Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This is why I've been so quiet...

If you are wondering why I haven't been blogging much lately, it's because of this little boy.  He broke his elbow on only the 5th day of kindergarten.  Can you believe it?  The worst part is that I didn't know it was broken, didn't know it was even hurt, for more than 24 hours!  He broke it in a fall on recess on a Tuesday, and I didn't know he was hurt until Wednesday evening.  In the meantime, he had been to school, had gym class, played soccer in recess, played SPUD with neighborhood friends, jumped on the trampoline, roughhoused/wrestled with his friends, rode his bike all around the neighborhood -- all with a broken elbow!  It turns out even a simple break means you need to have about a million doctor appointments, and it has just thrown our household all out of whack.  But he is absolutely fine and has not had a problem yet.  Little kids are so adaptable.  I am glad he has been still smiling.  It just made me realize how little and fragile he still is.  My little Noah.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Adult shirt refashioned to child pants

So... I think I am not normal.  Not a surprise to those who know me, I am sure.  But I cannot turn off the sewing part of my brain ever.  At Goodwill recently, I saw a adult shirt on the clearance rack.  (That's another way I am not normal.  I am so cheap I shop the clearance section at thrift stores.)  And I thought how cute the buttons at the cuff on the long-sleeved button down shirt would look -- if only they were at the ankle on a little girl's pair of pants.

So I bought the shirt, cut off the sleeves...

Added a stretchy yoga-style waistband...

And made pants...

Sarah was really excited about the pants -- just not excited enough to put down her cheesestick.

A matching tunic is in progress.  With such a bright, busy, stripey set of pants, she needs a solid tunic to tone it down, I think.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Exciting dollar store find!

I was SO excited to find these mosaic stickers at the Dollar Tree! 

Actually, I had seen them once before and barely noticed them and not been excited at all about them.

But in the last few weeks, my 8 year old Hannah has decided that she wants her ears pierced.  Her daddy is not on board with that plan (yet).  Hannah had a few square sparkly mosaic foam stickers left over from a craft project, and she realized they make perfect pretend earrings.  She has been wearing them to church for the last few weeks, which made me laugh the first time I noticed.  She was so proud of herself for figuring out a solution!  And she does look lovely and sparkly.

So, she thought it was the best thing ever when I bought her a $1 gift of more stickers.  I love when it takes very little to make my kids happy.  I know it won't be long before she is much too old to be thrilled by a dollar store present, but right now I am the coolest mom on the block.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Embroidery on a regular sewing machine

Do you have the same problem as me?  I'll be more specific, since I have a lot of problems.  Do you lust after an embroidery machine but lack the desire to drop $500 or more on another sewing machine?  I couldn't even squeeze in another machine on my sewing machine table that already contains 4 machines, with one in the closet for safe keeping.

For my son's first day of kindergarten outfit, I made a shirt with this fabric:

I really only had scraps left of this fabric, as I have used it for several other projects over the years (hoodies, undies, etc.).

But I wanted something to pep up the plain pair of khaki shorts I was sewing him.  Little five year olds need exciting details on their clothes, right?

Here's what I did.  First, I traced the design I wanted (a sea turtle) from the fabric onto a small square of tear away interfacing.  Then I pinned it in place on the wrong side of the fabric and took it to the sewing machine.

Using a very short straight stitch, and lots of time and patience, I slowly stiched out the design, frequently stopping with the needle down to turn the fabric.  I stitched over everything at least twice, usually three times.

Stitching over the same area multiple times does two things.  First, it makes the design strong enough to withstand the pulling that occurs when you tear away the stabilizer.  Secondly, it gives it a "sketchy" look, as if it was drawn by hand.  I love that look.

This is how it looks from the right side when you are immediately done stitching.  (I know -- bumpy.  That's ok.)

This is apparently how I look when I am stitching away.  (I know -- also kind of bumpy.  Less ok.)

 Yep, that's my only partially made bed in the background, and Sarah's early learning space covered with papers.  I am doing my part to make sure Pinterest and blogs don't give you unrealistic expectations that people have perfect lives.  Yeah, that's it.  That's why my bed is unmade.

(Oh, side note:  Do you see my top?  That's my favorite thing I ever made for myself.  I think it is a Mad Sky print.  The pattern is Mamu Ulla.  Love that pattern.  But Mamu patterns are only for intermediate to advanced sewists or beginner sewists who are advanced linguists because their translations are completely unreadable.)

So now very gently tear away the stabilizer.
I tear away the large pieces first, and then I go back and work on the little pieces until it is all gone.  I don't have a picture of that.

Once the stabilizer is gone, you can iron, iron, and iron.  Then it will look nice and flat for you.

And that's it!  You're done.

Just so you know what to expect... From start to finish, this took me two hours.  That's a long time.  I can sew a whole item of clothing in less time than that usually.   But, it's worth it, right?  My little boy is so excited about his sea turtle outfit for the first day. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten Outfit

My little, sweet, cuddly Noah is starting kindergarten next week!  He is going to climb on a big yellow bus and go away for the entire day -- every day!  I cannot believe 5 years have gone by so quickly.  I think I am finding this especially hard because we are a homeschooling family in general.  He is only going to public school for this one year, for various good, rational reasons.  But I just can't believe he is grown so much and ready for this new, big step!

So, to make him and I feel better, and to carry on our family tradition, he needs a mama-made outfit for the first day.  Have I mentioned lately my philosophy on color in children's clothes?  Basically, I believe you can't have enough!  For an inspirational read on why children's clothes should be full of color and patterns, read Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon.  Wonderful book with wonderful patterns.

But the shirt shown above is not from that book.  It is a pattern from Ottobre magazine, issue 4/2007 -- my all-time most used Otto.  I shortened the sleeves to make it appropriate for the season, and I made it out of jersey rather than sweatshirt fleece.

Details are important, so I added a tag.  The "Handmade" rocket ship design is purchased from Night Owl Menagerie on Etsy.  I have an ever-increasing collection of tags from her.  She has such amazingly fun designs.

I also made a pair of long shorts, with an embroidery to match the sea turtle fabric on the shirt.

This is another Otto pattern -- "Bert shorts."

I don't have an embroidery machine, so I stitched out the design manually on my regular sewing machine.  My next blog post will show some detailed pictures on how to do that.  It's a fun, fairly easy, but time-consuming way to tie an outfit together.

Once he starts school, I will have pictures of Noah actually wearing the outfit, climbing onto the bus, and gasp driving away... coming soon...

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