Another Bubble – Part 1, The Bodice

DSCN0533I love fabric. I love it so much that I hate to throw away any scraps. I measure and debate way too long about my scraps before they hit the garbage can. What could I make from these scraps? Is it large enough for another project? Will I want to piece it together with another fabric later? As I contemplated the fate of the scraps from my blue shirt with white sleeves, I decided there was enough scraps of the blue print and white fabric left to make another bubble top. There was not enough for a size 6 like the last pink and white bubble top, but enough for a size 3, so I reprinted the pattern and got started.

Because it has not been so long since I made the last bubble top, I remembered the things I wanted to do differently on the next one I made. While cutting out the bodice I added 1 inch to the back pieces of the bodice so there was fabric to cross over for the buttons. I also cut a 1 inch strip of interfacing and ironed it to the back bodice pieces to give a little extra support for the buttons and buttonholes. The rest of the top was cut the same as the pattern called for.

DSCN0538Since the bodice was made from the white scraps of the sleeves of my shirt, it needed something embroidered on it. The picnic ant design from my last shirt would work great and match the red in the blue fabric. Embroidering the design became the first step in the sewing process, which was odd. Usually embroidering a design on something I make is one of the last steps in the sewing process. I did iron some webbing on the back of the design to help smooth the threads even though there is a lining for the bodice that would hide the threads. This design would be against the little girl’s chest, and I did not want bumpy thread to be uncomfortable when the top is worn.

The bodice stitched up fine. When I had finished sewing it, I laid it out on the cutting table. There was a good two inches of overlap at the buttons. What had happened? Had I mis-measured? Maybe adding a whole inch was too much? I flipped the bodice inside out and cut 1/2 inch off my added inch and restitched. Laying it out again, I now had a 1&1/2 inch overlay. What? At this point I decided that maybe I cut the first bubble top wrong and that was why there was no overlap for the buttons, or maybe the size 6 pattern line was off leaving no overlap. So, I flipped the bodice inside out again and cut off 1/2 inch more. Cutting off the extra inch also cut off my P1040331interfacing so I had to reapply more interfacing for the buttons and buttonholes. I restitched the seam and turn the bodice right side out again. Guess what! It now had no overlap. What? This was going to require more thought than I wanted to give at that moment. The bodice was the same as the first bubble top. The extra inch had been cut off. Since I wanted to keep sewing and not solve this problem at that time, I decided that another bubble top was in my future where I would address the back overlap issue. Since I could not add the cut off inch back to the bodice, I would just finish off this top the way it was. It would just have the side seam issue of the first bubble top that I had made.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and bubble on!

Hey Chubby! Stop Eating All My Stuffing! – Part 2 of 2

DSCN0091As I passed the neck and was heading on down the body, the rounds of crocheting just kept increasing in stitch count until I had to add an extra stitch marker to help me keep track of the count. And the body of the moose just kept getting bigger and bigger. I was afraid at one point that I would run out of yarn. And since the head and body of the moose needed to be stuffed as I crocheted, I was really starting to notice just how big this body was getting as I went along.

I had started with half of a bag of stuffing and I thought that would certainly be enough to complete this amigurumi but I was wrong. I used that half bag and then had started well into another before I got this chubby moose body all stuffed and finished.

DSCN0083As I was stitching the pieces of this amigurumi together, I realized why the legs were so stubby. Something had to hold up this chubby body so it didn’t fall over when sitting. The antlers were time consuming to stitch all of the smaller pieces together, but they went together easily and looked great once done. The placement of the ears and antlers on the head was a little tricky but they worked out fine. And the arms stitched on just great.

Now was the moment of truth…

Was one round at the neck the correct decision early on in the construction of this moose or should it have been three?

I still don’t know the answer!

DSCN0074The snout and mouth were a tight fit and the extra two rounds might have helped in stitching them on, but the snout and mouth were supposed to be a tight fit according to the picture. So that means that one round might still be correct. I guess the only way to know if it should be one or three rounds is to make another moose with three rounds at the neck and see how it looks compared to this first one.

I really do like the look of the snout and mouth as two separate pieces though. I think it gives this moose it’s character.

DSCN0087This moose received his name Kevin very early on in the crocheting process. I don’t know why he is named Kevin, he just looked like a Kevin to me, so that name stuck. Kevin the Chubby Moose.

And even though he consumed way too much of my stuffing stash, he turned out to be very cute once completed. I will have to make a trip to the store for more stuffing before I can make another one though.

Until next time, crochet forth and moose on.

Hey Chubby! Stop Eating All My Stuffing! – Part 1 of 2

DSCN0089I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park, and I’ve seen a real moose from six inches away. Yes, they are big animals. Yes, they not to be messed with. Yes, they go and do whatever they please. Yet as I reached 80 stitches per round on my latest amigurumi’s body, I thought to myself, “this is a little too much moose”.

Because this is a story about Kevin.

Kevin the Chubby Moose.

When I read through the pattern for this amigurumi, I knew it was going to be big, but I did not realize just how chubby this moose would be when I first started it. As always, I started the crocheting with the arms, legs and other parts. After I crocheted the arms, they looked good. So I crocheted the legs next and they looked stubby. Then I crocheted the antlers and ears and they were fun to make. Finally, I crocheted the snout and the mouth. These are two separate pieces. I was not going to have to give this moose a smile since he was going to have a mouth. It was then time to start the body and head.

P1040413In this pattern the head and body are all stitched as one piece, not two separate pieces stitched together. This combo started at the top of head and all was going well until I reached the rounds just before the neck. The pattern called for three rounds of equal stitches but the round count on the pattern only showed one round of stitches.

So, do I crochet one round or three rounds?

DSCN0082I crocheted just one round and it looked too short, so I crocheted two more rounds and that looked too long. I undid the extra two rounds and held the snout and mouth to head. One round looked right with the snout and mouth so I decided to go with one round. Now, this would not have been a big deal if the head and body had been two separate pieces. If I decided later when stuffing that I wanted the extra rounds at the neck and the pieces would have been crocheted in two pieces, it would just be a matter of adding in the extra rounds. But because they are all done as one piece, if I decided I that I had wanted the extra rounds when I was stuffing, I would be out of luck. I would have to undo everything that I had crocheted of the body portion to add in the extra rounds. And I was not willing to do that. So once I decided that just the one round was right, there would be no changing it to three rounds later. So I hope that I chose correctly.

Find out next week if I was right!

Until next time, crochet forth and moose on.

Ollie the Rhino

DSCN0407Awhile back when I made my pocket pal monsters, I needed a pattern for horns. And so I looked at several patterns of different animals with horns. One pattern I looked at in particular was for this cute rhinoceros that stood on his hind legs and had suspenders. Even though I did not use this rhino’s horns for my monsters, this pattern made its way up my to do list, finally reaching the top and becoming my next amigurumi project.

DSCN0409The pieces of this rhino crocheted up easily. His pattern is well written. The only thing issue I had with the pattern was the way he was stitched together. When I read the pattern the first time, I knew better than to follow its instruction but I did anyway. The pattern calls for the horns and ears to be stitched to the head as the head is crocheted. I have learned over the years that I prefer to crochet the pieces first, stuff them and then stitch the pieces together. I decided to go against my grain and stitch the horns to the head after completing the snout as the pattern instructions stated to do before completing and stuffing the rest of the head.

Nope!

It was not a good idea to do it that way at all! I found it very challenging to line the horns up where I wanted them to be without having the head completed. It was also difficult to keep the horn in place while stitching them on without the head being completed. I did not waste my time trying to attach the ears before the head was completed. I waited to attach them after the head was crocheted and stuffed. I had learned my lesson yet again!

DSCN0412This rhino’s little suspenders were simple to make. They are just a chain. It is surprising how such a simple detail can add so much cuteness to a project. I picked bright yellow buttons on his maroon colored pants for a little pop, to add even more cuteness to this guy. The buttons made him not suitable for an infant, but I am sure an older child would still like him just fine.

Upon completing this rhino, he was named Ollie. I debated about a couple of different names but I kept returning back to Ollie, the first name I had picked. He is very cute and was great fun to make. Ollie is now anxious to fine a good home and have someone play with him.

Until next time, crochet forth and charge on!

Ode To My White Pants

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Oh white work pants, oh white work pants,
Oh how I love you so!
I wish you would last forever,
But then I’d have nothing to sew!
Oh white work pants, oh white work pants,
I will miss you so!

Each year as Labor Day draws near, I weep. Besides the end of summer, Labor Day means it is time to return my beloved white pants to their rightful spot in the closet for another winter season. And as this Labor Day approaches, I weep even more for this is the last year I will wear this particular pair of white pants. They have been a tried and true friend for many a summer now, but they are starting to show their age and it is now time for them to go to the old clothes heaven in the sky. Or maybe just goodwill.

Some 15 years ago, I decided that my wardrobe needed some white pants. Now, I am very particular about the fabric that I use to make my pants with. Not just any old white fabric would work for these pants. I wanted them made in white denim. And it had to be “white” denim, not cream or egg shell, or an off white color. Also it could not have too much lycra in it. And it had to be strong enough to withstand the day to day wear and tear of work, but still not be stiff and heavy. It had to wash easily and well, because as you know white attracts everything. It had to be thick enough not to show any unmentionables that may be worn under it, but not so thick that it wouldn’t breath well on the hot summer days. After a great deal of shopping, I found my white denim fabric.

Basic_Baggy_White_Chef_Pants_11I washed and dried my white denim fabric throughly as I knew it would shrink. Using my good old pants sloper pattern, I made my white pants. And they were a dream! I loved them the first day I wore them. I felt and looked good in them.

After the first summer of wearing my white pants, I carefully cleaned them, and put them away to wear again the next year. Each Memorial Day, I pulled my precious white pants from the closet and wore them every chance I got through the summer months until Labor Day, when they again returned to their winter home safe in my closet.

After a couple of years, on one particular Memorial Day, I pulled the white pants from their resting place, only to find that the winter had been especially harsh to me. My lovely white pants no longer fit so well. Due to a little weight gain, the pants legs were now too high off the ground and were high waters. I let the healthy hem they had out and re-hemmed them with the shortest hem I could. The new hem was only about 1/4 inch, but this new hem allowed me to wear my white pants for that year.

4102_10914_Khakicargo_frontOver the years as my weight has waxed and waned, my white pants have hung in there. Some years they fit better than other years but I could always wear them each summer. On the years that I was waxing, I refused to dry my white pants in the dryer and often accused the husband of washing them in hot water. On the waning years, I did not pay as much attention to how they were laundered. I wore them through thick and thin.

As I have worn my gorgeous white pants this summer season, I have noticed that they are showing signs of wear. I was truly saddened by this but what could I have expected after 15 or so years of wear? The tiny hem they have is fraying. The white denim is thinning especially in the seat area from friction wear and the seams are starting to split out.

Throughout the summer, I have mended them several times, hoping that they will make it just one more day, and bless them, they have. I have worn them faithfully all summer long. But as I washed them for the last time this summer, I see that images-3it is time for them to be retired. There is no need on packing them away for another 9 months until next summer. They will not make it through another season. It is finally time to let them go.

Luckily, I am a fabriholic. When I found this perfect piece of white denim and turned it into such fabulous pants so many years ago, I quickly returned to the fabric store and bought enough for a few more pairs of pants. This fabric has been hiding out in the stash ever since then just patiently awaiting its turn to be my next beloved pair of white pants.

Now, I have my work cut out for me. I have just one short winter to get another pair of perfect white pants made before next summer arrives!

Wish me luck!

Until next time, sew forth and white pant on!

Am I Too Old (For This)

DSCN0389I have been totally enjoying the sewing process of making some little girls dresses and bubble tops and I decided that I wanted to make more, so I pulled some more fabric from the stash. The pieces that I picked to make the next little girls project were a green and white cotton fabric and a green with lady bugs print cotton fabric. These two pieces of fabric looked good together and I could see either a dress or a bubble top easily made from this fabric combination.

But as the fabric sat on the cutting table, I started to wonder to myself if I should make myself a shirt from this fabric instead of another little girls project. In the next moment I wondered to myself, “But am I am too old to wear a green shirt with lady bugs on it?”

“Bah! Who cares! Surely not me!” I said to myself.

Besides, I really like the fabrics and it is time to make me another collared camp shirt from my altered sloper pattern to test the fit. So could I make this shirt from this fabric combination? Yes I could! There was plenty of fabric to make it with. But would I wear this combination once I had the shirt made? Yes I would! Now how about if I put a cute picnic watermelon ant embroidery design on it? Would I still wear it then? Yes I still would! So I decided to get started on it right away!

DSCN0391I cut out the fabric using my newly altered collared camp shirt sloper pattern and got started sewing it together. It sewed together nicely and soon enough I had a fun summer shirt all ready to wear. Sewing this shirt was not the problem. Wearing this shirt was. And not because of the lady bugs or the ant.

After I completed the sewing of this shirt, I pulled it on and noticed right away that the fit was not right. The shoulder seams did not want to sit square on my shoulders and the front of the shirt kept shifting back like it wanted to choke me. I had to keep pulling the front of the shirt down. On the back of the shirt, there are pull line from the armscye to the collar.

DARN! Where had I gone wrong?

These were the same alterations to the pattern that I did for the last shirt I had made, the blue shirt with the white sleeves. And I had wore that shirt and except for the depth of the armscye it all seemed to be good. I pulled the blue and white shirt on again and wore it around the house for a little while only to learn that it too suffered from the same issues. I realized then that I had only wore this shirt to work, under my jacket, and that it was my work jacket that had been keeping the front down. So, I now had to figure out what the alteration problems were and how to fix it.

IMG_0238 - Version 2It did not take long before I figured out that the back where the collar attaches was cut too deeply. And I was depressed that I had two shirts with the same problem and had not caught the problem before making the second shirt. I don’t really know if raising the back will fix the issue but it seems that by raising the collar, and not having it drop so far down my back will help.

Ok, so I think I have figured out what the alteration problems are. Now can these two shirts be fixed? I debated about adding a yoke to the back of the shirts. This would be a way to add enough fabric to raise the collar back up. I also thought about abandoning the collar, adding a facing and make the shirts collarless. Even though the back of the shirt would still be low on my back, there would not be the weight of the collar dragging the back of the shirt down, and hopefully that would make the shirt more comfortable to wear.

DSCN0394While looking at the work that would be needed to fix the issues with these shirts, I lost all interest it trying to raise the collars. The blue and white shirt is a work shirt and is fine under my jacket. Although, the lady bug shirt was made to be a fun summer shirt, it would now be a work shirt too. Since finding the issues with the shirts and trying to solve them, I have wore the lady bug shirt to work and it wore just fine under my jacket as well.

I even received several compliments on the lady bug shirt at work. I don’t know if the compliments were sincere and my coworkers really liked the shirt or if the compliments were a rolling of the eyes that I would wear lady bugs. Really though, I don’t care either way. I really like the lady bugs.

While these two shirts will not be my favorite shirts to wear and they will see less wear than some of my other shirts, I still think they will be ok even if not perfect. But that is just the way it is sometimes. Unless I get a wild hair to alter them, they are what they are. They are not unwearable by any means. I decided that my time would be better spent making a new shirt with a raised back and letting these shirts just be off in the fit, so that is what I’m going to do.

DSCN0418P.S. Speaking of altering, I altered another one of the husband’s shirts. This was one of the last shirts I had made for him before he lost some weight so it was quite large on him. I removed the collar and took a full inch out of the shoulders, then I re-attached the collar. I also took 1 & 1/2 inches out of each side seam including the sleeves. I could have taken even more out of both the shoulders and the side seams but I stayed on the conservative side for this alteration. I can cut more off later if needed. As I learned from altering my shirts, it’s much easier to cut extra fabric off than to add fabric back on. His shirt is still a little large on him but the fit is much better than it was and I think he looks good in it.

Until next time, sew forth and alter on!

Ah Mom! Do we have to go back to school again?

Yes folks it is that time of year again.

Back to school time.

back-to-school

Wow! It is hard to believe that we actually wore some of the things we did in public, let alone to go back to school in isn’t it?

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Ow! My EYES! It BURNS! It BURNS!

Isn’t it funny the clothing styles that you thought were so cool as a kid of a certain age. And how as your tastes became more refined and changed as you got older,  you can’t believe the things you wore when you were younger.

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It went something like this:

6-9 years old: Wow mom that looks really cool! Thanks for getting it for me! I am going to wear it every day until it has some many holes in it and smells so bad it disintegrates off of my body! No really Mom, I mean it! I really am!

10-13: It’s ok mom, I will probably wear it next week after I have seen some of the dorky things that other kids are wearing that look just like it. I don’t have to be the coolest kid in school yet, but I don’t want to be un-cool either. You know, just in case. Pinky swear!

14-18: Are you kidding me mom? I would never be caught DEAD in that. That is SO LAME! I can’t believe you thought I would like that. You just don’t know anything about me anymore.

ARRRRGGGHHH! Rebelling teens and tweens. It’s a pain, but it’s a part of growing up and it is part of the great adversity of being a parent too.

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Most parents today look at what their 12+ year old is wearing and just shakes their head in disbelief as their children head off to school in who knows what and even if you try to stop them from wearing it, they will just pack it in their backpack and change into it once they get to school without your permission.

The bands names change but the song always stays the same.

Sew forth and study on!