Friday, April 29, 2011

A Rainbow Giveaway...Because Rainbows Are Supposed to Make You Happy

 **Updated** Winners have been chosen!

Don't get me wrong spring is a lovely time of year, but springtime can be a real downer at my house.  It's the time of year that my husband works long hours (kudos to all single mothers 'cuz I am lousy at it!), I start counting down the days 'til summer 'cuz I am sick of all things school related (getting up early, packing lunches, checking homework, signing reading calendars, etc),  and my allergies make life almost unbearable.  

So in order to lighten my mood I've decided on a giveaway!  A random rainbow assortment of FQ's from my stash.

Aren't rainbows supposed to bring happiness?  As in, after the storm a rainbow appears?  Anyway, that's what I'm hoping.

For a chance to win just say whatever you are feeling, good or bad, I'll take whatever... latest projects, words of encouragement, thoughts on the end of the school year, funny jokes, allergy remedies, or your thoughts on rainbows.

A winner will be drawn sometime next week. 


P.S.  I started a massive clean-up of my sewing room today and I'm feeling better already! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Dresses 2011

I hope you all had a lovely Easter Sunday last weekend.  I don't think we could've asked for prettier weather here in MN.  It rained the couple days beforehand, cleared up with temps in the 60's, and now for a couple more days of rain.   I think I like the later time of the year for Easter.  Much better for us than the cold days of the first part of April.  We actually wore Spring-y dresses and no coats to Church.  Woo hoo!

This was an easy year for sewing Easter dresses--by choice.  I tried to use as much as I could from my stash and patterns I already had.  It worked out nicely.
Butterick 3045--this has been a well loved and extremely well used pattern over the years.  I don't know how many times I've made this little peasant top.  It is now out-of-print, but you can find similar, basic tops and dresses thru Butterick.  This year for daughter #3 we did View B, far left of the picture. 

This little detail around the waist is bias tape with rickrack on each edge.

All the materials for her dress came from my stash--including the zipper. 
Along with a simple t-shirt out of some seriously funky fabric, I made daughter #2 a white denim skirt based on Simplicity 9569--fabric and zipper from the stash.

All of a sudden she appears much more grown up to me.
For daughter #1 we found a cute skirt at the thrift store for about $5 and then we bought 1 yd. of fabric and added a yellow border at the bottom to make it longer for her.  Then she borrowed a white blouse from me.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, although I did offer it, but either my wardrobe will be doubling or I'll never be able to find any of my stuff ever again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Cardi Embellishment

Around here Easter can be cold and snowy or warm and spring-like.  We never really know what we're going to get so we plan for the worst.

I bought a little cardigan for the 4yr old to wear over her dress.  Good thing, as it was a cold and rainy Easter this year.  Her little billowy dress needed some warmth, but it was completely plain, so I decided to add some embellishment to dress it up.
Some fabric flowers were in order.  
A quick and easy project with big impact.

I'm happy with how it turned out.
More importantly she was happy, too.  And warm.

Cardigan purchased from JCPenney for $7
Flower tutorial
Dress from The Gap.  (Cousin L got a matching pink one.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Color Crush Quilt

Inspired by
J Crew Spring 2011

image from istock photo

So, this is not what I was going for, but that's ok. (After making this one I know what I need to change to make what I was thinking in my head). I consider it a successful failure. And a really pretty one too.

M sleeps with this one at night
finished quilt measures 54" x 73"

I love the simple quilting.
I pretty much love everything about this quilt.

I used this tutorial as the guide for creating the corners of my squares.
No measuring on my part. Just freely sewing them on.
Then trimming the square to 4.5".

Mmmm, I love you my pretty......

The back and binding fabric are the same.
It's Pink polka dot by Riley Blake.

Most of the solids are Kona purchased at Joann's. I would have preferred to use all solids, but it just wasn't possible with the local selection. So I found what I could to make the gradient.

My favorite detail is the corner of khaki (bottom left). It's metallic and so pretty. Unfortunately, it wasn't really reading in photos. The fabric is Fairy Frost Glitz from the Princess Collection by Michael Miller. Also not as pretty online as it is in real life. Kind of smitten with that little detail though.

Linked up at Fabric Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Black and White quilt

I've been wanting to do a black and white quilt, but nothing was really grabbing me (this was before discovering the houndstooth) so I came up with my own. Isn't it a minimalist beauty? OK, could be my opinion only. This one is also for the basement. And it's my biggest yet. Super simple. Traditional quilters are probably hyperventilating right about now, but I say we all can be friends. :)

Quilt Front

Quilt Back

finished quilt measures 61" x 81"
I bought 3 1/2 yards of this fabric and then cut it in half.
Pieced the two halves together.
And that's how I got my size.

these quilt lines are 4" apart
do you know the blue painter's tape trick?
um, it's the best (thanks, EM)

detail of how the quilting looks on the back.
this fabric is McKenzie by Dena
I purchased it locally, but looks like you can purchase online too

Note: I got lazy and didn't pre wash my binding fabric. Huge mistake. One I will never make again. It really warped the borders. And so......the handstitching has already snapped twice....when the girls use their great manners and yank the blanket out of my hands. So annoying. But there is no way I'm going to unpick. Lesson learned peeps.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Continuous Binding and Straps

This is a slight variation from attaching Contrasting Binding.  I suggest you go look at that tutorial first, if you haven't already seen it, before scrolling down this post.  I refer back to that first post some so I don't have to repeat a bunch.

You would use this technique of continuous binding/strap when making tankini tops.  It can also be used as a contrast on other suits too.

Here are the basics:

Attach the front neckline binding to the suit--right sides together. 
This would be thru both the suit and front bra shelf lining fabrics (3 layers total)
The pic below shows without lining.

Then attach the elastic to this section of the suit.
It attaches to the seam allowance on the right side of the suit.
Flip the binding piece over into the inside of the suit.
Pin and topstitch with double needle.
Carefully trim the excess fabric from the binding.

Next you will attach the binding for the back/armhole/straps.

I usually cut my binding piece a couple inches longer than the pattern indicates.  I want to make sure I have enough to fiddle with the strap placement.  My girls prefer to have the straps cross in back--then you don't have to worry about them falling off, etc.  Most of the tankini patterns I've seen or used just have the straps be straight over the shoulder.

Next you will attach the elastic to the suit and binding.
On the back/armhole it will go thru the binding and suit and then once you reach the front neckline you will be attaching the elastic only to the binding strip.  Hopefully this picture gives you a good idea of what is going on.

You will then do exactly like the front neckline: flip the binding piece back over the elastic into the inside of the suit and pin and topstitch.  Keep doing the same for the strap portion too.  Check here for some pics on how the strap portion will look.

Topstitch continuously starting at one end of a strap, continuing onto the armhole/back and then to the end of the next strap.

Trim any excess fabric.
Measure and determine placement of straps and topstitch in place. 

***If you ask a question in the comments section please include your email so we can answer you back***
Patterns that should include instructions on this type of strap:

For Women:
Kwik Sew 2868 is a tankini style that for sure has directions for this technique.
It appears that pattern Kwik Sew 2689 would also show how to do this type of strap.

For Girls:
Kwik Sew 2700 and possibly 3165
Kwik Sew 1615--discontinued

Kwik Sew's Swim & Actionwear book also has great directions and pics on how to do this. It also shows how to add contrasting binding to any style suit pattern.  Which is basically what I have done in the past with the one shoulder suit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A BIG Thanks!

Just quickly wanted to thank all those who helped us out with our Bag Project this year.  I ran into the lady who is in charge of that portion of the service trip this past week at school.  She made of point of stopping me and thanking me for all the donations.  About 20 people (which is about 1/3 the # who've gone in yrs. past) made the trip down to Zihuatanejo during Spring Break and they had a very successful trip.


We'll see if they need our help again for next year's trip.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Contrasting Binding on Swimsuits Tutorial

As promised, albeit a bit later than intended, I have finally put together a tutorial for attaching contrasting binding on the edges of your swimsuit. My #2 daughter has been bugging me for some time to do this suit. And it didn't hurt that she was starting swimming again this past week in her gym class. Last year's suits are getting a big ragged and saggy.

So here we go:
I'll show you how to attach it on this suit below.

When attaching contrasting binding on a tank style suit like this you will need to trim off about 1/4" of the fabric (seam allowance) on the armhole and neckline edge. You can either copy the pattern piece with that much already taken off, or just cut a bit off once you have the pieces already cut out. Or like I did, just trim it a bit once you have the main portion of the suit already sewn together, because I wasn't sure I was going to do this in the first place when I cut it out.

Cut yourself some strap pieces--at least 1 5/8" wide. I'd just go for 2" and make it easier on yourself. I didn't have a brown solid that matched well enough so I cut out strips from the leftover striped fabric. The stripes weren't quite wide enough so I cut a bit extra into the next color. The pink will end up being hidden inside the suit, or cut off completely.

Measure, cut and sew a circle of the binding piece so that it fits almost exactly the armhole opening. If you have to err, err on the side of slightly smaller, not larger, than the armhole opening.

Pin and sew with a stretch stitch, being careful NOT to stretch the fabric.

I used the stitch on my machine that is a basic straight stretch stitch (my manual calls it Straight Stretch--go figure). If you aren't sure what to use, check your machine manual, or do a little tester on some scraps. You want the fabric to be able to stretch some without snapping the stitching.

You can cut out some of the bulkiness at the seams if you'd like.
Next you will make a circle with your elastic--pinning it to the SEAM ALLOWANCE--on the side that would be the outside of the suit. Attach with a loose zigzag, stretching only as little as needed to fit within the armhole opening.
Then like we did on the separate Straps Tutorial, you will fold the fabric back over itself twice, so that the excess is now on the inside of the suit.

Pin and topstitch using a Stretch Twin Needle. (or any other decorative stretch stitch you prefer)

Cut off very carefully any excess fabric.
Repeat steps for remaining opening edges.
Attach the extra strap (optional) on the one shoulder design and you're ready to go.

Here we are all finished up. #2 was SO excited! I'm pretty excited myself on how this turned out.

***If you ask a question in the comments section please leave your email so we can answer you back***

Kwik Sew's Swim & Actionwear book also has great directions and pics on how to do this. It also shows how to add contrasting binding to any style suit pattern. Which is basically what I did with the above one shoulder suit.
**You can head over to my shop if you are looking for already made suits, or would like to order a custom made one. I've been adding more here and there. I also have some swimsuit fabric for sale that might interest you.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Swimsuit Questions--Straps Tutorial

Here are a couple more questions I've received about swimsuits that I'm answering for everyone.  These happen to be about making straps.
1.  Do you ever make separate straps and then sew them on, or do you always just make the suits where the straps are a continuation of the suit?

Usually, I don't add separate straps.  I prefer the contrasting binding to flow into a continuous strap.  The only time I've made a separate strap and attached it to a suit is when I've done the One-Shoulder swimsuit for my daughter. 

However, with that being said, here are the basics to making a strap that you attach separately to a swimsuit top. 

Cut your piece of fabric about 2" wide and the same length as your elastic.  Cut the elastic for the strap a couple inches longer than what the pattern calls for, or longer than what you measured for the girl.  I do this so that I have some "wiggle" room: i.e. change the straps to cross in the back if the girl prefers, etc.  I also think it is easier to do the topstitching if you have more to grab onto and guide your sewing.
 Serge (or zigzag) elastic onto one edge of fabric--wrong side.  Then fold over twice, covering the elastic,  and pin.

Now you are ready to topstitch.  I just line it up in the middle and go.  If you don't have a double or Twin needle then use something like a multi-zigzag stitch as your topstitch.  It may also be called a Three-Step zigzag.

 Below is what the backside of the double needle stitching looks like--a little zigzag.
Then I just trim off, carefully, the excess fabric, and my strap is ready to be placed in position and attached onto the suit.

Once the straps are positioned, then topstitch and/or reinforce in place.  Cut off any excess strap.

2.  Do you put elastic around the top edges of swimsuits when attaching separate straps?  I.E. like the suits shown on pattern McCalls 4818

Yes, you would put elastic around the entire upper edge of the tankini (or swimsuit).  You cut and position an elastic piece for the front edge.  And then another elastic piece for the back and armholes section.  Then flip it over to the inside just like you would do on any other elastic edge.

And then if you are making a shorter tankini you would also put elastic around the lower edge as well to keep it in place.  When I make the longer tankinis I don't put elastic around the bottom edge.  My girls like their tankini tops to hit a couple inches below their waistline--I usually cut the pattern piece so that the hem is even with the top edge of the leg opening.  Always cut longer if you are able--you can always shorten it up if the girl prefers it.  Not so easy to add onto if they want it longer.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...