Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting it all in order

For months now, I've sort of unofficially co-opted the dining room and been using it as my office/craft room. But then my sewing started spilling over into the kitchen, and my yarn has been scattered all over the house pretty much always. So a few weeks ago, T let me officially take over the dining room on the condition that I keep my stuff contained to that room. We bought a bunch of shelves, rearranged furniture and got some bins...and now I have my very own craft room! I'm so excited. I have a desk for the computer, a separate table for my sewing machine that I can also use as a cutting table. A huge shelf for storage, and even room to keep the ironing board out. Just for sake of babyproofing, as well as space, we kept our shelves of CDs, as well as the mini-fridge in the room too, but they don't really get in the way. So I've been working on getting it really organized and I think I'm almost there.

Last weekend, my best friend came to visit and we managed to get a couple small projects going. She is also crafty and Asian, but way better at sewing, so I got to pick her brain a bit on some things that I'd been wanting to try. First up, we made a little diaper pouch, similar to the "diapees & wipees" ones I've seen in stores. I always looked at those and thought, "I can't believe they're charging $20 (or whatever) for those things when it's just a little reversible pocket!" Well, now I know why. Those things are a pain in the ass to make! Way harder than I thought it'd be, although granted, we kind of screwed up our pattern, which added extra steps. And yes, I know the birds are upside down on the flap. But!! Why didn't anyone ever warn me how much ironing was involved in sewing? Still, I think next time I see something like that, I may not be so eager to be like, "pfft...I could make that myself..."

The irony of this project is that I'm sort of in the process of switching to cloth diapers - at least part time. And there is no way I can fit even one of them into this little pouch. And really, I need something that's sort of waterproof for a cloth diaper. So you can bet your life that I'm going to be buying a zipped waterproof pouch (known in the cloth diapering world as a wetbag). $15 is going to be a bargain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Skull dress!

I made another little shirred sundress, this time for a friend's daughter for her 1st birthday. I actually finished it last night, but didn't want to ruin the surprise of the gift. I originally bought the fabric to make a dress or top for E, but had enough for two. And as much as I love it, somehow it's not striking me as being quite E's style, so I'll probably give the other one away too, once I make it.

The shirring process on this one was just a little more involved than the first dress I did. I think because the fabric was slightly heavier in weight (the first was very lightweight seersucker), I had to do more manual pulling of the threads to get it gathered just right. But overall, these are definitely getting easier to make. I'm thinking that E is going to spend the summer in little dresses. I mean, hey why not? They're easy to get on and off, she'll stay cool, and they're super freaking cute!

I just got some new fabric to make a few more dresses - gingham and seersucker were on sale (at Hobby Lobby and Hancocks, respectively). I'd also like to try to make another halter dress with the seersucker, this time without using ribbon for ties. And I still want to try my hand at making matching shorts/spankies, although I just bought some cloth diapers the other day and they are so cute that I probably won't bother putting anything over them. Hmm, I sense a new obsession rearing its ugly head - but I'll save that for another post.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Rockin' Friday Night

That title is dripping with sarcasm, just in case you weren't sure.

Last night, after T got the child down to bed, he pretty much went to bed himself. This was at the very late hour of 8pm. So since I'm not 70 years old, and I still had some energy to burn, I decided to work on some projects.

I had originally intended to run out to the fabric store (yes, again) and pick up some elastic so I could make some matching shorts for the
sundress I made last week, but I was disappointed to discover that they close at 8pm on Fridays. Odd, huh? Instead I ended up wandering around the nearby Dollar Tree and then onto Target, where I found some cheap packs of cute ribbon. So I decided to fire up the old glue gun and try again at making some hair clips for E.

I think they turned out pretty darn cute; way better than my first effort, one of which is at the bottom of the picture. I think I've almost got the hang of the glue gun now, so there's not as much glue glopped all over the edges. It's hard to get a small bead of glue on such a small object, and then get the ribbon on there before it hardens up.

These are also way cheaper to make than buy. The cheapest ones I've seen are sets of 2 pairs for $10 at Target, but usually they're like, $8 for ONE clip at places like Babystyle. I'm also not a fan of the overly frilly ones that I see in most places since it just isn't my or E's style. Is it nutty that a 1-year-old already has her own look and style? But I digress. The ribbon came in a pack of 6 different little spools, but of course, since I found them in the Dollar Spot, there's only like 18 inches on each spool. Still, I can make at least 2 clips out of each spool, so it's not a bad deal for a buck. And I'm realizing now that scrapbooking ribbon is the way to go. The designs tend to be more varied and funky then the standard fare you find in the hobby/fabric depts. I'm definitely going to make some more.

Almost forgot to mention: I realized after my first try that the fuzzy side of the velcro wasn't really working, so I tried the grippy side instead. They stick really well now, even in my super straight, slick hair that doesn't hold anything.

Monday, May 12, 2008

This has nothing to do with crafting, really

But how freakin' cute are these shoes? I saw these the other day at Nordstrom Rack and had to buy them. They're a little big for E's feet still, but she can manage to clomp around in them a bit. Now, my burning question is, why don't all kids' shoes have the little tab at the back to help pull them on? These were not easy to get on her feet.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just one more

Had to add a quick photo of E in the dress without the PJs underneath. Ok, maybe two more photos.

first shirred dress!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Or as E would say, "Duh-daaaaa!" My first real homesewn dress!! I'm so proud of myself. Although to be technical, it's actually my second effort at sewing a dress. The first one...well, let's just say it didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. But I'll get to that later. Let's start with the good, shall we?

So you may recall that I recently made this dress and this dress from material that was already pre-shirred (for all you non-sewing types, that means it was already all gathered up and elasticized). It was super easy, and I really wanted to make more, but there's a pretty slim selection of fabric, especially fabric that isn't 4 feet long, meaning that I'd be wasting about half of it. Not to mention that depending on where you buy it, it's not exactly cheap. And almost everything I found was a 65/35 - poly/cotton blend - which I personally don't care for. I couldn't find any that was 100% cotton.

Then I happened across this fabulous tutorial on how to do the shirring myself! Aha! So I headed over to my local fabric store (conveniently located about 5 minutes from my house) and found some super cute, summery cotton seersucker on sale and decided to give it a whirl. It actually was not all that hard to do. But it was pretty time-consuming.

So here's a pic of E in the dress - I pulled it on over her jammies this morning. Hee. I'm really quite proud of how it turned out. I'm even thinking about making a matching top for myself. Or maybe not. But I do love the fabric. Having a pattern with lines to follow made sewing with the elastic thread a LOT easier.

Back to my real first dress effort. Well...this is what I get for trying to sew something that not only have I never ever done before, but also to do it without a real pattern. I've been wanting to do a pillowcase dress for a while now, but the pillowcase shape is a bit boring to me. A friend of mine made one that she modified by making into more of a real dress with a gathered skirt. I also saw some cute halter dresses on Etsy that didn't look too hard. You can see where this is headed.

So I worked it out in my head, cut out a paper pattern first, and then just went for it. It's actually not totally terrible, and it looks way better laid out on the table than it does on, but I think my overall construction method was a bit flawed. I realize now that I did some steps backwards, so the top part is too big, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fix it without taking the whole dang thing apart.

Here's some pics of when I tried it on E yesterday (again, over jammies):

From the front, it looks a lot like just a kitchen apron. But I think the back turned out pretty well, all things considered. My first try using elastic. I take some comfort in the fact that I knew this was an experiment and used pretty much the cheapest fabric I had lying around (a $2 remnant from Ikea). I think the next one will be better.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hello New Hobby!

I went to a Mom's Night In tonight where I learned how to do appliqu├ęs! It was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, but then, I picked something pretty simple, and I also did a tote bag instead of a t-shirt, so I got to skip a few steps. I did a Hello Kitty face on a black tote bag. It turned out pretty darn cute! I can't wait to make more stuff. I see lots of HK in my future. In fact, I may have to make a shirt for myself!

I'm definitely making another run to the fabric store tomorrow for supplies - only my 3rd trip this week. Hee!

Here's a closeup.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Action shot

Here's a quick pic of Sofia wearing the dress. It fit her perfectly! Hooray!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Late night madness

T went to bed early last night, so I took advantage of the time alone to go a little crazy with the craftiness. First off, I finished a sundress for my friend's daughter, Sofia. We like to joke that she and E are BFFs, and I love having other people to make stuff for.

I went a slightly different route with this one and actually cut the top instead of just folding it down, which I'm not sure if I like as much. But I thought that adding a seam would take away some of the stretchiness. I also used ribbon for the straps, so that I wouldn't have do any measuring. But I think they may be a little short. We'll see when I give it to her later today. I may have to make some adjustments.

I also made my very first hair clippies last night. I've had all the stuff to make bows & clips for a long time now, but I've just been too lazy to bust out the hot glue gun. Somehow, having a baby (well now I guess she's actually a toddler) roaming around is not very conducive to working with hot glue.

I have to say though, making these things was really not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I mean, glue ribbon to metal. Done, right? Well, I don't know if I have the wrong kind of glue gun (low temp vs. high temp), but it was really hard to get the ribbon on there before the glue hardened up and dried. So I spent a lot of time picking off gobs of dried glue. Bleh. Not the neatest job in the world (wow, I'm really noticing now how crooked the ribbon is), but for a first effort, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. They actually look better in the in person since they're teeny and farther away. Ha!

I figure I'll get better at it if I ever decide to make more. As it turns out, E's just not really a hairbow kind of girl. She needs something to keep the hair out of her face, so we'll see if these will fly. Oh, the white fuzzy stuff peeking out is the fuzzy part of a strip of velcro. I thought it might help them hold better since E's hair is a bit fine and a lot of clips just slide out.

Last, but no least, I also used my fancy new iron to give fusing plastic bags another go-round. My first effort (with the old, crappy iron) was...well terrible. I don't know if it was the iron or the type of bags I used, but it was all ugly and wrinkly and not very "fabric-y," if you know what I mean. This time, I decided to use all Target bags and it came out much better. Of course, I have no idea what I'm going to do with this just yet - maybe sew some kind of bag or pouch to put wet swimsuits in.

I am totally on a roll now! I'm going to try my hand at another type of dress tonight. And tomorrow I'm going to learn how to applique! Woohoo!


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