Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ruffle Shirt

I saw this tutorial on Pineterst and wanted to give it a try.  I'm getting better at making skirts, so I wanted to increase my understanding of how to put shirts together.

About 1 yard main fabric
About 1/2 yard contrasting fabric (optional)

First, the directions in the tutorial are spot on.  The way they are set up gives you nice, clean finished seams.  I was really impressed at how wonderful this turned out.  And it was relatively easy.  There were times when I had to read the directions a few times in a row to grasp the concept of what was being said; but that's typical with sewing instructions.

I started with these two fabrics: a mint green knit that I got for $1 a yard at Walmart, and a green and blue paisley cotton that Pockets gave me ages ago.


I cut out all my necessary rectangles:

Four 5 in x 20 inch rectangles in the CONTRAST fabric for the straps (left and right) and the shirt's top band (front and back)
Two 6 in x 12 inch rectangles in the CONTRAST for the pockets (I actually used 5 in x 12 in and it worked just fine)
Two 3 in x 22 inch rectangles in the MAIN fabric for the arm ruffles

Finally, I made a pattern for the shirt's body, a trapezoid 26" on the top and 29" on the bottom.


For the sleeves, you're supposed to add a ruffle.  I tried to do this, but since my knit was too delicate, I couldn't get the ruffle to work.  I really had a hard time sewing the knit fabric in general.  It was too stretchy and thin, so would get sucked into the bottom of my machine.  Several times I had to alter my design to add in a stabilizer to help.  Luckily, the knit looks just fine not-ruffled, so I just left it as it was.


For the body, again, I couldn't sew the knits together.  I had to add a thin strip of the contrast fabric underneath to prevent the knit from being pulled in.


As it's on the inside, I didn't worry about it--it won't show at all once the piece is done.


The directions call for making the pleats before you attach the body to the bands at the top.  Since I have a fuller bust, I wanted to wait to make the pleats, giving me an easier way to make sure the measurements were right.  The original had three pleats on either side, I could only squeeze in two.  

So I pinned the side hems of the body to the side hems of the band.  Then I marked the middle of the front and worked out to the right side, folding the pleats and pinning them.  Then I went back to the middle front and did the left side.  Next, I found the middle back and did the same thing.


The pockets were easy to do following the original instructions.  I sewed my about an inch and a half from the side seam on either side of the front.  They look very cute!

One thing I added that was of my own design was a ruffled edge at the bottom.  I took two left over pieces of contrast fabric that were 5 inches by about 40 inches each.  I sewed the short edges together, right side to right side.  Then using the longest stitch, I did a seam 1/2 inch from the top.  Pull on the thread, and this gathers the fabric.  Move the ruffles further away from the edges until the length equals the length of the body.   This was one of the most time consuming parts of the project, but since I couldn't sew the knits together for a nice bottom hem, I figured this would look the nicest.

And here's the finished product!


As I said, this was pretty easy as far as difficulty goes.  I did it in two days--probably about six hours of work.  Though it's not the most complimentary style for my bust, I love how it flows and has a lot of extra fabric!  It's very comfy.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Polka Dot Border Skirt

I think I need to stop making skirts.  It seems like it's become an obsession.  Probably because they are so easy.  I'll try to focus on more non-skirt items as my summer continues.

Anyway, I found these two fabrics in the remnant bin at Walmart for less than $2 apiece. The purple is sort of a knit, the kind used for maxi skirts.  It's so soft and comfortable!  The polka dot is a flannel.  I'm not sure about the rules of combining different fabrics, but I don't care; they looked so cute together!


The first thing I did was decide my skirt design.  I played with the idea of doing panels again, but since I just finished a panel skirt--and I wanted to do something quick and easy--so I decided against it.  The best way to do this was to add a simple polka dot border around the bottom of the skirt.


I cut my purple fabric in half, giving me two (relatively) equal pieces.  Then I cut out bands of the polka dot, 5 inches long by 40 inches wide.


Starting with the polka dots, fold the hem of one side up half an inch and iron.


Fold up again, and iron.


 Stitch the folded hem.  I used a double stitch, and a contrasting purple thread.  Repeat for other band.



Pin the band to the purple fabric, right side to right side.


Sew together and you get this.


Repeat for other band and purple fabric panel.

Since this purple fabric was so wonky--I've never worked with this before, and I didn't realize it would be so difficult to control; it wouldn't lay flat, even when I ironed it--I measured my skirt from the bottom.  I aligned my bottom hem and pinned the two purple panels together, completely ignoring how they aligned on the top.

Then, sew the panels together.  I even added a zigzag stitch to the inside seam afterwards to give it more support.


Once both sides are stitched up, it's time for the top hem.  I folded down the top to give me an even and straight line, also leaving enough room for my elastic band.


Sew the top hem, leaving an inch long gap to stream the elastic through.


With a safety pin, thread the elastic through the opening in the hem.


Sew the elastic ends together, overlapping them about an inch.  Complete the seam for the hem, and you're finished!


This was an incredibly simple project.  The only thing that slowed me down at all was the uncooperative nature of the knit fabric.  Still, I love the way it feels, and the way it flows so well, so I will have to try another project with this material!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Scalloped Panel Skirt

I wanted to try another panel skirt, and when I was shopping with Pockets, I found an adorable snail print.  The first panel skirt I did was nice, but I wanted this one to be a bit different.  So I played on the snail theme and decided to make this one have scalloped edges.

I drew out a diagram of what I wanted to make--basing it on the same measurements from my original panel skirt. 


For the top layer, I'd use the snail fabric, but I also wanted a plain cotton under skirt.  I chose a green that matched the snails.  And to add a bit more flair, I bought a scalloped ruffle to attach to the bottom of the snail skirt. 


I constructed my pattern out of parchment paper.  


Then I traced it (horizontally) onto my fabric.  This was intentional, giving the snails a side-to-side look rather than a going-up-my-leg look.  


After I cut them out, I sewed them together.  


Then, I added the ruffle.  




Unfortunately, I was about 2-3 inches too short, so I had to cut across the last panel.   


My green fabric wasn't long enough, so I added white to the top to give it the proper length.  (I used a sheet I had cut up for the Greco/Roman day at school.) 


I traced the skirt's general shape, and cut. 


I finished the hem by tucking it under twice and doing a straight stitch.


 I looked at the best way to combine them together, and I was drawing a blank.  The problem was that I cut the underskirt straight across instead of making it rounded like the snails.  This gave it an uneven look no matter how I tired to stagger it.  I thought about just cutting off the bottom seam and redoing a curved hem, but sudden inspiration struck me--more on that in a bit.

What I did to get started was sew the elastic band onto the outerskirt.  I just pinned it about two inches from the top at the front, back, left, and right sides.  Then I pulled the elastic and stitched it onto the fabric.  This made an easy elastic hem at the top--unfinished hem, but still easy.  I could have tucked the leftover fabric under, stitched it down and been done.  But, I did want that green underskirt.

After I had the elastic in place, I took the underskirt and pinned it to the top skirt, right side to right side.  This was a mistake.  But it was what made the sudden inspiration happen, so I went with it.


After it was sewn together, I flipped the underskirt inside and sewed it down, about a half an inch under the current elastic hem.



This is when I realized the underskirt was inside out.  I tried to think about sewing the green fabric up on itself to give me a clean edge.


But then, I thought it would be neat if I could bustle the green fabric.  The length was so off, it had to be lifted or lowered at each panel, so I thought this would be an interesting way to cover up any mistakes in length.

I put it on, and while looking in a mirror to check the length, I pinned the green layer up on itself.


I sewed it down, going all over the place to get some nice bustles and bunches.


And here's the finished product!





I think it turned out pretty cute!  I didn't have a shirt that matched--this neon orange was the closest I could find!  I'll have to find a better one soon.