Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tutorial How to make your own buttonhole elastic

OK this might not count as a real tutorial but I didn't know what else to call it.

Have you ever ran out of buttonhole elastic when sewing pants for a child? I have many times! I have very skinny kids so buttonhole elastic is a must. Late one night (probably around 2 AM) I was in a crazy sewing frenzy (that's normal for me at 2 AM) and I noticed I was out of buttonhole elastic. Nothing is worse than being on a roll with my sewing machine, with several projects almost done, and look to see I am missing something I need to finish the projects! Does this happen to anyone other than me??? First I panicked! I was thinking how sad it was to be on such a roll with all 3 little children fast asleep (most nights at least one child wakes up and cuts into my treasured sewing time). I started ripping apart my craft/sewing bins in hopes of finding just a little more buttonhole elastic. I found fold over elastic, swimsuit elastic, wide elastic, thin elastic, elastic thread, lace elastic and several other elastics that I didn't even know I had but NO buttonhole elastic! I sat almost in tears looking at all my elastics and finally it occurred to me that I could make my own. Here's how I did it.

I got some regular elastic.

and the pointiest scissors I own. A seam ripper works but isn't as easy to keep under control.

I poked scissors into the center of the elastic and made a tiny snip.

DONE! It doesn't get any easier than that!

I snip my holes 1/4 smaller than the buttons because the buttonholes stretch a lot when you pull on the elastic. In the picture below the elastic is folded in half so you could see the size of hole compared to the size of the button.

Wasn't that easy??? When I am making jeans for someone other than my kids I snip several holes (about an inch or so apart). For my own kids I often just snip two holes in both ends of the elastic. If my kids need a new buttonhole in the elastic I can make one in 2 seconds time.

Below is a view of how I do my elastic ends in the jeans. Elastic end on the left side I have out of the casing so you can it. Elastic end on right shows the end tucked into the casing and I opened up the fold so you could see it.
Below is a picture of the elastic all tucked neatly away. I know the elastic is in different size loops. You can make your loops as large or small as you like.

I know my buttons don't match! I like the fun handmade look of bright colored mismatched buttons. Clothes I make for others I usually match them but I always mismatch when I sew for my own kids. The silly buttons make me smile when I do the laundry.

I am sure other people have done this before for adjustable waist kid pants... I did a google search for make your own buttonhole elastic but nothing came up so I figured I would share this story so if someone else runs out of buttonhole elastic at 2 AM you will know what to do (and hopefully can skip the tearing apart the sewing area in tears part). For me this works just as nice as the real button hole elastic.

One word of caution! All elastics are made different. Some wear out in clothing quicker than others. If you notice the elastic you buy looses it stretch or frays after lots of washings you might want to switch the brand you use. I have had a few rolls of bad elastic over the years. Don't fret too much over that I have used more yards of elastic than I can count over the last 5 years. Right now I use about 6 yards a week. Back in the cloth diaper years I used a lot more than that in a week. In all of that elastic I have only ever had maybe 9 yards that didn't hold up. The good thing about using the Do it yourself elastic is you can easily take it out and replace it if it wears out. Taking out the type that comes in store bought jeans takes a bit more work. OH! I should say that I have had some of the real buttonhole elastic fray or break over the years. That also doesn't happen very often.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Fashion Show

I watched The Fashion Show again last week. The challenge was to make a femme fatale outfit. I was a bit sad because sewing something mysterious and seductive is out of the question! My beautiful models are only 3 and 5 years old! I really wanted a sewing challenge so I decided to get as close to the challenge as I could. They used some 1940's clothing for part of the inspiration so I decided to sew a 1940's outfit. The only problem with that is I knew NOTHING about 40's clothing. I haven't watched a 1940's movie in a very long time (I find it hard to watch any movies with 3 young children at home). I wasted most of my weekend looking up 1940's clothes on the web. After 2 days of looking I finally found something I liked.
I thought this would be a good choice. Knee length dress, flared 6 gore skirt, large pockets, belted waist, square neck, with a matching bolero jacket.

I stayed up until 4AM Sunday night (Monday morning) to finish this...

Seriously is this super cute or is it just me??? I know it is the model that makes the dress look nice. I think all 3 year old children are so cute nobody ever notices the clothes or the stitches. It is very cold here in NE PA so I put thick red tights and fur boots with it and I love the way they look with the dress. The jacket is reversible.

I think this dress style is timeless. I doubt anyone will ever see it and think that's a 1940's outfit.

I might have to add a tie to the front of the jacket. She is very active so it might not stay on her without a tie in the front. In picture above the wind blew the one side open. I am thinking about changing the jacket to have that fold up V cuff. I wasn't crazy about the cuff but my hubby finds it interesting so I might work on that later this week. I have to take out the seam at the bottom of the pockets. I rushed them at 4 AM so I could get to bed. I want to hand stitch them so they are invisible. I will do that while watching TV tonight.
Above is a picture of the dress without a jacket. It was windy and cold so we hurried. I wish I would have taken a few more pictures.

Side picture.

And the back. I am so happy with how this turned out. I made it with some cheep fabric from Walmart (I think I bought it last year). Demi wants a dress just like it. I will have to use another print because I don't have anymore of this fabric left.

Looking back I don't think I really wasted my weekend. I think I learned a lot. I knew nothing about 40's fashions and now I have TONS of ideas for future outfits... Wartime gray shirt dresses, tailored skirts, tailored jackets, wool coats with fur trim, cute swim suit ideas, and oodles of hats. I doubt I will ever search for 40's stuff again but I think I stored a lot ideas in my head to use later on.

Now the sad news... The dress is soaking right now because Zee dripped ketchup down the front at lunch time today. It is just a play dress but I hope the ketchup comes out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Faux Fur Coat.

Please forgive the poor photography in this post. I think I had a setting wrong on my camera. I should turn off my sewing machine and read the books that came with the camera... LOL! That is funny! I think everyone knows I am not willing to turn my sewing machine off to read CAMERA books. Lets pretend I was trying to get some "Artsy Fashion" pictures with this one. ;-) We can pretend not to notice my blond girl looks like she has no hair on the top of her head.

This is a simple coat made with a layer of black faux fur on the outside, a hidden layer of thick polar fleece, and lined with a purple Asian print. The fleece gives it a lot of warmth.

I chose a large cloak style hood. For closures I used black snaps and a thick satin bow that ties in the front.

The Part that I like the best is how the cloak hood gives a very large Peter Pan type collar when the hood is down. I hate to admit this but that part was NOT planned out. The coat just turned out that way.

I don't know if I can remember how I made the pattern. I had a lot of projects going on all at the same time and I just can't remember exactly how I did it. I do know I used the Child's Play software to make it. I know I changed a few things as I went along. For Child's Play users wanting the info I think I picked Jackets, style oversized, closure single breasted short length, draped hood. I can't promise but I think that is what I did. I remember I cut the pattern a bit larger (maybe an inch) to give more room because I knew the fur and thick fleece would be bulky. I am happy I did that! If I didn't make the body and arms a bit larger when I cut out the pattern this coat would have been very snug on her (probably wouldn't have fit). To make the casing for the satin tie I hand stitched above and below the ribbon into the fur and fleece. It is so easy to hide hand stitches in fur and it didn't take long to do. I think as I get back into the habit of blogging I will get better at writing down details before I forget what I did.

Note: Wild Ginger does not pay me to say nice things about the Child's Play software. I love it and think it's an amazing program. I use it whenever I don't have the time to draft my own pattern out with pencil and paper.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Finished Fashions Friday

Picture of my children on Thanksgiving day.

I feel like I got a ton of sewing finished up this week.

I finished up a red, corduroy, embroidered, top and pant for my 3 year old. You can sort of see it in picture above. Her top has a little owl embroidered on it but you can't see it from this picture.
An owl turtle neck for her to wear under the outfit (that was an ugly sewing project full of tears). She has it on under the corduroy top in the picture above.
I whipped up my 5 year old a brown turtle neck to wear with the circle skirt I made her last week. She has it on under her dress in the picture above.
I made her a hand smocked, red, corduroy top/mini dress. Yup! You guessed it! She has it on in the picture.
A red corduroy hat to match her dress that is the large floppy hat on her head.
one pair of Elmo jeans got finished (I wanted to get 3 done).
Two hats for my niece (wanted to make 3 but ran out of time with the last one). Sorry I made them up Wed. night and I didn't remember to take a picture on Thanksgiving.

I love that I was able to get so much done on a short week (I didn't sew at all on the holiday).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Circle Skirt, Brown Leggings, and Turtle neck.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I wrote this post up a couple days ago (so I could post over the holiday and not fall behind). The temps. are dropping fast here in NE PA but I like the layering of clothes that goes with this time of year. I can blog action shots of 3 items I made all in one post. I think I made the brown leggings about a week and half ago. Last week I created the circle skirt. Tuesday I whipped up the turtle neck. Demi's odd look and folded hands are because it is COLD at my house (40 deg F).

The circle skirt is was made from a pink and brown houndstooth print I bought at Walmart a few months ago for $1.50 a yard (uber deal). I am sure my husband who does a lot of fabric shopping for me doesn't believe it is Walmart fabric but I swear it is and it was in the $1.50 bin (hurry to your local Walmart and buy any they have left). The skirt is hemmed with brown bias tape. I sewed an exposed brown zipper because I really liked the way the brown zipper looked showing on the pink and brown houndstooth print.

Love the twirl of a circle skirt. When she twirls you can see the cute, brown, ribbed, leggings and her fur pom pom boots.

Please forgive the large crease down the front of the skirt. It was a dark dreary day and the little bit of sun we had was going to set soon so I rushed outside without running an iron over the skirt.

The turtle neck was made out of brown ribbed knit fabric (Joann fabric). The leggings are made from same fabric.

Patterns used...

Leggings I made from my own simple pattern.

Turtle neck top pattern was made using Child's Play Wild Ginger pattern making software All I did was select my daughter's clothing size (size 5) clicked active wear, long sleeve, turtle neck and print... POOF I had a pattern in about 2 minutes time (I love that program).

Circle skirt- I just cut out a large doughnut (large circle of fabric with a circle in the middle) and a waistband. No pattern needed for circle skirts (I LOVE that).

I plan to return tomorrow with another finished sewing project (shame on me I am such a big show off this week). ;-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elmo Jeans and Whatcha Working With Wednesday

I finished Elmo Jeans. I have made several Elmo jeans just like this over the last year. This pair is not for one of my kids (no action shots). What my family calls Elmo jeans are thanks to my girls. Demi told me years ago she didn't like me decorating back pockets because she couldn't see them. For that reason I started adding small decorated pockets to the front or on the sides. Zee didn't like small pockets because she couldn't fit rocks and toys in them so I started using over sized pockets (adult and big kid back jean pockets) Zee loved Elmo (I digitized an Elmo for my embroidery machine). I then added a bit of what I like to the Elmo jeans I love a roll up cuff (have room to grow). I love adjustable waist. I love a worn in distressed look (try to make them all from distressed adult or big kid jeans). A fake zipper fly looks nice to me. A big colorful button is a must. A roomy pair of jeans is important because it gives active kids freedom to move and moms a easy time dressing and undressing (I created a very roomy pattern that will fit very chunky cloth diapered babies).

Large rolled up cuff. I think this pair will fit 12 months-3t.

Zee loves the embroidered Elmo pockets. I LOVE putting large back jean pockets on the sides of baby/toddler jeans. I have never seen anyone do it before so I think it makes my jeans look original. This pair of jeans started out as size 12 boys jeans (my 10 year old son wore/distressed and outgrew them).

fake fly stitching and very cute large round button. I LOVE this fun button! I hope to find more just like it.

Here is an inside look at the adjustable waist. Very easy to do and a must have with little kids clothes.

Whatcha Working With Wednesday

I am thrilled to say I have several projects finished up already...
Embroidered Thanksgiving outfit for Zee
An owl turtle neck to wear under the outfit
A smocked Thanksgiving outfit for Demi (still needs a new zipper)
A turtle neck (for Demi to wear with circle skirt)
AND the Elmo jeans I shared above


I need to make some hats and a purse. Easy peasy hats and tiny purse (hope to knock them both out in just a couple hours tomorrow night). If I find time I might make up Zee's new Elmo jeans, an underskirt for Demi's circle dress, and slippers for my son. I don't have to have them finished right away so I might let them go into the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving! I think I need some roomy Elmo jeans for Thanksgiving dinner (I love to eat).

The fashion show

I LOVE Project Runway and I am so sad the season is over. Last Tues. I found a show called The Fashion Show. I was so excited to find another TV show about sewing/fashion. Last weeks challenge was the human body. It was kind of gross looking at the inside of a human body! After the show was over I started thinking how I could take on the challenge at home. The loosing team all used red for a fabric color and they all put pleats on the outfits. I already had some red corduroy material on my work table to make Thanksgiving outfits for the girls. I figured I could use that red fabric and not have to drive to the fabric store with my 3 children (if I went shopping for fabrics I would have tried to make something to go along with the winning team). I knew working with red corduroy fabric, a 5 year old model, and the inside of a human body for inspiration wasn't going to give me a high fashion runway look. I went ahead with taking on the challenge myself because I thought it would be a good way to get an outfit done before Thanksgiving morning (past years I was sewing Thanksgiving morning trying to finish up). Here is my outfit (It isn't my favorite dress but I am happy it's done).

It is a very dark rainy day her in Pa so please forgive the bad photos. I hope to snap some pictures of my daughter wearing it on Thanksgiving.

Before starting this project I thought about so many types of pleating. My first choice was lattice smocking but I didn't think that would look nice on corduroy so I decided to honeycomb smock it. I hand smocked the fabric first and then drafted and cut a pattern out around the smocking. I found that part a bit of a challenge. Trying to line up the pleats and my pattern measurements drove me crazy and took a lot longer than it should have. The dress was very easy to sew up (I know because I sewed this dress twice). It is not high fashion runway but I think it has an heirloom look and the one time of year the heirloom look can work is the holiday season (it's when you get together with all the older members of your family and share fond memories from long ago). I give myself points for doing all the hand work and teaching myself how to cut a pattern out around a pile of pleats. Mike quit the show last week and nobody was voted off so I feel that my made at home look is "good enough" for my weekly sewing challenge. I have to admit if I took this challenge today I would have made the outfit more "runway" looking. I would have gone for a child couture look (but that would have involved a trip to the fabric store for a bit of fabric to add to the corduroy fabric).

Here is the Big NO NO part of my projectWhat do you think Isaac Mizrahi would say about the tiny threads all over the back AND what about that green zipper? I picture Isaac might say what were you thinking? Did you think red corduroy with a green zipper would give it some kind of festive holiday look? Maybe he wouldn't have. I have noticed a LOT of puckered seams and pins in clothes on fashion shows without the judges saying a word. I need to let everyone know the green zipper is not going to stay. I didn't have a matching zipper so I used one I had on hand to work out the fitting on the dress. I will get a new zipper today and I will clean up all the loose threads.

I think a new episode is on tonight (I am very excited). I am thrilled knowing my 5 year old has a finished dress to wear on Thanksgiving! Thanks Fashion Show TV program for giving me a reason to finish a dress a few days early. I need to get off the computer because I still have that pile of projects out that I need to finish up this week. Please forgive the poor writing. I am fighting off a head cold so I am having a hard time keeping my thoughts in order.

Monday, November 22, 2010

This week sewing list is TOO long!!!

I am going to try to find a bit of computer time in this week of sewing madness. Here is my list of sewing projects for this week...
An embroidered outfit for Zee (to wear on Thanksgiving)
A turtle neck for Zee (to go under the outfit)
A corduroy dress for Demi (to wear on Thanksgiving)
A turtle neck (or T-shirt) for Demi to go with the circle skirt I made last week.
2 pair of Elmo jeans.
4 hats
A reversible purse (for Demi).

Here are the fabrics I am using.

It's only 3 tops, 1 dress, 3 pants, 4 hats, and one purse to sew up in the next two day. I want to finish them all up by end of day Wed. I NEED most of them ready for Thurs. morning. I hope to be back tomorrow with some pictures BUT at this point I can't make any promises.

I know I haven't shared action pics from last week yet... How I wish I could find a few more hours in my days!! Fingers crossed my girls don't have to go to Thanksgiving dinner naked or in old play clothes!!! My next post might be UGLY! I pray not to make any dumb swing mistakes. Hubby just called me from work and let me know I need to finish Elmo jeans tonight. Looks like my sewing machine will be running all night tonight. My children might find me sleeping on my sewing machine in the morning.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finished Fashions Friday

I know it is almost Sat. I am typing this at 11:30 PM (I have 30 minutes until finished fashions Friday is over). I did finish some sewing this week (GO Me). If I type quick enough I might get this posted before it turns into Saturday.

Demi's circle skirt is done

Zee's faux fur coat is done.

Cat In The Hat/Fish in the pot top and jeans are done.

Kids are sleeping (it is almost midnight) so I will try to get action shots over the weekend. It is late so I will post sewing details with the action shots.

Other crafty news is I crocheted a few more granny squares.

Happy weekend! I plan to start a bunch more sewing projects tomorrow (that should make my weekend happy).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whatcha Working With Wednesday.

I thought I would go W crazy on Wednesdays the best I could come up with was Whatcha Working With Wednesday.

Here is a peek at what is heaped on my kitchen table set out on my work table in my studio.

This is going to be a circle skirt for Demi. I am a few inches too short on bias tape (my awesome hubby is stopping at Joanns on his way home from work). Other than that all it needs is a zipper in the back. I hope to have it finished in the next couple days. I have plans in my head to make an underskirt, top, and sweater to go with it but we all know that might never happen.

This is a faux fur coat for Zee. It needs the rest of the snaps put on it. I need to finish the hem on the sleeves and then work out if I want to add a ribbon tie on it. If I force myself to work on it I could have it done in 15 minutes (yet somehow it has looked just like this for over a month now).

Cat in the hat/fish in a pot outfit for Zee. Jeans are done but I need to make the top to go with it.

Jumbo granny squares I have 4 done (need around 36). Once I crochet a stack of them I plan to make a "pretty" bed dressing for the girls bedroom.

All projects will be quick to finish up except for the crochet. I hope to finish them all this week.

I'm Reunited With Blogger

I was a fool to ever leave your side
(Please forgive me dusty old craft blog)
Me minus you is such a lonely ride
(I tried to move along and forget you but I couldn't)
The breakup we had has made me lonesome and sad
(I can't even remember why we broke up)
I realize I love you
(Crafts making it simple blog please take me back)
'Cause I want you bad, hey, hey

WHAT is that all about you ask? I didn't want to write another I'm back post... I hope this time to start blogging again and not vanish for months at a time. I was looking at some of my old sewing creations in old post and I realized how much I missed blogging enjoy looking at things I tried to make years ago. If you wonder if I have given up crafting the answer is NO! I am still a craft-crazy-nut! I spend all of my free time designing sewing patterns, sketching up embroidery designs, sewing, along with working needles/hooks and yarn. Honestly, I think my craft addiction is what keeps me from blogging. I rather work the textiles than work at typing on the keyboard. Heck, I don't even take pictures of most of the things I make because I rather sew than snap pictures. I am going to work hard on getting it together and blog a lot so I can look back and laugh at all my mistakes and crazy ideas in the archives save all my very creative craft-y projects. I think I can force myself to snap a picture of everything I make. I am a little sad thinking about all the things I never took pictures of. Well, there's no time to stop and cry about that now because I have 100's designs to create! My sewing machine, embroidery machine, serger, knitting machine, felting machine, spinning wheel, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and paper crafts are all calling me (I'm sure I have lots of other tools hiding in my craft room waiting for me to use). I have a few things that are almost done and I have a large amount of things I made in the last few weeks. I will share some of the things I have made over the last month as I finish up other projects. I promise dusty old (but still loved) craft blog that I will take 15 minutes a week to share what I am working on. I like having this blog to look back at the things I have made. I really enjoy seeing all my dumb ideas and sewing mistakes of years past how much my beautiful children have grown. I know the day is just around the corner when my children will refuse to wear "mama made" clothes. I want to save as much of that as I can now so I can look back when my children get too big for me to wrestle to the ground and force mama made sewing projects on their tiny bodies decide mama made is no longer cool to wear.