Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Elsa" inspired dress

Well my little girl now has the Frozen bug and wants to wear an "Elsa" dress all the time.  Since I've been been cleaning out old clothes for the last several weeks, I found a shirt that could work as a new dress for W.  As a women's shirt, I had problems with the neckline and the sleeves were too long for me.

Right now she's not willing to wear any of her dresses unless it's blue.  I convinced W the neckline's rhinestones were "snowflakes" too.  I used the Skinny Tee Pattern to measure out a size 4 torso and then did an A line for the remainder of the bodice.  Instead of using the original neckline, I cut the shoulder areas narrower so both front and back pieces would overlap like a baby onesie.  The original neckline didn't have any stretch to it and i think that's how it got "pulled" over time. I wanted to make sure it would fit over W's head yet still look decent around the neckline.

I basted the modified shoulders before attaching the sleeves.  Then I stitched from the sleeves all the way down to the bottom.  By using the existing hem lines (shoulder, neck, and dress length), the dress only took a few hours to make and the result was a happy little girl.

Friday, June 19, 2015

t-shirt quilt for GM - part 2

So this is what I decided to do for the big black hole in GM's quilt.  I had extra material from making the strips between the squares and from creating the bias tape around the perimeter of the quilt.  I ironed on fusing material to make it more stable and cut out a heart.  Afterwards I cut little slits around the curved parts of the heart, folded it down and stitched around the perimeter to prevent any fraying.  Then I pinned it over the big black hole and stitched the heart onto the quilt. 

heart patch
The final layout of the quilt with no hole.  Is it even noticeable? 

And now it's officially GM's quilt.  The final quilt lays nicely on a queen size bed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kids Clothes Week, Feb 2015 - Upcycled

A bit behind on this post since I immediately went on work travel right after the KCW for Feb 2015. 

So the items I upcycled all belong to my husband - one green Ruehl t-shirt and a couple pairs of boxer shorts.

For the shirt, I used Made By Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern and cut out a size 4.  Normally I would place the pattern to use existing hems but I wanted to focus on the Ruehl logo on the left side of the shirt.  For the sleeves I reused the existing hems and estimated a short sleeve length to cut out.  I also reused the collar instead of cutting out new ribbing.  The result:

The shirt was originally falling part (little holes) in back where the label is located but the rest of it was so soft and comfy.  This is the perfect type of shirt to sleep in along with a pair of PJ pants I upcycled from me.

J's new PJ set: Ruehl tshirt and Ralph Lauren flannel pants
The second item I used an Oliver and S Sunny Day Shorts pattern and made a size 2.  This was my second attempt at using this pattern and so much better than my first take at it.  The first time I tried this pattern, I accidentally cut out two of the same side and one side ended up with the hemmed seam on the wrong side after the flip.

When I initially tried them on they were too big on her.  The suggested elastic length for a 2 year old was too big on her so I had to trim it down an extra 2 inches.  These shorts are now part of W's PJ shorts rotation and have a nice loose fit so she can sleep comfortably in them.

kid's clothes week

Now it's to start preparing for the next round of Kids Clothes Week!  The next theme sounds like a lot of fun and I hope I can get all the materials prepared ahead of the time. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

t-shirt quilt for GM - part 1

This quilt has been a work in progress for the last two years.  It started when my sister (GM) moved out to California in 2012 and brought along a few shirts she did not want to let go.  This is where I suggested making her a t-shirt quilt to hold onto those memories.

This isn't the first t-shirt quilt I've ever made nor will it be my last.  The reason why it took 2.5 years is I had a baby almost 2 weeks after her arrival and on top of that, still had to take care of my oldest (who just turned 2 at the time and recovering from a minor outbreak of the chickenpox).

This version of the quilt is made of 25 squares and almost all of them are from a shirt with sentimental value.  Brutus Buckeye always has to be in the middle since he's our mascot from THE Ohio State University.
quilt layers from bottom to top: fleece, batting, t-shirt squares
GM wanted the fabric trim related to dogs or cats since that's her thing.  I was lucky to find fabric at Joanns that was mostly white with multicolored paw prints.  I think it lets the shirt colors really stand out.  The back is a cute forest animal print on flannel.  The batting is the one of thinnest I've purchased to date since she now lives in Riverside, CA, where it isn't cold for a majority of the year.

Instead of buying packaged bias tape, I used the leftover material from the trim.  I had to look up several tutorials to find the easiest way to cut one continuous strip and then run the material through a bias tape maker.   I felt so much satisfaction when feeding through the material and ironing out the partially folded bias tape.  I'm not sure how much I made but there was enough to cover the perimeter of the quilt and a ton of it leftover for future projects.
cutting one long continuous strip to make bias tape
bias tape created with the most awesome gadget ever
While sewing the final trim on the edge of the quilt, I burned a hole in one of the squares. I'm soooo pissed at myself for making such a stupid mistake.  The way my sewing space is set up, there is limited lighting so I attached one of those portable IKEA lamps that can attach anywhere.  Apparently I had the neck bent too low and was wondering why I was smelling a burning smell while sewing upstairs.  I finally lifted my head from the machine and noticed the quilt was smoking.  A nice black hole is currently in one of the t-shirt squares.  So much for calling this finished. 

Looks like the next step is to create some sort of patch to disguise the hole.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, New Start, New Announcments

Sorry for the lack of posts for the second half of 2014.  I started to travel for work a lot and all of a sudden it was the holidays and now it's 2015.  During my absence I was still able to sew some projects and those will be written up in later posts.  But since it's the beginning of the new year, I figure this is a good time for me to have a fresh start on this blog.

And since everyone likes to have a new beginning, I'd like to set my goals for this year:
  1. Sew and make something at least once a month and maintain consistent activity on the blog.  (This is a big commitment for me since I work full time and have two active toddlers)
  2. Organize!  The house is a mess and it stresses me out.  I'm hoping to purge what we don't need and use what we have (including my sewing stash).
  3. Eat healthier and lose weight.
Pretty simple goals and by documenting for the world to see, it gives me extra motivation to work towards these goals.

As for upcoming sewing projects, I've already signed up for the 2015 Secret Valentine Exchange.  It is now in its second year and I've already received my recipient's information.  I participated in the first SVE last year and it gave me the courage to start this blog.

Kids Clothes Week has officially been set.  The theme is Upcycled and I'm looking forward to it.  I tend to create things with clothes laying around the house that my husband and myself no longer wear or fit so it's great that I can participate in this season's theme.  Be on the lookout for a project during this week. =)
kid's clothes week

And one last bit of happy news..... THE Ohio State University won their game against the Oregon Ducks and are the National Champions!!!!!  It was one of the most nerve-racking games I've watched in a while.  In case it wasn't known, I'm Ohio State Alumni and graduated around the last National Championship.  It was my last year of school and the win was the icing on top.

image courtesy of

So another national championship makes an excellent start to a new year. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fabric shopping in Nagasaki

My apologies for no posts recently.  I've been preparing for a trip for work and here I am in Nagasaki, Japan.  With all the rage of Japanese fabrics and nani iro, I went out for a search to locate fabric stores.  It was nearly impossible to find anything on Google and finally started to ask the locals (with what limited Japanese I do know).  Someone suggested I check out Nishizawa.  It is located in downtown Nagasaki near the Hamanomachi Arcade.

In front of the store is the nani iro display.

The display had several bolts of material that were familiar from all the projects I've seen from the sewing blogs I follow.  Up until this point I didn't know what nani iro felt like.  The material feels so heavenly.  It's breathable and perfect for humid weather in Japan yet soft and cozy for cool SoCal  evenings.

There was an Echino display and items for sale that were made from the current line.

I saw Studio Cocoa and was curious about it.  I'll have to do some research about it at a later time.

The store had several stories that also sold fancy (and expensive) fabric, home decor lines and the type of material to make the Chinese "qi pao" dresses.


Another section sold an abundance of Japanese sewing patterns and the notions section was huge.

Throughout the store they created items using the fabric they offered and all were available for sale.  I thought it was a unique way to provide inspiration on what to do with all that beautiful fabric.

Now all I need to do is decide what I want to get and if it will fit in my suitcase on my trip back home. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Baby doll basket, version 3

Another birthday, another handmade gift.  This time the baby doll basket is for our neighbor's little girl who just turned 2.  By request I choose a fabric with Minnie Mouse and found some complementing pink fabric for the inside of the basket.  I usually choose a soft flannel since I personally enjoy the softness and figured a doll would too. (Sounds weird, right?)

The third time using the pattern was such a breeze.  It helps when the Minnie Mouse image is all over the place so I don't have to line up everything.  It messed me up the second time since I didn't notice the pattern turned upside down as the big rectangular piece is sewn from top of the basket and folds up towards the end. 

This time I actually made a decent mattress to include with the basket (pink with stars).  The first attempt at the mattress and pillow came out a disaster - nothing was rectangular and it was a little lopsided. This time I took my time by basting the batting and material layer first to help keep everything straight.  I cheated with the pillow and just made the case first by sewing right sides together, flipped it and stuffed it with leftover batting scraps.

The blanket is using up the leftover material from the outside fabric and interior fabric of the baby doll basket.

Hopefully no more baskets in the near future.  It's time to work on something new for the kids!