Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back....Way Back! When We Were Young.




It is the second last day of the year and many takes the time to look a little bit back at the year that have passed. So I thought it would make sort of sense to bring home a post that looks 32 years back.

Earlier this year was I invited to Suz from Sewpony's series When We Were Young and today I am bringing home the post. The concept is simple. Find a photo of yourself as a child and recreate it for one of your children.

The result of the post turned out to be way more emotional than I expected. 


First you have to see when I was young, right!
I don't think I have to explain that I am to the left and Evelyn is to the right, ha. 
The photo is 32 years old (yes OF COURSE it is taken before I was born, ahem). Okay, so I am skyping with my Mom in Denmark and she shows me a few photos she has found for this post, looks at the back of this one and says: "oh, it is from your 4 year old birthday." And since Evelyn is turning 4 years old in January it could simply not be better timing. 

But before we start talking about the outfit, let's get the basics in place.

Suz also sent me some questions.

Where were you born?
I am born in Denmark. On a small island with 45.000 people called Bornholm.
When you look at a map you would actually think it belongs to Sweden, and people there have this funny dialect that is a mix of Danish and Swedish. The island is a bit of a Danish vacation 'paradise' and we have tons of German and Swedish tourists in the summer.

Who did you grow up with?
I grew up with my Mom, Dad and my little sister Karen. We are five years apart so we were pretty much adults before we got a good relationship. But now it is as good as it can get. Love you Sis!

Did you have any childhood ambitions?
I had tons. I LOVED going to school and I honestly thought I was going to study for years and years and years. It did not really matter what is was but I remember doctor was definitely in the running. And when I was a little older I would do something for the environment. 
But then I started on the university (studying the intro to economics, politics and sociology) and I absolutely hated it. I felt super stupid (I do not come from a university family) so I stopped and started sewing...and I have never looked back. Best decision of my life!

Do you see any similarities between yourself and your children?
Hmmmm, yes. My oldest got my personality and my youngest got my looks.
 My oldest is scared of a lot of things - well used to, I am starting to see some changes - but she is certainly not a daredevil. She is also a girl who very easily gets friends and I have always been like that too.
My youngest IS a bit of a daredevil but she is also totally stubborn and, ahem, I do know who she got that from (sorry!).

What did you like doing when you were little?
I loved reading books and playing with Barbies (mostly dressing them in outfit after outfit).
I also remember being outside quite a lot and playing with the neighborhood friends.
I also loved all sorts of crafts and I always started making homemade christmas tree ornaments in like October. I was (am) not one of those who is very good a crafts but I definitely enjoyed doing it.

Do you live far from where you grew up?
YES.
Now I live in the US on the 6th year.

Where do you live now and who with?
I live in North Carolina with my British husband and our two daughters who are turning 4 and 6 both in January - two days apart actually. Yup, great planning there, ahem!


I knew all along that I would sew for Evelyn since she is the one of my two daughters who look like me. Normally I would probably have said: Who looks a little bit like me - my oldest does not look like me one bit - but after seeing the comparison I think it is safe to say she looks like me.
It actually almost brought me to tears looking at it.
It is really kind of freaky looking at us dressed the same because that really makes us look alike. 
Fun and freaky.


I was not able to find a corduroy in the correct color so I used this cotton twill instead. Unfortunately that is a more stiff material so I decided to skip the front pockets on the skirt because I think it would have taken even more drape out of the skirt.


The skirt I am wearing is by the way also homemade. My Mom could not remember wether it was herself or my paternal grandmother who made it. We had a lot of sewers in my family. Which makes it even more weird to think about that I only even considered starting sewing when I was like 20 years old. Buuut I think I have made up for my late start!


So I had to guess how the back looks like and I made it this way.
The front of the skirt is gathered to the front waistband but the back is gathered with an elastic inside. This way it is easy to get on and off. I have buttons on the inside of the back waistband and button holes in the straps.


The shirt is a Japanese pattern that I made more fitted. It had the right details such as front button placket, the collar and sleeve cuffs.
To make it looks like the cotton lace ribbons my original has, I made these tiny ruffles with some baby pink cotton voile. 
I know the original also have ruffles where the sleeve is sewed on the bodice, and I did try that but is simply did not work out. It looked silly.


A closer look at the sleeve cuff.


Here in the end I have to tell you a short funny story. 
So after the photo shoot we went out for lunch and even though Evelyn did not wanted to wear the skirt or have her hair made before the shoot, yeah we managed with some bribing,  she ended up wanting to wear it all the whole day - yup, that a three year old for you. 
SO at the restaurant she starts telling the people at the next table that she is dressed like Mommy. Ha, they looked at me and was totally lost. And me? I did not even try to explain that one - too complicated.
Yeah you know I am a blogger and I am participating in this series and......ohhh, forget about it. But I had to tell you because you will understand!

Thank you all you amazing readers for your support in 2013.

Happy Happy New Year!
See you!




Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Dresses 2013.



Since I have decided to take a small break from blogging the rest of December I have nothing new to share with you. BUT I have this post of my girls' christmas dresses that was  originally posted on Craftstorming as part of Laura and Suz's (Sew pony) The 12 Days of Christmas sewing series.


If you missed the series I will highly recommend you going back to see all the posts. They are made by a group of unbelievable talented ladies and oh boy did they not disappoint.

Here are the links to the round-up posts: 

and 

You can see all the creations in those posts and contain links to the actual posts in the series.


In Denmark, where I am from, we for sure dress up for Christmas but we don't have the tradition like they have here in US, where I live now, to buy or make special Christmas (or birthday or Easter or first day of school for that matter) dresses.


But last year I saw this amazing dress in Target (Harajuku Mini) and I could not help myself. And I must say the joy and happiness those sequin dresses caused did convince me that it was worth the trouble to sew some this year. 
AND it for sure goes well with the step-it-up-theme I am planning for this Christmas, right!


Nothing says party and celebration more than sequins, right! I think so! I bought this beautiful blue and black sequin on black netting at Michael Levine. The same with the star cotton called Constellations by Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics Inc. The orange is a simple cotton voile.


Not long ago I was lucky to be invited to the Pattern Anthology Tour and I remixed Blank Slate Pattern's beautiful Amaryllis dress. You can see the post HERE. And that dress is smart in many ways (like fully reversible fx) but also not having any zippers....and that was exactly what I was looking for. I did not feel like fiddling with a zipper in sequin fabric, nope definitely not feeling that!
I decided to reuse some of my remix features - like the front button placket, the more closed up neckline, the non-pointy shoulders and a bit of high/low effect on the skirt. I put big silver snaps in the placket and I love the edge it gives to the dress.

I made the inner skirt plus the inside of the tie band from orange cotton voile. It is the good old story of not having enough of the original star fabric so I had to improvise.
The front and back bodice plus the back full skirt has black viscose lining on the inside. The front orange voile skirt is folded double (the fold is the hem) so that it is not see through.

And in case you wonder why some of the photos only have my oldest on them.....


........this happened!
Yeah, what can I say.....KIDS!!!!

I am actually surprised I got any even remotely useful photos with both of them because the cry fest started within 5 minutes of the shot. 


But I got dancing.....


....and even hugging.

Christmas is the time of miracles, right!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
(or Happy holidays if you do not celebrate christmas.)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Urban Princess Crown - tutorial.


I have a fun little tutorial for you today. Depending on the level of drama in your life it balances on the border of dress up or just normal dressing up.

The tutorial is showing you how to change any sunhat into a crown sun hat.
I have used the Oliver + S Bucket Hat which you can find in their book Little Things to Sew.

You might recognize the crown hat from my The Little Queen of Plaid post for Project Run & Play. I always thought it was too high - but had no time to change it before the deadline - so for this tutorial I changed the design a bit. Now the hat is same height as the original Oliver + S hat but the crown is not as high. Yippie for second chances, ha.


 Okay, I dont know if I am the only one flipping over these fabrics (Hancock Fabrics) but well, I am flipping. I had a nice chat with the cutting lady and we agreed that they did not belong in the costume section. I want to drape myself head to toe in them. Too much? Okay okay! But make some sort of fitted little blazer in it and then bring it down to earth with some jeans. Yes please! 

Let's get to the tutorial:

Top photo:
I am only showing you the piece you need to make changes to, which in this case is the side piece.
Normally you would need four of that pattern piece. Two for the outside of hat and two for the lining. After the pattern alteration you will still need two of these for the lining. We are only changing the outside of the hat.
First you need to determine how high you want you crown spikes to be. I decided 3 cm (1 3/16 in), measured down from the top and made a horizontal line (red line). But remember the pattern already has seam allowances added so you have to measure from the actual finish line - not the very top of the pattern piece. 

Middle photo:
Now you have to measure that red line. Again do not measure the seam allowance. To measure curves I am using a tape measurer standing up, as you can see on the photo.

Bottom photo:
I also decided that I wanted four spikes on each side piece ( so eight spikes total al the way around the hat).
Therefor I divided the red line with four to make the spikes equally wide.


Top photo:
Now you need to find the middle of each quarter of the red line to mark the top of each spike.

Middle photo:
You are now ready to draw your spikes. Again notice you are inside the seam allowances.

Bottom photo:
And now add your preferred seam allowance.

But don't cut yet! Because now you need to trace the top part of the hat plus the facing of the inside of the crown.


And here you see your three new pattern pieces.
I did do one more change to the original pattern. I made the brim more narrow. Mine is 3 cm (1 3/16 in) finished (so plus seam allowance). Easy peasy, no need for a tutorial for that part.

And you are now ready to cut out all the pattern pieces.


You might ask why I am not showing you all the pattern pieces and the full sewing tutorial?
Well, since this is a commercial pattern and not one I have drafted myself, I think this is the most respectful way to do it. I know some would be able to draft the whole pattern just by looking at the hat - and that could happen no matter if I made this tutorial or not. But I believe that by only showing the pieces I am changing I am not helping anyone, who otherwise would have bought a sunhat pattern, to avoid buying it. I hope this makes sense! And thanks for understanding.


Oh dear, did they have fun in that pile of leaves!


This tutorial will by the way work with any sort of sunhat that is build the way the Oliver + S' Bucket Hat is....and since that is a classic sunhat shape....most of them are build that way.


Let's get to the sewing part....of the crown.


I sewed the side seams on the side crown plus facing together and ironed. Sewed the piping on the side crown and then sewed the facing (right against right) to the side crown. Cut down the seam allowance on the top and bottom of the spikes, turned it around, ironed....and then it looks like this.


Before this step I have sewed the side seam on the top part of the hat (that sticks up over the hat and making sure the finished hat is same height as the original) and then sewed the oval on-top-of-the-head (also called a crown - confusing in this situation, I know! But that is what Oliver + s calls that pattern piece sooooo probably best to keep that name, right!).
Now we want to sew the top-of-the-head-part (crown) to the facing. You simply fold down the side crown and then add top-of-head-part (crown) to facing right against right and sew them together.


Fold side crown back up and it looks like this inside.



And like this from the outside. I did fasten some of the spikes to the black quilted fabric so they stayed put. Simply sew a few stitches between the piping and the fabric. You won't be able to tell they are there.

Now you sew the rest of the hat like your pattern instructions tell you. And your kids are ready for royal life.


With love from me and my two princesses.
Thank you!

This post was my November post for the Sewing Rabbit.
My December post is tutorials to make easy but cool shoe decorations and you can see it HERE.


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Norah Dress by Mouse House Creations.


Today I am participating in my friend Hayley's tour for her first children pattern release, The Norah Dress. She blogs at  Welcome to the Mouse House  and is also known as the human tornado - okay she is not exactly a destroyer but she must move very very fast with all the things she has going on. Blogging about sewing, crafts AND interior design, articles i magazines, patterns, competitions (which she usually wins) and the list goes on and on. Phew, amazing!


It is a super versatile pattern with several neck decoration options. 
You can see the options and tons of inspiration in THIS post.
 

It is fast and easy to sew and with a slit opening in the back neck making it suitable for beginners too. 
I made it with this navy skirting cotton with sort of a woven gold plaid.

My fabric and collar decoration came together in the most random way.
I originally cut the dress in a cute deer printed knit from Spoonflower and was planning on the baby pink collar with orange cotton voile as the inside fabric and a navy blue cotton voile tie.
Well, Evelyn hated the deer print (oh great) so I decided to skip making that version for this tour (I mean what is the chances of getting any, as in any at all, photos in it, right!).
(I will still sew up the knit one, hang it in her closet and see what happens, ha.)

SO next this fabric caught my eyes on my shelves and OH that baby pink collar looked nice with it....and wait those gold iron-on triangles, I bought the other day in Jo-Anns, were sort of perfect for decoration of the collar.

And here we are with a dress I absolutely LOVE. And so does Evelyn - after the photo shoot that had to be done with a heavy intake of mini marshmallows - kiiiiiiids, argh. She actually ended up sleeping in the dress too that night. 


Here is a closer look at the collar. The iron-on triangles were super easy to work with and well they survived first wash - so far so good.
Iron-on things usually stick pretty well to corduroy because of the fuzzy surface.
You can juuuuust barely see the orange voile on the inside (which was sort of meant for another idea but still works here.)

You can buy the pattern HERE:

Please, do also make sure to check out what all the other amazing ladies in this tour have made with their Norah pattern.
A click on the button below and you go to Welcome to the Mouse House where there will be teasers and links to all the blogs participating.



Thank you for inviting me Hayley!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Ash Jewelry - giveaway.

Today I have a giveaway for you that is very special to me. Special, because what I am giving away is made by my real life friend Ashlee - yes, I know, I am a true lucky potato.....I have real life friends too, haha! 

I have been admiring her stunning porcelain jewelry since I met her a couple of years ago to our daughters' ballet class and I am feeling ecstatic that she finally felt ready to launch a real collection and open an Etsy store

The play dates with our kids are always fun. Together we have 5 girls aged 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (and they are all born in winter or early spring). crazy!! Some are playing with play dough and others are talking about clay and fabrics. Yup, we all have fun.


Ashlee has a BFA in ceramics and is on top of that a perfectionist. I can assure you that the jewelry is top notch but at the same time with personality like all handmade things have.
Take a look at the collection above. Simply stunning!

Do I have to mention that they are perfect gifts?!
There are simple styles and more bolder designs.

Take a closer look yourself below.


Seriously, right!!

Ashlee (and her family for that matter) is some of the most generous and kind people I know and she is giving you a chance to win a $65 gift card to her Etsy shop.
Fill out the Rafflecopter in the end of the post.
The giveaway is open for international participants.

AND there is an extra cool twist to this giveaway. If you decide to buy something in the Ash Etsy store before this giveaway ends AND also enter the giveaway AND is the lucky winner, Ashlee will give you a refund on your buy (up to max. $65).
I told you she is nice!!

BUT it does not end here because she has also provided me with a coupon code so you can get 15% off all your orders until 1/15-2014. WOW!


Click on the button below to go straight to her shop.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for entering.

Good luck!

To see more styles and read about the process visit the ASH website.
Thank you!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Girls Pleated Winter Skirt - Tutorial.


Today I am bringing home a tutorial for a pleated winter skirt I originally made for The Sewing Rabbit Team.


The weather was changing and I realized that Wilma was missing something in her closet....winter skirts. What defines a winter skirt you might ask? Well, my personal opinion besides the obvious use of warmer, thicker fabric, could be to include a lining but also to have a bit more snug fit around the bum. In summer you want a loose and breezy fit but in winter you really want no cold air around that area, right!


BUT little girls still like to twirl even in winter so I came up with this design. Well, I am obviously not the first one to make this type of skirt but the pattern is self drafted and it fits the criteria I mentioned above. And further down I have a tutorial so you can make one (or ten) too.
As soon as you have drafted your pattern and made sure the fit is right they are quite a fast project. And even the pattern drafting is a pretty fast project for this one.


Here is a closer look at the skirt. You can see that the pleats are closed up/sewed together at the top and that is what gives the snug fit AND twirl ability. Score!
I have purposely not ironed the pleats all the way down. I like that they stay 'soft' and are just folding under the seams. If you like sharp pleats....well, knock yourself out.

What you have not seen on photos yet is that the waistband has a wide elastic pulled through to make dressing herself easy.

Let's get to the tutorial, shall we.



The very fist thing you do is to decide how wide you want your pleats. Mine are 3.5 cm / 1 3/8 in. And then how many pleats you want. I went with 5 pleats - notice they don't go from side seam to side seam - which by the way makes this skirt extremely easy to grade into other sizes but that is another story.
Now take a big piece of paper and start making vertical lines. The distance between every line is the width of your pleat (here 3.5 cm / 1 3/8 in). Every pleat is three 'rows' so we need 15 rows and that takes 16 lines.


Fold your pattern like you can see on the above photo (this is how the pleats will be folded in the fabric) and NOW we need some measurements. Two measurements. The first one is the hip measurement of the SKIRT....not the child. It is simply easier this way. I simply took my measuring tape around Wilma's hips in a circle as loose/snug I wanted the finished skirt to fit. Divide this measurement with 4 and you have your 1/4 of your desired skirt circumference which you can see marked on the pattern above.
The second measurement you need from your child is the skirts full length. BUT before you draw that line on your pattern you have to withdraw the height of your desired waistband (mine is 3 cm / 1 3/16 in).
Before you can draw your rectangle with the right measurement you have to find/determine your center front/center back (this skirt uses same pattern piece for the front and back piece - so you cut it double).
Now the first skirt I made I put the CF/CB on the middle of the middle pleat. But when I sewed the skirt I realized that was kind of a mistake. Because what you can see is the 5 lines where the pleats are sewed together not the actual five pleats. In other words the CF/CB looked off at the finished skirt. So CF/CB is the middle sewing line as you can see above. Now it looks off in the pattern but it will look right on the skirt.
And now you simply draw your rectangle with the correct measurements and then add your preferred seam allowances.
Last thing you have to do is determine how much you want to close up the pleats. I choose 13 cm / 5 1/8 in. Mark your pattern as above.


And when you unfold your pleats this is how your pattern will (hopefully) look like.

And now it is time to make your waistband pattern. Again just a rectangle, woohoo.
I just make one long pattern piece and cut it to fold in the one side seam. If you prefer a side seam in both sides of the waistband simply add seam allowances in both sides and cut it double instead.

I don't think I have anything to add otherwise. The graphic should tell it all.


And now to the lining pattern - which is optional by the way. But if you are making it in a wool fabric you really should put a lining in it.
Again I think the graphic/photo says the most. The length of the lining is of course a bit shorter than the length of the actual skirt. I prefer like 2.5 cm / 1 in shorter.

At this step I would suggest you sew a muslin to make sure you don't waste your nice fabric if something went wrong along the way. And think of it this way....when you have made your muslin and  you know your pattern fits, sewing the real skirt is going to be SO much faster.


When I cut the skirt I leave the pattern piece on and put a pin through all those markings where you have to sew the pleats together to. And don't forget to cut little cuts at the top notches.
Then fold your fabric as you can see on the lowest photo above and sew straight down to the pin. Continue with all five pleats on each skirt piece.


Here is how it looks when the pleats have been sewed. Sorry, this fabric was hard to photograph.

Now you sew, overlock and iron your side seam (s) of skirt and waist band (and lining if you made that). Then hem your skirt (and lining).


Sew waistband on skirt - right against right.....and so on. I am not going to go into detail with the waistband since it is a simple waistband with an elastic in it. I have a tutorial HERE if you need it. Only difference from this one and the one I am linking to, is the number and width of elastics I am using. In this one I am not sewing any casings. I am just using one wide elastic that fits the whole waistband.


Here is a look at the finished waistband.



I decided to spice this one up with some rows of grosgrain ribbon.
Just remember the hem will be more stiff and the pleats will not drape as softly as if there are no ribbons sewed on. But since this fabric (a cotton/wool mix) was quite heavy/stiff in the first place I knew there would not be much draping anyway so I just went with it.

I made another skirt in more soft fabric with no ribbons and you can clearly see the difference in the drape.
You can see that skirt HERE.



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