Saturday, February 13, 2016

Creating a Costume

My husband and I are big fans of Las Vegas--we were married there.  
This year we are celebrating 20 years!

Have you ever been to the Rio?  It is such a fun place with a Mardi Gras atmosphere, which I tried to duplicate here.  Look up Rio Rita and you'll see my inspiration.  She is even pictured on some of the casino chips!

I  spent about 3 weeks drafting a pattern to designing my hat!  What an undertaking, but I'm really pleased with the final results.  

I did make a simple muslin of the dress to ensure a good fit before using my purchased fabrics.  I definitely see the benefits of working with a muslin and also working slowly and checking fit with each new pattern piece addition.


To get started, I used this McCall's pattern to create my bodice sloper. 


 It was just a starting point, because as you can see, I had to cut the bodice at an angle on the bottom.  The pattern is for wovens and utilizes a zipper at the center back too.  Since my dress is made from a knit, I made a full back bodice piece with encased elastic at the top.  I used a method I learned making many sundresses for my girls when they were little.  I also lengthened the bodice straps so they could be tied instead of fastened at the neck back.


Below the bodice, I used nude mesh for the midsection.  I laid my bodice piece on top of pattern paper and extended my dress design from there.

For the skirt, I measured my waist and hips and drafted a pattern that was widely curved at the hips and then narrowed it at the lower edge.  I used the same piece for both front and back.  Once those pieces were cut, I laid my skirt at the bottom of my mesh pattern piece to determine the angle I needed to cut at the skirt top.

After the side seams were sewn, I rounded the slit side edges.  It's hard to see that with the ruffles in place, but this opened up the skirt more at the bottom and helped to give me a proper curve to attach the bottom ruffle to.  All ruffles were sewn with long basting stitches and gathered by hand.  That took a painfully long time. 


For my hat, I cut off the bill of an old ball cap I had.  Next, I covered it with the velour and  sewed it to the edge of my ball cap.  I did break one needle in the process when I was sewing through the Velcro. 




 Next, I hot glued the fruit to the top of the hat.  I was careful not to over do it with the fruit because I didn't want a neck ache hauling around a heavy hat!  The strawberries are incredibly light weight and were also a good way to hide the glue used to hold everything else in place.  Then I used a rectangular-sized piece of velour to tie up and around my hat.  It is a little bit of a balancing act with the fruit cap while getting everything snug and tightly tied.  For ideas on how to tie a turban, I found plenty of you tube videos.

For my small sleeve, I measured my arm and cut a rectangular piece of velour, leaving extra to attach Velcro.  Then I cut 2 of each color of my nylon spandex.  I sewed each color set together and then inserted a shorter length piece of 1/4" elastic at the bottom seam between the fabrics.  This gave it the poof I needed.  However, it is one heavy little ruffle!  I enclosed the outer seam with FOE.



For my long sleeve, I used a sleeve from a knit shirt pattern I have.  Then I simply chopped off the top portion of it, made a couple straps, which I then attached to a key ring.  I made one more strap to attach at the top of the key ring with a loop at the end. One of my bodice straps is then fed through this loop to keep my sleeve in place.

I used my Sihouette Cameo to cut out silver HTV for applique designs.  I also glued jewels around the top front and back of my skirt, as well as the bottom front and back of my bodice.


My necklace is a strip of velour folded with edges turned to the inside and zig zag stitched down.  Then I glued some jewels spaced one inch apart, fastening with a hook and eye at the back edge.


Materials Used 

Dress:  Purple Panne Velour 
Neon nylon spandex and nude mesh 
Jewels & fabric glue
Silver HTV for applique designs

Long Sleeve:  Key ring, silver HTV for applique designs, silver sequins

Ruffle Sleeve:  neon nylon spandex, 1/4" elastic, Velcro

Hat:  Ball cap with bill removed
 Apple, pear, banana, grapes & strawberries
Pink & Purple feathers

So now I have a great costume to wear and it would be perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration!   I will get good use out of it and perhaps my girls may want to wear it one day when they are older.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bra Making

I've been busy making bras for one of my daughters.    She wasn't happy with what the stores had to offer in her size, so I was happy to take on the task of sewing some for her.  So far we have tried both the Watson and Jalie bra patterns.

The one below is the Watson.  I actually make this bra for myself and can make it in just under 2 hours.  This one is made with stretch lace and mesh for lining and I always use powernet for the back band.  My preferred elastic for the neck and arm area for the Watson is piping; it makes such a pretty accent.


For this next Watson, I used a 1/8 inch poly laminate foam to give it more structure.  I basted the foam in between the lace and the lining before assembling.   My daughter really likes the Watson, but then decided she wanted a bra without seams, which are visible underneath some blouses.  This doesn't bother me since most bras have seams, but I want to try to accommodate her by giving her something that she will be happy with wearing.  I discovered with the addition of the poly laminate foam, I needed to use FOE because of the added thickness of the cups. I would still like to figure out a way to use piping elastic one day.  I thought it was a very pretty bra, but later found out that "beige" is boring. LOL  I need to use fabrics and colors that she likes and not what I prefer.


Below is the Jalie 3131.  Jalie actually has a video tutorial online, making this bra extremely easy to make if you are new to bra construction.  I made this bra with jersey knit, a thin stretch lace over the top of the cups, and milliskin fabric for lining.  This one is a win for her.  She said it is very comfortable and no seams!  Also, with the milliskin and jersey knit combined, it was just thick enough on its own without adding any foam.


I do like the finished look of this bra.  The cup is gathered at the bottom, but the gathers and the seam are enclosed within the band lining.  FOE is used at the neck and armhole edges.


My other daughter prefers store bought and that's fine too!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trial & Error

Butterick 5710
Size 12

So I attempted to make an evening gown for myself.  Isn't this pattern gorgeous?  I love it.  I love the color too.  

This dress is not finished; it is not hemmed.


I had some problems.  

Problem #1, I tried to make it quickly.  My husband had a formal dinner to go to and I thought I would make my dress.  That's what you do when you sew, right?  Who wants to go pay $$ when you can make it yourself.  I had the fabric in my stash from a year ago, as well as the pattern.  

Problem #2, I did not make a swayback adjustment.  I should have known better.  Let me just say that not doing one in the length of a shirt is not near as disastrous as not making one in a dress.  At least I think so.

Problem #3, The 20/22 inch zipper that the pattern calls for is long for my torso and ended at a not-so-nice area...by my behind, making the dress kind of poke out there a little.  I did, however, shorten it after it was already sewn in.  I'm happy to say this is possible to do.  It takes some unpicking, but possible.

Problem #4, See how low the front is?  I should have anticipated that.  I will redraft the front bodice piece to come up about an inch on me.

Problem #5, I put the zipper in too high, not leaving room for a hook and eye closure.  I thought I would cheat and put it higher so it wouldn't need one.  I don't recommend doing that.  You get a weird little V look at the top.  Not a big deal and my hair would cover it, but noting for future reference in case I forget!





I'm not sure what type of fabric this is.  I thought it was crepe back satin, but I recently bought some and compared the two and that's not it. Maybe satin charmeuse?

It wasn't difficult to sew, but it would snag occasionally, resulting in a pulled thread.


Two things that don't belong in the same sentence are quick and evening gown when you are talking about sewing.  I am definitely going to make this again.  I think I will make View A so I have less fabric to work with.  This dress is fully lined too, which is another first for me.  

I was really disappointed that my dress didn't turn out.  I just didn't think it through.  I jumped and ran with it.  Overall, I think the pattern instructions are great!  It was not a difficult dress to make, it just needs to be fine tuned to my body.

I had to go buy a dress, which I felt added insult to injury.  It too is a beautiful dress though, but I would much prefer to make something than buy it.  My amazing husband took me shopping almost immediately; he knew how disappointed and defeated I felt.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley





Sunday, January 24, 2016

An outfit for my son

Burda Young 7916
Size 34

Ottobre Hi-hat pants (4/2008 #33)
Size 164


My son was definitely overdue for a new pair of jeans and hooded shirt.
He is teetering right on the edge of growing out of boy sizes but not quite ready for a man-sized shirt, although I attempted it here.  It's not overly big, but definitely plenty of room to grow.  With the rate of his growth spurts, I figure each month it will probably look a little different on him!


This shirt is an easy sew.  The only addition I made was to line the hood.  I just cannot leave a hood to show seams; it looks unfinished to me.  The sleeves are each hemmed flat then basted together at the top before sewing to the shirt pieces.  Then you sew the sleeves and shirt sides together at once.  This does leave you with an inseam right to the edge of the shirt sleeve cuff since they are not hemmed in the round, which I do prefer.  I was pressed for time, so I just did it like the pattern.  If you are new to sewing and hemming knits, you would probably find this to be a little easier.


For the hood lining, I cut off about an inch at the front so the outer hood would fold to the inside.


I love these jeans.  I've made them before, but this time I went a little bigger on the front cargo pocket...maybe a little too big.  However, my son told me there is no such thing as too big of a pocket...only too small of one.  I love how he looks at things.


When sewing these, there isn't much room for the seam at the side hip pocket area.  I always forget about that until I am sewing them.  It's a little tricky to keep your seam straight not having much room for your presser foot.


The back pockets are my favorite.  With 6 pockets, it is very time consuming, but what a great pair of pants they make!  I have yet to make my son any other pair of jeans.  He always wants a new pair of the Hi-hat.  So, I just cut the buttons off the old and sew them back on the new.  It definitely saves money since it takes 9 buttons.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Knit Shirt and Shorts

Ottobre 2/2015-18
Gym & Sport Sweat Shorts
Size 36
Fabric:  Gray cotton spandex blend with black rib knit

Modkid Penelope for women 
Size S
Fabric:  Jersey blend knit


I made these shorts a couple of days ago, so I have had plenty of time to decide that I absolutely love them!  I needed some comfortable shorts to wear around the house.  It may be cold outside, but inside I like to wear my shorts year round.

The instructions for these are easily followed.  The most technical part is probably the grommets.  I love using them instead of button holes.  Both get the job done, but I think the grommets give it a more RTW look.


This shirt is so simple to make.  I bought the pattern a couple of years ago and made myself 2 dresses from it (pre blog days).  I wear my two dresses every summer.  The front and back are both cut on the fold and there is a pattern piece for the neck band, so no guess work there.  It is hard to see from the photo, but there is a tiny bit of gathering at the center front of the neckline.

 I purchased this pattern when I was new to sewing knits.  If you are just starting out and feeling intimidated with knits, I cannot recommend this pattern enough.  Patty Young is very thorough with her instructions and the booklet that accompanies this pattern is full of details and photos.


I have actually been wanting to make these shorts ever since I purchased the 2/2015 Ottobre issue.  Not having a 5-thread cover stitch machine made me feel that I wouldn't have good results just using a stitch from my sewing machine...not so!  I played around with scrap fabric till I found something I was happy with.  The front pocket openings are trimmed with black rib knit, which I also sewed with my sewing machine .  Then you baste the front pocket onto the front shorts piece and then use your cover stitch or another stitch of your choosing to actually sew it onto your shorts.  It was fun to do!


And since I have a silhouette cameo, I couldn't resist putting something on the back pocket!  Who doesn't like a smiley face :)


The shorts are not hemmed but just have a decorative stitch at the bottom. I did add an additional 2 inches to the length of these to make them a length I am more comfortable with.


The one thing I did do in addition to the pattern was to add 1 inch elastic at the top of the waistband.  As you can see, this is a pretty wide waistband.  I made a pair prior to this pair and without the elastic, I felt the waistband was loose and floppy feeling.  You do have the drawstring which will hold your shorts up and in place, but it just didn't feel secure to me.  I like it with the elastic much better.  Instead of using rib knit for the drawstring, I just cut an inch strip of my shorts fabric.  This fabric curled something terrible, but that made a perfect drawstring.  I cut it and it curled up tight! LOL  If anyone has a good source for drawstring cords, please share!  I have not been successful at finding any at my local fabric stores.

It is so hard to take pictures this time of year!  How do you like my photo background?  It's a white table cloth draped over my curtains.  ha ha  Oh well.  I sure wasn't going to freeze trying to take pictures outside in shorts with snow on the ground!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Personalized Zipper Bag


Happy New Year everyone!!

This year I got a fun toy for Christmas--a new Silhouette Cameo!  I love this thing.  I have been having fun figuring out what I can vinyl.  You can do so many things with a silhouette, but for now I have focused my attention on vinyl.


I made this cute zippered bag to give as a gift to my friend's daughter.  I saved my Twister game mat once our children grew out of wanting to play.  I saw online once where someone made a raincoat out of one and that was my first plan.  However, an umbrella will keep the rain off with a lot less effort and work on my part!  ha ha



I cut my mat 25 inches x 21 inches, trying to position it where I could maximize the Twister logo at its best.  Bottom corners are boxed at 2.5 inches.


I used both red and blue cotton webbing to add as much color as possible. (2 yards for each strap)



This gave me a great opportunity to work with vinyl; I used Oracle 651.  Working with phrases gave me some practice designing too.  I still have so much to learn, but I seriously want to vinyl everything possible.


See those little hands?  I traced them from some free clip art online!


I used a 28 inch green sport zipper and red flannel for the inner lining, which I had in my stash.


I wasn't sure how to sew the plastic.  To provide stability, I used a narrow zig zag stitch at 3.0 (a straight stitch looked like a perforation line to me), adding stitch witchery as I sewed.  I didn't fuse it of course.  After that, I used fabric glue over the seam, and once dried, I used some strong, clear packing tape!  I'm hoping that I did all things possible to strengthen the seams, but I told my friend not to put anything super heavy in it....just in case.  I think it makes a great bag to carry a pillow to camp!


For the bag design, I followed Pam's tutorial at Threading My Way here and here.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Sewing


Zippered Bags



I made these zippered bags to hold some Christmas gifts for my girls.  I was so inspired by Pam's at Threading My Way that I had to make some.  Pam has links on her website to tutorials on how to construct these.  The hardest part was finding the fabric I wanted to use.  I found some beautiful Waverly prints at Walmart, as well as a fat quarter for the Paris Print and lining.  One of my girls loves all things Paris related.



You would be amazed at how easy these bags are to make.  They are beautiful.




I also made hand warmers for teacher gifts!


I like how these turned out.  I bought some rice and cinnamon essential oil.  I poured the rice into a big pot, sprinkling with the oil, and stirred it up really well.  I sewed 4 x 4 flannel squares together, leaving enough room for a funnel to still fit to pour the rice in.  I used less than 1/2 Cup of rice per hand warmer.  I used pinking shears to trim the edges, attached twine, and used a cute little Stampin Up mitten design to embellish the punched cardstock.  My children were really excited to be able to hand these out to their teachers.  I made a total of 21, 7 per child.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley