Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Very First Tutorial

I created a little tutorial on how to make a covered hanger, along with tons of pics.  If you click on the link on the right hand side that says "Covered Hanger Tutorial", it will take you to the page.  Why not use up a little of your leftover fabric and make a hanger to match whatever you just made (provided it gets hung up)?

While I am here, showing you the Ta Dot hanger, I may as well show you the dress I made it for:

I used the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress Pattern and Flora and Fauna fabric by Patty Young for Michael Miller.  I made this dress 3 weeks ago, and, as usual, I reviewed this pattern on Pattern Review.

Wow!  She´s looking all grown up here in this dress.  What´s that about?  Maybe it´s the watch.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial.  I have it in pdf form too if you prefer that.  Just leave a comment.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fiona of the Rainbow Butterflies

I have been going nuts wanting to post this all weekend, and I´m sitting outside now (to get an internet connection) right at dusk (prime mosquito time) in hopes of finally uploading it.

I made another new dress for my daughter that I am very proud of.  So much so that I am entering it into a contest on Pattern Review.  Wish me luck.  This is another pattern by Patterns by Figgy´s.  This one is called Fiona.  I actually finished it a couple of days ago, even got pictures taken, but then we ran out of internet credit (on Saturday).  And we weren´t able to get more until today (Monday). *SIGH*

Butterfly fabric on the outside, green floral on the inside, and stripes in the pleats & hem facing.

I actually got the idea to make this pattern with these fabrics when trying to decide which fabrics to use for the previous Figgy´s dress pattern I made a couple weeks ago, the Sunki dress.

Those are great big, curvy pockets on the front.  She LOVES pockets!
Sorry it´s a little blurry.  She just won´t stand still!

The fabrics I used for the Fiona dress I considered for Sunki, but then I realized they would be cute for this one! 


I bought the Fiona pattern in pdf form last year, but couldn´t make it work (in my head) with African wax prints, which is all I had before the stash arrived on the boat.  I´m really glad I waited, because I think these fabrics were the perfect choice.

Here is my daughter modeling the dress:

As for the pattern, this one is pretty involved.  You need your wits about you when cutting out all the pieces.  Or you just need to look closely at the cutting layout pictures (which I never do).  Since this is an asymmetrical design, it matters which way round you cut some of the pieces (duh!).  Ask me how I learned this lesson.  I did a detailed review of the pattern on Pattern Review.

This project took a few days to make, in part because we experienced a lot of power issues, and in part because I didn´t have my wits about me enough (bc of said power issues).  Also, having children interrupt every five minutes doesn´t really help when you need to concentrate.  My son did help me to find the off white thread in the dark though (the "marquise", where the sewing room is, doesn´t have power when we are on the generator).  And I had to use the big extension cord to power the sewing machine most of the time.  I can´t always do this though because sometimes the kids need this for their movie player.

When the lights are out on this box, the power is out from the grid.  K loves to help me search for thread shades in the dark.  Me, not so much.  There´s my extension cord setup.  It has a reel.

I did finish it though, and I am very happy with the result.  I used rainbow thread for the topstitching and shell buttons.

There are little peek-a-boo spots on the front of the bodice, but mine don´t show so much, but I wanted you to see them anyway (bottom left pic).

Unfortunately, I can´t find my awesome, American, cordless iron, which we carried back in our luggage the last time we flew here from the states.  The (second) one we bought here seems to have developed some nasty burn spots!  So, I had to take care to only use the tip of the iron so I didn´t inadvertently ruin the dress.   And when I finished, I had barely any of the variegated, rainbow thread left.  Had I run out, I´m not sure what I would have done....

Notice the two black burn spots on the iron and resulting marks on the ironing board? Yikes!

There is a matching vest (Franco) for the Fiona dress included with this pattern, but I haven´t found the right fabric to make it for my son yet.  Maybe something green to go with the lining I  used on the dress?  I wonder if any of these would work (please comment if you have any thoughts on this).

The solid green is thick like denim (twill maybe).  The middle three are quilting cottons.  The stripey one on the right is a little finer.  I was liking the checks, but now I think they are too 80s.....maybe the stripes on the left?

While we´re at it, I may as well show the previous Patterns by Figgy´s dress I made about 3 weeks ago, Ofelia.  I think this one has a little old fashioned & fancy look to it because of the fabric and lace.  This one was easy breezy to sew by the way!

I guess you can tell that I like Patterns by Figgy´s, huh?  Here´s why: 1) They are unique; 2) They have interesting details; 3) The customer service is top notch (Any questions?  Just send an email and you will get a response within hours!); 4) Sewing these patterns is making me a better seamstress.  I have another Figgy´s dress pattern I plan to make soon, Scirocco.  I haven´t decided on a fabric yet though, maybe an African wax (batik).

By the way, I swear they aren´t like paying me or anything to rave their patterns.  I just genuinely think they are great.  I think this Fiona dress might be the best thing I´ve ever made.  In fact, I like it so much, I made it its own hanger:

I swear I sew other patterns than Figgy´s.  I will prove it to you in my next post.

I need to get inside and away from the mosquitoes now.  Please send good vibes in our direction to help them fix the "cable that burned" that is causing the current power outage.  I don´t know if it´s a good or bad thing that we actually know the cause this time.  We usually have no idea why the power is out.  All I know is, our water pump needs electricity from the grid to give us running water; and I need running water.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Monkey Pjs and the Evolution of Sewing Skills

  The other night before bed-time, I finished my son´s new monkey pjs.  He loves them and so do I.

I used the Goodnight Sweetheart PJs pattern from the pattern book Sewing for Boys by Patterns by Figgy´s.  This is an awesome book!  I made my first pair of these pjs last week as a gift for a little boy named Ali who is turning two.  And I made my son a pair of Treasure Pocket Pants (shorts) before that.

This book also contains their raglan tee pattern (aka Tee for Two), which I had bought separately before the book came out.  I have used that pattern A LOT.

So, here is my son after sleeping all night in his new pjs, bed-head and all....

They are a bit big (they are size 4/5 and he barely wears a 4), which is good.  He should be able to wear them for a couple of years.

As it turns out, I made him some monkey pjs probably around 4 years ago that I forgot about.  They are already a little bit too small for little sister.

What really struck me when looking at these old monkey pjs was not that my taste hasn´t changed much (even used wood buttons then), but how bad the sewing is on them.  The binding has frayed off both sleeves and the weird bound buttonholes look messy.   And of course, now I have evolved to using French seams whenever I can.
Check out the difference:

I am already working on a few more projects, including another Patterns by Figgy´s dress and finally something for my husband (gasp!).  He said he would like a pair of these pjs, but I just don´t have that much monkey fabric......

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Start of a Destash Adventure

Here I am in Angola, Africa with my husband, 2 kids and sewing machine. 
  • I have boxes and boxes of fabric I collected the last few years as well as lots of other sewing and crafting supplies. 
  • I have no access to purchase other supplies except when we leave the country or get others to bring us stuff. 
  • And I have time. 
What should I make?

Here is my sewing room, which I am only using for storage right now (no A/C in that little out-building yet). 

Jewelry making supplies and yarn on top; fabrics I might have a plan for or just want to look at, sewing notions like trims and buttons; some patterns and other notions and threads on the table top (which is just the right size for my cutting mat); drawers of fabric underneath.

Here´s a peek inside the drawers:

Nani Iro/Echino/Special, solids, batiks, more solids 

Greens, blues, pinks, other colorful prints

 There are still some things in boxes, like warmer fabrics and clothing I hope to upcycle into something else.
And there are a few things I can´t seem to find, like my extra rotary blades and sharpener.  I´m guessing they are in one of those bags or boxes.....  I´ll get around to organizing it all eventually.  But right now, I ´m having too much fun sewing. 
Here´s my make-shift setup:

Those boxes under the table contain patterns.  The other bins are laundry (which don´t have a home yet).  I am using a spare bedside table as a chair.  Nice, huh? I´m just happy to be able to sew! When the power goes out, and we turn on the generator, I drag a very long extension cord from the living room (where the plugs work) into here.

So, that´s where I am.  I have already started making things.  I will catch you up with what I´ve made since our stuff got here in upcoming posts.  In the machine right now are my son´s monkey pjs.  He is hoping to wear them tonight, so I better get back to that...