Friday, 28 September 2012

Craving Crafting!

This is just a quick post to let you all know I haven't disappeared... Life has just been a little manic over the past month.

First off it was back to school at the start of the month (In case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm a special needs teacher) so the first few weeks were crazy with new class, new team and lots of settling in for everyone.

On top of all that the past two weeks of my life have been dominated by building work. I bought my house nearly 4 years ago and have finally saved enough pennies to get on with some major projects. My house was built in 1907 so when I say major, I mean major.

First on the list was to sort out a big rising damp problem in the utility room and downstairs toilet. Then replastering, replumbing and redesigning.

And since the back end of the house was already mess with all the building dust etc. I decided to get rid of the biggest eyesore I inherited when I bought the house... Turquoise kitchen worktops and mosaic tiles (paired up with yellow kitchen cabinet doors)!. They are being replaced with stylish dark worktops and neutral tiles.

The house being so old, each step of the project has revealed new problems... crumbling plaster, old unsafe wiring and holes in the roof to name just a few, but....

The builders assure me we are nearly there and by the middle of next week they will be done. So fingers crossed that by next weekend my house will be back in order and I can get back to crafting. In the meantime I'll leave you with some project pics...

Finished utility toom (minus kick boards and trims)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

More blue

Its the last day of summer break and tomorrow I am back to work, meaning less time for crafting. I also have a feeling that this year's class will be keeping me on my toes, so my evenings will involve lots of vegging on the sofa rather than creating at my sewing machine.
So this weekend I have packed in as much sewing as possible and today's project is The Cozy Waiscoat.
I drafted a basic pattern using using a onesie and a pattern for a loose boy's tunic top to guide me on size and shaping. Since it was an untested pattern I decided to use fabric from my refashion pile, rather than cutting into new fabric. I used some blue linen mix fabric left over from the skirt to dress refashion I did a while back and lined the waistcost in white cotton jersey from an old t-shirt. Since my nephew is due at Christmas I wanted it to be nice and warm so I added a layer of thin wadding between the layers.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, especially since it was a first attempt and I had to be a bit creative with cutting since the fabric was leftovers. I had intended to cut the back as one piece but didnt have a piece big enough. The original skirt was panelled and the seam down the back is an original seam between panels of the skirt. Now I see it like this, I think the seam is a nice feature and will probably incorporate it into the design when I make this in future. The collar is a little shorter than I wanted (it should extend right to the centre edge on each side) but again, I was slightly short of material and had to stitch two strips together as it is (not helped by my very poor alignment of the centre seam of the back and the collar... oops!).
Because of a shortage of fabric I decided to have the front pieces meet in the centre (rather than overlap) and to have a button and loop fastening. With more fabric I might try it with the overlap and buttons/buttonholes.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Tutorial for jersey dungarees (with pattern - size 3m)

At the moment I have two main crafting aims - getting to grips with sewing stretch fabrics and making baby boy clothes. So today's project incoroporates both...
The Jersey Dungarees

This was one of those projects where once the idea popped into my head I just ran with it... There wasn't much planning so there is a little bit of a shortage of photos for the tutorial... sorry! But you can print a copy of the pattern in size 3-6 months by navigating to the pattern page via the tab above.
I started out with an old yellow t-shirt in one-way stretch jersey. I also had some small pieces of the same fabric in green, left over from a previous refashion project.
The first step is to cut out the fabric pieces. You need to cut two front and two back pieces in the main fabric (yellow for me). Make sure that you turn the paper pattern piece over for one of each front and back so you get a left and a right for each. If you are using an old t-shirt like me, align the bottoms of the legs with the bottom of the t-shirt so you have a nice finished edge and won't need to hem them yourself. You also need to cut one crotch piece from the yellow fabric. Then cut two front facings and two back facings from the contrast fabric (green for me) and two strips 36cmx 3cm (with the stretch going width ways). These strips will hold the inseam/crotch fasterners, so if you intend on using large poppers/buttons etc then you may wish to increase the depth from 3cm to something more appropriate for your fasteners. I had enough of the contrast fabric to cut a pocket for the front - I just eyeballed this so there is no pattern piece (sorry).
First you need to sew the two front pieces together from the centre of the neckline down to the crotch (leaving the inseams open). Do the same for the back pieces and the facings. Then sew the front to the back along the two side seams and repeat for the facings. I used the 'elastic overlock' stitch on my machine and this worked well, but depending on your machine and the fabric you use, you will need to experiement to find the best stitch. If you are adding a pocket to the front, now is probably the best time to position and stitch.
This step is optional, but I highly recommend it if you intend on using buttons and button holes on the straps. Using the paper pattern for the facings you need to trace out the front and back strap shape. Then use these template two cut two back straps and two front straps from interfacing. This will be placed between the layers of straps to reinforce them and will make adding fastenings so much easier.
Next, turn the dungarees right side out and the facing wrong side out. Tuck the dungarees into the facing, line up raw edges and pin. If you have interfacing pieces, either pin or use bondaweb to hold them in place on top of the facing straps. Sew all the way around. Trim excess and snip curves if necessary, then turn right side out, press and topstitch.
Next you need to add the crotch piece. Fold the crotch piece in half to find the centre and then line up with the centre seam on the back of the dungarees (right sides together). You need to line up and pin the edges of the crotch piece to the back crotch of the dungarees. This can be a bit tricky, because the curves are inverse, but it is a bit like setting in a sleeve. Sew along the raw edges.
Next take the long strips cut from the contrast fabric. Fold them in half lengthways and turn the short ends under, then press with an iron if needed (make sure the contrast strips are the same length as the inseam/crotch edge of the dungarees). Taking the dungarees and the strip, pin one strip to the front leg inseam and crotch (from the bottom of one leg, right up over the crotch to the bottom of the other leg). Pin the pieces right sides together and raw edges aligned. Stitch, turn out and press. You can topstitch if you choose, but I didn't need to. Do the same for the back legs and crotch. This contrast strip is where you add fasterners of your choice... poppers, velcro, small buttons and buttonholes... the choice is yours. I haven't added mine yet as I am waiting for a delivery of popper tape. If using poppers, remember to add them to the wrong side of the front band the right side of the back band.
All that's left is to add your strap fasteners. I added buttons and buttonholes. I made my buttonholes a little too high, so I am considering adding a second buttonhole below to allow for growth... haven't decided yet though.