Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sharp-Dressed {little bitty} Man

Recently I have decided it is time for me to start sewing clothes for my little boy. I actually should have started sooner, but I tend to procrastinate at times. :) Fortunately for me, Project Run & Play is still going on, and it gave me the motivation I needed to make a nice Sunday outfit for my little boy. He will not be able to wear it for quite a while (since he is supposed to arrive in the middle of August), but it will be nice to have something finished and ready to wear once the time comes.

I started this sewing adventure by looking for a tutorial on how to make a nice button-down onesie, and my search ended at "Sew, Mama, Sew!" It looked pretty easy, with both a free pattern and tutorial, so I got to work. First I printed off the pattern, and cut it all out.

Then I chose a white button-down shirt of my hubby's to sacrifice. Fortunately for me, I cleaned our closet about a week ago and found this nice shirt that, although used heavily for several years, is still in pretty good shape. It just doesn't fit right any more.

I proceeded to cut out my fabric and sew it together as outlined in the tutorial. Here is one in-progress photo, and then some of the finished onesie.

I really like how it turned out. It took a lot longer to make than it probably should have, but I was trying to make it as perfectly as I could. The tutorial hinted that the onesie would be closed on the front with the existing buttons, but I was worried about issues with it gaping open. To fix this, I attached the front with Velcro I had to hand-sew into place so the stitching wouldn't show through the front of the shirt. That alone took at least two hours, and I do not not plan on hand-sewing any more Velcro for quite a while!

I knew I wanted to make some nice little pants with a matching vest to go along with this onesie, and fortunately I remembered there were about three yards of a nice grey corduroy fabric sitting in my closet that I found at Goodwill for $2 a couple of months ago. I thought it would be perfect for this project. To make the pants, I used the free pattern at Made by Rae for the Basic Newborn Pants. It was very straight-forward and simple, and I highly recommend using it if you need some baby pants! I added a little extra top-stitching to make them look a little fancier, and I am quite pleased with how they turned out.

For the vest, I did a Google search for baby boy vest patterns, but didn't find anything I absolutely loved. So I found a couple with elements I liked, and drafted my own pattern based off the size of the onesie I made.  This is how it turned out, and I like how it looks. I already had the ribbon that the vest is edged with sitting in my ribbon collection, and the navy blue buttons were snagged from a worn-out winter coat I wore during high school.

Here is a look at the back of the vest. I wanted the back to have something that was original, and made it stand out from other vests. Fortunately for my project, my pattern-drafting skills still need lots of practice, and the back of the vest came out about two inches too wide. I fitted the vest to the onesie, and sewed the vest fabric together at the center so it would actually fit and not gape open. I ironed it down, and then sewed the navy and white ribbon on top to give it more visual interest. I really like how it turned out, and I think this flaw-turned-accent gave the vest more depth and a pop of color.

To me, little boys look absolutely adorable in bow-ties, and I knew I wanted my little guy to have one to finish off his outfit. So I found a tutorial for how to make one from Dacia Ray. It needed to be navy blue to match the buttons and ribbon, and after a little digging, I found a pair of my hubby's old scrub pants in my stack of worn-out clothes destined for future projects. They were the perfect color! After I had cut out the fabric, I realized the bow-tie was going to be almost twice as big as I really needed, so I just folded the fabric for the bow in half, and continued as she instructed. It turned out to be the perfect size, and I now want to make a lot more in different colors!

I really like how the whole project turned out, and I can't wait for my little bitty man to try it on! I have several months to wait before that can happen, but I think he must already be excited for it, since he was kicking me wildly today as I was finishing it up! A fun fact I realized as I finished this project is that this new little outfit cost me almost nothing to make. Everything used to make this came from my stash of fabric and supplies, and most of the fabric was either up-cycled or thrifted. The cheapskate inside of me is quite proud right now. :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bye, Bye, Girly Nursery!

As time goes on, my little girl keeps getting bigger and bigger. She doesn't seem much like a baby anymore, and is now a little person. Before she was born, I had a lot of fun sewing a little quilt for her and crocheting a coordinating afghan, and dreaming up what her nursery would look like once we moved to a larger home and had the space for it. That happened when she was about two months old, and in several months after moving, her nursery was finally finished. Now she is a little over 1 1/2 years old, and is ready to move up to a big-girl room with a toddler bed. She will be getting a little brother in August, so she has to vacate the crib for his use in the coming months. So I am now looking back and remembering how much fun I had putting together her nursery, and I thought I would share some pictures.

This is the quilt I made for her, about two years ago. When I was looking around JoAnn's fabric store while I was pregnant with her, I saw that cream-colored fabric with the little roses on it, and instantly fell in love. I found the red gingham and green calico fabric minutes after, and I loved the combination. This was my first quilt I ever made, so the pattern I made for it was quite simple, and it has many flaws. I'm not too worried about it, though. It was a very good learning experience, and it was made with lots of love. :)

I crocheted this cream-colored afghan around the same time as I made the quilt. I have been crocheting since before I was about 12 (thanks to my Aunt Joy for teaching me!), and wanted to make a nice soft afghan for my baby girl to snuggle with. It is also quite simple, but I love it just the same.

I have had this upholstered rocking chair for a little over 5 years now. I bought it while away at college from a second-hand store for $20, and have never regretted it! It fits me perfectly and is very comfy. I have rocked my baby girl to sleep in it so many times, and look forward to rocking my baby boy in it, too.

This little birdcage hangs above the rocking chair, with a pretty little ribbon on it and plastic birds inside. I liked the vintage appearance to it, and thought its style matched the quilt. I think it will make its way into the big-girl room, it will just need a little spray paint.

This is the crib, and I absolutely love it! My dad enjoys woodworking, and after my hubby and I told my parents we were expecting our first child, he offered to build a crib for her! He had never made one before, and he really outdid himself. He spent so many hours planning it, taking measurements, and being outside in the heat working with the wood and constructing it. It is very sturdy and heavy (made from solid oak), and he likes to say that a truck could be parked on it and the crib wouldn't even know! He made it from some of the oak trees in the woods behind the farm home I grew up in.  I spent so much of my childhood playing back there with my siblings, and have many fond memories from that time. So now, thanks to my amazing dad, I always have a little part of the farm with me and my children!

This is the crib-skirt I made for the crib. Actually, "re-purpose" may be a better word. One day when I was at Goodwill, I found this cream-colored bed-skirt that was queen-sized. After looking at it I realized it would match my baby's quilt nicely, and I could just cut it down to the right size and sew it back together. It required a little work, but it only cost me $1.99 and I was up for the challenge. That same shopping trip, I also found the sheets for the crib. I thought they matched the gingham in the quilt closely enough, and there were two of them for only $1.99 apiece. Needless to say, I was quite happy after that shopping excursion, and was very proud of the bargains I found.

I had enough fabric left over from the bed-skirt re-fashion and quilt construction to make these two little throw pillows. My little girl loves snuggling with them now that she's bigger (they are usually not in the crib with her, I just put them in there for the photos).

This is the changing table I used with her when she was smaller, I got a good deal on it from Craigslist. Hopefully someday I can sand it down and stain the wood to match the crib. Those boxes used to be boxes we used for moving, but I found some nicely-priced upholstery fabric and my mom and I covered them with the use of Tacky Glue. It has been a nice inexpensive alternative to a dresser.

 I found this fun little shelf from Goodwill, and gave it a nice coat of spray paint. The books came from the same place, and matched the style of the room well. I received the doll from my Aunt Joy as a gift when I was a little girl, and I thought she would be very pretty sitting on a shelf in my little girl's room. The vase is a glass vinegar bottle, and when the vinegar ran out, I cleaned it up and wrapped it in twine. Those vases are really fun to make, and I have made several more since this one.

After my little girl was born, my mom came out to visit, and helped me make these curtains. She is an amazing seamstress, and taught me how to sew when I was a little girl. When I was growing up she did a lot of sewing, and helped my sisters and me make dresses for our formal high school events. I have lots of fun memories of my mom sewing when I was young, and of sewing alongside her as I got older. I really like how these curtains turned out, and I know they would not have been made without her help!

During that same visit, my mom also made this little stuffed animal hammock. I really liked Pooh Bear when I was little, and the smaller bear on the right was a gift to me from my parents when my little sister was born. They told me it was my "big sister gift" and that being a big sister was a very important job.

So there is my little girl's nursery, and my trip down memory lane. I have had lots of sweet memories with my baby girl, but she is no longer a baby, and I am so excited to watch her grow into a little lady!

Andy Warhol Inspired Shirt

Andy Warhol inspired my latest creation, and it came about thanks to Project Run & Play.  At first I didn't think I was going to sew along this week, but when the inspiration hit, I just had to do it!  The theme for this week was to make something that was inspired by art, and I immediately thought of Andy Wahol's piece of art called "Marilyn Monroe," which he did in 1967.

Andy Warhol, "Marilyn Monroe" (1967)

I love the bright colors of this artwork, and I think it conveys a feeling of fun.  Summer weather is already here for us, and my little girl needs some cooler shirts to wear in the heat.  I thought this would be perfect. Tunics are great for warm weather, and I remembered that I saw on tutorial on Elegance & Elephants for how to make a Breezy Tunic.  I didn't follow the tutorial exactly, I really only used the method for how to make the tunic shape and edge it with my own bias tape.  If you need a tunic for a little girl, you should check out the tutorial, it's great! I'm definitely going to use it to make some more in the future!

When I looked through my fabric stash and mending pile, I found some leftover fabric from old Halloween costumes, and some old T-shirts that hadn't been worn for a while. So I made my pattern piece out of construction paper and started cutting. I used a different color of fabric for each front quadrant of the shirt to imitate the art, and sewed them together to make the full front panel.  I then cut a little heart out of construction paper, and traced it onto the leftover fabric from each quadrant.  After cutting them out, each fabric heart was then sewn onto the quadrant diagonal from its matching fabric.

After they were all sewn down, I did some top-stitching across the front panel to give it a more finished look.  I then sewed the front panel to the back panel at the sides and the top parts of the straps.

After the front was connected to the back, I started edging the tunic with a yellow bias tape I made from the hem of the yellow T-shirt the yellow fabric came from.

I then attached a hammer-on snap to the back of the tunic, and it was done!

My little girlie was very happy with the bright colors, so we went outside with some shades for a photo shoot!

Both my girlie and I are really happy with how this tunic turned out, and it will be a great addition to her summer wardrobe.  Now she's ready for some fun in the sun!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lilac Princess

Hello! I have been following the Project Run and Play blog for a while now, and I finally decided to join the fun. This week they were having a pattern remix for a fun dress called the Spring Fever Dress from Jessica at Me Sew Crazy. Fortunately for me, my daughter needed a pretty Easter dress, and I had some fabric laying around that I knew would be perfect.

When I think of spring, I always remember the huge lilac bush in front of my parents home in bloom.  It always had giant, purple blossoms with a fresh, light fragrance that always brought a smile to my face as a child. So for my little girl's dress, I wanted it to look like a lilac blossom. I already had the dark purple fabric in my fabric collection, so I just had to purchase the light lilac-colored fabric and the buttons before I could start.

The main changes I made to the original pattern were taking off the sleeves, leaving the back as one piece, adding a sash, alternating ruffle colors, and adding a pleat to the front. So once I had some ideas I got to work, and this is what I came up with!

Here is a picture of the dress before it was finished. It is the only in-progress picture I have because my camera batteries died, and I didn't have any extras on hand.

When it was finished, I had a very happy little recipient!

Here is a closeup of the skirt.

And here is the back of the dress.

Here is a close-up of the back. I just love those buttons, they are like plastic diamonds. My sweetie feels the same, she can't keep her hands off of them!

 This picture doesn't show off the dress very well, but I just had to include it. I love her big blue eyes!

I had a lot of fun making this dress, and I'm excited to actually have her Easter dress made 3 1/2 weeks before Easter Sunday!