Monday, September 15, 2014

Sewing Saves the Day: Football Jersey Fix

Hi there Today I'm kicking off a new sewing series on my blog. It's called Sewing Saves the Day! One of my favorite things about sewing is that I can use it to fix problems, make my kids dreams come true, and just make my life easier in general. Mostly I feel like these practical projects aren't very blog worthy topics because I may not use pretty fabric or the finished results aren't very visually interesting. But there are so many times when sewing really does save the day.  So I'm going to start sharing them. For my first practical project I want to share a football jersey fix.

Since the word on the street is that I know how to sew, I frequently have people ask me if I can help them out by sewing something for them. I don't always say yes but when really the only way for them to fix a problem is with a sewing machine, I have a hard time saying no.  For instance my neighbor came by with his son's Football practice jersey that just wasn't big enough for the poor little guy to get his arms in.  He was already in the biggest uniform available so we brainstormed a little on what we could do fix this. My lawn edger broke a couple of weeks ago and I'm trying to sell my house so he's going to edge for me for a couple of weeks and I'm going to fix his son's uniform. Win Win, right?

I ended up adding a 3" stretchy panel at each side seam and I think it turned out great so today I'm showing you how I did it. First I unpicked the hems on the sleeve and the bottom edge.

Then, instead of unpicking the whole side seam I just cut off the serged edge. It saved a ton of time.

We picked up some performance stretch spandex and I cut a 3 inch strip that was a little longer than the side seam. I serged along one end.

Then, with right sides together I sewed it on to each side seam aligning the serged end with the unhemmed edge of the sleeve.

 At the bottom, I just cut off the excess and serged along that end as well.

Then all that was left to do was hem the sleeve and bottom again. I used a double needle on my regular sewing do that. I also experimented with using the "Wooly" nylon in the bobbin. Its a fuzzy thread that's slightly stretchy. This brand calls it Bulky nylon.

Hopefully the stitches won't pull out as easily when the hem gets stretched.

And there you have it.  A pretty quick fix and now he can easily get it on and off.

I love it when sewing saves the day!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Maternity Lane Raglan Take 2!

I made another Lane Raglan!  This time I went a little more adventurous and used orange polka dots for the sleeves. What do you think? Can I pull off the polkadot sleeve look in everyday life?

  I say yes! Especially on the soccer sidelines when we may just get drenched with rain like we did this week this would be better than the sweater and skirt I was wearing at the time. It works as a cute p.j. tee too. 

SO this time around I made a size Small on in the chest and shoulders and sloped the sides to a size Medium sized waist.  You can see my last Maternity Raglan attempt in this post for comparison. I chose not to add the extra length to the front panel this time.  I really like the length on this one but it doesn't seem to sink in under the chest as nicely as the last one, making it not quite as flattering.  I may need to take it in a little more there at the side seams or it may help to add some elastic at the side seams to add a little ruching. Or maybe I'm just bigger now and I really do  need that extra fabric helping me out. :) 

I decided to change the sleeves again. I made them even shorter this time and hemmed them the same as the neck line. I think a little curvy cap sleeve would even be cute too.  The Polkadot Fabric is a Riley Blake knit and the gray is Laguna Stretch knit by Robert Kaufman. I picked them up on my last visit to Sew Central. both knits have spandex in them and are super stretchy so they paired well together. So soft and comfortable too.

I think the hardest part of this whole pattern is the applying the neckline. I messed it up the first time around and had to re-do it, stretching it a little more. This fabric has much more stretch than the last one I used so it took a couple of tries to get the hang of it. It's maybe a little to stretched now cause it puckers a little still. I'm picky. If you are going to sew this pattern I would suggest cutting a curve in some leftover scraps and sewing the a separate piece of binding to it just so you know how much stretch you need to have it lay flat. 

Even though I'm pouting here, I totally love my new Lane Raglan. Thank's Hey June for a great pattern!

Oh!!And I almost forgot! Our new book came in the mail a couple of days ago.  A real copy in my hands!!  It's a little surreal seeing your name in print ON A BOOK!  You saw it already if you follow me on Instagram (@bluesusanmakes). I'll take some glamour shots of it soon to show you. C&T Publishing really did a beautiful job putting it all together. Just another month or so and you will be able to get your hands on it as well.  It's available for pre-order on Amazon now. And you get an eBook version from the C&T website.

For my next maternity shirt hack I'm going to use a pattern from our new book, and you just might see some more orange polkadots. 
Stay tuned!

Monday, September 8, 2014

27 Pillowcases closer to One Million

I'm in charge of a monthly Women's group (Relief Society) activity at our local LDS Church. We have scads of fabric in our closet that people have donated for quilts and such. When I heard about the American Patchwork and Quilting's 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge I knew just what we'd do with  all that fabric. Make pillowcases of course! They are a little quicker to sew than quilts and just as useful. We used a simple free Roll-it-up method pattern from the APQ website. There are lots of fancier patterns to choose from too. This one has french seams on the sides and bottom so there are no raw edges.

I wish I had taken pictures of the ladies in action but we sewed up a whopping 27 pillowcases. Now each pillowcase takes 1 yard of fabric to make so that is 27 yards of fabric sitting there folks.

 We chose to donate them to two local women and children's centers. They were so happy to receive them. It was so fun to see the look of surprise on their faces when I handed them a stack of new freshly washed pillowcases that they could distribute to those in need. It makes me want to make more things to donate. We actually have about 4 quilt tops in our closet that are waiting to be put together so that is next on the list.

If you want to learn more about the One Million Pillowcase challenge go HERE. When I uploaded our contribution to the tally they were around 500 K. They are actually hosting a 24 hour sewathon coming up on September 19. You can look in your area to see if you live near a quilt shop who is hosting one or just sew along at home. If you need fabric, consider checking at your local Goodwill or thrift store, You would be amazed at how much fabric they have there for cheap. 
Get Sewing!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Crafty Podcast Junkie

I have discovered podcasts!  Okay, I always knew they existed for like the news and NPR, but I didn't know there were quilting, sewing, and crafting podcasts.  All my kids were in school last year for the first time and after a while I realized things were just a bit too quiet around the house. I've been tuning into them for quite a few months now. I listen to them when I'm running, driving around town, doing house work...and sewing of course. I'm laughing at my self as I'm writing this but it's true. In fact I almost blew through all of my data plan one month because of "temporarily" turning on cellular data over and over again. Over the summer I didn't get to listen to them quite as often. But the great thing about podcasts is that they are all saved and you can listen to them whenever.  So now that schools back in session I am catching up. Do you listen to crafty podcasts?

Here's a list of the ones I like to listen to.  I have a hunch I'm missing out on some so let me know if there are anymore out there that you are aware of and I'll add them to the list.

 First up is the Modern Sewciety podcast with Stephanie Kendron. This is a super fun podcast to listen to. Stephanie interviews bloggers, pattern designers, fabric designer, and everyone you are interested in hearing from in the sewing/fabric world. They share their stories and inspiration behind their work. I love hearing from all these talented artists. They are all just real people doing what they love.

Next we have the While She Naps Podcast with Abby Glassenberg. Abby is a clever stuffed animal designer a creative business guru.  I love her podcast because it gets into the nitty gritty of running a creative business. Abby invites a variety of successful creative business owners to share their start up stories, struggles, and successes. She also has her guests share the top 5 things that they are interested in.  I'm always learning about helpful books, products, apps, and services that I never new existed.

Next we have American Patchwork & Quilting Radio with Pat Sloan. Pat Sloan is a quilt designer and author and she teaches quilting workshops throughout the country.  Quilting Radio was actually the first sewing podcast I ever heard about. I was in heaven when I found it. Pat interviews a variety of quilters and fabric designers. They tell all about how they got started, and what fun new projects they are working on. They also share sewing and designing tips. I always learn something new when I listen and it makes me want to sew more quilts.

And last we have the Elise Gets Crafty podcast.  Elise has a creative lifestyle blog. She also has written a variety of eCourses, and sells limited edition handmade items. Elise talks about the ups and downs of running a blog as a business. She invites other bloggers to talk about a topics like branding and marketing, juggling real life, and having writer's block.  I think it's interesting.

So that's all I've found for now. Do you listen to any podcasts? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey June Lane Raglan … Maternity Style

I made myself another shirt this week. One more thing I can fit into, yay! (I'm 21 weeks along here, more than half way!) This time I used the Lane Raglan pattern from Hey June. I love a good raglan sleeve. They are so easy to sew. This pattern can be sewn entirely on the serger, which means it’s super fast to sew once you get it cut out.  I really like the way it turned out in general.

The pattern sizing says to go by your waist measurement. Since my waist is a little altered I went with my current non maternity shirt size which is Medium.
I also wanted to try and turn it into a maternity shirt so I added 4 inches to the front panel and gathered it into the side seams.  It turned out a bit too big and a bit too long.

 I ended up taking it in a little on the side seams in the chest and arms. I think I could still do that on the tummy and be okay.  But I’m going to leave it so my belly still has room to grow.

I also shortened the sleeves since It’s always hot here. I love the cuff around the bottom of the sleeve!! Since I shortened the sleeve, the patterned cuff wouldn’t have been big enough to go around my arm. So I re-sized it to be ½ inch shorter than the width of the bottom of the sleeve where I cut it, if that makes any sense.

 I also really like the band around the bottom though you can see it very well in these pics. It theoretically would have been great if I didn't add length to the front panel.

The verdict: This pattern is clear and well written.  It’s easy enough even for the beginner to sew. This pattern runs a little big and longer than I expected.  I do like the pattern though and will definitely sew it up again.  Next time I think I’ll try out making a size Small and not adding the extra maternity length on the front.

For fabric I used some striped knit that I picked up from Joann a while back. It has a little metallic shimmer to it that you can't really see. It is a great weight and I think it worked well.
I will definitely be sewing this one again, soon!

Until next time Happy sewing. 

Oh yes...I'm linking this up to Take a Look Tuesday and Project Parade.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Embracing Maternity Clothes, At least trying to...

Ugh, I do not like maternity clothes.  Every pregnancy I try to get away with not wearing them for as long as I can. I’m sure it’s silly of me but maternity clothes seriously give me anxiety.  All the extra tent like fabric and frou frou embellishments.  They make me look and feel larger than I already do. So I’ve been on a quest to find cute maternity clothes that I might feel comfortable wearing, because I have to wear something. In the mean time I was desperate for a shirt that fits me the other day. While browsing through my closet I saw a beach cover up that I had half made last year. It was just hanging in my closet unfinished.  I cut it off at tunic length and finished the neck and sleeves. Then sewed a little tie to go with it.  I think it turned out pretty cute.
 I loosely used a pattern from our new book, Just For You, that’s coming out in a couple of months.  It’s called the Saturday Night Tunic, the girl on the front cover is wearing it.

 I turned mine into a V-neck just to see how it would turn out. I think I need a little more practice hemming a “V” neckline because this one didn’t turn out too great.

 But it’s still wearable so I’m happy.

I have a stack of miscellaneous knit fabric waiting for me to sew it into something comfortable. And it looks like I like navy blue and grays. :)

I already have another shirt cut out and ready to sew from it.  Hopefully it whips up as quickly as I think it will and I’ll have something else to show soon! 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Sewing

I hope you all had a lovely summer! We had a big, exciting and busy summer here. We learned that we are expecting baby #5 and decided our house is just to small to accommodate our growing family.

And yes it's another boy! Looks like that's what we know how to raise best.  I'll get to sew up all the fun things I never got around to sewing for my last 3 boys :) Hooray! Anyhow, we spent a month purging stuff, touching up paint, and updating a few things so we could put our house up for sale.  Combine that with the usual squeezing in summer fun and vacations it made for one BUSY summer!
Sadly I had to pack away most of my sewing supplies. Off to the storage unit they went.

I kept my sewing machine and a little fabric just in case. I did get to do some summer sewing while getting our house ready.  First off,  I made new patio cushion slipcovers for the dingy chairs on my back porch.

It gets really grimy out there so I made the new slipcovers out of Tula Pink Laminated cotton. I love them.  They stay clean and they even go along with my fabric covered ceiling fan that I made a few years ago. Which I'm happy to say looks as good as the day I made it. I thought for sure the Florida humidity would have that fabric falling off in no time. I'm glad I was wrong

We added a cute little table and plant and the back porch was ready.

My realtor said she liked all my crafty decorations so we left most of them in place instead of redoing everything. I did have to make a bunch of new pillows for the couches. She said to go turquoise to match my little Pier One chair. I pulled out all my turquoise Anna Maria Horner Drawing room fabric and went a little crazy with it.

One of my favorites is this rosette pillow.  It would look cuter with a better pillow form though. I must admit, I was in such a hurry that I ended up hot-gluing all the flowers on instead of sewing them. I've already had to re-glue 5 or 6 of them. But it's still my favorite.

I also covered some wooden frames for wall art. A little fabric overload but I was desperate I tell you :)

Okay, that's all for now. Hopefully this the start to a great blog comeback. :)
Happy sewing!