jackpot!

You’re not the only one “winning” these days, Charlie Sheen!

I’m happy to say that I have won a giveaway from one of my favorite my favorite sewing blog, MADE.  If you are a sewer, or if you are thinking about becoming one… this is such a great blog to visit.  I have spent many nights with tired eyes, looking through her tutorials, jotting down ideas, etc.  She takes the best photos, and makes the coolest clothes for her adorable kids.  Dana always has awesome giveaways, and I usually enter them since it takes all of 5 seconds… But do I ever think I’ll win?  Of course not.

Anyway, out of 12oo or so entries, ‘lil ‘ole me won a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker and 4 yards of super cute polka dot bias tape made by Dana herself.  Not too shabby! 

The bias tape maker costs around $65 (if you check amazon, they seem to have the lowest prices).  If you aren’t too familiar with bias tape, it looks like this when you buy it at the store:

It usually comes in solid colors, and can cost around $3 or $4 a pack… I have used it often, to finish the raw edges of clothing so I don’t have to hem, as seen here.  But last month I started experimenting with making my own.  I loved being able to use my own fabric, you can see the results here and here.  It’s way more cost effective, and just so much cuter!

The drawback to making bias tape without the handy machine, is it takes a long time to iron the long strips of fabric, and it’s easy to burn your fingers.  I’m so excited to have this now: 

….and this:

Thanks, Dana!

p.s.  You can see a full review of the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker on Dana’s site, here.

-Erin

UPcycled: smocked pillowcase dress

I made Grant a new pillowcase this week, and his old one became an easy, breezy dress for Ellery.  I followed the general guidelines for a smocked dress in Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross , but I found this video  to be extremely helpful (if you click on the picture, the author demonstrates her technique on Martha).  I kept the original hem of the pillowcase, and added some scalloped stitches in orange, pea green, and yellow.  It was my first time trying out my machine’s decorative stitches and I am kicking myself that it’s taken me this long… I think they look super cute.

Once that was done, I cut off about 5 inches at the top edge of the pillowcase, drew 7 straight lines 1/2″ apart with my special blue marker (the ink disappears with a little water) to be a guide for the stitching .  I hand-wound elastic thread in my bobbin, thread some yellow thread in the needle and began the shirring process. 

This was WAY easier than I thought.  The fabric gathered up slightly, as you’ll see below:

The cool part is once you are done sewing, you spray water all over the smocking, and then press it with a hot iron which magically shrinks it all even more.  For the straps, I made casings out of an old shirt of mine and inserted some 1/4″ elastic. 

I ended up zig-zaging the top edge of the dress since I didn’t leave quite enough fabric to fold over and hem.  So, yeah it’ll probably fray a bit over time, but for a next-to-free dress, you won’t hear me complain!

 

It fits!

 

Yesterday was the perfect day for this dress.  It was almost 70 degrees and sunny. Ellery was happy to go outside for a photo shoot.

I have no idea where that pose came from, but I like it!  Work it, girl!

Okay, so maybe she looks a little bit like she should be gathering eggs.

Or….. milking a cow, perhaps?

She did do some garden-prep for us.

She wore this the entire day, had fun pulling it on and taking it off multiple times, and even called it her “party dress”.

…I wouldn’t go that far, Ell.  But, I will take that as a compliment!

- Erin

a simple skirt.

For my girl, skirts are essential.  She puts a couple on over her pj’s almost every night, steps into a pair of mismatched highheels, grabs her baby doll stroller, and says, “I’m a Mommy, Mommy!” and proceeds to trot through the house wrapping things up in blankets, and slinging more than one purse onto her shoulder.  Last night, I opened her bedroom door only to find her sitting on her little chair, legs crossed (highheels of course), “nursing”  JellyCat.  She is perfection.  Since Spring is showing bits and pieces of itself here in Virginia, the fabric stash is being looked at with a fresh eye.  So yesterday, we celebrated the warmer day with a new skirt for my little “mommy”. 

This is as easy as it gets… I have plans for a tutorial soon, for those who haven’t made skirts yet.  But, I literally whipped this up during my kids’ nap yesterday- it is a great beginner project.

I also made one for Ellery’s friend Marley…  She is notorious for refusing to wear long pants.  She sticks to dresses and cropped pants the dead of winter….   I hope ya like it, Mar!