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Elastic Backed Shorts June 24, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 7:02 pm
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I think what I love the most about making Megan’s clothes is that she actually gets clothes that fit. I love that I can customize the outfits for a perfect fit every time. She happens to love elastic waist pants and shorts but I was trying for a more “big-girl” look with the elastic only in the back.

Start with your favorite pants pattern. Mine is Easy Fit Pants by Carla. You can purchase her patterns at youcanmakethis.com. This is my absolute favorite pants pattern and it’s the only one I use for both kids. It is super quick and easy.

Anyway, start with your pattern piece and fold down three inches. You are going to add a yoke so you don’t need the extra fabric at the top for the waistband.

Cut out two pieces, as directed. Then you are going to cut out two yoke pieces. The length is 5 inches. The width of the yoke pieces will be the waist measurement plus 6 divided by 2 (for the 2 pieces). Megan’s waist is 22 inches, plus 6 is 28, divided by 2 is 14.  So I cut two yoke pieces, 14 by 5 inches. Basically you want it bigger than the waist but not as big as the pants.

After you have the pants and yoke pieces cut out, line them all up on top of each other. Make sure all the folds are matching and everything is straight. Draw a line with a marking pencil from the where the yoke starts down. I usually start at the top and then stop at the end of the yoke material and draw a diagonal line.

Cut along the line you drew, cutting through four layers of fabric.

So, now you should have four pieces of fabric cut out, two pants pieces and two yoke pieces.

Now put together the pants as directed. You can sew everything except the top so go ahead and sew the front and back, crotch seams, and bottom hem. Don’t sew the wrong side to the right side like I did and it shouldn’t take you that long!

Sew your two yoke pieces together. Because I am using Carla’s pattern, I use a 1/4 inch seam because that is what she directs for the pants. So use whatever seam allowance your pants pattern instructs so they will line up. Iron the seams out flat.

After you do that, fold over and iron wrong side together so you have two raw edges together.

You are going to sew a casing one inch from the folded edge from side seam to side seam. Do not sew it closed.

You might have to play with the elastic length a bit. I used 3/4 inch elastic, at about 8 inches. This works out to be the waist (22 inches) divided by 2.75. I like the safety pin method of threading the elastic through the casing.

 Tack the elastic down by running a stitch at each side seam.

The last step is sewing the yoke to the pants. Just line up the side seams and pin carefully.

Sew and then serge or zig zag stitch around the raw edge. I also like to stitch around the top of the front of the pants and iron and topstitch the seam up toward the yoke. And that’s it: just like a mullet it’s business in the front and party in the back!

 

 

 

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Fun with T-shirts June 6, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 8:16 pm
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I am not normally a recon kind of girl, but I love how easy t-shirt dresses come together. Also, I was disappointed in the lack of sports wear for little girls. It seems the stores have overpriced cheerleading outfits for toddler and then unisex shirts for kids. Megan needs a girl shirt to cheer her team! Plus this way I can customize it for her extra-long frame.

I usually start with the biggest men’s t-shirt I can find on sale:

Then I fold it in half, making sure I center the design. I usually cut off the sleeves at this point to make it easier to line up:

You can use a pattern, or cut up an existing shirt. I love using Carla’s raglan pattern for this project, available at youcanmakethis.com. Pin the pattern in place.

If I am making an a-line shape, I place the ruler at an angle coming away from the side and then cut with a rotary cutter. Today I am making a gathered skirt so I fold up the pattern to just below where the graphic on the t ends. Cut out and repeat for the back.

This is what I have so far:

Now I cut off the sleeves if I haven’t already:

Now I have the sleeve from the raglan pattern but I am going to shorten it up because I am going to used the hem from the existing sleeve and I like the look of the cap sleeve with these little dresses. Just make sure you mark where you lining it up so it’s even on both sides!

Here is the sleeve cut out:

 

Here are all four pieces ready to go:

 

Sew them together. I usually pin because those edges like to curl! Serge or zig zag stitch the edges. I topstitch for a neat look.

 

This is what it looks like all sewed together.

 

I have experiemented with different sleeve options and I really like elastic in the sleeves. The hem on the existing shirt makes a perfect casing for 1/4 inch elastic. I just measured Megan’s arm loosely for the length of elastic. Insert it in and tack at both sides.

 

Here is what I have so far:

 

Sew the sides, starting with the edge of the sleeves. If the bottom doesn’t perfectly line up I just trim it so it’s even. I make a rectangle out of the remaining t-shirt and run a long gathering stitch around. Then I pin the rectangle to the bodice, pick at the gathering stitches and sew into place.

 

Sew in the collar, this is the most stressful part for me. Just take it slow and be careful and you’ll be fine:

 

You make have noticed I used the existing hem whenever possible. It takes some practice to sew knit hems perfectly straight and I tend to cheat whenever possible. Another way to cheat is to do a lettuce hem. Set your machine on a narrow zig zag and pull the edge tight from front and back while sewing around the edge. I go around twice for a nice thick hem:

 

Here are some more examples, I hoped you enjoyed it! Megan wears these over jeans and as nightgowns too.

 

 

 

 

Adding Velcro to a Wallet/Wristlet May 18, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 2:51 am
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Whenever anyone asks me how to do something I think it is always easier with pictures. So when Wendy asked how I put velcro on my wristlets I couldn’t resist just making one so I could have pictures to show her. Don’t know if anyone else is interested, but here it is anyway!

I love making wristlets. The girls in Jacob’s class love them and they are so easy and quick to make I don’t mind making them at all. I have also found they make excellent DS game pouches so that’s what I am making today.

You can use a pattern (I use the Sweet Pea Totes from youcanmakethis.com) but really you can just start with a rectangle.

Fold your rectangle in half or find the top of your wristlet if you are using two different fabrics for inside and outside (you are going to start with the inside fabric). You are going to measure down between 1/2 and 3/4 inch from the top and pin your velcro:

 

Unfold and sew the fuzzy side of the velcro on:

Complete the next part of the directions until you are ready to fold the bottom up. Now you can fold over the top flap and mark where the cooresponding piece of velcro will go.

Sew on the matching piece of velcro.

Finish and you’re done: ready to hold DS games!

 

A Quick Sweater Reconstruction March 4, 2009

Filed under: sewing — stephres @ 8:51 pm
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I can’t believe this is a year old! I attempted my first reconstruction last year and wrote a little tutorial about it. It was a little hard to find because apparently Teresa did not find it helpful enough to bookmark (insert snooty here), but I thought I would share it anyway. I cannot just envision what I want to do and start cutting and sewing to make it happen, so this worked perfectly for me because it was half pattern/half winging it. Also, if you are prone to shrinking your sweaters, it is a great way to get use out of them (providing you have a smaller person to wear them).

So I took a sweater that was too short for me and a t-shirt pattern:

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I laid the pattern on top of the sweater and trimmed the sides. I left it long because Megan is cursed, er I mean blessed with a long-waist like me and extra length is always appreciated. Also, I didn’t have to worry about hemming the bottom of the sweater. This will give you a tunic sized top or a dress if your little one is very little.

I sewed the sides back together (and serged). I took the sleeves and wrapped the pattern around and trimmed. You are going to want to wrap the sleeve pattern around the sleeve as best you can and pin and then cut. You can make them longish or shortish, whichever you prefer. I left them longish for my monkey-armed kid.

And then I sewed the sleeves back on. Be careful to match the seams and don’t pull too much or it will be bunchy. I serged the seam. Voila! A little girl sweater!

When you are picking a sweater, I found the slight v-neck style gives the best result and looked like it fit the kid, as opposed to being too big and gaping around the neck. I asked a friend if it looked hand-made (my fear with recons) but she assured me it looks like I bought it from Gap (yay!). And since I made it roomy and long, it still fits her this winter!