November 18, 2014

Stenciled Bodysuits

This little outfit was kind of a series of accidents. I was painting something for another project, and came up with idea to freezer paper stencil a triangle pattern on a bodysuit. I used my Silhouette to make it easier, just like I did here.

 I used a stitch on my machine that I've never used before. I didn't have a double needle, so I experimented. This stitch looks like a straight stitch, but it has some stretch. The picture on my machine looks like three rows of stitching, but they're so close together, you can't really tell.

 I had some navy and mint flannel in a fun print that I used to make a little skirt to go with the bodysuit. I added some shoes and voila! A cute little baby outfit. I used the pattern found here for the skirt. The shoes are made with this pattern.

This is the original project. I was making a state bodysuit. But since I'm a little paranoid, and there are creepy people on the internet, I removed the state. It's a simple little project though. Just stencil a state on the bodysuit, and add the "born" with freezer paper letters before painting.

The bodysuit pattern is the Stitchwerx pattern found here. I used Martha Stewart pearlized and metallic paints, mixed with a fabric paint medium.

November 17, 2014

Pattern Testing 101: Part 2

Want to see the first post about pattern testing? Go HERE for some tips on being chosen as a tester!

So you've been chosen as a pattern tester. And you want to be a good one, so that you'll be chosen again. But what makes a good pattern tester? That's what we're going to talk about today. Because if you're a good pattern tester, it's more likely that the designer will want you to test again.

Here are  things that make a good pattern tester. This isn't an exhaustive list. If there are things I've left off, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

1. Be reliable. If you sign up to be a tester, make sure that you can finish it within the designer's time frame. Most designers I've tested for want your feedback and pictures in about a week from the time that they send you the pattern, although that can vary. They are working on a schedule, and so it's important that they get feedback in a timely fashion so that they can perfect the pattern in time for it's scheduled release.

2. If something comes up, notify the designer as soon as possible. Sometimes things happen, like a sewing machine breaking and ending up in the shop. Let the designer know so that she can work around that, either by choosing another tester or extending the deadline for you. If other, more serious issues come up, and you can't contact the designer right away, it would still be courteous to contact the designer when you can. Trust me, if you just disappear, the designer isn't going to ask you to test again.

3. Give good feedback. Just saying "Everything is great" is nice to hear, but it doesn't really help the designer perfect her product. Be picky about grammar, and if something doesn't make sense, say so. Do you have a better method of doing something? Suggest it! You can also tell the designer what you liked about the pattern. Maybe this goes without saying, but you need to read the directions in order to do this. I know a lot of the time I skim the directions for the PDF patterns I've purchased or just look at the pictures, but if you're testing, you need to read everything carefully in order to give good feedback. 

4. Make sure you reference the designer's size chart. Your ready to wear size (or your child's ready to wear size) may not be the same as the sizing in the pattern. It doesn't really help the designer if you make something based on your ready to wear size, and then tell the designer the fit was way off. If you made the wrong size, of course it is going to be off. Also, if you needed to blend sizes to get a good fit according to the size chart, make sure to tell the designer what you did.

5. Be willing to go the extra mile. Sometimes sizing is off, or a design element just doesn't work, and the designer needs to change the pattern enough that she wants to send it through another round of testing before releasing it. If you're willing to sew up another test garment, that is helpful to the designer, and she'll know that you're a tester she can count on.

6. Take good pictures. One of the main reasons for testing is to check fit, and if the designer can't see the fit from your pictures, it's not very helpful. Make sure to take pictures from different angles too. Also, if there was a particular fit issue, a close-up can be helpful.

So there you go. Happy testing!

November 11, 2014

Flower Garland Headband for Baby

I wanted a little accessory for my baby to use when I took some pictures of her. I came up with the idea of making this sweet little garland headband for her. I have a Big Shot and a small flower die for it that was perfect.

I cut out the flowers and added some pearls and then glued them to some elastic. With the Big Shot, it came together really quickly, but with a little patience, you could get the same result with just scissors. 

Here's a quick tutorial.

November 10, 2014

Pajamas For Winter

Last year on Black Friday, I took a trip to JoAnn's to stock up on flannel. I bought a whole bunch, and then never used it. So I decided that since winter is coming, I'd make my girls some cozy pajamas with it.

I made a couple of nightgowns using the Sadie Grace nightgown. It's a simple nightgown with raglan sleeves that is a super quick sew. The neckline is pretty wide, so make sure that you don't cut the notch too low. It tends to fall off my girls' shoulders a bit, but they really love their nightgowns and wear them all the time now.

I also made a couple of pairs of Sweet Dreams PJs (affiliate link). I made one with the plain cuffs, and one with the ruffle cuffs. The ruffle cuffs are much more finicky, and they don't wash as well-if you want them to lay well after washing, you might have to iron them. But again, my little girl loves them, and they are super cute and girly. She had fun showing me how she could jump off the window seat in them.

And here she is in her "ice cream pajamas" made with the Sadie Grace nightgown pattern.

This is a little trick I use. I don't have personalized tags like some people do, but when I make something like pajama bottoms that don't have a clear front and back, I use a loop of ribbon to make a tag. That helps with self dressing.

November 07, 2014

Flower Satin Blessing Dress

I wanted to make my little girl a dress for her blessing (which is similar to a christening for our church). I decided to use some pretty satin flower fabric, so I wanted a simple dress to show off the fabric. I ended up using the Endless Dress pattern since I already had it. I made a muslin since I wanted to make sure it fit well. I ended up using the newborn size, and slightly shortening the sleeves.

I also made a little headband to go with it. I hung up the dress, but hadn't taken pictures yet, and the next time I went in the room, my four year old had hung it up next to the dress. I thought it was cute, so I took a picture. Excuse the wrinkly skirt. She'd already worn it when I took the pictures.

Since this was a formal dress, and because I didn't want to smash the flower fabric, I made sure to understitch instead of topstitch. Understitching goes through the lining and the seam allowances, but not the main fabric.

I added a sash at the end, because I thought it needed a little something extra. Since I didn't want to undo the side seams to add it in, I made some thread belt loops using this tutorial.