October 20, 2009

A pretty blue fairy costume. Maybe.

We get this adorable catalog, chasing fireflies. They have clothes, also some really fun costumes.
E found a costume that she kept going back to saying, I want to be this blue fairy for Halloween.
It is really pretty. Sorry for the nasty picture, I can't find the costume on the site, I don't know why.
I was surprised by her decision only because she's been saying that she was going to be a mermaid since the day after last Halloween. But she stuck with it, so I went on a quest for powder blue sequined material. Couldn't find it. I called stores, I searched online. Then I did find it. For three times what I was willing to pay, and that was without shipping. So, one day we walked into Joann's, and I had her pick from the selection they had there. She choose Hot Pink. Not pink, Hot Pink. Then it was my job to find a pattern for the leotard. I went through my multitude of patterns(remember I've inherited from three other sewers, so I have a plethora) I found a vintage halter top bathing suit in a size 3, and a current dress- size 5, whose bodice was the same as the picture. I tried to talk her into the halter top, she wasn't feeling it, to my dismay. The next step was to combine the two patterns, which were different sizes, different eras, different styles. It was little consolation that they were both from Simplicity.

I wasn't sure how this was going to go, so instead of using pattern paper I used tissue paper, not bad, as a matter of fact. Then, I cut my fabric, reminding myself all the while that I had bought twice what I would need, should there be an oopsie-daisy. I sewed the two pieces together(sides, shoulders, crotch) then I held it up to the light.
Hhmm, I guess I need to go get some lining for this. But not today, to much to do, and I thought I'd give you a tutorial on combining patterns.

On to the tutorial!

This is how you combine two separate patterns. This one is fairly easy, as I'm more superimposing one top over another. Since they are different sizes, there's some guesswork, and that's the hard part.

Step 1 Line up the straight edge of the two patterns-this is the part that would be on the fold for the front piece or where the zipper opening will be on the back piece. If the back is not a half piece, fold it so that it is in half, and use the fold as your straight edge.
Step 2 Most patterns have the waistline marked. Find this small line on each piece.

Step 3 Line up the waistlines of the two pieces-the little lines may not be in the same place, do the best you can.

Step 4 Tape them together!

Step 5 This is where it can get tricky. Read-difficult. If one piece doesn't have the same shape as the other, which one do you follow? The one that is the shape you want. This is supposed to be a leotard, so I'm going to follow the bathing suit. Lay your patterns down on tissue paper or pattern paper, and pin down. You have a few options for transferring to the pattern paper, trace with a pen/pencil, use a roller marker, or just cut it without transferring it.
I used a pen and where there was tape in the way, a roller marker.
**How did I know where to mark since the bottom of the pattern is two sizes to small? Note the distance between the size you need and the size of the pattern. You can eyeball it while you're marking, or you can measure. Most patterns have 1/4" space between the next size up on the sides, 1/4" to 1/2" on sleeve curves, shoulders and necklines.
Step 6 Measure your new pattern. I forgot to do this and had to take most of my stitching out, since the pattern was several sizes to wide, but fine on the length. For accuracy, measure each piece at the waistline mark. I want a pattern that fits a 21 1/2" waist, so I want my pattern measurements to add up to 23". Remember the seam allowance, so if you cut your pattern to the exact measurements(in my case, 21&1/2"), it's going to be to small. This is a child's outfit, I'd like the option of letting out the seams to make it last a little longer, so I use a 5/8" seam allowance. Most times, 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance is all you need.
Here's the math-(don't worry, if you can say 1 and 1/2 yards, you can do this!!!)
Front Measurement ____ X 2=a
(The front is cut on a fold, double the amount to get the full width)
Back Measurement_____X2=b
(again, this is half the width, so double it)
Now, a___+b___=total width of pattern.
Need an example? Here you go.
Front 6.5 X 2 =13
Back 7 X 2 =14
13 + 14 =27
Yeah, like I said, several sizes to wide. How to fix this? Simple.( I promise, it's simple!)
First, take the measurement for the size it's supposed to be, then the measurement for what it is, and subtract the smaller number from the larger-
27 - 23 = 4
If your pattern was to small, this is how much you need to add. If your pattern was to big, this is how much to need to subtract. If you need to add, you will be starting over, this time laying the too-small pattern on your paper and using that as a template to make the correct sized pattern. If your pattern is to big,you can follow the outline of the pattern, or cut off the straight edges. If you cut the straight edge, take into consideration any area that won't be trimmed by cutting the straight edge-necklines, arm holes, etc. These will need to be cut to to be a match with your new overall width. Also, make sure you remember that there are two pieces, don't just cut the whole amount from one piece-in this, it definitely takes two to tango. If you cut 4 inches off of the front, but not the back, the side seams will be out of place, same thing if you cut from the backa nd not the front.
Divide the difference by 2-
4 / 2 = 2
That number is how much you will be adding to or subtracting from each piece. As I said, the easy way to subract is to cut from the straight edge, sometimes you need to trim from around the entire pattern, just depending on how fitted the pattern is. Not to name names, but a Vogue pattern can't just be trimmed in one spot, and most times the bodice is in four thousand pieces anyways. I get a headache just thinking about it. In my case, I had the fabric cut, so I trimmed from the outside. I also knew that the neckline was to high for the look we wanted so I trimmed that as well. I've told you how, now, cut your fabric, and see how you've done!!
Happy Thoughts!

October 17, 2009

The Great Fabric Clean Out of 09!

I have been feeling very overwhelmed. By the clutter. The clutter that comes from not having space. So my dear mother, Anal Retentive Control Freak #1(I may have mentioned that I'm #2, and I get her title when she dies)came over to help out. We went through fabric. Lots of fabric. I had fabric I had bought, and fabric I had inherited from-my sister the Quilter(had to make room for Quilt fabric) my Grandmother(unable to sew anymore) and my mom(more into scrapbooking) That makes for lots of fabric. Half of the fabric was stuffed in this box-it orginially had a front-facing car seat in it. If that gives you and idea how BIG this box is.

Here it is all sorted, folded and some of it bagged-not sure why she bagged it...

I know why she bagged these-behold, a 39 gallon bag of scrap fabric! No kidding, there were more strips of fabric than real yardage. Why do we keep all those remnants? Some of it was from the 70's(thanks, G-ma, and the 80's-thanks Mom)

Here is all my fabric in my new storage closet. This closet has always been more empty than full, and what was in it was supposed to be somewhere else. So why didn't I think to put things away in the right place so my fabric could have a home? Ignore the bottom of the closet, that is all the stuff for sewing some more cloth diapers, but there isn't a clear space near the sewing machine, so she was willing to leave it all there.

A close up. We just sorted by color, and put it up. She left the job of sorting by material type to me. Although she did comment that it was easy to tell my favorite color, and my favorite material. You can see the favorite color-the bottom shelf is all blue, plus two bags at the very top, however, you can't really tell the what kind of fabric, mostly sheers and knits. As strange as it is, this was a really fun activity for me. As I mentioned, I'm anal just like my Mommy, so I looked up fabric folding techniques, I had never seen this by Marilyn Bohn, or this by the domestic diva, but really liked them. I'm not going to empty the closet and refold everything, of course. Unless I can't sleep and it sounds fun at 3 am. I'll just refold as I get things out and put them back.

**A note-while Mom and I were sorting fabric, The Hubby and my Dad were working on the front room, aka the Stinky Room. They took down siding, put wiremesh over a small opening, put up some new insultaion board, put the siding back on, I'm getting tired just typing all this! So, I guess The Hubby didn't enjoy his Saturday quality time activity as much as I did. But the room is better, so Yippie! Happy Thoughts!

October 16, 2009

What's not going to happen-posting everyday

Not that I'm giving in, but I am noticing trends, and the things that get in the way. Blogging consistently is like working consistently, it has to be a part of the routine. Similar to work, I can't wait to do it only when both kids are napping. However, I feel more distanced from the kids when I'm on the computer than I do when I'm cutting patterns, sewing on the machine or designing. I could do it in the evenings when they are in bed, but the Hubby does not share well. At all, to be honest. You'd think he was raised an only child. So that leaves early mornings before everyone else gets up...but then, I have to get up...eeek. I'm thinking aloud here. I'll just have to make it a priority to get on the computer before the Hubby or the sweet lil' ones wake up. It's my only option. Another road block comes from a loss of routine. When I got back on the computer after my brief hiatus, I had a plan, and somehow, along the way, I ditched it. I don't think I realised it when it happened, only just in the last few days as I look at my To Do List, that has very few things checked off. When I have a pile of things to do, I don't set a done by date, I just order things by importance and work my way down the list. This is the same philosophy that has me refusing to have a"Schedule". A schedule sets you up for failure, simply because you can't predict what's going to happen. A routine lives off of the flow of your family, your life. I haven't been listening to the rhythm of my family, of my life, and that's why things have begun to go all helter skelter lately. It started off nicely, but I lost my focus somewhere, now I must get it back. That's where I'm off to now, time to journal my way back to my goals. Happy Thoughts!

October 13, 2009

Apologies, Alexander had a staple in his knee

Well, when we found it, my sister(The Quilter) and I thought it was a flat head straight pin. But it was neither of those things. It turned out to be an embroidery needle-the eye of it, in fact. He's great, took him to the ER, they took an x-ray, pulled it out and now he's doing great, crawling everywhere just fine. They put him on an antibiotic, and he got his first tetanus @ his 6 month well child visit, so we're set. Sort of.

The whole ordeal has really stressed me out. In order to decompress I've been working like a slave. Which is good, I've gotten one pattern re-sized into three other sizes, and I'm pretty sure I have the kinks worked out of another one that's vexed me for a few weeks. Nothing like sitting in the ER trying to keep a baby still to get the grey matter into shape. If you'd like the whole story go to my personal blog. Happy Thoughts!

October 10, 2009

I'm being eaten by patternpaper

Thursday E had a friend over all day; as it was raining, and all the toys are up in the attic(awaiting a dry and stink-less playroom), I had a crazy day corralling kids. I did write a post, I just now realised I never got around to posting it. Yesterday I got so into work, I just didn't think about getting on the computer.
My mom and I are doing two craft shows in November and possibly one in December. I'm so OCD, I feel like I'm already in the 11Th hour. I thought I would share with you some pictures of my Obsessive-Compulsive behavior, without really revealing what I'm making.

Yes, there's E's breakfast bowl sharing space with my pattern paper, I'm so generous with my work table, aka dining table.

Are you wondering what the plastic bags are all about?

Did I mention that I'm highly organised? Or, as my father and husband put it, anal retentive? Obsessive Compulsive. Annoying. Take your pick. I have a bunch of felt patterns to cut, so everything is put together by color of felt.

As you can see there are large bags and small bags. Pattern pieces are in small bags, sorted by color. Once cut, the felt and pattern piece go into a large bag to be sewn once all the pieces of that particular pattern are cut. I only do this for the felt quiet books and play food, just because there are so many pieces and I have a hard time telling if I'm running out of felt in a certain color. Speaking of which, the felt and patterns are calling me-kiddos are occupied, the Hubby is on his way home to play on the computer, I think I'll go play in the mountain of pattern paper I have out. Happy Thoughts!

October 8, 2009

I'm dreaming of a Sewing Room...

I'm beginning to think that the delay in setting up the playroom/sewing room is a good thing. At first, I was just thinking, get the stuff in there and be done with it. Then I stopped by my parents house, and went into my Mom's studio. When I was younger she just had a small area, and as I got older it became a room, until it blossomed(along with her business) into a full blown studio. To me, it's an extension of my mother, and her style of creativity. Neat and tidy, bursting at the seams with fun stuff to play with, it's painted in 'her' colors-it's my Mom. Which got me thinking about what I'd like my half of the room to be. I did some searching, and found some really inspiring pictures. I also noticed a trend; most rooms were either really sparse and bare, or very, very cluttered. I have also come to some conclusions about myself.
I don't work well in clutter. I need open space and lightening that makes it feel open
I'm inspired by color
I'm also inspired by nature
I like having music in the background
I need to be able to put things away-little hands can be dangerous, also some of my things can be dangerous for little hands

I saved some pictures, but as they are of other people's spaces, I'm not going to post them here. However, here are some ideas I'm going to "borrow"
1 One room had so many yarn ribbons, they looked like a waterfall of colors! Oh, makes me want to run out and buy pounds and pounds of it!
2 One woman used hanging baskets for her miscellaneous supplies,
I'm thinking yarn storage!
3 Clear glass jars with colorful things in it. I saw mostly buttons and ribbons,
but since I don't have a large collection of those I thought I'd use fabric flower petals
Purely for decoration, but oh so pretty!
4 ribbon spools on dowels under shelves. Also one woman
had her thread rack between 2 dowel rods, very nice
5 An idea board-decorated and pretty, of course

October 7, 2009

I loved my mailbox yesterday, but not today

I have a post about making a girl's dress pattern ready for you, but I'm going to take moment for myself today. You see, my sewing room is on hold, I've been cutting back on caffeine-that's actually sort of involuntary-now I've got a horrible caffeine headache, the pantry is out of several staple items; lunch today was cereal for E and grits for me. So this letter feels like a bit of a betrayal from my dear old mailbox-doesn't he know what's been going on here? What makes it mildly worse, the Hubby has been summoned to Jury Duty twice, both times the week of a national holiday. Seriously, the first time it was Thanksgiving, and last year it was Christmas. If you can be lucky about being called for Jury Duty, I think that's it. This is the second time I've been summoned, the last time I was the last person eliminated, so I was there all day, but didn't have to serve. In a few minutes, I won't mind at all, I'll be like, hey, take a book, I'll be fine. Right now, I'm thinking of everything else that's going on. Ugh. I'm going to drink a lot of Starbucks tomorrow. Pity Party Adjourned! Happy Thoughts!

October 6, 2009

Hold the Tulle, Vera!

E wants to be a blue fairy. A sequined blue fairy. She saw a picture of one in a catalog, and of course, I decided to make it. Duh. However, finding sky blue sequined material turned out near to impossible to find. I finally did find some, but not in my price range. On Friday we made what was supposed to be a mad dash into and out of JoAnn ETC. We just needed thread. But the sequined costume fabric was right there. So I asked E to pick a color for her fairy costume. And she choose Hot Pink. There was a remnant on the bolt that looked to be about the right length. Off to the tulle, and several yards later, we're at the cutting counter. My girl was there cutting, and she gave my part of the fabric as a remnant, she's so sweet! Then out we go, out out out! But wait, fleece is on sale, 50%. A's costume is going to be out of fleece(he's the lion). Back to the cutting counter we go! At home again, E keeps asking when I'm going to sew her Fairy costume. So, as a surprise during her nap today, I had Vera help me make this-

Isn't it beautiful? It's my quick, no-sew fairy costume with oodles of tulle. E didn't seem to thrilled with it. She has no sense of humor. I actually think she was more upset that Vera had on her fabric than anything else. 5 year olds. Happy Thoughts!

October 5, 2009

It's all I can think about, focus on, work towards...

I mentioned that we've had a small problem with my sewing/crafting leaking into other areas of the house. Alright, not other areas, just the surfaces closest to my sewing machine/crafting desk. This is what our dining room looks like lately. We don't always have such a stylin' fort, but the girls felt it was necessary today, since it's so muddy outside. You can see a buffet table, a desk, Vera, and our table(sort of). What you can't see is under the table are the bags of fabric, interfacing, notions, and projects to be finished. You also can't see under the desk, where there are cutting mats, rolls of pattern paper, ironing boards, and of course, dust and dog hair. All of these things get used nearly daily or weekly. Obviously, not the most ideal work environment. Nor is it the best eating area. It's not really good for having kids around, either. After yet another dinner spent competing with needles and thread for space at the table, the Hubby agreed, we had to do something NOW. We had been throwing around the idea of putting the two children, E, aged 5, and A, aged 8 months, in the same room. E has been all about it since watching Nanny McPhee(such a fun movie, based on a great set of stories) The idea is that once the two are in one room, the extra room will become a playroom for myself and the kids.We talked it over all weekend long, pros, cons, what ifs, and finally made out a plan that we think will work. Now, I can't think about anything else. I mean it, as I sit here typing, I'm really thinking(no offense)about moving the desk in there while the Hubby is at work. He's already going to be surprised when he gets home, because this is what E's room looked like this morning-

And this is what it looks like now-

You might notice the sleeping child on the bed, I would have taken pictures of the to-be playroom, however, the other sleeping child doesn't sleep as soundly. There's painting to be done, curtains to be made, and so on, but just getting things moved in is what I really care about. This is what's motivating me-the thought that once the desk is moved in, along with everything else, the dining area will be just a dining area, and all the clutter will be gone. Aaahhh. Not to mention I've wanted a sewing room, not just a sewing area, for years. All other projects have been set aside until this one project gets done-just simply getting moved completely into the playroom. I'm very into this, and the Hubby is sort of into it. It's change, and he hates change, good or bad, and I love change. So, as I charge full speed ahead, he remains slow and steady. I will attempt to post about something else, but as I'm very excited, I'm not making any promises. Happy Thoughts!

October 2, 2009

Decapitated Dolls + a Ring Stacker = a very messy workspace

Poor Mary Jane. Poor, poor Mary Jane.

Mary Jane has the Velveteen Rabbit disease-she has been loved until she's fallen apart. Perhaps I should call her Nearly Headless Nelly. Mary Jane comes from a pattern I found amongst all my mother's patterns from when she had a craft store. It was very nostalgic, even more so after I decided to use these dolls in my shop. I was looking at the mailing envelope my mother had received/stored the patterns in, and saw the postmark date, which meant my mother sold these dolls in her craft store when she was the same age I am now. My mother sold them as collector's dolls. I want to sell them as toys. So, after sewing two, I gave them to E to play with. The heads came off very fast. That's been a dilemma for several months now. How to attach the heads, which when done by the instructions are sewn on last, and by hand. I tried a few things, and finally followed the spider Charlolette's lead-I just left it alone, and (sort of) forgot about it. Then after literally months, I realised the solution, when I wasn't even thinking about it. With that problem solved, I now have to practice sewing the hair. I have some choice words that I'll refrain from using to describe the process of making the hair. Practice is the only thing that will help.

The ring stacker. Took me forever to get from pattern cutting to fabric cutting to sewing, but the sewing part went fairly quickly once started. The little guy likes it pretty well, although he seems to be mostly interested in things that BANG right now, so it's not a favorite. Perhaps if he decides loud noises are no fun, and soft cuddly things are more fun, but I don't think you should hold your breath. I'm working on the matching grab ball to go with it.

So, Hubby and I have decided that there's no room. I have several projects that I'm getting done. This is stupendous. This is great. This is a mess all over the house. My sewing desk is in the dining room area, b/c that's where we have the space for it. Thus, the dining room table has become, by default, my worktable. It's a very large table, so we are able to eat at one end, with much of my work stacked precariously at the other end. Absolutely no laughing at dinner, you might knock Mommy's new fabric into the green beans! We're throwing around a few different solutions, but no decisions yet. I'm all for moving into an old farmhouse with some acreage, and Hubby probably would do it if it didn't involve spending money and manual labor. He's probably more against the manual labor than the spending money. Happy Thoughts!

October 1, 2009

Glad to be back!!

Taking a break from posting was a good idea. While I was not posting, I was plotting. I was also crafting, and because of my plotting, I not only have pictures of my crafting/sewing/messing around, I have posts planned to go with them! Yay me, I set out to do something, and I've done it! My next goal is to post everyday this month. I plan on the posts being rather short, to make it easier for me to get into the habit. Hmm, as long winded as I can be, I wonder if my short version is actually a normal version, and my normal is long? Well, let me know if things are to long, short or just right. I'm working on a fresh look to go with the fresh start. I'm very excited about it, just waiting for a few things to come together. Keep an eye out for the changes! Happy Thoughts!