Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jasmine Bubble Pants

     Project Run and Play is changing it up a bit this year. They are featuring a previous contestant each month who provides a tutorial and then folks can sew something up and join a link party. Simpler than in past years, but kind of nice. More my speed anyway in terms of participating. Let's see if I can join the party every month this year. I like having really achievable goals that can jumpstart additional inspiration. I will also say that if I do sew along, I will do my best to turn it into an item that is already on my to-sew list. And I will try not to buy fabric. There, a handful of reasonable goals. Excellent.
    This month, they have Alida sharing her bubble dress tutorial. It looked pretty cute. I was thinking about what fabric I would use. How I would personalize it. If it should be a dress or a shirt or what. And then I realized, it would be a great way to make some Princess Jasmine pants! I have to confess that it is more my idea than the girls that they need some Jasmine pants.  I just love that style of huge comfortable pants in fun flowy fabric. So I had told Fern I would make her some recently. This was a great opportunity to make that a reality. 

   Alida's tutorial is great, very easy to follow. I've never made a bubble dress, so it is fun to think about new techniques / styles. In order to make the dress be pants, I cut 2 pieces measuring pretty much the same as she described, but with crotch areas cut out. I forgot to make my liner pieces mirror images of each other (sewing with a head cold, man!), so I ended up with pants that don't have a front or back, since I had to trim the fabric to line up once I pinned the crotch seams together. I was worried that the rise would be too low in the back, but that tall waist band makes up for it! Phew. They are definitely low slung, and her belly pokes out a bit, but hey, they are Jasmine pants after all. 
     I used a two-toned, reversible, shiny, turquoise-gold fabric that was given to me in the incredible fabric stash gift that Althea's nightie came from for the outer fabric. For the liner, I used a woven cotton that I found in a free pile a while ago. So double score, free fun pants!

       The first thing I did was sew the bottom of the outer leg and liner leg together and do the shirring (I did 3 rows instead of two; I also cut the outer pieces wider than the liner gathered it for even more puff). Then I sewed the tops together. Then, turned each leg right side out and sewed the pants together as I would with any pair of pants (flat-felled seams for the crotch, french seams for the inseam). 
    Then I folded the waistband down to reveal the liner fabric, and turned this into a casing for the elastic a la the tutorial from the bubble dress. I kept the waistband the same as Alida's dress; I like the way she inserted her elastic about a half inch below the top of the waistband, creating a ruffle at the top. 
     Many things I've sewn for Fern lately have been too short - she is so tall all of a sudden! So I wanted to make sure that wasn't the case with these. They brush the floor and she thinks it is perfect. She is the sassiest little model, I can't get enough of her. And she loves these pants, so we are both happy. I do enjoy creating costume-ish clothes that are well made (unlike anything you find in stores for kids dress up) and that can be mixed into their wardrobes to add some whimsical fun.
Watching her prance around in them is a special bonus for me!

She replaces the word balance with "bounce". She's always yelling "Hey mom, see my bounce?"

I love her attitude in this one!

Sister photo bomb

 Thanks for the tutorial Alida! This was fun.

Monday, January 19, 2015

First time for everything - a QUILT!!

    My brother got married last fall to an awesome girl and I love them both. My girls were flower girls in their wedding, my dad was the best man, my husband and I were both in the wedding party as well and it was one of the most special days of my life. Her family is great too, my mom was of course on cloud 9, everyone was so happy. The toasts were classic, the setting was gorgeous, the band was amazing, the list of awesome just doesn't stop. 
This is my brother and his wife along with my folks, myself and my hubs and our little girls
What a crew. This picture kind of makes me cry. 

    I wanted to do something special for them. One of my favorite gifts from my own wedding was a beautiful quilt sewn for us by a close family friend. So I decided I would make them a quilt.  
    I have also been planning to make quilts for each of my girls. It might change by the time it actually happens, but I picked out a quilt block that I planned to use as the design for each quilt. I like the idea of big designs, so just one massive quilt block. I have the fabric purchased (although I have since been dipping into it for other projects) and everything. So I figured that I would sew those quilts first and I would get some practice in making quilts and I would be an old pro by the time I worked my way onto their wedding quilt. 
    But those practice quilts weren't happening, and as other sewing projects lined up and time kept on ticking by I could tell that if I wanted the quilt to be completed before their five year anniversary, I needed to just START SEWING IT. Because I wasn't going easy on myself for my first ever quilting project, and this was going to take some time. 
    I had my quilt image already mapped out. The first time my husband and I ever met my sister in law, she accompanied my brother on a family vacation to Cape Cod with my folks and ourselves. We stayed at a place called the Lighthouse Inn. It doesn't have a very picturesque lighthouse attached, but the idea of a lighthouse stuck with me as I thought about designs. Currently, the happy couple live in Boston, so I ended up going with the Boston Harbor Lighthouse. It is a cool one, located on a little island off the coast. I used this image as my inspiration:
   I drew this image in a pencil sketch. Then I drew it again trying to make it as simple as possible. The paper I was using was 9 x 11, which was pretty close to 1:10 to the life size of the quilt, which was convenient, so I went with that. I considered making a life size drawing of it. My husband brings home large sheets of paper from work (they are used as packing material for inventory sent to him) which I use for patterns etc. It was three sheets wide for the length and four high for the width. It was absurd to do this though, so I ended up only doing it for the island / base of the lighthouse and again for the skyline and lighthouse light. 
    I did postpone a couple weeks waiting for the big sale dates to line up with my coupons at JoAnn's to go buy my fabric. I had to though. I couldn't not get 50% off of everything. So I finally had all my supplies in hand the week before Thanksgiving.
    But then I could really start! I would measure each piece on my life size drawing and cut out its fabric equivalent with 1/4 inch seam allowance added on. A lot of time was spent measuring and cutting! I also tried to mark places on the smaller drawing where trapezoids and rhombuses came together to make some sort of rectangle so I could keep track of the best order in which to sew all these pieces together.  And slowly but surely, it all came together. 
    I only had to go back to the fabric store once. Not too bad. I had picked up a roll of high loft batting sometime over the summer. I wanted it to be really cozy, so the high loft was exciting for me.
One thing I regret is that I didn't take any in progress pictures. And by the time I finished it (Christmas Eve morning I believe) I had to wrap it up right away so I didn't take too many pics of it completed either. It is gigantic. It ended up being 96" x 93" I believe. Somewhere around there. So a generous queen sized quilt. It will work on a king too, just won't hang down the sides quite as low. 
So I had to stand on the couch and use the panoramic feature on my phone to capture it! 
Here she is:
    The water actually extend down another inch or two beyond what the picture shows

       I had a lot of fun choosing the fabrics for this. I knew I wanted a chevron for the water, but the rest of the patterns were chosen on the fly at the store. You can never tell until you stand there and look at all of the colors / patterns together. I like the theme though of all of the blues and neutrals and the little pop of red on the roofs. (I don't even have closeups of the fabric details! Sheesh. I suppose photography: more of it and better light - is my blogging resolution of the year). I used the same red fabric from the roof to make my own 3" wide bias tape to bind the quilt. I used this tutorial, and was so thankful that I did. It was so clear and was so much simpler than how I would have done it otherwise; a huge time and headache saver. It is hard to see in the picture, because of the rug it is laid out on, but I love the way the red comes back into play with the binding. It also plays well with the backing fabric I chose:

         I just love cherry blossoms. This was the perfect color combo and such a sweet print. I did have to cut a strip of sky off the top and of water off the bottom to sew to the back along with the cherry blossoms in order to not make another trip to the fabric store. Oh well, I still think it came out lovely. 
         The quilting is very simple. Stitch in the ditch style for most of it. Some lines mimicking the way the sky comes together in sunburst styles. I followed the chevron pattern across the ocean a few times. Getting that high loft batting and all those inches of quilt rolled up tight enough to fit in my 6" arm machine was no joke! Phew. Glad that is over. I was looking at quilting machines online after that for kicks and was shocked at the price tag on some of those babies! There are some reasonable ones out there for hobbyists such as myself though, so I am left to mull over what I need more - a serger or a quilter. Fact is, my babylock is serving me well on all projects right now. But if I win the lottery sometimes soon, it will probably be a serger first. Then a longarm! (If we can't dream, what's the point....)
        One thing I would do differently if I were starting over right now, would be add a border. The quilt is so large that if you actually put it on a bed, the island detail is completely draped over the end of the bed and is lost a bit. Oh well again. It's a wrap-around image quilt. Now I will hopefully remember to incorporate that into my measurements for future projects. 
       I do believe there will be future projects. I think garment sewing is still my favorite, but I did catch the quilting bug a bit here. My babylock has a darning plate, so I can go free motion the next time if I'm so inclined. I have 3 more ideas brewing away right now....