Saturday, August 13, 2011

Maxi Dress Mama D Style

Well now one of the latest trends in women's dresses are Maxi the way just so you know I really don't like this name....makes me think of Maxi Pads...UGH! Back on track...I do however like these dresses and like the fact that I can now wear them without embarrassment! I have been seeing several tutorials on how to make these dresses from scratch! And although I love to sew...I don't like patterns or trying to fit clothing onto a real person from a pattern that doesn't exactly fit! That is not where my talents lie. However I have discovered that remaking clothes is one of my here is my unique twist on the Maxi Dress!

First I visited my local Goodwill...I was in the mood to sew today and didn't want to have to search garage Goodwill here I came. I started out in the tank top section looking for something that would fit nicely across my shoulders and chest...but not necessarily my pregnant belly! I found a nice black tank with ribbon and lace embellishments!
My next step was to find the skirt material. Now I went to the dresses first in hunt of the right material..I didn't have any luck so I hit the tee shirt just can't beat $1 each....I started with the largest shirts first. I couldn't find 3 black shirts that weren't all faded I ended up with a light gray, dark gray and black....all about the same size.
I considered putting the skirt together this way....but after the cute black outfit I made Bear earlier this week with the light color in the middle I decided to try that instead!

Now the first thing I did was try on my tank and mark where I wanted it to be cut my case....just above my belly...

I marked where I wanted it to be cut off with a pin and then added an inch seam allowance and cut off with my rotary cutter!

Next step is deciding how long you want your dress. Measure from your armpit down to the length that you want your dress. Mine was 46"...and my tank top measured about 7" I had about 39" to play with for the skirt.
Since I got 2XL shirts and had plenty of room to play with ...I cut each off right under the arm pits. You want to measure each layer and subtract 2" for the seam allowances and add them all together to find out how long your finished dress will be. At this point it is easy to take off what you don't need on each layer.

This one had a design on the front and after some careful measuring I was able to cut it off below the design...thought it might look a little funny if I left it on???

My next step was running a double basting stitch around the top edges of all my layers.

I didn't really end up with a whole lot of gathering....just really used it to get the fit would all depend on what sizes of tee shirts that you used and how much extra material you had!

To accomplish this step pin right sides together, matching the sides and center front and center back. Pin and straight stitch all the way around with a 5/8" or 1/2" seam. I normally go back and zig zag to finish my seams...but considering tee shirt knit doesn't ravel...I just skipped this step. Repeat this on all three layers! Now I got smart and left the hem in my bottom tee shirt...eliminating the need to hem the bottom of the dress! Am I smart or just lazy???

Me in my new Maxi dress....and showing off my baby bump! Can you believe that is a 7 month pregnant picture????

If I left anything out or you have questions...just leave me a comment!

God Bless,
Mama D

Reverse Applique

Well folks I am sure you have heard me talk about a new sewing technique I have found....reverse applique! I just love it! Now I have appliqued many things in the past and have gotten so frustrated when my machine or I mess up...and I refuse to applique on tee shirt or knit material! However when I ran across this technique in one of my Internet searches....I fell in love...and just knew that I could make some cute stuff for my little girl and teenagers!

OK  original idea that I located on the Internet said to use two tee shirts. One smaller than the other and layer together to make this work...I have found out that scraps of tee shirt material and cotton work just as well and don't create such a heavy shirt. I am hot natured so this is important!

Now first you need to decide on a design...for the tee shirt that I am showing you I choose a butterfly! I then choose my material...for this shirt I used three different colors.
The tee itself is an eggplant I choose a purple and white print and green for the wings with a kinda medium purple for the body of the butterfly.

Turn your tee shirt inside out and lay out your material. Pin as needed to hold it to the front of your shirt. Just make sure you only pin through one layer of tee shirt material!

Now if you are confident and artistic enough to sew your chosen pattern onto your shirt free hand...then by all means go for it! I have to have a pattern to go by or everything looks whooper-jawed to me!
I started with the body of my bug....then did the outside and inside of my wings. Just use a straight stitch around your pattern...nothing complecated!
Last but not least using a pair of pointy ended sharp scissors carefully cut out the inside of each pattern...showing the layer of fabric that you want to be seen. I then go back and trim the excess material from the inside of the shirt! The only thing I added to this was my butterflies antenna with glitter paint!

Happy Sewing!
God Bless,
Mama D

Friday, August 12, 2011

School Sewing Projects

Well....let's little girl is not so little anymore! <pout!> And as school is coming up soon (10 days at last count)....I have been trying to get my VERY hard to fit child some clothes put together for the school year.

At the beginning of the summer I expected this problem to I started hunting for tee shirts and material that could be used or repurposed for my daughter. I also began looking for ideas that I could use or adapt with my gathered materials.

What I have come up with is a combination of Twirly Dresses, Tunics and decorated Tee shirts. All using basically the same methods in different manners.

We call this one our Lady Bug shirt! I was only able to get 1 yard of this material...and really wasn't satisfied with any other fabrics...they just didn't coordinate like I wanted them too! So I ended up just making one gathered layer and cutting the teir of material a little longer. It ended up being a really cute tunic length shirt. I embellished the front with a reverse appliqued lady bug...and yes I know it looks like a watermelon...I just haven't found a good head for it yet!

Now this is a recycled pair of my husbands jeans!!! I have had a HUGE box full of jeans in the back of my husbands closet for the last 6 or 7 years....all too small for him...but he is gonna get back in some point in the future. (Yeah right!) Anyways during a cleaning spree I come across this box and decide to repurpose some of these jeans for crafts! And much to my surprise they just nearly fit my little girl around her tummy! So me in my craftiness, cut off the legs, sewed a piece of elastic along the back waistline and added a nice little gathered strip of material...and you have a super cute skirt!

This is one of my favorites. Just an embellished tee shirt. I used the reverse Applique method with two layers of fabric, turquoise is an scrap of tee shirt material and pink is just cotton. I sewed my desired shape onto the tee shirt and then cut out the layers that I wanted to show the material underneath! Then I embellished with a little sparkle...gems glued all the way around the cross and "Grace" written with glitter paint!

This is called a handkerchief shirt if I am not mistaken! So simple really. You take two large squares of material (the pattern I found recommended 16"....I used 24" so that shirt would be a little longer). Cut you squares in half creating 4 large triangles. Hem the short sides and sew the long side around the base of your cropped tee shirt. Because I made mine bigger than I was supposed to it made a really neat looking layered effect in the back of the shirt. If I make another one like this I will put that layering towards the front of the shirt. I also embellished the front with small pieces of the bottom material with the reverse applique technique.

This is just one of my Twirly Girly dresses....I was gonna embellish the front of this tee shirt...but Tool Man likes things plain and asked me to make this "without all that stuff on her chest!" So I made her another shirt with all the stuff he didn't like!

A little bit of ruffles down the front of this tee with the leftover material from above dress and you have yourself a super cute shirt!
Now this is the last I have a picture of....I have another reverse applique tee shirt and another dress in a different style....but can't seem to find the pictures at this time! The black shirt turned out to be my favorite! I really wanted it to be a dress but didn't have enough print is actually an Women's Plus size border skirt that I found at Goodwill for 99 cents! And I cut it up to make the tiers of this skirt.

I found the pics....and happend to find pics on reverse applique so that I can do a tutorial! Yeah me!
My version of the popular maxi dresses.

Butterfly reverse applique..torturial coming later today!

Just so you know...none of these outfits or tops cost more than a few dollars a piece. So of the material was given to me...the rest I picked up at garage sales and Goodwill over the course of 2 or 3 months. All of the tees were picked up at garage sales for a quarter a piece.

As to the rest of her wardrobe....we have lots of basic colored shorts and leggings. I did get her a new pair of shoes...and had budgeted in the cost of a new pair....however luck found me a pair of brand new Nike's at a garage sale for $3. The only things that I have actually had to go buy are her bras, panties and socks!

Now I am looking for Juniors Size 13/14 Jeans and Capri...because I found out by accident that size fits her in the waist and she will have pants to wear this winter! And the search goes on!

How do you save money on your kids clothes for school???

God Bless
Mama D

Crafty Letters

Crafty Letters...super easy...can be made any way you want....mmm...oh the possibilities!

Now me...I was looking for letters to spell out my baby's name to hang over his crib. I didn't want to use the paper mache ones that you can paint or decoupage...I don't live close to a craft store and didn't want to order them online. I didn't want the wooden ones...for the same reason...I suppose I could have gotten one of my menfolk to cut the letters out for's not like we don't have the supplies or tools to do so...however since getting one of the to take out the trash for me is a chore...I chose not to fight that battle!

Out of all my options I chose to use fabric as my medium! I have scraps from various projects running out my ears. I also knew that if Little Boy decided to grab one later in life and it went in his mouth...then no harm done! I also wanted to create something that could be used throughout his childhood if need be..I don't like things that I can't use for more than one just seems wasteful to me! As our child will be sharing the bedroom with my husband and myself for the first year or so I also wanted his "corner" to at least coordinate with the current decor. Our bedroom is done in navy blues, maroons, and creams. So that is not really a difficult task!

I choose scraps of homespun cotton and denim for accents. When I originally made these letters I use an old pair of Tool Man's jeans...thinking that the faded and worn denim would rag the way I wanted it to....unfortunately I made two the denim was too heavy weighted and I got too happy with the sewing machine making my project overly complicated!
SEE! The one on the right was my first attempt at making these can't even see the cute fabric underneath the denim! However the letter on the left has just enough texture and contrast to be cute!

Now to start this project I got on my favorite Print Shop program and found a font that I liked and printed out each letter on a piece of card stock. I then cut each letter out...and made sure they looked "right".  I didn't care for the J on the font that I used so ended up adjusting it a bit and making it look more J-like.

Next I assembled my supplies....I used scrap material, homespun cotton and denim. (on my first set I put a layer of batting in there two but later decided that it really wasn't needed!)

Next lay out each letter on your fabric and cut out three layers...two of your denim and one of cotton.

Now this is of my first attempt and shows the layer of batting....however you get the idea...just make sure when you cut out the denim you have right sides together....or vice versa...that way everything looks nice on the back to!

OK once everything is cut out...put your layers together and pin!

See you want a denim layer, cotton, unneeded batting and denim. Once everything is pinned you want to sew. I used a straight stitch and sewed a 1/4" seam all around each letter. This will hold your material together and allow you to cut out the inside.

See you want a denim layer, cotton, unneeded batting and denim. Once everything is pinned you want to sew. I used a straight stitch and sewed a 1/4" seam all around each letter. This will hold your material together and allow you to cut out the inside.

Now for the tedious want to get a very pointy sharp pair of scissors and carefully but out the inside top layer of denim from each letter. Try to leave an equal amount of material on either side of your stitching.
Now for the fun want to go around the outside of each letter, cutting through all layers and clip about every 1/4" to 1/2" and go around the top inside layer of denim only and clip. Just don't clip that seam...get close but not close enough to clip through.

To finish you want to get these wet...if it were a blanket or something big I would tell you to wash it... but considering the size I just ran mine under the tap water in the sink and then threw them in the dryer for about 15 minutes! This will cause all that clipped material to "rag"! Making your letters super dimensional! I went back over all of mine when they were dry and trimmed up anything that looked too messy. Then all I had to do was attach them to the walls...I used thumb tacks temporarily...but will come up with something baby proof later on!
I just love them....and they look so cute over crib! The original idea came from another blogger who made these out of just cotton material....and used them to teach their toddler the ABC's ....unfortunately I have misplaced the original site! But there are many ways to modify this idea for many different applications!

God Bless,
Mama D