Saturday, February 26, 2011

Every so often a complete fit of insanity attacks just anybody! (Hint--it's turquoise)

I think my only reason is "because she will love it"--need I have any other?

Our 5-year old has a new passion for bright turquoise--after being PINK for so long that Nana bought almost only pink for her and now has a HUGE stash of it.  When I give her something now, her usual response is, "You know, Nana, my new favorite color is turquoise.  But I still like pink, too."

Soooo, I decided to make her a turquoise princess/fairy dress.  She has no wedding, no special occasion really--she just LOVES to play dress up and the sparklier the better!   (Comes from the "Dolly Parton" part of her personality!)

Fortunately the store had something in just her color, but the pattern had the MOST ATROCIOUS directions--it was virtually impossible to determine how much of each fabric was required. After half-an-hour's reading in the store, I tried to buy what they said.  As it turned out, I got too much of EVERYTHING, so now there are some small stacks that one day I will have to decide how to use.  

I am REALLY glad Jo-Ann's puts patterns on sale for $1-2 regularly!  I would never have all these patterns if I didn't stock up, and there is NO WAY I'd pay the price they ask for them even at 40% off!

Here goes...

Bodice under construction (shiny stuff--not sparkly--lined with medium weight lining fabric.  It is actually heavy enough to line a suit with.)

Then turn it inside out.  (I used the length of an size 8, instead of a size 6, PLUS I added a full inch at the waist because she is so much longer waisted than the patterns and I keep getting caught out.  I can't wait to see how it fits--it may be a little long in the waist, but if she can wear it, that's fine--it will look better for longer that way.)

This is also the first time I've made her the 3-piece front for a bodice--curious to see how it looks on a flat-chested little girl--but that's the way they designed it...

Stitch the sides together

So it looks like this.  It is now ready to attach all those slip/linings, skirt, and overskirt.  (I elected NOT to use the net layer as well- it was SO not needed!)

After the slip/lining seams are sewn, attach the crinoline ruffles.  They showed you where to attach them, and said 6-inch strips--six of them!  

I didn't want to gather up all those miles and miles of crinoline strips, so I used the "gathering" stitch on my serger.  I went around it twice (to gather it up more), THEN I sewed a big stitch through all that thread and pulled a thread to gather it the remaining amount.

It called for two rows of these ruffles, which was WAY too much!  I ended up completely removing the top layer (all three rows of stitches...)  Then I whacked at least a third of the fullness out of the bottom layer...  (I was excited.)

I also think they should have tapered the skirts at the waist--the lining should have been tapered WAY down, the skirt pretty far down, and even the overskirt would look better if it was slightly tapered.  (Before I removed so much of the crinoline, it looked like a stiff bubble--kind of like those early Queens of England wore which probably had metal cages under them.)

After gathering and attaching the overskirt (sparkly stuff) to the bodice, then gathering the slip/lining and the skirt together, I attached them to the bodice.

Then I began the most extensive basting I have ever done--even when I hand-tailored a suit for my mother-in-law many years ago I didn't do this much.  (I keep doing different things just "to see if I can"...) 

I stitched together the skirt and the lining/slip where it was open to allow for the zipper with proper small blind stitches.  I then basted the outside top seam together where the zipper would go.  I basted the zipper in place.  

Then I turned the lining to the inside and stitched it to the zipper and all around the waist.  I then basted each side of the zipper to make certain the lining did not slip at all when I stitched it all in place.  At this point I think there are about five layers of basting in the zipper area, which I pulled out after the final zipper stitching was in place.  

The stuff is SO slippery and as it turned out so well I am really glad I did all that basting.  NO WAY was I putting a hidden zipper in this stuff!)

When I was finished, the lower ruffle which I left in place (vastly reduced by simply whacking sections out of it) looked like this.

Then the skirt layer (sparkly overskirt lifted so you can see it)

Back full length view

And finally...  SHE'S GONNA LOVE IT!

So I made it as properly as a "real one" even though she will mostly play in it and wear it for parties, etc.  Now I'm ready when prom time comes!  (I'm a little early--like hopefully 10 years or so!)

I had done so many things for her birthday that I knew her sweet, sensitive brother might feel a bit slighted, so I decided to make him  a matching cumberbund and bow tie to go with the tuxedo vest and pants I made him at Christmas.

Sometimes he looks up at me with those georgeous eyes and says, "Nana, did you make ME anything?"--so sweet.  Also, he KNOWS that at Christmas I made the vest and pants, but that I did NOT make the shirt or the cumberbund and bow tie.  He knows this so well that he has mentioned it SEVERAL times to both his mommie and me.  We explain that Nana didn't have time to make those, and that was ok--still, he notices...

(Both of their sets of big beautiful eyes are just about the color of this fabric!)

I had the scraps of the stiff lightweight stuff I used for the brim of my packable beach hat (NOT the Amy Butler one), so I put a velcro opening in the back of the pleated area so it could be easily inserted (it is NOT good in seams--you could never get it turned to make a nice edge).

open, so you can see inside (It's actually fusible on both sides but it doesn't stick very well and I didn't want to fuse it here anyway.)

I think he'll be pleased!

Do I think I worked out the fit of insanity?  Probably not...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's 5th birthday time!

Now that I'm "caught up" (for the moment), maybe I will do a better job on my posts?

I had purchased these fabrics in Tennessee last year, as I wanted to make an updated variation of something similar I had made for her mommie years ago.

This was her mommie's 

This is a close-up of the fabric combinations for the new one
Details of the two fabric types.

Back view, with sash

Matching shorts
matching shorts, as requested by her mom

Finished front

I just couldn't get past that too wide panel of too-large daisy's, so I took strips of the other fabric and did this (all by hand, in an attempt to not "stiffen" the gathered panel and to nail down all four edges of each piece so it looks almost like it's printed there).

So now it looks like this

It's a big improvement.  I didn't do the back as I didn't want to make any more stiffness, and now that the front is done, I think it looks fine.  It probably needs a bow at the left neck made out of the daisy's, but it would just bug her I think.

Hope she likes it (even though she WILL say, "Nana, you know turquoise is my favorite color now, but I still like pink, too."


Update--she LOVED it and ended up wearing it to dinner that night WITH the vest on top!     (Hilarious!)   In fact, I have not seen her without the vest since I gave it to her...

Five year olds are precious!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beach Clothes

So the Christmas presents are finished and it's time to go on vacation.

In a fit of idiocy on the day before we left for Hawaii, I decided to see if I could finish the sun hat I had cut early.  (I copied a hat I had to return because it was too small.)

I hated the one we made in class because it felt like a ton of bricks on my head and the fit was not perfect either.  I was determined to make a light weight, packable, sun hat.  I had this fabric left from something I made for my mother-in-law back in the 1970's. 

It turned out really well.  I used very light weight, very stiff, fusible-on-both sides stuff for the the brim.  Attaching it to the band was really tricky!  

The whole crown flattens down (it is unlined for coolness), I roll the brim slightly at the edges to close my suitcase, and wow!   I have a travelling sun hat!

After that 4-hour bit of insanity, I decided to try to copy my friend's dress from Mexico.  I just used what I had in the house, and I can't get the proper knitted fabric for the yoke like the original had.  That makes all the difference in how it hangs, but it turned out pretty well.

Miles and miles of ribbon and lace...

It's a comfy flowing cover-up sort of thing, although her's could be worn as a dress.  I just don't think I would do that with this one, unless maybe it was a luau...  Great for a family dinner by the pool though!

More Christmas prezzies

For a 3-year old's dolly

The Christmas dress was an especially big hit for the 4-year old's dolly.

And her mommie wanted a lot more reusable snack and sandwich bags

And the almost 5-year old loved hers, too.

And her big brother loved his tuxedo vest and pants (I bought the shirt, tie, and cumberbund on E-Bay).

And the jamies, dolly jamies, and tiny dolly with blanket went to a 3-year old in Sweden.

While her coming-soon little sibling got one of those nice double-sided flannel blankets like I had made for the shower gift previously.
We don't know if it's a boy or a girl, so I hope this can go either way.

Another person got the same bag as above, and I made reusable snack and sandwich bags of the matching material for her.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Blanket for a Shower Gift

(This one has to go on here, because it is not a quilt; it's a blanket.)
I saw this idea in a gift shop, so decided to try it.  It's not a receiving blanket, it is two layers of wonderfully soft flannel with a little bit of decoration.  It's a 36-in. square, cut size.


And for our sweet heroic lady

She had three of her own, lost her husband, and 'inherited' her three Godchildren from Mexico, who were in a state of abuse and malnutrition.  So each of the four girls got a dolly and jamies.

And a receiving blanket for each dolly (they are not doublesided)

2010 Shoebox Dollies

I'm afraid I hadn't much time to spend on Shoebox Dollies this year, but I managed to get these done in time.

Reversible Pillow "Cuff" - Class Project turns Christmas Present

This seemed like a good idea as one can reverse it with the seasons.



Of course I needed to make a pillow cover then.

back side with velcro closure


Snack and Sandwich Bags shipment

For my niece

CPAP - flannel cover for polyester fleece part

I thought it might help my sensitive skin if I covered the fleece cover that came with the mask of my CPAP with some 100% cotton flannel, so here goes.

In process

One side - wrapped

Other side

Experimental Sandwich Wrap

My niece wanted a flat style sandwich wrap, so I began playing with it.

Finished inside

Finished outside

partly wrapped


It is partially successful, but I'm going to try another design next time, as she tested it and told me where to look at a better one.