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HaHaHaHa – Part 3 of Sew It Begins

With the husband’s latest shirt completed, it was finally time to sew a new shirt for myself.

I picked the design and fabric for my new shirt based on the embroidery design that I had picked out to use. I love this Snoopy design and I have always wanted to embroider it on a shirt for me. So, with the Snoopy design in mind I entered the stash room and picked a piece of blue cotton and a matching patterned cotton remnant for the fabric for this shirt.

After laundering the fabric, I laid it out on the cutting table and got started. I cut out the pieces from the blue cotton first, then I cut into the remnant only to find out that I was short on fabric. I must have measured incorrectly or the fabric had shrunk more than expected in the wash.

Regardless, this piece was too small to use now. Logically, I should have returned to the stash room and chosen another fabric but, oh no, not me. The challenge was on. My creative mind was churning. How could I get the needed pieces from this short piece of fabric?

I started by changing my idea of matching the pattern of the fabric at the side seams. I debated if not matching the pattern was a good idea, or if it would make me crazy after the shirt was sewn. Since the pattern on the fabric was a little crazy itself and it would be non matching at the seam under my arms, I decided to go for it and disregard matching the pattern.

Even with not matching the pattern at the side seams, I was still a little shy, about 2 inches, of having enough fabric for the sleeves. What could I do to get just 2 more inches? If I shortened the sleeves by an inch each, I would have my 2 inches, but I did not want my sleeves an inch shorter. So how could I cut the sleeves an inch shorter and still have them the same length?

Bias tape was the answer.

I cut the sleeves the inch shorter, but instead of hemming the sleeves, I made some 1/2 inch bias tape from the blue cotton and used the bias tape to finish the sleeves. The rest of the sewing of the shirt sewed smoothly and embroidering the Snoopy design was great fun.

I am very pleased with this shirt. It is fun to wear and I love having the Snoopy design on it. It was also a fun shirt to sew and it was exciting to let my creative mind work to solve a sewing problem.

With a new shirt done for both the husband and the me, it was time to pick a my next sewing project. Stay tuned to see what that will be.

Until then, Sew forth and Laugh on!

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Marty The Zebra

DSCN3937It was his cute cartoonish style that made me pick this zebra pattern as my next amigurumi project. I liked his big head and his fat stubby hind legs that lets him sit. What I didn’t like was that the pattern only called for the zebra stripes on his body, not on his head or legs but that was ok. I could fix that!

DSCN3940Anxious to get crocheting, I grabbed the black and white Red Heart Love yarn I had purchased at Walmart’s Black Friday sale last year and I got started! I noticed right away that the Love yarn was much softer and the fibers liked to separate more while crocheting than the Red Heart Super Saver yarn, so I had to be careful where I inserted my hook and I needed to watch my tensions more closely as I crocheted.

I crocheted the body first. The body was not crocheted in continuous rounds. A slip stitch and chain were done at the end and start of each round to help keep the stripes even. Each stripe consisted of two rounds, so rather than than cutting and tying the yarn every other round, I carried the yarn. The tension of the carried yarn was not a problem because it was being carried over a very small space. It was cumbersome to have two skeins of yarn, twisting, as I crocheted though.

DSCN3936I crocheted the front and hind legs next. As mentioned, the pattern called for no stripes on these pieces. I wanted stripes so I started with solid black for the hooves and then made stripes, two rounds thick and then I alternated the colors. I crocheted in continuous rounds rather than slip stitching and chaining since it was only a couple of stripes and the color changes would be hidden under the legs. I also carried the yarn as I did with the body.

DSCN3942The head was the next piece to be crocheted and once again the pattern called for it to be unstriped, but I was going to stripe it. I crocheted the mouth in black then started the stripes. I crocheted the stripes exactly like the legs, in continuous rounds, two rounds thick, carrying the yarn as I crocheted. Like the legs, I could hide the color changes of the stripes on the bottom of the head.

The tail was the only piece that I did not stripe. I crocheted it white and then attached a few black pieces of yarn to the end.

DSCN3917The challenge for this amigurumi came when I stitched the head and body together. When I attached the head to the body, the zebra was staring at the ceiling, so I needed to move the head down. After a lot of pinning, stitching and unstitching, I got the head attached to the body without the zebra looking up. The legs and tail were much easier to stitch on.

DSCN3926The mane for this zebra was fun to attach. I did not quite follow the patterns instructions of making the mane. I knew how I wanted it to look, so I started by cutting 5 inch pieces of black and white yarn. Starting at the center of the head, I attached 2 rows of 3 white yarns. I then attached 2 rows of 3 black yarns and alternated this pattern down the back of the head. When I was done, the husband helped me trim the mane by hand and it was done. I was concerned about making the mane from the Love yarn because of how much it likes to separate. It will not take much play before the mane’s yarns will be untwisted and fuzzing, but that might be a fun look for the mane.

DSCN3921I picked some fun cartoon eyes for this zebra that I attached while crocheting the head. I wanted this zebra to have a big smile but I was having trouble getting the curves that I wanted for the smile while stitching on the mouth. To get the smile I wanted, I decided to glue on the mouth instead. I placed the yarn where I wanted it to be, then rolled the yarn down, applied a line of glue and then rolled the yarn back into place on top of the glue. This worked well and gave me the smile I wanted.

After some brainstorming with the husband, we picked the name Marty for this zebra. Marty is very cute. He makes me smile when I look at him. I like his extra stripes. Soon, Marty will have a new home and I hope he will be loved and played with often.

Until then, crochet forth and stripe on!

B5503 – Sewing

Following the instructions from the pattern, I sewed the shoulder seams, attached the facings and sewed the front on. The shirt was starting to take shape, but I could see there was going to be some fitting issues. Instead of sewing the sleeves in next, I stitched the side seams up so I could try the shirt on before I sewed any more of it. I am glad that I did this. Upon trying the shirt on, I confirmed that the shoulder seams were way too long for me. The shoulders hung down my arms almost as long as most of my sleeves do, but it fit well underneath my arm. I could have just skipped the sleeves altogether and hemmed the existing shoulder and it would have been long and full enough to cover my arms. But I wanted the sleeves on this shirt. I only needed to adjust the armscye at the top, so I tapered the cut to just the top of the armscye.  Not wanting to cut off too much, I cut 1 & 1/2 inch off first. After trying in on again, I cut another 1/2 inch off. This was still longer than I would have liked but it was much better than before. Luckily, I was working with a knit and knew I could work the sleeve into the new armscye without cutting the sleeve differently. I believe I would have had to make adjustments to the sleeve if I had been working with a cotton fabric.

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The next thing was, it was far too long on me, almost as long as I wear my shirts, and I still had the contrasting bottom band to add to it. With the band attached, that would have brought the bottom length to just above my knees. You would have thought I was making view C instead of B of the pattern. I ended up cutting two inches off the bodice length. I would have cut more, but because of the way the bottom band was attached, the slits of the bottom band where reaching my wait line already, so I decided to take the rest of the extra length off the band instead. I cut one inch off the band. I wanted to cut more but I did not want to lose the contrasting look totally. After removing the 3 inches, the length was better but I still would have preferred it shorter. I took a very generous hem in both the sleeves and the band to help with the length issues.

Since the shirt only has one button, I made a trip to the store to look for a nice, unique button. I found one I liked but when I saw the price at $6.25, I decided to pick again. That was more money than I had in the fabric of the shirt. The button I picked was only $1.50 and I think it looks good. Thank you, mom, for giving me so many buttons from your stash. I did not realize just how much buttons cost. I’d bet that I start watching sales on buttons more closely from now on.

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Although I have a completed and very wearable garment, that I very much like the design of, I am not truly happy with the fit. What I am happy with though is the fit of my basic sloper, so it finally dawns on me: “Why am I not using my slopers as a guide to fit this shirt?” I could match shoulder seams, sleeves and length to my sloper and then sew from there. Now I am excited to get another shirt under way. I can apply all I have learned for this first construction and use my new ideas to make and fit just what I want.

BURDA STYLE

B5503 – Cutting

As I have mentioned before,  I am not one for using muslin to try a new pattern out. I would rather make it out of some inexpensive fabric that is just ok and see what I get. If it works out I have something to wear and if it doesn’t, oh well, I’m not out very much anyway. Once when  I did this and it didn’t work out, I chopped it up and made baby sleepers with the fabric. I have found that if I use a piece of muslin to try the pattern, I get sloppy with the construction of it since I know it will never be a useable item. I cut corners and assume that it will all work out, and you know what happens when you assume.

With that in mind, I chose a piece of fabric from the stash that was not totally sold on, but still a nice piece. I knew it would make a nice shirt. And I could run the stripes in alternate directions, instead of using another color to make the contrasting pieces that the pattern called for. I picked the pattern size that best matches my measurements in what I would buy in ready to wear, traced the pattern and cut out the pieces. This shirt style sure took a lot of fabric, more than I normally use to make me a shirt. When I bought this piece of fabric, I bought enough for a shirt for me and the husband. After cutting out my shirt, the husband might get a shirt or he might not. We will have to see when I lay his pattern on the fabric I have left over.

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The pattern called for a center back seam and I can’t figure out why. The seam does not seem to do any shaping or fitting of the shirt whatsoever. The only reason I can think that the pattern instructs you to do this is possibly to use less fabric or if you need to adjust for your back side.  I could have cut the back piece on the fold, but I followed the pattern instead. I cut the back piece in half then took it to the sewing machine and sewed it back together.

With the pieces in hand, it was time for construction to start.

BURDA STYLE

Almost Again

After completing the last sleeper from the larger pattern I had, I have been anxious to try the pattern again, but this time sew the sleeper together and  insert the zipper the way I do on the smaller size sleeper I make.  I reached into the stash and pulled out this striped fabric and called it a great piece of fabric to try making another sleeper with.

Sewing the sleeper together by using the steps from the smaller size sleeper pattern worked out fine. I did not do the zipper exactly as I do on the smaller size sleepers. Instead I did a mixture of the two patterns. The zipper went in a lot easier than when I followed the instructions from the larger size pattern but it was not as smooth as in the smaller size pattern, so the next time I am going to follow the smaller size pattern exactly. I am just worried about added bulk in the foot, but I am going to give it a try.

After completing the zipper, I got so excited about finishing the sleepers that I forgot to sew the elastic around the ankles before I sewed and serged on the bottom of the feet. Thank heavens for a free arm. I inserted the sleeper leg on to the free arm and stitched some elastic around the ankle. It was not easy to keep the elastic straight but I think it turned out fine.

This striped fabric just screamed for baseball Snoopy, so of course, that is what I embroidered on the sleeper. I was pleased with the end results.

Over the 4th of July, I was able to visit the niece and nephews. I took the sleepers with me, but it will be years before the nephew will be the right size for this sleeper. The larger size pattern is so long. I am afraid that he will actually outgrow the waist before he grows into the length and will never get to wear this sleeper. So, while we were visiting, we played a little game called “How big are you?” and I got some measurements to help me make better fitting sleepers. The niece, who is older, tried on her sleeper but she and I were not happy with the length either. She will not have to wait too long before she can wear hers though.

Now, having seen the sleepers on the kids and having some measurements, I am excited to try the pattern yet again with the proper measurements. It’s nice to have a size x pattern but as everyone knows kids come in all shapes and sizes and will seldom fit a pre-sized piece of clothing correctly. Most often you know that even though your child is 3 years old he or she often wears a 2 or 4-year-old sized shirt/pants/dress.

I’ve Finished…

I finally got a chance to do some sewing and did so with some success. I finished the baby sleepers and bibs which is a good thing because I have been invited to another baby shower for a colleague at work. And it’s good thing I found out that the new nephew’s mom does not like Pooh so I can give this sleeper away to someone else and make another one for him.

The two sleepers sewed up with only minor difficulties, like matching the stripes, but as always were fun to sew and exciting to finish because they are always turn out so cute. Years ago, I found this Pooh and Piglet design on the internet somewhere. I have always wanted to stitch it on something, so I specifically picked out the yellow fabric just for this design.

I wasn’t  impressed with the design as it stitched out and I will not do it again. It looks very good on the top side but the back of it is a mess.

I trimmed many threads and used some web knit over the design to hide and soften the back.

But I am afraid the design will not withstand much washing and it will probably need to be ironed after each wash, which I feel is not acceptable for a baby sleeper. So, I am concerned about giving it away. Fortunately, the teddy bear design on the other sleeper stitched very well and is so cute on the stripes.

On our last visit to see the parents, I raided Mom’s stash for brown ribbing and we found a small piece that I used on this sleeper.

Now, neither one of us have brown ribbing left in our stashes. Oh well, I guess I will just have to go fabric shopping and buy some more ribbing..

img_2586img_2585The bibs worked up easily and quickly and the results are so cute. I took the pictures before I washed the bibs so the top stabilizer is still over the designs.

If you want to see my original baby bib post you can find it HERE.

And in other good news, the husband was able to find me a great new source of fingertip towels for a great price and they are of excellent quality. So I am quite excited and I am back in the bib making business. I can now use the white tips towels from my new source or make my own if I want another color than white.

.P.S. I also got two new shirts cut out for the husband and so it was a very productive sewing day for me.

No, I didn’t forget about you…

IMG_1828This sleeper was supposed to be finished and sent to the little brother of the two nephews receiving the Pokemon shirts. But because I wanted to get the shirts to the older boys for school, the sleeper did not make it into the package since it wasn’t done at the time, but it is done now and on its way.

IMG_1830I made the sleeper from the larger size pattern I have and left the elastic off the back, thereby not defining a waist line. I also ran the stretch up and down instead of around. Hopefully, these two modifications will give the sleeper more grow room. (Special note for the nephew’s parents: Please let me know if leaving out the
elastic gives more grow room or if you would rather have the elastic in the back next time.) I am fairly sure that the vertical stretch will increase the grow room. I used some fabric scraps from the stash to make this sleeper and I used every inch of the scraps. Hurray! another piece of fabric out of the stash and in use. The sleeper sewed up great.

I was suppose to put a Pokemon design on this sleeper to match the nephews shirts, but I just couldn’t do it with all the cute designs I have. The wearer of this sleeper is young enough that I don’t think he really cares what is on his clothes and I don’t think his brothers really do either. While sewing the sleeper, the stripes kept saying baseball to me and of course, my favorite baseball player is…Snoopy, so Snoopy playing baseball was the correct design for this fabric and this sleeper. I think it is the perfect match.