Sunday, May 10, 2015

Simplicity 1469 - Maternity/Nursing Dress 2.0


I loved my first make of this dress so much I made a second one.  The fabric I used was a Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey.  I absolutely love this fabric!  It has 50% four-way stretch, is lightweight enough for tees and dresses without being see-through, and is very soft.  At about $8/yard, it was also less than 1/3 of the price of the Art Gallery knit print I got for the first dress.  I spent about $20 to make it.

Changes made to the pattern included shortening the sleeves by 1/2" and the bodice length by 1/2".  Pretty darn simple!



The first time I made this dress, I had problems making the waistband seam line up at the side seams because I used the serger.  Also, my serger doesn't have well-defined lines for a 5/8" seam.  I kind of winged the seam depth when sewing the waistband to the bodice and waistband to the skirt and it didn't look completely even.  I wanted the dress to look more RTW, so I basted with the sewing machine first, just to get everything in place.  I went over it again with a 4-thread overlock.   The side seams match up almost perfectly and the waistband is the same width all the way around.



Once again, I used the coverstitch to finish the hems and the serger for all of the seams.

I love how easily this dress comes together and how accurate the sizing is.  I think it's a bit weird that I can see the nursing access through the first layer of the bodice but since hardly anybody knows what that is, it probably doesn't matter.


I am T-minus 4 weeks so I doubt I'll be making this pattern again.  About a month ago, I had this really strong urge to do a ton of selfish sewing, and then realized that my body was about to change drastically.  I really want to sew some summer knits and a few t-shirts, but I don't know which size I'm going to end up in.  Guess I'll wait and see what happens.

I no longer feel like a cute, little pregnant lady like I did when I made the previous dress at 26 weeks.   At 36 weeks pregnant, I have quite a bit of swelling in my feet, legs, hands and face.  It is painful and inconvenient, but it's temporary.  It's getting hard to move around and baby S reminds me to sit up straight with strong kicks to the ribs.  Get her out of me!!!  I mean...we can't wait to meet her!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Quilt for Baby S



I made Made by Rae's Storytime Squares Quilt for baby S.  It was really hard to choose a pattern for a baby quilt.  I'm not really a quilter.  I dislike tiny pieces and shy away from triangles and appliques.  I tend to gravitate towards simple, more modern quilt designs.  Sometimes I wonder why we take perfectly good fabric, cut it up into shreds and spend hours stitching it back together.  If I pick an easy pattern and fabric I love, it doesn't seem like that.

I absolutely love florals and leaves, so yeah, this quilt is very reflective of my personal taste!  The nice thing about having a little one is they are too small to have an opinion so they wear whatever you fancy!

I chose an Art Gallery fabric as my 'mommy fabric' from which I coordinated the other fabrics.  


I snatched up this new pink Joel Dewberry print.  Love!



This orange leafy print from Cloud 9 is one of my favorites:



I cut approximately 6 squares each of 8 different fabrics.  The quilt pattern calls for 54" fabric for the backing.  It's much easier for me to use a standard 42-44" quilting cotton, so I scaled down the pattern so I did not have to piece the backing together.  I cut 5" squares instead of 5.5" squares.

The piecing was pretty easy, especially because I'm used to making larger quilts.  The batting I used is a low-loft cotton blend from Joann's.  I used my fabric weights to lay out the three layers, then basted it together using some quilting safety pins.



I've tied quilts many times, but this is the first time I quilted on my sewing machine.  I didn't free motion quilt - I simply used my walking foot and a straight stitch to quilt the layers together.  I was surprised how easy it was!

Then came the machine stitched binding.  I first trimmed the edges of the quilt using a 4-thread overlock stitch on my serger:



This tutorial, explaining how to do a machine binding, was really helpful.  I followed it with one exception: I like joining binding pieces diagonally because there is less bulk when you are sewing the binding to the quilt.

This is a view of the BACK of the quilt...the messy side of the stitching and it looks pretty good!



If this girl doesn't end up being a flower and leaf lover like her mom, grandma and great-grandma, I shall be very put out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

If Thy Waistband Offendeth Thee, Cut it Off!

I work in a medical office and we wear scrubs.  It's like wearing pajamas to work every day! I got through my second trimester by purchasing one maternity top, and another regular top in a larger size, and wearing regular scrub bottoms.

Well, the third trimester has arrived.  On Monday, my scrub bottoms were so tight they felt like they were cutting me in front.  I took matters into my own hands!

The offending scrubs:


The solution:


I found an ill-fitting pair of maternity pants and cut off the stretchy panel.  I made sure to mark center front, center back, and the left and right side.  I measured how much the bottom edge of the front belly panel dipped below center back, then cut my scrub bottoms accordingly.

I ended up with an acceptable-looking pair of maternity scrubs:



My 28.5 week belly is very pleased!  My pregnant brain forgot to hide the photo clicker, and a couple other things...but you get the gist of my sewing win.  I didn't have to go shopping for new clothes, or spend a dime.  It only took a few minutes and now my scrub bottoms are as comfy as pajamas, yet again!

If you have need of converting pants to maternity, I suggest perusing the maternity bottoms at Goodwill.  For a few dollars, you can reuse a belly panel from an ugly pair of pants.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Simplicity 1469 - Maternity/Nursing Dress

Pictured here at 28 weeks

What could be better than sewing maternity with a Megan Nielsen pattern?  Paying a big 4 pattern company price, of course!  Recently, Megan licensed two of her maternity patterns with Simplicity, and this one is my favorite.  I'm not sure why it's lacking reviews on PatternReview.com...this pattern is awesome!

I purchased an Art Gallery Knit for this project.  I bought it from Five Eighths Seams but it can be found online at Fabric.com.  It's called Gossamer Cotton Jersey Knit Wire Flowers Foil.  It is a medium weight knit with 50% stretch and was a perfect choice for this dress.  You can trust the sizing for this garment.  I was worried size small would not be big enough, but the fit is great.



Changes I made:
I brought the neckline in at the shoulder, and tapered out to the center, for more coverage.
I shortened the skirt by 1", then folded the edge over 1"and coverstitched a 3/4" hem.
That's it!  I can't believe it....these are the only two changes I made!  No adjustments to the bust were needed this time around.  I can't tell you how grateful I am.  Not having to do a small bust adjustment during pregnancy is a huge relief!

What I'd do different next time:
The only thing I would change is to shorten the bodice by 1/2" or so.  I am naturally petite from the shoulder to the apex of the bust, so shortening the bodice would help bring the waistband closer to the bottom of my bust for a better fit.

Okay...maybe one other little change:  I would shorten the sleeves by 1/2".  It gets really hot in Charleston, okay?


Serging/Coverstitching
I constructed this garment almost completely on my new Huskylock 21 serger/coverstitch machine.  Considering this is my first completed project on this machine, I am really happy with it.  I learned a few things about my machine in the process, especially in using the narrow coverstitch.  This project proved to me how useful this machine is.  It's much quicker to serge with this machine vs. my old Janome serger.  (Perhaps it's partially because I took classes on how to use my machine...more on that later.)



I really enjoyed this project and was surprised how quickly it came together.  These days only an easy project is going to get done.  I am sooo tired all the time and don't feel like I'm functioning on all cylinders.  

Can't wait to make another...maybe it will be a shirt next time!




Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Most Ridiculous Thing I've Ever Made

 We got a dog last week!  Her name is Dede and she is a 14 month old English Bulldog.  She is house trained, good with people and dogs, and just about the chillest dog I've ever met.  We got Dede from an awesome breeder in Charlotte when she didn't quite work out as a show dog.  We were hoping to get her fixed before she went into heat......but I found blood spots on the carpet last night.  I have no experience with dogs in heat.  I learned that she could be spotting for up to 2 weeks.  I couldn't find a diaper cover in her size at the pet store, so I made one.


She makes for a wiggly model.


I used this free pattern and modified it for Dede's 25" waist.  I don't have big squares of velcro in my stash so I secure it with some safety pins.  She has a tiny little corkscrew-shaped tail, and therefore, doesn't need a tail hole.  Dede couldn't care less that she is wearing a diaper.  


I added some elastic around the butt area.  Next time I'll make the elastic tighter and continue it around the front of her legs.  There is an extra long maxi pad inside to catch drips.


This is Dede's favorite spot.  She will sit here for hours if you touch her.  She likes nothing more than to be loved on.  My super sensitive pregnant nose + the smell of Dede's 'that time of the month' = angry, annoyed, cranky Stephanie.  I have been mad at her all day.  But now that it's all covered up, how can I not love that face? 


She's perfect!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kwik Sew 3513 | I Love Yoga Waistbands!


I've had Kwik Sew 3513 in my stash for about a year and decided it was time to make a black staple skirt.  I used a rayon/cotton knit from Five Eighths Seams.  I almost fainted when I saw the price ($17 per yard) but I only needed 1.5 yards, and this knit was so soft and drapey, I gladly forked out the plastic.  This four seasons skirt will get tons of wear.

This pattern comes together stupid fast and is basically fool-proof.  The front and back are the same pattern piece and then you cut out two waistbands and you're set!  Only five seams to finish and I didn't even have to hem the skirt edge.


My only advice is you may want to cut your waistband a bit larger (at first) just to be safe - I learned this the hard way one time.  Every knit is different!

I used my sewing machine and walking foot with a twin needle on the lightning bolt stitch.  My Janome serger was out of commission.  I just barely got it back after being in the shop for 2 months!


Sorry for the sucky picture.  Sometimes black is difficult to photograph and I didn't have the time (or desire) to fix it.  There are plenty of more photos on patternreview.com.

I highly recommend this pattern!  It's a great wardrobe builder, is perfect for people new to sewing with knits, and I definitely plan to use this pattern again.  Oh - no, this isn't a maternity pattern and yes, it totally fits around my growing belly.  I love yoga waistbands for that reason.  I made this skirt when I was about 8 weeks along and at 22 weeks it still fits great.


Happy sewing!



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Organizing The Sewing Room

Over Christmas I came to the sudden realization that my house was a big, huge, unorganized mess.  Some would call it nesting, I think it was more of a, "Holy crap, this total wreck is driving me nuts!!  Make it stop!"  I went on a rampage, detailing to my husband everything in the house that I wanted changed (including a long list of honey do's).  We made a list of organization projects and repairs I wanted done and we've been working on it ever since.

One of the big organizing projects was the sewing room, which also doubles as our office.  The goal for this project was to use everything we had and spend as little money as possible.  It's still a WIP but is a thousand times better than the tornado pic I posted last time.  Scott moved my sewing table to the outside wall and I love having a window to look out of while I work.  



He pushed the fabric hutch up into the corner.  I thought it would look dumb, but it makes my fabric really accessible to me while I'm working on a project.  With the space we created in the middle of the room, we're able to put down a queen mattress when family comes into town.


I used to shove my cutting mats in the far corner of the room.  Now they are neatly hung on the door.  I mounted a couple of command strips and hung the mats from hangers.  My Olfa mat stays put on the hanger, but the light green mat (today it rested on the sewing table) requires some shelf liner to keep it from slipping.  I put ribbon loops on my rulers and hung them from a command strip on the wall.  It's nice to have everything out of sight, but easy to access.


I've been meaning to hang this serger thread organizer since we moved in 2013.  I'm sure this has never happened to you: you see something for 70% off that is slightly damaged (2 pegs were broken off) and think to yourself, "I can fix that!"  It goes into a box of forgotten projects.  When you finally get around to fixing it, it takes like 2 hours to fix (that you could have spent sewing) and you wish you'd just bought one on sale or used a coupon.

Oh well, at least I got to use my drill.  As you can see in the picture above, the top left peg and the bottom leg peg had broken off.  I bought a dowel at Lowe's roughly the same size as the the others.  



I hollowed out the holes until they were wide and deep enough to hold new dowels.  I cut the dowels with a big pair of branch loppers because a saw would have eaten the poor dowel to pieces.  I sanded the dowel until it fit in the hole nice and snug.  I put some wood glue in the hole, popped the new dowel in, waited for it to dry, and my cone thread organizer was as good as new!


Mounting my thread organizers was a little trickier.  They are advertised as being able to be hung on the wall but no hardware is provided.  I used to hang my spools from the red ribbon on the right, but it wasn't very stable on a nail.  I wanted something more permanent, so I screwed them to the wall.  

First, I drilled holes on either side of the racks.  Then, I held the racks up to the wall and measured where the holes in the wall would be. I drilled holes in the wall and popped my plastic anchors in the wall.  Finally, I inserted the screws through the racks first, then used a screwdriver to screw them to the wall.



I am very pleased with the result!  


My husband installed my new Ikea shelf above the thread organizers.  I bought the shelf a year ago and realized I forgot to buy the brackets that come with it.  Booo!!!  We live HOURS away from an Ikea so I finally went to Lowe's and just bought a couple of brackets.  I couldn't drill into the shelf to secure it to the brackets, so we took some command strip adhesive and applied it to the side of the bookshelf that butts up against the wall.  This should keep it from toppling off the brackets.



I love my new bookshelf and having the thread on the wall.  The DIY art piece and the philodendron plant added a nice touch.

The total cost for this project was only $20 (bookshelf mounts, command strips, mounting screw kit, and a dowel for the thread organizer).

It's not Pinterest-worthy but I am loving it!