KCWC S12: Day 2 – Double Ruffle Top

I got more done than I expected yesterday!  I whipped up this little ruffley top before work (I work in the afternoons, by the way).

Now, if you’ve been following me for a bit, you may have noticed that ruffles are not really my style.  Not that I have anything against ruffles!   Because I think they can be pretty darn awesome and, in some cases, they can truly make an outfit (here is where I’d include a lil round up of ruffley things I like, but alas, no time).

Anyways, for whatever reason, I usually just stick to simpler lines and don’t think to embellish with ruffles.  But I had this idea to use a striped fabric and mix up the directions of the stripes to create an interesting look (I think I saw a kid run by me wearing something similar – that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration). Plus with RUFFLES 2012 going on over at See Kate Sew, I guess I was hit with a bit of ruffle-mania.

The top came out pretty fun, though I don’t know if the different angled stripes POP as much as I thought they would.  It’s pretty girly and flouncy huh?

I used the Every Little Thing pattern for the bodice because I’d used it before and I knew it’d fit.

Either way, Yuki’s got a fun new (slightly dressy?) top for the spring/summer.  The felt bow is a removable pin and was a last minute add.  I thought the shirt needed something to lighten it up and add some interest (the fabric/color is a bit serious for a toddler, no?).  I seriously just cut 2 pieces of felt, grabbed a glue gun and a pin back and threw that bow together in 2 minutes.  And without any burns!  I always seem to burn myself when I get out my glue gun . . .

RUFFLES!!

Looking at the back, I bet I could put this top on her backwards with the buttons in front and it’ll still fit/look cute.  Fun!

In the evening I worked on step 2 of my Jump Rope dress: the collar.  It took FOREVER.  Mosty because I’m slow and there was hand stitching involved.  But it’s so exciting to see this coming together!  The placket and the collar were definitely the two most unfamiliar pieces to me so it feels good to have those done.  And how handy are those skills?  I want to put a placket and collar on everything now!  (well, not really – they were both pretty hard :P)

Hand stitching damn near killed me!!

Collar looks uneven, but don’t worry, it’s not 🙂

Oh, and someone asked me what fabric I’m using for the dress!  I’m always so bad about paying attention to the fabric designer and line and that seems unfair!  Their art makes ours what it is!  So this awesome fabric is PR426 from the line Maya by Leah Duncan for Anthology Fabrics and I got it on my trip to Britex with Kristen.  In fact she picked it up first and I stole it from her!  Hah!

Part of me feels like I’m moving quickly through my projects and I might even be able to add one more to the list.  But I’m also pretty tired and today’s project is a bit trickier, so we’ll see.

How are you doing?

PR&P Goals and the Spring Circle Top

*EDIT: The tutorial for this top is now available HERE!*

Project Run & Play Season 4 officially begins today!  I’m pretty excited because participating in the sew along last season was SO MUCH FUN.  I didn’t really know what to expect last time or what I was getting myself into, but now that I know just how involved I let myself get, I decided to set some goals for myself.  I’m just posting them here so I can keep myself accountable and reflect on these each week or at the end.

1. Keep it simple and wearable.  As much fun as it is to go all out and do something crazy and fabulous, I can’t invest the time it takes to make 5 pieces of clothing in 5 days.  And as much as I loved Yuki’s Blossom by Blossom dress, it really bums me out that she will probably never wear it again.  I want to make clothes that Yuki can wear over and over again and not drive myself crazy trying to do over the top or extremely time consuming ensembles.  I have to remember that I’m not an actual contestant, just sewing along for fun.

2. Use as much from my current fabric and notions stash as possible.  My sewing supply is growing rapidly, much faster than I am sewing, so I’d like to try and use what I have first before buying more stuff.  Looking at the challenges for this season, it looks like this goal is right in line with the Earth Day Challenge, but some of the other weeks will be harder (like Sportswear).

3. Work on things other than PR&P and don’t lose track of my priorities.  Last season the only projects I worked on each week was my outfits for PR&P.  I’ve got tons of other projects that I want to work on, so I’m going to have to find time for a little of both.  I also have to be careful not to forfeit time with my family or let my work, house work or sleep schedule suffer.  At least not too much 😛  Keeping it simple (goal #1) will help with this.

4. Let myself skip a week if I need to.  It probably seems weird that skipping a week is part of a goal when usually your goal should be to participate as much as possible.  But for me, I get SUPER involved, so it’s waaay harder to skip a week.  I don’t know if I’ll need to, but I want to be able to let it go, if one or two weeks end up being way busier than I expected.

I think that’s it!  I know it’s pretty nerdy of me to get so obsessed and write out goals, but what can I say?  I’m a nerd.

So with that all said, I’m super excited to be done with my first entry!!  This week’s challenge is to remix Dana’s Circle Skirt Tutorial.  I recently used this tutorial for the first time to make my Reversible Circle Skirt.  It’s a very classic style and can be used for lots of variations on skirts and dresses.  But I decided to use the circle skirt idea to make an asymmetrical flowy spring top.

I had a vision and then it kind of morphed as I started sewing (as most of my ideas do).  I like the way it came out though and can imagine Yuki wearing this quite a bit this spring and summer.

I whipped up some super simple jeggings to go with the top.  I know, jeggings!?  I hate them and love them, but in the end, I couldn’t resist.

She had a blast on our private little Easter egg hunt.

We put a strawberry in one of her eggs!  Haha!

So looking back at my goals, I kept it very simple and wearable.  CHECK!  I only used materials I had on hand.  CHECK!  Since I was able to start this early, I didn’t feel pressured to cram in any late night sewing sessions or sacrifice anything else.  CHECK!

It really helps if I can stay ahead of the weekly challenges which is something I didn’t do at all last time.  I’m not sure if I can keep it up though.  Next week’s challenge is sportswear, and while I have something in mind already, I think it might break the “keep it simple” goal.

I’m going to drop some of these photos into the flickr pool now, so head over there and see the other fun circle skirt remixes!

Oh, and I might try to do a tutorial for this top later this week!  Let me know if you’re interested (otherwise I’ll probably just forget about it :))!

Maxwell Top Pattern

One of my goals is to sew more clothes from patterns.  So when the opportunity came up to be a pattern tester for some of Shwin & Shwin‘s new patterns, I jumped on it.  These gals come up with some of the cutest patterns for kids!  And there are so many amazing free tutorials on their site too.  One of the patterns in their current collection is the Maxwell Top for boys and I LOVED it as soon as I first saw it.

I debated whether I should make the top a little more feminine by picking more “girly” fabrics, but decided to go with something simple and (in my opinion) gender neutral.  I knew Yuki could pull it off.  The fabric reminds me of a Japanese shirt, though I don’t actually know if the fabric is Japanese.  I love the finished shirt and all the cute details.

It was my first time sewing a collared shirt so I had a little trouble attaching the collar.  For that reason, I’d say this is a good intermediate or intermediate beginner pattern.  Otherwise, the shirt came together nicely with pretty clear and simple directions.

I think she looks adorable!  I know I will definitely be making more for her as she gets bigger.  The pattern is for sizes 12m-5T!  And it’s always great to find an awesome boy pattern.  I can’t imagine there’s anyone who wouldn’t need this pattern!

Buy the pattern here!

Tutorial: Classic Jumper

This post is long overdue!  I made this jumper for Yuki for Thanksgiving (along with the Herringbone Short Coat) and I’ve been wanting to share this tutorial ever since.  I hope you keep in mind that I just kind of make this stuff up as I go along, so I don’t know if this is actually the best way to make a jumper.  It’s just the way that I did it and in case you’re curious – here it is!

I’d been wanting to make a jumper for Yuki for some time.  It’s just such a fun and classic style.  And there is this super colorful plaid flannel (that I’m kind of obsessed with), that I thought would add a bit of a non-traditional, yet still holiday, feel to this piece.  Here is the sketch of the jumper I wanted to make.

You will need:
Main fabric
A little bit of fabric for lining
2 buttons

For this 12-18 month size jumper I probably used 3/4-1 yard of the main fabric and 1/4 yard of the lining material.

So first you need to draft your pattern.  I used a small jumper to get the pattern shapes, and a dress that fits Yuki to get the pattern size.  If you need help drafting a pattern, there are plenty of great resources out there like this one or this one.

The red lines are alterations I made as I was sewing, when I realized the size/fit was all wrong.  If you’re using this to get general shape ideas, make note of those changes!

The pieces you’ll need are:
Bodice front (1 main, 1 lining)
Bodice back (1 main, 1 lining)
Body front
Body back
Pocket (2 main, 2 lining)
Pocket edge (2 main)

Let’s start sewing!

First we’ll do the pockets.  Take one main fabric pocket and one lining pocket and pin them together right sides together.  Do the same with the other pocket fabrics and sew the curved edge together.  Keep the top (straight edge) open!  Flip them right side out and press.

Now we’re going to gather the top of the pocket.  If you need help with gathering, here’s a great gathering tutorial.  I do it the way Dana calls the “proper” way, except I usually only do 1 line instead of 2 or 3, like you’re supposed to.

Sew a straight line across the top edge of the pocket with your machine set to the longest stitch.  Do not backstitch at the end or beginning!  Pull on one of the threads to gather the top edge of the pocket.

For the pocket edge, fold it in half along the long side with the right side in.  Sew up the short sides and leave the long edge open.  Flip it right side out and press.

Then fold the edge in about a 1/4 inch and press.  Now you have this little pocket to stuff the top of your pocket into 🙂  Confusing enough?

Slide the top of the pocket into the opening and sew around the edge.

(why does one pocket look bigger than the other in this picture? 😦 )

Position your pockets onto the front body piece and top stitch around the pocket.  Make sure to leave the top of the pocket open and also sew back and forth several times at each end.  The top corners of pockets get pulled the most, so these extra stitches will make sure the pockets are securely attached.

Now lay the front and back body pieces together with right sides together and pin up the sides.  Sew up the sides and then press these seams open.

With the side seams opened up, serge or zig zag stitch along the arm hole.  Fold the edge down a 1/4 inch, press and sew.  If you can’t serge or zig zag, just fold the arm hole edge down a 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch, then sew (like you would a hem).

Now we’re going to gather the top part of the body piece.  Just like before, set your machine to the longest stitch and sew a straight line across the top of both the front and back of the body piece.  Pull one thread to gather the fabric (both front and back).  Set the body of the dress aside while we work on the bodice.

Pin the bodice pieces together: main fabric and lining of the front bodice piece and the main fabric and lining of the back bodice piece, right sides together.

Sew around bodice pieces, leaving the bottoms (straight edges) open.  Trim excess fabric, corners and clip curves.  Turn right side out and press.

(I also added a label at this point, in the center of the back bodice piece.  I just used an iron on transfer that I printed on my inkjet printer).

Turn about a 1/4 inch of the bottoms in (the same way we did with the pockets) and press.

Now you’re going to slide the gathered edges of the body into the bodice pieces (just like we did with the pockets)!  Make sure to put the front of the jumper into the front bodice piece and the back of the jumper into the back bodice.  Pin and sew along the straight edge and continue top stitching around the entire bodice piece (both front and back).

You’re almost done!!  Sew button holes in the back bodice piece and buttons onto the front bodice piece.

Hem up the bottom by folding up a 1/4 inch and pressing, then folding another 1/4 inch, pressing again and top stitching.  You’re done!!!

I hope this wasn’t too confusing.  I’m still learning how to write and photograph for tutorials, so I know this wasn’t perfect, but I’m working on it!  In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

I love the jumper style because it’s so versatile.  Depending on the fabric and how you layer it, it can be appropriate for pretty much any season or occasion!

(It is getting harder and harder for me to keep this one still for photos!)

Pair it with a little coat and she’s all ready for the holidays!

Are you all done making holiday outfits?  I’m not!!  I only have 2 days left, so I better get sewing!

Tutorial: Double Layered Simple Skirt

I’m so excited to share this skirt with you!  It’s kind of a Sew & Tell, Tutorial and Repurposed Project all in one!  I wanted to do an add-on to the Simple Skirt Tutorial to show you an easy way to add another layer and get a fun new look.  I also had some fabric laying around that needed repurposing, and this was the perfect way to use it.

I started off with a tank top that had a stain smack in the middle of it.  I was ready to let go of it as a tank top, but I loved the unique scalloped eyelet bottom.

I thought I’d be able to use the material for a skirt for Yuki.  Since it has large eyelets I knew I needed another layer underneath so it would be appropriately modest for my little one 🙂  Luckily I had this old bed sheet I had bought at a thrift store for about a dollar.  I’ve used it to make lining for a pillow case, a mock-up for a jacket, and now this skirt and there’s still tons of fabric left.  What a great deal!  The sheet had a ruffle of eyelet fabric on the bottom that I thought might add some volume and why not add small scalloped eyelet to big scalloped eyelet?  Wouldn’t that be fun??

So let’s make the skirt!!  Like I said, this is variation of the original Simple Skirt Tutorial.  The first tutorial includes more information about materials, measurements, and hemming, which is NOT included in this tutorial, so please refer back to that one if you have any questions.

Materials:
Fabric – You can use two different fabrics, or the same fabric for both layers.  You can also repurpose something or use new material.  It’s up to you!
Elastic – I used 1″ wide elastic and you’ll need it to be as long as the waist measurement plus 1 inch.  If the kid’s (or adult’s) waist measurement is 17 inches, cut 18 inches.

You’ll also need the essentials – sewing machine, iron, thread, scissors, pins, and though it’s optional, a safety pin is super handy.

Let’s get started.

First (and always), wash, dry and iron your fabric.  Then it’s time to cut it.  For more details about measurements, see the Simple Skirt Tutorial.  For this project, I wanted to keep the width of the skirt fabric the same as the tank top so that I wouldn’t lose any of the eyelet and I wouldn’t have to re-sew up the sides (basically, I didn’t cut the tank top yet).  For the bottom layer of the skirt (white) I folded it in half and measured the same width as the top (blue) material plus a 1/4 inch for seam allowance.

For the length, I measured the bottom layer first.  I cut it at exactly the length I wanted the finished skirt to be.  The great thing about using these fabrics is that the bottoms were done and required no hemming!  And yes, you do need a bit of room for seam allowance on top, but you’ll see later why I didn’t add any length to the bottom layer.

For the top layer (blue fabric) I laid it on top of the white fabric at the length I wanted it to be.  Then I added about 1/2 an inch to the top and cut it.

If you are using fabric that needs to be hemmed at the bottom, be sure to add another inch.

Here is my cut fabric:

Make sure the white fabric is folded in half with right sides together, pin and sew up the short end.

If you are using new fabric that is unfinished on all 4 sides, you will need to sew up both short ends on both fabrics.

Turn your fabric right side out and press the seam.  Now you should have two tubes of fabric that are the same width.

Now, with both fabrics right side facing out, you’re going to insert the top layer inside the bottom layer.  So in this case, the blue tube was inside the white tube.  Line them up on the top and pin all the way around.

Sew along the top edge around the entire waist, using a 1/4 seam allowance, back stitching at the beginning and end.

When you are done and you pull the material out from inside, it should look like this.  On the left is the bottom layer, right side up, and on the right is the top layer, wrong side up.

Flip the top layer down over the bottom layer.  I did not want any of the white fabric to show at the top of the skirt, so instead of pressing it open right on the seam, I made the fold with about a 1/4 inch of the blue fabric on the inside of the skirt.  This is why I didn’t add any seam allowance to the bottom layer fabric when cutting the length, but I added an extra 1/2 inch to the top layer – a 1/4 inch for seam allowance and another 1/4 inch to fold over to the inside of the skirt.  Does this make sense??

Press all the way around and pin.  Now we’re going to make the casing for the elastic.  Leaving about a 2 inch opening, sew all the way around the waistline, making sure your casing is wide enough for your elastic.

In the picture above, I was using the elastic to make sure I was sewing my casing wide enough.  After you’re done, you should have a 2 inch gap that is open for you to slide the elastic through.

If you have a safety pin, insert it into one end of the elastic.  This will help you guide the elastic through the casing.

Pull apart the two layers to find the opening for the elastic.  Using the safety pin, pull the elastic through the casing.

Pull the elastic all the way around the waist and back out through the opening.  Make sure the elastic hasn’t twisted at all and is laying flat the entire way around.  Overlap the elastic by about an inch and sew them together.

Finish sewing up the casing and you’re done!!

Now, I don’t know if you noticed this, but in the original simple skirt tutorial, I said you needed about double the waist measurement for the width of the fabric.  So for a 17 inch waist, you need 34 inches of fabric.  For this skirt, I didn’t want to cut any of the blue fabric away, so I left it at it’s original width, which was at least 42 inches.  All the extra fabric, plus the extra layer made this skirt really full!!

This skirt reminds me of something you’d wear to a tea party or something.  But all our lil’ tomboy wants to do is climb things and play with dirt and rocks.  That’s our girl!

Luckily, we live in California where an outfit like this might still be appropriate for November.  But it won’t last long, so I promise I’m going to start focusing on more winter-ish clothes soon.  Fleece, flannel, and sleeves, here I come.

As for this tutorial, I’d really like some feedback.  When I’m trying to explain the steps, I feel like I’m not being clear and that it’s too confusing.  If you have any suggestions for parts that need clarifying, I’d really appreciate you letting me know.  Or asking me questions if you need help.  I want to help!  🙂  I hope you try a Double Layered Simple Skirt.  And if you do, please send me a photo!!  Have fun!

Sew & Tell: Yuki’s Dresses

For some of you who have been following my sewing adventures for awhile, this post may be old news.  But in an effort to archive some of my older projects, I’m going to post it anyways.  Over the summer, I got on a dress sewing kick.  I suddenly had ideas for simple dresses and wanted to see if I could make them for my daughter, Yuki.  I based them off of dresses I’d seen, or something similar that Yuki already owned, but I didn’t use a pattern so it was really trial and error sewing.  I learned A LOT from each of these projects.  So here they are and some of the lessons I’ve learned.

Dress #1: Earl Grey Summer Dress (Hideko named this one!)

I had actually bought this fabric to make my friends M&M some cloth napkins for their home.

I had some left over, so I decided to use it for a simple (and a little sophisticated) dress for Yuki.  (I love how little fabric you need to make baby clothes!!)

Lesson #1: Make sure armholes are big enough.  I had to squeeze her arms through from even the first time she tried it on, so she didn’t get to wear it very much.

Dress #2: Sailing Dress

I based this dress off of the popular elastic waist skirts and dresses I’ve seen around.  I topped it with a stretchy striped knit.

Lesson #2: Be sure to measure your model before you cut and sew.  The first time I put together the skirt part of the dress it was WAAAAAAY too big for Yuki.  Instead of taking it apart to fix it, I decided to just sew it up in the back.  But this meant having 3 seams instead of 2 or even 1.  And the side seams were not even on the side anymore, they were pulled towards the back.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.  Luckily, you can only tell if you look real close.

Lesson #3:  Knits are great if you know how to sew them.  If you sew regular stitches on a stretchy material, it will either look bad, lose all of it’s stretchiness, or both.  I had originally made this dress with a normal neckline in front and back, thinking it would just stretch over her head.  But it did not stretch after I had sewn it.  So it would not fit over her head.  So I had to cut the back open and do more sloppy stitching and add a button.

Dress #3: Neapolitan Wrap Dress

Yuki had another wrap dress that we loved her in, so I thought I’d try and make her another one.  The colors on this fabric remind me of neapolitan ice cream.  Yummm!

Lesson #4:  I don’t actually know what the lesson is here.  All I know if that the dress doesn’t fit her too well on the top.  I guess I just need to try things on Yuki as I sew instead of finishing the dress and then realizing that it doesn’t fit.  The problem is, I only sew when she is asleep.

Dress #4: Birthday Dress

I wanted to make Yuki a special dress for her birthday.  When I went to the fabric store I saw this beautiful material with the most precious print and soft feel.  The shop owner told me it was double gauze from Japan.  When I came home I read all about it here.  It. is. dreamy.  It’s really the only word I can think of to describe it.  When I washed and dried it, it had gotten even softer!

Anyways, I’m not really one to dress my daughter in pink dresses with a bow, but I could not help it.  I used a style very similar to the Earl Grey Summer Dress, but used a zipper in the back instead of buttons and added a waistband (that ended up being covered by the ribbon) AND made sure there was more room in the bodice to put the dress on easily (no more too small armholes)!

Lesson #5: Every time you make a mistake, make sure you learn how to avoid it next time.

This 4th dress was by far the easiest and least mistake ridden dress.  I’m happy to say that I have learned so much about sewing and dress making from these projects and I’m very excited to make more!  And I have some lovely polka dot double gauze waiting to be sewn up!

Sew & Tell: Tucker’s Suit

Friends of ours are taking their 8 month old son to a couple of weddings on the East Coast in October and they wanted a baby friendly “suit” for him.  I’d never made anything like this before, but I love trying new things.  Here is the finished outfit!

I made the vest from a pattern I purchased on etsy and the pants using this tutorial from made.  The part I had the most difficulty with was finding the fabric.  I wanted something that looked suit-like, but was machine washable and dryable – incredibly important for anything coming within a couple feet of a baby!  This is a MUST for most of my projects and ruled out any wool or wool blend fabrics.  I also didn’t want it to be too thick or stiff so lil Tucker, who is starting to crawl, would be free to move.  Lastly, I didn’t want it to look too old for a youthful guy like Tuck.

What I ended up getting was a polyester fabric from Fabrix in the Inner Richmond.  This place can be great.  It’s like shopping at Ross or a thrift store.  You have to dig and dig for something amazing, but when you find exactly what you want, it’s like striking gold.  And generally it’s very very inexpensive.  Most of the time I walk out empty handed, especially when I’m looking for something very specific.  But if you are just looking for some fun and cheap fabric, I highly recommend it.  I found a bunch of great suit-like fabrics that are all polyester (machine washable) and I’ve already made a wallet for Hideko and I can’t wait to make some vests for Yuki!

The best thing about this project is that it forced me to make buttonholes.  Up until now, I’ve avoided them completely by using zippers, snaps, and button loops.  But for a vest, it was unavoidable.  I found the buttonhole foot, read the instruction manual for the sewing machine and . . . I could not figure it out.  For the life of me.  I could not get it to work.  So after trying about a hundred times, I gave up and just made the buttonholes with the zig zag stitch.  It’s essentially the same thing.  Maybe I’ll figure it out someday, but for now, this will suffice.

But wait, there’s a surprise bonus . . .

A necktie!  I haven’t talked to Tucker’s moms about this, but I couldn’t resist adding this little accessory.  I don’t even know if he’ll wear it with the suit, but that’s ok!  He can pair this tie with any outfit, even just a t-shirt and jeans, to add a little character.  I used this tutorial from Very Homemade.

Hopefully we can get a picture of Tucker looking dapper in his new outfit.  I’m afraid he’s going to steal all the attention at these weddings – he is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen!

Well, as you can see, I’m still a beginner and I use other people’s patterns to make a lot of my stuff.  As I gain more experience, I hope to come up with my own projects and patterns to share with you guys.  Until then, I’m so grateful for the wonders of the internet and all the generous people who share their stuff with the world.  Thank you!