Monday, March 30, 2009

Action shots

I had E wear the peasant top today and I have to say, it looks much better on! I'm really really pleased with how this turned out and I can see myself making more in different colors and patterns.

And here's a bonus shot of her just being silly and giving me her "cheese" face.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busy weekend!

I went to a Sewing Night with some mom friends last night and I managed to be surprisingly productive. I haven't had a chance to get any action shots (E was uncooperative, as usual), but I'll try again later this week.

I finally finished the shirred skull dress I started ages ago. I way overestimated the width, so it took me forever to get it pulled as tight as I needed. I think it's still going to be a little big, but I'm otherwise happy with it.

I also managed to whip up another PortabelloPixie outfit - the peasant top this time. It was much faster the second time around, partly because I already know how it goes together, but also partly because I decided not to turn hems and just ran an overcast stitch along all the raw edges. I also skipped the ruffle at the bottom.

And, with a push from my friend Jacki, I finally made my first pair of bloomers! Up until now, I've had a weird phobia about making pants, shorts, bloomers...pretty much anything with a crotch. Yeah, yeah, insert lame joke here. But she gave me a pattern and it was very easy! I still have to insert elastic, so no picture yet, but I'm very happy that I'll be able to make matching bloomers to go with some of these dresses now.

Next up, I think I'm going to try a lined, zipped pouch, which I've been wanting to do for ages. I also want to try one of the dresses from the other PortabelloPixie pattern I bought (Gracie), and then I have some less exciting projects to do, like recover my torn up couch cushions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some better pictures

Can't sleep, so I thought I'd post some better pictures I took today of the peasant dress. I have to say, the more I look at it, the more I love it! And if you know me at all, you'll know what a rare thing it is for me to be really happy with something I made.

Next up, I'm going to make the peasant top, probably without the ruffle. I'm also almost done with another shirred sundress, this time with pink skull fabric. And I really want to try out one of the other Portabellopixie patterns I got. Hoping to get them all done this weekend.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yay! It's done!

It took me a little longer than I thought, but I finally finished the PortabelloPixie dress!

Despite my nervousness about working with a pattern, I have to say, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, especially once I got past all the cutting. The directions were pretty straightforward and easy to follow, although I was annoyed by the fact that there was no warning about the fact that the pattern calls for serged edges. There were alternate instructions for those without a serger, but it added easily another half dozen steps (including more ironing, which I hate! grrrr).

Anyways, here is the finished dress and a rather crappy picture of it, worn by an uncooperative E over her other clothes, mid-twirl.

It's pretty long, so if I end up making this particular version again, I'll probably shorten it quite a bit. Or I may just make the peasant top, instead of the dress. I will also probably not bother turning all the hems again and just leaving them raw with an overcast stitch or whatever. I think it'll go much more quickly next time around, now that I know how it goes together.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confession time

I've never really sewn from patterns before. Much like my knitting, I sort of prefer to figure out how things go together and just work it out on my own. I've come to realize though that while that generally works out ok in knitting, in sewing, it can have truly disastrous results. It's much harder to figure out how a particular piece of fabric needs to be cut, and unlike yarn, it can't be undone. So in an attempt to have a more polished outcome, not to mention a cuter style overall, I ordered a couple PortabelloPixie patterns through a co-op.

I'll be honest. I'm totally intimidated. Even the prospect of laying everything out and tracing and cutting pieces has me a bit frozen with fear, especially after I unfolded the patterns and realized it's on this HUGE piece of paper. I don't know why I get like this (I mean, is IS just fabric), but for some reason this is the root of my procrastination. But I'm determined to power through it and get going on a dress this weekend and I think posting this will help force me to do it!

Here is the fabric I have picked out.

Actually, I'll confess that this is round 2 of fabric. I also bought some other stuff earlier that I ended up changing my mind about, although I did stick with the same big print on the left for the skirt. I'm hoping to spend tomorrow tracing patterns and maybe even cutting, depending on if the kid cooperates. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finally finished the dress

I'm probably ruining a bit of the surprise here, but since it's already a belated gift (and I know that the recipient won't mind), I figure what the heck, I'm posting it!

I made E a couple of cute little shirred summer dresses last summer and decided to make one in for a friend's daughter's birthday. I chose this Care Bears print partly because I know the birthday girl loves Care Bears, but also partly out of revenge for introducing E to Dora the Explorer, the new bain of my existence.

Anyways, turns out that I'm a little rustier than I thought at making these, so it's not 100% perfect (which also means that I'm not even close to 100% happy with it), but I still think it turned out cute. I cheated and just used ribbon for the straps since that way I don't have to worry about them being the wrong length.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Most of my crafting these last few weeks has revolved around stuff for E's 2nd birthday party. I decided on a farm/barnyard theme, partly because she loves farm animals, but also because it was relatively generic and easy to find/make stuff to go with it. I've already posted the cardboard animals in various states, but here are the finished products. Forgive the crappy quality of the pictures. I was a bit frazzled this morning trying to snap them before everyone arrived.

Sheep (that wouldn't stay stuck to the wall)

Cow (I actually made two, the other is the same, just mirror-imaged)

Pig (whose tail I forgot to put on, poor guy)


And duck (see below). Oh, I only made the bigger duck though. The little ones were pre-made wood cutouts from Michael's.

I also got a roll of red paper from a teacher-supply store and made a very generic barn to go on the wall. Black construction paper for the roof "shingles" and long strips of white paper for the barn doors and windows.
I used the rest of the red paper to cover my coffee table and pushed it up against the barn to make a coloring station for the kids.

I attempted to make a 3-dimensional barn cake to go along with the paper barn. Of course, I procrastinated on starting it until last night, so it's not quite as nice and polished-looking as I would have liked. Still, I think it's pretty cute. And luckily, 2-year-olds don't really know the difference.

Here's a rather crappy picture from an odd angle:

And a better picture with T holding up E while she blows out her candle:

I have to say, even though I was dead tired while icing this at 1am last night, I realized how much I've missed working on cakes and pastries. I think I'm definitely going to have to get back in practice, even if only for fun. I had actually also wanted to make a silo out of stacked cookies to go with the barn, as well as animal cupcakes, but I simply ran out of time. I ended up ordering the cupcakes from a local place instead, which I was not super juiced about, especially after I got them and they were sort of crappy. I think I could have made better ones myself, but oh well, what's done is done. The kids ate the cupcakes and were happy, so that's all that matters.

Last, but not least, were the little goody bags I made out of bandannas. Nothing super special or complicated, just bandanas that I cut in half, folded and stitched up two sides. Throw in a bunch of favors from Oriental Trading Company, tie with ribbon and voila! Homemade goody bag! (Although I do have to give some credit to my cousin to stuffed and tied all the bags. Gotta love slave labor!)


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