Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dodger Fan Baby Shower!

I made a mini capsule for someone very special at work who is having a baby girl this Spring (training).  He's a huge Dodgers fan and everyone knows it!

I packaged his gift with a card that read:

Daddies and Daughters share a special bond.
Make that bond even more special by sharing your love of the game!

Welcome Baby (name)!
Wear this while you watch the game with Daddy!

and he opens the first present...

I definitely got the laugh I expected!  (For those who don't do California baseball, these are the colors of the LA Dodgers's rival, the San Francisco Giants)

I used the Baby Snuggle Top from Petite Stitchery  to make this cute little 6 mo jersey!  It was a hoot.

For his real present I made the baby some Dodgers wear!

I did some baseball research (asked a guy at work) and he tells me that my coworker shares a last name with a famous Dodger player. So I used Manny Ramirez's name and number for the back of the Baby Snuggle Top jersey 

And because I couldn't resist making baby girl a dress, the Baby Adalynn from Mamma Can Do It!  

All of the baseball outfits are made using cotton spandex solids from Elevated Fashion Fabric.

The Adalynn is JoAnn's Doodles with cotton spandex for the bands and bottoms.

I used my Cricut to cut the Heat Transfer Vinyl for the baseball outfits.   This whole haul took me less than one sheet of Siser Easy weed.   That includes putting vinyl size tags in each outfit!

I'd say this gift was a HOMERUN!

It was my first time working with baby clothes and I learned I have a lot to learn!

I did notice that clips help.  Especially because the whole bottom of the onesie is banded. SO many clips!  Luckily they're super cheap and I have tons.

Also, I switched to a 25mm rotary cutter. I usually use a 45mm.  I bought some replacement blades too since I have another baby shower coming up too.  Made such a difference. Look at these tiny pieces!

Ragdoll Raglan

My best friend is getting married soon and I know she's a fan of comfy sweaters so when the Ragdoll Raglan from Patterns for Pirates was released, I didn't care that the wedding is months away, I knew exactly who I wanted to make one for!

I had this gray sweater knit in my last 50 Shades of Grey box from Sincerely Rylee that was waiting for it's perfect match.  

It's so soft, cozy and stretchy!  My serger was so smooth and the project went fast!  Definitely helped having a cover stitch though for the detail of the hem at the hips and because the fabric is so soft and stretchy.  I used stretch thread too.

The bride is a little bit shorter than me but requires a full bust adjustment.  Based on how the pattern is meant to look (an easy raglan sleeve that looks like a dolman) I realized I could just add height like I would for me and it would give her the right fit.  

I used the open back option - not my normal thing, but my friend has a tattoo that she loves and this will be perfect to show it off!

She can pull off the casual sweater look any day or time of the year!  I'm doing my best to model it, but it will look so much better on her!

I decided to add a fun graphic with Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl using my Cricut (I just have an Air Explore, haven't upgraded to the Maker yet).  

I zoomed in so you can see that's not filter, the Glitter vinyl really sparkles on its own:

I don't have a heat press yet, so I'm just using my iron.  Sometimes I cheat and add a dab of "OK to Wash It", especially on the hollowed out letters that tend to be near where a seat belt would rub.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Knot Your Average Dress

I love this dress!

5 out of 4 has been hitting it out of the park lately. Still loving my Nancy Raglan too!  (which PS has a nursing option built in also!)

But back on topic - this is the Knot Your Average Top/Dress from 5 out of 4 patterns.

I made the nursing option because it was super easy, so why not? Also it means I didn't have to measure my bust size because it can fit A-G without alternation. 

I totally forgot to take pics while I was making it, so I'll have to make another and update this post...darn 😉 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Nancy Raglan

This weekend I had time to try the Nancy Raglan from 5 out of 4 Patterns for the first time!

I love this pattern!

You can probably see that I was inspired by the pattern's own cover photo.

Everyone loves raglans because they're so easy and this one is no different.

This pattern comes with the cowl neck option I used (as opposed to other designers sell it as an add on).  It also comes with a nursing option built in, not as a blog-hack, another nice feature.

I used a really thick french terry from Knitpop to copycat the cover photo.

The assembly is pretty standard (sleeves to the back, sleeves to the front, side seams).  One thing to point out is that the pattern pieces don't have notches for the front and back, so if those are something you like, might want to add them.

This french terry was thick, but actually really fun to work with because it doesn't slide around on my cutting mat like thinner fabric. It was a satisfying sound as my rotary cutter went through it too.  Make sure you're replacing your blades often so you get a clean edge!  Really important on this fabric for sure.

I struggle with neckbands.  For me, I have to clip at 1/8ths or 16ths to get the stretch even. Luckily I have tons of clips.  This cowl was so much easier than doing a neckband with this thick fabric would have been.  Same rule applies for me though, lots of clips!

Raglan Roundup

For comparison, here's two other raglans I've posted about - I put the Nancy Raglan in the middle because I feel like it's the middle road in terms of flowy.  Just enough to hide imperfections, but not enough to feel unflattering.  It's not fitted like the slim fit, but I think it looks better on me without a belt than the Mama Nina (a swing dress) does.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Drama Dress

Over New Year's weekend I participated in a Sew-Along and tried a new pattern and a new designer.

I had never used a George and Ginger Pattern (but now I own a bunch!)   I felt like it was about a half level up from Patterns for Pirates or Made for Mermaids in terms of experience required.  After six months exclusively with those patterns, I felt ready to branch out.  The possibility of winning a Kindle Fire Tab was enticement too!

George and Ginger Drama Dress

I chose the keyhole neck with a full skirt and pockets - taking advantage of all the fancy options!

I used a rayon spandex knit from Girl Charlee that was only $1.95/yard.  It took just under 3 yards to make a 2x with the full skirt and pockets, so it's a $6 dress!

Here's the lesson learned though - the keyhole binding.  My fabric was so thin and slippery that even with my walking foot, my sewing machine was eating it.  I considered the tissue paper trick but got lazy and decided to throw away the binding and just flip the area around the hole, clip and top stitch with my cover stitch.

I seriously thought I was a genius and had hacked this pattern.  Uhm, no, trust pattern designers!  I was so proud of the dress and excited that I wore it to work the next day and discovered that the binding is kind of like a neckband for that hole - it keeps it from stretching out. So all day I was self conscious because I wasn't sure how much chest was showing through the keyhole. The stretch was minimal, but I knew that's not how it was supposed to look.  I'll keep wearing it to work that way, I just will probably wear a black cami underneath so I don't worry about it.

I loved it enough to go again!  This time the slim cut version of the dress without pockets.  I'd been saving this fabric for something cute for casual Friday's at work.  I meant to save it for summer but it was too cute not to wear!  The fabric is another steal from Girl Charlee. This one is actually still on sale for $3/yard. I like to order a bunch of sale fabrics from her to play with because it's $7.99 unlimited shipping.  My last box was 80lbs!  😮

The Sew Along leader suggested wondertape for the keyhole because of the trouble I had with the first dress.  I had some in my drawer from hemming my wiggle and yes, she was right!  (be sure to get the double stick one that you don't have to iron!)

This time I cut the wonder tape into pieces and basically basted the binding around the keyhole with 1/4" long pieces of 1/8" wondertape.  It worked perfect and I just coverstitched around the hole.  It was so quick!  I also cheated and because I am using a cover stitch and not a sewing machine, I didn't fold over the back - my loopers are able to secure the raw edge.  So far no negative consequences to that shortcut.

I was inspired by a sweater knit Drama Dress with a high neck I saw in the facebook group so I couldn't resist trying it with a piece from my Sincerely Rylee mystery box.   I added a Vinegar and Honey applique on the chest for embellishment.  This was my first time putting on an applique.  It's a little more involved than an iron on, like I'm used to, but once I got the curve of the neckline right, it was quick to put on.  I used my cover stitch because I was already sitting there - which means it's extra secure because of the looper in the back.  I love how it looks!  I used tiny bits of the wash away wonder tape to hold on the bottom part of the applique while I sewed the top.

My clips were actually able to reach around the neckband and secure the it while I stitched it on!  Due to the curiosity of cats, we're a pin free household.  Clips for the win!

I love all three of these dresses.  Resisting the urge to make more!

Oh and I won the fire tablet!   Which is how I now use google drive to organize my patterns and have the tutorial open on my sewing table!    I won the 7" tablet....and within two days my husband decided he wanted to read a new documentary, so he "borrowed" it.  I got myself the 8" HD and I'm really enjoying the extra inch - makes it easier to see the tutorial from where I'm standing.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

PDF Patterns: Gluing, Adjusting Height, Storage

Pretty much every PDF pattern company has their own "how to" post about pattern assembly but sometimes it helps to hear it another way.   

Step one: a cup of coffee and a relaxing playlist. Since I only get to sew on the weekends and assembling a pattern is the first step, this is basically my Saturday morning routine. I just got an echo dot for my sewing table. There's a three month free trial of Amazon music unlimited so I'm taking advantage of being able to just say "Alexa, play foo fighters radio". Love her!  Try Amazon Music Unlimited Free Trial

Step two: print. If the pattern has layers, they're great! I usually print the size bigger and smaller than my size so I can grade if I need more or less room in certain areas. (Nothing fancy, I just switch between lines while maintaining the overall shape). I have a black and white laser printer that I bought used in 2007 and the original ink is still going two college degrees and a ton of patterns later.  Get a fast printer. It'll make your sewing time so much more efficient!

Step three: Glue. I do it just quickly and lightly because I'm going to end up taking it apart to add height.  Most patterns work the same - just match the edge of one page to the line on the other. (In this photo, match the two arrows).  Some patterns don't have "no trim" pages.  In this case I still don't trim, I just overlap the two lines.

With some pattern companies like Made for Mermaids or Patterns for Pirates you'll know to go to a new row because they'll start a new letter or number.  With others like Ellie and Mac or Five out of Four it's more subtle because the pages are numbered consecutively.  Look for the last piece not to have an edge line. (teal check-mark in the photo above).

You'll get the hang of knowing what's the end.   It's also helpful to consult the pattern's map if you get lost.   Sorry, I have to blur the intellectual property here, but you get the idea?

Put them all together until you have a big sheet.

At this point I usually do a big sloppy cut to separate all the pattern pieces so I can see them individually but I don't cut to my size (so that once I lengthen, I can round out curves as needed).  If not shortening/lengthening, just cut now.

You might have noticed I sharpie'd "paper only" onto my scissors. This is so they're super sharp and can slice through the printer paper with the same satisfaction that makes wrapping presents fun.  Also I just like labeling everything with the clicky top sharpie.  It makes me feel in control 😉

Step four: add or subtract length.  If you know what height the pattern is drafted for, the rule is to add 1\2" per 1" of height you're different by.  So M4M and P4P are drafted for 5 '5" and I'm 5'6".  Therefore I pick one spot around the waist and unpeel the pages, then reglue overlapping by 1/2" less.  Ellie and Mac is usually drafted for 5'4" so I'll lengthen twice.  If there isn't a good spot where there's a natural paper overlap, you'll need to cut and add a strip of paper.

If you're reducing the height it's really easy - just unpeel and overlap by 1/2" extra (gluing further above the line rather than below).

If the pattern doesn't tell you what height it's drafted for, check the finished measurements.  For this one I'm working on, I measured from armpit to where I want the dress to end (work appropriate length means making sure to include my rear in the measurement!). I compared the finished measurement and it turns out I need to add a lot of length.  So I'll add some length at all of the paper overlaps including the very bottom, as shown above.

Step five:  cut closely around the pattern pieces and use this opportunity to even out any areas where you added or subtracted length.  In other words, it's okay not to follow the lines if they no longer match up.  You want to have even, curved lines that match the original shape of the piece.

As I'm cutting, I'll be able to see where I need to add more glue.  I only did it lightly before, so I do it thoroughly this time.  I use an Elmer's glue stick (they're vegan!).  I had some Hobby Lobby generic brand ones before but I was going through a whole glue stick for one pattern because I kept having to reglue and use a ton to make it stick. The Elmers seems to go a lot further and stick better.

Pattern Storage

I store my patterns in oversize manila envelopes in a plastic container.  I really like this method (without a lid) because I can put the pieces away quickly as I'm cutting my fabric.  The cats like to rip my pattern pieces apart if given access. I use these same storage containers to put my half-done projects to keep them safe from the cats too.

I also sometimes put multiple items in one envelope.  Especially skirts that are only one pattern piece - those all go in the same envelope with a list on the front in sharpie of everything that's in there.  I always hand write the size on the pattern piece too. Once I cut it, I can't always tell what line that was.  This helps me remember in case I need to adjust before I make the pattern again (like if I noticed I wanted it tighter or looser).

I usually know what pattern I'm looking for before I sort through the bin, so I don't organize them in any certain way.  I have my patterns curated in my google drive account. That way I can see which ones I own from my phone, computer or tablet and don't buy a duplicate of the same pattern.

When I'm working on a project, I have my kindle fire tablet open on the table with the tutorial.

I recently upgraded from the 7 to the HD 8.  Who knew an inch made such a difference? 😉

I just started using Photofy on my Kindle Fire to make these edited photos and it seems like they're helpful?  Let me know on instagram @kittymakesit