures with both girls in them did not turn out.  Either one was squinting or had her hair blowing in her face.  Here's the only one that did turn out.

Now for Clara's outfit.  Once again I didn't really plan anything for her, but when she asked for something this week I had a hard time saying no.  I had gathered up a bunch of clothes that I was willing to contribute to the challenge this week and I had plenty of options.  However, hers had to be quick and easy.  The shirt/tunic is simply a shirt of mine.  I cut off the collar and added a casing to run some elastic through, to which I added some green ribbon at the ends to make a bow.  To make the back fit better, I just ran a strip of elastic at the bottom of the yolk and on the shoulders, to give it a gathered effect.  I also cut off the cuffs, opened the seam and added them at the bottom of the now short sleeves.  Pretty simple and it only took an hour.  The belt is just some leftover corduroy from Sophia's pants.

For the leggings, I simply cut the sleeves off of a t-shirt of mine that was too short.  They were the perfect length for her legs.  I added a little in the middle/crotch area, made a casing at the top and ta-da...leggings.  I added a little elastic on the outside of the legs and she picked out little horse buttons, for some visual interest.  Another simple piece that came together rather quickly, but will get a lot of wear under skirts and dresses this winter.

Clara also wanted a scarf, so I knit up a simple one to go with her outfit.  The yarn for the scarf and the horse buttons are the only thing 'new' in this entire outfit.

 And there you have 2 outfits that fit my look of 'Preppy Country'. 


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