February 27, 2011

Lace Top T-Shirt

This is another one of those "I finished it last week but never took pictures of it" projects.

It is a gray t-shirt with pretty black lace over the upper part and I used some black bias binding to cover the raw edges of the lace. I like the contrast of the gray and black but I think it would also look nice in one solid color.

One thing I was worried about was the strength of the lace so I decided to reinforce the shoulder seam with some Stay Tape but the tape is white so it is ever so slightly visible when you look close. I wonder if they make Stay Tape in Black? But at least it works.

I plan on making a little pattern for this. The great thing is you could even use an existing t-shirt and just chop off the sleeves and top and just sew some lace on instead.

February 25, 2011

Downloadable Wallet Pattern

***Note: I updated the instructions on the coin pocket (3-21-11) here on the blog. I will upload a revised version of the PDF pattern soon. After re-reading the instructions I found a better and easier to understand method of inserting the pocket. Also Rachel at The Titus 2 Homemaker has a great photo filled tutorial on inserting the pocket. Thanks Rachel!

I intended on posting a pattern for this wallet sooner after I shared it but stress at work and complicated instructions got the best of me and it took me an extra couple days to finish. But now it is up and read to download!

Click to Download the PDF Pattern! As always, print without scaling and match up the lines and notches of each sheet. Included is a mini diagram of what all the pieces should look like together.

I designed this wallet on the fly with a ruler and hoped for the best. I used the finished measurements to make the pattern pieces.

If you've never made a wallet before here are a few tips:

- It seems like a lot of work but it isn't. Really, it's just a lot of folding, layering and top stitching. But to be safe read and reread the instructions until you can picture making the wallet in your mind. That will help keep you from getting confused in the midst of sewing.
- I thought I could get away with using minimal interfacing but the resulting wallet isn't stiff enough for my tastes. I recommend (and the pattern calls for) fusing interfacing to the wrong sides of all pattern pieces.
- Obviously this wallet is meant to hold American dollars - you people with the Euros and all those different sized currencies... well, sorry. Perhaps you could adjust your measurements or just fold your bills if they are too big for the pockets.

Also: Because I'm all about using scraps and/or minimal amounts of fabric I made this pattern so as not to waste fabric. If you fuse interfacing to the wrong sides of the interior pockets then that interfacing will be exposed *inside* the pockets. You won't see the interfacing by looking at the wallet but if you pull back the money pocket, for example, and look underneath you can see it. If this sort of unfinished-ness bothers you, just cut an extra piece for those pockets and instead of folding under and topstitching the edges of the fabric, sew the two fabric pieces you cut together by folding the edges down 1/2 in and matching the pieces with wrong sides facing and top stitch together.

1. Cut out all pieces and apply interfacing. On the Outside, cut along the dotted line in the center of the piece. Fold back the opening underneath to the wrong side of fabric. This will be where we insert the zipped pocket.

Note: After making this pocket I realized there was a better way to do it so I changed the pattern pieces and instructions to match the better way. The pictures depicting the pocket may not look exactly like yours but you can get the idea.

2. Pin the top edge of the Coin Pocket Lower right side to the top edge of the zipper wrong side, matching long edge. Stitch 1/8 in seam along the edge.

Note: since I originally made my wallet's pocket a different size my pocket piece is smaller than yours will be but this image still helps you put the idea into perspective.

3. Pin the top edge of the Coin Pocket Upper right side to the bottom edge o the zipper wrong side. Stitch 1/8 in seam along the edge. Pull back fabric and press seam so that zipper is flat.

Now we have to attach the coin pocket to the Outside.  

4. First, make sure the zipper is facing up and the two fabric pieces are separated from each other and fabric right side is facing down and zipper right side facing up. Center the cut opening of the Outside on top of the zipper and pin the opening to the zipper. Attach the Outside to the zipper by stitching all the way around the edge of the cut opening.

5. Next, to close the coin pocket, fold back the Coin Pocket Lower piece so the bottom edge matches up with the bottom edges of the Coin Pocket Upper Piece, pin. Stitch a 1/4th in seam along the bottom edge of the two pieces. Press the pocket flat against the Outside piece.

Yay, you've finished the zipped pocket. You will close up the sides of the coin pocket when you sew the Outside and Inside pieces together.

6. For the interior pockets fold under the top edges (the sides that will be open to slip money/cards into) 1/4 in. Press, fold under again 1/4 in and topstitch.

7. Layer the Money Pockets over each other, right sides facing up with bottom edges matching. With them together, fold under 1/4 in. Press, fold under again 1/4 in. Place the pockets' bottom edge along the dotted line on the Inside. Pin and topstitch.

8. Match the bottom edge of the Card Pocket to the straight edge of the Inside. Pin and topstitch along dotted lines to create dividers.

Now the interior is taking shape. All that is left is to attach the inside to the outside and create the closure.

9. On the Outside, attach button over the small circle.

10. Make a loop out of a piece of trim or ribbon long enough to fit around the button. Place the loop on the Outside with the raw edges matching the raw edge of the fabric, pin.

11. If you want to include trim or piping around the outer edge of the wallet, now is the time to do that. If not, skip to #12. Place trim along seam line of long and curved edges of the Outside (right side facing up). Stitch.

12. Right sides facing pin Outside and Inside together matching raw edges. Stitch around long and curved edges. Turn wallet right side out.

Now it kind of looks a little like an oven mitt with pockets but next we'll close up that last open edge. Oh, and ignore the fact that I haven't added a button yet...

13. Fold under the opening of the bottom of the wallet 1/4 in. Press with iron and top stitch closed.

Phew, I swear making this wallet was less difficult than trying to explain HOW to make this wallet. Please ask questions if you have any!

February 23, 2011

Paper Cut Patterns

I'm taking a break from making a pattern for the wallet I just posted about. I can never make a pattern in one sitting. Too much work. Makes my brain ache!
Speaking of patterns I just discovered this lovely little pattern company from New Zealand of all places. It's called Paper Cut Patterns and I love the modern styling of these pattern designs.

They have jacket, cape, shirt, pants, skirts, dresses, and legging patterns all in pretty, eco-friendly packaging.

Sometimes it is easy to get bored of the same old Simplicity and McCalls out there. I love finding little unique pattern companies like this.

February 22, 2011

Dia de los Wallet

I'm coming down with a cold and being sick makes me grumpy and lazy. I finished this wallet two days ago but I haven't shared it because I had hoped to make a pattern for it. I still intend to draft the pattern (it's pretty simple, mostly rectangles) but it is difficult to find the motivation when you're hacking up your right lung. For now I'll just show it to you.

Remember this fabric I bought? Well I decided to make a wallet out of it - something I needed badly as my old one is crumbling to pieces.

I trimmed the wallet with some red pom pom ribbon (is that what you would call it? I don't know.), added a pocket in the back for change and sewed on an old vintage for a closure.

Unfortunately with this wallet you can't appreciate this awesome Dia de los Muertos skull pattern fabric. But even in small doses the pattern is still beautiful and it isn't until you take a closer look at the back all spread out can you really understand the pattern. It is almost like a little secret and only those who pay attention will notice.

Inside are three card pockets and two bigger pockets, one for money and one for a checkbook. Cute and functional!

Well, now instead of working on things like I ought to I think I'll just chug a few more Zicam, cuddle up with Peanut in bed and play some video games or take a nap. Being sick is lame.

February 20, 2011

Pattern Making 101 Class

Yesterday I got up at the crack of dawn (ok, that is an exaggeration, but being awake before 9 on a Saturday is a big deal for me) for my 8:30 am pattern making class at Stitch Lab.

The class was taught by (and partially why I took the class) Tina Sparkles, author of Little Green Dresses (which I own). Pretty cool. (What isn't so cool is me in that picture. I got up way too early to make my hair or the rest of me look good, oh well.)

Most of the class was review for me like lengthening and shortening a pattern piece and adding seam allowance but I did learn so many things that what I was doing wrong and how to do it properly and I got to work with tools I'd never used before and went home with a major shopping list!

I also learned the correct way for making and moving darts rather than just drawing here and there and hoping for the best. Overall it was a great class and I walked away with my head swelled full of pattern making knowledge!

While I was there I also bought some of this awesome new Alexander Henry Dia de los Muetros themed fabric. I'm a little obsessed with this gorgeous detailed festive print. Who knew skulls could be so pretty? I'm going to use it to make something a little utilitarian and share a pattern for it, too!

February 19, 2011

What could this be?

Can you guess what this might be? I finished another project today and I'll be working on the pattern for it tomorrow. Exciting!

Speaking of sewing I took a sewing class this morning. I learned some helpful sewing and pattern making tips and now I'm even more inspired. More on that later!

February 17, 2011

A few project ideas and inspiration

I love this idea for making knit fabric baby hats from Make It and Love It! The brown stripe fabric I have leftover from this dress would make a perfect little boy's baby hat. And it looks like a really easy pattern.

I'm thinking about buying this book - based on the reviews it seems like a good reference. Anyone have any good sewing book recommendations?

I really need a new wallet. The one I have right now is from my freshman year in college and it's from Target. The first day I had it the faux leather was stained pink by the inside lining of my purse. Rather than just buy a new one I want to make one maybe something like this pattern from I Think Sew.

I have too many projects on my list right now. I'm currently working on a shirt that I'm also making a pattern for. I can't wait for the weekend!

February 16, 2011

T-Shirt Mini Dress with Downloadable Pattern!

Guess what I did? I finally got up off my behind and took pictures of this dress! Yeah, so I finished this dress last week but for one reason or another I kept procrastinating about photo taking. But I'm glad I did because I really kind of love how this dress turned out.

I made the dress from this awesome brown striped knit fabric and was immediately inspired. I wanted a simple jersey mini dress that I could dress up or down. Originally I tried long sleeves but I like the 3/4 length better. I love the big scoop neck. You could wear a lacy cami and have the lace peep out from the top. You could also wear it with or without a belt.

The pattern is so simple. The possibilities are endless.

Other ideas for this pattern using easy changes -
  • Shorten the sleeves and make it cap sleeved
  • Lengthen the hem and make it a maxi dress
  • Or shorten the hem and make it a regular t-shirt
  • Change the neckline from scoop neck to boat neck or v-neck
  • Add elastic for instant cinched waist
  • Make it in a soft fabric and make it a nightgown
  • Make it in a sparkly metallic fabric for a night out on the town dress

Click here to Download the Pattern PDF. Remember to print without scaling and to match up each page with the corresponding notches. Also this pattern is made for knit fabrics. Wovens won't work as well in this application. And as usual I included the finished garment measurements rather than body measurements for sizing. I always find it easier to pick a good size based on the finished product.

If you make this pattern please leave comments, pics, advice, anything. I appreciate all your feedback as I try to learn to make better patterns to share.

February 15, 2011

Peanut is helping me draft patterns

Ok, well not really. But I am hard at work at making this pattern. Hopefully I'll have it up by tomorrow. It's going to be a little mini dress and the pattern is so simple you can easily alter it to make it into something entirely different.

Just drawing up the pattern and doing all the math for the different sizes takes hours. And then there's instructions, graphics, and little bits of text, dots, and notches all over the place. I'm getting faster at this but even just working on this four piece pattern has already spent two of my afternoons. There's got to be a quicker way of doing this.

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Vacay

Justin and I have never intentionally tried to plan super sweet sugary cute activities for Valentine's Day but some how we end up making it special without trying.

A couple years ago we didn't do much (in fact, I think I painted my apartment on Feb 14th) but Justin did buy me a 4 pound jar of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (my favorite!). That took over 4 months to consume all the good beans (the bad ones we just threw out. popcorn, yuck).

Last year we went to the farmer's market and the Cathedral of Junk, a local Austin off the beaten path attraction.

This year we drove a couple hours south to San Antonio where we spent Saturday night at a hotel on the Riverwalk, ate probably the best chicken fajitas I ever had, then went to the Alamo and a little sight seeing the next day followed by a trip to some local caverns.


Quite romantic if you ask me and we didn't intend for it to be a Valentine's trip, it was just a good weekend for both of us to get out of town.

Reasons why I love Justin and why he is a great travel buddy:
- He doesn't get upset when I'm super hungry (and therefore grumpy) and we haven't eaten since breakfast.
- He drives when I ask him to even though he doesn't really like to.
- He lets me do all the pre-planning I want.
- He'll go anywhere and let me see every monument I want no matter how boring it is.
- He tells me I'm good at directions which makes me feel better when I can't find that stupid highway onramp.
- He takes multiple pictures of me because he knows I'll just complain that I wasn't smiling right in that last one.

February 11, 2011

Downloading Patterns

If you're interested I uploaded two patterns for download on BurdaStyle - my One Shoulder Knit Dress and my Two Piece Tunic, each in multi sized patterns. And my Tunic pattern already has over 300 downloads! I doubt that many people will actually make it but it's nice to know people are looking at the pattern.

You can always download the patterns here, too, just check out the Crafts page.

In other news, I'm taking a pattern making class in about a week! I'm excited and hopeful to learn new things.

Oh, and in non-sewing news, Turner Classic Movies is having their 31 days of Oscar marathon. I'm watching The Graduate right now, one of my favorites. I love the 60s style especially the houses and his car.

Hopefully I'll have another pattern finished this weekend that I can post. I'm on a pattern making roll!