Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Signature Style : Casual Romance

Bella's style, and my favorite style to sew is romantic. But of course, flowing dresses and skirts alone, only make up a small portion of her wardrobe. The rest of the time we have to put a more casual spin on things.
I also managed to check floral shorts and a ruffle front tank top off of Bella's Spring/Summer 2014 sewing list list
I used Greenstyle's Baily Tunic pattern for the top. The pattern includes a bib, but I decided not to use it. I also changed the ruffle up a bit and took in the armholes which were a bit droopy. The fabric is Vivacious Pink Solid Cotton Spandex fabric from Girl Charlee. It was my first time ordering from there and I was ecstatic with the results. The shipping was fast and quality was extraordinary. Customer service was incredible as well. I will definitely be ordering from them again.

The shorts were made from a stretch woven fabric in my stash. It was gifted to me a while ago with a few other stretch wovens and some quilting cottons. I used Oliver + S's sketchbook shorts pattern, shortened by about 4 inches. I used a flat front and elastic in the back with a faux fly.

My favorite part is this little bird by the pocket.

I'm always a little sad to see Signature Style Week on Project Run and Play because it means another season is at an end. I can't wait for next season to start, but in the meantime I'll be getting ready for Project Sewn.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Totes for Ta-tas

I was feeling kind of crappy this weekend. My old pain decided to flair up on me. I really wanted to finish sewing my a top for Project Run and Play, but the tracing and cutting was to much to take on. Instead I focused on a project that was already cut, and had been sitting in a pile waiting to be sewed.

MJ of  MJ's Lost Cause has set a goal of collecting 100 handmade tote bags by Mother's Day. She has asked for embellishments to be added as well, but in my current state I was only able to embellish one of my five bags. I plan to add a pretty pin to the other four before shipping them out. I also dug deep into my fabric stash to find the best stuff that I had been holding onto for something special.

Two of the Bags are reversible

 Reverse Side of Hearts Bag

Reverse Side of Pink Zebra Bag

It's very rare that my family agrees on anything, but we did make a unanimous decision that floral bag was our favorite.

If you happen to have some free time (the bags take less than an hour each to make) and some spare fabric you can make a couple yourself. For every five bags you make you can pick one free pattern from  Sew Like My Mom. You also get the chance to make someone who is feeling crappy (like me) feel a little bit happier. The bags are needed by Mother's Day (including shipping time to Texas) so you have a few weeks left. I could barely walk across the house this weekend, but managed to get five bags sewn. It really is an easy project.

If you are looking to do some other crafty good deeds check out my Pinterest board. I try to update it every time I see something new. If you know of any charitable crafting projects let me know in the comments section and I'll add them to the board.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wardrobe Planning Spring 2014

I've been grabbing every spare second I can to get some sewing done this week, but sadly I still have nothing to show you. In the meantime I do have some wardrobe plans to share with you.

I use wardrobe planning to help me decide what to sew, and what to buy. The ultimate goal is to develop a functional wardrobe that reflects my own personal style.

First up is my own Spring Wardrobe. I've been following along with The Colleterie's Wardrobe Architech Series. Below are the results of weeks worth of planning. 

To Buy: 
  • Black Velvet Flats
  • Mint Sneakers
  • Cream Art Sneakers or Sandles
  • Oatmeal Crocheted Cardigan
  • Princess Seam Denim Jacket
  • Cuffed Denim Capri 
  • Aqua V-Neck Tee (I could make it, but I really love the one I picked out)
To Make:
  • Ombre or Tie Dye Hoodie
  • Extra Large Print Sheath Dress
  • Black Lace Embellished Camisole 
  • Dark Blue Open Knit Hoodie
  • Red Short Sleeve Wrap Top
  • Aqua Camisole
  • Aqua Trumpet Mini Skirt (My favorite!)
  • Red Cuffed Shorts
  • Denim Cuffed Shorts
  • Black Wrap Dress
It seems like a lot of new pieces to add to a wardrobe in a single season, but I actually own very little that I love to wear, so I need a lot. Of course I probably won't get half through the list by the end of the season, but it is a place to start. 

I also designed a Spring Wardrobe for each of the girls. In the past I have had the girls pin items that the liked to there Lookbooks on Pinterest and used them to find inspiration when sewing for them. 

This time I took a slightly different approach. I had them each spend a day browsing the internet for their favorite things, an activity they both loved. They clipped hundreds of  items they liked to their own Polyvore collection. Then they were each able to pick one favorite item that would definitely be in their finished set. I used that piece as a starting point for their wardrobe and edited down there picks and added a few of my own ideas to make a complete collection.

Let's start with my girly girl Bella. Her wardrobe includes a lot of white, which makes me nervouse for a girl who loves to play in the mud. We'll have to save those pieces for special occasions.

To Buy:
  • Aqua Sandles
  • Tan Cowgirl Boots (Her Favorite)
To Make:

  • White lace trimmed Cardigan
  • Pink Blazer with White Trim
  • Purple Ballerina Wrap
  • Aqua A line T shirt
  • Feather and Leather Pony Tie
  • Pink Ruffle Tank - completed
  • White Tank with Pastel Print
  • White Camisole with Pink Lace Trim
  • Purple Twirl Skirt
  • White Capri with Aqua Ruffles or Bows
  • Floral Shorts - completed
  • Tan Equestrienne Leggings
  • Purple Flowy Ruffly Dress

And Finally Ashley. She chose a girly punk rock style, with lots of animal prints. Since She doesn't wear dresses I added a few extra accessories to her wardrobe to dress it up a bit. 

To Buy:

  • Leopard Print Flats
  • Silver Sandles
  • Unicorn Cuff Bracelet 
To Make:
  • Open Knit Mint Crop Top
  • Mint Panda High Low Top (Ashley's Favorite, might be moved to they buy list)
  • Mint or Purple Slouchy Cardigan 
  • Black Open Knit Top
  • Simple Purple Fitted Tee
  • Black and Leopard Heart Tank with Ruffles
  • Purple or Black Camisole
  • Zebra Print Yoga Capri
  • Black Sequence Shorts
  • Leopard Print Leggings
  • Black Harem Pants
  • Purple and Silver Fold Over Elastic Hair Ties
  • Silver Hand Bag
So that's it for the girls in our family. I have never done any wardrobe planning for the boys, mostly because they don't have (or want) a defined style. I might attempt it in the future, but for now I'll just stick to planning for the girls. 

Have you ever planned out your sewing for the season, or do you just sew what feel like making as you go along? If you have planned do you find it easy or difficult to stick to your plan?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mackinac Island Lounge Wear

I don't think I've ever mentioned that my favorite flower is a lilac, with lilies coming in as a close second, so it was easy to choose a dream Spring Break destination to inspire my week 2 Project Run and Play look. Mackinac Island in Michigan is known for being covered from end to end with lilacs. Every spring they host an annual lilac festival to celebrate the coming of 
spring, and I would love to be able to attend one year.

Keeping with the spirit of  serenity and relaxation that comes to mind when I'm daydreaming about the island, I chose to make lounge wear inspired by the color of lilacs.

The pants were cut out of a thrifted skirt with the perfect flowey drape and silky hand for the project. I used the front and back pants pieces from the Peek  A Boo Patterns Convertible Pants pattern and eliminated all of the bells and whistles except for the back pocket flaps. I added my own pockets to the back as well and finished the pants with french seams.

While I'm daydreaming about vacations I also dream that this girl will one day smile in a picture!

For the top, I used the beachy boatneck pattern once again, sewing it one size larger this time and adding in the basket weave (tutorial here). The texture of the knit fabric feels like running your finger along a rose petal. I wish I had saved some to make myself a matching set.

I'm glad that I chose to sew lounge wear because it filled a void in Ashley's wardrobe. It's been raining all week so she had no trouble getting into the spirit of lounging as you can see from the picture. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Basket Weave Sleeve Tutorial

Hello again!

Today I'm showing you how I made my basket weave sleeve. I used the Beachy Boatneck pattern by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link), but this tutorial will work with any flat insert sleeve pattern you have in your stash. If your skilled with a seam ripper, you could even take apart an existing shirt to add a sleeve insert. You will follow the same steps for either knit or woven fabric, but a bit more patience is required when working with knits to prevent any warping of your fabric.
Step One: Prepare your pattern. Trim 3/4 of an inch off of the long edge of the sleeve pattern piece.
Step Two: Cut your fabric. Instead of cutting on the fold, you will cut two separate pattern pieces for each sleeve.
Step Three: Create your paper guide. Cut a strip of paper 2 inches by the length of the sleeve edge. You will most likely have to tape an extra scrap of paper to the bottom to get your desired length. I recommend paper tape which will tear easier when we remove the paper from the sleeve. Use a quilting square or a ruler to create your grid. You can save some time by making a photo copy for your second guide.
Step Four: Cut and fold your strips. You could make tubes, but that generally leads to warping with knit fabric. Another option is to fold them like bias tape which is what I did. I cut my strips to a one inch width, and then folded the edges so they met in the middle. I then folded them in half lengthwise to hide the raw edges and pressed them closed. I used twelve 8 inch strips to make a size 7. You will also need two extra strips long enough to make a sleeve binding.
Step Five: Create your weave. Use your paper guide to arrange the strips of fabric in a basket weave pattern. Let the strips hang over a little to be sure they get caught in the seam. You can trim them back later. Play around with space between strips. You may prefer a tighter or looser weave. Pin the weave to your paper at each intersection.

Next you will sew it to the paper. Sew slowly along each strip. Stop just before the needle reaches each intersection. Remove the pin and gently guide the fabric under the needle by hand so that neither of the strips get folded over. This is the part that makes this project take so long, but it is necessary so that your weave can keep it's beautiful shape.
Step Six: Attach your weave to the sleeve. With right sides together pin the shirt sleeve to the paper and weave. Sew along the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other half of the sleeve.
Step Seven: Finish the sleeve. Turn both sides of the sleeve to the right side and top stitch close to the edge.
Step Eight: Follow the pattern instructions to insert the sleeve with the paper still attached. Once the sleeve is secured tear away the paper guide. Most of it should come off easily because of the perforations from the needle, but there may be a few areas (such as the double stitching along the edge) where you are left with scraps. Don't force the paper off or you risk pulling up stitches. Instead wait until your top is finished and soak it in warm water. The scraps should pull off more easily.

Once the sleeve is attached you can trim the excess off the ends of the strips. Also check your facing to make sure it doesn't show. If it does you can trim that back as well.
Step Nine: Apply the two remaining folded strips of fabric to your sleeve ends. Use a zigzag stitch and be sure to catch both sizes of the binding. You may want to pin the ends of the weave in place so that they don't shift while you sew them into the binding. Trim the ends and finish the shirt according to the pattern directions.

That's all you get to see for now. I'll reveal the finished shirt with the rest of my Spring Break look next week when I post in on the Project Run and Play sew along.

Have fun with the tutorial. Try different widths and tighter or looser weaves to get a custom look. Happy Sewing!
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