Thursday, 30 January 2014

Me-Made Striped Maternity Top:)

  Yes, that's right, my first maternity top! Baby and I just passed the 5 month mark, and the little one is set to arrive near the end of May :)

     Before I go on about my top, I have to take a moment and gush a little. This is my first pregnancy and I'm really enjoying it (yes, *really*:) It's been an amazing experience! Oh, believe me, I've experienced my bouts with morning sickness, although thankfully, it only lasted for the first few weeks. We were able to keep it on the DL, which I was grateful for because baby was a Christmas announcement:) This is how we told the grandparents....(we gave one  potato to each set of grandparents).

      The note on the sweet potato says, "This is how big your grandchild is." It was wrapped up in a little box. They were all thrilled to say the least!:)

This is also how we announced our news on Facebook. It was a big hit:)

    It didn't take very long before my wardrobe got to be pretty limited. This grey top (above) that I'm wearing, I bought at a thrift store. It's from The Gap, and it's loose fitting and very comfortable. I liked it so much, I wanted to copy it. Since announcing my pregnancy, my mom has generously bought me a bunch of beautiful maternity clothes, plus a co-worker gave me some great clothes as well, so I don't really have to make anything maternity. *However*, I think I'd go a little batty if I stopped sewing for myself until after baby comes! I'm going to make myself *a few* things;) Next up is a cardigan and wrap dress. But for now, lets get on with my striped number;)

To copy this top, I got some great tips from Nancy Zieman on this youtube video.

 Shown in these two photos here, I have a padded surface (a length of fabric folded a few times), then the tracing paper and the top (inside out, so its easier to see the seam line). With the help a tracing wheel, I soon had my pattern:)

    After a quick muslin I was set (or so I thought). This was my first time matching stripes, so I used lots of pins so the fabric wouldn't shift. I used my usual hockey-puck pattern weights also:)

   This beautiful black/grey/lilac fabric is rayon/polyester/spandex blend. It drapes so well and is very soft and cozy. Almost a "sweater knit type". It's from Fabricville (of course);) I purchased it with this top in mind:)

I stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape (for the muslin I used an old lace seam binding, but it was scratchy and annoying,  I learned my lesson!) The twill tape is great, I don't even notice its there.

 After sewing the shoulder seams, I sewed in the sleeves flat (so much easier than in-the-round). It also makes it easier to adjust the side seams if necessary (which I ended up doing).

Here is the under-arm seam stripe matching, which I was pretty pleased with.

     Here to the right is the not-so-great side seam stripe "matching". I forgot that the shoulder seam of front pattern piece extends forward more. I should have accounted for that when I was laying out my pattern pieces:/ When I made my muslin, it was a solid colour, so I didn't have to worry about matching stripes.

Oh well!:/


     For the neck binding, I decided to make it grey.  I marked an inch on the grey part and added a 5/8" seam allowance on either side, so the resulting finished binding would be 1/2" wide.

The binding was a few inches shorter than the neckline to ensure a snug fit:) I simply measured along the top of the binding of my RTW shirt to figure out how long to cut it (plus seam allowances of course).

   I was almost finished my top, but the result wasn't quite as flattering as I had hoped. Stripes on my pregnant belly looked far better in a fitted shape, so I took in the side seams and added side ruching using this top from Old Navy (thanks mom!:) as a guide.


    In these two photos you can see where I marked the new seam line (again, using lots of pins to make sure the stripes "matched").

     In this photo to the right I had sewn along the newly marked seam line and then trimmed the seam allowance, using an overlock stitch to finish the seams.

Here I measured the length of elastic, about 6.5". I stretched out the
elastic and it took in about 9.25" of fabric.

Elastic marked & pinned

Here, I'm stretching the 1/4" elastic as I sew to create ruching. I tried using
a zigzag stitch but it didn't work so well. I used a straight stitch and it worked great!:)
Elastic-made ruching:)

I used steam a seam lite 2 on the hem and topstitched with a double needle.
Gotta love steam a seam, gave it some extra stability to help prevent puckering.

On the original top, the sleeves are rolled up and tacked at a couple of spots.
 I rolled up the sleeves and used steam a seam lite 2 to secure, as tacking wasn't
looking so great. I may slipstitch  the cuff at some point, but for now SAS will do:)

The finished top, I just love it!:)


  And, again, here it is on me. I have a few more projects in the works, so hopefully it won't be too long before my next blog post! Happy sewing!:)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Simplicity 2377, A tale of two Peasant dresses;)

    Happy New Years everyone!:) Now that things have calmed down considerably, I can catch up on some blogging! Here are two little dresses I made for my little nieces last month for Christmas:


   This one here to the left is a "Rapunzel", princess-y type dress that I thought would appeal to the oldest (almost 3), as she's into the girly princess stuff right now:)

     I did some googling and stumbled across a fellow blogger that created a bunch of princess-style dresses for her nieces from this pattern, Simplicity 2377.

   This little dress in the "Hello Kitty" print was for the other, she's about 2 1/2. She's fond of cats, so I thought this would be a nice print for her. I figured it was good to use a contrasting white & red polka dot fabric for the sleeves and bottom flounce, as it may have been "kitty overkill" using the red fabric for the whole dress;)

    I can't take all the credit, I saw this kind of contrast on another peasant dress pattern. I think it's pretty sweet.
My review on PR here.

       I have to mention that this was not only my first time sewing for children (with the exception of receiving blankets, but they don't really count) but my nieces also live over 5 hours away! I asked my SIL's for the girl's measurements  and hoped for the best:)


        Caper lying on the pattern tissue. It must be the crinkling sound that attracts the kitties!

        I'm one of those people that never traces pattern pieces. I usually can't be bothered as I pretty much always just sew for myself after all;) This time however, I figured I'd trace the pieces so I could use the pattern as they get older. I used the smallest size and still had to fold out a little bit of tissue to make  the bodice smaller on both dresses.      

Traced pattern pieces on the Hello Kitty fabric:)

    One thing I found helpful was pressing the hem allowance on the sleeves before sewing the side seams (thanks newmama on PR!)
Side seam sewn and sleeve hem pinned up:)

Sleeves attached and neck casing pressed and pinned up:)

     I used the traditional gathering method for the skirt top (to the bodice) and for the bottom flounce. If I would have had emery floss on hand I would have zigzagged over it and gathered that way, as I gathered over twine for the flounce on my "mermaid dress", blogged here. I didn't want to leave twine in either of my niece's dresses:/

    For Hello Kitty, I decided to line the skirt. I used only my sewing machine (no serger), so I wanted it to be a bit neater inside at the flounce.

     I cut the same skirt pattern piece for the lining and basted it to the main skirt piece before gathering. Side seams inside, so they wouldn't be visible. I just used the same red thread, as nobody's going to notice anyway:)

        To attach the lining hem to the dress, I just pressed up the hem allowance and stitched-in-the-ditch of the skirt and flounce seam, catching the skirt lining. I supposed slip-stitching would have been the "proper way" but I didn't have time, plus this way is a lot easier  and faster!:)

     This pattern didn't have a "flounce" view, but another pattern I had, did. I used the flounce piece from the other pattern and cut the skirt piece a bit shorter.

      Here it is, again. I think it turned out pretty cute!:) My niece loved it! I was really surprised to be honest. When I was her age, I just wanted toys, I didn't have much interest in clothes.

      I wrapped this dress up with a "Hello Kitty" plush toy. She showed way more interest in the dress, actually started to put it on over her clothes as soon as she opened it!:) What more of a reaction could I hope for? Plus it fits her great!

     For the second dress, I won't go into much detail, since the construction was even simpler. I did sew on ribbon to look like the front of Rapunzel's dress.

     I guessed where I thought the ribbon should be placed. I wish I would have started the ribbon lower so it wouldn't be in the neck seam, made it a bit more tricky when I inserted the elastic. I had to put safety pins on both ends of the elastic and make it so that there was no gathering where the ribbon was at the neck (did not look good!).

     I sewed a line of stitching to secure the elastic where you see the blue chalk line.

 Lastly, for this dress, I sewed a lace trim on the bottom, similar to Rapunzel's:) I wrapped up a little Disney Rapunzel doll to go with it. My niece really liked her dress. :) I'm so glad!

   I have to say, I'm pleased with how these dresses turned out, and I'm even happier that my nieces liked them! Makes me want to sew for them again:)

 Till next time, happy sewing!:)