Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Pi Skirt.....signature look

For the final week of the Project Run and Play challenge you were suppose to create a signature look.  I struggled with this quite a bit.  I find that often I end up sewing someone else's signature look and it really isn't mine.  So I thought for a long time.....I have been thinking about it for weeks.   The other day it finally came to me.  I am a teacher so I sit through a lot of meetings.....a lot!  Truth be told I am a little bit ADD and I can't focus so I doodle all over the place.   A few years back I learned about how to prove the formula for the area of a circle.   It was one of those moments that I wished that my elementary teachers had shown me this.  Made the formula for the Area of a circle make sense and stick with me.   Every since then I have taught it to my students and drawn it repeatedly as a part of my doodling during meetings.  
If you are curious about what I am talking about check out this link.........

When I looked down at my paper the other day it hit was a skirt!

Not only was it a skirt, it was one without the side seems that always seem to throw off the clean look of my skirts. provides for a lovely scalloped edge. 

So I went home and searched for the perfect fabric.  What I found was remnants of a circus fabric and thought it was perfect.  

I fully lined the skirt and that let me not have to worry about hemming the edges.  I appropriately named it the Pi skirt.  I was in a hurry to get the skirt sewn for the competition and didn't take as many pictures as I would like, but I will get a tutorial up soon!  Praise the Lord it is almost summer vacation!

I couldn't leave the outfit as just a skirt!  I live in Colorado and it has huge shifts in the weather.  This means I tend to make a lot of separates, that way you can layer.  I made a cute pair of lace leggings (my first time working with lace but that is a story for another day) to go under the skirt.  I also made a shrug jacket with big pleated sleeves.  I haven't decided if I like the sleeves yet..... it is still a work in progress.  Finally, I put a little pink tank top on underneath and a bright orange necklace.   I plan to applique a circus tent onto one of the long sleeve shirts I bought on clearance so that it can transition in to winter later on. 

I was proud of my outfit and think that it really represents me....a little bit of math, bright colors, and a lot of fun!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Minnie Mouse Birthday! Aria turns 3!

My beautiful Aria turned 3 this weekend.  We planned on a Minnie Mouse birthday party.  So Mommy got to work making a dress, which still barely got done.  I spent some time online trying to plan and looking for other people's ideas.  They were great but required either a lot of time, or a lot of money.  I personally have neither.  So I had to make some adjustments to the plan.  This is what I did and I think everything was absolutely perfect.
I used a variety of red, yellow, and black table cloths. They are cheap at Walmart for only 99 cents, so great for the atmosphere for a small amount of money. I didn't have a whole lot of guests coming that were kids so I was able to set the table for all of them to sit at. I just loved the little hand plates that I got at Target on clearance after Christmas.  I made ears for each guest and placed them on the plates.  Ears with bows for the girls and without for the boys!
For the food I focused on Aria's favorite foods trying to get as much as I could that were yellow, red, and white. I made fruit kabobs with strawberries, pineapple, and marshmallows which were probably the biggest hit of the whole meal. I also did potato chips and cheese squares more yellow. Aria loves Twizzlers so I just put some in cups on the table and they added to the look.

These were one of my favorite things.  My dad found them at Costco.  They are nuggets in the shape of Mickey Mouse Heads.  There were perfect because my daughter loves nuggets once again going with the theme of her favorite foods.

For the drinks I decided to go really simple.  I made some lemonade mix in a separate container (yellow) and then added frozen strawberries to it in the punch bowl for color and to be the ice.  It was perfect and very tasty.  I also put the leftover fruit from the kabobs in a bowl so that people could add it to their drinks if they wanted. 
I had taken some really cute pictures before her birthday that I wanted to display. I had some white frames in the basement and I pulled them out and put the pictures in them.  This display at one point had a Mickey and Minnie doll but as soon as I would put them up there my daughter would take them down!
I set up the table in the kitchen for coloring and painting.  I found these things at Target in the dollar section on clearance after Valentines Day.  They made a perfect addition and the kids had fun with them.  I also set up a table where I let the girls pick out ribbon and I made them bows for their party favors.  You know it is "Minnie Mouse's Bow-Tique."  All the pictures had me in it and we are avoiding that at this moment!

The cupcakes were my favorite and so easy to do!  I made basic cupcakes, I wanted cookie and creme cupcakes but couldn't find a mix.  So I mixed a packet of cookies and creme jello pudding into the mix and it was perfect.   When they were finished I did a light coat of icing and then placed large and small oreos on them to make the ears.  The bows are just laffy taffy that I rolled out flat, cut with a knife, and then fashioned into little bows for the cupcakes (I made some without bows for the older boys who were there!)

The party turned out great but most importantly my daughter had a blast and so did her friends.  Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Project Run and Play Week #2 Challenge: Sportswear

For this week's Project Run and Play challenge I created something for my son.  I decided to go with the separates of a deconstructed suit.  See with every year he gets older the harder it is to get him into full dress wear.  So instead I went with a t-shirt, shorts, and a hooded vest.  This was my first time making a vest and a hoodie and I learned a lot from it.  I hope to share my process soon when it isn't so late and I can get my pictures uploaded.  Until then here they are.....I am pretty proud of this one!

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No I don't mean Christmas (although that really is my favorite), I mean it is clearance time.  It is the time of the year in which stores are really wanting to get rid of their winter stuff and the prices start getting really good.   Now is the time for long johns, underwear, socks and my personal favorite long sleeved t-shirts and turtlenecks.  I love to applique, it is a great way to turn a boring Wally World shirt into something that people notice.  The apple shirt....Wally World.   What I hate though is paying full price for those basic boring shirts.  And yes....full price is $3.88 but work with me people I am on a tight budget.  But right now....during this wonderful time of the can get long sleeve shirts for a buck.  That's right a buck in the infant and toddler section and two bucks in the kids section.  So I regularly buy out the store in any size that my daughter is not in yet.   This year I also bought for my friend Samantha who is going to join me in the summer sewing so that both of our girls (hers is starting Kindergarten) and even her youngest boy will have one of a kind outfits for next winter.  Bring on the fun!
Total Cost $23 for 14 shirts!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Birthday Time!

In the midst of everything else that I want to do and create, my daughter's third birthday is just two weeks away.   We are going with the Minnie Mouse theme in the traditional red, white, black, and yellow.  The only thing that is done and ready is the invitations which have been out for about 2 weeks.   For the invitiations, I had my daughter's picture taken in just a white shirt, black pants, a pair of Minnie Mouse ears and of course holding Minnie Mouse.  I think that they turned out perfectly.   Then all I needed to do was put the invitations together with the picture and I was ready to roll.  Now to finish that dress that is only half way done!

Project Run and Play Sew Along Challenge #1

Circle Skirt Remake!
So I don't know about you but I am a big fan of the show Project Runway.  My problem...I make kids clothes.  I have never even tried to make anything bigger than a size six.   This means any dream of project runway is lost.   However, I found this great blog called project run and play.  If you haven't seen it you need to.  I am going to try and put the button on my page, we will see how it goes.   They pick designers who are bloggers and give them challenges and everyone votes.  I love it!  Also they allow those of us who are quite there yet to sew along at home and enter the sew along challenge.  This week's challenge was the remake of Dana's Circle Skirt.  I have sent you here before because I really love this tutorial.
So I was excited.  I have already been doing this.  I was going to enter my remade tutu skirt but alas I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to the lady I made it for....Sigh!   So I decided I would make a complementary skirt to the Snow White outfit that I made for my daughter (let's be honest there are only so many days that I am going to convince her to wear those pants).   So during the course of several staff meetings, my mind wanders a lot, I drew up a very ambitious design for myself.
Loved it....but reality eventually sunk in and I realized that I am not there yet in my sewing techniques.   Sigh!  One of these days I will figure out how to make it work.   So I modified the design into a three tiered circle skirt.  Here it is my first tutorial. (Hooray)

To start with you need to follow the tutorial on Dana's circle skirt page to determine how you would make the first layer of the skirt.  
For me I wanted a skirt that was 10inches so I followed the description and this is what I got.   I found that if you glue two pieces of legal sized paper together it is about the right size to make a kid sized pattern with.

Now that I had the pattern for the bottom skirt, I folded my fabric so that I wouldn't have to sew and seams and cut out the bottom layer.  It works best if you pin the pattern to the fabric and it is okay if your cutting is imperfect like mine because we will be hiding it.

Now that the pattern is cut for the bottom layer, it is time to do some math to determine the next two layers.   For the top layer I took the length and cut it in half giving me the desired length for the top layer. Mine was 5 inches.   I used the same arching technique to add that to my pattern. (As you will see I only used one pattern and kept cutting it, mostly because I ran out of legal sized paper :-)).  Then to find the middle layer I took and split the difference between the top layer and bottom layer.  For me 7 1/2. Then I put that on to my pattern as well.  Below you can see what my finished pattern looked like.

Since I have already cut the bottom layer, I trimmed my pattern so that I could cut out the middle layer.

Finally, I trimmed my pattern again and cut out the top layer. 
Now you have all three layers and it is time to do some edging.  You could do a rolled hem to the bottom of the skirts but I haven't figured out how to do it without pulling my hair I use bias tape.   If you know how to make bias tape you could make your own (extra wide is preferable) but honestly for the amount that you need, it is just as easy to buy it.   I got a whole box at a garage sale for $1.00 (thanks mom!).  This is the brand I was using.

Now there are two ways to do the bias tape.  Either you can pin it all the way around the skirt and then sew..........

......Or you can just sew it on as you go.

Personally, I found that I made less mistakes when I sewed it around as I went.  Maybe because I had to take my time more.  Make sure you measure first so you don't end up like I did, having to make a patch.

Do this technique to all three skirts.  I liked using contrasting bias tape to make it more interesting. 
Once all three skirts have the bias tape layer them on top of each other and pin them.  There is a good chance that you will have accidentally cut one slightly larger than the others.  That is okay, with a little bit of pinning and stretching and folding you can usually get them to fit together in an unnoticeable way.   Once you have them binned do a basting stitch to attach them all together.   I use the basting stitch because it is really easy to pull out when you accidentally sew part of the skirt to the   Once you are happy with what you have done I like to use the zigzag stitch on the edges to clean them up and make sure they are secure.

I didn't take pictures of the next several parts....I was tired, it was late, I had no caffeine...enough said!
Once you have sewn the skirts together pick a material for the waistband.  I used the same blue as the bottom layer.   With your iron fold over the two sides and hem, then fold in half and iron so that you have a casing.  Measure the casing with your skirt, sew the ends, ad trim off the excess.  Then attach the waistband to the skirt sewing at the bottom edge.  Be sure to leave a small opening for the elastic.   Measure the elastic to the size of your child and cut.   Using a safety pin on one end, feed the elastic through the skirt.   Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew close the opening.  Go back and make sure that everything is secure.  I had to fix a few I said it was late.  

Finally, just try it on your daughter.   It is a perfect twirly fun skirt that your daughter will absolutely love.  I paired it with some bow tights and the same jacket and apple shirt from the previous picture and it is perfect.   She looked at me and said...."Mommy I am a Cinderella"  (Snow White but close enough!)
My model was quite grumpy and did not want to take pictures today!

So this would have been my entry into the sew along challenge had I finished it Thursday Night instead of last night.....oh well.  On to the next challenge....sportswear and this time I think I am going to make something for my son!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Princesses don't wear pants......

My daughter is a bit of a princess.  On an given day she goes back and forth between being a princess and a cheerleader (with a snapping puppy mixed in between.....don't ask!).  I probably fostered it.  When she was little I was so excited about having a little girl, after having a boy, that I bought every skirt or dress in sight.  Now we fight over wearing pants and she will immediately put on a full dress or tutu the moment we walk in the door.  Does anyone else have this problem? I asked my daughter why she wouldn't wear pants, my two year old looked at me....sighed.....and said "Mommy, princesses don't wear pants."  So I thought about every Disney princess, and as much as I tried to use Mulan and Jazmine to persuade her, she was unconvinced.  So I decided on a solution, at least in part.  I decided to recreate the traditional princess outfit into something that had some type of pants.   My first attempt, Snow White (mostly because I had red satin, and yellow and blue cotton).  I just finished the outfit today.  The yellow pants are long with a ruffle on the bottom (typical boutique pants), a t-shirt with an appliqued apple on the front, and a cute cropped jacket that looks like the Snow White top.  If this solution is half as good as I think it is, more outfits will be forthcoming.   So since I am a late night seamstress, my model is already in bed for the night :-).  I will get it on her tomorrow and have plenty of pictures to share.