Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Keep Your Cool' smartphone cases.

In my family we have a lot of birthdays in the winter and today it is my sister's birthday. 
In one of her presents is a Keep Your Cool Smartphone Case from Straight Stitch Society
They have a layer of lightweight quilt batting between the outside fabric and inside lining to protect your best electronic friend from bumps. The ice cream stick has a D-ring for keys, a snap closure and inside is a small pocket for a credit card. In other words another well thought through pattern from Liesl Gibson (who amongst many other things is also making the lovely oliver + s-patterns).

They are obviously very easy to sew and the most fun is choosing the fabrics. Phew, decisions decisions! 

Above you see Straight Stitch Society's examples. I absolutely LOVE that they have chosen fabrics that really make them look like delicious popsicles.... I just did not have those color fabrics in my stash when I decided to make them.

Here you see my sister's present:
After my first-time-embroidery-success with the Woodland Forest Felty Friends I decided to put a little embroidered love declaration on the front.

This is the first one I made...and kept. I am using it every day and love it. I used a grosgrain ribbon as a 'stick' instead of sewing one from fabric that the pattern suggest.

Happy birthday Karen.
We loooove you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Knee pad unisex pants

Okay, so those of you wonderful readers who are extra wonderful and 'like' this blog on Facebook, might be confused now seeing Evelyn (who technically is a girl) wearing this item of clothing who was proclaimed to be the first piece of boy clothes on this blog. Don't worry these are the ones. But since they are for my nephew who lives in Denmark and is 3 years old like Evelyn I thought she would be okay to use as a model for them. 
And when she got them on (which took a little bit of bribing because noooo this little lady is apparently not wearing pants at the moment BUT she does seem to enjoy them when they are actually on, right!) I realized they are totally unisex pants - at least in my not-so-frilly-world. I mean DOH they are dark jeans, blue-grey cotton twill and neon orange details. But I still think we should celebrate that there finally is an item on the blog that is sewed for a (very spectacular) boy in mind....and the fact that they work for girls too is just a bonus!

OH, and before I continue talking about these pants if there is anyone out there who is interested in getting the same asymmetrical bangs as Evelyn here just come by. Salon Evelyn will happily do them totally for free!

A few close ups - as good as it gets when you are photographing a 3 year old who think it is funny NOT to stand still for the photo.
I used a thick dark yellow thread (classic jeans stitch color) to make visible stitches and a size 90 needle.
And YES I know that I made a girl fly and not a boy fly. So annoying for me but I only noticed it when I had already done the visible stitch and there was no way back because of the fairly big holes the size 90 needles makes in the fabric - darn it! The most annoying thing about it is that I DID prepare for boy fly and the overlock inside is now on the wrong side too - this is by the way just a pretend fly there is no zipper inside - it is just a way to make the pants look more 'finished'. (If anyone is interested in a tutorial let me know....) The mistake simply happened when I was going to stitch and my mind must have been on girl-fly-auto-pilot and I turned it the wrong way. I wonder why?!

I have made a pair of these pants for my nephew (and Evelyn actually) when they were like 1.5-2 years old - also with REALLY long roll up legs. And I totally melted when my sister asked me if I could make him another pair because he had almost out grown the other pair and he says they are his favorite - awwwwwwwww!

Like many other of the pants I have made lately I have made them waaaaay to long and added bias tape on the seams of the bottom of the legs to make a pretty roll up. This almost neon orange one was perfect for these pants and that led me to make one of the belt loops with neon orange grosgrain ribbon. I know this is not my original idea but I still really really like it.

Below is a tiny one-photo-tutorial or you could call it a tip for nicer looking pockets.

Fold the top seam allowance of your pockets opposite of what you normally would (I am assuming you don't already use this trick - if you do just ignore me) so the pocket and seam allowance is right side against right side of the fabric. Sew down in your side seam allowance along the top seam allowance (see photo above), turn around and iron. You can now stitch the top seam allowance to the pocket and then sew on the pockets as usual but now you will not have any visible seam allowances inside the top part of the pockets, yay!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Same pattern - three dresses.

Strange fruits that grows on the trees here in North Carolina......

This post is a two-in-one. It is both a knock off and it is my contribution to Project Run & Play sew along link party, week 6 - Signature week.
So how can a knock off be MY signature? Well, it could be because everything I do is a knock off but I actually don't think that is the case....not ALL of it, ahem! So what is it then, will the now slightly bored and impatient reader think?
Well, my signature is that I just can't make simple (and I don't mean that in a bad way!) and one colored clothes.

My sister sent me a photo of the beautiful dress below from the Dutch brand Gray Label with a little hint that my niece was out of dresses at the moment (side note: what kind of Aunt am I for this to happen, tsk tsk tsk!!!)
And I honestly LOVE the dress from Gray Label - especially the color and the simplicity -  and I knew right away which one of my own dress patterns I could use to make it. And I started right away......

Dress: Gray Label

But apparently a dress like that is a blank canvas for me because look how first version ended up:
Eeeeehhhh??? What happened?

Then onto version two and things are not getting any simpler design and colorwise.... When I was making dress no. one I originally cut the neck ribbon and sleeves in green but ended up doing what you see above and that's when dress no. two was happening....I mean with sleeves and neck ribbon already cut the next dress was basically done right!

And with this one you probably think I did not have fabric enough....and that could VERY well had been the case. The blue stripy jersey is very very soft and stretchy and the green is a much thicker sweatshirt fleece and I was worried that the soft blue jersey would not be able to 'hold' the very bulky skirt part of the waist and making the waist seam look even more 'bubbly'* than it already does. Maybe I am over cautious but I decided to go with some color block and add a top part to the skirt in a thinner jersey....and suddenly it got a bit of a peplum effect. Hmm, I like!

*In all these dresses I should really add some of that clear elastic band you fx use in underwear to hold in/keep the shape of the waist seam......IF I get my act together and do that before I send them to my niece I will make a little update post so you can see what a difference that would make.

The last dress was made because I saw this amazing dress on Mindy from The Mindy Project (the first sit com I have ever thought was really REALLY funny - anyone else seeing that?). I loooove the little Peter Pan collar and thought okay last one, freak! And the result is what you see above. I am sure you recognize the fabric combination from THIS dress.

The Mindy Project. LOVE!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Woodland Forest Felty Friends.

Today it is my beautiful little niece's 1st birthday - hoorah - and these felty friends will be inside one of her presents.
I won these digital patterns by Tina Douville (link to her Etsy shop HERE) in a contest on the blog a looooong time ago. When I started thinking about my niece's birthday they popped up again. 
I have never been much of a hand sewer but I must say I have REALLY enjoyed making these. I have been coming with hints on Sewing Like Mad's Facebook page saying I was sewing with materials and techniques that I have not used since I was a child (I once did a felt bunny in daycare that by coincidence ended in the local paper) and my sister has been going crazy with curiosity and even asked our Mom what it could be. Ha, they did not guess it.
I was not impressed with the quality of the felt I could get at our local sewing shop and started googling around and found..... ahhhhhh...... Purl Soho a shop in yeeees Soho, NYC with a great webshop ( and the ideas started to overflow. And my cart got filled with the nicest wool felt in the most beautiful colors and fluorescent and gold embroidery thread. I could have gone on and on but like with most things of good quality they are not cheap...kind of makes sense right!

I started with this little fella which might be my favorite. I am especially obsessed with the dark blue color and on a side note did I actually try to paint one of the rooms in our new house that color. But I was told in the paint shop that it would need like 6-7 coats minimum and then I skipped that 'brilliant' idea, argh. So back to mr. (or mrs.?) hedgehog....I took my time making him and used the instructions that followed the patterns to learn how to do the 3 different stitches that is needed to make these. So fun! I love learning something new when it is easy - yes, I am pathetic like that for sure.

The beaver is the only one who has something going on on the back too.

When I came to the fox I felt confident enough to do a little free hand embroidery and wrote her name on the belly.

I hope she likes them. They are made with love from me to you. 
Happy first birthday Madicken!
Love from your Moster* Mie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fox+lady=foxy lady?

I guess you can say looking at these photos of Wilma in the Spoonflower-fabric version of my latest jersey dress that you don't win every time. 
It has been a freezing cold day here in North Carolina and taking her warm jacket away from her to take these photos was really not very I guess I got what I deserved. 
I was just so eager to show you this version as well. It is definitely a very good example of how clothes can change depending on which fabric you use. Another factor, why this looks so different from the first version, is that Wilma looks much better in darker colors because of her fair skin color (a dress looks better if it actually suits the person wearing it if you know what I mean) but when I saw this fabric on of the girl with the red hair and a fox I just could not resist. 
I ordered it in this great thick organic interlock - yum, what a pleasure to sew with (and wear I bet). 
I am not being paid to say this but if you don't already know Spoonflower you should really check out that website. Graphic designers (and other good people) can upload their designs, and everyone can then order the prints on several types of fabric (jersey, silk, cotton and so decide) and Spoonflower pays a part of the sale to the designer when you order their print. They even do wallpaper and decals now too. Ahhh, I don't even want to think about it!!

If you 'like' Sewing Like Mad on Facebook (and you really should do that because well a 'like' is always nice) you know that I spend almost the same time sewing this dress that I did choosing the colors of the snaps. What I did not mention was that I ended up choosing two colors....that was kind of a surprise to me too. I think it matches the playful fabric though. And having the snaps continue on the skirt (the first version only had snaps in the top part....but of course you already know that! If not you can see it HERE) kind of works too.

Next you can see a mini tutorial on how to sew a front placket and hem with one continuous stitch.
First you put some thin interlining on your placket, then you iron the folding line for the placket plus your hem. If this was woven fabric I would not have folded the seam allowance away but in knit fabric I am keeping it simple and leaves the overlock seam visible.

Then you sew over the placket following the hem's folding line on both plackets of course (see dots at #1), then you fold in the stitch and turn around (see finger technique on #2).

You can very carefully and gentle use a sharp object like a scissor to veeeeery gently make the corner sharp (90 degrees) and then iron before you are ready for the placket-hem-stitch-in-one.

And here you have it seen both from the front and back side. I am sewing it from the front side and is using a few pins (which I move right before I get to them) to help me keep everything in place.

Another 'seriously Mom?!'-photo.