Something A Bit Different

This weekend I did something a bit different from sewing. I decided that the plain bags I had ordered were “too plain” so I headed to the store for dye (and picked up additional totes, too). My intention is that I would dye them then add some graphics with my heat press. Here are my results and some “interesting” findings:

Let me give you a little background. The last time I ordered shirt blanks, I decided to pick up a few, inexpensive totes – they came in a natural (or light beige) color and were $1.50. But when they arrived, I was just underwhelmed, which is what lead me to dye them. While at the store, I picked up a set of 3 white totes that were slightly larger in size and had a much softer hand.

I’ll skip the techniques (because we’ve all probably tried tie dye at some point), but I do want to point out that the inexpensive totes did not dye well at all. In fact, they were almost repelling the dye all together. I wound up putting them inside a ziplock bag with additional dye in hopes that it might soak in overnight. The softer, white totes did a much better job at taking the dye overall, but did require more application than a t-shirt. (Side note, I did toss in a shirt because I had left over dye).

Once I opened these up, I was very disappointed in the inexpensive tote reveal – the dye only penetrated the exposed fabric and never soaked through anywhere else (even thought I attempted to insert the nozzle into the creases and tried to “inject” them with the dye). Even soaking them in dye overnight didn’t work. So I attempted to just lay them in the extra dye which only resulted in making them look dingy. Overall, a terrible experience. Fortunately the white totes turned out great.

After rinsing, I decided that I would soften the colors some (and prevent bleeding because even after rinsing, I still hints of blue) in the wash. I really like the end result (shown above)! I even threw in the inexpensive totes into the wash – they are still stiff and ugly.

Once everything was dry, I added my graphics… I also picked up a drawsting bag (also in neutral, but it has a much nicer hand and better color) and put a fun design on it as well. Overall, I love the end result – it’s more fun that a plain tote, although it may make it a bit harder to read in spots. I may try my hand at bleach dying (spraying bleach) onto a color tote bag and see what happens…. but only when it finally decides to warm up!

Colleen Cardigan

I was very anxious to get started using my new fabrics – not only are they washed and ready to go, I already used the French Terry to make Made for Mermaid’s Colleen Cardigan!

While I have quite a few cardigan patterns, I decided to try out the Colleen because it just looked unique – like a comfy cocoon style with fitted sleeves. For my version I decided to make a shawl collar with banded sleeves and pockets – fortunately I had just enough (2 yards) to squeeze it all in.

Construction is, overall, pretty simple. I do think that the instructions for the pockets (and sewing the arm hole\bottom edge area) could be a bit better, but if you have experience with stitching these in, it shouldn’t be an issue (and not an issue at all if you decide to omit them completely). I found that all my pieces fit together nicely too.

As for the fit there’s not much to say because it’s designed to be loose fitting, except those sleeves are TIGHT. My fabric had 50% stretch and they are uncomfortably snug unless I wear them lower on my arms. My initial cuff was so awful that I re-cut the pattern piece and reduced the seam allowance to 1/4″ (which is what is on this version), which helped, but not completely. I never saw a stretch requirement for this pattern, but I would think that 50% would be plenty, so I’m guessing it’s a pattern issue and not just the material. I would recommend looking at either a loose weave or something that has a very high amount of stretch.

I’ll be honest, I do not see me making this pattern again. I’m not wild about how this looks on and for being a loose fitting pattern it’s not very comfortable. I mean, it’s fine if you don’t move, but once you lift your arms up, things get shifted out of place and looks funky so I am constantly readjusting myself. Plus, the sleeves are tight and I find that I’m wearing them too low on my arm so that they feel comfortable. This cardigan will serve it’s purpose as a coordinating cover up for some loungewear, but I probably would not wear this out of the house.

Linky Thursday

When it comes to crafting, St. Patrick’s Day seems to get the shaft. Now it’s easy to show your Irish pride with these cute placemats.

A cute pouch has so many different uses. I love this quilted accordion style for jewelry, this ribbon and vinyl version for travel (or just to see what’s inside), and this wrap around zipper case for cosmetics.

If you’re redecorating your sewing room, don’t forget the ironing board. This tutorial will show you how to easily give it a makeover.

There are only 16 more days until spring! Start your decorating early with this fun applique pillow cover.

Still chilly where your are? This hat and scarf set only takes 20 minutes and is an easy and fun way to stay warm and still look cute.

I mentioned the other day my love or jogger pants (mostly the patterns apparently). If you’re interested in this style for yourself, here’s a free pattern to try them out!

I remember making a rag quilt YEARS ago and just about crippled my hand cutting all those squares. Now they have cool new tools to achieve the same results without the hand strain and there’s a tutorial if you’re interested too.

With spring so close, it’s time to start planning a warmer weather wardrobe and nothing could be easier than cute skirts. Star off your sewing with this pleated version , wrap, or pencil skirt.

I think wrap dresses look flattering on every body type. Learn how to make yourself one with this free tutorial.

Star Spangled Joggers

I recently saw the most adorable pair of joggers online. Sadly, they were sold out… and not coming back. Fortunately when I was fabric shopping recently, I spotted a French Terry that would make a great knock-off:

For my version, I opted to use Sonja Estep’s Penelope Pants pattern. While I have several different jogger patterns, I haven’t quite found “the one” that makes me want to sew it over and over again. So, how did this one stack up?

Overall, the Penelope pants are pretty good right out of the printer. For me the length is a bit too much (I could easily take off 3″) and the waistband is still thicker than what I want (which seems to be my biggest issue with so may patterns), but all of these are fixed pretty easily. I will say that the waistband stays up better (even without elastic or a drawstring) than other joggers that I’ve made which is a win because as much as I like the Logger pattern, I hate hiking up my pants throughout the day to keep them on. Overall, the Penelope Pant is a keeper, but I will have to give the yoga pant a whirl to see how those feel in comparison to the Portlanders before I give my “final approval”. In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy my knockoff pants!

Fabric Haul

I recently made a fabric purchase from So Sew English and was thrilled that it (finally, I’m a bit impatient) arrived over the weekend. In fact, I was so excited, everything is washed and ready to go today!

So, what are the plans for these beauties? For starters, the star fabric is going to become joggers. This winter I saw a local online boutique have a blue star pant and LOVED them. I would have bought them on the spot if they weren’t sold out, so when I found a similar fabric, I couldn’t resist picking some up to make my own. I’m still on the hunt for the “perfect” pattern so I decided to buy Sonja Estep’s Penelope Pants for this project.

I also couldn’t resist getting the “Happy Hour” bundle: 2 yards of a martini cotton spandex paired with 2 yards of a Dijon French Terry, destined to become a pajama and cardigan set. While I love the martini print, I’m not wild about the “Dijon” French terry, it’s an odd brown\orange shade that reminds me of baby poop (thankfully it does look good with this print). While I don’t have plans for what pajama pattern that I want to use, I did decide to make a drastically different looking cardigan pattern (for me) – the Colleen Cardigan. This looks to be a cocoon style cardigan with an option for large banded sleeves – which is what drew me to the pattern. I love that cardigan is generous and cozy, but the sleeves will stay out of the way while wearing it… I find that I push long sleeves up because they bother me when I’m trying to work on something. Plus this cardigan has POCKETS and I’m all about pockets this year.

Lastly, I picked up more tie dye. I have absolutely 0 plans for this, but I decided I needed it. Same goes for the hoodie cords, they’re just nice to have on hand!

Linky Thursday

Valentine’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t sew yourself a pair of risque lingerie like the Smitten Kitten tutorial from George and Ginger. Looking for something with a big more coverage? Try this panty from So Sew Easy.

If you’re looking for something different to gift this Easter, then you’ll definitely want to check out this cute bunny backpack.

Whether you’re traveling or just organizing your closet, these shoe bags are sure to keep your favorite footwear tidy.

Mitered corners are great for quilts, napkins, and more! Learn how to sew them up perfectly in this article.

Still cold where you are? Warm up with this wearable blanket… it even has a hood!

Not only will this tutorial teach you how to sew a circular decorative pillow, you get a free embroidery design for it too!

Enter to win a Tula Pink Homemade Jelly Roll.

Need a new look, fast? Learn how to sew an elastic waist skirt.

Waist packs, fanny packs, belted pouches, hip pack… No matter what you call them, you’re probably going to want one because they aren’t going anywhere! Here’s another free tutorial to give you more options.

These little carrot treat bags are perfect for gift giving this holiday.

What We Do In The Shadows

Awhile ago I had ordered (quite a bit) of fabric from Zor-Elle – including a great What We Do In the Shadows print. (If you haven’t seen the FX series, I highly recommend checking it out). I wasn’t sure how I was going to use this fabric until I saw Tee Fury’s Family Portrait shirt… then I knew this fabric had to become…. leggings shorts!

Let me start off by saying, I did give serious consideration into making a pair of leggings, but I am really tired of winter and thought that spring sewing might bring warmer weather. Plus, I have a lot of patterned leggings and thought shorts might change things up a bit. In searching for a pattern, I decided I wanted a pair of shorts that were loose fitting enough that I could lounge around in them, but still looked presentable enough to be worn outside the house too. So, I decided to revisit Peek-a-boo Patterns Summer Lovin’ Shorts.

I was in between sizes so I opted to make the larger of the two (because I’d rather them be a bit big that too tight). I think that the finished fit of this one is a bit big, but it still works for it’s purpose. The fabric, which is a bit thick, may also contribute to making it look a bit larger as it’s beefier and doesn’t drape a lot. But, it has POCKETS (and I think everything this year needs pockets)!

Del Mar Dolman

I recently had the opportunity to test So Sew English’s latest pattern, the Del Mar Dolman Top & Hoodie and finally get to show you my version.

Even though it’s snowing outside, I decided that I wanted something that would bring me into spring. So, I opted to make a banded, short sleeve tee with a hem band and demi mock. To “dress it up” a bit, I used a black lurex stripe that I had gotten in a bundle awhile ago…. and I love the end result. I think that this is a look that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and would work with cute jacket (or maybe even a cardigan) right now!

As for the fit, I think it was spot on. The pattern was easy to put together, but I can’t speak for the directions because at the time I made this, they hadn’t been finalized. With that said, the construction is pretty straightforward so I’d still gauge this as a good beginner pattern. If you’re interested in grabbing this pattern, it’s on sale for $3.99 through the end of the week!

Lots of Shirts

I figured I had better put that heat press to good use, so I made a big batch of tees.

All of these screen print designs are from Krafty Korner Supplies – each of these are from their $1 mega sale! The tees are Bella Canvas (my favorite brand at the moment) and purchased from Jiffy Shirts. Between the designs and the tees, each of these shirts were made for around $6! I’m anxious to see how these hold up in comparison to what I’ve been doing in the past. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry!

Linky Thursday

Breathe new life into old shirts. Learn how to turn a ring neck tee into a v-neck.

Looking for some cute gift ideas for a baby shower? Check out these tutorials for a bandanna bib, traditional bib (and one with a crumb catcher), and burp cloth. These would make a great set!

This makeup pouch opens flat so you can easily grab everything inside, plus has a great clear, zippered pocket for storage. This one works for sewing notions too!

with 73% of the US covered in snow, chances are you need some winter gear like this fleece ear warmer. Looking for something more full coverage? Here’s a beanie pattern with sizes for the whole family.

Enter to win a fat quarter bundle of Sweet Caroline fabrics.

Learn how to sew a pet bed…. and this one is reversible!

Scrunchies are here to stay and so easy to sew. This tutorial has 4 different versions to change up your look.

Staying in means more time in pjs. Here’s a free unisex pattern so you can make some extras.

Sleeves with extra volume are hot right now – learn how to make a shirt with lantern sleeves, here.