Thursday, June 28, 2012

Attaching a skirt to a shirt makes a dress

Thank you to A Small Snippet for inspiring me.

I loved this shirt, but it is too short, and it shows my kangaroo pouch.  Even though I love it, I haven't worn it since I got the kangaroo pouch. (Love the kids, but there were definitely sacrifices made to have them. :))

So I found some fabric that matched it, and made me a dress out of it.  It took about an hour.

In the original tutorial, she used elastic thread to gather the fabric, and a sash to cover where the shirt attaches to the skirt.  I had just got some fantastic colored elastic and thought perhaps I could try that instead.

In my experience, elastic thread can be so unpredictable in the final width, while if I used an elastic, I could measure out exactly how wide I wanted my skirt to end up.

I described how to attach a skirt to an exposed elastic in the last post.  Takes lots of pinning, but it's worth it.

First things first.
1.  Measure how wide you want the elastic to be.  I planned to have the skirt meet the shirt below my bustline, so I measured that width, plus a half inch for seam allowance and any day I might feel more bloated than I do today.

2.  Divide and pin the skirt and elastic (as shown here).  Then stretch the elastic as you sew them together so that it is as long as the fabric.  Ends up looking like this.

3.  Cut off the shirt where you want it to attach to the skirt (plus a quarter inch for the seam).

4.  Divide and pin the shirt and elastic the same way you did the skirt and elastic.  They should be about the same size, so there won't be as much stretching when you sew them together.

This is where I used a serger, because I wanted this seam to have some stretch.  The knit was stretchy and so is the elastic.  I imagine there's another way to make this a stretchy seam, but I couldn't tell you.  Sorry.

It ends up looking like this.  Perhaps I will iron it, so that the elastic shows more.

The last thing to do was to hem the skirt.  I would have liked to make it a maxi, as my inspiration did, but I didn't quite have enough fabric, so it ends up somewhere below my knees.  Perhaps if I don't like it enough, I'll put a ruffle on it.  But for now, it's lightweight, (which is necessary with the current weather) and full enough to run after any stray toddlers. AND it took an hour.  Faster than shopping.  I'll take it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stripes and Lace Skirt

Such sweet pink and white striped fabric called to me to be made into something.  And an occasion gave me an excuse:  the birth of a little girl, the third little girl in this family.  So I made matching skirts for all of them.  

I made it pretty simple.  A straight skirt, about 1 1/2 times the width of the waist.  Then I lined the hem with some beautiful lace my mother-in-law gave me.

The exposed elastic has become my new favorite thing--because of the way it looks, the ease of sewing it in (I hate threading elastic through a casing.) and the comfort of it.

My elastic is about 1/3 inch shorter than the waist measurement, just because I've noticed that elastic stretches once it's sewn on, and my hipless three year old needs things to fit tight or they'll fall down.

Once I'd serged my elastic into a tube, I folded the elastic into fourths and pinned it.  Then I did the same thing with my skirt.  Then I matched the pins and pinned them together.

 Notice that the skirt is wider than the elastic?  When I sewed the two together, I pulled the elastic, and stretched it to the same length as the skirt.  This causes the skirt to gather.

A quick, simple, cute project.  Does that sound familiar?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tiered Maxi Dress

I wanted a dress that was cool enough for the summer, but long enough that I don't have to worry about whether I'd shaved my legs that day.  Enter the tiered maxi dress.

This was made from four xtra large men's shirts that I happened to have.

For the top shirt, I placed a t-shirt that fits me well on top of the men's shirt and traced down from the shoulder seam, through the arms eyes and a few inches beyond.

Then I cut it out.  I cut out the sleeves and traced my t shirt sleeves on top, keeping the hem of the existing sleeves.  Then I sewed the sleeves back in and down the side.

Originally, the top part was going to end below the bustline--like an empire waist.  But I sewed it a little too tight, so I cut it off above the bust.

Then I cut up the remaining shirts into as wide a strips and I could get them.  I figured how long I'd need each tier to be by timesing the upper tier by 1.5.

Then it was just a matter of gathering the current tier and sewing it onto the tier above it.  I made certain that I had the hem from the t shirt for my bottom tier so I wouldn't have to hem it.

I love how the dress doesn't touch me below the bustline.  Super Comfy.

This just might come in handy, if I were to gain a little weight around the waist....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Microwaving non-microwave popcorn

I had a friend tell me about this and I was skeptical, but I gave it a shot.

1.  I bought one of those 2 lb bags of normal, not microwave popcorn. (for $1.50!)

2.  I poured a handful of kernels into a very normal paper bag (I actually used one I got from a grocery store.)

3.  I put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes.  Within one minute, the popcorn was popping!

4.  Just like with normal microwave popcorn, when the popcorn started to slow down, I took it out.

Looks like normal popcorn, tastes like normal popcorn.


The sad, but true answer is, YES.

Please pass this on.  Let's expose this lie for what it is! :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lounge Pants using existing pants as a pattern

My sister in law wanted some comfy lounge pants.  I liked the idea of the challenge of making pants for an adult.  So I gave it a shot.

She gave me some of her favorite shorts to use as a pattern.  Now these shorts were pretty tight, but that's how she wanted the pants--tight around the hips and then fuller and lounge-y.

So I took the shorts and lined them up with the crotch in the front and traced the front.

Then I did the same for the back.  When I traced them onto my fabric, I used the line of the crotch on one side and measured it wide enough to fit around her hips and waist on the other side.  

That gave me four pieces--two front and two back.  I sewed the front to the back pieces along the long straight side.  Then I sewed the two front pieces together at the crotch and the two back pieces at the crotch.

Last of all, I put the bottom edges of one pant leg together in a tube and sewed it together.  When I got to the crotch I continued on sewing the next pant leg into a tube.

It ended up with the front being smaller than the back. (Which is how we are anatomically.)

Last of all, I sewed a fold over waist band on, and hemmed the bottoms.  I'm not sure I like how it hangs in the front.  I might need to think that one over some more. My first impulse is to say that it's too long in the front and too short in the back, but kids these days love low riders, so I don't know how it should hang.

But the back fits her nicely.  And she loves how comfy they are.