Thursday, July 29, 2010

Red/White Striped Oil Cloth Apron Part #1

I sort of took some artistic liberties with this one.  The bib was supposed to have horizontal red and white stripes, and it does, but in my head I had an idea that I had to see through.  I started by cutting out a bib pattern in newspaper and splitting it into three sections.  I cut these sections out of the oil cloth.  This picture shows me using spools of thread to hold down the pattern so I wouldn't have to pin it.  Pin holes remain as punctures in oil cloth, so I try to use as few as possible!  Here are my three sections cut out.  As you can see, I cut the side sections on a diagonal.  I figured this would make the waist appear more narrow and offset the horizontal stripes, besides simply being more visually interesting.  I sewed these together then added a pocket on the bib that mimics the shape of the center bib column.

This fabric is really hard to photograph since it is so shiny.  The flash on my camera makes it look a lot flatter than it is!  I have enough oil cloth left to make another bib if this idea doesn't turn out :-)  This one is supposed to mimic traditional candystriper pinafores.
Next I made the ruffle for the skirt.  (I also cut out and sewed the pockets to the skirt exactly like I do on other aprons, so I left out the pictures)  I had to sew fabric together to make a strip long enough.  I physically could not gather this material because it was too stiff and my thread kept breaking!  So...I made pleats instead :-)  I really love the look of it with the stripes!  I made the ruffle stripes go in the opposite direction from the skirt.  Then I attached the lining to the back.  The lining doesn't match intentionally.  It is an ivory tinted cotton with the intent of adding a vintage flair to the apron.
Here are the unfinished pieces laid out to give an idea of what is happening with this thing!  I still have to figure out how to gather the waist line and add criss-cross straps to the back and ties to the waist...but I got tons done on it today!  I'm still not sure what I'm going to use for ties since the oil cloth is too inflexible to tie.  There are pockets on the bib and skirt but they are hard to see because they are camouflaged!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to Make an Easy Child's Birthday T-Shirt

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELEANOR!!!  I had an idea for a cool birthday t-shirt for my daughter last year, and decided to try to make it a tradition.  This isn't exactly a t-shirt reconstruction so I'm going to call it a "t-shirt enhancement."  First, find a cute simple t-shirt.  Second, buy felt in the colors you think you'd like to use.  At this point, with the help of my husband, we began sketching some ideas.  Since my daughter is turning 3, the shirt had to have a big 3 on it!  This year we decided on a dragon/dinosaur looking 3 since my daughter is super into dinosaurs right now.  I then used the sketch and cut the character out using the felt and stitched it altogether as best as I could before putting it on the t-shirt (it's a lot easier to sew it this way than working with the whole t-shirt for each individual piece)
Then I pinned it to the t-shirt and zig-zag stitched it all the way around!
Here's the birthday girl in her new t-shirt!  She is so proud to be three!


Below is last year's t-shirt.  On this one I hand-sewed everything using embroidery floss.  You can click on the picture to see the detail.  I love how it looked, but it took a lot longer than I had time for this year. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The "1 Hour" dress.

Here is McCall's pattern M5893.  I started it at 2pm, straight from the envelope.  It probably took me at least 20 minutes, if not 30, to cut out the pattern, get it pinned the right way on the fabric and get the fabric cut out.  I imagine the "1 Hour" doesn't include that time.  Once I had it cut out, the dress itself was pretty easy to make, but I'm saying this as someone who has made a few dresses.  I made dress "C" technically, but I cut it to the length of dress "B."  Even if I take out the time it took me to cut out the pattern and fabric, it still took me an hour and a half to make this, so it's a little closer to a "2 Hour" dress.

I used fabric I found at the thrift store.  Maybe this fabric used to be cotton sheets?  I really don't know.  It looked brand new.  This is a ridiculously comfortable dress with nice deep pockets perfect for hiding your hands.  The downside is that it isn't exactly slimming with its billowing skirt and it has that faux maternity thing going on.  I also think my fabric might be a little sheer in direct sunlight so I'll probably have to line it with something or wear a little slip under it.  But seriously, if you know anything about sewing, this is a pretty cute and simple project


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

T-shirt Reconstruction: T-Shirt into Little Girl's Dress

I couldn't make myself a cute t-shirt for the Royal's game without making my daughter something too!  I found this old t-shirt and figured I could do something to it.  I used a shirt of my daughters and cut out that shape, removing the sleeves and collar.  I made it a little bit longer since I wanted hers to be a dress.  I sewed up the sides and the top of the shoulders.

I used the strip I cut off from the bottom of the original t-shirt to make a ruffle.  I then cut it to the length I wanted after trying it on my daughter.  I used the original sleeves to make little sleeves.  I cut out the shape you see to the right.  I made it longer than I needed so that I could ruffle it.

I sewed the short ends together to form the sleeve and used a "gathering" thread to ruffle it up to the same size as the armhole in the dress.  I then sewed them in!

Here's my baby in her new dress!  She was excited to go to the game and show it off.  I wore my reconstructed t-shirt as well and we really enjoyed the fireworks together!

Friday, July 16, 2010

T-shirt Reconstruction: XL tee to fitted ladies tee with fun striped sleeves!

Here is the original.  I wish I had taken a picture of it on me so you could see how I was swimming in it, but I didn't.  Anyways, it's too big to be cute on me, so I whipped out my trusty Ninja Turtles t-shirt that fits perfectly and used it as a guide.  I folded in the sleeves in order to get the shape I needed without sleeves, making sure to line up the neck holes on the two shirts.  After cutting it it looked like this.
I didn't like the advertising on the back.  No offense to Sprint or anything, but I didn't want them on my shirt!  So I cut it out and added a blue stripe from a different t-shirt that I cut up.  So now I have a blue stripe across my back.
I used the sleeves from my Ninja Turtle's t-shirt as a guide for cutting down the original sleeves too.  Sprint had made their mark on one of the sleeves as well, so I had to do something about that.  I lined up my two sleeves folded out flat and cut them both together to remove the Sprint logo.  I then used these cut out pieces as a pattern to cut out two matching segments from the blue t-shirt and sewed them back together.  Make sure to allow for some seam allowance when you do stuff like this so that it returns to its original shape.
Here are my two sleeves after I sewed the underarm seam back together.  I actually sewed these wrong and had to rip them out and fix them once.  Just part of the process!

I then placed them back into the arm holes and here you have it...a way cooler more flattering t-shirt.  The web cam flips the image so..."Royals" looks backwards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Making of Alice w/Oil Cloth Part #1

For this project I started by making the apron straps.  Straps are easy.  Figure out your length and cut out a rectangle double the width (plus seam allowance) that you want the finished strap to be.  Fold it over and sew it closed on one end and down the side.  The final step is to turn it inside out.  The trick I use for this is that I always have a dowel rod handy.  You can also use knitting needles or a long crochet hook or even a pencil.  Anything long and skinny that fits in the tube!

Next I made the pockets.  These apron pockets are oil cloth on the outside and lined with cotton.  They are made like the straps and turned out through a small gap I leave in the bottom with a dowel rod.  This gap is closed when the pockets are sewn onto the skirt.


I also completed the bib.  The white part was made of oil cloth backed with cotton and the blue is made entirely of cotton.  I sewed the white bib directly on to the blue one.  I usually sew the white bib onto just one layer of the blue bib to avoid seams in the back, but because of the weight of the oil cloth, I sewed this bib through both layers to make it more sturdy.  The apron straps (which are made of cotton so that they will tie easily) were sewn into the white bib to create a "pinafore" illusion.  This apron is well on its way to completion so there will be more photos to come, including my attempts at making a ruffle with oil cloth!

I am new at sewing with oil cloth and was surprised at how flexible it is.  I am curious how it will "gather" for the skirt.  Its ability to simply be wiped clean intrigues me and makes it ideal for a very practical apron.  It feels like a more flexible tablecloth vinyl, and it is flannel backed.  Because of the flannel backing, I intend to line the back of the white skirt to keep it from being "clingy" on top of the blue skirt.

Friday, July 9, 2010

T-shirt Reconstruction: Nightshirt to Comfy Summer Dress


This reconstruction started with this nightshirt that I accidentally shrunk in the dryer.  As you can see, the sleeves are too short now and it is way too short (which is why I'm wearing jeans underneath it in the picture!).  I was super angry because it was so soft and comfortable, so I decided to do something with it!

I started by cutting the sleeves off.  This is usually how these things start!

Then I cut the shoulder seams open at the top.

I flipped it inside out and drew a line using tailor's chalk to try to make it into basically a tube dress.  My chalk didn't show up well for the camera, so I laid pens down basically where I was going to sew.  I did this on both sides. 

I cut a couple small pieces of fabric from the sleeves that I sewed onto the front top sections of the shirt (on either side of the buttons and button holes).  These went from the top of the v-neck to where I cut it at the shoulder seams.

After I sewed these pieces on, I rolled them over and sewed them to my seam allowance to form channels.  In this picture, one side is done and the other one is still waiting to be folded over and sewn down again.

I made straps out of the original sleeves and attached these to the back then pulled them to the front, through these channels, and tied them in a bow.  I put a white tube top under the dress (because I'm too modest to wear a dress with a key hole that low!)



This dress is super comfortable.  Almost too comfortable.