Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby Book Tutorial (a little boy's sewing project!)

To start with, although I came up with the idea to do this on my own, I'm not the first one to have the idea.  I found this tutorial online and used it for inspiration.  The differences between ours is that I used 100% cotton fabric rather than denim (sewing lots of denim together makes my sewing machine angry) and I used some different appliques in my attempt to simplify the process.  For instance, my car only has one window and I didn't create a dog out of fabric, but rather just cut a couple dogs out of some dog fabric scraps I had laying around!  (This is a great way to use fabric scraps!!!)

The first picture is of all the fabric scraps I cut out and pinned down.  I used 4 rectangles, which will make a front cover, back cover, and 6 internal pages.  Whatever images you want for the front and back cover need to be appliqued on the same rectangle, with the image for the front being on the right.  I wanted my nephew's initial on the front, and decided to put an ant on the back.  I wasn't picky about the order of the pictures, so I just made sure each rectangle had two images.  The size of rectangles doesn't really matter, just make sure all four are the same size.  These are something weird like 11"x7".

Once everything is sewed down, you will pair up your rectangles in two groups of two.  Sew each set together, with right-sides together, all the way around except for about a 2" opening somewhere along one of the side seams in order to turn it out.  Once it is turned out you can top stitch around the edges, closing the opening you left in the side, and leaving you with two very clean and finished rectangles.  At this point you just lay one down on top of the other, being careful to line them up nicely, and sew them together with a seam down the middle. 

I really like my snake (I used faux snake-skin fabric for it!) and green velvet grass.  I also used some shiny gold for the moon behind the rocket ship.  On the left you can see that I made a basketball by top-stitching on an orange circle., and you can also see that I put one of the dog pieces too close to the edge...remember your seam allowances!  Oh well!  Handmade is handmade right?

This car is made out of four pieces.  The wheels are made out of black and white polka-dotted fabric so I didn't have to cut out the white circles, and the window is one piece of blue that I split in half with top-stitching.  The beach ball is made of a red and yellow half circle with a blue eye-shaped piece of fabric on top (I found this much easier than trying to cut out the actual shapes!  The ant was made by cutting out a body shape and then just top-stitching some legs.  I completely eye-balled this, so yes, they aren't exactly even!  I also added little eyes to the ant and snake with some green thread.

And here is my adorable nephew on his first birthday looking at the book that Aunt Bethany made him!  His Papa (my dad) is having a great time looking at it with him.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Atom Eve Update #2

Yesterday I posted about making the Atom Eve logo, and today I'm going to take this apron to its completion.  This first photo is a decorative element for the bib.  You can see the logo waiting patiently in the background!  I debated how to add this V shaped piece.  I was originally going to piece and sew it all together, but decided that the seams in the back would make the bib bulky and that appliqueing it onto the bib would leave cleaner lines, so that is what I did!

I then put the logo on top, stitched it all down and sewed the straps in.  This photo is the completed bib.  I put more detail about this process in the making of Harley Quinn, so I'm skipping some steps :-)

I made this skirt similarly to how I've made most of my aprons skirts with the exception that I put a band across the bottom.  This was sort of an afterthought I had after drawing up my initial sketch (which I'd post if it didn't look like a 5 year-old drew it!).  Atom Eve wears bright pink boots and I thought the apron would look good with a bright pink element at the bottom.

This is a picture of the seam on the back of the skirt where I sewed on the band.  This is called a French seam.  It allows you to sew together two pieces of fabric without a lining and have no unfinished edges.  It's the only way I've found to do this that leaves a really nice clean finish.  This is the same technique I used to piece the red and black sections of Harley Quinn's skirt together. she is!  My mannequin really likes this one because it is so feminine, but I definitely think this one looks better on a human body because there is just something about having a head, arms, and legs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Atom Eve Update #1

This week I got the fabric for my newest project, an Atom Eve apron.  I have been terribly excited about it.  In this update I'm just showing how I made the logo.  I always make a paper pattern first, this time I used a timesheet from my part-time job as a tutor (everything around here gets used at least twice!)  I then cut it out of the fabric.

Next I had to make the inner circle to create the symbol, (the symbol of Venus, which is now used pretty generically to represent the female sex as a whole), and it just so happened that my daughter's Princess Belle teacup was the perfect size.  This picture is just to show that, common household stuff can be very useful!

I sewed it down to the white background piece, and then began the rest of the logo.  This atom symbol consists of three overlapping ovals.  I eye-balled the ovals themselves, but used a ruler to get the points spaced correctly.

I then cut this shape down to the correct size and pinned it directly to the rest of the logo to use as a sewing guide.  I did this because I didn't want to draw on the fabric, even with tailor's chalk, for fear of it staining the white.  It worked out pretty well, and once the first lines were down I just ripped off the paper.  I then went over the lines again to make them bolder and to straighten out anywhere that the lines looked wobbly.

So here you have it, Atom Eve's chest logo made from appliqued fabric and top-stitching!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bethany Sew-&-Sew: The Interview

Here I am being interviewed by Captain Logan of Geekvolution. The boys at Geekvolution were a lot of fun to chat with!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Free State FreeCon

I had a blast at this years Free State FreeCon in  Lawrence, KS.  First of all, I love any chance to bring out my aprons and talk to cool people, but I also really enjoyed getting to shoot a music video of the highlights of this years show, which you can watch below.  (I allowed myself a 2 second cameo!)

I also got to see my Harley Quinn apron on it's owner, Michelle, and she looked great in it.  Here she is with her friend Indiana Jones (who kindly demonstrated his whip-cracking skills to me outside).  It's really neat to get the opportunity to see something I've made out and about in the real world.  Michelle actually designed this apron and as you can see, it worked out and fit the character of Harley Quinn quite well.  I also got to see Black Lightning and Venom as well as lots of kids in Iron Man masks and Shrek ears.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wanna Make your Child a Kilt for the Scottish Highland Games?!

In honor of the upcoming Scottish Highland Games I'm doing a child's kilt tutorial.  Making a kilt is actually pretty easy if you aren't too particular about being true to ancient Scottish traditional kilt making.  This tutorial can easily be expanded for an adult, although an adult might prefer buttons or ties to velcro and may want belt loops.  First cut a nice long strip of plaid.  The length isn't too important but since you'll be pleating, longer is better.  For a baby or toddler, I cut it about 48" (or however tall the bolt is...I like easy) and the width is however long you want the kilt to be on your child plus a couple inches for seam allowance.  This is also a good time to hem the entire length of what will be the bottom of your kilt since it will be easier to do before it is pleated, but you can do it at the end too :-)

Next measure your child's waist and round it to something easy.  I'm going to use 20" for this tutorial since this will fit children from about 1 year to about 3 years old pretty well since the waist will be adjustable.  First divide your measurement by 2 to figure out the measurement for the front and back of your kilt.  In this case that is 10".  The front of the kilt will have a flap that wraps around, so there will be two panels in the front.  So I need three 10" sections.  I measured 10" on each end of the length of plaid, and the amount left between these two sections I pleated up until it also measured 10" for three even sections.  (Pleating is fairly easy with plaid because you can use the lines on the fabric to make sure your folds are even, so no rulers!)  I just used trial and error to figure out how many pleats and what size to make them to gather up the fabric to the dimension I wanted, but you could always use math to figure this out first!

Once you've pinned down your pleats, it's time to iron them flat.  Ironing is a must on this project!  Line up your plaids lines from top to bottom and iron the folds the whole length of the skirt.  Once you are done you should have a rectangle (in this case one that is 30" x by whatever length you want the skirt to be)

Now it's time to go to the sewing machine.  Sew down your pleats across the top to secure them.  Next you can sew each pleat down vertically very close to the ironed edge.  I sewed mine down about 3.5" then backstitched to reinforce, being careful to line them up as you go.    Don't sew them down all the way!  As you can see in this picture, I pinned the pleats down to help keep them lined up as I went.  Once they are all secured they will look like the picture on the right.  At this point you can trim your threads.

Now you can fold over the top and hem it down for nice clean top edge.  If you haven't hemmed the bottom yet, do that as well.  The final step is to sew on velcro.  Sew velcro across the top right-side of one front flap, and the top wrong-side of the other.  I sewed velcro the entire length of both flaps so that the kilt can easily be adjusted since this blue and red kilt was for a friend whose little guy has a lot of growing left to do!  Here is the one I made for my daughter using the same directions, except hers tied on.

I recently came across a link with directions for making a more detailed kilt, so if you are interested in that, here you go!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making a Toddler's Dress out of Larger Dress!

For this project I started with a complete dress.  I got this dress from a friend of mine's daughter, who no longer wanted it.  It is obviously way too big for a 2-year-old, and way too small for me so I decided (surprise, surprise) to make a dress for Eleanor out of it.  To start, I cut off the part of the dress I knew I wanted to keep, which was the pretty ruffles at the bottom.  You can see my cut in this picture.  Next I gathered the top of this piece to form a skirt for the new dress that I was at this point sort of making up as I went along :-)

Once I gathered the waistline by sewing a long stitch through the top and then pulling it, I decided to make a bodice using some of the leftover lining of the dress.  Making the bodice to a little girl's sundress is pretty simple once you figure out the gist of it.  The shape above pretty much sums it up.  I cut my bodice as one large piece, but I added dotted lines to show where to make the seams if you want to make it using three pieces.  I cut out two of these shapes, sewed them together and flipped them right side out and bingo-bango, you have a bodice.

I sewed the bodice to the top of the gathered skirt and from here I was pretty much done.  Next was deciding how to make the straps and close up the back.  I decided to use the ribbon that was originally on the dress as a tie in the back to make some straps, and instead of a button in the back to close it, I decided to punch in some eyelets and tie it.  This seemed easier at the time!  I recommend a pair of eyelet pliers to anyone who is routinely crafty :-)

So here is the finished dress on my baby girl.