The summer clothes wardrobe is out, dear friends, and it is lacking. My girlies who are seven and five positively live for their summer clothes -- so much so that I have to hide shorts and bathing suits lest they run around in them in the winter! Last week I pulled out the summer bin and it is clear that my oldest daughter's selection of summer play dresses is non-existant and that simply won't do.
Enter, the t-shirt dress?
It's been roughly a million years since I've worked with knits but gosh darn it they are so deliciously light and soft and play-worthy that I felt compelled to pick some up and give 'em a shot. At Target I grabbed a $5 tee (Cherokee brand, in case you care to know) and then the kiddos and I went to Hancock and picked out a matching knit for the skirt. Feeling lazy, I also purchased a $2 knit dress pattern to pirate for the skirt.
As luck would have it, the dress pattern was exactly the same size as the t-shirt I had purchased and I didn't have to alter the size of the skirt pattern pieces to match the tee! And since it was a perfect match, I went ahead and cut the bottom of my tee to match the front and back pattern pieces where the waist would meet the skirt.
Sadly the yard of 60" knit fabric I bought (knit is so expensive!!!), was not wide enough to accommodate the length of skirt we wanted, and I had to make the skirt pattern narrower.
One method to narrow a skirt is to slash the pattern up to the waistline and overlap it at the hem. This adjusts the waistline properly and keeps the "swing" of the skirt the same way the pattern intended it to be. You can take the extra off of the sides of the skirt but that can change the way the skirt hangs and I didn't want to take that chance.
Incidentally, the knit had a one-way print. (This post explains a one-way print.) I pretended not to notice, (aka, cut it like it was a two-way print) while mentally chiding the laziness and greediness of that darn design company! Seriously, they couldn't have taken thirty seconds to turn a few of those flower motif's upside down so that it could be cut both directions? Criminal.
Anyway, in the spirit of embracing the knit, I picked up a special stretch twin needle. Such novelty! I had taken a gander at these pointers on sewing with knits and found them super helpful. However, when I tried the twin needle with the walking presser foot, this sort of thing kept happening on the back:
Horrible dropped stitches no matter what tension I used. So I got rid of the walking presser foot and the problem went away.
*Updated to add -- Using the double needle on the waist seam was a mistake because the hanging fabric of the skirt pulled the "stretch" stitches until they showed. I'll be using the triple-stitch stretch stitch setting (say that three times fast!) on my machine with a single needle for waistlines from now on.*
Can you tell by the pics that I was sewing by candlelight? Just kidding. It was a real light -- at midnight ;o).
You had better believe I was very careful not to run over a pin. No need for a broken double needle crisis.
I turned the fabric up just once for the hem and pressed it after this last picture was taken.
I aspire to take Pinterest worthy pictures, CLEARLY.
I tried making some sort of waistband fanciness with the extra fabric from the t-shirt, but it didn't seem right and I ditched it for the simple look, as modeled here by it's new owner:
Um, no, those are not her glasses! But she would look cute in them, now wouldn't she?
Roo has declared this dress "SO SOFT" and has decided to wear it forever. Also, it appears to be stuffed animal approved.
Now, as to whether or not I'll be making more of these dresses? Yes, definitely! With tank tops too.
The total cost of this one with the shirt, fabric, and thread (we won't count the pattern and needle since those are general supplies) was about $15. That's a bit steep in my opinion, especially for something I then have to make! But I can see using thrifted tees and thrifted fabric (from XL women's shirts) to do the same thing for a fraction of that.
My girls would be over the moon.
And now that I'm all set up to make more knit stuff, I see summer nightgowns in our future.
On a side note, this was not a quick make for me. It seems sewing is not necessarily a faster enterprise the more you know. Or am I over-thinking things? Is this a universal problem or is it me?
Brace yourselves, there's probably going to be a slew of posts as I catch up on all of the most recent makings.
Not long ago my friend Jacqueline commissioned me to make her sweet little girl an apron and when asked if she had any special requests, she gave me the best possible answer "no particular color in mind - let your creative juices flow."
Well you know that means I agonized for weeks over the millions of children's prints on the market right now. Princesses? Kittens? Hedgehogs? (Not even joking -- there are some shockingly adorable hedgehog fabrics out there.) And then I came upon "Quiet Time" by Michael Miller and knew it was just the thing.
Lil Miss Abigail, the apron recipient, is a book lover. A mini me of her mother, no doubt!
The sewing pattern is a tried and true one that you've seen before (think here, and here), but with a twist. Instead of square pockets, this one has "open book" pockets with fussy cut images from the main fabric for the spines.
Aprons are so fun to make! Why do I forget this? If you know the sewing basics and need a creative fix, make an apron. It will do you good.
Happily, the apron fit Abigail with a little room to grow.
(Embroidered on one pocket is "by ACK" -- for that day when she writes her own book.)
In this last pic you can just barely see her little sister wearing the first apron I made for Abigail for her birthday years ago. Hop over to Jacqueline's blog and there's a better photo of that one on spunky little Eleanor (here). Same sewing pattern, different flare.
Finally! Finally had the chance to put together a duvet for my three-year-old son's bed.
The orange fabric is a wideback (108") cotton that I purchased online and the back is just white muslin I had on hand from the girl's curtains. I only bought a yard and a half so the finished cover is not quite as wide as a standard-sized twin.
I personally dislike buttons on duvet covers as they last about a washing before the button holes stretch and the buttons start falling out leaving an ugly herniated comforter problem at the end of the bed. (Apparently I feel more strongly about this than I realized because I just used the words "ugly herniated" in regard to bed coverings!) Also, I avoid button holes like the plague.
As you can see, I chose to I use a long zipper instead and cut the front of the duvet long enough to wrap around the back an inch and a half so that the zipper would not be right at the end of the duvet.
I couldn't find a long white polyester zipper at the local fabric stores and while deciding whether or not to special order online (an invisible zipper would make the most sense), I was going through clothes to donate and realized that I could steal the zipper out of an old pair of footie jammies. Since the jammies were a size 5, the zipper was 34" long! I love thievery. And freebies.
Pieces are cut! The chair is going to have a skirt and I will wait to cut those pieces until everything in the picture is sewn. It doesn't look pretty yet but at least the scary part is over.
The game plan was to cut the fabric just like the original chair covering and assemble it the same way. Since I can't make it "fitted" without some way to get it on and off of the chair, I've decided to have a Velcro opening on one side in the back. Hopefully that will work!
p.s. I attempted to reduce the grammatical errors in the last post. My apologies!
(I know, I know. The RUG! Try to pretend it's not there, okay? Or admire it's softness perhaps? Believe you me, it's so lush you could mow it. ;o)
Where was I? Fabric. Sewing.
As you no doubt recall, slipcovering the chair has been on my to-do list for a few weeks now. I've been wanting to get to it so badly and yet NOT AT ALL because slipcovering is chore sewing. Nothing but work.
Procrastination ruled until Evie, my one-year-old, was sweet enough to make the picture of the ugly floral chair my smartphone screensaver for a week. Yuck! Time to put on the big girl panties and just do it.
At least part of it.
Sorry about the less than stellar pic. I tried.
I sewed the seat cushion first and was shocked when it came together quite effortlessly. I highly recommend nursing a baby once or twice during a sewing project so that you have plenty of problem-solving thinking time. Works wonders!
Late night sewing pics :o).
I'm not as impressed with the back cushion. Apparently I didn't do nearly enough nursing during the process because I kept making mistakes and in the end it turned out a bit too big. It doesn't look nearly as polished as the seat and if it weren't for the cording, I'd make it smaller in a heartbeat. The cording, however, turns a five minute job into an hour long ordeal that I really don't care to undertake.
Time for more stuffing???
Hopefully once the entire chair is slipcovered, the whole thing will look casually comfortable and make more sense. I have a big order of fabric coming in the mail soon (super exciting!) and I want to "clear my plate" before it arrives which means this should get done ASAP. All I need is more thread.
Oh goodness, I need to tell you my thread story.
First off, I stole the upholstery thread.
Not intentionally. I accidently forgot to pay for it with the rest of my items (after standing in line at the cutting counter for an hour) and found it in the cart...in the parking lot...in freezing cold weather...with the very hungry tired baby already strapped into her seat. I briefly considered driving to the loading zone, leaving the baby in the car by herself, running into the store and chucking it somewhere and running back out. But I didn't because that seemed like maybe a bad parenting decision. So, instead I took the darn thing with me and kept very careful track of it and went back to the store to pay for it as soon as I had the chance. And then I brought it home and promptly lost it.
Yes, after all of that, I cannot find it to save my life. Believe me, I have looked! I even checked the collection of poopy diapers in my garage trash to see if the thread bag was used to wrap one of them. I'm sure you will be relieved to know that it was not.**
Fortunately, I was able to rustle up a half spool of heavy duty thread which, unfortunately, ran out.
**Update -- just now the husband says "Yes, I saw that thread last night. I think I picked it up and put it on a shelf. I have no idea where it is though."
If you recall, I had been looking for a fabric to "help" this chair via some sort of covering:
Furniture reno hasn't technically made it onto our financial to do list, but the general ugliness of all of my living room seating is wearing upon my beauty-loving nerves and I've been keeping my eyes out for some inexpensive fabric to, if nothing else, neutralize the look of things.
I've been scouting around online but the other day in Joann's I finally got a chance to take a peek at their selection of duck cloth, which I hear is a suitable fabric for slipcovering. Noticing that it was NOT on sale, I dug through my purse and found a glorious 60% off coupon!
You had better believe that at $4 a yard, I bought the entire bolt!
Washed and big wrinkles eradicated! Phew, was that a lot of work.
Ten yards, sitting there on my ironing board, staring at me for almost a week.
I'm terrified to begin.
What if I forget to cut the seam allowance and sew it up and it's too tight?! What if the cording is impossible?! What if my machine refuses to sew the thick fabric and the whole thing is for naught?!