Monday, May 30, 2011

Kimono Pajamas

AGH!  What a nightmare.  First, let me say that this is my first time making pants of any kind.  I got a little stuck on the pant pattern, but a very nice lady on the sewing forum was able to help me out! 

     The end result?  Scarlett's kimono pajamas!

     The pattern for these came from one of my books, "Making Children's Clothes" by Emma Hardy.  I have to say, as far as books go, this one rocks!  I can flip through and stop on any page... and want to make what's on it.  Patterns are in the back of the book, and the only downside is that you'll have to use tracing fabric to trace them before you can cut your fabric.  Minor gripe, really... and I think it's just me being lazy.

     This project was one that just could NOT go right.  Seemed like every step was an uphill battle, and not because it was even really that difficult.  I just wasn't paying attention and ended up doing everything the hard way.  Perhaps I should've read the book I just raved about, instead of just jumping in and bouncing around in the steps. 

(Edited to add action shots)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Backyard Camping and Scarlett's Smocked Top

     It was such a beautiful day yesterday that even the lilies decided to come out.  Stargazers are my favorite and the kids got a kick out of seeing them and getting coated in orange pollen.

     Travis and I decided to camp in the backyard with the kids.  Of course our old tent wasn't big enough, so like many of our ideas, this turned a seemingly small thing into a huge ordeal.  Shopping for the right tent, of course Travis got to pick because he considers it a "manly" thing and I don't care enough to object.

     When we got home, the boys had a little male bonding experience.  Nothing brings guys together like camping gear.

     When it was completed, Scarlett investigated and we built a fire in our little firepit. 

     After telling a few ghost stories (edited so we didn't scare the bejesus out of the kids), we all piled into the tent with Weiner Dog and finally, FINALLY after several hours, everyone fell asleep.

     Everyone looked like they'd been thrashed by the Jolly Green Giant when we got up.  The kids were so tired that they plopped on the couch for movie day with their dad, while I pulled out my new machine and decided to make the smocked top for Scarlett that I had been thinking of.  I saw a top like this that used this technique in one of my books, but I had never tried it and also altered the elastic technique just a tad, as well as adding a ruffle to the bottom of the top.

     First, I cut out a large rectangle of fabric and made a nice hem along the top by folding down, folding again, pressing and stitching.  Then, I pinned the fabric to my ironing board with curved safety pins and used regular pins with heads to stretch out 3 lengths of 1/8" elastic and mark with my disappearing pen where the points should meet up. 

     I started by sewing the first bit of elastic onto the fabric, stretching it so that the mark on the elastic met the mark on the fabric.  When you're first starting with your elastic, make your zigzag stitch really narrow to secure it really well.  After a few stitches, make it larger so it goes to either side of the elastic, giving the elastic room to stretch.  When I got to the marked point, I then focused on lining up the next mark, and so forth.  At the end of your elastic, secure again with more narrow stitches.  When the first piece of elastic was done, I just repeated with the second and third piece.  At the end, it looked like this:

     From there on, the rest is easy.  I added a band onto the bottom then made another band that I gathered to form a ruffle.  Made a few straps out of fabric rectangles and... voila!

     The bottom looks a little off in this picture because of a little fold in the fabric when I was hanging it up.  Of course I didn't see until I was done and I'm too wiped out from not sleeping last night (remember the camping?  Lol!), that I didn't feel like shooting another.  I did take the time to take a few pics of Scarlett enjoying her new summer top, though.

     She got to pick the first tomato of the year.  Thankfully, the squirrels left it alone.  It's amazing how destructive those little guys are!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hello, New Machine! Bye, Bye, School.

It's been a busy few days!  The garden is growing and we ate our first cucumber off the vine yesterday.  (This is it's buddy who we're going to eat next... YUM!)

Also had a few visitors in the garden:

Today itself was a busy day.  I drove to Opelika to pick up my brand new sewing machine.  I was so excited.  I threw the kids in the car and took off first thing this morning after sending Cameron off to his last day of school.  The Brother dealership there in Opelika is fantastic and even gave me an impromptu class on my machine.  During my quick introduction to the machine, the kids melted down and we had to book it out of there before we were banned forever. 
     Drove home and made it in time to celebrate Cam's last day at school and take a few pictures of the kids by the school's eagle mascot, whom we have dubbed, "The Pigeon".  Just because it gets a rise out of Cam and it's now become a game to argue about whether it's a pigeon, eagle, or chicken.

Scarlett meeting "The Pigeon"

     After meeting with the school mascot, we hurried home before it started to rain.  Didn't rain for too long, which made me happy because I was dying to use my new machine, but didn't feel like having it fried by lightning.
     The new addition to the family (Brother NS40):

     As usual, learning a something new brought a lot of highs a lot of lows, and more than it's fair share of aches and pains.  I was terrified of breaking it and can honestly say that I was more gentle with this machine than I was with quite a few of my cars.  Funny how many times I got frustrated with the machine, only to find out that it wasn't the equiment, but the OPERATOR.  Yeah, I've got a ways to go... but I'm thrilled and can definitely see the machine's potential.
     My first project was a nightgown for Scarlett.  I've been trying to start this thing for a good week and a half, but kept getting foiled by the lack of tracing material for the pattern.  The pattern for this came in a book with other patterns drawn out on top of it.  I couldn't just cut it out or the other patterns would be worthless, so I hunted for, and finally found (thanks again, Opelika store!) some tracing material so I could get to work and play with my new toy.
   It certainly isn't the fanciest thing ever, but I plan on adding embellishments later.  By the time I got to this point, my patience was fried and I just wanted to curl up into a ball and weep to a Coldplay soundtrack.

Scarlett's nightgown (a work in progress):

     Yup, it's a little plain... a little hospital gown-y.  Needs a little more "fun" and a little less "nursing home".  However, I'm viewing it as a work in progress. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Purple-icious Tutu

So I went a bit overboard the other day and purchased WAY too much tulle.  I've noticed that I have a bad habit of diving headfirst into things when I get excited about them.

Those are 6" spools of 25 yards of tulle each.  Add it up and it comes to 825 yards of tulle.  Eek!  Time to start making some tutus!

I made my first one yesterday using elastic and was pretty happy with the way that it came out:

That's my daughter, Scarlett... having fun in her new play tutu.

Anyway, I liked the elastic, but it stretched as I worked with it and I ended up having to cut a few more inches off and resewing the band to make it fit the way it should.  I wanted to see if I could make one with a ribbon so that the size wouldn't drastically increase as I was working with it.

Supplies Needed-

Ribbon (I think I used Satin for this one.  The polyester one from Wal-Mart was scratchy and I wanted smooth and soft)
Rotary cutter or other cutting device
Cutting mat (Not a "must", but definitely helpful.)
Something to support your tutu during the crafting.  I used our pickle jar for both tutus and I LOVE my pickle jar.  Just be sure little curious fingers can't pull it off of your work surface or you'll be one sad panda.

Step One- Cut your ribbon to the size you need.  To do this, first measure your child's waist and add what you think the length of the bow should be.  In my case, I had a child waist measurement of 17" with 24" on one side and 24" on another so I'd have a pretty bow with long floaty streamers coming down.  I also added 2" for the space that the knots would take up.  So 17" (waist measurement)+24" (one side of bow plus length for "streamer ribbon")+24" (other side of bow)+2" (allowance for knots)= 67" long ribbon

Step Two- Tie knots in your ribbon, leaving the child's waist measurement empty in the middle.  I measured 24" in and tied a knot there.  Then, measured 24" in on the other side and tied another knot... leaving a gap of 17" (child's waist measurement) in the middle.

Step Three- Cut your strips of tulle.  I usually lay the strips on top of each other while I'm cutting to make it quicker and easier.  Think about how far you want your tutu to fluff out, then multiply that by two and add an inch for the knot you'll need to secure it in place.  I was making this for a younger child and I wanted it to fluff out 7.5" (it's not an exact science, I just eyeballed my cutting board and thought, "That length looks good"), so I cut the strips 16" long.  (7.5" out from the body x 2 +1" for knot)  I guesstimate on cutting and just cut until I'm bored with it.

Step 4-  Tie your ribbon around your holder (pickle jar) loosely but so that it's not going to slide down to the bottom.  Then put two pieces of tulle together, bend in half to form a "U" and slide behind ribbon.  Pull tulle through the "U" to knot onto ribbon.

Continue Step 4 around the ribbon (alternating colors if you are using more than one) to the knot on the other side.

Prettiest pickle jar in all the land!

Step 5- You can stop at step 4, but depending on the type of ribbon you use, it may fray.  To stop this, I used my heat sealer, dragged up from the bowels of my craft closet...

If you don't have one, never fear.  Many fabric stores sell fray stopping products or you an also use clear nail polish.  Some people use indirect heat to seal the ends of their ribbon, but please don't set yourself on fire!  Nail polish doesn't burn down houses, at least not that I've ever heard of...

Trim the very edges of your ribbon nice and smooth.  Tutu complete.  When you remove the tutu from whatever you put it on and retie it onto your child, the tulle gap closes and you're left with a nice, full tutu.  Now you, too, can enjoy a beautiful pickle jar, or make a little girl very happy.  :)

Brand Spanking New

     Alright, so I'm brand spanking new to this whole blogging thing.  I have my own webpage from when I used to breed reptiles (yeah, no joke.  You can see it at Crested Lady if your curiosity has been piqued.), so you would THINK I'd know how... but then you'd be wrong. 

     I started this blog in the hopes of sharing my projects, off-the-wall ideas and kid pics, and perhaps making a few of my own craft tutorials further on down the road.  As far as crafting, I seem to dabble in a bit of everything.  Since we moved to Georgia, my craft room has become my craft closet (which is an absolute disgrace right now), but I still manage to find room for all my goodies and tackle new crafting hobbies.

     I plan on this being a mish-mash of random goodies... in the hopes of keeping EVERYONE entertained.  Some of my stuff is great, some is an epic fail.  Guess we're on this coaster together now...