Thursday, February 24, 2011

For the Love of Pink!

Well I made a top today!!  I wanted to make a top out of some hot pink satin that I had left over and thought I would start on it today.  I did not think I would actually get it finished today!!  This was such an easy top!!

(OMG! please don't look in the mirror in the picture!  I need to stop sewing and clean my room!)

I actually started out making a top using this video tutorial.  I was at the point to folding my longer piece in fourth's and then cutting the curve.  When I unfolded the rectangle, this is what it produced.

Umm..that's not right...obviously I folded it into thirds and not fourths - UGH!!!  Well, I didn't have enough fabric to make another piece so I had to come up with something different.

Well I remembered I had some satin blanket binding that was about the same color as this fabric.  So I quickly figured it would look cute to square off this piece to make it the same length as the other piece I had cut and just have it squared (I guess that's the right term) all the way around.  And since the blanket binding was wide it would also make nice wide straps as well.  And this binding was a lot easier to work with than the bias tape would have been!

So I sewed my sides together.  Instead of hemming the bottom I just did a serged edge in black thread.  I really liked how that looked when I did it!!

Then I cut a piece of blanket binding the size of my chest measurement, plus a little for the lap over.  I marked the quarter points on it and pleated my bodice piece to match up with the binding.  I placed the binding over the top edge of the bodice and topstitched around the bottom of the binding, making sure to catch the backside of the binding as well.

I measured out my straps and pinned them where I wanted them on the shirt.  I decided to use one of my decorative stitches on my machine to tack the straps on, and decided to go all the way around the top of the binding with this decorative stitch.

This top is really cute with a black cardigan, and of course a belt!  :-)

It is also very cute without the belt but just tucked into a pair of black slacks, but I didn't get a picture of that.

I couldn't believe how fast this shirt came together!  I am going to have to write this "pattern" down and try it again someday!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another dress for Vegas!!

Ok, remember that blue knit fabric with the white stars all over that I told you about yesterday??

Well, I decided what I wanted to make with it last night and tackled it this morning after our school time!  I decided to try the one hour dress tutorial that I found online.  It took me a little under 1.5 hours to make it!  It was very simple to make and now that I know what I am doing I know I can do it again in an hour or less!

Here is the finished dress in the two belts I thought I would try to use with it.  I couldn't decide what looked best but I am really leaning towards the black belt.

I definitely want to try this pattern again!  But when I do I am going to make some changes.  I followed the tutorial pretty much to the letter this time around but next time I am going to do a few things different.

1.  The tutorial says to make the left shoulder (as you are viewing the front of the dress) side 3 inches in length.  Well I felt this was too short after I finished.  In fact if you look at the picture of the dress on the tutorial page it is obvious that dress has more than a 3 inch length on that left shoulder.  I believe it needs to be the same 6 inch length that you gather the right shoulder side up to.  Thankfully the dress looks ok with kind of a aysmetrical look of the two shoulders being different lengths, but I really think it would look better if they were the same length (more like what they are in th picture on the tutorial).

2. I will not make my neck hole as wide.  This came from my A measurement I had that you make from shoulder to shoulder.  I need to go a couple inches smaller next time and I will be happier with the neckline.

But all in all I am happy with the dress.  It really does have a bit of a different look when worn than it does on the dress form.  I just don't know how to get pictures of myself in the dress to get a good picture to put on here.  I tried and it didn't work...I am a sewer, not a photographer.

Note:  This is definitely a dress that needs a belt to make it look right!  I would never wear this dress without the belt, LOL!  I felt like I was in a moo-moo! LOL!

But the dress is very comfortable!  I love the material and feel I will get a lot of wear out of this dress this spring and summer.  I am ready to go fabric shopping and find some more material to make another one!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Forgotten Treasure Found

I was going through my stash of fabric this afternoon (which is several boxes I must admit, LOL) and I can't believe what I found!!  OMG!!

Back before kids, actually right before I found out I was pregnant the first time (with the baby we lost) Daniel and I went with some dear friends of ours on a valentine's getaway to a bed and breakfast.  My friend and I decided that we wanted to make pretty dresses for our valentine's dinner while we were out.  We were planning on finding a nice restaurant to go to.

Well when we got there we got an unexpected snow (we live in TX so really any snow is unexpected).  It was super cold and roads were not very good.  So we decided to just eat somewhere in the little town we were staying in and none of the restaurants they had were nice enough for us to wear our dresses (I guess we could have but we would have been way overdressed and besides, it was really cold!)

So I never got to wear that dress :-(  I found out the next week that I was pregnant, and even though I lost that baby I got pregnant very soon again after that and then had Seth...and then Aaron...and then Alyssa.  You know the time to go out and, besides that, the dress no longer fit!

Anyways - I bored you with that story to get to this one :-)  When I was going through my fabric stash I FOUND THAT DRESS!!  I guess I had put it with my fabrics thinking I would never fit back into it!  Well, as a lot of you know I have lost quite a bit of weight!!  So I decided to try it on today and IT FIT!!!  Actually it was a bit too big :-)  But I did a couple of alterations on the side seams and now it fits really nice :-)

Here is the dress after the alterations (I found that photographing it outside did a better job of showing the true color of the dress!)

 Here is a close-up of the bodice showing the beautiful detail of this embroidered fabric.  I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it.  (we went shopping in the Chinese district of Dallas through the many cool fabric shops to find our fabric).  I didn't get a close up of the bottom of the dress but it is the scalloped edge of the fabric.
 Here is the back!  It's obvious I had not mastered invisible zipper seams at that point - oh well.  At least the zipper is the same color as the dress, LOL!!

So I think I have changed my mind on the dress to wear for the rewards banquet in Las Vegas that I am attending with my hubby.  I think I am going to have to wear this dress instead!  :-)  Don't you agree??

Oh and here are some other fabrics I found today that I want to maybe play with before the Vegas trip.  The blue fabric with stars is a stretchy knit!  I have a couple of ideas of what to do with it, just have to make a decision.  I guess I will be doing some playing with the dress form tomorrow! :-)

I finished my dress redo!!

Remember this post where I mentioned that I was going to refashion an old dress of mine for my upcoming Vegas trip?!?!

Well I finished it!  I had to abandon it for a bit so I could do some Valentine's outfits but I finished it!

Here is the before picture (My husband bought it for me the Christmas we were dating.  My Christmas present that year was the dress, jewelry and tickets to a show!  (yes he was quite romantic and still can be at times today!)  He picked out the dress too!  I loved it and still do but it no longer fits!  :-(  I gained quite a bit of weight since then and even though I have lost most of it, after three kids my body is just a different shape )-:)

The dress also had a jacket (which the sleeves were always tight...I never liked the jacket).

But here is the AFTER picture! Big change, huh?!?  

What I did was measure how long I wanted the dress to be from top to bottom and cut that length off the bottom of the original dress.  I put the cut off portion on my dress form where the cut off portion laid just a bit lower than where I wanted the top of the dress to be and pinned this to the dress form, as seen in the picture below.  (oh and I turned the dress inside out before pinning it to the form so you are seeing the lining showing in the picture)

I then pinned up the fabric to make darts so that the dress would be fitted.  I did two darts in the front and two darts in the back.  I then sewed my darts.  The picture below shows the right side of the fabric with the darts sewn.

I then used the material from the jacket to make a band around the top of the dress.  I used the original straps of the dress for the straps for the new dress, just sewed them back in place.

When I finished that I just felt like the dress was missing something.  So I started digging through my stash to find something to trim it with or give it a pop.  I found some lace and ribbon that I thought would work!

Here is a close up picture on the trim.

Here is one final look of the new dress!  I really think I want to find a cute little spring cardigan and I could wear this to church.  Of course for Vegas I will be dressing it up with accessories.

I would really like to be able to make one more outfit for Vegas but I don't have much time - we leave in 3 weeks!  But there has got to be something I can come up with :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shirring - I DID IT!!!

Something that I have wanted to try for quite some time now is shirring!  I love the look of shirring...I love the versatility of shirring.  There are so many things you can do with shirring.

I have read quite a few blog posts and tutorials on this "art".  I have researched the problems and difficulties and finally decided to try it out.

I read on a lot of places that the biggest help for successful shirring (for top loading bobbin machines, which I have) was to open up the bobbing housing and tighten the bobbin tension (by tightening a screw found on the side of the bobbin casing.  So I did that before I even started (and made note of how many turns I had to turn it to tighten so I would know where to put it back to when I was done).  I tightened it as tight as it would go.

Here is a pic of the bobbin casing showing the screw (I have a Janome Memory Craft 10,000 machine)

I also set my thread tension to 6.0 (which on my machine the highest you can go is 8.0...I don't know if that is the case for all machines) and I set my stitch length to the longest possible length.

I found the fabric at my Wal-Mart.  It was a remnant that was marked way down.  I thought it would be a good fabric for a test run of shirring, and if for some reason I messed up then I wasn't out a lot of money for the fabric!

But - it worked!!!  It really worked!!

For fabric measurements I cut out a rectangle.  The width was Alyssa's chest measurement x 2.  The length was the length I wanted the dress to be.

It is easier if you hem the top of your garment before you start sewing.  For the top edge and bottom edge instead of hemming I just serged them with my serger.  I serged the top edge before I started shirring.

Shirring itself is very simple.  What you do is hand wind your bobbin with elastic sewing thread and then thread it in your bobbin casing.  (Make sure that your thread is grabbed by the bobbin tension). For the top thread use a thread color that goes well with your fabric because it will be seen on the top side of your fabric.

Put your rectangle of fabric in your machine (right side up so that your elastic will show on the wrong side of the fabric) and sew a line where you want shirring (for this dress I did the whole width because I wanted the whole top part of the dress shirred.)  Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and ending of your line so that you lock your stitches.

When you start the next line, and for every line after that, you will need to pull your fabric flat as you sew.

Sew as many lines as you want.  I just every so often held the fabric up to Alyssa to see if I wanted to add more lines.

When I was happy with it I followed another trick I saw online.  I ironed it with my iron on the steam setting and it tightened up the shirring even more.  You could see it scrunching together as you hit the fabric with the steam! 

I also decided instead of doing a bottom hem to also serge the bottom edge.

I also serged the width edges and then sewed my back seam.

I also used the serger for the shoulder straps (to complete this look I had going on)!  I attached the straps by stretching the fabric where I wanted to tack them and used a small zig-zag stitch to tack them in place (that way I didn't loose any stretching at the strap area.

That's it!!  All the work of this project was on shirring!  The rest went together in a snap!

I have so many ideas for this technique!!  It is going to be a fun Summer!!  :-)

And doesn't Alyssa look like a doll in her new dress???

(only problem is...she wore it to church tonight and discovered how easy it is to take off!  They said she took it off three times last night!  I want her to wear it for my sister's baby shower on Saturday.  I guess I am going to have to pin the straps to her onesie so she can't pull it off!)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have entered this dress I made for Alyssa in Whimsy Couture's Valentine's Design Challenge!!  Here is the link to the post that has all the contestants and the poll to vote for your favorite. 

Please head over there an put in a vote for me!!  Alyssa's dress is #16 in the group!!  

Please vote for me!!!  :-)

Oh - and also check out the other entries!  There are some very very cute dresses in this contest!!! 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Valentine's Dress

Welcome to the first official post of my new sewing blog!  As you can see I have imported all the sewing posts from our family blog.  I decided I wanted a sewing blog - a blog that is everything about sewing!  All the posts will be sewing related.  All buttons on the right column are sewing related.  The blog roll on this blog is a list of sewing related blogs that I follow!  I feel like I can have a lot of fun with a sewing blog and I am so excited about it!!

Ok - enough about that!  Now on to my valentine's dress that I just completed!!  WHOO HOO!!

For the skirt I used this tutorial that I found for a waistband bow skirt!  I used that tutorial for the waistband that had attached ties.  But instead of following the tutorial for the skirt I decided to do a circle skirt.  I really liked the results!

Here is the front of the skirt...
 Here is the back of the skirt - showing the tie.

For the top I used this picture that I found online for my inspiration.

Picture of Kerrys Closet Bow Accent Chiffon Blouse 1022997452 (Kerrys Closet Apparel, Womens Blouses, South Korea Apparel, South Korea Blouses)
I loved the bows at the neckline! I decided for my shirt to make a peasant style top (with the elastic neckline) and then just attach the bows.  I decided to keep the sleeves loose instead of putting elastic at the edge of them (that is on most typical peasant tops).  I was really pleased with the results and thought my bows turned out looking a lot like the bows in the picture!!

Here is one final view of the entire outfit!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I want this book!! is offering a giveaway for this book!!!  Click here for more information.  I would love to win this book!! I get an extra chance at winning if I blog about it :-).  Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Dress!!

WOW!  I didn't think that when I posted this post with my drawing of my new design for a dress for Alyssa that I would be writing another post that SAME DAY of the completed dress!!  I can't believe that not only was this a dress that I designed - it WORKED without any redos and it came together QUICK!!!  This is definitely a pattern I will be saving and doing again!!

And if any of you are interested let me know and I can post the pattern on here for you!!

So here is my dress!! It is an elastic waist skrit (with wide elastic that shows on outside).  The top is a peasant style top and the skirt is a circle style skirt!

Here is Alyssa modeling it!  She LOVES it!!

Linking up with the following:
Whimsy Couture

A new obsession?

Ok so I may be becoming obsessed!  But I had so much fun designing Alyssa's Valentines Dress!  I have always wanted to be able to design my own clothes but never thought I would actually ever get there!  And I did (well I didn't design something for me, but I did do it for my daughter!  Hopefully one day I will do it for myself!)

Anyways when I was looking through my fabrics to figure out what to do I actually had several ideas in my head and I am now starting on the second idea in my head.  I spent last night with a notebook scribbling out notes!

Hopefully this will turn into a cute dress when I am done!  :-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Alyssa's Valentine's Dress!!

 I DID IT!!!  I can't believe I did it!!  I made my first dress without a pattern, without a tutorial to follow!!!  Of course it didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked....but I am just learning and I am just glad that in the end, after many trials and errors, and much work with a seam ripper, that I successfully completed it and it is wearable - LOL!!!  :-)

I just looked through several pictures of dresses online that I liked and sat at my table with several different fabrics and figured out what I wanted to do!  (side note:  the red polka dot material, all of the material on the bodice of the dress, and the heart material were actually cotton tea towels that were on the $1 aisle at Target!!!  I had seen a post of a lady making skirts out of them and originally was going to do that but decided to use them in this dress instead!)

The dress actually looks better on Alyssa than on the hanger - so here she is modeling the dress.  Unfortunately she wasn't in much of a modeling mood this morning.  Oh well!  (she's eating her cereal in this picture)
 Here is the back of the dress.  It has an elastic kind of shirr take off in the middle.  I want so bad to take a stab at shirring but my wal-mart is out of the elastic thread.  I have looked several times.  I just haven't had a chance to make it to another store to find it.  So I just used elastic for this.  It worked, thankfully!
 And see those pretty red sparkly shoes??  Her granny bought those for her this past weekend and she loves them!!!  (Even though they are still a bit too big)
Yay!  I am glad I got it done!  Even though it didn't come out as good as I had envisioned...I think it still turned out pretty good!
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