Friday, May 22, 2015

wiksten based tunic top with pockets



I've been doing some sewing for myself lately. This Nani IRO print has been burning a hole in my fabric shelf and I finally formed a concrete plan for this tunic. The fabric is one of my favorite prints ever and I didn't want to waste it on a top I wouldn't like. I made a muslin from an old sheet before I made this one.


The fabric is a lightweight double gauze. I started with the top of my Wiksten tank pattern and cut it off just under the bust. Then I drafted a gathered skirt and big pockets to make a comfy tunic. I'd prefer it just a bit longer but I didn't have enough fabric and even ended up having to add a hem facing to keep as much length as possible. This tunic would make a nice casual dress too by lengthening it even more.


I kept the fit loose so I could slip it on over my head but the back ended up looking a little too roomy. I added some shirring to make the fit more flattering but not too tight.


I have a thing about big pockets. They make me happy. I considered adding buttons to the pockets as a decorative touch but decided it was better without them in the end.

Actually, the accidental hem facing makes a nicer looking hem on double gauze than a folded up hem does, IMO. It's very hard for me not to pull or distort the hem if it is folded because the double gauze has such a loose weave. For the facing I just cut a bias strip and finished one edge with an overlock. Then I sewed the other edge to the hem RST, ironed it toward the wrong side, and secured it with a blind stitch by hand.

If you have the Wiksten tank pattern you could make this mod pretty easily. (Assuming you have already made any adjustments to the tank for a good fit first.)

Specifics
Just in case you have the pattern and also have fabric that is burning a hole in your shelf:






Saturday, May 16, 2015

spoonflower swatches, check


Exploring the world of Spoonflower for the Early Bird Night Owl quick-sew pillow. These are my fabric swatches and RGB color guide.

First impression: Many more cool fabric options than I thought there would be. Bit disappointed in the saturation on the color guide though, especially the blacks. The guide is printed on Kona Cotton, which I felt was the best option for the pillow. It needs some nice, rich darks on the Night Owl side.

I'm also not excited about the hex color builds. They look wildly inaccurate onscreen to me, so previews can be iffy. Erg...

This might still be fabulous or it could be underwhelming. I'm excited to run a sample when I get it ready! I'll post the results.

Monday, May 11, 2015

ooga chakka, ooga ooga ooga chakka...thing 2 is eleven


Mixtape! It really surprises and gratifies me how anticipated these birthday soundtrack CDs are. The girls still get so fired up about them and I get such a kick out of my little birthday ritual: putting it in the player and turning the volume up to a really obnoxious level to greet them on their birthday morning. They emerge from their bedrooms with sleepy smiles and then park themselves in the living room to listen to the whole thing beginning to end. Dancing and lip synching may occur at any time. (Usually that's me.)

This one starts out with Hooked on a Feeling (this kid is really into anything Marvel and Guardians Of The Galaxy was one of her favorite movies this past year) so the unmistakable and stomach vibrating Ooga Chakka started the whole thing off in style. That movie has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a while! (And also includes a boy who really loves his mother's awesome mixtapes.)

Here's the whole playlist. It's a smattering of sounds she's really into right now (Ellie Goulding, Paul Simon, Rainbow Rocks) and memories from the year.


She was birthdayed in style and made a weekend of it with a spend the night party at her Nana's, shopping trip, family dinner and ice cream cake. I tried this one this year and it was quite tasty. I'm a big fan of ice cream sandwich cakes because of the minimal prep time. I relaxed my usual rule about subbing in real whipped cream for the Kool Whip for the sake of ease and regretted it. I don't think Kool Whip is actual food. It has a weird mouth feel. But my husband got the really short end of the stick because I sent him out to get the 'easy' ingredients and he found there was 1) no blondie ice cream sandwiches 2) no fresh strawberries. ANYWHERE. In May! What in the world? He went to four stores and two berry farms before arriving home triumphant. Poor guy.


Here's birthday girl on the left with big sister on the right modeling her mommy-made tiered skirts. You can see nothing's changed. She wore the blue skirt to worship yesterday. I plan to make more. So easy. Here's the tutorial if you are interested.



She's shown an interest in polymer clay lately so I got her this super cute book with the polymer clay included. It usually shows through that little window in the cover but we've already opened everything. It's a great way to get introduced to the techniques and each charm is a minimal time committment. You can see she's already made two charms. It's a really well-done book. I'd recommend it.

I also got her some air dry clay so she could test them both and this book to go along with it, which is also fantastic: 


She also discovered our old stash of Far Side books a few months ago. I'm a bit envious of her getting to see the genius that is Gary Larson for the first time. I remember absolutely doubling over, unable to breathe when reading Far Sides way back when. We got her Gallery Four because she's worn out the ones we have. That girl loves to laugh.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

quick tiered skirt tutorial for preteens


You'll need:

A girl that is 10-13 yrs old and sized more or less like my kids. haha. My two girls are 21 months apart but right now they wear the same size of clothes. They are both taller than average and usually wear a 12/14 in girls clothing (and sometimes a 16). I made the gray Washi skirt slightly longer than the navy original since they are both growing at an astonishing rate right now.


This is an elastic waist skirt, so it's pretty forgiving and there's room to adjust the waist a few inches either way.


If your kid is a much bigger or smaller than mine you may need to adjust widths and lengths before you begin.

Pondering? Measure your kid's:
1) waist (wherever they wear their skirts)
2) length from their waist to their knee.
This will give you an idea if this skirt will work for your kid as is.
Or if you are a petite mom, this skirt may work really well for you!

Finished size: 
This skirt is about 21 inches long from waist to hem. The waist on ours is about 30 inches around and is meant to be worn low, just below the belly button (you can adjust the waist size below and of course you can adjust the hem).

That's how both my girls wear everything, slung low.


Materials:
  1. About 1.5 yards of medium weight cotton or chambray.
  2. A package of 1 7/8 inch wide bias hem facing. Mine is Wright's brand. This makes for a really easy channel for the elastic and adds a nice contrast of color inside the waist. (If you don't want to buy hem tape you can use a wide grosgrain ribbon.
  3. A length of 1.5 inch wide elastic for the waistband that is long enough for your kid. In my case, that was 30 inches.
  4. A ruffler for your machine.
Rip the fabric pieces:

Don't be afraid to rip! It's so much faster than cutting and you can count on it being on the grain and straight. And it's OK if your yardage is wrinkly. Rip first and press later! See, I'm already saving you gobs of time.

First true up the top edge. Cut a 1 inch slit in the selvedge side close to the top of the fabric. Snip it straight across the selvedge and then use your hands to continue ripping the fabric all the way across. I pause at the end (which is the opposite selvedge) and then I snip the that last little bit with scissors to keep from tugging it too hard. Discard what you ripped off. Now you have a straight top edge to measure the rest from.


Rip the following pieces for the skirt by measuring along the selvedge and clipping a slit through it, same as you did above. Measure one, clip, rip. Then measure the next one.
Press all the ripped pieces and whack off the selvedge edges. (Which has the added advantage of squaring up the ends. They can look a bit wonky from the ripping.)

FOR ALL THE SEWING: Use 1/2 inch seam allowances.
RST = Right Sides Together

Make the waistband.

1) Shorten the ripped 7 inch waistband piece to your kid's waist measurement plus about 8 inches. Mine was 38 inches total. Cut a piece of hem tape to the same length.


2) Sew the short ends of the waistband fabric RST (right sides together) to form a loop. Finish and press the seam.


3) Press 1/2 inch toward the wrong side along the top edge.


4) Press under 3/8 inch of the bias hem tape on both ends. Starting to the right of the waistband seam, pin it all the way around about 1/16 inch down from the top edge. The ends should meet and overlap just a tad. Edgestitch the hem tape in place on top and bottom. When you finish you'll have a slit for the elastic where the hem tape meets. Tada.


Make the tiers.

5) Did you already cut one of your 8 inch pieces in half? Good. Throw one of the halves in your scrap pile. Sew the other one RST to the full length 8 inch piece on the short side. Finish and press the seam.


6) Sew the two 10 inch pieces RST on the short side. Finish and press the seam.


7) Break out the ruffler. Set it to one tuck every 12 stitches. Stitch length should be 2 or 2.5.  If your child's waist measurement is larger than my kid's, go with 2.5.

8) Ruffle both the tiers along the top edge with a slightly less than 1/2 inch allowance. Clackety clackety clack. ALERT: Be sure to check that your needle is screwed in tight every few tucks. The ruffler might be busy trying to loosen your needle as it goes along. It's a bummer when you have to stop and screw the needle back in while your ruffler tries to look all innocent.


9) Press the ruffles nice and flat.

10) Now sew the two tiers together RST. The ruffled edge of the longer tier goes face to face with the UNRUFFLED edge of the shorter tier. Those sides should be somewhere near the same length, give or take a few inches. Pin them starting at the midpoints. Sew the seam. Finish and press the seam.



11) Now trim the sides flush. Just follow the line of the shortest tier on both sides.



12) Lay the waistband loop flat on a table. Fold the skirt tiers in half, wrong side out, and line them up to the bottom of the waistband as straight as you can. Measure how much you need to cut off of the skirt in order for it to match up to the waistband but don't forget to keep an extra half inch for the seam. If you need to, err a bit on the large side. You can always ease it in. Trim it!


13) Pin that seam together and sew RST. Finish and press the seam.


14) Pin and sew the tiers RST to the waistband. To do this, turn the waistband right side out and upside down. Turn the skirt wrong side out and tuck the waistband down inside the top, lining up the raw edges. I like to put the vertical waistband seam in the center back and line up the skirt seam on the side.


15) Pin the front, back and sides, evenly distributing the fabric. Finish pinning well and sew. Finish and press the seam.


16) Feed the elastic through the waistband with a bodkin or a hugemongous safety pin. Overlap the ends of the elastic by about an inch and secure it with a (normal sized) safety pin. Don't bother tucking the ends inside yet.


17) Now's the time to check the fit on your kid and also the length. Call them imperiously to you and tell them to drop their shorts. Haha. If they complain about trying it on, make them stand there longer than is strictly necessary while you pretend to dither about the length of the hem.*
*Parenting styles may vary.

18) If the fitting was great, sew as is. If you need to adjust the waist elastic, do that now.

19) Sew the overlapped ends of the elastic together. Pull it inside the waistband by stretching out the waistband. Pop! It disappears inside.

20) Zig zag stitch over the hem tape slit to close.


21) Hem the skirt 1 inch with a double fold 1/2 inch hem. (Or a different amount depending on your kid.) To do that, press 1 inch over to the wrong side, then fold it under itself and press. Edgestitch and you are done! Yay!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I made these two skirts in two afternoons, kind of working on them here and there.


My girls love these skirts. And each other. Deep, deep inside.


I need to make them one in plain chambray because that is such a versatile fabric. I might even take a crack at making myself one. No reason you can't make an adult-sized tiered skirt for yourself. Just make adjustments for your waist size and skirt length and use the same process. You'll probably need to use a longer stitch length for the ruffler. Love to see what you make!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

perfect fur for stinkface pillow


It came. It's outstanding. Super soft. The perfect color! (Yes, that's a Jamberry nail. No, I'm not very good at applying it yet. haha)


Stinkface pillow experimentation is going to have to wait a bit until I make birthday skirts for Thing 2 and work on the Early Bird Night Owl sample for Spoonflower. But it's going to be so fun to play with this fur!

 

And this is what my studio is going to look like for weeks after. I had the plastic bag opened for mere seconds to snap a picture and now it looks like I live with 27 turquoise cats. If you want your house to look like that too you can order from here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

facebook faux pas


Hey guys, was updating my Facebook page and took my one chance to change the address of the page, which I've never liked. What I didn't realize: the old link would be broken. I guess I thought it would be referred or something.

So, I'm sorry for all the potential puzzling error messages! My facebook page has not been deleted. If you've already liked it or subscribed to the feed, I don't think anything has changed for you. The only thing that is changed is the direct web address for the page.

New web address for the facebook page: facebook.com/mmmcraftspatterns

Thursday, April 23, 2015

early bird/night owl reversible pillow for my Thing 2


At long last, this pillow has finally jumped out of my head and into real life. I've intended for a very long while to make my girls a fun accent pillows for their beds. They have repeatedly requested them.

I just didn't intend to make this one. I had decided to make a quick, simple animal pillow (think circle with ears) for Thing 2 since she's a bit younger, loves animals and would really dig that. And then the usual descent into madness:

Ooh, might as well make that reversible early bird/night owl pillow I sketched!

With woven applique! Felt applique! 3D elements! Hand embroidery! Trims! Poms!

And pockets! And removable accessories!

In fabulous perfect colors but all from the stash!


So after drafting/sweating/squinting/doubting/rethinking/redrafting (but having fun doing it in the weird way that we do) I'm really happy with the finished pillow! And I must say, Thing 2 freaked out over it in a very gratifying manner. She has been hanging around the craft studio daily. Standing at my shoulder, practically vibrating, saying 'Is it finished yet? Can I have it?'


The early bird gets the worm, of course. I guess the worm may not realize its precarious position, judging by its clueless little smile.


The night owl gets a mouse in a pocket NO too cluttered


mouse in its beak NO bit too gruesome


pocket watch! Of course. Look at that late hour. Tsk tsk, Night Owl.
(We are keeping the little green mouse to play with, though. He's cute.)


View from top of owl/bottom of bird showing both sides coming together. I thought about doing a gusset for the sides instead. Nah. It would be more trouble, plus might make the poms look weird.


Happy accident. The owl's eyebrows make nice bird feet. While I did design the pom plume on the bird to also make the owl's feet, I have to admit I didn't think about the bird feet until I started taking photos. Duh. On the next one I'll have to exaggerate it some to get it to work.


You can see the progression of the idea on these very professional and organized scraps of paper from the last two years (the ones I can find anyway). Cheese-shaped sticky notes – the choice of designers everywhere. There are two versions of on my computer too, the latest being the one I made. Now I don't have to worry: the pattern is digitized and backed up in triplicate.

I think Early Bird/Night Owl would make a nice pattern for the shop, so I'm adding it to my list. Or I might explore doing a Spoonflower pre-printed version? Something you could just cut out, add felt accents, sew and stuff? I've wanted to try Spoonflower for so long. I have some Twelve Days tea towels in progress for Spoonflower too. Oh, for more time in the day, people.


So next up is another fun project, a fur accent pillow for my Thing 1. She wants a bright, shaggy one with a stinkface. Giving me stinkfaces is her specialty, so she wanted the pillow to match. (To make a stinkface, stand in front of a mirror and bring your brows as far down over your eyes as you can while simultaneously frowning up into your nose. It's very attractive. Use them whenever your mother asks you to do something.)

We've ordered turquoise shag fur and I'm thinking through the best way to give the pillow a grumpy expression with sewn tucks. That's going to be a fun one too! Reversible! And with a happy expression on the other side, don't you think?