Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bucket Hats

You may have seen the towel cover ups that I made the girls for our beach vacation by now.  Before we left, I also made them some Oliver + S bucket hats.  They had finally grown out of their baby sun hats and needed new ones.  I usually sew them stuff that looks great but they don't really need, so it was nice to feel like my hobby was actually useful.  Plus the pattern was free and I was eager to give it a try.

Lately they are picky about the things I make.  I have to include a feature in/on the item that entices them to want to wear it (pockets, fun trim, animals on the fabric).  I had this very cute fat quarter with mermaids and whales on it that I thought would be perfect for the hats since they love the Little Mermaid (Jay-Cyn Designs, Storyboek II, Mermaid)  I had to make the tops of the hats the same, even though I don't usually go for the twins matchy-matchy thing.  If I hadn't, there definitely would've been a meltdown over who had the best hat. 

I made sure to cut out the top circle for each hat so that it would showcase the mermaid.  After doing that, I had just enough fabric to cut out the brims.  I was very proud of myself that I managed two hats out of a fat quarter.  But when I counted up my pieces, I realized I had forgotten about the sides!  ooops

So I improvised with what I had.  I dug around and found some purple linen that complimented the mermaid fabric pretty well.  I wasn't sure if it would turn out okay, but the girls like purple so I went with it.

I LOVE how it turned out!

Now for the other side of the hat (they are reversible), I used some fabric that was the same print but different colors.  The fabrics are Fancy Flight Organic Mod Vine Stripe in Garden Brown and Jewel Grey by Nancy Mims of Mod Green Pod, for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  I love the hats with the front brim turned up to showcase these prints.  I have to hold myself back from buying more of this fabric!

These hats were not the easiest thing I have sewn though!  For some reason I thought I could finish them both in under an hour - I guess because they are so small.  But I think it took me about three hours of careful cutting, ironing, and sewing.  Every step required me to slow down and concentrate.  I may have rewarded myself with a milkshake afterwards.  At least I'm pretty confindent with sewing curved pieces now. 

The worst part really was the hand sewing of the two sides with an invisible stitch to make them reversible.  I put that off until the car ride to the beach.  The whole time I was stitching them together I thought there's got to be a better way!  I googled around and realized there is!   Too bad I had forgotten that post by Handmade Frenzy.  If anyone else tries to make these hats, you should definitely try that way...unless you like hand stitching?

Hopefully soon I'll finally go through all of our pics from vacation.  We kind of had a good time.  As long as we didn't try to visit the beach!

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Think Pink Sunday
Inspiration Monday
Take a Look Tuesday
Tasteful Tuesday
Make it Wear it Thursday

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bacon, Chard, and Leek Quiche

Anyone part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group or visit the farmer's market often?  We're part of a CSA and really enjoy the challenge each week of using up the veggies they give us.  But sometimes you just get tired of finding recipes that use up your veggies - when we get lazy, we throw whatever vegetables that need to be eaten up into a stir fry or quiche. 
My favorite quiche recipe I want to share is by Paula Deen.  I've made it so many times that I've changed it a bit here and there.  I usually make it with bacon and spinach, but also add in some sauteed onions and garlic.  And I like to use a combo of sharp cheddar and swiss cheese in the dish.  
This week we had chard and leeks from the CSA to eat up, so I used them instead of spinach and onion, but still added garlic.  To get started, I fried up some bacon - then chopped it up and set it aside when it was done.  Then I used some of the bacon grease to sautee chopped garlic, leeks and chard stems - until they were soft.  

 Next, I layered chopped chard leaves, the bacon, the leek/garlic/chard stem mixture, and cheese into a pre-packaged pie crust.  I think the most important thing here is to do several thin layers of each item so the layers dont separate when you take your fork to a slice later.

Then I whipped up the cream and eggs and added some cracked pepper and kosher salt.  Sometimes I substitue half of the eggs for eggbeaters and use half-and-half instead of cream.  Not sure that it makes it any healthier though! 

Finally, I poured the cream and egg mixture into the layered quiche and put it in the oven.  Then I came back 45 minutes later to discover I had heated up the wrong oven and we were going to have to wait another 45 minutes for dinner.  I don't think I've ever cooked anything without screwing up at least once! 

Wish I took a better picture - the chard stems add some interesting pink color to the quiche.  We have a hard time choking down chard sometimes, but it was incredible in this quiche. The bacon and cheese probably deserve the credit.  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer veggies!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Towel Cover-up Mini How To

When I was sewing up the girls' towel cover-ups for the Roller Skate Dress FLIP, I took a few pictures so that I could write up a tutorial.  But I didn't take very many pictures so this is more like a mini how-to.  Hope it helps anyone thinking of making one!

What you'll need:
  • cap sleeve dress pattern or a tshirt to use as a guide
  • 22"zipper (for 3T)
  • double fold bias tape
  • towel - for sizes larger than 3T you may need an extra long one, or a basic size towel plus hand towel for the hood
To begin, I cut out and pieced together the size 3T front and back dress patterns of the Roller Skate Dress.  I then folded the towels I got from Walmart lengthwise and cut out the pieces on the fold.  If you have a pattern in the towel, take extra care when cutting out the pieces if you'd like to match it at the seams.  But my pattern was crazy-swirling and I didn't see how it would be possible to match the dots without having to buy a second towel. 

The remaining of the towel in the bottom of the above picture was used to make the hood.  I used the already finished towel edge for my hood edge.  The size was roughly 12" x 9".  (Somehow the hood I cut out of the second towel was 8" x 11", but it still worked.  I just had to trim some more out of the middle of the front dress piece).  The pieces cut out are all in the picture below.  I cut the front dress piece down the middle to add the zipper later. 

Step 1:  Hood
This part was super easy!  All I did was fold the hood piece in half right sides together and sew a line lengthwise that curved at the top.  I secured the seam with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Step 2:  Hood Attachment
Then I sewed the front and back dress pieces right sides together at the shoulders (finishing the seams with a zig-zag stitch).  Place the hood and dress pieces right side together around the neckline and sew together (finish seam with zig-zag stitch).  You can see in the picture below, the hood was a little smaller than the front pattern pieces, so I had to trim them (leaving 1/2 for zipper placement). 

And this is where I ran out of pictures!  I didn't have many to begin with anyway - hopefully I can explain the rest well.

Step 3:  Zipper Placement
Sew the zipper onto the front pieces using a method you prefer.  There are tons of tutorials online - I like this one, though I don't usually go through the trouble to get it that perfect.  The zipper length I chose went the entire length of the dress pieces.  I used a regular zipper instead of a jacket like zipper, so it doesn't unzip all the way.  This turned out to be better for us, because the girls could get them on and off themselves.  If the zipper was to separate at the bottom like a jacket zipper, they'd be asking me to fix it over and over!  Here's a couple views of the finished zipper if that helps:


Step 4: Sew up the Side Seams
Place the back and front dress pieces right sides together and sew (finish seams with zig-zag stitch).

Step 5:  Attach the Bias Tape
Sandwich the bias tape around the towel at the arm holes and sew it on.  Then do the same around the hem. 

That should be it!  If anyone attempts this and it doesn't work out, let me know! 


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kids Clothes Week Days 3, 4, & 5

This summer edition of Kids Clothes Week has been difficult.  Mainly because it is getting hard to convince these girls to put on clothes to photograph!  They just want to run around in a bathing suit, and I can't blame them - it's been scorching hot!  So I decided to make some comfortable and cool play dresses.

A while ago the girls went to JoAnn's with me and picked out this popsicle fabric.  I've been wanting to make shirred dresses out of them, but hesitated because my old Brother sewing machine did not like to shir fabric.  Turns out my new Singer does just fine, but I still had lots of issues because I kinda forgot how to do it!  It was super easy once I figured it out.

I definitely ironed these dresses an hour before they put them on.  They are so rough on clothes!
When I looked up different shirred toddler dresses, I came across this one at Prudent Baby.  I love the pom pom trim straps!  I'm not sure how it will hold up in the wash, but we'll see. 

One thing I learned after making the first dress is that they REALLY like pom pom trim.  So much that I started a riot over who got to wear the pink one I had made first on Day 3.  So I had to put it away until I could find time during Days 4 and 5 to make the yellow one.  

This kid refused to give me anything but goofy faces.  

I have learned to only give white popsicles for photo sessions for now on.  The pink dress got red popsicle all over it right away.  Good thing it blends in.  I also made a half hand knitted, half regular fabric dress, but it's not quite finished.  I some how stretched out the knitted piece and now it's 3 inches too big.  Back to blocking it now - hope it turns out better!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kids Clothes Week Day 1 & 2

Kids Clothes week started on Monday and I jumped right into churning out some outfits that night.  The first night I made a tank dress that I self drafted.

I had made a similar beach cover up for myself before vacation and had just enough fabric left over to make matching outfits.  Though that is kinda cheesy and we will probably never wear them at the same time.

On Day 2 I put together a bubble skirt using a free pattern from Straight Grain.

I had a difficult time getting a photo of the skirt.

My skirt model was camera shy.

I love the bubble skirt!  Here's the hidden yellow and gray bird print I used for a lining.  I love how all the seams are hidden in this skirt - it looks so professional that way.  I guess we can be twinsies too if I ever wear my Monet Skirt at the same time as her bubble skirt. 

Day 3 I hope to finish up a couple of simple sundresses in some cute popsicle fabric, but we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roller Skate Dress FLIP

I knew that I just HAD to participate again in the FLIP this pattern sew along.  It is so fun to use some creativity to change up great patterns into something different.  The pattern to be "flipped" this month is the Oliver + S roller skate dress or tunic sewing pattern.  I was planning on making an Ariel dress as my "flip", but felt like that wasn't really an innovative way to use the pattern.  We also had a vacation coming up and I didn't have time for making dresses - I had to make some sun hats and towel cover ups quickly before we left.  So I gave up thinking about how to flip the pattern and decided I'd have to skip this month.  But then I realized that the roller skate pattern would be perfect for making towel cover ups!  Crazy how things come together sometimes.

This was my first time sewing an Oliver + S pattern and I was a little nervous because I had read that they are not for beginners.  But it was only a few pattern pieces and the instructions were pretty detailed so I gave it a try!  

After a successful trip to Walmart to find some interesting looking towels in the girls' favorite colors, I got to sewing.  I'll post again later on how these towel dresses/jackets came together, but for now I'll just overload you with pictures! (update:  how to posted here)

I made the cover ups using the size 3T View A dress pattern pieces.  I read the pattern instructions thoroughly, but didn't follow many of them.  First, I decided that the towel dresses/jackets had to have hoods!

Since I added hoods and didn't add a button closure to the back (like the pattern instructs), I decided to add some zippers so that the girls would be able to get them on and off easily - especially when wet.  And what kid doesn't love zippers?  So I cut the front piece in half and added zippers that went the entire length.

Another change up is that I didn't add any lining fabric.  I thought that would take away the drying ability of the towel.  Instead, I added bias tape to the arm holes and bottom hem to finish them off.  All the other raw edges were finished with a zig-zag stitch.  

The final difference between these cover ups and the original pattern is that I didn't add the elastic waist.  I think they would've been really cute with an empire elastic waist, but I like the shape of them without it.  So I decided to nix the extra step.

Again, I am so glad that the FLIP this pattern series is going on, or else I wouldn't have thought to make these using a dress pattern.  The cover ups would've probably been a little more boring and a lot less stylish!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time for Sparklers!

Their red, white, and blue outfits are complete!  I finished the romper last week and the dress above on Sunday.  The fabrics I used were from Girl Charlee (Red Nautical Flag Stripe on White Jersey Rayon Spandex and Vintage Revival White Dot on Blue Cotton Spandex), which seem to be sold out.  I really loved sewing with the polka fabric and the striped fabric had a beautiful drape.  The dress was made using the comfy-knit-dress tutorial from lbg-studio.  I've been excited to try the tutorial for weeks.  Get ready for picture overload, since I was pretty happy with the results......

The dress is for a 2/3T and fits pretty loose.  I bet it would fit her sister better, but she wouldn't give it up!  She loved how it moved when she twirled.

And when she jumped!

And when she was running from the camera...

As I was gathering and pinning all. that. fabric. for the ruffled tiers, I kept reminding myself that it was going to look fabulous.  I think the lines in the red and white fabric and the design of the dress replicate the waving of the flag.  I was hoping for that effect, so it was pretty cool that it worked out.   

The buttons I used for the dress came from my shopping experience on Fabric Row in Philadelphia.  They are little golden anchors wrapped with rope - my husband picked them out.  Luckily he was there because I was overwhelmed by the button choices!

  It was pretty tough getting them to stand still long enough for photos!  But that usually means they are pretty excited with the new outfits...



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