Thursday, July 26, 2012

DINO curtains

 I've totally forgotten that I haven't shared my "dino curtains" that I made for the twins' room several months back. I didn't use a pattern or anything, so I was pretty proud of myself for making 4 uniform panels that miraculously lined up properly.

Obviously, the valance (if that's the right term) is a wee-bit shorter in width than the curtains. That's mostly because I decided after-the-fact that I wanted the curtains to go a couple of inches beyond the window so that light isn't let in on the sides. I don't plan on keeping the valances too much longer, anyways, so I'm not particularly grieving over that fact. It's annoying, to a semi-perfectionist, but no grieving.  

I plan on using the scrap fabric to make green, orange and dino fabric-posters in different sizes as wall art. Have you seen that in DYI shows? You wrap and staple it to the back of a wooden frame? I plan on doing stuff like that in my room too. I hope to knit or sew some sort of dino decor in felt for the "blah," bare blue walls as well (did you like that alliteration?...I wasn't really planning on it). I'm still trying to think how to do that and not be too overkill.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Free-form pattern: Elaine

On Friday, before heading to a Japanese Grill a couple towns away, I hit up a Joanne Fabrics in the adjoining parking lot. Who could resist, right?

There were 50% off sales on all of the fabrics, plus a 10% off your total order I induldged in a couple more jersey knit fabrics for more quickie dresses, a satin fabric, and whatever this fabric is. It's probably polyester. One thing I knew was that this chica was going to fray like no one's business. It's air-light, see-though of course...perfect for wearing over another tank top.

So let's fast-forward to yesterday. I knew that this fabric was going to evolve into a tank top, but I didn't want to stick to a pattern because I didn't think I'd find this sort of shape (and I was pretty certain that I could fiddle around and draw my own pattern).
I grabbed a few sheets of newspaper (I couldn't find my brown packaging wrapping paper which would have been even better) and tapped 4 of them together. I took a tank top with a similar shape to get an idea of what the dimensions needed to be, and left about an inch of extra room for a seam allowance. I cut the front piece out, folded the newspaper hotdog style and trimmed all of the edges to make it more symmetrical than my guesstimates.  Then, I traced out the back, and changed the neckline to be shallower.

I pinned the pieces together, sewed them while really reinforcing the edges. I did two straight line stitching and then a zig-zag along the raw edge to make sure that this sucker doesn't come apart or fray too badly while washing.

Next came the edging. I used store-bought tape trimming in a matching color, and didn't even bother pinning it to the edge. Rather, I just tucked the raw edge into the middle of the tape as I went.
It's not perfect. There were a couple of places where the raw edge came loose from the tape because I didn't shove it in far enough, and my stitching could have been straighter. I was really bummed that there is a little hole starting underneath the armpit. I must have snagged it underneath the footer, or snipped it some how. I painted clear nail polish on it for now, but I'll have to figure out a better way to patch a delicate material such as this.

It's a tiny bigger than I'd like it, but it looks neat. I'm just proud I made my own pattern and it seems wearable and not too extremely "Home-Ec." Plus, it only took me a few hours!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

FO: my "20 minute" (or 2 hour) dress

I finished another dress! Hurray! This one was Faith Towers' supposed "20 Minute" Dress.

Did it only take 20 minutes? Of course not. It's like that knitting pattern, The 3-Hour Vintage Sweater pattern that I was suckered into knitting several years back, that took more like 3 days rather than hours.

Anyways, it was a faster sew. The problem is that jersey knit fabrics are really hard to cut. Especially if you're like me and try cutting it on carpet, and don't have anything to draw lines on the fabric while measuring because the pens don't show up on this sort of pattern. *sigh* The took most of the time. And frustration.

Joanne Fabrics didn't have much in terms of cool fabric prints in Jersey. I like this print, but really, it was literally their coolest choice.

My size is close to hers, even though I'm wider than her. I went with the rule of: armpit-to-armpit +2'' and Hip to Hipt+6 inches.  I only added 1'' to each panel.

Here's some great tips if you plan on sewing this: learn from the designer's photo! The reason why her's may have more charm than other versions sewn is because 1.) she has a really cool print that isn't monotonous, and 2.) (although she didn't go through the extra effort that I had to to achieve this) she naturally had that black strip running along the front of the dress that breaks up the print. If you don't have that naturally, do what I did and cut a 1.5-2'' strip and sew it to the front panels so they get sewn together while you are sewing down the center front (of course, you'll want to subtract from the front panels since you added extra length). It looks a whole lot better than sewing two patterns next to each other that may or may not match up. 3.) she doesn't mention how many inches down to sew the elastic casing...I placed it 3'' below the base of the armpit. 4.) In retrospect, it would have been easier to sew the casing before sewing the shoulder. You might want to do that. Otherwise, how easy is it to measure, pin and sew accurately along a "U" shape there? 5.) This added extra time too, but my fabric rolled in on itself, so I did end up sewing the bottom hem. It looked too "home-made" to not do that. I planned on this, so my panels ran 1.5 inches longer than hers (37.5'') to accommodate. 6.) I sew a line close to the the raw edges as protection against out-of-control fraying.

I'm still trying to make out the words. However, it's kind of like fabric graffiti. Neat.