Monday, April 30, 2012

Color block leggings - tutorial.

I have been debating myself whether to save this part for a monster post in the end of the week or dividing it up a little as things get you can see I decided for the last option.
I'm going to try the sew along competition in Project Run & Play again this week - this time with fewer expectations :-) 
The theme for week 4 is a color challenge: pick a color and make an outfit. 
That is a BIG challenge for me for several reasons. I rarely make a piece of clothes in just one color and even more rarely do I put a whole outfit together in the same color. As we have already established I LOVE color blocking and I have decided that picking colors that come from the same basic color must be okay.....pleeeeaaase!
As you have probably guessed from the headline it is the leggings you have to focus on in this post....and yes the color I have choosen is RED.
I got the idea for these leggings a while ago and then I forgot about them again (does that ever happen to you?) and when I was thinking about what to do for this challenge they popped up again. They worked out almost as they looked in my head. The inspiration is a tuxedo pant but with a wider band down along the leg. I made them from my usual legging pattern (see tutorial further down) and one of those classic mistakes when you work with knit fabric happened....there was a lot of stretch in the fabric and they turned out not so tight as I wanted them. But when you are sewing when the kids are in bed you sometime ship a fitting you should have done - yeah yeah next time, right!!

Grumpy kids. By the way Evelyn is wearing Oliver+S Hopscotch Skirt

Color block leggings - tutorial.

A little design process.
My usual legging pattern with the lines drawn on for the side band. Because leggings are  always made with stretch (and usually knit) fabric you don't need a side seam. The line you see in the middle of the side band is where the side seam normally would have been in a normal pair of pants.

The pattern is now divided in a front, mid and back part and seam allowance has been added. I'm adding 0.75 cm for patterns that I sew together on my serger/overlocker.
Notice the notches I have circled in. It's a little help to yourself when you are sewing to make sure that it's the right parts that are sewn together. 

The two different fabrics has been cut and the three pieces has been sewn together. Just to be clear you need another one of these for the other leg. So you cut two of each pattern piece with the fabric lying right against right (or wrong against wrong - does not matter in this case.)
I have chosen to iron the seam allowance against the light pink band so from the front it will look like the middle band stands out a bit. See next photo.

See what I mean?! Okay maybe not...but you will in real life.

Here we are with both legs and the inner seam has been sewn too. You iron the inner seams towards the front - that gives a nicer visual.
Crotch seam has been sewn.
Trying to decide which fabric to use for the lower leg ribbon.
Went with the bright red. To the left you see the ribbon sewn on the leg from the outside. The right side is the inside look.
Divide your elastic for the waist in four equals and do the same with the waist on the leggings.
The legging's waist are going to be bigger than your elastic and when you add your quarter marks of the elastic to the quarter marks of the legging's waist you make sure that the elastic is divides equally on the fabric.
The elastic has now been sewn on to the legging's waist.

Bend the elastic down one time and stitch from the inside the elastic to the fabric. Remember to stretch the fabric while you sew otherwise the stitch will not be 'stretchy' and will break the first time someone is trying to put them on.
Sewing an elastic to knit fabric like this is not super super pretty and professional but in my opinion the best and easiest way to do it when you only have a household sewing machine and serger/overlocker.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The bow.

The blog has been a little quiet this week but I can assure you that is not because I have not been sewing. I'm just not ready to blog about it yet. 
I'm working on a few things for a friend's daughter and since the Mom is a (almost :-) professional photographer I'm hoping she will take some cool photos I can put on my blog.....buuut that requires that I'm actually done with the things, right!

So what's up with this silly bow Evelyn put on this morning?
Well a while ago Wilma ordered (yes, that's the way it works, sigh) a Minnie Mouse bow. She had one to a doll and wanted one for herself too. Silly Mommy here thought that I could be a little creative and actually make a cute one in a nice fabric. But noooooo it had to be exactly that pink satin one with white dots that her doll have. Which I guess I could have figured out myself dealing with a 4 year old on a daily basis. So yes, that was a lovely waste of time....until yesterday where I suddenly see her wearing it in the play room and somehow it ends up down stairs on the floor and Evelyn picks it up this morning and wants me to help her put it on. And lucky me gets some happy smiling photos out of it as you can see....One of them with Wilma slightly out of focus - argh, that fancy camera (husband's) and that amateurish photographer (me!!!).....but never the less with happy smiles!

The bow is very easy to make.
Sew a long tube and then stitch it in the middle to make room for two narrow elastics in the size of your child's head (minus a little bit to make it stay on there).
The bow is a rectangle, sewed double and then gathered in the middle with a little piece of nice ribbon. DONE!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project Run & Play - sew along, week 2: sports wear.

First of all I'm very excited to present something here on my blog that I have just made...actually did the last stitches earlier today.
And then I better give some kind of explanation to those of you who does not know what Project Run & Play is....a month ago I was one of them. You can check out their website here: Project Run & Play. In a few words it's a online competition for bloggers who are sewing children's clothes and each season 8 bloggers are invited to compete. BUT there is also a sew-along-competition where everyone can upload their bid to their flickr group on the theme of the week. 
So I decided to try out the sew along competition and see what happens but missed the first week because of a lovely throat inflammation - yuck!
So here we are at week two with a much better throat, the theme is sports wear and I have made this sweat shirt dress with a wavy yoke, front placket with snaps and a hut. 
The materials are stretch cotton jersey (navy and stripe), cotton navy rib and coral cotton quilting fabric (okay, try saying that after a couple of glasses of wine).

I took some photos along the way but this is not a complete tutorial to the whole dress.
Further down there will be a mini tutorial though for hemming the dress with a wide bias binding that includes a lille piping - two-in-one-hemming in other words!
These were the pattern parts I started with....I thought I was going to make a sweat shirt and later some pants....but decided to make a dress during the sewing process. Very typical me to do something like that.

Back side of pocket.
My little design process.
Sewing on the placket.

The last stitch on the placket.
Here you can see the finish placket's front and back side.
Now to the hard part sewing the wavy yoke to the shirt part. It's difficult because you are sewing top and bottom curves together and it does not feel like they fit each other when you have it in the machine. It's important to cut a lot of matching notches  and needle them together before you start to sew.

Just wanted to show you this nice detail. Covering the neck seam with a piece of rib knit. I had never done it before but seen it in my husbands t-shirts and thought it would look nice.

Okay and here come the mini tutorial for the two-in-one-hem:

Cut your bias biding the same length as your hem plus seam allowance, on bias (of course :-) and the width that you want (I cut it 5 cm/2 inch). Put it right side against right side and sew 1 cm (or whatever seam allowance you use) like you can see on the photo above.

Iron the seam allowance up inside the dress.
Now bend the bias binding so that like 2-3 mm are sticking out under the hem and iron so that the piping is easier to sew. 
Stitch the piping exactly where the bias binding has been sewed on the dress. 
Iron  the other side of the bias binding with your preferred seam allowance (mine 1 cm) so you are ready for last stitch that will finish the hem.
Stitch the bias binding to the dress.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mini Tutorial - Shirring.

This dress made from a pattern from Oliver + S (model: Ice Cream Dress) is one of my favorites. The package comes with this color block version (so how easy is that) and I love this combination of thin denim chambray, the always beautiful Liberty poplin fabric and then the neon lime corduroy for a great color pop. When I was done sewing it I thought the dress was too wide and I decided to sew like 4 rows of shirring around the waist....and voila perfect!

 E enjoying a cheese stick.

And a little show.....with the mouth full of cheese.

Yeah okay so when I asked her to turn around so I could photograph her from the back she was kind of done being photographed so I ended up with this half blurred one. As good as it gets this time :-)

Mini tutorial for making the shirring.

The reason I'm doing this tutorial is that someone who saw this dress in The first post commented that she wish that her sewing machine could sew shirring. And I thought that if your machine can sew straight normal stitches it CAN sew shirring.
You start with elastic thread like the one to the right and then you use your sewing machine to roll it up on a fills up quite quickly. You use regular thread on top of your machine and sew with normal straight stitches. It very important that you stretch the fabric out - don't let it gather as you sew - otherwise the shirring will not be very stretchy in the end.

After only one row of sewing there is not a lot of gathering but doooon't worry :-)

Here we are after 5 rows...a little bit better but we still have one important step left....

Up close....

We need to give the shirring a lot of steam....but do NOT put the iron down on the fabric....just steam like 2,5 - 5 cm (1 - 2 inch) from the fabric.

And now you can see how much the fabric has gathered and is perfectly stretchy.

Up close after steaming.

From the back side of the can see the elastic thread.