Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A "Little" Yaya Apron Update

Yes! Yaya's Apron will include a pattern for 18" dolls!

Ok I know I am tooting my own horn,
but isn't this little apron cute????

So Don and I have been busy working on getting the
Yaya Apron pattern ready to go out to testers, 
and we are getting closer by the minute.

The instructions are all done.

The sizes are all done.

And now we are just dealing with getting 
all the pattern pieces oriented properly 
in the drawing program so that they print correctly in PDF format.

So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel here!

Thank you all for your encouragement and patience.

I am so grateful for you all.

Oh, and just to "toot" a little more,
I set up a Facebook Fan page.

The link is over on the right hand side.

And now for a little India and Ahnalin update...

They are BOTH going to school tomorrow!!

No one has a fever tonight!


If I seem a little batty, it is because I have been 
nursemaid for two sick kids for over a few weeks
and I am getting a bit twitchy.

So, Mama needs a few minutes of brain space to remember 
what Easter week is all about. 

Now, I need to get back to my smocking!

Happy Sewing and Blessed Holy Week to you all.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Princess Puffed Sleeves

Few garment styles say "Little Girl" as well as 
Puffed Sleeves
 And being a sewist who loves to sew girly dresses,
I make a lot of puffed sleeves.

Today, I finished up this little princess costume 
for a local client. 
It is a birthday present for her granddaughter.
And I must say, she will be quite the princess
in this gown. 

The client brought me the pattern 
and all the fabric a few days ago 
and I really thought it would not be a 
big deal to make this dress.
I mean, I have made a gazillion princess
costumes and dresses over the years.
So it could not take me that much time, right?


But this pattern, Butterick BP186 dated 2005,
has to take the cake as the most poorly written
pattern I have ever used. 
The pieces fit together fine, but the instructions
were ATROCIOUS!!!!! 
Instructions did not match up with illustrations.
Entire portions of the instructions were missing.
And even the amount and type of interfacing for the hat
was nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, I was able to figure it out. 

But there were some things that I felt needed to be added to this
pattern to make it look better, be more functional
and feel more 
"Princessy"  to a young child playing dress-up.

So, back to those "Puffed Sleeves".
The silvery fabric for these sleeves is very thin.
My concern was that after a few wearings, 
they would just deflate. 

The answer?

Sleeve heads!

And since the pathetic pattern did not call for them, 
I fell back on my favorite method.

And since you are all so nice, I will share it with you.

I had already sewn the sleeves into the bodice when I decided to do this,
so I will show you how to make the sleeve heads and add them to the sleeve.

Grab you sleeve pattern piece and some fusible interfacing.

Fold the interfacing and lay the pattern piece on top.

Use the pattern markings that indicate where you gather 
to help you know where to lay the pattern on the fold.

Make sure you have transferred these markings to you
sleeves and bodice so that you can match up the edges of the sleeve heads 
and the sleeves.

Then cut along the pattern piece.

When you unpin the pattern piece and open up the folded piece of interfacing,
your piece should look like this.

Cut two of these, one for each sleeve.

Fold the piece back and press it so that the sides fuse together.

Your sleeve heads will look like this now.

Now run two rows of gathering stitches along the rounded
edges of the sleeve heads.

These rows of gathering stitches will follow the curve of the sleeve too.

Now, take your bodice where you have already sewn 
the sleeves into the shoulder opening.

I apologize for the how the silver fabric looks. 

It bleaches out with the flash.
Pin your sleeve heads right along the seam line of the sleeve.

Pull up the gathering stitches so that you can match up the
edges of the sleeve head with the transferred dots on your sleeve seam. 

Then stitch the sleeve head into the sleeve at the shoulder, 
using the same seam allowance as the sleeve.
Then zigzag and trim or serge the seam allowance 
to control the gathers and reduce bulk.

When you put the sleeve right side out,
you should see a nice, supported "PUFF"!

And this puff will not sag. 

So, sleeve heads are easy to add and really make a difference with puffed sleeves. 

Another change I made to the pattern was that 
I only sewed the sequins and lace on the outside
of the dress. 

The original pattern had the sequins actually sewed into 
the seam allowance. 

And that can make for an itchy dress!

So I sewed the sequins on AFTER the dress
was completed and there were a few layers
of lining and fabric between those sequins and the young princess.

Another change was the subtraction of the zipper
and the addition of Velcro dots. 
The client suggested this change so that 
her granddaughter could put the dress on herself 
instead of needing her Mommy to zip her up.

The plus signs on the back of the bodice
show where the Velcro is stitched down.

Even though this dress is for someone else, I still
had to have Ahnalin model it.

My little princess actually prefers pink so 
I had no problem convincing her that this dress was going to another girl.

And just because I had to show you all
how things REALLY look when I sew,
this was the kitchen table while I was sewing.


It was a MESS!

Underneath the princess gown items was a pair of jeans
that I am hemming for a client, the pink batiste
sleeves Ahnalin's Easter dress that I am still smocking,
and some muslins! 


My goal is to get some more Yaya's Apron work done
this weekend and then clean my sewing area. 

And this time I MEAN IT!!

(Anybody want a peanut?)

Sorry, random "Princess Bride" quotes pop out at the most inopportune times!

Oh, and I wanted to thank you all for your prayers and kind
words for my India.

She is still really ill and has not made it to school
all week.

On Wednesday, we made our trip to U.C. Davis medical Center
for a follow-up appt. with the doctor in the immunology clinic.

The last time we went, I was very frustrated because the doctor
did not take me seriously and her response to me was,
"India just may be a girl who gets sick a lot."

Was that the best she could do????

So, after I demanded some titer testing
and blood work for antibodies,
the doctor then ordered 2 blood tests.

Well, flash forward to our appt on Wednesday.

The results were interesting and now,
low and behold,
the doc is taking this seriously!!

You see, for some reason India
is missing quite a few antibodies that she is supposed to have.

So, more tests were ordered and we are praying we get to the
bottom of this immunological issue.

In the meantime, I am just still asking for healing
prayers for my sweet girl.

She has missed so much school and we are getting grief over that.

I am so grateful for your prayers.

Oh, and in other news,
over a week ago,
Ahnalin decided to take the "Radio Flyer" for
a drive down our very steep driveway.


She crashed and burned and
really banged up her feet and legs.

And I probably should have taken her to the doctor,
but to be honest, she was walking fine
and is a pretty tough little broad.

So we just cleaned her up and put on
bandages and thought that would be that.

However, now, a week later, they are still not
healing. They break open and bleed and look really nasty.

So, both of my girls are headed back to the doc office again in the morning.

I am tired of this!!!

(Not sure if I should mention this, but one of the times Ahnalin's feet broke open again the other day was because she was climbing up a rock wall on the side of the house and she scraped the scabs off. Gag!! She never quits!!!)

Happy Sewing my friends!

Monday, March 22, 2010

My India

I am once again asking for prayer for my 18 year old daughter, India.

Yes, she is sick again. 

This time, she has had bronchitis for almost 2 weeks, 
though we only got the diagnosis on Friday. 

I just get sick of taking her to the doctor and 
having her be on antibiotics all the time. 

She was out of school most of the week and even
missed a special birthday party on Friday night. 

However, the birthday girl also happened to be 
the daughter of our family doctor,
whom we had just seen for the diagnosis.

But she felt too rotten to go anyway.

We were working hard to get India well so that she would be able to sing.

You see, she was to sing on a very special feature song
on Sunday in the regular services.

Normally India sings with the high school band, 
and she does a great job.

But this week, the feature song was a 
very important song to India, and 
so she requested to
audition for a chance to sing the song.

What happened was truly a gift.

A dear friend, and fellow vocal team member
Heather Henderson sang the song
with India as a duet. 

In addition, one of India's friends, Rachel (in the picture with her),
and another friend of mine, Cassie, who are both
truly gifted dancers, choreographed 
a dance to the song.

The song "Stand in the Rain"
by Superchick

talks about the importance of enduring through even
the hardest pain. 
And we know that that endurance only comes through

And the dancers mirrored
India and Heather singing, 
showing the importance of mentorship 
and support when a person is struggling
to stand for what is right. 

The song reflects so much
the fight that India fights every day, 
just to survive and beat her disease.
India managed to sing the song in each of the three services.

She did a beautiful job. 

She made me cry.......

 in a good way.

Yet after each time, 
she crashed back into a deep sleep  

Yes, this lovely picture is the green room
backstage at our church. 
I am not exactly sure what various props are in this picture
but it cracks me up. 
India was really not feeling well here.

She has plenty of makeup on so she did not 
fade out under the lights. 
I am trying to upload the video of the song. 
So if you want to see it, let me know and I will try.

I am so proud of my girl.

Please continue praying for her. 

She needs all the prayer she can get.

We are trying to get her well enough to get back to school.
On Wednesday, we have another appointment
with the immunology clinic at U.C. Davis. 

I am praying for better answers than last time. 

She is struggling with her blood sugars and 
ketones, just like every time she is ill.

It is not fair.

Here is India with my Daddy. 
Even though her makeup still looks 
good, I can see that she is really starting 
to fade in this picture. 

Please just pray for her healing.
Thank you all so much.

I know I owe you all a good sewing post and 
some other things. I will get to them.

Love to you all.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Leprechaun Anxiety

Ahnalin is afraid of Leprechauns.

Last year, she had a few nightmares about them 
around St. Patrick's Day, 
but then didn't talk about them

She worried a few times that India would be hurt or kidnapped
by leprechauns and did not believe us when we told her
it would not happen. 

India came home safe, bearing gifts, and Ahnalin was so relieved!

Yesterday, when we were discussing what she would wear today
to kindergarten, I showed her the dress I was cutting 
out for her.

She told me her dress had to be solid green or
"The leprechauns will take my clothes off!!"


Thankfully, her teacher sent her a message that
leprechauns LIKE prints so they will not
bother her.

Still, she panicked!!

Even after I informed her that (GASP!) 
leprechauns are NOT real, she cried.

"Why would my teacher LIE to me Mama???"


I told her that she did not really lie, it was more like a fun story.


So, we had to pray that Jesus would help her anxiety to go away 
so that she could enjoy kindergarten to day. 

She still is concerned, but I hope she is having fun.

Ok, I KNOW this does not have shamrocks, 
or look even remotely Irish.

But I am serious about sewing out of my stash right now.

And I had purchased this a year ago,
and true to form,
had "let it age".
I am not sure how old the rick rack is but you can 
see that whoever bought it, paid 45 cents for it.

I am sure it was given to me by someone years ago.

I have a "thing" for vintage rick rack.

I love it so much, but sometimes, 
I have a hard time using it because 
I love those little packages so much.

Yes, just another weird thing about me.

The selvage is from the fabric.
It is called "Monaluna"
for Robert Kaufman. 

I only had 1 1/2 yards so I used nearly every inch!

I just noticed that Ahnalin is not wearing shoes and
her hair is still wet in these pictures.

Yet another "bad mama" moment for me. 

But hey, I was up until 2:00 AM sewing this for her, 
so what do you expect from a crazy woman? 

And let's just be honest here, ok?

Do I really do this for her? 

Do I really just sew so my children will 
have pretty clothes? 

They definitely enjoy the clothes.

They like to look pretty.

It makes them feel special, secure,
 and loved.

But it is also,

for me.

Sewing lovely clothing, 

for my children, and for others,

gives me great joy.

When I can go into my stash,
pull out some yardage and trim, 
and "create" something wearable from almost nothing,
I feel such a sense of accomplishment.

It is something little that I can do well.

I can feel just a teeny touch
of the creativity
that God felt
when He created the Heavens and the Earth.

And I can say, just like He did,

"It is good."

I pray you have a special day.
I pray that you do not experience 
"leprechaun anxiety" or any other kind.

And I pray that you feel a sense of accomplishment today.

Happy Sewing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

India's Easter Dress

India's Easter dress is done. 

And I must admit to LOVING IT!

India loves cameos, so we had to add this little cameo button to the front.

I think this dress just sings


I know this does not show up well,
but I had to laugh when I read through the
notions requirements for this dress.


In typical "India" fashion,
this dress requires boning!

India did not even notice that when she chose the pattern.

Yet everything India falls in love with has boning.

I keep a few boxes of featherweight boning on
hand at all times in my stash because I always seem to use it.

So, this is the "gratuitous boning shot".

The pattern repeat, and placement of the flowers,
is quite large. So in order to make the most
of the fabric, I had to "fussy cut" it.

I like how I was able to piece the top so that the
flowers were only in front.

While the bodice, was fully lined,
the pattern did not include skirt lining.

But any girl knows that dresses are the perfect
summer wear, with just a pair of sandals or flats.

That means, NO SLIP!

But I do not like being able to see someone's underpanties
through a dress.

So, prefer to line the skirts of dresses to keep
a smooth line, along with some modesty.

Adding the skirt lining was easy.

All I did was cut another skirt front and back
using the white lining fabric.

The inside of the dress shows no seams,
as the seams are hidden by the lining.

After attaching the skirt to the bodice,
and inserting the zipper,
I attached the skirt lining right at the waist seam.

Then all I had to do was to hand stitch the lining down at the zipper.

Instead of attaching a ruffle, like for the skirt,
I added this pre-gathered eyelet trim.

This is the lining hand stitched to the zipper.

The pink zigzag you see at the top of the picture is
just the underside of the attached
coral cotton lace on the bodice of the dress.

I cut the back pieces of the skirt so the flowers would not
be centered right over my daughters bum.

I am just funny that way, I guess.

All in all, I am really pleased with how this dress turned out.

It was worth the extra effort to make the muslin
and get a good fit.

I plan to sew up this same pattern,
Vogue 8185, in a denim version for India as well.

I will show you modeled pics when I get the accessories done.

But next up is Ahnalin's dress.

Oh, and the reason for the delay in getting this dress done?

Well, I have been doing a really fun bridal alteration.

I will show you all the completed alteration of the bridal dress after the wedding
so as not to spoil the surprise in case anyone from the bridal party happens upon my blog!


Happy Sunny Monday! Easter is just 3 weeks away!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dress Shopping In My Stash

Easter is less than a month away!

Which means, unless I plan to hit the stores to purchase Easter clothing for my children (oh perish the thought!) OR dress them in something they have worn before (On Easter? Are you kidding me??),
I had better get some finery in process!

To make this little exercise more interesting,
Don and I are doing the Dave Ramsey course

And so I am doing my best to not spend any money
that I don't have to spend right now.

And did I mention that I have a perfectly ridiculous stash?
(Let's just pretend this is the entirety of my stash,
since I am not going to show you what is in the pie safe or under the cutting table)

Here is something strange about me.
I tend to purchase fabrics and then
I have to let them "age" a while.
Or as my hubby would say,
" Let them rest until they develop a fine patina"

 Weird, I know.

I almost never sew the new fabrics when they are brand new.

I seem to stare at them, pet them, dream about them,
and then build up a terrible fear of cutting into them!

I really have some lovely fabrics!

So, um... I have absolutely no excuse for not creating
gorgeous Easter dresses for India and Ahnalin 

Completely Out Of My Stash!

India is 18.

And while she DOES wear costumes,
and dresses with rabbits embroidered on them,
I decided NOT to force that on her for Easter.

So, I let her go "shopping in my stash"
to choose her dress components.

I have a huge number of patterns,
and have no business buying any more right now.
So, she looked through my boxes and chose this:

Vogue 8185 (dated 2006)

The fabric she chose is an older Kaffe Fassett print called
Brocade Floral.

I have been hoarding this fabric for quite some time.

Because of India's swayback, she can be difficult
to fit, especially in a style that does not have a gathered skirt.

So, we made a muslin.

And, as usual, the measurements on the pattern
had no bearing on reality!

She was a full two sizes smaller than the pattern measurements
said she would be.

 Do you see my little mouse hiding under the muslin?

Do you also see that nasty snow out the window????

Can I tell you how sick I am of snow???????

Thankfully, I was able to work out all the fit issues
with the muslin, so I am hoping to get the dress done tonight.

The boning still has to go into the lining in the bodice.
I am adding a skirt lining, so India will not need to wear a slip in the summer
if she does not want to.

There will be a ruffle and straps too.

India has already asked for another one of these dresses in denim.

So, I hope to show you a finished dress in the morning.

I have not started on Ahnalin's dress yet.

But her dress will be this lovely pink pima cotton batiste
with lace that was given to me by the sweetest,
most talented group of ladies I have ever met.
The pattern I have chosen is
"Susan" by Kay Guiles.

I need to get it pleated and start smocking as time is growing short!

And on another subject,
here is the quilt top I made of the handprints of
children in Ahnalin's kindergarten class.

I am not much of a quilter, so I just did the top
and another lady will do the quilting.

It was hard to get the squares straight and even because so many of the
children, including my own, wrote their names in or very close
to the seam allowance.

The embroidery is not showing up well but it is a
pair of giraffes.
Her class is called the "Gentle Giraffes". 

This quilt will be auctioned off at Ahnalin's school fundraiser next month.

So, back to sewing for me.

Hopefully, pictures in the morning of a completed dress for India.

Love to you all, and happy sewing!