Tag Archive | Edge

Covering The Board

IMG_3802My ironing board is old. Well old for an ironing board anyway. I am still using my very first ironing board that I purchased nearly 30 years ago! Of course, the ironing board cover has been replaced many times over that 30+ years. An ironing board cover can only have so much iron-on interfacing glued to it before it needs to be replaced. And each time I replace the ironing board cover, I wonder if I should just replace the whole ironing board instead of just the cover.

IMG_3800I ask this because the cost of a nice cover is about the same as an new inexpensive board with a cover. The question I ask myself every time I buy a new cover is “Have ironing boards technically changed over the years and gotten better to where I am missing out on something by not buying a new board?”

So, this time when it was time to replace the cover, I decided to purchase a whole new ironing board and see if I have been missing out on anything over the years.

IMG_0894While standing in the middle of the isle of Walmartia, I found that I had three choices (i.e. three prices) to choose from. I decided to start at the lowest of the prices. I purchased the least expensive ironing board and took it home. Unfortunately, this ironing board was not inexpensive, it was cheap. To start, it only stood on two pole legs and it was very unsteady. It teetered this was and that every time I pushed my iron across the board. I had to keep catching it to keep it from falling over as I ironed.

IMG_0899The cover on this board was super thin with no padding at all and it was drawn tight around the board with a thin string and a clamp. The board itself was not a solid piece of metal either. It was a metal mesh desk with giant diamond holes in it with an attached outside edge. The diamond mesh was very bumpy to iron on, but the lip made by the attached edge caught the iron and interrupted the ironing process. Plus, this board had a very narrow tip end to the full size of the board, giving me less ironing space where I iron the most. This ironing board was certainly not a replacement for my current ironing board, so undaunted I tried again and back to the store I went!

IMG_0893This time I purchased the middle priced ironing board with higher hopes. It was just a little more expensive than a new cover for my old board was, and this ironing board had two legs in each direction, so I already knew it was going to be superior to the cheap ironing board I had previously purchased. It still had the diamond mesh board top, but I was hopeful that it would be made better and have a better cover, plus it had accessories. This ironing board had an iron holder at the end to give you more board to work on and keep the iron from tipping over when not in use. It also had a shelf on the legs.

IMG_0900This ironing board was certainly steadier than the last board and it did not fall over with the pressure of the iron moving back and forth, but the edge of the mesh top still had a lip. I might not have noticed the lip so much if once again, this ironing board did not have the same thin, non padded, tied on with string, cover that the cheap board had. If I kept this board I would immediately have to replace the cover. So, it was up to the accessories to “wow” me into replacing my old ironing board with this one.

I’m sorry to say, the accessories did not “wow” me. I am sure that for some, the shelf attached to the legs of the board is the greatest thing ever, but for me it was not. My ironing board has to be movable and with stuff stacked on the shelf, this board became unmovable. So, for me, the shelf would never be used. Plus, I don’t need another shelf to stack stuff on.

IMG_0897The next accessory was the iron holder. This holder is a great idea in keeping a hot iron from becoming a hot burn. But, what I found was that the holder created more work for me when ironing so I would never use it. When I iron, I mostly use the top half of the board, so I had to take extra walking steps to place the iron on the holder. It did not take long to tire of – iron, take two steps to set the iron on holder, take two steps back, move the garment, take two steps to pick up the iron, take two step back to the garment, and then repeat these steps. Simply put, my iron was not at arms reach, so if I kept this board I would not use the holder. Since the accessories did not work out for me, I saw no reason to replace my current ironing board with this board either.

IMG_3797Upon examining the highest price ironing board at Walmart, I found a duplicate of my current ironing board. Walmart had two styles of the this price ironing board. The first was the same diamond mesh board as the lower priced boards and there was no way I was purchasing that one even if the cover was thicker and nicer because of the previous issues with the mesh boards. The second board looked just like the ironing board I currently have at home in the sewing room, except that the cover was not as nice. So, why spend the money for a new ironing board when it was exactly what I already had?

IMG_3798I guess nothing new and revolutionary has occurred over the years to improve the ironing board. With my new knowledge of ironing boards, I decided I would be keep my same old ironing board and replacing the cover.

As I looked at new ironing board covers, I learned that they are the same as new ironing boards. You get what you pay for with the lowest price covers being thin, non padded and string tightened and the higher prices ones being thicker, padded and velcroed on. With what I had learned from my ironing board experiment, I went ahead and purchased the higher priced, thicker, padded, velcroed cover. The new cover fits my old ironing board great and I am back to ironing on my latest sewing project. Stay tuned to see it soon!

Until then, sew forth and iron on!

Star Wars Senior

DSCN4060DSCN4067“They won’t fit.” That is the reply I got from the husband when I showed him my latest sewing project, the kid’s Star Wars sweatshirts. What do you mean they won’t fit? These shirts will fit a 2 year old just fine. Then, it dawned on me. These shirts would not fit the green eyed husband. So, my next sewing project would be a Star Wars shirt for the husband.

 

Looking at my Star Wars embroidery designs, I picked a maroon colored knit from the stash for the husbands shirt. After laundering the fabric, I laid it out on the cutting table to get started only to find out that the maroon fabric was not big enough to make a shirt for the husband a shirt from it. So, the husband picked a black knit from the stash for the sleeves and the collar. As I cut out the fabric, I was glad that I did not have enough of the maroon fabric. The black and maroon fabrics looked really good together. Far better than the maroon would have looked alone.

 

DSCN4044DSCN4043It’s been awhile since I have made the husband a new shirt, but the sewing process went smoothly enough. Both the maroon and black knit fabric are nice fabrics and where easy to work with. The husband picked his embroidery design, the Stormtrooper with the sun ray rising sun background, and it embroidered on to the shirt nicely.

 

All was going along nicely until the husband picked white/clear buttons and white thread for the double needle hems on the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves. I was more then a little apprehensive about this. Sometimes when using a double needle, my sewing machine and the knit fabric that I’m DSCN4065DSCN4063sewing with like to argue during the sewing process. I can hide a lot of this arguing with a matching thread color but could I hide the arguing with a white contrasting thread?

 

Luckily, as I mentioned before, these were nice knit fabrics to work with and they did not argue with the double needle and the hems sewed fairly smoothly and they look good.

Finally with the last step of sewing the buttons on, the husband’s Star Wars shirt was done!

 

DSCN4041DSCN4042But before I could go back to sewing some more kid’s Star Wars clothes, the husband pointed out the Chewbacca fleece blanket kit we purchased at Joann’s last half price sale. After the husband gave me some sweet puppy dog eyes that said “Please make my blanket next”, I got started on his blanket.

 

To increase the size of the blanket, I did not cut off the black dotted line edges of the blanket that were supposed to be cut into strips and then tied together. Instead I squared the top and bottom fleece pieces and then sewed them wrong side together 1/8 inch from the edge. Next I cut 1/4 inches from the edge with the skip stitch blade. The blanket was then ready for its edge to be crocheted on.

 

DSCN4035DSCN4038After crocheting the foundation row, I tried several different edges like scallops and triangles but the husband liked the chained edge the best. So I chained 3, skipped 2 stitches on the foundation row, then slip stitched in the 3rd stitch. On the next row, after changing colors, I chained 3 then slip stitched in the next chain 3 of the 2nd row. For the 3rd row, I picked a different color but I didn’t like the multicolor look so I changed back to the foundation rows color and crocheted the 3rd row like the 2nd row. I had planned to crochet a 4th and 5th row, but this did not look good so I stopped after the 3rd row.

 

The husband was pleased with his finished Chewbacca blanket as well as his new Stormtrooper shirt. Both were fun for me to sew and crochet. Now, that the green eyed monster has left the sewing room. I can get back to sewing more kid’s clothes.

Until then, sew and crochet forth and remember to always let the Wookiee win!

In The Hoodie

DSCN1257Even though Leftovers the bunny turned out so cute and I love his turtle neck bulky yarn sweater, I still wanted to make a version of bunny with the hoodie from the pattern. This lead me to my next amigurumi project, another bunny from the same pattern but this time with a hoodie.

DSCN1252Instead of looking for a specialty yarn to make the hoodie, I just picked some good old Red Heart yarn, and since it was almost time for my relay for life raffle donations, I picked breast cancer pink as the color.

The pieces of this bunny were easy to crochet especially since I had made the pattern before. I crocheted all the white parts, the ears, head, and legs but after finishing the body with the pink top, I realized that I had underestimated the amount of yarn I needed yet again. I was not going to have enough of the pink yarn I was using for the sleeves on the arms and to finish the hoodie.

DSCN1250This time though, I had used a normal Red Heart yarn so I could easily get more if I needed some. I first turned to the stash where I have numerous skeins of pink yarns, but guess what? None of the pink skeins in the stash matched the pink I was using. I would need to go to the store and buy more yarn to match the pink yarn or undo the body and use another pink. Bemoaning either of these options, the husband stepped in. He looked at the pink skeins of yarn in the stash and picked one he said was close enough. Hmmm. I had enough of the pink I was using for the hoodie but not the sleeves. Was this other pink close enough? I decided to go for it and see. So, I crocheted the hoodie next.

DSCN1253The hoodie crocheted up smoothly. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. To make certain I was on the right track as I crocheted the hoodie, I stitched the head, ears, and body of the bunny together so I had something to try my hoodie on. I was able to crochet the entire hoodie from the current pink yarn I was using. I then crocheted the arms of the bunny with the other pink yarn and stitched the arms and legs to the bunny. The husband was right. If you know I used two different pink yarns and look really closely, you can see the difference. If not, the second pink yarn matches the first pink yarn just fine.

With the bunny stitched completely together, I pulled the hoodie on and handed the bunny to the husband. After inspecting the bunny, he said that the hoodie needed to be bigger, at least one more row around the bunny’s face. Now, how was I going to add one more row around his face since it was made out of the that pink yarn that I had ran out of?

DSCN1248The answer was a white decorative edge all around the hoodie, around the face and the neck, and to make the hoodies ties white as well.

I tried a couple of different decorative stitch edges around the hoodie, but I finally settled on just a simple half double crochet. It was easy to do and it added a simple but decorative edge. The husband liked the extra white row as well.

DSCN1255I debated about whether to leave the hoodie removable or stitch it permanently to the bunny’s head. The pattern did not stitch the hoodie to the head and after bugging the husband about it repeatedly, I decided to leave the hoodie removable. Since I expect a child to play with this bunny and to remove the hoodie often, I had the husband give the ears a good tug to make sure they were secure and would withstand the hoodie being pulled on and off repeatedly.

DSCN1242I’m not really happy with the hoodie, and to me, it looks like a bonnet, but that might be because of the pink or the white decorative edge, or because it is removable. The bunny is still very cute though, with or without the hoodie/bonnet on, so I am not too disappointed with the end results. I think some little girl will really enjoy playing with this bunny. I do see another bunny with a hoodie in my future. Next time though, I will use a dark color or gray for the hoodie and no decorative edge and maybe stitch it to the neck so it can be taken off the head but not removed. We will see.

Until then, crochet forth and hoodie on!

Simplicity 2480 – The Jacket – Part 4

DSCN0984With the pockets now completed, it was finally time to stitch the jacket! The first step was to insert the zipper. Remembering the lessons that I had learned from inserting the zipper in the little girl’s peplum jacket, this zipper sewed in much easier. And I did not need to move the needle over to sew the zipper on like I did the last time. The only challenge I faced with this zipper was deciding just how long I wanted the zipper to be.

Did I want it to extend into the collar or stop just before the collar? DSCN0807

The pattern called for the zipper to be inserted into the collar, but If I stopped the zipper at the collar, I could attach the collar as I would the collar of a camp shirt, finishing it off with a little twill tape.

If I followed the pattern instead and inserted the zipper into the collar, some hand stitching would be required to finish the collar. Now, you know how much I just “love” hand stitching, so you can guess which plan I was leaning towards, but then I remembered that I was making this jacket to learn so I decided to follow the pattern and insert the zipper into the collar, and then do the required hand stitching. After sewing on the zipper and facings, I hand stitched the edge of the collar to the back of the jacket. This went a lot smoother than I expected it to. I think I did a pretty good job on the hand stitching and that it will hold up with wearing.

Now that it is done I am pleased with the results of how I attached the zipper, collar and facings. DSCN0737Before I started this pattern, I read some pattern reviews for this pattern on the internet and one of the things mentioned about this pattern was that the sleeves were extremely wide. I could see this as I traced the sleeve part of the pattern, so I decided, based on the size of my wrists, to grade 4 inches out of the the width of the sleeves starting at the wrist.

I think the wearer of this jacket will like the thinner sleeves and it saved on fabric. I inserted the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves as the pattern called for. I think that will also help with any extra blousing from the wide sleeves. DSCN0989I interfaced the facings and collar before sewing them on. I just grabbed the first interfacing that I pulled from the stash to use, but I wished later that I would have looked a little closer.

Now, with the interfacing applied and the jacket sewn up, the interfacing that I used is too heavy for the fleece. The heavy interfacing makes the collar stiff so that it only wants to stand up. The heavy interfacing is also a problem at the inseam pockets. Because I used two pieces of fleece to make the pockets, they are already bulky but when I added the heavily interfaced facing on top of the pockets at the bottom of the jacket by the zipper, it is even bulkier.

Lesson learned. DSCN0987

Upon completion, I stared at the jacket and it looked very odd to me. It looked like it would never fit anyone.

It’s was so small in circumference but long in length in both the sleeves and the body of the jacket. Who would have such odd body proportions. Then it dawned on me what I had done. I had made a extra small adult jacket, and not an extra large child’s jacket. Once I figured this out I could finally picture a young slender adult wearing this jacket without any problem. An unforeseen lesson in sizing and fit was learned this time around. Although this jacket may not be perfect, and some of the seams are not very straight, I am still pleased with the end results.

I learned a lot, and it has left me with several ideas and sewing techniques that I want to try and work on in the future. I hope some one will enjoy wearing this jacket and that it will fit them well.

Until next time, sew forth and jacket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #3 and #4 – Part 3

Version 4As mentioned in a previous post, I had already decided not to make the side in seam pockets with a zipper closure as the pattern had called for, so I set the pattern guide aside and thought up my own plan for sewing these pockets. Most of my ideas came from the in seam side pockets I had sewn in a little kid’s polar fleece jacket several years ago but with a few changes.

The pockets on the kid’s jacket were just one piece which was sewn to the front of the jacket to make the pocket. An open rectangle was sewn at the side seam for the opening of the pocket and then the pocket sewn to the front of the jacket to complete the pocket. The seam attaching the pocket to the jacket was seen on the front of the jacket.

DSCN0768The pattern I was currently working with called for these pockets to be make from two pieces so the pocket is not sewn to the front of the jacket. I liked the idea of not having a visible seam on the front of this jacket. So, to make the opening of the pocket, I placed one piece of the pocket on the front of the jacket, right sides together and sewed, cut and turned the rectangle for the opening. Next, I sewed the second pocket piece to the first pocket piece to complete the pocket.

DSCN0802 (1)The pattern called for the first piece of these pockets to be a lining fabric instead of using two pieces of the fleece. The reason for this was the bulk. It you were using a heavy polar fleece, two pieces would be very bulky, but I was not using polar fleece, my fabric was just a sweatshirt fleece, so I made both sides of these pockets with the same fabric. Two pieces of the fleece didn’t seem that bulky to begin with, but when it was added to a third piece, the front of the jacket, the pocket was then getting a little bulky. It was not so bulky that I was willing to unpick and restitch the pockets but the lesson was learned. Don’t double up fleece when making pockets with it!

With pockets #3 and #4 done now it was time to insert the zipper and finish up the jacket. That’s coming up next so stay tuned.

Until next time, sew forth and in-seam pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #2 – Part 2

Version 3I’ve sewn patch pockets before, so I did not pay much attention to the pattern guide as I sewed on the front patch pockets of this jacket, but when it came to the zippered front pocket, I read and studied the pattern guide throughly. When all was said and done, I wish I had not. Let me explain why.

Per the pattern guide instructions, I traced the cut lines for this zippered pocket onto a piece of interfacing and ironed it to the front of the jacket. Next, I cut on the cutting lines. The next step was to sew the shortened zipper to the small pieces that were made by the cutting lines. Because the pieces were very small, and the zipper was bulky and the fleece had stretch to it, this was not easy. It was difficult to sew a nice straight seam. I worked through it though and finally got the zipper sewn to the front of the jacket.

DSCN0753The next step was to sew the pocket to the zipper. Once again this proved to be a challenge. I had to sew the pocket to the zipper tape and the small cutting line pieces as I held the rest of the jacket out of the way and worked through the bulk and the stretch. My seams were not straight or even on this pocket but I finally finished it. The finished pocket is far from perfect, but it does not look too bad so I decided to call it done.

The reasons that I decided to call this pocket good enough for now was that I had no intentions of sewing another zippered pocket this way again. As I struggled to sew this pocket together, my thoughts drifted to what I had read about welt pockets. Wouldn’t it be easier to have sewn this pocket on like a welt pocket? Yes, I think so.

DSCN0756When I sew another zippered pocket, I will approach it as a welt pocket. I will sew the pocket to the front of the jacket, cut the cutting lines, and turn the pocket to the inside. This will give me a nice rectangle for the zipper. Instead of folding the pocket fabric into a welt at this point, the zipper will be top stitched to the rectangle, then the pocket fabric will be sewn together on the inside as if the welt had be formed and sewn in place.

DSCN0759I’m anxious to try the zippered welt pocket sewing plan that I have thought up to see it my ideas are valid. So, for about one second I did consider taking off the patch pocket and adding another zippered pocket instead. Then I remembered the liquid seam that I had used to finish the patch pocket and decided to leave the patch pocket alone and continue on with the rest of the jacket. My zippered welt pocket plan would have to wait for another project. And with that, it was time to sew pockets 3 and 4 to this jacket, the in seam side pockets. So, stay tuned to see how they turned out in the next post.

Until then, sew forth and zipper pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #1

fabric-comicEven though the peplum jacket finally ended up as a wearable item in the end, it did not follow my current sewing plan of sewing jackets with pockets very well. And since I was wanting to get back to my sewing plans, I turned this time to the pattern stash for ideas and a new pattern to try out. And I found a great one in the Simplicity 2480 pattern. This pattern is for a jacket with several different types of pockets and it fit with my current sewing plans nicely. The only problem I had with this pattern was that it was adult sized. When I try out new sewing techniques and practice them, I prefer to sew children’s sized clothes since it is less wasted time and fabric if it does not work out. But because this pattern fit my current sewing plan so well, I decided to make it in a size XS to minimize any problems. That should be about the right size for a girl in the 7-9 year old range.

IMG_0025Since I still had a lot of the pink fleece left over from the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick it as the fabric to use for this jacket. And, since I liked the white zipper in the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick another white zipper for this jacket too, and it was even easier to select a white zipper for the front pocket. The pattern called for two more zippers for the side pockets, but I decided to just make them open inseam side pockets and leave the zippers off, so I only needed the one small zipper. With the fabric laundered, the pattern traced and the pieces of the pattern cut from the fabric, it was time to get started sewing the pockets.

DSCN0751The first pocket was the front patch pocket. It was not difficult to sew on but what I learned was that it takes lots of practice to sew on nice looking patch pockets. There is a practiced skill involved in attaching them, and although this pocket did not look too bad on the second try, I still had not quite caught all the edges of the pocket on the curve. I was so close to having caught the edges that rather than unpicking the pocket and trying it again, I just used some liquid seam to seal the edges.

DSCN0802 - Version 2Now, I know this was cheating as far as the sewing plan goes of learning to sew pockets properly, but I felt that unpicking and re-stitching the pocket on would have hurt the plan more. I would have been flustered by the unpicking and restitching process and I would have not wanted to sew pockets anymore. I know this will not be my last patch pocket that I will ever sew on, so I will have a lot of other opportunities to continue to practice and improve my sewing skills of sewing on patch pockets in the future.

With the patch pocket all stitched on the front of the jacket, it was time to start the next pocket, the zippered front pockets. So stay tuned for how the next pocket turned out.

Until then, sew forth and pocket on!

Doubling the Edge

dscn0498dscn0527On one of my journeys into the stash, I ran across two fleece blanket kits that I had purchased on clearance many years ago. “Why had I purchase these?” I wondered to myself. A John Deer Blanket? A Christmas Blanket? “What was I thinking?”

Well I will tell you what I was thinking, they were cheap and they were fleece and they were blankets and I needed them to live in the stash. But alas, their time had finally come. They would no longer just live in the stash. They were blankets and since it would soon be getting cold, they needed to be made into blankets and used as blankets. I would not be keeping these blankets once they were made. They needed to go to a good home and to live with someone who needed a blanket. And even though they would be leaving, I would still get the pleasure of transforming them from a kit in to a useable blanket, and that is the real reason of why I bought them.

dscn0506Prepping the fleece was the first step in this adventure. At first I thought about making 4 single layered blankets from the two kits, but then I decided to make the kits just as they came and to make two double layered blankets. Because I wanted to crochet around the blankets instead of just cutting and knotting the edges, I had to attach the two layers together before I could use the skip stitch blade to make my edges to crochet.

Sewing the wrong sides together and turning the blanket, like I would if I was using flannel, would have given me too bulky of a seam with the 4 layers of dscn0528fleece along the edge. And I did not want that bulky edge.

Because the fleece would not ravel like flannel would, I decided to skip the turning part. So, after squaring the fleece, I held the wrong sides together and sewed along the edge of the blanket, about 1/4 inch in. This made the edge of the blanket only two layers thick. Next, using the skip stitch blade, I cut 1/2 inch from the edge of the blanket to make the slits for crocheting. I did not cut off the dotted lines part of the top fleece. These dotted lines were the cutting guide to be used if you were knotting the edge of the blanket together. I did not think the lines looked bad around the design and it made the blanket just that much larger.

dscn0505With the skip stitch portion done, it was time to start crocheting. Since both blankets were in masculine colors, I decided to make a simple edge, with no scoops or scallops.

The first row was the foundation row into the skip stitch cuts. For the second row I changed to the complimentary color and did a chain 3, skipping every other stitch. Changing back to the foundation row color, the third row was a chain 3 and then slipstitched into each of the second dscn0530rows chain 3.

I have made this edge several times before on baby blankets and it is a quick crochet and I love the look of it when it is done.

One difference between these blankets and some other blankets I have made, was that I got quite warm under these larger fleece double blankets while I was crocheting the edges compared to a lighter flannel baby blanket. This was actually ok this time of year, but I will not be making any of these large double thick fleece blankets in July.

Now that they are completed, these blankets are ready to find a needed home.

Until next time, crochet forth and blanket on!

Take Off That Hat And Scarf! It’s Still Summertime out there!

DSCN0243I must have been trying to think of cool thoughts while enduring the heat of the summer when I decided that my next amigurumi project would be a penguin.

Actually, a more accurate reason for choosing it was the purchase of a particular color of variegated yarn. I love the extremes of it. First a bright neon color then the complete opposite, black, then the bright neon color again. What would show off the burst of colors in this P1040325yarn? Of course, an animal with the same contrast, a black and white penguin.

I found the cutest penguin pattern and it included instructions to make a hat and scarf too. The crocheting of the pieces went smoothly, and the pattern was very well written with lots of detailed pictures. The only change that I made to the pattern was the penguin’s white belly spot. The pattern called for just a round white circle for the belly spot, but that looked odd to me. So, I undid the last round and added some double crochets to what would be the top of the spot, making it an oval at the top and round at the bottom. This looked better to me than just the round circle did. The oval top seemed to fill the belly area of the body better.

P1040335Stuffing and stitching the pieces together went smoothly as well. Soon enough, I had an adorable penguin all crocheted up! I actually thought about stopping there, but the whole reason for making this amigurumi was to use the new variegated yarn, so I started crocheting again to make the scarf and hat.

The scarf was no problem to crochet and it was a good length after being tied around the penguin’s neck. The hat was also a simple crochet to make. There is one thing I thought about changing on the hat and that was the color of the last round of the cap. The last round is crocheted in double crochet versus the single crochets of the rest of the cap, to give the cap a finished edge. This edge is lost when made in the variegated yarn. I thought about undoing the double crochet round and chaining the color to black. But I figured that would that just make the double crochets blend with the penguin’s black head and I would lose the edge anyway. In the end, I decided to leave the double crochet round in the variegated yarn, mostly because I love this variegated yarn on the black and white penguin.

DSCN0241The challenge for this amigurumi came with the pompom on the hat. I know how to make a pompom, but I have never had any luck making a successful one. They always fall apart on me. I thought about leaving the pompom off the hat but I really wanted one so I got started on it. After trying a couple of times to make the pompom and having it fall apart on me, I was ready to quit. So after filling the bottom of the garbage can with failed pompoms, I decided that the hat did not need a pompom after all. I showed the husband the completed penguin with the pompomless hat and scarf and his first comment was “Where’s the pompom?” Flustered I showed him the garbage can and explained to him how I had been trying to make the pompoms with no success. He said to let him try. I watched closely as he did the exact same thing that I had done to make a pompom, DSCN0247but when he pulled the yarn to tie the knot, he pulled it so much tighter than I could have had pulled it, I found my problem. The husband’s pompom was a success and I promptly stitched it to the top of the hat for the penguin. It looks great and best of all it did not fall apart. Unfortunately for the husband, he is now the official pompom maker.

This penguin was quickly named Paulie, not a very original name, but a good name. I think Paulie is very cute and was fun to make and I love his hat and scarf from the variegated yarn the most.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.

Simplicity 5540 -The Tomboy Dress

IMG_0024This dress is just too cute with the two matching fabrics, the buttons down the front, the gathered pockets and the little shorts. This little dress is a great design. A little girl can look so cute and proper for school with the buttons all buttoned up and then she can unbutton those buttons to reveal the little shorts to then ride her bike or run around the playground. It is the perfect tom boy dress in my opinion, and I could not wait to make it. The pattern front said that it was easy to sew, further encouraging me to get started right away. But, the pattern description was a little white lie. I quickly learned that for me this little dress was going to be a long and involved sewing project.

Picking the main fabric with the pink and white check pattern was easy. This fabric was purchased with the fabric I used to make the bubble top of my last post so many years ago, but this piece was actual yardage and not just large scrap pieces. One nice thing about this fabric was that it came out of the washer and dryer without too many wrinkles. I did have to make a trip to Joann’s to get the accent pink for the trim as I did not have that on hand.

P1040470P1040468I traced the size 6 from the pattern and after tracing the bodice and skirt, I noticed there were still many more pieces left to trace due to all the trim and tie pieces. This was not a problem, but it took extra time to trace and cut out of the pattern pieces, and then to cut out the dress from the fabric. Once I had done this my excitement to make this dress had not waned, so I was willing to put the extra time. Since there was not a direction to the design of this fabric, I put a little piece of tape at the bottom of the skirt pieces as I cut them so I could later identify the top from bottom on them.

The next thing I did was read the pattern guide twice before taking my first stitch. After seeing the number of pattern pieces for this dress and reading the pattern guide, I knew this was not going to be the easy or quick sew like the pattern cover had claimed it was going to be, but I decided there was a lot to learn from making this dress and it would still be fun to make. I followed the pattern guide closely as I stitched the trim and ties to the bodice pieces and then stitched the bodice pieces together. The upside down “L” trim pieces on the front of the bodice were tricky to stitch. I did an ok job on them, but I learned a lot and would probably do a better job next time.

P1040378Next up were the pockets. I will be the first to admit that I need more practice when making pockets, the shaping and styling of pockets as well as just making different types of pockets. I knew this fact as I started these pockets, but I was still willing to give it my best. If the pockets did not work out, I could just leave them off so there wasn’t any fear of messing them up. Still following the pattern guide, I made the casing for the elastic at the top of the pockets and inserted it. Still no problems had arisen so I continued on. Next came ironing the edges so that the pockets could be top stitched on. This was not working well at all. As I stopped to think about it, I decided I needed to gather the pockets to help get the round shape I wanted from them, much like you gather a sleeve cap when inserting a fitted sleeve. The gathers would not show on top of the pocket but it would be in the seam to help ease the curve.

P1040403Because I only needed a small amount of gathers to round the pockets, I decided to use the serger method of gathering that I had read about recently. Using this method would take care of two steps. If I serged around the pockets, not only could I use the serger to make the needed gathers, it would also finish off the edges of the elastic at the top of the pockets. After serging the edges of the pockets, I found the needle threads of the serging at the curves and pulled them. This gathered the fabric together. I was then able to iron the curved edges so I could top stitch the pockets on. This left the serging messy with loops but I just tucked the loops into the seam as I stitched the pocket on. The serged gathers worked nicely for rounding the pockets and I think the pockets look pretty good. I still need more practice, of course but these pockets turned out well enough to leave them on the dress.

P1040400The next step I did of sewing the skirt and trim went smoothly. I used the floss method for gathering the skirt, then sewed it to the bodice, and then added the lining. The step after that is where I varied from the pattern guide. Before finishing the lining, the guide called for a fitting of the dress and adjusting the straps to the needed length, then stitching the straps in place and finishing the lining. Since I had no idea of what length the straps needed to be, I decided not to stitch the straps in at this time. I would instead attach the straps in the next step P1040475with the top stitching of the trim. This way, if the straps needed to be adjusted once it was tried on, only the top stitching has to be undone and not the lining finish and the seams inside where the straps are attached. I finished the lining’s stitch in the ditch seam with a little help from some seam to seam adhesive. Because the lining of the skirt was made from the main fabric and not a slippery lining fabric, the stitch in the ditch seam sewed rather smoothly and nicely. Unlike the last skirt I made, I did not have to go back and restitch any places this time. The final steps to complete this dress were the top stitching of the trim where I stitched the straps into place and then the hem and the dress was done.

DSCN0192The shorts were next in line to stitch. The shorts pattern was very basic, just 4 pieces in total with two front pieces, two back pieces and an elastic waist with no pockets. I believe that all kids clothes need pockets, so I debated if I wanted to add patch pockets or side seams pockets to these shorts. I finally decided on no pockets. These shorts would be better if they were straight and flat without the added bulk of pockets. This way they would be less obvious under the dress when it was being worn buttoned up fully. Yet I still wanted to add something to the shorts to give them a little flair, so I decided to add a little slit at the side seams. I finished the side seams flat before sewing the seam together. I then sewed the side seams stoping two inches before the bottom of the shorts. Next, I hemmed the shorts. This formed the slits on the side. I then stitched around DSCN0195the slits to finish up this added detail. The slits were easy to make and added a nice touch to the simple shorts. I made the shorts in white even though that is not a great color for a little girl to play in but the denim fabric I used is very durable and washes well. I am also hoping that the shorts can be universally worn, either with this dress or with the bubble top I previously made or anything else as well.

I feel that this completed dress and shorts set turned out great! I think it is a very cute outfit and will be fun for a little girl to wear. I learned a lot on the construction of this dress and I had a chance to practice pockets, top stitching and stitching in the ditch. I am happy that I stuck with it and endured to the end with this project. It might not have been an easy project like the pattern stated but it was worth the work in the end.