Wednesday, March 17, 2010

and the winners are...

And now, by random number generator, the winners of the Bib & Booties accessories patterns are:

1) acornmoon
2) derenda
3) annmarie

Congratulations! Happy bib, bootie and carrot making to you! I'll be emailing you soon with the pattern.

(If you would like to sew a bunny with a blanket also, that pattern is sold separately as the Baby Binky Bunny pattern, and is on sale through April 3 for 20% off the regular price.)

Thanks for participating, you sweet folks!

Monday, March 15, 2010

may I suggest a bunny? with accessories?

Just (barely) in time for Easter, here's Bib & Booties, a PDF accessories pattern designed to compliment the Baby Binky Bunny softie pattern.

The pattern shows you how to make these accessories:

1) embroidered felt bib with rick rack trim,
embroidered fabric bib with bias binding

3) bunny booties

4) carrot softies from either felt or fabric, with a ribbon
loop in the back so your bunny can hold it.

(If you would like to sew a bunny with a blanket also, that pattern is sold separately as the Baby Binky Bunny pattern, and can be found here.)

If you have the time and some fabric scraps that need a purpose, a Baby Binky Bunny with Bib & Booties accessories would make a sweet surprise in someone's Easter basket. To help you with that, the Baby Binky Bunny pattern is now 20% off through April 3.

And... to celebrate the release of Bib & Booties, I'll give away three accessories patterns to three random commenters on Wednesday the 17th! Just leave one comment, and be sure to include your email address.

Monday, March 8, 2010

shopping in my closet, part 1 (in which I convert an old pair of bootcut jeans into a new pair of skinny jeans)

I've been admiring so many in the blogosphere that are taking old/unwearable clothes and remaking them into new, beautiful things. I'd really like to try a pretty ruffle shirt like the one my BFF made from her husband's old dress shirt. But first things first, as I have a growing mountain of clothing in my craft room that needs fixing or updating.

My most urgent need is jeans to wear tucked inside my newish lovely boots. I didn't own a pair of skinny jeans until a couple of weeks ago. After I bought one pair I got the idea to convert my old bootcut jeans (which are too short now anyway) into skinny jeans from some similar transformations I've seen on several great YouTube videos.

People, this is the easiest wardrobe revamp you could hope for. Really. It takes like twenty minutes and can save you some serious jean money.

This is the process in a nutshell:

1) Turn your old pair of bootcut jeans inside out and lay them down flat. Lay your favorite pair of skinny jeans on top.

2) Find out which seam on your old jeans has the pretty topstitching. Align the edges of the skinny legs along the bootcut seam that is topstitched (this could be the outside seam or the inside seam). You don't want to take in the seam that is topstitched. It will look funny since you can't replicate the topstitching. You want to take in the side that has a regular seam so your new one will blend in. As it happens, the pair I was working with didn't have topstitching on either side.

3) Once it is all aligned carefully and you have the seams nice and flat, trace along the edge of the skinny leg to mark your new seam line on the bootcut leg. Pin in place, taking care to match up the hem of your old jeans nicely.

4) Using a heavy duty needle on your machine (really. don't skip this step), sew your new seams on each leg. Now before you trim and finish the new seams, try the jeans on to be sure they fit the way you like. You may need to make minor adjustments before you finish and press your seams.

Erm. The girls make up their own beds. Good for them.
Bad for photo styling.

Voila. You really can't tell where my new seam starts and the old one ends. Just saved myself some money. Oh, yeah.

Monday, March 1, 2010

make a quickie skirt lining

Closeup of the lining sewn to the skirt facing.
Sorry about the purple thread.

Closeup of hem of lining inside the skirt. It's just overlocked, not hemmed.

I have a perfect straight dark denim skirt from the Gap that I love, but every time I wear it with tights, the denim catches on my knees. The visual effect being that as I walk, the skirt also walks. Up my thighs.

Of course I have a half slip that I wear to avoid this, but it adds bulk at the waist and doesn't solve the problem completely because it is not the ideal length and tends to ride up as well. I find myself constantly either trying to reach in and pull the slip back down (nice) or grabbing the hem of the skirt off my tights. Not a great way to look all ladylike.

I had a eureka after I made this dress with a lining. Why not just line my favorite skirt and solve this annoying problem for good? {smack of hand on forehead} I can't believe I didn't do this a long time ago.

It was so easy. I can now wear the grabbiest, knubbliest tights under the skirt with no problems.

NOTE: I make no claim that the below is the correct way to line a garment professionally. As a matter of fact, it would probably make any self-respecting tailor feel pretty queasy. No, this is all about Easy, Fast, and Solving The Problem Already. Not about tailoring excellence.
1) Lay your straight or A-line skirt inside out on the floor and measure it across the widest part (this is probably the hem). Double this number. That is your skirt's circumference. Now add an inch, for seam allowance. This is value [A].

2) Now find the bottom of the waistband facing. Measure from this part to your hem. Now subtract a half an inch. This is so your lining won't hang below your hem. This is value [B].

3) Cut a piece of lining fabric that is [A] wide and [B] long. This is slippery stuff, I know. I found it was more manageable to lay it on the carpet* to cut than on my worktable, because it kept slithering off my worktable.
*Listen, I have builder grade el-cheapo carpet in my house, so scissors can't do much damage. If you have costly looped Berber, then for Pete's sake get back up on your worktable!

4) Pin it right sides together and sew the back seam with 1/2 inch seam allowance, locking your stitches and leaving the seam open the appropriate length to accommodate your skirt's zipper. If your skirt has a slit, leave an opening to correspond to that also. Trim and finish your seam.

5) Now overlock or zig zag all the unfinished edges of your lining piece. I have an overlock stitch on my machine that I use for this. (I didn't turn any nice hems for the lining. Remember? Easy. Fast. Not excellent. Of course, you always have that hem option, just remember to add the hem allowance in before you cut.) Now, iron the whole lining on the synthetic setting.

6) Turn your machine to the longest stitch length and sew around the top of your lining to create a gathering stitch. Sew two lines of this gathering stitch if you tend to break your thread when gathering.

7) Turn your skirt wrong side out. Pin the lining wrong sides together to the waistband facing at the zipper, side seams, and the middle of the front. Draw up your gathering stitches to fit, pinning as you go. The gathering doesn't have to be all perfectly distributed. No one will see it unless your suitcase pops open in baggage claim, and if that happens you'll likely be more focused on chasing your underwear around the conveyor belt.

8) Sew the lining by hand to your facing with a whip stitch, catching a small bit of facing and then the lining below the overlock/zig zag stitches. Take care to only sew through the layer that makes up the facing and not the outside layer, or your stitches will show on the outside of your skirt.

9) Tack down the lining around your zipper with a few stitches, and do the same for your slit if you have one. You can also anchor your lining to your side seams with a few stitches close to the hem if you like.

Like I said. Quick. Easy. Done and done!