Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pretty Princess Sew Along - getting started

Hi All!  I've worked ahead on this and already made my Alice Dress for my girl.  And let me tell you, it's adorable and she's adorable in it!  You will definitely want to make this one.

Some details for the sew along if you haven't been following along already.  We're going to work our way through the princesses and characters using a single pattern...Simplicity 2377.  You pick this up online or anywhere that sells Simplicity patterns.  This is a beginner dress with no closures (zippers, buttons, etc) but rather uses elastic.  Which I love because that makes it super simple for little girls to put on themselves!

If you want to share about the sew along or have a blog, I've made some blog buttons in a couple of sizes that you can grab for your own blog.

Blog Button 150 x 150

Cut To Pieces
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Cut To Pieces"><img src="" alt="Cut To Pieces" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Blog Button 350 x 350

Cut To Pieces
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Cut To Pieces"><img src="" alt="Cut To Pieces" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I've also created a Flickr group where we can share our dresses and sweet princesses who love them.

We're starting off with Alice and we'll make a dress every month or every other month.  It kind of depends on how much time I have frankly.  Although I'm already restraining from working on the next two dresses...eep!  I'm so excited about them.

To make the Alice dress there are some basic and particular supplies you will need. We are making version A with some modifications.

Pretty Princess Sew Along - Alice Dress Supplies

1. The main dress Fabric:  You will naturally want this to be a blue fabric of some sort.  I'm really trying to sew from my stash so you'll probably see these dresses mainly made from what I have on hand.  Thus, I chose this darling aqua polka dot fabric.  You will want the amount of fabric required for Dress A.

2. White Fabric for "pinafore":  I managed to get by with a fat quarter but I'm making the smallest size I believe.  So in general you might want 1/2 yard per dress.  We'll be making an apron skirt and cutting the front bodice piece from the white fabric.  Also if you want to make fabric ties, you will want to follow the pattern instructions for how much to buy for that. (I made ribbon ties, but this is a perfect dress for fabric ties!)

3. Eyelet Trim:  I would estimate at least 3 yards per dress.  You will be putting the trim around the entire hem of the dress and around the shoulders and back neckline.  Feel free to do your own measurements.  I just used a moderately sized trim...not the largest, not the smallest.

4.  Matching blue gross grain ribbon for small bow:  I bought a small spool of 3/8" wide ribbon or so.  But anything will work!

5. Red Heart Buttons:  these look super cute if you can find them and I bet you can.  Red heart buttons aren't too difficult to find.  I bought mine at Hancock fabrics if you are looking for these exact ones.  These are purely decorative just FYI.

6. Matching Blue Embroidery Floss and Needle (and small hoop if desired):  I couldn't do an Alice dress and not include the white rabbit.  So I did a little embroidery that I will share later.  But if you are picking up supplies, you might want to grab these too.  Again, I just used some bits that I had on hand.

7. Ribbon for tie at waist:  I chose not to make the fabric ties as the pattern shows but rather used a large width's a faster trick for those who can't be troubled to make the fabric ones (like me!).   One spool is plenty.

8.  Completing the look:  not part of the dress, but perhaps part of the costume:  White tights, black mary janes, and a black ribbon or elastic head band.  I've got some fold over black elastic on order for this that I found on Etsy.

And if you haven't done garment sewing before, you'll need to know that typically you will want thread to match your fabrics.  So grab some matching blue thread and some white thread.  And you'll be all set to go!

Here's a little preview of the finished product.  My kitty looks like she is trying to catch that white rabbit!

Kitty!  That's not a REAL bunny!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quilt Labels with Spoonflower

I finally made myself some custom quilt labels to identify all the projects that I make.  I debated for a long time how to do this and what system to use and eventually just made myself choose.  Because something is better than nothing!

And this something is definitely better than nothing.  I'm really happy with them!

Quilt Labels made from Spoonflower

There are a few tutorials out there on how to do this, so I just googled them and read through a few.  I found Julie's tutorial the most helpful in terms of specific sizes to use for Spoonflower.  And then I just used to help me create my label.  I don't think that is necessarily the easiest way to do things but I'm familiar with picmonkey so that's why I used it.  I have a logo that I threw on there along with my name and blog name.  Plus I included some lines to allow me to hand write (or embroider...ha!) the quilt name and year I made it...or whatever information I want to include.

Quilt Labels made from Spoonflower

I uploaded my single image onto spoonflower and put it in a simple repeat (very easy to do on Spoonflower).  Then I made sure I liked it. (I did!) and ordered one yard of the design on Kona Cotton.  I think it cost me right around $18 for the whole thing and I ended up with 63 labels I believe!  So definitely pretty cost efficient for a custom label.

Quilt Labels made from Spoonflower

When my yardage came, I carefully cut the fabric into strips and then the strips into the individual labels.  I'll be honest, I haven't cut them all up.  I don't need them all right away and I got lazy.  But I'll do it soon.  Then to add the label to my quilts, I pressed a quarter inch fold all around the edges to create a nice finished edge. I will then hand sew the labels onto the back corner of my quilts.

Quilt Labels made from Spoonflower

I feel moderately pulled together now with quilt labels and glad that I have *something* to put on the back of my quilts to identify them.  Sometimes I know that seems like an unnecessary step but really it's important to sign your work.  You wouldn't paint a painting, give it to someone and not sign it!  So we need to do the same thing with our quilts.

Oh and if you are not interested in making a custom label, there are some uber adorable labels people have designed and are selling on spoonflower.  These are some of my favorites! So cute!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Simplicity Pattern for Sew Along

Hey all,
  I'm still working on putting together my thoughts on what to call this upcoming sew along for princess dresses.  But while I get my act together I thought I would let you know that I noticed that Joanns is currently having a sale with Simplicity patterns for $1.  I think it might go through to if you are interested you might want to run out and pick it up for cheapy cheap!

Just a note that I'm pretty sure this is the current pattern number.  It's the one that I have found online on Simplicity's site and others.  But I know for a fact that this pattern comes under another number because I own it and it is not the same.  The only difference is the number though.  Mine is 0153 I believe.  So if you think you already picked this one up or your store has the older number, no worries.  Same pattern.  Different number.

While you are picking up the pattern you might want to take a look at the general notions for the pattern.  Clearly you will need thread, machine needles, and elastic.  I'll be going through the fabric ideas for each particular dress and extra notions.  But those basics will be used in all of the dresses.

I personally think this is a great little pattern to use if this is your first time garment sewing.  There are no special closures (yay elastic!) and few pattern pieces.  I will note that we will be making the dress with some modifications or extras.  So with that in mind, you might want to give the dress a whirl simply following the pattern instructions to get yourself comfortable with the pattern if you have never sewn a garment before.

I've also had questions about whether you can do this without a serger.  Absolutely you can!!  I'll be directing you toward a site with tons of tutorials on seam finishes if you are interested.  But you can make this however you like.  The dress with not fall apart with cotton fabrics.  I promise.

So off to the stores with you!  We'll probably start talking about Alice next week.  She's our first dress.  If you have any ideas of your own for how to embellish the dress then grab those things too while you are at it. I hope that these dresses are an expression of love and creativity!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thinking about Alice

So it's no secret that in my house I'm raising a girly girl who takes after her mama in her love of all things pretty and sparkly.  At 3, she's just hit prime dress up phase and I'm enjoying her delight in that.  But I'm not going to lie...sometimes I just want a dress up costume without any sparkles on it.  Something just a bit "sweeter".

So I started thinking about making some dresses for her.  I've got that serger that I'm finally not too terrified of and oodles of cotton fabric.  And I have this lovely simple Simplicity pattern that I know she'll wear is easy enough to make in a day (no buttons or zippers, just elastic).  I decided that I wanted to use the pattern to make her an Alice in  Wonderland dress.  I've put together some inspiration for myself.

Alice Inspiration

But my brain doesn't stop there.  I've seen hints of this out there online, but people will use ONE pattern like this one and make ALL the Disney Characters/Princesses from it with modifications to make each costume easily recognizable.  So I'm already planning my next "costume", Rapunzel.

Now here's my question.  Would anyone being interested in a sew along?  Do you have a little gal in your life who could use some cute cotton play clothes?  Do you want to make them along with me?  I'd give suggestions for my fabric choices and modifications to make the pattern feel more like each individual princess.  Having just finished the Super Mario Brothers QAL that many people (including myself) used to make for the men/boys in their lives, I'm itching to something really girly.  So I was thinking about 1 dress a month or every couple of months.  Low key but fun.

Anyone interested?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Serger Joy!

You may remember that a while back I was complaining about not owning a serger.  I started sewing as a child with clothing and I've wanted a serger ever since!  It only took about 25 years, but I did finally get a serger.

My serger!

I knew I wanted something basic, fairly friendly to use and inexpensive.  At this point having a serger is a bit of an indulgence.  So I researched, asked opinions and ultimately spent about $200 I think on this machine.

And then it sat.

Oh the shame.

A new machine and I had no time to learn it and start a project to use it!

But finally I decided over the holidays that I should tackle this baby and start making some of the clothes for Caitlyn that I so desperately want to make for my girly girl.  And so I did!  Starting with this dress from a Simplicity pattern I've used before, #0351.

Caitlyn's Stripe Dress - Simplicity #0351

I used a single yard of a Michael Miller Stripe, a bit of Laurie Wisbrun's dot fabric, some left over ribbon from who knows where and my serger of course!

Doesn't it just make you happy?


But then reality kicked in.  Caitlyn wouldn't wear the dress (I know I know.  She will eventually but for the moment she's not).  And I REALLY wanted to use that serger to make something she would wear.  So I sucked it up and went to Joanns and took her straight to the princess fabric section.  I knew I found the perfect project when I saw the pre-ruched fabrics.  She fell in love and I had a simple project that I've always wanted to do but never have because I didn't have a serger before.

Ariel Dress

And this time she wore it. ;)  In fact I had to do some trials on the sizing with this one because it just involves the one seam up the side and my skinny minny needed the dress pretty tight.  Plus I had to add the elastic straps as well.  And she was crying when I took it off for the alterations.  She wanted to wear it!!!  I'm never happy when my girly cries but I was a bit gratified by it this time.

Ariel Dress - Strap Detail

I used a brightly colored elastic for the straps to make it easy for her to get on and off by herself.  Worked like a charm!

We are going on our first vacation since Caitlyn has been born in the spring...a Disney cruise.  And this will be a perfect dress for that!

Ariel Dress

I'm definitely experiencing serger joy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Project: UFO 2.0

Project UFO 2.0

Last year I started a little group called Project UFO.  Our goal was to attack (yes attack!) as many of our Unfinished Projects as possible.  These older projects, once the darling of our eyes, get set on the back burner for one reason or another.  And then they start to pile up.  Because once you are okay with one or two UFOs, you quickly become okay with more.

Except that you're not.  You know they are there.  They are taking up valuable space in our sewing areas and valuable space in our brain!  So we resolved to examine our UFOs and figure out what to do with them.  Do we simply push ourselves to finish to them?  Or do we completely change the vision for the project, hand the project over to someone else or even just throw it out?  Yes.  Some just need to be tossed.

We've had a great year in 2012 encouraging each other, setting small manageable goals for each month and celebrating when someone finally finishes off one of the super old projects!  And so we've decided to continue on and tackle those UFOs, some newer and some the same, in 2013.  And as always, you are all invited to join us. Now we are Project: UFO 2.0

No pressure in this group.  Just support!

If you are new or want to update the button for your blog. I have it here.  I have posted it in multiple sizes so hopefully you can find one that works for you!

325 x 325

Cut To Pieces
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Cut To Pieces"><img src="" alt="Cut To Pieces" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

150 x 150

Cut To Pieces
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Cut To Pieces"><img src="" alt="Cut To Pieces" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Now on to my reality.  Yesterday I made myself pull out all of UFO (I may have missed a couple but this is good for now) and took fresh photos of them.  I went through the action of literally touching every piece of every project to REALLY get a feel for what these projects will take.  I'm pretty proud of how many UFOs I tackled last year and I'm hopeful to get through a handful again this year.  Here they are!

Project: UFO 2.0

There are eight that I've pulled out as ones I REALLY want to get a better handle on this year.

I made these blocks in coordinating colors from all of my blocks that are in the 99 modern blocks book.  I need to figure out block #12 (because I only designed 11) and turn that into a quilt!

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

I also have some of the original blocks that were actually the published version of the blocks from 99 modern blocks.  Not going to lie.  I have no idea what to do with these.  I don't think that they belong in the same project because they are all so different from each other.  But  I have them.  And I would really like to keep them.  I think.

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

I have these two blocks that I made for another quilt that was long ago finished. I've loved them forever but I think it's time to let them go.  So these are officially FREE TO A GOOD HOME!. taken! thank you!

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

This is the most befuddling one to me.  I can't decide if I like what I've started here or if I should just tear it apart and start fresh with the blocks.  These bee blocks were made over two years ago and i haven't been able to figure out how to show them off to their best advantage.

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

One of my most recent UFOs, I made this swoon quilt last year (just a baby one) and decided to hand quilt it.  Well...hand quilting a whole quilt just isn't for me and it's taking me quite a while to get through it.  It actually hurts my wrists too much...but I'm more than halfway through quilting I just need to plow through and get this one done.

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

Another set of bee blocks, this time from a Red Fabric Bee I was part of a couple years ago.  I'm not thrilled with how the two stars on the bottom right look, so I think I may toss them and try out a more modern layout for this sampler of stars.  They deserve to be finished!

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

Last year, Mark Cesarik sent me a charm pack of his latest line to play with and I wanted to keep that glorious color intact as much as possible.  So I made these three wonky star blocks.  And I love them.  But I need a bunch more.  And I want to do different sizes, etc.  But I have plenty of do I try to get more of his fabric or use my stash?!

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

And finally, another bee quilt.  I think i will tackle this one first.  It seems like the most obvious finish to me and I left it up on the design wall to make me actually work on it.  An asterisk quilt.  I was going to make a bunch more blocks but I just don't feel like it.  I think this is enough and I'll use all those extra cut up squares as a border around the perimeter.

2013 Project: UFO 2.0

Phew!  Yep.  My UFOs.  I don't fool myself into thinking I'll get them all done this year.  I may or may not.  But I have a ton of current sewing on my plate too.  It's always good to get it out there though and pretend that you will finish it up. ;)  I know I'll get through some of them at least.  And I'm proud to say that I have NOT ADDED to my UFO pile since January of last year.  So I think that is progress in and of itself!!

So join us on Flickr if you want some support for those UFOs.  Nothing fancy just friends helping each other out and celebrating each finish with each other.


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