Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mr. Liberty Overalls

The one thing I will always remember from my own mother is to always be fair

And what would be fair about not making a matching 4th of July outfit for Jonah too???

Clearly, I had no choice.

I just had to do it, and now that I'm done I am so glad I did!!

Maybe it's because I'm still star struck by the cute little buttons and the triple lined pocket...

Or maybe it's because I'm so proud of myself for being brave enough to figure out the snapped closure bottom (which was actually so much easier than I thought!) concealed with big boy cuffed legs (so cute!)

Or more likely, it's because I absolutely love little boys in overalls, but let me tell you that I was NOT glad I was doing this for about 2/3rds of the time I was doing it....

Let's just say that Mr. S. Ripper has taken up residence under my pillow.

This was my first attempt at overalls, and of course, I was making my own pattern. I thought I could figure out how to use an old pair in a size too small and upsize the pattern. I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that my first (yes, there were 2 full overalls made) were



I almost cried. A lot.

But, like I said, fair is fair in mommy-ing and if Sienna got a new sundress then Jonah deserves a matching outfit too...

Plus, I just couldn't let all the seersucker fabric and special buttons go to waste!


more importantly...

I just had to get this one, because I simply can't get enough of the overalls on my little guy.

So I buckled up, threw in some bribery popsicles and went at it full steam yesterday and today.

....and VOILA!

I finally did it just in time for the 4th of July celebrations :)

There are 2 unfortunatelys however...

1) Mr. Liberty is not available to model at the moment, so you'll just have to wait until the big day (4th of July) to drool over how cute he looks in them.


2) Due to the multiple attempts at this one and relatively short window of time I had, there will not be a tutorial yet... but if I get enough comments (hint, hint** wink, wink**) I might be persuaded to make another pair and a tutorial to go with it! After all, I have had my fair share of practice while making these puppies!
And I promise, I know the easy way now :)

What do you think?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blog house keeping

I know it's still a baby in blog years, but I'm feeling ready for a little blog face lift! I'd love to hear any thoughts, ideas or suggestions from you all....

I started with a few changes to my pages....

Check out the Subtle Me and Why Subtle Tee?

What do you think?? Betcha never knew, huh?

I'd also like to make a Subtle Tee button and a few other clickable organization features, but before I pour my heart and sleepless hours into it, I want to hear what you all like and don't like from other blogs?

Any ideas?

And please, any TIPS???

Thanks for all the comments lately, you have no idea how much excitement and motivation it gives me when I see that people are actually reading this stuff!!!

Thank you again!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Liberty Sundress tutorial

Looking for an easy breezy sundress tutorial just in time for those summer BBQs , picnic playdates and more??

You've got it!!

I'll show you how I make a basic sundress without even using a real pattern, plus I'll even throw in a few extra steps to jazz it up along the way!!

Here's what you'll need:
  • About 2-3 hours- depending on how much detail you'd like to add. I can do the basic sundress in 45 minutes, but I've had some practice!
  • 1 1/2- 2 yards of fabric
  • Buttons, snaps, zipper or elastic for the back
  • Basic sewing essentials(machine, thread, needles, iron etc)
  • Any type of decorative additions like ric rac, ribbon or bows

I threw in a little of everything for this dress to show you some options, but feel free to pick and choose based on your skill level and time.

The options are.....

A couple front gathered pockets with decorative stitching

Easy front pleating for a little extra texture

Peaking ric rac and double ric rac straps

Contrasting bottom hem with decorative stitching

Tempted enough????

Let's get started!

Step 1: Make your "pattern"
Use a dress that fits to draw a pattern piece for your bodice by folding the bodice of the dress in half and tracing the outline onto a piece of paper (note book will work just fine).

No sundresses that fits handy?? No problem!
Just trace around your child's chest allowing room for ease and do a few simple calculations to figure out the width of you bodice piece like so:
Chest circumference (around chest) + 1 (seam allowance) + 1 (ease)/4 = length of bodice

With my numbers it looked like this for a 2-3T dress: (22 + 1 + 1)/4 = 6 inches

Most back piece heights are 2 to 2 1/2 inches, so I just used 2 1/2 as my height leading up to the under arm and about 4 1/2 to the top of the chest.

You can use any type of shirt that fits to get the slope of the arm hole and the desired chest height in front.

Decorative option: Front pleats
If you'd like the bodice of your dress to have pleats, add 2 inches extra to the width, so instead of 6" for mine I used 8"

Step 2: Cut out 2 bodice pieces from your fabric along the folded line
Pin the pattern you created in step 1 onto a folded piece of fabric with the tallest part (or center of the bodice) along the fold.
Cut along the lines.

You'll need to cut two bodice pieces:
1 for the front that will show
1 for the back as extra lining.

If you are doing the pleated version, you'll need to make sure you cut 1 piece with the pleat extension as shown in the picture above and one without as shown in the pictures below.

For the pleated version you'll end up with two folded bodice pieces one two inches wider like so:

Step 3: Measure and cut out 4 back pieces and 2 body pieces
Back pieces
Use the same height and width measurements of your bodice piece to cut 4 rectangular back pieces. For this dress, mine were 6" X 2 1/2"

Body pieces
You'll be gathering the body piece, so make your cut approximately 1.5 times 1/2 of the child's chest measurement by your desired length. For this dress I used 1.5 (22/2) + 1 (seam) = 17.5" and then rounded it up to 18" for extra gathering :)

Don't worry, I'm not trying to pull a fast one on ya by labeling the length of the body as 15" in this pictures.... it's not! But that's ultimately what I cut my dress to, but since I was using my fancy new serger I just decided to leave the fabric in it's original length and cut it off later with my machine :) I love that thing!

Step 3.5: Sew in your pleats. Skip ahead to step 4 if you don't want pleats
Unfold the extra long bodice piece and mark out 4 1/2 inches in the center.
(4 1/2"??? We only cut 2" extra on each side. Don't panic, just trust me, it works out to be 6" and the same length as the back bodice piece)

Using a fabric pen or chalk mark off 1/4" space for the pleats every 1/2"

Starting at either end fold the fabric at the 1/4" marker so that it touches the next 1/4" marker and pin.

Sew along the pin fold you created to make your first pleat.

Continue for 3 or 4 pleats (until you get close to the center) and then switch sides, so that the pleats on each side of the center face away from the center.

Flatten the pleats with a hot iron.

And admire your handy work :)

If you're still a little confused and want to read it from a different "voice," Rae also has a good tutorial on how to do pleats in her Spring Ruffle Top.

Step 4: Sew your bodice pieces together
Lay the bodice pieces together, so the same sides are touching and pin in place.

Decorative option: Peaking ric rac border
If you want half showing ric rac to line the bodice, simply sandwich it between the two bodice pieces and pin in place before you sew them together :)

Sandwich a strip of fabric for your dress straps at each "hump" in between the two bodice pieces. This way you won't have a seam showing where you strap goes.

I used two 8 1/2 in long ric rac pieces for each straps, but you don't like this look you could easily create your own or premade ribbon works well too!

Sew the bodice together with a 1/4" seam

(Notice there aren't straps in this picture?
Yup, I forgot the first time and had to go back, seam rip and add them in! Thank goodness for that seam ripper sometimes...)

Fold right side out, press flat and give yourself a pat on the back for the fancy ric rac lining :)

Step 5: Sew your back pieces together
Sew 2 sides of your rectangular back pieces together leaving the other two sides open so you can fold right side out later.

Optional add ric rac lining in the same way as step 4.

Fold right side out and pin it to the end of your bodice.

Serger or sew together with a zig zag stitch on each side. The inner ends of the back pieces should overlap slightly to allow for a button or snap closure.

Step 6: Gather the body pieces
Gather the top of each body piece until it is the length of your unfolded bodice or 12" in this case.

Step 7: Attach body to bodice.
Lay the gathered body on top of the bodice piece so the right (or front of the dress) sides are facing each other and pin in place.

Serger or sew the bodice and back pieces together with a zig zag stitch.

When sewing the back pieces, allow one of the sides to overlap the other back piece to leave room for a button. If possible, carefully have the little one try it on with while it's pinned in place. If you find you're out of room to overlap, you can also make loop closure buttons that do not require overlap.

Once attached to the bodice, serge or sew the sides of the body together.

Decorative option: Gathered pockets
After attaching the body to the bodice and before you sew the sides of the body together is the best time to add front pockets! This way you can test exactly where the pockets will fall, so it's the perfect arm length on your dress.

I won't go into a gathered pocket tutorial to save room on this post since Dana already has an excellent one here!

Step 8. Mark and sew on buttons (or other back closure)
Temporarily pin the back buttons in place, so you can mark with a fabric pin the top and bottom of where you'll want your button hole.

Sew your button holes and rip open with a seam ripper.

The best way I've found to sew my buttons in place is to lay my button holes over the bottom fabric and mark the point by point straight threw the button hole like above.

When you pull back the flap you should have a marking exactly in the center of your button hole :) Sew the button on there.

Step 9. Attach the back of your shoulder straps
The quickest and easy way to do this one is to just throw the almost finished dress on your little one and mark where the back of the straps should go.

But that's rarely an option since most of us sew during sleeping hours... so instead, I used a dress I have to estimate how long the straps shoud be and it turned out I was pretty dead on with 8".

When you've found your mark, sew the end of your strap along the hem of the back pieces at a slight inward angle to avoid bowing.

Step 9. Add a bottom hem
Finish the dress by adding a bottom hem all the way around.

Decorative option: Contrasting hem
You can make an easy decorative hem pre-made or home made bias tape and a little decorative stitching like I did here. Or you can simply fold up and hem the existing bottom.

That's it!!! Finally, you're done :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No cook playdough- Prefect For Summer!

When it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk good luck getting me cooking in the kitchen!

Even if it's for something as fun as making homemade playdough!

Yesterday morning I ha
d my hands full cleaning up after our camping trip and needed a day at home to catch up. But what to do with a 2 1/2 year old at home when it's hotter than a cat fight in a wool sock.....??

"Cook" no cook play dough!
(Anything in the kitchen with a bowl is cooking to Sienna)

Here's what you need:
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup salt
1 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cups flour
1 tablespoons cornstarch
Food coloring

This yields a softball size ball of dough.

Please note, I use small portions to make multiple batches in different colors. Since it's no cooking, it's no big deal to repeat the process more than once :)

Step 1:

In a large bowl, mix together water, salt, oil and a several drops of food coloring.

Step 2:

Mix flour and cornstarch and add it spoonfuls at a time, stirring constantly.

You may need a little more or a little less of the flour/cornstarch mixtures, which is why I do spoonfuls at a time.

Step 3:
When it's the right consistency (like pizza or bread dough) pat some extra flour on your hands and plunge right on in! Knead for a few minutes until it is well combined.

Step 4:
Break off a chunk of each color, plop the little ones down with some plastic cookie cutters, plates, cups or Popsicle sticks and watch their imaginations unfold!

I just love sneaking over to listen to their play talk when they don't think you're watching!

Thank goodness for little miss bossy pants who made sure to tell baby brother "no, no don't eat my cup please!"

He showed her... keep your cup Sis, I've got the spoon ;)

When the last veggie face was sculpted and it was time for lunch I simply wrapped whatever playdough managed to remain unmixed by the young artist in damp paper towels.

I usually only let them play with half of each color at a time and store the other half right away, since Sienna usually mixes all the colors to a hopeless stew and there just really is no point in saving that!

To store all you have to do is
toss the wrapped up balls all together in a sealed zipped lock bag.

It'll stay pretty well in the fridge for quite a long time depending on how often they're re-used.

Add flour if the playdough is too sticky
Add a teensy bit of vegetable oil if they playdough is too dry
Add water if it's not sticking together


By the way, does anyone know if it's play DOUGH or play doh?? Geez, you'd think they'd teach you that in kindergarten with how often we played with this stuff!
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