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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Retro Halter Top & Faux Wrap Skirt

A few weeks ago, I found this pink halter top that was mine when I was a little girl.  It fits Ella perfectly right now, and she is in love with it!

I thought it would be fun to find an old picture of me wearing it when I was a little girl.  After searching through my mom's old photo albums, I finally found a couple of me wearing it when I was 4 1/2!

Apparently, at one time, I had another one as you can see in this photo, but sadly, I do not know what became of it.

I'm not sure who made it for me--my mom or my grandmother--but I'm pretty sure I wanted one because my mom wore halter tops often way back then.  I wouldn't be caught dead in one today!

What amazes me is that Ella has just turned 3, and when it was mine, I was almost 5!  I have a few other vintage things of mine (mostly dresses) that Ella was wearing a year ago, but I was 4 to 5 when I wore them.  I guess we just grow kids bigger these days!

She was so excited to wear my old halter top that I decided to make her a new one.  Maybe it will last as long as mine has!  It is so simple and easy to make, and in fact, this one is reversible!  Here's my Retro Halter Top!

After I finished it, I decided to make her a matching skirt with the left over fabric.  I think I was able to make both with a little more than a half a yard!

I wanted to make a wrap style skirt, but I was afraid that Ella would untie it all the time.  So instead, I made it overlap in the front, put some elastic in the back, and tacked the front two pieces together.  She can just slip it on and off.  So that is how I came up with the Faux Wrap Skirt!

As you can see, Ella has been practicing her poses lately!  She's been taking direction from her big brother/manager, Connor.  I'm pretty sure she needs a little more practice!

If anyone is interested, I plan on scanning in the pattern for the halter top and posting a tutorial on how to make it.  It might take me a few days to get around to it, so please be patient.  I'd appreciate you leaving me a comment letting me know if that is definitely something you would be interested in though.

This outfit is going to be great for the hot summer that is coming!  Don't you agree?!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Game Day Ruffle Romper

Let me start out this post with a great big Wa-a-r-r-r Eagle!  Hey!

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm an Auburn Tigers fan.  Auburn University, that is!  A beautiful college in the heart of the south in Auburn, Alabama.  The place where I, as well as the rest of my family except for my husband (a University of Alabama grad), earned my college degree.

That said, since I have a beautiful daughter who tends to favor her mother's alma mater, I knew she needed to have an outfit or two to wear to show my her support come football season!  What I came up with is the Game Day Ruffle Romper!

Again, I found my inspiration for a new outfit from the Kelly's Kids catalog, specifically the Play Date Romper on page 32.  I love rompers, and this one is so adorable in plaid with the ruffle neckline.

Kelly's Kids Play Date Romper

A month or so ago, I bought a piece of cotton plaid fabric with Auburn colors (orange and blue) with no specific project in mind.  I figured I would make some shorts out of it or maybe combine it with another coordinating fabric to make a dress.  However, once I figured out how to make this romper (I didn't have a pattern specifically for it), I knew the Auburn plaid would be perfect! Luckily, I had just enough fabric (3/4 of a yard) to make this size 4T romper right by matching the plaids. 

The only thing I haven't added (yet) to this Game Day Ruffle Romper is the elastic waistband.  I debated whether or not to put in a casing and run 1/4" elastic through it or try and shir the waistband.  I'm still having trouble with my shirring method, and I forgot to buy a different brand of elastic thread when I went to the fabric store earlier this week.  So, since Ella insisted on wearing her new outfit right away, I whipped up a wide orange with white polka dotted sash.  I like it, and so did she.  

I can't wait to make another one of these rompers.  It was pretty simple to make once I found a couple of "go-by" pattern pieces to use.  For the main part of the romper, I used Simplicity 1903 View C, but I chose to cut the top front and back out on the fold to make matching the plaids up easier.  I then decided I wanted the finished ruffle to be at least 3" wide, so I cut out a 3-3/4" piece by the width of the fabric (roughly 42") and then sewed the two short ends together.  I then used my serger to make a rolled hemmed edge on the ruffle.  Next, I sewed the ruffle onto the neck line by matching the right side of the ruffle to the wrong side of the bodice.  Then, I flipped the ruffle to the outside of the romper and stitched a casing for a 1/4" piece of elastic.  

I know, I know.  I really need to start taking pictures of these steps to go along with my description.  I promise I'll try to when I make the next one (which I hope won't be too long since I already have the fabric picked out)!

Now that she has the right outfit, I hope we can attend one of the Auburn football games this fall.  We'll see! Go Tigers!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Guest Post at Optimistic Slacker

Ok, my Covert Robin guest post has been published over at the Optimistic Slacker and added to the link up party.  Please head over and check out what I made for Rikki and check out her blog!


the covert robin button

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun in the Sun Dress!

When I was shopping for fabric with my friend a few weeks ago, I saw this adorable embroidered seersucker at the store.  There were little pink cats, footballs, baby chicks, trains, and butterflies and flowers.  At the time, I didn't buy any, but I really wanted some of that fabric to make Ella an adorable outfit.  I just couldn't figure out exactly what to make though!

Well, after looking through the Kelly's Kids catalog some more, I made up my mind what I could make.  So, I bought some of the berry on white seersucker with embroidered butterflies and flowers to make Ella an adorable sundress. She loves purple and butterflies and flowers, so this was meant for her!

On page 23 of the Spring 2012 Kelly's Kids catalog, there is an adorable sundress made essentially like a pillowcase dress with a large ruffle at the bottom and bias tape ties at the shoulder.  So simple yet so adorable!

Sundress from Kelly's Kids
I decided this would be the perfect dress to make using the purple seersucker fabric I had purchased.  After a couple of hours of cutting and sewing, this is what I ended up making Ella.  Pretty much an exact copy of the $48 dress from Kelly's Kids!  I call it Ella's Fun in the Sun Dress!

Ella has worn this dress three times this week already.  She loves it!  The fabric is so soft and lightweight, and it is perfect for running around and playing.  I think I'll be buying some more seersucker fabric and putting together a couple more of these for the summer.

And if anyone is interested, I've got enough of this fabric to make one more dress (size 2T - 5T).  I'd be more than happy to make one and sell it at a fraction of the cost of the Kelly's Kids version!  Just send me an email or leave me a comment.

Now let me see what else I can find in this catalog to make!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mommy & Me Skirts

I've been wanting to try shirring again lately, so I decided to make myself a skirt for summer.  I had a couple of shirred waist skirts from Target years ago that I loved, and after seeing this tutorial over at Running with Scissors, I knew I had to give it a try.

Since I don't have much experience with shirring, I decided to use an inexpensive piece of quilting cotton that I had purchased from Joann's a few weeks ago.  I liked the colors and the print was okay, but if this shirring thing didn't work out, I wouldn't feel so guilty about wasting the fabric.

Warning!  The picture you are about to see contains a pair of very, very white legs and me with no make-up on.

I chose not to make the skirt with pockets just to simplify the entire project this time.  The main idea was to practice my shirring technique.

I used the tutorial to determine the width and length of the skirt, but I found that even with her revised notes in the instructions, this was still too much fabric for me.  I also felt like the skirt length she specified was a little long for me.

Last time I shirred something, I made sure to make a note about how I adjusted my sewing machine settings.  This seemed to work out just fine, but when I finished all 10 rows of shirring for the waistband and then spritzed it with water and applied heat, the elastic just did not draw up nearly enough. This is when I discovered that the width of the skirt was just way too big for me.  I even sewed in a few extra rows of shirring hoping it would draw up more, but it didn't.

What I thought was going to be a super quick project turned into an afternoon headache!  I eventually decided to cut off 10" of the width at which point the skirt still fit a little loose.  So, the next time I try making this skirt, I'm only going to multiply my hip measurement by 1.45 (instead of the tutorial recommended 1.75) to get a better fit for me.

After finishing my skirt, I realized that I had enough fabric left over to make Ella one, too.  Since my experience with shirring hadn't gone as well as I had hoped, I opted to just put in a regular elastic waistband on her skirt.

To make the two skirts look even more similar, I added the bias tape at the hem.

This little ruffle and bow were a cute addition to her skirt and gave it more of a girly flare; however, she keeps asking me to remove it (not gonna happen!).

Next time I shirr, I think I'll try using a different brand of elastic thread.  I've read that Stretch-Rite works well (I think it could be because it has more rubber in the elastic than the Dritz brand).  What's your opinion?  Do you have a preference for one elastic thread brand over another?  I'd really appreciate your input on the topic.  Thanks!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Picture-Perfect Dress

A couple of weeks ago, I made a beautiful white dress for my best friend's daughter.  It was a knockoff of the Caroline Dress from Kelly's Kids.  You can read about that here.

I ended up having enough of that white fabric to make Ella the Picture-Perfect Dress found on page 20 of the book Make It Sew Modern by Vanessa Christenson of V and Co.  This light, fun fabric was a perfect choice for this dress pattern!

Image of Make it Sew Modern by Vanessa Christenson

I followed the instructions for measuring Ella to determine the bodice width and length as well as the skirt width and length; however, I had to make the ruffle strips only 4" wide instead of 4 1/2" in order to get 5 rows of ruffles since I was working with a limited amount of fabric.  It worked out just fine though, don't you think?

I used my serger and hemmed the ruffle edges with a rolled hem which worked out perfectly for this weight of fabric.  It also made quick work of putting this whole dress together!  I'm really loving that sewing technique lately.

The instructions for putting together the back bodice with the elastic and button closure was easy to follow, but I somehow sewed together the lining and dress fabrics along what was suppose to be the length of the bodice instead of the width.  The length and width measurements were only off by about an inch, so it was easy to do if you weren't paying close enough attention.  I guess I wasn't because I then cut out another back bodice and sewed it together the wrong way again!  The second time, though, I caught it before I sewed up the armhole cutouts, so I was able to pick it out and finally get it right the third time!  Ugh!

Ella hasn't been extremely cooperative lately with trying on clothes for fit or letting me use a measuring tape to get a good measurement, so I just had to guess on the length for the shoulder straps.  When she tried the dress on for photos, the straps were too long.  I was lucky to get her cooperation, so I just pinned them temporarily until I can figure out how to fix them without taking the bodice apart.  Any suggestions out there?  They are about an 1" too long.  You can see the straight pin I used in this photo.  Just ignore it please.  Remember, it's suppose to be a Picture-Perfect Dress!

Can you tell I'm hiding something in this next photo?  It's my son's dirty tennis shoes!  He was climbing the tree when I shot this photo, which I think is really cute of Ella.  Oh, well!

Don't you just love the blue fingernails and the bunny rabbit tattoo?  Thank goodness both of those things can be removed easily!

Anyway, this dress was so much fun to make, and Ella's comment the first time she saw it was "It's so beautiful, Moma!".  I just love it when she really likes something I make for her.

Now, if I can just get past my fears of children wearing white, I'll be okay! Since discovering my friend's magical stain removal trick (which by the way she is having to use today on the dress I made for Madalyn), I'm warming up to the idea a lot easier!

This is the second thing I have made from the book Make It Sew Modern, and I highly recommend it.  I checked it out of my local library, but you can buy it from V and Co. on sale for roughly $20.  With all the great patterns and ideas in it, I think it is definitely worth it.  Can't wait to try out another project before I have to return it!


Sew Chatty

Monday, April 2, 2012

Liebster Award

Last week, I was given the Liebster Award by Janelle at Emmaline Bags! Thank you, Janelle!  I am very honored.

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  Now that I have had this award bestowed upon me, it is my turn to pass it along.  Here are the rules...

1.  Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.
2.  Choose 3-5 blogs with less than 200 followers and pass the award on to them.
3.  Display the Liebster Award somewhere on your blog.

Wow!  I can't believe I have all this power!  Who will I pass this award along to?  Well, I feel the following bloggers definitely deserve it!  Let's give them all a big round of applause!  Yeah!  Whoo Hoo!

A Cup of Tea and A Slice of Cake

Please check out these blogs and become their newest follower!