Monday, October 31, 2011

More Tees Octoberized

This weekend was busy busy! but some more Octoberized Tees made it under the wire...

I found these really cool boyish tees at Walmart ( gasp!) on clearance in Munchkin's size and for $2.50 each just couldn't pass them up. It took about 15 mins each and both of them went from half sleeved to full sleeved.

I almost added Ric-rac to the sleeve cuffs..almost. And I still think it would look cool...ok, stop shaking that head! I have been sewing for girls for a couple of years now, what do you expect? Besides, Ric-rac is better than ruffles don't you think? But that's an idea.

The green one had this cool applique on the front, which I thought deserves a pic of its own.
Did you octoberized any of your tees?

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tutorial: Octoberize that Tee

Sewing Tutorial: Adding full sleeves to a Tshirt
This is a tutorial that I did a couple of weeks back at Ricochet and Away. I'm sharing it with you all here because I think its a good one for fall.Enjoy!

adding sleeves to a Tshirt

For this post I wanted to bring you something that would be useful to almost everyone. You know how we all are left with Tees at the end of the summer, they look and fit great but they are half sleeved, so they can't be used during the fall and winter. By the time summer rolls back again, they're too short already.
I have found myself with a pile of half sleeved clothes and wondering...Gosh!! these clothes are so nice, I wish I could use them somehow, until it hit me...adding sleeves shouldn't be that hard. After all, I do it all the time for the clothes I sew from scratch. Adding just the sleeves would be a lot more easier..and quicker.

So here's a tutorial on adding sleeves to your little one's ( or your own) tees and then adding just a little more detail to bind it all together. I'm calling it Octoberizing that Tee because a full sleeved version will be just right for the weather in the beginning of fall and also because the colors are just right for October.

Supplies ( 2 year old size)

1 half sleeved Tshirt
1 XL Tshirt in a contrasting color ( or any knit fabric will do - using T shirt was much quicker because I didn't have to hem)

Adding the full sleeves:

how to add long sleeves to a tshirt

Cut off the sleeves from the adult tee.

measuring the width of sleeve

Lay the small Tee straight and place the sleeves from the big tee next to the small Tee sleeves. Make sure that both the Tee sleeves and the new sleeves make a straight line and overlap about half inch. Now measure from the shoulders of little Tee to the hem of sleeves of big Tee, this is how long your final sleeve will be. Compare it with the sleeve length needed for your child.If this is too big, increase the overlap to reduce the length. If it is too small you have two options - 1 You can pick open the hem of sleeves, this will give you one extra inch. you could do rolled hems on the sleeves later.
Another option is to use T-shirt body, or a knit fabric instead of sleeves. This is not very complicated either. Just fold a knit fabric along the width and use it the same way I'm showing you using the existing sleeves. You just have to hem these sleeves...that's all.

Once you have determined the correct length you have to determine the width. What we want to do is make an addition to the sleeve that is as wide as the existing sleeve's end in and then it tapers off following natural shape of arm.
So you will measure the width using the hem of existing sleeve and add 1 inch to it for sewing margins.
cutting out the sleeve

Do the same for the other sleeve.

drafting a full sleeve from a half sleeve
Now fold each sleeve in half along the width ( right sides together) and sew a seam on the side using up sewing margins. Repeat for the other sleeve.

sewing up the sleeve

Turn this tube of sleeve inside out. Now line it up with the real sleeve as shown above. Now gently slide the wider end of new sleeve into the existing sleeve. Straighten both the sleeves using your hand. Make sure the new sleeve is fitting the old sleeve evenly. Use hand basting or pins to hold it in place.

attaching the full sleeve to half sleeve
Sew a seam along the joint of the new and old sleeves to fix it in place.
Note: It is easier to go from the neckline to sew this seam, at least it was for me.
Repeat for the other sleeve.

Ta da! Your tee has full sleeves!

Adding contrasting stripes at the front.

sewing contrast stripes to the front

Cut two rectangles from the contrasting knit of width equal to the width of Tee and length = 5 inches. Place them one over the other and then onto the Tee at a position you like.

sewing contrasting stripes
Pin or hand-baste these to make sure they stay in their place.

sewing chenille stripes
Now sew parallel lines along the hand-basting. Mine are about 5/8 inch apart. You can use your sewing machine foot as a guide to get evenly spaces lines.

how to sew stripes on a tshirt

Once you're done sewing, its time to cut. Cut between the seams, Making sure you're cutting only the extra layers and not the Tshirt itself. I used a small scissor to do this. Try to stay in the center between two seams but you don't have to be precise. We are taking advantage of the fact that knits don't fray. So we can leave the cut edges raw.

adding stripes to a Tshirt

Congratulations! You have successfully Octoberized your Tee. Right now the orange is looking like a color-block at the front, but these knit strips will curl up in the wash.
octoberize a Tshirt

So they look more like ruffled stripes of orange and white. For more pizazz you could use more layers, and also graded color layers. So when you cut, you will see colors of different intensity. I haven't done that but I think it would look cool.

PS: Here's a very helpful comment from Amanda:

"I've been doing this with my son's shirts for a couple of years. Since toddler/preschooler shirts are rather small, it's hard to sew the fabric on as a tube. I open out the underarm seam on the t-shirt so I can sew on the new sleeve as a flat piece of fabric, then turn inside out and resew the underarm seam all the way to the cuff. I cut the arm extensions from too-small knit pants sometimes-- they often already have a ribbed cuff."

Great comment Amanda! I'm sure it will be helpful to many readers. I'll also try it this way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New series: A little Bit of India - Diwali

A little bit of India: Diwali
Photo credit: singhajaykr25 from

This little blog has been growing beyond my wildest imaginations. I started it as a way to journal my sewing projects...then decided to share some tutorials...then thought maybe I could inspire a couple of you to sew...and it took a life of its own. While I love my corner of blogosphere...lately I have had this feeling that there's something lacking here. After some introspection, I realized that its my own voice. Somehow, I didn't feel very comfortable being myself over here. This is a sewing blog so all we should talk about here is - Sewing, right? Well, right and wrong! I now realize that even  though sewing is the primary topic of conversation here, some of you do want to know about the person who is doing all ( or most) of the talking here. Judging by the number of people who take time to read "My Story" it seems like my thoughts, my values and in general who I am, also matters, besides my sewing projects, my machine make and what stitch length I prefer.

So I'm starting this new series about something that is very far away from me, but very close to my heart - India. Some of you may/may not know that I'm an Indian ( Asian Indian) living in USA. While moving to US is one of the best decisions I have made on a practical level, and this is the place we call home now, there're times when I long for the place where I grew up and lived most of my life. So when I thought of a topic that I wanted to talk about here...India seemed like an obvious choice. Like any other place on the face of earth - India has its own  triumphs and tribulations. But that's not what I want to talk about here. I'll be talking about the little things that make India home for me. That set it apart from any other place in the world. That are so very unique and so very, Well, India. This is not meant to be a political rhetoric...or your culture vs. my culture...this is just a glimpse of India...through the eyes of a person who has always been fascinated by the color, art and most of all the joy it brings to the people. A point of view...and most definitely myopic. So sit back and relax, grab a cup of coffee if you want and hop on as I take you to India.
Today is one of those days when I miss India most - It is Diwali in India today and if I have to choose only one festival from all, this is the one I would choose. Most of the people would think of Lights and fire-crackers and delicacies when they think of Diwali, but to me Diwali is much more than that. It was the only festival my extended family made it a point to celebrate together, that meant Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and cousins. It also meant lots of anecdotes and laughter, lots of jokes, songs, dances and games. It was one heady mix of activity and relaxation. Enough to feel sad when it was over and to look forward to it months in advance.
Besides the family, Diwali is a festival that you can feel in the air, much like the way Christmas in US. The decorated markets, dressed up people, the new merchandise, the overflowing sweets. It is kind of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one for me and no matter how hard we try its difficult not to miss India on Diwali.

So before I leave to celebrate Diwali and long for India again... "Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali!"

PS: It is said that Diwali is a good time to start something new. That's one of the reasons I am posting this today. I will continue with the future editions of this series on weekends hopefully.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Link Love: Features and Made by you

Reader's sewing projects

Image courtsey Sullivan via MorgueFile


Totally Tutorials featured our Reversible Zen Dress.
Craft Gossip and One Pretty Thing featured our 2 color Pieced Pants.

On another note, I asked you to share your creations based on the tutorials here...and some of you listened. Here're a few things that you made:

Namrata sent across the pics of this Butterfly Shrug based on the tutorial here. I think this red color is perfect
for the fall and winter.

She also made this Kaftan tunic top.

Its amazing and inspiring to see your creations. There are a lot of perks to blogging, but nothing really beats the satisfaction of seeing your creations based on my tutorials. Keep them coming.

On another note! We reached 150 followers on blogger last week and our facebook page has also gotten more than 250 likes. Our pinterest and twitter groups are rising steadily as well. So thank you so much for spreading the word about Blooms And Bugs.

I have some interesting things lined up for November, A fabulous giveaway, some very interesting tutorials and some fun stuff as well. So keep visiting...and keep sewing.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Item in the Shop: Belle Layered Skirt for Toddlers - Size 2T

Blooms And Bugs Studio: Belle Layered Skirt

I have been working on this skirt for a while now, and every time I take it up, I can't help but admire the pretty prints and colors of the fabrics. Its done today and I love it. Its the latest addition to the shop - Belle Layered Skirt for Toddlers - 2T  - $15. Its made with fabrics from Kate Spain's Good Fortune collection.

It has two full layers with top layer having vertical gathers for petals like effect and a narrow ruffle trim from same collection. It has belt loops on the waist, which hold a wide matching grosgrain ribbon.

Pair it with a cardigan and boots during fall and wear it with leggings during winter, come spring these vibrant colors will again work nicely with a turquoise/grey/orange top. All the seams have been serged for a professional finish. The waist has elastic to accommodate growth spurts of your little munchkin.

This pretty skirt will make any little girl center of attraction. Does your belle need a pretty skirt?

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bottoms Up - Part 4 - Two color pieced pants

Sewing Tutorial: Pieced Pants in two colors
 pieced pants sewing tutorial
Here's the story behind the series, the second part of the series is here, third part of the series is here.                                         

1. Just take any pants pattern

cutting out a pants pattern  

This time we're cutting 4 panels for these pants 2 for front and 2 for back, so no need to cut on fold, juts place the pattern on four layers of fabric and cut. However since we're going to piece another fabric near the bottom, leave out the last 2 inches or so from the pattern. In the above pic, the pattern is placed upside down, so if you look carefully, the bottom 2-3 inches of the pattern( top of the is upside down) are hanging outside the fabric, meaning that area will not get cut in this fabric.

cutting pieced pants
Here's the pattern traced out and cut 2 inches too short.

pieced pants pattern
Now using a big bowl or any circular object, cut an arc near the bottom of the pants. make sure to cut the arc such that you cut lesser near the curvy part of the pants and more from the straight art. No logical reason for that, it just looks better in my opinion.

sewing tutorial for pieced pants
Now place the cut pattern on four layers of coordinating fabric, make sure two layers are placed right side up and two layers are placed wrong side up.

two color pants sewing pattern

Place your pattern on top of the fabric and align properly with fabric 1.. Trace it on fabric 2, also trace the curve from fabric 1 on fabric 2 and cut.

how to sew pants for kids

Now lets sew the pants
First join the four Fabric 1 panels with fabric 2 panels. Make sure you line up the curves properly.
Clip some notches to help the curve sit straight.

Top-stitch at the right side.

Line up front and back panels, sew at the straight line, right sides together. At this point, it will be helpful to start sewing from the point where fabric 1 and fabric 2 meet and go up first. Then start again from the meeting point of fabric 1 and fabric 2 and go down. This will ensure that the pieces are perfectly aligned. You can always trim if any of the ends have small mismatch.

9. Now that you've got your two pieces ( right leg and left leg), just sew them like the basic pants. Don't forget to embellish with matching trims and notions.
And Done!
sewing pants tutorial

And just for fun here's another one of the Grow And Gather dress that I made to go with these pants.

halter neck dress

I think they look great together....Don't they?

pieced pants with dress

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Tutorial: Suede Flower with Rikka

How to sew a suede flower
Today I am doing a Blog Swap with Rikka from Ricochet and Away! Here she is showing us how to make a Suede Flower. Welcome Rikka!

      Hello!  My name is Rikka J. and I am visiting from the blog Ricochet and Away!  I am a small town girl from rural Montana who loves to sew handbags.  I first met Anshu when I came across her cute Military and Lace Dress.  Anshu has a real handle on sewing knits--something I've always shied away from.  But she was very helpful and suggested a using a walking foot on my sewing machine.  I'm going to try it out.  Fingers crossed because my last attempts at sewing jersey were abysmal!  Anshu and I are swapping blogs for a day.  How exciting!  So be sure to head over to Ricochet and Away! and check out what she is posting today.   

     For my post today, I tried to come up with an idea that would compliment and not duplicate any of the terrific projects Anshu has already created.  So I thought I'd share with you all a simple flower embellishment tutorial.  I placed the flower on a purse, but I think it would be great as a broach or added to a headband. I hope you like it!  (Remember you can click on any photo to see it larger.)


     My cousin was married last month in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in rural Montana.  I bought this obnoxious fun zebra print dress to wear, but didn't have the right purse to go with it.  Some ladies fret over what shoes to wear, but I'm not one of them.  I'm a bag lady through and through!  To solve my handbag dilemma, I headed over to my local thrift store and found a purple leather purse with a thin shoulder strap.  Perfect!

     Here's a look at the thrifted purse "before". It was in perfect condition.  I loved the structured design, and the size was just right.  I could fit my wallet, keys, cell, lip gloss, AND a pair of those disposable slippers for my aching feet.  (I've never conditioned my body for wearing heels so every time I dress up, I pay for it!)  The price on the purse was $2.99, but I dickered it down to $1.25.  Well, the dickering consisted of me saying I'd take 4 purses for $5.  Another example of how buying in bulk saves you money!

     Problems with the purse?  Well, upon bringing it home, I discovered it's not the correct shade of purple to match my dress.  And of course, there was the ugly interesting button on the flap that needed to be dealt with.  

     Leather is so expensive, but I love to use it in my crafts. To make
it more affordable, I turn to thrift stores and garage sales.  For this
project I used some green suede that came from a garage sale, a 
lavender suede that was from a thrifted skirt, and some darker purple 
suede that came from a pair of thrifted trousers.  Now who would give up a perfectly decent pair of purple suede pants to a charity shop?
LOL, lucky for me they did!  If leather isn't an option for you, 
I suggest felt or vinyl because they have a stiff quality and
 you won't have to worry about fraying.

List of Supplies:
  • Suede, micro-suede,  felt, or vinyl       
  • Fabric glue
  • Clothes pins
  • Scissors
  • Button(s) or beads
  • Thin wire and pliers or needle and thread

  • The first step was to cut out 5 pf each color of suede teardrops.  I did this by using my die cutter, but scissors would work just as well.  
  • The next step was to glue a little fold or pleat into the pointed end of each teardrop.  I held the pleat down with a clothes pin while the glue dried.  
  • Then, I used a piece of suede as a base and glued the leaves/petals to it.  I used Tacky Glue. It dries clear and is still holding very well.  

  • I used my die cutter again to cut out a small daisy-like shape to cover all the pleated points of the teardrops.  The die cutter made this pretty easy, but again I think scissors would work just as well.
  • I found this shiny faceted button in my stash to use for the center of my flower.  Suede is hard to push a needle through so I opted to sew the button onto this daisy shape rather than through all the layers of the entire flower.  
  • Actually, I didn't technically "sew" it on.  I used one of my sturdy upholstery needles to poke a couple of holes in the center of the daisy.  Then, I used a length of craft wire to attach the button.

The next step was to glue the daisy onto the rest of the flower.  Here's a good look at the front and back.

The original button popped right off and I glued the suede flower right on the flap.

And here it is all finished.  I love it!
     I hope you all were inspired to try out this simple technique.  And while I'm here, I hope you don't mind if I shamelessly plug the Retro Pillow Challenge.  The challenge is in it's voting stage this month and I'm sure all 12 of the participants would love for you to check out their creations and vote for your favorite:  

Happy Crafting and Big Hugs from Montana,

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