Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Fun" with Cuddle Fleece

I have such a love/hate relationship with cuddle fleece.  It's so awesomely soft and everyone loves it, but it's also such a pain to work with it.  It stretches like crazy and sheds ridiculously.  I can't even tell you how many times in the last couple of months that I've run out to pick a kid up from school only to realize I was still covered in fuzz!

I gave my oldest nephew an IOU for his main Christmas present, suggesting a t-shirt quilt or convertible mitts in his school colors as possibilities, but he immediately asked for a blanket made out of cuddle fleece like his brother's.  I had learned my lesson about the mitered corner version and just did a simple turned and topstiched finish this time.  It was tricky keeping it lined up --and the green was somehow 4" wider from selvage to selvage?! -- and it seemed to stretch out of shape badly when I sewed it, but after washing and drying, I think it popped back for the most part.

When I was at Joann's picking up the green and navy fabrics, I also spotted some in a cute popcorn print.  I had pretty much sworn off cuddle fleece by this point, but O's class fundraiser basket was going to be a movie night theme, which his teacher told me was inspired by our holiday gift. I emailed her a pic and asked what she thought about a throw blanket.  She loved the idea, so back I went.  I decided to try rounding the corners and binding the single layer with double-fold fleece binding this time.

I don't think this ended up any easier or cheaper, but I do like how it looks.  Well, except for the one corner that got stretched out and won't lay flat even after a trip through the washer.  Hopefully whoever wins the basket won't look at it too closely.  It's still nice and snuggly, and his teacher thought it was really cool.

Hopefully it will inspire some extra bids!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Sweetheart Dress for a Birthday Girl

Just when I was starting to think I'd never decide what kind of outfit to make E for her birthday, I found out I won luvinthemommyhood's Sweetheart Dress pattern from a giveaway on 2 Little Hooligans.  Decision made -- it was the perfect choice for my littlest Valentine.

I didn't want an overly Valentine-ish fabric, and I had a cardigan in mind for her to wear with it, so this purple fabric with metallic silver dots was an easy choice.  Since E's chest measurement is between a 3 and a 4, but she's closer to a 5 for length, I cut a 4 for the bodice and added 1/4" to the bottom, and used the size 5 skirt dimensions.

The bodice construction was new to me.  It's fully lined and all done by machine.  Since I hate hand-sewing, I was all for that, but there were definitely some fiddly bits.  I especially had problems getting the 1/2" seam allowance of the upper armhole turned in nicely, since it's along a curve.  After fighting with the front bodice, I decided to do the back bodice differently and basted that part, clipped and ironed the seam allowances, and then took out the basting stitches.  That went much better.  Next time I'd also try opening out the seam allowances when sewing the shoulders together, pressing the shoulder seam open, re-pressing the seam allowances in, and then continuing as instructed. It seems like it would be a cleaner finish, unless I'm missing something that would prevent that from working.  Those minor points aside, I love the tidy lining.

I also used my new favorite method for gathering the skirt.  I wish I had thought of it myself!  It makes for such even gathers.  I still need to pick out the bottom line of basting, though.  I ran out of time last night, but I don't think anyone noticed at school today!

The thread button loop was new to me also.  I'm not sure I'd do it that way again -- at least when I'm sewing under the wire, which is pretty much always -- but once I got the hang of it, I liked it.  It's a nice detail.

E usually doesn't show much interest in her clothes.  She doesn't talk, so she's not as opinionated about her sartorial choices as some other five-year-olds I know.  When I showed her this dress, though, her face absolutely lit up.

A sleeveless dress with a back cut-out isn't exactly seasonally appropriate, so she's layering with this adorable little sweater she got for Christmas. She's also wearing her pantalets underneath, since she loves to show off her flexibility by pulling her feel over her head! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Swim Bag, Take Three

I think I'm going to keep gifting these until every kid I know has one.  It's a practical gift, but still kinda fun.  This bag was for a five-year-old who likes pink.  I made hers the same as my niece's, although I must have marked the drawstring openings wrong, because they were off a bit.  Still functional, fortunately, since I didn't realize it until it would have required serious tear-inducing seam ripping.

The birthday girl really likes pink, so my original plan was to have a pink zipper and drawstring, but Joann's didn't have any appropriate pink cord.  The PUL lining is very, very pink, though! Hopefully that pinked it up enough for her liking.

I love this print.  After making a play sling and a dress from it, I'm down to just a few scraps.  It's so girly and spring-like.  And I'm so very done with winter.  It appears that winter is not done with me, however.

In completely unrelated, but nonetheless awesome news, check out the envelope art on this pattern I won from What Nancy Drew Wore.  Pretty much the coolest ever.  I think I'm going to frame it to hang in my sewing room.


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