Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sew Easy - Part 1

Easy Skirt Sewing tutorial Sometimes I feel like sewing is a dying art...simply because I meet so few people who want to sew these days. When I was growing up back home, every women in my home knew how to sew, at least the basics. So did everyone in the neighborhood. Me and my cousins were lucky to be born in a family where we saw a lot of sewing on a regular basis ( No, we don't have a professional seamstress in the family, if you discount my little venture. All that sewing was only for the family)
But as I grew up I saw the shift in the enthusiasm for sewing...very few of my friends knew how to sew, by the time I had a family, very few of my friends knew how to thread a sewing machine. The thing that is even more sad is that most of them didn't feel the need to learn it.
I don't know if I'm just plain old fashioned to love sewing, or it is a skill worth saving ( after all, doesn't Walmart sells ready to wear clothes cheaper than the fabric it would take to make them...never mind the time and skill). However, very often I come across women who are fascinated by sewing, want to try their hand at it but are either scared by the whole process of taking detailed measurements, cutting, sewing, finishing, buying so many notions and tools, lack of sewing machine or some combination of the above. I feel that as somebody who has enjoyed the art of sewing for a long time, I can address those difficulties. Maybe I can make some of you reconsider sewing as a skill worth learning, even enjoyable.

With this goal in mind I'm starting off this series, called Sew Easy. In this series I'll write some tutorials for items that require very little skills and would look totally cute on your kids or yourself. I'll also try to include pointers to tutorials to such projects from other blogs. I hope you like these projects and warm up to sewing more.

Part 1 - 10 mins ( or less ) skirt

What do you need

1 Tshirt - ( Adult or child size - preferable bigger than the child who will be weaing the skirt )
2. Scissor
3. Elastic - 1 Yd - 3/8 inch
4. Sewing machine or sewing needle and thread matching with Tshirt
5. Measuring tape or ruler
6. Safety Pin

Step 2. Measure the Wearer's waist lets call it X inches
        Measure the length you want the skirt to be lets call it Y inches ( you dont need any seam allowances here)

        Add about half of waist measurement to width X calculate the width of fabric = X+X/2 but since the Tshirt is already double layered lets divide the whole thing into half again so the width we need to cut is = X/2+X/4 = lets call it W.


Step 2. Lay your Tshirt flat on a flat surface

Step 3. From the bottom of the TShirt Measure up Y inches.
Step 4. Fold the TShirt upwards Y inches making sure that the length is even all across.

   Step 5. Now measure W inches at the fold you just made from one side.

Step 6. Cut the Tshirt upto W inch mark. The cut it perpendicular to this cut upto the bottom to get a folded rectangle of WxY
(Sew Easy Tip: If your TShirt is a couple of inches wider than W, don't bother making the second cut, just cut the Tee along the width, we are making a full skirt so width doesn't have to be precise and and not making the lengthwise cut will reduce the sewing you need to do)

Step 7. Now attach a safety pin to the elastic

Step 8. Thread the elastic through the bottom hem of the T Shirt piece you just cut.
Step 9. Pull the elastic to its desired length ( X - 3 inches  would be a good starting point). At this point you may want to try it on the wearer by attaching both elastic ends with a pin. Take care not to poke her with the pin. Adjust the elastic according to the fit.

Step 10. Bring both raw ends together and sew a seam with right sides together. Make sure you catch both ends of elastic in your seams. Go over the elastics 2 - 3 times to make them more durable.

Step 11. Turn the skirt inside out

Step 12. The skirt is ready! Ta Da!
Ummm...why are you yawning?..aren't you excited? made a skirt!!!
Ohhh, 'coz you made a boring skirt!!!
Hey not so fast...
The reason, some clothes look so fab isn't because they are overly complicated or some rocket scientist designed them. They look so awesome, because before/after the main garment was constructed somebody spent some time jazzing it up before you got to see it. And know what? You could totally do this to clothes you make. I'll show you how in my next post. And yes! we'll turn this boring skirt into something fab!


I was feeling a lack of nice cardigans/shrugs to wear in the summer. Here, it sometimes gets cold even in the middle of summer, so I dove into my stash of Tees from Old Navy ( I bought a bunch during their 40% off everything sale last time) and found a XXL sized Tee.
Here's what it became:

The back:

This refashion took much longer than I had expected, mainly because of rolled hems all around the edges and
also because of my reluctance to redo sleeves an armholes. Next time I won't try to sneak my way out of proper doesn't work and doing it later wastes a lot of time and makes it more error prone.
However I'm glad that finally it all worked out and my wardrobe got a much needed shrug!
Totally wearable.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Curtains for the living room

We inherited a hideous sheer for our living room window when we moved in and for all the sewing I do, I didn't get around to replacing it..which was a shame. Not our new living room curtain. To think it just takes 15 mins to sew a curtain...I wonder why we lived with it for this long.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The new members!


May I introduce to you 2 new members of our

First say hello to Veronica's Garden Dress (size 4T )

This is made with softest of knits from Baby Nay and I just love this print

Next is this super-cute and super comfy Sherbert TShirt Dress( size 12 months)

Both are available now in my etsy store.
Go check them out and let me know how you like them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How fast, how fast?

Just on a whim, I tried to see how fast I could sew a peasant dress ( on an aside, just learned that these are raglan dresses and not peasant dresses ...^hangs head in shame^). So I made this little number cutting and 50 mins flat. That is ...minus the ruffle at the bottom. So if your little girl needs some dresses/tops for the summer...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sewing Techniques Roundup

Image courtsey: Dzz via MorgueFile

Every Friday, I share a roundup of all the blogs posts that I have come across which talk about some specific sewing techniques. After all we all strive to be better seamstress, don't we?

Jessica from Me Sew Crazy is one crazy talented gal. This week At Girl Creative she  shared this super easy and super cute technique to make your own kids made watercolor fabric. Hmmm...super easy, super cute, keeps the kids busy for more than 15 minutes, now that's one technique that I super love.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pants to go!

With the 2 color peasant dress.

Little one wears pants everyday, with everything. so when I made this dress, I had to make pants(leggings) to go with it to complete the look.
I added a bow on each side to add some pizazz and I love it.
Here's the complete look

Monday, June 20, 2011

Butterfly dresss saga: Part 2

As I mentioned earlier that I'm going to take my revenge on butterfly dress ( ok, its not as ominous as it sounds in this sentence). I just love the butterfly dress style and badly wanted to make it work...there...sounds much better.
But as you can gather from the pic....I fixed my mistakes from earlier version here. And made new ones.
And I chose a pretty fabric this time...Cute kid + pretty fabric = success guaranteed :)
But I really think I made it work this time around.
Whats more is that the little one thinks its the coolest dress ever. She wanted to grab it and run away, while I was still sewing it. No kidding!
I'm still thinking of a better way to sew it though...for one thing I don't care for the bias tape bound neckline.
I think because of all the ruffling, the bias tape doesn't look that crisp at the neckline. Also I'm wondering if I can make a shirred version of this pattern. That would be cool...don't you think?
Butterfly dress saga...To be continued.

Ps: Get the original tutorial here ( Sewing in no mans land).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And pinwheels for lunch

I'm kind of addicted, I want to keep making these....

Pinwheels for the breakfast

I have been swooning over these pretties from the Mother Huddle. I finally broke down and made them today morning.
Here's my version:

Yeah, I need to get prettier fabrics to make these, but I made these in 15 mins flat. Doesn't that count for something?
Check out the full tutorial here.

In the past I have had better luck with clippies ( as in they stay on little one's head for more than 15 mins) than hairbands, so I'm super excited to have found this new idea.

PS: Not sure what it is but ever since little one saw this clippie she's been begging me to put it in her hair and actually keeping these on her head for hours. Now thats success!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sewing Techniques Roundup

Every Friday, I share a roundup of all the blogs posts that I have come across which talk about some specific sewing techniques. After all we all strive to be better seamstress, don't we?

 Finishing the seams (Techniques from around the world)

Until last week I didn't even know that something like "Hong-kong seams" exist. They do and for good reason.We all need great looking seams inside our garments.

I guess French Seams are a more common way of finishing seams without a serger.

While sewing I always strive for professional finish in the garment, apparently I'm not alone in my quest.
Adithi's Amma Sews shares this great tutorial for sewing finished elastic casings and it is so simple.

Oh man! How clever is this - Making your own oilcloth.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The butterfly dress from Sewing in No Mans Land

Sewing Project: Butterfly Dress It seemed like all of my favorite blogs had been gushing about Kelly of Sewing In No Mans Land, so I blog hopped to her blog, to see what was all the noise about. Then I looked in awe at the treasure trove of amazing sewing tutorials. She may be sewing in the no mans land, but her blog is like a wonderland to me. Oh the color, the pictures, the amazing designs and if all that wasn't enough she has the cutest little model. Once I go there I don't feel like coming back...
So this week all the inspiration took its toll and I finally made this:
sewing a butterfly dress

Based on her butterfly dress pattern. Ok, let me be the first to say that it looks nothing like the pattern...there, I said it.  I  made more than a couple of mistakes ( did you notice that the print is upside down?...No! well, me neither...until it was all sewn up) and later realized that if this project
has to finish, I better focus on salvaging it rather than making it look pretty. So I just fixed a few kinks
 and plan on putting it on my daughter before I change my mind. And I don't plan on taking any pictures, I don't want to get sued by my offspring for mis-treatment.
Butterfly dress, remember, this is not over yet....I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reversible Sun Hat

Reversible Sun Hat sewing project

reversible sun hat sewing
Based on pattern Sprinkle's Sun Hat From Valerie Van Sharder's book "Sweet Booties". This pattern didn't really work out for me. For one thing I chose the Newborn size because everything else seem to fit my 18 mos old in that size :o . Apparently little one actually has the head of an 18 month old even though the rest of her body is newborn size. No idea if the sizing is off in the book or its my little one.

sewing a reversible sun hat
Also the pieces didn't line up properly for me. Again, it could just be my cutting skills ( or lack of them ).
Since I have already returned the book, I'll try to self modify the pattern. Hats are a very cute and functional accessory, so it will be good if I have a go to pattern for these.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Peasant Dress Flurry continues!

Peasant Dress Sewing Project
So this is the benefit of saving a template - you can sew many more garments based on a single pattern without having to go through the time consuming process of drafting the pattern and altering it until it fits well. The thing with the fit is that you wont get a perfect fit easily, whether you draft your own pattern or
follow a pattern you bought. Because human beings are not made according to a standard but the patterns are. So whatever you do, you have to go though a little trial and error before you have a perfect fit. But I digress....
I was smart enough to save the template when I made the peasant dress last time, which actually fit my daughter well. So now I'm whipping out peasant! There are actually so many little variations you can make to any pattern that nobody will ever notice you made the same thing like...10 times.  Here's my latest attempt.
sewing project : peasant dress

If you look at it carefully you'll notice that the neck is wonky...stare at it a little more and you will also notice that the ruffle in the center is not exactly...errr...straight!
peasant dress sewing pattern

But that is the advantage of having little kids...dress them in paper bags and they will still look cute. So yeah! it looks totally awesome on the little one. Awesome! now that's the look I was going for.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Are you sick of peasant dresses yet!

Sewing Many Peasant Dresses
Another one...I just can't help myself. They are a great stash(scrap) buster and they come together so easily and there's so little that can go wrong. How can I not love them?
Well, at least I learnt a new hemming technique in the process. A close-up...

Isn't this rolled hem pretty? So glad I finally nailed this. I already have a tons of ideas on the places I'm going to use it. As for the peasant dresses...I promise the next post would be about something else...but I can't promise about the post next to that. Hey, didn't I tell you I LOVE them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sewing Tutorials: Friday Feature

Sewing Tutorials Roundup: Friday Feature Every Friday, I share a roundup of all the blogs posts that I have come across which talk about some specific sewing techniques. After all we all strive to be better seamstress, don't we?

Ever wondered how people got those gorgeous rolled hems on their knit? My Gramma Said lays it all out for you here. ( Look at Step 5) She also does it in style with a super-cute peasant top.

Super cute book worm skirt at Living with the punks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The perfect birthday dress

Sewing a dress for birthday party
stars cake
Once upon a time a fairly new mom was planning to celebrate her little one's first birthday party. She chose an excellent theme, found great vendors for food and cake, hired Tinkerbell to entertain the little one and her friends. She even found a superb photographer to capture those fleeting moments, but when it came to little one's birthday dress, she was at sea. She searched high and low, but couldn't find anything that will suit the occasion. You see, she knew how to sew a little, so whenever she saw a dress that might work, she didn't like the finish...whenever she liked the finish,  it didn't work with the theme, whenever it matched the theme, it didn't fit the little one. "I can make one of those..." she whispered again and again, until fairly new dad said..."Well, why don't you?" So they stopped looking for dresses, went to the nearest fabric shop, got a few things and the fairly new mom sat down to create "the perfect birthday dress". Time and again she panicked, thinking that she would ruin it and would have to run to the store at the 11th hour to get one of those dress that she looked down upon, but she still kept at it, and surprise! surprise! It finally begin to look like a dress. With a lot of apprehension, she tried it on the little one...and surprise! it fit her well too...
So here's the perfect birthday dress:

sewing a dress for birthday party

Close up of Bodice:
star themed party dress

The back:
star themed dress

As you can see, its far from perfect, but I made it and my daughter wore it on her first birthday. Thankfully nobody asked "Did she change into PJs already?". That's perfect as far as I'm concerned
By the way, The party theme was Stars.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hair bows and such

Lace and flower headband DIY
What crafty mom of a little girl worth her salt  doesn't dip her toe in hair bow making every now and then. So indulge me while I share these accessories.
lace hair band

They were my perfect companion during the many hours road trip we took last week. I just made some plain hair bands with FOE,  tossed scraps of ribbons, trims and laces in a ziploc.
DIY lace headband
What do you think? Not bad for a first time bow

handmade lace hairbow

And now I have found just perfect blog with tons of ideas and inspiration. I must have been living under a rock to not stumble upon Fabric Bows and More yet.
Now if I could only get my little one to let me put these on her...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beach beckons!

So we spent the memorial day weekend munching junk food, lounging around, gossiping with (girl)friends, clicking pictures basically doing nothing. And it was the best long weekend in a long long time.

I wanted to make some accessories to wear on this beachy vacation ( less beach, more vacation). Here's what I came up with:
beads and ribbon necklace diy

I even got bold with my nail-color. I don't think my nails had ever seen anything that was not so far....but this time I chose to step out of my comfort zone.
teal nails

I think I have some sort of teal-fever right now....I'm loving everything teal this summer. What is your current favorite?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sewing Techniques Round up

This not a sewing 'technique' per se! but man! this is some seriously clever design! I just loooooooove these fairy wing skirts. This will come in handy when looking for Halloween costume ideas.

Everything you ever wanted to know about bias tapes:

Making your bias tape

Sewing your bias tape

I love it that bias tapes really zazz up any plain looking garment. They can really make or break the final product.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Peasant Dress! Finally

Knit Peasant dress DIY
sewing knit peasant Dress

They are everywhere, everyone gushes about how easy they are, everyone makes them. That is, everyone but me. I had never had any success with peasant dresses...till last week. It's not that I didn't try, I tried making one for myself, my daughter, our bitch, neighbors bitch...well ok, not for the bitches....but you get my drift.
So this weekend, an early morning trip got rescheduled to afternoon, right when we were heading out of the door, and I seized the opportunity to try my hand at peasant dress..again. And you know what, it worked. I did have to do some adjustments after cutting, it wasn't totally cut-n-go smooth. The best part is - I saved the template for once, so that means, I can crank out a peasant dress any time I want to in my daughter's size.
It even looks fab on her..yeah those matronly pleats on the sleeves. They look totally adorable on her.
What did you do on the long weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Knit rossette dress tutorial at Momma's kinda crafty

Guest Sewing Tutorial: Knit rosette dress
Joy at Momma's kinda crafty kindly let me do a guest post over at her fabulous blog. I chose the knit rose dress tutorial to share over there. Go check it out.

knit rossette dress tutorial
And you thought I forgot about it..huh?