Monday, October 20, 2014

I Love Overalls!

Seriously, I have always loved overalls!  I would wear them as often as I could when I was younger.  I even got a couple pairs when I was pregnant with my kids, although I didn't end up wearing those ones much.  I love overalls!  They are comfy and who doesn't adore all those pockets, right?
Years ago I bought some adorable blue corduroy fabric with little cows on it with the intention of making overalls for my then-pre-school-aged cousins.  Yeah, there's a serious age difference going on!  So I cut my tissue paper patterns, laid out the pieces "just so" and cut my fabric, then I put it all away to work on when I had more time to devote to putting them together.  Fast forward, um, well, let's just say it's been more than ten years and those overalls are still sitting in a bag, waiting to be made.  I did actually pull the fabric out about a year ago, thinking they might fit my own kids, but honestly, the directions to put them together were just more than I wanted to deal with.  I think I actually got the pockets on the fronts, maybe the backs, but they never looked quite lined up, and I just didn't want to keep going if they were going to be crooked.
Recently I found Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop and when Amy, the owner/designer, started posting previews of her overall jumper, I was smitten!  It was exactly the look I wanted to make for my kids!  The great thing about PAB is that she offers a few free patterns on her website to try out.  I can't even imagine what it takes to figure out and put together a paper pattern but these are amazing!  What I didn't realize was that I have actually been wanting to pick up her Classic Footed Pajama pattern for about a year now but never thought to really look at her site, I had no idea what I was missing out on!
First of all, you get the pattern for an incredibly reasonable price and most patterns come in sizes 3 months to children's size 10!  You can't get a single tissue paper pattern in that many sizes!  Plus, since it is a digital file, you can print it off as many times as you need!  For me, I print the pattern in black-and-white, then I use pattern tracing paper to trace the size I need.  I prefer using the pattern paper (similar to interfacing) over printing a new pattern only because my printer uses up ink very quickly.  I am planning to purchase some accordion files to store the original printed pattern and each traced size in the same area.

The directions for the patterns (well, for every one that I have gotten so far) comes not only with detailed instructions but lots of photos for easy reference.  The photos are great because they are not those black-and-white diagrams of what some manufacturer thinks the items should look like, PAB instruction photos are full color, actual project photos, some include additional markings.  Again, in a effort to not allow my printer to force me into bankruptcy, I actually use my Adobe Reader on my tablet to scroll through instructions.  I am even able to "mark up" my notes using Reader, so if I decide to go out of order (which is something I do a lot) I can mark what steps I have done so I don't miss a thing!

I have to say though, one of the greatest things about these patterns is the support from not only the designer but also from her testers and other sewists!  Amy has a blog where she shares tutorials for patterns, updates followers on new patterns or news, offers free tutorials (and patterns) for designs not in her store and also shares mash-up tips where you can take patterns and mash-them-up to make your own hybrid patterns!  There is also a Facebook page and group (this is a closed group and you must request to join) to get help with patterns, ideas, even great places to purchase fabric!
So!  When the Oopsy Daisy Overalls Jumper was being released, I just knew I had to have it!  The great thing is, there are lots of ways to get a discount!  I not only got the jumper during a Thrifty Thursday special sale, when I added the Okie Dokie Overalls (pants/shorts) there was a coupon code for $3 off!  I did happen to have twill fabric that I wanted to use for these patterns, and in the Facebook group, Amy was doing a sew-along, which is fabulous because it helps to break down the pattern and addresses any issues people might be having with making the patterns.
I had every intention of sewing along with everyone else, up until I found out my iron was broken.  I was so bummed!  At the end of the sew along, people were encouraged to post their completed photos for a chance to win a store credit!  Even though I didn't finish in time for the "contest" I was able to borrow an iron in order to get the overalls made.  After making them, I will never (well, at least in my foreseeable future never) buy another tissue-paper pattern again!  Even as a work-at-home-mom of two little girls, the jumper took me about four or five hours, including cutting time, although it was spread out across a couple days.  When I was ready to make the overalls, they took me significantly less time to put together!

 I seriously can't wait to make my next patterns!  In the next week I have plans to make Halloween costumes for my kids!  Be sure to check that out here.
I have about a dozen patterns now from PAB, and I love the variety.  Since Samie loves dresses so very much, I have a feeling my next few projects are going to be for her.  I also bought patterns to make snow pants and jacket, a zippered hoodie and a camisole and panties pattern, since Samie is so hard to shop for when it comes to undergarments!  I have to admit, my wishlist includes pretty much every pattern on the site, but from what I have seen in the Facebook group, most of these patterns go together incredibly quickly!
Happy crafting!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween is Coming! Do You Make or Buy Your Kids Costume?

I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween costumes.  First of all, I love making costumes!  I love being able to "play" with colors and fabrics and create something fun and playful.  Halloween however seems to always creep up on me just a little faster every time I decide to sew my kid's costume(s).  There is just something about a handmade costume though, that makes it last just a little longer than a factory made, store purchased costume, not to mention the love and attention (and a little blood, sweat, tears and swearing) that go into it.
This year, with all of the Frozen-fever going on, my kids asked to be Elsa and Anna.  We have kept an open eye for pre-made costumes as they are pretty much everywhere but had yet to find a set that we were willing to pay the retail price on.  Some stores only have Anna, others only have Elsa, some are poor quality, some were more expensive than I am going to pay for a "play" dress!  I finally convinced the hubby to Let It Go and let me make the girls their costumes this year.  This is also the point at which I hear about how we can't spend a fortune for me to make the costumes either...  Fine!
Starting with Elsa was a no-brainer.  Not because I thought she would be easier to make, but because Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop had a blog post on how to make it along with a free pattern (for size 4T, which will fit approximately 3-5 because it is made of knits) and I just love the way hers turned out!  The best part is, I did not need to go out and buy any new fabric!  Yup, I had more than enough fabric to choose from, and even had a "precious" piece of fabric I have been holding onto for the perfect project.  I must tell you, that fabric has been around since before Anna asked "Do you wanna build a snowman?"

Anna is going to take me a little more work.  I knew I could go out and buy a pattern from a big-name company but I am kind of a cheap-o when I buy patterns and I won't spend more than $2 for a tissue paper pattern.  Not only that, trying to find the right pattern, in the right size, on a sale day would be a lot of work.  I decided to go with the option of finding a pattern online (I looked for free patterns but didn't find any I liked) and I wanted something that I could use again for everyday clothes.  My first choice was to go back to PAB Pattern Shop, where I found the Poppy Polo!  I liked this pattern because I can modify the collar to stand up and be more rounded, and after making the dress two-tone, I can just add a vest!  I considered buying a pattern to make the vest, but I'm going to just use the Elsa bodice to make the front of the vest.  I was very excited when I found some baby blue knit gauze fabric for $3/yard, and I only needed 1/2 a yard for the long sleeve bodice, although I didn't know that when shopping, so I splurged on the full yard to be sure.  While cleaning my sewing room, I found a terrific blue knit for the skirt and a simple black woven for the vest.  Once I start getting my fabric cut I will be heading on over to Frou Frou by Heather Sue to pick up some embroidery files for the Anna vest and skirt!

I have seen all of the cute accessories out there for both Elsa and Anna but to be honest, neither princess, or queen, is much for accessories, so why load my kids up?  The last little touch will be something for their hair.  I have seen some adorable crocheted hats with braids themed for Frozen characters, but I just don't know if I want to attempt to make them myself, spend the money and hope they get here, or just grab some yarn and make braids and attach them to hair clips and call it done!
All-in-all, I will end up spending less than $40 (not counting whatever I spent on fabric and thread years ago) to make these, but the bonus is that I will be able to make more tops and dresses out of the pattern as well as being able to use all of the embroidery designs again and again!

I can't wait to share my progress with these costumes!  So, what do you do?  Do you buy pre-made costumes or have you ever made your own?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I Have Missed Blogging... Sort of...

Let's be honest, there is a certain amount that we all like to "hear ourselves speak."  I am no exception, in fact, I have been told that I talk more than anyone in my family.  I think (as my grandfather would say) that I come by it honestly, as we have a lot of "talkers" in our family.  The truth is, I work from home while watching my two little girls, and I don't talk nearly as much as people may think...  Especially since generally, I can barely get a word in when it comes to my customers or my kids.  That's okay, it's all part of "the job" and I do enjoy my days mostly.  Blogging though gives me the opportunity to get my thoughts out there, into the world, whether anyone is listening or not.  I actually have a couple blogs, one more about personal stuff and this one, that I try to keep more about my sewing.  The thing is, lately, I have mostly just been making notes to myself; things to get done, stuff I want to do around the house, projects that need to be worked on, but I haven't been very productive...  I have all these ideas in my head and no focus or motivation!  UGH!!!
That's kind of where I get the "sort of missed blogging".  You see, if I take time out to blog, it's time I have to find, and take away from my other daily happenings.  So, while I love hearing myself speak (so to speak) and I certainly enjoy sharing my thoughts with all of you (or no one maybe?) I will do my best to at least get a little bit of blogging done each week.

So, I belong to a few groups on Facebook that have to do with sewing and embroidery...  A while back someone in one of the groups mentioned that a shop-at-home network would have a sale on a certain embroidery machine that I have been drooling over.  I tuned in to watch, knowing I couldn't actually upgrade to a new machine quite yet, but GOOD GRIEF it gets the creative bug moving in my brain!  I had plans to do so much for this year with sewing and my machines!  I haven't even scratched the surface for what I wanted to get done.  I went into my sewing room for a few minutes and each time I just go in to look around I become overwhelmed with all the projects to get done, and at the same time, I learn something new about what I can and should be doing!

What have I been doing?  Well, there are some super cute embroidered felt dolls I have been making, you can see a few of my dolls over at my Instagram page here.  I have made over a dozen dolls and outfits, most have been gifts and for my own Littles, but I am hoping to get dolls listed on my site for sale soon!
I also worked on an adorable 1st Birthday outfit for my squishy little niece!

I got the tutorial from Just Add A Bow be sure to check out her DIY videos!  I actually didn't follow the tutorial exactly, but it was filled with great information to get me going!

So, other things I am planning to work on?  My sewing machines!  Every time I go to look for something I find a feature I didn't know the machine did before!  With a little help, I am going to do some video posts of using my machine and what the different presser feet do.  I also am going to attempt some reviews of products I have purchased, everything from my machines, patterns, accessories, whatever!  And of course I am working on projects, or for now I am at least getting a schedule down with my family so that I can get projects done!
This last week I have been making the Oopsy Daisy Overalls Jumper and Okey Dokey Overalls from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop!  Let me tell you, I am completely addicted to these patterns!  Not only does the designer give lots of tips and trick on her Facebook page, she also has a blog and does sew-alongs!  While working on the overalls I used my Kenmore machine with my 1/4" foot, buttonhole attachment and a presser foot that keeps the fabric steady while I run a zig-zag stitch!

Is there something sewing related that you would be interested in seeing?  My general sewing machine is a Kenmore (from 1976) and my embroidery machine is a Singer Futura SES1000.  Eventually I am hoping to upgrade to a Singer Quintet and to get myself a serger, but for now I'll work with what I've got.
Feel free to leave a comment of anything you might be interested in, tutorials, sewing, whatever, and I will see what I can do to GET IT DONE!
Thanks for visiting!  Be crafty!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Meeting Goals!

I am one of the worst people at meeting goals, especially for myself and when it comes to sewing...  I started following Project Run and Play a year or two ago (side note, when I went to get the web info to link, I totally got distracted!) and I have always wanted to participate in the sew along.  I'm going to be honest though, I don't create my own patterns and I am terrible with time management.  Seriously, PR&P tends to even post all the challenges for the "season" in the beginning, so it's not like they don't give you enough time to pull it all together!  I don't have to use my own pattern, as long as you give credit to the source of the pattern, but I find that my pattern collection and my fabric stash tend to never see eye-to-eye.  I have even tried to use the time of year to my advantage as I have always loved the idea of making holiday outfits for my kids, and with two little girls, the possibilities are endless!  I'm not sure how long you have been following my adventures in sewing but I have made only a handful of holiday wear for my kids in the last four years, and even in those instances I have run out of time and had my kids wear the partially finished product!
I recently came across Peek-a-boo patterns and instantly fell in love!  Printable patterns, reasonable prices, great range in sizes, blog posts with tips and tricks, Facebook (this is a closed group, you must have a Facebook account and request to join) page for extra support, and sew-alongs!  I have been watching the other Facebook fans jam out project after project in admiration and envy!  I decided I wanted to participate in the overalls sew-along, advisory; never get your hopes up to get sewing projects done the Monday after you get back from a vacation!  So, I bought the Oopsy Daisy overall jumper when it was released on special and even picked up the Okey Dokey overalls with a $3 off coupon!  I found some twill that I have been holding onto for far too long and printed my patterns.  That's where it all went downhill!  Although the patterns are in color, my printer just doesn't print color well, so I hit the button to print in grey scale.  Too bad for me, the computer decided to print in color anyway, so I had to go back and print the pages again in black and white!  Then the fabric...  I was pretty sure I had washed the fabric at some point, but since it is cotton, I wanted to make sure I had washed it.  All this happened on Monday, I am typing this up on Wednesday and the fabric is still in the drier and my pattern has not been cut!  This is what I am talking about when it comes to getting things done!  My cutting table and ironing board are loaded up with different projects, so I will need to clean all of that before I can get started as well.
I am really hoping that I can get caught up tonight so I can join back up with the group, although I am foreseeing a time consuming process of cutting in my future as one of my fabrics has a directional print that I will need to match up.
My fabric choices:

I'm going to do my best to get these worked out and done by the end of the week.  Not only does peek-a-boo do a fan photo contest, Project Run & Play is having a denim week!