Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Link Party

I reposted my lattice-work smocking tutorial on my sewing blog because I wanted to share it through another sewing blog's link party.  I really enjoy reading Tea Rose Home, and I think she has such fun ideas.  So click the button below to see some of the other great ideas that readers have posted.  I need to go feed my baby now, she just woke up!

Lattice Work Smocking

I was first introduced to lattice smocking when I was working as an assistant costume designer for BYU's production of Hamlet. I was enlisted to smock nearly two yards of red velvet for a costume that was worn all of 10 minutes on stage (see Gertrude, the standing woman. I did the red stuff, which is about how it looked onstage unless you were in the first 6 rows).

Needless to say, it took me a total of 24 hours to do. I did it at home (my roommate Tiff can attest to that), during my TESOL/BEEDE classes (anyone whose ever taken those will understand why that was possible and possibly more educational that the actual classes), and whenever I had some spare time.

But boy have I put that skill to use! I used it on my baby's blessing dress, and on another dress I recently made her. So I've had a lot of people ask me how to do it, and I swear it's really easy. So here is a picture tutorial, if your interested.

1. First, you'll need to decide how big you want your lattice work, and make a grid. Doing smocking will make your piece of fabric about half of the original size.  I HIGHLY recommend doing the smocking and then cutting the pattern piece out. The red velvet above is done on a 1 inch grid, and the baby dresses I did on 1/2 inch. I wouldn't do anything smaller than 1/2 inch, which is what I'm using in this tutorial. I just made a grid on Word and printed it out, then poked holes in it, pinned it to my material and mark the holes. For this tutorial I used a marker, but you'll want something that will wash off or dissappear.

2. Here it is marked out (I just did a little bit for demonstration).

3. Below, I marked with a line the points you will be pulling together. I don't normally do this now, but I did when I first started and it made it easier.

4. You'll start on the bottom of your second row of dots. Make a tiny stitch to secure your thread. Then make a tiny stitch on the diagonally to the left. You'll pull the thread all the way through and pull the fabric together until the two points are connected.

5. When the points are pulled together, it will look like this. I like to make a little knot onto the fabric so the fold stays secure.

6. You'll notice that tucked into the fold you just created is the point that was the next one up from the first you started on. You'll make your next tiny stitch here, but don't pull the points together. Instead, give just enough length in the thread so that lays just how it is, and secure it by making another knot.

7. You'll now be connecting this point with the one diagonally to the left. So make a tiny stitch, pull together, and make a knot to secure it.

8. You'll then find the point that it tucked inside the fold and do as you did before (secure the thread to this new point) and keep alternating left and right. A row will look like this. Tie off the thread when the row is finished because you'll start the next row from the bottom.

The front will look like this.

9. Now it is time to start the next row. In reference to the first dot we worked with, you'll move to the right two rows. Secure the thread here and pull it together with the point diagonally to the left (just like you did on the first row).

10. You'll continue in the same pattern as before. You'll notice the thread lines line up making zig-zags across the fabric. You'll know that your off if your zig zags aren't lining up (or the front doesn't look like it's making a lattice).
With the second row started you can see the lattice forming on the front.

When you have to cut out your smocking for sewing into clothing, I recommend tracing the pattern onto the smocked fabric, doing a basting stitch just inside this traced line and then cutting out along the line, otherwise you might loose some of the smocking work when you cut the threads that created it.

I used this technique to make my baby girl's blessing dress!  It turned out lovely.  I also did some colorful embroidery along the bottom (for which I highly recommend The Embroiderer's Handbook).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things I want to make!

I've been "window shopping" at J.Crew and anthropologie again.  Here's what I want to make.  We'll see if it happens.
This top seems easy enough, just some gathered asymmetricla ruffling at the neck.  I think I have the perfect old jersey knit top to refashion for this.

A basic shell with some scallop details up top.  I just need to put sleeves on it, but I don't know if I have a pattern I can base it on.  Time to do some searching.
The plus side of this wrap top is that I could nurse in it!  I want it.  I can make it!
Again, nursing!  I think I know how to do this kind of smocking.  If not, the internet is a wonderful thing!
I recently learned how to use elastic thread to do this kind of smocking.  I love it.  I just need to make it before it gets too warm to wear!
I love the botton detail.  I love the swing of it.  I think I could find somethingat goodwill to refashion into this, just a nice lightweight knit in XXL.

Things I've been working on

I've been meaning to post this forever, but waited because I wanted to get a better picture of me wearing the skirt.  Oh well, I just haven't gotten to it yet.  But here's the story.  I saw this skirt on anthropologie.
I thought for a really long time about how to make it.  I knew how to change up the yoke and create the ruffle, but it was the pleats/draping on the side that was throwing me.  Until I found another blogger that wanted the same skirt and figured it out.  Click here to see how.  I think she keeps ag great blog and I've liked a lot of her ideas.  Anyway, here is how mine turned out.

I used a sort of sage green pinstriped fabric of "unknown fiber content" that I got for a $1.50 at Walmart.  I love it.  Were I to do it again I would change a couple things.  I would do fusible interfacing on the entire yoke.  There was a lot of give to my fabric and it needed the stability.  I would also have lined it, but I just didn't have any lining.  I ended up having to hand stitch the side pleats in place because they just slipped out.  I also would have made them a little more shallow (1 inch instead of 1.5), and I would have made the whole skirt a little more fitted, more of a pencil than straight down as it is now.  But I really love it!  I'll post a picture of me wearing it soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some Refashioning

My sister-in-law had some clothes she was getting rid of, namely some too-big but very cute smocked tank tops.  They were in perfectly good condition, so I took them.  There's a green, a blue, a brown, and a white one.  I'm not sure what I'll do with all of them, but this is what I did to the brown one.

The blue one is yet unaltered, but check out the cute brown sundress for Eleanor!

She is at this funny stage where she really likes showing us how huge her mouth is!

I made the back cross because I could and I like the detail.
To make this dress, all I did was measure how wide I wanted the top to be and the length.  Then I cut that out of the front (I did make it a-line-ish).  Because the front was already gathered, I cut the back out in the same shape only bigger.  Then I threaded some corded elastic through the already exisiting piping around the top so that it gathered a little and would fit snuggly.  I clipped off the original straps and stitched them on after I first did a length and placement check on Ellie.  I put a ruffle around the bottom by clipping of the waistband on the original tank, trimming it to the right side and then gathering it on my machine (the easiest way to gather is by setting the stich length at its longest and the tension at its highest).  The pin and stitch secure!  I had a little thread issue on the front of the dress when I put on one of the straps, so I covered it up by gathering together some of the leftover ruffle fabric into a flower and sewing it on.  I love it!
Now, what to do with the other tanktops?  I don't want to use them only for Ellie (which means I want something from them...)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting White Really White!

So, I love white shirts. I don't love what happens wo white shirts in the armpits though. I've tried various remedies, but this was the first that worked and it was so easy that I feel compelled to share.
a gallon or 2 of hot hot water (our tap gets pretty hot, so I just used that, but you could boil some up I suppose)
1 cup bleach
1 cup dishwasher detergent (I used the gel kind from Walmart)

Mix it all up, through in your clothes, make sure they are all covered. Let sit for at least an hour. Mine soaked for 2 or 3. Then wring them out and through them in the washer. Dishwasher soap is specially formulated not to suds up so it's safe to put in your washer.
Seriously, I don't have stains on shirts that I've had for years now. It even got poop stains out of Ellie's white onsies. It even un-grayed some tank tops.YEAH!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Neige $100 Gift Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

I'm in love with this company now. Not that I can currently afford it, but whatever.

Neige $100 Gift Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!