Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zig Zag Doll Quilt

Leslie is wanting to make a zig zag quilt for her front room. I told her I'd do some practicing and see how easy or hard it would be. This little doll quilt is the result of my practice. I started it back in February when I was having a major doll quilt binge.

I love how it turned out, but I thought it was a real stinker to make. I'm thinking it was because the triangles were so small (3.5 inches or 8.9 cm). Lots of little pieces to try and work with~not my idea of a good time!

Since it was a trial quilt I just pulled out some fabrics from my stash. This backing fabric I really love. I made my girls skirts out of it last year.

I sort of used this method to make the quilt. If Leslie and I decide to tackle a big zig zag quilt, I guarantee we will be using this one instead, because it doesn't use triangles!

Lastly, here is another doll quilt I made during my binge for our little 3 yr old friend Libby. I stole the last bits of her mom's AHenry Pears and Apples fabric so the quilt would match the play kitchen her mom made her for Christmas.

I never thought in a million years that I'd ever be making doll quilts, but they are proving to be quite fun for me! If only I didn't have so many ideas...

Browse through more great zig zags on flickr. This one happens to be a favorite of mine. If you like Monet, check out this and this.

(Don't forget to sign up for our swimsuit giveaway!)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swimsuit Giveaway!

This year, along with making new swimsuits for my own daughters (and nieces for the family reunion), I am going to give away a swimsuit to one of YOU! I'm willing to make a suit ranging from toddler/baby size 1T to girls size 7. And you even get to pick the color and style. How's that for fun!?

#1 Skirted (view B below)
#2 non-skirt (view A below) tanksuit.
Sizes 1T -4T are racerback and 4-7 are regular scoop tank back.

Color choices:
#1 Hot pink, orange, and yellow striped (my own personal preference for this fabric is to make the suit w/o the skirt--but if you'd like one I'd do it)

#2 Purple tie dye

Sizes: 1T - 7 girls

This time around for this giveaway you MUST be a Follower of our blog. To become a follower just click the "Follow" button on the top of our site.

After becoming a follower just answer this question: What is one of your favorite summer activities that you do with your family? Answer the question on your comment post and include along with your entry the style, color, and size you'd prefer for the little girl in your life.

Come on summer!! We're ready for you.

Giveaway will close on Friday, May 1, 2009, midnight central time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Lied...

I actually made 10 of these dresses, not seven! (Now you can feel my pain, right?!)

These last 3 are for our new little niece, Ashlee's baby, due in July. Her baby shower was over the weekend, so I'm safe in posting my pictures now. (I also sent her the Purple Quilt she picked out.)
Good Luck, Ashlee! And may your pregnancy be uneventful!

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Swimsuit Sewing Tips

As I was sewing suits this week I remembered a couple more items that I should point out. Click HERE for the posting of my first set of tips.

I use one of two decorative stitches for topstitching down the elastic in swimsuits. You attach the elastic on the wrong side of the swimsuit with a loose zig zag and then as you fold it in towards the inside of the suit you finish it off with one of the two stitches below.

Katelyn asked me on the last post if I would show a pic of what I meant by "loose" zigzag stitch. I hope this helps. On my machine my stitch length goes from 1 to 4. I normally sew on about a 3. For basting or gathering I move the stitch length to 4. So as I zigzag I leave it on a stitch length of 3. That is what is shown below. Those black lines are a 1 inch grid on my cutting board.
This picture shows what it looks like if I adjust the stitch length to almost a 2. It is way too close together. Here is a little side by side comparison.
Decorative Stitches for Topstitching
#1 The Three Step Zig-Zag (My preferred choice!!) Here shown on a neck edge of a swimsuit.
#2 In my machine manual it is called a Smocking Stitch (it is found under my Three Step Zig-Zag stitch)

Shell or Lettuce Edge
I use this on the hem of the ruffled skirt on the swimsuit or cover-up skirt. It can also be used on the hem edges and sleeve hems of t-shirts.

It looks like this:

To make it you set your machine to it's shell stitching setting (blind hem stitch).
If you have your machine's manual look in the index for "Shell Stitching". Play around on a scrap piece of fabric first because picking this stitch out is NOT fun. And some fabric will "shell" a lot easier than others so you'll have to adjust your stitch lengths.

The Shell Stitch is formed by sewing a blind hem over a folded piece of fabric.

  • Set the stitch length as you desire. (On my machine I have to adjust it clear down to 1 1/2 in order to get the "shell" or "scallop" that I like)

  • You may need to tighten the top thread tension slightly.

  • Allow the needle to just clear the folded edge of the fabric when it zigzags.

Also, make sure you have plenty of bobbin thread before starting this. If you run out mid-hem it is not as easy to match up as you would think.

If you have any other questions, send them our way. If we know the answer we'll try and explain it. If not, we'll see if we can find it somewhere. That is one thing about sewing--there is more than one way to do something.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sew Your Own Swimsuit

Now that it really seems to be warming up here my kids are starting to ask me to drive by the local swimming pool to see if any water is in it yet. Oh, how we wish! Unfortunately for us school doesn't get out until June 2nd, but then that means the pool is open on JUNE 6th!!!! My kids love going to the pool. And we are so lucky that our community pool pass lets us frequent 2 different swimming pools. We love swimming! So....Are you ready for swimsuit season??

For years now I've been making swimsuits for my girls (and myself, but that's a different post)--mainly because I was tired of the lack of modest choices available but also because I was tired of only finding character suits that I don't really want to advertise for, i.e. Hannah Montana. Another factor was that we grow 'em tall at our house and therefore that resulted in problems too for my tall, skinny minnies.

A big thanks to Aunt Gayle and cousin Tiffany for encouraging me to give it a shot all those years ago. My girls are probably rather spoiled now as they usually have at least 3 suits a year to alternate between. Lucky for me I also have a great fabric store that always has lots of choices of swimsuit fabric. Tiffany even stocked up with swimsuit fabric when she visited us last July.

Last night was my 3rd annual swimsuit night--where I get together with a couple friends and we sew swimsuits together. It is a fun little evening. I find that most beginning seamstresses like to have a "teacher" right there handy to help them thru any trouble spots or answer questions they may have. A couple of my friends will still only sew if I am nearby, but I'm working on them.

****Click HERE for some updated tips (May 2010) on sewing swimwear with a serger, swimsuit elastic and topstitching.

Here are some of my tips when making swimsuits:

PatternsThese are the patterns that I have been using over and over and over again for my girls. I've tried other patterns from other pattern companies, but I keep coming back to Kwik Sew patterns for swimsuits. They just seem to fit better. Unfortunately they rarely go on sale. However, over the years I have definitely got my monies worth on the patterns.Kwik Sew 2606 for girls sizes 8-14, racerback style tankKwik Sew 2512 sizes 1T - 4T (which is now out of print, but Kwik Sew has other baby swimsuit patterns available), this is a racerback style tank w/ or w/o an attached skirt. We call it a ruffle bum.
Kwik Sew 2422 girls sizes 4-7 (also apparently out of print), this is a basic tank suit that you can make w/ or w/o an attached skirt.

I prefer ¼” elastic for little girls vs. 3/8”. Also, you do NOT need to buy swimsuit elastic specifically. Just grab a package of the ¼ elastic. You will need around 3 yd. of elastic per swimsuit on girls' sizes 8-14.

When attaching the elastic to the suit itself, stretch the fabric the LEAST amount possible to accomodate the elastic. I use a pretty loose zigzag stitch. If the zigzag is too tight then it tends to not allow the elastic to go back in a relaxed position--therefore making the opening saggy and too big. I don't ever use my serger to make swimsuits.

You will definitely need a STRETCH needle or you’ll be awfully cranky and disappointed in your swimsuit.
Make sure the package says STRETCH—and if you don’t plan on making more swimsuits or t-shirts down the road then I suggest you go in with someone or more than one someone to buy a package (5 ct. of needles). That way it’ll only cost you less than $1 for the needle. I cannot emphasize enough on this one. Using a universal needle will actually cause it to cut holes in your swimsuit fabric along the stitching line. YOU WANT a STRETCH NEEDLE!!

Unless the girl you are making this suit for is already physically developing, I don’t normally line little girl swimsuits. And when I do line it, I just use the same fabric and cut 2 fronts instead of one. So if you think you will need to do that then add more to your fabric purchase. I usually just buy 1 yard regardless of who I am making it for so that I have plenty to match if necessary, line the suit, or for really little girls, make a matching cover-up skirt.

I also have 3 daughters so the fabric does get used up, if not this year, then next year. We've also have fun sewing for the girls' friends. It seems that for each of them their best friend is the only girl at her house, so she hasn't had the fun of being able to match with a sister. We've taken care of that at times with matching swimsuits.

Good luck to you who choose to make your own suits. It really isn't as hard as it seems or sounds if you just learn a few little tricks.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pillowcase Dress Overload

I went on a bit of a bender this week. I'm happy to say that I've gotten it out of my system and I am now fully recovered.

I made a cherry version of this dress last fall and loved that it was so easy. Now that it has finally warmed up around here, I've been wanting to make some more light and breezy clothes for the girls. I'm sure these will end up being the summer dress of choice for 2009!

I started out making these matching dresses for S and Cousin L.

Once I got going I decided to make these Hawaiian ones for S and her far away cousins Emma and Lily. (These are for our Hawaiian themed night at our family reunion in July.)

And finally, these last two are for S. I'm pretty sure they are my favorites! I think the blue one on the left turned out dressy enough for her to wear to church (score!) Thanks, Les for the cute fabric! And the one on the right is from the leftover fabric from last year's chicken dress!

I think it's safe to say that after making 7 dresses in one week, I'm done with this pattern for awhile!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Card Table Tent--guest pics

Vera let us know that she loved our post about card table tents and her hubby Kevin was nice enough to make one for their 3 boys. She said Kevin did all the sewing (way to go for the dads!!), and even though she said they just used whatever fabric they had extra, their 3 boys don't care, because as you can tell by that smile, they love it.

Thanks Vera & Kevin for sending us some photos of your cute project (and 1 of your cute boys)!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Recycled Easter Dress

For many years our Grandma J., a product of the Great Depression, has had this little saying on her fridge, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". Who knew that little pioneer adage would become pop culture cool. I saw a t-shirt at Sam's club just the other day that had that exact saying on it--all about being green and environmentally friendly. I almost bought the shirt just so I could show people.

Anyway, I have so much fabric in my stash that I really have been trying to make do with what I already have when I am sewing for my kids. So for M.'s Easter dress she wanted this pattern--Simplicity 2715, just like it shows, with white eyelet type fabric.

Well, thanks mom for giving me those white eyelet curtains you no longer wanted. Miss M. has her wish. I cut up the curtains and restyled the sleeves slightly on the pattern so that I could use the edge of the eyelet at the hem and made the dress of her dreams.

Sleeve details--bias tape casing for the elastic.

Fully lined dress--inner lining layer hemmed slightly shorted than outer eyelet layer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bunny S'mores

Don't these little lovely's look yummy?? I love the spring colors! I made a few to give away to some ladies I visit. So fun! Go here to find the recipe. My only suggestion having already made them would be to use the WIDE mouth jars, otherwise it's harder to get the bunnies and graham cracker mixture in the jar. You can get it in there with the smaller lids, but the bunnies are just a little squished in there.

Happy Easter and Spring!

You can adapt these to ANY holiday.
How about these for Valentine S'mores...

... or these for Halloween S'mores

...or these for Christmas S'mores?

I love it!! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Swimsuit cover ups

This is what it looks like at our house right now--we are sooooo tired of Old Man Winter and therefore I've been doing some Spring/Summer sewing to try and boost our spirits.

I made all the girls a new swimsuit cover-up with the obnoxious, but perfect for my crazy girls, knit fabric my neighbor gave me. They are totally excited about them.

For the two older girls' dresses I used Simplicity 7608 (out of print) and just eliminated the collar and made it pullover the head.

For the little one I used Kwik Sew 1728 (also out of print), eliminated the collar and lengthened it for a dress.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Three Winners!

#1 Sarah (Team Chilton) will receive the fabric packet.

#2 Michelle (from S. California, who made our first comment this round) will receive the fabric garland.

#3 Jessica's Photography will receive her choice of the book bags.

Congrats ladies!! We'll get your items sent out next week.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...