Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hey there!!!

So, I've kind of been MIA lately, but I miss posting. Apparently, there's been a lot of traffic on my Tutu Valance post, so since I know folks are landing here, I'd like to be here more often!

Recently, since I've been slacking on sewing, some friends have been coming to me with advice on how to beef up their little girls' spring and summer wardrobes. My plan is to post a how-to, every week or so, to help you guys with that.

There's tons of easy dress styles that you can do, even as a beginner. Keep your eyes peeled, because I intend to get started very soon!

Happy sewing!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY Swiffer Duster Refill

I hate spending money on things I throw away.  So as long as it's not something really gross, I'm always willing to try a home made or eco-friendly idea.

Todays project:  DIY Swiffer Duster refill.
Cost:  Nothing if you have fleece on hand!
Time and Level:  Beginner, approx 15 minutes!
1) 1/4 yd or scrap piece of fleece  (We will get TWO dusters out of this)
2) Rotary cutter or scissors
3) Ruler
4) Sewing machine or needle and thread
5) Your Swiffer duster

Step one:
Cut your fleece into rectangles that are 4.5 inches by 6-7 inches long.  (Doesn't matter!)
You should have 8 of these rectangles, in two groups of four, after cutting:
In this photo, my fleece is folded in half, the top being the fold.
Here are my rectangles in stacks of two.

Step 2:
Grab your Swiffer duster now.  You'll set it about center and trace around your grips.  The strips should be roughly 1/2 an inch wide, with the center line in the center of your rectangle.
Still stacked in two, I've traced around my Swiffer grips. So you should have two rectangles that look like the above photo, with another rectangle underneath.

Step 3: Sewing
Next you're going to take your stack of two with the outline of your grips drawn on and stitch only around the outside.  Do not sew the center yet.  Flip it over to the unmarked side.
Next, grab two of your unmarked rectangles and trim off about 3/4 of an inch on one end and stack it on top of the two pieces you just sewed in the center.
(Notice how it's a lil shorter, right?) You can pin it down if you need to but I just used my hands.  I flipped it over and sewed up the center line.  Like this:

Next, you gotta cut up the pad to make the fringy things that collect your dust.  I cut the sides separately to avoid cutting my seams.  So I did this side first:

And then the other side:
Now, just trim your threads and fluff it up.  Then you can go dust!

Happy Dusting!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Super simple blanket....

You know we all love those boutique style receiving blankets.  They are usually made of micro fleece or minky fabrics and oh!  How soft they are!  Well, did you know they're really easy to make?  No?  Okay, well lets make one!

Level: Beginner
Cost: depends on the fabrics you choose.
Time: About 45 minutes.

1) You'll need 1 yard of two different fabrics.
2) Scissors
3) Sewing machine with thread
4) Pins

Before we go any further, lets discuss your options for fabrics. 
Minky:  First let me say that I hate minky. It stretches, moves, and sheds.  Man does that crap shed!!  It gets in my nose and I sneeze fuzzy pink snot for days afterwards!  Not to mention, it's expensive.  Most is upwards of $12 per yard and is just ridiculous.  Try fleece instead!
Fleece: This is one of my favorite materials to work with for blankets.  It's very warm, but very light weight and you're able to use it in a ton of ways.  Fleece doesn't fray when you cut it so you can use it for all kinds of blanket projects.
Flannel: I LOVE flannel for blankets.  It's soft too, but a lot lighter weight than fleece.  It's perfect for making SUPER basic receiving blankets and is usually really cost friendly.  It goes on sale a lot and can be had for less than $3 per yard!  It does not stretch and frays, but frays beautifully.  I use it for exposed seams blankets very often, such a rag quilt.
Cottons: Basic cotton, oh I love thee. So many prints and colors, ah!! Cotton does not stretch, but does fray so the edges when working with it need to be finished (or hidden from wear).

Really you can use ANY combination of these fabrics in one blanket.  If you use a cotton for the front and a cotton for the back, you'll want to put a layer of flannel, fleece, or batting inside your blanket....but that's another tutorial for another day.

Lets get started.
Here are my fabrics:
 The first thing you want to do is lay out your fabrics.  My cotton print is face up and my pink fleece is on top of that.
Next, what we'll do is trim up the cotton so that it's the same size as the fleece.
Next, pin it all the way around, spacing pins about every 1.5-2 inches or so. I like to stick pins in to where I can sew right over them. Some like to pin sideways.  Up to you.

Next, sew all around the edges.  Be sure to leave about a 6 inch gap for turning the blanket right side out.
Once you sew all the way around (leaving your gap), pull the blanket thru the gap, turning it right side out.  You'll have a lil gap, with two folded edges that you need to pin closed.

  Now, you're going to pin all the way around the edges of the blanket again making sure your gap is closed and that your fabric is smooth.  (It's a lil hard to see my pins in the next pic, but they're there!)

Next, stitch pretty close to the edge of your blanket, catching both sides and your gap to sew it closed. Go all the way around.  This is called a top stitch.
Now, do it again.  It'll make a clean, nice "custom" edge on your blanket which is really lovely if you're giving them as gifts.

Now you have a gorgeous lil blanket you can give as a shower gift or make a nice pile for yourself for your new addition!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chiffon Ballet Skirts

So, daughter started ballet last week and was FLOORED when I saw the price tags on stuff.  A silly little chiffon skirt?  $8 after taxes!  Being that I sew, I knew I could get the chiffon for cheaper.  Especially since the skirt I bought was only one layer.  I thought, Hey, I could do better than this!  Ha! 

That being said I hopped on over to my favorite place to buy chiffon!  AFC Express!  It's cheap, and it's great quality---oh, that being said, I'd like to point out a couple things.  1) Polyester chiffon, you can buy anywhere.  It's nice, it's pretty yada yada....but, when you cut it, it frays!  NO GOOD for these ballet skirts.  Unless you wanna hem,  I'm lazy!  2) AFC Express carries NYLON chiffon.  Soft, sorta stretchy, and does NOT fray!  Yay for not having to hem in a circle!! WOOT!

So for this project, you'll need:
1) About 1 yard of NYLON chiffon. (Savvy's existing skirt is a size 4/5 in girls.  1 yard was plenty.  I'd say around size 7/8 ish, you'll need a little more than that)
2) An old tshirt or 1/4 yd of jersey knit fabric.
3) Elastic 1/4 inch.

You'll also need the obvious.  A skirt you like so you can recreate it, scissors or rotary blade, sewing machine w/ thread and a work surface.  For me, that's my floor.

Step One:  Making the Pattern and Cuts.
First thing we'll do is lay out our fabric.  Fabric always comes folded in half.  On chiffon, you'll recognize the selvage edge immediately.  It almost looks/feels crunchy, and directly across from that is the fold.  Leave it folded in half the way it came.  The skirt above is only ONE layer...I like TWO. :)

Once you've got your fabric laid out, open up your skirt and lay it right on top of your fabric.  Now...there's TWO ways you can cut out your've seen those jagged edge skirts right?  With the points on them?   They're called a "handkerchief hem". Sort of like this:

Okay, so the two ways you can cut around your skirt.  If you want the hanky hem cut it like this:
If you want the circle style of the original, cut it like this:
You'll cut all the way around, through both layers of the chiffon, but watch that skirt...don't cut that!
From here on we're dealing with the circle skirt: 
Mine's cut out:

My chiffon is cut away and I have three layers.  My skirt, my two layers of chiffon.

Next we're going to cut out our waist.
Take a sharpie, pen, pencil, whatever will show up on your chiffon.
And mark out where your waist should this:
(The red dots are my marks, but you can still barely see my black sharpie dots too!)
Then, remove your skirt being careful not to let your chiffon layers under it go flying.  Fold your circle in half.
The red arch represents where my markings for the waist are.

Then, fold it in half again, left to right.
Now you should be able to still see your waist markings in the corner where the right angle is.  We're going to cut that now.

Careful not to cut too much off.  If you make the hole too big, we're boned :(  cut it RIGHT where your marks are.

Now set that aside. 

Step 2: The Waistband
For the waist band, I like to use the bottom hem off of a stained, worn, ripped t-shirt.  It can be a size too small. We all have a t-shirt from our kids that wasn't accepted at the resale shop, that no one wanted as a hand-me-down, or is even worn out enough that the shirt doesn't even suffice for play clothes.  So, I'm using that.  If you're using a bolt cut of jersey knit, you'll have an extra step.

Take your jersey or your t-shirt hem and lay it flat.  Iron if necessary.  Now, I have a cutting/measuring board, but you can easily use a ruler or measuring tape.  You need a two inch wide strip.

I laid the edge where I cut off my tshirt on a line on my cutting board.  (Bottom)
Then, I cut off a two inch strip using my rotary blade.
Using a t-shirt is great because the side seams are already in place (Yippee!!) But if you're using jersey knit, you have an extra step.  You'll need to measure your kiddo's waist and make an additional cut on your strip to that length.  then, folding right sides together, stitch your strip into a circle/band.  Then you can lay it out as shown above. 

Still following?  Okay, moving on.

Step 3: Attaching the Skirt

Now what we're going to do is grab our skirt again.  Remember there are two layers of chiffon and one waist band.
Separate the skirt pieces.  Flip one up and leave the other laying down. Like this.
Make sure your waist band is still RIGHT SIDE OUT...Seams on the inside of your tube.
If you have your skirt laid out like above, we're going to move our bottom skirt out of the way (In the pic below, it's above where I'm doing my pinning.)
Using pins, pin your skirt to your waist band.  Like shown:
Now we'll sew. Using a zig zag stitch, we're going to sew the skirt to the waist. On my machine it's number 4.

As you're sewing, make sure that when your needle goes to the right, you're NOT sewing on the skirt, then when it goes to the left, it is.  Follow like the zig zags I drew into the above pics.

Your lower skirt is now sewn on!  Yay!!  Now, for the top part.  Repeat what you just did.  Pin the other skirt to your waist band, flipping it down, putting the edge of your skirt up to the edge of your waist band. See below: (Remember to check your waist band!  Make sure it's still right side out!)

Now that both of your skirts are sewn on, it should look like this:

Moving on!

Step 4: Finishing the Waist
Take that top skirt and tuck it down INSIDE the other skirt, folding your waist in half.  Line up the edges of the waist band and pin in place then stitch down. Right along your edges you just made with the zig zags.

And now, fold your waist band over again, pinning in place, or folding over as you sew...I chose to fold while I sew.
Notice how where I folded my waist band over, I was sure to just barely cover where I'd zig zagged?  Stitch just over top of those seams or right under them. Dont sew all the way though, leave yourself about an inch for your elastic.

Measure your child's waist and subtract 2.  That's the length of the elastic you need. Pin a safety pin to the end of your elastic

                  (A), push thru the opening
                  (B),  when you have about a 2 inch tail, pin the elastic in place
                  (C), continue pushing thru until the elastic comes out the other side....again, about 2 inches are needed here.

Over lap your elastic about an inch or so and pin in place.
Sew back and forth to hold the ends of the elastic down.
Remove your pin.  Pull on your waist band a bit and your elastic should slide right into your casing, then stitch that lil opening closed. 

Guess what.  You're done :)
Add a little bow if you're feeling creative and then let your little dancer twirl!!! :)

Happy Sewing!!! :)