Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Well, today is Halloween (if your kiddos let you forget). I told the kids months ago that they would have to choose or make a costume from things they already had. Did I stick to that, ummm...kind of?

Ari will be a zombie and so there is zero sewing involved but I did buy makeup. As for Ev, I'm such a pushover! I was in the middle of making the knit bubble dress from Patty Young's ModKid sewing book when she decided she wanted to be a mermaid. I was pondering a mermaid costume when Ev spied some leopard print fleece gifted to me by my dear mother some time ago. Her eyes lit up and she asked if I would make her something from that fabric. Double lightbulb! I suggested a kitty and she agreed. Sitting down to the serger I whipped this puppy out in one afternoon.

First, I didn't buy anything. Its starting to feel good not to have to run to the fabric store for every project. I have to admit I miss running all that beautiful fabric between my fingers! My husband thinks I'm crazy but I know my fellow crafters understand. :)  She'll be wearing this with a long sleeved black t-shirt and leggings.

I used all the fabric, about 1/2 a yard. First I measured out a tail. Using the fleece to sew a tail is nice because once you have tube its easier to turn because of the stretch of the fabric. Ev helped me stuff the tail firmly and her little fingers (and a pencil) were a big help. Next, I worked a piece of wrapped floral wire down the middle of the tail. This was a little fiddly but i just worked it in a little at a time.

I was going to attach the tail to a belt made from the same fleece but realized I had enough to make a little skirt with a pull-on yoga style waitstband. I left about 1 1/2 inches unstuffed on the tail so I could pin the tail into the waistband seam before I stitched it and include it in the serged seam. Be careful to bend your wire end over inside the stuffing so it doesn't poke out or get caught in the serger. The inside seams of the skirt are serged and the hem is unfinished.

I also made some leg warmers by measuring quickly around her legs, cutting to rectangles and serging up the long side. The bottom and top are unfinished.

Finally I made the ears. I had a plain plastic headband which I covered with a tube of leopard print fabric. The tube fit snugly. Then after sliding the tube onto the headband seam side up I cut 2 slits where I wanted the ears to be. Freeform, I cut out one semi circle and then used it to cut 3 more. Right sides together I stitched around the rounded part of the semicircle on each pair and turned them right side out. I added a smaller semicircle of felt to the inner ear and stitched very close the edge. This created a little tunnel around the edge of the ear where I could feed in a piece of the floral wire again bending the ends back on themselves. Then, I removed the tube from the headband and used the sewing machine to sew a very narrow seam, inserted each ear in the slot I created for it (making the slit bigger if necessary) and secured each ear. You could also attach these with hand sewing.  I slid the tube back on the headband one final time and hand stitched the open end closed. Adjusting the wires in the ears to be a little pointed at the top was my final step. Mee-ooow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making a Plain Nightgown Fancy!

First of all, I got some pictures of the 2+2 Blouse and Skirt on Ev this morning.  She wore it for picture day today. I just love that Pre-K kids get to take photos like the big kids.

I almost got her to cooperate with me, but the pose is all her own.

Since yesterday, I whipped up a nightgown for her as well.  I used Butterick B4910 in size 4.
 Butterick 4910

This really is the fastest pattern.  4 seams, an elastic casing for the neckline + a serger and it was done and ready to wear in an afternoon.  Of course, I had to play with the styling to make it more fun. Evangeline hand-picked this fabric.  It's a super soft pink knit with fairies.

I cut the sleeves to a little above the elbow and added a cotton trim.  Adding the trim to the sleeves and bottom edge was my way to avoid doing a hem!  I just serged the edges and sewed the trim right on top. Easy-peasy!

The pattern called for 3 small buttons but I decided that a bow and a bigger button would be perfect for my girly-girl. Sewing something here at the front is a necessity on this particular pattern because it's very hard to tell the front from the back and my daughter loves to dress herself!


Then, just for fun I sewed two pieces of ribbon and a button to create a fun detail at the hem.  One piece of ribbon is on the inside of the nightgown and the second is on the outside.  I used my sewing machine to secure the ribbon with a few stitches and some backtacking.  Then I attached the button by hand to cover up the stitching.

Perfect for my princess's beauty sleep!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Best Intentions

Well, I was off to a running start with the kids clothing week challenge. I got all of Ari's pants hemmed up nicely and started tracing off an Oliver + S pattern for Ev when I got really, super sick. Here are my original aspirations.

Man was I sick. When mommy is down and out for a week you can imagine things got a little chaotic around casa de los Carballos. Lucky for me, I have a great husband and he really helped pick up the slack. (Until daddy got sick too.)

Last Thursday I started to feel a bit better but had to try to clean up the disaster that was my house. On Friday there were plans for a jog-a-thon at the kiddos school and my nephews birthday dinner. When Saturday rolled around I was ready.

This is what I worked on: Oliver + S 2+2 Blouse and Pleated Skirt in 3T

I finished cutting out the pattern and transferring the markings (a must for this one). Although Ev is 4 1/2 her chest and waist measurements still fit the 2T. I decided to make the 3T and split the difference.  Of course I checked the length and decided the only change I would make is to take up the hem 1" instead of 2".

The pattern proved to be a little challenging and I fought with a few aspects but mostly that was my own doing. Just can't leave a yucky seam. Something about sewing an Oliver + S pattern always feels like a cross between origami and magic. Leisl's techniques are fun and look so professional when finished. The seams are mostly encased and everything is so neat and tidy- inside and out. My biggest note to my future self is "please take the time to pin". If the directions say pin, please!  Argh. I had a good old fashioned row with waistband  of the skirt and that was certainly from lack of using those damn pins! It would have taken me so much less time...sigh...but I digress.

Here are some pictures, more will come when I can get Ev to stand still.

I used a 30's reproduction fabric for the top and Kona cotton for the skirt, bias tape and patch on the blouse.

I can't wait for Ev to wear it to school. Paired with some tights, this is such a great fall time outfit.

The skirt is all red except for the button loop which matches the blouse. I love to do fun "hidden" things like that. The placket hides two snaps and fastens on the side.

The blouse has 5 smallish buttons down the back. Now I just have to convince my daughter it isn't necessary to undo them all every time she takes it off.

If you're wondering, I didn't buy anything to complete the outfit, so I met my own challenge.  I did have to substitute some smaller elastic in the waistband but it didn't effect the overall look.

I'm continuing to plug on through the patterns. Up next - Number 3 on my list Butterick B4910 nightgown in 4, view D
 Butterick 4910

Until next time, happy pinning.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC Challenge Days 1 and 2, Magic Jeans Hem {TUTORIAL}

I decided to combine my first two challenge days into one blog post. So this will be my kcwc day 1 and 2 re-cap. See my list of things I hope to accomplish, here.

When I sat down in my little creation station, I had move more than a few things around and decided to spend a few minutes in organization mode.  After that, I realized my machine was a bit dirty and very glittery from a project I worked on over the weekend. As we all know, a clean and oiled machine is a happy machine.  So out came my sewing machine cleaning tools and I whisked away all the fuzz and added a few drops of oil.

It really is amazing how a few hours at the sewing machine can make me feel so accomplished and I'm happy to say my number 1 task is complete. I hemmed 3 pairs of straight legged jeans using a method I learned here. I like to refer to this as "magic" hem and you will see why! (I also hemmed a pair of athletic pants with a twin needle, but that is a post for another day.)

Four pairs of hemmed pants

Magic Jeans Hem for Straight Leg Jeans

Start by washing your jeans. This will allow them to shrink. Decide how long you want your pants to be. There are a few options here: You could have the person try on the pants and stand on a flat chair (be careful, of course) so that the hem will be closer to your eye level. Make sure the person is wearing the shoes they plan on wearing with jeans most of the time. Mark with pins where you would like the hem to fall. You can also measure the inseam of pair of jeans that fit well. I know my son's inseam is 21 inches because I measured previously.

If you are working from a measured inseam, place a pin where you would like the hem to be. The hem of my  son's jeans measure 1/2", so I also need to place a pin 1/2" above the first.

Fold the bottom of the hem up to meet the to pin on the outside of the pants.  Measure how deep the fold is. Use this measurement to make sure your hem is even. Pin in place.

Stitch as close to the original hem as possible. Really, the closer you can get the better your finished hem will look. Make sure to line up your seams. Back stitch when you have sewn all the way around. Then, the magic happens!

Fold your cuff to the inside and iron with a lot of steam. Use pressure while ironing to get a really sharp looking hem. If you are working with a pair of jeans that aren't for a growing person you can serge off the excess or use pinking shears and you are done!

My son will be growing at some point this year (probably as soon as I have finished hemming his pants) so I wanted to keep the excess fabric inside the jeans so I can let them back down.  The first time I tried this method I only  tacked at both side seams. After washing, the inside fabric tended to fall and show outside of the pants. Argh! My son comes from a long line of people with short legs and his hem fabric tends to be a bit bulky. What I decided to do was tack at the side seams and a small tack in the center of the front and back leg using matching thread.  I was surprised the small tacks blended really well.

Ta Dah!

Hopefully the hem will stand up to and active 8 year old heading into pants season. When I get ready to let the hems down I will do another tutorial.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drum roll please....

After much thought and procrastination planning here is my first official blog post.

When I was Pinterest surfing today I discovered a great link-up to a kid's clothing week challenge!

It turns out to be really great and really bad timing for this challenge.  The other day I was sorting through my patterns and discovered Evangeline will be outgrowing a lot of the patterns soon.  I also have amassed a sizable collection of fabric specifically earmarked for her clothing.  The only thing is, the challenge starts tomorrow and I have a couple of volunteer things at Ari's school that are going to be a bit time consuming.  So, pushing myself will be my only option, I suppose.

I just can't wait to have some clothes finished that I have been looking at as little piles of fabric for awhile!  Another tilt I'll be throwing my own way is to use only what I have on hand.  Since I'm a sewing hoarder saver it shouldn't be too much of a hardship.

Clothing that I hope to accomplish in order:

                                        1. Hem Ari's jeans using a magic hem. I originally got this idea from

                         2.  Oliver + S 2+2 Blouse and Pleated Skirt in 3T 

Butterick 4910

  4. Sewing ModKid Style, Bubble Dress (short sleeve) page 117

Family Reunion Dress
                5. Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Pattern in 4 

Possibly a little over-zealous but I'm excited.  See you tomorrow!