Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jalie 2805 and McCall's 6500

The girl that I've been tutoring, who I have nicknamed Rumplestiltskin's daughter because her dad is an evil troll that kept her trapped in a hovel and didn't give her any care or even take her to school, has been working really hard at catching up with her schooling.  I've created a learning plan and schedule for what we need to cover each day to catch her up for school when it starts.  After she finishes her day's plan, she is more than willing to do a craft with my girls and their cousin or to work on learning to sew.  This past week she sewed her first skirt and t-shirt.

The skirt is a simple tube made to her measurements.  She cut and sewed it with my guidance.  It's part of a costume that she's making.  I've been posting updates about it as she finishes pieces on Facebook and then I was telling my mom about what a great job she was doing and I got in trouble.  Apparently it is a secret so don't tell her that I'm bragging about her progress in studying and sewing every chance I get.

I think the only reason that I get pictures is because she doesn't realize that she can tell me no yet.  She didn't take off her denim capris before trying them on so it looks tighter than it is.  The picture is blurry because I forget sometimes to turn back on autofocus for things like this and I didn't want to ask her to change into it again.

Then she made the Jalie 2805 t-shirt in size T.  She traced it and pinned and cut it.  She sewed all but the hems for the bottom and the sleeves, which I did on the coverstitch machine.  I helped some with the collar, too.

She is so lovely and the shirt fits her well, but she is really self conscious in it that we may make the next one in a larger size.  It's actually really close fitting with little ease so I'll definitely take that into account when I make this pattern for me or my girls.

The other thing I was going to show is MIL UFO #6, which is McCall's 6500.  I actually bought this pattern and a couple like it to compare the different companies peasant style dresses, and I may or may not have even paid for the fabric, so I'm not really sure that this is really an MIL UFO so much as a dress I was going to make that I ended up making after all.

The dress was made for the bear cub, but the nerdlet is modeling it to earn enough Mommy faction to stay up late today.  There were a couple of changes.  I used 1/8 inch elastic instead of 1/4 inch elastic.  The trim was cut in half because when I received the pieces only half the ruffle was cut and I didn't have any extra fabric so I simply sliced the ruffle in two and used that.  I also removed the two folds.  After those changes, this is what it looked like.

I didn't really care for how gigantic it looked so I took 10 inches out of the elastic for the neckline.  This was the final dress.

It's definitely too short for the nerdlet to wear out without leggings, but it should be a fine length for either the bear cub or Darth baby.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


This isn't really MIL UFO #5, but I'm not counting the ones that don't get shown.

My SIL posted the following on facebook about the Drama Princess:
"My daughter has just informed me the reason why she has so many stuffed animal is because grandma will buy her anything..."

We actually already knew this.  The reason that I'm mentioning it is because while my daughters don't get anywhere near as many stuffed animals, my nerdlet likes to ask for fabric.  When we go to the fabric stores, my MIL often comes home with fabric to make one or more of the girls clothing, especially the nerdlet who likes to handpick her fabric.  This is one of the fabrics that I would have tried to talk her out of, but my MIL just said okay and picked up a yard.  It actually has grown on me a lot since making the dress.  You can't see it but it sparkles from some sort of glitter in the fabric, which is quilting cotton.

I learned something making this dress.  When making piping, either make the trip to the store that has piping cord or order it online and wait for it to show up.  I decided to improvise by braiding 1/16" nylon crochet thread and while it works, it really is not worth the time and hassle.  I only braided about 100 inches and it took forever and I kept having to untangle knots.  I really felt the fabric needed something more to really look like a dress for a little girl.

Here the nerdlet is in action in her new dress.  The bear cub is wearing another finished MIL UFO that was made for the nerdlet, but was handy this morning so on the bear cub it went.

The girls were dancing around to this guy, who was one of the entertainers hired by Six Flags.  He was quite good and played a song just for the nerdlet upon request.

And here is a glimpse of the back.  There was no matching of design because that would a)take more fabric and b) wasn't cut out by me anyway.

I really like how much the piping adds to the dress and I'll likely pick up some cord the next time I hit Jo-Anns, or I might just try using the 1/16" crochet thread in a single piece and see how that goes.  I probably won't do it though until I make my way through the current UFO pile.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jazz Musician

I was feeling the need to play with paint yesterday and decided that I needed to make my first palette knife painting.  I used acrylic paints and watched this video and went to work.

The first picture is with flash and the second without.  I finished them up this morning and they still need to dry.

I know it isn't great, but it is my first try and they look better in person.  I'm actually pretty pleased with the attempt.

Other than that I've been spending time teaching math and working on quick pieces in my MIL UFO pile - mostly shorts.  This isn't all of the ones I've done, but a quick pic from yesterday.

My pile grew once more and I think I'm not going to allow anymore to be added until I take care of the pile that I have.  It isn't like I don't have a ton of my own unfinished objects to take care of.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ottobre 3-2012-18 Little Roses Version 2

This dress is Ottobre 3-2012-18 Little Roses Version 2 and also MIL UFO #4.  You can see version 1 here.  It's such a nice little dress.

The bear cub was more than happy to change into the new outfit, but she wasn't anywhere near as willing to stand still and model it, so I just snapped pictures as best I could as she ran back and forth laughing.

The first version of this dress has really grown on me and I already really like this second version.  For this version I extended the tucks from 3 1/2 inches to 5 inches, though I'm really not sure that one length is any better than the other.  The fabric is a really light weight cotton and perfect for this summer heat.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ottobre 04-2013-14 Princess Castle

I have been camping my mailbox for this issue of the Ottobre magazine because I really wanted to make the nerdlet a mini-Tiramisu dress, and here it is.
I made a size 92 and lengthened it to 110.  I wish I could wake her up to try it on now.  It looks a little big for her, but I'm confident that it will drape well since my Tira's do.

I did make a few changes to increase the similarity.  I lengthened the waistband 1/2 inch and I turned the skirt into a full circle skirt (though Cake's Tiramisu is only 1/2 circle skirt).

I also bound it with bright red FOE from a new source, Elastic By the Yard.  They have a regular web store and also an etsy site and I bought it off their etsy site.  I love that they have so many more shades of colors than I've been able to find to date.  It's the same quality as I got from Sew Sassy Fabrics, which I have been happy with so far, but I was looking for a few more colors.

Edit:  Here is the nerdlet in the dress.


This is another unidentified pattern, but at least it's a different one.  You won't see it in the previous picture of the UFO pile because it wasn't there.  When I went to my MIL's to get zippers for the first pile, there were a number of items that were added to the pile, this being the one one top.

The outside fabric is really nice.  It's one of those fabrics that looks different depending on what color fabric you place underneath it, but this feature isn't really showing in this dress because it is lined in white.  I'm actually not that happy with this one.  There are a number of unfinished seams and the invisible zipper isn't put in the way I like because in order to finish the seams and put the zipper in the way I would like would have required for me to take a significant amount of the dress apart.  My suspicion is that my MIL was using this as a sample for fit and lining and it wasn't really meant to be finished, but I went ahead and finished it anyway.  It's a functional dress and most of the unfinished seams are between the layers so aren't too big a deal.  The weakest part of the dress is the sleeves as they have only about 1/8 of an inch seam so I'm not sure how it will hold up under the large number of washes that all the girls' clothing undergoes.

I actually finished this on Tuesday, but I didn't have time to post it.  I've also finished the second draft of my skirt block, but haven't an opportunity to turn it into a skirt yet, though I will try to do that soon.  I also finally got my new Ottobre magazine and have already traced a few patterns off.

My life has taken an extreme turn to being so much more busy than before.  I have acquired another child to care for during the weekdays and together we are working very hard to cover over three years of material before she enters 7th grade in six weeks, so I'm not sure that I'll get much sewing done before September, though we are getting into a good study rhythm so I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Simplicity 3509

The next in my UFO pile from my MIL is Simplicity 3509, which I think is out of print.

That's my four year old in a 12 month dress and shorts that was intended for the nerdlet when she was an infant.
You can see that the nerdlet has made herself a comfy bed on the floor.  She said that her sister looked beautiful and asked me how many weeks until she got her version (her concept of time isn't very firm yet).

I actually really like this pattern and am having a hard time deciding whether or not to grade it up to a larger size or just sell it on my new Etsy shop since I probably could find another pattern that I wouldn't have to grade that is similar.

Blueberry Ketchup and the First Drafted Skirt Block

Have you ever made blueberry ketchup?  I'm a big fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, who spends almost all her time trying to create healthy desserts, but occasionally posts recipes for other things than desserts, like this recipe for blueberry ketchup. I like ketchup all right, but I get bored and often swap it out for Heinz 57 sauce, barbeque sauce, chipotle three cheese ranch, or if I'm out whatever they have that looks interesting, so the blueberry ketchup was something I've been thinking about making on and off since she posted the recipe. I made it a few days ago and it's been sitting the in fridge just waiting for the opportunity to be used.  Last night, Q made a late night snack run and gave me some of his fries to taste it.  I don't think anyone that only ever uses traditional ketchup is going to be sold on it, but if you're like me and like some variety, I think this is a good recipe to try.  I will make one note and that is to not skimp too much on the sugar like I did as it does need a little sweetness as mine was slightly reminiscent of A1 Steak Sauce.

I also finished the single dart skirt sloper from Building Patterns The Architecture of Woman's Clothing. I used the suggested 20 inch length and a high hip of 4 inches and a low hip of 7 1/2 inches, though the suggested is 4 1/2" and 8 1/2".  I'm just under 5' 4", but I have a very short torso for my height.
 The front 

The back

I think I need to work a little on this before I move onto the variations. The front isn't too bad.  I'm tempted to take the center waist down about 1 1/2 inches.  I've always had that weird dent across my waist at my belly button (it was even more prominent before I had kids and looks even more weird when I was thin)  and I wonder if the skirt might be better if I place the top of the skirt there, though I'll likely keep it where it is for now.  I'm using this fabric as my muslin because the dots are really too large for me to make something for my girls with and I'm not sure I'd ever wear anything made with it.

The side fits well except that the seam line down the hips is supposed to be vertical and not slanted forward from the waist to high hip.  I think I'm going to draft the skirts again and for the waist I'm going to add 1 1/4" to the front and take 1 1/4" from the back instead of the 1/4" suggested, though I wonder if I could just reduce the front darts to 1/2" and add that space to the back darts.  I also think that there is too much fabric in the back so I think I'll curve the bottom of the skirt in 1".

The back is actually better than it looks from the waist to low hip.  I didn't do a zipper, but just used safety pins for this opening because while I've been adding more zippers to my stash lately, I'm still getting a feel for what to stock.  The book does have you make two measurements for the right and left side to the ground, but it doesn't have you make those same measurements for any of the other measurements, like the waist to knee.  I'm going to add 1" to the right side and the center back of the left side.  

I'm planning on making these changes and another muslin before moving on to the first variation which is a yoke skirt.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Etsy and Pattern Textbook

I opened my Etsy shop.  I actually started an etsy account quite a while back planning to make quilts and other items but never got around to it.  It probably wasn't that good an idea to try to do this when Darth baby was a newborn and the bear cub was just starting school.  Now is a better time.  So far I only have two of the reversible bags that I made as teacher appreciation gifts up.  I chose these bags because I have gotten so many comments on them when people see them.  When delivering one to the nerdlet's speech therapist I actually had multiple teachers ask to buy the bag off of me before the teacher came to get the nerdlet for her session.  I figured that was probably a sign.  Also, I've been using my dragon one to cart library and other books around and I know that it probably is sturdy enough to regularly cart around 30 pounds.  I plan on adding Star Wars and Star Trek bags up before the end of the week.

The other thing I've been doing is reading through my new drafting textbook, Building Patterns The Architecture of Woman's Clothing, which I got through Apparel Arts.  Shams of Communing with Fabric posted recently about having wanted this book for a while and discovering that it was being reprinted.  I read through her post and very quickly ordered my own copy.  Her post is here.

The first chapter is pretty basic and just outlines what you need to start.  The second chapter is on skirts.  It starts with proper measurements and then goes into detail on how to take those measurements and turn them into first a basic blocker and then go from that to various designs of skirt.  I went ahead and tried as best I could to take my measurements as listed.  Then after you have your measurements, it has you add ease and calculate the skirt pattern measurements.  I'm a little skeptical that this is going to work for me as it is assuming that as you gain weight that you do so rather evenly across the front and back with only slightly more in front and that you mostly get wider instead of deeper, neither of which I think is as true for me as the average person.  I plan on following the instructions as read and then adjusting from there.  I'm actually really excited to follow through with this.  For quite some time, I sort of feel that even with trying new things, they aren't really new enough for me to feel like my sewing is moving drastically forward.  I'm hoping that this will give me the jump in knowledge and ability that I'm looking for.  I have flipped through the entire book and I do feel like it's a good investment and will add to what I do, even if I don't glean as much from it as I'm hoping.

Anyone planning on watching this season of Project Runway starting this Thursday?

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I have no idea what the brand or pattern number of this dress is because I did not actually get any pattern pieces of it in the pile.  It's a style that really looks good on the nerdlet though so my MIL has made a lot of dresses with it.

Normally, we use an invisible zipper, but the only ones that I have right now of the right size are very dark colors.  I went ahead and used a regular white zipper, but I wish I had had one at least in pink.  When I took the pile from my MIL, I neglected to grab any of the zippers.  I'll have to drop by before I finish any more dresses.

McCall's 6310 - Sort Of

After fabric shopping in the morning with my MIL, Q, the girls, and I visited his parents for July 4th.  While there I managed to acquire this:
 You can't tell what it is from the picture, so I'll elaborate.  Those are at least 10 (and maybe as many as 20) dresses that she cut out for the girls at various times, but that she never had the time to complete.  She's had a number of issues in her life that have distracted her from sewing and now the pile had become intimidating and she was having a hard time getting started sewing again so I agreed to take them off her hands.

The top one was most of a version of McCall's 6310, but not quite all of it.  The only pattern pieces that came with it were the skirt pieces so the resulting dress is not exactly 6310, but the skirt, front bodice, and straps.  There isn't a zipper or a loop and the straps aren't a continual piece, like I think the pattern was designed to have.
 Sorry about the blurriness of this picture, but the bear cub wouldn't stop dancing around.  This is the best of a bunch of pictures that I took.

One down, a bunch more to go.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Duct Tape Gallon Jug Box

My mom was noticing the duct tape projects around the house that I've had the girls doing as crafts and asked if the duct tape box of Chloe's was my design.  I said probably not, but I couldn't find one online so I thought I would post it.

 Cut a milk jug like so making sure the sides are as high as you can get them.

 Cover with duct tape.

Add stick on velcro where the top touches the base.

Super fast and easy and a project for kids about 4 and up with help and maybe 8 and up independently.  You could also add straps to the side and hang it as a purse.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tiramisu Version 13

This is the last tiramisu from my most recent batch.  The fabric is an ITY knit from my cousin.  I love the colors on this.  After finishing these last five on Monday morning, I switched into this one to wear.

Normally I'm pretty careful about pattern placement, but obviously I didn't recognize that this pattern would come out like it did.  I think in real life it doesn't look as prominent as it does in this picture.


Tiramisu Version 12

This version is from the same shipment and is a sweater knit.  For the hemming on the bottom, I simply serged it in black thread and left it that way.  I actually bought another sweater knit at the same time, but I wanted to try it out before cutting the other one.  I think it came out fantastic, but I definitely won't be wearing it much until it cools off.  If I wear it at all, it will probably be just to church and back as I'm often really cold in church.

Tiramisu Version 11

I love the design on this fabric.  It's another one that I ordered through when they had their knits at 50% off.


 I need to remember to be fully turned to the side so that I don't look as dumpy.