Sunday, November 30, 2008

Four Betty's

Christmas gift making continues at my house ~ have I mentioned that I have 6 nieces? The youngest 2 are the recipients of the Feliz dresses I made last week. The older four are getting Betty's for Christmas. Luckily there is plenty of spare fabric in the stash because the Betty's always take up alot of fabric. So here they are, all four. Hubby even helped with ironing and riveting ~ yay.

I'm not actively participating in any kind of handmade holidays challenge, but I usually do make the gifts for my nieces ~ not sure why, it just works out that way - maybe because there are so many of them.
As you might figure from the pictures, they are avid soccer players - so I figure these will get used either to/from soccer practice or swim team. Either way, who can't use a nice tote bag?
I added the outside pocket with their names~ That's not part of the original pattern, but it isn't hard to add on.

I hope they like them. I think that brings my total Betty count to 10 ~ not bad use for one pattern. Off to work on the next gift...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Henrika

Thanksgiving is almost here - are you ready? I'm not but this year at least it's low key, just family and I won't have alot of crazed prep to do. Yay for that! This year, I'm going to attempt crock pot stuffing as inspired by A year of crockpotting. I'm going to use my own stuffing recipe and just adapt it for the crockpot and halve or possibly even quarter it because my recipe can feed a small army and we don't need that much. Aside from that I might try Sarah's pie recipe for dessert - the rest will be easy peasy. Who knows what else we'll do.

If Thanksgiving is here that must mean that Christmas is right around the corner - eek!! I'm never prepared for this, and it's no different this year. We'll see how it goes. In the spirit of the season, I whipped up - yes whipped 'cause this dress takes no time to make - a little christmassy cheer ~ Henrika dress. Who knows if i'll get another year where my daughter will consent to holiday themed clothing. As always I have to tone things down for her a bit, but this was easy to do and the slightly christmas themed fabric will be easy to wear to school without the horror of over-the-top embarrassing overtly holiday-ness, err something like that.... Hey the fabric has skis on it - I am powerless to resist anything with skis on it! But I like the results. Jury's still out - well actually she is sleeping now. Let's hope she likes it.

And now I really should start working on the handmade holiday gifts...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Collaborative Effort

Once again the mother-daughter design duo teams up. In this case it's the next generation. My daughter picked the fabrics for this one and the colors for the hedgehog applique. I really love this Woodland embroidery set from Claudia Diesner, so I had to find an excuse to use it. Perfect for a pocket on this Drunter and Druber (Under and Over ) shirt from Farbenmix. In this case I'm making the over shirt or the sweatshirt part of the pattern except I used cotton-lycra and rib for the shirt and it's being worn more as a t-shirt than a sweatshirt. The striped fabric is Campan and the dots are US made cotton lycra from my local shop. Fun pattern to make!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Feliz Sew-along: Straps and Final Assembly

Various parts of this sew-along can be found here:

Feliz part 1: Yardage
Feliz part 2: Prep
Feliz part 3:Overdress
Feliz part 4: Underdress
Feliz part 5: Straps and final assembly

Okay, today we will sew together the straps and finish off the dress. To start, i'll align one front strap and one back strap together as shown here. Sew the center seam.

Then I'll sew the side seams (the long edges) of the strap, with right sides facing. Then turn the straps right side out and press.
Next, topstitch the straps on the long-edges. Set the straps aside for a moment.
Now we're going to put the over and underdress sections together. To do this, align the top edges of the overdress and underdress sections with the right side of the overdress facing the wrong side of the underdress.
Now we are going to insert the straps in between these two dress layers, so that the straps are sandwiched in between. The strap will attach at the marking from the pattern piece. Sandwich the strap so that the straight edge of the strap facing towards the center of the front panels of the dress and the curved edge faces out towards the sides of the dress. Pin or baste the strap in place. Now you will need to curve that strap towards the back of the dress and pin in place as well. Be sure you aren't twisting the strap, you want it to lie flat once you are done. This diagram will hopefully explain the strap positioning between the dress layers. The strap is the shaded outline.
Pin the rest of the top edges of the two dresses together and then sew.
Be careful not to catch the ties in your seam.
Remember that 1/2" overhang you left when you assembled the underdress? Well now you are going to trim that off. I usually trim the corner here so that it doesn't show once the dress is right-side out. I just nip off the corner at a diagonal as shown by the scissor point.

Now turn the dress right side out. It should look like this.
Press the top edge with your iron and topstitch. Now we're ready to make the casings for the ties. I align my dress so that it lies flat, positioning the strap where it should line between the two dress layers. I mark the sewing line using my ruler. Make sure the casing is wide enough for the strap to fit and not catch in the seam. On mine, I mark the lines about 1/4" from the edge of the strap. Pin the strap in place so it doesn't move while you are sewing.

It should look like this when you are done. We're almost done with this dress. I'm going to attach the ruffle to the bottom edge of the underdress, fold the seam allowance up and topstitch in place.
That's it!! The Feliz is ready to go! Press and enjoy :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Feliz ~ The Underdress

Various parts of this sew-along can be found here:

Feliz part 1: Yardage
Feliz part 2: Prep
Feliz part 3:Overdress
Feliz part 4: Underdress
Feliz part 5: Straps and final assembly

Ruffles Ruffles Ruffles - that's up next.

I am making 4" wide ruffles to put on the back center piece to create the bustle and to edge the hem of the dress. I'm alternating fabrics with all the prints in my dress, so I have alot to make. First I'm going to sew my 45" strips into one long strip ~ well one for each fabric print. Next I'm going to roll hem my edge to finish it off nicely - you can do a standard hem if you prefer, serge it with contrasting thread, or use a bias tape on the edge instead which also looks very nice ~ the options are endless, use your creativity.

On the raw edge of my ruffles, I'm going to run a line of serging just to finish off the raw edge. You can run a line of zigzag stitches in place of a serger if you like, or you can just omit this step as well.

Next, I take out my handy dandy ruffler attachment for my sewing machine.
You don't need to have one of these, you can just run a couple of lines of basting along the edge of the fabric and pull on those basting threads carefully to gather up the fabric. Another option is the zig zag or dental floss method which Sandi Henderson (Portabellopixie) did a great job of explaining. However, if you plan to sew alot of ruffles a ruffler is a worthwhile attachment. I use mine extensively ~ love that thing. I set my ruffler to a setting that will essentially give me a 2X gathering so the ruffle will end up being exactly 1/2 the length it was unruffled. This gives me the desired fullness but you can add more or less gathers depending on your tastes.

Ok ruffles done, I'm now going to cut them to fit the back panel of the dress, layering them and pinning in place. First i'm going to draw lines on my center panel piece to help in sewing on the ruffles. I use a disappearing ink marker and draw a line about 3.5" up from the hem, then 3 more lines, each about 3" up from the previous line. You can make them as far apart as you want to stack them more if you like.

I'm going to baste the serged edge of the ruffles in place on the back panel, attaching them upside down - ie they are facing up not down and I'm using the line I drew as a placement guide. Then I fold the ruffle down over the seam I just basted and topstitch them in place. Repeat for all your ruffles until you are done. NOTE: I didn't add any ruffles to the very bottom edge of the dress, we'll do that later when we finish off the hem.

You can space the ruffles as far apart as you want and add as many layers as you want ~ or leave them off entirely. My 7 year-old doesn't really like all those ruffles, so her Feliz dresses don't have the bustle at all.

Now to attach the center back facing to the back center panel of the dress. I finish off the straight edge of the facing piece with a serger, fold it over, press and stitch this down. Next i'm going to attach the facing to the center panel. Place the pieces right sides together, then stitch.
Turn the facing towards the back of the dress center panel, enclosing the seam you just made. Press and topstich the top edge.
Next i'm going to draw lines on my center back panel to mark the casing for the elastic. The pattern doesn't really specify how long to make the elastics or how far apart to sew the casings. In this case, i'm making the smallest size dress (86) so I'm going to use narrower elastic (1/4") and therefore make a narrower casing. In this example, I place my lines 3/4" apart and started them at the top of the facing piece as shown. On the larger (134) size dress I have sewn before I was able to use a wider elastic (1/2") because the back panel is much larger. In that case I made my lines 1" apart and started them a bit lower down the facing panel. It's really up to you. I have done 3 lines of elastic, you can do more or less, it's really just a matter of preference. Now sew lines of stiching along the lines you drew on the panel pieces to create an elastic casing.

Next cut your elastic. The length of the elastic will just depend upon the size of your child. Measure the chest of your child and allow at least and inch or two for give and a comfortable fit. I cut my elastic about 1.5" shorter than the width of my center panel. You might want to add more or less.

Now using a safety pin on one end of the elastic, I inserted the elastic into the casing and secured the end with a pin. Repeat for the remaining casings.

Next I will run a line of stitching over the ends of the elastic to secure them in the casing. Do this about a 1/4" in from the raw edge of the fabric so it doesn't rip out.

Next draw the elastics through to the other edge of the casing and expose a bit of the elastic end so that you can tack it down. I use pins to hold the elastics in place until they are sewn down.

Now we are ready to assemble the pieces of our underdress. Sew the front center and side panels together as you did for the overdress.

Then sew the back center panel to the side panels but leave the back center panel down about 1/2" from the side panels.

This will provide the extra seam allowance we will need to attach the over- and underdress pieces together at the last step. Be careful when you sew the center back panel that you don't catch in too much of the ruffle in your seam, and similarly you do want to catch at least the raw edge of the ruffle in the seam. You might want to baste the raw ruffle edges to the side of the back center piece before you sew the seam. Ok now sew the center front panel to the side pieces as you did for the overdress. Top stitch along the seams.

Whew - ok that's enough for today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Feliz sew-along: The Overdress

Various parts of this sew-along can be found here:

Feliz part 1: Yardage
Feliz part 2: Prep
Feliz part 3:Overdress
Feliz part 4: Underdress
Feliz part 5: Straps and final assembly

Here we go!
(Remember, you can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them if needed)

Today i'm going to tackle the overdress or apron part of the dress. My pieces are cut out and here is the overdress laid out in pieces

First step is to sew the ties for the back of the dress.

Fold them in half and iron them, that makes them nice and flat and easy to sew.
Then I sew them on one short end. I follow Nancy's tip and insert a piece of ribbon into that seam.

Then I turn and sew the tie on the long side with the ribbon sandwiched in between the two halves of the tie. Be careful not to catch the ribbon in the seam - keep it to the other side as you sew. Here are my ties. Now if you pull on the ribbon you can easily turn the tie right-side-out. You don't have to use the ribbon, you can use a loop turner or something else, but this method is quick and easy.Snip off the ribbon close to the seam, be careful not to cut your fabric!

Now take a turning tool and poke in one corner of the tie to the center. Press the tie.
Top stitch all the way around. Do this for both ties and set them aside for now.

NOTE: If you plan to add any embroidery, applique or other embellishments to the overdress, now is a good time to do that. It is much easier to embroider on an unfinished garment. I am not doing any embroidery on this dress, so i'm going to keep sewing.

Take the facing piece and finish the long straight edge. Note you don't have to use this facing piece, Nancy suggests this if you are going to insert buttons. If you aren't using buttons you can just finish the edge of the side pieces, but I like the look of a facing better so I'm going to use it anyway, even though I'm not going to add buttons to my dress. I serged my raw edge and turned it over and pressed. Next I will topstitch it.

Lay the facing piece, right sides together, to the side dress pieces and sew this seam.
When you are done, your pieces should look like this.

Press the seam open and fold over the facing piece to wrong side of the side dress pieces and press. Topsitch the outside edge

Now we are going to sew the side seams of the overdress. Take the ties that you made and insert them into the side seam before you sew this seam. Pin in place. It might be a good idea to pin the free end as well just so it doesn't catch into your seam by accident. The ties should be on the wrong side of the dress, facing towards the back of the dress (towards the facing). Sew the seam. Be careful not to sew over the pins (you can baste the ties in place instead of pinning if you prefer)

When you are done it should look like this from the wrong sideand like this from the front.

Now press the seam allowance towards the center of the dress and topstitch.
Instead of topstitching, you could add some ribbon embellishment instead. I'm just topstitching this dress for now.

We are almost done. Next I'm going to hem the bottom of the dress. I fold over the raw edge twice. Since I used a 1/2 seam allowance, I'm going to fold over once at 1/4", press, then fold again at 1/4" and press again. Then I will sew this hem in place.

That is it for the overdress. We are done for now. Next time, we'll tackle the underdress.