Tag Archive | skills

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail on a Beautiful Easter Dress

IMG_0133Spring is finally here! And, with spring comes Easter.

And, what would be more fun to sew than a beautiful new Easter dress?

Since I would not be wearing an Easter dress anywhere this year, I decided that for my next sewing project I would make a little girl’s Easter dress. I still had the pattern from the last little girl’s dress that I had made laying on my cutting table, and I had wanted to make another version of this dress pattern, but while incorporation some of the things that I had learned from making the first dress, it was a very easy decision to use this as the pattern for the little girls Easter dress.

Easter dresses are usually very fancy with lots of ruffles and lace, but by picking this pattern, this Easter dress would be very basic. I could have added all of the ruffles and lace to this pattern but I decided not to. Rather than this dress being an Easter dress that would only be wore for a couple of hours one time on Easter morning, I thought it should be a fun dress with Easter bunnies on it that could be worn the week before Easter and then all day on Easter and after Easter was over too. Hopefully, it would be a fun dress that any little girl would enjoy wearing in the springtime!

P1040268Because of the pattern that I chose, it was easy to select the Easter bunny cotton fabric I had on hand as the dress fabric. This was a remanent I had picked up at Joann’s last sale that had not even made it to the stash yet. And for the lining fabric, I grabbed the yellow lining that I had used for the first dress. I thought that it worked well enough for the lining of the last dress and it matched the purple color of the dress fabric. Plus using it would save me a trip to the stash to look for some white lining fabric.

Cutting out this dress went smoothly but I did make some changes to it as I cut. I cut the bodice lining 1/2 inch longer, making it longer than the dress fabric. My hope was that the extra 1/2 inch of length would help with the “stitch in the ditch” seam when finishing the waist. Having a little more fabric to fold up should help if this slippery lining fabric started to unfold as it did on the first dress while it was being sewn. Hopefully this would help keep the raw edges from being exposed. I also decided while I was cutting out this dress to not stitch the lining and dress fabric together at the hem as I did before. I would hem the lining and the dress fabric separately. With this in mind, I cut the lining 2 inches shorter than the dress fabric so that there was no chance it would hang below the dress fabric after being hemmed.

P1040272Once it was all cut out I followed along with the pattern guide to make this dress the same way I had on the first dress. This time though I used the serger which I did not use on the first dress. I serged the bottom of the lining of the bodice. In doing so, I hoped that it would give me something to feel through the dress fabric as I “stitched in the ditch” at the waist as well as give a finished edge so that if the lining slipped while “stitching in the ditch” and was just barely caught, it would be catching on more than just a raw edge. Because I was not hemming the lining and the dress fabric together this time, I needed to finish the seams of the skirt and lining. I finished these with the serger as well as serging the hems before hemming. It had all worked well up to this point and as I had said, it was crazy not to use my available sewing tools to make a project better and easier. I used the floss method of gathering again because it had worked so well on the first dress.

P1040181The skill I needed to work on from the last dress was the finishing of the lining at the waist after the gathered skirt was attached to the dress fabric bodice or what I keep referring to as the “stitch in the ditch” seam. As mentioned, I had already taken measures to help assure the success of this seam by cutting the bodice lining longer and serging the edge. After pinning the lining to the bodice and getting ready to sew this seam, I could tell I was in for another disaster. The slippery lining was already falling out of place in between the pins. So I decided that I needed to rethink this. What could I do to hold the lining in place as I stitched on the dress fabric? The answer was to use some Seam to Seam adhesive paper. I cut 1/4 inch strips of Seam to Seam paper, stuck one adhesive side to the seam allowance of the skirt and bodice and then stuck the folded bodice lining to the other side. I then pinned the seam together again and headed for the sewing machine. At this point with all of my preparations, the sewing of this seam went smoothly. After completing it, I only had one spot where the lining had slipped and was missed by the seam and that was in a spot where I had skimped on using the Seam to Seam. One might say that using the Seam to Seam adhesive is a cheat and is not learning this sewing skill properly, but I say, hey, use the tools that are available to you. Plus, it still wasn’t a perfect seam. More practice is needed.

P1040271With the dress completed, it needed a little something to make it an Easter dress, so I decided to add a belt and tie to the waist. This would have been much easier if I had decided to add the belt and tie earlier in the sewing process, but I didn’t so I improvised it as best I could. To make the belt and tie, I measured the front bodice and cut a piece of white scrap to that length and made it 3 inches wide. Then, with the remainder of the white scrap, I cut two pieces as long as I had fabric by 3 inches wide. I then seamed these together to make one long piece of fabric. Folding the fabric lengthwise, I stitched the piece, turned the tube, and finished the ends. I lined the horizontal seam up with the side seams and then stitched it. I was going to stitch up one side seam, across the top of the tie on the bodice and then down the other side seam, then across the bottom, but when it came to stitching across the bottom, across the gathers of the skirt, I stopped. This was not going to work. If I had been stitching the belt and tie on while sewing the dress I would have put the bottom of the tie at the bottom of the bodice instead of over the skirt, but that did not happen. So instead I decided to leave the bottom unstitched. This does not look good on the hanger but I believe when the dress is being worn that the tie will be pulled tight and it will look fine. I wish the ties were longer but that was how big my scrap pieces were so that is length they are.

I am not as pleased with the belt and tie as I thought I would be but since it was an after thought on this dress, I think it is fine. Actually, the more I look at the tie the more I like it. I think the Easter dress turned out to be very cute. I have some bad news though. The little neighbor girl has moved away and I have lost my model for my kids clothes. So, I can’t tell you if leaving tie unstitched at the bottoms is ok when the dress is being worn. I am also unable to find out if it is preferred to have the dress fabric and lining hemmed to together or if having them hemmed separately is the way to go. I am going to have to find another 5 year old girl to wear my creations.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on!

Buzzing for Spring

happyspring2014-2Hurray for spring! Hurray for the return of warmer weather! Hurray for the return of the bunnies, the birds and the bees! Hurray for the green plants and flowers blooming! As spring emerges, I have watched the lavender plants in my yard bloom their beautiful purple flowers and watched the bees dance around as they do their job of pollinating them. All of these hard working bees got me thinking about all the fun free bee crochet patterns I had ran across over the winter and in that thought, my next crocheting project was chosen, a spring display of bees.

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P1040174The first bee pattern I wanted to make was found on the blog, http://kristenscrochet.blogspot.com. He is a fat little bee with stuffed wings. I started by picking out which colors to use which does not sound like a difficult task since the only colors that I needed for the bee where yellow, black and white. Of course, black and white were easy enough to pick out but I went through my entire yarn stash trying to find a bee colored yellow, not a bright yellow but then again not quite gold either. I could not find the color of yellow that I wanted in my entire stash. I had either bright yellows or golds. After debating for quite some time, I finally picked the bright yellow that I had.

The pieces of this bee P1040173crocheted up easily and the sewing went quickly with only the wings left to stitch on. When this bee was finished, the husband said he needed some antenna’s. So, looking at the next bee pattern that I was getting ready to start on, I copied the antenna from that pattern and attached them to this bee. The husband was right. The antenna’s were the finishing touch for this bee. The husband promptly named this bee Air Bee One after the big fat Boeing 747 that the president flies around in called Air Force One.

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P1040164The next bee pattern was found on a skein of Red Heart yarn. It can also be found on ravelry.com. Since the three colors of yarns were out and all ready to go, the crocheting started right away. The pieces of this bee were fun to crochet. The stitching together of this bee was a little more complicated than the last bee because of the six legs. Each leg had two yarns to attach it to the body with. At first I tried to stitch each yarn into the body, tie a knot in the single strand and then hide the knot. This was a lot of work and it had poor results. The arms were just not secure enough on the body. I tried a couple of things to secure the arms but I finally found that if I stitched the two yarns ends into the body, knotted them behind the arm and then hid the ends that I got a secure arm and the knot at the base of the arm was not even noticeable. This worked so well that I went back and reattached Air Bee One’s antenna this way too. This bee turned out very cute and was named Red after his pattern.

IMG_0004Bee number three’s pattern was found on ravelry.com. The pattern is called Bumble Bee Buddy by Ham and Eggs. After making the first two bees, the pieces for this bee crocheted up just as quickly. As I was crocheting the head, it was easy to see that this guy’s head was huge compare to his body. At first I thought it was just too big and it needed to be made smaller, but then I decided that no, it was fine, and that was what made this bee different from the last bees. The pattern only called for two legs and no antennas. This made this bee look incomplete to me, so I made him four more legs and some antenna’s and attached them like I did Red’s arms and antenna. Because the pattern called for the legs to be stitched making a picot at the end, I did the same for the antenna so they would match. And with this bee finished, he was named Hammy.

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P1040154I had planned to make a couple of more bee patterns that I had found online but when I found the pattern for the queen and worker bees at http://kimlapsley.blogspot.com, the other patterns got pushed to the side. Unfortunately, unlike the other bee patterns so far, the pattern for these bees was not as simple or easy. These bees were very detailed and had several pieces to be crocheted. The crocheting of the pieces took time and thought, especially for the queen bee. Luckily, I only needed one queen bee. Because of the detail in these bees, they took more time and thought to stitch together as well. To complete their eyes, I spent a couple of hours cutting tiny black felt dots and then had to have a glue party with the husband to get the tiny felt dots attached to the white crocheted bases. But, in the end, all this extra work and thought paid off. The queen and her worker bees turned out fantastic. And I think they are just so funny.

Bees4Bees3Thanks to the husbands wonderful ideas and photography skills, I have a great spring diorama of my bees to be sent out with my Spring Fling cards. We bought a vase, some silk flowers and a few wooden dowels, and photographed the bees on a green back ground. We had a fun time together arranging the bees in various poses and taking their pictures. Then the husband went to work and photoshopped the dowels out of the pictures and created me a fun springtime photo of my bees.

My spring fling with the bees was now over and I had had a great time making each bee. And I now have a fun spring display of flowers and bees and some great photos of my work.

Until next time, Crochet forth and crochet on!