Wednesday, July 30, 2014

yes, sorry, more jammies.


Here are a couple more jammie sets, both loosely based on vintage Simplicity 5006. This time not made from thrifted sheets! I've about run out of those. (Patting self on back for  using up stash.) But I still have an embarrassing amount of random printed cottons, so this post was made from the stash, no purchase necessary. Fear not that it is late July. It stays warm here through September/October so these will get lots of wear. Also I confess they pull double duty as we have been known* to stay in our jammies all day around here.

*But only on days that end in Y.

This first set for Thing 2 is made from super cute pennant IKEA precut fabric bundle I picked up maybe five years ago as a random impulse buy. (As I'm typing this I realize the last couple of times I've been in there I haven't even seen bolts of fabric. Have they gotten rid of their fabric lines? Maybe I just missed them. Please tell me I missed them. *hyperventilating*)

As you can see, I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match the shorts, but I think it looks fine. Thing 2 absolutely loves wearing it. When I sew her anything she says 'thank you thank you' over and over again and gets really excited. That's nice.


I did do a killa job at matching the stripes on the top's side seams. I forgot to take a photo from the side, but trust me, it looks aces. I found some bits of this nice cotton gingham bias trim I used on the neck and pocket. The straps are regular ol' prepackaged poly bias binding.


Here's a set for the oldest. She's a tween now, you know. She informed me that she doesn't prefer the billowy full look of the first set I made her. She likes shorter and less full now that she's almost twelve. Less, you know, 'girly'. *turning away to sob into own shoulder* So I redrew the top pattern and took out some width and length to make her this non-babydoll version.


The brown and blue flowered fabric. Oh, I love it. I've been hoarding it for years. Do you remember Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope? It's one of my favorite fabric lines. I get fabric nostalgia when I dig through my shelves. The top is made from a solid lawn from the stash with prepackaged brown bias tape for the straps.

This basic shorts pattern is a no brainer, as easy as shorts get. Two pieces. Three seams. However I did have to modify it again because after seeing the first couple of pairs on the girls I noticed it needed a shorter rise in front. For some reason my girls wear all their shorts and skirts slung underneath their belly buttons.

I'm not done showing you jammies yet. Sorry.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

and another set of summer jammies from thrifted sheets


A set for Thing 2 from the last pair of thrifted sheets I have in the stash. (Here's the pair I made for Thing 1 from the same pattern.) I love the delicate palest pink of this background and the sweet little flowers. Perfect for a girlie set of babydoll jams. These sheets are super soft too.


I only had little scraps leftover of the cotton crochet trim, so I just used a piece across the front bodice and made the straps from bias binding this time. Don't look too closely. I made kind of a hash of it because I added it on after the bias straps were finished. Not sure what I was thinking, but oh well.


I still have plenty of these cotton doilies though. I wonder why I bought so many? Some harebrained idea I never followed through with I guess. They make a nice pocket if you pin them flat and leave the top unsewn like this.


And the ribbon tag in the shorts so you can tell front from back. Since I've now run out of thrifted sheets I've started to sew a few more sets from the myriad mid-weight cottons I've had in the stash for years and haven't touched. At one point I planned to be an award winning quilter but somehow that hasn't happened. Some of the cotton prints I bought once upon a time are now a bit too young for out-and-about clothes for my girls, so jammies are the perfect solution.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

more (tardy) summer jammies from thrifted sheets


I'm a bit late with these this season. There's nothing like a looming deadline to light a fire under my sewing. There's a sleepover this Friday and I'm just too embarrassed for the girls to be seen in their raggedy old pajamas. Isn't this goldenrod/orange plaid sheet set 70s-licious?


I used this vintage Simplicity pattern again as the base. Back when I made the first go round the size 6 was fine for them (even though they were a tall 9 and 7), and they even got two summers wear out of the jammies. Now two years later I did grade the size up a bit by adding length and a deeper armscye to the top and a deeper crotch and width to the shorts. Worked fine.



I also changed it up by using this cotton crochet trim for straps and a crochet doily for the pocket. I left the top of the doily unsewn so it flops over to form a pocket flap.


It's always nice to have a ribbon tag on the shorts because it's a bit hard to tell front from back.

This time I didn't add the elastic to the leg openings because I heard feedback that the bloomer legs, while adorable, have a tendency to ride up. The open legs still look very cute on. You'll have to trust me on that.

One pair down, three more to go! Or at least one more pair by Friday.

Monday, July 14, 2014

what I'm up to


Giving up my school room, for one. The girls have shared a bedroom ever since I started home schooling way on back in 2007. My oldest will be twelve soon and she really needed a space of her own. She's a neatness person and a compulsive organizer, and her sister is... not that. I'm going to miss having a school room, but Thing 1 is thrilled with having her own bedroom. We've spent the last two weekends buying and assembling new bedroom furniture from IKEA and redoing the closets. I'm just going to say that the Hemnes chest of drawers comes with a jumbo soul-sucking five pound bag of screws and dowels. Clear your afternoon. Turned out nice though, thanks to Schmoopie.

And I'm also just going to say NO MORE BUNKBEDS. Oh, sweet ever lovin Mary Queen of Scots. No more wrestling sheets on and off a bunkbed. Oh yesyesyesss.


However, the poor girl does have to have this epic wall of schoolbooks and materials taking up an entire wall of her room. It just had nowhere else to go and no complaints from her. Now both bedrooms need finishing touches, like shelves, curtains and bedskirts. I have plans to redo their duvet covers into quilts (that photo was pre-bunkbed). Should be easy. Uh huh.


Now I need to find somewhere to put all the school stuff that is now homeless and is in piles all over the house. We'll be conducting school in the kitchen from now on, so I'm pretty sure going to need another one of these:


You should have seen the mountain of toys and books and educational tools we gave away over the weekend. At least ten garbage bags full. How did we get so much stuff? More to the point, why did I still have it? It was good to clear it all out, but sad too. Little girly toys, dress ups and beginner readers. Puzzles. Math manipulatives. *sob* School furniture went into the attic. If you've ever tried to disassemble a double IKEA Besta bookshelf, you'll know it's not for the faint of heart. After recalling how heinous it was to put together, my attitude was 'give it away and buy a new one later' but my husband is much more
1) handy
2) thrifty
3) determined
Thank goodness.


Making pillows for another. My screened porch badly needed some new ones because I can't ever remember to put the outdoor pillows away during Georgia's pollen season. There's just no coming back from the Bilious Green Fog sometimes. I picked up all these outdoor fabrics on sale at Jo-Ann and sewed up some quick pillow covers with zippers.



Planning more pillows. This time some summery ones for my living room. Aren't these bold ikat-like fabrics nice? Also cheap!


Ordering expensive apparel fabric. Because that is what you do when you already have too much fabric. I apparently have big plans for my free time this August. Robyn, I finally found that Liberty of yours I have coveted admired so much!



Laughing at this video. Young friends Micah and Chelsea are having their first baby, and I think this preview style video is the funniest and cleverest announcement ever. (That's my niece Erin and her husband Nathan making a cameo appearance in the whole airplane/choo choo train scene.)

And oh my word we are on the last seven days of the 2013/2014 Holland Academy for Young Ladies school year. I am We are really really really looking forward to our summer break. I have some Twelve Days patterns to crank out! I hope your summer is going swimmingly.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

hi-lo wiksten tank mod


Check it. Yet another Wiksten tank, this time with a hi-lo hemline. I found this lightweight summery fabric at Joann and couldn't resist.

Here is a headless model shot. Taken from the most slimming angle, of course. (I had just finished ironing it and was about to go photograph this when my oldest requested some help on math. I draped the tank carefully down on the couch while I helped her. Turned back around after a few minutes to pick it up and had to drag it out from under my youngest who was sitting on it. I ask you.)


Nowadays whenever I look through bolts of fabric I have a background brain filter constantly running which evaluates if they would make a cute tank top. I'm outta control with the tank top making but totally justified because they are on near constant rotation in my wardrobe. My new uniform. I love wearing them! (I feel I should add a mea culpa shout out to Robyn here because years ago when she suggested the Wiksten tank pattern I openly scoffed at it and said what's the big deal with woven tank tops. Heh heh. My bad.)


This fabric completely turned my head. It's a woven cotton but pretty loosely woven and sheer. It frayed so easily I used a solid lawn I had on hand to make the bias binding. I should have lined the tank while I was making it. Now I need to make a silky camisole to wear under it and other tanks. I am astounded to find I have only one silky camisole in my drawer, and it's about 40 years old and two sizes too large. How did I let my unmentionables lapse like this? I need to rectify this problem. I really do not like the new style of camisole in the stores. I hate the sausage casing fit and the grabby microfiber texture. I want loose and silky with thin straps. Should be easy to make. I've been inspired by looking at Angry Chicken posts about DIY oondervare.


The hi-lo hem. It was a very easy mod. You can do eet! I changed the front shirttail hem to a simple frowny face curve that was shorter in the middle than the original hem by about 3 inches. Then I changed the back hem to match at the sides only this time as a smiley face.


Keep in mind the french seams may make your sides uneven at the side seams after they are sewn. No big deal. I ended up trimming a little from the back to even up the sides. The back is about as long as the original shirttail hem.


Check out my awesome stripe matching at the side seams. I usually fail so badly at this but I put some effort into it and am pleased it came out so close.

Mr Matchy Stripey will now join the ever-growing section of handmade tanks in my closet. I'm certainly getting my money's worth from this pattern.

Monday, June 30, 2014

big plans and apathy do not mesh well


I fell victim to the absolute charm of this Miss Dandelion Doe from Alicia Paulson a few weeks ago and have been meaning to get started on the kit. Eeeee! So adorable.


Look and see the different animals she has. The mouse's moccasins! Aw. Since getting the kit in the mail I've been staring at the pretty pieces of felt and Liberty lawn bits and imagining how cute mine will turn out to be, but somehow I've never started it.

So I took the kit with me to Huntsville last week because we were there visiting my mom and I would have plenty of time to make make make. As I packed the kit I was so filled with pie-in-the-sky sewing ambition that I also bundled up my sewing machine and enough fabric and patterns and notions to also make three tops. Somehow after I got settled at my mom's all I did in my spare time was watch Roswell episodes and eat doughnuts. To be honest I felt a little lackluster and depressed. My girls did have an excellent week at Jordan Park VBS. After five mornings spent there, lunch dates with my sisters and round robin dinners from house to house all I wanted to do in my down time was veg. Not make. I did manage to cut out a few pieces of the felt and adjust the placement of the buttons on my Washi peplum top. And that was it. Oh, and I did work off the doughnuts. At the 5:30 class. Yes, that's A.M. I'm not sure what came over me. It was a weird week.


And now I have to unpack all the sewing stuff I didn't touch in Huntsville. I hate unpacking. I hope you are having a more productive week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

washi based peplum top



I've had a peplum top living in my brain for a couple of years now and it needed to happen. I've probably missed the boat on this trend, but I still like peplums.


Even though I haven't successfully sewn a Washi dress for me (totally due to lack of follow-through with fit issues on my part, and not because the pattern is less than awesome, which anyone on the planet can already tell you) I started with the Washi bodice because that part fit me so well when I drafted one a while back. I added a couple inches to the waist length and changed the side seam angle. I made a back for it starting with the Washi back but with several mods, including taking out width and changing the angle of the sides to straight because I wasn't planning on putting any shirring back there. 


The real guesswork came when I drafted the peplum. I just took a wild stab at the curve and length (in my case, ten inches from high waist) and crossed my fingers. Here's what I ended up with for the front (top) and the back (bottom).


The first muslin came out pretty well but needed some tweaks, so the top you see in the photos is the second iteration of the drafted pattern. It still has some minor fit issues and I'm not sure I chose a good print -- too loud, you think? It's a really nice AMH linen blend that has a lot of body.


Ok, the buttons in the back. It needed some width taken out of the back to look more fitted but I didn't want to take it in or add darts because I love that I can pull this top over my head with no closures needed. I tried adding some elastic in the mid back and wasn't crazy about it. Sooo I decided to add two buttons and elastic loops to create pleats in the back once it I got it on. It works pretty well, but next time I will move the buttons a bit more toward the back.
 

I used the Grainline method of bias binding for the neck and armholes and it was worth it as usual but it pretty much doubles the time it takes to make the top. I could try facings next time but I'm not too fond of blind hemming those by hand. I should add here that I do not sew the binding together at the ends to create a loop like on her tutorial. That's too much bother when I don't know the length of the binding I need.

I just start with a piece that I'm sure is long enough, fold over the end to start, sew it round and then trim it when I come to the end. Then to recreate the shortening effect I overlap the raw edges of the binding at an angle and sew them to secure before I go on. That's as clear as mud, isn't it? Sorry. I think the point is that the binding has to be ever so slightly shorter around than the armhole in order to lay nice and flat.


As far as construction goes, I sewed the darts first then added the peplum pieces on the front and back bodice. I centered the peplum on the bodice before I sewed so I could trim it if it was slightly too wide (which it was). Then I sewed the side and shoulder seams and all that was left to do was the binding and narrow hem. And of course the buttons. Not too tricky.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how it came out and I'm looking to make another one with tweaks this week. I'm thinking maaaaaybe some double gauze or Liberty that is in my stash.