Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tutorial - Converting a cardigan

I have an old cardigan.  It's soft and helps maintain a comfortable body temperature.  However, the combination of constant washing and gaining a little weight, has put the length into the awkward category of being a little too short for my body type.

Betty (Ella named her.  I asked her for a name for my dress form, not expecting anything as she doesn't really know 'names' and usually she responds to questions with 'snack' or 'milk'.  That day she said, "Betty".  Ok, Betty, it is.) seems to pull it off okay.  She may be the same size as me, but definitely not the same flab as me.  Anyway, it's about 2 inches too short, so I wanted to crop it rather than send it away.  The internet has a lot of great tutorials.  I am still considering the idea of using the scraps to dress it up a bit. 

Right sides facing, pin the cardigan to the desired length, lining up the seams and/or notions.  Note that where you pin will be the length.  Sew along the existing ribbed hem.  Press open.  Repeat with sleeves, if you so desire.

Tada!  You have a cropped cardigan with original hem. 

Pair with a cute dress.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not so messy anymore & an applique tutorial

Ella is definitely more independent than most kids.  She doesn't need a pacifier (though, she seems to understand her cousin's constant need of one), she plays well with others and can play by herself, and she HATES bibs. 

I know hate is a strong word, but really, there is no word that is 'nicer' that could describe her extreme dislike she has for the accessory made for babies.  She rips them off, or will tug and tug until her neck is red.  I try to insist that she wears them since she loves spaghetti, but no she won't have it, it seems to only bother me that she has orange stains on her front side. 

For a while, I've been meaning to make a Bapron, created by Jess on Craftiness is not Optional.  I've really been in a creative slump.  Be it the weather, the constant cleaning after Hurricane Ella, or that I've just been too exhausted, crafting has been slow. 

Due to the complications of owning 1 car seat and 3 different vehicles, we decided to suck it up and buy another car seat.  After all, it is a new tax year and our state gives a tax credit for a child safety seat.  At the baby store, they always feature new products -- sometimes useful, sometimes just a waste of money. 

I found these Wonder Bibs on sale.  These bibs cover the front and arms, and attach with a small piece of velcro at the neck.  They come in a variety of solid colors.  Inspiration struck.  They aren't typical baby bibs and I could dress them up to something Ella would wear.  YO GABBA GABBA!!!  Yes, after 2 months of standing in front of a Christmas tree admiring her gabbo ornaments, and wearing only gabbo shirts every day, I decided to trick out these smocks in Yo Gabba Gabba fashion.

What you'll need:
  • A Wonder bib, or anything really, you could use a tshirt
  • Felt
  • Adhesive (I used E-6000, but it was really smelly and I wanted to prewash to test the color, I suggest Tacky Glue for a temporary hold)
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Pattern

Design a pattern for your applique.  For the red bib, I used Muno.  It was really easy, I just drafted on scratch paper, then cut out two circles for his eye, a mouth, and two teeth. 

Arrange all pieces to confirm proportion and placement. 

Optional step: Glue pieces before tacking them down with floss.  It helps prevent the pieces from moving around as you stitch.  Like I said, I used E-6000 and the fumes were strong.  I couldn't find liquid glue at the time and had planned to wash the bib before Ella used it anyway, so it wasn't an issue for me, but you can use tacky glue instead.

I split the six-strand embroidery floss to three strands and began to stitch the pieces together.  I went from top layer down.  (i.e. sew pupil to eye white, sew eye to body)  When attaching pieces to bib, be careful to only sew through the top layer (the back lining is sort of a waterproofing nylon, so poking a bunch of holes in it would most likely counter its efficacy).  Another tip, is when you're done stitching, use the needle to pull the thread beneath the piece and pull up somewhere in the middle, then use the scissors to snip it close.  That way the thread will be hidden inside and you won't see stray fibers.

A completed bib.  Ella was really excited when she saw it, couldn't wait to put it on!

After a quick wash -- the colors didn't bleed.  Yay!  She put it on, rubbed her belly and let out a content, "Gabbo!" and an ear-to-ear grin.  This is going to make an excellent outfit for eating spaghetti.  And extend the lifespan of her existing wardrobe.

So far, thumbs up.  She likes wearing her gabbo, I like keeping her kinda clean.  In fact, sometimes I have to explain to her that she cannot wear her smock in lieu of real clothes.