Monday, April 30, 2012

Pick Your Color...

This week at Project Run & Play is color challenge week!  I'm pretty excited to see all the gorgeous designs.  I'm thinking I'm going to do a couple things because I've have two different ideas that I want to try out, and why not now?!  First, I think I'm going to try some dying-- and maybe some ombre action??  I've only dyed bodysuits, so I'm ready for another challenge, I think.  And what color will that be?  Well, you gotta give a girl what she wants, and Riley always wants PINK.

And my other option... well... it's a secret.  It's in a new realm for me, too, though. 

Since we're talking colors, what colors and fabric lines do you gravitate towards?  I love hearing other people's textile loves! :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chevron Stripes Top Tutorial!!

By the way, is it really chevron if it just has one 'V'?"  Things to think about, people...

Okay, folks, this is going to be a little intense.
 Here's the tutorial for my Chevron top I made for the PR&P sportswear sew-along.

I'm really going to work on being concise in this tutorial because it's quite a few steps.  No promises, though.  I seem to like to hear myself talk, er, type?  I do love how the first top turned out, but I didn't originally make a tutorial.  So I loaded up the kids into the ol' minivan and headed to the fabric store to grab some more stripes.  I let the girls choose their stripes.  This is Riley's choice.  It's cute and fun and very her.  And she likes that it's "such pretty colors!"

See... it's going to be tough on me to stay on target.  Let's get sewing, already!

1/2 yard striped fabric
1/2 yard coordinating fabric
1/2-inch elastic
single-fold bias tape, either bought or made
sewing gear
rotary cutter-- not necessary but will make your life SO MUCH easier!

**these measurements are for a 2T/3T top.  use 1/2-inch seam allowance throughout.  scroll to the bottom to see notes on adjusting to size.**

 Cut a strip of your stripe fabric at a 45 degree angle (or as close as you can-- just eye it).  Make it 3 inches by 10 inches.

Then cut another 3"x10" strip with the stripes going the opposite direction.  If you place your other strip on it, you can see what it will look like.  Also, if you cut it perpendicular to the cut you just made, you'll get the same angle (see second pic).

Pin and sew those pics together.  Check to make sure the stripes are lined up how you like.  If you have uniform stripes (like my first top), this is even more important!

Sew them together, finish with a zig-zag, and press open.

Find the stripe that goes up to the top outside corner, cut along that line down to the middle.

So when you open, you'll have this!

Cut a 5"x2" strip with the stripes going vertically.  Then cut it in half.  I do it this way, so I know the stripes will be the same.

Cut a 10"x6" rectangle with the stripes going vertically.  Cut in half.

For some perspective, here are (roughly) where all your pieces are going to go.

First sew your vertical stripes to your horizontals.  Make sure the pieces mirror each other.  Press the vertical ones up, so the seam allowance folds under (on the right).

Mark 1 inch down from the top of your Chevron strip. 

Line the seam up with that mark.

Flip right sides together and sew.  Do for other side of Chevron piece, too.

Then press.  Note how the tops of the vertical stripes are pressed over on themselves.

Here's what the front looks like!

Fold your top in half.  Lining up with the edge of the vertical pieces, measure down 4.5 inches then round it out at the bottom for the armhole.  Cut

You'll have this.  Then lop off the excess bottom parts down there.

Whew!  Got that done!

To make your back piece, measure out 7 inches from the folded edge.  Use your front piece to cut the same sides, armholes and shoulders.  For the neck, cut straight down then round it horizontally to the edge.  Also cut a lining piece (using the same or a coordinating fabric) in the same shape as the back.

Your main pieces will look like this.  The back is way big because you're going to elasticize it.

This next step is a little weird, but it's the best I came up with.  Grab whatever fabric you're using for your lining.  You can use the same fabric you used for the front or back.  I went with a plain cream.  It's not going to show.

Trace your front piece.  I used my straightedge for the front piece to make sure I had clean lines.  Now you'll have both a back and front lining piece. 

Sew your front and back pieces together at the shoulders.  Do the same with the lining pieces.

Pin the necklines of the main and lining, right sides together, and sew.  Clip at the corners and flip the lining inside.  Press.

After all that, here's the right side.  Top stitch the lining in place.  On the striped portions, I actually use the stripes as guides instead of my machine marks.

Now create some single fold bias tape.  This means that the edges fold in and meet at the center.  Or you can use storebought stuff, if that's easier for you (which is perfectly good!).

Unfold one edge of the bias tape and use that fold line to stitch, right sides together, to the armhole.  I made my tape extra long and just trimmed off the excess (see untrimmed part on the right).

For some reason, I didn't take a pic, but sew up the side seams and the bias tape, pressed out.  Then fold the bias tape inside and stitch in place.  Make sure your lining is lying flat, as if it and the main fabric were one piece.

Front side:

Now create the casing for the elastic (on the back) by cutting a 6"x9" rectangle.  Fold and press the short edges 1/4 inch.

Then stitch the long sides, right sides together.  Turn right side out and press.

Using a fabric marker, draw two lines across, dividing the strip into thirds.  Also find the center at the top (see my tiny mark?).

Center this on the inside of the back.

Stitch close to the long edges and along the lines.  Then just leave it be for a few moments while you add the ruffle to the bottom. (Don't be confused by this pic.  You'll actually be sewing to the right side of the lining.)

I made my ruffle a little smaller so as not to obscure the stripes when I ruffled it.  Gather the ruffle till it's the same width as your top.

Then line up the raw edges, right sides together and sew.

Cut three 5" lengths of 1/2-inch elastic.

Thread them through your casings and stitch up!  I did two lines of stitches for a little extra security.

You. Are. Done!!

Cute little Chevron Stripes top in "such pretty colors"!

Riley's top was a smidge tight... though she told me she liked it like that (ha!).  So that's why I'd say I'm giving you 2T measurements... the girl's four-years-old but is a stick!!

**Notes on how to adjust to appropriate size:

Keep the Chevron portion the same.  Just add (or subtract) inches to your vertical and horizontal pieces and back pieces.  Even though this top took quite a few steps to explain, adjusting it to your desired size isn't all that tough.  Let me know if you need extra help, though! :)  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hubba-Wha?? A Late Entry?

Well, who woulda thunk.  I finished enough pieces NOT to feel just silly submitting an entry for the Project Run&Play Sew-Along.  It's my All-American Girls Upcycle! :)


It all started with the French braid.  I just started French braiding Noelle's hair, having never done it (ever!) before.  I quickly got very enamored with braids.  There's inspiration 1.

Then I found some old t-shirts that just happened to be red, white and blue.   Inspiration 2.

And I remembered what Noelle looked like after the Independence Day parade, last year.  Inspiration 3.
Ha!  The girl clearly needs attire that is rough-and-tumble.  But I'd also prefer it to be cute.  So I made her a firework flair dress, using all three shirts.  It's a one-shoulder number (ow!ow!) with a braided strap and a cute flower embellisment.  I did a lettuce edge on the blue and red tiers, too.  A white ruffle extends above the other tiers.

 Riley's sporting reversible attire!  She has on the reversible braided piggies tank (tutorial here!) and the reversible fly-away vest, which I made from the same white shirt and a gray shirt, so it's a little more versatile (neutral).

I like how the braid peeks through the separating portion of the vest.

But mostly I just love these two little girls! :)