Monday, July 28, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

A universal fact about little girls: they love to spin and twirl. And what's better than spinning and twirling in a skirt that moves and spreads out all around you?

I am just thrilled with the layered twirl skirt pattern that I've been working with. And even though I wrote about the skirt on here before, the pictures I had just didn't do it justice. So I took some pictures of my daughter in her skirt so you can see the skirt in action:

As you can see, this skirt is becoming one of her favorites too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Fabric of Our Lives

I’ve decided I’m in love with fabrics. I could spend hours browsing for fabrics online. (Thank you, Tracey, for introducing me to that guilty pleasure!) I love walking through my local fabric store and seeing what great prints and textures jump out at me. Monday morning I dropped my kids at Tracey’s for a bit and went off to the fabric store to see what I could find.

Living in a place where it feels like summer for about 8 months of the year, it’s hard to start thinking about fall. Especially today, when the high temperature will be 106 with 47% humidity. (What happened to that “dry heat?” Ah, yes...monsoon) But with the kids going back to school in a couple of weeks, fall is just around the corner. So I’ve started thinking about transitioning to fall projects and fabrics. With back-to-school and cooler weather (for the rest of the Earth!) in mind, I went hunting. And here is what I ended up with:
What am I going to do with all this, you might ask? Well, I have plans....GRAND plans! :)

Let's start with these. The print on the top is the Michael Miller "Roller Coaster" print, given to me by Tracey (who picked it up as a remnant for a steal). It might seem summery, but when I look at it I see "fun at the county fair," which in my New Mexico hometown coincides with August and back to school. I'm going to pair it up with the blue "Afternoon Tea Leaf" by Legacy Studio and the "Dalarna Stripe" by Alexander Henry to create one of these adorable layered twirl skirts.

Next in my new stash are these. I was immediately drawn to the far right fabric, which is the Alexander Henry "Sedona Square Bandana." I grabbed it and then hunted around for some other prints that I felt would coordinate well in another layered twirl skirt. The gingham on the left will become the double ruffle trim and I couldn't decide which of the other two would become the bottom I came home with both!
Next up are these too-cute coordinating prints from MBT. Pink and green are my daughters favorite colors, so I made sure to get enough of these fabrics to make her a layered twirl skirt out of them too! The black with the small pink, green, and white dots will be the double ruffle trim, and the other two fabrics will be the top and bottom tiers.

The other item I've been making lately is this great tiered skirt and shirt outfit (I have one for sale right now in my etsy shop!) I'm going to use these coordinating fabrics by MBT to make some tiered skirt sets. The green will be the shirt, the stripe will be the middle tier as well as the double ruffle trim on the bottom of the skirt and shirt, and the other two fabrics will be the other tiers. I love the combination of these colors, with the greens, browns, yellows, and oranges.

And what usually happens when I go to a fabric store is that I will see at least one fabric that I don't have any immediate plans for, but I like too much to pass up. That is what happened with these two fabrics:

I'm thinking that I will use these to make some kind of jumper for the fall....something that could be worn with a short or long sleeve shirt underneath. We'll see!

Oh, and I picked up one more, the Alexander Henry "Koto" fabric. This one is all for me! My goal is to make a skirt for myself. Things I make for myself don't always turn out that well, so I'll let you know how it goes.

It looks like I'm going to be busy! I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished projects.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Two topic post today.

First thing to talk about: my latest acquisition! My good friend Carmen went to her local Disney Store a couple of weeks ago. They were going out of business and selling everything....even the store mannequins. She called me to see if I wanted one. They were asking $40 each for them, and I told her, "see if they'll take $25." And they did! So the next time Carmen came over, she brought it to me. And here she is!

This will come in handy when the things I make are too big/small for my daughter to model, or when she is just being uncooperative (the most likely scenario!) The funniest thing about this: my daughter calls it her "friend" and has named her Maggie (as in "Maggie and the Ferocious Beast"). She'll come in my sewing room and talk to it, bring it toys, put her dress-up clothes and jewelry on's like the embodiment of her imaginary friend.

Topic 2:

I finished my first "real" project with the ruffler attachment. My latest venture is into the world of twirl skirts. There are many, many, many versions of the twirl skirt out there with various combinations of ruffles, tulle, and the like. I found one that I really like and one that allows me to play around with fabric combinations. This one has an elastic drop waist and two tiers, each with a double-ruffle bottom, separated by layers of tulle.

Of course the first one I made was for my daughter and she wore it for her birthday party. One of the girls at the party saw it and had to have one. I had just gotten these great coordinating fabrics in a pretty blue/brown combination with checks, dots, and daisies. Here's the finished project....

These skirts are so cute and fun to make. I have enough of these fabrics to make one more just like this one, and then I'm looking forward to experimenting with other fun fabrics for more skirts for my etsy shop!

Oh, and one more thing: I am offering free shipping on all my items on etsy through the month of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ruffle My Feathers

I’m addicted. To ruffles. I love ruffles. I add them to a lot of the things I make. But if you do them by hand (the ol’ “run-a-basting-stitch-and-pull-the-thread-to-gather” method) like I’ve been doing, they can be tedious, frustrating, and just a regular pain the ass. Since I’ve got a couple of projects in the works (more on that next posting!) that require an insane amount of ruffling, I decided to invest in a ruffler attachment for my sewing machine. What is a ruffler attachment, you may ask? Here:

Looks intimidating, doesn’t it? Basically, it replaces the regular foot on your sewing machine and allows you to create beautiful, uniformly-spaced ruffles in a flash, saving you a lot of time and headache. You can create tight and short ruffles, long and loose ruffles, and even pleats. There is some set-up and optimization involved, but I found this fantastic (free!) ebook online that I highly recommend.

But first things first…I have to figure out how to attach it to my machine. Caught up with my housework and anything else I might need to do, I holed up in my sewing room Sunday afternoon, ready to figure this thing out. Now, the ebook walks you through examples of everything, but sometimes reading something and then actually implementing it can be tricky.

I fooled with it….and fiddled with it….and cussed at it. (Should I mention that I have an engineering degree? Which would make one think that I could figure something like this out.) My husband offered to help me (which resulted in a dirty look from me...what? does he think he knows more about a sewing machine than I do? The nerve!)

And finally, FINALLY, I managed to get the attachment on the machine. It wasn’t difficult…it was just a matter of seeing how it went on. Now that I’ve figured it out, the next time it will probably take all of 30 seconds. Then I grabbed some scrap pieces of fabric and took the time to work through the ebook’s optimization worksheets (which will save me beaucoup time later) and Voila! Ruffles!

Next it was time to apply it to an actual project. I picked something simple…a little ruffled purse. And I decided that it needed a matching headband to go with it.

I think it came out great. And the ruffling was so incredibly easy! This little accessory set is available right now in my etsy shop!