elizabeth_mn: (Default)
If I’m going to plan a costume event for next spring or summer, I will need to figure out a costume for The Girl.

I have always liked Truly Victorian’s dress for girls, but maybe it is a little old for her. She’ll be 1 ½ or almost 2, depending on when we do the event.  It might be cute to do something a little more rustic, like prairie girl with an apron, but I want to avoid going too generically ye-olde-timey.  And it would be nice to not have to draft my own pattern from scratch.

I’m being vague. Clearly more research is indicated!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I love making everyday clothes, but I wanted to do something just a little dressy for a holiday party this weekend.

I bought the brown/pink corduroy dot fabric a while ago specifically to make a dress to coordinate with the patterned tights (cutest tights ever!) which we got free from a friend in a big bag of old baby clothes. I didn’t end up having enough corduroy for a whole dress, though, so I paired it with a scrap of printed cotton from the stash.

More photos and notes )

This went pretty quick, just a couple hours all together, and it turned out so well! It’s a little roomy, but it’s easier to get a non-stretchy woven on and off if it is looser.

Now that F is walking, I am seeing more dresses in our future. They really don’t make sense for a crawling baby, but she’s really moving with the walking thing lately.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Baby pants!

(The best way to get her to stand still for photos lately is to let her play with the camera case.)

Three pairs, all from the same basic pattern as her rocket pants. They are remnants from my stash lined with cotton flannel. For the prototype pair I made a couple months ago (not shown), I fully lined them by sewing the outer and lining separately and then joining them. I decided that was too complicated and just flatlined the other ones. Once I solved some serger tension issues, these were a breeze to put together.

The main reason I made these pants is because my baby is long and skinny, so store-boughten pants that fit her in the waist are too short, and the long-enough ones fall down. She needed some pants, so. . . sewing to the rescue! So far they are fitting pretty well, but I will probably make some tweaks when I upsize them for the next set in a few months.

More photos! )


Nov. 17th, 2010 08:18 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I had a panicked few days as the snow first fell and I realized I didn't have any mittens for little F.  Too late to knit some, at my glacial pace anyway.   I went to about a billion stores and found nothing.   Mittens for sizes 0-3 months were abundant, as well as 4T and up. But a 12 month size?   Doesn't exist!

I went through about 3 pairs of failures and a far too expensive piece of organic cotton fleece (now in scraps in the trash) before giving up on a mitten with a thumb and trying some simpler ones in some old felted wool.

And here's a thing I have been yearning to say for many of my crafting years:

I made these out of an old sweater I felted in the washing machine.

Yay me for upcycling*!

I sewed a little elastic at the wrist, but otherwise they are pretty untampered-with sweater sleeve cuffs. I used a narrow zig-zag on the sewing machine since the serger was giving me crap, and I think I liked it better that way anyway because I got a narrower seam allowance.
Progress veiw and a cute baby pic )
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
 Here's my little rocket girl!


There wasn't anyone else around to get a photo of all 3 of us, and my timer shots turned out pretty crappy, but I did get a couple photos of F with each of us.  (As usual, I am utterly disappointed with the quality of my photos. All the ones that are posed perfectly and would be otherwise great are super blurry. All the properly focused ones have heads cut off or crabby facial expressions or other weird things going on.  Just please believe that it looked much cuter in real life!)

I ended up not making the hat, even though it would have made the costume look more rocket-y, mostly because I didn't want to fight with her to wear it, but party also because I ran out of time.

We went to a baby costume party on Thursday and I got a few photos. We had planned a baby costume party at our house for Friday, but F caught a cold so we had to cancel. We dressed up yesterday just to hang around the house and hand out candy.

Lots more photos! )

I made the star out of two layers of craft felt, an inner layer of Peltex interfacing, and two outer layers of gold mesh from the christmas section at Jo-Ann. I cut the same mesh stuff into the streamers.

I put way too much planning into the star costume because in the end the way I decided it looked best took all of 10 minutes to put together.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
F's Halloween costume is done except for the hat, which I may skip anyway because it is so unlikely she will wear it even for a few minutes, and the rest is looking so cute on it's own.

Here's a peek at the pants:

The flames are freehand-cut felt, randomly arranged.  They look really short here but I didn't want the flames to drag on the ground and trip her.

I've also made my big glittery star, but it still needs the ribbon-y streamers sewn to it and then it needs to be attached to the shirt, which still needs to be covered with glitter paint.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
This year for Halloween I am going to dress F up as a rocket ship!

She crawls so fast, it only seemed natural.

I'm going to make a simple A-line sleeveless dress out of some blue-grey cotton twill and use craft felt to add details.  I want to put some red, slightly stuffed fins around the bottom.  I think I'll use some of the printer fabric to make a little flag and a "USA" and maybe a NASA logo.  I'm going for a very 1950s American cartoon rocket ship look.  Oh, and a little pointed hat of course to make the top of the rocket, which she will probably only tolerate wearing for the 30 seconds it will take for me to get a photo, if that.  A matching pair of pants with red, orange, and yellow felt scraps at the hem for flames.

And then, to make this a complete Cheesy Family Costume, I am going to be a shooting star - black thrifted shirt and skirt decorated with glitter paint and a big giant star with trailing sparkley streamers pinned to my shoulder.  HB is going to be a NASA engineer - white lab coat which he is always trying to incorporate into a costume somehow and a little NASA badge I will print for him.  Maybe a clipboard and a pocket protector.  And a slide rule.

We have a baby Halloween party to go to on (I think) the 29th but otherwise on the day itself we are just going to hand out candy to the neighborhood kids.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

A quick photo of the fabric banner I made for F's b-day party last weekend. 

I cut the squares with my rotary pinking blade and sewed them into a casing made of folded grosgrain.  At first I tried folding them into double-sided triangles so it would look good on both sides, but sewing across the bias wasn't working out for me, so squares it was. 

This will get saved and will probably get hung up now for every party I have forever.

I plan to post some more on the party, etc., later!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
My new stroller bag!

I did end up finishing it in time to go to the state fair, yay!  Super thanks to [livejournal.com profile] undycat  for the loan of her sewing machine, which I switched to after mine broke down again and refused to make a buttonhole.

Please note that I took all these photos after we had spent all day at the fair, so it is a little crumpled.

I drafted the pattern from scratch, but I was going for a sort of scaled-down version of my Weekender Bag.  I just really liked the shape of that one, plus it had a simple way of including a zipper in the design, something I always have to spend a little too much time thinking about when designing bags.

More photos and notes )

Tag Bean

Jun. 4th, 2010 08:08 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

This was inspired by the tag blanket I saw in a book while absent-mindedly flipping pages at the cutting counter at Treadle.  I think it was One-Yard Wonders.  F loves tags; she somehow finds them on anything and plays with them.  So I wanted to make her a toy that is all tags!

I used scraps of ribbon, just what I had on hand, about 2 3/4" long, but I tried not to make them too uniform.  I tried to use lots of different textures: satin, grosgrain, cotton twill tape.

I also wanted to make it crinkle, because F also loves crinkly things, so I used a piece of cellophane from a box of Stroopwafels ( the crinkliest cello I could find).

More photos and how-to )
elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

I made F a little sun hat with the pattern I picked up the other day and two fat quarters from one of those fat quarter coordinate packs.  She was kind enough to model it for me.

The crown piece was about 1/2" too long, but I didn't realize that until after I had sewn it, ripped it, and re-sewed it, easing the crap out of it to make it fit the top.  I thought the piece had stretched the first time (because I skipped stay-stitching it) and it wasn't until I attached the brim that I noticed it was acutally a bit too large.

I also think I could have attached the lining a bit more neatly, but how finicky do I need to get over a baby hat?

I think I might add a ribbon to the crown/brim join to make it look a little more girly.

I guess this is the first picture I've shared of her here - I just haven't got around to it until now.  Too bad she looks a little startled.


Mar. 6th, 2010 03:40 pm
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I went to the new Jo-Ann today which opened yesterday; it's replaced two of my local Jo-Anns, including the one that was just a mile or so from my house (which is crappy, because this one is about 6 miles away).  It was by far the cleanest Jo-Ann store I have ever been in.  But disappointingly, they did not have the pattern I was looking for.  Odd; since they opened yesterday one would imagine a complete pattern inventory.  But I went to the even-farther-away one instead and found what I wanted.

Usually when I buy patterns, I like to look at them on the internet first and write down the numbers so I can go straight to the drawers.  Often I end up sitting down at the book table anyway, but I still think it's a good theory.

They were having a 99 cent sale on Butterick (which I find fits my body type better than the other major brands) and I ended up with:

Butterick 5056, the one I originally intended to buy, a set of baby sun hats. So cute.

Butterick 5054, two backpacks. I don't really carry backpacks much, but I liked these, and for a dollar, I thought I might as well. I just tried to ignore the description of "young adult."

Butterick 4985, a blouse that I thought had a kind of vintagey feel to it (the ruffles on the main view's sleeves are silly; I prefer the flutter sleeve).

Butterick 4610, a plain, fitted jacket.  I really need a mid-weight spring/fall jacket. 

It always amazes me that the 'regular' price is supposed to be $15.95.  Jo-Ann has them 40% off every day and 99 cents every other month or so.  I guess I would be paying full price if I was at my local, independant shop like a good person.  Oh well.

Yesterday I copied a pattern from a well-fitting store-boughten long sleeved T-shirt and today I refined the pattern and cut a new shirt out.  I also want to cut a baby hat out of some remnants.  I'm not sure when I'll get around to sewing, though.  Cutting is a good baby-naptime activity.  Serging?  Not so much.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
A couple weeks ago I got some new yarn and started the yoke of a new sweater for F.  A top-down raglan cardigan.  I knitted a few inches over the past couple weeks, but I went to pick it up last night, looked at it, and thought, "I just do not want to do this any more."  So I ripped it out.

I've been thinking about the logic of making baby clothes.  I know there's some kind of formula involved, something about the pleasure derived from the process + uniqueness of finished item + cost of materials - cost of store-boughten equivalent - period of time item will be worn.

I made a couple more sleep sacks for her yesterday.  She is growing out of the other ones.  A yard of flannel each, simple, straightforward sewing.  It took me an just over an hour to make two.  She'll probably be able to wear them for months.  Totally worth making.

But sweaters?  About $20 worth of yarn, weeks of knitting, dull stockinette stitch (I could always use a fancier stitch pattern to make this less dull, but then it would take even longer to knit).  She would probably wear it for the remainder of the winter, which is about 4 months.  Maybe a little longer.  And while I really don't mind handwashing my own wool and delicate clothes, there are two important differences: 1.) It's somehow, actually easier to wash a larger garment than a teeny one, and 2.) I don't barf on myself with nearly the frequency she does.

I really like the knitted sweater and vest I made her while I was pregnant, and she wears them all the time.  But I think I am just going to try to crush that little DIY urge this time (you know, the one that says "Hmm, shoddy workmanship, too expensive, I could totally make this myself!" when confronted with, well, most any item in any store) and buy sweaters for her until she's old enough to make them more worth knitting.

The thing that convinced me was reminding myself that this is my hobby, and I do it for my pleasure.  I'm not Caroline Ingalls out on the frontier; I don't need to knit for my family to keep them from freezing to death.

So last night I instead picked up my orange lace scarf and put a few more rows into it.  Totally selfish, and totally worth it.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I finally finished this monster.  And by calling it 'monster,' I mean that it has been lurking in the sewing room for months, waiting to attack me.  But I guess I've finally won.  (Ha!  Take that, quilt!)

The Back )

I have to admit that this is pretty much the crappiest job of machine quilting I've ever done.  The back is covered in sewn-down wrinkles and ripples, the edges are really warbly, and the tension of the quilting stitches is wonky.  (It's really not narrower on one end, though, that's just my camera angle.)

I had tension issues all the way through the quilting process.  I usually find it difficult to balance the tension while free-motion stitching, but this project was even more so.  If the tension was balanced for piecing, then during the quilting the bobbin thread floated on the bottom while the spool thread made bumps.  If I tightened the top tension, the thread repeatedly broke.  I tried different threads, different needles, stitching in different directions, but nothing really improved it so I just dealt with bumps and broken threads and finally, somehow, it got done.

But for all that, I still like the quilt a lot.  It's pretty, it has rich, bright colors, and it's functional.  It's about 40" x 54", a generous crib size.

I used wool batting for this (this probably contributed to my tension issues).  All the batting was leftover strips from other projects, so between this and the star quilt, I have reduced my batting remnants from one giant cardboard box to one little bag.  It's very lightweight and lofty.  I will probably machine wash and dry it; the batting says not to but I have successfully done so with my other wool-batting quilt.

It feels so good to finally have this done and out of the sewing room!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I just took a photo of this.  If I had more time on my hands, I'd have doen a better job, maybe scaled it down or cut it up into a printable pattern, made it into a pdf, or something.  But you get the idea.

I made this on graph paper and it's a pity the graph lines don't show up better.  If you can see them, 1 bold-line sqaure = 1 inch.  Back is on the left, Front on the right.  The CF is 22" long.  I added the tabbed shoulders as an afterthought; just cut a rounded tab and sew to back shoulder seam, or cut the tab in one with the back.  You could also put a velcro tab over the top of the zipper at the neck.

1/2" seams throughout.  Back is cut on fold.  I finished the neck and armholes with a teeny zig-zagged and turned hem.

the pattern )

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I made a few baby things before F was born, and some of them turned out to be useful, and some . . . well, some have already been given away. I finally took photos of a few more of them.

Sleep sacks:

Most Useful Thing Ever!  This one has robots; I made another from the same fabric and one printed with knitting sheep. All are cotton flannel. I copied the pattern from a store-boughten one. Front zip, velcro shoulder tabs. She wears these pretty much 24/7, over a footed sleeper.  The best part is that she can't kick off any blankets that go over this.

Aviatrix hat:

Still too big for her, but I think it turned out super cute.

Quilted coat:

It closes with 4 big snaps. I used a simple bias binding on all the edges. It's big, but I tried it on her and it fits well enough. It was simple to make and I love the fabric. Hopefully it will be practical, too, once it gets colder. And I'm hoping that it's the right size to fit her all winter.

The star quilt is getting used pretty often. I also really like the green tweed knitted vest I made her. It goes on really easily and fits her pretty well. It was a great pattern.

So what wasn't useful? Well, the green and pink hat I knitted was way too small. My advice: use a 14" circumference for a newborn hat.

The T-shirt gowns I made were so disappointing. They were impossible to get on her without a huge struggle. I am now avoiding any garment that needs to be pulled over her head until she is old enough to make dressing a little easier.  It is actually kind of suprising that the pattern for these came from a person who has kids.  Obviously, he or she has more patience than I do.

I'm still in the process of sewing her new hat, and I am (shockingly) working on some things for me, too.  In my vast amounts of free time.

If anyone is interested in the pattern for the sleep sack and/or the coat, let me know and I will post them.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I find it a bit dull to post about things I've been working on without photos, but I'm posting anyway because I like feeling like I'm making progress on something.

I've been working on my Big Montana Tunic.  I'm using Casacde 128, and yesterday I started on the 3rd ball of yarn (of 5).  I like the way the lace pattern is looking.  It's just complex enough to keep me interested but simple enough that I don't need to devote too much attention to it.  I re-wrote the side shaping to pull it in a bit more at the waist.  Not too much, since the look is pretty A-line, but since I have a pretty large difference between my waist and bust, I wanted to fit it a bit more so it didn't end up looking like a sack.

I also started (and almost finished, now) the Avaitrix hat for my little one.  She absolutely will not keep a hat on her head if she can help it, so I realized I needed to make something with a chin strap.  I was also worried about wool being too itchy for her until she gets a little older, so I used cotton.  I got some beautiful, irregular, soft, slubby cotton in bright lime green last saturday and now I'm almost done knitting the strap.  Then just another earflap and it is done.  It's a bit big for her, but I think I will sew a little tuck in it that I can pick out later.  Easier than ripping and re-knitting, and the hat will be more versatile.

I'm also making a little coat for her.  I got some really pretty quilted fabric at Treadle and I'm planning a simple bound edge and big snaps to close.  I used to have a way more uptight view of pre-quilted fabrics, but I've mellowed in vew of the practicality.  I could not find a coat small enough for a 1-month-old anywhere.  People probably assume that no one takes their 1-month-old baby out in cold weather.

Time still seems to be dragging on!  And I still feel a little bummed about not having much time for crafting.  But anything I can do while sitting down, with my little girl sleeping on my lap, has a chance of getting done, since that's how I spend so much of my time these days!  I have so, so many ideas for projects I want to do, but I am trying not to think too much about stuff I can't get to for a while.  It is a victory for me when I can get the household chores done, so knitting and sewing are icing on the cake.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Made these yesterday.  Trying to use up the last of the blue Malabrigo merino.

I used the cupcake mitten from Itty-Bitty Nursery as a guide for sizes.  Since my yarn and gauge were different, I didn't follow the pattern, I just cast on 4" worth of stitches, ribbed for a while, stockinette-ed for a while, then decreased for a round top.

They are so simple that I think they almost don't merit their own entry, but I like them so much!  Thumbless mittens always make me giggle a little.


Aug. 22nd, 2009 02:57 pm
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Made one and a half of these yesterday and finished the remianing half this morning. I really don't know yet how practical they will be, but they sure are cute!

I used Malabrigo merino leftover from a hat I made a couple years ago. The pattern is Saartje's Booties (from www.saartjeknits.nl) but I omitted the buttons and just sewed the straps down to the bootie.

I also worked on the ribbing on my red cotton sweater.  The pattern says to do 9 rows, but I think 7 looks like quite enough, so I'm going to do one more row and then bind off.  Then I'll pick up the bottom band/ties, and then the sleeves last.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I found these instructions for making a baby gown out of a t-shirt and decided to give it a try with some old shirts my man was throwing away. One had a fantastic print that was too good to make into rags. The other is plain but a nice color.

These were super-quick to sew (about an hour) and I think they are so adorable, without being covered with insipid, anthropomorphic pastel animals (like a few I bought).

They have that nice overlapping neckline so a baby's giant head with fit through. I didn't add elastic at the bottom as the pattern suggests because I like they way they look now - ungathered and rectangular - but I can always add it later if it seems to be useful.  I also used a multi-step zig-zag instead of a plain one, just because I find I get a nicer edge that way.

Frugal + recycling + easy, instant-gratification sewing = yay!

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