Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Newborn baby Christmas Outfit

My newest niece was born this past week, and I wanted to give her something homemade.  I needed it to be something I could whip up quickly, as she came a couple weeks early!  I made her older sister a Sunbonnet girl quilt (family tradition) and will make her one too eventually.  So, with Christmas coming up I made her a little pair of lined pants and embellished long sleeved onesie.  The pants are similar to the Colts baby pants I made a few weeks ago. (That post has more instructions related to the lining).

I used a pair of LJ's old baby pants as a template and cut the pieces out of the striped cotton and the flannel lining fabric.  I shortened the striped layer by a couple of inches to allow for the ruffle.  In the dotted Christmas fabric I cut about 4 inch strips then folded in half and used a ruffle stitch to gather.  Then before sewing the leg seams together I added the ruffle to the bottom and topstitched.  This is the only way to add ruffles to such tiny pants! 

I added a big bow at the waist.  I basically sewed two rectangles together leaving a hole to turn right side out.  Then I kept the hole and seam in the back and twisted the bow and sewed across the center to hold the twist.  Then I stitched onto the pants with green embroidery thread.

For the onesie I made three bows to stitch to the neck.  For these I took a rectangle and hemmed the two long sides.  Then with wrong sides together I sewed along the shorter side.  After turning right side out, I twisted and sewed across the center to hold.  When I attached them to the onesie, I wrapped some of the embroidery thread around the center a few times to look pretty then attached securely.

So, that's it!  I know I will make her more complicated stuff in the future, but for now at least she has her own handmade Christmas outfit to get in the spirit.  A plus? That clownish striped fabric will be great at hiding baby poop blowouts.

As a side note...check out this great giveaway from Leanne Barlow's Elle Apparel- love her blog!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to host a Christmas Craft Night!

Tonight will be my second year to host a Christmas Craft Night at my house for some friends.  I have a few tips if you want to try this yourself!!!

1.  Plan to do only 3-4 simple projects.  (example...fabric Christmas bows, stamping onto butcher paper to make wrapping paper, ornaments...)

2. Try to use supplies that are cheap or free- it will add up fast!  I found some projects that I could use fabric scraps for, and my husband happens to have access to huge rolls of paper from his office if they order the wrong weight...so wrapping paper is on the agenda tonight!

3.  Keep the guest list to less than 15.  Or even 10.  I've got 13 coming tonight and I'm a little nervous about it.  Thank goodness a few are pretty crafty so they can help I hope!  That's another thing- I like to have a mixture of people, so maybe some will get into crafting that never have before!

4.  Have your guests pitch something in.  I assign one supply item per person- usually something less than $3.  Everyone is scrapped for cash this time of year, so I keep it cheap.  Sometimes this means you have to not do a craft you fall in love with, but its worth it for there to be no financial pressure at all.  Examples of items this year- 1 pack of sequins, a plain posterboard, a small bottle of acrylic paint...

5.  Snacks and Booze are always good :)  I am having some Christmas-ey apps and desserts to help set the mood.  And speaking of the mood...

6.  Play some Christmas music!  Now, I am one of those who refuses to decorate for Christmas one bit until Thanksgiving is over.  Poor Thanksgiving, always being looked over!  So I will get out a Christmas tablecloth and play music, but that's about it since it's the week before Thanksgiving.

7.  Schedule it early in the season- last year I had it a couple weeks before Christmas and the weather was horrible, less people RSVP'd, and it didn't leave much time to finish up any lingering projects.  So this year I scheduled it early to make it more of a jump start to the holidays. 

I will post some photos of the party soon!
Here are a few links to some projects that work well for this type of party.  Always try out your projects ahead of time- I tried a yarn-wrapped wreath last year and it takes waaaaaaaaay too long for a party.  Things need to come together quickly!

"Loopy" tree - original tute uses paper, but we will use fabric scraps

Fabric Christmas bows again, using Christmas fabric scraps

Romaine lettuce stamped wrapping paper (from Martha Stewart- they used it as a flower Valentine's card, but I think it looks like a poinsettia!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Smocked Peasant top and Ruffle Pants mini-tutorial

I wanted to make LJ a special outfit for her birthday.  At first, I was going to go the "typical" route and make her a dress.  Then I decided that she is a little bit of a tomboy too, so I settled on this adorable smocked peasant top and ruffle pants.
Her party theme is  "Dinos and Dollies" so I chose the cute Michael Miller Children at Play series Doll fabric.
I didn't have a pattern that I wanted to use, so for the top I did the following to draft my own pattern.

1. Find a pattern with a bodice you like.  Cut out the back piece and its lining like normal.  On the front part, add about 3 inches in the middle.  Then cut out the lining WITHOUT adding the extra inches.  This will allow extra fabric for the smocking on the front only.

2.  Before you sew the front and back bodice, you will need to cut the big poofy sleeves!  Work with the fabric folded- the fold is the top part of the sleeve.  Using the bodice pattern, trace onto your fabric the armhole opening.  This will ensure they match up when you sew.  Leave a few extra inches up top so you can gather the top part with elastic.  This creates the poofiness at the shoulder!  Make your sleeves about 3 inches longer than you think you need.  This will allow for elastic casing and poof factor.

3.  Now use a gathering stitch on the front bodice piece.  Do 6 rows of stitches along the front.  Start and end going straight down from the neck.  This helps keep it centered.  I marked it with a pin.  Gather it up until the bodice piece matches up in width with its lining.  Then, using a decorative honeycomb stitch you can stitch three rows between the gathering stitches.  Then remove your gather stitches.  EASY!!! (If you want to hand-smock, be my guest, it would look beautiful!)

4.  Before sewing the sleeves onto the bodice, you need to add the shoulder elastic.  (photo below)
Just use a zig-zag or serge on the edge to prevent fraying.  Then fold over just enough to make a casing for your 1/4" elastic.  This piece should make it small enough to fit over your little one's shoulders.  Use an existing shirt for reference (remember to account for seam allowance!)  Add in your elastic and sew it down well on either end.
5.  Sew your sleeves up the bottom seam then attach the sleeves onto the front and back bodice pieces.  Carefully line up the elastic on either side!
6.  Add in your lining, being sure to leave the bottom open.
7.  Cut a panel on the fold that is about twice as wide as the bodice.  You can make the length longer to be a dress, or tunic length like I did.  Sew it up the back, then do a gathering stitch along the top.  Gather it up until it will fit the bodice.  Sew it to the front of the bodice.
8.  Fold under the bodice lining to cover the seam allowance from the skirt/front bodice.  Then pin a LOT and stitch in the ditch on the front to attach.  Flip over to be sure that the lining is all attached!
9.  Hem the bottom as normal, or add a decorative stitch like I did.  You could also add elastic at the bottom if you want to make a bubble shirt!
10.  Zig-zag stitch or serge along the edge of the sleeves.  Then fold over to make a casing for 1/4" elastic.  The elastic should fit just right around the wrist of your little one.  Add in the elastic, and you're done!!!

1. I used the kid pants pattern from MADE- it's free!  For fabric I used a corduroy with no stripes- its more like velvet!  Then I used a plain pink and the same Michael Miller fabric for the ruffles.
2.  To make into ruffle pants, simply cut off the pattern about 6.5" from the bottom.  Sew the pants on the outside seam only for now.
3. Make strips of fabric (on the fold) that will be about 3x the width of your pants.  The bottom color should be about 5.5" (11" total, since cutting on fold).  The top one should be about 4.5".
4.  Sew the top and bottom ruffles together with a ruffle stitch.  Gather up to fit the pants, then sew onto the bottom hem of the pants.  (This is much easier than sewing on completed pants since it lays flat.
5.  Very carefully line up the ruffles and pin before sewing the inside seam of the pants.
6.  Then sew the crotch seam, make the casing on the top, and insert elastic.
All done!!!

Now all you have to do is chase your toddler around and try to get a good picture!!!