Monthly Archives: June 2012

Automated Sewing

I think at some point we have all joked that we wish that our projects would somehow sew by themselves, but did you know that it’s almost possible? The US military, known for it’s progressive materials and designs (did you know they have Kevlar underwear?), is working to eliminate the need for direct labor workers by fully automating the sewing process of military uniforms. Basically robots will place the material on specialized machines equipped with ‘vacuums’ will move the fabric and identify it’s placement while sewing (you can read more about it here). While this is very progressive (not to mention a budget saver for the government), don’t expect to see it in homes any time soon, this automation comes with a $1.25 million dollar price tag!

Linky Thursday

It may be a little too hot in my area to hang outside, but when it cools off, I love the idea of swinging in one of these hammocks.

Who said ruffles are just for girls? This ruffle skirt is adorable…. and adult sized!

Turn a too-large shirt into a fashion forward top.

A quick tutorial on how to make your own poofottoman (or as my son thinks of it, trampoline).

Dump the plastic shower curtain and make your own fun fabric version.

Turn 2 king sized sheets into a gorgeous ruffled throw.

Refashion a t-shirt into a cardigan with a fun bleached city detail along the border.

Something tells me that I may have posted this bag pattern before, but it’s so cute and perfect for gift giving that I can’t resist sharing it again.

Planning on a long trip? You’ll definitely want to put one of these car seat protectors under your little ones (or even big ones, my teen is almost as messy as my toddler). While you’re at it, you’ll probably want to sew up one of these car trash bags, too (I could use one even when we’re not on a trip).

The Spa Wrap: perfect for just getting out of shower or pool.

Add a bit of whimsy to a top this summer by adding a summery flutter sleeve.

What An Angel

Yes, it’s more Blythe clothing. After I stumbled across these freestanding lace wings at Urban Threads, I knew what I had to do with them…. make an angel costume. The lace wings stitched out beautifully – although, somewhat time consuming: both wings took over 2 hours on the machine. The dress is a modified party dress, instead of a ‘plain’ skirt, I added two layers of sparkle tulle as well. Adding two more layers definitely made gathering more of a challenge, but it worked out well in the end. Overall, this is a lot like I how I envisioned in my head, but now I’m thinking I need to make a couple of more: one with a longer skirt and a bit more detail on the bodies, and a second, short one in black…. you know, Black Swan-ish.

Sew Iconic

It seems as if reproducing famous garments is a ‘hot topic’ this year. Not only have we see Famous Frocks, but now we have Sew Iconic. I bought this book recently and was very excited to see what was inside because let’s face it, we all want to be Audrey Hepburn or Marylin Monroe sometime in our lives! Inside are 10 “Iconic Dresses” including Marilyn’s “Seven Year Itch” dress, Audrey Hepburn’s “Breakfast at Tiffanys” feathered frock, Grace Kelly’s goddess gown, and even the famous “Titanic” dress. While the book does a better job representing the final version of the costume than what Famous Frocks did (they were more of a modern take on the dress), it still falls flat when it comes to making it look exactly like the original…. and I’m not being picky when I say that. A great example is Grace Kelly’s dress from “To Catch a Thief”, while it is a great representation of the dress, it lacks the fitting and beautiful draping or the original (the same really goes for the ‘green “Atonement” dress’ – that gaping under the arm just makes me cringe). That is not to say there aren’t some very close knock-offs – I especially liked the Marilyn, Rita Hayworth, Julia Roberts (in “Pretty Woman”), and the Titanic dress (if it was in a different fabric).

As for the patterns, everything is included in the book – full-full sized, even! The only drawback is that they are laid out like a Burda magazine so it looks like a road map when you open it up to trace them. The instructions seem to be well written and laid out so that even a beginner can follow them (although I would suggest starting with some of the less complicated designs first). My favorite part?: I love that there is background information included with each dress and a ‘how to work it’ section once your dress is completed.

The Bottom Line: If you are not looking for an exact replica of your favorite Iconic Dresses and you are willing to make a muslin to properly fit your look, then I highly recommend this book. It has some great looks, perfect for a costume or theme party – and everyone will definitely know who you are even if it’s not totally like the original.

Next On The Machine

I am sure after last week, you’re tired of seeing doll clothes (I have more, I’ll just save them for another day!), so I thought I would share a new, upcoming project that will be eventually rolling out of the sewing room. A group of us have decided it would be fun to do a sew-along. Since there are a few quilters in the group (and one that never uses patterns), we chose something easy to start of with – Pajamas! This project eliminated the need for fitting, but at the same time introduced some garment sewing and pattern reading. I’m so excited! We selected Simplicity 9505 which wound up being perfect since the bottoms are one piece. Eventually we’ll thrown in the top (I picked view F, the tank), but we’ll see how long it takes us to stitch up the bottoms as a group. For the fabric, I decided to give some of Joann’s (polyester) ‘silky’ fabric a whirl – the animal print really called to me while I was there… let’s hope it’s not too frustrating to work with in the end!

Project Details:

Pattern: Simplicity 9505, Views F & H

‘Silky’ animal print from Joann

Materials & Cost:

Gothic Lace

I figure since most of this week’s post have been about Blythe, I’d just carry on the theme with today’s post. When I first purchased the Chang Hsiu Mei pattern (no. 5) book, this was the design I wanted to make. After looking at the instructionsillustrations and attempting to find trimsembellishmentsnotions, I just gave up. But after making the Victorian Blythe dress over the weekend, I got a little more confidence and decided to tackle this project once again. Basically the skirt is layers of embellished lace that is gathered together to make an asymmetrical (short in the front, long like a train in the back) design. Even though I love the trims I used, I discovered that the lighter the trim the better the look (two of mine seemed to weigh down the skirt). The top is the easiest of all the pieces to construct – I didn’t run into any obstacles there. The hat is another story. Even though I interfaced it, it still doesn’t quite hold up to embellishment and is a lot floppier than what I intended, plus I think it could use a bit more embellishment (or I’m just comparing it to the sample photo which is extremely ‘tricked out’).

So to wrap up this week of Blythe I thought I would share some thoughts on how to sew up tiny sized garments: 1) Save your scraps – it doesn’t take much trim, fabric, charmsbead to construct a garment, 2) Use that trim to make a show stopping garment. The largest difference I’ve seen between a ‘home made’ clothing item and the ones you see in doll magazines (or that come with the doll) is embellishment. Small print fabric is a plus too. 3) Sewing miniature garments isn’t much different than making something for yourself. Seam allowances are smaller and many times you won’t have a ‘finished’ inside, but otherwise, they use the same techniques. 4) Patience. Just like learning any new technique it takes lots of practice to get good. I still have a long ways to go, but so far, making doll clothes has been an interesting journey!

Linky Thursday

You don’t need kids to make this sweet little mermaid doll. Of course, if you don’t feel like making one, you can try to win the original.

Every little boy needs a pair of applique shorts. I think Easton is next.

Milk crates never looked so good.

Need an easy dress this summer? Then you’ll definitely want to check out My Favorite Tee Dress.

Make a great looking maternity swimsuit and then into a non-maternity version in an instant!

Learn how to create a book cover (with pockets) for any size book.

Turn suede cording and a bit of chain into a cute bracelet (there are no written instructions, but you’ll get the idea after looking at the photos).

If you have a teen, chances are you have at least one Toms bag in your household. Here’s another great tutorial on how to use them: a wallet.

Have a long road trip coming up? Then get snuggly with your seat belt with this tutorial.

I am a sucker for a baby in a sunsuitromper. Learn how to make one for you little girl.

Handmade Fashion

What do you get when you cross a fashion magazine with sewing? Handmade fashion magazine! I stumbled across this the other night (while getting the latest Sew It All and Stitch – my reading material while Taylor has her wisdom teeth removed today) and was intrigued. The photographs of the projects are impressive – exactly what you’d expect from something like Vogue which makes me want to make everything. Also included in this maiden magazine are trendrunway reports and interviews with designers. Of course the big question is, what are the projects like? Inside this issue are 20 different looks – 3 are constructing a (full) garment that require enlarging the pattern 400-500% (YIKES), 2 are kittingcrochet, also included are reconstructiondistressing projects (one for an interesting upside down coat) and ‘small’ projects like shoe bows and collars.

Overall, it’s a fun and beautiful read, but I’m not sure that the projects draw me in enough (I’d like more garments to sew) to make me want to pay $20 (plus the $10 it’ll cost me to enlarge the patterns that much). I’m also a tad bit concerned that their links to Facebook and Twitter go nowhere and that there’s a notice about them being purchased by another company already – anyone overseas know anything about this?

It’s a (Blythe) Party

Since we’re on the topic of Bylthe this week, I should probably show you a second dress I worked on…. a nature party dress. This was a fabric style that my partner liked and I wasn’t really sure if I would care for it in the end, but now I want to keep it for myself! It’s adorable (can I have one in my size?). For the pattern, I used the party dress pattern from the Puchi Collective – I’ve used this particular style several times before and consistently get great results.

Victorian Blythe

It’s been awhile since I’ve joined a swap on Craftster, but I finally broke my ‘dry spell’ when I saw sign-ups for a Blythe (and Pullip swap). Partners were assigned over the weekend and I set to work on my first (and undoubtedly largest) project: a Victorian style doll dress for Blythe. I started with a Chang Hsiu Mei pattern (no. 5) – I’d like to say I followed this pattern, but there are very little instructions (there are notations in Chinese, but I have no idea what they say) and little to no reference as to wherehow trims should be placed etc… so I winged it. I think it’s a simpler version that what was anticipated, but I like the end result. Now I’m debating making the hat that designed to go with it (it doesn’t strike me as Victorian so I may skip it all together).