I’ve moved!!!

I’ve moved my blog! You can find me over here at LITTLE KIDS GROW.

Windy City Skirt Tutorial

Windy City Skirt Edit

As promised, I’m posting the Windy City Skirt Tutorial. This was my first applique, so I may have missed something in the process, but it worked. (That’s all that matters anyway, right?)

What you’ll need:  Applique fabric,matching thread,  fusible interfacing, water soluble drawing tool (I use a pencil), fabric adhesive (I use Liquid Stitch)

1.  Make a sketch of your design. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just something to give you a general idea of proper spacing. I wanted something asymmetrical for my skirt design, but the sky’s the limit in your creativity.

2.  Once you have your design idea in mind, select the appropriate fabrics for the garment and the applique design. To be honest, I didn’t really take fabric weight into consideration when attempting this project, but I would definitely recommend selecting an applique fabric that is sturdy.With a quick project like this one with minimal fabric prep time, the less finicky the fabric (knits, silky, fine, etc) the easier and less time consuming the process.

3.  Sketch your design directly onto the applique fabric. I did this design freehand, but there are many beautiful stencils that you can use if you prefer. Also, I used a pencil (with an eraser). I drew very lightly on the fabric and just erased if I made a mistake. Any extra markings are either taken care of during cutting or after you wash your garment. 4.Preparing your applique fabric:

Once your drawing is complete, you’ll want to cut off any excess fabric from the top and side of your design (do not cut the design out just yet) and add fusible interfacing to the back.

5.  Once you’ve adhered the interfacing, cut out your design. 6. Position your pieces on your garment:

My design used 4 large separate pieces. The separate pieces made it easy to move around on the garment for proper placement.

7. Adhere your pieces directly to your fabric:

I pinned the fabric in place and then lifted the under side to apply the  fabric adhesive. Because the fabric that I used was heavy, I applied the glue directly from the tube, but if you are concerned about even distribution I’d recommend using a brush – especially if your fabric is thin.

Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you may have to wait a bit before sewing. (I’m a bit impatient, so I didn’t wait!) I guess it depends on the fabric.

8.  Once your fabric has adhered, it’s time to stitch. Matching thread covers many mistakes, so I highly recommend it. Sew around the outer edge of your design using a satin or buttonhole stitch.

When you come to the end of a section back stitch a bit before moving on to another section.

And, that’s it! You now have your own designer original! Yea!!!

I took a lot of shortcuts, but if you’d like more information on applique, here’s a fantastic tutorial with lots of great instructions, and product suggestions.

Windy City Skirt

I am so excited about this skirt. This was my first applique design and I am hooked! I set out to design a skirt using this book here (which I absolutely love by the way!) Unfortunately, something went awry. I miscalculated a measurement and my skirt ended up a bit on the short side. I wanted to lengthen it, but was out of my original fabric. The only fabric that I had that would coordinate was some old drapery fabric that I had in my closet. Never one to back down from a chance to be thrifty, I recycled the drapery fabric and in the process decided to try my hand at a little bit of applique and WALAH (Voila)! The Windy City Skirt.

This skirt started out as the “Ocean Waves” skirt, but my kids thought that the design looked more like the wind blowing. Ha Ha!

Tutorial to come!

Keep sewing!


Little Lizard King

Little Lizard King Pic 1

So, I was over at The Train to Crazy this morning, and she is having a pattern give-away featuring Little Lizard King. The patterns are so cute. I’m especially excited to see that boy pattern pieces are included  (It’s so hard to find patterns for boys). Here are my 3 favorites:

Shirred Shirts

I found a cute tutorial for shirred shirts here the other day. I’d already begun a shirring project which included straps, but I thought I’d try something different. I didn’t follow the original instructions which suggested cutting the arm holes before sewing the the final seams. I’d already closed my garment so instead of removing the seams, I just cut the arm holes afterward. The top has one seam down the back instead of one on each side, but it works and the girls are enjoying them. I also used a fleece instead of cotton.  The weather is starting to cool off here a bit, so these sleeveless creations can transition into the cooler weather with a light sweater or jacket (Click on the pic to see a larger version.) I’m submitting this shirt for Make It Wear It and the Kids Clothes Week Challenge.

Keep Sewing!


Sewing for Kids

Over the last few days I’ve been perusing the web for tutorials for kid’s clothes, and boy did I hit the jackpot! Call me naive, but I never knew that there were so many awesome tutorials for the kiddos clothes out there. I’ll be posting the links as I try the tutes. I hope you’ll find the links as exciting as I have.

I entered the following sew-along to get me going:

Sewing for six kids can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s such a motivation to see others creativity. Very inspiring! The  Else Marley site has a lot of great stuff including more info about this challenge. Take a peek here.

Keep sewing!


Beginning Pattern Drafting


I must admit something. I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to spend some time going back to the basics. Two years ago, I was trying to find every shortcut in the book to keep from spending the necessary time to understand garment construction (See this post). I just wanted to get to the finished product and felt that all of the “extra stuff” was slowing me down. Now, unfortunately, I’m missing a lot of general sewing techniques, and it’s hindering me from making some of the garments that I’ve sketched (I never saw that one coming).  I absolutely love designing, but here’s my dilemma: I’m still super duper short on time.  I find the draping method to be a big time saver, because  I can just forgo the muslin, throw the fabric up on the dress form and just “go for it!” Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, “Haste makes waste”, and I’ve wasted a lot of fabric in unworn garments that looked fine on the outside but just didn’t wear well because of poor construction. I hate to admit it, but I WAS SO WRONG. Technique is ultra important! So, I’ve dusted off my collection of sewing books (lots of vintage ones that I absolutely love!), and I’m  starting at square one: THE SLOPER.

Now, understand, though I’ve seen the “error of my ways”, I still absolutely dread making a sloper!  So many measurements, adjustments, more measurements. In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure that the initial process of making a sloper will save me tons of time later in pattern adjustments, etc, but,…well…I just don’t want to do it! But, just as bitter medicine is hard to swallow (ha! wher’d that come from?), I know that it’s good for me, so I’ll trudge through it.

I have 3 or 4 good pattern drafting books, but I think only one takes you through the steps of creating a sloper. The others create patterns directly from your measurements and by-pass the sloper completely.

Finally Fits (1973) by Ruth Amiel & Happy Gerhard is a fantastic book for beginners. It says on the cover that it is “The no-scare Home Patternmaking System for everyone, every size”, and I have to agree with them. It’s not intimidating at all. The instructions are easy to follow and there are tons of diagrams. The book is an easy read with very few industry terms that would throw a novice like me. And, even though it was published in the early 70’s you are not bombarded with out-of-date garments to duplicate. I found that everything offered in this book can be used as a template for garments today. I found it here on Alibris.com, but you might also find it here on Amazon.com

Chapter 1 gets you acquainted with the materials needed like pencils, paper, tape, rulers, French curve, scissors, tape measure, etc.

Chapter 2 is my favorite part (not really): Measurements.  You have to take approximately 41 measurements, give or take a few, and it takes a lot of time. Some of the measurements are challenging to do by yourself, so I’d advise a partner. My six-year-old was more than happy to oblige and did a fantastic job.

Chapter 3: the Paper Pattern Checker. If you’re a beginner like me, your next question would be, “What?” I thought you went straight from the measurements to the sloper. Who new you’d have to make a Paper Pattern Checker of your exact measurements, transfer that pattern to muslin to make a Muslin Pattern Checker, adjust those measurements and then finally arrive at your sloper. Whew! and Wow! I finished my Paper Pattern Checker today for my skirt.

If any of you have done this before and have suggestions for this newbie, I’d be forever grateful for any advice.

(Step TWO will be to transfer those measurements to muslin and then sew it up. I’ll post those pictures soon.)

Do what you love,

Keep sewing!