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Category: Sewing

Baby Sundresses

Baby Sundresses

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The obsession continues.  While on vacation, I found myself at the Carter’s outlet store in Williamsburg where my mother-in-law and I got a little excited to say the least.  Coming home, I realized that (as fun as it is to shop for baby, and I really do mean that) I can totally sew up some clothes that are just as adorable as Carter’s.  That won’t stop me from shopping there again (I live about 40 miles from the outlet).  But maybe I won’t blow the baby budget out of the water. 😉

I drafted a pattern for these little dresses using a Carter’s romper for basic measurements.  Otherwise, I’d be lost.  I have no idea how big a 6 month old is anymore.  Since the straps are adjustable, these should fit for quite a while.  I could even add a ruffle to the bottom if Baby gets too long.

I’m a bit surprised by how much having a baby inspires me to make stuff.  I have an ever-growing list of things I want to make, and I’m scouring my craft book library once again.

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Makin’ it work!

Makin’ it work!

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Here are Erin’s instructions for her dress.  She does not want a bow in front. 😉

She sent me a couple yards of textured green fabric, a black tulle skirt, some black satin, and a lighter green ribbon.

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So far, I’ve made the bodice, trimmed it with a tulle ruffle, lined it, and put in boning.  The boning is not particularly comfortable.  I rounded the ends, but I guess I didn’t round them enough.  And they are stuck in there (They’re melted slightly to the fabric.  Oops.).  Any suggestions? 😀

A pressing deadline, a PGM dress form, a challenge with a limited budget (I assume) and limited materials… Do you see the PR connection?

P.S. I think I love my dress form.  I’ll have to build up the waist and hips for her to match my measurements.  But still.

It is so liberating to have the right tools.

PGM Dress Forms… Help!

PGM Dress Forms… Help!

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Here are two dress forms available for sorta reasonable prices at PGM.  Is one actually better for draping clothing?  There’s an $80 difference in price.  The first has a more defined body shape, but does it matter?  What do you think?

Tutorial: Denim Jumper Refashion

Tutorial: Denim Jumper Refashion

1) So I found a jumper at the thrift store (actually, I spotted several that had potential, but settled on this one because it was about $1.25 and needed minimal sewing).

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2)  I removed the metal buttons (Is that what you call them?) with plyers.  This left several holes.

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3) I dyed the jumper in a stockpot on the stove using Rit’s Denim Blue dye.  I used about half the bottle, and I let it soak for about 2 hours.  This might not be necessary, but that’s what I did.

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4) Then I washed and dryed it, of course.

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5) At this point, I decided to try it on & decide what next.  In order to not look completely frumpy, I decided it would need shape.  But I had to fix the holes & whatnot first…

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6)  Before getting to work I decided to treat myself and get a new sewing machine. I have been struggling with my old one long enough and I just told myself I deserve it. I splurged and went with a higher end combo embroidery machine which opened up some more options for future projects. Anyway back to work; I patched the holes on the straps (but not the sides of the jumper) by setting my sewing machine to zigzag and using the widest possible stitch.  I went across each hole in two directions, as you can see here:

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This might look a little sloppy, but my mending will easily be covered by the buttons:

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7) For the sides of the jumper, I decided to sew up the unnecessary opening with matching navy blue thread.  I sewed 2 rows right beside the tan stitching, and you can hardly see it.

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8) Then I trimmed some of the excess bulk from inside the garment (where the buttons used to be).

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9) To add shape to the jumper, I decided to add elastic to the waistline.  I took 1/4″ elastic and wrapped it around my waist to determine how much I needed.  Then I pinned it to the jumper where I wanted the waist to fit.  As you can see, I overlapped the elastic in the back of the garment.  Then I stretched the elastic and pinned it at regular intervals, being certain that the jumper would gather evenly.  (Does this make sense?  I think it should be a separate tutorial…) I used a special zigzag stitch on my machine that is for sewing elastic onto garments, and I sewed the elastic directly to the waistline.

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10) I closed the buttonholes on the sides of the jumper by using the zigzag stitch.  You know, since they were no longer necessary.

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11) Then I sewed on buttons.  I decided to go with classic, inexpensive, gray buttons and used heavy-duty, tan thread to sew them on.

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I confess…

I confess…

The quilt’s not finished, and I got distracted.  Oops.  Will you forgive me if I show you what distracted me?

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The quilt is still on my radar.  I just didn’t want to leave y’all hanging indefinitely…

Determined…

Determined…

I’m determined to finish this quilt this week.  Or at least to work steadily on it.  I started adding borders today, and I decided to go with light calico scraps.  You know, keeping with the “scrappy” theme.

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During my breaks, one might find me reading this or this.  Give in to the hype?  Why, never.  Not me. 😉

In praise of denim bibs

In praise of denim bibs

Okay, so I’m in love with bibs made of denim now.  It started with Linda Permann’s tutorial on using your old jeans.  I used her idea with a pair of maternity jeans (that I cursed the entire time I was pregnant, mind you), and I made 6 bibs for my babies.  I backed them in quilter’s cotton instead of denim, which allowed me to make more.

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By tracing bibs you already have, you can make a ton of bibs without ever printing a pattern.  And by using denim, you don’t need interfacing or fancy showercurtain material.   They’re easy to clean and don’t easily stain.  And who doesn’t have spare jeans hanging around?

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I love the bibs I made my babies so much that I was inspired to make something similar for Cheryl’s baby, Daisy.  And I photographed the process so I could share!

To make these simple-but-special bibs, you need a bib to use as a template, denim, ribbon, quilter’s cotton, pins, a sewing machine, and coordinating thread.

1) First fold the denim in half lengthwise and cut around one side of a bib.  Or trace the bib onto the wrong side of the denim.  Whatever you feel comfortable doing.  I did this 3 times so I could make 3 bibs.  Easy peasy.

2) Then pin ribbon to the denim.  I measured 2 inches from the bottom and made certain the ribbon was straight.  Put it wherever you like.  Use as many pieces of ribbon as you like.  Go crazy!

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3) Zigzag along sides of ribbon with sewing machine.   Add decorative stitches if you want.  I followed along the edge of the ribbon and used different stitches on each bib.  This only takes a few minutes but makes the bib look fancy & unique!

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4) Pin denim to cotton, right sides facing.

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5) Now sew around the edge, leaving about a 3″ opening at the bottom of the bib.  My seam allowance was 1/2″ around the outside and 1/4″ around the neckline.

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6) Trim edges to 1/4″.

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7) Gently turn bib right side out, using closed scissors to carefully push out the narrow curves.

8) Press bib, and stitch along edges about 1/4″.

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9) Choose a closure.  I sewed snaps on my children’s bibs, but I decided to sew buttonholes and buttons on Baby Daisy’s (not pictured).  Velcro is also a great option, although kind of easy to yank off if you’re an angry baby.  [EDIT: Please note that buttons can be dangerous (choking hazard), and it can also be dangerous for the bib not to tear-away easily.  My goal is for my children not to constantly pull off their bibs, although I don’t want for anyone to get hurt either.  A bib with a button or a tie is only appropriate if baby is being monitored.  Be smart, Friends. :)]

Now you’re done.  Happy sewing!

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