29 November 2011

The Lace Trim Baby Dress

Note: Measurements vary based on baby :)  This dress can also be up-sized for a toddler, child, or even an adult.  The finished measurements of this dress are about 17 inches (but stretches) around the chest and about 14 inches long.  Before shirring, this dress is about 34 inches around the waste.  Take your chest measurement and you're going to about double it for the shirring.

- Fabric: I used a 38" x 14" - then I cut 3" off and used them for straps (3" x 7")
- Lace trim:A lot of it. I used around 15 yards of 3/4" trim. You don't have to put as many rows as i did, and you can dramatically cut down the amount of lace you need!
-Elastic Thread

 Fabric Choices.  You need to choose a relatively light weight fabric for this because shirring does not work on heavy fabrics.  I am using a pale green matte poly satin that i had laying around (Free, thanks craigslist!)
The lace is a $3 spool of thread I bought at a mission thrift store.  So, after everything, this dress will cost me less than a dollar to make. Yea, really!

 Attaching the lace: Okay, as you can see I actually started with 15", but I ended up cutting at inch off and one of the rows of lace pictured in this trial didn't end up happening at all haha. So, I made little clips of the lace and carefully laid them out on the fabric to decide where everything would go.  The lace is 3/4" and each row has about an inch of space, leaving around 1/4" between them.  You can determine for yourself how much lace you want and then lay out where to put each row. It might help to use chalk or a fabric pencil to draw your lines, but I am using poly satin so that wasn't a very good choice for me. haha So, I carefully pinned each and every row 

Before I stitched all the lace on, I carefully folded  the fabric over in order to
make sure that the lace lined up.  It did. Yay. So then I sewed it all on, row by row, carefully removing the pins as I went.

Then, I finished the top edge of the fabric.  The bottom edge is selvage and hidden under lace, so I left it the way it is. 

Next: Shirring.  I did two rows of shirring under each of the top four rows of lace.  The amount of shirring you do really just depends on how much of the dress needs to be a bodice for you or whoever you're making this dress for! :D

The shirring stitches are more or less hidden by the lace.  This is good, because I have having a lot of difficulties with the thread that matches the fabric so I used the thread that matches the lace. Either way, if you keep the stitches under the lace it won't be too obvious.  While you're shirring, push the lace out of the way to stitch under it. Don't stitch over it.

 Don't: accidentally sew over the lace trim.  If you do, carefully cut the top thread and use a seam ripper to undo the problem without ripping up your lace.  Fortunately, I only made this mistake once at the end of a row :D
The stitching is 1/2" and 3/4" apart

Tips: I have a Brother with a drop-in bobbin.  It turns out that for some reason the brother drop-in bobbin doesn't work well with shirring because the bobbin case tension mechanism doesn't pull the elastic thread tight the way most bobbins do? I'm not sure. But, I do have two bobbin cases.  I didn't think I could adjust my tension on the one and then put it back to normal. So, I just have two of them.
Straps! I used two pieces of 3" x 7" fabric.  Right sides together, stitch on one side. Turn right side out, press.  I then added one row of lace to each of the straps for some extra detail

Then, attach your straps to the dress at the fourths.  I put the straps so that the lace opens outwards.

 Last seam: Stitch the back seam. Do your best to line up the lace when you're pinning it down.  Straight stitch. Clean up the seam. Finish it however you prefer.
Last anything: Steam the elastic thread to finish off the shirring.  I used a polyester fabric, so I had to be very careful not to melt my fabric aahhh! Yea.  So, I steamed the fabric, finished off the gather. and.. done! Congratulations! We made a lace dress!

Abbey Memphis in her Dress

Don't miss out on the tutorial for the matching bonnet.

Special thanks to Megan over at MeganMakesCute for the pictures of Baby Abbey :)

Questions? Comments?  Post them! Seriously! Let me know what you think.  I could definitely use some feedback on my tutorial style, if anything doesn't make sense let me know so I can fix it!! If you use this tutorial, comment with the link so that I can see your work :)
Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow me so that you don't miss next week's Lace Your Way Through Anything tutorial!

26 November 2011

Cinderella - Simplicity 2817

 I'm a day behind on one dress and a week ahead on another.  The doll dress and the child dress are both. . . dun dun dun... DONE!
Of course, I used Simplicity 2817 As I've mentioned in many many many other entries! My niece is getting this dress, the doll dress, a doll, and lots of doll things for her birthday.  Cinderella is her favorite Disney princess ever.  All she ever wants to talk about is Cinderella.  In fact, they couldn't find her a Cinderella dress for Halloween and she ended up wearing a dark blue Alice in Wonderland dress (which I know because it had the Cheshire cat on it haha), but she thought it was Cinderella so cat or no cat, she was Cinderella for Halloween.. in her Alice dress. haha.
So tonight I was taking her to dinner with a friend.  I said to my niece, I have a surprise for you when we get back to nana and papa's house. She says to me, CINDERELLA??? hahaha no, she didn't know about her surprise... she just has a one-princess mind.
You can read my entire pattern review below.   Of course, the matching doll dress is Simplicity 5705 which I posted about here.

Pattern Description: Cinderella Dress  

Pattern Sizing: 3-6, Child  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. However, The model on the package front is wearing gloves and both dresses are pictured with a crinoline. There is no reference or instructions for a crinoline or gloves. I feel like the envelope should have at least said 'pictured with crinoline' - that's okay, though, I made my own crinoline using my own Tutu Tutorial  

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, if I had followed all of the instructions they would have been super easy to follow, but see following questions for why it didn't really matter to me. If I were the type of sewist who followed all instructions, they would have been good for me. I tend to do what I want, though.  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern itself is adorable. It looks just like the Cinderella dress. I will say that it runs large and long. My niece is 4. She wears 5T. I cut a 5, but made the skirt 4 length. I'm going to have to hem it an additional 3-4 inches. I knew the bodice would end up large, but I had a plan for that. See alterations  

Fabric Used: Polyester Satin and Organza

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: My biggest issue with this pattern would be the "lining" - As other reviews of this pattern mention, it's not a true lining, it's an underlining. Therefor, the fact that the pattern has a "lining" does nothing for the exposed satin seams - which anyone who has ever worked with satin knows are terrible. I didn't want the inside of this dress to turn into a frayed mess after my niece had worn it once. I also didn't want to have to do a fancy seam finish on a bodice that's already two layers. I don't have a serger. So, I did a true lining. It's machine stitched around the neckline. The zipper, lining arm holes, and lining at the waist line are all hand stitched in. French seams on the skirt seams.
As mentioned above, I made a 5 but the length of the 4 and then I took another 3-4 inches off (well, hemmed off, I didn't take it off per se). I'm not sure if my niece is short or what, but even with the petticoat I made under it, the dress is still too long. Without the petticoat, it would probably be 6-7 inches too long. My last design change would be that after putting in the zipper (by hand), I also added a row of snaps. I knew the bodice would be too big, so I was going to tuck some extra fabric in the side seams, but once I decided to do a true lining, that was going to be too much work to fix later. So, for now my niece will use the snaps which make the bodice about 3 inches smaller and next year she can use the zipper. I hope this will make the dress wearable for the next few years.  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don't know if I would have to sew it again, but if so it was a good pattern. If I hadn't done the hand stitching, it would have been a pretty quick pattern to finish.  

Conclusion: My niece is absolutely delighted. She basically thinks it is the best dress under the sun.

 I'll be adding more pictures of lexi in the dress later.  This picture is before I put in the snaps and fixed the hemline, which is why it looks hhhuuggee on her.  She's getting the dress for keeps on her birthday in a week, so I'll post pictures of the fully-fitted dress later :D

24 November 2011

Cinderella Doll - Simplicity 5705

 I've posted a few updates on Mission Princess.   Between her birthday and Christmas, my niece is getting a Cinderella dress, a Rapunzel dress, and matching doll dresses.  I think we've decided that she will get the Cinderella set for her birthday (a week away).  I put myself on a time table to have Cinderella done tomorrow and Cinderella doll done in a week. Okay, so I'm a little off schedule. The doll dress is DONE! It's absolutely lovely. I'm in love with it. I can't wait to finish the matching full size dress. They're going to be so precious

 Simplicity 5705 Doll Dress

Pattern Description:  I made the Cinderella doll dress

Pattern Sizing: 18" Doll

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions were easy to follow after I found all the correct instructions.  This pattern package contains six doll dresses, so the instructions jumped around a lot. I would recommend reading through to start off and then highlighting what you're going to be using because there's a lot of 'okay go back to step # #, skip # and then #'  It can get annoying

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I bought this pattern because I'm also making Simplicity 2817 for my niece and decided it would be cute to make the matching doll.  I do really like that this dress looks (and is constructed) identically to the full size dress, so they will be a true match.
I will say that I appreciate that this pattern comes with a petticoat pattern and instructions, Granted, I didn't need them and I didn't make it the way the instructions said to... but the child pattern (2817) is clearly pictured with a crinoline/petticoat, yet there is no mention of it at all on the package, much less instructions.  I'm impressed with the amount of of stuff in this pattern and the carefully consideration for all of the elements.

Fabric Used: Poly Satin and Organza

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  The instructions said to put polyfill in the puffs on the sides of the dress. I used organza (instead of the recommended and pictured satin because I wanted the doll dress to match the full size dress exactly), which creates a good volume itself. So, I omitted the polyfill.  I also omitted the disney ribbon at the bottom because it did not appeal to me at all.

Would you sew it again? I'm also going to be making Simplicity 2065 Rapunzel for my niece, so I am going to use this doll pattern again for the matching dress. Except, the pattern doesn't include Rapunzel, so I'm going to be altering for a match. I don't think this will be difficult, though.

Would you recommend it to others?  Yes. This pattern was quick and easy.  My niece is going to be thrilled, and I'm sure any little girl would be delighted.

Conclusion: This is a good pattern, easy instructions, quick construction.  Not something you'll need every day, but definitely a fun project.

Questions or comments? Drop a comment or email me! :D

20 November 2011

The Lace Trim Pouch Tutorial

So, I've recently been feeling pretty inspired. i do A LOT of thrifting.  Normally, this means that I end up with a lot of supplies in small amounts.  One thing I can rarely walk away from is dirt cheap lace. I love lace. I love cheap stuff. I can't walk away from cheap lace. So, I'm going to post a tutorial each week with some of my ways of using my thrifted lace.  If you have an questions, comments, or even tutorial requests please feel free to drop a comment! Also, follow me so that you don't miss out on future tutorials!

Notes: My finished bag measurements are approximately 8.5" x 5"

-Fabric: I'm using the weird pleatherish fabric I've mentioned in so many posts before. It was free (craigslist).  Just about any woven fabric would work out just fine for this.  Probably something with a little more body would be good.  My rectangle is 11"x10"
-Lace: If you use my rectangle measurements, you need about 20" of lace.  I used a peacock wright's brand lace trim (circa 1960-70s).  It's thrifted.  I purchased a ziplock bag full of trims at goodwill for like $2 maybe? yea.  This is for a friend who desperately needs a makeup bag.  She loves the color blue, I knew this peacock was perfect.
-Thread: I used a black thread to match my fabric.

 First: Cut your fabric. Second: Turn down the two ends that will be where your zipper is going.  My Rectangle is 11x10,  Once the edges are turned, I have about a 10x10.  Were I using a cotton, I would have just pressed and moved on, however, this fabric doesn't press because it's synthetic and I'm afraid of melting it. So, I went ahead and stitched it. First line of stitches down these two edges. Two more to come!

Next: Sew on your lace! In the picture above, you can see that that one edge of this lace is scalloped and the other edge is straight.  I machine stitch on this edge between the two horizontal lines.  So, I pinned my lace on so that the stitching would go right over the stitching I already did which was about 1/2" in.  Repeat on the other side. To the right you can see both of my rows of lace pinned on.
Next: Zipper time! I laid out and pinned one side. Sewed it up. And then pinned and stitched the other side. I managed to line them up so that they touched but did not overlap over the zipper. yay The second side has to be sew with the zipper open.
 Last seams:  Turn the pouch inside out.  Lay it flat and center the zipper. For mine, this is at 2.5 inches.  Make sure both sides are centered, you don't want your zipper to be sideways and crooked when you're finished! Carefully pin and then measure again. I'm serious, you want this zipper to be perfectly centered!
Sew. Turn right side out. Poke your corners out. You shouldn't have to clip the corners (I didn't).  And you are done! Quick and easy! Mine is going to be a make up bag for my roommate, because she can't seem to keep track of her make up.  With this sweet pouch, which will fit easily in her purse, it should not be a problem anymore!

Questions? Comments?  Post them! Seriously! Let me know what you think.  If you use this tutorial, comment with the link so that I can see your work :)
Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow me so that you don't miss next week's Lace Your Way Through Anything tutorial!