Jan 25, 2013

Little Girl's Faux Fur Coat

 All right, maybe she didn't need one, but once I got my hands on this luscious chocolate-brown faux fur I knew I needed to make her one. And now that the winter blahs are settling in, what better than a new coat for a pick-me-up? Just in time for Valentine's Day too. Pretty and girly with a surprise pop of color inside. So snuggly-warm and cozy too. (I want one for myself!)
I've been seeing a lot of faux-fur related projects out there and I guess I caught the bug. Someone offered up over 2 yards of this faux fur on my local Freecycle group and I jumped all over it (free, baby, free. This coat cost me $0!)
How did I do it? First I consulted this pattern by Shwin&Shwin for the 5/6 sizing of the body and arms.  Then, I referred to this free and totally awesome pattern also by Shwin&Shwin for the construction (isn't that little baby coat of hers cute, not to mention that little baby??). I have never made a coat before and have wanted to for a few months now. It really was not as hard as I thought it would be. What helped was that I'd completed a couple Explorer Vests a while back and that basic construction practice really proved useful for doing a coat. See? Every project helps, all that experience gets put to use at some point.
I had this pretty pink and orange cotton fabric in my stash. I was saving it for something special and knew this was it. I chose to make two hidden buttons to have clean lines on the outside, but sewed a tiny pink button on the outside for fun. I figured this should look less like an old-lady fur coat and more like a little girl's fur coat (my husband disagrees...).
 Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with my leftovers (I have some black in the stash too!). The collar was the trickiest part here (all that fur kind of made my sewing machine a little grumpy) and I ended up having to patch some holes in a couple places by hand. But I think they'll be OK. Is the coat perfect? No way. But is it good enough? Yeah, I think so!
My daughter wore it out this afternoon for the first time on her way to dance class. I am not sure why she's looking so serious in this picture.
This is more like the kid I know!

So happy to have another "new" project under my belt. And what a fun one too!
I'm linking up with Project Run & Play this week for their Valentine Inspired theme. Though there are no hearts on this particular garment, she'll be wearing it all month long to ward off the New England chill and pretty up the gray days. Thanks for reading and stopping by. :)

Jan 17, 2013

Knit Dress with Embroidery

This dress has been in my head for a long time -- pretty much ever since I bought the fabric a year ago.
The story is, my daughter had a store-bought dress very similar to this one, but of course I knew it wouldn't fit forever. So I put her in it so much to squeeze in as many moments as I could before it would officially be too small. And now that it most definitely is, I realized it was about time to cut this beautiful striped knit fabric and get down to making a new dress, just like the other one.

I used Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee (size 5) for the bodice and improvised with the collar. I chose the shorter option on the pattern for the cuffs which turned out to be the right choice. And I did the suggested zig-zag stitch on the hem. Just for a point of reference, this is about the same size bodice I used for my son's Allosaurus Shirt (for his, I did add an extra half-inch all the way around the size 5).

What I love most about this dress is the embroidery. Doesn't it jazz thing up? And it was the easiest, quickest part too! The original dress had a very similar design and after everything was sewed up, I ironed on some interfacing to the inside of the bodice to give the knit some extra support, then pulled out my embroidery hoop and did some simple 6-strand stitches in a wavy line.

And I got the embroidery done while relaxing in front of a tv show. Love that part about embroidery. Low stress. As for my daughter, when I gave her the dress, the first thing her little fingers did was go straight for the buttons. Just fingering them a bit. It's so sweet watching her touch, admire, play with, and ultimately WEAR something I made her.

For the next time around, I'm going to work some more on my gathering. I sewed the seem below the gathering stitch, but just read on another blog that perhaps I should've sewn above my gathering stitch. I'll keep that in mind. I love how other blog posts can be so timely.
Have a good week!

Jan 16, 2013

Winter Fleece Vest

A while ago, I fell in love with this vest that Dana from MADE created for her daughter during KCWC. 
I pinned it, of course, and kept thinking about it. And thinking. Finally, I decided to just go for it. No pattern, just looking at the picture.
I used the same basic bodice pattern that I used for this dress, and then also estimated the skirt portion by making it just a few inches wider than the top.
I bought a 2" bias tape maker not too long ago off ebay (such a great deal - just over $8 shipped!) and made my own from this cute letter fabric that I've had for some time in my stash. 
My big mistake was making the buttonholes without any supporting fabric underneath and, since fleece is stretchy, so were my buttonholes. But I did add some white felt after the fact and straightened the holes out somewhat. Still not perfect. But at least I learned for next time.
I really enjoy the process of "trying to figure out a pattern." I don't always succeed, but I feel like it's kind of the Sudoku of the sewing world -- testing my brain, enjoying the challenge. I've also found that "figuring out patterns" has gotten easier as I've gotten more experience actually following other patterns. Go figure. So mixing it up seems to be a good thing for me.
I really like how this vest turned out. And it's definitely going to get used. What a great winter layer, don't you think? Does anyone else like to figure out patterns too??

Jan 10, 2013

Chevron Doll Cradle

 I am sure no one is sitting around waiting to see these pictures of my revamped doll cradle that I mentioned in my last post, but I figured I needed to get around to uploading them so that I could mentally move on, and start thinking about my next post. (which is a sewing project that I took pics of today!) So here they are: pics of my Chevron Doll Cradle.
 So I really wish I had some "before" shots. This cradle was so ugly -- shiny, dark brown, with icky dust stuck in all the corners and crevices. It was probably hand-made in the 70s and looked it. I picked it up at the Salvation Army sometime over the summer for about $5. (I think it said $10, but I was able to talk the lady down because it was in the furniture warehouse which was different from the retail part. Those ladies there are sticklers. Anyway.) So I spray-painted it this light bluish color, and then taped some masking tape on it in a chevron pattern. Then I covered all the surrounding areas with newspaper and spray-painted the visible parts white. Not bad, eh?
 I sewed this little cushion for the inside. Originally, I really wanted to do this gorgeous faux chenille blanket for the doll cradle, but the fabric was out of stock at the time and I figured I should just go with what I had in my stash to see how faux-chenille-ing worked (tough!).
Well, I imagined my daughter putting her Dolly in here and playing with everything, but so far, the cradle has remained sadly in a corner, ignored. (sigh) I look at it every so often and get a jolt of happiness because I love those chevrons...but that's it. Maybe someday she'll warm up to it. :)