Monday, December 8, 2014

Halloween 2014

For the last two years Mina hasn't had much of an opinion about Halloween costumes.  We chose cool, nerdy costumes for her first and second Halloweens; a Dalek and an Ewok. This year marked the end of parental choice.  Mina decided she wanted to be Katerina Kittycat and Magnus would be O the Owl from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  

I correctly assumed that the Katerina costume would come together faster than the owl costume.  I decided to use fleece because it gets cold here on Halloween.  (I should say USUALLY is cold on Halloween.) For the owl legs I decided to make a pair of stretch pants out of cotton knit.  Our local Hancock didn't have tan so I bought some tan Rit dye as well.

 For the body of the costume I decided to cut out individual "feathers" and layer them.  The effect was really nice and I think it was worth all the time I took to create the main costume.
 I decided to try the same effect with the hat.
 I decided against it.  The whole process was really time consuming!
 Especially with a fussy baby and a busy toddler.

 Eventually the costume came together!
 Mina's almost completed costume.
 The kids' costumes, ready for their party.
 By Halloween day I had my costume finished as well.  It wasn't that great, just a poorly executed wrap dress with a bow and ears.
 Mina was very excited to go trick or treating at her Grandpa's office.

 Magnus in his O hat.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


On more than one occasion I have purchased a dress thinking, "It's not THAT short" only to later regret it. There isn't much fun derived from constantly shimmying your dress closer to your knees. It's just awkward. 
   With my mistakes in the past I've been able to remedy that problem for others. Last winter I added a strip of fabric to a maternity dress, it looked perfect and I felt so much better. My cousin, Caitlin, bought a really cute dress but didn't feel comfortable wearing it due to the length. I'll add that she has legs for days which just emphasized the short length. The dress was made from a medium weight brocade. I found a suitable piece of fabric in the home decor section.
Due to the flare of the skirt, I patterned the extension in wedge shapes. It took a little longer but I think it was worth it!
My Grandma bought this dress a year ago and decided it was too short. She asked me to add on to the hem. I couldn't find a good match for the dress fabric so I chose a contrasting color.  She was really happy with the results. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Autumn Projects part 1

Occasionally I will look at my blog and realize it hasn't been updated. I'll stop and think about recent projects. Then, I will realize how much I have finished and that realization will lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Here is what I have been up to during the last month and a half. 
When Magnus was born we moved all my crafting stuff downstairs, converting my sewing room into a nursery. I mentioned to James how nice it would be to have pegboard in my sewing nook. He framed out a piece of board from our shed with some leftover molding. I painted it with some leftover color used in our kitchen. I swiped some accessories from the pegboard in the utility room. I'm very happy with my little sewing area. 
My next project was a dress for a wedding in New York. One of my friends from my mission was searching high and low for a dress for her daughter to wear to her brother's wedding. 
We discussed the dress design, measurements and timeline. It needed to be there in a few short weeks. I was really happy that I was able to help. 
There were a few fit issues but nothing major. I thought it was pretty good for a dress made several states away. 
After the dress for the wedding I made my nephew's blessing outfit. Graham's romper was the same design as his twin's burial outfit. Hilary sent me measurements and I redrafted the pattern. Graham as come a long way in a few short months!
Along with the romper I also made a pair of shoes. 
It's a good thing Graham was blessed when he was because the outfit was almost too small! Keep growing Graham!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comic Con 2014

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I made Jordan's Comic Con costume. I spent a few weeks on it but I honestly should have spent closer to a month. It was kind of elaborate. 
Here is a refresher of what we started with, a video game character from Skyrim. 
I patterned the costume and wound up with over 50 pieces including pants, tunic, hooded over tunic and fingerless gloves. It took a really long time to cut out all of those pieces. 
Slowly, very slowly, the pieces came together. 
It was a pain to line up the seams but it was well worth it!
The under tunic had a majority of the pieces, so many seams!
I pinned a cut out of my hand on the hooded tunic, to check the size and placement for the painted hand. You can see it's starting to come together at this point. 
After that I had the decorative stitching to add. By hand. I could have taken a week on the stitching alone. 
My fingers were very sore. 
Did I mention I had an earlier deadline because we were going on vacation? Yep. We left the week of Comic Con. Luckily, Jordan is really laid back and compassionate. He was really appreciative of his costume. I really wanted to add some distressing so it didn't look so pristine. 
Here is Jordan at Comic Con. I neglected to take pictures when he picked up his costume. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Shirt Dresses and Shrouded Robes

I realized recently that Mina, despite appearances, is growing. This realization came when I tried to dress her in her Easter dress and she couldn't move her arms.  Her beautiful, colorful plaid silk Easter dress was too small. I went to Hancock's and bought some printed cotton from their sale table. It had a bird print that looked vintage in an ugly/interesting sort of way.  I loved it. 

Patterning the dress was quick, I used her blouse pattern as a base.

I swapped in sharper collar and puffed sleeves. I made the skirt extra full and followed suit with the diaper cover. For a pattern that came together so quickly, the dress took a long time to finish. 
She wore it for the first time to Cooper's service. I realized after I finished it that it was really done, it needed pockets, belt loops and a belt. The body of the dress was too big, I got a little carried away with adding ease. Maybe that just means she will be able to wear it next year?
The extra fullness means it floats out when she twirls or rides on the teeter totter. 
I really want to make a few more! 

My current project is my brother's Comic Con costume. Last year he went as Henchman 21 from Venture Brothers. It was a really fun costume that turned out better than I anticipated. 
This year he is dressing as an assassin from the video game Skyrim. Initially I felt like it was going to be too big of a challenge, the costume is kind of complicated. 
But, then craziness ruled out and I agreed to make it. We met so I could take some measurements and we could talk about the specifics. 
Once we broke it down into separate elements it became much more manageable. 
I sketched and took notes while he showed me the character on the game. I took the information and made a mock up out of some polyester that had a good weight to it. After a fitting I finalized the pattern. 
Now I need to buy the fabric and make costume. I hope I don't mess it up!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blessing outfits and blessings

When it came time to make Magnus' blessing outfit I did what anyone my age would do, I went to Pinterest. I also went to my stash of vintage patterns because I like to dress my kids in old fashioned clothes. 
This pattern was acquired at a Relief Society activity at the "give and take" table. There was a fairly large box of old patterns. I decided it would be a bad idea to take the whole box so I limited myself to a few. I love the look of kids in overalls and rompers. I think it's a limited time sort of thing so you have to jump in and do it before it's too late. 
I loved the look of this romper on Etsy so I looked for a way to combine the two sources of inspiration. I went to the fabric store and looked at all their white fabric. I wanted there to be interest and I decided the interest would come via texture. 
I used cotton sateen for the "shirt" and seersucker for the overalls. I altered the shirt pattern down to Magnus' size and then altered it further into a onesie. It worked but it didn't work at the same time. It didn't cover his diaper but, the overalls covered most everything else!
I altered the pattern for the overalls down to Magnus' size and then I made the bottom section a little longer. The original pattern was almost like a skirt with the centers connected, I wanted more defined shorts. I added snaps to the onesie and overalls for ease in dressing and diaper changes. 
I took some pictures a few days after because I realized we only had pictures of our family. 

Last week I had the opportunity to make something very special, a burial outfit. My wonderful sister gave birth to twins last month at 32 weeks. They were mono mono twins which necessitated hospitalized monitoring for the last month and a half of my sister's pregnancy. It was known that one of the twins, Cooper, had a heart defect that would require open heart surgery. Two weeks after their miraculous birth, Cooper passed away in his parent's arms. They brought him to Utah for burial. 

I didn't know what to say or do to help my sister so I offered up my skills. Without a set of measurements I did the only thing I could do, I prayed. After I prayed I went to work. I had a few mason jars on my sewing table that I used for sizing. I scaled down Magnus' blessing outfit pattern and hoped it would fit Cooper. I combined pattern elements into a new outfit that I hoped Hilary would like. After I finished patterning I used the rest of the cotton sateen. It was so soft and pliable. The outfit came together quickly, I had this much done by 10:30 that evening. 
I snagged one of Mina's dolls for a fitting. James suggested adding Velcro up the back seam for ease in dressing. I hadn't thought about that and I appreciated his input. 
The combination of functional buttons in the front and Velcro in the back made it easier to dress. 
I added buttons and waist tabs to the romper. Later on I added a satin bow tie that I made from Hilary's wedding dress sash. I'm glad I was able to help in some small way. 

The outfit fit perfectly.